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Ever live "down the street from someone" and only years later, thousands of miles away reintroduced yourself and communicated and learned what an exceptional innovator you missed a coffee or a lunch with when you had the opportunity? Of course you have; these are digital times, but alas, the virtual handshake allows us to recover bona fides. In this instance, a staffing manager who was an early disruptor within corporate walls was only a few miles away when I lived in Irvine before I escaped to the Rocky Mountains. Today, I give thanks to RecruitingBlogs Monday Member Showcase series for the opportunity to share a discovery of a true industry innovator, Mark Rinovato. This week, I am honored to feature his extraordinary legacy of achievements during his tenure at Broadcom; mainstreaming sourcing efforts, in addition to introducing SEO and employee branding as a vital strategic staffing component.
Mark served as Manager, Strategic Sourcing at Broadcom, he oversaw a budget of $1.5M where he initiated the creation of the strategic sourcing function and managed a team of eight Sourcing Specialists dedicated to passive candidate identification and pipeline generation through sourcing channels. He created the company’s first Employment Brand that is now used in all career-related advertising and communications in order to convey the true company culture. Mark implemented Search Engine Optimization technology for the career site that resulted in Broadcom’s open requisitions landing on the first page of Google search results. His efforts translated into the Successful development of identifying over 5000 qualified engineers to the database within six months.
As Manager of Global Staffing at Broadcom, he managed a budget of $3.5M and directed a global team of 28 including recruiters, sourcing specialists and coordinators in support of the Broadcom’s recruiting strategy and execution worldwide. He created Broadcom’s Employee Referral Program that produced a third of all company hires. His staffing organization grew Broadcom from 2,500 employees in 2004 to over 7,000 employees in 2008. In all, Mark’s efforts averaged over 1400 hires per year for four years, - exclusive of acquisitions.
Recently, Mark has initiated his own contingency search firm, “EMR Search Partners” which provides talent acquisition solutions to the high technology industry. EMR provides search services on a retained, contingency and contract basis. He has diversified his clientele with start-up venture funded firms as well as large established companies.
Q&A with Mark Rinovato
Six Degrees: Tell us of your home world.
Mark My wife, Edie, and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Februrary on the island of Bora Bora, Tahiti. It was spectacular. We met in Los Angeles, where I was starting out my recruiting career with an employment agency on Wilshire Blvd. She was working for a restaurant located in the same building. We know we made a great team. My wife is Hungarian born and actually escaped from communist Hungary in the 70’s with her mother and eventually made their way to Los Angeles. That’s an entire novel in itself! As it turned out, we started our own restaurant in Los Angeles, a Hungarian/Continental restaurant, and it was quite successful. I found myself recruiting by day and helping with the restaurant at night. I would not recommend this. We sold it 4yrs later, but the marriage is still going strong.
Six Degrees: What's a day in the life for you Mark?
Mark My main hobbies are golf, music and movies. I don’t have enough time to play a lot of golf, but I get out when I can. I’ve been to many PGA Tour golf tournaments, including the US Open at Torrey Pines in 08. It was a spectacular event. Having been in the restaurant business, my wife and I also share a love of gourmet cooking and wine, and we love to entertain friends. We also love to watch classic movies. As far as music, my tastes are pretty eclectic, and include folk, rock, jazz (especially latin jazz) and classical.
Six Degrees: How many years have you been in the staffing industry?
Mark: I’ve been in the staffing industry for over 30 years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes, especially with the technology. When I started in the industry the most innovative technology was the phone system. Come to think of it, we may be coming full circle with smartphones and the mobile internet.
Six Degrees: How did you get started as a recruiter?
Mark I was asked by a friend in Los Angeles, who had just been hired by an employment agency there, to talk with this agency about getting into the business. This was a small firm just starting up, and I was about the 6th employee. I ended up being with that agency for 7 years going from a Recruiter to Management, and we grew from one small agency to 5 agencies with 20 employees each. The success I experienced there was very exciting, especially for a young man in his early 20’s, and really set the tone for my career in this business. I was hooked. I still am.
Six Degrees: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
Mark That’s a tough question. There have been so many important events. But I would have to say that starting my own agency was the most important. There is something about going out on your own, with no support other then your belief in your own abilities, that really defines who you are. It requires you to be creative and do more with less, but it also gives you the freedom to do all of the things that you could not do working for others. As an example, the first firm that I worked for was slow to adopt the PC, networking and recruiting software that was then coming available, pushing it off into the future because of the expense. When I started my own business I immediately bought a software package designed for search firms and automated my business. It happened to be on the Mac as that was the only GUI available and I couldn’t deal with DOS.
Do you have a mentor to whom you attribute your overall outlook on recruitment, capabilities, and/or model your career after?
Mark Actually, there were two individuals that I would say I modeled my career after. The first was the owner of the first agency that I joined and was with for 7yrs. I saw how he ran his business and how successful he was, and that inspired me to learn recruiting and start my own business. The second was a corporate staffing manager with a Fortune 100 corporation who helped me transition into corporate recruiting. He gave me an opportunity and opened up that side of the business for me.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your last position, (responsibilities, size of your staffing organization) :
Mark I spent the last 8yrs at Broadcom Corporation, a $4.5 billion communications semiconductor company. I started out as a contract recruiter, and eventually progressed to Manager of Global Staffing and then Manager, Strategic Sourcing. The teams that I hired and managed were instrumental in growing the company from 2400 employees to just over 7500 employees in 4yrs. Most of these hires were highly skilled engineers, hardware and software. The staffing department had 25 recruiters and sourcers at one time, and we were an excellent team, but recent budget cuts have eliminated most of them. It’s the worst time I have ever seen in our industry.
Six Degrees: What talent niche groups do you target and are these particular talent areas specialized under your review?
Mark The talent groups that we focused on at Broadcom were primarily design engineers with either IC design, systems design or embedded software design expertise. Within these groups is quite a bit of specialization, as the company has over 22 different product lines. But those are the basic talent hubs, and they were all supported by my teams. We also recruited for other support functions, such as finance, IT, HR, etc.
