A massive congratulations to Director, Luke Pentney, who celebrated 10 incredible years with Burns Sheehan last month!
After joining the company back in 2010 as a Delivery Consultant, Luke quickly gained the trust of Baz, Burnsie and the team through his honesty and ability to build great relationships. Fast forward 10 years and Luke now sits on the SMT as one of our Directors and heads up our hugely succesful DevOps team.
He is a huge individual and role model in the company, always getting the best out of his team and showing the value of trust and transparency in this industry. And whether it be by playing an Eagles tune on the guitar, quoting David Brent or complaining about feeling unwell, he's always a welcome source of entertainment around the office.
We sat down with LP to hear about some of his highlights from the last decade, and to find out the secret to his success over the years.
How would you describe the last 10 years at Burns Sheehan?
Definitely life changing. I’ve had three kids and got married since I’ve been here, and will shortly be moving into a new home that I never imagined I’d be able to live in. I came in as a Delivery Consultant ten years ago and moving up to Director was really a big moment for me, mainly because it meant that I’d got the recognition and reward from the Co-Founders and the MD, which is important to me.
What drew you into recruitment?
I actually went to Uni to study Media and got a 1st (I wanted to be a Sound Engineer on a film/TV set!) but then I realised that I’d have to be away for long periods of time and the money wasn’t particularly good, so I went travelling to Canada/USA for 6 months. When I got back Chris, (Chris Spranklen, our MD) actually got me into recruitment and we both worked at Abraxas (now Randstad). He thought I’d be a good fit as I’m a good people person and have a likeable personality, which is key in this industry as it’s all about relationship building. I’m quite honest and trustworthy which is a big thing. It is a sales job but it’s more than that, it’s a service job, so yeah Chris got me in!
What are some highlights from over the years?
It feels good to bring in business from strong relationships that I’ve built up or off the back of good work that I’ve done. Back in the day I brought in an account or two and then in my third year I was given some big company accounts, like Rightmove, which showed that the guys had trust in me not only to deliver candidates but also to deal with clients. It’s been great to see the company grow; I think when I joined there were only 8 of us, maybe a few more, but we’ve since moved offices and quadrupled in size. It’s nice to have been here from so early on and to see where we’ve got to now and how we’ve coped with situations like Covid-19. This pandemic is definitely the biggest challenge I’ve been through at work and personally. It’s been tough but we’ve adapted really well, and it’s been great to be part of the SMT during this time and seeing how we've all pulled together. I think we’re doing great; things are picking up and we will come out of this much stronger.
What about some of the challenges?
It’s been no bed of roses! The ten years haven’t been a complete breeze; I’ve had some tougher years than others. For my first couple years, I didn’t hit target, I probably only really hit half of my target. I perhaps wasn’t trying as hard as I should have and maybe my head wasn’t fully in the game; I might have had some clinging idea that I’d go back and work in the industry I studied for. I then began to realise that recruitment is a great career and that there’s potential to make a lot of money. The sooner you realise that the sooner you will do well. It sounds cliché but you get out what you put in and I like that we do things the right way at Burns Sheehan.
Dealing with personal life and juggling the kids and work whilst trying to put as much effort into it as you can is difficult, especially when the children were younger. Because of the nature of the job, it’s difficult to switch off, but you do need to get the balance right and have some time to yourself. Baz & Burnsie are very understanding as they both have kids, but I did have a dip where I didn’t do very well at all for a year or two. I had some difficult conversations with them and had to prove myself, so I upped my game and listened and learnt from others in the office. I’ve learnt a lot from them all – Chris, Baz, Burnsie & Mat Lilley in particular.
What do you think is the best thing about working in technical recruitment specifically?
It’s the strongest industry at the moment and it’s not going to go away, it’s only going to grow as technology becomes more advanced. That’s what I like about it. The clients we work with and what they do is really interesting. I’m actually trying to get my kids to code so they end up in tech somehow. My 8 year old has been learning to code with Scratch.
What would you say is the most difficult part of your job and your favourite part?
The most difficult part is doing so many things at once and making sure that everything you do is done well. Managing teams, accounts, maintaining relationships that you’ve had for years and years with clients and candidates, plus creating new ones are just a few of the daily challenges. Then there’s also the task of trying to continuously source people as well as the admin, there’s a lot to juggle if you want to do the job right so you really have to be organised.
I love the people aspect. I have clients that I can call mates now because they trust me and vice versa. And again, it sounds cliché, but every day is different. You’re talking to different people, working different jobs and organising different events, so it keeps it all quite fresh.
When you’re dealing with different people every day, both senior and more junior, I’ve found that you need to learn how to be a chameleon. If you can’t be a chameleon and change your persona a bit and gear that to who you’re speaking to, then you aren’t going to relate to as many people and won’t build a rapport as much as you would.
You’ve had a very successful career at Burns Sheehan over the years, what do you think is the secret to your success?
Be honest and treat people right. I’m sure there are one or two people that have slipped through the net and I haven’t gone back to when I should’ve done, but I always try my best to keep in touch with people, give them feedback, be honest with them and be accountable in this industry. Even if its going to look bad on you, people always appreciate honesty.
In one of my previous jobs there was someone who trained all the newbies and one thing she always said was – do what you say you’re going to do, and she had some crazy abbreviation for it which was dwysygd and I always remember that. If you say you’re gonna do something, make sure you do it. Because if you don’t people will think ah, I don’t trust that guy, he didn’t keep his word.
Biggest lessons you’ve taken from the last 10 years?
Stay loyal and honest. Treat people how you would want to be treated and always do what you say you’re going to do. Try to always do your work to the best of your ability.
Listen and learn from people around you. I’m still learning today. I do sometimes think how the hell have I got here, and do often pinch myself, but maybe that’s helped contribute to my success. I’ll always say to people, never ever think that you’ve made it, because you’ll take your foot off the gas. You’re always going to want to push yourself and there will always be something to motivate you. I think my personal life outside work has always driven me to do well inside of work. To look after my wife and kids and make the best life for them. To be able to take them on nice holidays and spoil them at Christmas and birthdays is important to me.