Being A Recruiter

It’s 2 sleeps till #truParis and only 2 weeks away from #TruLondon, and this week I’m preparing to go live on a big social recruiting implementation. It’s fairly crazy times, but there’s nothing new in that in Boorman world. This morning I completed a screen test for a series of programs on recruiting with a researcher today, and as part of a Q&A session they asked me what it was like to be a recruiter, and my answer, without any spin was that it was, and is a privilege.

Heres the thing, I sometimes need reminding that I’m a recruiter, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.Everyone who works around what I call the people space, does so with one end result in mind. It doesn’t make a difference if I’m working on a social recruiting implementation project, delivering a keynote or twitter or Facebook training, the end zone is still the same, if you’re a corporate or agency recruiter its the same, there’s no difference It applies to all the people involved in technology, digital media (in recruiting), job boards, whatever it is, we do it with the same objective, and that objective is to get people hired by companies, and to get companies the people they need to make their business succesful. Whatever the angle we are coming from, that makes us recruiters in my book, and though it is easy to lose sight of it with so much negative talk surrounding recruiting, it is a rare privilege.

As a reminder to anyone who might be wondering, this is why I’ve always loved recruiting.

You are empowered with trust. A company’s success is dependent on the people they hire. It is the single biggest factor, and businesses trust recruiters to find and hire the best talent. The single biggest factor in a person’s life is the work they do. Work that provides, motivates and impacts directly or indirectly on every other part of their life. People trust recruiters to make introductions and to make decisions that affect their lives more than anything else. They trust us with their careers and their futures. I’ll say it again, they empower us with their trust, and we should be proud of that.  

Recruiters are in a unique position to have real and meaningful impact in so many ways. However you label the people you come in to contact with in your professional life, talent, candidates, applicants, whatever, always be mindful that they are people. Not just numbers in a matrix, and that each resume and application represents someones hope and trust. We should treat it accordingly.

Whatever your contribution to getting people hired by the organisations you represent either directly, as an agent or just being involved in the process somewhere, be thankful of the trust placed in you, recognise the responsibility, and be proud to be a recruiter. I consider it an honour to have worked in and around recruiting for the last 30 years, you should be to!


Imagineering Recruitment Software And Process.

Imagine you could take a hammer to your recruitment software, smash it up and start again. Taking what you know now about the way you work, incorporating how you might work in the future and the features you might need. Starting out with a blank sheet of paper and imagineering something new.

Imagineering is a phrase coined by the Aluminium Company Of America in the 1940′s to describe combining known engineering principle and the imagination of what was possible. It’s a phrase adopted by Disney, who employ Imagineers, whose job it is to design, build and develop theme parks, and stretch the bounds of what is possible. Stephen O’Donnell wrote a blog post on #trulondon last Feb, and how this was like being in a room of imagineers on Recruitment technology, and from that post I had an idea. What if we could imagineer the tech we use day to day, and come up with something new.

We are very often limmited in our thinking and practice by the technology we have, rather than what we could have. We accept limitations in technology because that is what is available rather than what is possible. Most recruiting technology was built P.S. (pre-social), and although social features may have been added as an add on in recent years, most processes and the technology that supports it is built on old recruitment rules and practice, and things are changing. Most recruiting process in organisations was designed to fit technology, rather than process dictating the technology.

It’s a common problem that I see when I go in to organisations, in particular recruiting software that was built for information storage rather than information retrieval. The type of A.T.S. that is great at hiding information, obstructing candidates in the application process and to reduce volumes, tracking a legal process rather than smoothing the transition between candidate approach and hire. If you could start again where would you start?

Theres a few key features that would fit in with my imagineering, and the candidate would be at the heart of the process. Not thinking of the process as applying for a job, progressing or being rejected in a single transactional process.

I want connecting being as simple as one click, and to be connected in all the social places, not just one.

I’d want the process to be one where people are people, rather than candidates or talent, and companies and people connect and communicate,with accessibility between people in the outside world and the hiring organisations.

I’d like my data to be real time, constantly updating, rather than being dated from the first date of contact. (In particular I’m thinking of the resume/CV.) That means being able to access the latest data where it is, without the candidate needing to update it for themselves. Taking data from social places like LinkedIn and Facebook.

I’d like full analytics on everything I’m doing, that will help with decision making, so that I can make decisions based on facts rather than gut feel. I want to know whats working and why, rather than think I know. I’d like my technology to use the data to help with predictive decision making, and make suggestions to people that help them, like Amazon for recruiting. 

I’d like my tech to be collaborative, so that I can plug in to API’s, applications, tools and other tech, and get all the data in one place, and only need to make any action once, and to have my actions tracked for me, without needing to carry out other actions. 

I’d like to be able to search inside and outside of the technology, and access the results in one place, using any search methodology I choose.

I want all my information in one place, with a simple dashboard.

I want my data to be secure and confidential, with the flexibility to scale up and down according to the need.

These are just a few of my thoughts about how I want my recruiting technology. #TruLondon track sponsor and Microsoft Partner ColleagueRS are interested in the same thing. They want to look at how recruiting software could be with a little imagineering, and will be running a track to see what recruiters and candidates really want, and they want to learn by listening rather than talking.  The challenge is quite simple. One hour with a blank sheet of paper, active and vocal participants and an open mind, to imagineer recruitment software for the current day. They will be recording everyones thoughts and producing a post-event white paper on what recruiters think is possible and needed. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Thanks to the team at Colleague for supporting #trulondon.

Hope you can join the conversation, and in the meantime, fire your thoughts over in the comments section and apply a little imagineering.


