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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-024: Secrets to Nailing the Interview and Securing That Job

With Ms. Tanya Abbey

ET-024: Secrets to Nailing the Interview and Securing That Job

and your host Wayne Brown on December 6, 2022

Episode notes: A conversation with Ms. Tanya Abbey

Well, I have to admit to feeling a certain degree of relaxation and heightened enjoyment when having a conversation where you are in familiar territory. As much as the Learning expert within knows that I’m at my best when I’m being stretched, I’m also aware of the Yerkes-Dodson Law that looks at method for optimizing and sustaining peak performance through right blend of challenge and skill to create that perfect level of arousal. 

Anyway, I guess this is my offhanded means of saying that I truly appreciated the opportunity to speak with a guest from my home country, home state and the area where I grew up. Oh yes and did I mention the opportunity to share just a little bit of Aussie slang. 

Speaking with Tanya Abbey was like connecting with a long-lost cousin, right from the get-go our initial conversation was quite effortless, and this continued through to the end of the allocated recording time slot. 

Hopefully the result was an equally enjoyable and insightful discussion around recruitment – both challenges and benefits for the candidate and the employer.    

Here is a very short extract with Tanya speaking to the need for the employer to be mindful of the pressure and stress the candidates may be going through.   

“When I’m talking to clients, I try and get them to be mindful of whilst they’re recruiting and for the benefit of the leaders that are listening here, that would be recruiting or looking to recruit. Just being mindful of, I guess, candidates and what they kind of go through.” 

Today’s Guest: TANYA ABBEY

In our episode today, our guest is situated very close to my home city, one-hour south in fact, to the wide, white sandy beaches in the majestic coastline known as the Gold Coast of Australia.

This location is home to many of my friends and colleagues as well as a favorite destination for tourists from interstate and around the world. It’s also home for our guest, Ms. Tanya Abbey, who is a CEO, recruitment expert and a seasoned mentor.

Tanya is the CEO of the Australian company Recruit Corp that caters to the recruitment and placement of key Executive Talent for organizations of all sizes. Additionally, Tanya is CEO and founder of the candidate and career consulting platform called placeme.com.au.

She volunteers her services as a small business mentor under the Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth program and was voted one of the top 50 Small Business Leaders in 2021 by the Inside Small Business magazine. Tanya is a very popular guest speaker and during our conversation we touch on the elements of recruitment from both sides of the fence. 

Final words from Tanya: 

My question to Tanya: WB        So you mentioned two boys. I’m curious as a wrap up question, how did you overcome the challenges of being a young mom, building a business, the whole imposter syndrome scenario, all the challenges you must have encountered at different stages. How did you deal with that yourself? 

TA: Well, being a business owner and just the way that I’m wired to my upbringing, like my mom’s Spanish, Filipino, my dad’s English. So first generation Australian, I saw them work hard. My mom is like best woman in the whole world. Like can make a banquet and then still be able to have time to play with their grandkids and then do everything else in the house. So high performing household, I think.

So I think when I had the boys, I worked, which is not always well received when I say that, but I worked, had the business and I took the approach that they were in addition to my life and working hard. And now at the age that they are in, my role is to educate them and go, hey, mom’s flying to Sydney for work. Because when they grow up, they’ll understand that I work and they respect that too. It’s very even. But I think to going through that whole imposter syndrome, building a business, doing that, if I didn’t have probably the people that I have around me, it would be more difficult. Like you said before, attracting the right people around you too is really important. 

But after even five, 10 years, if you’re open enough, you’ll be around people that will help lift you when you’re really struggling. I’ve got a really good friend and he’s in our office today. But when I first moved into the CEO role, I had a moment, I was like, oh, I don’t know if I can do this and he was like Tan he said, I won’t say it the way he said it, but he was like, you seem to get on with it. You know, you wanted this, you said you could do it. I know you can do it.

And that’s all I needed and I think it’s just you have to link to your passion and vision and why you do what you do. It could be that you love it, or it could be that you feel like you’re the best and that’s okay. But I guess it’s just knowing that nothing’s going to happen overnight, but knowing that you have people around you that you can talk to and that it’s for a future goal as well.

[music]

0:00:05.7 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for Executive Talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. In our episode today, our guest is situated very close to my home city, one-hour south in fact, to the wide, white sandy beaches in the majestic coastline known as the Gold Coast of Australia. This location is home to many of my friends and colleagues as well as a favorite destination for tourists from interstate and around the world. It’s also home for our guest, Ms. Tanya Abbey, who is a CEO, recruitment expert and a seasoned mentor. Tanya is the CEO of the Australian company Recruit Corp that caters to the recruitment and placement of key Executive Talent for organizations of all sizes. Additionally, Tanya is CEO and founder of the candidate and career consulting platform called placeme.com.au. She volunteers her services as a small business mentor under the Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth program and was voted one of the top 50 Small Business Leaders in 2021 by the Inside Small Business magazine. Tanya is a very popular guest speaker and during our conversation we touch on the elements of recruitment from both sides of the fence.

0:01:32.4 WB: We chat about what today’s leader who’s wanting to improve on the recruiting success rate needs to be considering before and during the interview. And then we turn our attention to understand more about the mindset needed by the candidate, discussing specific actions that they can take in the preparation phase as well as how best to behave on the day. There’s something for all listeners, so please join me now as we converse with Ms. Tanya Abbey in today’s episode titled Secrets to Nailing the Interview and Securing That Job.

[music]

0:02:10.1 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:28.0 WB: All right. Well, welcome to ET. Today, extremely exciting day today. Today I’m heading home, or at least very close to where I spent much of my childhood and my teen years, and that’s the wonderful location called the Gold Coast of Australia. And I’m super pumped to have a special guest join me today who’s a business owner and the CEO of Recruit Corp, as well as a resident on the Coast so Ms. Tanya Abbey, welcome to the ET Project, Tanya. Really excited to have you on the show.

0:02:58.5 Tanya Abbey: Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.

0:03:02.7 WB: We’re going to have a great conversation, I’m sure, because it’s like talking with a long-lost cousin. [chuckle] I feel like it’s been a long time since I came home. It’s great to have somebody that can understand my accent. [chuckle] I look forward to it. So Tanya, you’re in recruitments and you’ve been doing this for a while. Before we get into the crux of the conversation, any fun facts about you or your surrounding?

0:03:33.5 TA: Fun facts. So I’ve been doing it for 15 years, I think one of my PR people put together that I’ve probably interviewed over 8,000 people, which is really cool. So I’ve been recruiting in Govee in Queensland, so State government and federal. And really nothing has probably changed in terms of how people are driven to roles and what keeps them kind of staying in them. I’m a Makai girl, born and bred, not born and bred, born and then bred around Queensland. And I have two sons, so one’s seven and one is four. And yeah, love recruitment. I’m like, I think there are many leaders that might listen to this podcast.

0:04:11.7 WB: You can’t see me, of course, but I have a very big smile on my face because already I’m hearing the Australian vernacular Govee. So governments, of course, but for those non-Australians, probably you sounded very foreign. And Makai, of course, is in North Queensland. So if you’re looking to locate where Tanya was born. Really great to have you join us, Tanya. If we were to look back over those 15 years, is there any sort of pivotal time or milestone that stands out to you that you would point to and say, you know, that was really a moment in my career that shaped the direction I went?

0:05:00.2 TA: When I’m talking to clients, I try and get them to be mindful of whilst they’re recruiting and for the benefit of the leaders that are listening here, that would be recruiting or looking to recruit. Just being mindful of, I guess, candidates and what they kind of go through. So my first initial experience with a recruitment agency or even applying for a role into an office position was call your parents the night before or you call your friends, you buy a new suit, you get your hair done, whatever it may be, and then you get excited, you check the train timetable, and then you get there early. Always get there early. Early is on time. On time is late. And my first experience was I was sat in the reception area for about half an hour. So all that kind of adrenaline that you have to prepare yourself for interview, it does wane a bit. So by the time that you kind of get to the interview, you’re almost a little bit, not put off, but I think probably feeling a bit unstable because you’re so prepared for it. And I kind of thought, I’ve always enjoyed sales and meeting with people, but I thought surely there’s a better way to do that and make the candidate feel more comfortable.

0:06:06.1 TA: And then I ended up working at Centrelink, which is now Services Australia. So basically that’s our welfare department for Australia. And I really saw the other side of people that had lost their jobs during the GFC, but they wanted to work. And then how do you kind of bridge that for them as well, to a potential employer? And then we started our first business nine years ago. And that was fun for people that have started a business or led a business or own a business, ’cause you kind of think that you can do everything yourself, but you can’t. And so a lot of the time when I’m talking to businesses that are growing, it’s going, “Hey, you probably should hire someone that can do the other things while you grow and work on the business.” So I’d probably say there were a few key points, but I think the general reason why I got into recruitment is just reiterated daily with making sure people feel comfortable, but also building that trust too, which has been tested in the last two years with obviously the pandemic. But yeah, I love recruitment. I think it’s… Not many people do it, but I love it. It’s like one of the best things.

