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Sean Farrell, although often mistaken for an Aussie, is a Brit based in our San Francisco office. In October 2016, he left an in-house recruitment role with one of Meet’s clients to join the SF launch team - a bold and unusual move in the recruitment industry, but Sean hasn’t looked back.
Just over 18 months later, Sean is incredibly successful. He is consistently a top biller and has built a glowing reputation amongst his peers. So, how did it all happen?
Having worked with Meet for around two and half years as a client, Sean knew a few members of the EU team and had a taste of Meet’s culture… “From a client’s perspective Meet’s great, the team aren’t pushy, they perform really well, and they have a very different approach from most other agencies.”
After working in Houston for a period, Sean met up with the team who mentioned the SF office launch, it peaked his interest, “I knew Meet’s culture would be a good fit, so I wanted to explore the opportunity.”
Attracted to the challenge of building something from scratch he took the leap and joined us as part of the San Francisco’s launch team.
When do you think your career at Meet took off?
“There was definitely a transition period, we started from virtually nothing. It took around 12 months to build something significant, that’s when I noticed we’d got it. Throughout that time, I was making tweaks and working with Mike on personal development areas - I’m seeing the reward now.
Recruitment can be a very lucrative career, that’s an obvious attraction to the job but it’s also the day to day challenges that I find rewarding; from bringing on new clients to engaging with the network we've built in SF.
I like working the challenging roles. I back myself, and the team, to be able to find the right candidate fit - no matter how difficult the search.”
He attributes his success to his methodical and regimented approach, “it’s about being consistent.”
Are there any other characteristics you think are essential to be a success?
“There are a few. A positive attitude is key. Recruitment is a rollercoaster and it’s easy to dwell on missed opportunities. Don’t be afraid of setbacks. You have to learn from the negative experiences, reflect on what you can develop and recover: be resilient. I’ve found it helpful to set personal goals that give me perspective.
Attention to detail is also essential. Know your candidates inside-out. To best support them and your client you need to be an expert in their skill set and their motivations. Sometimes these will be more complicated than they seem on the surface.
Remember, it’s not a 9-5 job. You’ve got to be flexible and adaptable around people’s schedules. It’s definitely a job where the more you put in the more you’re going to get out.
Most of all don’t be afraid to ask questions. Internally and externally. If you’re not getting the response from candidates or clients – ask what you can do to change. Internally, whatever level you are, you can always make improvements. I’m still tweaking my approach and I want to get to the next level, so I’ll ask Mike and Whitney for advice on what I can do to improve, or what I can do differently.
Finally, being friendly and charming never hurts. For me the British accent is a nice ice-breaker!”
That’s interesting, so what do you think you’ve had to work hardest to improve over your career?
“There’s a multitude of things. I had to change my approach going from in-house to agency and working in the US market. I’ve worked to improve my time management, that includes being more flexible and learning to work in the most efficient way for me.
But also tackling any problems in the process head on. I’ve learnt from mistakes not to be afraid to ask prickly questions. Put yourself in the uncomfortable situation, uncover the worms!
You need to know about any issues in order to find a solution. We are meant to be recruitment experts, and that means pushing back in tricky situations in a consultative manner. That’s something I wasn’t as strong at and I’ve had to work on to be successful.”
Do you think that comes with confidence?
“Yes, definitely. It took a good 12 months to get things going in SF, as we grew, we were working with more clients on volume and had a bigger network of candidates. That gave us more confidence. Along with confidence came a positive attitude across the office, it all interlinks.”
Despite increasing your confidence, do you think your success has changed your life?
“It’s been huge. I wanted to move out here to build something, we’ve had a great start. But the first year was tough, especially as the cost of living is so high here. I’d spent a lot of my savings, but over the last few months that has been totally replenished.
It’s given me the ability to say yes. I’ve been to Cabo recently and I’m off to Hawaii next month. I’m also at an age where I want to be smarter with my money, maybe make some investments and get on the property ladder.”
So, what’s next for Sean? Well, he wants to be managing people. This is something he was doing in his previous role and something he wants to back to…
“The next milestone for me is to get back in to management and build out a successful team in the Life Sciences Division. I have a great opportunity working in the Bay Area to expand our Client base and have an impact on the SF office growth.
New York has set a precedent for us to follow in terms of growth. SF launched 12 months or so after NY and that has to be our goal to replicate and I want to play my part in making that happen."