9 Steps To Writing A Great Job Ad

The Job ADVERT. Not Job Description. ADVERT.

This to me, means we need to create something that sells to our target audience (candidates) and has the potential to create a feeling of missing out if they don’t apply.

Whilst, of course, remaining honest, authentic and in line with the job itself.

So on a special 99th episode of Talent & Growth, I shared my philosophy in transforming job specifications into talent-attracting ads.

Your job advert is the first step in converting talent into customers, so it’s essential to get it right if you want to attract the best (or any!) people.

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But before we get to my 9 steps, does your business need a hiring health check? As we head into 2023, are you looking to understand the health of your hiring and talent acquisition function?

The Animo Group have put together a Talent Acquisition Health Check which is FREE to use.

Developed by experts, this tool will benchmark your ability to find, engage and hire the best talent and compare this to your peers and competitors.

Get the report right here:

https://animogroup.scoreapp.com

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Now, the 9 steps to job advert success!

1) Get candidates hooked with a purpose

People want to know that what they’re working on matters. Put the purpose of the business in your advert’s headline and share how the company is changing things for their customers, sector or industry to align candidates with their mission. You’re inviting candidates to be part of something bigger. It’s all about tapping into the motivation that gets your candidates up in the morning.

2) Advertise potential achievements

Once you’ve aligned candidates with the company’s purpose, it’s time to tell them what the role will allow them to achieve. When they look back on their time with your client, what could they be proud of? Ask the hiring managers, ‘What would people be able to say they did here?’ That is a selling point. Promote development when you talk about the role, and tell candidates what new skills they’ll gain, who they’ll be learning from and how it will advance their career.

3) Prioritise progression

Talk about the progression path for the role. Be transparent about the process, such as ‘If you do well for this amount of time, and we set the clear deliverables, then you’re going to end up here.’ You’re not just selling candidates the next six months; you’re offering them a future with the company.

4) Clarify your requirements

Once the candidate is interested in the role, it’s time to talk about what the company needs from them. Data shows that the more requirements there are on an ad, the fewer people are going to apply, so keep it concise. Ask the hiring manager, ‘What must this person have done in their past or be able to do for you to be interested in them?’ Usually, they give me no more than three things. There’s a skill shortage; you can’t afford to give capable candidates reasons not to apply. The trick is to make your positions accessible and then hire people who show an aptitude for learning, collaboration and adaptation.

5) Outline the responsibilities

Putting a list of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role helps candidates establish if this is something they’re interested in doing straight away. Make it sound exciting! Talk about the opportunities they’ll get by working in particular areas and what level of accountability they’re going to have. You’re selling the experience of working for the company here.

6) Shout about your values

A big part of companies’ branding is their values. Whether it’s your collaborative work style or inclusive culture, put them in your ad because you want to see if candidates’ values align with yours. Remember that you’re selling to candidates in your ads, so you need to tell them why they should apply to your jobs and engage with you specifically. Mention your commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Your goal should be to make sure that everybody is as comfortable as possible to apply to your jobs. Make sure that the companies you’re advertising live by their ED&I policies as well because it needs to be completely authentic if you’re going to have a positive talent retention rate.

7) Offer Transparency

Salary transparency is really important. You’ve got to be pragmatic here because if you haven’t got salary transparency in your business (which is something you need to look at, but that’s for another day), then it could be tough to advertise it. Where you can, put salaries on your ads. That shows that you’re valuing the skills this position needs rather than chasing years of experience or low-balling people for other reasons. Even if it’s a range like £80-90k, give people a ballpark. It helps stamp out inequality and gender pay gaps, so including it is the right thing to do.

8) Lay out your process

You should also include an outline of the interview process. This goes back to ensuring that this is an inclusive process and that everybody will be treated the same. People also want to know what to expect. Having 25 rounds and 17 technical tests along the way will make your candidate experience suffer, so hone that process and put details on the advert. Be proud of it.

9) Promise feedback

Finally, could you give feedback to your candidates? Whatever they’ve done, however, they’ve engaged with you, whether it’s good news or bad news, you should be giving them some sort of feedback. Committing to feedback in your advert is another good selling point because people think they’ll get ghosted by TAs or companies, or recruiters. Following through will help you maintain an inclusive and transparent process that people will trust.

Finishing touches

When it comes to writing a job ad, my best advice is to throw out the specifications and start again. You need to be making sure the requirements are coming from the hiring manager and sticking to two to three (maybe four things for really high-level or technical positions) things that that person has to have to get this job or to be considered for this job. Transparency in all areas of your hiring process will also help you attract people, so be clear about the way you work. Write it all up in an informative and engaging way, and you’ll have the perfect job ad. 

Check the podcast here –

And what are you doing at midday today GMT? Joining me for a big talk about DATA! Sign up right here – https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:7017777792075366400/

Six lessons after 100 Episodes of Talent and Growth

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Last week we dropped our 100th Talent & Growth episode, a review of 2022 and look forward to 2023 with Hung Lee.

I began the series to help give my new business, The Animo Group, a little bit of momentum and figured we would run out of steam after 6 or 7 episodes.

There can’t be THAT much to talk about in talent acquisition.

Wrong.

T&G took on a life of its own, and I am incredibly proud of the journey we have been on and thankful to the people who have listened, liked and shared our pod.

Most of all, I am grateful to the guests for spending time with me and allowing me to learn so much from them!

