This month The Management Recruitment Group (MRG)’s Michael Hewlett celebrates twenty-five years in recruitment, during this time specialising in Higher Education Facilities Management.
We are delighted that in Michael’s long experience, he has chosen to spend his most recent fifteen years with us at MRG.
Twenty-five years in recruitment and fifteen years with MRG are significant milestones. We wish to mark these important anniversaries by learning more about Michael’s unique viewpoint on an industry he has an extensive history with and his personal story and interests that have influenced the direction of his long career.
What did you do before recruitment?
I studied at the University of Leicester and left with a 2:1 in History and Politics.
What first interested you in recruitment?
I took a year out after university and carried out a 6-month contract with the local job centre. I loved speaking to people and discussing their futures and felt that recruitment could be the ideal career. I joined the graduate training programme at Hays where I spent nearly a decade.
The average tenure in a UK recruitment company is four years, what makes your experience at MRG so different?
I believe the secret is working with colleagues who share your values. For me these values are passion, transparency and wanting to be viewed as the industry leaders. The board and teams at MRG have always wanted to be considered the ‘go to’ recruitment partner. We view ourselves as disrupters and being deliberately different. We recruit internally on personality and approach rather than work experience which has led to a diverse team.
What do you enjoy about recruitment?
Having been in FM recruitment for 25 years, I have placed Facilities Managers who are now Directors of Estates. To know I have played a small part in this process is so rewarding in terms of job satisfaction. You have the ability to change the life direction of an individual and their family with their new appointment. I take this responsibility incredibly seriously.
You have been appointing higher education estates professionals for 25 years, do you have a particular interest in this sector?
Yes, very much so. Higher education changes lives, offering students new ideas and opportunities to meet people with similar passions. In the longer term, it provides people with routes into better career opportunities and increases their earning potential and ability to achieve upward social mobility.
Higher education is an area that the UK should feel proud of as some of the best higher education institutes in the world are UK based, particularly in medical research.
I had cancer in 2014 and my treatment was pioneered from a study undertaken by the researchers at UCL and Cancer Research UK. The proposed lower radiation levels significantly reduced the risk of secondary cancer without compromising the effectiveness of the primary treatment.
I recently partnered with the Institute of Cancer Research for a Director of Estates appointment which was a career highlight. To know that our placement would be providing the facilities that would save future lives was incredibly rewarding.
Looking at your LinkedIn you seem to have a particular interest in historic buildings. Can you tell us more about this?
Yes, I regularly post architecture that I find beautiful or have a compelling history.
My interest stems from studying history at university and supports my interest in facilities management, as FM professionals are the unsung heroes who keep these stunning buildings functioning and thriving.
The images I share are primarily in London as this is where the MRG office is based, and our capital contains stunning architecture. However, in pre-covid days I enjoyed travelling to universities with unique or old architecture and loved taking in the sights. Sadly, since covid, people lean towards online meetings, and yes, it is more convenient, but I miss exploring new universities and the cities and towns they are in.
How have things in recruitment changed in general?
Technology has changed recruitment beyond all recognition. In 1998 we would phone clients to discuss candidates and fax CVs. A lot of the communication is now via email and online through Teams etc.
Technology has made the ‘time to hire’ quicker but I also feel the process has lost some of the personal touch
How have things in your sector specifically changed?
Covid from an FM industry perspective has raised the profile of the sector and its importance. It has led to more Teams interactions rather than face to face though, which I do miss. I always loved visiting university campuses and seeing the vibrant communities.
We were recently visited by your daughter for work experience, what does she think about what you do?
She is proud of the organisations we represent with many being world famous and ‘household’ names like the University of Oxford, Natural History Museum and Parliament etc.
She was blown away by the energy of the team on her work experience and their attention to detail.
On reflection she is less keen on the commute and long-hours though…
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I am fanatical about mindfulness and well-being. Recruitment is a stressful career and its essential I have the resilience with an effective work/life balance. I hope to be a role model for the business in this regard.
In addition to lots of walks with family, I have recently taken up golf. Ironically a pursuit more stressful than recruitment!
Happy 25 year anniversary Mike!
Keep in touch by following Michael Hewlett on LinkedIn.