New to Market

15 August 2017

Start-up of the Month: Hesketh James

Toby Holt and Amanda Hesketh, two former directors of multi-discipline recruiter Kellan Group, have joined forces to launch Manchester-based hospitality recruitment agency Hesketh James.

Holt was previously operations director at Kellan Group recruiter Berkeley Scott, while Hesketh is a former head of HR and recruitment at Kellan.

Explaining why the duo has chosen to work together again, Holt says it’s because they like each other and get on well. “That’s important. Not only that but our skills complement one another’s and we respect each other’s achievements.”

In terms of standing out in the market, Holt adds they will resist claiming to do anything differently but will seek to do recruitment properly – “the right way, not the easy way”. 

“Hospitality and recruitment is what makes us tick,” Holt explains. “When we talk about hospitality recruitment, the conversation doesn’t stop at CVs and job adverts. We also give back to the industry through our work with both Springboard and Hospitality Action [charities], also career coaching to school leavers and mentoring programmes.”

Over the next year, the pair say they will explore new locations. “Our most recent addition to the team, Sarah Lindley, will be establishing our accountancy business in the North-West. 2018 will see us develop the South-West business and take Hesketh James into new locations and markets. Watch this space.

14 August 2017


• Transport and distribution recruitment specialist Bluestones Logistics has launched a ‘refer a friend’ scheme to reward its drivers and logistics personnel.

Every current candidate of Bluestones Logistics who refers a friend to the agency will receive £50 for themselves and £50 for their friend. Referred candidates need only work a minimum of 40 shifts for them and their friend to be eligible for the referral fee.

Opus Professional Services Group is expanding into new offices in the Spinning Fields area of Manchester. The new office will the group’s sixth.

Director Richard Thexton has been appointed to head up the new office after building and managing a number of successful teams at SThree.

• Following part relocation by a major client to Northampton, Kent-based recruitment company Red Eagle has opened a new office in Corby. Keen to retain their working relationship, Red Eagle says the new location will help with on-site assistance and also present new opportunities with businesses in the area.

Red Eagle has already compiled a database of local workers and is strong on food processing and logistics, which are significant sectors of the economy in the Corby area.

Spencer Ogden has moved to a new location in Houston. The global energy, engineering and infrastructure recruiter has tripled the size of its Houston office and has relocated to the GreenStreet district in Downtown Houston at 1201 Fannin St.

10 August 2017

Contractor market attracting tech start-ups

That is the evidence suggested by a recent HRTechTank London event, in which two HR tech start-ups highlighted the opportunities in the freelance sector as they presented in front of potential investors and experts. 

“The concept of a liquid workforce and the growth of a new organisational structure, which has a small core team and a disparate population of independent talent around that is now widely accepted. We feel this huge growth is going to be a massive part of the future of work,” said Jonny Dunning, CEO of TalonFMS, an automated freelancer management system, which has been actively marketed since April.

Dunning said projections that 30% of the UK workforce will be freelance by 2020 and “more like 50% of the US workforce” represented “fantastic opportunities, but also challenges”. He added the rapid rise in the availability and choice of talent and the speed at which the market operated driven by technology, as well as the compliance and regulatory challenges such as changes to IR35, meant that employers “could no longer ignore this part of their workforce anymore”.

Dunning went on to explain that the TalonFMS automated freelancer management system allows companies to interact with approved on-boarded compliant individuals, to contact them directly, to send out details of projects to matched relevant people and to create talent pools. Dunning said ultimately, it helped employers with large contractor workforces to maximise talent, control costs and reduce risk.

Mark Lee, CEO and founder of ContractElite, a start-up sourcing platform that allows contractors and employers to connect directly, said that the UK’s 2m-strong contractor workforce, increasing at around 5% a year, made this an attractive market.

Lee explained that ContractElite provides employers with data points based on “key criteria that were important in the hiring of contractors”. He said the most important of these were, “the contractor is available when I want them, where I want them, and for the right price”. The platform also allows employers to access contractors on the basis of their experience and on ratings by their peers.

Lee emphasised that the intention was purely to provide “the connectivity to allow clients to source contractors” and not for ContractElite to recruit them themselves. ContractElite is in the pre-revenue stage, with an initial aim of having 2,000 contractors signed up by September. 

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7 August 2017


• Travel staffing specialist C&M Travel Recruitment has launched a technology recruitment division. Led by travel technology consultant Simon Woods, the division will recruit solely for technology positions based at companies within the travel sector.

• Manchester-based recruiter Employment Solutions has launched a new website. The site, developed by recruitment website developer Volcanic, features a search bar enabling candidates to search by job title, by location and an advanced search to filter by specific sectors and locations.

• Leeds-based online recruitment specialist Flat Fee Recruiter has launched IT system the Flat Fee Applicant Tracking System.

