Recruiting

When a games recruiter hits 40 and thinks recruiting sucks (G.I.T. Jusin Hall)

I met Justin Hall earlier this year at #truSanFran, when he ran a track (on the old Lenny Kravitz tour bus), on recruiting in the gaming industry. Justin had just moved in to a recruiting role after a career making games, and he was finding it hard to get his head around what he found to be the way recruiting is done. I think it was a bit of a shock after a creative past. I’ve been trying to get in touch with Justin recently, although he appeared to have gone off the radar, then I found this brilliant video on his LinkedIn profile. If you pick up this post Justin get in touch. I want to help out with your sabbatical, and I want to hear more about your adventures.

 

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The end of the in-house recruiter? #DiceTru #TruLondon

Recruitment is changing, there is no doubt about that, but there is a particular trend that seems to be gaining momentum that recruiters should be very conscious of because it could have a major impact on the role of the in-house recruiter. This could be the beginning of the end of in-house recruiters as we know them, or could be an evolution in to something completely different. Over the next 4 weeks I’m going to be exploring this in a bit more depth by talking to lots of recruiters and asking lots of questions about what is really going on. We will be hosting #DiceTru in partnership with EmployersOnDice in Mountain View, USA on the 15th August, and in San Francisco on 16th August, and then again as part of the #Kellylive hangout at #trulondon on 6th September.

I first started really thinking about this at the beginning of the year when I did a bit of a San Fran tour and caught up with the sourcing technology companies Gild, Entello, DiceOpenWeb and others. What surprised me at the time was that I was consistently getting told that it was hiring managers who were buying this technology directly, rather than sourcers or recruiters. Through the work I have been doing with social referral company RolePoint, I was becoming aware that more and more hiring managers were looking to run their own referral campaigns outside of the normal company process. RolePoint have had to go as far as creating a whole new work and data flow to accomodate this.

The data from the candidate experience awards in both North America and the UK was showing us that an increasing number of hiring managers were being set KPI’s for things like time to hire, cost of hire, candidate experience etc, the kind of metrics we had previously always associated with recruiters. We have also witnessed a growing reliance on the business to generate employer and culture brand content for talent attraction, and for employees to engage directly with potential candidates. My friend Rob Van’Elburg had also just started a new project with ING Bank to co-ordinate the training of all the hiring managers in technology across the world to run there own hiring campaigns through Taleo, from creating job specs to offer management. All of the technology recruiting for a global business being co-ordinated by one person. All the signs were pointing in one direction.

Probing a bit deeper in to why this was happening, with a number of hiring managers at global corporations, some of the reasoning behind this became clear. For a start, a lot of the tech jobs had never really existed before, and hiring managers wanted more access to who was out there in order to shape what they were actually looking for. We were also looking at data for a number of hiring managers where they were getting to see 5 in 1000 applicants by the time the ATS had sifted out 70%, usually on random criteria, the recruiter had eliminated CV’s, then done video or phone screens, then interviews, then other tests like assesments for team fit, skills etc before the last few standing got in frount of the hiring manager. It is no small wonder that hiring managers have started to want to look a lot closer at that pipeline for themselves.

I have also been aware of a new recruitment model evolving at Oracle in the EMEA region, which has since been adopted globally. Recruiting is a profit center that charges the business for their time. Recruiters are responsible for sourcing, (along with a sourcing and social media team), new potential hires. They don’t do any admin or logistics, that is all they do. Find people, qualify them, send them on to the hiring manager. The only time they ever get involved again is in helping to close candidates.They deffinitely don’t do any interviewing or anything like that. Very different, but very effective against aggressive hiring targets, with 30% of hires coming from social media, 30% from referral and 40% from direct sourcing. I’m begining to see this model being mirrored in other organisation looking to achieve the same thing, making recruiting being about sourcing, on a just in time basis.

That leaves us then with the question: If hiring managers are going to drive their own recruiting, what is going to happen to the recruiters? I asked this question at the #tru sessions at lRecruit earlier year. I was running a track that had about 18 heads of talent acquisition in the session. Industry analyst Josh Bersin was quick to pick up on this and ask if this really a trend in the organisations, given that most of the participants were senior and represented global brands. 18 of the 19 companies all confirmed that this is the direction they are going in, with more and more hiring managers taking on more and more of the day to day responsibility for hiring in their teams, assisted by some clever recruiting and assesment technology. It is becoming clear that this is much more than a trend, and not isolated to one region or one sector. That would be too simple.

My thinking is that in-house recruiters, and recruiting functions are going to go in one of four distinct directions:

1: The super recruiters. The last few years have seen the rise of the super recruiter. People like Matthew Jeffery at SAP, Chris Hoyt at Pepsico, Paul Maxin at Unilever, Jeff Moore at Google, Arie Ball at Sodexo, Donna Quintal at Sears, Anne-Marie O’Donnell at Oracle, Lars Schmidt at NPR, Ted Meulenkamp at Roche, and a number of others. Individuals who are much more strategic than tactical, who have high level influence. This is a great opportunity, but they are in the minority.

2: The sourcers – As with the Oracle model. 100% focussed on generating candidates by effective sourcing, and leaving the decision making, selection and recruiting to the line. A very lean, focussed role, with niche or location specialists. More opportunity for direct sourcing functions within larger organisations. Numbers driven, lean operations working on a just in time, on demand basis. Many of these roles could be filled by the new breed of contract recruiters, who come in as needed, and drop off when things are slack, or through RPO operations, importing expertise at the sourcing end. Potentially this will mean less opportunities for in-house recruiters.

