Craig Hudson, CA, CFA

Big 4 Accountant to Startup CFO: The Journey of Craig Hudson, CPA,CA CFA

At Clarity, when we come across great career stories, especially those that seem like large leaps and even slightly illogical on the surface, we can’t help but write about it. Enter Craig Hudson, an authentic West Coaster with a curious career journey that has taken him from a Big 4 accountant to start-up CFO.

Craig Hudson, CA, CFA
Career Journey

The Early CPA Years at KPMG

After graduating from UBC, Craig began his career at KPMG where he earned his CA and CFA shortly thereafter. Midway through his 7 years in Audit, he jumped at the chance to work in the UK to gain much desired international experience. He then moved back “over the pond” to Toronto and into Transaction Advisory performing M&A financial due diligence for KPMG’s Private Equity clients. In this role, he got to dig into target acquisition files to discover any accounting nuggets that could impact valuations and make or break deals.

At his 10-year mark with KPMG, Craig looked around and reflected that “everyone looks pretty much like me in terms of their experience set and how they think about things. I’m feeling great about what I’ve done to date, but not particularly special.” His mentor at the time countered back that “you’re analyzing incredibly large amounts of data, deriving relevant and valuable insights, then presenting it back to your client in a digestible story. Not everyone can do that.” It was this “nugget” of advice which led him over to Indigo to begin a new chapter of his career story in Business Intelligence and Operations.

Running To or Running From?

Craig jokes that he was “running away from Accounting at the time” when he joined Indigo as a Manager in Business Intelligence in 2009 in Operations, not Finance. His aim was to expand his skill set and breadth of knowledge, and his bet paid off. His role focused on using data to weigh in on every decision that needed to be made around Indigo’s eCommerce business at the time, such as “should we run this marketing campaign?” or “should we invest in this feature on the website?” This was in the pre-eCommerce boom so he was really left to his own devices to deliver valuable insights and decisions in any way that he could. He came to understand how all parts of the business were connected and was soon promoted to Director, then to Head of BI, and ultimately to VP Digital Operations, where he stayed for 5 years owning and/or influencing Analytics, Supply Chain, IT, Product and Customer Service.

Craig was thought of as the “CFO of the Digital Business” but without all the accounting. He was running all the numbers to ensure the P&L was running smoothly and investments were being made in the right places. Where did Craig go next armed with such powerful analytical and operational experience from his 8-year tenure at Indigo? Back into Finance of course, as CFO at Lift & Co.

Fundraising and Going Public at Lift & Co

With a track record of being a top performer and a learner who can adapt, organize information, and apply it to business, Craig jumped at the chance to become CFO in 2017 at Lift & Co, a growing technology start-up in the cannabis space. Lift doesn’t actually touch the plant, but can be thought of as the “Trip Advisor’ connecting the online cannabis community through reviews, industry news, and a place to discover strains that may make you giddy, sad or paranoid (to name a few). Craig quickly learned to navigate in a new industry and in a start-up culture. He was responsible for Accounting, Finance, Investor Relations, Legal, HR, Customer Service and Facilities. In the early days, he would also call Rogers to troubleshoot the internet and restock the fridge.  

The company needed funds to grow. As CFO, Craig became the financially-minded, responsible presence alongside the CEO as they fundraised through venture capital and high net worth individuals. When asked what fundraising is like, Craig explained the challenges: “Investors really want to get the story and know management first and foremost, financials are secondary, but you need to know your numbers. You need a charismatic person to tell the story in a way that is responsible and not overpromise what can be achieved.” Another key learning was that “you really need to sign up a lead investor, someone that the other investors trust to do the due diligence and legwork necessary to invest.” The result? They found their lead investor and successfully raised $10M to fund growth.

Many cannabis companies are going public and having a public “paper” is perceived to make acquisitions that much easier. Lift & Co was no exception, and Craig led the charge on making it happen through a reverse IPO (RTO) in 2018. He recalls it as, “a whole lot of work that is time sensitive and requires organization, but it’s manageable, assuming you have good advisors in place and the information is presented in the way the regulators need to see it.” Going public has opened many doors for Lift & Co, however, operating a public company adds significant complexity as you’ve constantly got the public eyes on you and need to answer to questions like “why are you changing your plans?” and fulfill reporting and regulatory requirements. This can be distracting in a start-up culture that thrives on being nimble and agile.

