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How Companies Identify Talent with Arran Stewart of Job.com & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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Job.com Human Resources Hiring Strategies

It’s important that we focus on making the world a better place, through our services and products overall.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Arran Stewart.

Arran James Stewart is the co-founder and CVO of the recruitment platform Job.com. Relying on over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, Arran created Job.com to be the home of the most secure, efficient, and transparent hiring process ever. Since entering the recruitment industry in 2008, Arran has consistently sought to bring recruitment to the cutting edge of technology. He helped develop one of the world’s first multi-post to media buy talent attraction portals, and also helped reinvent the way job content found candidates through utilizing matching technology against job aggregation. Arran is a successful entrepreneur and thought leader in recruitment and recruitment tech and has been featured in Reuters, Wired, Inc., and International Business Times, among other publications. If you’d like to feature his commentary or expertise, I’d be happy to set something up.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

Like many in recruitment, I fell into this industry after college. After a few years, I quickly grew fond of how important the HR industry is, committing myself and my career to helping as many people as possible get the best career opportunities.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

I almost quit the recruitment industry completely in 2008. After serving a short but enlightening career at an S|Three sub-brand, I thought I knew everything about the industry. In 2007, I decided to set up a job board of my own. However, factors like a complete lack of real knowledge about the industry and one of the worst economic downturns in history, what I hoped would be my thriving job board business was, in fact not thriving. In fact, both I and the company were in serious financial straits. I was about two weeks away from throwing in the towel and moving to another industry completely when a leading private equity firm swooped in with a life-changing investment that saved me and the company. That investment allowed me to remain well and truly focused on the HR industry, specifically technology. I believe in fate and that was one of the moments I felt its hand in my life, for which I am so thankful.

Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill? Please share an example of each idea.

1. The resume is dead in my opinion and when I’m hiring, my interest lies in a jobseeker’s personality. Resumes are simply a list of previous jobs and skills and don’t say anything about the nuances that go into someone’s work ethic, style or personality.

2. Do they have any other passions or interests? People with passions make the best employees because they tend to be self-motivated, flexible, curious and willing to learn new concepts (which they also tend to pick up quickly).

3. Your labor force should reflect the customer base you serve, and with the internet, your business has access to a global audience. Having a diverse group of employees not only brings differing perspectives to your business, it increases the skill, knowledge base and ability of your business.

4. Preparation is key, and when interviewing I like candidates to drive the interview with the knowledge they have. Generally, I prefer to let candidates lead the interview by sharing their past experience and knowledge about their field, their previous company and what they know about mine.

5. Appearance and attitude, of course, are important to me as well. People who are late to the interview or untidy are an instant no for me. Candidates should always aim to put their best foot forward, especially when making a first impression.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

1. Appeal to a work/life balance. The days of a standard 9–5 are over. Remote, flexible working are just some of the ways to attract and engage top-level talent.

2. Be inspiring as a leader. People are attracted to and follow leaders with vision. Lead by example and show your employees that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and do hard work with them. When your employees see that you’re as interactive and engaged as they are in your initiatives, you get better work and work ethic. It’s all about team building and letting them know we’re all working towards a common goal.

3. Find talent in unusual places. It’s easy to get recommendations from colleagues and others in the industry about the talent in the field to fill empty positions. However, I’ve found that engaging with people outside of the industry, with transferable skills, is an excellent resource for finding great talent. Anyone can learn job skills if they’re willing to work hard, so don’t be afraid to turn inward (moving people from different departments) or out of the left-field (like those looking to change careers) for your next superstar employee.

What are the 3 most effective strategies you use to retain employees?

The best strategy I’ve found to retain employees is to care for them and communicate that. Employees are people and have full lives with ups, downs, and all around. I try to speak with my employees as much as possible, to get a gauge of how they’re feeling about work, how their projects are going and how life is for them outside of the office. If someone is having a tough time, we accommodate them so that the business works around them and not without them. As a father of four myself and a devoted husband, the family is always first so I try to give the same consideration I’d like to my employees. It’s important to remember the human element of Human Resources.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Our guiding code at Job.com is to help as many people as possible feed their families and pay their bills. This is a mantra that everyone at the company can get behind. Furthermore, as a business leader, I think it’s important that we focus on making the world a better place, through our services and products overall.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Treat others as you wish to be treated.” If you apply this principle to everything your life, especially in HR, you’ll go far.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

Rosaleen Blair for sure. I’m fascinated by her journey, building Alexander Mann up to the brand it is now, her commitment to the industry and her general business cume would be great to pick at over lunch.

Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!

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