Automating Recruiting #Trulondon

WhiteTruffle is a San Francisco based web start-up, the brain child of Frenchman Alex Deve, who describe the business as e-harmony for recruiters. I met Alex in San francisco, and again in London recently, where he brought me up to speed with the progress the business is making. I like the concept and thinking behind the site, and the way the product is evolving. It is deliberately disruptive. More of an automated recruiter than a candidate database or job board.

WhiteTruffle introduces engineers to companies, and companies to engineers, and they do it in a different way to a conventional job board or C.V. database, adding recruiter thinking to technology, using dynamic data intelligence to continually understand and match profiles. It’s not surprising that the site is designed to think like a recruiter, as Deve’s 2 business partners are executive headhunters in the technology sectors. I know from experience that although recruiters mostly believe they work on instinct to see a match, with no real repetitive process, the reality is quite different. I’ve had the same discussions when trying to implement a recruitment database for a national business.  Habits become so engrained over time, they become automatic actions.

Deve spent several months mapping what his co-founders did in their recruitment business. How they read resumes. The questions they asked while matching and profiling candidates, and how they learnt from feedback. He looked at the questions they asked to understand job descriptions, and how they took feedback from clients to modify and change what they are looking for. More importantly, he noted the consistencies between one recruiter and another to determine the outline for the platform.

Not surprisingly, given the recruiter influence, they’ve introduced a pricing model that is familiar. The site is free for engineers to put in their profiles, and it’s free for recruiters to use. A fee becomes payable when a candidate gets hired. At the moment the percentage and fee is determined by what the hiring company thinks the candidate is worth, and so far it has worked out close to what an agency fee would be for the same placement. There’s no policing of introductions, it’s all on trust, although candidates can claim a $200 voucher when they get a job through the site, and this acts to make them aware of hires. In the next phase the plan is to move to a subscription model, regardless of volume of hires. 

Registration is simple and quick, as all sites should be, with one click to import the LinkedIn and Facebook profile and a CV upload, with the only fields required being those left unpopulated. This is followed by simple qualifying questions over work status, permit etc, and a series of tags relating to type of employer. The company and job description follows a similar frame, and the automated matching starts, as you’d expect, with the usual key-words. Thats where the similarity to a normal career site ends.

Both the job and the profile are kept anonymous. The job seeker gets to see the job and decide if they are interested, and the hiring company gets to see the profiles matched. One party only gets to see the full detail of the other when both have expressed an interests. Deve expressed an opinion that Linked In and the Job boards are over populated with recruiters. The candidates who use WhiteTruffle do so because they were tired of getting too many irrelevant approaches when they used the traditional sites, often as many as 10 – 15 a day. By staying anonymous until everyone is interested in a conversation solves this problem for all party’s, with recruiters also only speaking to candidates who are interested. It’s much cleaner all round.

The site includes some Amazon like features, like, other candidates like you were also interested in these jobs, and companies interested in this candidate were also interested in these candidates. While this is useful, the feature I really like though is the way the system learns from the candidate and hiring companies choices. Preference is given to those profiles on either side that are active and respond to approaches, and are “rewarded” with new introductions, those who are less responsive drop down the list.

When a candidate rejects or accept a job or opportunity they are asked why. The same for hiring managers rejecting resumes. The information gathered after each action and the answers are used to build up intelligence to enable the system to make more and more accurate choices. The more the system knows about you from your actions and feedback, the better it works for you. The questions asked and the data gathered are the same as the questions I would ask candidates or clients when I was a recruiter, that helped me understand their needs and wants a little bit better after each interaction. The more I understood about the emotions and motivations of candidates and clients, the easier it was to make the right matches. People get interviews based on skills and experience, and candidates take interviews based on similar criteria. Increasingly, research is showing that candidates are only applying for jobs they are confident they can get and want. This process can only help in this, and I will be watching the feedback with interest, to see how these intelligent profiles work out.

What strikes me is that this kind of intelligence gathering and matching technology has been used successfully for the last few years, hence the description as e-harmony. What we do know is that dating sites like e-harmony have a fantastic success rate of matching couples based on emotional intelligence, interests and feedback. A job is a kind of marriage, with an interview being a first date. If it works in dating and few people now question it, why not recruiting?

Deve gets excited and animated when he talks about the need for disruptive practices in the recruitment marketplace. In his view, (and I’m inclined to agree), much of the existing technology and practice that is used today is unhelpful for jobseekers and employers. It’s clogging up the market on both sides, and although there are some exceptions, mostly an overhaul is needed. I’ve heard Deve’s fellow countryman and friend, Jerome Ternyck of  disruptive ATS company SMART recruiters, speaking on the same subject. It is Jerome s view that there’s lots of open jobs, particularly in the SME sector, and plenty of people with the right skills who are unemployed. Complicated application processes and lack of acknowledgement and feedback has led to applicant lethargy. The employers are unhappy because they can’t connect with the right talent, and the job seekers are just fed up because they can’t connect with employers. The technology needs fixing to make the process work.Both Ternyck and Deve are setting out to open up access to all, and I wish them well in that.

I asked Deve what the long term vision was for the business. Interestingly, he was more interested in how the product would develop, rather than what the exit might be. Similar to Lucian Tarnowski, over at the talented community, Brave New Talent, Deve sees a future where these technologies can be used to identify skills gaps between where a candidate is now, and where they want to be in the future, benchmarked against others, with on-line resources being made available to develop the candidate to the required next level. It’s an exciting prospect to develop careers platforms rather than purely transactional job finding services. These forward thinkers make a valid link between recruiting and development through technology,and I’m starting to think this vision is not too far away from becoming a reality.

