Glenn Elliott: Hiring With Context & Vulnerability

by | Feb 18, 2021

There was never going to be anyone else but Glenn Elliott as the first guest on The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) and why will become very clear to you during the course of this episode.

Glenn & I met when I ran the very first DisruptHR London event, and he invited me to his offices to discuss how Reward Gateway could support the event. Glenn was totally in support of my decision to use sponsors to raise funds for Hope for Justice charity and RG has supported ever since not only as a sponsor but through the RG Foundation & Catrin Lewis‘s personal contribution.

When you walk the floors of Reward Gateway you become awestruck by not only the kindness of their (now former) leader but how lovely all the staff are.  It’s something you want to bottle and take into every company!

Besides the opportunity to ask Glenn  – a CEO!! – why he read The Robot-Proof Recruiter twice, we also talked about how he got so good at hiring great people both at RG and now at Tenzing. Context & vulnerability… and a whole load more!

Grab a pen & paper and settle in 🎧


Full Podcast Transcript with Glenn Elliott

Katrina Collier 0:00
Hello, I am Katrina Collier, and as part of my mission to inspire all the people, that recruit people, to treat people better, I bring you The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast. Here you will hear from those hiring leaders who create true partnerships with Recruiters, HR and Talent Acquisition, because they know that it delivers a better result for the business and a better human experience. May these podcasts inspire other hiring leaders to create better partnerships with their recruiters and HR, and may it inspire recruiters to create true and valuable partnerships with their hiring leaders. Because people make businesses succeed, and people matter. So let us begin.

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Glenn Elliott to The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited). When I thought who do I want as my very, very first podcast guest I knew instantly it had to be you, Glenn. And why will become very clear to listeners during the course of this episode. But first huge love and thanks to our sponsor, WORQDRIVE, also new to the scene with an internal mobility tool like no other that you must go check out. So Glenn Elliott, of course, I know you from your time as the CEO of Reward Gateway, that what have you been up to recently?

Glenn Elliott 1:19
And where you have moved? Hello. Yes, So yeah, I was, I was CEO of Reward Gateway for, I think, 12 or 13 years, until about 2018. And then I took a bit of time off, I found a wonderful guide dog Butler to take over my role. And then I took a couple of years off, had a mini breakdown, took time off, you know, usual thing that you do when you finish being CEO. And I am now. Exhaustion. Exactly total burnout and exhaustion, that took me about a year and a half to calm down enough to notice it. And then I’m now for the last year, I’ve been working full time, which is four days a week for me. That’s my full time. Yeah. Full time for a private equity firm called Tenzing Private Equity, where I’ve got really fancy title of Entrepreneur in Residence. So I’m the only non investor in the investment company. And my, my job is not to not to be an investor, not to look for what to invest in, not to look for what to buy. My job is to help those management teams to grow their businesses. And that’s what I do. Is that all?

Katrina Collier 2:24
And actually, look, I wasn’t going to talk about this, but now that you mentioned it. I love the fact you’ve gone through. Well, no, I don’t love the fact you went through it, but you went through the burnout, and you realized and you’ve gone I’m going to do four days a week. Yeah. I’ve gone I’m going to start my day at 10am which sort of shocks people and I’m not available for 10am. Okay, I’m kind of a messenger but, and actually I think that’s probably quite important for the people that you’re also advising because they will entrepreneurs, and they do tend to burn themselves out.

Glenn Elliott 2:51
So. It’s funny actually, they do, and it’s you know, I’ve been doing a lot of work just recently thinking about this. So the first thing I recommend all entrepreneurs and management teams do, the first thing they should do after we’ve invested is go on what I call the post dealer holiday, they need a break, because they’ve just been exhausting, three, four, five, six months sometimes process to find the right production partner, and it’s really exhausting. And they’re knackered, and sometimes they’re so you’re so you’re so wrapped into it, you don’t even have the chance to notice that you’re knackered, but it is the worst time to make important decisions. Like you know, what’s our three, four, five year plan. So I want everyone to like calm down, take a break.

Katrina Collier 3:32
You have that guilt that goes with it. Yeah. I mean, it took me six years to have a holiday. And then when I did Oh my god, did I have a holiday. But the guilt of not working was insane.

Glenn Elliott 3:44
Yeah, it’s funny, actually, when when, when Doug and I started working together so Doug became CEO, but he did the first year and a half with me as CFO and COO. Yeah. Yeah. I used to love it. It sounds ridiculous. If I saw in his diary, he had a day off for golf, he was a golfer? I loved that because for some reasons, just seeing it, made me, it made me give, gave me the permission to relax for a moment thinking you have a day off. And I think we need that. And I mean, I’m very fortunate, you know, I’ve had a successful business career. And I can now you know, I guess to choose what I want to do and you know, four days a week, I don’t have work email on my phone, or slack on my phone was it feels like no point, especially given that we can’t go out to the pandemic like you know. And I do not look at my you know, I all my colleagues know if you need me on a Wednesday day, which is my day off or the weekend, you’ve got a phone and make a fuss that way because I often often nowhere near my phone trying not to be near it. So.

Katrina Collier 4:39
See that’s old school, isn’t it pick up the telephone. Yeah.

Glenn Elliott 4:42
Because if you sent me a slack message or an email, there’s no way I’ll see it.

Katrina Collier 4:46
I will confess I did hunt you down for this. I was nearly going to an Instagram message. I was nearly there. So I’ve gone LinkedIn. Then I’ve gone to Charlie, then I’ve gone to email, then I’ve gone to another email. I was like, I’m going to have you as my first guest. I’m not going to run this podcast until you’re my first guest. That’s how I felt.

Glenn Elliott 5:00
I’m notoriously calling mail and everyone’s very polite, and they obviously know you’re busy. The truth is, I’m not that busy I am just really organised organized. And I tend to, you know, I look at my inbox and he looks at this morning and I cherry pick the two or three things off the top of it that I can deal with quickly. And then everything that’s off the screen is just don’t notice.

Katrina Collier 5:19
I created an emails of 2020 sub-folder and literally dragged all the emails, still ridiculous in my inbox into that sub folder. Yeah, and then just started 2021. I’ve had to check back at a few, but most of them are still sitting that dreadful, dreadful. Yeah. Now, I’ve got a question for you bringing it back to recruitment, mind I still think there’s burnout thing is very important for people in the hot seat. You are the only CEO I know who bought my book and actually read it. In fact, you read it twice. Yeah. And you also purchase copies for the entire talent acquisition team when you were still at Reward Gateway? Yeah, um, what exactly prompted that other than you’re obviously adoration for me, but what prompted you to do that? I’ve not heard of a CEO doing that.

Glenn Elliott 6:07
Well, that’s funny. I didn’t realize I was the only one. I mean.

Katrina Collier 6:10
well, obviously, nobody else has told me maybe there are tons of them. But I’m pretty sure you’re unique.

Glenn Elliott 6:15
Well, because, because people is the only thing that matters in business. And recruitment, and especially recruitment process, or how we treat people both treat both the people that we hire, and the people that we don’t hire is really, really important. So that’s why so I bought your book, because Yeah, because I know who you are. And I need to be some great stuff in it. And and what’s that know a lot of the things you talked about, I knew that I would learn more. And and I wanted the whole recruitment team to really think about these things. You know, it’s, it’s interesting, I run a recruitment process, at Tenzing back in September. And I mean, I followed many of the very common sense principles that are in your book, you know. And I broke some of the rules as well, actually, there’s.

Katrina Collier 7:06
I love it.

Glenn Elliott 7:07
So, for example, it was a firm that was hiring a hiring a role which I’ve never hired before. And I didn’t know how I didn’t know how many interviews to do. I didn’t know how long the process would be. Yeah. And I know that, you know, the textbook stuff is you should say to candidates, you know, it’ll be two steps, and you’ll end on this date. And we’ll be, and I just didn’t know. So I fell back on just communicating really regularly and being really honest with people. Yeah. And I had like, how refreshing. I had like, 85 applicants for that role, it took ages to to do CV sift, because I kind of ballsed it up. I just said, Send me a CV and then once I got all the CV’s in different formats, with different things, I realized the more sensible questions. So it took me ages to do CV’s.

