Aussie recruiters compete for funding in new series

August 8, 2017
By Nicholas Beames

Australian recruitment industry professionals are taking part in a documentary series that will see one awarded $1 million to put towards an HR tech idea. The Movement (People, Business & Innovation), from the creator and executive producer of Top Recruiter Chris Lavoie, features nine contestants from the talent industry working with a team of industry experts from recruitment, development, technology and human resources to perfect their ideas, before pitching them to judges and vying for a cut of the Talent Innovation Fund (TIF).The three Australian entrepreneurs to appear alongside counterparts from Europe and the US, are WundaWoman CEO Nicole Clarke, CloudGigs chief executive Graham Winder, and the founder and CEO of Recruiter Insider, Justin Hillier, who filmed the series over a week in a grand castle in West England.Nicholas Beames, chief executive of Beames Capital, which invests in WundaWoman and CloudGigs, appears on the show as a judge and "APAC Boss" (he's excluded from judging entrants in which he is invested).Beames says the show comes at an opportune time for the industry as the barrier to entry for startups is at an all-time low and the industry is overcrowded with tech ideas. "An idea is a good thing but an idea that be commercialised is better," he tells Shortlist, adding what many entrepreneurs fail to do is scale their idea."Scaling is nigh on impossible without experience in having done that before. For all these entrepreneurial startups all around Australia tapping away on keyboards, at some point the party is going to stop and they realise they can't scale or commercialise it because someone else has just done it."It's why, according to Forbes, nine out of 10 startups fail within five years. As a judge and advisor on The Movement, Beames says he spent two days with candidates reworking their business plans and pitches. "This is a show about business startups and business ideas and how we can make ideas better with the right type of advice," he says, likening it to a cross between Shark Tank and a Ted talk."It's about entrepreneurs and startups, it's not necessarily about who's got the promise to make the most money the quickest," he says, adding he believes entrepreneurs looking to disrupt the HR industry should engage with the gig economy."People come and pitch me business ideas five times a week and some of them sit there and I say to myself, 'but that's been done three times last week'. Recruitment firms don't need another way to calculate the average numbers of sales calls per dollar billed. We've done that about 50 times."The HR tech industry is at a crossroads between people wanting to embrace the gig economy, meaning work for themselves, and at the same time, the emergence of startup hubs, which makes it a lot easier for anyone to give their idea a good go."One entrepreneur hoping to give it a go is Hillier, who is set to launch Recruiter Insider later this year. Familiar with Lavoie's Top Recruiter series, he applied to be on the show after hearing about it through LinkedIn and says the experience was "invaluable" for his platform, which uses metrics to benchmark the performance of consultants and agencies."The whole time you're spending time and effort and energy with the advisors to reframe and refocus and realign your business to actually have that scalable impact," he says of the experience. "To look at it from a different perspective, how is the best way to take this to market, it might be repositioning your message, realigning your product, or doing a complete 180 and looking at it from another angle."While he can see the comparisons to shows like Shark Tank or The Apprentice, Hillier says The Movement is not so much about finding one overall winner as about helping each candidate succeed."I've never seen any environment where you have people from all different backgrounds from across the world who were genuinely interested in helping the candidates build their business proposition, their product, their messaging and themselves," he says, adding he's been flat out since he returned, implementing everything he learnt. "It has transformed my business significantly," he says.Also appearing on the show from Australia are Nakama CEO Rob Sheffield and Zensho Agency Co. Ltd president Robin Doenicke, as APAC chief executives; and Recstra CEO Craig Watson and Wellesley Associates managing partner Angus Washington as APAC advisors.The show is expected to air in early 2018.This article was published today in Australia's leading recruitment industry newsletter, Shortlist, today.