What employers want
Episode 50 - Skills and attributes needed for business recovery, with Julian Doherty
Julian Doherty has over thirteen years of leadership, consulting, and research experience managing business intelligence, executive search, and management consulting engagements for ASX Top 50, private, government, not-for-profit, and higher education clients.
In 2011 he founded Yellow Folder Research to disrupt incumbent executive search providers and the agency recruitment model. Julian believes that service and technology innovation allows consultants to meet evolved, current client needs, whereas traditional vendors refuse to update their service model. Before founding Yellow Folder, Julian was Head of Research at Slade Partners.
Having the opportunity to interview someone who is doing job market research for top employers in Australia, Asia, New Zealand, and the UK is why I started this podcast. We need up-to-date insight into what's happening in the job market. This means knowing what do employers want now, not what they needed 6 months ago!
Resources mentioned in this episode
Timestamps to guide your listening
04:05 – About Yellow Folder
08:08 – Potential issues with long headhunting processes
12:50 – Julian's career journey
17:12 – What keeps employers awake at night
25:22 – Changing sectors: Employers' appetite for hiring professionals with transferable skills and experience
32:11 – Pay cuts and salary range
37:29 – Is the recruitment industry broken?
39:26 – The difference between your LinkedIn profile, your resume, and cover letters
45:12 – What keeps Julian awake at night?
47:13 – What keeps his clients awake at night?
48:52 – Hiring freezes
51:00 – Retraining vs. experience
Transcript of this episode
Renata: So welcome to The Job Hunting Podcast. My name is Renata Bernarde, your host. We are here for the final live recording for the digital innovation festival in Victoria. It's a festival that happens every year. And you know what, even though it's a digital innovation festival, it's the first time that it runs completely digital and online. So up until last year, we had several events happening all around the state. And this year, of course we are in a COVID pandemic stage for lockdown here in Melbourne and stage three, three all over Victoria. So we're doing it completely online. It's a festival organised by the department of jobs, precincts and regions. I am really, really excited to be involved and participating by organising these four live events. And you know what? Podcasting is a real easy thing to do. You're just in your pyjamas, do it at home with not much else that you need to do, but I've made it very complicated.
Renata: I first added video to it and now I'm doing it live. So if you're thinking about starting your podcast, don't follow my example. Just stick to the old fashioned format. It's much easier, but I certainly have enjoyed these live events and I will most certainly be doing them again next year, but not all the time because it's a lot of work. And, Estella, who is my podcast manager and is here today attending as well, certainly has a lot of work to do after this as well. But today we have Julianne Doherty who is the managing director of Yellow Folder. And I will ask Julian to introduce himself and tell you about his career and about his organisation, because I think that's much better than hearing third hand. So Julian, welcome to The Job Hunting Podcast.
Julian: Thank you. I'm pleased to be here, I’m following the work that you do in the podcast. So I was very pleased to be invited to participate today and answer questions and talk about what we do.
Renata: So I'm going to change the order of the questions a little bit and ask you to start by telling us about Yellow Folder. What is Yellow folder and what does it do?
Julian: Okay. We'll go back to my story then later. Yellow Folder in terms of what it does look in essence were an intelligence and advisory consultancy. And that sounds very jargonistic. But in terms of what we've been doing, we've been disrupting traditional executive search and recruitment agencies where companies go to hire externally and assess talent externally, and we've been doing it. And I think this goes back to the history that I did have, which you’ll probably ask me later. When we've been, I've been working inside an agency environment, inside of the executive search firm, and I've been at that briefing table with the decision maker, CEO, the HR director, the team leader, who's about to bring someone new into their business. And I really felt that decisions were being made about the position description about the scope of the role, about the remuneration of the role, about the strategy, to find an external candidate without doing an external assessment in a normally when you make a decision about an acquisition, whether it's financial or anything else, marketing, you take all this external market data, and then you make your, then you sort of set your parameters.
Julian: And I just felt very insular. And this goes to my perspective, I was never an end to end recruiter. So at Yellow Folder, we feel that we provide our clients with advice. They still do the ultimate recruitment themselves, but we allow them to do it proactively and without doing it from an insular type of perspective. So even before they finalise their PD position description or before they even decide on how they're going to restructure their business, that can be sensitive and thoughtful about the strategy, because they've asked us to, to map things externally, test certain things test the value proposition as they call it their employee value proposition, test market perception of things. It's a fascinating type of work that we do because we're sort of researchers and investigative by nature. So, you know, what we sort of sell to our clients is you'll get visibility of who are the right types of talent for role.
Julian: These are passive type candidates, not people that have applied to us, but that we've identified without having to commit to a recruitment consultant or a shortlist who really, as we know those individuals and the way agency works is they have a commission in potentially promoting their favourite or existing candidates rather than problematizing or thinking about things. And I know we're going to talk about it in terms of different people's career people that have joined the podcast this year in terms of changing careers and thinking differently about careers and that agency model just doesn't seem to suit that. So, you know, just in terms of our fundamental things that we do or what we stand for clients own all the information. So we're not an agent it's very transparent. It's a collaborative process because the client's going to own all the candidates own all the information.
Julian: There's no sort of barrier to know that's our information. And I find that for my sort of job satisfaction and the satisfaction of my team, I find a mental factor. It's so nice to be able to, you know, go down a journey with a client rather than having to prove something to them sort of six weeks later, which is how a lot of, exec search firms work. So, ethos and our philosophy is professional services and an advice and objectivity to the what we call the talent market rather than agency of particular candidates. And I could keep talking about service offerings and those kinds of things, but that gives you a high level. What we said stand for.
Renata: So I was interested to understand what sort of assignments would come your way. And I was, as I was saying, I had this situation with a client where it was a new role in a very structured organisation, very hierarchical. And they were bringing in a new, very, very senior role, to work with the senior executive team. But, there was no job application. It was a head hunting thing that happened and the position description wasn't really well developed. And it got to a stage because it was such a long process. It got to a stage. We almost had to re-educate the people he was being interviewing, he was interviewing for on what the role was. It's almost like they had forgotten what the role was. Have you ever experienced that?
Julian: And it does happen in the sense that as to exactly what I was mentioning earlier, when you haven't sort of done your own internal or your own due diligence as the organisation, even if it's an existing role. And we look at what's happening in 2020 existing roles, strategic priorities, and the fundamental capability that's required for certain things are changing, not necessarily maybe a CFO role, but other roles that may exist on a senior meet or executive leadership team. We can't just assume that the same kind of ways that we thought about that role when we last, recruited it exists. And I do hear stories where the client says, we've actually been looking for nine months, and I think you do lose your way when you're not taking stock of what the candidate market is saying to you. But also you haven't put yourself through a rigorous testing process of what's actually required.
Julian: Yeah, look, it does happen, more than probably organisations would care to admit you asked what kind of work that we do. Sometimes it is for one role. It could be right now, we've got two CEO succession plans that we're working on. One's not two, one's a three year sort of gestation for the succession. One's about a nine month type of programme. But other times we're working on a whole series of roles. A major bank came to us this year and said, if we change the way this role is going to be before, i.e. take it out of the branch and into another kind of way of working with the customer, what would that do to the potential candidate market for that role? How would people perceive it? What remuneration would be required? What would that change in terms of the perception of people's careers?
Julian: So sometimes it's about show us in a diverse, thoughtful way, who are the right candidates for one position. Sometimes it might be show us and develop. And when to say, show us, we do the identification of talent. And then we also reach out to individuals and have what we call what we call career conversations, talent engagement, type work, talk about their careers to help our clients understand the viability of these different, different strategies. So some, you know, it could be a company says to us, we're going to restructure marketing altogether. We're going to distribute the team. We don't need it all in Melbourne anymore because of COVID. What does that look like? Build us a whole pool of people for CMO level, that chief marketing officer, as well as the direct reports, or it might be really hard to fill role it's very technical and we need to do a, you know, multi-location.
Julian: Global search is less in Vogue at the moment because of restrictions, but you know, it might be a very, very technical specific, almost like deep dive into an academic area or a scientific area that requires us to, to research it and find the candidates. So we don't work on one. We don't work on say, find one person and get paid or have a fee to place an individual. Our engagement is a professional services fixed fee to explain where we feel in an objective way, the candidates are who they are. And then that leaves the organisation themselves, our clients, to execute on the on the underlying recruitment, which may happen into the future. This is going to be quite proactive. So we're trying to give organisations control and more vision and foresight so they can make better decisions. Um, and I can, we'll come to it. I'm sure about what that means from a, from a candidate perspective as well.
Renata: How did you end up in this space? I mean, you touched on that very briefly before, but now I want you to deep dive on your career and what led you to be the managing director for yellow folder?
Julian: I think it's like, I don't, I'm like most people, I don't like talking about myself and I'm happy to joke about this one in the sense that I do love the work. So yeah, so undergrads, I did my undergrad honours in political science. I did about two and a half years of a law degree. Didn't really know what I wanted to do. My family, a mixture of academics and healthcare. So there's that sort of researcher kind of part of the back in the family. And I've never called my, my auntie's in, runs a few businesses. So there's a bit of an entrepreneurship there maybe, but I was really at a crossroads. I was toying with the idea of PhD, which would have been interesting, I guess, in Polsci, I did have a family connection into a consulting and recruitment business.
Julian: And I ended up there just sort of not really taking it that seriously. But I was very fortunate to be paired with an individual who was working for Korn Ferry, the global search firm in London, her partner, who was an art, he was an architect who was out here doing his sort of, you know, a year in Australia. And she was working for, for a local firm. And I got sort of trained and interested in exec search from her. And then the, and this is what you find in consulting. So I've never worked fundamentally at any for any length of time, internal in a large corporate, I've always consulted to them. And it's been really good for me as a professional development standpoint, building my own confidence, thinking about products and services that can be offered. But also, as we say, as I mentioned earlier, observing some of what I feel are the constraints to the existing incumbent model of doing talent acquisition from a consulting standpoint.
Julian: So I love to research things. I'm pretty curious about most stuff. I'm like, just try and call themselves. So I get so excited about our work and all our team are all, even a client sort of development. People have all been researchers in the past, cause that's sort of a as that common, common bond. Um, so yeah, I've read a 15 year period in sight, the first sort of five years inside the search firm. And then the chairman of that business, Jeff Slade, he helped, he sort of prompted me and said, look, there's probably a market for doing what you do externally and gave me that sort of, uh, that prom to invest in the yellow folder business that I laid. And, um, yeah, and, and the rest has just been, I guess
Renata: The rest is history.
Julian: Its client driven it, listening to clients. And I must say most of our innovation we've had to deliver it in a commercial sense, but a lot of it is clients just pondering and saying, can you, can you help us out with this decision? Or, you know, it's about a people thing or show us how a competitor is structured. You know, tell us if we do create this new executive leadership team role. If we took this function, we separated the two functions. What does that look like? So for me, my team, it's a, it's been a really fun endeavour. And it's been very satisfying from a career perspective as well.
Renata: Yeah. That background of loving research and having that broad sort of generalist kind of, an academic background, bringing that to your area of expertise is really exciting. I love that. It suits what you're doing very much, doesn't it?
Julian: I feel very exceptionally fortunate. Every day, in terms of the work that I do, it never for me, I don't know why for what reason it doesn't then I know you're a career planning expert. It just doesn't, even though there's a lot of our work is quite repetitive. It from some, I think for some people they find it repetitive of what we do for me. I dunno. I just find it, just mostly exhilarating, but often there's this there's problems to be solved and the clients like the work. And I think that's the other part of it. It's satisfying when the clients feel they're trying something innovative or new, or they're getting great value in and they making good decisions. That's very, you know, that's gratifying.
Renata: So let's talk about the clients and about the current environment. So today's the day after the announcement of the formal, you know, official recession announcement that we had yesterday from our federal government here in Australia, we all knew that that's, you know, a recession announcement is always in retrospect, but we were expecting the next months and, you know, possibly a year or two to come to be quite challenging for job hunters. I mean, job hunting, doesn't change. It's a competition where you play like tennis tournament and there's a winner. And what happens in a recession is that you have more players and less tournaments. That's how I kind of explained that, but it's still, you know, the rules of the game are still, but what are you seeing from your clients from the employer's perspective in what's top of mind for them in the sort of what's keeping them awake at night or what are they coming to you for advice?
Julian: Yeah. So I'll preface it with a statement about, you know, size and what we stand for in terms of sample size. So we're still a relatively small business where we are a small business. So, you know, with our total team, we've got about 10. So we service maybe 12 to 20 clients every year. So it's not a massive sample size, but it's not just Australia with us. So the UK, California, and New Zealand, we've got active clients and we've got some projects over there right now, which gives us a bit of, has helped us through this year, actually being exposed to, I know we're all facing, it's a global pandemic, so it's effecting the world, but to have some other geographies that we're exposed to in terms of economics at different points of the year has been helpful. And also say that our clients have traditionally been in financial services, banking, wealth management, you know, superannuation, consumer products.
Julian: So whether it's sort of wine or food, and retail, so we can talk about that sort of shift that's occurring there. We do a bit of infrastructure work and a bit of defence contracting this year. They're very resilient sectors. So defence is resilient in terms of ongoing demand for that. The others are more cyclical or, exposed to the economic cycle that you're, that you're talking about there. I think the thing that I've noticed and there's no getting around to this as you say, it's a really tough, it's a tough market. There's been big changes in hiring intention and has also been companies that have had just complete recruitment phrases, you know, for us, because we do some of that planning work and the intelligence work, and because the stakes have never been higher for companies I've been relieved that they've come to us to help them make a decision.
Julian: I think I won't repeat it cause we've sort of covered a bit of it, but you know, if we split this off from this, what's the effect in terms of the candidate market, or can you tell us what is happening with the competitors in this sense, because that enables them to make a decision, or we had one client come to us and ask us to analyse if they just distributed a team, say move some people to Brisbane. What were the conditions in terms of the supply and demand for labour there and remuneration that would make that decision worthwhile because there are costs associated with it. So these type of intelligence projects, which aren't relevant as much to this conversation have been good. So I've noticed companies spending money to make good decisions because they don't want to make mistakes. And because some of their businesses are genuinely under existential threat.
Julian: I think from a, you know, what we've noticed is, and this has been well reported, but I think it's totally relevant is that, and this goes to our client acquisition strategy, but also I think it's relevant for your audience, that there's their shifts occurring here that are going to outlive the pandemic. So, you know, in terms of our working situation or doing things digitally, e-commerce, you know, I even look at some of the results of the listed company group in Australia and some of the organisations that are in that home, whereas category a day is, and temple and Webster and things like that because people are more in their homes and are going to be in working from home. There's a natural demands in those areas. So I think it's, it's, if you're looking at your job hunting and you know, your job strategy, job set strategy, you've got to be aware of.
Julian: And it's very competitive. Obviously there are certain sectors that are experiencing increased demand and need right people. You know, baby bunting is another good example of seeing real digital transformation and growth in what it's doing. And the FinTech businesses, obviously they're benefiting from broader trends that are, that are not just 2020 things, but 2020 and the pandemic has been a catalyst for big behavioural changes. Digital health is another one. You know, I was speaking to Telstra health the other day, and they're explaining that there's been so much resistance within that sector to eat eight prescriptions. And suddenly there's not an end, it's just the trials down and it's all going to happen. Um, so there there's big things that are occurring in the underlying economy that as a job seeker and as for Yellow Folder to service, this kind of demand, we've been trying to track.
Julian: So, you know, as a, I mean, you talk about how you pivot or how you port or transfer a career and what I can, I can talk about that. I think there are also industries and banking's an obvious one where they're affected and they consider it, but they're not, you know, not existentially not going to be around, but they're also not there. Their margins are being affected. It's a, if not a recruitment phrase and it's a pressured environment and there's been a lot of redundancies in financial services and they're looking for ways to do strategic shift. Um, it can, I kind of just simply it's for them. It's not simply, let's just go online and, and that's, that's an easy solution. There's legacy issues in customer issues, and it's a very complex market, so it's not across the board, but we're seeing thoughtful behaviour amongst a group of companies in sort of financial services, where they're looking to change up whole job families and, job descriptions.
Julian: And I think that does create opportunities. Yeah, the sector I mentioned in consumer products and retail sort of talks about in terms of digital and ecommerce. And, you know, you ask yourself whether, if someone's got experience in digital, from safe financial services have portable, is that to consumer and how do you make that case? And I think we can three questions or the chat we can talk about that. I think the other thing about it is also, and I doing this, you mentioned this is a virtual conference. Now we've proven to each other that we can work successfully from home. I know it's not easy and it's not, I miss the office so much actually in my team, but for six or eight months, we've been working, in a distributed basis. So there are going to be opportunities for individuals that can adapt to that and then can work in a role that would have been in a different city.
Julian: And now organisations are slowly but surely, surely. And I definitely noticed it's different between the there's some old conservative organisations still are out there, but a role that's sort of on the payday says, Sydney can be more performed from st. Melbourne than ever before. So making the pace around that or being aware of that or proposing that, I think he's going to be part of making as a job seeker at that managerial type meet in senior managerial level. It's going to be part of the narrative and the story, um,
Renata: Julian, so many good things you've just said there. I want to go back to the hiring appetite from employers, right? So the way that I see things here, we have 2018 things are crystallising in certain ways, like you said, and any change or, you know, anything that's more than incremental seen as very difficult to do. All of a sudden things just melt down and we're in this kind of melting pot. And eventually things will crystallise again and somewhat differently. You know, it's not going to be the same. And many people have been made redundant or jobs terminated because organisations need to adjust to the new environment, but eventually they will, with your help and the help of other consultants or internally, they will find position descriptions for the jobs of the future to support them in a new era post covid, or dealing with still dealing with COVID. What do you think would be the appetite for, let's say your clients in incorporating in those sectors professionals with strong experience and capabilities from completely different sectors, what would you advise a client to do? I have a client right now really capable, really strong, you know, excellent background she's being had him to four for a row where she's like, are you sure? I mean, she's been contacted for a role where she didn't see herself doing it, and she's almost like she's kind of convincing herself with my help, that she can actually do it.
Julian: It's like, I'm glad that we've come to this part of the conversation. I think so when I started all those years ago, you used to get a brief from a client and it was very Blinken and deep, very insular within a certain segment. You know, we didn't the competitive group or within people that do exactly the same job elsewhere that was seen as the prize in terms of the candidate and anything outside was quite a left field idea. I've noticed in my 15 year career, that completely changed and taking us to the, to the current times, you know, the idea that the better performing individuals, team leaders, people leaders, executive leaders, commercially sort of resilient people are those that have been able to succeed in different business models. So it's, you better have the classic problem with recruitment is how do you know that someone has done this job elsewhere is going to perform in these different set of, there's different culture, there's different industry, there's different location.
Julian: What's an indicator of that. And it's not sort of, you know, ref checks or how they in one or two, well, it could be zoom type interviews sound as it is the proof of then actually maintaining a record of success in these different switching, switching segments, I think, how do you do it? You know, how do, what are some practical things on how you do it? You've got to believe in it yourself, your, your client, you've got maybe some work to do on her understanding or her understanding that narrative and that destiny. But I know a lot of people do want two that have faced redundancy because of these massive structural changes that are occurring. And do you want to have to have used this time to say, well, actually I do want to structure things a bit, or I do want to expose myself to different segments of the economy and society that I haven't worked in before.
Julian: I think we do a lot of, you know, in terms of the services that we provide, we try and educate. And make the jobs of these talent, internal talent teams and senior leaders is easiest to understand who are the right people. And I think that candidates can do a better job. You know, I know you offer this kind of service. So, you know, in terms of LinkedIn orders, but think of your LinkedIn, which is fundamentally a great way to write piece of collateral fuel career. I think people don't spend enough time in that top sort of about section and what I, and I don't mean about their own. It's important to tell their own story and it's come to life and not over the top. I'm not saying over the top either and well, I'm sure we'll get some questions on this. So I'm not, it's, there's a balance to it.
Julian: But if you are trying to say I've done the successful project, so I've this capability, his skills and all his experience at a bank. For instance, if you're recruiters of all types and a touristy time poor, and maybe their attention to detail, isn't what you hope. So you've got to make it a bit for me say these, I believe, you know, this can be applied in these other segments. You can almost list them out. You know, these are the, these are the career destinations, I believe by doing, by doing these projects in bank X, I believe I could be working in this other services environment or the digital commerce stuff we were doing here is totally relevant to this other, other business model. I think even, um, even a better understand it to the degree that you do by flagging your ability to transform port your career is a good tell for someone, but he was LinkedIn that you, you have that mind cause that kind of mindset, I think appeals to organising in terms of resilience, adaptability, agility, and old types, in all sense, that's what we're all looking for.
Julian: And it comes up again and again, brief set that we have now. We don't want someone that's maybe tried 10 careers in five years, right? There are limits to this and there's limits to it how prescriptive you can be on your LinkedIn as to what you're to so happy to, I'm sure we'll open the conversation up to that. But, um, the good news is if you are trying to transition from one sort of particular, you've worked in one industry, most of your career, there are ways to pour it out. I know it's not easy. Um, but there's an increased demand for that, for the, in this thinking out there on that,
Renata: I love what you just said about you joining the dots for people that are, I mean, it's your priority and they are busy and time poor. So join the dots for them. Don't
Julian: Hundreds of LinkedIn's hundreds of CVS and even for senior roles kind of thing, how does it, how does, how did you join the dots for them? I think it's a great way. It's a great thing to take out from this session in terms of that, and
Renata: I’m going to email everybody that I've done a LinkedIn audit, and to add that, you know, remember what I said about, about, about section. I have this other thing to tell you. So thanks for that. Another good question for you that I think is really 2020 related is people that are now unemployed in frictional unemployment in between jobs during COVID have no idea anymore about the salary range, because they have left employment, let's say late last year, you know how redundancies usually happen at the end of the year, which is so sad. I hate that. And then of course this year we've had redundancies in March, April, may, June, July. Um, and with those redundancies, we've also had people that are employed, but taking pay cuts and being asked to go on leave and being asked to not take bonuses and this and that. So it's really difficult to work out what the salary range is. What do you think is the best strategy for an executive to approach this situation? Because headhunters often call and they ask straight away what's your salary range. Right.
Julian: Well, I think I asked the question when we're doing the engagement work with what we call candidates are the targets of our research. I'll say, where are your remuneration expectations? And the answer could be, you know, in my last job I was at this scheme, if they're in that frictional, unemployment, um, status, um, I do you do hear people say, um, uh, you know, because of COVID, you know, I'm just gonna pick a number. They might say, I was hoping for one 50, but I'd look at one 30 because of COVID or, you know, one 80 versus 200. I mean, to be honest, we have not had too many griefs where customers have said to us are let's, let's reduce the salary of this position because of, um, because of, because of COVID I think that they think clot eco clients, our customers think that the potential available talent for a role, maybe more that they might be expecting a bit more than they got last year because of the availability.
Julian: So I think that's the factor there too. My advice is to know your own worth, know your own situation, know that there's been some, you know, it's been a tremendously, um, uh, upsetting is probably just the right word for a year, and you're going to back yourself, particularly in a career move. You've got your own sort of base level, but I don't think it should be too much from what your last role should be. You know, I, you know, the other way to explore the market is obviously it through contracts and interim work, which I think is great. Particularly if you're trying to add a new, um, functional part to your portfolio or a different industry, it's a way to prove to recruiters, head hunters and feature employees that you can adapt. You don't maybe want to do contract after contract after contract, but again, it can get you back into the, where is the remuneration level, massive, you know, where is it now, but no, for the audience, it hasn't changed 20%. The remuneration levels have not changed 20, 30, 40%, or there's not an exception expectation of that just because of what's happening out there for the right talent. So I think
Renata: There's been some bad behaviour out there and I experienced that with a few clients and then the late Kirstie Bonner, I don't know if you follow, she's was the most amazing career coach of all times, passed away last week, but she wrote a very, very strong post on LinkedIn, a few weeks ago before she passed away, about that, you know, stop this horrible behaviour of offering, you know, graduate salaries to senior exec jobs, just because it's covid, it's unfair. It's not right. And I'm telling all my clients not to accept it. And, and I think that, you know, the anxiety of being a coach and advising your client to be careful and not take a job when, you know, your client really needs a job, but it's, you know, half or more than half of what their salary was before,
Julian: Honest to God, like we've not had one brief in the last six or eight months where the client said, Oh, it used to be at this level. Now it's at this level, if you're an agent, obviously your job is to get who the best, whoever you can get convinced the client to, to fill the role with. And if that's forcing somebody who was on this salary to move down, because they're obviously going to blow the client away at the interview, you cause they're overqualified for the job, then you can see how that behaviour occurs. But don't, you know, that it hasn't been that seismic a shift in, in remuneration. Yes. That it's the clients think you're going to get a bit more bang for buck, but we're not talking about what you were referring to there.
Renata: Ok good. We have a question here. And Andrew has asked me to ask it on his behalf. So he's asking is recruitment while he, there are several questions. So let's go one by one, is the recruitment industry broken?
Julian: I mean, I'm biassed. So
Renata: What is your thing?
Julian: Since that, that agency model, where you get someone to give you advice on making a really important hiring decision, and they've got a vested interest in placing an individual that I may already know, and you've got no way as the client of inspecting their work scrutinising what's occurred, understanding whether that person was the best person or they're just the two people that they already had at the start of the process. I think that is that, agency or subjectivity of the supplier, um, I think that is pretty much broken and is ripe for disruption, hence the work that we're doing. I think even where, you know, you know, looking way into the future, I think Andrew's referring to, you know, CVS and how people are going to connect it. I think through technology and matching and recruiting, having a, sort of a recruitment, um, having a recruitment intermediary that, you know, whether that's an internal person or, uh, an organisation like a yellow folder, or I think that will eventually, yeah, it will go. Um, and it can be very frustrating. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not an apologist for bad behaviour by anybody, but I, and I will say that, um, I know with some of the clients that we have, they've had periods of this year, where for four weeks they've been incomplete, you know, internal restructuring lockdown, and that's led to some poor candidate experience, you know, in terms of feedback, in terms of what's going on or just wholesale, wholesale, you know, the whole, the whole pathway to recruiting that position has changed. So,
Renata: The, so he's also asking about, um, CVS, and I think that that's a great question because when you're transitioned from one way of doing things to another, as we are, you know, we have to be on LinkedIn, like whether your white collar worker, office worker. If you're not on LinkedIn, what are you doing? You're lucky if you don't have to be on LinkedIn, but most of us listening to this podcast have to, but we still need to do our resumes and we still need to do our Cover letters. What, what do you think we should be, uh, watching out for, in terms of how, you know, your clients are looking into this is LinkedIn more important than the resume? Are they servicing different aspects of how they assess you as a client, as a candidate? Yeah,
Julian: I think, I think it's a really good question. I think from my perspective, the, obviously to your point, the LinkedIn is essential. LinkedIn that's full speaks to the kind of person that you are, where you want your career to go is essential, not just these, just a series of roles that I've had, um, in terms of substantiating what the roles were and how you perform them. If there's a genuine interest in your type of career history, you're going to get that opportunity to submit a CV. And that's when the CV becomes important to go through what actually, how that role actually operated within the organisation. You worked, what your success rate was, you know, that the CV really can, as a long form, the longer form document can really play into your hands here. I think Andrew asked about this as well. I think if you know that you're applying for something or trying to pivot in your career and it's not about, and then the job titles you've had and the employers you've had a different to those that you're applying for, make sure that that sense of I've got these capabilities that are transferable features in the document.
Julian: I know that would ordinarily be the case, but just understand that you've got to overcome some resistance to, well, how does this actually compute? And the CV can help you get there as well as the LinkedIn. But I really feel the LinkedIn is the opener. And, you know, often it happens with all types of recruitment. A name comes up and the hiring manager will Google someone and just, you know, Oh, that looks good. I'd love to see that. I'd love to see Renata, let's get, see me and so on. I think the cover letter is still important as well, even if it's just good prep for these types of interviews. I think I'm a big believer in just actually just writing down and articulating why and why you're relevant to something can be a good prep for having a structured conversation when it does come.
Renata: Can I tell you and the listeners, how I frame it, it's kind of compliments what you just said. Um, I see the LinkedIn as you positioning yourself at a specific level of leadership. So sometimes you might be, you know, let's say a CFO, but your LinkedIn is not positioning yourself as a CFO. It just isn't. And you need to, work your LinkedIn profile so that you may not have touched your LinkedIn profile for 10 years back then you're a financial controller and you haven't really updated your photo or done any sort of activity for the past five years and it just neglected it. So you need to make sure that it's at that level, your resume is really important for due diligence. So if you're applying for that CFO role, it needs to be complete. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it needs to be complete because that organisation needs to scrutinise the hell out of you to make sure that you are who you say you are now more than ever.
Julian: I totally agree. And just to that point about the CFO, the LinkedIn and CFO in your organisation, your particular organisation may use a different title, but effectively is the CFO role called country finance director, or it could be, you know, it could be even more obscure, you know, a regional controller and that's what might be, has to be on your CV. Cause that's, what's on your, your PD. You can explain that you are the CFO for the country, for instance, and you need to yeah.