At #truAustralia in Melbourne, Kevin Wheeler spoke about how in the future the recruitment process was going to be considerably shortened through automation, video selection, assessments and testing and referencing, using products like Checkster, the brilliant 360 degree reference tool. Wheeler contends that there’s far too much time spent on preliminary interviews conducted by untrained interviewers. This is not effective for the hiring company, and frustrating for the candidate. This process change would reduce the number of interviews to 1 or 2, with better outcomes. I couldn’t help thinking how this might fit in with developments planned at WhiteTruffle. Wheeler will be leading a track at #trulondon on this thinking, and Deve hopes to be there. It will be an interesting conversation.

Whilst WhiteTruffle is focussed on engineers, this technology and methodology is equally applicable to any niche sector. Deve is quick to point out that there will always be a place for recruiters who can bring relationships and a personal approach. I agree with this, and it gives further evidence why recruiters need to be moving from transactional practice to one based on relationships, and the winner in all this could just be the candidate. Thats got to be great news!



White Truffle

SMART Recruiters

Brave New Talent

Kevin Wheeler


Two Screen Recruiting Events

I’ve been working at the BBC recently, on a social recruiting project. It’s given me a great opportunity to see behind the scenes at how a corporation and broadcaster are increasingly using social media to connect with viewers during programs. When you see the reach and the volume of activity it is quite astounding. The reality now is that we need all of our media to be interactive. Traditional media was one-dimensional. They broadcast, we watched.

I read somewhere once that Children under 5 had stopped watching TV because they were unable to interact with it. They have grown up with i-pads, computer games, interactive toys almost from birth, they can’t maintain interest in anything that is 1 dimensional. It is an interesting thought. Most mainstream TV has a hashtag these days, and the backstream goes on long after the program is broadcast. This starts with the topic or theme of the show, comments on the show then a whole series of side conversations, observations and new questions. For a great example of this take a look at the BBC Question Time hashtag, #BBCQT , the news or any political program, sports  event or soap. We don’t want to watch now, we want to be a part of the story, and connect with others who share our opinion or interest.

One of the really interesting areas this is developing is around two screen viewing. This is when the viewer can interact with the program, bookmark things, go and get additional information or resources and interact with others. Apps like GetGlue and Simo have been developed for viewers to check in and take part. The Disney app responds to audio from the broadcast or recording and pushes additional content to hand-held devices. More and more people are moving to dual screen viewing, watching and interacting, making television an experience. Think clapometers on the x-factor app, voting, tweeting and other functions, it has become a part of our day-to-day viewing. TV on, hand-held device within easy reach.

I’ve been thinking about how this can be applied to recruiting. If you follow this blog, you will know that I’m a big advocate of running live recruiting events particularly combining Facebook pages, livestream broadcast and employees. Webinars are another area that are much underused by recruiters. Broadcast a specialist topic to attract people with skills, and promote opportunities or a talent network at sign up as an option. It is proving very effective, and remember that it’s good content that attracts.

If you then consider how you could integrate 2 screen thinking in to the recruiting event, there’s a world of possibility. I don’t think it is that futuristic if we look at how this works with TV. The same technology and applications could be used to provide additional resources, more information and live connections with recruiters, hiring managers or employees in a private, instant messaging environment via a handheld device or tablet, whilst running a livestream, chat or similar on-line event.

I could see this being really effective, and a great way to reach a target audience of employees. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone is aware of any examples of this yet, or if recruiting is once again lagging behind in this area.

At #trulondon Paul Harrison of Carve Consulting is going to be running a track on “looking outside the social recruiting bubble.” The point of this track is to look at what other sectors are doing to develop tech and methodology, and how this can be applied to recruiting or HR. I’m going to be discussing two screen thinking as a part of this. I hope you can join the conversation.



BBC Click: The phenomenon of two screen viewing

BBC R&D Blog: Dual screen experiences

Get Glue



Free Job Boards And New Recruiter Revenues?

I’ve been following the twitter stream from the Enhance Media Conference (#EMConf) today. The event covers all areas of on-line recruiting, and attracts about 450 attendees.I reported the twitter stream in my last post. It’s a long reading but well worth a glance to pick out your own highlights. There’s some real nuggets in there. Thanks to everyone who tweeted.
There’s a few recurring themes that keep jumping out from all these conversations that really get me thinking. Before the event, I read the excellent quarterly recruitment review from Jobsite, and blogged about the findings. 4 points stood out for me:

1: Recruiters are increasing the number of job boards they are using due to the difficulty in locating niche talent.

2: Conversely job seekers are reducing the numbers of job boards they are using, with many reverting to just 1, probably because of the same jobs posted in multiple channels, and job seeker fatigue.

3: Recruiters are becoming increasingly pro-active in sourcing, and less reliant on ads. This doesn’t mean job boards are losing out though, as recruiters are increasingly turning to C.V. databases to locate candidates, and see this as the most valuable feature of the job board.

4:Corporate recruiters are reducing cost of hire by moving to a direct sourcing model, at the expense of agency recruiters. Though agencies still feature highly in source of hire, it is decreasing and this trend is expected to continue.

