Hanna Thomas describes her team as passionate, driven consultants who believe it is important to find and hire the best fit people, to drive business and ensure success. They are business strategy partners for their clients and long-term career consultants for their candidates. Mint Talent nurtures talent across Australia, and APAC for both emerging and specialist roles.
No longer content with building businesses for other people, Hanna Thomas took the plunge and started Mint Talent, a psychology driven recruitment consultancy specialising in digital media, advertising technology and user interface/user experience. She tells us about the process.
You originally worked for a recruitment company. What sparked the move to start your own company?
Recruitment was my first role and ‘proper’ job out of university. As many of us did, I fell in to the industry. Having done a Masters in organisational psychology, I originally wanted a business consultant type of role but recruitment seemed to fit in many of those areas, so I decided to pursue it. I joined a small start-up company as an intern and gained exposure to many areas of the recruitment world, as well as growing in self-confidence and building resilience. After years in London, having worked across multiple different businesses and global clients, I was given the opportunity to launch the company in to the Australian market. At the time, I don’t think I realised how much exposure this gave me to running my own business, but essentially that is what I was doing. After a few years in Sydney I was really feeling the pressure of building a business for another person, so after huge deliberation I decided to resign and took some time out to regroup, re-energise and consider my future career. During this time I also rediscovered my passion in psychology and gained accreditations in two psychometric personality tools. From considering the use of psychology within the hiring process and some gentle persuasion from my partner, friends and family, I decided to take the leap and start up a recruitment business which also used and offered the psychometrics side to hiring.
How difficult was it to make that first leap?
I have done a few scary things in my life, from jumping out of planes and travelling the world solo, but launching my own business, not in my own country, was a pretty scary concept! I had a lot of support from my partner and friends here and of course the overseas support from my family, but I knew I had the determination and drive to make this work, or at least give it my best shot. I took things step by step, writing up a business plan, coming up with a name, and developing the website. I then worked on a strategy for new business, setting up a database and doing all the behind the scenes admin. Once I got into the swing of the day to day recruiting and headhunting which I knew I could do, I started to get my groove and things started to fall in to place.
What have been your biggest challenges?
I Initially started my business working from home (from a desk in my bedroom!). I am quite a driven and motivated person and so it didn’t take me long to get in to a routine, and I had to be strict on myself with the hours I was working, But that did mean that I started to blur the lines of work and personal and so my weekends could easily be spent sat at my desk and continuing to work. Even though I had more flexibility when it came to day-to-day, and so I could pop out and take a longer lunch, or I could go to that dentist appointment during the day, it also meant I allowed myself to work at all hours and didn’t really give myself quality time to switch off completely. Since bringing on a full-time employee, we now have an office in the city and so I have been doing much better and separating both work and personal life and I believe this has enabled me to work smarter, as opposed to just knowing I had the capacity to work all the time.
And your greatest triumphs?
One of my greatest achievements, has been building out a client base of exclusive partners. One thing I still find quite difficult as a recruiter is the bad reputation recruiters have in the market, this was the case in the UK and it is still the case across Australia and the APAC region. From this, some business owners tend not to respect the work of recruiters and so when they hire, they either try it themselves, or they use multiple recruiters who end up competing to put forward anyone they can, which means a lot of unwanted and unnecessary work for everyone.
Through the trusting relationships we have built at Mint and the proven work we have shown to our partners, coupled with the integrity and nimble approach we have to recruitment, we have managed to build many exclusive partnerships. These partnerships have a genuine connection and the hiring process tends to flow much easier and as a recruiter I can really focus my attention on working with the company, understanding their company culture, skill sets they need, and help them make the important hire.
What has helped you along the way?
It has been not ‘what’ has helped me but definitely more the ‘who’! I have found that if you are going to build and grow a business, you can’t attempt it on your own.
I continue to work with many business partners who offer support and advice, from other recruitment firms, to the wonderful Jessica Symes as my trainer and business coach, to my partner and family who support me all the way when days are hard.
What advice do you have for women considering going out on their own, or unhappy in their jobs?
If you are unhappy in your job, I would speak to people outside of your work and life bubble. Speak to career coaches, mentors, people within the industry, etc that won’t have biased opinions about your situation. Work out why you are unhappy. It could be the manager you have, the type of work responsibilities you have which don’t align to your values, or it could be the type of company you are working for.
If you decide you need to move on then you need to work out the right move for you.
The right move may be to stay, it may be to find the ideal role or it may be set up your own thing.
Don’t assume it is to work for yourself as it isn’t for some people. It is a lot of hard work, but it can offer life flexibility and ownership.
• To find out more, or if you're interested in joining the team at Mint Talent, go to www.minttalent.com