Katrina Collier 7:49
And plus they were in the inbox that you don’t like looking at. Yeah.

Glenn Elliott 7:53
I know. I kind of you know, I kind of got through all the CV’s, I read them all really carefully, then I decided I should have had a scoring frameworks so I had to go back and do them all again. So the first CV sift took me about three or four weeks. And I just kept I just kept him I just thought, you know, if I’m the candidate, what would happen if we get to the end of the week, and on Friday thinking, what’s happening with that job. So I just, I just email them on the Friday, just said what we just said, and just said things like, I’m really sorry, it’s taking longer than I thought is the first time I’ve recruited this role, and I didn’t realise how long it would take. And.

Katrina Collier 8:23
See, I find that incredible that here you are, and because I’ve got a question about how you hide your team coming up. Yeah, you have hired; you are experienced, but they were being really vulnerable and going, you know what, I’m not quite 100% sure what I’m doing. Yeah. And he was sitting in that vulnerability and going, that’s okay. Like, I think I wish more hiring leaders were doing that, you know, some some of my hope with this podcast is that they listen to this and they feel inspired to go, I’m human, I don’t necessarily know, let me call him help, let me ask you know. That’s amazing. I love that.

Glenn Elliott 8:55
I mean, I kind of think, you know, it was first it was very true; I was in a brand new role in an industry that I’ve never worked in before, hiring a role that never existed before, you know, with the recruitment process that I’ve never done before. So frankly, dressing it up as anything other than that would have been just require more acting skills than I have. And but it was amazing how. So the process dragged on for ages. I mean, it was it was very bad textbook stuff. And that took about 10 weeks or something or eight weeks to recruit. But I was looking for one person that ended up with end up hiring three, the candidates were so great, and I had so many emails from people saying, thanks, don’t worry how long it’s taking. It’s so nice to be informed. So nice to hear from you. I mean, and it made me realise the bar must be very, very low. Very low. That you know, people apply for jobs and just never hear anything back. And I gave personal feedback to like my, I think for the last 15 or more, you know, for the 15 that didn’t get into the last round, I wrote them a personal email. And for the, for the top five that we didn’t hire, I offered them a 30 minute feedback call, because it doesn’t take that long.

Katrina Collier 10:04
That’s amazing.

Glenn Elliott 10:05
I am not that busy that I can’t do that. And you never know who you’re gonna meet in the future you can like, bump into in the future, you know.

Katrina Collier 10:13
On the on the 30 minute feedback, you know, I know one of the biggest problems I hear from recruiters and HR about hiring leaders is that they struggle giving feedback yet he was prepared to give 30 minutes. Were you not concerned about Oh, they might see me because I’ve discriminated or they always come up with lame excuses for not giving feedback. No. Why did you feel so okay to do that?

Glenn Elliott 10:34
It’s funny, someone else asked me that. I think there’s a there’s an old there’s a medical stat actually, people don’t sue doctors who’ve got a nice bedside manner. So if you’re nice to people, yes, don’t get sued, you know, people only sue people that have pissed them off. And if you’re open and honest with people, I mean, there was one candidate who did not get through to the final round. And you know, it was so tough give it his was the hardest feedback call because he was amazing. It was just that there was one other candidate who I did end up hiring. He was almost identical to him. He just had an extra year’s experience in his previous two jobs and therefore had a couple of extra stories as evidence about what you’ve done. If I hadn’t met the candidate that I hired, I would have had, I would have hired the one that didn’t get through. So when I gave him his feedback, I’m like, there’s nothing I can tell you to do better. Because you know, you would you would in a different in a different month, you would have been good enough. You’d have been fantastic. And you’d have been successful at the role. But he wouldn’t. And you may well pick him up later. Well, the thing is, we’ve kept in touch, he’s got a new job now. So cool. I would definitely hire him again. He just didn’t make it on that moment. On that day. And it was one candidate that it didn’t get through to my very last round guy called Kashif. And you know, I ended up doing an interview with him. So we could do a blog for his website and stuff. And we kept in touch because he just wasn’t quite right for this particular role. But he’d be great for other roles. And I think, you know, so I’m fine with giving.

