An Interview with Rowben Consulting’s Mark Harris

An Interview with Rowben Consulting’s Mark Harris

Principal Account Manager, Member of our Leadership Team and a Specialist in all that is Insurance & Superannuation

What did you do before you stared in recruitment?

After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Marketing (Hons) at the London Metropolitan University, I started off as a junior/trainee broker in London for JLT.

I moved to Melbourne in January 2007 and went into banking in the risk and controls space.  I worked in this area until recruitment called in March 2011, and I made my way to Rowben in May 2012.

Why and how did you get into recruitment?

After working with recruiters to find roles myself, I was told I had the right skill set and attitude to be a recruitment consultant.  Partnering this with my strong understanding and practical experience in the financial services industry, I put myself forward and was offered a role.  I haven’t looked back since.

How long have you been recruiting in Melbourne and what makes you an industry specialist?

I’ve been in recruitment for over six years now and, thanks to my previous career experience, I have in-depth knowledge of and practical experience within financial institutions.  I understand the roles that sit within these organisations – particularly insurance and superannuation – and the types of people that succeed in these environments.  Together, this means I’m uniquely positioned to connect people with jobs in industries that I know well.  Using my skill set, I’ve successfully placed both junior and senior candidates with national and global insurance and superannuation organisations throughout Australia.

What do you like about your job?

Helping people with their next career move is immensely satisfying.  It’s great to facilitate access to opportunities that people may not have otherwise had without our specialised support.

I relish the challenge of working in a competitive environment to source hard-to-find talent and enjoy working towards great outcomes for my teammates, my candidates and my clients.

I also value working for a boutique agency that takes real pride in what it does.

What skills do you need to be a successful recruitment specialist?

You need to listen attentively to candidates and clients, and negotiate with them as well.  Strong communication skills and the ability to build relationships and rapport quickly are also a must.

Working with specific requirements is a necessity when recruiting in a specialist field, as is the ability to think laterally.  You also need to be self-motivated and have a competitive streak while still being a team player.

On top of that, you need first-class time management skills, a strong ethical framework, and – importantly – a genuine passion for what you do and the people you meet.

In the world of Insurance & Superannuation, what are your clients’ expectations on candidate attributes?

They’re looking for career-driven, reliable, hard-working and team-focussed individuals with prior industry experience.  Strong communication and engagement skills are highly valued, as are people who want to establish a brand for themselves within the organisation.

For someone who doesn’t work in recruitment, what would surprise them most about the industry?

The industry is not as daunting as it seems.  There’s a perception that there’s a lot of cold-calling and sales activity, but it’s actually more about relationship management.  And there are some real benefits – you get a lot of freedom to self-manage and run your own day.

It’s an industry driven so much by effort (smarts without a strong work ethic will get you nowhere) and it’s certainly challenging and competitive.  However, it’s genuinely rewarding when your hard work helps someone on his or her career journey.

You also get to play an integral role in facilitating economic growth – placing top talent helps enable organisations to expand and, in turn, positions these organisations to employ more people.

What would you change about recruitment if you had a magic wand?

I would make sure all recruitment agencies were committed to acting ethically.  It’s something that’s central to our work at Rowben Consulting, and it’s a value that needs to be embraced industry-wide.

Mark Harris was interviewed by Ben Robinson – 2017