With over 20 years of experience in human resources and recruitment, Jon Thurmond knows a thing or two about the industry.
Jon describes himself as a "fixer." If it's relationships, systems, or processes, he has a proven track record of improving the situation. He’s also been able to help many people with their job searches with resumes, interview prep, and coaching along the way.
Jon has seen the recruitment industry evolve over his career and has been a pillar of support for his fellow recruiters as the face of Xref’s HR Hub platform and the host of the popular #HRSocialHour podcast.
In the rapidly changing recruitment space of the digital age, Jon has kindly shared the following advice to further assist his contemporaries to succeed in the industry.
1. Love what you do
It may sound simple, but to thrive in any industry, it helps if you enjoy what you do. And as recruiters and human resources managers are often the conduit between an employee and a potential job, it is important to be authentic within yourself.
For Jon, he takes pleasure in the person-to-person nature of his position.
“I love the “people puzzle” that is recruitment,” he said. “You can take the people you have and the skills they have and develop them but you’re always trying to fit the puzzle pieces together.
“And you can have that all planned out - who you will hire and how you will train them to be the best fit for the role and company - but there will always be other challenges thrown in along the way.
“One of the other things I love about my job is that it’s always changing. Today’s recruitment professionals have to know many more skills than we required when I started out, such as social media and other areas that would typically fall into the realm of marketing.”
2. Embrace change
With the introduction of improved technology, it is likely that the make-up of most occupations will alter to some extent.
Whilst recruitment will always centre around the human aspect, change in other areas is inevitable. Jon urges up and coming recruiters to embrace this change, particularly in the digital age.
“Everything used to be done on paper and over the telephone, so logistically the process has become much more streamlined.
“The transparency of organisations has also changed dramatically. When I started out, you'd see a job ad in the newspaper, and it would include a line item to send in your resume and fill out a job application. It was a prolonged and ambiguous process for candidates.
“Now, organisations have to be willing to offer a fast and transparent recruitment process in order to attract and maintain the attention of the best talent.
“Companies didn’t have to “tell a story” 10 years ago, now it’s a necessary requirement of the recruitment process. That said, we also didn’t have the shortage of people we face today, and I’m so pleased to see the way storytelling has changed things for the better.”
Jon also encourages recruiters to be active in gaining experience in the different environments of multiple industries, particularly early on in their careers.
“I moved between sectors, building my recruitment skills and knowledge. I spent time as a recruiter in the accounting and finance industry, and then joined a large electric utility company, where I became a corporate level recruiter and, eventually, talent acquisition supervisor.”
The experience across multitude of industries will hold you in good stead if you eventually progress to management, as well as giving you further options down the track.
3. Communication is key
Communication is vital in any occupation, none more so than in recruitment and human resources management.
“From the outset, the candidate understands the job and the organisation,” Jon explains.
“They must be communicated with effectively throughout the process - from their resume being received, to interview scheduling, making sure they’re prepared for interviews, following up, making an offer, and onboarding.
“The communication line has to be open and constant with a high level of touch. If you have a smaller pool of people they are very likely interviewing elsewhere, so how do you make sure you’re top of mind?”
4. Invest in your own development
Practice what you preach: don’t just encourage others to partake in their own development, continuously work to develop yourself also.
That may be through upskilling, diversifying the content you consume, or through industry-involvement and networking.
“Take time to participate in something outside of work. Network outside your organisation. Find a group to participate in and find the people you can lean on and learn from.
“Read everything you can - blogs, LinkedIn articles, news publications. Read content by people that you don’t necessarily agree with, people that challenge you.
“When you are reading, take part in the conversation at some level. I’ve seen what it has done for me to share and learn from the industry. If you have one year or 100 years of experience, we all have a perspective to share.
“Many are uncomfortable being on social media but so much of the conversation is there. And you don’t need to be on there every day, just be willing to share a bit. I’ve been on twitter for 10 years, but I didn’t use it for work until five years ago. It opens so many opportunities. I'm so proud of the podcast and the connections we've made - in 70 countries now - and so much of that has come through social media.”
You can connect with Jon on Twitter: @Jon_Thurmond or email: email@example.com.