A recruiter's tips on how immigrants can redevelop careers in Canada

For this episode of StartWell's Gathering Podcast we sit down with Lorena Perry - the Director for IT Staffing in Canada at Judge Group who place candidates in both contract and permanent roles.

Sharing both personal experience and insights into her work; Lorena has recommendations for how recent immigrants to Canada looking for work may need to change their expectations and approach to our local job market.

    Spend time with this conversation - here's the full transcript

    Immigration and career development in IT staffing

    Lorena Perry 0:01
    The immigrants that come here and they think, okay, I can do what I was doing back home right away, and that most of the time does not happen, right? Most of us will have to start from the bottom up, like, take one or two or three steps back, and other people have to change careers, and it takes time to understand. So I started in staffing 17 years ago, I will now go back to my career, I have a marketing degree, and I have a master's in organizational development in Canada. The more years you add to your experience you can SME right as a Java expert. And is you can make more just by adding yours in other countries. That does not happen

    Qasim Virjee 0:51
    Welcome back to Episode 15 of the gathering podcast. Once again, I'm Qasim Virgie here at start well, on King Street West in downtown Toronto. And for this episode, I'm joined in studio by Lorena Perry, who is Cat Well, I don't know how would I describe your role@judge.com

    Lorena Perry 1:11
    I am the Director of IT staffing. So melee talent acquisition specialist.

    Qasim Virjee 1:18
    And let's paint the picture real quick of the company that you work with. So what's the they've been around the block

    Lorena Perry 1:26
    52 years to be exact. So they are headquarters in us. And we have more than 10,000 employees in the US. But in Canada, we're just a petite. Shop. We're six Bas and we focus in IT staffing. We provide the whole support the whole process with our clients from developing a job description, to gathering the resumes, interviewing, qualifying, prepping them, and then submitting them to the client for them to select. So

    Qasim Virjee 1:59
    you can hire Yes. So do you guys, you build your own database, essentially, of candidates to put in front of the relevant opportunities that you represent as well. Yeah,

    Remote work and candidate sourcing in the staffing industry

    Lorena Perry 2:11
    we call it pipeline. So you are right, we have a humongous database, because the business has been around for so long. Right. And it's our own system is it was developed by by Judge. And but that's not the only way we we gather people, right. So either you go and apply for a job, or you apply it in the past, or you're now part of our database, but we also post in more than eight to 10 different job boards, and then we grab all those resumes do we participate in a lot of network events with colleges and nonprofits. We put those resumes or two. And then the referrals, those are like, the best part, when you play somebody in a job, they are happy with you and how you treated them, you know, six months down the road a year down the road, hey, you know, my friend is looking for a job or you connect with them and say, Hey, I'm looking for this type of person. And they refer you people. So you really got our, our pipeline, the candidates from very different sources. You

    Qasim Virjee 3:15
    were telling me just now before we got cracking that it's been 17 years in Canada, that you've been 20 years, 20 years in Canada, and you've been in this space for 17 years was it. So what I know it's rewinding along a long time ago. But what framed your interests and working in this space.

    Lorena Perry 3:33
    Well, I'm a people's person. And being a staff in you have to be able to connect with both sides, right, the client and the candidate, and you do have to care. But the way we started and I think that comes to a lot of immigrants, it was just an opportunity, right? My neighbor had a dog I had a dog who used to walk the dogs together and just chatting, you know, he said you will be great and stuff and because you connect with people, you need to find out what they're looking for. Right? But you also need to sell them what the job is. So you need to find like the right balance for that. And that's how I got my first job. That's awesome networking I always tell people like in Canada is not what you know, but who you know who

    Qasim Virjee 4:18
    you know. And it's a tough situation in Canada to rely on network because of how distributed our people are, you know, across this massive country, granted, we're all in cities, but even our city like look at the GTA 6 million plus people and so spread out right. So it can be difficult especially this is something that's that's come up in the series so far is so many organizations are turning to hiring remotely because of the fact that like the talent pool has spread a little bit geographically during the pandemic. Is there is that something that you guys are finding as well?

    Lorena Perry 4:58
    Yes, but I call it the hadn't effect the

    Qasim Virjee 5:01
    pendulum effect. Is that your original phrase? Or is that something I've heard somewhere before? That's

    Lorena Perry 5:06
    me. That happens in life through a lot of things, right? First, we got to one side. So when the pandemic started, you know, first everything shut down, and then everything went remote. Everybody was working remote, there was no really opportunities to go on site because things were not open. But right now the things you know, I cleaned it all up, and that the clients have their own buildings, and they are paying for those spaces. And they do see a difference or an advantage to be on site and face to face. Yeah. Now they're pulling and say, Okay, we want you back in office. And I have clients and maybe six months ago to say one day in office, and other saying to, and they're saying starting next year is going to be three. So they're really it's, you know, the pendulum is right, it's going back to the other side. But the candidates now or the employees, because they been remote for so long, and also proven right? A lot of people and I will say 80% of people have proven that they can do their job remotely. Not everybody. Yeah, not everybody is not for everybody, right? So but now they're they're pulling the pendulum goes this way. And the clients are saying, no, we want you on site. And they say no, we can do remote, and so eventually is gonna

    Qasim Virjee 6:18
    settle at some happy medium. Yeah, but it'd be a mix. Definitely.

