About Greg Savage
Greg Savage is the founder of four highly successful businesses; Recruitment Solutions (taken to IPO), Firebrand Talent Search (trade sale), Eloquent Staffing (trade sale), and People2People. The author of the best selling book, ‘The Savage Truth’. Greg was voted as the most influential recruiter in Australia, in the past 60 years. Also voted the most influential Australian business person, he is part of the Top Influencers on LinkedIn 2018. We are happy to invite Greg to our interview series.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Greg Savage today to our interview series. I’m Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of PeopleHum. peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated Human Capital Management Automation Platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.
Welcome, Greg. We’re thrilled to have you.
Thank you very much. I’m very pleased to be in your interview and thank you for that very exaggerated introduction. But I shouldn’t be surprised seeing as I wrote it for you myself. It’s nice to be here.
Thank you so much for your time, Greg.
So can we start with a little bit about the Savage truth? What is it all about?
Well, we’re a gigantic corporation, ‘The savage truth’. It’s me. So the savage truth is the brand that I created for my blogs, and subsequently, it’s become synonymous with the work that I do. I ran and owned recruitment companies for 30 years, and in the last seven years, I’ve been an adviser to recruitment organizations and HR Tech, social media organizations.
So I’m on the board of 12 recruitment companies in Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore and I promote my ideas and my point of view through the Savage truth blog. And then I wrote a book of my 40 years in the industry, which I called the ‘Savage Truth’ because it’s a great name, right? It’s my name. And it is, I think, allied to how I like to communicate, which is not savage but directional thinking.
So what I do now is advisory. As I said, training and keynote speaking, investing in some recruitment companies, and in the last four or five weeks frankly, just really trying to help people in my industry cope with the devastating change in the market due to the crisis that we’re all aware of.
Absolutely and I think the pandemic has really changed the entire recruitment process. Right? And you’ve mentioned that recruitment is a very challenging process although, people think it’s just not rocket science, right?
So, you know, right now in this pandemic, how do you think that the recruitment process has changed and how do we kind of cope with it? Make it better?
Well, the two sides to that the first is there is very little recruitment going on. I mean, that is what’s impacting the recruitment industry, the third party recruitment industry agencies frankly, I’ve been through five recessions in my life and I have not seen anything like this in terms of the speed in which things have changed.
The fall-off in hiring, but also because most countries that I’m involved in Australia, New Zealand, UK at least those companies have legislated lockdowns. Well, they all have legislated locked down. So people cannot meet face to face. Therefore, one of the key dynamics of driving succession recruitment, which is the interview, etc and the onboarding process is extremely challenging to execute. In previous recessions, yes, there was an economic downturn but you could still create an interview for a client and a candidate. And you’re still going to see your clients. Your candidate could still turn up and meet.
So now we are having situations where clients are actually, remember, I talk of ways from the agency perspective, so a client is a hiring company. Clients are actually hiring people they’ve never physically met and onboarding them, which is something we’re all learning about. I mean, it’s not new to interview someone on spot, but it is new to have somebody start with your business and start paying them without ever having met them or anybody having met them.
So it’s creating a wide range of challenges. I mean, there are companies hiring, of course, I can speak many from Australian perspective. But I think it’s global. You’ve got grocery and food companies. You’ve got your health organizations because you’re trying to support and logistics and others who are actually quite busy.
But most of the roles they’re hiring are low level, relatively menial roles. Those sorts of roles actually lend themselves to technological recruitment, right? Rather than more complex roles where you are looking at other factors other than purely the ability to execute the job.
So we’re going through a time of unprecedented change. I know, I’ve given you a long answer, so what I’m saying is… “How do I either provide some feedback that reinforces something they did that I think is great and I want to see more of or give them some insight about how their actions landed that might not have been their intent so that they can continue to get better.”
“The main issue for the recruitment industry is a lack of hiring. The second issue for both the recruitment industry and the employer is how do we hire in an environment where we can’t meet people? The third issue, which is more up for debate is, will the world of recruitment and hiring change when we come out of this? Are we going to learn things from this?”
You know what? It’s actually quite a good outcome. Let’s do it this way. That will be interesting to see.
Absolutely. I think the technological shift might be an enabler if used in the right way. And, you know, with the advent of automation and Robo filtering, do you think it’s really effective? And do you believe these tools and techniques, they help in identifying the right candidates. Have you seen that in other agencies? And what is your belief?
I think it’s a two-edged sword. I think the correct use of technology will enhance recruitment. But like most technologies, it can be used for harm. I mean, a mobile phone can be used for very good things and very bad things, right? That’s an extreme example. But you know what I’m driving at.
So I am speaking now, to a lot of people who have lost their jobs and they tell me that the experience from a candidate point of view is horrific. They can’t speak to anybody. It’s totally automated. They haven’t got a chance to position, their skill or their energy. And I think that is a tremendous problem.
And I think, anyone who thinks that you can automate the entire recruitment process with the technology we currently have is totally misguided and does not understand what recruitment is, recruitment is still an art. It’s not a science.
“And I think, anyone who thinks that you can automate the entire recruitment process with the technology we currently have is totally misguided and does not understand what recruitment is, recruitment is still an art. It’s not a science.”
And that’s because the variety of factors that go into making the hire are so complex, so nuanced and so open to interpretation.
Having said that, plenty of my clients that I’m involved with are using technology very effectively in a number of phases. So in the early screening phase, it can be very helpful. If you’ve got 400 candidates applying for a job, you can use keyword matching and screening and resume parsing type equipment with technology, to at least drop it down to a long list, right?
I mean, clearly, if the job requires your ability to fly an Aeroplane and you must have a pilot’s license 83-27, if the first answer to the question is ‘No, I don’t have one’ well, that person cannot be considered, there’s no nuance. Okay, so that is very helpful. Chatbots are very, very helpful. I mean, you got to remember. Sometimes the candidate wants to opt-out if they just don’t get three or four questions on.
So in screening? Well, in sourcing great technology are written that they can help us find people. The concept of privacy is almost gone. People put all this stuff on the Internet. We can find people and that becomes a technology issue. Recruiting them is a human issue, but I could find your name through digital search. I could find out a lot about your background, I bet you’re on Linkedin and I could find data on you. But to connect with you, to get your trust, have a conversation with you, interview you and bring you to the hiring table is a human skill, and no machine that we know about can do that because it involves trust and credibility.
“But to connect with you, to get your trust, have a conversation with you, interview you and bring you to the hiring table is a human skill and no machine that we know about can do that because it involves trust and credibility.”
So, yes, sourcing, screening. There are video interviewing tools that are getting more effective. There are language assessment tools that are getting more effective. However, the thing where a lot of the HR tech guys and there are mostly guys. Where they get it wrong is they don’t understand what the difficult part of recruitment is.
The difficult part of recruitment is not finding somebody digitally. The difficult part is the human part and making the assessment. If you think that recruitment is matching the keywords on a resume to the keywords on a job description and if you think doing that with a 100% accuracy means you’ve made a match. You are living in cloud cuckoo land because it is not necessarily the best person who matches the most keywords for the role and for the company at a certain moment in time, taking into account the leadership team, the other people in the team, the project on the table, the dynamics in the marketplace.
So again, the answer to your very straightforward question is yes, automated techniques are important. They will play along. “Recruiters should embrace it but smart recruiters will work out which is best to be automated and which is on not”
“Recruiters should embrace it but smart recruiters will work out which is best to be automated and which is on not”
That is where I think the danger of getting it wrong is, and that danger is you won’t hire the best people. The danger is you’ll actually chase away the best people. I mean, right now. Of course, we don’t have many jobs on the go but up until six weeks ago, we were in a candidate short market, right, and candidates had the choice. So if you think about a cumbersome, unfair selection process, your employer brand will suffer and you will turn people off. So, yes, here’s some thoughts about automation.
Absolutely and Greg, what do you think about candidate engagements? Can automation also help in improving candidate engagement because that is definitely a very essential part of the process, Right?
I think that most people in recruitment don’t understand that what I’m about to tell you now. Recruitment has merged with marketing, right? Now I don’t know if you’re a big company or whether you are a recruitment company and the fact is that you are in a marketing function, we are marketing to candidates. In fact, we should treat our recruitment like consumer marketing companies. They focus on brand building and connecting and engaging, right?
