Purpose, People, and Perspective: GO-VA CEO Fiona Kesby Speaks About Turning Recruitment Challenges Into Opportunities

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One of the most immediate challenges of recruiting in the midst of COVID-19 is having to work with a smaller talent pool. 

At one point, anyone who needed to be in business process outsourcing and export companies in Cebu City, where www.go-va.com.au is based, had to stay within 2 kilometers of their offices.

Now, part of our core values is: We always Find a Way. 

For a little while, we posted old-school recruitment flyers within a 2-kilometer radius from the office. Then our Internal Team produced a recruitment video that was meant for jobseekers within GO-VA’s neighborhood, and the tribe responded by sharing that video with their Facebook friends and online jobs boards.

This was one of the workarounds that GO-VA CEO Fiona Kesby shared during the first Mynimo Insights webinar held last Wednesday, 17 June 2020, on “Turning Recruitment Challenges into Opportunities.” 

“We don’t grow when things are easy,” Fiona told some 100 online attendees from different cities in the Philippines and Australia. “We are using this time to improve our processes continually.”

 

Mynimo Insights Presentation - Fiona Kesby

A Very Challenging Year for Recruitment

 

With that being said, Fiona also shared that this is the most challenging year she has seen so far for recruitment, a space where she has grown more than 20 years in Australia and the Philippines. 

“The first month (of the lockdown) was very challenging,” she said. “I really missed that human interaction.” 

One change that helped was holding quick daily huddles with each department online, instead of the weekly, in-person meeting. This enabled the team to resolve emerging challenges fasterーand emerge they did, especially in the early days of quarantine. 

These challenges included transporting job candidates, after they’d passed the online assessments and interviews, so they could get their medical requirements at a time when most clinics were closed. Another challenge was delivering PCs to candidates who were eligible to work right away from home but had no workstation of their own. 

It helps to acknowledge that this is a challenging time for everyone,” Fiona said. “It also helps to remember that whilst it’s a tough time for everyone, it will pass.”

One form of discipline that helps during tough times is self-care. For Fiona, that has meant making time for exercise, journaling, meditation, getting enough sleep and eating well, no matter how full her schedule gets. 

“If we’re healthy and we’re in the right mindset, we can work through any challenge that life throws at us. I need to be in the best mindset to be the most effective leader.” 

It also helps to look for and join virtual networking events and pay attention to services that could make the lives of both jobseekers and clients easier.

After recruiting for diverse industries, including construction, engineering, hospitality, and IT, she has found that there are some questions great recruiters and business leaders never stop asking. 

How do we attract the best talent? How do we retain them?

What can we do differently to be more effective? What tools can we use or how can we use our current tools better? 

When onboarding a remote team member, for instance, ask them to record the video call, so they can refer to it whenever they need to, and you wouldn’t have to repeat instructions so often. Software such as www.dothis.to can help businesses automate learning and training for their teams. 

Use this time to reinvent yourself, your company, and your recruitment department.”

Consider these questions:

Key questions to ask in Recruitment

No matter how quickly recruitment has changed, one crucial thing recruiters need to do for clients is to make sure that qualified candidates are also likely to be the right fit, given the organization’s values. 

One of the questions that came up in the webinar’s Q&A session was: “How do you gauge honesty or sincerity in a phone interview?”

A recruiter can check  for consistency in the candidate’s work experience (for example, how long they’ve stayed in their previous job roles), apply recruitment techniques such as topgrading, and pay attention to their gut feeling. 

“Sometimes, it takes more than one meeting,” Fiona said. “If it’s a really quick interview, you’re not giving yourself and the candidate the time you both need.”

She also emphasized a commitment to embrace learning about one’s field and about leadership. Tip: Set aside one hour each day (or a good part of your Sunday) for learning. Here are 4 books that she recommends for those curious about new ideas for recruitment and the industry’s best standards. 


A Time to Evolve and Change

Must-Reads for Recruiters


One memory that has helped Fiona through this time is that of the January 2011 floods in Brisbane, when some 200,000 people lost their homes and at least 33 individuals died, and floodwaters damaged over AUD$2 billion in property. 

At the time, she was recruiting for an IT software business. “There was no electricity, no food in the supermarkets, no fuel at the petrol station. There were military helicopters in the air and military vehicles on the road. It was eerie and scary at times.” 

She set her alarm at 4 every morning, as part of being vigilant. Her home then was about a kilometer away from the river, but when high tide hit, the water was no more than 10 meters from her doorstep.

“Now I’ve always dreamed of a waterfront property but this was definitely not my vision. However, it was my new normal, and my new normal soon passed. Although COVID-19 and quarantine are lasting a lot longer, it reminds me of that period of the floods,” Fiona said. “And that it will pass.”

She is mindful as well that Filipino culture is built “on a foundation of resilience and gratitude.”  

She recalled how, before GO-VA, she and her recruitment colleagues used to rely mainly on fax machines to send resumes (no email yet and no online job boards), as well as on print ads and word of mouth to attract candidates. 

All that has changed, and for the better.

“Although I wouldn’t want to go back to that recruitment strategy using fax machines, this has reminded me that this is a period of evolution and change. We need to embrace it and work through it,” she said.

“Are we using technology to our full advantage? Are we using our networks and word of mouth to their full advantage?”

Be responsive to change

Curious about how we do things, apart from recruitment, in the GO-VA tribe? Here’s more! https://globalofficeph.com/our-culture/

bpo in cebu

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