MRK Associates

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by MRK Associates's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from MRK Associates is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director
We offer both temporary
and permanent positions
MRK Associates provides recruitment services for jobs
in finance, office support and revenue management.
Managing Director Roland Seddon established the
company after having worked for the largest global specialist
recruiter for over 12 years. They have expanded rapidly, growing
from a turnover of £800,000 to a projected £3.5 million this
year. Here, Roland explains how MRK has grown and how they
plan to manage Brexit, exploiting any opportunities that may
I established the company in 2011, having previously worked as a director for
a large multinational corporate recruiter. I would sit in a national operations
meeting for an entire day and the word “quality” wouldn’t be mentioned once.
The metrics that were monitored were old-fashioned in their approach, mainly
dealing in volumes and figures, rather than the quality of the service the business
was providing. When I started MRK, I spent the first two years building our client
base, as I had relocated and set up in a new region. Thereafter, we secured our
first office space in January 2013, working with two apprentices, who I trained.
We were growing prodigiously. As a sign of our growth and improving standing,
midway through 2013, we were able to attract and hire a senior consultant from
one of our major competitors. Thereafter, the business grew continually, and, by
October 2014, we had outgrown our existing office and moved to a larger space –
further evidence that we were on our way.
We offer both temporary and permanent recruitment opportunities and have
separated the business into three divisions. Starting in finance recruitment, we
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2011
»Based in Hemel Hempstead
»Services: Careers consultancy
»No. of employees: 12
»No. of clients: 750 overall in
MRK Associates
Highlighting best practice
then evolved into office support. Our
third division opened because our
local area contains several hotel and
leisure businesses, who often asked
us to assist with finding revenue
management candidates for them.
This has subsequently expanded
The announcement of the Brexit
referendum led us to tread water
for a period. We realised that in our
rapid growth, we had taken on some
employees who did not meet our
high standards, and we reassessed
our base. In January 2017, we began
to push forward again, replacing the
people we lost. By May 2018, as the
initial economic shock of the Brexit
vote wore off, we were achieving 20
per cent more revenue with the same
headcount. This was largely due to the
beneficial effect of our introspection,
as we had improved the sophistication
and skill of our workforce.
In terms of revenue, we grew from
roughly £800,000 at the time of
the Brexit vote to £1.4 million in
2018. This year, we are on track to
increase this to £3.5 million, and we
have recently invested in additional
temporary consultants. We reinvest
a large proportion of our profits into
the business to sustain our growth,
including in marketing.
A changing emphasis in
Since 2008, employers have been
much leaner on total employee
numbers, and, when recruiting, they
don’t have the time to go through
lots of CVs. They want recruiters to
select and present only two or three
suitable applicants – that’s what
they’re paying for. My main motivation
for establishing our company was
targeting an enhanced, specialised
delivery. Our consultants do not have
set KPIs for how many calls they need
to make or how many CVs they must
send out. Instead, we focus on how
many interviews are achieved from
the CVs that we do send, targeting
our conversion ratio, rather than gross
figures. This has allowed us to focus
on the quality of the candidates.
Managing the interests of clients
means that they are far more likely to
come back, and one of our biggest
successes has been client retention.
The positives from this are obvious, but
it also means that we don’t have to
cold call companies to find work, as is
the case for others.
There are many ways to attract
candidates, and we maximise these.
In a way, this is one of our USPs. We
use administration staff to manage all
non-recruitment tasks, freeing up the
consultants to implement proactive
work – interviewing candidates,
headhunting and networking with
passive candidates, as well as meeting
clients. We use an outsourced partner
overseas to review the online candidate
databases, in line with our search
criteria, providing us with long-lists of
professionals so that our consultants
don’t have to look repeatedly at often
out-of-date profiles. Additionally,
we have a creative writing graduate,
who writes all our job adverts. When I
We are on track to
increase our revenue to
£3.5 million
In terms of
revenue, we
grew from
£800,000 at
the time of
the Brexit
vote to £1.4
million in
worked in larger firms, the consultants
themselves had to write these from
scratch, and they were rushed, written
badly or not done at all. Our adverts
follow a theme that ensures that they
are detailed, engaging and posted
within 15 minutes of registering the
job. This attracts the best people.
Before a job advert is posted, the
consultant will ensure that the details
are correct. Our admin team also sends
all temporary assignment confirmations
and uploads all candidate and client
records onto our system. Incidentally,
we also reply to every job application
we receive. Our reputation has grown
as a result of this focus.
Anticipating the effects of
Brexit and legislation
One of the biggest challenges that
we face is the increasing regulation
surrounding off-payroll employees.
Introduced to the public sector
in April last year, this increasing
legislation has good intentions but has
significantly impacted the flexibility
of the workforce in the public sector.
Providing cover for employees who
may be taking maternity leave
or any other type of extended
period away from work is always a
challenge, and further regulation only
exacerbates these difficulties. Even if
an organisation is able to transfer an
employee to a vacant role internally,
they are still left with gaps elsewhere,
where specialist interim staff really
make a difference. My worry is that
ever-increasing regulation will only
further limit this flexibility, which has
historically made the UK a fantastic
“people economy”.
With respect to exiting the EU, we
hope, however, that any deal will not
impact us greatly. Brexit is likely to
impact the largest firms hardest, so we
hold the belief that it will not affect the
ground-level firms to the sameextent.
Beyond this, we are looking to
continue our growth. Although it
could be slowed by Brexit, we aim
to maintain our expansion through
growing revenue and our talented
colleagues. We have already expanded
our office space to accommodate
more employees, and we are
confident that by sticking to our
values and model, and ensuring that
clients get personalised candidate
recommendations, we will continue to
thrive, despite any uncertainty posed
We aim to
maintain our
revenue and
our talented
Our adverts are posted
within 15 minutes of
registering the job

This article was sponsored by MRK Associates. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster