Q&A with Andrew Hilliard, Managing Director at the Chambers Group
To celebrate our significant 10 year birthday Andrew Hilliard, Managing Director at Chambers Group is talking to Marketing Assistant, Jennifer Scorrar about his experiences during the 10 year evolution of the company.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
I have worked in both recruitment and retail for a number of years, and really felt – and still do that the recruitment sector is somewhat behind the curve in driving and understanding customer experience, and so thought there might be a gap in the market for a firm with such an ethos.
As Managing Director, can you give me an overview of what this entails?
Oh dear, other than listing a job description, one thing I have experienced over the years that is quite consistent is that owner managers (such as myself) tend be eccentric to varying levels. I suspect I am moving up that scale.
How have the Accountancy, Legal and Recruitment industries changed over the last 10 years?
This was a tougher question than I thought it would be, as I know that it has massively, but when you are in malaise of the change it is hard to quantify.
Other than the technological and legislative changes, probably the biggest impact in people behaviours towards recruitment and talent acquisition in general is (like many other things in society) social media.
What has been your proudest achievement in your career?
It’s incredibly narcissistic of me, but I can’t remember ever quite feeling as overwhelmed as when my name was called out winning ‘Businessman of the Year’. Another moment was coming up with the exceptional idea of the World Cup on Sea Charity Football Event, and with the help of an amazing team, actually seeing through to it being a resounding success.
What's your biggest business regret? - If there is one
Hiring Jennifer So.. Oh actually there have been a few worse I suppose. Probably decisions that were made too late relating to individuals that have worked here.
In terms of strategy, how far ahead do you look in terms of where the company should be going?
I have always been told off from various advisors that I probably don’t look far enough ahead in regards the detail and budgeting. I had always been of the mind that as long as we generate good revenue through quality work with good people, we will continue to develop in the right direction.
What's your favourite part of being MD?
I am actually at a stage where, as much as some might berate me otherwise, I enjoy watching the infrastructure emerge and individuals taking wider ownership and responsibilities of the business.
You do a lot for the local charity groups. Why is this?
Well, we have the privileged position of being able to give something back to our local communities.
Have you ever turned down a client?
We have many times. I do remember the first big client we essentially fired and it was incredibly liberating. In fact I would even say it helped form a new level of confidence that was a turning point in the groups’ development.
What are some of your favourite workplace cultures?
This has changed and matured over the years; which probably represents the workforce! There are many fun and engaging quirks to our own work culture, but one thing I think we all share is that we don’t let anyone get too big for their boots.
What was your background before the Chambers Group?
After and during University I undertook sales and management roles within a rapidly growing retail chain.
If you could speak to your younger self, 10 years ago, what advice would you give him?
I think the damage was already done by then…
Lastly, where did the 'Chambers' in AJ Chambers originate from?
Our first office was Weston Chambers, and my initials.