#trulondon5

Sunday Shout Out: Steve Ward: An Agency Recruiter Who "Gets" #SocialRecruiting

Todays Sunday shout out is for Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Recruitment Group, who is well worthy of recognition. Steve is one of a rare but growing breed of agency recruiters who actually understand social recruiting and social media, as more than a job posting avenue. I first connected with Steve through twitter, where he is omnipresent. It’s understandable that Steve would be active in the social channels, given that his business Cloud Nine focuses on recruiting for the digital media sector, with an emphasis on social media. What is more interesting is the way in which Steve networks and contributes to the wider community he recruits from.

Long before immersing himself in social media, Ward had a long background in traditional agency recruiting, dating back to 1995, where he began his career with commercial recruiters Personnel Selection working up to a role as Branch Manager. He joined Recruitment Express as Commercial Business Development Manager in 1999, moving to Recruitment Cafe as Managing Director in 2002. After 3 years, Ward moved on to national recruitment business Select for a year, and the Randstad for 2 years as Business Manager. Ward set up Cloud Nine in 2009, and has not looked back.

The Cloud Nine Group is made up of a group of independent, single office recruiters, in which Wards Cloud Nine Recruitment provides the infrastructure. It’s not surprising to see the business structured this way, given Wards genuinely collaborative approach to social media. It’s a great example of the much over used adage: “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.” In this case it is true.

I have a theory that you can draw many parallels between a local pub and how personal social media networks work. I use the term network rather than community because I think this fits better the way in which we connect and group together on social networks. In any local pub, people group together in much the same way. In any pub there’s a” go  to guy” for pretty much everything. When you need help, there’s usually someone with some experience or expertise who are more than happy to help. When you want something doing, like electrical work, plumbing or decorating, then there’s always a “go to guy” and if there’s not, there’s always a man who knows a man that they can refer you to. When you are active in social media channels, then you get the opportunity to become the “go to guy” for your specialist area, and this will always lead to business.

You get to become the guy by letting it be known what you do, without making it all you talk about. You help people when they need advice. For recruiters this can be as simple  as reviewing a CV, giving interview advice or passing on information. In any pub environment, you don’t talk to only the people who could do business with you, you talk to everyone who wants a conversation, and you talk about multiple topics, and just enjoy being there. Social channels are much the same, particularly twitter.

Steve has become that go to guy for anything related to recruiting within the digital media and social space. Steve is a great example of how to balance on-line and off-line activities. He plays an active part in the social media community, and is often found at tweetups, meetups and other events. He is a regular host, speaker or contributor, and all this ground work has placed Cloud Nine at the center of the community.

It’s not surprising given, Steve’s network, that most of his business, and candidates come from recommendation or shares. I get jobs from the Cloud Nine Group account in my stream. The jobs are relevent to my stream because they are based in the UK and in a relevent sector for a group of my followers. I quite often share them, and I’m sure there are many others who do the same. We share relevent content from our friends that we trust. Any agency recruiters should take a look at Wards stream and activity, as a good example of how to earn a similar position in their respective niche.

Last week Ward announced the launch of a new joint venture with social integration business Socialgility. Socialgility consult with businesses on how they can integrate social media and social culture in to all business practice. The new venture, Socialgility Talent addresses the need for recruiting in-house digital marketing roles. As more and more businesses are looking to integrate social, so the need to hire specialists is becoming increasingly important. People are at the heart of any social strategy, and Socialgility Talent provide the people. It’s a promising proposition, and I wish Steve well in this.

Steve will be back at #trulondon again, running his ever popular track “The Social Agency.” If you are an agency recruiter, then it’s a must attend track. Ward is a great role model in how to achieve success through social, on and off-line. More importantly, he is a recruiter first and foremost, and this gives him a real understanding of #socialrecruiting, rather than social for socials sake.

Bill

LINKS

Steve Ward

Cloud Nine Recruitment

SocialGility

Sunday Shout Out: Steve Ward: An Agency Recruiter Who “Gets” #SocialRecruiting

Todays Sunday shout out is for Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Recruitment Group, who is well worthy of recognition. Steve is one of a rare but growing breed of agency recruiters who actually understand social recruiting and social media, as more than a job posting avenue. I first connected with Steve through twitter, where he is omnipresent. It’s understandable that Steve would be active in the social channels, given that his business Cloud Nine focuses on recruiting for the digital media sector, with an emphasis on social media. What is more interesting is the way in which Steve networks and contributes to the wider community he recruits from.

Long before immersing himself in social media, Ward had a long background in traditional agency recruiting, dating back to 1995, where he began his career with commercial recruiters Personnel Selection working up to a role as Branch Manager. He joined Recruitment Express as Commercial Business Development Manager in 1999, moving to Recruitment Cafe as Managing Director in 2002. After 3 years, Ward moved on to national recruitment business Select for a year, and the Randstad for 2 years as Business Manager. Ward set up Cloud Nine in 2009, and has not looked back.

The Cloud Nine Group is made up of a group of independent, single office recruiters, in which Wards Cloud Nine Recruitment provides the infrastructure. It’s not surprising to see the business structured this way, given Wards genuinely collaborative approach to social media. It’s a great example of the much over used adage: “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.” In this case it is true.

I have a theory that you can draw many parallels between a local pub and how personal social media networks work. I use the term network rather than community because I think this fits better the way in which we connect and group together on social networks. In any local pub, people group together in much the same way. In any pub there’s a” go  to guy” for pretty much everything. When you need help, there’s usually someone with some experience or expertise who are more than happy to help. When you want something doing, like electrical work, plumbing or decorating, then there’s always a “go to guy” and if there’s not, there’s always a man who knows a man that they can refer you to. When you are active in social media channels, then you get the opportunity to become the “go to guy” for your specialist area, and this will always lead to business.

You get to become the guy by letting it be known what you do, without making it all you talk about. You help people when they need advice. For recruiters this can be as simple  as reviewing a CV, giving interview advice or passing on information. In any pub environment, you don’t talk to only the people who could do business with you, you talk to everyone who wants a conversation, and you talk about multiple topics, and just enjoy being there. Social channels are much the same, particularly twitter.

Steve has become that go to guy for anything related to recruiting within the digital media and social space. Steve is a great example of how to balance on-line and off-line activities. He plays an active part in the social media community, and is often found at tweetups, meetups and other events. He is a regular host, speaker or contributor, and all this ground work has placed Cloud Nine at the center of the community.

It’s not surprising given, Steve’s network, that most of his business, and candidates come from recommendation or shares. I get jobs from the Cloud Nine Group account in my stream. The jobs are relevent to my stream because they are based in the UK and in a relevent sector for a group of my followers. I quite often share them, and I’m sure there are many others who do the same. We share relevent content from our friends that we trust. Any agency recruiters should take a look at Wards stream and activity, as a good example of how to earn a similar position in their respective niche.

Last week Ward announced the launch of a new joint venture with social integration business Socialgility. Socialgility consult with businesses on how they can integrate social media and social culture in to all business practice. The new venture, Socialgility Talent addresses the need for recruiting in-house digital marketing roles. As more and more businesses are looking to integrate social, so the need to hire specialists is becoming increasingly important. People are at the heart of any social strategy, and Socialgility Talent provide the people. It’s a promising proposition, and I wish Steve well in this.

Steve will be back at #trulondon again, running his ever popular track “The Social Agency.” If you are an agency recruiter, then it’s a must attend track. Ward is a great role model in how to achieve success through social, on and off-line. More importantly, he is a recruiter first and foremost, and this gives him a real understanding of #socialrecruiting, rather than social for socials sake.

Bill

LINKS

Steve Ward

Cloud Nine Recruitment

SocialGility

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!

Bill

LINKS

White Truffle

SMART Recruiters

Brave New Talent

Kevin Wheeler

Checkster

How to make a social referral program work #trulondon

One of my top 3 conversations I had last year, was with Brave New Talents newly appointed Director of Strategy, Master Burnett. Master is one of the smartest people I know, and I’m confident that with Master behind the plan, Brave New talent will achieve the lofty ambitions of founder Lucian Tarnowski, to become THE talented network. It was one of those conversations that almost makes your head hurt because you have to go away and really think about it, write-up your thoughts and keep going back to the conversation in your head, figuring out the right position to take.

