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Be More Podcast: Talent Acquisition in 2021 with Katrina Collier

Be More Podcast: Talent Acquisition in 2021 with Katrina Collier

Be More is a weekly one-on-one podcast about how everyone can thrive in the new world of work, hosted by Workday’s Patrick Cournoyer. This week we’re joined by Katrina Collier, facilitator, mentor, author, speaker, and podcast host.

Katrina Collier is on a mission to inspire one million people to energize the human connection in recruitment. That means treating people as people rather than assets to maneuver into vacant job roles. That means being an active inspiration to those you interact with. And that means being proactive in the workplace.

Audio also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

During this week’s episode, Katrina discusses talent acquisition and the challenges associated with a lack of focus on the human experience. We also dive into her perspective on what’s broken and what she feels needs to be fixed to drive the successful and productive addition of new talent into an organization. 

Often, the people who come through the recruitment process have an unpleasant experience. We treat people poorly in the world of recruitment and talent acquisition. I want to inspire everybody to put people first.

Katrina Collier

If you want to discover more about talent acquisition, check the episode audio, key takeaways, or the transcript below.

Key Takeaways

  • How Talent Acquisition Has Changed in the Internet Era.
    Katrina comments that the job market was previously more controlled by employers. People found it hard to find new jobs and information about companies. With the appearance of the Internet, people gained access to more jobs all over the world, shifting the power from the employer to the employee. Suddenly, people who were treated badly at work had a wealth of other opportunities.

    Katrina also mentions that during the pandemic, people changed the priorities of their professional lives. Many employees would no longer accept low payments, office work, or overwork, and began thinking about what makes them happy, what their passions are, and how they can achieve their goals. Thus, employers may now find it difficult to remain in charge of their employees if they don’t listen to them.

  • What Hybrid Workplaces Mean for Recruitment.
    Katrina believes that there is a change in the workplace; people want more flexibility. If organizations don’t offer these possibilities, the recruiters will have to work harder and longer in order to find eligible candidates. In limiting the field of potential applicants, they will lose many talents along the recruitment process, and the business will waste time and money.

  • Creating Partnerships Between Recruiters and Hiring Managers.
    Katrina advises recruiters to stand up and create greater partnerships with hiring managers. Rather than a one-sided relationship where the recruiter pitches candidates without a full knowledge of the sector or business they’re recruiting for, they should make use of the hiring manager’s expertise. The recruiter’s role is to guide and work with the hiring managers together through the recruitment process.

  • The Future of Work.
    When looking to how the world of work is going to continue to evolve, Katrina believes that the old school mentality of the employment process and the nine-to-five schedule will disappear. She also believes businesses will become more flexible and oriented to support their employees.

Transcript:

Patrick: Katrina Collier is on a mission to inspire one million people to energize the human connection in recruitment. When I read this, I was super curious where the inspiration came from for this mission and how Katrina is tackling it. Today, Katrina and I discuss talent acquisition and the challenges associated with a lack of focus on the human experience. We also dive into her perspective on what is broken and what she feels needs to be fixed now to drive the successful and productive addition of new talent into an organization. Katrina, thank you so much for joining the conversation today.

Katrina: Thank you for having me, Patrick.

Patrick: We’ve got a lot to talk about. This conversation and this season of the podcast is all around people retaining talent, acquiring new talent. Obviously, a very hot topic in business today. Before we jump in, I’d like to find out a bit from you on what inspires your passion to do the work that you’re doing? One thing I’ll say, that I saw you state this, and I love this. That you are on a mission. I love people that are on a mission.

Katrina: I’m on a mission.

Patrick: You are on a mission to inspire one million people to energize human connection and recruitment. That’s amazing, but you have to have passion for that. Where does that passion come from with you?

