Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Mark Sumner

Happy Monday everyone.

If you are new to this series please read this first in order to understand what I am trying to do.

In a nutshell, I am trying to help raise the profile of our industry and help our fellow HR and Recruiting people teach and learn.

I was at lunch the other day with Kirsti Grant, Jade Sheartsone and Tracy Earl and the topic came up that;

If you truly are trying to help all our industry then why don’t we all start some meetups to help people?

Not just meetups for recruiters and HR folk to get better, though a place where potentially a young start-up that cannot afford to hire an internal recruiter or pay agencies fees can also learn from us.

So I did.

I put my money (yes it costs to start a meetup) where my mouth is and have started the Wellington Recruitment Meetup.

If you are in Wellington or come to Welly then you should jump in and join, i am going to organise events and stuff soon.

Some jump in and join, even better though, I am looking speakers and also for some more people to help me organise and maintain it the site.

Some sponsors would be great too. Sponsors can provide venue, beer, wine and food for our meetups and you can plug your business. Contact me for details of helping run or to sponsor.

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But back to my list of amazeballs HR and Recruiting peeps in APAC…..

So, onto #18 on my list, the #Getin yelling while fist pumping guy that is Mark Sumner.

I have known Mark for a few years now and can tell you he is definitely one of the good guys of our industry. I have always enjoyed a beer a few beers with Mark and shooting the breeze about our industry. Unless you are hiding under a rock you will know that he and fellow fist pumper Matt Pontin have recently started the company #Getin and if you have not seen it, go and check it out now….

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Mark, what do you do in the HR/Recruiting scene?

I’m coming up to almost 2 decades spent in the Recruitment industry having worked for both agency and in-house recruitment teams spanning the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Looking at the grey hair sprouting across my temples I’d say I’m a seasoned Recruiter, Talent Sourcer and social media scholar who tweets, shares, checks in, blogs and generally spends my life having fun on the small screen. The only time I’m not tweeting is when I have a fishing rod in my hand.

I’ve recently, formed a partnership with Matt Pontin and we have launched a new cool start-up called #Getin which is all about helping businesses celebrate those fist pumping moments of success – when you punch the air with joy.

A few things we offer are current state analysis of how businesses attract talent and customers, then we work to recommend improvements across People, Process, Technology and ROI. We also provide training and consulting on how best to use social media for attracting customers and talent, helping business with employer branding or social media campaigns and recruitment training for both Recruiters and hiring managers.

Why/How did you get into the industry?

It’s almost a cliche now I guess but I really did fall into recruitment. Having spent 3 months travelling and skiing around Europe I returned to London and when being interviewed by an agency for roles they offered me a role with them as their Candidate Assistant, which really meant post boy and all things admin supporting their recruitment teams. Looking for more of a challenge I presented a business proposal to the COO and ended up doing 2 trips to South Africa sourcing qualified Chartered Accountants to work in London. Things must have gone well, or maybe the Braai’s and Beers in South Africa with the COO were appreciated, as I went on to lead the Candidate Management team a few years later, sourcing candidates globally to come and work in London.

What is something we don’t know about you?

I’m a pretty open book (see previous mention of living my life on the small screen) but one of my first jobs in London was as a Security / Bodyguard at a 5 star hotel where I got to meet all sorts of movie and pop stars from Madonna to Denzel Washington plus a few Princes from a large oil producing nation.

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Which people inspire you globally?

My wife of course! On a more professional note though there are a number of people who I learn from and am inspired by, and I’ll list a few, but there are hundreds of others too:

  • Bill Boorman– the effervescence in which Bill delivers a talk and his knowledge of all things digital and social  that relate to recruitment!
  • Matt Pontin – I worked under Matt in my previous role and am now lucky enough to have him as a business partner. One of the most inspirational leaders I have worked with I’m not sure Matt ever sleeps as his ideas log would rival any good thesis going around!
  • Kirsti Grant – Kirsti was one of the first people I met when I moved to NZ in 2010 and her wit, knowledge and “just do it” attitude really made me sit up and take notice and I still learn from her today. Her drive and magnetic personality have seen her now leading one of the most awesome talent functions globally at Vend.
  • Andy HeadworthAndy made the wise decision to come and speak at a conference her in NZ a few years back and his presentation and then conversation over a few beers afterwards really got me thinking about the whole social ecosystem and how we use it for recruitment on a global scale.
  • Paul Jacobs– Paul was probably the second person I met as a “business contact” here in NZ and his “out there” personality and ideas, not just around recruitment but gaming etc. have continued to inspire me to think outside the box.
  • The Rice Consulting crewJon Rice and Sean Walters have always told it like it is, pushed the boundaries and have never been afraid to back themselves. They are the epitome of where professional relationships turn into friendships and inspired me to tell it like it is. The Whiteboard blog is something I look forward to reading each and every Friday.

What about companies then, which inspire you globally? 

That’s a tough one but the likes of Atlassian, Vend, Rackspace, Adidas and Pepsi have been pretty awesome with their approach to talent and getting their brand out into the market through their employees and awesome social campaigns.

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

Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – pretty sure that’s how the quote goes. I think Recruiters need to remember that they don’t just represent the brand they work for but their own personal brand is what potential clients are drawn to when looking to partner with Recruiters.

It is imperative Recruiters manage their online personal brands to maximise potential and draw clients to them.

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What is your favourite drink?

Coffee, coffee and more coffee although of an evening I find it hard to go past a good cold beer, generally of the craft Lager or Pilsener variety – Tuatara being the current favourite

What are you currently reading?

I love a good biography but find it hard to go past one of my favourite authors of all time and am currently reading Wilbur Smith’s “Desert God”.

Why do you love the HR and Recruiting industry?

Working with people, for me, is as fascinating as it gets. HR and Recruiting is the ultimate form of “people watching” and we get to impact people’s lives. It also seems that HR /Recruiting is leading the way in the use of digital, tech and social which is phenomenal to see! 

Who would be top 5 on your list?

For varying reasons I could add way more than 5 but you’re forcing my hand here Troy so I’ll have to say:

1. Matt Pontin

2. Jon Rice

3. Mathew Bosher

4. Paul Jacobs

5. Mark Mansour

Also all of the Vend and Fletcher Building crew and, and, and …. as I said I think there some awesome people on here!


Thanks Mark.

Maybe The Wellington Recruitment meetup can get you to come and share some wisdom at one our events one day.

Troy.

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