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Finding a niche in local HR

IN the competitive and over-serviced human resources industry, the boutique operators constantly strive to differentiate themselves.

By rejecting the notion of a ‘standard terms of business’ contract, specialist accounting, banking and finance HR operator Ambrosini Professional Placements aims to forge a niche in the local market.

Ambrosini Professional Placements managing director Caroline Ambrosini believes clients are better served by a process where costs are negotiated at the start of each assignment.

“What’s important to me is that it’s not just a transaction. Placement is a case of finding out what all the issues are,” Ms Ambrosini said.

“And we need to do that to get an edge on the larger companies.

“The industry standard is a 15 per cent fee and sometimes it might take a recruitment company two hours to find a candidate.

“We make a point of saying to the client (that) if we find an eligible candidate sitting on our data base, we’re not going to charge 15 per cent.”

Ms Ambrosini claims the company has been well received, with a number of clients claiming the flexible fee structure is unusual in the HR sector.

Although there is a large number of placement and recruitment businesses in the local market, Ms Ambrosini believes very few of the operators have a full service capability.

With a psychologist on staff, Ambrosini Professional Placements is able to offer services such as career counselling and training to clients as part of its service.

“I don’t believe there are a lot of full service agencies around. I’ve had a pretty strong client base in the past two years and they’ve followed me, and now they’re even more loyal because it’s my own business,” Ms Ambrosini said.

“I work with a broad cross-section of clients, but they’re usually corporations with large finance and administration departments.

“In an uncertain economic climate there are fewer people looking around for new opportunities, however a number of major redundancies have ploughed new work into the local HR sector.”

Ms Ambrosini has visions for the company beyond the local market through alliances with firms in Sydney and Melbourne.

“The first thing is to have discussions with firms that operate like we do,” she said.

“And ideally I’d like to look at merging with another agency, but alliances are the best way to go, to start with.”

Careful research ahead of tendering for business has helped Ambrosini Professional Placements build its profile to the point where it won the Australian Red Cross (WA Business) account.

“We do get closer to the client and that’s why we don’t have a standard terms of business, although we’re happy to offer extended guarantees,” Ms Ambrosini said.

“I want to do the right thing by our clients and we want long-term clients.”

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