So, for example, I’m sitting here in my suburban Sydney about two kilometers away, is an alcohol shop, you know, we call it a bottle shop where you can buy alcohol, right? So they send me an email and they say, ‘Mr Savage, we think you’ve run out of red wine’ and so I clicked on it because I always have and they got the specials of the week. I click on it, they have got my credit card from last time I clicked, they’d deliver it this afternoon.
So their automated marketing and engagement is better than 99% of recruitment firms. And there’s two guys sitting in that bottle shop there, about 17 years old. It’s all automated. I don’t want to have a long conversation about wine because I know the wine I like. I just want to be able to get it. But if they hadn’t sent me the email, I wouldn’t have bought it because I would have been too busy or whatever.
I think what people need to understand is how the definition of a candidate has changed. You used to talk about language like active and passive candidates. It’s nonsense, everybody’s active. It’s just a matter of timing. You Aishwarya, you will have another job sometime in the future. I don’t know when it could be tomorrow. It could be on the 30th I don’t know, but if it is not tomorrow it’ll be in a year.
So if I was looking to place people with your skills, I should be engaging with you now, I should be building up a rapport with you now, I should be understanding your drivers now. So when the day comes that you move or want to move, you talk to me before you talk to anyone else, and that is how much, that’s what consumer marketers do. They tell us about their car or their washing powder, and they know we’re not looking to buy it now but they want us when we come to the purchase, to think of them, and have a relationship with them. So our recruitment has merged with marketing. That’s the biggest message and engagement, a lot of it can be automated. It has to have a personal touch.
“So our recruitment has merged with marketing. That’s the biggest message and engagement, a lot of it can be automated. It has to have a personal touch.”
If you’re going to be automatic, you’ve gotta be damn sure that you’re not sending out inappropriate stuff to inappropriate people. You’ve gotta look to have an ATS, CRM, that is-
- Keeps up with the way people’s desire to interact with supplies has changed, right?
So, you know, here’s an example. Insurance companies spend millions on technology and the technology is when I found out we gotta press B and beep then C and press one. I can’t get to speak. They should forget all that and get some people who could speak to me. Might be a better way to sell insurance, but the technology in many cases outweighs the candidate experience or customer experience in the minds of the people putting it together and they’ve got it completely wrong.
In fact, the message I’d give to anyone in recruitment is, “Do not introduce one tiny scrap of technology without measuring, anticipating, judging and assessing the effect it will have on the candidate experience because the candidates experience is your pipeline at future hire.”
“Do not introduce one tiny scrap of technology without measuring, anticipating, judging and assessing the effect it will have on the candidate experience because the candidates experience is your pipeline at future hire.”
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. So use technology prudently and at certain processes where it can be an enabler but human intervention will always be required, especially for, putting or sending that message out. Don’t make it just about marketing. Make it personalized right?
And when you talk about candidates right, now in these times, how are candidates supposed to, have their image or their presence online, so that recruiters can reach out to them because certainly, candidates are going to have a very, very tough time now. So what advice do you have for them?
Well, I’m not really an expert in candidate job search. But there’s a few things, first of all, what they need to do is I would start with making sure and remember what I said about ATS’s and Resume Parsing and automated keyword matching of selection at the beginning of the process? Well, whether I like it or not, that is part of the way it is. So the first thing I’d say is that a good strategy would be, to update your resume, to make sure that all the keywords are in your resume for the type of job you’re looking for.
But you need to understand that these ATS, parsing technologies, like to work with plain text or Google or a word or a PDF document. Don’t use some fancy software and don’t use a lot of graphs or charts or what have you, because the stuff they can’t read that, right? Keep away from that and customize your resume for the job that you’re going for. I would say that’s important, so get your resume right. That’s the starting point.
The second thing is build your online brand. If you haven’t been doing that already, now’s a good time to start. I know that sounds like a scary thing to do. You know, I’m a developer, an accountant. How do I build my online brand? But for starters, get your LinkedIn profile updated. Get your LinkedIn profile totally updated and that includes a good picture of you. Not a picture of you on your wedding day. Not a picture of your little doggy or your daughter.
Those are nice things for Facebook, but we need a picture of you. We need a heading describing what you do, in the summary section on LinkedIn, you need a lot of keywords, so people can find you. And then on your job history, don’t just put January 2003 to November 2008 as an accountant at TATA.
