Rebel Diaries

Meqa Smith - An Employee Friendly Alternative To Terrible "Just Do It" Recruitment Processes

September 05, 2022 Meqa Smith Season 1 Episode 21
Rebel Diaries
Meqa Smith - An Employee Friendly Alternative To Terrible "Just Do It" Recruitment Processes
Show Notes Transcript

Leave Scott a voicemail and possibly get featured on the show:

Meqa’s experience spans twenty years, almost evenly split between corporate HR and SME marketing consulting.

Looking back, she says this unique background has perfectly prepared her for enabling the C-Suite, HR, and Talent teams to break the script and develop unforgettable talent engagement strategies that pack a profitable punch and deliver a lasting competitive edge.

The key to her approach is offering a new perspective. Understanding The Human Operating System™ will change the way you look at everything ‘talent’ forever.

Combining principles from sales, marketing, recruitment, and behavioural science she developed The Unforgettable Way™, a talent acquisition framework designed to activate the seeking system and set the employment relationship up for success.

Meqa says that genuine emotional engagement has become a rare but coveted superpower in our rapidly changing, increasingly digital world as employees crave more purpose, connection and belonging but organisations are not equipped to genuinely deliver.

The Unforgettable Way™ is for those who truly value their people looking to improve both employee wellbeing and business performance in a practical, sustainable, and cost-effective way.

What Scott discusses with Mequa

  • Why people are quitting jobs and finally thinking "enough is enough"
  • A different approach to recruitment that saves the employee and company pain down the line
  • How she combined her marketing and HR skills to change how recruitment is done
  • How engagement can't come from disingenuous actions from an employer
  • What engagement actually means
  • How employment between employee and employer should be a partnership
  • And much more...

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[00:00:00] Scott: Hi listeners before we get into this one we are at episode 21. Can you believe launched the show in April, we're about to hit a thousand downloads overall. I'm really pleased with how it's going. 

I've had some great guests on the show. I've really learned a lot and I hope you have too but I need more feedback. 

I've set up a Facebook group a few weeks ago. I've given it a few plugs on the show and there's only a handful of people in there at the moment. I really would love it if you join. So we can engage. You can tell me what you like about the show. Things you'd like to improve. Any suggestions on guests it would be really good to have a two-way conversation with you, cuz at the moment it's quite one way and that is podcasting. 

But I'd really love hear what you think so please join the group there's a link to it in the show notes of every single episode, including this one. And also there's a reminder at the end of the show. So hope to see you there. Cheers. 


[00:00:46] Mequa: And that's why we are where we are with the great resignation and the quiet quitting and all of this stuff, because people have finally just had enough

[00:01:34] Mequa: "This is terrible, man. Like I'm working my ass off and I don't even know what I'm supposed to be doing. I've got no real clarity. I'm not getting any appreciation. I'm not getting any feedback. I did this and this and this and my boss didn't even notice I'm so sick of this. This is crazy".

[00:01:47] Mequa: But engagement will never come from disingenuous actions and that's all that most employers ever undertake. It's basically sticks and carrots and, emotional manipulation.

[00:01:58] Scott: In this episode, I'm speaking to Meqa she's the founder of the unforgettable agency in Brisbane, Australia. Combining principles from sales, marketing, recruitment, and behavioral science. She's developed what she calls the unforgettable way. A talent acquisition framework. She really brings a fresh approach to recruitment that I believe is much better for the employee and the employer in the long run. See what you think. I'd be interested to hear about your recruitment experiences be sure to let me know in the Facebook group. Details at the end of the show.

[00:02:28] Scott: Hi Meqa. Welcome to the Rebel Diaries podcast.

[00:02:31] Mequa: Hello. And how are you today, Scott?

[00:02:33] Scott: I'm good. Thanks for asking. 

[00:02:35] Scott: What are the main pain points that triggered you to start this business? What was the, where is it going wrong? What was the problem you thought that needs fixing?

[00:02:43] Mequa: It's actually quite a long answer to be honest, but I spent the first 10 years of my career in human resources management roles in house in some of the bigger corporates and hotels, professional services and that kind of thing. And I, at the time found it very frustrating trying to.

[00:03:01] Mequa: Do what people call, employee engagement, initiatives and things like that and make them work. And at the time I was very much stuck in the standard HR mindset. And I was doing all of the things that I thought that you needed to do events, calendars, full of activities.

[00:03:16] Mequa: Trying to, give people lollies in the break room or, coming up with ways. Do discounted gym memberships or, all of those kinds of things that we all got told we needed to do. At the same time, we were working on recruitment process reengineering, and we thought, the best way that we could improve retention was to train the managers that were doing, the hiring managers on better behavioral interviewing techniques and things like that.

[00:03:39] Mequa: We engaged an employer branding agency who sat and spoke to us about all the things that the bright, shiny things they needed to create. And I just couldn't, none of it just landed really well for me at the time. And no matter what we did, it never seemed to really move the needle that much.

[00:03:54] Mequa: It was quite frustrating. I left human resources and went into the marketing side of business for a lot of different reasons, but one of them was I moved to countries and then I couldn't actually get another job in HR which was extremely frustrating. And that in itself, that experience in itself has also played a big part in shaping the work that I do today.

[00:04:14] Mequa: But then I worked in the marketing side of business for another, nearly 10 years in, in house roles and consulting and for myself and in, in the process of doing that, it helped me to actually see that a lot of the things that had gone wrong back in my human resources days were because I was never trained to think like a marketer.

[00:04:34] Mequa: You're doing a job that in essence requires you to have the same level of thinking that employees are customers in a certain sense, but you, you don't taught to, to think that way so it creates a lot of problems. And in the course of my marketing consulting work, because I was focusing on competitive strategy and helping my clients to actually differentiate themselves in the market.

[00:04:53] Mequa: One of the things that ultimately ended up happening was a client asked me to help them recruit and so I didn't, I really didn't want to, because I didn't want any part of recruitment. I really thought, it was just not a place that I wanted to go back to. And so I asked the client if they would be okay with me using a creative methodology for the recruitment and they were fine with that, they were pretty open minded.

[00:05:14] Mequa: So that was the first time back in about 2017 that I tested out my methodology, which was essentially building a marketing funnel. I guess to recruit somebody and it worked really well and everything just stemmed from there. So the major problems are that recruitment is generally disembodied from engagement and performance.

[00:05:36] Mequa: And it's seen as admin. It's something that sort of, you delegate to somebody quite junior, or maybe you hire a recruiting firm, but you wanna pay the least amount of money. You want them to work on contingency. And it's just kind of something that is seen as something that you just do just in time.

[00:05:51] Mequa: It's " oh we need somebody in this role. And so we'll just hire somebody and we'll just get them". There's not much thought put into it. And so that's why we quite often find that, the candidate experience is really terrible and we end up hiring the wrong person. And then we spend a heap of time and money on all sorts of downstream initiatives, trying to engage that person in their work, trying to get that person to perform.

[00:06:14] Mequa: And then ultimately trying to retain that person. And in the process, what happens is employers become really frustrated and they start to tell themselves stories like, "oh, there's no good people out there and people don't wanna work. And it's so difficult to get anybody to do anything around here."

[00:06:29] Mequa: And employees are busy feeling like. "This is terrible, man. Like I'm working my ass off and I don't even know what I'm supposed to be doing. I've got no real clarity. I'm not getting any appreciation. I'm not getting any feedback. I did this and this and this and my boss didn't even notice I'm so sick of this. This is crazy". 

[00:06:45] Mequa: And ultimately then they decide to leave and look for another job. And their experience of looking for a job is like they're bumping up against these horrible job ads that are not emotionally engaging in any way, but this is the skillset that they have. So they're like I'll just have to try and get the job.

[00:07:01] Mequa: And it just goes around and around. And that's why we are where we are with the great resignation and the quiet quitting and all of this stuff, because people have finally just had enough. They're just like, "I'm not doing this anymore. I'm not playing this game anymore". The realization that I came to was most employers just actually fundamentally do not understand that employment is a relationship.

[00:07:25] Mequa: It's a partnership. And if you don't see that when you are going to market to hire somebody that you're actually selling a job and you need to apply marketing thinking to that process and that you actually have to have a good job for somebody which you need to think through. What does a good job actually look like?

