This month marks four years in business for Kaliba’s founding Directors, James Kennedy and Greg Brown. We sat down with them and reflected on what has been key to surviving and thriving in the highly competitive world of tech recruitment, and what the future holds for this dynamic recruitment team.
4 years in business - some might say these are the make or break years when starting a recruitment business! What's been the key to your success?
JAMES: Given we are a business owned/founded by two people, it was and still is critically important that we are on the same page when it comes to company directives, strategy, goals and objectives. From day we have always been aligned, which has meant we have been able to have some decent success since inception.
Further to this, ensuring that team expectations are clearly defined and communicated to staff, ensuring that they are extremely clear, and there is no grey. Everyone within the business is clear on what our goals are, and are provided with the resources, mentoring and coaching and support that is needed for success as a customer-driven high-performing team, and with this they know how to do their job to an extremely high level.
GREG: Key to Kaliba’s success has been a constant desire to continually improve everything from ourselves as individuals but also the company's systems and processes. As James has already mentioned, we are very clear on regularly communicating our vision, our values and expectations, and this ensures that everyone is always on the same page.
But overarching all of this is the ‘calibre’ of the great people that have joined Kaliba; that is what makes the difference and has enabled our success to date.
So, why the brand name 'Kaliba'?
GREG: James and I were in agreement that we didn’t want to use our last names; we wanted the name to stand for something more. ‘Calibre’ was a word that resonated with us, as we felt that it tied in well with our ethos to provide a higher calibre of service, and would help with positioning the brand around our business values. 'Calibre’ wasn’t an available option and we opted for ‘Kaliba’. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Kaliba has enabled us to position the brand in a way that is more memorable. It's become quite a solid marketing aspect to the brand, it really stands out and is remembered!
What was the reason behind starting Kaliba?
JAMES: I guess like most recruitment companies the pair of us felt that we could put our own stamp on the way we do things and thought we would take the leap of faith and have ‘a crack’, so to say. Further to this, we saw a real demand in vendors struggling to secure top end cyber security talent so we knew that we could develop a really strong niche and build a business off the back of it supporting clients and candidates alike.
GREG: We wanted to start Kaliba as we really did feel that there was a gap in the market particularly working with CyberSecurity vendors of which we have built quite a solid niche. There was quite a demand and we felt with our style of service that it would really resonate with clients and candidates alike. So far, so good.
What's been your biggest challenge in business so far?
JAMES: I think being across so many different aspects within the business. Even as a business of 6 people there are still so many things that need to be taken care of. Billing is obviously still very important, but Onboarding, Training, HR, Marketing and Finance all need to be done, and without them the business wouldn’t function like it does.
GREG: As James has mentioned building a recruitment business can be challenging for many different reasons. All of that aside though, I think that finding great people to join your team is one of the bigger challenges that stands out the most.
How has Kaliba changed since you opened your doors back in 2016?
JAMES: The size of the office for one. Going from a room the size of a broom cupboard (literally not much bigger) to the surroundings of the Hub. On a more serious note though, the team has grown from initially two staff to a team of six, and the power of good quality recruiters is evident. We have a team that continues to grow and there are big things in store.
Further to the team growing, I think our processes have improved, we’ve had a redesign of our logo, our brand awareness (especially over the last 6 months) has increased, a redesign of the website, new CRM implemented, not to mention the repeat business we have got from most of our customers which is probably a sign that the business has matured to a level where we can start making strategic decisions off the back of customer acquisition and growth.
GREG: I think it’s changed dramatically, not only in size, but also with some of the new personalities that have come into the team. It keeps it interesting and it’s really nice to see some of the team grow and prosper.
Also obviously the surroundings have changed out of the initial office and we’ve been blessed with some natural light within our new office!
We're seeing a lot of change in the recruitment sector as a result of this year's global pandemic. What's been the key to surviving and thriving this year?
JAMES: As mentioned earlier, I think the key has been keeping things as normal as possible, albeit remotely. We still have our Monday morning weekly meeting, we catch up with our Consultants & Account Managers one-on-one every Tuesday and have a morning and afternoon huddle each day. We have had lunches most Fridays and had a food theme and caught up for a ‘socially distanced’ get together at Greg’s place a couple of weeks back to celebrate the four year anniversary of the business. Keeping things as normal as possible has proven to be a success.
Whilst the work volume hasn’t been as normal, it has taught us to work the roles we have incredibly hard which has seen us close at a higher rate than we normally would.
GREG: It really is a very interesting time in the recruitment sector during this pandemic. We can’t work at the office so we’ve tried to keep everything else as normal as possible. We dial into video calls with everyone daily, always supporting each other and motivating each other to keep focussing on the controlables. I think the key to success this year is staying close to your customers and really offering a top quality service.
Keeping connected as a team has been paramount to success.
What's next for Kaliba?
JAMES: Without giving too much away, we will definitely be growing. One thing for certain is that we will continue to develop our niches and serve our customers to the best of our ability.
GREG: As James as mentioned we are definitely looking to grow and further develop our service offerings. One step at a time, and undoubtedly we want to be doing an outstanding job for both our clients and candidates alike.
We’re committed to exceptional, quality service, which at this time is a foundation for our growth plans.
High 'calibre' relationships. High 'calibre' team. High 'calibre' service.
A common theme across every facet of your business, right from Kaliba's humble beginnings, to where you are today...
JAMES: Without the collective efforts of the team we wouldn’t be where we are today and we certainly wouldn’t have survived the last three and a half months without everyone’s contributions. So for that, we are truly grateful. We look forward to what is to come and we can’t wait to get back into the office with everyone!
GREG: A huge thank you to every one of our team here at Kaliba, we wouldn’t be where we are today without each and everyone one of you. Also want to say thanks to all the clients and candidates that have engaged Kaliba over the journey so far. We look forward to continuing to service you moving forward. So I’m very excited to see what the future holds.