My Brilliant Recruitment Career - Jill Thornton

Jill Thornton is people & strategy development director, Blue Arrow Group

Jill ThorntonWhat was your earliest dream job?

I wanted to be a dancer with the Ballet Rambert (now known just as Rambert) contemporary dance group. I saw them when I was at primary school and thought they were amazing.

What was your first job in recruitment and how did you come into it?

I was employed as a permanent consultant at Brook Street in Newcastle. I got offered the job when I went to register for a telesales job with Procter & Gamble and they told me about the job. They said ‘What about working here?’.

What do you love most about your current role?

I love the people that I work with. They are fantastic, real ‘can do’ people, full of energy and have got a real passion for what they do. Our commitment is about enhancing people’s lives, and they have really taken that to heart.

What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?

It’s not a moment, it’s a period. I’ve spent a lot of time with our operational teams really understanding what they do on a day-to-day basis — making sure that our career paths accurately reflect that and have the support from an L&D [learning and development] perspective.

What is your ‘can’t do without’ office tool besides your phone?

My iPad has quickly become the fount of knowledge. I spend quite a lot of time on the road, so I Facetime my children of an evening.

Do you prefer a staycation or holiday abroad?

I’m a staycation person. I love Cornwall and Devon — not just for the cream teas! It’s where we holidayed as a family from when the children were very young and it’s become one of the things that we do every year.

Outside the office, where would you like to interview a candidate or be interviewed?

One of the hotels I absolutely loved interviewing at was the Swallow Royal Hotel in Bristol. When I was based down in that neck of the woods I did lots of interviewing at that hotel. They’ve got fantastic shortbread biscuits with the coffee.

What’s your top job to fill at the moment?

Top job in our business at the moment is definitely still recruitment consultant. We’ve gone through huge growth this year, especially within our specialist staffing business.

Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why?

Cry. One candidate that our Cambridge branch helped recently had a period of homelessness and found it quite difficult to get back into employment. A consultant had spent quite a bit of time talking to him, helped him get clothes and prepared him for interview. We managed to place him on a temporary assignment. That was pretty special.

What’s the best or worst interview question you’ve ever heard?

Our managing director asks people if there is a moment in their life they could go back to and redo or relive, what would it be and why? And that always starts an interesting conversation.

Make us an offer we can’t refuse

If anybody is looking for an organisation that’s filled with ‘people making’, delivering promises and really looking to redefine the world of recruitment, contact our internal recruitment team.

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