Josh Bersins report on the UK market backs up this point. The average cost of hire in the UK is £5,311 compared to £2,158 in the US. The report attributes this difference to an over reliance on agencies in the UK, and that 50% of the companies in the research had consciously reduced their agency spend over the last year. At most conferences I attend or follow, corporate recruiter after corporate recruiter tells the same story, less reliance on agencies and less spend. The story coming out of #EMConf was very much the same.
Enhance Media’s Giles Guest,always one for research and stats, again made the point that recruiters were now using 3 – 5 job boards, and found the CV database the most valuable feature. The last speaker of the day, Gary Franklin, founder of The FIRM. (The forum for in-house recruitment managers), echoed the same story from member research. Nearly all the members used job boards, had reduced agency spend and ranked the C.V. database as the top feature.
Betwen Jobsite, The FIRM and Enhance Medias research, you’ve got to be talking 1000′sof corporate recruiters, all telling the same story, echoing the key-points of the Jobsite research. This has to be more than a short-term trend.
So what does this trend mean for the future? The happiest man in the room must have been Lee Biggins, owner of CV library, who operate a UK CV database of over 4,375,816 live CVs.and growing daily, drawn in by job aggregation featuring over 56,692 Live Jobs. Happy days for Lee, where the emphasis on the platform has always been the CV database. And this gets me thinking on how these factors could impact on the future of job boards and recruitment agencies.
Until recruiters develop internet sourcing skills on mass, sourcing from social profiles and other places, the importance of an up to date, accurate and easily searchable CV database is going to be invaluable. Corporate recruiters are getting increasingly pro-active, and need these single destinations to find candidates. Job seekers in turn are less active on job boards, and that means they are looking to be found rather than go looking at adverts. Is it inconceivable that the only value of job advertising on the database is candidate attraction to register their C.V? The increase in advertising spend on TV by Jobsite and other players in the market, promoting upload your CV rather than find a job ad would suggest that the job boards have been thinking this way for some time. They would certainly have been the first to see this trend.
The Jobsite research also highlighted that job seekers are only applying for jobs they are confident in getting. The job requirement needs to feature prominently in job ads to make them effective, and it often doesn’t. If job seekers are tired of applying for jobs they are not getting, this could lie behind this mind-set, with a reliance on the CV database because if recruiters call them, they must be a fit.
If this trend continues and increases, is it conceivable that advertising cost is reduced, perhaps even to the point of being free, in order to attract candidates to register their CV in the database? Is this the future revenue model for job boards?

We also need to consider what this means to agencies. The market is shrinking significantly, and that should lead to a change of thinking in the way that agency recruiters operate.
The one asset many agencies have is an over loaded data-base of CV’s. Agencies have been collecting them for years, a percentage with added notes from interview or conversation, and often in niche sectors. Could this be where the real potential revenue is for agencies in the future? They have the CV’s and records, the hiring companies would be willing to pay for their own access.
Now there’s no doubt that there will be legal considerations around data-protection and access, but these could be worked around by gaining consent to access, and presenting the data in the right searchable format. Whilst less corporates are willing to pay for the full recruitment process, what price would they put on access to recruiters data?

I’m going to be opening this up in 2 tracks at #trulondon on 22′nd – 23′rd Feb: Recruiter Models and Big Data. Come and join the conversation.


Jobsite Research

Josh Bersins UK Market Report
Enhance Media
Gary Franklin
CV Library


My Take On The @JobsiteUK Quarterly Recruitment Review #TruLondon

#TruLondon platinum sponsor, and good friend to #tru, Jobsite UK, have just released their latest results from candidate and recruiter research, that tells an interesting story. I always value this research published each quarter, because it is conducted by an independent research company.  HPI,  conduct on-line research of 500 job seekers and 200 Recruiters, (split between corporate and agency.) The survey was conducted between October and November 2011. This post is my interpretation of the report, and some thoughts of my own. You can download the research on the link at the end of this post. The report is detailed and thought-provoking, and provides plenty of opportunity for discussion.

Thanks again Jobsite for sharing!

The Quarterly Recruitment Review.

Before going in to what the data tells us, I think it is worth noting that the research is taken from active job seekers who are being proactive in their job search. My experience of the businesses I’m working with is that an important part of attraction strategy needs to be targeted at those candidates labelled passive. Those that are probably still employed, (due to their skills being in demand), and it is this target group that is best approached through engagement and a social approach. I make this point not to discredit or rubbish the results, because I think they are important, but because it would be easy to underestimate the importance of a social approach based on the results. That said, the results illustrate why a balanced approach to recruiting is still important, to attract the passive (reached through social), and the active (reached through more traditional means.).
50% of the candidates who responded declared themselves as active in the job market, and 50% declared themselves as not active, but would consider a move over the next 12 months. I think that there is a third important category for recruiters to consider. That is those people who are not considering a move, and are content in their jobs. In my opinion, this is an important part of the market, given that hiring managers are increasingly looking for 100% fit. We also need to consider that many of the new jobs in the “knowledge” economy have not previously existed, and working people have evolved in to these roles in line with the changing demands of their employers, both in terms of skills and knowledge. Because these people are moving forward in their careers with their existing employers, they are less likely to be active, and in particular looking at job boards or advertising. This section of the talent pool are only likely to be reached through a strategy of direct sourcing or social engagement, to tempt them in to looking. They will also have very different needs in terms of content or relationship, perhaps taking an even longer term view. This section of the talent pool are not covered by the research, that said, this is only my opinion and i have no data to support it.
Equally, I think it is easy to underestimate the importance of employer branding, as an extension of corporate brand, and reputation in attracting talent now and in the future. There is nothing in the report to say why candidates choose one employer over another, other than the impact of one ad over another, and where the candidates have formed their opinions on employers. This may be much less important to candidates who are actively looking for a job, including those who are unemployed and driven by different needs, but it is an important consideration none the less, and central to a social recruiting strategy. What the report does tell us is that the number of candidates incorporating social in to their active job search is up to nearly 50% of those surveyed. This tells me that whilst this is not the principle approach to job seeking, there is an increasing appetite for social, and I don’t see this diminishing. Of equal interest and importance is the increase in candidates using career sites as a means of choosing target employers, following job opportunities and applying. This should be the wake up call for many companies to take another look at their career site and its growing importance as more than just a notice board for jobs.
For the first time since the research began in 2008, more advertisers are choosing job board advertising over printed media. This is not the story of job boards dying.

