Debra Cassam | The perfect HR job for an experienced candidate

Honesty truly was the best policy, when it came to Anne Corder and Zoe Ferris supporting HR professional, Debra Cassam, as she rethought her career.

“When I first met Anne, personal circumstances meant I was looking for a new role after taking a year long career break,” Debra explained.

“Anne struck a sensitive balance finding me a role that I could flourish in – she wasn’t interested in finding me any role. Anne and Zoe focussed on finding me an opportunity that was truly right.”

Debra had a wealth of expertise to offer with 35 years HR experience in sectors from health to retail to large public corporations. Commercially very aware, Debra had been involved from a tactical to strategic level, including being at the forefront of the business-partnering model.

“I immediately warmed to Debra when we met,” said Anne, “I was impressed by her depth of HR experience and was certain we could find an opportunity that aligned with her values and knowledge,” said Anne.

The first steps to finding the perfect HR job

Having previously battled traffic from Stamford to Cambridge, Debra came to Anne Corder Recruitment as she began considering opportunities closer to home.

“Previously I’d had no real need to network in Peterborough – my network was in Cambridge. I had been given Anne’s name before and thought now was the time to be in touch,” added Debra.

Anne’s own HR experience and depth of knowledge reassured Debra she was in capable hands: “We were both singing from the same hymn sheet.

“On several occasions she had to guide me back to what I was really looking for.

“I might see a role and think ‘yes, I can do that’. Anne would challenge my thinking and remind me of what I really wanted. I didn’t need a role that was going to be bullish and heavily corporate – I needed something that was different from my past experiences.”

“It felt like the stars aligned”

“Anne had always had a good gauge for me. I know she takes real care to get to know candidates and clients. She acts as a conduit between both, getting to know personalities and who would be the right fit where,” said Debra.

At the same time Zoe had been briefed on handling a business partner role for Mencap – after the charity had failed to find the fit they were looking for. Zoe and Anne discussed the opportunity and immediately thought of Debra.

Aligned values

Mencap - Anne Corder Recruitment Success Story

Having identified Debra for the role, Zoe put her forward to Mencap as a potential candidate – and they came back saying they were keen to meet her.

After a series of presentations and in-depth interviews, Debra felt she had put her all into the process – and felt reassured Mencap was the right fit for her.

“One of the stand out moments was Mencap’s approach to inclusive recruitment. It was a really humbling experience: two 70 year olds and their Mencap support workers interviewed me.

“It became clear that this was an organisation that means its values – they were behaviour centric and that fitted perfectly with me. I also instantly connected with Steve Baker, operations director at Mencap, and he’s been an integral part of my role since.

“On top of that, social care is very close to my heart. I understand the complexities involved and hold all those delivering care in very high regard,” said Debra.

With such a positive feeling about the organisation, and both Anne and Zoe with a hunch that this role was perfect for Debra, all were over the moon when Mencap offered her the job – within an hour of Debra arriving home after the final interview!

Debra explained: “It was as if the stars had aligned – now was the perfect time for me to take on the Mencap role, and they reciprocated my feelings about the fit being just right.”

Ticking all the right boxes

Today, Debra’s job involves managing one of the three UK regions for Mencap: “This isn’t just a job, it really means something. But what’s truly great is the fact it ticks all the boxes for me from a career point of view too. I am still very strategically involved, the role offers me the flexibility I need and I have the opportunity to be creative – it’s something that Steve in particular is keen for me to embrace.

“All in all, together we’re driving change in an industry that is really tough and has many different demands. Mencap is a wonderful organisation and one I am so pleased to be a part of.”

Having completed her first review period, and all being delighted with the progress made, Debra is looking forward to continuing her Mencap successes.

Always an advocate of Anne Corder Recruitment

“After my experience, I will always be an advocate of Anne Corder Recruitment. Anne and Zoe’s authenticity and professionalism meant an awful lot to me – and I am sure it does to other candidates too.”

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