E199-Positioning Yourself for Senior Roles with Richard Triggs

199. Positioning Yourself for Senior Roles with Richard Triggs

About this Podcast

Ep. 199 – In this captivating episode of The Manager Track podcast, host Ramona Shaw welcomes a distinguished guest, Richard Triggs, renowned for his innovative approach to executive recruitment. Richard shares invaluable insights on navigating the job market and retaining exceptional talent within organizations, providing a glimpse into the strategies that have underpinned the success of Arete Executives.

We kick off with Richard delving into the concept of the hidden job market, where a majority of premier jobs never become publicly available. He provides a step-by-step breakdown on how to tap into this market by positioning oneself and networking proactively with potential employers.

Don’t miss this insightful conversation on navigating the job market and attracting and retaining top performers.

A quick quote from the conversation: “If you limit your job search to just roles that are advertised, you are significantly limiting yourself because you’re only seeing a very small percentage of the actual jobs.”

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Episode 199 Transcript:

0:00:00 Ramona Shaw: Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track podcast. In this episode today, I have a special guest on that I’m excited to share with you. His name is Richard Triggs. He is the founder and CEO of Arete Executives, one of Australia’s leading executive recruitment firms. He also wrote two books. One is called Uncover the hidden chop market, how to find and win your next senior executive role. And the second one that’s coming out in April May of 2024, is called winning the war of talent, how to attract and retrain top performers.

0:00:36 Ramona Shaw: So this is something, especially as we climb the leadership ladder. Both of these topics a how do I find my next executive role, internally or externally? As well as how do I retain my high performers will become increasingly important. Now, in this conversation with him, I asked him not just about interviewing strategies, which by the way, he laid out his entire process on how to uncover the hidden job market step by step. So you don’t want to miss that.

0:01:06 Ramona Shaw: But we also talk about how to position yourself and brand yourself on one hand to be considered for that next level role, but also to attract talent that is in the market and considering joining your team. The way that you speak about yourself, how you present your accomplishment and achievements, and the way that other people perceive you in the digital world is really important. And we go into details on how to do this while in this podcast episode. It was a real treat to have this conversation with Richard, and I think you’ll find this episode a real treat for you to listen to.

0:01:45 Ramona Shaw: There’s a reason why over the last 15 years, Richard and his team have successfully recruited 1500 executives and board directors, and why he’s coached over 2500 people through their job search. When you support this many people, you start to notice patterns and themes. And Richard has definitely developed that expertise and he’s going all out and sharing this on the podcast today. So without further ado, let’s get started and welcome Richard to The Manager Track podcast.

0:02:13 Ramona Shaw: Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your first official leadership role, build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization? That’s the question, and this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection and fulfillment. And this transition starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows.

0:02:49 Ramona Shaw: In the show, you learn how to think, communicate, and act as the confident and competent leader you know you can be. Richard, thank you so much for joining us on The Manager Track podcast. I’m very glad that you’re here and sharing your expertise with us today.

0:03:10 Richard Triggs: Well, I’m delighted to be here talking to you, too, Ramona. And as we were saying before we started, I’m way over the other side of the world in Brisbane, Australia. So it’s fun to talk to people across the planet and see what’s right.

0:03:25 Ramona Shaw: Right. I feel the same way. You’re in the recruiting space, especially helping companies find executives and senior leaders, or also supporting senior leaders and executives and finding new roles.

0:03:39 Richard Triggs: Well, that’s correct. So my business, we are a retained headhunter, so our client is the employer. But of course, because of the work that I’ve done, and I’ve been doing this work for 20 years, a lot of people will contact me and they’ll say something like, oh, hi, Richard. I’ve been talking to my friend Ramona, and I’m looking for a new job. And she suggested that I talk to you and get some advice about my job search.

0:04:04 Richard Triggs: So I don’t actually put myself out there as a formal career coach, but because of what I do, I end up coaching a lot of people either on how to secure the next executive role or board roles.

0:04:19 Ramona Shaw: Right. And I find that so interesting because oftentimes I look to the people who are in it and seeing massive numbers of people go through a certain process, and whether they want it or not, they are the ones who can see and easily identify. This is the things to do, and these are the things not to do. Here are the trends that we’re seeing. Here are the needs that I’m picking up on and some of the pitfalls as well.

0:04:45 Ramona Shaw: That is what I find really interesting. So I’m glad that you’re here with us today now before, and I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions about all of that and get the audience here to the gold nuggets. If you had one thing that you wished. Now, speaking to the leaders that you wish, leaders who are looking to move into senior leadership or executive roles, there’s one thing that you wish they would know. What would that be?

0:05:10 Richard Triggs: Well, firstly, if they are applying for a role outside of their organization rather than getting promoted internally, is to understand that at least 80% of the best jobs never get to a recruiter. They never get advertised. They’re never in the open job market. They are filled in what’s called the hidden job market. What is the hidden job market? That’s where employers find somebody who can solve their problems and take away their pain, and they hire them, even if there isn’t a current vacancy.

0:05:43 Richard Triggs: So the most important thing I say to senior leaders or people wanting to step into these roles is that if you limit your job search to just roles that are advertised, you are significantly limiting yourself because you’re only seeing a very small percentage of the actual jobs and because there’s a lot of competition for these roles and because recruiters are lazy and stupid, we just want to put the squarest peg in the squarest hole, get paid and move on.

0:06:14 Richard Triggs: So if there’s 200 applicants and of those, there’s ten people who were exactly on brief and you’re not on brief, it’s very hard to get considered. So if you want to get access to these senior opportunities, what you need to do is to get in front of the employer before they know that they need you. And then by demonstrating to them, through your key achievements and transferable skills, that you can solve their problems and take away their pain, they will hire you.

0:06:46 Richard Triggs: Now, I think when I say that and people listen to it, they go, oh, well, that makes sense. But then they just go back to same old pattern of, I’ve got to pray that the job gets advertised, I’ve got to pray that I get an interview, I’ve got to pray that I get shortlisted. When really, if you were to get in front of the process, your ability to secure a fantastic job more quickly, probably for more money, with way less competition, is so much higher.

0:07:16 Richard Triggs: That’s what you have to do.

0:07:19 Ramona Shaw: Now. It makes sense, but I get why people still go back to the traditional path of job searching because it’s easier said than done. What does it actually look like to get myself in front of that process? Can you share an example of someone that’s done that or to make that really practical?

0:07:38 Richard Triggs: Of course. Let me firstly say, I’m not saying don’t apply for jobs, and I’m not saying don’t talk to recruiters. I’m saying don’t only do that. Right. Because it’s not one instead of the other. Okay? So I wrote a book in 2015. It’s called Uncover the hidden job market. A new edition of that book came out late last year. If anybody listening to the show would like a free copy of the book, I’ll tell you later on how you can get a free copy. But basically, this is what my book is about.

0:08:09 Richard Triggs: Okay, so what the candidate does, firstly, they need to think, who are my employers of choice? Who are the companies I’d like to work for within those companies? Who is the key decision maker that would make a decision about whether I would be hired and how do I get in front of them? So I don’t know. Let’s say one of their employers of choice is IBM and they’re a senior finance executive. So they go to IBM’s website and they look at who is in the organizational chart. In Australia, we’d call them the chief financial officer. In the US, they might call them the vice president of finance, know, whatever it might be. Okay, so that’s the person that would be making a hiring decision.

0:08:55 Richard Triggs: Firstly, you don’t reach out to HR. Not because HR, there’s anything wrong with HR, but HR have got a tactical orientation. What current vacancies do we have that we need to fill? Does this person suit one of those vacancies? No, they don’t. Thanks, but no thanks. Put your details on our online job registration website and we’ll get back to you if we ever need you. Right. The line manager has a strategic orientation.

0:09:25 Richard Triggs: They are thinking, what human capital do I need? Who’s performing poorly? That needs to be replaced, who’s retiring, what special projects do we know? What are the sort of things that I need that I don’t have now? And if I could have somebody that did that, that would be awesome. Right? Okay. So the two pieces of technology that make this work so well, firstly, LinkedIn, right? So I’ve looked at IBM’s website.

0:09:50 Richard Triggs: I’ve seen the CFO, the head of finance is Mary Smith, and I find her profile on LinkedIn. I send her a connection request. I also send her an email. And in that I say, mary, I’m hoping you can help me, please. Okay. Firstly, you don’t reach out to Mary and say, hey, Mary, have you got a job? Because Mary is most likely to say either yes, I do or no, I don’t, or she’s going to push you to HR. And we don’t want to talk to HR at this stage. So, Mary, I hope you can help me, please.

0:10:28 Richard Triggs: I’m considering my next career move and I’d really appreciate it if I could get your advice about the market and where the right opportunities might be for me. Can we have a 15 minutes Zoom or teams conversation? Number one, people love to help people. So you’re saying, mary, can you help me? And she says, oh, I’m happy to help. And of course, she looks at your LinkedIn profile and she can see that you’re relevant.

0:10:55 Richard Triggs: She can see that you’ve got great key achievements and transferable skills illustrated in your LinkedIn profile. And so she says, I’d love to talk to Ramona because even if I don’t have a vacancy right now, part of my role is to build a bench of talent. Plus, Ramona’s asked me for help and I want to help Ramona. So the other thing is you’re giving her an ego stroke. Look, I’d really appreciate it if I could get your advice right and people like that.

0:11:27 Richard Triggs: The other great technological change is the fact that certainly post Covid and during COVID people became much more comfortable having a Zoom or a teams conversation. So in the past you might have said, hey, listen, mary, can I buy you a cup of coffee? And she’d think to herself, oh, by the time I get to the coffee shop and have a coffee and get back to the office, it’s probably 2 hours. I really don’t have 2 hours.

0:11:51 Richard Triggs: Plus, of course, if you’re not in the same town, right, it’s impossible to have a coffee anyway. So now instead you can say, can you give me 15 minutes of your time on Zoom or teams? People are much more happy to do that once you get in front of Mary. And I’m putting in a lot of content into answering this question, so I’m happy to unpick it if you want to, but you get in front of Mary and then when you’ve built some rapport, you say, mary, if you don’t mind me, know what’s keeping you awake at night? What’s the pebble in your shoe?

0:12:22 Richard Triggs: And she says, oh. And you unpeel, you ask further questions to understand where is Mary in pain? And then you say to Mary, mary, if I could help you to solve that problem, would that be valuable? Oh, Ramona, if you could help me to solve that problem, that would be amazing. And then you say, let me tell you when I’ve done it before, people want to hire people who have done it before, they’ve done it well and they’re motivated to do it again.

0:12:51 Richard Triggs: And people want to do work that they’re good at. Now, of course, if it was me. And Mary said, oh, look, we need to introduce a new ERP system and I have no experience in ERP. It would be ridiculous for me to say, well, let me tell you when I’ve done it before, because I’ve never done it before.

0:13:10 Ramona Shaw: Right?

0:13:11 Richard Triggs: But if you’re a senior finance professional and you’re talking to the head of finance, they are probably going to talk about stuff that you’ve at least had some experience in doing. And it may not be because I know that you’re all about, well, how do you step up? Right. It may be that you haven’t done exactly what they want you to need done, but you can give enough demonstration of your key achievements and transferable skills that Mary says, oh, Ramona, you are amazing timing.

