“…One of the best business lessons you’ll ever learn (from the game of cricket) is that adaptability, flexibility, and teamwork are necessary for any successful business,” says Chris London, of Pixel Products Inc. Rohan Sambandam, Managing Director at Simply Recruiting Inc., and former cricketer (he represented Malawi, Africa), agrees with London. His success tool kit includes four critical strategies:
Whether on the field or in the office, preparation helps us counter and manage life’s curve balls. Whether you are focused on a job interview, meeting with coworkers, or winning a cricket game, being prepared is key.
Cricket is a collaborative sport. Everyone on the team works together to win. Similarly, in business, a group of individuals work together to achieve the same dream. This allows everyone, from senior management to the most junior clerk, to think, act and move symbiotically.
3.Ethics, Accountability & Discipline:
In cricket, the entire team needs to be accountable to each other. In business, accountability is the ambassador of good will and corporate culture. Success is the by-product of working collaboratively together.
Tab Baldwin, the Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball coach, said it best, “If you’re not the hungrier team, you open the door up to your opponent.” If you want to stay on top of the competition, it’s in your best interests to be adaptable and passionate about never-ending improvement.
“My dad’s side of the family are all doctors; I always thought I would follow in their footsteps which is why I volunteered at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C. I loved the human side of medicine, chatting with patients and learning their life stories. However, when one of my patients would pass away that really affected me. After much soul searching, I realized I wanted and needed to have a career where I could make a difference and that allowed me to remain emotionally open. So what did I go and do? I chose an accounting career!”
This led to a Financial Management (Accounting and Finance) degree from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Rohan successfully compressed a four-year program into two and completed his Certified Management Accountancy Designation (CMA), now recognized as a Chartered Professional Accountancy designation (CPA).
“I have learned that entrepreneurs are idealists who require the support of specialists, who can see how the numbers, the operations, and the people symbiotically work together. As I climbed the ranks at Robert Half Management Resources, I learned how to see the big picture, as well as to look at things from both the clients’ and the candidates’ perspectives, to manage a team of other professionals, and to take into consideration both the reactive, operational side of the business and the proactive, strategic side. I also learned how to effectively communicate with non-accountants.”
At Robert Half, Rohan moved up quickly, from account executive to Assistant Vice President (AVP) of the Consulting Division (Management Resources). “Although I loved the work, even as a senior executive, I recognized there were certain things I didn’t have the power to change. This awakened my entrepreneurial spirit. I decided to hand in my resignation which triggered the one-year non-compete I signed when I joined. When the non-compete expired at the beginning of 2019, I started Simply Recruiting Inc.,” Rohan explains.
Managing Expectations & Building Trust
Rohan has over fifteen years of experience in recruitment, accounting and finance. One of his biggest challenges is managing client and candidate expectations. “I love being honest and up front as this builds trust. People don’t work for companies they work with other people. Trust starts with communicating what you are prepared to do and then executing on every single point. This builds credibility which in turn builds trust,” Rohan explains.
Rohan thinks of himself more as a business partner and less as a recruiter. “If a potential client just wants to just send me a job description, without sharing any additional information about the company culture, then this is very short-sighted,” which is why Rohan spends a lot of time getting to know clients and establishing rapport.
“Most long-term client relationships start off with a getting-to-know-you coffee. I want to know what keeps clients up at night and how I can help. I also recognize clients have high expectations and often don’t trust recruiters, many of whom play a numbers game. Fit is crucial because the wrong hire can do irreparable harm to the team and to the business.”
Up Close & Personal
Rohan was born in India, lived and worked in Africa, and then immigrated to Canada. “In India, it doesn’t matter how much education you have. It’s more about networking and your willingness to hustle, while holding as many number of additional jobs as are necessary to pay the bills. Creating opportunities and networking are in my DNA. We are all interrelated in terms of the services we offer and the specialties we possess. If you are a recruiter and only focus on making the sale rather than focusing on the people, then you won’t be successful. You have to do both.”
He comes from a long line of high achievers - his mom won medals in India, and was VP of a national bank in Malawi (Africa). When the family immigrated to Canada, she became a very successful Project Manager for a highly reputable Crown Corporation. Rohan’s dad was a superb networker and owned two successful businesses. “Both of my parents were determined, never gave up, and taught their kids right from wrong. My father taught us to think of every day as a new day, to have a positive attitude, and that both winning and losing are precious gifts."
What Rohan loves about owning and operating a boutique recruitment agency is that every situation is unique which makes his life very interesting. “Believe it or not, I even love cold calling. Even though I don’t have to cold call as much these days because most of my business comes from referrals, I seek opportunities to do so, because it truly is a humbling experience. As well, cold calling has taught me to ask good questions, to listen, and to give before I expect to receive.”
When he is not working with clients or candidates, you can find Rohan in the gym or playing an outdoor sport like soccer, basketball, or cricket. He loves being able to make a difference and to have an opportunity to play a role in each client’s and candidate’s happiness.
As a last word, Rohan says, “I get it. It is very disruptive to the business when someone leaves or there is a vacancy. I make it a point to focus on both the forest and the trees - placing the best, technically qualified candidate and whose personality fits in seamlessly with the rest of the team. For candidates, I always make it a point to provide as much information and feedback that I can. That way, even if the candidate doesn’t receive an offer, they have still received value from our interaction. I love the quote, ‘True humility is staying teachable, regardless of how much you already know.’ If I had any words of advice it would be this: Find your passion and then continually improve who you are as an individual and as a professional. Everyone has something we can improve.”
Suzen Fromstein is the author of Suits and Ladders, Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe - with a few jokes thrown in. Suits and Ladders was an Amazon Best Selling Book in the Career Guides C
Rohan Sambandam CPA, CMA
Managing Director at Simply Recruiting Inc
909 Mainland St.
Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 1S3
778 - 229 1814