Nicola Cookson, founder and director of Charlton Recruitment enjoys her job and that’s easy to see from the smile on her face as she talks to us at our PR Day back in March. Charlton Recruitment is a hospitality recruitment agency that supplies staff, whether these are waiting-on staff, bar staff, Event Managers or chefs to clients around Liverpool. Nicola has branched out with Charlton Recruitment and has been working also in Manchester and London too as the business grows month by month.
She is well versed in the management and organisation of staff as she was Staffing Manager at Compass Group for 15 years and says ‘I wanted a change, and thought, let’s give it a go!’, Leaving the security of a job you’ve been in for such a long time was never going to be easy, but at that point Nicola had a good group of contacts and networks and was able to start up contracts when she began Charlton Recruitment.
It wasn't until January 2015 that Nicola came across The Women’s Organisation on the internet after being ‘nosey on the internet’, and rang to see what we could do for her. After meeting with Senior Business Advisor; John Jones, Nicola was able to attend our fantastic Planning for Success Course and spend many hours with John speaking about her plans for Charlton Recruitment.
At the moment the system is simple for Charlton Recruitment and Nicola. She has a book of staff that she sends out the events to and those that can make it get back in touch with her and attend the events. But running a recruitment business isn’t as simple as it looks on the surface, and a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. As well as recruiting the staff and interviewing the staff, Nicola trains the staff to and ensures they are fully briefed on what they will be asked to do.
But one of the most important parts of running a successful business for Nicola is making sure the team that she sends out to events are happy and work well together. She says; ‘Team mentality is important. It’s great because a lot of the teams become friends, they work together and socialise together.’ Nicola likes to send the same team to the same client time after time, whenever possible and has received great feedback from her clients about her team. ‘I always pass this onto the team, it’s really important. It’s not me the client should be thanking, I just got them there, and they did the work!’
One of the things that Nicola did find a struggle when starting Charlton Recruitment, was the hard selling that is involved in recruitment; ‘You’ve got to be quite motivated to get onto the phones and continue to interact with new people. But you’ve got to do it, because when you meet a new potential client, that’s the moment that you get excited and carry on.’
As well as juggling the many roles of heading up Charlton Recruitment, Nicola also has an 8 year old son, but has found becoming self-employed has made juggling these roles easier. ‘Having the flexibility is great. When I worked at Compass, if there was ever a race on at the weekends, then I had to be there. So I did miss quite a few things when he was younger. Now it’s great, I can pick him up from school which I was never able to do, and work from home.’
And for the future? Nicola is currently securing more contracts, always looking for staff and growing her business step by step; ‘It would be great to take someone on in the next year or so, and in the long term get a premises if I had more staff.’ The Women’s Organisation are sure the future is bright for Nicola and wish her the very best of luck with Charlton Recruitment!