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We’re delighted to announce the launch of recruitment startup Ashridge Talent, who are headed up by Rod Larman. It’s been great to work with Rod as he started his recruitment business with SSG, and we were lucky enough to catch up with him to find out why he decided to take the plunge!

Rod Larman of Ashridge Talent

Rod Larman – Managing Director of Ashridge Talent

Tell me a little about your recruitment background?

I have nearly 20 years’ experience within hospitality, primarily in five-star marketing management positions with responsibility for digital activity, branding, communications on behalf of The Grove – London’s Country Estate, Chelsea Football Club, Brooklands Hotel & Spa and SK Chase – a luxury gift voucher provider, working with over 300 four and five-star hotels. For the last three years, with PSD Group – a leading hospitality recruitment consultancy based in London, I have utilised my industry knowledge and experience to strengthen and build new client relationships and sought the best available talent through understanding client culture and requirements.

What was your motivation for starting your own recruitment business?

Being made redundant due to Covid-19 was the ultimate catalyst although the thought had been brewing for a little while. I didn’t enjoy the work/life balance I had with commuting nearly 3hrs a day for a company that offered little flexibility. With a strong work ethic and the belief that I can build a more rewarding work-life balance, I am now seeking to build upon both my industry and recruitment experience to deliver a more profitable return for my efforts. I have been truly humbled by messages of support from both clients and candidates. As the market recovers, I hope to build a business I can be proud of. The support of SSG has freed me largely from the administrative burden of setting up a new business, as well as ongoing support with financial and technological assistance, to ensure my business is built upon solid foundations and give me the best possible chance of success.

What sectors do you cover? What roles do you specialise in?

Initially my primary focus will be on permanent senior commercial appointments including Sales, Marketing & PR, revenue, digital and ecommerce positions with international and national hospitality and leisure brands, as well as independently-owned properties across all asset classes from luxury to budget. The next step would be to expand the range of functions within hospitality sector ie. General Management, Finance and HR appointments, and beyond Hospitality & Leisure into new sectors/industries such as Technology, FMCG, Finance, Pharmaceutical, and Retail to name but a few. From there, as the business potentially grows, I may look to develop and expand into Interim / Contract placements as well.

What can customers expect when they work with you?

Honesty. Confidential, attentive and responsive service. Maybe the odd laugh too. Throughout my career I have followed the simple mantra of ‘treat others how you wish to be treated’. My reputation is everything and regardless of whether you are the office administrator or the CEO, I treat all with respect.

What are your long term plans for the company?

I’m not looking for world domination or a team of hundreds. Simply, I’d like to continue to put myself in a position where I am challenged and can grow, learn and develop. If I can keep doing that then I’ll be very happy. I am looking to build a business built on integrity with clients valuing myself as a trusted and committed partner to their resourcing needs, and similar for candidates who appreciate being listened to and treated with due care. As the business becomes profitable, I have set myself the aim of donating 10% of our profits each year towards charitable causes. It might not be a lot to begin with but I hope it will become a significant sum that can go towards helping get people into work, support the industries that have supported us and try to give a little back to our communities. It’s all about doing the right thing.

What would you say are your unique selling points?

As the testimonials and recommendations I have been fortunate to receive allude to, I am not a typical recruiter. My approach is more personal. I am not an invasive sales person and relationships have been built organically over time, strengthened by delivery and proven experience. My clients and candidates appreciate the time and effort I take to understand the role or the person required, and provide quality shortlists not just CVs. Whilst I have a very calm personna, I am highly driven and have an attentive approach to my work so prefer to let my results speak for me rather than blowing the proverbial trumpet.

Let’s talk a little bit about the launch of your new business. Did the launch process meet or exceed your expectations?

It was such a smooth process which did exceed my expectations… I must admit, I started the journey with the expectation that I’d be having to chase people or having to find time to complete things. The experience was so refreshing. From the initial conversation with Ash and subsequently presenting my business plan through to brand development and launch the total time I believe was five weeks.

Which element of the launch most worried you initially?

It’s hard to highlight one single element. As mentioned earlier, the idea of going solo had been brewing for a little while however it was the ‘getting set-up’ bit that did deter me. So, it was more a collective of elements that concerned me… registering a business, creating a brand identity, a website, a system, finance administration, legal approval on terms and so on. SSG’s support across all of these elements has been fundamental to me starting my own business.

Which element of the launch did you enjoy most?

With a marketing background, the brand and creative elements were most enjoyable – perhaps not for Christian! From my perspective, I felt we worked really well together and he understood what I was looking to achieve and he was always very open with feedback.

How did you feel about the level of communication between yourself and the members of the SSG Team?

Excellent. I can’t find any fault really. I was prompted when something was required. If I had a query, I only had to ask and it was answered. I had regular ‘check-ins’ with the team. It was all really positive and a very enjoyable process.

What were your thoughts on the launch day itself?

Excitement and a few nerves! The launch was a chance to show my network (and beyond) what I had been keeping quiet for a good few weeks. I hoped that people would react positively and, in reality, the response has been incredible. In a really tough time for the hospitality industry, I am even more motivated to succeed and know that with the dedication and commitment I have that success won’t be too far away. I can’t wait to get going!

We’d like to thank Rod again for letting us in on his story, and would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best with Ashridge Talent – we’re thrilled to be on this exciting journey with you!

You can check out Ashridge Talent’s website here.