Monthly Archives: May 2012

#atcsyd Day 2.. The Awesomeness Returned!

Man what a day…. sorry, it’s late I’m writing this, but I just arrived at home. (took a few more days, went back to work, and now finished this)

But back to the start of my day…

Great start… woke up without the sound of crying (I have young children… this is a perfect start of a day!)

Then… awesome breakfast provided by the #atcsyd guys (the food at this event was magnificent!)

Rebecca Houghton was the emcee today, and for a lady who was introduced as someone who is self confessed as unfunny, she had the room giggling and laughing and well, eating out of the palm of her hand.. Even if she did crowdsource her 10,000 steps for the day. (I won’t tell anyone though)

Then Rebecca did something that has the potential to change my professional life.  She introduced Glen Cathey who presented  “Moneyball Approach to Recruitment” Big Data – Big Changes… aka The art of winning an Unfair game…

It’s fair to say that “Big Data” was the term for the day!

Changing of mindsets and questioning what Real Data you need to make GREAT decisions….. and can you validate your currently held assumptions and ensure you don’t hold any biases of any type.  He shocked (and worried) the majority of the people in the room, with some stats about the relative success of tall people (over 6 foot 2) versus not so tall people. (Glen stated that 3.9% of American males over 6’2, however 30% of CEOs are over 6’2, a disproportionate number you’d think… interpret as you will!)  Sadly I qualify for the latter.  On a personal note, I could hear my Dad in my head, throughout this presentation with the idea of the “Assumption” doctorate.  ie Don’t assume things, get backing from your ideas with statistical data.

Questions raised in my head were, what data do I have to challenge? What do I want to challenge?  As far as I know the majority of Recruiting is subjective, you like the person, they perform OK in interviews, their chances of getting hired are greater than those who don’t interview well, but may have other core skills.

With Moneyball Recruiting, Glenn, suggests we “Move away from subjective means of assessing talent and make hiring decisions more objective, fact and empirical data based means”  The idea that Google have a specific “People Analytics” team, gives us something to think about, apparently all “people decisions” at Google are based on Data and Analytics.

Imagine if as an employee you carry your statistics across your career like sports people do? Raw numbers out there for everyone to see and assess! How would you feel? Would it change the way you work?

Glenn then raised the idea that “Intelligence” is a core predictor of performance.  Statistics given stated that if you use “intelligence” as a core predictor of performance, you’ll be right 65% of the time.  That’s not a bad score  I wouldn’t think.  The question raised was “What is intelligence?” “Are we talking Emotional Intelligence? Street smarts or your IQ?”

Another question was raised, which realistically hit right at the heart of a core belief of what we do as Recruiters or Sourcers.  “Why do you want to hire an industry re-tread?” Someone over looked by someone else, or already working at another place.  Why do that or could you identify people outside your core beliefs and ideals who could do the job as effectively, if just viewed a little differently?  Looked at through more objective eyes, through the identification of core “Traits” or “signals of success”.  These questions had a huge impact on the crowd, you could almost hear all the cogs turning in the collective brains of the attendees… How can we re-look at what we do?  The big question was then posed “If you had to start all over again… what would you do differently?”

In case you were thinking the age of information was taking over, and Recruiters we fast becoming an endangered species, Glenn concluded that “Great strategies… without great people, are not worth a damn!”  So, we’re still hanging in there people.. room for us all yet!

Adding to the days geekfest was Simon Cariss talking about “Global intelligence leverages HCM Decision making”.   Essentially Simon took us on a magical tour of numbers.  (I saw in some circles it described as #dataporn!) Just having some fun with them, showing us how data can tell us a story.  He illustrated this story with the global launch of the virtual launch of the iPad 5 (it’s invisible folks!) and how everything connects.  This dude seriously had his geek on… (it was great). (Another highlight was Simon’s Australianising the infamous “Purple squirrel” with a “Red Possum” LOVED IT!)

He then asked a question, based around the idea that “the door of the CEO is always open, for the right information”.  What is the right information your CEO requires to make decisions? Can you simplify it down to one number? In the age of mobile information and smaller screens, maybe this is something you need to think about! (Apparently for those “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” fans, 42 is not the number!)

