Building Innovative Sourcing & Recruiting Teams in 2015

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Is your team doing the same old things when it comes to sourcing?

Are you frustrated that they just don’t seem to ‘Get it’?

Are you training and developing your team in the same way that you’ve always trained them but somehow expecting a different outcome?

Creating innovative teams who are testers, trialers, early adopters, creators and engagers is not an easy feat by any means.  But before you give up altogether think about how you’ve changed the way you train, connect, engage and challenge them.

Have you changed the way you do things?

If not, then why would you expect them to change the way they do things?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some recruiters and sourcers that do ‘get it’ and you don’t need to explain it again and again, but at times they are few and far between.

So how do we get our everyday recruiters to think differently and adopt the strategic sourcing strategies and activities that you need them to in order to ensure your business is moving forward and attracting and engaging with the right talent in the market?

1)   Assess how they are trained

So we all go and sit in a room and you take me through a PowerPoint presentation where you show the new sourcing channels that we’ll be using and then send me on my way.   I’m like a car on a cold, cold morning.  I’ve been sitting there ideally doing what I’ve always done and now you want me to warm up and get into action straight away.  The likelihood that I’ll stall is pretty high.   Whereas if you warm me up, get my mind thinking in a different way and challenge me a little then my ability to adopt the changes you want me to make are potentially more likely to take.

If you are training your recruiters, sourcer or staff in general and you need them to think differently, then you need to train them differently.  Think about how you can bring creative thinking exercises into your training session at the start so that your team understand that it’s time to get the brain working in a different way.  Many times we expect others to get on board but the way we engage them is same as what they have always experienced so they expect they don’t need to change either.

2)   Assess what you give them access to and what you don’t

If you ask me to do something different but I don’t have access to reporting or information that shows me how I’m tracking (only management receive those reports) then my ability to be accountable for my activity is limited.  Now I know that I’m geek at the best of times but one of things I love (don’t tell anyone) is google analytics.  It allows me to see what content has been shared, where my readers come from, what was received really well and what wasn’t.  By understanding what is working and what isn’t, it means I have the ability to tweak my strategy, content and activity based on response and engagement.

I know that not every recruiter can be reviewing this information all the time but what is when a campaign runs you share with them how it tracked, what happened, what worked and what didn’t. Teaching your sourcers and recruiters to be curious, to test and assess and test and assess again is how you build sourcers that understand how to build strategies, execute them and then adjust accordingly.

3)   Let them lead and put the expectation for change on them

Way back when, when I managed a team in London we had an issue.  In order for the team to get their bonus we had to have 98% data integrity rating.  Week after week we’d have the team meeting and I’ll tell the same people that there were errors in their information.  After several weeks and months of this happening I decided that each team member would own the data integrity for that week for the team.    That meant that before the meeting they needed to run a number of reports, they then need to communicate the errors and issues with the rest of the team and get those errors fixed before the weekly team meeting.

When the team members who were repeat offenders had to own the report and they were responsible for ensuring that everyone else did what they needed to do, it changed how they saw the issue. There was no way they could come to the meeting and have a report that had errors, and seeing how hard it could be to get someone to do what they wanted was frustrating for them (much like what I had experienced as the team manager.   The result?  By making the consultants who weren’t cutting it, be responsible for delivering the results required it  changed their behaviour and as a team we achieved our 98% data integrity target.

4)   Build innovative and creative thinking into the everyday

We get them to exercise process and do the same things every day and then all of sudden we say “Think differently, be innovative, give me your best creative thoughts” and we wonder why there is a stunned silence in the room.

When you want your team to think differently you need to provide them with a bit of a warm up.  If you’re training or having a meeting where you want some fresh ideas then give them a couple of warm up exercises to start with.  Maybe a quiz, maybe some creative thinking activities, brainstorming.  It doesn’t have to take long and it doesn’t have to be hard, it just has to shift them out of their process and pattern thinking so that they can start to use the right side of the brain to come up with solutions that give you what you’re looking for.