Katrina: I think a lot of this goes back to the things I’ve been through in my life. Taking care of the underdog is a big part of that, because of my own personal journey, which anyone who knows anything about me knows about. I think that’s some of it, and when I think about that, it’s like the people who come through the recruitment process just so often get such a bad experience of it. You can call it candidate experience if you like, but it’s literally all the people. Whether it’s somebody that proceeds through to interview or it’s just an applicant. We just treat people badly in the world of recruitment and talent acquisition. I mean both sides, whether they’re an agency or it’s in-house, there’s just this shocking treatment.

I believe that it comes back to the relationships between HR hiring managers and recruiters, whether they’re in-house or internal. There’s just this friction and these silos and this lack of collaboration and this chaos that’s going on between those three parties. It’s just almost my calling, as weird as that sounds. I just want to fix it. I want to get to the bottom of it. It’s so simple to me what’s going on and I just want to inspire everybody to put people first. We’re the people bringing in the people into the company. That’s what we do and it’s so important. We play with people’s lives.

I just feel very driven. I just feel like this is what I’m here to do. I’m here to inspire people to fix it. I’m here to show them how to fix it. It’s not as complicated as everybody thinks, and technology and data is not the answer. That could support it, but it’s not the answer. It’s the people. We need to get back to the people that take care of the people.

Patrick: There is a lot in that and we’re going to talk a lot about it. First off, thank you very much for sharing that passion. This inspiration to energize this human connection in recruitment is so important.

Katrina: Let’s just get people back to remembering they’re all there together. I don’t know, somewhere we lost the way that it’s actually the people that make a company successful, so the people that you bring in need to be the right people. If you’re all not working together, if you’re all not realizing that, you’re just making a hash of it. We just lost that somewhere. Anyway, we’re going to talk about that.

Patrick: Well, let’s dive into what potentially has irreversibly changed recruitment. We talked about the internet, how that just completely and, as you would say, irreversibly changed the recruitment process and talent acquisition. Tell us about how you view that.

Katrina: If we go back to when I started out in my career 29 years ago, I might actually be 30 by now, I couldn’t see how many jobs were out there. I couldn’t see what people thought of that company. I would go to the Sunday newspaper and there’d be this tiny little advertisement with 10 words luring me into whatever job it was at the company. You didn’t know if that was the only job or there were thousands, you couldn’t see any of it. Then along comes this internet and suddenly– Certainly by the time I’d fallen into recruitment, which was the early 2000s, all of the jobs were there. You type in “Recruiter job London” into Google, and you will see millions of jobs.

The power shifted from, “Oh, I’m the employer,” to the employee, “I can see, I don’t have to stay here and put up with the way I’m being treated.” That was one shift. Also, when LinkedIn, and Facebook, and Twitter all started appearing in the early 2000s, they started getting people. Of course, then the crash of 2008/9 happened, boom, and they exploded with people. Suddenly companies could get people directly as well, but then the other side happened as well. Not only that happened, people could start writing what they thought.

For example, if you go to recruiting hell on Reddit, you will soon discover what people think of recruiters and companies and how they’re treated. It’s mind-blowing. There are threads upon threads upon threads of people’s experience, their human experience. Then, of course, you have all of the review sites that have popped up. Glassdoor, Indeed, Kununu, Comparably, InHerSight. There are countless of them, where people can, again, talk about how they were treated.

Pre Internet, and certainly pre the explosion on it, it just wasn’t like that. Employers had power. Employers no longer have power, employees still have it, pandemic or not. Employees, candidates, job seekers, they’re actually the ones in charge. They may not feel that at times, because of how they’re treated and how stressful the process is, but they are. They have that ability to see what else is out there. That to me is the big, big, big changer. Others will argue with me over it, but I literally think that’s what it was.

Patrick: Then how do you think the past 18 months have furthered that or exacerbated that?

Katrina: I think so many people have had a reality check. They’ve had technology forced upon them potentially. There’s lots of people who were not technology savvy who now are because they had to be. Suddenly they were working at home and suddenly they had to get to grips with it. I’m Gen-X, if you take people like older Gen-X into boomers, they were a lot less sure about, I’m grossly generalizing, but a lot less sure about technology, they are completely sure.