The $10M fundraise and going public enabled the company to hyper-scale from 15 to 60 people and increase revenues at a greater clip. But that’s not all, it turns out these activities weren’t the hardest (or most rewarding) part of what Craig has taken away from his experience at Lift & Co. It is common for Administrative functions report into the CFO, HR was one of those functions for Craig. As startups scale in size and scope, it becomes more of an art rather than a science to preserve the company culture and keep employees engaged. This challenge was particularly rewarding for Craig. He addressed it by applying his “quantitative mind” in creative ways to increase employee engagement, which was well reflected in quarter-over-quarter employee NPS scores.

A “CA” Who Took Risks

Craig’s career story spans geographies, industries, designations, big companies and startups, and from Accounting to Operations and back. We see this as a compelling example of a “CA” who has taken calculated risks and has been well rewarded in his career progression, life experiences and a vast array of skills.

 

Are you a CPA who followed a similar or different career trajectory as Craig? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.

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Bryn Knox Photo

A True Story: Framing Your Narrative to Transition Industries

Bryn Knox Photo

Meet Bryn Knox, Head of Finance at BenchSci; a successful start-up that uses Artificial Intelligence to assist biomedical researchers in conducting more successful experiments. In his fourteen years since graduating from university, Bryn went from working at a small marketing start-up headed by a close friend to managing the financials of a company with the potential to impact the way medical research is conducted world-wide. It’s an impressive feat; having built a successful career in marketing that in every way indicated he would land among some of the top in the industry, Bryn made a sudden switch to finance. Instead of derailing his growth, this change only seemed to have motivated it further. So how did he do it? When looking back at Bryn’s history, a clear pattern can be discerned. Bryn’s success can be attributed to his ability to extract specific skills from his experiences and apply them in new situations.

Growing up in the small town of Midhurst, Ontario (Population: 3,000), Bryn  was drawn to the University of Toronto because of a desire to experience living in a major city. “[Midhurst] was so rural that you wouldn’t hear anything at night. Toronto was a shock and it felt like it never stopped moving.” After four short years, Bryn graduated from Rotman Commerce and immediately joined a close friend’s marketing start-up in Waterloo. Building websites for online communities, Bryn found the work challenging and competitive, but ultimately decided that Toronto was the spot to begin his career. He gained entry to the Toronto marketing scene first through Nike running room, a purely promotional storefront. It was here that he learned to tailor the skill of consumer connection. “I [got] grassroots marketing experience, community engagement, and [learned] to build momentum behind a brand instead of just trying to sell something in a transactional way.”

Bryn’s experience at Nike led him to 20th Century Fox where he worked on film publicity and promotion, and eventually to Disney where he was tasked with creating partnerships for revenue with no budget. “We were told… don’t pay for them, use the brand to create cross promotional opportunities. It leveraged my background from Nike where I was trying to create a grassroots movement.” A memorable project for Bryn was 2010’s major motion picture, Alice in Wonderland. “Our team collectively, without spending a dime, got space on Tetley packaging to promote the film. They were everywhere and it was a big hit for both Tetley and Disney.”

It was here that Bryn began to learn the value that could be built through partnerships and was where he got his first taste of finance - working with budgets and eventually supporting the finance team. “By supporting them, I began to understand how much we should be spending, [and] on which initiatives in order to get a return. I did well in finance at school and now I was making the connection to see how it can drive a business.”

Once Bryn had this revelation, he discreetly earned his CMA designation and began to explore a permanent move to finance. Through a personal connection, Bryn was submitted to ole Media Management’s Acquisitions Team for a Financial Analyst role. He was hired not because he was the most qualified candidate, but because of his ability to frame his story and connect the dots in his background. “In hindsight, all of the things that I did in marketing with Nike, Disney, and Fox gave me the ability to convey my background and my relevance. The SVP of Acquisitions said that I was able to take a story and tell it back to [him] in a way that other people couldn’t. The acquisitions team wouldn’t just crunch numbers, they would also have to defend their decisions in our boardroom which required strong communication skills.”

