Annapurna introduces: Life after professional sport

This week, we had a chat with Ollie Rayner, who joined Annapurna in 2020 after his career in professional cricket, playing for England Lions, Middlesex and Sussex. Ollie discussed his career path and how he moved from his life as a pro cricketer to a pro recruiter!

Ollie quickly recognised his talent for cricket at school level. He then started to play men’s cricket at a young age, so became used to progressing at a fast rate. When Ollie started playing at county level, it transported cricket into a viable career path for him. He then became a pro academy player for Sussex.

At this point, Ollie realised that he had to self-fund to be able to afford to play. He had a part-time job in painting and decorating before he then got a 2-year funded contract. Ollie was then playing full-time professional cricket from March-September for 15 years. He played a central role in Middlesex’s 2016 title success, taking 51 wickets at 23.57.

Ollie played 283 matches in all formats, having hit more than 3,833 runs, taken 407 wickets, and bagged 241 catches. When Ollie finished his career, he realised that he had to find another option! He had already played cricket with someone that he knew from Annapurna, so decided to have a coffee chat with co-founder James Ballard.

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“I had no real understanding of recruitment, but I wanted to do something different to take on a challenge. I went with my gut”

Ollie didn’t intend to go into recruitment and initially kept his options open, but things fell into place and he got a good vibe from Annapurna. Finance was also an important factor for Ollie to think about, as at the time he felt a lot of pressure to support his family.

Ollie completed the Annapurna HPP training scheme, which helped his onboarding as a recruiter, even during uncertain times in lockdown.

“Everyone questioned their job security at this time but Annapurna helped me to feel secure”

Ollie was then repositioned into HR transformation, where the market is currently booming. He said that he enjoys being able to have relatable conversations with both clients and candidates.

“This role is something where you can learn on the go, jump into the deep end and crack on with the job.”

A big deciding factor for Ollie was whether he would receive the same support that he is used to; especially from a sporting setting where you are used to having a manager. Ollie said that when you have come from a sporting environment, a lot of sportspeople are insecure because it is so results-driven.

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“There aren’t many environments where you are allowed to come in and go full steam ahead, so recruitment was a breath of fresh air.”

Some advice from Ollie would be to:

  • Be vulnerable – ask loads of questions and don’t be embarrassed about it.
  • Be prepared to go out there and talk to people and be authenticopen and honest
  • Be patient – results will come if you work hard!
  • Know that your skills are transferable. In cricket, there are individual elements where you are able to contribute to a team outcome.

If you have any questions, please do feel free to get in touch and connect with Ollie on Linkedin.

If you believe in our initiatives and want to get involved, then come see what could work for you. Have a look at the jobs on our career page.

Written by Jasmine Mitchell, Growth Marketing Executive – Annapurna Recruitment

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