Archive for the ‘ #myjobhunt ’ Category

Are Your Interviewers Good Enough?

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

When you interview people for a job you are asked to make a judgment call on whether the people you interview are good enough and suitable for your company, but what makes you think you are good enough to do the interview and represent your company? Are you suitably trained to conduct a proper interview and make that decision yourself? I suspect not.

The vast majority of hiring managers whether they work in HR or not have never been trained how to interview people; the psychology, the questions to ask, what not to ask, how to decide who is good enough or what good enough looks like.  Many will have the information needed to sell the company and the job to each candidate, but fail disastrously by simply asking the wrong questions, focusing on the wrong competencies in a person’s background appropriate to the role, not listening to the answers given and not exploring each answer or further.

I know some companies train and certify every manager before they are able to open a Requisition, before they are able to hold an interview.  Why don’t more do it?

What is often forgotten in the recruitment process is the candidate.  There are plenty of articles and blogs written about how poor the candidate experience is in the majority of companies, yet little attention is given to the quality of interviews.

Do you realise you could be missing out on very good talent for your organisation because your interview processes or the people doing the interviewing is substandard, boring and in some cases illegal.

In an interview a good candidate will be interviewing you and your company. Or they would be if given the chance to.  They too have to make a very important choice.  To a greater extent the decision the candidate has to make is far more important and crucial than the decision you have to make.  If they get the decision wrong it could screw up their life; if you get it wrong you rectify and move on.   Candidates therefore must be given the opportunity to represent themselves and as most interviews follow a typical Q&A format the right questions need to be asked to elicit the appropriate answers or at least stimulate the appropriate level of discussion.

I will give you an example from recent personal experience.  I was being interviewed for Director, Global Recruitment by an HRD.  The role was very senior and of a strategic leadership nature, yet a ridiculous amout of time was spent going into detail on a project I worked on in early 2008, that was purely transactional and not at all relevant to the role I was being interviewed for.

Where were the questions about the ATS they are about to acquire and deploy, my thoughts related to the announcements from LinkedIn made just that week, to the use of social media, candidate experience, employer brand, the impact of the AWR or many others more relevant to the most senior resourcing role in the organisation.  I think you get the point.

This is not a rant nor is it a specific observation on that one incident – there have been others in the last 7 weeks – this post is purely an observation about the lack of attention and lack of priority given to one of the most important jobs/functions in a company; that of an interviewer.

So before you judge a candidate be sure you judge your interviewers’ ability,  otherwise you will be failing your candidates and losing out on the good people you set out to acquire.

How many companies train and certify their managers before they let them near an interview room?

Do you?

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#myjobhunt – Being Inspired & Being Confident is Crucial

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Today I was inspired.

It happens more to me than many people I know. It comes from the people I count as my friends and the people I meet or chat to by phone.

I had 6 major discussions today; 3 in person and 3 by phone. Each one was different and each left me with things to think about and reflect upon.

As many people know I’m looking for work at the moment and I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that it is not easy and at times my head is all over the place. I know I am not alone. Yet it is days like today and the conversations I had, that bring the focus back. I’m not going to go into the detail, but the inspiration each of them gave me was huge.

I don’t mind admitting that I got up this morning feel quite down and frustrated with #myjobhunt 2011, you may have got that from my last post. Yet I got the station and onto the train. One of the things that only a few know about me is that I love listening music to the point that I can get very lost in it and generally take my in-ear headphones everywhere with me. I tend to like it loud and I tend to like it very heavy, for much of what I listen to anyway. This morning was no different and yes it was loud. As a result by the time I’d got to London my mood was on the upside

The first meeting was a chat with Doug Shaw, someone I’ve got to know through Twitter, ConnectingHR and at SocRecCamp. A top bloke. Genuine and supportive. It was a simple coffee to share ideas and explore a few thoughts, no agenda, just chatter. Time flew past and I had to leave to make my way to my next appointment, scheduled as an interview. I was buzzing, not from the coffee but from the conversation I’d just had.