    Lorena Perry 6:23
    100% is never gonna go back, again to fully on site. Because we have that capability of not doing it remotely right before we didn't have the laptops, we didn't have the internet access, the access. All of that was slowly but surely been installed and settled for them to be productive and proven right? I don't know if you remember two years ago, having Microsoft Teams or in some interview was like, what, what is that? You don't want to do it. And when

    Qasim Virjee 6:54
    he was comfortable, you tell me you're the professional.

    Lorena Perry 6:57
    It's everything. Everything is via zoom or Microsoft Teams or WebEx. So

    Remote work and candidate expectations in tech industry

    Qasim Virjee 7:02
    pre pandemic, were you conducting your candidate triage and interview first process interview kind of thing? Like all in person, like everything was in person or telephone got replaced with video calls? What changed?

    Lorena Perry 7:14
    Oh, okay, so a lot of over the phone, the more complex or the more senior The role was, we definitely will meet with people in person. And then that just went downhill. Who wanted to meet with you? They will say no, as he's crazy. So he got replaced, to videoconferencing? Yes. And

    Qasim Virjee 7:37
    what have you seen from the client experience through that process? Has it changed the expectations of understanding a candidate? Like, are your clients that are the organizations that you're hiring for, or helping place candidates for? Are they finding it? Maybe now, it just feels like old hat? Like there's been a couple of years now. But like, has it changed the way that they get to know the people that they bring into their organization? Without having that like FaceTime in person time?

    Lorena Perry 8:08
    Yes. And now because the Pentagon is going back, they will say, Okay, we'll do maybe the first in the second interview remotely over the phone or video, but then they want a thorough one in person, right? Man, that guy, I'm not gonna make an offer, if I don't get to meet the people. And I do also work a lot of in the IT sector.

    Qasim Virjee 8:30
    And one of those things, software development, or that is all encompassing everything,

    Lorena Perry 8:35
    so helped as I support Bas, QA, testers, or project managers, program managers, solutions architects, right. So and of course, software developers front end back end full stack. There's been abuse of of having the capabilities of doing things remotely, because sometimes it's not the same person doing the test, because we do a lot of coding tests. Well,

    Qasim Virjee 9:02
    that's interesting. That's actually happened where someone's like, getting their friend to like, that was sad, but wow, yes. So and then they show up for their like, real interview at the end, the third interview, and they're like, they don't know how to do anything. No,

    Lorena Perry 9:14
    or they eventually get the job, right. And because this is remote, a lot of the development roles can be remotely done, right? You don't need to be in office to be coding. But then, you know, two, three months down the road, they say, okay, he's not at that level that he's not capable of that. So now we got to the point that when they're doing the coding test, they need to prove who they are, and show their ID and like a formal ID you know, a passport.

    Qasim Virjee 9:42
    Wow. And this could be anyone or even on camera. Yes. Or

    Lorena Perry 9:46
    people that have been interviewing. And they have like, a, like an ear piece and somebody's telling them or they're cheating

    Qasim Virjee 9:57
    because cheating for an exam. They will be keen,

    Lorena Perry 10:00
    but they're not talking. They're just moving their mouth and somebody else is answering. So that's a lot of abuse. Yes.

    Qasim Virjee 10:08
    That is super crazy. I understand maybe where that would come from in a sort of like a server farm, you know, like a like a, like a, what would you call it like a call center sort of role? Oh, no, you know, it's like, if you're a customer support person who's very anonymized anyway, like, I could see where that that would happen. But if you're responsible for the work that you're putting in, in the job, it's a bit short sighted to try and hack your way into the job. Because eventually it's going to let people down and get fired, or

    Lorena Perry 10:41
    what people believe is I will get to that point, but the client needs you to be at a certain level and not had to wait a year or two for you to get.

    Qasim Virjee 10:49
    Yeah. And like, in all honesty, I mean, that that happens, in general, so might be worth talking about, you know, what's the finesse that you need? Or that you've developed to try and perceive where there's a match between the role and a candidate?

