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E14 The Mentor w/ Alex Correa [transcript]

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

Alex Correa is one of the leading legal recruiters in the Brisbane market. She has built Alex Correa executive over 10 years on a relationship first approach, mentoring, countless lawyers through their professional journey in a conversation that aims to understand the trends. Technology is driving in the recruitment industry. Alex presents an optimistic view of the future of all knowledge workers by explaining how technology has allowed her to drive more energy into the mentoring side of her business in finding freedom to leverage these more human skills. She has created new revenue streams and delivered outcomes that keep her, her clients and her campus. This was a great conversation for me. I really enjoyed it. I hope you do.

This is an AI generated transcript. We find it to be reasonably accurate, and a helpful reference point, but it is not, nor is it intended to be, an exact transcription of this discussion.

Full video can be found here

Full audio can be found here


00:00 Open

01:38 Work From Home And Remote

03:11 Elevator Pitch

04:09 Recruitment is about relationships

09:02 Career Coaching

15:51 Equally Yours - Diversity and Inclusion Program

20:21 LinkedIn, Recruitment And Employment Brands

23:27 LinkedIn Tips For Candidates

28:13 LinkedIn Positioning For Organisations

30:27 Lawyers Changing Jobs For Career Progression

37:32 LinkedIn For Recruitment, And Limitations

41:05 Automation of CV Review

47:08 Gig Economy And Legal Services

55:56 Rapid Fire Questions

57:06 Tiny Desks

57:46 Alex is obsessed about . . . beekeeping!

Alister (00:01:18)

Alex Correa, you are the director and founder of Alex Correa executive. Welcome to the field trip.

Alex (00:01:25):

Thanks. Thanks for having me. Hi, my pleasure.

Alister (00:01:28):

Where does this podcast find you today?

Alex (00:01:31):

Oh my gosh. Yeah,

Alister (00:01:35):

Just physically. A little bit early in the, in the discussion for an emotional analysis.

Alex (00:01:38):

Feels pretty right from the start. Um, so I'm kind of enjoying this whole work from home thing. So I'm based down at the Gold Coast in the hinterland. Um, and so I do the commute to Brisbane a few times a week. So right now I'm in my home office, enjoying that.

Alister (00:01:55):

Oh, and you would be, um, and so you've got just to sort of, to flesh out that picture, you've got offices in the city as well, and you have a team that works with you. How does, um, how is the team operating at the moment? Is everyone remote? Um, is anyone going into the office?

Alex (00:02:13):

Yeah, so it's been quite interesting. We've got a team of four we're based at Market Street, just opposite Waterfront Place. Um, and we've the way that we've kind of structured ourselves is that we go in, um, a couple of days a week where it's, you know, we kind of all come together, but otherwise people are working remotely. Um, we've had one team member work, um, from Melbourne for the last eight years.

Alister (00:02:39):


Alex (00:02:40):

So working remotely is nothing new to us.

Alister (00:02:43):

So COVID really has perhaps refined the process, but not really sort of forced a new process on you.

Alex (00:02:49):

No, it's given us permission to do it. I think

Alister (00:02:54):

I think that's really well put. I feel the same way.

Alex (00:02:56):

Yeah. We don't need to give excuses to our clients.

Alister (00:03:00):

Yep. No, I think, I think that's sort of a very liberating thing. That is one of the things that that's changed. So Alex Correa Executive, um, give us the, give us the elevator pitch. What's that all about?

Alex (00:03:11):

Yeah. So, um, so we started about 10 years ago now, just a bit over 10 years ago, and we are a specialist legal recruitment firm. Um, we focus solely on the Brisbane and Southeast Queensland market, I suppose. Um, really what we do is we work specifically with legal professionals. So lawyers who are looking for, um, I suppose that career advisory piece, um, both in private practice and also in-house. Um, so yeah, so that's kind of the work that we've been doing and, you know, it is quite niche. Um, but it's, it's what I know. Um, I love to be honest.

Alister (00:03:55):

And, um, and so just picking up on that sort of that career advisory aspect of things does, is that a point of difference for your business as opposed to other recruiters or is it part and parcel of the industry these days?

Alex (00:04:09):

Um, I'd love to be able to say that it's part and parcel, but it's not. Um, I think I was pretty fortunate, um, in having been mentored by, um, I suppose, uh, a bit of a pioneer when it came to recruitment in Brisbane, um, that was Rob Davidson. So recruitment, and back then, it was really about, it was all about relationships. It was all about, um, you know, what it was that you could do to help lawyers understand what their opportunities in the market were, that you were really kind of partnering with them from a very early stage in their career and kind of supporting them through. So that philosophy kind of rubbed off on me. Um, and it really resonated with me, I suppose. So it was less about the KPI driven recruitment model and more about the relationship based one. So it's something that I've continued to carry on 20 years now in recruitment. Um, a long time

Alister (00:05:15):

Well, you're right, you're date stamping us both there, of course, because you and I met probably that length of time ago when we were both working in a big law firm. Um, so that's, um, th that's I find that quite interesting and, and I'm pehaps um, I'm, I'm shifting the order around of what we were going to talk about here, but I'm keen to understand how that relationship, um, management, so that you're building relationships with candidates. Um, but your, um, your clients are, I'm assuming the organizations that they will, that your sort of candidates are going to be employed by, um, at the end of the process, how, how do you balance that dynamic?

