Running My First 50km Ultra at 45 Yrs Old

For the past 12 months or so I have been running with more regularity and with more thought and purpose than I had done the previous 10-15 years.

With a very big thanks to many people locally last year I signed up to do the 28km leg of the Surf Coast Century run in September 2018 as part of a team and completed my first half marathon the same year as well. After completing those couple of runs and coming out relatively unscathed in November 2018 I signed up for my first 50km run which took place over the weekend in March 2019.

Over the past weekend I ran and am glad to report that I completed the 50km run ‘Duncans Run‘. The race was actually 57 kms as they added an extra bonus 7kms to the race and I finished in just over 8 hours. The elevation was close to 2500 metres and it seemed like there was a hill at every turn, I think I am traumatised by hills now.

Having this race to prepare for really kept me focussed over the past 4 months as I tried to stick to my training plan and while I missed a few runs and missed a lot of exercises that I was meant to be doing it was good to have that focus and goal in mind. Over that training period there was a lot of self doubt and injuries that crept in, but one of the things about running that is so good is the support, advice and encouragement that you get from the greater running community.

On race day my mind was playing even more tricks on me, somewhere around the 35km mark my left leg/knee was really on fire and hurting. I managed to walk the hills and run when it made sense but everyone I ran with on race day was encouraging each other on and helping each other through the race. This helped so much.

  • I am really enjoying trail running, I love how this sport pushes my body and my mind. I enjoy working through the highs and lows of a run and love those times on a run when you push past those negative thoughts in your head and end up on the other side in a great mindset.
  • I enjoy the camaraderie of trail runners, it is not about getting a time but about enjoying the run and helping others. At least for me anyway, I am sure there are runners out there that are crazy competitive but even the competitive runners are still supportive and willing to share tips and tricks.
  • I enjoy getting out in the bush to run. I run when I can but with work, family and all the other commitments there are it can be hard to get out. I would rather be on a trail though any day of the week rather than a road race or run in the suburbs. To quote Darryl Kerrigan – ‘How’s the serenity’.

My legs and knee are a bit sore today, but I am feeling pretty good. Will I be doing another trail run in the future? Yes!!! In my mind right now I am thinking I will do the 50km run at Surf Coast Century in Sept 2019, then a 56 or 85 km run in January or February 2020 and hopefully that will lead up to a 100km run for Surf Coast Century in 2020.

Those are my plans at the moment. Who knows things may change in any number of ways but it certainly gives me a bit of focus for the next 18 months for my running 🙂

 

 

Giving Your Recruiters Tools That Will Help Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post talking about some of the real value adds that I see that the LiveHire solution(s) provides in the market. I mentioned the three main points of differentiation being (1) Bottom Line value translating to efficiency and value generation (2) Candidate Experience (3) Getting Full Value from your ATS.

Today I wanted to look at the Hiring Lifecycle from a Recruiter’s perspective and go into a bit more detail about getting full value from your ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

Recruiters are creatures of habit, this is not a bad thing. If you have not hands on been a Recruiter, you may not appreciate the level of multi-tasking and priorities that a Recruiter has to manage. A Recruiter may at any time be working on anywhere from 15-40 open roles that they need to fill. Most Managers will want those roles filled as quickly as possible and will have varying ways to emphasise to their Recruiter the urgency their role requires over other roles. On top of this comes reporting, branding, updating your ATS and all the other nice to haves.

With this in mind, Recruiters go to the sources where they get the best/quickest result for their effort. A Recruiter will want to identify quality candidates quickly without having to sift through candidate profiles that are not relevant. If those quick to find people sources don’t work then this is when a Recruiter needs to invest more of their time/effort and start undertaking tasks to uncover people not easily findable (sidenote: being easy/hard to find does not make you a better/worse candidate). Think back to when LinkedIn took off. I remember first using LinkedIn in 2006 and having a world of candidates to contact open up to me. That and job boards were able to give me quick wins. A good Recruiter normally has a balance of sourcing channels that provide both quick and long sources of candidate pipeline.

