Monthly Archives: April 2020

Hiring or Recruitment Freeze? Recruiter relevance….

freezeI started working in Recruitment in 1997. Yep I’m that old. I can remember recruiting without the internet, receiving both resumes and job orders via fax, getting messages on pink slips of paper and writing line ads in the Newspaper. I started at a great time for IT. The Y2K was about to hit, GST wasn’t too far behind it and there was money EVERYWHERE.

It was awesome! That said, it lulled many into a false sense of security. Thinking that the markets were always this way. Training was minimal, sink or swim was the mantra and we had daily stats you wouldn’t believe.

Going back a little further, I had a relatively successful academic career, well I only failed one subject in my entire scholastic endeavours. Unfortunately that was Economics (I stooged myself on an exam where you actually lost points for the wrong answers! That was only nearly 30 years ago and I’m not bitter about it at all!). However, I can remember a couple of things. For business to be good, you want demand to outweigh supply and for every BOOM, there has to be a bust. It just happens.

I’m not really old enough to genuinely remember the market crash of the late 80’s. I was a teenager (and looking at my teenagers now, I understand why I don’t remember. Even though I knew everything, my world was very much focussed around me, my mates and the girls I was longing over at the time).

The Tech wreck after the y2k I felt though. I was working in the IT space and went from having a record month (for the company at the time) to a change of management/ownership, the “tech wreck” as it was called, then having a poor month and receiving a written warning! From chocolates to boiled lollies huh?  I exercised my options then. And landed eventually on my feet.

2008/9 arrives and man things were flying, my boss decides to tell the world in September 2008 (I think) that we would grow by 100 headcount by Christmas. The GFC hit almost simultaneously with this announcement. I had a team of 6 Recruiters across the country at the time. Was an interesting time.

The market recovered, and so did my organisation.

Now 10 years on, whilst there have of course, been other ups and downs, this co-vid thing has really hit me between the eyes. The good news is, experience tells me things will improve over time. The bad news for me is that my role didn’t survive the initial shock waves of the virus hitting. My role was a really early casualty (OK it raised questions in my eyes, but that doesn’t help). I was in the middle of planning/implementing a Talent Acquisition survival plan when the news hit.

What do you do as a function when you have a hiring freeze? Well, it isn’t a Recruitment Freeze is it? Hiring is the end result of Recruiting, I believe the Recruiting still needs to be done. With as much openness, honesty and transparency as you can. At this time, people will most likely assume you don’t have much work, but we know it will turn. The smarter, savvier Recruiter should be preparing for this, like the Squirrel hoarding its acorns, fill up your talent bank. Get yourself ready.

I wrote something back in 2010 “working without the ball” . I think most of it still holds true. The tap won’t be turned on gradually when it is turned on. There will be a flood. Talent pooling is essential now. Getting your brand to stand out from the white noise and every day co-vid 19 messages, to messages adding real value to your audience is essential. Brands will be solidified in the tough times. Everyone is awesome when things are going swimmingly, it’s when the shit hits the fan, and how you react then that counts. Push your talent pool out to people your organisation has had to make redundant, keep these people involved and connected. One of the highlights of my career was being able to re-hire someone post a downturn and to see the buzz, that not only gave the individual, but the buzz it gave the company as a whole (and myself) is something I won’t forget.

I understand our company leaders have a fair bit on their mind, losing sleep over the state of the market, how to keep jobs and continue to give shareholder value, but still try to keep them involve in Recruitment. A message from a CEO, a genuine message, targeted to your talent pool will hold meaning. Get other leaders to be involved too, doesn’t need to be laborious, just enough to add value. Remember the term “Brand ambassadors” was en vogue a few years ago, utilise them. The beacons in your company that you want new hires to emulate, or the ones you think people will want to work with. Get them front and centre and involved. Be meaningful to your talent pool, not just more white noise.

As a function you need to really highlight your value add, or you’ll be just seen as a cost centre and go the way of the dodo, easily cut and out to pasture. (like I was). Find a way to keep adding value to your audience, to your organisation. Keep yourself sane and good luck. I’d love to hear what others have done to keep relevant.



Dan on Dan

Can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written on here. I must have been busy, but here I am sitting down, renewing my relationship with my old friend… the BLOG… It’s literally been years.

It’s a great release though, so here I am.

Redundant again. My “job for life” didn’t really live up to the hype. Just like the “Never ending story” it came to an end. Sad, frustrating, scary, disappointed, helpless, angry, numb, thirsty, hungry, grateful, hopeful and resolute. All the emotions I felt after I had the conversation with my old business when I was informed via MS teams and a script that my position was redundant. (mental note… THE POSITION… must remember that Dan)

This won’t be a “woe is me” type blog, not will it be an uplifting “all the things you can do once laid off” blog. This will be a little more real.

