Another 60 Second Recruitment Interview

Alastair Johnstone

And here's our latest 60 Second Recruitment Interview. Under the spotlight is Alastair Johnstone, CEO of recruitment specialists Allemby Hunt.

Q - How long have you been in the industry, and what is your current job title ?

A - After nearly 25 years in banking in various locations around the world, I moved over to Search and Recruitment and have been co-owner of Allemby Hunt for four years

Q - Did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?

A - There are very few managers in a career who you would walk over hot coals for. I have, however, been lucky to have had two or three, but it would be unfair to name them.Their approach, however, is reflected in my style. Conversely I have dealt with some real bullies in my time and I learned almost as much from them about to how not to treat people and conduct yourself generally. Bronek Masojada, CEO of Hiscox, also gave me some valuable advice when starting out as a CEO.

Q - Are you by nature a pessimist or an optimist ?

A - I’m a glass half full man and comfort myself with the fact that the sun will always come up tomorrow.

Q - Which business leader do you admire the most and why ?

A - Not exactly a business leader (and leaving his 'politics' aside), but in terms of working to a game plan, knowing your objectives, compromising when necessary while always having the end game in sight, I do admire Ho Chi Minh and what he achieved.

Q - What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?

A - There are many cliches about how you treat people on the way up, etc, which are very true, but I say to all new joiners you have my complete trust and support and you have two options -  you can either reaffirm it or lose it. Giving people the benefit of the doubt for too long helps no one, and ends up causing more pain than's good for all sides.

Q - What's your favourite business quotation or life motto ?

A - With apologies in advance to our French and Chinese cousins, Ho Chi Minh once said: 'I prefer to sniff French shit for five years than to eat Chinese shit for the rest of my life'. Sometimes you have to compromise and adapt in the short term to achieve what you want in the long term.

Q - What's the best business book you've ever read ?

A - I would be hard pressed to tell you the best business book I have ever read, but the one that still makes me quite angry with the incompetence that existed in the 80’s and led to the wholescale demise of the UK Merchant Banking sector and the arrival of the US and European banks that populate the City today is The Death of Gentlemanly Capitalism by Philip Augur. I was there, and it should never have been allowed to happen.

JefferiesAnd the Best Place to Work in the global financial markets 2018 is...

Register for HITC Business News