Archive for January, 2012

January 25, 2012

Your Integrity, Your Reputation and the Ability to Succeed in HR & Recruitment

People who know me know how important integrity is to me.   People close to me within my network definitely think I take too hard of a stance on others who have let me down through their actions and subsequent lack of integrity.  I am a very trusting person and want to always be able to take people at their word.  But once a person fails to live up to their word I have a very difficult time looking beyond that experience and continuing our professional or personal relationship.  It’s different from someone simply letting you down on something they committed to you on – it goes beyond that.  I think it’s the fact that you will never fully be able to trust that individual ever again in what they say or do.

I googled the word “integrity” and found the following definition –  “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”  I like this definition.  That to me should be the benchmark we need to adhere to and take full personal accountability for it.  It sounds simple enough and the best thing about integrity is that we as individuals have complete control over our own integrity.  We have nobody to blame but ourselves when we act without it.

Unfortunately there are a number of people who I have worked with in the past who have let me down with their dishonest actions.  I think back to my experiences as a senior recruitment and talent leader working with my teams across the world for one of the top global organizations – and I was fortunate to work with so many great people.  But I often recall the few instances that I came across people on these teams who acted with a lack of integrity in their roles.  As a believer in ongoing performance management and working closely with any team members to get them back on track when there was a performance issue, it was difficult if not impossible to help someone when it involved an issue of integrity.  I just don’t think someone can change when they have acted without moral character or honesty.  It becomes more of a trend rather than a one-off “I made a mistake” action.  It’s usually premeditated with the person knowing exactly what they are doing.

Can people change when it comes to a lack of integrity?  I find that when confronting someone on this issue, they simply continue to deceive and get deeper and deeper into their deceptions.  Mark Twain had a great quote on integrity – “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”

As a Recruitment and HR professional, integrity is core to what we do.  Our clients we support in our organizations look to us as experts in talent.  The candidates we deal with everyday look to us as an organizational ambassador for the company they want to be a part of.  Our colleagues depend on us to perform a job that is critical to the talent success of the company.

As a leader, integrity gives us credibility with the people we lead.  If our actions as a leader lack honesty than we lose the respect and trust of the people who we as leaders have to count on for our success.  You just can’t recover as a leader when your team loses the trust of your character.  They will always be questioning your words and actions in their minds and looking for every reason not to trust you.

When we lose credibility with any of the people we work with, we lose our ability to be successful.  It’s difficult to recover when someone you work with loses confidence in your integrity.  Your reputation is completely crushed as word of your actions will spread quickly across the organization.  With social media platforms bringing everyone closer together it’s easy for the HR and Recruitment community to hear about your reputation and actions from the people you used to work with.  So more than ever you need to ensure  your reputation isn’t tarnished and the best way to do this is to simply act with character and integrity in everything you do.  None of us are perfect and we do make mistakes.  But when it comes to your integrity, it’s your personal and professional brand at stake.

“In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” — Warren Buffet

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

January 17, 2012

The True Art of Networking

I consider myself a strong networker…….meaning I give as much or more back to my network than I ever ask for or receive.

I am often asked to conduct networking 101 sessions for corporate HR and recruitment teams and provide one-on-one coaching to business leaders on the art of networking.  The number one rule I always spend the most time speaking about is to never take advantage of your network and never make it a one-sided relationship.  You can’t be selfish when you venture into the world of networking.  You can’t go into a networking relationship without understanding that it takes work on both sides of the relationship to make it work.  The beauty of a great network is that they are there for you when you need assistance…….but only if you have been there for them when they needed you.  Networking has to be a win-win relationship.

Over the years I can think of so many people who have approached me and asked for my time to help them with something they need.  It might be to look at their resume and give career advice, provide them with interviewing coaching, introduce them to someone in my valued network or provide insight into a challenge they face within their current role.  I will always go out of my way for my network as I know first hand on how supportive and valuable a great network can be especially over the past year.  The fact that so many people in my network take time out of their busy days to take an interest in something important to me speaks volumes as to the benefits of building and supporting a great network.

Unfortunately on the flip side, I have also come across many people trying to take advantage of our networking relationship.  It is always disappointing to come across these individuals within your network who you only hear from when they need your help with something important to them and these same people never even have the courtesy to respond to you when you reach out to them.  Maybe I am just too trusting a person and try to look for the good in everyone but it shocks me when these people continue to ask for my help and advice.

There is one person I hear from every 3 years when she is unhappy in her job.  She is now at a VP level and I in the past I have always ensured I was there to support her with what she needed from me.  Twice over the past 5 years I have actually introduced her to the person who gave her a job…..so I definitely feel I have done a great job in supporting her the best I can.  The sad thing is that over the past few years whenever I have sent her an email I have never heard back from her.  So this past week when she reached out to me for help after not hearing from her since 2009 when I helped her with her career without any business interests for me, I thought “to hell with this person……..she doesn’t deserve to be in my network”.  It’s always a tough call especially when you run a small business and you always think there might be some business to gain from the relationship……..but my experience has tought me people like this will always tease you with the potential but never deliver so it’s not worth it.

My response to her was simply:

“Great to hear from you – it’s been about 3 years since we last spoke when you joined ABC company.  Unfortunately my time is at a premium these days and I am working closely with a number of great people in my network on various initiatives so am not able to provide you with the support you need.  All the best to you with your next venture.”

I guess I could have been a bit more punishing with my words but that’s just not me.  For someone like her who always had access to me for support, I hope she has enough self-awareness to realize her mistake……although I wouldn’t put money on that myself.

The moral of the story…….ensure you support your network as much as your network supports you.

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Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co     Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

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