Category Archives: internal recruiting

2010: The year of the Recruiter

Am I too late to start planning of 2010?

Well, seeing I survived another NYE I thought it was prudent to think of 2010, and what it will bring, personally and professionally.

Personally will be very interesting, child numero 3 is coming around April, Zach (almost 6 as he always is telling me) is starting school full time (just plain scary) and Talia (almost 3) is starting Kindergarten at a place that will be her school until she is 18 or so. Home life will therefore be hectic for the Nuroo household. Good luck wifey 🙂

Professionally, wow, what a year this promises to be. HUGE Challenges, potentially the hardest working year we as a Recruiting industry has seen!

I see 2010 as the year of the Recruiter. The market has been a little draining over the last 18 months, but I see 2010 as the year that Recruiters will come into their own. Their level of importance will enhance up the organisational thought process this year. This is all types of Recruiters, third party, RPO and Internal types.

My crystal ball sees attrition really hitting its straps, with involuntary attrition lessening and voluntary attrition almost hitting records levels. People will be voting with their feet, after 18 hard months, those who were not well looked after will jump at any opportunity to leave with promises of greener grass. Recruiters will be flat out hiring to keep up with the exodus to keep businesses on an even keel. To grow businesses, now, that WILL be a challenge, as most places will enter this highly competitive phase with less resources as they had in the pre-GFC times.

Getting resources equally focused on Attraction, Talent Pooling and Retention will be an interesting challenge for the year. (Chicken, Egg, Frypan?) My thoughts, Retention focus must be NUMBER 1 focus for companies, so look out HR people… Game on for you.

Doing more with less, seems to be a trend that will increase. Working smarter will be the key. It will be interesting to see if people still find the time to blog, write and or communicate so openly or frequently on social media, when the work is knocking so hard you cannot ignore it. Unless you are a coach or branding expert that is. (sorry couldn’t resist a little dig)

Time Management will increase in importance as will professional relationships. I have a picture of a juggler up in my office to illustrate all the balls you need in the air consistently to be successful, I fear this juggler may have to morph into an octopus to keep up.

Time to saddle up Recruiters, 2010 will make you!

My goal for 2010 is simple. To be better! I want to end 2010 in a better way that I have started it. Not that I am knocking where I am, but I want to improve. As a Father, as a Husband, as a Manager, as a Coach and as a Recruiter. I will be closer to my next career goal, if I haven’t achieved it by then, I’ll be close enough to touch it! Unless I change that goal of course.

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Mr Cellophane

Internal Recruiters are the Mr (or Ms or Miss or Mrs) Cellophane’s of the corporate world, the poor cousin of the HR team. Like the old adage internal recruiters should be seen and not heard. (I disagree by the way, I’ve just seen this ideal a bit)

Your part of the company, but not really. You don’t build or sell the widgets, you don’t set policy, you don’t deliver the business solutions to clients. You don’t actually make money for the company, you find the people that do. Smart companies understand, but are there lots of smart companies out there?

I’m all about adding value, and i’m all about being heard, I hate being dismissed or ignored.
Do you make yourself heard? Or do you just wait for things to happen? Have you been too nervous about your job security to stir the pot and instigate change? Or are you just happy how things are going? Or do you just bitch and moan and write songs about how bad things are for you?

You are one to the key externally facing people of the company.. STAND UP!

Dialog from video, is this you?

I’m the father, papa, dad dad. Did you hear me? no you did’nt hear me. That’s the story of my life, nobody notice I’m around, nobody Not even my parents noticed me. One day I went to school, and when I came home, they moved!

Amos.

If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised his voice up way out loud
And waved his arm
And shook his leg
You’d notice him

If someone in the movie show
Yelled “fired in the second row,
This whole place is a powder keg!”
You’d notice him

And even without clucking like a hen
Everyone gets noticed, now and then,
Unless, of course, that personage should
be
Invisible, inconsequential me!

Cellophane
Mister cellophane
Should have been my name
Mister cellophane

’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there!

I tell ya
Cellophane
Mister cellophane
Should have been my name
Mister cellophane

’cause you can look right through me
walk right by me
And never know I’m there. . .

Suppose you was a little cat
Residin’ in a person’s flat
Who fed you fish and scratched your
ears?

You’d notice him

Suppose you was a woman wed
And sleepin’ in a double bed beside one man for seven years
You’d notice him

A human being’s made of more that air
With all that bulk , you’re bound to see
him there

Unless that human bein’ next to you
Is unimpressive, undistinguished
You know who. . .

Should have been my name
Mister cellophane
’cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there

etc etc etc

You can be Heroes

RECRUITMENT!

It was time to shine… My AWESOME team clicked into gear. Challenge? Ha! I repeat HA! I laugh in the face of a challenge.. to quote an amazing bit of American cinematography.. (you pick if I’m being sarcastic or not!) “Bring it ON!” It was amazing to watch. A sleeping giant awakening, ahh the buzz, I’m smiling at the remembered vision.

