Recruitment isn’t broken; you’re just not using it right!

I’ve recently come across numerous articles and updates on LinkedIn calling out recruiters for poor practices, bad or outright rude behaviour. It’s comical when the usual suspects jump on the comments trying to justify some of the more ridiculous practices. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe all LinkedIn updates calling out recruiters are correct but on most I shake my head, think to myself how is this still happening, who’s training these people and then crack on making a difference. Now I’m not talking about the ones that are human errors, genuine mistakes or even juniors that don’t know better. Overall, I feel we should at least listen to our audience, see if we need to adapt and if so, look into how we can prevent this happening again i.e. moving forward.

“A smart man learns by his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”

That being said, I’ve recently noticed a comment that “all recruitment is broken”. This was from someone who uses recruiters to hire people into their business and that comment couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, not every single recruitment business out there is great and let’s be frank, there are some pretty poor ones, but that’s the same in every industry. Vodafone is publicly getting a kicking at the moment with a £4.6 million fine for allegedly having poor customer service. Does that mean every phone company is the same?….maybe a bad example ;). I’ve also seen comments about automating all recruitment practices making them redundant “The Recruitment Industry to die in 2018”. I believe Zeynep Tufekci put it best in her latest TED talk (see here); where Zeynep talks about the issues when using automating hiring systems and how taking away the human element could cause huge, unforeseen issues.

“We cannot outsource our moral responsibilities to machines, we must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics.”

What a lot of people don’t realise is that most recruiters know the value of recruiters and use recruiters to recruit recruiters…..Wow, that’s a lot of recruiters! If you genuinely hate recruiters (I know a few) I’d suggest never moving into rec to rec.

So why do recruiters use recruiters, you may well ask? We know recruitment is about RELATIONSHIPS and recruiters who specialise solely in this field will naturally have a better network of PEOPLE, therefore improving their odds of acquiring a suitable person. Additionally, we only have to pay recruiters when they have been successful; it’s a free service until they find someone! Recruiters know that PEOPLE are the main reason why a business succeeds or fails and we want to increase our odds of hiring the best PEOPLE by using rec to rec’s, no brainer right?

So IF you’re feeling ALL recruitment is broken, chances are you’re just not using it properly. Those that think this way often adhere to the old adage, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Regardless of what you think you can do to change a person’s mind-set in this situation, you’re very unlikely to win because they will continue to think that recruitment is broken; taking ZERO responsibility that they could actually be the thing stopping it from working in the first place.

There are however people out there who DO want to change. I’ve recently started working with a new client who has been struggling to find 3 different & difficult IT positions despite using 3 recruiters and using the businesses standard recruitment process. Upon approaching them, they felt that the recruitment process is broken and they just wanted to send me over a job specification for the different positions. I asked them to change their process for the positions/roles, to trust me and meet me tomorrow to discuss further. They were open to change as luckily it’s a business that has been recommended to speak to me as they’ve struggled, so they listened. On 1 role they went from receiving 36 cv’s, booking only 4 interviews (3 candidates dropped out), 0 placements over a 4 month period using their last process to 5 cv’s, 5 interviews and 1 offer in 3 weeks from using mine.

How can that be? Surely all recruiters are the same? Where did I deliver when the other 3 recruiters failed? Luck? I’d love to say I delivered over and above other recruiters because I’ve been born with a natural talent and I’m known within the industry as the Clark Kent of recruitment because of my speed and physique, but that’s not the case. Hard work, a respect for other people and listening are some of the minimum requirements. I delivered because the recruitment business was open to changing a broken system!

Maxwell Bond has been created because we believe that people matter and we believe in doing everything in our power to ensure we make a difference to people’s lives. We do this by hiring the right people; enabling them to operate in a healthy, flexible working environment and help them focus solely on being the best and making a difference to others. We just happen to be in digital & IT recruitment. So if you’re feeling your IT recruitment is broken, you genuinely want to improve, change and enhance you’re recruitment campaigns, get in touch and we’ll help you.

N.B I use Vodafone and I’m quite happy with their service, maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones?

