Director, Hays Specialist Recruitment
Chetan Patel graduated with a degree in Computing in 1995. Here Chetan discusses his time at Loughborough, playing professional cricket, and his rise to the top in recruitment.
Good question. At the time in 1991, Computing was an exciting and fairly new area to work in (before the dotcom bubble)! It was also an area of personal interest during my A levels, and I thought it would stand me in good stead for the future.
Being surrounded by likeminded, competitive and disciplined individuals, both on the field and academically, really sets you up for future career success if you carry that winning attitude and drive to achieve through to your workplace. Loughborough really sets you up for success.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
Make sure you do a course you are interested and passionate about as well as just focussing on future career prospects from that particular degree. 3 years is a long time to do something just because you think you should.
There was a brief period where you played professional cricket. Was this something that started during your time at Loughborough, and what were your most notable achievements during that time?
I’ve always played cricket from a very young age – I had no choice growing up in my family! I went on to play local club and county cricket and carried that on to Loughborough, where I played 1st XI cricket against some great University sides. I think the thing I am most proud of during my short career is being the first player in over 30 years to achieve a first class hat trick for Oxford University, where I also did a postgraduate course. As well as this, I very much enjoyed representing British Universities.
Can you tell us more about working as the Director at Hays Recruitment in London? How did you obtain this role?
Working in recruitment, each day presents a different challenge, both internally and externally. It’s primarily a people business – dealing with clients, candidates and internal staff. I look after a number of business specialisms in London, and have responsibility for around 200 people. I’ve worked at Hays for nearly 20 years, so this role is very different from the role I had when I joined as a recruiter. I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am and as such have had some great career opportunities to get where I am now.
After my brief cricket career, I didn’t know what to do next, so as an interim measure I was temping for Hays, using my computer skills. During that time, the person who placed me in the temp role suggested I consider recruitment –and here I am almost 20 years later! I don’t think it is a coincidence that people who have played sport to a high level are able to do well in business – the drive to succeed and competitive nature means that most sportsmen and women wouldn’t be happy with a run of the mill job.
The variety, challenges and the people I work with. Every day is different. I love the culture at Hays – if you work hard, you’ll succeed and everyone celebrates your success. I really enjoy working with like-minded individuals, and whilst I don’t directly recruit myself, I still get a buzz when anyone in my team finds great candidates their ideal career opportunity.
I would personally like to continue to grow my career with Hays by taking on more business specialisms or greater geographic coverage. Given Hays is a market leader in the UK there are always opportunities for people who do well.