0:13:46 Richard Triggs: Would you like to come and work for me now? I’ve coached thousands of people through this process and the ability to secure excellent jobs. If they actually follow the process and do it properly, the results are incredible. The thing is, going back to the original, you said, oh, look, I can understand why people don’t do it and they go back to the traditional ways. There’s nothing hard about this. It’s just that people don’t do it because they either think, one, I’m too egotistical, why should I reach out to the employer? They should be reaching out to me.

0:14:27 Richard Triggs: Or two, they’re too lazy because it does involve time. Or three, they’re too scared of rejection.

0:14:34 Ramona Shaw: Right.

0:14:35 Richard Triggs: But the thing about it, Ramona, is that in this war for talent, companies are desperate to hire great people. And if you’re an awesome person, they want to hire you, but they can’t hire you if they don’t know who you are. So you need to tell them who you are. Right. But you don’t limit yourself to. Well, it’s IBM or nothing. This is a numbers game. You have to shake what I call you got to shake hands and kiss, know?

0:15:08 Ramona Shaw: Right. Yeah. Don’t go for the top three, go for your whole list of companies. Right.

0:15:14 Richard Triggs: Yeah. What I say to people is that if you just allocated an hour of your time a day, you don’t even need an hour, but an hour. And in that hour you’re going to identify three employees of choice, identify the three key decision makers, send three LinkedIn connections, and send three emails asking for a meeting. So that’s three a day, 15 a week. That will result in two to three meetings a week. If you do that consistently for twelve weeks, I pretty much guarantee you will have a new job.

0:15:46 Richard Triggs: Simple.

0:15:47 Ramona Shaw: Thank you for breaking this down. I think from the initial where we started off with do it this way to now, how you broke down exactly how to do this. And with your final statement here, it becomes so obvious. Yeah. This is a no brainer.

0:16:00 Richard Triggs: Yeah. Because the thing about it is recruiters are not. Their client is the employer. They’re not incentivized to try and put a round peg into a square hole.

0:16:15 Ramona Shaw: Right.

0:16:16 Richard Triggs: Okay. So if you’re applying for jobs, unless you are same job, same industry, it’s very hard to get a recruiter to pay you any attention. And internal recruitment or talent acquisition are even worse at it. Right. So you can’t rely on them to solve your career for you. You have to take responsibility. If I’m going to achieve my career goals and my aspirations, I need to get in front of the people who are going to create those opportunities for me.

0:16:52 Richard Triggs: It is my responsibility to do that.

0:16:55 Ramona Shaw: Thank you for elaborating on this. This is great. Now, speaking of, double click on this, speaking of presenting ourselves to these companies, one of the things that I wanted to check in with you on is when we’re elevating through our career, oftentimes what I find coaching leaders who are at that stage is they look back and say, I am great at X, Y and Z because these are the achievements that they’ve had so far. And so they present themselves as here are all my accomplishments.

0:17:28 Ramona Shaw: But what they’re not doing is presenting the transferable skills to open up new opportunities that may not be the square peg into the square hole, but may actually be what they are now, but broadening the opportunities that they are looking at, even if they are round holes, because now they’re messaging themselves and branding themselves in a way where that becomes interesting.

0:17:55 Richard Triggs: So I’ll sort of approach it from two different angles. So firstly, in my book I talk about when people are looking for a new job, they’re generally looking in one of four quadrants. Same job, same industry. I’m a finance executive in the mining industry. I want another finance role in the mining industry. Same job, different industry. I love being in finance, but I can transfer outside of mining into a different industry.

0:18:22 Richard Triggs: Different job, same industry. I love working in the mining industry, but I want to change out of finance. Maybe I want to move into a board role or an operations role, whatever it might be. And of course, the final one, different job, different industry. I want to go and do something completely different. So the thing to understand is that if you are straying outside of same job, same industry, there will always be better qualified candidates than you.

0:18:49 Richard Triggs: Because those candidates are for them, it is same job, same industry for you. It’s not right. So unless you are able to clearly articulate your key achievements and transferable skills, it’s going to be very hard for you to make that transition. Okay? And of course, sometimes if you want to transition out of your silo, your same job, same industry. So I used to work a lot in the property development industry, and I would get lawyers come to me and say, oh, Richard, I love property.

0:19:20 Richard Triggs: I’d like to move into a property role in a property company. And I’d say, well, of course, you don’t have property qualifications. You might have done it, but were you to move across, you might have to step back in your career. Are you prepared to sacrifice salary in order to make that move? How much do you make as a lawyer? They go, let’s say $200,000. Well, are you happy to drop down to $100,000 to go into a property role? Oh, no, Richard, I’m not happy to do that at all. Well, then I think you need to have a bit of a reality check. Right.

0:19:56 Richard Triggs: If you are motivated and you are aspiring to either move up in your career or change industries or whatever, you need to commit to being able to articulate why you are a very valuable candidate in that new role, or else employers won’t believe you. Okay, on the other side of the coin, or somewhat differently, but when I talk about you getting in front of the employer and saying, where are you in pain? Let me solve your pain points.

0:20:31 Richard Triggs: The metaphor that I use is if I go to a doctor and the doctor says to me, oh, Richard, you’ve come to the best knee surgeon in town. I’ve fixed the knees of the top sports people, and I do knee reconstructions. I’ve been doing them for 20 years. Let me tell you, you’ve come to the right guy. I’m going to fix your knee. And I say, yeah, but doctor, I don’t have a sore knee. I’ve got a sore elbow. Right?

