MitchelLake Takes 5 With The Global Recruiter

MitchelLake Takes 5 With The Global Recruiter

MitchelLake’s Executive Director Jon Tanner recently spoke with The Global Recruiter about what makes MitchelLake tick.

Below is an excerpt from the interview, which you can read in full here.

Q: When did the business open in Australia and how has it grown over the years?
A: We opened our first office in Sydney in 2001. We have always grown organically, and initially fairly cautiously, but we have accelerated in the last five years. Our initial growth was fairly opportunistic, and typically to expand our delivery capability for strategic clients.
Since 2012 we have grown roughly 30 per cent or more year on year and we are on track to repeat that this year. We now have six offices across four continents and have executed thousands of executive and specialist projects for clients in fifteen countries.

Our success was in part due to getting into a niche market early. The internet in 2001 experienced a boom and we were obsessed with the technology side of it. We worked with some of the internet pioneers at the time. We were also involved with things like broad-brand digital TV and set top boxes.
We’ve worked with many people over the past 10 years or so in the Asia Pacific region and they were middle managers at that point – now they’re the industry leaders.

Q: What were the first international ventures undertaken?
A: Our first international office was San Francisco in 2009. We had helped a client (5thFinger) build from start-up to acquisition (by NineMSN) in Australia and we seized the opportunity to extend our support when they raised venture to repeat their success in North America. We hired everyone in their US business right through to their acquisition by Merkle Inc. That relationship continues into its 14th year.

Q: What has been the strategy for international operations?
A: While our US office was initially an opportunistic move, over the last three years we have consolidated that investment and seen an excellent take up of our embedded model. We have grown from two to 23 in San Francisco since 2013. Our more recent investments in Asia and EU represent more carefully planned initiatives to support anticipated demand, not a particular client. That said we have quickly benefitted from extending existing relationships across major markets. Our focus is essentially global – that’s not a marketing initiative it’s because of the relationships we build with the people we work for. If we work with a tech company who then go global they’ll look to us to provide the talent they need wherever they might need them. We’ve built out the entire staff for some companies and for others it’s a case of finding them a CEO or CFO. We have a big investment in San Francisco because that’s where a lot of the companies start but elsewhere there are companies entering and exiting markets. There are only so many people who have the skills, outlook and ability to do that kind of work, and we’re well placed to know who and where they are.

Q: How transferable are recruiters between countries where you operate?
A: If you have the core skills and passion for our category, great people are always transferable (and we actively transfer them), but local knowledge is a very valuable commodity in competitive markets. Language and cross-cultural business expertise is critical to success in Asia. San Francisco and the Bay area have challenges that are unique. Venture tech it is a hyper competitive market like no other. Influencing top talent involves a deep understanding of growth and start-up dynamics, equity structures, highly competitive and evolved EVP’s. Even the brand equity and assets of your clients funding partners are in play…

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