I just think people got a lot more used to it. They got used to embracing it. They’ve got used to writing reviews. I have noticed that the interview reviews have increased dramatically to how people are treated, they’re sharing. There’s been a dramatic increase. There’s also been this return to community, return to basics, return to small. We’ve all been restricted to areas, haven’t we? The travel is gone. The commute is gone. People are suddenly going, “Wow, my priorities have changed.”

I’ll give you an example because I have barely gone anywhere because I’ve been working from home for 11 years anyway. I dropped my MINI off to the MINI garage. I got an Uber home because I thought about getting the gym bus and just decided no. I ordered this Uber and I had the most wonderful conversation with someone who used to be the operations manager of Cafe Rouge here. It’s a big restaurant, 100 places. A big, big restaurant.

He just went, “I’ve had enough. While I was on Furlough, I realized I didn’t know who my six-year-old son was.” He goes, “I’m not going back to it.” He’s now driving Uber. He then said, “I know of six chefs who now earn twice the amount. They bought scooters and drove around doing deliveries.” He said, “They’re earning twice the amount than they were earning.” He said, “There were just a few people that I know have changed their entire careers and what they’re wanting to do.”

Where you’d think, “Oh, pandemic, fantastic. Three billion people are now out of work or whatever.” I’m exaggerating, clearly. They’re not. Actually, lots of people have changed direction. Lots of people are like, “I’m not going to be paid such a low amount anymore. I’m not going to work every day in the office. I’m no longer going to do that commute.” People are really thinking differently because they’ve had this big reality check. That’s all coming into play as well. Employer, you still think you’re in charge? Actually, I think you’re going to find you’re not.

Patrick: Interesting. Thank you for sharing that story about the change in direction. I do think that there are many, many stories of people changing their direction currently. Also, particularly the past couple of months, since life has changed so significantly, many, many people are thinking about what makes me happy, what truly drives me, where’s my passion? It’s one of the reasons why we started the conversation around passion. I think people are really starting to take a very specific look at what is the most important to them. How are they going to be the happiest in the work that they’re doing, feel most satisfied?

Katrina: If I go back to your question from what we were just talking about, I lost every last penny of my income [unintelligible 00:10:06] in March last year, literally. I came into 2020 going, “Oh, my God, look at that pipeline of work, this is so exciting. I can’t wait, blah, blah.” It all went, just went. Then I sat there and went, “What do I really want to do? Well, actually, I don’t want to do what I was doing. I really want to fix this problem.”

I’ve created services around that, supporting that. I didn’t know if they were going to work or not. I applied. I went out and applied, they did. It was like, “Wow, this makes me sit up and buzz, I love it.” It feeds my soul. It was like, if the pandemic hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have had that lightbulb moment. I just think I’m one of millions of people who really are going, “Yes, you know what? Actually, I wasn’t happy. I just didn’t realize.” I think it’s wonderful. [chuckles]

Patrick: I think that being able to identify, and if there’s a forcing function, or forcing moment to help people identify what is going to bring them the most satisfaction and make them the happiest, I think that is a positive aspect, particularly of the past year and a half. You work with organizations, and you share a lot of perspective and insights around the recruitment process today. We’ve been talking a lot around organizations offering and struggling right now. Quite frankly, so many organizations are just struggling on figuring out what their future is going to look like from a workplace perspective. Are we bringing people back into the office, are we not? The world changes, regions change, plans are made, plans are delayed or canceled because of different expectations that are put out there within different regions.

One thing that is clear is that employees and not every employee, but many, many employees are going to have clear, already clear expectations and will continue to have clear expectations around this concept of hybrid and flexible working. Many organizations out there are saying, “We’re very ready to close that chapter and go back to where we want people back in the office. We want an experience where we’re bringing our people together.” How do you advise, or what are your thoughts on recruiting in a world or at an organization where hybrid or flexible working is not going to be a part of the future?

