006: Brad Semotiuk – Preserving your Brand Identity & Fueling Growth while Building an Offshore Resourcing Company

Why is it important to trust the right people as an entrepreneur in the staffing and recruitment business? David discusses the importance of taking risks, outsourcing, and valuing people in the staffing business with CEO Brad Semotiuk of Pure Staffing Solutions.

A special thanks to Staffing Future for sponsoring this episode! If you’re interested in growing your staffing business through technology and innovation strategy, set up a consultation today!

You always need good people to power your business.

 Show Notes:

  • How Brad “fell into” the recruitment and staffing business  (1:56) 

  • How helping a friend with his recruitment business led to a promotion (2:41) 

  • Why marketing just wasn’t for Brad (4:17) 

  • Brad describes a “typical client” in his staffing business (5:18) 

  • How Brad managed his order fill issues (5:55)

  • How Brad learned to see failure as an opportunity in his business (6:43) 

  • How Brad faced logistic challenges with outsourcing in India (7:30) 

  • The importance of having a team leader that you can trust with your outsourced staff (9:03) 

  • How Brad delegates so that his personal time is less impacted with offshore logistics (11:12)

  • How will AI impact the future of offshore recruiting? (13:17) 

  • The ways that Brad motivates his staff both on the mainland and in India both financially and otherwise (14:22)

  • Strategies for creating a positive culture in a staffing and recruitment business (16:34) 

  • What are the important qualities Brad looks for when hiring staff? (19:00) 

  • The personnel structure of Brad’s staffing business (19:53)

  • How does Brad solve problems and issues in his staffing business? (21:44) 

  • The biggest problem that Brad has faced recently as a CEO (24:05) 

  • Why completely outsourcing your company is a bad idea (24:52) 

  • How does Brad achieve a work-life balance as a CEO (25:33) 

  • The two personal characteristics that Brad feels you need to have as a CEO of a business (28:28) 

  • Why it’s important to realize that everybody won’t always be happy (29:12) 

  • An accomplishment that Brad is most proud of as a CEO in his staffing company (30:01) 

  • What success looks like a year or two from now for Brad’s staffing company (32:22) 

  • The Quick Fire Round 

    • Brad’s best skill as CEO of his company? (33:22) 

    • Brad’s worst skill as a CEO? (34:03) 

    • Brad’s favorite book (34:35) 

    • Something that frustrates Brad about clients (35:37) 

    • Something people don’t know about Brad (37:52) 

    • If Brad wasn’t in the recruitment and staffing business, what would he do? (40:22)

Additional Resources:

If you are interested in listening to more recruitment business stories or wish to share your recruitment business journey, subscribe for free to The JourneyUp in your favorite app and listen to other informative and inspirational episodes! Feel free to contact me, David Alonso, with questions and comments.

Episode transcript

David Alonso:  Hey everybody, this is David Alonso! On this episode of The Journey Up, I met with Brad, who is the CEO of Pure Staffing Solutions. Brad is a really impressive guy. What I like about him is just how open he was throughout. You move him, listen to him about how he's opened his team. I kind of get a sense that that's how he's built really good business, you know, for a while. Sticking with his core values along the way. He works hard, has a lot of patience, and that's why he's been successful over a long period of time, and he seems to treat people the right way along the way. And that's what a good CEO does. For me, it's about how you make your money versus how much, and Brad really does seem to have this nailed.

David Alonso:  It's pretty interesting because he talks about having some really tough decisions to make, big resourcing issues that he couldn't deal with the U.S. Team. So he built out an offshore company of his own, and you can hear about how he did it. He really breaks it down, you know what he did and look. He had a problem, the same positive to make that change with future. That's what being a CEO is all about, taking risks and having the guts to make tough decisions along the way. Now, if you missed any of the previous episodes, please do subscribe in the normal podcast channels and you can also head up to Instagram to find them at the dot journey dot up. And if you have a good CEO that you work for and you think would be great for the show, please DM me there. So for now it's over to Brad to hear about his journey up.

David Alonso:  Hi Brad, welcome to The JourneyUP podcast. It's great to have you.

Brad Semotiuk: Thanks dude. Great chat to with you.

David Alonso:  Great. So I'd love to start this off and kick this off just by hearing a little bit about your journey up and how you founded Pure Staffing Solutions.

Brad Semotiuk:  Getting into the head hunting business and recruiting business.

