The people and personalities at &us are fundamental to who we are as a business, so we spoke to the man who oversees all our hiring, Alex Sisan, to find out how he’s seen the company grow and how he thinks work might work in the years ahead.
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What’s your work background?
I’ve definitely been on a journey – from design, to marketing, and now people.
I studied Digital Media Design at uni but I didn’t want to be a graphic designer so instead looked for roles within marketing design. I found an amazing recruitment company where I could do just that – I was responsible for a lot of the graphics for social media as well as helping build two new brands under the umbrella company. I was intrigued by two things; helping grow and develop businesses and seeing them thrive, and the recruitment/people world. When I got the opportunity to work at &us, I was able to flex both of those muscles. I started at &us by helping solve clients problems but quite quickly it was apparent I was more interested in helping solve &us’ problems and finding great people to join us.
Why did you choose to come and work at &us?
I was one of the first people to be hired. I really bought into the vision and believed that whilst the company was only in its infancy, I saw the potential and wanted to be a part of that journey.
I remember telling the recruitment agency I didn’t want to work for a start-up, I wanted to work for a big company with a big team so I could learn from multiple people. After some persuading from the recruiter, I agreed to have an interview with Rob, one of our co-founders. I had a really awesome conversation with him, the interview was very different to any I’d had before –Rob was really human in his approach, and it didn’t feel like an interview. I saw there were some special people already at &us that I could learn from and probably learn a whole lot more than at a big company. We are now over 30 permanent employees, with a sizeable bank of regular contractors, we have incredibly talented people, work with brilliant clients and are looking to grow.
What does your morning routine look like?
If you asked me a year ago, I would have probably laughed and said I don’t have one but I have got into a little habit recently.
Starts with a decent shower, followed by a strong coffee and two soft boiled eggs. I also have a little red Toy Poodle, Winnie, so I make sure she has been out in the garden and prep her breakfast.
After getting ready, I either go for a walk around the block with Winnie or set myself up in my office at home and jump on zoom with colleagues. Whilst we are virtual, we have set out time to have fun, random and sometimes silly chat before getting into the work. It’s our way of putting in that ‘water cooler’ time that you would have had if you walked into an office.
What does an average working day have in store for you?
As one of our coaches, Heli, has said before “I don’t think we have those!”
It’s super varied, could be reviewing CV’s, talking to candidates, setting up interviews, kicking off new roles we need to hire, discussing who we are going to hire or even helping set up the onboarding of new people.
As we are a small ops team, we muck in and help each other with all the bits that involve running a business. So I could be sorting out contracts for freelancers, planning an away day, booking holidays, helping with pay reviews and 360 feedback sessions.
What’s the best thing about your job?
It’s got to be the people that I work with, whether that’s my colleagues, prospective candidates or our clients. I get to work with people that are super smart, that clearly have a passion for what they do and help them to work with like minded people.
Also, I like that I could do my job wherever in the world. I could be in London one day and down by the coast in sunny Worthing the next.
How has your work day changed in the last year: What new things will you be keeping? And what can’t you wait to go back to?
I have actually worked from home for the past 2 and a bit years so when the pandemic hit and we were all made to work remotely, things didn’t really change for me.
I guess the difference is that everyone is on the same playing field as me now though. Previously, I felt that I was missing out on information and had to make a conscious effort to keep up with the work. Now, everyone is in the same boat, all the communication with one another is in the same place so it makes my life easier.
I don’t think you can replace human contact though, I miss going up to the office every other week and seeing everyone and making sure my day was really valuable. I feel that will come back in time though!
Predictions for the next year? What will clients want most of in the next 12-24 months?
I think work has changed for good and for the better. I do think there will be a lot of companies that have been forced to change and that’s a good thing.
Although I think companies, teams and people will make time to do things in person and in real life such as workshops or collaborative sessions, I think that the ‘office’ environment has changed. Before it was to do work and not get distracted, whereas now it’s there to build relationships and use each others brains to solve problems.
What is the most random thing on your desk?
Either dog poo bags or a tape measure.
Who was your last email from?
A potential candidate for one of the roles we are looking for. I gave him a few time slots which Paul (one of our co-founders) could do for a first interview.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Just be yourself and run your own race.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
Always wanted to be a pilot. I think it was due to being told I could never be one as I had squints and glasses. I am definitely the type of person that if someone tells me I can’t do something, I want to do it more.
How do you relax outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with loved ones. Whether that’s going for a walk with my wife-to-be and Winnie, going to the pub with friends or having a nice roast with family. Although if I could, I would spend my time either up the mountain skiing/snowboarding or soaking up some rays and snorkeling on a white sandy beach (with friends and family, of course)
What would be your super power if you had one?
Teleportation. Imagine being able to go anywhere in a moment’s notice – BOSH!
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