The key headlines:

> The mood among job seekers is continuing to look black, with a continued increase in the number of job seekers who feel less optimistic about their prospects looking forward. Only 23% of those asked felt more optimistic.
> S.M.E. businesses reported decreased hiring in the last quarter with a surprising growth in the S.O.H.O. (Small or home office environment) , now accounting for nearly 25% of hiring. That said, S.M.E.’s account for the highest % of hiring, narrowly ahead of corporate businesses.
> Employers are showing more confidence in the use of agencies for hiring, increasing by 4 points over the last quarter, though agencies have slipped from second to third choice behind on-line job boards and newspaper advertising. This is perhaps explained by the more pro-active approach taken by corporate recruiters, away from using agencies as a default setting. I would expect this trend to continue, along with a growth in social. Although the report shows minor use by employers, increased use by job seekers (up to nearly 50%), can only bring a growth in social recruiting by employers looking to capitalise.
> Recruiters are moving from using one job board to using multiple boards. This is perhaps explained by the reported increased difficulty in finding the right candidates. As talent gets harder to find, the recruiters are spreading the net, perhaps an indication of the need for recruiters to look at other methods of attraction including social recruiting, outside of the traditional newspaper/job board route.
> By contrast, job seekers are increasingly reducing the number of job boards they are using, with increasing numbers reporting using one board. The majority are still using multiple boards, but this is decreasing notably. As the report suggests, this is probably due to job seekers seeing repeat ads across a number of boards, leading to the decision to save time and just use one. The challenge for the job boards being the need to win unique advertisers and job seeker loyalty. This highlights the challenge the job boards face in providing the best candidate experience, and perhaps explains the increased spend by job boards on TV and similar advertising, and increased social media activity aimed at raising brand awareness and loyalty.
> The number one function for job seekers, as always, remains the opportunity to browse jobs in one place and environment. Ease of navigation and locating jobs is clearly the most important thing for job seekers, as it always has been, however, this is notably down this quarter to its second lowest ever figure. As the report suggests, this is probably due to the fact that job seekers are only interested in applying for jobs they know they can get. This is perhaps a symptom of job seekers getting worn down by rejection or lack of feedback, and choosing to concentrate only on jobs they are confident they can get. For recruiters this means being very specific about what you are looking for in job postings, making this easy to locate and catch the eye, with less attention to the “fluffy” detail favoured by many copy writers. This also perhaps marks the end of the practice of job seekers taking a “flyer.”
> Job notifications by e-mail are returning in popularity. There was a period of time where innumerable matching of offerings from many services amounted to spam,and this led to a decline in popularity of this service. perhaps the move to single job board use is also a factor in this. Using one job board only means less e-mails, but those received having greater relevance. What I take from this is the need for recruiters to ensure that any automated matching and filtering is accurate from a career site, leaning towards the talent network approach. This also means enough data needs to be collected and searchable at sign up. Any matching technology will only be as accurate as the data to match to. Recruiters should also be considering how they write and add jobs, with enough match points to ensure accuracy.Thekey point I take from this again is job seekers declaring “I want to hear about jobs I can get, rather than jobs I might want.”
> The 3 key factors in recruiters choosing which job board to use are price, as recruiters look to reduce cost per hire in any way they can,specialisation or reach to attract the harder to find candidates, and an active strategy to attract new candidates on to the board. This perhaps explains the increase in T.V. and social activity by the UK job boards, which is more than I can remember at any time. The research shows that this kind of activity is as important for client attraction, as candidate attraction, and is perhaps an important message for recruitment agencies that they need to maintain a high brand profile, aside from posting jobs.
> Regional profile also features highly, continuing the theme from previous research that local is the number one requirement for job seekers.This should be encouraging for regional boards and recruiters, and highlights the need to have a local brand, as well as a national or even global brand.
> Surprisingly, there has been a decreased desire for mobile or social features on job boards, despite significantly increased use of social channels by the world at large, witnessed by the significant growth in user accounts. Whilst engagement, mobile and interactivity is seen as important on career sites, and with individual recruiters, job seekers are less interested in these functions on job boards, perhaps related to the main attraction being the opportunity to browse, get jobs by e-mail and apply. Interestingly, this is in contrast to much of what the commentators are advising job boards need to do to avoid imminent death. I suspect the comments on mobile features relate to an assumption by job seekers that mobile compatibility, and ease of operation is standard now.For many, accessing job boards by mobile is the normal route to access, not considered any different to P.C. access, and only noticed when it is not possible.
> Recruiters report that the most important feature of any job board is a searchable C.V. database, preferring to pro-actively search for candidates, rather than advertise and wait. This again highlights the potential for developing sourcing skills outside of the job boards, and explains the increase in popularity of sites like LinkedIn, and in the U.K, C.V.Library. Despite the continuing rise in unemployment, the right candidates are still hard to find. The match needs to be 100% for both the job seeker and the hiring manager. With job seekers only applying for jobs they feel they are qualified for, and recruiter requirements in many cases being less defined, its easy to see the benefit to recruiters of taking the job to the candidate. This starts with the obvious places, like the C.V. database, and expand from there. Direct sourcing is becoming increasingly important for recruiters and is a skill, both in terms of technique and approach that needs to be developed.

Felix Wetzel

Once again, Felix Wetzel, the recently promoted Strategy Development Director at Jobsite, will be discussing this and other data in a track at #truLondon. It is a great opportunity to discuss real data and ongoing research from the leading UK job board. Anyone who knows Felix, knows that this will be as entertaining as it is informative. I’m grateful to Felix and Jobsite for the very open approach they take to data and sharing knowledge. This approach can only make recruiting in general better informed and effective.

This post is my interpretation and opinion on the research as it is presented. I urge you to download the report yourself, it’s free and available every quarter, and let me know what you think.



