Monthly Archives: May 2009

Monty Python hit for the day…

I have to try this.. Happy Tuesday all

Sucking Eggs, correctly

“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 knowledge of this mythical thing called “the market”.

One of the most challenging parts of any Recruitment role I believe is client education. Getting them to listen to the real version of the market (well according to me anyways) as opposed to the media beat up, hyperbole and assumptions that people are prone to. Don’t make excuses, just tell it how it is. Do you know it is not “just you” who can’t find the people they want? Try to back it up with more than just anecdotes. They’ll think you are just making excuses.

This has been one of my bug bears for a number of years, here are a few points I’ve used to try to combat my lemon sucking lessons. (My other Bugbear, joke! I’ve always wondered what a bugbear was.. thanks Google)

1/ Listen
2/ Be open and transparent
3/ Be honest
4/ Be factual and clear, most C level people have a decent BS monitor.
5/ Get some facts and stats to back up your argument
6/ Forward articles agreeing with your point of view.
7/ Remind people that being made redundant is not a blot on your career. It’s like blogging. It just happens.
8/ Advise to not opportunistically hire people at a lower rate than you should do, just because you can, keep your employer brand intact. (Bad business karma I think)
9/ Find different ways, mediums to get your message across
10/ Be consistent and strong, don’t be bullied into agreeing into something you don’t agree with.
11/ Actively look for effective cost savings
12/ Get C levels involved in using technology to help (ie show possibilities of Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc)
13/ Know (and be active in) your “market”, your demographic, your region
14/ Prove you know it. Be involved with all areas of the business, add value to discussions which will show you understand the market, the movements and the players in it. (ie know client or competitor is laying people off in a certain area or hiring even)
15/ Don’t be afraid to annoy and challenge some people
16/ Be Patient and calm
17/ Find a sponsor in the business
18/ Don’t be arrogant, defensive or too aggressive

I’m sure there would be more, but these are the ones off the top of my head. Please let me know ideas

There is also the final little known clause… avoid the “I told you so dance” when you are proven correct.

Two things to live by… Add VALUE, let your bosses look good by giving them all the information they could require if pushed by Boards or other C level executives.

DELIVER, find a way. Continuously being able to solve business problems with your skill in finding the right people at the right time, will give you and your theories (or excuses if you want) that much more credibility.

………and finally, remember, you all want the same thing, to hire quality people, at the right quantity at the right time for the future success of a project, a team, a department, a business. Find a way to start acting like it.

Is "SORRY" really the hardest word?

I love my football, I love my Carlton Football Club, and my mood on the days they play, effectively mirrors the way the team plays. I understand it is a game, but it is a release, an escape if you will. It is a great leveler, CEO’s and Parliamentarians and truck drivers and people without a job, pensioners and students are all the same. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are personally invested (not so much financially) in some way. The ramifications of those 22 players (AFL team) has on your general state of mind (and voice) is amazing.

The highs you get from a victory, those devastating lows from a defeat, and the constant analysis of your team, where they are now v where they should be, is all consuming.

My team broke my heart this week. Its not like I’m not used to them losing.. however it was the way they lost that was disappointing. There was an obvious plan. It just didn’t work. Plain and simple. Bottom line my team got killed.

Understandably the team got criticised heavily from all corners. However, the coach responsibly said and not to quote but… “we got it wrong. The game plan didn’t work.”

Hopefully, they’ll learn from it and get better from here.

How many of us are strong enough to draw the line in the sand when things aren’t working out. Stand up to your critics (internal and external) and say.. “Yep, that was my mistake. It was a bad call. We tried but it didn’t work. We’ll learn from it, put some more plans in place and continue to get better!”

Admitting to a mistake is the ideal time to make some changes, to gain buy in, and to deliver something. The buy in is normally there because when you make a mistake in the Recruitment world, it has business impacts and the business will want to help you achieve results to help them achieve.

I was once at a Management weekend away, and somehow got myself in the spotlight. It became obvious to all that the theme for the first day was “How Recruitment is ruining our business!” FUN! as I was the only Recruitment person in the room. It was a tough day, the toughest one in my career actually.

