At Faststream, we value the success and progression of our employees. We caught up with Sebastian Zuliani, Associate Director of Commercial and Technical Shipping to hear about his successful recruitment career.
When did you begin your career in recruitment and was it what you expected?
My recruitment career started by pure chance as a Trainee Recruiter in 2006 with a well-known high street recruitment agency. Initially, I went to meet them so that they could find me a job, but the interviewer ended up offering me a role with them. I didn’t know what to expect as I had never even considered a career in recruitment.
At the time it was convenient to where I lived, seemed like fun, and paid a relatively good salary for my expectations. I then managed to land a role at Faststream in 2008 and I am happy to say that I have been with the business ever since.
What enticed you to pursue a career with Faststream in particular?
I heard about Faststream from a friend of a friend when I was looking to move to Southampton and needed a job. After doing my research and speaking to people about the business, I quickly learnt that Faststream was an industry leader and expert in what they do. I didn’t know much about the maritime industry at the time, but it sounded niche and interesting.
The people working in the business also made a great impression on me when I met them, especially Mark Charman, Faststream’s CEO & Founder. As well as the opportunity to travel to international locations and make a very lucrative salary.
You have had a very successful career with Faststream – what has been your most memorable experience?
There are too many to choose from but travelling to meet clients in different locations and countries at their offices has been fantastic. I have been with the business for 13 years and have placed many of the same candidates into multiple jobs throughout their careers. It is always memorable when you place a candidate into a Director/Managing Director level role after seeing them start their career all those years ago. It’s moments like that which stand out to me in my career.
Of course, there are the amazing nights out and company celebrations that we have had at some fantastic venues, such as our Summer Party at Sandbanks Polo. That was great.
You took some time out for a sabbatical, did you always plan on returning to recruitment/Faststream?
I always wanted to travel but it was never the right time, so when the management team at Faststream allowed me to take that time off to see the world I took the opportunity. I knew I was going to come back to a good job and a fantastic team.
You started as a Recruitment Consultant and worked your way up, all the way through to Associate Director of Faststream’s Technical and Commercial Shipping Division. What do you attribute to your success?
The people around you massively contribute to your success, Working at Faststream has allowed me to benefit from working with great people, who have mentored me and pushed me to do well. Therefore, I would certainly advise you to learn from your managers, peers and your senior leadership team.
When you eventually progress into a leadership role, to be successful it is important to realise that you are only as good as your team and you need to ensure that they are developing, progressing in their careers and are genuinely motivated and happy.
Lastly, I also think that ambition, willingness to learn and resilience is crucial if you want to drive your career forward.
You have travelled to some great international locations with Faststream for client meetings, what countries have you visited?
I have been fortunate enough to visit some fantastic countries, including Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, and the USA to name a few. My favourite locations would have to be Houston, Texas in the USA and Germany.
What would you say to someone wanting to climb the recruitment career ladder?
Take your time to figure out which avenue you want to go down and what you enjoy doing. At Faststream there are typically two options that will suit different career aspirations. You can either choose to pursue the Senior/Principal Consultant business development route, effectively closing jobs and consulting with your clients and candidates. Or, you can choose to manage a recruitment team and support the development of other people. As you progress through your career you will naturally figure out the avenue you want to take.
It's also important to delve into learning and taking advice from the people you look up to. Look at what the successful people around you are doing, talk to them and absorb their mentorship. Also, be open-minded. You are going to make mistakes but just make sure that you learn from them. Don’t be defensive about your mistakes or the advice that people offer, you can learn from people at all levels.
What skills do you need to have to do well at Faststream?
Be inquisitive, resilient, a good listener and know that there will occasionally be setbacks, but you just need to keep going. Therefore, you need to be able to question yourself and the people around you. You need to be a hard worker and confident in building relationships and speaking with new people all day, every day. People skills are essential to have as a recruiter, no matter what industry you work in.
How would you describe the company culture at Faststream?
The team morale and social side are fantastic, we have some fantastic personalities working across our divisions. There is a real diversity of people, and every team has its own culture too. Friendly competition is encouraged, which makes for a thriving office environment. Even though recruitment is an individual-focused job, there is a huge emphasis on teamwork and collaboration.
There is always something going on, such as running club, baking club, mentorship programmes, celebratory lunches and after-work drinks.
How do you think that you have progressed since starting in 2006?
I’ve got a lot more patience and as a manager, you learn to become much more empathetic. I have also used my patience to become a better listener, which is an important skill to have in this job.
Having worked through two recessions I have had to become very resilient and open-minded to different ways of doing things.
What would your top tip be for anyone starting a career in recruitment?
Listen and understand your colleagues, candidates, and clients well and you’ll figure out the rest.
What do you like most about working at Faststream?
The people and my job. I love working with the different departments, whether it be the recruitment teams, marketing team or the team I manage. If you didn’t like the people you worked with, you wouldn’t have an enjoyable job. Recruitment is great but it can be tough, so the people make it a pleasure to come to work every day.
I’ve also been working in the industry for a very long time, so you get to know the people in your network very well and follow their careers; that is enjoyable and extremely rewarding.
If you're interested in a career with Faststream, please get in touch by filling out the form below.
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