Monthly Archives: February 2010

When ambition outweighs ability

We all know them, have seen them, snickered at them when they aren’t looking. Hey, I’m sure we’ve all been that person.

I had to sit in a review the other day and tell a guy that basically he wasn’t as good as he thought he was. I didn’t enjoy being the teller, and I’m sure he didn’t enjoy being the hearer. But it’s part of the gig.

I sat down Saturday night and looked at the job I had ahead of myself. We are doing renovations at home (I know… long drawn out story, getting closer to the end day after day) and we’d bought some floating floorboards which I had bravely decided to lay. “It’s easy” people told me.. “I laid my own, easy and it looks great”. I was confident I could get it done. Here’s the thing, I suck at being a handy man, two left thumbs if you will. I can carry things and hold things and dig stuff etc, but doing intricate stuff which will make a difference. Here I was about to undertake a project which will be seen/noticed every single day of our lives.

I should have seen the warning signs. People close to me had asked me “Who’s helping you?” I was insulted… After all I am a man… I can use power tools for good instead of evil.. I can build stuff..can’t I?

I’m not sure if this is just a guy thing, but asking for help on such things seems to take a bit of your manhood with it. But as that legend Harry Calahan says in Magnum Force.. “A man’s got to know his limitations”.

Luckily I survived the experience (so far) I swallowed my pride or quashed my personal ego and called my Father in Law, and he happily came over the help (Thanks Fred). We learned from each other (although truth be told I learned more from him…) and currently it is straight, looking pretty good, even if in the whole day we only achieve half of our iniital goal. I am pretty excited and proud. Will be even more so when it’s finished.

Could I have done it on my own? Very very doubtful. Have I learned from the experience, so as next time (heaven forbid) I’d be able to do it.. Damn straight. Am I greatful my nearest and dearest were “brave” enough to point this lack of ability out… begrudgingly yes…. Probaly saved me thousands.

Same applies in Recruitment. Recruiters, have the strength to tell people “they’re Dreaming”. We need to tell people to “Focus your attention on jobs you will win and can do straight away. jobs you are going to look good for. ie if you are a sandwich artist at Subway, and your goal is to be a National Sales Manager for an IT firm, don’t apply for that role yet…. work your way up to it. Plot a course and stick to it. Whilst you may think “it’s worth a shot”, trust me it isn’t. Would you want to work for a company that would hire you as that without any experience?”

I’m not saying give up on the dream. Just set a realistic and achievable course.

The oldest 18 year old.

have you ever looked in the mirror and been surprised at what looked back at you? Happened to me this evening, and I”m not even sure why.

I looked in the mirror and was surprised that I wasn’t the young 18 year old, full of verve and confidence looking back at me. It was a fatter, hairier, older variety. It was weird. Strangely unexpected.

What happened to that 18 year old? (I do sometimes joke that I ate him) The good news is, nothing.. just got older.

I remember me at 18, I was full of confidence at what life was going to have in store for me. I’d met a girl, I’d told my Dad and mates that I was going to marry. I did. I’d had plans to travel overseas and settle down, with a career, kids and a nice car by 30 (which of course seemed a lifetime away). I was lucky, or I worked hard, or was pushed at the right time by the right people.. Maybe d) all of the above. But I achieved all this.

Funny thing happened though… I got to 30, I couldn’t figure out what goals to have again. Life was comfortable, job was cool, kids started to multiply, 1 doubled to 2, and now 2 is almost 3, house is getting smaller and being comfortable isn’t too bad really.

But here I am on the downward slope to 40, kids are starting school (apart from 3.0 who is yet to arrive) and that internal 18 year old is thinking again, ideas and optimism are back, goals are rearing their ugly head again. Look out world, here comes the oldest 18 year old.

Calling all motivational Yoda’s

Wow, the things you find when cleaning out the Posts on one’s blog. This, I found in Drafts, I hadn’t it publish… oh well, I’ll fix that now. When reading think it was written in January.

So motivator you are? Let judge me you….

Thanks Yoda… I need your advice.. What’s your motivation? What gets you up in the morning? Why do you do what you do? Are you self motivated? And if you are how do you do that? Can you motivate others consistently?

