Posts Tagged ‘ “Gary Franklin” ’

Words I am Unlikely to Say

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I was recently researching a company online and that included having a look at the profiles of their senior management.  Each of them had “Words I am unlikely to say” at foot of their bios.  The answers were along the lines of “nothing is impossible”, “never”, “I can’t” etc. You get the drift.  Maybe these words do honestly sum up the personalities of those that they are attributed to, only they will know for sure.  I can sort of understand what it was or is they want to convey, yet it comes across as cheesy, all faux positivity and formulaic, straight out of a motivational seminar. and hardly likely to be consistent with a properly profiled personality.  It was as if they haven’t given it much thought or, thought it would be a good reflection.  Maybe they had some advisors that did it for them. Who knows?

Still it did get me to asking myself about the words I never say in the same context however.  I didn’t have to reflect, because they were there front and centre of my mind as I read.  I’ve lived by them for as long as I can remember.  Actually there are two such standards I’ve used as a yard stick to getting things done properly.

I suppose they may have been drummed into me in my early 20s when I moved from driving a keyboard working in datacentres to selling at a recruitment agency.  The Sales Director had a huge influence and has remained an inspiration to me. His name was Dennis Linscott.  Dennis sadly passed away 11 years ago, but many of the lessons he taught remain with me today. Chief among them is the attention to detail and thinking about what else can be done to get job done right.

Whether what I learned from Dennis moulded me or coincidentally suited my personality only psychologists can answer that one, but what I do know is I’ve always been one of those people that gives it all or nothing.  This can manifest itself in many ways; from total immersion into something, attention to the detail and form, tenacity, bloody-mindedness, belligerence and so on.

Slight deviation needed here. I am aware that I don’t always see typos or spelling errors. That’s not the attention to detail to which I refer above.  I refer to knowing, understanding, covering all the angles and perspectives, thinking what else can be done or needs doing, asking myself “so what?” That’s the attention to detail to which I refer. Dennis taught me that.

What I do now and how I go about it is governed by those principles.  I always ask myself “so what?” when putting a proposal or business case or project recommendation together; “what’s in it for them?”, “what would make a difference to them?”

So what are the two things you are never likely to hear me say when it comes to doing something well?

“That’ll do” and “It’s good enough”

Certainly not as a statement that I consider a task well done or indeed completed and if I do happen to use them when accepting work from others…….well the ambiguity of the phrases could mean I’m happy that all that can be done has been done, alternatively I might just be less than impressed.  I will let you guess, but a clue; Winston Churchill was fond of saying, “I am easily pleased…….by perfection”. I first heard that at school from a teacher drilling a similar thing into the class and that became a mental tattoo.

It’s an attitude and a way of being.  It’s me. I don’t even think them unless it’s to check what else I need to do, can do, should do etc.

“That’ll do” never does. Just by asking if it will do, you have abdicated caring about the quality. Likewise if you think something is good enough it very rarely will be and is an acceptance of a compromise to quality and to doing the job right.

It is always likely to be the difference between making something happen rather than just letting it happen by chance.

When I read the statements from the management of the company I was researching I could almost hear them saying “yeah that’ll do” and seeing the slight shrug of the shoulders as they said it.

So to keep the theme going what words are you never likely to say and why?

Oh and music of the moment – My Wave by Soundgarden

18 Months and All Change

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Be warned – this is a remedial brain dump.  This is for me, about me.  I should have written it a while ago to get it off my chest but hey………………….

So I apologise in advance if it is a wee bit introspective and selfish so wont be offended if you chose not to read on and click away now

It’s been quite a while since I wrote a blog from scratch, a blog that isn’t based on an observation of a topic trending elsewhere online, in fact I’ve not put anything out for almost a year.  I have to say I’ve missed it.

There are two or three reasons for this; firstly my confidence as a blogger took a knocking by someone who through either naivety, or perhaps simple ignorance was rather critical of the fact that I blogged and offered up observation or opinions on subjects or issues I was interested in.  Now normally I wouldn’t pay any attention or would discuss further in an attempt to win them over, however when it comes from a co-worker in an influential position it becomes somewhat tougher.  Now they never actually made a big deal of it to be fair to them, however it had me second guessing myself to the point that I lost my mojo, inspiration and inclination to write.

Secondly I was rather ill last year.  This had a massive impact on me both physically and mentally.  The strength of both capacities was for a certain time impacted drastically.  Physically I have lost approx. 25 kilos (55lbs) in body weight since then, much of it in the first few weeks which took all of my strength away. Mentally I was impacted by a massive amount of steroids that I had to take daily for the first 6 months before being weaned off of them from the start of this year, as well as the constant adjustment and fight against pain. It took its toll.

I also changed jobs so to speak at the end of last year and went from being employed to working on The FIRM full time for a few months and then setting up my own consulting business which had it’s own level of stress at a time, when I was starting to become unwell again, although I failed to recognise it at the time.

In July 2013 I had a reoccurrence (I was warned I would get them through life now) and was taken to hospital again – it could not have come at a better time.  Strange as that may sound, so much was going wrong physically that it was difficult to get through a day and then a night without pain. It was very stressful. I wasn’t a nice person to be around.  But getting into hospital again and being treated albeit, drip fed nothing but morphine, potassium, and paracetamol for 48 hours and then being put back on the steroids has been like having my factory reset button pressed.  Not only that, it has given me the power of hindsight and reflection. How to cope better, how to adjust to what is happening to me so I can better recognise when, (if) it happens again.

So looking back to over the last 18 months or so, the two things that have dominated my life and that of those around – change and food!

  • I’ve changed
  • My weight has changed
  • My size has changed
  • My way of thinking has changed
  • My moods change so much faster than I’d expect
  • I am much more disciplined now
  • I exercise much more – in fact having lost 25kg makes it easier

Oh and when it comes to food – where do I start? I have had to drastically change my diet – I am now gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant, fat intolerant and diabetic. Not all them were diagnosed at the same time either so I have had constant adjustments to make. Not only that but eating too much is a no no for me too! Who would’ve thought eh? Many of the good foods, particularly fruit and veg I cannot eat anymore, some cause me pain – why is that?  It can’t be fair not to be able to eat grapes, corn, oranges, broccoli, and cauliflower surely? Not to mention fried food!  I have yet to get an intolerance to water, so there is hope.

Those close to me know I have met many of the challenges of the last 18 months head on and enjoyed much of it. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t like being 10 inches smaller at the waist?  They also know that there have been aspects of what has happened that have not been so pleasant and have been a huge struggle; continued pain, continued weight loss, emotional extremes, fatigue, mood swings.  Each of which counters the enjoyment of the new Gary and has added extra worry, anxiety and stress for me and to others.

As with any illness either physical or mental there are no or at best, limited options or choices for much of what happens, control is taken away and your life is tilted on its axis. However it is still spinning, maybe at a different angle, at a different speed, it may even wobble but life goes on.  It’s all about managing change. We do it in our daily lives whether at work or a play, many don’t know that they are adapting or managing the change.

I am learning to change every day. I learn some aspects of it better and faster than others.  I, like you don’t have a choice in some of it, it just happens, that’s life, I can manage it and its impact perhaps, if I am strong enough and equipped to do so at the time. Alternatively I can ask for help.  Not always easy, seems to be a human condition not to ask for help. But you will be surprised from where help can come from, if only you asked.  This applies at work or at home, whether you are managing a team or a new function or in your personal life.

So it was a bit of a jumbled ramble that needed to be unloaded.  There are about 25-30 people who I owe a huge thank you too for many reasons. Genuinely. Thank You.

The Future Can Wait………….. Get Recruitment Basics Right Now

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I’ve not blogged much over the last few months and not put down anything of substance since before Christmas. Some of this as a lack of inspiration, but the majority of it was to do with the fact that I was consumed by job-hunting activities before Christmas and then focused on the start of a new job in January and since then. Stressed yes!

I know in 2010 when I was job hunting I was able to find inspiration to blog pretty much each day. So why the difference? Well to be honest it was the lack of difference that was the cause.

In 2010 I wrote about my adventures and frustrations as a job hunter, outlining many of the failings and inadequacies I was encountering from agencies, so called exec search firms and in-house recruiters as well as outlining my own successes, shortcomings and failures, offering titbits of advice to others in the same situation. So the difference this time around was the lack of difference, i.e. nothing had really changed and if I was to repeat the same process I could have just reposted many of the posts from 2010. This year however I was exposed and engaged far more by search firms than contingent agencies. My thoughts on these types of organisations and their over inflated sense of worth may well be a post in a few weeks.

One thing that was clear to me, as those who will have read the few posts I wrote in the last 3 months of 2011 will have seen was my frustration over the lack of attention to the basics and the poor execution of what should be a relatively straight forward and simple process.

In November I was asked if I would like to contribute to a Christmas Blog Calendar by Ed Scrivener, owner of Scrivener Recruitment. Ed is someone I have never met, other than on Twitter, nor is his company one that I have done business with. But we had “spoken” on Twitter about various subjects non-work related so didn’t hesitate to agree. Obviously as a job hunter any exposure to a wider audience is a good thing.

What follows is the post that Ed ran on his blog on 5th December – thanks Ed.

Not a week goes by when I don’t read something about the Future of Recruiting. I admit I do read much of it because Recruiting or Resourcing is what I do and what I have a passion for. I am also hungry to learn. Some of what is written, such as Recruitment 3.0 & Recruitment 4.0 by Matt Jeffrey is clever thinking and some of it may even become reality, however there is much written elsewhere that is poorly thought out and fails or will fail on many levels.

Whatever the quality of the thinking or the writing they are all overlooking one thing: the Now of Recruiting.

It is all well and good to speculate on the future however I believe our time will be best spent making sure that we all address the fundamentals today. In the vast majority of companies the basic processes, capabilities or attitudes for successful Rescouring just don’t exist, and this is the same whether you are a large or small organisation; whether you have in-house Resourcing teams or not. Very few organisations have the sophistication to apply the proper respect.

Yet when it comes down to it the way we will recruit in 20 or 200 years is unlikely to be any different to how it’s been done for the last 5000 years.

Let me explain

For centuries recruitment was typically done by the fighting forces; they found out about or impressed (attract) a warrior, courted him (engage) and bought his services (hire). Then in the world of commerce of the last 300 years the same principals have applied, but instead of armies and warriors the world has had commercial organisations and workers, but the same simple steps apply.

Absolutely nothing has changed, nor do I suspect will it. What has changed are the means by which we can attract and the facilities that allow us to engage on a one-to-many basis; today we use a vast variety of other communication channels, many of them are so new that they appear to be different, but strip away all of the hype and the technology and we are back to the basics. Today we have all of these wonderful new platforms and channels that give us a wider audience to broadcast to yet Rescouring remains a high-touch activity, where all of the principals of the past remain constant. We have to speak with people and do so with respect.

Today people expect a certain degree of sophistication during their quest for work. They have far more choices than any other time in history; choice of employer, location and job type. They also have a choice of platforms through which to seek out suitable jobs; old and new. Information about employers is available from so many different sources and the new facilities available to Resourcers allow a greater flow or information, targeted and general.

We still have to review a person’s background one way or another. It doesn’t matter if the CV is dead or not – what a stupid conversation that is, what matters is that the Resourcers have the information to review. What matters is how an interview is conducted, what is said and what happens in them. They are what matter. What matters is how you treat the applicants during the courtship (engagement) and acquisition (hiring) phases. What matters is the impression a new employee has on his or her first day and in the first 3 months – it has a significant impact on their performance for the rest of their time with your company. What matters is how capable the Resourcers are and how much they respect and understand the value they bring to the business. What matters is how you and your company are perceived by the world’s employable. What matters is what they say about you when you are not listening.

Yet few leaders of companies, HR departments, Resourcing departments (if they exist at all), and hiring managers take it seriously enough to invest the necessary time, money and above all the commitment to the task; to doing it right. That is what matters

Yes we have all of these new and wonderful shiny platforms that allow us to reach and engage with more people, but without the basics they are useless.

These are the basics. These are what you need to get better at today. Get the basics right and you will then be able to start thinking about the future of recruitment.

