Hiring Can Be Fun. Why Not Make It So?

It’s refreshingly brilliant to see the Heineken video this week – The Candidate – which tells the story of an alternative interviewing campaign to find a certain new hire. It’s truly heart-warming, and certainly leads us to consider – what if all recruitment campaigns were this fun!!

Now, we don’t know what the job was for, whether it was just a PR stunt, whether they’ll ever recruit like this again, or whether our friend Guy is even still in the job. But boy it’s fun.

You see, alongside the natural expectation that a person has to be able to actually do THE job (oh yeah, that bit), there is an ever increasing emphasis on the character, culture fit and team integration factor in hiring someone. So, sure – cover the capability bases – but what is your company doing to genuinely measure the character and durability of someone for your organisation?

It’s not about putting them through 6 hiring hoops to the point of them losing the will to be part of your company; but it’s about supplementing the traditional necessities with something creative, suited to your company – that puts the top candidates into a place of genuine creative thought, fun and enamour with your company and your employer brand. Because good people don’t want to join boring companies any more.

Think about a sip of Heineken, and a sip of reality, stir it with a bit of your company’s creativity Mixer – and why not see if your company can spice up your hiring methods.

You make it interesting, I’ll find the people, and let’s have some fun hiring.

Recruitment Dinosaurs… Missing the point.

On the train into the work this morning, I got chatting to a couple of ladies in their late 60s / early 70s. Lovely they were, smart ladies who used to be professionals – the conversation started from their amazement at my iPad – and it got them onto how they “worried about the internet world taking over”, and “Facebook and all that” will cripple communication and “kids will stop talking to each other”. 

I stood up for the accused, naturally. I retorted kindly, that actually the internet means that kids and adults alike can talk to more friends and people, as a consequence of the internet – allowing them to reach people they would otherwise never have the opportunity to do so – just through different methods – and different levels of conversation and communicative dynamics. Why does face to face have to be the `only` form of communications? In the past, connectivity was dependent almost solely on letter writing and message carrying. The written word has enormous value in the future communications also. Just with less ink…

I think they got my point, to my amazement. 


On the subsequent tube journey I chuckled to myself (hopefully not out loud!) how it reminded me of conversations I have with recruiters on LinkedIn, and otherwise. 

The `Dinosaur Recruiter` will stand puff-chested, and pronounce “I want to have conversations with actual people, on the telephone and in face to face – not on social media platforms, to faceless people!” – well, I say – go ahead. Go ahead making call after call to HR Manager answer machines, developing those touchy relationships you have with her electronic voice on the machine, and the net result of a day? – 10 actual connections including 7 who politely or otherwise saying `clear off`, maybe a meeting, and maybe conversations with a few candidates – and lots of answer machine messages. LOTS of answer machine messages. 

You are welcome to that, thank you very much – but mind out for the Ice Age… 


I unashamedly use social media as my primary communications channel. I also want to have conversations with actual people. In fact the stats tell me I do! – mentions, RTs, conversations, replies, and my own comments. Twitter mainly, partially LinkedIn & Facebook, and increasingly Google+. Every tweet/comment I send has a potential reach of 1000s… either directly, subliminally or indirectly. They take me to other communications formats. I meet more clients face to face than I ever did in the stone ages, and communicate with far more people on a day to day basis than I ever did. Social Media is a contact creator, not a deal maker – but it creates more contacts than a telephone ever will. 

The problem with the `Dinosaur Recruiter` is that they think only about now. Usually that’s not their fault – those who pay the wages are the problem – demanding instancy and interest in numbers that equate to ££s. Business building isn’t just about that. It’s about marketing the brand, being visible and accesible, it’s about forging relationships that last through mutual interest and sharing gems of information, and it’s about building reputation – which in turns into the simplest form of business gathering – recommendation and referral. 

I’m not talking about kicking in the `old` and leaving it behind – I’m talking about embracing what’s good about the past, and applying it to the way the customer is moving, and the market with it – being multi-dimensional. All good recruiters have `dinosaur tendencies` – the best ones prepare and adapt through the changes in climate. 

Come on recruiters, if a couple of elderly ladies can `get it`…? 


Is the creative CV a good thing?

As usual, the insipration to write comes from another blog. Today this was Andy Headworth’s blog about some clever-ish attempts to personalise a CV http://blog.sironaconsulting.com/sironasays/2011/02/would-you-have-the-nerve-to-present-this-type-of-cv-to-an-employer.html#comment-6a00d8341c761a53ef0147e29bf24f970b 

To borrow a couple of Andy’s examples, here are 2 such specimens: 



First we need to ask, what are we trying to achieve when sending a CV for a job? – Prominence? Yes. Expertise? Yes. And such creativity achieves that. But will everyone agree? Will it demonstrate the essential information to attract a recruiter or hiring manager? Is the evidence of your suitability accessible to them? 

The point therefore being – a creative CV divides opinion. It may look a piece of art in your eyes, but in front of the wrong HR person, the response might be “Yuk”. 

The second question therefore is, is your search for employment a risk taking exercise? If it is, then you are a brave person. Can you risk losing half of your potential employer audience by creating a leftfield CV? Can you risk missing out on THE employer you aspired to, in THE role that were aiming for, just because an HR person; who has no impact on your future career thereafter; thought your CV was a tad garish. 

It’s a dangerous game. A Graphic Designer sending a design orientated CV to a Creative Director – good idea. A Marketing Manager sending it to a corporate via a job board or recruitment agency? Not such a good idea. 

So to the person thinking they need to display the creative side of their personality – think carefully. Think about who you are applying to, and is it relevant to be creative? Is that what they are really expecting and/or is it actually going to enhance your application? To me, if you are even having that conundrum, I would say job applications are not a risk taking exercise, and would encourage content and proof over visual artistry, or otherwise. 

So which of the 2 displayed CVs wins for me. Well I can’t speak on behalf of everyone – and that’s my point – but the second CV is clear, artistic, and is focussed on clear content and experience credentials. The 1st is cluttered, unfocussed, distracting and downright messy – incorporating information that is just not necessary, and not directly applicable. 

But that’s just me. And again… that’s my point. 





My Un-Conference Call at #truManchester!

Tomorrow I set off to sunny (ahem!) Manchester to be part of Bill Boorman‘s next outstanding Recruitment Unconference adventure, as I take my place amongst the track leaders of #truManchester, at the Manchester Conference Centre; but equally thrilled just to be there.

I went to #truLondon in February, as a recruitment veteran, but a social media/modern technology novice – and gained outstanding insight into where the recruitment industry should be going, but isn’t. Others will say that it is getting there. I would still say… slowly, very, very slowly. Much of February was a blur, but I met some good people, and heard some great theory, and the reality of it all is that there were some real case studies, but they were in the US – which is a hell of a big country. I go to #truManchester a little wiser about Social Media and how in can impact recruitment effectiveness, but still bemused by the lack of take-up by the recruitment industry.

If you are a recruiter in and around the Manchester/North West region, and you are conscious of how the communications world is overtaking the recruitment industry, and fast – you should be there. If you can’t be there – get on Twitter and follow the hashtag #truManchester. Social Media is not a fad, nor is it a waste of sales time; Technology is developing, and it is relevant to recruitment; The Candidate landscape is constantly moving, and we need to catch that fast train. These things matter, to good insightful recruitment professionals.

The format is easy. No conference speakers, no big auditoriums, no presentations, no gurus – it’s all about discussions in the form of `tracks` led by some facilitators, but in an open discussion format. No man or woman is more or less an `expert` than any other. Frankly it’s blissfully unstarry and grounded. 

I shall be one of the Track Leaders on the subjects of `The Future of Recruiting` with Jennifer McClure and Mervyn Dinnen, and `Social Media Circus` with Glenn Le Santo and Jennifer McClure again. I shall bring my clown hat especially for the latter track. But I look forward to chewing the fat over some other great subjects on an awesome agenda.

All details of the event can be found at the website: http://trumanchester.wordpress.com/.

I’ll be here to review on the `other side`…


Surely you need a Recruiter… right? Not a Sales Person?

Discussions on Linked In seem to get my blog-subject juices going. This week it’s all about what makes a recruiter?

For years I have batted against the theory suggested in this advert I saved from a few months ago…


This agency didn’t appear to want a recruitment professional, they wanted a sales person.

OK, sales is absolutely an attribute in a recruiter, the need to win business and promote the business effectively – but to advertise in your public arena “Experience in Recruitment not necessary as long has you have a Sales Background”…?? What??!! – at least tell them you will TRAIN them in recruitment processes??

What do our clients want? – do they want a telesales person to fulfil the responsibility of promoting and selecting their next potential employee… or do they want a professional recruiter? I know if I was a company in the Guildford area, if I saw this advert I would black-list the agency concerned. (I removed the agency out of fairness)

This is what recruitment has become. An industry full of telesales staff, with little tact and discretion to know what to do with a job when they have acquired one. KPIs such as `sales calls made`, `CVs sent`, and `Jobs taken` are pre-requisites for success; and client development, job-seeker development, placements successfully made – are merely regarded as by-products of those KPIs. Understanding job types, understanding people, recognising transferrable skills, obtaining broad business acumen and commercial awareness – these are tucked firmly in the repertoire of only the finest 5% of recruitment professionals.

This advert is a warning to agencies, and a warning to employers looking to hire an agency. How do we foster a proud industry with great consultative recruiters, when all we do is target call centre telesales staff and throw them into a professional discipline on the back of their ability to make 50 calls a day, because Head Office requires them to?

People cannot tell me I am wrong. The recruitment industry in the UK has less than 30% staff retention. We’ve been getting it wrong for years.

Let’s get a great strategy at recruiting for ourselves before we start trying to tell businesses that we can recruit for them…