Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Matt Bartlett

Hey everyone,

I have been a bit slack getting posts up this week due to a few big games of cricket #GoAussies.

So cool that Australia and New Zealand will face off in the final.

We will get to see who the most bad-ass cricket team is in APAC on Sunday.

Anyway enough about cricket and back to the bad-asses of the HR and Recruiting world.


I am very pleased to be able to profile #43 on my list of HR and Recruiting bad asses of APAC.

I love what Matt Bartlett and his team have been doing for The Warehouse group and so I will let you hear from him.

They also have a job going in the team that you can see below.

Matt, what do you do in the HR/Recruiting Scene?

I am the Recruitment Manager for The Warehouse Group. Me and my team are part of the Retail Careers team who are charged with changing the perception of the retail industry as a genuine career option for people. We have twin objectives of targeting the top career retail talent and getting them into our businesses, as well as identifying top talent in other industries and talking to them about retail as a career. We started using the hashtag #retailcareers and are now seeing it being picked up across our business, and slowly into the wider industry. I have a vacancy in my team by the way #justsayin

Why/How did you get into the Industry?

I returned from 5 years in the UK in 2005 and went to see Retailworld Resourcing as a candidate. As agencies tend to do, they talked to me about giving recruitment a go. They had a foosball table, great social activity and perks and told a convincing story about why they thought I could be successful in their business, so I took the plunge. I was there for two years, and loved working with the key accounts that were loyal to them at the time. The BDM side of it, I wasn’t so keen on. So when I saw that several of my clients (Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery and The Warehouse – coincidentally all part of our group now) were looking at bringing in-house teams into their HR operations I decided to give it a go myself. That was in 2007, so I’m coming up 10 years in the industry now, 8 of which have been internally. I’ve realised that Internal and External recruitment are very different (cue debate…) and I am definitely on the side of internal recruitment where you can play a career advisory/mentor/guidance role to the team members in your business, and I really like that side of things. I also think there is more scope for creativity in sourcing and attraction campaigns, which is a fun side of what I do.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I am a world record holder – for the most people on a Stand Up Paddleboard at a time.

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Which people inspire you globally?

I saw Steve Fogarty speak at an ATC conference a few years back. At the time I was thinking about changing careers and going back into retail – into a Buyers role specifically. I came away from that conference inspired by Steve and reinvigorated that Recruitment meets a lot of what’s important to me. From that point on I haven’t considered changing careers again.

Another inspiration for me is a guy from Christchurch called Bevan James Eyles. He is a personal trainer who runs a couple of the world’s most popular podcasts on Triathlon and Health & Fitness. His back story is a great example of discovering a purpose in life, setting goals and working hard towards achieving them. He has a great social and industry profile that he has built himself, and his a noble purpose in positively impacting on people’s lives and their health. I see parallels between his industry and ours and when I listen to him or read his posts I often find myself thinking about equivalent opportunities in my world.

What about companies then, which inspire you globally?

Ive always liked Adidas – as a consumer and admirer of what they do with EB, Attraction and Sourcing. Zappos interest me – again for what they do with Attraction. Cotton On Group, Urban Outfitters and Walmart interest and inspire me in the retail industry.

More Insight put out some great content that I find myself nodding my head in agreement to when I read them. And sharing their stuff.

What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

When I talk to grads I always tell them when they are starting off to not focus on money. Try to surround themselves with people who inspire them, grow them and take an interest in them as individuals. That might mean taking the lesser role offer first time up, but it will pay off in the long run. Other than that, working in a niche that you are passionate about has got to help. My background is retail, and I believe that retail is a great career option, that’s why I have been here for so long. But the great thing is that the learning experiences I have had here I could now apply to a multitude of industries.

What is your favourite drink?

If it’s the day time – a full fat flat white. Our onsite café does a good one. Did I mention I have a vacancy in my team?

If it’s the evening, then Moa Beer’s India Pale Ale is a good drop.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Talent Powered Organisation by Peter Cheese, Robert J Thomas and Elizabeth Craig. Trying to expand my knowledge beyond recruitment and into full life cycle talent management.

Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

I used to struggle to identify myself with HR – in the generalist’s sense. And in some ways I still do. But I love what recruitment and talent management does for a business and an individual. We can help people achieve their personal and professional goals. We can influence people to make the right decisions, which will ultimately make them happy and their lives fulfilling. We can help a business develop their strategy through informing them of the talent market – there is no sense trying to do something in a short time frame, if there is no one actually capable of doing it!

On top of that, recruitment is a role that requires a wide variety of skills, – influencing, relationship building, creativity, being analytical, keeping your finger on the pulse, being action orientated, and being dynamic. It’s ever changing. Even after 10 years, and now with the added layer of managing a team, I still love the ‘role pick up’ conversation to kick off a good meaty role that needs recruiting.

Who would be top 5 on your list?

Tough call this one, I could have named 10 or 15 (everyone says that right?) but some that stand out to me are:

Angela Farrelly – I’ve sat in conferences and other industry events where Angela has spoken, and had coffee with her, and I always come away thinking I don’t have what it takes to make it in this industry – she is ‘next level’ in her thinking. So smart, so so smart!

Matt Pontin – I have known Matt for a few years now. His #hiremattpontin campaign was a stroke of genius and a great example of what he is capable of. It was one of those beautifully simple ideas that made people go “dammit why didn’t I think of that”! His willingness to share knowledge and kick around ideas make him one of the good guys.

Leslie Taylor – I’ve known Leslie for about 8 years now as a client and colleague, and her energy, output, creativity, enthusiasm and ability to make things happen inspires me. She has done so many great things for us as a business and she makes coming to work fun.

Amanda Tolley – Like Matt, Amanda is one of those people who is so willing to share ideas, knowledge and help out others in our industry. I’m sure that from time to time we would compete for the same candidates, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for her. Amanda and I have met a few times to talk about things when I’ve been stuck for the next step.

Liz Hansen – I worked with Liz at Retailworld back in the day, and since then I’ve been trying to hatch a plan to get her on the same team as me again. She is a so good at what she does, comes up with such great initiatives, and is fun to have around the office.


Thanks for a good read Matt. Who would have known we have a guinness world record holder in the #NZRec community.

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