We discussed leadership, recruitment and the future with Chris Bennett, Business Manager – EMEA.

What’s Your Philosophy?

Listen and seek to understand.

How Do You Apply That Philosophy to Leadership?

Salespeople are generally poor reactive managers. So, I’ve tried to reframe how I handle circumstances that would require me to be reactive. I’ll give an example: On my morning stand up, I have asked one of the people I’m trying to develop into a leader on the team to run the stand up while I listen and seek to understand. This has given me the platform I need to take measured responses in a timely manner. It’s helped me as a leader and has helped my team reach their goals.

Did Leadership Come Naturally?

When it comes to Sales, leadership is the next step whether it comes naturally or not. You get your ‘top biller’ status then you get your first hire. Next thing you know, you’re managing the team, I found that really difficult for the first two years, because I still wanted to be a big biller.

The mindset shift is the hardest. Once I moved my mindset away from my own targets and towards the targets of my team, I was able to lead better.

What Are Some of The Biggest Changes You’ve Seen to Recruitment Over Your Career?

There is more diversity in recruitment, which is fantastic. There’s also less of the bad stuff. The constant cold callers. All the hyper-transactional recruitment, that’s developed into insight lab recruitment. We’re more patient with recruiters who come on board to allow them to do better recruitment, rather than pushing to just get results as fast as possible. It’s not a sales floor filled with young men anymore.

What Are Some Of The Secrets To Your Success?

The key is: do the basics, enjoy the journey, and keep pushing.

What’s The Biggest Challenge You’ve Faced In Your Recruitment Career?

Changing your mindset. Because when you get your top biller status you’re going into management because that’s the next step. And you believe in your head that you know the way that this all works because it worked for you. And so you just push that on people because it’s all you know. It’s really difficult to get out of that mindset. So realising that there are 1000 different ways to do recruitment was the biggest challenge for me.

Why Do You Call Evolution Home?

I’ve been in a number of different recruitment firms and it’s all the same: you go in, you get loads of clients, get results. The difference with Evolution is that there was no ego, I was very close to very successful people in a very flat organisation. Likewise, it’s really clear how to be successful at Evolution. And so I’ve always enjoyed that. You know, if you’re thinking about staying late one day, you know exactly why you’re doing it.

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