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A Q&A WITH KAREN BURNS OF BJSS

Monday 7th November 2016
Tags: guest blog

 Karen Burns has had a career in recruitment spanning  the  last 10 years, prior to that Karen worked professionally in  the equestrian industry. She started her career in  recruitment in the international Oil and Gas  industry.  Starting out in Manchester before moving to Leeds to set  up  the Oil and Gas team at an IT focused recruitment  agency. In  this Q&A shares with us her career path so far as  well as  more about her current role at BJSS and what it's  like to  work there... 

 Your most recent role see’s you as recruitment manager at  BJSS. Can you tell us a bit about what your job entails on a  day to day?

 It’s hardly a nine to five job. No two days are ever the  same and I amaze myself at how much I can jam-pack in every day! My role is a new one at BJSS and one of my top objectives is to shape and run the company’s recruitment capability. My team  has to hire at least 150 people this year and we do that by working with our preferred agencies, sourcing and hiring candidates directly, growing our recognised BJSS Graduate Programme and headhunting. I am also on hand to guide our technical team whenever a candidate isn’t an “obvious choice” for BJSS. I come from the recruitment world so my understanding of this space helps me to give an experienced view on who we should and shouldn’t be hiring. 

What do you like about your job?
The challenge mostly. This is a very demanding role in an ambitious and successful organisation that is made up of 600 very clever people. BJSS has a great culture and it’s given me a great opportunity to grow and develop my career. I also like that  the management team is approachable and always available, pushing me to improve continuously. 

What are the challenges you face?
As I’ve mentioned previously, our team has to bring 150 new people into BJSS. The company prides itself on its robust  recruitment standards, selecting only the best candidates. One of my biggest challenges is to ensure that we maintain these standards while finding ways to reshape and speed up our processes without compromising quality.

You’ve been in recruitment for 11 years, how has the industry changed through your career? 
I started my career in the oil and gas sector before taking the plunge into technology recruitment – a journey that gratefully led me to BJSS. The IT market is pretty similar to the international oil and gas market where skills are in increasing demand (albeit scarce), employers having to compete aggressively for top talent, and agencies running an account management approach based on headhunting.

BJSS is a massive company with a great reputation in the software industry. To someone that isn’t familiar with BJSS, what do they do and how are they different to other software organisations?
Well BJSS is an award-winning delivery-focused IT consultancy with over 20 years’ software delivery and IT advisory experience and we’re renowned for technical excellence, cost-effective delivery and our proven BJSS Enterprise Agile approach.

Can you tell us about what it’s like to work there?
Brilliant! I love working here! The people are great, they’re really talented and I learn so much from the brilliant projects they deliver. Our people get to use the latest technologies and tools and they love working on a variety of work. The benefits here at BJSS are great, we have amazing offices and we have a full social events calendar. It’s a really happy environment.

If you were a software professional looking for a new role why would you want to work for BJSS?
Very few companies can match the breadth of work, clients and technologies which BJSS offers. Our vision is to be recognised as the UK’s leading privately-owned technology and business consultancy. To achieve this, we are progressively investing in the expansion of our capabilities so BJSS offers many opportunities for software professionals wanting to develop their skills and career paths.

The digital community in Leeds seems to be extremely vibrant at the moment. What do you think the appeal is to settle in Leeds for professionals and start-ups?
Leeds is a great city to live and work in. It has a casual vibe to it and it’s a cool place to be. Everywhere is close, the cost of living better and there’s a great quality of here. From a tech perspective, you can easily be at a tech meet up one evening and then finding yourself cycling through the Calder Valley the next evening. 

What advice would you give to young people looking to pursue a career in the technology industry?
Contact me! ;) But on a serious note, get involved in the local tech community, ask from guidance from contributors on Stack Overflow and similar tools. If you chose a degree subject at 17 that no longer fits your career aspirations, that doesn’t matter – companies are always ready to ‘train up’ young people that fit into their culture.

Also remember that your college’s / university’s career service can be incredibly helpful so make the most of it! Ask them to not only help you with career planning, but also to help draft and proof read your CV, and to prepare you for interviews. Some career services work directly with recruiters to help with placements, work experience and graduate schemes. If you approach a career service to help with opportunities, the service can contact recruiters on your behalf. Remember - you are paying for this service as part of your tuition fees - they are there to help you, so use them!


What have your experiences been so far working with Amsource Technology?
We have a great relationship with Amsource. The team understands our business and many of the candidates they send to us successfully progress through our recruitment process.  

What sets Amsource Technology apart from other recruiters?
Amsource provides a high level of service. They understand our needs and what we want. 

Find out more about BJSS by visiting their website here.

If your an industry professional that would like to collaborate with Amsource Technology on future guest blogs, from Q&A's to a topic of your choice. Please get in contact here.
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