Jobsite’s Quarterly Recruitment Review


Felix Wetzel

Porn, Sex, Dating And #SocialRecruiting

When I was out in Melbourne at #TruAus, I got to spend some time with Paul Jacobs, @pauljacobs4real, who I have followed and communicated with for some time. I would put Paul in my personal top 3 influencers in social recruiting. He has a great approach that is often fresh and unique. I recommend you follow him if you don’t already.

Over a few beers we came to a discussion about where the inspiration and ideas come from. When your doing innovative work and trying to do things differently, then it’s not always case studies or other peoples work that you want to follow. If you want to change things, you need a source of inspiration, and you can usually find it outside of recruiting. We quite often pat ourselves on the back for being clever and innovative in the recruiting sector, but to turn out the best work, you need to look at who uses the internet best. How do they use it and how do they make it work for them? If we can get our heads around what works, then we can make it work for us in recruiting.

Fuelled by a few shandy s, we concurred that the really successful Internet businesses were in the porn, sex and dating industries. They have been the first ones to adopt new technologies to their advantage, build communities around areas of interest and turn content viral. Concepts like live video streaming and one to one video booths have been in chat rooms for years, long before Google+ and hang outs. On line dating sites like have been using profiling and matching technology for many years, turning it in to an art form that judging by the stats brings great success. This matching technology could be applied effectively to recruiting. New concepts like video interviewing and selection are old concepts in the dating industry.

The conversation with Paul might sound a bit crazy, but the more you think about it and make comparisons, the easier it is to see how far behind these sectors social recruiting is. Now that the basics match, what coming next, based on what we see from these sectors. (and I don’t venture too far inside even for research.) I’m told by a contact I have who works on adult websites that the big thing now is confidential content delivery and predictive content. Being able to deliver content across a variety of mediums, in particular mobile, and matching content, dates, profiles, video, whatever it is, that matches the viewers needs based on their past behaviour. These are the same things I know we are going to be talking about as the hot topics at #trulondon. Is dating and matching really that different? Think about what we can take from these sectors, and how we can apply them, just don’t expect to be able to expense the research!



Paul Jacobs


Why agencies don’t (or won’t) do #SocialRecruiting. Fear,Policy And Control.

I met with Kevin Green recently, the Chief Exec of the R.E.C.(Recruitment & Employers Confederation.) Among other things we discussed why there has been limited adoption of social media by third-party recruiters. I acknowledge that there are some great examples of agencies who are doing some great work. Steve Wards Cloud Nine is just one example) but they are definitely in the minority. For every Cloud Nine Recruitment, (who do there social better than most), there’s a thousand others who don’t, and some who are just anti.

Most recruiters have some presence on LinkedIn, but the nature of the platform makes it an obvious choice. The individual recruiter profiles on the most part are rarely updated, with limited activity in any of the “social” features like questions, comments or updates in groups, sharing etc. Using LinkedIn more as a directory of talent, than a social platform.

I think there are a number of reasons for the apparent apathy or disinterest in the agency sector, it comes down to trust and expectation.

The recruitment sector is not a trusting one. The value of an agency at sale lies in the information they “own”. The cost of entry in setting up on your own is low. Many of todays agencies were built on the back of relationships built at old employers, rather than new business, and as a result, few owners genuinely trust their employees. The issue of “ownership” of LinkedIn accounts, Twitter following etc comes up every time I speak to agency owners. It is a big issue, and a big barrier, the information is just too public and too portable.

My feeling is that this stance is unhealthy. If you don’t trust your people, you won’t get too much back from them. The reality is that all the information and data is very public. It’s not like the old days, where the only place you could find a number or make contact was in the Rolodex, and if you left the Rolodex, and latterly the database with your employers, you lost most of your contacts. All but the best relationships, which had a habit of resurfacing, were gone.

Social media is different. The data is owned by the platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc, own the data, not the Agency or the Recruiter. In theory they can do what they want with it, and this does not sit well. Public data is just that, it’s not exclusive, and you can’t prevent access as easily as taking away access to the database.

Individual recruiters feel that “my network” is “my network.” They put time in building it often out of office, maintaining it and establishing relationships and influence. The relationship is unlikely to stop even if the name of the employer changes, and an active network is likely to be much bigger than the old “database” relationship. Even if I give you my account, I’m going to be tweeting or updating again tomorrow in my own name. You can’t ban me from the network, and people are going to want to reconnect. Agency owners really don’t like that. Easier not to start than face the prospect of losing data.

My opinion is that the agency sector has to be a bit more realistic about this. I’m working now in sectors where the company accepts that their staff are probably going to move on every few years, it is the way of work, even more so in the agency sector. At the same time, they recognise the power and potential of social media. They counter this by creating an environment where relationships and networks are not exclusive. By sharing contacts and making sure that time is put in to building relationships across the organisation reduces the risk should an individual recruiter choose to move on.

The recruitment business can own and retain the company accounts. The company page on LinkedIn should be registered to a company e-mail account rather than a recruiters personal account. The same applies to groups and Facebook fan pages. These can be considered corporate properties, with clear ownership. The grey area covers accounts held in the individual recruiters names.  These accounts and identities are something the recruiter is unlikely to give up when they leave, and this scares the management of the recruitment business. The reality of this is that you have to accept that the information and the opportunity to reconnect is there. Most recruiter contracts already contains a restrictive covenant which prohibits dealing with clients and candidates for a period of time after leaving. Correctly enforced, with a reminder on leaving, is enough. Over restrictive policies and attempts at ownership of personal networks will only serve to prevent individual recruiters building effective networks. The chiefs will just need to learn to trust.

Theres a real fear in business in general, not just recruiting, that when you let people get active in social channels without strict controls,they don’t have the good sense to understand what content or comment is inadvisable, and will damage the brand. That they will share business secrets and behave inappropriately. My experience of this has been quite the opposite. When you empower people to get social, and have clear guidelines that focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t, they don’t disappoint. Recruiters, in my experience understand their responsibility towards their candidates and clients, and the need to respect confidentiality. Why then should this change because a recruiter starts posting on Facebook or any of the other social channels? It simply doesn’t, but the fear of what recruiters will say and do scares recruitment businesses from getting active, and the blocking of social channels at work.

