Do You Really Need to Hire a Rock Star or Do You Just Think You Do

I have worked with Hiring Managers at all levels and it is human nature to want to find the ‘best’ candidate when you are hiring – but Hiring Managers next time you are hiring for your team, quantify what the ‘best candidate’ means for your role. Ask yourself do you really want to hire a bona fide Rock Star or do you potentially really only need an X-Factor (or substitute The Voice, American Idol, or other) contestant for your role.

Many Hiring Managers when they are hiring for their team will loosely throw around the term ‘Rock Star’ and follow it up with comments like ‘I want the best in the business, I need a game-changer, I need someone who can take us in a new direction, etc……

There are 2 main things that I question when I hear someone say these statements. The first is, when I hear a Hiring Manager say statements like this, I think wait a second all I am hearing is what the Hiring Manager wants or needs. A good Recruiter will challenge the Hiring Manager and work out what is the value proposition for the candidate? It is great to hear what a Hiring Manager wants but any work relationship is a two way street. While a Manager may address what his/her needs are when they work with their Recruiter, what would this potential role give to this all star candidate that they want to hire. If your Recruiter does not ask you this or qualify this with you, I recommend looking at the service you are getting from your Recruiter.

The second thing that causes alarm bells for me is really a follow on from the first statement and that is : is the Hiring Manager trying to put a rock star candidate into a regular role or a regular company. If you are hiring and you look at your role on offer and your company – does your role or company really necessitate a rock star candidate?

rockstarA few examples of this could be you want a person to change the ‘game’ (what ever that means to you), but you look at their productivity based on how many hours they sit at a desk not by results achieved. Or for example you want the best sales person there is in your industry, but your commission structure is not competitive or your company’s management style is outdated, tired and unproductive.

In these examples why would a ‘rock star’ want to take on one of these roles? What is the value proposition or attraction for them to consider this role. If they are the best in the market, odds are that they are already in a good role and do not need to go anywhere. So what is it that you offer that would make that person you want to stand up and take notice.

Rock stars need to be able to make success happen – Eddie Van Halen didn’t create his great licks and solos following a script. If you want to hire someone who will take direction as you need and be a corporate clone of what you want, you probably want to hire an X-factor candidate that will do as they are told and follow the script to create their 15 minutes of fame. If you really want to hire the best candidates in your market make sure that you have the business need that necessitates you finding and hiring that person otherwise you will end up putting a high achieving individual into a regular role which may create a situation where you have hired the wrong person for the role you needed to hire for.

The flow on effect of hiring the wrong person has multiple implications. Not only will the relationship with your new star hire likely sour, but you will have invested a lot of time and energy to get this person on board only to have to go through this exercise again. Not every role in every company requires a rock star – before you start sourcing candidates for your next requirement, take the time to really understand what you need out of the role. It is more important to find the person who is the right fit for the role you have then necesarily just looking at the brightest student, the best sales person by $$$ booking, etc…..

Good Recruiters Know How To Close Candidates (It’s the ABC’s of Recruitment)

Luck, good old fashioned luck. How many times as a Hiring Manager have you identified a great candidate, went out and got your approvals, sent out your Letter of Offer to the aforementioned great candidate thinking the job was done, only to have your great candidate let you know ‘thanks for the job offer, but I can’t accept the offer because……… (insert reason here: counteroffer, partner not happy, can’t relocate, other offer, etc…..). If you are a Hiring Manager and this happens to you regularly you need to sit down with your Recruiter now!

Bad Recruiters, will say it was an unforeseen circumstance and just bad luck, where as good Recruiters would have seen this coming a hundred miles away and either probed the candidate further before making an offer and closed any loose ends or realised that the job you had to hire for was never a top priority for the candidate.

abcs

Yes Recruitment has many similar traits to a good sales model. One of the classic sales lines is to know your ABC’s and Always Be Closing and this holds true in recruitment as well. I have seen both good and bad Recruiters in my 16 years in Recruitment – good Recruiters know the job they are hiring for, know the Hiring Managers needs and know the candidates needs. They always find a way to balance all these needs into a smooth recruitment process for everyone involved. To create a smooth process the Recruiter needs to always be keeping their finger on the pulse of the candidates and Hiring Manager.