Alex (00:06:07):

Um, we're quite often asked, you know, where, where does the kind of focus and loyalty really lie? And the truth is that we are nothing without our candidate base. Yes, the employers obviously will pay a fee for the work that we do, but in essence, if you don't have the relationships with the candidates and that talent, you know, you really then a very transactional recruiter and you're then simply, and so that's where the difference is you really then advertising roles and waiting to get a response or headhunting and waiting to get a bite. So there's a real difference there where, you know, much like, you know, you and I met 20 years ago, I've worked with lawyers who, you know, I was supporting them as they were articled clerks and graduates. They are now partners of law firms, um, who might be looking for a change or might be looking to move in house and, you know, it's a relationship that they can rely on. Um, and so can I, and it kind of, and it does work quite fluid, you know, in kind of a fluid kind of way, because sometimes you'll find that they'll become a client, you know, the employer. So, yeah, but definitely it's more candidate focused.

Alister (00:07:28):

Right. Now. Sorry, just as we're talking about doing this from home, I think I've got the next door neighbours mowing the lawn and my dog's got out and he's barking. And give me one second just to go and, um, sort of sedate the dog and I'll be back in a minute. Okay. Sorry. Wait, we were talking about, um, this, the, the relationships that you're building, it was one of the, the areas, cause you mentioned it too, when we had the discussion before, um, when we were organizing this and I thought it was quite an interesting thing, both with that. Um, sorry, I'm a lawyer, so I'll use a term, but that, that conflict, the natural conflict that arises between your responsibilities from one, um, to the other. Um, but, but also in the nature of your business. So you've already alluded to these long-term relationships.

Alister (00:08:15):

So you've got repeat customers as it were, even though they're not your customers, but repeat, repeat candidates. Um, so you're, you're spending a lot of time, um, playing that mentor role for those candidates and helping them with their career progression. So, and I noticed as well, um, that an aspect you've developed an aspect of your business, um, that is, and you'll please, please correct me. Um, but it's, it's touching on that mentoring side, or it might be sort of corporate training that relates to those sorts of things. Um, am I reading it correctly that, that what your natural inclination was to how to run this has, um, has helped you move into those other areas? And, and if so, can you tell us a bit about those also?

Alex (00:09:02):

Yeah, absolutely. Look, um, I think the career coaching piece has kind of always been an element or a major part of what I do. So, um, quite often, you know, uh, we'll be in a situation where we're having a conversation with a lawyer they're, you know, maybe not terribly happy where they're at at that particular point in time. And what I find that's really critical is to kind of unpack what it is that they're not enjoying about their current circumstances, um, because there are obviously a lot of elements to it. So you do invariably find yourself doing that career coaching piece naturally. Anyway, if you're worth your salt, um, it's much like a lawyer.

Alister (00:09:49):

Yeah. There's ticking the box with that kind of thing as a means to an end. And there's finding a connection with that through your work that takes it to another place. And, and, and, you know, you made the reference to transactional recruitment. I'm guessing, I don't know the recruitment world, but I'm guessing that's, you know, that's a perfectly valid business model and it gets the job done and suits the needs of both parties, but you've just chosen to do it in another way. Parties, people. Oh my God, the lawyer just can't, you can't shake the lawyer bit.

Alex (00:10:18):

That's exactly right, because it's, it's, it's, it's definitely far more than just, um, taking someone from A to B you know, and, um, not referral network that repeat business only operates well, um, where you've been able to really make a difference to someone's career where they've considered an opportunity that would not have otherwise come their way. Had it not been for your ability to, to kind of open their eyes, to, you know, different areas of specialization, different, um, you know, different kind of, uh, options, um, that, that, yeah, a job ad is just never going to do. So I think there's, there's definitely a distinct difference.

Alister (00:11:09):

Okay. And just, you know, the, again, the, the 30 second elevator pitch around that different aspect of your business. So it's, um, well you tell me what, what, what, what is that, what's it called and what, what do you do in that?

Alex (00:11:22):

Yeah. Um, so I suppose it's that advisory piece.

Alister (00:11:28):

Yes. I'm sorry. Perhaps I'm misreading, but when I, when I look on your website, it's almost like a separate branded service or piece. Is that right?

Alex (00:11:37):

Inspiring career success? Yes. Is that what you're referring to?

Alister (00:11:41):

Um, sorry. Uh, maybe I'm just, um,

Alex (00:11:47):

Coaching definitely the coaching piece, um, is yeah, in many respects it is kind of is embedded in everything that we do. Now with Inspiring Career Success, what we're doing is we're actually offering that career coaching, um, uh, for, uh, uh, at a cost because we can't possibly, um, provide that career coaching to everyone that we meet.

Alister (00:12:13):

Otherwise you'd be having 25 coffees a day on an ongoing basis.

Alex (00:12:20):

And, and quite often, um, you know, there will be career coaching conversations that don't, you don't end up in a career move as such . You know, they've stayed with their current employer. We've worked on their development plan. We've worked on what it is to get to senior associate what it is to get to partner. Um, and so that, you know, I quite often say to my candidates, don't think of me just when it comes to making a, a move. Right. You know, there is far more, um, to what I can offer that goes beyond that. And I've never, you know, charged for that. Um, but this really puts, I suppose, a bit of framework around that coaching piece. Right. Um, and provides that service for those people who go actually, I want you to be my career coach. Right. You know, what I've, I've had you as a kind of trusted advisor for, you know, the past, you know, four or five years, I want to formalize this, you know, so this is kind of allowing us to do that. Yeah.

Alister (00:13:22):

And how did the employers respond to that? Do they sponsor, um, people's coaching, um, with you, for example,

Alex (00:13:31):

In some cases they do. And certainly that works well. And I think there's a trust piece in there where I've got the relationships with the firms, um, so much so that, you know, they know that I'm not going to want to then place that individual in a role that falls out of a career coaching, um, programs. So, yeah,

Alister (00:13:53):

Well, even if they're being selfish, I imagine, um, that they, the sooner they're aware of someone who's thinking potentially about leaving, um, the more they can do, if that's someone that they want to keep, the more that they can do to keep them there. And it's going to be far more, you know, again, selfishly and just dollars and cents, it's far more cost effective for them to keep a good performer in the firm than to try and go and find another.

