JUST TURN UP: Job search advice from the unemployed

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Blogging about Recruitment and job hunting is tough when you’re unemployed. There is a heap of “information” or tips and tricks out there, you can’t get onto LinkedIn without tripping over some thought leaders advice, or some silver bullet to secure your next job.

Reading all these and doing all the points and still not being successful in landing that dream job could be (and is) demoralising. I thought I’d add to the noise. I mean it’s what I’ve been doing since before the turn of the century, I’d like to think I have some idea. 

Saying that, I’m writing this from my desk at home, not as an employee working from home but as someone who has been looking for work for the last couple of months. This Co-vid market is harsh.

Here’s what I’ve done.

My game plan has evolved around a multi pronged approach.

a) Low hanging fruit.

  • Daily check in on job boards, alerts etc. Devise and supply resume’s accordingly. Keeping records to ensure follow up if possible, or making the phone calls first. But that’s not as easy as it used to be. Doesn’t seem like lots of Recruiters want to get calls.

b) Networking.

  • Working through my network as consistently as possible, connecting, and asking for any leads. I have a daily list I build.

c) Build my own role – Target companies. Part I

  • Looked at the market, devised a plan of attack and a value proposition of myself and approached companies. I also have a daily list for this.

d) Build my own role – Offer services idea. Part II

  • I’ve had an idea I’ve been brewing for many years, but have never acted on it. I’ve decided, “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I give it a try?” So I’m working on a side hustle. This is a new prong, we’ll see how it goes as I refine and sharpen the message.

I’ve redrafted my resume, I’ve prepped for interviews, I’ve pimped my LinkedIn profile. I’ve done my research and followed up. And yet, that right opportunity hasn’t quite materialised as yet.

So, here’s my number one tip for a job search. JUST TURN UP

I’m learning I need to put my ego aside and just turn up. Do the hard yards every day. I’m learning not to dwell on the past, why things happened the way they have. I’ve accepted it’s a tough market, especially for Recruiters. Have you seen the numbers of applications for advertised roles? I’ve reset my expectations of my submitted applications, it’s a tough gig for those sitting in the reviewing chair. Mentally and emotionally understand that it is a tough market and it’s not just you, getting both of those in check is super important (and to be honest not something that happens every day)

I’m accepting the rejections or the “not just now” responses as a statement on the market not on myself and I’m working on the next thing. But showing up, going to work for myself and my family, doing the hard yards that is my job at the moment.  I know it will pay off, but only if I put my ego in check and keep turning up.

Brew more coffee, let’s go!

Wayne Gretski “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

Thanks for the 25

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My son was doing a coaching session the other day and the concept of asking questions.

I’ve always been a big fan of asking questions, I suppose it’s why Recruiting has worked so well for me over the years. But for some, there has always been a fear. “I’ll look stupid” “They’re too busy to answer that” all ideas that stop questions being asked. The coach said something really profound, and I don’t think I will forget it, it resonated with my son and with me.

It went a little something like this… (not direct quotes of course)

“Have you ever been asked for help?”


“when you were asked for help and you were able to assist, how did it make you feel?”

“really good. It made me happy that I was able the help someone”

“So it felt good right? You weren’t annoyed that they asked you? You didn’t think they were dumb?”

“yeah, I mean no.”

“OK then, by not asking for help, your robbing someone of that feeling. Why would you want to rob someone of that feeling?” “Most people like to help. Why not allow them that happy feeling?”

I seriously think I heard a penny drop. Only time will tell of course.

It reminded me of one of the early day sales training courses I went on. It was a Brian Tracey course. It’s burned into my memory, and this would have been late 1990s. One memory I have is that he spent the majority of the time trying to sell his motivational/sales training cassette tapes (google them kids). That made me frustrated, because although I did have the day off to do this training, I felt like it was wasting my employers money, trying to get more out of us. “all that time in your car or in transit going to sales meetings is dead time! Use that time, slip these tapes into your walkman (again google it kids) and you’ll be learning at the same time” I can still feel the cringe.

However, I did get one other thing out of that training session which has stuck with me. That alone was worth the price of admission. I have been to many other courses over the years, which I can’t even remember, so maybe, despite the cringe, it was worth it.

Brian was talking about cold calling. That horrific, terrifying, soul destroying activity which is the bane of a lot of sales people’s lives. Brian mentioned he loved it. He was an over the top American type, very rah rah ish, so that was no surprise. However, he then explained why.

He’d figured out it took him 4 phone calls to make a dollar. Therefore every phone call was worth 25 cents. Good, bad or indifferent. So, if on one of those calls he got his ass handed to him he mentally just hung up and said “Thanks for the 25 cents”. At the end of a long day calling with little success, he knew still that each call made him 25 cents. It drove him on. Put away his fear and kept moving him forward.

I was talking with someone the other day about this very thing. I’ve decided to try to be a little proactive in my job search. I’m connecting with people and asking questions, throwing out ideas to find somewhere that needs the value I can add. I know the timing is tough, I know I’ll get a lot of rejections or “not right now” responses. But you know, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Someone says no? Someone says not right now? “Thanks for the 25!.”

But what if I get a “let’s talk more” or even better a “yes”?

Temper your positivity

I was thinking about this today. So many posts on LinkedIn, on blogs I read even on Facebook on being positive, learning something new, keeping active etc during lockdown. 

The concept I get, it’s awesome, but let’s put a little proviso on this. I think it’s OK to take some time to wallow a bit. I’m no psychologist, just a guy with a lot of Recruitment, a  smattering of HR and a fair amount of life experience, so take this with a grain of salt.

Allow yourself some time to grieve. It’s pretty tough. Staying positive is pretty easy to say, but it’s really hard work. Trying to quash those inner voices is tiring. I think as a Talent Acquisition Professional it’s a little bit harder. You’re supposed to know how to get a job, you coach people in this, you write resumes and give advice on such things. How is it that you’re still not employed? Imposter syndrome kicks in. Some days it’s a huge step to get up and get dressed. 

It’s important to have goals, a plan even, a target for when the light is on the horizon, but not every day needs to be in search of these goals. It’s going to be a long road, don’t be afraid to sit down and take a rest. I struggle in the house at the moment, where 3 kids are doing their schooling and my wife is working away. It’s not fair for me to take a bit of time away from the job search, household chores etc for just me and some me time out is it?

I think it’s OK to be a little bit selfish, and look after yourself. But the important thing is to temper this too, movement is required, not specifically physically, but momentum to keep putting one foot in front of the other is really important. It doesn’t have to be fast just consistent.

I’m not going to give job search advice as this platform is flooded with it, and maybe it’s weird to get job search advice from an unemployed person, so I’ll finish with this. Be kind to yourself, be a little bit selfish, believe in yourself and keep moving. Ignore Gandalf and his “you shall not pass!” bullshit. Believe me, I’m old enough to realise, this too shall pass. Be ready!

Most effective Recruitment campaigns

I’ve been doing this role for many many years now, I’ve seen many things, many ways of doing things.  I love watching different ways of doing things.  I love seeing the importance of Recruitment in sporting events/teams, seeing it in different businesses, watching “Moneyball”, seeing auditions, reality tv shows, it all counts from where I sit, the tragic that I am.  I love trying to implement certain traits into what I do.

We’ve looked at big data, we’ve run auditions, role plays, we’ve stalked, we’ve headhunted, we’ve convinced and we’ve looked at blind applications.  In short we given lots of things a go.

That said, I’ve just witnessed one of the best run Recruiting campaigns (for lack of a better term)  It took me a while to see it as a Recruitment campaign, but a Recruitment campaign under any other name…….