My Top 10 Predictions for 2012

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There have been a lot of predictions about the future of recruitment, about 2012 and about the economy so why not add to them I thought

Here are my top ten predictions for this year.

1. You will still have vacancies to fill
2. You will still get cold calls from people
3. Many of those People and others will continue to be stupid beyond words
4. Road Fund License (Car Tax) will need renewing at the end of …..(pick a month)
5. Christmas Day will be on 25th December 2012
6. It will rain in July………………somewhere
7. There will be more crap blogs than good blogs to read
8. Your Klout Score will remain completely irrelevant and useless to anyone but you
9. Social Media on the mobile will rule time and space
10. All of these will come true

There you go. That all you need to know for 2012.

Have a good one

LinkedIn – Blank Invites to Connect …………why?

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I must get between 10 and 20 invitations to connect with people I don’t know each week on LinkedIn. Many of them come from recruitment agencies. I am okay with this; after all it is what LinkedIn is for.

What I don’t understand however is why nearly all of them have no message in them. They offer no reason or qualification why the connection is relevant to me or to them for that matter. I can make assumptions but………………..

It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to write a quick note. LinkedIn even makes it straight forward by limiting the number of words for those literarily challenged.

Is there a logical reason for this? Am I missing something? Lazy, rude and spam?

Are Your Interviewers Good Enough?

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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?

Recruiters – What are your 3 Burning Questions?

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A month or so ago Emma and I were invited to present at the End of Year Recruitment Conference held this last week and organised by The Recruiter Network. This would be the first time we had stood up as The FIRM in a public environment and wanted to do something that was in keeping with our core values – we chose “sharing knowledge”.

There are many ways in which standards can be raised for hiring managers, recruiting practitioners working in-house and for sales people working at agencies; arguably the biggest of these is by gaining an understanding of how we all work. It is probably fair to say that very few agency staff know what it is like to work in house or what the roles and responsibilities of recruitment or HR practitioners are and the challenges they have.  There are guesses; some right, some wrong, but rarely known

With this in mind we felt a little information sharing could go a long way. If the in-house function is performing well, has the sophistication, resources, competencies and desire then the use of agencies will be eliminated in that organisation. However, I doubt very much that this model is widely adopted and that the vast majority of companies will chose to use the services of agencies for one reason or another. Let us remember though that the vast majority of companies do not have a dedicated competent in-house Rescouring teams and as such companies choose to use agencies. Hiring managers who manage their own process typically won’t have a clue how to resource properly, despite what they themselves will think and as such will tend to use an agency or worse, multiple agencies for expedience. Nothing wrong with that if it works well for all parties.

So to our presentation. The idea was to ask agencies what their Burning Questions are and discuss some of the reasons the questions needed to be asked and hopefully provide answers and insights.

1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

The questions were posted on Surveymonkey. Using Twitter and the UK Recruiter newsletter we invited agencies to ask away.

We were given a 50 minute speaking slot at the start of the conference and as such unfortunately we couldn’t discuss every question asked. Some were just too stupid anyway.  These are the ones we addressed or at least we tried to on the day. Thanks to the discussion in the room amongst the delegates we sort of ran out of time.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question 1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

  • What is more important, cutting costs or finding the right candidate?
  • What would be your ideal Agency/Customer relationship?

Question 2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

  • Do you have favourite agencies/recruiters and why?
  • Why do you block access to hiring managers, even when we are a recognised and trusted partner?

Question 3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

  • Feedback …………or a lack of it
  • Poor job descriptions or briefings on the positions
  • Not responding to telephone calls (messages) or emails

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From many of the questions it is clear that some agencies really do want to learn in order to help their customers. It was also clear from some of the reactions in the room to the answers we were giving that agencies simply do not know nor can they comprehend the scale of some of the challenges in-house people have – there were gasps after Emma gave one example of what her teams are dealing with on a daily basis. It is also clear that many companies would do better by engaging more with their suppliers and teaching each other how to work together.  Better results for all I suspect will be realised.

I welcome further questions

I welcome further answers

If you would like to discuss any of these questions or any others that you have please let me know. My contact details can be found here.