How Remaining Laser-Focused has Driven nVision Talent’s Growth and Led to Global Expansion
We’re thrilled to bring you the latest installment of the Recruitment Speaks Out series in which top Australian recruitment leaders share unique stories on their agency’s origins and what drives their business growth.
Founded more than 5 years ago with offices in Sydney and Melbourne, nVision Talent is a specialist recruitment agency that’s solely focused on working in new and emerging technology fields. Recently expanding to London, the agency now has the global reach to help create even more talented teams. I spoke with Sam Smeaton, co-founder and director of nVision Talent, about how they’ve grown and what this means for their clients and candidates.
Sally Wong [SW]: Tell me about the unique origins of your company.
Sam Smeaton [SS]: I founded nVision Talent along with my co-founder and director, Carl Thomas. nVision was set up due to the growing demand from our customers to attract, source, and retain top talent, initially only in the Salesforce arena. At the time, no one else was focusing on Salesforce exclusively as a market so we saw an opportunity to start a business.
SW: What’s your focus in the recruitment industry and what are you most passionate about?
SS: Our passion lies in immersing ourselves in niche technology ecosystems and assisting clients with growing their teams, as well as finding dream jobs for candidates to excel in their careers. From day one, our mantra has been ‘we enjoy building high-performing technology teams for leading companies’ and this has not changed. But over time we’ve added company values, as well as short, medium, and long-term goals. We actually have our core values printed on our office walls so seeing them all day everyday is a great reminder as to what we’re all about!
SW: What makes you different and how has that helped you be successful?
SS: I believe we’re different in a number of ways. First of all, we’re solely focused on new and emerging technology ecosystems such as the Salesforce and Amazon Web Services. This means getting deeper penetration into markets which really allows us to get a solid understanding of them and that’s beneficial when having in-depth conversations about a company’s hiring plans or which career direction a candidate could head in.
The other thing we do well is provide our employees with flexible work options and zero micromanagement. We provide the tools and support to work remotely, so if someone needs to work from home they can do so without any sacrifice of work output. We have a pretty hands off management style at nVision, which works really well. Our employees know what needs to be done and how they get there is up to them, provided they align with our core values at all times.
SW: What challenges did you face/continue to face and how are you and your team dealing with them?
SS: We’ve faced countless challenges over the past five years in business and not a week goes by where we don’t face challenges, some small and some big. As you grow, the challenges are still there—they’re just different. For example, we opened an office in London in late 2017, so one of our challenges has been working closely with our UK lead and getting them up and running, which, as you can imagine, is no easy task when you’re 16,000km away with time zone differences.
SW: Speaking about opening your new office in London, tell me about that experience. What have you learned from it?
SS: I think the biggest realisation was that it took longer than we initially expected to start getting traction. Just because we have a great brand in Australia and have been trading successfully for the past five years, doesn’t mean that’ll all translate in a new market or geographic location. Of course, it holds some credibility and shows stability, but we entered a very established and mature market. We’re now eight months in and starting to see some good traction and repeat business, which is very promising. We have regular weekly check-in calls with the London team and goals for the week, and those keep everyone focused and accountable.
SW: What does this international expansion mean to nVision and your candidates/clients?
SS: It opens up a gateway for us to source and place candidates from Europe into Asia-Pacific and vice versa. We’re now living in a globalised world and clients are willing to sponsor the right talent. As we get bigger and grow our European team, we foresee the flow of candidates to increase quite substantially between the two geographic locations. The value-add to our clients is that we have a larger talent pool than our competitors, and to our candidates, we can now offer even more amazing career opportunities than we previously could.
SW: What sets a candidate’s experience with your company apart from any other recruitment agency?
SS: I can’t speak on behalf of other companies, but what I think we do well here is we keep in touch with candidates over a long period of time. We build true and trusted relationships rather than looking for short-term wins which opens you up to become a transactional recruiter. There’s been many examples of our team keeping in touch with candidates for 3, 4, 5+ years and we haven’t placed them in a role, but our value-add is that we can provide them with market insights, career advice, relevant salary information, etc. At the same time, they trust us so they might refer a friend or colleague who’s looking for a new role. On the flipside, there have been many occasions where we’ve placed candidates into new roles after 5, 6, 7 years of knowing them. I believe treating candidates as people rather than as commodities has been key to our success.
SW: If you could pinpoint two things that most directly contributed to your company’s growth, what would they be and why?
SS: I think the first thing is that we’ve hired great people who align with our values and buy into our vision. Without a good team around you, you don’t have much to go by. It also freed up both my time and my co-founders time from a billing perspective. It’s allowed us to look at the bigger picture and strategy, which is very important. You need to know where you’re heading and where you want to head at all times.
Secondly, we’ve made significant investments into the best technology solutions for our employees, which are all cloud-based meaning consultants aren’t tied to their desks to get work done. We’ve seen a big difference in our employee engagement with the technologies we’ve invested in since last year. It’s given our consultants flexibility in their work, but it’s also allowed all of us to easily keep up to date with what’s happening in our London office and have access to timely information even when the staff there are offline.
Having a core focus on new and emerging technology has helped drive nVision Talent’s growth. With this growth, though, the agency hasn’t lost sight on how to maintain valuable candidate and client relationships. By remaining laser-focused, nVision has been able to build a thriving agency and begin it’s global expansion.
Learn how to ensure your focus is always where it should be. Check out How to Go the Extra Mile for Your Candidates and Clients.