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A DAY IN THE LIFE - Sophie Darley, Recruiter at Costain


MONDAY, JUNE 17 (2019)


Sophie Darley is a part-time recruiter at Costain. She is a member of the company’s 70-strong team based in Aberdeen. Sophie has worked in recruitment for over 15 years and has a PGDip in Human Resources Management from Robert Gordon University.

What does your job involve on average day?

In practical terms, I source and review CVs and routinely engage with potential recruits, primarily engineering and project management personnel. I issue contracts and act as a point of contact for queries from candidates.

These are busy times at Costain: we are currently looking to add around 20 people to the team in Aberdeen by the end of the year as part of our growth plan. We take a proactive approach and connect with engineers before individual projects to position us ahead of the game. This is to ensure they are a good fit, not only in terms of their skills and experience but also within the wider team environment. There is a positive culture installed across our business, and that is a key consideration when bringing new team members on board.

My role is all about relationships. I meet regularly with the projects director and engineering manager to plan and help resolve any potential recruitment headaches. Costain is ambitious and I’m kept fully appraised of developments to ensure I can contribute to the growth strategy. Externally, I make it a priority to engage with talented industry professionals who have the potential to be part of our success story.
I work part-time which enables me to take my son to nursery in the mornings and pick him up at lunchtime. Costain is an advocate of flexible working to ensure a healthy work life balance. Costain knows it can rely on my commitment to the post. In turn, I already feel very loyal to a business I joined only two months ago.

What attracted you to the job?

Costain’s flexibility, in relation to the hours I wanted to work and my commitments as a mum, was a key factor for me. My perspective on the work-life balance was, of course, influenced by the birth of my son, and so the opportunity of a part-time role at Costain ticked all the boxes. I did more research into the company and got positive feedback, so it was an ideal choice.

I enjoyed the office atmosphere from the outset; members of staff engaged with me as I waited to be interviewed and made me feel very welcome. My encouraging views of the business and its working environment have only been strengthened since I began in the role.

Do you get to travel much?

Not at present, but that’s not necessarily a requirement for my job. One of my previous roles involved frequent stays in roadside motels in the Netherlands, so right now I’m very happy with the daily walk to Carden Place!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I enjoy resolving problems where improved processes and procedures can create a better recruitment strategy. In one case, I completed a review of preferred supplier lists for one large company; it led to a considerable cost saving over 12 months. For me, recruitment is not just about hiring the right people at the right time. It’s about understanding the wider business and how, as a recruiter, I can support the company’s commercial goals.

What plans does your company have for the future and how do you see your role evolving?

A growth plan is in place for the business, and I’m very much part of that journey.

We have the office space to add to the Aberdeen team, and we aim to do so as we continue to offer a broad range of offshore and onshore engineering projects across the lifecycle of oil and gas assets and infrastructure for operators and engineering service companies.

We have executed smart, sustainable solutions for challenging projects and we provide training and development opportunities for new recruits who join us to build on that track record.

I love what I do. You can genuinely make a direct impact on someone’s life and on the success of your employer – and there are not many jobs where you can do that.

My priority now is to establish myself as a go to contact for engineering talent looking for their next career move.


Costain helps to improve lives with smart solutions across the UK’s energy, water and transportation infrastructures.  The business offers a broad range of innovative services across the whole lifecycle of our clients’ assets by integrating complex delivery, consultancy, technology and asset optimisation services. Today, we employ around 4,000 people and have recently been named in The Times Top Employers for Women for the second successive year. I’m proud to be working for a company that has been recognised for its commitment to increasing diversity within the business. This, of course, must still reflect the principle of merit, and it’s pleasing to see Costain taking a lead here.

The Aberdeen upstream operation has a team of 70. We are currently looking to recruit engineers across a broad range of disciplines, including subsea. If a role doesn’t exist for a talented candidate at present, there is the option to make an ‘expression of interest’ to be considered for future opportunities:

Published: 25-06-2019
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