Katrina Collier 12:08
And I think if you if you don’t give the feedback, then you lose them as that silver medalist candidate, as we like to call them. That person that you can pick up later. You don’t get that. I was kind of going to ask you, I don’t know. But so sort of similar to what you were saying there. But going back to when you were at Reward Gateway, just starting off, and you’re just starting to grow that team? Like, what was it? Like? I mean, I guess a bit like this really, like not sure what you’re doing a bit terrified to take a risk or?

Glenn Elliott 12:37
I mean, really not sure. When we first started, Reward Gateway back in 2006 and we had absolutely nothing.

Katrina Collier 12:45
If I’d known that. Employee engagement, what is that.

Glenn Elliott 12:48
You see if I’d known how much we didn’t know, I’d never, I would have been to frightened to start. So thankfully.

Katrina Collier 12:53
Oh but that’s the thrill, isn’t it? And being an entrepreneur? the stuff I know now I didn’t know 11 years ago is hilarious.

Glenn Elliott 12:59
I think you know, the interesting thing about Reward Gateway is Reward Gateway didn’t start with any money. We didn’t have any investors at the start to have no VC or angels or anything. Yeah. There was five of us who were there on day one. And you know, we scraped together 50 grand on credit cards to start the business.

Katrina Collier 13:19
Oh, my god.

Glenn Elliott 13:20
That was it. I mean, the whole thing is basically founded on that. So we so that what it meant we didn’t have, we couldn’t pay it. Firstly, we couldn’t actually be recruiters for starting paying a recruiter an agency fee was a lavish dream that will only happen two years later. And we couldn’t pay high salaries either. Because we didn’t have any money. So all you’re left with is being nice and kind to people and honest with people and like trying to get them excited to try to find people who could be excited about what you were trying to do. And we’re kind of like, you know, join on this crazy journey. I remember employee number three. Well, we’ll remember employee number one. I mean, she was Katrina Jowosca. She’s amazing. She She, she had been working for the Polish newspaper in London, and should be made redundant. And so what was her reaction to be made redundant, she just roamed the streets of Shoreditch knocking on Office doors until someone gave her a job and I was the first one to give her a job.

Katrina Collier 13:24
That is tenacity, isn’t it?

Glenn Elliott 14:31
She literally, I can remember being I was running my previous business at the time and someone says there’s a woman in reception who’s refusing to leave until you’ve spoken to her.

Katrina Collier 14:41
Oh my gosh.

Glenn Elliott 14:42
And I. Wow. And she you know, and I remember saying to her, Well, I don’t even know what you’re going to be doing cat because this company’s badly formed in my head. You know, she says, I don’t care I will do anything I can, you know, I’ll do admin, I’ll do organisational I’ll do sales, I’ll do customers, I will do you help desk. Whatever you want, I’ll do it. And she was with us for eight years and left as a really senior person in affiliate marketing went on to a fantastic career in affiliate started his own business and stuff.

Katrina Collier 15:06
I must admit I do love that about you like watching Charlie Taylor grow through the company and so where she is, you were gonna say something about number three.

Glenn Elliott 15:14
Number three, I mean was Will Tracks. Yes so so Cat Cat was number one, James Graham was number two he was he was an engineer and he he stayed with us right up until 2015. And then he now works with my friend Tom, who was our sales director, they’ve got their own business, Jiminy. But number three Will was James’s friend, and they remember, like super, super smart, you know, first class degree, I think, from Oxford in something really smart, like super intelligent. And he had the choice between going to work for like, forgotten the name of the guy, the big guy at Barclays Private Equity, like famous this sort of, you know.

Katrina Collier 15:53
Yeah, him.

Glenn Elliott 15:53
He would break in fine in Barclays. He’d be at work on his personal team probably earning a fortune. We could come and work for this, like crappy startup in the middle of a backstreet of Shoreditch that had no money, and an idea. And somehow we’ve managed to get him to choose us. Bob Diamond, that’s who, he had a job offer job offer from Bob Diamond, remember the name now. He was the big rig. And yeah, and he came to work for us. And, and Will is still there now, his Chief Technical Officers on the exec team. Amazing. Now 14 or 15 years later, and he’s, and he’s he, one of those exceptions, that proves the rule, because he has managed to stay not just on his game, but ahead of what the company needs for the entire 15, despite the fact he’s never worked anywhere else. Amazing, amazing,

Katrina Collier 15:53
Probably because he has the curiosity to know and learn and to what else is possible. And I think it’s such a crucial skill in people, and I actually wanted to ask, because you clearly get the people matter, right, and I’ve said to you, I can’t think how many times, I mean, it’s always a joy, obviously, pre pandemic, to walk the floors of Reward Gateway, because the staff, they just have this thing that you just, as my recruiter head, I want to bottle and take to every company and get every company to hire people like that. And they’re just exquisite. But how do you ensure you hire the right people? Like if you had a, do you know, or is it just an intuition thing? I mean, we’re not supposed to hire in gut are we, but we all do.

I mean.

Glenn Elliott 17:27
I know what we just some things that we don’t do. So we we’ve never obsessed about educational qualifications. That is a lovely to hear somebody

Katrina Collier 17:35
who doesn’t have a degree.

Glenn Elliott 17:36
And I bat in my little corner of Tenzing Private Equity, my little, the growth team we call it well, because they, they’re mad that Tenzing’s is conservative business, because its financial services. But it’s mad enough that it’s hired me and given me free rein to run my corner. So actually ban educational qualifications in my corner, because I just don’t see, there’s some people have an MBA, and are amazing, and some people are amazing and don’t have an MBA, so I don’t, I just don’t care.

Katrina Collier 18:00
Honestly Glenn, I sit here and go, I don’t have a degree and I wrote a book. The number of times that goes through my head is like, you know it because people told me I’d never get anywhere without a degree. But it just wasn’t for me.

Glenn Elliott 18:11
Well, I can remember talking about 2016? I was sitting in my New York flat with the whole Reward Gateway exec team of the time. Yeah, well, I haven’t really we’re having some sort of workshop session for a week or something. And we were having like a breakout coffee just chatting. And we know, we realized that we hadn’t noticed before, that less than half the exec team had a degree. Yeah. And no one had noticed. And, I mean, so there’s clearly an imperfect match between that. And, you know, I’ve got a, I’ve got a friend who’s really, really, really top of his game in, in retail, he got made redundant from big department store this year. And he was was a job he wanted recently, he couldn’t apply for it, because he didn’t have an MBA, which is just ludicrous.

Katrina Collier 19:01
I know, he’s just got like, 30 years of experience, but you know, tick a box. So yeah,

Glenn Elliott 19:07
I think, you know, we always wanted to hire for, for attitude. And, and I think, especially in the early days, give people a chance. So very, very early on, we on the advice of Helen, my co-founder, actually, we did we had; we had a policy of not not prohibiting applications from people who had a criminal record. You had, you had to explain your criminal record. But we were open and you know that that’s interesting, because over the first, our first 10 years, I think we probably employed four or five that I knew of it wasn’t widely discussed. We could describe it four or five, who had had a criminal record in the past. And they were amazing employees.

Katrina Collier 19:46
Isn’t it something like 50% of the criminal convictions in the UK driving offences anyway? Like, like you need a car in London? Yeah, no, it’s I’m sure that’s it. That’s why there’s the ban the box campaign.

Glenn Elliott 19:58
Yeah. And I think you know so. It’s about setting up, seeing people, you know, as, as people really not as not as because I think one of the problems. And potential. Yeah, and I think, you know, the problem with recruitment, I think is that people, you know, when asked, What’s the most important thing about business, very normal people say, Oh, it’s all about the people, but people first were people first, when it comes to recruitment, they’re in this ungodly rush to do it. So you know, it’s got to be a few weeks, and we only got to interview five candidates, and the whole thing is, you know, is really narrow. So then you get, you know, you get 80 CVS, and then you’re rejecting people based on the spelling error or the or you don’t like the font they used in word. And I think, Well, you know.

