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People business’. It is about the people right?

I have a confession to make.  I get confused easily.  That’s it, I said it! 

What’s confused me this week?  Well companies that are in the “People business”, you know Recruitment Agencies, Consulting companies and the like, a quick scan over their websites revealed that a number of them have absolutely no people images on their website, marketing, or if they do, it’s from stock photos, bleck!. 

Surely your people aren’t that ugly that they would scare people away? (unlike this guy, but we still published it!)Image

It astounds me how many places a few people can work, the handshaking champion, the chiseled good looking guy, and those blurry people behind him, that amazing team comprising a old guy, a young woman, a young woman of asian decent, an African American guy etc etc insert cliche here. 

At IMA we thought about this, about the need to showcase our people! We’re pretty proud of them to be honest, but we wanted our website to represent us, not some vanilla vision of what a company, a board or a team should look like. So we engaged a professional photographer (Simone from Enraptured Photography) to assist us in showcasing our people, to show us in the light in which we want to be seen.  Sure the photo’s are edited, cleaned up to look the best that they can, but it doesn’t make them any less authentic.  It’s us, and honestly, it looks a hell of a lot better than, photos put up that we took with our mobile devices or our own DSLR, or heaven forbid stock photos. (OK a certain bias here)

But why? Why don’t companies want to show case their own people? Will it take away from the brand? Will it allow people to try to poach your people more easily? Or is it just too expensive to hire a professional? Or perhaps the imagery on your website doesn’t make that much difference to you?

Maybe you think candidates or clients don’t care about this stuff, it’s all about the jobs you have open, your team doesn’t really matter.  Maybe…. I’m not sure. 

I did a review of a number of Recruitment Agency websites and I rarely saw a photo on it.  Lots of information mind you, but little to do with imagery or their people.  It’s a people business right? Where are the people?

If you don’t think it matters, seriously talk to Carolyn Hyams from Aquent/Firebrand and have a look at what they have done with their Social Media and imagery and tell me it doesn’t matter.

This rant is right up there with….. well another rant I did a while ago… here 

In these days of social media and everything online, I think you need to give yourself every advantage, why not spend the money, if you have it.  It’ll improve your brand, personalise your PEOPLE business even if you cannot define a ROI on it. Although I’m sure Carolyn could!

You’ve sourced some superstars.. now what?

Sorry WordPress, I’ve cheated on you… Here’s a link to a blog I wrote on another site.  I hope we can still get along

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!)

Phil Tusing’s #SOSU12 – another mind melter

OK so SOSU12 started its National Tour last week (By national I mean Sydney and Brisbane) in what was a flurry of tips, tricks, ideas, memes and some great discussion to go with it. 

Firstly hat tip to Phil Tusing, who, albeit, voiceless, somehow managed to out together a strong run down of speakers and topics.  Getting Irina Shamaeva (AKA @Braingain) to Australia was a coup upon itself, let alone getting her to speak numerous times throughout the event.  I know I learned some stuff about LinkedIn that I thought was to know, some back doors and bugs that only the really inquisitive, OK sticky beaks, would take the time to find, and then to share them with a room full of sourcers, well that was worth the entrance fee in itself.

Christian Le Loux hosted the event, and after a bit of a nervy start, he handled both the room, the topics and the flow of events with aplomb, taking technical issues and even the odd changing of sequence of speakers all in his stride (my bad… thanks mate!) An awesome effort from an emceeing virgin 

Irina was booked solid, and even with the odd lingering side effect of jet lag, had an obvious flow to her talks, building the crowd up to the point where you couldn’t help but sit back and go “wooooooah” in the final talks.

Jared Woods was his normal creative, completely out of the box self.  (See Jared’s blog here) Have you ever seen a presentation made up completely of Memes? No? neither had I until Jared took the stage.  And dead set… it just “wowed”.  Jared spoke in a great fashion about the emotional connection required in sourcing and quickly got the crowd nodding their heads in agreement, well those who weren’t scratching their head after him teaching us all a new word (OK, I learnt it) “Hyper dyadic”, I’ll let you look it up, but essentially it means that we are all responsible for everyone else’s happiness, which is built off our own moods (I didn’t say it wasn’t complex!)

