Category Archives: social media

Recruitment Agencies…. They aren’t going anywhere

Those of you who know me will know my Recruiting background.  Started in a Recruitment Agency, well fell into it, as we all do.  Went to an in-house role for 8 years, somehow ended up back in Agency land again, and am now back in-house.

One of the things I learned whilst working in house was the utter despising of Recruiting Agencies by most people I came across, both from the business point of view and the candidates.  I had been blinkered maybe, “Did people dislike me that much when I was working for an agency?” Well I didn’t think it was me, but the function.  Really?  Sadly the answer was YES.

The reasons are not too hard to fathom.  So many cowboys and cowgirls out there, giving everyone a bad name.  It is the industry where a quick and hefty buck can be made, and I’m sure we all know a few or know of a few that have done that.  I knew a guy who placed the same person into a permanent role 3 times in a year! Twice in the same company, just asked her to go by her maiden name the second time around so as to not arise suspicion.  He made a fee each time upwards of $20k (in the days of 3 month replacements), and would brag about it.  I’ve heard of agents blatantly using their sexuality to try to get work to the point of offering “the full service” for work. I had a boss, who actually tell a young “lady” that she’d better go to the ladies to fix her dress as the straps kept falling off, “it’s not accidentally happening” he was told.. (True story)  Worse, agents, who once in to a company try to pilfer people out once they’ve sniffed around a little and learned the lay of the land.  Heard of one agency, threaten to “empty your car park” if said company wouldn’t use their services!

These type of stories, along with what can and has been perceived as the exorbitant pricing has started a shift away from the model, with more and more in-house teams popping up (bragging about their lack of need for agencies), LinkedIn’s Recruiter tools and “Social Recruiting, have left some doomsayers predicting the death of agencies as we know them.

In past lives as an in-house recruiter it was inconceivable that I would use Agencies, roles I couldn’t fill would remain unfilled and pressure would just build up on my team.  The amount of cold calls, warm calls and reverse marketing calls I would have to knock back probably didn’t do much for my popularity in the Recruitment world.  It was a directive from the people that paid my salary, an unbreakable rule, and we were able to deliver most of the time.  (* I remember telling one boss that he was notorious in the IT Recruitment industry for being a hard ass and putting people through the ringer.  I used to put his name deliberately on young Recruiters working for me who’d made too much money and were over confident, just to bring them down a peg so I could work with them once more!)  I have however recently broken out of that mould a little bit.  Of course there is a need and a place for this multi-billion dollar (Euro, Peso etc) industry.

I don’t see a need to use them in my day to day “normal” hiring, you know those role types that I will need to fill 80-90% of the time.  That is for me to build a successful, engaged and prepared talent pool of people who are already through our process, who just need the final tick to get started.  That is my core business, that’s where we should be spending most of our time and money.  If I used Agencies for this, then why would my company pay my salary?

However, for those “different” roles, for sectors of the market where I/we don’t have expertise, don’t have the network, where there is a speed to fill urgency, why wouldn’t I use an Agency?  Take on a Contracting resource makes a hell of a lot of sense to me.  I did come up with some raised eyebrows from the powers that be, until that is I reminded them of one thing… I got to set the rules!  I can choose who I deal with and who I don’t, it’s based on my relationships.  If a company calls me up, at a time when I have a need, promise the world and then don’t deliver, that’ll leave a bad taste, and I get to choose if I deal with them again or not.  If a company is perceived to be acting unscrupulously, then… I get to choose whether to work with them again or not.  If I see them advertising on a job board for my role, guess what? I get to choose whether to work with them again or nor.  I get to set the buy rate (I honestly don’t care what margin the agency makes, it’s none of my business, as long as everyone is happy), to ensure that the arrangement is still profitable for us.  It’s a no lose situation.

If you’re smart you can also get a fair bit of industry knowledge of your Recruiter (if they are any good), I have in the past felt a little insular, a little blinkered to the wider market when sitting in an in-house role, my focus (rightly or wrongly) being on my company alone.  Recruiters should have a great deal of industry knowledge in their mind, they are talking to companies, people and yes competitors on a daily basis.  Why not get an industry overview from?

This model has been a paradigm shift for my company, and so far it seems to be working well.  We’ve formed some strong working relationships, we’ve hired some great contractors in a very timely fashion and solved both our and our clients problems in the process.  I am yet to feel or perceive the “stereo-typical” Recruiter push or sleaze (for lack of a better term).  I’m using Recruitment agencies as another channel to market, you cannot know everything and everyone.  You know what? It hasn’t diminished the value in what the Recruiting team provides in my company, it’s actually allowed us to solve more problems.

With most businesses, Recruitment Agencies should exist to solve a businesses problems.  Do that, agency land, and you will be here to stay (nobody say like cockroaches!)

4 factors changing the face of in-house Recruitment… Are you up for it?

 

I am an evolutionist.  I love seeing things evolve, people, places, teams and functions.  Looking back to 2002 (yep, all that way) when I first landed into the world of in-house Recruitment, it’s interesting to see how things have changed as much as they have stayed the same.

I went in-house for the same reasons of many, I hated the agency land, whilst I enjoyed the cut and thrust as I am a competitive bugger, I struggled with the closing and ended up hating the fact that no matter how we dressed it up, or changed our titles from Account Managers to Consultants etc, it was still hard core sales.  I struggled to come to grips with the worlds perception of what I did and it clouded my own perception of myself, my self worth.  After having a good trot with one agency (5 Agency years, I think that is 30 normal human years), and a couple of false starts in a few others, I landed a job inhouse.  Thinking it will be a cruisey way to ply my trade without the fear of those daily stand up meetings answering “Have you made 50 calls today?” “How many new roles?” “How many client visits?” “How many submissions have you made?””How many interviews have you scheduled?” and of course “How much MONEY have you billed today?”

