Guest blogger: Karen O’Brien – Recruitment

So much of Karen’s commentary on “Recruitment – get it right from the start” makes perfect sense to those of us who work within the sector and have for some time.   So why is it that so many clients and candidates still get it wrong?

Looking at this from a Consulting point of view and with thirty years market experience, I would make the following observations about Recruitment in today’s market.

Organisations that invest in people and process for recruitment generally have a better chance of hiring well and retaining staff.  Taking into account all key areas that require thoughtful consideration before the hiring commences including key competencies and skills required to be effective, fit to team and organisational values, potential growth and long term opportunity for both employer and employee.  An internal recruitment team can be highly effective if a strong framework is in place and a quality process is undertaken end to end.

Unfortunately or fortunately as Recruiters would see it, not all businesses plan this aspect of their business and require assistance to fulfil their need for quality people.  Some will push on regardless citing cost, time constraints or the fact that they can do this well themselves and by going alone, into an area that they know little about, often results in high turnover, damage to brand and commercial cost impacting their bottom line.   One of the most common statements I hear from candidates who have found themselves in this situation is that the “interview they had with the client did not reflect the role in any way”, they feel deceived and let down which of course results in turnover and further cost.

Often when we are referred in to meet with a new client, it is at a stage where they are seeking objective guidance.  They may have had a few failed attempts at hiring or just come to the conclusion that they are time-poor and require help.  Our role in this situation is to fully understand the history, company objectives and goals and what I refer to as their “wish list” for the position.   We are not there to agree with everything put forward, in fact our role is to challenge what we see does not potentially fit and offer ideas that may suit better, backing this up with market intelligence and prior experience of similar roles.  As experts in our field of Recruitment, our value add to a client is to undertake work and deliver a result that they potentially cannot do for themselves.  We have networks and market reach and we can provide solid examples of quality outcomes performed with clients which further demonstrate our understanding and success in specific sectors.

So what about the candidate in all of this?  Who is looking out for them and guiding their work choices?

Candidates will often put themselves forward for a position because it mirrors what they have done previously and they feel this is their best option to go for.  I find so often that candidates do not take time out to review their work choices and spend the time to understand what they truly want from their next role.  This is made more difficult by a market place that is becoming more risk-adverse than ever before and looks to hire only those people who have worked in their industry sector, performing that exact role for a respectable number of years.

So much of what Karen has written about in her books and blogs covers the emotional balance in the workplace.   I have also seen a shift of attitude over the past ten years where candidates are putting the values and company culture as their first choice, they are seeking to work within an environment where their values are mirrored and work alongside Leaders who will inspire, challenge and further develop.  This is an area that I particularly probe at interview, I encourage the candidate to ponder their own “wish-list” and what they see as the critical components that have to present in any job interview for them to confirm they are on track to make a good choice.

Candidates who rush the interview process and accept too quickly when an offer is made, those who fail to review where they are going and why are often the same individuals who are back in the market within a short time-frame.  Seeking out guidance and support from others who have the skills to enable them to be their best is what is missing.   As an industry we do not do enough of this work and we should do so much more for candidates to be their best.

I loved this quote when I first read it and to me it would be Nirvana in the workplace, it was from Karen’s book, the People Manager’s Toolkit and in her preface she wrote.  “My aim is to guide you towards achieving outstanding commercial results while at the same time making a positive difference to the lives of the people you lead, their families and the communities within which they live and work”.

Let me know the name of the client please as I have many, many candidates who would love to work there!

Karen O’Brien
General Manager – Johnson Recruitment
Telephone: (03) 9946 7320

Karen O’Brien is a highly experienced Recruitment Specialist with over 28 years industry experience in the Melbourne market.

She commenced her career in Investment Banking – Treasury Operations and was soon enticed into what was then a “cottage industry” in the 1980’s.  Having now worked with leading recruitment firms in Senior Leadership roles, her focus has always been to actively partner and recruit and at the same time mentor, lead and develop her teams to enhance both their commercial skills and ability to fully partner with clients and candidates.

Karen has worked for the past six years within the Health and Community sectors and has been given the opportunity to place critical HR roles, Executive Assistants to CEO and Executive Teams including Board support, and has also placed key administrative personnel.

Karen has always adopted a strong “hands on” approach to recruitment and thoroughly enjoys working with clients as their trusted advisor.  She takes her work personally and places each candidate as if she were recruiting for her own business, which means finding the right long-term fit.  She also works with candidates in a transparent and respectful way, always seeking to add value to their interview process by providing coaching and market intelligence to further enhance their success.

Her passion for people is what drives her and keeps her within the industry she loves.

Areas of Specialisation

·     Human Resources
·     Business and Executive Support
·     Practice Management

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