With his foot officially in the door, Bryn made a successful transition to finance and began to hone his new industry skills. He was promoted to Senior Manager Digital, a newly created division at ole Media Management. After three years of finance work, received a call from Clarity Recruitment with a new opportunity at Wave, a tech start-up that provides financial services and software to small and micro businesses. Finding a great fit with his boss, Bryn made the move to Wave as a Finance Manager and took on the challenges that come with a start-up business. “I definitely learned to deal with uncertainty during my time at Wave because you are in a start-up and you are managing capital burn to build product and scale. You had to build a story around your product and growth, always understanding the key drivers.”

For Bryn, creating a story was a skill he had been refining since his early days in marketing. After three years of learning the ins and outs of a start-up company and landing the role of Senior Finance Manager, Bryn was approached by the CEO of another start-up, BenchSci, where he currently works as Head of Finance. “Over the last year, I have definitely become more interested in AI and the impact it can have on the world, so finding a company using it to aid scientific research with the ability to help scientists find cures was a perfect fit and opportunity to continue growing while making a positive difference.”

So what’s next for Bryn? For now, he is excited about what the future holds for his current role and the team he is working with at BenchSci. “The Head of Finance job is a new test and it builds on everything that I’ve done. You should never feel truly and completely ready. You need to make yourself uncomfortable.”

Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.


City through a camera lens

How Will Recruitment Navigate the Future?

City through a camera lens

As everyone always seems to be, I found myself discussing the future with a few of my colleagues. Specifically, we noted that while every other industry seems to be reeling from the rapid march of technology, but inside the recruitment industry we don’t seem to have noticed yet. My coworker Andrew Seeley had some interesting thoughts on that matter.

“You are going to change the recruitment industry by needing less people and giving them better technology,” he said.

Fewer people – that goes against some of the core practices and beliefs of our industry. As Andrew pointed out, “The typical recruitment model suggests that you can just throw bodies at the market and you’ll bring in revenue through sheer force and volume. The future will not allow that. You will not be able to provide the candidate and client experience consistently with large head counts.” The future will provide the kind of tech that empowers self-direction, placing greater control in the hands of individuals.

But why will we need to focus on reduced numbers and increased efficiency? Well, let’s look at the value of recruiters in the first place: time is a finite resource, and from an opportunity-cost perspective, hiring managers’ time is better spent executing against their deliverables. That doesn’t mean that hiring managers don’t have the ability to do their own recruiting – if anything, good hiring managers may actually be able to achieve consistently better results than recruiters. But even assuming a hiring manager can achieve the same quality at the same speeds as a recruiter, that manager’s time is better spent elsewhere.

And the recruitment process really can take a lot of time. Have you ever looked through a stack of ten or so resumes that a recruiter selected for you? That alone can begin to feel endless, especially if they all seem like great potential employees; now multiply that endeavour by ten, even 100, and the process of finding relevant candidates from a broader pool of talent can consume a truly troubling amount of a hiring manager’s time.

Creating a software augmentation solution that would bring even 75 percent of a recruiter’s efficiency to the hiring managers would be huge, and I think it’s inevitable that we’ll arrive at that point. If hiring managers gain that kind of competitive edge in the recruitment space, I suspect that Andrew will have a satisfying ‘I told you so’ moment as the need for volume and headcount-based firms rapidly dissipates. That isn’t to say that recruitment will vanish altogether, but those firms that stick around will be different. The remaining firms will have even more advanced technology that allows them a greater capacity for prediction, and to provide authoritative assistance in the area of judgement.

Of course, providing candidates with amazing service will always be critical, but even that may be augmented by tech. Will the next generation of chat bots find a home in recruitment? Will advances in natural language-processing (NLP) technology allow for more robust models of candidates, and more accurate assessments of optimal placements? I believe so. We’ll still want to meet people as we always have (and find value in that face to face interaction), but recruiting methods will require technological augmentation.

If this talk of tech seems bleak and cold, it’s not. On the company/client side of recruiting, we will be able to enhance hiring decisions from a cultural point of view like never before. There’s always a lot of talk in recruitment about hiring for a ‘cultural fit,’ but the focus needs to (and will) shift towards a ‘cultural contribution’ as Adam Grant would say. Why hire more of what you already have, when we’re able to tell you what kind of traits your company needs to boost its culture? Look at it another way: we can create an algorithm for anything, provided we have the right kind of data to fuel it. If data-gathering tech can give us the input, we can make algorithmic decisions about which candidate will make your office a better place to work. It’s this multifaceted approach that will give hiring managers and HR professionals the tools to build a better team, and with greater confidence.

Big companies will struggle in an age when the effectiveness of their scale is challenged by technologically augmented hiring managers/HR professionals/smaller recruitment firms as well as self-directed job seekers. If they use their current stature to invest in the tech now, it could be a different story. But if they don’t, Andrew suspects that these companies “will be purely transactional and will slowly vanish. All that’s left will be a few really good companies (with 1/4 the headcount that some of these large players currently have) that leverage really great technology, and build meaningful relationships with clients and candidates, providing more than just access to jobs and people. A differentiated customer experience will win the market.”

In the future of recruitment, those who have a mind to create their own path forward by investing and innovating will be able to serve their clients and candidates dramatically better than ever before. As well, these recruiters will have made themselves better job seekers and better hirers. Clarity devotes a third of its operating budget to technology like this, and to research that gets published in some of the most renowned academic journals in the world. We’re constantly working to shape the future of the industry on behalf of our clients and candidates… it’s a brave new world.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

 

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavor to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.


Ethical recruitment

Hey Recruiters, Who’s Really Your Client?

Ethical recruitment

What’s the first thing you see when you land on a recruiter’s website? If you’ve been wrapped up in the hunt for jobs or clients, you’ve probably begun to notice a pretty pronounced theme on all the ‘sites you visit: pictures of trendy young professionals cheerfully collaborating. Then, there’s lots of information: a forward-thinking mission statement, a go-get-‘em story… you get the picture.

Okay, so Clarity did that too, we even hired an actor to star in a video that told people about us. It’s an easy set of guidelines to follow, right? We’re good at what we do, and we want our website to convey our story. But we realized that it didn’t represent our core commitment; our recruitment firm isn’t about who we are and what we do, it’s about who you are and what you want to do. If our mission revolves around our clients (and candidates are our clients, remember), our webpage should too. That’s why when you land on our website, you’re not presented with us and our story (although we clearly have one, as you’re now discovering), you’re presented with the jobs you came to our ‘site for in the first place. I like to think that we’re all very interesting, talented people here at Clarity, but you didn’t come here to learn about that – you came here for a job.

That difference of first impressions, that’s the essence of Clarity’s mission. It’s easy to make a quick buck in recruiting, but it’s just as easy to lose sight of whom the industry is supposed to serve. Our clients aren’t just the people who come to us looking for employees, they’re also the candidates who put their faith in us to find them a role.

When a recruiter focuses too heavily on the wrong priorities, it’s easy to fall into habits like the ‘shotgun’ approach, gathering dozens or hundreds of resumes for a certain role, only ever responding the top ten or so applicants. It can be profitable, but it’s dehumanizing.

So what am I doing about it? Along with the rest of Clarity, a lot. This starts with keeping the candidate search tight and specific, which means paying extra-close attention to the needs of the client on the hiring side. I’ve mentioned our proprietary matching technology Luma-Fi before, and this is where it shines. Luma-Fi is unlike anything else out there, because our approach to research and development is unlike anything else out there. No one in the recruitment industry invests like this; no one in recruitment innovates like this. Once we're as clear as possible on the specific needs of the client, we can target our search only to those potential candidates who are a great match. This way, we don’t need to string people along for a job they simply aren’t right for. The future isn't going to favour big companies who deal in sheer numbers; going forward, successful firms will be based on small headcounts and meaningful client and candidate relationships,

Even so, the reality is that not everyone can get the job; part of our mission as recruiters is to create enduring connections between employers and employees, and that means finding the people best suited for the roles. Whether we can match a candidate with a role or not, we still do everything in our power to keep that person happy. Sometimes, that means updating the candidate on awesome new opportunities as they come our way; sometimes that means referring the candidate to our in-house ‘candidate advocate.’

Alright, maybe we’re all candidate advocates here at Clarity – after all, isn’t that what I’ve been saying all along? But this is actually a separate role from the rest of our recruiters, aimed solely at helping out those candidates who are looking for something that our regular recruiters aren’t in a position to find. This role isn’t a producing role; it isn’t measured in dollars billed; there’s no commission; it isn’t intended to factor into our revenue. The sole purpose of the client advocate is to increase the number of positive interactions a client has during their job hunt, even if we ultimately have to refer them to an agency more qualified in the appropriate field (we’re finance and accounting people here, after all).