[00:07:46] Mequa: And this is where people talk a lot about culture and things like that, but it's ultimately what is the experience of coming to work for you? What are you asking for? So I realized that people weren't seeing that and they didn't understand that they didn't know that. And so I packaged up my process, my methodology, and I started helping clients to apply it because it solves so many problems all at once.

[00:08:05] Mequa: It turns recruitment from an admin exercise into an asset. And it actually connects up recruitment, engagement and performance, and solves a lot of problems for the employer because they don't have to deal with a lack of fit. And that person's actually usually very engaged from the get go.

[00:08:21] Mequa: Yeah. Does that answer that question?

[00:08:24] Scott: It does. Yes, it's really interesting. The whole I'm really fascinated by the, you get the wrong person through the door at the start. And then there's all this effort to, "why aren't they engaged get them more engaged", like they're not going engage. If they're in the wrong job.

[00:08:38] Mequa: Exactly. And I think one of the big things for me was a realization that, we talk a lot about things like culture and engagement and attraction and fit, and there's all these terms, but there isn't really a clear understanding of what people mean when they say that. So for me, when I talk about engagement and I think most people are the same, the concept of engagement is actually intrinsic motivation. that person needs to be bought in to what they're doing and want to do it. And another way to look at is discretionary effort. And the key distinction there is that it cannot be mandated out of somebody. It can't be forced out of somebody and you can't even buy it. So even while you might be able to change behavior short term with incentives, like you may be able to get a team to do certain activities or actions for a short period of time by giving them more money.

[00:09:31] Mequa: Ultimately that will not last. And it will only be very linked to those particular behaviors or activities or tasks whereas engagement, the intrinsic motivation and the discretionary effort is a more holistic sense of being committed to your work. And it's certainly not about working longer hours or, being a doormat.

[00:09:51] Mequa: It's much more about unlocking creativity and innovation. It's much more about unlocking that proactive noticing of things that may not necessarily be directly your job. And in the sense of being able to engage people, when you have a team of engaged people, that's when you actually get that alchemy, you get that magic where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

[00:10:13] Mequa: But engagement can't, will never come from disingenuous actions and that's all that most employers ever undertake. It's basically sticks and carrots and, emotional manipulation.

[00:10:26] Scott: And it's a two way thing. Isn't it to the employees' got to be passionate about the vision of the organization, the mission, the organization, and if they don't know that upfront, and if that isn't clear, why would they want to apply? And I make an assumption here that those companies that are big brands that people know what they're about are probably gonna find it easier to recruit people. "Cause I really wanna work for this company. I understand what their goals are, their mission, their vision." Whereas, if you're dealing with companies that don't communicate that it's just this almost arrogance, maybe that's too strong a word, but like "oh people want jobs they'll want to work for us and we'll just put an advert out and they'll apply because people are desperate for jobs".

[00:11:04] Mequa: A hundred percent. But what's interesting to me is that there are a lot of businesses out there that don't necessarily have a positive employment brand. It's not necessarily seen as something aspirational to work there, but they're very well known. So they may be large corporates or even public service type roles and the appeal, there is a combination of job security career advancement, opportunities, stability but sometimes it's a name you want on your resume because you know that if you've worked there for a few years, you can move on. So there's always a value exchange happening and employment relationships are just like any other normal human relationship.

[00:11:40] Mequa: There's different dynamics going on at different times. And you want different things at different times in your life. But one of the biggest problems that smaller businesses have, as you said just before is I don't know whether it's arrogance or just a lack of understanding, but if they aren't taking the time and the effort to invest in really getting clear on how are they gonna communicate what they stand for and what people are gonna get from working there, because it is a real skill and it's just like marketing and branding on the customer side.

[00:12:12] Mequa: And ideally it's gonna be very intrinsically linked in, the, there's a lot of talk about employer brand and employee value proposition, but oftentimes it's quite disembodied from the corporate brand, but you can't uncouple them. They are intrinsically linked, but they need to spend the time working out.

[00:12:28] Mequa: How are they gonna communicate this? And just like marketing. When you're talking about employment branding or recruitment marketing, it's not just, what are you gonna write in your job ad? It's the whole experience. What is the process that you use? What are the steps? How are you engaging with people? How are you communicating with people?

[00:12:46] Mequa: What medium are you using? What channels are you using and what specific language are you using? What words, what phrases are you using video? Are you Are you very innovative with the way that you are actually constructing your jobs? Like everything about your offer from where is your office to, how do you pay people to, just every single thing about the whole job is is, has gotta be thought through because it is a product just like if you're designing a service or an actual physical product.

[00:13:16] Mequa: The job that you have on offer, it has features and benefits. It's an experience that someone's either gonna want or not want.

[00:13:21] Scott: I like how I like to flip, think about it being flipped and saying the candidate. It's will you sell the job to me? Why should I work for you? I can go and work anywhere now. And especially with remote work. And the traditional approach of we'll put an advert out and you're coming for an interview and the interview's very one-sided towards the organization.

[00:13:38] Scott: At the end, you may get asked, oh, have you got any questions about the job?

[00:13:41] Mequa: That's cursory

[00:13:43] Scott: Actually it should be, " I wanna interview I'm the candidate. I wanna interview you. I wanna spend half an hour interviewing my potential boss and find out what makes you tick and if I'm gonna be able to work with you", and then that doesn't happen.

[00:13:53] Scott: Generally does it. I had another guest who said he thinks interviews are one of the worst ways to recruit anybody.

[00:14:00] Mequa: They have actually been shown to have zero correlation with performance. It's just something that we do cuz we humans. We like to talk to each other and meet each other. But for me I've got five pillars that I've developed that I take my clients through.

[00:14:15] Mequa: And the first one is mindset and it's not mindset in like a positive thinking sense. It's before you can have success hiring the right people and actually in keeping your people engaged and keeping them for any length of time whatsoever. You really have to understand a few key things that pretty much no one ever talks about. And the first one is that employment is a partnership style, relationship and that doesn't mean that it's 50, 50, you're on equal footing. You both get to decide things together. That's not what it means, but it is a partnership. The employee is bringing skills and experience expertise, ability, time, effort, that sort of thing to the table.

[00:14:55] Mequa: And you are bringing to the table, the framework of your business, the IP, the tools, the systems, and obviously the salary, the payment. But for the longest time that I can remember. Employee relationships have been seen much more like a modern master slave type relationship. It's been much more, "Hey, we've got the money.

[00:15:16] Mequa: So we're gonna tell you what you're gonna do, how you're gonna do it when you're gonna do it. And you're gonna be happy about it. And if you're not happy about it, tough luck cause you go somewhere else and we'll get someone "else. And that I think it used to work and it used to work much better when we had factory style jobs. And I think still to a certain extent, when you've got some businesses in some industries, maybe, perhaps you could still get away with that. I'm not sure where they are, but I'm sure there must be a few exceptions, but over time our businesses have evolved. We don't work in modern factories anymore.

[00:15:51] Mequa: We work mostly in businesses where you need to apply a level of critical thinking. You need to be proactive. You need to be able to join the dots. You need to have emotional intelligence. You need to bring your particular expertise to the table. You need to bring your humanity to the table. There's a lot of discretionary effort required.

[00:16:09] Mequa: There's tons of decisions that you can't put in a process map for somebody that they have to make every single day about the way that they interact with their colleagues, with clients, with the work that's in front of them. And sure, if you have a kind of a job where you can tell people, "these are the 10 things you have to do, and these are the exact ways you have to do them.

[00:16:28] Mequa: This is when you turn up, this is what you do, and this is what you're getting paid. And if you don't like it, there's 50 other people in a line behind you". You can apply that level of thinking and you'll get what you want out of people, but we don't have that dynamic anymore. So we now need to understand that in order for our business to succeed and grow, we actually do need that person to willingly come to the table and participate and give of their skills and experience and use their good judgment or whatever. And in our different businesses. We're all going to need different kinds of people, right? Because as you said before, we've got different visions, different values.

[00:17:07] Mequa: And this is where , the articulation really falls short, but you can't articulate it well until you've understood why you need to articulate it well. So it comes down to this whole mindset piece, understanding that it's a co-creation of value. And then I talk a lot about something which is a bit too complicated for us to get into in too much detail today.

[00:17:26] Mequa: But the human operating system, we are all very familiar with software and different operating systems. When we are dealing with people in a work environment, we are dealing with human beings. Now, arguably every individual human being is nuanced on their own and separate and unique, but fundamentally we're human beings.

