Strivin & Thrivin Ep8. Stan Rolfe

Strivin & Thrivin Ep8. Stan Rolfe – State Manager WA – Training Unlimited Pty Ltd

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“Was I ambitious in terms of climbing the corporate ladder to become a divisional manager of a recruitment agency? No, no, no. I had no interest in that.”

Not all recruitment is the same, and different qualities befit different roles. This week we caught up with Stan Rolfe, Training Manager from Training Unlimited to discuss his career trajectory, from being unambitious in his early years to how he found himself a better fit for internal recruitment due to his relationship management. 

We cover some brilliant career highlights, including the development of immersive recruitment and how he incorporated VR experiences into a technical, role in underground mines.  

“It was probably the highlight of my career, being able to introduce something like that into an organization.”

It’s a fascinating conversation of how technology advancements are being put to use in recruitment and how to give recruits an accurate idea of what the role will be like. But scaling this use of technology recruitment doesn’t just stop at job openings, Stan explains how it created an opportunity to take the experiences into schools and give students the opportunity to understand what a certain career will look like. 

However, like all new things, this wasn’t without it’s setback and Stan talks to us about winning over the Exec leadership team to try something new and costly in order to make more purposeful hires that aren’t likely to leave due to feeling misold the role. 

Technology plays such a crucial role in so many parts of business today and the learnings that stem from the conversation are well-worth a listen. Of course, we cover other aspects of career success, including mentoring others and the value Stan extracted from his mentors. 

It’s not one to miss so be sure to listen to this episode of Strivin & Thrivin to hear more! 

FULL TRANSCRIPT 

Laura: I’m your host, Laura Johnson. And today I’m lucky enough to have Neil Gunning as my wonderful co-host. Today we’re thrilled to be joined by Stan Rolfe.

So to get us started Stan, can you tell us a little bit about your career background today and what you’re doing now?

Stan: Yeah, so I started off in the world of hotels and fell into recruitment. So, a long story short, I was working in a hotel in Melbourne, a very well-dressed well-groomed individual was a regular guest there. I went up to him one day and said, ‘How does someone like me with a lack of qualifications become rich and successful like you?’, and he turned around and said, ‘That’s a big question to ask, come and see me tomorrow’. The next day I went and interviewed with Bill Pollack who owned Drake International at the time, well, he still is the Owner, and started working in recruitment and that’s how I fell into it.

I started selling psychometric tests for the first two years of my career with Drake before moving to London, working for Hudson back to Melbourne, back to Perth with Hudson, and then moved internal.

So, I sat in that internal function for about 10 years, leading and managing teams developing one of the first sourcing teams in Australia with Sinclair, which is now Jacobs Engineering and then got out, did some consulting, started blogging for Trevor Bass and the ATC team and started getting really into the tech side of things. I started consulting for a little while under my own business and then as things changed in the, WA Economy I found myself without a job and about a year ago, I was asked to start a recruitment agency for a training company, specialising in Age Care and Childcare.

Got it up and running and just as COVID hit -not a great time to start a recruitment agency – in Aged Care or Childcare and an opportunity came up to join his training company as their state manager. So, now I’m a state manager for a private RTO registered training organisation, specialising in Age Care and Childcare. So, totally different background going from engineering construction to Age Care and Childcare.

Neil: What a journey. I’m keen too, I was like so much of that I wanted to dig into the geography changes here to London. Why? But then let’s go before that, when you approached that slick-looking chap in the hotel, did you have any clue what you were getting into?

Stan: None. I just saw this guy with Bob Hawke perfect hair, flash suits. He came and stayed with us, at the Melbourne Cup every year, got to know him. He lived in Monaco for three months of the year. The guy, I looked up to him and went, ‘wow, how do I become like that?’.

Neil: So, there was no inclination at the time about the industry, it was just, ‘okay, whatever he’s doing, I want to do that’.

Stan: Yeah. What can I learn from him?

Neil: That was Bill and your, into Drake. So, tell us about that first leap in, tell us about the learning curve that would have been from working in a hotel to selling psychometric tests for Drake. You are talking about opposite ends of the spectrum.

