13/05/2010 - 00:00

Industry experience counts for Interpeople

13/05/2010 - 00:00

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THE founders of West Perth-based recruitment firm, Interpeople, believe hard work, a genuine passion for what they do, and the skills set of a like-minded team have combined to provide the foundation for a successful business venture. Chris Bates, Cono

Industry experience counts for Interpeople

THE founders of West Perth-based recruitment firm, Interpeople, believe hard work, a genuine passion for what they do, and the skills set of a like-minded team have combined to provide the foundation for a successful business venture.

Chris Bates, Conor O’Brien and Alastair Haldane established Interpeople just before the economic downturn in May 2008, after identifying a gap in the market to provide high-level technical recruitment and HR consulting services.

Having worked in the industries they now recruit for, the three recognised a need for a service based on sound understanding of business and commercial drivers.

Since inception, the business principals have been mindful of philanthropic opportunities, donating 10 per cent of all profits to a range of charities, as well as hosting the annual Interpeople Charity Ball.

“In growing our team, we have hand-picked a well-rounded group of industry professionals with extensive contact networks,” Mr Bates told WA Business News.

“We are fortunate in that our networks provide us with access to a large pool of highly sought-after lawyers, accountants and engineers who are passively assessing their [employment] options at any particular time and generally wait for the right opportunity to arise.

“Our recruitment process combines both a technical and HR assessment. Our strong understanding of the industries we now recruit provides a solid basis for assessing the needs of our clients, and the skills of each candidate.”

The Interpeople team consists of former lawyers, accountants, engineers, commodity analysts, and HR professionals, with a diverse and complementary knowledge base and contact network.

Mr Bates and Mr O’Brien are former tax and commercial lawyers, while Mr Haldane was a senior petroleum engineer with BHP Billiton.

Each member of the team has a large professional contact network on both the client and candidate side, with access to a large pool of high-calibre professionals who use Interpeople’s services exclusively.

“Add a real passion for what we do, and this provided a very solid platform for quickly developing a successful business,” Mr Bates said.

However, not long after they launched the business the co-founders soon discovered that passion alone does not generate success.

“Six months into operations we were faced with the GFC and, like most companies in WA and beyond, we braced ourselves for the worst and invested a lot of time in strategic planning,” Mr Bates said.

“The GFC was a blessing in disguise … [it] highlighted many of the deficiencies commonly associated with several of the main players in the market, and provided a real opportunity to rapidly develop a value-centric business, with a strong focus on relationships and quality service.”

He said one of the main deficiencies was that recruitment firms were mostly unable to forge long-term relationships because their staff did not have the technical skills, knowledge and experience in the sectors they were recruiting for.

“The importance and strength of our relationships quickly became a differentiating factor – the loyalty of our key clients is a clear long-term competitive advantage, and the strength of our candidate relationships has provided for rapid and sustainable growth,” he said.

Mr Bates said the firm’s growth through the GFC was funded by increased profitability that was achieved by “keeping a lid on costs”.

“Fortunately, we did not have to seek out external funding options, which has left us in a good position to continue to expand as the market improved,” he said.

Interpeople invested heavily in its staff to ensure the team had an excellent current technical understanding of the companies the business partnered with.

The company partners with 150 local, national and international companies across the legal, accounting and engineering sectors, and works closely with management teams in sourcing and retaining people.

“We invest a great deal of time into developing strong relationships, which is something that is always well received by clients who are accustomed to the traditional churn and burn, KPI-driven recruitment mentality,” Mr Bates said.

“We spend a great deal of time opening doors in developing strong referral networks for the businesses we assist.

“We have found that clients breathe a sigh of relief when they encounter a consultant that actually understands what is required of a reservoir engineer, medium-term mine planner or sand control specialist.”

 

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