Reflections on 13 years: What’s it like working for MPi?

A dump truck on a mine site.

An MPi team member reflects on her 13 years with Mining People, as she moves on to new challenges. What’s it like working for MPi? Find out here.

It is bittersweet to be leaving the company where I’ve spent my entire working life. Especially when I consider the amazing team of people I work with as an extension of my family.

When I first walked through the glass doors of Mining People’s Kalgoorlie office, I was 17. I’d been working about 20 hours a week in a retail job and had gone into MPi to register for work. I did so, partly, because my parents demanded I get off the couch and find a full-time job. It was a big step for an introvert with an acne problem and low self-esteem, but the receptionist was lovely and smiley and talked me through the application process, so I knew what was to come.

When the consultant came out to discuss what kind of role I was looking for, I was delighted to discover he was my former manager from the local cinema where I worked after school (#smalltownlife). Right then and there he told me MPi was looking for a receptionist for their office and said he would send my resume to the manager. I was stoked! How’s that for timing?

 

Interviewing, onboarding and training at MPi

Now, it’s not for me to say Mining People has an excessive interview process but, when you think about it, they hire people for a living ­­– so naturally they’re going to go the extra mile to find the right person to join their own team. (Just as they do for their clients!) But five interviews, two personality tests and almost six weeks later, I got the job!

The training package was exceptional. I had a program to work to and was shown every rope by my mentor. I listened to every word they said as they talked with candidates and clients in the reception area and secretly pressed my ear against the wall when they took them into offices, so I could learn more about every aspect of the business.

They sent me to Perth for training and courses to help me better manage my time and to understand the processes MPi embraces in order to run a business as efficiently as possible. I was showered with things to learn on a daily basis but I already felt like a valued team member – I never felt that my opinions were unheard or my questions went unanswered.

 

Career progression and opportunity at MPi

A few years later, I saw an opportunity to step up from administration into a role that would see me working directly alongside consultants, sourcing and mobilising personnel for site. I loved it! The paperwork, the coordinating of appointments, the data management, the responsibility and speaking with the candidates on a whole new level – it really got my motor running.

MPi has always embraced my personality and my natural style, and encouraged me to grow into myself and my role. But they are also a company that will challenge the norm, will ask the tough questions and, when needed, keep you grounded. So, when I asked the workforce manager to consider me for a consultant role, her response was “Kylie, you don’t have the natural personality traits that will make a strong consultant…”

(This statement whizzed around in my head immediately. I felt betrayed and deflated and, for a moment, completely lost. But then she went on.)

“However, if you’re prepared to put in the hard work, then we’re prepared to invest in the training and skills you need to get there.”

This was it. This was the thing that set MPi apart from so many other employers. They saw in me (and see in everyone) the value beyond what is shown on the surface. They don’t accept people as they are, they look beyond the surface level and recognise what can be done to help someone achieve their ambitions.

I’m not going to lie. The road was tough. I’d stepped into a role that required me to be confident well beyond my comfort zone, to embrace an industry I had very little clue about, and put myself out there with clients to identify leads on roles that I didn’t even know existed.

Add to this the fact that this period coincided with the start of what would become known as the 2008 global financial crisis.

We saw the number of contractors we paid per week drop by 85% practically overnight. Other agencies and contractors in town were laying off recruiters and closing their doors at a rate of almost one agency a month. Mine sites with more than 1300 employees laid off contractors and the stock market was crashing in epic proportions, but MPi cracked on.

That wasn’t by accident. The management team and long-term employees had been in the mining and recruitment industries long enough to see the signs coming early and had made strategic decisions that allowed them to batten down the hatches and ride it out. And that’s exactly what they did.

 

Celebrating our people and their achievements

In 2011, I’d been working with MPi for a little over five years. This was, quite literally, celebrated by the company. Our whole team in Kalgoorlie was sent to Perth for a party hosted by our directors, Steve and Sue Heather, at their home. I was surrounded by friends, family and my MPi family and recognised for my achievements, with gifts, speeches and some amazing food. I’d never seen anything like it. MPi regularly has these parties for employees who reach five, 10, 15 and 20 years. What’s amazing is they happen almost yearly – as no one seems to leave!

My commitment, growth and ability in my role as a recruiter were recognised when I was given the title of Senior Consultant, and then in 2013 I took on an unofficial leadership role. I got a whole new buzz from becoming the go-to person for my colleagues. I was confident enough to answer their questions regarding our processes, the systems we use and how to manage tricky situations with candidates.

I was still in my early 20s and I’m afraid to say, at that point, I couldn’t see a career path with MPi beyond my senior title. I thought the only next step was to become a manager. It was then that I began looking for what else might be out there and, after much thought, accepted a role as an internal recruiter with a local gold mine.

I shook hands (actually, hugged and held back tears) with my manager and the rest of the MPi team, as they thanked me and congratulated me on my new, exciting venture. But fast-forward 12 months and I was back on MPi’s doorstep. I’d changed my mind. After nine years in external recruitment, I discovered in less than a year that internal recruitment just wasn’t for me.

Now, recruitment can be a fickle industry. There are companies that offer high salaries and exorbitant commissions and market their companies as globally supreme. It can be cutthroat. I had left MPi not because I was dissatisfied or felt underappreciated, but to gain a different experience. When I sought to return, they not only welcomed me with both arms, they embraced me with an offer that was both financially and professionally too good to pass up: I returned to MPi in 2015 as a Managing Consultant.

 

Stepping out into the big, wide world

Fast-forward another three years and my manager, who had been with MPi for almost 15 years at this point, transferred to our Perth branch, making way for me to take the reigns as the Workforce Manager for Kalgoorlie. What a challenge and responsibility!

It’s December 2019 and I write this as I serve my last week with Mining People. It seems a good time to reflect on all the learning, trials, tribulations, successes and challenges that I’ve had along the way. What a journey it has been, what an experience!

The respect and admiration I have for the people I’ve worked with, the people I call family, will never fade. I hope to call upon them years from now to remind them that I am who I am and have become whatever I can become because of them. Mining People will always have a place in my heart. And as I set off, once more, to explore a new path outside of the recruitment industry I stand by these words: if I ever return to recruitment, MPi’s will be the first doorstep I stand at.

 

If you’re interested in furthering your career in mining recruitment and want to work for an agency that feels like a family, and invests in and celebrates its people, get in touch.

 

Kylie Nunweek
Mining People International