‘Always Be Closing’ is not a bad thing, and I think many Recruiters are afraid to ask closing questions to candidates for fear of being seen as unfriendly maybe or fear of what the candidate may actually say. In some Recruiters minds I suppose they take the approach of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and hope and pray that the candidate they have found takes the role they have, because deep down they know the candidate is probably not happy with some part of the role/salary/responsibilities. To me this makes no sense. It does not make sense to invest the Hiring Managers time, the Candidates time and your time as a Recruiter putting everyone through a process that will not have outcome everyone wants to achieve. If you don’t have the ‘what are your salary expectations’ conversation at the beginning of the process why put a candidate through multiple interviews and get to the end of the process when it turns out they want $20,000 more than what the role you are filling pays.

Good Recruiters, will take the time to understand the candidates they are working with, they will know what they think of the role, what their salary expectations are, if it is the next natural step in their career, if they need to relocate if they are open to that and if their family is supportive of a move. They will understand and be able to address any questions or concerns a candidate may have and the candidate may have new questions come up at different stage of the interview process. If you are not talking to your candidate to help them through the process and keep them educated about the role/company so they can make an informed choice you are doing your company and the candidate a disservice.

If the role is not right for the candidate – don’t try to fit a square into a circle, it means you must go find and screen candidates who not only fit the requirements of the role but also find people where the role fits their requirements for the candidates next career opportunity.

Student Engagement + Customer Engagement = Inspiration

I have been travelling to India for the past 4 years now at the end of November/early December to visit our India Campus Team, meet with internal customers and go to the IIT’s for Oracle’s IIT hiring. This trip while I am only half way into my itinerary has been such a productive, humbling and inspirational trip for me.

I am so proud of our India Campus Team, I always wanted our team to be known for providing outstanding customer service and for leading the way in campus recruitment. There are always challenges in a large corporate environment but our team has so much positivity about them it is contagious and I see this in the conversations I have with our customers who believe in what we do and the direction we are going. From so many conversations with our team and with our customers I am very excited for the future of Oracle Campus Recruiting in India (stay tuned for more :) ).

 

Equally inspiring is getting the chance to talk to students and hear their stories and hear about their experiences here at Oracle. Earlier this week, I had the chance to meet about 50-60 of our graduates who started earlier in the year with us. In Asia-Pacific we hire a large volume of students. It was so great to be able to meet some of our recent graduate hires and hear from them the positive impact of getting the chance to work at Oracle has given the them. I also had the chance to meet a group of graduates who joined us earlier in the year, who give their time, effort and resources to help under privileged children locally in Bangalore. To see such generosity and maturity from students to give back to the community they way they do is really a humbling experience. We assisted and donated a number of Oracle backpacks that will be used and welcomed.

Our Campus Function in India has come a long way and I feel we have really matured our go to market strategy. After a few days with the team locally brainstorming we have further plans to make a bigger splash in the India Campus market next year and I am very confident we have the right people who can make this happen. Students, if you have any ideas, suggestions or comments please let me know how you would like to engage with Oracle – your inputs would be welcomed.

Any Team Members who come across this postread I just want to say – amazing job everyone, I am so lucky to have the chance to work with all of you, you all are campus rock stars!!!

Corporate Leaders…..For Every Best There Is a Worst

I have been in the corporate world as a Recruiter for over 15 years. During that time I have had the opportunity to work with a range of Business Managers and Leaders either as a direct report, an indirect report, as a consultant or in some other way, shape or form. Over that time I have had the opportunity to work with and observe Business Managers that I have really respected and learnt a lot from. Some managers have the right balance of demeanor and business capability that always seems to lift those around them. This type of Manager that I have seen is very motivated and driven to succeed but they drive success through their own actions and work well with others to get others to achieve the best they can.

