As we move closer to Christmas it’s with much pleasure that I share that it’s 23 years since I opened the doors of Trak Recruiting and 33 years since I first joined the recruitment industry. It was way back in 1985 when Bob Hawke was PM, Paul Hogan was Australian of the Year and the largest corporate deal Australia had seen also took place – the $1.07 billion merger of retail giants Coles and Myer. It was also the year I filled my first role in the retail sector with a 25 year old Brett Blundy who owned a handful of Bras n Things stores. Brett was also one of my first clients a decade later in 1995 when I started my own business. Fast forward and we’ve completed executive appointments with other Brett Blundy companies. I share this as I believe it’s indicative of the many long term relationships and friendships I have been privileged to make along the way, as well as so many careers I have seen blossom.
Looking back on the 33 years, it’s also interesting to reflect on how the recruitment sector has changed. Saturday papers were filled with big expensive positions vacant advertisements with politically incorrect headings such as this one, I read in 1992:
‘Outgoing Young Retail Area Manager, must be 23 – 27 non-smoker, male preferred!’
It was then an early start on Mondays as the phones buzzed and we jotted down the details of promising candidates. The postman carried a sack bigger than Santa’s filled with 10 page typed resumes.
Today sending a hard copy CV through Australia Post would be like living life without a smartphone. Instead the push of a button is all that’s needed resulting in 24/7 arrivals however, while quantity is up, quality is definitely down. Less than 5% of candidates will ring about an ad, and very few bother with a cover letter. While we relied 100% on what was in the CV to “picture” the candidate now a quick Google search may lead you to LinkedIn and Facebook posts which tell a very different story. For many recruiters the art of interviewing no longer exists and the proliferation of recruitment companies – including those that operate from their garage – has in my opinion damaged our industry. Fees vary widely, but so too does the level of expertise, professionalism, commitment and trust – qualities often hard to see until after you’ve been burnt.
On the plus side, many of our clients now recognised the importance of culture, retention and engaged employees and can see significantly their impact on the bottom line. With most companies able to source similar product at similar price and set up stores in all the same malls it seems that the successful retailers realise their real point of difference is the quality of their people.
23 years has also seen change within the Trak business. It’s no longer just me, but a team of 25 spread across 3 business units forming TSHR – Trak Recruiting, Scarlett Recruitment and Trak HR Consulting. From our Sydney and Melbourne offices we’ve placed people in all types of management and head office roles – sourcing, design, production, sales, buying, planning, marketing, digital, accounting, property, loss prevention, and of course HR. From entry level to “C” suite executives, while geographically we’ve ran assignments in the UK, the Middle East, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, New Zealand and of course right across Australia.
But, our mantra remains the same – to ensure that our retail and fashion clients have access to the best people in the market and through the combination of better HR practices and efficiencies maximise the productivity and effectiveness of their teams. To do this we recognise that we need to be niche – to understand the rapid changes taking place in the retail and fashion sector globally and through our research and technology we need to be totally connected with those executives within it.
The fact that I’ve survived 33 years and TSHR celebrates 23 years gives me confidence that we must be doing something right and on “Trak” for a bright future.
Many thanks to the continued, support, encouragement and friendships I have made along the way – it truly is the people I have met that energises me as I start the next decade.
Garry Connell, CEO, TSHR