Cugini Recruitment, is a bespoke recruitment company which finds jobs for office staff and specialises in the legal and financial sectors. The company is run by best friends, Alison Rose and Niki Shapiro. The two women first met when Niki found Alison a job in Human Resources. Twelve years later Alison ended up marrying Niki’s first cousin, the two women became good friends and their friendship has grown from strength to strength.

This friendship led to them starting up their own jewellery business which was successful, but after 3 years they began looking for a new challenge. They knew that they enjoyed working together, and using their combined experience in HR and recruitment decided to set up Cugini Recruitment.

“We called the company Cugini, which means cousins in Italian”, Alison explains. “Although we are not blood related, we are as close as family”.

Cugini is based in Harrow, but have consultants nationwide so that they are able to cover a wider range of clients. Both Niki and Alison have different areas of expertise that they bring to the company. Niki has worked for over 15 years in the recruitment world in large high street and finance specialist agencies, as a consultant and branch manager, and has won many industry awards throughout her career. Her strength is very much in sales and developing client relationships, some of which have been working with her from the start of her career. With Alison’s HR background and experience working for two large corporate companies, she works closely with the candidates, helping them with their CV’s and applications, and offering help and advice as well as interview techniques for those who may have been out of work for a significant amount of time. They work closely together, to ensure the best customer service for their clients and candidates, attending client meetings together to ensure that they both have an understanding of the job, which they can pass on to prospective applicants.
“I think that we work really well together, and have different strengths we bring to the business” Niki explains, “Alison is amazing when dealing with people, and they really respond to her well, and I enjoy the sales part of the business, and finding new potential business. We have similar attitude and personality, and we are both really passionate about what we do, and care about the people we are helping“.

In today’s current employment climate, recruitment is a very fast paced industry, and Cugini are able to help candidates keep updated on potential positions. “It used to be much easier to find jobs, but now that everything is now online, it means that things move much quicker.” Niki comments, “We are able to save candidates time by searching on their behalf, and making them aware of relevant jobs when they come up. We pride ourselves on being able to offer candidates the best jobs out there, as well as being available 24/7”.

For candidates applying for jobs, Alison works closely with candidates to make sure that their CV’s are up to date, and reflect relevant experience for the role. “I look at hundreds of CV’s a week, and I always advise candidates to make sure that they show they have good solid work experience. Companies want to employ people that have some stability and a good understanding of the working environment. For those who may have been out of work for a while, it is essential to ensure that you are up to date with relevant computer packages”.
Alison offers help to candidates with interview techniques, and believes that presentation is important. “Presentation is not only about what you like look like, but how you act and put yourself across in an interview. Most employers know within the first minute whether you are right for the job, so it is always essential that you make the best impression you can”. When it comes to the actual interview, research is essential, and this is something that Cugini helps candidates with. Alison suggests candidates should ask questions throughout the interview to show interest, and to always end the interview on a positive note. “If you say that you like the sound of the job that is always encouraging to employees”.

The two women are not only in business together, but they often socialise together along with their families, and even go on holiday. “We spend time together both at work and in our own time, and we never get sick of each other, so we must be doing something right! We value, respect and trust each other, and I think the special bond between us, makes our company different”.

Alison believes that when setting up a business, it is important to be flexible and dedicated. “When we started out we were on a low salary, and having to do everything ourselves, and had to work long hours to make it work. Most people would have given up, but we love what we do so much, that we have managed to make it work. To me it’s more than a job, it’s my baby and I am really proud of what we have achieved!”

Working with a friend or relative can sometimes put extra pressure on a relationship, and it can have its ups and downs, but Niki believes that they are very lucky that they get on so well. “We have so much fun working together, and we get on so well, that it never really feels like work. I am lucky to be able to work with my best friend, and I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else”.

Both Alison and Niki believe that as women running their own business, it gives a positive message to their children showing them that it is possible to be your own business, and make their own way in the world. “I have worked since I was 17”, Alison continues, “and I was really scared when I started as this was quite new to me, but I took the plunge, and the rest as they say is history.

As a smaller agency, both women believe that Cugini offers a much more personal service than larger high street agencies, and they hope to be able to continue to grow their business, and help people find the right job for them. “We both work very hard, and go above and beyond to ensure that our clients and candidates get the best service possible from us. When we receive thank you cards, or referrals from grateful candidates, that is the best feeling possible, and makes it all worthwhile”.

Cugini Recruitment would like to offer any companies looking for a recruiter 5% discount off of their standard rate within the next 12 months (offer ends October 2018) Remember to mention The Jewish Weekly when getting in touch. PLease contact Cugini on 0208 958 7821 or send an email to

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