Recruiters Need to Keep Dreaming Big

Over the past number of years I have interviewed numerous Recruiters for a variety of positions. I have had the chance to talk to some very interesting Recruiters with a great outlook on life and recruitment and also a lot Recruiters who are just going through the motions. If you are a Hiring Manager which Recruiter would you prefer to work with – the one that is always looking for new ways to improve and source candidates or the person who sticks to what has worked in the past whether that is a Job Posting or sending 1000’s of LinkedIn messages to anyone with a keyword in their profile.

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Recruitment is an ever evolving activity I think Recruiters need to keep evolving and changing (and you can’t change just for the sake of it you need to want to) while also holding onto what works. Some of the best recruitment work practices that I have I developed happened before Google searches were available and resumes were still faxed to customers. I think a good Recruiter is a person who is always pushing themselves to not only know their market but also be involved in their space of hiring. As Recruiters we can provide a very valuable service but to do it correctly we need to be able to understand and really know our candidates. We also need to be able to effectively communicate what these candidates are looking for with our Hiring Managers. Poor communication can often be the cog in the machine that turns a hiring process from a positive experience to a not so positive one.

As a Recruiter are you always trying to learn? Before you say yes – think about all the things that Recruiters do. Have you improved your business level engagement with your Hiring Managers. Do you spend time with them to really understand their business plans and pain points or do you take a ‘job spec’ in 15 minutes without managing expectations from each other. Do you spend time talking to your candidates, finding out why people are interested in opportunities and really digging through the white noise to make sure the gems are identified. Do you figure out ways to create a great candidate experience, whether someone gets the job or not? Do you always try new ways to source, I don’t mean LinkedIn, FB or Twitter – these are not competitive advantages when everyone else uses them. What new sourcing technique have you brought to the table to your Hiring Manager to try.

It is not easy, there is a lot of work involved in a Recruiter’s day and it is tempting to take the easy approach that has been tried and tested (think Naukri in India, 51Jobs in China, etc….). I am at fault the same way that many of us are, I have ups and downs in terms of my activity and crazy ideas do not pop up out of the air every day but the best Recruiters I have met are always self driven to develop and grow their capabilities and service offerings. Keep an open mind, don’t be quick to say ‘that won’t work for me’, and try to take an honest self view of your work – is there any areas you can improve, if so think about ways to keep getting better, faster and stronger!

I think what I am trying to say is keep dreaming big and don’t worry about those who say you can’t do something, leave the haters behind and keep dreaming big. Recruitment is not a static activity, keep growing, dreaming and evolving – it will keep you ahead of your competition.

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.

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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!!!

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.

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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.

Google Glasses Certainly Seem Exciting, This Video Makes Me Think Twice

I have to admit, I am a bit of a tech geek, I love my gadgets and when I think of how some of them have changed how I work, where I work, how I gather information, track data, etc… we really have seen technology go in leaps and bounds in the consumer market.

When I saw the initial introduction of Google Glasses I was intrigued and excited at the possibility of what this may mean with how we interact with technology. One of the big things that really grabs my interest with this is to see if these glasses can help Augmented Reality take the next leap in its penetration into the market. So in concept Google Glasses seemed really exciting.

I say seemed because earlier this week I saw this video by Con Agra Foods. Besides the horribly scripted lines the voice actors had to read, this video really made me feel that maybe Google Glasses could potentially be really underwhelming.

In the video we see two friends go about their day to get ready for a party at the end of the night. They add items to their grocery list through out their day, measure how far they walked this week (see my last blog post – you tend to know if you sat on the couch all week or actually did any exercise) and voice texted each other as well as check the news, etc…

One of the main examples that made this video make me think how underwhelming Google Glasses has the potential to be was the “map my grocery list” comment at the approximately 1:40 mark of the video. Really – map my grocery list?? I am sorry but who is that time poor or grocery shopping challenged that they do not know to find the frozen peas in the freezer section of the grocery store? When has grocery shopping become such a complicated task to achieve that I need a map on where to find the milk?

Maybe someone thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread (if only I had Glasses and this amazing App so I could find sliced bread) but this seems to me like people trying to peddle apps we don’t need or make our lives seem so busy or us seem to be have zero life skills that we need an app to measure how to think.