Like everything challenging in life, you tend to think this won’t happen to you. Watching the news, reading all the reports, people getting sick, losing jobs, care packages, stimulus packages from the government, industries crippled, confusion about rules, risks of people our parents age, travel bans (from even your house). I mean how is this crap happening? Did I flip onto a movie channel?

How can you feel sorry for yourself when there is so much worse happening in the world than losing a job? Thousands are being killed by this invisible bitch. You’re above the grass (as my Dad would say) You’re stuck in lock down (or what ever it is officially called in Australia) with your wife and kids, there’s no wallowing. You need to be an example. Right?

“It’s business, not personal” I wonder how many times that little idiom has been said over the last few weeks. That’s BULLSHIT though. It’s personal to the person hearing it. The person who’s the primary bread winner, the provider, the protector. It’s earth shattering. I’ve been on both ends of this conversation, telling people their position isn’t required (in the business’ opinion) sucks, I know. BUT, I guarantee you that hearing it and facing that stark reality of being unemployed is WAY worse.

My process for this? Firstly, disbelief, I mean “what the f*$#”??? Looking the family in the eye and telling them, that their Dad and husband is a statistic now. He’s not the first or the last that this will happen too, but we need to adjust our life for a while whilst he gets his shit together. Reality check. No one is sure how long this will take. You could say I was a stoic mess. Worse case scenarios ran through my head all night, it was a long night. I hit solution mode. Man I scrambled over job boards, updated my LinkedIn, started doing my resume, looked at CentreLink (it was down at 2.30am ??? not a great sign), I was on fire.

I decided in those wee hours that the next day had to be one of action. Once I awoke, after falling asleep on the laptop in some weird angle on the couch. I showered, shaved, put product in my hair and decided to get back to work. This was BIG as I’d already been working from home for almost two weeks so I was a little scruffy and the hair on my face and top of my head had been sadly neglected. See, ACTION! SOLUTION MODE!

I was humbled and a little emotional from the response my LinkedIn change of status delivered. The messages and calls I received from our Recruitment community, and people I’ve worked with or dealt with over the years was amazing. Thanks to all those who did this. I truly am blessed.

That said, whilst uplifting and beautiful, the wind got sucked from my sails fairly quickly. The dark cloud resettled over me like they did in those cartoons we watched as kids.

It’s an interesting battle between the intellectual me and the feeling me (yes there is both). The intellectual me understands the global situation, knows it isn’t just me, and (something that is really hard for me to believe) knows it isn’t just about him. He will begrudgingly accept the umpires decision and will get on with life. Breathing in and out, one step after the other, watching the sun come up and go down as we know it will every single day. The feeling me however, plays a little different. He’s enjoying the time with the family, getting to spend time in the garden, happy to finally get to those little jobs which always get pushed to the bottom of the list in our busy lives. This is a fulfilling thing to do. But, he battles the darkness, those thoughts of “why me?”, those impostor voices that get a hearing in the quiet hours, and the black-hole of emptiness when there isn’t a job or purpose to really invest yourself in.

It’s a battle, daily. Don’t think it isn’t. Switching between positive and negative mindset, almost hourly at times. It’s exhausting. And yet, Nanna naps are not an option for me. They feel like they’re a sign of giving up. So that won’t happen.

It’s already been almost 2 weeks. I mean holy crap how did that happen? The world hasn’t stopped. Everyone has their own shit they’re dealing with. Kids are still on school holidays (god help us) and life goes on.

I’m pretty lucky I have a wonderful driven wife to give me focus (or to do lists, call it what you will), and keep the dark clouds at bay. Whilst the days are melting by we’re working through stuff. We’ve actioned the banks, the government, other creditors to ensure some breathing space. The resume is re written and we’ve registered on a range of different job boards and have begun working the network. I’m a realist. I’m not convinced this will change quickly, so I need to not focus purely on the job hunt. I’m not convinced this is a recipe for mental happiness.

There are jobs to do around the house, I’ve gardened, attacking long neglected areas, I’ve tried to fix a leak in the roof (ie I’ve tried, but need another downpour to really see if I succeeded or not), I’ve even washed windows. Desperate times people.

I’ve given myself time to think. I’ve always wanted to write something of substance, so I have given myself permission to have a crack at that. The allowance of thinking is a blessing, I’ve had other ideas which I’ll work on fleshing out. This is all really exciting.

I’m working on giving back and helping others in similar boats, more on that another time. However, it must be noted that the demons are fighting themselves in my head. How can I give advice and a sense of calm for people when I’m in the same boat? I know my experience can help others, fingers crossed it can.

There you go, Co-vid 19 sucks. A popular thought i’m sure. It’s tough on most people. I don’t think any one is immune to this.

You do you. What is best for you and your family, is best for you and your family. Help others if you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself, this is shit. But the sun will keep rising (yes even in Melbourne) and one day I know my kids will be able to use this time as a “when I was a kid story” . I was worried that their worse story would be the day in 2019 when the wifi went off for an entire day.