Kelly O’Shaughnessy hosted a “Round table” discussion, which really was an eye opener to this guy.  There were 6 tables, all hosted by a different person, discussion the use of some different Social Media mediums for sourcing.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Google+.

The most interesting part of this discussion for me was essentially how little their mediums were thought of when it came to sourcing.   Surprisingly most in the room only saw them as one way marketing channels, somewhere for you to push a message on mass.  This really surprised me, as someone who has been an early adapter and sees them as a way of life.  That said, I realize they are all time suck mediums where you can lose days going down the sourcing rabbit holes, it will be interesting to watch or have the same conversations in different parts of the world, or even in a couple of years and see if attitudes have changed.  (Although it was fun introducing people to the #sosu12 the sub conference of the conference happening on the Twitter stream, raising that level of realisation was fun)  Interestingly enough, Irina didn’t help with the take up of these channels for sourcing channels, apart from one, saying she made 100% of her placements via LinkedIn in the last year.  (I’m assuming, LinkedIn was the place she contacted them via not solely found people, although there is nothing wrong with that.

Rowena Caruana from Futurestep was up next, with an interesting presentation, around the contentious topic of about building Talent communities, which personally and professionally validated a few things we are doing at IMA-MT.  She did a deep dive into the metrics and value for companies for having a well structured, driven talent pool, putting herself up against the “Just in Time” recruiting ideas of Glenn Cathey, the Boolean Blackbelt.  Not that there is anything wrong with that. I did the same thing here…

The only part missing from this presentation was the “What’s in it for the applicant/candidate” there was a graphic at the end with 2 intersecting circles (A really small intersect) which was called mutual value.  A great discussion point I think.

Sadly I kind of missed the main part of the panel discussion around “Cross border sourcing” with very smart people from Deloitte (Vanina Santana-Sweeney), Dell (Rodney Ko), and Adobe (Rhys Hughes) holding the floor.  (oh yeah… Riges Younan did a stellar job hosting it too) Although I did hear Rhys from Adobe say something that was music to my ears,  “The Sourcers are the champions of our business!” — Hear Hear! .   The reason I missed it? Well I was there and picked up a few gems, but I was busy, stressing about presenting myself.  Something I hadn’t done before and was quietly panicking about as it went on.

My presentation went OK, even without the promised heckling and lolly throwing.  I spoke about a subject I am passionate about “Selling sourcing to Stakeholders”.  You can find my presentation on slideshare here.  Basically I spoke for 30 minutes about how much Sourcers rock, my professional crushes,  and should have more recognition as the “strategic enablers” that they are.  I also added a couple of memes to ensure someone spoke about it… In short, watch out for future Recruiting Chuck Norris’ out there J

Unfortunately I had to leave from there, to catch a plane, and from what I heard I missed some special presentations from Deloittes, Vanina Santana-Sweeney, Social media Superstar, Kelly O’Shaughnessy and HRX’ Mark Reilly.

Again, thanks so much to Phil and his team for organizing, I really enjoyed this, even if I was made to feel old, being addressed as “Mr Nuroo” by his eager staffers who manned the event. (joke Phil)




Recruitment Philosophy – What’s yours?

Changing jobs a couple of times in the last 2 years has made me really look at myself and my belief structure in this field, refine this, perhaps even formulate one (or two).  I’ve come to understand what I believe in, when it comes to Recruiting.

It’s not about just going to work, hiring people and going home.  I think people over complicate things to (sometimes) justify their own existence, pad out their “personal brand”, push their agenda or product, or suck up to “Recruiting aficionados”. And please don’t get me started on all those “Social Media is the greatest” conversations!

I’ve been able to break this down to a few key ideals which I believe in when it comes to this profession and what I do.

So what is it?

Dan’s mantra.

  • Recruitment is all about the conversation (medium is irrelevant)
  • Everyone (YES EVERYONE) is hired to solve a business problem
  • Fish where they are
  • Sharing and learning is essential

What’s yours?

#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.