Category Archives: value

#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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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.

 

PART V: Happy Feet; the success of standing out!


I was reading this enjoyable penguin tale (yes I have the kids book and the DVD) and it reminded me of a tough economy and how to succeed.

Let me break it down for you….

Our Hero Mumble is the embodiment of what (I think) it takes to succeed in the current world.

Our little hero was a little “different”. He was born into a world struggling with a poor economy… there was not enough fish to go around, the area was fished out, and Mumble stood out in his community for all the “wrong” reasons. In a world of singers, he was a dancer! He was shunned for his beliefs (“it just ain’t penguin”), for his passion, and shouldered the blame everyone placed upon him for his beliefs’ bringing this famine amongst them.

Mumble took this rejection on board, he tried to assimilate, yet struggled to find his core niche. So he set off on a journey of self discovery (OK he was made redundant… .sorry, banished, he was banished, definitely banished), with the goal of solving the problem.

On this journey he continued to learn. He was attacked by strange beasts (angry CEO’s taking a pay cut?) found a community that embraced him (for me that would be community 2.0.. ie RBC, Twitter and more recently Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific).
This community enabled him to find an idol, (Lovelace) someone who knew all the solutions, and would share that information for the sum of a pebble. (how many websites promise to make you a millionaire for a simple fee?) (Please note, not for one second am I suggesting these sites are the breeding grounds for false idols, lots of “marketing Web 2.0 guru’s”, but not false idols)

After being embraced by this community, our hero felt he had to go out on his own, he needed to rely only on himself to solve this problem. (look at the new businesses which started up in the last 3 years)

He found even more challenges in this, he was lost, lonely and eventually out of hope. He was found and “saved” in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately he was repatriated in a mind numbing, soul draining environment, vanilla environment. He lost himself here, just going through the motions and surviving, day in day out (Look at all those businesses which have been sold or bought during the last year!)

(I think we are currently at this point in the market)

Eventually, Mumble our hero, found himself again. His individualism started bubbling to the top in an irresistible manner, until it flowed uncontrollably from every part of his body. Yes he was dancing again! He was publicly displaying his unique value proposition, AND PEOPLE WERE TAKING NOTICE! People were “buying it”. Momentum was building.

The world was taking notice. The world was buying. The world did something! The world gave him what he needed. They took him home, colluded with each other to stop the fishing in the area (thus ending the famine) and our hero, became everyone’s! His individuality, his unique selling point, his value proposition had made him a success. He stood out in a sea of same, our hero STOOD OUT and became successful.

P.S, there may have been a love story running parallel to this, but seemingly unimportant to my tale, so I left it out

Being a General in the War for Talent during an Armistice

During the last few months I have been thinking, studying and reviewing the role of Internal Recruitment within my organisation. It has been a really interesting, revealing and introspective journey. Especially with focus sharpening in the areas of the business which are not what some people would consider as core.

Was I over complicating things? We have our systems, our processes, our metrics. We achieve the corporate goals, the company is making money….. don’t look too hard huh?

So with the aim of simplication, how do I describe my role? My teams function in our organisation? Once upon a time I wrote that I wanted to be a General in the War for Talent… but what good is a General in a detente, or armistice? We are Ambassadors to the outside world for the organisation, we are the Custodians of the culture. Which is more important or significant? We drive and maintain the culture of the company. Is there anything more important than the culture of your organisation? What is the affect of hiring people who just don’t culturally fit in, as opposed to those without maybe the specific technical abilities, but a cultural DNA matches? I know which one I’d prefer to have. I know which one my organisation would prefer to have.

When hiring for my team I have to ensure that people embody the culture, not people who can articulate it, people who can live it, breathe it, prove it, be it… in other words not just talk the talk… the WALK is essential. People, perspective employees can spot insincerity. Imagine having a company “sold” to you, with the virtues of fun, dynamic, innovative, enthusiastic people by a person, who won’t look you in the eye, only read off a script, not engage you and cannot crack a smile to break the ice… hmmmm genuine culture or facade? or even worse think it is their job in an interview to grill or intimidate candidates?

If as an organisation, we can define our culture, live it and believe in it. If it has become a genuine competitive advantage to the organisation, what could be a more important role in the company? Those who are entrusted with the Custodianship of the culture, what could be more CORE business than that?

KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle, pays off once more… Thank you Mr Kiss 🙂