In this blog, we got the chance to have a chat with Julie Farr-Voller, Company Director of FVS Consulting. Discussing her career, her inspiration and how she got to the position she is in today.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your career?
In a snapshot, I am a thirty-five-year-old, horse-mad, mother of one (I have a one-year-old daughter) living in the midlands with my partner John. We love travelling to faraway destinations but are equally as content exploring our local little village and generally enjoying watching our little girl grow up. I am the Company Director of an IT & Telecommunications recruitment company working with various clients across Europe. I have also had the opportunity to work in-house within award-winning organisations assisting with global growth plans.
I graduated with a Psychology degree and then went straight into a boutique IT recruitment company learning the role as a keen graduate progressing up the ranks and eventually after 8 years on the agency side I took the leap of faith to back myself and set up my own company and have never looked back.
What’s a typical day in your career?
It is varied but involves working with my key clients in order to hire ‘hard to fill’ roles across their business. I search, select and headhunt individuals across Europe within the competitive landscape and then support them through the end to end recruitment process. I enjoy being consultative to both my client and the candidate in terms of interview preparation, presenting the unique opportunity and eventually negotiating a career move.
Even with a busy workload, I tend to devote some time every week to expanding my business whether that be targeting a new client, networking or taking on some form of learning. No one week in recruitment is ever the same!
What made you choose this career/industry?
I chose Business and HR related modules at university within Psychology and thought a people-orientated career would suit me. I fell into IT by chance and I am so glad given it is a fairly financially risk proof industry- given the constant development of technology in all walks of life. When you take a job specification from a technology company and understand what their solution does and the benefit it brings, in some instances it can offer a huge impact on how we live our lives.
How did you get to where you are now and did you face any challenges along the way?
I think I have a strong work ethic where I am tenacious in getting an end result and enjoy being successful. There are SO MANY challenges within recruitment, there are intense highs and absolutely intense lows. Sometimes you can do everything within your skillset and power to make a successful hire and from nowhere the candidate accepts a counteroffer or the client goes on headcount freeze and it can feel like everything was for nothing. In recruitment, we do not sell a product it is a human with a brain that can change its mind at the 11th hour or even after they have signed the contract. I think reputation is key and building a long-term relationship always works well for me.
What is an important initiative that you feel passionate about in your role?
I take a personal interest in the ‘Women in Tech’ movement. I have personally placed a high percentage of women in general but looking at the dynamics in certain companies there is still a long way to go. Most hiring managers I work with feel the need to state that it would great to see some female CVs within the shortlist. I believe it has to be a far open playing field and if a male candidate is the better fit then they should get the role. I have noticed that some countries seem to have more women thriving in Enterprise Sales roles than others – Sydney and Stockholm, for example, I have really noticed a step-change in the amount of Talent within Enterprise Sales which I find really exciting!
Do you have a mantra you live your life by?
Always go on a hearts and mind campaign and make an impact as quickly as you can. If someone is doubting your ability to deliver results, there is nothing more satisfying than delivering on what you knew you could. I also think if you work hard and smart eventually the results will follow.
What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?
Within a sales environment:
- Be tenacious and persistent
- Find a role model or a successful leader and absorb like a sponge.
- Trust your gut feeling and back yourself don’t be afraid to get your achievements noticed!
What is the best bit of advice that you have ever been given?
I genuinely believe what you put in you get back – make more calls than yesterday, work smart and if it is all going wrong take a step back take a break and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
It is tricky because I think that we still have a huge gender imbalance in certain roles and I think when successful females start a family we have a crucial dropping off point in roles such as Enterprise Sales/Sales Management roles for example. I often see a quote on social media relating to expecting mothers to work like they don’t have children and mother like they don’t work and I do see this within roles I am given to work on. Inflexibility around office hours, working weeks and quite frankly if you want the role don’t even dare ask for a 4 day week in case it is seen as not being committed. It is really tough and I’m not sure I have the answer. Becoming a mother myself has really opened my eyes to the juggling act you are expected to perform plus the mum guilt is a factor. I am super lucky to have a supportive family network offering childcare whilst I work as I do really want to be in both worlds!