One thing I have noticed though over the years is that I have rarely seen Recruiters use their own ATS (Applicant Tracking System) as their first port of call to finding candidates. Job Boards/LinkedIn often gives Recruiters quick results and that fresh energy to filling a new role. I have had feedback and seen myself some of the frustration that comes from Recruiters using an ATS to source candidates. The main things that come to mind are:

A Recruiters ATS Frustration Can Be:

  • Search Capability and Results are often not accurate. You type in a search for ‘Web Designer in Singapore’ and get an Accountant in the US (ok that is extreme, but this can be how inaccurate the search results are).
  • Searches take too long. Some searches take 5-10 seconds to go from page to page but multiply that over a hundred searches in a day and you have a lot of inefficient time being spent.
  • UX/UI is clunky and not easy to navigate. Multiple clicks and pages takes away from the Recruiter’s experience.
  • Candidate profile views are often in spreadsheet format or in a format that does not let the candidate’s experience shine through. This creates more inefficient time being spent by the Recruiter to dig deeper on candidate screening.
  • Recruiters need to enter their own boolean string search and not confident that results are reflective of candidates in their ATS.

Today’s modern Recruiter will use your companies ATS if it helps them find and engage with great candidates. The world of Recruitment is changing and a Recruiters time is more stretched as Recruiters wear multiple hats from Sourcing expert, Business Consultant, Branding/Marketing, Reporting, etc… I think today’s modern Recruiter would benefit from an ATS that:

ATS Tools That Will Help Today’s Modern Recruiter:

  • Provides a great end user experience: The UX/UI is slick and makes the tool really easy to use, there is no delay between pages and profiles are standardised so they are easy to read.
  • Has deep search functionality and AI capability. A good search engine actually has a very robust and smart search capability so that not only will it produce real results from candidate database but it will actually suggest candidates that would suit the roles you are looking to fill.
  • Allows them to easily engage with candidates and minimise the amount of admin work updating systems. So your ATS should be able to minimise duplication, for example if I email a candidate and then need to update my ATS that I emailed them, I want a tool where I can do this in one place.
  • A good search engine actually has a very robust and smart search capability so that not only will it produce real results from candidate database but it will actually suggest candidates that would suit the roles you are looking to fill.
  •  Reporting is easy to read and in graph format so you can easily see the things that are important to you such as time to hire, source of candidate, etc… You will be able to have confidence in the numbers you are reporting and in the accuracy of your data.

Being a creature of habit is not a bad thing, good Recruiters use the tools/sources that provide results for them. The question to HR and Talent Acquisition Leaders is: Is your current Applicant Tracking System your Recruiters first port of call for candidate sourcing/engagement, if not how is this impacting your business, candidate engagement and productivity?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Continuing Evolution of Candidate Experience and Technology

Last week I wrote a post talking about some of the real value adds that I see that the LiveHire solution(s) providing in the market. I mentioned the three main points of differentiation being (1) Bottom Line value translating to efficiency and value generation (2) Candidate Experience (3) Getting Full Value from your ATS.

Today, I wanted to dig a bit deeper and talk in more detail about Candidate Experience. When we think about candidate experience for many people the first thing that comes to mind is the relationship or communication between Recruiter and Candidate. For me the way that a company treats this conversation/experience is the result of the way that the business or company views/prioritises their view of recruitment and candidate care.

I have worked with different businesses over the years and have seen how business leaders who place a value on the candidate experience differ from those who view hiring as a transactional means to an end. I think the view that a company’s leadership team takes towards their hiring experience is the output that candidates will get with that company. A good candidate experience begins before the company even starts it’s hiring process.

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The Changing Expectations of Today’s Candidates: Candidate behaviour has changed from what it once was 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Where once candidates did not question the processes of a companies hiring procedures and looked at jobs as ‘jobs for life’, that ideology has evolved into a much more discerning employment population.

With the changing demographics of the workforce, companies can no longer rely on their name and/or size as a guarantee of a candidates interest in them. A generation ago a common belief was to get a job with a big company and have job security. This approach has changed at least since the GFC and even before that as we have seen companies go through layoffs, redundancies and pressure to deal with a rapidly changing economy.  Candidates can now prioritise which role to take based on factors besides job security or company name. This may include factors such as, team culture, projects they are interested in, chance to work on something new, etc…..