3: Talent Networkers. I couldn’t think of a better term, although I’m sure there is one. This changes the recruiters role from filling jobs to populating the pipeline and the talent network. Sourcing people who are a cultural fit, with longer term potential as hires, and organising the data in the talent network for the hiring managers to recruit from. Whilst this role is proving valuable for those companies who go down this route, few companies will prove as forward thinking. We will also see a rise in companies like Norman Broadbent company Social Media Search providing this as an outsourced function.

4: Administrators – Managing the admin and logistics around recruiting such as interview scheduling, assessments etc on behalf of line manager, back to the days of the personnel manager. Whilst this has to be the least appealing option, cost considerations may well see this as the most likely route.

You might think I’m mad in thinking this, but it is too big a trend to ignore. You can come and disagree/discuss/debate this point with me at #DiceTru in Mountain View on the 15th Aug, SanFran on the 16th or #trulondon on the 6th Sept. I look forward to the debate!

Bill

Keith Potts, Evenbase, Evolution And The Hottest Prospects For Digital Recruitment In 2020

I was lucky enough to get an early look at some extensive research from Evenbase titled “The evolution of digital recruitment: The hottest markets in 2020″. It makes for interesting reading and it is published this morning. Evenbase are one of the worlds leading digital recruitment groups (Full description at the end of the post.)

The research was conducted by MBA & Company in late 2012, and took in to account factors like GDP growth potential, level of employment, maturity of digital recruitment, mobile adoption, social media integration and other factors. I got to discuss this research at length with Evenbase CEO Keith Potts, to understand a little better what this research means from one of the veterans of the industry. A conversation with Potts about anything is always illuminating and enjoyable, and this was no different.

The culmination of the research is the production of the Evenbase hot list of who they believe will be the top 10 countries for digital recruiting by 2020. This is the list in order:

1. Brazil –A young, confident and ambitious market, Brazil has growth potential on many levels and is known to be digitally innovative.

2. India – India’s sheer economic growth potential makes it an exceptionally interesting market. Only serious development imbalances keep from the top slot.

3. China – Although significant political and cultural challenges remain, the sheer growth performance and destiny of the world’s largest economy make it attractive.

4. US – Expected to stay a dynamic, innovative economic powerhouse and driver of change in digital recruitment over the next few years.

5. Australia – Another confident and ambitious AsiaPac country, Australia’s skill shortages make it ripe for innovation in digital recruitment.

6. Japan – This massive, technologically innovative economy is undergoing cultural change after many years of stagnation.

7. Canada – Although small in size, Canada has been fast to adopt new ideas, with a range of unique opportunities for the introduction to the new digital recruitment offerings.

8. Germany – Considered as the European economic powerhouse for the foreseeable future, and currently undergoing significant labour market changes

9. Russia – A wild card, Russia is beset by deep political and economic issues but has a range of opportunities to unlock its untapped potential.

10. Mexico / UK – Mexico, another wild card, is highly problematic at present but has the potential to suddenly take off and become the new Brazil. The UK has significant economic growth issues but is traditionally one of the world’s largest recruitment markets.

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I discussed these results with Potts to get his take on what the research means, and what the big surprises were. He cited Mexico being on a par with the UK, the high ranking of Australia and Brazil ranking above China. The thinking behind China was that there is still plenty of uncertainty around the future political situation in China. This was certainly the message I took back from #truSingapore and #truHongKong. By contrast, Mexico is showing stability year on year, and Australia has a huge demand for technical and engineering staff that will fuel growth in digital media, particularly given geographical challenges. Competition is another key consideration, and what is already established in the market. The report cites the example of Japan, which offers great potential, but has a well established and very competitive local market. There are 3 times more employment agencies in Japan than their nearest competitor. When a market is so well established and populated by competitors, better to explore the growing markets which offer more potential and a less developed market.

The scarcity of labour is another consideration, along with pay. Where jobs are harder to fill, and the salaries are higher, then there is more demand and greater reward for digital recruiting. I was surprised to read that the salary for an executive post in Brazil is double that of the US, which goes some way to explaining the top spot for Brazil.

Keith Potts

Potts sees the rise in adoption of mobile and mobile apply anywhere being one of the main game changers in digital recruitment over the coming years. The when and where people are looking to use mobile for web search and applications will have a massive impact on the digital products in these countries. The brands that get this right will gain a real competitive advantage, hence the importance of mobile to Evenbase.

How this manifests is going to be dictated by understanding the local market. A good example of this is India and the US, where the cost of data access compared to what we know in Europe means text messaging features much higher than  mobileweb access. Whilst there are global trends, each of the countries have their own unique problems which calls for a local solution. Potts sums this up in the report with the comment:      

” Globalisation levels some playing fields, but national identities remain complex – models that work in Belgium will probably not work in Brazil”

This is why Evenbase invests so much time and effort in to local partners who really understand what is going on in their own back yard.

Potts sees Workana as being one of the rising stars in the group because of the service they offer. Evenbase recently invested in the Argentinian start-up, who are fast becoming the region’s leader in brokering freelance work on-line. Potential clients post work (rather than jobs on the site), and freelancers pitch for the work by presenting their portfolio. Customers can check references on previous work, social recognition, endorsements, etc. through the site, and the more the freelancers work through the platform, the higher their ranking. With more and more jobs converting to work and projects, and the rise in freelancing and working from home, this platform has the potential to grow quickly, and globally. They are another string to the Evenbase bow.

I asked Potts how he felt this shift, and the rise in digital recruiting would impact on recruitment agencies, after all  if Evenbase are making it easier to connect employees and employers, and contractors and contracts with contractors without the need for the middleman, then the market potential must be shrinking. Potts was quick to dismiss this, explaining, “We are talking about people not products, and people are incredibly complex. As long as companies need people, agencies have a part to play. Many (though not all) direct hiring organisations are behind the sourcing capability of the agencies, and this means agencies will be around for years to come, even if the market is shrinking”. We share the view though that many agencies will need to work harder on relationships, becoming career managers rather than people placers, but like the job boards, they are a long way from dead yet.

