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SocialTalent Author Spotlight: Nick Johnston

Welcome to our new spotlight series, where we introduce you to some of the incredible authors on the SocialTalent learning platform. With over 100 experts delivering quality content on all areas of workplace excellence, we pride ourselves on having a faculty that are not only heavily experienced in their respective fields, but are also engaging instructors from a diverse set of backgrounds.

Today, we’re going to meet the amazing Nick Johnston. Nick is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Mubadala and has over 20+ years of experience in the field, specifically around global recruiting, recruiting service delivery, talent advisory, transformation, and technology.

Q. Can you give us some background information about your experience and history within this field?

I have been doing TA all my working life, I see my career in two phases.

Phase 1: Recruitment Process Outsourcing  I spent 10 years working in RPO. For most of that time I was the person who would design and implement new RPO solutions for clients including Cable&Wireless, Thales, IBM, Cisco, KPMG, and Microsoft. This was exciting and challenging – it gave me great exposure to different business, business models, challenging implementations, and how to develop recruiting solutions that work for them.

Phase 2: In-House Strategy and Service Delivery: I decided I wanted to go in-house, get more connected to the business strategy, and have a wider impact. In this second phase I have always been at my core the “TA Guy” but have had amazing opportunities to evolve away from the more transactional focus of RPO (Cost, Speed, Experience) towards more value add aspect of TA (Quality, Brand, Advisory).

I have worked for leading global companies based in Europe and the Middle East including SAP (at my peak I ran global recruiting operations which is 10-13K hires a year 300 recruiters). I have also lead transformation projects for Etihad Airways, PWC, and my current employer (twice). I have worked in Real Estate Development, Investment, Aviation, and Consulting.

I have also worked on Workforce Planning, Learning, Performance Management, Mergers & Integrations, HR Technology, Mobility as well as on more value add areas of TA (Technology, Assessment, Brand etc.).

What I probably enjoy the most though is developing recruiters (my team and hiring managers) and am proud to see how many of the people who I have worked with have grown to become recruiting leaders themselves.

Q. What are you working on right now?

I lead recruiting for a Sovereign Wealth Fund, I have just taken on Mobility and we are rolling out new assessment models and activating a refresh on the employer brand.

Perhaps most interesting and challenging is that I am the design lead for a new recruiting platform that is being developed for us by one of the technology companies we are invested in.

Q. Can you give us a detailed overview of what your content covers?

I have seven missions on SocialTalent – they are basically all about how to recruit better, with a focus on making quality hires and creating good experiences. If I break them down, the first three are really for recruiters and hiring managers:

  • Shortlist with Success: Gives you the tips and tricks to quickly, objectively, and effectively deliver shortlists to your managers so you will be right first time and add value on the way. This is key because it is the shortlist that drives quality of hire.
  • Understanding Candidate Motivation: Motivation is the multiplier – it is often overlooked but at the simplest level you can guarantee a good hire if the candidate is intelligent and motivated! This mission breaks down the different elements of motivation and offers a simple rubrik to help you differentiate motivation as you assess candidates and advise your managers.
  • How to Give Great Feedback to Candidates: Great feedback is gift, bad feedback is a minefield!  With great feedback we reinforce the employer brand, ensure we are assessing effectively, and making good decisions. This supports the employer brand as well as setting candidates up for success. It’s easy if you do it all day but most of us don’t so this mission breaks down how to develop, write and give feedback to your candidates.
  • Recruiting Internationally: this is really about how to recruit across culture and understand how culture impacts candidate fit, both at the country and organiaztional level. I have been recruiting internationally for over 20 years and I know that with these hires we change peoples personal and professional lives, so the responsibility to avoid a mis-hire is even bigger. If we can understand culture and culture fit we can improve our chances of making great hires.

The next 3 are more for recruiting managers or leaders, but are also great for more experienced recruiters who want to deepen their skillset

  • Assessment 101: This breaks down the fundamentals of different assessment techniques and how to combine them into assessment processes that will help companies make great hires. It discusses how to identify good assessment partners and also talks a bit about the future of assessment with gamification, AI, and neuroscience.
  • Own and Optimize Your Candidate Pipeline: This is really about how to make sure your end-to-end recruitment process is running well, using the conversions through the funnel to spot potential issues and then gives some suggestions about what may be causing the issue and how to fix it.
  • Decoding Psychometric Assessments: Explains what Psychometric Assessments are and how to best use them when recruiting. This is an important one because this kind of information is often only available to you after you have bought a Psych from a vendor (which is too late). It also steps into how to interpret and debrief Psychs with candidates. I use this with my own teams after they have had the vendor training and it really helps them to understand and leverage the tools.

Q. Why is this an important topic of study right now?

For me the reason I have passion for TA is I believe wholeheartedly that if you are in business the most important thing you can do is make good hires – you get the people right and everything flows and grows, you get it wrong and it can be challenging.

Good hires are people who have the right fit, who have a reason to join, stay, and can perform.

All of these courses will help Recruiters, Managers and Leaders to get it right! So they are important topics now and all the time!

Q. What do you hope learners will gain from doing your missions?

At a very simple level, learners will improve their understanding of core concepts and techniques in recruiting and get simple tips and tricks to help them do this in their day-to-day.

The approaches I am training all have an element of structure to them that you can use in real life, this is important because the structure, model or system is what helps drive consistency and objectivity in our recruiting. The structure makes it easy for us to practice and get good as we build our experience.

One of my leaders used to say to me: “Recruitment isn’t rocket science it’s art and science.” I agree, and to become a great recruiter you need to master the “science” or structure and then as you build experience, you start to become the artist.

Q. Where can people find you?

Reach out to me on LinkedIn – you can find me here!

Interested to see how Nick’s content could help your team? Get in-touch with SocialTalent today.

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