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Insights Fostering strong relationships, championing diversity and building high performing teams

As part of our #PeopleDriveResults campaign, this week we have caught up with Garry Marks, Recruitment Advisor based in Vancouver, Canada.

Tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I’ve been handling all things “people and culture” for close to three decades. I align strategic human resources and recruitment plans with business priorities and work with hiring managers to acquire all levels of talent to suit their business needs.  I am responsible for fostering strong relationships, championing diversity and inclusion and building high performing teams.   

What inspired you to become a recruiter?

I have found recruitment (also known as talent acquisition) to be the fun side of human resources and the employment lifecycle.  In recruitment you don’t have to handle serious employee relations issues or terminations, instead you are responsible for finding great people for great roles—kind of like fitting pieces into a puzzle.  You get to play detective, matchmaker and negotiator all at the same time, while being innovative, entrepreneurial and positively impacting other people’s lives.

One of the greatest parts of being a recruiter is that you’re constantly bringing people together. It’s an opportunity to strengthen workplace diversity and inclusion, achieve tangible goals and challenge oneself through the thrill of the hunt for talent that includes networking, engaging with a variety of people and backgrounds and connecting them to the right role. It is deeply rewarding and emotionally satisfying work. 

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is being a strategic partner to my business groups, working with a variety of people with different backgrounds and talking to diverse candidates, learning about their career, motivation and skills. I enjoy helping them in their career journey to find their dream role which has such a positive impact on their life.  There’s nothing better than helping people find roles they’re passionate about.

What’s the moment you prefer in a job interview?

For me, the best part of an interview is when I meet candidates and learn what research they have done on the company, what their strengths and goals are and why they’re interested in the potential new role.  I like learning about their career journey, their “roadmap” and what path they have taken to get where they are at now and where they hope that path will lead them in the future.  Then, to determine how they can fit in with the hiring manager’s needs, it’s like fitting that final piece into a puzzle.

What challenges do you face in your role?

The candidate market is tight and sometimes in niche roles, there is a limited pool of qualified candidates.  Therefore, we had to be creative and change our recruitment strategy to be aligned with the market.   Sometimes it can be like a sport, there is a lot of competition in the war for talent that keeps recruiters on their toes.  It’s a challenge to keep up with what the competitors are doing, stay on top of the latest news and trends  and implement better new talent acquisition strategies.  A good internet connection and solid recruitment management technology always helps, especially with the challenges we face with the pandemic.  Many of us are working remotely and so having a good communication tool like MS Teams or Zoom allows us to connect with candidates more effectively.  However, there have been many times when we have had to help candidates navigate the technology, like when we have to remind them they are on mute.

What qualities are necessary to be a recruiter?

There are many qualities that are relevant in recruitment.  You have to be self-motivated, proactive and confident in your ability to negotiate and sell the company and job to the candidate.  A recruiter must be skilled in relationship building with potential candidates and hiring managers and be able to network effectively with passive and active candidates.  A recruiter must also have a keen understanding of the business and overall market, while keeping tabs on current trends and on top performers in the industry who could be potential candidates. 

Building trust and rapport is important. Make sure to keep your candidates in the loop. Follow up with them throughout the process, even if they were not selected. When candidates trust you, they are more open to future job offers or opportunities at your company.   As a recruiter you are the face of the company. You talk the talk about the values and understand the employer value proposition and sell that to prospective candidates.

What does diversity mean to you?

I have been a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion.  Diversity is representation from a wide range of traits, backgrounds and experiences. When we can connect and engage with individuals with different perspectives from our own, and we leave unconscious bias at the door, we can successfully achieve our overall goals. Inclusion is important as well; it brings a sense of belonging in any environment.  Think of it this way, “diversity” is being invited to the party and “inclusion” is being asked to dance.  

Why is AtkinsRéalis a great place to be?

I often hear that candidates come for the job and stay for the team.  Great people build great companies and at AtkinsRéalis Lavalin we have great teams that are ambitious, driven and focused.  The company offers a collaborative, creative, supportive and empowering work environment.  It’s really about the people here, the people make the company what it is, and we certainly have a great group of people working here who make it one of the leading engineering companies in the world.  People have an opportunity to work on exciting projects that not only impacts their role, but also the community they live in.

What is the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

A previous leader use to say to our team, “Give me the best of you.” Basically, what it meant was that whatever you do, give 100%.  If we give something our best or try our best, then we will most likely succeed.  We may make mistakes along the way, but that’s okay. It’s a part of learning and that is what makes us stronger.  We pick ourselves up and try again and give it all that we can. We give it the best of us.