Monthly Archives: September 2012

4 factors changing the face of in-house Recruitment… Are you up for it?


I am an evolutionist.  I love seeing things evolve, people, places, teams and functions.  Looking back to 2002 (yep, all that way) when I first landed into the world of in-house Recruitment, it’s interesting to see how things have changed as much as they have stayed the same.

I went in-house for the same reasons of many, I hated the agency land, whilst I enjoyed the cut and thrust as I am a competitive bugger, I struggled with the closing and ended up hating the fact that no matter how we dressed it up, or changed our titles from Account Managers to Consultants etc, it was still hard core sales.  I struggled to come to grips with the worlds perception of what I did and it clouded my own perception of myself, my self worth.  After having a good trot with one agency (5 Agency years, I think that is 30 normal human years), and a couple of false starts in a few others, I landed a job inhouse.  Thinking it will be a cruisey way to ply my trade without the fear of those daily stand up meetings answering “Have you made 50 calls today?” “How many new roles?” “How many client visits?” “How many submissions have you made?””How many interviews have you scheduled?” and of course “How much MONEY have you billed today?”

I thought it (the in-house) role would be all the things I loved about this job function without all the shit that goes with it in Agency land.  Sadly, I found that in-house roles came with their own brand of shit to deal with.

It was a function viewed as a subservient part of a glorious HR realm.  A poor cousin if you would.  It was something that the HR people thought they knew how to do, just didn’t want to lower themselves to actually participate in the activity.  They had more important things to deal with like, L&D, OH&S, Remuneration surveys, and writing policies! (I remember someone in an HR team actually saying “I’m not here to talk to the people, I’m here to do HR!”) However, they were happy to give their 2 cents (OK a little more) on how to do it.  Multiple lessons in egg sucking did occur.

On top of this, is was still near impossible to escape the tainting that being an Agency Recruiter gave me, even in-house.  I was still known as “Agency Dan” (and no I don’t think it was for my great skills and winning smile!) behind my back.

That role did transform, and I’ve noticed the evolution happening throughout the market, as the importance of your incoming talent increases.  I hear GE just hired 30-40 Recruiting people for a centre of excellence in Melbourne, that’s got to tell you something!

With that evolution, comes more responsibility, more roles to play within an organisation.  The advent of Social Media, I feel has begun to transform the role once more.

4 areas largely impacted or bolted onto the role now seem to be:

  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Entrepreneurial or Future facers

Strategic planning:

Formulating, internal and external succession plans.  Building and maintaining an engaged (had to say that word, sorry) talent pool, not just a mailing list.  I’ve seen Recruiters being involved in spotting companies for acquisition, I’ve seen Recruiters being the person “on Point” for the company when looking at moving into a new geographic region, exploring the market and the main players in it. (Not sure any of these things would have happened 10 years ago.


This is the tough one.  There is now a blurred line between the two areas.  The term Employment Brand versus Corporate brand has really put this into focus for most Recruiting functions.  The realisation (in some companies) that any external marketing has an effect on Recruitment has changed the landscape.  10 years ago, who would have thought about having Recruitment have a say in the website development (apart from the tiny careers page) ? Who would have seen the Financial Controller/CFO have to include input from the Recruitment department in the making of the Annual Report?  But we do now! These are things that the discerning candidate will check.

Public Relations

Again, the rise and rise of social media has seen the need for Recruiters to start dabbling here.  Messages about your company, your brand can come from anywhere within or outside your company.  Who keeps tabs on this?  Away from products, most things mentioned on forums etc are employment based.  “This person is crap to work with” “Their Recruitment process sucks, they never got back to me” “stupid test” “they have no idea” “I heard they lost their Microsoft accreditation” As a Recruitment department you have to be across this.  The messaging going out impacts our lives as Recruiters, the messaging will change perceptions of what we are going to market with.  We need to be inserted into the planning.

Entrepreneurial or Future facers

With technology streaming ahead, there is an imperative to keep upto date with what is going on.  To evaluate what will and what won’t work for you.  Getting an edge, could help you out do your competitors, or vice versa.  You need to be trialling new things, have you trialled video interviewing? Sourcing from Facebook or YouTube? Is your ATS upto scratch?  Whilst I agree with the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” I love a bit of tweaking.  You need to have some flair, take a risk, see if it works for you and your company.  Are you looking to the future and assessing what trends could mean for your company and your workforce? What does outsourcing or insourcing mean for your company? What does the increase in virtual teams or working from home mean for you? Is there an implication for your company with the well documented “ageing workforce” and the impending rise of Gen Y or millenials?  Does BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and Cloud technologies have an impact on your business and the way you work, and thus what you can offer a workforce?  These are all thoughts a Recruiting function should be considering.  10 years ago, I wasn’t aware of it happening, even in the agency field.  Do you as a Recruiting leader have the support within your business to be able to make mistakes?