I am better at my job because of the conversations I have had on these pods this year, and I hope if you have listened, then you are better at your job too 🙂

There are countless learnings from these hours of conversations, but I wanted to share some which jump out at me as I reflect on the year.

  1. Feedback is king. In terms of the candidate’s experience, the feedback loop is crucial. Of course, candidates must receive feedback from your business if they have interviewed with you. They should be given reasons why they have not been successful. The ghosting of candidates in 2022 is criminal. But if you want that candidate experience to be on point, then you should also be generating feedback from the candidates who have been through your process – there are plenty of tools to automate this for you.
  2. The exit experience is as necessary as the onboarding experience. Creating an ecosystem of advocates will do your brand much good, and a great way to do that is to ensure that those who leave do so in a significant way so they can continue to carry the flag for you. Plus, you need that data to find out why they are leaving and see if there are any trends to help you next time. TA should also be a part of this process because who better use this data? And who better than TA to stay in touch with the exited to get referrals down the line?
  3. Stakeholder relationships are as crucial as any ability to source talent. I have found this myself this year, and it has been one of the biggest differentiators between agency and in-house recruitment. You can be the best recruitment agency in the world, BUT you cannot build as good a relationship with the stakeholder as you could if you work in-house because there is the elephant in the room – the fee attached to your placing! You don’t have the trust of the stakeholder in the same way. Working in-house, you can build relationships, influence, manage expectations, and work together better. Disagree? Come at me!
  4. Talent acquisition should be involved in Internal Mobility AND retention AND everywhere else. Gone are the days the TA is just responsible for finding CVs. TA should be EVERYWHERE! They should be focal in any internal mobility schemes, helping make them work and ensuring people know how to move to new roles within the company. And they should be involved in retention strategies and learn all about them because keeping people is more important than finding people. TA should not be siloed. They should be in the middle of everything.
  5. We must redefine our definition of talent if we want to increase diversity. There is a labour shortage—a skills shortage, particularly in tech. But to paraphrase Asif Sadiq, we need to stop asking people what they have done and ask them how they would do things. We must stop thinking people must have this qualification or background. We must look forward, not back.
  6. The Recruiter is the most critical person in the business. Big love to Chad Sowash, who gave me my favourite soundbite of the year. We are the most crucial person in the business. Without us working in TA, the company cannot grow. And if you don’t grow, you die.

What have been your biggest lessons in talent acquisition in 2022?

Catch up on all the T&G podcast episodes right here –

How To Attract Neurodivergent Talent To Your Business

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Parul° Singh, the Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at the company xDesign. She is quite an exceptional human being, and we had a fantastic conversation.

We dove into her views on how businesses can open their hiring processes to neurodivergent talent and create an inclusive culture. This is the recapped highlights in blog form, so read on for valuable insights on how you can be a better employer and recruiter.

How can we make our businesses available to neurodivergent talent during hiring?

I just want to preface that this does not just benefit neurodivergent talent. If you make some of these tweaks, you’re probably going to cater to a wider audience as well. One of the key pointers that I would give is presenting a variety of media. For example, using videos in your recruitment process, and I don’t see a lot of companies doing this. Pretty much all job adverts are just text, right? It’s very difficult to get a feel for and an actual understanding of the company from that. There tends to be a lot of underlying language and reading between the lines, which can be quite difficult for somebody who has ASD and needs literal explanations. If you have a video which is explaining certain elements of the job, presented by different people who are in that role as well, it just gives variety, it’s a little bit nicer, and it’s quite uncommon. You’re standing out against other people that are not offering these things. 

 Another big one is to reduce your list of required skills. In one of the inclusivity guides, there was an example of where a company talked about a requirement for client-facing communication skills, but it turns out that this was actually not a part of the job. I’m not saying people actively do that, but when you’re putting things on there, and you kind of like, oh, yes, this is a nice skill to have, put that in the required skills, and that’s wrong. There should be literally a few bullet points, be specific about it as well. What do you mean by goals? Communication? Why is it needed? What kinds of communication? Having an easy application format is so helpful because people who have ADHD have procrastination barriers. It’s ridiculous because, working in talent, you’ll see this all the time; there are so many companies out there who ask you to upload your CV, and then it asks you to fill in all the fields of all the stuff they’ve got on your CV. It makes absolutely no sense. That is just going to put people off. Make it easy and straightforward; just a CV, phone number and email address. That’s all you need. 

 One of the other key parts is to actually explain the flexibility in this role. Are you expected to work certain hours? What’s the flexibility for taking your lunchtime? How long is lunchtime? What happens if you have to do this? Again, it benefits everybody who wants to know the specifics about flexibility in a role. This isn’t the norm at the moment, but it’s something that I would also really like to see. 

My final point would be to always include a line at the bottom about your commitment to an inclusive hiring process as well. Do not make this a performative statement because we can tell whether you actually care about it, if you will make adjustments, or whether you just care from an illegality perspective. When I send candidates an invite to schedule the first interview with myself, I also add it again at the bottom of that email, ‘please let me know if you would like any reasonable adjustments during the interview process. It’s a few minor changes, all the way from start to finish. 