I don’t get nervous about much but this interview was different, not because of what is at stake in my life but because of whom I was interviewing with. But I was up for it. Over the next hour I had another conversation with someone who shares my passion for what we do and who gets how to engage with people. We shared our thoughts and he probed to find out what I thought on certain issues and practices around Resourcing and Talent. It was a good introductory conversation which had to come to a halt after 80 mins, both of us acknowledging that we could have spent all day on the various subjects and issues we face in our daily jobs. Now if I get this particular position this is the chap I would report to. It’s pretty good to know that your potential boss gets it too.

I had a spring in my step as I strolled across the West End of London to my next meeting.

This one was with a lady from APSCo who I’d met and shared ideas and thoughts with previously over the last two or three years. We talked about the complaints or moans members of The FIRM have about agencies, along with issues that the agencies have when dealing with their customers, whether HR, Resourcers or hiring manager. Typical and expected chatter. It wasn’t an entirely pleasing subject to chat about given there is unlikely to be a simple answer to the issues we all have, nor is there ever likely to be a remedy to them. All we can do is discuss them and try our best to improve how we do things. What was clear for me however as I walked to the Tube was that if we all focus completely on doing the best we can, in the right and appropriate way, as expected by everyone then it can only be better. Anyway that’s another subject for another day…..maybe.

What was good about this meeting was that it I was given the inspiration to possibly make a difference and it was in my power as an individual to do something about it. Which I will be doing over the next week or so, if I can find the time

Whilst I’ve been looking for work I got to know of a number of others that are in the same situation; three of whom I had met for the first time this year. I am pleased to say that these three people, all in HR have in the last 4 working days secured new jobs. One of whom announced her success today adding to my good feeling. I won’t out them just yet as I am not sure how public they have made their news, but brilliant news and many congratulations to you all; G, S and J.

I suppose what I am saying with this post is that it is okay to be a little down and a little frustrated and a little confused when job hunting. It’s a serious business. But be true, stay focused and believe in yourself and know that you are good at what you do and you’ll have days like this too and soon those days will turn into the kind of days my three friends have had in this last week. Be inspired.

I started this post by saying I was inspired today. I was. I’d started the day feeling pretty grim about things but then as the day wore on I got back on the balls of my feet and started to feel good, and by the time I got home I was buzzing. It was a day when I got focus and confidence back. And it’s not just today either. The support and encouragement and great friendship I have received this year is amazing. Last year blew me away but this year is amazing. Thank you all.

My name is Gary, I’m looking for a new job and I am good at what I do.

Music of the Day: BU2B by Rush (also inpsired by Doug, a Rush fan too)

thanks for reading

Things That Job Hunters Hate – #myjobhunt

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Last week was my first week of availability; I’d forgotten how exciting job hunting can be. Yet, despite really enjoying meeting new people, the conversations that result and the relationships that evolve, job hunting is not easy. I find it both fun and fascinating and very hard work all at the same time. That’s when it’s going okay. In fact even when it is going okay it saps the energy, both physically and mentally. The concentration required is very taxing to say the least. I know I am not alone in admitting it can be very stressful and intimidating at times. But let’s face it unless you want to give everything up, you have to keep going. But can you imagine what it must be like for those who have been out of work for so long that they can’t say it’s going okay?. How stressful and confidence sapping must that be?

I had three months’ notice that my contract was definitely coming to an end and therefore I had plenty of time to get the #myjobhunt process started. I thought I had the time, but in reality when still getting stuff done in the day-job, job hunting was very very difficult, almost impossible to do aggressively yet the pace did pick up in the last two weeks. The number of contacts, referrals and interviews I had lined up was a real surprise to me. In the last week, my first week of availability I’ve had a couple of days where there were two interviews each day, each with companies new to me and in markets alien to me. All with the same challenges but with their own unique requirements to be met. I will I hope have done a good job in all, but likely as not I won’t be the preferred candidate in all of them. But I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunities to sell myself. The refreshing and mature aspect of these companies is that their HRDs are not misguided into believing that market or industry sector experience is crucial at this level. It frustrates the hell out of me when I get told “sorry you don’t have retail (or similar) experience” or “you haven’t been an HR Generalist” or as one person said to me this week “we may decide to take someone from a general HR background because they have better communication skills”. I’ll let you judge and feel free to comment.

