John O

John O'Brien

Corporate Sales Director

Q: How did you get to your current position?
A: My career in recruitment started when I bought into a recruitment franchise and opened a new branch in Peterborough in 1998.
I’d never worked in recruitment so I had to learn fast; getting to grips with running a temps desk, perm desk, recruiting a team and running a small business!
After three hectic but good years (and 2 kids later!) I realised I enjoyed recruitment but wanted a different challenge and was faced with a difficult decision; should I stay in recruitment or go back to being a technical sales manager?
After talking to my new friends in the recruitment industry, they thought I might be suited to a role in National Corporate Sales. When I found out what that meant (managing key accounts, selling on a national scale and responding to tenders & bids) I decided to stay in recruitment, developed my career along the way and moved to Tate in 2014, and have never looked back! 
 
Q: What qualities do you look for in your team and why?
A: The ability to work well in a team is a good start! Teamwork is so important, as this job can be quite a roller coaster trip, so you need the support, help and advice from like-minded people around you, and be willing to help others when the needs arise.
Working in Corporate Sales requires a fair bit of lateral thinking and the ability to put yourself in the client’s shoes to really understand what their needs are, so I like to work with creative thinkers and people that can empathise.
Resilience and tenacity will help you get the results you want, and a good attention to detail really helps when you’re writing a winning bid!   
  
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date and why?
A: Working through the recession while working at a previous company meant some very difficult decisions had to be made with my team, that resulted in re-structuring.
When you’ve worked closely with colleagues in a team, making decisions that affect their future is hugely emotive and a big responsibility.
The challenge was to support individuals through change while keeping them motivated to make sure our clients still received a high level of service.

Q: What advice would you give to a younger 'you' starting out in your career?
A: Follow your instincts, never go for the easy option, challenge yourself all the time and it will all turn out good in the end!

Q: What motivates you and why? What gets you up in the morning?
A: I hate letting anyone down so promises, deadlines and quality of work are really important to me, and these motivate me to try and always put 100% effort in whatever I do.
My simple motto is ‘if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well’!
What gets me up in the morning? My alarm clock at 6am!  

Q: What is your most memorable career moment?
A: The most memorable ones usually involve winning a piece of business, as it’s often the culmination of a long tender process involving many people.
One of the recent ones that stands out was hovering over Nicki’s shoulder when she opened an email from a big client informing us we’d been successful in our bid! 
It was a huge sense of relief as it was a really important existing client, and a great feeling of success that we could share with the business and team.   
 
Q: What are your interests and hobbies outside of work?
A: I have a family with 2 teenage kids that keep me very busy, but if the weathers ok and I’m not feeling too lazy, I love to ride my road bike around the mighty hills of Essex!
I tried the Olympic velodrome last year and realised how seriously unfit I am, so need to get back on the bike soon!

Q: What is your favourite film?
A: Good will Hunting – gets me every time… also love the back story of how a young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote the script and won 2 x Oscars for it, and also convinced Robin Williams to play a key role.

Q: Best book you've read?
A: Shantaram – just finished reading it for a second time. Based in India in the 80’s with an epic story based supposedly on fact, but hard to believe!