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Recruitment Buzz Meets: Wendy McDougall, CEO of Firefish Software


With the Recruitment Agency Expo just a day away, we at Recruitment Buzz are eager to gain   an insight into what we can expect from the 2-day event. With technology always at the heart of the exhibition, we were thrilled to interview Wendy McDougall, the woman at the helm of Firefish Software. Set to speak at the expo, she shares her thoughts on what the future of recruitment looks like, and how recruiters can adapt to benefit.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Wendy McDougall, I’m the Chief Fish of Firefish Software. Before starting my recruitment software business, I worked as a recruiter for 20 years and ran my own recruitment agency. Despite being the CEO of a tech company now, I’d still say I’m very much a recruiter at heart!

Can you tell us more about your company?

Firefish Software was born out of a high-performance recruitment team. We loved what we did and we were great at it, but we were frustrated by the limitations of recruitment software that was on the market. So in 2006, we started building our own. The software quickly started to get other recruitment owners turning their heads and asking if they could use it. So I spun the business out 2010 and we have been growing by over 40% year on year since.

Nowadays, we’re proud to be winning awards for our software, including Best Recruitment CRM 2018. We’re a sales and marketing SaaS platform designed to help recruiters reach, engage and recruit top candidates ahead of their competition. Serving clients in 26 countries, we never see problems, only opportunities.

Could you give us a sneak preview of your seminar at the expo?

I’ll be delivering a talk on Day 2 of the Expo, on the future of recruitment. As the recruitment industry evolves, the recruiters who are at the top of the game are the ones who are adapting. So, I think it’s a good time to talk about how you can stay ahead of the competition, stop doing things for free, and introduce a culture of innovation to your agency. I’ll cover the challenges agencies will face, and how you can really take advantage of them to leverage new opportunities for your business.

What Does The Recruitment Agency Of The Future Look Like (And What Are Clients Willing To Pay For)? – Day 2, Theatre 2, 12:45 – 13:15

Looking to 2019, what do you see as the biggest opportunities for the recruitment sector?

Corporate businesses are targeted to curate a direct recruitment strategy.  The recruitment agencies that will really excel are the ones who embrace this change and look for opportunities in it rather than fighting it.

A move towards more in-house recruitment can also create opportunities for great partnerships.

Agency recruiters will always be valuable as experts in their niche, and they should be using this to position themselves in support of in-house teams in areas of high demand.

Is there anything on the horizon the recruitment sector should be worried about?

If the recruitment sector always worked around what was around the horizon, they would never get out of bed! There’s always something on the horizon to be concerned about, especially in this industry, but that’s what makes recruiters such a fantastic bunch of people. They’re consistently resilient and adapt easily to changing conditions.

What are your thoughts on Brexit and its impacts on your space?

Brexit is obviously not something to be ignored, and for certain sectors that look at using a lot of EU talent through freedom of movement, it’s likely to become a major challenge. However, as always, with any challenges come opportunities – recruiters need to find and develop new initiatives for getting talent into these sectors.

Unemployment is at an all-time low right now, and with so many jobs needing filled, this is creating a steady flow of business for recruitment agencies. But we’re already dealing with a talent shortage before we’ve even left the EU, and it’s industries like healthcare, hospitality and construction that rely on foreign workers who are feeling the pinch the most. That steady flow of European talent we’ve been relying on is already slowing down, and we need to find ways to fill this gap.

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give a recruiter?

Never give up, and remember you reap what you sow! Recruitment is only as good as the hard work you put into it – once you’ve been in the industry for a couple of years, you realise what a privileged position you’re in and how much you are able to learn every day!

Automation: friend or foe to recruitment?

I’m always a friend of automation. Anything that reduces the mundane administrative tasks of the job so recruiters can focus on being human and building great relationships is a blessing in my eyes!

What advice would you give to anyone attending the expo this year?

Aim to leave with three things you plan to change in your business, talk to as many people as you can, enjoy yourself and of course, come to my session!