FIVE YEARS OF RECRUITMENT EXCELLENCE, 2012  – Present (The RARK Solutions Experience)

It seems only yesterday that the London Olympics, president Obama visiting Burma and the sinking of the Costa Concordia were the prime news stories. The year 2012 also marked the beginning of a journey for  two experienced IT recruiters, Andrew Knowles and Rob Rowland, who came together to launch their new business RARK Solutions. Five years on, this now seems to us like the blinking of an eye – they’ve been exciting times and this is where we are now:

It wasn’t long before our specialist IT Recruitment Agency outgrew its home base and had to move to the East Malling Research office complex just outside of Maidstone in Kent. Rhys Larkins, who had worked with the guys for over a decade previously, joined the team soon after that.

Initially concentrating on filling Contract and Permanent IT requirements in London, Kent and the South East of England, we built up a strong client base among businesses ranging from small technology start-ups to global blue chips. Our network of contacts and experience ensured that we were able to hit the ground running and delivered a bespoke solution to our clients.

The team soon identified an opportunity to expand into Commercial Recruitment as well as IT. This resulted in Ben Turner stepping aboard to head up the Commercial Recruitment department specialising in Permanent office / white collar type vacancies. Like the others here, Ben earned his stripes for well over a decade elsewhere and thus brought extensive knowledge of his market place to us. Ben has hired for the team and built a solid reputation of delivery and customer service for RARK Solutions.

During our 5-year journey, we’ve picked up awards from the Chamber of Commerce (Most Promising New Business category award), BNI, National Health & Wellbeing in the workplace – as well as acquiring an office dog.  But the main experience we’ve gathered – one which we can share – is that five years is “just the start”. It’s the support we receive from our clients, our quality candidates who aspire to being the best they can be, and an enthusiasm and passion that we have to fill our clients’ vacancies that drive our business forward.

We’d like to thank everybody involved who has made RARK’s amazing journey possible. If you haven’t already joined us, why not get in touch and be part of our progressive story?


FOLLOW THAT DREAM: the benefits of training and learning new skills in and out of work.

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and going back to the classroom can feel daunting – especially if it’s been a long time since last stepping up to the plate and tooling up for new skills. Sometimes people feel it’s easier just to plod on with the same thing. However, for a business like ours, seeing growth in the people within the IT umbrella can be so rewarding and is certainly something that shouldn’t be overlooked as an integral part of success.

As a first-time Director of RARK Solutions which was set up in 2012, I found myself utilising a lot of the skills I had been trained in back in the mid 1990’s when doing a Business Degree at university.  It took a few years before my Business Development, IT Infrastructure and internal growth plans meant I was able to consider the learning curve at a point where I felt I could consider learning non-work based training. In other words, I started learning to sail.

Growing up near the Thames estuary in Essex I’d long looked out at the boats and wondered how one went about following the sailing dream. Well, in 2015 I booked on to a “Competent Crew” five-day full-time training course with “Elite Sailing” based in Chatham Marina. Having only once before stepped aboard a yacht, I found the experience of 5 days on a 36ft yacht off the Kent coast in February with other students a steep learning curve. But I passed the course and by summer 2016 could sail a 15ft boat most weekends in the Medway.

Now for a more difficult test. In January 2017 I went on an intensive nine-day “Day Skipper” course. Four days in the classroom and five at sea. That utilised every ounce of the geography classes I’d long forgotten from my time at Mascalls school in Paddock Wood. It was anything but a holiday and there were many moments of self-doubt.

Fortunately, I passed that course too and was awarded the “Day Skipper” accolade and now have joined the Medway Yacht Club. At weekends you’ll likely find me sailing down the Medway or beyond!

So whether it’s work or personal life, make sure you invest in yourself, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and learn new skills.  I believe it’s important to support people and to push themselves outside their comfort zone sometimes.

Rob Rowland.

P.S. If you want to sail, I have lots of tips and also a very good 15 ft Bilge Keel boat that you might just want to buy for a few hundred pounds. (The tips are free!)


RAMBO THE OFFICE DOG celebrates his Second Birthday.

RAMBO this week celebrates his second birthday as RARK Solutions marked up five years since the company was formed to deliver Recruitment excellence. When one of the directors (who shall be nameless) mooted the idea back in July 2015 that he’d like a dog, one which perhaps would also enjoy being in the office … most of the team thought that surely a puppy was just for Christmas!

A bit of research online and it was decided that a Keeshond, more popularly known as a Dutch Barge Dog, would suit our office environment. Maybe we should have thought a bit longer about his name. However, Rambo makes people smile when they look at him.

Things to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to include an Office Dog:

  1. Someone has to take the dog home.
  2. Like people, dogs require walks, love and cuddles.
  3. They may bark occasionally.
  4. Dogs may like to share your lunch.
  5. Puppies may want to chew new things, like your desk.
  6. You’ll network with many more people with a dog.
  7. Scientists say dogs exert a calming influence on the work environment and reduce one’s blood pressure.
  8. All new hires within the business must like dogs!

