Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Richard Westney

Hello, you may either be back again to read my blog, or you have come here for the first time, and so please let me give you some background.

I created this list of my top 50 HR and Recruiting bad asses in APAC to help our industry over this side.

I did so so we can share our stories, profile ourselves amongst peers who need to learn, to set a precedence to be better, but mainly because I am really proud of the work my fellow HR and Recruiters do.

It has caused some controversy and this is great. It means people are passionate about being better and raising the bar of our industry.

I decided to share the stories of some people on this list, because you should follow these people. learn in what they do and engage with them to help yourself and them by continuously improving our industry.

The next person on the list I have known for about 4 years or so. Again when I was an agency recruiter, I used to follow Richard online and was always amused and sometimes aghast at some of his tweets. The first time I actually met him in person was when he tweeted something along the lines of: “I am sick of working with bad agency recruiters” to which I replied, “Well meet me for a coffee and you can work with someone that who works his ass off.” We met, though this is not the happy ending agency story either as I never worked with him in the agency capacity.

As soon as I went internal at Vend – he shot me an email saying we should catch up though.

Might be something in that. 🙂

Anyway Richard, Ross, Dan and I have been debating #FBombgate online like some of you would have seen. What you might not have seen though is Ross Clennentt’s follow up blog yesterday “The F Word: To use or not to use? The sequel

In this blog you will see a fantastic comment at the bottom from Vend’s Chief Marketing Officer Nick Houldsworth who actually wrote the ad talk about why he did. (and I think, won the internet yesterday by doing so.)

I hope this puts the debate to bed now and we move on from this taking one side but respecting both.

(I certainly did.)

So onto #25 on the list Richard Westney who has answered my questions below with only a few smart ass quips.

Richard describes himself as “an Englishman in NZ who is an experienced HR generalist trying to raise the HR/recruitment bar.”

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What do you do in the HR/recruiting scene?

I have recently joined an awesome and growing company called HR Shop.  After many years in corporate HR roles I wanted to do something different and put my experience to a wider use. I am very fortunate to be working with a brilliant team, in a great culture and with a variety of fascinating smaller businesses. While predominantly an HR generalist, I have a particular interest in recruitment and branding so have always straddled the two fields and led the recruitment function at KPMG for a few years with much success.  I’m not one who believes in divisions between the two areas. We are all people professionals at the end of the day and I know many great people who have skills across both disciplines.

Why did you get into the industry?

In my previous life I was a career public servant, or so I thought. Hard to believe that now.  Early in my career I spent a couple of years supporting two Personnel Managers (as we called them back then) and realized I found the whole people thing fascinating.  A few years later and with a bit of management experience under my belt, I got the opportunity to go into HR and get qualified in the UK. I have to be honest and say that the customer experience I had from the HR function where I was working was awful and I thought there had to be a better way of doing it. The manager knew he needed new blood so the timing was perfect. Within weeks I was working on a massive merger project. I never looked back.  .

What is something we don’t know about you?

That I used to play drums in a punk band or have appeared topless on TV while drunk at a football match? Take your pick. One I am considerably prouder of than the other.

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Which people inspire you globally?

Anyone who thinks a little bit differently about their profession, whatever that may be.  One of the joys of social media is being able to connect and correspond with interesting people all over the world.  There are many people in HR and recruitment who inspire me but there is a guy in the UK called Perry Timms who has influenced the thinking of a few of us here in NZ. He’s everything an inspirational person should be – thought provoking, accessible, generous and asks for nothing in return other than to be challenged himself.

What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the industry?

Be open-minded and curious first of all. Don’t ever think you have cracked it. You have to keep learning and moving forwards no mater how old and experienced you are. If you aren’t learning you are well on the road to becoming irrelevant. Take all the feedback and opportunities that come your way and manage your own self-development. It is no one else’s responsibility but yours. Connect with interesting people you can learn from and find yourself a good mentor you can use as a sounding board.

 

What is your favourite drink?

What sort of a dumb-arsed question is this, Troy? If this is typical of what you ask candidates at Vend, it’s no wonder you need to swear in your job ads to attract people. Seriously though, why have a favourite drink? Arguably you can’t go past the purity of water as without that we are nothing if not thirsty. But really, there are so many great and varied beers, wines, spirits, teas, coffees etc. Why restrict yourself? Get out there and explore, be curious, enjoy different experiences and tastes.  Ultimately though, your favourite drinks are the ones you share with great friends and people who make you laugh and think.

Troy – There is a lot to be said about what your drink you choose and the psychology behind it. Yours tells me that you are not as stubborn or as hard as you ‘pretend’ you are. Also someone who sees you in a bar might actually buy you a drink that you like now. 

 

What are you currently reading?

I am going through a phase of reading autobiographies, mainly music and business people. Sir Alan Sugar’s was a recent good read. He’s a bit up himself, but the story of how he built his business empire from nothing and the values and culture he tried to instill in his companies is fascinating.

 

Why do you love the HR and recruiting industry?

It’s at the centre of everything in businesses and so full of possibilities. You get such a great view of how businesses work and all the intricacies of cultures and behaviours that other staff don’t get to see. It’s like looking under the bonnet of a business all the time.  I think we are on the cusp of a great revolution in how both HR and recruitment can be done. We are starting to see the different thinkers and the disruptors coming to the fore and that’s a good thing.  There has never been a better time to be in HR.

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Who would be on your top 5 list?

