Skip to main content
Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

REC Corporate Membership Case Study: Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB)

Business advice

“We find it reassuring to know there is a team who have our best interests at heart! I also used your team over the years for advice, specifically when we went through growing pains plus when we’ve had to make some people redundant during the recession in 2009.”

From being graduates to sourcing graduates – a 20-year old tale of recruitment success

GRB’s journey

GRB was founded by friends Dan Hawes and Chris Cater in 1997. With no recruitment experience of their own, their guiding light at that time was their uncle who owned a recruitment agency and gave them some solid advice on building a business from scratch – including ‘finding their niche to gain traction’.

Their local market research revealed an unmet demand for graduates, particularly with science, technology, engineering or math degrees, also known as STEM. The next step in building their business was establishing relationships with their three key stakeholders – employers looking to employ STEM graduates, universities who can help promote the jobs to their student database, and STEM graduates themselves.

Road to growth

Within a matter of months, they managed to secure their first placement, part-time with Duracell in Crawley. This positive sign of growth spurred them on, so they left their day jobs to focus on running the recruitment business fulltime. Having turned a profit in 12 months, which validated they were doing the right thing, their next investment was a member of staff, which continues to be their theme to this day.

GRB is proud to remain independent 20 years down the line having placed over 8000 graduates, setting them off on fantastic career trajectories. They now have an 1300 + strong client list, including the likes of Amazon and Unilever. Today, GRB has 70 staff in their HQ in Brighton, another office in London and have spun out with three other experienced hire divisions covering IT, analytical and accounting to help recruiters seeking graduates with up to five years of professional experience.

“Our growth from two people to 70 people in over 20 years isn’t super-quick, but that was never our intention. One - we couldn’t afford to splash out on hiring 10 people in one go. It’s all been very organic, everything has been ploughed back in so our growth has been slow, steady, brick-by-brick, very, very good foundations, and Chris and I are still very much enjoying what we are doing and the challenges that are presented on a day to day basis.”

REC’s legal helpline – a go-to resource during uncertainty

With no prior experience in recruitment, GRB joined the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) in 2001 for direction and support to ensure they ran a professional and compliant business.  Compliance to the REC’s Code of Professional Practice and the addition of the REC member logo on their collateral were significant in establishing recognition in their market. The REC events also provided an important blueprint about how to do recruitment properly and clarified their duty as an employer.  

Talking about the application of REC’s legal services in the early days, Co-founder and Marketing Director of GRB Dan Hawes says “We used [REC’s] legal helpline when it came to crafting a job description when hiring our first member of full-time staff, we’d never done that before, so you definitely held our hand.”

The legal helpline is one of the most-used services by GRB, especially for legal changes like GDPR, where REC was their go-to resource. In 2018, the REC offered members a range of practical workshops on GDPR, guides, infographics, training courses, as well as a dedicated legal team available to offer help and advice where needed.

“We find it reassuring to know there is a team who have our best interests at heart! I also used your team over the years for advice, specifically when we went through growing pains plus when we’ve had to make some people redundant during the recession in 2009.”

Don’t underestimate the power of networking

The REC has a comprehensive events programme. The Marketing Forum, REC’s flagship marketing masterclass series, is one prime example where members derive a lot of value from their membership.  

“I’ve been to most of these marketing events, mainly for the contact with my peers [as it] is not something I get the opportunity to do with other networks, so that was really a value-add of membership.”

As well as using these platforms to learn new practices, share challenges and solve problems together, these networking events also open up a gateway to new business relationships. Dan Hawes was able to secure speakers for his own Graduate Recruiters Network (GRN) events targeted at recruiters offering them advice on a range of topics. 

All content accurate as of November 2019. Find out more about Graduate Recruitment Bureau at

Being a member of the REC means being amongst the best.

Joining membership will make sure you don’t miss out on all the essential updates, sector guidance, and legal support from us during these testing times. Talk to us today.