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Michael Lonnon – 00:03

Welcome to the HSO dynamics matters podcast, your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides. I’m Michael Lonnon and today I’m pleased to have with me HSO senior recruiter Dan Rosehill. The reason I was in particular looking forward to this conversation is because I know finding and hiring talent is an age old problem for many businesses. Given that Dan is immersed in this very activity for HSO, I knew he would have some nuggets of wisdom that will help you. So, grab a brew, sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon – 00:49

University degree or university of life?

Dan Rosehill – 00:56

University of life, but I am guilty of having a degree and going through that educational process.

Michael Lonnon – 01:02

Don’t feel guilty about it Dan.

Dan Rosehill – 01:04

Well, you know.

Michael Lonnon – 01:06

Personality or skills?

Dan Rosehill – 01:10


Michael Lonnon – 01:11

Cool, good, good, good. You can always teach skill, right?

Dan Rosehill – 01:14

Exactly, exactly, yep.

Michael Lonnon – 01:16

So you head up the development team, the recruitment team here, the finders of all that is brilliant about HSO from a people perspective.

Dan Rosehill – 01:29

I am the gatekeeper, correct.

Michael Lonnon – 01:32

You’re the gatekeeper yeah. And I’ve talked to a lot of people over a long period of time, and always what comes up as one of the biggest challenges is how do you find the right people? How do you find the best way? How do you find talent? How did you find them and nurture them?

Dan Rosehill – 01:45

For me, when trying to find talent, I’m relying on my personal relationships, and I’m relying on people to give me their recommendations and their honest feedback for specific people that I’m talking to.

Michael Lonnon – 01:56

So for people who are looking for the right role for themselves it’s about connecting with that network and building up relationships over a long period of time, so that you can tap into it from a dynamics point of view. I’m trying to find those individuals; it’s a similar sort of thing is it, it’s the whole understanding what the network looks like, who the people and the movers and shakers are within it, is that the kind of thing?

Dan Rosehill – 02:20

Yeah, I guess, the personal relationships, the recommendations that people can make. You know, within HSO now we’ve got 250 people almost, and, you know, that’s each one of those people, they’ll know other people they worked with in the market. So, it’s just about trying to, you know, utilise that network as much as possible and leverage it and dragging them as much as I can. Because that’s where the best recruitment comes from those personal relationships I think.

Michael Lonnon – 02:50

From a company perspective (let’s take HSO because we both work there), is there almost a front to the business that you need to show. You as an organisation is trying to find the right time and you want to show yourself to look like a company that you want to go and work for.

I’m always attracted and driven to the companies that look slightly quirky, that looks slightly different that seemed to have something about them that’s not quite the norm. What advice would you give to those organisations that want to create a shopfront for attracting talent?

Dan Rosehill – 03:30

Well, okay, so, in the past, I used to work with recruitment agencies, and I remember my very first job with a company called EU Solutions. Great little recruitment boutique agency, I was doing very well I’d been there for about 18 months. Then I was sold a dream by another company which was on the top floor, the penthouse floor, where the Apprentice was filmed; you know the introduction of the Apprentice (Dan Rosehill sings the intro), you see Alan Sugar get out and he’s on the top of the building and this particular office was there. I was sold by the shine of the company, it had a gold sofa and I think it had a gym on the top floor and I was sold by all of that. I was young and naïve and must have been about 24 or 25 years old. It was the biggest mistake of my life and I lasted about three months in that company. So my advice would be that it’s not all about the slick shine gimmicks that a lot of organisations invest in to create a facade and a good image. For me, it’s about being true to yourself and working out what your USPs are and how you can differentiate yourself. So with HSO as an example of that, I talk about that all the time with candidates because ultimately, from a kind of delivery and technical perspective, we all do the same thing. We’re all Microsoft gold partners, we all implement Microsoft Dynamics within various industry sectors. So how do you differentiate yourself? And the answer to that with HSO for me, it’s culture very simply. It’s true, because it’s very easy to sell something when you believe it yourself. You know, we’ve been consistently voted in the top 100 companies to work for over the past five years. But not only that, we invest really heavily in the engagement and wellbeing side of the business. So, you know, things like Netflix club and chess club and regular yoga sessions and meditation and, seminars on mobility when you’re at home and trying to keep active and steps challenges to see who can walk the most in a particular week. All of these types of things they just go to kind of invest in people as more than just employees, but being part of a bigger family, the HSO family, and I think, I could go on and on about this about the ways that we do things, which, support that feeling, but that for me is the principal differentiating factor.

Michael Lonnon – 05:45

You can’t fake a culture can you?

Dan Rosehill – 05:47

You can’t.

