In the latest episode of the Strivin & Thrivin podcast we got to do things a little differently. This week’s conversation was led by Samantha George, Design Principal Consultant at The Drive Group. Sam had a chat with good friend, former colleague and Practice Manager of Aquent, Lee Shorter, about his humble beginnings and how the global recruitment agency has managed to build such a solid team.
From stock cupboard sorter to team leader
So how the bloody hell did Lee get into recruitment?
After working in advertising in London for two and half years, Lee came to Australia in 2015 and quickly went from the temp in the cupboard to ring-in recruiter.
“My first two days in recruitment was spent in a stock cupboard, sorting candidate files. They got busy with roles and they had an assessment data fill. They asked if I’d mind jumping on the phones and screening some candidates for them. That was where it all began, never looked back”.
After a few years with the agency, Lee decided finance wasn’t really his thing.
“I knew I enjoyed the recruitment aspects, but I wasn’t particularly enjoying the roles that I was servicing. I thought, how can I combine recruitment with the advertising and marketing side of things, which I knew I had enjoyed when I was working in London. I started looking around and came across Aequent.”
Starting off as a consultant, Lee’s curiosity about all aspects of the business saw him eventually land the role of Practice Manager.
“I wasn’t a senior consultant. I wasn’t our biggest biller. I just got involved in a lot of stuff across the business. I wasn’t just focused on my own desk, I was looking at the candidate experience and some of our marketing initiatives and our events and things like that.”
Treat adults … like adults
It’s no secret that the agency world of recruitment typically has a high turnover rate – you make it two, three years, you’re basically ready for long-service leave.
Aquent is unique in that its team members prefer to stick around. The secret – focus on outcomes and just treat your people like the adults they are.
“For [Aquent] to have multiple people [with] five plus years tenure, a couple of members of our senior leadership team that have been with us for 20 plus years, it’s got a very family feel to it.
“Good recruiters know the activities they should be doing every week and are trusted to do that … It’s a very adult environment. People aren’t micromanaged, they’re left to manage their desks and their day as they see fit … we manage based on outcomes”.
Hidden high performers
Another secret to Aquent’s solid team – not just hiring the people with the best stats.
“We’re much more [about] looking at the person, the skills they’ve got, their personality, their drive and ambition and their culture fit to the business… We don’t want to hire a whole bunch of the same people … what are they doing to add to our diversity of thought and opinions?”
Getting back on the horse
We all know the recruitment world can have high highs but also low lows.
What makes it worth pushing through? Our host, Sam, knows it’s all about the people around you.
“When you’ve got such a good environment and culture, you’re surrounded by really good humans who can build you up, that’s what keeps you going on those tough days .. that support network”.
Lee feels that’s exactly the type of environment that Aquent has built.
“There’s more bad days than good in recruitment, particularly at the minute .. you’ve just got to have a good team around you that are going to band together, they’re going to pick you up.
“It’s also about the person as well, them being resilient, being able to get back on the horse and go again”.
Excuse us a minute while we go and check if Aquent has any job openings.