Whether hiring or looking for your next career, we want to ensure you are equipped with the information you need for recruitment or job seeking success. This blog is the recruitment resource you need, from your Canadian recruitment experts.
Get the latest insights and market research from top industries including construction and property, resources and mining, technology, and banking and financial, and learn from our team's breadth of knowledge on different functions such as accounting, IT, estimating, human resources, procurement and supply chain.
Posted Rowan O’Grady, President Hays Canada on Thursday, May 10, 2018
One of Louisa's first tasks was faxing candidate information every week, and today she leads more than 70 consultants in Toronto and Mississauga. From launching new offices to watching technology evolve from fax machines to today's searchable database, Louisa discusses her evolution alongside Hays and the "true grit" that keeps us at the forefront of new developments.
How did you start with Hays and how has your career progressed?
I got my job by accident – I was working at Swiss Air, I lost my job due to September 11th, and Hays came onsite to my office to talk to us all about what we wanted to do next. I said I wouldn’t mind doing what you do, and the rest is history.
I started in London, I opened an office in Enfield two years later, then returned to London where I was appointed the manager. In 2008 I decided to take up a new challenge in the newly acquired Hays business in Tokyo. I spent six years there building a team from two to 30. Then I moved to Hays Canada in 2013. I was looking for an office where I could use my first language, and didn’t constantly worry about earthquakes – having lived through the big one in Japan. Rowan talked me through the business and I was excited about the opportunity. We are still quite small in Canada, and the growth potential is a big opportunity, which will further my career and those who work with me. I was made the VP of the GTA in 2017 and now look after 70 staff across temp and perm in two locations.
How has recruitment changed since you started?
Technology has come so far that most of our consultants wouldn’t recognize the tools I used in those early years.
My first job at Hays was standing next to the fax machine on a Friday morning and faxing out this week’s top temp. I had a list of 45 companies and it took me about two hours. Then the consultants would call the clients to follow up.
I was also in charge of mailers which went out about once a week. Back then, our internal database didn’t do that much for us – it a glorified phonebook. You had to be very organized to know who to business develop and when. Organization was key. The way we would get new candidates most of the time was through posting job adverts in the newspapers and then be ready to take the calls for response. You wouldn’t leave your desk in case you missed a call from an excellent candidate. In fact anytime of the day you were scared to leave your desk in case you missed a call from a hot candidate. There was no voicemail and people didn’t have access to email all day.
Many still accessed it in libraries or a friend’s house so most of our work was done over the phone. Indeed some people didn’t have cell phones and you would call them at a certain time on a payphone! We had this internal mail system called the DX which is where we would receive the daybook each week on a Monday morning. It was a massive dot matrix printed wad of paper and had every temp and their hours, margin and client on it. LinkedIn was banned, it was seen as the enemy.
What makes Hays a great place for you to build your long-term career?
There are so many opportunities to grow. The one thing I really like is that you can completely create your own career for yourself here. It’s easy to build a business that didn’t exist – if you think that’s a profit generator. I’ve moved countries three times, and desk numerous times. I’ve benefited from working in temp and perm, project and spot recruitment. Hays gives you the opportunity to be a well-rounded recruitment professional, or to specialize into a niche field. It’s like working in a large blue chip and a small boutique at the same time. I’ve also had the chance to manage people from more than 20 cultural backgrounds, speaking lots of different languages. It’s great to work in such a diverse culture. Hays is also an organization that supports women in leadership roles – our Canadian board is gender balanced, and our clear, metric-based career progression program means there’s little room for bias or favouritism.
What do you think has helped make Hays successful over 50 years?
Our true grit to succeed no matter what. And in recent years our ability to change and adapt to a quickly changing world of recruitment. The age of new technology, and our speed at embedding this is like no other agency.
What are some of your favourite Hays memories?
Watching our Temp team in Canada jump in and recruitment 300 temps in a very short period of time for a client Uniqlo that I brought over from Japan. It embodied everything that is excellent about our business, global connections with clients, a desire to succeed even when we don’t know how we’ll do it, late nights and good laughs with it, the entire team jumping in and getting involved together – and breaking records we never thought were possible.
Another one would be on my first day, arriving at the office in Baker Street really early and settling into my new desk, then a man walked in, and I walked up to him and introduced myself as the new girl. He shook my hand and said he’s the new boy “Denis”. He asked me where he should sit and I sat him in what looked like an empty desk. Then my manager walked in – and I quickly introduced her to Denis – the new boy. Her face dropped, it was actually Denis Waxman.
Hear from Hays Canada President Rowan O’Grady on his two-decade career with Hays.
Ready to join a team where you get to direct and drive your own career? Find out more about working at Hays.