Zao.com - Online Referral System - Totally Wild Show

A few weeks ago I received a marketing email from Zao.com. I replied to say that I wasn't interested but that I would be happy to have them on my show if they wanted exposure. The CEO, Ziv Eliraz, told me that he would like to come on., I warned him that it might not be the best venue for new technology. His interest was not diminished, however, and so we arranged a show date.

I sent him my info package for the show. You can find it at AnimalShowBasics.com. It's quite thorough. It explains the protocol and warns people that the show can be rowdy. I even have a section advising them how to be interesting.

The key is to come loaded with stories that illustrate whatever points you want to make. I drove this point home with him in additional emails and I felt so strongly about getting the message across that I was very blunt and heavy-handed in making my point.

But do you think that made a difference? No. First he absolutely refused to sing the easiest song in the world, "Happy Birthday" for Amy Ala. Then, he started talking in general terms so I said, "Come on, give us the title of a specific role that was filled with Zao and tell us the story step-by-step." He ignored my plea and I kept repeating it until we had a show-down. He said he was going to hang up and leave the show. People on Twitter were telling me to let him go but instead I just sat back and let the crew take over and this time they didn't let me down. I thought it was an interesting show.

I have to salute him for sticking with it but I absolutely don't know how to get my point across about coming prepared. I really tried to establish very strong guidelines here and totally failed.

Comments From TwitterSteve -- Blake  --  Derek -- RaeDawn -- Amy -- Kelly -- Betty -- Betty -- Amy -- Kelly -- Tom -- RaeDawn -- Blake -- Blake

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Comment by Mitch Sullivan on June 6, 2013 at 12:32pm

You need to stop with this obsession with people having stories.

Ad lib and go where the guest's comments take you.

Comment by Recruiting Animal on June 6, 2013 at 12:37pm

Mitch if you would have come with something to say I wouldn't have bugged you. Why don't you just be humble enough to learn a lesson and book another show and come with something to say while at the same time being lively and interesting. I know how hard it is to be a guest from having been one myself a number of times. I'm not someone who can speak at length off the cuff in an interesting manner. If I'm not prepared I'm lost. The same is true for most people. My show, unfortunately, is proof.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on June 6, 2013 at 1:01pm

I disagree. The skill of the interviewer is to know enough about the subject matter to be able to answer follow up questions to the stuff that is interesting or needs challenging.

That way the show will become more about debating/arguing about issues rather than the guest being expected to pitch their business.  Then when they don't, you start screaming.  The novelty of that must have worn off by now, surely?

And you didn't bug me, I knew what to expect, other than assuming you'd have done more research than read one of the few blogs on my site that isn't about recruitment.

This isn't about any perceived grievances you think I might have about the show, because I don't.  I'm just trying to suggest ways to make it better, that's all.

Comment by Ziv Eliraz on June 6, 2013 at 1:01pm

Just to set the record straight - Animal signed up to our site, and then invited us to the show. We assumed being invited meant genuine interest... (Animal is very polite on pre show emails...) but rather than take the time to learn about referrals and how they can be made more efficient as a source of hire with automation, Animal chose to attack the messenger on call audio quality issues... perhaps that's all that's left when there's nothing of substance to say.

The show and Animal's attitude speak for themselves - listen to it and guest beware... especially if you say things that Animal doesn't want to hear, like that referrals work, and can be automated, and that companies can get up and running quickly, and place many high quality people quickly and cheaply using the power of their employee's networks.

Comment by Stephen Nehez, Jr. on June 6, 2013 at 1:19pm

But that's the format Ziv. 

He gives a ton of forewarning to guests (as I was one as well).  The schtick is to distill the guest down to the raw and let a small community of people involved in the human resource business draw substance to whatever the guest's topic is about. 

I personally prepped by listening to a number of shows.  Did a lot of breathing exercises because I wanted to keep my blood pressure steady.  I knew I was going to be thrashed....

