Category Archives: gimmicks

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!

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

#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!

#SocialRecruiting, not the mesiah… just a very naughty boy!

Don’t get me wrong, you know I’m a fan of this genre of Recruiting.  That said, I am getting a bit sick and tired of reading blogs, tweets, opinion etc about how this is all completely changes the game and is the best thing that has ever happened to the Recruitment industry.

Is it a help or a hinderance? I’m comfortable sitting here on the fence, it’s a bit of both.

When I was a young lad (OK eye roll moment), we didn’t have the internet, resumes were posted in envelopes (yes people bought stamps) or faxed in (ask your parents) or occasionally hand delivered, printed on different coloured paper and cover letters were even sometimes hand written (no not in a cursive font.. with a pen!).  This bit here may rock your world.  Guess what? People still got hired, Recruiters still made their numbers.  Recruiters had their way of locating people, of knowing who’s who in everyone’s zoo.  However, our mediums of communicating with people were the phone, a letter, a fax or (heaven forbid) a face to face meeting.  We couldn’t poke, SMS, inMail, DM, Facebook or Tweet them.  It was a simpler life.

Now days, there are way more ways to skin a cat.  Social Media has muddied the waters a bit.  There are so many mediums now that you need to be across as a good Recruiter.  It takes focus, I mean it takes focus away… it can be a time suck, you find a rich vein of people in a certain medium and BANG… 3 hours have gone.

I met with a CEO a little while ago who was really excited by the fact that his new “Social Media experts” had made a Facebook page which had quite quickly passed 1000 likers.  They were pretty chuffed with themselves.  The nice guy in me should have let that pass and congratulate them and move on.  Sadly that nice guy must have been daydreaming about coffee or something, and that internal monologue came out loud… on its own. “Why? What are you doing with them? what’s the aim?”  That question really threw him.  There was no answer.  The answer was essentially, “well… we needed a Facebook page”   My point? Why bother?  If there isn’t a goal in mind, no rhyme or reason if you are not measuring something, how do you know it’s successful or not?

That said, it is very handy.  It helps locate, connect and even kind of engage, but it doesn’t change the historical idea that all the quality comes from the conversation.  It really does make our life a little easier, however it also makes it a whole lot busier. With more and more channels opening up which tell the world, they are THE new widget which will find you all the staff you need!  Where do you go? what do you do?  Which rabbit hole do you go down and follow, and when do you pull the pin and stop.  You’ve connected with so many people and you really need to respond to all the messages, tweets, DMs, RT’s, questions etc… Whilst this is all good from a marketing, and future placement/talent pooling point of view, how does it help you today?  I mean, after you’ve done that awesome search, found the perfect candidate, contacted them and hired them that is.

So, take it for what it is, it is another tool, another medium in your Recruitment strategy, don’t forget the others, trust me.  Take two maybe, and call me in the morning.

 

The way meetings should be!

This is just a fun post (well for me).

I was going to a meeting the other day and to keep the noise of the kids out of my head (who I was sharing a train carriage with) I had the headphones in just playing some “drown those kids out” type music.  I kept those headphones in all the way to my  meeting.  It gave me an idea….

How cool would it be to enter every meeting with your own entrance music?  (insert imagination dream style music here) “and here…… All the way from up the road….Weighing in at  …… An undisclosed number (lol)… It’s Peerlo’s own…… Daaaaaaaaannnnnn Nuuuurooooooooooo”  You could change it up depending on the tone of the meeting….

I saw a great example on Chuck recently:

(see Chuck.. http://youtu.be/xxBF8gId7Mo)

This is what I would use…..

What would you choose?

Recruiting Leadership in a challenging economy

There was a discussion I was involved in on Recruitingblogs.com the other day, which took many directions, from the effect the US economy has on the rest of the world, to Leadership situational leaders v top down leadership. I saw and was intrigued through the conversation and the different angles people were coming from.

It did get me thinking about about the Situational Leadership (Thanks Steve) and relating it to myself and my situation… yes I do tend to make things all about me. Why not.. I like me. But then I expanded it a little.

When you are a leader in an internal Recruitment function and there is a freeze on or a slow down, how does one keep a team motivated, busy, productive and adding value… after all we are a “cost center” in most companies 🙂

How can you lead when a clear concise message from the business is missing? Lots of companies are in survival mode at the moment, unfortunately Recruitment is not at the forefront of business leaders thinking. If you can’t relate Recruitment to the business goals how can you keep yourself relevant? Saying that is a cop out… as a leader, you should know the goals of the business, how can you sell it to candidates if you don’t know? You have to deal with what you know.. if it changes, goalposts moved or something, deal with that when you know it for sure.

I have a few ideas/suggestions.

1/ Impose yourself in discussions at the top level. Recruitment is a business function, you need to get yourself involved in discussions at the right level. Just like getting involved in online communities.. don’t be shy get in there, say something Dan (good name for a blog that 🙂 )

2/ Engage many areas of the business, CEO, CFO, IT, Sales, HR, interstate, they all need you when the pressure comes on. Build up these relationships now, or even better, get your team to build their relationships with business functions they haven’t been involved with previously.

3/ Keep the communication strong within the team. Keep your communication open, keep having team meetings, one on one’s etc to ensure consistency and that any fears, frustrations etc can be allayed.

4/ Celebrate wins. Make a noise, ensure the whole business knows how your team rocks

5/ Gimmicks
. Ok this is a weakness of mine… I love a good gimmick. We have a mascot in our team.. the envy of the business. Pete King, the Recruitment duck. Agencies ring bells (well they used too in my day), we quack the duck. Whoever makes the latest hire keeps the duck! This mascot has had his own column in our newsletter, presented at company meetings etc. Now the gimmicks don’t always work… I have had many a lead balloon moment… more of those another day. Be careful, they need to be relevant to your team, not just amusing to you. (lesson learned)

6/ Don’t let you frustrations show to the team. As a leader you are the barometer, if you are always moaning about everything, being slack as there is no urgent need to hire etc.. your team will reflect this too. You and your team cannot afford that.

7/ Brainstorm for the upturn coming (they do follow downturns.. trust me.. the dates are just not set yet. I love these discussions, the freedom to think.

8/ Educate the business about your market. Get your team involved in this. You are the front line. Management/Directors, will and do make assumptions based on something they’ve read or heard or plainly assumed… make a Mgt newsletter or equivalent to add your market intelligence to their thinking. Biggest misnomer at the moment I think is that it will be easier to hire good people at the moment and those great people will be cheap as they will be thankful to be in work. Don’t let your Executive sound mis-guided, help them understand our world. (or is it just mine?)

9/ Educate your team – Do team webinars (ERE.net is a great source for these, ensure that everyone is reading articles and getting involved in online communities, (Recruitingblogs.com is a great area for this) and get them to report back to the group as to what they have learned or discussed etc. Or of course run some training yourself.

10/ Don’t stop Recruiting – But don’t lie to the talent pool you are building, ensure that your candidates understand where you are coming from. However, you need to keep building. The market moves quickly, people leave etc, you may be required to adjust and react quickly. If you are prepared with a real, well managed Talent Pool, which delivers, you and your team will really stand out.

It is a challenging role at the moment, hard to build momentum, to allow your team to feed (as I like to call it). I would like to hear other tactics people are using Internally to ensure that their area is still rocking even in this market. Don’t be down hearted, we aren’t in this alone. Have fun, enjoy yourself and bring your team on the journey, when the world turns once more and you are overloaded with requirements everyone will look back on these times with rose coloured glasses… “ahhhh remember when we had time to read and think?”