HR & Culture / Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Simon Hedt, Talent & Recruitment Lead at IE Company

Simon Hedt is the Talent & Recruitment Lead at IE Company, an innovation company with 17 years’ heritage working with many of Australia’s most progressive organisations.

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

I’ve had a bit of a mixed career, originally starting in an Engineering Internship straight out of school, after 12 months I decided it wasn’t for me so I went back to Uni to study Industrial Design.

After graduating I worked for a signage and wayfinding business as a product designer for 3.5 years before eventually realising that I simply didn’t enjoy that type of work and started looking for a career transition.

This lead to me Recruitment, initially the idea was to use my experience in design to help businesses recruit great designers but after my first recruitment role with Firebrand (Aquent) I branched out into UX, Agency Client Services and Web Development.

Since then I’ve had a number of interesting roles, recently becoming heavily focussed on Technology recruitment at REA Group and now leading Talent & Recruitment for IE Company; an innovation focussed business with capabilities across: Client Service, UX, Service Design, Software Development, Delivery and more recently Corporate Innovation Consulting.

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

A typical day includes a number of different elements; usually it begins with a morning ride followed by coffee but work wise my days vary greatly depending on what is happening.

I usually have regular meetings with the various Group Directors and Service Delivery leads to understand who is rolling off a client soon, what new pieces of work are in the pipeline, what do we need to be resourcing for etc.

This is usually surrounded by a range of job-briefings, phone and face-to-face interviews, writing job ads, contracts, general recruitment admin and hopefully negotiating job offers.

I also do a lot of work on the overall recruitment process and candidate experience inducing; creating & documenting new and/or existing processes, creating & curating social content, finding ways of improving our process to not only make it more consistent for candidates and hiring managers but also to make it scalable for the future.

I also report on various recruitment metrics to better understand where we are doing well and what areas need improvement.

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

It certainly does, flexible working was something that I had at my previous role and was important to me to continue with a new employer if possible.

I have my son every second week and during that week do all the school drop-offs and pick-ups, etc. This means I have slightly reduced hours during these weeks and then I usually make them up on the other weeks.

IE is very much a family first employer and it is important for me to work for and with an organisation that understands the importance of this as it is one of my primary focuses

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

I am a bit of a creature of habit, so I try to create systems and routines wherever possible to reduce my need to constantly re-do the same activity day-in day-out.

As an example I create and use a lot of templates for common everyday communications. I also use my diary like a bible booking in time for every single activity as much as possible to ensure I can structure my day the way that I want to.

I also ask for help when I feel like it is necessary, whether it be from colleagues or 3rd party suppliers it’s good to know your own limits and when there is value in delegating or bringing extra resources to complete a project or goal.

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

I don’t really like the term “work-life balance” because to me “work” is a core part of “life” and the two are not mutually exclusive. I would say I try very hard to create an ideal work-life integration suited to what I place value on and this would differ from person to person.

For me it’s about ensuring I place a high value on my own time first and foremost because if I don’t value my own time, how can I expect others to value it either?

I know how much time I have and what my limits are better than anyone else, as such I am the best person to allocate the right amount of time for work, family, relaxation, exercise, social life etc.

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?

I’ve been very fortunate to have some really great mentors over the years, all of whom have given me little habits here and there that I think contributed to my success:

  • Place a high value on your own time, as I mentioned earlier.
  • Strive to be self-aware. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and look to leverage those strengths as opposed to always trying to fix the weaknesses i.e. we all have different value to add, know what your value is.
  • Social niceties, manners and communication (both verbal & written) really do matter. Never underestimate the ability to create a connection with anyone through conversation.
  • Ask questions. This may seem a bit simple but it’s more than simply asking a single question, follow up with a secondary question, and possibly more. Use questions to define context which will help drive your understanding.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

I will admit that I’ve read excerpts of many great books but never actually read the entire book, I find it difficult to read an entire business focussed book.

I tend to get recommendations and read the excerpts that I find useful and move on, some of the most useful books I’ve found are:

  • Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock
  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
  • Good To Great by James C. Collins

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

Exercise. My days are always more productive and I feel much more positive (regardless of what happens during the day) if I have taken the time to do even 15-20 minutes of exercise.

I try to fit this into my daily routine as much as I can to make it easier for e.g. I ride to work to work most days, on the days that I don’t I will try and get a run in at lunchtime or a swim after work or on the weekends.

This can be tricky with parenting duties but I’ve found that if you share it with your partner, it can become a lot easier and the positive return on investment far outweighs the scheduling difficulties.

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

Just to make it work for you; we all have different ways of working, spend some time to find your most productive times and structure your day around that.

Combine this with time to do something you love on a weekly basis (even if it’s just 30 minutes) and I think you are on your way to a more sustainable and impactful work-life integration.

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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.