What’s in a job title?

Having worked in recruitment for the past 2 decades, agency side for 10 years and the last 10 years in-house, I have come across some seriously bizarre job titles. There is no standard across industries but the norm seems you either go with the American VP, AVP title regime or the more European / Global titles of Director, Associate Director etc.

Some do digress from this, particularly in the start-up world, and I will revert to Troy Hammond to correct me if I’m wrong but these are a few I’ve seen out there:

  • Chief Happiness Officer
  • Chief Trouble Maker
  • Genius (at Apple)
  • Imagineer (Disney Engineers)

My favourite, however, is Mighty Eagle which Rovia, who make Angry Birds, call their CEO Peter Vesterbacka. I love seeing diverse titles out there, not that it makes it any easier for those sourcers / recruiters diving deep into their Boolean / X-Ray searches, but it does differentiate a company.

So what is in a title?  Awesome job titles seem to draw top talent or at least pique the interest of people when they see a different job title in a job ad or on social media but what about those lesser attractive jobs out there? It seems companies are turning to creating unique job titles to attract the talent they seek to connect and engage with.  There are those willing to push the boundaries but then there are those companies that tend to stick to the “normal” job titles.

So what does a job title mean to you? Does it make a massive difference if you get a new job with a decent pay increase yet the title, in your opinion doesn’t really reflect the actual role or what you feel you should be called? I’m interested to hear your thoughts as to some candidates the title makes the role.

Top 50 HR & Recruiting bad asses in APAC featuring – Mark Sumner

Thanks for the mention Troy!

Troy Hammond

Happy Monday everyone.

If you are new to this series please read this first in order to understand what I am trying to do.

In a nutshell, I am trying to help raise the profile of our industry and help our fellow HR and Recruiting people teach and learn.

I was at lunch the other day with Kirsti Grant, Jade Sheartsone and Tracy Earl and the topic came up that;

If you truly are trying to help all our industry then why don’t we all start some meetups to help people?

Not just meetups for recruiters and HR folk to get better, though a place where potentially a young start-up that cannot afford to hire an internal recruiter or pay agencies fees can also learn from us.

So I did.

I put my money (yes it costs to start a meetup) where my mouth is and have started the

View original post 1,274 more words

#Getin for the Cancer Society – support our www.pledgeme.co.nz campaign

Matt Pontin and I have started a Pledgeme campaign to raise money for the The Cancer Society of New Zealand We are giving away our time to help businesses who pledge / donate money to the cause with all proceeds going to the Cancer Society. This is Matt’s blog …

Thoughts and innovations from the wonderful world of Talent

CSNZ_MAORI_LOGO_RGB Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 1.34.16 pm

Here’s some exciting news to share. When Mark Sumner and I launched #Getin Ltd, we wanted to do things very differently. We wanted to create a successful and fun business – but more importantly we wanted to create a legacy.

A legacy in terms of being innovative, different, and having a go at what we do – trying what others wouldn’t  – to enable great outcomes for our customers. Yep that’s one legacy we want.

But we also wanted to start as we mean to go on and use the power of social media, digital and the business eco-system and community to help others.


So I came up with the #Getin for The Cancer Society campaign.

Many of us (me included) have had families and friends impacted by this hideous disease. It it unfortunately so common that it has touched the hearts of us all in some way shape…

View original post 585 more words

The next chapter… #Getin



I am coming up to 20 years in the Recruitment industry and the changes over 2 decades have been immense to say the least. Gone are the days of using a DOS based “ATS” called Cardbox, green writing on the screens and faxing CV’s to clients. I remember clearly the “competitions where we would tape our phones to our hands and weren’t allowed to take the tape off until we had secured 3 client meetings or where we would stand next to our desks and weren’t allowed to sit until we had secured 5 client meetings. The ringing of the placement bell rings clearly in my mind as the amassed team mates would clap with jealous grins lighting up their faces – yes, internal competition was rife in agency in the late 90’s and I assume it may not be that different today!