Six Degrees: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Mark We had access to a lot of good training. The three primary training courses for staffing were:
The Adler Group – full cycle recruiting, including interview and assessment.
JobMachine – Sourcing
AIRS Xtreme - Sourcing
All of these vendors did an excellent job of coming on site and conducting professional training sessions that had a great deal of benefit to my teams.
Six Degrees: What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?
Mark The main tool was the ATS system, from VirtualEdge, and that system was implemented worldwide. We used all the typical job boards. Job boards were a tool worldwide as well, but only Monster worked reasonably well overseas. Most countries and regions have there own local boards that do better then Monster, CareerBuilder, Hotjobs and Dice. Of course, everyone had a LinkedIn Recruiter account, which is quite effective everywhere. Other sourcing tools included ZoomInfo, Broadlook Diver and Profiler, InfoGist, TalentHook, and others. We also used Search Engine Optimization and built an SEO site with TalentHubs.
Six Degrees: (A) What other companies' recruiting operations do you admire or have heard are best-practice examples?
Mark Microsoft is a name that keeps popping up on everyone’s top ten list. Also, I hear a lot of good things about Ernst and Young. We had a Broadcom employee leave to go to work in E&Y’s college program as a recruiter and described the experience in glowing terms. A lot of industry leaders in sourcing seem to have come from Microsoft.
Six Degrees: (B) In what aspects are they superior?
Mark Most companies with superior recruiting functions have the support and commitment of top executives who understand the importance of recruiting to the company’s success. This translates into budgets that allow staffing leadership to hire the best recruiters and sourcers, and implement the best tools and methodologies. The best recruiting departments have a strong strategic approach to staffing, along with a superior process.
Six Degrees: Worst mistake, biggest goof, lousiest practice you thought would fly but didn’t…and how that was a learning experience?
Mark Most of the big mistakes I have made were the result of lack of communication. Nothing leads to disaster like making decisions in a vacuum. Probably the best example of this happened when I became enamored with Web 2.0 job boards and thought that I needed to add one to my company’s toolbox. I did my due diligence, checked out all the top contenders and made my selection. I even had a small team of 2 recruiters who also participated in the demo’s, and they were also positive, so I was comfortable with my final decision. I was so sure that this was a great product that I failed to involve the larger team of recruiters and sourcers who would be using the product on a day to day basis. It turned out that, even after extensive training, they were not getting the results from this new product, and simply stopped using it. I had wasted tens of thousands of dollars of the company’s money and valuable training and recruiter time. The result was no results, and no ROI. No matter how cool a technology seems, you need to make sure that it can produce the desired results and that you have buy in from the majority of users before going with it.
Six Degrees: What recent general news story or industry trend do you feel will have an impact on your work in the future? Why?
Mark Obviously, the financial meltdown and deep recession has had a strong impact on the recruiting industry. No matter what part of the business you work in, you have probably negatively impacted by this downturn. Corporate recruiting budgets have been sharply curtailed. Many friends of mine on the agency side, both retained and contingency, have painted a very bleak picture of the current market. While this too shall pass, I think the severity of it will make companies hesitant about committing to hiring fulltime employees and push them towards more outsourcing and contract labor. The cost of healthcare is also a factor that will encourage this trend as well.
Six Degrees: Tell us about your broader involvement within the staffing industry:
Mark The most interesting groups that I have been involved with recently are CSLE (Corporate Sourcing Leadership Exchange) and OCTane, which is a local business group here in Orange County, CA. CSLE is focused on sharing information and stimulating ideas about Sourcing as a center of excellence in corporate environments. It is always enlightening to hear what other top corporate staffing teams are doing internally, especially with regards to sourcing. OCTane is a group dedicated to the branding of Orange County, CA as a destination for high technology and medical technology firms and talent.
Six Degrees: Can you detail how the recession has affected your particular industry niche? Has it effected your job or that of your fellow team members within the organization - If so, to what extent? (If you have been laid off, tell us about the experience, when it happened)
Mark Well, it has affected me quite dramatically. The entire strategic sourcing function was eliminated, along with my position as manager of that team. Many recruiters were also let go, as were other departments in HR. So the recession has had a very negative impact on me, and many of my colleagues. I’ve been through a number of these recessions, and they are always bad news for the recruiting industry, but we always bounce back.
Six Degrees: Aside from simply the generic term “Networking” what specific efforts have you made on your own behalf, or on behalf of colleagues to broaden your opportunities. Are there specific groups, both online and in-person that have proved fruitful in extending your personal brand and job seeking prospects?
Mark We have some local groups here in Orange County that have been a big help so far. There is a group called HR Connections, which is sponsored by LHH, that brings together local HR talent at monthly meetings. We share job leads and job hunting advice. Also, InContact HR puts together great networking events for HR professionals nationwide. I’ve also joined a few promising groups on LinkedIn such as Corporate Recruiters, Personal Branding Network and Cybersleuths. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in networking and branding through these and other groups.
Six Degrees: Given your own Trial and Error experiences as a Networker, what advice do you have for your peers on what NOT to do?
Mark My advice would be to pick and choose carefully the networks you decide to become a part of, and then really participate as much as possible. You have to give something in order to get results. Not contributing to the networks is a mistake that I have made in the past, mainly because I’ve been too busy, but also because I was did not incorporate it into my daily routine. I plan to change that. LinkedIn has been my main professional network so far. I have used Facebook primarily for personal contacts. And of course Twitter looks to be a great tool that I’m just getting started with.
Six Degrees: What is your next career goal? What do you need to do to get there?