Katrina Collier 20:38
Have you done that? No, don’t answer that.

Glenn Elliott 20:41
No I mean, when I did my last recruitment in September, there was 70, 80 CV’s, I read everyone carefully. There was one person, one person spelled the name Tenzing wrong 11 times in his CV, including in three different ways. And I still put him through because it was interesting.

Katrina Collier 20:59
And, you know and I know. As long as it is not a role requiring attention to detail like, then it will be fine.

Glenn Elliott 21:06
Even if it was, you could just like, you know, when I when I discussed that with him in the interview, he was really, he was really embarrassed about it, and it could have been really good learning. So, yeah, well, I think you know, you, you can try and make your job as a recruiter really, really fast and efficient and easy and stuff. But actually, the thing that you’re going to remember the prize, the prize is the guest who’s going to be great in this role for like, at least two or three years. Ideally, you need to be willing to move us on. Yeah, sure.

Katrina Collier 21:34
So I think it’s worth time. And also look it this document, this this thing that we have to write, I’m really hard to write because you’re trying not to be arrogant as you’re trying to blow your own trumpet. And it’s like most people really struggle to write a CV or a resume. And we’re still basing recruitment off it, it’s kind of crazy.

Glenn Elliott 21:52
I find most hiring managers really struggled to write a job advert

Katrina Collier 21:55
Oh, yeah.

I mean. Well, you see, that is definitely going to be, so I’m actually going to ask you that first then, which is, what is your top tip for hiring managers, all the companies that you’re scaling? Of course, what well, I was going to say, what do they gain by partnering with recruiters, but to be honest, do they gain by writing a great job description. Or top tips?

Glenn Elliott 22:11
So the first thing is, there are, there are no good and bad people in recruitment. So people say to me, like, oh, Glenn so and so are they good? And my question is always, what are they good at what? Are they good at sales? Or are they good at sales in what context and environment like in the company, small company, a tech, non tech, SAS non SAS in a small team that’s growing, forming a team and a big team was established? I mean, in what context? And I think the most common mistake I see in hiring is not thinking about the context enough. So there’s a great example of this from Reward Gateway, actually. So just as I was, I think actually, actually, after I stepped down as yeah. I stepped down as CEO, Doug had become the CEO, and obviously, we needed a new CFO then. So the the RG team got together with our investor Graham Hill in Boston, and they wrote themselves this perfect CFOs job description and advert, and they got some candidates. And then right at the last minute, they said to me, Glenn, will you will you interview some candidates for us? And I said, Yeah, well, tell me what you’re insuring against, show me the advert. And I looked at it. And it was a really beautifully written, bog standard, CFO for a PE firm that could have gone to any PE firm. Yeah. And I said, well, the assets wrong. Remember, what do you mean?

Katrina Collier 23:35
Oh, how did that go down?

Glenn Elliott 23:40
That’s a situation where it has no, it says it says, you know, you’ve got to have experienced private equity, you’ve got to have the experience of managing debt, of dealing with the big banks, all that kind of stuff. So well, frankly, you don’t need those things, because Doug, who’s now CEO, he is like a real expert and those things, and he’s not leaving, he’s not going anywhere. So bases are actually covered. I said, What you’ve actually got it, we won’t get me at the time. We had really poor finance systems for the size and complexity that we were that needed are really, really, really looking at with like hundreds, hundreds of thousands of invoices going out across all sorts of different products. And too much of it was manual. And it really was someone who could like really get to grips with that and revolutionise finance from operational and technology perspective. And then I Oh, I said, none of that’s mentioned in the job advert. And what was interesting is.

Katrina Collier 24:28
So they were basically replacing like for like, instead of going. Exactly. We have an opportunity here to get something new and what do we need?

