In Your Shoes - Steve McNally

Having started in the recruitment industry in 1996, I have since worked in IT, Architecture, Oil & Gas, and Engineering. I have worked out of Scotland, Ireland, and Australia in the process.

I took a break from recruitment to work my way around the world with my wife in 2006. We spent 12.5 years working as English teachers in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the Emirates (UAE). 

On returning to Scotland (Dundee) in 2019 as we were expecting our daughter, I decided to realise another Life's Dream and McNally Recruitment was established. 

We provide a bespoke service in sourcing professionals and finding opportubities in the IT & Energy Sectors. Our recruitment process focuses on face-t-face or video meetings with all our customers, both candidates and clients, as this helps to build stronger business relationships.

It's Monday - not my favourite day

Monday 13th June 2022

I woke up around 6:15am and got up at 7am. Collected the delivered milk and had my usual coffee, whilst reading LinkedIn, News, and Facebook. This is the moment of the day where it’s just me, and not necessarily business related.

My wife Aneta got up around 7:30am, and I woke up our wee one Lily (aged 2.5 years). She looked so cute surrounded by her cuddly toys. We did our usual, counting the days of the week in the car to nursery. I dropped her off on my way to work as it’s close by the office.

Our offices are in Technology Park, where we moved to last September from a city centre co-share office. There are two of us; myself and our Kickstart employee Natalie. We’ve room to comfortably add one more person in the office.

The work started with some admin, like registering sent CVs from Friday, replying to emails, and also sending out meeting requests via LinkedIn connections and Teams. I also chased up a client who is wanting to arrange an interview with one of the candidates I submitted. They also have an office in Australia and apparently it was a holiday there, so there’s a delay in getting the interview organised. It can be frustrating, but you have to go with the flow.

My Teams Meetings started at 11am with four meetings back-to-back. I don’t always have open positions for the IT candidates I speak to, but it’s about building your network.

It was quite a variety, but everyone had experience related to the Cloud or Cyber Security, which are our two niche areas. Saying that if a client needs another area of IT sourced, we’ll do it.

I spoke with a Cloud DevOps Engineer in India who is arriving here at the weekend. I also spoke with two Cyber Security Consultants based in England looking for remote roles or even to relocate to Scotland. Lastly, I spoke with a highly experienced Cyber Security consultant looking for a contract role.

In between all that, we’re selling my Mum’s house. We look after her since she had her stroke, and we’ve had an offer accepted on a new place. So, a little added stress to the usual stress of having your own business.

It’s 5:15pm now, so I’m off to pick up Lily from the nursery. I’ll get to have Lily all to myself on Monday & Tuesday evenings, as Aneta teaches English online. As I’m away Wed-Fri this week, I’ll make the most of it.

Tuesday is here

I had a few candidate meetings lined up for the day so got all prepared in reading through their CVs first. One person was a Tech Support Team Leader (permanent) based in Scotland and the other was a Cloud DevOps Engineer looking for contract or permanent based in Manchester. I had roles for both of them.

Most candidate meetings take around an hour as I try to get know the person, what their career aspirations are, and what type a company would be a fit for them. From what I’m told by candidates, this as unusual as a lot of agents only focus on skillsets. One of the candidates was interested in one of my roles, so I prepared the CV with a summary of their skills. This makes it easier for HR or the hiring manager to see at glance the strengths of the candidate. After the CV is submitted, I email the candidate with confirmation of the client, salary expectations, notice, and attach the job description. This process also takes a bit of time, but I believe the extra effort is worth it.

I’m still waiting on one candidate’s interview being confirmed, as one of the hiring managers who will be interviewing, is based in Sydney. Apparently, they just a long weekend. I emailed the candidate to keep them up to date, just in case they start to have any doubts.

I also prepared everything I needed to bring to Digit’s Cloud First 2022 IT Conference. We are going to be the only recruitment consultancy exhibiting there, so it’s a big day for us. We’ll be taking a branded tablecloth, roll-up banners, leaflets, business cards, pens, 3D jigsaw Cubes, and the prizes for the two competitions.

Wednesday - Happy Hump Day

Leaving for Edinburgh today for tomorrow’s IT conference at Dynamic Earth. They’re expecting over 300 delegates, so it’s a great opportunity to meet professional working in the industry. As the ‘Cloud’ is one of our niche markets, this is the perfect conference for us. Coincidentally, we also received three Cloud vacancies from one of our Glasgow based clients.