[00:17:45] Mequa: So we're all hardwired the same way and our hard wiring is still the same as it was when we lived in tribes. But unfortunately our environment is so dramatically different that we have a disconnect, a DNA environment disconnect. And the world that we live in is actually not very good for humans. It's not designed for us.

[00:18:06] Mequa: And we don't do very well in it, unfortunately, which is why we have so many mental health issues, which is why we have so many other issues in our society. And one of the major the major hardwiring of our brain was because we lived in tribes of 35 to 50 people. And we needed each other to survive.

[00:18:27] Mequa: And our brains hardwired us to need the connectedness of that tribe and to participate in that tribe in our key role, that each of us had to keep the tribe safe and to keep everybody alive because we were all united in the mission of surviving that was as simple as it was. And our hard wiring told us that if we didn't have a key role in that tribe, and if we weren't fulfilling our mission, our our purpose, like if you were a hunter or a gatherer, whatever you were doing, then we would be rejected.

[00:19:05] Mequa: And if we were rejected, then we would die and that's just basic instinct hardwiring so rejection equals death. So we were hardwired to want to contribute. We were hardwired to want to do our work because it kept us alive so that we could procreate. It's not altruistic. It's just how it was, we're still hardwired that exact same way.

[00:19:27] Mequa: And so we, our brains still fear rejection as death and the way that actually shows up in our lives and why it's so important to understand is that we do every single thing that we do in our lives in order to make ourselves feel more valuable to others. And we want to make sure that we are. We wanna feel safe that we're not gonna be rejected.

[00:19:52] Mequa: So you'll see people do all sorts of things. Like they'll wanna be beautiful and take lots of selfies on themselves and Instagram because they think if they get a lot of people like them there, then that makes them special and worthwhile and valuable. And they're not gonna be rejected. See other people become workaholics and, just wanna amass a fortune.

[00:20:08] Mequa: Other people become, age carers, because they believe that being a good person means looking after other people. And if they're a good person, then they're, we all do it in our different ways. And you can see it in simple decisions that we make. Do you buy an iPhone or do you buy an Android phone?

[00:20:22] Mequa: Or what phone do you buy? Because every single little decision that we make is affirming our identity. It's, "this is the kind of person I am. And look here you can see when you look, when you see me walking past, you can see my clothes, my hair, my", it tells us a story about who we are. And that's the way that we try and find that belonging and that connection and why that's so relevant all of that stuff is because in the world, around us, we're not getting what we need, but organizations have got the opportunity to give people what they need, because we have to work. All of us have to work to survive and we're not saying that organizations are gonna replace your family, but we can give people that sense of purpose, shared purpose.

[00:21:04] Mequa: That sense of a key role in the shared purpose, that sense of connection. And we can make them feel like they matter that they being there in that job in their team makes a big difference. And that is absolutely life changing for people. And that's where you start to get intangible value that you are actually giving your employees that they cannot compare against another offer when people are having their fundamental core human needs met that human operating system that hardwiring, that we're all biologically wired to crave that when people get that, it's gonna be very difficult to lure them away to another job, because that cannot be put on paper.

[00:21:47] Mequa: You can't capture that in a list of benefits but unfortunately, when everybody's competing against one another with a list of benefits, that's very much exactly the same. These are your hours here. These are your hours here. They're pretty much the same. Or you can work from home there, or you can work from home there, you can get this other, there's no intangible value.

[00:22:05] Mequa: Everything's tangible, which is why it's so key to start with that mindset of understanding that there's more to unpack there, but I'd be talking for a very long time. But once you understand all the stuff that comes in under that mindset banner everything else makes sense. And then you do everything differently and then you get different results, but the five pillars are mindset message, marketing method and magic.

[00:22:27] Mequa: The message is obviously everything that you have to say about why somebody would wanna join your organization. And that includes your vision and your mission, whatever you wanna say about your culture, the role itself the marketing is how do you package that all up. What's the collateral that you're using.

[00:22:41] Mequa: Is it, is it just a job ad? Is it more than that? Is it various different touch points throughout the candidate experience and employee experience? The method is okay. How are you actually going to recruit and onboard people? What's the process, what are the tools, all of that. And then the magic really comes when that person joins the team and that alchemy is created and you provide an employee experience that actually delivers on what you said you were gonna do, and all sorts of cool things can happen from there.