Alex (00:14:15):

Absolutely. Absolutely. And then the other piece to that is also the goodwill that they instilled in the individual or in that particular relationship, because it may well be that they determined that, okay, look, maybe we aren't, you know, part of your longer term career plans, or what can we do to help support you in kind of finding what that, you know, next role is going to look like. Yeah. Um, and, you know, they go on to become general counsels and buyers of legal services and all of a sudden it just looks after itself. And that for me is kind of, you know, the pinnacle of, of a great employer, someone who's, you know, an organization that's looking beyond just an immediate employment relationship.

Alister (00:15:05):

Yeah, yeah. Again, there's good logic that sits behind all of that. And, uh, if you're talking about, you know, for example, Brisbane or Southeast Queensland as an employment market, or, or as a legal market, uh, it's far too small to be burning bridges.

Alex (00:15:19):

Absolutely. You can't be doing that. No.

Alister (00:15:22):

You mentioned just before we started recording that you're, um, cause this is a, The Field Trip is focused on the future of commercial real estate and the future of law. So technology and the impact it's going to have is, is something I'm always keen to unpack. And you mentioned something that, that I, I wasn't aware of that you either are about to release or have just released, um, a piece of technology into the market. Um, do you want to elaborate on that?

Alex (00:15:51):

Well, I'll talk about that. And I'll, I'll first just explain how it kind of came to be. Um, so we, um, are the exclusive licensee of a program called Equally Yours, um. It was developed in the UK, um, it's a game-based diversity and inclusion program. Um, and thanks to COVID, it kind of took us out of the workshop and classroom setting and has taken us into the digital world. So we've now.

Alister (00:16:26):

Why is that, that that's a service you offered before, uh, in, uh, an in-person, context.

Alex (00:16:32):

Um, in a workshop setting. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I'll just explain, I suppose, why a recruitment firm would be interested even in going down that diversity and inclusion piece, but, um, I suppose, you know, when we're trying to find the right talent for organizations and law firms, we just found that there was just this, you know, uh, a lack of understanding around that diversity and inclusion piece. And if people didn't look the same as us, or didn't talk the same, didn't go to the same schools. All of a sudden they would kind of put in the B category. That was something that I really just.

Alister (00:17:07):

Does that really still happen?

Alex (00:17:12):

It does. It does. Um, you know, and it's unfortunate. We still get the questions around, you know, where, uh, a particular person might be in terms of their, you know, whether they're looking to start a family.

Alex (00:17:27):

Um, and they may not necessarily want to hire those people. And I was really, I found that really jarring because, um, you know, I, I want to do the right thing for my candidates. I want to be in a position where I'm finding the right employers for them, but some employers with just not really understanding that, Hey, you know, this is about, you know, embracing talent in its, in its entirety, you know, whatever they come with, you know, whatever, uh, um, uh, you know, socioeconomic background, they may have been born into, um, what languages they speak, what religion, what, you know, sexual orientation they might be. And I just found that so many employers were kind of cutting that out of their talent pools. And I thought there's got to be something in this. There's got to be an education piece around it. Um, and so when I was in the UK, I came across this group who were doing this game, you know, that this kind of, um, what's it called gamification if you like of that diversity and inclusion piece.

Alex (00:18:31):

And I just absolutely loved it because they were doing it with law firms in the UK, very progressive law firms. And I thought, right, let's grab this. This is amazing. So we're still just at that very early stage. And obviously with COVID, it's kind of put a handbrake on things. Um, but, um, but we're certainly full steam ahead in terms of launching it and now it's gone digital. So we're able to kind of offer those workshops in a zoom setting, um, and where people are kind of maybe challenged a bit to flip their biases and, you know, prepare for difficult conversations.

Alister (00:19:12):

Have you found through this work that you've done, um, in this area that your, you can, you see visible change, so you made reference to some, um, you know, to some employers, you know, making statements or taking positions that, that, um, that you didn't think were, were fantastic. Um, are you seeing change there? Is this helping facilitate sort of the connection of people that might not have otherwise happened and, and opening minds a little bit ?

Alex (00:19:41):

Look it is. I think it's a slow process. Um, I think, you know, with everything, um, you know, the change is only really, um, the change really only comes into play when people are impacted, if it hurts their bottom line, all of a sudden they realize that in fact, yes, we kind of do need to consider, um, you know, female lawyers in that 30 to 35 age group, you know, um, we can't be kind of stifling their career growth because they've gone and had children. So I think we are starting to see change, but it is, it is slow. I won't lie. Yeah.

Alister (00:20:21):

Oh, well, uh, this sounds like a positive step in that direction anyway. Um, okay. So talking about our theme of technology, one, one thing I, I, I did want to unpack with you is how the world of recruitment has changed, say over the last five years, maybe even 10 years driven by technology. And when I look, um, like I haven't had a lot to do in my career with recruitment process, um, I've, I've either sort of gone and, and focused on people I wanted to work for and made that happen, or, you know, things have just evolved from one step to another. Um, so I'm on the outside looking in here to a large, um, to a large extent. Uh, but when I look at the market, I see one name and that's LinkedIn as being the biggest disruptor in the space. Um, certainly over the last five years. Is that an accurate analysis?

Alex (00:21:17):

Yeah, look, I think so. It's interesting. You know, some people might look at it as a disruptor. Um, I certainly see it as a bit of a facilitator. Um, I think the fact that we've almost got this, you know, having a, a database of professionals, um, was something that excited me, you know, 11, 12 years ago when I, when it was kind of first started emerging as a, player in the market. And I remember it being a real threat to a lot of recruitment firms at the time.

Alister (00:21:50):

A threat in their minds? As in they were worried?

