Work – of a Different Kind

Today I’m heading to Shoreditch to take part in Recfest. Before we get stuck into a day of talking how to make recruitment better, I’ll be playing and singing a few songs for whoever else is crazy enough to turn up at 08.45.

I’m on the train. What’s buzzing round my head right now?

The guitar I’m using today isn’t mine. I’ve not seen or played it before, so I’ll get there early enough to have a quick practice.

I have a bunch of tunes to choose from, more than enough for the time I’ll be playing. I know which one I’m starting with and beyond that, we’ll see. I want the flexibility to develop the set as I go.

I enjoy encouraging people to try out different ways to work, and for me, today is one of those days where I step into a different, uncertain space. I need to feel that uncertainty personally, direct contact with it matters to me.

There will be bum notes. There always are.

I am nervous, and excited too. Tuning the dial between nerves and excitement is a tension I enjoy, most of the time!

I hope your day holds something a little different for you too, enjoy tuning your dial to suit the mood.


It’s approaching 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and Recfest continues at a pace. I’ve done my bit and  left everyone to it, thanks for having me folks. I woke up very early today, around 4.30am, probably due to early onset of adrenalin. I feel very tired right now, and I thought I should update the post to reflect that. Doing stuff that we are not used to can be tiring – so whether you are encouraging folk to work differently, or challenging them to, I think it’s worth being mindful that these new and less usual things take a lot of energy.

The Candidate Experience

I recently spotted an interesting opportunity to do some work with a company who are looking to do things differently, looking to grow greater value between the organisation and its customers. They are a company I expect many of you will know well, I am currently a customer of theirs, and I know a good number of you are too. Applications to help with this work were invited, and I duly sent mine in on June 20th, a day before the deadline.

Here’s what happened next:

Application acknowledged via a standard email. That’s good, I now know contact has been made, even if it is just me getting responded to by a robot just now.

The following week I noticed the deadline had been extended. Ideally I think it would be better if applicants could be told this rather than stumble upon the fact themselves, but I freely admit I’m a bit fussy.

The week after that I noticed the deadline had been extended again. Ideally I think it would be better if applicants could be told this rather than stumble upon the fact themselves, but I freely admit I’m a bit fussy.

The week after….yep, it happened again.

On July 17th I was invited for a telephone interview to take place on July 25th. The interview went well and the next day I was contacted and asked to go for a face to face meeting. I agreed to come in on August 1st as I was about to disappear off on holiday after that. I didn’t want to keep them, or me, waiting.

I was asked to fill in one of those personality assessment thingies before I attended (shudder), and I had to chase the link to complete this, which was finally sent to me at 4.15pm the day before the meeting. I duly completed it.

The meeting on August 1st also seemed to go well, and in addition I completed a critical reasoning test while I was there. I confirmed that as I was going to be on holiday for the next ten days I’d be difficult to get hold of, but to call me if anything urgent needed dealing with. I also asked that the test results please be sent through to me along with the completed personality assessment. I was told this would happen. When I got back to the office I sent a thank you email.

We had a fantastic family holiday and on my return I headed straight off to Chicago to speak at a conference, and to have fun, and to learn stuff. Mission accomplished, I came back from Chicago. The end of August arrived, and having heard nothing, I put in a call. The person I needed to speak to was away from their desk. ‘They’ll call you back’. This didn’t happen so a few days later I called again and the conversation started ‘I was due to call you today…’. The tone as much as the words, plus the preceding delays told me everything I needed to know. Afterwards I thanked the other person for the opportunity (the interview in particular was energising and useful), and reminded them to please send me through the test results and assessment info. They said they would, and nothing arrived.

Coincidentally I met up with the person managing this process recently and reminded them to please send through the test results and assessment information. I was again told this would be done. Again, nothing arrived.

After yet another chase up I finally got the assessment back on September 25th. I haven’t studied it in detail yet but it probably says I’m pushy! And I got 90% in the test. Whoop de doo.

It’s not the overall timescale of the process I mind so much (though things did drag on rather a lot), it’s the slippage and forever having to chase stuff up that bugs me. This happens to have been a big piece of work with a budget approved and signed off, but to me it shouldn’t really matter whether you’re recruiting for permanent posts, interims, projects, consultants, senior, junior, whatever. What I think is important is for recruiters to read stories like this and ask if they are OK with their part in helping to craft the way their brand is perceived?


Since publishing this post I’ve had some really interesting reactions and responses via Twitter. Here are a few comments that stood out for me. I think they add value to the original post, I hope you do too.

Julia Waddell commented: There may be no perfect candidate experience out there, but that one REALLY falls short of the mark.

Simon Heath added: If you want the best people working with you your process better work.

Charu Malhotra said: I’m not surprised, but can’t fathom that even if the person doesn’t care about their #EmployerBrand, what about their personal one?


What’s a community? Part One

I’m experimenting again. Today I’ve been invited to Jamie Leonard’s reconverse event which is focussing on communities (so far with a heavy focus on talent and recruitment) and I’m having a go at live blogging. I think that’s a bit like tweeting, only slightly longer. Here goes:

What’s a community?

It’s a commercial network, see Brave New Talent in the UK as an example.

It’s groups in places like LinkedIn and Facebook, Beknown as an example.

It’s a company owned space, maybe for alumni?

More to follow soon…