5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
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EMC – Enterprising Women Awards 2017 – THE WINNERS!
Our team at Astute enjoying the evening including our finalist Sarah-Louise Wykes

It was a great night at Colwick Hall celebrating the success of EMC – East Midlands Enterprising Women. Everyone who was recongised as a finalist are winners in their own right – including our very own Sarah-Louise Wykes who we are all really proud of.

The list of winners and their categories: –  

  • Sharon Redrobe OBE & CEO of Twycross Zoo –  East Midlands Zoological Society awarded Inspirational Woman of the Year.

Dr Redrobe was one of six women and a team presented with awards at the dinner. Six more and another team were highly commended. The awards recognise the achievements of women in business, many of whom have to balance running families and households to achieve their success.

The other winners included:

  • Business Woman of the Year – Suzanne Smith of Soteria Asbestos
  • Community Champion of the Year – Barbara Cathcart of Nottingham Hospitals Charity
  • Enterprising New Business Woman of the Year – Mital Thanki of Spark Academy
  • Team of the Year – Geldards Family Team
  • Female Employee of the Year – Min Rose, of The University of Nottingham

The event was co-Chaired by Jean Mountain, a Director and Immediate Past President of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), and Eileen Richards, business owner and former Chair of Integra for Women in Business in Leicestershire, which merged with Enterprising Women.

Eileen said: “We were very impressed with the quality of the applications this year and level of support for women in business.”

The gala dinner was hosted by freelance presenter Emma Jesson, who was GMTV’s first weathergirl, later working for ITV Central and ITV Granada.

Each of the awards was sponsored with the event’s headline sponsor, Cambridge & Counties Bank, coordinating a ‘Women in Business mentoring scheme’, which is supported by Enterprising Women.

Eleven mentees were shortlisted to take part in an assessment day. The successful mentees, which were also announced last night, were Amanda Overend of Books & Pieces, Jade Patel of Cambridge & Counties Bank, Neha Kadiwar of Hastings Direct, Sarah Wilkins of Lumbers and Lynsey Hyslop of The Rugby Players Association.

Jean, who launched Enterprising Women 20 years ago, said: “Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Enterprising Women Awards. These awards are all about acknowledging and celebrating their achievements.

“There are some very talented and hard-working businesswomen in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire who play a massive part in the success of their business but are often not recognised for their hard work and determination.

“These enterprising women make an important contribution to the local economy and their success stories will hopefully inspire other women to pursue their business dreams.”

 Great speak by Rachel Curtis Brown

Sarah-Louise Wykes Finalist of the EMC Enterprising Women of the Year awards - Female Employee Of The Year
Sarah-Louise Wykes Finalist of the EMC Enterprising Women of the Year awards – Female Employee Of The Year 2017





As MD of a successful accountancy recruitment business covering the East Midlands, I wanted to share these tips, which I hope will inspire you.

1/ Be Positive.

  • Have courage in your convictions; Do not simply put your business idea down on paper and leave it, always see how it can be pursued. Ask “How can I make this happen?”
  • Be a doer not a watcher. When we were made redundant I was devastated for one day and then asked myself: What am I going to do now? I knew I was skilled in my sector, sought after with a great reputation. It seemed clear to me that I should set up on my own and so I approached my now business partner, who I’d worked with for several years and trusted. She agreed to move forward and here we are seven years later with an award-winning business.

2/ Surround yourself with talented people and keep hold of them!

  • Staff recruitment, retention, training and motivation are all absolutely key to a successful business. Any organisation is only as strong as the people it employs. Everyone in a business is important, need to feel fully engaged, on board and valued by their firm. Of course, you need to have some fun too and always reward success!

3/ Remember, “cash is king”.

    • It is a brutal fact that even if you have the best business, product or service in the world, without money in your bank account you are unable to pay your suppliers, creditors or staff – let alone yourself.
    • You need to have a firm but fair approach to cash flow management and a constant eye on your bottom line. All of the time, not just at the end of the month or quarter!
  • Scrutinise your debtor
  • Maintain strong and clear lines of communication with your creditors to ensure you and any business partners, are always on top of your current cash position.

7 Top tips starting up a new business

4/ Truly understand your business:

  • You have to know what makes your business unique and why people should pay for your specific service or product.
  • You should have USPs which set you apart from your competition such as our unique Triple-Point Guarantee. Consider new USPs you can offer.
  • Constantly ask yourself: “How is what I am doing now benefiting my business? Is what I am doing now the best use of my time?”

5/ Don’t stay stuck in a bubble!

  • Take yourself out of the day to day and run your business without letting it run you! You should endeavour to take yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Always be prepared to try and learn new things.
  • Social media is constantly evolving alongside all methods of communication, branding and marketing. To support your company you need to constantly engage with your target audience in a meaningful, educational and non-confrontational way – your business needs to be synonymous with quality and professionalism.
  • Think about the message you, your team and your social media channels are communicating about your brand and business.
  • Your customers are rightly becoming more discerning. Help them to understand your specific business and what you can do for them. They need to appreciate that your company is an expert in it’s field as the result of clever communications rather than through shouting the loudest and incessant sales calls!