Brad Semotiuk:  It's not really one of those companies that you you wake up one day and it's like, oh man, I really want to get into recruiting. I think that's the way to go. It's one of those businesses that you fall into. I mean, that's exactly what happened to me. When I graduated university I actually went out, I was working in marketing for a big insurance company, and then I left that job and I was supposed to actually become a stockbroker. And that was back in the days of 1999 when the tech bubble was going crazy. I had a job as a broker lined up with Merrill Lynch, but they said I wasn't gonna start for three months. I went off and traveled through Southeast Asia with a friend, came back and then that job kind of just fell to pieces.

Brad Semotiuk: So after that I did a little bit of day trading, on my own for a probably what a year or so. And then, at the time I had a friend who was working in the recruiting business and, and I saw the potential that his company had and what I decided to do was I actually took the owner of that company out for lunch and I kinda said, hey, like I understand this is your company, this is what you do, this is what you can do to take it from A to B or C then to D. And I kind of laid a roadmap out for him. And really the next day I got a call back from him and I was hired as their managing director, running a employment agency where little to no experience there. And that was really an interesting time in the business as well.

Brad Semotiuk: I kind of went in and was giving that company an online presence. It was kind of the days when email was just starting and, and employment agencies were transitioning from fax to digital resumes. So it was really an exciting time to get into the business. I worked there for a year and a bit and then I figured it was, it was time to go out and the, and I guess as you say, build a better mouse trap. I love the business and, and saw the opportunities that it presented and went out and started my own thing at that time. And that was, that was 15 years ago. So, uh, things have been changing since, since day one to where we are now. But yeah, I mean it's been an awesome journey.

David Alonso:  So your whole career has been in recruitment, not one job outside of it?

Brad Semotiuk:   Well, I had the job in marketing for an insurance company but my heart really wasn't in that job. It was just kind of one of those things where you apply to whatever after university. And that's kind of what happened to feel my one year off and take my time. But in hindsight, it was a great opportunity because I got to work for a big company, huge company where you actually get to see all the policy and all the red tape and all of the BS that I absolutely do not want to ever have at my company. I didn't like having to wear a suit to work every day. I didn't like having to shave everyday, it was just one of those things that was great experience in hindsight, but really it wasn't the job for me.

David Alonso: Congratulations on 15 years. So that's actually a hell of an achievement, that's fantastic. Let's talk about Pure Staffing. What's a typical customer for you?

Brad Semotiuk:   So we we're a full service agency and we work really only in Canada. We work with primarily manufacturing clients, work with the automotive, food, pharmaceutical, oil and gas engineering, utilities. Those are kind of our end, our end users of our services and our bread and butter for, for candidates that we supply are skilled trades, really a lot of skilled trades. Then we do engineering and operations, though types of positions as well.

David Alonso:  Fantastic. I noticed in 2017, you started an off shore company based in India. What was the reason behind this? Can you give us idea of what led to this, and your thoughts behind the whole process?

Brad Semotiuk: Yes. We really needed support, one of the big issues that we're facing right now is that we just don't have enough firepower to fill the orders that were given from our clients. We pride ourselves on providing fast results for our clients and always finding that our time to fill wasn't where I wanted, where I wanted it to be. So we really need to add firepower to our recruiting team to be able to source better candidates quicker for it. So I saw that as a way to, to quickly scale their business. About a year and a half ago we actually tried outsourcing through another agency that was over in India and we tried, we took on three recruiters at that time and really we failed miserably with it. We didn't get any results whatsoever. We wasted a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of effort and really failed. But we kind of put our heads together after that we saw that failures and opportunity, we figured out what we did wrong and we knew how to improve it and we went ahead and we actually started our own outsourcing company over in India. Yeah, about a year ago. And that kind of solved all the, all the problems that we were facing and addressed all the issues. And we've had incredible successes with it right now and it's been, it's been absolutely fantastic for us.

David Alonso: That's good. Congratulations. And what was the logistics side of it? Of actually going out there setting up. What kind of challenges was tell me a little bit about that.

Brad Semotiuk: Yeah, well the key was getting the right person in place to kind of be our lead on the ground there.

David Alonso:   How did you go about that? Did you pay a fee for that or did you do your own recruiting? And I say that just because obviously if that's in the U.S. you do your own recruiting, but in India, how did you find that person?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah. You know what, we had a couple of our employees here in Toronto that had done similar work with offshore agencies back in India when they were living in India and they had contacts. So it came down to the true recruiting way of, we just network the network network until we found the right person. I mean, we interviewed a ton of people before we found the right person. And then when we got that, we've got that right person in there. We jumped all over them and they'd been building our team very quickly for us. And they've done a great job.