Glenn Elliott 24:36
Yeah, what’s missing? Exactly is all about I think recruitment is all about context is like what context is the person coming into now? And when I, when I. So I met the four candidates they had, and I had told them, so I sat down with them and said, you know, thanks for coming to the interview. And I was like, well, first thing is job adverts wrong. Let me tell you what the job actually like. And when I told them what it was actually like three of them were horrified. And withdrew. And pulled out. And one of them, Ellie, she said, Oh my god, this is my dream job. Isn’t that great? And she’s the CFO there to this day, and she’s amazing.

Katrina Collier 25:10
So, actually, your advice to hiring partners would be one, obviously, what you just said, but also to just be honest, like to say, this is what it’s like so, and I think there’s this real fear of putting what it’s really like out there, it might damage our brand. No, no, damaging your brand is not giving feedback. Telling what it’s really like to work is okay, because some people will take themselves out of the interview process, and that’s okay. Why waste your time.

Glenn Elliott 25:38
And I have to be honest, I did not invent this idea myself. I bought , I learned it. And I learned it from Simon Sinek. So Simon Sinek, who might you know, famous, famous writer for, like start with why? But one of his least well-known pieces of work is a three and a half minute YouTube video called “Write the perfect want ad”. Want ad being American for recruitment advert. Yeah. So if you type into. Not wanted for criminal activity.

Write the perfect want ad. So type it into Google, Write the perfect want ad, cynic. Type into Google and you’ll find that three and a half minutes, YouTube video of Simon just explaining really nicely, why you got to be very specific. And I’ve just done it when I’m helping one of our portfolio companies recruit a senior finance analyst right now. And when I spoke to the recruitment agent that’s helping us he said, What’s it really like there. I said well, this company has got really, really shitty systems that data is all over the place. So I said, you know, so like to do something straightforward. They have to go to five different places and cobble together an Excel for them, you need to make sure that’s really clear to the candidate cause there is not point in getting someone who’s, i don’t know, worked at Shell or BP or something where it’s really mature and really nicely. Sophisticated. Exactly, because, because they’re going to hate it. And then need someone who’s like, totally happy with it, totally happy in that mess. And we’ll make the mess better, a little bit better every week. And I think we, I think honesty and drop adverse is, is key.

Katrina Collier 27:12
Also you are honest with your recruitment agent that you’re working with.

Yeah. So what?

I’m trying to get hiring leaders, because I refuse to call them managers, because they’re not managing the recruitment process. I’m trying to get them to partner better with recruitment agents, or their in house recruiters, whoever it is that is actually doing the work to find the CV’s and bring people through to interview. Yeah. To get them to partner together. So is one of your bits of advice? Again, just be honest, or do you have any suggestions of why hiring leaders should do that? And, and how.

Glenn Elliott 27:45
I mean, to be honest, when I think about it, I’m amazed any recruitment works, given that both sides are lying most of the time, the candidates are tellin me that they’re amazing, and they can do all this shit. And the people are saying that the job’s perfect, the jobs fantastic, and the culture is amazing. Not. Everyone’s lying, it’s a miracle that anyone ever stays longer than three months. Yeah, you got it? I think I think recruit the context, you know. So it’s like, is, is Glenn good. Is Glenn good at what? Is he good as a CEO? I’m good. I’m good as a CEO at a certain stage type of business. Right? So I’m proven for being, like not more than 400 people in tech in SAS in B2B. But if you stuck me running a consumer business that was bigger or smaller, I have no, I’ve got no experience to have done it. Yeah, never done it. So I think we’ve got to get away from this. Is this a good personal note, and we got to really, and we’ve also got to get away from generic job adverts and generic descriptions, you got to think, I like a really, I like, I like, I like, when recruiting to focus on that. What is the actual situation that this person will find themselves in when they arrive? Yeah. And what are the small handful of things that will really make them successful, that are really important. You know, like, I remember hiring a sales director for the US once and this in the job advert for it had gone around the houses and everyone who contributed a bit. And it had all sorts of nonsense in it, like, you know, must be able to present nicely at the board and it had a hilarious word in it said must present a businesslike demeanor. And I have no idea. What does that mean? What does that even mean?

Katrina Collier 29:21
I am a bit worried about you and I hearing that.

