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When Greg Savage started in the recruitment business he had never heard of the industry and knew little of what was involved. However nearly four decades later, he is recognised as a leading champion in global recruitment and was recently voted the most influential recruiter in Australia in the past 60 years.

It all started for Greg straight out of college in 1980 and seven years later, he founded his own business ‘Recruitment Solutions’ and grew the business to an eventual $60 million IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange. He also spent eight successful eight years as the International CEO of Aquent and he founded Firebrand Talent Search in 2010, which quickly created a global brand for this specialist digital and marketing recruiter.

Greg’s success began when a recruitment organisation took a chance on Greg, who had just left college and had no skills in the area. This was the start of an incredible journey for him. There have been mistakes and tough challenges along the way, including the recession in Australia in the 1990’s. However, Greg kept on working hard and made some tough decisions along the way to becoming the successful businessman he is today.

After spending ten years working in recruitment myself, I was delighted to sit down and talk to Greg on why he has been successful for so long in the industry. In the podcast, we discuss three important decisions he made to make his business stand out from the crowd, where he believes the future of the recruitment industry is heading and much more, including what advice he would offer to his younger self.

You can listen to Greg’s podcast at this link or it is also available to download on iTunes.

Here are some important key learns to take away from Greg’s inspiring podcast:

1. Never say no to an opportunity. With over 35 years working in recruitment, Greg has seen many clients want to reject a job opportunity. While other recruiters might accept it, Greg would try to convince clients it was the right move. He would sell the job to the person, telling them it was worth going for and often it would turn out that the person ended up loving the job. Don’t reject any opportunity because you feel it doesn’t suit you. Explore other options., learn something new and see what it is like. Greg knew nothing about recruitment when he started and look how that turned out.

2. The importance of mentors. Greg had a few mentors throughout his career, including a recruiter called Graham Whelan who he called “the best in the business.” He kept Greg grounded and helped him maintain focus on his responsibility to the clients. Another mentor was his father and even 20 years after his passing, he is still influencing Greg’s decisions. We all need mentors to help us and motivate us to fulfil our dreams. Reach out to those successful people who you want to become and learn from them. As Greg said, “there is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.”

3. Take risks. There were tough times for Greg in the recruitment business such as the recession in the 90s but to keep his business going strong, Greg took a big risk to make his company stand out. It involved turning away business that was not exclusive, handing out 100% money back guarantees on net promoters score and linked customer satisfaction to the bonus plan. It was a risk that paid off and now Greg is influencing other companies to think this way. Life would be boring if we played safe all the time. Sometimes you have to chance your arm and see what happens.

4. Back yourself and believe you can do it. There is no doubt that you have to believe in yourself to achieve your dreams, but when the going gets tough don’t lose faith in your abilities. Like many successful people, Greg had his own challenges throughout his career and while he did have to make some tough decisions, he never lost belief in himself. There will always be challenges thrown at you, but you have to remain firm and maintain belief. Listen and absorb the experience of those you look up to. Don’t worry about things and back yourself that you can do it no matter what.

5. Don’t mess with your reputation. One of the biggest pieces of advice Greg would offer to his younger self is not to mess with your reputation. Even in a world ran with social media, people still crave authenticity and human contact. It is your relationships that are key to success and it is how you deal with people in the key moments that will define you. People can get very defensive when pride and money are on the line and it will be how you deal with other people in those tough times that will either enhance your reputation or destroy it.

Do you agree with my takeaways from Greg’s podcast? Was there anything else you took away from the interview? Please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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