Alex (00:21:50):

Um, they were worried, I think they were worried, genuinely worried about how this aggregator could kind of come into the market and potentially, um, remove that recruitment, um, uh, market completely out of the equation. I don't think that's happened. Um, I think that if anything, it's kind of facilitated, um, access to talent. Um, and, and, and certainly from an employer's perspective, it's given them an opportunity to position a brand. So I think it's done really well in terms of helping organizations build an employment brand, which I think is critical, um, and also allowed individuals to develop their own personal brand. So for me, branding is everything. You know, having an effective brand allows you to not only attract the right talent, but also be an attractive talent to be sourced, if that makes sense.

Alister (00:22:54):

Cool. Absolutely. Um, so let's just unpack that a little bit because, uh, I use LinkedIn a little bit. I'm keen to use that quite a bit more. I think there's, um, some great leverage that can be brought from it. So what are the, what would you, if you were advising, uh, what firstly, do you advise people on LinkedIn strategy as part of what you do?

Alex (00:23:18):

Oh, absolutely.

Alister (00:23:19):

Okay. So give us, give us the do's and don't send for, for, for employers and candidates.

Alex (00:23:26):

Absolutely. So from a candidate perspective, um, don't bother having a profile if you're not going to invest time in it. It does nothing for you. It does absolutely nothing for you.

Alister (00:23:39):

Just explain that.

Alex (00:23:40):

It allows you...

Alister (00:23:42):

As in, putting the time in upfront to get it established with information or, um, sort of constantly updating it, constantly posting, interacting all of the above. What, what, what do you mean there?

Alex (00:23:56):

Yeah, look, I think it's, uh, initially having that, uh, a strong profile on there. So having a good photo, I mean, that's really key and it's got to be a professional photo and making sure that it captures who you are at that point in time, not a photo that was kind of 10, 15 years old at somebody's wedding.

Alister (00:24:13):

I was gonna say, can I just add to that? Um, as, as someone who I think only ever had a professional photo done oh that's not true, but the most recent professional photo I've had done was when I made partner at Allens. And I only last year, I thought this is ridiculous that something five or six years ago, I've still got longer than that. Um, I've still got as my LinkedIn profile. So, so I changed that to be a bit, um, a bit more relevant and a bit more real, but I noticed so many people hold onto a photo from a long time ago.

Alex (00:24:45):

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Do you know that? I can tell what law firm a photo shoot was done at? There are some backgrounds where you can just tell and so absolutely maintaining a relevant photo is key - a relevant professional photo.

Alister (00:25:05):

Sorry. And this just might be my bias, but it certainly is my bias. Um, I think the standard professional photo, um, I think you can do better, like as, as an individual, not, not, you know, as you say, not, not a photo at a party or a wedding or something like that, but I think you can do something a little bit more interesting to stand out from the crowd, um, in a good way.

Alex (00:25:26):

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And there are certainly a lot of people doing some creative things. I think that's a good photo. We need a good photo. A photo, something that speaks about your personality as well is a good thing. Um, but keeping it professional, um, I think you'll see the, uh, you know, be careful about not placing your CV completely on your LinkedIn profile. Um, I see your LinkedIn profile as being almost a combination of, uh, capabilities statement that you might use in a tender document and your CV coming together. And the reason I say that is, um, you know, a lot of people seem to think that LinkedIn is just, uh, you know, an employment platform and it's not, um, the number, and you would know this Alister, the number of client, you know, organizations or purchasers of legal services or any other professional services get onto LinkedIn to find, you know, uh, you know, be it an engineer, a surveyor, a, uh, evaluation specialist. Um, so making sure that that profile speaks to your potential clients and your potential employees, I think is pretty important.

New Speaker (00:26:42):

Yes. And what about, what about ongoing activity on the platform? Because again, giving, giving my view, um, we were, we, um, Field, my business, and me personally are, um, relatively active and, and in putting things out there and have a certain theory around what works and what, what we should be doing. Um, but when I go to look at someone, if I'm evaluating a person, I see their online profile for me, seeing a, an interesting and current and consistent stream of engagement and posts and other things tells me a lot more about that person than the hard coded or fixed in time CV. Thoughts?

Alex (00:27:27):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, there's a difference you can, you can tell whether it's your marketing department, that's put up your LinkedIn profile.

Alister (00:27:36):

My marketing department has put up my LinkedIn profile, Alex, it's just not.. I work pretty closely with our marketing department.

Alex (00:27:46):

Yeah, no, well, you know, if you, as long as you're continually engaging with the audience on LinkedIn, you're commenting, um, you're putting up posts, you're sharing information. I mean, that's what the platform is there for. And certainly, you know, that that's where you kind of get noticed. Um, you know, at the end of the day, we're talking about a professional branding platform.

Alister (00:28:13):

And what about, um, uh, because I think individuals have a certain license to do things that are interesting or different. Again, there's always a line there. Um, you can step over, but there's a bit more, um, a bit more leeway for that to happen. What about organizations? What about law firms? Um, I'm not, I haven't seen a large law firm engage on social media in a way that is at all lighthearted or humorous or interesting. It's it's, to me, it seems like taking the, the tried and true manner of highly professional, um, deep thought, you know, that, that, that kind of image that they're looking to present it, and that's all good. That's, that's, you know, that's why people pay the big bucks, but I don't see anything different there. Um, are there people doing things different and, and even if not, do you think there is scope for those corporates to act differently online in that way?

