Category Archives: belief

Flogging a dead horse… OR The Recruitment industry sucks!

Recruitment agencies tend to be getting a bum rap at the moment, with what seems an endless amount of people getting on the “Whack the Recruitment Agency” bandwagon.

Whilst I cannot disagree that some agencies and some Recruiters can be dodgy and misrepresent the industry as a whole, it isn’t all bad.  I’ve wrote about this before here.

However, I have noticed a distinct lack of posts from agencies or anyone really talking about dodgy clients, dodgy candidates and the like.  This post aims to balance the scorecard to a point and share some war stories from the Recruiting trenches that I have seen or heard.

So dear readers, hold onto your seats and let me tell you some stories of dodgyness, dishonestly and downright crappyness perpetrated by “clients” and “Candidates” from the eyes of a Recruiter.  I know, shocking right? It’s not just the Recruiters that are bad to deal with all the time.

Have you heard about the client who after going through a whole drawn out process of 2 interviews, psychometric tests, 3 references, turned down the candidate?  That’s not the bad bit, that happens a lot.  (but it really sucks to be a contingency recruiter when this happens) Skip forward 3 months, person who won job, leaves.  Agency candidate is hired (great to be a recruiter when this happens), all behind the back of Agency Recruiter (again, not so good).   This could all be an innocent mistake right? In fact as much was said when the Agency Recruiter called the company, first to find out what had happened, and if, in fact the person had started. (notwithstanding all candidates documentation from resume to reference checks were heavily branded in the agency logo etc) Once confirmation was given, agency person informed said client that an invoice would be coming.  NEXT was the call from the CEO informing of the mistake and that he had never OK’d the expenditure, so there was a problem.  There were threats of firing the person so as to not pay the bill etc, they said the person applied directly to them from when they had advertised (on inspection there was no ad).  After lots of negotiation, it worked out for the agent, once lawyers entered the discussion.

How about the candidate who upon signing up for a role and joining a company, just doesn’t turn up on day one?  No word, no nothing?  Days of frantic searching later, emails, phone calls to mobile at all hours, even checking with emergency services to see if there were any accidents nearby etc, the Recruiter finally found a correct home phone number.  Spoke to the candidates wife, hoping all was ok (I had called a candidate on a database and sadly I made the call in the middle of the person’s wake).  Wife informs me that the candidate is fine and is at work “sorry what is this call in regards to?”  hmmmmm accepted job, signed job, went through induction etc, just didn’t get around to leaving old job.  What the?

How about the person who rocks up to an interview with IBM and proceeds to tell the hiring managers there that “IBM stands for Idiots Become Managers” that’s not embarrassing feedback to get is it?

Or the hiring manager who says “You’re 32, how many years would I really get out of you working here before you go off and start having babies?”

OR the hiring manager who actually compliments an interviewee on her ummmm appearance

OR asks out for drinks immediately after ascertaining said candidate doesn’t have a boyfriend?

OR the candidates who say they’ll do “ANYTHING” for a job, whilst shifting in what she believed was a direct take off of Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct”

OR clients who specifically ask for “Australians” (I cannot dignify this by expanding further)

OR clients who make offers to people after 6 interviews only to shut down that division making the person redundant after 4 weeks of work?

OR the candidate who takes another job after 2 days on new job with client because he was actually waiting for that job.

OR The clients of a start up, who scared the new hire on day 2 by sharing a joint in the office

OR Those candidates who just don’t turn up for interviews AT ALL.

OR The candidates who bring their entire family, wife, child etc to the interview and let them wait in reception during an interview?

OR The clients who just don’t pay?

OK sorry, the rant took over.  Feel free to share some more with me

The point of this post? Let’s see the world for what it is? There are good and bad everywhere.  To just get stuck into one area, one industry because it is an easy target is stupid and lazy.  Sure things can be improved in the Recruitment industry, tell me an industry that cannot improve somewhere.  I bet you can’t.  (I’ve deliberately not linked to any of these Recruitment bagging “blogs” as I don’t want to give them any more “air” time than they have already stolen)

So, stop trying to get cheap plugs and visits to your websites by highlighting these things and generally talking rubbish, there is enough stuff to sort through on the internet without sensationalist hyperbole bagging an easy target!  Hmmmm what ever happened to lawyer jokes?

