Travelling Through Time – 30 Years Pass for Global Recruiter
Interview with Neil MacLean
Tardis Group’s founders envisioned they’d travel through time with clients and candidates – placing good people in roles as they progressed through their careers. Thirty years on, that’s exactly what’s been happening and the Tardis name has proven to be a good fit.
‘It’s an industry of networking,’ says Founder and CEO Neil MacLean, ‘we connect with people and could place them in more junior roles and then, a few years down the track, we’re helping them make a more senior career move.
‘Likewise, we work with our clients over and over again in different positions and locations across the globe.’
The boutique human capital consultancy is continuing its strategic global expansion. It’s established in London, Sydney, Perth, Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York, and, with growing demand in Singapore, it’s on track to set up a new office there next year.
Aged in their 20s, Neil MacLean and Jeremy Francois had been in the HR game for only a year when they ventured out on their own, launching the business in London in 1989. It was a move that would, to many, seem risky and bold.
‘People think that, but the truth is you have nothing to lose at 22… it would be much more risky if you were to do something like that at in mid-career or older’ says Neil.
‘We started in the basement of a friend’s wine bar and then moved to a proper office in London, Victoria, a few months later.
‘It was much more difficult to connect with people back then, we didn’t have internet and there was no email, most of our work was done by phone and fax and face-to-face meetings.
‘But what has never changed from day one is that we are about finding the best candidate for our clients.’
The business began recruiting for IT, but a niche soon became clear in the area of finance, branching into pharmaceutical, legal and commerce. Now the Perth office has entered the Engineering space, to serve the mining industry with its unique personalised recruitment service.
‘This year we placed our first underground worker,’ Neil said.
‘There have been many firsts along the way, but the most rewarding part about the job is actually helping people – our clients, our candidates and our own people – that always lifts the soul.
‘But the job market is constantly evolving, in five years time we will be finding people for jobs that aren’t around today. No one knows exactly what they’ll be, but they may be in areas including robotics and artificial intelligence.
‘For example, when we started Tardis there was no such thing as Social Media, now companies are hiring Social Media Managers.
‘And these days too there’s genuine emphasis placed on attaining gender and cultural diversity.’
Neil is clearly proud of his team, he says their lengthy tenures with Tardis are important to the group’s success.
‘We treat people like adults, we talk with them regularly. They really run their own mini businesses within the business, we don’t really have a culture of micro-managing,’ he said.
Scottish born Neil MacLean moved to Sydney in 2000 from London to open the Tardis office there. He’s been based in Perth since last year as his son, a promising soccer player, joined a soccer school program in Fremantle.
The goal moving forward into the fourth decade: ‘To continue to grow into new areas and to always provide the best available people to our clients while we see our people also grow and prosper’.