April 28, 2021

The Recruiter Roadmap to Recovery: How to Thrive in a Post-Pandemic World, with Greg Savage, Ep # 64

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As many parts of the economy open up again, recruiters are starting to see a surge in demand for talent.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a return to “business as usual.”

There are lessons to be learned from the pandemic, and important steps you must take to ensure you thrive in the coming hiring boom. If you go back to doing things exactly the same way you did before, we’ll miss out on the greatest opportunity in our lifetime to change some of the things we don’t like about recruitment.

That’s according to my special guest, Greg Savage who is making a repeat appearance on The Resilient Recruiter. Greg is of the most respected voices across the global recruitment industry, hear his insights on the pandemic, leadership, and reconfiguring the way you do your business.

With 40 years in recruitment, Greg is also the author of the Savage Truth which was published only about a year ago selling more than 10,000 copies – highlighting the loyal following he has built. If you have not been exposed to Greg’s no-nonsense approach to recruitment before, then you are in for a treat.

Really excited to be with @greg_savage once again in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! Listen to his insights on why the pandemic is a great opportunity to reconfigure the way you do your business, plus key pointers on leadership #recruitment #recruiter #training #coaching 


Episode Outline and Highlights

  • 3:00 Greg shares his perspective on the pandemic – who are those that dealt with it best? 
  • 13:06 The best lockdown marketing idea – “flipping the dynamics.”
  • 22:44 Enduring lessons from the pandemic that recruiters must adopt as standard practice.
  • 33:08 Are KPIs outdated?
  • 38:30 What are the key characteristics and values that owners should be looking for in potential new hires recruiting now compared to what they looked for in the past?
  • 47:25 Thoughts on reconfiguring the profile you look for when hiring rookie recruiters.
  • 55:28 Greg revealed one very important element out of his 14 business pillars, “Leadership Style.”

Some Exemplary Performances From Recruitment Businesses in the Pandemic

When I launched this podcast in December 2019, I was very fortunate to have interviewed Greg in episode #1.  Following up with him after more than a year, I am really keen to hear his perspectives on dealing with this crisis.  In particular, I hoped he would be able to share examples of people or businesses rising to the occasion. 

Greg has a unique vantage point as an advisor to and sitting on the board of, 14 different recruitment companies. How businesses reacted is comparable to the five stages of grief. Here are some key takeaways from him on how some businesses thrived during the pandemic:

  • leadership behaviour played a key factor – those who reached the acceptance stage first were the most successful.
  • understanding the concept of goodwill equity made a big difference.
  • transparency, communication, becoming visible and valuable was really critical.

Best to hear directly from Greg both best and bad examples on how some leaders behaved when the pandemic and lockdowns took place.

What We Should Have Learned From the Pandemic

What are the enduring lessons we should learn from the pandemic as an industry? This is how Greg put it: “Well let me start with a rather cynical, but unfortunately true comment… Owners of recruitment companies will come out of this situation, so relieved that they have survived, so grateful that the markets are peaking up, but they will go back, Mark, and do everything exactly the way they did it before.”

This is where it gets more interesting, Greg continues: “Any second article you read on LinkedIn is about how the pandemic has changed recruitment. Absolute bullsh*t! It will not change it. But, the opportunity to reconfigure the way you do things, is HUGE. You can change, and I’ve got some great stories.” 

Question from Our Listener

Prior to recording this episode, I asked connections on LinkedIn for questions I should be putting in to ask Greg. A very interesting question came from Greg Benadiba, who is the CEO of Bilingual Source. Now that we are entering a phase of renewed growth in the industry and owners are going to be hiring again, “What are the key characteristics and values that owners should be looking for on potential new hires in recruiting now, and how is that different to candidates they’ve hired in the past?”

Greg answered this question and very insightful pointers were shared. Here his response to our conversation.

What are the key characteristics and values that owners should be looking for potential new hires in recruiting? Hear it from the legendary @greg_savage, in this episode of #TheResilientRecruiter! #recruitment #recruiter #training #coaching


Greg Savage Bio and Contact Info

After graduating with Honours in Psychology, Greg started his career in Executive Search in Australia, before he went on to manage the London office of the United Kingdom’s largest accounting recruiter for two years. In the early 1980s, he returned to Australia to run the Sydney office of Accountancy Placements (now the Hays Group), where he was invited to join the Board of Directors at age 27.

Greg founded Recruitment Solutions in 1987, and rapidly built the start-up across Australia and New Zealand, culminating in eight offices, 200 staff, and annual sales of $60,000,000. Such was Recruitment Solutions’ success that, in July 1998, the company was successfully listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, with Greg at its helm as both Executive Director and COO.

In April 2001, Greg joined Aquent as Asia-Pacific CEO. In 2005, he was promoted to Aquent International CEO and assumed responsibility for all Aquent businesses outside of North America, which then comprised over 25 offices across Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2010 Greg acquired the Permanent and Search business of Aquent in Europe, Asia and Australasia, via a management buy-out, and founded Firebrand Talent Search. He quickly created a global brand for this specialist Digital and Marketing recruiter, and successfully sold the business, in 7 countries, in January 2013.

An active investor in recruitment businesses, Greg is a Founder and shareholder of people2people, one of Australia’s fastest growing recruitment companies, and also a Director and Chairman of New Zealand specialist Consult Recruitment. He also has involvement with many HR Tech related businesses including VideoMyJob  and JobAdder

In recognition of his contribution to the Australian recruitment industry, Greg was made an Honorary Life Member of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) in 2004. He was subsequently elevated to Fellow (FRCA).

In addition, Greg was the inaugural winner of the highly prestigious RCSA “Outstanding Contribution to the Recruitment Industry” Award 2011.

Recruitment Hall of Fame

In April 2018 Greg was inducted into the Recruitment International ‘Hall of Fame’ for his contribution and services to the recruitment industry

LinkedIn ‘Top Voices ‘2018.

Greg was named one of only 342 out of 550 Million LinkedIn members named as top influencers and for sparking professional conversations globally.

People and Resources Mentioned

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