It’s afternoon and the sun is hanging at its highest point. We’re sitting around a wrought iron table at the back of the castle basking in the sun. Bert lives in Miami so is used to the heat, and I, in sun depraved England need this. I’ve had so many juicy conversations with Bert in between camera takes, that I’m so excited to finally sit down with him and sink my teeth into a good conversation. He’s the guy you can talk to for hours, and you’ll talk about everything from farming to business to sports, even the meaning of life.
Bert, how have you found it so far?
Extremely interesting. I love the rolling cameras and that it’s unscripted. I’ve been really intrigued by the competition between North America and Europe, and the relationships we’re building. It is a competition, but we all seem to be coming together to hang out.
Everyone is getting along so well.
Yeah that part is really, really nice. I like the format of this.
Did you have any expectations about this week at all?
No, because there was so much unknown that I didn’t know what to expect. In many cases that’s pretty cool, but in other case…
Ha, just a little anxiety. But it’s been awesome.
Who have you met that you’ve really loved getting to know?
What’s striking is that there is 50 people here, and we’re all here for the right reason and came together and started communicating. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Jerona, she’s outstanding. I met Jack last year and he’s wonderful.
I think the entire cast and crew are in love with him to be honest.
He’s just so authentic and cool. He’s not a young guy but he hangs out with us. It’s inspiring actually.
What have you thought about the candidates?
They’re all amazing. I liked the ideas, and we’re here as bosses and advisors, to help take those ideas and presentations, refine and polish them, so they’re more appealing to Karen and James in the final.
What was the atmosphere like on the first day you got here?
It was very relaxing. For me it was. Everybody was very approachable. I haven’t found anyone unapproachable.
Everyone seems to say that. Which is strange because when you get this many recruiters and put them in a castle for a week, that could go terribly wrong.
Well, there are egos, I’m certainly one. But at the end of the day there’s enough humility to understand the role that we all have to play and do what we’re here to do.
Just be a nice person
Exactly! It’s as simple as that.
How’s the collaboration going with the Americans and Brits? I mean historically, we don’t get on that well.
Ha! It’s been amazing actually. People have been very, very open and playful. Even though you have a natural built in competition, we’re in a spot where we’re forced to work on a project together, and going back to good people, we’ve all found a way to connect.
Will you take that collaboration outside Top Recruiter?
Yes! Absolutely yes! We’re already doing it.
What does The Movement mean to you?
Twenty years ago this industry was a place where, when people lost their jobs, they showed up and tried to do this thing called recruiting. The ones that we’re pretty good ended up staying. Now it’s moved to a place where people are actually looking to get into this business. We’re still well behind other industries, not as respected as much as we’d like to be. It’s on us to deliver value and help businesses understand where we fall on that value train, as they’re building their organisations. It’s not on them. If we don’t own that responsibility, we’re not going to move ourselves forward.
How many years have you been in the industry?
How has it changed?
Well, the day I walked in my office we had one computer in the manager’s office, then we had dummy monitors using a DOSS system. That was 1995.
I know, it’s crazy. The problem is in search the way we actually find people has changed by technology. But what I will say is, I don’t think there is any algorithm that will replace the high touch that is required to make executive search placements.
If you could give the candidates one piece of advice what would it be?
Find your passion, have fun, do the right thing. Regardless of what it is. And celebrate the moments.
What’s been your favourite moment so far?
Walking into the room and listening to the presentations. Because that told me, the game is on.
By the time we finish chatting business, we don’t move. We stay out in the sun and talk about anything and everything. Bert is one of those guys who you naturally open up to, you can’t help it. I suspect it’s one of the many reasons he’s so successful today.