David Alonso:   I mean, it sounds like you've kind of not looked back since you, you did this, um, you also mentioned like time to fill and that was the bit that you was trying to improve. Give us an idea of like the impact of that sales-force or percentages have gone up by, you know, tell me like a little bit more detail...

Brad Semotiuk: So it's been unbelievable. Our recruiting team has almost tripled in size since we started since we started using it. We just have so more eyes and so much more coverage on every single order they were able to present that many more candidates who are to our clients.

David Alonso:   So you've gone out there, you set the team. I presume you've done many visits back and forth. What about like the company culture, you know, what has it kind of affected that in your Canada office? What's the culture like in India? You trying to kind of mirror the two? How does, how does it kind of affect company culture?

Brad Semotiuk:   Yeah. You know what, I, I'm absolutely not trying to mirror the two cultures or Indian culture versus the culture that we have here. Uh, it's, it's very different. I mean, you look at their history, you look at our history, you look at the hand that we're dealt with and you look at the hand, they're dealt with very different culture. So I'm not trying to, I'm not trying to put our culture into that office. Obviously I don't want them to have the same values that we have as, as, as, as an employer. And that they pretty much run with it on their own. We give our operations manager in there kind of full autonomy to, to run his team. I mean, obviously if we, if we think that anything needs drastic changes, then we'll, we'll address it. But he knows his people, he knows his culture and we trust him to lead and guide the way that we want it to be, to be led over there. Over here, I mean, our, our culture is the same. The one thing that it, that it has done, uh, is that I, I could say it's probably led to some more friendly competition, uh, as well. But I mean I think that's quite natural between all within all employment agencies. I mean now where it used to be just competition between our office where people would be trying to fill similar roles, um, with each other. Now it's kind of led some competition between the two offices to fill roles.

David Alonso:    Great. And you obviously you track time to fill across both areas. Is there one in particular who's leading at the moment?

Brad Semotiuk:  In terms of positions that we're filling right now? Absolutely. Yeah. So I mean, are the skilled trades, it has been unbelievable. I mean, we've been able to fill so many more skilled trades positions at a much greater pace than we were before or right now in our market they are, they are worth their weight in gold right now. It's, it's really, really difficult to find qualified straight, skilled trades people right now.

David Alonso:  Wow, that's incredible. How has it impacted your actual day to day work yourself? How much involvement do you have to have with the offshore team? I know you've got someone in place there. Just give us an idea of how your personal days actually impacted. Has it freed you up more or where are you at with that?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah. You know what, we've got a couple managers in our office here in Toronto who kind of act as the point of contact and who do more. So take more of a leadership initiative with those teams. One of our managers, actually both of them have gone over to India within the last year. One spent a few weeks over there training. The other spent two and a half months to train. So they're taking more of an active role than I am. I'm just kind of overseeing both operations and then doing more of the more of the strategy work for both of our teams. Now that our Indian team has a year under their belt. I mean it just gets so much easier. We have so many more people in there who are experienced, they know the Canadian culture and they know how our business works and they're able to provide support for their colleagues over there.

Brad Semotiuk:   Whereas for the first few months, I mean we had to be completely hands on. It's the same thing with hiring a recruiter here. You hire a recruiter here, you don't expect instant results from them. But really the sweet spot of a recruiter that I, that I see usually comes at year one when they're you want in a business that's kind of when they start to get it, that's when you can read a resume quickly. That's when you can determine if, if somebody on the other line is feeding you complete BS. So usually around year one is when you kind of realize that the fruits of your labor, of, of all the training that goes into getting that person up to speed. And that's what we're seeing with that office right now. Now they are kind of, they're firing on all cylinders and some of the numbers that they're putting up are incredible.

David Alonso:   And I presume this is had a positive impact on you guys in the, in Canada being able to go out and actually pick up new business because you've got a much stronger resourcing team.

Brad Semotiuk:  Oh, for sure. Adding these pieces allowed us to go out and pick up some, some big clients. Absolutely. And it's really freed up people's time.

Brad Semotiuk:   So we hear it all. We know everything about AI now is, is in our daily lives, uh, how we hear that the recruitment market is going to be impacted in the next one, two to five years. How would you kind of feel and what's your viewpoint on AI and how is it going to actually affect the future of offshore recruiting?