I thought it (the in-house) role would be all the things I loved about this job function without all the shit that goes with it in Agency land.  Sadly, I found that in-house roles came with their own brand of shit to deal with.

It was a function viewed as a subservient part of a glorious HR realm.  A poor cousin if you would.  It was something that the HR people thought they knew how to do, just didn’t want to lower themselves to actually participate in the activity.  They had more important things to deal with like, L&D, OH&S, Remuneration surveys, and writing policies! (I remember someone in an HR team actually saying “I’m not here to talk to the people, I’m here to do HR!”) However, they were happy to give their 2 cents (OK a little more) on how to do it.  Multiple lessons in egg sucking did occur.

On top of this, is was still near impossible to escape the tainting that being an Agency Recruiter gave me, even in-house.  I was still known as “Agency Dan” (and no I don’t think it was for my great skills and winning smile!) behind my back.

That role did transform, and I’ve noticed the evolution happening throughout the market, as the importance of your incoming talent increases.  I hear GE just hired 30-40 Recruiting people for a centre of excellence in Melbourne, that’s got to tell you something!

With that evolution, comes more responsibility, more roles to play within an organisation.  The advent of Social Media, I feel has begun to transform the role once more.

4 areas largely impacted or bolted onto the role now seem to be:

  • Strategic planning
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Entrepreneurial or Future facers

Strategic planning:

Formulating, internal and external succession plans.  Building and maintaining an engaged (had to say that word, sorry) talent pool, not just a mailing list.  I’ve seen Recruiters being involved in spotting companies for acquisition, I’ve seen Recruiters being the person “on Point” for the company when looking at moving into a new geographic region, exploring the market and the main players in it. (Not sure any of these things would have happened 10 years ago.

Marketing

This is the tough one.  There is now a blurred line between the two areas.  The term Employment Brand versus Corporate brand has really put this into focus for most Recruiting functions.  The realisation (in some companies) that any external marketing has an effect on Recruitment has changed the landscape.  10 years ago, who would have thought about having Recruitment have a say in the website development (apart from the tiny careers page) ? Who would have seen the Financial Controller/CFO have to include input from the Recruitment department in the making of the Annual Report?  But we do now! These are things that the discerning candidate will check.

Public Relations

Again, the rise and rise of social media has seen the need for Recruiters to start dabbling here.  Messages about your company, your brand can come from anywhere within or outside your company.  Who keeps tabs on this?  Away from products, most things mentioned on forums etc are employment based.  “This person is crap to work with” “Their Recruitment process sucks, they never got back to me” “stupid test” “they have no idea” “I heard they lost their Microsoft accreditation” As a Recruitment department you have to be across this.  The messaging going out impacts our lives as Recruiters, the messaging will change perceptions of what we are going to market with.  We need to be inserted into the planning.

Entrepreneurial or Future facers

With technology streaming ahead, there is an imperative to keep upto date with what is going on.  To evaluate what will and what won’t work for you.  Getting an edge, could help you out do your competitors, or vice versa.  You need to be trialling new things, have you trialled video interviewing? Sourcing from Facebook or YouTube? Is your ATS upto scratch?  Whilst I agree with the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” I love a bit of tweaking.  You need to have some flair, take a risk, see if it works for you and your company.  Are you looking to the future and assessing what trends could mean for your company and your workforce? What does outsourcing or insourcing mean for your company? What does the increase in virtual teams or working from home mean for you? Is there an implication for your company with the well documented “ageing workforce” and the impending rise of Gen Y or millenials?  Does BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and Cloud technologies have an impact on your business and the way you work, and thus what you can offer a workforce?  These are all thoughts a Recruiting function should be considering.  10 years ago, I wasn’t aware of it happening, even in the agency field.  Do you as a Recruiting leader have the support within your business to be able to make mistakes?

I can see how in large companies this could be a political mine field, blurred lines of responsibility, lots of autographs to get to get something done.  But in smaller companies, without these restrictions these are growth areas for the “Recruiter”.  Do we have the skills to handle it? Can they be learned easily? Can we break out of our own moulds and embrace it? I’m excited! Are you?

#atcsyd Day 2.. The Awesomeness Returned!

Man what a day…. sorry, it’s late I’m writing this, but I just arrived at home. (took a few more days, went back to work, and now finished this)

But back to the start of my day…

Great start… woke up without the sound of crying (I have young children… this is a perfect start of a day!)

Then… awesome breakfast provided by the #atcsyd guys (the food at this event was magnificent!)

Rebecca Houghton was the emcee today, and for a lady who was introduced as someone who is self confessed as unfunny, she had the room giggling and laughing and well, eating out of the palm of her hand.. Even if she did crowdsource her 10,000 steps for the day. (I won’t tell anyone though)

Then Rebecca did something that has the potential to change my professional life.  She introduced Glen Cathey who presented  “Moneyball Approach to Recruitment” Big Data – Big Changes… aka The art of winning an Unfair game…

It’s fair to say that “Big Data” was the term for the day!

