Admin Avenues Recruiter Spotlight | Naomi Marshall from Sprint People
Name: Naomi Marshall
Job Title: Director
Company: Sprint People
Admin Avenues: Thank you for taking the time to chat with our admin community through the ‘Recruiter Spotlight’ forum.
Naomi Marshall: Thank you for having me!
AA: How long have you worked in recruitment?
NM: Oh gosh, do you want the truth?? Close to 25 years….I tell people I started when I was 10!
AA: Have you always specialised in business / office support?
NM: Sure have. From the very first day I became a consultant. Well to be fair my very first job was at a small medical recruitment agency at Chatswood. I was their Receptionist/Office Coordinator and I would watch the consultants return from their client visits, then write their jobs up on the board that they had just picked up.
“Medical Sales Rep – J&J”
“Clinical Director – Merck Sharp & Dohme”… etc
Then they would sit and eat lunch or do anything OTHER than call someone.
I would yell out, “What about that guy with the blonde hair who came in yesterday, he’s a medical rep, you all really liked him and he said he would take that salary…. He’s available now!”
They would say “oh Naomi, cool your jets – we’re the consultants, we’ll make the decisions”.
I always thought that they just weren’t fast enough. Sure enough that candidate was offered the job through another agency, and it was then that I knew I had to give consulting a chance. I was too young at the time to do medical (NO ONE would have taken me seriously) so I moved to a large agency called Morgan & Banks – looking after the Office Support/Media & Advertising desk. That was it, I was away!
AA: What made you want to start Sprint People?
NM: I was working for an agency for a short time after M&B, managing a team of recruiters – and I genuinely loved it. However, our manager had questionable ethics. She was all about the MONEY, and that just didn’t sit well with me. Sure we were a business, but she often forgot that our product is a human – with emotions, and a memory.
It was the end of the month and whilst my division always met targets, many others didn’t (too many ‘business’ lunches in my eyes). My manager overheard a conversation I had with a candidate where I offered her the role, and she disclosed in the call that she would need to relocate with her Husband to QLD in the coming months.
The candidate and I agreed that it wasn’t the right thing for her to take the role and mislead the client/employer – we decided that she should withdraw and I would help her with temp work instead.
Before I had made the call to the client to let them know, my manager piped in and said – “No, just push it through. Make her take it and if she leaves, you can refill it later”. WHAT?? You’re asking me to willingly lie to the client, hide the fact that I know she’s going to leave all just to create what I believe is a very poor placement.
She said yes.
I didn’t make that call. I knew in that single moment that I could no longer work there, so I resigned the next day – without a job to go to! Sprint was created a month later and I’ve never looked back.
AA: We’ve known each other a LONG time! You assisted me in my career when I was job hunting in Sydney so I can personally attest to your commitment to candidates and the fact that we have stayed in touch all these years speaks volumes of your commitment to your candidates success – even when they step out of the admin space. What do you think drives this desire to help?
NM: I like to talk!! Haaa. When I found recruitment, I really did think I’d hit the jackpot – A job where you speak to clients and candidates, put the two together and are paid for it – right… I’ve found my lifetime career!
I think you have to want to genuinely help others and I know that sounds cliché however, we’ve all heard about those recruiters who are ‘transactional’.
Recruiters who want to build a career, take the time… Those who simply see it as a ‘job’, don’t.
I’ve lost track on how many years it’s been since we first connected however, am very happy that we did. I respected you early on for your dedication to being a superstar EA, not just someone who turns up, but who drives their leaders day for them. Not all EA’s are created like you.
AA: Sprint People have been in business for 18 years this year – wow. First, congratulations! And second, what’s your secret sauce to be able to continually succeed in this highly competitive market?
NM: Discipline above all. Those in the industry have a saying to describe the highs and lows. IYKYK. At the end of the day we are dealing with a product we can’t control.
In one breath, you can put the phone down from a great new client – “Yay, can’t wait to work with you!”…. then the next call is from the candidate that you thought was perfect for the role, and they’ve changed their mind and decide they don’t want to change jobs after all….
AA: I note in your LinkedIn profile it states that you are “Willing to do all it takes to ensure the perfect match between client and candidate whilst also taking into account the cultural fit of the organisation. Love this! We have found that some admins are hesitant to work with recruiters. What advice do you give these people? How do you feel specialist admin recruiters can help admins in their career than going it alone?
NM: Look I won’t lie, I love my industry, still love what I do, and have made the decision to stick with recruiting support staff because I really can see the value they add to an executive’s day – or an office in general. If all the admins in Australia took the week off at the same time, I can ASSURE you there would be a lot of leaders in businesses out there struggling to even log into their laptops, let alone create a Board pack.
Quality recruiters will want to see you in the right role, even if it’s not the one they are offering – because they know that you’ll remember how you were treated.