Renata: And the cover letter, I think, is the perfect opportunity for you. If it's the formal sort of introduction to your board or to the senior executive team to blend your career with what you know, that that organisation needs from what the head Hunter had told you, the position description and what you've read in the news. And then you say, okay, this is who I am. This is where I think you guys are. And this is where I think I can come in and invite yourself for an interview. So it's part of your communication strategy. So everything, the email you send out, the cover letter and all the interactions is about you coming in as a peer, as a colleague and coming strongly as a candidate, it's positioning yourself already in that role. Um, so I think the cover letter is a more formal way to do that. So those are the ways that you can consider them in isolation. So you don't duplicate everything and make it bit more look and feel the same. They shouldn't, they are diff they're different pieces of collateral.
Julian: I agree. I totally agree. They've got different. They come out of different types of the process. And even if you apply directly to an organisation with your CV, I Alma, I couldn't guarantee it, but I'd say the majority of the time your LinkedIn's going to be looked at, and that could be the determining factor as to whether you progress to the next phase, even though you use your CV to apply, because they might want to know who else that you know, their, or that they look at how that's represented. So don't neglect the LinkedIn. Yeah.
Renata: Julian, is there anything keeping you awake at night that you're worried about? Well you love your job but
Julian: I've taken up running. I've tried to take out running during this period. I was trying to get fit for the last few years, but I've taken up running. I've got an app that sort of trains me, but it's hurt my knee quite a bit. So that's given me some, you know, I find sometimes I'm waking up in the middle of the night cause of that. I know that's not, but I've got a foam roller now. So that's sort of, that's sort of fix that. I think, um, you know, as a leader or as a team leader, the mental health of the team, um, we, we're such a tight knit unit in the office. And then having this length of time not being together feels like it's a bigger responsibility than we've had in, in terms of our client work.
Julian: So I'm not saying it keeps you up at night, but I do wonder about it and try and push myself to think about ways we can do that better. I think one of the, and this relates to the audience here, doesn't get me up at night, but it's problematic is how do we maintain interest in organisations and our clients or our prospective employers without being overbearing? You know, what's the right balance. And how do you, you don’t want to be tone deaf to what's going on in an organisation, but you also want to express an interest to want to partner with you or want to work for you. So I think it's, I think it's a tough one and you, and we're going to make some mistakes on that where our approach just isn't well received because we didn't know all this other stuff was happening internally. And it's just, and you sort of have to be resilient on that. Um,
Julian: But I’m a pretty positive person. And what they're going to do with the economic policy settings, you know, in terms of government support beyond that, it is, it is worrying. I hope governments all around the world, you know, don't, um, don't revert, you know, we'll keep the assistance going, cause I'm sure we're going to need it go going forward.
Renata: What about your clients? What do you think is most, of concern to them at the moment?
Julian: I think for the ones that are lucky enough to be performing moderately well, okay. To moderately well is they've got budgets and this is the positive news about pent up demand for jobs. The budgets started, you know, financial year 21 is well underway. They've got targets. And then, and it's not being focused on their bonus, but just on what they're expected to do and they've had recruitment freezes or they haven't been able to, or they've, there's been some reluctance to go to market on things. So I think this pent up demand there for the companies that are doing quite well. And they're going to be concerned about how they're actually going to find the right people. So I spoke to one of the biggest superfunds yesterday and they said they had a four month recruitment freeze. It all got turned on about four weeks ago, and now they've got 50 requisitions, you know, and they're not going to better fill them all.
Julian: And they getting a lot of pressure internally now. And that's why they're having the conversation with us about how they do it more strategically. So you've had a lot of companies under a lot of internal pressure to not do anything. And now the time's already been ticking. We're already two months into the financial year and they need the talent teams and the executive teams need to find people that are going to be right for the market. So it's a bit of a, a bit of a scramble, but I actually think despite the economic headlines, you referenced the recession, the talent market itself in certain segments, I think it's going to do very well over the next three or four months.
Renata: Excellent. I've noticed a bit of a kerfuffle with, you know, hiring freezes and wanting, and then the government, um, putting on money into specific sectors like health, for example. Um, and then there's a hiring freeze. So the senior execs actually have to get contractors coming in to run the projects, to use the funding. So it's kind of a bit of a confusion. Have you found that?
Julian: We pivot sometimes isn't it, but this is the level of uncertainty for making decisions on my, in my life. I've never seen anything like it. So you have to forgive organisations sometimes that do those sort of knee jerk or a bat faces, or it seems perverse, but yeah, absolutely. I've, I've seen it where they've gone from recruitment freeze to all steam ahead in a matter, you know, it's a big, big change. And I think there was, and this is natural human behaviour or reluctance to make decisions back in may and June for fear of getting it totally wrong on the economy and on everything else. But, um, I'm not saying it's smooth sailing from here, but you know, what we've proven is that life has gone on life, does go on economically, professionally in many segments, not all segments. Um, and they need any people.
Renata: Yeah. Well that gives an opportunity for that entering or contract work experience that you mentioned before, which I think is beneficial if you're in between jobs,
Julian: I've not seen statistics on it, but my, my sort of anecdotal evidence is there's been an uptake in interim, interim executive. Yes. But also interim meat type contract type positions because of that. Do we go, how certain are we do we need this talent? So if you open to that and you express that say on your LinkedIn, that you are Intuit. Um, and so talking about that as part of your career journey, um, I think that that, that may open up a few more opportunities for people.
Renata: Excellent. Well, we don't have any more questions from the audience unless somebody comes up with one right now. We are going to,
Millie: Can I ask one? Sorry, I just raised my hand so its Millie. So, um, hi, Renatta I Julian. Um, and that was really interesting conversation. And now my, I haven't really followed my question well, so forgive me if I don't make sense. And I hope I'll try to convey what I'm trying to ask. Well enough. Um, so my thoughts and what I wanted to ask revolves around, retraining, so maybe in a different field or seeking, you know, higher education just to retrain. So along that thought versus, experience. So, um, we did touch during the conversation, did touch on, um, you know, maybe trying to delve into different sectors or maybe say in the area of site, it's a white umbrella.
Millie: So within the white umbrella, there's still a lot of sub specific umbrellas that, you know, people are an expert in and maybe to jump from one area to another, it's still quite a big leap, even though it's within the big umbrella. So as a recruiter, but what's your thought on the importance of say retraining versus experience because when one tries to go into say a different field, even so even if it's say within the big umbrella, it's still a slightly different arena. You often have to compete with people who are already in the field and therefore have a lot more experience in that field. And you are from an angle of one who's trying to step into a new field. So what, what do you, I mean, what, what would give you, uh, an edge over other applicants between, um, seeking higher education or seeking re retraining versus, um, um, experience I suppose, cause I, I think that's quite a fine line to draw between the two
Julian: Millie, my experiences. And I know it is hard in a competitive sense when you are competing against individuals that have already operated in experiences within that job area, it is very hard to, it is or difficult to make that case. I think there are different factors that weigh in people's decisions as to whether somebody can make that transition and education is definitely one of them, but it's not as sort of, it's not sufficient. It won't convince someone just in of itself. So I think what we were talking about today about explaining through one's LinkedIn and through one's conversations with people in networking within an area, but how that does that transition has worked for others or does work is part of it, but having the actual training and the insight and the qualifications that are relevant obviously is very important. And it, and I know a lot of people are going back either going back to uni or looking to retrain or add qualifications at this time because of the way the economy is. And I think they will be rewarded for it, but it is just one factor that gets evaluated.
Renata: Yeah. I like to say as well. And you know, when I started coaching years ago and before covid and I still stand by that, I've always said to my clients, the best time to invest in professional development is when you are employed. Because when you are employed, you can discuss with your boss, the opportunity for them to support you subsidise you pay 50% and you should always be invest in your career because I love for my clients to have a sustainable career plan and a long-term career plan, right? When you are unemployed, especially if you are in a recession type of situation that we are right now, investing in a very expensive programme, I is a risky investment. And you have to think of the return, the ROI, the return on that investment for you. If your goal is to get a job fast, that may
Renata: Not be the ideal investment that you make. And there are other ways for you to, um, get yourself career ready, job, job, ready for, um, opportunities that are simpler and easier and more effective. So, you know, I work with clients one on one to actually identify if it's a good investment or not. Because if I client comes to me and they used to be, you know, a change manager, but now they want to be a teacher, then yes, you need to change careers and go back to uni. But if you are a change manager, but you neglected to do some certifications along the way, maybe all you need to do is just crystallise that crystallise the experience with the certifications while you wait, you know, for the jobs to come. And that's probably a cheaper solution. If you are in between jobs, Julian, what do you think?
Julian: No, look, I think that's right. I think the comments you made at the start, it's a calculated risk. And I think, I think it's not helpful for people that are really actively on that job search right now, but I think I've taken something out from this session or many things out from the session, but what you just said before about when you're employed and you're having those professional development type of conversations, I think we're all going to take them a lot more. Even from my perspective in running a business, we're might take them a lot more seriously in some ways because, um, we kind of assume things are going to be so linear and, you know, next year is going to be like the year that we had. So I think maybe a very, very small silver lining out of the AC is actually being more purposeful and constructive about, um, about one's career and where we actually really how we want, where we want to work. Yeah. Yeah.
Renata: Excellent. I think that's all we have time for today. Jullian. You agree?
Julian: Its been fun.
Renata: It's been fun. Yeah. I think, I think that we should have you back in this podcast because you have, you know, great Intel for us. So I was really wonderful to have you here. Thank you so much for making the time.
Julian: Okay. It was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me. I'll be tuning in for future podcasts as well and all the best for everyone in terms of their job hunting and job search. And it's not, it's not easy, but stay resilient. And um, if there's better times ahead.
Renata: Thank you. Bye for now everybody see you next week. Thank you. Nice to meet you. Bye.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
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