Tag Archives: Talent Acquisition.

Careers – are just like painting a fence….

I painted the fence over the weekend. Took me bloody ages and I got sunburnt in the process.

Whilst I was busy brush stroking away, it got me thinking that what I was doing –  was just like what we all do – or should do, when it comes to career management.


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I know I sound bonkers, but this is how I came up with this artistic analogy…

When you paint a fence – firstly you have got to be in the mood. There are lots of other things to do other than spend hours on end moving your hand left and right, up and down and getting paint splattered all over your face. You have to be up for it, ready and motivated.

When you paint a fence you have got to have a strategy. You have got to decide how you will approach the task. Will I do little circles, will I start at the top, will I do the edges first then splatter the middle bit like a game of paintball etc. You’ve got to plan it.

When you paint a fence you have got to learn as you go – the easiest and fastest way of getting it done. It may be that you do the posts first – as they suck up all of your paint faster, or that you do the tricky bits up front so at least you get them out of the way. You’ve got to be agile.

When you paint a fence you need to take a break. You need liquid hydration (especially in the sunshine). You also need to step back and inspect it and make sure you haven’t missed a bit or generally review it and fold you arms whilst being proud of your Michelangelo-like master piece. You’ve got to reflect.

When you paint a fence – you need to get some instructions from your boss (my Wife in this case) on colour and you also need to get an expectation on budget. You’ve got to get clarity.

So how does all this relate to Career Management?

Motivation. You have got to have a passion and love for what you do, otherwise, don’t bother doing it!
Strategy. Will my current role lead to another? How will I gain the right experience for my future? Where can I add value? What might I do next? You need a plan.
Agility. You have to be willing to, no more than that, you have to want to learn more. How can you develop yourself by learning from others? How can you expose yourself to new skills, tasks and challenges.
Reflection. You sometimes need to get off the hamster wheel and either take a break or take a look at where you are headed. Don’t get comfortable because in this world what is a career anyway? Or should I say, where are the old “jobs for life” that our grandparents did?GONE – thats where.
Review. You also need to take stock of what you have achieved. Where has it got you? What have you enjoyed the most and where have you added the most value to employers or customers?
Clarity. You need to get direction/advice/clarity what ever it is that you need to get on the right track.Talk to recruiters,networks, friends and family – they will often help to guide you to the right career decisions.

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Finally, make sure you do a good job or the wife will not let you have a nice cold beer without telling you off because “You’ve missed a bit…”

Disclaimer – this is not a picture of my Wife and she has a bigger rolling pin.








The #internetofthings – what are the opportunities for talent professionals?


The Internet of things (IOT) is one of the hottest topics on the web right now. As we head towards the next revolution in connectivity – wearable devices, what does this mean for recruiters? How can we, if at all leverage the reach of engaging with Talent via the plethora of connected devices and objects they will be using in future? So what is the IOT? Watch this nice short video that explains it all here.

Some people might think I am a bit crazy suggesting that recruiters will be able to tap into the future conduits of connectivity that the internet of things could possibly lead to. It might be a bit far-fetched to expect a future state of job seekers to reach for the orange juice in their WiFi enabled fridge, then be pinged a message about the latest career opportunities on offer at your company. It probably wont be in your future sourcing strategy to ensure that your robot vacuum cleaner alerts the user to your latest recruiting campaign. But, but, it will be something that you could do.

robot vacuum

Lets go back a few steps and focus on reality….it wasn’t that long ago that social media became an accepted form of your talent attraction and engagement strategy (or at least it should be and if you aren’t doing this – catch a wake-up call and fast!). It wasn’t really that long ago that  mobile recruiting became a not “should we” – but “when we” strategy. So I guess what I am saying is that as technology continues to evolve it further continues to provide more opportunity to think about what might be possible.

Gartner Research estimates that there will be by 2020 some 26 billion connected devices – which is 3 times the number of current smartphones, tablets and PC’s currently being used every day. So with this huge development marketers are already talking about what they could do to leverage the IOT. In the Article ” Four ways the internet of things will change marketing teams” Mhairi McEwan suggested that: “….It’s an incredible opportunity, but, as marketers, we will have to enhance our skills and ways of working to operate in this brave new world…”. Perhaps we as Talent professionals also need to enhance our skills and show some leap of faith bravery.

