EVP Consulting Grows Recruitment Business

Recently our Co-CEOs Ainsley Johnstone and Natalie Firth sat down with the Shortlist magazine to discuss our recent win, our business model and what the future holds for Think Talent. 


An award-winning agency is reporting faster growth after adding an employer brand consulting arm to its recruitment business.

Established in 2014, Melbourne-based business Think Talent has grown from two to 12 staff, tripling revenue in its second year and doubling that in its third year, with similar doubling forecast for FY18, cofounder and co-CEO Natalie Firth told Shortlist.

During her time as an in-house recruiter, Firth says she noticed a knowledge gap where organisations are unable to understand why candidates aren't compelled by their employer brand.

In its recruitment service, Think Talent was already providing statistical insights to clients based on their campaigns and feedback from candidates who declined roles, and its employer branding arm has grown out of that work, she says.

Work is retained and exclusive, with the agency taking a brief from clients to work out what their "story" is, then developing a plan to incorporate that into the recruitment process.

Co-CEO Ainsley Johnstone, who also has a background in both agency and in-house recruitment, says employer brand consulting is ultimately part of the recruitment process, and works to speed it up overall.

Responsibility for EVP and employer branding often sits with HR leaders, but as a marketing activity HR doesn't understand it well, she says. "That disconnect between HR and marketing means no-one knows how to deal with the employment brand, and there's always a bit of a question mark around where it's at, who owns it."

Team and geographical expansion in the works

Think Talent recently won the 2017 Seek Annual Recruitment Award for Best Small Recruitment Agency, and its intent in 2018 is to gain more market share in Melbourne via organic growth, expanding to Sydney and Brisbane over the next two years.

Firth credits the appointment of a CFO and strategy advisor to the business as a contributing factor to its current performance.

She notes finding the right consultants to work in Think Talent's business model is somewhat of a struggle, and it has recently appointed an internal TA leader while both CEOs focus on business development and strategy.

"We find there's some great people out there, but often recruiters are very transactional – it's about getting the placement and the dollars in, and that does not fit our model at all."

The company often looks for consultants who have worked in both agency and in-house recruitment, and its employees have TA backgrounds in companies such as Bupa, Lion and Electronic Arts, says Firth.

In-house experience tends to give consultants a better understanding of employer brand marketing so they can consult in that area more effectively, she says.


Published: Shortlist 30th November 2017 shortlist.net.au