The Recruiting Concept of the Year - EQ

Emotional intelligence, nowadays is such a big trending topic in Human Resources its incredible. One of my LinkedIn connections, Chike Onyia has been pioneering this paradigm as a qualified practitioner for quite some time now, so I thought I would do some further research around Daniel Goleman's famous recruiting concept.

You can actually test your EQ here if you'd like: The average test score is in the 90's which shows you have reasonable EQ - widely recognised as the key quality that Gen X employers are keen to recruit for.

What else does it say? Well, what it should say is a) that you have a sufficient degree of empathy and a capability to control your emotional responses. I was close, high EQ generally translates to being able to do the following:

  • Effectively reducing negative emotions
  • Staying cool when managing stress
  • Being assertive and expressing difficult emotions when necessary
  • Staying proactive, not reactive in the face of a difficult person
  • Bouncing back from adversity
  • Expressing intimate emotions in close
  • Managing personal relationships well

The above bullets are courtesy of Daniel Goleman's website. Some great recommended apps for live video streams which can be recorded can be found here.

Lessons learned from Climate Policy

Today, I was interested to learn from Sky News that the UK is under considerable threat from climate change and will need to evolve its policy towards the farming sector over the course of the next decade.

In my opinion, climate change is a broader issue which may, in some circumstances consist of a number of sub-challenges for agricultural policy, one faced by multiple governments around the world, not just the UK.

Over the past two years, I have researched and blogged about this topic and what I have discovered is that at the heart of the evolution that is required is the unrequited enthusiasm of the young farmer.

"It is urgent to change our view of agriculture and recognize that “the farmer is an entrepreneur like any other."

Now, the assessment of agriculture here, really resonated for one anecdotal reason in particular: because according to my mother, my grandfather on my father's side (my father's father) was a diligent farmer himself, who was able to support his son and was able to create wealth through entrepreneurial activity and opportunity.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I am aiming to apply recent knowledge that I have learned from the experience of Brexit, to, where possible, understand the circumstances which parts of Africa are facing, especially in countries where farming is the predominant undertaking, i.e. where over 70% of the rural economy is farmed land (those who live outside of the major cities).

What knowledge do I mean? Well, you might be aware of Michael Gove, who remains the key person in charge of negotiating the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for DEFRA as the department undergoes significant changes in light of the UK's Exit from the European Union. 

Gove had a significant issue on his hands.

The EU's CAP is widely believed to be inefficient and uncompetitive because it subsidises large landowners to the tune of some £3bn, an amount which is thought to be way to steep for DEFRA to fund annually.

This is one reason why CAP has been effectively disregarded as inefficient. The subsidy rewards land ownership and not efficient land use. But because land use on its own does not always translate to optimal product, there are barriers created. Younger farmers, who have incentives to be more productive, find it difficult to enter the industry for produce because land becomes scarce. Hence, the lack of competitiveness.

2) Now, the lesson I learned today is drawn from this example - according to the NEPAD report I referenced above:

“The absence of a policy for financing agriculture — aside from ad hoc fertiliser subsidies — combined with episodic development aid actions are the two main barriers to scaling up, i.e. building sustainable institutions and delivering technical and financial services adapted to suit the diversity of the agricultural sector as a whole. Two palliatives are proposed to remedy this situation: i) policies to provide subsidies for equipment, fertilisers and seed; states are often not prepared to provide the requisite financial backing even in the face of demonstrable impacts and profitability; ii) involvement by states acting as economic agents and the establishment of activities supported artificially by donors, thereby disrupting the construction of a true factor market based on the private sector.”

I couldn’t agree more with this view. It’s a very good prescription for what I perceive to be (with limited knowledge of the nuances) a similar circumstance. The NEPAD report highlights the need for barriers to be lifted, which is a circumstance that generally aligns with the reasons why CAP is out of favour.

To the naked eye, it seems CAP's policy prescription was indeed flawed.

Subsidising land ownership is just a bad idea anyway. It’s the equivalent of providing a car to an insuree when they don’t need the car.

Let’s hope DEFRA are taking notes from NEPAD to ensure policy is adequately aligned with the right sort of incentives in future. i.e. the removal of barriers to agricultural entrepreneurship.

Lessons from APSCo's Ann Swain

Continuing on from yesterday's blog post concerning advice to startup recruitment businesses. The Global Recruiter, through the words of Ann Swain of APSCo - The Association of Professional Staffing Companies, not to be confused with ACAS - The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, in their Expansion Special Issue, tackled the issue of global expansion for recruitment organisations which have grown sufficiently enough to an adequate level of revenue, and who are considering growth and profitability opportunities overseas.

