A day in the life of – Lewis Powell
Our very own Lewis Powell gives us an insight into what it’s like being a Consultant at Solution.
Describe your career to date
Steady! I left college and started working at RBS where I spent two and a half years before making the move into recruitment back in January 2014. I worked closely with Jason, one of our Directors here at Solution on the Interior Design team, before learning the Architectural market at the beginning of this year. It’s been a massive learning curve for me but I have enjoyed every minute of it and, after a tough couple of months, I now feel like a more rounded Consultant as I’m able to work across different sectors.
What do you do on a normal day?
Find the best Architects and Designers for the top studios in London of course! The market at the moment is very candidate driven so the majority of my time is spent speaking with architects who are not necessarily actively looking for a new job. It poses the obvious challenges but I enjoy the hurdles you face when headhunting and taking a more direct approach to recruitment.
How do you plan your days?
I guess it comes down to the vacancies that I’m working on and whether I have delivered suitable candidates for the positions. I work pretty methodically with everything so I can keep tabs on whether I’m working a job hard enough, or whether I need to spend more time on it. I also dedicate a lot of time to speaking with clients to make sure I’m fully focused on the most important requirements. In short, I hate not delivering for clients who have asked me to find someone for their business!
What do you enjoy most about working at Solution?
The flexibility to run your desk the way you want it to be run, as well as the social aspect to the job. You have to be self motivated in this role – the harder you work, the better you will do. If you understand that then you’ll be fine. The social aspect is another big thing for me as I have been lucky enough to travel to Milan (twice!) for Salone del Mobile, the world’s biggest furniture fair. We also represent the business at all the big design and architecture awards ceremonies which are good fun and a great way to network.
What challenges do you face on a daily basis?
The lack of good quality candidates actively looking to make a move. The good thing is, if you find a top Architect or Designer you can be confident in finding them a job, especially in the current market.
What is an interesting story about a client/candidate interaction you have had?
This is a tough one! There was a boutique design studio near our London office which I had known about for quite a while as their work is really cool. There aren’t any contact details online so I decided to stop by with some doughnuts and formally introduce myself. What I didn’t know is that they were in an open plan office and the introduction turned into a sales pitch in front of about 30 people (their business was only 6 strong!). I’m terrible at public speaking so this wasn’t the easiest thing for me. The doughnuts went down well and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
What do you think are the most important skills needed to do your job?
Time management, self discipline and attention to detail.
What is the most difficult thing you have had to deal with in your role? How did you overcome it?
The counter offer! Studios are desperate to keep hold of their best staff members so a lot of money can be thrown into the pot to keep them – and after representing some of the best in the business, I have seen it happen quite a bit. Speaking honestly with candidates and having an open conversation at the start of the search process usually does the trick.
Is there a client or candidate experience you are most proud of?
This definitely has to be closing a deal on a travelator at Salone del Mobile in 2015. To set the scene, I spotted my client from about 100 yards away and we were walking in opposite directions. As he approached, I turned around and introduced myself and started walking alongside him. There was no better time to ask how the meeting went with him and my candidate as it had taken place the day before we flew out to Milan. I had only been running a desk for six months and this was the first chance I had to meet with him as he is one of the most sought after guys in the design industry. My candidate got the offer she wanted and I got the recognition I wanted in front of my boss.