Fuelling Talent


True passion and commitment to transparency and authenticity really help to develop a business. These forward thinking ways of working help to achieve good relationships with not only your staff, but candidates and clients as well.

Fuel Talent is a staffing and recruiting company of which Shauna Swerland is Founder and CEO of. She is also an executive recruiter with over twenty years of experience. Here she talks about what she believes it takes to build a business and the lessons she has learned along the way.

If you had to put a finger on it, what do you think was the most important decision you made that contributed to your success as a CEO?

I think the most important decision I’ve made has been to surround myself with smart and talented people, many of who possess complimentary skillsets to my own. I really wouldn’t be able to run Fuel Talent without capable, intelligent and passionate employees. It’s important hire a really smart and driven team, but more than that, to be able to provide them with the support and tools to be successful and reach their full potential.

If you could travel back in time to when you were first beginning the start-up process and you had 15 minutes with your former self, what would you say? What lessons would you communicate?

I would say to slow down and enjoy the process and not worry so much. Trust your gut and hire great people – do the right thing and the rest will follow.

When did you realise you wanted to build your own company?

Probably in my late twenties. I had been in the business for about five years and had a lot of responsibility beyond recruiting. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the business, but was waiting to feel settled after having kids and figuring out where to raise them.

What habits do you think have most influenced and contributed to your success? What mind sets have made you successful?

I think the mind set that’s contributed the most to my success has been always trying to do the right thing and treat people well. If you’re able to maintain strong relationships with people, the business just kind of follows. I also do my best to conduct myself with a sense of urgency and am always willing to offer consultation and advice to both companies and candidates, which tends to strengthen those relationships.

What was your biggest mistake when you were first creating Fuel Talent and how did you deal with it?

I think at the beginning it was hard to say no to new businesses that didn’t conduct themselves in ways that were considerate of our time, the energy we put into sourcing great candidates, or our feedback. I’ve learned to use more discretion and be more disciplined about the businesses we actually take on and that was a really important lesson.

In one sentence, what does it take to build a business?

I think it takes drive, passion, and a certain amount of not thinking and just doing.

What is your number one mentoring tip for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

I would say to just go for it, try to meet with as many people as you can and ask a lot of good questions. Ideally begin the start-up process when you’re in a position to focus a lot of your time and energy on the business. Definitely do not underestimate the hard work aspect of it!

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius