Guy Bevington – Founder of TrueNorth

RecruitHub connected with Guy Bevington at a pivotal moment in his career in 2019.

After 10+ year successfully scaling technology recruitment teams for one of the UK’s fastest-growing agencies, Guy was looking for a new challenge.

Tired of working grueling weeks and sacrificing time with his young family to build someone else’s firm, he was searching for a way to rediscover his passion for the recruitment industry and take control of his agenda, finances and long-term wealth creation.

Two years on, he describes the experience of launching TrueNorth, what drove him to start, and why it’s a “night and day” difference between running his own company and life as an employee…

What is your background in recruitment, and how did the idea for launching TrueNorth begin?
I started my own company for a few specific reasons.
When I left my previous company after 10 years I was really disenfranchised with recruitment in general.
I interviewed at quite a few different places and got offered a few roles, but it felt that no matter where I went it was a re-badged, similar culture of ‘boiler room’ sales environments and valuing profits above people.
I felt that the only way I could really take control and build a culture that I was proud of was to start my own business.
I’ve also got a young family, and the most important thing to me was that my kids grew up and that they knew who I was and had spent some time with me.
In my previous job, I’d get up on a Monday morning knowing that I wouldn’t really see my kids again until Saturday morning.
I was missing out on chunks of their life – I was really keen to control my diary and have the work-life balance that I wanted.
How long had you known you wanted to start? What delayed you?
I knew for a long time that I wasn’t happy in my previous role, and I felt quite stale in what I was doing.
When I started interviewing at other places it further verified that I would just be doing the same job somewhere else, making somebody else rich and lining their pockets.
I soon thought “what is the point of going somewhere else, I might as well do this on my own.”

When you came to launch, how many options did you look at?

I spoke to 4 or 5 different companies, including a number of investors, platform providers and back office-only solutions.

One of the things I was clear on was that I know the parts of the job I enjoy, and the parts I don’t!

I wanted to focus on doing the customer-facing portion – that’s the part of the job I’m best at and passionate about, so I did want to partner with a firm that could give me the infrastructure to take that headache away.

I didn’t necessarily vibe from a personality or rapport point of view with the other options I looked at. They’re people you’re going to be working closely with, so that’s very important.

The other thing that struck me was that a lot of the vehicles where you’re “starting your own business” didn’t actually feel like a lot of it was truly your business. It felt like they still had a huge amount of ownership and control, and for me that was like going to work for someone else.

One of the things I was really impressed with about RecruitHub was that the emphasis was on “this is your business, you call the shots”. 

They’re there as a partner to help you succeed, but they respect the fact that you know what you’re doing when it comes to recruitment, and they’re there as an enabler rather than ‘Big Brother’ looking over your shoulder.

What were the first few weeks like?

Daunting at first!

Despite being in the industry for 13 years, when you’re going out there on your own there’s always a question mark…

But very quickly, I just found it very exciting – I got into the swing of things straight away.

It’s never plain sailing, but that’s part of the journey.

It’s what I wanted, I wanted a new challenge, and starting TrueNorth has been the most enjoyable couple of years I’ve had in recruitment.

How does you experience of building your team at TrueNorth compare to your career building teams for someone else?

I’m just infinitely happier!

The biggest thing I wanted to change was getting up in the morning and looking forward to work – doing something with a purpose.

I’d been rudderless for a long time, told to make money for the purpose of making money, and it didn’t drive me at all.

Building something with a real purpose and value is everything for me.

How quickly were you able to focus on revenue and sales after launching on the RecruitHub platform?

Pretty much immediately.

Once the brand was launched, there was nothing stopping me focusing full-time on the parts of the job I wanted to focus on, which was billing and doing deals.

What was your experience of sourcing investment to launch?

Really smooth.

I had a pot of money that I could use to start my own business, but I also wanted to de-risk a lot of it and get support from investors in order to draw a salary from the business as I ramped up.

RecruitHub were instrumental in that process, helping to build the business model and determine the right amount of investment to take, source the capital and manage the investment process.

They took a lot of the heavy lifting off my plate, and the whole process was smooth and pain-free.

How would you rate the technology you’re running your business on through RecruitHub?

One of the things I’ve been most impressed with in the offering is how pro-active RecruitHub has been in offering new tech that can augment our service and increase our delivery.

Having been in the industry for 10+ years, I felt I was up to speed with the latest tech, but actually I often get contacted by RecruitHub about a new tool that I’ve never heard of before.

Knowing that there is someone out there with their eye on the technology market, doing all the due diligence for us is massively advantageous.

There have probably been 3 or 4 bits of technology that have been introduced to me that I’d never come across before and which have had revolutionary impact on our ability to deliver.

The ongoing support has been excellent as well.

You’ve partnered with several firms in the RecruitHub network to help them fill roles in your niche – how valuable has it been to have access to a broader network?

It’s been excellent.

I’ve partnered with multiple different companies within the RecruitHub network to either help them fill their roles or them help us fill ours, and it’s a real value-add to have that network of really great recruiters on hand.

Everyone’s different and everyone has different market focuses, but one of the great things is that everyone I’ve met within the RecruitHub network have been really great people – nice, like-minded, so you instantly vibe with them when you meet with them.

There’s huge value in partnering with other businesses, it can be a big win-win and it’s been something I’ve really enjoyed doing.

What advice would you give to recruiters sitting on the fence about starting up?

There’s never going to be a good time to do it.

You can always talk yourself out of doing it.

I was someone who very much had ‘golden handcuffs’ on in my previous role, and that kept me back for a lot longer than it should have done.

It’s just absolutely night and day from a monetary and a fulfillment perspective why you would go and do your own thing.

It’s always got to be your decision – but I always looked at it as “what’s the worst case scenario? You try it, it fails… and then you go and get another job in a recruitment company anyway, which is what you’re doing now.”

What have you got to lose by at least giving it a go?

I’m a big believer in “fortune favours the brave”, and I think if you give it a go, you’ll probably surprise yourself by what you’re actually capable of doing!

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