For Sarah Akhtar, recruitment is a people business – and nothing beats the feeling of helping someone reach their goal. Hear her sage advice for candidates looking for their next role, and find out why she thinks employers should be thinking outside the box…
In one sentence, explain what you do.
I find people and what they’re passionate about so I can connect them to the right opportunities.
What made you want to work for Lightning?
Their whole approach is about integrity and relationships. For someone who priorities people over profit, that really spoke to me.
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting someone an offer for their dream job – it’s just a good feeling to know you’ve helped someone reach their goal.
What does ‘professional’ mean to you – and how is it changing?
I think it used to mean dressing smart, fitting into a certain box, and having polite water cooler talk. It’s so refreshing to see workplaces throw that out and welcome people as they do now. Recruitment is one of those sectors that’s been slow to catch up, which is a shame as it’s the most fun to work in, but we’ll get there.
Why do you think diversity and inclusion should be a focus for businesses?
Because it’s what the real world looks like once you step outside of the office. How can your business be progressive and grow when it still looks like something from 70 years ago? And by limiting your talent pool to people who look and behave a certain way, you’re missing out on the incredible talent that’s out there.
What advice would you give candidates looking for their next role?
Bring your personality and passion – your CV and experience won’t always be the defining factor. If it's not for you, don't be afraid to say no – giving detailed feedback is as beneficial to you as it is to us.
What advice would you give employers looking for fresh talent?
To look and think outside of the job brief. You can teach experience, but not passion. And don’t be afraid to give people a chance! You can't get experience without extending the opportunity.
What do you wish people knew about recruitment?
It’s first and foremost a people business. It’s not about numbers, KPIs and profits – those boxes will get ticked when you do right by the people you’re working with. It’s hard, but rewarding. It’s okay to have fun with it and be creative.
What’s your guilty pleasure outside of work?
I watch a lot of movies and read books; I also try to write my own sometimes. I like travelling and good food with a homemade feel. I love music – nothing heals the soul or connects people quite like it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Let everything happen to you – the good and the bad – and just keep going because no feeling is final.
Fancy a chat? We’re a friendly bunch here at Lightning – so go on, get in touch.