0:21:01 Richard Triggs: Obviously, surgeons don’t do that. They say, richard, where are you in pain? Oh, my elbow. Describe the pain to me. Is it strong? Is it weak? Is it throbbing? Is it localized? Is it spread out? What’s the pain? Out of ten, let’s do an x ray. Let’s do some kind of scan. Okay, now I’ve done my diagnosis. This is what I think is wrong with your elbow. This is what I think is the right way to fix it. And if you want me to, let me tell you how I can fix it for you right now.

0:21:30 Richard Triggs: If you go into an employer, and obviously I’m being dumbing this, not dumbing down, but making this a little bit more straightforward than it actually is, if you go into the employer and say, let me tell you what’s wrong with your business and how I’m going to fix it, or let me tell you why I’m awesome. They might go, Ramona, you are awesome. But we don’t need that kind of awesome right now. Right.

0:21:57 Richard Triggs: So instead you’re saying to the employer, what’s going on for you? What’s keeping you awake at night? Oh, we need to introduce this new ERP system. Really? What’s wrong with the old one? How is that negatively impacting your business? What have you done so far? What are you finding are some of the key reasons why you’re not able to achieve this outcome? What have you tried? Okay, I hear you. I understand now, if I could solve that problem for you, would that be valuable? Oh, Romana, if you could solve that problem, that would be awesome.

0:22:31 Richard Triggs: Let me tell you when I’ve done it before, right? So I’m not going in. And so again, if you’re talking about your leaders, they want to step up or step out or whatever. If you can get in front of your ideal hire and you can say, basically, what do you need? And then you say, wow, that’s excellent. Because I’m really good at doing that. Let me tell you when I’ve done it before, they go, oh, my God, why do they want to go through a hugely protracted, expensive recruitment process when they can just grab Ramona and get on with business?

0:23:06 Richard Triggs: That is how to do it. That’s how to position yourself. And from a marketing point of view, it’s not build it and they will come, right? It’s what do they need? And let me take it to them.

0:23:22 Ramona Shaw: Yeah. And what I’m picking up from you, too, there with the analogy of the doctor, which I love with the elbows and the knees, is you don’t go in and you say, I’ve done 1000 knee surgeries and hence I can do your elbow. And I think that’s a big shift early on in the career that may work well because people are looking to use what you’ve already done and do more of that. But as you move up into more senior roles, it becomes way broader and more strategic. You have bigger scope of influence and so you may not have done exactly what they need, but you can look at maybe you led a change management initiative.

0:24:00 Richard Triggs: Exactly.

0:24:00 Ramona Shaw: And instead of focusing on the tangible outcome, you talk about how you led a change management initiative or completed a project and so forth.

0:24:10 Richard Triggs: Exactly. Earlier in your career. It’s very tactical. It’s very, have you set up an ERP system, et cetera, et cetera, in a more senior leadership role. So, for example, we’re recruiting a CEO at the moment for one of my clients. And I sat in on an interview between the client and a candidate yesterday, actually, and the client said, look, one of the challenges we have is that we have a culture of sales where they say operations are letting us down because operations are under delivering and operations are saying sales are letting us down because sales are over promising, which happens all the time in business. Right?

0:24:57 Richard Triggs: All the time. Okay, so that is our issue in our business. We know we’re not achieving our full potential because our sales team and our operations team at lawyer heads, rather than working synergistically. Now that CEO talking about, okay, well, I faced that situation previously. This is how I managed it. These were some of the key outcomes. These were some of the lessons that I learned along the way.

0:25:24 Richard Triggs: In hindsight, this is what I perhaps would have done differently. Who cares if that came from a steel manufacturing company or a pharmaceutical manufacturing company, or perhaps not even from manufacturing at all, because that problem is not unique to manufacturing. Right. So you’re absolutely right. As you get to that higher level, it is much more around strategy and leadership and crisis management and growth and shareholder value and all of those kind of things, rather than have you put in a new ERP system.

0:26:02 Ramona Shaw: Yeah. And that, I find, takes some intentionality and some good preparation and also take some confidence in people to take what they’ve done in the past and almost extract more value from it, like, rather than the value that they can use to present what they could do for another company.

0:26:23 Richard Triggs: That’s right. And I think a lot of people, from reading the material part during the podcast, they don’t value themselves highly enough. But if you just think back through your cv and you go, okay, when I was in that role, what am I most proud of? What did I achieve that I would hang my hat on and say, this is why I’m great at my job. I reduced absenteeism by x or I improved our safety record by y, whatever it is.

0:26:57 Richard Triggs: Okay, so let me unpack that. And a great sort of framework is to do what we call star stories. Star what was the situation, what was the task? What actions did you take and what were the results? And you create these star stories around the things that you’re most proud of. And you rehearse them, you might tell them to your husband or your wife, you practice so that when you’re in that situation, they say, okay, in your most previous role, this is the way we interview, what did you achieve that you’re really proud of? Well, I did this and this was the situation.

0:27:39 Richard Triggs: These were the results. And this was how I was rewarded. Okay. A lot of people who are job seekers, and I’ve seen this firsthand in the last week by sitting in on ceos being interviewed for a job. They think, well, because I’m a good at my job, I’m going to interview well, okay, but it is a skill. If this is a difference between you getting the promotion, getting the pay rise, living the life you would love to lead, achieving your highest potential, don’t you think it’s worthwhile investing in how to be an excellent candidate?

0:28:19 Richard Triggs: But most people don’t. And typically, the more senior they are, the worse they are because they go, well, I should just be judged on my own achievements. Well, of course, but it’s more than that.

0:28:35 Ramona Shaw: It’s more than that. And there are other candidates who do rehearse, right?

