How a redundancy sparked a thriving specialist recruitment agency

March 23, 2016

When Alan Surgeon was made redundant from his 8-year career in the charity sector in 2010 he was faced with a choice to sink or swim. He chose the latter, teaming up with his sister Donna to form AWS Recruitment - specialist head hunters for the charity, property, legal and accountancy sectors.

Their business is now thriving and they operate it all from their Edinburgh city centre office here at Nexus Business Space.

Alan, who was shortlisted for the 2016 Young Business Person of the Year award though the Chamber of Commerce, highlights four elements that have been key to their success:


“Location is really important to us - we need to be central and close to train station and bus station. Having this central office at Nexus, which is a really nice space to work in, also means that if people want to meet us in their lunch break they can come to us or it’s easy to pop out and make the most of local coffee shops.”

Building a great reputation

In 2014 the Best of Recruitment Practice presented AWS the ‘Best Customer Service’ and ‘Outstanding Small Business’ awards, which is testament to the strong customer service ethic Alan and Donna approach their work with. “We believe that people buy into people and so most of our work come in through good testimonials,” Alan explains.

Being transparent

“There’s so many bad recruiters out there that are just looking to get paid. What makes us different is that we sit down with people that come to us, discuss their needs and find out if they even need a recruiter.

“If they do need a recruiter we also want to make sure we’re the right recruiter for them. We won’t take money off people unless we have to.”

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