Table of Contents
Top 100 v 1.75 Bill Boorman
Explosive chaos. That’s what the first days of the universe were like. Explosive chaos with a kajillion undifferentiated moving parts. That’s how the Creative forces of nature work. Never pretty, rarely rational. Science was invented to try to describe creative processes.
They are like the proverbial sausage factory. What goes into sausage making is somewhat less pleasant than the final output.
Hanging out with Bill Boorman is like a visit to the start of the universe or a close inspection of a sausage factory.
I’m reminded of Maria in the Sound of Music.
“How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”
Bill is the progenitor of the TRU Conference (The Recruiting Unconference) series and the current Godfather of the global unconference movement in Recruiting. He’s the kind of super connector that you can only meet in the global recruiting marketplace. Bill simply knows everyone. A conversation with Bill is like standing next to a waterfall of information (I’d say Fire hose but the job boards have a trademark on firehouses).
Boorman is a classic example of the way that some kinds of influence work. Some connections are gateways and some are cul de sacs. Some connections are greedy and try to skim something off of each transaction. Some are additive so that each transaction is better for passing through the connector.
Bill is the quintessential value added connector who does huge volume work. The throngs of people at a TRU are the hungriest and most innovative players on the recruiting world stage. Boorman feeds them a steady diet of conversation, status bending interaction and novel solutions to problems.
A TRU Event is an exercise in disruption. While they are not for the faint hearted, the events feature strong dialog, intimate discussion and limitless networking. They are the antithesis of a traditional buttoned down conference.
We talked about influence.
I define real influence and on-line influence as two very different things.
Real influence I see as behavior, action or opinion changing that has a lasting impact. On-line influence has less long term impact. I favour the fast company definition, provoking an action on line. This can include being a trusted source of links, mentions, likes, link backs etc. I think it goes beyond pure follower/fan numbers, but relevant reach is a factor. (The key being relevance of audience.)
I’d like to see more work done on measuring relevant influence based on personal criteria. It would be good to see an app developed where you can measure “influence” in your own area of interest rather than over the internet as a whole. This could be very targeted around a niche, an extension of what you do with Trakkr. Using the term “influence” for on-line activity causes the most controversy or confusion.
I think the term “impact” would be more appropriate. It was interesting to note your comment at #trulondon that on-line influencers are rarely practices in the area, and is more likely to be vendors or consultants who benefit from the exposure on-line activity can bring.
I asked Bill who he thought were the five most influential people in our industry.
- Arie Ball – VP Talent Attraction – Sodexo.
Sodexo are one of the few businesses that use social recruiting on scale. The results are astounding in terms of volume of hires, range of hires and cost of hire. The team operates virtually across the states and they do some great work in making this effective. Arie is also humble and very willing to share.
- Paul Jacobs – NZ
The graduate recruiting programme for Deloitte in NZ was astounding, operating through a Facebook channel, Paul was one of the first to use live streaming to connect last years intake with potential new recruits. Paul got together a team of bloggers to share their story over their first year creating on-line celebrities. He combined this with a series of barbecues at various campuses across NZ to meet the bloggers. This catapulted Deloitte employer brand to the top of the pile and significantly improved the quality of hire. Paul also runs the Asia-pacific community promoting great work that goes largely un-noticed in this region.
- Jacco Valkenburg – Recruit2
Jacco has huge recruiter networks on LinkedIn and Twitter but chooses to stat largely under the radar. Collectively, he probably has the largest recruiter network on the globe but never shows up on any lists. (This is quite a Dutch thing.) He figured out how to monetize LinkedIn before most people. His aggregated blog feed on twitter has 36,500 followers alone. He is constantly growing his networks by being strict over the quality of content and group rules. His LinkedIn books are probably the best around to.
- Mark Rice – Andsome People.
A recent one for me. Mark has been running multiple social recruiting campaigns with real results. These are quite different (and I’d say above all simple) in approach. I have only noticed his work over the last 9 months, and he shared real case studies at #trulondon. I think his work rivals most others in this field anywhere.
- Paul Harrison – Carve Consulting.
Paul’s work has moved on from social recruiting to Social media in general. He is innovative in his approach and was the first to switch me on to social listening/monitoring, twinterns and a host of other areas. I’m a big fan of Paul’s work.