My previous roles have all been in the corporate world, both global agency and local Banks or Financial Services companies which saw me move countries 3 times from my homeland of South Africa to London to Sydney to Auckland. The “grounding” I received, the training, the endless client and candidate meetings and my drive to sponge as much information as I could have stood me in good stead in all my roles and the invaluable lessons received have always been greatly appreciated.

Having recently finished working for ASB, where I honed my talent innovation skills, the next chapter of my working life is about to begin and I have decided to go it alone (well not quite alone but more on that later). I have always wanted to start up my own business, taking the 2 decades of learning and putting them into practice, by helping others (read individuals and companies) develop, build, implement and deliver good ol’ “fist pumping” moments and a cry of “Get In”!


“Two thinkers and tinkerers in New Zealand’s greatest office…”

The picture might now give it all away but I have decided to team up with someone who I admired as a boss, worked with on innovative campaigns and who managed and led one of the most amazing recruitment teams in the New Zealand market … Matt Pontin. Our business name, well, it had to be a hash tag really doesn’t it is #Getin Ltd. #Getin is something that is close to both our hearts and is a hash tag we have used on numerous occasions to celebrate those real “fist pumping” achievements seeing projects we worked on come to fruition. We are both innovative tinkerers who love to find the how and challenge the status quo. One of the many guarantees you will have from working with us will be that we’ll come up with mad crazy ideas that no one else has tried before – that will work!


Celebrating setting up the #Getin business with a “fist pump”!

The essence of the business is to offer you expert consulting advice that will significantly impact your business success and cause you to punch the air in celebration. It’s about attracting customers and talent, who are closely aligned, as we all know candidates have been customers / consumers of the same brands that have been trying to attract them.

We can advise and support you in areas including:

  •  Discovery sessions
  • Social Media
  • Digital transformation
  • Employer Branding
  • Brand Activation
  • Look before you leap – Market Intelligence
  • Top class training

We are super excited, in fact there have been many “fist pumping” moments already as we have worked on creating a business that will see a global shout of “Get In”. So if you are looking to find better, smarter and faster ways for your business to attract Customers and Talent – give us a go, you won’t regret it and you will have heaps of fun working with us!

You can find out more on our website www.getin.co.nz and follow us over on the social channels :

Facebook_Logo   LItwitter-bigGoogle_plus.svg

We hope that you’ll soon be joining us in saying: 



It did not work for me! This pretty much sums up my experience of trying to get rid of one of the most debilitating skin conditions around by completely changing my diet.

I don’t write this to garner sympathy nor will I go and cry in the corner feeling sorry for myself, the fact of the matter is it just did not work for me but it has and may well do for others. This is just my personal experience.

It has been a couple of months since I updated this blog as I wanted to ensure my message was not just one of anger and frustration, that yet another effort at ridding myself of life-long eczema did not work, but also reflected the positives following my experience.


The good news, I am 9 kg’s lighter. The not so good news, my eczema continues unabated and to say the last few months has been a roller-coaster ride is a pretty accurate cliché.

Following a strict diet is never easy but I found giving up sugar, gluten and yeast (except for Beer of course) less taxing than the awesomeness that is bacon, cheese and basics like garlic, lemon and chilli.

Now I don’t need to write here what an awesome and supportive wife I have, who went along with this new food regime with me, hell even my 8 year old son got into the act eating his greens and a variety of new dishes. I do however want to put on record how appreciative I am of the amazing family I have been blessed with. They put up with food tantrums, frustrations, and a grumpy unsatisfied and sometimes tearful person who couldn’t have been much fun to be around for a few weeks.

Also, I cannot neglect to thank the amazing team I work with who have carried me through some tough lunches, nights out and morning teas, evening ensuring Kumara Chips and fruit were on the menu. Thanks guys and gals, you’re awesome to work with!

Another positive is I have learnt more about food and how it affects us in the last 3 months than I have in 40 years on this planet. I could never return to my previous ways and patterns of eating knowing what I know now and I will continue to follow a more Paleo type diet ensuring lots of raw fresh fruit and veg and unprocessed organic foods are included – along with dried Banana Chips in organic raw honey which have become my favourite snack.

Long may the weight loss and a healthier lifestyle continue. As for the eczema, well, at the moment it is back to the Prednisone and anti-histamines for a few weeks to try and get some relief and much needed sleep.

Thanks heaps to those who have taken the time to read, comment on and share these blog posts, your support has been massively appreciated. If this is the first in this series of blogs you have read, here are the links to blog one and two.

This is my life … Week 1 update

The good news, I am 3.5 kg’s lighter. The not so good news, my eczema has gone on the war path, however I was warned this might happen in the first week or two as the body releases all the built up toxins. “Short term pain for long term gain” has become my motto because the pain / itching has, at times, been unbearable. At least the side effect is my suit and shirt is a little baggier on me.

So, a week not to be forgotten for what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster. You wouldn’t think changing your diet would have a major effect on you emotionally but believe me there were times  where I was ready to throw groceries around the supermarket / health food store! When I thought I had found something I could have there was always one or two ingredients which were on the “No” list.

Speaking of lists, below are the lists of “No” and “Yes” foods.




The question I get asked repeatedly is what foods / drinks do I miss the most. The answer: COFFEE! I used to drink 2 or 3 coffees a day and they were always a highlight / something I looked forward to as part of my daily routine. I really, really miss coffee. Outside of that I think some dairy, bacon, corn and the ability to make tasty sauces, dressings or flavouring to go with the mostly fish and chicken I have been eating.

You might note I cannot have lemons, chilli, garlic, onion or tomato – all great for flavouring food. No Olive oil (or mushrooms due to my blood group), Sesame oil, vinegar, lemon juice (or any citrus juice) which are all often used in making salad dressings and mayonnaise. I have really found trying to get flavour into foods the toughest although I can use Himalayan Pink Salt and a little pepper in cooking but without sauces the food can be dry. I can’t even have Gluten free bread as they often replace wheat with maize / corn, potato and most have yeast in them.

Coconuts have proven to be the big replacement – using coconut oil for cooking and coconut milk yoghurt with banana is pretty awesome for breakfast! Kumara and Pumpkin have replaced potatoes, Tamari has replaced Soy and I eat raw veggies and salads A LOT. The juicer has proven invaluable as I have to get through 3 to 4 litres of fluids a day. Pear, Apple, Carrot, Spinach tend to be the staple with Grapes and Kale as alternatives. An interesting week to say the least and I can safely say I have learnt more about food in the last few weeks than the last 40 years.

I really hope week two brings some results in terms of the eczema starting to get a little better. A quick thank you to my awesome wife who has been a rock, has eaten 90% of the same foods I have and has kept me on the straight and narrow! Also, to an awesome team of people I work with, your support and kind words have meant more than you will know!

At least the kg’s are heading in the right direction and I will write again soon!

This is my life …


Today starts the process of trying to get rid of 40 years of chronic Eczema. Atopic Eczema, Pompholyx Eczema and Discoid Eczema have all afflicted me at some stage of my life with Discoid being the current thorn in my side. After visiting countless Dermatologists in South Africa, the UK, Australia and now New Zealand, I have tried every form of treatment known to them and mankind:

  • Hydrocortisone creams
  • Coal Tar
  • Hydrocortisone injections
  • UVB light treatment (a great tan is an awesome side effect)
  • Prednisone
  • Cyclosporine and Neoral (immunosuppressant drugs)
  • Wet wraps (hydrocortisone creams overlayed with wet cotton wraps)

A pretty comprehensive list of drugs, creams and potions all which have helped relieve and treat the symptoms. However, none have been long lasting and some nearly put me in a coffin; Neoral being the worst taking my blood pressure to 200/100! I have endured 2 bouts of septicaemia as a result of infected eczema, the first in 2002 saw me rushed to hospital, plugged into multiple drips for a week and not being able to walk for 3 days. All this 2 months prior to getting married!

I thought life was destined to be thus for all my days until a family member, who suffered with full body Psoriasis , visited a skin clinic with a difference. They delve into the root cause believing chronic skin conditions need to be resolved from the inside. As such, 80% of their prescription focuses on inside the body and the other 20% on the outside with unique organic ointments. Their belief is that identifying and removing the ‘triggers’ is essential: There are likely to be many foods and / or environmental conditions contributing to the problem.

The family member, who had suffered for almost as many years as me, is now 95% cleared of any Psoriasis and as we all know a referral is far better than any marketing campaign the best agencies can come up with. So my time has come to give this programme a fair crack! What have I got to lose, nothing else has cured the deep itch that only boiling hot showers can provide temporary relief to or the sleepless nights. A massive change in diet, with 60 % of dietary intake being raw foods and 3 to 4 litres of water and vege / fruit juices a day going into my gut.

The big triggers for me have been identified as Nightshades (Potatoes, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Chilli, Peppers / Capsicum), Dairy (in any shape or form) and Gluten (Beer is a massive trigger – yay!) Also no garlic, onion, vinegar, citrus fruits, soft drinks, shell fish …. There is a very long list which I will post up here in an update.

Some may question me writing this post, a fairly personal one it must be said. I strongly believe in helping other sufferers who are the only ones who can really understand, empathise and know what it is like to suffer this horrendous skin condition. So, I will make regular posts on my progress in the hope this might be “the miracle cure” or at least something that aids us in understanding our triggers.

I have spared you personal photos or Google images I found when looking up the varying types of eczema; but if you have an iron-cast stomach and want to gain a true understanding of what sufferers deal with each day then take a peep, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Headhunter: “Errr, Ummm, let me check!”

Headhunting. A fine art some might say. At the “real” Executive end of the market the Researchers / Partners, or whoever gets to make “that call”, will be well versed at wooing the prospect or at least having being fully briefed on the role and client they are working for. Needless to say they would have done their deep dive into the prospects background.

I am always open to a headhunt call and pretty sure I am not alone here, after all who doesn’t like hearing those words “I have been given your name” although in this case it was more like “I found your LinkedIn profile”.

I should start at the beginning though as this was an experience worthy of sharing and maybe I should have titled it “5 tips on how NOT to Headhunt”! Surely that would get more visits to the blog but I felt a quote from said head-hunter summed it up pretty well.

So, my work phone rings and it is one of our awesome Contact Centre Representatives (CSR) on the line. The conversation then goes something like this:

CSR: Hi Mark, I have a friend of yours on the line, would you mind if I put them through.

Me: Sure.

CSR: Thanks so much, have a great day.

At this stage I must add that most of my mates have my mobile and / or direct work number so I was curious as to why “a friend” had called me via the contact centre.

Me: Good morning, Mark Sumner speaking

Head-hunter: Hi Mark, this is <let’s call them Jane> have you got a few minutes to talk.

Me: Sure I, I have about 10 minutes until my next meeting, will that suffice?

Note, no company name was provided.

Jane: I found your LinkedIn profile and thought you would be a good fit for the client I am recruiting for. I cannot divulge their name at this stage but they are looking for someone like you.

A fairly standard “recruitment sell”, Jane then went on to explain a little bit, and let me emphasise “little”, more about the role and the company without mentioning any names. Jane carried on some more about it being a great fit and opportunity and after around 5 minutes it was my turn to ask a few questions.

This is where the “5 tips on how NOT to head-hunt” come to the fore:

1. Research your potential targets

Get information from the people referring them or research them via Professional networks / Social Media and / Google them!. Take some time to understand what specific “market segment” this particular candidate is part of their niche skills and what they could bring to the role.

Jane had no real idea about my current role, make up of the team I currently work with or what I really did to match it with the role she was working on with the recruitment consultant. Maybe it was my strange title that threw her or maybe I need to pimp my LinkedIn profile a little?

2. Establish Initial Rapport

Open the call by saying who you are, where you’re from and what you do. When a candidate is not expecting a call from you it is important to spend at least the first couple of minutes with background or introductory information so they feel like this is a professional opportunity and one that they aren’t wasting their time with.

I had to ask Jane which company she was calling from – it was not the hiring company.

3. Know What Makes the Job Exceptional

You need to start with an attention grabber. What’s in it for them? Why is this opportunity different from other similar positions? What makes it more exciting than what they’re currently involved with?

