Nigel O’Donoghue

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“There’ll be ups and downs and you might have to give up some control, but remember to have fun while doing it”

We at Box Human take time to celebrate founders behind the businesses. Especially the ones who are inspiring, helping and bringing light within the world. We do this in order to rebalance some of the negative messages we often hear, see and receive on a daily basis. We met up with one of these amazing individuals…

Hi Nigel, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. I can’t wait to get to know you so let’s start. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?

I’m Nigel O’Donoghue, I co-founded Frank Recruitment Group and I’m our Chief Commercial Officer. In the last two years, my focus has been on creating and nurturing new areas of the business, such as our tech academies and enterprise sales divisions.

A great intro, thank you Nigel! Can I please now ask … How did your inspiring business journey begin?

I left University to become an accountant at the Bank of Scotland, and I worked in banking for around twelve years.

I wanted a new challenge and so, along with a friend I’d met during my University days, we set up a recruitment company that we both thought had potential to go global.

We knew that by specializing in niche areas of technology, we could service the market better than the generalist staffing firms that were operating in the market already.

Recruitment isn’t a new idea, but we felt that if we could do it a little differently, there was the potential to create something really special.

That’s very inspiring to hear how someone’s new challenge can create something so successful! What’s been your biggest challenge that you’ve had to go through since starting Frank Recruitment Group and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge has been keeping up with our growth. That’s a great problem to have, but it sometimes feels like you’re sitting on top of an engine that’s working so hard that it’s about to explode.

We’ve been going through a period of rapid growth for a decade now; year-on-year, on average we’ve grown by over 40%. There’s a big difference between overseeing an office with three or four people in it, to dealing with a global organization with a headcount of nearly 2,000 employees, which is where we’re at now.

“Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.” – Nigel O’Donoghue

One of the best decisions I made was to bring in a leadership team who have experience of running a business the size that ours is, and who can grow it to where we need to be.

Back when we started, I’d be in charge of installing IT systems, paying VAT bills, everything. It would be impossible to do all of that now, we need to have a boardroom full of individual skillsets specific to each area of ​​the company.

When your business reaches a certain size you need to be able to hand over some aspects of the control to other people.

Such brilliant advice! So with accounting and recruitment being two different industries. What inspired you to go specifically into recruitment and why?

My friend and company co-founder had many years of experience in the industry and had successfully created a brand that went on to float on the FTSE 100.

We spoke a lot about it, and I knew the idea was the right one. Our mantra has always been: “We find great people, great jobs.”

Of course there’s a lot more to it than just that. My co-founder and I had to find clients who were looking for professionals, and build a database of skilled workers so that companies looking to recruit, came to us first.

There’s a wonderful satisfaction I get from doing what I do on a daily basis. What really inspires me is when I’ve received an email from someone saying “thank you” for finding them a job they didn’t think was possible, perhaps in their dream location. Knowing that something we’ve done is fundamentally life-changing for our customers makes me continue to do what I do.

We agree! Talking to inspiring people like you, inspire us to continue to do what we do too, so thank you. On that note let’s turn up the positive volume and ask you … What has been your proudest moment so far and what piece of advice would you have followed before you started your business?

I think seeing people grow with us gives me an immense amount of pride. We’ve recruited young graduates fresh out of University and provided them with an opportunity to accelerate their careers faster than they could have dreamed of. Because of how quickly we are expanding, if you join this company as a trainee, we’re really looking for you to be able to step up to a management position within two years.

That’s not a dream, it’s an expectation.

Seeing people who joined us with little or no experience, now living fantastic lives around the world, having progressed faster in their careers than their peers who left education at the same time. That gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

I think own culture and identity has evolved, but it’s been a hugely important part of our DNA. We were always clear that we wanted to have fun along the way, and that would be integral to the journey.

What I maybe didn’t realize was doing that means people come to work happy, and they go beyond to deliver amazing results in the process. It wasn’t something that we worked out as a strategy, but it would have been an incredible piece of advice to have been given!

I’ve definitely taken note of that. So if there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them, what would it be?

In terms of the day-to-day running of your business, do things the way you want to do them. If you were building a rollercoaster in your back garden, it would fundamentally need to work, but you’d also make sure it was enjoyable to ride.

It’s the same with your business – you’re going to be there a long time, there’ll be ups and downs, but you need to have fun doing it. The things that keep me awake at night, the stress, the worries that I have — I wouldn’t swap any of it.

What great points, thank you! What future life goals do you want to personally achieve and what one piece of advice would you say to someone who is about to start a business?

I now want to build a roller coaster in my garden! I think anyone starting a business has to accept that it’s hard work, you’ll endure sleepless nights and be under pressure to make decisions. However, you have to find a way to enjoy that, you have to make sure that the journey is fun — both for yourself as well as those around you.

Such brilliant advice, thank you! And last but not least … A  BoxHuman  is an empowered individual. They will not be defined by society’s labels. They show the better qualities of humankind, such as strength, kindness and inspiration. Can you please tell us what makes you a BoxHuman?

I think that’s for other people to judge, but my inbox always seems to have emails from clients, customers and our own employees that would back up the vision we had for Frank Recruitment Group when we created the company almost 15 years ago. We wanted to do things better, and I think we’ve definitely done it right. As well as winning awards for the business itself, we have won a number of industry titles for being one of the best companies to work for, including for women. We’ve created an inclusive environment that encourages people to thrive and reach their own potential.


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