Changing of mindsets and questioning what Real Data you need to make GREAT decisions….. and can you validate your currently held assumptions and ensure you don’t hold any biases of any type.  He shocked (and worried) the majority of the people in the room, with some stats about the relative success of tall people (over 6 foot 2) versus not so tall people. (Glen stated that 3.9% of American males over 6’2, however 30% of CEOs are over 6’2, a disproportionate number you’d think… interpret as you will!)  Sadly I qualify for the latter.  On a personal note, I could hear my Dad in my head, throughout this presentation with the idea of the “Assumption” doctorate.  ie Don’t assume things, get backing from your ideas with statistical data.

Questions raised in my head were, what data do I have to challenge? What do I want to challenge?  As far as I know the majority of Recruiting is subjective, you like the person, they perform OK in interviews, their chances of getting hired are greater than those who don’t interview well, but may have other core skills.

With Moneyball Recruiting, Glenn, suggests we “Move away from subjective means of assessing talent and make hiring decisions more objective, fact and empirical data based means”  The idea that Google have a specific “People Analytics” team, gives us something to think about, apparently all “people decisions” at Google are based on Data and Analytics.

Imagine if as an employee you carry your statistics across your career like sports people do? Raw numbers out there for everyone to see and assess! How would you feel? Would it change the way you work?

Glenn then raised the idea that “Intelligence” is a core predictor of performance.  Statistics given stated that if you use “intelligence” as a core predictor of performance, you’ll be right 65% of the time.  That’s not a bad score  I wouldn’t think.  The question raised was “What is intelligence?” “Are we talking Emotional Intelligence? Street smarts or your IQ?”

Another question was raised, which realistically hit right at the heart of a core belief of what we do as Recruiters or Sourcers.  “Why do you want to hire an industry re-tread?” Someone over looked by someone else, or already working at another place.  Why do that or could you identify people outside your core beliefs and ideals who could do the job as effectively, if just viewed a little differently?  Looked at through more objective eyes, through the identification of core “Traits” or “signals of success”.  These questions had a huge impact on the crowd, you could almost hear all the cogs turning in the collective brains of the attendees… How can we re-look at what we do?  The big question was then posed “If you had to start all over again… what would you do differently?”

In case you were thinking the age of information was taking over, and Recruiters we fast becoming an endangered species, Glenn concluded that “Great strategies… without great people, are not worth a damn!”  So, we’re still hanging in there people.. room for us all yet!

Adding to the days geekfest was Simon Cariss talking about “Global intelligence leverages HCM Decision making”.   Essentially Simon took us on a magical tour of numbers.  (I saw in some circles it described as #dataporn!) Just having some fun with them, showing us how data can tell us a story.  He illustrated this story with the global launch of the virtual launch of the iPad 5 (it’s invisible folks!) and how everything connects.  This dude seriously had his geek on… (it was great). (Another highlight was Simon’s Australianising the infamous “Purple squirrel” with a “Red Possum” LOVED IT!)

He then asked a question, based around the idea that “the door of the CEO is always open, for the right information”.  What is the right information your CEO requires to make decisions? Can you simplify it down to one number? In the age of mobile information and smaller screens, maybe this is something you need to think about! (Apparently for those “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” fans, 42 is not the number!)

Howard Kotzen was up next “Building a case for intuitive Technology and integrated Talent management”, more talk of Big Data and continuing on the theme of “asking the right questions” a perfect follow up for Simon.  He spoke about talent ownership and the responsibilities for success.  How Recruitment should be seen as an Enterprise Resource Planning idea, where each silo of the process understands and appreciates the fact of their dependency on one another, striving for the same goal of company success.

Howard’s talk was followed by a person I was really looking forward to hearing, and meeting, Master Burnett.  He gave a talk on “Lean Recruitment Marketing” – I loved this talk, fast paced, thought provoking and practical.  Just what we (OK I’m speaking for myself) wanted in a conference like this.  It was tough to take notes, as my mind was going flat out trying to keep up with everything.  I took pics of the slides, which I’ll share if I get the permission of Trevor and his team.

Bottom lines (yes plural, as he made some great points which stuck with me and may have changed the way I look at Recruitment… again!)

Master asked us to think about our Marketing, and question “What’s changed in 10 years?”  Think about the channels you used, how many of them are obsolete now?

He spoke about the polarisation of our audience now across our multiple SPOPs (Social Points of Presence) cool term huh! and the fact that now the audience will talk back and readily question

Are we forcing our old stuff into new markets?

These Lean philosophies will test market, and see if our assumptions are accurate.  Try many things, in small doses across many mediums.  Measure, iterate, try again! (wash, rinse repeat!) Trust data over opinions, build and derive that data yourself!  And allow yourself the flexibility to move with the times.  Who would have thought about marketing/recruiting in Pinterest a year ago?  Be dictated to by the conversation and get to a stage where you are leading it!

He spoke about how in this age speed and flexibility are the new drivers of competitive advantage, process slows us down! (For those that know me, it was music to my ears)  Apparently, Life happens when you’re stuck in the middle of process!

Master was not talking about throwing “process” out the window, but get rid of in the aim of trying things, in small stages to reach an outcome (or not).  He encouraged us to think about outcomes versus output.  Don’t talk stats of interviews achieved, page views, eyeball minutes, etc.  Talk about outcomes, be specific, make it measurable, attainable, relevant and of course bound by strict time constraints.

The game changer?  This really resonated with me.  The outcome of successful Recruitment is great performance and success of the business!  What do you think about that? Not talking “bums on seats” in a timely manner, not talking time to hire or quality of hire, not talking longevity of hire, but business success.  BAM

(Makes sense doesn’t it, but haven’t really ever taken it to that extreme!)