This time of year is an interesting study into the psyche of the world as I know it. Things are supposed to slow down, it’s the way of the world. People are being merry, thankful and looking forward to a few days off in a row with family and friends.

“Nothing happens in December or January” Seriously, if I hear that excuse or poor synopsis of the market one more time I may need to poke myself in the eye with a fork. OK people are on leave, but business still happens everyday, whether we want to take part in it or not.

Honestly, I’ve had some of my biggest months in January.

So, how do we motivate ourselves, our teams, or even our clients to keep the world turning? How do you get up don the suit and get to the office, when all your friends are at the beach, or down the pub with each other?

I’ve seen the carrot and I’ve seen the stick style of motivators, and whilst both have been effective (when applied at the right time) it is hard to find one consistent method. I’m talking personally and for the teams around me.

Motivational skills are essential in our business, self motivation (be warned if you say this in an interview with me, I’ll ask you to prove it!) and the ability to motivate others. Included in this list of others are, clients, candidates, hiring managers, colleagues, partners, teams, bosses, etc. You need to find a way to get everyone going in the same direction. (OK cliche alert! but yes it’s true) As a mentor of mine once said – make your skills “situational”. Deal with each experience as it comes and rely on past experience (and your brain) to get you through.

I’d love to hear your thoughts Yoda, tips and tricks to inspire those around you to achieve great things……..

Honeymoon Hairstyles and Attrition

When my wife and I went on our honeymoon back in 1999, we had a great time. We went to Thailand and had a blast, the time of our life.

During this time my wife took the opportunity to try something a little different with her hair style. (Oh god am I going to get killed for this?) She took the opportunity to get all her hair beaded and braided. It was pretty cool, she’d never done that before, she looked pretty hot, although it kind of hurt when she turned her heard too quickly.

Why did I share that with you? There is an analogy here, trust me.

When we got home, I did my husbandary duty and carried her over the threshold. Later that night, my lovely bride decided to get rid of those beads.

When she finally got all those pesky things out of her hair, we had a huge scare. All this hair came out. She freaked out. “All my hair’s falling out! I’m sick! I’m going bald!” (I may have used some poetic license here) Honestly I had no answers here… dumbstruck. I very unusual trend for me.

When we took a breathe, stepped back and thought about it, we figured something out. You lost around 100-125 hairs a day. It’s not a problem, it just happens, and your normally able to replace them in normal day to day hair growth. However, as all her hair was tied in, a captive to those beads if you will. They couldn’t go anywhere.

For those of you in a Corporate environment, this is my best analogy for Attrition and how it going to affect the world this year. There is a year or two’s natural attrition waiting to be let free, there are hundreds of Recruiters and opportunities out there waiting to help them be free.

Be smart, don’t panic, explain this situation to your managers, or anyone else that will panic. This attrition will happen this year. To win, you need to gain more than you lose… How important does that make your Recruitment team to the company huh?

Recruiting Green Eggs and Ham

Don’t you hate it when your bluff gets called. I get a lot of inspiration for blog posts from my day to day life, especially with my kids. You’ll notice my posts are not the high brow statistical masterpieces, or comprehensive analysis of some new Recruitment tool. They are just my views. A while ago, I went through a series of posts, getting analogies from books I was reading with my children, posts like

Happy Feet: The success of Standing out

“Guess how much I love you?” – Gen Y v Gen X and Baby boomers.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, forging that relationship!

The Very Cranky Bear – A child’s tale re Consulting and/or Customer Service

Be the Lucky Platypus

Of late, my kids have begun to enjoy the tempo and rhyming and tempo of Dr Seuss. I tweeted something the other day around Dr Seuss being my muse (or something along those lines) and I got called on it. The great Steve Levy called my bluff. “Roo”, he Tweeted.. “special project for you – a blog post modeled after Green Eggs and Ham”.

For those Gen Y’s who don’t own books and don’t know what I am talking about.. see the video below.

I thought about modeling with the posting in rhyme. But after thinking about it, I really don’t have the time.

