New Year, New Beginings

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It’s a new year and by now I hope you are over the hangover, you’ve finished off the ham in the fridge (does it ever end?!) and you’re more than likely back at work. Recruiters are out in force as many of us think about another year in our current jobs and if its what we really want to do.

For me, I love what I do. I seriously enjoy recruitment and the challenges and rewards recruitment gives me as a career. Recently I have been working in the banking industry as a recruitment business partner. I thoroughly enjoyed it and got exposure to a global corporate – very different from the start up environment I was used to! However, to start 2016 I made a big jump. A jump across the ditch to Australia. It’s been a bit of a culture shock in some ways – I actually need a translator (who knew what a milkbar was?!)  – but so far, so good.  I’ve moved back into a management position, leading a medium sized team within financial services.

I’ve got a couple of blogs on the go for 2016 including one on my candidate experience coming to Australia, one about bias in recruitment and the last one about my New Years resolution – to give up alcohol for a whole year. Yes, a recruiter without wine. Talk to me in 6 months and I might be feeling different, but for now, I’m feeling great.

So, cheers to 2016! With a glass of Appletizer for me of course…

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“You’ve been unsuccessful” – how to handle rejection when job seeking!

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Job seeking is tough for most people. The applications, the interviews, the emails, the phone calls, the references…. and the rejection.  In the line of work I do, I reject a candidates on a regular basis.  It’s a recruitment funnel – there will always be more applications than there will be jobs to offer (oh, how I wish it was different some days).  Check out the usual recruitment funnel below.

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We all suffer rejection at some time – the role might be too senior (or too junior), you might have flunked the interview or you might just not be quite right for the role.  Rejection is a tough pill to swallow – particularly if you really want a certain position or to work for a specific company.  Rejection can affect us all differently and people take rejection from me as a recruiter well, and not so well. They can either take it incredibly personally, bounce back really well or somewhere in the middle.

Unlike in England recently, where a woman staged a sit in for 90 minutes at an employer who rejected her application (and had to be removed by the Police), there are much more tactful ways to handle rejection!  I’d encourage you to:

  1. Remain professional and polite.

It’s a small world out there, and a lot of people in industries are connected (especially in recruitment!). Remember what Mum taught you about treating others how you want to be treated? This is still the case when dealing with rejection from a job application.  If you are rude upon rejection – do you think you might be the first person they call if they get a similar or better suited to you vacancy? No.  You just cement the reason for rejection.

  1. Don’t take it personally.

It’s not always all about you. As a job seeker you usually have no idea who you are up against in the running, if there is an internal candidate, any specific quirks or requirements with the role etc. There may have just been a better suited candidate.

  1. Ask for feedback.

If you have been unsuccessful, it’s OK to ask for feedback.  I would even encourage you to do so – it’s only going to give you insight as to where you could improve and it might help you on your job hunt for future roles.  I give all unsuccessful candidates I decline feedback – it’s part of running good recruitment practice!

  1. Keep in contact.

If you are unsuccessful, and the company is one you still want to work for, then sign up to their job alerts from their careers page, add the hiring managers you met with on LinkedIn, follow their company pages on social media and engage with them ongoing. I’d also encourage you to send a thank you note to your interviewers (if you had a face to face meeting).  You never know what role might be coming up in their business that you could be perfect for – so keep the lines of communication open!

Overall, I would encourage you to not be discouraged by rejection, it’s a part of job seeking. It’s just not possible to get every job we apply for (although it would be nice wouldn’t it?)!

Why taking a pay cut could be the best thing for your career….

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“WHAT?” I hear your brain scream.  “It’s not meant to be like that – I’m meant to go UP in the pay scale and the world.  What is this crazy internal recruiter banging on about now……..”.  Well, what I am banging on about is potentially one of the best steps you might take in your career – to take a pay cut.

