We love recruiting for ‘Tinpots’!
A couple of years ago I had crossed words with a consultant working within a business I previously worked with. We came out of a meeting with a £30m turnover engineering group having taken the job brief for a Management Accountant from the FD. The conversation went along the lines of:
Myself “Interesting role to get your teeth into”
Consultant A “Tinpot – I’m used to working with the likes of Asda”
Myself “You ******* ***** – content not appropriate for a professional social media site”
Furthermore, over the years I have seen lots of CRM databases with notes accompanying the smaller companies along the lines of “tinpot – only recruit once every 5 years” or “tinpot – no scope” “one in finance – tinpot” “lifestyle business – tinpot”………….
I appreciate that it is semantics to an extent but I love working with so called tinpots!
Cambridge dictionary translates tinpot as not important or having little value…. But when it comes to businesses recruiters often have differences in perception (and opinion!) regarding a businesses’ value. If they are an SME business with 2 people in finance that recruit once every 5 years because they appreciate and reward those 2 people then to an A&F recruiter they may be seen to have little or no immediate value…. But this is very short sighted – for us these businesses have real value… maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but likely one day….
Worth consideration is that on a grander scale – to the economy these smaller organisations have major value – in the UK according to 2016 data;
· Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).
· Total employment in SMEs was 15.7 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
· The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion, 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.
Whether the business ultimately is part of a wider group, is PE backed or is owner / family managed I enjoy partnering with businesses that operate as (and have pride in being) an SME.
The FCs and FDs I have connected with SMEs often feedback that they have been able to add value more swiftly, feel more integral and able to be genuinely involved in the strategic direction and thinking. In some cases they have had the opportunity to gain valuable equity, often they have better work life balance than in the corporate environment.
On a personal level I relish recruiting for SMEs and I always have – often these businesses allow recruiters more true ‘involvement’ in the recruitment process – they are often more able / willing to provide first hand access to the line managers / decision makers. This allows recruiters to feel able to match and shortlist more effectively and in some cases more creatively.
Glimpsing the personalities, drivers and challenges of smaller businesses and the key contacts within them helps us to do our jobs properly in my opinion – believe it or not recruiters don’t just enjoy making fees, they take enjoyment from being able to do their job well and join likeminded individuals constructively rather than through ‘hit and hope guesswork’.
Anyway – there you have it – you know what I want for Xmas this year – a large tin pot.
If you have recruitment needs in finance we would welcome the chance to speak.