We’re always trying to find new ways to make recruitment more human and more effective. We’re already a certified B Corp, meaning we’re dedicated to creating a positive social and environmental impact. ‘Ethical recruitment’ likely isn’t a term you’ve heard often, if ever. It might even go against your view of the recruitment industry, and that’s okay. Clarity has been disrupting the recruitment scene in Toronto for six years, and now we’re committed to bringing that disruption to Vancouver.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

 

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.

 

Vector graphics modified from a design by Photoroyalty


Departure

How to get from Alberta to Vancouver (with a layover in New Delhi)

Departure

“What do you do for a living?”

It’s a familiar question – maybe the most familiar question – we encounter when meeting someone new. My default answer is “I’m a headhunter.” Most people know what I mean, and I think it sounds cool; it has a determined, assertive ring to it. Most recently, the question of what I do for a living came up at the Canada/U.S. Border. Unlike family and friends, the border guard didn’t take to the term “headhunter” so affably. In an unintentional way, maybe he wasn’t so far-off: headhunter sounds slick, but what is it that I really do? Why do I do it? It’s a long story. Let’s start with how I got here, at Clarity Recruitment, in the first place.

My career began before it actually began. I was ‘going nowhere fast,’ as the saying goes. At 21 years old, I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, working as a debt collector in a call centre. It was exactly as rough as you’d imagine, but for someone with no post-secondary education and no desire to go work in the oil patch, it was one of the best-paying jobs around. On some nondescript and dreary winter morning I was hanging out with my friend/guardian angel David when he said, “You know what you would be good at?” and proceeded to describe a research analyst role with Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG). He knew of the American investment research firm because another friend of his was one of the big wigs with this organization at their New Delhi office. For a small-town Alberta boy who had never been anywhere or done anything of note, it sounded like the sort of fantastical opportunity so far removed from my own reality that all I could do was say “that sounds cool,” and forget about it. Fortunately for me, David isn’t the sort of person to brush off this kind of thing, so two days later I was on a video interview with a person at GLG. Seven days after that, I was on a plane for New Delhi.

In India, I found myself working alongside a cohort of locals and expats who were all incredibly bright and well educated – Ivy Leaguers and the like. How did I become the least qualified hire in the history of a $500 million, industry leading organization? I have a knack for gathering amazing people around me – it’s always been one of my greatest talents, to recognize brilliance in others and bring them into my circle. If, as some people assert, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around, I’ve got the winning formula.

Even so, I was surrounded by MBA students and enterprising grads. And I was Shane: one of 70 graduates of a small high school in southern Alberta. I did well; I had to. My role was to recruit relevant industry experts, either on behalf of current clients, or proactively for future needs. As a pet project, I started to recruit nobel laureates, going so far as to snare the inventor of the MRI machine. I was recruiting people, yet I didn’t suspect I’d ever become a recruiter.

I did lots of other cool things in India: rode some elephants, got a girlfriend (human, not elephant), saw the Dalai Lama at his home, came down with Typhoid fever, lost a girlfriend… the usual stuff. India’s most profound impact on me, though, was to set me on the path I still follow today. I left India after a year, heading first back to Edmonton to start university; then to Dubai for a student conference where, incidentally, I met my wife; and to the University of Toronto, where I received my honours degree.

My then-girlfriend and I relocated to Toronto (she’s from Vancouver), knowing nobody and with little money. Still in school, I took a role working with a company called Millennium Research Group (since purchased and now ‘Decision Resources Group’) as a data gatherer of sorts. The company’s focus was on providing information and insights on the medical technology sector to help companies with competitive positioning, opportunity assessment, market sizing, etc. With my GLG experience (I had worked on their healthcare and biomedical research team) it seemed like a good fit. I worked the night shift (approx. 2 a.m. to 9 a.m.) calling European hospitals to ask them stuff like, “How many colostomy bags did you use this month and what type were they?”

When I graduated university, I moved in to a full time analyst role with the company on their dental and aesthetics team, where I was now in a position to research and author the market reports (current state and forecasted) on such riveting topics as European Markets for Dental Implants or Global Markets for Bone Cement. Half the role comprised primary and secondary research, and the other half modeling and writing – heavy Excel work, basically. It was in this role that I figured out that I am not a quant, as that second half of the job was really hard for me - doable, but not enjoyable. One day, a recruiter called me because they found my LinkedIn profile and thought it was unique; they asked me what I actually did. I told them, and they said, “That first 50 percent is basically what recruitment is. Would you be interested in doing that 100 per cent of the time?”

The answer was a no-brainer, and the fit was better than I could have imagined. A lot of recruitment goes by gut feel, but it shouldn’t; at Clarity, it doesn’t. When we opened up the Vancouver office of Clarity, the years of data analysis suddenly came together. My knack for identifying greatness in others met with my hard-earned talent for market research and number crunching, turning me into the analyst/psychologist/coach/consultant/researcher hybrid that we call a ‘recruiter.’ This path of mine has created the perfect Shane to help bring science to recruiting.

So here I am, five years after I said ‘yes’ to that recruiter, and I’m telling border guards I’m a headhunter.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.


Say hello to Vancouver, say hello to the future

Say hello to Vancouver, say hello to the future

Say hello to Vancouver, say hello to the future

How big an impact can an average person reasonably expect to make, day-to-day?

It’s hard to quantify your impact, but I believe we can always be more. If you, like me, found yourself drawn to Vancouver, you’re aware of the limitless sense of possibility surrounding us. Nobody is just an urbanite; we’re active, we’re versatile, and when we look beyond the cityscape, we see ourselves in the mountains, the forests, and the oceans. There’s always more here.

Vancouver is singularly fortunate to be a growing metropolitan centre of finance and commerce ringed by the natural world. We’re Hollywood North, we’re a hub of international trade and commerce, and we have a tech sector that draws in the Amazons and Facebooks of the world even as we cultivate our own generation of world-beating companies. And it’s not just Vancouver -- British Columbia is one of Canada’s greatest tourism destinations, and the mainstay of the mining and forestry industries. We have everything here, and that’s what sets Vancouver apart: we know how great we have it, and we are unwilling to compromise on the things that make life worth living.

Vancouverites have an infectious, life-affirming passion, and it’s one of the reasons Clarity chose Vancouver as its second base of operations. For the past six years, our offices have resided in Toronto. The Greater Toronto Area is an incredible instance of the melting pot in action; it’s a hive of cooperation and productivity, and we’ve been lucky to enjoy six years of prosperity in the city. As much as Toronto has to offer, though, it’s impossible to resist the tug of the West Coast.

Alright, back to my initial question: how big an impact can a person expect to make, day-to-day? Our strength lies in our ability to cooperate, each person doing his or her part to create something no one person among them could have envisioned alone. I’ve come to Vancouver to do my modest part, by helping people realize their fullestpotential. That’s where Clarity Recruitment comes in.

Clarity focuses on the individuals. In recruiting, it’s easy to go for quantity over quality--a lot of firms do--but we feel that does a disservice not only to applicants, but to employers as well. At Clarity, we spend 30 percent of our operating budget on research and development for just this reason. Take our proprietary technology, Luma-Fi™, for instance: Luma-Fi allows us to analyze each applicant not only on the merits of their skills, but on the intrinsically elusive human element that makes them different from any other person with similar qualifications.

Luma-Fi produces a concise report that allows employers a unique insight into the technical and cultural alignment of a given candidate with the hiring organization. But far be it for us to rely exclusively on technology. Our recruiters are also trained (for ten hours each month) to apply psychological analysis and have an acute knowledge of the current state of the industry. When we recommend candidates, we do so with the certainty provided by our proprietary matching technology combined with cutting edge applied psychological research, and a genuine interest creating success stories.

I love Vancouver, and I know that my role in all this is to help institutional and individual players build the support structure that will allow companies to flourish, and this city to grow. That’s the essence of what I plan to do in Vancouver as a recruiter; I’m here to help people reach their fullest potential.. I’ve worn many hats in my life (more on that to come), but the impact I can make as a recruiter excites me more than any other.

I think that’s what we can expect of ourselves: our decision to make the most of our potential. It’s being happy at work, happy at home, and happy walking your dog in the woods. Living your life well, and knowing that your efforts are helping your city along on its way somewhere amazing – that’s what we can do, every day. That’s the impact we can expect to make.

There’s always more to a story than can fit on a page. Get in touch today to learn more about my story, or to find out how I can help change yours for the better.

Shane Gagnon is the Director of Clarity Recruitment Vancouver, with six years of experience in the industry. This is his personal blog, where you can expect to find not only insights from his endeavour to disrupt the recruitment industry, but also a glimpse into his pursuit of a satisfying career for himself and the finance/accounting professionals of Vancouver. Join Shane for each new post, as he reveals the journey that brought him here, and where he plans to go next.


Clarity Recruitment Vancouver Adventure Begins

Bringing Clarity to Vancouver

Clarity Recruitment Vancouver Adventure Begins

Clarity Recruitment has officially opened for business in Vancouver. Our mission: to offer a behavioral-based, technology-driven approach that connects high-performing accounting and finance talent with Vancouver’s leading growth industries.

But it’s not just a matchmaking game. We are committed to placing careers, not just jobs, and to finding difference makers for our clients and candidates in Vancouver. We do it all with purpose, an unwavering tenacity, and a genuine desire to build success in others. Whether you’re thinking about changing roles or hiring a new employee, we can help.

With six years of disrupting the recruitment industry in Toronto, Clarity has a proven track record of pushing the industry forward through research and development and technological innovation. As our president, Joe Diubaldo said, “The recruitment industry has been without meaningful innovation for too long, and needs to adapt constantly to ensure we provide value. It is time for the industry to adopt new tools for delivering the best talent available for each job.”

That’s the impetus of Clarity: we are committed to rising above through constant innovation and adaptation. Clarity’s proprietary technology, Luma-Fi™, examines the compatibility of a candidate based on technical and cultural alignment. Our recruiters are empowered with technology that allows them to go deeper into the candidate’s fit with any particular role; clients are given an easy-to-read report that summarizes the candidate at a glance; both parties feel more comfortable with the hiring decision. The result: industry-leading placement success rates for both permanent and contract roles.

Joe explains it best: “Luma-Fi visually connects the best candidate to each client’s specific needs, allowing hiring managers to act quickly and make the right decision for their open position. In the end, you can’t ask clients to make quick decisions without great data. With Luma-Fi, we give them that information.”

But talk is cheap, right? Right. That’s why we stand behind our technology and unique hiring process with a 12 month guarantee for clients who exclusively engage the firm. We’re not afraid to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak.

It’s not hard to be confident in our results. In addition to Luma-Fi, Clarity has a R&D arm called Clarity Labs™ that continually researches human behaviour and hiring psychology. Led by a behavioural psychologist, Clarity Labs’ findings are used to educate our clients and candidates through insight-driven resources, blogs, proprietary technology, and a unique recruitment processes. Clarity spends 30 per cent of its operating budget on research and development, making us a leading finance and accounting firm that understands what drives successful career outcomes.

We’re here, Vancouver. We’ve got big ideas and motivation to match. Our story on the West Coast is just beginning; where do you fit in?

Finding the perfect job or top talent  doesn’t need to be daunting. Clarity Recruitment pairs cutting-edge technology with a genuine commitment to our clients’ success. Set yourself on the path to success with a winning hire or placement; contact us for your free consultation.


Dealing with Competition in the Workplace

Dealing with Competition in the Workplace

Dealing with Competition in the Workplace

If you’ve ever held a medal, trophy, or ribbon in your hand after a hard-fought win, you know the feeling of accomplishment it can bring, as well as that boost in self-confidence. We face competition in many aspects of our lives, but outside of athletic pursuits, it tends to be most noticeable in the workplace, where promotions, awards, and approval from higher-ups are considered things we should strive for. Some competition can be healthy, but too much or the wrong kinds of competition can result in toxic work environments where no one wins.

 

Beneficial Competition
There is such a thing as positive workplace competition. This exists mostly when the competition involves teamwork, collaboration, and problem solving in a group format. Teams can be competing against one another in the same department, against teams from other areas of the company, or against employees from competing businesses.

Another key to positive workplace competition is an even playing field. When employees are being compared to others who don’t do the same type of work as they do, or who have more experience or a higher skill level than they do, it results in a less-than-ideal situation where certain competitors have a leg up on the other players in the game. Grouping employees into tiers based on skill level, position, seniority, and performance can help to eliminate any unfair advantages anyone might have, which should ensure that no one feels cheated or left out.

