Sarah Blackmore, Senior Director of People at Eventbase, the leading mobile event platform, spared us 15 minutes of her busy schedule to share her recruitment words of wisdom.
What does great recruitment look like? What is preventing us from doing it well? And what buzzword should we definitely stop using? Sarah gives us her take.
Tell us a bit about your role.
As the Senior Director of People for Eventbase, my role is all about finding the balance between what people need to do their best work and what businesses need to thrive.
It covers everything from developing policies and practices to nurturing an awesome working environment, to leading recruitment efforts and engaging employees.
What do you love most about working for Eventbase?
I love the people. I know everyone says that but the people I work with really are the reason I show up every day.
Our co-founders built an environment that has attracted some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
The culture is considerate, compassionate…and a little rogue! I believe a culture is organic and will always be the sum of its parts. It will always move, shift, and change with the people in the organization and it starts at the top and trickles down – it’s essential for the leadership team at a company to really foster the kind of culture that employees want to be a part of.
And that’s what the team at Eventbase has done, and continues to do.
How do you feel recruitment has changed in the last decade?
Technology has certainly enhanced recruitment in the past 10 years, but I don't think it has fundamentally changed it.
The recruitment process starts and ends with the candidate. At Eventbase, we have designed the process to provide an awesome experience for all potential hires and to optimize the time it takes to hire the highest quality candidates.
We take care of the things that matter to an applicant, including things like decline emails. We understand that looking for work can be a vulnerable situation and that people prefer to know they didn't make the cut rather than be left wondering.
What does successful hiring look like and what’s your biggest barrier to success?
It looks easy! If a hiring process is working well, the process should feel easy and intuitive – and look different each time, depending on the role you’re hiring for. It should also be easy to see what volume you have in your pipeline, allowing hiring managers to know that candidates are moving through. Finally, it should never leave a candidate guessing where they are in the process – a transparent experience is key.
Recruitment of qualified tech professionals is a big challenge for us and many of our peers within the industry. The job market is tough and is dominated by the giants, who drive up salaries. It can be challenging for smaller companies and start-ups to compete.
That said, we do offer a nimble environment that allows for significant personal and professional growth – opportunities that an employee may not necessarily have at one of the big tech-focused organizations.
What’s your team’s #1 priority for the next 6 months and greatest achievement from the last 6?
Our priority for the six months ahead is compensation.
Employees feel valued when they’re fairly compensated, and when they feel valued, they’re more committed to the company and to producing outstanding results. Compensation doesn’t always have to mean money though – it’s the entire package, including time off and perks.
The past six months at Eventbase have been busy, and we’ve achieved a lot in a short time, including implementing a performance management program, coaching and leadership training opportunities, and new recruitment and internal communications processes.
I’m really proud of how well these changes have been received by the organization and look forward to witnessing further, the positive impact they’ll have.
What do you believe will be the biggest industry trend in the next 12 months?
HR tech is on the minds of many within the industry and for good reason – it’s helping to automate some of the more administrative components of HR, the ones that take up so much time and deter from more important job functions.
I am personally thrilled about the emergence of these technologies so that I can focus more on things that matter – like continually improving the candidate experience.
What do you feel the HR industry currently lacks?
Funnily enough, I think the HR industry seems to lack empathy. While we use the word “human” in our industry, it’s tied to “resources” – which is exactly what humans within a company should not be referred to.
Instead, we should be focusing on human beings, and on supporting them, whether it be through the recruitment process or as they pursue a career with the company. We must constantly remind ourselves of the very things that make our workplace experiences positive and demonstrate that behaviour.
I also believe that, as HR professionals, we often focus so much on the growth of employees that we neglect our own. It’s important though, to always feel like you’re moving forward in a role and in the industry, and to invest in your own personal development.
My tips for doing this, include having conversations with everyone (you never know what you’ll learn), asking questions (try to learn the business inside and out), and finding a mentor (some of the best learnings come from a committed mentor).
What industry buzzword would you be happy to see the back of?
Synergy – at this point, the term has lost all meaning and comes across as a filler. Please stop using it!
About Sarah Blackmore
Sarah has more than 15 years’ experience running People and Recruitment teams for some of Vancouver's most interesting companies, including Bench Accounting, Eventbase, and Saje Natural Wellness; high growth is her middle name (well, actually it's Jane but if she had a choice...)
She is a future of work evangelist and believes that "HR" isn't a dirty word - it is actually best job in the world) She also believes that real people need to hear real things and that being part of someone else's journey to greatness is an honour.