17 October 2011

Interview with 2011 FEMA Recruiter of the Year: Katie Borton, Launch Recruitment


Katie Borton,
Launch Recruitment
It's award season in the recruitment industry and as you are sifting through the various categories in the respective SARAs, FEMAs and REAs, you will notice that there is only one individual award, and that's the FEMA Recruiter of the Year.

Last year Sydney-based executive recruiter for Talent2, Neil Galvin took home the prize and this year Sydney-based temporary recruiter for Launch Recruitment, Katie Borton was the winner. 

Originally from the UK, Katie has been recruiting in the Sydney business support market since 2007, when she joined Launch Recruitment. Katie's current role is not just running a full desk but also leading the Launch Sydney temp and contract team. 

As has become a bit of a tradition at this time of year at InSight, I was able to grab a few minutes of the FEMA Recruiter of the Year's time and Katie happily agreed to answer my questions about her background and her recent FEMA win. 

What was your background prior to becoming a recruiter and how did you come to choose recruitment as a career? 

After graduating from a Business Management Degree in the UK, I contracted for a PR company sourcing dance teachers nationwide. I then travelled to Australia and quickly fell in love with the country. 

Having registered for temp work through a number of agencies and also Launch Recruitment, I was particularly impressed with their level of service and high touch approach. The consultants I met with at Launch stood out from the others and I was then invited to interview for a resourcing position that they were currently recruiting for internally. 

I para-consulted for 8 months and then was fast-tracked to running my own desk in the temporary and contract division where I've happily been for the last 4 years. 

What aspects of recruitment did you find the most challenging when you started? 

I think when anyone first enters recruitment it is a big eye opener into what actually goes on behind the scenes while you're job hunting. I think the expectation to wear so many hats in one day was what first struck me as challenging: The interviewer, career counselor, interview coach, negotiator, administrator, sales person to name a few. One day is never the same and although that is something which I've learnt to enjoy, it has definitely been a learning curve. 

Another challenge was becoming the decisive person who ultimately decides who gets the job and who doesn't through my own judgment of who should be put forward to the client. I have learnt to trust my instincts, and not waste others' time bringing in people to interview face to face unless they tick all of the criteria in my phone screen. 

What sort of training did you receive when you first started as a recruiter? 

I received a lot of formal and informal training when I first started as a recruiter. The best training I received was on the job learning and mentoring by the experienced and talented people around me. I was provided with a mentor and was given the overall recruitment guidelines to adhere to but also given the opportunity to make and learn from my own mistakes. 

At Launch, we have KPIs on training and have to complete at least 1 training activity of our choice per quarter. This means that my personal development is always at the front of my mind and I'm constantly undertaking a variety of training courses within areas that I identify as a current weakness. 

Launch foster a culture of acting with integrity, transparency and respect. These values resonated with me and by using them as the building blocks of any candidate or client interaction, I've built a really strong network of clients and candidates alike. 

What do you enjoy most about being a temp recruiter? 

I really enjoy the fast paced and varied nature of a temp desk; it has a certain buzz to it. There is something really rewarding about having a very short deadline and pooling all your resources to make sure that deadline is met, however challenging it may be. 

No one day is ever the same in the world of temporary recruitment and there is no such thing as planning your daily activity because one phone call or email with an order will throw that all out of the window. 

A big bonus I get from doing temporary recruitment is meeting lots of people from various backgrounds, all walks of life and all different industries. You never know what type of role will come in next so making sure you have a cross section of candidates with differing backgrounds and various levels of experience is key. 

I enjoy getting to know my candidates, what their motivations are and in interview I'm already thinking about which of my clients they would fit in well with. 

What type of temporary roles do you specialise in filling? 

Launch Recruitment supply permanent, contract and temporary staff across a range of role types including Technical Professionals, Sales and Marketing, PR and Communications, Clerical Support and Executive Search. 

I am lucky in that I get to work across all of these industry sectors. The majority of my roles would fall under the business support category within these industries however I fill roles from call centre / data entry through to senior management. 

What do you do to keep up-to-date with developments in your market niche? 

I subscribe to many different online news sites, participate in webinars and attend industry conferences. Launch are also members of a number of industry bodies including the RCSA, and our internal communication channels are very transparent with weekly internal newsletters which are sent around the business to ensure every consultant is kept up to date on any industry developments or changes. 

Being a temporary and contract recruiter, a high number of my candidates hold various working visas therefore I keep abreast of any regulatory and legislative changes to working visas and rights. 

Obviously, keeping in close contact with my contractors on site and candidates I interview keeps me up to date with market trends and movements. 

What do you do to continue to build your recruitment and personal skills? 

As I've previously mentioned, the external training I complete on a monthly basis helps me develop certain areas of my skill set that I feel are lacking, which usually benefit my personal development too. 

Working in a boutique agency such as Launch helps me leverage off my peers too as we are open and honest with each other and pass on constructive feedback. I also receive consistent training internally and am mentored by our Managing Director, Rebecca Wallace. 

What temp assignment has been the most challenging one you have undertaken and why was it so challenging? 

I can be asked for up to 40 resources on a client site with a 2 day turnaround period. Thankfully this isn't every week but when it happens my diary goes out of the window and I have tunnel vision for the next 48 hours. 

It is a tough ask to fill that quota within such a short time frame but there is an amazing support network at Launch where I can rely on my colleagues to assist me with any of their available candidates or to help with my other workload in the meanwhile.  

I try to be as organised and proactive as possible so I'm constantly pipe-lining for candidates with backgrounds that I know my clients often require. We also have an exceptional database where I can send quick email and SMS alerts to my temps for an instant response. 

Do you use statistics or KPIs to manage your performance? If so which ones? 

I was fortunate enough to start my recruitment career within a boutique agency where quality was always the priority. Volume marketing calls is not asked of you at Launch. It is easy to monitor my activity through our CRM; in particular I keep an eye on new temp starts, client visits, marketing calls, internal temp interviews and time taken to fill. 

At Launch, customer satisfaction is measured and rewarded. I obviously measure my target versus actual billings as well, constantly assessing and having committed targets makes you think of new and innovative ways to make yourself a better recruiter. 

What do you attribute your win in FEMA Recruiter of the Year to? 

I pride myself on doing the basics well. I really believe it is good customer service that creates the results for me; candidate and client care means repeat business and a good name in the market. I am innovative when filling demanding, quick turnaround roles and I'm thick skinned. I am not too fazed by the ups and downs that the day brings - consistency and persistence gets me there in the end. 

What personal philosophies drive you each day in your job? 

I subscribe to a number of philosophies which help to not just carry out my daily tasks, but that help me take pride in my work and do it to the best of my ability. 

These include:

  • Knowing that what I do provides solutions for clients and candidates alike.
  • Constantly striving for continuous improvement.
  • Always maintain an honest approach to candidates and clients; if their expectations are unrealistic I let them know.
  • Never email when you can call.
  • Maintain integrity in everything you do by acting with respect and transparency.
Thanks for your time, Katie.

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