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3 Tips to Deliver Impressive Sourcing Innovation

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What is sourcing innovation?

In my book, it’s where you take what we all need to do – SOURCING and you make it more accessible, interesting, engaging, interactive, original and most of all EFFECTIVE to get the results you want and need.

Remember that Innovation without value and results is just a gimmick!

If you are connected with me on LinkedIn then you may have seen a recent article and video entitled “Agency Poaches Talent by Mailing out books with a phone hidden inside” I shared that I absolutely loved.

You can check it out here The Poaching Phone .


To give you a quick summary,  a mock design book was created, a phone was then installed in a cut out section of the book and the books were delivered to some of the top design executives in Dubai.  The phone had one number in it and that was to the person hiring these roles.

Outcome? By using this “Poaching Phone” technique to poach talent, FP7 successfully hired four key team members including an art director, a design chief and an award-winning creative team.  They claim the campaign saved them more than $80,000 in recruitment costs.  Now that to me is a result!

So what can we learn?

Know your audience

I’ve spoken about this point a lot here, here and here.  What do they read?  What are their interests?  The approach above is a great example of knowing what would appeal to your audience and targeting that when trying to get their attention.  By building out your knowledge and I mean actually doing the primary research not just making assumptions based on what you think or what you’ve ‘always done’.  The market is continually changing and keep up with your candidates needs, wants and job buying behaviours will keep you ahead of your competition when it comes to engaging and attracting great people.

Take the job to them

So you’ve got great talent sitting in organisations not looking for new opportunities, so how are you reaching them?  This is where getting your team together and brainstorming sourcing ideas is invaluable.  No matter how crazy some of the ideas maybe it could bring up a way that you hadn’t thought of before to do something different to get noticed by your targeted top talent.   When you start doing this with your recruiter and potentially hiring manager community, it start them thinking in different ways.  They and you become more aware of what could be a creative solution when you’re out and about, or even when you’re talking to great candidates, asking them more in-depth or probing questions to build on your knowledge of how else you may reach them.   The bottom line is – always be looking, thinking, finding, building new ways of communicating with your audience.   If you see the same thing over and over again it just becomes invisible and that is what many sourcing activities are now a days, invisible.

Surprise Them

So you’re writing another job ad hey?  These great candidates that you’re looking for, will they be looking at your thinking “wow that’s different?” As I say to my clients all the time, the way that you go to market, the way that you advertise and engaging is a direct reflection on your organisation’s personality.  I have to say that some companies write great job ads that provide meaning, fun, the WIIF (what’s in it for me) factors etc  but looking at how you can not only be on and in your candidates physical and online territory is what will set you apart.

When was the last time you looked at your sourcing activity and thought – “yes we’re really doing something different, we’ve put in effort and thought and I think we’re trying to deliver results in a different way?”

One of our Hudson RPO teams are currently building a campaign using really interesting gamification technology, social platform engagement with key leaders and influencers in the market plus a fair amount of images, video, competitions etc.  Once it’s done I’ll share the case study with you, but it’s about looking at what would appeal to your audience, how you can surprise and delight them, therefore making it shareable and engaging and get the results and quality of applications that you need.

Besides sourcing innovation giving you great results, it’s just more FUN! 

It’s time to think Bespoke when it comes to Candidate Attraction

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First off – Happy New Year!    We’re already a week in, can you believe it?!

Well I have it on good authority (I can feel it in my bones) that it’s going to be good year!  I predict 2014 will be the year of the ‘Yousli’…. what do I mean by that?  It’s all about bespoke services, products and consumer expectations or in our case, candidate expectations.


As we move at rapid speed toward a world of tailored approaches, products and services, candidate attraction and the way we assess and engage with potential employees is not too far behind.

I personally love anything I can customise and I’ll usually gravitate towards something that has been designed specifically for me.