ACTIVITY! ACTIVITY! ACTIVITY! I swear smoke was coming up from the phones, creativity oozing from the pores…. At the end of the day, the team was able to look at each other… They’d found the unfindable, solved that business problem, influenced the immovable force to change course, pulled the rabbit out of the hat and solved that business issue. Oh I love it.. the sweet sweet taste of victory.

This is what we do. This is why we do it. Recruitment makes a difference, and I love the days where what I know to be true is seriously quantifiable and visible to all.

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.

Need a promotion? PROMOTE Yourself!

I’ve spoken before about that success of an HR person, or a Recruitment professional in the corporate world is akin to an umpire in a sporting event. If you don’t notice them, then they are doing something right.

However, as some of my English friends say.. “Bollocks to that”

In the Recruitment world, Agency or Internal, it is a challenge to get that promotion, unless of course you are the last person standing in an agency! I know many people who now run 200+ people contract desks and make a bucket load of money. Are they the best Recruiter there? Questionable, but are they the most resilient or self promoter? Most likely. In an inhouse environment, very hard to get a promotion (unless you see full on HR as a step up), as traditionally those teams are traditionally small.

I was always under the impression, well, I was told by my parents, if you work hard, do a great job, you’ll get noticed and you’ll get what you deserve. Sorry, Mum, Dad, that isn’t exactly true I’ve learned.

A few years ago I worked with a guy who was THE best self promoter, since Don King, I think he was the Australian version. He was a Sales guy in one of our interstate offices. It was a brand new region for our business, and if you listened to this guy, he was the Messiah. (actually, he did do a Monty python, he was just a very naughty boy!) Man, he was good, just ask him. He was obviously good, lots of people believed him.

Here’s the kicker, when you looked at the results, OK, his results at the end of 6 months, he had produced, delivered and had a well qualified pipeline of $0. nothing, nada, zip. How could that be?

Well, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I picked up on this. My mind found itself another cliche to cling to “Perception is Reality”. How many times have I heard this over the years? OMG I thought… It’s true, it’s really true. This guy told everyone how good he was, he sold everyone on his value proposition with such verve and conviction that they all believed it, without need for evidence.

Well, thinking about my function, which I do a lot, we hadn’t received any type or level of attention, and you know what? We’d been delivering for the company for years.

That was a thunderbolt to me. I started bragging to everyone about our successes, talking to others about our short falls to gain buy-in in helping us to improve.

I told everyone, broadcast emails when we hit milestones, when an idea worked, we found a hard to fill person, when we used a new sourcing technique, I involved everyone in the company in Recruiting and showed how much value (and money) we added to the company. Even to the point of monetising our affects on the business (ie what you’d pay an agency for what we have delivered etc)

People started to pay attention, decision makers started consulting me on the way the business should be heading. The value add was seen and noticed, not without its detractors I must add, but the change was significant.

Recruitment eventually gained independance from the clutches of HR and we got our own seat at the Executive table. How? I did the same thing I always did, was just loud about it!

Recruiting has to be more than a skills match!

There was an interesting discussion I was part of the other day, which culminated from a blog post I read over on Recruitingblogs.com where Jane was questioning her own ethics and morals when put in a position to make a placement with a candidate she essentially thought was a jerk. (it was weird, refreshingly so, not a mention on Social networking, technology, or the recession anywhere in the post)

In the end it really questioned my thoughts as to what the role of a Recruiter actually is and how it differs depending on your point of view. Should it be different?

My view on the role of a Recruiter, in it simplest form. The Recruiter is the person who finds people, with the right attitude, aptitude, skills to suit a company and a position it is trying to fill.

Maybe this is too simplistic?

This discussion however, refuted this to a point. Questioning if considering someones attitude is part of their responsibility, “I don’t think it’s my job to try to predict whose personality is going to work and whose won’t work.” Really? Then what is it?

If Recruiting was just skills matching, why have interviews? Find a cv, which matches your needs, test the person on that skill, (maybe add water) and presto you have a new employee.

I understand the differing viewpoints from Agency to in house, as I have done both. I’ve been judged by my employer for the number of placements I’ve made and the money I have made the company and I have been judged on the number of hires I have made and the quality of those hires. The one truth for both roles have been that if people (ie people I’ve hired) don’t work out, I, like Lucy, have some ‘splaining to do!

I always felt that when working for an agency, I was representing that company, and thus had to look like their representative, understand the nuances of the role, their salary packaging, the manager and the wider team etc. On the flip side, I had to have enough information on a candidate to thoroughly represent them, a fine line we walked.

I left the Agency world when I felt that this was no longer valued by my organisation. “Why are you wasting time interviewing people face to face?” was a question I faced by new management, which sounded the death knell of my agency career.