I suspect there are many job hunters out there in the same position and not having a good time of it at the moment and it certainly doesn’t help when short-sighted hiring managers ask for irrelevancies or focus too much on what someone has done in the past, rather than looking harder at the knowledge and attributes they can bring and what they are able to do. Sadly this is all too common, the vast majority of interviewers and hiring managers simply do not know how to interview and assess someone properly. They lack the skills themselves to explore candidates’ abilities and potential. They therefore let themselves down by missing out on good people for the future development of their department and company and they let the candidate down too. And we all know the impact a bad interviewer or bad interview experience can have. Getting a consistent approach to interviews, questions and evaluations should be a top priority for every Resourcing leader and business leader – it’s not that hard to do either and depending on the size of your organisation can be rolled out very quickly too.

Ok so questionable job requirements, over ambitious wish lists and crap interviewers are some of the frustrations that we can all relate to, but there is one that I think we would all agree just isn’t acceptable yet still happens all too often. Post-interview feedback. Or the lack of feedback to be precise.

During the last three months of my contract I was pursuing a position with one particular company. A job I really liked the sound of and was very excited about. I had 5 interviews with this particular company; one with their most senior global resourcing person and another with their most senior HRD in EMEA. They were very pleasant and professional and gave me a good sense of what their plans were and what many of their company and personal business values were. Sadly I was to be disappointed on two fronts with this company. Firstly I didn’t get the job but knowing the chap that did helped me accept it with a smile. Secondly and what I was more disappointed about was the lack of feedback. I received none whatsoever. All I got was that they chose someone else. In my case I gave over 8 hours of my time (inc. travel) to attend these interviews.

It was over a month from the last interview to being told I didn’t get it, so I wasn’t surprised but given the values and the conversations I’d had I was surprised when the search firm still wasn’t able to get me any feedback. We all know this happens; it’s talked about and complained about by candidates all over the world. I would suspect that this it is the biggest complaint that candidates have.

Now I don’t write this to have a pop at that particular company. As many of you know if I was that bothered personally I’d not hesitate in naming them would I? But really you/we should all do better than this. It is not only lazy, wrong and rude it damages your personal reputation and that of your company.

In my position as recruiter looking to be recruited I am probably more relaxed about this most candidates. From a Resourcing Manager’s perspective I am appalled.

As a candidate I do have in insiders understanding of the processes involved, the expectations and the acceptance that things aren’t perfect and therefore don’t take it too personally. I could bitch and moan and complain how unfair it all is, actually I do that quite a bit, but I knew what it would be like at the outset. Job hunting is all about motivation, not getting too disappointed and being tenacious. Much of the motivation comes from being able to identify where you went wrong and be encouraged that you can improve. Not that many people are self-aware enough to know where they screwed up, so they really on the feedback of others. Receiving post-interview feedback really does help and it should matter too. From a candidates point of view it is required for learning purposes or just plain closure. From the company’s perspective it is essential to give a real and valid reason to ensure that you live up to the promises and value you spoke about in the interview.

From the other side of the fence, the Resourcing Managers’, don’t you realise the damage you are doing to you own personal reputation let alone the feelings a candidate might have towards your company as a result of not taking 15 mins to provide feedback to someone? If you don’t I am sure your CEO would like to have a word. If you don’t then I’d gladly spend time explaining why and help you improve your approach and processes.

In the last month or so countless people have ask me how my quest has been going. On every occasion I reply “it’s going okay”. Never good, never great and never poorly, just okay. And it will always be just okay until I sign on the dotted line; then it will be great. There could come a time when I want to describe it as poor, maybe if I’ve been turned down or had bad feedback. But until any of those times actually happen, it will be okay. This is good.

