Ross Benham | Director Of Orion Electrotech
Engineering and Manufacturing
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Our Engineering and Manufacturing stakeholders will always be the core and beating heart of Orion Electrotech Reading, having built an exceptional reputation over 26 years we will continue to service and support what we see as the beating heart of the UK economy through our recruitment solutions. Accompanying this, we have spent the last few years expanding our markets and solution offerings which we will continue to accelerate as the demand for skilled talent is unabating. The teams and I are focused on building an industry-leading, technology-led talent solutions brand which will be unrivalled. Implementing talent solutions for our clients has shown the need for something new in the sector and Orion are providing this right now. Over the next 5 years, we want to build on this ensuring we not only enable our customers to attract and retain the best talent but also to support them in bringing new talent into the sector. With ambitious growth plans we will spread our wings further afield than our 2 offices, with the target being to open a new office in the UK in 2023 and then further afield into the US.
What keeps you driven?
"At the core, it’s my fear of failure. With 2 young children who I believe can achieve anything, I want to show them this is possible and not be asked by them, why did you not?! I also have an undoubting belief in people and what we can all achieve, my staff are like my family and I will do everything to support them in achieving their personal goals and ambitions.
What’s your story?
"I left school at 16 having met with the end of school careers advisor, in their office was an advert for a company called Westcoast looking for the 18-year-old 6th formers to apply for junior sales positions. I always knew I wanted to go into sales and I applied for the role a number of months before I took my GCSEs. 2 interviews and a trial day in my Dad’s suit later I got offered the job, I was in my Maths class at the time when I got the call. I joined Westcoast in June, foregoing my last ever 6-week summer holiday and before I even knew what my GCSE results were. I spent 2 years at Westcoast which was an excellent introduction to the business world and sales in general. Knowing I wanted to move my career on I joined a recruitment agency in Reading which was a complete eye opener to a formidable world of sales, a whole other level to what I’d been used to. I immediately loved it and knew it was for me. Still living at home and my Dad being the owner of a recruitment agency, I remember speaking with him in the kitchen about an opportunity to join Orion. I joined in January 2008 working for the Sales Manager, who I then worked with for 11 years, learning my craft and really stretching my legs in roles such as business development, management, leadership, coaching and mentoring. I worked my way up through the business to my role now as the Managing Director of our Reading office."
When you need to advise, where do you go?
"4 sources, my wife, my Mum & Dad (could call that 5 sources), the RDLC and the exceptional Trevor Pinder. Without this collective, I would not have achieved what I have, certainly in the last 3 years. I’m extremely fortunate to have a hugely supportive partner, my wife Zara. She’s ridden the highs and lows with me and we’ve built an amazing life together. The RDLC has been outstanding, a collective of 300 recruitment business leaders that offer unbiased support and advice any time you need it. Trevor Pinder has been my main man for the past year, he’s helped me through a wide array of topics and situations which is helping build the foundations of Orion’s future. And then my Mum and Dad, a formidable pair that have achieved so much together and are always there to offer me the advice and input I need, even if I don’t want to hear it."
What 5 words would your family use to describe you?
"I actually messaged my wife to ask her and this was her response, Passionate, Compassionate, Motivated, Driven and Innovative."
If you were starting in recruitment now, what would you do differently?
"I would be niche sector or discipline-focused, it’s the fastest route to becoming knowledgeable and influential in your space. I spent too many years in the early days looking at too wide a variety of industries meaning I didn’t have the knowledge to really build a business faster than we are now. Additionally, I’d scale the business far quicker than we did back when I joined. At the time I didn’t have the influence or knowledge to do this but if I knew what I knew now back in 2008 I’d action the growth plans we have now, then."
What are your top 5 tips for an individual who wants to be a recruiter?
"1) Commit to this as your career. It’s not a job, it’s a career embedded in your life. The sooner you change your mindset to understand this the quicker you will be successful.
2) There is no substitute for hard work, coming in every day and putting in the graft is critical to you achieving your goals. Unless you're lucky enough to win the lottery, there is no route around a successful life than putting the work in.
3) Find out your why and continuously ask this question as it changes as your life does. This is important to get you through the tough days, also knowing that something doesn’t last forever will help you get through the difficult spots.
4) Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Recruitment isn’t easy and you need to continuously challenge and push yourself.
5) Have fun and enjoy it. Everything is something to learn from, good bad, high low. Mental strength is not something to be underestimated, recruitment can be an extremely rewarding career but it does come with its challenges so bring a smile in with you every day."