Being the ambitious leader, Natasha comes from a very strong entrepreneurial background. After serving in multiple roles in various companies, Natasha decided to take on her dream job of starting her own company- being the Executive Search Firm.
Featuring in The Enterprise World’s this issue of Top 5 Successful Entrepreneurs To Watch In 2022, let us unfold Natasha’s journey with this interview.
1. Brief us about your journey at the Oliver Sanderson, what inspired you to start the company?
I left a comfortable job as a recruiter to go it alone and set up my own company. It was a leap of faith, but it was always a dream of mine to build something important and lead a team. I come from a very entrepreneurial community, and I knew that I could make a wider impact as a business leader. People questioned whether it was the right thing to do, but I took the risk. I knew it was the right thing to do, and I have never looked back.
I started Oliver Sanderson in 2011. I left a great job, sold my car to consolidate my savings, and set up an office in the dining room. What started as one woman on a laptop has grown into an international business at the cutting edge of executive search, working with big clients, winning awards, and making a difference internationally!
2. What are the initial challenges you faced and what are the reasons behind company’s long-standing success?
The first two years are especially difficult when starting a new business – you need to get your systems and processes in place, build a good team, refine your market proposition, and begin to establish a reputation. Each of these steps is extremely challenging, and financial pressures can overwhelm some entrepreneurs at this stage.
Oliver Sanderson overcame these challenges by hiring great colleagues, focusing on brand building, and working around the clock on our first assignments to make the best possible impression on our early clients. Several of those early clients have stayed with us ever since, and every successful assignment led to numerous referrals and new business leads. Things snowballed quickly, but it was all about making a strong start.
Being specific with your market proposition is probably the most important part of the initial journey as an entrepreneur.
3. What are the products or services the company focuses on? How are your services different from those in the market?
Oliver Sanderson is an executive search firm with a difference, combining experience and expertise with innovation and fresh thinking. Specializing in permanent and interim assignments across a range of industries, we solve recruitment headaches and D&I challenges for our clients, going the extra mile to ensure success. HR and Business Change have become particular specialisms of our research team in recent years.
Our pioneering digital solutions set us apart from the competition. With our innovative suite of digital apps, including Snapp – the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs platform with exclusive Amazon Alexa integration – we are leading the way in discovering the next generation of business leaders.
4. Being a successful leader, please share your views on current business scenario across globe after Covid19 pandemic.
The global pandemic has had a major impact on our daily business operations, but we have managed to survive and thrive since the first lockdown. Our firm has had to adapt to meet new challenges, becoming more flexible in our delivery models and transitioning to digital platforms through our in-house recruitment software Snapp and the OS Executive app. Thanks to our flexibility, we have managed to grow and expand our team.
In my view, the recruitment industry has already undergone a process of transformation triggered by the pandemic. We are now seeing a candidate-led market – talented candidates are in demand, and they are now setting their own terms, especially with regard to flexible working arrangements.
There is no longer any obligation to commute, or spend the whole working week in the office, and companies are building diverse, multi-talented teams operating across different countries and different time zones. There is now a bigger global talent pool to choose from, but the competition for talent is also increased. So it’s a candidate-led market, and the recruitment businesses is booming across many different sectors.
5. Why it is said that the workforce plays a vital role in every business’s growth? Please tell us about your team.
Our team has driven our growth from day one, and I work hard every day to keep my team motivated and engaged with our vision and our journey.
As a leader, it is vital that I am always challenging, supporting, and inspiring them. At Oliver Sanderson, no two weeks are ever the same – we are always working on new roles with new organisations, and making new connections and relationships with candidates. It is this aspect of our work that ensures that we are constantly learning, keeping the working week fresh and challenging.
We set monthly and annual targets to hit for our team across a number of areas, from sales to social media engagement. But we also support each other, understanding that growth isn’t always linear, and we sometimes learn more from failure than from success. Dialogue is crucial – daily conversations, feedback and brainstorming sessions. These help us stay connected and supported together, constantly learning, and constantly striving to improve as individuals and as a team.
6. Can you please brief us about your professional experience?
After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from City, University of London and a Master’s from DePaul University in Chicago, I began my recruitment career on the Graduate Scheme at Hays. Fast-tracked into management roles, I achieved four promotions in four years and took a team from billing £10,000 to £80,000 a month.
From Hays I moved to Michael Page, where I worked on a hybrid desk across permanent and interim senior leadership roles. There I was given responsibility for growing Michael Page’s Public Sector division from its offices in London. I was soon the company’s number one biller in HR across the UK. But I always wanted to pursue another path – the entrepreneurial route. Having set up executive desks at both Hays and Michael Page, I switched my focus to establishing a business of my own. That’s when Oliver Sanderson was born, in 2011.
7. What are the key achievements of your business journey?
I am lucky enough to have celebrated a number of achievements throughout my business journey. A major highlight has been watching Oliver Sanderson become established in the UK and beginning to grow overseas – having set up the Oliver Sanderson from my dining-room table, it is so rewarding to see how far we’ve come! Other successes include winning exciting new client relationships with major businesses like British Airways, Aviva, and Engie, and winning awards.
I won a CEO Today Global Award 2021, and our firm was shortlisted for the Global Recruiter Awards 2021 and the APSCo Awards for Excellence 2021. Snapp was named Best Tech Innovation at the Global Recruiter Awards 2021, won an APSCo Award for Innovation 2021, and was featured in the Mayor of London’s TechInvest programme.
8. ‘Innovation is the key to business growth’, Please share your views.
Innovation is the key to business growth, and it is vital to foster innovation through suitable business processes. At Oliver Sanderson we are constantly learning, and we have systems and ways of working in place to foster creativity and innovative thinking.
One of our specialisms is in digital recruitment – Oliver Sanderson are pioneers of digital innovations in executive search and recruitment. I co-founded Snapp, the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs platform with exclusive Amazon Alexa integration. If you ask your Amazon Alexa device to “Find me a job”, the search will be powered by Snapp. The platform recently featured on the Mayor of London’s TechInvest programme, an initiative delivered in alliance with the UK Business Angels Association to showcase London’s most ground-breaking tech start-up businesses.