Working Tech Podcast with Bill Banham

Ian Kinsella 16.12.2017

A podcast about Morgan McKinley Technology with the event organiser of InnovateWorkTO, and co-founder of Working Tech, Bill Banham.

Morgan McKinley Technology Recruitment sponsored the massively successful InnovateWorkTO event which had over 300 people attend at the Mars Innovation Labs. The podcast is a great way for people to hear what we do here at Morgan McKinley Technology both at work and in our own time.

I am a pretty honest person with how I answer and even though I hate the sound of my own voice it's not a bad listen. You can listen below.

Questions I was asked are below. Enjoy!

1. So tell me, why Morgan McKinley Technology? Why was it founded and what key primary challenge does it address today? [2.29]

I guess Morgan McKinley is the global business, founded about 30 years ago. Morgan McKinley Technology is a recruitment business here in Toronto and we're focsussing just on technology recruitment. The reason it was founded is that there's a fundamental problem with finding tech talent, specifically in Toronto.

The challenges it addresses is to unearth these techies as the demand becomes greater and greater in Toronto, and inCanada. As I said, in the tech sector. 

Traditionally we would be more generalist. We'd have a 30-something person operation who would cover everything from supply chain to office support but here we're very specialised. That's a brief summary of it.

2. How do you differentiate your solution and services from your competitors? [3:43]

I get asked this quite a lot by clients when we're out meeting them. There is a huge market here for recruitment organisations for that exact reason that Toronto has a shortage. Companies need to find this talent and they use agencies and everyone wants the best bang for their buck and also the best service. The way we differentiate is not so much that we're totally new and totally different.

I would say that the reason we are different is that we are a bit more experienced than a lot of our competitors. What I found when I arrived in Toronto a few months ago is that all these VPs of engineering and IT directors all have the same problem - and that is that they're getting bad quality from a lot more junior recruiters out there - and it's not the junior recruiters' fault. It's simply that they're under pressure to hit their targets and they're sending perhaps resumes that shouldn't be sent. It's a quality thing.

Obviously we're Irish which I guess, some people think that the Irish have a great work ethic. The key for us it that we're new here, we're trying to put a stamp on things and we have a bit more experience and that's what has proven a success story to date.

Bill: Oh you're Irish! I thought it was some generic accent. I couldn't work it out.

Ian: For any answer to any question you can answer, 'Oh sure, we're Irish', and that seems to go down well. Especially here. There's so many Irish people here with relatives, grandparents and whatever. We got welcomed here with open arms to say the least.

3. Open a window into the mind of the average candidate your team works with. Any unique needs, communication styles or expectations around benefits that they receive? What have you've seen associated with top tech talent? [5:45]

Well, benefits are huge. If we were to go back even three years ago, you would find that it was a salary and bonus is what people would look for. And now, because of the lack of supply of really good tech talent there's a lot more that companies are offering. I'd go further than that as well. A lot of the really talented people look more about culture , CSR (corporate social responsibility), things that companies are doing behind the scenes for charities or the homeless. There's a lot more to it.

It's very rare that a really good candidate, if they have five or six offers, which can often be the case. They can really go through every benefit, each company, what they're doing and what their culture is like. I think the main thing for candidates that I'm seeing is not just monetary. It's a lot more. That's a big change from what it was three to five years ago.

It's cool as well. It just means that companies have to be much more creative and offer these really awesome benefits but it's not just about money now which is good. Don't get me wrong. It's still important for a lot of candidates. Some of the best guys that we've spoken to recently really look at the whole array of benefits.

4. How important is it for a successful hire that the candidate truly engages with the employer brand? [7:42]

Can the employee still do a good job [without getting what the brand stands for]? It really depends on the role.

If the person is not engaged in the company's ethos, it's fine...to a point but more than likely they won't stay. If you look at the average tenure of maybe a software developer in Toronto, it's quite rate you see someone who's stayed in a company for over two years which is crazy to me because I'm old school. I was in my previous company for five years and I'm here in Morgan McKinley for over six years.

I think if they are engaged in the company, the culture then they will stay longer and they'll be happier they'll be more productive as well. That comes down to all those things - having those benefits, cool policies and working for a product that you believe in. If you're not engaged you'll stay six months and look at something else. That's what I see anyway.

5. As we record this show, Morgan McKinley Tech is about to launch a series of guest blogs, video interviews, and webinars in which you talk with practitioners and thought leaders who like to innovate and disrupt. Tell me about Tech Talk Toronto. [8:58]

What we've tried to do in Toronto is create a bit of an online presence. One thing I can't really grasp is when people are talking or posting on various platforms, LinkedIn is a good example, they sound like robots. They sound like they're not even human!

