It's All About Me... Who am I?

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I'm in my mid thirties, I love what I do and I love my family. This blog is essentially me morphing my life into Recruiting. Expect the odd long bow to be drawn. I'm a passionate career Recruiter with more than a decade's experience in the IT Recruitment world, I have things to say.. and with this I will

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So, You've got a new job.... COOL... now what?

Forgive me blog, for it has been quite a while since my last blog.

Over a month! That is unheard of since I started writing this. I'm not even sure what I'm going to write about tonight, but Dan needs to say something.

Life have been extremely hectic and I have been experiencing life as the new guy, for the first time in many years. Being this newbie, got me thinking. We write lots about finding a job, ie identifying the opening, approaching the company, cover letters v resumes, how to structure the resume, interviewing techniques etc etc etc. But the advice you read from the Recruitment experts or at least the blogoshpere that I read stops there. With the amount of people I've seen changing jobs in 2010 (for a variety of reasons), I've noticed very little information about how to approach the new job, first days, what to expect from yourself, what to expect from the company etc....

So I thought I'd give it a go, albeit from a relatively high level.

Here's some things you should think about when starting a new job...

Set realistic expectations for yourself, for your company and for your clients.

I know you're excited, you're going to change the world! You're going to show these people a few things on how this is done. Targets? Smargets! You'll do the whole year's worth of work in the first quarter! Whoa cowboy (cowgirl), the game has changed a bit. All good things are built on strong foundations. Take the time to lay them (and let them dry) and then build steadily.

Be open to change and flexible in your outlook

Sometimes things don't go to plan, things change in life and in business, be open to it, go with it and see where it takes you. Being too rigid will cause you issues.

Be calm, listen more than you talk

No matter the research you've done, nothing compares to being there, "find" the culture yourself, or even better let it find you. Engage people and get to know your new environment well. Then you can be a proper ambassador for your new employer.

Keep smiling, and don't look back

You'll have your good and bad days, that's supposed to happen. Remember you changed jobs for a reason. Maybe write those reasons down to remind you. Don't be tempted to see the world through the infamous "rose coloured glasses"

Take your breaks

Get to know your surrounding environment, clear your head, reload and then go hard again. Coffee is for closers remember, earn it :)

Don't forget to inform your network

You have to keep these things up-to-date, you never know when it will come in handy.

Stop saying "we" when talking about your old company

Enough said. But remember don't burn those bridges, you never know when those old connections will come in handy.

Communicate honestly

With your partner (if you have one) with your manager/employer and with yourself. Use them to keep you sane and on track.

Have Fun and enjoy yourself

You spend the most of your waking hours at work, make it fun.

I'd love to add some more tips to this, feel free to add comments to make this list useful to people

I've been lucky since the change. But it hasn't been all smooth sailing, things deviated from my original plans when moving on, which required a paradigm (OK, OK cliche time) shift. But these shifts I think in the end, will make this relationship something strong and sustainable. The time is just flying past me, and being part of building something exciting, well that just rocks!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Passion..... you gotta love it

Hi, my name's Dan, and I'm quickly becoming an addict for certain varieties of Reality TV shows. No, not the grab the spotlight, Big brother wankfests of the worlds. But the talent show ones. Maybe I'm getting softer as I'm getting older, but how can you watch people hunting and catching their dreams, their passions and not be moved by it.

Sure there is the "look at me, look at me" contestants who just want their heads on TV, and yes, everyone in line will say that, that particular skill is their passion. BUT, those that seriously have that passion, those that can't do anything else, those that are working at their craft even when it isn't paying for them... now that is passion.

I was lucky enough to go to a show the other night. I saw someone I've known for almost 20 years, Gary Pinto someone my wife grew up with (and yes she even had a crush on this guy as a teenager, I am a dead man for writing that) launch his first solo album. It was an amazing night, firstly my wife and I don't get out a lot since bub number 3 came along, so a grown up night out together was a blessing, but then to see him on stage. It took me back in my mind to 1993, it was one of my now wife's and my first dates, we went (with a whole lot of her family and friends) to see Gary, his brother and 2 other best friends (CDB for those old enough to remember) perform at a local Dandenong pool. All of us fresh faced skinny 18 year olds or younger. And here we are 17 years later, and he is still following his passion and loving it. I felt humbled to witness it.

It's an easy thing to say, you know, "yes, doing this is my passion" It is a widely over used term in my humble opinion. I'm not convinced that everyone can find their passion, their calling. It changes sometimes with circumstances, with time and with maturing. I know many people still searching for it. So it is so great to see people who obviously have found it, and see them persevere, through everything that life throws at them (as it does with everyone) and make things happen.

However, it rarely happens on their own, in the majority of cases I've truly seen this there is a strong support network behind, no... around the individual. The families, friends, business associates, mentors, confidants, and just great people, these people share in the journey, share the pride in the success, but stay in the background.

I may regret writing this later, but kids, Zach, Talia, Lexie, I'm saying this now, if/when you can find your passion, your calling, whether that be in the Arts, sports, academia, business, or just plain life, raising a family, your mum and I... well, we have your back. Know you have that support base, not just us, your parents, but our families, our friends, they'll all be there for you. We're packed now and ready for the journey.

As a Recruiter, or someone who works in the field of employing people, we have a honoured role in sometimes making dreams come true. Have you ever hired a grad? It's their first every job, seen the look on their face? oh that's the good stuff. even better, ever been there when they have told their parents? Seen the tears of pride well in the parents eyes. Oh yeah.. gimme some of that everyday please. Have you ever hired someone, or placed someone who had been out of work for ages, seen their savings whittle down, seen their eyes when you tell them you have an offer for them? To see the pride restored, Oh I love that. Sometimes you get the other side, breaking them down a bit with relaying a rejection, yes I've also had parents ring me up begging almost on behalf of their kids (that does break your heart). Don't take this role lightly people, it has a real effect on lives.

Not many people I know chose to get into Recruiting, and I've known hundreds who have gotten into Recruiting and couldn't wait to get out. I think Recruiting chooses you. You can see the ones who are in the industry, not just those who hold jobs in the industry, those that are IN the industry. You know who they are, when you talk to them, there is nothing in the world better than Recruiting, they live it, they breathe it, they talk about it out of office hours, and yes there are even silly ones, who blog, add content, join forums, run radio shows etc, all in their own time. I'm not convinced all this effort makes money for them, but they love it.

I hope, if your reading this, you get to find and live your passion too. Please share with me if you are, I am getting soft in my middle age..

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back to the dark side or my report from my first two weeks away from an in-house role

Wow.... Just a quick check in to my first two week or so at Peerlo. To quote Usher... "OMGosh"

Firstly everyone was so welcoming, this wasn't surprising, I'd known Riges and Kelly and had communicated with Andrea previously, so luckily enough it wasn't a huge culture shock.

Well that was just the "hello's". Then the technology opened up... I mean toys, no.. sorry productivity tools. Dan has finally entered the current day technically. I am now armed with an iPhone4 a new iMac and access to a great Talent tool. Building on top of this is some of the more amazing Boolean strong I've seen, and some little tips have just made my mind spin. Although I thought I'd broken Google, when it stopped displaying my searches!

I"m not shy in my abilities, but, wow, I'm not sure I thought I would be learning this much. It is very busy at the moment, so I have to catch on quickly (fingers crossed).

I've struggled to get used to the not so corporate attire requirements, but I"m settling in well. That said, I suited up for the first two days, on the third I went a little more casual, and that day, everyone else was suited up. ahhhh a conspiracy I tells you.

It's been interesting leaving the in-house world after so many years, the reaction I've received from people has definitely given me pause to think. Most of it has been positive, I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing people over the years and the support and encouragement I've receive is something I have been really thankful for. There was however one interesting email which gave me pause to think. The whole email was around the "fact" that apparently over the years I had been publicly mean to this one agency guy, and that now I've left DWS I should atone for my apparent sins. uuummmm OK, not. I don't publicly insult, undermine or insult anyone, never seen the point. More of a case of guilt by association I think. But oh well, I won't be joining your LinkedIn group anyways.

I"m really interested to see how the market pans out. There is so much on, just focusing on the core needs is keeping me more than busy. I"m also really interested at the movement rate of the IT industry. Seriously a lot of the profiles I looked at (of which there were HEAPS) most had moved jobs in 2010, this astounded me. Well, we hypothesised that is would happen, and well, we were definitely right.