Michael Lonnon – 05:48

You cannot pretend to be something that you’re not. I think that’s where a lot of companies fail.

Dan Rosehill – 05:56

It’s been so difficult as well, because I talk about culture and it’s been so easy in the past because we’ve been able to demonstrate that by meeting up, having get-togethers and parties. I remember I got my band to play at the last Christmas do.

Michael Lonnon – 06:10

Did they pay you?

Dan Rosehill – 06:11

They did actually. I didn’t get the money; the guitarist and the bass player got the money; not me unfortunately. I enjoyed the gig nonetheless. But it’s been really difficult over the past year, because you’re having to find ways of demonstrating your culture through a virtual environment, not face to face and that’s been really challenging. So, we’ve put together an engagement team, as I mentioned, which I’m part of as well. It’s all about finding things that can involve as many people as possible, whether it be cooking classes, book clubs, film appreciation societies, all of those types of things, and that’s kind of what we’ve been using. But let’s be honest, nothing can replace getting back to face to face interactions, having a beer together at the end of a tough day and having a few get-togethers.

Michael Lonnon – 06:56

Yeah, that’s a great point. It was tough to find the right talent before lockdown when you could meet face to face. It’s become tougher now that you’re doing it online. It’s more difficult to engage with people and get them into that culture isn’t it?

Dan Rosehill – 07:15

Yeah, I think definitely, it’s tougher to sell the cultural side of the business but having said that, I think the lockdown, because it’s made working from home a more acceptable facet of this type of working, I think it’s opened the doors up to a broader range of candidates at the same time. So there do seem to be a few more people that we’re interacting with, that we’re talking to that perhaps last year might have been discounted from the process purely because they didn’t want to travel. And that’s been really good, because it includes people like, young mums who are coming back to work and things like that, that perhaps don’t want to travel all the time. But because they’ve got two young kids at home or whatever it might be. I think it’s nice to be able to actually appeal to that type of candidate now. I think the industry is changing quite a lot and that’s a really big facet for HSO, the diversity and inclusion piece and trying to get more of these types of people into work.

Michael Lonnon – 08:12

Great point. We started off when I asked you personality or skills and you said personality? When you’re trying to find the right people, even if face to face or online, what sort of traits do you look for? What sort of traits should others look for in the people that they’re trying to recruit?

Dan Rosehill – 08:32

For me personality. I think, first and foremost, you’ve got to check the skill sets are okay. But as you say, as I say sorry, personalities are the most important aspect. So what I’m thinking about first and foremost is often who’s the hiring manager? Who’s this particular candidate going to be reporting into, and then I look to see whether or not there’s going to be a rapport between those two personnel. That’s quite easy to tell because I’ve been here for three years now, I think I’ve developed some really good relationships with the management team. I know what each one of them like in terms of the personality features of people that we’re bringing in. You get a sense of that as soon as you talk to somebody on the phone; whether or not they’re going to get on with that person that they’re reporting into. So I’m looking for things like that. One of the key features that I look for, and that we look for as a business is two things, its longevity and its loyalty. When we see people that have been part of a company for five, six years, that demonstrates to me that they’ve stuck with it for the long term, they’re not just out for themselves trying to, move around from one organisation to another. If you look at HSO we’re very proud of the retention rates that we’ve got, we hold on to people for a long, long period of time and it engenders an environment where everybody knows each other, and everybody supports each other. So we want people that buy into that type of culture.

Michael Lonnon – 09:57

What is the number one piece of advice you’d give to somebody trying to find new talent, what’s the best piece of advice you could give?

Dan Rosehill – 10:05

Good question. There are two areas you can talk about here, which is the actual technical components of recruitment and how you find these people using LinkedIn and all of that sort of stuff but that’s a bit boring; I think any recruiter can kind of do their job. So for me, it’s about finding the right personality. The way you look at this is that technical skills can be taught and they can be taught very easily. So what you’re looking for is a couple of things here. It’s adaptability, somebody that is adaptable, open to learning new things, not overly arrogant to think that they know everything, but open to learning more things. I think that’s the key really, people that are adaptable and open to learn; those two things.

Michael Lonnon – 10:49

In searching for talent, it’s not necessarily about using or trawling job sites or scraping LinkedIn. Rather than Dan believes finding the best talent is more successful when using the relationships and networks that you yourself have built up over the years. It’s also about using the networks and relationships of other company employees. If we take HSO as an example, consider there’s 250 employees. Each member of staff has their own network and their own set of relationships that can act as a source of making contact with potential new staff. Once you’ve identified potential candidates, it’s then about aligning personalities to ensure the right cultural fit for all parties. I hope you enjoyed the podcast and it gave you some useful advice about where and how to find the best people for your business. Until next time, take care of yourselves.