I can see how in large companies this could be a political mine field, blurred lines of responsibility, lots of autographs to get to get something done.  But in smaller companies, without these restrictions these are growth areas for the “Recruiter”.  Do we have the skills to handle it? Can they be learned easily? Can we break out of our own moulds and embrace it? I’m excited! Are you?

Don’t focus too much on the end goal

When you were a kid did you ever play computer games?  Had the obsession to get the top score and put 3 funny (or rude) letters on the leaderboard to commemorate your greatness? (Not that it happens now of course, I’m much more mature)

I can remember the adrenalin of almost getting there, seeing the glory, visualising the gloating to my mates as we all crowded around the big arcade game at the corner shop.  Ahhh Galaga I miss you.

I’ve been watching my son get his addict on with his new ipod touch, asking me for a new app game almost every day.  He’s pretty good at these games, but he has reminded me of an old habit I used to have, which frustrated the ……, well frustrated me a lot.

You see him getting closer to his highest score, he’s absolutely flying (Game of choice at the moment is Subway Surfer), he’ll then sense he’s getting close to his score, look up at the top right to check out his score and how close he is.  Inevitably BANG! he crashes and burns.  I used to hate that, and I assure you he still does…. passionately.

It’s a tough lesson to learn, and one I still struggle with.  Having too much focus on the end goal and not the activity that goes on to reach it.  You do the right things, the right way the majority of the time the rewards will come.  Take your eyes off that and focus on something else, the score, the cash, the commission, whatever it is that quantifies your success, you start limiting your chances of being successful.  Success is a sum of all its parts, ensure you get all the parts right!

The King is dead. Long live the king! and #toprecruitertv

Driving in the car the other day with my kids, they were astounded when an announcement came on the radio that sadly a gentleman who was the oldest man in the world died at the ripe old age of 122, that’s right, 122, passport says born in 1890.  See report here Come on, that’s pretty impressive, brings in 2 new centuries, and surviving 2 world wars, a cold war etc.  I dips me lid.

My son, gave some rare insight though.  “Who’s number one now Dad?” Great question, who knows? But raised an interesting point.  You’re only number one in anything for a finite amount of time, only the most experienced, biggest biller, number one ranked world tennis player etc (you get the point right?).  The world moves on, the next generation moves in, or something else changes.  Sounds like, “The King is dead. Long live the king”, a sobering thought really.

I was excited recently with the launch of “Top Recruiter” for those who haven’t heard about it.  It is a “reality show” about Recruiters and Recruiting. Pitching the “best of the best” (implied air quotes too) against each other, to see who is the best recruiter, and apparently help America’s job hunting, with tips and tricks in finding their next job.  All for the grand prize of being names “Top Recruiter” and getting the notoriety of being named such.  You don’t need to invest too much time to watch the webisodes, mostly (only been two so far) are around 8 minutes and have had more footage of ladies legs from the knee down, fast cars and planes than content.  But I feel we’ll get there soon.

They’ve tried to add a bit of spice and controversy to the mix already, by brining in (as a contestant) an ex-husband of one of the previously announced contestants. Who right off the bat endears himself to the public, labelling his ex-wife a “fucking nutjob”.

(OK tenuous long bow here)  This guy reminded me of the conversation I had with my son in the car about the oldest guy.  Not that he was/is that old, but in the original interview with him to give the public a bit of a bio about himself, he stated something which stuck in my gut.  Not to quote directly, (because I’d have to go through and watch this episode again), but he says something like “I defy anyone to show they have more experience in this industry than me” .  Seriously? I haven’t read his bio, and he may be an octogenerian with a great plastic surgeon, but I think I’d almost have him covered, let alone luminaries like John Sumser, Steve Levy, Gerry Crispin, hell, Jerry Albright for goodness sake (not calling you gents old.. but….. 🙂 )  I realise on these shows humility probably needs to take a backseat letting ego, and overt confidence take the drivers seat, but please make it realistic, it’s not WWE

Playtime with professional Dan

Sitting on the train I thought I would write a new blog post, but I’ve already done that, on my company page.  Look here !

Thought I’d share with you all what’s been going on in the life of the “professional Dan”.  As you may or may not know, I love trying things, and this is one of those times.  This all came forth after reading a book recommended to me (“The Rare Find” by George Anders) by Ross Clennett, one that I now thoroughly recommend (See Ross’ article here.)  A great thought provoker, conversation starter and, hopefully opening new learning and recruiting channels for me.

