Posts Tagged ‘ networking ’

The FIRM – a 2011 update

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In December 2007 I created a Group on LinkedIn called The FIRM – The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers, to allow a few in-house recruiters and recruitment managers who had already been ‘speaking’ with each other via email and Yahoo! IM for a week or two to collaborate with each other. Little did I know then how big and successful The FIRM would become and never imagined it would become so useful to many, myself included. Now three and half years later there are 3800 members in 49 countries. We have established ourselves as an online community that meets offline, whose members enjoy sharing experiences, asking for and offering help and learning plenty along the way.

Our Vision – today

Run by in-house recruiters for in-house recruiters The FIRM was founded as a LinkedIn Group in December 2007, it is a supportive and collaborative community of corporate recruitment professionals that provides both an online and offline hub for members to network, request help, share knowledge and give advice on all aspects of recruitment and talent management.

We aim to promote the values and professionalism of our members, as well as ensuring ethical integrity and best practice – raising the standard of service we provide to our internal customers and receive from external suppliers.

I can’t speak for every one of course but I have heard some great comments from other members who also get regular benefit from engaging and meeting with each other, each professionals doing very similar jobs. Personally I have learned plenty, thanks to the input and/or introductions made. It is always the first place I turn when I need help with an issue related to the recruitment life cycle, processes and policies. It is also the first port of call, as it is for many, when I need to hire someone.

Offline we having been holding events on a fairly regular basis. They started out in January 2009 as a simple breakfast and the morning networking meeting. That was all it was, a chance to chat with fellow in house recruiters, with a little presentation from our first sponsor, LinkedIn. There were 45 people at this first event, many of whom still attend regularly, some of who have become friends now. It was at this first event I realised it was too big for just me and where I met Emma Mirrington for the first time. The rest, as they say is history.

Based on the success of that event we ran more. At each event we’ve asked the attendees what they wanted to discuss or hear about at the next or future events, we’ve progressed in this manner ever since albeit with slight bigger conference style events. We have been very lucky and very grateful to have had the support of so many of the members of The FIRM who come along, many are repeat visitors.

Currently all of the events have been restricted to the UK, this is purely a logistical issue, however we have aspirations to repeat some of these events in other countries in the future. We have courted with ideas and invites already to do something in Australia, China, Singapore and UAE however the time to find sponsors as well as the critical mass of members to make it a success somewhat influences us. Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome here please.

We have also benefited from the great support and help of our fabulous sponsors over the last 2 years, without whom we just would not have been able to hold any of the events at all. So a hearty thanks to LinkedIn, Matt Alder (Barkers when they existed), SHL, 33, Google, TotalJobs.com, TheNetwork.com, Avature as well as to CareerPlayer for the filming and editing of the videos in this blog. Further thanks go to Frances Lewis of Osborne Clark, Peter Gold of Hire Strategies and Mark Williams of ETN Training for generous time helping us with the webinars we have been able to put on for the members. And of course the generous contribution of all of the speakers we have been lucky enough to have spend time informing us, educating us and helping us.

In the last year both Emma and I have changed jobs, which has meant huge changes and adjustments for each of us. And because the day jobs must always take priority we haven’t had the time to deliver against some of the plans we’ve had, nor has it afforded us the time to organise some of the events we had wished so. We have ideas to address this now.

Also in the last 18 months Emma has moved house, gotten married, had a baby and still found the time to get stuff done. The FIRM just wouldn’t be The FIRM and the success it is without her. Put it this way; I talk a lot, Emma actually does a lot.

Thank you Emma. x

Going forward? Simple. We would like The FIRM to be what the members want it to be.

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Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting? – Day 32 #myjobhunt

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Since Day 1 I have been blogging frequently about my quest for a new job. When I started I did it purely to reflect on the day past. Within 2 days this had changed. The response I got from people gave me confidence and made me realize that this blog could be a fundamental tool in my job hunting activities. By the end of the first week I couldn’t believe the response and support I had received from so many people, some of whom I had already met, many I had not. It was however Week 2 that things really took off and by the end of Week 3 I had secured my first offer (Day 16). I think I have already written about how I got to Week 3 previously and will no doubt do so again in more detail, once #myjobhunt comes to a conclusion, if in fact it does before I lose interest in writing about it.

Since Week 3 and that offer I have come to realize something and it has been on my mind since. I have made my job hunting activities so open and visible to people, what will happen and what will people think of me if I don’t secure a job? Of course it is inevitable that people will start to wonder why people don’t want me. What will happen if I get a job and then it doesn’t work out? What if I can’t cope? What if …..? What if…..? So many what ifs? I have asked myself if writing this blog was the sensible thing to do in the first place and how can I stop without any negative impact.

Then I looked at the positives of the blog. The blog almost became my CV, the opportunities it created for me, not only actual jobs, but further discussions to take my career in a different direction have been constant throughout the last six and a bit weeks. Some are not for me, others have been too much for me i.e. I didn’t think I was ready or not likely to meet the expectations of role. Some have been great but the salary or rate and location hasn’t worked well. Others still haven’t mature yet and may or may not at all.

The blog has given me so many new perspectives on things; it has taught me some huge lessons about the market and the ability (or lack of) of the many practitioners in it; good and bad. It has made me think and be more reflective about what I want and what I can do. The good thing is that all of the lessons learned will be taken into my next job and built upon and shared with my colleagues, hopefully adding value at each step. This whole journey has taught me so much and no matter what, I expect I will still continue to blog in such a manner going forward.

This quest, this journey so far has been very emotional; worrying, stressful, annoying, humbling, inspiring, enjoyable, amusing. I have to this point, every step of the way enjoyed it immensely and I have made some terrific new friends.

Music of Day 32 – Daydream Believer by The Monkees – very loud and singing on the train!!! Oh yes I did! And others joined in!

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting?

On Day 30 I got the call I was waiting for (and dreading!).

Today I accepted a job. I start 1st October 2010.

THANK YOU EVERYONE

How do I get onto your PSL?

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If you haven’t yet come across UK Recruiter I recommend a visit and a read. Run by Louise Triance, UK Recruiter not only provides a wealth of information to all those involved in the UK recruitment market, but Louise is a big advocate of getting agencies and in-house recruiters to network and cooperate with each other.

Louise recently asked for contributions to her “Recruiter Clinic” series by asking various people involved with the recruitment business “What is the question you are asked the most often?” and “What is the answer you give?”

I was pleased to help.

This is the question I get asked the most: How do I get onto your PSL?

Answer:
Many large organisations with traditional purchasing models follow complicated and cumbersome RFQ, RFI and tendering processes to select the suppliers for their PSL. There is no sure fire way of getting through the rules, weighting and scoring matrices that can be set up by procurement teams I’m afraid. This kind of process and the resulting set up, tend to leave suppliers feeling they are being kept at and arm’s length, with limited relationship potential, other than that of traditional supplier/buyer and that any quality in service is diminished. I agree. It’s a lottery and to be honest a waste of energy and time for all concerned.

In organisations where there is more emphasis on quality of service and importance placed on cooperation and understanding of the business, as well as the personalities required in the different roles, it is crucial that you build a relationship with the key stakeholders. These will either be with the in-house recruiting teams or the hiring manager.

A bit of advice, if the organisation you are trying to sell to has an in-house recruiting team, bypass them at your peril, for they can be the decision makers not only on which agency to deal with, but also on which people will be hired. You will almost certainly ruin any chance you have of dealing with that company if you try and go around the in-house recruiting team to the hiring managers directly.

Within such organisations PSL’s are built based on suppliers’ previous track record with a company, on feedback and input they get from the hiring managers. In-house teams in many of the HR departments talk to each other and compare notes on agencies, especially if they are members of The FIRM, and thus it is important that the levels and quality of service you offer is of the highest standards at all times.

If you are invited to give a presentation as part of a PSL review, be sure that you know the company you are presenting to inside out. You have to know the scope and scale of the company, which markets in operates in, who its competitors are, what the competitors are doing (in respect of sales strategy, reorgs, hiring) why they hire, how they hire, what competences they look for in the various departments, what technologies are important to that market, what is the buzz in the market, what legislation could affect them. This is more information than you can possibly get from an hours superficial searching on the internet. This is proper and through research, but it has to be done if you want to have any credibility. If you can clearly show that you know the market better than the in-house recruiters then you will be adding value already.

Hope this helps

Job Hunting, it’s all about Commitment, Confidence, Calls and Choices – Day 30 #myjobhunt

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This post represents my feelings from last week. If I were to keep true to the trend established in previous posts it would be a summation of Day 30 of #myjobhunt, which represents 6 full weeks of job hunting. Yet, I am going to sum up my feelings of Week 6 rather than making the post about a specific day.

Having been away with a great group of people at #SocRecCamp the previous weekend the week started on a high. I was just happy to have had the experiences in Devon. As the week progressed my mood changed.

Week 6 was certainly the lowest I have been throughout my quest for work or at least that was how I felt at times. A few things started to dawn on me that made me question what I was doing, why I was doing it and what it meant for my wife and I. It also made me question what I was actually looking for. Did I want the perfect job where my competencies and experiences could be fully utilized; a job that I would feel a passion for, a commitment to and one that would give me the challenges and the satisfactions that many don’t get to realize. Or did I want a pay packet?

I was beginning to wonder.

When I first started out Week 1 caught me by surprise, the number of opportunities I uncovered and the number of vacancies that my friends and colleagues passed my way was overwhelming as was the constant support. It all looked so positive and continued to look that way for a few weeks. In Week 6 however the number of appealing opportunities had come down to just 3 positions that I had interviews for. So my pipeline was very thin, opportunities coming my way were fewer, and fewer still were appealing. At the same time others who I know were getting jobs and starting them inside my own 6 week window. So of course I had to ask myself if I had the right mental approach, as well as if I had the right approach and strategy to job hunting.

As great as it seemed to test the power of Social Media and not use agencies I still have bills to pay. When I started #myjobhunt I did not aim to only use Social Media – all I wanted was a job. Yet after a few days my confidence was such that I became the biggest advocate of Social Media as a job hunting tool or set of tools. By Week 6 my confidence was waning, in fact it started waning in Week 4, once I became officially unemployed, as the doubts and the natural concerns about the future crept in.

It is not just about me either. I’ve been in similar positions before and was hoping never to be back here again. Each of those times my wife was a rock, a fantastic support even when things got as bad as they could have done. I didn’t want to put her through the worry again. It was obvious to me that once my gardening leave and my employment finished in Week 4, her stress and worry levels more than doubled. Then after our decision on Day 26 to withdraw my application from that technology company I decided I had to make her a promise – I promised to have accepted a job by the end of September. I was confident that I could get a contract; even one that didn’t advance my career would still pay the bills. I had also resigned myself to using agencies to hunt for work. I don’t care. We need to live.

These are all issues and concerns that all out of work job hunters go through; I know I am not alone.

All these feelings despite having had a terrific interview on Wednesday and a few other leads coming my way. If the Wednesday option doesn’t pan out then I would actually be starting all over again, back to Day 1 or Day 2, and I suppose it was this realization that hit hard. Or was it just that I had interviewed for that one job that I really wanted?

On Thursday a contract position that I had interviewed for in Week 2 disappeared on me. The company concerned changed strategy and thus the need for contract support went away. This didn’t help my mood or my confidence.

The call I wanted didn’t come.

On Friday morning, Day 30, I got loads of Twitter DM’s, texts and emails from people all asking me how I was. Whilst I so appreciated the support, I was trying to get my head away from the anxiety of wanting the phone to ring by doing something else. A two mile run helped but I felt like I was a teenager again. I even Tweeted a message later in the day, “Why don’t they call?” – I got some stupid answers to that!

I had to go out at about 1pm. This is a good thing; it meant that I would be busy and likely as not be able to get a signal on my phone. Still every time my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognise or with number blocked my stomach did some gymnastics. Each time it rang with a number I did recognise I answered but wanted them off the line soonest. It was one of those days were I was in and out of signal so that each time I got a signal I checked voice mail and returned calls only to have more calls come through and leave messages whilst on the phone. The call I wanted didn’t come through.

