Sarah Micallef of the Commercial Courier by Content House meets Broadwing Ltd Managing Director John Paris and directors Ben Pace Lehner and Alan Cini, part of the team behind the vibrant new recruitment agency, and discovers just how much has been achieved in a mere few months, as well as their big plans for the future.
Introducing Broadwing Job Placement Agency
As I meet the team behind recently established employment agency Broadwing Ltd, my first impression is that these guys mean business. Their sleek offices within The Penthouse at the Ewropa Business Centre in B’Kara are a fitting setting for this dynamic team, which is brimming with energy and ideas.
I sit down with Managing Director John Paris and directors Ben Pace Lehner and Alan Cini, who founded the company, together with director Richard Padovani. They introduce Broadwing as a state-of-the-art employment agency which targets businesses and candidates alike, offering recruitment and HR services to a broad spectrum of sectors. “Our goal is to provide exclusive employment expertise within online gaming and IT, sales and marketing, legal and compliance, as well as within the financial services industries,” they say.
With the aim of connecting top-tier talent with industry-leading employers, the team behind Broadwing focus on attracting, shortlisting, appointing and selecting suitable candidates for the placement of permanent, part-time or contract staff on behalf of their clients. And they do this by utilising a combination of a leading global recruitment CRM software with a cutting-edge website, solid brand, effective marketing and enthusiastic recruiters.
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The Recruitment and Management Team
The core people behind the creation of Broadwing combine entrepreneurship and varied specialised skills including legal and financial fields, computer systems and software engineering, design and marketing. Speaking of how the company first came about, John explains, “I have a background in credit management which is where I met Richard, and moved into recruitment three years ago. I knew Alan as we had worked together in the past, so I was familiar with his work. Ben and Alan also have their own digital marketing company, Rocksteady Digital Agency, and we saw that there were a lot of synergies between us.” “One of the things that helped us come together is the fact that we all have different areas of expertise,” adds Ben. “John has a background in finance and accounting, Alan has an IT, design and marketing background, while I have an IT and business background, so between us, we can sit in on interviews and raise points that are pertaining to our area of expertise. It’s a great start, and as we continue building the team, we’re looking into using people with different specialisations.”
Core Values & Mission
Asked about their core values, the partners affirm that they value quality and specialisation, focusing their resources on identifying unparalleled, highly-qualified individuals across their disciplines. “We build and maintain exclusive relationships with our clients and candidates, enabling our team of professionals to identify the most suitable fit ,” they say. Identifying a number of areas of service which form the backbone of the company, they name “confidentiality, sector specialisation, quality service, transparency, communication, strong relationships, knowledge of employment trends, consistency with recruiters, understanding the employer, branding and corporate culture, integrity and professionalism,” as key factors.
“More than just a luxury, agencies that don’t take advantage of technology are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to delivering a remarkable candidate and client experience.”
The Recruitment Process & Technology
And while it was only late last year that the team began to discuss the possibility of a recruitment company, they certainly hit the ground running. Right away, Alan explains, they began looking into creating a structure, and shortly after attended London Bullhorn Live 2017 conference, where they learnt about the global leader in CRM and operations software for the recruitment industry, and met up with their first international recruitment partners – Williams Kent. “I learnt about the system and how it works. Coming from an IT background, I knew it would be great for us, so we decided to bring it down and build a site around it. The conference was out-of-this-world, and we partnered up with a number of recruitment companies in London, as well as in other countries including Poland, Cyprus and Portugal. In January we got the system and set up Broadwing,” Alan says.
— Dan Locke (@TKUK_Dan) October 11, 2017
Speaking of the cutting-edge software, the directors explain, “more than 7,000 firms rely on Bullhorn’s cloud-based platform to drive sales, build relationships and power their recruitment processes from end to end. Our main recruitment website integrates with Bullhorn and acts as a ‘shop window’ for the business, with its primary function being to promote the available jobs and allow potential candidates to register, manage their profile and apply for a job.”
Delving into the ways in which technology is shaping the recruitment industry, they maintain that implementing technology has never been more critical to success. “More than just a luxury, agencies that don’t take advantage of technology are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to delivering a remarkable candidate and client experience,” Alan affirms, adding that while it is important to utilise the latest technology, it will never take the place of the human element.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Recruitment
“Automation is a key technological driver to improving user experience and drive down costs. An example of this is the application process we are using, which implements chatbots to conduct the initial screening process. These are quick and the candidate gets an instant response,” they explain, yet while such measures are a help, they do not apply for the entire process. “You can’t automate the entire process,” Ben says, adding, “a computer cannot make a decision when it comes to determining whether a candidate is suitable, but it does give you the tools to facilitate the decision.” Alan is in agreement: “if you were to ask whether technology can take over for a recruiter, I’d say no. They have to work in sync. Technology is a great help, but at the end of the day, whether it’s a face-to-face interview or a video interview with international candidates, you need a personal connection. AI (Artifical Intelligence) can’t do that.”
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Moving on to a hot topic within the business world at the moment – the upcoming implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May, I ask, what impact will this have on the recruitment industry?
“As the digital space has matured in the last 20 years, so has the need for recruiters to mature their data collection and processing transparency.”
“Recruitment is about relationships and increasingly about data, and data is the key to business success,” they explain, maintaining that GDPR compliance is further complicated for recruitment agencies that manage data and consent not just from employers but also from thousands of candidates. “Recruiters need to be able to demonstrate that they use people’s data appropriately and fairly. As the digital space has matured in the last 20 years, so has the need for recruiters to mature their data collection and processing transparency,” they add.
Still, if anything, this has worked in Broadwing’s favour. “We give a lot of importance to the GDPR, and the fact that we are newly set up gives us a big advantage, because we are starting afresh, so we don’t have to re-evaluate our system. We already have everything in place,” says John. “We started off making sure that any technology we implement is already compliant, so that we don’t have to go back and change it later on, as well as ensuring our own internal processes are compliant,” Ben continues.
Check out: Bullhorn's GDPR Resource Centre - The Recruitment CRM behind it all.
Future of the Recruitment Industry
Looking ahead towards the future of the recruitment industry locally, the directors stress the importance of remaining innovative. “Technology has impacted the world of work massively over the last 10 years. Over the next decade, its effects will only increase. People are engaging with technology in ways never seen before, meaning recruitment leaders need to invest in the right technology to keep up. Candidates and clients are agile, tech-savvy, and looking for a great experience,” they explain.
While cold-calling is still used to a certain extent, it is clear that the skills required in tomorrow’s recruitment market may not be the same as todays. “Recruiters need to use technology in their favour. If you resist, you will lose out, but if you embrace it you’ll come out on top,” Alan maintains. Meanwhile, Ben also foresees a greater emphasis on HR from a recruiter’s point of view. “I think the industry will move a lot more towards HR and assisting companies in the process in so far as consultation and guidance.”
Broadwings Industry Specific Job Boards
Turning their attention to their own plans for the future, I ask, what’s in the pipeline for Broadwing Ltd, moving forward? “Following the set-up of the main recruitment portal and website, we will begin implementing secondary industry specific job board websites which will allow companies to purchase packages to promote their jobs on the site and other various mediums, depending on the package purchased. Candidates can then apply for a job directly with the employer,” they divulge.
An additional revenue stream will be a global portal for recruitment in the yachting industry through yachtingcareers.com, which the company already owns. “We already have a lot of contacts within the industry, so it’s a natural progression. I do a lot of sailing myself, and most of my family works on super yachts – the connections are already there,” says Ben, explaining that the aim is to build a database of jobs and candidates looking to work in the yachting industry in Malta before leveraging their international yachting connections to expand globally.
Wrapping it up
As things stand, the shareholders are motivated by the brand, the team behind it and how much has been achieved in such a short timeframe – and there’s much more to be done. “We have lots of plans, including expansion and pushing the brand,” Alan says, before John adds, “we don’t want to divulge all our plans!” Sharing a laugh, it’s clear that there’s a lot on the horizon for the start-up, and Alan sums it up perfectly: “a lot has been done in four months, give us a year and see what happens!”
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