Exploring the Social media scene in a more fuller way has really opened my eyes as to how things could and should be done. The strategy and focus behind it, sounds straight forward, common sense, but to actually work with people who live and breathe it, wow, just takes it up a whole other level. I spoke to a former colleague of mine who has stepped into a new role recently, about the use of Social media and sourcing in their organisation. She tole me that there was someone there who she called a guru in the area, and then added "like you". "Lots of room for improvement there then" I though

That'll do me for now. Just checking in, in short, having fun, learning lots, now to make it really successful. The potential is there, I can see it, now to reach it.

Giddy up explorers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From Cradle to Cot

It's been an interesting few days... sitting here in Limbo, a week without a worry. No job to worry about, to check in on, or wonder if they are going alright without you. Yes, there is a heap waiting in the new role, but that isn't feeling real yet.

Gives you some time to think. And that my friends is a dangerous thing when it comes to my blog. For those who keep up with my ramblings here, you'll know I draw a lot of inspiration from my family, draw heaps of comparisons from daily stuff I get with kids and Recruitment. I have another for you :)

My youngest daughter, Lexie, now just over 4 months old, graduated from her cradle to the cot in her own room overnight. It was a big step for her, and us. But a step which will be good for her and for us in the long run. More room to grow, opportunity to play with more toys, and get some personal freedom.

When thinking about this, something hit me (and surprisingly it wasn't my wife :) love ya babe). There are similarities I am sharing with Lexie at the moment in my life. You could say I am moving from the cradle to the cot myself.

From the safeness and security of a job I've had for 8 years. I've grown and developed in it. I knew my job, I could do it in my sleep, some people may say I sometimes did. (Well I did fall asleep for a second, in an interview ONCE, but that's a different blog post) And now I get the chance to grow, but still have that safety barrier around me. There will be new technology, techniques and toys to explore and learn. It'll be a big new world for me, lots to explore and try, yet I'll still have the security that I know this stuff, I know the people I'll be working with, and you know what? It's part of my natural evolution.... from Cradle to Cot

Friday, July 30, 2010

Well, That's that then

It is with mixed emotions that I announce today that I have, after 8 years, worked my last day with DWS.

It has been an amazing period of my life, a period I will always look back at fondly and with pride. Much has changed at since I walked into the DWS doors 8 years ago. DWS has grown from 110 people, purely in Melbourne to now having over 550, across every major city in Australia. I too have changed, grown, professionally, I managed to manage a national function with people not only locally reporting to me, but people interstate too. I learned and implemented lots of initiatives, both successful and not so successful. And personally, in that last 8 years, each one of my 3 kids has been born.

I'm thankful for the opportunities afforded me at DWS. I was given the freedom to try things, within reason, and I learned an amazing amount from the people around me.

But after 8 years, things had run their natural course and it is time for something new.

It is now time to see if I can walk the talk I have been evangelising for the last few years. This is something that really excites me. I am now formally embracing all aspects of the Talent Acquisition world with Peerlo, an innovative, free thinking organisation, with some amazing people. I am super excited about this and cannot wait until I can really get my teeth into this.

As I step into this next chapter of my career, I'd like to thank DWS and all the amazing people I met in my time there. I've had some amazing times and I wish you all well in the future.

So, I'm Dan from DWS no more. Keep watching this space world.... here I come!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Working without the ball

Wow, it's been a month since I last blogged. Amazing how time flies.

Recently, watching the World Cup, I was inspired by something that was said from one of the commentators. He said something along the lines of "It's just as important to work hard when you don't have the ball as it does when you have it."

I translated that to my world, and no, I'm not that sporty any more, although I kind of resemble the ball.

What this said to me is that the right activity is king. You need to have activity. During the GFC (you know, those times that won't be discussed again) my team and I did not have much in the way of open requirements, our company was pretty full of people, and attrition was at an all time low. What does a Recruitment team do? We had no resumes coming in, we had no advertisements on any job boards.

Well, we worked. We knew that we were either on the swing or the roundabout, and that things change. We also knew that the speed in which things change had traditionally caught us off guard and behind the eight ball, causing the business pain due to lack of people. We spoke to people, we put people through our process with the expectation being that when things turned around, we would call them straight away. In short we talent pooled, and we talent pooled hard.

Talent pooling was a tough idea to sell to my team. There was resistance. In house Recruitment teams don't do that. "It's too agency" they said, "we're wasting people's time" they said, "It's not honest" they said. It's interesting, I rarely use the "because I said so" card at work. But I did for this. I explained that as long as we open and honest, explained to people what we were doing and why, that it would be fine, people would be fine with it, and if they weren't, then we move onto the next one.

Begrudgingly, they went along with it. And I went into sell it to Management mode.

Then after a while, the expected happened. Our market turned.

Picture this. Here's me sitting quietly at my desk when the business (figuratively) ran up to my desk panting. "Dan, Dan, we need your help. The market has turned, we are in dire need of people. And guess what? We need them now, or yesterday if possible. Please fire up that Recruitment machine and get things happening please." I turned to my team, who produced a print out of all the people, and skillsets we had ready to sign, and asked "which ones do you want?" The smile and disbelief was priceless. And PROOF, that work done without the ball, pays off when you get it back, you'll simply be in a better position!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Office politics, a brief survival guide

(I started writing this post on 24th June 2010, I'm finding these things are taking me a little while now days)

A great day for woman kind here in Australia. I know many women rejoicing in the fact that we have our first Female Prime Minister. A great achievement, and hopefully something that will inspire many generations to come. As a father of two beautiful daughters, I certainly hope so. I hope my daughters have the freedom and reality to dream to achieve as much as the want to achieve. Surely there are now cracks in that glass ceiling.

However this post is not about that.

I am not a political beast, I'm not a fanatic who will pore over the virtues of each election campaign, I'm not a passionate liberal or labor man, but I'm starting to understand the idea of office politics more and more.

I am astounded that there are not courses at Universities or work readiness programmes to prepare people for this side of the work place. I remember when I first began my working life, I was shocked and kind of disappointed when I learned the reality of office life. It seemed like petty high school stuff, but maybe just maybe it is just pure human nature.

You need to be aware of it in your professional life. Get that antennae honed, forewarned is forearmed as they say. If your spider sense is tingling... listen to it. I'm not saying to be paranoid, but it isn't paranoia if people are talking about you.

The secret to survival is awareness and just being good at your job. Keep your house in order, be sure people know it is in order. Learn where the barbs are coming from and what is being said, that is the only way you can overcome things. To change views you need to know what they are first. Communication is the key, ask, hear, listen. Keep your chin up, and your head down.. (if that is possible) and keep on persevering, smiling and laughing.

Know it isn't easy, know you're not on your own, it happens all over the world, and trust me when I say... this too shall pass.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jobseekers, are you really available?

Greg Savage wrote a blog post today about one of his pet peeves, people being late. Read it here. It's called No, you are not 'running late', you are rude and selfish

This is my turn.. Jobseekers, hear this. Yes there is a skills shortage. Yes, your services are required. However, don't expect everyone (ie all employers) to bend over backwards for you. No one owes you a living!

Here is a pet hate. If you are a job seeker, ie you are actively looking for a role, YOU need to be flexible if you want a job. I find nothing more frustrating than calling up an applicant, and only getting a "sorry I cannot make it in to meet you during business hours, when else can we do it?" What's up with that? You applied to me? Do you want a job or not? I am a lot more flexible when I am headhunting people, ie I am approaching people to join us.

I understand it is difficult to find time to get out of the office to attend other interviews. However, it is your decision (most of the time) to be a job seeker, you need to invest. You have the responsibility to yourself to find ways to get to those meetings. It is a weird feeling, you can feel like you are cheating on your employer, but you have to do it. Everyone gets a lunch time right? Can you start early and leave early, or vice versa? Can you take an early minute? Or find another reason to be out of the office? My busiest times for interviewing are start of day, lunch time and pre home time. Come up with a way. If you are serious in looking for a job that is. If you are not, and won't make the time (don't tell me you can't I won't believe you) then don't waste my time by applying.

Also, what is with the different attitude when dealing with the employer versus dealing with the Agency? Seriously what is the difference? Both will make decisions on your future with that company. I'd treat both with respect. Yet I am continuously surprised at people who deal with me differently, when they know I work for the "employer" instead of working for "an agency". It doesn't make any logical sense? Jobseekers.. head that warning... Recruiters make decisions, Recruiters deal with multiple clients, Recruiters have networks. Why not keep them onside? It can't hurt, can it?

Vent over... ahhhh I feel better now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"What about me". Recruiters: the forgotten victims of Resignations

Hands up if you've ever been punched in the stomach?

Hands up if you're a Recruiter who's had someone leave a job really quickly after joining, that you placed.

Similar feeling right. The anger, the breathlessness, the nausea, the feeling of bewilderment and fear of further reprisals.

It's a horrible feeling. A person you've nurtured through a process, handling expectations, scheduling meetings, consoling, encouraging, talking up to managers, negotiated salary and future growth. Someone you know will excel, someone who will fit into the team, a great cultural fit, a good technical fit, well, just a damn good fit. You're invested! You believe in this person, you believe in the company, you believe in their compatibility. And the BAM! In your inbox is that resignation letter, or you get that phone call "Sorry to bother you, but do you have time to catch up today?"

You've made a mistake haven't you? You didn't qualify properly? You pushed too hard? You didn't push hard enough. There will be explanations that have to be made, inquisitions will be made, names will be called and frustrations will be vented. It will be the fault of the Recruiter in the eyes of the business, no matter how many stake holders were involved in the final decision.

It sucks as far as feelings go. The polar opposite to when you make that phone call to that unknown candidate you found on LinkedIn or really special Boolean string, to gauge interest and eventually hire. Karma's an ill tempered friend, she'll get you coming and going.

So Recruiters, before you pick up that phone, write that string, drop that email. Stop and think of the repercussions that call will have on your fellow Recruiters out there somewhere. Do you really want to cause them to go through this stomach punching purgatory?

Then of course what you'll do is smile, maybe even giggle and do it none the less. It's the game isn't it. He who has the best talent wins! Game on :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Zombies and Recruiting

It's strange how a song you've heard thousands of times before, suddenly brings a meaning to you. I was peacefully sitting in my car today, kids at home, doing some errands in my own space and this song from The Zombies comes on the radio, "Shes not there". This song is 33 years old, I was 3 when it came out... and today it decided to speak to me.

Maybe this is the theme song for all those Recruitment Managers out there, who have a team doing hiring for them, which they oversee. Mistakes happen, and inevitably it come back as your problem. Someone hired on attitude, on gut feel, there was just something about them. A corner was cut somewhere, and it comes back to haunt you. They leave after a short time.

Or maybe it's the song that plays over as the sound track when you rely on Sourcers to find you people. You give them the company to source from, unfortunately a zero result comes back "no-one was interested" and lo and behold the very next week, you notice from your Linkedin "Follow this company" button that this impossible to find person, someone matching your need has either left that company or just joined them. You've missed that hire. Explain that to the CEO if you dare.

What songs speak to you? Do they reflect your personal and/or business life.

Kind of fun when it does.


Well, no one told me about her
The way she lied
Well, no one told me about her
How many people cried

But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care?
Please don't bother trying to find her
She's not there

Well, let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she acts and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

Well, no one told me about her
What could I do?
Well, no one told me about her
Though they all knew

But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care?
Please don't bother trying to find her
She's not there

Well, let me tell you about the way she looked
The way she acts and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care?
Please don't bother trying to find her
She's not there

Well, let me tell you about the way she looked
The way she acts and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool, her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bad day? Boring job? Suck it up! Your customers will care less than I do

Driving into the carpark outside of my office today, I noticed something that as an employer or manager would really annoy me. This carpark has "early bird" prices, you know, in before a certain time, out after another prescribed time, for a cheaper rate. However to validate for this you need to get another ticket from the attendant. Not sure if that is the right term, as the word "attendant" to me gives me the idea of attentiveness. This particular character has none of that. He has himself parked half way up the complex in a camping chair. He sits there with his paper and stack of tickets and leans forward on the chair to pass you the ticket. No "Good morning", no smile, the only acknowledglement of your presence is the fact that an arm shoots out with a ticket as you drive up.

For some reason this annoys me. OK I get that it could be a boring, thankless job, but come on.... give a little bit man. It's got to the point that I have a little game now where I am trying to see how far I can stop from the guy to actually make him get up out of his chair. I have to say, he's good, I can see the chair almost falling over, but there is no way this guy is getting up.

How does this reflect on his company? Is this the brand of the carpark? Does it say, "Come park with us, or don't I really don't give a crap!" What would his boss say? Would he/she care? I wonder what his KPI's would be. (yes I am a sad man)

Even if you are having a bad day, bad week, you have the most boring job in the world, or you are over worked, under paid and under appreciated? Your company has had layoffs and you'r enervous about your future... Who cares? You customers won't and neither they should. When servicing customers your job is to , take their problems away, to add value to the relationship. Moping, griping, complaining doesn't cut it in any circumstances. So you've got a new baby, and are undergoing that age old child, sleep deprivation torture! SO WHAT? SUCK IT UP. REPRESENT (yourself and your company) You're not the first or the last. Complaining to strangers won't give you any advantages, if anything it'll make people avoid you in the future and that definitely isn't good for you.

I would be shattered if my team showed that level of indifference? Customer Service is what get's people coming back. OK I keep going back, maybe it is my experiment to see if I can loosen the man from his chair, and the fact that it is cheaper than most others... but if something with a similar price opens up with some more care and perhaps a smile to greet me, would I move? damn straight.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

There's no crying in Football! or should there be?

I had a great day today. Did one of the things I love doing most of the world. I went to the MCG with my Dad and my son (and cousin and 90,000 of my best friends) to watch an AFL game. I just love it. The atmosphere, the food, the shouting, the passion, the raw combative power and nature of the game.

I get pretty fired up at these games, I'm not my normal calm self, I kind of get involved. However I have had to calm/centre myself, now I have to be an example to my son. I do need to turn it down a few notches.

I found myself conflicted today however. Let me paint you the scene. The team I (and my son) support got absolutely thumped. We put up a bit of a fight, but in the end, we weren't really good enough on the day. My son was shattered. It upset him greatly that we were losing, and tears started at an early stage.

This surprised me a bit, he hadn't really done this before. My initial reaction was to calm him down. Remind him that losing happens, you have to take your turn and you need to be a good sport and that tears for not winning is not really acceptable. Then I thought a little more. Is this teaching him to accept losing? Should I be teaching this? It's good to hate losing and to be single focused in achieving what you want. There has to be some level of competitiveness in you to be successful, and an acceptance of losing, well.... is it acceptable?

I was/am really conflicted. I've been told that to be more successful personally I need to be harder, (you're too nice) have a bit more mongrel in me. OK losing happens. Should I be teaching that you have to like it? You should swallow it, grit your teeth, learn from it and come back better next time. But not like it, isn't that accepting mediocrity?

Maybe this makes me a bad person or parent. I do believe that as a kid it isn't if you win or lose, it's how you play the game that counts, especially when you are learning skills, sports or at school, but do I believe that as an adult?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Nothing wrong with the Basics

You just need to do it. Nike has a point!

Switch off your tweetdeck, log out of facebook, put those Recruiting blinkers on and just go for it. In football parlance... get your head down, put your bum up and just do.

Read the cv's, get on the phone, organise interviews, meet people, get activity happening. Do the reference checks, get the appropriate sign off, give the offer, close the deal! Shhhhh don't tell anyone, but that's your job Mr Recruiter.

Social Media, blogging, twitter, facebook, linkedIn, unless you are actively hiring people from here, be careful as to where you are spending your time. Do the things which have made you successful, and get things done. Yeah it's cool to play with all these other toys, to feel like you are cutting edge, just remember what you are paid to do.

I've potentially been guilty of this in the past, however I just need to remember the fun bit of thia job... the signing, the hiring. Let's get back to the basics and make things happen

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

6 year olds, Footy Fixtures and Follow Up!

I've been lucky in my career at times. I've had some good people around me who have been generous and truthful with their advice. Some good, some bad, always thought provoking though.