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Musings from a Recruitment Tragic: Why I love X-Factor

It took me a while, but I figured out why I love this show.

I thought it was the fact that people we getting their dreams coming true? Maybe it was the extracting the water of the people who’s friends weren’t nice enough to tell them they have no talent?  Maybe it is the extraordinary talent that turns up year on year?

But you know what… it’s sad, I figured it out, it’s because it’s a whole nation wide Recruitment campaign!  Awesome right? Well for a tragic like me it is..

Come on, we all dream of this kind of application rate, and seriously how hard was it to attract all these people? What? You’re up against Idolwhoever’s got talent, etc… ? So what?  The challenge of course is sorting through all the chaff to get to the wheat, and from the limited amount I’m allowed to see, there is a hell of a lot of that.

Interviews are brief, to the point and targeted.  “Sing for us”, BANG done Yes/No … NEXT! repeat.

As a Recruiter, damn that’s tedious, but hey, we’ve all been there!  Quick decisions are made, people are cut.  Then the challenges come.  Show me how much you want it!  Let us put you under some pressure and see how you handle it.  Sick? too bad, suck it up, don’t get along with your team mates? suck it up, DELIVER! Again…. who doesn’t like a good targeted role play?

Each point being a veto point, and each veto gets harder and harder as it gets more and more personal to the person delivering the news.  Luckily, the other side is shown too, making the reality of how it feels to not success in something you really want, well real.  I hope you have all been there! Sat there dumb founded when you didn’t get what you really wanted when you wanted it!  If not, well you have to put yourself out there more!  It’ll make you a better Recruiter! Trust me, it’s personal to the person you’re turning down.

As with all Recruiting, not everyone will agree with the final decision, there will be pros and cons for everyone.  (It seems I have no idea, tonights results on the X-Factor were almost polar opposite from what I would have done, well with one of the judges at least.  Seems I wasn’t alone)

All the way through to the one winner, the successful applicant, the  person hired for the job! I want streamers, a single released, huge media coverage and an Australian wide audience next time I hire someone!!!!

I can dream! It’s not about being a X-Factor champion, Australian Idol, or whatever else, as I know that won’t happen.  But a Recruitment process like that, well, yeah.. sign me up!

Recruitment Agencies…. They aren’t going anywhere

Those of you who know me will know my Recruiting background.  Started in a Recruitment Agency, well fell into it, as we all do.  Went to an in-house role for 8 years, somehow ended up back in Agency land again, and am now back in-house.

One of the things I learned whilst working in house was the utter despising of Recruiting Agencies by most people I came across, both from the business point of view and the candidates.  I had been blinkered maybe, “Did people dislike me that much when I was working for an agency?” Well I didn’t think it was me, but the function.  Really?  Sadly the answer was YES.

The reasons are not too hard to fathom.  So many cowboys and cowgirls out there, giving everyone a bad name.  It is the industry where a quick and hefty buck can be made, and I’m sure we all know a few or know of a few that have done that.  I knew a guy who placed the same person into a permanent role 3 times in a year! Twice in the same company, just asked her to go by her maiden name the second time around so as to not arise suspicion.  He made a fee each time upwards of $20k (in the days of 3 month replacements), and would brag about it.  I’ve heard of agents blatantly using their sexuality to try to get work to the point of offering “the full service” for work. I had a boss, who actually tell a young “lady” that she’d better go to the ladies to fix her dress as the straps kept falling off, “it’s not accidentally happening” he was told.. (True story)  Worse, agents, who once in to a company try to pilfer people out once they’ve sniffed around a little and learned the lay of the land.  Heard of one agency, threaten to “empty your car park” if said company wouldn’t use their services!

These type of stories, along with what can and has been perceived as the exorbitant pricing has started a shift away from the model, with more and more in-house teams popping up (bragging about their lack of need for agencies), LinkedIn’s Recruiter tools and “Social Recruiting, have left some doomsayers predicting the death of agencies as we know them.

