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13.01.2023

Harriet Webster to Associate Director (Permanent Delivery)

By Brad Stott
Brad Stott, Marketing Manager interviews newly promoted Associate Director Harriet Webster on her approach to consistently delivering high performance and her bluewave journey so far.

B: Congratulations on your promotion! What’s your secret?

H: (laughs) I’m not sure it’s down to a secret, it’s probably a combination of sticking to a great process and knowing what you’re best at. As a permanent delivery team, we don’t aim to be good at everything, we want to be brilliant at one thing – permanent SAP recruitment.

B: That makes sense, why would you say you have been so successful in delivering a consistent service to SAP Users, where others have failed, and in a really competitive market because we keep hearing about massive skill shortages in SAP, particularly with S/4 HANA?

H: There are lots of things in play to be consistently successful but understanding exactly what the client wants and getting to know candidates, and what they want too, are equally key. We really need to do both because if we don’t know exactly what “good” looks like for both client and candidate, we won’t get it right. Cultural fit in the perm world is essential for success. Once the introduction has been made, I would say that we are exceptional at communicating progress to both sides and keeping in touch with people; it seems simple but when it is executed well, it’s really effective.

B: How would you describe a typical customer engagement for your team?

H: The way we work may be a bit different to others, we only work in full partnership with our customers, often exclusively, so that we can develop a real partnership. We also launched perm ‘bundles’ for customers in 2022 whereby we ringfence multiple hire programmes and allocate a dedicated delivery team for the duration of the programme so that the customer enjoys continuity of service with the same bluewave representatives working as an extension of their own HR and recruitment teams. This has been really popular and has taken customers’ trust in us to deliver at pace to another level.

B: This all sounds good – how long have you been at bluewaveSELECT now and how has your career developed?

H: I started with bluewave in January 2020, although one of the directors had been trying to headhunt me for a good couple of years before then… I finally caved in! Prior to joining, I had a career in what people would call ‘generalist’ permanent IT recruitment. I was a bit apprehensive about moving from generalist into a niche that I didn’t know anything about at the time but bluewave has a great SAP training programme for new starters and you’d be amazed how quickly you pick things up. From there it was a case of applying my transferable recruitment skills with the newly acquired SAP knowledge, and of course it helped that bluewave has a good name in the market.

Soon after I started, lockdown happened but despite this we managed to do well and then put in a record year in 2021. Last year, 2022 we had eclipsed that performance by May, unbelievable really and it just goes to show that people will appreciate you and keep coming back if you do a good job.

From a career development perspective, in parallel with all of this, I started at bluewave as a senior consultant based on my previous track record in the industry, moved into a lead role and now I have just been promoted to Associate Director (responsible for the whole of our permanent delivery across all customers). 

Harriet and the perm team at bluewave have been brilliant in helping secure my next SAP career move. The process has been hassle free with regular communication and advice. Genuinely refreshing to deal with headhunters who are interested in what is going to be the right step; a hugely positive experience and I have no hesitation in recommending bluewave.

SAP Programme Manager

B: Wow, that’s impressive, how do you feel about it?

H: I feel proud of myself for driving our capability in the perm space and really flattered that it has been recognised and rewarded which has me totally motivated to keep going! 

B: Now for a couple of interview staples – what would you say your particular strengths are? 

H: I would say my strengths are getting to know people and relationship building – I genuinely like talking to people. I am also always looking for continuous improvement in what we do. As an example, we have redefined our processes during my time at bluewave – they are now really meaningful and get the job done efficiently, hassle-free and with no stone left unturned. One more thing that has developed over the years is the ability to trust in my instincts, now more than ever before, which probably comes with confidence. If you asked a customer or our candidates, they would probably say ‘honesty’, telling the truth really works.  

B: And development areas?

H: I’ve come a long way since joining bluewave, and we have a good development programme that is there to help with learning areas which has been great. If I had to pinpoint one thing, I would say that there’s always new SAP tech to understand and I have to work extra hard (probably more than most) to stay on top of it all, but it is something that I am happy to do.

B: Finally on the traditional interview questions – where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

H: Does anyone know where they will be in 5 years’ time? If you said 2 years, I would like to double the perm team and our capability in this space, and also to take more of a lead role at bluewave and lose the ‘Associate’ from my job title (laughs).

On a personal level, I will have taken advantage of the two sabbaticals and been on a European road trip and somewhere else further afield for the second. 

B: Let’s finish with some quick fire questions. What’s your favourite part about your job?

H: I still get a massive sense of achievement when we find someone their next SAP career move that they are super excited about, and the client secures someone great. Also love working with the bluewave team!

B: What’s the best part about working in the SAP sector?

H: The people!

B: How do you describe bluewaveSELECT to your friends and family?

H: A bunch of motivated and like-minded professionals who share the same ambition and are able to celebrate everyone’s success; easily the best recruitment business that I’ve been a part of.

B: What are you most proud of about your time at bluewaveSELECT so far?

H: Growing our SAP permanent capability; demonstrating the value and the importance of a team exclusively focused on permanent delivery.

B: How do you spend your time outside of work?

H: A lot of time with family and friends, love a walk and a good coffee. Also enjoy red wine a bit too much!

B: Thanks, that has been great, is there anything that you would like to leave us with?

H: It has been great so far; we really enjoy our work and I am looking forward to what’s next. 

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