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Hiring Mel Brown (1/2)

About four weeks ago my not so new colleague Mel offered to write a blog for Melber Flinn, which of course I was delighted about as it meant I wouldn’t have to bore our network with another IR35 or marathon blog. She wanted to write about her experiences so far at Melber Flinn which I thought was a great idea, but in true Melber Flinn blog tradition I thought this could be a two parter, and I had best write the prequel to tell you how she came to be here in the first place.

Mel and I worked together at Interim Partners for 5 years, and most of that time we sat on the same pod in Harrogate, with me covering health and her working on consumer and then latterly financial services. So professionally there was very little overlap but nevertheless we formed a good friendship. Mel is a great recruiter, and I could see that we operated with similar outlooks and ideals. She was extremely hardworking, often working late into the evenings or coming into the office on a weekend if she had to meet a tight deadline, or to generally catch up on workload. She also operates with a conscience, not a common character trait in our industry, but a strong sense of conscience usually indicates strong self awareness, and behaviourally it means that most of the time, you’re doing the right thing, even if it might not be the most profitable thing.

On setting up Melber Flinn I always had a role for Mel in the back of my mind, but had no idea whether she would be interested in joining me. She took maternity leave in November 2015, and in the summer of 2016 I approached her to see if she was firmly planning to go back or whether she might be open to other offers. Luckily she was receptive to the conversation, and crucially I was able to offer her the flexibility she needed, in terms of working from home, and also working part time so that she still had a full 4 days a week with her son Otis. So in November 2016, Mel joined Melber Flinn, increasing our headcount 50% from 2 to 3.

So what exactly is it that Mel does? She has a varied and broad remit, which is mainly focused on the candidate side of our network. Most importantly she oversees management of the candidate network. That basically means we are keeping in touch with people, and we know where they are working, what they are doing and when they are available. She also helps forward plan my diary, ensuring that we maintain both client and candidate relationships and that I am on the road at least 2 if not 3 days a week to meet people. As an extension to this function, Mel also provides the cover back at base, not only is she getting me out of the office to do the business development, she allows me to do it by covering back at base. So if I am on the road for the day and a new requirement comes through in the morning, Mel can be running searches and sourcing candidate options. This is a welcome contrast to the first year, where I had an ongoing struggle to manage the balance between road time and desk time, we lost more than one job because I simply wouldn’t be in the office to react fast enough and by the time I did respond the next day to a client, we had lost ground to competitors.

And how is she doing? Very well. We both worried a little about her transition into health but she took it in her stride, is getting fully conversant and knows her CQUINS from her CQC! The system we have is effective and it is working and Im really optimistic for the future. But most importantly Mel is a great colleague, she works hard and importantly she challenges me, even to the point of introducing quarterly performance reviews where I have to account for my activity and results. Her banter is average, but with help from me and Kathryn, it should slowly improve over time.