Another thing which has come to mind is you can highlight the interview process to reduce the element of surprise. Tell people what to expect and what your timeline is, such as ‘when you apply, you’ll hear back in 48 hours, ‘we’ll let you know even if you’re not successful, ‘we’ll give you feedback, ‘the next stage is this’, ‘this is how quickly we’ll turn it around again’ – people actually really appreciate seeing those things. It helps everybody out. 

How do we proactively tap into neurodivergent talent pools?

I thought this was a really interesting question because I think you can apply it to other kinds of minority groups as well. There are no job boards that I’ve ever found that have a filter for neurodivergent talent, for example, that will be a thing in the future. If people want to say, ‘Hi, I’m neurodivergent, I’ve got ADHD, I’ve got these great skills, you should hire me because of this, that might be the thing for the future. 

 Being somebody who recruits who is neurodivergent has actually enabled me to grow a community around me that is also neurodivergent. I’m personally quite active on Twitter, and Twitter’s got a great neurodivergent community. You also have to be seen as a neurodivergent-friendly employer. When we talk about your employee brand and your employer brand, it might be quite controversial, but I think the employee brand is much more valuable than the employer brand. People are always a little bit sceptical. For example, I post on LinkedIn, and I talk a lot about how my employer has made reasonable adjustments and how I’ve been supported at work in terms of my ADHD, and that will just naturally end up on people’s feeds who actually want to see that. I added a guy on LinkedIn, and he accepted, and then he sent me a message, and he said, ‘I see you posted that you know about ADHD and stuff like that; I would love to learn more about it. I didn’t expect him to be looking for a role when he messaged me, but a few weeks later, we hired him. He’s been with the business for the last few months. That little bit of advocacy will naturally attract people. You have to make it organic; you want it to come across as genuine. It’s quite difficult to do, but I am a neurodiversity advocate, so people know that you know what we’re actually doing internally as well. You can’t ask somebody to do that. You can’t be like, ‘Hey, you are autistic; would you like to be our neurodiversity advocate?’ That comes from the individual, but if they feel comfortable doing that, you might have advocated for different things in the company. 

 Another thing that we are in the process of doing is the disability confidence scheme. It’s basically an assessment to say that you are a friendly workplace for disabled folks. These can obviously be physical disabilities or hidden ones, and they can also tap into candidate pools who class themselves as disabled. Again, it’s a rigorous criterion that you have to pass, but when you’ve gone through it, you can say, ‘Hey, this is a great place to work!’

How do we build an inclusive environment internally that is right for neurodivergent people?

I think the first thing that you need to have is a fixed and comprehensive process for when somebody discloses a neurodivergent condition. I put this on my onboarding forms. This helps HR process and discuss any support or reasonable adjustments a new employee may need. I was told to think about what sort of support I need because everyone’s an individual. With my ADHD, what I need is different from somebody else with ADHD and what they need. I submitted my reasonable adjustments request to my people partner and my line manager, and within less than two working days, I had a formal letter sent digitally confirming that they have approval for reasonable adjustments and also set a date to like review them. If you don’t already have this process, you need to get one in place. 

 A lot of people who are neurodiverse class themselves as disabled, so if somebody submits a reasonable adjustment request and you do not follow due process, you’re liable for legal ramifications. I’ll tell you now, the disability discrimination awards in tribunals are hefty, I think they’re uncapped, actually, so from a legal perspective, you definitely need to do that. From my perspective as being human, I feel like I’ve thrived because I’ve been given the tools and support and the flexibility to work the way that I like, and that increases my loyalty to the company because they’ve given me everything I could have ever asked for. As long as that continues, as long as I’m happy here, I’m gonna stay, because I’ve got no reason to go elsewhere. Don’t make assumptions about what somebody else needs. If somebody has a visual impairment, a yellow screen filter or a screen reader might not actually do what it needs to do. Actually, ask the individual what they need. 

 Another thing is that advocacy from the individuals actually really helps. Make sure that they have the ability to make an impact. There’s no point in me running internal sessions and writing stuff on LinkedIn if, when I make suggestions to internal processes and policies, that doesn’t get approved because I’m not in an HR or leadership role. If somebody is an advocate or even they’re coming to you with some improvement, actually listen to the people who are in those shoes. Keep on improving on it. 

 Flexible and remote working is the way forward too. I really struggled when I was in an office because I felt like I had to be on it all the time, especially working in recruitment, you cannot be seen to putting your feet up for like two minutes. I cannot work like that. I need to work in short, intense sprints. It’s like a HIIT workout where I have 25 minutes where I am going and then I might have like 10 minutes off, but that can be frowned upon in an office. Create an environment which is flexible, and give people the option to work remotely to choose their hours. Some days, if I feel like I’m on a roll, I’m in the zone, I can work a bit more. Can I take that off the next day? That kind of stuff is really not that hard to do. A lot of it actually doesn’t cost employers any money as, well.

What advice would you give to talent teams and businesses who want to start appealing to this talent pool?

 Start with some training and consultancy. There are neurodiversity consultants who are specialists in their fields, who can come in and do an assessment of your hiring process, your internal policies, literally everything from the ground up. They can run awareness workshops as well, which is a brilliant place to start. Get your interviewer some training, and make sure that you move away from this fake interview style and practice hiring based on specific competencies. Once you can truly embrace neurodiversity, the benefits are literally tenfold. As a person with ADHD, I am highly capable of taking calculated risks. I am great at communicating with people and building relationships, which has brought me the success that I’ve had in the last four years. Sometimes I struggle with task management and priorities, but these are really easy things to fix. When you compare it to the positives, your business is just going to do great. Don’t tolerate, embrace. That’s my advice.

