06 December 2011

One Year on from starting ‘The Job': Interview with Ellison Bloomfield

In October 2010, the lead article in InSight 153 was Adventures of a (linchpin) job seeker. It was the story of Ellison Bloomfield, a frustrated job seeker who decided she was going to try a different approach to finding her dream job.

Ellison embarked on a very public campaign to find ‘The Job' and the outcome of her campaign was a fascinating insight into the options available for job seekers outside the traditional recruitment channels and processes. 

I met Ellison for the first time at the ATC Social Media in Recruitment conference, where Ellison, appropriately, was on stage recounting her story as part of a panel session on job seekers using social media. 

Ellison spared me some time to fill me in on how ‘The Job' has panned out in the past fourteen months. 

Ross: Given your very public campaign to not only find ‘the job' but secure that job with Deloitte, what were your thoughts and emotions on your first day at Deloitte? 

Ellison: I think that I felt the same as anyone would on their first day of a new job when I walked into Deloitte as an employee for the first time. I was nervous and excited and wondering exactly what I was walking into and aware that I was about to be overwhelmed by a massive amount of new information!

I'd obviously put a lot of work (and myself) into getting my role so I was feeling the pressure of living up to expectations and being able to follow through, after all getting the job was just the first part - now I had to deliver.
 

How were you received by your colleagues at Deloitte, given many of them must have read about your campaign, either before or after you secured your job offer from Deloitte? 

My experience at Deloitte from day one was a positive one, because I'd been following people on Twitter for at least 6 months beforehand and had interactions with people throughout my search. I felt a lot more comfortable about who I would be working with.

I put a huge amount of emphasis on who I'm working with and I really think that the people I work with every day has an impact on my happiness in a role so it was important for me to know what I was walking into. Deloitte has a high performance culture that encourages people to have a ‘fame agenda' so my story was received positively and everyone was very welcoming.
 

Briefly describe what your job involves and how it has evolved since you started at Deloitte. 

My role is Leadership Development Consultant and sits within Deloitte Digital. My main focus is account management for the Deloitte Leadership Academy which is a blended learning solution. Essentially, I'm the first point of contact for our clients and help them from drafting 360 assessments, through to implementation and face-to-face events. The role has evolved to be a combination of the Leadership Academy and some social media consulting and speaking. 

What did you find most challenging about your job in the first three months? Was that a surprise to you? Why or why not? 

The most challenging thing for me in the first three months was the move from HR to a client-facing role. We talk a lot in HR about business acumen, but it's one thing to talk about it and a whole other thing to actually be responsible for revenue and retaining clients.

That was a bit of a shock when I had to start thinking in dollars and realising how accountable I had to be for the service that was being provided to our clients. If we lose a client it comes down to me and I have to be able to explain why that has happened.
 

How different, or similar was your initial experience of the Deloitte culture compared to what you expected? 

The culture is what I expected it to be, as with any business there are ‘tribes' and Digital definitely has a very unique culture. That is one of the reasons why I love it so much; in some ways I feel like I'm working in a small company but in reality there are nearly 6,000 Deloittians.

There have been massive surprises for me along the way, but they've been positive every time, such as when I met Giam, the Deloitte Australia CEO, in March and the conversations I've had with senior executives who are so interested in the people who will be the future of the company.

I've worked in places where the CEO sat only one floor away and yet was never seen in the office, so to work somewhere with such a flat hierarchy and with such open leadership is pretty amazing.
 

What are the biggest advantages that you see in Deloitte being very active across many areas of social media? 

I can speak from experience when it comes to the advantages of being active across so many areas in social media. The simplest reason is that it provides people with a realistic view of what they'll be walking into.

I knew that I would be walking into a company where I would be expected to work hard and that might mean extra hours and late nights but it also means a brilliant culture and fantastic colleagues. I'm not sure of the exact dollar amount but our use of social media has resulted in massive savings when it comes to recruitment. We have a well supported referral program that encourages us to recommend people in our network for available positions.