Some of that advice has been reinforced to be recently. The last 5 weeks or so, I have been helping out around the house, trying to stay out of the way of my lovely wife and our new baby. Wrangling the elder two kids away, and doing jobs around the house that, well, let's face it, I'm not well renowned for doing. I got to spend some precious time with the elder two children and was lucky enough to be able to view these two in a different light. I was able to watch them in their own element, without Mum and Dad, watch with own personalities shine on their own. And then of course be the white knight on the white horse, piking them up from school and Kinder. (That was my favourite job, closely follewed by dropping them off)

The advice that came to mind over these weeks, was the importance of follow up, ie holding people (and yourself) accountable. My kids are stars at this. (and I have to say it got more paletable when I started viewing it as follow up and not just nagging)

If you say something do it! If someone else says something, expect them to do it, but be prepared to ask the questions and ensure it gets done. In my early days I would just expect things to get done and would be disappointed when they weren't. I hadn't chased them up, because, well, they were grown ups, professionals, and they'd committed to doing it. It actually became an issue for me with my managers at times. I was actually stunned that I had to do this, thought I'd be seen as a nag, untrusting and just a general pain in the bum. But you know what... it got results. I stopped being afraid of asking the questions, and started to explain my expectations more and voice my disappointments if not met, or updated. It really helped. This helped not only in managing a team, but managing up, internally and externally, and with candidates and employees. If you're job hunting don't be afraid to call the recruiter, hiring manager or whoever owns the process if they aren't living up to their part of the bargain, they've committed to it, why not hold them to the expectations. It shows strength, interest (and gives a little guilt too)

My son reignighted this ideal within me recently. The football fixture came out and he was super excited, he studied as only a almost 6 year old can, and then proceeded to try to corner me at bed time to talk about what games we were going to go to this year. I explained to him that whilst it was great that he was excited, this was not the time to go into this. And promised we would sit down the following day and go through it. Low and behold the first thing he said to me when he woke up the next day was "Dad, can we discuss this now?" Well, that also wasn't the time, I had meetings to go to an errands to run, which I had to explain to a disappointed little boy. Now, as soon as I got back in the door, many hours later, there was no "Hi Dad", just the question "Can we discuss it NOW please Daddy?" Now how could I resist that? I had promised after all, but if not for the follow up, it may have slipped down a priority list as we were always going to go to some games. I am so gla he did follow me up, we got a win/win out of it. He got to get involved in some decision making and got SUPER excited at the outcome, and well, I got to watch that.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Men of HR (oh deary no..... Dan!!!!!!!!!!) sorry Mum.

Sounded harmless enough at the beginning. A little calendar, to raise money for some amazing causes. Haiti Relief and Orchid Cancer Appeal (Testicular Cancer).

Brave souls in the HR/Recruitment world have bared all in an attempt to raise money. The flab and the fab are on display here all year around for your viewing pleasure right here.... They have bared so you will buy!

Hats off (and everything else) to these brave gents, but to ensure you have a good year... you should potentially skip June all together!

They might not smile; they might be gruff
Their skin's like leather; they act real tough.
They'd like you to think they're media stars
But they're just a bunch of softies...
They're the Men of HR

The Men of HR from Geoff Webb on Vimeo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dan on Social Sofa

Thanks to Justin Hillier.

Check out his website

Social Sofa - Dan Nuroo DWS Advanced Business Systems from Justin Hillier on Vimeo.

Burpman! and other views from here

Wow, it feels liks a long time since I've done this... blog... seems like forever, but it's probably only a few weeks. Honestly it's been hard to find the time, when I've been immersed with my recently expanded family. I gotta tell you, it's been a blast. Seeing the strength of my wife, the growth of my elder 2 children, and watching our recent addition carve out her early place on this planet. Whilst this time has been absolutely precious, there are of course learnings which I think we can bring to our work life.

The first one I need to write about, is something I had a little facebook joke with Geoff Webb and Paul Jacobs about my ability to make other humans burp. Geoff mentioned that it was a great Super Power to have.... and BURPMAN was born!

This has been my calling for the last (almost month), called upon to make our new little human burp or just generally pass wind. It is more technical than a mere pull of the finger my friends, it is a genuine power, which I promise to use for good and not evil. I may have inherited it from my Dad, but he only uses it personally :) (sorry Dad) If you are not a parent, or don't know the joys of doing this, let me just say the pain of these poor babies if they cannot release wind after a feed is heartbreaking.

What did this teach me in relation to the real world? INFLUENCING Skills.

Lexie doesn't know she wants to burp, my actions and influence make this reaction inevitable. Is this not a key skill in Sales, Recruitment or Management in general?

How does what you do get YOU the result you desire? Are you watching and listening in your environment to learn what will work and what won't? Are you sensitive to your clients and candidates, what they want, what they need? and can you find a path to make that happen for them and you? Can you influence the hiring manager to hire the best person for the role, that they just don't see? Can you continuously find the win/win situation, and navigate a course to find it? Can you get decisions made by others, which you manufactured, yet made it their idea to ensure it flies?

No? ring the Belch Bell, Burpman can help....

These are skills you need in the workplace, any workplace.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lexie Jean arrives... This is HUGE!

It doesn't happen every day, and not everyone gets to experience it. As such I am feeling very blessed, humbled and honoured. It's not everyday you get to witness the birth of one of your kids.

Two days ago on the 24th March 2010, I was lucky enough to do just that as Lexie Jean Nuroo made her way into this world just before 2pm. What an enterance it was. She came a couple of weeks ahead of schedule, but settled right into it, like she's been doing this all her life... ahem... ummm OK.. she has. Feeding, looking around, and all other body movements, made a weary Dad proud.

What made this Dad amazingly proud was the efforts of his wife, Simone. Guys, if you haven't seen it before, women are amazingly resilient creatures. I can't imagine putting my body, mind and spirit through what my darling wife endured, with a smile on her facec and the only tears in her eyes were those of joy, when she finally got to hold Lexie.

Now, whilst it's true, as a guy, you really aren't that involved in the whole process (OK potentialy a bit at the beginning). OK OK OK you're there for support, but trust me there is not much you do apart from getting in the way and feeling awkward.

Your part comes post birth... Cutting the cord! that is huge. A little scarey, and then frustrating as the scissors don't do as good a job as you'd think, and you are cutting a part of your child. The rewards for this bit of effort of that are amazing. You get to hold your child, just you and her. I got over an hour just with her as they were getting my wife back to the room, my duty was to stay with my daughter and ensure that it was definitely her returned to her Mum. Can you imagine, having the first hour of someone's life, just with you. What an honour.. something I will never forget.

I'd like to publically thank my wife for giving me such a wonderful family, not sure what else a man can ask for. A gorgeous wife, a mini me son, and two beautiful and darling daughters. The gifts which will last me a lifetime. I am truely blessed. THANK YOU SIM.

I've probably written enough here, but this is an amazing time in my life and it's tough to stop.

Welcome to the world Lexie Jean Nuroo, we love you lots and cannot wait to see what you will bring to this world.

See photo's here They are apparently too large to attach too this medium

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Google Checks happen - Be Aware

This is going to be another of those posts popping up in the online Recruitment Community here in Australia. All was started with Riges Younan's post, followed up with some Twitter banter, then Jarrad Woods started a tinychat(ummm) chat and now posts are popping up all over the place. It's actually pretty cool, the debate is great, with some really great minds putting their 0.2 cents worth in. I thought I'd dilute the pool with some of mine.

Hold on... quick recap. The debate was all about the use of Social Media in background checking candidates. Heated agreement and debate raged.

I found myself swaying in the wind a bit during the debate, taking up the cause of one side, then the other, then finding myself on the fence. Hey, don't hate me, these people made some awesome points. You try keeping up with comments and opinion from people like Jarred Woods, Justin Hillier, Kellie O'Shaughnessy, Aaron Dodd, Riges Younan, Michael Specht, Thomas Shaw, and Paul Jacobs and not getting swayed a few times.

My side of the debate? Is probably pretty simplistic.

Ethical or not... it will happen. How can you police it? What company will say "I didn't hire you because of that photo on Flikr, or that Facebook comment you made in January 2009"

Turning it around a little I think Recruiters can and should stand at the forefront of awareness of this issue. We need to educate people to have ownership and control of their own image, especially when they are engaging in a Recruitment process. They need to be made aware that these kind of checks can and do happen (officially and unofficially) and they need to be prepared for them.

Recruiters also need to make sure this issue is known internally too. Inform HR and the rest of the company.. and then of course train HR, Hiring Managers, Execs etc (or those not as savvy in the Social Media side of things) to look at relevance and not to jump at shadows. Just like "tone" in emails, you shouldn't try to read anything into it, a picture alone does not make a compelling argument, nor does a bold/brash statement on a forum. You need to dig deeper to find context.... Nothing worse than having to fight opinions taken from half the information... we've all been there.

