Posts Tagged ‘talent acquisition’

Would your candidates tattoo them-selves with your company branding?


Harley logo

Managing, Sales, Marketing and Finance Directors talk to HRDs about :

  • lost revenue opportunities from giving indifferent service to rejected job applicants,
  • cost of low conversion rates of jobs & careers page visitor numbers to actual applicants, and
  • damage to the product and employer brand of not making the acquisition of talent their greatest asset.

Request the notes of this Direct Resourcing Strategists meeting on Customer Loyalty and the Candidate Experience …


Talent Acquisition Tips and Christmas Tree Lighting – can you elucidate and shine?


Talent acquisition is like Christmas Tree Lighting – done well, it lights up the org tree and illuminates its best features. Here are 13 enlightened talent acquisition strategies. Download the article, comment on EITHER whether these should be done in Series, and if so, in which order, OR whether these should be done in Parallel, and if so, why, and then vote on someone’s else’s comments to see which Star comes out on top!

Can HR be a Profit Centre? Restructure, TurnAround and M&A


There was alot of talk last year of HR turning a profit rather than being a cost, so this year I brought together a number of HR Directors in the Direct Resourcing Strategists group who had initiated some very commercial changes to make their talent acquisition operations profitable. Simply fill out the form below to find out more …

Direct Resourcing Think Tank, new dates for 2010


Are you a discrete, senior and inhouse thought leader in Direct Resourcing? Do you want to network with your peers?

*Only Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises public & private participate in the DRTT.

*The hosts are the Senior HR & Resourcing Heads of large enterprises like the Financial Times, CapGemini, BT, Legal & General, BBC, and Transport for London.

*DRTT is more about the strategy of resourcing, and less the doing, as you have teams who do while you direct.

*What price would you put on being able to meet your peers from the companies above and understand how they are tackling the big issues?  The DRTT membership is completely free of charge, so look at the Calendar of Think Tanks below and either call me on 07979 751 562 or email me at to let me know which you want to participate in …

December 11th  




1 Wood Street
The importance of a robust and comprehensive resourcing strategy.
Hosted by Nicky Bizzell, Head of Resourcing Eversheds
Always a hot topic of conversation at the Direct Resource Think Tank this event promises to offer an interesting insight into the key areas and challenges involved in developing a resourcing strategy that gets buy in from the hiring community.

11th  17.00 – late



Corney and Barrow
Paternoster Square

Everyone is invited to the DRTT’s Christmas Drinks.  This offers an informal opportunity to meet you fellow DRTT members for a pre-Christmas drink.  Please let me know in advance if you can make.
January 29th Transport for London Executive Search
Hosted by Charles St Aubyn, Head of Executive Search, TFL.
Following an extremely successful and over subscribed previous Direct Resourcing Think Tank, this topic on developing an internal executive search capability is back due to high demand.   It offers members the opportunity to share experiences from initially championing a business to set up an internal function through to managing senior candidate attraction and on-boarding.  
Experian QAS Referral Scheme
Hosted by Francesca Haines, Recruitment Manager, Experian QAS.
US companies are filling up to 40% of their vacancies through internal employee referral schemes.  Tackling issues such as diversity and cultural barriers this Direct Resourcing Think Tank promises to be an informative and valuable session for talent professionals harnessing themselves for an increase in demand for hiring whilst managing costs.
February 12th Navigant Consulting Leveraging your Employer Brand
Hosted by Charlotte Johns, International Head of Recruitment, Navigant Consulting.
Employer Brand is one of the most popular discussion points at Direct Resourcing Think Tank events.  This time around we’re looking at how smaller organisations can leverage their Employer Brands to help them win the war for talent when taking on the bigger opposition.
February 26th Clifford Chance The Perfect Candidate Experience
Hosted by Sarah Langton, Recruitment Manager, Clifford Chance.
As the market begins to revitalise itself and competition for candidates increases this Direct Resourcing Think Tank will look at the complete candidate experience, a critical and often overlooked aspect of the recruitment process.  Online communications, personal calls, feedback after application or interview, buddies, office tours during interview process, instant application updates via ATS/Web, etc, are just some of the areas up for discussion.
March 5th AXA Creating and Implementing an Effective Social Media Strategy for Recruitment
Hosted by Samantha Rich, Head of Group Resourcing, AXA.
This Direct Resourcing Think Tank will focus on best practice for using social media to engage with target talent and gives attendees the opportunity to discuss their do’s and don’ts to date.
March 12th Atkins Resource Planning and Budget Leverage
Hosted by Karen Wallbridge, Head of Recruitment, Atkins.
At this Direct Resourcing Think Tank the discussion will be based around how a resourcing function can plan, add value and increase internal mobility as well as ways it can leverage and control budget from and within a business.
March 19th GileadGilead Sciences Europe Ltd.
(International Headquarters)
2 Roundwood Avenue
South Building
Stockley Park
UB11 1AF
International Recruitment
Hosted by Grant Weinburg, Director of Talent Acquisition, Gilead.
This event offers the increasing number of international recruitment leaders  within the Direct Resourcing Think Tank the opportunity to discuss and share experiences on successes and challenges faced when recruiting across different territories.   Channels to market, cultural differences, legislations and sourcing multilingual internal recruiters are amongst a range of issues to be tabled.
March 26 Pepsico1600 Arlington Business Park
Supplier Management in a Direct Sourcing EnvironmentHosted by Katie McNab, Recruitment Manager UK & Ireland, Pepsico InternationalThere are a number of different strategies for managing the various types of third party supplier. At a time that many suppliers face major changes and new challenges, as their clients adopt direct resourcing, this Direct Resourcing Think tank offers a unique forum for industry experts to share their thoughts and opinions. Questions such as how can you ensure that your suppliers offer you the highest quality service at the right price will be addressed