I spoke with Potts about how he sees job boards evolving over the coming years. He highlighted the changing pricing models giving the examples of Jobsite.Co.Uk and the US launch of Jobsite.Com. Whilst Jobsite.Co.Uk currently operate a pay per post  model, Jobsite.Com utilise scraping technology to post jobs (at no charge) from company career sites, offering job seekers up to 4 times as much relevant content, using social profiles and Evenbase’s semantic matching technology, Jobtology, to offer up only jobs they are qualified for. Customers pay for access to candidates who fit and have expressed an interest in the opportunity, in a pay per performance model. Potts highlighted that it was important to understand these new markets, in order to offer the best digital products for each of them on a local basis.

Potts feels semantic matching, and Jobtology in particular, will play a big part in improving candidate experience and quality of response by only offering jobs or candidates that are relevant. I shared the research from the UK #CandE’s that the average response needed to fill a job is 85 applicants, and that an average of 70% of these applicants are unqualified. Only 20% of applicants see anything other than the job ad before they apply, hence the mismatch.  Potts pointed out that Jobtology uses social profiles and other data to match potential candidates only to jobs where there is a fit, and this will significantly change these numbers, after all, if applicants don’t see jobs they don’t fit, there is no danger they will apply. This will see a reduction of jobs by e-mail, and other filtered services, with matching and messaging by the most appropriate channel, such as mobile. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

I asked Potts where the aggregators like Indeed and Evenbase own Jobrapido fitted in to this brave new world. His reply was that Vito (Lomele), the Jobrapido founder can take content from any job board in the world and serve it up to. JobRapido have a presence in 55 countries, and are the number one job site in many of these locations. This doesn’t mean that all of these countries will be a priority (hence the research), but it does give Evenbase a foot in the door. Growth in new territories by Jobrapido will come by investment in those countries who are displaying the best potential for GDP growth, a key factor in the research.

Given the growth of Jobrapido and competitor Indeed across the globe, i asked Potts how this had impacted on the domestic job boards. My thinking was that there was now only a need to advertise on one board, and the job would go viral via the aggregators. Potts responded that recruiters haven’t caught up with this yet, and that 95% of advertisers go for the job board model. The remaining 5% opt are smarter and go for a joint approach. Whilst any job can, and will end up in the aggregation channels, it is the sponsored ads that get front page listings and promotions. An increasing amount of the aggregator revenue stream is coming from job boards, who recognize the additional traffic and response driven by these platforms. Interestingly, spend on both job boards and aggregators are continuing to increase. What is clear from the Evenbase strategy is that whichever way customer spend goes, and it may switch as more companies look to join the smart 5% who invest in both, they have both options covered. Jobrapido is proving a shrewd acquisition by the group.

Away from the job boards and aggregators, Potts highlights the new products that are being developed by Broadbean to support direct sourcing efforts. The first launch will be a universal search tool, that will enable recruiters to search across multiple channels from one place. Whilst they are not ready to share yet, there are a number of new products on the road map that Pott’s feels will make a real difference to recruiters. It will be interesting to see what is coming next, because Potts was clearly excited by the prospect.

We concluded the conversation by talking about the last piece of the digital jigsaw, social media and social recruiting. Potts has a clear view of where social meets traditional media.  He sees social as the natural partner for digital recruiting. There is the benefit of being able to integrate social profiles in to matching without the need for candidates to submit data, particularly when you consider mobile. Social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give potential  candidates the opportunity to become aware of companies through employer branding content. The research places less importance on social media, and the likelihood of job seekers turning to social in their search. I think this is an area that sometimes confuses job seekers. Whilst they may not expect to apply in a social channel, the time spent by users in the channels means they can only be influenced in all of their decision-making by the content they come across whilst browsing. It is a little bit like the mobile questions, where job seekers often  rank mobile as not important, not because they don’t want to apply by mobile, technology means it is not really an option at the moment. The result is that it is not a consideration. This will only increase response in other areas of digital media, and open up opportunities for social sourcing through the Broadbean products.

After the call, I had the opportunity to reflect on the first conversation I had with Potts when he was announcing the launch of Evenbase, and the thinking behind forming a combined digital media offering across the DMGT brands, and the second conversation after they had acquired Jobrapido. The strategy was to take the brands global, look for new investments and products that strengthened the group, and to be able to develop an offering in all areas of digital media. This was a big plan, but it looks like it is paying off in a relatively short space of time. Having witnessed this close up, the prospect of expansion based on this research is realistic. In Evenbase style they have chosen to share the full research with anyone interested. You can download this on the Evenbase site. I enjoyed my conversation with Keith, as always it was an education.

Bill

DISCLAIMER: I am an occasional adviser to Evenbase and Broadbean.

About Evenbase

Evenbase is a global digital recruitment group and part of dmg media

The Evenbase portfolio includes the flagship job board brands Jobsite and Oilcareers, the leading multi-poster and unified search provider BroadbeanJobrapido – one of the world’s largest job search aggregators, and recruitment partnerships with brands such as 02 Active and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The portfolio spans 55 countries, includes a network of over 60 recruitment sites and employs more than 400 people, with offices in North America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Australia..

Free Whitepaper: From Transaction To Relationship: The Agency Opportunity

If you’ve seen me speaking recently at the Recruitment Agency Expo in London, you might have caught my presentation of the same title. this is the whitepaper, sponsored by Colleague, which outlines my thinking. There are plenty of threats to the agency sector, but their are plenty of opportunities for those willing to change.