In past lives as an in-house recruiter it was inconceivable that I would use Agencies, roles I couldn’t fill would remain unfilled and pressure would just build up on my team.  The amount of cold calls, warm calls and reverse marketing calls I would have to knock back probably didn’t do much for my popularity in the Recruitment world.  It was a directive from the people that paid my salary, an unbreakable rule, and we were able to deliver most of the time.  (* I remember telling one boss that he was notorious in the IT Recruitment industry for being a hard ass and putting people through the ringer.  I used to put his name deliberately on young Recruiters working for me who’d made too much money and were over confident, just to bring them down a peg so I could work with them once more!)  I have however recently broken out of that mould a little bit.  Of course there is a need and a place for this multi-billion dollar (Euro, Peso etc) industry.

I don’t see a need to use them in my day to day “normal” hiring, you know those role types that I will need to fill 80-90% of the time.  That is for me to build a successful, engaged and prepared talent pool of people who are already through our process, who just need the final tick to get started.  That is my core business, that’s where we should be spending most of our time and money.  If I used Agencies for this, then why would my company pay my salary?

However, for those “different” roles, for sectors of the market where I/we don’t have expertise, don’t have the network, where there is a speed to fill urgency, why wouldn’t I use an Agency?  Take on a Contracting resource makes a hell of a lot of sense to me.  I did come up with some raised eyebrows from the powers that be, until that is I reminded them of one thing… I got to set the rules!  I can choose who I deal with and who I don’t, it’s based on my relationships.  If a company calls me up, at a time when I have a need, promise the world and then don’t deliver, that’ll leave a bad taste, and I get to choose if I deal with them again or not.  If a company is perceived to be acting unscrupulously, then… I get to choose whether to work with them again or not.  If I see them advertising on a job board for my role, guess what? I get to choose whether to work with them again or nor.  I get to set the buy rate (I honestly don’t care what margin the agency makes, it’s none of my business, as long as everyone is happy), to ensure that the arrangement is still profitable for us.  It’s a no lose situation.

If you’re smart you can also get a fair bit of industry knowledge of your Recruiter (if they are any good), I have in the past felt a little insular, a little blinkered to the wider market when sitting in an in-house role, my focus (rightly or wrongly) being on my company alone.  Recruiters should have a great deal of industry knowledge in their mind, they are talking to companies, people and yes competitors on a daily basis.  Why not get an industry overview from?

This model has been a paradigm shift for my company, and so far it seems to be working well.  We’ve formed some strong working relationships, we’ve hired some great contractors in a very timely fashion and solved both our and our clients problems in the process.  I am yet to feel or perceive the “stereo-typical” Recruiter push or sleaze (for lack of a better term).  I’m using Recruitment agencies as another channel to market, you cannot know everything and everyone.  You know what? It hasn’t diminished the value in what the Recruiting team provides in my company, it’s actually allowed us to solve more problems.

With most businesses, Recruitment Agencies should exist to solve a businesses problems.  Do that, agency land, and you will be here to stay (nobody say like cockroaches!)

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

Recruitment Philosophy – What’s yours?

Changing jobs a couple of times in the last 2 years has made me really look at myself and my belief structure in this field, refine this, perhaps even formulate one (or two).  I’ve come to understand what I believe in, when it comes to Recruiting.

It’s not about just going to work, hiring people and going home.  I think people over complicate things to (sometimes) justify their own existence, pad out their “personal brand”, push their agenda or product, or suck up to “Recruiting aficionados”. And please don’t get me started on all those “Social Media is the greatest” conversations!

I’ve been able to break this down to a few key ideals which I believe in when it comes to this profession and what I do.

So what is it?

Dan’s mantra.

  • Recruitment is all about the conversation (medium is irrelevant)
  • Everyone (YES EVERYONE) is hired to solve a business problem
  • Fish where they are
  • Sharing and learning is essential

What’s yours?

Suits don’t equal professionalism

It’s official.. I’ve changed my mind.

I used to struggle with the idea of “casual days”. You know those days where you don’t need to suit up in the office, you come in your jeans, or whatever. I’ll be the first to admit, I was brainwashed. I was convinced, and from what I had personally seen, that when you have a casual day in the office, it leads to a real “casual day”. I saw it time and again infiltrate into the psyche of some of my team mates. The edge disappeared, the chats seems to linger over the cubicle, lunches extended out and time on the phone diminished, let’s not talk about client or candidate meetings.

