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People Behind the Brand: Jacob Blonde

Mar 17, 2023
People Behind the Brand: Jacob Blonde

In today's people behind the brand, the series where you get to know the Orbis team, we sat down with Jacob Blonde, Associate Consultant. 

We chatted all about his career as a hairstylist, his key takeaways from his time at the Orbis Academy and Jacob’s best advice for anyone wanting to change careers. 

Let’s jump in. 

Tell us about your journey to recruitment…

I'd been a hairdresser for 10 years. I loved what I did and found it really rewarding but two of my closest friends are in tech recruitment and the older that I got, the more I thought, "you know what, I think that's for me, I think I could do that."

From there, that was it. It was a very conscious choice. 

It took a lot of thinking and I spoke to both of them a lot about whether I'd even be good at it and they both encouraged me to try it. It wasn't a light decision to make but I’m delighted that I did.

How have you found the transition into recruitment after a career change from being a hairstylist?

There's a similarity where I think you need to be self-sufficient in both positions. Both jobs have an aspect of what you put in you get out. 

I think that what's cool about recruitment is there's a higher ceiling to what you can put in whereas there are only so many cuts and colours you can do in a day. With recruitment, the ceiling is a lot higher which is part of the appeal of why most people honestly get into recruitment because of the opportunity for earnings, right? 

You were a hairstylist for 10 years,  tell us a bit more about that. Do you think these skills transfer into your approach to work?

Yeah, I think it's really interesting because I always felt there were a lot of really obvious transferable skills and that's true, sometimes. 

A critical part of my job in both roles is finding out what's most important to the client and that does transfer. I think a lot of people just think that hairdressers just kind of chat and at least for myself, that wasn't my approach. It was always very investigative and holistic in terms of my approach, and that's still something that I carry over. 

But there's a little bit more assertiveness needed, in this role. equally, I think what was interesting is some of the less obvious transferable skills like being patient, having resilience etc. These things will get mentioned when you're talking to people about getting into recruitment but if you've had someone cry in front of you because their fringe is too short then I think you can handle any rejection. 

What's the best part of the job?

Honestly, this is more specific to Orbis itself, but for me, it's just been the support from everyone. You feel like, at Orbis, everyone has your back. 

If I was to be honest and compare it to my previous career, hairdressers and recruiters are sort of cut from the same cloth (no pun intended). They’re two sides of the same coin and there are some hard-working hairdressers out there. But I think as a culture, the one thing I love about recruitment is you're embraced and kind of held up for your hard work. 

Everyone appreciates it -  your candidates appreciate it, your clients appreciate it and your colleagues appreciate it. Whereas in a lot of other careers,  working hard you can be taken as a bit of a jobsworth or a bit of a tryhard and  I don't think being a tryhard exists in recruitment. 

What's the biggest challenge?

Everything does move quickly in recruitment. 

So again, if I'm going to draw a comparison where things that took some time to get used to for me is that I love forming relationships with people whom I'm delivering a service for, and to the people that I’m working alongside. In recruitment, it can take a little bit longer to do that because when you're first talking to people, you're not delivering them anything and it takes a long time to prove to them that you know what you're talking about and that you're helping them. 

That first conversation, if you're not careful, sounds like you're just taking and not giving anything back because the opportunity doesn't feel real yet. I think to a certain extent, I rested on the fact I always knew I was good at what I did as a hairdresser so I could kind of talk to someone and if they had any reservations, I knew that in 45 minutes to an hour, they would see I know what I’m talking about, whereas that timeline is a little bit more stretched out in the recruitment process. 

I require constant positive reinforcement. So I'm always striving in that conversation to have them feel like I'm giving them something back even in that first chat.

What is something that you wish you'd known at the start of your career?

You can never be truly prepared for anything until you do it. 

I think if I was to just give my one answer to that, it would be that in this industry, it was a very transparent process and I didn’t ever feel like I wasn't prepared for the highs and the lows that came with it.

What advice would you give someone else looking for a career change?

Just do it. 

It's easy to say but speaking as someone that probably stayed in their previous field for too long, I think looking back, I could have just made the jump sooner. Not that I think it necessarily harmed where I am now, but there is no better time than the present. 

Now being on the other side and being someone that's often speaking to people that are looking to make moves in their career, it's amazing just how relatable that problem is even for people that you might not think to have that issue. 

These people are moving into a higher paying role or a better position with more opportunities to progress and they still find it hard so there's a comfort in knowing I wasn't completely nuts for being scared to do so. But really, I think having that perspective I can now see that generally speaking, the only thing holding you back is fear. 

Obviously, you want to weigh up the risk but I think if we're honest with ourselves, a lot of the time we overstate the risk.

What have been your key takeaways from your time during the Academy?

I joke about it all the time but ‘never assume’ really is a powerful one. 

It’s something that Amani, who runs the academy, tells you time and time again and as someone who considered themselves a person who didn't make a lot of assumptions, you realise how many assumptions you do make. Whenever there's been a problem for me a lot of the time, it's because either I've made an assumption or someone else has made an assumption and I think that's where it's also a useful lesson. 

Everyone from the account manager to the hiring manager, to the candidate, to the HR, to the team, will make assumptions and a big part of our job is making sure that there's as much clarity as possible. 

So it's correcting assumptions. It's clarifying information, reiterating information, as well as obviously, checking your information and that's a big takeaway too. Just look at never making assumptions and also avoiding other people making assumptions as best as you can.

In another life, what do you think you'd be doing?

In another life, I would have all the free time in the world without any financial limit because why not for a hypothetical ;)

It’s no secret that I'm a massive gym nerd so I'd probably spend way more time in the gym. 

I would love to live in a world where you could pursue any education you like, imagine studying  Film, Art, a language… maybe even computer science.

I'd probably spend a lot more time painting and drawing, which is a personal hobby of mine, and I’d probably have a lot more rescue dogs than the one that I currently have. Yeah, I think me and my wife would probably just open up our own dog sanctuary or something and have 100 dogs that we just run around with every day in between gym sessions. 

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