Brad Semotiuk:  You know what I mean? You hear that there's always something different every year that's going to impact the recruiting industry and it's going to kill the business. I think that our business is always going to need good people working there. Really, at the end of the day, it's going to be the people it's not going to be the AI. Sure the AI, is going to offer you all kinds of tools to help you work more efficiently, more effectively. But at the end of the day, it's still going to need good people to, to power your business. When I first started, I mean it was going to be, the Internet was gonna was gonna kill the recruiting business. So the job boards Monster was going to kill the, the job the recruiting business. And there's always something that's going to be there. But I, as far as I can see and, and in my, in my opinion, I mean I think we'll always need good people in. We're always going to be a, it's always going to be going on strong.

David Alonso: So we spoke a little bit about culture. Let's kind of flip it and just talk about, you know, how you motivate your staff at Pure Staffing. So from a sales perspective, is there a way that you motivate your teams differently between India and the US. I presume there's obviously different scales of commission and so forth, but is everything you do to motivate Purely financial or does like, you know, are you actually working on different sort of culture related topics that you can bring into your daily daily work and so forth, you know, do incentives that have, or any schemes that you have for your teams help with motivation?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah, I mean, sure. We've got he re, we've got a good, we've got a good commission a really good commission structure in here as well. I mean, on top of the base salary, it's kind of interesting. When we first started our business, we had everybody on, on straight commission. Um, when they work, and our businesses is kind of evolved. We've kind of found out that that wouldn't work for us. Um, so we Kinda, we had to do, we went in and we had to offer salaries, to everybody plus a commission on top of that, you just felt that you had, you had more control. So we motivate with a decent commission offering. We also motivate with a good culture in our office in terms of, uh, I mean family priorities. If you've got to take your kid to pick up your kid from daycare early, that's not an issue.

Brad Semotiuk:  You've got to come in late because your, your child has a medical appointment or, or you need to take your spouse to the, to a doctor's appointment, that's no problem. You need to get out to your kid's sporting events, take a take your day off. A lot of our also a lot of our, a good portion of our employees here, uh, in Toronto weren't necessarily born in Toronto, so they've got family back in other, other countries. They want to take four weeks or five weeks and go home to visit their family. It's kind of, it's different things like that that I feel helped motivate the team as well. Uh, along with a very, we've got a very supportive and a very, uh, I guess you could say casual atmosphere as well. I mean, you're my summer retired flipflops... T-shirt. You just want to, I just want everybody to feel comfortable when they, when they walk into the office and I want everybody to get along well with all their team here.

Brad Semotiuk:  And I feel that we've done a really good job at doing that. We also do monthly incentives if our team hits different sales targets then we'll go out and we'll do, we'll celebrate the victories with our team. Most recently we went and played Bingo with everybody and we will, we've done barbecues at my house, we gone out for meals. So there's all different kinds of things like that that are, they, they're, it's rewarding, but at the same time you build your team and it's a team building exercise.

David Alonso: I mean they can pretty much pick up and go anywhere within a day or two. So it's gotta be the right environment for them to be successful for sure and for them to come into work,

Brad Semotiuk:  At the end of the day. I mean, you treat people the way that you want to be treated yourself.

Brad Semotiuk: Before we hear more, we're going to take a quick break as I'd like to introduce you to consultancy business called Staffing Future. This company, advises staff and firms and covers a wide range from technology and innovation to process and team planning. If you don't know these guys, check them out today.

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David Alonso:   So what do you actually look for from these guys that you're internally hiring for the US in particular. What characteristics are you looking for? What is the typical person who works and is successful in your company? What do they look like?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah. You know what? We, I look for grinders uh we look for grinders. We look for hard workers. We don't need that person who finished top of their class and, and won all these different scholarships and was absolutely amazing. I just want someone who's going to kind of put their nose to the grindstone and not be scared to pick up the telephone, not be scared to face rejection. Somebody who's going to work hard day in and day out. The analogy that I like to use in terms of hiring is that I'm in Toronto. I'm a Canadian, right? I'll use a hockey analogy. We don't need to hire that first line center. I mean at third or fourth line grinder. It's really what we want and from my experience in this business, those are the people that are, those are the people that succeed the people that the people that work hard and kind of and eat what they kill.

David Alonso:  Yeah. Well, being a Brit, I kind of don't really get that analogy, but I certainly can pick up on the uh, the reasoning behind that one. What about actually someone's going to come in and do new business. So you know, you can be a grinder, you can be great a resourcing and lets, when you look at these people, how much of an expectation that they're actually going to bring in new business? I mean, does everyone have to bring a new business or have you got that broken out into account managers versus new business salespeople? Just give us a little bit of an idea about how you kind of structure it there.