Alex (00:29:12):

Yeah. Look, I think, I think there is scope. Um, I have to agree with you there aren't a lot that are kind of, you know, um, uh, maybe tapping into some creativity there and maybe they're seeing themselves a little bit differently. Um, I think you can still do that, um, with that professionalism and maintaining that integrity, but I think what we're talking about, uh, you know, law firms that are conservative by nature, um, and so protecting an image and protecting a brand will always, be kind of at the forefront of what they do on LinkedIn and you know what I mean, a lot of these law firms also have policies and guidelines in terms of what their individuals can or can't say. Um, I think a lot of corporates have that and you can understand the reasons why, um, and you know, and certainly, um, that's going to be somewhat limiting. Um, but, um, but yeah, I'm seeing some, the ones that I'm seeing being far more creative in that space definitely are those agile kind of niche businesses that might, yeah. It might be kind of, yeah, they're positioning themselves as innovators, as, you know,

Alister (00:30:27):

We certainly see it as an opportunity. Um, you know, we, uh, for, you know, the very narrow line of services that we offer, we are in competition with, um, with big law firms. And I see there's, there's a number of years where we can position ourselves in an entirely different and fresh way while still maintaining that level of, um, professionalism. Uh, and so we certainly looking to, to exploit that, um, if I can just bring it back to talking more about the impact of LinkedIn on, uh, on the market and just a few things that you said made me, made me think that, um, do you, now that there is this tool where, you know, to a large extent everyone's online professionally, so you can find candidates very quickly, um, and candidates can, you know, there's is a mechanism through which engagement can happen. Has that created more turnover of staff. Do you think that's been a catalyst for more turnover? Turnover is probably a bad way to put it, but you know, people being a little bit more proactive in career progression and perhaps making one or two steps more in a five or 10 year period than they might otherwise have.

Alex (00:31:38):

Yeah. Well, I suppose there are kind of two elements there because I think about, you know, this kind of next generation of, of, of, um, lawyers and their appetite to want to develop and progress probably at a faster rate. I think that's just, you know, that that's to be expected that they will probably move maybe a little bit more frequently. Um, and, and, you know, when I think about it, um, it, a two year stint is not that uncommon anymore. So I do think that,

Alister (00:32:12):

And can I just ask on that, is that, um, is that a movement in the market across the board, or do you see generational differences in the frequency of change?

Alex (00:32:22):

I think it is, it is generational to some extent, um,

Alister (00:32:28):

That's an appetite for progression that's driving those changes. So it's not someone, you know, this cliched older to younger view of, Oh, you know, they're not taking things seriously. So they're of bouncing around from, um, from one to the other. It's, it's, it's quite the opposite. It's I am focused on getting to this goal and I think, um, staying in the one place might get me there, but if I'm a bit more proactive, I can make leaps forward as well as sideways and get to that end goal more quickly.

Alex (00:32:57):

Absolutely. And I think one thing that I'm having to constantly put a different lens on is the two year stint versus the four years stints. You know, if I've got a lawyer that stayed in role for four years, worked for the same partner, same clients doing the same work, and I've got a lawyer who's moved twice in that same four year period, but has evolved, developed and grown, well, I'm probably going to go for the one that's developed and grown, whether they've stayed in the same job or not. So, so I think we've kind of got to look at the shorter stints a bit differently.

Alister (00:33:40):

And are employers doing the same?

Alex (00:33:42):

Um, look, I think that's kind of where we come in. Um, certainly in terms of...

Alister (00:33:47):

The coach, the employers...

Alex (00:33:48):

Well, it's that influencing them around what an individual may or may not have done during their tenure at an organization. So for, certainly for our team, we're really focused on making sure that we're embedding ourselves in that kind of, you know, recruitment stage that allows us to influence and then advocate not only for that particular individual, but also for the employer. And that's the piece that you don't get if you're going to transactional. If you're looking at a LinkedIn and someone's, you know, an employer has posted an ad, an individual has responded and that individual has particular career needs that they're looking for, but having those conversations directly with the recruitment manager internally may not quite be satisfied. Sorry. So, yeah, so there's definitely, there's definitely some change there that we're seeing employers, um, you know, embrace in and around their views on tenure. Um, but it's a hard one and you can imagine there would be some partners of law firms that wouldn't quite see it that way. They're just looking for long-term stability because that tends to dictate that I'm going to have a stayer, and that's not necessarily what you want. You don't want someone who's just going to stay and be satisfied.

Alister (00:35:25):

Well, some partners, that, that, that does suit their needs. Um, that's interesting. I'm just, as you're explaining this, I'm reflecting on my own journey I've had, including the business I'm now trying to build, Field. I've had four different employers over 20 something years of, um, of work, but in each of those and broken into chunks of, you know, five to seven years each of them, um, but within each of those, there was always a, a desire to go on, not, not necessarily to the next, um, pay grade, but to go onto the next learning the next skill, um, the next experience. Uh, and so I could never sit still for probably more than a couple of years at a time. And so I would do something, I'd do it as well as I thought I could, and sure another five years I'd be that much better, but I think the incremental improvement with time falls off and then that just, you know, would, would drive me to be going and looking for something that, where the learning curve is a bit steeper.

Alex (00:36:31):

Absolutely. I think that's fine. I look at my own experience, you know, when I first started at Freehills, Freehill Hollingdale and Page, if you remember.

Alister (00:36:42):

Oh, I remember. I was15 at the time though, Alex.

Alex (00:36:45):

Um, but yeah, I was there for six and a half, seven years, and I tell the story about, you know, knocking on the door, kind of at the anniversary of my, you know, um, employment there kind of going, okay, what's next, what's my, what's the next challenge? What can I kind of grow into now? And, you know, having kind of started as, you know, a photocopy clerk to then L&D and then HR. I mean, that was, that was for me, that, that kind of growth. And that's, I think as long as you have that, um, in a role, in a long roll, then fine, I think that's fine.

Alister (00:37:25):

Often hard. The runway tends to, can often run out though.

Alex (00:37:28):

That's true. And then that's the point where you kind of go, now I need to exit stage, right?

