B-Social - Embedded Talent Solution
None of the words you'll read in this blog will truly articulate how exciting this experience has been for me. Having worked in Talent teams for fantastic organisations such as Dell where structure and collaboration was key, Morningstar where ownership as the sole Recruiter was the focus, Elsevier where autonomy gave me the freedom to lead, design and deliver at volumes I didn't think were possible at the time and Babylon Health where taking the initiative and hyper-growth was redefined in every possible way you can imagine. Yet I will be the first to admit I didn't anticipate every pitfall when the B-Social opportunity was presented. Here are a few of my findings, I hope they prove useful to both you and the future me...
Referrals are gold!!! Awkwardly I head hunted someone out of B-Social before knowing B-Social, I then almost hired another person who elected to accept a counter offer but without much thought (at the time) the candidate experience to the declined offer was what closed the deal. The person that declined the offer was my biggest advocate and highly recommended I try and help B-Social deliver their ambitions hiring plans.
If you are ever in the fortunate situation of tendering for any recruitment campaigns, do your due diligence and research your customer. Not just what they do but why they do it, understand why they are successful and what are their USP's (Unique Selling Points). Contracting has taught me that if you want to really make a difference in a business you need to believe in the mission, no truly believe. Know your customers key cultural behaviours and principles, invest in your trade and trust in your experience. One true fact is that you will likely need to manage expectations, every employer I have ever hired for wants 9 or 10 star candidates, your job is to help your customers become 9 or 10 employers.
OMG!!! I am not commercially minded, all I care about is delivering a wonderful recruitment experience. This was a challenge, thankfully I have connected friends I could lean on, from agency leaders to in-house leaders that supported my vision and had probably more faith in me than I had in myself. My advice seek professional legal advice on your contract but make sure the legal folk represents the tone of how you want to engage with your customers. Having worked with a few of the more popular RPO's in London before the gap I noticed was in the people, those contracts read transactional. I wanted my contract to be a reflection of me and how I wanted to engage with customers, in my case tech start-ups in London. I understand my audience, I understand their challengers and as an extension of their brand I wanted the contract to protect their business that they are so desperately want to succeed. For some founders this is their first entrepreneur venture. We as recruiters have a responsibility. I made sure our contract read as if the founder(s) wrote the contract and all negotiations were more like casual conversations - I was delighted how this played out!
Contract signed, start date agreed, expectations outlined, all I needed was a team. I am truly blessed to have a network of what I can only describe as friends who utterly believe and support me. It took me less than a week to get an onsite Talent Manager who I rewarded well (this is major, never undervalue your staff - maybe I am a little commercially minded, I just really don't like contracts) and built a 4 person semi-offsite delivery team (in Cape Town and London) around the Talent Manager, trading under the business Coders Connect. As the acting Head of Talent, I spent a week onsite to setup the Hello Talent ATS complete with intuitive Talent Pools that intelligently aggregates online public facing profiles that help give a complete overview of candidates (works particularly well for Software Engineers aggregating GitHub, Stack Overflow, Facebook, LinkedIn, About Me, Personal Website and other online profiles). Other feature of Hello Talent also includes: Browser Extension, Micro-Career sites (landing pages basically), amazing Trello-like collaboration experience with unlimited amount of guests allowance, comprehensive email and slack integration, pretty reporting capabilities that even non-data people would love (if non-data people even exist), mobile friendly and of course automated GDPR functionalities. All for a ridiculously low cost, I mean ridiculously low!!! If you are tech start-up or recruiting for one, defo check out this product, I wouldn't recommend for scale it's no Workday but for start-ups and SME's - WOW! AMAZING!
None of my past in-house gigs ever gave me the scope to express my creative skills as much as B-Social and I am certainly looking forward to doing much more of Brand and Culture Building. Okay wait, maybe that's a little unfair on Elsevier, the 130 year old publisher were good sports, I still don't believe they gave me admin rights on their Instagram page - I did some cool meetups that played live on Instagram and meetup teasers on my YouTube channel, check them out! The team and I created awesome Culture video's and Engineering playbooks on Github, we even helped out with B-Social's EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and Values & Principles. What an amazing experience, I was delighted for my co-founder who has limited recruitment experience but is great at contracts and my Talent Manager who had never done an in-house gig before but very experienced tech recruiter - REALLY WELL DONE TEAM!!!
8 job offers in the first 6 weeks (Engineering - 7 & Design - 1), for me that's a win, this would account for a 25% growth of the business for B-Social but it didn't come without challenges. I'll confess I had a rather pessimistic view of the RPO world but I see first hand the real challengers they manage. I wish I'd have offered more training to the team, I am fortunate to have had years of mentors who I'd likely never live up to, mentors who invested time, energy and money in my trade (thank you! all of you! you too mum!). I should've mentored my team more. Letting go, I don't want to be too hard on myself and our team is great, tightly knitted and robust - you won't find handbags coming out and everyone can stand up for themselves but a lesson learnt was defo to give team members a bit more space but I was so excited about this though! Another piece of advice would be vet your investment in the tools you decide to use, customize your sourcing tools to fit your business - don't customize your business to fit your tools.
Well, thank you for the read, very much appreciated! I hope you enjoyed and it proves useful - be you, be great!
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