Kim’s Recruitment Anniversary

I still want to get up and come to work every day…. How blessed am I?


All the 8’s! 88!  Not quite bingo – but for me a significant date when I started my career in recruitment 34 years ago today. 

Looking back all those years ago, I was an introvert, I lacked self confidence and I had very bad social anxiety – mainly in work based environments.

I wasn’t really the best catch if I was to compare myself to some of the amazing talent I have seen over my career going into and thriving in the world of  recruitment. To be honest, I really had no idea what a recruitment consultant did, but all the same a wonderful lady by the name of Sylvie Sargeant (Apex Recruitment – Leeds) took a punt on me in 1988 even though I totally fluffed my interview with the area manager… Sylvie wanted to give me a chance and from that day forward I’ve not looked back.

I’ve worked with some amazing people over the years who again, along the way have believed in me to succeed… Maureen Smith (Kelly Services – Leeds 1991), and Graham Caswell (Kelly Services) gave me my first branch manager opportunity when I opened their Bradford office in 1992 and made it one of the most successful new branch openings …. ever!

Don’t get me wrong I’ve also worked with some ‘wrong ‘ens’….  But that made me realise what I wasn’t willing to tolerate in my working life – narcissists who thought it ok to treat me appallingly when I had nothing but good intentions, a passion for people, openness and honesty.. and genuine kindness … and I always delivered, irrespective of who I worked with – or for… I guess it was my humble start in life that instilled tenacity, determination and a real love for wanting to make a difference to people’s lives.

34 years later I still love the job ! More so now than ever before – why you might ask…

I still love my job because I am surrounded by a fabulous team of people at THE Agency who I trust with my life – people who warm my soul everyday, who have my back as I do theirs, a fabulous client base and many candidates who I still remain in contact with all these years. I have to say a very special thank you to Joanne Whitley our Office Manager who will be celebrating 10 years with me next month, Ruth Toulson who will be celebrating 15 years with me in September and Bev Evered who will be celebrating 3 years with me at THE Agency – however we first met over 20 years ago when Bev worked for me at Elite Personnel Services where I started my first ever business – and with a 1 year old baby in tow.

I would also like to say thank you to the team behind the scenes who work so hard to make everything digital look so good and everything IT work so well – SumFactors Digital Marketing and my daughter Lydia Evans who along with her business Partner Josh have taken us into the 21st century with our Social Media presence. Not forgetting my accountant Paul Calvert who has been my rock and my confidant for the best part of 24 years. I believe that one can only succeed if one surrounds oneself with a talented team and I certainly have this in abundance. Our newest recruit being Ellie Wayper who joined us earlier this year – such a promising young lady who will, without doubt become a huge success story.  There has of course been other fabulous people who have helped me along the way and once again, I could not have done it without them – Catherine Smith my PA of 11 years, Louise Smith our Recruitment Consultant for 7 years, Shirley Walker who was with me for 3 years and Amy Calvert just over 2 years, Jamie Dobson, Jacky Wilcock and all the external people who have offered a first class service to a small (but perfectly formed) business with big ideas and big dreams to deliver a service that was second to none!

I think I can honestly say ‘I’ve seen it all, bought the t-shirt etc”, I’ve worked in strong economic markets and I’ve worked through a pandemic and two recessions. I’ve opened 5 start ups – 2 of my own and 3 for other people. I’ve given a number of rookies a chance and some have gone on to do better things than I have in terms of climbing the career path… I believed they could fly and they did! One person who I always watch from behind the scenes is Samantha Rope who worked with me at Kelly Services in Bradford in 1994 and she has totally rocked this amazing world of Recruitment and has left me standing – I feel proud that I gave her a chance and she flew!  

Over the years I’ve met some fabulous clients who have worked closely with me Carole Ladley (nee Wilson) at Morrisons, Tonya Thompson at Morrisons and Yorkshire Water/Three Sixty and Loop …. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking a chance on me and for working with us on 2 of our major accounts that we threw our hearts and soul in to for many years…

This year I celebrate 16 years of THE Agency – almost half my career in recruitment – but it wasn’t the easiest of starts – a failed business partnership within the first year which hit me financially, mentally and physically and then a recession! At this point I was also 3 years into a new blended family so I was certainly pushing myself to the extreme…  looking back I’m not sure how I did it – but with grit and determination I grew the business year on year and surrounded myself with people who have worked so hard to help us get where we are today. 

Many people ask me when I’m thinking of retiring but my response is they’ll probably carry me out in a box! Ha! What else would I do? I feel blessed that despite all the challenges I’ve faced both professionally and personally over the past 34 years, I still want to go to work every day and make a difference.

The other thing I was asked very recently by a friend is what advice would I give my younger self … and honestly … it would be to stay true to yourself, remain humble, treat people well, thank everyone who has helped you along the way and never get too big for your boots! I was a size 6 34 years ago and I’m still a size 6 today… although maybe with a bigger waistline – but I blame the cake! Did I tell you I love cake!

Thank you to Sylvie all those years ago – you believed in me and I have been true to myself, my craft and everyone that I have ever worked with… and I still want to get up and come to work every day…. How blessed am I?