The Recruiting Unconference London

This Recruiting Unconference London

Applicants, Candidates And Content Strategy #truLondon

image by Oscar Mager

I’ve been thinking quite a lot recently about where jobs fit in with content and content strategy. I crystalized this thinking last week at #truLondon. We know from all the research from the likes of Evenbase, that what potential  applicants want before they hit the apply button is more information on the company and the job. What we are seeing is that job seekers are just bored of the application process, spending time filling in questions and answers. The average time I’m seeing it takes to complete a first time application with a corporate client is 2 hours. That’s right, you read it correctly, 2 hours, and a minimum of 50 clicks and 50 screens. It’s hard and it’s horrible to apply for a job, then what happens next?

The feedback from the Candees (Candidate Experience Awards) delivered by Gerry Crispin at #truLondon is not a lot really. Very little feedback and a never hear again attitude. The upshot of this is that potential applicants want to be 100% sure of 2 things before they hit apply and go in to the process:

1: They have a good chance of getting the job

2: They really want the job

This means that you need to provide enough information to answer both of these questions before they will go through the pain of an application. The traditional copy writers will jump in and say that this is all down to poorly crafted job descriptions that describe nothing but a list of duties. There is a little bit of merit in this argument, but a text document is really one-dimensional and quite boring. Doesn’t matter how well you write it. It’s often not enough to elicit the type of response you really want and need. The ones left in the funnel are the desperate and the unemployable who have the time and the desire to stick with the process. It is a frightening thought. It also reminds me of the track by John Sumser, where he made the point that the talent shortage is actually caused by over-supply. There is so many people in the job market that it becomes hard to reach or find the ones who are right.

My feeling is that the more we think of jobs as content rather than postings, the more likely we are to solve both of these problems. Increasingly I’m seeing that the real benefit of social recruiting is that you lower the volume of response, but increase the quality of those who apply. People who better fit the company and the job, share your values and have chosen to apply for your job rather than any job. This will also help to solve the Sumser theory by reaching the people who are the right fit. Great content also makes it easy for applicants to see if they fit, encouraging them to apply.

In this post I have been speaking about applicants. I took this from Paul Maxin of Unilever’s track where he spoke about separating applicants and candidates, and having a different strategy and approach for each. Applicants are those people who apply, where as candidates are those people who have got past the application stage and are in the recruitment process at any stage. This means thinking about applicant experience and candidate experience as two different things.I hear the old chestnut often that applying for a job shouldn’t be easy. I accept that getting a job shouldn’t be a walk in the park, but should applying for a job really be that hard? My thinking is that being an applicant should be easy. It is really a matter of giving a recruiter access to your details to tell you if you should be proceeding in to the tough job of becoming a candidate or join the talent network for another opportunity. That has got to offer a better applicant experience, rather than treating applicants and candidates when they are clearly not qualified to be one.

From a content point of view this means having different content streams for applicants around the job and the company, and around the candidate process about what happens next, and more detailed specific content the further the candidate goes through the process. I recently looked at the CERN progress chart that enables any candidate to log in at any time and see where they are up to in the process at any time. This is brilliant for the candidate experience.

Applicant content needs to be around the job, the culture and the values. If we view jobs as content, then you can build a content strategy around the job. I’m thinking job spec, video, pictures on a pin board related to the job, blog post and social connections with the people who do the job. I also see a place for a Jobgram type infographic here that shows the job in a different way. All of this content can be used to populate a culture site (as opposed to a career site) that enables people to properly understand the culture and values of the business from the people who work there.

These are some of my thoughts after an excellent #truLondon. Thanks everyone who contributed,

Bill

 

 

 

Viral Content. Dancing by yourself? #TruDublin

Oracles Drulis

At #TruDublin the topic of how to make your content go viral came up. It is a consideration for any social recruiting project. This is where network comes in. For me, that means building a network of internal employees and contacts and understanding what content will entice them to voluntarily get involved.
We had some great examples of this from Klaudia Drulis at Oracle, who shared the history and future plans of Oracle Community. I was involved with Oracle at the start of this process, and it has been great to see how this has grown in to an engaged community that has spread the employer brand and improved the quality of hire. As a result of this, Klaudia has been promoted to manage social media and recruiting globally, and is hiring for somone to develop networks and community in America. If your interested in being a part of their continuing success story and are based around the Dublin area, you can find details of the job HERE.

I’d recommend applying, as well as following the Oracle Community for great examples of viral content.

After the track, I was forwarded a video by Rod Smith of #truDublin sponsors Arithon. It’s a few years ol, but i think it makes a good point in a simple way. You need to watch it for a few minutes before the reason becomes clear, but I think it is worth it. What I like about this is the way all you need is one person doing one thing to set off a chain reaction.

This is a physical example, but you can equally apply to your content. It might seem that you are going nowhere, but all it takes is one person to comment or share your stuff, then another to pick it up and so it goes on. Are you dancing on your own or attracting a crowd?

Bill

Accelerating Talent Networks/Communities With Talent Maps #SocialRecruiting

Talent networks and talent communities take time to build. I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot recently. One of the most interesting businesses I got to spend time with last year was Talent Works International, based out of Northampton, who have 9 offices across the globe. Talent Works are an evolution of a recruiting business, launched by I.T. recruiter Neil Purcell. Talent Works International are experts in the art of talent mapping, and it is talent mapping that I believe that might just be the accelerant needed in the talent network/community building process.

Talent mapping  means  identifying talent by company, job role or department and profiling them. Talent Works sit somewhere between researchers who name gather and recruiters who are looking to fill job roles with interested candidates. Theres quite a few benefits to taking this approach beyond hiring. You get real-time feedback on your employer brand, get to understand the real perception potential employees have about you as an employer (whatever that may be), and get to identify who to hire now, and who you might want to revisit at a later date.

Recruiting projects tend to be concerned with who you want to hire now. Who fits a job and who is interested in a particular opportunity at this moment in time. Understandably recruiters are largely transactional and concerned with the now. Pressure from clients or hiring managers mean they need to operate this way, with little time to look to longer term requirements. Talent mapping allows for a longer term view, a more comprehensive look at all the talent in the market, and to build relationships for the future. Talent mapping isn’t about list building or putting names in a database, it goes well beyond that. Profiling the talent identified, which can only be done by conversation and a relationship that goes well beyond the first approach, and it’s also not exclusive to social media or on-line research, with about 40% of talent choosing to exclude themselves from social channels. If it is an approach you are considering, I recommend you take a look at Talent Works. They also have offices in Miami, China, Israel, Holland and Romania, so they can take a global approach. 

Building effective talent networks or communities takes real-time. The Kevin Costner adage of “If you build it they will come.” doesn’t really apply.” I’ve heard Quezia Soares, the recruitment marketing manager of Accenture speaking, and explaining that they are not expecting a real return from their talent network for 3 years.(Quezia will be a track leader at #trulondon so expect more of this.)

The companies that are performing well in this area have all been active for a number of years. Networks, communities, followings all need to be built piece by piece by piece, tweet by tweet and post by post.Success and rewards are coming now, but it has taken time. The biggest lessons I’ve learnt from Oracle, and other projects is that the results aren’t instant, and in the first few months it can seem like you are wasting your time. You need perseverance and belief before the rewards come. There are exceptions to this rule, like the Hard Rock Florence story I have blogged about many times, but the exception came about because there were immediate hiring requirements and a strong employer brand.

I was discussing this problem with a client last week, putting together the plans to build a talent network. They understand that it’s going to take time to build a network that gives a significant return in hires, but they don’t have the time to build it. We need a plan that will speed things up, which lead us to discuss the sourcing and re-sourcing team, and how their role might change. The reality is that if you can make all the candidates who have applied to you in the past and are lost in your ATS searchable and accessible,then you have a good base to start a talent network. You can bring in an expert like Talent Works to do this for you, or consider how you might be able to structure your own team to do this.

One consideration in this area is how the sourcers roles might change. If you can map out the market, in terms of organisations you know employ talent with the same skill sets as you, and you map out the people you are already connected with in those organisations and roles, then you can identify where you have holes in the map. Once you know where the holes are, a good sourcer can go about the process of identifying the names to fill the gaps, creating a target list for conversations. Mapping should look internally in your organisation, as well as externally. Internal mobility is becoming increasingly important to organisations these days, and a talent map should cover and profile all the talent, including your own.

This takes the role of sourcer from finding talent for open requirements, to finding talent to build the network. Proactively using their talents and skills to recruit in to the talent network or community rather than in to open requisitions. Changing this focus (and targeting) I believe will accelerate the building of an effective network or community for the hiring organisation.  The role of the recruiter is focussed on always searching the network or community first. It is conceivable that if the sourcers are building have built the network or community to critical mass, there will be no need to look or advertise outside.

U.K. Sourcing expert Katharine Robinson aka: @TheSourceress will be leading a track at #trulondon on the role of the sourcer. Martin Lee of Talent Works International will be leading a track on the art of talent mapping. I’m expecting the part this pro-active approach to building talent networks or communities to play a part in the conversation. If your thinking talent networking or communities, then you need a plan for populating them, because if you build it, they won’t just come!

Bill

LINKS:

Talent Works International

Quezia Soares

Katharine Robinson

Martin Lee

BUY TICKETS FOR #TRULONDON

There's not enough talk about #SocialRecruiting. #TruSanFran

I want to start this post by stating that this is not a rant, nor is it a criticism of internet radio show #HRHappyHour or career community Brazen Careerist’s recently announced Social Recruiting bootcamp.It is however, these two events that have triggered my thinking.

I was listening in to Steve Boese’s excellent guests Susan Strayer and Ryan Healey, and the topic was Social Recruiting. The reason for the show was that Susan, Steve and a host of other people I like and respect, will be running an on-line training seminar called “Social Recruiting Bootcamp.” It is well worth looking in to if you are interested in exploring social.

Hearing what Susan,Ryan and Steve had to say, it struck me that all the conversation was around employment branding and talent attraction. Some great examples like Strayer’s work with Marriot, using a social game for global talent attraction, and sourcing hourly workers. It’s a great story that you should look up.
The show concluded pretty much in the same vein. Great content, but really all about attraction, and that got me thinking. Talent attraction is an important part of the recruitment process, particularly given the competition for talent, but it is only the first part. Once the potential candidates come in, there’s a whole lot more to it.

Thinking about the conferences and events I’ve been to this year, the story has been much the same. The lines between marketing, branding and recruiting have become blurred, social does that, and it’s a good thing. What I’m not hearing a lot of conversation about is how social changes the rest of the process. I know people are doing it, and it might be less sexy to talk about the practical stuff, but it is a massive part of the recruiting process that determines success or failure.

The good thing about the work I did with Oracle and Hard Rock was that we looked at how we could integrate social in to the full recruitment process. Things like what communications could be sent out via social. How to deal with the volume of response, in particular the rejections. coordinating interviews and communications  on-line. How social changes the recruiters and sourcers role. Theres plenty to think about, integrate and share. These are the practical points that need to be shared. How integrating social has changed things, what has gone well and what hasn’t.

The result of there being not much conversation on integrating social in to all of the recruiting process, this is where problems occur, where the implications of implementation are over looked. The conversation needs to move on from being mostly about branding and attraction.

On my part, I’m going to run a track at #truSanFran on the 26′th – 27′th October titled social impacts, to look at these issues, and talk about the practical stuff, so important for the eventual success of any implementation. What do you think? What are the areas of recruitment process, and social integration you would like to know more about?

