Category Archives: performance

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!

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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.

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.