Katrina: Thankfully, you gave me the heads up on this question because my initial response is, run, Forrest, run. I thought maybe I should get some– I crowdsource because my book is quite crowdsourced, so I like to be crowdsourced. I went to Twitter earlier, because that’s what I would do, I personally would find a company that does offer it because if you’re talking to candidates, and they’re stopping, coming into the process, because they’re like, “You’re not going to offer hybrid or flexible? Yes, bye,” and it starts to get too hard, I personally would just find somewhere else, because I’m cheeky like that.

I got a couple of serious responses. Simon Jones said, “They will have to work harder. Those recruiters are going to work harder because they’ll be fishing in a much smaller applicant pool.” Stephanie Krebs backed that up, “It’s going to take them a lot longer, which is time and money that they’re going to be wasting.” Nick Osborne gave a great response like, “Keep data as to how many people reject offers and don’t start the process as a result of this stance. If it’s too much of a blocker, hopefully, you can use that to leverage and to create change.”

They’re going to find it so hard because you see all of that, even those ones where I just use the reaction buttons, the vast majority of people are wanting a three-two or a two-three, whichever way, it doesn’t matter, something flexible. There are people like me who flatly refuse to work in an office, there is going to be a change and people want it. If you are recruiting people who have skills that are in short supply, in-demand talent, as we love to call it, love a cliche, or a bargain word, whatever. That’s not the word, jargon, that’s it, jargon.

If you are recruiting those kinds of people, you have to be flexible, because you have to go above and beyond to attract them to your company. There’s companies out there that are being mad. I was talking to a friend who’s the HR consultant, and she’s advising this company. They have made twice the profit, their people have made twice as productive, working from home, and they want to bring them all back into the office and you just go, “Why? Why? Your people are clearly happier and delivering better, so what’s the problem?”

I think this is also the start of the fall of the patriarchy. Companies are going to have to realize this isn’t the carrot-and-stick organization that I started working in. The times are changing. 

Patrick: I feel that the expectations for sure, from the vast majority of people, is that where flexibility is going to be possible, the expectation will be there.

Katrina: Of course, there are jobs you have to be in person, obviously.

Patrick: True. Right, like if you’re manufacturing cars, and you work on a manufacturing plant. However, I believe in those situations, those organizations are potentially going to have to find other ways of flexibility to provide to their workforce.

Katrina: They discovered that they didn’t have to spend three hours a day commuting.

Patrick: Or providing more flexibility with shifts, or there’s a lot of interesting work that is happening right now, where, in organizations maybe where this working from home, and I don’t even really like that term working from home, but working from an alternate workplace may not be possible. That’s completely reasonable and understandable, and there’s a lot of positive work that’s happening in many organizations that can provide that, to provide more flexibility and more options for those members of their team that don’t have the opportunity to work in alternate workplaces.

Let’s shift a bit to hiring managers. We talked about the experience. I do want to jump into a bit of how organizations can focus on creating more of a human connection for the applicants, because that is a big part of this. The other aspect is hiring managers and empowering them with knowledge and insights and market feedback. First, do you think it’s important that hiring managers really understand what’s going on in the recruitment market? If so, why is it important that they know that?

Katrina: Well, particularly when you’re recruiting those people who have skills that are in demand, and so they’re in short supply, you have to be. It goes back to the fact that higher managers need to understand that they’re in partnership with recruiters, whether they’re agency or in-house, to me, I don’t care. When I say recruiter, I just mean whoever is doing the recruitment role, they work together. What I want to see is more recruiters sit up and demand partnership. They’re not a service, they’re not an order taker, they are there to partner. I have my expertise in recruitment, I know my market, I know the availability of people. You have your expertise in being a manager, leading your team, whatever it is you do.

