the many hats of an internal recruiter

This happens to be the third part in an unplanned series on recruitment, as result of my huge focus on this area in my current role. As an HR generalist I’m not a fulltime Internal Recruiter – but just at the moment it sure feels like I am! And I should start by saying how much I’ve enjoyed the extreme focus on this area of my work and how much of an opportunity it’s been for me to learn, grow and hone my skills.

The first hurdle I faced was a lack of quality applicants. Working for one of the country’s leading media organisations this had never been a problem in the past, people were generally knocking on our doors to get in. Not so now. A complete overhaul of our processes revealed some pretty shocking results. Our print advertising was adhoc and design templates hadn’t been updated in years, online advertising on our own media products was non-existent, we had only two avenues for advertising the roles – neither of which created any sort of candidate experience. From there internal processes were equally dated, not to mention somewhat slapstick and downright lacking in other areas.

I started with us, the company. I put on my marketing hat and then realised rather than reinventing the wheel it was better to consult and work with the marketing department to build a careers page on our website to load all current vacancies to – this has turned out great, though is still a work in progress now we have a whole lot more ideas to add to it. I utilised social media to link back to our careers page for vacancies, build online awareness and showcase through insights what it’s like working inside our company. Through up-skilling myself in these avenues and in turn our current employees, we’re already seeing a substantial following I these avenues and direct applications for both specific roles and general interest in working for the company as a result.

I hit up processes next. Streamlining, reinventing and mandating these across the board. In the months since these have been in place I’m happy to report more cohesion in recruitment, and importantly a consistent and higher standard of new employee.

Hiring Managers, where to begin?! I’ve lost count of how many different hats I need for dealing with the differences in their personalities, requests, expectations, timeframes, changes, whims, quirks, requirements etc etc etc! Spending time with each of them to understand the reasons behind the hire, their view of an ideal candidate, expectations regarding interviewing and various timeframes is first port of call. Then tactfully making alternative suggestions to these as the case usually requires for at least one of these aspects, or being pleasantly surprised if not!

All in all it’s been a huge amount of change for our department, and as such has required a lot of change management to ensure buy in from all, but it’s most definitely a change for the better. I realise none of this is rocket science, and there will be internal recruiters out there thinking we’re still in the dark ages! We still have a VERY long way to go from refining and tweaking the work done to date, to really moving forward into the future with increasingly more robust and progressive recruitment and attraction methods all adding to and enhancing our candidate experience. Our is a very big old ship that takes a long time to turn around, so I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in a short space of time, and of the fruitful results we’re already seeing. There is as I say a lot more to do, and I’ll tackle it all one hat at a time.
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Conscious Capitalism – a force for economic and social good?

This is a diversion from my usual HR focused posts, but it’s a topic that keeps popping up in my life over the past couple of years, which is why I guess that conscious capitalism feels like something of a fad topic to me at the moment. A ‘buzz’ word or phrase of sorts – but in saying that I don’t in anyway mean to take away from the seriousness of it, and in fact it’s largely why I’m writing on it now. There are an ever growing number of respected business leaders and therefore companies globally subscribing to this phenomenon, this higher purpose in economics. But rather than focusing on what’s behind the growing momentum or where it all began, I pose the question what does it mean to you?

There are a myriad of definitions for conscious capitalism out there, so using all I’ve learnt from such avenues ranging from university to blogs, tweets to articles, to what just feels right, I’ve come up with what conscious capitalism means to me. Which is, being mindful of all stakeholders in the capitalist process. It’s bearing in mind all those direct or indirect stakeholders in the pursuit of economic profit, and ensuring there are no adverse effects. Businesses can, should and do have the power to affect greater positive change in their pursuit of profit.

And for me I break it down further. I believe it’s not just the businesses and those guiding and steering them that have a moral obligation to act in a “consciously capitalistic” way, but also the employees on an individual, everyday level. What are you doing towards conscious capitalism?

For me and my place and time in life it started with small easily managed changes and an honest attempt to persuade those within my circles of influence to do the same in their lives. This has meant such things as helping to introduce collaborative teams at work, working together to raise money and awareness, and to donate their time and available resources to a chosen charity. It’s meant a dedicated year to only purchasing or trading second hand clothes and shoes – no mean fete for a shoe loving, self-confessed, fashion lover! I’m happy to report that whilst I had a few slip ups during that year, it’s also become more of a way of life for me, and influenced others in my personal and working life to also hold regular clothes swaps and the like. It’s about teaching my daughter the value of food and material objects; about people and communities who aren’t as lucky as she and to give back, to always be mindful of her actions. It’s about supporting local, sustainable enterprises where possible, about giving back and being mindful of what we consume on a daily basis.

From here I believe as individuals we work up. By this I mean that by starting small, but affecting “consciously capitalistic” change in everything we are capable of doing, we all have the power to affect change in big, even global proportions. And I don’t mean to panic anyone with my grandiose statement. My examples are small; I sat and actively thought about what I could do at my level to make a difference. To start with I volunteered time and energy to very local causes that needed help – prime example many years ago when a Kindergarten was built down the road from my house, and despite being years from even thinking about having a child, I gave my time to build retaining walls. It started small, but once I started I continually saw ways to further and continue the path I was on. The more I look, the more I still pay attention, and therefore the more I can do. I guess this is where the mindfulness comes in. What can you do today? By starting in our personal lives, we will consciously or unconsciously affect the change in our working lives also, on a daily, weekly, monthly, annually basis. And so on.

Gone in 60 seconds? Google it.

Gone in 60 seconds…Google it

As you’ll know if you read my blog I’ve been on a major recruitment drive of late, which prompted my post on job applications; I now equally moved to comment on the interview stage. I’ve read countless do’s and don’ts regarding interviews over the years, so the advice is out there. Yet I continue to be amazed by the things people do, say and wear to job interviews that ensure they’re effectively, gone in 60 seconds.

I really want to keep this post positive and steer clear of ever tempting sarcasm, so here are the do’s for acing interviews:

Show up on time, early if possible and remember to call ahead with a reasonable excuse, if for some reason you are going to be late. Recruiters are human too, so if you have a legitimate reason it’s ok. Know who you are interviewing with, google them! It’s amazing what you can find out about people through a quick search. Check out their LinkedIn profile or look them up on social media. Be appropriately dressed. Just today I had a candidate ask at the end of the phone interview what the appropriate dress standard was for our workplace – smart guy! He’s from a completely different industry, and I respected him for caring enough to ask. And if the response is “smart casual” or “corporate” and you don’t know what that means, take the 60 seconds to Google it also.

From there make an effort to learn about the company you’re interviewing with. Some quick internet research will go a long way, and the more knowledgeable you are about the company the more the interviewer is likely to think you really want to be there and have put in some effort to achieve your goal. It also tells us something about the sort of person you are. Researching first will also enable you to ask well-formed questions about the company and the role. On that, questions are great, and we expect you to come equipped with some.

During the interview be sure to think about your responses before they come out. Well formulated, positive answers will be well received. Research. Again, Google it. There are so many great blogs, posts, articles and the like detailing the more frequently asked interview questions. Now whilst we don’t all run the same script, and there will likely be some out of the ball park it will still be great practise and prepare you for the sorts of things you may be asked. Better skill Google interview questions for the industry you are applying for.

Let your personality shine through. As much as we want you to have the right skill set for the role, we also want to make sure you’ll be a great fit, culturally within the team and organisation.

Smile. Look people in the eye. Engage all interviewers. Tell relevant stories. Sell yourself to us. Simple tips that will take you a long way.

None of this is rocket science and most should go without saying. However I’ve seen some things in my role over the years that make me adamant more attention needs to be paid. Here’s some short and sweet don’ts that I can’t resist adding in:

-          Turn up in gumboots, unless the interview’s on a farm
-          Spend 35 mins bad mouthing your current or ex boss / company
-          Have 68 questions, for the interviewer
-          Discuss your out of work interests if they include time travelling
-          Pretend to know people the interviewees know if you don’t actually know them
-          Keep talking if you’re the only one who’s done so for the last hour

Nail all these and you won’t be gone in 60 seconds…and if you take time to Google it, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the job. No guarantees!

