Founded in 2014, Hanami International is an Audit & Professional Services specialist recruitment firm. The team operates cross-border, without geographical limitations, speaking five major world languages between them. Over the last five years, they’ve built a strong team culture, where both personal and professional development are supported, and where work is more than just the 9-to-5.
Co-founders Andy Bell and Matt Harrison have a very hands-on approach to managing the team; both still run their own desks and bill, on top of their directorship duties, supported by Business Support Executive, Katie Smith. Their second-in-command is Bradley Alexander, who’s worked his way up through the ranks to managing consultant since joining as a resourcer in 2014.
Senior consultants Will Glover, Adam Nelson and Claire Mason drive new business for Hanami International, travelling overseas and fostering relationships with clients, while consultants Aurore Mouchet, Jack Pyle, Anja Pfister, Tom Glennie and Denise van der Lans source and place candidates within the largest businesses and professional services firms worldwide.
Why did you decide to join Hanami International?
Andy: I launched Hanami International because I wanted to work for an honest recruitment business. I loved recruiting but had fallen out of love with the recruitment industry. I wanted to work with people who fully respect the magnitude of someone's job move, rather than seeing it as just another transaction or fee.
Anja: They seemed like they really valued people above everything else.
Bradley: I wanted the opportunity to start something on my own and to be the best in the world at something.
Jack: I wanted to work in a start-up because I wanted to understand how a business is built from the ground up.
Will: What drew me in was the international aspect, and what’s made me stay is the team.
Denise: From our first point of contact, I had a feeling of 'Yes, this is the right thing for me'.
How would you describe the company culture?
Claire: The values here are different – most firms are about being the biggest and best. Here, it’s about providing the best; sometimes that means sacrificing making money in order to do the right thing.
Andy: Hard-working, fun and cohesive.
Denise: Open-minded, with emphasis on freedom and development.
Anja: Dynamic, diverse, open-minded and tolerant. They accept people just the way they are.
Tom: Trustworthy and very transparent.
Aurore: It’s very supportive; everyone helps each other. We actually take the time to talk to each other.
Why is working within your specific market so rewarding?
Adam: I’m fascinated by what forensic accountants do. I also love moving people around the world – it’s such a bigger buzz than simply getting another job; we get a lot of happy tears in international recruitment.
Will: It’s rewarding giving people opportunities that are rare and hard to secure. I recently moved someone to Dublin who wasn’t an EU passport holder and needed sponsorship – I secured that for her and she’ll be able to apply for citizenship in three years!
Matt: Internal auditors need a balance of skills and qualities that make them really well-rounded people. They need to be chatty, intelligent, logical, creative and culturally sensitive with a global view – put all those things together and you’ve got a very interesting person.
Claire: For me, it’s the broader sense of changing someone’s life. We keep in touch with our candidates and I’ve never had a case where they’ve regretted the move. Even if the job doesn’t turn out to be the right fit, the broader life experience of moving somewhere new has been valuable.
What has been your favourite out of office event as part of Hanami International?
Adam: The high-performers trip to Mallorca last year. Winter sun, tapas, drinks, the casino – and zero work!
Bradley: Going to Sydney and Dubai for the IIA conference (and we're heading off to California next month).
Katie: Celebrating the Japanese festival of Hanami in Hyde Park. The sun was out, we had some drinks, played music and kicked a football about.
Will: Definitely the go-karting last year – mainly because I won.
Matt: Any team event down the pub.
What training does Hanami International offer to consultants?
Andy: We support people day-to-day at their desks. As both Matt and I are both still recruiting, the team gets to see us in action and learn from it, rather than simply telling them what to do and say.
Katie: Development-wise, Matt and Andy are always looking at ways for me to build up my job spec and take on more responsibility. I probably take on something new every week.
Aurore: I’m surrounded by senior people in the team who listen to my calls and give me real-time advice. They give me direction whilst simultaneously encouraging me to manage my own desk and learn from my mistakes.
Tom: I recently had my first Business Development training day with business coach Suzanne Browne, which was excellent.
What would you like to achieve at Hanami International this year?
Aurore: I want to deliver the right kind of candidate every time.
Tom: Coming from a banking background, I would like to start establishing my name specifically within commerce and industry in the audit market.
Claire: As it’s my first year, the most important thing is becoming established. It’s all about building up that strength of desk and key client relationships.
Jack: To gain a few regular clients and have exclusivity with at least one client.
Bradley: To have a team of really happy, well-trained, engaged people who love what they do.
Andy: I’d like for every individual to achieve their own personal goals and to maintain our wonderful culture.