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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“Cometh the hour, cometh the man”.

Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president has shown that someone with limited experience as a leader, can rise to horrendous challenges with immense dignity, bravery, intelligence, and honesty.

Infact, the horrific invasion of Ukraine has flagged a tale of two massively contrasting leadership styles, a David versus Goliath – not just in terms of Ukraine versus Russia, but Zelensky versus Putin.

In Zelensky there is a leader who has led his people, harnessed their passion and won the hearts and minds of his own people, and many millions, far, far away.

Then we have Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. The truly brave Russian souls who demonstrated publicly in Moscow itself, risking their very lives in doing what is simply a democratic right to all of us in the West, show that Putin has not got the total will of his people behind him. Despite what he may say.

May I just say at this point, say that I know Russians who are equally appalled at Putin’s actions.

This incursion, this wretched invasion of a proud sovereign, independent nation, is not applauded by all Russians. Its important not to criticise all Russians and believe that they all support Putin, because they don’t. The bravery of the many hundreds of Russians to protest publicly and risk their livelihoods, jobs and very lives are a testament to that.

Putin’s recorded warped, inconsistent rants on history, wild personal accusations of Zelensky, and in one breath asking Ukranians to ‘go home, be with your families’ and in the next, ‘take up your arms, overthrow the corrupt Zelensky and his Government’ are a total 180° polar opposite to the Ukrainian’s quiet, calm, consistent appeals and speeches to camera for his people.

From being in a suit, to wearing military fatigues and telling his nation, ‘no, I’m here and staying here’, Zelensky has calmly, and consistently appealed that there is a better way.

In a situation that is rapidly evolving, the way that Zlensky’s passion as his nation’s leader, has been able to ignite such powerful and never before used sanctions from other leaders around the world is in turn inspiring and powerful to watch.

With nothing more than his passion and a phone, he has drummed up enthusiasm and action from the rest of Europe and beyond.

A great leader is not defined by their ability to wield great force.

Great leaders inspire great actions above and beyond those expected, from a team, a business, and vitally for the Ukraine, an entire nation.

Brilliant leaders are able to blow to life embers, then cradle and harness the flames of passion in their teams, to go above and beyond what is expected of them.

To reach deeper, harder, further than they thought they could ever aspire or possibly achieve.

And this is the key bit.

To try hard, and keep trying harder still, because they believe in their boss/ leader/ President.

Not because they are paid to.

Not because they are forced to.

Because they want to.

And that’s the rub, right there.

‘Great leaders are made great,

not through fear or oppression,

but through love.

Many famous leaders

have achieved

great power,

but they were not truly great leaders.

Not truly loved.

And in the war for hearts and minds, that’s where brave Zelensky has already won, and won hands down.

Now the trivia bit, and some light relief!

‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’. I thought this was from a Shakespeare play or other such writer, when I thought that quote summed up my thoughts on this blog.


Turns out that no one person can truly be attributed as the owner of this great phrase. It sounded like a quote though, so I investigated. 

Turns out that the phrase is credited to an England tail-end batsman, Cliff Gladwin in the 1948 England vs South Africa test series.

In the first test at Kingsmead, Durban, in South Africa, England needed eight runs off the last eight-ball over, with nos.9 and 10 at the crease.

With light fading, and an increasingly dry wicket that gave the bowlers lots of help, England got home after a ‘leg-bye’ was scored off the last ball of the game, when the ball struck the no.10, Cliff Gladwin, on the thigh and a single was scrambled.

The Derbyshire bowler is remembered mostly for this batting feat and his immortal words: –

“Coometh the hour, coometh the man.”

I’ll take that as a former Londoner who now counts Derbyshire as her home. 🤣

People are people, whatever their nationality. Today as we all hear the shocking news from the Ukraine, we send our thoughts and heartfelt wishes for a swift end to the fighting.

Many candidates, friends, and clients we have dealt with are Ukranian.

The East Midlands may be some 2,630KM from Kiev, a long way from our comfy offices and homes, but we are all the same. Fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, working hard to earn a living and striving for a better future.

One of our founders and owners Mary had this to say:

“One of the first finance people I placed was a lass from the Ukraine.
Wonderfully eloquent, educated, and professional. She had a great sense of humour. A beautiful smile. 😀

She loved the job and was there for years. We’d exchanged friendly emails for years, as that’s what she’d become, a friend. 💖

Since then, there have been many, many warm, lovely Ukrainian people I’ve dealt with as candidates, clients and colleagues.

On this day of sad, shocking news that Russia is shelling the Ukraine, I just want to say that the thoughts, prayers and hopes of peace go to all the wonderful men, women, and children of the Ukraine 🇺🇦 .

Wherever they are, at work or home. 

