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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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-realitylayar 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 networksTribepad 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.

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