Sadly, due to travel plans I had to miss the unconference sessions, but I have no doubt they would have continued down the stream of thought provocation.  I look forward to reading more posts as they filter out about this great conference.  Hat tip to all the organisers, speakers and attendees.  I just love the conversations! Can’t wait until the next one!

#ATCSYD OMG… Australian Talent Conference is GO!

If you’re reading this and you haven’t been able to attend this weeks #atcsyd (the Australasian Talent Conference in Sydney this week) there’s a couple of things I’d like to say.  Well, firstly, “sucks to be you” :), secondly, I apologies for the large input on my twitter feed and thirdly, better start working on your boss for budget for next year!

I mean what a day! Here’s my (attempted) brief overview of this day…

Firstly, up early enough for the birds to tell me to sssshhh.  I tried to leave the house under the secret cover of darkness, only to be sprung by my youngest, who proceeded to howl the house down at the very idea that Dad may be going somewhere without her.  Silver lining? I got to say “good bye” to everyone, as they all woke up… #sneakyfail

Uneventful commute to airport, however my perfect plan for easing into this day with a quiet coffee pre flight was hampered by the far far far queues awaiting me at airport security #coffeefail It was barely 6am people… Come on!!!

Sadly I missed the drumming which kicked off the #atcsyd (which isn’t a bad thing I don’t thing) and then walked in for the second half of Dr John Sullivan’s talk on “Competing through Agility” (missing first half was a bad thing!) The big takeaway I got from this talk was that Speed rocks! (no not that speed) Spoke about rates of improvement, and the imperative to improve at a higher rate than the business. (OK I missed a fair chunk of this session) Bottom line… speed and innovation, check the Twitter stream #atcsyd for more 🙂 Taco’s as bribes for cv’s were mentioned though.

The next session was “Will you consider Video interviewing before your boss tells you to try it”.  Interesting session, for me personally as I have been wrestling with this for most of this year. Kevin Wheeler and Gerard Ward presented on this, however, it was mostly Gerard from Testgrid talking about his product.  My issue with this topic was that people were using the terms “screening” and “interviewing” as interchangeable.  That is a concern for me.  However, I’m not yet convince that my audience or clients are ready as yet. I don’t think it will be far away though.  Also, need to note that some of these products are not yet mobile compliant, which to me is ludicrous and devalues their product.

The next session was delivered on “Fast-tracking Career success Through the Power of mentors” by Jen Dalitz.  She made some really good points, took a few tangents (but who doesn’t love a Beagle analogy?).  Lots of men versus women and how they work, I’m not sure if she was alluding that one was better than the other, just that they were different.  Some great tips around mentoring though, looking internally and externally.  Putting the idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” ie a Board of different people with different skills to help you work through the ins and outs of this professional world.  I loved that idea.

The next session was something I was looking forward to as Glen Cathey was presenting with Gabriel Garcia.  They were talking about “Searching Big Data Immigrated from the US to Australia”, sadly this was more of a product pitch, with some interesting ideals thrown in for good measure.  Semantic searching, however, and the technology around that, is very cool!  Enterprise, Search Driven Business Intelligence…. “Say it aint so!” very cool idea.  It made me realise my limitations around search and as @JaredWoods noted… “Get my geek on and start to drool over the technology” Best quote from this was from Glen “Data has no value if you cannot retrieve it” .  Obviously limitations around this idea is the fact that if you have a crap database then, it would be useless, however for your Infosys’, Ernst & Young’s IBM’s etc I can see how great this could be.  Also good to see CareerOne trying to innovate and evolve from a pure Job board.

Incase you didn’t know, some of the best lessons learned from these conferences occur at the breaks, when you get to catch up and meet with people, other professionals, who in some cases you only know online.  I love this.  And yes this happened here today…

Enough about that… Lunch was great, with a cheesecake to die for at the end… OMG YUMMMMM!!!! no not sharing….

OK sorry.. off topic… The sessions coming up next were a choice of 4.   I chose @Davidals session on “Rethinking Attraction and Recruitment: Blue Ocean Philosophies” and Anthony Storks “If you can’t Attach Your New Talent, You’ll never engage them”

2 genuinely quality session, even if it was sad to miss the other two.

David started his talk with using the “cirque du soleil” as a case study of something that took a concept, re-thought it, eliminated competition and thrived in a dying industry.  Just through innovation and uniqueness! GOLD! He spoke about Red Sea fishing and Blue sea fishing, red being the conventional, tried, true, boring and limited version, with Blue being the innovation, standing out from the pack, being willing to make a difference version.  Obviously there was a bias towards the Blue style (and not just because “state of Origin” was on today, and we’re n Sydney)… I can’t go word for word… slide for slide here because, well, he’s already done it.  And if he wants to attach and share here, well, he will!  But the outline for being able to make innovation, build a compelling business case, think about starting to look at what you want to achieve in four quadrants…  Create Raise Eliminate Reduce… think about those… see how you go! (Sorry I couldn’t think of a witty, amusing acronym for that)

For Anthony Stork, I need to apologise, no I don’t need to apologise for him, just that his energy, passion and knowledge of his topic around employee Attachment was so impressive that it didn’t give a lot of space for taking notes (plus the fact that my wifi connection crapped itself about now).  But firstly, a great speaker.  Some major points coming out of this session were around the cost of attrition, where the buck stops, how to measure.  He spoke of  the importance of Core attachment perceptions of Security, trust & value, acceptance, and belonging. and how without these core perceptions being managed we were essentially doomed to fail, or perish I think the word was.  Compelling stuff, especially when he put a dollar value around the idea… (his numbers) a New hire is a $100,000 investment in the first 3 month… Seems like something you really want to get right huh?

