Found Us

A Leading Lady.

Last week, Wednesday 27th March, I enjoyed a morning MPA session “Insider Stories” with this particular one being delivered by Nicky Unsworth of BJL, hosted by Andy Johnson.

Nicky Unsworth, Andy Johnson, and Cindy Simmons (MPA)

I have known, in a business sense, Nicky for years and she has always been welcoming and open to chats; business obviously, running and I’m a fell runner, across to her new dog, well not so new now.

I have found her helpful, relaxed, and level headed when dealing with her on business, but this morning it was not strictly business, which made it a welcome change to sit back, proverbially relax and listen to Andy ask her questions about her career and life.

It was interesting to hear from Nicky in the context of BJL having been sold to Denstu Aegis Network North. What came out this, that despite a sale there is a clear passion for the industry, the business she joined those years ago, and for the staff who make it what it is. Nicky can clearly see a match made in heaven as she spoke highly of the innovation, and entrepreneurial drive from Dentsu Aegis in Manchester, but importantly to her is the cultural fit. That said the commercial acumen of Nicky revealed itself as she explained it is a “honeymoon” period with bedding in required.

It was clear she’d had a well grounded life via her father and personal circumstances. He a well respected and much loved and missed figure in the game of rugby league and teaching. For details see a warm piece written by Phil Clarke of Sky Sports. To have had a father like that must have both reassuring and inspirational.

But it was also clear that her life in St Helens and early work experience was important in shaping her and her attitude to life. From her early days at what was Pilkington Glass and time in Germany across to a horrendous 2008. The compassion and emotion came through when talking about 2008 and what this involved. It was not just business.

What shone through is the care for staff and keeping good people in an age when not enough emphasis is put on this, and I’ve seen that when I’ve popped into the BJL office.

She believes in an inclusive way of life, in offering and driving this for people, so they feel a part of something. People need to feel “settled” as she put it, and something clearly important to her.

Reality is an important element to her and over the years had learned that you should always ask the question, “what’s the worse that can happen?” “Has anyone died?” The point she made was that it is work and people come first, laudable in what can be a toxic business in the current climate.

She reminded people to pay attention to their mental health, and that we all have a life outside of work and one the ought to lead.

Peter Cobley and Found Us - A quick guide to recruitment Brexit.

Well it’s T-minus less than a month towards the end of the world as we know it. Erm, Brexit for those who don’t read the news…

Returning from Stuc a Chroin October 2017

It’s been an interesting state of affairs in the recruitment marketplace when you look at the last few months. For that matter it’s been an interesting few months on a political level with continuous bickering. A chess game whilst drunk could be a description, with niceties out of the window: the two phrases of herding cats across to walking the plank spring to mind.

A level of vagueness blended with Brexit scaremongering has led to uncertainty that permeates the marketplace. Advertising is a very reactive and reflective business, self centred as well, and in one sense mirrors the bear and bull of the financial marketplace. And this can cause opportunities or chaos for people, depending on how they deal with it all. Point being that it comes down to how one mentally addresses the scenario.

At the moment the advice I give to people, those looking and those hiring, is don’t try to predict the unpredictable and it’s business as usual. But do we adopt the Blitz mentality? Well no not really; that borders on naive or plain daft. One should always have the Ace up the sleeve or alternate plans. And yes you can plan even when I say you cannot predict. There are always generalities even where we don’t know the specifics.

So, having trained in Law and a fan of empirical evidence and Sherlock Holmes:

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” 

Let us look to the impossible whilst paying homage to the Sleuth.

Is the UK and all those who sail in her going to be cast adrift? No, that won’t happen. So from a macro point of view UK Limited won’t be going down the toilet, nor will you lose your job.

Will the advertising world sail off the edge of a flat world? NO. Advertising is more than linear and straddles borders with messaging that is human orientated not State led.

Do I need to look for a alternate job or colleague? Well, my answer to that is the same as usual for senior people. You should move when you have the right reasons, and the same applies for hiring someone. And being British is like the weather, there is never a good or bad time. I sometimes say to people that they use a SWOT analysis blended with a bit of common sense. And I don’t want to resort to management speak or acronyms. You can pay people for that. It comes down to common sense as mentioned.

