Talent Branding

The world of Community Management is changing.....at least ours is.

The title Community Manager didn't even exist 5 years ago, well it did but in a totally different industry.  Anyway, the world of online, digital, or "inbound" marketing is evolving everyday, every hour, and even sometimes within minutes.  One of the ways we try to keep up with the trends is by having the best people working on the things they enjoy the most.  In this case we're speaking of Community Managers.  Not just social media managers, but true authentic "Community" Managers.  It's a true DNA match for a PeopleOps Community Manager to be architecting and maintaining talent communities.  Here's a graphic describing the difference. 
 

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My recent post on Blogging4Jobs: 10 Common Social Recruiting & Internet Sourcing Myths BUSTED

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Your Customer Service and Public Relations Department’s ‘Trojan Horse’

 Prasanth is an out of work Product Manager.  He has a Computer Science degree from a state school that is not a top 20.  Even though he got a 4.0 GPA while working full time at a local tech company, he is still discounted among the elite companies in the space.  He has tried his hand at startups and found that he is more of a big company guy. The only problem is big companies don’t want to hire him. It’s a combination of being out of work for such a long time, his degree not high leveled enough, and found to be a little bit OCD.  
 

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       He finally scores an interview with a top 10 tech company.  He arrives for his three part interview, only to be asked to leave after the first part.  Feeling jaded, he stops by his local Starbucks and starts tweeting while sipping his coffee to hopefully cheer himself up. Who is he tweeting to?  He is tweeting to his friends inside the company that just booted him out. He is tweeting to other colleagues holding an offer letter between that company and a hot new startup.  He is tweeting to his professors, who take it personally that the company does not think his curriculum is up to speed, resulting in educating his students to not waste their time interning at this company.  He is also tweeting to his blogger friends, involved in writing an interesting section on how companies treat  employees, future candidates, and people in general.  

     It sounds like he tweeted hundreds, and in effect, tens of thousands of people.  While this is true, the main concept to recognize is that it took only one single tweet to reach this audience.  When we live in a society where the most obscure dude living in his mom’s basement can create a social media nightmare for a company, imagine what an educated and networked candidate can do!

     Recruiting departments are the un-checked customer service juggernaut.  Too often they are guilty of dismissing candidates with poorly written and non-human form letters during the interview process, or even 10 minutes after the first initiated call.  Staffing firms are not resourced enough to handle that kind of scale; in 2012 and beyond they will have to be for greater success.

    Let’s make a test case for one single search.  Your company hiring manager needs a new Software Engineer.  So you post online, internally, and have your internal recruiting team start working on it.  After a few weeks, the hiring manager is still not finding that perfect candidate.  So the recruiting team sends it out to a couple of search firms.  Within a couple days, solid candidates are put into process, and the interview process begins.  About a dozen candidates are phone screened, and as the process shrinks to the field, to three candidates that are brought onsite.  One candidate is made an offer while the other two are kept in the dark until the recruiter knows the choice candidate accepts for sure, then the other 2 are released by getting sent a form letter.

   To hire one new candidate, your company had to tell approximately 100 candidates ‘No’.  Considering we are living in the first wave of gold spray painted plastic trophy toasting, super hero, rock star generation, my educated guess is you now have 100 customers that will likely not shop with you again.

    Luckily, most people will not accept this denial and keep trying two or three other attempts, in vain, to get hired at your company.

   I am not suggesting you hire them all.  I am suggesting you treat them throughout the process like a real human that you will have to speak to the next day ,or better yet, want to sell something too the next day.  Treat them as if it was your mother being referred to the company.  Coddle?  Yes man, I am saying to coddle! 

Talent Acquisition Services

Starting in 2012, PeopleOps will begin to build out several distinct services that will work in concert to provide a comprehensive approach to talent acquisition services.
 
 

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Our core service, candidate sourcing, will be called PeopleOps | DNA.  We thought this name was appropriate as sourcing is truly the building block of all we do.  PeopleOps | DNA provides dedicated candidate sourcing for companies of all sizes.  Our fee structure changes to reflect the needs of startups, mid-size, and enterprise level customers. 

We also have an emerging passion to architect scalable communities around brands and departments.  To combat the rising cost and increasing ineffectiveness of paid job advertising, we have created a crowd recruiting solution called PeopleOps | ACA (Authentic Community Architecture).  Our ACA team will work with companies of all sizes to build sustainable social assets that will decrease the need for paid job advertising while increasing candidate quality. We do this by creating real social media communities utilizing numerous platforms to create a candidate pool of highly targeted passive candidates that are directly or indirectly engaged with a clients brand or department.