But it's not about me because you and your comments above externalize an unfortunate ignorance of what you signed up for and your expectations.  Again... back to me... I drafted a page outline and sent it to animal and we covered about 6% of it.  Talking points.  Assassination. 

I guess it's up to the guest to force their message...yours seems defined quite succinctly in the final sentence of your posting above.  My wish would have been that it could be supported with stats.  (Which I'm sure you have.)

I look forward to the torture test of being a guest on the show when I have something new to present which will hopefully (finger's crossed) be in the next few weeks.

Comment by Ziv Eliraz on June 6, 2013 at 1:38pm

Stephen, your wish for stats was fulfilled on the show, it was just interrupted too many times because it didn't fit the narrative that Animal was trying to promote.

I'll repeat below the stats I presented in between Animal complaints about call quality: two really good and recent case studies - two companies got up and running and in less than a month made substantial amounts of hires. The credit union I mentioned saw more engagement in referrals than ever before and made 3 hires. The tech company with 90 employees made six (!) hires using Zao in a month - and we're talking about a bay area tech company, where hiring is *not* easy, to say the least. Amazing results.

The problem is, that those weren't the stats Animal WANTED to hear as a recruiter. I've worked with great third party recruiters - the way to win is by doing a great job and bringing amazing results, not by dismissing referrals, which are a great source of hire that when managed properly can deliver consistent and proven results.

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on June 6, 2013 at 1:46pm

Whoa...back up a minute.

Animal is a recruiter?!?

Comment by Recruiting Animal on June 6, 2013 at 1:56pm

Ziv, don't be pathetic. I have our email exchanges. I warned you repeatedly from the start that this might not be the place for you but you wanted to come on.I sent you all of the pre-show info and if you read OccupyRecruiting.com and don't know the score you must be blind.

Before the show I urged you mightily to be prepared with lots of examples. But when I asked for the kind of example I wanted on the show you acted like a bull in a china shop and went your own way. When I as the host tried to get some control you threatened to leave the show.

Now you're whining that I was persecuting you by complaining about the sound. Check the Twitter stream, pal. My audience was complaining about it too. How can they enjoy the show when they can't hear what you are saying.

Here's what you don't get. I'm on your side. I want people to hear you. And I want people to understand what you do. So I did a lot of research before the show. You know it because I sent you some of it. Now you're trying to make out that I made no effort to understand you at all and that all I wanted to do was hurt your feelings. That's nonsense. Come on, be a man.

And by the way, most business shows are snore-fests. This show wasn't. It was lots of fun and all the challenges from the crew gave you lots of opportunities to explain your service. I don't know what you're complaining about; you should thank them for helping you showcase your company in a unique setting.

As for you, Mitch, you can shake hands with this whiner. I agree that a show is best when the host has such a broad store of knowledge that he can cover for the guest who doesn't have anything to say. But I'm not that guy. I don't have a ton of stories that I can tell to explain what you do. I expect you to come with them yourself. If you say you are very good at creating better job descriptions than most people I expect you to come with a few examples. But maybe I'm wrong. I should know what you are going to say in advance and have examples in my back pocket so I can spare you the trouble of explaining yourself. Get real. I've invited you to come on again and do it right. Take it me up on it please. Same with you, Ziv. You can come back anytime.

Steve Nehez came on the show and faced the same challenges as you and you know what? Then he came back next week

Comment by Mitch Sullivan on June 6, 2013 at 2:01pm

There you go with the 'stories' schtick again.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on June 6, 2013 at 2:24pm

No one doubts the power of referrals. I think there was a pretty good consensus on the Pizza Party method, so yeah, we all agree that referrals are great. We were trying to understand how your product is better. We didn't get that. Now - was the message poorly delivered or are we too dumb to get it? Depends on your view I suppose. I will say this - you lost me at the childish threat to hang up and "end it right now". Whatever.

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