Mark I did a lot of soul searching over the past couple of months as to which direction to go in. I initially thought about going for another Manager or Director of Staffing role in a corporate environment. But I have decided to start my own search and consulting business instead, and I’m in the middle of launching this new enterprise. It may seem an odd time to be launching a business of any kind, let alone a recruiting business, but recessions are often the best times to start a new business. We’ve hit bottom, and nothing but growth lies ahead. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Happy Holidays, from SixDegreesfromDave.com…
Media, a division of Tarsus Group plc, announced plans to redesign its Trade Show News Network (TSNN) website to fill the vacuum for Tradeshow Week’s former subscribers. The new site will include a stable of well-known industry writers and bloggers contracted by TSNN to provide news and develop online content.
Tradeshow Week’s closure also permanently suspended production of Tradeshow Week’s “Fastest 50” event recognizing the fastest growing exhibitions in the U.S. and Canada. Tarsus will launch a similar event to complement its MTO Summit scheduled for November 9-10, 2010 at the Hilton Alexandria Hotel in Alexandria, VA. The inaugural award event, the “TSNN Event Excellence Awards,” will conclude the conference on November 10.
In his former role as publisher of Tradeshow Week, Adam Schaffer launched the Fastest 50 event and successfully grew it. “I am thrilled to see that the spirit of innovation and service to our industry continues with TSNN and Tarsus stepping into these important shoes. Their commitment and dedication is clear, even at this early stage, by engaging important industry thinkers and writers and also by setting a date for the awards event this November,” he stated, observing the community endorsement of this conference.
“TSNN has the world’s most comprehensive database of events, a loyal following of subscribers and a virtual community of industry professionals. It is poised to grow its online and offline community via the insight of leading bloggers and an event that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of the industry,” said R.D. Whitney, CEO of Tarsus Online Media (USA).
TSNN’s list of bloggers will include:
Chris Brogan, author of “Trust Agents” (with Julien Smith), and “Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop your Business Online.” Brogan is president of the media marketing agency New Marketing Labs, and founder of the Inbound Marketing Summit conferences and Inbound Marketing Boot Camp educational events.
Stephen Nold, President, Tarsus Advon and founder of the MeetingTechOnline web site and the MTO Summit technology conference. Nold serves as a consultant and speaker on event industry innovations.
Rachel Wimberly, Special Reports Writer, Variety magazine and former writer for Tradeshow Week, The New York Times regional newspapers and CNN Business News. Wimberly has a Masters Degree in Journalism from New York University.
Dave Lutz, Managing Director, Velvet Chainsaw, a business improvement consultancy specializing in the meeting and conference industry. Lutz blogs at Midcourse Corrections (with Jeff Hurt) and has a regular column on performance excellence in Convene magazine. He is a member of the education committee for the technology track at the Annual Meeting of the International Association for Exhibitions and Events (IAEE).
Michelle Bruno, President, Bruno Group Signature Events, an event marketing and management firm. Bruno is a freelance industry journalist and a certified meetings and exhibition management professional. She writes about event industry technology and social media at Fork in the Road blog.
“TSNN is committed and excited to fill the information gap that has been created by the closure of Tradeshow Week. We could not think of a better ‘all-star’ list of thinkers to offer compelling content and the same positive message and integrity that Tradeshow Week was known and respected for,” said Stephen Nold, President, Tarsus Advon, the Austin, TX-based division of Tarsus Group that will oversee the redesign of TSNN.com.
Tarsus Group plc acquired TSNN.com in 2000 and added the site to its online media portfolio. The Trade Show News Network (TSNN) has been the world’s leading online resource for the trade show, exhibition and event industry since 1996. TSNN owns and operates the most widely consulted event database on the internet, containing data on more than 15,000 global trade shows, exhibitions, public events and conferences. The newsletter is distributed to over 120,000 readers. TSNN features an expanding Industry News and Thought Leader blog with contributions from industry leaders and analysts.
About Tarsus Advon
Based in Austin, Tarsus Advon properties include MeetingTechOnline and MTO Summits. MeetingTechOnline is a team-driven online publication and community portal that provides technology information and education for the meetings industry. The team conducts research with show organizers, technology suppliers, and industry experts. Qualitative and quantitative data are respectively gathered though primary sources and survey analysis.Twice-annual MTO Summits are designed to educate event and exhibition professionals about the latest trends and developments in technology in a face-to-face event. Tarsus Group acquired MeetingTechOnline and MTO Summits in 2010 creating Tarsus Advon. To learn more visit www.mtosummit.com.
About Tarsus Group plc
Tarsus Group is an international B2B media company creating industry-leading events, publications and online media since 1998. Tarsus Group’s portfolio of exhibitions, conferences, publications and online media spans across the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. With its head office in Dublin, and offices in London, Paris, Milwaukee and Boca Raton, Shanghai and Dubai, Tarsus extends global reach for business professionals with more than 80 properties in a diverse range of industries including medical, aviation, manufacturing, finance, talent management, IT, marketing, and a growing portfolio focused on the events industry.
Stephen Nold, President, Tarsus AdvonTel: 512.310.0628Stephen@advontech.com …
Our client is a well established, boutique Executive Search Recruitment company. They have offices in the Middle East and
Asia and are rapidly expanding. They work with various sectors including IT/
ICT & Telecoms, Energy and Finance & Accounting.
The company prides itself on delivering a personable and profession service to their well respected clients.
All roles will be Billing focused with the freedom to build a team of 4 – 6 around you with time. Would suit experienced
Recruiters with a passion to develop their own part of the business
SENIOR CONSULTANT – ENERGY SECTOR
Search level, contingent Recruitment
SENIOR CONSULTANT – IT & TELECOMS SECTOR
Search level, contingent Recruitment
SENIOR CONSULTANT – ACCOUNTS & FINANCE SECTOR
Search level, contingent Recruitment
to £42k GBP/ $65k USD (Salary & Accommodation Allowance) per annum
Free earnings [For most nationalities]
private health cover
fantastic commission structure (30-40%)
to grow a team from scratch
Degree Senior Recruitment
clients to leverage from
ESSENTIAL SKILLS & EXPERIENCE MUST INCLUDE:
new business development skills
in the Middle East
Leadership skills - leading by example
Sales and client relationship management skills
To apply in confidence for these exciting opportunities please send over your full CV
including your recent billing results to firstname.lastname@example.org
LIVE THE DREAM RECRUITMENT
Global leaders in the Rec 2 Rec Market
sting 3.0. But what direction are we heading in? Is it a coherent journey? Is there a clear destination/end goal?