Recruiters have processes and policies already in place governing confidentiality and data protection. Integrating social media as an extension of these processes, removes concerns in these areas. Fear of recruiters sharing confidential information is another reason given for steering away from social media. If it doesn’t happen now in public places, on e-mails, calls and the like, why would it happen when recruiters get social? The social places feed in to the recruitment process, and confidentiality is protected. No need for fear.

Remember when e-mail was introduced to recruitment businesses, or the internet. I remember the fear and the conversation that surrounded these introductions. There was real belief that recruiters would spend their time surfing and messaging friends. That never really happened. The reality is that recruiters have performance targets that have to be hit. That doesn’t change with social. Those recruiters who waste time will do so, with or without Facebook and Twitter. It is fair to say that social media can be a time suck, but a few days lost is all it takes for recruiters to realise this and get on track. Time in the channels is all that’s needed to find the most effective ways of working. Any bars on access to the channels (not uncommon in agencies). Recruiters are never going to learn how the channels work, or build worthwhile networks without access. It’s back to the trust factor, trust and you won’t be disappointed.

A.P.S.C.O, the Association Of Professional Staffing Companies, who serve the UK recruitment sector, published a social recruiting white paper just before Christmas on Social Media Policies for Agencies, in conjunction with community software business SiteForum and lawyers Osborne Clarke.  This white paper perhaps sums up the attitude of many of the industry leaders, and was clearly put together by the lawyers, suggesting a need for self-regulation for recruiters who adopt social media practices.  The policies take a heavy-handed approach to outlining ownership and control. My view is that all the policies you need are already included in contracts of employment, Internet policy and communications policy. While these may need to be extended slightly to be explicit about social media channels, new policy creates a new beast, better to take an approach of guidelines and training. Education over regulation. I think the suggested policies are more likely to increase fear rather than alleviate it.

Any recruiter, corporate or agency who has adopted a social recruiting approach, will comment that it takes time before you get any return for your effort and time invested. It takes time to build the right networks and understand how to get the most out of them. This has been a big factor in agencies starting out on a social route and then dropping it when the returns don’t come straight away. Too high expectation leads to quick disappointment. My advice to recruiters is slow integration. Get comfortable in the social channels, and don’t drop what you do now. Small steps lead to small wins, and these wins give the confidence to increase activity. Build the network first, day by day, and go from there. It is perhaps time that has been the biggest barrier to individual adoption. To get the most effective use of social media by recruiters, the business should be looking to put in place a social infrastructure, built on technology, tools and training. Theres lots of tools that make help recruiters to be effective with social recruiting. This is the guidance that recruitment businesses need. To look at case studies and learn from what others are doing, rather than setting policy and restriction.

I understand the argument that if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Theres plenty of recruiters doing a good job without adopting social media. Some are quite vocal about why social just won’t work for them. I understand that there are some recruiters who work in a niche and have well established contacts. They make a good return, and don’t see the need to change, after all, change means disruption, and in the short-term, that costs. My concern for agencies is that the market is changing, especially in the UK. In U.S. analyst Josh Bersins excellent research report: ” U.K. Talent Acquisition Factbook” comments:

“There is no doubt that recruiting is expensive, costing U.K. companies approximately £5,311 per new hire, on average. (See Figure 3.) U.S. companies, by comparison, spend $3,479 per hire, or the equivalent of £2,158 in British currency – just one-half the amount spent by British companies. Much of the difference in cost is due to the U.K.’s heavy reliance on agencies, which charge as much as 30 percent of a new hire’s ”

The report goes on to say: ”

“The once-entrenched agency model is starting to break down. Over the past year, one-half of all U.K. companies said they reduced their spending on agencies. For example, Tesco, a large retailer in the U.K.,completely changed its recruiting process in 2009 and today relies less on agencies. By bringing more recruiting activities in-house and embracing new social media tools, Tesco has reduced its cost per hire by 70 percent. Other progressive companies are following a similar path, turning to professional networks, social media and candidate relationship management systems as sourcing alternatives.”

The recruiting function in many UK organisations are moving from being largely administrative to pro-active sourcing. I spoke with Gary Franklin, founder of The FIRM, (The Forum For In House Recruitment Managers), who recently conducted similar research amongst the members. Gary’s view is that the trend to move sourcing in-house and away from agency use to being the default setting for business, is less about cost of hire and more around the most efficient and effective way of hiring. This applies to large and small companies alike, and whilst this doesn’t mean no business for agencies, it certainly means less.

A shrinking market means that agencies need to be looking at new ways to generate revenue, and no avenue should be closed. Social recruiting is one avenue that should be explored whilst it is an option rather than a necessity. Change is coming quickly. Recruitment agencies need to overcome their fears and start exploring what works for them.

I’m going to be speaking on this topic in the opening key-note at the Recruitment Agency Expo at Olympia on the 14′th – 15′th Feb. there’s going to be quite a big crowd of recruiters coming and will be a great event. Tickets are free for those who pre-register. (You can register on the link at the bottom of the post.) Come along and give me your view.

You can also take part in the conversation at #trulondon on 22′nd – 23′rd Feb. Steve Ward of CloudNine and Elkie Holland of Prospectus will be sharing their stories of social recruiting. There’s a lot to learn and a long way to go, but this could just be the year for agencies to question why they are not being social.



