Spencer Ogden Reviews

Updated April 7, 2015
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2.8
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Spencer Ogden Chief Executive Officer David Spencer-Percival
David Spencer-Percival
21 Ratings

26 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Working At Spencer Ogden

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruiter in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruiter in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexibility to move markets / roles if it isn't working for you.

    Good company culture - this is a worldwide thing. Everyone gets involved in the fun social side of work. The people are great too, everyone from my direct Manager to the Ops staff and CEO. David (CEO) is a big presence in the company - and he's a really strong and motivating personality.

    Development Training is top notch!

    Cons

    It's harder than you would expect to get going in your market. Unfortunately there is an element of luck involved and some do well, and others don't.

    Advice to Management

    Keep people informed whilst the oil market remains unstable.

  2. "Think long and hard before taking a job here"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - As everyone says, the offices are amazing. There's not many other offices you could bounce about on a space-hopper or fly a remote control helicopter while working.
    - Young, enthusiastic colleagues. In my particular office (London), everyone was friendly and up for a laugh.
    - Good social side of things
    - Potential to earn a lot of money, if you're lucky and incredibly persistent
    - Good training
    - Free fruit, tea, coffee etc
    - Good incentives

    Cons

    - Low starting salary
    - Long hours (8.30-5.30) and its an unwritten rule that you're in early and leave late. Most people were in by 8.15 at the latest and didn't leave till 6 at the earliest, which is a complete pain as you lose most of your evening by the time you actually get home. Also, you feel judged if you dare leave at 5.35, for example
    - It is very very hard to get traction with clients, particularly in the oil and gas market, where you're competing against literally 100's of other agencies.
    -The targets I was given were ridiculous. With only 10 or so clients I could target, I was expected to "bill" around £10k/month, which is nigh on impossible given that at the time I left, these 10 clients had about 2 vacancies between them due to the oil market downturn. Add in the fact I wasn't just competing against the 100's of other agencies, but also my colleagues, and you begin to see why I say my targets were ridiculous.
    - At the present time, the world oil market is in recession and because so many people have been laid off, there is scarcely any need for companies to use agencies.
    - Spencer Ogden has a bad reputation with a number of major companies due to repeated cold calling and emailing
    - Until you "do a deal", there is continual mounting pressure until it gets to the point where you feel you have to leave or you'll be shown the door
    - Although the training is good, on your training academy you're forced to cold call clients/prospective clients and as you have practically zero knowledge of your market, this generally doesn't go well.
    - Horrendous staff turnover (people leaving after days, let alone weeks)

    Advice to Management

    - Reduce the working hours so staff can actually have a life. What is the point in us working until 5.30 on a Friday afternoon when almost all our clients clock off at lunch time?
    - Give consultants more time to succeed, particularly in the current oil climate

  3. Helpful (2)

    Lours in hopeful grads under false pretences

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The offices are trendy, lots of social events, people are generally a good laugh.

    Cons

    Spencer Ogden lure fresh graduates to work for them promising the world and seducing them with their swanky offices but it is a case is if it sounds too good to be true....it is.

    There is no doubt that recruitment is a tough gig, but Spencer Ogden is a whole other ball game. Graduates are put through a two week training programme and then expected to build a desk completely from scratch. This is challenging as SO has a bad reputation among many of the major oil companies for constantly pestering and sending spec CVs - so they are on very few PSL's.

    KPI's should be used properly, at SO they are so madly driven by meeting KPIs the standard of work slips dramatically, constants are constantly sending irrelevant CVs to companies just to meet their target. The same goes for phone stats, there is such an emphasis to be on the phone for 2hrs a day that many people phone candidates purely for the sake of it or call loop numbers in the Middle East.

    The staff turn over is horrendous, they churn out grads constantly and very few people have been in the company longer than 1/2 years. It's a make money quick and leave culture, not a career that was promised to hopeful grads.

    That said, the odd few do well in this company and do earn good money. I know many people who have left SO and went on to do extremely well within technical recruitment agencies.

    Advice to Management

    Less emphasis on KPIs and phone stats, they're supposed to be used to monitor performance not drive it.

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  5. Have proper managed expectations - expect good things to come out

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Operations Staff in London, England (UK)
    Current Employee - Senior Operations Staff in London, England (UK)

    I have been working at Spencer Ogden full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Disclaimer: though working in Operations for the company, I have experience working internally within the Sales division and continually engage with them in a business setting currently

    Operations staff
    -Personable and welcoming team
    -No focus on micromanagement, faith is placed to manage yourself as long as the execution is there
    -Transparent hierarchy and progression
    -Flexibility in role and large exposure within the organisation
    -Incredible office!

    Sales (its what most people look here for)
    -Established resources
    -Established base within the Industry
    -Actively improving practice across all business units
    -Some experienced segments of management that can really accelerate growth
    -Large amount of Training and Development resources
    -Incredible office!

