World Staffing Podcast #5 with Ross Cadastre, CEO of ITS Global


Intro: This is a brand new episode of the World Staffing Podcast. The interview podcast brought to you by, where we meet with entrepreneurs, successful business owners and the greatest minds of the staffing industry. We are interested in what drives them, what inspires them. We want to know what their everyday work looks like and what keeps them up at night.

We should all learn from them and at the same time, have a good time. And this is your host, Jan Jedlinski

Jan Jedlinski: Welcome to a brand new episode of the World Staffing Podcast, where I meet with the entrepreneurs, successful business owners and the greatest minds of the staffing industry. I'm interested in what drives them, what inspires them. I want to know how their everyday life looks like and what keeps them up at night. My name is Jan and I'm the host.

And I'm very excited for very special guests today. One of my favorite Canadians, he's a very successful staffing owner and operator, and then the entrepreneur, and I'm very excited to start working with him. Welcome to the World Staffing Podcast, Ross.

Ross Cadastre: Thank you. Jan, thank you for that great introduction.

I'm happy to know that I'm one of your favorite Canadian

Jan Jedlinski: For sure. You know, Ross, I have tons of questions for you today, but before we dive in, tell us a little bit about you and your journey in the staffing industry. I know that you've been in the industry for a long time, so I'm excited to hear a little bit about your story.

Ross Cadastre: Well, it would be remiss of me if I didn't save, start off by saying that I'm from the beautiful island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean.

That's where I was brought up as where I was born. I, like most people, fell into recruiting by accident. I wasn't I must say before, before I got into the recruiting business, I didn't even know it existed. I was trained in Canada. I went to school in Canada, came to Canada for school. Then went back to St. Lucia started the career in the insurance business, and the insurance company acquired a hotel. Then I became the marketing director for the hotel. And most of the beginnings of my career was spent in the hotel business until one day. Yeah. Until one day I decided, you know what, I want to move back to Canada.

I want to experience the, the, the four seasons and the change and the hustle and bustle of Canada that is offered. And when I moved back to Canada, I contacted a family friend. And I said, listen, I'm looking for some work. And he said to me, oh, I met a guy in IT and I know you were good with computers. You always fixed my computer.

So I think you're an IT guy. I had a conversation with the gentleman who was in IT. It so happened that he ran an IT recruitment company and he says, you know what? I'm going to give you an opportunity here. I'm going to train you for a month. I won't pay you for the training that I'll give you, but you can charge me for coming to work.

So he says one month and that became, I made my first placement in three weeks. He loved me. Didn't want me to leave. I fell in love with the industry 25 years later.

Jan Jedlinski: And with running your own business and actually cool that you've been in the hotel industry similar to my career. I've spent like 10 years in hospitality, tourism and hotels before drifting into the staffing and also building technology for staffing so that we have some similarities there.

Ross Cadastre: Yeah. Awesome. I love the hotel business myself. So it's an industry that I would go back into when I sunset my career as a recruitment special.

Jan Jedlinski: To run a hotel or to actually just stay in hotels.

Ross Cadastre: Maybe to rest in a hotel.

Jan Jedlinski: That's also something that I have on my mind, maybe for, you know, the future part of my life. You know, I always start with a very broad question before we maybe dive into some other things around your businesses. You know, you're a staffing operator and owner and entrepreneur, and over the last years, you know, the industry had ups and downs.

So what keeps you up at night these days as a staffing operator.

Ross Cadastre: Okay, that's a very, very interesting question. If you asked me that four years ago, when we first started the business four, five years ago, I would say, you know, the ability to drive margin so we can pay our bills so we can build a company.

You know, you fast forward with the last 18 months and what globally, we've been facing as a as, as businesses and where we are in recruitment today, I would say the number one thing that just keeps me awake as a, as a small to medium size operator is people has a lot to do with people. Okay. Our clients talk to us every day, finding people for them.

You know, we look at the Canadian marketplace where we operate. I think unemployment is like 7, 6-7% in IT where we recruit, you know, in some skill sets as full employment. So that keeps me up at night, you know, how do we find more people, but also added to that. Keeping in the same trend of people is how we attract and retain.

People work in our organization, you know, because there's been a big shift where. Recruiters that are now in demand, both at a corporate level, but in the agency space. So there's a war for talent. And that war for talent drives up the cost of that talent. What a lot of organizations don't realize it's so temporary, or even the talent themselves don't realize that it's temporary. War for talent, which will change.

So for a small company, with a certain budget, it makes it very difficult to get great talent to come work for you. So that's what keeps me awake at night. It's all around people.

Jan Jedlinski: It was all around people everyday. And when you look at talent attraction, specifically in the war of talent, when you speak to your customer, What are they interested in even after COVID are there specific services or specific products that they feel like are more in demand than, you know, maybe five years ago?

I know that you have specific offerings with your two companies that I think are very interesting. So maybe you can talk a little bit about that.

Ross Cadastre: Yeah. So I would say, first of all, across our businesses, I would say 80% of our businesses use technology around technology, 15% is accounting and finance.

