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Man Versus Wild Thought Leadership Part 2: Brad Cook, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Informatica Shares Wisdom

Posted on October 13, 2010
Filed Under Global Staffing Perspectives, Interviews | 1 Comment

Brad Cook will be presenting at LinkedIn Talent Connect 2010 on November 01, 2010 RSVP

Today Brad shares the secret treasures abundant within Australia, the Great Down Under just weeks before he comes to the San Francisco Bay Area to make his mark on his American ground breaking arrival!

• Brad Cook
• Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Informatica
Follow Brad on Twitter
• Community Volunteering: Big Brothers, Big Sisters
• Personal Causes: Animals of the world through RSPCA & WSPC
• Office/Cell Number +61 423 841 118
Email Brad
• Specialties:
Global Talent Acquisition; Talent Management; Building high-performing teams; Leadership; Managing for results; Service P/L Management; Innovation in service delivery; Optimizing organizations; Contract negotiation; Sales strategies; Strategic Planning; Transformational Change; Sales Leadership; New Business Start-Up; Innovation & Creativity; People Management; Field Sales Management; Global Operations; Global Change Management.

To recap, on Part one of our two part interview, Brad Cook is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Informatica. Brad delivers Global Staffing initiatives that contribute to the achievement of the business goals. He presently resides in Sydney, Australia but is in the process of relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. His specialized expertise is in the development and implementation of global staffing strategies (Americas, EMEA, Asia Pac & Japan). Previously, Brad served as Director, Global Staffing Candidate Selection Practice at Cisco Systems and advanced from prior specialization in Global Talent Acquisition and World-Wide Change Management.

Six Degrees: How is US recruitment culture (and overall) in Australia different? How are they similar?”

BRAD: From my perspective, the US recruiting model is far more mature than most other countries. This is because the use of internal sourcing teams, as well as onsite recruiters in a co-sourcing environment is way more advanced in the US than APAC or even in Europe. In my experience, the APAC tendency has been to rely on agencies as the primary source for candidates. Also I noticed that employment branding efforts in APAC region are significantly lower than that in the US. Having said that, I am starting to see things change in the APAC region, and this is due to the explosion of social media. Now, more and more companies are leveraging social networking to attract and maintain relationships with passive candidates. If you look at the growth of internet users in China and India, there poses a significant opportunity to leverage current tools to attract, develop and maintain relationships.

Just recently I have joined Informatica based out of Redwood City, California as the VP Global Talent Acquisition. So it shows that building a global personal network works. In fact my appointment with Informatica was via a LinkedIn networking activity. Proof that networking at all levels included executive levels is critical for career advancement

On the flip side of the equation, the similarities I see between the US and rest of world are more around the process of recruiting. In my experience it’s an 80/20 blend, 80% of the recruiting process is global consistency, as it’s the consistency that drives a positive candidate experience. Whereas the other 20% is the local cultural specifics that are required in that particular part of the world. I advise building a recruitment model that targets a global candidate pool tailored for vast diversity. This leaves you to spend more time on the critical tasks rather than what I call “the why I need to be different” business practices

Six Degrees: What languages are you fluent in?

BRAD: Those that know me would tell you that I speak three languages; English, American and Australian. Those of you who know a few Aussies, will agree that we have plenty of colloquialisms, many of which we have no idea of the origin of the phrase. When living in the US it was crucial for me to adopt an American accent and learn the peculiarities of sentence phrasing and word selection over there, as my wife could only act as a translator after hours! One thing’s for sure – life’s never dull!

Six Degrees: Which recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

BRAD: From an ATS perspective, I implemented VirtualEdge globally as my preferred recruitment software tool after a significant vendor selection process. From a personal tools perspective there are very few others besides Linkedin that offer a true global foot print. Job boards all have their strengths and weaknesses in each region, as do aggregators. In a global recruiting capacity, this is where the 80/20 rule really plays out. I find that most ATS systems today do the 80% pretty well, it’s the strategic direction you want to pursue that will help you make the final decision on which ATS is right for you. Some ATS systems have a good CRM platform, others treat a pipeline as a funnel, which I believe doesn’t offer true CRM continuity. For me, It really comes down to how well you data mine the data you have within the ATS. That is where you can really drive recruiter productivity. We had over 500,000 candidates come into our ATS each year. More than enough good talent to fill req loads with a well rounded sourcing strategy wrapped around it

Six Degrees: How many applicants do you estimate are hired from your corporate website as compared to how many are hired through referrals?

