Ewan Jardine
Ewan Jardine

My ScaleUp – Kleboe Jardine : The Daily Scaleup with Kim McAllister

What if your job was to find staff for scaleups – as you scaled up and looked for staff?

Ewan Jardine finds himself in this position again as his recruitment company, Kleboe Jardine, grows. He has already built and sold a company, Escape, in the mid 2000s – so likes to think he’s got some tricks up his sleeve.

“We bring in non-industry staff and develop them ourselves,” he tells me. “It’s something we tell our clients too. In a scale-up you have your own culture and way of doing things. You can either do your own development or rely on someone else’s development – and all that brings.”

After establishing the business, which focuses on life sciences and technology, in 2014, he is now looking to almost double the staff before the end of the year.

“There’s always that period where you’re busy and need another body – but you’re so busy you can’t find time to develop them,” he laughs. “No one hits the ground running, there is always a bedding in period, so you have to plan for that.”

Personally, I find it quite encouraging that someone with Ewan’s experience underlines the importance of keeping the faith – particularly in SMEs where it takes time for plans to come to fruition.

So what is the key to finding great staff?

“Basically it involves a lot of legwork,” he says. “If you’re looking for someone with a specific skillset, like many of our clients, who need someone technically minded, that’s where you start. Our longlists are usually 60 people, we then whittle it down to about ten possibilities and interview them to reduce that to four or five, with a view to presenting three to the client.”

Those three are usually three different personality types with similar skillsets, in order to allow the client to decide who fits the team and culture at that time.

“With Kleboe Jardine, we want our staff to completely buy into our way of doing things,” he says. “The difference between us and other recruitment companies is actually considerable, though you might not think that would be the case. We have our standards. You can spend your money recruiting a hot shot, or you can spend it developing someone with a great attitude. We choose the latter.”

What challenges are you facing as you scale? Drop me a line: kim@impactonline.co.uk

Kim McAllister is a Journalist & Communications Consultant and director of Impact Online