Jamie Dillon

Workforce Development Specialist, Tranzform

1. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time, but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?

My recruitment agency career started to boom, however I was getting itchy feet and wanted more life experience. I took the decision to start my own business in 2010 and move to Brighton. Although the business itself was a failure, I learnt more in that 8 months than the previous 10 years working for other companies. This stood me well for other business ventures I would have later in life and also gave me the business development skills which would dominate my recruitment career for the next 8 years.

2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?

If I am honest I must have been about 28 years old. I had entered my first long term relationship and had to mature. It was also around the same time I learnt the importance of finance and the value of money.

3. What are the three books that you would unhesitatingly recommend to others? Why?

The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters.

I am always interested in the human psyche and this book really got me to understand the difference in our behavioural/ emotional chimp brain and how it interacts with our higher thinking human brain. Well worth a read!

High Performance Habits by Brendon Berchard.

I am always looking for micro-wins to maximise my own efficiency. There are many useful habits you can learn from this book to increase your own productivity.

Surrounded by Idiots, by Thomas Erikson.

It’s a very interesting read to learn the 4 human behaviour types and how to understand them; you can learn how best to communicate with each personality type.

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

I don’t get star-struck easily, however if I ever met Arnold Schwarzennegger I would be. This is somebody who has reached the pinnacle in 3 completely different industries. He has achieved this through sheer-will and determination. I owe some of my own grit to learning about some of his own experiences. I think anybody who achieves something 99% of the population haven’t is worth aspiring to be.

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

I think I am assertive as a person and sometimes if I am collaborating with an equally assertive personality this can be challenging. I try and rely as much as possible on data to re-enforce my thought process and decision making and influence the conversation as much as I can. If that fails I wait until the tested method has failed and go back to my original idea.

6. What is your untrainable superpower?

After 20 years of screening CVs and interviewing people from all walks of life, I have gained an inert ability to analyse and define a person’s suitability towards any given job. This has been fine tuned so that candidates are often so well matched to the job, the interview to hire rate increases dramatically wherever I work. In my last project the Head of KYC said they have never received so well vetted candidates to interview before working with me. In fact the hire rate was in excess of 95% to interview.

7. Have you always had the same political beliefs? If so, why do you think you have held them so long? If not, what event caused you to change your view?

I would say I have always had the same political values. Growing up I was aligned to the Brown/ Blair era of politics, however when Labour took a different direction I no longer related to their policies. I would say I am a liberal centrist at heart. I believe people should be in work and pay their way in society, however when they need support; society should be there in that time of need. I feel in modern times parties have a tendency to swing either too far to the left or too far to the right so everytime there is a new government the swing reversal has a great effect. I feel middle society is squeezed too much these days and there are too many loopholes for the rich to pay their fair share.

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

Coming from an era where you simply did not talk about feelings I have become very aware and open to mental health and how this can affect people in their daily lives. Today I actively encourage open dialogue around being asked how I feel and likewise how other people are coping. I think it’s important to realise if there is ever a deterioration in somebody’s work, it shouldn’t be assumed it’s due to a lack of motivation, interest or discipline.

I think people need to be OK with asking people how they are feeling and if anything is going on in one’s life which could affect them in their day to day life. Being empathetic with each other is so important as it is to be empathetic towards any candidate or stakeholder you interact with in life.

9. What is your most prized possession? What’s the story behind it?

My most prized possession in respect of sentimental value is a baby book my mum gave me when I was a teenager. It chartered the early days of my life and has everything from my first lock of hair and even has the umbilical cord believe it or not.

10. What’s your favourite meal? Can you say why?

My mum had a few go to meals growing up but one I never got bored of was Spaghetti Bolognase. In fact I hold my own recipe in such high esteem that I can never bring myself to order the dish when I eat out as I always fear it will never live up to the same standard. I worked in the kitchen and restaurant trade before I went into my recruitment career and carry some of these culinary skills with me to this day.

11. If you were to own a bar, and you could design it how you wanted, what would it look like?

I actually built a bar when I was 18 in my back garden and me and my friends would start the night there with me making cocktails then we would head into town to dance the night away in Zens.

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

I am fascinated by the early 20th Century and how humanity could come so close to oblivion and how a disgusting ideology the nazis held could take power and plunge the world into chaos. That said its not a period I would like to visit. I guess it would be the moment the Colonists one the battle for independence over the British, a far superior force, with superior training and technology were beaten. The British withdrew from the continent which would then shape the future of the country and the world as we know it today.

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

It doesn’t matter how bad your day is, tomorrow will always be a clean slate and the chance to write the day however you choose all over again.

14. Can you give an example of a time when you had to learn the lesson the hard way?

When you work with lots of people and are exposed to different environments you gain vast levels of working knowledge on how to optimise talent acquisition. However, I have learnt the hard way that if you try to change too much too quickly it can have the opposite effect. I have learnt you very much need to take people along the journey with you, A/B test and encourage other opinions from other stakeholders. Even if the business eventually ends up adopting your process 6 months down the line, this will be far more sustainable then trying to get an initiative through quickly which does not have the support of the wider team.

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

I like healthy ego, not arrogance, but I like people who believe in themselves, have self confidence which is backed up by healthy debate and expression.

16. Have you ever been the weakest member of a team? How did you handle it?

I have found when I am the weakest member of the team, this is where I have learnt the most. I love to work with the brightest minds solving some of the biggest problems. This is where real personal growth happens and enables me to raise my game to perform my best. As the weakest member of a team which has been the case at points of my career then this is the best opportunity to ask the right questions and learn quickly.

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

Artificial Intelligence. Ever since the launch of ChatGPT the rate artificial intelligence is evolving from sourcing techniques to producing interview answers in real time is alarming. I think if this technology is left unchecked then it could take human elements out of parts of the hiring process where human elements should never be taken out.

18. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?

My art is interviewing people not from a Recruiter perspective but if I was the candidates hiring manager, what would I look for from that person? If I understand certain scenarios the candidate will face day to day in their job, I can use these scenarios to my advantage and understand how the candidate would behave in any given scenario. This insight is far more powerful than getting someone to talk through their generic experience.

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

What element of the human experience within talent acquisition do you envisage could become obsolete through the use of technology in the future?

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

I would love to see my original Recruitment mentor Lisa Murray as she has seen it all in her career and I am sure has some interesting viewpoints to add to the discussion.

Thank you to Jamie Dillon for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Jamie on LinkedIn.

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