Making the Move into Recruitment – Tom Watson

Tom Watson

Tom Watson joined Hamilton Forth in August 2022 specialising in the IT contract market in the provision of Project Management, Business Analysis and Software professions. Here, Tom shares his thoughts on his new role three months in, and his experience in transitioning from his textbooks at university to a career in recruitment.


During the summer of 2022 I graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a 1st Class degree in BA (Hons) Business Management. Throughout my time at Napier, I studied a variety of topics ranging from World Economy to Business Strategy. My interest in recruitment started early, with my  dissertation focused on the recruitment industry and the impact that COVID-19 has had on the strategies and processes used within the post-pandemic era.


Why IT Recruitment?

Whilst writing my dissertation and having experience working within a recruitment firm previously, albeit not as a consultant, I knew I wanted to dive into the industry, but why specifically IT?

The IT market appealed to me significantly due to the advancements in technology, not just since I was a child, but even in the last few years. With the development of the Web 3.0 building on the different concepts of decentralisation, openness, and advanced user utility as well as the growth of automation and AI, I knew this was an industry I wanted to jump into.

After reading multiple articles surrounding the IT industry and its creation of jobs and demand for candidates, coupled with the advancements in technology, I was excited by the innovative nature of the industry so applied to Hamilton Forth to join the team.

Why Hamilton Forth?

I was attracted to Hamilton Forth, part of the established Livingston James Group, due to its purpose, values, and the types of IT recruitment that the business offers. Equally that the brand itself, taking its name from Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist who contributed to the development of NASA’s flight software in the Apollo Programme, encourages and promotes woman within the tech sector.

The organisation and its values resonated well with me, as well as its purpose of advising and supporting people and organisations to realise their potential, so that together they can impact lives and communities for the better. Hamilton Forth works with a large network of influential technology and non-technology organisations and is invested in developing the longevity of the technology sector across Scotland.

From Academic to Consultant

During my time at university, there was little discussion or learning surrounding the recruitment industry. The generalist ‘Recruitment Life Cycle’ was taught year in year out as a HR strategy, but the complexities of the industry itself were always missed and overshadowed.

In comparison, working in the recruitment industry is a completely different experience to the simple ‘Recruitment Life Cycle’ of sourcing, screening, selecting, and hiring. The difficulty in sourcing and current ‘war for talent’ within the market has made candidates much more challenging to find and hire. With a wealth of opportunity in the tech market, it can be difficult to sustain candidates’ interest throughout a process, combined with rigorous processes that organisations require candidates to go through to prove themselves, there is increased risk of losing candidates the longer a process goes on.

The potential and increased likelihood of counteroffers has contributed to back outs and withdrawals from processes which can be hard to swallow after weeks of hard work. Within a short space of time at Hamilton Forth, I have experienced all these scenarios, something that is not taught or published in textbooks at university.

Real Time Learning

Although university has given me some grounding going into the corporate world, learning on the job has acted as a driver both from an experience and knowledge perspective. As Dale Carnegie once said “Learning is an active process. We learn by doing”. Though my time at Napier was an amazing experience, the last three months at Hamilton Forth have been a wave of learning and development which has evolved my skillset immensely in such a short space of time.

My favourite part of working within IT recruitment at Hamilton Forth is the interaction with a wide variety of different candidates and projects. The ever-changing market and wave of new technologies means I will be constantly learning, and the best way I have learnt so far is by speaking with my candidates. Their knowledge regarding technology stacks and day-to-day processes has allowed me to develop my own skillset and understanding.


The Interim Market

Since joining the Hamilton Forth team, I have been focusing on the interim and contract market across the central belt of Scotland. This is a fast paced and competitive market, however the opportunity to meet and speak with highly skilled professionals has been one of the most fulfilling parts of the job.

By networking with highly skilled individuals, you acquire significant insight into the types of exciting projects and work organisations are undertaking. Equally, you build long-standing relationships with people and understand their career aspirations and project interests so when the right opportunity arises, you can tailor this to their preferences.

The War for Talent

As previously outlined, the current ‘war for talent’ within the market has made candidates much more challenging to find and hire. However, by entering the recruitment industry at this time, it has ingrained an element of determination and resilience. When successfully placing a candidate, you get a real sense of achievement and satisfaction in a job well done.

The IT market shows no signs of slowing down, with a constant influx of roles. However, with the uncertainty of next years economic state, many have questioned the fluidity of the market. On the contrary, I see the contract and interim market staying busy, due to the increased demand of sought after, highly skilled professionals.


If you’re a technology professional working across Scotland considering their options or seeking career advice, or a client seeking a contract/interim solution, please get in touch for a confidential discussion: [email protected]

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