After a quick break we saw Tanyth Lloyd (@voguist) headline the “World Cafe” part of the conference next… What is that? I hear you ask.  Essentially it is a big hall, 15 different topics to discuss on 15 different tables, each with a facilitator.  You pick a table, discuss there for 20 minutes… stop… regroup… share with room…. pick another topic and repeat.  Always interesting topics… I’ll attach the topics somewhere here (thanks for pic Glen Cathey) .  But let’s just say, what happens on tables 15 and 10, will stay on tables 15 and 10!

All this conference, just provided us the vehicle to take us to the final session of the day with the one and only Greg Savage.  If you don’t know Greg, Ok not personally, but if you haven’t heard of him (what are you reading this for) Google him, I’m sure he won’t mind.  Then watch, listen and learn.

Greg got the dud time, the tough time of the day.. the final person/speaker sitting in between 300 delegates and free beverages.  I have to say, I’ve conversed with Greg for a number of years now, we’ve agreed and disagreed on things, but this is the first time I’ve met him and heard him speak live.  All I can say is that I thoroughly recommend it.  I’d almost go as far as to say that if you want your Recruiters to get inspired by their job, and bounce back to their desks to GET THINGS done, they need to see Greg.  Greg is an evangelist for what we do.  But today he gave us a case study on how his company took to the Social side of things.  How his company… “Went Social”  Greg freely shares this case study, so for me to write about it would not do it justice… Just ask him, he’s never short of a word! 🙂

He likes to operate in “the REAL world” and apparently Recruiters operate in this world, which I tell you confused some delegates.  He spoke about not having a “social Media strategy” but weaving “Social” into the very fabric of their company.  The stats he used were compelling, as was his 11 pronged strategy, and really did raise some questions in my own head, of some things I will explore more when back in the office.  One thing he said that I’ll share that’ll stick with me for a while… “A Status update can fill a role!” think about that! (and this my friends is what you want out of a conference!)

Then of course the drinks and canopies came out to conclude a great day.  Looking forward to tomorrow, glad I got this out of my head tonight, need to make room for tomorrow 🙂

Thanks to Trevor Vas, Horace Chai, Martin Warren, Kevin Wheeler and the team for putting this on again.. Bring on tomorrow. So looking forward to meeting more people tomorrow… and if you read this and want to say hi to me…. please do, I won’t be hard to find…

Social Media, Recruitment, Seriously, it ain’t that new!

I find it interesting, this world we live in.  I’m probably too entrenched in this Social Media, Recruiting space.  I get genuinely surprised when people either a) discover Social Media b) discover how to use it within Recruitment.  When people rock up at these conferences and are all starry eyed and “Wow’ed” at what they are discovering.  I know it is pretty cool stuff, which is why I like to go for these.  I too was once doe eyed listening at the foot of the wisdom tree sucking in as much as I could, and honestly… it changed my Recruiting life.  But that was many years ago now, Social Media was in its infancy, LinkedIn had less than a million people on it, Facebook was barely out of college, Twitter wasn’t thought of yet and RecruitingBlogs.com only had a couple of thousand users.  I still remember the nerves of hitting “publish” on my first blog post (@AdamAxon I think you’d remember) and expecting the world to somehow stop (it didn’t… I guess you knew that though huh?)

Why is Social media such a surprise for people now? 2 people join Linkedin every second they tell us.  Facebook has almost a billion people on it, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr etc etc etc ad infinitum.   It’s mainstream right? Not reserved as the pure domain of computer nerds and people who cannot connect with people in real life (we’re all there still though).  Right?  By hitting “publish” on this post, I’m probably preaching to the converted, but I’m typing it anyways!

The great thing I love about Social Media, is the speed of its evolution.  This speed makes it OK to try things, if it doesn’t work, fine, switch gears, mark down the lesson learned and go on to the next thing.  Failure doesn’t always mean the apocalypse, just ask questions about Google Wave.  The world of Social Media will forgive you and let you move on (and probably forget about your little mistake pretty quickly.. oh look something shiny….. sorry what was I talking about?)

Sometimes I think it’s healthy to sit back and look at the world around you.  Realise that not everyone thinks the same way, (yes, even with all the reciprocal smoke blowing on some of these blog sites) and be prepared to talk people through what you do.  Are you sure you know/understand why you do things? Social Media is still scary for people, especially people in companies, it is a move away from what they have traditionally done, things that have been successful.  Change is tough, change is confronting, and sometimes, it’s not always needed.  People need to understand why they are doing things, what’s in it for them! Not just follow blindly.  You need to have a reason, a business imperative to join in to the conversation.  I really don’t think having 3000 “Likers” or “followers” is a legitimate business goal, there I said it!

Find that reason, find that critical need, and the rest will happen.  It’s our job (us old time players in this space), to educate, challenge and support.  I’m learning not to assume that people know this stuff, which is a challenge for me, even though I’m not a Digital Native myself.  If you or your company are struggling to take the leap, don’t be scared, trust me (OK, I realise that was said by a Recruiter)… the water is fine.  You’ll find and learn by doing! That’s the best bit about Social Media’s evolution, you keep learning and evolving with it.  It’s a great ride, share it with people.

