John Currell: Leading from within….

John CurrellWhilst I have previously posted articles and interviews with industry leaders like Lutz von Nida at SABMiller, I’m keen for you to gain an insight into Interpro and our leadership.

A driving factor in me joining Interpro People back in July 2013, was the chance to work with John Currell. John was immediately able to provide a clear, structured and exciting outline to the “Interpro Way” of working. Having been with the business for over 3 years now, my early enthusiasm to join has been proved correct and I have flourished within the business.

What is your role and what are your responsibilities at Interpro?

I run the European operations for Interpro, we focus on finding talent within Enterprise Applications across Europe and most of our Recruiters specialise in SAP

What is niche recruitment?

Niche recruitment means not being a “one size fits all” Recruitment provider. It is the idea that you really own and understand a particular part of your market. This means that both your candidate and client pools are a lot smaller. A niche IT Recruiter’s strengths include the ability to continuously develop a market, to access the right talent faster, and to match candidates to jobs with a much more detailed understanding of the requirements – after all, a niche Recruiter is often working the same type of vacancy every day for different clients. You also have the ability to know exactly what is going on in a specific market within IT (in our case SAP) and actually consult with clients/candidates about relevant market information (availability of talent/jobs, average rates & salaries and general project advice). We truly are networkers in the business of connecting people and problem solving, meaning as a niche Recruiter we don’t just do only the things that lead us to a placement, we see the bigger picture and are often able to offer advice to people without a hidden catch.

SAPWhy is a niche recruitment environment best suited to you?

I love the relationships that you can gain by staying in the same markets, you carry these relationships for years and develop friendships beyond just recruitment. I also love that niche technologies are constantly evolving which means you are always alert and ready to be ahead of the next trends.

Why did you decide to manoeuvre the focus to SAP?

Our focus was on Enterprise Applications (ERP, CRM and Business Intelligence) from inception of our London office in 2011. We see SAP as the market leader in ERP, and the wide usage of SAP within businesses means it fits perfectly within our vertical strategy. Also with someone like Bill McDermott at the helm, he does not settle for mediocre and is always pushing the limits, inspiring people to improve and (as he says) SAP exists for one reason – to help businesses “Run Simple”.

What is the geographical focus of your SAP recruiters, and why?DACH

Our recruiters cover mainland Europe, but currently with a big focus on the DACH region. Having a focus here enables us to really focus on getting to know our market – who are the talent we need to be engaging with and who are the businesses who could benefit from this expertise.

How have you set up your Recruiters vertically to best service your clients?

At Interpro, we love vertical markets and we put specialisation at the core of everything we do! I have found that splitting my team into module areas enables us to instantly know who is a match when a client gives us a vacancy. Rather than having a Consultant cover all of SAP in all locations, we have chosen to break it down. For instance, I have specialist SAP Supply Chain/Logistics recruiters just focusing on SD, MM, WM and EWM meaning that all they do all day, every day is speak to people in these areas and they can gain vast amounts of knowledge fast, adding great value to our clients and candidates. I operate the same structure with BI & Analytics (focus only on SAP BI / BW, BusinessObjects, Lumira, BPC, BI-IP and Digital Boardroom) and with HCM/Successfactors, then Finance and Controlling etc.

We don’t match people incorrectly with open positions because we understand our market.

What are the biggest obstacles Interpro face when dealing with candidates and clients?

I’d like to focus on the success stories first! When we have a client who is engaged in what we do and how we do it then the recruitment process is fast and the success ratios are high. For instance, in following our process, we have helped leading businesses recruit for niche skills and reduce the lead time to hire by anything up to 13 times faster!

If we have access to the hiring manager and they are willing to give us the time to qualify a vacancy over the phone, ask our own questions about the role, company culture etc. then we can do the initial matching for a client – if we’ve understood the role correctly we will send a maximum of 3 CVs and fill the position. This isn’t sales talk; this is proven in our success ratios!

We recently met with a Senior Manager of a leading business in Germany, at SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, who explained they had a need to hire 15 SAP EWM Consultants in a 12-month period, and over that period they had hired nobody… in fact, in over 15 months they had only hired 1 EWM expert). We went through the challenges, understood the role, company culture, personality and skills match required and in the space of the next 2 months they had successfully hired 7 SAP EWM experts from Interpro, from CV screening to interviews conducted to offers accepted and contracts signed! A great example of working as a team with a client.


What are the most rewarding types of client relationships that you have?

We love working with clients when we can actually understand and feel their pain, and feel like a partner to their business rather than a transactional supplier. We have clear and honest understanding of timelines from both sides and if one of us has an issue, then we pick up the phone and talk about it!

Why should a SAP End Client or Consultancy choose Interpro?

Firstly, you will be speaking to an expert who only recruits into your area and can move fast and accurately. Secondly, the person you speak with will be the person that works on your vacancy personally – it won’t be passed to a “resourcing team” who don’t understand the role or have the personal investment in you. Thirdly, we pride ourselves on success. If we can’t help you then we will tell you, so you can look elsewhere for support, however our success stories tell you that we are very good at what we do! A recurring comment on our delivery, is how fast we are able to move and supply quality SAP Consultants. Finally, but often underestimated, we are nice people! We listen and we actually consult!

If you could change one thing about Interpro right now, what would it be?

If we are talking London, then I can only pick the weather! I often see photos from some of our other offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Dubai and New York, where the sun always seems to be shining! Everyone is always that little bit happier when the sun is out!

Website Pano New

Having driven the Interpro London team to this point, what is the plan for the next 12 to 24 months?

We are looking at adding some other Recruitment expertise in other Enterprise Applications areas such as Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. We have our first MS Dynamics expert (a very experienced Recruiter in this space) joining our European division in October and we will look to apply the same principles that work in SAP into these markets – exciting times!

Who is John Currell?

John Currell is responsible for the European operations for Interpro, having set up the first of our international offices (outside of Australia) in 2011. He has over 11 years IT recruitment experience and all of this time has been spent working in niche vertical markets. Prior to this John came from the other side, having worked in IT for 6 years. An article on John, would not be complete without another mention of his proudest moment from 11 years in Recruitment; the SAP joke he wrote himself and posted on Twitter (he is still unsure why it didn’t go viral)….

How did the ABAP Developer know he lived in a rough neighbourhood? Everywhere he turned he saw a BADI


This blog was written by David Johnston. David specialises in providing native and fluent German SAP Supply Chain & Logistics Consultants, Project & Programme Managers, as well as related subject matter experts. He’s based out of our London office. If you’d like to know more about David then please check out his bio page on our website where you’ll also find his latest tweets and live jobs he’s working on.

Interested in this blog? Feel free to leave your comments below……

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