4.0. What on earth could that include? How’s this?
Recruitment transitions from being a “cost center” into a “profit center”’!
The collapse and insolvency of many recruitment agencies.
Job boards stuttering and collapsing … and repurposing themselves
Companies hiring “through the sky” through external referrals and crowdsourcing
Exclusive/VIP/premium paid in-community content and paid mobile apps
Gamification shapes recruiting strategies and generates stickiness and virality
Companies rated globally by crowd opinions
Before anyone screams “unrealistic” or “utter fantasy” or cries B.S., let’s be clear that Recruitment 4.0 moves into the territory of vision. This is some years off. But by calculated hypotheses it is clear there will be a 4.0 and that it is a natural progression of 3.0 and builds sensibly on its foundations.
Let’s recap the different versions of recruiting.
Recruitment 1.0 encompasses traditional recruiting over a huge timeline, including good old-fashioned fax machines, print advertising, (post, spray ,and pray), and Rolodexes moving into traditional ATSs. Recruiters more focused on processes than end results. The basic any-bum-on-any-seat philosophy.
Recruitment 2.0 saw the move onto online and using technology for recruitment purposes, including the advent of online job boards & online CV searches. While the technology moved forward, the traditional methodology of 1.0 was prevalent, including online post, spray, and pray candidate attraction (aka the recruitment lottery of let’s hope the right-ish person looks at the online advertisement, at the right time and feels willing to go to the effort to apply).
Both Recruitment 1.0 and 2.0 were/are fundamentally focused on the active job seekers, (applying to vacancies, on agency books, and those watching job boards like a possessed predator).
Recruitment 3.0 is a huge leap as it moves recruitment out of its comfort zone. The beating heart of 3.0 is the non-active/passive individual and a focus on “best talent” and building predictable talent pipelines. In addition, the philosophy of “everyone is a potential candidate so engage them” is central. 3.0 takes us into building engaged, two-way, free-conversation based, transparent communities. This is anchored by things like employment branding, marketing, and PR. 3.0 is not only concerned with building communities but mapping key competitors and seducing cream-of-the-crop talent with your brand and in-house opportunities.
What is Recruitment 4.0?
Recruitment 3.0 is all consumed and focused on building communities. 4.0 is all about the value of those communities, both real and perceived.
Recruitment has traditionally been a cost center. It sucks money from the profit line like Count Dracula on a feeding frenzy in Transylvania, especially if agency fees are involved, coupled with advertising/job board fees etc. Add this up and it can be an overwhelming drain on resources.
Remember that many of the Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies are addicted to agency hiring and mass job board advertising like an alcoholic drawn to drink. Why highlight the Fortune and FTSE companies? Primarily they should have the advantage and resources to wean off agency addiction, source passive candidates far more easily than small to medium companies, (but funnily enough it is the small- and medium-sized companies who are far more fleet of foot and innovative).
Recruitment 4.0 sees recruiting move from being a cost center (a loss-making division) to being a profit center.
Reflect on that statement.
It’s huge and revolutionary.
Recruitment being a profit center.
“Impossible,” you cry.
Perhaps not if you reflect and apply some visionary foresight.
Recruitment 4.0 is some years off. But not as far as some may think.
Consider the world we live in. Value is defined differently. Companies like Zynga, Facebook, and LinkedIn have massive valuations, well above their profitability margins. Their reach and potential reach and the size of their mass following — an engaged following.
Our generation is living in the information age. The power lies in networks. Networks are data. Data is power. And data is money.
We all want data. Especially recruiters and marketers/salespeople.
So how does a community, (or let’s crudely call it data) = value = monetization = recruitment becoming a profit center?
There are several facets to recruitment moving to a profit center.
Reduction of recruiting costs to a minimum, (agency usage close to zero, less need for mass job board advertising, reduction in number of in-house recruiters employed).
This depends on building and nurturing a “qualitative” community, a strong employment brand, vibrant social networks, mapped competitors, and putting in place a predictable talent pipeline for key hiring channels.
The community itself evolves into a self-service community, where recruitment can be executed by crowdsourcing, and by hiring managers becoming more engaged into pipeline generation and hiring. Everyone can use LinkedIn. Why not hiring managers?
Value in the community is identified by both internal and external advertisers/marketers that allows for revenue for recruitment.
A sense of increased value is attached to belonging/being part of that community, hence VIP/exclusive areas/content that people are happy to pay for.
Gamification principles create more engagement and sense of belonging and stickiness to sites, hence driving potential of more opportunities for monetization.
Actual games/cartoons/content that people subscribe to have repeat value.
Let’s look at some of those in a little more depth.
Traditional advertising is failing. The days of successful, targeted TV and print advertising are long behind us.
Ways to communicate, once limited and restricted, are now numerous and disperse.
Looking at TV, the former medium of choice for mass communication, now diminished, as people are now hungry for choice and happily spread their viewing over a diverse and numerous multitude of TV channels. If an advertiser manages to define a great TV slot to advertise to reach their target audience they are thwarted by the fact that people can now record and Tivo, hence skipping ads. TV advertising then is a busted flush.
Print advertising? Again, some national newspapers and magazines are spiraling downward from their heyday readerships. People tend toward reading the latest news online 24/7 or from niche web sites. They don’t want to wait the next day for old news. Print has had to be more salacious and do what it can to get the best scoops to get whatever sales possible. Online, people not only digest news, but have the benefit of posting comments and engaging in discussions.
So traditional messaging vehicles are struggling.