Having come from a property background some time ago, I am very familiar with the phrase “your home is NOT worth what you need to buy your next house”.  Meaning – just because you want to live in a different suburb/have an extra garage/get into a school zone it doesn’t increase the value of your current home.  The same goes with jobs – just because you want a certain type of experience or position it doesn’t mean your value increases! I’m not saying you’re not valuable – but what I am saying is just because you want a certain type of experience it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to get a pay increase!

A good career path has logical steps, diversification of role and normally a number of industries or business functions.  For the leaders of today (or tomorrow) in my business I’m looking for someone who has a wide variety of skills and experiences – someone who is well rounded in their career.  To get all of that experience under your belt you need to make smart career moves.  Sometimes those career moves can have short term pain, for substantial long term gain especially in the salary stakes.

Personally, I think you should look at taking a pay cut if:

  1. You want to switch careers / industries / get experience in something you have limited exposure to. This can be the short term pain model – the pay off is that in time you will have a much more diverse working background and expand your skill set.  You might have to start lower down the ladder to work yourself back up again.  Work hard, rewards will come.
  2. If you are going to start your own business.  It’s tough out there.  Expect to not make any money for a while (and if you do – that’s a great achievement).  Have a robust business plan in place, get mentors and work hard.  Also, try to have some savings put away before you branch out!
  3. When you’re following your dreams (or your heart).  Sometimes following your dream career path can be the most rewarding.  You might have always wanted to get into photography, early childcare education or dog walking.  Whatever it is, sometimes following your true passion can have far better benefits than continuing on in a job you hate.
  4. To go part time.  Across your career you may want to go part time, have shortened hours or gain further balance in your week due to other commitments.  In some roles you might be able to make this work without taking a pay cut!  However if you won’t be delivering the same outputs or another person is needed to job share with you, consider taking a pay cut to make it happen – it might just be the best thing for your health/family/life etc.

On a personal note, when I got into recruitment I took one heck of a pay cut.  I went from a great account management job with one of the world’s biggest FMCG companies (including a company car, great benefits, bonus and great base etc) to an agency recruitment job……. I’ll leave it at that and you can fill in the gaps!  I will say that I got to work with one of the best (and most inspiring) managers I’ve ever had, earned my recruitment stripes and by taking that pay cut it led me to the career path I’ve always wanted to do – recruitment.

Now, I’m not advocating that you go out tomorrow looking for an lower paying job!  It has to be aligned with your goals, your lifestyle (yes…. it does pay off to check if you can actually afford it first) and your family.

However, if I can leave you with one thought from this blog post, it’s this:

If you’re too hung up on holding onto a salary figure, a job grading or a title – then you’re going to be missing out and more than likely impacting your future career options.

I’d love to know your pay cut stories in the comments if you have one!

I’d like to connect to you on LinkedIn – Accept or Decline?

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LinkedIn has grown in popularity globally and in New Zealand in recent years.  According to LinkedIn over 25% of NZs population are members of LinkedIn.  It’s with this in mind that I write today’s blog around accepting and declining invites on LinkedIn.  I was online yesterday and I had a very random and unknown friend request on Facebook.  I immediately declined and deleted it. It got me thinking – if this happens on LinkedIn my approach is totally different.

 

Against all that my Mum taught me about not talking to strangers I accept every request on LinkedIn.  Yes, that’s right – all of them.  Why?  Well….

  • My profile is public – a connection isn’t going to get any further information about me from linking in with me.
  • Another connection grows my online network meaning I am further connected to other members (and meaning I can see lots more profiles with my free account).
  • If it is a scam account or similar they tend to immediately engage with you. I then delete and block them. Be mindful that if someone is messaging you about something that sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  Never give out your personal information or financial details online.
  • And, you just never know what that connection might bring you! Some great business and networking opportunities have come from LinkedIn for me.

 

While this approach won’t work for everyone, as a recruiter it’s my job to be exploring new connections and people online – uncovering talent and new skill sets for our business.

If you are going to adopt this approach just remember – never put anything on your profile that you wouldn’t want the world to know!

So, you want to work in recruitment?

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Recruitment. We all have an idea in our head of what it might be like to work on the other side of the desk – in the HR team. That idea can vary from one extreme to the other.  Just check out Google’s definition above……….!  I get approached by lots of people who want to get into the industry to see how they can join the recruitment world. Many people have an idea of what the role might be like, however it’s not always the reality.  I wish sometimes that my days did look like that though (see this great gem here from Robert Half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF8V41v4noY)!

 

Being a recruiter has many different jobs, including (and don’t forget, not limited to):

  1. Sorcerer.  You will become the master of sourcing and meeting people.  The only way as a recruiter you will do well is if you are always finding new people to recruit and new people to talk to.  Using the age old reactive model of posting job adverts will not work long term when used alone.
  2. Networker. From the sorcery above you’ll also become a great networker – attending #nzrec events and finding more ways to meet people.  If I can tell you one piece of advice – never be a straggler at #ricepowwow.
  3. Social Media Junkie.  Your LinkedIn will blossom. You will tweet. Instagram worthy.  Hashtag inspirational. TTRTTPT.
  4. Cupid.  You’re matching great people with jobs they will love.  And hiring managers and clients / jobs with people that are a good fit (see hostage negotiator below).
  5. Private Detective.  Many a time a candidate will say the gap in their CV is travelling.  Or that they were at a place of work for XYZ time.  The other great one is the reference that is only available on mobile.  Your mission is to find out is it the truth.  In your time as a recruiter you will become a great tracker of people through SoMe, calling HR teams and finding people’s direct lines when they seem so unobtainable.
  6. Salesperson extraordinaire. You are selling candidates to hiring managers / clients, and jobs to people. Don’t think I am being negative with this one – please.  But, you are definitely doing your best to sell each side to each other.
  7. Mega Memory Challenger.  You will get to know the people who apply for every job, by name.  Sometimes by face when they drop by to the office to see you.  Once this happened and the candidate bought me lunch from seeing a Tweet I’d posted about wanting sushi that day…………………..
  8. Hostage Negotiator.  Sometimes with great candidates you need to stretch your hiring managers or clients thinking (or budget), or you might need to negotiate with your candidates to consider roles they normally might not – sometimes it might just be the job title (regardless of the fact the job is exactly what they have described they are looking for!).
  9. Skilled Juggler.  You will need to be able to manage multiple jobs and people at once.  Don’t drop one…………………..
  10. Teleportation. You need to be everywhere. Always.  You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce, but not her team of people.  Guard your calendar and use your time wisely!
  11. Giving Great Phone.  As a recruiter you need to give amazing phone, and have your phone voice on point.  Always act interested and be professional.  Even though when you take that headset off (and make sure the call is ended) you might want to yell or cry.
  12. Executive Assistant.  You need to be highly organised, organising your stakeholders AND your candidates.  And the paperwork.
  13. Fire fighter. From time to time you are going to need to put out fires. No fire alarm activation, you need to problem solve and move forward. Quick smart.

 

I honestly love recruitment.  While the list isn’t exhausting, you need to be aware that recruitment can be a challenging job.  Most people who want to get into recruitment tend to like challenges though!  If you do decide to work in recruitment, be prepared for:

  1. Meeting awesome people.
  2. Huge satisfaction of a job well done – such an empowering feeling.  Filling a job gives you such a “buzz”.
  3. Seeing people grow in a new job and/or new company.
  4. Building strong relationships with internal and external customers and candidates.
  5. Having a great team of other recruiters to work with.  Most recruiters are a heck of a lot of fun (side note: usually drink wine too).
  6. Laughing – A LOT!
  7. Variety of job (see above…!).
  8. Recruiters form an integral part of any business.  You become a big part of strategy and planning.  This role let’s you experience a lot from a business perspective – embrace it.

 

Anything you think you’d like to add #nzrec?

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Customer Service Recruitment – Easy Right?!

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I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted…. I’ve put myself on the naughty step and reminded myself that my to do list will never be clear – so I can’t wait for that magical moment before I start blogging!