    Lorena Perry 11:06
    It's, I always say it's like dating, you know, when because we we hire for contract roles, and we're gonna hire for permanent roles. So a contract could be six months, 12 months, two years, but you're in and then you're out, and then you're done. Right, a permanent role. Hopefully, you know, you get stay. Now, the average is 2.5 years and permanent. I've

    Qasim Virjee 11:30
    seen other people on this series have told us in in for software, devs, especially with like, you know, well funded VC backed series D, sort of companies. It's like six months, it's gone down to six months for permanent roles. Yeah, people are churning out, you know, sub like sub 35 years old. So people between, you know, mid 20s to mid 30s. But like Rockstar developer team, lead people come in, solve a problem, like a big problem. And then they're like, well, there's no more challenges. I'm gone. And apparently, with some of the clients that, you know, some of our guests on the show have had, they're seeing that as a repeat process. Now, it's like a cultural thing, downtown Toronto. But

    Lorena Perry 12:17
    I think the disadvantage there for the candidates is they don't know that it could be harming their future, because the clients will see that, oh, they don't stay on a role. But if they want to be a contractor, you know, do consulting. For the longest term. That is fine. Right. Right. But then don't want all the benefits that come along from being on a on a permanent role. Are you

    Qasim Virjee 12:41
    seeing those lines blur between candidates thinking of a contract or a gig and a full time job as synonymous?

    Lorena Perry 12:50
    Yes, yes. Because for them, it's just give me the opportunity. I want the exposure, I want to learn, I want to experiment, right? Where the client hope is no, this is a long term, right? To

    Qasim Virjee 13:01
    rely on you. To build capacity for my organization, teach other people grow in the role.

    Immigrant job seekers and cultural disconnect in the Canadian job market

    Lorena Perry 13:08
    Yeah, but going back to the the dating analogy that I do, so if you want to contract for me is like dating, right? You, you go there, that doesn't mean that you're going to get married, right? So he's just stating, you're going to be there for six months, for a year, you had to be nice, and it's a good interaction. But if it works, maybe you get extended, but if it doesn't work, right, no harm done, you move on, right. And for a permanent is a longer term, because they are maybe going to have a project that is three to five years. So if you leave halfway, you know, you'll leave them hanging. And it's the same with the marriage, right? If you get married, you have kids, and then hey, I'm done. Right? Hello, thanks. We have those fun. Yeah, we have all these commandments. So when we interview candidates is very key that we connect with them not only at the professional level, but a little bit more deeper to find out exactly where they are to what what what they want, like lifestyle value. Yeah. So legally, we are not allowed to ask you know, your age and if you're married, or, you know, nothing personally had to only focus on the experience and you know, if they need two weeks notice to start a new job in their location, right? Like you ask all those things, but in my team, I always say you know, you have to connect with them. You have without you asking for those things. They had to open up and tell you okay, I really need a permanent job because I just got an error. There's a baby coming on the way or we have like this is Canada. We have an emetic immigrant myself. So we have a lot of people come from another countries. And if they're applying for the PR status, you get more points if you're working on a permanent role that you're working on a contract for example, right so knowing those Little things, it really helps you to connect with them and then go back and say, Hey, this opportunity is for you. Or for this one, if you want apply, yes, but I don't think it's aligned to what you're looking for. And the same applies with the clients, right? The clients, they always I always say they weren't the unicorn, right? They always want somebody that doesn't exist, or the Frankenstein is a, you know, a little bit piece of this, a little bit of that, and that person does not exist. Sometimes they're replacing somebody that laughed after 20 years. And they started probably, let's say, if he's testing for a software, and then became QA s, and now they're, and now they're team leads. So they grew through through the years in that role, and now they can, they can do everything. But if I find somebody that is doing testing, they have not managed people, they're not doing the QA yet. Right? So finding that replacement is very hard, because that person really doesn't exist. They want the unicorn, so it's also our job to go and try to find out with the client, where are they hurting? What are the things that they need immediately, maybe that role? It should be two people and not one, right? So we also become kind of like, coaching. So you're, you're trying to keep things balanced? And I always say at the end of the day, it's not about making money. Yes, it is. But no, right? Because if we play somebody in a role, and they are not,

    Qasim Virjee 16:26
    it doesn't work out, you have to replace them, right? Yes, but how can

    Lorena Perry 16:31
    I sleep at night, right? I put you there and you're not happy? No. Or with my client, if they're not producing or they're not at the level they say they could. And you're also delivering, so you have to keep that that balance. But then you have the great stories where you find somebody, they love that. And then eventually, five, six years, they become managers and then come back to you and say, hey, now I need to build my team. Can you help me? Right?

    Qasim Virjee 16:56
    Do you think there's, there's a cultural disconnect that from, you're talking about kind of new immigrants and the PR and the need for people coming to Canada to kind of like really settle and nest a little bit, get, you know, because there's so many other things when you come from somewhere else to a new country. There's so many factors going on in your life that require this kind of I need to figure stuff out. And to do that I need some regularity, some shedule some reliability in my life. Is there a disconnect or difference now emerging that's more obvious in the sectors that you handle? Between the willingness to commit to a career for new immigrants versus people that have like, you know, the second third generation Canadians? I've certainly seen that. In our hiring process. We have higher churn amongst employees, who have different roles, all different roles, who maybe are seeing that they have more options. Often cases, they don't realize that like within the roles that we offer, all those options exist. You know, yes, we're kind of a hydro company. So there's like, whenever whatever job you're doing here, and we take an entrepreneurial spirit, so it's like, whatever you want to do in your job, if you see benefit to it for the organization. It's like do it, you know, I'm not very, we're not very micromanager, Ariel, and we're lean team. So it's a different context compared to a corporate environment. But yeah, what do you have any thoughts on?