[00:23:09] Scott: That's great. And I can see how that sets the tone from the beginning, doesn't it? Cuz I, I talk about digital employee experience and if you've got a clunky application experience where you've gotta download and print off the application form, you're already starting to judge that organization and think they're probably not very technically advanced.

[00:23:25] Scott: They're gonna have a terrible intranet. I'm not gonna, I'm gonna struggle. So that, that really starts from that first touchpoint right through doesn't it?

[00:23:31] Mequa: It absolutely does. And you've totally nailed it. People experience the recruitment process very much as this is what it's like to work there. You're revealing yourself through your actions. If you've got a, as you say, like a clunky application process, that's very paper based or even just extremely formal and lacking in any kind of charisma.

[00:23:55] Mequa: It's already telling people that this is how you roll. So it's, so this is the interesting thing about it is there's metrics and data about, " oh, we still get these many people apply or we've still got this many". Yeah. But who isn't applying because as soon as they see that ad, they go, "oh man, no way, I'm not gonna waste my time applying for this place. I would die. I would hate to work there". 

[00:24:16] Mequa: So you're not even seeing those people. All you're seeing is the people who are desperate enough for that job, that they are actually prepared to apply even still, which is bad. That's you're getting the best of a bad bunch then.

[00:24:29] Mequa: So you're really handicapping yourself and look, let's be honest. There's a lot of organizations out there that don't have anything worth saying so in a certain sense, it's a really good thing that nobody's helped them because they're revealing themselves and, good people are gonna stay away.

[00:24:41] Mequa: But, and those aren't the people I'm interested in helping, but there are some great businesses out there that just genuinely don't understand exactly what you said. They don't understand that their recruitment experience, that whole candidate, that talent interface, that talent experience that, that is actually revealing what it's gonna be like to work there and setting those expectations and that it has such a profound impact on who will apply and how engaged they are.

[00:25:04] Scott: And I get that it's all interlinked. There's also gonna, I a balance between friction and how many steps they have to go through to make sure you get the right candidate. Versus if you make it too easy you'll, then just get loads of candidates apply that aren't a good fit. And then it's just a logistical nightmare.

[00:25:24] Mequa: Yes, absolutely. So one of the key things that I identified was exactly that. So you would generally have either 300 resumes that you'd have to sift through, or nobody would apply. And either one of those things is bad. And that's why we've developed this overreliance on applicant tracking systems where we try and screen things out for keywords and stuff is exactly, as you said, we've got a slightly different approach.

[00:25:48] Mequa: Bearing in mind, we use marketing thinking and we're trying to construct a, quite a human approach, a human-centered approach. And so because before, as we were saying, people do have a lot of questions. It's a big decision to take a new job, even to apply for a job and go through that process is very time consuming.

[00:26:05] Mequa: So I think that great candidates actually wanna know a lot more than what people put in job ads before they apply for a job. So what we do is we actually use copywriting in our ads. So we do write ads in a much more engaging way, but never saying something that isn't true. So there's a lot of work that goes in, obviously before we start creating collateral, but we do write an ad that can already start to do the work, the heavy lifting of showing candidates that we're different because you wanna have people go through the process and taken on a journey where they're like, "hang on a second. This feels different. This looks different. Let's keep reading". And then instead of just saying, apply here, which is bad for them and bad for us, cuz they don't have enough information to know that they wanna apply yet.

[00:26:48] Mequa: And as you said, if you make it too easy who's even serious about this. So we actually build landing pages. So we take our candidates and say, look, if you'd like to apply, go to this landing page here, either click on this link or paste this URL, and then request the application pack.

[00:27:03] Mequa: So we have them opt in just a simple name and email and we send them an application pack, which we've then obviously constructed previously. And depending on the job and the organization, it can look very different, but it's branded it's professional. It sometimes has videos. It has a lot more information about the organization and about the role and about what we're looking for.

[00:27:22] Mequa: And then the apply link is actually in that pack. So what happens? And we obviously use software to help us with all of this, but what happens is you'll see quite a few people will request the pack, but they won't apply. And when we ask them why some of them would just won't get back to you at all, but they'll say, "oh, look, I noticed that it was like this team structure and actually it's not as senior as I thought", or "yeah I saw the salary wasn't exactly in line with what I was looking for" or, "yeah. I just don't think it's for me" or so it's done its job. And then you'll see other people who are absolutely thrilled about this job, cuz now they've got all this extra information.