Good recruiters should also be your buddy/partner by offering tips to help you in the interviews, offering feedback quickly, and also just DRIVING the process.
I spend my life, chasing, chasing, chasing…..and keeping people up to date. With direct hires, employers often forget that candidates can ‘drop off’ or lose interest if communication is not maintained.
AA: What would you say is your recruiter superpower?
NM: Look, I’m always professional but for those who have dealt with me in the past know I call a spade a spade. I might push the boundaries sometimes however, I will never be forgotten! So maybe my superpower is that I’m like a bull at a gate and that high energy level is infectious – most of the time!
I also never forget a name or face. There are candidates I interviewed 15 years ago, whose notes on the system are a bit vague, but I still remember the strangest little details.
There was a woman I had interviewed 10 years ago, and her husband dropped her off to our interview then circled the city for nearly an hour waiting for her. When we spoke 10 years later, I reminded her of that and she was laughing, saying he still does it!
AA: What is the one thing you cannot do without in your job?
NM: My headset. I’m like ‘Kelly from the Tele’. Even if I am not typing, I can’t sit still holding the phone to my ear. I am ALWAYS doing 2 things at once.
AA: What are 3 items you can’t work without?
NM: Headset as above, Cole my Assistant (he is going to LOVE that I said that, but it’s true!) and as silly as it sounds – my fancy pens. I just love the way they feel on the paper. I love a bit of luxury.
AA: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your job?
NM: Greg Savage (the Guru of recruitment) once made the comment “recruitment is like hosting a dinner party for 10 people and only allowing 1 into your house”. It’s a simple fact that we cannot place everyone we meet – no matter how much we love a candidate, or believe they would suit our client base etc – it just doesn’t work that way.
So letting candidates know that they have been unsuccessful can be hard, particularly when you can see how much they might have tried. Only one person can be offered the job unfortunately.
AA: Can you recommend any helpful books, programs, or podcasts that you love?
NM: Again, Greg Savage’s blog. We still refer back to old ones for guidance and inspo….and they always seem to pop into our inbox at the perfect time!
AA: Do you have any tips that you would like to share?
NM: I can appreciate that looking for a job can be stressful however, don’t allow yourself to feel down if it’s not happening as quickly as you’d like. Look at it as an exciting opportunity as you never know what may be around the corner.
Work on what you CAN control:
- Is your CV as sharp as it could be (TRIPLE check it for typo’s)
- Are you applying to the RIGHT roles (not just any role)
- Are you keeping tabs of what you’ve applied for, and following up if you don’t hear back?
- Do you have your interview presentation down pat – the world has become more and more casual by nature however, trust me when I say employers still respect those who make an effort for an interview.
And above all else… don’t give up. Remember it’s like a sales transaction at the end of the day, so sell what you have to offer. An employer is looking to ‘buy’ an employee to perform work, and an employee has skills to ‘sell’.
Go into each application by thinking like an employer – what would you be hoping to buy? And then ask yourself what it is you have to sell?
AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
NM: There’s no point in worrying about something you can’t fix right now, and to take a step back in stressful times and look at the bigger picture. In most instances, you wont even remember that moment in a few years.
AA: What advice would you give potential admin job seekers thinking about changing jobs?
NM: Go out with the intention that your purpose is to support a team, business or Exec. It’s what makes you jump out of bed, and pushes you each day.
AA: What are your top tips for keeping your resume up to date and job-ready?
NM: Whilst you may not be a graphic designer, it really can help to create a document that has a little flair. Slick modern layout, a nice font. Remember a little bit of branding can go a long way.
Years ago I received one that was a bright red page with thick black font – it was intense!!
Particularly in the world of office support, being able to lay out an award-winning document should be standard practice and whether it’s perfect or not any recruiter or prospective employer will notice if you’ve made a bit of an effort.
I’ve seen senior EA’s (and I mean, EA’s to some of the top CEOs) issue a fairly blank word document with scrambled bullet points as it’s their CV from 10 years ago and they’ve just added on a few extra lines for their most recent role. It’s obvious they’ve not tried very hard.
Be clear and concise with a little bit of ‘description’. E.g. if you do diary management & travel arrangements you could list:
- Diary management
- Travel arrangements
Or you could list:
- Taking full control of 2 x complex diaries, scheduling all meetings and being responsible for ensuring my executives are always in the right place, at the right time
- Organising complex domestic and international travel arrangements including creating all itineraries, booking cars, transfers, restaurants and ensuring seamless business continuity whilst they are travelling
Which one helps the reader to really understand what you do?
AA: How can our readers connect with you? e.g. LinkedIn link
NM: You are always welcome to reach out to me here on LinkedIn and follow Sprint People on:
We make sure we respond to each and every person : )
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