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Hello there!Today I want to introduce you to the wonderful Jakk Pursey.Jakk joined our Londo...
Today I want to introduce you to the wonderful Jakk Pursey.
Jakk joined our London office back in May 2022 as a Senior Client Partner, and quickly proved himself as one to watch, bagging himself multiple internal awards in the process!
With over three years of Private Medical recruitment experience already, he now specialises in Clinical Operations, working alongside our European-based Partners to find specialist Life Sciences talent to help them in Phase I – Phase III of their clinical trials (before treatments are EMA/MRHA-approved and go to market).
As we kick off the new year with new opportunities, I got the chance to ask Jakk about his journey into recruitment, his thoughts on the Life Sciences industry, and what he hopes to achieve here at Meet.
Hi Jakk! Let’s dive straight in… What compelled you to apply for a job at Meet?
There were a couple of reasons, but mainly, I wanted to challenge myself.
I felt like I’d become a little too comfortable in my previous role, and I wanted to develop who I am as a person. I think change and moving out of your comfort urges you to look deeper at who you are and see what you’re really capable of.
When I came across Meet, I could tell straight away that the company culture was great, and as soon as I got chatting to people in the business, I felt a real supportive and inclusive atmosphere. Plus, with the pace everyone was working at; I wanted to get involved!
And how would you describe your time at Meet since you joined?
It’s been amazing!
In the last couple of months, I think everyone will agree, there’s been a bit of a market shift, and it’s been difficult in terms of deal numbers for myself. But, before then, I’m really happy and proud of where I’ve managed to get to, and I’m confident that I can continue that for the foreseeable.
Overall, I’m really happy, and it’s been a great eight months. Our senior leadership is great, and Jack Lynch, my manager, is an absolute pleasure to work with.
Any highlights in particular?
Lunch Club was really fun!
Having prior experience as a Senior Consultant, how does your role at Meet differ from your previous role in recruitment?
Previously I worked within Private Medical, which meant I mainly worked with private hospitals recruiting nurses for temporary shift work rather than permanent roles.
Being within the healthcare realm, you’d expect it to be similar to Life Sciences, and while there are some similarities, it’s also vastly different.
What I love about my role now on Partnerships is that you have to be much more precise, examining and analysing every step of the process.
In my previous role, it was really fast-paced – almost too fast-paced – where you didn’t really have much time to think and just had to react to the circumstances. Now, my job is much more proactive because I have to find and source candidates, which I think I’m much more suited to.
What also differentiates Meet is the training and development. I’ve found there are lots of opportunities to develop quickly here, and our leadership team champions each individual’s growth, which makes Meet such a nice place to be.
With Partnerships, you work as an extension of our clients' internal recruitment teams, meaning you’re dedicated to a set group of companies. Do you prefer that way of working?
I do, and I think it’s just what I’m used to because it’s how I worked previously too. It suits my skillset, and I know there are tons of opportunities for growth within 180 recruitment.
It’s a great team with great people, and I work with fantastic clients who’re always working on interesting things and are always looking to expand their teams. It’s a really good place to be in, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
Coming from a Medical background, what experience have you brought with you to Meet and Life Sciences?
I think just my knowledge of recruitment as an overall process – once you understand how recruiting works, those skills are absolutely transferable to a completely different market and completely different roles.
Of course, I had to learn the market and how pharma companies and CROs work, but you can pick that up quite quickly – that’s just market knowledge, and you can do that in your own time.
I think the fundamentals of recruitment are about knowing how to speak to people, how to communicate, how to listen, how to be someone who can guide someone else through the process, and how to be persuasive. They’re all skills I learnt in my previous role that I was able to transfer into this role.
Speaking of those fundamentals, do you feel like recruiters have to be a certain type of person? What I mean by that is, when I look at everyone at Meet, each team member is so unique, but they all share similar traits in that they’re quite outgoing and conversationalists.
I know what you mean, but I think it’s more about emotional intelligence. I think that’s a massive part of recruitment.
Personally, I wouldn’t say I’m an extremely extroverted person, but I wouldn’t say I’m extremely introverted either; I fall bang in the middle. And I’ve found that neither one is more beneficial.
From an outsider’s point of view, you might think being extroverted, confident, and loud would be better in sales, but I generally don’t think that is the case. Introverts tend to be better listeners that process things before reacting, and that’s a huge part of the role too as you’re better able to deal with all kinds of situations.
When you speak to anyone from Meet outside of a working environment, you can tell everyone is pretty like-minded in the sense that they’re emotionally intelligent and have great social skills.
That’s a great way to put it. What would say is your favourite aspect of working at Meet?
What I really like and what I think I thrive off is the flexibility, the autonomy over my work, and the fact that when you are in the office, it doesn’t necessarily feel like a typical sales environment.
Obviously, there is some sales pressure, which is always going to be there, but in comparison to where I was before, it’s totally different. I feel like I can truly be myself at Meet, whereas, in other workplaces, I’ve felt I’ve had to sort of suppress parts of myself to become my ‘work self’.
While there’s a mutual understanding between everyone that we all work hard and do well, there’s also that level of openness where I feel like I’m allowed to be fully who I am, and I love that. It’s a really great working environment to be in.
Moving as a Senior Consultant must have given you a lot to think about. Did you have any concerns?
I did, yeah. I guess they were fears that probably anyone would have after being at the same company for a substantial amount of time – I was comfortable and had good money coming in, so there was a niggling feeling of doubt, but I am really glad I chose to move.
It really came down to if I wanted to remain comfortable and stay where I am or do I want to move and grow and challenge myself. I think when you put it like that, the question answers itself, really.
Don’t get me wrong; it is daunting to leave behind a business and a network you’ve spent so long building. But I wanted to go and experience something new, so even though there was a little doubt, I had the self-belief that I was able to go and do this, and that was enough for me.
How do you feel about those concerns now?
I’m glad I trusted my gut. I think this was the best decision I’ve made. It’s allowed me to grow, step out of my comfort zone, and experience so many new things!
What is it about Life Sciences that attracted you to recruit for that industry?
A key part of it came from how relevant it is in the real world, which means it’s a market that’s never going to stop developing. Especially with new discoveries and technological advancements, it’s only going to keep growing, and I think the bigger it gets, the more people are going to come into the industry and more jobs are going to be available.
This was something I thought a lot about before moving into the industry. I wanted to go into a market that wasn’t going to dry up or wasn’t over-saturated, and because of my interest in it, I felt like I could do well there.
When it came down to it, it was either Medical or Life Sciences, and I’d already recruited for Medical, so I gave Life Sciences a go, and I couldn’t be happier that I made that move.
What was the biggest lesson you learnt in your last role that you’ve brought along with you to Meet?
Definitely resilience. Being in recruitment is tough, and it’s not just a cliché; to be successful at it, you have to be resilient. You can’t take anything personally in this line of work – it’s the nature of the role and the nature of business in general.
There are months when everything’s running smoothly, and then there are the tougher months. You have to be strong-minded to move with the ebbs and flows of recruiting. Plus, you have to realise that if you’re putting in the work, and you’re doing the same thing week in week out, then nine times out of ten you’re going to be efficient and successful at what you’re doing.
So yeah, I’d say resilience is definitely key in this industry, and in all aspects of life. It’s something that came over time for me. In the beginning, I was quite young and naïve to recruitment, and I didn’t have that mindset. I’d have struggles and take things to heart. It’s only over time as I understand the industry better and have honed my skills that I’ve come to realise that’s the nature of recruitment.
If I’m completely honest, even since being here at Meet there have been some struggles. The only difference is I now know how to deal with them in a healthy way and understand that those moments don’t last forever.
All of your reviews are glowing, with candidates speaking to your thoughtfulness and honesty. How do you strike a balance between finding the right fit for both the individual and the company?
My approach is to steer away from being a typical salesperson who doesn’t listen to the needs of their candidates or clients. I try to put myself in their shoes because I’ve been through the recruitment process myself. I’ve taken what I liked in those situations and tried to embody it and be that for others.
Being honest is important, as is being able to relate to people’s everyday needs. People can tell when you’re not being genuine or true to your word (in terms of if you’re going to call them back with an update) – they’re not stupid, and they have a lot of options on the table.
Even if the decision doesn’t fall in their favour after an interview, I’m going to call them and have that conversation – it’s the least we can do as recruiters. Plus, building those relationships is essential because you never know; they might end up giving you a referral, or you could end up working with them again down the line.
Thinking back to when you first joined Meet, how did you find the onboarding process?
It was great, really great.
Even though I was a senior hire, I did a lot of the same training as new associates, which was actually really valuable because I learnt a lot about Life Sciences as well as recruitment. It was nice to go in and pick a few things up while also being able to help others who were less experienced.
Even if you are senior, I’d definitely recommend doing all, or most of, the training. You’re only going to learn more about recruitment and see things from a different perspective as well as learn much more about the market.
Plus, it gives you a chance to meet people who are starting at the same time as you, and that’s always nice as you’re all in the same boat.
Looking forward, do you feel like you have a lot of autonomy over how your career’s going to develop?
Definitely. In recruitment you do have control over your development anyway because if you really want it and you put the work in, you’re going to find success.
At the moment, I’m mentoring a few of the Junior Associates and am working with Jack Lynch, my manager, to set my targets for the next year and work on some activities and exercises to help me reach those.
It feels like I’m in control because there are targets to achieve, and I believe everything is in my control to achieve those. And that’s what’s so nice about Meet: they’re always looking to push you to reach your best.
So how do you hope your career will grow at Meet?
I want to be Division Manager by this time next year. That’s my goal. I can’t think too far ahead in the future, but that would be a great achievement.
Once I get there, I’ll reset, re-evaluate the situation and adjust my goals.
Do you feel like you’ve had enough support within your role?
100%. I really feel supported across the board, but specifically by Jack, my manager, and Ali, Senior Director and Head of Partnerships.
Even at the moment, when things aren’t going as great for me as they were, I’ve been sent so many encouraging and reassuring messages from the team, which has been lovely. So yeah, the support has been beyond measure.
Is there any advice you’d give to those considering applying for a senior role at Meet?
I’d say if you’re feeling a little too comfortable where you are at the moment, or you’re unhappy or bored, and you want to grow, Meet is definitely a place to fulfil those needs.
In terms of the work, Meet’s a great place to develop as a person, and the leadership team genuinely cares about everyone here. If you’re a hard worker, that’s recognised really quickly, and they only want to offer you support and guidance to become even better than you already are.
I think Meet is a genuinely great company to be a part of – and I’m not just saying that because I’m on the record!
Haha! On that note, let’s wrap this up. Thanks so much for sitting down with me, Jakk.
Are you an experienced consultant looking for an exciting new challenge? We’d love to talk to you!
Reach out to Eve Coxeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop her a message on LinkedIn.