Recruiter Spotlight | Lily Shippen of Lily Shippen Recruitment

Name:  Lily Shippen

Job Title: Owner & Managing Director

Company: Lily Shippen in Manchester & London, UK


Admin Avenues: Thank you for taking the time to chat with our admin community through the ‘Recruiter Spotlight’ forum. You are our first UK spotlight!

Lily Shippen: Thank you for having me!

AA: How long have you worked in recruitment?

LS: I have worked in recruitment for just over ten years. I started my first role when I was 19 years old, working for a global recruitment firm on the financial services secretarial desk before launching Lily Shippen Recruitment in 2016. That means I’ve worked in business support recruitment for over ten years now, and it’s been truly amazing to witness how much the roles have evolved in that time!

AA: What inspired you to specialise in recruitment for admin professionals, and how has the field changed since you started?

LS: It probably sounds cliché, but what inspired me to specialise in business support recruitment was the people I’d met in my first role in recruitment. Personality plays such a crucial role in business support recruitment as well as experience, and I loved getting to know people and matching them to their dream roles. The field has changed tremendously since I started recruiting into the space. Not only have the roles evolved in terms of responsibilities, but perception has also evolved. There is still a long way to go, but I have far more clients coming to me who understand the tremendous value an EA can bring to them now, for example, than I did ten years ago.

AA: In your experience, how has the role of admin professionals evolved with the advancement of technology and the shift to remote work?

LS: I believe that the role has evolved tremendously with the advancement of technology because it has freed up more time to work strategically and has allowed for the more repetitive tasks to become automated in many cases. Remote work has also had a huge effect on the industry – I think it’s enhanced work-life balance, allowing for more boundaries to be set (which is a skill in itself) and enhanced communication skills. I also think remote work and technology advancement have increased the opportunity for professionals to work on developing a varied skill set.

AA: What are the top three qualities you look for in a candidate when recruiting for high-level admin positions

LS: Emotional intelligence, unrivalled communication skills and the ability to think strategically.

AA: Why do you care so much about your candidate’s journey in finding a role that is right for them?

LS: Because we are dealing with people’s lives. We spend so much of our lives at work, that I’m passionate that we should help people to find a role that aligns with their goals and aspirations, and ultimately a role which enables satisfaction and pride whilst enabling positive lifestyle and career choices for all.

AA: Could you share some key elements that make an admins resume stand out in today’s competitive job market?

LS: I would always recommend highlighting key achievements in at least your current or most recent role. Instead of simply listing tasks and responsibilities, focus on quantifying and providing concise examples where possible. I also think it’s important to highlight your commitment to your career by showcasing any professional development you have completed, including courses, webinars or conferences you have attended.

AA: How can admins best prepare for interviews to demonstrate their potential value to an employer?

LS: Research the company’s values and mission, and think about how they align with you as an individual. I would always recommend preparing some questions for the interviewer, too, that demonstrate your interest in the company and role. Finally (and especially if the role has some elements that you have not done before), review the job description and with each responsibility, think of an example from your career history that you could utilise if asked.

AA: Are there any emerging trends in recruitment for admin roles that professionals should be aware of?

LS: The landscape of recruitment for administrative roles is continually evolving, but I do think a lot of trends have already happened and will simply continue to be a part of roles. I believe there will continue to be an emphasis on soft skills as well as technical, and I think the expectations of the role will continue to advance as professionals are expected to undertake more strategic responsibilities. We recently explored this topic in a blog (produced from one of our in-house experts) and I feel confident that the industry (as a whole) is moving towards better comprehension of the elements of this role that make it the strategic contribution that it is. If anyone would like to read it, here is a link to the blog – Emotional intelligence, is it the key to EA/PA success?.

AA: Where do you see the admin profession heading in the next five years, and what can professionals do now to prepare for these future changes?

LS: The industry will continue to evolve with the advancement of technology, and so professionals should focus on staying up to date with new software and updates. I think there will continue to be a huge emphasis on soft skills and for this, my advice would be to take up as much training and development opportunities as possible, that focus on skills such as leadership, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. It is also becoming apparent that our personal branding is shifting towards being an integral part of our professional ‘window’ and credentials, and whilst this might be currently being overlooked by many, it is most certainly an area of development we are investing in.

AA: What are 3 items you can’t work without?

LS: My noise-cancelling headphones (for when I really need to get in the zone), Microsoft To Do and my team!

AA: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your job?

LS: I think it has to be the difficult conversations that don’t get any easier as time goes on. Whether that’s telling a candidate they haven’t been successful in the interview process or when a client changes their requirements or decision, it’s definitely one of the hardest parts of being a recruiter.

AA: Can you recommend any helpful books, programs, or podcasts that you love?

LS: One of my favourite books is ‘Legacy’ by James Kerr. It’s all about the culture of the New Zealand All Blacks and what makes them the world’s most successful rugby team. It’s not just about sport; it is full of lessons about personal development and leadership. If anyone is looking to elevate their personal or professional life, I would highly recommend giving it a read!

AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

LS: “Just because it’s taking time doesn’t mean it’s not happening.” I love this quote because it reminds me to be patient and keep pushing, even when things feel hard.

AA: What advice would you give potential admin job seekers thinking about changing jobs?

LS: Spend time reflecting on why you want to change jobs. Understanding your motivation will help guide your job search and help you make the right decision.

AA: This has been amazing. Thank you so much for your insights. Now, how can our readers connect with you?

LS: Feel free to connect with me on my LinkedIn HERE and follow us on our company LinkedIn page HERE.