With over 13 years of experience in online recruitment, candidate engagement expert at The Searchologist, author of the “The Robot-Proof Recruiter”, co-host of The #SocialRecruiting Show podcast, and organiser of 5 Disrupt HR events across the UK, Katrina Collier has marked her place as an expert in recruitment.
However, this was not always in her life plan. “I started by accident, like everybody!'', she says. In 2003, after moving from Australia to the UK, she saw an advertisement in a newspaper for a “trainee recruitment consultant”, and that’s how it all started. Katrina Collier worked for a few not-so-great agencies briefly before spending 5 years with a technical recruitment agency.
Then in 2008 the recession hit. However, instead of letting this bad situation get to her, Katrina saw in it an opportunity. With a lot of experience recruiting through Linkedin, Katrina knew that "social media recruitment was just starting to take off" and she thought “maybe job seekers will need help looking for jobs online, and maybe recruiters will need to be able to learn to hire on social media”. With this in mind, she started growing her own business training people in HR and recruitment to source and recruit via social media. Today, she focuses on the issue of candidate engagement.
When asked about the biggest mistakes that recruiters make, Katrina mentions that the way recruiters approach candidates is not always the best. She says that "people are now incredibly easy to find, so how you get in contact with them is incredibly important, and it has to be all about the candidate. It has to show that you have read their profile and that you know something about them; you show in your messaging that you’ve done that. Use the word you!"
She also believes that recruiters, who spend their day judging others online, forget that they are also being judged. "They don't have visible profile pictures, they don't fill out their bios, they don't add any rich media, they don't talk about their company. That’s a big one, not looking like a recruiter who is worthy of somebody’s time in how they present themselves online".
"The Robot-Proof Recruiter" is Katrina's first book, coming out in August, and talks about how technology can be used to help, and not replace recruiters. Katrina believes that "the technology is incredibly crucial, but it has to support. There is no point getting an ATS if you are not going to use it and maximize its use. There is no point using it if you are not going to use it to improve candidate engagement and the experience people go through.”.
With a lot of experience in candidate engagement, Katrina talks about a new attitude that is being caused by the misuse of technology: candidate ghosting, which refers to candidates getting a job offer and not starting, or being in the middle of the interview process and disappearing. Katrina believes that this attitude has been caused by recruiters hiding behind the technology when dealing with job seekers, and that's why she is an advocate of technology being used in the benefit of candidates, inspiring recruiters to use the right mindset when dealing with technology. "The human has to come first, use technology to create a better bond with the human".
"The more the technology can create a connection the better, but we’re not using, as recruiters, the technology to do that. The ATS should show them (candidates) where they are in the process, give them clarity and certainty".
Katrina was the pioneer of Disrupt HR events in the UK, having organized events in London, Bristol, York and Cambridge. She first discovered DisruptHR on a trip to New York, and she immediately loved the concept, as she believed the inexperienced speakers in HR and TA don’t have a platform, and Disrupt HR gives that to them.
“I spoke at DisruptHR New York on my way to another conference, and I thought “I can do this!” but it’s going to be much more relaxed, it’s going to be my style. So I brought the event over in 2016, and now hold it in London 4 times a year. Now I run it in other cities and it has gone nuts! It has got its own energy and its own community who love the fast pace. They only speak for 5 minutes each, the slides rotate automatically , which makes it fun. I love it and I get to use that to support Hope for Justice , a charity that means a lot to me from having gone to Africa with #ConnectingHRAfrica, and seeing first hand how they are ending modern day slavery.”
When asked about what kind of advice she would give to people just entering the HR and Recruitment world, Katrina emphasizes the continuous search for information and the involvement in the community: “Be curious. Go and find where there is advice online, get involved! There are a lot of people in communities sharing information. Read learn, be a sponge, don’t think the only way is this way. For recruiters, Linkedin isn’t the answer. Talk to your people and ask them where they are online and how they would like to be approached. Don’t sit in a bubble, go and talk to people and learn, there is so much information out there!”
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
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