Category Archives: networking

#ATCSYD OMG… Australian Talent Conference is GO!

If you’re reading this and you haven’t been able to attend this weeks #atcsyd (the Australasian Talent Conference in Sydney this week) there’s a couple of things I’d like to say.  Well, firstly, “sucks to be you” :), secondly, I apologies for the large input on my twitter feed and thirdly, better start working on your boss for budget for next year!

I mean what a day! Here’s my (attempted) brief overview of this day…

Firstly, up early enough for the birds to tell me to sssshhh.  I tried to leave the house under the secret cover of darkness, only to be sprung by my youngest, who proceeded to howl the house down at the very idea that Dad may be going somewhere without her.  Silver lining? I got to say “good bye” to everyone, as they all woke up… #sneakyfail

Uneventful commute to airport, however my perfect plan for easing into this day with a quiet coffee pre flight was hampered by the far far far queues awaiting me at airport security #coffeefail It was barely 6am people… Come on!!!

Sadly I missed the drumming which kicked off the #atcsyd (which isn’t a bad thing I don’t thing) and then walked in for the second half of Dr John Sullivan’s talk on “Competing through Agility” (missing first half was a bad thing!) The big takeaway I got from this talk was that Speed rocks! (no not that speed) Spoke about rates of improvement, and the imperative to improve at a higher rate than the business. (OK I missed a fair chunk of this session) Bottom line… speed and innovation, check the Twitter stream #atcsyd for more 🙂 Taco’s as bribes for cv’s were mentioned though.

The next session was “Will you consider Video interviewing before your boss tells you to try it”.  Interesting session, for me personally as I have been wrestling with this for most of this year. Kevin Wheeler and Gerard Ward presented on this, however, it was mostly Gerard from Testgrid talking about his product.  My issue with this topic was that people were using the terms “screening” and “interviewing” as interchangeable.  That is a concern for me.  However, I’m not yet convince that my audience or clients are ready as yet. I don’t think it will be far away though.  Also, need to note that some of these products are not yet mobile compliant, which to me is ludicrous and devalues their product.

The next session was delivered on “Fast-tracking Career success Through the Power of mentors” by Jen Dalitz.  She made some really good points, took a few tangents (but who doesn’t love a Beagle analogy?).  Lots of men versus women and how they work, I’m not sure if she was alluding that one was better than the other, just that they were different.  Some great tips around mentoring though, looking internally and externally.  Putting the idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” ie a Board of different people with different skills to help you work through the ins and outs of this professional world.  I loved that idea.

The next session was something I was looking forward to as Glen Cathey was presenting with Gabriel Garcia.  They were talking about “Searching Big Data Immigrated from the US to Australia”, sadly this was more of a product pitch, with some interesting ideals thrown in for good measure.  Semantic searching, however, and the technology around that, is very cool!  Enterprise, Search Driven Business Intelligence…. “Say it aint so!” very cool idea.  It made me realise my limitations around search and as @JaredWoods noted… “Get my geek on and start to drool over the technology” Best quote from this was from Glen “Data has no value if you cannot retrieve it” .  Obviously limitations around this idea is the fact that if you have a crap database then, it would be useless, however for your Infosys’, Ernst & Young’s IBM’s etc I can see how great this could be.  Also good to see CareerOne trying to innovate and evolve from a pure Job board.

Incase you didn’t know, some of the best lessons learned from these conferences occur at the breaks, when you get to catch up and meet with people, other professionals, who in some cases you only know online.  I love this.  And yes this happened here today…

Enough about that… Lunch was great, with a cheesecake to die for at the end… OMG YUMMMMM!!!! no not sharing….

OK sorry.. off topic… The sessions coming up next were a choice of 4.   I chose @Davidals session on “Rethinking Attraction and Recruitment: Blue Ocean Philosophies” and Anthony Storks “If you can’t Attach Your New Talent, You’ll never engage them”

2 genuinely quality session, even if it was sad to miss the other two.

David started his talk with using the “cirque du soleil” as a case study of something that took a concept, re-thought it, eliminated competition and thrived in a dying industry.  Just through innovation and uniqueness! GOLD! He spoke about Red Sea fishing and Blue sea fishing, red being the conventional, tried, true, boring and limited version, with Blue being the innovation, standing out from the pack, being willing to make a difference version.  Obviously there was a bias towards the Blue style (and not just because “state of Origin” was on today, and we’re n Sydney)… I can’t go word for word… slide for slide here because, well, he’s already done it.  And if he wants to attach and share here, well, he will!  But the outline for being able to make innovation, build a compelling business case, think about starting to look at what you want to achieve in four quadrants…  Create Raise Eliminate Reduce… think about those… see how you go! (Sorry I couldn’t think of a witty, amusing acronym for that)

For Anthony Stork, I need to apologise, no I don’t need to apologise for him, just that his energy, passion and knowledge of his topic around employee Attachment was so impressive that it didn’t give a lot of space for taking notes (plus the fact that my wifi connection crapped itself about now).  But firstly, a great speaker.  Some major points coming out of this session were around the cost of attrition, where the buck stops, how to measure.  He spoke of  the importance of Core attachment perceptions of Security, trust & value, acceptance, and belonging. and how without these core perceptions being managed we were essentially doomed to fail, or perish I think the word was.  Compelling stuff, especially when he put a dollar value around the idea… (his numbers) a New hire is a $100,000 investment in the first 3 month… Seems like something you really want to get right huh?

After a quick break we saw Tanyth Lloyd (@voguist) headline the “World Cafe” part of the conference next… What is that? I hear you ask.  Essentially it is a big hall, 15 different topics to discuss on 15 different tables, each with a facilitator.  You pick a table, discuss there for 20 minutes… stop… regroup… share with room…. pick another topic and repeat.  Always interesting topics… I’ll attach the topics somewhere here (thanks for pic Glen Cathey) .  But let’s just say, what happens on tables 15 and 10, will stay on tables 15 and 10!

All this conference, just provided us the vehicle to take us to the final session of the day with the one and only Greg Savage.  If you don’t know Greg, Ok not personally, but if you haven’t heard of him (what are you reading this for) Google him, I’m sure he won’t mind.  Then watch, listen and learn.

Greg got the dud time, the tough time of the day.. the final person/speaker sitting in between 300 delegates and free beverages.  I have to say, I’ve conversed with Greg for a number of years now, we’ve agreed and disagreed on things, but this is the first time I’ve met him and heard him speak live.  All I can say is that I thoroughly recommend it.  I’d almost go as far as to say that if you want your Recruiters to get inspired by their job, and bounce back to their desks to GET THINGS done, they need to see Greg.  Greg is an evangelist for what we do.  But today he gave us a case study on how his company took to the Social side of things.  How his company… “Went Social”  Greg freely shares this case study, so for me to write about it would not do it justice… Just ask him, he’s never short of a word! 🙂

He likes to operate in “the REAL world” and apparently Recruiters operate in this world, which I tell you confused some delegates.  He spoke about not having a “social Media strategy” but weaving “Social” into the very fabric of their company.  The stats he used were compelling, as was his 11 pronged strategy, and really did raise some questions in my own head, of some things I will explore more when back in the office.  One thing he said that I’ll share that’ll stick with me for a while… “A Status update can fill a role!” think about that! (and this my friends is what you want out of a conference!)

Then of course the drinks and canopies came out to conclude a great day.  Looking forward to tomorrow, glad I got this out of my head tonight, need to make room for tomorrow 🙂

Thanks to Trevor Vas, Horace Chai, Martin Warren, Kevin Wheeler and the team for putting this on again.. Bring on tomorrow. So looking forward to meeting more people tomorrow… and if you read this and want to say hi to me…. please do, I won’t be hard to find…

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#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.

 

Dont’ pee on your own pool

Customer Service is an amazing thing. Something which seems so easy and straight forward, you’re helpful, friendly and essentially do as you say, providing a service.

RANT WARNING.

This may seem petty to some, but this really got my blood boiling the other day. My 5 year old son was awarded an encouragement award at the local football club a few weeks ago (OK they all get them, but it didn’t quell the pride, father and son both felt as he picked up his award.) The award, a certificate and a voucher for a free 6 inch sub from Subway.

We’d waited a few weeks before cashing it in, resisting the constant “Dad, (and or Mum) can we go to Subway for my prize please?” We relented until this weekend, yesterday actually, and took him to the local Subway (for those living in Melbourne, it is the Subway in Syndal). In we walk, my son, chest puffed out, announces to the store that he is there to claim his prize he won at Football.

Imagine my shock, his disappointment, and my subsequent anger when we heard the “sandwich artist” meekly announce to us that his store doesn’t honour those vouchers. WTF? I checked the voucher, there was not mention of the fact that it had to be used at a particular store.

I felt for the “artist” as he had to tell us, and then had to inform his manager or franchise owner, that he had a customer on the line for him. Now they got a little more than they bargained for. My angry wife… She was brilliant! feisty, grumpy, assertive and then downright tough. (She is my secret weapon, OK not so secret now, but a weapon of mass destruction anyways!)