Changing my “well honed” (OK I’ve just been doing it for a while) paradigm to try something new (for me) has been personally challenging.  I’m going out on a limb, but I’m excited to see if this limb will hold me or if I’ll crash and burn… either way, it’s worth the risk for what could be some great rewards for the company.

In short, I’m shunning the interview process etc for my next sales hire.  I want to see them in action.  We’re quietly devising challenges to showcase some core attributes we’ve identified in star sales people and can’t wait to put them into action.  People can tell me anything in an interview, I can delve and deep dive all I want, but seriously, let’s just put them to the test!

I don’t want to headhunt from our competitors, because, frankly, who’s to say someone who is successful in one company, with different ways of doing things, processes, value proposition, clients, people, support structures etc, will be successful here.  Nothing is guaranteed, and the initial investment is substantial.  Going this way, the initial investment will be less and the upside bigger!  We are taking the long term approach.  Quick wins whilst good cannot sustain a business alone.  Quick wins, long term wins, repeat wins build a sustainable business.

Maybe you’re now picturing me at the moment with a big Donald Trump styled hair thingy on? Great that was the goal.  Just need the bankroll!

Game on!

Getting my grump on – Dan v “innovation” and Gen Y’s

OK it’s been a while since I’ve blogged, a month or so it seems.  Time flies when you’re flat out huh?

So after mentally recovering from Phil’s #SOSU12, it’s time to come up for air and maybe vent a little of steam.

I’m normally a positive person, but today, I think it’s time to talk about some things that really annoy me.

I”m nor sure if I’ve written about this before, if I have, it’ll be interesting to see if my themes/thinking have changed or evolved.

Let’s talk about abused terms and theory’s in today’s market.

The biggest one I see is “INNOVATION”

Seriously, “Innovation” is, according to Wikipedia “Innovation is the development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, unarticulated needs, or old customer and market needs in new ways.”

The Key word to me here is NEW.  I’ve seen too many things popping up in the Recruitment sphere as “Innovative” which are seriously just re-hashes or pure rip off’s of things others have done before.  You may not think we notice, but we do.  Especially Recruitment and Social media junkies such as myself.

My biggest case in point at the moment is Recruitment marketing via videos, cartoon etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a great video campaign, and really see the value, have even done a few tacky ones myself and will probably do so again.  However, PWCs video in Singapore for fresh grads was touted in places as innovative.  I mean yeah it was cringe worthy, it was catchy, it showed another side of a company not known for it’s fun and personality, and well now I cannot hear the attached song and not think “PWC”.  So in that respect it worked, and it did go viral and get lots of commentary, so it is really great work.  But seriously…. was it innovative? was it new and ground breaking? NO, not at all.  Pa-lease!  Give me something new, and pundits calling this type of thing “innovative” check out the meaning of it first.

Something as simple as this, well, this is what I call innovation… hats off to Volkswagon for this bit of Creative awesomeness

In short, to quote the great AFL coach Dennis Pagan “Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining”

Gen Y’s

Again, not that I have anything against this generation, but surely this is old news now? Time marches on, and this generation are now working stiffs like the rest of us.  They’ve been in the workforce for a number of years now.  Stop this talk of what it takes to attract, retain and interest this generation.  I’m over it!  I saw the other day someone tweeted (don’t ask me to find the tweet please) the “important” fact that by 2020 40% of the workforce will be Gen Ys.  Woo hoo… so what?  Do we really think that the idealism they entered the workforce with will still be intrinsic within them when the realities of kids, schooling, mortgage, trying to keep a job, rise prices of everything seriously kick in?  I’ve never understood how the things stated as key/core beliefs needed to show in your company were specifically to Gen Ys?  Work/life balance, making a difference to the world, community, (rapid) career growth, consistent and timely feedback,mentors etc etc.  Wouldn’t everyone want this stuff? I know I do.  But reality doesn’t always reflect what I want! As those wise men of the Rolling Stones sang “You can’t always get what you want”  Maybe all this genuflection to the Gen Y’s is more a commentary on those of us who may be a little more experienced who hate to say “no” to people or our kids?  Were they given too much, told how good they were too much when they were young or is this all just a beat up by those who want their 15 minutes of fame and need something to talk about on the social blogs and need an excuse to charge Corporates $100 an hour for their services in solving this “problem”

Sorry, I don’t get it.  Maybe it’s just the bitter, ignored Gen X in me coming out (PS Gen X sounds better!)

That’ll do for today’s rant.  So please, if talking innovation, please make it innovative (I love innovation) and please stop beating that expired equine of Generational needs, I’m over it!