Interview With Public Sector Recruitment Specialist: John Shorrock

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn:

  • About the experience of a Lead Consultant working within the public sector.
  • Insights into how the public sector job market works and the current challenges in the industry.
  • How to find and apply for the best public sector jobs.

In our feature blog, ‘Interview with a Recruiter’ we’re catching up with recruiters at Spencer Clarke Group to gain valuable insights and expert advice on the multiple industries we specialise in.

Today we caught up with Lead Consultant John Shorrock who specialises in temporary appointments in the public sector. John is an expert recruiter, specialising in high-end placements across IT, Adults & Children’s Social Care, Public Health, Finance, Commissioning, Project & Programme Management, HR, Strategy, Policy & Scrutiny and Local Government officials.

After 16 years in hospitality, John joined Spencer Clarke Group and turned to a career in recruitment. Since John joined us, he has grown from strength to strength and has quickly become one of the country’s leading consultants for interim placements for Greater London. 

John, tell us about yourself

I’m known for being full of personality and I am probably best described as loud, brash, energetic and fun! I’m also a huge live music fan and far too much of a film buff for my own good.

How did you end up in the world of recruitment?

After leaving school, I pursued a career in hospitality, working for some very well-known and renowned names in the industry, including Living Ventures and Jamie Oliver! It was when I had reached all of my personal goals in the industry that I knew I needed a change.

Recruitment was the ideal move for me as I already had many of the essential and transferable skills needed to work in the industry; customer service, interaction, organisation and, above all, personality! I love the challenge of working in a fast-paced environment.

What does your role entail at Spencer Clarke Group?

I specifically manage the interim market for Greater London, specialising in high-end placements across IT, Adults & Children’s Social Care, Public Health, Finance, Commissioning, Project & Programme Management, HR, Strategy, Policy & Scrutiny and Local Government officials.

My market is quite niche but extremely fast-paced and requires a very nuanced skill set in order to effectively navigate it. The roles I work to fill demand very specific skill sets that aren’t easy to find, so it takes an immense amount of attention to detail to find the right people.

Who do you work with?

I work with a growing team of colleagues that are responsible for delivering support structures to local authorities. Generally they supply workers that end up working directly for the candidates I place. It’s a great feeling to be able to support their development, specifically when it comes to candidate care.

I’ve always been a great believer in letting your personality shine through – people always remember people! I encourage everyone to only be themselves.

The recruitment market is saturated with consultants who present themselves as the ‘fake professional,’ using language they wouldn’t usually use or a tone of voice that’s bland and disengaging. I think the easiest and best way to stand out from the crowd is to be your fun, upbeat and lovely self with lots of energy and enthusiasm.

Can you give us an insight into how the public sector market works?

The public sector market can be a real challenge to break into on an interim basis and is shaped by the increasing demand of critical services for residents of their associated boroughs.

Typically these roles require candidates that can come in and really hit the ground running, with no training required. As such, candidates with previous experience in the public sector tend to be preferred by my clients as they are more knowledgeable of the industry regulations and standards.

What is the best thing about being a recruiter for the public sector?

I talk to all sorts of people from different walks of life and it’s by far the highlight of my job! Not only do I get to talk to people from many different backgrounds, but every single role is different! No two days are ever the same which is an enjoyable element of being a recruiter for the public sector.

Furthermore, the people I put into public sector roles really do have an impact and make a difference to the day-to-day lives of the residents of their associated boroughs.

What are the current challenges in the public sector?

One of the main challenges that the public sector is facing is a lack of funding for critical services. With demand forever on the rise for essential services, this comes with higher operating costs. 

Without funding to maintain these services, many councils have recently issued their 114 notices. This presents numerous challenges, with councils having to adapt to further cost efficiencies, mainly driven by their work with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE).

How does Spencer Clarke Group help overcome challenges?

We have a reputation for being problem-solvers by listening very carefully to each clients’ needs and the challenges they face. We pride ourselves on our ability to find candidates that not only ‘can’ do the job, but who ‘are’ the job.

There aren’t many agencies out there that see the value in really listening to their clients, asking the right questions and identifying the right candidates… we do.

What’s your best advice for anyone looking to join the interim job market?

Speak to your consultant and discuss how the market is currently performing and what opportunities are on the horizon. If you’re in permanent employment, current opportunities are not likely to be suitable, simply because the requirement for immediate starts is the norm, with no time to wait for notice periods.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?

Entry level roles are a fantastic way to step on the first rung of the ladder and gain valuable training and experience. An entry-level job is an important stepping stone in any professional career and provides opportunities to learn and promote your development.

What does the future hold for you at Spencer Clarke Group?

As our dedicated work on interim placements continues to grow, I will be looking to build a team focussed on these high-end professionals - particularly in the realms of HR, Social Care, IT, Strategy & Policy, Project & Programme Management and Directorial roles. There’s unlimited potential for growth at Spencer Clarke Group!

Public sector recruitment services

If you’re struggling to fill a role in the public sector, why don’t you contact John Shorrock on 01772 954200 or to see how we can help? 

Discover your dream interim public sector job

If you’re looking for your next interim public sector job, why not take a look at our job page to see all of the opportunities currently on offer? 

Alternatively upload your CV and John will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available.

If you’ve already got an interview lined up, take a look at our career hub to discover crucial job interview dos and don'ts to increase your chances of being hired! 

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

We operate in two sectors:

Private Sector

Public Sector 

In eleven specialisms:

Accountancy & Finance

Education & SEND

Construction, Trades & Labour

Healthcare, Social Care & Nursing


Corporate Functions & Business Support

HR & Workforce Development

IT & Digital

Property & Asset Management  

Planning, Development & Regeneration 

Highways, Infrastructure & Engineering

© Spencer Clarke Group 2023
Site by Venn