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SimkissGuy pledge is to put people first

Two friends who share a passion for putting people first have created Birmingham’s newest recruitment agency, in the heart of the city’s business district.

SimkissGuy’s founders, Becky Simkiss and Richard Guy, met when he was a team leader for a major blue-chip recruitment consultancy, and she registered as a candidate.

Now, nine years on, they’re back working together, under their own brand, and determined to stand out from the crowd in their fiercely competitive sector.

Their Colmore Plaza-based venture, SimkissGuy, specialises in providing office support personnel across the range of business sectors, from manufacturing to professional services.

“I’d always been a people person, and had been in sales and customer service for several years,” said Becky.

“Then I was interviewed at the agency, by Richard and his colleagues, and I found the questions they asked about my career development really thought-provoking.

“I started by talking about what I’d like to do, and almost before I knew it, I’d decided that helping other people make the right employment decisions was what I wanted to do.

“It was a mutual feeling. They spotted my potential to work in their sector, and even in my first meeting suggested that I would like working with them.”

Becky and Richard subsequently worked together at the consultancy for 18 months, before his career took an unusual path.

“I was very contented, loved being a team leader, and knew recruitment was the career for me, when my grand-dad suddenly died after he’d been suffering from dementia,” recalled Richard.

“I’d realised just what a ghastly illness it was, and how it affected individuals, but also seen and felt how dementia impacted on their loved ones. Those thoughts were on my mind when I read about Sunrise Assisted Living needing a director of community relations, in Edgbaston.

“I’d never dreamed of working in healthcare, but they needed to establish lines of communications with people and organisations who might refer elderly patients to them, so I would be still using my core B2B and recruitment skills, just in a very different sector, and I took the job.”

However, after more than seven years at Sunrise, Richard began to hanker after returning to recruitment consultancy – if the right opportunity arose. In the meantime, she had moved on from her original employer to work for an independent recruitment consultancy.

A meeting between the two then proved the catalyst for their new venture.

“I knew how well she’d been doing, I’d seen her work with Birmingham Future, we’d always had a good professional chemistry, and the timing felt right to suggest that she might like to team up,” said Richard.

“Becky is a very good listener, which – perhaps surprisingly – isn’t always the case in our industry, and she also has a well-honed ability for tuning into what people want.

“We work together well, and have complementary skills, so I floated the idea of setting up a consultancy where putting people first could be a reality, rather than just a slogan, and where we could showcase Becky’s talents.”

“We found ourselves agreeing about just how the business should work, and suddenly the momentum was there,” said Becky. ”

“Colmore Plaza was the only place we considered. It’s right in the heart of the business community, there’s a very entrepreneurial buzz, the service levels are very high and it sends out the right kind of messages about us and the way we want to work.

“SimkissGuy is very much a partnership. Richard is very good at developing relationships, and really understanding what clients need. I love really getting to understand someone’s aspirations and motivations, starting right at the beginning in their days at school or college.

“You have to really learn that they have been looking to achieve from their career, and why they made the decisions they did. Until you understand someone’s career goals, and their beliefs, you can’t bring them to life before a client.

“The secret to success in our sector is all about listening, otherwise you could so easily end up guiding someone in the wrong direction. I think we’ll make a great team. We’re certainly in the right place, and we have a chance to put into practice all the things we’ve always wanted to do.”