#SocialRecruiting, not the mesiah… just a very naughty boy!

Don’t get me wrong, you know I’m a fan of this genre of Recruiting.  That said, I am getting a bit sick and tired of reading blogs, tweets, opinion etc about how this is all completely changes the game and is the best thing that has ever happened to the Recruitment industry.

Is it a help or a hinderance? I’m comfortable sitting here on the fence, it’s a bit of both.

When I was a young lad (OK eye roll moment), we didn’t have the internet, resumes were posted in envelopes (yes people bought stamps) or faxed in (ask your parents) or occasionally hand delivered, printed on different coloured paper and cover letters were even sometimes hand written (no not in a cursive font.. with a pen!).  This bit here may rock your world.  Guess what? People still got hired, Recruiters still made their numbers.  Recruiters had their way of locating people, of knowing who’s who in everyone’s zoo.  However, our mediums of communicating with people were the phone, a letter, a fax or (heaven forbid) a face to face meeting.  We couldn’t poke, SMS, inMail, DM, Facebook or Tweet them.  It was a simpler life.

Now days, there are way more ways to skin a cat.  Social Media has muddied the waters a bit.  There are so many mediums now that you need to be across as a good Recruiter.  It takes focus, I mean it takes focus away… it can be a time suck, you find a rich vein of people in a certain medium and BANG… 3 hours have gone.

I met with a CEO a little while ago who was really excited by the fact that his new “Social Media experts” had made a Facebook page which had quite quickly passed 1000 likers.  They were pretty chuffed with themselves.  The nice guy in me should have let that pass and congratulate them and move on.  Sadly that nice guy must have been daydreaming about coffee or something, and that internal monologue came out loud… on its own. “Why? What are you doing with them? what’s the aim?”  That question really threw him.  There was no answer.  The answer was essentially, “well… we needed a Facebook page”   My point? Why bother?  If there isn’t a goal in mind, no rhyme or reason if you are not measuring something, how do you know it’s successful or not?

That said, it is very handy.  It helps locate, connect and even kind of engage, but it doesn’t change the historical idea that all the quality comes from the conversation.  It really does make our life a little easier, however it also makes it a whole lot busier. With more and more channels opening up which tell the world, they are THE new widget which will find you all the staff you need!  Where do you go? what do you do?  Which rabbit hole do you go down and follow, and when do you pull the pin and stop.  You’ve connected with so many people and you really need to respond to all the messages, tweets, DMs, RT’s, questions etc… Whilst this is all good from a marketing, and future placement/talent pooling point of view, how does it help you today?  I mean, after you’ve done that awesome search, found the perfect candidate, contacted them and hired them that is.

So, take it for what it is, it is another tool, another medium in your Recruitment strategy, don’t forget the others, trust me.  Take two maybe, and call me in the morning.

 

My take on the Sourcing Summit 2011 #SOSU11

Last week I attended the first ever Sourcing Summit, and before I go too far into this I must congratulate both Phil Tusing and Andrea Mitchell for putting on the first event of its type in Australia.  I think it was a great success with both the quality of the speakers, but for the attendees too, the conversations at breaks were inspiring!

The day didn’t start the best, with the super early morning flight, the coffee spillage thanks to a clumsy cabbie, Thunderbird looking hair when I arrived. But thanks to a quick splash of water (and to Andrea for letting me know), reversible hand dryers, and my emergency pack of “don’t look stupid”materials in my backpack (and another coffee) we got back on track.

It was a little intimidating listening to a lot of these speakers, man,  there are some smart people on this planet, wish I was more like them!   I’ll write about my highlights here, I seriously don’t have the bandwidth to write about every speaker, so if I missed you, I apologise right now… Sorry

One of the most used terms of this summit was “engagement” and let me tell you, I was engaged immediately by Gavin Heaton’s presentation, as one of the first slides spoke about his coffee club, I mean come on…. “coffee”after that morning? He had my attention.   This guy is super smart, had some great sound bites which were duly tweeted around the world in real-time, with the bottom line being, think about, learn about, engage with, and continually talk to your community….

@servantofchaos says “every business is only a generation away from extinction” #sosu11

#SOSU11 @servantofchaos taking us through a history lesson – looking for a job in the paper 🙂

andreamitchell  Love that @servantofchaos is referencing Moore’s Law #sosu11

@servantofchaos is talking about the need for a marketing mindset in sourcing #sosu11

Brent Pearson (someone I’ve looked up to and respected for years, but have never met) was next up, my notes initially parked him somewhere between a realist and a grump at the industry.  I ended up pegging him as a passionate realist with a pinch of cynicism.  But boy is he smart.  His initial statement of “I’m going to upset some people in this room today” set the tone for me, I was hooked!  His video was entertaining and his message sound.  To summarize, with a few liberties (because it’s my blog) … Firstly, don’t be seduced by all the technology that comes out in this space. (tick…. Been there done that, it sucks, but you got to try things, you may get the winner) Then, how do you know if it’s any good? YOU MEASURE and Benchmark!

Brent gave some great stats and a case study in terms of a client of his business (HRX) about source of application and attempting to disprove the all things Facebook and Twitter, where there was a little hiccup.  However, I didn’t think it proved enough, not sure if it was extrapolated out far enough.  It proved an idea around using Social Media from an attraction point of view, which was great, and looking at it as a tool to help direct your marketing budget.  Great! However I think you would have to work backwards from analysing where the people you have hired have come from, and the focus your funds there.  You can get all the applications you want from your “Google adwords” but if you don’t hire any of those applicants, what’s the point?