0:28:38 Richard Triggs: Completely.

0:28:39 Ramona Shaw: All right. I see this, too. Whenever I do trainings on executive presence and we look at how do you present something, a request that you make or an initiative to senior leadership, and you want to convince them to say yes to whatever you’re proposing. One of the things that a lot of people see or notice is other leaders do this all the time where they give presentations to the team or to the whole company, and it seems so effortless.

0:29:08 Ramona Shaw: We may have been in interviews where we see candidates and they just effortlessly talk and it seems so natural and they’re just talented and they’re just good and I am good. So they think that they’re going to talk or present themselves the same way. But like you say, very few people can wing it and do well. And the vast majority of people practice, but we don’t see it.

0:29:30 Richard Triggs: That’s right.

0:29:31 Ramona Shaw: At home, it’s behind closed doors. We don’t know about it.

0:29:34 Richard Triggs: Right. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours. Right. To become. Have mastery. The way I frame it is that if you want to flow, or as you say, wing it, if you want to be in flow, you have to have structure. If you don’t have the structure there, the flow is not going to work. So the first thing is to set up the structure. Okay, so I play guitar. I used to be a semi professional guitarist when I finished high school.

0:30:02 Richard Triggs: Now I’m just a. Okay, you go and look at Jimi Hendrix or an amazing guitarist, know, whoever, it looks effortless. And yes, they have some natural talents which give them an advantage, but at the same time, they are able to do that because of the thousands of hours of playing and thousands of hours of practicing. They didn’t just pick up a guitar and just start playing. And this incredible music came out. And so I think it’s very easy for people to look at, say, a good public speaker.

0:30:36 Richard Triggs: I just went and did a stand up comedy course because I wanted to improve my speaking. Right, okay, so you look at a stand up comedian, you go, oh, God, that person just makes it look so effortless. But it looks effortless because of the massive amount of experience and time that they put in to making it look effortless.

0:30:56 Ramona Shaw: And they all started it as structure, too. Like, even improv. Right. Has structure to it. Absolutely build upon.

0:31:03 Richard Triggs: Yeah, I know that I often get asked by people, somebody’s in a role and they want to be promoted, what do they do in order to get promoted? Right? And again, I’m a lazy person. I like to think about, well, how do I do the things in the most simplest way? So let’s assume that I work for you, Ramona, and I want to get a promotion. So what should I do, Ramona? I would like to get a promotion. If in twelve months time, we sat down and you did my performance review, and you said, richard, you’ve done such a fantastic job, I couldn’t be more delighted.

0:31:41 Richard Triggs: I’m definitely going to give you a promotion, Ramona, what have I done for you? Okay, well, Richard, what I’d like you to do is I’d like you to do this and I’d like you to do that. I’d like you to do the other thing. And we would agree, and then I would do it, and then you would go, good job, Richard. Here’s the promotion. Yeah, lovely question, but people don’t have that conversation. They go, oh, I’ve been doing a good job.

0:32:07 Richard Triggs: I kind of feel entitled to get a promotion. But have you done a great job? Was it the tasks that were required for you to be promoted? Does your boss even know that you want a promotion? There’s kind of this blind faith, whereas it’s a negotiation, isn’t it? Whether it’s a marriage or a promotion or getting a new job or getting your kids to behave properly, it’s clearly articulating your expectations, agreeing that they are fair and reasonable and then doing it.

0:32:45 Ramona Shaw: And especially in larger organizations, actually not even larger, but more than just a ten employee startup. When it comes to the promotion cycles at higher levels in particular, there’s a whole committee who has to agree and approve a promotion. And for a manager who may hear about your promotion request two months prior to the promotion cycle, that’s often too late, right? So if you give them that year of a heads up. Then you keep checking in.

0:33:14 Ramona Shaw: How are we doing? Are we on track? Anything changing? What do I need to adapt in order for that promotion to be a no brainer? Granted. Side note here. Sometimes there’s external circumstances, Covid, layoffs, revenue drops, and all that we can’t influence. But the part that is within our control, to have those conversations as soon as possible so they know they need to position you well and put you in front of the right people and market you and advocate on your behalf months in advance before the promotion conversations even take place.

0:33:50 Richard Triggs: Absolutely. And again, not just in relation to promotions, but let’s say I say, look, I’d like to do an MBA, and I’d like you to pay for my MBA. What do I need to achieve in order for you to pay for my MBA rather than just have this sense of entitlement? Oh, look, I want to do it now. You need to give me the money. Well, it’s got to be a fair exchange of value. And, of course, things happen externally.

0:34:16 Richard Triggs: You might say to me, look, Richard, in a year’s time, I will definitely give this promotion. But halfway through the year, Covid comes along and revenues are halved or you lose a key client or whatever. It’s very reasonable if you say, look, unfortunately, Richard, you know, what we expected just hasn’t come to fruition. And if I’m an intelligent and loyal employee, I will understand that. This is one of the things that I don’t know so much in the US, but they talk about the great resignation.

0:34:52 Richard Triggs: Okay, we had Covid. Then afterwards, there was this great resignation. Well, there wasn’t a great resignation. Average professional tenure in 2000 was three to three and a half years. Average professional tenure in 2023 was three to three and a half years. Nothing has changed. The only thing that changed was during COVID There were a lot of people who thought, I want a new job, but it’s too risky. What if I get a new job and then I get sick? Or what if I get a new job and then they’re negatively impacted by Covid?

0:35:26 Richard Triggs: So even though I want a new job, I’m going to stay here. It’s a safe harbor in a storm. And once Covid is gone, then I’ll move. Okay, so it’s just we had a bottleneck, and then the bottleneck was released, and all of those people that would have moved through that period moved, but it’s just situation as normal. So what does a great resignation really mean? It means some employers are good at retaining their people and other employers aren’t, so it’s an excuse for poor retention.

0:35:57 Richard Triggs: There are many companies that I know who not only retained but grew their workforces during and post Covid. Right. And then there’s a lot of people who go, oh, my God, there’s a great resignation. No, you’re a crap employer. Right? It’s the same thing with winning the war for talent, right?

0:36:16 Ramona Shaw: Yeah.

0:36:16 Richard Triggs: Internal recruiters deliver a crappy shortlist and the boss goes, oh, God, this shortlist isn’t all that great. And the internal recruiter goes, oh, sorry, boss. It’s that there’s a war for talent. There’s no war for talent. There’s no war for talent. There’s just companies that are good at recruiting talent and there are other companies that are crap at it, right? So a lot of these cliches or the flavor of the month, it’s absolute rubbish.

0:36:50 Ramona Shaw: If you want help, right? Yeah.

0:36:53 Richard Triggs: It doesn’t help because suddenly people go, oh, it’s not my fault. Right? There’s nothing for me to learn here. Right? So equally, to the point of, if you want to get a great job, you need to learn how to get a great job and you need to do those things. If you want to retain, recruit, attract, retain excellent people, you’ve got to learn how to do it. And there’s a lot of people in business who go, I’m pretty good at business, right?

0:37:22 Richard Triggs: And I’ve hired plenty of people in the past, I know how to do it. And then you say, well, how come you’ve got 40 mission critical vacancies that you can’t fill? Look, there’s a wolf of talent.

0:37:35 Ramona Shaw: Yeah, I’m going to wait. I’m not going to do it. I’m not going to take action, I’m going to stick it out. Whole bunch of reasons why to delay or why not to change things up in order to actually make it better.

0:37:48 Richard Triggs: Yeah. I mean, it’s even in my book, my new book, winning the war for talent, I take it right from the beginning, it’s like, what are you doing to establish your brand as an employer of choice? You have these amazing websites that talk all about how good you are and your goods and services, and they’re all aimed at your client, the purchaser of your goods and services. But where is it articulating that you’re a great employer?

0:38:14 Richard Triggs: It’s not right if you say, oh, people are our greatest asset, but you’re not doing anything to present yourself and build your brand as an employer of choice. You’re an idiot.

0:38:29 Ramona Shaw: Right. So let’s speak about that a little bit more for the individual leader who is managing a team and who is looking to have a bench of high performed or build up a bench, who’s looking to hire and retain those high performers? What can they do that’s within their scope of control? Not what the employer in itself may do with online presence, but really for themselves. What do you suggest they do?

0:39:00 Richard Triggs: Okay, let’s talk general, and then let’s get a little bit more specific. So in general, people want to work for people that they believe will be a great boss, will mentor them and help to develop them to their highest potential. So what are you doing to build your brand as a great leader so people will want to come and work for you? Well, there’s a marketing term, it’s called zero moment of truth. Right.

0:39:28 Richard Triggs: Every single person that’s thinking about working for you, before they do anything, they’re going to look at your LinkedIn profile. Of course they’re going to look at the company website and some, but they’re going to look at your LinkedIn profile. And I would say unless somebody’s looking for a new job, 95% of people’s LinkedIn profiles are pretty average. They don’t have much detail. They’re just literally a sort of summary of somebody’s career.

0:39:55 Richard Triggs: They don’t articulate your key achievements, your transferable skills, your leadership, et cetera, et cetera. So make your LinkedIn profile sexy. Make people who look at it go, wow, I really want to work for Ramona. Look at know. If you’re a guest on podcasts, put it on there. If you’re writing articles or blog posts or speaking or whatever, a fantastic thing that people completely overlook is that people can write testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. They’re called recommendations. Right.

0:40:30 Richard Triggs: How many recommendations do you have from people who work for you saying what a great boss you are? And I would say probably less than 0.1% of people have that. Right.

0:40:44 Ramona Shaw: True. And actually it brings me another thought. When I see leaders celebrate their team or their team’s achievements, and they really do it in a way where they uplift other people and present other people, that is such an attractive skill on LinkedIn. So.

0:41:02 Richard Triggs: Well, not only on LinkedIn, but on your web, company webpage. If you’re loud and proud about employing diversity, then have some stories about some of the people in your team. If one of your teams has collected money for charity and had a fantastic result, shout about it. These have get people excited. Wow. Wow. Look at what’s happening in Ramona’s business. Guy, she looks awesome and, wow, she’s doing all these things and her team are having so much fun and they’re kicking goals. And I want to work for Ramona.

0:41:38 Richard Triggs: Right. Then if we come down to the individual vacancy level. Okay, so, number one, make sure you understand what you want to hire somebody for. What are those key deliverables that would demonstrate success in the role? The number of times, particularly if I’m talking to, say, internal recruiters and they’ve been briefed on the role, I say, okay, well, what does success look like? What does the person need to deliver?

0:42:08 Richard Triggs: I don’t know. The hiring manager gave me five minutes, a quick PD. I really don’t know. Well, how can you expect to hire excellence if you don’t know what excellence is? And articulate that to the person that you are empowering to recruit this role for you. Okay, the next thing, again, if we’re talking about employers, if you’re putting job ads up, make sure that there’s somebody’s name and phone number on the ad for prospective candidates to ring.

0:42:46 Richard Triggs: I would say in Australia, and I’m sure it’s the same in the US, at least 95% of roles advertised by the employer, not a third party recruiter, there’s nobody to ring. So a good candidate sees an ad and they go, oh, I might be interested in this role, but there’s not enough detail in this ad for me to decide if I want to apply for or not. I’d love to ring up and ask some questions, but there’s nobody to ring. So what do they do? They don’t apply.

