Managing Talent in a world of interruptions – Q&A with Katrina Collier

Ping! You have 13 new emails. Ping! You have been tagged in 27 pictures. Riinnggg! Your co-worker is calling you. Sounds familiar?

We live in a world of interruptions and we are surrounded by distractions. Our candidates are no exception.

If you reckon automation and robots are the way to go to ensure you can reach them 24/7, you are never more further from the truth, says ATC2020 keynote speaker, author of The Robot-Proof Recruiter and candidate engagement facilitator – Katrina Collier.

We chat with her to learn more.


Katrina, finding people is easy, getting them to respond is harder – why? Has it always been like that? What is going on?


In 2019 heading into 2020, we have more ways to communicate with people including post, phone, email, direct message, social media, Slack and more. Yet all these channels really just give us more ways to ignore someone.

In the past, you would call someone and, by answering the phone, they gave you permission to speak, and a conversation would ensue or be moved to a more convenient time. But now, many people feel resentful of calls and they prefer to be contacted in ways they can either ignore or answer in their own time.

Today, we live in a world of interruption, interrupted by the ping of messages, phone calls, breaking news, and that is on top our jobs. So when you add in the high level of irrelevant recruitment messages landing in people’s inboxes, it is unsurprising that their tolerance for recruiters is at an all time low.


What are some of the biggest mistakes you see recruiters making today?


Being lazy – True, it is usually created by overloaded recruiters who are time poor and lacking the systems they really need to do their jobs.

But in the long term, cutting corners is making recruitment harder. Recruiters underestimate the resentment someone feels towards them and the organisation, when they are interrupted by yet another message about an irrelevant role.

Ghosting – Recruiters complain to me often that they have been ghosted! I despair, if we cannot treat our own industry peers well, how will we ever treat others well?

Humans crave certainty and clarity, they deserve closure and they deserve feedback. People understand that there are many applicants for one role and would simply like to know if they are proceeding or not.

Not giving feedback to someone who has interviewed, in person or online, is unacceptable and leads to poor interview reviews which impede future hiring.

Type “never heard back” into Google and be appalled by the number and, of course, these are only from those who bothered to write one.


Candidates ghosting recruiters – whose fault is it? Why?


It is two fold, the Internet, which has created enormous transparency, and recruiters, who have forgotten the human in the process and hide behind technology and poor processes.

Type “recruiter jobs Sydney” into Google, how many do you see? If you are in the middle of an interview process and feeling neglected, you can easily go and find something else. In this instance, as the candidate, you are in control.

Candidates are in control and they don’t stop looking even when they have an offer. I believe there is a lot of karmic payback happening, and it is easy to rectify by ensuring everything you do puts the human first in the process and makes them feel how you would want to in their place.


So how can recruiters bring the human back into Talent Acquisition?


Besides reading all 234 pages on this in The Robot-Proof Recruiter? 😉

Take a good hard look at yourself and your company. Do you look worthy of someone’s time or do you need to make some changes? What can you find online about the way you treat clients, candidates and employees? What do you need to improve? 

Apply for a job at your company, using your mobile device. How easy is it? How many layers of complication are there? Is is inclusive? What happens when you do successfully apply, is it acknowledged? How does that acknowledgement feel?

…and keep going through all the steps in the process thinking and feeling like an applicant.


We’ve been going on about how AI should augment what a recruiter does – how, in your opinion, can we really make that happen in real life? What do we need to do, how can we prepare ourselves to really make that happen? Any practical advice?


Human first, technology second.

Never allow technology (or processes) to worsen the experience of anyone who could be a future recruit, which includes clients, customer, friends & family of employees!

So ensure whatever technology you are looking to implement is developed with the advice of or by a recruiter, and only implement it if it will create ease for candidates and hiring managers and free up your time to spend providing a better candidate experience. 


What does a recruiter have to do to gain the trust of candidates and their hiring managers? (besides reading your book 😉)


Chapter 5. 😊 But yes, you need to know your market, be transparent, remember the human in the process at all times, and agree terms with your hiring manager during your intake strategy session, so you can give your candidtes clarity and certainty through the process.


Tips for writing engaging job ads/emails/messages that will grab potential candidate’s attention.


Tip 1: Never copy and paste! A job description is not a job advertisement.

Tip 2: Don’t “we” all over it! I stole that from Rosie Stevens’s DisruptHR talk and what she means is don’t cover your advert in “we” …or “I” for that matter. Use the power of the word “you”.

Tip 3: Don’t send someone a message or InMail that isn’t relevant to them, take a moment instead to check and include something unique in your message that shows you have actually looked!

I could go on but put simply, write something you would apply for or reply to… would you? Really?

Katrina will be sharing more tips and strategies on how you can become a robot-proof recruiter at the upcoming Australasian Talent Conference 2020. Early bird tickets are available now, get them before they sell out, see you then!

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