So, job hunters, but strong and keep going, think about how you can improve as you go through the experience.
Employers be honest and fair and respect the candidates – you have to be better because as with last year many of you are not as good at hiring as you think you are.

thanks for reading

Music of the Day; As I Am by Dream Theater

Will You (We) Ever Change? – #myjobhunt week 3

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

I’ve not had the opportunity to write too much about #myjobhunt over the last couple of weeks – to be honest I haven’t had much inclination.

Last year I was on gardening leave and not required to get up a prescribed time. Nor did I have anything other than job hunting to do each day. I did seem to get a ridiculous number of chores that seemed to spring up from nowhere. The sun was even shining then. This year I have a job to do, a job that I enjoy so my priority is to that job. I also have to admit part of me has been in denial over the last month, hoping and to a certain extent certain I would get a reprieve and get a last minute extension to my contract. Alas this was a bit foolish on my part. The reality of the situation is that my boss on the first day had told me that it was unlikely to last more than a year. I knew the parameters and in September 2010 I was prepared for that.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the scope and scale of the job ahead of me and how much needed to be done. Nor was I prepared for the team in which I would work. I was soon thinking of myself in terms of a long term employee and lost sight of the end point. Wishfully thinking that I would be made a permanent employee.

So when informed at the end of June that it was almost certainly coming to an end I was more than a little disappointed; even that’s an understatement. Yet the day came when we had to tell everyone. It made it very real at that point.

In the last post regarding #myjobhunt 2011 I mentioned that I had already started interviewing and at that time I was quite advanced with one company. There were a few other opportunities that I had started but only the one that had moved. This one job is very interesting to me on so many fronts. It ticks many boxes for me. You can therefore imagine how I felt with a limited pipeline of opportunities and a job I was excited about after 4 interviews, to be told that they were not going to be making a decision for another couple of weeks because they had two other people to interview.

Or maybe you can’t.

I had to admit that since the last interview on the previous Friday I’d felt that I didn’t perform well in the interviews, there were plenty of gaps or things I should done better or differently, maybe. As such my initial reaction was one of rejection. I clearly hadn’t done enough to give them a reason not to interview others. But thinking about it over the weekend and putting myself in the position of Hiring Manager I had to admit that interviewing all of the potentially suitable candidates makes perfect sense. So whilst still disappointed I started this last week not feeling rejected.

However this delay, as well as the fact that everyone now knows I will be leaving at the end of Sept spurred me into action.

I had a few calls with agencies and search companies with very predictable results. “oh sorry that job has gone” or “we’ll call you back” or “you don’t have enough experience” – One or two of which WILL be mentioned in a blog post once I have secured a job, so if you work for an agency and I have spoken with you this last 2 weeks and you think you may have been a touch misleading or up your own arse, you have a little while to make amends before I name and shame you.

Two weeks ago I’d received a referral from a friend in The FIRM which I followed up immediately. I further followed it up this week and have been rewarded with an interview soon. I also applied directly for another role last week, followed it up this and also now have an interview. Both of these interviews are with the companies directly, which is pleasing. Progress.

One disappointment however is a role applied for two weeks ago via a company’s career site. The job was posted by a member of The FIRM and therefore I expected a bit of either professionalism or courtesy. Sadly no response has been received to date. This week I also connected with her on LinkedIn and sent her a direct email. Still no response. Again I will be blogging about it and them once I have a job.

You (We) must do better. Recruiters or agency staff are constantly getting criticised for poor responses and lack of engagement which they all seem to want to defend. Yet my experience tells me that you (we ) don’t have a leg to stand on. WE have got to do better. One thing that it seems I need to scream loudly is that if I apply to you for a job don’t ignore me. Not only am I applying for a job that if successful could see me as your boss, but it is rude. I am not a serial applicant and every job I apply for is relevant and appropriate to me and my experience and competencies.