FFATS plugs directly into the employer’s website. Applicants fill in applications online and book interview times, which are tracked and managed by the system throughout the recruitment process. All jobs advertised using FFATS are automatically posted onto social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and other recruitment platforms as selected.

• Recruitment platform iContract has launched. The platform connects contractors with recruiters – contractors can be matched to contracts tailored to their profile and preferences based on specific criteria they set.

It also enables recruiters to connect with recommended contractors who are matched to the contracts they are posting, helping fast track their candidate search process.

• Contractor accounting specialist Intouch has launched Freeflex, an accounting and umbrella service for contractors.

• Recruitment and employment law advisers Lawspeed has launched a new service provider accreditation to anyone wishing to use a service provider or umbrella company as its payment provider.

Lawspeed now offers an independent check of the service provider’s operation through on site audit and provides compliant operators with accreditation evidenced by use of the SPA logo. To ensure transparency, a brief description of the service provider’s audited operations and organisation will also be available.

NonStop Recruitment, a Europe-wide staffing specialist in the pharma, medical devices, chemical, care, digital and technical markets, has launched an app – available on both Apple and Android platforms – to complement its recently launched new-look website.

The app enables candidates to search and apply for opportunities, manage their NonStop profiles and job alerts, and contact NonStop’s teams on the move.

PMP Recruitment, part of Cordant Group, has launched a national recruitment and data centre in Media City, Salford Quays.

The centre, home to more than 100 candidate experience agents, focuses on analysing client operational needs and matching those requirements with the right candidates, enabling PMP’s team to better forecast headcounts and place candidates in roles that best suits their situation, including part-time or flexible contracts, and location- and work-based learning opportunities. It will also enable PMP’s team to measure aspects such as demographics, conversion, absence and attrition, bringing increased business efficiencies through the centralisation of all recruitment campaigns.

• Contractor tax adviser Qdos Contractors and recruitment giant Hays have joined forces to develop an IR35 solution aimed at helping public sector organisations work out whether off-payroll workers are inside IR35 rules.

The solution enables public sector engagers to comply with new IR35 reforms, which came into force earlier this year affecting contractors working through personal services companies in the public sector.

• Directors Liane Hartley and Sharron Clow have launched Source – an agency and social sustainability consultancy operating across construction and infrastructure sectors.

• Automated candidate-referencing company Xref has launched ‘sentiment engine’ technology.

The engine uses an algorithm that examines reference responses and rates feedback as positive, negative or neutral, with the aim of at interpreting the referee’s ‘tone of voice’ for the employer. The technology aims to save recruitment professionals up to 16 minutes per reference by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to scan references, creating a report that can be sent back to the employer. 

3 August 2017

Ex-Cititec founder Grant launches Spotter & Hunter with Leslie

Robert Grant (above left), who left Cititec and technology recruiter Excelian following its sale to New York Stock Exchange-listed Luxoft back in 2015, has joined forces with Nick Leslie (above right), previously managing director at London-based recruiter JLM Search, to launch Spotter & Hunter.

While operating from its base in London’s tech hub of Old Street, the agency has plans of growing internationally through attracting a global client base.

“After a couple of years out of the industry, seeing out my non-competes, I was determined to return to the right opportunity – this is it,” Grant said.

“My passion is for building professional service businesses that have substance and truly understand and deliver against their USP and what their market needs. This particular space has so much potential...”

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31 July 2017


• Specialist recruiter 2B Interface is opening an office in Munich, Germany. The move follows recent international office openings in Poland and Singapore by the company within the last two months.

• Recruitment software provider Bond International Software has launched the latest update to software system AdaptUX.

Improvements see AdaptUX 2.5 give customers enhanced recruitment and staffing cycle management features, including instant data synchronisation between AdaptUX and contingent workforce software TempBuddy, while client, candidate and contact records are replicated across both software solutions.

The update also aims to provide greater functionality for users for RSM InTime integration, CV importing, candidate ownership, field search and filter capabilities, and AWR management.

• North-West based multi-sector recruiter Cummins Mellor Group is relocating to new larger offices in the cathedral quarter of Blackburn. The relocation comes after completing the sale of its current premises on Whalley Road, Accrington.

• Software developer DevScore has launched an acquisition feature aimed at providing a complete candidate matching, acquisition, assessing and digital screening service for recruiters.

The feature enables customers to make targeted developer searches based on actual coding experience and also filter results by skills, experience and geographical location easily. This will enable them to pick the exact software development talent needed for their business’s individual requirements.

• UK technology career site Dice has launched a retro gaming microsite.

The site will include five classic games, live leaderboards, retro-inspired content and competitions to win retro-themed prizes.  

• Student resource RateMyPlacement has integrated with its software solution RMP Connect.

Student users on RateMyPlacement can ‘opt in’ to share their data with companies they are interested in hearing more about, giving permission for their data to be passed directly into an employer’s RMP Connect Talent Pool, while employers can target students directly in their talent pool based upon their preferences and characteristics.

