Industry Insights with Susanne Castle

'During Susanne’s 23 years with Highams, she's worked with a range of leading Insurance & Software providers, Underwriters and Brokers, forging long term business relationships with a comprehensive network of Insurance industry professionals. Susanne recruits both permanent and contract roles across Business and Technology Transformation Programmes...'

1. Could you give us a quick overview on your background and how you got into Recruitment?

I worked for a software provider to the recruitment industry which often took me to recruitment businesses to demonstrate the product and how it could be tailored to suit their needs.  I spent a lot of time with recruiters, learnt a lot about their business processes and when a job came up at Highams it seemed the natural transition.

2. Could you tell us a bit about your team and the specialisations within your team?

We are a team of 4 specialising in Permanent and Contract recruitment across both the General and London insurance markets within Business Change and transformation projects.  

3. What do you enjoy most about specialising in the London Insurance Market?

I think a specialisation in itself is enjoyable, more focussed and knowledgeable about your candidate and client network which makes each party more trusting of your ability as a recruiter.

4. What is your favourite thing about being a business development manager at Highams? 

Delivering an excellent service from start to finish and leaving a lasting impression, resulting in client loyalty, internal referrals and the building of excellent relationships.

5. What’s the most exciting thing about hiring candidates for jobs within the General and London Insurance Market? 

It is always very exciting to hire candidates within my niche, the best feeling is placing someone in their dream job and having a happy candidate and a grateful client.

6. What would you say a typical day looks like within your job role?

There is no typical day, it can be a bit like a roller coaster, priorities change hourly!

7. What would you say are the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your role?

Learning to pick yourself up and dust yourself down when things don’t go the way you were hoping – telling someone they haven’t got the job when you worked so hard to get them through the process by giving them lots of support, advise and guidance, that is still difficult after 25 years!

8. What advice have you been given throughout the company that has helped you achieve your personal goals?

Create a daily plan and pipeline.

9. What are the key skills that you think you need to be a successful consultant?

Strong listening skills, a consultative v sales approach and working within a niche, know your network and the ability to form lasting client and candidate relationships.

10. What would be your words of wisdom for someone who is looking to get into the Recruitment Industry?

Start off as a Resourer working alongside an experienced consultant, it’s a great way to learn the ropes.

11. What types of transformation programmes are your clients currently undertaking?

-Insurance System and process consolidations due to company mergers and acquisitions.

-IT and technology consultancies expanding their insurance divisions to support increasing demand for digital solutions and compete with new start ups.

-Competing with new insurance products being released to the market and how to keep up with competition. 

12.What are some of the challenges your clients are facing?

-New InsurTech start-ups saturating the market creating more competition in the market.

-Leaning towards placing employees in their regional offices vs Bums on seat in the City due to rising costs, this can reduce their talent pool.

-Due to IR34 regulations, looking to place fixed term contracts rather than contractors, which again could reduce their talent pool.

Connect with @Susanne Castle on Linkedin and follow @Highams Recruitment Linkedin page to keep up-to-date.