What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

Darren Westall tells us his biggest mistake , funniest story and much more!

Craig Howard

So welcome to another exciting edition of the 120 Second Recruitment Podcast today I’m joined by Darren Westall of Paiger and the first of your questions Darren can you tell me “the best decision that you’ve ever made in your career”?

Darren Westall

That’s quite an easy one actually it’s deciding to quit my job as CTO of Broadbean and that’s no reflection on Broadbean. I loved my time there, loved the company, we used to have a saying that we bleed green and I absolutely did. But I hit that pinnacle of my career I was aiming to be that CTO for such a long time that when I got there actually I felt a little bit empty inside. I didn’t know what was next in my career so yeah quitting that and actually having frankly the bollocks to go out and start my own business was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Craig Howard

Fantastic and looking at the success you guys have had of late it definitely was a really good decision to have made. So the next question we’ve got for you is could you tell me “your funniest ever recruitment story?” I’m sure you’ve got quite a number of them!

Darren Westall

Yeah I mean my highlight has to be when we went to the recruiting expo in Birmingham the first one since we started the business. we couldn’t afford a stand we just generally couldn’t afford it. Chris, at the expo, if you are listening to this I’m sorry we pay you money now but I couldn’t back then. So we went with free hug t-shirts on we literally just went around and we just saw everybody make such a noise. We were just giving around free hugs to everyone and starting conversations. We closed so much business but we didn’t a penny and I’m really really sorry about that I feel really guilty but needs must.

Craig Howard

Fantastic and good to see how well it worked, I remember it well. So the next question we have for you and we’re going slightly over the normal two. Could you tell me “the biggest failure in your career?” which I’m sure is pretty hard to pin down because it sounds like it’s been a pretty good career

Darren Westall

Oh no, I’ve had failures, absolute failures and this probably from my time at Broadbean actually. At Broadbean I was a tech guy right as a developer and there’s something called a crontab which is basically a scheduled task to run on the servers and the way you edit it is you write crontab space dash E to edit but I didn’t type that I typed crontab dash R which is actually remove. So I wiped all of the scheduled tasks and this was back in the day you know before we had the right processes in place. So yeah I was responsible for quite a serious problem at BroadBean because I typed the wrong letter

Craig Howard

Oh not great! Well, the last question we’ve got for you is following on from all the great answers you’ve given us so far. “Could you tell me the best advice you’ve ever been given?”

Darren Westall

Absolutely and it’s something that we call extreme ownership. So when something like that happens right if somebody really messes up the first thing normally you try and do is work out who to blame. Which person is responsible for this and all you’re actually doing there is wasting time. So extreme ownership is a practice where everything is your fault no matter what it is, it’s your fault. Because as soon as you accept fault you actually skip a stage ahead, you’re no longer trying to find someone to blame you’re trying to find out what you can do to prevent it happening again. We used to run five-why sessions. You ask yourself why five times until you actually get to the real cause. It’s a practice across the business. Extreme ownership means everything is your responsibility. Once you accept that everything becomes so much easier because you’re not trying to point fingers you’re actually working together as a team. So my best piece of advice is to practice extreme ownership.

Craig Howard

Brilliant concept, I will certainly have to look into that. Well, listen, thanks ever so much for your time, Darren. It’s been really great talking to you, giving us a really good insight and some really good stories there! I look forward to speaking to you again soon and hopefully catching up at the expo next time!

Darren Westall

Sounds good! I’ll have a stand paid for and everything!

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