And the rest is, is another bucket where, you know, whether it be real estate, which we've, we've done a lot of work in both commercial and residential kind of working through that, or just general rules. What we are finding. When we think about where the skills need to be there, then two areas. So technology is pretty tough right now.

It's pretty busy. And I, when I speak to colleagues and my competitors, have the same feeling, almost all skills and technology are at a premium right now. Part of the reason for that is specifically in the Canadian market. A lot of the borders are closed. So getting talent to migrate and the migration of talent into the country had slowed.

So as a result, it puts a lot of pressure on me. On the talent that's available locally, and you find a lot of movement between companies, but just not enough talent to satisfy the market. Admit a trend that we're seeing about a year ago, maybe once a year. So a year and a half ago, the unfortunate incidents in the US with the George Floyd killing has caused a lot of companies globally, but more so than in North America.

Look at the diversity initiatives internally and say, we need a more diverse community within our organizations. So whether it be, we need more women in technology, because that kind of helps us when we develop products that, you know, we have a different spin on it, whether it means for Canadians more indigenous talent or black talent, or generally people of colour.

There's been a greeter week thing in that space. So what we're finding you know, with the launch of our BIPOC talent service offering, and BIPOC stands for Black Indigenous People of Color, we find a lot of clients are coming to us now and saying, Can you help us get our tech teams, get our marketing teams, get our finance team more diverse because we believe that the outcome for our organization would be a more holistic product, a more holistic company.

So these are the trends that I have seen.

Jan Jedlinski: Interesting. That's very interesting. I think that is also going into the direction of, you know, verticalization, specialization for a staffing company. I see very interesting trends where staffing companies are very focused on just one particular group of candidates and skills and they are doing really well because of the tradition.

Generalization and to traditional general staff and companies like maybe 10 years or 15 years ago, you know, the manpower, they, that code that have just the one big brand offering everything. I think that's going away. There's a lot of very specialized platforms. And as a staffing company, these days, you need to be very specialized to attract specific talents.

So that's interesting that you said that you launching the specific brand that I think will also help obviously in candidate attraction and obviously also have a very specific offering for your clients. That's fantastic. And when you look at the technology trends, is there anything that you see in the market that is accelerating right now compared to maybe even two or three years ago?

Is there anything that stands out or maybe even on the client side that may be interesting for you today?

Ross Cadastre: There's a lot of talk about recruiting automation and, you know, companies, both agencies and corporate organizations looking at, you know, what are the efficiencies that we can get from our recruiting process through automation.

So whether it be. Okay. Taking that sourcing piece. There's a lot of AI based technology. That's around. What we are seeing though, we're seeing a lot of that automation, a lot of that, that, that technology happening from a corporate standpoint, with larger organizations, which still gives an opportunity. To organizations recruitment organizations like us for the midsize small to mid-size companies who haven't embraced technology as a way to drive candidate flow and to drive hires.

Recruitment. I, you know, as I speak to, to, again, to competitors, they're leveraging technology to drive efficiency in all the internal processes they're looking at, how do they recruit, reduce their office calls? By adding more technology, we've seen a big shift over the last because of COVID we've seen a big shift in remote work at a number of organizations, kind of using technology to allow productivity virtually.

Yeah, this is particularly interesting because, you know, I feel like I was ahead of the curve because our organization has always been virtual. We do have offices, but virtual work has always been something that has been planted in,in our DNA as an organization.

Jan Jedlinski: So, it was not a lot of change for you actually, right?

When everybody started to become a remote organization for you, it was like, that's how we'd always done it. Right.

Ross Cadastre: That's how we always do it. And that it was kind of like you know, okay, tomorrow morning you don't need to come in. And that was it. So it didn't shift how we did things.

It didn't shift our productivity. Whereas we had other staffing firms, they will tell you that, you know, for the first three months, productivity was an issue until people got used to working from home and then they were able to accelerate their performance.

Jan Jedlinski: I agree. I heard the same when you said, you know, automations and AI, you know, there's been a lot of talk around the recruiter, less staffing model and temporary staffing platforms coming into the markets.

What is your take on that? Do you think the recruiter is going away anytime soon or even the opposite.

Ross Cadastre: Well, you know, over the last 25 years being in the industry, there's always been talk about this industry disappearing. And, you know, I think, you know, my take on it is very simply Jan, we're in the people business, right?

And we're in an industry, which is one of the toughest industries of sales cycles to be in because both your product and your customer can say no, Right.

Jan Jedlinski: Yeah.

Ross Cadastre: And you know, it's not like selling widgets. If you sell widgets, you know, we just can't say, no, I don't want to go to that customer. Right. It just doesn't happen.

And at the end of the day, because we're in the people business, We underestimate the power of conversations. And I think a lot of times we feel that, maybe if we insert a texting software, if we insert some technology that it will replace the recruitment function, but I believe it will. I do technologies that are necessary to enhance recruitment.

But I don't think it will replace the power of our recruiter, having the conversation and walking a candidate through a process that would result in that. Correct.

Does that make sense?

