We're deeply invested in the brands we work with, understanding who they are, their industry and unique culture. That’s why for 40 years, we’ve been connecting them with amazing people that will power their brand for years to come.
we are passionate about placing exceptional people in their perfect role, but it doesn't stop there! hear their stories...
I have always maintained a strong relationship with Handle throughout my career – great consultants like David & Brendon – we’ve grown up together, but it’s not just because of the history we have shared. At Universal, we are very protective of our employer brand and I have always been confident that Handle fully understands our values and culture and will represent our brand appropriately.
Handle placed me in my very first, full time permanent people role at Universal Pictures International after finishing my degree. That was just over 20 years ago now. I remember it like yesterday, Emma Dadswell interviewed me and Stella decided I was worth knowing too. Between Emma and Stella, they helped me land an HR Officer role and realised my potential long before I ever saw it or believed it. In that time, I’ve gone from being a candidate to a client as I’ve moved from business to business. They have never let me down and always work hard to understand the brief given and find the best person for my hard to fill roles.
There are two things that make Handle different. They don’t behave like a recruitment agency, they become an extension of your People Team and as a result, I’ve always had a good two way partnership rather than client/supplier relationship. Secondly, they understood the importance of culture long before it was a ‘thing’. They match the right person to the right business and recommend candidates who have the potential for more than what is being recruited for.
I heard that Handle were the best music recruitment agency via a friend at Abbey Road Studios when I arrived in London in March 1990….!
I was swept up by the all-encompassing energy Stella has for people, she seemed to understand so much of shy young me, immediately. She stood up and thumped her hand on the desk, telling her team: “this is the kind of candidate we need to support’. I was so young, she gave me a much needed boost of confidence and sent me off to interview for a job at London Records working for Roger Ames, Pete Tong and Tracy Bennet!
Stella was always my sounding board, gave great advice and the necessary truths, along with big hugs when needed – she helped me be brave. Up until my Global Artist Relations role at EMI, since 1990 Handle have helped me with all my jobs, and have encouraged me into taking bold steps. From London Records through EMI Music Publishing to my time working for Mick Jagger, Stella was my constant guardian angel. She’s also never stopped caring and often makes me smile because she’s so proud of her “Stella’s Stars".
Stella changed my career by literally making me go to an interview to be Mick Jagger’s business co-ordinator – the very broad role, coupled with Mick’s creativity and enthusiasm for life and culture, restarted my career. Thanks, Stella.
I have known Stella and her team at Handle since 1991 when they placed me in my first music job: as office assistant/PA at Miles Copeland’s then legendary IRS Records. Requirements were Organised, Patient, GSOH, Typing basic. I wanted to be in A&R, having met one via my boyfriend (an artist) at the time - and I figured that this may be my big break.
Life evolved and a few years, having had a lot of fun and learning lots, I decided to get a qualification and went to Law School. Every holiday Handle would find me a fun job, typically at either a record label, a publisher or in management.
I did my articles in the City but, following a brief flirtation with divorce law, my plan was to find a commercial legal role in the music industry. Along came Stella armed with the perfect role at Source records, leading to my time at Virgin and EMI.
Many great years have passed, during which I have used Handles services many times, and I still see and speak to Stella regularly. She is a mentor and she has always been a great support to me, In Good times and bad. I consider her family.
I first came into contact with Handle around 1986 when I joined RCA Records as HR Manager. Even then, Handle was the primary agency used by all of the top record labels to hire quality talent. Not only have I used Handle to secure top talent, they have played a key role in my career. In 1992, Handle introduced me to the President of Virgin Records UK and I was subsequently hired as their Director HR & Operations where I remained for almost 10 years. Handle found me my ideal job!
Handle are, and have always been, a high touch business. Their relationships with candidates and clients alike are very strong and this I believe contributes to their ongoing success. That together with their deep knowledge and understanding of the business they engage with continues to make them a force to be reckoned with and in my opinion, this is why they continue to go from strength to strength.
