Instead, as detailed in the ebook, which also layed out the difficult transformation the firm went through, GradTouch staff are now measured on how they meet their KPIs, how autonomously they can work and, a ‘Zac-ism’, how well they can “figure s**t out for themselves”. Not on being present. They also have to, I assume, meet GradTouch’s three cardinal rules, as outlined in the publication: No d***heads; Be yourself; Add value. The subtext being: be upfront and be honest. A far cry from how Zac has described the current employment landscape.
And, along with Joe, Zac has been upfront about having made difficult decisions during 2018, a period he described as one of his most difficult. These included letting some staff go who weren’t the right fit for where the business needed to be and assessing, in a frank manner, his own management style. “When you start running a business in your early twenties, you probably don’t know yourself. Everyone looks back and thinks they’re a d***head… and, yeh, I was a terrible people manager. But we’ve changed. There are people now who know how to tell me that. Before, we had too many yes people and not enough you’re a d*** people,” Zac lays out to me.
Yet, despite implementing a bold working pattern, Zac doesn’t consider GradTouch to be revolutionising the recruitment process because he doesn’t believe the “market is broken.” “All the big employers fill their roles and most people get a [graduate] job after a couple of years. Nothing is broken, it’s just not that great.” And despite his belief that GradTouch offers excellent client care, he doesn’t think of himself and Joe as doing anything that different from normal recruitment norms - and he has short shrift for those firms that do believe they’re re-inventing the wheel.
“I think everyone thinks that the way of tackling [graduate recruitment] is to build a cool, new app for students. How many times have we heard CV is dead, video CVs are the future or this is the Tinder of recruitment? But, it doesn’t f***ing matter. You can’t change stuff that works – you can only make it better,” he adds. Crucially, he explains that firms trying to improve hiring need client buy-in for their ideas as, Zac adds pointedly, they literally pay the bills. But this doesn’t meanthat you can’t offer clients better value whilst also helping candidates too. The silver bullet, he concludes, is good, honest employer branding.