Best innovations in recruitment


A Reader asks RecruitAdvisory …

 What have been the best innovations in recruitment in the last two years?

Interested to hear what recent (let’s say last 2 years) innovations people have seen in the recruitment sector which are genuinely useful and value adding.

There have been so many great innovations in recruitment technology in the last two years, in each part of the recruitment cycle, from job requisition, through sourcing and screening, to selection and onboarding, aswell as for combinations of these parts. Tools for reporting generally have improved greatly too.

As a hiring line manager, I benefitted from none of them. and I guess that’s why I spent 10% of my time sourcing and selecting new talent, and as a recruiter, I spent an inordinate amount of time flitting between multitudinous tools, especially all the job-boards we used and subsequently the social networks.

So for me, innovations that aggregate the tools in one place are the most useful and value-adding. There is no one software vendor that has the monopoly on the best tools. The Jack of All Trades really is the Master of None in recruitment.

That’s why the single biggest innovation is Cloud Computing: you choose the tools you believe are Best of Breed in each part of the recruitment cycle, and it aggregates all your chosen tools in one place, making you a much better recruiter and putting the fun back into recruitment.

Brand from the Inside


Recommended Reading

Brand from the Inside. Eight Essentials to Emotionally Connect Your Employees to Your Business, Libby Sartain and Mark Schumann, 2006

Libby Sartain was, until earlier this year, Yahoo’s Chief People Officer, so what she writes is worth reading. She reads the Discussions in the Employer Branding group on LinkedIn, so you can have a discussion with her. Mark Schumann is a senior exec with Towers Perrin. They have written a number of books together. This is a light summation of their 2006 book.

Marketing own the brand, right? And they jealously guard it – “Don’t risk the brand!” they scowl at you when you make a suggestion for your job advertising! But if you want to deliver exceptional service, your branding program should really begin with your employees: when employees feel an emotional connection with a company, they deliver exceptionally good service, which your customers will recognise and appreciate. This is why Sartain coined the phrase earlier this month on the LinkedIn group “HR is the new Marketing”. This book could be a powerful ally when trying to co-opt Marketing into your way of doing things. Your employer branding campaign should include eight essential activities.


How customers view your brand determines whether they like, trust and buy your products. If your brand breaks its promises, your customers may turn away. Conversely, when a brand delivers excellent service or quality, that can have a halo effect on your entire product line. Brands can accelerate sales and customer acceptance.

The best brands generate emotions that overpower common sense. For example, why do people pay over £2 for a cup of coffee at Caffe Nero when they could brew it at home for pennies or buy it elsewhere in a caff for 50p? Millions pick up pricey cappuchinos every day, but the individual decision to grab a high end cup of coffee has nothing to do with reason.

When customers identify with your brand, it achieves a new level of influence. For other examples of such powerful branding, turn to Lego and Disney. Legoland stands for creativity; Disneyland a happy childhood. Consumers feel an emotional connection with these brands. I can vouch for this being a parent!

Employees also have a relationship with your brand. When people believe in a company, they feel good about working for it and delivering on its promises to customers. What Sartain and Schumann are suggesting is that you should discover what customers think of your offering.

“If the brand doesn’t live on the inside, it can’t thrive on the outside.”


A 2005 worldwide study found that HR professionals see a company’s brand as the essence of what it communicates internally and externally. The same study found that 60% of companies planned to start employee branding campaigns, which include many of the same components as customer-directed campaigns.

