From consultant to CEO of Resource Solutions
Oliver Harris joined the Robert Walters Group as a recruitment consultant in 1998.
Oliver worked his way up through the ranks in Robert Walters before becoming CEO of our recruitment outsourcing business, Resource Solutions, in July 2010.
“I was thinking about a career in banking and had actually gone to register as a candidate at Robert Walters.
But I was blown away by the drive, energy and passion of the consultant interviewing me - so when he asked me to consider a career in recruitment I was very open to finding out more.
My career path
I joined the banking operations desk as a consultant in 1998 and really I just put my head down, worked hard, and learnt all I could about how recruitment worked - focusing on building really close working relationships with our clients and candidates. I was very fortunate that over the next few years I worked my way up from consultant to senior consultant, team leader and ultimately manager - where I was running a team of 10 people. Then I became an associate director and finally director - effectively taking on responsibility for a number of teams. In 2004 I became managing director of the whole of the UK’s contract recruitment business and took the South Africa business under my wing too. I ran that business for a number of years until I moved to Resource Solutions as CEO four years ago.
Developing people for the long-term
We’re very good as an organisation at identifying the future leaders of the business, it’s part of every MDs objectives to look at who’s coming through the business, who can take a step up, who can run teams or offices. Then I think we’re very good at training that talent and investing heavily, putting people in the right role at the right time.
As a business we’re not frightened of making those decisions, making that promotion and with such strong internal mobility that really helps maintain our high standards and deliver the same service to clients and candidates no matter where you are in the world. If I look at South Africa or Singapore, if I look at Brazil and any number of other offices around the world - they’re run by people who started their career in one country and have moved up to run other parts of the Group overseas.
It’s basically about people growing up in the business - it’s almost having that Robert Walters DNA - that people know how to behave and how to deal with clients and candidates. That really was instilled in me back when I was a consultant - that passion to do things right, to do things with the utmost professionalism.
And the people play such a big part in making us a successful business. To have such a group of like-minded individuals, who are all driven, who are all hardworking, who are all driven to succeed, really make the day to day work environment enjoyable. It’s not a surprise that they work hard through the week and then on a Friday actually want to go for a beer together to catch up on their week. It says a lot about the culture of the business and fun really is a big part of that. It’s the foundation of everything really and it’s what allows us to offer a great service to our clients and candidates.”