The Power of Ten with Matthew Finlay

Matthew has been a Director of Calibre Search since 2009 and has recruited to the market research industry for the last 6 years. Hailing from Manchester originally but living in Yorkshire he spends his time in the great outdoors and enjoys Bloody Marys, last minute winners and convincing people that he’s better than he actually is at surfing, skiing and golf.

Power of Ten with Matthew Finlay
Start by giving us the background as to how you became a director with Calibre Search?

I joined Calibre Search in 2007 recruiting in engineering when the business was owned by someone else. The recession hit the industries we recruited to quite hard and the business wasn’t as profitable, so the former owner decided to pursue other ventures. Long story short, myself and two others took out a bank loan and acquired the business in 2009. It started off with three of us in a small serviced office and it’s grown across two offices, recruiting to more industries (market research started 7 years ago) and there’s almost 30 of us now.

What big conversations are happening in the world of recruitment right now?

There are quite a lot to be honest but data, marketing, providing a better service to customers and how to attract passive candidates are the ones at the front of my mind. Interestingly they’re all linked.

How is Calibre dealing with these?

Recruitment will always be aligned with sales but we want to move in a direction that values marketing equally as much. To get our message out to people more successfully and efficiently our data management needs to be great. Recruitment, like research, is changing and to thrive you need to evolve. This means changing work processes, training and using external suppliers.

What challenges do you see for the market research industry – now or in the future?

Change is occurring from all directions and isn’t expected to slow down. The change of shopping behaviour, the impact of technology, big data and wider political changes lead to a changing market. This doesn’t mean that things are bad, just that different solutions are needed. Finding good staff is always a challenge and will be for the foreseeable future.

They say with challenge comes opportunity… Where do market researchers need to be focusing their attention?

From an agency perspective by either differentiating yourself from the crowd or being brilliant at something seems to be where the most successful agencies are positioning themselves.

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What challenges, issues or problems do the worlds of recruitment and market research share?

One issue is the hiring of good staff. We’re working hard to make sure that our employer brand is as strong as it can be (this includes making sure that the recruiters working on our behalf are representing us in the right way – yes we use recruiters too) and that interview process is strong. If I could offer any advice to research organisations I would say demonstrate you are working on interesting projects and where possible, bring in people at entry level.

What do you find most appealing about the market research sector compared with others you’ve had exposure to?

I think it’s the people. I’ve only focused on three sectors during my time recruiting, although I’ve had exposure to others during that time and I would say researchers have been the best to deal with. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people who spend their time assessing what people think or might think are considerate and reasonable. There is also more passion within the research sector than I’ve seen elsewhere.

What is going on outside of work-life that people need to know about!

I’ve got a 3 year old boy and he keeps me pretty busy but I’ve just been skiing for the first time in years and I’d like to do more of that. After years of wanting to take up another language I’ve been learning Spanish for the last year or so and despite the progress being slow, it is (kind of) getting there. My 40th is happening next year as well so I need to decide what I want to do for it. I’ve not heard of Spain as a destination for skiing but the celebration will probably include one of those two things.

First and last gig/concert attended?

Prince was the first at the G-Mex in Manchester in 1995, Mumford and Sons at the Leeds arena was the last.

Fire up the DeLorean. You can spend the weekend time travelling – where are you going and when?

The past would be interesting but perhaps not as useful, so I think it would be ten years in the future to see how things have changed. Is the world going to change as quickly as we are led to believe? Hopefully, it will have changed for the better and not for the worse and I might come back with a couple of good ideas.