Glen Callum Associates was established over 18 years ago and continues to flourish, excelling in supplying leading automotive, industrial and engineering businesses with tailored recruitment solutions throughout the UK, Europe and now other parts of the globe…..But what has been the businesses key in its success and what’s the story so far?
Well let’s start with the companies co-founder and current Director Glen Shepherd….
The start 1971….from humble beginnings….
Born in the heart of the Black Country, the home of the industrial revolution and the son of a steel works engineer, our Glen endured a humble upbringing. Schooled in a tough Midlands estate school and belonging to a family with a staunch tradition of making steel and working within gutsy heavy industry ensured he became streetwise at an early age. He adopted a stringent attitude towards hard work, toil and grafting. You can say hard work was ingrained into his DNA.
1986 Breaking the tradition…..
This story could have been all so different but for the 1980’s cull of British manufacturing. Here’s the picture……It’s 1986, Wham top the music charts and Frankie is well on his way to Hollywood. Young Glen excels in sport at school, particularly football where he has represented his school at area and county levels. Several professional clubs have shown an interest and after experiencing family life in a negative working world surrounded with redundancy, picket lines, plant closures, strikes and unemployment the opportunity to play football for a living was a no brainer for Glen.
So breaking the tradition of hot steel, rolling mills and heavy industry Glen gets his 1st success in securing professional football status in the potteries with 2nd division Port Vale FC.
1988 / 89 Professional and performance from the off…..
We’re now approaching 1989 Yaz and the Plastic Population top the chart with “the only way is up” and Bros were tying bottle tops on their shoes. Also on the up is the young director to be. Following 2 years of hard graft and dedication as a trainee footballer, Glen gains a professional contract and is one of two players retained from a squad of 12. He also signs professional forms at the peak of Port Vales success when they had just gained promotion status into league 2 which has been their highest status of all time (now the championship).
1991 Time for a proper job….
In 1991 the professional game slipped away from Glen, the club peaked and money to buy established players meant 1st team opportunities were slim. However he manages to establish himself as a competent “tough tackling” full back in the semi-professional ranks and has a career that will stretch for another 7/ 8 years representing clubs such as Stafford Rangers, Nuneaton Borough, Halesowen and Dudley Town. During this time he also needs a job and is keen to work in a performance industry as given his career to date he feels comfortable with pressurised situations.
Sales seemed the natural path to take, especially as many of the core values of a good sales person could be translated back into football analogies, which meant he could relate to, learn and make his own.
1994 – 1998 Climbing the greasy pole…..
Initially employed as a battery salesman with global battery and flash light producer Rayovac www.rayovac.com the young director to be, plied his trade selling batteries in Birmingham & the Midlands to multiple high street convenience stores, retailers, petrol forecourts, cash & carry, electrical wholesalers, supermarket chains and the automotive aftermarket.
The sales training he received was real life, on the job and excellent. His training adopted a disciplined and structured approach in terms of how to sell value added packages for market leaders and demand higher prices for premium branded products. Keen to progress he climbed the ranks within additional top industry named companies selling brands such as SPUR Shelving (McKechnie Manufacturing Group), Ring Automotive www.ringautomotive.com ,
Chubb & Union locks www.assaabloy.co.uk.
Yale Security Products www.yale.co.uk,
With continued success and increased corporate and formal training Glen leveraged a Senior Management and National Accounts level role at the ripe old age of 28.
1998 – 2017
In 1998 the young but “Senior Sales Manager” was approached to work for a leading recruiter within the “sports apparel” and FMCG markets. Excited by the “sporting challenge” Glen accepted but quickly became disillusioned with the lack of team work within the recruitment industry and he could see that the recruitment market encouraged a “top dog” philosophy with recruiters “billing to earn” instead of providing client satisfaction, client retention and client penetration.
With Glen’s prior commercial experience within the automotive industry and with direct approaches from previous customers, he recognised a gap for an automotive recruitment specialist to really flourish. His vision for a “new automotive recruitment specialist” included taking some of his personal core values and mixing this with the sales & marketing attributes he’d gained whilst selling and marketing premium brands throughout his career. The vision also included a high level of integrity, missing from his experience of the recruitment world. His ideal was to set up as a true specialist and not a “me too” supplier thus adopting an inch wide and mile deep philosophy with regards to searching. His ideal also included bucking the trend of the 2 or 3 month recruiters and employing people with long term goals who were customer focussed and who could build relationships. He wanted to move away from the short term billing mentality that was the recruitment world.
In essence the consultants would knit together and work like a football team and play to “individual strengths”. New business developers, resourcers and recruiters would all work in tandem towards a common goal of successful and suitable placements thus encouraging client retention and repeat business.
Hence Glen Callum Associates was born and 18 years on GCA currently employs 9 people and has a reach across Europe and other parts of the world. The longest serving senior recruiters have been with Glen Callum 18, 14 and 7 years respectively.
In terms of culture and philosophy the GCA team has continued to adopt Glen’s vision and are employed and not heavily commissioned, hence removing the “personal gain” element for recruiters. Measures are in place for the recruiters to deliver collective results as a team achieving sustainable business growth in a fashion that encourages repeat business with targeted clients. Additionally the company possesses an excellent track record of training and developing their own consultants.
Though football analogies are not frequently used these days they still crop up on occasions…..and to motivate the team Glen still uses a few of his favourites……
- “You’re only as good as your last game” (“placement”)
- “Would you go onto the pitch without your boots” (“be prepared always”)
- “Celebrate every goal with your team mates” (“celebrate your results with your GCA team mates”)
- “There is no “I” in team” (“GCA is a team business”)
- “Let’s get 1-0 up by half time” (“let’s get ahead with our business plan”)
- “Fans and sponsors pay the wages”….so do (“candidates & clients”)
- “If you’re a great left back don’t try to play centre forward”. (“Just be great at what you do”)
And a favourite of all time…..”get stuck in, role up your sleeves and have a go”!
When asked “what makes a great recruiter” Glen usually reverts back to basics and he simply says “skills, knowledge and ATTITUDE” but not necessarily in that order…… what can you bring?”
Ironically the company is now located at the very centre of Glen’s Black Country heartland where the industrial revolution began at the Redhouse Glass Cone, Stourbridge which is the former home of “Royal Stuart Crystal”. The location is steeped in tradition and is only a mile away from where Glen could have been making steel right now if fate had been kinder to the UK manufacturing industry……..