DisruptHR Toronto and the Evolution of Talent Aquisition with Kathleen Teixeira [Podcast]


Read the podcast transcription here:

Bill Banham: Welcome to this special episode of HRchat Podcast. I’m your host Bill Banham. We are very lucky to be joined by Toronto-based Kathleen Teixeira. Kathleen is a manager of Talent Acquisition at OLG. She’s a member of the Talent Board and she’s a public speaker who educates HR pros and leaders on employer branding, social media recruitment, and personal branding.

This is a special episode because it’s focusing on DisruptHR Toronto which is happening on December 1, 2016. Kathleen is one of the organizers.

Kathleen, welcome to HRchat.

Kathleen Teixeira: Thanks Bill.

Bill: Let’s jump straight in with our first question. Please tell our listeners a bit about yourself, your career background and how you came to be at your role at OLG.

Kathleen: Sure. I worked as a recruiter for a market research company while I went to University. During my time in school, platforms like Facebook and Twitter had just launched. After I graduated University, my first job was working in public relations and in social media. Shortly after that, I was in touch with a recruitment agency that really specialized in public relations. That was an opportunity to really help me find a job. Instead, what happened was they offered me a position as a recruiter supporting marketing and advertising industry in Toronto.

While working on the recruitment agency side, I had realized that the way that the ways we were communicating had changed thanks to things like social media. Inevitably, the way that we looked for jobs had to be changing as well. During this time I actually launched Canada’s First Social Recruiting Conference that took place in Calgary. We flew social recruiting experts from the UK, from the US, and across Canada to really lead these hands-on workshops with HR professionals.

At that point, I joined Indigo, which was my first opportunity working as an in-house recruiter. There I focused on mostly corporate recruitment, retail recruitment across Canada. I focused a lot on some of the harder to fill roles and some of the remote locations in Canada. That’s where I was really able to leverage social media and things like employer brand, top attract talent for a couple of the locations in the country.

During my time at Indigo I was really ramping up with the networking. I’m a firm believer that networking is critical to your career no matter what industry you’re in. I’ve always made networking a priority, which is why I invest so much of my personal time both on social media and attending and organizing events. It was through networking that I was introduced to the opportunity at OLG and has landed me in my position here now.

Kathleen TeixeiraBill: Give our listeners a bit of an insight into your average working week as manager of talent acquisition at OLG.

Kathleen: In my current role, I’ve had to build a talent acquisition function from the ground up. The opportunity here was really moving to a centralized model of HR. Building the Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence, I spent the last year and a half doing just that. That can be a number of things. Developing the end to end recruitment process, which is constantly being looked at for improvement. I hired a team of amazing recruiters to support our head office in Sault Ste. Marie and in Toronto.

We looked at rewriting policies, revamping recruitment processes, developing new tools, also launched a new applicant tracking system and getting ready to launch our new career site very soon. I’m also working on projects like employer brand, developing an external talent community. Starting to work on targeted recruitment strategy to support our larger D&I strategy.

I guess when I’m not doing project related work, I’m recruiting. I’m getting to know our business and I’m attending a lot of networking events doing public speaking. An average work week as manager of talent acquisition at OLG can look like a number of things but that’s probably the best way to put it.

Bill: Great, thank you. This is a special episode because we’re going to be focusing on DisruptHR Toronto but before we get there you invoked something in my mind that I’m fascinated about. When I got back from a gap year, many years ago from Toronto and I moved to London, I went out and I started looking for my first ‘proper job’ if you like. I almost got recruited as a recruiter myself. I’d be fascinated to know from you, somebody who does recruit recruiters. What do you look for personality wise and skill-set wise when you’re trying to hire the best potential recruiters?

Kathleen: I think it’s more of s a mindset. I’m always looking for recruiters that think about recruitment in not so much a tactical or a transactional way but people can who can really understand the value of talent acquisition and recruitment for an organization, really think about it as probably the single most important thing you can do in business is hiring the right people. For me, I think it’s really a mindset and folks that think about recruitment and are doing recruitment all the time.

Whether it’s online or attending networking events or just their day to day in conversation with family and friends, recruitment is really something that we’re doing all the time. I think that’s really what I look for are folks that come with that mindset.

Bill: Now let’s get down to it. We’re talking about DisruptHR Toronto. You’re one of the three organizers of the DisruptHR Toronto event, the others being the awesome Jeff Waldman and The HR Gazette’s very own Tim Baker. Tell us a wee bit about why you decided to bring DisruptHR to Toronto?

Kathleen: This is going to be  our third DisruptHR in Toronto. When Jeff actually approached me about supporting the launch of DisruptHR in Canada, I jumped on the opportunity, I think for a couple of reasons. One being the fact that I was really proud of having launched Canada’s first social recruiting conference. There’s something about a first in Canada that I’m drawn to.

The other one was really the fact that the HR community in Toronto is smart and extremely supportive. There’s always something to learn and somebody new to meet. I feel very fortunate to be part of this community and I think that’s it’s important to host events like this to really bring people together and share experiences. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in HR and there are so many folks in the city that have done some really amazing work. DisruptHR really offers these folks a platform to share their success stories and that will really allow us to collectively move the needle in HR.

Bill: Listeners, the Gazette is a media partner with DisruptHR Toronto. Full disclosure there. It’s awesome, I’ve been lucky to go to the last couple. If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should come along, please do so because you’ll get loads out of it.

Kathleen: Absolutely.

Bill: That takes me nicely on to our next question and that is what makes the DisruptHR formula unique?