This coincides with a time when recruiter networks are expanding. Combine a recruitment database (with some companies having in excess of ½ million – million names), with social media networks, a targeted mass of names, email addresses, with perceived affinity to a business or product, and a growing realization awakens that this has a marketable value.
A marketing department does not have this scale, (or quality), of information on its database.
Now the first step is for recruiting to cross charge its marketing division to advertise to its database and community. Why not? Many marketing departments don’t see or understand the value of recruiting databases. They’re a potential goldmine of information and data … and potential business opportunities.
Taking this a step further, why not allow specific external companies the opportunity to advertise to your community? (Mindful of data protection and ensuring a community buys into contact by third-party advertisers). You remain in charge of the names and not divulging data, but certain advertising is safe to your community and could be revenue-generating for recruiting.
As this thought sinks in, revenue potential opens up.
The Death of Recruitment Agencies
At the same time, savvy companies will be seeing their recruiting costs decreasing.
As companies build their databases of talent, via sourcing, identification through LinkedIn, talent mapping, and coupled with their valued online communities, the need and reliance on recruiting agencies, both contingent and retained, will dramatically lessen.
This will also coincide with less of a need for corporate in-house recruiters. Hiring managers are more than adept at searching on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is greatly expanding its offering and making recruiting easier for everyone. Initiatives like ‘Genome’ from LinkedIn will radically lesson the need for dedicated in-house recruiters in the future. Coupled with your community recruiting on your company’s behalf (crowdsourcing of talent), the need for recruiters will lessen and hence accelerate cost reduction.
The very future of recruitment agencies depends on their ability to adapt to the new realities that companies are waking up to the need to break out of the active candidate pool and identify and attract passive candidates. If we take as an approximation that of the 100% of candidates qualified for your job, only 10% are active with agencies and job boards, then it’s the 90% who are more attractive to companies, and the agencies need to identify, attract, and present those candidates.
Contingent recruitment agencies, especially the large ones, are in the business of competing to be the first to present the CV of that 10% active pool, all trying to Bolt out the blocks. Unless they start to adapt by attracting and mapping out the 90% non-active and building their own communities, their model will face extinction. Now is not the time to rush and buy shares in traditional contingent operators as a long-term investment.
Even worse, the business model of traditional retained search and selection companies, as we reflect on it in this modern age, is founded on the delusions of lunacy. A client pays a 30% fee for first-year guaranteed compensation (or even just basic salary only), split into thirds, a third for commencement of the project and a third for presentation of a shortlist — the risk all loaded on the fee-paying client. Certainly, cost models will change toward loaded placement fees.
The irony is that search firm marketing is based on its peerless reputation as the ultimate Rolodex of all the golden names in the industry. Their network is the goldmine that we are seduced to unlock. If their databases are that peerless and they have done hundreds of similar searches, why then does it take four to five weeks for a shortlist? Perhaps that question is not raised enough.
The zealots will cry that the search agency is peerless in assessment and interviewing. But is that not we do in house? Why am I paying two-thirds of a fee without a placement? It’s even more laughable when the shortlist of contacts is most likely generated by a fresh graduate on $40,000 a year in the back room of the search agency, who then passes all their lead generation to the search consultant.
Alternatively, a growing trend is using a new breed of company that is engaged in market mapping, talent pooling, and recruitment research solutions — hence providing a company with a mapped market of qualified talent, with contact details and candidate profiles that the recruiter then follows up on. Not every company can afford internal sourcers, and this is the next best thing, and significantly cheaper/more cost effective than a full search.
However you cut it, the future is not bright for contingent and retained search and selection unless they adapt to changing new business realities. Not many currently have that foresight as they focus on short-termism. Hopefully agency CEOs have strong managers in their crow’s nest who are prepared to shout “iceberg ahead” before disaster strikes.
Job Boards Faltering
Coupled with the death/decline of agencies will be the faltering and restructuring of the large job boards.
As companies build their own recruitment databases and even more importantly their own communities, they can use creative ways to sourcetalent.
Communities themselves will evolve around certain disciplines/careers/industries and hence negate the use for paid job boards. Why pay for a large job board in the active pool when we can reach passive candidates in a free community?
Job boards will have to look at community-building themselves and earn their revenue through product placement advertising rather than paid-for job advertisements.
Companies have always embraced the concept of internal referrals. Why not the reverse? External referrals — even better through crowdsourcing using their communities.
Naysayers will point to the rewards attributed to internal referrals, generally through monetary bonuses, and hence the difficulty of applying this externally as companies don’t want to pay for talent they would have got anyway.
But recent times have showed the power of recognition and “public reward” through games like Foursquare. People love the status of being the Mayor of a local curry house.
Why not take this principle into recruiting and reward referrals from crowdsourcing: Public recognition and rewards in the community, (badges, leaderboards), on a sliding scale to reach actualization of ”real” rewards, be it monetary bonus, vacation, or a PC or iPad?
External Referrals through Crowdsourcing
Recruitment can learn a lot from crowdsourcing.
This term was arguably defined by Jeff Howe in the June 2006 issue of Wiredmagazine.
Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers.
Howe further drives this home by stating that “it’s only crowdsourcing once a company takes that design, fabricates [it] in mass quantity and sell[s] it.”
In laymen’s language, a company posts a problem online; a vast number of individuals offer their opinions and ideas as to how to solve it; the winning idea is rewarded in some form; and the end result is the company adopting the idea for its own benefit.
Some great examples of the power of crowdsourcing exist on Wikipedia: (the following are all directly quoted from Wikipedia).
In 2005, Amazon.com launched the Amazon Mechanical Turk, a platform on which crowdsourcing tasks called “HITs” (Human Intelligence Tasks”) can be created and publicized and people can execute the tasks and be paid for doing so. Dubbed “Artificial Intelligence,” it was named after The Turk, an 18th century chess-playing “machine.”