Be great to hear your thoughts. Bill

Now for something completely different: Jobsite.Com

I like things that are different. Companies who look at how things are done, follow user behavior and reinvent the model. The real innovation normally comes from start-ups who are agile, and have less layers of management to get “permission” from, or marketing departments not frozen by the fear of failure and perceived damage to the brand. In my experience, it is usually marketing who stifle innovation, and keeps companies rinsing and repeating the same products and process again and again. This week I saw something different, and it wasn’t from a start-up or small business.

Jobsite.Com takes the UK job board brand Jobsite to the US, except what on-line recruitment group Evenbase have come up with is not really a job board, at least not a job board as we know it. Different in virtually every respect from the tried, tested and tired model, from pricing to job listing.

I work with Evenbase from time to time, and Jobsite sponsor #truLondon. This has given me an opportunity to get a close look at their quarterly job seeker research, and products from companies like Broadbean and Jobrapido. What I’m seeing in Jobsite.Com is a combination of the expertise assembled in the Evenbase companies delivered in a new model labeled as Jobsite.Com.

What is so different about Jobsite.Com?

Firstly, it’s an aggregator with a similar user interface to Jobrapido. Jobrapido is now the second biggest vertical job search engine in the US, paving the way for the expansion of Jobsite in to the region.  One screen with two fields, What? and Where? The complicated work goes on under the hood, with no need to go from screen to screen. The jobs are scraped from direct employers career sites. Because the jobs are scraped from career sites, it is safe to assume that many of these jobs will not be advertised elsewhere.

I have been watching the matching technology that Jobsite have been developing in their lab on the south coast for the last year,now called Jobtology. This new school of matching tech does more than keyword counting, based on interpreting the meaning and context of whole documents. If you consider job specs and user profiles as two documents that match together, you get the idea of what is possible in Jobsite.Com, and the technology learns about you according to how you react to results, in order to perfect and personalize results. The more you interact, the better the result.Because jobs are scraped from sites, rather than posted by employers, I will be watching with interest to see what the % of employers are who will pay to access details, as there is no buy in process or permission needed to promote opportunities.

Jobsite.com integrates a version of Jobsite.co.uk’s award-winning job board technology, a scraping engine that aggregates jobs from millions of websites, an email marketing system, an e-commerce system, and Jobtology – Evenbase’s world-class semantic matching technology, all into one  offering.

The thinking behind this is to remove searching from job hunting and candidate matching (and this is the really exciting bit). Show potential applicants only the jobs they are interested in, qualified for and relevant, and show companies only the applicants who are qualified and relevant AND have expressed an interest in the job. Qualified and interested, that has to be a massive benefit to recruiters.

Jobsite.Com is an aggregator. That means that jobs come from multiple sources rather than just advertisers. Jobsite.Com has no advertising in the traditional way. The revenue model is based on giving hiring companies access to full profiles of interested applicants and pay $50 for contact details. No paid for jobs, no CV database or any of the traditional features. Think about how many profiles hiring companies are likely to want to connect with and what that will cost in comparison to the cost of job board advertising. I see this model of pricing as being the way all job boards will inevitably have to go, revenue by results rather than post and pray.

Applying for a job is quite simple, though geared to desktop rather than mobile in the first instance. All that is required is upload of a resume by attaching a file. up to 1500 words for a cover letter (and you get to see the job to the right of the cover letter as a reminder), drop downs for notice period, working status, expected salary minimum and max, name. address, city, state, zip code and contact numbers. There is the opportunity to save this data to profile, to avoid the need to input in the future. I’d like to see the addition of apply with LinkedIn to import data without the need for a resume or input of data. The new style of LinkedIn profile are great for this, and read much closer to a resume, are not presented as a .pdf (which has created problems when integrating with an ATS), with the option to add, delete or re-order the data. Apply with LinkedIn buttons are now on over 1 million websites globally, and would be a welcome addition here. If this was my product, I would be looking to go the extra step to make applications fully mobile. This would mean removing the need for a cover letter and resume upload, and that will take a shift in employer attitude as to what they want in an application to create access to employment.

Hiring companies access profiles of people who have expressed an interest in the job via the recruiter dashboard. Applicants are ranked by % match, with only those with a minimum score displayed. A “hot” candidate scores the minimum required level on the match, lives in the right area and has work status to fit the employer. What I really like about the back-end of Jobsite.Com is that you get to see all the data, score, resume, cover letter and personal data on one screen, with other qualifying candidates displayed as pin images on the right hand side of the screen for comparisons. Personal detail and identifying information like employer is omitted before paying for unlocking the detail. A big benefit I can see for applicants is that hiring companies will only pay to unlock the people they are really interested in, and the benefit to hiring companies is that they only see active candidates who have expressed an interest. No more time wasted searching dated CV databases or trying to contact candidates not in the market. All candidates are qualified, eligible to work and interested. Scores for candidates are calculated according to a semantic match with the job based on skills, background, experience, location and eligibility.

I spoke with Felix Wetzel, Evenbases Strategy Director about the launch. Wetzel is very clear that this is a beta launch to judge all user reactions, and to adjust the offering according to user behaviors and feedback. Wetzel is quoted as saying:

“Our immediate priority is to make sure the beta works, fine tune it, add in new development and move from beta to the full version of Jobsite.com for both candidates and hirers. Jobsite.com provides hirers already with something completely new and different and for the candidates we’ve got some equally revolutionary services in the pipeline.”

I’m excited about this offering, both for Evenbase and the job board industry as a whole. Job boards are far from dead, but they need to be evolving to stay current in this market place. Jobsite founder and Evenbase chairman Keith Potts comments:

“Our ability to update and re-invent our offering is what sets us apart. We will continue to develop and offer the latest technology to assist employers and job seekers.”

