14 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career in Recruitment

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I have a new post on the LinkedIn Talent Blog! It’s a 3 minute read packed with GIF’s (and lots of useful information), just let me know what you think.

And while you’re on the article if you could click the ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons I’d appreciate it as it helps me out. Thanks!

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/recruiting-humor-and-fun/2017/14-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-started-my-career-in-recruitment

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The Worst Introduction From A Recruiter

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Salvador Dali - “Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it”

I’m a Recruiter and I’ve made a ton of mistakes throughout my career. One thing I learnt right at the start of my career is that most people dislike Recruiters. In fact, most people really think negatively of Recruiters and will quite happily expose Recruiters when they have made errors of judgement (thankfully this person below didn’t do that).

Another point I’ve learned is that mistakes in life and work can be tolerated, but only if you learn from them quickly and use that newfound knowledge to your advantage.

I was recently asked, “what was the biggest mistake you’ve made while being a Recruiter?”. I started thinking. I had a ton of examples, but one in particular sticks out in my mind like a sore thumb and one that I have reflected on time and again.

EXAMPLE

This was a conversation over a LinkedIn message a few years back with the co-founder of a software startup. Below are the key points from our conversation which I will reflect on.

REFLECTION

They were right! What kind of introduction was that?! Especially when I completely overlooked that this was a co-founder of the business and what must have been a particularly difficult time in their career at that moment. I can just imagine the thought that was going through my head at the time, “THE COMPANY IS GOING DOWN! QUICKLY MESSAGE EVERYONE AS I’M SURE THEY’LL ALL WANT TO LEAVE”.

That thought isn’t necessarily a bad one though, being able to act quickly with a valuable piece of insight is often fruitful when recruiting. Perhaps even that exact same message may have received a positive response from someone else in the business who had perhaps been recently let go and felt resentment. But upon your introduction you don’t always know the full situation and you certainly don’t know the person well enough to assume how they feel.

My key takeaways:

  1. Consideration and empathy are never underestimated.
  2. Many people invest time, money and emotion into their business.
  3. Do your research before making an introduction.

So, how would I approach the scenario now? I would start off with condolences for their situation, as for a founder a startup can be their life’s work and one of their proudest achievements and when it doesn’t work out it can be heart breaking. It wouldn’t have been hard to find some of the achievements of that startup and specifics about why their profile would make them a potential fit for the new opportunity; introductions should always be personalised. And ending the message, I’d acknowledge that it may be a difficult time and that a new opportunity may not be right for them for some time, but when that time comes I’d be glad to help in any way I could.

As I said before, “mistakes in life and work can be tolerated, but only if you learn from them quickly and use that newfound knowledge to your advantage”. This was embarrassing at the time but I’ve learnt from it and become a better Recruiter because of it.

I hope this article was helpful and don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’m always looking to learn from others (joe.burridge@hudl.com or jdjburridge@gmail.com).

 

Applying For Jobs? Avoid Doing This…

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Mark Twain – “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest”

I’m a Recruiter which means I read a lot of job applications. And as the “New Year, New [Career/You/Life]” spam comes our way you may be thinking of sending out multiple applications (but before you even think of quitting your job though, you may want to read this). I see a lot of articles with advice on how to make your application stand out but I don’t see much advice about what to avoid.

Below are some examples of applications that just straight up annoy me, some even lead me to rejecting the application before I’ve seen the résumé/CV. This article may seem like a cathartic rant but my intentions are good, I just want to help Recruiters and candidates the world over.

Ultimately, the point of this article is to highlight that I have one surprisingly simple piece of application advice and it’s this…

a well-written, personalised, fully completed and thoughtful application will (most of the time) make you stand out from the rest.

Now let’s rant.

CAPITAL LETTERS EVERYWHERE

“I am THE PERFECT CANDIDATE for this job”. Whenever I see this I always think, would the perfect candidate actually write a sentence like that? A couple of weeks back I even saw an application written entirely in capital letters. Literally, the whole thing. The point here is, focus on you and your experience to help sell yourself, not the use of UPPERCASE LETTERS.

EFFORTLESS COVER LETTERS

A cover letter isn’t a requirement when applying at Hudl, so when I see one I think, “awesome, they’ve taken the time to write a cover letter”. Then when I see it’s a generic cover letter that the candidate has probably used time and again with no edits at all for each application…I just facepalm. This adds no value to your application. The cover letter is an opportunity to highlight areas of your experience, personality and passions that make you a great fit for this specific role at this particular company. I would go as far as to say that generic cover letters harm your application.