Stan: Yeah, it was and it was really interesting. I had some really good mentors, a couple of blokes, Dan Sawyer and Darryl Hughton who were working there at the time. Dan is still in recruitment, but living out in the sticks in Victoria. I’m not sure where Darryl is at the time, but they guided me along the way and were extremely helpful in trying to help me understand psychometrics.

My role was more around the business development, but not really having the full understanding of the psychological theory behind it all. We had some really good wins with some good companies at the time. But it was a huge learning curve, it was exciting. Very different to working in four or five-star hotels that’s for sure.

Neil: You mentioned two mentors, did you fall into the role of being the mentee or was this a conscious thing you actually said, ‘hey, I’d love to learn from you both’, and if so, what was it you were hoping to learn from them?

Stan: For me it was more of I fell into it. I wasn’t actively looking for a mentee-mentor type of relationship. They were just two gents who were very generous with their time and understood that I was someone young, green, and needed a lot of coaching, in the industry. So, after that, I’ve certainly taken an approach to look for people, throughout my career, who can provide advice and acting in a more informal capacity around being a mentor, I look at Trevor Bass as one of those individuals for me as well.

Neil: So, from there you, you started off in Drake. You were in the more business development side of things. Is that where you then had your first exposure to recruitment and thought, ‘Hey, I want a piece of that’ and if that is the case, are you a sadomasochist? What’s going on? Tell me about that leap.

Stan: So the BD role I eventually moved into, selling all different aspects of the business of Drake. So just, it was recruitment services, it was outsourcing, it was psychometrics. So, I started working more with the recruitment teams. Eventually, when I left Drake, I went… Darryl actually went to another business called IXP3, a tech recruiting company and he asked me to go and said, ‘Hey, do you like what you’re doing here? You’d be a great recruiter, why not come and work with me?’. So, at the time, we were called ‘para-consultants’, I don’t know if that term still exists, but yes, I then went over there and learned the ropes around, recruiting with IXP3 on the tech side.

Neil: And what kept you in it? I mean, you’ve, this is now, I mean, we’re, we’ve still got a few leaps I’m really keen to dig into around the geography shifts and then moving internal, but ultimately at a principal level, you’re, you’re still in the people game. What was it that, you know, tell me, what is that keeps you in it?

Stan: I think it is the people, working in hospitality, in a front-office role where you’re constantly in front of people.  I’m a bit of a sponge when it comes to learning new things, so learning different industry sectors has kept me in it from the recruitment perspective in Melbourne, when I first started out, it was all about tech. I think the comradery in the recruitment space, you worked hard but you also had a lot of fun with the peers around you. So, you mentioned before, and then going over to different geographies. I went to London because I’d not been to London before. I went with the girlfriend at the time and started off working for Hudson in professional services, recruiting into accounting and finance, corporate finance.

Again, I don’t have an accounting degree or qualification. For me, in every job I have taken in different industry sectors, I’ve been really proactive around sourcing the information, going to bookstores, just getting a general basic understanding of what you’re getting into so you can speak the lingo. I found that people around you are always very supportive of giving you time to better understand the markets that you’re working with, and generally, recruiters are great people. So that’s always been a lot of fun and that’s what’s kept me in it yeah.

Neil: So, it sounds like, even back in the beginning then, growth for you, it was always a horizontal challenge. It wasn’t about just, Senior Management or Executive roles and so it was horizontal. You’ve gone industry and sector and you’ve moved across the way. Was that a conscious thing?

Stan: Yeah.

Neil: That was entirely conscious? You knew back then that was what you were looking to do?

Stan: Yeah, I was never – Was I ambitious in terms of climbing the corporate ladder to become a divisional manager of a recruitment agency? No, no, no. I had no interest in that. I was having too much fun, learning different things, and meeting different people and enjoying my time with the people around me. So, it was never something that I aspired to be and if you look back in my career, even when I was a Recruitment Manager and a Sourcing Manager, they were always of smaller teams in smaller geographies like Perth.

Neil: If you were to give advice to someone else who’s early in their career, who currently has the apprehension around jilting the mode, similar to what you did, and growth not always be in the upward trajectory. What advice would you give them to be comfortable with, broadening out their knowledge base, broadening out horizontally?

