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How to recruit right? – Insights from Greg Savage
Hiring and Recruitment

How to recruit right? – Insights from Greg Savage

May 17, 2023

Recruitment Agencies should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of the business. And why not? Your employees are your company’s best storytellers - or your most harmful critics. Therefore, engagement has to be human because people trust people more than they trust brands. Your employees are the ones who personify your organization.

A good recruiting process focuses and aligns recruiters to deliver the best to the organizations. After all, at the end of the day, your first bet is your people. Strategies come later.

Besides, you can always collaborate with a reputable recruitment company with a proven track record. Such a recruitment firm will benefit your organization in a variety of ways, including acquiring excellent candidates, filling positions as quickly as possible, and providing candidates with the necessary training. Although these recruitment firms will cost you some money, the benefits they bring to the business make the investment worthwhile.

We recently had the opportunity of getting into a discussion with one of the most experienced leaders in the recruitment industry, Mr. Greg Savage.

He has been the founder of four highly successful businesses; Recruitment Solutions (taken to IPO). Firebrand Talent Search (trade sale), Eloquent Staffing (trade sale), and People2People (currently Director and Owner), and has been owning, managing and growing staffing businesses across the world, and sharing the tactics that have worked for over four decades now. And when you get to talk to a person of his experience there’s nothing less than mountains of priceless insights.

Author of the best-selling book “The Savage Truth” - Greg Savage

How to recruit right? – Insights from Greg Savage | peopleHum
The Savage Truth

Greg started in the recruitment industry at the age of 21. We wanted to know about the people who contributed and shaped his thinking at such a young age.

“The most important impact on my approach to life and business was my father who taught me resilience ethics and determination, and Graham Whelan, one of my partners at Recruitment Solutions, who is one of the best recruiters I’ve ever met, who taught me patience, empathy and how important people are, in our business.”

And we cannot agree more.

If you don't have the right people around you and you're moving at a million miles an hour you can lose yourself.

Voted The most influential recruiter in Australia in the past 60 years and having completed more than 40 years in this industry, what is it that ignites this feeling in him of excelling every day?

He says, “It’s not difficult to get excited about every day of my work because at this stage of my life I only work with people I like, on projects I believe in. I’m passionate about what we do in recruitment. After all, we do an intrinsically good thing. We find people work and enhance their careers and we drive companies forward by securing the best talent. What is more, I believe that recruitment is a wonderful industry if you excel at it. So, helping people reach their full potential is intrinsically satisfying. And so, even after 40 years, I approach each day with as much enthusiasm as my first week, probably more.”  

Greg has been named The most influential Australian business person on Twitter. On asking if he thinks companies can be role models? He says something of a contradiction in terms.

"I believe people are role models. I really don’t have any organization that I authentically believe in, trust or consider something to aspire to. Certainly, there are hugely successful companies that do clever things but overall you take your moral compass and values from people and not companies.”


You can have the best strategy and the best building in the world, but if you don’t have the hearts and minds of the people who work with you, none of it comes to life.

Inducted into the Recruitment International ‘Hall of Fame’ for contribution and services to the recruitment industry, Greg believes, “You need to be a recruiter who thinks pro-actively. If you only start to recruit when there is a vacancy, you inevitably take short cuts and hire out of desperation. You should be having 100 cups of coffee a year with the type of talent you might hire in the future, building up a pipeline of quality people. During your due diligence, people hire too much on the gut. It is certainly true that you should hire people you like, believe in and have some empathy with, but you should also thoroughly go through the process, check your references and match the person’s previous behavior to your proposed future job description.”

With this in mind, leaders should aim to train people well enough so they can leave, and treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

“Any transformation of a company begins with its leadership,''

This best selling author has laid a lot of stress on the need to recruit efficiently and correctly throughout his guidance to the organizations.

How do you think technology can enhance the process, we asked?

“Right now, the main benefit of technology is to take away the drudgery and the hack work from the recruitment allowing humans to do better, that which only humans can do. So, for example, there is certainly a technology that can screen candidates’ resume against the job description far better than a human being can or will. Most recruiters don’t read a resume from the beginning to end anyway. However, when it comes to nuanced human skills, we need to leave that with human beings.”

Above all, you’re not just recruiting employees, but are sowing the seeds of your reputation. And this is what the thought process should be when recruiting for your organization. 

We were curious. This man has sat on international boards. He continues to. He has been admired a lot. Who does he admire and take inspiration from?

“Apart from obvious and cliched individuals like Nelson Mandela and sporting heroes of mine, that you would never have heard of, most of the people I admire and take inspiration from, are unknown to 99.99% of people on the planet; people I’ve worked with, people I’ve advised, people in my family who have shown incredible resilience, determination, and innovation, are people I take inspiration from, every day.”

He adds, “If you are looking for role models, if you are looking for examples, if you are looking for people to learn from, you don’t need to look for icons on a global scale. They are all around us.”

Earlier, we used to follow traditional patterns of jobs, now more and more people are self-starters. More than 69% of American entrepreneurs start their businesses at home. Only 50% of businesses with employees survive past the first five years. Has the appetite for risk amongst the youth in business increased?

“I think any global characterization of generations is intrinsically foolish. I actually think that the characterization of generations is mostly media-hyped. I believe people were adventurous, brave and innovative generations ago. And people are the same now.”

When you get to talk to such a personality, evidently, there’s no end to the knowledge gained and no intention to let the conversation to a closure.

But we had to let Greg get on with his business of changing success course of various organizations. To end the conversation we asked if he would like to advise anything to these young entrepreneurs aspiring to be the next business leader?

“I believe that success in business and life revolves around protecting your reputation and building your reputation through interaction with people. I think it also depends on your ability to be self-aware and to pivot when you realize as you should, that maybe your ‘great idea’ isn’t as good as you thought. So many entrepreneurs crash and burn because they stick to a dead concept long after it should have been buried.”

What a wonderful piece of advice! We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall. After all, working together on solving something requires a high level of humility and a high level of self-awareness. A workplace that encourages self-awareness is an environment where the most productive, curious, and innovative people thrive. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

Obviously engaging, recruiting people gets you closer to achieving your desired goal. But you can’t do that until you have found them in the first place. Sourcing and finding people is the most important. You can’t recruit, message, or network with someone you haven’t found. Pick up the phone and talk to the candidates. Give them the verbal handshake and build that relationship, so that they trust you.

That is what it is all about.

It is better to grow slowly and have higher quality people. Trust and train your recruiters to be digital warriors. Never second guess it. You can raise the talent bar, but you have to do something different. You can’t do what you are currently doing today, and expect a different outcome.

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