Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Now that we understand each other.....

The comparison between marriage and recruitment has been made over and over. For two things that have no intrinsic link, they offer a multitude of similarities, and not just because 1 in 3 ends in failure. It is probably not surprising then that one of my colleagues moonlights as a marriage celebrant by the weekend. A good chunk of our Monday morning team meeting is usually dedicated to her report of the previous weekends wedding including the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly. She finishes with a judgment on whether they will, or they won't  make it as a married couple. According to her you can always tell:

 "The best ones are when you can see that they both just get each other".

If you consider this in terms of a Recruitment Consultant it is not just a case of understanding the other person in the relationships (clients and candidates), it is also the ability of those people to do the same. Now, I consider myself a good judge of character and I find it quite easy to accurately form some basic understanding of a person quickly. In short I think I ‘get’ people. Above everything else I think this makes me a good recruiter. But what about the other side of the equation, the bit where they have to ‘get’ me to make the relationship work. After all, if this is missing then it doesn’t matter how good a judge of character I am, the relationship is on a slippery slop to becoming one of the 1 in 3 statistics.

So how can I be sure that my clients and candidates are ‘getting’ me?

The short answer is that you can’t. But there is something you can do to help them along; be genuine. Now, before you reach for the vomit bucket and bemoan another recruiter preaching on the importance of values, this is not one of those blogs (nor am I one of those people). The reason for being genuine is simply that it will give you better outcomes. Of course you can portray yourself as anything you like, as long as you can back it up. But even if you have the acting ability of a young de Niro, sods law is that at some point you will not be able to follow up on your bravado. Do it more than once and you quickly lose credibility, and probably a client and candidate too.

It sounds simple but it can be very difficult to be genuine. We are all social chameleons to a certain point, changing our character to suit the environment or person we are with. We are also all probably guilty of painting a more attractive picture of ourselves than is 100% genuine. But being honest about who you are, and being that person consistently will mean your clients and candidates are far more likely to ‘get’ you and therefore be able to work with you .

Similar to my colleagues weddings’ recruitment relationships are made up of the good, the bad, the ugly and some that just shouldn't have started in the first place. But the best ones are when everyone in the relationships just 'gets' each other. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My favourite recruitment catchphrases

Recruitment lends itself as well to catchphrases as any other other industry. On my travels through the industry I have worked with some very creative individuals who have a beautiful knack of summing up a situation or person with a few well chosen words. I have also worked with others that have developed what seems like an entirely different language and make little sense unless you have the appropriate translation phrase book.

Regardless, what I have found is that a good catchphrase can go a long way to adding a bit of humour to what is a serious and often stressful job.  

There must be thousands, and one could probably put together an entirely alternative Thesaurus based around recruitment. Here are just a small selection of some of my favourites and the appropriate translation  (with apologies for some choice language).

Whose who in the zoo:
The process of mapping a market sector or company for headhunting purposes.

Teflon vacancy / client:
A vacancy or client that is so awkward you will never make a candidate stick.

Chuck enough mud at the wall, hope some sticks:
The numbers game approach of sending lots of unqualified candidates to a client in the desperate hope that one of them is successful.

Beatles shortlist:
When you have 4 excellent candidates to shortlist for a vacancy (as in 'Fab 4'). In more recent times this has been amended to the 'TakeThat shortlist'.

Stocking filler:
An average candidate that you submit just to make up the numbers on a shortlist.

Shit Sandwich Shortlist (or TripleS):
Similar to above, when you put an average candidate in the middle of the shortlist to hide them as best as possible.

Paris Hilton:
A candidate that initially looks OK but it very quickly becomes clear when you talk to them that there is no substance (can also be known by many other names).

Bird shit placement:
A lucky placement that comes from no where.

Acronym to describe a placement that once looked very positive but has gone very wrong (F****d up beyond all recognition).

Can't polish a t**d:
The impossible process of trying to make a  poor candidate sound good.

The Bridesmaid:
A candidate that often gets to the final stages but never gets an offer.

I would love to hear of others that are in use.....

Monday, 4 July 2011

Superlatives - my absolutely very worst pet hate ever

Exceptional, outstanding, superb, unique.....and other similar superlatives are words that I come across every day when reading job adverts.

Reading these types of adverts is a bit like receiving that email from Nigeria advising you that you someone wants to send you a million dollars in return for your bank details. When I see an advert that describes the job with a long list of superlatives it makes me think that the opportunity is not nearly as good as the recruiter is making out. If something sounds too good to be true it has a tendency to make you instantly suspicious.

When you consider that candidates, especially passive ones, commonly make ‘instant’ decisions on whether an advert is worth following up, it is crucial to sound credible. There is nothing wrong with a positive spin , after all making a job sound as attractive as possible is the very point of the exercise. But it is better to do that by presenting the facts and not just with a bunch of superlatives that don’t actually tell you anything about the job.

Compare these extracts from 2 job adverts:
  1. "Unique opportunity with a superb commission structure, fantastic company and exceptional career development"

  2. "Team leader role with a global market leader, $150k+OTE and structured career path leading to management opportunities in 3 years"
The educated job hunter in the professional market (which is more or less every job hunter these days) will rarely be won over with adverts like the first. The passive candidate, will only be interested in the facts and how they compare to their present role. In my own experience of job hunting, if the facts and figures are not being advertised then I am not going to bother applying. The job will almost certainly not be as attractive as it is made out or it in fact does not exist in the first place (and yes, the non recruitment world does realise that advertising fake jobs to fish for candidates happens).

The same principles apply when a recruiter is putting together a profile for a candidate to present to a client. If your candidate is worthy of sending to a client then highlight the reasons why and focus on the facts: "An excellent communicator with a mature attitude and friendly nature, this candidate is a rare find in this market". This description could just as easily apply to my dear grandmother (God bless her) as it could to anyone.
As a challenge, the next time that you write a job advert or candidate profile try not include any superlatives, or even strongly phrased positive descriptions. In fact, try and just keep to the facts. I guarantee that your applicants will be of a far better quality and clients more receptive.

PS - Before anyone puts my name into Google and emails me back all the horrid examples of when I have used superlatives, I admit guilt but am in rehab to overcome my terrible addiction.

Forgetting the fake job advert, the reason for the over use of superlatives is either because a proper job spec has not been taken or simply laziness.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Scott Recruitment launch interactive recruitment salary survey

Scott Recruitment's innovative 'Recruitment Salary' site is a free salary comparison resource where Australian recruitment and HR industry professionals share salary data to help them ascertain what people in the local recruitment and HR profession are really earning. The site works on an honesty based 'give to get' model whereby all salary data is entered by (and shared by) Australian recruitment and HR professionals. Help maximise the value of this data by contributing your salary today and in return receive a free comparison of your salary against peers with a similar profile as yourself. Try it now ...