If you couple this change in candidate thinking with the changes in the technology space it really allows companies to better understand the hiring process from a candidate perspective and provides a better candidate experience through a combined evolution of their hiring approach together with an uptake of technology.

Technology exists that should be able to parse a person’s LinkedIn profie and/or resume fairly easily without there needing to be a lot of intervention needed from the candidate. The candidate should really be able to apply for a role via their mobile the same way that they order an Uber or order a pizza. In today’s quickly evolving workplace, companies need to make the process as simple for candidates to get into their pipeline as possible. Companies should be bringing candidates into the org not losing candidates at the application process as a result of a low tech application processes.

There are so many technology changes in the workplace today that companies can easily modify their workflows to make the candidate experience that much easier and better for both candidates and managers. The answer is not in technology alone but I think will come from the combination of technology and the evolution of a company’s change in mindset to candidate experience.

 

Real Value Adds From the LiveHire Product for Companies, Recruiters and Candidates

I was with my last company (Oracle) for just coming up on 13 years. The work was great, I loved working with my team, my management was supportive and the pay and working conditions were second to none.

So with all this in mind, why then did I decide to finish with Oracle to join LiveHire which is an Australian Tech Start up that is scaling quickly in the HR/Recruitment SaaS space. Why give up what was from all sounds of it a great role/team that many people strive to find.

I am going to talk about my experience so far with the LiveHire Team, People and the culture of shifting to a fast moving scale up company in a separate post, but for this post I wanted to get some of my thoughts down on paper about what it is that I found really unique and valuable about the LiveHire solutions and products on offer.

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  • Bottom Line Value to a Companies Hiring Process– I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some really good Recruiters over my 19 years in Recruitment. Not all Recruiters are created equal but I believe that software used correctly can absolutely make the hiring process more efficient, effective and enjoyable for Manager, Recruiter and Candidate. One of the things I liked about LiveHire when I first starting talking to the team here is that I can see how LiveHire  will add value to a companies recruitment activity no matter whether that is done by HR an Internal Recruitment Team, Agencies or an RPO model. There are so many efficiencies that the LiveHire product can provide to a company that this may spill into future blog posts, but LiveHire will help make your companies hiring process more efficient = you will get better results for less manual input and time spent. The flow on effects will vary but the absolutely impact bottom line value, capability and efficiency.

 

  •  Candidate experience – The LiveHire platform is built with the candidate experience in mind. Anyone with success in the Recruitment space knows how hard it is to find and engage great candidates. It is easy to get 100 applications for a role but often out of those 100 applicant maybe 2-3 meet the requirements of the role. I can think of countless times great Recruiters have been able to find only 1 or 2 good candidates for a role using all kinds of sourcing channels. The days of assuming that good candidates will wait for your company are over. If you are slow to respond or slow to engage, you will let what could have been a great candidate slip through your fingers. I think the LiveHire platform allows companies to engage (have really, meaningful conversations) easily with their candidates. In today’s shifting workforce this is a huge competitive advantage as many companies still take the old view of ‘if someone really wants to work here they will wait for us’ mentality – as we know candidates will disengage with companies that do this and that is something that will hurt a companies ability to hire.

 

  • Getting Value from your ATS – One of the other features I really saw value in the LiveHire product set is that LiveHire gives companies the ability to create ‘Talent Pools’ and really allows companies the ability to take advantage of its ATS. This may seem like just another fancy way of saying it gives you access to your ATS, but the LiveHire product does so much more than this. When a company has new roles it needs to fill, more often than not the Recruiters working on these roles will go look to finding new candidates from a job ad or LinkedIn first before even thinking about mining the existing candidate data they have in their ATS. Often a companies ATS (where companies keep previous candidate information) is too hard to search, too slow, gives out unreliable results, doesn’t have search capability, etc… All these things push Recruiters to look for new candidates rather than re-engaging with candidates who have already applied to roles with them and are interested in working with them. This may not seem like a big impact statement but the flow on effects are incredible. Imagine being able to reduce your time to hire from 30+ days to 10 days for example, or actually use the candidate data you already have and talk to people you already know rather than spending agency fees, advertising fees on sourcing new candidates.

 

I am only touching upon each of these points as I think that to go into more detail on each item would turn this into a really long post. I will touch upon these subjects again in future posts. I think the LiveHire products are really exciting in the HR Tech space. This won’t work for every company but for those that want a competitive advantage in the ongoing search to hire talented people – I think the LiveHire tool is really well set up to help companies and create the kind of interaction that candidates want from companies as well.

 

Breaking The Myth….How Long Do You Need to Stay in a Job

After almost 13 years with Oracle, this was my last week with the company. I gave notice to my boss just before Christmas and I have been helping hand things over as best I could over the past few weeks. I posted a thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with over the years here: LinkedIn Goodbye Message the other day.

 

The thought in my head this morning was how my own actions have made me think about ’the experts’ who claim how long you should stay in a job for or are quick to tell everyone how companies view your tenure (whether it is too long or too short or something else) when you are looking for a job. You will see some articles saying you must stay in a job 2 years, or don’t stay longer than 7 years in a role, etc…..

 

Image result for how long to stay in a jobThe working world is a much different place to what it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago. My dad worked for one company and retired with that same company. Me, I am still in single digits in terms of the number of companies I have worked for but I may well end up in double digits before my working career wraps up and my kids – I am not even sure what the world will look like for them, they may not even have or want to have full time roles.

There are so many articles out there with these self perceived corporate guidelines of how long to stay in a job so you are not viewed as a ‘job hopper’ or as ‘part of the furniture’. I understand the thinking of these articles but I also feel that you do not need to apply some unwritten corporate guideline to your life. The best answer I would put out there on how long to stay in a job is to follow your gut feeling. You as an individual tend to know when it is time to leave a company/role and your gut instinct is more often than not correct.

 

If you end up in 5 roles in 5 years that is ok, if you are with one company for 10 or 20 years that’s ok as well. Different jobs/companies serve us differently at different times in our lives. The old school mentality of job tenure is shifting rapidly in today’s workforce.

 

This post below from Inpower Coaching and subsequent photo I think is really well written and is a very level headed approach to the question, how long to stay in a job.
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The point that I would note is to not make rushed, emotional decisions about your role/job/company. In my experience I have seen people (from graduates to executive level) change jobs based on rushed, emotional decisions rather than working out what it is they want to do, taking the time to evaluate their current situation and then making a level headed decision on their career weighing up all the information they have.

 

This is where if you change companies 5 times in 5 years and you are doing the same role each time – maybe it is not the companies that you have worked for that is a problem, but maybe in this example you have not sat down and worked out what it is you are looking for and then searched for that type of role. You may be taking on roles that you may know deep down you may not want to do (I hope that makes sense).

 

I am not the only person finishing work with their company this week, I am fortunate as I could not have finished on better terms with my boss. I have seen a number of similar posts as mine from people finishing up from all kinds of companies giving thanks to everyone.

 

People resign from companies every day and the world keeps on turning, if you find you are asking yourself how long should I stay in this job, make sure to take a level headed and logical approach to the question. A calm and measured approach will keep you from making any rash decisions. The answer is individual to you, it should be as long the role you are in works for you, not because of what others may or may not think of how that looks on your resume.

Good Writing is Not About Hits or Clicks it is Sincere and Meaningful

Last night I read the following Blog Post from Dan Nuroo. Dan has always written interesting posts. Most of his writing has been in and around the Recruitment Industry and it was really good to see him writing online again.

As I was out for my morning run my mind started to wander and I got to thinking how much I enjoy reading sincere and meaningful posts such as the one I read last night. I also ended up thinking about how long it has been since I have written. At one stage I was writing about topics in the recruitment space on a regular basis. There have been a few posts over the past couple of years here and there but not with the same level of activity that I had previously written and I started to think why.