Kathleen: I think what makes DisruptHR challenging for even for some of the most seasoned speakers is really what makes it so unique and that’s really the format. The slides rotate every 15 seconds. You really only get 20 seconds or 20 slides rather. I love the idea of teaching or inspiring the audience around something very quickly. I guess the speaker’s entire talk is essentially an “Aha” moment. I think that’s what really makes it unique.

Bill: Great thank you very much. Apart from what I was just espousing a moment ago, why do you think HR pros and leaders should attend DisruptHR Toronto?

Kathleen: I think to echo some of the comments that I made earlier, I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in all areas of HR. I think that HR really has its roots in things like administration, and filing, and personnel and compliance. HR has really evolved in complexity and I think there’s a lot more involved in things like business forecasting, future and current business success.

I think the role of HR has really involved into something very different. For HR professionals or anybody that’s really interested in the business of HR should really attend DisruptHR Toronto, because I think they’ll learn how to get more involved in the success of the organization by evaluating more than just hiring and firing practices.

Bill: Tell us now a bit about the format of this year’s DisruptHR Toronto in terms of the number of speakers, what networking opportunities there’ll be, what time it starts, what time it finishes. What people do generally expect from the evening?

Kathleen: We have 12 speakers. Each speaker only gets five minutes. The event starts generally 5:30 to about 9:00. We’ve sold over 250 tickets already for this event. We’ve got some amazing sponsors, including [inaudible 00:11:13], Career Builder, Ritual, Hire. Of course our amazing event then use the concert hall and the Clayman company.

The concert hall for those of you that don’t know, it’s also the Masonic Temple which is an iconic Toronto location. I think that you guys are certainly going to love this place. We’ve got partners like yourselves through the HR Gazette and which really allows us to get our content out to a much wider audience. For folks that can’t attend or cannot attend, they can always catch up with some of the content later. I’m really thankful for the partnership with the HR Gazette. We also have a really great giveaway from a local Toronto startup called FORTE. Really interesting giveaway. I’m not going to share too much about that.

Anyway, all that to say that the number one feedback that we’ve really received from the two events that we’ve hosted to date is really the value that the attendees get from the networking and the value that our sponsors get from the platform. We’re attracting folks from all areas of HR. It represents a variety of industries and everyone from students to CEOs. Again, the network then continues online.

On Twitter, we have a growing Facebook community, our attendees and sponsors are sharing things on Instagram and on LinkedIn. Join in the conversation online using our #DisruptHRTO will really give you a good snapshot of what to expect for the next event.

Bill: It’s such a nice hashtag as well Kathleen. There’s some other DisruptHR events that we’ve partnered with and they’re very long hashtags. I like DisruptHRTO. He’s a tougher question for you. Which two or three speakers are you most looking forward to seeing and hearing from and why?

Kathleen: We received a ton of submissions this year. I think we were close to 40. It’s not easy to have to pair it down to 12. I’m looking forward to all of them of course. I was involved in this election and so I’m excited to hear from all of the speakers. I think I’m really looking forward to returning speaker Ryan Porter. His talk is called “Job ads are stuck in the 90s doing the Macarena.”

I think we can probably all agree that if we held our job postings next to each other, they look exactly the same if we stood a few feet away. Like I said earlier, the way we communicate has changed, the way we look for jobs have changed. What’s important to us in a job has changed and it’s never been easier to apply for jobs. I guess the gap for me is why are job postings still the same? Do they need to change and why? Anyway, Ryan’s talk was the number one watched talk across all DisruptHR videos from last year.

I know that he’s going to fire up the audience. I’m really looking forward to that one. I’m also looking forward to a talk by Roy Tran and his talk is called “Stop Dating Top Talent.” As a recruiter, I’ve always joked about the similarities between dating or matchmaking and recruiting. I also think that we live in a time of buzzwords like “Top Talent” and “Disrupt”, go figure. Maybe we need to find a new name. I think that Roy’s talk is really going to remind us that as recruiters and as organizations, we should really be looking for right talent and challenge our way of thinking. Do we always need top talent? What does top talent even mean? I’m certainly interested in his talk as well.

Bill: We’re heading towards the end of this episode, so thank you very much. Before we wrap things up, a couple more questions for you. Firstly, which events will you be attending or speaking at in 2017 and why?

Kathleen: Sure. I feel I still have a ton of events to get through before the end of this year. We’ve got a couple of them happening in December but I am looking forward to the HRPA Conference. That’s happening February 1st to 3rd I believe. I’m also seriously considering at this point attending the world employer brand day which is held in Prague. That’s April 27th through the 28th. HR Tech has always been on my list the last couple of years. Unfortunately, I have never attended but I think HR technology space is very interesting to me and there’s a ton of stuff happening there.

That’s something that I certainly want to attend. I’m always looking forward to attending the women’s executive network events. Those are always very good. Anyway, I do a lot of networking usually 5+ networking events a month. I can’t keep up with them all but in terms of speaking, I have a couple of speaking engagements lined up through a couple of MBA and university and colleges across the GTA. Those are coming up in the New Year. Keep them busy, lots of events.

Bill: Great, thank you. And finally, how can our listeners learn more about you?

Kathleen: I’m all over social media @KathleenToronto. That’s my handle on Snapchat, on Instagram, on Twitter. You can find me that way on LinkedIn and on Facebook as well. Kathleen Teixeira might just be easier. You can pretty much find me across all social media and I guess even for some more information on DisruptHR, the website there is DisruptHR.co/toronto and all of the links to my social media are on there as well.

Bill: Did you say DisruptHR.co/toronto?

Kathleen: Yes.

Bill: Okay, just making sure that our listeners have got it. Well, Kathleen that takes us to the end of this particular podcast. Thank you so much for being our guest today.

Kathleen: Absolutely. Thank you very much for having me. I’d be happy to come back any time.

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