0:07:16.3 WB: You hit on so many interesting points there. I love that concept of being the leader and trying to put yourself as the leader in the shoes of the candidate and really get your mind around what are they going through in their lead up to coming to lead with you? I’m guessing, but I can’t imagine too many leaders actually do that. What’s your experience?

0:07:41.6 TA: It’s hard though. I met with a client this morning. They’ve been in business for about 10 years. And I think even if we don’t have something like the pandemic, everyone’s in… Always a period of growth or being quite reactive with hiring. And I kind of say to people, you always have to be hiring anyway, but leaders, they have to one, be seen to be strong enough to lead a team, be the captain steering the ship, but then they also see the gaps with not having staff. So I think in that period where you are stressed as a leader, you do probably forget what it’s like on the other side. And a lot of people that are leaders may not have applied for a role for many years.

0:08:23.7 TA: It’s usually like a handshake or you know someone in the industry. So it’s probably just being mindful of that. And I’m sure we’ll go into it, but how different people are managed too, depending on their age as well. I think leaders do struggle to remember that. For me, I was just happy to work and earn money and career development was something I knew would happen if I worked really hard and it was on me. Whereas now there’s a lot of structures all over the world to really support, I guess, Canva or employee development. And I feel like they’re probably not taking that ownership as much. So it’s both sides, but I think leaders, they do struggle to connect with people if they’re busy doing obviously strategic things.

0:09:10.4 WB: For sure. Our audience base are Executive Talent. So leaders by another name, but traditionally we talk about three levels of talent, or at least I do. I’m not sure everybody does, but I do. So emerging talent being the junior leaders really transitioning through the corporate world. The mid-level talent, which are the managers that really are in the thick of it all. And then the senior Executive Talent, which are in the upper echelon working to move into that C-suite level at that stage. So you raised a good point there that leaders also at some stage will be going through the recruitment… They will be the candidate at different stages. And therefore it might be a good reflection at this moment to think, “Okay, so I’m interviewing somebody today. If I was that candidate, how would I prepare and what would I expect from that leader to make me feel more comfortable?” Or how would I prepare something good?

0:10:17.5 TA: And, it’s simply asking. So, there’s an offshoot from Recruit Corp called PLACE ME. So it really focuses on the candidate side. And we do the resume writing and things like that, but it’s not designed for that. It is designed for people that have worked in the industry that know how to sell a candidate into a role. But we do get a lot of conversations coming up from executive leadership that, how do I prepare for interviews? Sometimes they’re not all nervous, but they’re just not as in touch as someone that may have done 10 interviews in the last month. And we simply say, if I’m doing coaching with them, you just ask. Even for me, 15 years in, when I do interviews now at any level, ’cause I recruit, as a generalist, I recruit all levels and all roles, I kind of go, “What’s the funniest interview question you’ve been asked? What are the boring ones? How do you respond in this way?” We recently did a re-jig of our interview form because I heard that we ask the same questions, which of course we do. So we changed it up. So now we ask things like, if you were interviewing me for my role, what would you ask me?

0:11:26.3 TA: So I really flip it around. And I think leaders tend to obviously align with other leaders, but it’s always good to kind of talk… If they’re going for another role or they’re looking to step up, talk to people that perhaps report to them, ask them what a good manager is. What is a leader? The perception that a leader simply manages is not the same thing. You have to lead.

0:11:48.5 WB: Yeah, very true. When I coach executives, I also talk with them about situational fluency, which essentially is a fancy name for saying, you really need to do your preparation and your homework and understand the business. That leader you’re going to be meeting is sitting in. So you can also put yourself in their shoes. Rather than just look at it from the other way and hope that they are conscious of you.

0:12:18.2 TA: Yeah. And I think when you’re going into an interview or you’re doing something like that. You’re in that scenario. You’re really focused on what your answers will be and what you think they want to hear. Whereas a really good way is to go, Hey, where’s your pain point at the moment? What’s the three-month plan? It’s really getting into the finer details.

