The unblog dialogue

A daily post of anything relating to The Recruiting Unconference London. Random thoughts, twitter streams, chat and anything you want to post. musings, discussions and all things social recruiting.

Jesus loves a flowchart. Watching Mike Psenka. Equifax.#HRTechEurope

The last speaker is Mike Psenka. Eduifax are a large credit scoring company. What Psenka views their role as is to collect disparate data and present it in an understandable way. this is not new as a concept. he gave the example of Florence nightingale, who was the first person to use a pie chart to influence decisions. boards of companies need these visual presentations of data to make decision-making simple.

taking the example of the Olympics, he shows how talent identification and development by tracking and using data brings about improved performance. it has been used for years in medicine. The process begins with measurement and constant change. Psenka talks about the importance of measuring a complete data set, and not just focusing on one magic number to make decisions and change. It is constant analytics and interpretation to turn big data in to small, usable chunks.

Mike shows the variance map. which tracks changes in performance of employees, rather than the top line number. His view is that what is important is not where people are now, but the direction they are going in. This can be applied to any area of the business, and the visual presentation of data is what gives non-technical people insight and understanding. This has been a constant theme in each of the presentations (apart from Wetzel), big data is only valuable when the data set is complete and the interpretation is presented in pictures. The challenge again is getting all the data in one place securely. I can’t help thinking of the old saying, “In god we trust, everyone else bring data.” The updated version  for the modern-day would be to add: “Jesus loves a flow chart!” (before anyone complains to Psenka on the religious reference, that work is entirely my own. please address any angry mails to me.)


Power to the people. Felix Wetzel of Evenbase, #HRTechEurope

Last on the panel is my good friend Felix Wetzel, strategy director vfor Evenbase. The tag line for Evenbase is lets get personal. He begins by talking about Jobyology, their semantic matching technology that went live 2 months ago.He is looking at it not from the view of the recruiter where the benefits are obvious, but from the view of the job seeker.

Wetzel is passionate that the data collected from our transactions should only be used for the benefit of the user. he sees this in areas like healtcare or fitness, but not in recruiting yet. He has 6 ways he sees this could change:

1: Stop the need for search. The driving factor here is relevance and speed. Only show relevent content based on data, without the need for jobseekers to submit data, Thats a paper based principle.

2: stop the spam. using data to ensure relevance.

3: Open your horizons. think longer term about the skills gaps and possibilities. We now have enough data accessible to do this.Wetzel makes a sporting example from football. How about companies loaning out their talent to other smaller companies so they can get experience or opportunity. A brilliant concept. the January window for talent loans.

4: Respect. Respect for privacy, and that my data is my data.

5: Need to know basis. this means only releasing the data that is absolutely necessarily.

6: Credit where credits due. Finding ways of rewarding people for access.

My view is a bit different to Wetzels. I don’t think it is a case of restricting the data, but being more transparent and honest about how your data is going to be used, with the opt in/opt out visibility option. most of the time when we sign a user agreement we have no idea what we are signing up to because we tick box the 20 page document.

It is interesting to hear this talk, given that some of the evenbase revenue comes from the sale of interpreted data (not names, e-mail addresses etc). Perhaps a dividend for all the users?. Felix feels that data can be used, but when an individuals data is used they should be rewarded. As always, deep thinking and some brilliant ideas from Wetzel. like all good protagonists, he creates conversation.



The game of work. Siddesh Bhobe of eMee. #HRTechEurope

Next up is Siddesh Bhobe. None other than John Sumser describes eMee as the most brilliant HR technology he has seen. Siddesh is broacasting in from India. The product is built on gamification. he started with the question for his own team “Are we really enjoying what we do?”. the answer was that they were taking it too seriously. there is nothing wrong with productive play at work.

the social web is a fundamental shift in how humans communicate, live and work. Social gamification with valued rewards makes work a challenge and exciting. his product is built on the Farmville, the massively popular Facebook game. each employee has an avatar, and anyone can pass on awards and recognition. points are awarded for tasks, and each task has a score, with extra rewards. Performing tasks and projects builds a personal “Eden”. part of the “game” is the school, where employees can go and learn to earn new points. Feedback on performance is via the game interface, and the competitive nature of many employees means they want the best “eden”, and that means completing new tasks.

Siddesh makes the point that badges aren’t just for kids. Think medals for soldiers. when a badge has a real recognition value in the organisation, people want to earn them. experts who have proven a level of expertise become on-line mentors, and anyone can connect through the platform. He gave the example of running on-boarding as “who wants to be a millionaire” where new employees compete to answer questions on areas like health and safety. The game drives data and assesment, and the platform makes sense of the link between what is happening in the game, and what this really means for the company. The challenge is that you need to implement this quickly (4 – 6 weeks), and be agile enough to change the interface and the game regularly as the “players”, your employees, change their behaviors.