0:43:11 Richard Triggs: Or alternatively, people apply for your roles eight weeks later. They’ve had no acknowledgment of application. They have no idea. Am I being considered? Will I be shortlisted? And of course, there’s nobody to ring up and ask because there’s nobody’s name and phone number on the ad. Imagine how damaging that is to your brand as an employer of choice. Put somebody’s name and phone number on the ad. Now, when I talk to internal recruiters about this, they go, yeah, but Richard, we don’t want to talk to candidates.

0:43:43 Richard Triggs: We’re too busy. I’m trying to manage 30 assignments. Plus do this, plus do that. I don’t have time to talk to candidates. Well, then get a new career. Or say to your boss, if you want me to successfully fill these roles for you, I can’t work on 30 roles. It’s ridiculous. Okay, the other thing, this final part is the best candidates aren’t looking for new jobs. They’re in jobs. They’re happy. They’re doing good work. They have a good relationship with their boss. They’re being relatively well paid.

0:44:15 Richard Triggs: You need to headhunt them. You need to get your value proposition in front of them. So they go, wow, even though I’m pretty happy here, gee, that opportunity looks awesome. I’m going to go for it. You don’t do that through advertising because those people aren’t looking at ads. The issue as an employer is that your team cannot headhunt because of course they have to disclose they work for, you know, using IBM as the example. If IBM wants to head hunt somebody from Apple and the internal recruiter says, hey, Bill, this is Sally from Apple, IBM, and we want to hire you.

0:44:53 Richard Triggs: Do you want your competitors to know that you are actively headhunting their staff? I would guess not. Is it a confidential role? Is there some reason why you wouldn’t want your competitors, or perhaps even your clients to know? You have to use headhunters. And I think a lot of companies, again, in the australian context, but I’m sure the same in the US, they’ve gone, oh, you know what? We’ve got LinkedIn recruiter licenses. Now we’ve got these internal recruiters. We don’t need to use third party recruiters anymore.

0:45:26 Richard Triggs: There are definitely roles where that’s true, but there are roles where either it’s a unique skill set or whatever you must headhunt. So, again, coming back to the question, what do hiring managers need to do to attract and retain the best talent? Well, that’s all about attraction. We can talk about retention, but we may not have time today. But what do you have to do? Well, you have to understand good talent needs to be wooed.

0:45:54 Richard Triggs: It’s like, oh, how do I get a wife? Well, you’ve got to find a lady that you want to marry, and you have to be kind and generous and listen and go on nice dates and make her feel special and wanted and loved. And then she might say, okay, I’ll marry you. But employers don’t do well. Some employers do do that. Most employers don’t do that. Most employers treat candidates like commodities, right? And then they end up with a lessened, fantastic result and they go, oh, why did this happen? Well, it’s a wolf of talent.

0:46:29 Ramona Shaw: Yeah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, I got this or I saw this ad and then seemed interesting, and then I clicked on it and was like, this endless form. It didn’t even pull in my LinkedIn profile. I had to copy paste everything or upload and answer all these questions. And I gave it five minutes and I gave up on it. Never mind. I don’t need it this urgently. Right.

0:46:52 Richard Triggs: That’s right.

0:46:54 Ramona Shaw: Whatever. I’m fine. And they gave up where they might have been great candidates, but they were lost in the process.

0:47:01 Richard Triggs: I like to put a post on LinkedIn every now and then, and I call it rant of an executive recruiter. And it’s a bit like throwing out a hand grenade and seeing what happens. I think it’s fun. And I did one the other day about this exact issue. Internal recruiters, why don’t you put your name and phone number on an ad? And do you realize that you’re doing a disservice to your employer and the candidates by not doing that?

0:47:24 Richard Triggs: And I had probably about 80 people respond, of which 79 of them were executive job seekers, saying, richard, well said, I agree with you completely. I won’t apply for a job if there’s nobody’s name or phone number in it. And then one lovely lady who’s an internal recruiter with an ASX top five company in Australia. So I’m talking about one of the biggest employers, not only in Australia, but in the world.

0:47:50 Richard Triggs: She goes, oh, that’s all very well for you to say, richard, but I’ve got 30 assignments and I’m busy and I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do that. I don’t have the time to talk to candidates. And so I replied back very politely, and I said, look, don’t shoot the messenger. Look at the 79 people who have responded to this post saying they won’t apply for your role if your name and phone number is not on it.

0:48:18 Richard Triggs: But will that person start putting their name and phone number on ads? No.

0:48:23 Ramona Shaw: Yeah, it’s a structural issue. Right. Would you say, with the resources to actually make it possible so that they can talk to them?

0:48:31 Richard Triggs: Well, I think I say this, and I get in trouble for saying it, but internal recruitment is where poor recruiters go to die, right? Because if you’re an excellent recruiter and you can work as a third party recruiter, you will earn a lot of money and you will have a lovely life. Why would that person want to go in house, earn way less money, have to deal with 40 assignments at a time, and not deliver good outcomes because they’re not very good at their job.

0:49:10 Richard Triggs: So the whole notion of it is counterproductive. You’re employing average recruiters, you’re overwhelming them with work. They were average to begin with. Of course, it’s not going to work. And that’s not to say all internal recruiters are like that. There obviously see some good ones. There’s a lot of external recruiters who are terrible as well. But as you say, systemically, it’s destined to fail.