When I reviewed the launch of Evenbase, Potts was clear that the purpose of combining the brands was to be able to expand their offering globally. Jobsite.Com is a big step in this direction, and it is revolutionary in thinking. I look forward to seeing the results, and how the brave new initiatives work in the marketplace.

Bill

Disclaimer: I have worked with Evenbase on product, and Jobsite.Co.UK are regular sponsors of #truLondon.

 

 

Business Brains Tour. Guest Post By @REC

November sees the REC hitting the road for Business Brains On Tour, which brings together some top UK business talent to share their business knowledge to help you grow and develop your recruitment business.
One of the “brains” is Johnny Campbell, the CEO the Social Talent who is the recruiters social media favourite. His session will bring you up to speed on how to use social media to grow your business, attract the best candidates and use content to differentiate your business.
The REC caught up with Johnny for a quick chat to find out what we can expect from him on tour.
1. Please sum up your business philosophy in no more than 140 characters?
Be brilliant in everything you do and good things will happen. If you can’t be brilliant, do something else.
2. The economic pressures on recruitment agencies have grown in recent years – what one essential tip can you give to recruiters to help them build their business?
Companies used to rely on agencies for 80% of their hires. They are now moving towards 80% direct. If you want a share of the remaining 20%, be a specialist who is the absolute best at providing candidates in your niche. If you want to go after the 100%, you need an RPO model.
3. Recruitment has undergone huge changes in the way that it operates – what characteristics would you say are the most valuable for a successful recruitment business owner to have in the new environment?
You must be agile and focused on making yourself indispensable to your customers. Agility could mean being flexible in the pricing model that you offer, providing unusual services beyond fee based placement or just embracing the latest technologies in your operational model. What has not changed is the personal touch. This is still very much a people business. When you focus too much on the tech and the latest shiny new things, you can lose sight of the people and the relationships that are vital to the success of any recruitment business.
4. Social media has had a massive impact on the way that recruiters operate and there are a range of options on offer – what approach would you advise recruiters to take to get the most out of their social media?
Don’t use social media for the pure sake of it. Just because your competitor is on Facebook does not mean that you should be. Understand the potential value of all new tools and resources and then decide what is right for your business. To me, there are three core opportunities that recruiters can leverage from social media: 1) the enormous database of candidates that are there to be found, 2) the opportunity to market yourself and gain influence through social sites that are gradually consuming more and more internet users’ time and 3) new ways to communicate with and talk to potential candidates and clients.
5. The UK recruitment industry is continuing to grow and operate on a more global scale – what benefits are there to recruiters considering overseas markets?
With the growth of social and professional sites and the proliferation of the internet via mobile you can now hire for any job in the world using only your mobile phone. You no longer need to be in the same country, let alone the same city as the clients and candidates that you rely on, therefore the obstacles to developing business and expanding overseas have all but vanished. If you have a great business model and deliver a fantastic service, you can offer that anywhere in the world without ever leaving your local town!
6. Retaining high quality staff is key to driving business forward – what advice can you give to recruiters to make sure they hold onto to their top talent?
I met with a client recently who wanted us to deliver our Black Belt training to their staff but with one caveat; they wanted us to hold back some of our “best stuff” as they feared that if their recruiters had all of our training, they would surely leave and go elsewhere. I was discussing this with a colleague who made an excellent point; what happens if their staff don’t get the training…..and they stay! My advice is to invest in your staff, encourage self-direction, invest in a learning culture, give them something to believe in and then get out of their way and let them do their job. You don’t need free beer and fooze-ball tables to retain staff. Treat them like grown ups and say thank you once in a while and they may surprise you!
7. As an expert in your field you’re always asked for the best advice – however what would you say is the worst piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
When we started Social Talent I had this over-riding belief that if we gave away our best advice for free, people would come and they would pay for our other services. I hosted our first live webinar in January 2011 and since then we have uploaded over 30 hours of free training material to YouTube. When I first suggested doing this I was told I was mad by everyone I knew in the agency market. They just couldn’t see the value of building an audience who trust your advice and understand that it comes with no strings attached. I was told to give a little and hold back the good stuff. I decided to ignore this and believe that our whole business has succeeded on this premise. When you help someone without asking for anything in return they will at the very least ensure to recommend you to everyone they know. At best, they will seek you out above your peers if they ever have an opportunity to repay you.
The Business Brains on Tour will be running on the 19, 20 and 21 of November in Birmingham, Manchester and London. For £100 discount on your ticket, “REC Business Brains on Tour, 19-21 November 2012″ book here, using the discount code REC1

My Culture Branding E-Book With KellyOCG

I’ve been lucky enough to get a look at some real culture brands first hand. To see the way some businesses like Rackspace in Texas, HardRock in London,The BBC in London and Barclays have been able to build a distinctive culture, and frame it for public consumption. When you work with brands like these, the challenge is not to get more people to apply for jobs with the company, but to reduce the volumes and improve the efficiency of those who actually apply. The objective is to use social places to give employees a voice to show the reality of work, and to enable potential applicants to opt out if it is not for them.

All organisations have a unique culture. Culture doesn’t have to be dynamic and fun packed, it could be steady and staid, controlling or totally open and creative. The important thing is that the face you show to the world is the reality of what lives behind your four walls. That way people can choose if they want in, or not.

I was first switched on to this concept a few years ago at #truLondon by the excellent Michael long. I’ve since been lucky enough to visit Rackspace and see it in action first hand. I was delighted to share my thoughts and experiences with Sally Hunter, the RPO lead for EMEA for Kelly. Together we have produced this short e-book to share our thoughts. I hope this provokes more thought and discussion because there is more to come!
You might want to view the e-book in full screen view or download your own copy.