PeopleOps has also long been a proponent of concierge level executive search.   In 2012 we are recommitting ourselves to this service.  Our now called PeopleOps | CXO will cater to business critical searches with a salary level of $250k and up.  In this search, an unmatched level of attention is provided to the search, the hiring manager, and to the candidate experience. 

 

Understanding the Context of the Candidate

   Why there is such a disconnect in understanding that the consumers ARE the candidates.  If you want to know the best way to reach candidates, look at what the best consumer companies are doing.  

   Take for instance, Apple.  They are among the top brands in cult-like following and Apple is the king of subtle disruptions.  This past March (2011), I was at South By Southwest (SXSW) when Apple was launching the iPad2.  SXSW brings together some of the most forward thinking social media and tech companies. They discuss cutting edge and even sometimes barely existing technologies.  Apple did not have a booth or a logo at SXSW.  What they DID have is a pop up store in downtown Austin ,about 4 blocks away from SXSW.  So, the day the iPad2 launched, guess where a ton of people were? You got it! They were not in breakout sessions that they or their companies paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for them to be at.  Rather, they were standing in line, a hundred people deep, tweeting away about the iPad2.  Apple won SXSW without even being there.  
 

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  Alright, so what is the connection to this anecdote and the consumer and candidate?  Priority.  Keep in mind, the people waiting in line at the pop up mac store were not just run of the mill consumers. These were the normally passive candidates within the social media space that recruiters fight over on Linkedin and other online platforms.  So why were they in line?  Because they wanted an iPad2.  Apple knew there ultra-targeted customers would likely be at SXSW so they made it easy for them to get there hands on one.  Consumers crave authenticity, relevance, solid actual results, and low barrier’s of entry.  That same consumer is also your next great hire.  

How do you create a recruiting context that matches this culture? 

  1. Be Authentic:  Kill the corporate vomit that is on the job requirements.  Write what you would want to read.  Why your company is cool, why you have good people, what you are really looking for, and why YOU think they should be interested.  Couple that with a quick YouTube interview with the hiring manager talking about the requirement... unedited.  
  2. Is it a Good Job:  If you are trying to pitch a mediocre job then go back and make it not mediocre.  You do not have to pay top of market to win the day but if you want the guy at your competitors, you need to ask yourself why would someone leave to come to you.  If your answer is, because my company is better, then you have lost.  It HAS to be because my job is better, and if it's not, you need to make it better.
  3. Lower the Barriers of Entry: Does your Applicant Tracking System suck?  The answer is most likely yes.  I understand that due to compliance laws, we have to have some forms of applications.  However, you should make the application process, at least on the front end, something they can do with a simple email or maybe logging in to use their Linkedin resume-like profile.  Oh and while I am at it, please start taking LI profiles as resumes, its good enough! 

5 Must-Have Characteristics of a Recruiting/Sourcing Vendor

Sourcing and recruiting for businesses are critical, hard to find skill sets that takes time. It also takes a lot of domain knowledge. It can be hard for businesses to find the necessary time or internal resources to learn and/or implement winning passive sourcing efforts and authentic social media messaging (to name a couple) for themselves. In these cases, businesses can reach out to a third-party agency to manage their candidate development efforts. Consider these 5 must-have characteristics when evaluating an agency partnership.

1. The Right Services

Saying "agency" is really a disservice to the Talent Acquisition industry.  The question is what is your need?  Do you need to hire lots and lots of standard qualification employees? Then a U.S. based RPO might be right for you.  Do you have one critical hire you need to make but have a super strict budget? Then a contingency agency could be the right call.  Maybe you have a fairly consistent need for a tier 1 candidate pipeline for a specific business group that complains a lot? That could be when you tap the services of a tactical sourcing team like PeopleOps.

2. A Clear Process

Project results on whitepapers and company case studies are great, but the real value of an agency's involvement will be in how they put, not only how they fill the business critical roles, but the additional added value of how they work with the hiring authorities.  Recruiting or Sourcing agencies should be able to clearly lay out and explain the candidate development methodology for prospective clients. Being able to clearly show you the order in which things need to happen and the amount of time and resources required at each step. This will indicate that the agency has delivered ROI to clients before. Thus, you will also be able to infer that it has the game plan to do it again for your company.

3. An Emphasis on Measurement

Words like "metrics", "benchmarks" and "analytics" should be peppered throughout your prospective agency's pitch. Progress made toward your goals should to be measured at every step of the way, and a recruiting agency worth its weight will be able to track all campaigns, direct sourcing efforts, candidate flow and report on performance regularly. You have goals. You are trying to meet those goals by hiring the agency. Therefore, it should be as focused as you are, charting success in an undeniable, data-driven way. 

4. Strong Project Management Skills

Recruiting is fueled by the creation of remarkable content aimed at your ideal candidates, compelling direct sourcing initiatives, and authentic messaging. In order to be successful, good recruiting/sourcing agencies will need to get inside your hiring managers head to build that content and learn about that dream candidate. Do the agencies you're considering have the process and communication skills to make you think they will make reasonable and realistic requests of your hiring authorities? Also, have they set clear expectations around what each step in the candidate development and attraction process will require in terms of time and resources? Do you get the impression that they can manage campaigns with lots of moving parts? A good agency will make your life easier; not the opposite.

5. An Online Presence Optimized for Top Talent

Does the agency you're considering blog regularly? What is its own internal recruiting initiatives like? Are there optimized landing pages and premium content offers throughout its site? An effective recruiting or sourcing agency should be its own best case study. Think twice about engaging with a recruiting firm that doesn't make the services it sells a priority for its own business.

 

Inspired Search

   Marketing department of all sizes have been recently talking about the transition of the context of marketing and how it gets its message to audiences.  The old montage of "stack it high and let it fly" is dead and gone.  Marketing teams are instead crafting hundreds, if not thousands, of messages that are now being delivered to small niche groups.

   What is most interesting is understanding why this shift is a must for marketing companies.  This is because, due to the absolute inundation of content, consumers authenticity radars have also become more evolved. Take, for instance, when companies try to cleverly craft YouTube videos that look like it was generated by real people, but was actually done by a production company and then they try to make that video go viral. The consumers' comment strings will tell the whole story.

   Here is the interesting thing, consumers are also candidates.  This means that the same canned messaging, job posts, and the corporate speak embedded in the job description are not going to cut it with the candidates you often are seeking.  I am aware that the candidate application pools often get overwhelming results in terms of applicants. However the applicant to hire ratios at most top companies is less then 3% and falling.  Why is this?  The best candidates are often not applying to the jobs.  Why? They are not looking at the promoted Tweets because it is not that interesting to them.

     So what is the cure? It's really a one-two punch.  You have to have a real, authentic, direct message.  When I say "You", it's whomever your job pitch man is: sourcer, recruiter, hiring manager, internal employee, etc.  Most, if not all, companies have this.  So why the lackluster results?  Is your pitchman inspired?  I am not talking about the corporate Kool-Aid drinking 'Yes Men.'  Your pitchman needs to be legitimately into the company...like the product, the services, what your company is working on, they buy into the big picture, or just basically give a rip about the organization.  Why does this matter?  It's the only way the messaging is going to resonate. Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you say it.  I hope whomever your pitchman is, they care about the company. If not, I hope you can quickly find someone who does. 

Do you legitimately care about the company you represent?  If you don't, maybe it's time you too become inspired.

 

4 ways to use Twitter to find great candidates

73% of Staffing Leadership believe using consumer focused social media tools like Twitter or Facebook has little effect on increasing their organizations' top line candidates or filling positions with adequate talent. Only you can change this misconception. Using social media to bring in great talent isn't a cost center, it's a catalyst for growth.
 

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Here are 4 easy ways you can use Twitter to start getting better candidates:

  1. Listen:  From my perspective Twitter is often miss conceived as a content distribution tool.  In my opinion it is far more useful as a listening tool.  Your recruiters or sourcers can set up live searches around specific search terms, like "ios developer" OR "flight dynamics" or "objective-c".  The more specific you can get the less 'noise' you will have to filter through.  Using free tools like Tweetdeck, you can quickly set up numerous searches that will alow you to engage with people talking about your specific topics...odds are these people are candidates.
  2. Be Authentic: If you are looking for Computer Science engineers, Accountants, Management Consultants, or whatever it may be... do not populate your tweets with endless news feeds and other spammy garbage.  Interview your hiring managers, engage in industry blogs, and tweet relevant information about your open role, about the department it reports to, about the people in the department, etc.  The more authentic you can be, the better the chance of you landing the passive candidate that sees you but has yet to respond.
  3. Leverage the hashtag #:  If you want to take a little more of an aggressive approach, you can used paid Twitter tools like TweetAdder3 that can search all profiles associated with a hashtag.  Why is that imporatant?  Most confrences use hashtags to organize so if you want to find alot of social media enthusiasts you could use #sxsw for South By Southwest...or any other conference.  Great way to troll for solid candidates. 
  4. Respond to everyone:  Everytime someone follows you, everytime someone Re-Tweets something you said, any activity at all ... make sure you engage.  Even if its just to say thank you, engaging with your fledging community will make those new found connections strengthen.  Keep in mind, your search may end, but that community you are building (if done right!) will remain to help you when you need it again. 

5 Reasons Marketing and Recruiting Should Get Married

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style="color: rgb(56, 56, 56); font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 23px; text-align: left; "> Marketing as we know is going through a dramatic 'shift.' The internet and social media is about to go to college ...and as we know most people start entertaining the idea of marriage about this same time.   Companies are scrambling to take what was a single eloquently crafted message that was delivered to millions and change it into several thousand authentically crafted messages delivered a couple thousand at a time.    Recruiting is no different.   Just like in marketing, social media has massively impacted recruiting.   I have not seen a physical resume on my desk in several years, more and more candidates are using their Linkedin profiles as their pseudo  resume, and candidates can now visible see second and third degree connections into an employer of choice via a number of online communities and clever smart phone apps.  
So what does this mean?   Marketing and Recruiting should really consider getting together ...here is why:


They do life separately 



When your relationship is casual, you maintain your own places. Marketing lives in a cute sublet, and recruiting lives in a downtown loft. They don’t share anything, and they spend time separately. Marketing has girls’ night out and Recruiting has poker night with the guys. Their communication is sporadic at best, and it's obvious they just aren’t on the same page.

They Don’t Share Finances



When Recruiting and Marketing are just in the dating phase, they don’t pool their money. They don’t share expenses, and they don’t leverage economies of scale. For instance, they both pay their own rent and utilities, and they don’t have any family memberships at the gym. Let’s face it: they are wasting a lot of money because they don’t work together. 


They Sound Different

While Marketing and Recruiting are just dating, they don’t sound as if they are on the same page. When I talk to Marketing, she tells me one story, and when I talk to Recruiting, I hear something completely different. Marketing is always interrupting me with her advertising speak, and Recruiting is constantly talking reactionary based on getting "hires" and “budget” that. This is a big challenge for the people around them, especially the people they want to be close to: Candidates and New Customers...oh wait...could those be the same people?

They Don’t Complement Each Other



Before they commit, Marketing and Recruiting's' personalities are totally different. Recruiting is pushy, and Marketing tries to show me how smart she is. She has all the answers. And then there are the spats. Marketing thinks Recruiting is the problem and Recruiting thinks Marketing is the problem. They really need to be a team if they want to achieve their lifelong goals.

5 Reasons Marketing and Recruiting Should Tie the Knot

If Marketing and Recruiting got married, it would transform them from two individuals -- Recruiting and Marketing -- into one family, also known as the Growth Department. Think about it; what if they worked together as a single unit; as a team? Here's what would happen:

1. Matched Messaging: What if Marketing and Recruiting said the same thing? What if their approach was aligned, educating, helping, advising, and counseling all the way through the life cycle? The Recruiting presentation would match the messaging on the website. The Recruiters would be providing educational content and nurturing their candidates, helping passive candidates feel excited and confident about joining your company.

2. Return-on-Investment: What if they pooled their money? They could accomplish so much more. They would eliminate the unproductive things they did like traditional advertising, trade shows, and costly golf outings, and instead focus on the highest return activities like websites, email campaigns, lead nurturing, content creation, and social media management. They might even get on a budget and take their talent attraction to elite levels using a team like PeopleOps to galvanize their efforts. 


3. Integration: What if they lived together, working on challenges and focusing on the single task: getting results? They would understand each other so much better and be a tightly knit, integrated team. Just think about the potential. 


4. Content Collaboration: If they tied the knot, they could do things together like create educational videos that highlighted the hiring manager's so when they finally met their candidates, the candidates already felt like they knew them, liked them, and trusted them. What a warm, friendly feeling that would leave with potential new hires. 


5. Aligned Goals: Most importantly, if they were committed to each other, their goals would be aligned. Their hopes and dreams would now be one. Their Growth department would grow into the Growth Machine their parents hoped and dreamed of when they started their own families. 


While this marriage analogy is cute and I hope it got you to chuckle, this is becoming the new model in businesses of all sizes. The Growth Department is an aligned model where recruiting and marketing are a single team working together to drive one single measure: growth. 

Are your marketing and recruiting teams happily married? What benefits have you experienced from having successfully aligned marketing and recruiting departments?
 
 



Image Credit: jmscottIMD

This blog was a colorful adaptation to a guest post written by Michael Lieberman, cofounder and president of Square 2 Marketing.