0:12:38.4 WB: Yeah, exactly. You mentioned about selling in the earlier part of the conversation, and if we were talking to a candidate, I personally would say, don’t talk about yourself to start with. Talk about their business and what are some of the challenges they’re facing. Or you can imagine that they must be facing this type of challenge to really show that you have a genuine interest in trying to understand the company that you’re applying for. I’m also wondering how would that work in today’s world with the different age demographics like with the Gen Z age group? Would that still work with them?

0:13:19.1 TA: I mean, like it… Probably emerging leaders, and I always get the Xs and the Zs confused to be perfectly honest. But I just know that they have a different working style. I think if… No one really teaches you how to work, you kind of learn and hopefully you have a great mentor, an etiquette and things like that. And it’s good to be flexible. I know during COVID, people are working from home and everything else. But I think, and I’ve got a couple of younger guys on my team ranging between 20 and 25. They’re a really good generation because they’re more mindful and measured. It’s probably that in between that 25 to 30 where I find they kind of want everything now. So when I’m interviewing candidates like that and they’re going into an emerging leader or a senior leader role, I kind of say, If you had a manager that you really aspired to be like or to get the best out of you, so I go reverse, what would you want from that person? And to find that out, you simply have to ask and communicate as well. Managing them is a different thing because they’re big on short progress times. [chuckle]

0:14:26.5 TA: So in two weeks, I wanna do this. In four weeks, I have to hit these goals. And in three months, I’m gonna ask for a pay rise, otherwise, I’m going to the next one. With my guys here, because I’m excited about recruitment, I’m excited. But I’m like, guys, I’m not expecting you to build 15 years up like myself in a short period of time. But this is the process that we follow and just trust it. But it’s all around aligning people with your culture too. If you have someone that just doesn’t probably align or fit or they’re not willing to kind of get on board with the vision, then there probably needs to be a reassessment.

0:15:03.1 WB: I can imagine that for you going to meet with potential customers and clients, that in some ways it’s like an interview as well. [chuckle] So I’m wondering, how do you prepare yourself when you’re going to meet a new client?

0:15:19.0 TA: Even the one this morning, so we had… They engaged with us probably about two years ago. And look, it does happen, like if we actually had previous staff members that didn’t work out a couple of years ago. So they were no longer open for business. And then we rebranded to Recruit Corp too. So my first point of call when she rang, I was like, “Hey, let’s just have a coffee.” So very much face to face as much as you can be with pandemics and sickness and stuff. And I tend to try and have that conversation face to face. In terms of prep, look, I do a bit of a general prep on the company. I look at the previous notes and stuff, but it could have changed. I learned very early on not to be too assumptive. I went out to a client meeting probably like 12 years ago and I was like, “Oh, you know, I heard that you run all these projects and everything else. And they were like, yeah, well, we also lost those, it was in the news,” kind of thing. So now I very much take a backseat and I kind of say, you know, tell me about your story ’cause that’s fine, right?

0:16:17.6 TA: Our story is, you know, starting in an office in Brisbane. It was just me and Pete. Like we did 100 sales calls a day. I know how difficult it is. So I always like to hear their story. So I guess it’s kind of live. I’m not unprepared, but I know the questions. I have a very, it’s methodical, but it’s a bit more relaxed. It’s a dark for such a client. And I would hope too that I would go along not assuming that they’ll use me to do their recruitment. I still bring everything that I can as well, because I genuinely believe too that, you know, I said to her this morning, I was like, well, we’re awesome at what we do. And it’s not me saying that we have clients, we have a history of doing things well, but in saying that too, we’re really transparent. So I think as a salesperson or someone that’s engaging with clients, they always think that I have to know everything straightaway. And they don’t take time to understand the story and the pain. Because now if I then go and recruit for them, do I know enough about them to sell it to the candidate?

0:17:19.5 TA: You know, it’s a small business, started on the Gold Coast. They’ve gone through a period of growth. You know, they’re looking for senior leaders in their business. Whereas if someone just jumped on Google and maybe saw a couple of bad ratings, can I translate or can I kind of bridge that message to explain why that’s happened as well? Phone salespeople are the worst. No offence. Especially with something like recruitment, which is quite expensive and it impacts your business greatly if it’s done wrong or well, you know, so yeah, I think it’s just more having a loose script, I guess, but not assuming that they’ll use you because you don’t know.

