In 2002, established recruiters were struggling to place insurance professionals in what was, at the time, a candidate-short market. Identifying this gap in the market, Oliver James Associates was set up with the goal of becoming the most valued and essential recruitment partner globally.
“We knew it required a greater technical understanding of the market and a more proactive approach to finding hard-to-reach people”, said CEO, Oliver Castle.
The resulting success over the last 15 years has seen organic growth of 38% year on year. Oliver James Associates now employs 350 people globally, servicing 650 financial services firms in the wider commercial and industrial markets. So what is the secret to their success?
Putting people first
We are committed to attracting and retaining the most dedicated people. There is a value exchange whereby we invest heavily in them and in return, we have expectations of them.
- To successfully deliver for candidates and clients
- To constantly learn and improve in all aspects of their work
- Career: clear career progression and multiple opportunities
- L&D: the most advanced learning environment in the recruitment sector
- Culture: the right environment to excel within
- Data and market insights: visibility of markets and ability to improve performance through access to data and insight
- Technology: the most up-to-date efficient and effective systems and tools
This has led to a win-win situation; employees are able to build a fulfilling career with Oliver James Associates; clients and candidates have come to expect a consistently high standard, which has led to high levels of repeat business.
Technology accelerating data and market insights
Seeing technology as an accelerator has also played a key role in the success story. Their recruiters have become more efficient and able to make better-informed, data-driven decisions. This is what makes their relationship with LinkedIn unique and successful: LinkedIn provides the compelling data and insights, and combined with exceptionally talented recruiters, Oliver James has grown 35% YOY, achieving:
- Greater insight into markets
- Real-time visibility
- New ways to initiate an initial contact
- Multiple and immediate communication channels
- Scalable and targeted brand awareness and engagement
Social media in particular complements their traditional methods of reaching people, while opening the brand up to a global network.
Social media has become a critical tool in how Oliver James Associates does business. To spot potential and build lasting relationships, face-to-face or phone interaction is always going to be required. However, Nick Godson states that “LinkedIn is without a doubt the most effective social media channel for us to communicate with the business community”. They believe this success is thanks to LinkedIn:
- Being the largest global professional network
- Having the best search capabilities
- Being user friendly
- Providing an effective way of communicating to, and being found by, a large target audience
- Enabling an efficient way to scale awareness of the Oliver James brand
Oliver James Associates continues to embrace technology to find new ways to innovate at every turn. So when they find tools that are effective and give them a clear ROI, they invest. In their continued commitment to give their employees the best technology, tools and data and market insights, they have chosen to be a full partner with LinkedIn, giving everyone a Recruiter Search Tool.
This investment reaffirms their approach to putting people first. And it’s this approach that is clearly the secret to their success.
Top three tips for success:
- Invest in the right people for your business: They’re the single biggest asset you have. Hire for potential, reward for behaviour as well as performance, and create an environment where learning is encouraged.
- Test and learn with technology: Work out what’s right for your business and then go all in. There isn’t a magic bullet, make sure you test systems out first, and gather results to make educated decisions about where to invest. Once you know you’re getting a good ROI, go all in.
- Never forget the personal touch: Technology should complement traditional recruitment methods. People are able to spot potential so it is crucial that human contact remains core to your strategy. Technology allows you to gather insights to make recruiters more efficient and effective.