You head up a team of Java developers, whatever it is, you have that expertise. I’m here to guide you and work with you together, we’re going to partner through the recruitment process. That’s where when you have that partnership, that different attitudes, see recruiters go in and kind of, “Yes, okay. Yes, yes.” Instead of going, “No, you’re being unrealistic.” Let me explain what I do. The CVs do not, or the resumes, as you call it over there, don’t fall from the sky into the table for me to give to you as, “Here you go, here are your Java developers you’re trying to recruit,” it doesn’t work like that.

This is how I do my job and this is why I need you to sell the organization. I need you to have a structured interview process. I need you to give feedback because it all impacts because there are only this many people that you’re looking for. It’s like demystifying what each person does and what their duties are not just going, “Yes, okay. Yes, yes, I’ll just accept whatever you’re saying.” They absolutely have to feedback that market intel and really understand it, because that will again help with that. When I do the mastermind program, what I find the recruiters get is almost like this, they almost sit up and become almost fearless.

Not in a bad way, I’m not saying go be rude to your hiring managers, but push back and say, “No, this isn’t going to work. If you won’t give me the proper time upfront for an intake strategy session so we can sit down together and work out what you really need, how realistic that is, what the market’s like, all that kind of information. If you’re not going to do that, I’m not going to work with you right now. Because if I do, if I accept what you’re giving me, you’re going to waste hours and hours and hours of time interviewing the wrong people. That’s going to impact our reputation because we’re rejecting more people or they’re not getting feedback, or they don’t like the process,” so let’s start correctly at the beginning together.

There needs to be more of that. There’s too many recruiters who see themselves as a service as well, on top of being seen as one, they need to [sound]. That’s my mission, I want them to sit up and just, “I’m here to help you with this, not be a service,” it’s a different shift. It will help everybody because then they really understand there is a shortage of people or we’re struggling to recruit or you’ve got to play a role in that. We’ve got to make sure everyone’s treated right. They can do it more when they’re in partnership.

Patrick: You know what else I think is another layer of this where there is this shortage of talent, one of the aspects that we’re talking about. I’ve seen a lot of articles recently and a lot of data. I’ll say data out there about the fact that engineering roles are really difficult to recruit for right now, so many product roles. I feel that HR roles are going to be just as competitive, if not more competitive in the future, because really great HR talent, I think, is really difficult to come by. Also, as HR is so, and we’ll say, HR, people operations, however you want to classify it in your organization, but let’s just talk for a minute about recruiters, how important they are at organizations today. We know that there is the need for bringing in talent to an organization. I think recruiting recruiters is going to be–

Katrina: It’s already hard.

Patrick: It is, and I think it’s just going to get harder because that role is so critical in a business today, and it’s just going to become more and more critical.

Katrina: They’re treated so badly. They were the first function that were just let go in the overreaction. It was exactly the same in 2008/9 and it was exactly the same last year, the number of recruiters that were fired and then the companies couldn’t rehire them. Just like, “We’ve got to cut costs, we’ve got to panic.” Everyone knee-jerk reaction, the usual thing, out the door, they went. Now they’re really struggling to hire those recruiters back, and there is a massive problem with that. I see talent acquisition and HR as two different functions, I get to argue this case quite a bit.

Talent acquisition, to me, are the people that bring in the people to the company, and HR, I would love to see more of, are the people that take care of those people. Not the policing, the actual taking care, giving them development plans, helping them grow, coaching them, all the stuff that I see, like you’re talking about. There’s only so many brilliant HR people doing that. There are far too many who aren’t, and I see so much friction created between those two teams when you get this insecurity of who’s treading on each other’s toes.

You’ve got a HR business partner who’s talking with the hiring manager, but won’t let the talent acquisition person talk to them as well. If the two of you went into the meeting and the intake strategy session, you would both hear different things, and then you could collaborate and really understand what person you’re bringing in and how you’re going to develop them as they go through the company, which will help with retention, help with referrals, but yes, it’s tough.

