Category Archives: positivity

Flogging a dead horse… OR The Recruitment industry sucks!

Recruitment agencies tend to be getting a bum rap at the moment, with what seems an endless amount of people getting on the “Whack the Recruitment Agency” bandwagon.

Whilst I cannot disagree that some agencies and some Recruiters can be dodgy and misrepresent the industry as a whole, it isn’t all bad.  I’ve wrote about this before here.

However, I have noticed a distinct lack of posts from agencies or anyone really talking about dodgy clients, dodgy candidates and the like.  This post aims to balance the scorecard to a point and share some war stories from the Recruiting trenches that I have seen or heard.

So dear readers, hold onto your seats and let me tell you some stories of dodgyness, dishonestly and downright crappyness perpetrated by “clients” and “Candidates” from the eyes of a Recruiter.  I know, shocking right? It’s not just the Recruiters that are bad to deal with all the time.

Have you heard about the client who after going through a whole drawn out process of 2 interviews, psychometric tests, 3 references, turned down the candidate?  That’s not the bad bit, that happens a lot.  (but it really sucks to be a contingency recruiter when this happens) Skip forward 3 months, person who won job, leaves.  Agency candidate is hired (great to be a recruiter when this happens), all behind the back of Agency Recruiter (again, not so good).   This could all be an innocent mistake right? In fact as much was said when the Agency Recruiter called the company, first to find out what had happened, and if, in fact the person had started. (notwithstanding all candidates documentation from resume to reference checks were heavily branded in the agency logo etc) Once confirmation was given, agency person informed said client that an invoice would be coming.  NEXT was the call from the CEO informing of the mistake and that he had never OK’d the expenditure, so there was a problem.  There were threats of firing the person so as to not pay the bill etc, they said the person applied directly to them from when they had advertised (on inspection there was no ad).  After lots of negotiation, it worked out for the agent, once lawyers entered the discussion.

How about the candidate who upon signing up for a role and joining a company, just doesn’t turn up on day one?  No word, no nothing?  Days of frantic searching later, emails, phone calls to mobile at all hours, even checking with emergency services to see if there were any accidents nearby etc, the Recruiter finally found a correct home phone number.  Spoke to the candidates wife, hoping all was ok (I had called a candidate on a database and sadly I made the call in the middle of the person’s wake).  Wife informs me that the candidate is fine and is at work “sorry what is this call in regards to?”  hmmmmm accepted job, signed job, went through induction etc, just didn’t get around to leaving old job.  What the?

How about the person who rocks up to an interview with IBM and proceeds to tell the hiring managers there that “IBM stands for Idiots Become Managers” that’s not embarrassing feedback to get is it?

Or the hiring manager who says “You’re 32, how many years would I really get out of you working here before you go off and start having babies?”

OR the hiring manager who actually compliments an interviewee on her ummmm appearance

OR asks out for drinks immediately after ascertaining said candidate doesn’t have a boyfriend?

OR the candidates who say they’ll do “ANYTHING” for a job, whilst shifting in what she believed was a direct take off of Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct”

OR clients who specifically ask for “Australians” (I cannot dignify this by expanding further)

OR clients who make offers to people after 6 interviews only to shut down that division making the person redundant after 4 weeks of work?

OR the candidate who takes another job after 2 days on new job with client because he was actually waiting for that job.

OR The clients of a start up, who scared the new hire on day 2 by sharing a joint in the office

OR Those candidates who just don’t turn up for interviews AT ALL.

OR The candidates who bring their entire family, wife, child etc to the interview and let them wait in reception during an interview?

OR The clients who just don’t pay?

OK sorry, the rant took over.  Feel free to share some more with me

The point of this post? Let’s see the world for what it is? There are good and bad everywhere.  To just get stuck into one area, one industry because it is an easy target is stupid and lazy.  Sure things can be improved in the Recruitment industry, tell me an industry that cannot improve somewhere.  I bet you can’t.  (I’ve deliberately not linked to any of these Recruitment bagging “blogs” as I don’t want to give them any more “air” time than they have already stolen)

So, stop trying to get cheap plugs and visits to your websites by highlighting these things and generally talking rubbish, there is enough stuff to sort through on the internet without sensationalist hyperbole bagging an easy target!  Hmmmm what ever happened to lawyer jokes?

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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!