AVOIDING APPLICATION QUESTIONS

Above is an example from a recent application for our Software Developer vacancy. On it we really only ask that you spend a moment to think about these questions: What language have you learned most recently? What did you like most about it? Application forms may seem tedious but remember, most of the time it’s the very first interaction between you and a potential new employer. Take the time and make it count. Links are important too, for example we want to see Developers who are proactive on GitHub and Sales Reps with an engaging LinkedIn profile.

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MULTIPLE APPLICATIONS

I’m often asked, “should I submit multiple applications?” I guess the thinking is that the employer will notice you, and they will, but not for the right reasons. Most good TMS’ (talent management systems) will show if a candidate has applied to multiple roles. But what are the chances that a) you genuinely want either role equally b) you are qualified equally for both roles. The chances are slim, so focus on one role. If you’re not quite sure whether to apply for say a Lead Software Engineer or Technical Product Manager, then pick one and mention it on your application. Or better yet get in touch with a Recruiter, Engineer or Product Manager within the company who will be able to help. Multiple applications just look like spam and that you aren’t focused on a particular career path.

LAZY CV/RÉSUMÉ

“I don’t have time to write a CV/résumé, so I’ll just download a PDF of my LinkedIn profile”. What!? No. Don’t do that. Indeed also offers a similar option. Please avoid doing anything like this. This is your career, this could be a life changing dream job, so take the time to craft a CV/résumé that highlights your best self. Laziness rarely pays off when job hunting.

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I hope this article was useful, if you want to get in touch use joe.burridge@hudl.com.

How To Pass An Interview…With Me

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Thanks Leo, much appreciated.

So, I’m often asked about how best to approach interviews (whether phone, video or in-person) and how to interview with Hudl. My general advice for interview preparation, on the whole, can be found online by sifting through interview advice articles, so I’d like to give some specific tips for interviews I conduct.

Some of you may be thinking, “hang on a minute buddy, you can’t be giving inside tips on how to pass your interview!”. Well, why not? Research is key for any interview, and if you’re a candidate I’m about to interview and have found this post then well done, you are doing your research. Also, I want candidates to perform at their best during the interview. 30 – 45 minutes is a short amount of time to assess someone, I want to see you at your best in this time.

THE INTERVIEW PROCESS

Hudl’s interview process differs by position, but one aspect that doesn’t change is the first interview with a Recruiter. Whether you’re interviewing for an Engineering, Sales, Support or Marketing role, you will always speak to one of the Talent Squad (cool name, right?). This will either be a phone call, a meeting in-person (most likely a coffee fuelled meeting) or a video call.

CORE VALUES

We’re assessing whether you match the skills set for the role, but more importantly, we’re figuring out if you’re a culture fit. Culture fit? We have a diverse workforce (genders, nationalities, introverts, extroverts, sexual preferences etc.) but what remains constant is the practice and belief of our core values.

Tip #1: Look at our values. Do they match yours and can you relate to them? Come up with multiple examples of times you have exemplified these values (inside and outside of work) and be ready to answer follow up questions.

STARTING THE INTERVIEW

I start every interview the same way. First I will ask “Why do you want to work at Hudl?” and second, I will ask for you to give me a brief account of your experience. These two questions, on some occasions, have given me enough insight as to whether the candidate is not a fit for the role and/or for Hudl.

In the first question I want to hear that you’ve done your research and are really excited at the idea of joining us! Perhaps tell me about an article you read, our use of open source tools and cloud computing, our impact on the sports industry etc. and get a strong idea of what our software actually does. Don’t tell me that you just saw the position, applied and don’t really know what we do.

Tip #2: Do your research and come up with a genuine answer for why you’re excited to join us. There are many different reasons why people enjoy working at Hudl, pick the reasons that relate to you. Also, really get an idea for what our software does (bonus points for downloading either Hudl or Hudl Technique).

When I ask for a brief account of your experience, don’t just read off your resumé/CV as I will have it right there in front of me. This is a chance for you to sell yourself, showcase projects and explain decisions related to your career path.

Tip #3: Even if you’re not in sales, being able to talk about yourself in a professional and attractive way is always a useful skill. Practice talking through your career, your aspirations, your achievements and the decisions you made to help you get to where you are.

THE REST OF THE INTERVIEW

The rest of the interview will then consist of questions specific to the role you’re applying for, but I’ll still be looking for key competencies that reflect our values, for example, are you positive, productive, a self-learner, ambitious, a good communicator, versatile and conscious of how your work impacts the bottom line.

