The Expert: Jeff Aplin, What I Know About Head Hunting

Jeff Aplin shares his valuable insights with Avenue Magazine on what it takes to be an expert headhunter and recruiter.


Who: Jeff Aplin

Age: 39

Experience: After spending time right out of business school as a strategy and operations specialist at Deloitte, Jeff Aplin took over the family business and became Chief Operating Officer of David Aplin Recruiting – a company his dad founded in 1975 – in 2009. David Aplin Recruiting is one of the largest recruiting companies in Canada with profiles of hundreds of thousands of highly educated, upwardly mobile professionals kept in its database. Aplin keeps tabs on that top-tier talent and, when the time is right, woos them with high-powered jobs in the fields of accounting, engineering, human resources, information technology, legal, sales and marketing, supply chain management and office personnel. In 2010, the company placed 2,683 people nationally.


“Recruiting is one of the few businesses where there is a triple win. There is a moment when there is a positive burst of energy that comes from someone accepting a new job, an employer who is adding new talent and us being able to help someone find their passion.”


“Finding highly skilled and specialized people takes diligence. We find people who are performing well where they are but are looking for growth in their career. We seek them out before they actually begin looking.”


“We call them and ask how things are going for them professionally and if there is anything they would like to have in a job that they don’t have now. If they are totally satisfied with where they are, we respect that.”


“More often than not, there is something is a sore spot in their current job. Part of our detective work is finding out what that sore spot is and then using our professional judgment to determine if it’s valid. We probably wouldn’t deal with someone who was happy but just wants more money, because that means they would always move money.”


“Every top performer, every really talented person and every super-successful business person, has something they love about their job. That is what drives them.”


“It is rare that someone loves their entire job but there is usually one element that they are passionate about. Think about your best day at work and figure out what it was that put that spring in your step. It’s up to both managers and employees to build that into a job.”


“The culture of a company is important. That can come from earned days off, work-from-home programs or company rituals. It could be as simple as a monthly town hall on a Friday afternoon with beer and a Q and A with the leadership team. If it is something you can count on, no matter what is going on, it becomes part of the fabric of the culture.”


“Right now in Calgary, there is demand for human resources managers, information technology project managers, oilfield service engineers and join venture accountants. High-level executive assistants are also in demand.”


“Gut feeling is part of finding the right person, but you can’t base your decision just on first impressions. There was research done on the height of Fortune 500 CEOs that found the vast majority were tall men. There was a clear pattern, but no scientific connection between height and the ability to lead people, communicate, craft strategies or any of the things that CEOs do. If you want to use gut feeling you have to follow up and determine if it is valid.”


“My two worst interview experiences were on opposite ends of the spectrum. One person didn’t stop babbling until I told them our time was up. I’m not sure if they were on something, but I kept thinking their ability to listen and process information was almost zero. The other was someone who only gave one-word answers. I tried to draw them out, but they had very little to say.”


“Job skills that are universally important are communication and interpersonal skills. All things being equal, the person who is better to deal with is the person who will get the job. That applies to every job whether it is reception or accounting.”


Original SOURCE ARTICLE: Avenue Magazine