#TruAus Words from Australia’s first Recruitment UnConference

Bill Boorman (@Billboorman) brings his #TRU movement to Australia.  Following an after party from Eminem Melbourne Show.  #TRUAus looks at the current, future and game changing technologies in the Recruitment space.  Futurist Kevin Wheeler (@KWheeler) was involved for great perspective.. Comments here from Ross Clennett (@rossclennett) David Als (@davidAls), Justin Hillier (@Justin_hillier) Martin Warren (@MartinWarren) Discussions included, “Future of work” “Facebook v LinkedIn v Google+) Video’s place in recruitment, Analytics and Referral programmes.

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?

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!

Sunshine from the rain

I was getting depressed earlier this week. Things were getting tough at work, the recession was knocking on the door, I had a proper look at my taxes coming due, I was tired and I read a few disturbing articles.

One, I must say I was pretty late on. It was an article from November which reported on the fact that an employee in Sydney for global giant EDS attempted suicide after finding out he was being made redundant. See more of article here. This if nothing else made the stark reality of our current times hit home for me.

Then as if on cue an article appeared in our local news paper about one of Australia’s leading banks, spending half a million dollars on an Executive getaway, just before laying off 500 people. (More here). I must say, this made me question a few things too…. Maybe it was well deserved? If nothing else it smacks of an arrogance in an unsure market, and something that has to put a poor taste in the mouths of those who were let go, and perhaps the public in general. In truth, I read and re-read a few times to ensure I got it.

Then this morning happened. Nothing unusual really, woke up late… train on time (things looking up), got a free up sized coffee (things looking really up!) then as I cross the road to my office I see something pro-active and positive happening.

I see the good people of sixfigures.com.au camped outside a major ANZ bank building (and I must note a Telstra building, 2 of the major employers in Australia, who have announced lay offs recently) offering pamphlets and career advice for people who want it. They took the mountain to Mohammed. Awesome stuff guys. A great idea, not sure what the results will be or even what you wanted to get out of it, but it inspired me, and took a bit of the gloom and doom of the preceding days away to see companies out there doing something. Congratulations! Read more about this here and here. It’s kind of funny… an online job board, burgeoning on Recruitment 2.0, here in downtown Melbourne going old school, hitting the bricks and making a big impression. And put some sunshine in my day

Be the Lucky Platypus


It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. For those of you who don’t know me I am the proud dad of 2 young children and live by the adage “sleep is overrated”. One of my favourite times of day is pre bed story time, it is genuine quality time I get to spend with my children after whatever my work day did to me.. or maybe it is because it’s just before the house finally falls into peaceful slumber, that parents around the world love.

MAYBE it’s because I REALLY enjoy these books, the morals, the learning and the style of writing appeals to me no end.

For the last few years I have been bringing these stories into my day to day life occasionally annoying my work with analogies and stories… but tonight reading an old favourite I thought.. why not!? And if it goes OK it could become a regular post of mine, sounds fun to me… we have heaps of books.

One of my favourites is “Platypus and the Lucky Day”. A few years ago I photocopied every page and gave a copy to my immediate team (if you are a copywriter reading this.. please blink over this bit).. I liked it that much. I got strange looks, but the message was received.

Brief synopsis:

Platypus wakes up one morning in THE BEST mood, he knows today is his lucky day…. (see business globally start of 2008), then in his joyous mood he steps out into the world. It is here that things start to go wrong, the string on his kite breaks, the tree branch he is climbing snaps, the painting he is doing is rained upon and blows away… After a number of these negative events… Platypus wipes a tear from his eye, gives up and decides it best to go back to bed. (fair enough too! See business globally at the end of 2009).

When he gets back to bed, he finds a banana (or sandwich) he’d been looking for, a teddy he thought he’d lost forever, a billy cart he forgot he had, and found things in a closet to help him fix it…. and his lucky hat! His day is getting better!!!

He takes his newly fixed billy cart outside, with his lucky hat on, and takes it to the top of the closest hill… sets off down the hill….. all of the sudden he loses control and crashes his billy cart into a tree, and all looks bad with the day again…. then suddenly into his lap falls his kite from the tree. Ahhhh what a great ending.

OK my link… With the “War for talent” in full swing, Recruiting was one of THE professions to be in, it was exciting to get out of bed, you could tell you were going to make a huge difference and that your worth as a professional was getting increasingly valued… the it all turns…. the Economic crisis hits globally, downsizing is the word of the day, and the need for Recruiters decreases. Here’s the bit I love…. Do you give up and go back to bed and not try? Or do you keep your eyes open for opportunities? be flexible enough to capitalise on them and make your own fun again. Do you go out there again and have another go…. accepting that something else goes could go wrong, whilst also acknowledging that another piece of “luck” could come your way. What’s the old saying? “You gotta be in it to win it”

Be the Lucky Platypus people! All is not lost, there is always opportunity, you just have to be open enough to see it.