I hope Google Glasses becomes something really innovative. I think the potential really is there to do some great things sadly I don’t think this video demonstrated much of that at all.

 

 

WHY I STOPPED USING NIKE+ AND STARTED ENJOYING RUNNING AGAIN

I wrote a blog post about 3.5 years ago titled Nike+ iPod Why Didn’t I Buy You Earlier

I have been running for about six or seven years and while I go through ups and downs of motivation that I think happens to everyone, I try to average about three to four runs a week. When I first started using Nike+ and measuring my runs, it was really great to be able to look back on my runs and measure my performance either over time or over a specific period.

Since that post I don’t think I have used Nike+ for maybe two or two and half years. What, why would I not keep track of my exercise so I can see if I am doing all the things I am supposed to or not or imporving or running faster/longer, etc…

Even though I am not tracking how far/long my runs are, I think a runner tends to know if they have had a good run or not. When you finish a run you know if you have really put in a good performance without having to verify it by distance or time. I think I have started taking a more wholistic view to running the past few years. So even though I am not measuring my distance – I know roughly if I am running 5 kms or 10 kms and I still have the motivation to keep improving my performance.

For me running serves a couple of purposes. The first is to keep some degree of healthiness. I work from home full time so I have made a conscious effort to make sure I get out and keep moving to stay healthy in some shape or form (maybe a better description is to avoid from becoming unhealthy). The second reason is I find running is a good time for me to tune out to the world and focus my thoughts internally. Life can be quite hectic with 3 kids and working full time and all the other pressures of a normal day. I find when I go for a run my mind tends to wander and I often come up with some of my most creative ideas to problems I am trying to solve. I am a believer in the saying that your best ideas don’t necessarily happen sitting a desk.

I run for the enjoyment of it and all the benefits I get both physically and mentally, I am just not sure I need an application to tell me if I have had a good run or not.So Nike+ it was great having you on my runs for a period of time but I am glad to say that my love for running probably has only become stronger since we have gone seperate ways.

Now It’s Personal (Although It Should Always Be): Campus Recruitment

One of the things that I think is important and I want our Campus Recruitment Team here at Oracle to be known for is outstanding customer service. When I say customer service, I mean both students and hiring managers should feel they have had a great experience in our campus hiring process. I think one of the keys to providing outstanding customer service is being able to provide as best as we can a personalised experience where the students who are interviewing with us feel like individuals in our process and not just part a ‘campus drive’.

In the campus world this can be challenging at times especially in countries where there is high volume hiring. It can be tricky to create a personal experience when you are hiring for a large number of open graduate roles at one time.

I think Campus Recruitment is one of the areas in the recruitment industry that is just waiting for a change.

We have all seen the proliferation of Social Media in Recruitment over the past 4-6 years. Every Recruiter has a LinkedIn account or uses Twitter or G+ or FB, etc… and some individuals and organisations do it really well. Even in Campus Hiring there is great Social Media initiatives where companies reach out to students and talk to them.

However one thing that has not really changed (and this is a generalisation) is the campus hiring interview process. Do these words inspire enthusiasm to you: “Group Interview, Assessment Centre, On-Campus Drive, Off-Campus Drive, etc...” I don’t know about you but to me these words don’t really sound very personal or individual to students. It almost conjures up images of a factory production line or those long queues you see where the person behind the counter says ‘take a number’.

Campus Recruitment has come a long way don’t get me wrong – companies can share data with and talk to students in so many different ways now it really has become a much more transparent and open process. There are some times such as at IIT’s in India where it really is a bit old school in terms of interviewing with students running from company to company interviewing on campus over the course of a few days but I want students talking to Oracle to have as great an experience as possible (the outcome of getting a job or not is separate to the customer experience).

As students, what are your thoughts? Do you feel like ‘just a number’ when you are interviewing or is there ways that companies can make the process more personalised. Let us know your thoughts.

If you are interviewing with Oracle and have questions, want to talk to us or want to know what it is like working here – email us and we will help where we can. If you can’t reach your local Recruiter in your region email me at david.talamelli@oracle.com and I will put you in touch with the appropriate person.

When Did Recruitment Become Not About Recruitment

I did a blog post back almost 3 years ago back in February 2009 titled “Five Trends We May See Happening in Recruitment”. One of the points I made was that as Recruiters our role was becoming more involved in areas like branding and marketing as we become more proactive in our candidate search. Fast forward three years and I think that my forecast has more than come true. These days every company has a Facebook Page, G+ Page, Twitter Account and any other latest and greatest Social Media page that is out there. As Recruiters we have to be where the people are and we have to tell people our message.

One thing that has been on my mind though lately is when did recruitment become not about recruitment?

In an attempt to better connect and engage with communities of people (candidates) I think some companies are becoming so focussed on ‘friending’ or ‘liking’ people online that they have forgotten that as Recruiters we have hard targets like number of placements, interview to placement ratio, time to fill, etc… that we are responsible for. I think there is an increasing disconnect between the soft targets (branding) and the hard targets (numbers) that is occurring.

As companies strive to better engage with their online connections I think what is happening is that we are getting taken away to some degree from our recruitment objectives. I think some aspects of Social Media is making Recruiters soft. It is great to know what someone’s favourite movie is or what they had for lunch – but how does that contribute to their potential placement. It is important for a person to feel connected to a company before they join a company and are being courted but that has always been the job of Recruiters, we just used to do this on the phone.

I have been involved in different branding initiatives some of them have been successful, some of them have failed. The one thing that I think is important is not to hide your message behind the content or run initiatives mainly because it seems like a good idea to increase your online presence. Recruiters if you are looking to hire the best people be clear about that and say so, don’t run a contest in the name of recruitment if it does not help you find the best people out there. Don’t start a community to talk about everything and anything – keep it focussed on your end goals – hiring the best people in your market.

Social Media has been a huge part of my own individual success in recruitment I am not making these comments through a ‘that’s not the way we used to do it’ thought process. I started blogging in 2007/2008 to hopefully help people in their job search and to share with people information about Oracle to help them make an informed decision if Oracle was a place for them to work.

Candidate Engagement is important, you have to know your target audience, but I feel that online recruitment has focussed so much lately on branding/marketing that people have forgotten that we are hear to search for, identify and onboard the best candidates for our roles.

[Edit] I just pressed publish and thought to myself am I a crazy in this thinking? Let me know your thoughts.

Oracle Campus Recruitment is Hiring in India

Last week I attended the ATC Source Conference here in Melbourne. I had the chance to talk to and listen to Jim Stroud. As you can see from my previous post – Jim spoke about Recruiting and Sourcing via YouTube. Fast forward to this week and here I am looking to find another Campus Recruiter to join our Team in India. I am working with one of my colleagues in India and she is helping me source for candidates, but I thought what a great time to put into practice some of the things I listened to Jim talk about last week about using video for recruiting.

I think the recruitment landscape is going to change in the next 5 years and I think candidates will be searching for jobs in a different way than what they do today. So with this position that I am looking to hire I think someone who shares this thought with me and who wants to look at different ways to find great people for Oracle would be great in our team, so I figured rather than posting a standard Job Description, why not try something different to try to get a different result.

So this afternoon I took my iPhone and rather than provide candidates with a written Job Description I thought I would do a video Job Description outlining a little bit about the role and what I am looking for. It is not complete but I think from a candidate perspective it gives a better feel for me and what I am looking for more than a written Job Description on its own would.

Note: I quickly realised that either I need to learn video editing or I really need to find somebody who can help me with video editing.

I am not sure if I will find our next Campus Recruiter via this video or not. I hope I do but if I don’t that is ok this video is just one means I am using to find the next member of our team. Bill Boorman was also at the ATC Sourcing Conference and one of the things he mentioned that stuck in my head is – “don’t be afraid to fail – Fail often, Move on and Fail Cheap”. It was good motivation and Bill reinvigorated me to try something that no one else is doing to recruit (ok maybe saying no one is a bit of an overstatement). You only fail at something if you don’t try – I know it sounds a bit corny but I think it is a good saying and a good outlook to have.

Here’s the plug: If after watching this video and reading a bit about my thoughts, if you think this is the right opportunity for you please get in touch and let’s discuss.