My Career: A fantastic job can totally change your life

Lynn Ambrose Kallides, Recruitment Consultant features in our My Career this week in Women on Wednesday
My Career: A fantastic job can totally change your life

Lynn Ambrose Kallides Recruitment Consultant.

Name: Lynn Ambrose Kallides

Age: 49

Lives: Halfway village, Cork

Job title: Recruitment Consultant – Specialising in Accounting and Finance roles nationally

Salary bracket: €30-60 000 plus commission

Education background: I did my schooling in South Africa, as my parents moved from Cork to there when I was three years old. After school I went on to train as a hairdresser and once I went into the corporate world, I studied Marketing.

Hobbies: Reading – printed books and audiobooks. I’ve created and manage two book clubs, one here in Ireland and one (now) virtual that started off in South Africa nearly 10 years ago and now is made up of almost 50% internationally based friends who all emigrated to various parts of the world.

Running – I started running late in life (at age 41) and am addicted. I’ve completed many races over the years, with 20 of them being half-marathons, and am training for my first full marathon in June.

I also have a fabulous tea-pot collection and have about 30 from all over the world.

Describe your job in five words: Remote, life-changing, exciting, fulfilling, balanced.

Describe yourself in five words: Organised, positive, curious, loyal, tenacious.

Personality needed for this kind of work? You definitely need to be patient as it can get tough submitting candidate after candidate and not getting placements. Then you really do need to be a good listener and empathetic too, as you need to ensure you understand what your candidate’s requirements are and match their lifestyle and career-aspirations to that of an employer who is going to offer them their next step up. 

A fantastic job can totally change your life.

How long are you doing this job? Nine months.

How did you get this job? After college, I was dead-set on becoming a hairdresser. Once I’d worked in the field for a while, I realised how long it would take me to make some decent money so I decided to do a few computer courses and went into the corporate world where I doubled my salary instantly and didn’t need to work weekends - a no-brainer as far as I was concerned.

I worked as a Personal Assistant at a signage company first then moved into a Major Accounts Co-ordinator role in the courier industry which was great exposure as I did a bit of travelling as I had to learn how to teach clients how to use an international shipping program.

After a while, I was promoted to Marketing Co-ordinator and then decided to take a stab at Sales. I absolutely loved it. I loved the freedom of being out in my car every day, I loved visiting clients (I am definitely energised by people) and I loved making commission which meant even more take-home pay! I was hooked. 

I was promoted a few times in the courier industry into more senior sales roles and then moved onto a role in the Cosmetic Packaging Industry which was really interesting as it was totally different to my last couple of years .

After a few years there, I decided I wanted to run my own business, so I bought a party shop franchise and opened a retail store. It was an amazing experience that taught me so much and I loved every second of working for myself, but South Africa went through a very tough time where interest rates went through the roof (the highest they’d ever been in my lifetime) and people stopped spending on luxuries and unfortunately I had to close my store. In hindsight, it was just a case of one door closing and another opening, as then I moved into the IT industry where I stayed for the next 14 years.

I worked in the Channel team for about six years, which I really enjoyed as you deal with smaller businesses who resell your product/service and I loved helping and teaching them. Then I moved to the Enterprise team where we dealt with more Corporate clients, then finally onto Wholesale where you deal with the major players in the world who on-sell massive solutions.

IT is a different beast all-together. I love technology and I love to learn so this industry kept me interested, but you can burn out as everyone is always online and available so it’s a fine balancing act. 

It did teach me how to manage my time and prioritise proper work/life balance as, if you didn’t, it would just consume you. I made life-long friends in this industry.

Then, in 2021, my husband, 12-year-old son and I moved to Ireland. My husband had a job offer here and with me being born here, I had always dreamed of coming back to live. I took some time off to settle us and after a few months started my job-search. I thought I’d be going into an IT role again but had made the decision that it had to be remote as I didn’t want my son coming home to an empty house every day.

I started searching online and chatted to a few people I knew, then this role was offered to me (by a South African based here) when I was actually applying for other roles. I had never considered recruitment but it always sounded appealing to me (my two closest friends are in the industry) so I decided to try something new for this next section of my life. New country, new home, new industry. I went through a short training course and was quite shocked when I realised I was going into the Accounting and Finance team as I’d just assumed I’d be in the IT team. I was terrified as I knew nothing about the Finance sector but my boss was amazing and supported me all the way and I’ve very quickly learnt what I need to know.