Howard Kotzen was up next “Building a case for intuitive Technology and integrated Talent management”, more talk of Big Data and continuing on the theme of “asking the right questions” a perfect follow up for Simon.  He spoke about talent ownership and the responsibilities for success.  How Recruitment should be seen as an Enterprise Resource Planning idea, where each silo of the process understands and appreciates the fact of their dependency on one another, striving for the same goal of company success.

Howard’s talk was followed by a person I was really looking forward to hearing, and meeting, Master Burnett.  He gave a talk on “Lean Recruitment Marketing” – I loved this talk, fast paced, thought provoking and practical.  Just what we (OK I’m speaking for myself) wanted in a conference like this.  It was tough to take notes, as my mind was going flat out trying to keep up with everything.  I took pics of the slides, which I’ll share if I get the permission of Trevor and his team.

Bottom lines (yes plural, as he made some great points which stuck with me and may have changed the way I look at Recruitment… again!)

Master asked us to think about our Marketing, and question “What’s changed in 10 years?”  Think about the channels you used, how many of them are obsolete now?

He spoke about the polarisation of our audience now across our multiple SPOPs (Social Points of Presence) cool term huh! and the fact that now the audience will talk back and readily question

Are we forcing our old stuff into new markets?

These Lean philosophies will test market, and see if our assumptions are accurate.  Try many things, in small doses across many mediums.  Measure, iterate, try again! (wash, rinse repeat!) Trust data over opinions, build and derive that data yourself!  And allow yourself the flexibility to move with the times.  Who would have thought about marketing/recruiting in Pinterest a year ago?  Be dictated to by the conversation and get to a stage where you are leading it!

He spoke about how in this age speed and flexibility are the new drivers of competitive advantage, process slows us down! (For those that know me, it was music to my ears)  Apparently, Life happens when you’re stuck in the middle of process!

Master was not talking about throwing “process” out the window, but get rid of in the aim of trying things, in small stages to reach an outcome (or not).  He encouraged us to think about outcomes versus output.  Don’t talk stats of interviews achieved, page views, eyeball minutes, etc.  Talk about outcomes, be specific, make it measurable, attainable, relevant and of course bound by strict time constraints.

The game changer?  This really resonated with me.  The outcome of successful Recruitment is great performance and success of the business!  What do you think about that? Not talking “bums on seats” in a timely manner, not talking time to hire or quality of hire, not talking longevity of hire, but business success.  BAM

(Makes sense doesn’t it, but haven’t really ever taken it to that extreme!)

Sadly, due to travel plans I had to miss the unconference sessions, but I have no doubt they would have continued down the stream of thought provocation.  I look forward to reading more posts as they filter out about this great conference.  Hat tip to all the organisers, speakers and attendees.  I just love the conversations! Can’t wait until the next one!

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#ATCSYD OMG… Australian Talent Conference is GO!

If you’re reading this and you haven’t been able to attend this weeks #atcsyd (the Australasian Talent Conference in Sydney this week) there’s a couple of things I’d like to say.  Well, firstly, “sucks to be you” :), secondly, I apologies for the large input on my twitter feed and thirdly, better start working on your boss for budget for next year!

I mean what a day! Here’s my (attempted) brief overview of this day…

Firstly, up early enough for the birds to tell me to sssshhh.  I tried to leave the house under the secret cover of darkness, only to be sprung by my youngest, who proceeded to howl the house down at the very idea that Dad may be going somewhere without her.  Silver lining? I got to say “good bye” to everyone, as they all woke up… #sneakyfail

Uneventful commute to airport, however my perfect plan for easing into this day with a quiet coffee pre flight was hampered by the far far far queues awaiting me at airport security #coffeefail It was barely 6am people… Come on!!!

Sadly I missed the drumming which kicked off the #atcsyd (which isn’t a bad thing I don’t thing) and then walked in for the second half of Dr John Sullivan’s talk on “Competing through Agility” (missing first half was a bad thing!) The big takeaway I got from this talk was that Speed rocks! (no not that speed) Spoke about rates of improvement, and the imperative to improve at a higher rate than the business. (OK I missed a fair chunk of this session) Bottom line… speed and innovation, check the Twitter stream #atcsyd for more 🙂 Taco’s as bribes for cv’s were mentioned though.

