99. Attracting and hiring top talent - with Nick Birbilis.
Hiring top talent during a pandemic is a massive challenge for employers like Nick Birbilis. Nick's ambitious projects require his organization to attract and hire the very best professionals. With all of the challenges we face today, how does Nick attract top international experts to work for him when borders are closed? Can these jobs be done remotely? Below are a few nuggets from the interview.
The pandemic has shown a torch on a few things that needed correction.
What I learned from my conversation with Nick is that when we're faced with a big problem, we find solutions:
- Finding home-grown talent and investing in them: As Nick said in the interview, "If you're limited in the geography of who you can look for, you open up your mind to different narratives, different backgrounds, different trajectories to broader experiences, which actually fit the value sets."
- Make remote work possible: this advice applies to both employers and employees. Nick says: "if you have challenges with moving and relocating, or want to work remotely, I encourage everyone to put that out there and ask that question because in my experience since the pandemic started, anyone that we've thought of suitable for the role and has wanted to work flexibly we've always made it possible. So it's an option now, and it's one that I encourage everyone just to ask the question."
Zoom and Digital Wormholes.
Hiring and working remotely requires the adoption of technology and new engagement strategies:
- Be ready to pick up on even the minimal cues when working online with others: You need to be able to pick up what others are doing, sense what they're thinking, and adapt and adjust along the way. "Like anything, it takes practice; it's like riding a bike," says Nick.
- Recognize that a lot about how we will work in the future is still unknown: It is not a single individual who will decide the future of work. The more voices we have in predicting and creating the future, the better.
Let employers know what you want to do next.
This is the best piece of advice from Nick about how to job interview with purpose: "There’s been a long tradition of people at job interviews telling you a lot about what they've done in the past, trying to build confidence in the future based on what they've done in the past. Now, it's worth mentioning what you've done in the past, whether it's specific to the role or not because it brings trust to the table. But really, if there's one bit of advice that I could give anyone is to be open about what they actually want to do in the future."
There's so much more interesting chat and advice from Nick Birbilis in this episode. I hope you listen and enjoy the great conversation with a leader who cares deeply about his team and understands the most important asset in an organization is its people.
Podcast Episode Timestamps:
- 13:42 - Nick’s career
- 16:59 - Finding great talent
- 21:03 - Border closures and opportunities for remote work
- 31:54 - Virtual job interviews
- 34:47 - Hiring best practices
- 38:23 - Border closures and what it means for domestic talent
- 48:32 - Nick’s tip on how to interview well for sector change
- 53:52 - Sector change: moving from corporate to research institutions or startups
- 57:58 - Industry 4.0: what the future holds
Links mentioned in this episode:
- The Job Hunting Podcast Facebook group
- Subscribe to the Job Hunting Newsletter
- Other episodes of The Job Hunting podcast about technology, science, and the future of work:
- Episode 48: Emerging jobs and technologies - with Associate Professor Catherine Ball
- Episode 42: Data jobs: Interview with data & machine learning expert Catherine Lopes PhD
- Episode 45: The future of offices and teamwork - with workplace strategist Su Lim
- Episode 64: How to pivot your career during a crisis: Advice from "the new world of work" expert Marianne Roux
- Episode 38: A lesson in personal agility - with New World of Work expert Marianne Roux
About our guest:
Nick Birbilis is an Australian engineer and academic. He is a Professor and Deputy Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University. Nick works in the field of materials science and engineering, having made contributions in the area of materials design, materials durability, and materials characterization. Nick was the inaugural Woodside Innovation Chair at Monash University, where he directed the Woodside Innovation Centre in the areas of additive manufacturing (i.e., 3-D printing), rapid prototyping, materials durability, data science, analytics, and machine learning.
- Nick's Twitter: https://twitter.com/profNickANU
- Nick's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-birbilis-bb65a3a9/
- Nick’s Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Birbilis
- Nick’d TEDx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNEdvBoxumw