Louisa Hinchen is a highly accomplished entrepreneur in the recruitment space, who is revolutionizing the industry with her service-first philosophy. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Louisa has always believed that service sells, and has backed up this philosophy by taking a unique approach to recruitment.
She launched her own recruitment firm, Hinchen Resources, in 2019, with the aim of sharing the risk with her clients, and guaranteeing outcomes.
Louisa’s authentic approach to leadership, which focuses on the success of her people and business partners, has resonated with a national customer base, making Hinchen Resources a safe pair of hands in the recruitment industry.
In this interview, Louisa discusses the challenges women entrepreneurs face, the lessons she has learned, and how they have shaped the way she conducts her business today.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Louisa Hinchen: I’m Louisa; I’ve been married for 27 years and have 3 children. I’ve been in the recruitment space for over 30 years, in leadership roles for 29 of those years, before launching my own recruitment firm in December 2019.
Can you tell our readers in what ways you are disrupting your industry?
Louisa Hinchen: Operating with the fundamental philosophy that service sells and backing this up with action.
We differ by not asking for retained work, thereby sharing the risk on the basis that it must be exclusive – from that we will guarantee outcomes
Did you become a disruptor by choice or by necessity? Tell us more about the journey.
Louisa Hinchen: Working in a me too industry standing out is always a challenge. So I would have to say it is a bit of both. My fundamental belief is that you don’t have to make a dollar everytime you touch something and that Service Does Sell. Leading from the front to encourage my teams to bring their best selves to all those we serve is the best we can do.
When I look back over my journey, I am particularly proud of the people I have had the privilege to coach and mentor, this is across my teams and my customers. Recognising that I don’t know everything has been the foundation to being open and enjoying the opportunity to learn from those around me.
Very mindful that success can also breed arrogance and ego – I am very fond of a quote from a very wise person who once said: you can see so far because you are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you.
Our leadership culture is about operating in a manner that demonstrates that it is not actually about you – as a leader that it is actually about your people, and as a business partner it is about bringing your partners genuine value.
This authentic approach is what resonates with our national customer base – and why we are recognised as a safe pair of hands. I believe it also underpins the retention of our people and our customers.
My brother Bill once said to me, you can often tell the quality of a person by the length of their friendships – well I think this is also relevant to the quality of leaders and their team retention, and to recruiters and the length of tenure of their customer relationships.
Now for the main focus of this interview: Many readers may wonder what are the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs must overcome to be successful?
Louisa Hinchen: Potentially imposter syndrome – having been the number 2 in an organization for the majority of my professional life, stepping into the number 1 seat of business owner is a big step – remember the success you have built and trust that once you are a business owner, you know what to do, you know how to do it – trust yourself.
The biggest doubter was, in fact, me – my clients, my family, and my friends all encouraged and supported the launching of Hinchen Resources – and we have never looked back!
Risk adversity – don’t let the unknown cripple you – embrace what you know and take smart and calculated steps forward
Juggling family needs – with societal pressure that women should be present 100% of the time. I am confident I am a good mother – I have a strong and healthy relationship with all three of my children who have all grown up to be confident and independent young adults – something my husband and I are very proud of. Ensuring you have quality time with them is important – work out what works for your family and park the guilt – it adds no value and can only operate as a distraction
Recognise what you don’t know – you can’t be an expert at everything. Then identify networks to leverage off to assist in bridging your gaps
How did you overcome these obstacles? Who helped you during these difficult times and how did they?
Louisa Hinchen: A genuine partnership with my husband, emotional support from my family and friends and the support of my children – they were always encouraged to be independent thinkers growing up, and remarkably this actually served me well to launch the business.
Openly confident that Hinchen Resources would be a success, they bought their own natural talents to help.
Whilst I knew that I had established a large and long term network of quality people that I had supported and worked with over the previous 28 years, I had no idea how generous they would be. Past colleagues and clients alike were amazing.
They offered me roles in areas I had never personally recruited in, confident in my recruitment skills, and it was here I pivoted. A good friend who I met as a client 6 years earlier actually said to me, when in a startup, don’t be afraid to pivot and take on what is offered and make it work for you.
How did these lessons shape the way you conduct business today?
Louisa Hinchen: I am always prioritizing work – today it is ensuring the right consultants are in the right roles. We are prioritizing our existing customers, and ensuring we continue to sustain the service quality.
I have very honest conversations with my team, and we genuinely collaborate to ensure the right outcomes are achieved. My team considers the greater good, and as a result, they each enjoy individual success
I also ensure that I don’t let anything get in the way of training/upskilling consultants to ensure we are adding value to them and the services they provide.
The biggest lesson was seeking expert help – a previous very talented psychologist who was in my team once said to me, you put too much pressure on yourself – you actually don’t have to be good at everything.
This advice has allowed me to recognise what I don’t know, where my weaknesses are, and not to shy away from it – but rather continue to be authentic and continue to work hard to overcome, but also set for myself realistic expectations has actually removed a lot of the pressure.
What advice you wished you had received when you started, that you’d like to share now with aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Louisa Hinchen: Find and learn from mentors. I was able to leverage off a very talented ex-COO that I worked for who really assisted in finessing parts of my brand communication.
Funnily enough, it would have been 20 years ago when she tasked her leadership team with identifying industry mentors to support personal/professional growth.
Out of all of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur, is there a particular one that stands out the most?
Louisa Hinchen: In February, I was preparing a presentation and identified that for one customer, we had recruited approximately 100 roles in about 12 months, representing $15m in salaries and only having two falloffs/replacements – meaning we were absolutely delivering to our promise – none retained and all exclusive.
What do you plan on tackling during the 2023 year? Share your goals and battles you expect to face.
Louisa Hinchen: Our biggest battle would be identifying the right talent is the biggest challenge for all agencies, big and small. With that in mind, some goals to combat this would be:
- Continuing to build our team.
- Ideally, appointing a General Manager to the Victorian team.
- Continuing to identify talent who bring with them industry expertise and networks.
- Continue to add to our customer base – We have a number of preferred supplier partnerships established with blue chip organizations – continuing to add to this list.
I’m sure our readers will be very thankful for the insights you have shared. What is the best book you’ve gone through lately and please share some take away lessons from it.
Louisa Hinchen: Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ – The premise of this book helped us align our team’s thinking and our promise. Understanding goals and purpose are fundamental to engagement and consistency, and this philosophy remains as relevant today as it was 10 years ago.
Thank you so much for your time, but before we finish things off, I do have one more question for you. When was the last time you did something for the first time and what was it?
Louisa Hinchen: Launching my own business, this seems to be a constant theme – first time to sign a lease, first time to sign multiple leases, first time to sign advertising contracts, first time to recruit in new sectors, first time to do a podcast – this is my most first time experience.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Louisa Hinchen for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Louisa Hinchen or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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