Category Archives: recruiting

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!

Recruitment Agencies…. They aren’t going anywhere

Those of you who know me will know my Recruiting background.  Started in a Recruitment Agency, well fell into it, as we all do.  Went to an in-house role for 8 years, somehow ended up back in Agency land again, and am now back in-house.

One of the things I learned whilst working in house was the utter despising of Recruiting Agencies by most people I came across, both from the business point of view and the candidates.  I had been blinkered maybe, “Did people dislike me that much when I was working for an agency?” Well I didn’t think it was me, but the function.  Really?  Sadly the answer was YES.

The reasons are not too hard to fathom.  So many cowboys and cowgirls out there, giving everyone a bad name.  It is the industry where a quick and hefty buck can be made, and I’m sure we all know a few or know of a few that have done that.  I knew a guy who placed the same person into a permanent role 3 times in a year! Twice in the same company, just asked her to go by her maiden name the second time around so as to not arise suspicion.  He made a fee each time upwards of $20k (in the days of 3 month replacements), and would brag about it.  I’ve heard of agents blatantly using their sexuality to try to get work to the point of offering “the full service” for work. I had a boss, who actually tell a young “lady” that she’d better go to the ladies to fix her dress as the straps kept falling off, “it’s not accidentally happening” he was told.. (True story)  Worse, agents, who once in to a company try to pilfer people out once they’ve sniffed around a little and learned the lay of the land.  Heard of one agency, threaten to “empty your car park” if said company wouldn’t use their services!

These type of stories, along with what can and has been perceived as the exorbitant pricing has started a shift away from the model, with more and more in-house teams popping up (bragging about their lack of need for agencies), LinkedIn’s Recruiter tools and “Social Recruiting, have left some doomsayers predicting the death of agencies as we know them.

In past lives as an in-house recruiter it was inconceivable that I would use Agencies, roles I couldn’t fill would remain unfilled and pressure would just build up on my team.  The amount of cold calls, warm calls and reverse marketing calls I would have to knock back probably didn’t do much for my popularity in the Recruitment world.  It was a directive from the people that paid my salary, an unbreakable rule, and we were able to deliver most of the time.  (* I remember telling one boss that he was notorious in the IT Recruitment industry for being a hard ass and putting people through the ringer.  I used to put his name deliberately on young Recruiters working for me who’d made too much money and were over confident, just to bring them down a peg so I could work with them once more!)  I have however recently broken out of that mould a little bit.  Of course there is a need and a place for this multi-billion dollar (Euro, Peso etc) industry.

I don’t see a need to use them in my day to day “normal” hiring, you know those role types that I will need to fill 80-90% of the time.  That is for me to build a successful, engaged and prepared talent pool of people who are already through our process, who just need the final tick to get started.  That is my core business, that’s where we should be spending most of our time and money.  If I used Agencies for this, then why would my company pay my salary?

However, for those “different” roles, for sectors of the market where I/we don’t have expertise, don’t have the network, where there is a speed to fill urgency, why wouldn’t I use an Agency?  Take on a Contracting resource makes a hell of a lot of sense to me.  I did come up with some raised eyebrows from the powers that be, until that is I reminded them of one thing… I got to set the rules!  I can choose who I deal with and who I don’t, it’s based on my relationships.  If a company calls me up, at a time when I have a need, promise the world and then don’t deliver, that’ll leave a bad taste, and I get to choose if I deal with them again or not.  If a company is perceived to be acting unscrupulously, then… I get to choose whether to work with them again or not.  If I see them advertising on a job board for my role, guess what? I get to choose whether to work with them again or nor.  I get to set the buy rate (I honestly don’t care what margin the agency makes, it’s none of my business, as long as everyone is happy), to ensure that the arrangement is still profitable for us.  It’s a no lose situation.