Glenn Elliott 29:23
I was sitting in a T-shirt, a hoodie, wearing socks no shoes, and I am like shit, alright, I’m not going to get this job. But actually, the problem with it was there was a page and a half of requirements for what we needed from a sales director was actually when I spoke to the person who report to and I said to her, what do you actually want from this person? She said, I want someone who who will when they walk into a room, their team’s eyes light up because their leader just arrived and then now they’re going to have a great day. That’s, and I said right. So well, that’s not what your job advert says. I said cause that’s, that’s what you’re looking for. All you’re all you really care about is this person is a fantastic leader that helps, that helps and coaches their team to succeed. I don’t give a shit where they can because he or she can present to the board or not, I don’t care because I can get someone else to do that, or get the other stuff off, and just focus on the few things that really, really matter. Not, because otherwise when you otherwise when you’re interviewing you can miss what really matters because you fixating on like what are they going to look for differently in the investor? Who cares?

Katrina Collier 30:32
And I think, from what I’m hearing from that on top of Oh, my God, I want to work for that person who lights up the room. Yeah, is one, there’s a lot for hiring leaders to learn. But I think recruiters also need to stand their ground and go like enough, like come on context. So I think.

Glenn Elliott 30:49
Context and what really makes a difference. Not really. So I think if you’re going to do, you know, I kind of think the the meat of a job description should be quite small, what you’re actually looking for should be quite small. But the job advert actually can be quite long, because it should be including a lot of context about what this company, what’s the system’s like? What’s the team like? What are you going to find yourself in? Are you going to like it because, you know, a good job advert will select out a whole bunch of people who think, you know what, that is not for me, that’s great.

Katrina Collier 31:15
I couldn’t handle that technology mess, I am not going there, and that’s okay. Glenn Elliot, I cannot say thank you enough for being my first guest on The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) because we just know, there’s been next to no editing, other than a bit of sound. I cannot thank you enough for that. And if anybody wants to get in touch with you, obviously, email. No what’s the best way.

Glenn Elliott 31:42
So I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter. I do look at my LinkedIn once a week and I’m normally reasonably good at replying. I’ll tell what, I’ll tell you a secret. Hardly anyone ever sends me a Twitter DM? What’s a DM? I think it’s like, you know, like a direct message on Twitter. Yeah. So when someone does that, I am like oh wow I got a DM on Twitter.

Katrina Collier 32:01
So very important.

Glenn Elliott 32:02
So my Twitter inbox is really empty.

Katrina Collier 32:04
Do you look at your message requests on Twitter, though, for the people that go into the other box? Oh, wow you’re supper good.

Glenn Elliott 32:11
I don’t know about that, I better check that.

Do you mean I have a whole inbox I have not seen?

Katrina Collier 32:14
Possibly, yeah, if someone’s not following you, they go into another inbox.

Glenn Elliott 32:19
Oh I see. I’ll have to check that maybe that’s where, that’s where they were living.

Katrina Collier 32:23
That’s not where mine was. I was going through Instagram.

Glenn Elliott 32:26
I think, I think Twitter or LinkedIn or you can email me at and I will attempt to be helpful. And that it’s all about mountaineering we’re mountaineering obsessed at Tenzing.

Katrina Collier 32:42
Oh, I love it. I love it. Thank you again, just the perfect, best guest I knew you would have loads of information to share. So I cannot thank you enough.

Glenn Elliott 32:52
Thank you.

Katrina Collier 32:54
Thank you for listening to The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast, proudly supported by the people at WORQDRIVE. Hopefully, you really enjoyed what you heard and have left feeling inspired. And if so, I would love your help to create real change. Please pass this podcast on to your hiring leaders and other recruiters and HR. even share it on your social channels, if you feel so inclined. But the more reach we can get, the more change we can create. So please remember to subscribe, of course, on your favourite podcast platform. And do come and say hello @HiringPartnerPerspective on Instagram where I share behind the scenes of what’s going on. Until next time. Thank you.

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Fully updated for 2022, The Robot-Proof Recruiter