Open Mic Twitter

6 Places to Tell Your Employer Story

One of these days I am going to take a camera crew and just walk into a company and ask “tell me your story”.  Every company, like every person has a story to tell.  In the business of employer branding we want to tell a compelling story that reaches a targeted audience and answers the question “why should I leave my job and work here”?  Thus the guerrilla style plan of busting in unannounced and recording or live streaming your employees responses!

So when you have a great story to tell, where do you share?  What are the outlets for reaching a mass target audience?  There are tons, but below are six that you can start today!

Job descriptions

Add links from your YouTube videos and share within the footer or create hyperlinks within the body.   Keep the job descriptions to a minimum amount of words and let the video speak for itself; nobody has time to read your novel of repetitiveness, besides it is better to show than tell.  Don’t have a YouTube careers channel?  Get Google, create a channel and upload videos.

Employees

What do you think your hundreds or thousands of employees talk about every day with their friends and previous co-workers outside of the office?  The answer is YOU!  Give them something to talk about.  By the way, they are talking over their social networks everyday (many times during work hours) so give them something to share….video links, clips from Vine, photos on the corporate Facebook page….provide digital collateral that does not suck and watch your employer brand grow (also known as Word of Mouth).

LinkedIn

Duh!!!  Of course people are looking for information on LinkedIn.  The LinkedIn stream is bubbling over with links, stories, videos and those stupid “IQ” test about “the next number is…”  The best time to strike on LinkedIn is 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Yep, that’s how employees are starting their days so  why not give them a message or link of the day (or week)?  Also, show and encourage them to place video links in their profile and share company information (like hot jobs) in their profiles.  Send them the message and they will post it!

Pictures

When you see a picture who is the first person you look for….yourself?  Tag your employees with in picture of company events (cool, fun stuff, not a boring meeting) and they will share.  Create a sense of family with the people you see for 8+ hours per day.  There are great places to share images including Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, G+ etc….  Oh, and it’s ok if employees share these during work hours, because they are going to anyway.

Blogs

Let your employees have a voice!  Create a campaign around new hires or why someone left (insert big company name) to come work for your start-up.  This is a great place to have employees write posts or create videos and share their experiences.  Create a blog calendar were at least 3 times per week your employees have an opportunity to be the journalist.  Host the employee blog on your corporate careers page within the directory and watch you SEO value increase without paying out the butt for it!

Vine

It’ real, it’s short and you can embed it!  Create contests around employees sharing their thoughts on the company in short, creative clips.  Maybe a real-time “what’s happening around the office now”.  Take the best ones and embed them to your career site.

There are tons more of these idea and great places to tell your employer story!  Watch closely because I very well may bust up into your organization with a camera and ask “why do you work here”?  It will only be accessible to the 8 billion people in the world with access to the internet.

 

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17 Employer Branding Strategies for 2014

Employer branding is one of the hottest recruiting trends of 2014.  The term seems to be on the tongue of many C-level HR leaders but my question is “will companies truly build employer brand equity or will this be just a hot phrase for 2014″?    Below are 17 focus points when building a great employer brand;

  1. Start with the loudest part of your brand, the career landing page and create a visually appealing and near textless career portal.
  2. Digital marketing equals recruiting; utilize campaigns, landing pages and develop a personality for the recruiting team (they are the front line of contact).
  3. Ensure your talent community is worth joining.  Does it provide something your job notifications, social channels and ATS don’t?  If the answer is yes, then you are doing it correctly.
  4. Hire recruiters and HR folks that can give you innovative accomplishments and goals.  This one is free: Just saying you “do social recruiting” is not innovative.
  5. Data rules! Make decisions in the recruiting process (i.e. tools to use, sources of hires, media spend etc…) based on data, chances are most of the information you require is in your ATS.
  6. Resumes are dying, ensure your systems accept social media profiles (especially LinkedIn) as a resume replacement.
  7. One click apply; two click acceptable but three or more is just dumb.
  8. Mobile optimized pages….best mobile strategy available.
  9. Do not advertise “mobile” if your mobile strategy is applying on a device and then being required to go to a desktop/laptop to complete the application process (see #6 for a resume work around on mobile).
  10. There are tons of recruiting software tools; do your research and know what they do….exactly what they do (they are not all designed to increase applicants, that’s a sales pitch).
  11. Video; short, simple and to the point…oh and have a story to tell, if your video sucks, guess what candidates think about your company!
  12. Video; interview with it…..
  13. Social media is more than throwing up a Facebook page and creating tweets;  highlight your organization and communicate externally and internally through all social channels.
  14. Employees must have access to social networks at work….oh wait they do, their mobile devices.  Don’t be a social media workplace czar.
  15. Market to your internal employees often!  Employee referrals can be up to 50% of your hires and internal employees will leave you for another company doing something you need done (and have an open requisition for…)
  16. Gamification; make work fun!  Create games around things like employee referral where people are rewarded with points, prizes and recognition.
  17. Candidate experience….know what it is, test it and focus on it daily!