To hear more about how you can attract neurodiverse talent to your business, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here. 

Six Steps To Sourcing Great Candidates Via Events

Following our newsletter yesterday, which covered my Six Steps To Sourcing Great Candidates Via Events (link at the bottom of page), I wanted to share a blog based on Episode 80 of Talent & Growth with Michael Carter.

Michael gave his take on events and experience from utilising this effective means of generating new talent pools.

I hope you enjoy it and if anybody has any questions about events or anything else, drop me a note.

How Events can Attract Talent to your Business

Running events can be a great way to attract new talent and get fresh eyes on your business and product if done correctly. We asked Michael for his insights into the process ahead of our live event, which is happening at the Warner Brothers Discovery offices where Michael works.

Learn more about utilising events to attract talent to your business or recruitment pool.

How effective do you find events are when it comes to attracting new talent to your brand?

I think it’s very effective. For the talent acquisition team, it’s an enjoyable and engaging way for your teams to grow. I believe there are three main points where its effectiveness can be measured. One element of events is that you can bring in a diverse range of talent, not just from geography or a coaching perspective but from a neurodiversity perspective. You can get people working on different products and in various pockets of the world with other goals and bring them together. You can target separate areas and work across them.

 The second point of effectiveness is that you can test a lot of the stuff you’re doing within the events. So, for example, there are three ways in which you can source these events. One, you can run a recruitment event where the goal is to hire people at the end of it. Two, you can host a meet-up that gives you a sourcing map afterwards. Three, you attend events yourself, try to spread like oil in those, and network as much as possible. In the second one, if you’re doing an event specific to recruitment and hiring, you can A-B test many strategies, change things up, try different interview teams or panels, and test structures – it’s pretty cool. The third way is helpful if you’re trying to scale up a specific team quickly and need to reach more talent. Those are the three main effective ways to utilise events to find or attract talent.

How can teams use events to leverage engagement with potential new candidates?

There are a couple of ways. One is when the marketing of the event is purely down to recruitment. You lean on a comms, marketing, and branding team to create the assets and content you’re pushing out, as you do with any recruitment project. The actual marketing and the gathering of an audience are done by recruitment, though, because we have the LinkedIn licences, we have the reach, so that’s a principal reason you’re involved. We all do LinkedIn messaging, multi-messenger threads, and follow-up, which can build a different strategy.

If you have two sources in one region, one source has tapped out engineers in Budapest; for example, you can lean on the other’s LinkedIn to send messages to a similar group about an event for a change. It gives you a rejuvenated avenue of search and conversation so you can talk about this event. You want to market it as an engineering-focused event with a recruitment advantage; that is generally the whole point of these things. It just gives you a different discussion point, and more importantly, it gives you something to provide these engineers and the people you’re speaking with. You’re not just knocking on the door and going, ‘Hey, look, work for us again. You’re offering them value and saying, ‘Hey, this is what we do. What do you reckon if we have a chat after you’ve been to the event?’ Often, people already looking for work will shortcut it and ask you straight away, but they like having that asset and some reflection of what the job is like.

The other way to leverage engagement is with attendees for generic meetups. You can search their companies, which gives you a whole market map to see where they’ve come from and where they’ve gone without much interaction. It gives you a complete matrix of sourcing materials. We’ve found that from one person who comes to an event, four companies they will have worked for or interacted with becoming part of our broader, more comprehensive matrix, so you can tap into that as you go.

Follow-up is critical, so how do we make that work?

That depends on your tools. If you’re using Eventbrite, for example, you have a signup page which asks people to tell you their first name, last name, job title and current company, which you can set up to give you an excel sheet at the end. That gives all your people or companies’ emails, contact details, or whatever they want to add. That gives you a list for messaging and networking afterwards. One note I would say on this is when you do the signup, make sure the sheet reflects who attends because I have done it before where I’ve run an event, then you’ve messaged everyone and said, ‘Hey, thanks for coming and I got replies saying ‘I didn’t come, what are we talking about?’ Otherwise, the follow-up is pretty simple. From a recruitment perspective, that follow-up message is just about giving people access to knowledge about what’s happening and access to you. As long as it’s fast (within 48 hours), it’s relevant. Follow-options in terms of whoever spoke on this topic, you can find their LinkedIn here, or you can contact them on their email. You can give them full follow-sources and then erase at the end, ‘Hey, obviously, as you heard, we’re recruiting. Give me a shout if you can’.

What advice would you give to somebody who’ing to start using events for sourcing talent?

Just have fun with it. We all have ideas and stuff that we want to try. Doing it in one project with bookends on either side and a goal can sound quite restrictive. Still, there’s so much freedom and interconnection with the group you’re recruiting for that you need to dig deep to give an idea of the culture you’re bringing people into. It gives you access to employer branding, marketing, columns, relocation… It’s enjoyable, and I think as long as you have the support of the leadership, it can’t go wrong.

To hear more of Michael’s insights on how to create significant events and on running successful recruitment campaigns at them, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here:

And here’s the link to yesterday’s newsletter:

Six Steps To Sourcing Great Candidates Via Events

Freshly inspired by our Talent & Growth live event last week, engineered for networking, learning and raising money for Mind, I felt compelled to share how valuable events can be for sourcing talent as well.