Network Marketing.  It looks like a pure sales driven environment.  “Quick buy this, specials here, sell this, you know you’ll love it, it’ll change your life.”  But looking closer, the sales in itself is not their main goal.  You see, one person buying the products means nothing to them.  One person, buying product, doesn’t make the money.  One person buying the product, recommending to friends, and them recommending to friends, selling for them etc, that’s where the money is.  The money is volume, volume is money.  The more people selling, the more people buying, the more money “making money” from suck concept, means more money for the company.  More makes more right ?

I’m sure we all know someone involved with organisations such as these.  I need to tip my hat, they really are successful Recruitment machines.  They have ticked all the boxes.  Building a need, building an excitement, cultivating the passion, great examples and case studies for people to see success and to be able to picture themselves being successful, closing, inducting and repeat.  These machines are amazing.  I’m intrigued at watching them in action, and if you’ve ever been to a meeting, then you’ll see the amount of Kool-aide being passed around.

They really can sell the “What’s in it for me” part of the process well.  People can personalise it, embody it, feel it.  And they sign up, whether they sell, or Recruit themselves is the kicker.  But enough into the funnel, enough comes out, it’s a fact that has always worried me, but is true.

Let me know some of your inspirations behind Recruitment campaigns you’ve been in… Please comment, I love this stuff..

From me to you… let’s get better


Forgive me blogosphere for I have sinned… it has been…. ummm, I mean, ummmmm, 6 months, 12 months  ummm a really long time since, I have blogged.

Why? I hear.  Basically, life has been really hectic, a) with work, b) a growing family, c) moving house, d) all of the above or e) insert excuse here.

I miss it, I do.  I miss the spark it gives me, the mental challenges it sets me, the connections it gives me with peers and colleagues across the world. So, bugger it.  I’ve decided to get back on the bike, so to speak. (although I really do need to do something a little more active… that too is on the list)

Here’s the thing,  I love talking about Recruitment.  I’m one of those old Recruiters, who started Recruiting before the internet, but I still love to see what else is being done out there.  I love the innovation, the ideas, I love the challenges of the status quo, even if I could be seen (sometimes) as the status quo.

I’ve been lucky enough to see Recruitment in all its glory, I’ve pulled back to kimono, so to speak and am realistic about the market we play in.  I watch, I debate, I discuss, I cringe, and I even sometimes hold my tongue.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate to be asked to mentor a number of young Recruiters around Melbourne. I love it.

Let me lay this on the line.  I want to put back into the industry some more.  I want to help make better Recruiters. I struggle to make all the meet-ups etc that happen around the place, with family commitments vs work commitments and just life, however, I still want to help. I love being involved with people like Trevor Vas and Phil Tusing and what they both bring to our market as it continues to evolve, if you haven’t had a chance to attend one of their conferences yet, trust me you’re missing out.

So, what am I offering? In short, me.  (Google me, which I’m sure you’d do before doing this anyways) Recruiters, if you want someone to talk to, someone who has been there and done that, probably has the T-Shirt to prove it, someone to help guide and maybe predict a couple of speed humps for you, then that is me.  I will challenge, I will understand, I will listen.  Let us find some time to commit, to help improve our market.  Comment here (or find a way to email me or DM me) and I’ll select one person to mentor for free (promise).

So there it is, myself on a platter so to speak.  Will I be stampeded or deafened by the crickets? Only one way to find out (hits publish)


Mr Cellophane

A blast from the past, I still love this song…


Internal Recruiters are the Mr (or Ms or Miss or Mrs) Cellophane’s of the corporate world, the poor cousin of the HR team. Like the old adage internal recruiters should be seen and not heard. (I disagree by the way, I’ve just seen this ideal a bit)

Your part of the company, but not really. You don’t build or sell the widgets, you don’t set policy, you don’t deliver the business solutions to clients. You don’t actually make money for the company, you find the people that do. Smart companies understand, but are there lots of smart companies out there?

