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How I went from Tech Recruiter to founding a Cybersecurity Agency

Hello! What's your background, and what are you working on?

I’ve been a tech recruiter for the last 15 yrs. I worked for a large UK recruitment business in

London and put my hand up to help them open their 1st US office in 2006 and spent 10 yrs in the US helping them grow that business to 450 people across 9 offices.

I moved back to London in 2016 and wanted to work in an environment that was more customer focused than tech recruitment businesses I interviewed with so I decided to set up my own agency with my former boss in April 2017, focusing on cybersecurity recruitment.

Describe your business in less than 50 words

LT Harper helps businesses source the best cybersecurity talent and giving jobseekers access to cybersecurity opportunities.

How did you get started with LT Harper?

I wanted to work in an environment where the first measure of success wasn’t revenue generated by a consultant but customer satisfaction (for both jobseekers & employers). Recruiters have a bad reputation because they are often ‘transactional’ in their business approach and I wanted to provide a better quality service in a market that is suffering from a shortage in skills

I never had a particular ambition to set up or run a business but I did know very clearly the type of business I wanted to attach my name to and I didn’t find anywhere that matched that so I decided to set up the business so I could work the way I wanted to.

The main thing was finding a business partner that I trust and who shares the same values of customer experience. Then we set about picking technology that would allow us to organize our communities of cybersecurity professionals, setting up a website and picking a market that could really benefit from our joint expertise in recruitment

What did you do to attract users and grow your business?

I’ve always been a big believer in taking the time to meet people. I would meet (and still do meet) anyone and everyone who could benefit from my expertise as a recruiter, regardless of whether they are looking for work or not. I attend events as often as I can and arrange follow up meetings from there. I’ve also become increasingly involved with organisations that promote diversity in technology (I signed up to the Tech Talent Charter and encouraged 2 of my first clients to do the same) as it’s something I am absolutely passionate about.

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

Breaking into the US market is a huge goal for next year. We do a lot of cool stuff but at the moment, we aren’t great at promoting it so I want to hire someone to do some PR and Marketing for us so that our name is associated with high quality, professional cybersecurity recruitment for both jobseekers and employers.

We are now getting enough business to start scaling up the business so I want to hire a team of diverse recruiters and give them some flexibility to work in a way that works best for them to help us service the demand from our clients (I’m looking at hiring apprentices, mothers who want to work from home or want part time work to balance care giving responsibilities, experienced salespeople who want to work in recruitment. I want to consider candidates who come from alternative backgrounds to tech recruitment).

Tell us about the challenges you have faced and what you have done to overcome this.

Neither myself or my business partner come from a marketing background and we believe

strongly that branding and marketing are key factors in growing a business nowadays. I’ve been on a few GA courses to learn what I can to have a semblance of a marketing presence/strategy but I think it’s best to get the professionals involved in this. We have hired a freelancer to help us with coming up with a strategy that will allow us to grow our client base and increase our presence and brand recognition in the market and plan to hire someone to then help us execute on that strategy. I think it’s important to know where to invest in getting an expert in rather than trying to do it all yourself and doing a poor job of it

What's the one tool or resource you've found helpful?

I love Ada’s list. It reminds me that there are lots of other women out there from all sorts of

backgrounds hustling and building businesses. I always find it interesting to hear about what

other businesses are out there, how they are growing, what challenges they are facing etc.

There’s so much you can learn from other peoples’ experiences, especially when they come

from a different industry sector to your own. It makes me look at my business from a different

lens.

What's your advice for other women who are just starting out?

It’s not always possible, but if you can, get a business partner who compliments your skill set. I

don’t enjoy doing much operational work and it’s a massive help that my business partner is

really good at it and did the lions share of work that went into setting up the company, freeing

my up to do what I enjoy which is getting out in front of people in my market and talking to them

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Honestly, not work!! I love my job but I try and plan something ‘fun’ or ‘for me’ first thing in the

morning. I either go spinning or to pilates before I get stuck into work.

What's your morning routine?

Meditate for 10 minutes, write 3 things in my gratitude journal then pilates or spinning at 6am

most days. Then I’m ready for work

My favourite quote is

“Give it a try. What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

Describe yourself in 3 words

Curious, positive, sociable

Where can we go to learn more?

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