Events, particularly in-person events, can be a tremendous and subtle showcase of your business, which will help you build short-term and long-term talent pools.

If you work in Talent Acquisition and are looking at your hiring plans for next year, wondering where on earth you will unearth five niche candidates, then events could be the way forward.

Here’s how you do it.

Step One – Identify your target audience.

Whom are you looking to attract to your business?

Where are the most significant demands in your hiring plans?

Which pool of candidates tends to be the toughest to attract?

Work out whom you are trying to attract with your event.

And DON’T try to make your target audience focus on one area.

You know what they say, if you try to attract everybody, you attract nobody.

We can’t be everything to everybody.

If you are hiring across the board, that’s cool; you may need to run multiple events!

But just one target audience at a time.

Step Two – Identify what your target audience would like to hear about

Do not assume you know what your target audience will want to hear.

I am guessing you are not a Product Manager or a JavaScript Developer – you are a Talent Acquisition extraordinaire!

So, do some research – ask existing people in your business who work in the hiring roles precisely what they would be interested to hear about.

Culture? Methodology? Tech? Ask candidates you speak to when sourcing what they would be keen to hear about. Put a poll out on LinkedIn.

Get some qualitative and quantitative data to know that you are aiming your event sniper rifle at the right target.

Events are much work, and you need to ensure you aren’t aiming in the wrong direction.

Step Three – Find your expert(s)

So you have your target audience.

You also know what sort of topics they want to hear about.

Now you need somebody to talk about these topics!

Somebody compelling and somebody with expertise.

Now, the ideal situation here is that you are doing something engaging in your business which ANYBODY in that field would like to hear about.

For example, you are doing some exciting stuff with React Framework that nobody has done before – great, engage your Head of Engineering or CTO to talk about this topic and how other Engineers and businesses can do the same.

But maybe you haven’t. Perhaps you aren’t doing something interesting yet, or maybe you don’t have that compelling expert in the business or one willing to talk.

No problem – find somebody external. You will be using your event as a venue, and your brand and name will be associated with this event, which is excellent. You will still build new relationships with new candidates, who will get to walk into your building and potentially feel what it’s like to walk in there as an employee.

The ideal situation has one person from within your business AND one or two external.

Remember, this is about building a quality event first and foremost. This leads me to…

Step Four – Less Selling, More Telling

The salespeople in the audience will know this statement is usually the other way around, but not on this occasion.

Remove all selling from your brain, and make sure your speakers do the same.

This is not about shouting through the process about how great a business PaulChurch.Com is.

We all hate being sold to. I do, you do, candidates do. At least, in the obvious cliched way.

Focus on the building of a quality event.

Focus on building meaningful rapport with the people you invite to the hosting.

Focus on the quality content the attendees will hear and see.

You will get the wins here from the association with a quality event and building relationships with new candidates along the way.

Not by telling everybody how great your business is, either in the run-up, or during the presentations.

So, no selling – just telling, and by telling, I mean telling the story of the incredible stuff you will talk about at the event, which would interest anybody in your target audience.

Step Five – Prep, Outreach and Marketing

Preparation is everything, so you must give yourself plenty of time.

Plan how the event will go, who is speaking for how long, what the format will be, what the itinerary will be, any catering you will provide and so on.

It would help if you had at least a six-week run-up to this event, don’t try and rush it.

This will give you time to reach out to all the candidates in your target audience who are on your ATS, LinkedIn and wherever else.

Every candidate you speak to mentions the event.

And get Marketing on board to put together some lovely-looking artwork you can plug on LinkedIn and put at the bottom of your emails.

Post about it every other day at least – if this is truly a quality event, which it should be, you should be proud of it and have no problem giving the plugs.

Step Six – Follow-up is critical!

So, the event was a success.

You had a great turnout; the content was informative and compelling, and you had lots of great conversations with many great people…

Now what?

Now, you should have a list of candidates from your target audience who match the profile of the people you are trying to hire.

People you have now met, who have been in your offices, and hopefully, you began building a relationship with via your charm, personality, and overall greatness!

So give them a call.

“Did you like the event?”

“What would you change about it?”

“How was the pizza?”

“And by the way, did you know we are hiring for great people like yourself?”

“Would you like to find out more?”

“Yes? Fantastic!”

And those are my steps to making events a tool for sourcing.

Tomorrow, as a bonus newsletter edition, I will share a blog from Michael Carter, based on our podcast episode, with even more advice about this topic.

The Top Three Traits Of A Great Leader

People don’t leave businesses; they leave managers.

How often do we see that said?

And it’s true. The relationship between the employee and manager is crucial to that employee’s success and happiness at that business.

I was asked Friday when I posed the question, “what makes a great manager” whether I meant manager or leader, and it’s a great question.

To me, they are intertwined – anybody working in a senior role and having employees must have excellent leadership skills (the ability to inspire, compel and create purpose, AND excellent management skills (organisation, operational fundamentals etc.) to succeed.

But what are the most critical skills & traits that the best leaders/managers must have and display in 2022?

And who on earth am I to dictate? Well, I have my opinions, and my views are forged from 10 years of being a manager and leader in tech recruitment, an incredibly intense industry,

I have generated immense success and overseen huge crashes, which, ultimately, I was accountable for.