Bill

 

 

 

 

 

Recruiters, Sourcers, HR Folk, Technologists: I need your help

I’ve always been about connecting people, and contributing to the sense of community where I can. In the dark days BT (before Twitter), I used to sell my knowledge and experience, and guard what I know quite closely. I viewed my knowledge as this big secret tat had a big value. I had a business as a trainer that did quite well for a few years, then not so well when the recession came along and no one had any money to pay.

The thing I came to realise was that I didn’t have any big secret about recruiting. I didn’t invent anything. I was quite good at framing it. Explaining and simplifying what I knew and inspiring people to get on and do it. I could map out a good process, and spot problems, but there was nothing secret about it. Then everyone ran out of money and there was nothing to pay for a consultant or trainer, and I had to start again.

What I learnt from all this is that information and knowledge is free, and everywhere in the net age. The more of my knowledge and experience that I gave away and made public to anyone who wanted to talk or listen or read, the more people wanted to work with me to just try something crazy, something different. With #tru, I wanted to make knowledge sharing as cheap as possible, and give anyone who wanted to share a platform to do just that, and I wanted a community where  anyone with an idea, even without a reputation could share it. I also wanted a community where people can connect and help each other. Help each other not for financial gain, though plenty of people do naturally buy from the people they get to know and trust, but just because we can and it is what we do. When someone wants some help from some of the crazy folk who think differently, then we give it, because it feels good, and you never know when you are going to be doing the asking.

A few years ago I discovered Stack Overflow, the programmer community where anyone can ask questions, get answers, rank answers and recognise other contributors to the community. It mirrors my philosophy of not having any competitors, only collaborators. You can read my review of Stack Overflow HERE. This is a real community run by the community. I’m delighted that founder Joel Spolsky is going to be at #trulondon on Monday to share the story from 4.00 PM GMT. You can watch Joel’s conversation live via the Kelly Services Live Hangout (along with the rest of the 2 days by registering HERE.

Since starting to follow Stack Overflow and seeing how the community runs itself, and members help and rank each other, I’ve wanted to build something similar for the people space to do the same. I define the people space as anyone from recruiters, technology folk, HR etc who have anything to do with getting people hired.

Stack Exchange gives anyone the opportunity to set up their own Q & A site in any niche. To make this site, #trufriends, a reality we need your support. Area 51 is the incubator for these communities to test interest and content before moving to Beta and public launch. To move to the next stage we need 51 followers and 10 test questions. In Area 51 you will be asked to:

“Write an actual question that you might ask on the site.

Discussing whether questions are on-topic or off-topic helps figure out what the site is about, and, more importantly, what it’s not about.”

YOU can help make this a reality by signing up to follow the site and asking the type of questions you would want to ask on the live site, and to share the concept in your own networks. There is a way to go before we are live, but my plan is to take the community to 1000 members over the next 6 weeks. The important thing here is that the community determines for itself what #trufriends is going to be about. We are 31 followers from the next step. Please be one of the 31.

I think this will be a great resource for sharing and helping, and a real community. I want to provide the on-line place through Stack Exchange, and let the community do the rest.

Please sign up HERE and spread the word.

Bill.

 

The perfect #SocialRecruiting tool for agency owners

You remember this from the film Men In Black, a neutralizer to wipe the brain. After a few conversations this week, I think it is the only device, tool or application that would convince agency owners to take the risk and let their staff get social.

A few weeks ago I read a blog post that advised getting new starters to sign a contract to say who their contacts were on joining, and to hand over any connections when they left. The lawyers have been filling their boots (and wallets) over this fear. Devising contracts, handbooks and handcuffs to tie down new recruiters. I think it is just rubbish!

How motivating and welcoming is it to start your new job being told how you are going to have to behave when you leave, and that your new employers are already planning your exit and don’t really trust you.  It just doesn’t work. You set the scene of distrust, don’t be surprised if your recruiters do the dirty, particularly when you hired them for their contacts.

The simple message is:

YOU CANT OWN DATA ANYMORE

Data is public, it is in the public domain, and the only people who can claim ownership on LinkedIn connections or data is LinkedIn. Here is a revolutionary idea, how about you trust your recruiters, and you build relationships with the contacts in the business. If owners invest time in to the relationships in the business, then who your clients and candidates are connected with on LinkedIn is not important. The revenue is in the relationship not the connection.

We don’t yet have a neutralizer, so you can’t erase what your leavers might know. Exercise some trust and reap the benefit of social recruiting, rather than being paralyzed by fear.

Bill

The Evenbase Quarterly Job Market Review (My Take)

My friends from Evenbase recently published the Autumn edition of their quarterly job market review for the UK. I always look forward to this research because it is conducted independent of the Evenbase brands and provides a real insight in to the UK job market. The survey is conducted by HPI Research.

The survey methodology

The quarterly review is based on in-depth, independent online research among 500 job seekers and 200 recruiters, carried out by market research agency HPI in April and May 2012.
Respondents are selected from a third-party database of job seekers and businesses, with a 50/50 split of male & female respondents, as well as a good spread across factors such as age, location, sector and salary. This spread is maintained consistently across the research each quarter, so that the findings can be compared with confidence.
Job seekers are split approximately 50/50 between active and passive candidates. Active is defined as anyone who is attending interviews or has taken steps to find a new job, such as looking at relevant vacancies. Passive is defined as anyone who is considering or open to switching jobs, but has not yet taken any action.
Business respondents are selected according to business type as follows:
● 50 recruitment decision-makers from SoHos (10-49 employees)
● 75 recruitment decision-makers from SMEs (50-249 employees)
● 75 recruitment decision-makers from corporate organisations (250+ employees)

The headlines. (My thoughts are in italics below the headline.)