CloudNine Recruitment Group

APSCO Whitepaper

Bersin Associates “UK Talent Acquisition Factbook”

The Recruitment Agency Expo


Viral #SocialRecruiting: The U.P.S. Road Trip

What does it take to make your recruiting  message viral? You want your message, and your opportunities to reach far and wide, particularly when you are hiring in large numbers. There has been plenty of discussion about whether gamification works, and if competitions and games attract players rather than candidates. I understand the critics point of view, but I’ve also seen some great examples that have countered the argument.

Mike Vangel of T.M.P. is an old friend of #Tru, having led a track on U.P.S.’s social recruiting efforts at #truBoston. I also got the opportunity to see him present at the Recruiting Innovation Summit. I have a lot of time for his thinking, and admire that he is very open in sharing the data behind the campaigns. I’m hoping we will be able to tempt him over to London in Feb for #truLondon5. U.P.S. have a great social recruiting story to tell.

Mike spoke to me recently prior to the launch of U.P.S.’s  “Road Trip” game on FaceBook, and I’ve been following this closely since the campaign launched on October 10′th.The game finishes on December 16′th, so I thought it was worth making a half time report, and it is so far so good. The game is aimed at recruiting seasonal driver helpers and part-time package handlers.

The concept of the game is that players enter by signing up for the UPS jobs newsletter and by voting for their favourite careers video, and sharing content or inviting friends to take part. The grand prize for the sweepstake, and it is a random draw, will be a gift voucher for Zappos up to the value of $2,000.00, with a weekly draw for a $100 voucher. The prize is up to $2,000 because the pot goes up the more likes the page gets. There’s currently 26,142 fans with the most important number, 782 people talking about it.

I see the “talking about” number on a fan page as being far more important than fan numbers, because this represents how many people are actively engaging with the page, whether its liking, sharing or commenting. 782 is particularly high for a careers page, so the campaign is obviously working.

Mike Vangel

When you first visit the U.P.S. jobs page, the landing page is a countdown clock to the end of the road trip, a promo logo and a button to enter and find out more about U.P.S. Jobs. Once you enter, you are taking to a page with 26 video’s to choose from or vote on, video’s from opportunities for women through to senior managers getting interviewed. Each video has a button to vote for your favourite, and an opt out button to share the video to your wall. This is a great way to promote the full career video catalogue and give potential employees to choose those that closest match their area of interest, from the corporate stuff like diversity, through to individual job types. Checking on the U.P.S. YouTube Channel, the viewing figures have grown considerable since the start of the competition, with the most popular of the video’s topping 5,000 views.

Once you’ve entered, you can invite friends to the sweepstake either via your wall or by invites. You get your friend list and earns another chance in the draw. What I like about this game is that it is simple to follow and enter. From the headlines I have been given by Mike when we spoke last, it has already been very successful at building up the talent network. (A talent network is people signed up for notifications of jobs and updates.) Applications for jobs are well up, both through the campaign and the work4labs application on the U.P.S. Jobs page. Promotion has been entirely through shares, Facebook and Twitter with no paid for media. It has been an undoubted success for U.P.S. in hiring seasonal staff and getting the message out there. Hats off to U.P.S. and Mike Vangel on this campaign.

The U.P.S. Jobs Sweepstake

Mike Vangel

5 On-Line Recruiting Case Studies From @Zartis

Zartis, are part of the Cork, Ireland based web development business,Assembly Point, backed by Enterprise Ireland. The Zartis business have busy developing recruiting products that integrate with the social channels. Their recent launch integrates automated job posting to your career site, Facebook fan page, WordPress blog or site and twitter account. On the back-end they offer a full ATS, with a clever dashboard that is very easy for recruiters to use. The features include an automated workflow, candidate communication and process visibility and an indexed talent pool.
Zartis is offered at $29 per user, per month for up to 20 work from home jobs.Whilst it’s not free, (like SMART Recruiters), it has to be worth consideration for S.M.E.’s because it is so easy to use.
To mark the launch of Zartis, the company have published 5 case studies outlining succesful on-line recruiting case studies, that is free to download. The headlines of these case studies are:

1: Hard Rock Firenze.

Not a new one to readers of this blog. The results of this 4 week campaign, centred on a Facebook Fan Page, are:

10,222 fans. (4 weeks). 4000 job applications. (2 weeks.) 600 Interviews (3 days). 120 Hires.

This was achieved end to end in Facebook, probably the most successful hiring project of its kind.

2: Google

The Google stats are phenomenal, with up to 75,000 applications in 1 week. These are sourced from Twitter, with @GoogleJobs account followed by over 100,000 people. It’s worth noting that this account is manned by recruiters and is not an automated account. Theres plenty of engagement.The youTube channel has over 2 million views, with some presence on Facebook.
The key for Google, as you’d expect is plenty of keywords, and a very simple application process.

3: Brightcove – An on-line video start-up.

Brightcove took the ambitious step of hiring through external referral, offering a reward of $1,500 bonus to anyone, not just employees. This has resulted in 65% of new hires coming from referral, with the program promoted through the career site, shared out by employees.

4: Hipster – A San Francisco start-up.

Hipster offered a very different type of referral program that grabbed the headlines, by offering rewards from $10,000 cash, free beer for a year, “stache grooming”, a bike, skinny jeans and even worn boots. The list makes great reading, and the unusual nature of the referrals tapped in to the viral nature of social media and they achieved their ambitious hiring objectives.

5: Jagex

The U.K. based games company hire via a creative careers site. (winner of the NORAS awards), and an active Facebook community. The emphasis is on employer branding through the employees, who feature in all their social places.

In addition, 40%of the direct hires come via LinkedIn. I would be interested in knowing the split between sourced candidates, and those who apply to jobs or groups, although this is inconclusive in the report.

These 5 case studies vary in size, and give a good range of ideas for on-line  recruiting. I recommend downloading the full version of the paper.