    Lorena Perry 18:31
    I think I'm an immigrant. So I'm a little bit biased. Yeah, we come here, we just want to work. The disconnect that thing is that we don't understand as immigrants, the Canadian market, which if you were already here in Canada, you know more about the networking, and you know, being on time and things are very key to get a job. The immigrants that come here, and they think, okay, I can do what I was doing back home, right away. And that most of the times I saw it happen, right. And the resume needs to look different. The networking is key, even volunteering. I remember when I came here for the first time and I said, volunteering you want me to do what for free? Yeah. And I started volunteering 19 years ago, and I still volunteer, even though I'm not looking for a job anymore. So there's that disconnect. With with Canadians, maybe they are more, they have more knowledge of what to do what not to do. But they definitely sometimes don't do enough research because they think okay, I'm gonna interview I'm gonna get the job. And they're not well prepared for the interview. And and for that point, so maybe that's where the disconnect is. But everybody's different.

    Career development and immigration in Canada

    Qasim Virjee 19:55
    Yeah, every. Yeah, it's tough to kind of generalize Every

    Lorena Perry 20:00
    case is different. I have people that came from another country, and right now they're on a permanent job, they're on the weekend, six months, and they're doing well. And other people have to change careers, most of us will have to start from the bottom up, like, take one or two or three steps back, before you can get to the point. The difference with Canada in other countries is in Canada, where specialist and other countries were generous. For example, in Mexico, we don't say generalists, we just say that we multitask. If we can do everything in anything, and an employer will see that as an advantage. Here,

    Qasim Virjee 20:42
    it's a great there's, there's so much that you can help with as opposed to they're

    Lorena Perry 20:48
    afraid of you, you know, they're going to be bored, they're not going to last, they really don't know much of one thing, you know, they know a little bit of everything. So it's a big no, no. And, and it takes time to understand. So I started in staffing. 17 years ago, I will not go back to my career, I have a marketing degree. And I have a master's in organizational development. And that helps me on my job frame. Yeah, I understand it better. But I don't want to be in a marketing, you know, right. creative company doing that, because I've been doing this for 17 years. And I know that in Canada, the more years you add to your experience you can SME right as subject matter expert, and is you can make more just by adding years in other countries. That does not happen. How

    Qasim Virjee 21:40
    is that going to change in the next decade, though? Do you think with with this kind of like shorter commitment people have to specific jobs, companies careers? If that you said two and a half years, right? If trend is? So what does that mean a decade from now? Do you think to this culture of specialization expertise and advancement? Is that challenged?

    Lorena Perry 22:05
    Yes, but they don't love them unless that amount of time but then they move to the same role somewhere else and just make a little bit more money. So that they are building that SME expertise. There'll be more people that will become independent. So I've seen that now happening, but with people that already kind of settle that the newcomers, they don't want to do you know, their own business and being independent because they don't have good security for trading just goes to the perimeter of

    Qasim Virjee 22:39
    Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Yeah. And yeah, and I mean, that's where I I'm, you know, I'll call it out as a kind of entitlement. I see a lot of entitlement and kind of like multi in let's call it like Canadian born Canadians. Maybe it's this assumptive kind of flexibility with the system and you know, knowing all the like, opportunities available. And then also, you know, having fallback if you grew up here and your parents are baby boomers, the likelihood of you being able to quit your job and return home or ask dad for some money is higher than if you came, you know, to Toronto with $2,000. And you have to make it work to pay rent. Yeah, like I remember when I moved to New York in 2005, I moved to New York with 1000 bucks. I had to convince the simpler I've been conversing with over the internet, that I was worth hiring. They weren't going to get me a visa, I had to get a visa at the border. I was a Canadian. So luckily, I was in Kenya at the time. So it's kind of a crazy story. But I've got a ticket. My dad bought me a ticket to New York via Toronto, stayed at a friend's house took the bus through the route that I found was the easiest to get a TN Visa to work in the States took this to the other forces just a few years after 911 Which meant that the hiring climate was a bit iffy visas and the border control was all tough. But made it through got my visa at the border because you get it literally at like this little hot next to the bus stop. went to New York with no place to sleep. Walked into my interview. We know the next day because I stayed at some hostel last minute. It was all dressed up, right? Because I want to make a good impression. I'm wearing a suit. And everyone at this nonprofit that I was working with. They were like, Who's that guy? Do we owe money? Why is there a guy in a suit here because they were all like wearing you know, khakis and it was casual. And anyway, we became fast friends had a great session. They hired me. I came back to Toronto to kind of circle the wagons, get some old stuff that I had left back from university and then moved on to New York. And yeah, it was really interesting because I don't I didn't have any fallbacks except for like my network and my network was music. So I remember I had like a big backpack of staying with a friend and Brooke Lin, and I didn't have a place to stay. And so the first day at work, my idea was like, I'd go downtown, maybe stay in a hostel and kind of figure that out because the Brooklyn thing didn't work out. Classic immigrant story, right. So then I arrived to my first day of work with this massive backpack. There was a party that night, where someone I knew through the internet was DJ. And and as soon as she saw my backpack at the gig, she was like, Okay, I get it. Go to this party. Sure. I said on Saturday, she's like, see my friend, Tito. He's DJing. He'll hook you up. And I didn't quite get what she meant. But I showed up at that party. And right away, you know, Tito was like, we became friends. We were DJing together, and he said, Look, you could stay with me. And then, you know, I stayed on a friend's couch for like, two weeks while I was looking for an apartment.

    Immigrant experiences and resilience in the job market

    Lorena Perry 25:48
    And that's networking. Yeah.

    Qasim Virjee 25:50
    And it's crazy. But I keep telling people, people in Canada, who are who, you know, are like me, like born in Canada, but maybe never left Canada and never left the city that they're from I don't quite get these stories, you know, where I tell people like, then I got a paycheck right from this legitimate company I worked for as a Canadian, you don't think about this stuff. But I get a paycheck. And I think, Okay, I've got a Canadian bank account, how am I going to deposit my they wouldn't pay me into my Canadian bank account. So how am I going to deposit this? Well, I couldn't get a bank account with the time line that I wanted. And I needed the money. So that first paycheck, I remember, I went to the cash and loans on the corner, and, you know, in Harlem next to my house, in the middle of the night, right by the time I got home from work, and I'm looking over my shoulder walking home with my cash in my pocket. And I'm thinking, wow, this is quite an experience. This is something that like, of course, millions of people have every single day. But as a Canadian in America, it's something I never thought would, who I didn't think that experience would be different. And it took me like three months to be able to get a bank account to legitimize myself. So it is very interesting, because I think the immigrant experience paints this more colorful life of you know, having to learn systems, but also implement a lot of resiliency or or rely on resiliency, that's personal determination based. And so that I could see that coming back to this, like job market thing is being for me, such an asset like I want as an employer, anyone I hire to have, you know, the ability to deal with change. Multitasking is a massive asset. Open eyes to be able for you, yeah, open eyes to be able to learn things as they come. And pleasurable attitude, um, it's all of this. It's not like, oh, no, I'm suffering so much. It's more like, great, I can face challenges, and I have confidence in myself.

    Job searching during pandemic with tips for success

    Lorena Perry 27:50
    It's funny, you're saying that, through the pandemic, some of the volunteering that I do is go into nonprofits that are funded by the government to help mostly immigrants, but it's also people that have lost their jobs, and they help them fix their resume, prepping for an interview, even have English as a second language. And I volunteered within six to eight with the corporations like that, but with a pandemic, they were not having these events, right. So now they're starting doing it via zoom. And they will have, I will have meetings, you know, five minutes, prepping people. And I will have talks just about what to do when the pandemic and people are depressed, you know, some of the newcomers they just got here, but the main hit, no, so how am I gonna look for a job and nobody's willing? hiring? So some of my talks were were about that, that your attitude is key. So okay, is sat out there, nobody is putting jobs, nobody's interviewing, nothing's moving. But that doesn't mean that you have to stop. They had to freeze and say, Okay, you're not gonna wait for for this to be over, right? People getting served salaries, they have some money to survive, but it's a no, no, no, this is the time that you need to be more active, don't go neutral. No, but don't even go like first, you know, this is the time to go forth. And it really that speed up so picks up your resume. Go and have your social media out today. Especially LinkedIn, right? If you don't have a good picture now the time you have the time at home to practice with your phone, and there's so many tricks for you to create your own, you know, kinda professional looking picture and put it out there. start connecting with people start seeing the companies that you want to work for. Maybe they're not hiring right now but create alerts and Google so by the time they hired, you know, you you are already prepared for for that to happen and not start right there. So, keep doing that. And the other beautiful thing is Canadian Turn nice people. So start connecting with them. Yeah, they were home, they were not commuting, they will connect, they will respond. Even if they don't have a job for you, they will at least connect. So by the time things open up, you already did all the pre work, right? So attitude is key that you have that positive mentality in your saying, okay, things are dark. No, but the pendulum has to come back. Right.

    Qasim Virjee 30:26
    Yeah, and I think that's great advice, especially talking about this research function, like people, often cases I see this is that a lot of candidates don't, because maybe they're so feeling like they're so desperate for employment, they're desperate. So they want to spray and pray, especially if they're applying themselves without a, without a recruiter helping them. They want to apply to everything they can as quick as they can. There's no depth of intent expressed to the potential employer. And for me, I'm like, I don't care. If you just sent me a resume, I'm not going to look at a resume unless it's coming with some sort of extra expression of identity. You know, and we mentioned this, but why LinkedIn is kind of interesting and important. And also prepping your digital identity, and making sure your digital footprint is clean. It's your means of expressing who you are and what you're interested in, in a way that the employer can find because like you said, the employer, you can't put in a resume, and the employer can ask you those questions legally. So you have to prepare that information for them to find.

