HR & Culture / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Lauren Johnson, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Talent

Lauren Johnson is a Senior Recruitment Consultant at Talent, a tech and digital recruitment agency, where she works with some of Sydney’s top brands and most sought-after talent in the market.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Most recruiters will tell you that they fell into recruitment. I may be one of the very few who can genuinely say I chose recruitment as my career path.

I studied a Bachelor of Business and Commerce, Human Resources and Industrial Relations. I always knew I wanted a corporate career, and I wanted to be successful – but wasn’t sure in what capacity or what ‘success’ looked like.

I spent a few years working for a small business doing everything from sales and HR, to recruitment and marketing. I loved the variety of the role, but quickly learnt the part I loved most was meeting people and offering them a job!

So I started putting the feelers out and chose Talent, which is Australia’s largest independent digital & tech recruitment business.

Over three years later, I’m a Senior Recruitment Consultant specialising in Digital Product Management and Executive positions.

I consult to, and recruit for, a range of businesses from early stage boot-strapping start-ups, to scale-ups, corporate incubators, tech companies and large corporates across financial services, professional services and consulting!

With a background in marketing, I also recruit for marketing and digital agencies – so I still can flex my creative muscles occasionally!

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I can genuinely say no two days are the same. I’m extremely fortunate that in my role I’m constantly talking to different people all day long.

Whether it’s working with my clients to establish what a great fit looks like in their business, working with prospective clients to find out their needs and objectives, or acting as a career counsellor to job seekers, my day is spent either on the phone or in a café chatting over a coffee!

And I love it. A typical day for me is spent talking to potential candidates over the phone, headhunting, interviewing candidates, meeting with potential clients and after that try to squeeze in some admin!

It can be tiring always being “on”, but everyone has a different story and different journey and I love being able to help people along this path –whilst also assisting in the growth of businesses by finding those unicorn, needle in a haystack candidates!

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I have to travel quite a bit to get into the office each day (about two hours door-to-door each way). Four hours travel time per day is massive and it does take its toll but I’m lucky that Talent is a progressive workplace in so many ways.

I have flexibility (the old 9-5 is out!), I’m not expected to be working late in the office (which is rare in recruitment!), and have the benefits of being able to work from home when needed.

Talent recognises that people are at the heart of our business, and genuinely takes steps to ensure our team are happy.

Working from home means that those four hours I would usually spend travelling means I have four more hours to get sh*t done! It’s not revolutionary, it just makes sense.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I live by my calendar, am ruthless about structuring my work day and schedule blocks of time throughout the day for specific tasks.

As with any role, things will pop out of the blue that need to be actioned but to ensure I always cover all tasks adequately I plan my day out and stick to it.

I’m also extremely organised – Excel is my favourite thing and I’m often teased (lovingly or seriously, I’m not sure!) about my OCD level of organisation.

But, when I need to know something, someone’s details, or the progress of a role, I don’t have to waste time searching and nothing gets missed!

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5) What does work life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I’m super driven and quite competitive with myself so I’m always striving to be better than yesterday, but without balance this could be a dangerous trap to fall into.

I’ve worked with so many candidates over the years who have burnt out from pressure from themselves and/or their company and I’m conscious not to fall into that trap as well.

Remembering that mental health and balance in life is so important, I make sure to listen to my body and take breaks where needed.

I make sure I get out of the office for a quick walk every day to clear my head and get fresh air, leave at a reasonable time each day, and try to limit how much work I take home with me – turning off email notifications on my phone has been amazing!

It’s easy to let work take over when you love what you do, but remembering to switch off and live life outside of work is so important (and also helps you perform better at work, too!)

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

It’s cliché but genuinely – organisation and balance.

7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I tackle the task that I like the least first thing in the morning. Then you don’t spend all day worrying about it, procrastinating or finding anything else to do instead, and it’s done! You can get onto all the fun stuff.

8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Work, life and balance are all related. If you’re not in an organisation that fosters balance, then maybe you’re meant to be the one to champion it. Or I can help you find a new great workplace!

I’m a big believer that one person can start a revolution – if no-one champions for change, nothing will change. Being a recruiter, I hear and see how different companies approach work-life balance.

There is a perceptible shift in the mentality around this, which is refreshing. The old way of working 12+ hour days and not being seen to be productive unless you’re in the office making calls non-stop is slowly (and thankfully) dying.

It’s being recognised that the same way of working doesn’t work for everyone, and that being the last one in the office doesn’t mean you’re the most effective. If you’re in a role that doesn’t foster balance, just know that you don’t have to settle!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.