Where Recruiting Technology Comes Up Short

Here’s what’s wrong with most “hi-tech” solutions to improve the recruiting process: they miss where the real value is.

With Big data in its infancy, the biggest contribution of technology so far to recruiting is to connect the job seeker to the job offer.  Helpful, but basic.   They do a great job of selecting candidate profiles to match job vacancies but how far has that got you.

Matching is the easy part.  Now you are at the starting line.

Greg Savage

Greg Savage

In a recent blog, recruiting authority Greg Savage points out what is still to be done.

  • Identifying candidates who are notlooking, but who will fit a hard-to-find skill set.
  • Approaching, enticing, seducing, and bringing those candidates to the hiring table.
  • Managing the hiring process, negotiating terms, finessing the brief, handling the counter-offer, assisting with on-boarding.

These require humans.  They require humans with a lot of experience and, yes, intuition.

Recruiting technology is starting to make inroads into these complex stages but there’s a long way to go.

There is also the question whether technology is even leading us in the right direction.  One of the leading claims of psychometric evaluation is to remove subjectivity.  But, accurately interpreting the findings of these assessments requires a credentialed operator at the helm.  In other words, to remove bias from the process to remove bias comes back to human skill.

Perhaps, instead of setting out to replace the human function, the best technology will lead to an optimum partnership.

“Technology will make talent identification easier and easier,” says Savage. “Recruiting and hiring will get harder and harder.”

Convincing a candidate that the job is right doesn’t come by checking off boxes.  It requires the give and take of human interaction.

If technology cannot replace the “craft” of recruiting, the ideal recruiter of today and tomorrow will be a strategic combination of both that brings the efficiency and speed of technology in finding and matching together with the experience to finesse and finalise the hire that is not available to the client elsewhere.

In Savage’s words: “Talent is not an online commodity”

It’s worth keeping up with “The Savage Truth”. Here’s the link. http://gregsavage.com.au/

Diversity in the Aging Workforce: Why Older Women Matter

First published for AARP International’s The Journal – Special Edition on Women: Illuminating Progress in September 2015

Susan Jackson-Wood, 62, was national training manager with the Australian operation of UK cosmetics company Yardley London, where she had worked for 23 years in a variety of management roles, when the company withdrew from Australia in 1998. Adelaide-based Jackson-Wood was 47 at the time and convinced that employers were not interested in employing an older woman, irrespective of her experience.

“I suddenly felt invisible,” she recalls. That’s when she decided to start her own training and professional development business, until 2004 when she joined business association Business South Australia as a sponsorship and partnership executive. Her interpersonal and relationship skills, as well as her ability to connect people were essential attributes of the role. And it’s what she loved to do.

As the oldest person on her team she quickly decided not to fall into the trap of thinking the old ways are the best ways. “Those days [of being in charge] are over, but there’s still a lot I can contribute,” she says. “I had to tell myself that it’s a different time and that the people I was working with have incredibly strong skills and qualifications that I never had. I’m not trying to compete with them.”

 True to her training background, Jackson-Wood believes in the importance of professional development. She self-funded her participation in a 10-month leadership development program run by the Leaders Institute of South Australia. “I really need to be doing something to keep the sparks going,” she explains.1

Susan is a shining example of thousands of older women in Sageco’s circle of colleagues and participants. Each story is different. As a specialist in providing aging workforce solutions to hundreds of organizations in Australia and New Zealand since 2004, we have learned the importance of recognizing that older workers are a diverse group. One size does not fit all—particularly when it comes to older women.

In terms of workforce participation, women ages 55 and over make up the fastest-growing segment of the workforce. We participated in a research project in 2013, Older Women Matter, with the Diversity Council of Australia that applied both an age and gender lens to existing academic and industry research to get to the heart of why older women matter.

Older female workers (defined as ages 45+) are a critical segment of Australia’s workforce. Their employment participation has increased significantly in the last few decades and now makes up 17 percent of Australia’s workforce. This is a global trend, but Australia still lags behind comparable countries.