The next session was “Will you consider Video interviewing before your boss tells you to try it”.  Interesting session, for me personally as I have been wrestling with this for most of this year. Kevin Wheeler and Gerard Ward presented on this, however, it was mostly Gerard from Testgrid talking about his product.  My issue with this topic was that people were using the terms “screening” and “interviewing” as interchangeable.  That is a concern for me.  However, I’m not yet convince that my audience or clients are ready as yet. I don’t think it will be far away though.  Also, need to note that some of these products are not yet mobile compliant, which to me is ludicrous and devalues their product.

The next session was delivered on “Fast-tracking Career success Through the Power of mentors” by Jen Dalitz.  She made some really good points, took a few tangents (but who doesn’t love a Beagle analogy?).  Lots of men versus women and how they work, I’m not sure if she was alluding that one was better than the other, just that they were different.  Some great tips around mentoring though, looking internally and externally.  Putting the idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” ie a Board of different people with different skills to help you work through the ins and outs of this professional world.  I loved that idea.

The next session was something I was looking forward to as Glen Cathey was presenting with Gabriel Garcia.  They were talking about “Searching Big Data Immigrated from the US to Australia”, sadly this was more of a product pitch, with some interesting ideals thrown in for good measure.  Semantic searching, however, and the technology around that, is very cool!  Enterprise, Search Driven Business Intelligence…. “Say it aint so!” very cool idea.  It made me realise my limitations around search and as @JaredWoods noted… “Get my geek on and start to drool over the technology” Best quote from this was from Glen “Data has no value if you cannot retrieve it” .  Obviously limitations around this idea is the fact that if you have a crap database then, it would be useless, however for your Infosys’, Ernst & Young’s IBM’s etc I can see how great this could be.  Also good to see CareerOne trying to innovate and evolve from a pure Job board.

Incase you didn’t know, some of the best lessons learned from these conferences occur at the breaks, when you get to catch up and meet with people, other professionals, who in some cases you only know online.  I love this.  And yes this happened here today…

Enough about that… Lunch was great, with a cheesecake to die for at the end… OMG YUMMMMM!!!! no not sharing….

OK sorry.. off topic… The sessions coming up next were a choice of 4.   I chose @Davidals session on “Rethinking Attraction and Recruitment: Blue Ocean Philosophies” and Anthony Storks “If you can’t Attach Your New Talent, You’ll never engage them”

2 genuinely quality session, even if it was sad to miss the other two.

David started his talk with using the “cirque du soleil” as a case study of something that took a concept, re-thought it, eliminated competition and thrived in a dying industry.  Just through innovation and uniqueness! GOLD! He spoke about Red Sea fishing and Blue sea fishing, red being the conventional, tried, true, boring and limited version, with Blue being the innovation, standing out from the pack, being willing to make a difference version.  Obviously there was a bias towards the Blue style (and not just because “state of Origin” was on today, and we’re n Sydney)… I can’t go word for word… slide for slide here because, well, he’s already done it.  And if he wants to attach and share here, well, he will!  But the outline for being able to make innovation, build a compelling business case, think about starting to look at what you want to achieve in four quadrants…  Create Raise Eliminate Reduce… think about those… see how you go! (Sorry I couldn’t think of a witty, amusing acronym for that)

For Anthony Stork, I need to apologise, no I don’t need to apologise for him, just that his energy, passion and knowledge of his topic around employee Attachment was so impressive that it didn’t give a lot of space for taking notes (plus the fact that my wifi connection crapped itself about now).  But firstly, a great speaker.  Some major points coming out of this session were around the cost of attrition, where the buck stops, how to measure.  He spoke of  the importance of Core attachment perceptions of Security, trust & value, acceptance, and belonging. and how without these core perceptions being managed we were essentially doomed to fail, or perish I think the word was.  Compelling stuff, especially when he put a dollar value around the idea… (his numbers) a New hire is a $100,000 investment in the first 3 month… Seems like something you really want to get right huh?