I have known Stella Walker for 32 years and I am proud to call her my mentor and Friend. I look forward to working with Stella, Peter and the amazing team at Handle for many more years to come.
After graduating, I registered with Handle as a candidate and found myself working there for the next 7 years. It was a small agency but Handle had a huge reputation and Music industry reach, so it was an amazing place to start and develop my career. Now, with 20 + years’ experience in recruiting within the the music industry I’ve still not met anyone with better instincts about people or the ability to spot talent than Stella and the team at Handle. I’m incredibly grateful to have grown up in an environment where challenging opinion was positively encouraged. I’m sure that is why Handle has continued to go from strength to strength, diversifying its business model and being open minded to the evolving HR and people strategies that emerge in the creative industries (as well as their incredible track record of delivering the right candidates, for the right role at the right time).
Happy birthday, Handle!
The Bauer Academy and Handle have partnered over several years to deliver opportunities for Academy learners looking to progress into employment across a wide range of disciplines. The Academy has an outstanding track record in promoting diversity within the media and other creative industries, and working closely with Handle, who have offered events and master classes that encourage under-represented groups to get into meaningful work, whilst helping them to improve their employability skills through hands-on training and networking events.
Handle genuinely don’t offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to their clients and candidates - they genuinely want to get to know both job applicants and recruiters. They are also forward-thinking in terms of increasing diversity and equality within the sectors where they operate.
The folks at Handle and I have had a relationship for 14 years. I landed in London in 2003 from Australia and David Johnston at Handle placed me in my very first role in the UK. David Johnston then kept an eye on me over the years and we developed a genuine rapport and friendship. David has been involved another two times from then on in my career and I often bounce ideas off David and get advice.
I can’t think of another recruiter who has maintained contact and a relationship for 14 years
Handle have always been the best agency to go to when looking for work within the Music and creative industries and for the industry looking for new talent - that specific focus allows them to remain close to the industry and cherry pick the best candidates because of their overall knowledge and understanding of this ever changing business. But at the heart of Handle is the ability to understand that whilst the Music industry is a business, it is ultimately a people business and the ability to place the right person for the job, is in my view, their greatest strength.
I have worked with Handle consistently since 2002, from my first days at Universal Music Group.
Handle have evolved with the times and culture. Predominately starting out in music and as that landscape changed, so did they. They understood the power of brands in the “lifestyle” space and aligned their business accordingly and successfully
After graduating from Oxford University, like most recruiters, I fell into recruiting by chance and began my career in executive search for technology and media clients.
I joined Apple in November 2005 as the second recruiter in Europe. Gven my background in media recruiting, I quickly became responsible for growing the iTunes business across Europe and this is when I enlisted Handle’s help. We worked on many searches together from music and movie programmers to label relations professionals and the regions we covered together soon grew to incorporate the Middle East, Russia and Latin America. With such a small recruiting team, finding an agency I could trust was critical. I’d never encountered an agency that truly sought to understand the team, the culture and what we were trying to solve for. During my career in London and L.A. when I was asked to build teams in new regions, David Johnston leapt in fearlessly and we figured it out together. I’ve learned so much from him and from Stella over the years. In 2013 I was promoted to run iTunes and Marketing recruiting globally and I moved to California. I was asked to build Apple’s global 24/7 radio station, Beats 1, in a very short time frame and once again I turned to David Johnston to help me.
In 2016, after a decade at Apple, I joined Tesla as Recruiting Director, leading a team of over 100 recruiters and working with Elon Musk to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Handle has been such a constant in my career: their expertise and guidance, their willingness to go the extra mile, and their unfailing sense of humour on those stressful days has been instrumental to my success. So much so that whenever I am in London, I always stop by the office to see them and invariably I'll ask their advice on a current tricky search! Forever a fan and forever a friend. Thank you for everything and congratulations on your 40th birthday!