Additionally, at the end of a campaign, employers can also track how many of these students, and other students in their talent pool, go on to apply and be hired using RMP Connect’s reporting suite.

• The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative has released an online tool aimed at helping HR leaders calculate how many disabled people they should be employing to succeed in creating a truly representational workforce.

RIDI’s Disability Inclusion Calculator works by computing an individual organisation’s ‘disability employment gap’ based on the number of existing employees who have disclosed a disability coupled with overall headcount, and then advises how many more disabled people would need to be employed for the workforce to be representative of wider society.

24 July 2017


• A former director of Kellan group’s finance staffing specialist RK Accountancy and RK Finance has struck out on his own. Director John Smith has launched Derbyshire-based Accountancy Recruitment Group, which places qualified and part-qualified accountants.

• South West-based employment business Backline Logistic Support Services has relocated to larger Winchester premises at Unit 2, Scylla Industrial Estate, from Moorside Road.

• Newport-based Celtic Manor Resort has launched two-year hotel and hospitality apprentice programme offering a number of modules designed to cover all aspects of the hotel and hospitality sector.

Included are models covering food and beverage, conference and banqueting, front of house, housekeeping and kitchens, as well as a stint combining all these areas at the resort’s Coldra Court Hotel.

Apprentices also benefit from a range of learning and development courses with subject matter including personal development, teamwork, guest relations, presentation and interview skills.

• Engineering recruiter Consilium Recruit has launched a salary guide for the aerospace sector. The survey covers a cross-section of regions in which employers involved in the manufacture and supply of aerospace components, systems, and/or services are based.

• Cardiff-based tech start-up Credas has launched. Credas uses real-time facial recognition technology to help companies speed up and simplify the process of ID verification, employee and client onboarding, and comply with Right to Work legislation.

By texting or emailing a link to the Credas app, clients or employees can verify themselves on the move and at any time and keeps a record of the verification on its secure cloud-based platform.

The site will include five classic games, live leaderboards, retro-inspired content and competitions to win retro-themed prizes.

• Graduate rec-to-rec firm ESG has launched the GradJobs Series, a guide for graduates wanting to break into the recruitment industry. Areas the series will cover range from writing a killer CV, to the day-to-day life of a recruitment consultant, and will be published weekly on the ESG blog.

PMP Recruitment, part of Cordant Group, has launched Fundamentals – an onboarding programme for new starters aimed at improving learning, wellbeing and staff retention figures, while further increasing the quality of service each employee provides when working within a client’s facility.

Devised by senior and operational project groups, together with the agency’s learning and development department, Fundamentals is an eight-week long programme that is now available to new managers, site consultants and in-branch staff, covering areas including compliance, health & safety, policy and procedure, and personal development. 

The scheme is supported by an online portal that hosts a range of resources, including PMP’s Learning Heroes programme, workbooks, guides and other e-learning tools. New employees can access Fundamentals via a microsite, enabling them to complete designated modules when required. Additionally, the participant has learning reviews with their line manager to ensure they are benefitting from the training.

• European pallet freight network Palletways has launched a recruitment platform through Vidu Recruitment. Vidu is a new browser-based platform links employers and candidates face-to-face in real time across the globe through video and social media.

• Singapore government’s WSG Careers Connect has launched the R3 programme, aimed at matching people with jobs closer to their homes. The programme focuses on three stages of recruiting, reskilling and retaining.

The recruitment stage sees employers receive a list of potential jobseekers curated by career coaches from Careers Connect. The reskilling stage sees Careers Connect career coaches help employers identify skill gaps and relevant training for potential and hired candidates to equip them with the necessary skills.

Finally, the retain stage is where career coaches provide post-placement support to both the jobseeker and hiring supervisor to help address performance, competency or assimilation challenges, to ensure talent is retained.

18 July 2017

Start-up of the Month

Michael Hüttl has launched Czech-based Secretary Affairs, an agency that places “glamorous” assistants to act as the face of client organisations.

The launch followed psychological studies he carried out that showed appearance in business really matters and helps firms achieve better results.

While Hüttl acknowledges some may find his agency’s approach controversial, he revealed the agency places both men and women in roles in which they are the face of the business. As such, people placed do not only occupy assistant roles.

“We are now the only player on the market… we can create an environment where clients and candidates can speak about this really straightforwardly, so they don’t have to hide from the reality that appearance matters.”

While candidates do not have to have a modelling background, Hüttl added: “We combine the traditional HR method with a modelling agency – this is a unique solution and requires a bit of courage as some might find it controversial. 

“As a start-up, we have started with administrative HR but we we see the huge growth potential in extending into new sectors.

“We are approached by clients seeking people for ice breaker positions so they seek representative staff to deal with crucial communication tasks in the name of the company.”

Looking ahead, Hüttl said the agency is developing an app to alert candidates about upcoming roles through social media.