"Culture can come first!” - an interview with Brendan Keelen, Head of Global Internal Recruitment

"Culture can come first!” - an interview with Brendan Keelen, Head of Global Internal Recruitment

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Meet our new Head of Global Internal Recruitment, Brendan Keelen.

Working out of our New York office, Brendan’s role is to lead the internal recruitment function across all of Meet’s current offices and recruit the key talent that will drive our Berlin launch later this year.

He tells us all about what attracted him to this new role and what he’s excited for, over the coming year.

Tell us a bit about your recruitment background…

Well, I recently hit my 5-year recruitment anniversary! My first role was a position recruiting into Banking and Finance on the contract desk. Then, around 2 years ago I was approached about a role as part of the internal recruitment team at my old company.

As someone who was really involved in various aspects of company life outside of my role as a recruiter, I was attracted to the chance to have a broader impact, influence culture and get to know the wider business as part of the internal recruitment team. Eventually, my role ran its course; we got to a size where I was no longer having a tangible impact and I didn’t feel I could grow in the role anymore.

Then Hannah reached out to me to discuss working at Meet and it was exactly what I was looking for! An opportunity to be involved in high-level conversations, impact strategy and ultimately the ability to decide how my position and my team is structured.

What attracted you to Meet?

Aside from everything the position as Head of Global Internal Recruitment offered, it was the company culture that attracted me to Meet. Meet really is different. In fact, my old company was trying to capture the kind of culture that already exists here. But you can’t easily make changes to an already embedded culture, especially in a larger company. That’s a real advantage of working for a private company where the founders remain so involved.

Meet really is different…

There aren’t many companies I know of where the CEO gets as much facetime with people as Hannah (our CEO) does. She regularly spends time in each office and makes the effort to interact with everyone whilst she’s there. I think Hannah will always be the kind of leader who’s truly involved, even as the company continues to scale, that’s just who she is.

The culture that her, Paul and Alastair have built is awesome. It’s inclusive and collaborative; as they’ve scaled the business, they’ve encouraged each employee to influence it. Whatever your level or tenure, you have a voice and it’s a voice that’s listened to.

They’ve created an environment that focuses on supporting each individual to reach their potential. Whether that’s the initial training for graduates, future leaders or senior leadership training there are opportunities for development throughout your career. And everything is transparent; there is a clear career path laid out for each person with explicit criteria so that you know what you need to do to achieve your next promotion. You don’t have to figure out where your career is going alone.

Are there many differences between working in a corporate environment versus Meet?

Definitely! At my last company we had a headcount of over 3,000 and I was reporting into a chain of people who all had different levels of accountability, whereas now I’m leading the IR function and reporting directly into the CEO – it’s a totally different ball game.

There is a sense of community at Meet that you don’t get in a corporate environment.

In larger more corporate recruitment companies, everything is more competitive. Obviously, there is a sense of competitiveness at Meet - you need that to be successful in any sales environment - but there is no sense of animosity or jealousy like I’ve seen in other recruitment companies. Everyone genuinely cares about each other, so, when someone else makes a placement you’re excited about it.

What sets Meet apart from other agencies?

I’ve already spoken about culture a lot, but it really is what makes Meet unique. One of the things I’m really excited about is how we can advertise who Meet are and what we stand for, to attract new talent to the business.

As CEO, Hannah is determined to shatter preconceptions of what a successful recruitment company looks like. In many recruitment companies there’s an unspoken expectation that you have to sacrifice your work-life balance to be successful. That’s an old school rational that Meet is disrupting.

Meet are a disrupter in the industry…

Hannah, Paul and Alastair won’t compromise the culture they’ve built, regardless of our size or ambitious growth plans. That attitude stands out in the recruitment industry and it creates a high level of employee engagement. You’re invested in everybody’s success and you want to perform at a high level not only for yourself but for everyone around you. The people who work here want to see the business thrive – they want to see this place grow and take over market share.

My message is, come to Meet if you want to be proud of what you’re doing, proud of the people you work with and proud of the company’s success.

What are you excited about in the next year?

The scalability of the company. I know scalability is such a buzz word, but you can actually see the potential at Meet. Although we’ve got ambitious targets over the next 3 years, the growth we’ve seen over the last few years is evidence that it can be done and that having a different approach to recruitment really works.

Our structure means our people are continually developing their careers, expanding their markets and growing their teams. But also, there are still so many potential areas to expand into, different geographies and different markets that we can explore.

I said this to Hannah after I sat through her recent presentation and I’ll share it with you:

Listening to her forecast was the first time in forever that I’d heard a strategy and an approach that I really believed in.

My advice to those in the industry is that there is more than one way to work in recruitment. Culture can come first and that doesn’t mean sacrificing performance, growth or progression. If you’re curious about how we do things differently at Meet then get in touch.


Thanks Brendan. We’re currently hiring! So, if you’re interested in hearing more about Brendan’s story and his role here at Meet then get in touch with brendan@peoplewithchemistry.com.

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