Welcome to our Staff Corner, where we tell you more about the people who work at Burns Sheehan!
It's a really good time to be working at Burns Sheehan. We're in a high growth phase as a business and working with an awesome bunch of clients, and we will moving to a new larger office by Monument station in two weeks. We’re always looking for talented people to join us so if you're interested in working for Burns Sheehan go ahead and visit our careers page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris joined Burns Sheehan 5 years ago as a Technology Recruiter. He has since been promoted twice to become a Principal Technology Recruiter.
In the world of tech recruitment, Chris "Sprankers" Spranklen is a real force of nature. He is relentlessly driven and tenacious, with bags of energy and huge expertise in his specialist area: PHP, Python and Java development. Chris has had a phenomenal year at Burns Sheehan so far - having hit his target for the year in roughly 6 months - and now has three consultants reporting into him. And then to top it off he's also training for a marathon.
It's hard not to be a little intimidated by the guy, but then you realize that he's also incredibly thoughtful, caring and honest. He's never too busy to offer his help or his opinion and he throws a huge amount of effort into looking after his clients. I decided it was time to sit down with the man himself to learn more about the 'real' Chris Spranklen.
So Chris, how did you come to work for Burns Sheehan?
I heard about Burns Sheehan two or three years before I actually moved to work for them because we were both on the same PSL for one of our clients. And then one day in Hove, I actually met Baz. He spoke really well of the company I was working with at the time, and a competitor speaking highly of another competitor doesn’t usually happen, so I left that briefing with a good impression of Burns Sheehan and Baz as a founder. I actually think we took the train back to London together. He then dropped me a line about a week or two after that and asked if I would be interested in joining Burns Sheehan, but things were going quite well for me so I politely declined.
About a year later in 2009, there were a lot of redundancies and people left the company I was working for, including Mat and Luke who then joined Burns Sheehan. I went for a beer with Baz, but I still wasn’t ready to go. Then, finally, I met with Luke a while later who told me that it was a good time to join Burns Sheehan and that they needed an account manager. I liked the way they were doing things; they were making an effort to build a relationship with me. I also then knew 3 employees at Burns Sheehan who used to work for the company that I was currently at, who were also successful – so I knew they were hiring the right people. So I then had an informal conversation with Mat, which then led to some more formal interviews, and they offered me the job, and I took it. Now here I am five years later.
What is your area of specialism?
I was more of a jack of all trades when I joined Burns Sheehan, I wasn’t a master of anything. Then when the decision was made that we would be put into specialisms, it was decided that I would go into development, as I have been hiring developers for the last 5 or 6 years and that’s where I had most of my success. It has been mainly Java and PHP, but as the market has evolved I have started recruiting for Python Developers as well as a bit of Ruby!. I think I like working in this area because I have had the most success in that space, and developers are desperately needed by clients, so that’s where the money is. If you can get yourself in the centre of that community, and you’ve got a lot of respect and you’re trusted, you can make more money than, I think, anyone else in any other area.
You’ve had a very successful career at Burns Sheehan so far - what do you think your secret is to that success?
I think presentation is key. I read the Steve Jobs books a while ago, and how he would build the Macs. The look and feel inside a mac was just as important as the outside. You can relate that passion for the product to recruitment. Amongst other things, you are remembered for your presentation of candidates.
I also think the secret to success is really wanting it, and seeing recruitment as a career and just working really hard for myself. I’m driven by money and I think it sets a focus. I think I also have all the right characteristics for recruitment; I am a fairly good people person, I am trustworthy, I’m driven – all the soft skills that you need in recruitment. I’m not degree educated (I dropped out after two years!). Instead of returning for my final year I decided to DJ and PR in Malia for a few Summers. Even whilst doing that, it was all about building relationships with your customer and delivering what people wanted. You can relate that to recruitment. It’s about being subtle but effective – a more personal approach.
Who would play you in a film and why?
I have just recently got into Entourage, which is based around these four friends who move from their town to Hollywood. It’s based around this budding movie star called Vince. But the actor I would like to play would be Ari Gold, who is this no nonsense, powerful agent. He has all the clientele and everyone wants to be managed by him. He has the bravado and all the best lines. He is brilliant.