In the UK I would also have to list Peter Gold, Andy Headworth,Matt Alder, Jon Ingham, Steve Evans and Felix Wetzel as people I follow and learn from regularly. Glen Cathey – K – Force and Craig Fisher – Ajax Social Media/TNL are both much cleverer than me when it comes to sourcing and technology. They are also still practitioners in recruiting. Glens blog is like my reference source for sourcing, linked in and similar topics and is probably my number one blog. (Boolean Black Belt.) Craig was the first person I know who built a twitter community on a hashtag with TNL. I’m inspired by a lot of people. The list would probably go close to 50 if there was no limit. I consume information, particularly over what people are actually doing rather than talking about.
Bill talked about the new technologies that are currently catching his eye
- Augmented-reality – layar in particular – t
his has lots of applications across a wide range of sectors. I’m interested in how this fits in to recruiting and talent acquisition. I can see real benefits for careers fairs, events, on-boarding and retail recruiting.
- Global community networks – Tribepad in particular –
The platform they have built for G4S is astounding, providing a single portal for applications and a talent community fed by 125 different ATS in multiple languages. There are around 12 different technologies operating within Tribepad. It has been operational for a few months now and the scale of it blows me away. For internal communities, I also love Rypple that provides an internal social-media platform for feedback that users are familiar with.
- Bernard Hodes Social plug in that links candidates profiles with career sites
They excell at
making the whole application process much quicker and easier, and the candidate more informed about the network. Similar to the Brave New talent app, I think any tool working across Facebook needs to allow the candidate to control what parts of their profile they give employers access to, with no need to friend, like or allow posting on the wall. With privacy being such a big issue, but FB being the major social platform, the company that cracks it will fly. These 2 are the best I’ve seen yet, along with Work4.
- Bullhorn reach –
I’ve had the beta with a few clients for a while and I’m impressed. The areas I like about it are the link between the operational back-end and the public social profile. The social profile has a big emphasis on SEO that makes recruiters rank highly in searches, and there’s plans to integrate rankings from candidates and customers, as well as showing current activity. A potential candidate can find the profile and see just what a recruiter is working on now and what success they are having. I’m waiting to see how the automated content collection, posting and sharing pans out. It has potential to really build a social footprint quickly; the risk is that it takes away engagement. That said, there’s lots of aspects about the product that I think will set Bullhorn apart in this area. Art Papas is a real visionary.
Like a whirling dervish, Boorman is a constantly moving target who dispenses nearly mystical benefit to the people in his orbit. His influence comes from a combination of relentless work and astonishing generosity. He’s likely to become an institutional pillar on the Global HR Stage.
Over the years, we’ve spent a ton of time talking about employment branding. In its various aspects, employment branding is a key part of the equation for long term recruiting and talent management. If you aren’t willing to step up to the demands of web recruiting, you might as well outsource the function. Employment Branding is the craft of being so completely organized that you are ready with the right message for the right person when she comes along.
Traffic Development is the yin to the Employment Branding yang. Without adequate quantities of the right traffic (on the web and through the recruiting shop), there is little chance that the right quality of candidate will emerge in your database. Not all traffic is created equal.
Of course, you can and should purchase traffic from the big resellers. The most conventional means of buying visitors is to advertise on a variety of Job Boards. The idea, however, is not to simply dump those names into the Applicant Tracking System. Rather, once you have identified a potential candidate (ie, they want to apply to your job on some Job Board), you need to get them to go through your site. In other words, it’s worth the time and energy to work around the Job Board and send applicants to the URL on your site.
(All of this, by the way, is complete nonsense if you are unwilling or unable to invest in the necessary analysis and development associated with building a solid employment brand. If you can not afford a real website, dump the hard work of sifting quality on the people who should be recruiting. It appears to be the standard way to cheap out of effective performance.)
In most recruiting operations, more names in the database means less quality. The idea behind high performance recruiting is to subvert the natural tendency of the web to fill your computer up with junk. The ideal is that each new name raises the overall quality of the candidates with whom you have relationships.
Current practices do just the opposite. Each new name reduces the overall quality of the database.
Some people are lucky. If you have a brand like IBM, Coke, Nike or a hundred or so others, traffic is easy. Based on name recognition alone, many well known companies fill their databases with a hundred thousand new candidates a month. If you are not fortunate enough to be a celebrity, the work is a bit harder.
A combination of banner ads, reciprocal links, targeted content, search engine placement, keyword development, Job Board advertising and outright traffic purchases should be wielded to generate the right traffic flows. Once visitors cross the threshold of your website, the first goal should be to determine whether or not you want a longer relationship with them. Then you can let them go on to apply for a job.
Help. I’ve Fallen Into A Silo
The other day, I was talking to a colleague who is trying to solve a very difficult problem. Essentially, the core objectives of the business are creating a tidal wave of attrition. What the leadership wants to do comes at the expense of the people who work there.