They do not drive the success of the organisation at the expense of individuals. What I mean is that these Managers make time for each member of an organisation as a person and do not necessarily see others as a dollar sign or means to an end. They give the same amount of attention whether they are talking to a fresh graduate or a high level executive.  I think you would see a Manager like this trying to lift others up when they have fallen down and help people in the way they do their work. When you work with Managers like this they tend to have a calming effect on a team and they help people take a deep breath and refocus when the pressure is on to get through things whether it is quarterly results, difficult customers or incoming sales pipeline. It is easy for employees follow to these Leaders as people want to help make things work in this situation. It is easy to want to work with people who share the same values as you do.

Just as I have seen some great managers as mentioned above, I have also seen the flip side of the coin and seen some managers at their worst whether that is by trait or circumstances. Unfortunately there are some managers that rely on the old top down management approach that worked many years ago. I am certain we have seen or heard of managers with these traits. These are the folks who believe the louder they yell the better the results will be from others. It is like one of my kids when they have a temper tantrum and stamp their feet thinking this will create change. Whether this is a Manager you work directly with or a Manager in your organisation, it is hard to get behind this type of Leader. If employees provide results it is often as a result of fear which is not a sustainable long term way to manage your work force. With a rapidly changing workforce employees in today’s world not only want to work for great companies but they want to work with others (or to take a quote a word from Seth Godin – people want to be in tribes) who share their same beliefs and ideals. There is nothing wrong with being competitive in business it is what pushes us to develop ourselves out of our comfort zone but great leaders are able to demonstrate the same traits that they want to see no matter what level of person they are working with in an organisation.

Everybody makes mistakes or has moments where they do not act at their best that is part of being human. Moving forward managers and leaders need to understand that they are leading tribes who follow people based on their values. Leaders may find their tribe less responsive to them if they try to lead through fear rather than if they understand that everyone is dependent on each other to be truly successful.

Big Ideas Are Good, but Every Plan Needs Building Blocks

A few years ago I attended a training course which was designed to help participants understand how they think and behave to help them make better decisions both individually and as part of a team. In this training I completed an Emergenetics Profile which helps you understand the way you think. There are 4 Distinct Categories which are Analytical, Structural, Social and Conceptual which are fairly self explanatory. The training was really insightful and helped me better understand the way I tend to approach situations and also better understand how others approach situations as well.

eg_profile_1

 

When I took the test my profile was heavily weighted to ‘Conceptual’ thinking which has thinking attributes and traits such as Imaginative, Learns by experimenting, Enjoys the creative process, etc…. Looking at my work I can see this reflected in the projects and work that I do. While it is great to have a conceptual approach to creating solutions that has to be counter balanced with activity from the other categories – any plan needs elements of the other traits involved as well to be successful. What good is having a big plan if you do not take care of the basics or learn how to translate your big ideas into bite size action items.  Everyone has an idea, the hard part is taking those ideas and turning them into reality.

 

Our campus team has implemented a number of changes over the years to improve the services we provide which has been a great challenge and very rewarding for all of us.   Looking back at my blog post from 2 weeks ago, helped me realize that for all the articles out there talking about being innovative, driving change, etc…. we must also stay level headed and make sure that we focus on the building blocks and basics of our work as well.

All the good ideas in the world will not be of much use if you cannot execute or maintain them. The challenge is in translating what is in your head to the real world and taking care of all the things involved in your work including the tasks that may not necessarily be fun. Once you have your big idea and you get the building blocks right then you have a much better chance of success then just going head first with an idea and a prayer.

The Shift From an Individual Contributor to Manager – Some Thoughts

I have been in my current role managing the Campus Recruitment Team and function here at Oracle for the past 3.5 years or so. I was previously an Individual Contributor for 5 years here before I made the shift into a management role. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to take on this current role as I have learnt so much both personally and professionally.