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However, I thought for my first blog post of 2015 (just squeaking it into March!) I would focus on customer service recruitment – it’s easy right?!

I know this might sound like a no brainer, even a little silly, but when recruiting for customer service people you need to attract and recruit candidates who actually enjoy dealing with people. Perhaps candidates who even care about customers – shock! horror!

I am sure we all have experiences of dealing with an employee of a company who wasn’t so customer focused – and I’m sure you told plenty people about that no so great experience!  As a recruiter and someone who is immensely proud of our brand I want people to join our business and have the same passion for people and customers I do.

In my role a lot of our recruitment focus goes towards identifying those candidates who do enjoy the service element of their job.  Customer service isn’t crucial to a single industry or just the industry I work in, it’s crucial across a spectrum of industries and across all levels of an organisation!  Just because you don’t have customer service in your job title doesn’t mean you don’t have to live and breathe it.  Even recruitment is customer focused – my customers are just a little different….

So, how do you identify a great customer service professional or even identify a customer service focus in candidates?

  1.  Great candidates with a strong customer focus will treat you like a customer – how do they deal with YOU as a recruiter?  Do they return your calls when they say they would, submit forms and other documents as you need them?
  2.  Have they got other credentials in their CV you might overlook (oh not you?) normally?  Perhaps they might have been a sports coach for a junior team? Volunteered locally? Maybe even speak in their interview about helping friends or family?
  3. Do they engage with you – make you as a recruiter feel like you have their full attention and time on the phone and in interviews? Because if they don’t… imagine what your customers might think…….
  4. Don’t rule out a great customer focused candidate by a job title – customer service runs throughout many different positions – which might not have customer service in the title.
  5. Don’t forget – great customer service people know great customer service, and they are also ALWAYS in demand.  Make sure you are practicing what you preach and giving them a great candidate experience.

Well, I’ve typed the words customer service so many times they have almost lost meaning….. so I’m off to check my applications and go and hire some more customer service rock stars!

And yes – I promise to blog more often. Thanks for the emails reminding me it’s been a while from those who read my blog….. I promise I’ll avoid the naughty step next time!

A Recruiter is a Great Listener… Just Sometimes Not To Themselves….

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I know this may come as a shock to some of you, so make sure you are sitting down…. but I am a little competitive with a slight stubborn streak. I like to win – whether on the sports field or when securing talent for our business. I also don’t like being told I can’t do something if I am really passionate about it.  A double edged sword – I have got some amazing but highly complex and difficult projects over the line, but it also means I can be a bit like a dog with a bone (no cat cliché I could think of here sorry).

As I sit here writing this at my desk this week I currently have a sign affixed to my desk (thanks to Marissa, one of our recruiters, for this professional looking sign):

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Yeap, I am a recruiter with no voice. Zip. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Just a whisper. I’ve also managed to pick up a severe lumbar sprain and am having daily physio. As a recruiter that is not ideal at all. I am however going to dig out my old “Magna-Doodle”.

This week I realised that I put so much pressure on myself to perform, to win, to not say no and be the best that I can… that sometimes (okay, quite often) I don’t listen to my own body and the signs it sends me that I need to slow down. There were signs – the tiredness, the twinges, the near misses….. I just thought I was being “soft” and needed to put more effort in. Effort at the gym, the office and in my personal life. You just can’t do it all – no matter what Cosmo or your special best selling books tell you.

As recruiters (whether agency or internal) we have KPIs to hit, we have numbers to make, budgets to bill, roles to fill, people always after our attention and time.  We need to remember that sometimes before listening to all of those external voices – we need to listen to our own (or in my case, read my notes as there is no voice!).

It’s taken this week for me to see that I am not invincible – despite what I think. I missed out on RHUB (which I am still suffering severe FOMO from), had to take time off work and I will have to put my SingStar career on hold for the time being.

Remember candidate care? It’s time we also think about recruiter care. Look after yourselves and your teams out there.

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