Speaking with Nicky...
Continuing Caspian One’s new interview series, this week we speak with Nicky Marcelin-Horne about her journey into recruitment. In this article we look at Nicky’s career to-date, the realities of sales hiring in the Broadcast industry and the importance of being an ambassador for women.
Nicky, let’s start by talking about your journey.
Maybe not from the very start of your career, but an overview of where you came from, and how you’ve got to where you are now?
I used to work for an import company as a shipping coordinator. I remember looking at the sales and buyer teams thinking “they're really cool, I would love to be a buyer”.
I ended up going to work at one of the suppliers - that was my first sales position and it made an impact. For example, I made a hugely significant increase in the suppliers food sales throughout the country, which i’m still quite proud of today.
My successes saw me promoted to look after the southern UK operations... but living in London was really expensive, and sadly the salary was too limiting. I ended up transitioning to the promotions space, working directly with a number of business owners. This resulted in me launching my own promotions company with seven venue clients in Camden. That was my first step into managing people.
How did you get from promotions in London, to recruitment Bournemouth?
My best friend at the time was looking to move to Bournemouth. She made the suggestion that I move with her, knowing I was unhappy living in London. After coming to visit Bournemouth and the beaches on a particularly sunny day, I was sold on the idea. I contacted a handful of agencies and interviewed with Hays and Caspian One literally a few days later.
So why Casian One - and why recruitment?
Hayes were offering more money. But, when I looked around the office at Caspian One... looked at how people were dressed, how they were interacting, the environment - I thought that it was the best choice. I hadn’t planned on recruitment specifically as I was more focused on relocating. Little did I know that I'd fall in love this industry.
Okay, we've moved to Bournemouth, we’ve started recruiting for Caspian One… what was that first year like?
It was scary actually. Initially during the first few weeks I thought “I'm not made for this - what am I doing here?”. Luckily I had Lee's intense training for 6 months, literally side-by-side… and well, it worked!
Was there a click moment? A point at which you just suddenly went “I can do this now”
No, it was gradual. Bit by bit you know. My first show, going out and talking to people I was like “this is the best thing ever”. Getting that buzz when you talk to people and adding value... I think that’s the most important thing for me really.
For me, a massive turning block was confidence. Recruitment is all about challenging your own self. If you're reading other people, you've got to be able to discern yourself first. I've been here 5 years now, and the first three years were intense but now I have the learned strengths that only come from experience.
Looking at the present, why is it people want to work with you today?
A lot of recruiters view their job as something of a to-do list, to be ticked off. I’m part of the journey with every candidate from the very beginning, so people feel like I’m with them the whole way through. I understand people and can often be quite preemptive and perceptive, noticing issues or a need for support before a candidate even realizes. I get people ringing me saying “oh Nicky, this is my worry”, and that’s because they put trust in my relationship with them.
Someone will come to me about a vacancy, and I'll know immediately if they're right for it. Even if I think that the client wants them, if I don't think they are right for it, I’ll tell them straight and say “I just don't think you are right...” in terms of personality, or culture, or similar... unlike some recruiters that will just place people anywhere because they want to tick a box and go.
I'm not bothered about the fee; the fee comes in at the end regardless. I care about my community. I actually care, that's the truth. I care about people's futures.
...and what are you working on now - what's your focus?
Okay - I help organizations grow sales teams around Europe. I help companies to bring in sales skills, so say for example... when a company has a new product, I’ll get them the best senior talent that will suit their needs.
I deal with several different types of sales individuals. It can be someone who sells through a partner network, it could be someone who sells directly to an end user - and by that I mean selling technology to a broadcaster, service provider etc… It could be that their the person who’s creating a company's full sales strategy, or they may even be at director level, managing sales teams across the globe.
Sometimes new hiring managers don't really know what they're looking for. They know what they need, they know what they have to get out of it, they might even have a budget in mind - but their unsure how that transitions into a new hire. I've got clients saying to me “I've got to hit 1.5 million, I need to get three sales people, how am I going to do that?”
Its understanding the needs of the clients and the candidates, that’s my focus. Otherwise I deal with sales professionals throughout the technology sector across the whole TV ecosystem.
What do you consider to be your specialisms?
My specialism? There's not many sales professionals that I don't know, that I’ve not met, or that have not seen me. Within our broadcast industry there are loads of ‘specialists’.... but, there’s no sales-only specialist. Just sales. Like me.
The value that I add to this industry is that I know the sales people. there are sixteen thousand + people sitting on my network of salespeople within the TV ecosystem. If I don't know someone, chances are someone I know will, and will make an introduction.
I'm now in a position that my phone rings and I don't know who the person is, and their like “Nicky I've been put through to you by x. I've been told you’re the person for sales in the industry”.
I'm not just the 9-to-5 recruiter, I'm out there. I’m on the floor at shows, I’m out there meeting with people... I'm even out there in the cafes and bars with them all. I’m not just a faceless recruiter you can give a call to... I'm with everyone, as part of the community.
Nicky, tell me about your single biggest achievement at Caspian One.
I built-out multiple sales teams for a major broadcast manufacturer in both the UK and Germany, including sales directors. I basically built the teams after they’d gone through a restructure; they’d come to me directly and said, we need a sales team. It was a huge project and a great accomplishment!
I know you have an interest in the women in broadcast and tech movements. What makes these so important to you?
So there's not enough women in tech and broadcast industries, but sales directors I do know are very strong and empowered. I think it's especially important for me being a female recruiter, and also for the younger generation of females that are coming in, that they have role models that are able to guide them and support them.
Broadcast media is very male orientated. There are 70,000 people in the industry, and there aren't that many females so you have to be an ambassador. Being a female recruiter in a sales environment, I feel that I have the opportunity to educate people.
We were asked at school “what do you want to do when you are older?” - I want to be a doctor; I want to be a vet... how many girls said I want to be in sales or recruitment even?
People don't typically work towards a sales career, as when you’re in school you think of sales people being window sales people and door-to-door sales people. They don’t realize it's a real skill to sell, in terms of personality, psychology and intrapersonal intelligence.
Let’s talk about Search then. Can you explain it to me?
Sure. Search is about hiring intelligence. We realized from talking to our clients that they enjoy going on the hiring journey with us and for certain vacancies at least, really want more data on the process.
Sometimes clients come to us with roles that have really critical timelines, or say, discretion is key and they need an approach that’s strategic and more tailored than typical. Search brings together more of our market insights, more of our personal networks, more of our headhunting strengths... and then also delivers vital hiring intelligence to clients we work with. It’s pretty exciting actually.
Thanks Nicky. Finally, is there anything you’d like our readers to know about working with you?
I think just, if you ask me a question... you're going to get an honest answer. If I believe that someone is suited for a position or if they are not suited, I will be incredibly open and to the point about it. For me that’s what is really important, and it’s why I think people value what I can do for them.
Today’s interview was with Nicky Marcelin-Horne, a Broadcast sales specialist and Manager at Caspian One. To contact, or for more information on Nicky take a look at her website profile HERE, or visit her LinkedIn profile HERE.