In a customer-directed campaign, you make promises to customers; in an employee campaign, you make promises to employees. In both cases, you must honour your promises.

An employee campaign should connect your brand’s promises to customers with its promises to employees. Both branding exercises must complement your company’s business strategy.

A study by Yahoo! found that 94% of job hunters said they had to believe in a company’s mission to accept a position with it. Companies with strong brands get good recruiting results. 79% of HR professionals believed that employees ranked companies with strong employer brands as top places to work. When employees feel an emotional link to a company, they are more likely to remain with the organisation when it experiences hard times or intense competition. This is why internal branding is important in meeting HR goals.

Make sure employees understand your brand – which means more than just ascertaining that they are familiar with your products and how they work. They must learn what your brand represents to customers and why the brand inspires them. Encourage employees to use the brand. Hallmark, for example, gives employees greeting cards to use.

“Any business, in any corner of the world, must create an experience to engage its employees before it can expect those employees to deliver the brand to customers.”


If you don’t intentionally develop an internal brand, one, or a number, will develop anyway. An informal employee brand may do a fine job of representing the company positively and accurately. However, if it doesn’t, you must correct the problem by making sure that you are communicating the right values to your employees and customers. Ask employees and marketing executives to answer the following questions, and use their responses to diagnose how well you are conveying your internal message and to formulate your internal branding strategy:

• Do those who work here understand what the brand promises?

• How strongly do they believe in the brand’s promises?

• Can staff members do more to deliver what the brand promises?

• Does the brand support the company’s recruiting efforts?

“The key to employer branding is tapping the emotional essence of the company and its brand, and using that emotional essence to frame and articulate the employee experience.”


When you plan and prepare an internal branding campaign, your goals are:

• To generate more revenue.

• To reduce talented employee turnover.

• To enhance recruitment potential.

Internal branding should become part of your business plan – however, don’t overstate what branding can accomplish. A change-resistant corporate culture, road blocks from company leaders and departmental turf battles can become obstacles to any campaign.

Although a good employer brand can reduce the amount you spend on recruiting and replacing employees, branding campaigns cost money. You may need to invest in research, the services of an ad agency to communicate your new messages and additional HR support, if the plan involves significant change.

In most companies, internal branding is the HR department’s responsibility. Depending on the type of business and the project’s scope, staff members from marketing, corporate communication, customer service, the call centre, sales and IT may also get involved. All these disparate people must learn to work as a team.


To carry out the plan, the team should take the following steps:

• Set ground rules – Specify the problem. Is there too much turnover? Cynicism? Are new competitors eroding sales and taking your customers? The team should analyse the effects on the brand of both external and internal factors.

• Perform research – Research can help you define your company’s essence, or what your brand means to your customers – which is not the same as what your product does. For example, Hallmark’s essence is “enriching lives.” Harley-Davidson’s is “we fulfill dreams.” Heinz’s is “doing a common thing uncommonly well.” Anheuser-Busch’s is “we will add to life’s enjoyment.”

• Set attainable goals – Specify objectives for each key area: the company, the brand, the market, and prospective, current and former employees.

• Communicate the goals – Everyone in the organisation should know and understand the goals. The team should develop a creative “big idea” that inspires employees and conveys what the company represents.

Implement the employer-branding process whenever you experience major staff changes or other significant shifts, such as a merger. Communicate your employer brand in all your marketing, policy and operational efforts.

“Brands paint the picture a customer steps into.”

“A brand can connect a customer to what a business is all about – its character, personality and values.”

“At their heart, brands touch the soul, excite the mind, satisfy the need and motivate the action.”


Your employee brand must meet employees’ expectations. Don’t frustrate your staff with a gap between what the brand promises and what it delivers. Make your promises clear; for example, FedEx’s “purple promise” to employees includes a compensation package and a rewards programme.

Break down distinctions between employees and customers by regarding your employees as internal customers. The HR department should insure that employees are aware of the employer brand at every stage of their life-cycle with the company:

• Noticing the company.

• Deciding it is an attractive place to work.

• Applying for a job.

• Joining the company.

• Working.

• Leaving.

• Remembering the work experience.


Share your employer brand messages with everyone the company touches: customers, the community, employees, regulators and competitors. The Internet, with its capacity to spread messages instantly around the world, has changed the way organisations communicate. You must explain what your company does, and how it benefits customers and employees.

When UPS changed its company logo in 2003, it gave every employee a small package containing a pin and a message from the company president explaining the reasons for the logo change, and how the new logo would look on company vehicles and packaging.

