Get to know… Nicky Harrison

What do you do at MRG?

I am a Resourcing Manager for the International Team. The International practice currently spans the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, and is a joint venture between MRG UK and MRG Global. Its role is to broaden our scope to attract the worlds’ top talent for our international construction, development, and property clients.

Current international mandates include GCC giga-projects and master-planned community developments, as well as large-scale infrastructure delivery in the MENA region.

With my 20 years of recruitment experience both in the UK and in South Africa and across a variety of sectors, I add value to the team with my knowledge of finance, professional services and international recruitment and relocations.

I also recently returned to MRG, having previously worked with the business from 2007 – 2009 as a Practice Manager; it’s great to see how the company has evolved and flourished over the years.

How did you get into recruitment and why?

I had been in a couple of sales positions in London; one was selling Fred Perry apparel in Harrods and the other working for the Carphone Warehouse and selling mobile phones (mobile phones were new and still in their heyday, as electric cars are today). A few of my friends worked in the recruitment industry and were doing very well financially.  The concept of matching a candidate to the right role, company and culture appealed to me, as well as the consulting and advising part of the job. I sent my CV out everywhere but lacked in the telesales experience.

Eventually it was a company called Malla (Rail, Construction & Built Environment Specialists) who invited me to an open day. Each year they employed six people for their graduate training programme, and I was lucky enough to be one of them.

What are you most proud about that you have achieved in your career to date?

That I have had the opportunity to appoint some outstanding people into senior management and Executive positions in the UK and South Africa. I have been fortunate and blessed to have had such a colourful and interesting career in positions that has allowed me to live an acquired lifestyle and travel to different countries, understanding people’s culture and traditions.

What energises you about working in this sector?

Extending my global reach and network beyond my comfort zone and to what I have been used to doing. It is also new and exciting as there are so many exhilarating projects in operation in the Middle East and North Africa. I also love to travel and whilst I’ve not visited Asia yet, I hope to get out to visit our Kuala Lumpur office and to Saudi Arabia.

What’s the biggest thing that’s changed in recruitment since you started?

Some of the main differences are the introduction of AI, algorithms, and LinkedIn. Also, the key voices in the industry have changed; when I first started my recruitment career in 2001, we watched Tony Byrne videos! Todays trusted advisors, coaches and respected voices across the global recruitment and professional services industry, that I listen to, are Simon Sinek, Greg Savage and Mark Whitby.

What do you think the biggest misconception people have about you is?

I would not know, probably best to ask them.

What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?

That I adore the Arts – beautiful paintings, Ballet, and Dance. I studied a Teachers Diploma in Ballet at the University of Cape Town and worked a couple of contracts dancing on Cruise Ships around The Mediterranean and Caribbean. Three of my favourite upcoming South African artists are Swain Hoogevorst, Jenna Wessels and Alexia Vogel. I also enjoy a spot of gardening in the sunshine.

What’s the best advice anyone has every given you?

Always take note of how a person speaks to and treats a waiter or waitress. The concept is also called “The Waiter Test”. This test basically works by revealing an insight into a person’s true character based on how they treat restaurant waiters (or waitresses), or other customer service staff.

Another one, “Get up, dress up, show up”.

What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?

Generous, high-energy, and strategic.

And finally, who would play you in the movie about your life?

Charlize Theron. She is from my hometown, Benoni in South Africa, she is versatile, brilliant and an Oscar winner.

Get in touch with Nicky for an informal chat about how she can help you and your recruitment needs.

Request a proposal