Cisco Systems Inc. held an I-Prize contest in which teams using collaborative technologies created innovative business plans. The winners in 2008 were a three-person team, Anna Gossen from Munich, her husband Niels Gossen, and her brother, Sergey Bessonnitsyn, that created a business plan demonstrating how IP technology could be used to increase energy efficiency. More than 2,500 people from 104 countries entered the competition. The winning team won $250,000.
The Democratic National Committee launched FlipperTV in November 2007 and McCainpedia in May 2008 to crowdsource video gathered by Democratic trackers and research compiled by DNC staff in the hands of the public to do with as they choose — whether for a blog post, to create a YouTube video, etc.
Facebook has used crowdsourcing since 2008 to create different language versions of its site. The company claims this method offers the advantage of providing site versions that are more compatible with local cultures.
General Electric organized a multimillion dollar challenge to find new, breakthrough ideas to create cleaner, more efficient and economically viable grid technologies, and to accelerate the adoption of smart grid technologies. The winner will be announced on Nov. 16, 2020.
The Vancouver Police Department has put up a website entitled Hockey Riot 2011, informing people about the VPD′s investigations into the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot. It also asks people to contribute any pictures or video that they may have taken during the riot, with the goal of identifying people who may have participated in the rioting. The site also reminds people to not use social media to take justice into their own hands, instead leaving it to the police. As of July 1, 2011, 101 arrests have been made.
IBM collected more than 37,000 ideas for potential areas for innovation from brainstorming sessions with its customers, employees, and their family members in 2006.
L’Oreal used viewer-created advertising messages of Current TV to pool new and fresh advertising ideas.
Pepsi launched a marketing campaign in early 2007 which allowed consumers to design the look of a Pepsi can. The winners would receive a $10,000 prize, and their artwork would be featured on 500 million Pepsi cans around the United States.
Unilever has recently decided to drop its ad agency of 16 years, Lowe, and has turned to the crowdsourcing platform IdeaBounty to find creative ideas for its next TV campaign. Unilever has worked with Lowe on the snack-food brand Peperami since 1993, but has decided to submit its brief out to the public, rather than a small team of creatives.
Ironically, Wikipedia is itself a successful example of crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing, as a concept, lends itself perfectly to recruiting.
Posing the question to your community, “We are looking for a dynamic Product Manager, with x/y/z experience … any ideas/recommendations?” will soon become a normal sourcing/name generating activity for recruiters.
The key is how to incentivize/inspire/motivate the crowd to do your recruiting.
LinkedIn gets it. It’s already making headway toward this goal, aiding a company’s ability to use employee networks and matching up people who are connected to our employees who closely match our job specifications.
But what about the wider crowd? That’s where attention will turn next.
Premium Paid Content
Recruitment 3.0 recognized that recruitment is fundamentally boring. People tend to only visit corporate careers pages when they are looking for work. There is no engaging “repeat visit” content that drags them back for more. Many companies are using social media as a replacement job board and listing jobs with hyperlinks back to the job site. It’s hardly the most engaging content.
Recruitment 3.0 involves building “engaged” communities. The key is compelling, rich content, creating a destination that people want to go to on a frequent basis. That is not a list of jobs.
Remember again that recruiting is not about “bums on seats”; it also encompasses nurturing a strong employment brand proposition, attracting and seducing those not familiar with your brand, and taking them on a journey to either apply to work for your company or be an active brand ambassador in your community.
As communities build up in 3.0, underpinned by engaging content, and when those communities reach a critical mass, the next step is starting to grant VIP access and exclusive content to community members. If communities are engaged, they will be, by definition, happy to pay to be part of the VIP area, and we will see the monetization of these communities and a potential revenue stream for recruiters.
Aggregating all your social media feeds — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube content, and your blog — is the first step. This could and should be aggregated both on your corporate careers site and your mobile phone app (for those who want to be part of the community on the move). A one-stop shop for people to engage and follow your company encourages repeat visitors.
This content on the social media sites needs to feel personalized and humanized, giving exclusive access behind the scenes of your company and the individuals behind it.
But what else?
Understand the public pulse. There is no better place than the Apple Store. This shows what content keeps people coming back and is most popular to download. And guess what that is:
News & Information (knowledge and exclusive access news)
Games (fun games but also including quizzes)
Comics & books (The appeal of an ongoing story that people want to follow)
Photography/photos/videos (uploading and sharing)
This content often focuses on getting people involved, something to do with your friends, and brings that “global community” together.
Each of these is “sticky” and keeps people coming back.
Why can’t recruiters use these same concepts as part of their community building but adapt them for their own companies?
Recruitment Embraces Concepts of Gamification
Gamification is the latest buzzword. What’s funny is that some well-known commentators are rushing to speak about this subject but end up mirroring granddad at the disco trying to throw “cool” shapes to the latest bangin’ tune but instead look rather doddery and completely out of touch.
People love to be entertained. Gaming is huge. Not just “serious” video console games like the Call of Duty’s, FIFAs, and Battlefields, or the PC games like World of Warcraft, but the spread of casual gaming whether on Facebook or on mobile shows the power of people of all ages wanting interactive entertainment.
Gaming educates us about the dynamics of engagement. (Some would take this further to addiction.) What a great game does is ingrain itself into the conscious and subconscious of the player. You think about it and love the roller coaster of emotions that the game takes you through. You may pull an all-nighter, or get up extra early to get in an hour or so before having to venture off to deal with humdrum reality. Escapism is the new drug of the austere Tens.
But what else can we learn? Casual games are the key to the door of mass/mainstream and that elusive community engagement via compelling content that we all seek.
Casual games are those that embrace all demographics, are simple, fun, accessible, and from which users get an instant form of gratification. This is different than “serious games” that are deeper experiences and are perhaps less accessible due to the time invested and the barrier of controllers/complexity of purpose.
Farmville on Facebook is a classic example of community-building and demonstrates some key buttons in engagement theory (in a social context). Farmvile has been such a success for a number of reasons. First, it recognized the unbridled thrill of “gifting.” When you first visit your farm, you don’t go straight to it but to a page with a list of gifts. Many games ask you to spam mail your buddies to play the game. Farmville cleverly goes further by allowing you to send a gift of an animal or plant/crop to your friends. Of course, when we receive gifts, we also like to give them back, starting the spiral of interaction.
Part of this psychology also encourages you to help your friends by reminding them to harvest their fields and to weed their farms. It’s very community-friendly stuff.
These gifts also have a perceived value. The whole point of Farmville is to build a busy and profitable farm and maintain it. But to do this, you need to build and grow the farm, which is time-consuming and takes a while to buy plants, crops, and trees, etc. But luckily your saving grace is your friends as they help out by sending all these valuable items for your farm. Hence my farm looks better with more content so I will invite more of my friends to play, give them gifts, and expect/request gifts in return. It’s a clever use of personal psychology and satisfaction of wants.
Farmville also gets that the game has to be accessible and simple. There are no extra levels; you just keep on growing the size and scope of your own farm. The only limitation is money. But having lots of friends gets around that.
Now the clever part kicks in. The game keeps you coming back. Certain crops you plant require harvesting at certain times. Some crops will die if you don’t come back. Strawberries mean you come back every four hours. That locks in an engagement and repeat visit. “I must log back in at 2 p.m. or my crops will die!”
Farmville also cleverly gets the whole concept of one-up-manship and competing to have the bigger farm, the more money, the latest gadgets 00 and that’s where monetization kicks in. Someone can pay to get ahead of their friends, and for many that is a key driver. “I must have the biggest farm and the latest items and be ahead of my mates!”
Hence Farmville teaches us there are three things to making social games huge viral successes: getting users to invite their friends (virality); getting users to return frequently (stickiness); and people competing to win/be ahead of their friends (showing off).
Interestingly, one of the first to understand these dynamics was the Hotel chain Marriott, which has released a Facebook game designed with the goal of introducing potential employees to life in the hospitality industry.MyMarriottHotel gives players the opportunity to “work” in various hotel roles, including hospitality manager. You can start by working in the hotel kitchens and gain points for excellent customer service and profitability. The game is geared to raising awareness among millennials to job opportunities around the world (cleverly available in five languages).
Critically for recruiting, the MyMarriottHotel Facebook game includes at the top of the game a banner shouting “Do It For Real” that hyperlinks to Marriott’s jobs site. Marriott’s goal is to fill 50,000 positions at its hotels around the world, helped by this game raising awareness, (predominantly outside the U.S.).
So what is gamification, and how can it be applied to recruiting?
Gamification is using game mechanics/methodology to inspire engagement in activities that otherwise would be considered boring or routine. Recruitment certainly sits within that definition.
Key concepts of gamification that recruiters can learn from when developing communities and building compelling, repeat visit content, include:
The key word when engaging in social media and community-building is remembering the key element, often-forgotten, is social
Keeping activities/content simple, fun, and interactive. When people read your blog/social media, is it light, carries pictures, short, informative, stimulating, or even entertaining to read?
People want to know what other people are doing, especially their friends. Can people see what their friends have been doing? People love engagement and giving their opinion, be it by rate-this-page, commenting, oropinion polls. These are all interactive elements that engage.
As people interact, degrees of personalization and humanization help, such as the uploading of avatars and/or people’s pictures. People prefer engaging with “perceptibly real” other people. Avatars aid that.
Are you encouraging sharing content/activities with your community? Are people rewarded or recognized for sharing content?
Inspiring members of your community’s “friends” to get involved and get their friends engaged, i.e. virality, sending community growth viral.
“Gifting.” Can content be shared amongst friends/can someone get something in return?
Keeps em coming back for more. Certain times of the day/week that the community has to be there. Prizes/giveaways ingrain this activity. Some companies do specific content “reveals” at certain times of the week. Live webcasts also encourage set-time attendance.
Competition against friends/leader boards. It could be quiz-questions about your company, the most referrals of job seekers, or the most comments made in your blog/social community. Leader boards keep people coming back to chart their progress and see who is on top, and if they are ahead of their friends.
“Easter Eggs” — those intentionally hidden features that people can’t find. Especially cool for college sections and can be used to encourage people to find about more about your company and unlock exclusive content.
Enabling unique experiences/personalization. Can people create their own unique user account, personalize their landing pages, and personalize their experiences?
Progress bars. People are addicted to completion, and progress bars are often used in online shopping as you are guided to place things in the shopping cart and progress to the checkout. Progress bars fit nicely with job application processes of a series of tasks that people will want to complete. “Completism” is a natural human psychological compulsion.
User-generated content, and games like LittleBigPlanet have showed us that people love creating their own content and sharing that content with the community. Can your community do the same, involving uploads to your blog/corporate careers site?
These concepts can all be applied to corporate career sites, which are purely a repository of information overload and fundamentally dull, and of course tomobile apps. People, bored sitting on the train, plane, and bus, want content to engage them.
Some corporate sites already include games and other challenges — almost always in the Careers section — and some companies have added game elements to the recruitment process.
Some are asking, “Is this expensive? How can a recruiting department make games? But at minimal cost there is a thriving development community and graduates studying at colleges who would love the opportunity and exposure that creating and publishing a game on a corporate site brings them. Development time on games for mobile is minimal but the key is fun (look at games like Doodle Jump and Flick Football, massively popular but simple to develop).
Many recruiters are currently using Empire Avenue as a way of engaging with communities and making new contacts. Some are even using it as a sourcing tool to recruit from. For those who don’t know, Empire Avenue is fundamentally a stock market simulation social network game that encourages users to buy and sell shares of people and websites. Players have their own portfolio in a virtual economy and earn money, called Eaves, by investing in other people. This sees your own net worth rise by encouraging friends and community members to invest in you. What is cool is that when all accounts are linked together, including Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, and blogs, your net worth rises based on the content you either create or share. What’s cool about this approach is that it combines simplicity with what we do on the web every day: creating and sharing content. Interestingly, Empire Avenue mimics the other sites as it’s also a social network itself. It’s allows opportunities to connect and debate with others by finding affinity groups (“Communities”) within Empire Avenue. Clever engagement mechanisms at play.