0:49:43 Ramona Shaw: Right. And that also puts more responsibility back on the leader to always be hiring. Right. To always have that eye open, always to brand themselves as a great leader who will help their team grow and reach their career goals, to jump on these 15 minutes calls whenever they pop up to do what they can to be a good leader. So that worth of mouth spreads, too. People will ask, how is it working for that person, for that manager?

0:50:19 Ramona Shaw: And that is a good interview question to ask other coworkers to figure out. Yeah, listen between the lines. What are they saying about this manager, former colleagues in small industries, that is something that happens for sure. And if you’re not investing in your leadership, then you only get so far with that.

0:50:37 Richard Triggs: Well, put it this way, if somebody wanted to come and work for my business, arate executive, they can easily go on LinkedIn and look at people who used to work at arate executive and reach out to them and say, hey, listen, Mary, you don’t know me, but I see you used to work for Richard. What’s he like to work for? And if that person says, richard’s an absolute idiot and he’s a terrible boss and so on, they’re probably not going to come and work for me.

0:51:06 Richard Triggs: So the ability for a candidate to reference check the employer. Now, are employers considering that, is that even on their radar? Probably not. And yet it should be, right?

0:51:22 Ramona Shaw: 100%. Thank you so much for your time. And you dropped so many gold nuggets. Like I said in the beginning, you also gave us a cliffhanger. You said, we can learn more about how to get access to your book. We’re going to drop that in the show notes, too. But tell us more where people can learn more about your firm, the work that you do, including your podcast as well.

0:51:43 Richard Triggs: Okay, great. So, Arita executive. I’m based in Brisbane, Australia. We recruit all over Australia, but in fact, during and post Covid, we’ve actually been retained by american companies to headhunt Americans for jobs in America. Now, that’s know that would have never have happened post Covid. Right. God bless teams and Zoom because it’s made the world so much more accessible. So, firstly, if somebody’s interested in having a chat to me because they’re looking to hire.

0:52:13 Richard Triggs: Even if you’re in the US, we can help you. I’d love you to reach out through my website and send me a message and let’s have a conversation if somebody is a job seeker. So I have my existing book, uncover the hidden job market. If you want to buy a physical copy of that book, you can get it on Amazon and the usual places. But if you want a free pDF version of the book, you can come to my website again. It’ll be in the show notes and there is literally you’ll see it. If you want a free copy of Richard’s book, you just put in your name and your email address and you get a free copy of the book.

0:52:48 Richard Triggs: And I can’t tell you how many people from all over the world who email me, not on a daily basis, but definitely on a weekly basis, about how my book has assisted them in getting a fantastic job. And I suppose my philosophy. I’m 55 years old now. I just want to be happy and helpful. If I can be happy and helpful, the universe will look after me. So I didn’t write a book to make money from selling a book and so on.

0:53:16 Richard Triggs: If you’d like it and you think it would be useful, then please come and get one. Feel free to share it with whoever you want. I have a podcast. It’s called the Arate podcast. I’m over 200 episodes. I interview predominantly ceos and business owners about their careers and their businesses. Why do I do that? Because if we’re retained by a company to recruit for them, what I like to do is put the CEO or the owner on the podcast and talk to them about their background and why they started the business or what their goals are, the vision, the values, the culture and so on. And then when we go out and headhunt, we say to the candidates, look, if you want to get a feel for who your future boss is going to be, have a listen to the podcast. The candidates absolutely love it. Right?

0:54:01 Ramona Shaw: It’s branding again, sorry, doubling down. I’m like, let’s create that vision. Let’s put that out there. Let’s message it. Let’s put a person in a face to the company in the post.

0:54:13 Richard Triggs: Yeah. And then, of course, for a lot of the people that I talk to, and probably a lot of the people who you talk know, they are aspiring ceos and business owners. They want to hear the stories of people who’ve walked the path before. You know, if they listen to the person who’s now the CEO of IBM or the CEO of a big banking corporation or whatever, they might find it interesting. But for most people, it’s unattainable.

0:54:41 Richard Triggs: Okay. But to hear the stories of the person, the lady who is now the CEO of a company that turns over $20 million and employs 40 people, for most people, they could see, I could do that. And when you start to listen to these people’s stories again, you see golden nuggets. But there’s lots of interesting things that people may have done or choices they may have made and so on and so forth. So that’s another reason for that podcast.

0:55:13 Richard Triggs: I will be launching a new podcast shortly, which will be very much around how to attract and retain talent. And that’s a completely different thing. And that’ll be launched essentially in conjunction with when my book is published, which should be around April May. But yeah, so the only thing I say to people, please don’t send me LinkedIn connection requests. LinkedIn has got a maximum capacity of 30,000 connections and I’m constantly at around 29,000.

0:55:44 Richard Triggs: So if you send me a connection request and I don’t accept it, then it’s not because I’m rude or I don’t think you’re worthy. It’s because simply I just don’t have capacity. So reach out to me through my website if there’s anything I can do to help. Happy to engage, to see how we can support you. We have lots of materials available for both job seekers and employers. And again, I just want to be happy and helpful and be of value to the world.

0:56:11 Ramona Shaw: Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that. We will put the links in the show notes, and as soon as your book is out and you podcast is live, we’ll add those as well. I really appreciate your time today. Thank you for being on The Manager Track podcast, Richard.

0:56:26 Richard Triggs: It’s an absolute pleasure, Ramona. I’ve had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I look forward to reconnecting in the future.

0:56:32 Ramona Shaw: Same here. Thank you.


  1. What are some steps you can take to uncover jobs in the hidden job market?
  2. What are some of the key questions Richard provides that you could ask the key decision-makers for hiring?
  3. What are the 3 reasons that most people don’t uncover the hidden job market?
  4. Why is it important to ask the employer about their key pain points? What would be the best response once they tell you what they need the most help with?




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