Interview Tips – How to succeed in an interview

Maxwell Bond are often asked what interview advice or interview tips do we give to candidates to ensure they’re more likely to succeed in an interview. It’s all too easy to apply for roles now that we frequently find that a lot of people go through heart ache sending their CV to lots of “black holes”; when they finally get an interview request, they believe just turning up will get them the role…. They believe they’ve already passed the hardest bit and think “the person must like me so I’ll get the role by just turning up, right?”.

I cannot stress this enough; the interview is the most important stage of the job search. It’s your chance to sell yourself whilst; more importantly, finding out if it’s a company you want to work for and deciding if this opportunity aligns with your GOALS.

IF you want to succeed, you need to remember your competing against other people and you need to be a cut above the rest.

Maxwell Bond have a lot of success with our IT and Digital candidates by following these 6 interview tips;

1) Prepare, research and do your homework! We see so many people fail interviews and missing opportunities they really want through lack of preparation, turning up is not enough!!! Research the website, look at news articles, use social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, even Instagram to see common connections, beliefs, hobbies to create commonality. Think about your answers to questions; stating you’re “a quick learner” or “passionate” about X, Y & Z, with no examples of where you’ve learnt quickly or picked up the skills in your own time because you’re “passionate” is not good enough. Actions always speak louder than words!

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2) First impressions count! We all know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover but in interviews, your first 2 minutes’ count massively for or against you. Think about your appearance. I’m not just talking about your clothes; posture, energy, enthusiasm, eye contact, tone of voice, firm hand shake, all count! This also applies for your social media accounts, CV format and your initial communication via email, phone calls etc. Put some effort in, you’ll be surprised what you get back!

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3) Create Commonality! When interviewing make sure you still focus on the Human element; Human interaction is still the main influencing factor why people are hired. People love to belong and work with similar minded people. This can be shared beliefs, values, similar career path, known colleagues, university, children going to the same school, similar events you attend, the list goes on. Research your interviewee and create that commonality immediately!

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4) Remember you’re in competition, go the extra mile! If you really want a new role or want to work for a business or a person, go the extra mile as 9/10 of your competition wont. We’ve seen people achieve “dream roles” over someone with a better technical aptitude because of their attitude. We’d love to hear your best examples of when someone or YOU went the extra mile to successfully find a new role.

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5) Ask questions throughout the interview, don’t just wait until the end! We recommend having a list of questions prepared as a bare minimum!!! However, to really put you ahead, you need to ask intelligent questions throughout the interview. Not only does it show interest, understanding and helps with engagement, it shows that you’re listening and “get it”. We hear all the time; “x candidate really “gets it” because they’ve asked intelligent questions. People love to talk about themselves, get them speaking!

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6) Don’t put all your eggs in 1 basket and think the interview is all or nothing! You will never know what opportunities can become available now or in the future. We’ve recently had a candidate offered a better role, they didn’t know were available because it was better suited to both parties and meant a £10k increase! I’ve also recently had a new client win from an interview that happened to me 6 years ago!!! You will never know what’s around the corner, conduct yourself professionally and with integrity no matter the circumstances and things tend to work out in the long run

 

These Interview tips will help you improve your success ratio whilst interviewing but remember your attitude is the critical success factor in your success. Many people have failed on their first, second, third attempt but still succeeded. The best example for me is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone failed over 2000 times to get Rocky up and running and we all know what a success that is now.

4 Things I’ve learnt into a 3-month digital & IT recruitment start up

3 months! Where has that gone! I cannot believe how quick that has flown! It’s been a rewarding, challenging and extremely humbling time. When starting up a new IT recruitment business or any business for that fact; there’s so many internal “what if’s” that you have to battle with. It can be debilitating especially whilst you’re trying to juggle so many new things whilst taking the leap into the unknown.

I’ve been urged to share the things I’ve learnt below; mainly to help others get through this period and keep those of you who are interested, up to date on what’s happening. Rather than just be uber positive I wanted to share my worst times too as I believe that’s what make us stronger and we typically learn more from these than success.

On that note, the 4 things I’ve learnt running a start-up are;

1. Keep it simple

When you begin; you have so many ideas, thoughts, new directions you want to run in. You want to change or (the current buzzword) “disrupt” the industry you work in. Sometimes you can feel like Buridan’s ass. The best thing to do is keep it simple. Have a clear objective, set 2-3 strategies to achieve this and add tasks to the strategies. That way you’ll keep moving forward!