Spell out what you did. Details. List your accomplishments. List the outcomes. Then make sure you start connecting with the right people. If you’re unemployed and you’re looking, now’s a good time. Treat your job search as a job.
“Then make sure you start connecting with the right people. If you’re unemployed and you’re looking, now’s a good time. Treat your job search as a job.”
Start at 8 o’clock, have a break at 10:30, I mean, and start connecting with people. Yes, applying for a job but also connecting with recruiters, searching out companies where you know they hire people like you. In this environment searching out companies that are in fact in hiring mode. And that will take a bit of research. But as we talked about earlier, there are companies that are hiring in Australia, for example, there’s a website I just saw today that somebody has put together every company in Australia of any size, that is hiring. all the details of it in just one website.
This may not be available in every country. Obviously, you might have to do it a little bit more manually but focus on that. You know, it’s very hard to sit here like smug, like me telling somebody how they should try and find a job in an environment like this. These are just some generic helping points that I hope do help. But I don’t position myself as an expert in job search, in what is the most bizarre economic downturn I’ve seen in 40 years. So it’s a very, very unusual time, which we all know.
Absolutely. So the Crux is that at least you should start with updating your LinkedIn profile. And you know, you keep all those keywords in your resume so that recruiters are able to find you easily, and you can do the keyword matching correctly and kind of, filter out the noise from the music so that they find you.
Well, that’s definitely the first part and the second part is to be outgoing with your engagement. Use all the connections you’ve got. People you used to work with, people you know in roles. Even your university and school friends who are now in roles. Recruiters you’ve engaged with over the years. Now is the time to reach out to those people. I hope you’ve treated them well over the years, as now is the time that your goodwill equity is tested. But I would do that. I would build my profile on LinkedIn. I would make sure that my resume was optimized to get through the ATS system.
“I would make sure that my resume was optimized to get through the ATS system.”
That makes a lot of sense, and that’s good advice. Thank you so much for that.
And when we talk about, you know, a little about the future right? There’s so much talk about the gig economy and its gaining more prevalence. There are millennials in the mix now. Now, how does this impact recruitment? Because it would be different from how you recruited a long, long time ago. So how does this impact recruitment and even workplaces?
First of all, it is not a millennial workforce that’s driving the gig economy. That is a fallacy. It is technology and corporate looking to lower their costs. Frankly, after this crisis, they’re going to be a lot of millennials who will be willing to give their right arm to have a permanent, stable job. Yeah, there’s a lot of these differences that people talk about. Generational differences are hyped up by people who write about it.
In actual fact, some of the most loyal, hard-working people I have met in 40 years of the industry are 25 to 30 years old. So I really don’t think you need to look at it from that point of view. It’s economic and tech factors right? Companies like Uber and others that are driving the use of contractors to keep their costs down so they can shift the liability from their company to the worker. That’s what’s happening right now.
I have to pay someone. Contract workers in every country has different laws and arbitrage too and what I mean by that, it if I’m a digital designer and I’m sitting in Australia, where my work is $100 an hour and I can get someone in a low paying country, they can do the same work for $20 an hour for me. And then I can sell it to my clients at my rate, there’s an arbitrage, there is a margin and this is what’s driving the gig, right?
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Also, the fact that companies want to get the cost of the permanent staff for 15 an hour and liability associated with hiring people in. And so we’re seeing that people could scale up and scale down their workforces, and I think that, yes, that will continue. I’m not a futurist, but when I see futurists predicting that 80% of the workforce will be gig in five years. I don’t actually believe that. I think there is still a drive from people for security and if there’s a talent shortage, then the boot is a little bit on the foot of the candidate and if a client needs those skills, they might have to hire them permanently.
So I think there still will be, you know, permanent roles. Although I will say that as we emerge from whatever you know, I’m not sure exactly what the status is in India right now, but in this country, it is like the zombie apocalypse. There’s no one on the street, so there’s no one going to work. In New Zealand over there, they have a mandatory lockdown. We know what’s going on in Europe now. If this goes on for three or six months or longer, I don’t know what kind of work world we will emerge into or will create.