Alister (00:37:32):

Yeah. Okay. Um, just one more question on, on LinkedIn, has it facilitated more direct engagement between employers and employees? Um, I'm hearing a lot of things that you do that even if a large organization provided the service in name, um, the fact that you're external and come with a different perspective, I think there's, you know, a value there to be difficult to replicate, but as you've also said that you're not, you're not the average of the legal market, or of the legal recruitment market or you're not the, um, um, reflection of the, the entire market. So has are companies engaging more directly? I mean, the platform facilitates very, um, focused and accurate targeting. Um, and, and I see organizations, you know, all the time fronting that much more than recruitment has it changed? Um, that, that framework,

Alex (00:38:31):

Yeah, look, I think it, it definitely has. Um, and I think the value of the internal recruitment team has a lot to do with that. The more experienced and sophisticated they are, the better results they get is the truth. Um, you know, just being able to access people on LinkedIn, isn't, uh, uh, a, um, a saver of, of recruitment spend, um, because ultimately if it's not the right hire, you'll pay for that, you just won't pay for it in the way that you might think, but you'll pay in terms of turnover, impact on culture, all of those things. So, but there is, there is definitely been a positive step forward in terms of giving some organizations access to talent for sure.

Alister (00:39:23):

But you're still pretty busy. The good ones aren't finding difficulty. Um,

Alex (00:39:29):

No, no. It's been 10 years and, you know, we're still growing strong. Um, and like I said to you, I think it's that, uh, it's the advocacy piece that, you know, you, you can't, you can't embed that into a recruitment platform. No.

Alister (00:39:47):

Not yet.

Alex (00:39:47):

Searching and coding will only get you so far, but having the ability to kind of present people with different opportunities, um, you know, I've had, you know, for example, I've had commercial litigators, um, who have moved into, uh, construction, um, and engineering in-house, um, because their particular skillset was something that was would, you know, transition across well.

Alister (00:40:16):

Because everyone messed things up.

Alex (00:40:21):

Yeah, well, they would never have applied directly to a role like that. I would never imagined an opportunity like that or those commercial litigators moving into professional indemnity, you know, it's, they're probably not alive to those opportunities. Um, but also from the employer perspective, understanding that those individuals have a skillset and have some experience that could be of value that, you know, if the wrong person is reviewing the CV, or if they're letting the recruitment platform, just give them CVs that say professional indemnity, they miss out on an entire piece of that talent pool. Um, which is where I'm quite happy to say, we kind of come into the equation.

Alister (00:41:05):

Um, one question there on, you know, the, the automation of CV review, um, to, to what extent does that filter the work that you do? Um, and, and what do you hear, uh, around the, around the industry generally about that? And by that, I mean, um, so the comment I was going to make, when you were talking about, you know, there's always going to be a role for that, that piece that you provide is really, I think the story of technology generally at this point, um, in the sense that in, in services based industries - recruitment, the law - um, there's process can be replaced to a large extent by technology. And it's not technological capability that's holding back that change. It hasn't happened everywhere for other reasons, but there's the capability of doing that. But then that gives life to, um, what some would argue are what can easily be argued are more valuable things for human beings to be, um, to be paying attention to.

Alister (00:42:16):

Um, so, and your, your story seems, you know, bang on consistent with that, but then I, hear, again, I don't have first hand experience with this, but you know I do read things about, um, this automated CV vetting that happens where, you know, whether it's machine learning or just an algorithmically based analysis, they're looking for certain, you know, certain patterns, keywords, all these other things where you might a human being might not eyeball your CV, and you might feel like your, um, not get it, you know, your being, the opportunity's being taken away from you. Is that, is that a thing that you see in what you do?

Alex (00:42:53):

Yeah, absolutely. Um, I hear about it all the time. I hear about it all the time where individuals have, and this is kind of the piece, right? They've applied directly to an organization, maybe a really large organization. Um, they've applied directly. They've, you know, their CV's kind of been, you know, put through the machine, if you like. And, um, someone's kind of looking for keywords that are in the PD. And if they aren't in the CV that didn't get brought up, right. I've had general counsel say, I just don't get how I was not shortlisted for that role. I just think you're absolutely right. I can't work out why you weren't. Um, but looking at their CV, I can see why not. And it's an absence of those key words that, you know, they kind of, you know, that one CV that has served them well for years on end doesn't mean it's going to serve you well now with, you know, AI in the mix. Um, you've really got to adapt your CV to make sure that it is going to be picked up for the roles that you're applying for. So if you're applying for a role where there's a focus on, on risk and compliance, there's focus on insurance, um, making sure that you're teasing those words out, or you're directing your CV.

Alister (00:44:16):

I was going to say, is it a, is it an exercise in mirroring to a large extent?

Alex (00:44:20):

Absolutely. It has to be. As long as it's genuine, if you've had that experience. But what I tend to find is that, um, lawyers kind of, you know, if they have got their specialization, they'll identify as a corporate M&A lawyer, or they'll identify as a workplace relations lawyer. Um, but in fact, as a workplace relations lawyer, they may have been involved in a due diligence process for a major acquisition. Well, talk to that language. Make sure that that's in your CV. um, if that's what the role that you're applying for is calling on. So yes, that mirroring absolutely a hundred percent, we call it mirroring and peppering. You see?

Alister (00:45:04):

Okay. So hold up the mirror and do it, do it often.

Alex (00:45:09):

Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. And the other piece is it, sometimes it doesn't necessarily have to be a machine that's, you know, the intelligence kind of looking for those keywords. Sometimes it's a junior recruitment person that's given the PD and told to shortlist based on that PD.