Bill

The #HRHappyHour Show

Susan Strayer

Brazen Careerist: Social Recruiting Bootcamp - November 7′th – 18′th

Buy Tickets For #TruSanFran

We Don’t Need #Tru

 

Photo Credit: BlueJake.Com

 

Yesterday, I posted under the title “We don’t need #Recruitfest.”

The post brought some great reaction and comment, not least from Miles and Ashley from Recruitingblogs.Com

. They made some good points on why we need to continue the candidate experience conversation.

What I should have titled the post is “We don’t need Recruitfest to know there is a problem with Candidate Experience.”

To even up the score, I’ve called this post: “We don’t need #tru!”

The reality is, you don’t need #tru to know there is a problem. We have all been talking about it for a long, long time, but that seems to be most of what every event has been doing.

We devote a chunk of time at #tru events to talking candidate experience. We always have done.

The conclusion is always the same:

  • Candidate experience is key to what we all do.
  • The Candidate experience is largely broken.

Anyone that has heard me speak will know that I take the view that in any staffing business, wether recruiting, technology or in a different way direct hiring.

It is the candidates that get hired that earn the fees.

It’s how we earn our money and what we get paid for.

The hiring companies just sign the cheques.

For this reason, I believe that everyone in the chain should be afforded the same professional courtesy and honesty.

What I have realised from the whole friendly exchange is that you don’t need to come to a #tru event either to agree that there is a problem with the candidate experience or that something should have been done about it a long time ago.

I’m going to focus my efforts on highlighting good practice through shared case studies, and tracks about simple solutions. I’m going to call in more job seekers to talk about what they want and need, and work with companies that don’t want to talk about candidate experience, they just want to provide a positive one. That would mean that you really do need to be at #tru.

Lets stop talking about the problem we know exists, and start talking about the solution.

That is what you need from #Tru, #Recruitfest, #ERE and all other events. To talk solutions not problems.

Be the ambassadors for #Brandrecruiter

Please post in comments the best examples of good candidate experience you know of. Those are the people I want to be talking to and sharing.

Method in the madness – #likeminds & #trulondon

Last week I went to a breakfast meeting to see a presenter that I’ve been hoping to meet for some time. The breakfast was organized by Word Of Mouth Uk, (W.O.M.UK.), an organisation you should check out if you are London based. The speakers were Scott Gould and Drew Ellis, the brains behind conference movement #likeminds.

If anyone has not heard of it, #likeminds is a bi-annual social media conference that takes place in Exeter.

#likeminds is in theory a conference on social-media, but it’s not really a conference as much as it is a movement, with many similarities to #tru.

Scott and Drew launched #likeminds about the same time as #trulondon 1, so we tend to keep an eye on what they are doing. Not because we are envious, I admire what they do, but because there is much to learn as we all evolve beyond a simple event.

In my view, the event is secondary to the connections made and conversations had before, during and after the event. The number of people who have made lasting connections, started by a common theme, in both cases, the event, is the biggest factor. Contributors get a sense of belonging and give freely through blogs, links, tweets, video’s and a whole host of other ways. Those that give and help, thrive in this environment. Scott describes the most important aspect of #likeminds as the hashtag. He calls it a “platform” on a #, and I think this sums up what we have built at #tru also.

I’d like to say that we planned things out like this and had great vision. The reality is, on our part anyway, it happened by accident. It has been more a case of perspiration over inspiration, and what has, and is still happening truly astounds me. Both events occurred over a month ago, and yet the hashtag and twitter stream as well as the Facebook fan pages are alive and well.

I’m glad I saw Scott, because his story helped to make some sense of our story. Some of the similarities between the two events are:

: The date we started out and our events took place.

: Both started with zero investment, zero marketing budget or overall plan, but a real desire to do something and the foundations of a personal network to build on.

: Timing and opportunity were also crucial. We both launched at a time when people were looking at all these new channels as more than a bit of fun, recognized the potential but wanted some guidance, and I think, a sense of belonging with other people who didn’t think them idiots.