As inhouse Recruiters you want to have all the information available. Nothing worse than 20/20 hindsight clouding a decision which could have been avoided. How do you explain to your CEO that there is information out there that you didn't look at and could have saved you making a hiring mistake which ended up costing the company thousands! What do you say as a 3rd party Recruiter, when your client comes to you with a "Thanks for the candidate, he/she's great, however we found this on and don't think it shows a suitability to our culture. So we will pass" If you are not across this information how do you combat this?

You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't use Social Media to locate or source people and then say bad form to use for anything else. You cannot police the line drawing, it's impossible. You need to be aware, and make your candidates aware of what is happening out there.

Should these checks be done in secrecy? I think we all need a disclaimer saying that "by volunteering to enter our Recruitment process you are agreeing to the possibility that internet searches may be made about you." - But would that stop people from applying? (most likely)

Education is the key. Recruiters take ownership of that. Then people/candidates etc take responsibility of your own profile (mark your Facebook, linkedin etc profile with the appropriate privacy settings if you are worried). Do your own search on yourself, ("googling" (or "yahooing", or "binging") yourself is not a bad thing to do) then if there is anything dodgy found, be able to discuss it. Seriously. It's not the fact that Big Brother is watching, it's the fact that everyone can be watching.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Can't always get what you want.........

People ask "how do you get ideas to write all the time?".. Life does it, seriously, things pop up from nowhere and fester in your mind, and boom there is a blog post in the making. Whether it be good or bad... whatever, a post is there.

This happened to me tonight, watching idol of all things. One of the contestants sang "You can't always get what you want". I love this song by the way, but it stirred something inside me.

I was guest judging at an IT Graduation presentation day yesterday. I'm a sucker for this stuff and really enjoyed myself, even if I did sit through 8 presentations for 10-12 minutes each on the same topic. Essentially I had the same presentation 8 times. The fun thing was I was asked to be tough, harsh even to these guys. So hey, what was I to do? I was blunt, I was harsh, it was fun.

One of the interesting things was afterwards, I had a couple of the 80 come up to me and ask for specific feedback for themselves. "sure" I say, "do you want me to be as blunt as I was in the broader feedback?" "Yes, sir". "Are you sure?" "Yes, sir, I love feedback"
"OK, let me get my notes".

So I let this poor guy have both barrels. I told him his pitch wasn't team focussed, it was all about him and his product, I told him he looked the part but his suit pants were too long, and if he has a tie on do the top button up. I spoke about fiddling with his hands, not making eye contact etc etc etc.

I felt for this guy. He was shattered. To his credit, he rallied himself and started arguing about my feedback. "Mate, ou asked for my honest feedback. this is it. If you take it, so be it, feel free to disreguard it, it's free. But dont argue with me, this is my opinion." He even argued with the shirt button comment, "well my shirt is too tight and it was a bit tight" I think he wasn't happy with my "well get a better shirt!".

I'm guessing that whilst he may not have particularly liked what I said, but he will remember it.... and hopefully it'll help.

You can't always get what you want! But you just might find, you get what you need...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Seeing the world through their eyes

Guess what I did today? Yes....! I went to see Dora the Explorer with my little girl. Damn it was fun. Not so much the show, but watching it through my daughter's eyes. I spent the majority of the first act watching my daughter's face. Her unbridled enthusiasm and joy, just warmed my heart and basically tatooed a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

You have to do it... see the world through the eye's of a child, it's magnificent. The colours are brighter, the people are bigger, and life is that little bit simplier.

Looking into things a little further, the same thing needs to be translated into Recruiting.

Look at your ads, your process, our candidate care through the candidates eyes. The world may look different. If you're a third party Recruiter, look at the world through your client's eyes. Is what you're doing adding value to them or to you? Will sending that unsolicited email with a hail mary of a candidate enhance your reputation in their eyes? Will that cold call with "you got any jobs I can help with?" really help them out? Think about it... Before you call, email, tweet, IM, Inmail or whatever else it is you may do to your clients. Look at the world through their eyes...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

This came up on my ipod this week and from the week I've had, I really related. (plus it put me in a great mood to get me going for the day!) Putting it bluntly I've had to play the role of bastard a lot this week.

As per an earlier post, I had to tell a couple of people they were dreaming in their expectations. I had to tell some contractors they weren't going to be renewed, I got a bit narky with some vendors and put some really tough deliverables on some other vendors. I told an agency Recruiter their pitch was ordinary and then gave some unsolicited (and by the sound of it unwanted advice). I've had to push back against the business, "politely" told a Regional Manager to "shut up and listen", and I've been called up and emailed by competitor CEO's or MD's to STOP approaching their staff. (I told them they should be flattered I think their staff are worthy of being approached, they should be more worried if I wasn't approaching) I did however avoid the "you've got bad breath" conversation our HR team had to have with someone.

All in the week of an in-house Recruiter. It's what we do, it's part of the role of adding value to our company.

That said the team achieved some amazing results (which made me smile a lot) of hiring some great people, across all states, finding some new rich veins of talent (which we have mined beautifully), and proving ourselves once again in terms of value, quality and volume of work we achieve to some of the Company Executive. Some of the reports and statistics we provided really blew some socks off.

The Ying and Yang of the role. This is why I do it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

When ambition outweighs ability

We all know them, have seen them, snickered at them when they aren't looking. Hey, I'm sure we've all been that person.

I had to sit in a review the other day and tell a guy that basically he wasn't as good as he thought he was. I didn't enjoy being the teller, and I'm sure he didn't enjoy being the hearer. But it's part of the gig.

I sat down Saturday night and looked at the job I had ahead of myself. We are doing renovations at home (I know... long drawn out story, getting closer to the end day after day) and we'd bought some floating floorboards which I had bravely decided to lay. "It's easy" people told me.. "I laid my own, easy and it looks great". I was confident I could get it done. Here's the thing, I suck at being a handy man, two left thumbs if you will. I can carry things and hold things and dig stuff etc, but doing intricate stuff which will make a difference. Here I was about to undertake a project which will be seen/noticed every single day of our lives.

I should have seen the warning signs. People close to me had asked me "Who's helping you?" I was insulted... After all I am a man... I can use power tools for good instead of evil.. I can build stuff..can't I?

I'm not sure if this is just a guy thing, but asking for help on such things seems to take a bit of your manhood with it. But as that legend Harry Calahan says in Magnum Force.. "A man's got to know his limitations".

Luckily I survived the experience (so far) I swallowed my pride or quashed my personal ego and called my Father in Law, and he happily came over the help (Thanks Fred). We learned from each other (although truth be told I learned more from him...) and currently it is straight, looking pretty good, even if in the whole day we only achieve half of our iniital goal. I am pretty excited and proud. Will be even more so when it's finished.

Could I have done it on my own? Very very doubtful. Have I learned from the experience, so as next time (heaven forbid) I'd be able to do it.. Damn straight. Am I greatful my nearest and dearest were "brave" enough to point this lack of ability out... begrudgingly yes.... Probaly saved me thousands.

Same applies in Recruitment. Recruiters, have the strength to tell people "they're Dreaming". We need to tell people to "Focus your attention on jobs you will win and can do straight away. jobs you are going to look good for. ie if you are a sandwich artist at Subway, and your goal is to be a National Sales Manager for an IT firm, don't apply for that role yet.... work your way up to it. Plot a course and stick to it. Whilst you may think "it's worth a shot", trust me it isn't. Would you want to work for a company that would hire you as that without any experience?"

I'm not saying give up on the dream. Just set a realistic and achievable course.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The oldest 18 year old.

have you ever looked in the mirror and been surprised at what looked back at you? Happened to me this evening, and I"m not even sure why.

I looked in the mirror and was surprised that I wasn't the young 18 year old, full of verve and confidence looking back at me. It was a fatter, hairier, older variety. It was weird. Strangely unexpected.

What happened to that 18 year old? (I do sometimes joke that I ate him) The good news is, nothing.. just got older.

I remember me at 18, I was full of confidence at what life was going to have in store for me. I'd met a girl, I'd told my Dad and mates that I was going to marry. I did. I'd had plans to travel overseas and settle down, with a career, kids and a nice car by 30 (which of course seemed a lifetime away). I was lucky, or I worked hard, or was pushed at the right time by the right people.. Maybe d) all of the above. But I achieved all this.

Funny thing happened though... I got to 30, I couldn't figure out what goals to have again. Life was comfortable, job was cool, kids started to multiply, 1 doubled to 2, and now 2 is almost 3, house is getting smaller and being comfortable isn't too bad really.

But here I am on the downward slope to 40, kids are starting school (apart from 3.0 who is yet to arrive) and that internal 18 year old is thinking again, ideas and optimism are back, goals are rearing their ugly head again. Look out world, here comes the oldest 18 year old.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Calling all motivational Yoda's

Wow, the things you find when cleaning out the Posts on one's blog. This, I found in Drafts, I hadn't it publish... oh well, I'll fix that now. When reading think it was written in January.

So motivator you are? Let judge me you....

Thanks Yoda... I need your advice.. What's your motivation? What gets you up in the morning? Why do you do what you do? Are you self motivated? And if you are how do you do that? Can you motivate others consistently?

This time of year is an interesting study into the psyche of the world as I know it. Things are supposed to slow down, it's the way of the world. People are being merry, thankful and looking forward to a few days off in a row with family and friends.

"Nothing happens in December or January" Seriously, if I hear that excuse or poor synopsis of the market one more time I may need to poke myself in the eye with a fork. OK people are on leave, but business still happens everyday, whether we want to take part in it or not.

Honestly, I've had some of my biggest months in January.

So, how do we motivate ourselves, our teams, or even our clients to keep the world turning? How do you get up don the suit and get to the office, when all your friends are at the beach, or down the pub with each other?

I've seen the carrot and I've seen the stick style of motivators, and whilst both have been effective (when applied at the right time) it is hard to find one consistent method. I'm talking personally and for the teams around me.

Motivational skills are essential in our business, self motivation (be warned if you say this in an interview with me, I'll ask you to prove it!) and the ability to motivate others. Included in this list of others are, clients, candidates, hiring managers, colleagues, partners, teams, bosses, etc. You need to find a way to get everyone going in the same direction. (OK cliche alert! but yes it's true) As a mentor of mine once said - make your skills "situational". Deal with each experience as it comes and rely on past experience (and your brain) to get you through.

I'd love to hear your thoughts Yoda, tips and tricks to inspire those around you to achieve great things........

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Honeymoon Hairstyles and Attrition

When my wife and I went on our honeymoon back in 1999, we had a great time. We went to Thailand and had a blast, the time of our life.

During this time my wife took the opportunity to try something a little different with her hair style. (Oh god am I going to get killed for this?) She took the opportunity to get all her hair beaded and braided. It was pretty cool, she'd never done that before, she looked pretty hot, although it kind of hurt when she turned her heard too quickly.

Why did I share that with you? There is an analogy here, trust me.

When we got home, I did my husbandary duty and carried her over the threshold. Later that night, my lovely bride decided to get rid of those beads.

When she finally got all those pesky things out of her hair, we had a huge scare. All this hair came out. She freaked out. "All my hair's falling out! I'm sick! I'm going bald!" (I may have used some poetic license here) Honestly I had no answers here... dumbstruck. I very unusual trend for me.

When we took a breathe, stepped back and thought about it, we figured something out. You lost around 100-125 hairs a day. It's not a problem, it just happens, and your normally able to replace them in normal day to day hair growth. However, as all her hair was tied in, a captive to those beads if you will. They couldn't go anywhere.

For those of you in a Corporate environment, this is my best analogy for Attrition and how it going to affect the world this year. There is a year or two's natural attrition waiting to be let free, there are hundreds of Recruiters and opportunities out there waiting to help them be free.

Be smart, don't panic, explain this situation to your managers, or anyone else that will panic. This attrition will happen this year. To win, you need to gain more than you lose... How important does that make your Recruitment team to the company huh?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recruiting Green Eggs and Ham

Don't you hate it when your bluff gets called. I get a lot of inspiration for blog posts from my day to day life, especially with my kids. You'll notice my posts are not the high brow statistical masterpieces, or comprehensive analysis of some new Recruitment tool. They are just my views. A while ago, I went through a series of posts, getting analogies from books I was reading with my children, posts like

Happy Feet: The success of Standing out

"Guess how much I love you?" - Gen Y v Gen X and Baby boomers.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, forging that relationship!

The Very Cranky Bear - A child's tale re Consulting and/or Customer Service

Be the Lucky Platypus

Of late, my kids have begun to enjoy the tempo and rhyming and tempo of Dr Seuss. I tweeted something the other day around Dr Seuss being my muse (or something along those lines) and I got called on it. The great Steve Levy called my bluff. "Roo", he Tweeted.. "special project for you - a blog post modeled after Green Eggs and Ham".

For those Gen Y's who don't own books and don't know what I am talking about.. see the video below.

I thought about modeling with the posting in rhyme. But after thinking about it, I really don't have the time.

So I had to think of the story and how it related to Recruiting... now that wasn't too hard. Pestering a client into giving you a go.. and then surprising them with what you did.

This to me is more Social media reluctance within companies. A cheeky little so and so who knows everything trying to tell the older, wiser "person" what they should do. Naturally, the older, wiser, person resists without understanding what the offering is.

You must Tweet this from my blog
You must read this to my dog
You can send them to you phone
you can read them all alone
You must have a Facebook fan page
Everyone else does it's all the rage.

I will not tweet this from your blog
I will not read this to my dog
I won't send it to my phone
I wont read it all alone.
I don't want a Facebook page
I don't want it, get back in your cage.

etc etc etc

But like any good corporate recruiter, Sam keeps on keeping on, keeps pitching, persisting.... until the grumpy old "wiser" person submits to the nagging and has a go just to shut up this nagging little voice.

"I do not like them,

You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see."

Oh... (thinking this is good, fun and informative. What a great way to market to the "masses" I'll think about ROI later)

I can tweet it,
I can blog it,
I can link and search and flog it.

It's not just for Gen Y
Baby Boomers are not shy.
All the choices I can see
Recruitment 2.o is for me.

I can get a message out
I can market all about
I can get a 1000 fans
Social media just rocks Sam.

I'm a Corporate Recruiter...


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

That noisy thing on your desk. It's the Phone.. Pick it up!

I read "Recruiter Daily" well, daily, always enjoying the gems Jo Knox brings us.

Today I say a post called
Poor response rates turning off top candidates

Robert Godden was responsible for the piece. I don't know Robert, but I'd like to thank him for getting my mind working again. Robert experimented on job ads which had directed people to call someone specifically. Here are some direct takeaways from this article (for those who don't want to click on the link.

If the best candidate for a job generally calls to ask about it, recruiters are missing out on the cream of the crop by failing to be available or respond to messages

There were some scary and damming numbers in regards to calls being returned by Recruiters.

This really doesn't surprise me. Recruiters operate in the NOW. We've all been there, spend a few hours in meeting, get back to your desk, the flashing light on your phone is going nuts, your email is full and before your bum makes an inprint on your chair.. the phone rings.

I want to add some advice in here, of a lesson I learned a long time ago.

When I was a young Recruiter, constant messages got out of hand for me. We had run a huge campaign for a new contract my organisation had won. It was amazing the applications we were receiving. We'd stirred up that much interest, that after a 1-2 hour block of interviews I would return to my desk, via the receptionists desk and picking up a 2 inch thick pile of "message slips" (yes pre email!).

This made me sick with stress, never seeing the bottom of the pile, annoying people everywhere. When I'd call back the call backs, I'd miss the new calls coming through. etc etc etc. We actually had to hire telemarketers to call people back for us. It was huge.

But I learned that I was really bad at calling people back. I'd make time in my diary for it, but the deal of the moment kept getting in the way. I'd feel I was way to busy to take the call, when it came in, kept up at my "crucial" bit of work with the intention of calling back straight away. I rarely did, well that day anyway. I was very down on myself.

I thought about it over one weekend, and decided to change tack. I'd take every call when I was at my desk. Return every call as soon as I sat at my desk and see if I missed out on doing any work. I made the calls my priority.

Funnily enough... it worked. I got through everything. Taking those calls would normally take less than a minute. Returning the calls, also took no time, the timeliest part of it was the notion of "sigh" I have so much to do.. where do I start?" with that I wouldn't normally start anywhere. I took the plunge, bit the bullet, add whatever other cliche you want here.

Bottom line, TAKE THE CALLS. Don't screen, it's rude and you probably won't get to call them back and you'll look bad. If you miss a call, don't wait 5 days to call them back, do it NOW! rub that off your to-do list ASAP! I agree with the start of Roberts post, the majority of the good candidates want to talk to you before sending a resume, hiring the best should be your main KPI. Great Recruiters have the best candidates, Great Recruiters work with their candidates, Great Recruiters are timely and responsive to clients and candidates (good, bad and indifferent!).

