BLIND Date, Street Date, First Dates, The Undatables…even the Apprentice.

We’re a nation obsessed with creating perfect partnerships.

Meet Melissa (Mel) Thompson, the ultimate business matchmaker, who has built a career around a proficiency for placing the precise person into their perfect profession.

“I’m naturally nosey,” she laughs.

“Which is ideal because one of the key attributes in recruitment is taking a genuine interest in people and understanding what makes someone tick, what their interests are, whether they will they jar with this person or form immediate bonds.

"The more we know about a person or business, the better we are at creating a successful partnership between that company and the employee.”

With more than a decade’s experience in the recruitment industry, Mel has used all of her know-how and skill to build a team at KMS Partners that not only delivers for clients, it shares the financial burden.

The Darlington-based firm, soon to celebrate its second birthday, has formulated a unique pricing structure that sees it receive only half its fee when a candidate is placed with a business, only accepting the balance once that employee has been with the company for six months.

She said: “The idea came from a conversation with Tony from ALM Products who said 'where’s your risk in this process? The business takes the risk with the expense and time, the candidate takes the risk with their career, but there is no risk at all to the recruiter, who gets paid no matter what'.

"It struck a chord with me and that is what planted the initial seed that would become KMS.”

Mel fell into recruitment almost by accident following redundancy from a role as a business process outsourcer.

She said: “It was a job I enjoyed, but it happened to be the time when a lot of firms decided it was smart to outsource overseas.

“I was made redundant and used to badger the life out of a poor girl at recruiter Manpower.

"I would ask her for any jobs, doing anything – she must have hated me.

“Then one day someone in the office overheard me and asked if I’d ever considered recruitment, and that was it.”

Mel worked her way through the ranks at Manpower, until she was running the firm’s North-East recruitment operation.

A brief stint followed at another regional recruiter before her moment of inspiration struck and she made the leap to strike out on her own.

“I knew Keith Miller of Ecco Finishing Supplies well,” added Mel.

“We were chatting about frustrations we both had with the recruitment industry, both from a user and insider point of view.

"We began to flesh out my idea of sharing the risk with clients and it wasn’t long before KMS Partners was born.”

Starting out in the back office of Ecco Finishing Supplies in Middlesbrough, Mel moved quickly to appoint former Manpower colleague Gemma Holmes to the role of head of client Services and the KMS Partners team began to take shape.

She said: “It was important to me that I got our recruitment right and built a team that I knew would bring personality and spirit to the table as well as being very good at their jobs."

KMS Partners has already secured a host of contracts with an impressive client base, but it also prides itself on finding employees for very specialist niche roles.

Mel added: “We get as big a kick out of finding someone to fill an advanced engineering or scientific role as we do securing a contract for 20 or 30 warehouse or production line workers – and we bring the same dedication and quality to the job, no matter what the size of the job."

Five minutes with... Mel Thompson

Favourite North-East building and why? It's a structure - The Angel of the North. Does that count? It is strong, noble and proud and sums up our North-East mindset in my eyes.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? The record counter in Woolworths and didn’t get paid nearly enough to wear the awful blue polyester pinafore that was far too big for me.

What is the worst job you've had? I’ve been lucky and worked with some amazing businesses and people…but, you know, the blue pinafore!

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? I love cooking and make a mean spicy crab linguine – assuming you have no scary seafood allergies.

What would your superpower be? The power to heal.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Gary Oldman - favourite actor ever, Quentin Tarantino - all-time favourite director, Uma Thurman - the greatest actress of all time, and Anthony Joshua – because I’m only human.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? I could not possibly answer that question without it ending in divorce. What can I say, I am a shoes and handbag kind of girl.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? Anthony Joshua – see above.

Favourite book? I recently read I am Pilgrim, by Terry Hayes. It blew me away, so I had to read it again.

When did you last cry? I’m not really the crying type, although I do get emotional watching athletics. I admit, I am strange.

What is your greatest achievement? I’m proud and privileged to have worked with some amazing people who have gone on to build incredible careers. I love enabling people to develop their strengths and realise their own potential.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Do not be afraid of silence.

Favourite animal and why? I love animals and love the lioness – fierce and scary, yet nurturing and protective.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? Becky the Hedgehog Lady – you probably don’t know her but she is really famous in my village.

What was the last band you saw live? Justin Timberlake – I am so old.

Describe your perfect night in? Great food, great gin, a fire in the garden and toasted marshmallows.

In another life I would be... A pilot.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Uma Thurman – clearly not for the looks though.

What irritates you? Intolerance makes me cross.

What's your secret talent? I am a little bit spooky and quite tuned in to my sixth sense.