So have you noticed how many new businesses are springing up based on bespoke?

Two that that I personally like are Yousli and Shoes of Prey.   Yousli allows you to choose your base muesli and then whichever ingredients you like and then name it yourself.  I like to call mine ‘Suzli’.  They then package it and send it to you.   Shoes of Prey allow you to design your own shoes.  From the style, hight, fabric etc and then you can name it…what’s not to love!

The question is, what do candidates expect from us?

What do they want to be able to consume, pick and choose when it comes to considering your organisation as a place to work?  Do you provide them with a number of different options when it comes to applying for a role or finding out more about your organisation’s culture, people, activities etc?   As we know people digest information in different ways:

  • Visual (spatial):You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding  – Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, photos on your career site
  • Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music – YouTube, video on your career site
  • Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing – providing written information candidates can consume or video they can hear more about the business.

When engaging with candidates, do we think of these different styles or do we treat everyone exactly the same?

So recently I asked a number of highly skilled professionals; if they could design the recruitment process they had to go through in order to get a new job, what would it look like, and this is what they said:

Tom – PhD scientist, global experience, has worked for leading pharmaceutical  in research & development in the past.

“I’d like to have a lot of information to read (surprise being in research and all).  Job descriptions are terrible and very rarely accurate when it comes to the tasks that I’d be responsible for undertaking.  I’d like to read examples of the types of reports I’d be responsible for writing.  Companies put fairly general info on their websites when it comes to careers pages.  Nothing that makes me think they’d be great to work for.   You also rarely get information that covers warts and all when it comes to the job and then wonder why people don’t work out when the job and environment aren’t right.   Having more team based final interviews or meetings would help provide the opportunity for potential employees to have honest conversations about the organisation therefore ensuring that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that it’s the right fit for everyone.”

Jim – Senior Business Analyst working across a number of large corporates on a contract basis.  One of the main things that he stated was:

“I’d like to meet the people who I’d be working with. Not just the manager but the team, maybe the stakeholders, etc.   I also just want to know that I can leave the office at 5pm and get home to see my family.  I make sure I get what I need to get done, but then see so many other people just staying back in the office when they don’t have anything to do because that’s the ‘culture’.  I’m not interested in that.  I get in, get the job done right and then get home.  I wish people would just be honest about the real culture of the office so I can make the right decision.”

Tanya – Senior Manager in HR projects –

“I’d love it if someone said that they had read my blog or engaged with me on a social platform, because I never look at job boards.  They want to discuss where their business was going and how I could support that.   Language is a big thing.    We live in a world that is solutions focused (well my world is anyway), so if you’re looking for someone like that, then you need to think about the way you approach them.  What is going to be more appealing – ‘we want to talk to you about a job’ or ‘we want to talk to you about a solution that we need for our business’.    In the first instance I might think…well I’m happy where I am,  changing jobs can be stressful.  But if you say – our business needs to find a solution to X (which is what I specialise in) then you’ve got me chomping at the bit from the start.   Now when it comes to assessing me to find out if I’m right, I’m happy to have a conversation/interview but why not put me to the test.  Let’s get in a room with a number of people and let’s solve a problem, work through a project.  You’ll see me in action, see the way I think, work out if I’m the right fit by the way I conduct myself and the ideas I come up with.  That would be a really engaging way for me to get a job.”

So your challenge should you choose to accept it, is to look at some of the roles in your organisation – you choose which ones this may work for.

Think about your hard to fill roles and look at how you or your recruiters are engaging with those candidates.  Is there a better way to attract that particular type of person?  What language is key to them?

What would tempt them nine times out of ten to be drawn to your role?  Have you asked?  What could the recruitment process look like for them that could be a bit different?

I love this ad below and recently used it in a conference presentation.   It speaks to its audience and is tailored just for them.  It’s interesting, different and the process of assessment is based on work that they submit when they apply.  It’s challenging, fun and creative!


We do the same thing over and over again for every person – yet every person is different.  Now if you’re thinking, well we don’t have time to tailor our approach then think about whether you have time to sort through 100 ad response of people who don’t really match the criteria you’re looking for.   Think about the solution that you’re providing to your hiring managers and if you’re really adding value in an ever-changing market.

If the way you are recruiting today, is the same as you were recruiting 4 years ago, then are you really tailoring your approach to meet the needs of highly skilled and ever expectant candidates in the market in 2014?

Be different, challenge the status quo and you may be surprised by the calibre of great candidates you attract!

The Impact of Social Currency on Employer Brand

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Happy Monday all!!

So today I want to talk about Social Currency.   “Social Currency = If you can give people something that no one else has or make them feel remarkable, then it’s more likely they will share that information because it makes them look good, and in the process you as a business or brand look good as well” ~ Jonah Berger.

There is a FAB YouTube Video by one of my favorite people in the world, Mz Marie Forleo and University Professor (who wears very cool Nikes!…no grey beards or sweaters here) Jonah Berger called Viral Marketing.

He uses the example, which I’m sure most of know well, which is when LinkedIn sent out emails to a huge amount of people saying “Congratulations you were in the top 1% of LinkedIn users”.

Of course not only did that make us look and feel great but then we decided to share it with others, which meant that we were not only promoting ourselves and what may (or may not) be seen as an achievement, but by LinkedIn making people feel special, smart and in the know, LinkedIn got to come along for the ride thereby promoting LinkedIn even further.

The point is that if you make people feel special then by way of them sharing that, you/your brand or Employer brand gets to come along for the right.

Think about this – if your organisation made you feel special, did things that were a little out of the ordinary and just made an effort really – then how likely would you be to talk about them to others?  We’ve all heard friends talk about how their businesses sent them to a conference in Hawaii or they received an award or some great perk and it does make you think….wow that company really appreciates their people and in turn, maybe they could be a good company for me.  Now it’s doesn’t even need to be a large financial rewards, I remember my old flat mate in London used to get ‘Summer hours’ which meant that on a Friday during Summer they could leave the office at 1 or 2pm to enjoy the rest of their day.  That was 10 years ago and I still think that that’s pretty cool!

What about if you offered something to a client that no one else offered that they thought was great value, remarkable or insightful?  How much more would that client be willing to recommend you either internally or externally?

I love this video, not only for the great social and marketing gems but because I can see how we can apply that to Employer Branding for our clients and our own organisation.

As many heavy hitters in the recruitment world like Johnny Campbell and Bill Boorman etc say, it’s all about the candidate engagement now.  It’s now a lot easier to find top talent, but the engagement part of that equation can be a difficult one.

So my question is – How are we making candidates feel?  When they have an experience with us as recruiters or organisations are they going away and talking about that experience in a positive way and therefore building our social currency as an organisation or is their experience so poor that we’re actually coming out of the social mention pretty poorly?

When working for a management consultancy in the UK a few years ago, I will alway remember the conversations with unsuccessful candidates that went something like this…. “Suzanne I’m really disappointed not to get the role but I thought the process was really good, the feedback was comprehensive and my experience was positive and I’ll definitely try again in a couple of years when I’ve developed my skills further”.    1- do we know what candidates are saying about our businesses or client’s business to start with, which is the definition of employer brand really…the perception in the market of what it’s like to work at that organization both internally and externally; and 2 – do we know what unsuccessful candidates are saying about us once they’ve had an interaction with us.

Now I’m well aware that with thousands of applications it can be hard, but if it’s not even on  your recruiters radars that every candidate is or could be a walking advertisement for your organization, brand or employer brand then we’re falling down at the first hurdle.

So a couple of things to ask yourself when it comes to representing either yours or your clients employer brand in the market:

1) Am I making our candidates feel special in any way?

2) Am I tracking what people are saying both internally and externally about our employer brand?

