In 2005 Andy Halliday was once again the top biller in the whole operation of Nigel Lynn (now Morgan McKinley), consistently out-performing his targets. John Marx, with an equally impressive portfolio and reputation working for Robert Half, was approached to come on board.
Until this point, Andy had managed the part qualified recruitment team that placed part qualified accountants and was handing over a lot of qualified business to the more senior team. Once John was on board, the two managers/top billers made a simple change that sent billings soaring. Rather than pass qualified accountants to a senior team, they divided the entire interim recruitment team in two, half managed by Andy, half managed by John. This allowed greater client coverage in a shorter time. With Andy’s impressive billing rate and John’s loyal customer base, their complimentary skill sets were the perfect mix for success. Within one year, Halliday and Marx had successfully increased their team’s interim figures from an impressive 90 to 240 despite a decrease in their team size.
This achievement naturally pushed John and Andy to consider their next move. In recruitment, high performing individuals generally progress to senior management, where the focus is business strategy. However, for Halliday and Marx, their passion was embedded in recruitment. They wanted to maintain their reputation by staying firmly on the ground, growing with their clients and maintaining the genuine relationships they had worked hard to foster, as well as managing and building recruitment teams.
‘We decided to go it alone. With our own business we could be directors and still work with clients and candidates. We could recruit consultants and create the type of environment and company we would have liked to have worked for when we started out’, says John.
In 2010, Halliday Marx opened for business in Central London.
Like all new start-ups, Halliday Marx had challenges to overcome.
‘We are recruiters, that’s what we do. Running an established business that is growing rapidly involves compliance, marketing, human resources, purchasing, IT. These areas were completely new for both of us and have definitely been a learning curve’, says Andy.
‘Staying focused on the client whilst embedding these core functions into Halliday Marx required self-belief, adaptability, effective planning and the right connections for advice but we believe in our brand and these functions are now fully embedded. The focus is 100% on further growth,’ adds John. ‘There are no non-billers in our organisation. We sit with the team to consistently advise and support. We want to be in the meat of the organisation’.
At the core of their brand is an open-door policy that sets them apart from other companies. The team is a mix of new graduates, experienced hires and high performing career changers, all who work alongside their directors for training, advice and support. This way of working has clearly established a strong connection within the team, driving them towards a common goal: be the best, do it simply.
Upon joining, new employees can expect full time mentoring from a colleague moving to a promotion. They will also receive 2-3 hours a day dedicated 1-1 coaching, often with the directors. This includes accounting terminology, market knowledge, advertising and how to talk to candidates.
‘It’s an industry where how successful you are is on you. We don’t believe in time in service here. If you do well, you’ll get promoted but we never expose consultants to clients until they are 100% ready and know exactly what the product is’, says Andy.
Consultants here have the flexibility to run their own desk. Halliday Marx believe that everyone works in a slightly different way and it is encouraged. People should bring their own DNA to work.
They clearly know what they are doing. You are unlikely to find a partnership in London that have billed more in terms of interim accounting placements, especially given that John started in 1997 and Andy the following year. This has resulted in ultimate respect from their employees who clearly enjoy what they do and feel proud to be part of the Halliday Marx Brand.
It’s not just the billing opportunities that make Halliday Marx an attractive employer. Soft benefits include an annual trip abroad for consultants who hit their half year targets, various team social events including a speed boat on The Thames, T-20 cricket matches, team dinners and of course, the obligatory team drinks! Halliday Marx were also proud to support Cancer Research in their recent JP Morgan Charity Run.
Halliday Marx will soon celebrate its 9th birthday. It stands highly profitable and privately owned, built on a base of steady increased profitability and not about the vanity of having countless consultants. It is therefore, not surprising that Halliday Marx have just started fitting out a new office to double their office space and to attract new employees who will thrive in the Halliday Marx culture. The move is due in November this year.
Halliday Marx are open to whom they speak with. Their current graduates progress well through hands-on coaching as well as the traditional in classroom training they receive. They appreciate you wouldn’t get to work so closely with directors anywhere else. Experienced hires are equally satisfied to work for a more mature company that offers them a larger slice of the pie.
‘Recruiters can be a funny bunch, they have a bad reputation which is justified’, says John. It’s not hard to look good in the recruitment world if you are consistent and do things properly. No lying or pushy selling. We want intelligent, hard-working individuals who want to progress their career’.
Halliday Marx have also seen huge success with their career changers.
‘They have the discipline, the drive, bring new ways of thinking to the team, are target driven and inspire others’, says Andy.
When asked what stands out on a CV for Halliday Marx the answer was unanimous.
‘We like sports people. They want to win’, adds Andy. ‘They are highly competitive, target driven and can work in a team’.
It is no surprise then, that both John and Andy are keen sportsmen with John a former net bowler for the England Cricket Team in New Zealand in 1997.
Both Marx and Halliday bring something different to the table. John has a fantastic sense of humour. Recruitment is stressful and requires drive and hard work to be successful. This positive attitude helps the team to refocus when things get difficult. Andy has a calm, consistent confidence. He has a talent for recruitment proven by his billings and it is inspiring for those who work with him. The team are more effective having their directors by their side, it creates a sense of sharing the work and struggles. The vision for Halliday Marx is a cohesive one and not something dictated from above.
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