Stan: Yeah, that’s a good question. I’d say is, go and watch some Gary V videos, that’s what I’d go and say. What I took away from when I asked Bill back in the day was just ask questions, ask plenty of questions and be a bit more proactive around learning a few things for yourself.

Go to the textbook store and buy a book on environmental engineering, which I did and learn about wastewater treatment and then you sit there, and you talk with a manager who is asking you about all this stuff and you can say yea, this, this, this, and this and they’re like, you know about this stuff? Yeah, I’m doing my research. Give yourself some credibility.

Neil: The funny thing is that this was nothing to do with your job. This was just you in your spare time and you were learning about wastewater, wasn’t it?

Stan: Correct! It was, if you ever get a blocked drain mate, just give us a shout and I’ll come straight over.

Neil: I’ll be straight on the phone. That leap then, from the world of not just agency recruitment, but the agency as a whole land and selling and professional services. When you then made the leap into internal, what prompted that?

Stan: I was getting frustrated with the sales and the KPIs. I understood them in big markets like Sydney and Melbourne, and London, where you can say, you’ve got to make 150 calls.

You’ve got to go see 15 clients. That’s great in Melbourne and Sydney where there are millions of people, but when you’re in Perth, there aren’t that many people, and you can only call a client so many times. What I was getting frustrated with was I was becoming a pest. I wasn’t building great relationships.

I couldn’t make three calls a month to the same person just talking nonsense, but I really enjoyed the recruitment side. I really enjoyed finding people their dream jobs. So how do I keep on down that path? Going back to London, my manager at the time said, “You’re a hopeless Business Development Manager”.

You’re a great Client Relationship Manager and I had a lot of success over there once I’d won the clients over about becoming retained and doing all these sorts of things. So, she said, ‘You’d make a great internal recruiter’. So, I got back to Perth, my hometown and said, ‘Okay, I’ll make that transition’, and went into internal recruitment in an engineering consultancy.

Neil: Awesome and it was that the first one in to engineering?

Stan: It was, yes.

Neil: How long were you there? How long were you in that role?

Stan: I would say for about three and a half years. So, as Recruiter, then Manager, at the time this was, ‘BOOM’ time in WA, the team would have been, I think it was at nine recruiters.

Each recruiter had their own admin because every recruiter was working on a hundred recs each. Perm roles, by the way. And then in to, back then SKM was going down the path of implementing a sourcing function, and I became their first Sourcing Manager.

Neil: Nice. So, tell me about that journey because that probably marks in your career- correct me if I’m wrong – one of those first moves, but it wasn’t just about the horizontal growth. There is horizontal growth, but you were diagonal, you were still learning, cause you went from, Entry Recruiter, Recruiter, Sourcing, Sourcing Manager, and so on. So, you’re still learning, but you’re growing upwards as well.

Tell me about the learning curve. What were the key things that you had to learn to be successful?

Stan: This is going to sit in the latter parts of my journey, where the technology side of the tech consulting bit came into play. I have a passion for technology, so I was always really interested in how do we use this better?

The business started to see that I was being very proactive on LinkedIn, I kept going back to them at the time, going look, here’s all these people I’ve spoken with on LinkedIn and I’ve developed this and I’ve just kept my time to hire was smaller or less time than the average. So, they thought he knows how to do this, he’s building great communities, he’s building great relationships with internal clients. There’s this thing in the US called ‘Sourcing’. How do we bring that into the business and use technology at the time? My first exposure to a tech implementation was through Avature.

Neil: Nice. That’s just a bit of a baptism of fire. That one implementing Avature as a first cap off the rank.

Stan: It was interesting. At the time they had put me on the team, but when I got onto the team, they actually, the team, the business saw that I actually had some capability around technology and was asking the right questions around, well, why does this work this way when it should be working that way? I guess there was just this natural progression into more of a tech focus and they saw sourcing as someone who combines good core fundamental recruitment skills and knowledge. But also had an interest and leaning towards technology and how was that person going to then use that technology to help the business grow from a resource perspective.

Neil: So, there was the technology thing that you were absorbing a lot about technology. What about leadership? What were you learning? You know, what were some of the learning takeaways in terms of how to lead? Is that something you just learned on the job, or did you have to go and brush up on what it is, how it works?

Stan: Learning on the job, someone who I continue to learn off today, Bevin White. He’s now the head of recruitment for Rio Tinto. One of my challenges is I become as a leader is becoming too much like a colleague. It is more trying to distinguish yourself between yeah, I am your manager and not what I say you must do. But breaking that, I’m your colleague sitting next to you that goes out for a beer. Yeah, that probably still is one of the hardest things today for me around leadership is that I don’t like to use the word hierarchical.

Neil: But making sure that, there’s an understanding of what the roles are, what your outcomes are, what’s gonna look like success in your role and making sure that’s clear to people that are within your team. Do you have any mechanisms that you’ve put in place to start helping you create those boundaries and create those parameters? It sounds like it’s still something you’re working towards and kind of really nailing, but at the same time, you know, maybe there was a few things that started you on that journey that you can share.

Stan: Yeah. Just reading and watching. One of the things I do a bit now is watching Tik-Tocs. People think I’m watching chicks in bikinis running around. But there’s some great content that leads you onto the Twitter page, to the YouTube page. It’s a great source of information for me. There’s some great stuff around leadership on there as well.

Laura: I was going to say in terms of kind of content that you’ve been looking at and what you’ve been reading. Are there any kind of books or podcasts, blogs that you’d recommend?

Stan: Oh, podcasts and blogs – lately I haven’t had too much time. It is the Gary V style of leader leadership that I’m watching. Look, I even get some of the more controversial Jordan Patterson stuff, but it’s just trying to get different perspectives and lenses. But in terms of books and stuff, to be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity.

I’ve got three books sitting beside my bed over there and they’re just collecting dust. They look good though.

Laura: Yeah, you look really smart!

Stan: Just being honest.

Neil: So, after Sinclair, that was to Rio Tinto or was that Barminco after that?

Stan: There were a few different places in there, but mostly construction, big construction companies, so John Holland’s, which you guys may be familiar with and a more local one called Dick Mill. So leading teams there, that was blue-collar, white-collar recruitment before ending up at Barminco.

Neil: You know the reason why I’m going to speak to Barminco because one of the things that I think is just sensational, I think even though you’ve got such an amazing case and basically, a white paper of what you know of innovation and TA and it being so successful. You were a champion of the use of VR – ‘Virtual Reality’ and Talent Acquisition. Can you speak to the challenge you were facing? The learning journey you had to go on there. How you built the business case to support all those things. I think it’s a great learning opportunity for others in our industry, to learn from some of those findings.

Stan: Yeah. So, Barminco, a large global underground miner, one of the biggest challenges was finding new people to come and drive trucks underground. Really high turnover, they were at basically 50%. Plus, within the first six weeks, they would leave. So, you are actively recruiting, you know, close to 50 to a hundred at any particular time. Truck drivers, no skills really required apart from our HR license, but you had to work in really tough conditions, 12-hour shifts. You could be working at 1.5Ks underground. It’s hot, it’s humid, 32-33 degrees right down the bottom of the mine. Not a pleasant role. So, one of the issues was how do you lead a horse to water and get them to drink?

We didn’t have a mine nearby that you could take these people to. You couldn’t take people out to a mine site because of all the health and safety-related issues. So, what do we do here? We trained our drivers on simulators, big shipping containers, which we took around Australia and they would practice in these virtual simulators.

So, I said, well, I thought to myself, ‘Virtual Reality’, that’s gotta’ be it. So, I went out and I searched for who in Perth does virtual reality, develops games and found an award-winning gaming business and contacted the chap and said, come in for a chat, this is what I’d like to do. He came in, we met and over the long weekend, he developed a two and a half minute experience, VR.

Neil: Over a long weekend?

Stan: Over a long weekend, amazing.

Laura: That’s incredible.

Stan: I sent him some YouTube videos.

Neil: I work in software, I think that that has to be some kind of record that’s insane. Discussions normally take longer than a long weekend.