Jane had no idea how many people where on the team, the reporting line, challenges to be faced or plans for the business in the next 12 months. In fact she said: “Errr, Ummm, let me check.” It turns out she was not the recruiter but merely the, and I quote: “executive search person head-hunting for the recruitment consultant managing this role”.

4. Stay Connected even with seemingly unsuitable Candidates

If you’ve realised mid-way through a call that the candidate that you are talking with is not qualified, continue the conversation as they may know someone else who may be interested and qualified. Turn that wasted phone call into a potential networking opportunity to seek out possible referrals.

There was a rather abrupt end to the conversation when Jane realised I was not interested in or suitable for the role.

5. Follow up

Gain “opt-in” from the candidate. Be proactive and request permission to e-mail or follow-up with a phone call even if the candidate is not interested, after all, they might be suitable for another role that comes across your desk.

Once again there was a rather abrupt end to the conversation.

I share this experience with the hope that you may never receive a similar phone call, or if you are the one making the call, that you do your homework and ensure the person on the other end has an awesome experience, even if they say “No”.

Just the way we are

Now I’m not the biggest reality TV fan, unless it has something to do with the medical profession, which harkens back to my days wanting to be a surgeon / ER doctor, but I came across this story today and it inspired me to write my first post of 2013.

I have always been a large bloke (something about metabolism, big bones or too many pies) and growing up in suburban South Africa as a large kid I was teased, just like any other “fat kid”. The names I was called varied wildly as I grew from a kid into a teenager, young adult and finally adult, but all had the same piercing effect which smashed my self-confidence. It got to the point as a young adult where I started making jokes about my weight before anyone else had the chance to get a jibe in.

Now I don’t write this to seek any “Shame, Mark, it must have been tough” comments or win any sympathy votes but to make people aware that bullying in any way shape or form is unacceptable . Be it a stutter, a weight problem, a large nose or a disabled / disadvantaged person, taking the piss out of them is neither funny nor does it make you clever or popular with your mates.

Lazaro’s story struck a strong chord within – to see him get on stage in front of millions of people and talk about what he has been through growing up, yet possessing the confidence to stand in front of some of the music industry “heavyweights” must have taken some serious “cajones”. I used to wonder how people plucked up the courage to do that, to stand up to those who had tormented them by showing that whatever had been said had not destroyed their self-belief / confidence and by showing them what an amazing talent they are.

I had my own epiphany when I was living in the UK in the late 90’s and since that day decided that people should accept me for who I am , not what I look like. My conscious decision is that if this is unacceptable to them then quite frankly I have no room for them in my life. People who know me know that I am who I am (don’t try saying that too fast!) be it at work, home, in a meeting or out for dinner, on a boat fishing with mates or in a meeting with suppliers or stakeholders.

Yes I know I am South African and the stereo types are rife but at the end of the day I am comfortable with myself, I have a large personality, I tell it it like it is. I like who I am! To those that bullied and teased – the only person I listen to now, who has anything to say about my weight, is my GP.

The world we live in and life in general.

Some might say that time flies when you’re having fun but the that Utopia doesn’t account for the reality that time also flies when you’re mentally busy at work, particularly when you’re looking for these critters!


Lost? Just Google “purple squirrel”

The untimely and tragic death of an ex-colleague brought me screaming to a halt yesterday and the memory of making a mad dash across 11 time zones to be with my inspirational, loving, selfless and most beautiful Mother, to say goodbye in February this year, came flooding back.

Not that I had forgotten, the memory is forever burned into my cerebral cortex, as anyone who has lost a family member will attest to, but life tends to run away from us in the mad dash that is work and life.

I made it home in time to hold, talk to and say goodbye to the person who had been a rock, someone I could always turn to and talk to about the world we live in and life in general. So this is for you Mom, a personal post in memory of all the things you taught me, the boy you turned into a man and the life devoted to making me see the silver lining when things went pear-shaped. You helped me to see and understand that no matter what is said, what obstacles life throws at us and however busy we are, there is always time to laugh!

This one’s for you Mom ………..