Archive for Careers

Poor recruitment processes destroy brand equity.

Posted in Market mapping, Talent management, Talentinsight with tags , , , on January 11, 2011 by edcook

A poorly managed recruitment process damages brand equity irreparably; why do large corporates continue to underinvest in the first experience a potential employee has with their company? What could they be doing to improve the experience and avoid creating vocal detractors of their organisation?

How many times have you applied for a job online and either not heard anything back, received a standard response, or had your time wasted navigating a bureaucratic, impersonal recruitment process where most of the focus is on assessing you rather than communicating the benefits of working for the organisation you’ve applied for?

Three years ago the standard process was to stick a generic advert on seek and sift through the deluge of respondents, after about 2 weeks the unsuccessful ones would be sent a “standard” rejection email entitled “Dear Applicant”.  Approximately 6 of the candidates would be called in for interview with maybe 2 or 3 progressing to the final stage before the selected one being offered the role.  Assuming there were 100 applicants to start with maybe 3% would have had a positive experience, the remaining 97% feeling underwhelmed by the process.

The chances of identifying the best candidate by advertising on an online jobs board are remote.  The best candidates generally aren’t actively looking for a new role, they’re more likely to be focussing on their current role or engaging with their business network to identify their next opportunity.  The worrying thing for the companies mentioned above is that this network is likely to contain the vocal detractors frustrated by the poorly managed recruitment process.  The attraction process becomes harder and harder as more and more potential recruits are advised against working for the organisation.

How can organisations improve this situation and make the recruitment process easier, more cost-effective and faster; enabling them to attract the best passive candidate for a role and ensuring all applicants have a positive experience becoming advocates for the organisation?

Identify and engage with passive candidates: Gathering market intelligence and mapping potential talent is the first step to shortening the recruitment process and targeting potential employees more effectively.  Creating relevant, specific talent pools; develops a talent pipeline which can be engaged with as actively as required depending on the immediacy of the recruitment need.  Events such as networking breakfasts or speaker series can also be arranged to adopt a more active approach to talent engagement.  This enables an organisation to build goodwill with potential candidates and identify talent in a non-threatening, positive environment.  The majority of people who attend an event will start to develop a better understanding of the organisation and even if they are not interested in working there will become potential advocates.

Tap into existing Talent pools: Organisations such as Universities and Business Schools are always looking for job opportunities for their graduates.  In most cases they don’t charge companies to engage with their current students.  In my last role I worked with MBA graduates from Melbourne Business School, I was surprised at the unwillingness of some companies to at least present at the school.  Whilst the value of the MBA is questioned by some; there are full and part-time students with valuable experience and intellectual capability who would add considerable value to many organisations.  Before approaching these people it is important to articulate a clear value proposition to communicate to potential recruits.  The “war for talent” is fierce within Australia’s top business schools.

Better manage the on-boarding process: The first six months in a new role are a stressful time.  Misconceptions gained during the interview process are corrected and potential frustrations are realised.  Coaching and listening to new employees can provide company management and HR with useful insights into potential business problems.  New employees see the company with a fresh pair of eyes.  If their concerns are listened to and action taken to address them they are more likely to stay with the organisation and reach their full potential.  It pays dividends to coach new employees, helping them navigate their first few months within an organisation.  Information can then be gathered to enable the HR team to improve the on-boarding experience for future employees which increases employee engagement and reduces the rate of attrition.

Better manage internal talent: Replacing a key role is expensive, organisations that identify their key employees and put in place a plan to develop and challenge them are more likely to retain them.  I recently heard of a major Australian Bank that made someone on its Talent Program redundant, this suggests that either the wrong people are on the Talent program or the bank’s redeployment program is not working effectively.  A plan needs to be put in place to identify business critical internal talent, design a program to manage their development and coach them to ensure they reach their full potential.

The way most companies recruit has resulted in an impersonal, bureaucratic and unfulfilling experience for the applicant.  Potential employees who are treated as numbers are unlikely to gain much from the recruitment process.  Companies who take the time to engage with targeted talent are more likely to make the right hiring decision in a more timely, cost-effective manner.

If you would like to find out more about what I am developing in this space or if you believe your business would benefit from adopting some of the interventions mentioned above please connect with me on Linkedin ( or by calling +61 414 997 677.


What does Australia know about the MBA?

Posted in MBS Careers with tags , , on July 22, 2009 by edcook

Yesterday I was speaking to a recruitment consultant about a role that I thought might be suitable for an MBA graduate from MBS.  The role involved giving advice to franchisees with regard to improving the performance of their franchise.

When I had finished explaining the background of MBS graduates the recruiter said “The MBA is by-the-by, what my client is really interested in is the person’s experience.”

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this dismissive attitude towards a life-changing degree that I, along with several thousand other MBA students and alumni, have invested so much time in.  It was frustrating and disappointing – especially because I know first hand that the degree makes a huge difference to the overwhelming majority of students who study for it.

I think it’s fair to say that in Australia – and particularly compared to the United States – there is still a much lower level of awareness of the MBA.  I believe that this problem could potentially be overcome with greater collaboration between local business schools, increasing advertising, and alumni themselves helping to strengthen awareness of the degree through advocacy with colleagues, in the media and even, very simply, on their business cards.

Another challenge I think the MBA faces is that in Australia perceived high-achievers can be cut down to size, rather than encouraged or promoted.  We all know about the “Tall Poppy” syndrome, and I wonder whether this will hinder the country’s attempts to become the academic powerhouse of Asia?

Ultimately, the concern that experience is valued more than potential, might see talented Australians (and potential migrants) looking elsewhere for career advancement and growth opportunities.  None of us want this – it would be detrimental to the nation as a whole not just us, as MBA graduates.

I wonder how as a School, and as alumni, we can begin to grow awareness in Australia of just how powerful an MBA can be for us as individuals, for the organisations in which we work, and the communities in which we live?

I don’t have all the answers.

Perhaps you do.

Tips for using Linkedin, Xing etc to find a job in the current market.

Posted in MBS Careers with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by edcook

I’ve recently been speaking to a number of students that have expressed frustration with regards to their job search.  One in particular told me that he had applied to over 60 advertisements placed by Recruitment Consultants and had received a response from only 5 of them.  Not surprisingly he was still waiting to hear from these recruiters.  In my view relying on recruiters to find a job will prove to be extremely frustrating and more than likely fruitless.  I was speaking to another MBS alum the other day who reached the final cut for a CIO role.  He was told by the recruiter that 360 jobseekers had applied to the advert, the chances of making it to interview stage are remote.  So,  what are the alternative strategies?  I’m using professional networking sites more and more in my job.  Used properly, I believe these are the most powerful tools for building a network that will lead to opportunities in the future.  Also, rather than paying contingent recruiters to place an advert online, more hiring managers are now searching Linkedin for profiles first, if you don’t have a good one, they won’t find you.  Here are some tips for getting the most out of the wide range of networking sites:

  • Make sure your profile looks professional.  The summary needs to clearly articulate your key strengths and what you are looking for.  Professional photograph, not one of you at the pub with friends.  Brief descriptions of where you’ve worked (in the employment sections) and key achievements.  If you do a Google search (e.g Linkedin profile suggestions) there are plenty of websites giving advice on the ideal profile.  Make sure you have plenty of relevant keywords which will come up in a search.
  • Get recommended,  if you have worked or studied with someone, ask them if they would recommend you.  Your profile will move higher up search results and you come across as a credible professional.
  • Personalise the link to your Linkedin profile and use it.  On your profile page, look for the “Public profile” section, click edit and change the number to something more personal eg. a standard link would look like this and a personalised one would look like this  Once you have done this add it to your e-mail signature, when you e-mail someone asking for advice, if they want to know more about you they can have a look at your profile.  This is far more subtle than attaching your CV to every e-mail you send out.  You can see how effective your profile is by how many people view it or how many searches you come up in (home page right hand side).
  • Let other users see that you have looked at their profile.  This is something I have only recently changed, in my view you want people to look at your profile, on the “Home” page you can see who has looked at your profile, most of these are vague i.e “An MBA student from Melbourne Business School” .  If you are searching for possible contacts if you change your privacy settings (Account & Settings > Profile views> Show my name and headline) they can see you have looked at their profile and are more likely to have a look at your profile.  If they are impressed they might make contact.
  • Join groups – If you join relevant groups, you can send messages to other group members for free.  You can also carry out targeted searches of people with similar interests of backgrounds.
  • Consider upgrading your account – Especially if you are actively looking for a job, it costs US$ 25 a month, but means you can contact other Linkedin members directly if they are out of your network (using an Inmail)
  • Use other sites –  Linkedin is great if you are based in the US, UK or Australia.  If you want to build a network in Europe, it would be worth looking at other websites like Xing. Setting up a profile is easy, just copy and paste the information from your Linkedin profile.  Other sites like Ecademy might also be useful, experiment.
  • Give advice as well as ask for it – Make sure you respond to people asking for your advice.  Also, browse the “Answers” section and provide comments and suggestions to people asking questions.  This will help promote your profile.
  • Use tools like Twitter – More recruiters are using Twitter to promote opportunities they have, set up #tag searches so you can identify these opportunities.  I’ve started tweeting any new jobs MBS students from @MBSCareers

Please add any comments to this blog, especially if you have a success story to share or any other suggestions.  I better practice what I preach, here’s a link to my Linkedin profile if I’m not connected to you already and you’d like to connect, please send me an invitation mentioning you’ve read this blog.