I am constantly challenged (in a good way) to push myself out of my comfort zone and on reflection the last 3-4 years has led to real growth for me. During this time I have made plenty of mistakes and had many growing pains but I think that I have learned from them and I think I am now starting to find my own management style. As an Individual Contributor all the projects I worked on together with my colleagues was done collaboratively and I find that I have taken that approach to my current role as well.

A few things I have observed/learned as a relatively new manager over the past 3-4 years has been that:

1)      Be transparent with your customers and with your team – The best approach is to make sure that people know what is happening and why something is happening. Some people may not like or agree with something but it is better to get this out in the open so at least everyone understands why a certain action is being taken.

2)      Work with People That Share Your Passion/Belief – I love our Campus Team, each Recruiter in the team continues to surprise me with new ideas and approaches they are using to source the best candidates. We have challenges that we need to overcome but we all share the same belief in doing a great job and a team that is committed to each other and believes in their work is so much more successful than those that are just going through the motions.

3)      Trust Your Team – My boss gives me the flexibility to manage my work and I have taken a page from his book and try to share the same principal with the people I work with. There are great people in our team who know what to do – I try to guide people and keep them focused on our larger goals but also I have learned to step out of the way to let them do what it is they are good at.

4)      Walk the Walk – Do the work with the team – The old approach of top down management does not work. I enjoy working side by side with our team not on top of them. We have a team of great individuals who know what needs to be done, I try to be there to support them achieve their goals them not tell them what to do.

5)      Be Clear and Concise – I like big ideas but I also know sometimes I talk in big picture terms and the message of what needs to be done individually can do gets lost in my enthusiasm or not properly communicated. This is something I have learnt about myself and continue to work on.

theoryxyThere are a number of other observations that I can write down but I have just written 5 that came to my mind as I started writing this. I think management is changing for the better – as we continue to shift to an information/services based economy the way we work with people is changing, people that can adapt to change and be open minded will be successful. I have interviewed a number of Recruiters over the years for our team and many people that interview with me are surprised or not able to get their head wrapped around a different style of management outside of the old fashioned manage down and micromanagement style that still exists in many organisations. I think to be successful I need to make sure I surround myself with people who love customer service as much as I do and people who will challenge the status quo with me and be open to new ideas which we do really well.

 

I am sure I will make more mistakes, but mistakes can be good – it means you are trying something new and you can only keep developing yourself if you keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and not become complacent.

Random Thoughts From a Corporate Recruiter: The Book

 

I have been blogging/writing online for the past 5 years. Five years on from my first post and when I look back I would never have thought that I would create so much content or that blogging would introduce me to so many new people and ideas.

title_pageWhen I started blogging in 2008 my initial focus was work related as I wanted to give people a window into what working at Oracle could be. I quickly found that I was writing more and more about information that would help people in their job search in general.

For me, writing regularly has been a great creative output for me to take some of the thoughts that have been in my head and put them onto paper. I hope that in some small way some of my thoughts may have helped someone, somewhere.

I have recently compiled my corporate related blog posts from 2008 into an eBook that I have just published online via Leanpub.com. The book is called: Random Thoughts From a Corporate Recruiter

 

This is not a self help book or a book showing tips and tricks on how to find a job or how to hire great people. It really is as the title suggests – random thoughts from a  Corporate Recruiter on either Recruitment, Job Searching or Social Media (for job searching).

 

One of the main reasons I wanted to create this book is for my own personal use. Looking back at all the posts I have written, I wanted to find a way to not lose those thoughts in time that I have had. I hope some of these posts are relevant, useful or entertaining for you as well. I would love to hear your feedback.

 

As a side note the great thing about publishing on Leanpub.com is that you can buy the book within a price range. Unlike Amazon where there is a set price for a book at Leanpub a reader can pay a range of prices that they feel is fair for the book they buy which I think works well.

Anyway I hope you like the book. Happy Reading.