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The Features section of brings together interviews with a range of recruiters, employers, suppliers and candidates - bringing things to life by offering insights to their work challenges and rewards as well as their motivations, interests and aspirations.

Helen McAnally
Name:Helen McAnally
Job Title:MD
Current Role:Parkhouse Bell was founded to apply an intelligent, transparent and thorough approach to helping organisations find finance and training professionals on both a permanent and contract basis.
Company Name:Parkhouse Bell
Q: We are interested in knowing how you got to where you are. Could you describe the three most significant decisions that you made leading up to taking this job?
A: I started Parkhouse Bell after working my way up from rookie recruitment consultant on a cold desk to Director of another recruitment consultancy. I made the decision to build my own recruitment consultancy as I wanted to put my own stamp on the culture and work processes of an organisation. The three most significant decisions I made during this time were: 1. What I wanted the culture of Parkhouse Bell to be, 2. Recruiting the right team for Parkhouse Bell to reflect this culture and 3. Deciding what type of jobs/sectors Parkhouse Bell would recruit in.

Q: What is the most frustrating thing about your job?
A: Slow moving interview schedules. The market is currently candidate driven and good candidates generally have several options to consider. It is very frustrating when clients miss out on a great candidate because the client wasn’t able to organise interview times quickly enough.

Q: What is the most rewarding and/or exciting thing about your job?
A: After 6 years in recruitment I still get a thrill when we find the right person for an organisation, particularly if the search has been a long and difficult one. Finding the right candidate on paper and then meeting that person to confirm that they are just what our client has been looking for is always very exciting.

Q: What are the most important qualities of a good recruiter and a successful recruiter? Are they the same?
A: I think a good recruiter has to be able to listen carefully and to ask the right sort of questions of both clients and candidates. It's easy sometimes to put your own interpretation on what is being said and to hear what you want to hear but it is important to avoid doing that so that a true picture is obtained. I also believe in being honest with both clients and candidates - over selling doesn't help anyone in the end!

Q: What is your business mantra?
A: We have a personal, honest and professional approach when working with our clients and candidates – we focus on your needs.

Q: If you did not do this job what job would you do?
A: I would be a travel writer for top end accommodation providers (in my dreams...)

Q: What new projects are you looking forward to?
A: Parkhouse Bell will be opening an office in Australia in 2008 and I am looking forward to moving that project forward next year.

Q: If someone you knew wanted to get a job as a recruiter what advice would you give them?
A: Go for it - recruitment is a very rewarding and challenging job - no two days are the same and you are constantly learning. There is the potential to earn an excellent salary by providing an exceptional service for your clients and candidates. Recruitment is an area where your efforts are generally rewarded, both financially and professionally. I would also say, however, that you need to be able to cope with the ups and downs of recruitment as it is a challenging job.

Q: What are your three top tips for job hunting?
A: 1. Be honest with your recruitment consultant and the potential employer; 2. Be prepared for the interview; 3. Put yourself in the potential employer’s shoes and think about what they are looking for

Q: Tell us about your most successful recruiting experience and why?
A: I like to look outside the square and focus on the personality of the candidate rather than focus entirely on their work history. I find it extremely satisfying when someone with transferable skills makes the successful transition into a new field and I really enjoy working with clients who trust me enough to see candidates who may not be a perfect 'on paper' match but who I think has what my client is looking for. My most successful recruitment experience has been the placement of one of my candidates into a training organisation several years ago as a grass roots trainer and that person is now a member of the senior management team of the organisation.

Q: What is the secret to being successful at work?
A: 1. Balance 2. Hard work 3. Tenacity 4. Professionalism 5. Retaining a sense of humour

Q: What was your most extravagant purchase?
A: Diamonds are a girl's best friend and I recently bought a big and gorgeous diamond pendant when I was in New York. I've justified it by taking into account the dollar/pound exchange rate and by comparing it with similar diamonds in Hatton Garden!

Q: What do you do to switch off?
A: Much to my husband's disgust, I am a complete Coronation Street and Eastenders addict. I love to get home and watch these shows as I find they really help me switch off from the day by getting involved in the dramas of the characters.

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