I am not a fan of these “top influencer” lists, although always honoured to be on one because it’s nice to be recognized by others who appreciate what you do. I feel strongly that experienced pros like us should try to put back as much as we can and encourage and mentor the new generation of practitioners coming through so, rather than pick a top 5, I am always looking for new and interesting people to follow and connect with. That said, there were some notable local omissions from your list Troy that I think deserve a mention. In the New Zealand HR space I urge people to connect with bloggers like Amanda Sterling, Angela Atkins, Megan Borrie, Kylie Telford, Vanessa Pye, Vaughan Granier, Vaughan Rivett etc.  All interesting thinkers and great writers. I mentioned most of these in a blog post I did last year on New Zealand’s HR bloggers. Also, have a look at the 12 Blogs of Xmas series I have curated over the last 2 years where I have encouraged awesome people who perhaps don’t blog to find their voice and share their views. There have been some truly great pieces written. There are others as well out there but these will lead you to them.

Thanks Richard, you certainly have been great for the NZ HR industry finding a voice globally with some others you mentioned in your own list. I am sure you and I will disagree on many issues now and in the future, though I hope they are all handled with the same passion of #FBombgate. 

 

Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Matt Pontin


If this is the first time you have seen my blog you should know that I really buggered up. I tried to make a list of the top 50 HR and Recruitment thought leaders in APAC. There was too many to choose from and I found it really hard. What sort of dick thinks it’s a good idea to make a list?

If you are going to do something so stupid as to make a list in the future let me pass on some advice (in the form of a top 5 learnings list) 😉

  1. Take bribes – I didn’t think of this until afterwards. #Fail                                (Man those agency recruiters offered me heaps)
  2. Write under a pseudonym if you don’t adopt my #ZeroFucks approach to life
  3. Don’t swear on your list. People fucking hate that.
  4. Get ready to make lot’s of ‘new’ friends – see point one again after confirming friendship
  5. Actually, don’t ever make it a list

In all seriousness though, as I keep harping on about. I am very proud of what we do here in APAC and believe we need to profile ourselves more to the rest of the world and share our learnings with our amazing peers here in APAC and globally.

Now you may have been enjoying reading my blog, this list and how we are profiling these bad asses of the industry. You may even have been fist pumping about how awesome it all is.

Little did you know that this could have been your next business idea.

Ladies and gentleman I give you #4 on the list – Matt Pontin.

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I first met Matt when I was an agency recruiter. I followed him and Mark Sumner on twitter and managed to blag my way into coming up to the big smoke in AKLD to meet them both. This was quite a few years back now and Matt walked in with not your traditional notepad but a bloody iPad, (I probably had a shitty black folder.) To make matters better worse he asked me some ridiculously hard questions and then actually took notes on his iPad. I thought man these guys were good.

(Spoiler, I was wrong)

Actually; thinking back now I thought I had answered all those questions well, but I never did do any work with ASB.

Ok so let’s get some info on this mad Welshman.

What do you do in the HR/Recruiting scene?

I am a meddler, a tinkerer and a bloke that wants to cause a ripple. I love working on schemes and projects that perpetuate brands for organisations and help them to attract both talent and future customers. I run a new cool start-up called #Getin and a Business Transformation company called BT People. As for what I do – I do strategic recruitment, branding, leadership, change management, lean process improvement, sourcing, social recruiting and social marketing and I have a laugh a lot. #Getin is all about those fist pumping moments of success – when you punch the air with joy. I am lucky to be working with Mark Sumner. Mark and I worked together at ASB and we did some pretty cool stuff. Now – we can carry on innovating and trying to make a splash in our industry. We regularly have mad and crazy ideas (well daily actually) and Mark is a great sounding board for me. He can bring me back to earth when I have already started planning the next madcap scheme!

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Photo credit: #Getin

Why/How did you get into the industry?

Straight from university in the days when “WI-FI” was a question you asked a lady called Fiona…I stumbled across recruitment when looking for graduate management roles. I started in IT recruiting and fell in love with the dynamism passion and huge variability that recruiting offers as a career.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I like growing garden vegetables. But you won’t see any frigging Queensland fruit fly on my patch…

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Which people inspire you globally?

Inspired – that’s a big word. I am quite inspired by the American comedian Troy Hammond,  I think his alter ego also writes an awesome recruitment blog from time to time. Biggest person I admire is still my Dad – successful business man and like me a Welsh rugby fan who has the affliction of blind optimism that we will always win..

What companies inspire you globally?

Erm…..probably HP as I love HP sauce. Obviously Google, Apple and maybe my top is Pebble – the little Kickstarter success story…love my pebble steel watch and am a backer of the new Pebble Time (can’t wait for it to come #kidatchristmas).

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What advice would you give someone looking to enter this industry?

Do it. Work hard. Remember it’s all about people and finding the how. Don’t give up. Enjoy the roller coaster ride recruiting offers. Collaborate with your industry – don’t work in isolation.

“Together we are an ocean – alone you are but one drop.”

What is your favourite drink?

Jack Daniels and coke. Also wine, and now starting to fall in love with craft beers – favourite is a Lamb Chopper

What are you currently reading?

These questions

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Why do you love HR and Recruiting?

Because we get to do cool stuff that helps businesses do cool stuff.

Who would be top 5 on your list?

That’s hard: Probably don’t want to answer as there are too many amazing people in our industry and they all deserve credit.

But….

Obviously my business partner Mark Sumner is one, Paul Jacobs another, Kirsti Grant is not just an amazing recruiter but also a fantastic human being, a guy called Will O’Donnell who I worked with nearly 20 years ago in agency (Will is still at the same agency now – Rullion) and finally I would say Chris Hoyt from Pepsi – saw him speak at the very 1st ATC and he was doing stuff then that many are just catching up on now!

Thanks Matt, your typical blend of wisdom infused with humour as always.


Next on the list is my fellow opinionated blogger Richard Westney

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?