    In short - the foundation to succeed with motivation, time and good personnel are there, if you realise that Recruitment is tough, will come with egos as standard and there will be many god-awful days there are proper rewards. Incentives/Rewards/Success Stories with new graduates are there. When it boils down to it, Recruitment is one of the highest-reward, basic skills entry jobs that can pay off with an array of skills into good money and development.
    There are 'ifs' to above

    Cons

    Operations
    -Hours (longer than 9-5) you get used to it, but very annoying
    -You sometimes become over-exposed across the business if management haven't sorted their requests out properly

    Sales
    -Hours (should be expected though)
    -Some characters can be overwhelming at first
    -Pressure (its recruitment, it'll have to come)
    -Adjusting to work/life at first

    The nature of growth in the company can be that people end up in teams that are in 'developing phase' and perhaps don't have the management support that other teams do. However the resources internally are there regardless of experience to grow personal skills or take other options.
    Regrettably it often is currently self-led, but its there.

    Advice to Management

    New and young managers - learn from the ones doing it right already internally. Help provide more confidence stepping stones for starters, whether it be social, life advice or business anecdotes to draw the comfort and confidence out of people.

  6. Helpful (4)

    Lies to Graduates, "Graduate Scheme" is a 1 or 2 week training course, Gimmicky Office, Slightly like a pyramid scheme

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Money - They pay well if you win your own account
    Incentives - They are genuine and achievable, apartment in Ibiza is really nice and some of the staff (HR, Marketing & Finance) are talented, serious professionals

    Cons

    - Lure in graduates who they churn out like factory workers - using their initial careers as fuel for the growth of the company. Intended to make a certain senior few rich.
    - Company is being built to be sold, and senior management don't care about the long term value of the company or the staff they employ.
    - It's a make money while you can, then jump kinda job.
    - Office's mask an underlying culture of greed, selfishness, and bullying
    - Pyramid scheme in the sense that those in teams/sectors first make a lot of money off of those behind, lure in good graduates and pay them little in return for high expectations - with little career prospects afterwards

    Advice to Management

    Bring in procedures to give company long term structure and value
    Be aware that naive graduates place a lot of faith in your company and brand to be let down
    Try to get away from the bullying culture that dominates regional offices in the UK
    It's a business, not a playground
    Listen to me, I billed 150k in my time there and certainly wasn't a failed graduate - but I saw others around me followed by your glorified pyramid scheme.
    Also, some managers are just downright incompetent, and their appointment to significant posts is actually laughable.

    "Bad managers tell employees what to do, good managers explain why they need to do it, but great managers involve people in decision making and improvement."

  7. Helpful (2)

    Awful compared to many other recruitment companies.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Senior Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Nice office, AstroTurf floor etc. Not you're typical work environment.

    Cons

    No emphasis on development whatsoever and growing so fast there's no real direction. They're setting up new desks constantly and hiring lots of graduates before firing lots of them within three months. The real nail in the coffin was the arrogance demonstrated by the people that work there. Very snobbish, eager to capitalise on peoples failure and no real team atmosphere. Well over a year of my life wasted. In the end I left due to the atmosphere and the lack of progression available.

    Advice to Management

    Work on actually developing your consultants like other agencies, as opposed to getting rid of them the second you feel they aren't performing.

  8. Helpful (3)

    Appalling company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Credit Controller in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Credit Controller in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Swanky office, they put all their money on appearance

    Cons

    Appalling management, Poor career progress, they will always argue your commission and try not to pay it, managers always make empty promises, Clear discrepancy in salaries among staff. Company tends to hire on looks.
    No work life balance. Core working hours are 8.30 to 6 and you re given the look if you leave earlier.
    The turnover in staff is extremely high

    Advice to Management

    Respect your promises, focus on staff growth instead of buying new swanky offices only, stop getting higher management to write fake reviews online.

  9. Helpful (9)

    Rapidly sinking ship

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    - It is possible to make decent money
    - Learnt a lot about the O&G Industry and developed sales skills
    - Colleagues in general were fun and a lot of good "banter"

    Cons

    Where to begin.........

    - The reputation of SO has dramatically nosedived in the last 2 years. When I joined you were given the time to learn about the energy industry and to gain an idea of what you were talking about before ringing potential clients. Now SO hires 20 graduates every other month and gets them to cold call clients with pretty much zero knowledge or experience of the industry. SO will also make new graduates send a large number of speculative CVs to managers. Often these CVs are completely irrelevant to the 50 managers they mass mail to. Naturally, this does not go down well with experienced managers in major O&G companies.

    SO have lost a huge number of major clients over the past year and a half and have been blacklisted from many major O&G companies due to non-stop cold calling, being sent hundreds of non-relevant CVs and also an inability to follow HR procedure. Employees are under so much pressure to hit targets, many will not look at notes on the system before calling/e-mailling a company. Even existing clients will be relentlessly cold called and sent spec CVs in a desperate attempt by under pressure graduates to reach the ridiculous targets they have been set. Unsurprisingly this causes problems with clients who only want CVs to be submitted through a portal or only have contact with one person at SO and causes them to use other agencies.

