Author Archives: Steve Dybacz

Case Study: Sintoro

Read how PPS helped Sintoro find top marketing talent in a tough market.

Download the Case Study

4 reasons recruitment team accountability should start from the top

When I started PPS, I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t step back from the sales and billing side of the business to focus on ‘management’. Instead, I would stay on the floor doing the job beside the people I manage – not sitting above them. It’s a commitment I’ve kept, and one I think works best in our industry. Here’s why.

Leading by example is the best motivator

Most recruiters have, at some point, worked for a manager who wasn’t out there actively billing.  When you have a person sitting above you who is out of touch with the market asking you to push harder or go faster, it’s pretty hard to get motivated to go along with them.

Conversely, I have had managers in the past who have had some crazily high billing numbers, and it’s inspired me to match or beat them. That’s the kind of motivation I want in my business! If I am doing the highest numbers in the team, that’s not great for me at the time, but if it inspires others to chase me down, that’s going to take PPS a whole lot further.

Understanding the market is key to success

Being involved in billing and recruiting myself, I know what’s going on out there in the market. This means I can give my team real advice that works in the current climate. With the pace of change now, a manager who has been out of the billing game for even a few years likely doesn’t know their stuff anymore.

Being close to the action means that if numbers go down, I can determine whether it’s a performance issue or a market one. This way, I am not asking my people to do the impossible but instead working with them to find real solutions that will drive results as the market changes. On the other side of that coin, if an employee is telling me how things are, I can quickly gauge whether they are telling the truth or it’s just an excuse because I have an ear to the ground too.

Clients trust a business owner who knows their stuff 

My clients know I’m actually out there recruiting for them. I’ll get my hands dirty to find the right candidate, not palm them off to an inexperienced resourcer. They are buying the collective experience of my team and me, and they’ll actually get it. I don’t want to lose that connection with the market or my clients because it’s how PPS stays on top of the game.

It helps with finding the right hires in my own business

Staying in touch with the market doesn’t just help my clients to find the best hires for their businesses, it allows me to do the same in my own. Understanding what’s happening in our market means I can identify the right people to help PPS address challenges and realise new opportunities.

As recruiters, we’re often telling our clients to consider cultural fit in their businesses. As leaders or business owners, we should be doing the same. I understand the culture on the PPS floor because I’m part of it every day. And when my team goes drinking to celebrate a win or blow off some steam, I’m right there with them. It’s something the management books might tell you not to do, but I couldn’t disagree more – at least when it comes to the recruitment industry.

By knowing the culture and being part of it, I can hire for the right attitude and train for the skills I need. I can also see when a new hire just isn’t working out – my team doesn’t have to come and tell me what’s going on inside my business.

At the end of the day, I want my people to commit to being part of a strong future for PPS. Let’s face it, they will spend most of their time every week at work, and it’s critical that they want to drive results for the business. I can only ask for that kind of dedication from others when I am willing to give it myself.

Career goals: What you need to do if you want to switch in 2021

After a weird 2020 when many of us worked from home, cut off from the office and our daily routine, it’s understandable that some are re-thinking their career options. 2021 feels like a fresh start.

In any year, it’s not unusual to see people suffering from the post-Australia-Day blues. That first full month back at work can be tough, even more so if you’re still effectively a prisoner in your own home and only edging back into office life one or two days a week.

My personal experience this year is a little 50/50 on whether it’s career change time. Some of our contacts are feeling a little anxious about shifting and moving on, while others are seeing plenty of opportunities out there as business looks to get back to normal service.

Whenever I’m asked whether now is a good time to move, my answer is generally ‘no more or less so than any other time’. If you are looking to move, here are a few tips on making sure you’re in the best position to find the role you want.

  1. Don’t cram your CV

Like many areas in life: less is more when it comes to your CV. Streamline your approach, and don’t cram it full of long-winded explanations of every job you’ve ever held.

My rule here is to highlight and elaborate on only the core skills and experience that help you make that next jump in your career. Writing ‘War and Peace’ in your CV won’t make you more employable, it’ll just bore the hell out of the person reading it. You’re much better off being succinct and to the point on your achievements, calling out those that are important and not padding your CV with superfluous dribble.Think about it this way: What would I want to highlight about myself to make me attractive to someone hiring for the role I want?

  1. Check your social media

 Here’s a free tip: Most potential employers will look at your public information, and that means your social media accounts. It’s not rocket science that what you put out there on social media will be reviewed and analysed by businesses looking to bring you in. It’s all part of a wider background check on you…shock, horror that recruiters and employers don’t just rely on your references alone!

Firstly, make sure your online presence is consistent. For example, if your CV says you were a General Manager, but your LinkedIn profile says Sales Executive, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a call back.

Secondly, if you want to keep it personal, then make your personal social media accounts private. That way, any of your personal opinions and views can’t be used as a part of making a hiring decision. It also eliminates you having different stories on different platforms and contributes to that consistent message point I made earlier.

  1. Know what you want

This one sounds like basic common sense, but you would be surprised how many people want to switch careers without knowing what they want to switch to.

Idealism is awesome in many areas, but for your career, the reality is that you’ll most likely have to make compromises in what you want at a career level (unless you’re in the top 1%).

Knowing where you want to go is crucial to getting it right. Test it out with your current employers; if they can’t get you there, then you’ll know it’s time to find it somewhere else.