Governments are interested in increasing the workforce participation of older women because of its effect on gross domestic product. Businesses benefit because of sustained job performance, high motivation levels, high reliability, improved staff retention, and the accumulation of experience, knowledge, and skills over working lives. Gender diversity research indicates businesses can experience a range of benefits from a workforce that is inclusive of women, including reducing attrition; enhancing innovation, group performance, access to target markets and financial performance; and minimizing legal and reputational risks.

But most importantly, older women benefit. For older women, paid work provides access to greater financial security as a consequence of having an independent source of income, as well as enhanced social support, satisfaction, self-esteem, and mental and physical health. With life expectancy in Australia increasing to more than 84 years for women, and close to 70 percent of older female workers rating their health as good or excellent, many older female workers are at their peak.2

A Framework for Action

Sageco’s approach is always about conversations and taking action. This framework was not only borne out of the extensive Older Women Matter research, but out of our niche experience with hundreds of successful organizations in managing the risks, challenges, and opportunities of an aging workforce. This framework is not exclusive to women; many of the strategies are applicable to older men. However, within this framework are tailored actions that organizations can take to increase and enhance the participation of older women in their workforce. Here are some examples of what can be done.

Source talent

• Check your recruitment practices for “gendered ageism.” Is a younger female more likely to win a close to entry level position than an older female? Are you assuming that because a woman is older she is overqualified?

• Value skills and experience that women have gained outside the workforce. Running a household or being a caretaker or a volunteer requires extraordinary skills that are transferrable to a work setting.

• Look past interrupted work histories. Many women have breaks from their career due to parenting and caring responsibilities. Periods of unemployment do not necessarily indicate a disinterest in work or a career failure.

• Look to your existing talent. Provide opportunities and flexible working options for the older women already in your workforce.

• Diversify your recruitment messages. Use descriptors that value experience, life skills, long service, or multiple careers.

Consider careers and capabilities

• Provide training courses at all employee life stages. Research shows that older women are twice as likely to participate in training courses as their male counterparts.

• Review career models for

gendered ageism. An older woman who has had several career breaks may be looking for promotional opportunities when she’s 55. This is often considered quite late in any given career model paradigm.

• Take a life stage view of capabilities. Recognize informal qualifications.

• Provide flexible development options, centering on family-friendly scheduling and locations.

Cultivate culture

• Create a specific employee value proposition for older women that might take flexible work, career opportunities, and financial well-being into account.

• Make older women visible. Represent older women in visual materials that demonstrate leadership in your organization.

Get flexible

• Flexible work is a key enabler for the participation of older women. Many older women care for grandchildren, children, and their own parents. Factor senior care into flexible offerings.

• Provide caregiving leave. Even better, provide paid caregiving leave.

• Use technology to support flexible work.

• Create a flexible work campaign targeted at older women, and ascertain what they want when they consider flexibility (e.g., a later start to the workday, an

earlier finish to the workday, buying extra leave).

Invest in health and well-being

• Each life stage requires a tailored approach for supporting health and well-being. For older women, this might include mental health issues such as anxiety or depression and physical health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, and menopause.

• At the same time, it’s important to challenge health stereotypes. Women are living longer and aging well, and close to 70 percent rate their health as good or excellent. Older women are less likely to experience work-related injuries and the least likely group to take days off due to illness or caregiving.

• Factor older women into safety initiatives. Review physical load and ergonomic design.

• Consider shift lengths and leverage flexibility to support well-being.

Focus on financial well-being

• Financial circumstances play a key part in encouraging women to exit, remain in, or reenter the workforce. Career breaks, the lack of early access to superannuation schemes, and pay equity contribute to this.

• Include financial well-being in your employee value proposition and tailor financial planning assistance to ensure it recognizes the financial circumstances of older women, particularly those who are divorced, separated, single, or widowed.

• Support industry-wide pay equity. The gap in Australia is 17 percent.

Tailor transitions

• Provide a framework to help older women make decisions about their future. It could be a productive and positive transition to retirement or imagining the next 5-10 years of working life. The framework should include holistic support in the areas of identity, money, career, health, relationships, and planning for the future.

• Develop a specific retention strategy for older women that includes initiatives such as financial well-being and flexibility.