Around the world 🌎 or in the Ukraine, our prayers for peace and safety go to you all, and your loved ones.  🙏”

Here at Astute we have many, many candidates, clients and friends from the Ukraine.

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the Ukraine and around the world affected by the events happening.

We can only hope that diplomacy is able to win the day before too many people are hurt, or sadly killed.

If you have been affected,

or simply want to

help, see below

for a link to make a donation.

Ukraine Crisis Appeal | British Red Cross


Newly promoted for the second time to Managing Consultant, Tom Norton, has finally moved into a new home. Here at Astute we always try our best to support our team in any way we can.

From our Friday pub lunch club, to our office treat box we keep topped up, we make sure we can have fun!

But all of our team have busy lives, and ‘stuff’ happens. From the renovations for a new kitchen (Matt Morgan) to repairing garden fences after storms (Richard Bowe). We’ve allowed them to WFH and have the flexibility to do what they do best – recruitment clearly) but to also enjoy their own lives and deal with that ‘life stuff’ that sometimes gets in the way.

Back to Tom. After numerous possible homes that fell through, finally he was able to exchange – but it was all a bit short notice.

He was a bit anxious!

His saved holiday from last year technically expired with the start of a new holiday year.

He needed a week off to move in and get all the plumbing, wiring and decorating sorted.

Then there were some internet delays and problems.

So how did our owners, Sarah and Mary, help Tom out?

They allowed him to carry over the holiday from last year.

They allowed him to take a week off at very short notice to move in – with their blessing.

The result?

Tom has just moved into his fab new home and we couldnt be happier for him.

(Plus, we’re all waiting for invites to the house-warming party!)

Lest we forget Armistice Day 2021



On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year we have a minute’s silence to remember and reflect on all of those who gave up their tomorrows for all of us.

Fathers, sons, uncles and brothers, lost and maimed in wars since the First World War.

So whatever you are doing at 11am on the 11th November, stop for a moment and have a silent thought for all of those who have given so, so much.




About Remembrance Day: –

Remembrance Day is marked every year on 11 November, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice marking the end of the First World War in 1918. In 2021, this falls on a Thursday.

Traditionally, a 2 minute silence is held at 11am, to recognise the exact time that the hostilities ceased in 1918 – ‘the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month’.

Many radio and media stations fall silent, including BBC One at 11am on Armistice Day, while schools, workplaces and employers will also call on pupils and employees to observe the silence.

Armistice Day is marked by all nations of the Commonwealth, while many other countries mark the anniversary as a day of memorial.

There are also large-scale commemorations on Remembrance Sunday, which always falls on the second weekend of November, with this year’s memorial falling on Sunday 14th November.


Today Colin McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields, still evokes powerful emotions just as it did when he wrote it.

We’ve popped his poem below, and hope his words remind us all of the huge sacrifice made by so many brave souls.


In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.
Colin McCrae author of the war poem, 'In Flanders Fields'


Miles 4 Meals - Our walk from John'Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission
Miles 4 Meals – Our walk from John’Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission


All of us at Astute Recruitment Ltd are delighted to announce that today, 1st February 2021, we are launching our Miles 4 Meals charity campaign!

Our team will be ‘virtually’ walking the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and if we can walk back again!

We find ourselves in unusual times. Many more people, families and children are struggling with financial problems. We also have a climate of increasing mental health and anxiety issues due to the latest Lockdown restrictions and hardships caused by COVID.


All of us at Astute, wanted to help, so we’re launching our #Miles4Meals campaign. From Monday 1st February until Good Friday on the 2nd April, our team will be using our lunchtimes or spare time to walk, run and cycle the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and hopefully back again! If you can, please help us with our goal.


*The Government’s current advice is people can exercise for up to one hour a day and observe all COVID social distancing guidance. We can still all clock up a few steps in an hour though!


On virtual arrival to Lands End, Astute Recruitment will donate £500 to Derby City Mission & this amazing cause.

If we can get back to John O’Groats, a roundtrip of 1822 miles, Astute will double their donation to £1,000 for Derby City Mission, our chosen charity.  


Every mile covered will raise funds for Derby City Mission who will be using the money to make up much-needed food parcels for the vulnerable.


We’ll be highlighting a series of tips and advice around Mental Health, how important the link between good Mental Health and physical wellbeing is across our social media channels.


We’ll share photos and updates on our progress along the way. Follow our story too and add your own photos and posts if you are taking part!


If you and those in your team would like to join us or just sponsor us for our journey, please email Mary Maguire or Tom Norton, confirming your name, job title, and which company you are from and we will send you more information.


Join us on our charity walk and help raise funds at the same time too!