Some of this stuff, I want people to see what it's like inside Morgan Mckinley. You can do that using various video interviews. We're doing another thing as well called Startup Life where we talk about the challenges that we face and it gives people insights into what it's like to work here. And it is. I'm a normal guy. Granted, I'm a director of a business but I still have the same challenges people have and we have a lot of fun in here which is good to show people, because we're recruiting. 

The Tech Talk Toronto you mentioned there, I'm really interested in speaking to people, real people, who are trying to do things a little bit different.

The next one we'll be releasing is with James Rodmell and he's talking about this crazy stuff now, cannabis technology which you'll see. I came home the other day and I had these things on my door. It was a food order thing but weed order so they can deliver weed to do your door. That's crazy! And that's going to open up a whole new industry so for example that's a disruption if you want, or an innovative new scene that's going to be happening in Toronto and we chat to him about that.

It's not just technies. They get all the show. They get all the light.  It's people who have to create cultures within tech as well. I'm planning on talking to a few HR leaders and people leaders because their job is so tough, trying to retain talent. That's the theme - chatting to awesome technologists, awesome HR people and people who are doing things a bit cooler, a bit different and are human. That's the key. They have to come across as, 'hey, look - I'm a normal person but this is what I do.' I think that's important.

6. You're supporting the upcoming InnovateWork Toronto event at MaRS. Why did you decide to sponsor InnovateWorkTO? [11:49]

It's great to be involved in this one and we went to the last one, as you know Bill. We found awesome people. The one thing is, everyone in that room had the same challenge and that's why we're in business. It's so hard to find talent, to keep talent. People were sharing ideas about how to do it, what worked for them.

What I really liked about it, and this is different from Dublin, maybe Europe, I'm not sure, there were technologists, there was HR, there was recruiters. A really good blend. You don't see that as much in Europe. You wouldn't see a team of recruiters mixing with HR people. It just doesn't happen like that for some reason and that's not a good thing. Over here I thought it was a good event and I'm looking forward to the next one. The next one in MaRS is going to be even bigger and better.

It having that mix, because everyone has the same problem. It doesn't matter if you're a tech recruiter or in HR as an internal recruiter for a tech company - same problem, share the challenges and it makes for a really interesting evening.

The next one is going to awesome for sure!

7. Obviously you and your team have been working really hard, but what exactly are you doing when you’re hardly working? [13:52]

Does that mean what we do when we're not in work? Is that what that question is?!

It's funny, I was thinking about this question this morning. At the moment there's three of us here and we're trying to launch this business but we do like to have a bit of craic, a bit of fun. As a team funnily enough we're all very much into music and the guitar. Last Friday we went to Derek's house and we were playing the guitar, having a few beers and just enjoying ourselves. 

That's not a pre-requisite by the way. If you want to join Morgan Mckinley you do not have to be a musician or anything! I think we have enough bad singers in the group at this stage.

I am into fitness, Derek plays a lot of soccer, Ben plays ball as well. Standard stuff. We enjoy ourselves, go out for a few beers on a Friday. Celebrate good wins. That's kind of it. Nothing crazy I guess.

Bill: If you ever need a background didgeridoo player, let me know. That's my secret superpower.

Ian: I play the guitar but I generally only play it after six beers and then I forget everything so I can play it probably badly after a few pints. It's a good laugh though.

8. I noticed you are running Boston Marathon in 2018 and are sponsoring Mooreland's Children's Charity here in Toronto, can you tell us a bit about that? [15:41]

That probably would have been one of the answers to the last question, for me personally. I run a lot. I got into running in 2010 basically because I was a bit out of control in my personal life. I was drinking every weekend and my mental health was quite poor. Since I discovered running I found that it really helps me physically and more so mentally.

For any one that runs, you can probably relate to this. If you go out in the morning, before you go to work, get an hour's run in and get some fresh air and your blood flowing. You feel better, sharper and I think it puts your mind in a better place.

And that's something that I've brought to the business. I do believe that you can have a higher performance if you look after yourself. High performance through well-being is something I'm a firm believer of.

The Boston marathon will be my eighth marathon. I like to do these things. If I can raise money for a well-needed charity like Mooreland's, I may as well do it. Hopefully we can reach about $1,000 or more. It's for a good cause. Like I said, I enjoy running for marathons anyway so if I can tie it in to a good charity here in Toronto then that's awesome.

9. How can we learn more about Morgan McKinley Technology? [17:30]

I'm pretty active on [social media]... on LinkedIn is a good platform to see what we do. That's an area where I share our content or our website or get in touch with me on LinkedIn.

We'll be doing more of these Tech Talks, Startup Life. Any one can reach out to us on any of those platforms and we'd be happy to reach out and help if we can.

Bill: Ian Kinsella, thank you for being a guest.

Ian: Thank you very much! That was great, thanks.

Ian Kinsella's picture
Director | Technology Recruitment, Canada
ikinsella@morganmckinley.ca