Alister (00:45:27):

Yes. Yeah. And, and look, arguably, um, the machine may be better tasked at doing a first cut than the junior, in some instances. And again, coming back to the, you know, the story of technology's impact on services industries, um, sorry, uh, however to describe that, um, uh, mental blank, um, knowledge work. Yeah. So, so that, those kinds of things it's, you know, I always joke that every, every partner in a law firm says, yes, technology is going, like you imagine, technology is like that the tide coming in, it's going to come in until my toes, get wet, but it will go no further. Everyone thinks that technological advancement will stop at their skillset. Um, interesting.

Alex (00:46:11):

Yeah, but it's adapting. Right. And if I can just make a point we've been operating for 10 years, um, and in that 10 years, we have gone through three upgrades of our CRM and we're just about to go third upgrade into our website. Right. And the reason why there's an, it's not about aesthetics, it's all about functionality and the ability to, to make better use of that AI so that I can spend time doing the things that I enjoy doing, which is the relationship building bit with my clients, with my candidates and, you know, really getting to the heart of what they need versus, you know, searching for CVs and looking for keywords. My database can now do that. Right. And then I'll want to engage with you and understand where you're at and why an opportunity makes sense.

Alister (00:47:08):

Okay. Wait, I'm just keeping an eye on the time here. We're getting close to time. There was another big area that I was keen to talk with you about. Um, I have, and, you know, in a nutshell, the gig economy, how is the gig economy going to impact on the legal services market? And some things that, um, you know, some clear changes that I can see, are happening in the market and, and that we have engaged with in terms of what, um, what Field does as a business, uh, organizations like Lawyers on Demand, um, and there are others, but, um, providing, uh, secondment-based shorter term based, uh, legal roles for corporates, primarily, if I'm understanding that correctly, you might, um, correct me and also in larger firms having their own lower cost pool of lawyers to do some more of the, um, the, the lower level work. I'm trying to think of a nicer way to say that, but, you know, it's, um, a contract review, uh, you know, discovery that, that, that kind of thing, um, I'm keen from your perspective as a recruiter, how that just generally, how you see that impacting the market, but also how it impacts your business and the recruitment business.

Alex (00:48:27):

Um, yeah, it's an interesting question. It's actually not really impacted our market to, to the extent that you might think. I think it really, if anything, I think it's actually satisfied that contractor temp market, which in Brisbane really didn't exist. I think certainly down in Sydney, there were a lot of like a recruitment firms that did do quite a lot of that. Um, you know, uh, short-term contracting work alongside permanent recruitment. Um, for us, it certainly didn't have that impact, but I think personally, I think it's a win-win because it's just providing, certainly from a candidate perspective, it's giving people flexibility. Um, in pre COVID times, it certainly gave them flexibility to do shorter term contract work and, um, to, to kind of get involved in that freelancing aspect, which really, if we look at our market here in Australia, it's, it's not as big as what it is in the UK.

Alex (00:49:31):

Uh, you know, I went to the UK a couple of years ago and, you know, one recruitment firm was telling me that they had 500 lawyers out on short-term contracts. That's huge. Um, and so when you kind of consider that we really haven't been impacted because the market wasn't there yet. Um, but I think it's giving people different opportunities, um, to experience law in a different way. So I think that's a good thing. So certainly when I'm talking to lawyers about career options, if they're looking for that flexibility piece, then, you know, I'm certainly happy to kind of drive them to that, um, uh, you know, career option. I think it's a good one.

Alister (00:50:10):

All right. Do you have any thoughts on where that might go and, and just to sort of to seed that conversation or bias that, that the, the question, um, people, you often hear the phrase, you know, the Uber of, or Uberfication of, do you, and that is, and I've seen it used in a legal services context, which is quite misplaced, I think because, um, the, the framework, the framework that exists to allow someone to jump on their phone and start going and driving and providing services, to someone is entirely different to someone being put on a short-term placement where the friction of engaging in the role and stepping out of the role is like exponentially greater. Do you see though, a greater efficiency in that, um, fragmentation of work, uh, and connection with people in a far more seamless way, do you see that happening in legal services? Clearly you can see, well, you know, by asking the question, you know, what my view is, but I'm just, you come from an entirely different perspective, but what do you think?

Alex (00:51:18):

Well, I think so. I think there's definitely a place for it now. I feel like it's going to grow because I think the more sophisticated corporates become about how they satisfy their need for legal service, the more they'll look to different oppor, you know, options, um, like this particular one, because if anything, it kind of allows them to, um, you know, someone used, um, the term, the accordion model, you know, and if you think about legal teams kind of needing to kind of contract and expand based on the particular lifecycle, the business life cycle that an organization might be in, I see that there's, that need to kind of just expand the, the resource pool, um, and if you're doing it, um, through that means, and I think that's, that's a good thing. And, you know, law firms aren't that one-stop shop that they used to be, um, 10 years ago. And I think they know that that's why I've kind of developed these, um, these new arms to, to their business. So I definitely think there's a place for them and I, I feel like that's potentially going to grow.

Alister (00:52:36):

Yeah. I think it's going to be interesting. I, I, um, yeah, when I make the comment about people underestimate the sophistication of a platform like Uber, where people can connect in and out of work so seamlessly. I think if you look at how, you talk about the accordion model, it's, it's one thing to be bringing on people and then, you know, people fit your short term needs. So your, your, you know, your total head count goes, goes up and down with much more frequency, but that is not, I think, akin to what, you know, that a very structured technology based model looks like. Um, and, and I think there's is far more fragmentation of services. There's far more, um, anonymizing of the service. It's something that gets provided through a platform, and you're not your headcount doesn't change. You're simply saying I have a need for this service.

Alister (00:53:32):

So I'm going to turn that tap now, and that will come through. And yes, there are people that sit behind all of that, but the service I get at the end of the day is delivered perhaps a bit differently, but it's solving the need that I had that I otherwise in the past would have had to do by, you know, increasing and decreasing my head count, um, with a bit more agility than, than before. But that's, um, yeah, that, that's, that's a whole other conversation now. I think it hasn't happened yet. I think it's got a long way to go. I think it's much harder than a lot of people give it credit for, but I, I can see those kinds of changes being a bit more prevalent.