I’m all about adding value, and i’m all about being heard, I hate being dismissed or ignored.
Do you make yourself heard? Or do you just wait for things to happen? Have you been too nervous about your job security to stir the pot and instigate change? Or are you…

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Snake-oil, cool-aide and y2k. Focus

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It’s been a long while since I’ve written anything on this blog.  I’ve contented myself writing on other mediums, for other people, or just doing nothing watching this virtual world pass on by, but here I am in a cafe, drinking coffee, using their wifi whilst waiting for my son, so I could either read the resumes waiting for me, check facebook, glance over twitter, read the paper or just write… why the hell not it’s been a while.

Here’s the thing, there’s more than enough out there being written to need my 2cents to cloud already murky waters, but what the hell, I was here first!

I’ve been reading over some of my old blog posts of late trying to see if my thoughts have changed at all over the years.  The fact that I haven’t strayed too far from that old path is interesting.  With all the “new” stuff happening in the Recruiting world, the new technologies, the “importance of social”, (you know all that “stuff” that’s in your LinkedIn feed) the core stuff is still the same.

Recruitment is about people.  Finding people (or getting them to find you), engaging people (yes I used the term… sorry, but I have to use the terms the current crop of Recruiters understand), ensuring /convincing them the role is for them, as is the company, closing the deal ensuring the money the time the benefits all match, that the person starts! Rinse and repeat for as long as you want to keep working.

Maybe I’m just grumpy or jealous, OK no maybe about it.

Once upon a time Recruitment was simple.  Recruiters were, well, Recruiters.  The good the bad and the ugly. (I’ve been all 3 I’m sure) But they were the necessary evil that everyone had a war story about.  Clients hated, but put up with, candidates hated, until you found them the perfect job and we were the long lost poor cousins/distant relative of the gods of HR… all hail HR! (oops I reverted).  We could call ourselves Consultants, (people would let us get away with that) and everything was clear.

There was a minority of people in the industry who actually loved what they did (apart from the potential obscene amount of money you could make if you were good/lucky) but there were more who either a) just needed a job that paid well b) had no idea what they were doing or why c) jumped on a well paying bandwagon, remember the growth of the industry around Y2K (google it kids.. good time… oh yeah… good times) d) using as a stepping stone in to HR… But hey, as a candidate or a client/business, you kinda knew where you stood.

Look at the landscape now.  So many sub industries, it’s hard to find which tall tale to believe or which snake oil to buy.  The frontier of the entrepreneur! Have an idea, turn it into a “talent” thingy, count the cash right?  Use terms like “engagement”, “cloud”, “disrupt”, “uber” (I just threw up a little in my mouth), “social recruitment” or “mobile” and you’re on a winner.  Have a cool UI, relate it to  someone else’s popular Social media winner “facebook” “Instagram” “twitter” “snapchat” etc away you go.   Don’t get me wrong, I love bright new shiny stuff as much as the next geek, but I am sure getting lost in the vendor world!

I have a fear that Recruitment may end up in a space like IT did after the Y2K. (if you haven’t looked it up yet kids.. here’s your chance)  Those of us who lived through it, can remember the boom and the bust.  The bubble bursting all over us, the bandwagon stalling and life pretty much sucking.  Essentially, lots of money was poured into IT, firstly to fix the y2k bug (and GST if you were in Australia), and secondly because it became a cool thing to do, the stories were compelling.  Beyond the pure business and essential things like the y2k and GST, money was everywhere.  The fears of the world with the y2k bug did not eventuate, no planes dropped from the sky, buildings kept functioning, hospitals kept running, it was business as usual.  Companies looked at this and started calling “bullshit” on all the other IT led initiatives.  The belief killed the idea that the “geeks shall inherit the earth” and fostered an idea that “They weren’t the font of all knowledge giving you the great competitive advantage” they were just very naughty people. 🙂 (paraphrasing)  Questions were asked as to the real business benefit, terms like “bullshit” and “prove it” started surfacing and the money disappeared. (until the next bubble arrived, let’s face it, apart from the people, IT is pretty sexy)

This is our future.  People are jumping on the bandwagon, the idea fostered by businesses that finding great people is the biggest challenge you’ll have.  I hear this coming from all over the world.  I’ll call bullshit here too.  It’s industry specific, surely.  There isn’t a talent shortage everywhere.. right?  But that doesn’t sell, sorry.

