After nearly 20 years at Church International we had to ask Phil Jennings…Why?


“1999 – back when we were all worried about ‘the millennium bug’ and the introduction of the Euro currency. A monumental year all round as that is when I joined Church International. 26 years old and fresh off an aeroplane from Australia. I started working in recruitment at the age of 23 before moving to Australia and working for a company called Sapphire Technologies based in Sydney, Australia. I was your stereotypical young man in what was quite a cool industry to be in; smart, I knew it all and had an ego bigger than Ayres Rock. After 2 years it was time to return home to my birth country of the UK. I could have easily gone straight to London and quickly found a job working for a large recruitment firm, but that wasn’t me. Getting lost in a multinational corporation might have been fun in my early days but now I wanted to work for a firm which was small enough for me to make my mark but well respected in order to gain credibility on my CV (little did I know it would be the last time I would ever need my CV). I came across Church International, based in Kent with a formidable client base in the financial services / technology arena. With my background working for a tech firm this seemed like a reasonable fit. My first interview was with the Office Manager. I was then called back to meet Chriss Andrews, Founder. Back then the Church International team was a six man band with a reputation much larger than their headcount. But this was perfect…an arena where I could use my experience to make a difference through not only placing candidates in top notch organisations but I could, personally, have a direct impact on Church’s bottom line.

Today I am revelling in my position as Head of Delivery, as well as fulfilling my day to day recruitment role. I work closely with Brian Fitzgerald, MD on delivering high profile recruitment programmes to some of the world’s leading organisations. The experience I have gained from being with Church throughout our impressive development enables me to combine my leadership skills and deep domain knowledge to help our growing team. We are a collaborative unit who empower each other to take more responsibility and in turn realise real benefits, not just in our own salaries but help to deliver against our clients’ and Church’s business development goals. The beauty of working for a smaller recruitment firm is that you have the ability to write your own cheques – you get out what you put in and despite what anyone says, ultimately we’re all about making money through providing great service and of course having fun at the same time!

The team at Church are extremely supportive and collaborative. Namely Chriss and Brian are never too far away and they are practitioners which is so important, they’ve been there and done it. They’ve walked in your shoes and they know what it’s like to build a business from the ground up. Do I miss the bright lights of the city? Maybe one day out of five but the other four days of the week I have a great work-life balance, I don’t miss family get-togethers and I can drive and park ten metres from my desk. Don’t underestimate how a shorter (not to mention cheaper) commute adds huge value to your day-to-day quality of life.

It’s 2018 now – The millennium bug never hit and we’re now trying to get out of Europe. What will never change is that people will always need help finding jobs and whilst there are numerous online providers, I believe that there will always be a place for firms who offer truly expert and end-to-end recruitment services. Technology might be taking over but people are more important than ever.”

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