Envisaging a Productive and Positive Future

Since 2004, we have been privileged to work with thousands of older women through our organization-sponsored Envisage seminars. The Envisage framework is a holistic framework that supports decision making for the future—personal identity, money, career, health, and relationships. In our experience, this single half-day intervention has provided life-changing moments for many women whose careers have been shaped by social, economic, and environmental factors not experienced by their male counterparts or the generations of women following them. This baby-boom generation of women was often denied educational opportunities, forced to stop working once married, excluded from superannuation schemes, and took long career breaks to raise children.

We are always buoyed by participant feedback such as the following:

“As a single woman, I really appreciated the fact that this seminar acknowledged that not everyone approaching retirement is the same (i.e., has a partner and children). The course has given me a good perspective about planning for a future where I have to rely on myself to safeguard my future, and where being single means I need about 70 percent of the funds a couple needs. It was a good sanity check. I would definitely recommend this course.”

“I realized that despite talking the talk about retirement, I was quite possibly in denial until I attended the Envisage program. I then realized that the other people in the room were my age, and what we were discussing was something that was soon going to affect us all in some way or other—some sooner than others. I was one of the sooner rather than later mob. I realized it was serious stuff that I had to really think about. What was I going to do with myself when work was not the place I had to go to every day? What would I think of myself and what would my husband want when I retired? Were we even thinking we might want the same things? It was time to talk and sit and think. Thank you—you made me do this. I keep my little book beside my bed to remind me that this plan is something that is ongoing. When I think of something new, I write it in my book, so it’s there for me to refer to.”

Being prepared to examine the challenges of the aging workforce with a diversity lens allows us to tailor solutions that cut through much of the rhetoric. We encourage any organization to take that bit of extra time and pilot a few initiatives. You might be surprised at the difference you can make. As an employer of many older women, we at Sageco can put our hand on our heart and say that they really do matter. •

1 Originally published in “Age Shall Not Weary Them,” Leo D’Angelo Fisher, BRW Online, June 19, 2013, http://www.brw.com.au/.

2 “Older Women Matter: Harnessing the Talents of Australia’s Older Female Workforce,” Diversity Council Australia, last modified 2013, http://www.dca.org.au/dca-research.html.

Appointments Boost Cornerstone In Asia-Pacific

SHANGHAI CN, March 11, 2016   Cornerstone International Group, the global executive search and leadership development organization, has expanded its services in the Asia Pacific market with two senior appointments.

Atsushi Murata - Cornerstone Japan

Atsushi Murata – Cornerstone Japan

In Japan, the recently launched Cornerstone Yokohama has announced the addition of Director Atsushi  Murata, a senior consultant in strategic management.

In Australia, veteran HR Director Anna Xu has joined Cornerstone International Group Australia to lead the Life Science practice group in both Melbourne and Sydney.

“We are delighted to welcome such highly qualified professionals,” says CEO Simon Wan from Cornerstone’s head office here. “Their experience and expertise will greatly benefit our clients in the region.”

Atsushi Murata’s experiences include director and advisor at a listed Food and Beverage company, Learning & Development practice lead at Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting, a senior management role at a Human Capital group company of IBM, and director at a strategic management consulting firm.

As a business leader and a management consultant, he developed not only effective business solutions but also a “never give up” fighting spirit to encourage executives to overcome such difficulties.

Anna Xu cropped (199)

Anna Xu – Cornerstone Australia

Anna Xu joins Cornerstone in Australia as Associate Partner and brings a wealth of HR Leadership and international experience in the Life Science sector.

She was most recently the HR Director for Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co. Ltd. Based in Shenzhen, China, Mindray is one of the leading global innovators, developers and providers of sophisticated medical devices and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Anna was a key member of the Executive team and played an important role in the merger and acquisition of companies in USA and Australia.  Her HR expertise includes: Strategic Workforce & Succession Planning, Talent Acquisition & Development, Organization Transformation & Development, and Compensation & Benefits.

Cornerstone International Group is a world leading organization of retained executive search and recruiting specialists with 65 offices in 34 countries. It maintains head offices in Shanghai, China and in Atlanta, USA.

Out With the Old. In With the New.

If you attended last year’s NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit, you already know that mushrooms really are the new plastic. When Ecovative President and CEO Eben Bayer told an audience of 1,200 directors how his company could change the future of packaging during last year’s Future Trends: Short Takes on Big Ideas, we’re not sure he even believed IKEA would be knocking on his door a mere six months later.

That’s the thing with Summit; you’ll hear about concepts and emerging trends that you might not have otherwise considered, because—let’s face it—you’re not hearing them anywhere else (like board member advice from Batman producer Michael Uslan).

From future trends to big ideas, big data to getting your next board seat, leading through disruption to breaking through bias, the agenda for our largest event of the year is designed with one major thing in mind: keeping you—the director—relevant.

And speaking of relevancy, we’re excited to share our brand-new 2016 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit website—your fresh, everything-you-need-to-know-about-Summit headquarters. Before you check out it out, however, don’t miss this 2016 Summit Trailer:

2016 Summit Trailer

We’ll see you in September!

2016 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit | CONVERGENCE

September 17-20, 2016
Marriott Marquis | Washington, DC

Reserve your seat today.

Early-bird pricing ends March 31.

Why Accept Outplacement Services?

Losing a job is like a punch in the gut. We work in a shifting sand work landscape today. Work that is reliable, safe and comfortable is something stories are told about, especially during a job loss.

Companies that care offer outplacement services to employees and it takes time for the employee to recognize the outplacement package as a benefit and as a goodwill gesture by the employer.

This lack of readiness in considering the value that outplacement services can offer during a job loss can best be understood within the framework of William Bridges work, “Change is fast and situational, transition is slow and psychological.”

I am curious about what stops us from accepting help when we need it the most. In fact, a robust outplacement service, at the very minimum can do the following:

  • Gives us a map – When we lose our footing, a map is a useful thing to have. As Reif Larsen says, “A map unlocks and formulates meaning. It forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we didn’t know were previously connected.” Brene Brown tells us, ‘we are wired for stories.” A dedicated coach can help make sense of the visible and invisible narratives within us. These conversations help us pay attention to self-care at a time when it is usually absent. A client once remarked, “I didn’t know how much caring I needed until I engaged with my coach and the services.”
  • Gives us permission – Much of life is lived within the context of being brave, being invulnerable and being resourceful. Outplacement services provide scaffolding. As one of my colleagues says, “a transition is the perfect time to be unready.” This scaffolding can help make sense of the fall, encourage leaning into the discomfort and rewrite our future.
  • Gives us customized value – Each one of us experiences loss differently. Our circumstances are unique. The way we integrate our experience, including our failures, real and perceived is complex. Sometimes, we need another perspective to make this complex process somewhat simpler. Outplacement services come in all sizes yet rarely have I encountered a situation where services and importantly, conversations can’t be tailored to make the best meaning for the client.

What has been your experience? What has stopped you from engaging in outplacement services? What has been positive for you when you did engage in such services?

As you know, Promark Company and Career Partners International are in the business of impacting lives – work that we care deeply about and do with integrity, each day. Our promise is simple: we will listen to your story wholeheartedly and help you explore what works best for you, should you be in a transition.

Cornerstone Global Executive Search Group Opens in Japan

SHANGHAI, CN March 7, 2016 –  Cornerstone International Group, a global executive search and leadership development group, has established its first office in Japan and 17th in Asia, it was announced this week.

William Liu, Cornerstone Yokohama

William Liu, Cornerstone Yokohama

Speaking at the head office of Cornerstone International Group here, CEO Simon Wan welcomed Human Future, a boutique human capital agency based in Yokohama.

“This is an exciting step for us,” said William Liu, Managing Partner of Human Future. “Japan used to be a region by itself for many multinationals but has increasingly become part of a wider market.

“This new association will give us direct, high-quality global access and greatly benefit our growing Japanese-based businesses and MNC clients.”

Liu has over 20 years of HR experience in Japan in various consulting and senior corporate roles. He was formerly HR Director of Elekta Japan, a major Swedish medical device company.

More information on Liu and the new Cornerstone Yokohama can be found here.

“This is an important addition to our presence in Asia,” said CEO Wan. “Talent acquisition today knows no borders and has become a complex management and organizational challenge.

“William’s team brings a strong combination of retained executive search practice and HR consulting that will help firms to meet this challenge.”

Cornerstone International Group serves home-based and multi-national clients around the world with consistent, high quality services.  Members own their own businesses and are market leaders, sharing specialty expertise and best practices.   Cornerstone International Group has headquarters in Shanghai, China and Atlanta, Georgia.

How to Remain Motivated to Achieve Your Career Goals

On Sunday night in LA, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar. He was first nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 20 for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He was always keen on taking challenging roles rather than going for the stereotypical good looking male lead in a Romcom in order to further his career, but he was catapulted into stardom by the hit Titanic and perfected his craft with Gangs of New York and Catch Me If You Can. And yet each time he was nominated (5 times before this year) the Oscar eluded him.

Leonardo Dicaprio wins Oscar

It would have been easy for DiCaprio to have become disillusioned, turning his back on the industry. He could have felt that the academy (and therefore those working within it) did not value him and have gone ‘off the rails’. He could have even decided to set about winning an Oscar by choosing roles based purely on their likelihood of winning awards. He did none of that. He diligently steered his career, focusing on partnering with those people who would add value to him as a performer (for example, Martin Scorsese), projects that would push him (his role in Django Unchained) and creating a perception that not only is he a great actor, but a genuinely nice guy. All of this combined to create success. Not only did he win the Oscar, he added to that a Golden Globe, a Bafta and countless other prizes. Leonardo DiCaprio is a man at the top of his game; arguably THE leading actor of his generation and one who can now have his pick of any role.

This level of career planning is not something that is only open to Hollywood royalty. Everyone can be the master of their own career destiny.

When you’re setting career goals, it is absolutely vital that they’re not aimed so high that they’re completely unachievable within the timeframe that you have set. If you make this mistake, you will soon become demotivated because you will never feel as though you’re making any progress towards your goals. You should also ensure that you know exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals – for example would additional training or qualifications help, or taking on some additional tasks, or asking to join a particular project team where you will learn some new skills? It can also be good to set some measures and milestones, as this can allow you to see your progress – which can be very highly motivating and enable you to support any claim you may have to a promotion or new role.

Setting goals for your career can feel like a very personal journey, however this doesn’t mean that your friends and family can’t help you along the way. Even if they might not be able to do anything practical relating to your career, sharing your plans means that they will be able to support you and cheer you on so that you never feel alone – and this can really help to keep your motivation high when you might feel it slipping at times, especially when things may be stressful at work.

Be positive, focused and patient – because your mind-set really is half of the battle when it comes to meeting goals and progressing in your career. It is important that you are making decisions because they are best for your career, rather than because you’re panicking about something, such as running out of time or financial pressures. Remaining confident in your own abilities and visualising how you will feel when you achieve your goals should prevent help you from falling behind and losing motivation.

Here are some ways you can position yourself for career progression:

Think about the broader opportunities that are available to you throughout your career. It is important to know not just where you’re aiming now, but where you could potentially be aiming in the future. Knowing where your current role could lead you can help you to understand what is realistic and what might not be. For example an early career in teaching or accountancy can open the doors to many different types of roles at where your skills provide a great foundation. A career in the military or public sector can also lead to many new career alternatives. An opportunity to take a sideways move rather than a promotion can often strengthen your CV and lead to new types of career opportunities. However if your dream job involves working in another country then it’s likely that you will have to learn a foreign language or gain a specific qualification to do so.

Once you know where you could be heading, it is important that you make a plan. A career map is the perfect choice for this. You should map out your past as well as your future, as it can often be really helpful to see how far you have come – as this can motivate you to see how much further you could still go.

Review your plan every year, because even small changes in your working situation could make you change your mind about where you really want to be, or open up new career paths. If you sit down once a year and reflect on the previous year, how you felt about your role, and how you would like to develop it, you should be able to gain direction regarding next steps and future career options.

Think about the positives and negatives in your life. No matter what life stage we’re at, there will be things that we feel good about, and others that aren’t so great. If you make a list of the good points and bad points of life right now, you will soon start to see trends, including whether your career mostly falls into one category or the other. Writing it down this way can sometimes help you to recognise that you actually don’t enjoy the career you’ve chosen, often an uncomfortable truth, but at least by acknowledging this you can begin to make a plan to change things.

These are all steps that anyone can take and the important thing is to stay in control of your career and not be afraid to adapt as your situation changes. Even Leonardo DiCaprio must have had moments when he wondered if his career plan was ever going to actually help him achieve his Oscar goal but he kept going, staying in control of his movie choices and continuing to develop as an actor.

Yes he didn’t get his Oscar at 20, but his journey to it now has been far more rewarding (both personally, artistically and financially) than it may otherwise have been, and the success that little bit sweeter. How will you feel when you achieve your career equivalent of an Oscar?

Cornerstone International Group Welcomes New Member in Brazil

Sao Paulo, BR, February 25, 2016 – Cornerstone International Group, a global executive search and leadership development organization, has added four new offices in Brazil, it was announced here today.  Technique Search, with headquarters here and three subsidiary offices, is the latest executive search firm to join the fast-growing group.

“We are very pleased to welcome Nahid Chicani and his team at Technique Search to our world network,” said Larry Shoemaker, President of Cornerstone International Group.  “Latin America is one of our key regions and it is a great advantage to have such a strong footprint in a market as big as Brazil.”

Nihad Chicani

Nihad Chicani, Senior Consultant & Partner

The new Cornerstone Brazil will be based in Sao Paulo and has offices also in Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Campinas. The firm has a team of 10 senior consultants and specializes in assessments, recruiting and leadership counseling for positions that include senior executives, members of the Board of Directors and managerial/specialist positions.

Talent Management services include Career Planning and Development, Board and Senior Management Assessment and evaluation of needs and Board and Management Counseling, which includes initial alignment of expectations and personal careers

“Joining Cornerstone International Group is a great fit,” says Nahid Chicani, Senior Consultant and Partner.  “All Members own their businesses and bring to the table both key local knowledge and established reputations.

“In other words, we can expand our global business with full confidence in our colleagues around the world.”

Cornerstone International Group was established 25 years ago and has over 60 member offices in 29 countries.  Head offices are in Shanghai, China and Atlanta, USA.


For information:

Mirella Imparato

Cornerstone Brazil



China, Global Oil Darken Outlook for Canada

TORONTO, ON February 22, 2016 – Despite the recovering economy of its southern neighbour and biggest trading partner, the forecast for Canada remains bleak, says Jill MacLeod, Regional Chair for Canada with Cornerstone International Group.

“The Canadian dollar started the year at a 30% discount to the USA dollar, weaker than it has been for a long time,” writes Macleod in a Business Outlook published on the group’s website.

“Domestic growth is slow and low global oil prices are punishing the energy sector which accounts for a quarter of the country’s GDP.”

The business outlook commentary is one of a global series published at the start of each year by Cornerstone International Group, a global executive search and leadership development organization.

Canada’s economy is also directly affected by what is happening in China, where a weaker appetite for resources is depressing prices for oil, coal, copper and many of the key commodities that dominate this country’s exports and investments.

A modest pickup in growth in 2016 is expected to stem from increased federal government spending, largely on infrastructure, promised by a new government elected in October 2015.

While effects of the economic downtown on Canadians cannot be downplayed, hiring remains steady, home values are up, gas prices are down and most people are working.

The manufacturing sector will begin 2016 much the way it began 2015 – with the expectation that it will be one of the bright spots in the Canadian economy, fueled by a weak Canadian dollar and a strong U.S. economy that should give a big boost to Canada’s non-energy exports.

Cornerstone International Group is an organization of executive search and leadership development specialists in 29 countries. Other regional and national business outlooks already published include Asia-Pacific, China, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand

For Information
Jill MacLeod
Cornerstone Toronto