Day in the life: Plum Jobs recruitment founder self-confessed workaholic

Abu Dhabi-based Briton says she vets all candidates herself rather than relying on LinkedIn.
Deepa Sud, the founder of Plum Jobs. Satish Kumar / The National
Deepa Sud, the founder of Plum Jobs. Satish Kumar / The National

Deepa Sud, 48, is the founder of Plum Jobs, a recruitment service she set up in 2008. The Abu Dhabi-based Briton, 48 has lived in the UAE for the past six years and has worked in human resources since graduating in the subject at the age of 22.

4.30am – 6.30am

I get up. I know it’s early but it depends what is going on. I am an early riser regardless and a little bit of a workaholic. I live in Abu Dhabi, it’s where my business is based, but of course a lot of my work deals with Dubai, either from a client perspective or a candidate perspective. I’m committed and passionate about what I do, so I like to be absolutely prepared for any meeting. I have to be across all résumés that have come in so I can see the potential in a candidate or spot gaps in a candidate’s résumé; there can be more than you would think. I don’t have breakfast, it’s usually a cup of tea, Marks & Spencer’s extra strong (dark blue box), lovely. I can’t eat until lunchtime.


I often have meetings scheduled for early in the morning. I guarantee to turn around candidates’ applications within 72 hours, although most are turned around between 24 and 36 hours. As the UAE is such a cosmopolitan place, often the résumés will have arrived overnight and they need to be assimilated into the work flow pattern as soon as possible. I have two staff who are equally committed to finding the best candidates and building the business as much as I am. Most of my placements are for executives, board level or chief executive jobs, so I have to be at my sharpest. Senior management, middle management, operations, technical roles, you name it I can fill it. My clients will often test me by starting me with a junior role. I am as diligent with a junior clerk as I am with a chief executive.


I check in with my two colleagues; they are employees who work as hard as I do. We have to keep across a client’s needs and be ready to respond if an email or call comes from a customer, so communication is vital. Recruitment is not rocket science, but just like most things it can be done well and done badly. Done well, I will only hear from a client when another vacancy opens in the firm, done badly and I probably won’t hear from the client when the vacancy I filled once becomes vacant again quick smart. The biggest stumbling block clients have with recruitment is the massive shock that salaries have gone up and people’s expectations have gone up. Companies may grow with an investment in technology and new offices in different countries, but if you are not prepared to pay for the new skill sets required to take the business on, then the investment is partially wasted.


Lunch is whatever fast food outlet is close, it really doesn’t matter, I may often skip it. I’m a workaholic, that is my focus. The internet and sites such as LinkedIn can allow employers to do the job I do but they will often find that it is harder and more time-consuming that it at first seems. I find my customers a candidate that has been vetted and readied for the position; people are not that easy to find off the internet without the proper due diligence. Another facet of recruitment is the nationality of the candidate, as here in the Gulf there may well be a huge number of people that can do the job, but whether they fit with the demographic of the company and the pay levels is another conversation altogether.


I usually have two to three face-to-face meetings a day with clients so that I get a feel for the exact character of the candidate they are looking for. We meet either face to face or on Skype if it is an international candidate. If the candidate is in Qatar I will go and meet them because there is nothing like a face-to-face meeting to understand the skills of a person. If I fly to Qatar I will arrange other meetings in the country, so the opportunity is turned into a mutually beneficial one.


I enjoy eating out with friends so that will be high on my agenda, but often I work. I take Fridays off but generally work is central to my existence.


It’s bedtime. I try to get to bed earlier than this but it often doesn’t happen. If there is an American detective series on the telly it can keep me up.

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Published: May 31, 2014 04:00 AM


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