October 21, 2021

An interview with David Andrews

A little bit about EA Associates

We’re the new kid on the block – EA Associates is 6 months old! However, we’ve been a long time coming; Adam & I first began throwing ideas around for starting our own business as far back as 2016 while working for a national recruitment agency and over the years, things have slowly gained traction. We’re been recruiting in the construction industry for around 10 years apiece and following the pandemic, we decided we wanted to drop the shackles and do it for ourselves. We want to build something that not only can we be proud of, but also somewhere where the best of the best want to come and work.

How does your EA Associates help the construction industry?

We help to power it by bringing sought-after talent to the market. We’ve got around 20 years’ experience between us and an extensive network of contacts, so we can dip into that pool to source specific skills and abilities for companies struggling to hire in what will continue to be an extremely talent-short market for many years to come. We’re often the difference between businesses being able to attract the calibre of professional they need or going without. We cover all levels of recruitment and are extensively involved in helping to attract new talent into the market, often placing trainees and apprentices into positions which support training, development and further education. By helping at this level, we hope we’re playing a very small part in generating new talent that will bolster in sector for years to come.

How does your role within the organisation help the industry?

As co-owner of the business, as we grow and hire staff we can both ensure that our principles of an efficient, ethical recruitment practice is engrained within the business, allowing us to offer a confidential, discreet service where parties are kept informed of progress every step of the way. It’s important to realise that jobseekers entrust us with their careers and businesses entrust us with vacancies that are often sensitive by nature; we have to operate within their best interests. By doing so we can continue to help to get jobs filled and career ambitions realised, making sure that not only can companies attract the talent they require, but also that talent can keep progressing, fulfilling their professional ambitions.

What are the most positive things about working in your organisation

We get it, and having experienced working for competing organisations in the past we can safety say that there are a lot out there that don’t. Recruiters need to be given freedom to express their own style, people in general need to have a positive work/life balance in their lives. There are too many organisations that spend their time micro-managing staff to death, breathing down their necks constantly. That’s not us; we didn’t enjoy it and so we don’t believe in doing it to others. We want to provide the best service the industry has to offer and have fun while we do it, working collaboratively to achieve great things.

Tell us about your first day at your EA Associates.

We launched the business on Friday 30th April 2021, spent the morning getting the website updated and live, updating LinkedIn profiles and spreading the word. By the afternoon we’d been swamped with messages, so it was off to the pub to relax and do our best to get back to everyone!

1. How did you get into the construction industry?

As I think most people do, I fell into the construction industry, and recruitment in general, completely by chance. At 20-odd in a dead-end sales job and hating every moment of it, I was hitting apply to anything online that sounded remotely of interest and ended up getting an interview with Hays for a Trainee role. I knew nothing about recruitment or construction, but managed to blag my way through a 5-step process and the rest as they say, is history! To their credit, the training Hays provide is second to none and they had me up to speed in no time.

2. What has the industry taught you?

An incredible amount, everything from what it means to work hard and hold down career through to how to cost-control a building project. It’s taught me a ridiculous amount about construction methods and process, how to build and manage a recruitment business, how to sell, source business, build relationships and more.

3. Did you have a mentor? What did you learn?

I’ve had a couple of notable mentors over the years. My first manager at Hays in particular, taught me nigh on everything I need to know about recruiting and construction but not only the knowledge of the processes behind both industries, also how to treat other people; how to manage, how to build and maintain professional relationships, how to manage expectations, conflicts and celebrations. When you deal with people at both ends of your business – we don’t sell a ‘product’, but quite literally broker careers – its so exceptionally important to understand people and be able to act with integrity and empathy.

4. What three things would you tell your younger self?

I could have a field day with this! To put this eloquently and use the correct language; 1) believe in yourself and your own mission, 2) failure is an opportunity to learn, take your knocks, get back up and go again and 3) never stop goal setting – short, medium and long term. It’ll be what keeps you focused

5. What can you see for the future of the building industry?

Without wanting to be bearer of doom and gloom, I think it’s going to be tough over the next couple of years at the very least. While things have bounced back hard from the pandemic and everybody is rushed off their feet, material costs are spiralling out of control, labour is at an all-time premium and there are comfortably more jobs available than there are people to fill them. In the contracting market, clients are still of the mind to try and protect themselves by fixing prices and where contractors are nervous to commit to this sort of arrangement, it will breed nervousness. Housebuilding markets might be booming now, but with prices and living costs also running away from us, how long will it be before the bubble bursts? Nobody can quite say, but one thing is for sure – the current market is wholly unsustainable long term.

David Andrews
EA Associates
EA Associates

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