6/ If you don’t know something always ask!

  • Seek out people who are experts in their field who will benefit your business – you will learn from them!

7/ Always be yourself and be proud of what you have done!

  • It is easy to become so involved in the day to day that you fail to perceive your company’s standing in the wider business community and realise how far you have come.
  • The most successful entrepreneurs are passionate about their businesses, but also recognise their achievements too.

Set your three-year strategic business plan and be forward thinking. Never lose sight of why you started out in the first place!

Let me know if you found this post useful. Your comments and feedback are really welcome.

This week two moments made me ‘pause’ to reflect. At our event on emotional intelligence for business success. The speaker tried to cover lots of things on emotional intelligence but it’s such a huge topic she could only provide key insights.

One of these was on confidence. Not on the confidence we can gain – she mentioned how our individual reaction to something as simple as accepting a compliment can impact the compliment giver as much as the receiver of the compliment.

If someone says “What a great outfit/speech/ meal you cooked” How do you respond? Most people would mumble or shrug. How many would smile and confidently say “Thank you” straight out? Very few it would seem. This was from a room full of confident assertive business men and women who have achieved phenomenal success in their own chosen professions.

Why is this?

As a parent myself with a son and daughter under 10 it would be amazing to inspire each of them to achieve their full potential. I’m an aunty to nieces and nephews again in their formative years. I’m also a mentor and part of various networking groups. How can I, as an adult, help all of these people achieve their potential? What underpins the success achieved by the most prodigious entrepreneurs? These questions leapt to my mind during the business breakfast and embedded themselves in my subconscious so that I’m now putting pen to paper. I want to share a very powerful simple secret that I learned that Thursday morning.


Every one of us CAN achieve our potential. Yes, that’s right. The “How” lies in the way we train our brains to respond to life’s quirks, including something as simple as a compliment. Let us think about that.

If we stumble, mumble and yes even apologise to a compliment we’re given, we are not only sending a negative message to the compliment giver, we are also re-affirming and internalising a message to our own brain that we are not ‘worth’ that compliment. This is like a seed of doubt, an acorn of worthlessness that will grow into a sapling every time we shrug off or fail to acknowledge that compliment. What we need to do is stop and imagine that sapling in our head and visualise snapping it into two, before it becomes a towering oak tree in our mind.  The effort to break that tree will require more than just our hands and fingers, it would need an axe at the very least.

So how to snap that sapling? We need to first say to ourselves EVERY DAY I am ok. I am fine. I am enough. From repeating this and allowing yourself just five minutes of ‘me time’ each day. Look at yourself in the mirror and say these words: – “I am a good person and I’m going to have a great day”.

This simple action, if allowed to become a habit, means your subconscious brain will eventually pour weed killer on that sapling of doubt in your mind. Picture that in your head. The sapling slowly withering then disappearing altogether. Got that? Good.

Back to compliments…

The next time you have someone say “well done” or “great work”, pause, smile and say “thank you”. I can just imagine that sapling withering as I write.

Have a great day!

I’ll be exploring this in further posts but would love to hear your comments. A journey to anywhere starts with a simple small step. I hope this post has given you that simple first step to achieving your true potential. Please let me know your thoughts as I always appreciate feedback.


Astute’s Mary Maguire is delighted to work with CIMA on their next employability workshop. She will be advising their members, students and non-members as to interview guidance, tips and practical things they can do to improve their success on interview. The event will be at the Village Club Hotel, Brailsford Way, Nottingham, NG9 6DL. Full details and bookings can be made by clicking here to access the booking page. CIMA have lined up three guest speakers including Mary to speak on a range of topics from how to build a personal brand to interview tips for career success.

AGENDA: –    CIMA East Midlands & East Anglia Conference

TOPIC: –          Is it time to create more of an impact?

WHERE: –      Village Club Hotel, Brailsford Way Nottingham NG9 6DL

WHEN: –         16.00 – 20.00 Tuesday 24 January 2017


16.00              Delegate registration – refreshments served

16.30               Welcome: CIMA Chairman (CIMA East Midlands Area Chairman and Member of Council)


16.35              How to build a personal brand for career and business success.

                         Simon Gray – founder of Career Codex


17.05              Personal presence for finance professionals

                         Sylvia Baldock – Regional Director – The Athena Network


18.15              Break – buffet and opportunity for networking


18.45              Interview tips for career success

Mary Maguire – Co-owner of Astute Recruitment Ltd


19.15                How to speak in public with confidence.

                          Simon Gray – founder of Career Codex


19.45              Thanks: CIMA Chairman


20.00             Event close


Attendees will receive a link to the speaker’s slides along with a feedback survey via email after the event.