Astute Recruitment Ltd share our top 10 tips for managing stress and anxiety
Astute Recruitment Ltd share our top 10 tips for managing stress and anxiety


As England heads into a second national lockdown, we provide some tips for working from home during this stressful time, and hope this helps those feeling anxious, worried or struggling generally.


Stress Awareness Day, falls today, 4th November 2020. It was created by the Founder of International Stress Management Association (ISMA) Carole Spiers in 1998.


Carole is speaking at an online Stress and Wellbeing Summit, covering stress management, workplace wellbeing and how to develop resilience during unprecedented times, as a result of the pandemic.


In this ‘new normal’, companies, and their staff face massive challenges with millions of people once again asked to work from home – some for the first time in their lives.


Carole Spiers said, “With over half of adults reporting that their mental health worsened during the first lockdown (MIND Survey, June 2020), it’s more important than ever to get wellbeing working for home-workers.”


We are sharing ISMA’s 10 tips on working from home productively with a few extra pointers we all learned at Astute Recruitment in the last lockdown: –


1/ Dress as though you are going to work.

Finding a daily routine is proven to help anxiety and stress. Find a place that is exclusively yours during working hours. Get dressed every morning, at the same time. Don’t stay in pyjamas and slippers every day. If you need to make or attend video calls, you need to be dressed for the camera.


2/ Be open to adapting to change

People are creatures of habit and often do not like changes to our daily routines. Now we find ourselves in the current changing situation, we must be able to adapt, be open to adapt and get used to change quickly. Try and think positively about ways you can use your time in isolation most productively.


3/ Try exercising and eating healthily

Every day build some time for exercise. This can just be a short stroll or an online fitness class. Diarise this. Make this something to break up your day and change your focus away from ‘work’. Be aware of what you are eating and try and eat more healthily. You can pre-plan your meals and get creative with your cooking if some food items aren’t easily available.

Stock up on some staples that you can mix and match to knock something together easily. Don’t forget that frozen vegetables retain their goodness and vitamins much longer than freshly bought items.


4/ Using IT to keep in touch

When you are used to working with others, it is not easy being by yourself. Make full use of video/ online meetings, video calls and phone apps to stay in touch with colleagues and others in your circle. At Astute in the last lockdown, our team whether furloughed or not, said that their highlight of the day during lockdown was our daily zoom meeting. It wasn’t about work, it was about talking and seeing each other and really helped everyone. Whether working from home or not, to have a daily time to look forward to catching up with friends at work, (albeit in their homes!) can provide a real highlight to your day and ‘lift’ your spirits.


5/ Make it easier to work with family at home

Having to work with small children, older kids, and partners/ husbands/ extended family at home doesn’t help you to concentrate. But what can you do?  If you have a partner, share the load. If you live alone with children, get them occupied with an activity before you start to work. Build a routine, a day plan that the kids can get used to, and share this in the kitchen on a wallchart or whiteboard. If everyone understands when ‘Mummy or Daddy’ needs to be working – it is easier to have that time alone.


6/ Plan work in blocks of time

Normal office hours between – 9 – 5 might not work in Lockdown and working from home. If you have children, you may choose to work in the evening as well, or very first thing before the kids get up and get a couple of hours admin out of the way.  There is nothing wrong with this and this helped a number of our team with kids or partners, to manage their day, give them structure and help them be really productive.

It is essential to build in breaks where you can step away from your bedroom/ kitchen table or if you are very lucky – your home office 😊 Set your alarm on your mobile so that you have regular meal times and just even 5-minute breaks to go and make a cuppa. With no usual office banter or typical office distractions, it can be all too easy to zone out and suddenly realise hours have gone by and you haven’t eaten anything!

Make sure you take regular breaks and set yourself goals during the day.


7/ Keep in touch with friends!

It can be really lonely working from home. With no distractions from your friends in the office as usual, think of someone you can ‘buddy’ up with. We are all social creatures and thrive with social interactions. Having a ‘buddy’ to share experiences with and give each other support/ advice – is a brilliant idea and so good for your wellbeing (and sanity!). It can often give you a real lift. Get imaginative and have a ‘Friday drink’ at 4pm/ 5pm – or later in the evening – share a glass of wine, online!


8/ Get the balance right

There is no ‘one size fits all’ and recognising this is absolutely key.

What works for you does not necessarily work for someone else!  Use trial and error until you find the right balance and don’t feel bad about getting it wrong a few times! Kids/ pets/ partners and life in general will still throw some curve balls.

If you do find certain things work – share your successes with friends and co-workers. You may just have the key to unlock some of their problems!

Talk to people used to working alone from the last lockdown. There may also be people you know who are used to working from home anyway. Contact them and ask what tips and ideas they can share. They will be glad to share if they know it will help you/ someone else!