The solution to one business issue is creating a very reasonable unpleasant backwash among key people. They, with good reason, imagine that their blood sweat and tears will result in the end of their employment.
So they leave first.
One of the many things I do is to connect people. I’ve worked hard to get to know a lot of really smart people. They all come at the industry’s problems with a variety of perspectives. I often act as a gateway, helping people understand why they want to talk with each other.
I told my colleague that he needed to talk with ‘a guy I know who does employment branding’. He responded by explaining to me that this wasn’t an employment branding problem, that it could be solved by more clearly defining performance requirements. The response was so quick, it made my head spin.
(This is where my goatee becomes really important. At moments like these, about all I can do is stroke it and mumble, “Hmm, very interesting.” So, I stroked my beard and mumbled, “Hmm. Very interesting.”)
The trouble with HR in general and the silos of HR in particular is that very few real business problems fall into neat functional categories. People who are actually good at solving business problems similarly don’t fall into neat categories. Finally, the solutions to complex business problems never fall into neat categories.
When you ask for help, the appropriate response to help that is offered but seems wrong is to make sure that you understand what you have been offered. Allowing the blinders of your silo to cloud your approach to solutions is to effectively limit those solutions. Really big problems require really open minds. The answer is almost always that you assumed something incorrect. Big solutions require you to interrupt your assumptions.
Employment Branding (which we’ve been talking about all week), can be a holistic view of the company’s relationship with the workforce, past, present and future. It is the cumulative effect of the way that employees are harnessed to meet corporate ambitions. Employment Brand is the aggregate of all employee experience.
Changing it can only be done by starting from where you are.
If you want to change the way that the relationship between the organization and its members works, you have to change the brand. While it may or may not be the primary focus of your intervention, it will be the net result of the work. Industrial employment branding initiatives involve the entire organization, from the board on down, starting with the board.
But, if you want to imagine that Employment Branding is only the development of an ad campaign and some messaging, you are welcome to miss the boat. That should have been the title of this piece: “You miss the boat when you stay in the silo.”
The biggest flaw in the current rush to discover ‘best practices’ is that ‘best practices’ rob their users of the mistakes necessary to have good judgment. Without some doozy mistakes under your belt, you are left in the position of believing that answers are simple and come in a box (with the crackerjack prize). Really tough and interesting problems are not solvable with best practices.
Yesterday, we said “Employment Branding is the craft of being so completely organized that you are ready with the right message for the right person when she comes along.” Let’s take that a bit further today.
A brand is a relationship.
Brands only matter to the people who care about them. Mention the brand name outside of the circle of people who have the relationship and you will receive shoulder shrugs. Mention it inside the circle and you can spark a conversation full of passion and opinion. The only brands that matter are the ones that people care about.
The theory and development of branding has been reserved, historically, for companies that could afford large broadcast media campaigns. The best examples of brand marketing are consumer product companies, from automobiles to popular music to varieties of American Cheese. The term brand is used to cover a wide range of circumstances from name recognition to deep affinity.
The notion of a brand has been extended to cover some surprising things. FastCompany , the periodical manifesto for those who want to change organizations from within, extends the concept as a metaphor for personal marketing. Peppers and Rogers, the authors of popular books on database and relationship marketing, move the concept to tightly grouped members of a database.
It is useful to think about branding as an early stage technology. Purely a 20th Century invention, branding, like many first generation technologies, began in organizations that could afford clumsy and inefficient approaches because of their sheer size. For the past 70 years, branding has been a game of extensive spending to attract large numbers of people to a single product or company.
Today, however, the tools needed to build very clear, very small niche oriented brands are readily available. Like much of marketing, the tools are now available from the desktop. This “downward evolution” of marketing, covered in our earlier work, creates both expanded opportunity and expanded responsibility at the department and operating unit level.
Changing demographics create a new requirement for the development of Relationships between Employers and demographically defined pools of candidates. This process, which is an outgrowth of the emerging changes in the basic concept of management are nothing less than a redefinition of the boundaries of the organization.
The combination of need and trend is fortuitous. As the generational labor shortage unfolds its consequences, the competition for employees will become increasingly precise. Over the next several years, we will continue to witness a series of increasingly successful branding exercises that focus clearly on the branding of subcomponents of the organization.
What makes Company X the employer of choice for Unix professionals is unlikely to be the dynamic that attracts candidates in accounting. A brand, as it is commonly understood is a good place to start. But, the focus on being a generic “employer of choice” is an inadequate vision for effective long term labor supply management.