For someone looking

Have your LinkedIn up to date, as well as the CV. The beauty of LinkedIn is you can cross refer to speeches you may have given as well as your interests. It makes you think about you, and that’s important. You’ll gain a realisation of who you are, where you have been, are, and are going. You may want to alter what is to come, or change some of your thinking and behaviour. Don’t change who you are. LinkedIn and a CV won’t get you a job, please be aware of that, just use them as a “me” exercise as well as an “introduction” for people. Don’t get hung up on them, too many people do.

Play with a SWOT analysis of yourself and be holistic, don’t just look from a work perspective, ask some other questions, for example: What do I like? What do I not like? What am I good at? What am I bad at? And so forth. Try and also put some timelines in there, e.g. short term one year, medium two to three years, and five years plus for longer term. Be selfish and think about what you want even if that excludes family. Give back and don’t be a taker, and from that you will grow as a person, be happy, and rewards naturally follow. I know this sounds straight out of a management book, but I strongly feel that in doing what actually makes you happy you will achieve what you want. That happiness rubs off and can also be offered to people, it is a thing, a rare thing. Sadly only a few get this.

Running a business

You run a business and you need to replace someone, or plain hire someone. So you write a job description, advertise, find the person. Blah, blah, blah. But did YOU feel fulfilled, not just the candidate? We all look to the specifics of a role, but do we honestly look to the person, the person who we should really empathise with? Maybe try and write down or picture before anything happens what it would be like if you applied for the job. This helps form an idea of what you would be as a person in that role, or for that matter ought to be. What should be their moral compass? Can you have a drink with them when it’s all going wrong? If you’ve done your research correctly they can do a job, question is who are they? We are all individuals - corporeal; companies are incorporeal.


What is frustrating is the contraction of people moving and people hiring based on fear. We all make decisions based on risk and maybes. So why change that now? My advice ultimately is to keep growing your business and your career. In times of uncertainty there is one certainty, the opportunity to fill gaps, niches and exploit the marketplace. I refer directly to BREXIT, but also expand this to encompass living life per se. There is never a bad time to do something, only ever good times as you have the ability to exercise volition.

A good example is Saturday just gone when running the Haworth Hobble, a 32 mile ultra fell race starting and finishing at Bronte’s Haworth, with 6,000 feet of climb across the moors. We all started the race in blistering rain coming in horizontally accompanied by gusting wind. Horrible. Just awful. By this point I considered giving up, but stuck at it. I was panicking, worried, thinking the worse. And here is the rub. We all do this and it is normal and correct. Point is you don’t give up. You plod on like a fell race, as your thinking does improve, as does the weather, and you get into a pace. You get used to it. And that can be your career, life, whatever. Just keep at it. Being miserable at times is normal and builds character.

Alongside Walshaw Dean Reservoir.

Why not just say f**k it and do something different?

Has your business thought about attracting that much needed staff member, or of creating a business division? As a person, have you thought of offering your services to fill that gap, create something as against slavishly apply for the identikit job description?

Be a bit wild.

Donut eating at the last checkpoint before finishing the 32 mile Haworth Hobble fell race in March 2019… Be wild.

Five years later... Found Us.

Five years ago yesterday Peter Cobley Recruitment Ltd, trading as Found Us was incorporated as a limited company.

It has been a successful ride along the way, and it’s had it’s challenges like any new business has. Onwards and upwards to use an old phrase.

There have been many supporters along the way, and too many to mention but you know who you are. And thank you. Two people I will single out is my lovely wife Claire who has been a cheerleader from day one, and has had to put up with me - love you loads. Xxx. The other? A marvellous character called Mike Pegg, look him up!

(Found Us? It is a business about people, an area I have excelled in both work wise and personally. The consultancy revolves around supporting people in their work and personal life with the following: head hunting centric to the advertsing industry, consultancy services, and mentoring/training. Generally speaking the business focuses on senior people. What is senior? Well they don’t have to be old farts, it is about experience, growth, where people are in life. Work and personally. It is about encouraging people going somewhere to maybe go somewhere else. Yes head hunting is recruitment, but so what? You do not have to treat people as a commodity or clients, or chuck CVs all over show. I distill a lot of advice with over 20 years of working in the business blended with worldly advice. I am known to be a bit fluffy and always try and do what is right, and I am probably the world’s worst recruiter because I care, and tell people what they need to hear, and this telling people to stay where they are. I love workrking for free with up and coming young things who are referred to me. It is not about the money for me. Not any more. What is YOUR picture of success? It does not have to be money and status. It can be giving back and not taking. Thanks to Mike Pegg )

(I very rarely put roles up, so if you visit Found Us website don’t expect to see any! I prefer to chat to people, as is norm with senior people, and NO RIFF RAFF.)

