John Baker

CEO, MacMillan Davies Hodes

1. What is the biggest change you have seen in the recruitment industry since you joined it ?

The biggest change has been the influence of technology. Whether it is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems, advanced recruitment databases or the use of the internet for research, the use of technology has become far more pronounced. In the world of search, sites such as LinkedIn have made the identification of talent far more accessible.

2. What is the biggest lesson you have learned while trading through the current recession ?

Never forget that this is a relationship business and you have to think long term, even when you are under short term pressure. Too many firms have abandoned their focus on quality out of a desperation for quick wins. The successful firms of the future will be those that didn’t compromise on quality, and continued to provide outstanding service to clients and candidates alike.

3. What do you most love about your job ?

The variety. Working with different people and being able to see the impact that truly talented people can have on an organization. I also get huge satisfaction from seeing my own people develop, and seeing the satisfaction they derive from doing great work.

4.What prediction would you make about the industry over the next 5 years ?

That technology will drive further efficiency in the world of recruitment. Where recruitment firms only provide a transactional service, they will be squeezed by the capability that new technology will bring. However, those firms that can truly demonstrate that they can access and engage talent that is hard to access will grow and flourish.

5.Your job must bring many pressures. What is your best tip for dealing with stress ?

Keep everything in perspective. Know how to switch off and relax so that you can get some balance in your life. This job can be all consuming, but as a CEO you also need to be looking much further ahead so that you can plan and make good decisions based on real information and not just a hunch – its far less stressful.


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