Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Paul Jacobs


I have received a lot of feedback from the blog I did featuring my top 50 HR and Recruiting thought leaders of APAC. It was met mostly with praise with some controversy. Some examples below:

“Hey Troy you dick ,why aren’t I on your stupid list?”

“This is great, what you are doing for hard working APAC recruiters is sublime”

“Thanks for the amazing new HR and recruity people to follow Troy, they look amazing”

“Damn, better luck next year for me.”

One thing that was unanimous with most people emailing, tweeting and Facebook messaging me was that they wondered why I had chosen those 50? Well it is pretty tough compiling a list and especially when there are probably 200 people I could have put on that list. Some I really respect missed out. But this was the list that I personally see as who would be in ‘my’ top 50 when I think of HR/Recruitment thought leaders on this side of the world.

What a lot of you also asked was my view on why they were top 50 material? This was hard to answer as some I chose as I am inspired by them, some I see as movers and shakers, some piss me off a great deal but I respect them anyways and some I have just heard amazing feedback on time and time again. But why again did I choose them I got asked. Well I pondered this for a while and thought rather than me answer, I would let the all most of the 50 to answer themselves. Well at least I will try and get them all to answer some questions here about themselves in the hope you can get to know then and see for yourself.

Paul is someone I wanted to profile first as I have so much respect for the guy. He is a young guy, though Paul is one of the pioneers of taking New Zealand Recruitment truly global and not just across the ditch to Australia. He constantly attends conferences and brings the knowledge back here to Wellington, New Zealand and will happily educate you on his learnings over a mint tea or some crazy leafy drink. Most know him as Pablo, though I like to call him the Don Draper of the NZ recruitment industry.

So ladies and gentleman I give you #2 on the list;

Paul Jacobs

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Paul, what do you do in the HR/Recruiting scene?
I wear a few hats and can see myself morphing into a portfolio careerist. I’m an advisor to a number of employers in NZ and the USA. I’m working on a couple of large projects in the employer brand identity and social recruiting space, focusing on both the creative and production sides. Loving the opportunity to work across markets and with progressive companies and switched-on people. I’m the creative director of Jobgram, a company and a service that is on a mission to make job advertising more visually engaging, entertaining, targeted, on-brand, and shareable – less like death notices. I’ve been developing new products in this space – hopefully I’ll be able to launch one or two in 2015 – I did say that in 2014 though. I’ve been a regular conference and un-conference participator over the past few years – attending and often presenting at HR, strategic workforce planning, recruitment, sourcing, social media, mobile, and game development events in NZ, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, and UK. I occasionally blog if I feel inspired. I can be a bit of a provocateur at times, particularly when it comes to HR, as I would love to see more diversity of thinking from practitioners and leaders in our profession. Over the years I’ve been a big supporter of recruitment in the Asia-Pacific region, setting up online communities and sharing our success stories with the rest of the world.

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Why/How did you get into the industry?

I actually started off doing a Pharmacy intermediate at University. I was always interested in the biological sciences and mixing chemicals together – not in a Breaking Bad context fortunately/unfortunately. I got a bit bored of the lengthy chemistry labs and took a liking to my more arts-related subjects, like Psychology, and ended up going down the Industrial and Organisational Psychology route. HR was a logical career move. I’ve worked in corporate and consulting roles over the years, wearing a number of hats from developing assessment and development centres, to career transition, policy development, recruiting, and I spent 9 years reselling an applicant tracking system. I’ve always had an interest in the marketing side of HR, possibly more than the HR side per se.

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What is something we don’t know about you?
I can see auras. But I have absolutely no idea what the colours mean. See them yes, interpret them no. If that’s a bit freaky for some, I’ve got into marathon running – the next one on the cards is the Rotorua marathon in a couple of months. My body isn’t as young and agile as it used to be, but I really enjoy the mental challenge, and I’ve even inspired some other oldies to get off the couch.

Which people inspire you globally?
Hmmm …. my views around this are fluid. A couple of years ago I probably would’ve spurted out someone’s name in my profession, a successful entrepreneur, or a social media “guru”. But I’m more inspired these days by ideas, new ways of thinking, other industries/professions, and people who challenge my thinking – letting me see new possibilities. Those moments of inspiration can come from a serendipitous conversation in the corridor at a conference event, seeing a thought-provoking tweet or Google Plus post, or attending a games or emerging technology event. Thinking some more, I’m also inspired by many people in the creative industries, writers, poets, story-tellers, film directors, musicians, entertainers, and successful game developers.

What about companies then, which inspire you globally?
Without trying to sound like a complete tosser, I typically fall in love with, and am inspired by, the companies I consult to / advise. It’s like any relationship, you get to know each other, you learn about their dreams, and you plan for the future. You immerse yourself in their culture, you become their biggest supporter, their number 1 fan. I’m attracted to companies that have an ‘innovation brand’ or are successfully disrupting a sector – whether it’s “traditional” players like Apple, or the newer ones on the scene. But I have no idea about some of their employment identities.

What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?
Passionate though I am about our industry, I would suggest they don’t enter this industry. I would get them to consider becoming a specialist content curator, community manager, join a games studio, learn Unity3D, work as a data analyst, etc. But if someone still plans to enter the industry I’d encourage them to get a broad range of experience across corporate roles, agency roles, and supplier roles. And attend conferences and industry events, network face-to-face and online – and build their personal brand and digital identity. Our local and global community is very giving and knowledgeable, so tap into that.

What is your favourite drink?
Water mainly at the moment. I’m marathon training again and I need to learn the art of hydration a lot better. Outside of that I like European and craft beers (IPAs/APAs, pilsner), pinot noir and a good sauvignon blanc and riesling.

What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading some amazing entries submitted to the Global Mobile Recruitment Awards. I’m a judge. I’m also reading Flipboard, Snapchat Stories / Snapchat Discover (news), and following certain hashtags on Twitter. I find I haven’t got the time to read too much in the traditional sense. Most of my reading is client-related. The last book I “read” was an audiobook that I listened to – probably the Steve Jobs biography. I much prefer non-fiction, biographies, etc.

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Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?
I have fallen in and out of love with HR and recruiting over the years. Our profession gets to have an amazing impact on people. We’re in the people business, but so is marketing, comms, social media. I think there’s a strong case for amalgamating all people functions into a new discipline around community development. This way HR and recruiting would have a stronger and wider impact.

Who would be top 5 on your list?
I don’t have a top 5 per se. I’m influenced by lots of different people & things – sometimes I’m influenced by a tweet or watching an online event (doesn’t have to be HR or recruitment-related). Californian Kevin Wheeler got me enthused in the technology and future-thinking side of recruitment many years ago. More locally, Richard Long trusted and shaped my wild ideas, setting the scene for a successful 5 years with Deloitte NZ. At the Strategic Workforce Planning Conference in Melbourne last year, ex-Disney futurist Yvette Montero Salvatico inspired me to think really big and not to get bogged down in one idea. I like the critical thinking and writing style of US-based recruitment blogger Matt Charney. Likewise I enjoy the renegade approach of UK-based Bill Boorman. And back home again, kudos to ASB’s former sourcing and innovation manager, Mark Sumner who always has his finger on the pulse. Oops I’ve given you six. But there’s heaps of others – this is always the problem with lists!

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Thanks Paul, you are definitely someone I have mad respect for in our industry and you have inspired a lot of the new gen recruiters and HR folk coming through now.

You can follow Paul on twitter here and see more about Jobgram here.

Who will be next profile from the list?

2 thoughts on “Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Paul Jacobs

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