The other advantage is that we know what's happening in the market; I'm able to do research using my network, I know what's happening with my clients and I can provide a better client experience as a result of this. We practice what we preach - at Deloitte we want to be different and our involvement in social media, right from the start, is one of the ways that we set ourselves apart.
 

How do you use social media in your current job? 

I use social media in a number of ways in my role. I have become the spokesperson for the Deloitte Digital blog and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to help my colleagues write their first blog posts and to be able to contribute to the blog over the last year. I also tweet for Deloitte Digital & DeloitteLA as well as managing our Leadership Academy LinkedIn group. 

I also use it to keep in contact with a massive network of people and to find out what's happening in the market locally and globally. 

Tell me a little about your current studies and how they are helpful (or not) in assisting you do your current job effectively. 

I'm currently studying a Masters of HR and OD. In part I decided to take this on as I don't really have a ‘piece of paper' and this will give me that extra edge if I ever need it. I've only taken 6 months off study since finishing year 12 so it's something that comes fairly naturally to me. I love to learn.

My study forces me to keep reading and keep across trends in OD which is relevant to the Leadership Academy, but regardless of my role, this course will be beneficial to me as it will help me to become a better manager (when I get to that type of position).
 

With the benefit of 12 months worth of hindsight would you have done anything differently in your quest to find ‘the job'? 

I wouldn't do anything differently. Of course there were times when people said I was being crazy and was taking a risk but if I'd done nothing, I'd be unhappy regardless! It has all been an opportunity for me to test what works and then to refine my approach.

We can say ‘if only I had/hadn't' but our choices are what make our future and the person that we are each day. Each choice I made has led me to being in the position I'm in now and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
 

What advice would you give to other frustrated job seekers who are disheartened in their attempts to be considered for companies or jobs they are currently unable to get a shot at? 

Research! You need to know what it is that you're looking for and the type of company that it is. If you don't know what you want you'll never be satisfied. When you're able to determine what you're looking for, you can then determine the best way to target these companies.

If starting a dialogue through social media is the right way then do that, if a more traditional approach is required, then find out who to get in contact with. I was rejected for dozens of jobs. It wasn't nice at the time but you have to be able to focus on what's next. Technology can amplify your message but you need to be clear about what you want and what you're good at.

It's important to be realistic as well. Make sure you're aiming for something that you're qualified for and you can demonstrate you'll be able to do well at.
 

So have you really found ‘the job'? Why or why not? 

I have found the company that's for sure. What I want in ‘the job' has evolved and it's actually because of the way I searched for the job that it has changed. I've remembered how much I love to write and how satisfying it is to be able to share knowledge and to talk to people who are fired up about something.

I'm still extremely passionate about how important it is for people to be in a role they care about, to work for a company you believe in and to encourage people to work in the areas that their strengths lie.
 

The benefit of where I am now is that opportunities really are endless and I have the ability to move if I want to. But, I love working within Deloitte Digital and that's where I see my career being based. 

What do you hope to accomplish professionally in the next 12 months?

Within the next 12 months I hope that I will be able to move into a full time social media position. That role might look like a lot of things but will still involve being able to focus on the areas that get me out of bed in the morning.

The Deloitte Digital blog is something I love working on and the boys in the social media team are fantastic to work with so I hope I can get to work with them more. It's more than obvious to people that I love to talk about what I'm doing and the company that I'm working in so this is something I would like to continue doing through all the mediums that are available!

1 comment:

  1. As "the boss" it was really good to read this blog. Elle has added enormously to the culture of the group. I regularly seek her advice on people issues as well as discuss Social Media ideas. She has done a great job in taking ownership of the DD blog and making it something that we can be proud of. In terms of her efforts to get "the job" it was really innovative and fitted perfectly with our "and different" mantra we use within Deloitte.

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