: There’s two people directly behind the event. One who is very visible and one who is less vocal, but equally industrious and a calming influence. In the case of #likeminds, this was Drew Ellis, who I warmed to instantly, and in the case of #tru, Geoff Webb. http:// twitter.com/radicalrecruit)

: Both have strong international links. From the start, #likeminds were tied with international personalities to blend global best practice. In the case of #likeminds, this was in the form of Olivier Blanchard (@thebrandbuilder) and Trey Pennington, http://www.treypennington.com.) I’m convinced this merging of cultures, best practice and thinking opens up a new way of thinking, where the only barriers to communicating anywhere in the world are time-zones.

:At the second event, #likeminds attracted 350 people from 3 continents with 30 world class speakers. While #trulondon attracted 180 attendees over the 3 days, they were from 9 countries with 35 track leaders that I would put up against anyone in the expert stakes.

: The #likeminds hashtag is showing no sign of slowing down any day soon. The #trulondon hashtag is showing no sign of slowing down soon. (albeit we are diluting it a bit with #truUSA, #truAus, #truNZ, #truManchester, #truDublin, #truIndia etc etc. The presentation has made me think about whether we need to switch this to one single identity as in #likeminds, or if we are better maintaining the #tru brand but highlighting the local focus.

:Both events had a very low ticket cost in comparison to traditional conferences.

:Both events have more “ambassadors” spreading the word with passion than any other events I can think of.

Despite the conference/unconference format making the actual events polls apart in structure, there are many more similarities between the way we have both evolved. I’m not sure you could imitate it intentionally; it grows out of passion and industry.

My big take away’s from Scott’s presentation that really hit home were:

: The # is THE platform.

: Word of mouth (or as I term it: Word of mouse), is people to people not company to company. People buy the people that are involved, and the energy wave, not the company. They trust recommendations and not pitches.

:You can’t govern or control what people say on the hashtag, about you or for you. You have to let it have a life of it’s own, and a few negative comments can be as strong a message for you as all the positive ones.

: The presentation (and it was a powerpoint presentation), was titled Spreadability v Reach.
Spreadability is social, multiway, adapts, needs guidance (not control), is dynamic and is a personal relationship.
Reach is broadcast, one way, repetitious, governed, static and is all public relations. This point really hit home for me as to the way of marketing and growing in the social media age. You have to let it happen, nurture it, give it a reason for being (the events) but not force it or make it purely referenced to a company or it’s products.

The biggest point for me though was when Scott made the statement: “People don’t necessarily remember what they heard, but they remember how they felt!”

This sums up exactly how I feel about #trulondon, despite everything, something special happened. There was plenty of learning, but the biggest thing everyone remarked on was the deep connections that were made and friendships that are evolving. The same will happen at #truUSA, at Madison on April 18th/19th.

In days past, you had to cram all your learning in to the sessions and the learning finished when you left. You took plenty of business cards but how many of those people did you continue to connect with daily? How many of those people were known to you professionally and personally before the event?

The event gives you the reason to start those connections early before the day, so it’s like meeting old friends when you do get together, and you can continue connecting every day long after the event, whatever the geography. That wasn’t possible not so long ago, and it gives the # a new life of it’s own.

For anyone interested, you can view Scott’s slides here.

Thanks to Scott, Drew, #likeminds (all of you) and WOM for helping me to understand a little more about why #trulondon has grown the way it has. I’d wish you luck for the future if I thought you needed it! I’ve found another inspiration.

Keep being ambassadors, viva #likeminds.

Bill

What is all this “Un” stuff?