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah, so we've, we've kind of have a couple of different layers. We've got Pure recruiters, so all they're doing are sourcing candidates. We've got Pure account managers, so all they're doing are liaising with our clients and managing the accounts and doing sales. Then we've got people who are working somewhat of a 360 desk who are managing accounts and recruiting. But typically the way we hire is that we hire, we hire people as straight recruiters, they learn the business and then when they're ready to make a jump, then we can move them into an account management type of role and then into a team lead type role. So there is kind of a direction and there is a career path for you when you do come into the company. I mean some people, some people realize that they never want to get into account management, they don't like the sales side of things. So they'll do well enough on the recruiting side and they'll stay in the recruiting side the whole time.

David Alonso:  Okay, that makes sense. And so, I mean, you've been doing this now for 15 years. You've had your fair share of uh success. From what I can see. And no doubt there's been some difficult times along the way how the kind of problems get solved genuinely within the company also, how does it work? At what point do people bring things to you? Are you actively involved in everything.. Can you manage to kind of delegate a little bit so you don't have to be involved in everything. Where, where are you at and how are kind of problem solved within business?

Brad Semotiuk: Yeah. You know, early on, early on I was actively involved in any and all of the decisions that were made. But I realize that, I mean, if you really want to grow your business, you need to trust the people that you bring on board and you need to trust them to make the big decisions within the company. So they're more, lately as we've grown and as we've seen a huge company growth, there's been a lot more delegating, um, and a lot more, I shouldn't say delegating, a lot more trust of, of people just to do their jobs. And I and I mean the people that we have on our team. If you're on our team, I, I trust you and I trust the decisions that you make and I trust that you would make a decision that, that I feel and not just me, that the rest of the team would, would respect and want you to make as well.

David Alonso: I'm presuming presumably a lot of that is actually you letting go and saying, Hey, Mr Client, I've got this person they're going to look after you on a day to day basis. I mean, presumably a lot of is with you having to give up some of that ownership over a client as well. You can't manage every single relationship. Right?

Brad Semotiuk: Of course. I mean it's like, it's like any entrepreneur out there, right? Like, I mean you get a little scared at first when you lose that control. Most entrepreneurs out there I could say, are control freaks, I would absolutely have seen myself that way a long time ago. But I think that over the years I've mellowed out. I've mellowed out and I mean, and thankfully, I mean we've put the right people in the bottom. You're a company. We've got that. I've surrounded myself with some of the top people that I feel that are in the, in the recruiting business right now. And I mean there are people who have made great decisions since day one of being with our company and they continue to make great decisions and, and as long as they do, I mean, they're going to be empowered with these decisions and, and help and help grow and help fuel what we need to get bigger and stronger and better and faster and higher and all those good things.

David Alonso: Let's talk about some of the problems you face, your seen, you know, you've definitely been through recessions and so forth as well and you'd come out the other side and hopefully we're not going to go into one or two shorter notes anyway, but tell us a little bit about some of the stuff that you have faced in the past. I mean it's a really important piece to come over as CEO and to actually get through give us an idea of sort of things you have had to deal with.

Brad Semotiuk: Yeah, I mean really like from a company side, the biggest problem that we had recently was not being able to fill the orders that were given. I mean it's, it's not a bad problem to have, but from the outside looking in, it is a bad problem to have because if you're not filling and I mean someone else is going to be filling and when someone else is filling this job, it's quite easy for them to say goodbye to you. So that was one of the big problems that we had lately was with not being able to fill and to give coverage to, to the orders that we had. And I mean, and we address that, we address that by starting up our onshore or offshore company. So I wouldn't say that is one of the biggest, uh, issues that we've faced recently.

David Alonso:  Not being able to deliver to your client is, is always number one, is there an argument to say, you know, let's go 100% resource in the India and not have it in house.

Brad Semotiuk:  no, you always need to, you always need to have somebody in house somebody to have a say. That's not, not a way we're looking. You've got to kind of be able to touch and feel your candidates, get out and your clients and get out and meet your clients for lunch or drop by their plant, their facilities, their manufacturing plants. Take them to baseball games or give them tickets to basketball games. You know, those kinds of things. You really have to be local to uh, to connect with your, with your clients. I feel, um, so no, that's not, that's not what we haven't played at all.

David Alonso:   Okay. And you alluded earlier to your dress code, flip flops, shorts on certain days, that type of stuff. So you strike me as someone who is finding the right balance between working hard, being successful time in the family. So how'd you kind of make sure you do have that work life balance? Is it certain time that they stopped working, switch on the phone? You're probably a bit more of a bad situation now when you first start it or they self to do that. So do you have any rules that you kind of abide by to give yourself that freedom to be with the kids and so forth?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah, in all honesty, since since day one, I never, I didn't put in insane hours like here though, you hear those stories about people sweating the 15 16 hour workdays. I never, I never did that. I mean we took advantage and I worked hard during the hours that I was in the office and still work hard with the hours that I'm in the office. But in terms of work life balance, it's insane. I have a seven year old boy and a nine year old boy. We're both like competitive sports and I coached both of them. They both like competitive baseball and they both like competitive hockey. Right, right. So I am, I'm leaving the office in good time every day because I'm going straight to the hockey rink. Like today's a, today's a perfect example is both of my kids have hockey games. I have two different arenas.

Brad Semotiuk:   So it's a divide and conquer. My wife will take one boy and I'll take the other boy I'm leaving work and then we meet back at the home and slap together a quick dinner before we go to bed. It's, but it really, I'm with those sports and kids sports these days is just gotten absolutely ridiculous. I would say that I'm looking at probably six days a week where I'm either at a baseball diamond or at a hockey rink right now, so, and really, and really let me readdress it earlier. That's kind of the corporate culture that, that we want. I mean, I want people to have a good work life balance as well. I don't want people to only be dedicated to their job. I mean, you need to be in order to succeed in anything. I feel that you've gotta be well-rounded. I mean, I think that kind of helps to it.

David Alonso:  Yeah. Great. But it sounds like you've got a Friday night free and a Sunday free, and that's probably about it, but I'm sure you wouldn't, I'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way.

Brad Semotiuk:  Exactly. I love it. I absolutely, I absolutely love it. I would not want in any other way.

David Alonso:  So work-life balance is obviously something you've kind of managed to get hold of that. With that, I would definitely say that's a real sort of personal strength that you've got. What else do you, would you use to it? You know, there's a lot of, there's a lot of people out there, influencers who, uh, you know, trying to start their own businesses up, that type of stuff. They want to be a CEO. The trying to figure out how to start a business. What personal characteristics do you think you need to actually be in business for 15 years? A long time, right? Especially in one business, you don't really well to it. So what sort of personal characteristics do you need?

Brad Semotiuk:   I think you need patients, number one. I think you need to realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. I don't think you should ever try and rush things. Most important. Don't, don't rush important decisions. Don't rush those important decisions that you know, real impact your business big time. For example, don't rush at key hire. Don't brush a huge technology decision that you need to make. You really need to show patients, show patients on that side. You need to have integrity. I think you'll always, you always need to operate integrity. If you don't have integrity, uh, you shouldn't be in business,

David Alonso:   so I'll make you money. It's kind of how, how you make your money.

Brad Semotiuk:   Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. Once again, it kind of goes back to that adage of you treat people the way that you want to do that. You want to be treated yourself. I think you need to realize that you're not going to make everybody happy all the time and you're going to, and you need to accept that. So you need to be accepting. At first I wanted to make everybody happy. I want to call that everything to bend over to make everybody happy. Then you realize that that's just not sustainable. That sometimes you need to, sometimes you need to say no. Sometimes you need to take a couple of liner and a tough stance on things and sometimes you just need to say goodbye. Sometimes you need to say goodbye to your own internal staff. Sometimes you need to say goodbye to your current clients who you're working with.

David Alonso:   Correct. Yeah. And you know you've won many awards, right? So as a company, what are you most proud of over the last sort of 15 years?

Brad Semotiuk:   You know what I'm probably most proud of in terms of awards, I'm probably most proud of our community service awards. We won that twice. Uh, and that was through ACSESS, which is basically the Canadian Staffing association. And we won that because of all the work that we did by giving back to the community. That's kind of what we show from, from above and what we kind of expect of our, of our employees here.

David Alonso:    Describe ... can you give us some examples, sort of things that you've done?

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah, well, a perfect example is my, my coaching, my volunteer coaching of all my kids. Although my good sports teams really, like if I looked, if I looked at how much time that that takes up during a week, I mean it was, it's probably, it's probably 50 to 60% of the time that I spend it at work as well. It's just, it's just an incredible amount of time that that goes into, into volunteering for, for kids sports. And, uh, and I've also, I've taken on roles of, uh, at one point I was a convener of a, it's called the tidbit soccer program here. Uh, I did that for two years where the biggest, it's Toronto's biggest micro soccer program. So for kids age four to six, there were a thousand kids that were in this program. I had 300 volunteer coaches and I had 12 conveners that I was responsible for for those, for those two years. In all honesty, I know you'll probably hate hearing this being from the UK, but I mean I don't even like I just kind of all just kinda fell into one of those volunteer job.