Here’s my message to all vendors out there.  Find a measurable solution too a core business goal and you’ll get my money, other wise, keep moving, don’t sell me on “potential” I won’t buy.

What I am liking is the face that some places have figured out the end goal of all this.  HIRING! Getting the right people into the business.  These people are building metrics with this in mind.  Look, I love a great funnel diagram, but meaningful numbers from “attraction” all the way through to “Hire” would be great thanks.  I was talking to my great friend Kelly recently (and if you don’t know her, well sucks to be you!) and we were talking about LinkedIn’s latest poll or whatever it was, (sorry I get lost in which cool aide flavour LinkedIn is peddling at any one time) and they were talking about the number on issue for people was “quality of hire”.  Funnily, no one has worked out an effective way to measure that, well, nothing that stands up to long term scrutiny anyways (please show me I’m wrong)

So, Recruiters, keep Recruiting (yes talking to people and drinking coffee, OK that’s just my job description), but remember the goal.  It’s not Facebook likes or LinkedIn followers, it’s not how many people are talking about you or aren’t, it’s how many people you can hire that your company (or client) deem as great (and that, as far as I can see is in the eye of the beholder!).  Dress it up all you like, that’s your core metric.

Phew, that rant went on for a while, thanks if you got this far, the caffeine obviously kicked in as I was waiting for my lad.

I have one last question for you though? Am I wrong?

Part III: Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, forging that relationship!

Wow… 7 years on.. has much changed? Damn I’m old. Need some fresh ideas huh? 🙂


I simply love this story for a number of reasons, a) my son was named from it. (as a Recruiter, we had a short list of names when my son was being born (2 for boys, 2 for girls). When he came out the doctor announced “It’s a boy! What’s his name?”. I mentioned our short list… the doctor said…”easy.. Zachary….. Zachary Quack”) b) the Onomatopoeia and c) The lessons you can relate to day to day life as s Recruiter, leading me into part III (one and two found earlier) of my series of children’s stories for success.

Here’s my take on the story….

Hairy Maclary (AKA the client) is trying to get some “me” time, unfortunately, for him (or so it seems) Zachary Quack, keeps trying to get together with him (maybe for a meeting?), this causes Hairy to continually be on the run, avoiding Zachary, by…

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Sucking Eggs, correctly

An oldie, but has much changed???


“Yeah I’ve Recruited before. I had to hire people for my team. I know what you do, its your core job, what do you mean you cannot hire everyone we think we need? I mean I know how difficult it can be at times. But I read the news, I know what is going on in the world, this isn’t one of those times. You’re job must be easy now. There must be candidates everywhere, I mean how hard can it be to hire in a recession”

Ahhhh I love being in the Recruitment world. Especially in a Corporate environment, we’re lucky really. We have so many people who can and will offer you advice. In fact nearly every single person in the organisation will have an opinion as to how and where and how quickly you should be hiring. There seems to be an omnipotence as far as a…

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Part IV: "Guess how much I love you?" – Gen Y v Gen X and Baby boomers.

Just read this again to my daughter… the book, not the blog… Love it


I can’t help it… I was going to write another blog tonight, but was given this book from my kids to read tonight and couldn’t resist.

“Guess how much I love you” is a charming little tale of a little Nutbrown hare and his older, bigger, wiser friend Big Nutbrown Hare. It does sound a little sucky really, and the language is simple and easy, the kind that is easy to read to my kids, and fun to hear them recite. Hit “play” above and you’ll see what I mean.

However, my take on this tail..oops I mean tale is based around the generation gap between Gen Y, and Gen X/Baby Boomers. It may be a long bow.. but a lesson to be learned anyway. No offense meant to those Gen Yers reading it.

Little Nutbrown Hare (our poster boy for Gen Y), needs to communicate with Big Nutbrown Hare’s…

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