Admin Avenues Recruiter Spotlight | Elizabeth Tregoning
Name: Elizabeth (Liz) Tregoning
Job Title: Managing Director
Company: Boutique Consult
Admin Avenues: Thank you for taking the time to chat with our admin community through the ‘Recruiter Spotlight’ forum.
Elizabeth Tregoning: Thank you for having me!
AA: So, let’s start with the basics, how long have you worked in recruitment?
ET: 15 years in April. It doesn’t feel that long. I think because I still really love what I do.
AA: What made you decide to solely focus on the admin / business support industry?
ET: I worked as an Executive Assistant before moving across to recruitment. I moved to the UK in my 20’s with a one way ticket and a contiki trip booked to do a gap year with a group of girls. I moved to London and found myself working as a PA in a bank because that was the best money you could make on an hourly rate back then and I absolutely loved it. I ended up staying for nearly 5 years. Whilst I personally had an amazing experience and was able to crack the EA to the HNWI market, I was constantly told no, you can’t, you won’t and I didn’t like that. As a recruiter, I felt you should be helping and encouraging admins to progress in their careers. I always said if I was in this industry, that I would do things differently – and I have.
AA: In your LinkedIn profile it says: “We build authentic, long-lasting relationships – friendships – that result in the best outcomes.” What a lovely expression of how you do business. Do you think this genuine approach is why people keep coming back and using Boutique’s services?
ET: I think so. I think people appreciate that I am genuinely honest, upfront and I’m not afraid to have difficult conversations. I think people appreciate that. I think the other part is I do what I say I can do. I don’t oversell on what I can’t deliver. If I can help you, I will absolutely help you as much as I possibly can because I genuinely do like helping people. I think people who work with me know that I want a good outcome as well as I am in this for life now, so whether that person is in a career defining role or in a short-term temp contract, I still want them to love what they’re doing. Because I know that if they love it, it actually translates to them being engaged and a better employee. I think people keep coming back. I’m easy to deal with. I do want to make sure people have a really good experience – even if I don’t place them, I want them to feel they had a great experience working with myself or the team at Boutique. I also think I’m really funny hahaha. You have to keep things light-hearted but also professional.
AA: Why do you care so much about your admin candidate’s journey in finding a role that is right for them?
ET: It’s stressful enough. We like to make the process as easy as we can. Can you imagine if you were in a business for 10 years, you got made redundant from no fault of your own, and you find yourself back on the market after 10 years, not wanting to be on the market – it can be soul-destroying. It’s hard not to take a redundancy personally. So, I don’t want to make it harder than it already is. Some people can sail through this journey. They know what they want and jump straight into it. But others need some help and support through this process. We delve in, to get to know our candidates to figure out if they need more flexibility, do they need work closer to home for kid-pickup, the lifestyle factor really does come in to play. It’s a big part of what we do – finding out what they need in their new role to suit their lifestyle.
AA: You used to work for other recruitment firms before you started Boutique, what made you jump and go out on your own?
ET: I will credit Hays for suggesting I try a career in recruitment and giving me some of the best market to market training when it comes to recruitment. My first instinct was absolutely not because (1) I work in admin and (2) I had no experience working with other people’s careers. I felt recruitment had a huge responsibility. You’re dealing with people’s way of making money. Paying mortgages, providing for their families. Then there was the flip side like temps not turning up and letting down a business. It was just too daunting. I think the reason they persuaded me was the fact that I could keep in contact with all the PA’s and EA’s and keep those relationships I’d made previously, and I love my audience. I love my market. I genuinely like the people I get to deal with, and I like to see them flourish. Some of the best recruits have come to me and didn’t have any experience but had the willingness, attitude and willpower and now they are in really senior roles, and I’m proud of that. One of the ladies I placed did the full journey from receptionist to the CEO’s PA because that’s what she wanted to do, and we provided the opportunity to do that and that was one of my favourite placements. I champion this industry and feel so lucky to still be able to work in this industry.
AA: In your LinkedIn profile it also says “People are not a business’s most valuable asset – the 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 people are. Hiring the wrong talent is a sure-fire way to undermine an organisation’s success, but it’s about so much more than matching skills. As a specialist recruiter for Executive and Personal Assistants, I know that cultural fit is equally, if not more crucial to a perfect hire.” This resonated with me so much. Do you think your experience as a former Executive Assistant gave you this insight?
ET: Absolutely. The role has evolved so much. Back when I worked in admin, an EA role was fundamentally inbox and diary management, expenses and travel. You were more classified as a secretary. Now, some of the people I get to deal with I am in awe of in terms of what they achieve when given the right tools and the right leadership. Also, the ability to have that autonomy to get things done. Some of the roles I’ve been recruiting for recently, I get really excited about because the opportunities offered nowadays. I think execs are finally realising that admins are capable of so much more than the traditional admin support role. We’re now seeing roles such as the Chief of Staff, Executive Officer and Business Managers. I’ve had a huge influx of these types of opportunities which is so refreshing because these types of roles were always around in the UK, but not much in the Australian market. Now people are seeing these high-performer roles, people want them, and they are willing to pay top dollar for these additions to their business. They see the value. So, it’s more just the education piece.
AA: You’re a Mum to 2 young children (and your British bulldogs). How do you manage a recruitment agency and motherhood during these early years? Something I note is you don’t work Fridays. Have you found putting boundaries like this make you work harder on your office days?
ET: I think I just work differently. I take my role as a mum as my first and foremost important responsibility. My mum was the same and I want to do that for my children. It’s also why my husband and I started the business. When we discussed having children, it was important to both of us that we should be able to take the time to be present. I feel very blessed as my husband is my equal. He’s a very hands-on father, we do 50/50 with the household responsibilities, he can do everything I can do (except breastfeed obviously). Having that support makes it easier for me to be able to focus on the business when it’s my hours to do so. I also do have help. I have an amazing nanny, friends and family. It’s hard to set boundaries and expectations but I try and do my best to set these boundaries and stick to them. I also have an amazing team. My team are phenomenal with the support they provide me, I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.
AA: What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?
ET: When you get someone their dream job. I do the celebratory dance with my candidates. It never gets old. I absolutely love being able to be part of peoples career dreams coming true. They are forever grateful, it’s a long lasting relationship where you both went through the journey of achieving that goal. It’s so fulfilling!
AA: What’s your recruiter superpower?
ET: Keeping it simple and not taking it too seriously. Be professional but also have fun with it.
AA: What are 3 items you can’t work without?
- My phone
- My laptop
- My assistant – she’s amazing!
AA: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your job?
ET: Telling people they didn’t get their dream job. That’s heartbreaking, especially when they have gone through the whole process and they have their heart set on it. I then have to have that conversation – that is the most difficult part of the job. But I’m adamant that I have to be the one to give that feedback.
AA: Can you recommend any helpful books, programs, or podcasts that you love?
ET: There are so many amazing resources! I saw that Admin Avenues has now created a free membership full of resources where admins can find all this information which is awesome!
AA: Do you have any tips that you would like to share?
ET: Be yourself, be your authentic self.
AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
ET: Life doesn’t get easier…it seems a little morbid but it’s so true
AA: What advice would you give potential admin job seekers thinking about changing jobs?
ET: Call me!
AA: How can our readers connect with you?
ET: You can connect with me via my LinkedIn or connect through Boutique on: