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Do You Need Access to High Level Digital Talent? Belinda Agnew from Foccus Group Discusses Starting Her Own Recruitment Agency
By Lauren Fowkes
Welcome back to another episode of the Perfect Pitch Show where Brandon Burns, Head of Community – Runway Virtual, interviews small business founders / entrepreneurs about the secret sauce to their successful start-up journey.
Today we have the joy of introducing our readers to the exceptional Belinda Agnew. Belinda is the Founder and Managing Director of Foccus Group, a leading boutique recruitment agency that specialise in the Sales, Marketing, Digital and Tech industries. Foccus isn’t like your typical recruitment agency however, because they are Head Hunters and they don’t advertise on job sites!
Belinda opens up to us about the biggest mistakes she’s made in her career and offers valuable insight to the world of entrepreneurism. We hope her wisdom provides our remote and regional readers the needed knowledge to take the next step with their own business!
Starting Out and Growing
Belinda left high school when she was young having barely made it through year 10 before deciding to leave. It was around this time that she received what she states is the worst advice she has ever been given. Similar to today teenage students were advised that University Degrees and further education are the best and only path they should take. Having left school, Belinda was told to go to TAFE and obtain a diploma, which she did and was then given the pathway into University. Belinda attended and holds an Advanced Diploma of Business and a Bachelor Degree from RMIT also in Business. However, she doesn’t believe this was the best path for her.
Belinda describes her further education as being a “waste of time.” In the years it took her to get her degree she could have gained more experience working for somebody else, even for free, and would have learned ten times the amount she did at University. Everybody’s dreams are different and for some tertiary education is the path they need to take to further their journey, but it’s not for everyone.
Once she decided to take the entrepreneurial route, Belinda is thankful for signing up to LinkedIn. The platform allows you to filter through industries you’re interested in and then connect with other people in those fields. Belinda had so many of her opportunities come from LinkedIn, that’s where she met her mentors and gained a lot of advice. LinkedIn is handy for meeting the right people, it’s how Belinda met her Angel Investor, her CTO and her affiliate partners as well as candidates and clients as well.
The Journey of Foccus Group
Belinda created Foccus Group off the back of a bad business partnership four years ago. She created Foccus Group because was very similar to what she was doing at Open Education and so eventually landed herself in the digital tech scene. She hadn’t necessarily planned on digital tech becoming her focus, she was more passionate about recruiting elite salespeople. That’s what she wanted to bring to other companies, that high-level sales talent because she knows it’s a struggle to find them. She was able to win over Telstra and then Belong and from there she went into all of these digital agencies that were specialising in digital tech and executive level recruitment and so decided to start her own agency in that realm. However, Belinda doesn’t like to call Foccus Group a Recruitment Agency because they operate rather differently. Foccus Group head hunt for high level talent and then finding the perfect jobs for them.
Foccus Group don’t advertise any vacancies on job portals such as Seek as Belinda personally doesn’t believe they work. Instead, head hunting means that she pairs a client with the perfect candidate for them. Essentially, Belinda will look for talent that might not even be looking for another opportunity or role and pair them with a company she believes suits the talent. Sometimes she may even propose a talent for a role that doesn’t yet exist in the company, thus creating roles they weren’t even hiring for. For example, Belinda might introduce Ben to a client of hers and they may open up a role that’s perfect for him that wasn’t available before.
Belinda scouts talent by networking using platforms like LinkedIn, going to events, meeting for coffee and lunches and essentially building relationships with these elite talents. From there Foccus Group offer a range of testing, training, and consultancy to help candidates excel in their field and make the right decisions for their career and are able to introduce the talent to elite companies in digital tech and marketing.
Inspiration and Advice from Belinda
Belinda has gained a lot of wisdom from her experiences and she is full of valuable advice. Recently she has taken up meditation and definitely recommends it to anyone and everyone. She might go for a 10 to 30 minute walk with her dog, or go to a park or a café and she’ll leave her phone back in the office. This allows her time to just think and reflect so that she can re-evaluate what’s going on in her life. We’re not robots and so as human beings we can’t just keep going and going, we need to stop sometimes and take a breath.
In addition to suggesting meditation, Belinda has some great advice to give. The best advice she was ever given is the best advice she can give, and that’s not to say yes to everything. She advises us not to settle, whether that be personally or professionally, in any relationship or business partnership and even opportunities. Belinda advises against taking every opportunity just because they were there at the time, sometimes you need to say no. She learned this the hard way having put a lot of time and energy into all the opportunities around her and the things people asked of her but it didn’t end up being productive for her own goals.
Finally, Belinda says that you need to do the work. She gets daily messages from people who have ideas but are lost, and some of them are great concepts but an idea is just an idea until you do something about it. Getting up an executing these ideas is the most important part, Belinda says that it’s 80% hard work and only 20% talent. All the talent in the world won’t mean anything if you can’t do the work to execute your idea.
What’s Next? The Ask.
Foccus Group are in the process of developing some technology to further their services. Moving into the Saas (Software as a Service) space, Belinda is developing a platform called ‘Jobs on Queue’ that should be launching in June/July 2020! The platform will offer a subscription service that businesses and internal HR can use to headhunt talent through pitch videos. The idea is that candidates will submit a 1 minute pitch video based on who they are, what they are looking for, their skills and their expectations, no CV involved. Belinda says anyone can lie on a CV but a video gives you a much better indication of the person behind the screen.
In preparation for the launch, Belinda is look for creative product developers from Australia to join her team. Currently, a lot of their developers are based in India and she would love to build a local team. Additionally, Belinda invites anyone who is part of the HR tech field to reach out as well as she would love to speak with you!
Get In Contact with Belinda: