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Peter Stewart - a young gun of NZ’s recruitment industry

Visitors to the website of Auckland’s Lynx Recruitment will likely come away with two impressions.

Firstly, “what a chilled, fun-loving crew they are”.

Secondly, “did they say they had a stuffed lynx as their mascot?”.

The answers are: Yes, they are and yes, they did.

Lynx founder and managing director, Peter Stewart, is a big believer in standing out from the crowd and less than 18 months after opening the doors on the firm he is doing exactly that.

The team he has gathered is young, vibrant and happy … which comes through on the many videos and photos on the company’s website.

Lynx is a specialist recruitment business that focuses on construction sales and office support professionals at the intermediate to senior level and, like all good millennials, the team has harnessed technology to showcase its skills.

The Lynx website is full of videos that not only promote the work they do, but also give their clients an avenue to advertise and discuss their vacancies.

They are bulldozing through what they see as the traditionally conservative habits of the recruitment industry and bringing a fresh, chilled approach.

Here’s Peter and a client with beers in hand as they chat about a job opportunity and the sort of candidates they are searching for.

Here’s another client nursing the office’s lynx mascot while he extols the virtues of his company.

Here’s photos of the Lynx team celebrating taking the title of Most Innovative Agency of the Year at the recent Seek Annual Recruitment Awards.

Peter was also a finalist in the Recruitment Leader of the Year category and says being named an awards finalist, much less winning the innovation category, validated the approach he is taking to recruitment.

“I make no apologies for taking a fresh approach, although I will admit it has made me a bit of an outlaw in the industry - a bit of black sheep,” he says.

“But I believe the recruitment industry has lacked soul in the past.

“Some other recruiters might see our style as too laidback and casual but for an industry that hires a lot of young people, it can be pretty staid and is generally run by older people who really don’t know how to relate to young ones.

“It should be a fun industry because it is an exciting time for everyone involved – for the clients looking at hiring a new team member, the candidates keen to start a new career and us, as recruiters, getting to make that happen.

“At Lynx, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, hence the stuffed lynx as our mascot and the laidback videos on our website and YouTube channel.

“We take pride in our work and do the best we can for clients and candidates but we like to have a bit of a laugh and bit of banter.

“We are very chilled but still stay very professional.”

Peter is a firm believer that there is never a “one size fits all” solution in recruitment.

“Every client, business and candidate that I deal with is 100% unique,” he says. “I was always very uncomfortable with a blanket and very transactional approach to dealing with clients and candidates, hence I was attracted to smaller more boutique agencies.”

It is that attitude and outlook on business relationships that sets Peter and his team apart from his competitors. Peter has the natural ability to identify what makes an employer or company different culturally and how it ticks.

As a result, Lynx enjoys a significant amount of repeat and referral business as the result of past performances, integrity, honesty and hard work.

“I see every client as a client for life. I am not interested in one-off transactions, my preference is to gain a deep understanding of the businesses I recruit for, so we are best positioned to create a long-term working relationship,” Peter says.

The firm’s growing use of Instagram enables potential clients to get an insight into the culture of the business.

YouTube, Peter says, brings the clients to life and shows the true personality of the people doing the hiring.

“It gives candidates an insight into what the client is looking for … it puts faces and personalities to people, which is something you won’t find on the sites of most other recruiters.

“It’s all about personal brands – both ours and the client’s.”

“Brand” is a word that comes up often when Peter starts talking about recruitment, so it’s no surprise he sees it as an essential part of the industry’s future.

Technology is great, he says, but can only go so far.

“Our videos are new and exciting but it’s what comes next that is the key. Will it be AI in some form and how far can you take it?” he asks.

“Will it be holograms and virtual reality, putting clients and candidates in the same virtual room when they are actually on the other side of the country or even the other side of the world?

“The thing I think will be significant is individual branding of recruiters, which is key to what we are doing at Lynx.

“I believe the expectations will be a lot higher than what is currently being delivered by the industry.

“The market will lean towards individual recruiters rather than the business. That’s where loyalties will lie - clients will chase the individual recruiters.

“It’s already happening. Every time I’ve moved businesses no one has cared where I am or what email signature I have. They just want to know what I’m delivering.”

And Peter is not concerned that his laidback approach might be ruffling a few feathers within the recruitment industry.

“I know some other recruiters don’t get it. In fact, I’d rather they didn’t get it because then they’d start copying us.

“As long as people are noticing us, I’m happy.”

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