Hallmark uses another creative way to deliver its company message. Its annual employee brand conference puts participants in the mood to receive a positive message. Employees explain how the company and its products have enriched their lives. Company artists and writers discuss how they create the cards. The goal of the event is to help employees understand the business and to strengthen their belief in the company mission.

Washington Mutual appointed 75 brand managers, representing all lines of business nationwide. “Brand rallies” around the country had a 95% employee-participation rate.

To communicate your employer brand, follow these steps:

• Recognise that emotions are powerful communication tools.

• Re-evaluate your employee-communication programme&

• Tell the truth. A 2003 study found that only 51% of employees believed what their companies said, and only 48% believed senior management.

• Involve senior management in telling the story.

• Train key personnel to be employer brand advocates.

• Explain how employees benefit from working for the company: WIIFM. Then, explain again.

• Demonsdrate the business’s personality. Southwest Airlines, which has a reputation as a fun place to work, holds job-recruitment auditions, where interviewers encourage candidates to sing.

“Only by addressing each stage of an employee’s experience can you truly make an employer brand come to life.”

“To make the employer brand real for your employees, emotionally and functionally, it must live during each part of each day of an employee’s experience.”

“Your business must create a multisensory experience for your employees in which the  brand is present all around.”

“Ultimately, an employer brand is only as successful as the way in which it directs the choices people make every day.”


Once you’ve created and communicated your message, it will take on a life of its own in the workplace, through daily interactions between individuals and among small groups.

All of your senior managers should reinforce the branding effort by embodying what the brand represents.

To keep the branding program focused, monitor feedback from employees and customers.

Determine whether the brand is meeting employee expectations. Use focus groups and surveys to be sure that the customer brand and the employer brand are aligned. On the UPS “brand exchange” website, customers, suppliers and the community interact. The site protects the brand and ensures that everyone has a consistent experience.


• When employees feel connected to your company, they provide good service.

• See your employees as internal customers; create an employer brand for them.

• Half of HR managers view the company brand as “the essence of our offering” and say that their companies conduct some form of employee branding.

• Your employer brand must meet your employees’ expectations.

• To create your employer brand, know the brand’s essence.

• Take the following eight steps: discover, commit, diagnose, prepare, create, apply, market, nurture.

• Factors such as your reputation, corporate culture, workplace conditions, ethics and career growth opportunities shape your employer brand.

• Work to create trust. In one study, only 51% of employees believed what their companies said and only 48% believed statements from senior management.

• Revisit your employer brand whenever there is a merger or staff change, and in all marketing, communication, policy and operational efforts.

• To convey your company’s message, sponsor an event such as a conference that creates a receptive mood.

To temper what Sartain and Schumann wrote in 2006, the general argument in Direct Resourcing Think Tanks has been that organisations can no longer own or control their employer brand reputation. While once a business could implement an employer branding strategy and related messaging with stellar results, such as being named one of the best places to work, getting positive media attention and becoming the subject of academic and corporate case studies, this control has been usurped by social media, peer-to-peer publishing and online rating services. The shift in power renders all but the most strategic and well-executed efforts virtually ineffective.

Talent acquisition experts can no longer push out a message to those they wish to recruit unless the message is authentic and the experience inside the company mirrors the message.  Any disconnect puts the organisation, and the ability to recruit, at risk.

A business can stay in the driver’s seat of their brand reputation by creating an authentic experience for workers that begins before a prospective worker even thinks about a business as a place to work and ends with an active alumnus who is a fan of the business as a place to work. But this is hard work and requires the participation of everyone involved with the enterprise. It means that the website has to message what is really going on in the organisation. The candidate experience mirrors what the worker will experience on the job and will be the best first impression.

Once onboard, HR programmes should be consistently delivered as branded products and services. Leaders and co-workers influence, more than anyone else, what a worker experiences day in and day out. It means that day to day behaviour must be consistent with the employer brand promise. To have any control over the brand, an employer must screen for people with behavioural attributes that are aligned with the brand when hiring.

I do think that the Sartain book gives you in HR some strong arguments to co-opt your Marketing Department. In the worst case, they will help you confront Marketing, defeat their argument that they are the sole owner of the brand, and force them to get you in HR & Talent Acquisition onside.

A final word: as a recruiter, what management reports would you need to measure your employer brand?

Alumni returns, numbers of speccy CVs sent in via your website that you then interview or put into a talent pool, referrals as a percentage of total hires, retention of grade 1 performers, ratio of offers to accepts, and ratio of candidates who withdraw themselves during the recruitment process against those whom you reject. What other reports could you produce that would reflect on your employer brand?

