Interfacio was featured in SoundLightUp (SLU), which in its own words describes itself as “The Magazine of Sound and Light for professionals and enthusiasts.”
SLU interviewed our very own European Director, Isabelle Wear. We’ve reproduced the article below, which you can also read on the SLU website by clicking the link at the foot of this page.
Interfacio: a Specialised Professional Audio Recruitment Agency.
Interfacio was founded in 2002 by Richard Wear, who was responsible for the development, sales, marketing and distribution of audio products at Fostex and Celestion in the United Kingdom, United States, Europe and Asia.
Richard saw a void in recruitment consulting in the audio technology markets and he knew the difficulties of recruiting specialised staff having tried all the methods available over the years. The lessons learned from these experiences are the inspiration of Interfacio.
Initially in the United Kingdom and the USA, the company met a similarly growing demand in Europe with the arrival of Isabelle Wear in 2012. Isabelle supports the development of Interfacio in Europe and, more particularly in France. With Interfacio being a British company and Isabelle being a London-based exiled compatriot, this is a great asset. Furthermore, Isabelle comes directly from the audio market so she knows it inside-out.
Sound Light Up: Isabelle, tell us about your pre-Interfacio experience?
Isabelle Wear : I joined the company in October 2012. Previously I worked for almost 16 years in sales and management in France but also in Europe with Edirol, M-Audio, and more recently at the sales department Europe of Audio-Technica. Then, the desire came to join Richard in a market that I understand, on a technology that I also understand, and above all, to bring Interfacio my European network and to meet my talent. Suffice to say that this market is niche and I know it well, so taking it to Europe seemed natural to me.
So was the company not really active in France?
It was present in Germany and the United Kingdom. In France it was more complicated, probably because, culturally, we need someone who speaks French, and we are not as mobile in our professional careers as other countries in Northern Europe.
So it is important to have a real knowledge of the needs of each country?
Totally! I am French, I come from the French market, I know it well and I have a good network here. But above all it’s about relationships, communication and intuition.
You’re not a CV pusher, but what are you?
Our policy is about quality, not quantity. We invest a lot of time with our clients and our candidates. We work on the long term and our mission is to detect natural synergies between companies and candidates.
Who are these lucky clients and candidates?
Our customers are essentially manufacturers, with whom we have a very close relationship to understand their real needs. I understand candidates profiles very quickly because I come from the market, which is a considerable time-saver! Equally, it’s essential is to be able to perceive the make-up and the cultures of companies as they’re so different from each other, and the reasons that will make a candidate will flourish in one environment and less so in another.
The notion of time seems very important.
You have to spend time – a lot of time – with both candidates and the clients. If a client tells me: “I want three CVs right now” I need to convince him that it’s not in their interest. These methods don’t suit us and in my opinion do not lead anywhere. We have a comprehensive recruitment process and I think accelerated recruitment is a source of failure. We do not play with candidates’ careers and we avoid losing our clients money!
How does this support translate to candidates?
I am, and I try to be, fair and open by giving them the greatest honesty. So when I feel, for example, that someone is not the right fit for the job, I tell them without wasting time but I keep in touch for future, more suitable opportunities. For a good understanding of skills and desires, transparency in our exchanges is crucial. The first three months in the company are decisive, that’s where everything is played out and we know very quickly if it will work or not between the employer and the candidate. This is why we follow our placements closely during this period.
All your know-how is precisely to avoid “it does not work” between an employer and a candidate?
Indeed, that’s our skill. In four years, I have no placed candidates leaving during this period. The upstream work with the candidates, the knowledge of the market, of the client and their needs, all make it impossible to just push a CV. Communication and investment are the key to success.
Is your methodology akin to coaching?
Yes it’s a real help to candidates, whom we can help rework a CV in order to highlight their qualities, improve their interview technique or to create a career plan. We work closely with our candidates so that we can convey their desire with our clients.
Does this audio / video niche have a real specificity compared to other more “classic” sectors?
Certainly, there is a strong culture. But even within the niche, the differences are enormous. From lighting to audio, the culture will be different, as well as from the technical to the commercial. We absolutely cannot put everyone in the same basket! Similarly, for example in sound, there is a world between mass distribution, broadcast, independent store, installation or live. These are areas too rich to reduce to one category.
It’s this diversity which makes all these markets so rich, and demands our personalised approach. Our mission goes beyond presenting a CV to a client and beyond having an interview with a candidate. It’s thinking about the long term, planning and accompanying after placement for a few months. I always have a great pleasure to meet candidates that I have placed at their new office, and even sometimes they become recruiting clients in turn!
Do you help clients who don’t really know how to identify their needs?
Of course! I make an audit of their needs and propose alternative solutions in job descriptions taking into account their existing structure. I think that many recruitment businesses have a very bad reputation in Europe, precisely because they send CVs without necessarily understanding the market, the technology and profiles. Clients then get sceptical about the added value of such recruitment businesses.
And this is where we can say: “Explain your problems to me and I’m sure we can meet your needs!” It may sound arrogant but that’s where all our added value comes from. I do not send dozens of CVs, I send one to three CVs on which I am intimately convinced that everyone can do the job successfully! I always step in my clients’ shoes and say, “If I had those three, would I hire them? Yes! ”
Are the candidates coming to you, or are you going to them?
A bit of both – but let’s be honest, if I only waited for CVs it would take too long! We publish ads in the press that generate interest and give us exposure and we are present on social networks. But I also go “fishing” with a soft headhunter approach, or by specific requests from customers who want me to target a company. But I still have my integrity by not “hunting” with our own customers!
I think the two best attributes of my recruitment are my network and the proactive approach. I have my little personal file with names which is very valuable, which records my network.
In general, do the clients that approach you once come back?
Of course! I work mainly with loyal clients who come back regularly. A relationship of trust has been built up over the years, based on successful placements. For me it is a proud achievement and I also get good feedback from candidates – all of whom I stay in touch with.
Read the article here (in French): http://www.soundlightup.com/archives/reportages/interfacio-une-agence-de-recrutement-specialisee-audio-pro.html