Rant over. I feel more positive now because I am making a real effort. I have clearly stated that I am interested in one particular job, however a delay, as any, gives me the opportunity to have my head turned by others. I am ignoring the doubts, or at least trying to and getting on with giving myself that “choice” I wrote about last year. If fortune favours me and the other candidates don’t impress or fall short and they want me, then I will have to decide at that time. Right now however I don’t have a choice and need to surge forward.

Tomorrow is another day, thankfully the last day of the week before a weekend and a recharge.

As with last year I have received the most amazing amount of support and help from my friends online and offline, some of whom are in the same position as me and possibly looking at the same jobs – I am still happy to share with them too, unless of course I am in an advanced situation with a prospective employer. Good luck to everyone and please let me know if I can be of help.

Different Approaches for a Different Year – #myjobhunt Week 1

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Well that was an interesting week.

Having decided to take the week off to recharge my batteries I found myself thinking that I should spend some of the time looking for the my next job. The weather however was conspiring against me. Who wants to be stuck on the phone or at a PC when the sun is shining? A rare occasion in this year’s British summer.

On Weds I woke early (by holiday standards) having been stupid enough to book a PT session for 0800. When I left the house at 0745 for the walk through the woods and across the fields (that sounds very Larkrise to Candleford doesn’t it?) to the gym it was already very hot. By the time I got there I was already warmed up and then after 15 mins on the bike, up and down virtual hills I was dripping! Not nice for the next 2 hours. Like any good Personal Trainer Chris was not going to let me falter, slow down or give up regardless I cried and screamed like a baby.

It was therefore about 1100 that I finally booted up the laptop, tuned into Planet Rock and went about finding another suitable position.

Those that read the blog posts I wrote during #myjobhunt 2010 will know that I don’t tend to use typical approaches of job boards and agencies when proactively looking, or at least I didn’t then. On Wednesday I started out thinking that this year was not likely to be any different. I would continue to engage with as many people as I could and generate interest and referrals from my Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Connections. Or at least try.

Whilst this approach was and is working very well, it became clear that this year is significantly different to last year. This time last year I was happy to take a job that would enhance my career, either doing a job that had exciting content and development opportunity or one that would give me the opportunity to progress in the future. I spoke to everyone, I met as many people as I could, and chased down every lead I could. In having this approach I was lucky enough to have quite a few positions to chase and consider. This year I still need to do the same.

Yet it dawned on me that having been fortunate enough to land a job managing and leading change in the function in a complex organisation as we go through a sizable corporate and HR Transformation, the kind of job that will now float my boat has changed. Jobs like these tend to be quite senior and as such there is a tendency to give the vacancies to Search firms. In doing so it sort of eliminates the chances of referrals. I have already experienced it once in this year’s quest for a new job. A friend got in contact to say that they were looking for a person to run the European Recruitment function. I sent my CV knowing they had already given the role to a very expensive Search firm, a firm I have experience with and know how and what they charge. It was little surprise to get feedback a week or so later that they were really interested in my experience however, were quite advanced with another candidate presented by the Search firm. Of course the potential employer had probably paid in the region of £60,000 to the search firm already and wanted to think they were going to justify that expense, so a referral no matter how relevant would be a bit embarrassing wouldn’t it?

Despite the fact that in-house recruiting professionals of all grades are extremely well networked and connected to each other in the UK and elsewhere, thanks to The FIRM and other networks, I find it disappointing that Search seems to be the first port of call when hiring at this level. I may be disappointed but not surprised. In fact one position I am very keen on at the moment is as a result of a Search firm contacting me. So I am not complaining just making an observation.

One other problem with finding out about jobs and then being referred to the Search company, supposedly managing them, is that when you track down the Search firm and the so called “consultant” no one is ever available and you have to leave a message. You can never reach them nor will they bother to call you back? A Search firm called JD Haspel didn’t seem to be interested in being disturbed and haven’t called me back despite messages I left at the beginning of the week. Anyone use them?

