Amanda-Jane Lamont

Talent Acquisition Leader, Looking for next challenge

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

An afternoon at the beach with my late aunty Hope, one of the strongest and most vivacious women I’ve known. We caught waves with our boogie boards for hours, played games in the sand and laughed hysterically. Just a normal day during school holidays – but there is nothing quite like plopping down all seawater-salty and blissfully exhausted while having a soft-serve ice cream at the beach!

2. Who was your favourite teacher at school? What did you learn from that person?

My science teacher Mr Rose. Later on while I was at university, we struck up a conversation about the “God Delusion” by Richard Dawson – Mr Rose is one of those rare scientists who accepts both theories, and we had an awesome exchange of book recommendations, the internal conflicts associated with the topic and validity of the arguments across philosophers. He was one of the first people with whom I experienced discussing a controversial belief with a truly open mind. Despite our generational differences, he spoke to me as an equal, and that’s something I really admired and would always strive to emulate.

3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?

I’ve (re)acquired a taste for running – despite my best efforts to ignore it, endorphins really are the best way to cope with the stresses of life! Daily exercise has now become a necessary evil in my life.

4. Name a well-known person you admire and explain why you hold them high esteem?

Nelson Mandela. Might seem cheesy since I’m South African – but how do you go from decades (and more) of brutal oppression and racial segregation, to a new democracy built not with vengeful intent, but only the intent of peace and reconciliation with your oppressor? I will forever be in awe.

5. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?

Some people may think I am a critical, nitpicky pedant. While I’m all of those things :P, I’m actually mainly nurturing, loyal and truly want to help/grow those around me to the best of my ability. We are humans first! Employees last.

6. What personality trait has got you in the most trouble? What kind of trouble does it get you in?

Probably being too direct or having no filter, which unfortunately doesn’t sit well with a lot of people – however after a fair amount of time in HR already, I think my filter has (un)fortunately sprouted quite a few layers!

7. What is your untrainable superpower?

I am excellent at unexpectedly breaking into song when conversation matches song lyrics.

8. In current industry conversation, what is an example of ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’?

Generative AI and how it’s going to replace us all. Technology is constantly evolving, and we’ve survived every revolution despite the fears and doubts that have come with them. This is a new revolution – we should embrace all the benefits it has to offer, and mitigate the negatives.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft

9. What is that thing which is OK to ask you about, but which other people are wary to do so?

Mental health. I’ve walked a long road with depression since my late teens. So many people are afraid to expose their vulnerabilities – especially with mental health. However, acknowledgement and being self-aware of one’s emotions and how it impacts you is one of the most empowering things you can do to have a healthy relationship with yourself and others. We need to be more supportive of each other and encourage this dialogue!

10. What’s the last image on your camera roll? Care to explain?

Looks scary, but it’s my cat mid-yawn. What you see is definitely what you get, and this is the face that rudely wakes me up every morning!

11. What would be the perfect gift that someone could buy you right now?

Nothing would be better than an all expenses paid vacation to Zanzibar where I will lie on the beach, go diving, chuck my phone into the sea and worry about everything else later :)

12. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

Every so often I’ve seriously considered returning to university to complete my Masters in Clinical Neuropsychology. Why I’ve not done it? The simple answer is that being accepted into these programs is incredibly competitive and there are limited spots globally. I randomly fell into recruitment and got too used to receiving a salary to dip back into academia :’(

13. Which fictional villain do you find yourself sympathising with most? Why?

Harley Quinn (DC Comics). Originally intern psychologist Harleen Quinn, while trying to treat him she falls in love with her patient (The Joker) and loses herself in him, swallowed by a life of crime to keep his affection. It’s a classic example of codependency and something that is so easy to fall into when you’re an empath.

14. If you could witness one moment in history which one would it be and why?

The invention of, and first administration of the Smallpox vaccine. A severe disease that killed hundreds of millions of people over centuries and is now (supposed to be) completely eradicated. What a relief it must be, and hell of a EUREKA moment to know that you’ve just found a way to save lives? Probably ties with Louis Pasteur and pasteurization. Something so logical and fundamental for us today, but mind-blowing at that time.

15. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it and when?

Not so much a person as it is a principle… my first job was at Amazon, so I hit the kool aid pretty hard. Honestly, the Leadership Principles were an excellent foundation for all my work that followed – and it was the leadership principle “Ownership” that is something I continue to stand by, which says that “Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job.”

If something needs to get done, then I’m there. It is never “not my job”.

16. What's a skill that isn’t on your resume, but your former bosses would recognize as one of the reasons you are successful?

Not sure all my former bosses would agree, but a willingness to break the rules ;) No one process is perfect – it would be a mistake to think that “the way things are being done” can’t change. I am a big believer in Purpose over Process to get things right.

17. What’s the one bad quality you wouldn’t mind in a colleague? Why?

A ridiculous, “punny” sense of humour. We are all part of the great cosmic joke and life is too short not to be able to laugh at yourself occasionally :)

18. What role do you find yourself playing when you join a newly formed team? Can you explain why this happens?

I’m that person who is always speaking up and asking questions. I’m curious about the nitty gritty of how stuff works – and to challenge ideas that may not have been thought through yet. Probably why I also end up being the team’s “how-to” guide and devil’s advocate ;)

19. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?

The cyclical nature of talent acquisition and the persistent misconception that there is no value in talent acquisition besides hiring. Very pleased to see increased focus on internal skilling, role matching and talent advisory! However if there isn’t a collective shift in this direction, then these troughs of unemployment aren’t going anywhere and talent acquisition as we know it will be a less viable career path.

20. Who In our industry would make a great Prime Minister (or equivalent role in your country)?

I don’t know…probably Vanessa Raath, with the help of her cats as deputies. Oh and you, Hung, as Secretary of State – you have a talent for bringing the world together!

21. If you could add a question for the next person to answer, what would it be?

“At what point do you know that it’s time to move on?”

22. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ? And why?

Amy (Kimura) Schoemehl – she’s seen a lot and there is a ton to learn from her.

Thank you to Amanda-Jane Lamont for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Amanda-Jane on LinkedIn.

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