As a fresh pair of eyes peering into the recruitment world, I was excited to attend TruMontreal, an interesting “non-conference” conference on recruitment in our beautiful city which took place last week. To be frank, I participated in much of the standard conference-related stuff: listened intently on presentations, card-exchanged with some connections, hung by the buffet table to sneak a better look at a few notable-looking people in the industry while stuffing more mini-croissants in my mouth than is probably appropriate, etc. The crowd was the first thing I noticed. Eclectic, diverse in demographic, this was a hodgepodge of strays who had fallen into the profession, much like myself. The ambiguous crowd reflected the recruitment industry as a whole: fluid, unfixed, wide-opened and bursting at the seams with potential for transformation. Any sharp-minded individual with drive, boldness and an innovative mind could wreak havoc on the customs in the industry and take it by storm. The crowd and the field equally were ripe for the taking.
Enter Marina Byezhanova, Co-founder and Chief Headhunter of Pronexia Inc. Sure I had a bias to her authority: she was my boss, in charge of my security, my success and, in truth, she scared the hell out of me, in both good ways and bad ones. However, I quickly realized that my judgment wasn’t so subjective after all. Five minutes spent among the conference buzz of chit-chat and coffee-sipping, it was clear the room was hers. People knew her, knew of her, admired her and slightly loathed her simultaneously, and (if they were smart) feared her. She knew the highest members of the inner-circle, the impressive ones and the ones supposed to be more impressive than they actually were. Sitting in on conference speeches and roundtable discussions, she easily challenged any suit-and-tie bigshot with a counter-argument, her black-and-gold high-tops strapped on tight. She was a recruitment gangster, through and through. She challenged her counterparts to doing things differently, to think outside of pre-established expectations, to improve, to transform, to do better. It was impressive to watch from the sidelines. She was Biggie Smalls, spitting fire and leaving people in a cloud of ash and awe, and I was Puff Daddy, throwing in a word or two at the chorus in support, handing her a water bottle on stage. It was awesome.
TruMontreal taught me something, but it unfortunately had nothing to do with the conference itself, aside from providing a venue and some snacks for my realization. Recruitment needed a gangster, someone with the audacity to question things, to crack open old-school mentalities, to refute foregone practices, to re-prioritize, to dismantle the machine entirely and build it back up differently. Everyone stands to benefit: job-seekers, job-holders, the recruitment industry, both the business and the socio-cultural world at large.
People make or a break a company, bottom line – so shouldn’t we be doing this hiring thing right? Shouldn’t we be finding the best people, for the best companies, in the best ways possible? Our current “best” is not the best. When things are not perfect, get gangster on them: change, reconfigure, break them apart just to see what happens. Remember, remember, remember: if you’re getting complacent, and if you’re not thinking critically, then what exactly is it that you’re doing?
Headhunter, Pronexia Inc.