These 17 employer branding strategies may seem overwhelming or even foreign.  I am often asked, “where do I start”?  The simple answer is “with a business plan”.  Document your plan, determine a budget and then decide if you need outside help to create a killer strategy and employer brand plan.

Make your 2014 goal to be an employer that communicates and showcases their story…..that’s how you fill requisitions.

Talent branding

Invest in Talent Branding

“Bootylicous” is now in the dictionary and means “attractive/sexy”. The term “crunk” means “very excited and full of energy”. Although not the everyday vernacular of recruiting and HR professionals, both of these terms describe HOW you should be doing your talent brand.

In a recent LinkedIn white paper, a talent brand is defined as “the highly social, totally public version of your employer brand that incorporates what talent thinks, feels and shares about your company as a place to work. Another way to say it is “everything your company does from a recruiting perspective is being watched and discussed in social media”.

Will every brand be sexy? It really depends on your definition of sexy. People are attracted to different kinds of artwork, literature, architectures and preferences that they find sexy. Companies must build a bootylicious and crunk talent brand, but have to keep it real. Below are a few keys to keep in mind while building your talent brand:

  • Tell the truth! If your company’s claim to fame is longevity and “safe”, there are people who will find it sexy. Everyone doesn’t want a Google environment.
  • Market Perception. Be aware of what current and past employees are saying about working for you. It’s best to find out while they are still employed through; surveys, lunch & learns etc…not by cruising over to Glassdoor.com and learning the hard way.
  • Turn to the dark side; meaning go to the blogs, chat rooms and uncontrolled sites where people discuss your brand. It is one thing to have your employees complete a survey before the holidays and totally another to read the blog of an ex employee.
  • Strategy: know where you want to be and create a scorecard with milestones to drive the actions required for building the right talent brand.
  • Measure: similar to strategy, brands must measure their success, identify shortcomings and push towards the goal.
  • Buy-In is required from the highest level in the organization….if they don’t support the efforts, it will fail or best case seem fake.
  • Do something: at minimum, don’t pretend that talent branding is just a new term or a fad. Socialization and sharing of all information is here to stay and the workplace is usually in the everyone’s top 3 things to discuss.
  • Influence the message; whether you participate or not, people are talking about your brand and if you MUST encourage ambassadors within your organization to speak. Long gone are the days of building a singular website with all the data the company desires, messaging now belongs to the masses!

Now go throw on the best pair of bootylicious Monday morning HR suit pants you can find and get your talent brand CRUNK! YEAHHHHHHH!

Living Young Hand Writing

Social Recruiting Will Die!

Do you remember the archaic language of the 60’s “groovy” and “dig it”.  I remember my first real world job in the late 90’s and everyday hearing the word “synergy” and thinking to myself “huh”.  Those terms today seem dated and tired (much like wearing a tie to work where you talk on the phone at your desk all day).  The term “Social Recruiting” will suffer the same fate.

The title “Social Recruiting Will Die” is purposely misleading, it was meant to make you say “what the *%$#” (that never happens with sites, give you a heading and suck you in).  The real conversation is not “social recruiting will die” but one of how archaic the term is already.  The shelf life of new things today is 6-12 months and “social recruiting” is 3 years overdue.

Admission of guilt, I use the term regularly.  Furthermore, I am leading a discussion at SHRM-Atlanta’s spring conference on Tuesday, April 30 titled “Social Recruiting:  Brand, Hire and Engage”.  Below is a synopsis of my track is:

This session will focus on recruitment branding via new/digital media. We will discuss branding your talent acquisition department through social channels including; Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. Attendees will also learn about unique talent acquisition and engagement tools to utilize during the recruitment process. You will walk away with a social strategy and fresh ideas to distinguish your brand. If you want to learn how to communicate your brand across multiple channels, deliver a social strategy and incorporate video into your talent engagement, this is the session to attend!

In reality social recruiting is not dead, it is very much alive!  The term will far outlive it’s shelf-life and recruiting will always be social no matter the technologies or grooviness of the future.  Can you dig it?  Sorry, I refuse to use the 90’s term, mainly because I would rather say “work together”.

“You can wrap a turd in tinfoil and call it shiny, but it’s still a turd in tinfoil” – Unknown old man from my hometown.

Come by my session at SHRM-Atlanta 2013 conference on Tuesday, April 30.  Follow the #shrmatl13 hashtag and me on twitter @alexputman

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Social Media Strategy: LinkedIn

The number one question to ask yourself when developing your corporate social media strategy is:  “What is the impact and alignment of the social strategy and business goals/objectives?”  You should first start by looking at three key criteria;

  1. Strategy:  plan that marries your business objectives and your business insights to your users
  2. Enablement:  active commitment to becoming a social business and making social a part of the company DNA
  3. Content:  Storytelling!  What you’re saying must pass the “Who gives a crap” test!

LinkedIn is a powerful tool and a powerful addition to your social media strategy.  This tool goes beyond just “status updates” or “push information”.  When creating your strategy LinkedIn (or any social platform) ask yourself:

  1. How will the platform tie into the  overall social media goals?
  2. What do I want this platform to look like in 3 months, 6 months and longer?
  3. How do I “Keep it real” and engaging to people vs. pushing the same information to a different platform?
  4. What is the reason I am on this platform, is it ONLY because the cool kids are doing it?

Once you have a strategy in mind you can now put together your plan.  Below are six components of a social strategy and sample/generic objectives:

Mission:
Drive professional conversation, engage business minded users and answer questions by industry professionals.  This will establish your brand/company as an expert in areas outside of your product/service.

Goals: 

  • Drive traffic to the corporate website and/or landing pages
  • Utilize product/services page to promote products and receive feedback on product/service offerings
  • Cross pollinate relevant content to other social media communities AND provide content in a different forum.
  • Create and/or join groups that are in line with your business to establish your brand as a leader.
  • Participate in conversations on company related topics and business questions.

Business Statement:
We will use the LinkedIn community as a platform to interact with business minded professionals and engage peers on a professional level regarding our products/services., thus showcasing our expertise and leadership in our industry.

Target Audience:

  • Professionals with a business mindset vs. a more “social” platform.
  • Users who are less likely to interact on networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
  • Potential customers that interact with competitors products/services

Benchmark:
Compare stats, activities, connections and interactions.  Also, gage your interaction/adoption because it is more important than just obtaining “followers”

Tracking:
What works and what does not work, you should measure against current stats (if available) and pay attention to:

  • Increasing engagement on corporate pages and product/services pages.
  • Identify sources of new members/followers
  • Gauge your target audience reach.
  • What are the engagement sources and which ones are working best.
  • Goal achievement and relevance.

I hope this helps as you build your social strategies.  Remember you may not be able to build a strategy for every platform, so start with one and let it roll!

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Quit Cold Calling Me!

It never fails, a new job post hits my career page and within 2 hours I receive the following phone messages and emails;

This is John Smith with XYZ Staffing, I was hoping to connect and see if my firm could assist with any of your openings. We specialize in EXACTLY WHAT I JUST POSTED”

“This is …. with XYZ Staffing, we specialize in MY EXACT POSTING, I will be in your area next Tuesday at 10 and will stop by…..”

For the record, I have been on all sides of the desk.  I respect all sides of recruiting; agency, corporate, contract….  I have and will utilize services when the need requires,  (NOTE that need has not been required as my 2 person team has filled 115 openings this year with no fee; DISCLOSURE:  we have used an agency to fill 3-4 openings outside of the US in a country where I don’t speak the language!) but I will never use services when approached in the examples above!

If you are selling recruiting services with an agency, here are a few suggestions and lessons learned to set yourself apart (hey, I have been guilty of some of these at one time)

Change the script:
If you are going to cold call (hey, I get it, I’ve done it…), then at least get me in the first 5 seconds….example:
“Hey, don’t hang up!!  I don’t suck and will not waste your time (now I am listening).  Your team has some cool stuff going on and I would love to get to know your company and you better….even if we don’t get the chance to make money with you, can we chat?”  That would get my attention and may get you a response.

Build the Relationship BEFORE the sell:
I recently met with a firm that I will use when I have an opening….we met through a mutual membership from a local organization and they NEVER sold me.  I trusted them because of the organization and our connections via mutual contacts.  When asked to lunch they said “Hey, we realize you don’t have any need to go outside, we just want to be there if you do“….I like the “if”, it was not presumptuous!

Value my time:
Nothing says DOUCHE, like telling me you will be stopping by on such and such date!!  Sales folks, when you do this, how many times have you gotten the response “Yes, please stop by, I have nothing going on and no reason to meet, but since you are coming anyway.….”

Never, Ever LIE
I recently received an email with the old “hey we met last year blah, blah, blah“…..Not only did I receive the email, but my employee, who sits across from me, on the same day, at the same time, received the same email saying “Hey Alex (they did change the greeting to her name), you assisted me last year in a few searches….let’s reconnect…and by the way I have 4 people who would be perfect for you…Can we chat?….Can I send you a LinkedIn connection?” 

By the way, if I did assist you in networking, and in this case I did not, we would be connected on LinkedIn!

Create a recruiting brand that stands out (see my examples below):
I should know your company and what they stand for….if I run in social media circles and recruit creative talent, I should see and hear your company name.  Your company’s brand should be in line with my needs.  If you are selling services, sell to the right audience, with the right message!

Examples of great recruiting brands, that I admire:
Firebrand
Moxy
Betts Recruiting

NOTE:  I am not currently using these firms services, however I do LOVE and respect their brands!!

So why this post?  Why this rant?  because I love the recruiting business….agency, corporate, contract it does not make a difference to me.  There is a best way and a crappy way.  Recently I received 4 messages from 4 different recruiters from the same firm!  Then they called my boss in an attempted work around….Guess what?  That sucks!

Of all the above, the greatest advice is “build the relationship!”  I buy from people I respect, trust and know!  These relationships take time to build….once built, they are hard to break (although lying would be a way to break this).  So, PLEASE, for the sanctity of our industry; put down the yellow pages, quit drinking on the job and kick recruiting butt the RIGHT way!

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Are You Innovative Enough?

Ask yourself a question….”what is the most innovative thing I have accomplished professionally this year?”  My journey started with a New Year’s resolution.  That resolution included being happy at work, using my creativity to build something cool and never being required to wear a tie ever again.

Thus began a new job search in January 2011.  As many people know, a job search is no easy task; I sent out over 200 resumes, went on 20+ interviews and spent many waking moments in search mode (many times with mobile apps on my phone) before landing my ideal role in October 2011.  But all this revolved around the simplest question; what do I want?  I don’t want “a job” my desire was for a path, an outlet for creativity and this was boiled down into a simple list of intrinsic needs;

  1. Innovative work
  2. Result oriented environment
  3. Creative outlets
  4. Ability to build something

Each interview went pretty much the same; sneak off and put on a suit and tie, go through several rounds and then the company and myself would evaluate each other.  I always had one key question at the end of each interview and each time was met with a similar answer.  My question; “what is the most innovative accomplishment of your company and team in the last 12 months?”  The responses ranged from long periods of silence to awkward answers of “well we implemented a system that ensures everyone gets paid” (yes, that was a real answer)!

I so wanted to work for a Facebook, Google or some company that provided my intrinsic desires (I actually had the chance to speak via email with Facebook and they did not outright reject my application — or it was the nicest rejection ever).  Then, I got the call!  Through my LinkedIn network (which is almost 5,000 1st level connections) I discovered a consulting gig that only 2 people were aware of; one  of those being in my network.  I was told “no need for a tie, come as yourself”!  Elated, I walked in and was greeted by lots of color, a few dogs (the furry, pet kind) and lots of laughter!

Week 1 was interesting;

Day 1:  I had no designated place to sit, utilizing my laptop, 60 open jobs, no tracking system (excel and mail folders) and no careers page/jobs page on the web.

Day 2:  I put a band aid in place on the company blog and used Bullhorn Reach to place jobs on web and create hyperlinks for post.

Day 3:  Overheard a key member of the executive team say “has he hired anyone yet”

Day 4:  You get what you ask for, asking myself  “Fight or Flight”

Asking myself, “are the expectations too high?” Answer “No!”  The cost of working in this type of environment involved making things happen…..pick up and make it happen….this is why companies like this accomplish so much in so little time!  Now, more than ever, I wanted to be a part of something bigger, faster and growing!!!

Two months later I was hired as a full-time employee (January 1, 2012)!  In that time our talent acquisition team (there are two of us now) have accomplished 3 years worth of stuff including;

  • Hired 65+ people, with 15% being outside the US
  • Implemented an Applicant Tracking System based on social recruiting and everyone in the company is part of the process
  • Developed a social recruiting plan that includes a complete video strategy
  • Unrolled a careers portal geared towards “Life at ____  “
  • Branded the talent acquisition function on all major social platforms
  • Traveled to other countries to set up and secure a talent acquisition process
  • Focused candidate experience efforts to ensure positive results (we are part of the Talent Boards candidate experience awards and will know the results in October)!
  • Never dread one day of work or one Monday morning….loving it 10 months later!

All of these things were accomplished wearing flip-flops, with no one giving me a set of “goals and objectives”.   What’s the most innovative thing I have done in the past 12 months?  I don’t know, you tell me.

A lot has changed; new hires come in and have equipment, a place to sit and clear objectives.  We have focused on the candidate experience and hired many top-notch managers and team mates.  I have stuck to my resolution of never wearing a tie, ever again (really, what is the point of having something tied around your neck…..I find the concept somewhat disturbing).

Like Yoda said “Do or Do Not, there is NO try”!  This hangs in the Talent Acquisition area and is our motto!  Either do what you want or don’t, trying is not an option!