    Lorena Perry 31:34
    I always say LinkedIn is not your resume, it should not be your resume. And he lets you be a little bit more expressive, and ensure a little bit of your personality, right. So in the subtitle, people will, will put their actual title work, right means like, I love my job, or I'm the matchmaker, or I connect people. I changed my title every three months. Trying to show a little bit of my personality and when humanity to it. Yes. And when you go to the profile part, I always put, I'm a passionate and blah, blah, blah, and passionate. So they see it. Because if you don't want to hire somebody that is passionate, they don't hire me, right? Yeah, I want to show it in a resume. You really can can show that. And then you can attach videos and you can like it put my YouTube videos there. If I do volunteer, and there was one time that I bought dogs from Mexico, Mexico, and I put you know, pictures of that there, you cannot have that on your resume and it doesn't show the whole spectrum of a person that you are right, it resumes more. You

    Qasim Virjee 32:39
    brought dogs from Mexico, to Canada to save them. Sorted poncho, our producer. Poncho brought cats if I if I know the story correctly, he found cats in a dustbin. Someone had thrown out a litter. And so he and his wife brought these cats all the way back to Canada. And they raised them and save them. Okay,

    Lorena Perry 33:00
    now this is this is through stablish organization called the dog project.

    Qasim Virjee 33:04
    These guys just brought a little under the radar,

    Lorena Perry 33:07
    they had brought more than 2000 dogs. Wow. Yeah, find them homes. And then they have alliances with nonprofits here that they will receive them there. They're already vaccinated and fixed and all the paperwork like you had, do you they call you them. Find parents, so it's just through the flight because they cannot come through an airplane. If they're not assigned

    Qasim Virjee 33:30
    by a traveler. It has to be there's no dog planes. No.

    Leveraging LinkedIn for job search and networking

    Lorena Perry 33:37
    They cannot draw by themselves. Yeah, they cannot just put them there. That's amazing.

    Qasim Virjee 33:43
    Yeah, yeah, it's interesting. I think the creative potential for employees or potential employees to express who they are is greater than ever on the internet and, and LinkedIn specifically, like we've been talking a lot on this series with guests about how it's evolved in the last two, three years, LinkedIn changing its interface on the web, to like kind of copycat the old Facebook interface and try and now really go with like, we publish a lot of video, and clips if none of this will be on. So it's really nice, because people can quickly on LinkedIn, like as it's a social network, get this really deep feel for what you're interested in, what you can do, and who you know, also flaunting the network. And I think this is a big point. And I'd love your thoughts on this, especially for new immigrant candidates, is how do you leverage your network when the convention or conventional knowledge here is to say your network doesn't exist anymore? Because it's in a foreign country?

    Lorena Perry 34:42
    No. Well, first of all, I recommend before you even come to start networking, I have people that connect with me and say, Hey, I'm applying for up here in Canada. I'll be there in six months in the same uni invite. And I do connect because I know that coming right so Pre work before you get here, start connecting. And then if you go, that's why networking is so key. So if you go to an event, now there's more events, even if it's an online event, and and you meet, you know, four or five people in Canada, right away, go and connect with them. Right? Right mention, right? Don't just send the invite when I started. I think I've been on LinkedIn for 14 years. But my first invites, I had to write an explanation, who am I? And why do I want to connect with you for people to accept now, thank goodness, you know, my profile looks a little bit better. So if I send an invite, I get accepted. But you need to be able to say why you're connecting with them. And it's not to ask for a job. I always say networking is to work the net. And it's not a job board.

    Qasim Virjee 35:53
    Yeah, it's so true. And it's all about social engineering. I mean, the early days of hacking back in the 90s, we used to say this phrase social engineering. And I think that it's something that's fallen out of the vernacular of kind of internet culture. But it's something to bring back because it's really just about the concept of how do you use the tools at your disposal to affect the outcome that you want through social cues? like LinkedIn is the best tool right now, I think, to be able to put out an image that's let's assume you want to be authentic, that's authentically expressive. But that can be channeled by your intent. So you say, Okay, you want to set expectations when you add a connection, by saying, specifically, explicitly or otherwise, I'm not looking for a job, you know, but replace that width, value. So give value to the person you're connecting with. And now they're going to see you as a valuable connection, even before they accept that connection. So no matter what that means, of course, content being king podcasts are a great way to do that. Invite people to a podcast. Now they know you a bit better host an event, or invite them to some sort of volunteering engagement that you're doing. And they see that you have a cultural depth to you. Yeah, there's so many ways to play that.