I mean, certainly the number of people who are working from home now, the technologies that are being ramped up to allow people to work from home. I think the jury is still out whether that means when we can go back, whether everyone will say, ‘Hey, we don’t need to go back we love working from home’ or whether both employees and companies will say ‘We did it because we had to, but it was shit. we need you back in the office’ I don’t know. I think we’ll wait and see.
I think it depends on a number of factors, including the actual job being done. All right, so the job you’re doing clearly could be done from your desk, right? But there are other jobs. The recruitment might be one of them where we need to actually see people face to face. Maybe in recruitment agencies, which is a different environment or corporate, there is a teamwork collaboration factore that might need more, I don’t know.
You know, I think I think people are going to learn a lot in the next three months and I do think that careers will become more project based, less linear, climbing the ladder and I think people will move around in their jobs, will move projects to projects even if you are a permanent employee I think you will move from project to project. I think that your company will use their skills like your job might be an accountant. But you’re needed on the data analysis for the marketing team, you’ll go there. If you’re needed to do the PNL, you’ll go there.
That will affect the type of skills, we’re looking to hire for both contracts, gig if you like, and permanent positions. I think there’ll be a new focus on what we’ve tended to call intrinsic soft skills. I think they’ll come into focus more. For example, collaboration, flexibility, fast response time, belief to work on multiple projects, communication, team-working skills, innovation, lack of ego.
“I think there’ll be a new focus on what we’ve tended to call intrinsic soft skills. I think they’ll come into focus more. For example, collaboration, flexibility, fast response time, belief to work on multiple projects, communication, team-working skills, innovation, lack of ego.”
You might find that you’re a 50-year-old on this project, you’re reporting to a 25-year-old because that 25-year-old is an expert in mobile interface technology. You’ve got good stuff to bring, but you’ve got to report to him because that’s how it is. And that used to be a stumbling block. I’m not reporting to a 25-year-old forget that.
So we need people who have that lack of ego, and that in a long winded way plays into what your initial question was, that’s going to influence recruitment and those sorts of competencies or attributes to my knowledge cannot be worked out by a machine.
Right, it’s not yet a science, it’s still an art and we still need humans to run it. It’s great that you’re still an optimist about this, because a lot of people I spoke to, are very pessimistic of the future of the recruitment, and they think that it’s completely going to change and the whole process is not changed from before and still the same. The stats are the same and they are so pessimistic about it.
Well, you know, there will be changes and I think a lot of recruiters who don’t adapt will not last because there will be changes. But I don’t think that the recruitment industry by that I mean those agencies, are under any threat now, just for pure economic factors that if there’s no hiring, you don’t have a business model, but they don’t understand technology in any existential way.
Because the technology will take the drudgery, the hack work, the logistics work. But it won’t take the influencing, the counseling, the consulting, the brand building. I mean, I recognize that recruiters will end up acting as agents for their talent like a football star has an agent or a movie star has an agent. Then you have one agent who represents them to the best gigs. That’s where we’re heading in recruitment.
Wow, that is interesting. It’s going to be interesting to see in the future how all of this is going to unfold and change. I think time will definitely tell us. So Greg, you know what if I ask you what has been the most challenging aspect of your career and you know something that you have wanted to change really really bad but you keep saying the same thing again and again.
So what’s been your most, I say the highlight of your career as a challenge?
The first reason is that most times this is true for your country. I used to run a recruitment company in India and I didn’t live in India, but my manager was there in your city, Mumbai. It’s the same there as it is almost everywhere.
Many clients think that by giving a vacancy to two or three recruitment companies, they will get a better service. And the fact of the matter is they will get the worst service. What other services do you know where you’re going to ask a professional to compete for the business on the basis of speed instead of the basis of the quality? And that is the fundamental root of most evils in recruitment because it actually rewards the fastest, not the best.
“What other services do you know where you’re going to ask a professional to compete for the business on the basis of speed instead of the basis of the quality? And that is the fundamental root of most evils in recruitment because it actually rewards the fastest, not the best.”
That means recruitment companies are forced by their client to compete on speed and take short cuts. That means that most recruitment companies get paid for about 20 to 25% of the work they do. So most of these companies are willing to hire one job out of four or five. That means they’re getting paid for 20 to 25% of the work they do. That means 75% of their time is wasted. As a result, recruiting companies have to put their fees up to compensate for their work and do their own pain. And this is all driven by clients who perpetuate dysfunctional business models.