The key here is applying analytic s to what is happening in the game. the example given is that an engineer who starts to voluntarily mentor others, could be a very good fit for a team leader role. The business using the game employ 7000 people, mostly agile developers. Teams consist of 72 people, and no team member can work together for more than 7 months.

The “dojo” principle is that anyone can teach and share, and add their own learning resources, accessible to anyone. The more people learn from you in your dojo, the more recognition points you gain. The more points you have in a discipline, the more people come to your dojo.

I can already hear some people dismissing this based on the farmville, “kids” game principle, but you can tailor the interface and the nature of the game according to your culture. think about it for a minute and you can start to see a “game” that would fit in with your culture. no one says work shouldn’t be fun. A performance management system is a game in its own right. validation is by crowd sourcing (through likes) rather than management validated. I love the potential for companies who open their mind. Sumser might just be right.




A definition of “Big Data” Eugene Burke. SHL at #HRTechEurope

I’m live blogging at #HRTechEurope in London. Next up is Eugene Burke from SHL. In the next 15 minutes 2,250 people will have been assessed for a job role. This is generating a world of data. The problem at the moment is the recruitment process or assessment data is used in isolation. If you enable a flow of data from one department to another by collecting it in one place, and enabling everyone to mine it, and present it back in a visual way that anyone can understand. I’m beginning to see that the “big data” magic lies not in finding the data but making it visual.

When you combine assessment data with performance data and other sources, you can get a picture of what good actually looks like. It is back to the moneyball principle of Billy Bean.

The example Eugene gave asks the questions:

> Are our most talented project managers working on the most demanding projects?

> Where is our L & D spend targeted?

> Are we hiring the right behaviors in to our organisation?

The data gives the answer. I like the take on big data being about making it visual to be understandable. Thats one of the reasons I see sites like as having a big future. I enjoyed the presentation and explanation. I’m not a big SHL fan, but they can’t be ignored in this space. The big question I’m left with is how many organisations are feeding all their data in one direction. That is the first thing question everyone needs to answer.




Big data in the recruiting process with Gild #HRTechEurope

I’m live blogging from #HRTechEurope. First up is Brad Wirga from Gikd, the San Francisco start up who have developed a sourcing software based on analysing (and ranking) computer code. Brad is a passionate believer in the transformation of recruiting in to a social process. The challenge at the moment as he sees it is that there is just too much data for a human being to process. He sees the same thing applying with mobile and mobilisation. He sees big data as the opportunity to personalise everything. What I would call the “little data” challenge,

When Brad joined Salesforce as the head of talent acquisition, they were processing 35,000 CVs a month, and finding the right ones was down to random chance. The new hiring life cycle is:

> Identify




In a big data world it looks like:

> Data aggregation

> Relevance scoring

>Sentiment (passive vs active)

>Enhance candidate experience

The secret sauce:

There’s large volumes of data. The spiderbots (that crawl the web and bring the data back)  find it and store it in a web service like Amazon. Technology allows data to be converted into a common format. Machine learning allows you to score and rank the most valuable data to you. Gild pull down code from open source sites and rank them, looking at sites like Stack Overflow, Quora etc. They are now working on scoring culture fit based on social content. This enables recruiters to make messaging relevant and more importantly, personal.

Candidate experience is about personalization and attention to what counts to the candidate. if the match is right, the numbers of candidates in the pipeline are reduced. remember, the current figure in Europe is 70% irrelevance in applications. It is an exciting product that is worth a look.


How can i get some ventolin

I got a tweet today that got me thinking and reminiscing. I’ve had a Twitter account for 4 years today.


My first tweet was: “Can anyone see this?”. The answer was yes, but just the first person I followed. When I started tweeting, I didn’t really have any expectation. I had heard Radio One DJ Chris Moyles talking about Twitter, and figured that it was worth giving it a go. I had around 100 LinkedIn connections and a LinkedIn group. That was the extent of my social media activity. I was an old school recruiter. What could get out of Twitter with just 140 characters to use? At first it just looked like a lot of noise, and I was making most of it. People talking about Sandwiches, Matt Alder complaining about things, motivational quotes from dead people, motivational quotes from alive people. What would ever come from “wasting” my time taking part?

For a newcomer it was pretty confusing. Lots of advice, rules and twitter etiquette from people who had a whole 6 months experience, about how many tweets a day I should post, how often I should retweet, who to follow, to be transparent (but not say what I really thought because that would be bad for brand) etc etc. Before that day I had never thought of myself as a brand, I still don’t really. I decided to listen to all this sage advice, and do the exact opposite. I don’t really like convention. If you read my blog, you might know that.