As Rambo celebrates his two years in the RARK team, and we are now looking to expand and take on additional office space in Medway, the challenge is on to find suitable “dog friendly” office space. Any suggestions re such dog-friendly office accommodation around the Medway area (ideally in or near Chatham Dockyard) would be much appreciated.

We know what you’re thinking: we must be barking mad …


Merry Christmas and Wishing you a Fantastic 2017


2016 Recruitment and things to BARK about!

As regular readers of RAramboRK Solutions literature will know, we try not to miss an opportunity to offer an updated picture of our office dog (Rambo)! Apparently, having a dog in the office reduces blood pressure – and encouraging the team to run with him is an added bonus.

Looking back on 2016, it’s been an immense and challenging year for all of us. Who would have thought Brexiteers would overthrow the status quo, Donald Trump would become the 45th US President, and Leicester could win the Premier League? Certainly wish we’d had a crystal ball and could have backed those results at the bookmakers!

Life at RARK this year has been no less exciting.

  • RARK Solutions achieved the “Kent Healthy Business Award” – part of the “National Health and Wellbeing Charter” -we received our trophy at a superb ceremony held in Maidstone’s Mercure hotel on 17th November.
  • We’ve moved from analogue phones to a fully hosted VOIP system, which allows our team to do all sorts of technical wizardry to benefit our clients – now we are always available, even when out of the office walking Rambo!
  • We’ve acquired a larger office within the East Malling Research Facility and expanded the Commercial Recruitment desk with the addition of Sam Ward to our team.  Being based on the ground floor means Rambo roams further afield …
  • RARK has sponsored the Broadstairs Under 11s Football Team, whose progress we now follow with interest.
  • We organised and sponsored a Halloween event which raised over £1200 for the Oliver Fisher Baby Care Unit at Medway hospital, a superb charity.
  • RARK also provided two hundred High-Viz running vests to keep Paddock Wood Athletics Club (also a registered charity) visible this winter, enjoyed the bene
    fits of its continued membership of the Kent Chamber of Commerce, and  is currently working towards the Movember challenge.

Above all, 2016 has been our fourth year providing recruitment services to the Kent and South East area. We have enjoyed working with superb Commercial and I.T. clients and supplying the best candidates available. We have filled  vacancies for Pr
oject Managers, Credit Controllers, DBA’s, Sales Executives / Managers, Test Analysts, Java /.Net Developers, Accountants, IT Support, Lettings Negotiators, Website Administrators, Marketing Managers – and many more. This year has been our busiest and most successful to date. We appreciate nothing more than the wonderful feedba
ck we have received from candidates and clients we have worked with.

Finally, one individual who has been with us throughout 2016 – and who is certainly the most photogenic – is of course Rambo. He can’t tell you how exciting 2016 has been, but he certainly seems to be looking forward like the rest of us to what the future will bring. Why not invest in the future yourself by giving RARK Solutions the opportunity to work with you ASAP? Just pick up the phone and remember: we don’t bite!


You’re Hired!

Making the Best First Impression at Interview

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing experiences. Maybe you haven’t been interviewed for a long time or are applying for your dream job and the pressure is on. But the experience doesn’t need to be stressful!  There are a number of things you can do to prepare for an interview.  Here at RARK we advise candidates every day on how to excel at that all-important meeting.

Do you know it’s reckoned that 33% of bosses have made up their minds within the first 90 seconds whether they’re going to hire someone or not?  That’s how important first impressions are.

At RARK Solutions HQ we have brainstormed some tips for interview success that have really worked for our candidates over the years:handshake

  • Arrive at the interview suited and booted  – it’s important to dress smartly and professionally to give a good first impression.
  • Eye Contact  – this can be something we forget to do when nerves get the better of us. But it’s vital to engage with the interviewer and show you can represent yourself confidently.
  • Plan Plan Plan! The best candidates at interview are those who have done their homework and researched the company, hiring manager,  job spec etc. thoroughly.
  • Travel – it’s always beneficial to plan your journey to make sure you arrive ahead of time and are not racing around trying to find the right office at the last minute!
  • Focus – it can be tempting to over-explain your CV or achievements, but it’s best to keep answers concise and as relevant as possible to the questions asked.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to tell the interviewer that you want the job.  It shows you really care about working there.

These are some of the tips that we think will help candidates for their upcoming interviews.  Contact us today for more information on interview success or if you are ready to take the leap and want to hear about our current vacancies!


Commuting (“Make that Change”)

Michael Jackson famously sang: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror/ I’m asking him to change his ways”. I’ve always wondered how I could fit that into a business blog…

The commute, the rwp-9egular journey to and from one’s place of work, can for some become monotonous, time-consuming, frustrating – hellish even. It’s such a fundamental part of a worker’s existence that it can often become overlooked as unclaimed living. Those of us lucky enough to have attended Time Management courses will fill the commuting period with some form of recreation (reading, music, films etc), additional work or even meditation (difficult in a traffic jam).