Stan: Yeah. He obviously saw the potential of what was happening. I sent him some YouTube videos of what an underground truck experience would look like. So, he put it together, I said, “Right, this is what I’m going to do”. I had a Senior Leadership meeting with the executive team. They wanted to talk about challenges with the truck drivers and I said, ‘All right’.

When in the meeting, before I even, I had no business case, I had nothing and I just said, right, ‘Come with me into this room’. I had the guy set up in the other room. This is going to help solve our issues when it comes to recruitment for truck drivers. They all came up, followed me into the room and they put on the VR.

So, the CEO, CFO, COO, Head of HR, Head of Safety, they were all in there and they put on their VR headset, the Oculus and as soon as they took it off, you could see the cogs turning. Yes, we see this and I actually, I redirected them. I said, ‘Don’t think about this as recruitment, but think about this as high-risk safety training’.

Which immediately got them going, ‘Oh yeah’. So, we ended up partnering with Immersive Technologies who were our trucks simulation provider and they developed what essentially became, I think it was a three and a half, four-minute, VR experience of people getting into a Ute, like a Hilux and driving down into the mine and during that experience, as someone doing a voiceover and then at the end is actually four or five questions – a safety assessment. So, they look around to find safety hazards in the mind so that they tie safety into it as well and yeah, that was the beginning of virtual reality in an underground mine.

Neil: Absolutely, sensational.

Laura: That’s incredible.

Stan: Is there data to say, did it work? Unfortunately, I got made redundant shortly after.

Neil: Take your ideas?!

Stan: Yeah, look they’ve gone on to win a number of awards around safety excellence training. I think Rio Tinto acquired it for their mine to deploy it to see whether it works across a larger workforce. It was probably the highlight of my career, being able to introduce something like that into an organisation.

Laura: It’s an incredible project.

Neil: I remember when Stan was first telling me about this, I don’t know if you remember Stan, but I mean, this would have been five years ago, I was like, ‘Stan, can we jump on a call? I need to learn more about what you did there’ and we just said we started it. We’re just trying to absorb what you did. It’s an absolutely incredible user case and, there were no even high-level figures that you can, that anyone was able to share with you in terms of, because that’d be willing to put my mortgage on the fact that attrition will have went down and so on because you’re giving people an insight.

I mean, the old adage, the only way to assess if someone’s going to be good on the job is by giving them a small version of that job. You’re giving them a virtual version of that job to assess whether they are going to be able to handle that. I think it’s an absolutely wonderful user case and in such a complex environment as well. It’s a testament to you.

Stan: I think for me, I appreciate that mate. I think it was too early, in terms of, we were only doing an Oculus Rift, so the ability to scale it and get people sitting at home to have that experience at the time, wasn’t available. Samsung hadn’t even released the VR for their phone. So it was, how do you deploy it? It was very difficult. But what it was able to do was we were able to take it to schools and take it to indigenous communities and then remote areas to go, ‘This is what it’s going to be like to work in an underground mine’, because they were very fearful and had concerns around working in underground mine areas.

So, it provided better branding opportunities and attraction strategies around this is what it’s like and ‘Hey, we’re using VR. We’re cool’, yeah.

Neil: So, one of the things I think those are really great learning and I’d love to sort of maybe get you to shed some light on would be, you know, we, we work in the people profession. It’s an inherently heuristic world, you know and generally, a lot of the time, what we’re trying to do is bring black and white data to that and inexactitude world. When you’re actually developing that, when you’re creating that you’re creating something that’s never been used before within a business. It’s probably quite set in its ways with minimal data, you know?

It sounds like the way in which you chose to tackle that was by basically building a POC and bringing them into a room and showing them. But I’m still going to go ahead and assume that you will have met resistance. You probably didn’t get full adoption of, ‘Yep, we have to do this’. How do you, if you were to give advice to people that want to think outside the box and try to do things that are a bit different. That maybe are a bit fearful right now and they don’t know how to handle those conversations and what would your advice be to them?