    Lorena Perry 37:21
    Yeah. But LinkedIn is not the only tool, right? I always say, seven out of 10. Jobs are not posted

    Qasim Virjee 37:28
    online. They're hired through word of mouth and referrals,

    Lorena Perry 37:32
    is the hidden market, right? So if you are only looking for a job online, and you spend 10 hours a week, all online 100% of your time online, you're missing 70% of the jobs that are out there. So yes, go and connect and, and try to have that communication, right. It's not just you send an email, and then you send a follow up, then, like for me, at the beginning, I will say hey, you know, you connected with me two, three months ago, if you don't mind, I would like to buy your coffee. Can we meet for a coffee? And I connected with VPs and senior people 17 years ago, when am I just starting? And I was I just want to pick your brain and learn a little bit of what your company does social engineering,

    Qasim Virjee 38:16
    you're expressing the value to others. I'll treat you a coffee, nearly Who is this ballsy person that wants to talk to me? I don't know who this person is. But sure. Yeah, something fun to do. Yes.

    Lorena Perry 38:26
    And surprisingly, a lot of people will say yes, and that's how you start connected, but then you have to find how to get back right. So I can give you an example when I started doing pipeline for a particular client and I was connecting with certain type of engineers. And I created my list and I will send them jobs here and there. Once a month, I will send an article that I did my own research that I thought it was relevant for them. So hey, almost like a newsletter, right? So they will see that I was not just asking them to give me but I was able to give back. If if I were woken up with other people, and you know six months down the road, they will say hey, my daughter is looking for a job. Yeah, I just graduated I get

    Qasim Virjee 39:20
    the love for one guy.

    Lorena Perry 39:22
    She just graduated so I really don't have jobs for for new grads because the companies that hire us pay good money for us to find people's is normally more senior or the unicorns people hard to find. But I will still connect with that person. For 1015 minutes, give them some advice and then move on. So that contact sees that I'm giving back right I'm not just asking him give me referrals. Are you interested in this job? When when it says about his daughter I will connect with her and try to help her and give him some guidance, right. That's why I created the YouTube channel because Okay, now I'll give you some tips. Go and see the video. Yeah, most of the information is there.

    LinkedIn's features and their impact on business and humanity

    Qasim Virjee 40:03
    I'm a big fan of video. I think that video is such a cool powerful tool. And now everyone in the palm of their hands can create a video with with a cell phone,

    Lorena Perry 40:12
    or even LinkedIn, you can record videos now. So

    Qasim Virjee 40:15
    yeah, sorry. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and the live, I really liked the live audio format, you know, this whole idea of the kind of group call on LinkedIn, like the fact that you can kind of like, have a conversation with multiple people all logged into LinkedIn. I'm sick of video, like video calls. I love on demand content, like to watch something when I have time to, especially if it's filmed in a way that's cinematic, because then I'm engaged with the content. But But otherwise, I love phone calls. Like I don't understand why everyone needs to suddenly, I think it's just a rush in the pandemic, to jump on a video calls and be able to have a, you know, the be able to like audit who's actually intent fully listening by seeing their faces on some screen. But I love audio, you can relax, you can listen more conversations become richer, I think. So that's a cool feature that I really like on LinkedIn. And again, another format people can host and invite people to, which is powerful, because it's about connection. So if in connecting with someone new, you can connect them with someone. Magic.

    Lorena Perry 41:26
    And that's another thing that I think we try to do. If you connect with me, and you're looking for a job, and I know I don't have a job for you, I will say, Hey, if you see anybody that has a second level connection through me on LinkedIn, right, I will kindly do a warm introduction. And you'll be surprised they will that did find a job that way.

    Qasim Virjee 41:48
    That's awesome. And have you ever had to do that second connection or connect someone with someone on LinkedIn, and then you don't remember how you're connected with that person in the first place? That happens to me quite a bit. And I still I still do the I have a lot because I don't know. I mean, maybe it's the business I'm in because I'm meeting you know, 100 people a day. So a lot of people reach out and they're like, hey, yeah, we went to start well, we met through soft star while we were at Star well, and they add me. And so I accept everybody and add Yeah, it's awesome. Because then I get this rediscovery process, because there's always someone saying, like, connect me to Jim. And I'm like, Jim, Jim interest. Hey, Jim, you're up to cool stuff. So, yeah,

    Lorena Perry 42:31
    I have people that I probably connected with them 10 years ago, and found them a job 10 years ago, then didn't hear for them for eight years. And now they're ready to move, or they have somebody that is looking for a job and then reconnect with me. But most of the time, they will give me some background and say, Hey, do you remember, you know, 10 years ago, you'll find me this job and