Rant over.

By Wednesday evening I started to think that maybe I needed to contact as many search firms as I could that specialised in HR positions – are there any? That is the trouble. Where would I start? I recognised I probably needed to get in contact with a few, maybe those that I knew already would be more respectful and speak with me. Makes sense doesn’t it? So while I am mulling these thoughts over and trying to get motivated to speak with people that for the last year I have been targeting in my efforts to reduce costs (typical isn’t it? But I won’t corrupt myself by doing it any other way), I start surfing, reading blogs, and posting comments. Always a good way to get noticed in the right forums.

I then started trying to organise my LinkedIn Connections and exploring positions posted on The FIRMs job listing. I looked at one particular position posted in The FIRM that had also been posted to the wider LinkedIn platform, which then led me to a couple of positions that looked good. I sent an inMail to one of my connections for help on one, applied for another and saved a couple for later follow up. I also started noticing the differences in how companies and recruiters posted their jobs on LinkedIn. It was interesting that some jobs would have plenty of enticing detail whilst others would have lots about the company but little about the job itself. It is poor how some people think that they don’t have to sell and attract. Come on! You have to make a job look exciting otherwise why on earth would anyone apply, at this level? We want to know more, we want to hear it all, we like a challenge.

Also I noticed for the first time the links at the foot of the job ad. These are LinkedIn generate links called “People Who Viewed This Job Also Viewed”. Bingo! One job led to another and two more applications were made as a result. It was strange though and I am sure I was doing something wrong, some of the jobs I was finding by following these links didn’t come up in searches I ran on LinkedIn. I’ll figure that one out.

Wednesday had not finished there either. Whilst I was reading through LinkedIn I was also active on Twitter and monitoring a couple of lists. Two people who I have got to know over the last couple of years, one of whom I have never met, suggested two leads for me, both with full contact info and full introductions and both of which could very well lead somewhere. One a contract and the other a permanent job. Thank you to both, Ken and Mat for your generous assistance with both of these, pie and pint on me when we meet up.

Thursday was a day out. I was hoping for sunshine but the rain was torrential for the morning. I was out and about in Somerset, a part of the country that was a communications dead zone! It made me a bit nervous not only being without a cell phone signal but without email as well. I start to sweat and twitch when that happens for 10 mins on the train, but I was 6 hours off-grid this time.

Once I did get back to civilisation and my email downloaded I was pleased to see that one of the leads from the previous day had started to move quite nicely and needed some follow up when I got home. This was duly addressed.

Friday was dominated by two interviews in the City. These were effectively 3rd and 4th interviews in follow up to the 2nd interview I had on Day 1 (Monday). I was very excited and very nervous about these. I don’t tend to get nervous about much but as I have said previously the stakes are higher this year and the good opportunities are not likely to be as prolific as they were last year. Besides, everything I had found out and heard about this company has been positive and appealing. The job itself is a perfect opportunity for me to do again much of what I have done in the last year – but differently.

On the way into London I had so many good wishes sent my way by online and offline friends. I cannot begin to tell you just how much they all meant to me, made me smile and relaxed me. On my way home last night I received a few texts, DMs, WhatsApps and emails asking me how I had got on and how the interviews went. My initial reaction and thoughts were very positive. I enjoyed meeting both of the people today and felt that the interviews went well. But then I got to thinking. Replaying both of them in my mind through the evening the doubts started to creep in. Questions like “did I give a good performance?”, “was my answer the best I could have given?”, “should I have volunteered more?”, “did I talk too much?”, “did I listen enough?”, “why didn’t they ask me about some of the compliance issues?” and so on.

These sorts of thoughts are inevitable despite being unhealthy. I can only help I have done enough to maintain their interest and if haven’t I have to make sure I use the lessons learned to improve myself for next time.

Fingers crossed eh?