A good starting point is to get it down on paper. Create a list and share it with any recruiters you’re working with. It’ll help them find the right type of roles for you and put you in the game. It will also help sharpen your thinking so that you won’t just grab any role available. Often knowing what you don’t want is more valuable than knowing what you do.

Want to discuss your career options? DM me here or email me at



Bored at home: Is working from home losing its shine?

It’s been one of the comments of 2020: “I love working from home, it’s so much more productive”. And for some people, it really is. We’ve had a work-from-home culture in the Australian workplace for some time now, and for a good number of people doing a day or two at home has long been part of the working norm.

The pandemic changed that to being a full-time scenario for many workers. At the time, we wrote a piece talking about it and how it worked for many of us. For those who already loved it, it was paradise. For those that missed the human interaction in the office, it was a nightmare.

One thing I’ve noticed though in recent times, both in conversations in my network and in the media, is that even some of the more ardent supporters of work from home are starting to sound a little, well…jaded. Could it be that full time working from home wasn’t all it was touted to be?

We still like working with people

In the end, we’re all social creatures. For many roles, social interaction is crucial to your success and is a key part of your working life. For all the annoying things about the office, there are many positives and I think people are starting to miss it more than they thought they would.

Everyone loves their partner/family/flatmate etc., but 24/7 contact with no breaks? It’s enough to test anyone. I’ve certainly experienced it in my life. My partner is working from home full time and I’ve noticed that she’s very keen to chat when I get back from the office. I think she misses that day-to-day human interaction too!

We can’t replace human connection through video and phone alone. We crave it, and I think that’s why we’ve seen an uptick in people going back to the CBD. It’s so much easier, for example, to brainstorm with a colleague or ask a key question when you’re there face to face. And much more interesting than talking to your cat all day.

For roles like ours, where its heavily sales focused, video and phone can be limiting. Communication is about so much more than audio, for example it’s much harder to read someone’s body language from his or her head alone on a video screen.

Mental health

There’s also the mental health aspect. Think about those that live alone as an example, I’m sure there’s people there that miss that daily interaction. I know I would.

Working is a big part of our lives and while video is great it just can’t replace human contact.

CBDs are built for work 

There’s also the fact that our CBDs in places like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have seen huge investment in recent times. The office spaces in places like Barangaroo are state of the art and provide the best environment for work we’ve ever had. Infrastructure like the NBN is optimised for these locations to ensure we can work to the standards we need.

Then there are the hospitality and retail businesses that are being smashed by the double whammy of COVID and a huge drop in traffic through their businesses.

At PPS, we’ve always had a flexible working arrangement and that won’t change. But even I’ve noticed more of our team spending time in the office. So, to answer my own question: Yes, I think the full time work from home gloss is wearing thin, and there will be more people ready to return at least part of their working week to the office in the near future. .

What do you think? Keen to hear what you think; DM me here or email me at

Prioritise: Now is the time to be smarter than ever before

What a crazy year 2020 has been. As we start to see a return to something that resembles a more normal life, with the notable exception of our friends in Melbourne (hopefully soon guys!), it’s a good time to focus on how we can work smarter.

I wrote a post recently around the use of the word ‘busy’ that generated a little commentary. It is something that drives me mental at times, and it seems that there are plenty of others out there with a similar view! I want to focus this piece on one of the points I raised in that blog: The need to prioritise.

Choose what’s important

As I said in my earlier blog, we all have enough time in our lives; it’s just what we choose to do with it. When we say we’re ‘busy’ we’re making choices on how we spend our time.

Those choices reflect our priorities. It’s a simple fact of life that if we are motivated to do something, we will find a way to do it. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: Why am I not prioritising that thing I say I’m too ‘busy’ to get to? What is the real reason I’m not seeing it as being important enough to dedicate time to?

If we focus on our working lives, I’m a big believer in the issue of people focusing on delivering the wrong tasks. We often see businesses and management teams focusing on tasks that fill their day…but possibly don’t add a huge amount of value to the organisation. It makes you look ‘busy’, but is it really delivering a result?

Start with the end in mind

When I think about prioritising my time, I try to look at a bigger picture. You need to know why you’re prioritising that task and how it fits into where you want to go.

For example, our approach at PPS is to focus on outcomes. We’re not so focused on the team’s daily task list; it’s not our management style. What we want is a focus on starting with the end in mind. Once we know the end goal, we can then set priorities within the business or project to focus on delivering that result. It sounds simple but it actually takes discipline in your approach to achieve this.

So ask yourself: What’s the end goal? Will the activities I’m prioritising get me there?

Create the right environment 

So what’s stopping you from setting the right priorities? In reality, it could be the management style you’re employing that’s stopping your team from achieving more.

In recruitment, I’ve seen plenty of managers/businesses that have an overreliance on call numbers. While activity is a part of your success, it’s not the only measure, and I’d argue that there are other more important priorities for your people to focus on. There are plenty of people churning our calls and never closing a deal.

It highlights for me that for your team to set the right priorities, you need to create the right environment. I’ve already mentioned our outcome focus at PPS: That’s been super important during COVID where we’ve been working remotely. Some of our team will continue with remote working longer term, and, in my view, if that’s going to put them in a situation where they can deliver a result, it’s entirely fine by me.

Think about what you’re giving your team in terms of a frame of reference for setting the right priorities. For many managers, it can be eye opening when they do.

How are you making sure you prioritise the right activities to achieve success? Keen to hear what you think. DM me here or email me at