Meet MERJE is a series of interviews with members of the MERJE team discussing their experiences of recruiting in their specialist market.
Meet Sally Cordwell, Principal Consultant at MERJE, who heads up our Front-Line Talent team.
How long have you been at MERJE?
I have been at MERJE since April 2018, when I joined to launch the MERJE Front-Line Talent team. During this time the team has grown from just me to a team of four, who are all absolute stars!
Prior to joining MERJE, I worked at a corporate recruitment agency within volume Call Centre recruitment for ten years, with a main focus on the Greater Manchester temporary market.
What kind of roles do you recruit for?
At MERJE Front-Line Talent, I recruit a huge range of permanent, temporary and contract roles, including Customer Service Advisors, Sales Advisors, Collections Agents, Resource Planners, QAs, Admin Support, PA and Secretarial positions and Team Managers – basically, any role based within Contact Centres, whether that’s a 1,000 seat call centre or a team of three within a small local business. We work across all sectors in the UK, including, but not limited to Financial Services, Retail, Outsourcing, Travel, Utilities, Housing and Telecommunications.
How has the market changed during your time recruiting within it?
When I started my recruitment career in 2008, we were at the start of the recession so it was a challenging time to recruit as many companies were cutting costs and making redundancies. The permanent market seemed to be mostly affected, whilst the temporary market remained pretty buoyant as our Clients were bringing in temporary workers during busy periods to fill the gaps caused by redundancies.
In 2014 there was a massive increase in agent level jobs in Greater Manchester and the market became very busy with both temporary and permanent opportunities. Soon after this, there was a drop in Candidate applications which made it more challenging to find the right people for our Clients’ jobs. We suddenly found ourselves in a Candidate driven market, advising our Clients on how to stand out from their competitors.
Assessment Centres have become an increasingly popular way to recruit these past couple of years. Historically, Assessment Centres have been more popular with volume recruitment campaigns, however many of our Clients are now running these events to recruit two or three agents into their contact centres. Gone are the days of Competency-Based Interviews for agent level roles!
What advice do you have for job seekers in the Customer Contact markets?
Make sure your CV is honest with accurate and updated information written on it. It’s important to explain gaps and include the month and year for each job, although you don’t need to go back more than 10 years of employment history or write the dates you were studying. A good personal profile, consisting of two or three sentences detailing what you are looking for, your qualities and work ethics will go a long way, but remember to keep that relevant to the job you are applying for.
When you are at an interview, be yourself and don’t try to hide anything, the interviewer may pick up on this. Never be negative about previous employers and make sure you do your research on the company and the role. Try to keep your answers relevant to the job you are being interviewed for.
Many companies these days look for behaviours over experience for Agent-level roles. If you are a good Candidate, with great work ethics and have done your research beforehand, you may end up with a number of job offers and you can select the one that is right for you.
Remember, the interviewer wants you to do well, they are not setting you up to fail and won’t ask you trick questions. Use the interview as an opportunity to see if they are a company you would like to work for and have some relevant questions prepared.
MERJE are such an amazing company to work for! After my first interview, I thought “What’s the catch?” No KPI’s, no targets… The answer is, there is no catch! MERJE take on Consultants with solid experience, who can manage their own day and be responsible for their own success. MERJE have a very grown up culture and trust you to do your job to the best of your ability and leave you to do it without any micro management.
Everyone gets on! I felt from day one that I was working with friends that I have known for years. The owners are truly inspirational and completely hands on, there doesn’t appear to be any hierarchy, but you know they will always support you and any decisions you need to make.
From a business perspective, I chose MERJE because I was looking to continue working within the Commercial market and wanted the opportunity to increase my client base across the whole of the UK, with a wider range of roles and sectors. I also joined MERJE due to their excellent reputation in the market place with both their Clients and Candidates.
From a personal point of view, since I started with MERJE, I haven’t missed any special school assemblies, first day of school, sports day or parents’ evening! MERJE are a very family-focused business and feel that it’s important that their staff don’t miss out on their children growing up, which is priceless! The in-house bar is also an added bonus!
To contact Sally to discuss your Front-Line Talent recruitment needs, please call 0161 883 2755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.