Perhaps the most interesting presentation was that of Jason Timor, the Indigenous Recruitment Advisor at QANTAS. It was a really interesting presentation, fascinating in fact. Really impressive that a company actually has a programme like this. What John highlighted most, in my mind, was the idea that with all the talk of community, talent pooling and technology, you still cannot escape the fact that this is a people business. sitting down having a cup of tea with people, respecting where you are, who you’re talking to, is a very effective attraction strategy. someone building IRL (in real life) talent communities. Just made me smile listening to him.  Simple (and very effective) Science

Simon Townsend from Deloitte, the innovation centre, just baffled me. He had some great soundbites which I eagerly tweeted, probably masking the fact that a lot of what he said net over my head. But a brilliant mind, and he saw things in a very unique way. Just made me want to be better and have lots more resources around me.

#sosu11 yammer is twitter in a straightjacket @wittering :)”
@fjmorales: having my mind melted again at #SOSU11 by @wittering
“culture of fun with serious intent” @wittering 🙂 like that”
DamonKlotz  “You can only stumble if you are moving forward. Love it! #sosu11

Paul Jacobs. Now this was another guy I was looking forward to talking to. The energetic, friendly and quite amusing community DJ from NZ. Another person I’d been communication with for years but never met. Paul is a bright bloke, who loves his technology and social media. He also provided the best quote of the day “you can shake my muffin” (it’ll lose something if I put in context) and was also half of the winning tweet of the day

“Sure thing RT @DamonKlotz: Get me a beer from the chilly bin would ya! RT @pauljacobs4real: Thongs? It’s farking jandals people#SOSU11

Paul however, tried to escape the live blogging critiques ie tweeting of his presentation (He said it was to bring a touch of an unconference to the event, I know better 🙂 ). He got everyone standing, worried people as he started with a roving mike and then asked a question which I think the answers even surprised him. He asked the room (rephrased here by me) what was more important in sourcing, technology or the human touch? Surprisingly, ni a room full of sourcing geeks, there was a heavy leaning to the human touch. Even if he had to make a new third actor of a mix of both. (my choice)

The final presenter I’ll talk about is Christian Leloux.  As always he impressed with his passion and knowledge of sourcing and how he is engineering the function in Ernst & Young. With all the technology talk, process and gadget wowing of the process, Christian said the most poignant thing of the whole summit when he said “bottom line, this is all about getting bums on seats right? And solving business problems”. It was a statement I was waiting for, it was a statement, which to me validated the whole Summit.

“sourcing not a skillset any more it is a vocation!!! @Cleloux

There were 2 days to this summit, I only attended one, however, for a first up event, in a function that really is in its infancy in Australia, I was proud to be there, and to be an answer to a quiz question!

Recruiting Green Eggs and Ham

Don’t you hate it when your bluff gets called. I get a lot of inspiration for blog posts from my day to day life, especially with my kids. You’ll notice my posts are not the high brow statistical masterpieces, or comprehensive analysis of some new Recruitment tool. They are just my views. A while ago, I went through a series of posts, getting analogies from books I was reading with my children, posts like

Happy Feet: The success of Standing out

“Guess how much I love you?” – Gen Y v Gen X and Baby boomers.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, forging that relationship!

The Very Cranky Bear – A child’s tale re Consulting and/or Customer Service

Be the Lucky Platypus

Of late, my kids have begun to enjoy the tempo and rhyming and tempo of Dr Seuss. I tweeted something the other day around Dr Seuss being my muse (or something along those lines) and I got called on it. The great Steve Levy called my bluff. “Roo”, he Tweeted.. “special project for you – a blog post modeled after Green Eggs and Ham”.

For those Gen Y’s who don’t own books and don’t know what I am talking about.. see the video below.

I thought about modeling with the posting in rhyme. But after thinking about it, I really don’t have the time.

So I had to think of the story and how it related to Recruiting… now that wasn’t too hard. Pestering a client into giving you a go.. and then surprising them with what you did.

This to me is more Social media reluctance within companies. A cheeky little so and so who knows everything trying to tell the older, wiser “person” what they should do. Naturally, the older, wiser, person resists without understanding what the offering is.

You must Tweet this from my blog
You must read this to my dog
You can send them to you phone
you can read them all alone
You must have a Facebook fan page
Everyone else does it’s all the rage.

I will not tweet this from your blog
I will not read this to my dog
I won’t send it to my phone
I wont read it all alone.
I don’t want a Facebook page
I don’t want it, get back in your cage.

etc etc etc

But like any good corporate recruiter, Sam keeps on keeping on, keeps pitching, persisting…. until the grumpy old “wiser” person submits to the nagging and has a go just to shut up this nagging little voice.

“I do not like them,
Sam-I-am.

You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

Sam!
If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see.”

Oh… (thinking this is good, fun and informative. What a great way to market to the “masses” I’ll think about ROI later)

I can tweet it,
I can blog it,
I can link and search and flog it.

It’s not just for Gen Y
Baby Boomers are not shy.
All the choices I can see
Recruitment 2.o is for me.

I can get a message out
I can market all about
I can get a 1000 fans
Social media just rocks Sam.

I’m a Corporate Recruiter…

I AM SAM

Fish where they are son!