I’m now nine months down the line and loving my new career. The most exciting part was the very first person I placed was a South African, who’d also recently emigrated, so you can imagine just how satisfying that was! Subsequently, we have now become great friends. 

There is a fabulous South African ex-pat community in Cork which I’m thrilled to be a part of. I love living in Cork and am so happy.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? I had a good corporate background and loads of sales experience so that’s why I was considered for my role, but there wasn’t a specific qualification required.

Describe a day at work: I start off by turning on my laptop and work phone and logging on to all the various platforms and sites we use. I connect my JBL Bluetooth speaker and press play on my SoundCloud – I work better with music in the background, it helps me concentrate. I then check my to-do list from the day before and create a new one for the day. I make myself a 500ml cup of Rooibos (a famous South African tea) and pour myself a glass of water and place them both on my desk. I turn on my Rose Quartz lamp/diffuser and add some water with peppermint essential oil (also known to assist concentration). I then check my emails and LinkedIn messages. I try to post a creative LinkedIn post daily at around 10am as this is seen to be the most effective time to post. I allow myself 45 minutes to browse LinkedIn, read industry news, browse and connect with candidates. I give myself this time allocation as otherwise I’d sit glued to it all day! It’s still social media, after all.

Then I usually have a few candidate calls set up, either quick telephonic chats or Teams video calls with international candidates hoping to get jobs here. Once I’ve completed those, I update their file on our CRM system, tidy up and brand their CV then submit them to prospective employers. I do also have a few recurring meetings with clients that we have to discuss their latest vacancies, the types of candidates they are looking for, and to chase feedback on candidates that have already been submitted.

At lunchtime I try my best to get out and do a walk with Diego, our Amstaff that we brought from South Africa. Otherwise I may pop down to the shop or run an errand just to get me away from my desk for a bit and moving my legs. After lunch, I’ll check my inbox again and usually have a few candidate emails to respond to who’ve found me on LinkedIn and are asking for assistance. I also provide ‘Interview Prep’ for candidates that have secured an interview with a prospective employer, so I may have some of these sessions booked and take the candidate through a few strategies on how best to approach their interview.

I also put aside some time each day to do Business Development, ie: I look after Cork from a new business side so I identify companies here who have roles within Accounting and Finance and I’ll either give them a call or send them an email introducing FRS and asking whether they need assistance filling them. FRS is really big on having a proper work/life balance so we are supposed to finish off at 5pm but I find that I’m way more productive in the later part of the afternoon so I tend to work a bit past this time, but will get usually get dinner going at the same time.

How many hours do you work a week? 40 hour a week with an hour break each day

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: No, I’d rate it a 4. I’ve worked in many stressful environments over my career (IT being the most!) but this job is definitely one of the least stressful. There are, of course, stressful parts to it, like candidates not showing up for agreed interviews, trying to achieve your weekly KPIs in a very candidate tight-market, etc, but for the most part, it is an incredibly enjoyable role. 

It’s exactly what I wanted for my new life in Ireland.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work in a team of 10 but we are all remote. We do have a policy that all internal calls/meetings are video calls so we get to ‘see’ each other every day really. We do also try and meet up in the flesh every month or two and our company has regular marketing events that we volunteer for so we get to work with other parts of the business too.

Best bits: The people, the company, the commission.

Worst bits: Candidates who lie and waste mine and my clients’ time. Employers who don’t see the value in really exceptional candidates just because they’re not local.

Advice to those who want your job? Just do it, you won’t be sorry. It’s such a lovely feeling to be able to give people hope and then change their life with a magical new role and more financial security.

Any other comments? There is a fabulous South African ex-pat community in Cork which I’m thrilled to be a part of. We have regular catch-ups and all try and help one another as much as possible. I love living in Cork and am so happy we are in the Halfway village as it’s ‘out in the country’, which means I get to look out our windows to the most beautiful scenery, but only 20 minutes from the city centre which is so convenient too. I’m looking forward to building up my professional network here.

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