Turning up the next day, dragging my sorry behind to the first session, felt like a death march to me, I couldn’t be late, but I couldn’t seem to make myself walk forward. One of the Directors at the time sidled up next to me and asked me how I was doing?

“Honestly? I feel really really bad” Said I
“Really? why? drink too much last night?”
“Nope, yesterday felt like a whole day just attacking me, and I’m not sure how today is going to go.”
“Well”, said the Director “The bad news is that you were right. However the good news is that you were right! If the Executive didn’t think you had what it took to deliver, quite simply you wouldn’t be here. You have the opportunity now to implement all those plans we’ve spoken about, to give solutions. They want you to achieve, you just need to now tell them how you are going to. They will afford you the tools and resources. now you can do it.”

I have to say one of the more powerful little walks I’ve ever had. Liberating if you will, and it turned into a really high level of activity and success for the Recruitment team and the business.

I had to stand up and say essentially OK, what we have been doing isn’t working. As the Manager, I’ll accept responsibility and this is how we solve it.

I’ve heard a lot, people saying don’t apologise, it shows weakness. I really don’t agree, I think it shows strength. It is easy to deflect blame and raise your hands saying.. “it wasn’t me, not my fault etc”, it is way tougher, to stand up straight, hold your head high and say “Yeah, it was a mistake, my mistake. I’m sorry it happened, we’ll rectify this, learn from it and move ahead.”

Is apologising a sign of weakness? Admitting fault or blame a limiting thing for your career?

Campaigning for people to lose jobs. Shame media

I rarely get up on my soap box, but man.. this has really annoyed me.

I love my football, I love my sport, I love hearing about it, I love reading about it and basically I cannot get enough. However this month, there has been a couple of issues arising which really sticks in my craw…. (where is my craw by the way?)

Anyway, in the media here, there seems to be a pre-occupation with people losing their jobs, specifically coaches of football clubs. Aren’t we in a recession? Isn’t unemployment way up from where is has been the last few years? It really seems to me that the media seems to be celebrating (or asking for) the downfall of certain people from their jobs. (Google Terry Wallace or Mick Malthouse to see where I’m coming from)

The villages have their pitch forks, and fire torches and seem to want to burn their witches. It’s goulish, making me sick to be honest. And in this climate of swine flu, that makes me nervous.

I mean they are talking about someone losing their job. I understand it happens, and poor performance cannot be tolerated at the moment anywhere…. but how many of us have actually had people campaigning for your demise? (I have once… those people don’t work for my company anymore :))

Imagine this happening in Corporate life. You company Newsletter announces that Recruitment haven’t hit their numbers, and Editorialises that the Head of Recruitment must be “feeling the heat”. They interview people around the office, to get their opinion and run a poll on Yammer… “Head of Recruitment – stay or go”. All of the sudden your job seems to be at the mercy of public opinion.

Walking into work and people are waiting or asking for comment, taking your photo or filming you, and making your responses public knowledge. Now that’s pressure. What happens if you don’t hire more people next week? The drums beat louder and louder.. how can you effectively operate in this environment. Some will go the “well I’ll show you” attitude, but I’m sure most will go into their shell or purely fall on their sword.

I’m sure this happens in the rest of the world.

But just imagine people campaigning for you to lose your job. Undermining you, making you a discussion point at many dinner tables, coffee tables, pubs across the land. Living through that, every eye in the office, looking through your windows waiting for your next move.

I think it is just irresponsible in these economic times that’s all, even if they are public figures, you are talking about people, with lives, families and feelings.

I have respect for those going through this at the moment.

Question to self…. are you a fraud?

It’s been an interesting day. A busy busy day, which started in a flurried search for a phone hiding in my car and ending with me questioning my very worth… as I said… interesting day.

The flurry of the morning was compounded by an innocuous little quote in the book I’m reading. Now I won’t quote it directly as it is fiction, and I cannot be bothered finding it again. However, the crux of the quote was that all professionals have a fear that they will be found out as a fraud. That their clients, colleagues or bosses will dig that little deeper and find out that they aren’t as good as they make out.