If you’re smart you can also get a fair bit of industry knowledge of your Recruiter (if they are any good), I have in the past felt a little insular, a little blinkered to the wider market when sitting in an in-house role, my focus (rightly or wrongly) being on my company alone.  Recruiters should have a great deal of industry knowledge in their mind, they are talking to companies, people and yes competitors on a daily basis.  Why not get an industry overview from?

This model has been a paradigm shift for my company, and so far it seems to be working well.  We’ve formed some strong working relationships, we’ve hired some great contractors in a very timely fashion and solved both our and our clients problems in the process.  I am yet to feel or perceive the “stereo-typical” Recruiter push or sleaze (for lack of a better term).  I’m using Recruitment agencies as another channel to market, you cannot know everything and everyone.  You know what? It hasn’t diminished the value in what the Recruiting team provides in my company, it’s actually allowed us to solve more problems.

With most businesses, Recruitment Agencies should exist to solve a businesses problems.  Do that, agency land, and you will be here to stay (nobody say like cockroaches!)

#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!

#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…

Recruiting Ninja’s lookout! The JITH Lords are coming

I am the JITH Lord! OK, maybe a little over stated, but an interesting start to a blog right?  I’m pretty sure that the JITH’s are related to the Sith’s depicted in the Star Wars movies (and the cool picture above), taking the Recruiting ninja idea to a whole new level!  The Force v Ninja’s, I should call James Cameron now to secure the film rights.

OK, Sorry not really what I wanted to write about today.

I have been reading Glen Cathey‘s “Just in time Recruiting” series a lot after his inspirational talk an Australasian Talent Conference event last year (click on the link guys, there is another one coming up.. these are the events which changed my Recruiting life)… It would be quite safe to state that Glen’s talk at this event instilled a “man crush” from my then boss.  I saw it change his whole philosophy on Recruitment.

Flash forward half a year or so, and wow, it’s been an interesting few months.  Going back to an inhouse role.  With Peerlo we looked at numerous Recruiting philosophies, I’ve tended to morph a few of these into my role now.

In my current position, the majority of the roles we Recruit for fall into one of maybe 2-3 categories.  So, we aren’t an agency, and the variety of our roles won’t expand apart from the odd “Hail Mary” to help a client out.  So I’m thinking I can do a bit of this “Lean Recruiting” stuff and morph it into my “Just in Time Hiring” (JITH) ideal.

The idea of “If it doesn’t add value… it’s waste” resonates with me a lot.  This, I think is the backbone of any Consulting business in my eyes.  Glen speaks about the 5 of the 7 wastes that “Lean” aims to eliminate.  Not all of these are “wastes” to me or my company or areas I need to or want to eliminate.  There is probably one section which I would change to have input to JITH

Let’s look at them:

Inventory:

Glen mentions: “In recruiting, your candidate pipeline is your inventory. More specifically, your work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” further refined as “A group of candidates that a recruiter stays in routine contact to maintain a relationship with, without a specific and current hiring need is essentially a work-in-process (WIP) candidate inventory.” ie they are “paused” somewhere in the process.  Glenn argues that the amount of  time and effort that goes into the relationship building.  I tend to agree with this.  “In or out” I think.  I understand timing is not always right, however constant “catch ups”, coffees etc without the ability to hire in the forseeable future, is a problem that has to be monitored.

Defects:

Glenn states.  “According to Lean, a “defect” is something that does not conform to specifications or expectations.  When it comes to recruiting, I’m not suggesting that the people themselves are defects. However, candidates that are sourced, contacted, screened, and with whom a relationship is maintained that do not ultimately match the actual hiring need are defects of the recruiting process.”

Hard to argue with really.  We had a great example of this recently in a meeting I attended.  We were talking about a potential hire, the plusses and minuses of said candidate.  People were on the fence.  He had been in the “process” for a little while and some people were very Bullish about his potential for the company.  Bottom line, question was asked “Would you hire this person with no reservation to work with you in this company?”  We couldn’t get an unreserved “Yes” so therefore the person ended up being a firm “No!”  Cut lose from the hiring process, not taking up anymore time.

