Bill Vlaad: Vlaad And Company Connecting Exceptional Talent With Highly Sought-After Finance Roles

This article first appeared in Made in CA.
By Nicole Blair.

Tell us about yourself?

Bill is a reformed investment banker. He served time in corporate development and has dabbled as an entrepreneur. He has been fired twice and has gone through the process of negotiating severance, dealing with lawyers, and the anxiety of looking for new career directions. He has been sold a bill of goods from headhunters in the past and has had to deal with the dilemma of handing over job search control to recruiting firms.

With all that experience, what he has learned as a father of four and an MBA from a school formerly called Western, Bill built the market’s leading executive financial recruitment firm in Canada.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would advise myself to take some time to do something unique. Learn a language, master a skill, or pack up and try living in a little village somewhere… There was so much focus on the business and the markets, as we didn’t really know how bad it might get.

What problem does your business solve?

We are an executive financial recruitment firm. Our recruitment professionals connect exceptional talent with highly sought-after finance roles. We solve many problems for employers, including elevating human capital, replacing key contributors, restructuring talent structure, facilitating team/project expansion, delivering options for employee diversity, and others.

We develop long-lasting partnerships in the market and provide exclusive insight, accurate and relevant compensation data, and a tailored approach to meet recruitment needs.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

I have always been a connector. Recruitment was a way to apply this skill to a business and lean into a personal strength. I’ve also always been someone who takes initiative. When it came to starting a business, you could say that I had more initiative than information. Disenfranchised with a previous work environment, I believed I could do it better. They say there are one thousand reasons not to do something. I focused on the reasons to go for it. I love the industry we cover and have found a human-centric vehicle to contribute to its sustainability. I was able to create a business that focuses on the people side of finance.

What is your magic sauce?

We’re truly talent-driven. Our team is laser-focused on our niche, and we stay connected to what’s happening on the street. Yes, we have a growing and dynamic pool of finance-focused candidates, but we go beyond our database and drill down deep. We look at social footprint and personality tests and can assess fit to find talent that is committed to client objectives. A workforce is made of a mosaic of unique individuals. Our people put in a great deal of effort to get to know and really understand the professionals we put forward as candidates to our clients.

How do we stay in touch with the market?

Partnering with our clients, our team of dedicated recruiters continuously reaches out to the market’s top talent. We identify and connect with top performers in each sector we cover.

Talent is sourced using deep research and market mapping. We connect frequently with potential candidates using our newsletter, Bill’s Buzz. The newsletter connects with both active and passive job seekers. It’s also an excellent opportunity for our clients to get in front of a very interested audience of finance-focused professionals.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Each year, we strive to do better than the last. That might sound pretty run-of-the-mill, but it’s no easy feat. The dynamics of the markets keep them constantly changing. Competitive pressures approach from different directions. Our vision for ourselves is to continue to serve our community as it manages change. To do the best job we can at supporting a community with a material impact on the health and wealth of our country.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Our biggest challenge is staying lean and true to our roots. There is a lot of opportunity for recruitment firms to grow, even in a softer market. However, we believe in serving our existing clients above all else. It’s easy to grow a company in different directions, but we know our strengths and want to remain known for solving problems. We know from experience and feedback from our clients and candidates that being the biggest doesn’t necessarily make you the best.