I also have 13 years of being managed by a medley of managers and leaders, some bringing the best out of me and others bringing out the worst.

And I have nearly three years of experience interviewing the very best in People, Talent, Culture & HR, and more often than not, the topic of leadership comes up.

So that’s my resume 🙂

So, what are the three most important traits and skills the modern manager must have?

I reveal all right after this message!

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In just two days, on 19th October, we will host our first ever live Talent & Growth event in London.

This is an event to make us all even better at hiring great people into our businesses.

You will come away with a TA toolkit you can start implementing immediately.

This is what we will cover:

Katrina Collier – How To Make The Business Partner With TA & Deliver A Better Experience For All!

Beckie Taylor – How To Diversify Your Hiring

Christine Ng – How To Build An Employer Brand To Attract Tech Talent

Rohan Kallicharan – How Your Existing Employees Can Help You Attract More Talent

Sign up here: Talent & Growth Tickets, Wed 19 Oct 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

The Top 3 Traits of Great Leader

  1. They must be consistent. You cannot please everybody. Not everybody will always love your decisions because different decisions affect different people depending on their perspectives and place in the company. Still, they will respect you if you stick to what you do and broadly act the same with everybody. Now, the best managers/leaders also know that the caveat to this is that sometimes you need to communicate slightly differently to people depending on how you know they best respond and how they are best made to feel comfortable, so there is a thin line. But essentially, do what you say and allow everybody the same freedoms and trust. If you don’t, you lose credibility and your people’s trust!
  2. They must make their people feel trusted. Nothing creates a culture of unrest or discontent more than one where people do not feel trusted. If you make your people feel empowered and trust them to take on the responsibility of their roles, then guess what? They will step up, be confident in their delivery and want to do their best work for you and your company. If they don’t, they will be discontent and slowly grow resentment towards you. Do your people feel trusted?
  3. They must display vulnerability. I used to pride myself on being somebody who showed no emotion, never let things rattle them and never brought any personal troubles to work. It came from a good place, but the effect is harmful because it filtered down into the business and means others did not feel they could be open about how they felt. By displaying vulnerability and admitting not always to be fighting fit, you create a culture of trust, empathy and compassion. Everything starts at the top, including exposure.

Those are my top three; what do you think? Have a great week, all 🙂

Issue 8: My Top Three Biggest Mistakes As A Manager

One of the benefits of interviewing such incredible and intelligent people for the Talent & Growth podcast is that I learn so much.

I learn how to do things the RIGHT way.

But one of the results is reflecting on all the times I did things the WRONG way.

None of us is perfect.

We learn from the losses more than the victories, the mistakes more than the things we did correctly.

I cringe when I think of some things I got wrong in my career.

But it’s a healthy process to reflect on and maybe even more beneficial to share – it ensures accountability on my part, which hopefully means I won’t make the same mistakes again.

This week I have been thinking about leadership and management, which are naturally entwined.

Like most in recruitment, I became a manager because my numbers were good.

The assumption is made that if you are an excellent individual contributor, you can clone results like your own through other people.

Suddenly you are managing people having had no formal training!

It’s crazy, but it still happens in many industries today.

Overall, I want to think that I was a good leader, particularly at my last business before I set up my own.

I led the business through the darkness of 2020 and into the light of 2021, which was probably the proudest stint of my career.

I left in the right way and the business in the right place – in profit, with momentum and good people.

But – throughout my twelve years as a manager, I made horrific mistakes.

Too many to mention in full.

But here are the top three biggest ones I made, curated for you in the hope you don’t make the same ones:

Number One: I communicated poorly.

Poor communication in a business is often one of the biggest gripes of employees.

One lousy example for me was that I made a significant change in the business and communicated that change to everybody via group email.

This change affected some individuals more than others.

One, in particular, was so surprised and dissatisfied that they left the business.

I do not doubt that whilst the change would have impacted this individual, either way, if I had taken the time to discuss it with them individually beforehand, they would have understood.

I likely would have kept them in the business.

Most importantly, they would have been spared hearing the news via email – they were shocked and made to feel like they were not valued.

The moral of the story is – Always think a few steps ahead when making changes in a business. Whom does this affect? Whom could this impact the most? What steps could I take to limit this negative impact or, at the very least, emphasise that I understand the impact they will feel? Speaking to individuals or, at the very least, small teams in an open forum is often the solution.

Number Two: I called people out in public.

I sometimes challenged people’s behaviours or results, particularly on the sales floor.

I often caught people by surprise, which would create fear and a feeling of being singled out.

I did this out of habit, I did this as a way to set an example to others who might deviate, and I likely did this as a way to caress my managerial ego.

All of these reasons demonstrate traits of absolutely terrible leadership.

It was damaging to the culture of the business, damaging to my credibility as a leader and damaging to the trust of my employees.

I have had it done to me before, and nothing has made me more defensive, attacked, or demotivated by that leader or business.

As leaders, we must hold people to account for their results and actions, but chastising in public is not the way to do it.

You will not get the result you want from the person you are attacking and will likely damage results and feelings with other team members.

Moral of the story – If you need to discuss negative actions or results with an individual, think ahead. Create a safe environment regarding the physical setting and the conversation framing. Explain the problem, allow the individual to openly discuss their point of view stance and then work together to forge a solution. And make sure there are no irrelevant bystanders!

Number Three: I didn’t give enough praise.