A.A.(RDDL)…. Application advice (rant, do/don’t list)

As you may (or may not!) know I’m a generalist covering off the full spectrum of HR in my current role. As such, recruiting and the trials, tribulations and successes of that have always featured, however they do more so now, than ever.

My company have sailed through a raft of change of late; a new Group Sales Director and new CEO, a number of restructures in various forms and departments, the full acquisition of some major brands to our umbrella and a whole host of technologically advanced product offerings to see us into the ever evolving future. As a result, as well as various change management, communications, culture and engagement pieces around all of this, I am now in the biggest recruitment drive for this department to date. 16 – 20 new staff, of varying skill sets, experience and locations; all required asap.

It’s set me to experimenting with new recruiting avenues, meeting with external recruiters, conducting seemingly endless phone screens, interviews and background/reference checks. There’s a room for a whole other blog post on the wins in this and debate over application methods, but for now I’m focusing on the application; letter and CV in this instance.

I’ll start with the don’ts so I can focus on the positives at the end!

Don’t:

  • Send a 12 page applications including barely relevant information such as magazine articles, I have hundreds of CV’s to get through and simply haven’t got time to read through all of that.
  • Use a different name on your cover letter, CV and email note – it’s very confusing!
  • Use font so big you only get six lines on a page. Or use current abbreviations of language or slang. 
  • Use so many graphics on the background of your CV that I can’t read the information contained in it. No matter how cool you think skateboarding or cupcakes are, it won’t help you get hired.
  • Use an email address that makes me suspicious or wary of your character; ilovemileycyrus@gmail.com or cannabis@hotmail.com  – ok they’re made up, but not far from some of the addresses I’ve seen of late.
  • Include links to your social media if they contain anything you wouldn’t want your Nana to know. I don’t want to know either and it could sway my decision.


On to the Do’s!

  • Send me a brief, succinct overview of your experience and achievements (CV), and an explanation of what drew you to apply and how your skill set is a match, and/or your career goals again, be concise (letter). Two pages max for the CV and no more than a page for the letter.
  • Include graphics and/or examples of work IF they’re relevant to the role – this is especially helpful if it is a creative role on offer.
  • Be different. Get my attention by trying something new – but it still has to make sense. I recently received a fantastic infographic application– it was informative and professional. Unfortunately the person wasn’t right for the role – but they got a call from me and a referral to another role that they were much better suited for and we all lived happily ever after.
  • Have a LinkedIn profile. If you’re serious about looking for a new role, and professional in your approach most people will be happy to connect with you.
  • Send me your details even if the roles advertised aren’t perfect for you. I do read all CV’s so as long as you follow the Do’s and Don’ts here and you’ve got something I’m looking for now or potentially in the future, I will make contact. To be fair even if you don’t I’ll give you the politeness of a reply. 
  • Be professional. Showcase yourself – your successes and standouts.
  • Include links to blogs you are proud of that relate to the role in some way. If you’ve got me on the first points I’ll be curious enough to take a look and they just might be your selling point.


The best CV’s I’ve seen of late have been short, sharp and told a great story. They flowed through the relevant information in a succinct manner using a regular font (type and size). Essentially they made it easy for me to pull together a picture of the person’s skills and experience in a matter of a minute, sometimes less. There were no obstacles in my path to knowing why I should call them. So if you’re in the job market have a think about the above. If you’re new to applying (or not!) ask someone else to critique you, preferably someone who will be honest and give you sound feedback, better still, someone who employs people. And if you can’t find that there are plenty of careers advice centres who will be only too happy to help.

And if you get a rejection letter from a recruiter, be brave and bold enough to ask why you didn’t make the cut. You’ll probably learn a lot from this – I know from experience! I speak for myself here, but if asked for feedback I will always give it – however, I won’t offer it without the ask as I don’t want to offend.

I look forward to some spectacularly simple yet gripping CV’s from here on in….next stop the phone screen and interview!