Over-processing:

Glenn states “Over-processing occurs any time more work is done than what is required by the customer.  Engaging, screening and building and maintaining relationships with candidates that will never ultimately be submitted to a client/manager in consideration for an interview can be seen as performing more work than necessary and be classified as over-processing.” Agreed!  Why bother? What stats/KPIs are you trying to maintain? Why would you invest heavily in people you would not ever realistically think of starting with your company? Not wanting to offend someone? Get a new career!

Waiting:

Glenn states: “Lean defines the waste of waiting as any time that something is held in wait of the next production step.  In recruiting, waiting occurs whenever candidates are not being advanced through the recruiting and hiring process.”

Dead on!  The efficiency of one’s process will make or break a hire.  Take too long, those hires will disappear, someone else will hire them, or they will grow disinterested in you and your process.  You really need to drive the process.

Overproduction:  (this is the one I disagree with)

“Production ahead of and in excess of demand.” This is deemed wasteful for a Recruiter.  Too many job applications, of which no-one gets a real personal response.  Glen states “Traditional proactive candidate pipelining ahead of actual hiring need almost always leads to overproduction.”  From my point of view, having too many qualified candidates, all the way through our Recruitment process ready to hire, is a great thing, not a waste.  I like to have candidates ready, willing and able to go, as proper timely workforce planning is not always do-able in our business.  We need to be ready, and try to eliminate the lag in hiring, which would ultimately be there if not prepared.  Our process takes a while, and has a high exclusion rate, getting someone through, with all our ticks means I need this person fully engaged and bought into our brand and message.  I will put work into these people, they deserve it, my company needs it, it’s value adding!

To move onto the “Just in time” Recruiting part.  Glenn states that by eliminating these wasteful parts of a normal Recruiting workflow that ” Just-In-Time recruiting is a pull-based strategy of providing hiring managers/clients with candidates that exactly match their needs, when they want them, in the amount they want.”

What a great idea, concept.  A bit utopian I think.  To start from a zero base, find, attract, process and hire someone in a time efficient manner (and lets face it, most companies need them YESTERDAY!) .  I am unsure this is really possible, but then again, I know I don’t have the skills of Glenn. Maybe I see things differently as part of an inhouse team now? But whilst I agree with a fair percentage of this model, I feel the need to change it just a smidge.

I firmly believe that Recruiting is the act of attracting people to your company, your roles, your ideals.  Finding people who will come along for the ride and sharing with them the reasons why they should.  Talking to people about your company, exploring talent channels.  Sorting the wheat from the chaff, making the hard calls on those who would fit and those who wouldn’t.  I have probably repeated this ideal ad infinitum of late around my office (driving those around me mental may I add) , “Companies should ALWAYS be Recruiting” (identifying, targeting, vetting, having conversations and coffee with people) “Just not always Hiring” (Hiring is the result of good Recruiting! I’ll hire these Recruits as required, knowing that those people identified will not always be available when we need them.  If there is enough of them, I’ll live with that)

This is where I corrupted Glenn’s “Just in time Recruiting” ideal and (well, you can see what I did with this right?) and started going down the path of Just In Time Hiring.

Still sticking to the ideals of mostly eliminating waste, I agree with this philosophy mostly.  However, in what we as Recruiting professionals do, the “Recruiting” isn’t the important thing in what we do.  Sounds weird when you write it down doesn’t it.  It’s really only the Hiring (and subsequent STARTING) that counts.  Our value add, our purpose for being employed or engaged is to hire!  How many of our stakeholders will care if we have a carefully maintained Talent Pool, great Social Media platforms, 100,000 “Likers on Facebook”.  If we don’t put the right bums on the right seats at the right times our value diminishes!

Hiring is the all important thing here, not the Recruiting, my job doesn’t end if/when a Hiring Manager decides to interview a Candidate.  An interview isn’t a win!  The success of my role is based wholly and solely on the Hiring of great talent WHEN the company needs them.  I’ll live with the Over Production, I’m actually hoping for Over Production, the more the merrier (of successfully Recruiter, qualified and processed people).

I always need to be Recruiting to achieve this.  If I am ALWAYS Recruiting, I can be a JITH (Just In Time Hiring – incase you missed it) Lord, and that sounds pretty cool to me 🙂

#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.

 

#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.

Out of Contact Recruiters. Seriously?

I must be having a dumb moment. I just don’t understand. Why is it that people do Recruitment Advertising and do not put their name or phone number or email address on it?





With the low odds of quality candidates actually reading your ad and wanting to reply, why would you not want to talk to them?  What you are essentially saying to potential applicants is “Please talk to my ATS, they’ll look after you until I deem you worthy enough of my time.” I mean come on?

What is the rationale behind this? Recruiters are too busy to talk to people? Is it different for in-house Recruiters and their Agency counter parts?  Having been on both sides I don’t see why? Sure you get some time wasters, some angry people at times and some people who you think this would be the first English conversation they’ve ever had.  But what does having these conversations actually cost you? 1-2 minutes?
When talking to job seekers I recommend contacting the company before putting in an application.  Think up some smart (not smart ass!) questions, build a rapport, get them to look out for your resume before you apply (and then ask if you can follow up!).  You cannot find out everything about a person from their resume, and you cannot tell everyone everything about yourself in a resume.

Just a tip from the battle hardened.  I made one of my larger placements at Peerlo, from a guy who’s resume would not have got him a second look in.  It was nowhere near the mark.  But this guy called me.  We spoke, he sent me his details (to see if he was serious or just kicking tyres), we spoke again.  And whilst his resume wasn’t a match, he had created such interest that we had to meet.  After meeting him, I knew he was right for my client.  I’d been doing business with that company for near on 10 years, his attitude, skill and demeanour would get him the job.  Bottom line: his first phone call, our first discussion was THE catalyst for him getting the job, and being one of the higher achieving people in that team.  His resume didn’t get him the job, he did.

Wouldn’t have happened if he’d just communicated with our ATS!

My take on the Sourcing Summit 2011 #SOSU11

Last week I attended the first ever Sourcing Summit, and before I go too far into this I must congratulate both Phil Tusing and Andrea Mitchell for putting on the first event of its type in Australia.  I think it was a great success with both the quality of the speakers, but for the attendees too, the conversations at breaks were inspiring!

The day didn’t start the best, with the super early morning flight, the coffee spillage thanks to a clumsy cabbie, Thunderbird looking hair when I arrived. But thanks to a quick splash of water (and to Andrea for letting me know), reversible hand dryers, and my emergency pack of “don’t look stupid”materials in my backpack (and another coffee) we got back on track.

It was a little intimidating listening to a lot of these speakers, man,  there are some smart people on this planet, wish I was more like them!   I’ll write about my highlights here, I seriously don’t have the bandwidth to write about every speaker, so if I missed you, I apologise right now… Sorry

One of the most used terms of this summit was “engagement” and let me tell you, I was engaged immediately by Gavin Heaton’s presentation, as one of the first slides spoke about his coffee club, I mean come on…. “coffee”after that morning? He had my attention.   This guy is super smart, had some great sound bites which were duly tweeted around the world in real-time, with the bottom line being, think about, learn about, engage with, and continually talk to your community….

@servantofchaos says “every business is only a generation away from extinction” #sosu11

#SOSU11 @servantofchaos taking us through a history lesson – looking for a job in the paper 🙂

andreamitchell  Love that @servantofchaos is referencing Moore’s Law #sosu11

@servantofchaos is talking about the need for a marketing mindset in sourcing #sosu11

Brent Pearson (someone I’ve looked up to and respected for years, but have never met) was next up, my notes initially parked him somewhere between a realist and a grump at the industry.  I ended up pegging him as a passionate realist with a pinch of cynicism.  But boy is he smart.  His initial statement of “I’m going to upset some people in this room today” set the tone for me, I was hooked!  His video was entertaining and his message sound.  To summarize, with a few liberties (because it’s my blog) … Firstly, don’t be seduced by all the technology that comes out in this space. (tick…. Been there done that, it sucks, but you got to try things, you may get the winner) Then, how do you know if it’s any good? YOU MEASURE and Benchmark!

Brent gave some great stats and a case study in terms of a client of his business (HRX) about source of application and attempting to disprove the all things Facebook and Twitter, where there was a little hiccup.  However, I didn’t think it proved enough, not sure if it was extrapolated out far enough.  It proved an idea around using Social Media from an attraction point of view, which was great, and looking at it as a tool to help direct your marketing budget.  Great! However I think you would have to work backwards from analysing where the people you have hired have come from, and the focus your funds there.  You can get all the applications you want from your “Google adwords” but if you don’t hire any of those applicants, what’s the point?

Perhaps the most interesting presentation was that of Jason Timor, the Indigenous Recruitment Advisor at QANTAS. It was a really interesting presentation, fascinating in fact. Really impressive that a company actually has a programme like this. What John highlighted most, in my mind, was the idea that with all the talk of community, talent pooling and technology, you still cannot escape the fact that this is a people business. sitting down having a cup of tea with people, respecting where you are, who you’re talking to, is a very effective attraction strategy. someone building IRL (in real life) talent communities. Just made me smile listening to him.  Simple (and very effective) Science

Simon Townsend from Deloitte, the innovation centre, just baffled me. He had some great soundbites which I eagerly tweeted, probably masking the fact that a lot of what he said net over my head. But a brilliant mind, and he saw things in a very unique way. Just made me want to be better and have lots more resources around me.

#sosu11 yammer is twitter in a straightjacket @wittering :)”
@fjmorales: having my mind melted again at #SOSU11 by @wittering
“culture of fun with serious intent” @wittering 🙂 like that”
DamonKlotz  “You can only stumble if you are moving forward. Love it! #sosu11

Paul Jacobs. Now this was another guy I was looking forward to talking to. The energetic, friendly and quite amusing community DJ from NZ. Another person I’d been communication with for years but never met. Paul is a bright bloke, who loves his technology and social media. He also provided the best quote of the day “you can shake my muffin” (it’ll lose something if I put in context) and was also half of the winning tweet of the day

“Sure thing RT @DamonKlotz: Get me a beer from the chilly bin would ya! RT @pauljacobs4real: Thongs? It’s farking jandals people#SOSU11

Paul however, tried to escape the live blogging critiques ie tweeting of his presentation (He said it was to bring a touch of an unconference to the event, I know better 🙂 ). He got everyone standing, worried people as he started with a roving mike and then asked a question which I think the answers even surprised him. He asked the room (rephrased here by me) what was more important in sourcing, technology or the human touch? Surprisingly, ni a room full of sourcing geeks, there was a heavy leaning to the human touch. Even if he had to make a new third actor of a mix of both. (my choice)

The final presenter I’ll talk about is Christian Leloux.  As always he impressed with his passion and knowledge of sourcing and how he is engineering the function in Ernst & Young. With all the technology talk, process and gadget wowing of the process, Christian said the most poignant thing of the whole summit when he said “bottom line, this is all about getting bums on seats right? And solving business problems”. It was a statement I was waiting for, it was a statement, which to me validated the whole Summit.

“sourcing not a skillset any more it is a vocation!!! @Cleloux

There were 2 days to this summit, I only attended one, however, for a first up event, in a function that really is in its infancy in Australia, I was proud to be there, and to be an answer to a quiz question!