Our anniversary interview with Belinda Elliott

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations, we’ve sat down with Managing Director, Belinda Elliott, to ask a few questions about Bluestream Recruitment's history, future and success.

What does the 10-year anniversary mean to you?

I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve all accomplished together in the last ten years. Not only has our company risen up to become one of the most reputable recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, but we’ve taken great pride in supporting local business with our HR workshops and by paying it forward with our community outreach initiatives.

What were some significant challenges you’ve had to overcome and how did you get past them?

When I started the business in 2009 we were based in a small office in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, specialising in Office Support and Publishing recruitment. As the publishing industry embraced new, digital technology the type of vacancies they were receiving changed too and the business became more involved in technical recruitment. With the relocation of offices to Harwell Science Campus, Oxfordshire in 2011, Bluestream Recruitment began supporting the Space, Satellite Communications and Energy sectors with technical recruitment.  Now perfectly situated between new and exciting startup companies and large blue-chip companies, Bluestream Recruitment has gone from strength to strength and now specialises in four sectors including Engineering, IT/Technical, Office Support, and Sales & Marketing.  

What is your favourite part about your job? What excites you most?

Getting to know our candidates and help them land their dream career in the best part of my job.  I still get nervous for them at interviews and love to watch their excitement and how they develop with the company whilst adding real value to the companies they join.

How do you think the recruitment industry has changed in the past 10 years?

When I first started in recruitment, we had the 80/20 mix, candidates had about 80% of the required skill set and 20% room was allowed for development. Since the financial crisis of 2008 companies have required 95% skill set and industry experience, leaving employees very little room for personal development. This has resulted in employees staying with companies for only 12-18 months, instead of the previous 4-5 years. 
There is also a growing trend for more values-driven business models is also having a massive impact on recruitment. Attitudes to work are changing as employees want to feel that they, and the company they work for, are making a difference. To recruit and retain the best talent, companies must promote their core values and ethical policies to existing and prospective employees.

Are there any valuable lessons learned that you could share? Is there anything you would do differently?

I think the hardest thing I’ve learnt over the years is to accept that you can’t always help everyone. I also had to learn to say no, although this is a little more difficult and still a work in progress!

What are some of your fondest Bluestream memories of the past 10 years?

Organising the Full STEAM Ahead Family Fun Days is always a highlight on our calendar and has brought fun, laughter and some tears through the sunshine and rain! The Fun Day is a science, technology, engineering, arts and maths themed event that celebrates local community links whilst inspiring our next generation through highlighting Harwell Campus’ inspiring sciences. Since we started in 2014 we’ve raised over £10,000 for Helen & Douglas House and other local charities.

We've also enjoyed sponsoring the South and Vale Business Awards which culminate in a fantastic awards ceremony at Williams Conference Centre each year.

Where do you expect to go in the next 10 years?  

Whilst uncertainty still lingers over Brexit it’s difficult to predict the impact it will have over the recruitment industry. A highly qualified software engineer from Madrid or a IT specialist from Berlin may hesitate to move to the UK until the reassurances are in place that they can start a career and life here in the UK with their families. Whether the UK leaves the EU or not, recruiting talented individuals will continue to remain a challenge to many industries. Companies are experiencing a candidate driven market due to a shortage of skilled employees. Competition for talent is fierce, with many business vying for the same candidates, allowing job seekers to name their terms and command more money.

What ever the future brings our business ethos wont change. We will continue to aspire to be the best and reflect our core values of honesty, transparency and respect.