It’s our 15th birthday and in celebration we’re looking at the journey of the lady who started it all – Abigail Stevens. Here we talk to her about the journey she’s been on since Think Global Recruitment started in July, 2000.
How did you get into recruitment and how did you get to the point of setting up Think Global Recruitment?
I lived and worked in Australia for 3 years and when I came back, I visited Edinburgh for a few weeks. I fell in love with the city and haven’t left. After a while the agency I was temping with, while looking for a job in marketing, offered me a job in recruitment, when I asked what was involved they described it as ‘like running your own business’. I was sold.
Celebrating Think Global Recruitment’s First Placement, 2000
After a year with that agency, I was headhunted into an international accountancy consultant role where I was quickly promoted upwards. At an assessment for management buy-out, I was identified as a good candidate to work my way up to Director and be involved. However, this highlighted my entrepreneurial strengths and after weighing up my options, I decided to set up by myself instead.
I had the passion for international accountancy, myself and my team were smashing targets and I realised I didn’t have the passion or much input into other business areas in the company. That’s how Think Global Recruitment started.
Have your offices always been on George Street? From the very start we’ve been in this building. We started on the second floor at the back then knocked through and doubled it, then moved upstairs where we had a view of Edinburgh Castle. Now we take up most of the top floor with views of the Castle on one side and down to the Fourth on the other side of the building.
How has the technology used in recruitment changed since you started? Right from the start we have tried to innovate and stay ahead of our competitors. When we set up we bought three computers (many of our competitors were still using card indexes) and created our own database of accountants and prospective employers.
TGR Stars Softball Team 2004
We used to fax CVs out, couldn’t send mail-shots with attachments. Sifting through manual directories was a big part of our job. Now we have video interviewing, Skype and social media making the world smaller for us and the accountants we place.
Which technological advancement has helped you the most? It probably isn’t what most people think! LinkedIn is great but that helps our competitors as much as it does us. We like to be innovative and use sources and methods others do not use.
Email with attachments, the death of faxes and affordable and improved mobile phones and flights have probably helped us most.
Chartered Accountant Ireland Wine Tasting 2007
Picnic on Think Global Recruitment’s Balcony 2009
It’s an international business – where do you most enjoy visiting? Australia, New Zealand and the Far East… However, I really do love travelling almost anywhere. Every location has something special going for it that will improve the accountants we work with lives.
Bollywood Charity Fund Raiser 2008
What’s been your favourite hotel over the years, has that changed? If I’m away for more than three nights I always prefer self-catering. When I was visiting London, Sydney, Wellington and Edinburgh regularly we used to book Ascot Apartments. The apartments were decorated in the same style throughout the world and they let me keep a suitcase of bulky or liquid essentials, in every one, that was good. It felt like home.
Christmas Market Carboot Sale Charity Fund Raiser 2008
Favourite cuisine and most unusual food tried? My favourite food would be Thai. I’ve tried the Aussie meats such as crocodile and kangaroo and emu but I have to admit, I am not keen to eat anything that looks like what it was before it died!
Think Global Recruitment Taxi 2001
How many miles do you cover in a year? I get on a plane more often that I do a car. It varies but by the end of the year it will be over 40 journeys.
What’s your favourite airline? Emirates at the moment. Their staff have been known to frequently approach as I take my seat and say “Hello Miss Stevens you are our most frequent flyer on board today”. Even on an A380.
Worst moments? The attack on 9/11 the human impact of it all and then the impact upon the business that came after that. The recent Worldwide Recession, having opened offices in Sydney, Glasgow and London and the requirement to restructure was very sad at the time, but the one thing that kept the business going and to emerge again and become the largest, longest running specialist international accountancy recruitment consultancy.
‘Abigail’ Herald Newspaper 2001
Think Global Recruitment famous for its parties over the years!
And best moments? There are many. Our first placement – Edgar went into the Channel Islands. Getting pictures from people in their new destinations; that’s when you can really see that you’ve improved their life. Sell out conferences, my number two, Ali returning to the business six months after he left. When clients say that we’re the best supplier for both quality and quantity and that they really appreciate your service. This happens very often, but still makes me feel great, it’s all worthwhile!
Recently uncovering people who we helped find jobs as juniors who are now at the most senior level in the same company we placed them in more than ten years ago is really nice.
Over the years there have been so many highs; year ends, watching people develop in their careers, everyone’s first placement, when they’ve improved their first life.
And our staff day in August will probably be one of them too! We are taking the entire company away to a surprise location to celebrate our 15th Birthday. All they know right now is to have their passport up to date!