Year of graduation: 1999
“Results follow activity — work hard, compete hard and control the things you can control.”
The best fit
How professional recruiter Adam Walsh helps candidates find new roles
The role of a recruiter is all about staying out of the spotlight and making someone else’s skill set shine.
“People get this Jerry Maguire idea into their minds about what it means to be a recruiter or agent, but it’s not about being a rock star at any one thing,” says Adam Walsh, president of Burlington, Ont.-based Elby Professional Recruitment, with a modest laugh. “It is a lot more likely to be me sitting at my desk searching through hundreds of candidate profiles, looking for the right fit and then getting on the phone and selling the opportunity to the candidate.”
Walsh spends his days at Elby helping to recruit accounting and finance professionals, as well as those in human resource and general management. Focusing on the Greater Toronto Area as well as Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo and Cambridge, Walsh works with mid-sized private and public companies to find their best candidates.
Walsh grew up in Mississauga and Georgetown, finding his way to Sheridan’s doors in 1997 through the college’s marketing program. He cites sales management professor Jim Deakin as a particular influence in his career. “He engaged in real-world scenarios and spoke openly about the challenges of the industry,” says Walsh. “He was a good person to listen to and made it fun to be in class.”
While at Sheridan, Walsh was actively involved in the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition, a province-wide skills challenge which presents business and marketing students with real-world scenarios, which he found to be and invaluable experience for the future. “For a student, it’s like building the muscles for the situations you’ll be facing out in the workforce, like dealing with pressure,” says Walsh.
Upon graduation in 2000, Walsh worked at Xerox for a year as an account manager. He also spent some time at a leasing company. “I was trying to find my own way and a place where I could be successful, and I discovered that I did need the structure of a bigger company with resources for training,” he says.
“Whatever you put in is what you get out of it.”
In 2001, Walsh joined international recruiting firm, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, where he started focusing on senior level accounting and finance recruitment. Working his way up from a staffing manager role, dealing with temporary placements, to recruiting manager placing permanent roles, Walsh ended up as division director, managing a team of recruiters.
Although he enjoyed the work, Walsh decided to strike out on his own and create Elby in 2009. “I wanted an opportunity to choose who I work with; we spend a lot of time with the people we work with and it is important that you like the people, culture and environment you work in,” he says. Now, Walsh works with professionals from a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, packaging, pharmaceutical, health care and transportation — helping them tell their stories and choose their paths.
He firmly believes that recruiting, although evolving in the world of online job ads, still has a wide array of opportunity for the right person. “Whatever you put in is what you get out of it,” he says. “Results follow activity — work hard, compete hard and control the things you can control.”