After 22 years in senior management, Bill McQuade has launched a recruitment firm called Final Image targeting the security industry in Canada. McQuade’s hired a lot of people over the years and says he’s seen too many people make mistakes in their job hunt. McQuade, who spent seven years as Senior Vice-President, North America with Indigo Vision, talks about what the industry needs now and what what’s wrong with the way most companies and candidates approach recruitment.
By Jennifer Brown
Canadian Security Magazine: What is Final Image? What segments of the industry are you trying to assist with this business?
McQuade: Final Image is a boutique style recruitment company serving the physical and logical security industry. I want to emphasize that we are not a résumé bank.
We assist security professionals in the following areas:
• Solution sales
• Information technology
• Security management
• Project management
• Security & risk consultants
• Installation & service technicians
• Product managers
We work with companies and candidates who are looking for the ideal fit, based on corporate culture, skill, knowledge and ability. Too often these important factors are overlooked during the hiring process.
You can have a successful company and a top-notch candidate, however, there is no guarantee of a perfect fit. When things do not work out it usually results in blame on both sides. Much of the risk can be reduced if you put the necessary time into the recruitment process.
Our recruitment strategy may take several months or longer to find that special company or candidate, but what’s important is getting it right.
Final Image is not about quantity — we are 100 per cent focused on the quality of who we represent. We view ourselves as shareholders in the hiring process.
CSM: Explain why you decided to establish a recruitment firm at this point in your career?
McQuade: I spent the last seven years developing the Indigo Vision brand in North America. We put together a seasoned team of sales managers, support engineers and marketing management. As a result we secured over $45M in product sales.
However, I felt it was time for a change, the passion had gone and I needed a career challenge.
I always thought there was a void in Canada when it came to recruitment specific to the security sector. In my view, a fresh approach was needed.
The security sector is much bigger than most people imagine. It has evolved into a very sophisticated high-tech profession. I believe there is value in partnering with a recruitment company who understands and specializes in this sector.
Based on my past experience, traditional recruitment companies try to bundle security with many other sectors such as, pharmaceutical, insurance, financial services, oil and gas, mining, retail, construction, etc. It doesn’t get the focus it deserves.
CSM: What do you see as the biggest challenge you face in this venture?
McQuade: Recruitment companies are not held in high esteem. There is a perception they simply are filling vacancies, resulting in commission fees rather than providing candidates capable of making a positive contribution.
There are some very credible recruitment companies, however many of these preconceived notions about recruiters were earned by traditional recruitment companies.
CSM: What did you learn as someone who was hiring top technical and sales people?
McQuade: Everyone must contribute more than they cost the organization. This is the language of business. It’s normal for people to speak about past history and their accomplishments; however, it’s all about adding value today.
It’s easy to get lazy about learning but we all need to invest in further education as our only way to remain competitive in the job market. I also learned not to believe everything you read on a résumé. I also learned that pre-employment screening is a good practice.
CSM: What do you see people doing wrong when they are looking for employment in this industry?
They send their résumé to anyone who asks. Often it ends up in the hands of multiple recruitment companies. From there it may end up in the hands of their current employer.
A résumé should always be accompanied by a cover letter; the cover letter makes the first impression. If there are gaps in your employment history, provide a brief explanation. Keep it short and most of all keep it honest.
Research the organization you are looking to join. Focus your research on products /services, sales revenue, markets, customers, growth, the senior management team, company culture, perception in the marketplace, employee turnover. If the search leads to an interview, be prepared. Arrive on time and look professional. Make eye contact. Ask questions.
CSM: What’s the hot new trend in jobs in this sector that you see coming in the next few years?
McQuade: Many people from different sectors of the security industry often ask me about moving into sales. There appears to be a view that solution sales in security is easy. In my view solution sales will become far more complex moving forward. End user expectations are far greater today; they also have a better understanding of current technology (in some cases more than the company selling the solution) and they demand greater accountability from sales representatives.Therefore if sales is your passion, make sure you have a strong understanding of technology, and the ability to align yourself with internal and external business processes.
CSM: What do you see employers doing wrong when it comes to retention?
McQuade: How many employers perform exit interviews when someone decides to leave the company? There is much to be learned from this process. How many companies have personal development plans active in their organization? How much effort do they put into retaining core employees?
CSM: What should job hunters do before starting a search in the security industry?
McQuade: A good start is an updated résumé. Make sure it has a professional look and feel. If presentation is poor, detail will not matter. Have someone review the content for mistakes.
Review job listings that not only match your interests and skill-set, but look for a career in something you feel you could be passionate about. List your core competencies as they relate to your targeted career goal. It may be helpful to review the following categories as it relates to yourself: Experience, teamwork, initiative, critical thinking, leadership, trust and communications skills.
In some cases people need to alter their expectations. Sometimes it’s better in the long term to start your career at the very bottom. Constantly upgrade your skills, stay flexible and never kid yourself into thinking that your employer is supposed to protect your future.
The security industry is an exciting industry with many opportunities and distinct career paths, but the most important thing is to commit fully to your job if your goal is to be successful.
CSM: Where do you think the security industry is headed in terms of requisite education for employment?
McQuade: Fifteen years ago security directors were often hidden in basement offices, but today, it’s not uncommon for security directors to be part of the senior management team reporting to a VP if not the CEO. I think the security industry will see major growth over the next 10 years. Organizations have come to understand and appreciate the value of a well-managed security program.
There are many directions available to security professionals such as criminal and civil investigations, law enforcement, security management, manufacturing, physical and logical deployment, project management, information security, threat risk analysis, solution sales, security consulting, video, access control, alarm systems and more.
However, there’s clearly a skills shortage in specific sectors and this means more competition for the best talent. The industry needs to think hard about how it attracts young talent.
Your appeal as a job candidate is based on skill and credentials and there are many well-respected designations available today such as: CISSP, MCE, CISCO, CPP, PSP, PCI, PMP, CPTED, and more.
CSM: Where is the biggest demand for security professionals right now?
McQuade: From my perspective, the list includes: project managers, information technology, installation and repair technicians, risk management services and solution sales.