If you’ve read previous posts you will know I don’t get a signal at my home and have taken to walking or driving to the top of the hill about half a mile away to get one. So having left home at 1pm and not heard anything by 4pm I was resigned to not getting the call until Monday. I was actually okay with this. After all there was actually nothing I could do at this point. I was nearly home at 5.20pm and about 20-30 seconds from losing signal when I got the call.

I now have a choice.

Music of Day 30 – Nothing Else Matters by Metallica – I know, seriously I was listening to the Black album – coincidence eh?

Thanks for reading

What does the Recruitment Industry Compete on?

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

In a departure from #myjobhunt blog series

Recently I was asked “What do you think are the key factors that the recruitment industry competes on?”

My Answer:

You have to think about what you are competing for. Are agencies and search firms competing for the potential candidates or are they competing for the actual deal with the customer? They should have both in mind always.

Of course if competing for the candidates you have to be able to present yourself as credible and effective. An agency has to present itself as knowing the market as well as the ins and outs of the customer they are representing to the candidate, without the hard sell. They have to know all there is to know to ensure that the candidate has sufficient information to determine if the job and company is suitable. Also armed with the customer knowledge the agency recruiter will be able to determine accurately if a candidate can be turned into a credible applicant in front of the customer.

Competing at the customer level we look for agencies or suppliers that will be able to represent our brand, our company and the position we are recruiting for as if they work for us; much like a sales channel does for products. If a search firm or agency can show they have the ability to understand our business, our processes and our culture then they will be equipped to sell our proposition to each candidate and be of greater service and thus value to all parties.

To compete we all have to be in the position to represent ourselves to each other and meet the expectations of all involved. If as a customer I respect the agency or search firm – and more importantly the person I am dealing with – I will invest the time to educate them and equip them to better represent me. In doing so the agency or search firm will be armed to earn the trust of the candidate. The candidate will have confidence that they will be represented to the customer and the customer will have the confidence that their brand is in safe hands. The customer will appreciate that candidates from that particular source will be thoroughly vetted and closest to the mark.

So answer to the question; the industry competes on knowledge and credibility……………oh yeah, for the poorly managed in-house PSL structures its all about price and not quality of service and the poorly equipped agencies all compete on speed of service rather than quality.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one please

Job Hunting is About Making Right Choices for the Right Reasons – Day 27 #myjobhunt

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

This is Wednesday and Day 27. I’ve been unemployed for 2 whole weeks now. Gone in a flash! Feels like the first push has come to a head now. For the last week this was always going to be a big day for #myjobhunt with two final, or at least that was how they had been billed, interviews.

So before I get into the events and thoughts of today, let’s have a quick look at yesterday. As you have read in this and other blogs a few friends had a camping expedition in Devon over the weekend. It was one of the most relaxing and fun filled weekends I have had in a long time, maybe because there was very little pressure and the only expectations that had to be realized, were we would laugh, have a lot to drink, get very wet surfing and not have nearly enough sleep. The big point of this for me was the laughter and the relaxation with friends that have cared and have supported me throughout #myjobhunt. Talk of work was avoided and only touched upon in general or lighthearted banter. With sixteen very noisy, confident and extrovert people in a reasonably close environment you would have thought that I wouldn’t have had time for serious reflection, yet this is exactly what I was able to do, albeit briefly.

On Monday of this week I had a long conversation with Mrs F about the progress of #myjobhunt. No concerns apart from making the right choice. It doesn’t necessarily come down to choice and in this particular case – I’ll get there in a moment – it wasn’t about choice.

Since Day 1 I have been pursuing a job with an American technology company and have had a number of interviews, all of which have been blogged about here. I had a supposed final interview last week which resulted in another final interview to be had this week, today in fact. At this point I didn’t have a choice. As I mentioned very early on in Day 1 or Day 2 a candidate needs to get an offer to make a choice. Well that is not entirely true. I had the choice to withdraw my application altogether, didn’t I?

And that is what I did; I withdrew my application after 6 interviews. Didn’t see that one coming did you?