[00:27:55] Mequa: They can picture themselves there. And the most common comment that we get is "wow if they've put this much effort into making sure they find the right person, this is gonna be a great place to work" and that's even before we've interviewed them. So that's how we get that's how we do that little bit there.

[00:28:14] Scott: Yeah, that makes total sense. I can see how on first thought a company might think, oh, these people are reading the pack and then they're not applying, but you are pre-filtering them

[00:28:24] Mequa: Yeah.

[00:28:25] Scott: And you're not letting them get through. And then you've gotta filter them out or worse still get a bad fit in the organization.

[00:28:30] Scott: And then there's all the "engage this employee!"

[00:28:33] Mequa: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

[00:28:34] Scott: So it's a win. 

[00:28:35] Scott: It's 

[00:28:35] Mequa: more respectful too, because it's just showing that like you, that these people have got other options and you want them to be able to make a decision for themselves, not hide all the information away. And then in tell 'em that they're so lucky that they've now qualified for an interview and they have to now drive across town or get a train or whatever, and then waste their whole bloody day.

[00:28:54] Mequa: And you'll just see if you think that you like them and you might answer some questions and maybe maybe you might tell them what the salary is. It's just so ridiculous.

[00:29:01] Scott: Yeah. So do you still work with companies that still have an interview process or do you do that a bit differently or advise them to think about that differently?

[00:29:09] Mequa: So we do use as a standard interview process, but we also use some other tools. So there's a couple of really cool online tools that you can use. Some of them are just on demand. So you don't actually have to pay a big subscription, but you can use them to create your very own custom culture assessment.

[00:29:27] Mequa: So you can select the values that you believe are the most important. And then you can ask the candidate to complete this assessment online is really quick, and you can see if there's a values match there. Within the same suite of tools, you can do all sorts of other things. You can do some skills testing.

[00:29:41] Mequa: You can do some Disc profil. Or other personality profiles, but generally depending on the job and the client, we will work out, obviously before we the whole method piece we'll work out before we advertise the job. What's the process that we're gonna use, what are the tools we're gonna use?

[00:29:55] Mequa: But that assessment piece is really important to get right, to balance out like how much time needs to be invested by the candidate, how much money and all those sorts of things. And how relevant is the stuff that you're gonna ask them to do. But we do our best to try and make sure we have some objective data.

[00:30:10] Mequa: So that you can see how do these different candidates compare to one another. And we do, in addition to those little online assessments, I generally will do a video interview with the candidate. I don't like phone screens. It's very impersonal. And there is a lot of tech that you can use these days to do one way video interviews.

[00:30:26] Mequa: I'm not a fan of that myself. I feel like that people want to be, they want another human to acknowledge them and to speak to them.

[00:30:33] Mequa: Particularly for professional roles, particularly for knowledge worker type positions. So we do that. And within the context of that, it's definitely a two-way conversation.

[00:30:42] Mequa: You mentioned before it was a, it's a one way process. It's a two-way conversation. So if we've done the assessments beforehand, we'll ask them questions. " Did you think that was a fair assessment of you? Do you feel like that there were any problems with that?

[00:30:53] Mequa: Do you feel like that those strengths and weaknesses were accurate?" We'll get all sorts of great feedback from the candidates. " Yeah no, well not in this circumstance, but yeah, that that's good". So it's a two-way conversation. And then we move from there to in-person interviews. I usually try and keep it to one.

[00:31:08] Mequa: But there are occasions where, depending on who's involved, it needs to be two.

[00:31:11] Scott: I've yeah, I've heard some people have gone through "I'm on round three of the interview selection process", like really?

[00:31:18] Mequa: It's terrible. 

[00:31:18] Scott: So is there anything you'd like to share that you haven't covered that you think would be useful for the listeners?