There’s not enough investment in those people as well. Take recruiters, I’m one of the very few that actually has a program which I created off the back of The Robot‑Proof Recruiter, which is my book, The Mastermind, which is about developing human skills. The rest of them are all about technology, and tools, and data, but they need to know how to use the technology. They need to know how to read the data, they need those human skills, we’ve got too far away from developing that.

They do have that in HR, but I’m not sure I necessarily see it used. Sorry, HR people. I love you really. [laughs] I’ve been very honest in my career that I’ve been ignored by HR pretty well my entire career. I’m like, “What do you people do?” I say that to my HR director friends, “What is that?” [laughs] You may leave that in the podcast if you’re thinking of editing that out. [laughs]

Patrick: The great thing about the podcast and bringing people on is we want to hear people’s perspective and experiences, and you can never take away somebody’s personal experience.

Katrina: I’m the typical Gen X, so to me, we’re the sandwich generation, where all the energy has gone on to worrying about the boomers retiring and worrying about millennials and making sure they’ve got avocado toast and all that kind of stuff. There’s been so much focus on them and I’m sitting in the middle going, “Have these companies even noticed how many Gen X have left their companies and set up on their own?”

We’re pre-tech, so we know how to talk to people, but we’re great users of tech and we’ve got these great ideas and we’ve now got the bank balance to be able to go and set up on our own. Have they noticed that or they’re going to end up at this point where the boomers are going to retire and they haven’t got any senior leaders? That’s another fascinating thing and again, that goes back to because HR has overlooked us, they haven’t actually noticed the exodus. Interesting times ahead.

Patrick: Yes.

Katrina: You didn’t know I was going to talk about that. It’s a little passion project. It’s a side project. [laughs]

Patrick: Again, the great thing about bringing people on is to hear what drives people’s passion and the work that they’re doing. You’ve been talking about bringing this human connection into the experience. We talked a little bit around how recruiters can work directly with hiring managers within a business from a very human connection perspective of saying, “Let’s partner on this, respectfully push back, be able to really think about how are we going to achieve the results that we’re looking to achieve with this partnership?” I love this idea of it’s a partnership when we look at hiring, recruiters are not providing a service for somebody within a business, it is a partnership.

Katrina: They are not admin.

Patrick: Yes.

Katrina: That’s a huge shift, it’s a recent shift. Internal talent acquisition functions are a new thing in the grand scheme of how long businesses have been going because you had to go to an agency. That stopped when the internet exploded, so it’s like these internal functions have developed. Sometimes managers don’t understand what they do, so they do just think they’re an admin function. It’s the shift that needs to happen. I completely cut over your question there. Sorry, I’m so good at that. [laughs]

Patrick: That’s okay, this is about a conversation. My question is, if we take it to the candidate experience, bringing the human connection into the candidate experience, could you share with us some ideas and thoughts about where that’s broken today and maybe some suggestions how an organization can look at focusing on how do I create a better human connection experience for people that are not only interviewing, but people that are applying at my company?

Katrina: How about people who are just looking? They haven’t even applied?

Patrick: Let’s look at it all. What are your thoughts on that?

Katrina: Look, you can go and read all your reviews, and you’re going to get a fantastic idea of what’s going on, but you’re not really going to get to the nitty-gritty of what’s really going on, which is why I love the facilitation I do, because it’s designed to actually get to the core of what’s the problem. The problem could be the hiring managers don’t actually know how to articulate what the job is. Or they don’t know how to interview, that’s a common one. Even your recruiters might not be that great at interviewing. You see this a lot, don’t you?

You have a HR panel who declined the person because they don’t actually understand that there was one data scientist in the entire of America who could do the job, but, “Oh, yes, well, we didn’t like your shoes,” then you get stuff like that. It can be so many different things. A lot of things I see are crazy too, so my facilitation does bring up some hilarious stuff. Last year one was, there’s a salary band of between $90,000 and $100,000, but you’re only allowed to offer $95,000, you’re not allowed to offer the $100,000. Why was that created?

