Zain Wadee, managing director, recruitment process outsourcing company Pontoon UK
What was your earliest dream job?
From the age of about 8 up until 16, I wanted to be a lawyer. For some reason, I changed my mind at the 11th hour while completing my university application forms. I often wonder what a career in law would have been like!
What was your first job in recruitment and how did you come into it?
Marketing executive at IT recruiter Elan Computing (now Experis). I had just completed an MSc in marketing and was looking to move down to London from Scotland.
What do you love most about your current role?
I really do love the variety of my current role. I still have a huge amount of client contact but also enjoy the people aspect of my role — building winning teams and a progressive, modern culture. I also relish the commercial side of my role.
What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?
We had to overcome a number of obstacles to make it happen, but integrating the hyphen [RPO] business with Pontoon is a real high.
What is your ‘can’t do without’ office tool besides your phone?
Do you prefer a staycation or holiday abroad?
I definitely prefer going abroad, although like most Scots I do love a trip home and yearn to spend time in the Western Highlands. When I go abroad Italy and Greece are firm favourites, although I do enjoy a bit of winter sun in the Far East.
Outside the office, where would you like to interview a candidate or be interviewed?
I have a penchant for conducting interviews in hotel bars. A long-time favourite has been the St James’s Hotel and Club in Mayfair.
What’s your top job to fill at the moment?
We need people who align to our culture, as well as the cultures of our clients, which at times can be a tough ask. Any client-facing role can be tough to fill.
Laugh or cry, what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why?
More impressed, than laugh or cry. A recent candidate had pursued a couple of long-term careers outside of recruitment but passionately wanted to get into the staffing sector. We didn’t have a specific role for him but we were impressed by his drive and passion, so offered him a temporary assignment and will shortly be hiring him on a permanent basis.
What’s the best or worst interview question you’ve ever heard? I once interviewed a salesperson who unbeknownst to me also ran his own recruitment-to recruitment company. The interview was going well and I would likely have offered him a role until I asked ‘Do you have any further questions?’ He then attempted to ‘sell’ one of his candidates. You could say he was being entrepreneurial but I just didn’t think it would work in corporate solutions sales!
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