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I hope this article was helpful. And if you’re interviewing at Hudl or anywhere else right now then good luck! If you’d like get in touch, my email is joe.burridge@hudl.com. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Tips For Your Professional Twitter Account

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Simon Mainwaring – “Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community”

As a Recruiter, I always want to be where the most people are as this gives me greater options to seek out talented individuals. This is why I have built a professional online brand and Twitter is at the core. My online brand is how I am perceived online and is a culmination of LinkedIn, my blog, Instagram, Google+, Medium and Twitter profiles (I only use Facebook for personal use).

But you don’t have to be a Recruiter to make the most of Twitter for professional means. Over the last 3 years, Twitter has helped me to progress in my career, voice professional opinions and network with others. I was going to title this blog Should You Have A Professional Twitter Account?, but considering that the answer is an obvious YES, I thought some tips on how to get started and really use the social platform to your professional advantage would be more helpful.

Look Professional

Marilyn Monroe – “I don’t mind making jokes, but I don’t want to look like one”

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Let’s start with the basics.

Profile photo: Get yourself a high quality mugshot for your profile. As you’re going for a professional Twitter profile, perhaps use the same picture from your LinkedIn profile (tips on getting the right profile pic here).

Header photo: Ensure that your header photo is of high resolution and represents you, your employer or your industry. Avoid low resolution images as this looks amateur and unprofessional. You want your profile to represent the best possible you.

Handle: I would have liked @JoeBurridge, and you should always go for your name if you can (it looks professional), but if not go for something that relates to your company (e.g. @BenSmithHudl) or role/industry (e.g. @JoeFindsTalent).

Description: Always include your job title, company and what you tweet about. But after that get creative, think about optimising SEO and perhaps a little personal. Notice how I have the words ‘tech’, ‘careers’ and ‘London’ for SEO while also being personal (and sharing a much loved Star Wars quote).

Location and link: Include a location to allow others in your vicinity to find you easily, and link to help promote your professional online brand. If you don’t have a personal website, provide a link to your LinkedIn account or your company’s homepage.

Tweeting 101

Amy Jo Martin – “Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand”

Tweeting: Now you have an awesome Twitter profile, you better start tweeting, but what do you tweet?! Before tweeting, think about your audience and add value. In other words, will my followers find this relevant and useful? Share news articles, your professional opinion on a topic, updates from your current role and company, and the occasional personal update. Twitter is all about connecting on a more personal level, so don’t hesitate to post personal tweets in a more casual tone.

top tweet

Always think to yourself, would I follow my own Twitter profile? Always go for quality instead of quantity, but you should aim for at least 3 a week (including retweets).

Hashtags: use appropriate hashtags as they’re searchable. However, a common beginner’s error is to use far too many hashtags. Over usage makes the tweet look cluttered and won’t receive as many likes or retweets. This is a good example:

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Promotion and Engagement

Matt Goulart – “Social Media is about the people! Not about your business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”

If you want to gain followers, retweets, likes and ultimately value from your Twitter profile, you need to promote and engage. There’s no point crafting great tweets if no one is going to read them. When you get started, don’t hesitate to tell your friends, family and colleagues that you now have a professional Twitter profile and ask for follows. Also promote your profile on other social networks.

Get in the habit of when meeting someone new, networking or meeting a new client, to ask if they have Twitter and if so offer to follow them. This is similar to how asking to connect on LinkedIn has become the norm. You will more likely get a follow back if you follow someone than by straight up asking for a follow.

Make sure you engage with other people and their tweets. Don’t just login to Twitter to check your notifications and tweet to your profile, instead get involved with a trending hashtag or seek out others in your industry and introduce yourself. If you see an interesting tweet, comment on it and start a conversation. Sometimes it takes courage to voice your opinion online, but good advice gets noticed.

 

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I hope this was helpful. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to email me on joe.burridge@hudl.com. Thanks!

 

Sports + Technology = WINNING!

How is technology impacting the sports industry? What exciting technology is being used now? And what can we look forward to in the future?

Last Thursday (23rd June) I had the pleasure of hosting London Sports Tech 2016 as part of London Tech Week where, in just one evening, these questions were answered. A fantastic event focused on presenting the latest innovations in sports technology, with speakers from Hudl, Sony and Catapult Sports.

Below are some of the key takeaways (in my humble opinion)…

Hudl – Speaker: Paul Pop – Lead Computer Vision Engineer

What is Hudl? Hudl is a sports technology company that creates a suite of video analysis software products to help athletes, coaches and teams better their performance. Paul Pop works in R&D at Hudl, more specifically in Computer Vision,  and is working towards automating the analysis of video to provide greater actionable insights for better team performance.