All of that stuff impacts the candidate because it creates delays, it creates friction. When they’re lured into the company, the recruiter hands them over to the hiring manager, and then they’re handed to HR and it’s like this process, and if the ball is being dropped anywhere, that all impacts, and then these people talk. If we go back to those developers, the majority come in on a referral hire, and they all say, “Oh, you don’t want to go to Peakon. Patrick came aboard, he treated me like ra, ra, ra,” for example, and it became this big problem.

It’s that, I guess it’s almost like word-of-mouth on steroids, isn’t it really, the whole candidate experience? Your options are, start with your reviews, actually apply for a job at your own company, see what that’s like? What’s the experience like? Go and apply for a job at your competitors. What’s that like? Go through the process. I ran a roundtable on candidate experience a few weeks ago with a whole load of HR directors, and very few of them had changed jobs in the last 5 to 10 years. They don’t understand how different it is from the candidate’s point of view, either.

It’s overwhelming, there’s so many different ways to get a job, and they don’t understand what’s going on. Providing some clarity would be great as well, but again, going and experiencing it yourself, to know what it feels like when you don’t hear back. Of course, the other thing is to get somebody like me to come in and help you through a process that will get to the bottom of it. Sometimes it needs somebody else. I’ve had this honor of speaking all around the world, I have clients all around the world, I have such a different viewpoint on it, compared to if you’re in a bubble within the company.

It could be that or it could just be your recruiter’s nature, remember, then it’s more empathy and compassion, they need to put themselves in the shoes more often. It can just be so complex, and that’s what I’m finding. That’s what I love because the process I use uncovers that, the actual, actual, actual problem because it’s done through a design thinking process. It’s quite anonymous, so when people are putting down what they think is going wrong, nobody can track it because surveys can be tracked and focus groups, no one’s going to be honest, and you’re going to sit in a focus group go, “I don’t know how to interview.” You’re not going to do that because you’ll be like, “Oh, God, I’m not going to say that, Patrick will think I’m an idiot.” It’s like, these people tend to be a lot more honest. As well as the fact I’m external, that helps as well. Do something like that, but don’t think it’s going to go away.

Yes, we’ve been talking about candidate experience for a decade. No, nobody’s technically fixed it, but the more technically savvy people are, the more they can see what your company’s like. It can cost you sales as well. If you’re a B2C company, say, like Vodafone or telephone, AT&T, for example, you’ll lose sales. People will go, “Oh, God, I’m no longer using their phones.” They’ll tell everyone they know, “Don’t use their phones.” It can cost you actual money by mistreating people coming through the recruitment process. It’s complex.

Patrick: It is.

Katrina: It is.

Patrick: Tell us about the book that you wrote. You’ve mentioned it a couple of times. Robot‑Proof Recruiter.

Katrina: The Robot‑Proof Recruiter.

Patrick: Tell us about what inspired that book.

Katrina: Believe it or not, Kogan Page. I mean, [unintelligible 00:30:42] put them up to it, but Kogan Page, the publisher, actually came to me and asked me if I’d like to write a book. It was a bit like inner child glee, “Oh my God, yes. I know exactly what I want to write.” That was the reason it’s called The Robot‑Proof Recruiter, because so many HR tech companies or recruitment tech companies say that recruiters can be replaced by technology. They can’t because what we do is too important and humans are too complex and they don’t tell you stuff and they have emotions and feelings. The idea was to demystify, to pull it apart and go, “This is where we’re going wrong and this is how you could improve it.” Yes, use technology, but use it to support the human through the process. Stop putting the human last.

If I could just throw a little plug in, I donated my royalties from The Robot‑Proof Recruiter to a charity called Hope for Justice, which aims to end modern-day slavery. If you could please buy 100 copies for all of your team, I would be so grateful because that charity would benefit. The work they’re doing is amazing. There’s a double whammy on it. Your recruiters will be better, your HR will be better, and the charity will benefit. I always have to throw my little plug in. I also, by the way, have had CEOs, hiring managers, everybody read it. It’s really good at demystifying the process of recruitment. It’s useful.

Patrick: We’re coming close to the end of the conversation. I’m curious to see your future-thinking or future perspective a year from now. We are September of 2022, what would you like to see in a year from now?

Katrina: To see the patriarchy falling. It’s going to take longer than till next year, but it’s falling and that’s that old school mentality of employment, the nine-to-five carrot-stick. It’s been falling for ages, but I feel it is really going to fall and there’s a lot of people who aren’t going to cope with that. There’s so many companies out there. The one I’m thinking of is VIOOH, which is V-I-O-O-H. Liz Dowling is the head of people there.

They identified immediately that we’re going to have to go hybrid. They worked out immediately– Pandemic hit, they went, “Right, this is the future. This is what we’re going to do.” They worked out how they were going to do that. Then they worked out how they were going to make it so people didn’t feel left out, how they needed to support their managers, how to make it collaborative, how to blah, blah, blah, and they’ve literally rolled it out. Their people are seriously happy.

The way they treat people through the recruitment process is above and beyond. It’s like, “I’d like to see more companies like that.” More genuine like, “We found a way to make it so the majority of people–” because there’s always going to be somebody who wants something completely curveball, “That the majority of people absolutely love the company, love the way of working, can work at their most productive.”

I talk about, and you’ll have heard this, working in flow. When you were talking about my passion, I just sat up and buzzed. I’m excited to do what I do. I would love to see more people having the opportunity to work at their best, to be able to say, “Do you know what, Patrick? I don’t want to do that. It’s making me feel heavy, but I’d love to do this. Could we get somebody else to do that bit that I’m not so happy with?”

In my case, it would be anything related to data in my accounts or whatever. That’s why I have a virtual assistant to do that stuff. I want to do the stuff that makes me light up, and I’d love to see more people embracing that, more of that entrepreneurial spirit within the company. I’d love to see more of that, but let’s get a lot more flexible and flowing. The idea is, are the people delivering the work we need done and are they being productive, and are they happy? Because if they’re happy, it’s just going to all fall into place. Ultimately, I would love to see more of that so that people can have the home life and the work-life and it all be in balance.

She says as a solopreneur who doesn’t have any balance because it’s all about my job because I love it so much, but it doesn’t feel like work. I love it. That’s what I’d love to see. I think it is going to happen. I think you’re going to see a lot more people really getting in touch with what their soul wants and going, “You know what? That’s what I would want to do.” You know what? I mentor, I’m constantly getting people to get out of their head into your heart. What makes you light up? What do you want to do?” I’d love to see more of that. I’m off in la-la land, I know that you know.

Patrick: Thank you for the conversation and for-

Katrina: You’re welcome

Patrick: -the perspective today. I very much appreciate your energy and your passion for the work that you’re doing. You also have a podcast.

Katrina: I do. I have a podcast called The Hiring Partner Perspective. It is nowhere near as consistent as it should be, but I interview hiring managers who actually do partner with recruiters. My aim is to get under their skin and say, “Why do you do that? Why? You’re like an enigma, why are you doing that? Because I feel it will inspire other hiring managers to do it. Also to get recruiters to, as I keep saying, sit up and partner people, partner, stop being a service. It’s a real attitude shift that I’m determined to make happen.

Patrick: Determination important.

Katrina: Yes.

Patrick: Katrina, I very much appreciate you spending some time sharing your perspective and your thoughts, your experience with us in the audience, and thank you for your mission of inspiring a million people to energize human connection and recruitment. Thank you for that.

Katrina: You’re welcome.

Patrick: We’ll see. Maybe in a year we’ll have another conversation and see where we’re at.

Katrina: I’ll have hit it already. That would be amazing.

Patrick: Katrina, thank you so much.

Katrina: Thank you.

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