After a quick break we saw Tanyth Lloyd (@voguist) headline the “World Cafe” part of the conference next… What is that? I hear you ask.  Essentially it is a big hall, 15 different topics to discuss on 15 different tables, each with a facilitator.  You pick a table, discuss there for 20 minutes… stop… regroup… share with room…. pick another topic and repeat.  Always interesting topics… I’ll attach the topics somewhere here (thanks for pic Glen Cathey) .  But let’s just say, what happens on tables 15 and 10, will stay on tables 15 and 10!

All this conference, just provided us the vehicle to take us to the final session of the day with the one and only Greg Savage.  If you don’t know Greg, Ok not personally, but if you haven’t heard of him (what are you reading this for) Google him, I’m sure he won’t mind.  Then watch, listen and learn.

Greg got the dud time, the tough time of the day.. the final person/speaker sitting in between 300 delegates and free beverages.  I have to say, I’ve conversed with Greg for a number of years now, we’ve agreed and disagreed on things, but this is the first time I’ve met him and heard him speak live.  All I can say is that I thoroughly recommend it.  I’d almost go as far as to say that if you want your Recruiters to get inspired by their job, and bounce back to their desks to GET THINGS done, they need to see Greg.  Greg is an evangelist for what we do.  But today he gave us a case study on how his company took to the Social side of things.  How his company… “Went Social”  Greg freely shares this case study, so for me to write about it would not do it justice… Just ask him, he’s never short of a word! 🙂

He likes to operate in “the REAL world” and apparently Recruiters operate in this world, which I tell you confused some delegates.  He spoke about not having a “social Media strategy” but weaving “Social” into the very fabric of their company.  The stats he used were compelling, as was his 11 pronged strategy, and really did raise some questions in my own head, of some things I will explore more when back in the office.  One thing he said that I’ll share that’ll stick with me for a while… “A Status update can fill a role!” think about that! (and this my friends is what you want out of a conference!)

Then of course the drinks and canopies came out to conclude a great day.  Looking forward to tomorrow, glad I got this out of my head tonight, need to make room for tomorrow 🙂

Thanks to Trevor Vas, Horace Chai, Martin Warren, Kevin Wheeler and the team for putting this on again.. Bring on tomorrow. So looking forward to meeting more people tomorrow… and if you read this and want to say hi to me…. please do, I won’t be hard to find…

Social Media, Recruitment, Seriously, it ain’t that new!

I find it interesting, this world we live in.  I’m probably too entrenched in this Social Media, Recruiting space.  I get genuinely surprised when people either a) discover Social Media b) discover how to use it within Recruitment.  When people rock up at these conferences and are all starry eyed and “Wow’ed” at what they are discovering.  I know it is pretty cool stuff, which is why I like to go for these.  I too was once doe eyed listening at the foot of the wisdom tree sucking in as much as I could, and honestly… it changed my Recruiting life.  But that was many years ago now, Social Media was in its infancy, LinkedIn had less than a million people on it, Facebook was barely out of college, Twitter wasn’t thought of yet and RecruitingBlogs.com only had a couple of thousand users.  I still remember the nerves of hitting “publish” on my first blog post (@AdamAxon I think you’d remember) and expecting the world to somehow stop (it didn’t… I guess you knew that though huh?)

Why is Social media such a surprise for people now? 2 people join Linkedin every second they tell us.  Facebook has almost a billion people on it, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr etc etc etc ad infinitum.   It’s mainstream right? Not reserved as the pure domain of computer nerds and people who cannot connect with people in real life (we’re all there still though).  Right?  By hitting “publish” on this post, I’m probably preaching to the converted, but I’m typing it anyways!

The great thing I love about Social Media, is the speed of its evolution.  This speed makes it OK to try things, if it doesn’t work, fine, switch gears, mark down the lesson learned and go on to the next thing.  Failure doesn’t always mean the apocalypse, just ask questions about Google Wave.  The world of Social Media will forgive you and let you move on (and probably forget about your little mistake pretty quickly.. oh look something shiny….. sorry what was I talking about?)