[00:31:22] Mequa: Well, there is always so much to say we could talk all day, but there is something that I think is probably really important to cover and I should have started off with it is that all businesses have got two choices. Now I will set corporates aside because they're a little bit of a different beast and there's a lot of nuance going on in the corporate space that kind of doesn't apply to a lot of the other organizations, but anything mid tier and below. You've only got two choices when it comes to talent. So number one is you can take the Nike approach, which is just do it. We're just gonna hire this person.

[00:31:59] Mequa: We just need to get this person. We just need to fill this role. And you will pay the Nike tax. And that Nike tax is a tax that you will pay on the fact that you have just done it, which means you're gonna have to be prepared to deal with the performance problems and the attitude problems and whatever else may result from that whole, just do it approach.

[00:32:20] Mequa: And generally speaking, there is a, it's a high tax. It takes a lot of your time. It takes a lot of your energy. It can mess with your team mess with your clients. It's a higher risk, but that tends to be the way that most people operate when it comes to recruitment. "Yeah. We need this person really fast.

[00:32:34] Mequa: Yeah, we'll just do this. We'll just do that". The opposite is to actually take a little bit of time and think through." Okay. What is it that we actually offer people here? What are we offering this particular person? What are we actually looking for in this particular person?" And really approach it in a methodical way.

[00:32:54] Mequa: Like we have a framework that we use with our clients, but you don't have to have a framework. You can just think it through in a methodical way. But you take more time front, invest that extra time up front, get clear on what you're gonna do and how you're gonna do it. How are you gonna assess this person?

[00:33:06] Mequa: All of that stuff then you're much more likely to have a positive result in terms of being able to find somebody who is a good fit for the role and is a good fit for your organization. And then they're gonna actually come in and create value and make your life easier. Yeah. You're still gonna have to work with them and direct them and they're not gonna have, they're not gonna be perfect, but you're not gonna pay that enormous tax.

[00:33:25] Mequa: You're gonna get a compound interest. That's gonna come from having the right person in the role and all of the benefits that will come as a result.

[00:33:32] Scott: Brilliant. That's great. So one of the questions I ask all my guests is if you had one book who could take with you to a desert island where you're trapped for the rest of your life, what would that book be?

[00:33:42] Mequa: Oh my god. You also must know that I have an incalculable number of books. So I have audible, Kindle, real books. I'm literally just, I have so many books. I could not tell you how many there are. Wow.

[00:33:56] Scott: You gotta pick one physical book but you're not allowed to Kindle that's cheating.

[00:33:59] Mequa: A physical book that I would be stuck with for the rest of my life.

[00:34:03] Mequa: Oh, Scott, you should have warned me about this question.

[00:34:05] Scott: I don't warn the guests.

[00:34:08] Mequa: I'm gonna say Atlas Shrugged, because it's a very long book.

[00:34:12] Scott: Atlas Shrugged?

[00:34:13] Mequa: Yeah. By Ayn Rand so Ayn Rand was the, not the father of objectiveism, but she was a bit of a philosopher and she called out the future that she saw, which sadly has turned out to be true.

[00:34:28] Mequa: And so she wrote most of her books in the fifties. And this is a particular story about the industrialists and the people who created value disappearing from the world because they got sick and tired of the bureaucracy and the corruption and the sucking up of their value and the crazy laws and rules that where making it impossible for them to do what they needed to do.

[00:34:51] Mequa: So they disappeared. I recommend it. If you haven't read it.

[00:34:54] Scott: Excellent. Great. Thank you. So if anybody wants to work with you or get hold of you, how do they do that?

[00:35:01] Mequa: Probably the best way to find me is on LinkedIn. I'm not really anywhere else. I do have a website, but it isn't gonna get you anything that you can't get from my LinkedIn profile. So yeah, just find me there.

[00:35:13] Scott: Great. And I'll put the link in the show notes. It's been great having you on the show and chatting. Thank you very much.

[00:35:18] Mequa: Thanks Scott it's been awesome.

[00:35:20] Scott: A big thank you for listening to the Rebel Diaries show, your time is precious. So thank you. It is appreciated. 

[00:35:27] Scott: The show has a new Facebook group for you to engage with others, discuss topics, and let me know what you think of the show. 

[00:35:33] Scott: There's a link to the group in the show notes or search Facebook for Rebel Diaries community.

[00:35:37] Scott: It'd be great to see you there .

[00:35:39] Scott: Until next week take care, be a rebel and deliver work with impact.