Great Recruiters think the phone is the number one Recruitment tool.

Great Recruiters talk to people

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Friends don't let friends do reality TV

A person needs good friends in life. "OK Thank you Captain Obvious!" I hear you say, but hear me out.

These reality TV shows get a big viewing in my house, the "Big Brothers", the "So you think you can dance", "Idol" etc. The first few shows are notorious for the "What the..." moments. You know what I'm talking about, those people who are auditioning, who have no clue.

They profess to have a passion for the specific genre, singing, dancing, or just becoming a wannabe celebrity. The people who have no idea that they have no talent. Not the ones who go on for a joke, a bit of a laugh. I get that. But those with absolutely no talent, or idea that they have no talent (in that specific genre let me ad). They put themselves up for ridicule, with the firm belief that they really are Gods in their chosen field. "Me Mum thinks I am so talented, so I thought I'd give it a go".

They need better people around them. (OK, I'm not bagging Mums. Your Mum has to think you are the best.. It's her job!) Someone to say "No, you aren't that good. Trust me. You'll be embarrassed. You will be on national TV and seen as a joke."

I understand the need to be supportive, to be positive, but seriously friends don't let friends do some of this stuff. I'm lucky, I think if I got my heart set on going on Australia's Next Top Model there would be at least someone in my nearest and dearest who would put up their hand and tell me. "Dan, you can't do that. I know you really want to do it, and you've been practising really hard, and it is you passion. However, there are a couple of things you are lacking. A) YOU ARE NOT A FEMALE, B) YOU AREN'T 6 FOOT TALL C) YOU'VE NEVER WALKED IN HEELS and D) YOU AREN'T THAT PRETTY!" And then I'd hope I'd have the good sense to listen to them.

A person has to know their limitations. Striving for goals is important, and they don't always have to be realistic, you know world peace and all that. The important thing is to have people you know and trust, who will help shape these goals!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How many no's can you take?

“It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.” - Vince Lombardi

People ask me a lot what the best trait I look for in a Recruiter or sales person. The list is quite big, but the one which stands out like a beacon, is Resilience.

The whole world has gone though a tough time for the last 18 months or so. Lots of businesses and people have gone to the wall, the word "NO" has become more and more common in the language of corporates everywhere.

Sales people everywhere have been hearing it (even more so than usual), candidates after interviews, employees asking for pay rises, people asking for training, asking for conferences, people trying to innovate and getting extra budget to do so, asking people to change jobs, and people being told they have NO job left. NO NO NO NO NO

The flow on effect from this is that people stop asking, people stop striving, thinking and just exist/survive. Be aware of it, look out for it. Don't let it get you.

I have a saying at work. If you want something to happen, if you want to implement something you need to be willing to take the pain! Nothing is an easy "yes". Can you justify it? Can you prove an ROI? Have you got THE best price possible? Have you got the timing right?

Guess what people? It's time to ask again... Get on the phone, go and visit, ask the questions for what you want to achieve. It's time. Maybe you can plant the seeds for your own personal changes, or if you're in hard core sales, it's time to revisit your "clients", maybe it's time to call your candidates

Someone told me once that things can only get hit for so long before they stay dented. Be your own panel beater then.

See the song "I get knocked down, but I get up again, aint never gunna keep me down"

Keep asking, go back to those ideas, get your creativity flowing once more.. NOw is the time to get back into the working world as we knew it. Be seen to be adding value in all that you do.

This'll make for an exciting 2010

Measure twice, cut once

In a few of my blogs I have spoken about things my Dad has told me. How I try to follow them. It may come out like I always do. Unfortunately I don't always, and yes, I pay for it. (He'll love this)

This saying has been topical for me for a couple of reasons of late.

Measure twice, cut once!

Over the years, I have avoided this at times to my peril.

Firstly, sorry to mention for those who read me a bit.. But yes we are doing renovations at the moment, and lets get this straight, I am not a tradie, I am not good at making stuff with my hands. So this saying kinda rings true at the moment.

Secondly, Around 10 years ago, my wife went to the US for 3 weeks for work. This was early in our marriage and was the longest we'd been apart. My only jobs were to a) keep the house tidy and to b) pick her up on her return.

Well a) was a no brainer, I'd even made a few cool changes to the outside. Now b) ended up being a problem. Why? I didn't get to the airport! (yes I am still married to her) and why not? Well, my reasoning was that I was going off what she told me. She had told me the time she was landing. I believe it and didn't check, yes I had a printed itinerary. If I had I would have seen that the timing was out and she was landing 3.5 hours earlier than we'd thought. Not a great experience for anyone. A problem easily solved, if only.....

Most recently, ie Monday US time, Tuesday, Australian time. I had made a commitment with Paul Paris and the team of the Ex-Recruiter Show. Paul and I had discussed this for a number of weeks and I was pumped to firstly be asked and secondly I really enjoy this stuff, talking about a number of my favourite topics. Paul and the team marketed it really well, the mentions part of my Tweetdeck was littered with mentions of me being on their show.
In our discussions it was mentioned that with the time difference, the show would air at around 10am my time. This time worked beautifully for me. It was a public holiday here for Australia Day, and I planned to get the show in and then get the celebrations started. Perfect.. right? wrong.

Around midnight the night before I got a bad feeling. I checked the Blog Talk Radio site for the Ex-Recruiter Show and used the "add to your outlook" button there to ensure that I had to time right. To my horror, guess what... I had the time wrong... it was 2 hours later... Right when the celebrations were to fire up in my house. I couldn't cancel the celebrations, would be unpatriotic to do that. I had to bail on the show... my bad, my fault. If only I'd checked. (my deepest apologies to the #TERS team)

You'd think I'd learn. Double check things... Measure twice, cut once.

Before you decide on a course of action, make sure your information is right. No assumptions (my Dad has a saying for that too!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 Years on................

Wow it's almost 3 years to the day when I started blogging.

I know this as I remember one of my original blogs was around the birth of my daughter Talia, who turns 3 tomorrow. Man time definitely does fly. I've just re read this early blog, seen the video's and pics.. and serious tears came to the eye.

For those interested.. here is the reprinted version of what I wrote on January 26, 2007:

After months and months of waiting (OK 9 to be precise, or more if you add in the time trying!) I would like to take this opportunity to introdcue Talia Deanna Nuroo to the world. She arrived on the 25th January 2007 at 1.39pm.

Before I go too far into this, I must pay homage to my wonderful wife Simone, wow.... what a tough woman, she took this labour amazingly, mostly in a grand state of serenity, pushing through the pain in a display that leaves me genuinely lost for words to describe it, which is no mean feat. From 3am - 11.30 she pushed, breathed, relaxed, stretched and wobbled herself and Talia through contractions ranging from 5-2 minutes apart. If there is a mathematician out there, please let me know how many contractions that would be. No drugs, no swearing, just the odd tight hand holding (don't worry I'm OK!) some gritted teeth, which I masterly reminded her to breathe through (see I was helping), the rest she just mentally toughed it out, truely inspiring, something I'll never forget, and should remind me not to get into a fight with her. i may outweigh by around 1000 kilo's but she'd kick my ass, and not break a sweat I think.

It wasn't an ideal labour, as out little angel was being a little stubborn, facing the wrong way and then being a little too big to fit ou the natural way, but hey, it ended well, with Mum and Dad getting to hold young Talia just after lunch.

An unforgettable indescribable feeling. Now I may be biased, but I defy anyone to tell me she ain't gorgeous and basically perfect! You can see her first shots on this site.

So far, a day into the lifelong journey Talia is going to undertake, I'm happy to report, she is feeding beautifully, sleeping pretty well, and loves cuddles with both Mum and Dad, who also love that. She has met her big brother Zac, and it looks like a lifetime partnership of mischief has begun.

Sim, is doing great, considering what she has had to go through to give me this wonderful gift, but on the improve.

This is a totally humbling experience, How luck can 1 guy be? An amazing wife, 2 gorgeous kids! In short LIFE IS GOOD.

Hard to believe really.. to see Talia now, a diva in training, a golden smiling, single minded, strong willed gorgeous girl, growing up so quickly in front of my eyes.. it is astounding. For those looking for something a little special to see, that you can't see everyday. Check here to see the first ever meeting between mother and daughter... Not for the easy weeping!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"What we have here is ..... failure to communicate"

OK maybe I'm sucking up to Maren Hogan (Hi Maren) but I couldn't resist this after the Saturday I've just had.

We've been renovating at home over the last month or so. I am not handy with these things at all, so we employed a builder to look after things for us. Things started off with a flourish, things got uninstalled, frames got put up, man we were flying.

Things started to go awry though, when it became clear that budgeting wasn't this builders forte. He was pretty ordinary at man management to, delegation, motivation etc.

That's fine, my wife is pretty good at these things, an HR Manager by trade, a child wrangler by choice, so she helped out. After a fairly blunt meeting, she began to helping Manage this guy, manage others.

Life was good again, things were happening, taking shape, we were going to hit our time lines as agreed.


About a month ago, things stopped happening. He asked for more money, outside the (constantly revised) budget. I knocked him back, saying enough was enough, deliver what you promised. It became a matter of principle.. the well was dry! We had a blunt but friendly conversation, and we agreed on a way forward.

Or so I thought... He didn't turn up again. Excuses came via text message re his non attendance. I'd call get his voice mail, and then receive a text message response. These messages became shorter and shorter, terser and terser, until the point where I'd had enough and had to start discussing my legal options.

I wasn't getting anywhere fast. We changed tactics. I handed over communication to my wife, who by the way is 7 months pregnant (OK I was trying to punish him!) He responded to her (she is hard to ignore) and made commitments to coming back and finishing the job. We were very pleased with ourselves. Good cop, bad cop.. success!


He didn't keep that commitment, instead sending a text message 3 hours after the agreed appointment time, saying he was in a bad way and couldn't make it.

We were shattered. We called his mobile... disconnected.. we called his home phone... disconnected. Our hearts sank. We weren't getting this job finished. We were out of ideas and to be honest pretty flat. We'd lost all modes of communication. Me a seasoned Recruiter, my wife an HR Pro... how could we both misread someone so much?

After a day of wallowing, we took positive action. We checked out our rights, and began making other arrangements.

This post has got longer than expected... sorry.


Earlier this week, my wife went out.. when she returned there was a note on our door. From our builder, committing to coming over today (Saturday) to talk to us. We were shattered, that she'd missed him, yet not convinced that he would actually convinced he'd turn up.

We left messages again (his phones were back on) towards the end of the week to confirm times, and got silence in return. Thankfully this morning I received a text saying he would make it this afternoon.


Boy, did we have a big conversation.

What we learned.... He was having a hard time with things. His van had blown up, he'd over committed to a number of people not just us, and was in way over his head. He'd assumed that we were a bottomless pit of money as we have a nice house in a nice area and have a nice car. It rocked him when reality hit, and he couldn't think of a way out. He was avoiding people, and he hadn't mentioned a few other things to us which I won't expand on.

Bottom line, he wants to finish the job and will finish the job, he just wasn't in a position to do so, for a variety of reasons at the time.

My wife and I took a collective breath and said fine.

We understand that stuff happens.. People mess up... We had to however explain to him that we aren't mind readers and if we aren't kept informed we naturally have to start planning and thinking the worst. By not communicating with us, we were starting to prepare for war.

We talked it out and came to a good understanding of each other.

It's amazing the mess that appears when communication falls over. Fear fueled it. We were scared the job wouldn't be finished, he was scared of our reaction. When he found the courage to face us and not rely on text messaging as a form of communication we found a solution, that it seems all parties are happy with.

There is no substitute to talking with someone face to face. Please, do not get seduced with the ease of communication with these new tools of twittering, texting, or even just emailing or writing letter. Get face to face... You will clear up misunderstandings, you won't assume tone, You'll learn more, you'll get more out of it.

Nothing is wrong with old school.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Twitter and me.

We're great mates. We go back a year ago, and our friendship has blossomed as time has gone on.

I was listening to Bill Boorman and the crew from his Ready for Liftoff radio show, and they were talking about Twitter for learning. They were looking at this from a different perspective to me. They were talking about running training courses using Social Media. Honestly that didn't interest me that much, even though I've flirted with the idea of potentially using Second Life to run virtual training events.

However, Twitter and Training go hand in hand for me. I'm talking my training, my own personal development. Who would have thought, my daily dose of training 140 characters at a time.

When I initially joined Twitter, I had no idea what I was going to do with this weirdly named device, which did something called "micro-blogging", I'd only just got my head around Blogging, blogging. What could I possibly do in 140 Characters? I lurked, I followed/connected to Recruiting legends, up and comers, people I knew of and people who just have damn good ideas. They all knew people, who knew people, who knew people etc etc etc. They all tweeted, they all re-tweeted each others messages, which mashed up quotes (which annoy me), statements, quotes, linked to blogs and engaged in debate/discussion.

I was seduced to engage, to add my 2 cents to conversations, and connected with more people. My network grew, let's be honest, my network of followers v followees is not big in global Twitter terms, but it adds value to me.

I've been exposed to more information with Social media than I had for all my years of experience before I caught the wave. Twitter makes it even more accessible.

It's always going, people are tweeting 24/7, so I'm getting information from UK, US, Australia, Asia etc, no matter when I check in.

That said, you can over do it. You can be distracted by the beeping of your tweetdeck, the allure of messages, witty comments or conversations you must be part of. Your day can disappear, from what you are paid to do to, to finding out what else is going on. You must be disciplined about it and only Tweet when the tweeting is good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CruiterTalk 2010 Carnival

Just before Christmas I was contacted by Ryan Leary asking me to contribute to his latest Career Carnival. I was really excited and humbled to be asked, especially when you see the who's who of Recruiting sharing their thoughts every single day. It's cool to see my name next to them. Nerve wrecking, but I pulled the trigger and it is now up there for all to see.

I'd like to thank Ryan for the invitation.

What did I come up with? I decided to look at the Hiring Managers, and took a relatively high brow angle of relating it to toilet training. The connection?

Read it here

These are testing times and I have a 3rd on the way!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Frustrations to change you life!

I'm frustrated. Should I expand? It could go for a while? Alright, I'll try to keep it straight.

That said I also have had a ground breaking revelation which should change the lives of all those that will read this.

OK let's start with my frustration. I'll start this by saying I am a pretty positive person, however of late, I've learned the path of the cynic and am starting to appreciate their journey! I digress, sorry. We've been doing renovations on our house of late. What an exciting time, changing our house, from an idea to something real and tangible, and what a great change it will make... or so we thought.

From an initial swashbuckling start, walls down, frames up, it was going like a dream. To a "we're going over budget"... "I think we aren't going to make the deadlines".... "I can't make it today"... "oh sorry I never look at my phone"... "sorry, gone over budget, give me more money or finish the job yourself".

I am not an unreasonable man, my wife and I have allowed him to re-quote a couple of times and allowed him to clarify things after the fact. Cutting some things out of the budget and writing some stuff off all together. And yet he still is trying to grab more money. Eventually enough became enough. Hardlines were drawn and Dan the nice guy disappeared. Unfortunately, so did our builder (he even disconnected his home phone. Obviously forgetting I'm a Recruiter and will and was able to find him.. sucker). All calls were returned with a text message, and now he only responds to my wife. My bad.

I started to doubt myself, was it my communication style? Am I not being clear or clarifying enough, when people say they will do things at a certain time, a certain day? Thankfully (for my sanity anyway) they did the same thing to my wife. Promised to turn up at 8-8.30 am, for us to hang around to only receive a text message at 12.40 saying "Can't make it".

This has got ridiculous. To the point where I have had to threaten legal action. Something I have never done before.

Even the tradesmen who did a good job were unreliable. Couldn't make a time that was set, wouldn't let us know. I hate being in the dark and ignored.

Ahhh that was nice to get off my chest. Now for the bit I promised that would change your life. Some advice from Dan! Free, no charge. No strings attached.

How to stand out from the crowd!

Do as you say... When you say you will do it. If you can't for whatever reason, own up to it early and let the person you committed to know.

It sounds easy, trust me it isn't and it is unusual.

To annoy the younger people reading this.. "When I was a boy!" ok not a boy, but younger, at the early stages of my career, I had a client who had scores of open requirements at any one time. This was annoying, hard work, for little margin. We were part of a large panel, and most likely the least experienced team working for them. They had set end dates for applications, and wanted a response by that date, a yay or nay if you will.

Whilst we were not always able to present someone, I made sure we made contact in regards to each requisition, and had a conversation with the powers that be. By doing this, this deepened our relationship to the point where at the next supplier review, we came in number one!

It makes you memorable and proves you commitment to the client. Try it. Trust me, you'll be remembered!