Sometimes I think it’s healthy to sit back and look at the world around you.  Realise that not everyone thinks the same way, (yes, even with all the reciprocal smoke blowing on some of these blog sites) and be prepared to talk people through what you do.  Are you sure you know/understand why you do things? Social Media is still scary for people, especially people in companies, it is a move away from what they have traditionally done, things that have been successful.  Change is tough, change is confronting, and sometimes, it’s not always needed.  People need to understand why they are doing things, what’s in it for them! Not just follow blindly.  You need to have a reason, a business imperative to join in to the conversation.  I really don’t think having 3000 “Likers” or “followers” is a legitimate business goal, there I said it!

Find that reason, find that critical need, and the rest will happen.  It’s our job (us old time players in this space), to educate, challenge and support.  I’m learning not to assume that people know this stuff, which is a challenge for me, even though I’m not a Digital Native myself.  If you or your company are struggling to take the leap, don’t be scared, trust me (OK, I realise that was said by a Recruiter)… the water is fine.  You’ll find and learn by doing! That’s the best bit about Social Media’s evolution, you keep learning and evolving with it.  It’s a great ride, share it with people.

Recruiting Ninja’s lookout! The JITH Lords are coming

I am the JITH Lord! OK, maybe a little over stated, but an interesting start to a blog right?  I’m pretty sure that the JITH’s are related to the Sith’s depicted in the Star Wars movies (and the cool picture above), taking the Recruiting ninja idea to a whole new level!  The Force v Ninja’s, I should call James Cameron now to secure the film rights.

OK, Sorry not really what I wanted to write about today.

I have been reading Glen Cathey‘s “Just in time Recruiting” series a lot after his inspirational talk an Australasian Talent Conference event last year (click on the link guys, there is another one coming up.. these are the events which changed my Recruiting life)… It would be quite safe to state that Glen’s talk at this event instilled a “man crush” from my then boss.  I saw it change his whole philosophy on Recruitment.

Flash forward half a year or so, and wow, it’s been an interesting few months.  Going back to an inhouse role.  With Peerlo we looked at numerous Recruiting philosophies, I’ve tended to morph a few of these into my role now.

In my current position, the majority of the roles we Recruit for fall into one of maybe 2-3 categories.  So, we aren’t an agency, and the variety of our roles won’t expand apart from the odd “Hail Mary” to help a client out.  So I’m thinking I can do a bit of this “Lean Recruiting” stuff and morph it into my “Just in Time Hiring” (JITH) ideal.

The idea of “If it doesn’t add value… it’s waste” resonates with me a lot.  This, I think is the backbone of any Consulting business in my eyes.  Glen speaks about the 5 of the 7 wastes that “Lean” aims to eliminate.  Not all of these are “wastes” to me or my company or areas I need to or want to eliminate.  There is probably one section which I would change to have input to JITH

Let’s look at them:

Inventory:

Glen mentions: “In recruiting, your candidate pipeline is your inventory. More specifically, your work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” further refined as “A group of candidates that a recruiter stays in routine contact to maintain a relationship with, without a specific and current hiring need is essentially a work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” ie they are “paused” somewhere in the process.  Glenn argues that the amount of  time and effort that goes into the relationship building.  I tend to agree with this.  “In or out” I think.  I understand timing is not always right, however constant “catch ups”, coffees etc without the ability to hire in the forseeable future, is a problem that has to be monitored.

Defects:

Glenn states.  “According to Lean, a “defect” is something that does not conform to specifications or expectations.  When it comes to recruiting, I’m not suggesting that the people themselves are defects. However, candidates that are sourced, contacted, screened, and with whom a relationship is maintained that do not ultimately match the actual hiring need are defects of the recruiting process.”

Hard to argue with really.  We had a great example of this recently in a meeting I attended.  We were talking about a potential hire, the plusses and minuses of said candidate.  People were on the fence.  He had been in the “process” for a little while and some people were very Bullish about his potential for the company.  Bottom line, question was asked “Would you hire this person with no reservation to work with you in this company?”  We couldn’t get an unreserved “Yes” so therefore the person ended up being a firm “No!”  Cut lose from the hiring process, not taking up anymore time.