As I have previously blogged – Talent Professionals need to learn from marketers – marketers are already thinking through how the IOT could present opportunities to build brand engagement with customers. So why wouldn’t Talent Marketers?



Think smart watches. I personally wear a Pebble and it has changed the whole way I deal with notifications and alerts. I feel the buzz and then take a look on my wrist before I reach for my smart phone. I choose small condensed messages to make a call on whether or not I want to find out more. This is the smallest of windows of opportunity for those notifications to call me to action.

So, what could this all mean and how could we leverage the IOT as Talent professionals?

(1) We need to think long and hard about short, succinct and impact messages. Soon, they may be filtered by our target audiences on their wearable devices.

(2) We need to keep focused on community and consumer association when engaging with talent. Where people hang out, what their interests are, what they buy and where they buy it can help us to target appropriate messages to appropriate audiences still – but maybe in the near future in a little bit more of an up close and personal way.

(3) We need to continue to innovate and disrupt our thinking and doing. What we have done yesterday may not be what we need to do tomorrow.

So, whilst I am not suggesting that we start doing deals with Samsung to have targeted messages pop out of ovens and fridge freezers – I am suggesting that we shouldn’t dismiss the thinking that we may be able to leverage the cornucopia of connectivity that the IOT will offer everybody everyday in the very near future.  #leadnotfollow


“Facts tell – but Stories sell”. Content Marketing & Storytelling in a digital recruitment age.


Last week I was invited across to Sydney to present to the Common Wealth Bank of Australia Talent Acquisition team. I have to say I spent the day with some of the most capable, passionate and knowledgeable recruiters I have met (excluding of course my own world class team at ASB here in New Zealand). The off site was led superbly by James Elliott, and the team spent the day preparing for whats next and “around the corner” for recruitment.

Now the exciting thing about the time I spent with CommBank was the superb thinking and work already underway in the content marketing space. In particular, their CAN campaign, (beautifully illustrated in this video hyperlinked) tells their social story and about their relationship with SalesForce.com as an enabler distribution channel.  Furthermore, and in a recruiting context, take a look at this brilliant WOMEN CAN video which nicely intertwines their brand strategy into diversity and talent attraction.

cba CAN

This CAN campaign has a powerful authentic story, its real. Real people and who they are. I applaud the CommBank team for this work and am excited to see what they do with this next.

So where am I going with this? Back to my gambit that facts tell, but stories sell. Stories and authenticity are what we all remember and connect with the most. There are so many “employment brand” strategies that disconnect with corporate brand strategies. They can sometimes confuse the punter – the job seeker. This clever content marketing strategy – using the CAN campaign across a variety of distribution channels – really excites me.

Why am I so excited? Well this is it. Content Marketing and storytelling is an essential strategy for the modern Talent Acquisition professional. In our world, smart recruiters are expert engagers. They are Talent Poolers, Talent community curators and Talent tantalizers; offering a taste of excitement to candidates with carrot dangling new career opportunities. A really effective way to do this is via a multi-distribution channel content marketing strategy.

So what exactly is “Content Marketing”? Whilst trailing through twitter  the other day I came across an article in a tweet that perfectly summed it up:-

“…Content Marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behaviours…content marketing is the art of communicating without selling…”

This article showcases some really good examples of content marketing campaigns from last year. Have a read. Just love the #lookup British Airways campaign.

If you want to be really entertained, how about a look at this latest Football (no not soccer) mobile game that a fast food chain in Brazil has rolled out across their restaurants.


How cool is this? You can munch on a lump of cholesterol whilst scoring a goal with your pinky. Love it!

So here is my call to action for all recruiters out there. Get on the Content Marketing journey – fast. Start using a variety of channels and social platforms to tell stories and to get up close and personal with job seekers. Learn from what great marketers do across all industries and step outside of the shackles of HR, Recruitment, Talent Acquisition and see the bigger world!

If you can do this, if you can create engaging consistent and authentic content – you will be able to tell some compelling stories.  Facts may tell, but Stories sell.

fact tell stories sell