I approached Handle asking them to take me on as an intern for 12 months in my final year of University. I knew I wanted to work in media and Handles relationships with such an impressive list of exciting brands seemed like the perfect place to get an insight. I was also attracted to the vibrant and fun culture! Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere with pink walls and a pool table?!
It was a big ask as I appreciated it was a risk as they had never taken an intern before but I was absolutely thrilled when they offered me a role within the Handle family. I couldn’t have hoped for a more supportive placement company. Just as they are with their candidates and clients, they were genuinely interested in my development and as such my internship was incredibly varied. As well as providing exceptional support in my role as researcher and then junior consultant, they also allowed me to get involved in other projects such as social media and marketing. They even allowed me to interview clients such as ASOS, Topshop and ITV for my dissertation research!
Having moved from Leeds for the role and not knowing anyone in London, Handle not only provided exceptional support from a professional perspective but also personal with such a great community of people who very quickly became good friends.
As my internship year drew to end I knew I wanted to pursue a role within a film studio. Handle supported this and with their network, coaching and support on my graduation day I was offered my dream job at Sony Pictures. Over the next five years Handle went on to place me in my next two roles in the industry, Universal Pictures and then my current role at HBO where I’ve been for two years.
Having worked as an intern with Handle, I’m a real advocate for the way they work and champion that to my colleagues when they’re recruiting for their teams as I can say with absolute confidence that they’ll always do what’s best for both the candidate and client. A truly consultative rather than transactional approach, which having worked with other recruiters isn’t always the case.
I'm incredibly grateful to Handle as not only did they lay the foundations for a career I love but they continue to be a trusted career coach and friend and I hope will be for many more years to come.
I was first introduced to Handle in May 2000 when I was HR Director at Warner Music, UK and Ireland. Handle had a fantastic reputation in the market as a high quality contingency agency delivering strong candidates for media and music roles. I was not disappointed when I used Handle for various key assignments when at Warner Music.
When I then moved to Time Warner in my current role, I continued to use Handle. They had then grown the business to include a highly successful search operation which was very impressive.
Handle were an incredible source of help and inspiration during my time at Warner Music and Stella Walker particularly was a great support during my time in that role, delivering both great candidates and great advice on several occasions. All my interactions with Handle were professional, warm and memorable!
We have been working with Handle for more than 3 years now, the relationship has grown steadily and organically with a shared desire to impart as much knowledge as possible to our participants, and support them to access and engage in employment opportunities.
The Handle team deliver an ‘Employability’ master class to each Amy’s Yard cohort, which not only covers what it means to be an artist in the industry, but also helps them identify alternative, or additional roles they may wish to pursue. Each participant is then matched with a team member who works with them one to one to create a new CV, and develop their interview techniques. As a result, many have gone on to secure employment, while others have been inspired to develop business ideas of their own.
We value our partnership with Handle immensely. It is clear that every team member who participates is genuinely passionate about being involved, and what they offer is invaluable. There is no other recruitment company that could provide us with such a rich and professional experience, and we hope our partnership continues to grow from strength to strength!
I was introduced to Handle during my early days working at Jamie Oliver; they've been my go to agency ever since. Handle are the agency who take the time to understand your business, only sending people through who they feel are truly right. Some of the best people I've recruited over the past 7 years have come through Handle - they really have an eye for placing the right person, with the right business. What I like about Handle is their human touch, they get to know you, your business and I see working with Handle as a long term partnership rather than a one-off placement.
Having been placed by Handle in my last two HR roles at Spektrix and Broadwick Live, it's always been a really positive candidate experience. Emma and Stephanie from Handle’s HR division have always been brilliant, in fact, they talked me into interviewing for my current job at Broadwick Live. They were 100% right about the role, it's been my absolute dream job, and I'm super grateful they gave me the push I needed to put myself forward.
Congratulations to Handle for reaching 40 years in business, looking forward to working with you for the next 40!