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  string(5836) "This article originally appeared on the Shortlist Magazine website

James Purtell's recruitment career was almost preordained.

His mother Elisabeth Purtell and her business partner Jill Cox launched Cox Purtell in 1994, and just over 10 years later, James took the reins alongside long-serving director Trish Nugent.

What attracted you to a career in recruitment?

It was in the family – I didn't stand a chance. I'd been around it since I was a kid. I love the people aspect, I love the service aspect and I love being in a career where the harder you work the more you get rewarded.

How has your career developed from that point?

I was in recruitment in Sydney at Cox Purtell, I was very green... and then I went overseas to the UK, worked in a couple of different roles but predominantly around accounting and finance, and then did a lot of traveling... It was in my blood to do recruitment, so I came back and properly got stuck into learning how recruitment works.

Our business was originally a purely business support focused company. This speciality is often more suited to females. When I started as a rookie, I was the first and only male in the office.

It was reasonably unique to be working a desk in business support as a guy. I loved it right from the start – and I was quite good too... Trish was a long-term employee and we bought the business off one of the founding directors and my mother.

Sadly, Trish passed away in December this year past.

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in the recruitment industry in the next five years?

I think we're moving back into a really good time for recruiters, but only for those who can remain nimble enough to embrace change and new technology. Keeping up with the pace of change is demanding – knowing what not to embrace as much as anything else.

You need to be open minded but critical. Recently, we've introduced an internal analytics tool – Cube19. It's been awesome. I believe it gives us a competitive advantage.

It allows us as a business and allows us as managers to work with individuals about where their strengths and weaknesses are. It's very visible, and a sort of gamification of our internal functions, I guess.

We brought in Cube19 because it really gives transparency to what each consultant needs to do to achieve their own personal goals and understand their own personal weaknesses or personal strengths they can work on to get better and better, rather than just having a broad 'one rule for all' [approach]. This analytics tool allows us to personalise what each consultant needs to do.

What's on the horizon for your company specifically?

Keep getting better. A key point of difference for our clients is our focus on them and putting the 'client first' in everything we do.

We've also been heavily embracing a digital strategy for branding and recruitment. We run it in-house. These things take time to gain traction and it's now starting to pay off, and this will be critical well into the future.

We're also focused on evolving from a traditional 360 model of recruitment to more of a hybrid model. It's a subtle change for us but involves allowing people to focus on elements of the recruitment process at which they personally excel. There's a lot of overlap but also people who specialise in either sales, relationship management or resourcing."

What has spurred the move away from 360-degree recruitment?

One of the challenges that many recruitment agencies face is turnover of their own consultants. A lot of the reason for this is we set consultants up to fail. We bring them in, they're either rookies or they're new to the industry, or new to the market, and they're up against people who have a lot more experience than them.

Some of them will make it, many of them don't. What we decided to do is work towards individual strengths. Some people are better at sales, but less good at delivery; some people are good at delivery but less good at sales, and there's the group of people in the middle.

So we're not doing away with the model completely... Once people are experienced enough to completely run their own desks – great, but in the meantime, we'll have a resourcing function as well as a sales function and then relationship managers in the middle."

What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your recruitment career?

People. It's all about the people. People are continually my biggest challenge but also the greatest delight. I am a big believer in the greater good of people – sometimes that belief is challenged! Recruiters are highly emotive, have high EI [emotional intelligence] and, as we are often sales people, it can be a challenging combination. But, it's why I love it too.

The biggest lesson for me, which I was slow to learn, is and was that good things come from tough conversations. You never regret having those tough conversations, you only regret not having them sooner."
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  string(34) "Shortlist Chats With James Purtell"
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  string(127) "This article originally appeared on the Shortlist Magazine website | James Purtell's recruitment career was almost preordained."
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This article originally appeared on the Shortlist Magazine website

James Purtell‘s recruitment career was almost preordained.

His mother Elisabeth Purtell and her business partner Jill Cox launched Cox Purtell in 1994, and just over 10 years later, James took the reins alongside long-serving director Trish Nugent.

What attracted you to a career in recruitment?

It was in the family – I didn’t stand a chance. I’d been around it since I was a kid. I love the people aspect, I love the service aspect and I love being in a career where the harder you work the more you get rewarded.

How has your career developed from that point?

I was in recruitment in Sydney at Cox Purtell, I was very green… and then I went overseas to the UK, worked in a couple of different roles but predominantly around accounting and finance, and then did a lot of traveling… It was in my blood to do recruitment, so I came back and properly got stuck into learning how recruitment works.

Our business was originally a purely business support focused company. This speciality is often more suited to females. When I started as a rookie, I was the first and only male in the office.

It was reasonably unique to be working a desk in business support as a guy. I loved it right from the start – and I was quite good too… Trish was a long-term employee and we bought the business off one of the founding directors and my mother.

Sadly, Trish passed away in December this year past.

What are the biggest changes you expect to see in the recruitment industry in the next five years?

I think we’re moving back into a really good time for recruiters, but only for those who can remain nimble enough to embrace change and new technology. Keeping up with the pace of change is demanding – knowing what not to embrace as much as anything else.

You need to be open minded but critical. Recently, we’ve introduced an internal analytics tool – Cube19. It’s been awesome. I believe it gives us a competitive advantage.

It allows us as a business and allows us as managers to work with individuals about where their strengths and weaknesses are. It’s very visible, and a sort of gamification of our internal functions, I guess.

We brought in Cube19 because it really gives transparency to what each consultant needs to do to achieve their own personal goals and understand their own personal weaknesses or personal strengths they can work on to get better and better, rather than just having a broad ‘one rule for all’ [approach]. This analytics tool allows us to personalise what each consultant needs to do.

What’s on the horizon for your company specifically?

Keep getting better. A key point of difference for our clients is our focus on them and putting the ‘client first’ in everything we do.

We’ve also been heavily embracing a digital strategy for branding and recruitment. We run it in-house. These things take time to gain traction and it’s now starting to pay off, and this will be critical well into the future.

We’re also focused on evolving from a traditional 360 model of recruitment to more of a hybrid model. It’s a subtle change for us but involves allowing people to focus on elements of the recruitment process at which they personally excel. There’s a lot of overlap but also people who specialise in either sales, relationship management or resourcing.”

What has spurred the move away from 360-degree recruitment?

One of the challenges that many recruitment agencies face is turnover of their own consultants. A lot of the reason for this is we set consultants up to fail. We bring them in, they’re either rookies or they’re new to the industry, or new to the market, and they’re up against people who have a lot more experience than them.

Some of them will make it, many of them don’t. What we decided to do is work towards individual strengths. Some people are better at sales, but less good at delivery; some people are good at delivery but less good at sales, and there’s the group of people in the middle.

So we’re not doing away with the model completely… Once people are experienced enough to completely run their own desks – great, but in the meantime, we’ll have a resourcing function as well as a sales function and then relationship managers in the middle.”

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your recruitment career?

People. It’s all about the people. People are continually my biggest challenge but also the greatest delight. I am a big believer in the greater good of people – sometimes that belief is challenged! Recruiters are highly emotive, have high EI [emotional intelligence] and, as we are often sales people, it can be a challenging combination. But, it’s why I love it too.

The biggest lesson for me, which I was slow to learn, is and was that good things come from tough conversations. You never regret having those tough conversations, you only regret not having them sooner.

Tags: James Purtell | Recruitment | Recruitment Sydney |

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