BRAD: One of the challenges highly branded companies have, is actually not the numbers of candidates hitting the site, but the process of how to filter them down quickly to respond quickly to the top talent that should be chased down. Referrals offer a different challenge, in that a good referral program needs to seem like a high touch process, but also have automation in order to keep both the referrer and the candidate happy with the experience. Having a possible candidate referred to your company, for them to disappear into a black hole of recruitment inefficiency spells disaster for a referral program. This is the crucial area where good processes and systems play a key role.

Six Degrees: Whether you are hiring IT engineers, accounting, – whatever talent you are seeking, – is your country’s CULTURE a factor in the RESPONSE RATE you get when sending an email requesting a CV versus calling the candidate directly at their work? Are they open/eager to sending their CV, are they more shy/cautious or even suspicious depending on the method you use to contact them?

BRAD: The methodologies here are very regional and in some cases also country specific. For example, some Asian cultures will not take a call, let alone share their resume unless you are referred to them by a trusted advisor. On the other hand, other cultures are very open to looking at new opportunities if something sparks an interest. Knowing and recognizing the possible cultural differences of those whom you’re trying to attract (Without getting too specific), puts the recruiter in a much stronger position to attract the very candidates you are aiming to engage with.

Six Degrees: In terms of what is attractive to Australia’s workers what do you feel drives them in their choice of employer?

BRAD: I’m actually not sure that what I have to say about this is country specific, but more about what drives people. I’m certainly no expert in EVP, however it is my view that it boils down to simple human behavior. If someone is excited and juiced up by the job they are doing, they are receiving fair remuneration for the job, and career development and learning opportunities are available to them, then I believe that most bases are covered. For example, even in my own career I have shifted my views on the question of Employer Value Proposition. At different times in my career I focused purely on dollars, then switched over to a focus on development and continued growth, then on to career advancement. However, I keep coming back to development and growth, as I believe the rest will follow. I know that if I’m constantly learning and challenging myself, then I’m at my most happiest and best. I believe humans can all be quite similar in that regard – what drives us one day, is certainly likely to change over time.

Six Degrees: In Australia, how does the actual selection process proceed once a candidate has been identified and what role does a recruiter in Japan play in the process?

BRAD: One of my strongest beliefs is that the process of recruiting should be and indeed can be consistent globally. The selection process is very similar globally. That is: Find a candidate; assess their basic qualifications; pre-screen them; put them through a formal behavioral interview process; complete a wash-up session to solicit feedback; reference check; and finally make the offer. That is, in a nutshell, the basics of a global recruiting process, and I truly believe this does not change so significantly from country to country. Differences in the recruiting process would be for example, in Japan, is the style of the interviewing and those you might have on the interview team. The smaller nuances change, not the basics. It’s more about understanding how one needs to interact differently with a candidate if they come from a different culture, and this takes a good understanding of one’s own culture and how something we take for granted could be viewed as disrespectful. For example, when interviewing a Korean candidate, them not looking you in the eye is not because they are timid, nervous or flippant – it is in fact a sign of respect.

Six Degrees: Is it acceptable, or common, in Australian culture to offer a referral fee for a successful hire to someone who recommended the candidate?

BRAD: Speaking from experience, referral hiring is one of the best ways of finding good talent. In the past we had a system of paid referral bonuses, which stayed the same for years. Whilst it used to be a global fee set in USD, we have had to readjust to the global market place because having USD fee that pays the same in all countries created big problems even though a flat fee is easiest to administer. However, we, had situations in India where the fee was extremely high in local converted currency, and it ended up taking the focus away from someone’s real work, to everyone having their recruiter hats on – which meant that people weren’t productive. We resolved this by implementing a sliding scale based on local salary, vs a single USD flat fee. On top of that, at times when we needed certain types of particular skill sets, we paid an additional bonus on top of the base fee. It was a lot of money, but in comparison to what it costs for internal recruiting, or in some cases agency spend, it was money well spent. I believe that if someone goes to the trouble of referring someone they know to your company, they are putting their reputation on the line. The recruiting teams need to treat the referred candidate like gold and ensure there is always a level of communication with all parties. So paying the person to submit the candidate is something that I feel warrants a reward, so I am a very strong advocate for referral rewards. Then it all comes down to how much a particular company wants to offer, and that’s a personal choice. I have seen it range from $500 USD to $3,500 USD for some unique skill sets.


One Response to “Man Versus Wild Thought Leadership Part 2: Brad Cook, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Informatica Shares Wisdom”

  1. Gerry Crispin on October 15th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Nice job Dave.
    Enjoyed learning about you Brad.
    Hope our paths cross sooner rather than later.