Stan: Yeah, it’s about understanding the individual. I won’t say your audience because when you say understanding your audience, usually an audience is quite a large group of people, but you always have those antagonists. It’s about sitting down with what is the issue that you have concerns about. Not even talking about the issues, but talking about how you’re going on site, but you know, what can I do to help you?

What if we did this, this, and this, and to try again to plant the seed, water it and just slowly build that confidence that you actually know what you’re talking about and whilst this may not be the panacea, it’s going to help. If we can reduce our turnover rate by 25% of the 50%, that’s actually, you know, if an underground truck is parked up, it’s something like $70,000 a day sitting, being lost. So, if I can get that truck moving for you, I’m trying to help. That’s all. I’m just here to help.

Neil: You’re basically, you’re building trust and then you’re basically saying, ‘Hey, let me try and use the trust that you’ve already got in me to give you the business outcome. I’m going to hit the bottom line for you’, and then beyond that, you start to try and build the data beyond that, so that you have the quantitative and qualitative.

Stan: Yeah. I guess if you look back at the Sourcing Managers role, that’s where you could really demonstrate. Well, it’s taken your recruiter 60-80 days to hire versus the sourcing role to hires. You have 15 days to offer, and you then got your notice period. So, you’re really starting to show that well actually, this does work and then the business becomes more supportive and the great thing about when they become more supportive is typically, they start throwing more money behind you.

So you go, okay, they might take the money away from Recruitment and give it to Sourcing. You’ve got to understand the business-speak, the business language, to build those relationships with the people that are going to make those decisions and importantly, the people that don’t necessarily make decisions that influence the decision-maker.

Laura: I think it was your example as well. I think it’s really great that you, kind of did just enough to prove a point. If you know what I mean, like you, you did the whole show and tell, and you’re like, you backed yourself to do it. You showed people and I think, I don’t know if there’d have been different results if you’d just gone in with a bit of an idea and a really well thought out business plan asking for the money, but because you kind of just took like, almost like that MVP of the solution, that’s such a great way to do it because I think when people can see something and it feels real, it’s a lot more compelling than if you’d have just written about it and talked about it.

Stan: Yeah, totally, and my, I love watching and listening to Neil in that he is more eloquent, in his ability to deliver a business message. Whereas I’m a bit more casual and laid back and may not be as convincing to an Exec team around here’s my super-duper PowerPoint and all the numbers and figures. I might not be able to articulate it as, as well as someone else like Neil.

So, for me, it was show-and-tell and, and that was based on all my years, working with people. If people see things, can touch things and go well and you know, that there’s a critical issue that the business needs to address being safety and then I can tie that into my role recruitment. Then you’ve got more leverage there and hopefully more interest in buying.

Laura: Absolutely and I think it’s that whole test and learn as well, right? Start with something small and, you know, not promise the world, but we can keep trying it and adding increments and just, we’ll all just get better as we go and like, there are so many possibilities for what you implemented.

Neil: Yeah. I think you were far too kind to me there as well. I mean, realistically, I just baffle people with the Scottish accent. They don’t understand a word I’m saying. They just nod and it works.

Laura: I’ve never had anyone call you eloquent before I must admit. That’s why I was quiet. I was like, this is a shock.

Neil: Brutal. You’ve referenced a couple of times through your career, even from the early days, mentors and again, it wasn’t, ‘Hey, can I be your mentee, you be my mentor?’. If it’s you seem to be someone that you’ve referenced the main feedback. You seem to be someone that feeds off of other people, learning, absorbing, sponging from other people.

With that in mind, through your career, what’s the best bit of feedback, that you’ve received that you think has really sort of had an impact on your trajectory, on your success through your career.

Stan: Yeah. Good question and I’ll actually go back to my time in hospitality, I was working in a hotel in Perth. The gentleman’s name was Trent Monday, who I’m still in contact with today. Trent, he makes a video podcast every day and he is, I think he’s about three years in, even on Christmas day. So, he takes no breaks and he’s got something that’s amazing.

Anyway, his feedback to me was, you’re not emotional enough at work and what he was trying to say was, you’re just this calm person all the time and people are just, they don’t know, they can’t read you, and I’m not saying you need to be more emotive in the workplace, but you need to be more, more genuine, more authentic.