Jan Jedlinski: Yeah, totally makes sense. I totally agree. And I think that's exactly where it's going. I think you can see it on real estate sites.

They were similar conversations and obviously, maybe on the lower ends of the staffing market, meaning certain segments and industries, you can definitely put in more automation and where there's maybe less conversations and more transactional type of jobs where the recruiters maybe not as needed, but you know, along the chain, upwards to executive level, I think they will always be.

The talent curators/recruiter in between are empowered by technology and that thing, even more than the next couple of years, you will see that trend where the technology. Just empowered the recruiter to do their job right now, even worldwide in international, you know, through COVID and through the help of employer of record services, popping up for the technology that you can use to source and, you know, the remote work nature you suddenly run a staffing company out of your living room.

It is pretty much international. So I think it's a very exciting time for the industry for the next couple of years. And there's going to be a lot of interesting new concepts and ideas popping up. That will be very different than we've seen in the past. And, you know, talking about new staffing companies and new recruiting companies, but know that there are a lot of new recruitment companies now being started.

Which have just a different mindset and maybe have even a different technology set up that are larger legacy companies that have been around with legacy systems. Is there any advice you would give to somebody that starts a staffing recruiting company these days, anything that you would tell them to do or not to do?

Ross Cadastre: You know, I got to tell you and I just, you know, before our conversation today, I was on the phone with a client and I, I basically said this. When we started five years ago, I was on a mission to take out everything that I didn't like about our industry. All right. I'll get out of my business and put aside all the things that I liked about our industry.

I think anybody starting up, the first thing I would say is it is important that you have your, why am I doing this right. If you're doing, if you're getting into the industry just to capitalize on an opportunity or just to kind of do the same, then I think it be very difficult for you if you're getting into the industry to make, so make a change to change how the business is done, to be a thought leader in a already saturated industry with many players. I think you have a good shot of greatness. I always say to entrepreneurs who want to grow and scale, I say the three things: you should know your numbers, know your sales, know your costs, you should know your customer. And the third thing is have a vision for where you want to go.

I think that's the advice.

Jan Jedlinski: That's great advice. Thank you so much for us. I think that's super helpful. We are almost at the end of our episode today, and I always love to ask a question. Where do you get your daily source of staffing news? Are there any particular news outlets, podcasts, or magazines that you read, or even something outside of the staffing industry that you can recommend to listeners?

Ross Cadastre: So for me, I read the SIA emails, and newsletters that come out. I think it's pretty insightful that tell you who's making moves and how you are making it? I love to listen. There's a local company called Recdirect, or they call professional selection, but they're indirect direct business.

Suki Sodhi. I love listening to her sessions on LinkedIn and Facebook because it just brings home. Sometimes it's great content for, for owners. Sometimes it's just great content for a recruiter or a sales person who's struggling. And I like to have that because it gives me, it reminds me of some of the things that we need to do in our organization.

And of course recently I have been looking at some good content coming out of the Staffing Hub. That's some good content. So apart from the industry papers and that sort of thing, these are the ones industry specific that I spent time on.

Jan Jedlinski: Cool. Awesome. Yeah. And Suki is great. We also had her on one of our sessions a couple months ago.

She was hosting one. So yeah. Thank you so much for mentioning that. And where can listeners find you online? So when somebody is listening to the answer, they would love to learn more about Ross or the businesses that Ross is running where they can find you?

Ross Cadastre: So you can definitely find me on LinkedIn, because if you're recruiting, you're not on LinkedIn, then something's wrong.

So, I'm definitely on LinkedIn. I would love to connect with them. I'm a connector. I love to talk. I love to share, so please connect with me. Let's keep the conversation going and you can also reach me directly on my email you can email me there as well, or you can catch me on my next podcast.

Jan Jedlinski: Absolutely. Thank you so much Ross. I will definitely link your websites in the podcast notes so people can find you directly and really appreciate you having been here today on this episode. And it was a pleasure speaking with you. It was a great conversation and hopefully we can reconnect in the next maybe 6 to 12 months to catch up and see if there's anything else that changed.

And yeah. Um, other than that, I wish you all the best for now and I'll see you soon.

Ross Cadastre: Yeah, I just want to say one more thing. I'm very pleasantly surprised with what the work you're doing and the tool and how it changes the client engagement in our industry. And I think that is a great move forward for client engagement and how the look and feel for clients so kudos to you and your team on that really great tool.

So until we meet again, thank you.

Jan Jedlinski: Thank you so much Ross. Thank you. I appreciate the kind words about as well. Speak to you soon.

End: You've been listening to the World Staffing Podcast, brought to you by The digital storefront for your staffing business. If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review so you don't miss out on any future episodes. Got a topic you want us to touch base on. Shoot us a message.

Welcome to the World Staffing Podcast where we speak with success-full staffing owners and operators to learn about the things that keep them up at night, their success stories, learnings and failures while building a successful staffing company and their thoughts on the future of the staffing market.

Jan chatted with Ross, founder of ITS Global. They talked about his experience in the staffing industry and what keeps him up at night, tech trends in today's workforce as well as industry news sources.

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