Concurrently, Google is also on the move with its Google News Badges. We all read the news, and applying the above theory — let’s call it gamification methodology — Google has created “Google Badges.” Google News users in the U.S. can earn different pins for reading the news, starting with bronze and moving up to Ultimate. There are more than 500 badges available to suit all types of interests, such as “stock market,” “Harry Potter,” and U.S. elections. These “Google Badges” follow closely on the heels of Google launching its own social network, Google+, and is increasingly trying to get people to share content via its network of services in a similar fashion to Facebook.
This will sound very similar to users of Foursquare. Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on mobile phones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging, or a device-specific application, and select from a list of venues that the application locates nearby, e.g. restaurant, library, pub, house, etc. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges.”
The first time a badge is unlocked on Foursquare, be it an easy achievement (like the “Superstar” badge for 50 check-ins), or one that comes as a surprise (“Douchebag Badge,” which is unlocked after checking into venues tagged with “douchebag,” or the “Don’t Stop Believing Badge,” awarded for checking in to three venues tagged “karaoke” in a month), the game keeps people engaged with rewards that makes members want to use the system even more and compete with friends. Especially those who live or work in close vicinity of each other as they compete to be the Mayor of a location.
Why is gamification so important?
Interestingly, to give more credence to this area, Gartner, in research published in April 2011 stated: By 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes. By 2014, a gamified service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay, or Amazon, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.
That’s a big statement. 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application.
Many commentators see that naturally fitting in the corporate careers site.
Perhaps gamification will be taken more seriously among current recruitment leaders moving forward.
Global Community Rating of Companies
People trust each other and members of their community far more than they do advertising or company communications. Paul Gillin, author of The New Influencers, talked about the impact of social media. One of his key points was that 78% of consumers trust each other more than they trust advertising — which is why they read blogs and go to chat rooms.
There are many examples to back this up, particularly when we go on vacation. The holiday industry has had to get far more authentic and responsible in its communications. No more fantastic ratings of restaurant food when it is tripe; no more “the beach is in walkable distance” … but only for those who are happy to walk for two hours; and no more “great local entertainment” when it is two people playing spoons. Why is that?
Many people now check out Trip Advisor and read how people have voted/rated their vacation/hotel en masse and then read through some of the commentary. Real. Authentic. Trustworthy. No hidden agendas, just shared experiences.
Companies value their placing on “best companies to work for” and “great places to work” lists. And these are a mix of internal questionnaires of employees’ experience and then a specialist evaluation of policies and internal structures by a panel of experts.
Glassdoor is the closest to a trip advisor for recruitment. Its bias is more U.S.-focused and needs to hit that critical mass to be held in the same esteem.
As we head to 4.0, those principles behind Glassdoor will see job seekers trust the crowd, and companies will value that authenticity far more than traditional manufactured best-places-to-work lists.
Size Doesn’t Matter
Some reading this will rightly raise the question of whether this is all this scalable. Cynics will openly proclaim there will always be a need for local agencies to hire receptionists, builders, joiners, hairdressers, admin assistants, and hosts of other roles. Screams will be heard:
Job boards will never die!
This was all predicted 10 years back and it never happened!
How can a small company generate its own community?
Many criticisms/protection of vested interests will emerge in this debate.
They’re fair points to discuss. Interestingly, when Hard Rock Café wanted to open a new venue in Florence, perhaps the initial reaction of many recruiters was to advise them to go to local “high street” agencies, or place an ad in the local press, even on a job board. The Hard Rock took a different approach and used Facebook to reach out and recruit. It built a community around the new venue opening. Hard Rock needed to hire 120 staff across eight categories from waiting staff, barmen/women, to accounting. It was inundated with responses and was able to interview 600 candidates for the roles and whittle down to the 120 needed for opening.
Whatever the size of a company, all the concepts here are relevant. It may be that a company does not have the time to build its own community but will be able to access other communities and groups, be they local or discipline-specific, such as hairdressers, and crowdsource their vacancies.
Technological, access to information, and communities know no boundaries. That’s the difference the past 10 years have made and why jobs boards and agencies have to adapt, or else.
Recruitment 4.0 is a long way off; yet, many of its concepts are resonating today and being built upon and planned. Some early adopters are even implementing some of the component parts. 4.0 is a natural progression from 3.0. It takes the community concept to the next level.
While some will be initially shocked at the radicalism involved at suggestions of recruitment transitioning into a profit center, crowdsourcing talent, and entertaining/gamification, with a period of reflection it makes sense as a natural strap-on to 3.0 communities.
Many of the recruitment leaders in place today are not ready for 3.0, let alone 4.0. They have been schooled in traditional recruiting techniques that will soon be outdated and detrimental to their business. Many more are worried about process than end results. Where does your leader stand?
Imagine those recruiting leaders who can go to their CEO and demonstrate that they have been able to map out competitors, and identify and build relationships with cream-of-the-crop talent. Leaders who have helped shape and who have put in place engaged communities with positive two-way communication social media channels, thus enhancing employment brand attractiveness, (with a positive spinoff for the consumer/product/service brand), and have hence been able to slash expenditures on recruitment and are now coming up with proposals of how to turn recruitment into a profit center.
Compare that to your current recruiting leader. Are they shaping your future in this direction?
Who do you think your CEO would prefer as a recruiting leader? The one described above or your current one?
There is plenty above to chew on and debate. Agree or disagree, what is certain is that exciting times lie ahead for recruitment.
And before someone asks, will we see an article on Recruitment 5.0 anytime soon? Not from Autodesk. We’ve got to focus on delivering 3.0 and 4.0 with the great team at Autodesk. There’s lots to do and achieve.