Alex (00:54:04):

Absolutely. And white labeling, we're seeing more white labeling.

Alister (00:54:09):

Um, I, I think even amplification is a bit more, um, of a way to think about it. I mean, one, you know, one thing that I, and there's a slight concern that I have as somebody who's interested in the well being of the profession, but, you know, if I look to, to give you an example, if I look at conveyancing, um, so residential conveyancing, and if you ask yourself the question, how many, how many small to medium law firms in, pick whatever market, in the Queensland market, would be able to open their doors tomorrow, if conveyancing as a revenue stream simply disappeared. Um, and, and I think the impact would be quite profound. A lot of firms do rely on that line of work as straightforward and as process driven as it is, they rely on that for their, you know, their ongoing sustainability.

Alister (00:54:57):

My view is that the bulk of residential conveyancing will be done on a mobile app in a five to 10 year period. And it's the kind of thing that, you know, that it's the frog boiling analogy. It will happen slowly, and then it will just happen. And others in the market, perhaps at the, at the more pointy end will look at that and go, well, that doesn't really affect us, but the same principle I think can come through, um, in other ways. So I'm, you know, I'm, I'm trying to be part of that change, but there's, there's, uh, no, I don't, I don't want to end on a downer note, but there's, there's a challenge here that the profession has to look at and, and face because I think it, it, in that five to 10 year window, I think things might look quite different. That's it that's end of may being gloomy. I promise I'll stop there. Um, so we are, we are coming very close to the end of our time, Alex. I want to, um, as I told you, you are, you are a guinea pig in something new that we're doing on the podcast now. Sorry,

Alex (00:55:54):

Really nervous.

Alister (00:55:56):

No, nothing to be nervous about. So I just want some rapid fire questions. They really just, you know, a or b type questions. You don't need to think about it. I'm not trying to catch you up. So let's, let's see how we go. So, and you, you might've answered some of these already, um, coffee or tea,

Alex (00:56:12):


Alister (00:56:13):

What's a known vice - things that others would know.

Alex (00:56:18):

Uh, food foodie.

Alister (00:56:20):

An unknown vice?

Alex (00:56:21):

Uh, Oh my God. You've got me on this.

Alister (00:56:28):

Pass. I'll give you one pass.

Alex (00:56:30):


Alister (00:56:30):

Chocolate. How do you unwind?

Alex (00:56:34):

Oh, um, bushwalking,

Alister (00:56:38):

Make sense. Social media platform you spend most time on? Excluding LinkedIn.

Alex (00:56:42):

Oh, excluding LinkedIn.

Alister (00:56:46):

Yeah, that's not fair is it.

Alex (00:56:46):

Um, instagram.

Alister (00:56:46):

Okay. And do you, do you consume or post or both?

Alex (00:56:51):


Alister (00:56:51):

Right. Um, audio or video?

Alex (00:56:53):


Alister (00:56:57):

And a media recommendation, TV movie, YouTube, YouTuber, podcast? This is your last question.

Alex (00:57:06):

Oh my gosh. Um, right now, Oh my God. I have to tell you Tiny Desks. If you've not heard of Tiny Desk, you need to get onto Tiny Desks, big mini concerts. They're incredible. You'll find it on YouTube.

Alister (00:57:22):

Tiny Desks. Uh I'm I'm, I'm, I'm looking at it, right. Well, I won't do it now. Cause then people hear me tapping a little bit. I'll I'll certainly have a look at that now, now for the final question, which is the question I ask everyone, uh, I asked what people are obsessed about. So what thing, whether it's big or small outside of work and family just takes up much more time than it probably should that others may not know about?

Alex (00:57:46):

Yeah. Beekeeping.

Alister (00:57:47):

Right? Tell me about that.

Alex (00:57:51):

So it's a fairly new interest of mine, but I've got my Flow Hive. Um, I don't know if you've heard of Flow Hive. Yeah. So I've got a Flow Hive box and, um, I've already harvested, I think probably about five or six kilos of honey. And I'm just about to harvest them. Yeah. Probably in the next week. So I love my bees. Um, nothing, um, is more meditative than yeah, being around my bees.

Alister (00:58:27):

That sounds awesome. Uh, our eldest boy in particular, I think has, has spoken, like he loves outdoorsy handsy kinds of things. And we've spoken about looking at that. We might sort of bring that a bit further up the list. It sounds like he might get into that and enjoy it. Although perhaps not, perhaps not for suburban Brisbane, I'm not sure how that works.

Alex (00:58:46):

No you can. Absolutely. Definitely. People have them in suburbia. Absolutely. And they're quite compact. They're amazing Australian business. It's an abs... It's a success. They've got about 150,000 boxes worldwide.

Alister (00:59:03):

Well, there, there, there are two things you've left me with things to do. So, um, that, that's awesome, Alex, I really enjoyed this conversation. I've learned a lot, both about your industry and about you as well, which is, um, one of the real bonuses of this. I get to understand the people that I know and respect in a way that I, um, that sometimes you don't quite get to. So thank you for your time.

Alex (00:59:24):

Pleasure. It's been fun. Thanks Al.

Alister (00:59:29):

That was Alex Correa, director and founder of Alex Correa Executive. And I am Alister Fitzgerald, the CEO of Field. We are the leading solution in the Australian market for lease portfolio due diligence. If you are buying or selling commercial real estate assets, or a law firm, advising such parties or a tenant looking to better understand and leverage its lease portfolio, or even a transaction advisory firm regularly dealing with large quantities of leases. Let us turn your leases into action. Find out more at Thanks again for listening. Catch you on the next episode.

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