> 57% of active job seekers feel the job situation is worse than last year

This is an interesting stat, given that the Evenbase report that job advertising is up on the last quarter. More jobs but less confidence. This perhaps reflects the miss-match between the types of jobs and the experience and skills of the job seekers who are active. In demand employees tend to be in demand by their current employees  with less job insecurity and a reluctance to move. I describe this as the war for other people’s talent.

> Advertised vacancies have risen from  5.5 to 7.7 mostly on-line

For the moment, advertising is still the default process for companies recruiting. Get a job, post it and see what happens. As more companies in the corporate sector develop their direct sourcing capability in their recruiting teams I anticipate this changing. Not imminently, but gradually quarter by quarter over the next few years. Job boards will never die, there will always be a place for job portals but I anticipate more companies looking to their own resources over time. In particular, I would be interested in how many of these companies are moving from automatic post to developing talent pipelines and developing their capability to search historical candidates.

> SoHo employers have open posts but corporate and SME remain cautious

The growth in hiring is coming from companies with under 50 employees. Smaller companies are more agile to change, responding to changing market demands and technology. Smaller companies will also contain a good % of technology start ups in the last 3 years who were set up and built with the new economy in mind. Those that are proving successful will be the ones hiring for growth. Technology companies should be considering offerings for this sector. Recently Work4Labs have announced the release of a free SME facebook job posting tool, Tribepad have released an SME version of their enterprise product, SMART Recruiters have developed a free ATS. These are great examples of products developed for this growth market.

> Job seekers using agencies as the route to work down 5% on the last quarter

This perhaps reflects the perception job seekers have of the value of agencies right now, and should be a worrying statistic for them. Another consideration though might be that as the active job seekers don’t match the needs of the active employers (as evidenced in point one), the agencies are distancing themselves from less in demand candidates and being more specific in advertising and approaches. Job seeker apathy seems to be prevalent right now, evidenced by some of the results in this latest survey. As much as they are reluctant to make speculative inquiries to employers, they are also moving away from registering with multiple agencies unless there is a very specific job advertised. If I were running an agency right now I would want to investigate this to understand why agencies are being seen as less of a source of the best next move, and more of a necessary evil for a specific job.

> Job seekers making speculative applications down 6% after a 9% rise last quarter

This is a reflection of 2 things in my opinion. Job seeker apathy, and unfriendly technology and process employed by corporate companies. When I reviewed a series of career sites recently, it was not uncommon to see notifications of speculative CVs not welcome or “if you don’t hear from us in 3 weeks we are not interested.” The speculative CVs fall through the cracks and just get ignored. It comes as no surprise to discover that job seekers are deciding this is a waste of time, which means companies could be missing out on some great talent, and need to rethink this process.

The most used recruitment methods.

> For SoHo organisations personal networks are the most used recruitment method – 35, job boards – 25, newspaper ads – 20, agencies – 15, trade publication ads – 10, social networks – 15.

> For S.M.E.’s:   Trade publication ads – 30,  Job boards – 32, Newspaper ads – 30, Personal networks – 25, Agency – 22,Social networks – 16.

> For Corporate: Agencies – 32, Trade publications – 27, Job boards – 25, Newspaper ads – 22, Personal networks – 20, Social networks – 10.

I would be interested in knowing where social media fits in with the high ranking personal networks. It might be that social channels like LinkedIn are an important part of personal networks, and what the respondents mean is that they are not planning on posting jobs in social networks. This is an area of confusion for many people, what recruiting via social media actually means. I also feel that the impact of employer branding activity in social media channels should not be under estimated in driving applications via career sites and job boards, although these may not be included in the respondents thinking.

The agency numbers for corporate remains high. I would be surprised to see this figure remaining high over the next 6 months, as more corporates adopt direct sourcing as an approach to hiring. It would be interesting to know the split between RPO and agency hiring, which I suspect would paint a different picture.

Most considered job search methods by job seekers.

> Job boards – 75, Company websites – 72, Newspaper ads – 70, Agencies – 60, Spec CVs – 55, Trade publications – 50, Social networks – 40.

Probably the biggest surprise here is that newspaper ads and trade publications feature so highly. I would be interested in understanding how much of this is through traditional printed newspaper ads, and how much is through the associated on-line job sites. If you go to Guardian On-line for example, or the caterer on line, would you consider this a newspaper or a job board? I suspect the former, though my view is that it is the latter. 

Most considered recruitment methods by business

> Job boards – 60, Newspaper ads – 50, Personal networks – 50, Agencies – 45, Trade publications – 47, Social networks – 40.

It is interesting to note that career sites feature so highly on the job seeker list, but don’t merit a mention in the considered recruitment methods by business. Perhaps this explains the generally poor state of many career sites, with limited investment in development or design, particularly around mobile.

> Smartphone ownership among job seekers up from 47% to 71% in 3 months.

> Location search for jobs the big feature

This is really self explanatory, and begs the question why more companies are not taking mobile and mobility more seriously. With such a hike in Smartphone ownership by job seekers, you would expect the increase in mobile sites and mobile friendly features to grow at the same rate; You would also expect mobile to be top of the list of requirements that companies want from job boards, but it doesn’t. 

Last week I blogged that e-mail opens on mobile devices had now taken over from desktops. Even features like jobs by e-mail, and the attached links should reflect this. If messages are going to mobile, and job seekers are opening them in the down time, then the job boards should reflect this. I suspect the reason mobile is not more in demand from companies is that they are not yet ready to extend the experience from board to application. 