If Recruitment is part of the HR department, why don’t the leading employers integrate it into the same database as the rest of HR systems?


A Reader asks RecruitAdvisory…

If Recruitment is part of the HR department, why don’t the leading employers integrate it into the same database as the rest of HR systems?

Recruitment is an external, market-facing activity, whereas the rest of HR is a purely internal affair. Your Board of Directors would be very worried if the database housing their own personal and highly sensitive Compensation & Benefits was also being populated with 100,000 CVs applying for jobs in your new Chinese operation, wouldn’t they?

Recruitment processes a  high volume of low value data, HR maintains a low volume of high value data. Large employers will have over 1 million CVs on their database to which they might add 40,000 every week, but Learning & Development will be concerned with the skills, aptitudes & training gaps of only the top 10,000 current staff.

Recruitment has flexible workflows that change regularly, while HR has fixed workflows that last for years. When you are recruiting different roles in different countries, you often have to change or tweak the various attraction & selection processes to suit the changing times and markets. There’s only one workflow managing your Annual Performance Review, and it won’t change for a decade, if at all.

Recruitment has highly localised processes, whereas HR has global standard processes. If you are advertising your mainstream jobs in the UK, you would place them on Monster or other leading job-boards, but not in Spain where you’d be better advised to use In France you have to consider anonymised resumes equally with named ones, and produce reports demonstrating that compliance, whereas this is not the case elsewhere. South Africans are proud that employers there can prove they are recruiting a high quota of Blacks into senior positions, whereas positive discrimination for the hiring decision is against the law in the EU. You must archive CVs in Germany after six months according to the German interpretation of the EU Data Protection Act, whereas the same law in the UK is interpreted much more liberally, shall we say. Recruitment therefore requires flexible & local processes (even if centrally run), whereas you would be soon & often invited to a Tribunal if the career paths of Senior Managers in Brazil were assessed differently to those in the Gulf.

Recruitment has high security exposure, though HR has almost none. If a hacker is going to target your employer, your Careers website and associated recruitment technologies, like job posting for example, are more highly visible than possibly even your payments systems, while none of your HR piece can be seen at all. In summary, Recruitment and HR are connected but should be kept separate. All departments in an organisation should collaborate, but it does not follow that they should all be the same department. When it comes to technology, therefore, a simple connection allowing hired candidates to be exported to the HR system and employee profiles to be uploaded for internal recruiting is enough. Integrating Recruitment into other parts of HR systems, and making it subservient, only adds complexity and risk but not value.

Five smart recruitment strategies


1. Treat talent acquisition like a sales job: the war for talent may have changed to the war for the best talent and filtering out the mediocre and worst, but that still doesn’t change the fact that employers who want to be the best in the their markets need the best employees, and that means selling their jobs to the best candidates. Inhouse recruiters also need to sell their services to the hiring line managers (if only to prevent them becoming maverick hirers who use their own pet, – and expensive – agency), and sell candidates to them too, so the attitude of the salesperson is invaluable. I have noticed that the top recruitment managers and directors have had a recruitment agency background, which has made them alot more commercially-savvy and sales-minded than those with an HR training. Make sure you have sales & marketing technologies to support your sales drive.

2. View hard to fill jobs as having value for your company; business-critical ones even more. If you are finding it hard to fill a job, odds are that your competitors and other employers seeking to fill the same sort of role are having the same hard time. Or maybe they are stealing a march on you in the war for talent and are filling them at your expense. Technologies that can help you with these hard to fill jobs will give you a competitive advantage. Referral campaigns should be focused on the line managers in whose departments these hard-to-fill roles are located, and their networks tapped. Birds of a feather fly together.

3. Build pipelines based on the profiles of successful staff. Identify what a “good” candidate looks like by profiling your top 5% of employees in each job function. You can then search for similar profiles. Harness the networks of those successful staff too.

4. Target passive candidates.Everyone knows that there are many more of the best talent to be found among passive candidates than in the ranks of the active, and passive candidates don’t necessarily look at job advertisements or post their CVs on job-boards, so finding out where these passive candidates work and play will bring you big dividends. Because they are passive candidates, they won’t say yes to an interview straightaway, so market to them on a consistent and regular basis, and one morning they will wake up, decide they want to move jobs, and choose you!

5. Search professional networks, expert forums, and blogs for the business-critical technical experts you need to drive your employer forward. Your best talent will identify these avenues for you, and they can supply you with the business cards of these experts. If you have tools to do this online, then you will identify the best talent by their expertise. It’s then up to you to sell to them!

For information on the market in ATS systems that can help you in these five smart recruitment strategies, simply click on Submit below and I’ll send you details.