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Alumnus of the month

Gaelle Blake (BA History and Politics 1995-98) has gone on from Warwick to become Director for Construction and Property at Hays. Here she talks through her career path which has led to her managing a team of 60 recruitment consultants, across the London and Guildford region at the UK’s #1 recruitment company.

gaelle_blake.jpgWhy did you choose to get into recruitment at Hays?
One of friends from Warwick started working in the recruitment industry while I was studying my Masters and suggested that it would suit my personality because I enjoyed working with people from a variety of backgrounds. This friend of mine wasn’t wrong and eighteen years on, I still love my job.

How did get to where you are now?
I started with Hays as an Associate Consultant on the graduate training programme. I worked within the Construction and Property division, working with Structural Engineering clients and candidates. I worked my way up at Hays by working hard, having proven success and being open about taking on opportunities that were offered to me. I started managing other consultants within as little as 16 months of joining Hays and this team has grown to over 60 consultants.

What did you get from studying at Warwick?
I gained an absolutely brilliant network of very successful and incredibly loyal friends and peers in several different industries. I am still very close to a large group of my Warwick year group who I see on a regularly basis, two of whom are godparents to my young children!

What are the most challenging parts of working in recruitment?
Everything moves at 100 miles per hour so you have to think very quickly whilst managing your time very efficiently. The industry requires a lot of commitment and resilience so it’s definitely not a career for people who like to procrastinate.

What drives you?
I am still learning and not many people can say that after eighteen years in a job. I also thoroughly enjoy working with likeminded people – I never clock watch and the days fly by.

As far as your career is concerned, what are you most proud of?
Everything I have done in my career has been an accomplishment but if I had to choose one I was most proud of it would be supporting the development of less experienced recruiters from their first day in the business through to them being promoted to director level – nothing beats that.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently during your time as a student?
Absolutely not. I worked pretty hard, but I also had the most enormous amount of fun.

Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?
I hope I am still doing a role that I find intellectually stimulating in Hays.

Do you have any advice for new graduates looking to get into recruitment?
Like any graduate role, the first 18 months is quite tough simply because you are learning so much so it is really important that you research the companies you are considering before you actually apply. Remember that if you choose well, your life long career is secured.

FACT FILE

  • Age: 39
  • Lives: Beckenham, Greater London
  • Education: BA (Hons) History and Politics, Warwick, Msc Management (Bath)
  • Career: 18 Years in Recruitment with Hays. Currently Director for Construction and Property for London
  • Interests: Yoga, Pilates and going to the Kent Coast as often as possible