9/ Have clear boundaries between ‘home/ family life’ and ‘work-life’

Every day, At the end of your ‘work’ day, switch off your computer. Tidy your desk and close the door.

This routine will become a daily habit and help with balancing your work time and home life.

Just as you would in a normal working week- you need to have clear boundaries between work time and home time.


10/ Get a good night’s sleep!

Worry and anxiety can often be a barrier to getting to sleep and having quality sleep.

The answer? Plan your bedtime. Make sure you have some downtime from work before you go to bed. Our brains are wired so that if they have been crunching numbers, solving problems and generally very active – they need some time to calm down.

Don’t eat rich foods or drink too much coffee after 8pm. And put down the Playstation/ social media feeds an hour before bedtime.

Have a regular time for bed! Whether you are a night-owl or rise with the lark, make sure you stick to a bedtime routine and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Regular 7-hour sleep times will improve your mental health, make you more alert and more productive at work and at home!


Useful links: 





Astute Recruitment Ltd explores VE Day 2020 uncovering the historic events that led to VE Day 75 years ago

Astute Recruitment Ltd explores VE Day 2020 uncovering the historic events that led to VE Day 75 years ago




Today people in countries across the globe are fighting a very different war with a very different foe. Fitting then that on the 8th of May 2020, we celebrate VE Day, but not just any VE Day. Instead, it is the 75th anniversary from when the Allies secured victory in Europe. Thats what V.E. day stands for. ‘Victory in Europe’.


We should take hope and heart that the most vicious of foes those years ago could be and was defeated and our current foe, COVID-19, will, in time, also be defeated.


For now, we need to remind ourselves of the sacrifices and heartache that our ancestors undertook to secure a peace that has lasted ever since in Western Europe. Take heart from the fact that we all have it in ourselves to be inspirational & courageous. Together, we can overcome any obstacle whether human or biological if we work together and stand united. And as the country unites in some much-needed celebrations, we wanted to put together a brief history of the key events that triggered and finally resolved what was the Second World War.


How we got to VE Day

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party took control in Germany with ambitious plans to expand beyond Germany. Early in 1939, Germany gained control of Austria, the Czech Republic, & Italy as an ally. The UK, France & others were concerned, but most countries were still wary of war after the horrors and impacts of the First World War. Following an invasion of Poland, and war was finally declared by the Allies in September 1939.


World War 2.

The war took many huge twists and turns, with the victorious side looking to be either Hitler or the Allies in equal turn. Germany was extremely successful using a method of quick, superior attacks – the ‘Blitzkrieg’ (lightning war in German). Eventually, the tide turned in favour of the Allies with German troops pushed back & conquered territories being liberated. By February 1945, the Allies had entered Germany and by late April 1945, Berlin was captured.


By the 7th May, both Italy & Germany had lost the very leaders who had taken them into war, & both had signed a total, unconditional surrender, effective from the 8th May.


Over 1 million people celebrated in the streets throughout Britain to mark the end of the European part of the war. In London, crowds thronged, cheered and gathered from Trafalgar Square along The Mall and all the way to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI & Queen Elizabeth, with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, appeared on the balcony of the palace before the cheering crowds.


The young Princesses Elizabeth (now our Queen) and her sister, Margaret, were given discreet permission to go incognito and celebrate with the public.


The End of the war.


VE Day only acknowledged the end of fighting in Europe, not the end of World War 2. Japan was still fighting against the Allies in May 1945. It wasn’t until August 1945 that Japan would surrender, with the official end of the 2nd World war signed and ratified in September 1945.



Astute Recruitment's Andy Lilliman with our team celebrating his promotion from Senior Qualified Consultant to Business Manager!
Astute Recruitment’s Andy Lilliman with our team celebrating his promotion!

Congratulations on your promotion to Manager Andy! Much deserved!


Andy Lilliman joined our team here at Astute Recruitment, as a Senior Consultant two years ago, after a deeply successful career in Accountancy Recruitment straddling London and the East Midlands.


In that time he has been instrumental in the growth of our qualified accountancy division and become a huge asset to our team. Andy’s hard work has paid off handsomely with a richly deserved promotion heading up business development across the East Midlands. His professionalism, attention to detail and brilliant ability to form relationships have won him many great friends here at Astute Recruitment Ltd and elsewhere.



As an aside, it has been wonderful to see how Andy has been able to mentor, train and encourage less experienced members of our team, passing on some of his recruitment pearls of wisdom.


Sarah Stevenson and Mary Maguire are thrilled to announce Andy’s promotion, cementing his role in Astute’s continued growth and exciting plans for 2020 across the region!


This morning, only 1 day after being promoted and Andy has secured a new Financial Director role and arranged a client visit to take all the details of this role!