Something slightly different!!! Legally Africa presents: Welcome To My House with Rob Green (Ep 5)
Play • 1 hr 2 min

Something slightly different for our listeners this week. 

Rob Green was interviewed for the amazing Resilient Recruiter podcast, hosted by Mark Whitby. Rob takes Mark on a full journey of his career to date, which has so far been on 4 continents, across 40 countries.

Exploring new markets can be really exciting especially if you’re considering international expansion. But as much as opening offices in a new territory can present the big potential for growth, it can also present an enormous amount of challenges. That is what my special guest, Rob Green, will be sharing in this episode. Rob has built recruitment teams across Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and Africa.  Despite some significant successes, it was never a walk in the park. In this interview, Rob shared both the mistakes and learnings he gained.

Rob has almost two decades of experience in the recruitment industry, recruiting lawyers in 40 countries. He launched his career in London with Badenoch & Clark. Since then he has worked and lived in various locations around the globe. In 2013, he took over the Hong Kong branch of his company, rebranded it as GRM Search and won 15 industry awards over 8 years working with the most coveted legal firms, multinational companies and financial institutions in the world.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:49] How Rob and I were first introduced to each other.
  • [4:29] Rob’s colourful recruiting journey in 18 years.
  • [20:30] Challenges and resilience in recruitment during a recession.
  • [27:11] Ego is the Enemy – what ego cost Rob and the valuable learning he had.
  • [29:00] Rob reveals the story behind his biggest challenge by far.
  • [35:49] In hindsight, what would Rob have done differently?
  • [38:07] When growing your business, how fast is ‘too fast’? 
  • [46:53] The value of getting help.
  • [50:00] Rob’s venture in South Africa – achievements and main learnings.

Overcoming His Biggest Challenge

Rob humbly shared his biggest challenge which took place in 2016 when he started in Hong Kong. Growing to 25 people with expensive offices, high salaries, and high commissions, the business was not sustainable. When local market conditions worsened, he had to scale down the business or go bust.  Within six painful weeks, he had drastically cut his overheads which sent a shock through the HK legal recruitment market. Behind the scenes, he was going through a very tough time because of personal problems which magnified the issues he was having with his business. Rob recalled, “I had grown the business too fast. We had a number of offices that just weren’t profitable. I was trying in many cases to buy my way out of trouble by starting new desks, starting new offices… We just grew too rapidly with the wrong people and the wrong structure.”

I certainly admire Rob’s unselfishness in sharing his story. In our conversation, you will hear what steps he took to stabilize his operation in HK while expanding successfully to South Africa.

Key Learnings From Mistakes

This podcast is called The Resilient Recruiter for a reason, and indeed Rob personifies that quality. He has built teams and offices in Cayman, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Johannesburg and Cape Town, which were all successes. He also expanded to Brisbane, Singapore and Tokyo which he considers as “massive failures”. Rob is happy to talk about the things that he did right as well as sharing the mistakes he made. Here are the takeaways of what he shared:

  • Having the right people 
  • Having the right compensation plan
  • Having a sound structure
  • Understanding the culture of your market, building the market and creating the demand
  • Try to put aside your eg Ma
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