Interview with San Sunner, founder of REC-Social

Find out how San Sunner used her background in recruitment and passion for media to spot a gap in the market – and establish REC-Social, a social media agency that specialises solely on the recruitment industry.

What’s your career background?

I studied Culture and Media studies at university. I had always wanted to be a journalist growing up; the idea of writing in a busy press room and chasing stories really excited me!

Once I finished university I had an internship at a production company in the West Midlands. It was really exciting to see how stories were created, crafted and pitched. It was a great environment for creativity and inspiration and I met some really fantastic people while I was there.

However, it didn’t pay to be a researcher and when probing about the career path I realised it would be a long while until I would be making any money. I wanted to buy a house and I knew I would have to make some money quickly in order to do that.

My brother was working in recruitment at the time and seemed to be doing well so I asked him what it was he was doing and what was needed to join the industry.

When did you first start your own business?

Roll on two children, some experience and a few years later. I decided to take the plunge and set up my own recruitment company alongside my husband. The hours in corporate recruitment were unmanageable with children and lack of sufficient (affordable) childcare.

I had very few other skills and always had an eye for business, it felt like it was my only option if I wanted to make money, have some work-life balance.

What was it like launching a startup?

It was hard, really hard, we faced a lot of rejection being new to the market and no money to push advertising etc. It also meant we had to quickly learn to do all the other things too, such as creating invoices.

Once we landed our first placement we were absolutely buzzing, the candidate was elated the client was elated, everything ran smoothly (that rarely happens) and we were asked to send an invoice.

I had never sent an invoice before, I didn’t even know how! Along the way I also learned how to file returns, run payroll, create contracts and all the other things that go into running your own business. I definitely jumped into the deep end but sometimes it is the best way to learn… sink or swim and all that!

What inspired you to launch your current business?

The recruitment industry has changed, the market has become more saturated and the competition is tougher than ever. Media/technology and the future of work is impacting this further, and recruitment companies who aren’t embracing the change are seeing affects in their candidate, employee and client attraction and retention.

This to some is an uncertain and scary time, to me it is so exciting! I found a market that speaks to all my strengths and desires, I finally get to blend my love for recruitment and media! I wanted in, really wanted in and thought: go for it!

It is liberating to find a business that you truly love, a business that makes you happy, a sector that you want to read everything about and talk to everyone about. For that reason, I had to give it a go and that is what I did.

What is REC-Social?

My third baby’s name is REC-Social. It is a social media agency that specialises solely on the recruitment industry. We have pulled together amazing talent, copywriters, photographers, marketing strategists. animators and together we are doing wonderful work.

It is all still early days and we are currently in the process of rebranding! The new website, design will be rolled out in the next month.

It is a great feeling to push something from an idea into a reality, we knew that pushing social media will generate ROI and that is why recruiters needed to use us but actually proving that has been one of our greatest achievements and confirmation that we know what we are doing and can deliver on what we say.

Why is work so important to you?

I feel it is a privilege to work, grow and evolve, my children are constantly asking me how many clients I have on my books and what I have done during their time at school, they are right to ask.

Children invest in us as much as we do in them and I want to make them proud. I want them to look at me and see me overcoming fears and obstacles, and persisting even when things are hard and aren’t going to plan.

What’s your advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

If I had to offer any advice to anyone wanting to start out in business or move forward in their career I would say have fun, stay positive and keep at it. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it! Be your biggest advocate and see the potential of those around you as you will always get further as a team and a collective.

You can find out more about REC-Social on their website.