Get to know Martin Smith

Tell us about the professional journey that brought you to Procurement Heads?

I fell into Recruitment 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back! I had the experience of doing agency recruitment for over 6 years before I went in-house and although it was a great experience, at the time there were challenges with the industry and things I didn’t like – lots of KPIs, being micro-managed – what attracted me to Procurement Heads was the opportunity to work in a genuinely consultative way and to be a little more strategic in the way we recruited. I also found it really appealing that I was able to build a relationship with a business rather than just transacting.

I met Rupert in 2014 and we both shared the vision of what good looked like in a recruitment business, and we were both passionate about creating a business with genuine integrity – and that’s where it all began!

Talk to us about the average working week in the life of Martin…

Monday is about my team, so we catch up first thing to look at the week ahead – who we’re meeting with, what our diaries look like, any operational challenges we’re facing and roles we need to prioritise. We also have a dedicated Marketing team so first thing on a Monday we identify the support we need from them in terms of branding, events or marketing campaigns.

I then catch up with clients and candidates who might have been pondering decisions over the weekend, as well as reviewing any ad responses that have come in.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually days that I’m out on the road visiting candidates and clients, and Wednesdays are ‘my day’. I work from home, and it’s a chance to get my head down and sort out a lot of my admin, as well as doing a lot of head hunts and candidate generation activity without the day to day distractions I would get if I was in the office.

Fridays I’m back in the office to have a round up of the week with the team. At the end of the day, we enjoy a beer or two together and talk about our successes of the week before we head off for our weekends.

What’s your favourite Procurement Heads memory?

Barcelona last year is a highlight of mine! We had a fantastic year and had over achieved as a team so we took everyone away for a long weekend. Everyone loved it – we had great weather and did some really fun activities. It was just nice to spend time with everyone outside the office and it was a brilliant way to round up the year. This is something we do on a yearly basis and at the moment we’ve got our sights on a few exciting places if we hit our targets this year!

What would you say is your favourite aspect of working at Procurement Heads?

The autonomy. Every one of our Managers essentially runs their own business within the Procurement Heads brand, and we have all the Marketing and support around us, as well as the databases and technology to enable that.  That’s definitely my favourite thing about working here – the power to run my own business.

Describe your personal self in 3 words.

Confident, passionate, personable.

What does success mean to you?

I think success means clients and candidates coming back, to both me and Procurement Heads, as a client or a candidate. A testament of success for us is that we are the first point of contact every time as a result of really strong relationships. It’s not uncommon for me to have Procurement Directors turned Hiring Managers call me to ask advice on salaries, job specs, and sometimes just general market intel; and to me that means that we’re not just seen as a transactional recruitment business, but a trusted and valued partner – and that’s success to me.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Invest in the right people, be that staff, clients or candidates. If you’re recruiting for yourself and you’ve got someone who’s culturally aligned and you can see real potential in them, then don’t lose focus on that. Similarly, with candidate and client relationships. Previously I’ve been trying to spin the plates and work with absolutely everybody and as a result of that it can be easy to neglect some relationships, and I’ve learnt over the years to invest in quality over quantity.

How do you achieve work life balance?

When I walk or cycle home, I go past a lamp post at the end of my road and when I’m past that I turn off my thoughts about work. I spent quality time with my girlfriend, we usually sit down and have dinner together and just focus on us. I usually check my emails before bed, but I make sure I have that time of an evening to switch off.

Procurement Heads allows me to be really flexible in terms of my working patterns and style. I work from home once a week which gives me hours of commuting time back, and I will usually get out for a run at lunch time – I’m lucky enough to live 10 minutes from the beach so I’ll head down there and run along the beach front! In the office, one of the benefits is that we’re not set to rigid lunch hours, we just break whenever we feel it’s needed so I often head to the gym. I find it makes me much more productive when I return to the office!

Where do you go, and what do you do if you need to unwind?

So I’m a football nut – I love watching, playing and talking about football! That’s how I’d relax. I coach a football team, as well as playing in it, so often my evenings are taken up training and organising weekend matches.

A lot of my friends and family live locally, so my girlfriend and I spend a lot of time with them, going for dinner or drinks, and I find that is really relaxing past time for me!

What qualities do you value the most in people?

Someone who’s honest, authentic and hard working. Those are the core skills for me.

What would you consider your greatest professional success?

Becoming a Director of one of the UK’s top Procurement Recruitment agencies is most definitely my proudest achievement.

What’s the best place you’ve ever visited?

When I was travelling around South America I went to the Iguazu Falls and that was just incredible. It was such a tranquil, peaceful place. The views were amazing, just on the edge of the jungle – I’d never experienced anything like it.

What is your hidden talent?

I’m actually really good at Impressions. I can do pretty much all the characters on Little Britain, which I think everyone in the office can vouch for!

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be?

Dwayne Johnson. I’d like to know what it felt like to be absolutely massive! [Laughs] He’s just a very charismatic, he’s had a great career and he’s really popular – so I think it would be really interesting to be in his shoes for a day!

What job would you be genuinely terrible at?

A builder. I’m rubbish at DIY!

What’s your signature drink?

Nowadays it’s a Gin & Mediterranean tonic.

Who or what always makes you laugh?

My girlfriend, she makes me laugh a lot. Sometimes she knows she does, sometimes she doesn’t, but she’s really funny.

Pet hate?

Laziness. Oh, and whistling – it’s not a nice sound is it?

Guilty pleasure?


Martin’s Favourite Photos!

Martin and his girlfriend, Elle.
A photo from the Iguazu Falls during Martin’s travels around South America.

Martin making sure Elle becomes a Newcastle fan!