BY TOBY PORTER
A recruiter who started from almost nothing at the time of the global crash in 2008 has won a business award after creating a company which now has 200 clients in 12 different countries.
Kristen O’Connell is founder and director of Superlative Recruitment, based in East Dulwich.
She won Micro Business of the Year in the Federation of Small Businesses’ Celebrating Small Business London Area Finals on 19 March 19.
Kristen, originally from New Hampshire in the US, worked in field sales after graduating from university with a degree in marketing.
She began building her sales team in Boston before moving to London in 2007.
She started her recruitment company in the UK in 2008, with just one client paying her £50 per week to write job adverts.
Overnight, she grew her client list to 10 through her original client’s connections.
She began at just the right time, because the global financial crash that year suddenly created a lot of job hunters, chasing not many vacancies.
Kristen was able to help small firms understand the recruitment process and optimise their job advert content to ensure applicants with the right skills and experiences made it to the shortlist.
This helped her client list grow up to 30 per cent faster whilst also reducing their recruitment costs by up to 15 per cent.
Since that time, she has steered the company to further growth and worked with more than 200 small and medium-sized firms in 90 cities in 12 countries on four different continents.
Kristen said: “It took a while to adjust to the cultural differences between the US and the UK, especially British humour.
“I relied on body language to help me overcome the difficulties, as well as my experience and reputation in the recruitment world.
“But if I did it again, I would hire a PA and begin offering training workshops and coaching services sooner.
“Having been self-employed since my early 20s, I love the flexibility that being my own boss gives me.
“I have a young family and I like being able to choose when to work and get the job done.
“I’m also pleased to be able to provide opportunities for others in the business to work flexibly and achieve a good work/life balance.”
Not only is Kristen continuing to expand Superlative Recruitment’s operations, she has also written a step-by-step book to help other freelancers, which is due to be published in August.
She has a real soft spot for much of her adopted city.
She said: “London is a fantastic place with a great city vibe.
I love so much of it, especially the area around London Bridge and Borough Market, and of course it’s so easy to escape to the country or coast. To relax, I’m a big fan of spa weekends and I enjoy regular family holidays – without much tech –back in New England where I grew up.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.