I’m sitting at home now digesting the conference I just attended Inspecht and ATC’s Recruitment Revolution, and while I will blog about this amazing day later on when I have fully disseminated all the information and translate my notes and scribbles, there is something bubbling to the top I just need to write about now.

This conference was all about Social Media Recruiting. A great topic and I could have spoken, listened and learned for much longer than the one day I got, I am a sucker for this stuff.

The final “debate” however became the straw which broke this camels back as far as blogging or not.

It was all about the relevance of job boards with social media gaining so much of a foothold in all our minds. We were lucky enough to have to strong/passionate speakers in the area. Stephen Collins from Acid Media and Jake Andrews from Seek.com.au (I”ll let you figure out who was arguing which point) Call it a “naughties” version of “video kills the radio star”. An argument as old as Social media I believe, why? because there is no firm answer, just view points.

However, my thought, isn’t overly intertwined with this. Let me put my cynic hat on. AND let me preface this by I am a HUGE Social Media fan/junkie call it what you will and I believe in the concept and business benefits. But…..

Is it for everybody?

There was a “flyer” inside the great little compendium they gave delegates which had the slogan “The hook may have changed but you still need the right bait” (with a picture of a laptop on a jetty) Pretty cool I thought. Whilst reading that, my Dad’s voice appeared in my head (yes, it’s been happening a lot of late, not sure what that means). I heard his voice telling me “you can have all the best equipment son, but you still won’t catch anything if the fish aren’t there. You have to know your spots, read the tide, read the signs, and signals and be prepared to move if you got all that wrong!” Let’s face it, some days they just weren’t there.

So, will Social Media spell the end of job boards.. NO! Did job boards spell the end of newspapers, no, did video actually kill the radio star (well not the DJ’s and shock jocks)

Not everyone is findable online. Not even all Gen Y’s (insert gasp here). I’m lucky, my talent pool is in IT world, so I have an expectation that my candidates would have some kind of online footprint to track down.

But what if I was looking for Forklift drivers? Landscape gardeners? Mechanics? Builders? Taxi drivers (OK bad example) etc.. Would I be confident I could locate talent in these areas online, utilising all the social media secrets I’ve just learned. No, not at all. I’d think I would have to go where they are (and Stephen got to this point). You have to move to where the fish are! He spoke about going to the local footy clubs, finding out where their wives hang out, using unions etc. Getting your message to where you audience can read it.

You can have the best Social media Recruitment strategy, have a great Facebook fan page, a twitter site and capability, LinkedIn presence, or even Myspace page (etc etc etc), the best value proposition, the best landing site…. but, if your fish aren’t there, what’s the point?

Keep the Social media concepts in your head though. Find your audience (where ever they hang out), listen to your audience, engage your audience, and add value to your audience. You don’t need to rely on technology for that.

I LIED TO YOU

OK, so I lied… There I said it.

More of a lie of omission. I was reading over my blog, which has gone way longer that I actually expected it to, I mean who’d have thought that I’d still be doing this 18 months on. Anyway, I wrote an entry in February titled, “Why I blog” I wrote all the things I was feeling at the time, but re-reading it, I missed something out. Why I started it?

This will sound bad, but the honest answer is money. I had this great idea that if I wrote a blog, whacked some Google Adsense on the side of it, and I’d be sitting back having a full time job just counting the cash that would just roll in. Funnily enough… It didn’t work. Checking my balance, after over 18 months and almost 90 posts now… I’m up to a grand total of AUD$5.67. Maybe I could build a personal brand which will launch my career internationally? Not really.

So what is in it for me then? Surely there has to be something? I’m not a coach, who by their very presence in Social Media is advertising their products and services (even if they say they aren’t), I’m not a social media guru, but I’ve learned about a lot of new stuff I’ve had to try, I’m not part of an agency, which would use this as company branding to show the strength of their Recruiters and themselves. Somewhere where it could be possible to show a genuine return on the investment put into it. That said it is only time…

I figured it out, bottom line reason. Because it’s only fair. A simple answer really, but the god honest truth (with the fact that I enjoy it, blogging and learning more about Recruitment has become my hobby too. Sad isn’t it)

What do I mean? I really feel like I’m part of a community here and by here I mean in the social media realm. Communities like Recruitingblogs.com, ERE.net and the Australia/NZ site hosted by Paul Jacobs Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific. These places have become my professional life blood. People from all over the world contributing and learning from one another. Sure there are a constant few names that pop up in conversations, or writing blogs or contributing to conversations, forums etc. I’m now pretty comfortable saying I have friends all over the world now, that I have never met. I’d like to one day, but I feel like I know them.

These people are spending their time writing articles, contributing to conversations, that I am reading. FOR FREE! I honestly believe it is the least I can do to put a little back. If it adds value to anyone, then that’s a bonus, but it’s what happens in a community. Give and take you know.

There are some amazing people out there giving their time and expertise for free, all because they believe in the industry, are passionate about what they do and genuinely feel the need to basically help out. Check out those sites I mentioned before to see what I mean. If you’re a Recruiter and you’re not on these sites, then you are doing yourself and you company a disservice. Just like in Sales, you learn more by listening than talking, (you know the old 2 ears 1 mouth, use in that ratio) but to get the most out of things, you still have to contribute, open your mouth, get your hands on your keyboard and get into it.

Don’t get me wrong, if I can find a way to seriously monetize my blog, then I’m all over it (I feel nervous that I will get lots more spam tweets now), until then, my day job still pays the bills and until child number 3 arrives, my blog, my twitter, my social media outlets is what keeps me up happily up at night.