Let’s just think about this a little, these are local franchises, not just a global conglomerate. They were presenting themselves to the local market as local supporting the community by sponsoring the local football club. When my wife spoke to the Franchisee he said, “you must understand from my point of view…. I am losing money on this” My wife responded, with a very caring and humanitarian, “well if you weren’t, YOU ARE NOW”.

We had something happen to us the other week when a place denied us the use of a discount voucher for an obscure unpublished reason, we paid up, and walked out feeling a little silly, pretty upset, but if it was a rule, that made (kind of) sense then OK. But this is worse, YOU’RE MESSING WITH OUR KIDS! for $6.95 (there are only 40 or so kids at this club of ours (Max out $280, although I would assume corporate would give some compensation to the franchisees for this.)

For a business supplying a local market, does doing this make logical sense? Putting a whole demographic offside? By not living up to what you had committed to do? Not many people like seeing upset kids, even worse when the one upset is one of yours, and when it is something little and ultimately inconsequential to that business and everything to that little person involved, I do scratch my head. Those of you who know my family, know, we aren’t the shyest or quietest of people. Word spreads, as it does in all communities and I am letting the world know I won’t be back to that particular Subway outlet (210 Blackburn Rd, Syndal VIC 3149) and will have to be persuaded as to whether to go back to the chain at all.

The same goes for all businesses, and I know I am a little emotive about this particular event, but I’ve seen examples of this in other business’ I have been a part of over the years. I’ve seen companies, place fake ads on job Boards to fill up their database, I’ve seen people sell a business they made look busy (which had shut down a month earlier) by getting the old staff to sit around making phone calls when the perspective buyers come through, not looking after contractors, ripping off clients or simply don’t get back to people. You get a reputation for that! People won’t come back to your business, unless by some freak of circumstance you have a monopoly. You are effectively peeing in your own pool, poisoning your own future

What’s the old saying? Something along the lines of it takes a lot longer for a good word to get around that a bad one. And I am a sucker for positive and negative comments from others, I love my social media and well I just bought a car from a place which I only went to because of a referral we picked up from out community Network, the Kindergarten Mums – not a group to upset (or mess with their kids) by the way!

Business survive on sound business models, great service, great product and a great reputation, be careful on what you put out there for people to comment on.

Web2.0: Did video really kill the radio star?

This has been really interesting for me… trying to manoeuvre my blog from Recruitingblogs.com to here. Only because I was looking for something a little more mainstream, I think it could be time for me to really start to get my voice tuned up.. I will continue to double post if you will as I cannot get enough of the RBC community. It has opened my mind introducing me to so many new tools and techniques, giving me more insight than most training courses I have ever attended.

Web2.0 as it is called now, man I love labels, has opened up a whole new world, connecting with people all over the world, sharing ideas, giving and receiving feedback from people I’ve never ever met, but are willing to help nonetheless.

I just read a blog from the fine people at Fistful of Talent around Social Media and how it will do us all out of a job. It was a great perspective, and gave me some room to think. Will Social media do me out of a job? It reminded me of a conversation I had recently an old boss of mine. He’d recently learned about this page called Linkedin.com and something else called Facebook.com, he took a weekend to explore these sites and was amazed at their power. “This will make you job so much easier he said, you will be able to cut out the agencies and job boards. All you will need is just a subscription and you’ll be able to find anyone.” Imagine my reaction to that.

In the most diplomatic way I explained that Social Media will and has enhanced our roles. Does it make it easier.. yes and no.. it adds another level to it… Recruitment is all about finding people, or should I say finding the right people, with the right skills at the right time. Will any of these tools do that for you? Not really. Will it give you great reach for people and access to names you may have had to struggle to find previously? Damn straight. Will it foster those relationships, or work those relationships to ensure that when you reach out, people will respond? Not likely.. people do that not tools or internet sites.

I may be old fashioned, however, whilst a sucker for this medium, I find it hard to believe that Social Networking could replace or improve face to face networking, or personal discussions over a coffee. I find it hard to fathom that relationships will be that strong, or that someone would try to help if there is no emotional buy in. Whilst this is doable via social Networking, it takes time, effort and real work to cultivate that.

Has email eliminated the phone call? Does a questionnaire get rid of the need for an interview? Has the Internet killed the newspapers? Did video really kill the radio star?

That said, my parent bought a Beta video player and were proud of it, defending their choice even after years of picking from the same 5 videos in the video shop. It apparently is widely known that Beta was the better product, however VHS was the biggest seller (Gen Y’s please google the terms Beta and VHS 🙂 ).

The moral….? nothing will ever replace hard work, quality does count, however you do need to move with the times, catch the occasional wave to ensure you stay relevant and be flexible you never know where you will end up.