April 2nd 2024

Help, hire and thrive: Leading Forces advocates RecruitME practise what they preach

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Service Leavers Howard Rudder and Chris Buck were as excited as they were nervous when they said goodbye to the security of employment to setup their own business in 2015.

After saying farewell to colleagues on the Friday, they launched specialist recruitment firm RecruitME in Grantham the following Monday. Applying the same determination to succeed instilled in them from the Forces, they hit the ground running.

On day one we were sat there with empty desks and empty walls in an empty box room,” said Co-Founder Howard, who served in the Royal Navy for 9 years. “We had a great article in the Grantham Journal about us Veterans setting up a new company.

A few hours after we opened I remember the phone rang and we looked at each other like ‘what do we do now?’ We had this massive buzz.

A local business owner had read about Howard and Chris’ new venture in the newspaper while sitting in a local coffee shop. He was all too aware of the skills and personal qualities that come with current or former Armed Forces personnel and wanted the duo’s help recruiting a new Transport Manager.

That call led to their first successful client and the first shoots of RecruitME’s success finding new jobs for Service Leavers, Military Spouses and Reservists in the East Midlands and beyond.

L-R: RecruitME Co-Founders Howard Rudder and Chris Buck

L-R: RecruitME Co-Founders Howard Rudder and Chris Buck

Helping others

Recruitment is a huge industry,” said Howard. “Everyone says they have great customer service and great candidates but the Armed Forces link give us our unique selling point.

“Over the years we’ve built up a reputation, certainly in the Midlands, as the go-to recruitment company for Service Leavers looking for new roles.

“Service personnel go through their whole careers training, so they have an ability to get up to speed quickly, as well as a raft of transferrable skills. They have a great work ethic and are very loyal to an organisation.

“We can find good Transport Managers, Cyber Security Specialists, and educate clients about the value Armed Forces personnel add to businesses.

Howard and Chris, who served with the Army’s Royal Logistics Corps for 7 years, initially wanted to setup a not-for-profit helping Service Leavers who were homeless or had been to prison find employment. However, they discovered many organisations already provided help.

But that desire to support fellow Armed Forces personnel remained at the heart of the business.

In the past 9 years, RecruitME has secured new employment for more than 500 Service Leavers, Military Spouses and Reservists.

Given their background they understand the challenges faced by Armed Forces personnel – such as Military Spouses’ need for flexibility or Service Leavers’ unfamiliarity with job interviews – and go the extra mile.

They have worked with military barracks to organise CV writing and interview technique workshops during resettlement sessions, ultimately helping service leavers successfully transition to civvy street.

They have also organised events to promote the employment of Armed Forces personnel too, including a special event organised at International Bomber Command Centre.

“Having been through the process ourselves and having had knockbacks, we understand what they’re going through,” added Howard, who said his team celebrate with a ‘hurrah’ every time they secure employment for Armed Forces personnel.

Recognising the value they add to the workplace, RecruitME has previously hired Veterans and a Military Spouse themselves. They have also introduced HR policies, such as additional leave, to ensure Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by their service.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also nurtured relationships with local Army units and have sponsored a boxing and an athletics competition.

A winning formula

Helping and hiring Service Leavers, Military Spouses and Reservists, both themselves and for their clients, has proved a winning formula for Howard and Chris’ thriving business – it’s even enshrined in their motto: ‘when heroes are hired, business grows stronger’.

For their tireless work advocating Armed Forces personnel within and outside of their business, RecruitME was nominated for a Silver Award in the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) in 2016.

Further validating their approach and their advocacy for ERS, in 2020 they became one of the first Lincolnshire businesses to win the Gold Award.

“We’re very proud of the Gold Award and talk about it all of the time,” said Howard. “ERS has raised our profile and certainly open doors and raises your profile as a micro business.

Whereas the Silver Award is about demonstrating support for Armed Forces personnel, the Gold Award is about advocacy and encouraging others to follow your example – and Howard, Chris and their team of Consultants do this in bucket loads, actively promoting ERS when they’re on the road talking to clients.

They’ve worked with local councils to help them advance through the scheme and represent the interest of service personnel as members of the Greater Lincolnshire Defence and Security Cluster and the Lincolnshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Board.

“We’ve just celebrated our ninth anniversary and I am so proud our team continues to live up to our values and pledges and remain great advocates of the Employer Recognition Scheme across the East Midlands.

We advocate the importance of the scheme and the great value the Armed Forces community can add workplaces to every company and organisation we meet.

“We’ve very much been a part of the scheme since day one and I’m so proud it continues to be a great part of our journey.”

Find out more about the Employer Recognition Scheme in our beginner’s guide.