Basil's gourmet night doesn't get off to a great start when he's introduced to Colonel and Mrs Hall.

Lancaster Management School, Mentoring, Orange Chocolate Pudding.

Today saw me drive up a rain lashed M6 to my alma mater, i.e. Lancaster University, to offer advice to the very clever Arienne, one of the Management School students who I am mentoring as part of working with the Management School.

It is a leading establishment for MBAs (Wikipedia) and well respected. Doubt I’d get in, despite having got a degree in Law from the university eons ago…

Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster University

Point 1. It stopped raining by the time I got here.

Point 2. Good chat with Arienne as she seeks a third year industry placement in marketing/advertising.

Point 3. I have tried to explain to Arienne that she ought to run for the hills rather than get a career in my business; look at me for example. She smiled politely.

Point 4. It is nice to give something back and get a fuzzy warm feeling.

On a more serious note, I play an important role in helping out at the Management School and really enjoy it. I genuinely do. It is nice to help people with advice and years of experience having worked in offline and online media; and for people who want to listen and learn, with their enthusiasm rubbing off one me. One thing though… why do they all look so young? Sigh…

(Please note, I did enjoy the chocolate and orange pudding, with chocolate orange custard in the hotel.)

Found Us after the Half Term Break, and The Highlands.

Well it back in the driving seat after a break in Arisaig in The Highlands. Team Found Us enjoyed the spell away; Claire, Ted, and myself crammed in a mixture of work and pleasure. So, there were calls and e-mails blended with fell running, beach wandering, exploring, eating and drinking. All of which under the gaze of wonderfully unique, and remote scenery.

Chairman Ted of Found Us

Moving into Christmas we are focusing on client side roles and client side candidates, one of the specialist areas in media and advertising we work in. It is an area we are successful in possessing strong experience of offline and online media.

We are also cultivating our expertise in sales and commercial work as consultants with our looking to expand on work with clients to enhance their sales practice and results.

The mentoring and senior training side continues apace working with our partners.

Recruitment is and shall always be a funny old game, but this is what we like - the challenge of working with people, helping them, taking the rough with the smooth, and we still keep going after four and a half years of business.

The website? We work in senior search and selection and don’t post all our roles or candidates, so it is always worth contacting us to find out more. The approach we take is one to one and so can’t be encapsulated in a website.

So, if you fancy giving us a try, then please don’t hesitate to contact Peter Cobley. We work with Sales and Marketing Directors across to Heads of PPC.


Sat in Bill's on John Dalton Street

Bill's 15th Nov 2017.jpg

Bill's Manchester

It is with many thanks to Nicola Marsh that I have been introduced to Bill's on John Dalton Street. A new hidey hole for me when in Manchester. Lovely coffee with lovely food, and has allowed me to get a number of items, both personal and business done. Just awaiting Dan McDevitt for a coffee, which I'm looking forward to as I've not seen him for a while and keen to hear the latest on The Advantage Machine.

The week has been good thus far and yesterday was productive as I saw Lou and Jon of Kuvalab to chat about the re-brand of the Found Us website to be reflective of my shift into consultancy around people. I want Found Us to be a "People Consultancy" and I like that phrase; it sums up my being there for people whilst earning a little bit of money.


Well the business website is live for Found Us, my recruitment business. I’m excited since I started the business in February 2014. Thus far I have already made a number of senior placements, with happy people on both sides of the table. The business has bedded in well in the advertising, media, and marketing industries working across media owners, clients, and advertising agencies.

The unique feature with Found Us is that most of the people I deal with I know or are referred to me, and are experienced and normally of a senior level: discerning people who will move for the right reasons. The opposite of this being my work for clients, where I often do not work to a brief, but simply let them know of good people who are looking for a move, change, or relocation: with roles being crafted and created for people.

It is a very bespoke and personal service that I offer, backed up with my personal attitude on life:

  • One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
  • One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.

Please do pass the word, as we love to help people!