Name: Jonathan Harris
Position: Partner. Heading up Australian & New Zealand Operation
Areas of Expertise: We work right across Sport in the region; Rights-Holders, Clubs & Teams, Wagering & Gaming, Public Sport, Retail & Sporting Goods and Media & Broadcast
Started with SRI: The Australian business launched in January 2010
Current Home: Sydney
Q. What were your highlights of 2011?
A. Enjoyed seeing the business really getting 'known' in the region. It was only our second year down here, and we have already formed some great relationships with clients and we are building our niche in the marketplace. We have now worked on a number of senior hires and high profile roles across Australia.
The greatest opportunity has been within the various Football codes and we have now undertaken a good number of assignments across the 48 football clubs and each of the major federations.
We have also proven that our global model works. I really enjoy supporting the importing of talent into the marketplace from overseas. Last year we led assignments that brought over candidates from such organisations as Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Eurosport, Endemol, Manchester United, Everton, Arsenal and Vancouver Whitecaps. Both ex-patriot Aussies looking to return home, and also overseas talent.
Q. What are your goals for 2012?
A. Continue this growth and employ a third consultant to assist with our increasing client base.
Q. What skills are required to maintain and grow an international network of sports industry executives?
A. In launching the business it become clear that there was frustration within the sports industry at the many generic corporate recruiters that did not 'get' the industry. It is important we understand the industry and the challenges it faces. We try and keep abreast of all issues in the business of sport besides recruitment and talent management.
I think you have to manage expectations, and deliver what you say you will. It is sometimes tough to manage multiple searches alongside generic applications. We try to ensure nobody slips through the cracks, something I was taught the importance of early in my career in recruitment.
Q. How many individual candidates would you speak to each month (ball-park)?
A. We are always updating and mining for talent. We would speak to an awful lot. We have built a local database of well over 1200 candidates in just 2 years. Added to this there are many ex-patriot Aussies overseas who we keep our eye on.
Q. What are the challenges of working in recruitment in the Australian sports industry?
A. As a single industry recruiter, the business of sport really is a global village. We are constantly party to sensitive information and must manage accordingly.
Q. What tips would you give to people wanting to make a move into the sports industry?
A. I think you have to recognise your experience and strengths and target appropriate areas within the Industry. We get too many generic applications from candidates sometimes believing they are equally relevant for 2 very different roles. You should instead focus on what you are good at and (tenaciously) target these areas.
Q. What are the most common mistakes you've seen candidates making?
A. A lack of preparation. A simple piece of advice is to read your own CV before you enter an interview. This ensures you are reminded of your achievments, and enables you to quickly provide substantive answers to questions around your background and skills.
Q. What are the most enjoyable aspects of working for SRI?
A. My previous career in Executive Search was across the Finance industry. Would you rather talk about sport all day, or talk about accounting procedures?
Q. Favourite sports to participate in:
A. I have played football all my life. I am getting too old though and should probably retire. I am also a terrible golfer.
Q. Favourite sports to watch:
A. Football (all codes), golf, tennis.
Q. What in your opinion was the sporting highlight of 2011?
A. The Ryder Cup, The Ashes, The Rugby World Cup.
Q. What will be the sporting highlight of 2012?
A. Bristol City staying in the English Championship just shades the Olympics.
Q. Non-sport hobbies:
A. My daughter Molly. Is that a hobby?
Q. Where did you go for your last holiday?
A. Gerroa. My favourite little bit of NSW.
Q. What piece of technology would you be lost without?