3) Are they sharing the great stuff about our business because a) we make them feel special or b) because they think what we do is great and make it easy for them to share it

4) Are we assessing whether candidates are having a good experience when they come through our recruitment process and yes through the Applicant Tracking System?   Is it a standard thanks but no thanks email, or have we tailored it a little more so that they know we actually looked at their CV?

These are just a few light thoughts for this wonderful Monday morning in sunny Melbourne! (I hope it’s just as lovely where you are as well!)

Creative Thinking Time provides Competitive Advantage

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I had no less than three conversations last week with various people on the topic of carving out dedicated ‘thinking’ time to develop competitive advantage within your organisation.


My first conversation was with a client talking about the fact that she takes herself away for the day just to allow for a new perspective on things, identify what she needs to focus on and then spends some serious time looking at how and what she needs to deliver across the business.

The second conversation was with a friend that owns a coaching and talent insights business around the fact that not having that time to think means that her ability to create new ideas, solve problems and make things better that are already in existence, was a difficult place to be.

The third conversation was with one of my own General Managers, and was me expressing how thankful I am that I have a team around me and above me that not only allow me time to think, create and explore but it’s encouraged, supported and developed.

This opportunity means that I get to deep dive into my years of experience, take the best of what I’ve learnt and merge it with the future vision of sourcing, attraction and technology and create something new.   What is new is our ability to differentiate to deliver competitive advantage and to work in a fluid environment that ensures the reengineering continues to the benefit of our clients.

You don’t always need best practice when your strategy evolves beyond it.

“Carving out time to think strategically, create with purpose and explore what could be, will be the difference between doing something average and the opportunity to define something great.”

It’s interesting, that many organisation don’t see the value of this time or understand why they would consider allowing their staff the space to create.

We’ve heard that Google dedicates a day a week for their employees to brainstorm ideas, test out next theories and spend time building concepts, products and strategies which has benefited their organisation greatly both when it come to engagement as well as new product and therefore bottom line impact.   Ebay also do this, where they get their staff to head into different departments, listen to customer calls and work on new ideas that they think could improve the way the organisation works.

So today I want to apply what I’ll label ‘Think Tanking’, or the dedicated time to think, create and explore when it comes to sourcing and attraction.

There are 3 sourcing gurus that stand out to me – Glen Cathey, Johnny Campbell and Irina Shamaeva.  They look at sourcing from many different angels, from boolean and open web to social recruiting and search on the likes of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to name a few.  The blog posts, vlogs and webinars that they run are exploratory.  It’s through ongoing search, trial and error that they come up with the right search strings, it’s through ongoing testing online when technologies change and algorithms morph, that they then share those changes with us.    This would, without a doubt take time, patience and a way of thinking that forces them to constantly be evolving their skills and how the tricks and tools that they share with us now work.     The ‘what if’ question is a big one.

What if it looked different?

What if the candidates I’m looking for are using these tools and platforms in a different way?

What if the way that I’m searching isn’t working and I need to try something else?

Having a clear understanding of what needs to be developed and what needs to evolve is key to ensuring targeted outcomes are achieved.  I’m not suggesting for a minute that random thinking time is provided with no end goal in mind.  When I’m taking time out, there is a very clear goal to improve something specific or look at how we can create something that will impact our clients in the right to assist with a targeted problem.  Like anything, sometimes you need limitations to allow your creativity to develop in a focus way.

What are your key sourcing challenges?

Where are you spending more money on recruitment that could be decreased if you could find X candidates?

What are your hard to find candidates looking for?

Building the right profiles and taking the time to do this can help with creating new and unique attraction strategies.  Remember, when you’re limited to focusing on your target audience then your ability to come up with the RIGHT targeted and creative message works so much better.

As an organisation, if you are not allowing your sourcing consultants time to think, create and evolve then your ability to stay ahead of the curve will deteriorate and potentially your competitive advantage through the decrease of procuring top talent as well.

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