David Alonso:  Is that, is that one of the National Team's struggling? Is that what we signed? Right,

Brad Semotiuk:  exactly. Why exactly are you looking at it as going to be hosting the World Cup? So we'll get a team through. Right,

David Alonso:   right. Yeah, absolutely.

Brad Semotiuk:  Yeah. One of those things where I kind of, I grew up with some awesome like volunteer coaches and everything that they really had a big impact on my life and my father was a big sports coach and heavily involved in athletics as well. And I mean, it's a chance to make a difference in other people's lives. And so, I mean that's what I, that's where I spent a lot of time and give back a lot of my time with the community on that side.

David Alonso:  Yeah. Congratulations. Are those similar thing and I know a lot of those parents really do value that putting the time in and um, being with those kiddies. So that's really, really great of you to do that. Congratulations on that. Um, the company, obviously the date thing successful, the next sort of 12, 24 monthd from a structure perspective, the offshore team, what's success gonna look like for you? What, what are you sort of first kind of goals and ambitions? Where would you like to be in say 24 months with the business?

Brad Semotiuk:  Oh, we're going to be, we are, we're kind of, we're growing like crazy in terms of staff number right now just with our, with our offshore team, it's so much easier for us to scale our business. We don't need to worry about adding more real estate and more infrastructure here with our, with our current office, we've got enough space or we're, we're able to quickly add to our team and that, and I mean if, if you look at our, our growth curve over the last year, um, I think that we're going to follow it and we're just going to keep getting bigger and we're just going to keep adding numbers, um, adding numbers to our recruiting team.

David Alonso:  Yeah. Fantastic. We've definitely seen the model definitely seems to be working for you guys. Congratulations. Okay, well let's, uh, let's finish up on a little quick fire round. I get, uh, get to know Brad the man a little bit more. What would you say your team would say is your best skill?

Brad Semotiuk:   Ooh, my best skill. Um, at the time, that's a tough question and I think that I'm approachable. I'm, I'm easy going, uh, but only to a certain point. And if that, if that could be a best skill then

Brad Semotiuk: and patience, right. I think patients by the sounds of it as well

Brad Semotiuk:   and I am patient. I'm accepting. Yeah,

Brad Semotiuk:  that's fine. I think you need to have a lot of that in recruitment. How about one of your worst, uh, skills or characteristics or they say on Brad's a nightmare on this particular point?

Brad Semotiuk:   I'd probably just say I'm someone stubborn and if you ask me if you asked my wife as well, I'm sure she would, she would be one of the persons to agree to that as well. If when I get something on my mind, I kind of get tunnel vision on it regardless of how good of an idea it really is or, or isn't. I'm sort of somewhat stubborn at times.

David Alonso:  Well, to see are you going to make the decision? Sometimes you've done it, a lot of people around you to kind of, sometimes I find smaller that often you've got to go for it. Until you see it be successful. Sometimes fail. What about motivation? Where's your go to favorite books, video, podcasts, anything particular you're reading at the moment?

Brad Semotiuk: yeah. You know what my, my go-to favorite motivation, what would be The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ... absolutely incredible. Read, uh, about kind of, you know, go into your dreams. Um, I picked that book up actually when I was over in Southeast Asia, like 18 or so years ago. Somebody passed it onto me and I, and I couldn't put it down. I finished it in, I finished it in one day and now I pass that along to all kinds of different people to read. Just a fantastic read and other go-to motivation for me is on my desk. I've got pictures of my family and pictures of my kids and that it really, I mean, I, if I'm, if I'm, if I could feel myself kind of getting somewhat distracted, I'll take a look at them. And I mean, really that's why we do these jobs, right? We do our jobs for our families, for our kids and uh, so we'll take a look at them and that helps motivate me as well.

David Alonso:   I agree with that completely. What about your clients? What is something that frustrates you about them?

Brad Semotiuk: Ooh, that's an easy one. Um, when we get ghosted, went home. Yeah. Like, no, we need this. We need this quick, quick, quick, quick like this and send them off all kinds of candidates to them. And then just crickets, absolute silence on that end. And they just, and they just kind of disappear from us. So that's probably the most frustrating thing to work with in a client is there's one that has awful communication.

