In December of 2019, Shah Gilani was on a meteoric ascent in the recruiting industry, having catapulted to 25th place on the list of Top Recruiters in Canada for 2018—just two years into his career. Three months later, the pandemic swept in, bringing with it labor shortages, supply chain issues, and intense competition for skilled workers. While staffing agencies sat paralyzed by the quarantine, Shah saw an opportunity to help. In August 2020, he founded Axcess Talent Management Solutions Inc., in Calgary, Alberta, as the first-ever fully remote, one-stop-shop recruiting agency that’s turning an age-old industry on its head. With teams located all over the world, they’re young, passionate, innovative, and tech-savvy—and they mean business. Just 18 months after launching, they’re serving some of the largest companies in Canada.
“I wanted to do something to help businesses by providing lower costs and extraordinary service focused solely on them, not on maintaining a physical location,” Shah says. “So many fantastic companies are losing out on some of the best candidates because of the traditional models that require on-site interviews. We’re changing that, and making it more affordable.” True to these words, Axcess offers free technology, zero retainers, and a simplified process that is taking the industry by storm—all driven by their mission to “Build relationships between great people and great companies.”
Axcess works with both clients and candidates to ensure the right fit for long-term placements. While they’re currently focused primarily on the light industrial sector, Axcess has plans to include a division for administrative and professional positions—while rolling out exciting, innovative features, including AI, to bring value beyond connecting great talent with great companies. “We want to be everybody’s go-to resource, where business leaders can find information on industry trends, where the talent is, what they want in a company, culture, career, benefits,” Shah explains.
We spoke with Shah to hear more about the inspiration behind Axcess, how they’re different, and their bigger mission to lift up others through their Second Chance program.
What inspired you to start a fully remote staffing agency, and how does this model benefit both candidates and employers while supporting your mission to build relationships between people and companies?
The inspiration came from the need for a more efficient and adaptable approach to recruitment. By embracing a fully remote model, we can offer a wider range of job opportunities to candidates and a more diverse pool of candidates to employers. It also supports our mission of building relationships between people and companies. The remote model benefits both candidates and employers; it allows for more flexibility, freedom and cost-effective recruitment process. We’re proud to offer this innovative approach to recruitment and look forward to building relationships and making a positive impact in the industry.
While most recruiting firms focus solely on staffing services, Axcess serves as a one-stop shop for resources beyond this. Where did this idea come from?
The idea came from recognizing the need for a more comprehensive approach to recruitment. We understand that the job search process can be overwhelming for candidates and the hiring process can be challenging for employers. We wanted to provide our clients with a one-stop shop for all their recruitment needs, including resume writing, job search assistance, and interview preparation. This holistic approach streamlines the process, and helps candidates and employers build a strong relationship, which is our ultimate goal.
Does your experience with having owned your own businesses give you greater appreciation for the challenges of companies seeking talent—and the urgency to fill those roles?
As a business owner, I have a deep understanding of the challenges companies face in finding top talent, and my own experience allows me to empathize with my clients, who are under pressure to quickly fill crucial positions. It’s this empathy that drives me to provide efficient and effective staffing solutions for businesses and make the process of finding the right people for the job as smooth as possible.
While you’ll be adding a division for administrative and professional positions, why did you choose to focus on the light industrial sector?
We chose the light industrial sector due to the urgent need for it during the 2020 pandemic, with labor shortage and supply chain delays affecting businesses across Canada. The sector is growing rapidly, providing many job opportunities. During the pandemic, these companies faced tremendous challenges in finding and retaining employees, and we helped them quickly find the talent they needed to keep operations running during that time, and we continue to help them thrive now.
You’re also helping people find employment through Second Chance. Tell us about this.
The Second Chance program is an initiative that we started to empower low-income individuals with the tools and resources they need to secure meaningful work. This program is close to my heart because I believe that every person has the right to work and live with dignity. Unfortunately, life can sometimes deal a tough hand, and these individuals may need extra support to get back on their feet. That's where Second Chance comes in. By providing training, interview preparation, and résumé rewriting services, we're helping them take control of their future. And by partnering with various organizations, and hopefully other staffing firms in the future, we'll be able to help more people obtain training that would be otherwise unaffordable and find employment. It’s my mission to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential and I am passionate about making that a reality.
Founder & President — Axcess Talent Management Solutions Inc.