For those that don’t know the story of Buridans Ass – The Donkey/Ass is equally hungry and thirsty and is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. The Donkey cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other as it always goes to whichever is closer, therefore it will die of both hunger and thirst.

 

2. People love to help and work with people

I keep reading that recruitment is going to be disrupted by technology or AI. However even with all these advances, time to hire has increased even with all these new “speedy” ways to recruit! When we meet people, the thing they’re crying out for more than ever is the human element of recruitment. Professional advice, empathy, strategy, tips and integrity.

Just read Felix Feng’s blog – a Developer who show’s why the human element is still so important in recruitment! First tip – “Get through to real people”. Using technology only, his success rate was below 5%!!! Speaking to people increased his success over 4x as much!

We meet as many people as we can! We genuinely help advise people what’s happening the market, who else to speak to and when to go direct to an employer. Majority of the time there’s nothing in it for us but why wouldn’t we help?

Yes, if we help connect someone to their dream job and help a client find a candidate they wouldn’t have found without us we get a %, but in reality, from all the conversation we have every day, week, month, year, this is a very low number. We like to change the standard model and help people regardless.

What’s even more surprising, it’s been massively reciprocal. This one act has actually resulted in our best referrals. I’ve found when you help people, when they’re in their time of need, with no cost, they’ll remember you for a long, long time.

 

3. Don’t let “what if’s” control you – feel the fear and do it anyway

The best example of this was during my toughest period, the week before Christmas. Not only did I think we were going to have a pretty much 2-week dead period whilst everyone was away, I also caught the nasty sick bugs going around and had a 2 period of 3 hours sleep thanks to my beloved daughter teething whilst I was trying to be at my best for my team. The “what if’s” went into overdrive.

I was lucky that I had great people around me. This, “having the right people around you”, is fundamental and has been one of the keys to our success. The “dead period” resulted in our best figures since starting, the team stepped up; taking on more responsibility to help and the people I’d helped over the years got back in touch and went above and beyond to help again.

The best advice is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Concentrate all your energy on just laying 1 brick at a time. Lay that brick as perfect as you can, then the next and so on. Before you know it, you’ve built a wall and forgot all about the what if’s.

 

4. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks

I’m not sure if you’re aware but Digital and IT recruitment isn’t receiving the best plaudits at the moment (very much tongue in cheek.) Being passionate about what you do, where you genuinely help people find dream roles and then seeing your profession being labelled can be difficult to hear. I find myself wanting to reply showing all the benefits, frustrated that “we’re not all like that”, wondering if I’m doing the right thing by ignoring it.

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks” – Winston Churchill
I find pleasure in having Winston Churchill’s quote put by the side of my desk. I have to remind myself we’re always going to have critics no matter what we do. All I can focus on, all I can control is my actions and how I act every day.

 

So, that’s it, a snap shot of my first 3 months running a business! I originally had 8 points but remembered to kept it simple ???? Again, I want to thank all the people that we’ve met along the way, who have helped us on the journey and been our rock through the more challenging times… here’s to another 3 months.

Love to hear your thoughts or if you need help or if you’re starting up yourself, please get in touch!

“The will must be stronger than the skill.”

I cannot believe we’re 1 week away from completing our first month being established as Maxwell Bond. It’s been a truly tremendous start, with a steep learning curve – I would never have thought it would be so difficult to get 2 pictures put up in the office. I had an epic fail moment putting 4 holes in the wall, then paying £25 for a handyman to put 2 pictures up!!!! Someone should look into recruiting these people….

The response has been great, people have genuinely wanted to help myself and Mike progress. We’ve had ex clients, candidates, HR Managers, Recruitment Directors/Managers or ex colleagues get in touch and offer guidance, support and help. In what is often painted as a cut throat industry, it’s great to see so much humanity.

For those who’ve been following us, please find the finishing touches of Maxwell Bond’s first office. There’s just one thing left to add which I’ll get to at the end of this post.

