11 January 2011

Interview with Australian Association of Graduate Employers 2010 Recruiter of the Year: Hayley Warne

Hayley Warne
The Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) is the peak industry body representing organisations that recruit and develop Australian graduates.

The current membership comprises over 340 organisations, including a variety of large and small employers across a wide range of industries in both the private and public sectors.

Every year the AAGE has various awards to recognise the professional accomplishments of its members. One such award is the Recruiter of the Year.

The 2010 winner was Melbourne-based, Hayley Warne. Hayley has recently started a new role as HR Manager – Programs at GE. In the busy lead-up to Christmas, Hayley was kind enough to find time in her busy schedule to share a bit about her background and her experiences as a recruiter of Australian undergraduates.

1.  What was your background prior to becoming a recruiter and how did you come to choose your current career path?

My favorite teachers and subjects in Year 12 at Birchip P-12 School were Biology and Psychology, so I looked for a university course that seemed to be a good combination.

I commenced a Bachelor of Science, with majors in Psychology and Psychophysiology at Swinburne University. It wasn’t until I was reading a book in the second year of my studies that I realised I loved business and at that point I looked for a suitable transition where I could still apply my undergraduate degree. I found Human Resources Management which, ironically, was actually what by VCE careers advisor recommended I do from the outset!

I received a netball scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport so I studied part-time at Australian National University while representing Australia at under-21 level. After graduating I worked at SalesReps Australia and then Pitcher Partners while I completed my Masters of Business – Human Resource Management at Swinburne on a part-time basis between 2006 and 2009.

I recently joined GE where I am working as HR Leader for Leadership Programs.

 
2.  What aspects of recruitment did you find the most challenging when you started?

Without a doubt, knowing the ‘technical’ aspects of the roles.
 
3.  What sort of training did you receive when you first started as a recruiter?

In addition to my university studies, I completed some presentation skills and sales training recommended by my employers.

4.  What are the specific challenges of recruiting graduates?

Speaking in terms that they can understand and trying to give them ‘real’ expectations when they are easily excitable and tend to filter out ‘less exciting’ aspects of graduate roles.
 
5.  In your experience of interviewing and recruiting hundreds of Gen Ys, are the Gen Y clichés true? Why or why not?

Being Gen Y myself, I can appreciate the clichés! I think clichés help to understand Gen Y better which you can use to your advantage when recruiting. In any case you need to keep an open mind and be careful not to stereotype people.
 
6.  What do you do to keep up-to-date with developments in the graduate community?

You really need to be a sponge and make time to meet with people in the industry and read e-mails, tweets, blogs and articles relevant to the industry. This sounds nerdy but I also enjoy getting my hands on survey data like that produced by AAGE.
 
7.  How do you continue to build your recruitment and personal skills?

I try to learn from other people around me. I observe what they do, listen to what they say and ask questions. If any opportunity arises to improve my skills, I jump at it.
 
8.  What technologies have you found most helpful to you in recruiting graduates? Why?

Having a good applicant tracking system (ATS) is critical. Being able to accurately and quickly provide reports on recruitment metrics is absolutely critical for any HR professional so an ATS needs to have a great reporting feature.
 
9.  How do you use statistics or KPIs to manage your performance? If so which ones?

At GE we set goals and objectives and these are linked to GE growth values. Goals and behaviors relevant to the role are measured.
 
10.  You have a Master of Business majoring in Human Resource Management, how has this post-graduate study assisted you so far in your career?

Completing my masters was a great experience. I was able to develop a good network from those years and achieving good results gave me confidence and reassurance about where I was going with my career.
 
11.  What do you attribute your win in the AAGE Recruiter of the Year to?

Always making time for candidates and treating them equally no matter what their background or credentials.

In busy times, I find it’s really useful to keep your focus on the process rather than get distracted by the outcome. Often key stakeholders are focused on the outcome and that’s all, so you have to be prepared for questions around this, but in my experience if you have a sound strategy and execute the process well, you will achieve your outcome.
 
12.  What personal philosophies drive you each day in your job?

I enjoy helping people and seeing people succeed in their roles at GE. It’s important not to sweat the small stuff. Little things are bound to go wrong but you can always work it out pretty quickly and move on. I really enjoy what I do and the people I work with, so I find that drives me to work hard. Working at GE and being a part of their ecomagination and healthymagination initiatives, has provided significant opportunities for my career development and leadership.

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