Relationship building remains the key in any market

In FastTrack’s latest In the Fast Lane newsletter, staffing agency owner Jarrod Hart shares how an emphasis on developing relationships and a bit of creativity is helping OnSite Recruitment win the battle for talent and continue to grow in an ultra competitive labour market.


Q. Jarrod, how has operating in a competitive, skills-short market impacted you and your business?

It’s probably the same story with many labour-hire businesses in Australia, if they’ve got the right practices in place. A lot of business development is to some extent, falling into our laps due to the large number of companies that are struggling to find suitable staff. It isn’t uncommon for companies that were working with just one labour-hire provider pre- COVID-19, to now be working with two or three. They’re just casting their net a bit wider and it’s going to happen more and more, for as long as there continues to be a labour shortage across Australia.


Q. What are you doing differently now to combat both, the fact that some of your clients are working with more than one agency, and that candidates are harder to find?

We already had a key point of difference from other labour-hire businesses in the market in that our RTO sister companies: Arbortrim Australia and Foresite Training deliver quality training, ticketing and licensing to the logistics, warehouse, transport, civil construction, arboriculture and horticulture industries. So we’re in a unique position in that we have a number of students regularly coming through our courses and OnSite offices each day, and we’re able to develop relationships with them and support their careers.

We’re also implementing new and creative ways to promote our services and find great candidates; we’re not just relying on job ads on Seek or Indeed. As an example, the team identified grassroots sporting clubs as a great channel to connect with local employers and job seekers and we recently hosted our first trivia night with Rowville Football Club. OnSite sponsored and ran the night – it provided a unique opportunity for us to get in front of people and let them know that we’ve got work available and there are plenty of options out there. They don’t have to search for work on Seek or Indeed, we are a reputable recruitment company looking to hire people now in the blue-collar field. Word of mouth is the key. We’re looking to gain some momentum in this space and have been approached to run events for other clubs in the coming months.


Q. The battle for talent is also impacting agencies internally. What are you doing to maintain a happy and engaged team at OnSite?

Our retention rates are strong so we must be doing something right! I’ve been in the industry now for 16 years and was taught the mindset of work, work, work, hours, hours, hours. Get in the office early and don’t leave before 6:00pm. And you know what, it was successful for a number of years. But one thing COVID has taught me is that you need to have flexibility within your workforce. You need to be able to talk to your employees and understand their needs so you can achieve a balance, where they’re still productive within the business, but can also enjoy a lifestyle outside of work. Whilst you cannot always appease everyone within a business, when you do afford some flexibility to your employees, they’re always going to be more efficient in what they do and they’re happier. If you have a happy employee, you’re going to get results.

Keeping the lines of communication within the business extremely open works really well for us. Whether it be a phone call, a Microsoft Teams hook-up, getting together in person, or interacting on client meetings together, we’re very much in each other’s face 5-6 days a week. We all know each other really well and try to do little things to create a homely feel in the office so people want to come into the office even just to do interviews or have a chat and build rapport.

You know, we’re in the business of talking and building relationships, so if we’re not doing it internally, how are we going do it externally with our clients?


Q. More jobs generally leads to more work and an increase in workload. Have you turned to technology to support your operations?

Definitely. I’ve been working closely with Fran from FastTrack on and off for the last six to eight months to improve efficiency within our operations. We needed to move away from our reliance on paper, and increase automation in our onboarding process.

We designed an online registration that enabled the candidates we wanted to onboard with us, to complete all of the relevant paperwork and information, via our website, with the end result of them being created as a Candidate in FastTrack, ready for interview. Almost all manual paperwork has been removed from our onboarding process. We’re literally saving trees and at the same time, saving our team a whole lot of time. I have to say, Fran has been brilliant to work with. You can tell she’s been in the industry for some time, and she understands our business. She is always willing to try different things to find the right solution for any problem we have. This support has been invaluable to our business.


Q. So face-to-face interviews are still an important part of your recruitment process?

Yes, absolutely, for all candidates where possible. You can’t go past a face-to-face interview, especially in the blue-collar space where there’s a big physical aspect to work. When someone comes into your office and you meet them, you shake their hand, you look them in the eye and you talk to them and you see if they’ve got the qualities your client is looking for.

COVID has taught us that remote recruitment is possible, but is it sustainable or best-practice? I would say no.

I’m always open to bringing technology and automation into the business, but I think you’ve also got to be careful not to become too reliant on it. Consultants need to maintain a personal connection to understand people and identify talent for a client. You still want your consultants to do all their screening by phone and to go out and see clients face to face – to shake their hands, build rapport, bring them a coffee and a donut, whatever it may be.

Building strong relationships and developing personal rapport is how I’ve built my career and it’s the foundation of this business.

I understand people – I understand what makes them tick and what they want, and I believe if you can put all those things together you can come up with a solution to the majority of issues that employers face.


Q. Jarrod, what’s next for OnSite Recruitment?

Big things are happening at OnSite. Our focus is on growing the business along the east coast. We’re looking to cement ourselves in Queensland – we currently have a satellite office but are looking for our own space and building a team there. We’ll potentially be doing the same in Sydney. We don’t want to be the biggest player in the industry, we just want to be the best.



OnSite Recruitment has been servicing the east coast of Australia with blue and white collar staff since 2013. Owners James and Jarrod both had the vision to merge certified training with labour-hire, which has been possible with sister companies – Foresite Training & Arbortrim Australia. 100% Australian-owned, their objective is to become one of the country’s leading industrial recruitment companies, committed to delivering on the promise to fulfilling their client’s staffing requirements.

To find out more about OnSite Recruitment head to


This interview featured in the latest edition of FastTrack’s In the Fast Lane newsletter. Read the entire newsletter here.

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