Firstly, I wanted to talk through the layout from left to right. With the pictures we have:

· Conor McGregor – The loud, confident, brash UFC x2 weight World Champion fighter. Similar to recruitment, he’s perceived as being extravagant and cocky but if you look deeper into his life, you learn he’s dedicated his entire life to his craft, making it look simple. He also helped Ireland win a nationwide vote on legalizing same-sex marriage, voicing his support by stating –

“We’re all human here at the end of the day – regardless of colour, gender, sexuality… we all deserve the same rights.”

With these views, from someone who believes in hard work above all else…what’s not to love?

· Tony Robbins – The self-help author, businessman and philanthropist. Tony has overcome poverty, disease, abuse and all odds to become a multi-millionaire who now helps people all around the world. Tony has allegedly helped celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Clinton, Hugh Jackman & Mother Theresa. If Maxwell Bond can hope to help people aspire as much as Tony does, we’re doing a great job.

· Ryan Reynolds – You have to have humour thrown into life and who better than Deadpool himself!. Deadpool is constantly having things thrown at him which would kill a normal human being but as he can heal himself, he makes a laugh out of the situation. Recruitment is an emotional roller coaster, not everyone will agree with you and there are critics out there who don’t want you around regardless of the good you do. Remember, it’s not fatal, have fun and move on!

· Muhammad Ali – Who else? His quote pretty much sums it up for me;

“Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

The self-help cabinet: I’m an avid believer that leaders are readers. Life is all about growth, we should always look to grow & develop ourselves. At Maxwell Bond we have a number of books available for people to continuously improve. I also believe “motion creates emotion”, so we also allow our staff to have longer lunch breaks to work out their frustrations
at the gym (I’ve already broke the punch bag at the gym).

With that comes healthy living & eating hence the fruit. There’s also the lovely Bonsai Tree which allegedly helps relieve stress, fight fatigue, whilst also cleaning and purifying the air. You may not believe in all of this and I’m not entirely certain I do but if we’re looking to improve every little bit of our people’s lives, surely that in itself will become a self-fulfilling prophecy meaning our people will in turn, give back too.

With the tremendous start we’ve had, exceeding all projections, we’re now looking to add our 2nd team member. If you like the look of the above and want to join us on the journey of changing IT recruitment for the better, please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you!

New beginnings, excessively long contracts and “will you stop going on.”

New beginnings, excessively long contracts and “will you stop going on.”

With the official launch of Maxwell Bond happening this week, I’ve been overwhelmed by the flood of messages coming through from old, existing and new friends/colleagues/contacts asking about my new venture. I thought after my 1st week as a shiny new IT recruitment business owner – this would be the perfect time to tell everybody what they wanted to know!

It’s been an anxious journey for me because I’m not the sort of person who likes talking about myself and of course this is absolutely vital when starting out any sort of business venture. I suppose a lot of people can empathise with this as I expect it comes from growing up in Oldham, where too much self-promotion is greeted with a swift clip over the head coupled with a hearty “oh will you stop going on, no one cares”, usually from one of the lads. Despite this, I’ve been truly astonished at how many people have gone out of their way to wish me well and get back in touch once they’ve heard about what I’m trying to do. It’s been really refreshing & invigorating to hear from so many say things like “good on you” or “about bloody time” and my favourite “you’ll smash it.”

One thing I’m forever preaching to my consultants is about the continuous improvements and how just 1% improvement today will compound into a huge improvement in the future. This actually got me thinking about all of the things I’ve had to improve on to even get this thing off the ground. When you start to run a business alone, it can be daunting how much you have to do. Over the last few weeks I’ve learnt & done everything from;

  • IT – looking at domain names, sorting out email addresses and integrating CRM systems.
  • Marketing – “what’s the message” of Maxwell Bond my good friend Daniel Day shouted at me when I told him I was thinking of starting up.
  • HR & Finance – what do I want my terms of business, employment hand book and contract to look like and what impact will IR35 make on little old me.
  • Sales – What’s my elevator pitch? Why would someone pick me and my business over the umpteen hundred other businesses out there.
  • Cleaner – emptying the bins, cleaning the desk, figuring out where the hell the recycling is in the building.
  • Contracts – Oh the contracts… Figuring out why the hell there are they always at least 10+ pages, whether it’s signing up to CRM’s, Job sites, banking & invoicing or accounting systems!