And the biggest losers of all, apart from everyone, clients lose because they get the worst service on. The irony is clients get a bad service that they asked for recruitment companies to compete. You know how they respond? They call more recruitment companies and they make it worse. The recruiters suffer because they are asked to compromise their process, their speed. But the other loser is the candidate. The whole reason, I mean Aishwarya, recruiters don’t come in the morning and have a meeting and say, ‘Hey, listen, how we’re going to piss our candidates today’, they don’t do that.
They come in with the view of giving their candidates good service, but they don’t have time because they’re too busy chasing jobs that aren’t real. That is the biggest challenge in recruitment, and it dumbs our industry down. It pushes it to its lowest common denominator, which is price and speed. So recruitment companies, many of them compete on price and speed.
Would you go to a doctor because he was cheap? Would you like to have your brain surgery done by the cheapest doctor who finished the quickest? Now would you like to have your hair done by the cheapest hairdresser who did it the fastest? Would you like to have your tax return done that way? Or your house painted that way? Nothing, well we do that way. But in recruitment we don’t. You explain that to me.
The final sort of spoke in the wheel is that most recruiters have been brought into recruitment companies who don’t even question the model, and as a result, the whole industry, not the whole industry but the large ones would have accepted it, and it perpetuates this mythical possible system.
The recruitment companies I’m involved in, we move the other way. We want to work with a client exclusively on each assignment. Have high expectations of them. Give me time to do a proper job, and if I don’t deliver, go somewhere else. But don’t give four agencies the same job, but expect to get a high level of service you want.
Right, so they’ve got it wrong. It’s not about speed but its quality. And I think you know, corporations are just overlooking the fact that recruitment is just some piece of a process, that they can just kind of give it out to a lot of people and that they compete. But they ruin the entire process and it ruins it for the candidate, and that’s the worst thing that you can do.
Hundred percent true. In fact, it’s common for a big corporate say to a recruitment agency. We’re giving this job to you and four other agencies. We’re running ads on job boards. We have an internal team working on it as well, But sure you haven’t got one. What sane recruiter, faced with that kind of grief and then from another client who treats them with respect, allows them to come and meet them, takes a proper job description, takes their advice, answers their questions, and gives them the job exclusively? Which of those two kinds do you think is going to end up with the best candidates from the recruiters?
Absolutely. That is quite enlightening because I think a lot of people, really, really take this very lightly and they must not do that because the success of the organization starts with recruitment, starts with their people.
Start with the kind of people they recruit, right?
Yeah, I blame a lot of senior HR and talent executives in corporations who are smug. You do realize I don’t care who they have been, right? They need to know. They are smug, not all of them, there are some very smart and decent people. But they’re smug and they’re cost-driven, and they will stand up in conferences and sometimes there’s an HR director there from a big corporation. And he or she will say we saved $1,000,000 on agency fees last year.
Yeah, I’m like, Well done. Have you got the best talent working for your company as a result of that cost-saving? That’s the question they should be talking about. Because if you saved a $1,000,000, big deal if you hide the great players because your business will not win this commercial back. The epicenter of competitive advantage across the world is talent. You win if you have the best talent. If your focus is cutting fees, you’re completely missing the point. I would prefer to hear a person telling the board, ‘we spent $1,000,000 more but we’ve hired better people.’
“The epicenter of competitive advantage across the world is talent. You win if you have the best talent. If your focus is cutting fees, you’re completely missing the point. I would prefer to hear a person telling the board, ‘we spent $1,000,000 more but we’ve hired better people.'”
If you don’t get those people from recruitment agencies, find another tactic. But in recruitment agencies it is still true, I mean the recruitment industry is worth $500 billion worldwide, growing at 6% a year. I’m not predicting this year, so definitely still working. What a smart executive running the talent acquisition for a corporate would do is work out how he was seeking to harness the wide range of options available to them to ensure they win the talent battle.
