Our Story

Claire's Stopgap Story 

Read about our Founder Claire Owen’s inspiring journey, her reflections on the first 25 years of Stopgap and her vision for the next 25 - and beyond.

March 1993 seems like a long time ago. And it is. This was the year that Stopgap arrived on the recruitment scene. From an early age I was a bit of a rule breaker. I inherently wanted to be an entrepreneur (maybe it runs in the family as both grandfathers ran their own businesses). However in my wildest dreams I never thought I’d set up a recruitment business.

So why did I do it? Simple:

Because I hated some of the practices I’d witnessed as a candidate. I had a very simple vision – to create a business that people loved to work for and one that candidates and clients loved to work with.  So we created our own ‘rules’ and set out to put our candidates first, treating them as people not ‘commodities’ and operating with total transparency. 

We employed marketers not recruiters; we didn’t work on commission; we didn’t have ‘leader boards’ and cold calling targets. Instead, we met our candidates, we understood not only what they wanted, but the skills they had that they wanted to continue to use, we got to know what was motivating them to job hunt – what was on their ‘wish list’ and what wasn’t.

I had a very simple vision – to create a business that people loved to work for and one that candidates and clients loved to work with
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We endeavoured to build relationships with employers; we became a trusted partner – someone they knew they could come to who wouldn’t sling mud at the wall hoping it will stick.  Our only motivation was – and remains - to find companies a perfect candidate match, knowing that if we found a role that a candidate loved, they’ll do a great job, resulting in happy candidates, happy clients and happy staff knowing they’d made a real difference to real people.

Surprise, surprise! People liked working with us!

Early on, I learnt three key lessons:

1. The best client relationships were those where they saw us as a partner and not a ‘supplier’.
2. Anything is possible – even though at first we may have absolutely no idea what this is!
3. We worked best when we were trusted, valued and surrounded by like-minded people.

These remain true today. All these years later, with changes in technology, our market, and the way clients recruit; I still believe that being a people-focused business is a key point of difference for us. 

The future for Stopgap, as a recruiter is to do more of the same.  We’ll provide a positive, welcoming, collaborative workplace where everyone looks forward to Monday mornings as much as Friday afternoons. As we explore new and exciting recruitment-related solutions, we will still stay true to our original vision of being a business that, quite simply, people want to do business with. 

And to put smiles on people’s faces!

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