Indeed in my early stages of management, good results and good behaviours were the baselines, and that was how I treated my people.

Anything below was immediately called out, but anything at that level and above were treated as business as usual.

Too often, we highlight only the mistakes and not the wins, no matter how small.

My heart was in the right place. I wanted to create a culture of humility and discipline.

But in doing so, I neglected to make people feel good about what they had done and achieved.

The moral of the story is – Your people need to know they are doing a good job. Please don’t assume they do. And don’t assume they don’t crave that hit of dopamine that gets released when they get your praise. Tell them how well they have done because if it is authentic and well-founded, that will help you create long-lasting relationships with your people. Oh, and also do it because THEY DESERVE IT.

What were your biggest mistakes as a manager?

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On 19th October, we will host our first ever live Talent & Growth event in London.

This is an event to make you even better at Talent Acquisition.

An event to help you become better at attracting and keeping great people at your business.

You will come away with a TA toolkit you can start implementing immediately.

This is what we will cover:

Katrina Collier – How To Make The Business Partner With TA & Deliver A Better Experience For All!

Beckie Taylor – How To Diversify Your Hiring

Christine Ng – How To Build An Employer Brand To Attract Tech Talent

Annie Jackson – How To Build A Careers Page Which Attracts Talent

Rohan Kallicharan – How Your Existing Employees Can Help You Attract More Talent

Sign up here: Talent & Growth Tickets, Wed 19 Oct 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

Issue Seven: Four Day Week Is Working

Talent and Growth Live is coming - the 19th of October! Don't miss this incredible event focused on bringing Talent Acquisition professionals together and learning how to be even better at hiring great people into our businesses. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/talent-growth-tickets-414487652727

The reality of a four-day work week becoming the norm is edging closer as 86% surveyed of the companies taking part in the landmark UK trial have said they will keep extending the policy beyond the six-month trial.

The Metro reports that “Nearly half said productivity has ‘maintained around the same level’, while 34% said it ‘improved slightly’ and 15% reported it ‘improved significantly’”

This is a monumental step in the right direction of better working conditions for the people in the UK, who for too many years have been driven into the ground by an archaic mentality of working as many hours as possible.

That same archaic mentality that suggests we need to deliver work in a set place at set hours, despite technology allowing us to do otherwise.

How many of us have lived that life of working into the ground?

How many of us barely saw parents when we were growing up because their lives were even crazier regarding hours worked, longer commutes and the lack of platforms like Teams and Zoom?

A four-day work week gives people back time to breathe.

Time to spend on themselves.

Time to spend with their family.

Their children.

Time to do things that make them happy.

And by the way, a happy person will be much more productive, committed and invested in work than somebody who is burnt out to the crisp.

It pains me to see the criticisms around this experiment.

I have heard people criticising how little well-known some of the businesses taking part are, which shouldn’t bare much significance in my opinion.

If these businesses are performing the same, if not better, then why can this not be replicated by better-performing companies?

Logic suggests they could create even larger scale performances from it as their infrastructures would be better!

The most dangerous phrase in business is “that would never work for us”.

That’s right up there with terrifying statements like “Because that’s how it has always been done”.

Why are people willing to accept the incredible advances we have made in the world of science and technology, yet they cannot get the possibility that a four-day week could work?

There is no science attached to working five days a week, especially not in the technologically advanced world we live in now.

It’s just a framework that has been in place for hundreds of years that we have stuck to because we didn’t know how to challenge it.

And now, we do.

And now, we have.

In the instances I have seen this criticism of the four-day work week, it does not tend to be the workers who are juggling working, commuting and childcare complaining, but rather it seems to be privileged leaders of businesses who are focusing less on their people and more on their bottom line.

But if you look after your people, the people will look after your profit.

To be clear, if I had a magic wand, was the world ruler and could implement any system I could, a four-day work week wouldn’t be.

I would suggest that all our work be purely deliverable focused (work that can be, of course, before anybody starts shouting at me about bus drivers again) rather than the time allotted.

We would measure our employment contracts, not on hours worked but on achievements and what we had produced.

How many hours we spent on it or during which days would be insignificant.

But for now, unfortunately, I am not the ruler of the world and will instead happily accept that the slow acceptance and adoption of a four-day workweek is a significant step forwards in the right direction, and I applaud the companies who have taken part in the study.

I get that it is not as simple for every business, and for some, the transition will be less smooth than others.

And I am not saying that everybody should click their fingers and implement it immediately.

But what I am saying is this:

Stop saying, “this will never work”.

And start saying, “how do we make this work”?

Because the world is changing.

You can either change with it or fall behind.

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Rather than a blog this week I wanted to introduce readers to Goodwork, following a chat I had with their founder Felicity Halstead a few weeks ago.

It’s a phenomenal cause focusing on social mobility and helping young people from underrepresented backgrounds get work.

Here’s the info, message for details:

Who we are 

GoodWork is a non-profit supporting businesses to take bold, progressive and decisive action to make early careers fairer, more inclusive and more meaningful – all while supporting the young people who need it most to access and succeed at work.

What we do 

Our six-month-long Early Careers Programme provides intensive training, support and paid work to unemployed and underemployed young people from marginalised backgrounds, aged 18-25. 