#myjobhunt Happy Anniversary – a year on, Day 1

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Two weeks ago I wrote a post in which I mentioned that my current contract was soon to come to an end and it was unlikely to be extended and therefore would need to reactivate #myjobhunt for 2011. It was funny at the time of writing that post I was full of confidence and positivity, some of which was that there was the possibility that I would be staying on and part of it was because I had such fun last year and was looking forward to it this time around even though I had hoped not to have to. Does that make sense?

Two weeks ago I also had to start Jury Service. This was my second time as a jurist, the last time much more accommodating than this time! It couldn’t have come at a worse time, not only for my impending hunt, but also because of the workload and priorities I had in my current job.

The last time I sat on a Jury in 2005 it was in Coroners Court for a suicide. It affected me for quite some time, but it was over with in about a week.

This time it was Crown Court for a very serious crime. I was lucky to have been called for a case in the first couple of hours on the first day. Or at least that is how I felt for about an hour. Despite or maybe due to the repetitiveness of the statements and evidence from witnesses, I didn’t feel so lucky after the first day. The time spent in the jury box in the court itself was actually an interlude to the waiting around, and every evening I got home I was more tired and stressed than I would have been if I had been commuting to the office every day. I do not like not working when I should/could be and it probably didn’t help that I couldn’t talk about it when I did get home either. It was energy sapping, far more so than I could have expected (or needed either).

At work I have a lot on at the moment, most of which needs to be completed before the end of September if I am to leave at the end of Sept, which now seems almost certain. So not only was Jury Service an imposition to this, it meant that I wasn’t able to find the time to find the next “best job I’ve had”. I was fine during the first week thinking it won’t last long and we’ll be released but no, the judge asked us to come back for the second Monday. My frustrations and my irritation went up a level when after that case finished the judge asked us to check in to see if we were needed for the rest of the week. I was relatively lucky; I only had to hang around doing nothing for three days in the second week!!! Some of my fellow jurors from that first case got called on another long case – I am smiling inside.

It was exactly a year ago yesterday that #myjobhunt 2010 started. I’ll be honest with you I could probably republish the same first day post from last year. The initial anxieties, insecurities and doubts we’ve all had in the same circumstances were there, the same as they were last year. There are differences between last year and this. In 2010 I deliberately resigned from a job to find a new position that would allow me to grow and enhance my experience and give me the opportunity to develop and use my potential. This year I still have a big job to do.

Last year I was incredibly fortunate to land just that kind of position I craved and have had the opportunity to work with such a focused and energised group of people for the last year, in a great company as we have been going through some major changes. Now in 2011 as it seems time to move on, it would be perfect to be able to do the same again if at all possible. Hopefully correcting the mistakes made, improving the ideas put in place and enhancing whilst repeating some of the successes achieved. The stakes are somewhat higher as a result.

The morning of Day 1 was all about my job – having decided during my second week of Jury Service that I had outstanding holiday to take and needed a break I received permission to take a week of leave. I therefore had to not only follow up on a number of issues from the previous couple of weeks, but I needed to be sure that any outstanding issues were handed over. I also spent a bit of time making a few calls to update some people on my situation and of course the inevitable thinking and worrying!

1pm rolls around before I know it and off I go for a two and a half hour workout with a recently retained Personal Trainer. This worked a treat. Last year I walked the hills around the farm estate on which I live for exercise, this year I am stepping up the pain for gain. It worked! The juices were flowing (serotonin apparently) by the time I got home and I felt much more positive. It helped that my car passed its annual MOT without a glitch. I was ready apart from a small matter of dehydration, easily resolved for an afternoon and evening of positive action and thoughts.

There are a couple of opportunities I am discussing with people at the moment, one of which sounds after two interviews very exciting and could well be “that job”. I have been aware of both of these positions for a few weeks now, and frustrated that I have not been able to pursue either until yesterday due to my civic responsibilities. Other opportunities are out there and the grapevine has started to whisper but I now need to apply myself and find out more about each of them.