And that might be an employer brand. It might be the use of technology. It might be marketing initiatives. Automatic marketing. It might be an internal talent team. Recruitment agencies will be in that mix. Don’t be going in and saying my job is to cut recruitment agency fees and then stand up a conference and trumpet that as a success. That is loser language. I want to know whether you’ve hired the best people. If you haven’t, you haven’t done your job.
“I want to know whether you’ve hired the best people. If you haven’t, you haven’t done your job.”
You should get fired.
I absolutely agree with that because I think a lot of businesses are moving from being very business-centric to people-centric, but that’s all talk and no action if you don’t have the right people, the right talent in your company to execute that, it’s just going to crumble and the organization is gonna fall down.
Well, it’s going to fall down or it’s going to come second and second is no place to be. You know, I’ve been doing recruitment for a long time since before you were born Aishwarya, and I’ve sat opposite so many CEOs and so many HR directors, I would say thousands all over the world, and so many of them will say people are our biggest asset, and it’s just words.
It is not in any way supported by the behavior, they don’t treat their staff that way. They don’t hire that way. They don’t build their external branding and language that you see when you try to apply that way. And yet they’ll say to their board and at their AGM that people are our biggest assets. Obviously, not every company, but there’s still plenty of companies. And this is the knowledge era now, it’s all about people.
I mean, technology is critical, but we’ll be able to afford the best technology. I mean, look, I’ve got a mobile phone you’ve got a mobile phone all of that is the same thing. The next cool thing that comes along we’ll have it. New technology is only advantageous for a small period of time. Then everyone copies it and catches up, right? So people, its people.
“New technology is only advantageous for a small period of time. Then everyone copies it and catches up, right? So people, its people.”
Standing in a conference saying you saved agency fees, you’re a loser. So if you’re saying you hired the very best people available to you in the world. Then I’ll listen to you.
Absolutely. So invest in a good recruitment agency and get good talent to your organization and everything else will fall in place because that’s the first piece of the puzzle.
Exactly. And by the way, if an HR director can find the best talent in the market through their own mechanisms, their internal team and there are other things, well, good luck to them. No recruiter deserves a place of the table just out of goodwill. The recruiter deserves a place at the table because they can deliver something that the hiring company can’t find themselves. That’s what the recruiters should be able to do. That’s another conversation.
They need tactics to get the best talent. But if it is indeed true that the recruiters are able to find particularly very hard to find talent in niche areas and also contract talent that needs to be delivered quickly tomorrow, etc, recruiting companies are the best to do that. And if they can do that, well build a partnership with them. Don’t build a barrier. You can’t access candidates like you access paperclips.
“You can’t access candidates like you access paperclips.”
So many people put their HR, talent function under the procurement function and procurement’s whole reason for existence is to crush the price. Everything is about price, right? Everything’s about price to a degree. I go to the best restaurant in town, prepared to pay more than if I go to McDonald’s. Understood.
But it’s about the delivery of the outcome and in the case of recruitment, its great talent. Great talent to drive your business forward. That’s what it’s about. And if you have to pay some agency fee, get a good agency, work with them, have high expectations of them, pay them respect, keep them informed, take their advice and keep them as your agency, you can have five agencies in different specializations. I don’t care much but don’t get three agencies the same job order.
Yeah, it’s frustrating Greg.
Well, you know, it is frustrating. But it’s also an opportunity for competitive advantage. Because if you understand what I’m talking about and you’re good at selling to clients, why? It’s not in their interest to do that and then you deliver on your promise, then you end up with clients for life.
So it’s an opportunity. But it does annoy me when companies complain about the recruitment industry when they themselves are driving the dysfunction of that industry through that behavior.
Absolutely and Greg, you know, tell me something. You know the source, the best source of hiring is still referrals and that comes to me, I’m just thinking that why’s it still like this?
There is some problem in the entire recruitment process or are companies not really thinking of where the challenge should come from? Why is it still about referrals?
Well, I’m not sure if in all markets that I’m involved in that is the primary source. It does vary from sector to sector. I mean referrals make sense because what I’ve learned is good people know other good people. That’s the way it works, right? So well, by good I don’t mean good human beings, necessarily I mean, good candidates, hopefully, good human beings too.
