My Brilliant Recruitment Career – Simon Pearce
“I get to go to some awesome places and meet some super-interesting people”
What was your earliest dream job?
A pilot – at 15 I joined the air cadets for a few years and watched Top Gun. I’ve logged about 35 hours in a light aircraft under instruction. My plan was to move to the Caribbean and fly tourists on island hops around the peninsula.
What was your first job in recruitment and how did you get into it?
I registered with an agency for [construction] site work. I worked on site for about a year as a temporary worker and was offered a role in the agency’s office as receptionist.
Who was your role model in life or recruitment?
Elon Musk – I admire his ‘never-give-up’ attitude and the margins of risk that he operates under. He reignites our desire to explore and achieve the impossible, making it possible.
What do you love most about your current role?
Engagement with people is what it is all about. I’m on site every week and love nothing more than walking on to a project, hearing about industry experiences, the historical elements of the building... I get to go to some awesome places and meet some super-interesting people.
What would you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?
I once donned a pair of glasses, a briefcase and transformed myself into Simon, health & safety man. There was a key project in Nottingham at the Experian building. I entered a room with 30 chairs. All the subcontractors sat down; the guy at the end of the table was the one I wanted to meet – let’s call him ‘Dave’. He started to work his way around the table and asked if I could tell him about the roof systems, as he believed that was why I was there. I told him I wanted to meet him as I work in construction recruitment. He asked how I got in and I told him I used my initiative. He said come back next week and he’d speak with me for 10 minutes.
What’s your top job to fill at the moment?
We have key workstreams in retail and distribution needing senior-level project managers inside the M25.
What’s your signature dish?
I don’t cook. But if I did – stew and dumplings, even in the summer!
Laugh or cry: what did your most memorable candidate make you want to do and why?
I was on site and encountered a lad who told me he was just a labourer. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to be site manager. We asked the site manager what he did to get the job, and he told us he went to night school when he was an electrician, qualified and gained experience as a site manager. The labourer in question became an assistant site manager 18 months later and works with us freelance – not bad for just a labourer.
What’s the best or worst interview question you’ve ever heard?
I asked a candidate: what’s your biggest weakness? He said: “Big Mac and fries!”
What would your theme tune be?
You’re the Best from The Karate Kid film.
Simon Pearce managing director, Simon Nicholas Associates