That will do for a Day 1 / Day 2 post, more hours will need to be spent tomorrow. Maybe I will have to walk to the top of the lane again to visit and reacquaint myself with the “office” that I became so familiar with last August.

Music of the Day – “Up Around the Bend” by Credence Clearwater Revival

This one is all about me – #myjobhunt 2011

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

It seems frightening to think that it has been nearly a year.

A little over a year ago, in fact at the end of next week it will be a year, that I made the decision to change jobs.

Time flies when having fun.

Little did I suspect how that decision would impact me and how the activities of last summer and the people I would meet would change my life. I’m not talking about a change so inspiring that an afternoon TV drama could be made of it. But it did change me, for the better I hope.

What was I doing?

I was looking for my next job. I won’t review that experience in this post because I wrote about it extensively last summer in the series “#myjobhunt”, covering Days 1 to 32 of my experiences.

It became the best bracketed six weeks of my adult life; a period that still makes me smile.

As a result of #myjobhunt I started my current role at the very end of Sept, nine and half months ago. It started as a six month contract. Since then I have learned so much, grown plenty and achieved a huge amount both personally and in my job. The job itself was incredibly exciting and daunting before I started, quite a stretch from my previous role. This perception was nothing compared to how I felt after the first month. The pace and scale of what I had to do and what we were trying to achieve was and still is incredible. This job is huge!

I would love to go into the details of what has been achieved by me personally, by the Recruiting teams and by the European HR Service Delivery structure, of which the Resourcing and Recruiting structure is a part, but discretion and company confidentiality needs to be respected. Many of the challenges are the same that plenty have been through before and will go through time and again in the future. Organisations change and develop, going through OD programs with multifaceted change and transformation programmes in order to evolve and grow.

It is what happens. I am excited to be an integral part of these changes.

There are of course frustrations that come with a complex multi-cultural corporation that has grown over 3 centuries. There are the matrix of reporting lines, local priorities, legacy attitudes and the inevitable resistance to change, all of which need to be managed to be sure the overall business goals are achieved in the timescales required. Not only that, there are the inevitable moving goal posts. But one thing has been constant; the desire by the Service Delivery management team to get the job done and work through a problem, not circumvent it regardless of the challenge and degree of difficulty, and still achieve results that will make a substantial difference.

From my desk I can see where the improvements have been made. I count reducing the average Time to Hire by nearly 30%, the average Cost per Hire being reduced by 50%, the dependency of agencies being reduced from approx. 80% to less than 20% across the region in 9 months as significant achievements, but there is always much more that can be done. That is the best and most exciting part of my job. Set aside the five hours a day I have to commute with a 5am start and the not-so-wonderful smells on the tube, I actually feel like I work in HR now and belong in it as part of the changes we are making in the business and I tell you what, I love it! Maybe it is the company, maybe it’s my boss, or it could be her team of direct reports or it could be my team of direct reports or it could just be the job is the right one for me. All of the above I suspect.

I have been asked a number of times over the last few months what my perfect job would be if I were to spec it out myself. I have always answered that it would be the one have right now.

Which is sad, because being on a contract means that it inevitably it is going to come to an end and that end is likely to be fast approaching.

So time to dust the CV off, update it with all that has been done this last year (sorry Merv – still need a CV) and embark on another #myjobhunt. Of course anything can happen and I could still be here this time next year. I hope I am, truly I do. It would be great to take the changes and the results of this last year and use them as a platform next year and the year after. Can’t always have what we want though, eh? But I have to be practical and think and act wisely. So #myjobhunt starts again.

Needless to say that #myjobhunt won’t be the same daily serialisation it was last year. I won’t have the time for that – I will still have a job to do. Yet I will do my best to share my thoughts and observations in much the same way I did last year and I really hope I will meet as many wonderful supportive people and have as many laughs. I also hope I learn as many new things about myself as I did in the six weeks last summer and the subsequent 9 months.

And of course I welcome any input, introductions and opportunities.

Song of the Day – Back from Cali by Slash (feat. Myles Kennedy)