In the spotlight: an interview with Molly Shoesmith

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Molly Shoesmith is Operations Manager at GKR London, a specialist property recruitment firm launched by Grant Kaveney in 2010. After joining in November 2014 as a recruitment consultant, Molly quickly climbed the ranks through to Principal Consultant. In 2017, she moved away from the sales side of things to focus on areas such as content production, delivering bespoke training, offering operational support, and building the company brand. Last month, she moved to Almere Poort, a town just outside Amsterdam, where she's continuing her role at GKR London remotely. We chat to her about the big move, taking on new challenges, and what's next for GKR London.


You recently moved to the Netherlands – how are you finding working remotely?

So far, so good! It’s the first time I’ve worked remotely and I was quite nervous about it. Thankfully I love it - I hear from the team just as much as I did when I was in the office. Obviously I miss their faces, but modern technology makes it an easier adjustment.


What was your dream job as a child?

I was absolutely obsessed with animals and wanted to be a vet. That dream quickly deteriorated after I failed Biology at school, though.


How has director Grant supported you in your decision to move?

Grant has been extremely supportive – moving abroad has always been something I’ve wanted to do and I prepared him for it fairly early on in my time at GKR. He can see that I need to do it for my personal development, as well as professionally. Having worked with the company for five years and now in a purely operational capacity allows me flexibility and it provides the company with a learning opportunity for further global expansion. My move has been new waters for both of us, so we’re taking it as it comes. The team have also all been great in adapting to my move; I feel very lucky to work with such good people.


Which quality do you most admire in people?

I admire people who have the courage to own up to their own weaknesses. It takes strength to own up, particularly in the office, but once weaknesses are identified, self-improvement becomes quicker and easier.


How has your role changed over the course of your time at GKR London?

The structure at GKR London rewards consistency and hard work – after being successful in the recruitment space, I was given the opportunity to try my hand at a different aspect of the business. Helping people was what I always enjoyed most about recruitment; now I get to help people internally.


Early bird or night owl?

Early bird – I love a night in with my pet turtles and a glass of wine. When I first joined GKR London, everyone joked that I was 18, going on 80.


How was the transition from consultant to operations manager?

Personally, I think it's a huge advantage having worked as a consultant previously. I’ve experienced the same frustrations and difficulties that the team deal with, which helps me add more value to the process.


Which person, living or dead, would be your dream dinner party guest?

Rihanna. For me, she’s the pinnacle of female power and I would love to sing a duet together!


What is it like working so closely with someone as experienced as Grant?

Amazing, obviously! When I joined I was focused on the property management market, which was a part of GKR London that was just growing. Without realising, I found myself regurgitating some of the work that Grant had done, placing candidates that he had a few years back, which really helped build my credibility. He creates a very encouraging, positive and fast-paced environment. He always tells me to pick his brains to learn more about the business side of things and build on my knowledge.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

I’d say starting work at the age of 16 – I celebrated my 5 year work anniversary last year and I’m only 21. I left home at that age, not knowing what I was facing, and I made it all possible. I’m really proud of myself for that.


What support have you received from RE in your new role?

Before I moved, Group CEO Abid Hamid, who’s lived and worked all over the world, gave me some time to ask questions about moving abroad and starting somewhere totally new. Head of Operations Daisy Betteridge is an unsung hero – I go to her whenever I need something and she’s instantly available. We’re undertaking the big project of the CRM JobAdder integration at the moment and she’s been amazing helping me with that. The marketing team also taught me a lot about the social media and SEO side of things, which was important in building our brand and online presence.

Do you have any secret talents?

Singing and playing the ukulele.


What aspect of working at a start-up do you most enjoy?
Feeling like I’m building it and knowing that what I’m doing every day is contributing towards the company’s success. I get to see the direct impact that my work has had in the market – GKR London has been shortlisted for a few awards within the industry, including News on the Block’s Best Property Recruitment Company of the Year 2017.


What mantra do you try to live by?

What goes around comes around. In our industry, there are some companies where you compete directly with your team but at GKR London we encourage cross-selling. If you help a colleague out, it will come back to you.


What’s your key piece of advice to those early in their recruitment career?

Be human. There are far too many sales-y individuals in the sector. Speak to everyone how you want to be spoken to and treat people like people.


What are you currently reading?

I am reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’, by Mark Manson. It’s about getting to know yourself and understanding your emotions. It’s the perfect book to read when making such a big life transition.


What has been the biggest milestone for GKR London?

A huge personal achievement was rebranding our website. From start to finish, the whole project took about six months and I was entirely responsible for all the content and copywriting, which was a completely new skill. It was very daunting but it paid off as the new site got a huge amount of traction. That’s part of why my development at GKR London has been so exciting – I’m thrown in the deep end and constantly taking it upon myself to learn new things.


What’s top of your bucket list?

Swimming with my turtles. I need to make it happen – I’m adamant it would be the best bonding exercise for us.


What are GKR London’s goals for 2019?

We are launching an office in Manchester, which is incredibly exciting as the North West is booming at the moment. It’s a great opportunity for the team, especially those on the commercial desk. We’ve already built a small reputation in the North West market from covering jobs up there and we can’t wait to build on that.



What is your goal for 2019?

My New Year's resolution was to run more and so far this year, I’ve gone on one run… But I'm achieving self-development in other ways, by actively doing more things I love.


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