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Mikaela Jubb

Mikaela Jubb on constructive recruitment

By Mikaela Jubb

Director - Underdog Recruitment

Never underestimate the underdog is the slogan for Underdog Recruitment, the company owned and run by Mikaela Jubb. It’s a message that resonates on a personal level with Mikaela, who has built her construction recruitment business by treating people equally and in turn has earned mutual respect from her industry peers.

A self-confessed people pleaser, Mikaela ventured into the world of work at the age of 14 in telesales then worked in visual marketing; as wholesale account manager for the biggest tyre wholesaler in the UK; and in insolvency; before finding recruitment in the niche of construction.

Mikaela’s love of working with people has run through every role she has had, and it is with that personable integrity that she launched her own business three years ago at the age of 30.

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What do you like the most about what you do?

I love the people. Everyone's got a story and I love finding out those stories. Some people I speak to have been in the construction industry for 50 years and I could just listen to them all day.

Of course, some days are really hard, but I have a laugh every single day that I work.

The most important thing for me is treating everyone with respect and treating everyone the same whether they're a candidate or a client.

A lot of the roles that I work with are seen as entry-level roles and I think sometimes people forget the importance of those roles. I like the advising side of things and I try to help candidates get something out of everything that they do.

I like working with small businesses because I can understand and appreciate the trials and tribulations that they come up against and I can speak to them on a level. I love seeing small businesses grow from the passion and hard work that they put in.

And I really like the strategy – finding people that will fit a business and help drive that company forward.

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As a company supporting the construction industry supply chain, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges for the sector right now?

There are a lot of challenges. The skill shortage is worse than I’ve ever known it to be. For example, within the mechanical and electrical sector, it’s particularly difficult finding technical engineers or specialists in subsectors like renewables because not a lot of people are upskilling in those areas.

Reliability is also a huge challenge; I think the pandemic created a big shift in mentalities and the way that people work.

Opportunities-wise, I think now is the time that we need to go to school level and show kids how great the industry is and how much you can learn from it and earn from it both mentally and financially. You can get so much from the industry and the people and the knowledge that they have if you’re willing to tap into it.

What are your top tips for companies looking to recruit?

Stand out and know why people should want to work for you. Things have shifted now, recruitment used to be about what the company wanted, whereas now it’s whether the candidate wants to work for the company – it’s very much a two-way process.

Use your network – you never know who might know somebody that could be the perfect person for your company and for your business.

Use social media. LinkedIn is great for middle management and upwards. Facebook and Instagram are being used a lot more for the trade side of things now.

Construction can be a very archaic industry; in certain areas it’s very set in its ways. But the small businesses are so dynamic and agile that they’re pushing ahead with these new ideas that make them stand out.

"The most important thing for me is treating everyone with respect and treating everyone the same whether they're a candidate or a client."

What’s been your experience and perception as a woman working within the construction industry?

I am a massive advocate that we need more women in the industry. However, I think that it needs to be done in the right way.

Those pushing for women to be in the industry can at the same time create even more of a separation. Achieving it through collaboration between the female and male sides of the industry, I think would make a massive difference. It would make it more appealing for women to come into the industry because it can be intimidating.

There are so many different levels to it because being such a male-oriented industry impacts so many areas. If you look at things like mental health in construction, my true belief is that having more women in the industry would have a positive impact and I think there’s such an opportunity there.

I’m an ear for a lot of my clients. When I first start speaking with someone, I want to find out about them as human beings first rather than as a business owner because it creates a much safer place, which allows them to talk. And I think that is why I’m quite accepted.

Who has inspired you on your journey and who inspires you today?

I have a friend who is like an auntie to me; she was the first person to give me a job when I was 14. The way that she conducts herself, the success that she’s had, the drive, and the mentality that she has is incredible.

I have a couple of clients that have worked really hard and come up against some really big setbacks and they’ve just picked themselves up – their resilience is so commendable.

I’m an avid listener of Steven Bartlett and there are many people that I follow on social media like Grace Beverley from TALA. I love listening to female-led business podcasts because I think that women think quite differently.

"Construction can be a very archaic industry. But the small businesses are so dynamic and agile that they're pushing ahead with these new ideas that make them stand out."

Mikaela Jubb - Director, Underdog Recruitment

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

I want to scale and have a team around me. I currently have my PA who is amazing; my next step is to bring in another consultant and I’d like to grow from there.

A big thing for me is working with honesty and integrity and I’d like to share those values with other people who are passionate, hard-working, and think outside the box.

What do you enjoy doing outside of the business?

I have a dog, so I love walks, in the forest or by the sea – anything that is nature related. I love being in the gym, and I recently started doing boxing.

My partner works a lot because he’s got a business too so we try to snatch that time together when we can.

And I love a decent roast dinner on a Sunday – Figurati, Bacaro, and Porters are my favourites in Southampton. Or in a cute little country pub like The Oak in the New Forest.