One of the things I love about Social Media is that you get to share your thoughts and views with readers around the world. The more we share the more we all learn and grow and all the positive effects that go with it. There are some people who advise that if you are going to blog or share content that you must post every day or every second day to keep your visibility up and your ranking high on various sites. I struggle with this thought of having to post every day or every second day. The reason I write and post online is two fold, on one hand it probably is therapeutic for me to get this information down on paper but I also like to think I am providing something that may help a company or person in their recruiting or job search efforts.

With regards to how often you should post, I don’t think there needs to a rule of thumb. If you are writing with good intentions and trying to make a positive experience for whoever reads your post then do it when it works for you. For me, I think don’t post something just to post something, post content when your writing is honest and sincere and not just about hits, clicks or views. Ok, I feel that this post is now starting to tread into rambling territory now.

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Will I write more in the new year, I hope so, I think I will as even putting this together feels good for me. So why have I stopped writing for the past number of years, here are few thoughts that bounced around my head this morning.

  1. In years prior I had written a lot of content on Recruitment and Candidate interviewing, I think I felt I had exhausted many of the topics I wanted to talk about and didn’t want to just add content online for the sake of it.
  2. My role has changed a lot over the past 3 or so years. I have been focussed on internal systems/processes and growing and developing our internal teams. My mindset has been on helping our teams and people internally succeed. While this has been very satisfying it has likely refocussed some of my creative outlets to those folks rather than this site.
  3. Life – I know we prioritise the things that are important to us, but juggling work, family and everything in between kept me busy. Over the past 3 years there have been births, deaths and everything in between that has taken my focus and attention.
  4. Work – the past number of years have been busy, I have viewed spreadsheet after spreadsheet and report after report. I have had to focus my attention and energy on corporate stuff and my writing has been impacted as a result of this.

It can be easy to fall into a level of complacency when it comes to writing. If like me you have written in the past but maybe not so much lately that is ok just remember the things that brought you to writing (and Dan if you are reading this hopefully you will have more content in the new year as well 🙂 )

 

 

In Recruitment It Is More Often Than Not Mind Over Matter

I used to run and I used to run often. Back about 5,6,7 yrs ago I was running three to four times a week and really enjoyed my running. Sometime between that period of time and today in 2018 I crossed over into the 40+ age bracket and as my running distances and time increased I also injured myself (repeatedly).

Looking back I now know that the reason I was injuring myself was because I was overtraining, running too far and too fast for what my body could handle and I was not doing enough stretches or exercises to support longer distances.

At the time though, in my head I did not see these logical reasons for why I was getting running injuries. In my head the narrative was much different – the conclusion that was coming up in my head was that these injuries must be age based as running can put a lot of wear and tear on knees and legs. I came to the conclusion that as I continued to age there would be no way I can continue running without causing further injuries which led me to the conclusion that I should start bike riding instead as that has less impact even though I prefer running to biking.pexels-photo-421160.jpeg

The good news is that I have started running again this year and I am enjoying it as well. It took me a little while but I was thinking wait a second, you see 80 yr old people running all the time, with all the injuries and ailments and other reasons that make running hard they still do it. So if that is case, what’s my excuse!

How does this all relate to Recruitment? I have worked with a lot of Recruiters around the world over the past 18 or so years and I really believe the narrative in your head is the reality you produce. As a Recruiter if you tell yourself that there are no ‘good candidates’, or the market is tough or that nobody will be interested in the role you have to fill….if you tell yourself these things this is likely the outcome you will produce.

On the other side of that coin – if you tell yourself the next call you make will be the perfect candidate, or the next search will produce the person you are looking for – that drive and focus will help push you to the outcome you are looking for.

Recruitment is hard, I am not saying that just by thinking good thoughts you will make easy placements but negative thoughts will certainly not help you. Every problem has a solution, sometimes as Recruiters you just need to dig deep to find that candidate, make that placement or solve a problem. It is kind of cliche but it is true hard work pays off, the more calls you make the more interviews you have, the more interviews means the more placements.

I am sure in your industry that the equivalent of that 80 yr old runner with a hip replacement is out there making cold calls to candidates and making placements. Sometimes half the battle is having the right mind set. Once you have that locked in there really is no difficulty you can’t face.