Paul emphasised the impact of luck or chance in any typical game of football. But there is still a great deal we can influence using data (blue and grey areas in picture below).

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“There are many data sources in sports, some more useful than others. Analytics done at Hudl provides coaches and analysts another insight in measurable metrics. Based on event annotation and tracking data, we highlight instances of interest during a football game and help coaches adjust their team formation and strategy”.

In many cases a game is won or lost by just one player being in the wrong position, such as a defender hanging back to increase the offside line, but with more accurate and relevant data teams can learn and improve.

Sony – Speaker: Mark Grinyer – Head of Business Development and Programme Manager

Right now, whether you’re a sports professional or a consumer, you have easy access to technologies like 4K cameras, headphones and smart bands which are able to track location, movement, heart rate and sleep patterns (to name a few). This is giving us an ever increasing understanding of our personal performance. But how can this be used by a broadcaster, club or association?

In this talk, Mark Grinyer discussed how the impact of today’s technology alongside a greater focus on combining content and data can improve the experience for fans.

Sony Presentation

A standout point for me was the use of player tracking for broadcasters. Sony acquired Hawkeye Technologies back in 2011 and uses their precise tools to track players, for example here during a tennis match. This can provide automated alerts to broadcasters, very often allowing just one person to control a production. For example, a camera will be pointing at the sideline chairs and recognise when Andy Murray goes to sit down alerting the broadcaster to switch to that camera. Better understanding of the game along with what fans want to see allows for a more entertaining experience of sports and live broadcasts.

Catapult Sports – Speaker: John Coulson – Director of Business Operations

You may not have heard of Catapult Sports. Catapult enlightens sport with scientifically validated analytics, obtained with some of the most advanced wearable technology in team sports. For example, in professional football (soccer), players wear a small tracking device on their back that includes a 3D accelerometer, 3D gyroscope and a magnetometer which allows Catapult to capture minute pieces of data on an athlete’s movement.

Catapult
A key finding over recent years has been the direct correlation between low injuries and winning a season (across all team sports). For example, see above the injury stats from the 2015/16 English Premier League and notice how Leicester City have the lowest amount of injuries lasting 14 days or more and the only team to hit single digits here.

John gave an example of how a player, though reporting no pain at all, was slightly compensating his weight onto a different leg. If you were to watch this player’s performance you wouldn’t think anything had changed, but the tracker detected this change alerting the physio’s to dig deeper. Turns out the player had a hairline fracture at the base of his spine. It’s small injuries like this, when discovered early, that can stop season ending injuries resulting in a better performing team.

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I hope this post was helpful and we hope to organise another London Sports Tech event soon (and get it filmed next time!). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me on joe.burridge@hudl.com.

1 Year At Hudl. What Have I Learned?

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Today (May 11th 2016) I celebrate my 1 year anniversary at Hudl (*does a mini fist pump*), and oh boy what a year it has been. In the past 12 months I have witnessed the integration of 3 acquisitions, the result of $72.5M in funding and what rapid growth looks like. From the viewpoint of a Recruiter, and any role within Hudl for that matter, it has been a rare, rewarding and challenging environment to be in.

In this post I will, as openly as possible, run through some of the key areas of learning for me in my last year. I wish I could cover everything I have learned here but that would be a rather long blog post indeed. These key areas are:

  1. Recruiting In A ‘Startup’
  2. Dealing With The Unexpected
  3. Growing And Working Internationally

RECRUITING IN A ‘STARTUP’

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Part of Hudl’s QA Team in a whiteboard session

I’m using apostrophes here because Hudl is not a startup. When I started in May 2015 Hudl was 9 years old and 229 people spanning 4 offices across the USA and UK. In the UK I was hire number 8.

Why am I claiming Hudl is a startup? It’s important to note that out of the 3 acquisitions 2 were startups, including Replay Analysis here in London. A couple of Hudlies from HQ in Lincoln NE (USA) came out to help setup the new office space and build the team, including hiring me. Hudl created the London office and UK presence with 3 Co-Founders of a startup as its base. So the feel of a startup was definitely there, and in many ways still is.

Also, the Talent Squad (aka Recruitment Team) was just a year old when I started. I’ve had the opportunity to learn new hiring processes as well as help influence, change and create new ones. Hudl, like a startup, provides everyone a lot of freedom to deliver on high responsibility roles which has given us room to experiment with our processes and tools.

Upskilling new Hiring Managers too, especially Hiring Managers brought through from acquisitions, and creating hiring strategies for new roles and locations isn’t easy (as covered in this post) but these experiences have helped me grow.

