The Big Switch With Keith Grant

Aidan Mortimer

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Our marketing executive, Aidan, sat down recently with Keith Grant to quiz him on his big switch from Banking to the world of Recruitment. And, here’s how it went:

Keith, you have had a successful career in Banking before making a career change last year. Why the move to recruitment?

Why not?! I am not sure if the pandemic subconsciously triggered something in me, but in late 2020/early 2021 I was really questioning the trajectory of my career. I loved my team, my peers, the senior leadership I worked with, and it took me a good few months to pinpoint exactly what was missing – it turned out to be job satisfaction. Once this clicked, I immediately knew that I needed to do something else with my career, so I started to think about the elements of roles both past and current that did bring me job satisfaction. I quickly realised that I really enjoyed the hiring element of a previous role that I had done, where I had to build a big team from scratch. That’s when I started to toy with the idea of becoming a recruiter. I also loved the idea that although recruiting would be something mostly unknown to me, there were certain skills and industry knowledge that I had that would actually lend themselves quite well to recruiting. So, I started to explore.

Explore? What do you mean?

Well, I wasn’t sure if people did what I wanted to do at my age (they do!) and whether I could make it a success (I could). To be frank, at 37, I was concerned that I may have left it too long to move into another industry completely. So, I started asking people. I started with a colleague who had worked in an agency before. The conversation went something like this:

          Me: Look, I’m thinking of giving up Banking and moving into the recruitment space. Am I mad?! Could I do it?

          Colleague: *pause* you would be excellent at it, I promise.

That made me feel more confident. My colleague put me in touch with someone in the industry who she assured me would give me an unbiased assessment as to whether I could do it or not. This person turned out to be Paul McClatchie, owner and director of Engage People!

That worked out well for you – so you moved to Engage People?

No, not at first. I spoke to Paul to get his view. I wasn’t asking him to give me a job, or to get me a job. I wanted his expert opinion on my skillset, background etc., and ultimately, I wanted him to tell me that he could see me as a strong recruiter. Our relationship grew from there, I met the rest of the Engage People team and I got a really strong feeling that I would fit in well there.

Great! Looking back on the experience, what advice would you give someone who is thinking of making a career move in general (not necessarily into recruitment)?

Speak to the experts. Speak to senior leaders in that industry (reach out via LinkedIn) who can give you a warts-and-all overview of the role you want to move to. You need to make sure you are going into a career change with your eyes wide open. Also, speak with a recruiter who specialises in that field. This is also a reason why I wanted to work for Engage People – the recruiters have very strong industry knowledge, and they are great at giving career advice, from the best companies to work for, to how to do a strong CV.

Thanks, Keith, anything else to add?

Not really, this move has been the single most daunting career experience of