Powerful stuff… I know I’ve felt like that, and I have a fair sized ego. Even in writing my blog, adding comments to discussions etc, does what I have to say have relevance? Will people even care or comment. Will what I say show me up for the fraud I feel at times. It is always hard to believe I’m supposed to be a grown up now. I’m married and have 2 kids for goodness sake, I’ve been working since I was 16 (coming up to 20 years soon), in my career for the last 12, I mean really, this is ridiculous. I should know what I am on about by now, I should be confident.

Most of the time I do, and I am. Just every now and then, that little cloud of doubt sneaks in and hangs around for a while. It is exacerbated by a number of factors, tiredness, (constant) negative feedback, lack of success, poor morale etc.

The good thing here… I know who can fix it. Simple, just follow these simple steps. (look out Letterman, I’m doing another list!)

1/ Wake up tomorrow
2/ Drag yourself out of bed
3/ Wander into the shower
4/ Finish shower
5/ Towel off
6/ Walk over to sink and mirror
7/ Grab towel
8/ Close you eyes
9/ Use Towel to wipe the mirror clean
10/ Say hello to the person most likely to help

Wanted: Inspiration… DEAD or ALIVE

Well, here we go again… doing my nightly blog reading, and it seems it is the same stuff, different day. Hold on… did I just see a Groundhog?

Articles on Gen Y, v Gen X v Baby Boomers. Gen Y’s “you just don’t understand us!” Baby Boomers “and we really don’t care!” Gen X’s where is the money in this debate?
Articles on Thought leadership, who is one? how do you become one? and just because you say you are one…. are you really?
Articles on the next big technical advance (AKA twitter me this Batman! Does Twitter work for you)
Articles on the Recession. Are we close to the end? Of life as we know it or the Recession… depends on what you read.

Or variations of the above…


Honestly, I’m getting a little jaded. I must be, I’m getting into conversations about the validity of a cover letter in a job search (again).

John Sumsers TOP 100 INFLUENCERS in the HR/Recruiting world may spark some interest, some great reading and some high level debate (or some low brow name calling, Jerry Spring style, which we all love). Hopefully John will have a good mix of the generations and where they sit in the HR/Rec value chain. Having been an avid reader of John’s over the years, I’d expect nothing less in what will prove to be a huge excise for John. (But will make him a great resource for those people Recruiting in the HR/Rec niche!)

Maybe it’s me. My life seems to have hit 4th gear, with holiday finished, commitments with the children and work commitments firing up across the country. Don’t get me wrong I am so appreciative for this and I value every minute. It’s just that I enjoy this part of my life, the late night blog reading, the learning about Recruitment and the frivolity between the participants. I seem to be missing that. It has left the building Elvis style.

Maybe it’s the missing chat area from one of my favourite sites. Maybe I’m a little more tired at the moment and don’t get around as much anymore, so only see those certain discussion/blog topics.

I’m obviously not a thought leader, as I cannot at this time of night come up with something fresh or alternative to what I’ve said, although a new kids book article could be on its way soon.. be warned.

I am happy, comfortable and challenged in my life and work.

So herein is the challenge blogoverse, give me something new! Get me thinking, inspire me… please.

Positive job news in the States? Really?

I have been an avid reader of the great people over at ERE.Net for many years, and even have a group there full of Australian Recruiters. I saw an article today by Todd Raphael, who is the Editor in Chief over there, which was some silver lining, which we all need a bit more of these days.

It’s not cheesy Pollyanna style writing, about how things can be positive, if we all stick together and think good thoughts. It is a video talking about the actual number of job openings as opposed to job losses.

The issues of location of jobs, and skill shortages, sound vaguely familiar.

I wonder if the relocation issue is a global issue? I’m not sure housing prices have dropped that significantly over here in Australia to be such a deterrant

The times we live in…..

Interesting thing happened to me this week. I ran into an old colleague in a coffee shop (that’s not the interesting thing) but he said something to me which resonated a bit. He said “Nuroo…. man, I feel I know more about you now that I did when we worked together, with your blogs, your twittering and your facebook stuff.”

We laughed it off, however it got me thinking. “That’s pretty sad isn’t it?” Was I not open enough? Was our communication that poor? or is it just a comment on the brand new world2.0 now? Where information is more easily shared and found, and sometimes given to you even when you don’t want it.

Has the world for communication changed forever?