The Supply Chain Social - Interview with Andrew Daley - Director at Edbury Daley

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Name: Andrew Daley
Company: Edbury Daley
Position: Director

What did you want to be when you were at school?
Something in sport, either playing cricket or football professionally. Once I realised I wasn’t going to be good enough I thought about sports journalism or business management.

When did you first start out in the Recruitment industry?
Like many others I fell into the industry by accident. Not long after I graduated in Economics, my older brother (a Chartered Surveyor) had been very impressed by a recruiter he’d dealt with and recommended I speak to her for career advice. I ended up joining PSD where she worked at the time. I spent seven enjoyable years there where I received some excellent training and led them into what was the Purchasing market in 1998.

How did Edbury Daley come about?
Simon (Edbury) and I had worked together at two major recruitment companies and became frustrated with way things were done from a management and leadership perspective. We felt too much time was wasted with sales meetings, meaningless targets and were irritated by the often one dimensional approach to “people management.” We wanted to run our own show, put the emphasis on doing quality work with clients we respected, and escape from the numbers based approach which was so common in the sector.

What kind of jobs does Edbury Daley specialise in, and which regions do you cover?
When the business started ten years ago we focused on in-house procurement roles across the UK with an emphasis on London and the surrounding area simply because that’s where most of the profession was based.

Fast forward ten years and our business has evolved massively. We still cover our traditional market for both interim and permanent roles but we now do a lot of work for consultancies ranging from small niche players to some of the big four. The key thing in consultancy recruitment is finding that broader skill set with great emphasis on client relationship management expertise.

This year our busiest area has undoubtedly been spend management/procurement technology and we anticipate more growth in that market next year.

One other big development for us over the past ten years is the amount of work we now do overseas, whether it be relocating people from across Europe to the UK, or sourcing for roles based in locations as diverse as Mexico City, Dublin or Padova in Italy.

What sets Edbury Daley apart from your competitors?
I think it’s the experience and personal networks of our Directors. This enables us to provide credible advice based on what we’ve seen many times in the various markets we serve. I’m not sure some of our big competitors can offer that as their more experienced people are generally managing teams rather than working as hands on recruiters as we do.  

If I was a CPO or MD of a spend management firm, I’d want someone of our experience to consult with on how to get the best talent, not just someone who can send me a handful of CV’s based on the initial brief.

Of course some companies want the latter, but we see a very wide range of behaviours in how companies engage with recruiters. In our opinion there is no doubt that those who really invest in a relationship as part of their talent attraction strategy reap the rewards in terms of the advice they receive and how they use that to get the best people on board.

What's been the biggest challenge you and the company have faced since launch?
Well the recession was tough simply because of the drastic impact it had on our other business in property, but the procurement market was relatively recession proof so that was a big help.

On a more general note I’d say it’s finding really good experienced staff that you are prepared to trust when your reputation is at stake. 

You might think recruiters should be great at hiring but it’s actually very hard to find people with a proven track record that aren’t going to put your brand and reputation at risk. If you look at the staff turnover of some larger recruiters it demonstrates how hard it can be.

There can be no doubt that the rise of social media has had a significant impact on the recruitment industry. How has social media changed the way you work?
Linked In has changed a lot of things in recruitment and it’s undoubtedly a very valuable tool if used correctly, but it doesn’t remove the need to establish positive working relationships with the key people in your business network. 

My big fear with Linked In is that it is losing it’s professional value. As the amount of behaviour you would more readily associate with Facebook increases, less people will use it for professional purposes. As it stands at the moment, it’s still a great resource for research, let’s hope it stays that way.

Facebook has never been of any value in a profession like procurement, people generally want to keep their personal and professional lives separate. I’m not really that interested in what someone had for dinner last night, and I’m sure the average procurement professional has minimal interest in where I played golf last weekend!!

Twitter is the interesting one at the moment. On the face of it, it should have enormous business value with its research potential but I am not convinced procurement professionals are using it for career purposes in any great numbers.

It’s clearly popular as a B2B marketing tool but it appears to me that almost everyone on there is selling and very few are actually buying. 

How important are job boards within your marketing strategy?
That very much depends on the type of role you are sourcing for. There are some roles where job boards are invaluable and usually a source of very relevant candidates, particularly when you want to consider people from a broad geographical area e.g. across Europe. 

However there are other roles that we simply don’t advertise for because we know the relevant talent pool is so small. That’s where our experience and personal networks are vital to ensuring we find the best people for our clients.

Overall though, I feel a good presence in the advertised market is a vital part of our strategy and I’m confident every other good recruiter would agree.

One thing that I think is overlooked by many people is the research value of a specialist job board to the job seeker. We often advise people in the market for a new role to look at the adverts on websites like Supply Chain Online not just for relevant roles that are available right now, but also to get a clear picture of which recruiters are strong in which particular areas. For example if you want to work in a particular sector, which company appears to have the most roles in that area? It’s a simple thing but not many people realise it. 

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Look very carefully at the person who is interviewing you. Your career is going to be in their hands for the next few years so you need someone you can trust, learn from and respect. You also want someone with ambition who you can follow up the organisation.

What one piece of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs starting out?
Plan your business carefully before you start and be realistic bordering on pessimistic about your short term expectations. Far too many good business ideas fail in the first year because the owners base their cash flow on the best case scenario and end up struggling to pay their suppliers.

What's the latest news at Edbury Daley?
We’ve been working with a marketing consultant over the summer to re-focus our message to the market place and we are pleased with the progress we are making. All the key measurables on social media and google analytics tell us that we have significantly increased our coverage.

In terms of the market trends, we’ve had an excellent year, largely built on the back of the profile we’ve established  in the procurement technology/spend management sector where we are fast establishing ourselves as a market leader. We’ve worked hard over several years to achieve that and are now reaping the rewards.

Where would you like Edbury Daley to be in 5 years’ time?
A good question and one that we talk about at our management meeting every month. I’d like to see us grow our consultant numbers a little without losing our focus on quality at the expense of volume. I’d like us to be THE established market leaders in procurement technology recruitment whilst maintaining our presence in our other core markets, and I’d like to see us retain our best people to help us achieve that.

Interview by Richard Marshall - Managing Director of Supply Chain Online

For more information about Edbury Daley and to view their current live opportunities visit the Edbury Daley site here 

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