My wife Aneta came up with a great idea of letting delegates know about our vacancies, and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner (we really are a great team!). So, I printed off job descriptions of about a dozen or so of our current vacancies that we’ll put in a folder. I also decided to make up a poster with the job title of six of our Cloud vacancies and made up A6 cards with them too that people could take away.

One of my clients just gave me another two new vacancies for Solutions Architects (IT). They’re based either Glasgow or London and have very good salaries. I recently sourced the same client two Solutions Architects, so I’m very hopeful. I’m going to give it to our Kickstart person, Natalie, to work on.

So, car is packed and ready to go. We eventually left around 2:30pm (1 hour late). I always stay overnight before a conference, as it means there’s no rush the next morning. Parked the car at Dynamic Earth, then we headed out for food. Went to Wagamamas (only my 2nd time) and due to mix-ups got a free pint of Asahi! Going to bed early tonight, as we’ll start at 7:15am tomorrow.

Thursday is our Cloud First 2022 Day at Dynamic Earth

Woke at 6:15am without the alarm, my brain must have been thinking about our big day.

I got the laptop open and made sure that all our jobs were posted accurately and up to date. Checked emails and finally my candidate’s interview was confirmed for next week. You never really know how the interview will go, but this client has had this vacancy open for about 4-5 months, so I’m really hopeful. It also means that nobody else has found the client a potentially suitable candidate.

We arrived at Dynamic Earth at 7:15am, unloaded the car, and set up pour stand. Although it’s at the back of the event, ours stands out a mile. My posters (advertising the top 6 cloud jobs) went down very well indeed with lots of people taking pictures. One person from another stand approached me saying their company needs similar people, so this could potentially be a new client. I’m totally buzzing, and it’s only 10am.

We had two competitions; A raffle to win a £50 Whisky Voucher (Master of Malt website) where people simply fill in their details and drop it in the bowl. This will be drawn live at the end of the day, with delegates still there. The other competition is a jigsaw speed contest. We have a ‘Top Gear’ style leader board to try and create a bit of competitiveness. It’s only 20 pieces and is a picture of our company logo. The fastest person on the day wins a JamJar Wireless speaker.

Last, but not least, we’ll have an ice cream cart giving away free ice cream (again the only stall doing this). Everyone is already talking about it! Great idea Ben!

Friday is Reflection Day

Today was a much later start in fact I had a long lie until 9am. In the morning it was a reflection on yesterday’s Cloud First 2022 summit. Without question the talking point of the entire summit, amongst both delegates and exhibitors was “Karen’s Ice Cream Cart”, thanks to Vicky & Ben. It was an outstanding success. Vicky had five flavours of ice cream, with all but one finished (vanilla, honeycomb, rum & raison, biscoff, and chocolate). This was Vicky’s first Digit event and I think she loved it as much as we did.

I decided on using Karen’s Ice Cream Cart ( as I thought it would be something different and it was summer. However, what I didn’t expect was Vicky was an extension of our business by ensuring every ‘customer’ had their badges scanned, in addition to serving with a smile and a chat every time.

Our Kickstart employee Nat, also did brilliantly by engaging with every single delegate she came across. She was forever professional, despite this being her first ever IT conference. She even had the idea of asking people in the queue for food, to enter our raffle, as that way they didn’t lose their place.

This was by far, the best IT conference I’ve attended (as an exhibitor). This was my third in-person (in addition to four Virtual Summits, due to Covid).

We’ve made the business decision to attend three Digit summits per year. Ray & Ben (as well as the team like Jill & Lola) run a brilliant event every time. They engage with you, promote your business, and make the whole experience enjoyable.

We need to wait until November at the EICC (Digit Expo) for the next one, but I already can’t wait.

So the afternoon (and what is my last diary entry) was spent looking over some of the contacts we’ve made. Without delving in deeper we have potentially two new clients. As for candidates, all I know is that lots of people took interest in the Cloud jobs we advertised at the event, and that was thanks to my wife Aneta.

The ‘cliché’ saying is “Team work makes the Dream work”, and for this event, nothing could have more true. I was buzzing at the end of it, which I’ve not quite had before, and that was purely down to everyone around me, family, friends, colleagues and a new customer (to them – Karen’s Ice Cream Cart), all rallying round to make this a resounding success.

Thanks for following me this week, I hope it has given you a little insight in what it’s like to have a recruitment consultancy. It goes without saying that should ever be looking to source IT professionals or that you are one looing for an opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact me any time.