Lastly, in a startup finances are front of mind for everyone, as is the same at Hudl. Hudl’s leadership are transparent about our finances, from gross revenue and company expenses to the value of our stock options. As with almost every company, human capital is the highest expense and so for the Talent Squad our ability to hire the best talent while keeping to budget is always front of mind.

DEALING WITH THE UNEXPECTED

Hudl London Dodgeball

Hudl London Dodgeball Tournament. I received an unexpected shot to the back of the head…

From January 2015 to now Hudl has more than doubled (191 to 419) and we opened offices in Boston, London, Sydney, Marseille and Mumbai. Though Hudl has incredibly bright and ambitious leadership backed by decades of experience with our Board of Advisors and Directors, growing this fast will always cause unforeseen challenges.

To hit the ambitious hiring targets we had in 2015 Hudl grew its Talent Squad to 12. Going into 2016, changes were made that would ensure a more mindful approach towards expenses, Business Development and Sales Teams are grown and prioritised, and hiring would slow down. With less hires to make it didn’t make sense to have such a large Talent Squad, so in January 2016 our team was cut down to 5.

Honestly, it sucked to see my teammates leave the squad, and some leave the company. Over the last 5 months my team and I have had to learn what it means to be lean and agile. We’re now more productive, efficient and proactive than ever and we have come out the other end of that situation stronger.

GROWING AND WORKING INTERNATIONALLY

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Hudl Sydney enjoying beers & bbq on a Friday afternoon

Again, this topic is a blog post unto itself. I could go on to speak about adapting to other cultures, how to source and attract talent in different countries, the differing HR and legal processes, language barriers etc. Here though I want to focus on international communication.

In the last year I’ve helped hire in the USA, UK, France, Netherlands, Canada and Germany. Hudl is truly international and is split over many time zones. In the Talent Squad there’s no exception; 1 Recruiter in London, 1 Recruiter in Boston, 2 Recruiters and 1 Co-Ordinator at HQ in Lincoln NE. Before Hudl I worked in recruitment agencies where my entire team were all sat in close vicinity. It may sound super easy to use Slack, email and video tools such as appear.in and GoToMeeting (FYI, it is) but using them for effective and meaningful communication is more challenging than it appears. All of Hudl, especially our Product Team, will be working with at least 1 person in a different office or time zone. I wasn’t the most effective communicator (and still have ways to go) with online tools when I started, but I have definitely improved. I’ve learned that if you’re in an international business now or in the future, it’s essential to be an effective online communicator.

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That’s it from me, I hope you have enjoyed the post. If you want to contact regarding hiring at Hudl, or for any other reason, don’t hesitate to reach out on joe.burridge@hudl.com. Thanks!

 

Before You Start Hiring, Get Your Sh*t Together

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Confucius – “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure”

As I’m sure you can imagine, when I googled “preparation quotes” there seemed to be countless. Everyone everywhere seems to be talking about the value of preparation, even as far back as Confucius 2,500 years ago. You’d think it would be hardwired into human beings by now. But sadly no.

Next month I will be celebrating my first work anniversary at Hudl (BOOYAH!). As that first year comes near, I think about my transition from agency to internal recruitment and its steep learning curve. I feel like my mindset has completely shifted and that I’ve become a more rounded Recruiter (though of course I still have a lot more to learn).

One of the key lessons from that learning curve? Before you start hiring, get your sh*t together. In other words, before you dive headlong into sourcing, advertising, interviewing and offering, ensure that all parties involved (Co-Ordinators, Recruiters, Hiring Managers, HR etc.) and on the same page.

Scar once said “be prepared”. And whether you’re an evil lion or a Recruiter, having a clear hiring process makes it easier to compare candidates which leads to better hires, improves internal communications and provides the candidate with a fantastic company experience (even if they don’t get the job).

This may sound incredibly obvious but I, embarrassingly, have dived into filling a vacancy without covering these basics and ultimately been stung down the road.

For example, last year a Hiring Manager came to me and said they need to hire 3 XXXXX’s. I asked briefly what they were looking for and went straight into sourcing and reaching out to potential candidates. I thought that if I could fill up the pipeline quickly with great candidates 1) everyone would think I am a super amazing Recruiter 2) we could figure out the rest of the hiring process as we go.

Both statements are false.

A smooth and stress-free hiring process is rarely undervalued by your colleagues and management. Always take time to understand the role in detail, develop a strong relationship with the hiring manager, communicate regularly and ensure that all details of the process are decided prior.

Here are some other helpful articles: