#NZLEAD RECAP: The Sourcing Summit


I find the #NZlead session on #sourcing was boisterous, useful and fun, perhaps a bit like sourcing itself. Based on the views shared it is clear that the way sourcing is defined and performed, and what’s effective, varies widely. But there is a common theme that sourcing is becoming increasingly important. Rather than summarise by own point of views, I will highlight some tasty morsels from the discussions.

Q1) Do NZ organisations take sourcing/sourcers seriously? If not, why not?
The fact that sourcing is rarely strategic, but mostly reactive is a pointer that sourcing by itself is not the main priority for many NZ organisations. It appears sourcing is taken seriously only when a requirement arises; it’s reactive and rarely strategic. From what I can gather this is typical of sourcing in other countries. At the moment those who do strategic sourcing are enjoying the fruits and wanting more of it.

Q2) In your organisation what is the biggest hurdle to effective sourcing?
A large of part of sourcing today is having a go at new tools and channels. A culture shift is required as is training for all stakeholders. For some organisations it is the fear of the unknown. Budget restrictions can also be a huge hurdle

Q3) What is your best source of talent or most effective sourcing tool?

Effectiveness varies according to size of organisation and industry. Linkedin is popular, so is the traditional telephone and referrals are clearly one of the most effective sources of talent.

Q4) What sourcing tool are you tinkering with? What works? What doesn’t? Why?
A wide range of tools were discussed. New tools are ever emerging. Identifying and following early-adopters is fruitful.

Q.5 Candidate engagement
In the end, candidate engagement is paramount. Everything else pales in comparison and this is reflected in the discussions.

In conclusion, I have a strong sense that the dominant opinion is that NZ organisations are starting to wake up to the importance of sourcing. One great trait of sourcing, abetted by advances in technology, is that it can be a fascinating exercise and rarely boring, and this bodes well for its future.


#NZLEAD RECAP: Headhunting

Scott Bentley Bio

This week we saw some excellent discussion from the #nzlead community on the topic of Headhunting. I want to say right off the bat that the New Zealand recruitment community (internal and agency) really stepped up to the plate and proved that they are up there with our international peers in understanding and practice of this art. Pauls Jenkins provided a gem of a simple definition in his comment that Headhunting involves networking, referrals, market mapping and making sure the experience is positive for successful and unsuccessful candidates alike.

The first question posted was around whether HR and internal recruiters can effectively headhunt. There were plenty of responses agreeing with the positive, but some concern around the ethics. My conclusion is yes internal recruiters can and should go for it! However, a different set of rules apply. A level of care must be taken to protect the value of your brand if you a embarking on a project that targets the resources of your competitors directly. Luckily, by virtue of being part of this community, I know you are well versed in social media and will be able to use this to mitigate this issue. Alan Ward made mention of leading an internal recruitment team with an international headhunting focus and I for one am looking forward to hearing more about his successes in future blogs.

Many respondents were interested in market mapping and I tweeted that this is a process not unlike creating org charts of target companies. As a specialist, I go through this process to gain a better understanding of my market. From a sales perspective, it has given me information on turnover, demographics, and average tenure. I can even mine data on the types of companies their staff have come from in the past, which helps me focus my searches. I recommend that agency recruiters allocate a quarter of their day to this activity as it helps you become a true expert – progressing from a recruitment consultant to the coveted “Trusted advisor” status.

I was particularly interested in the questions around how we use social media in headhunting. Again, great discussion but what stood out for me was that people are often more comfortable making and receiving introductions via social media then over the phone. I tweeted that the phone will always be there but I love using Twitter as a soft approach. It’s easy to start a conversation on Twitter and you can talk to anyone before escalating to a direct approach.

I’m not going to go into headhunting on LinkedIn we would be here for hours but a great start if you’re targeting a particular person is to look at the groups that they are in. Join one of these groups, post about your role, like or make a comment on something they have posted. Often that’s all that will be required and they may approach you as a result.

Iain Macgibbon (@nzheadhunter) provided tweets from the perspective of someone who understands and practices true headhunting. His comments about targeting a ‘rich vein’ of talent rather then individuals were interesting and accurate. Also, special mention to Aaron Dodd who tweeted that headhunting is more akin to romance and dating then actual hunting – he’s right.

Mark Sumner and I had a brief exchange that highlighted one area where internal recruiters have an advantage over agencies in headhunting. That is, greater access to hiring managers. The higher the quality of your brief the better the outcome will be. Knowing and understanding your client is paramount for all of us, so being part of your client’s business offers advantages.

I think this is a big topic and in future weeks we may benefit from dissecting headhunting and discussing some of the components individually. Thanks to everyone for participating and I will no doubt catch up with you in future weeks. I also wanted to finish with a final thought on #nzlead. Taking part in the last couple of Thursday #nzlead tweet chats, I have commented that there is a really solid sense of community amongst the HR professionals that contribute. It was my initial thought that it would not be possible to replicate this is in the agency recruitment world where we have friendly but fierce competition. However, this week I have reached out to another agency for advice and had a great response. I have recommended one candidate to a competitor and got one in return. This got me thinking. For every consultant out there with a Java Developer role and a .net candidate, for example, there is probably someone in the exact opposite situation. Perhaps there is room for some collaboration? Try me some time if you’re a #nzrec. You never know I may be up for a sneaky trade! That is what I have personally taken / learned from #nzlead other than an hour of fun and usually a few new connections on a weekly basis. So thanks to Tash and Amanda, and here’s to many more interesting evenings of discussion.


Perry Tims Bio

So it seemed that the topic chosen by the #ConnectingHR community in the UK for their unconference on 21 June 2013 (UK-based HR and Organisation Development practitioners can still book tickets here) worked well for #nzlead.  Credit @joningham who – as far as I am aware – coined that term for us to focus the unconference on.  It seemed to strike a chord with the New Zealand and UK HR fraternity that now frequents the best HR-related twitter-chat on the planet.  Hosted with precision and energy as ever by the fabulous @TashTasticNZ.

What were the main themes then?  Well the entire topic of #BraveHR – and bravery as a professional in an HR/Work capacity were primed by @SimonHeath1 through his own blog here.  Rightly calling out bravery as something you do when clearing mines in Angola or facing political turmoil in an oppressive regime, he recognised that in corporate life, being brave in HR had a lot of merit.  Especially when, as Simon so eloquently put it, faced with “Entrenched dogmatic cultural obstacles”. 

It seems everywhere we look in the world of work , there are practices and behaviours that simply get in the way and a courage to challenge (see the CIPD’s HR Profession Map here if you want to know how hard-wired being brave is considered for HR practitioners) is a way of life.

Generally, the first question elicited responses similar to Simon’s blog – HR DOES need to be brave.  Set against this was the invisibility of HR as a corporate function and not an outward facing function such as Marketing.  @AlisonChisnell summed it up when she said “HR needs to be brave, because too often there is an easier option that doesn’t deal with the real issue.”  Often, it seems, the less brave thing to do is close ranks and deal with things in secret not tackling the real crux of an organisational / employee problem.

@MarkSumner73 said “we have so many touch points and impact right across the business, we should be brave”.  This was added to by @StephenTovey13 who said “Brave isn’t just standing up to others in org, it’s also standing up FOR the org and leading & partnering on what needs to be done”.

@nzheadhunter weighed in with this brave comment “Being brave means staring down a GM and saying their unit is not productive because of poorly motivated staff”.  For sure.

So that pretty much cleared up the case that HR DOES need to be brave.

The second question posed was if we need to be braver in HR where do we focus efforts and the 3rd questions was that if people in the profession aren’t showing that, what do we do?  @Matt_Pontin said “coach, lead. Be sure they are clear capable & motivated” – so not accepting a lack of bravery more stimulating people to being so.

David D’Souza tweeting @dds180 added here “try and help them make it… and if not… change the people to make the change”.  It appears that not being brave in HR was holding the profession back somewhat and people without bravery might not belong here anymore.  That is brave but people holding back a profession from maximum impact was clearly not helping anyone – themselves included.

Simon Jones @ariadneassoc said it was “all about role models –  people need to see successful #hr as the brave ones, and those who aren’t brave falling away.”

There was a general discussion about the term “Business Partner” and whilst some accord with that term there was dischord as this felt too passive and not enabling enough.  Business Leader was preferred by @nzheadhunter.

The 4th question was about the signs to spot when #BraveHR was making a difference.  @SimonHeath1 in his blog said this “When courageous people have spoken up and acted to change the business for the better we will all feel it instintively in a changed culture based on shared values and authentic and honest dialogue, being authentically us at work.”

Simon Jones @aridaneassoc again reminded us that some things will disappear rather than other things appear, when he said “Brave HR will only work in a receptive culture – the example of “Deeply Disengaged” this week shows that  http://bit.ly/149bvUA

And David D’Souza @dds180 dropped this as a marker – “if successful, in the future this topic would be nonsense. It would be the same as finance discussing how best to add up”.

Overall, there was a real sense that this was a worthy focus of conversation and an approach to keep some focus on.  How this is taken forward will be one of those things that we won’t see a movement on (!) like engageforsuccess.org over in the UK; no #BraveHR will be about US as a community of passionate, capable and caring professionals looking out for each other and supporting each other.

I have no doubts that the #ConnectingHR unconference on 21 June will unravel more of this.  I will undertake to do a supplemental blog here for the #nzlead community we in the UK feel so honoured to be a part of.

I said it in my preview blog and so I conclude with increased belief (with thanks to all the participants in the #nzlead twitter chat for doing so) that it is about YOU, ME, US.

“It is about YOU.  Being true to you; standing firm about you and what you believe in as a human being and a professional who is there to make organisations and human beings “work”.

#BraveHR is in all of us.  If we believe in ourselves.” 

I believe in myself just that little bit more thanks to #nzlead and the chance to discuss this theme. 

Thank you all.

Perry Timms