I had a dilemma upon joining Peerlo. The suit was out! and just regular clothes were well… in. (unless meeting clients or candidates face to face). It really threw me, I mean, dressing was easy, a suit everyday, big decisions consisted of which suit, which shirt and which colour tie, and the weekend was the only time I had to think of the rest of my wardrobe. But now, with a good proportion of my work either interstate, or sourcing, I wasn’t always externally facing so to speak. Could I actually work if I was wearing sneakers to work? Seriously? Well over time, (and it has been a year) I’ve grown into it and you know what? I don’t believe it has affected my professionalism. Although now I have more decisions to make and more thoughts to have before I leave the house of a morning. Do I have any meetings scheduled (if not why not?)? are they in person? (in between comes the panic of, “Do I have a shirt ironed?”) and then the big questions come… what to wear today then? Oh lord it gets tough. Lucky I don’t have too many choices, don’t tell my wife I said that 🙂

I’m not sure what it is? Is it a generational thing? Is it a maturity level of the office? Or is it just a changing way of the working life? I have come to learn though, that suits don’t equal professionalism or a measure of work ethic. Maybe I need to get a hoodie like Zuckerberg?  Seems to work for him.

Pride without Predjudice, well maybe a little.


This is the time of the year where you catch up with family and friends, share in the news and fun that this season brings. You get to see some certain family and friends who you probably won’t see for another 12 months, but you are still connected, and somehow the time that passes under that well used bridge doesn’t seem to matter. You are constantly surprised at how much some kids have grown, to the point where some aren’t even kids anymore, and wonder “how did I miss that?” I mean my 6 year old Flower Girl is not 16 for goodness sake.. how can that be true? Well hey, suck it up Dan.. it is.

Catching up with a whole heap of people can be wearisome, you know, making small talk, interacting, all that eating and drinking.. yummmmm. But also there are some people I caught up with, these people I catch up as regularly as I can, but I viewed them in a different light this year.

Is it condescending to say you are proud of friends? I sure hope not. I have a number of friends whom I can truly say have made me really proud to know them, and to have been part of their journey. It only hit me, when speaking with them over this festive season, and when it hit me.. it hit me hard.

I have known this guy for over 10 years. When I met him he was an international student here in Australia, coming out from Indonesia. English as a second language, and really learning the ropes of what it was like to live in Australia, a western country, weird customs and language. Lucky for this man he had already found the woman of his dreams, (whom he is now married to and has 2 gorgeous kids).

This guy was determined to etch out a future for himself (and now family) in this new land. He went through, Visa issues, (having to return home for a year or more, due to some administrative mishap), to working as a car park attendant, a toilet cleaner and various Sales roles. His focus and determination (only slipping with a slight foray into a pyramid selling scheme) have been amazing. He didn’t lose focus of his goal/s and knew every step was going in the right direction.

His ability shone through. He is a engineer by trade, but a Sales person by passion. His ability to deliver results and relate to people have seen him ascend in his current organisation (after being headhunted back to them from a competitor) to the point where after only maybe 6 years in the Australian workforce he is being groomed to be a Regional Manager for one of the world’s largest companies. How good is that? I mean this guy and I had discussions years ago about what life will bring him… is he wasting his time here etc. However through those periods of self doubt, that we all have you know what didn’t wane? His ability, class is permanent!

I’m not sure if this is condescending or not.. it certainly isn’t meant to be, anyways.. bottom line, man, I am proud of this guy. An unbelievable effort. Makes me second guess what I believe I have achieved. I like to think I am doing OK, but hey, tough to compete with that kind of growth.

Most of our parents would have presched to us all the value of hard work, dedication and loyalty. I will add focus, determination, patience, creativity and risk taking to that list of traits which will make you successful. That said, we all know people who have or may be higher up in their organisation, I just hope that everyone has the blessing to have in their life a success story like this to inspire you daily on what CAN be achieved if you want it bad enough.

Those who know me will know of whom I am talking, those who don’t i hope for your sake you know or get to know people like this. (PS this is not to discount my other friends, I’m sure your inspiration will end up on these pages soon enough.

Thanks for reading.

Dan