    Qasim Virjee 42:51
    see, so let's wrap this up by saying in the beginning, you were talking about, I think one of the great skills that you have, which kind of led you into this career was being a people person, right? You have to care. And with all these digital tools, about, you know, network connections, and the network effect, enabling people to find work, and companies to find candidates, it almost feels like there's a new humanity emerging from the flexibility companies have in connecting with people. For me, that means remote work enables you to find people best in class anywhere in the world for what you're looking for. And to be able to grow globally and all that stuff. distributed workforce means that people can self organize without needing central offices. So your infrastructure costs go down, but also, you're empowering your teams to reorg based off of what they need to do and why they need to meet. Then things like LinkedIn, double edged sword, maybe for employers in terms of people looking for other opportunities and stuff, but otherwise massive opportunity for enabling employees to represent the company and be vocal about doing that. So the way I'm looking at it, it seems like you know, as organizations hopefully become a little bit more trusting with their employees and empowering their employees to be vocal and be out there and represent online or otherwise. There's there's a new humanity emerging business

    Lorena Perry 44:31
    and and I think also, before if somebody will say, you know, I cannot make the interview because my, you know, somebody in my family is sick, or because something urgent came, or people have to go back home fly by home for family emergency. Before it was it was harder for companies to say, okay, he's canceling the interview or she's gone. volume three, like, and now there's more understanding, I think we, and we as talent acquisition specialists feel more comfortable sharing, maybe not all the details, because you also have to keep their privacy but you can share more things, you know, this person is canceling or is moving the start date. Because of its there's more transparency in the communications because now corporations are more humane in that sense that they will say, okay, you know, they, they have their personal stuff, we understand what we still want to proceed, we'll wait or We'll reschedule or we'll adapt to do those things. And I can give you just one simple example. And it happened just this morning. So we have one client, that they want people on site, because it's a customer service. So it's kind of like a call center. And they train them there. And they have the supervisor there is then happens, you know, they they'd rather have somebody that but I have a lady that just had a baby. And she has the right skills, beautiful communication skills. And she is local, but she says I'm not ready to go back to work on site, because my baby is two, three months. So I want for the first year work remote, and then eventually work part time remote. So hybrid, and maybe in two, three years, I'm willing to go on site. Before I wouldn't even submit two, three years ago, red flag. Yeah, she's she's a no. But I said, you know, well, let me call the client, I explained everything. And they say, oh, let's interview. Right? So that's great. Yeah, you're pushing them a little bit. But you know, that they have now that sense of okay, we need to see the employees as a whole as humans, right, that's

    Flexible work arrangements and employee empowerment

    Qasim Virjee 46:49
    key and empower them to be able to self direct, and work within their means. And trust that while part of that also, as I think organizations are leading leaning, are learning to deal with churn. So it's kind of like as micro investment that they can make is to say, Okay, well, this person needs this, let me give it to them. Because the alternative is we don't have someone doing that job for six months or three months. And that's more expensive to us, you know, so let's try it out.

    Lorena Perry 47:18
    And I can give you another example, we had a hire of very senior software developer, but he's in element. And they also want them on site, because now the role is hybrid. So he was going to move from Edmonton to Toronto well, and the hiring manager says, you know, let's wait the first three months, because in three months, he doesn't perform, he's not gonna stay. So don't make him move. If he's not gonna stay, so let him start. See how things work out. And then we'll do the move. Oh, he can move, you know, after the probation because everybody goes to a probation, right? No,

    Qasim Virjee 47:59
    I think that's smart. I mean, I, I've seen the counterbalance historically. And it doesn't make sense. Like, I was at a software company, not crazy, long ago, recent memory in last decade. And the CEO was this crazy megalomaniac guy, I don't know, control freak, but he was trying to push an update, you know, to, and there was this big scrum to develop the software, then he got the lead Dev, a hotel room, or Airbnb, across the road from the office, so that he could just like sleep there. And he gave him like a spending account. He's like, don't bring your family down. But don't go home for two weeks, just like scrum this out, I'll give you a bonus slip across the road, and work like 18 hour days. And I'm like, that's not healthy for anyone involved in this situation.

    Lorena Perry 48:54
    And how long can you do it for,

    Qasim Virjee 48:56
    you're gonna burn this guy out. And then what, and then all the innovations that he's created are probably not going to be able to be like borne by the rest of the staff. And you've put them on a pedestal above the other stuff in a sense, who could collaboratively solve the same problems together, if their communication was tighten, they were working together better with better leadership. And it was a real sticky point. I just didn't understand that. That that was like 50 year old thinking, you know, like, not relevant for today. Now, I think flexibility and empowering people to make their own decisions is the way of the future. And organizations just need to develop their AI to be able to understand how to enable their people and then how to communicate with them to watch for red flags, burnout issues, any other lifestyle factors that the job is not enabling people to stay happy

    Lorena Perry 49:49
    with, and training. I always tell that to my clients, you know, don't don't hire skills, hire personality, right if they have some have the skills and you can train them. You cannot teach the personality or the attitude. That's why you

    Qasim Virjee 50:07
    hire the passion. Yes. Absolutely. Well, Rhonda it was it was a pleasure chatting. Thank you. Awesome having you on the series. And I hope we get the chance to chat more as we approach our conference date in April. Yes. Awesome. Thank

    Lorena Perry 50:23
    you very much for having me. It's a pleasure.

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