The location features is perhaps the most interesting point in this data, and is a key consideration in how jobs are served to job seekers. It is common to post jobs from the location of the recruiter rather than the location of the job. I will be posting on this in more detail next week, in the build up to the mobile tracks at #trulondon.

> Price the biggest factor in choosing job boards,Specialism and knowledge feature highly.

No surprise to see price as the biggest factor in choosing a board. When price is the main consideration, it is fair to assume that companies find it close to impossible to differentiate between the main boards. This should be an important consideration for the boards themselves. Companies are less interested in the value add features like video upload, and are looking at the basic features.

Based on the points around specialization being key in choice, the main boards need to find a way to segment jobs and develop focus in core markets. This will help companies to compare board to board in order to choose the best option on something other than price. The desire for niche locations should also send a clear message to agency recruiters, the appetite in the market is for specialization, and clear differentiation. 

>Social media features are ranked as slightly more important than previous surveys, though still not important.

It is encouraging to see an increasing demand for social media features, even it is quite low. I would expect this to continue growing over the next year, becoming more important to companies. Over the last year we have seen more social features develop linking the boards with the job seekers social networks. The more features that are added to the major job boards, the more important they will become in buying decisions.

> Press and TV advertising to support job boards the biggest drop in importance to companies.

Only down by 7%, but the biggest drop in this section of the survey. I think this might be a reaction by the increased spend over the last quarter by all the boards in media and TV advertising. As each of the main boards even up the spend, it becomes less of a differentiator, and as a result, less important in decision making.

> Mobile still not featured as a requirement by companies

As mentioned earlier in the post, mobile is off the companies radar right now, but this has to change.

This is a quote from the report that gives a good indication as to job seeker behaviors:

“For the second quarter in a row, a close look at the most popular and desired job board services among job seekers yields few surprises.
Browsing for jobs remains the most used service, but there was
continued growth in the number of people researching sectors and
companies – an indication that job seekers are spending more time
on preparation and less time on direct approaches to companies,
further illustrated by the reduced numbers of candidates storing CVs online for direct applications.”

My feeling is that this is in part down to the rise in mobile.Job browsing via mobile in down time is also another factor in the browsing figures. I know from previous data from Jobsite that mobile access to the board continues to rise.month on month. 

The quest for more information indicates that job seekers, particularly those who are working, want to be 100% sure of their decision before applying. This highlights the big part social media and employer branding can play in the decision. The more information that is easily accessible, the more likely the potential candidates will be able to research and make informed decisions. This type of employer brand content does not necessarily increase applications, because candidates are as likely to opt out as opt in, but it often results in an increase the efficiency of application to interview to hire.  I would be interested in seeing future surveys asking companies what employer branding activity they are doing in social to support their recruiting efforts, and job seekers, what research they conduct in social media channels. My feeling is that this would give a much better insight in to the part social media is playing in recruiting, and not just the applying part.

> CV uploads up by 9% to job boards

Again my feeling is that this is linked to the impact of mobile. Candidates need a CV on-line in order to apply via mobile. This also illustrates that job seekers are in for the long haul. Uploading a CV to a database is a more passive approach to speculative applications. The job seekers want to give companies access to their details. In the last report from Evenbase, there was a big increase in the time employers were spending searching the database. This increase could be an extension of this. As job seekers have got results from being on the database, so news spreads.

> New measure of the desire for contacting employers via Facebook and LinkedIn – low at 17%.

For the first time, the survey looked at how job seekers felt about being contacted directly in social media channels by employers. The low number is a surprise. I suspect this is the result of clumsy recruiter contact in LinkedIn. The Facebook question is an interesting one. When asked the question, job seekers often say that they do not wish to be contacted in this channel. This contradicts the reality of the volume of hiring that goes on in the channel through fan pages. I would like to see that question posed the other way round, “How would YOU feel about contacting employers in social media channels?”. I suspect the results would be quite different.

> Researching companies by job seekers continually  growing in importance.

I won’t comment further on this as it has been covered in some detail earlier in the post.

> CV to email and jobs to print most desirable features. No appetite for video upload, chat or other perceived value add services by employers.

It looks like employers want the simple functions with no frills. I think it is probably to early to dismiss these add on features yet. It is notable that job seekers want access to more information on companies, whilst the companies want to stick to the provision of the basic information i:e: jobs. This could be because companies are not ready for video or engagement features yet, rather than a lack of demand from the job seekers.

> Most used services by employers CV search and advertising a job.

CV searching continues to grow in importance to employers. this indicates that recruiters are taking a more proactive approach to sourcing people, possibly because they are not getting the response they want from advertising, or because they are unsure what they are looking for and want to see the options. Either way, it seems that both job seekers and employers are heading in the same direction for a change on this one. As searching in CV databases becomes more sophisticated through the addition of new features, I would expect to see this rising as a source of hire.

> Display of print advertising on boards doubled this quarter.

This points towards companies wanting to stand out to beat off the competition. Employers clearly feel that visual look will help them to be different and improve response rates. I’m not sure that this is not thinking old school newspaper advertising i.e.: the biggest ad stands out. It would be interesting to see some data on the improved (or not) effectiveness of display ads.

Once again, thanks to Evenbase and Jobsite for making this data publicly available. When you follow it over time you start to see the trends evolving. You can download the original report HERE. This certainly impacts on my thinking. My big take-aways are the gap between what job seekers want and employers demand from job boards. It is almost opposite (except for the CV database), the certainty candidates are looking for before applying, and the rise of mobile.

Be glad to know your thoughts,

Bill

DISCLAIMER: Evenbase and Jobsite are platinum sponsors of #truLondon