But I was just this, ‘Yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full, sir’. But this came back in the hotel world. I think I’ve taken that piece of advice way back in the mid-nineties, and have continued to apply that, throughout my career, even when I’m presenting, trying to inject a bit more of me. I’ve always been someone who has been quite introverted and quiet, not as expressive as perhaps as what I am now. So that was one piece of advice.

Neil: That is an awesome bit of advice and if you don’t mind, I’m going to probe a little bit on that because, you know, I think we all conditioned, especially later on in our career to be as objective as possible and for the most part, I think that the balanced squeeze, the other way of everyone would say, hey, you have to start with somewhat remove emotion, even oddly in the people world where we need an emotive connection to actually build trust.

However, does the fact that you got at the beginning of your career mean you have to remain quite conscious of how much emotion to let into your roles, depending on what your role was at, what level and what business and, and how did you sort of find the right balance?

Stan: Yeah, I’m still trying to find that balance even in the role today, I’ll sit there and I’ll be having a conversation with my team and I’ll be relating, but I’ll probably be relating too much and I have to wind that back and go, ‘You’re the manager, you need to separate that, you’re giving away too much, you’re giving away too much’.

For me, I guess it’s very difficult in the people’s world when you’re trying to build those relationships. You’ve got to give some, but also hold back a little bit and my problem is like, I probably give a bit too much, around who I am and what I like, which could eventually be used against you. Not to say that that would be used by my team. But it can come back and bite you in the bum.

Laura: I’m just going on to mentoring. I was just going to ask, you’ve obviously had some great mentors throughout your career and you’ve been really lucky. Have you got any kind of tips or anything that you kind of do before you speak to a mentor, or any kind of ways people could get the most out of their mentoring sessions?

Stan: Yeah, for me, my biggest tip is being honest, being honest with your mentor, that person is not there to judge but to provide advice and guidance. If I use Trevor Vass as an example, I had lost my father quite a few years ago, and Trevor came to the party and, around, this is what you need to be doing, in his last days and giving me all this advice. It wasn’t business advice. It was just growing as an individual.

So, whilst you look for your mentor, look for someone who’s not just going to give you advice around business, but also around life, because if you’re not getting life right, you’re not going to get the business right. So, look for someone who is not like you, that perhaps has different thoughts and opinions, a different framework of thinking, but someone who is genuine enough to give you good advice around, your personal life.

So, he’s, he’s almost like my second dad to me. Based purely on the advice he was giving me, during that really difficult time in my life.

Laura: That’s really incredible.

Neil: That would have built an incredible amount of trust that then basically gives you zero fear later to absorb advice and know that it’s being given to you with entirely positive intent.

Stan: Yeah, there was no judgment on it at all. He was speaking from his own experience, and we’ll all go through that at some point in our lives with our parents and family members. So, yeah.

Neil:  Trevor if you’re listening. Kudos, man. Very, very cool.

Laura: Yeah, for sure. Alright, last question then is, who would you like to hear more from? So, if we invite more people on the podcast, who would you invite?

Stan: Good question.

Laura: I feel like Trevor needs to shout out after all the great things you’ve said about him.

Stan: I love Trevor and definitely think while he’s all across the recruitment, TA space there’s a lot that he can provide the community just from a personal perspective. Who else do I think? There are so many people. Well, Neil’s there, Hassanah is another, there are other quieter people out in the wings. Um, Will Milnes James in Victoria. I don’t know if you know Lara Osborne, she’s doing some stuff with Profound People Analytics over here in Perth.

Jeez, Perth is the backwater of recruitment. Who’s doing good stuff here. Yeah, someone like John Balcombe, he’s over at Live Hire, he’s done some fantastic stuff in the people and technology space, as well as got a lot of strong opinions. Follows the same footy team as me, but yeah, that’s probably enough for now.

Laura: That was awesome. Thank you and thanks so much for your time this morning, especially as it’s so early.

Stan: You’re welcome.

Laura: Sorry!

Neil: Stan it’s always a pleasure chatting mate and I’m looking forward to the next time we get to have a proper face to face, catch up and have a beer.  

Stan: Indeed, thanks team.

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