    SO management will put you under huge pressure to hit targets. Yes, targets are part of a sales job but SO take it to another level. People are constantly being fired and everyone works under the fear of getting the sack. You must do 2 hours on the phone per day or be publicly shamed via e-mail. The laughable thing is that most people at SO called loop numbers in Africa or Middle East that don't hang up to reach those times!

    You will be made to stand up at your desk and do new business development calls for a minimum of one hour per day. As SO reputation is so poor, business development becomes a very difficult task, especially when you are under pressure from management to charge clients high fees!

    As well as competing with other agencies, SO also has a number of EMEA offices (Glasgow, Aberdeen, Berlin, Cape Town) who are all trying to target the same clients. Rival offices rarely work together and this creates massive confusion and further limits opportunities to hit your targets and make money.

    When I left SO morale was extremely low. Probably something to do with intense pressure to hit targets, non stop micro-management, pressuring you into staying way later than the 6pm official finish time every day thus having little work/life balance, making you feel bad about taking a single day of holiday, making you feel bad if you were even a minute late and generally being treated like a naughty schoolboy at all times. Almost everyone I knew when working at SO hated working there and wanted to leave. Pretty much everyone with any experience has now actually left. Hundreds of people came and went during my time with SO. In an intake of 20 grads, there would usually be 2 remaining 6 months later. Literally.

    Overall, SO is a terribly run company. My advice to anyone thinking of joining is don't do it. Due to SO's now terrible reputation you chances of success will be slim and on top that you will be treated like a slave/child.

    Advice to Management

    There is a massive problem with how your company is run, not with the staff working there. You need to realise you are recruiting in 2014 not 1994. The same techniques used then are less relevant now. Scrap some of the pointless KPI's and concentrate on providing a quality service to the remaining clients and salvaging what you can from the current mess

  10. Helpful (6)

    One dimensional, mass cold-calling approach to business

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I was there for over a year and a half. Came out having made some good friends and a bit of money. As someone who isn't a natural salesman it actually taught me the basics of selling by being put straight in at that deep end so came out having learnt that I could survive relatively well in that environment. To get further though would require more of a natural talent as the managers and trainers all read from the same 2 or 3 verse hymn sheet.
    1) Make more calls
    2) Be positive
    3) Make money

    Cons

    You'll start on £18K for the first 3 months and even me who started billing relatively early didn't get paid enough to exist in London until 7 months in. There's a lot wrong with the sole of the place. I'm not bitter about any part of it as I made good money while I was there, fell away a bit and then left on my own terms. At no point was I asked to leave and have gone on to do very well in a different profession but I'd advise against joining the company as I was one of the lucky few. Most will be spat out without a second thought, not just grads either. Even since I left, a lot of people who were billing well and making good money have left. This is solely down to the managements approach and the company culture of demonising early finishes, holidays or not hitting call targets (this leads to 70-80% of employees having dead numbers to call which they can ring repeatedly or leave the phone off the hook in order to fabricate the call stats). The trainers will make you feel like you've made it if you join SO, and the managers will make it seem like there is no world outside of SO. Most days you'll be annoyed or frustrated about something, and at the end of the day you'll just be a cog in a machine that the CEO will be selling on in a few years. You're nothing more than a pebble on the road to someone else making a lot of money. Not you.

    If you're that good at selling over the phone, become a trader.

    Advice to Management

    Don't have children.

    Spencer Ogden Response

    Oct 30, 2014Marketing Executive

    Thank you for your review – your feedback is important to us and we are pleased that you feel your time at Spencer Ogden taught you the skills of selling and recruitment. Our training and ... More

  11. Helpful (6)

    Worst experience since leaving university

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Recruitment Consultant in London, England (UK)

    I worked at Spencer Ogden full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    -Young culture that you won't find anywhere else (but that's because anyone with any sense leaves and pursues a better career or a more corporate environment!)

    Cons

    -Conveyor belt mentality
    -No loyalty to their staff - they fired one of their directors with no hesitation and someone many grads that "don't fit into the SO culture"
    -Drug culture is a huge feature of SO
    -You're made to feel lazy and a negative person if you leave on time or take holiday
    -Heavy emphasis on call times meaning that you end up calling loop numbers just so you don't get named and shamed by managers and directors
    -It's entirely based on luck and is a numbers game- I knew people that were consistently hitting their KPIs and still were unable to make deals
    -Bullying mentality by some of the managers
    -They over sell the dream to positive, happy grads and then put them into a glamorized call center that causes a negative impact on most aspects of peoples lives.

    Advice to Management

    Float the company
    Stop promising grads and environment and opportunities that you cannot offer.

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