RCSA Award winner, Janice McNab named finalist for "Women of Influence"

Managing Director of Tradestaff and RCSA Member, Janice McNab was recently named a finalist in the Fairfax and Westpac 2017 Women of Influence in the Board and Leadership Category. A huge honour and recognition of Janice's hard work as a respected leader in one of the most successful recruitment companies in New Zealand.

Pictured below: Janice and her team at Tradestaff NZ win at the RCSA Awards

We had a chat with Janice about her nomination.

Firstly, congratulations on being named in the final list of the coveted Fairfax and Westpac 2017 Women of Influence.

How does this kind of recognition make you feel?

At first, I was somewhat overwhelmed that my senior leadership team put me forward for the award. When I heard I had made the final cut, there is initially that feeling of “imposter syndrome” that I think most of us experience from time to time, particularly when I was reading through the bios of the other talented and accomplished women in the category.

Now I’ve had time to contemplate it, I feel both proud and privileged, along with a sense of responsibility; responsibility to represent and showcase both Tradestaff and the recruitment industry positively to a different audience, and responsibility to do justice to all women out there doing such a great job often without the recognition they deserve. I want to ensure I do justice to those who nominated me and continue to meet their expectations of what I deliver to them.

Tell us a little bit about yourself – how did you get started in recruitment?

I started in recruitment 20 years ago now by applying for a consulting role. At that time I was looking for a new career that would allow me to use what I saw were my strengths in terms of being a sales-driven role, along with lots of people interaction. The advert I applied for was headed up “Needle in a Haystack”. That caught my attention as it was certainly not the kind of heading job ads were using 20 years ago! Back then recruitment was still a relatively immature industry in NZ, and the opportunity to get in at the ground floor level of something was really exciting.

Recruitment has not disappointed! I loved the industry right from the start, the pace, the juggling of lots of different balls and seeing things come together (or not!). Everyone working in recruitment know that it is hard work, but the rewards on offer both intrinsic and material, more than make up for any bad days.

What has been your most rewarding experience as General Manager at Tradestaff NZ?

I have been fortunate to have been with Tradestaff pretty much from the beginning so my journey to the GM seat has been about being instrumental in seeing the company grow from a very small (me and the owner) operation to a national brand with 14 branches nationally and divisions focused on attracting talent into NZ and a division sending talent overseas to work.

While obviously my role has changed and evolved as the company has grown, the most rewarding experience for me is always about seeing my internal team members grow and develop their skills and knowledge. Being able to promote and retain people internally and continue to keep them challenged and motivated to deliver at a new level and contributing to Tradestaff positively continues to motivate and challenge me. I’ve always been a firm believer in the old adage that “People work for People” so I work hard to make sure people want to work for me.

What does a day in the life of Janice look like?

The purpose of my role is to create the environment that ensures that we can deliver our strategic objectives. Ensuring my senior leadership team have the knowledge and resources to undertake their roles is a big part of my focus. Equally I am a firm believer that it is critical I am in our branches very regularly. Knowing and understanding the challenges that our operational branch teams face ensures my team and I are making good decisions for the business. I still enjoy being amongst the buzz of a branch and while that isn’t the focus of my role now, I love the energy that is gained by spending an afternoon at a branch desk.

If you could pass on any advice to other women in business aspiring to leadership positions, what would it be?

Be true to yourself; know who you are, both the good and the bad and then play to the strengths of your own style. Don’t be intimidated and don’t think you need to have all the answers yourself; nobody does. Be ok with this. Be prepared to be a life-long learner and invest in your own development; you are a good investment! Make sure you have a good mentor/coach who challenges you consistently.

Tradestaff were recently awarded the RCSA’s Excellence in Candidate Care award for your commitment to the welfare of Pasifika workers, at the RCSA Winter Ball in June. What was it like, receiving this award, and how important do you think it is to have a workplace culture of putting candidate’s needs as a priority?

We work in a profession where we are privileged to be able to make a real difference to people’s lives every day. There are not many industries where the purpose of the work being done has such potentially dramatic outcomes. One of the biggest challenges for our industry is to not lose sight of this and I believe that ensuring all candidate interaction leaves them feeling valued and appreciated is key to the success of any recruitment business.

There were obviously some very different challenges to the norm in assisting Pasifika workers landing in Christchurch mid-winter to successfully transition successfully into both work and home life, but what a great bunch of guys they have been and we have just loved the opportunity to assist them in this genuinely life changing experience. We were extremely proud to win this award this year: we know that member organisations of the RCSA are all committed to be the best of the best, so being recognised with this particular award was especially pleasing.

And finally, to be recognised around the country as a woman of influence outside of our industry, is a huge achievement. In your opinion, where do you see the future of recruitment heading?

One of the things I love about our industry is that it is constantly evolving and the only way to stay relevant is to ensure the speed of innovation within your organization is one step ahead of the speed of innovation externally. While there is no doubt that we are currently in times of digital disruption and the millennials are adding a new dimension to how business is done, I still see recruitment having a focus on relational sales rather than purely being a transactional exchange. Becoming a strategic partner with clients and candidates alike remains central to success for any recruitment business.

Interview end

You can find out more about the Fairfax and Westpac 2017 Women of Influence Awards and view the list of finalists here.

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