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Austin Brislen: From Graduate Recruiter to Associate Director at Sellick Partnership

by Sellick Partnership | 10 January 2022

We spoke with Austin Brislen, who has recently been promoted to Associate Director, about his new role within Sellick Partnership and how his exciting career journey has developed so far. 

Back to the start

Following his graduation in 2010, Austin decided to start looking for work straight after completing his degree. After spotting a job advert for a graduate scheme to become a headhunter, Austin fell into the fast-paced world of recruitment – a path that would take him all the way to becoming Associate Director at Sellick Partnership. 

Commenting on the early stages of his career journey, Austin said:

 “For me, it really was an organic process. When you find something that you really enjoy work-wise, before you know it, you’ve been doing it for a long time. Being a recruiter came quite naturally to me – I love that it’s one of those roles where you can drive really tangible results from the effort and passion you put in.

“I realised quite early that I had a lot of the traits that are well suited to a successful career in recruitment. I was really resilient, naturally hard-working and driven, and had that appetite to push myself. I think by being naturally inquisitive and having a desire to want to understand things, I learned to take my recruitment skills to the next level and began gathering the necessary information to strive for success.”

The move into Actuarial

Over the years in the recruitment industry, Austin’s biggest area of expertise has been Actuarial – a sector that involves plenty of highly technical work and complex problem-solving. Actuaries are professionals that measure the amount of risk and uncertainty within a business to assess the next steps for moving forward with their strategies. For Austin, this involves working with General Insurers, Life Insurers, and Consultancies all across the UK to hire Actuaries on a permanent and temporary basis. 

In sharing what he loves about recruiting in the Actuarial space, Austin said:

“The market for recruiting actuaries has been really interesting. It’s incredibly fast-paced and competitive which means there’s never a dull moment. For me, it’s one of the most exciting sectors in the economy.

“I think many candidates feel the same. I’ve placed several candidates in my career who have gone on to become integral parts of the companies they were placed in. I really love watching candidates grow in their careers and helping my clients to secure candidates who are as passionate about this space and will drive really strong results for their businesses.”

Exciting times ahead

With several successful years behind him, Austin continues to look forward to his future in Actuarial recruitment and reflects on the unique draws of his career path. 

“It’s the human aspect of recruitment for me. I’ve built so many great relationships with candidates and clients – it’s amazing to revisit them later down the line and see where they are at with their careers and lives. I have also built great relationships internally here at Sellick Partnership with people from across the business. As I’ve progressed, I’ve had the opportunity to work more closely with different teams internally which has been fantastic. 

"Whether I’m running training sessions with our permanent consultants or working with Finance and Marketing departments at one of our regional offices, it’s great to work collaboratively with different areas of the business.” 

Since joining Sellick Partnership, Austin has worked hard to build a highly successful Actuarial recruitment team, but it didn’t happen overnight – here, Austin reflects on the unique challenges of expanding this area of the business and how he managed to build such a fantastic team that he now leads as Associate Director:

“Building a team has been one of the biggest challenges of my career. Winning clients and building relationships with big companies is something that I’m now well versed at, but the real challenge is taking on those who may have never done that type of relationship-building before and really nurturing those skills. Anyone can be successful in recruitment – it just takes passion, inquisitiveness, and drive to get there.

“I love seeing team members come in with lots of enthusiasm who are keen to develop their skills. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience to help others succeed on their own career paths.”

New beginnings

Here, Austin outlines what this new and exciting step will mean for his career journey: 

“This role will give me the opportunity to further develop my skills whilst leading and upskilling the great team that I have. The wonderful thing about growth is that, the more we grow, the more we can offer services to new clients we haven’t worked with before – that’s the really exciting part. 

"I’ll always want to be as hands-on with securing the right candidates for my clients. Taking on those new clients is where I really get to learn more about the industry and add it to my bank of knowledge. However, I am excited for the continued opportunity to grow my team and nurture skills in others.”

Sharing on why he will always want to recruit for his clients, Austin said: 

“The most exciting part of dealing with a new client is getting to know them on a human level, and that’s something I love. As a team, we really enjoy building those relationships, all the while remaining professional and providing a great service. Some of the best client relationships we have are the ones where we can talk about the business and get the job done, but also enjoy a good laugh here and there. I believe that the human aspect of recruitment is so important.”

Finding inspiration

During his career journey, Austin cites plenty of supportive mentors that have inspired him to get to where he is today. In addition to his professional relationships, Austin credits his parents for giving him the drive and work ethic that he has now:

“My mum and dad have always been great at instilling the importance of working hard to get to where you want to be. I’ve always worked little jobs here and there – for example, on a Saturday morning growing up I would go to the garage and get £2 for brushing the floor. I learned at a young age that hard work produces good outcomes.”

Austin said he has also been inspired by his colleagues and peers, particularly Managing Director Jo Sellick who has inspired his management style and approach with his Actuarial team:

“The biggest thing I learned from Jo is the ability to trust people, delegate responsibilities, and allow them to make their own decisions. Jo is incredibly good at trusting people to do their job. Giving people the freedom to work and be creative usually drives the best results – it’s something I’m continuously trying to instil in my team.”

A piece of advice

Finally, when asked what advice he might share with an aspiring recruiter (or anyone who is unsure what career path to take), Austin said:

“Pick a career that genuinely gets you excited – you need to be passionate about what you are doing in order to be happy. Having said that, it’s important to be realistic and level-headed where possible; every career will have its ups and downs, with periods where you feel like you're flying and others where you are in a trough. 

"When you are in that trough, seek out advice from the best people around you. Become an ‘information sponge’ and soak up as much knowledge as you can. Ask questions and be proactive. By asking for and accepting help, you will always continue to learn and become better.” 

Find out more about what it's like to work at Sellick Partnership in the Work for Us section of our website. Or browse our internal vacancies now to start your career in recruitment.