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Employability: Steven Kirkpatrick


Steven Kirkpatrick explains the career journey he undertook in becoming Managing Director of Spring Personnel. Steven details the listening skills, drive and determination needed in working your way up through a company.

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I came through Further Education, through the University of Ulster. I did an HND in Distribution and Retail Management. I came out of that and it was a very tough economic time in Northern Ireland at the time. It’s quite similar, actually, to what’s happening now across the UK. I had to apply for over 180 jobs before I got my first one. I have still got 84 rejection letters in my mum’s house. The other 100 just didn’t even respond. My first job was selling advertising space in the farming section of a local newspaper. I did that for a couple of years and then I moved in to media advertising. From that I came into Adecco, came into recruitment as a consultant in a branch and then I worked my way up through Adecco. I did various jobs from running a branch, to becoming a regional manager, to becoming a regional director until eventually having the opportunity to run the organisation. I then left Adecco, moved to Spring where I became the Managing Director. After a number of months, we must have done something right because Adecco acquired Spring and I’m back in my old job, plus my new job, but only for one salary, unfortunately!

I think, what’s help me develop and what’s made me successful ar the more blunter skills in life. I think that I’m like a dog with a bone and I never give up. And I think that success is relative, you’re more successful that the next person, that’s actually what it means in terms of development through an organisation. You’re more successful than another person. So, if you break that down, how do you become more successful than another person? And it’s actually about the point at which you give up. And, I truly believe that other people have given up before I do in every job that I’ve had and, I mean my competition. Whether that’s internally, whether that’s in the marketplace, I think I work harder than them. I think I can take more disappointment than them because, I believe it means that you’re closer to your next success. I think watching and listening to everything that goes on around you is also important. You can learn so many things from different people. I learn every day, I could walk into a branch now, from doing this, I could see a candidate come in through the door, I could listen to the conversation that the consultant has with the candidate and I’ll pick something up. Then it’ll go ‘I never knew that’ or ‘I can’t believe I forgot that’. And I think it’s having a desire and a passion to learn. A desire and a passion to realise you’re only as good as today, but today’s not good enough for tomorrow. I know it might sound a bit like a cliché but that’s the nature of evolution. If you stand still, you get passed and I will never stand still.

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