How we’re different 

We work with the candidates who are most often left behind. The correlation between disadvantage and lower educational attainment is strong, and yet most businesses and apprenticeship providers use academic achievements as a key recruitment metric. We look at the whole person, and their potential – giving you access to talent you otherwise wouldn’t reach, and them an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t get. 

How it works

We partner with forward-thinking organisations to bring in entry-level talent, that they otherwise wouldn’t access. We work across sectors and disciplines, and can support existing internships or help you create new roles. We then find a young person to join your business, using our behavioural science backed, psychologist-developed, bias-mitigated recruitment process. 

Interns go through two weeks of employability, confidence boosting and soft skills training with us, before joining you on placement. Throughout the six-month programme, we provide support and continuous training to interns, as well as helping you facilitate the placement. We’ll also provide pre-placement training and ongoing support to interns’ on-placement managers. 

When placements end, you’ll have the option to retain your intern on a permanent contract. Regardless, they’ll ‘graduate’ to our Alumni programme and benefit from our ongoing support.

Contact [email protected] for more details.

Issue Six: Talent And Growth Live

This week we will announce our final speaker for our London Live Talent & Growth event in conjunction with Warner Bros Discovery AND release our first wave of tickets.

When I launched this podcast back in January, I never imagined that I would get to 80 episodes and not that it would evolve into a live face-to-face event!

Building this community for Talent, People & HR professionals has taken a life of its own and has been an incredible journey.

So, I wanted to use this week’s newsletter to provide people with the last opportunity to register their interest in the event before the tickets are released Wednesday/Thursday.

This event is designed to help us all get better at our job if our job is about attracting or retaining the best talent. It will also allow us to network with fellow Talent, People and HR professionals.

AND…to raise money for Mind, a charity that is very close to my heart. All money will go to them.

Speakers confirmed so far are:

Katrina Collier – How to make the business partner with TA & deliver a better experience (for all!)

Christine Ng – How to build an employer brand to attract tech talent

Annie Jackson – How To Build A Careers Page Which Actually Attracts Talent

You can register interest here – https://12ry7qhrk1u.typeform.com/to/ZzKigWXf

FYI – Due to next Monday being a Bank Holiday, there will be no T&G newsletter.

Issue Five: Working From Home & Setting Boundaries

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Alan Sugar is at it again.

I still like to think that Lord Sugar doesn’t actually believe this but rather is leaning into a character that promotes his brand thus growing his follower base.

But whether this is an authentic belief or not, it triggered this weeks topic which is the importance of setting boundaries when working from home.

This isn’t a new conversation.

In 2020 when the majority of us were trying to hang onto our jobs and businesses in the toughest market we had ever seen, whilst simultaneously being locked down and forced to work from home, burnout was a big topic.

Now, as the pandemic has significantly subsided, WFH is no longer an infliction but a choice that most of us who can, choose to make.

Not Alan Sugar obviously, no doubt he is in the office 24/7.

And WFH doesn’t necessarily mean WFH! It could mean working from a coffee shop. It could mean working from another town. Another country. You can work from anywhere.

But the problem with being able to work from anywhere means you will work from anywhere.

You might be more inclined to work more hours because you don’t have your commute.

You might be more inclined to work on weekends.

You might be more inclined to work on holiday.

And if you love what you do, like I do, then this doesn’t always seem like work.

If you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life right?

Wrong.

Everybody needs down time.

Everybody needs time to step away.

To reflect.

To recharge.

To spend time with friends and family.

To laugh, to be brought back down to earth and to step out of that work bubble.

I don’t have this nailed by any degree.

It is something I have to keep working on continuously, often because I get pulled out of said work bubble by my (romantic) partner, my (business) partner or a friend.

But here are some basics that help me set boundaries:

  • Allocate set days where you WILL not allow yourself to look at anything work related. These used to be called weekends. I managed this from 3pm Friday until Sunday and felt brand new when I did log back on.
  • Be clear at the beginning of the working day what time you will finish and log off. Be strict with that. If your to do list isn’t done by then, then tough – you still have to log off. But I have a sneaking feeling that if you set a deadline, you will get what you need done.
  • Leave your phone at home. Hold on, hear me out. Yes, I get that you have already promised that you won’t do any work but removing your device from your person for a few hours or even (oh my god) a DAY will have you feeling liberated and free. You will also be completely present wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Try it.
  • Do you love blocking out your calendar? Cool, me too. But do you block it out with your fun stuff? Your yoga class? Your lunch with a friend? Your trip to the cinema. Do it. Place as much importance in your diary on the fun stuff as you do on the work stuff. It’s just as important.

I hope these help. Let me know what works for you?

And Lord Sugar…be quiet.

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Another week, another shot of me in the Warner Bros. Discovery studios visiting the venue for our very first Talent & Growth live even in London.

We will be beginning to announce our amazing four speakers this week!

We will also be raising money for Mind with this event – all funds will go towards this incredible charity.

If you would like to register your interest in attending the event, please do so here – https://12ry7qhrk1u.typeform.com/to/ZzKigWXf

With the fear setting in to the country around energy costs, inflation and the recession in general, how are you helping your people? I asked this question and Chelsea Foxwell of Uptake Strategies responded.

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I also spotted this post from Ben Rutter which I loved.

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So big up to Chelsea and Ben and their businesses 🙂

If you or your business are doing something special to help their people weather the impending storm then please do get in contact and I will share on this platform.

The more ideas we have the more we can help each other.