It’s late in the afternoon by the time I get the chance to sit down with Tom, which means the champagne has been flowing for some considerable hours. Tom is always lively with a joke at hand, so I know this chat is going to be entertaining. He has an abundance of relentless energy and he’s plowed it into a pretty impressive business.
I heard you’ve been out exploring today?
Yup, we went to the pub. It’s been a hilarious afternoon.
What were you expecting before you got here?
I was expecting it to be some seriously intimidating people from the States and having a, ‘we’re better than you’ attitude. But it’s been so cool. Everyone has become friends and we’re all chatting about ideas.
You enjoying it so far?
You’re one of the bosses.
The youngest boss.
Impressive! And what are your thoughts on the candidates?
Well I haven’t seen the American pitches yet so I can’t say much about that. Kelly seems quite strong and fiery, and Rim is into fashion and magazines. They both seem like strong characters. Adam has produced something that is a small take on what we do in my business currently.
What is your business?
It’s called Lawrence Harvey Group. We’re a recruitment business across life science, technology and the built environment.
When did you star it?
We started trading in 2003.
How’s the journey been?
Yeah good. I started with eight months’ recruitment experience and a nine grand graduate loan. The first four or five years were really slow growth because I had no money at all. It took me a while to save up enough money to move out of my attic and hire my first employee. We’ve grown a lot since then. Experientially actually. We’re best company to work for. I got entrepreneur of the year last year. And now here I am.
Who have you met here that you’ve really gotten on with?
I think the whole American team. It’s lovely hanging out with Darren Ryemill more. Even though we’re direct competitors, we get along extraordinarily well. It feels like some kind of weird big brother thing. Randy has been cool and hearing his ideas. Keith Potts is a wicked guy. Amy Golding is really cool and very bright.
Has there been any conflict between America and the Europeans?
Well I think everyone is competitive against each other naturally. Darren and I are both really competitive people. I would even say that we’re almost more competitive than them. The Americans seem to have more conflict internally.
Why did you decide to do this?
Well I rarely meet anyone outside my company because I’m so involved in it. I’m the only director and 100% shareholder, so I run it and it’s a lonely place sometimes. It’s good to meet people who are as ambitious and on the same level as me. It also helps me to look to the future for new ideas.
Has Top Recruiter helped build your brand?
I think so. Chris is very committed to elevating recruitment as an industry. It’s going to be a classy show. It will show the world what we’re thinking about and what we’re doing. It will elevate the industry. Regarding personal brand, I guess that depends how I am on camera. I’ll probably suck.
From everything I’ve heard, everyone is great on camera.
Great, even more pressure.
Ha, no that includes you.
What do you think you’ll take away from this experience?
Loads of ideas. And loads of contacts.
What does The Movement mean to you?
I think there’s a perception in the recruitment industry that we’re making a quick buck, but the whole movement is showing that there is a part of the industry that are looking at business and how they partner with clients to offer better service. It’s a movement towards trying to find new ideas and innovate, and how we can turn recruitment from a cost centre to a profit centre for clients.
What’s been your favourite moment?
I think probably the first day and the excitement of everyone coming together, meeting everyone for the first time and making friends.
What’s your favourite thing about recruitment?
It’s such an innovate, fast growing industry. It’s always changing. People are always open to new ideas. I used to be a civil engineer before I got into recruitment and it’s an industry that seems so against change or new ideas. Whereas in recruitment, it’s a real entrepreneurial spirit. It’s fun and social. I love that.
Like I said, the champagne has been flowing all day and before you know it, the conversation has digressed, people have joined in, and Darren Ryemill and Tom have set up a miniature game of volleyball in the portrait room and all hope of conversation is lost. I do the smart thing, and join in.