The type of reward at stake can also play a huge role in whether or not the workplace competition is going to be beneficial to employees. Often, rewards like cash or ‘things’ result in short-term increases in productivity and work quality, but these usually taper off after a while. Long-term benefits from workplace competition are more likely to be seen when the rewards involve recognition and appreciation from leaders in a public way (announced in meetings or published on the company website, for example).

Read Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us to learn more about the connection between motivation and reward.

Overall, however, the most significant positive competition at work happens when an employee competes against themself, striving to do bigger and better things over time. Monitoring this through regular reviews and having goals that are easy to track can keep employees engaged and focused on doing their absolute best.

Problematic Competition
Competition at work can also lead to unwanted situations or cultures. As mentioned above, pitting people against each other when there are clear advantages and disadvantages for certain competitors can result in bitterness or employees simply checking out. Considering the differences between feeling challenged and feeling threatened can go a long way in preventing negative competitive environments.

Employees who feel challenged will likely rise to the occasion to take part in some healthy competition, improving their work and more frequently interacting with their co-workers in a positive manner. Once they feel threatened, however, employees might start to react in ways that could hurt the company rather than take it to the next level.

Not every employee will deal with competition the same way. Some will experience anxiety about having to perform their roles based on doing better than everyone else, while some will take the competition too far and do whatever they can to win, possibly knocking others down in the process. Other employees will simply be indifferent and not change much about the way they work at all.

The Lone Competitor
Sometimes workplace competition isn’t initiated by the company, but rather, there is one hyper-competitive person looking to take centre stage. These employees can play dirty, looking for ways to undermine their co-workers, such as withholding information, snooping through others’ work or belongings, placing blame on co-workers when something goes wrong, and generally spending their energy on negative competitive behaviour. This can be distracting and detrimental for other employees, and usually indicates an employee who is dealing with low self-esteem or other issues.

Healthy workplaces will often end up exposing these types of employees over time and will either work with them to ensure positive changes are made, or show them the door. This can sometimes take a while, however, so employees affected by this negative behaviour can look to a few strategies for dealing with an overly competitive co-worker.

The most important step is to focus on yourself and resist becoming distracted by the person. Doing your best each day and looking for opportunities for personal and professional development can keep you grounded and moving toward your desired career path. This can also involve looking to a mentor, within or outside of your company, to steer you in the right direction.

In interactions with the overly competitive co-worker, staying positive, complimenting them on their accomplishments, and presenting yourself as someone non-threatening can sometimes help curb their competitive behaviour. Sometimes, more strategy is needed to protect yourself, such as keeping your conversations to the point, not revealing too much information about yourself or your work, and being assertive when necessary to show that you aren’t afraid to stand up for yourself.

If things really take a turn for the worst, password protecting your computer and files and locking up your belongings might be necessary. At that point, you should approach your boss about the situation and be clear with him or her about what’s been going on. Document your ideas, contributions, and work, keep notes on incidents involving the competitive co-worker, and present to your boss the ways in which you’ve tried to resolve the situation yourself.

Key Takeaways
There are good and bad types of competition in the workplace, and employees will be either encouraged by the competition or it will bring out some of their less-desirable qualities. Keeping the competition fair, relevant, and fun is important, and healthy workplaces will be able to do so, reaping the rewards. Employees dealing with a single hyper-competitive co-worker have a few strategies they can implement before turning to their boss for help.


How to Let an Employee Go

Back when he was running GE, Jack Welch famously argued that each year you should fire the lowest performing 10% of your workforce. And while we don’t subscribe to that philosophy, we do believe that regardless of who you are, it pays to let an employee go the right way. Because this is a delicate subject, we connected with Rita Price, former VP, Human Resources for Flight Network and currently an independent consultant with LifeLabs. She offered us some practical advice on how to transition an employee out graciously.

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Attention Agency Recruiters: What the Corporate World Needs You to Know


In the classic work of non-fiction “A Walk in the Woods,” the author, Bill Bryson, decides to hike the Appalachian Trail – all 3,500 km of it (no we’re not kidding – the whole thing).  He takes his friend, Stephen Katz, with him. Their obvious lack of physical and emotional preparation leads to hilarity on a variety of fronts. They carry too much weight (essentially everything but the proverbial kitchen sink), disagree on virtually everything and never do finish the trail.

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