Why? You may ask. There were number of reasons if I was being really picky and critical, however the key deciding factor was that I did not have a good feeling about it. I didn’t have a bad feeling either. This means I had no emotion attached to it and to pursue a job that, if I got it, would have meant a 130-mile round trip, which I was poorly motivated by would have been wrong; not only for me, but to them too. Also after 6 individual interviews for the same role I was pursing it, they were not pursing me. I don’t want that to sound arrogant but they hadn’t once called me after an interview to ask me for my feedback, nor had they given me any feedback or a compelling reason to want to work for them. It won’t therefore surprise you; it didn’t me, to know that all they said when I called to tell them was “thanks for letting us know”! (WTF???) I think that response justifies and verifies that I had made the right decision to pull out.

I know! I know! They may have had that response because I was not the person they wanted anyway. But please???!! They and we have to give a candidate a better experience than that. It wasn’t a bad one and it won’t change my views on their products, but it wasn’t good enough for my requirements as a candidate, or by my standards as a Recruitment Manager.

Dusted down and moving on.

I was also contacted directly by a couple of members of The FIRM who proposed ideas to me or wanted to explore my interest or availability. Another couple of online contacts had put resourcers at other companies in touch with me and these need to be followed up.

So whilst the pipeline is not as long as it was previously it is still there. But it needs me persecute it and not let the opportunities slip me by. It is important that I follow all of these up to be sure I am not overlooked, nor show anyone any disrespect. If I have done this to you already I apologise.

Onwards and Upwards – Day 27: I travelled into London with my usual tunes on my iPod – yup you guessed it Genesis, Suppers Ready – for an interview in the City. I love the City, as I do most of Central London, but the City is special and was looking forward to this one having had a great call with both the recruiter and the hiring manager last week.

(SIDE NOTE -Trouble was the Tube strike hangover today. Now do they think us stupid? “signal failures” crippling the network the day after a strike. Says much about the intelligence somewhere in that mix! The irony is that they are striking over the possibility of maybe 800 jobs being cut and yet their laziness and not going to work today was delaying me for an interview. Lazy work-shy b#@*&$+s)

Where was I? – oh yeah stuck at Baker Street. I got to the City in the end in plenty of time – my usual 30 minutes safety window intact. The interview seemed to go well, but I think they are always difficult to read. That is all I will say. I am very keen on this one and don’t want to tempt fate. True to their nature the recruiter called within 2 hours to ask me for my feedback; however that call turned into another interview of sorts. This recruiter is awesome and asked me questions about the questions I was asked in the interview proper. What a way to make sure I had been focused, paying attention to the key points and taking it all in. So now I have the wait to hear. This is the worst bit. I am tight with anticipation on this one.

Music of Day 26 – Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Music of Day 27 – Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

The one big downer of the last few days is the news that Connaught, the housing facilities maintenance company has gone into administration. There are a few of their recruiters in The FIRM that are likely to be affected or at least left worrying in uncertain times. I mention it because it means that potentially a large number of people – 4500 reported – could be in the same boat as me soon. It is not nice and I wish them all success in finding replacement opportunities soon, should they need to. One of their number, a recruiter and a member of The FIRM contacted my directly on Twitter yesterday, thanking me for this blog! He has taken something from it and reported to me today that he has already arranged two interviews on his Day 1– so I have competition in #myjobhunt eh? Seriously this is great news and of course I am glad I help in a small way – who would be?

What was also interesting is that he has been able to do this using his network of contacts and not relaying on the traditional and “so last year” approach of calling the agencies.

So if anyone reading this is looking for a technical recruiter in the Thames Valley, Surrey, Hants or London please give Jon Harrison aka @jonnieboyh a Tweet. Let’s see if we can take this social media networking thing to the next level shall we?

I want a job and that is till my #1 priority but if I can help others find jobs and if I can help companies find candidates by Paying it Forward, then I will.

And NO NO NO I am not starting my own agency again!

It’s called Social Recruiting

Just in case you are wondering what my background is my LinkedIn profile is a click away

or at

in the About Me page above. My contact details can be found in the Contact Me page and am open to any type of conversation that will help me or help you.

Thanks for reading