One of my aim’s with this new adventure is to try and share as much of the journey with my network as I possibly can. It’s thanks to a lot of you that I’m here and it will be thanks to even more of you if I stay! I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favourite FAQs from the last week about my start-up business;

1. Why have you decided to set up when you’ve only just had a baby, are you mental?

Hopefully not ???? Having the birth of my daughter Alice in April really put things into perspective. Since I’ve been 16 years old I’ve always said I wanted to run my own business but I never knew in what industry. I still remember reading James Caan’s bio on how and why he came up with & established Alexander Mann. From his book I decided recruitment might just be for me and I’ll run my own recruitment business when I’ve gained some experience.

However, when I finally gained the experience I became comfortable in leadership roles running successful IT Recruitment teams. I kept thinking do I really want to go through the pain of all of the above, on my own, when I’m doing ok? That all changed when Alice was born, it gave me a much needed kick. I thought

“How could I, as a father, tell my daughter to pursue her dreams if I didn’t chase one of mine?”

2. What separates you from the competition? Isn’t there enough recruitment companies out there? Surely the world doesn’t need any more of you, you can’t be serious?!

When in the process of setting up Maxwell Bond, a lot of friends and family members asked me this. Recruitment is so competitive in today’s world, every “man and his dog” knows someone who’s worked in recruitment. What’s more, there are so many terrible stories out there of businesses that will do practically anything for a win to get some money on the books!

Well, it’s simple really. Since I’ve started recruitment, my focus has always been on the people. Regardless of the places I’ve worked, I’ve always focused on doing the right thing and helping people – whether it’s clients, candidates or team members. I find if you keep it simple and do the right things consistently, you’ll get a positive result most of the time. There’s a fantastic book called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, who talks about keeping things simple through the Hedgehog principle – it’s definitely worth a read if you believe in doing things the “right” way in business.

Maxwell Bond has been created to focus on people and make sure they matter. There’s no fancy smoozing pitch with Maxwell Bond, no over promises, no confusing spiel. You could say we’re like Ronseal – we’ll do exactly what it says on the tin. No money spent one excessively fancy marketing campaigns, just word of mouth building our reputation by delivering a great service. The great thing is, the numerous private & public posts Maxwell Bond has received since launching from all the people I’ve worked with over the last 6 years has confirmed this to be the case. They all seem to echo the same thing – that my network believe I have a strong reputation for delivering great service whether that’s through placements, market information, consultative advice or just general help when they need it. I’m carrying this forward into my business and have made it my mission to make sure my brand lives, sleeps and breathes this message.

How’ve you found it? What’s the plan now?

The first few days have been a combination of emotions, but I thought it’s be fun to relay them Mancunian style. From the “proper good”/“mint”/”buzzing”/“absolute blinder” of winning your first new clients and getting your first candidate interviews, to the challenging “ard as nails” IR35 issues to read and understand! There’s also the “knackered”/”cream- crackered” from juggling too many things (new business, all the in-betweens, child, wife etc) and of course my trademark “mint that!!” when hearing good things from people!

Now things are starting to settle a lot more and I’m building momentum, I can refocus on the goals and plans I set in place when I originally started. The plan is to grow quickly by the end of 2017 and really establish a base in the North West by continuing to build a great reputation for delivering great IT & Digital Recruitment. This will involve investing and developing in my soon to be (well hopefully) staff. I’m also keen to give back to the community through raising funds & awareness. I always find a quote really ties this off – Richard Branson of course puts it best;

“If you aren’t making a difference in other people’s lives, you shouldn’t be in business – it’s that simple!”

Are you hiring?

Yes, I’m hiring already! I’ve been fortunate enough to win some new clients pretty quickly and I’m looking for a number of roles within the North West across digital & IT. Jump on the website to see what’s available or drop me a quick, confidential email and I’ll be happy to help.

Additionally I’m hiring for Maxwell Bond too. I’ve managed to secure extra funding and I’m starting the search for my first member of staff! If you’re a problem solver, have a good sense of humour, don’t mind working with someone from Oldham or Manchester (depending on who I speak to) and are looking to join a business on a mission of miracles, please get in touch!