David Alonso:  Yeah. Yeah. Tough. Right. But also, I mean in today's labor market, right? I mean with candidates being so hard to kind of move out and actually place, I mean, you, you'd expect the clients to be more quick off the mark. You'd expect them to be more available to hear some feedback about what they need to do, but certain clients just, um, they still stuck in their ways. Right. They're not, they're not able to hire those people because they're not moving quick enough. Never understood that. And to be fair, that's still, that was my issue back 15 years ago when I think of recruitment. So it doesn't sound like that's kind of changed too much over the years as well.

Brad Semotiuk: No, and I don't, I don't think that'll ever change David. It's always gonna I'll always be, there will always be the case. And then, and in fairness, I mean we just, we never know the true story of what's happening with our clients at that time. Because it could be something bigger behind the scenes that's leading to the silence but, but yeah, but I mean if that's the case, just communicate, communicate with us. I mean the same with it. Same with candidates. I mean, that's the most frustrating thing too, is when candidates bails on interviews and, and don't tell us like, we don't care if you're not interested in a job, you're not, you're not hurting me. Let me know. Let us know that you're not interested, interested in this job. We won't go ahead and waste our time and our client's time setting these interviews up that year that you're going to bail on. Just just be honest and be forthright and be forthright with us from the beginning. It's that, that's another big issue that I have a tough time with and frustrates me.

David Alonso:  Well, human nature, I'm afraid, I guess on that one. Um, you're, you're, you're very open guidance, really clear tell us something that not many people kind of know about you.

Brad Semotiuk:  Ah, hey. Um,

David Alonso:   you can, you can pass on any of these, right?

Brad Semotiuk:  No, I don't. I don't know. I don't feel the need to pass it. Actually. I really liked it instead of like this question, this, this allows me to kind of talk about some of the completely obscure things that no one would know about me. A couple years ago I ran a sub 25 k on the treadmill. It was, yeah, I was sitting, I go to the gym, me and our recruiting manager here, we go to the gym almost every day at lunch. And one day we were talking just, I don't know, just being guys talking to each other about how fast we think we are and, and, and is it possible to run like at this kind of speed. So we looked it up and we looked at what the pace was on the treadmill that you had to run to, to get to get a sub 20 minute 5k. And I trained a couple of days for it and then I was like, I don't need to ttrain any longer. I just went for it and uh, did it that day and then like, and my body just fell apart.

David Alonso:  I was going to say the afternoon wasn't very productive by the sounds of it.

Brad Semotiuk:  Oh my gosh. Oh that afternoon wasn't productive. And then I, I couldn't walk for like two weeks. My Achilles were gone, my knees were gone, my hips were gone. I was not made to go at that speed, but it was one of those little like challenges that I had and the goal then myself, so, so I did it there. Um, yeah, that's, yeah. Oh, exactly. And it's, it's the one time story, right? And now this is my, this is my opportunity to tell that story. So it was worth it. I like, I like collecting art. I like art. I've got some Group of seven original pieces that I've picked up over the years and most recently I've bought myself a, a new DJ controller tractor. The Tracktor S8 like a big pimped out DJ controller cause I figured that like I'm ..... I just want a new hobby of something. I love music. So I've got this, I got this DJ controller that I'm kind of a, that I'm kind of teaching myself how to use, just waiting for a big blowout party with, with all my friends then, or blow the doors off at some point.

David Alonso: Got an excuse to throw one. And certainly actually the whole podcast because it could have been just about your, uh, things that, you know, not many people know about you. So there's definitely a lot to uncover about Brad here, but we'll move on to the next one. What about, um, recruitment? You've been in it all your life, right? So, um, if you weren't doing recruitment, do you have any idea what you would've liked to have done?

Brad Semotiuk: Yeah, I probably see myself in a, in like they're in the real estate business or in some kind of finance, finance, investment type business as an entrepreneur. And I'm a risk, I'm a risk taker. So I see myself in some kind of risk taking venture with real estate investing or, and financial investing of, of some sort or I mean the look at the opposite end of the, of the spectrum. I could see myself doing something completely different like running a B and on an island or running a five inch off somewhere on an island. I don't know.

David Alonso:  Back to the shorts and the, um, and the a deck shoes, the flip flops. It's definitely something where the background, there's no doubt about it. Yep. Exactly. Well, Brad, you've been amazing. Thank you so much for your time today. It's been a real pleasure to, to get you, get to know you more and really welcome your openness, um, and your awesome advice. Thank you very much for being on the show. Yeah. My pleasure, David. Great talking to you. Thanks so much. You're welcome. Thanks very much.


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