Category Archives: feedback

#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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Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

This came up on my ipod this week and from the week I’ve had, I really related. (plus it put me in a great mood to get me going for the day!) Putting it bluntly I’ve had to play the role of bastard a lot this week.

As per an earlier post, I had to tell a couple of people they were dreaming in their expectations. I had to tell some contractors they weren’t going to be renewed, I got a bit narky with some vendors and put some really tough deliverables on some other vendors. I told an agency Recruiter their pitch was ordinary and then gave some unsolicited (and by the sound of it unwanted advice). I’ve had to push back against the business, “politely” told a Regional Manager to “shut up and listen”, and I’ve been called up and emailed by competitor CEO’s or MD’s to STOP approaching their staff. (I told them they should be flattered I think their staff are worthy of being approached, they should be more worried if I wasn’t approaching) I did however avoid the “you’ve got bad breath” conversation our HR team had to have with someone.

All in the week of an in-house Recruiter. It’s what we do, it’s part of the role of adding value to our company.

That said the team achieved some amazing results (which made me smile a lot) of hiring some great people, across all states, finding some new rich veins of talent (which we have mined beautifully), and proving ourselves once again in terms of value, quality and volume of work we achieve to some of the Company Executive. Some of the reports and statistics we provided really blew some socks off.

The Ying and Yang of the role. This is why I do it.

Feedback and Grains of Salt

I like to see myself as an open person, willing to try things, willing to take feedback on board, give it a try.

When I was younger and not as confident, I would take things said to me as gospel, especially as I moved into a Corporate environment, where coming from the Agency world I did feel like a fish out of water initially. I was probably treated that way too, you know, a Agency Recruiter in an HR world. I was viewed with suspicion. Too Salesy to fit within the HR world. Feedback came thick and fast, good and bad.

Here is some of the “magic” advice I received.

I was too loud!
Too relaxed, didn’t look stressed or hurried
Walked too slow
Used the phone to much
Wasn’t formal enough in interviews
Didn’t use interview guides as a script
Gave too much information about the company

I got it, we were a conservative company, and people should have been honoured to work with us.

I bought into it, I mean hey, what did I know right? Just an Agency Recruiter, entering the corporate world, we all have to adjust. So I adjusted.

Well, guess what happened? I sucked! I couldn’t find myself, I had been beaten into hiding the real me, I was living a lie at work, and I felt my performance suffering. Sure HR and some of the corporates were happier, but I wasn’t doing what I was brought in to do. And what’s worse? I wasn’t having fun. I was working to other people’s template as to what “being professional” meant.

I took a step back and looked at the situation. What was the issue? There was a culture issue. Was it me? Was it the people who had given me the feedback? In the end, it was probably a mix of both. I spoke to the executive of the company, and voiced my confusion. What is the message you need to world to see about your/our company? And thus solidifying the fact that as Recruiters we are the front line of a companies success. Only as good as your people? Where do they come from? That’s right boys and girls…. US (no not the US of A) Recruiters! We are the Gatekeepers of the culture, and this was my chance to define that culture with the Executive.

From that I could see that the “stuffy” overly conservative style of Corporate Recruiting wasn’t going to cut it, it wasn’t really working towards the values they wanted, it turned out I could bring a bit more ME into the role. And the world got better (for me).

I learned some big lessons in this time. You can’t pretend to be something your not and be successful long term. Whilst people will give you feedback (and you must be thankful that they care enough to give it) not all of it will work for you, take what works and ignore the rest.

I’ve been given some great advice (that I now dispense) in regards to perception management, and toning down that Agency Dan in the corporate world, it was important, it was hard to hear, but heeding the advice and working with that really helped cement my standing in the environment and build on it.

There is good and bad feedback people! Your skill in detecting it, deciding what to act on and what to discount will play a big part in your future success.