When Damian Chiam received the call from Janou Pakter to meet her for an interview back in 2013, he was intrigued. The role she described did not sound too exciting, but he had known about her since he graduated from the Essec Business School in Paris. She had lectured there for the graduating classes for many years, and he had heard of her excellent reputation. His curiosity to meet her became the turning point in his career.
Damian’s experience with search firms and recruiters had been poor. As a marketing director with a background in beauty and luxury, he had met with several of them — only to be met with disappointing service. Not only did he find there was no proper, constructive feedback, but communication was lacking altogether. It often felt as if he was just a number in the recruiter’s long list of candidates. And when it came to search agencies, they were only concerned with the placement fee, taking no interest in how to guide or prepare him adequately (let alone well) for interviews. The entire space was contrived of a mere business transaction. The human aspect of executive search and career placement was entirely absent.
To his surprise, he was received by Janou in an unexpected, inviting, and warm way. He felt a connection immediately. At the time, he was not even sure what he wanted, but after several consecutive meetings with her, something clicked in him. He had a Eureka moment, and clarity came — about who he was and what he was looking for.
He loved what she was doing, and was intrigued by the search process, but he wanted to make search a different and much better experience for the client and the candidate. He saw a unique opportunity to help re-invigorate her brand while simultaneously initiating a new way of conducting search.
He quit his job, and joined her in her enterprise to embark on a new career chapter guided by a shared passion and vision.
Damian joined Janou in 2014 and became her business partner with zero background in recruiting or search, which was only a huge plus. No baggage of bad behaviors, but an experienced professional with a new and different outlook and vision.
Together they brainstormed how to make search a feel good and positive experience for both clients and candidates. They recognized shared values and laid out a list of what needed to be done to change the old search narrative into an exciting journey for everybody. A boutique Creative, Marketing & Product Executive search agency that would only take on a handful of searches within their niche in order to be personally handled by the partners, ensuring a positive and successful experience for both clients and candidates.
If Global Fortune 500 brands were committing to face the systemic discrimination structure of their hiring process, such as paying women lower salaries than men for the same job, promoting men over women, and rejecting a most valuable talent pool because it was diverse — and changing it — then together, Damian and Janou would follow their lead and do the same to change the outdated search model.
Damian came with actual industry experience having been a marketing director for prestigious luxury brands and start-ups. His international background led him to live and work in France, the UK, Canada, and Asia, which was of enormous value to their search business by reflecting the needs of their clients. Having no recruiting experience was another added value. His perspective was new, fresh, and different. He had been in their shoes and understood what mattered for both clients and candidates.
Slowly they started to get noticed by hiring managers and heads of HR as being a different kind of search firm.
They were welcomed and regarded as thought leaders, industry experts and advisors, but most of all, they were regarded as trusted and respected partners by their clients and candidates. They were real people who listened, knew what they were doing, had fun, and showed empathy and passion.
Some called them the “odd couple,” which they took as a compliment. Odd, in that they were from different worlds, cultures, backgrounds and generations. Odd was just what the world of search needed — an unlikely match and team that made a world of difference. They were a true reflection of a changing and diverse society.
After 10 amazing years, they decided to rebrand and make official what had been a buzz in the industry: BURŌ TALENT, here we come!
They have taken search by the head and tail and turned it upside down, inside out.
This is a new day, a new and unexpected future, and BURŌ TALENT is excited to partner with you!