So I had to think of the story and how it related to Recruiting… now that wasn’t too hard. Pestering a client into giving you a go.. and then surprising them with what you did.

This to me is more Social media reluctance within companies. A cheeky little so and so who knows everything trying to tell the older, wiser “person” what they should do. Naturally, the older, wiser, person resists without understanding what the offering is.

You must Tweet this from my blog
You must read this to my dog
You can send them to you phone
you can read them all alone
You must have a Facebook fan page
Everyone else does it’s all the rage.

I will not tweet this from your blog
I will not read this to my dog
I won’t send it to my phone
I wont read it all alone.
I don’t want a Facebook page
I don’t want it, get back in your cage.

etc etc etc

But like any good corporate recruiter, Sam keeps on keeping on, keeps pitching, persisting…. until the grumpy old “wiser” person submits to the nagging and has a go just to shut up this nagging little voice.

“I do not like them,

You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see.”

Oh… (thinking this is good, fun and informative. What a great way to market to the “masses” I’ll think about ROI later)

I can tweet it,
I can blog it,
I can link and search and flog it.

It’s not just for Gen Y
Baby Boomers are not shy.
All the choices I can see
Recruitment 2.o is for me.

I can get a message out
I can market all about
I can get a 1000 fans
Social media just rocks Sam.

I’m a Corporate Recruiter…


That noisy thing on your desk. It’s the Phone.. Pick it up!

I read “Recruiter Daily” well, daily, always enjoying the gems Jo Knox brings us.

Today I say a post called

Poor response rates turning off top candidates

Robert Godden was responsible for the piece. I don’t know Robert, but I’d like to thank him for getting my mind working again. Robert experimented on job ads which had directed people to call someone specifically. Here are some direct takeaways from this article (for those who don’t want to click on the link.

If the best candidate for a job generally calls to ask about it, recruiters are missing out on the cream of the crop by failing to be available or respond to messages

There were some scary and damming numbers in regards to calls being returned by Recruiters.

This really doesn’t surprise me. Recruiters operate in the NOW. We’ve all been there, spend a few hours in meeting, get back to your desk, the flashing light on your phone is going nuts, your email is full and before your bum makes an inprint on your chair.. the phone rings.

I want to add some advice in here, of a lesson I learned a long time ago.

When I was a young Recruiter, constant messages got out of hand for me. We had run a huge campaign for a new contract my organisation had won. It was amazing the applications we were receiving. We’d stirred up that much interest, that after a 1-2 hour block of interviews I would return to my desk, via the receptionists desk and picking up a 2 inch thick pile of “message slips” (yes pre email!).

This made me sick with stress, never seeing the bottom of the pile, annoying people everywhere. When I’d call back the call backs, I’d miss the new calls coming through. etc etc etc. We actually had to hire telemarketers to call people back for us. It was huge.

But I learned that I was really bad at calling people back. I’d make time in my diary for it, but the deal of the moment kept getting in the way. I’d feel I was way to busy to take the call, when it came in, kept up at my “crucial” bit of work with the intention of calling back straight away. I rarely did, well that day anyway. I was very down on myself.

I thought about it over one weekend, and decided to change tack. I’d take every call when I was at my desk. Return every call as soon as I sat at my desk and see if I missed out on doing any work. I made the calls my priority.

Funnily enough… it worked. I got through everything. Taking those calls would normally take less than a minute. Returning the calls, also took no time, the timeliest part of it was the notion of “sigh” I have so much to do.. where do I start?” with that I wouldn’t normally start anywhere. I took the plunge, bit the bullet, add whatever other cliche you want here.

Bottom line, TAKE THE CALLS. Don’t screen, it’s rude and you probably won’t get to call them back and you’ll look bad. If you miss a call, don’t wait 5 days to call them back, do it NOW! rub that off your to-do list ASAP! I agree with the start of Roberts post, the majority of the good candidates want to talk to you before sending a resume, hiring the best should be your main KPI. Great Recruiters have the best candidates, Great Recruiters work with their candidates, Great Recruiters are timely and responsive to clients and candidates (good, bad and indifferent!).

Great Recruiters think the phone is the number one Recruitment tool.

Great Recruiters talk to people