Greg Savage spills The Savage Truth in his new book
Greg Savage has been able to build his career to a point where he can say he only works with people he likes and spends an increasing amount of time travelling for pleasure and leisure.
It’s not quite the lifestyle you would expect from someone who is best known in the recruitment and staffing sectors for his Savage Truth book and presentations.
In fact, you only have to spend a little bit of time with Greg to understand that while he is a driven businessman who is indeed passionate about improvement and best practice, he is a man who is ruled more by a desire to leave a meaningful legacy.
In October, Savage released his book The Savage Truth which is best described as both a business biography and a guide to success for those working in the recruitment and staffing sector.
“I want people to learn from my mistakes,” Greg told The Brief. “It took me six months to write, mostly sitting at airports and on planes, but it looks at the lessons from the past 40 years of my career in recruitment and as an advisor and consultant to the industry.
“You don’t make money out of writing a book. This is about leaving a legacy and if people can get some good tips that work for them, that would be very gratifying for me.”
Greg says he was initially reluctant to write the book, despite being pressed by a number of colleagues throughout his career to do so, including one who went so far as to say he had “an obligation” to share his wealth of knowledge.
It was only after delivering a presentation at an industry event three years ago and being approached by a publisher that Savage started to give the idea of penning a book any serious consideration.
He began to reflect on his career and realised he did indeed have a wealth of knowledge about the industry, how it has changed and why the core aspects of the job will never fundamentally change.
The road to recruitment
Greg started in recruitment at the age of 21 after attending an interview at an executive search firm his sister had organised.
“I had just finished a degree in psychology and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my future,” he explained. “My thinking was I would do something in personnel management; the phrase ‘human resources’ has not yet been coined.
“I was interested in psychology in the workplace and had applied for a bunch of jobs when I went for this particular interview. I didn’t know anything about recruitment so I was surprised when the interviewer said ‘you seem like a likely lad, how would you like to be an Executive Search Consultant?’.
“I was offered the job at the interview, I accepted on the spot and, in a sign of the times, I expected to spend the rest of my life doing that as a job because that was what you did then, you started in one field and stayed there.”
Greg found himself on a sharp learning curve and also discovered Executive Search was an area he could thrive in and which made good use of his skills and natural aptitudes. He was sent on a number of courses by his employer and this education allowed him to quickly build his career.
At the age of 25, the desire to explore the world took hold so Greg resigned from his role and headed to Europe where he quickly picked up another job in recruitment.
“I have never considered working in any other industry,” he said. “I loved what I was doing then and I love what I am doing now. It was serendipitous that I ended up in a career that is perfectly matched to my temperament.
“For the past 40 years, I have been helping people to find work and grow. I am not suggesting every day of my career has been driven by altruistic intentions, but there is absolutely no reason you can’t go home and feel good about what you have done during the day if you have played with a straight bat.”
Skills needed for the future
Greg passionately believes that the core competencies needed to be a successful recruiter now are exactly the same as those needed in the 1980s, despite the seismic shift in technology and the ways business operate.
“The job we have to work on is understanding what is actually needed by our clients and candidates and understanding where the pain is,” he continued. “If you can solve people’s pain, they will pay you for it.
“In the end, it still comes down to the human touch of businesses and their ability to respond to change.
“For recruiters, in some cases, this will mean automation of systems and I am all in favour of doing that for parts of the business, which are drudgery and can be done by Artificial Intelligence, because that leaves people more time to focus on things that have value such as advising, consulting, influencing, mentoring and coaching.
Greg, who is best known to many in the sector for his presentations on leadership in recruitment, also offers plenty of advice for leaders and aspiring leaders in his book.
“If leaders can create an environment where people are constantly learning and with new opportunities, that is how you handle staff retention,” he said. “It’s not about beanbags and coffee machines.
“Good people stay in jobs because they are being communicated with, and have opportunities for advancement.
“Looking ahead, one of the real challenges is people are not going to have the skills they will need for the future workplace. The question businesses, including recruitment companies, need to ask themselves is do they have the staff who can acquire those skills as quickly as the need evolves.
“One of the most common mistakes I see recruiters making is trying to match a resume to a job description instead of looking at the core competencies of potential of a candidate and what they will be able to offer in the future.”
Greg Savage’s new book, The Savage Truth, is now available. To purchase a copy visit gregsavage.com.au/the-savage-truth-book. We have one copy to giveaway to a lucky reader.
To go in the draw to win this copy, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org