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Meet Australia’s RCSA Recruitment Leader of the Year winner

By Jason Ellias

2020 RCSA Recruitment Leader of the Year Winner (Australia)

Despite all the doom and gloom in the headlines, personally, 2020 has been a year of positive milestones. I was lucky enough to be awarded Recruitment Leader of the Year, to hit 20 years in business and to have been elected as Chair of NPAworldwide

Point of Difference

I was trained as a lawyer so problem-solving has been drummed into me. I always found the idea of matching the best candidate to the best role paramount. So I learned early on to collaborate with other recruiters. I was never going to fill every job or place every candidate. I would much prefer to close a deal and make a split than none at all or, worse still, have a candidate not work out. Half a loaf is always better than none.

In fact three of our last four placements were splits with other agencies (including direct competitors). Those who are happy to work together to help candidates and clients get the best match possible. Through NPAworldwide - (a global split fee network) I have learned the value of collaboration and year on year 30% is added to our top line by working with other recruiters. Clients and candidates are also receptive to the idea that you are presenting them with a wider pool of talent or opportunities.

Future of Recruitment

This is very uncertain due to COVID-19. If we are past the worst (let’s hope) and we are on the recovery track, I think that recruitment will do well. Companies may look to remove fixed costs like talent acquisition staff in favour of engaging third party recruiters on an ‘as needs’ basis. They may need to refill many of the roles that they had to let people go from. They may also allow recruiters to submit remote candidates - dramatically widening the candidate pool.

My hope is that recruiters change their modus operandi. The aim should be to only work roles exclusively. I am all for competition, but agents should compete to get the brief not once they do get the brief - much like real estate agents. Having multiple agencies on the same job never leads to better results as they often trip over the same candidates and focus on speed over quality. It also means less spinning of wheels, wasted time and resources - which end up reflected in higher fees. Imagine other professionals/  tradies like lawyers, doctors, plumbers or mechanics spending most of their days on jobs where they never receive payment. I also notice that many recruiters are reducing their dependency on generalist job boards by focussing on tapping into talent in more creative and cost-effective ways.

What the award means

I am humbled to receive this award especially amongst the other amazing finalists in the category. In some way, it is a lovely recognition to all those who volunteer. Between my roles as Chair of NPAworldwide and RCSA’s NSW/ACT Regional Committee, I spend probably one day a week on average volunteering in the industry. Hopefully it encourages others to volunteer more. I do note that this year has had a record number of recruiters wishing to join our RCSA Regional Committee.

I hope it profiles both the RCSA and NPAworldwide, two organisations that I strongly believe in and who do wonderful work for their members. I also hope it helps with marketing my own business and bringing in work for my team during what are tricky times overall for recruiters.

Advice to newcomers

Don’t be salesy. Earn your stripes by learning all you can about your niche. Connect with people, earn their respect and trust and under-promise and over-deliver. Simon Sinek says it best: Find your why? Make sure you know why you are in the role.

Help your candidates develop their careers and help your clients get the talent to grow.

I heard a trainer once say that recruitment is the only business where you can write your own pay cheque. We have no cost of inventory or production, all you really need is a mobile phone and the right attitude. Be yourself and be genuine. As Groucho Marx said “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

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