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Robert van Stokrom

Late last year the RCSA announced that DFP
Recruitment CEO, Robert van Stokrom would succeed Lincoln Crawley as
RCSA (Aus & NZ) President.


Robert has very kindly agreed to answer my questions
about himself and the plans he has for the RCSA in 2014.


Ross: Tell me a
little about your background prior to joining the recruitment industry.


Robert: I spent 25 years in technical roles in multinational
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, running manufacturing, packaging, QC, R&D
and logistics.


Ross: How did you come to join the recruitment


Robert: After spending too much time overseas and travelling
within Australia, I decided that a change was needed, particularly as my
young family was growing and this was a major priority. I approached my
current business partner Eddy Bidese, now chairman of DFP, with a view
to establishing an Executive Recruitment business within his business at
the time, Forstaff.


Ross: What did you find to be the biggest challenge
when you initially moved from ‘client side’ to ‘agency side’?


Robert: I found that the competiveness of the recruitment
industry was a significant change to what I was used to. Pharma was a
complex business with not much competiveness where recruitment was at
that time the opposite.


Ross: Tell me what motivated you to move from
recruitment agency employee to recruitment agency owner? How did it come


I had always intended to be involved as an owner of a services business.
I needed to have an environment where I could push the envelope with my
own thoughts on leadership and management. I needed to be in complete
control of my efforts, and the subsequent results. The Forstaff story
was a great one, and the association with our chairman is highly
successful, the combination of this resulted in the purchase and
expansion of DFP.


Ross: What’s the scope and size of the DFP
Recruitment business in early 2014 and what does your role involve?


DFP has grown from 3 branches and 30 internal staff to almost 100 staff
and 14 branches. DFP has, for many years, been a market leader in staff
retention through its many successful internal strategies. DFP has also
many very long term relationships with key clients due to our business


Ross: DFP have acquired other recruitment agencies
in a challenging economic period when many buyers have kept their cash
in their pocket. Why have you done this?


We have always operated DFP on a growth strategy; we are not bottom line
focussed as we believe that establishing a sustainable critical mass is
a higher priority. Economic conditions have been difficult in the past,
but it has not waivered our prime goal of growth.


Ross: When and why did you become involved with
the RCSA?


I joined the RCSA Vic/Tas Council in 1999 as a councillor.


Ross: What roles have you fulfilled prior to recently
being elected National President? What did they involve?


I was president of the Vic/Tas division on two occasions for a total of
8 years, a member of the RCSA Board for 6 years as Finance Chair for 3
years and CPD Chair for 3 years and also Vice President for 4 years.


Ross: Why did you run for President?


I am a great supporter of this great industry. I have been lucky to have
been associated with many capable and entrepreneurial people over the
years. I believe I have gained a strong knowledge base to continue the
good work of our previous President, Lincoln Crawley. I supported
Lincoln as Vice President during his term and believe I am suitably
prepared for the role.


Ross: What do you aim to accomplish as President?


I/we intend to, through the employment of the RCSA strategic plan,
firmly establish the RCSA as the association that is regarded as
Australia’s expert on employment, skills, the workforce and workforce
management. The RCSA will facilitate and inform Australian business and
Government to adapt to changing skill and labour force requirements.


Ross: What’s the most significant issue facing the
recruitment industry right now and what are you, as RCSA President,
doing about it (or intend to do about it)?


Robert: The current slow market is the most significant short
term issue we need to deal with. This is caused by several factors of
which one of the most significant is the reduction of our countries
competiveness on the global stage. Our message to Government, Industry
and the Unions is clear. Research, surveys and facts support the need
for a more flexible, higher skilled mobilised workforce to protect and
grow our economy. The RCSA is a critical cog in this requirement.


Ross: How political do you intend to be in
ensuring the RCSA members’ interests are strongly represented in


We have been politically active for some time in Canberra. As politics
would depict, it has been more difficult with the Labor government.
Despite this, we have been very active in the past with both Government
and opposition. We have a renewed strategy now, due to the change of
Government, of a multilevel contact programme which will achieve the
influencing plan we have in hand.


Ross: What can RCSA members expect in 2014?


We will be more vocal in media; we will be pro-active and active in
issues we need to be more profiled in; we will lead the issues rather
than having to respond to them.


Ross: Outside of work, what are you major hobbies
or leisure pursuits?


My wife, Leonie and I enjoy a fun and full family life with 7 children
between us, 5 grandchildren and Shortie, our dog. We love the beach,
movies, live theatre and live bands. I love my motor racing; I race in
Group Nc historics with a 1973 BMW 2002; I play guitar and try to get
our band together as much as possible for a good jam. I enjoy
entertaining at home, restoring cars, gardening, fishing, riding my
motorbike, cycling and keeping fit through regular early morning gym so
we are always enjoying and active lifestyle.


Ross: Favourite music/band/singer?


Robert: Mick Hucknell (Simply Red), Bob Seger, Richard


Ross: Five dream dinner party guests (and


Richard Branson, as he is, for me one, of the most impressive
successful risk takers in business, and is a great connector. Ringo
, as he knew George Harrison the best and I need to know more
about George as his music was unlike any others. Bill Gates as he
is not only an amazing businessman, he is probably the top living
humanitarian. Hugh Jackman as he is such an amazing person and
actor but has remained grounded and still very cool. Vladimir Putin,
so he could maybe learn what it is like to be a great person from my
other guests – maybe he will stop behaving in  such an anti-social way, and if he
does I would have great pleasure in having Hugh help me throw him out.


Ross: Favourite holiday destination?


Robert: I enjoy Europe for new experiences, or anywhere where
its warm, sunny and by the beach for just relaxation.


Ross: Favourite drink?


Cote de Rhone red wine.


Ross: Favourite meal?


Leonie’s home cooked gluten and dairy free lasagna.


Ross: At school you wanted to be a [what] when you
grew up?


I wanted to be a pilot and a rock star


Ross: What’s something people would be surprised
to know about you?


I have taken acting lessons and would like to be involved in a movie if
only as an extra.


Ross: How can InSight readers and readers of my
blog connect with you online?






website or my




Ross: Thanks for your time, Robert and all the
best for your new role.

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