I was in a bad place back then. I’d just closed my training business and had no work. I had time on my hands, and too much of it, and so I started. I could pretend to everyone (including myself) that I was busy, and so I just started tweeting. 100+ tweets a day, retweeting incessantly, in 4 years I have sent out 56,825 tweets to date, 30,000 in the first 18 months, and I connected with everyone. No real strategy or objective, no targets or anything else. I loved this new medium and the conversations I was having and I made lots of friends and got noticed and connected quickly.

What I klike best about Twitter is that I can find the conversations I want or have an interest in and I can join in. I can connect and speak to whoever I want. I don’t need an invitation or to ask permission. That is what was different about Twitter, and I’ve just kept connecting, talking, listening and identifying what I might be able to offer my network commercially, and the places I might be able to contribute.

I don’t know where I would be now or what I would be doing if I hadn’t sent that first tweet. I’ve learnt more from links I’ve seen and connections I’ve made over the last 4 years than I have in the other 42 years of my life. I’ve made many good friends, some of whom I’ve met. I no longer believe you need to meet people in person to be friends, that is an old way of looking at the world. I’ve built a global event business on a hashtag with #tru. I’ve spoken at, hosted or attended over 100 events on 4 continents. I know being social in approach and thinking works. I’m living proof of R.O.I. I’ve worked with companies like the BBC, Oracle and Hard Rock Cafe integrating social recruiting. I work with great recruitment product companies like RolePoint, Joberate and Colleague. I get paid to write content, whitepapers and even a book. I hope I give back some value when people need it. I could never give back as much as I’ve taken out, and it all started with one tweet:

Can anyone see this?



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

#TRULondon Interviewers Personality Profile

trulondon300x186As ever, I am very excited in anticipation of #TRULondon 7 tomorrow, which is Wednesday and Thursday, 5th and 6th March. Whilst there is always a great time to be had and much to be learned from all attendees, part of the excitement comes from knowing that anything can happen, as nothing is ever predictable at #TRU events.

What I do know, however, is that #TRULondon will be filled with enthusiastic professionals involved in recruitment at all stages in the process. With so many experienced recruiters in attendance, we have a little freebie to whet your whistle. In conjunction with PCEvaluate, we have devised a unique Personality Profile Report for professional interviewers. The results of this report are specifically designed to show how your own personality, as an interviewer, has a direct effect on your interviewing style, and of course your candidates.
Try the report, and let me know how accurate it is at #TRULondon.

You can see the original on the PCEvaluate site here


Why sourcing is only just starting #Sourcecon

I’m really excited to be at Sourcecon in Atlanta. the night before the event, and much of the talk has been about a post from Dr.John Sullivan that sourcing is dead. OK, not dead, but the title of the post is that the end of sourcing is near. This is, of course rubbish. sourcing has never been in more demand.

The point Dr.John makes is that everyone now has a digital footprint. finding people is easy. I don’t disagree with that but …

Can you find the SAME people as Glen Cathey? Probably not.

Will you look in the same place as me? No

Have you built the same reputation as me in the market we source in? Time will tell.

Can you read a profile and know what it really means? I doubt it

And here is the thing, sourcing is just starting. There are plenty of tools for dissecting and finding data that gives you the answers you want. The tools may no longer mean that you no longer need to know Boolean or other internet searching tips,but understanding what data means is a real art. It is not about finding people, it’s about understanding people. Things like who might be most ready to move. who has accumulated experience since they last updated a profile. Finding people might be easy. People are represented by data, and anyone with the right tool can find data, but interpreting data is a real skill. Understanding who is right for an approach, and who might be right for your offer is the art of the sourcer.

In my opinion, the art of sourcing is just starting. The easier it is to find people, the harder it is to source people, because all recruiters are ending up at the same place. The real skill is ending up at a place and with a person no one else has found, because the way in which you looked was different to everyone else.

My message to Dr.John is don’t mistake finding with sourcing. Anyone can search on LinkedIn and find 30 profiles with the right job title, or use the latest tool to find profiles that match. That doesn’t make the people you find candidates. That is the art of the sourcer. To find 30 people who look the same, but understand who is different. To understand that it is not about finding needles in haystacks, but understanding which haystack needs a poke around with your pitchfork.

There is much more to it, and a lot further to go in developing sourcing techniques. Sourcing is not near the end, it has only just started, and I’m looking forward to the next 2 days to discover where the art might be going!


Shout Out For Hebert #TimSackettDay (Vlog)

It’s international #TimSackettDay. A one day event to recognise an unsung hero in the HR community who doesn’t make any of the lists, but we consider to be a BIG influence on the HR Community at large. This years recipient is none other than Paul Hebert. This is my shout out:

The video embed has died on the blog, so please check the video shout out HERE


Hats off to Paul. You can read his personal blog PeeStrong, or find him on Fist Ful Of Talent.

Tweet him at @IncentIntel


Send him a message and congratulate him