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Not Your Average Recruiter – The Bespoke Brilliance Of Bowdon Associates

Recruiter Bowden

In a saturated market, recruiters must stand out. Bowdon Associates does thanks to its flexible, personalised approach.

Recruitment is a mainstay industry; it has been around for a long time, with its origins in the ancient labouring economy, and today it adds billions to UK GDP. However, an established market is bound to suffer from saturation, so firms must stand out through their service. Manchester-based Bowdon Associates is doing this via a passionately personal approach.

After fifteen years spent working at major recruitment firms, Jonathan Edwards sought to start a company that was “personalised” and “flexible” in its approach to clients and their unique needs. Instead of a cookie-cutter model, Edwards favoured a more considered method tailored to the individual business, hoping to ensure a longer-term relationship. Fast-forward to today and Edwards, now managing director and founder of Bowdon Associates, has hit these goals by making “understanding our clients’ companies and cultures,” a priority in the business.

Launched in 2021, the UK-wide firm covers a wide array of sectors, from construction to digital marketing. Yet, its mission statement to connect “ambitious businesses with talented individuals” runs through all of its operations. Bowdon Associates has other strings to its bow too, including being able to offer a simplified service for senior staff and HR managers, saving the client time and money by “handling the complexities” for them, thereby letting them get on with their day jobs. Another facet of its flexible solutions is its ability to offer clients both permanent and contract staffing solutions to meet changing needs. Instead of a static service, it’s about adapting “to the evolving needs of our clients’ businesses and projects,” he summarises.

Edwards acknowledges how competitive the recruitment market is, and one of his key challenges in launching Bowdon Associates was “establishing our brand identity.” However, that identity, defined by a bespoke client approach, has been a key, and very useful market differentiator. Starting the business in 2021, amid the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing competition for jobs, was another hurdle to overcome, but the firm rose to the challenge via a personalised approach that defined and continues to define the company. “Networking was crucial,” says Edwards of the early years, which helped them “expand our reach, establish connections, and build trust and credibility within the industry.”

Three years after the launch, scaling the business is top of the list, but Edwards is adamant that this should happen “while maintaining high service standards,” which remains a core company mission. The twelve-month plan is to hire more consultants and resourcing staff to meet rising demand. Further down the line, Edwards envisions a larger, skilled team servicing a “broader range of UK clients” and harnessing “advanced systems and AI to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, improve the candidate experience and deliver top-tier solutions.”

So far, the founding tenets of Bowdon Associates including its flexible, personalised and responsive solutions have produced fruit, including “a high client retention rate, significant repeat business and year-on-year revenue growth.” Not a bad performance is just three years of existence, which evidences the market demand for a more innovative recruitment service. “We’ve also successfully placed candidates in highly specialised roles, demonstrating our ability to handle complex recruitment challenges,” he adds.

With a seasoned recruitment career under his belt, and now at the helm of a successfully scaling business, it’s safe to say that Edwards has learned plenty of leadership lessons. The first, he says, is “delegation” which he calls an “empowering force” for the team that allows more time for “strategic planning.” The next one is adaptability, which is “crucial in an ever-changing business landscape,” and finally, to lead by example with a “strong work ethic and positive attitude” which “sets the the tone for the entire team.”

In a business landscape increasingly defined by searching for new and original ideas, if there is ever a better example of the value of innovating a traditional platform, it’s how Bowdon Associates has supercharged the recruitment business model to benefit the client.

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