As a leading Kent-based Recruitment Agency, we at RARK Solutions take a real interest in our candidates’ commute. Over the years we have successfully placed many in employment where their commute is significantly reduced by accepting the positions we have found them closer to their homes. A change of employer will sometimes also mean a change in the mode of commuting. We’ve had people go from trains to bicycles, cars and motorbikes to foot and everything in between…

In a time and space within the universe where it’s essential to look after mental as well as physical well-being, “a change is as good as a rest” has probably never been more true. As responsible recruiters we are careful to point out and plan people’s journeys to work when considering new opportunities. After all, it’s no fun if someone loves their new job but can’t manage to get to work week in and week out!

So tomorrow morning, or whenever you next get up and get ready for work, ask yourself: “How much am I enjoying my journey to work? Is there anything I really love about my current routine, and anything I could do to make life better?” Some employers offer “work from home”, in which case you won’t need to commute further than the study! One thing is for sure: at RARK we like hearing about your commute and any ways in which we can help make it better. You never know, perhaps a change of job and commute is “Gonna feel real good/ Gonna make a difference/ Gonna make it right…”





BREXIT impact on Recruitment for your business:

We don’t know what politicians are planning behind closed doors. That much is obvious. Perhaps neither do they … yet.  Is anyone who is at all concerned about the UK economy going to abandon the prospect of expanding business here? Of course not. We can look at some important pointers.

It is expensive to move Me2banks, companies, homes etc. Foreign investors of any kind will probably wait a while and see what happens. Who wants to move at a loss? Maybe the worst will happen and the movers and shakers will look to other countries, though the Chinese are still buying property according to recent reports in the Wall Street Journal and the Independent newspaper. Maybe the weaker pound has helped – or perhaps people just feel at home doing business in the UK.

The largest number of languages in Europe can be found in the UK – over 300, according to the BBC – mainly in the big cities such as London and Manchester. The sheer vitality and diversity of language and culture is life blood to companies keen to trade with the world – and the UK is hungry for trade.

With the many factors present in this quickly evolving situation, the last thing one wants to worry is employing the right staff, including the expense of getting it wrong. Expertise is needed from a company who can call on years of fitting the right people into the right jobs. That company is us, RARK Solutions. Let us pick out the diamonds and leave you the space to get ahead of the game. Certainty in an uncertain world.


Benefits of Recruiting an office dog: “RARK not BARK”:

One year on from becoming a dog owner, and subsequently bringing the puppy to work, Rambo’s place in the team is well and truly established. We in the East Malling-based RARK Solutions of
fice have learnt a few lessons which we thought we would share….

1)      Selecting a breed. Fortunately, the decision was made to select a dog that was fur rather hair. At the time we didn’t realise that this would be important as a key hire turned out to have an allergy, but thankfRambo Office2ully not to fur.

2)      Rambo is a Keeshond, a breed known in the Netherlands as “Barge dogs”; as a result they are quite happy to sit for long periods of time and don’t require huge amounts of exercise.

3)      Ice Breaker. Once Rambo got used to the phone ringing he stopped barking at it so often! However, it did make for some fun when clients or candidates called and heard him in the background. Most were intrigued and keen to share their experiences of office pets.

4)      RARK are working closely with Kent County Council towards “The Workplace Wellbeing Charter”, a National Award. As the team here takes it in turns to walk and, in some cases, run with Rambo we certainly got off to a flying start. When all employees took part in a “NHS Health Check” onsite, having an office dog may have contributed to everyone recording good blood pressure results.

RARK Solutions are a Recruitment Consultancy who specialise in finding the best IT and Commercial (other Office- based people) staff for our clients. We wouldn’t specialise in fin
ding a dog for your office, but it’s great to hear how our clients’ working environments are unique and exciting. If you would like to know more or have a story to share then why not give us a call – and if you hear the occasional Bark you know we are living the dream!


Using a local Recruitment Agency means Quality, Value and Understanding:

RARK Solutions headquarters are situated in East Malling, Kent, within forty minutes by train from London and easily accessible to most of South East England. Looking at how we can serve our clients best, Rob Rowland, a co-founder of RARK, believes all successful businesses realise their staff are their most important asset. To attract and retain the best staff you need to use a Recruitment Consultancy which understands your company culture. If your agent doesn’t offer to visit your offices it can be difficult to communicate the benefits of your organisation to the marketplace.

Visiting a site means thLocalpho2e recruitment agent is able to properly visualise what makes you different. A local agent can build up a relationship with you so that as your business grows they can picture your evolving requirements and best service them. Once a successful Search Assignment has been filled, RARK usually visits the candidate a couple of weeks later to discuss their new job over a coffee or lunch. This allows an informal opportunity to build our knowledge and ensure the after service care is there so any potential teething issues are avoided.

One big frustration we hear from employers is that after they have seen CV’s from other agencies, when the
y request an interview the candidate decides the commute isn’t viable and pulls out either then, or worse, after the interview. At RARK we know the geography of the local area and always insist our candidates see the location and are happy with it prior to sending their CV – a service that sounds obvious but one which our competitors often don’t consider.

If you’re serious about growing your Organisations Team and are looking for the best people to work in your business, why not put RARK Solutions to the test? We know that by understanding our local Recruitment marketplace we offer an outstanding quality service that really does add value.