Take a trip down memory lane with our CEO, Jack & Director, Rory
Last month, Formula Recruitment celebrated six years of recruiting exceptional people. Six years of building client relationships that proudly separate Formula from the crowd. Six years of hiring and developing the teams from Cornwall and London, creating a culture that everyone can thrive from.
To mark this milestone, our Founder, Jack Bainger and Director, Rory Leadsom, took a trip down memory lane, reviewing their highlights and biggest moments from the last six years.
2017 was the year. After 8 years of learning the craft of recruitment, Jack took the plunge and set-up the business. Taking inspiration from his grandfather, a business owner that Jack grew up shadowing, his DNA had always been entrepreneurial. Six months later, in a shoebox office with no windows in London, fuelled on bulk-bought coffee sachets and recently joined by Rory, the goal was delivery at all costs.
“Our first placement as a company, was a DevOps Engineer for a Berlin-based dating app”, remembers Rory, “We were eager and fuelled on the belief that, together, we had the winning combination of skills. We took risks, like flying to Stockholm to secure a client who needed 150 roles filling. We won the client and flew home buzzing from the experience.”
Jack admits “This was a valuable lesson. Proving that big businesses bought into our recruitment strategy and were willing to bet on us. It wasn’t easy. Nothing about starting your own business is easy. However, in that first year, we secured a major .com that was scaling their tech team, a relationship still holding true to this day”.
Location, location, location…
The business strategy for Formula was always to simultaneously grow two offices: one in Central London, and the other in Cornwall. In 2018, Jack moved to St. Ives, leaving Rory to head up the growing London office. Shortly after, the business began to scale teams in both locations, including Marcus, our longest standing Consultant! Based in Cornwall, he spread the word around the Cornish community that a new employer was in town.
While separate in geography, the two offices still to this day, operate as one. A live stream connecting the two combined with the unique opportunity to work in both locations. It was important to Jack that Formula broke the stigma of companies operating outside of London.
“I would get the 07:00am flight from Newquay, landing in Gatwick at 07:45am and I’d be at my desk in the Victoria office by 08:30am”.
However, despite being able to offer the rare opportunity to work in both Cornwall and London, scaling their teams wasn’t always easy.
“It’s hard to build a solid culture with just a handful of people doing hard core recruitment. Our USP is having specialist recruiters, working in inch wide, mile deep verticals. But we also want to break the mould of the stereotypical recruiter. That’s challenging when you have 10 employees in 2 locations in an industry with unlimited verticals. In London, particularly, the recruitment industry is very saturated, and we’re competing with much larger companies”, cites Rory.
“We learned a lot from this phase, about being leaders and employers. We’re not going to be a good fit for everyone, and some people aren’t going to be a good fit for us. It’s the same in every company, but more so in start-ups who are still defining themselves and their culture. People came and went in that time, but we learned more about the kind of culture we wanted to build and now we know how to promote that to future hires”, says Jack.
People are at the heart of Formula…
They are the product, the client, and the company. By 2020, some Formula Consultants were taking home 6-figure salaries, something that both Rory and Jack have immense respect and pride for.
“Our business is people, and that includes the people we hire, train, invest in and promote through the company. If anything happened to the business, it would be our teams that would suffer. Therefore, we ensure that there is at least one year’s worth of salaries locked away”, states Rory.
“Then the pandemic happened. A completely unprecedented situation, but we were safe. We knew we could pay the team, we didn’t need to put anyone on furlough, and the market only took a hit in the first few months, before picking up again rapidly. Our top customers also stuck by us during those challenging times”, he adds.
“The reason we started the company was because we felt we could do recruitment the right way. A way that not only delivers a new, fresh service to our customers, but also enables us to reach our personal goals and provide a lifestyle for our team members to fulfil their own personal and career objectives”, says Jack.
Despite the pandemic, Formula came out of 2021 in a strong position, having added their in-house recruitment service and sister company, Team Cadence, to their armoury.
The “Jack and Rory Show”…
Jack cites a quote that his dad once wrote in a card to him when he started the business [see image]. As seen in many start-ups, the first 5 years of Formula were “the Jack and Rory show”, which is to say that, month on month they were in the trenches, they brought in the most business and were very much on the tools. However, as Formula enters its 6th year, Jack reflects on an important, but difficult transformation they’ve faced.
“We came to a point when we had to make a decision. We realised it was time for us to step back into more strategical roles in order to scale the business. Instead we’re now working on our teams and individuals, giving them the space and training to thrive and become leaders in our business”, says Rory.
“It’s not easy letting go!” Jack laughs, before adding “Nothing about starting your first business is easy, and we learn as we grow. This is a big step for us, and a huge step for the business. We’re still a close-knit high performing team, but now we’re supporting and hiring individuals into management positions, training others to expand their desks and encouraging initiatives across the board, rather than being the first to jump on the phone and problem solve. It’s not easy, but it’s exciting.”
In late 2022, both the Cornwall and London teams moved into brand new offices. The London team now reside in the Victoria WeWork (aka, Google HQ), while the new Cornwall office has been built bespoke for the ever-growing Formula HQ, just outside the beautiful St. Ives. Of course, teams from both offices often switch it up for a mini work break in sunny Cornwall or vibing London.
“Optimisation!” They agree. As the 2022/23 financial year ends, the year of transformation, Formula moves into a new year of optimisation…
The official word for 2023/24 represents the key target for this year, which is to settle into the new processes, team structures and deliver an exceptional service to customers. Existing and future leaders of the business are taking part in the Seventh-Wave Leadership Programme and building out their teams. Consultants are being empowered to manage and grow their own desks, working their way up the leader boards. All while Jack and Rory focus on implementing and managing the new business strategy for the next 6 years and beyond.
Want to find out more about how Formula can become an extension of your business, providing specialist technology and leadership recruitment services, in order to grow your business? Give us a call today or pop us an email.
Looking for the next step in your career? From leadership positions in Product and Project Management to vertical-specific Software Engineers, your future is safe in our hands. Check out our Jobs page or get in touch to grow your network and be notified of any upcoming roles for you.