0:17:55.8 WB: In coaching, we refer to that as being able to dance in the moment. So being comfortable enough that you don’t have to have everything scripted, you don’t have to have all the questions prepared. You actually are spending more time listening to the person you’re with and then working with them. I like that. You touched on the concept of value creation. I think that’s a really important area that candidates can also be focused on. What is the value that they will bring to the corporation? Not what’s my strength, but what is the genuine value that they will bring? How do you approach that question or that topic?

0:18:44.0 TA: Well our interviews with candidates are very much the same, so very much face to face and then we do the icebreakers at the beginning, which are funny, but it’s designed to also bring out personality traits because when I’m in front of a candidate, I’m imagining them sitting in front of my client. That’s what I go through in my head and I think it doesn’t even matter with the market. If we have a hot candidate market where there’s a lot of candidates looking, not looking, sorry, and there’s a lot of staff around or there are heaps of candidates in the market, as a business owner, I put myself in my client’s shoes and I go, well look, I could get heaps of people in here if I wanted to, ramp up really quick.

0:19:25.8 TA: Get them all doing the same work, but are they contributing to the culture? I think the perception of culture fit is you have to fit into our culture. I want people that will bring their own crazy personality and add to the culture that we have. But then from a values thing, I do say to candidates, hey, it’s great if you feel like you’re at this salary level.

0:19:48.8 TA: If I put you alongside two other people that had more experience but were willing to take a lower pay cut for the opportunity, what will you bring? Things like being professional, having good soft skills, turning up to work on time, that’s not something that… That’s what everyone else does.

0:20:05.2 WB: Yes.

0:20:06.3 TA: You know what I mean? And I always say to them, think of a time where you’ve really outshone in your role or you’ve really brought something different or you fixed a problem, talk me through it. It’s less about the answer, it’s more about how they respond to the question and if they can use an actual example as well and then when I match them with a client, if a client’s like, look, I just want someone that takes a lot of pride in I don’t know doing accounting and they’re fixated on the numbers, I really want someone like that and if you have a candidate that says, my biggest value, what my references do say is, I am pedantic about numbers and that’s all I’ll do all day, every day and I love it, that out of anything else, that’s initially a good match because you’re finding that. If a client’s gone through a period of turnover and they just want, not doers, but they want people that will deliver the work well so they don’t need to manage them every step of the way, then that’s a really good fit for that client too.

0:21:09.5 TA: And before candidates interview, we prepare them. I had a lady interview this morning, so I rang her for prep and I said, hey, you’re meeting with this client, this is what her personality is like, this is what she’s looking for, this is what the building looks like, this is where you check in and also when you’re having a conversation with her, be really honest around what you’re wanting from the role. Know that she’s currently doing three days a week, she’s the little one, so she actually needs someone really strong in that role so she can actually feel confident going back into five days. She had that kind of tidbit and she’s exceptional and she ends up getting all which is awesome but and she was able to go, okay, I’m going to go into this interview and say, this is my core skill set but also I’ve helped build my current business with the owner, which it’s strategy but she’s also done it as well, which my client was like, oh my gosh, she said this to me, I wasn’t even thinking about it but because I know her so well, I know what she needs. We do prep them to stand out ’cause that’s what we want.

0:22:12.6 TA: We want standouts in the business, we want people that will be culture leaders but also pave the way for new stuff. As a leader, we should always be looking at future leaders in our business and if they’re not and we don’t trust them, they probably shouldn’t be there.

0:22:29.5 WB: Very true. In America, they have the word superpowers, so what are your superpowers? I don’t know if that’s filtered through to Australia yet.

0:22:40.6 TA: Not yet.

0:22:42.2 WB: But I guess a lot of what you’re talking about is having a degree of self-awareness about who you are and how you bring that to the business. I recall we spoke earlier about when we met the first time about EQ and having a broader understanding about this whole area of bringing your best self. I know you also give talks from time to time and one of the things you just mentioned about the preparation is to be able to visualize what the environment is going to be like when you turn up. I think that’s really important as well. If I’m a candidate preparing, I’m going to feel much less anxious and less uncertain if I already know what the environment is going to be like, how many people might be there, what does the building look like when I walk up, here’s the reception. I think all of those are very small pieces of a bigger puzzle but they allow your mind to be more present. I think being present is a real skill. We touched on that earlier when we first met about the need to be present and be more present would you like to expand on that?

0:24:09.4 TA: And I moved into this role probably about three years ago and I’m not sure if we spoke about this the other day but there was a period where I was doing a lot of talks and podcasts and the PR ramp up was happening and leading into COVID too I was like, okay, I’m going to lead a team and be really there for them because I want to keep them. We kept our whole team full time because I really wanted to look after them. We didn’t let anyone go. I had a learning lesson there that I guess my team didn’t feel like I was present enough because I was out doing other things and I’d come back in and be like, hey, I’ve got a new client on and I’ll leave again and do something else to the point where I’d be on my phone a lot so even coming into the office I’d just be really busy on my phone, hey guys and they didn’t have that sense of connection and really in my role we have managers that do manage the team but I guess getting that feedback too, I did feel bad because in my head I was like, well, I’m working really hard to look after you guys whilst you’re also working but what people need is that human connection to sit down and talk to them, not be distracted.

0:25:17.3 TA: Even five minutes of having that conversation like I noticed with my guys here, it’s work hard, play hard but if I see that ’cause I see everything but if I see that one hasn’t taken a break, I’ll be like, come on, let’s go for a walk it’s because those periods of time where you can be completely present with someone whether they’re a colleague or they’re working with you or they report to you, they’re the times where you build up that closeness as well and you build trust with them too because not many managers have that time to be present especially now. I’m not saying if you run a massive company you have to spend time talking to every single person but I think when you’re in a meeting, you’re there, you’re not somewhere else, you’re not distracted because really you shouldn’t be in the meeting then if you’re not going to be there. People know whether it’s subconsciously or not, they know whether you’re making the time for them. It’s important, I could probably talk about that for a really long period of time but people know that’s how you build the trust. That’s how they know that you’re invested in them because you are so busy as a manager that you’ve actually taken the time to talk to them. We forget, remember when we first started in a role and the CEO was walking around and they spoke to you and knew your name? Life changer. That would make me feel great all day.

0:26:42.8 WB: Absolutely. It’s so simple right but we forget about it. We get caught up in our own world and forget about the things that really have the biggest impact. People mirror other people so if we have a leader who is a great leader then they’re going to perform in that way as well whether it’s with their colleagues, whether it’s in the work they do, it’s such an important point. You also touched on the word there, feedback. I’m just wondering for many people today feedback is very cliche and it’s wrapped between two pieces of praise and you’re sitting there waiting for the negative feedback. Yeah, great, you’ve patted me on the back now. I’m about to really get it. What would you advise anyone really not just candidates or leaders but what’s your advice around seeking out feedback?

0:27:40.0 TA: It has to be something that is always evolving especially for myself ’cause it’s scary to get feedback as a manager because we feel insecure at times because we have this big role to play and deliver. If I’m doing training, I do training with the guys once a week. I’ll ask for live feedback but it starts at the beginning. My communication style is this. If I trust you to do something, I expect it to be delivered unless you have any questions. Also we sit in an open office so I don’t sit in some glass office. You can talk to me if you want and then we can go through with it. If I haven’t heard from you, I’m going to reach out to you. It’s setting the structure for that but then in terms of receiving feedback, it’s also starting from the beginning or in a one-on-one and go, hey, I’m changing the way I receive feedback. I want it to be a really open conversation. And it’s probably more I’m not afraid to get that now because I changed my way of thinking to I could learn something from them. I’ve been entrenched in recruitment for 15 years.

0:28:45.3 TA: I want to know different ways to do it ’cause I only know three or four core ways which has led to success but then I should be able to adapt too. I think seeking feedback, it has to be holistic too. Don’t just ask your friends for feedback. Ask your client, ask someone that has recently left the role. If it’s too late to retain someone, what could I have done better? I really want to learn genuinely. I’m big on tribe so having a really good tribe of people around you that can be honest with you. They’re usually just business people or clients that have become my friends because I don’t want to hear yes ma’am mem and I don’t want to hear people not not agree with me but I want to be around I guess people that are comfortable telling me a different way of doing things in a way that I could learn. I think seeking feedback, it’s hard I think especially from the leadership down but probably starting off with I really want to learn how I can do things better or be my best self or whatever it may be. Can you give me some feedback in the way that you communicate and then if I’m not sure with what you said, I’ll ask for reiteration because some people don’t like it. But, there’s also a way to deliver it if you find out how they like to receive it.

0:30:05.7 WB: It’s a real art and a science I believe and you alluded to the fact that people may not be comfortable giving feedback at first so it’s really a journey that you need to persist with. You need to build the trust, you need to have that rapport and gradually people tend to open up more freely and give you more honest feedback I find.