Over-processing:

Glenn states “Over-processing occurs any time more work is done than what is required by the customer.  Engaging, screening and building and maintaining relationships with candidates that will never ultimately be submitted to a client/manager in consideration for an interview can be seen as performing more work than necessary and be classified as over-processing.” Agreed!  Why bother? What stats/KPIs are you trying to maintain? Why would you invest heavily in people you would not ever realistically think of starting with your company? Not wanting to offend someone? Get a new career!

Waiting:

Glenn states: “Lean defines the waste of waiting as any time that something is held in wait of the next production step.  In recruiting, waiting occurs whenever candidates are not being advanced through the recruiting and hiring process.”

Dead on!  The efficiency of one’s process will make or break a hire.  Take too long, those hires will disappear, someone else will hire them, or they will grow disinterested in you and your process.  You really need to drive the process.

Overproduction:  (this is the one I disagree with)

“Production ahead of and in excess of demand.” This is deemed wasteful for a Recruiter.  Too many job applications, of which no-one gets a real personal response.  Glen states “Traditional proactive candidate pipelining ahead of actual hiring need almost always leads to overproduction.”  From my point of view, having too many qualified candidates, all the way through our Recruitment process ready to hire, is a great thing, not a waste.  I like to have candidates ready, willing and able to go, as proper timely workforce planning is not always do-able in our business.  We need to be ready, and try to eliminate the lag in hiring, which would ultimately be there if not prepared.  Our process takes a while, and has a high exclusion rate, getting someone through, with all our ticks means I need this person fully engaged and bought into our brand and message.  I will put work into these people, they deserve it, my company needs it, it’s value adding!

To move onto the “Just in time” Recruiting part.  Glenn states that by eliminating these wasteful parts of a normal Recruiting workflow that ” Just-In-Time recruiting is a pull-based strategy of providing hiring managers/clients with candidates that exactly match their needs, when they want them, in the amount they want.”

What a great idea, concept.  A bit utopian I think.  To start from a zero base, find, attract, process and hire someone in a time efficient manner (and lets face it, most companies need them YESTERDAY!) .  I am unsure this is really possible, but then again, I know I don’t have the skills of Glenn. Maybe I see things differently as part of an inhouse team now? But whilst I agree with a fair percentage of this model, I feel the need to change it just a smidge.

I firmly believe that Recruiting is the act of attracting people to your company, your roles, your ideals.  Finding people who will come along for the ride and sharing with them the reasons why they should.  Talking to people about your company, exploring talent channels.  Sorting the wheat from the chaff, making the hard calls on those who would fit and those who wouldn’t.  I have probably repeated this ideal ad infinitum of late around my office (driving those around me mental may I add) , “Companies should ALWAYS be Recruiting” (identifying, targeting, vetting, having conversations and coffee with people) “Just not always Hiring” (Hiring is the result of good Recruiting! I’ll hire these Recruits as required, knowing that those people identified will not always be available when we need them.  If there is enough of them, I’ll live with that)

This is where I corrupted Glenn’s “Just in time Recruiting” ideal and (well, you can see what I did with this right?) and started going down the path of Just In Time Hiring.

Still sticking to the ideals of mostly eliminating waste, I agree with this philosophy mostly.  However, in what we as Recruiting professionals do, the “Recruiting” isn’t the important thing in what we do.  Sounds weird when you write it down doesn’t it.  It’s really only the Hiring (and subsequent STARTING) that counts.  Our value add, our purpose for being employed or engaged is to hire!  How many of our stakeholders will care if we have a carefully maintained Talent Pool, great Social Media platforms, 100,000 “Likers on Facebook”.  If we don’t put the right bums on the right seats at the right times our value diminishes!

Hiring is the all important thing here, not the Recruiting, my job doesn’t end if/when a Hiring Manager decides to interview a Candidate.  An interview isn’t a win!  The success of my role is based wholly and solely on the Hiring of great talent WHEN the company needs them.  I’ll live with the Over Production, I’m actually hoping for Over Production, the more the merrier (of successfully Recruiter, qualified and processed people).

I always need to be Recruiting to achieve this.  If I am ALWAYS Recruiting, I can be a JITH (Just In Time Hiring – incase you missed it) Lord, and that sounds pretty cool to me 🙂