What is your biggest pet hate?
Well I don’t mind people making mistakes, I think sometimes you need to make mistakes in recruitment, its natural. You are likely to do something wrong or say something wrong, but you should learn and improve on it. What I hate is when people don’t listen to where they have gone wrong, and keep making the same mistake again. If you make a mistake, figure out why you did it and move on and make an improvement. People often don’t realise their weaknesses or shy away from their weakness and don’t put the correct coping mechanism in place - my diary is filled with questions to myself to ensure I do things because I can be forgetful! I used to have "remember to eat your yoghurt" at 9am every day on my Outlook diary until the team noticed and teased me for it!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I would have to say Made in Chelsea. I can’t stand all the others though, like TOWIE. I just quite enjoy all the friends backstabbing each other. It’s like car crash TV, but it’s quite good.
What is your most treasured possession?
I asked the team and they said Bullhorn which I found quite funny. I’m militant about people using it! This is a tough one for me. My Vinyls would be a treasured possession. I’ve got hundreds of Garage records that are probably worth a few quid sitting in my parents’ house at the moment – they are desperate for me to move them to my flat but I have no space just yet!
What is the worst job you have ever had?
I have never really had a terrible job. I have learned stuff from every single job and I don’t regret any of it. I did have a trial with a company though, when I was around 15. It was window selling and they just gave me a big Thompson’s local and they just said call people. That was probably the worst experience. I would say that was probably my worst job, although it wasn’t exactly a job as they never called me back.
If you were an inanimate object, what would you be?
I’d be the walls in the office of the Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy – I’d love to know what goes on behind the scenes of my favourite club!!
Who has inspired you in your life, and why?
I look at people who are successful, such as the likes of David Beckham. I think he is a brilliant role model for anyone, he’s successful and has put in the time and effort to be successful. I would also say Steve Jobs. I just really loved his passion and unwavering focus.
What is the best thing about recruitment?
The best thing about recruitment is when you see your pay cheque. For me it's great to be financially rewarded for success. There are always going to be challenges, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Another great thing is placing someone that you really got on with and the genuine gratitude you get when they are offered that dream job. They are really thankful and happy, and they don’t just see you as a means to an end. In recruitment you can build some really strong relationships.
What is the worst thing about recruitment?
The worst thing about recruitment is the stress it causes. It is relentless and it means that you can’t switch off. I cannot go on holiday for a week or two weeks and switch off, as people rely on me internally and externally. Clients and candidates are always expecting you to deliver, and if you can’t deliver they might build a relationship with someone else. The only time you can really switch off is at Christmas, when everyone is off and everyone is enjoying themselves.
What do you do when you are not working?
I go to the gym three or four times a week and I usually do that straight after work. I might run to the gym today though! I also like watching, if I get the time, some television series – like entourage at the moment. I am also really close to my nephew, who is only 15 months old, and every free weekend that I have, I will go down and see him. I think my girlfriend sometimes thinks she is number two when we are around him. I do try and spend a huge amount of time with him and that’s what I love doing.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
It’s a real challenge in recruitment to continually motivate your sales staff. The most recent advice that I thought was really good was that, to motivate people, you need to provide a relevance (work in their passion!) and offer some choice to allow them to have the ability to control what they work! If they don’t feel any ownership they’ll never have the drive or desire to be great. If you’re great, then you’re recognised and everyone has an ego!
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Well I’m actually allergic to animals! But I’d be a Direwolf! If you watch Game of Thrones, you’d know why. They are unusually large, very intelligent, super loyal and will attack anyone who threatens them!
If you were speaking to a student or a recent grad looking to get into tech recruitment, what advice would you give them?
I would say that they should do a lot of background reading. Technology is quite complex and it is really important that you understand it, which takes a lot of time. But you also cannot force it too much. If you have the intelligence to do it, then you will do it – it will click so be patient. A lot of people end up walking away from it before they get to that point.
Finally, can you describe yourself with a picture?
"Don't worry, I don't actually hate old people - I'm just very impatient!"
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