TS Grale Expands Commercial Division – Interview with Craig Carnochan


Introducing our new Head of Practice: Craig Carnochan

Few are more world-wise than TS Grale’s newest recruit, Head of Practice Craig Carnochan. Born to Glaswegian parents in Hong Kong before moving to boarding school in Scotland, he attained a degree from the University of Edinburgh and after representing Scotland at age group levels, dreamt of playing rugby for the national team. Today, he finds himself in Leeds, and is faced with a new and exciting challenge – building TS Grale’s commercial division.

From rugby to recruitment

“I sort of fell into recruitment by mistake – it’s certainly not what I was focusing on while I was at uni,” says Craig. After suffering a life-changing knee injury, he carved a niche for himself hiring mid to senior managers in technical industries. Before long, he was approached by a promising start up and joined a team of just two others, pushing a technical sales brand into the market covering the UK. “I went from consultant to director and shareholder over a period of nine years, the time came where I needed a new focus and challenge,” he says. Craig decided to go it alone, and enjoyed a two-year period of running his own business in global commercial recruitment.

Following this, Craig joined a global FTSE 250 recruiter with the remit of growing and developing a presence across the North of the UK.   He soon realised that he thrived in smaller companies who would be able to give him more of a challenge. Luckily for Craig, TS Grale approached him at the right time.

Transparency for growth

“I was really taken aback by TS Grale’s transparency,” says Craig, who was contacted directly by partner Michael Thomas. “They’re so candid, both about themselves as people and as a business. One thing I’m clear on is that I need transparency from people I’m working with, especially if I’m going to help them grow their business.”

Business growth will be a core responsibility for Craig, who hopes to expand the commercial division of TS Grale into an eight-strong team. In terms of building our client base, Craig’s commercial experience in sales and marketing will be a key asset. “At the moment, we’re turning people away as we don’t have the resource to deal with commercial recruitment. The first step I will take to reverse this will be to approach those we’ve spoken to before, and to look at the industries in which we’re already making inroads – it goes back to the old adage of going for low hanging fruit.”

Big dreams for Craig & TS Grale

It will certainly be a different environment for Craig. “I’m looking forward to working with a company who will challenge my ideas – if we don’t see eye to eye on something, I want to have a discussion about it.”

Does Craig admit to being the difficult child at school then? “I would say no – but my parents would disagree! I’ve been told to toe the corporate line before but that’s not who I am – I’m forthright and outspoken.  With the help of a positive, proactive attitude and a strong team, Craig says he hopes to expand out of Leeds and possibly into Manchester, setting up a hub for TS Grale to get the most from the talent available in Northern England.

Challenges for the industry

Recruiting for that talent, Craig admits, will not be without its challenges. Skills shortages, Brexit, digitisation and the prospect of a new government will all have their effects on the industry – so how does Craig deal with these challenges as a recruiter? “We have to be advisers, whether that’s advising our clients on picking the best new recruits who can be nurtured in their role, or going into schools and universities to tell young people about the industry. Manufacturing is starting to become cool again, so we need the government’s support to encourage young people to go into the industry, but we also need to make our clients aware of the challenges.”

Where Brexit is concerned, Craig says, it’s all about the right team. “Your personnel have to be astute enough to make decisions on things like utilising low cost resources. That’s where recruitment specialists like TS Grale can help.” The same principle applies, says Craig, when it comes to digitisation. “There are so many jobs that need to be done by a human being. We’re recruiting at a senior level – I don’t think we’ll find a robot who can make those decisions.”

Transferable skills

So what is Craig looking forward to most with TS Grale? “I want to be an integral part of the business, helping us all to achieve our own goals. Mine is to develop the commercial side, and ultimately to become a partner and a shareholder. I’m looking forward to bringing my ideas to the table and working with likeminded individuals, sharing common drivers and enjoying new challenges every day.”

Working closer to home in Leeds, it’s also likely Craig will enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with his wife and young son, who he coaches as part of an under 7s rugby team. “Sport gives you great transferable skills in terms of teamwork, and learning to deal with recruitment’s highs and lows.”

But what does Craig find more challenging – coaching children or overcoming skills shortages on a national scale? “Working with seven-year-olds – no question!”

Welcome aboard, Craig!




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