Question again who was I representing? Who was my client? The person I who would pay my fee, or the person whom I got a job. To me, it was a no brainer, the person paying me of course. However, when I’d spent time with candidates, formed relationships, invested myself personally, this line got a little blurred.

However, working in house, this line was no longer blurred, when people didn’t work out, it wasn’t the case of “oops, sorry, but hey you made the decision, I only made the introduction. What? money back? No, sorry, but a credit note I can do!” No, things don’t work out working in house, well, it kind of smacks you in the face. Ever had a Managing Director or HR Manager walking through the hallways asking loudly “who hired that guy?” (not fun!) Even if there is more than you in the process, ie hiring managers, tests etc, it does fall on your shoulders, nowhere to hide, no one to blame, it’s you.

Now from what I have seen, the reasons people who don’t work out, don’t work out, is more from an attitude point of view than a skill deficiency. So why then isn’t it the job of an Agency to look at these things? Am I missing something?

The Thumper Principle morphed into The Gambler edict

I’ve finally made sense of "The Apprentice!"

So you’re over Agency work.. over the sales? Over the cold calls? over the rejection? over the financial expectations? the stats? the KPI’s? the managers looking over your shoulder? The feeling that no-one wants to talk to you? You’ve just got to get out of sales! I know the feeling. You think… I know Recruitment, I’ll go into Internal Recruitment, or try to move up to HR (I hate that thought, UP to HR…. Seriously?, but apparently it happens)

I have news for you… it’s all bad.

I used to watch “The Apprentice” and wonder why Donald Trump, Alan Sugar et al (OK the network executives and the producers of these shows) base the hiring of a high level executive based on their sales activities. Surely there is more to an executive than just leading and working in teams and selling stuff?

I have put a fair bit of thought into this over the last little while.

You know what? There isn’t.

I am a big fan of the KISS principle. (Keep it Simple Stupid) Taking business to its simplest form, you have something that people see as valuable, they give you something for it (money, rocks, beads, whatever). You try to get as many of these things as possible, they try to part with as little of aforementioned belonging for it, and BANG you are selling and in business.

Everyone is in sales. Everything is sales! And just to put it in perspective, no one actually gets paid unless someone sells something! Sounds cold doesn’t it. But it is true, if nothing is sold, how else will money come in. (I know there are exceptions, but in most occurrences, if nothing is sold, then no money is made).

But surely, working in HR isn’t sales?

Serious? I know of no other group in any organisation that has to work as hard to sell the vision of a company, some of the time to an unwilling or unreceptive audience. I mean what other group, can meet a group of employees, tell them extra hours may need to be done, but there cannot be any overtime! and still have people smiling as they walk out of the room?

Internal Recruitment surely isn’t sales?

Sorry. You are selling… all the time, just in a different way. You are selling your companies reputation, your Employee Value Proposition, your opportunity and yourself to a wider, unknown market. You still need to close, ie get someone to sign. You still get pressure from your managers to hit KPI’s, if you are “hunting” for people you still need to make cold calls. More people do want to talk to you though!

OK move into Finance.. surely not selling?

Sorry, these people look at the figures, the accounts, the in’s and out’s of a business, and ensure (well try to) that the story these numbers tell, is acceptable to the market as a whole, ie selling the story. Manipulating or being creative with the numbers etc.

Reception.. now that’s pretty safe for a sales free role isn’t it?

Not even close, how many of us make decisions on a company based on what it is like as soon as you walk in? How you are greeted and looked after whilst you wait for your appointment. Places don’t call receptionists the Directors of First impressions for nothing. I knew a place where the CEO sat at reception during a round of interview, just to see how the applicants treated the reception staff as opposed to her. I’ve also had people comment about our reception staff, how they relate to each other, and set the tone for the company, and may I add, we were a place they really wanted to join.

OK, the cleaners, surely they aren’t?

Sorry, wrong. Their job is to ensure that the environment is looking as nice as possible. Pre-sales if you will. To ensure that people are comfortable buying from you or your company. I have a mate who has a theory, he won’t buy a car from a car lot that is on gravel or unsealed. Why? He’s not sure they will be there tomorrow as it doesn’t look like it would be. No investment in the long term you see. Same theory is applicable.

I’m afraid through everything we do people make buying decisions based on what we do and how we do it. Just because you aren’t out there knocking on doors, making cold calls, writing tenders or closing those big deals doesn’t mean you aren’t selling.

You need to stop turning up your nose at the idea of sales. You need to embrace it, go with it, find a way to do it better. There may be aspects of the Sales cycle you don’t like and don’t want to get involved with… that’s fine. However, respect the idea that you are in sales. It will be better for both you and your company in the long run. No-one wants to The Donald in the Boardroom if he’s only got two words for you.