Referrals are good but it should always just be one part of a very detailed and a part of a strategy that has many parts to it. So it should just be one part. I think you need to look at the type of people you’re hiring and where you can connect with those people. So, for example, if you’re hiring Digital and HR people, they do hang out a lot on Twitter, so I’d have a Twitter strategy. But accountants, generally speaking, don’t hang out much on Twitter, they are more on LinkedIn. Well, then you need to tailor it, you can’t blast everything.
Developers had to get through referrals because they don’t apply to jobs on job boards. They go to where their mates go for jobs. There is what you need to tailor according to your market and have a multi-pronged approach is what I think. I mean really job boards still play a role, but they’re becoming increasingly ineffective. You know, again, the period we’re in now for the last two months and the next how many with Coronavirus thing. This is a period, that is unique and therefore all rules are off.
“This is a period, that is unique and therefore all rules are off.”
But until recently, if you were looking for highly skilled people in high demand areas, you will not get a response from a job board for those people. In the Australian context, a paralegal, a developer, you won’t get. You gotta have other, much more innovative methodologies to find, connect with, engage with, and attract those three. If you’re looking for call center people, maybe a job board works. I don’t know, but it is very complex.
Yeah, I agree with you. I think even in India job boards, they just don’t evolve, they’re still the same as they were about 10 years ago and they give no results whatsoever. Just useless.
Well, I think a lot of job boards will die. I mean, there are other, more innovative job boards in Australia. We have some company called Seek they are by far the market leader, and they are evolving their job board to be actually more like a talent database like LinkedIn and you pay to access this database. So they recognize the writing on the wall that the job board has probably had it’s payday and they’re evolving, a lot of others are not evolving at all. They’re just classified adverts on the Internet, and that is not going to cope with the way recruiting has changed.
Absolutely, I think it has to evolve or it’s just going to die out. So, Greg for the last leg of the interview.
If you have any other important sound bytes that you’d like to leave of our viewers with.
I think people need to go back to some really, really basic things. I’ll give you two things.
1) Whenever you hire somebody for your company, go through the process, do your due diligence, but just before you make an offer, ask yourself, ‘if I hire this person, will they raise the average of my company?’ In other words, will my company be better, a tiny bit better because of this person’s joining? Better at what? Energy, ethics, customer service? Whatever the things are that are important to your company, if we hire this person, does he make our company better? Because if you don’t and the answer is no, then you are hiring somebody with the express intent of making your company a little bit worse. Now, why would you do that?
People do that all the time. They say, ‘Look, best we could find’ and I said, ‘Yes, looks like she’ll raise the average?’ and they say, ‘no she’s going to drop the average’. Well, why would you hire someone like that? Why would you as an executive make a decision, but actually categorically says, ‘I’m going to make my company worse from the day she starts or he starts’. Now there is science behind that and it’s a good check.
2)People still treat recruitment as a reactive process. Oh my goodness, Aishwarya has resigned. Let’s try and find somebody. If there’s any owner of any sort of company here listening to this, let me tell you, you are going to have resignations. People are going to leave, there’s the news. Start recruiting now, even if you’re not hiring. You should always be recruiting. You should always be talking.
I said to owners of recruitment companies, you should have 100 cups of coffee a year with potential recruits. ‘What? That’s too much work. It’s two coffees a week for christ’s sake’. So you know you need good recruiters. You know, they’re hard to find. You know, if somebody is going to lead, get pregnant, resign. And if you’ve got a big recruitment company, you know a ton of things that are gonna happen in the next year. So don’t wait until they leave to recruit. Start recruiting ahead of the curve. It’s a big tip.
“So don’t wait until they leave to recruit. Start recruiting ahead of the curve. It’s a big tip.”
Easy to understand, hard to do. People said to me that’s hard work. Yes, of course, it’s hard work. Anything that’s worth doing in the commercial world, is hard work. You need to do difficult things well, to come out on top in business and life.
Anything that’s worth any value is hard to obtain and we need to treat this part of the segment of recruitment, you know, really really with respect and actually make the recruitment process better, and I think that’s a great message for our viewers as well and thank you so much for really taking out the time. I actually had a very engaging conversation with you. I just spoke my heart out and asked you questions, that was not even in the script I apologize for not sticking to that.
And, you know, and it was a pleasure talking to you, Greg.
Thank you for having me in your video. That’s great. Thank you.
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