0:30:32.5 TA: Yeah and it’s not when we were younger and any kind you played sports and stuff it was first, second, third. Now there’s my eldest son and he’s very good but I do know that some of the kids do, they get just a ribbon for participation which I know we try to be very careful with how we and it goes into feedback right? How do we give feedback so we don’t get in trouble or we’re hauled into HR or whatever it may be? How do we give it so they understand it too? I usually say to clients that have that conversation with me, say this is the way I communicate my feedback. Let’s just keep in mind this conversation is around you growing and developing and I kind of hope that we’re both on board for that conversation and if it comes across offensive in any way which I hope it wouldn’t if you’ve thought about it, it’s not intended but again leaders feel like they don’t have the time to do that because they need it done now. Just increase yourselves, I don’t care because I’ve got other things to do, I’ve got to put out fires over here. Two minutes on at the front of a conversation really.

0:31:44.1 WB: And it’s a repetitive thing that they need to work on right? So it’s not a one-off exercise. I don’t know how long ago but I know you recently gave a talk around the topic of the imposter syndrome. A, would you mind introducing what that is and how does that play out in the corporate world?

0:32:06.4 TA: I think it’s one of those things, it’s the elephant in the room that no one talks about. Simply put, it’s having that being in a role and having moments of insecurity before a project or a chat or something or it could be achieving something really great and instantly thinking afterwards, was I good enough? It is the internal monologue I think built around whether you’re confident or not. And that plays a lot in the corporate world, definitely you have female leaders that are really wanting to step up into a leadership role but then they kind of look at their counterparts and go.

0:32:48.6 TA: I couldn’t do it that way or I couldn’t be as good as them or will I have the time to invest to a leadership role when I’m also a caregiver as well if I have children? And then there’s all this hype around obviously women in leadership and those feelings of insecurity but then at the same time you have men in leadership that feel like they can’t talk about it as well. And men, I think I said this the other day, they’re less willing to seek guidance or counsel because they feel like that’s not the way that you’re raised.

0:33:21.0 TA: You kind of just rub some dirt in it, this is a very Australian term, but rub some dirt in it and kind of get on if you’ve fallen over. So it does come through and when I did that chat, it was really well received because so many people wanted to know about how to handle it and it just outlined to me that we should be talking about it more in a very open way, not roll it out in a really fluffy way. These are the times where you feel insecure, this is what you should do to make yourself confident again. And really, I think leaders get caught up in not celebrating small wins. So for me, if I’m training a new girl, I’m like, that’s awesome that you’ve done that. She’s done like two interviews and I’ve done 20 that day. Her capacity to understand or grow or do that interview so fast or well is a celebration. And I think when we go through periods of doubt, we have to remember, I guess one, gotten to this point where we’ve achieved these things and two, we’re still humble enough to seek the feedback as well and learn.

0:34:34.5 TA: But it is a big thing. I didn’t even realize it was such a massive issue, but it would make sense because leaders are lonely at the top. You may not want to talk to colleagues or people that report to you about how you’re feeling ’cause you think that they might think that you’re not good at your job. Vulnerability is great though. That’s actually one of the things that bonds teams together. To go, hey, I’m having an off day.

0:34:58.6 WB: I’m sorry.

0:35:01.1 TA: I actually feel nervous about something. I feel like I could have done better there. And if you have an awesome team and you’ve got that bond, they’ll just be a cheer squad.

0:35:10.8 WB: For sure, yeah, you know, Brene Brown and all the American trio over there at the mic been talking about this particular area of vulnerability and emotions. It is real in our current environment in the 21st century leadership really requires that you are able to become vulnerable. As I grew up, I’m 45 years in my career now and that’s why I’m gray by the way, Tanya. When we grew up as young leaders, we were sort of given the impression you have to be invincible and you need to have all the answers.

0:35:51.6 WB: Just like you said, when something goes wrong or you fall over, get up and brush the dirt off and go again type of thing. But today’s leader needs to realize that they can’t have all the answers. It’s too complex out there. There’s too much uncertainty and they need that vulnerability to be able to call on their team or their team’s insights and collective genius I’d say. I think that’s very, very good advice.

0:36:22.0 TA: And I think it’s also, which some leaders are a bit more like that, but the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is hard the opposite. I’m awesome, don’t need to change, everyone else is wrong, I’ve got my way, I don’t really need feedback. So it’s usually in that red or the D if you look at this profile. That’s awesome to have that supreme confidence but then you probably end up not evolving either. So I think a better foundation is to probably have a touch of that imposter syndrome, but the confidence to ask versus being like, and we would all know MDs and stuff that are like that. There was so many points of contention during COVID where we had legal firms that were like, oh, I should still come into the office ’cause that’s what we do.

0:37:08.3 TA: Work from home shouldn’t be a thing because back when I started, I didn’t work from home but if you’re kind of open to the idea of that flex and you’re okay to be vulnerable and go, hey, well actually I don’t have all the answers, I think that is better to be that way.

0:37:26.7 WB: Yeah. And I firmly believe that you’ll probably attract more of the younger demographic with that approach than what you’ll repel. So very good, incredible conversation. And we could talk for hours, but I’m also conscious of the time.

0:37:42.9 TA: Yeah, we could.

0:37:44.8 WB: So you mentioned two boys. I’m curious as a wrap up question, how did you overcome the challenges of being a young mom, building a business, the whole imposter syndrome scenario, all the challenges you must have encountered at different stages. How did you deal with that yourself?

0:38:06.2 TA: Well, being a business owner and just the way that I’m wired to my upbringing, like my mom’s Spanish, Filipino, my dad’s English. So first generation Australian, I saw them work hard. My mom is like best woman in the whole world. Like can make a banquet and then still be able to have time to play with their grandkids and then do everything else in the house. So high performing household, I think. So I think when I had the boys, I worked, which is not always well received when I say that, but I worked, had the business and I took the approach that they were in addition to my life and working hard. And now at the age that they are in, my role is to educate them and go, hey, mom’s flying to Sydney for work. Because when they grow up, they’ll understand that I work and they respect that too. It’s very even. But I think to going through that whole imposter syndrome, building a business, doing that, if I didn’t have probably the people that I have around me, it would be more difficult. Like you said before, attracting the right people around you too is really important.

0:39:10.8 TA: But after even five, 10 years, if you’re open enough, you’ll be around people that will help lift you when you’re really struggling. I’ve got a really good friend and he’s in our office today. But when I first moved into the CEO role, I had a moment, I was like, oh, I don’t know if I can do this and he was like Tan he said, I won’t say it the way he said it, but he was like, you seem to get on with it. You know, you wanted this, you said you could do it. I know you can do it. And that’s all I needed and I think it’s just you have to link to your passion and vision and why you do what you do. It could be that you love it, or it could be that you feel like you’re the best and that’s okay. But I guess it’s just knowing that nothing’s going to happen overnight, but knowing that you have people around you that you can talk to and that it’s for a future goal as well.

0:39:57.9 WB: Excellent, excellent advice, thank you. What is Recruit Corp focused on at the moment? What’s your growth or your vision?

0:40:09.1 TA: Yes. So we do permanent recruitment pretty much in Australia and overseas. So I guess it’s the whole growing organically, although clients are really pushing us to grow aggressively. But I think really recruiting for clients that align with us. So that’s why we’re not like other agencies or headhunters where we only recruit in mining. We tend to, we’re generalists. So I think the plan really is to probably expand more into international ’cause I do, I love working with different cultures and countries. But I think probably just starting with getting more of the right people on ’cause my team is awesome, awesome at the moment and it has been for the last year. So getting the right people on, getting more of a probably an international presence and just growing organically really and impacting lives I love it, like that lady this morning, she’s got a new role. She doesn’t feel stressed. Like that’s the best. In this role, you can experience every single role having never worked in it. But your impact, it goes down to the school they send their kids to. It’s amazing. So I think it’s just trying to probably make people understand that recruitment is a good thing if you work with the right person.

0:41:29.0 WB: Sounds like a great journey. Where would people connect with you?

0:41:34.0 TA: So I’m on LinkedIn, so Tanya Abbey and just recruitcorp.com.au. So pretty much there’s only one Tanya Abbey on the Gold Coast. They can find me relatively easy.

0:41:47.6 WB: Very good. We’ll put the links in the notes. Tanya Abbey, it’s been a great conversation. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you very much for being a guest…

0:41:52.6 TA: You’re welcome.

0:41:56.7 WB: On the ET Project. I really appreciate it and hope our listeners will connect with you and things will be good.

0:42:04.0 TA: Awesome. Thanks, Wayne appreciate it.

[music]

0:42:08.1 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, ebooks, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

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