From a home office with no intention to expand, to an ever-growing revolutionising recruitment agency that has no desire to stop, Glu Recruit is a company you should know about.

unLTD’s Rachel Measures spoke to founder and managing director Rob Shaw to find out more about the company’s recent growth, their innovative approach to partnerships and how being down-to-earth is perhaps the most disruptive thing a company needs to do in 2022.

When Glu Recruit was started by founder and managing director Rob Shaw in 2016 from his own home, he never expected the business to be where it is now – expanding rapidly, registering a record number of candidates in 2022, as well as building more new client partnerships than ever before.

Aiming to use his extensive knowledge after a decade in the recruitment industry in Yorkshire and the Midlands, Rob set up the business not to revolutionise the market or with any insanely wild idea to go against the grain, but simply because he wanted more time at home to support his family as he welcomed in two newly adopted children, a four-year-old boy and his 11-month-old sister.

Wanting what he called a ‘lifestyle’ business, set up at home from just an IKEA desk, a laptop, and a phone, he always viewed the venture as something that would stay small, simply allowing him the flexibility to do the school drop-offs and pickups while still paying the bills. That’s where Glu Recruit started.

With over 50 years’ combined experience within the recruitment industry and a drive to challenge the norm, Glu, an independent recruitment agency based in Rotherham, is there to help employers and job seekers, primarily in the Sheffield City Region, find their perfect match by delivering exceptional recruitment solutions.

Rob said: “Glu grew organically over time to a point where there’s 14 of us now. I’ll be honest, that was never the intention at all, but we’ve gone with it as we’ve grown and while the opportunities are there.”

Now, with their sixth birthday fast approaching this month, the business has evolved vastly and is looking forward to its next phase as it opens a second office in the centre of Sheffield.

Rob added: “I’m always looking for opportunities for us to grow as well as provide more opportunities to the people who work here. We must keep developing and retaining them, and the Sheffield office is an excellent part of this.

“We’ve placed candidates all over the country and some in Europe as well and we do temporary, permanent, or contracted recruitment across our specialist areas, and most recently, we’ve set up a specialist construction arm of the business too.

“Our new offices, based in Electric Works, will provide a great foundation for us to do more business in the Sheffield area and, much like the construction arm of the business, it’s something we might be able to replicate in the future in other towns and cities locally.”

When asked what else is happening for Glu Recruit, Rob joked that he doesn’t sleep much.

He said: “There’s so much happening at the moment; we’re always looking for ways to be disruptive as a business and challenge the norm of the industry and the stereotypes that come with being in recruitment.

“We’re always trying to be fresh, modern and have the best, most current and up-to-date processes in place to ensure that people are getting the best candidates in the most efficient way.

“To make that more accessible for people, we expose them to the best jobs on the market to save them time and hassle, but we also set up excellent partnerships and collaborations with other brands and businesses. For example, we work very closely with unLTD, and they sponsor our Office Heroes Awards, which happen every December.

“Most recently, however, we collaborated with a Sheffield business called Whyy Change. They provide accredited training courses for businesses across the region. Through this, we’re looking at value-added and not just transactional recruitment – always looking at what else we can offer companies to ensure they get the best people for their vacancies and hold onto them.

“Whatever I say might not sound particularly against the grain, but for us, the thing that is our primary disruptive innovator is our down-to-earth, personable and non-corporate recruitment style. A lot of other recruitment agencies are very transactional, almost CV farming-esque, and are focused on experience and skills rather than matching them to the company based on culture and potential.

“Skills and experience are important, but what is truly great is finding a person with that magic formula who will fit in with the culture of the business. Ultimately, they will have the best chance of staying long-term and sticking. That’s where the ‘Glu’ thing came from – the stick of the placement – and the bond between our clients and our candidates.

“As part of this, we try our best to be personable, friendly and approachable. Our website has been designed to be very intentionally cartoony and humour-led using local language – we’ve even used ‘ey up’ in our email address. We’re not the kind of business that has two people on a website shaking hands, wearing suits with their briefcases in hand.”

It’s clear that Glu Recruit intentionally aims to break that norm and bring a new lease of life to the recruitment industry. The way the company is so unapologetically down-to-earth is precisely how they remain disruptive and forward-thinking.

Things have changed massively since the COVID-19 – with so many businesses now ditching the strict dress code and adopting a more casual approach – and Glu’s relatable style really reflects this. Even on their website avatars, they don’t hide their employee’s personalities, and Rob’s own avatar shows off his tattoos.

He said: “Without sounding arrogant, I think if you’re the kind of person that would take offence to me having my tattoos on our website or my email signature, we’re probably just not right to work together. We’re just us, and being approachable and working collaboratively with businesses, rather than just order taking and ticking boxes, is truly the most important thing.

“We’re very consultative in the way that we do business. In the current marketplace, where it’s very candidate-short and vacancy-rich, we’ve got to work closely with employers on filling their vacancies. It’s a very, very difficult market right now, so while an organisation might be going out to market for a particular skill or specific experience, it just might not be available.

“That’s where working closely, collaboratively and innovatively with businesses is useful. We can figure out what other options might be available to them and make sure they fill their vacancy gap in the best way.

“We can also direct candidates to training from Whyy Change to get them where they need to be, or we can help someone internally at a company progress, helping employers think outside the box by considering different possibilities within their organisations. For example, we might more easily backfill a position left behind by someone progressing into the original role we were trying to fill.

“We’ve seen accelerated growth over the last 12 to 24 months. We never sit around waiting for things to happen; we take a lot of chances and make things happen.

“Looking back to lockdown, many recruitment agencies scaled back in staffing numbers, which made sense, but I decided to scale up instead. It was a very brave decision at the time, and some people would have said we were borderline stupid for it, but there was an opportunity to be had because many agencies were nervous about retaining their teams.

“We continue to utilise the opportunities that appear. So, we take chances, try to be innovative, and do the unexpected, but it’s always thought out and seems to be working for us so far.

“Similarly, we work closely with our charity partners. We’ve been supporting Paces for the last couple of years, and we’ve helped them launch a business club named ‘Club 300’ – we’re one of 12 founding members – and it supports them while further expanding our brand in the business community.

“As well as this, we’re working with Cavendish Cancer Care on their Master Cutler Challenge, which launched on March 9, helping raise money through various activities.

“What is very clear is that we’re always open to opportunities, particularly those for the greater good.

“We’re really excited for everything right now, and to celebrate that, we’re having a sixth birthday and Sheffield office launch party at Steel Yard Kelham on July 14. We can’t wait to get loads of businesses in the room – those we work with and those we don’t – to celebrate such a big landmark for us.”

Glu Recruit’s culture continues to be centred around its core company values –  collaborative, personable, committed, distinct, and the long-term stick of their relationships and placements.

Their experienced team recruit permanent, contract, and temporary workers on a nationwide basis across key sectors such as office support, sales, creative and digital, IT, warehouse and driving.

If you are looking for a new challenge in a job or a bright new spark to recruit for your team, contact the team and let Glu Recruit exceed your expectations. Head to their website www.glurecruit.co.uk or get in touch via eyup@glurecruit.co.uk.

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