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Interview with First Recruitment Group's Founding Directors
12 Jul 2017
This is an interview with Steve Farthing (pictured below right) and Andy Cartledge (pictured below left), co-founders of First Recruitment Group, as they look back at the 20 year journey the business has been on and what has been the key to its success.
Why did you decide to open the business?
Andy: “The idea of a new challenge drove us the most. We didn’t do it for financal reasons – in fact it was extremely hard in the beginning - but we did have this sense of needing to prove we could ‘go it alone’.”
How did you meet each other?
What was business like in the beginning?
Who were your first clients?
Andy: “Waiting for the decision on that tender was incredibly tense, so on the day of the tender decision I decided to play a prank on Steve. Back in those days we had a dedicated fax machine just for Simon Carves jobs so that we could instantly tell when one of their jobs was sent over. I was alone in the office when they faxed over the news that we had been successful. After sitting there smiling for a few minutes, I had an idea, took the sheet of paper and made a copy that said we were ‘unsuccessful’ and put it back on the fax machine. I waited for Steve to come back and discover the note. He walked into the office smiling nervously, walked over to the fax machine and I saw his face drop as he read the note. I only let him stew for a few minutes, before I told him what I’d done. The look of pure relief and annoyance was priceless. Needless to say we had a big celebration that day. It really was a significant moment.”
Steve: “Yeah thanks for that Andy. That moment definitely aged me a few years.”
“We also worked with BNFL and because both businesses were busy at the time, we were able to meet their resourcing needs and grow our own business taking on admin staff, other recruiters and also Anna Machin (nee Rayment) in payroll (pictured right), who is still with the business to this day.”
When did you start to expand into other sectors?
When did you really start to see success in the business?
What kinds of challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
What has been the key to your success?
Why did you both decide to step back from the day to day running of the business?
Andy: “I have the fondest of memories from setting up First Recruitment Group and that was made so much easier by working with Steve. He’s a Liverpool supporter and I’m a Manchester United supporter, and we both have very strong personalities so it could have been a disaster. However, I can genuinely say that over that time we hardly had a crossed word, learning to compromise and work together in a way that suited us both. It was the best decision to step away when John had really settled in, taking over the day to day running of the business, and we both stay interested in the company and its future success.”
"I have found First to be an efficient, competent recruitment agency who understand that listening is more important than speaking, a trait that many, many recruitment business fail to see. First have consistently produced good quality candidates who, are informed prior to submission of our roles, salaries and locations.
"I would recommend them as a high quality technical recruitment business, they have recently helped me in filling a number of roles within our Nuclear team that other recruitment agencies have failed in."
"I have had the pleasure of working with First Recruitment Group over recent years and we have formed a great working relationship. Their understanding or our exacting requirements is outstanding.
"The First team are highly experienced and knowledgeable across the recruitment spectrum and operate in the manner you would expect of a professional outfit of their stature. Their attention to detail and approach is faultless and their commitment and drive has helped our business with unique, complex and difficult recruitment requirements.
"Sarah, our Account Manager, is an incisive thinker as well as hardworking, diligent and reliable and has an extremely helpful and flexible approach to her work. This reflects in her team and with their ability to communicate at all levels in an honest and trusted consultative manner and gives us great faith in their ability to identify candidates who can help us to drive forward and achieve our business goals.
"I have no hesitation in recommending First as a recruitment partner and feel they would be worthy of selection for any engineering or manufacturing business looking for an intelligent and innovate solution."
“There is nothing negative about the service that we’ve received from First. Without fail they have produced positive feedback. The fact that they have placed a diverse range of skills from PA's to Engineers, just goes to show that they have the core skills, intelligence, and initiative that make them great recruiters, and preferred partners.”
Alexander Mann Solutions
"First Group are one of the key suppliers to Cobham. The team are quick to respond, friendly and professional, and as such have made a massive difference to the account. The team have supported and filled a variety of roles. Without hestitation I would recommend First."
“I have found First Recruitment to be very efficient and professional in their approach to recruitment. They were able to gain an in depth understanding of the needs of our business and source high quality candidates. I would highly recommend their services to anyone with a recruitment need.”