If you are not familiar with the work of Ann Swain or APSCo in the UK and in other locations, I'll do a quick introduction to her work. 

APSCo are a trade body for the recruitment and staffing sector, responsible for overseeing the conduct of recruitment firms and developing corporate and social governance and trading standards. The organisation host various events across the country for recruitment entrepreneurs and makes an effort to add significant value to gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the future of work and leadership development.

Importantly, APSCo, as with the REC (Recruitment and Employment Federation), represent its members across a spectrum of public policy and private sector lobby groups on issues such as IR35 reform and staffing sector regulation.

As well as James from TRN, Ann will be at Bullhorn's Engage London conference this September to share more insights to a live audience of practitioners and stakeholders in the industry. 

Ann, in this month's GR magazine,  goes to great lengths in the article to highlight "local legislation, cultural nuances and time differences" as sufficient challenges that recruitment businesses may encounter in the course of fulfilling an ambition to expand.

Ann also suggests a lot of research must be conducted to understand the market before you consider entering.

Well worth the read.

Lessons from TRN's James Osborne

I've been on Twitter for roughly 9 years now and for as long as I can remember, I've been followed by a little known account by the name of @osborne_tweets. It was only until 2015 that I did some research and uncovered his true identity. His real name, James Osborne, Chairman of the Recruitment Network, one of the largest communities of recruitment professionals and business owners in the country.

Since then, @osborne_tweets has made leaps and strides in the recruitment world, so much so that he will be the headline speaker at Bullhorn's Engage London conference this September, probably the industry's best event in terms of popularity and commercial appeal.

Now that I have introduced James, let's take a look at his advise for recruitment business owners. In the Global Recruiter's Expansion Special Issue, James outlines some important aspects that business owners should be capitalising on:
  • Do you have or are you currently delivering against a strategic plan that has been carefully crafted and designed to create profit and momentum or is your business success just a result of hard work and luck? - As James alludes to, businesses in this industry need to have the nitty gritty in place first. A targeted niche, a budget, a pipeline and a client base. But not just that, you need the right people involved in your recruitment business.
  • Are your consultants running at an efficient and profitable level or is your business currently allowing mediocrity or at worst underperformance to exist? Think KPIs, dashboards, metrics, reports - all aspects you will need to meet your targets. Set your target revenue and work back, making sure you set the number of client and candidate engagements you will need to meet that level of revenue. Use metrics to justify additions or otherwise to your team.
  • Are you maximising customer yield and creating growth from within your existing customer base against their total recruitment budget or spend? I think James means the return of the customer here, and the value your services provide versus other similar businesses. 
  • Are your consultants focused on doing business where there is most profit and growth opportunity? Effective execution is all about balancing the two things: market segmentation and profit maximisation.
James goes on to outline a very well thought out proposition for a top level plan, which I think every business owner, not just recruiters, should take a look at. It's a testimony to the work of James at The Recruitment Network and even more so to the Editorial team at The Global Recruiter.

Make sure you find some time to tackle the article.

New Diversity report on the Venture Capital industry

From Check Warner:

Today Diversity VC publishes the second study examining the diversity of the UK Venture Capital Industry sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank. On a positive note - the industry has increased the number of women at junior levels from 29% to 37%, and overall numbers in the industry from 27% to 30%.

Yet the % of senior women has stayed flat for two years and 63% of funds still have no senior women. We also looked at educational and career backgrounds and ethnicity - 33% of UK VCs went to Stanford, Harvard, Oxbridge or Business School, only 8% have start-up experience and 76% are white (vs 59% of London population).

Please check out the report here and coverage:

United States of Recruitment

Recently read an article in The Global Recruiter, written by Bill Benson, about the landscape for recruitment and search in the United States. It was a fascinating insight and frank assessment into the US market from a business owner in the recruitment sector. The article is from GR's April edition, which happened to be its 200th issue.

Some key facts from the article:
  1. 20,000 independent recruiting firms in the US
  2. $150bn market size for recruiting and staffing
Benson makes the case that the most successful firms in the US will be those which:
  • Specialize in a functional niche
  • Develop extensive client relationships
  • Effectively perform targeted recruiting
I couldn't agree more with Bill. From my experience recruiting in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the market is very competitive. The recruiting culture is different. Headhunters have much more access to hiring managers and opportunities are originated more easily in my opinion.

Simple Ways to Win Retained Business

This afternoon, it was a full house at Ali Whitehead's Facebook Live chat and the feedback was phenomenal. In case you haven't heard of Ali and her business Flourish Training, I did a quick intro yesterday.

Ali is in one of those rare professional industries, executive coaching, which add so much value to people like myself. Not only did she talk me through a very clear and concise 1-hour long guide on how to win new business as a retained recruitment entrepreneur but she also did it for free.

Retained recruitment is quite a different kettle of fish from contingent recruitment. Although there is a recording of the Facebook Live chat, which I have provided a link to, here are some accompanying highlights from Ali's pep talk:
  • A good place to start is to channel your old contingent leads in the direction of your new retained solution, by going back over your previous roles and following up on roles which have failed to result in a successful hire, or which haven't been filled due to skills shortages
  • You shouldn't worry about the nature of the price of your service, or about how to ask for a retainer, once the client understands the value of your solution, you will be seen as a specialist contribution to their business needs
  • The roles you will have to work on are of course defined by your client but aim to enquire into partnering on high salaried senior professional roles.
  • Engage with your senior level candidates. Build a new recruiting proposition and funnel this to your new pipeline to begin your retained solution
  • Use the evidence you have acquired over time using your successful leads and testimonials to pitch for retained business
  • Understand that retained recruitment is 100% confidential and can take 3-6 months to build a picture of a role and deep dive into finding the right candidates for the opportunity
There's much more in Ali's video. Do take the time to watch!

Upcoming Events: 10 July 2019

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a bright and bold female entrepreneur by the name of Ali Whitehead founder of Flourish Training, an amazingly inspirational exec search coach who assists contingent recruiters like myself convert their client base into a retained model of recruitment.

Retained search isn't an unfamiliar topic, as I've connected to Plamen Ivanoff and Terry Edwards and I'm followed by Greg Savage himself on Twitter. But these guys aren't coaches like Ali. The pros definitely do it differently. I've watched one of her coaching videos and it was 15 mins of pure inspiration.

If you'd like to join in the fun, then get on over to her Facebook group and register your interest in the event:

I'm happy to extend an invitation to my network. The next live webinar is tomorrow at 4pm. Here's to bigger billing!


I used Trello & Asana, but not for Product Management, for Recruiting

For everyone new to product management, its essential that you learn about Kanban tools like Trello and Asana. These are highly customised, easy-to-use and widely integrated software applications which help their users manage the team orientated tasks that accompany (concurrent) projects.

However, if you are a recruiter, as I have mentioned to Hung Lee before, you may find Asana or Trello to be a great alternative option to your current applicant tracking system. While these software apps are used mostly by PMs, recruiters will no doubt find value with respect to their capability to track/store applicants details and assist in the management of the application process.

Unfortunately, where Asana falls short is in the client relationship management department as I mentioned to one of the AE's who had a conversation with me recently. For newbies, a CRM is essentially a component of a broader system which ensures your (concurrent) project workflows consist of the recording and annotation of client interaction. Popular and specialist alternatives are Salesforce or Hubspot.

Without a CRM, Asana cannot compete with a Bullhorn or a dedicated high-end staffing technology SaaS, but even with a CRM, the ATS itself is just an internal collaboration tool for HR, designed to improve teams collaboratively.

When using Asana, I found it very interesting because once a task is given a deadline, it becomes almost as a critical eventuality which says nothing about how one wishes to complete the task.

There should be more rigid opportunity to explore and assess the methods by which PMs and Recruiters can undertake the processes of uploading and storing documents, defining project deliverables and measuring output compared to those deliverables. This could be imposed by a senior project owner or leader within the project.

A Damning Indicement for Recruitment Technologists

As recently as last month, I had a wonderful Skype call, which I have mentioned before with Ivan from TalentLyft. A Croatian based recruitment marketing solution. Part of the open conversation we were having touched upon the recruiting methods which one of their latest hires on the engineering team used to apply for a position at their startup. You'd be surprised if you took a guess at what avenue was used. Well, according to Ivan, it was Google for Jobs! Not any of these new job application web platforms. My response to Ivan was something along the lines of "this is a damning indictment for recruitment technology". Why? Because as Seth says in one of his latest blogs, our challenge as recruitment technologists is to streamline human interaction and usability. If we are not achieving that, what are we achieving?