We were at #truSanfran, and it was an unusual one for me because I found myself disagreeing with Master. He is a smart guy, and that doesn’t happen often. We were discussing referrals, and how to make programs work. Master is a bit of an expert in this, having spent the last 7 years or so researching referral programs, good and bad. He knows his stuff, so why did we disagree?

Master Burnett

I don’t differ from Master in this point, recommendations where there is a past relationship, knowledge of work and trust should always take priority, but I think we should take things further. I’m interested in the quantity as well as the quality. I want the employees of the company to be the introducers and not the recruiters. The recruiters should be the recruiters. I want them deciding who to see and who fits,.I want the employees to give the recruiters access by introduction, and I want the quantity, as well as the quality.

This is what I see as the difference between social referrals and recommendations. I understand the ratios are going to be vastly different, but if I can get the reach and the introductions, based on scale, I can get to the point where social referrals are the main source of hire, where there is high volume requirements. So whats the difference?

Each employee has an average of 125 friends on Facebook, and 220 LinkedIn connections. My research shows a 20% crossover, and about 70% relevance. Do the math for the possible reach if you got even half your employees involved in the referral program.

The social referral tech (you can read my review of the products HERE), matches profiles to jobs to come up with possible introductions. It’s quick, and the more intelligent software learns to get more and more accurate. I understand that only a %, probably no more than 10% of your connections are going to be known to you. I’m not looking for you to recommend who is a good fit, but to introduce me in the channel where you are connected, so that I can make a choice. This type of referral will only work when you’ve removed any type of accountability, and you’ve made it clear that you are not looking for recommendations.

It does help however, if employees can indicate those they recommend, as well as those they socially refer. I agree 100% with Master that the recommendations will be the most effective, and best source of hire. Priority must be given to these candidates, but I want both, to achieve higher volume hiring requirements. To get access to an employees social networks, I need to work on certain conditions of trust. This is a big communication exercise at launch to get accepted. We establish a trust contract with the employees.

The referral program contract:

> The software accesses your connections and matches with your permission.  The recruiters have no access until they are contacted by the refered person. You can remove access at any time.

> We acknowledge these are your connections and your network that you have worked hard to establish.

>We won’t scrape or export your contacts in to a database. Your network is your network.

>We won’t message or spam anyone. You decide who to message, when, what to say and how often.

>We won’t hold you accountable or responsible for introductions.

>We don’t expect you to know the people you introduce unless you say otherwise.

>Your referrals will be given priority.

>We will review your referrals within 48 hours and give you feedback.

>We will give you feedback on progress.

>We will provide you with anything you need to refer jobs.

>We need your help to hire the best people, and will track and recognise your contribution.

>We will strive to provide the best candidate experience possible. We understand that these are your introductions.

Social referrals form a big part of the consultancy work I do. From talking to teams and looking at schemes, I’ve drawn the following conclusions:

> Cash rewards don’t work.

> Referring needs to be technology enabled, quick and simple.

> The recruiters need to do the work, not the referer.

> Reward referrals not hires.

> Competitions work especially i-pads. A scheme that worked really well for me was a raffle ticket for each referral, with an i-pad as the prize.

> Public recognition, T-Shirts etc work wonders.

> Referral programs need high visibility on an ongoing basis. Posters, mailers and requests work wonders.

>Make sharing easy.

>Don’t ask staff to get or upload resumes.

>Leader boards and inclusion in reviews and meetings go far.

>Make sharing simple.Provide shortened links and plenty of supporting content.

>Work on relationships rather than expect referrals. (If you have people not referring, spend time with them to find out why.)

I agree with Master 100% that the preference is for recommendations. They will get you the best hires, but using social reach and referral has the potential to get you all your hires. Michelle Rea of Social Honesty and SocialCruiter, a recommendation product, and Pete Linas of Bullhorn Reach, a referral product will be leading the referral track at #trulondon, and I will be joining the conversation. With direct recruiters coming from the BBC, Oracle, Accenture, SalesForce and plenty of others, as well as agency recruiters, it’s not one you’d want to miss!

Bill