In honour of our 20th anniversary, we are excited to present to you, our new Milestone Moments Series.
Each month, in addition to our usual communications, we’ll take a special look back at key points on our BlueSky Personnel Solutions journey, and we’ll share the HR and business-building lessons we’ve learned – all in the spirit of our collective growth and success!
2001: Technology is booming, employers hold all the cards in recruitment & BlueSky Personnel Solutions opens as a temp agency
The year is 2001. The world is still buzzing from Y2K and no planes fell from the sky as the clocks struck midnight. The average home price in Toronto is $251,508. Amid the current technology boom, Apple launches something it calls: the iPod. This ‘breakthrough digital device’ receives mixed reviews from the pundits. At a dinner shortly after the launch however, Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates says: “It looks like a great product.”
Amid all this excitement, a humble new recruitment firm focused on temporary placements called BlueSky Personnel Solutions opens its doors in Toronto.
In some ways, I remember those early days like it was yesterday! Not everyone had email back then, so our phone lines were constantly busy. We would spend much of our days calling candidates and leaving messages. Some days, when our phones just wouldn’t stop ringing, I must admit, I contemplated throwing my phone right off my desk. Haha! We also received a lot of faxes and had to scan through them all.
Back then, we were right in the middle of an employers’ market in recruitment. We used to do a lot of temporary placements, such as administrative assistants, office clerks, customer service and data entry positions, etc. Though we hadn’t identified it as our specialty at that time, we still recruited for a lot of Bilingual/French placements too. It was in our DNA from the start!
One of the things that stands out for me from that time is: we used to meet with our prospective clients and present our credentials with our laptop (versus the traditional printed document). Clients would tell us they hadn’t seen other agencies do this, and that it made us look like we were on the cutting-edge of our industry. If we only knew then, what we know now!
As I reminisce about the start of our company, I can see some very important lessons from then, that can be just as useful in our industry today. I’ll share my top three lessons here, in case you or your teams may be inspired by them – these are all about how to grow your business:
- Beware the “silo” trap: Prior to the beginning of my BlueSky Personnel journey, I worked at another recruitment agency, where if you were in sales, that was your role, and if you were in recruitment, you were only supposed to do recruitment. As a recruiter, when I showed interest in learning the sales side of the business, I was told, no, I could not do both. At BlueSky however, from Day 1, our team has always been focused on really connecting with new clients, and listening to their needs. I didn’t identify this back then as a critical sales process (I used to equate sales to telemarketing). But I quickly realized that I loved building those relationships. Furthermore, having our teams do either recruitment or sales or both roles simultaneously meant we are actually better recruiters in this process. Silos can sometimes limit growth potential and it is important for us to be aware of this.
- Passion is a powerful sales tool: At the previous agency mentioned above, they had thousands of people in their candidate database. In our early days at BlueSky, a colleague and I had gone to a prospective client’s office to present our capabilities. During that meeting, the client asked how many people we had in our candidate database. I vividly remember my colleague proudly sharing that we had 300 contacts. At first, I felt mortified because I thought that figure was so low. But our client didn’t bat an eye at it, because my colleague said it with so much enthusiasm and passion. He was really proud of our accomplishment as a new start-up. It was a great reminder to me that we all have to start from the ground up, and when clients see how passionate we are about our work, that is the factor that matters most.
- Every interaction you have with people is an investment into your company’s sales: I’m so proud to say we still serve many clients today who took a chance on us back when we first started. Moreover, we have many candidates who also became our clients, coming to us for their hiring needs, as they progressively grew in their careers. Some candidates have hired us even though we couldn’t place them in jobs, but they came to us because of how we treated them from the very beginning. The bottom line here is: When people feel cared for, they reciprocate and care back.
Cheers to your business success! We look forward to our continued celebrations with you, and ushering in many more milestone anniversaries to come!
“Look back to lessons learned, look forward to your dreams,
and look up to say thanks for where you are.” – Author Unknown
If you’re looking to hire Bilingual/French talent, contact us today. We are networked with Canada’s top Bilingual/French talent and we can help you find your perfect fit. Call us at: 416-236-3303, or email us: [email protected]. We look forward to speaking with you.