The Unblog – Norton Folgate

The unblog is the official blog of The Recruiting Unconference London  (if anything can be official about such an event!). This is the place for random thinking on recruiting and social recruiting, debate and discussion. In the spirit of the unconference, anyone can post here on any topic, start their own blog or leave comments. The comments are unmoderated, it is down to you to respect common decency just as it will be on the 19th November. All you need to do is register and start blogging. Word, video, podcast, whatever method you favour, post it here.
A what & a why you might be asking. What is an unconference & why Norton Folgate? (unless you are full of madness, you probably won’t know the answer to either.
An unconference is an unconventional event that has built momentum from the technology sector in the states. From barcamps to gatherings in parks, the unconference is seen as the best way to share and communicate and come up with real solutions without the clutter of structure or set agendas. Its also an ante-dote to attending a traditional conference, knowing half the speakers already and paying £3 – 400 to see one of them.

There are no rules or fixed structures, speakers or auditoriums, and definitely NO death by powerpoint. The event is broken in to tracks with trackleaders in most cases, who have some expertise in the discussion area. Their role is to encourage conversation, input where needed and support the exchange of ideas, communication, conversation, disagreement, debate and discussion. Anyone can join in and if you get bored, you just change the conversation or move to another track. I lead a track at Recruitfest09 in Toronto and this great event convinced me that we needed to do the same thing in London.
Norton Folgate is the name I’ve given the blog for  The Recruiting Unconference London or #trulondon if you live on twitter. I mention Madness, or the nutty boys for two reasons. Firstly they are by far the best band ever, and second, their recent (and excellent) album is titled “The liberty of Norton Folgate.” The release of the album drew my attention to the history of a part of London that was was named Norton Folgate, tucked between Whitechapel and the Bishopsgate. (The quest for the venue starts on the location of the Norton Folgate then head east from Mr.Truemans beer factory via the gas lights).

 The area was declared by statute a liberty i:e: A free land with no rules or order. Being a liberty, it attracted all of Londons society and became home to the artists, poets, performers, artistes, free thinkers, buskers, anarchists and the like. You might expect anarchy without order but the story , as the song goes saw a society spring up where people accepted each other, helped and shared views without the need for law and agenda, the people in effect policed and organised themselves.
The liberty of Norton Folgate may have been forgotten in time but for Madness, reviving it in song and retelling the story. By some strange chance, and in an event eerily unconnected with the band, property developers planned to pull down the alleys and buildings that form Norton Folgate and replace them with functional but faceless glass skyscrapers to match most of the surrounding areas. Norton Folgate seemed doomed forever when local protest met a brick wall of bureaucracy. By chance, a local historian opposed to the destruction of this piece of history found the Liberty and discovered that by error, the beaureaucrats had never actually revoked it. By evoking the Liberty, and declaring that the land did in fact belong to the people and not the planners, the demolition has been prevented at least for the time being. At the same time, Madness had read about Norton Folgate and had written a series of songs on London, culminating in a 10 minute classic celebrating the Liberty. The protesters, on hearing this, adopted the song as their anthem and the two movements combined. Madness, being a bit rebellious (but nice), in their day were honoured that their musical mischief making had coincided with such a rebellious event!
On my part, the spirit of Norton Folgate is exactly what the Recruiting Unconference London is all about. No set rules or structure, self policing, the tracks and controlling the content. We are expecting enjoyment, engagement, laughter, a little anger and plenty of learning. I view it that as The Bill Boorman Consultancy is the name above the door, it’s our job to facilitate the event, it’s the job of every attendee to organise it and make sure that the content is just right for them. You choose what you want to know, what you want to talk about, where you want to contribute and where you want to listen. Then just like in Norton Folgate, the evening will end in revelry.
The Recruiting Tweetup is a quarterly event organised by Jamie Leonard of The Ladders and Matt Alder of Penna Barkers, the social media ringmaster himself. The London RTU brings your networking offline and enables you to put faces to the tweets whilst enjoying the odd ale, liquor or similar exotic tipple. The London RTU is the place where the debate will no doubt continue long in to the night fuelled by intoxication. A great end to a great day!

The Recruiting Unconference London or #trulondon takes place on the 19th November.
You can book for The Recruiting Unconference London at http://recruitingunconference.eventbrite.com