Reflections on SourcEvent and the Australasian Sourcing Summit

I’ve been hypnotised. I’ll come back to this point in a sec. 

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been busy tripping across the Tasman Sea from NZ attending 2 inaugural sourcing events in Australia, the Australasian Sourcing Summit (10-11 August) in Sydney and SourcEvent (17-18 August) in Melbourne from the seasoned Australasian Talent Conference (ATC) crew.  I had the honour of running 2 sessions in Sydney, presenting on Winning on Facebook and Emotional Branding in Sourcing. In my latter session we talked about such things … you know, typical conversation starters … as the human centipede, cult leadership, and supermarket shopping and their place in sourcing.

People have asked me which event I preferred. Being straight up I’d like to say that I honestly gleaned different things from both events. Sorry to both sets of conference organisers for not declaring a winner or a loser. I think Sourcing in Australia and NZ was the winner overall this time round. The enthusiastic vibe and eagerness to learn from the attendees was damn strong across both events. Sourcing appears to be a hot topic and some argued it is a vocation in its own right. I now tend to agree. Sourcing-specific events will now surely become a mainstay in the years to come - maybe we’ve now caught up to the USA in this respect. I did very much enjoy hearing from and meeting the Northern Hemisphere contingent (Jim Stroud, Bill Boorman, Kevin Wheeler, Glen Cathey) at SourcEvent. These guys are subject matter experts and deep thinkers and have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they draw upon and share. But I also learned lots from the local sourcing presenters at both events. For example, it was great to learn about the corporate sourcing models and approaches at both Ernst and Young Australia/NZ (Australasian Sourcing Summit) and Deloitte Australia (SourcEvent). I even gleaned some creative community building ideas from the non-technology / in-real-life approach to indigenous careers at Qantas. The range of topics at both events was diverse. I felt a bit spoilt for choice in the afternoon of day 2 at SourcEvent, with the high number of interesting breakout and unconference sessions and presenters. 

At both events, I was constantly thinking about what exactly is ‘sourcing’ - is it just finding talent or is it both finding AND attracting? I’m not sure this was answered with gusto and different presenters and attendees seem to have a different focus. There were different approaches and personal preferences to sourcing presented. At one end of spectrum are the just-in-time / treasure hunting / information analytics approaches, using talent mining, boolean, x-ray search etc.  This is the school of thought that views sourcing as a science. At the other end was a focus on the “softer side” like employer branding and immersing oneself, as a sourcer, in various talent communities online and pipelining talent back, most typically into a CRM or ATS; viewing sourcing more as an art. A human and enduring approach to sourcing versus a clinical, CSI-esque, and potentially de-humanised approach, with many variations in between. 

Various presenters were asked what they viewed as the key attributes, the DNA of a sourcer. I agreed with the terms mentioned, especially in light of where they sit on the continuum, but was left wondering if in some cases a sourcer should be stronger on the human psychology side to understand the motivations and needs of their jobseeker audience. Sourcing can often involve building a relationship with a prospect over a period of many years (thanks Jim Stroud for providing a quick overview of the types of questions to ask in building a meaningful connection). I know lots of recruiters and sourcers and they haven’t had this level of emotional engagement with me about my career and career aspirations - I may be now inspired to move into a company and lead their talent acquisition function but they would never know. I would have liked to have heard more about the jobseeker experience and viewing sourcing from the jobseeker’s side. A comment from Bill Boorman resonated with me. He said we are not in a war for talent, but in a war for other people’s talent - this to me involves looking beyond the “finding” bit of sourcing. But I also get the argument that different people are better suited to one side of the continuum or the other. A lot of this is situational to me and I would like to add another angle - thinking of sourcing as a game - I’m thinking a lot about this.

After listening to Kevin Wheeler talking about the future of sourcing, we need to also consider if sourcers will be extinct in the near future, considering the fast evolution of technologies, predictive tools, algorithms, and process automation. Should we be thinking of sourcers in robotic terms? Or maybe in purely economic, measurement-based terms - thanks Brent Pearson.

One surprising but positive personal developmental outcome for me, was around how to THINK in deeper analytical, conceptual and creative ways when approaching a sourcing strategy or project, or if I was in a position to build a sourcing team. The tools and technologies are important, but so is the intent and how we use these tools and technologies. I was slowly hypnotised by various presenters to think about planning, prioritising and refining the search criteria (Glen Cathey is in the image at the top of this post), and to think about ways to see more patterns in information beyond the immediately obvious (thanks Simon Townsend). Also interesting is the use of things like mind maps and heat maps in a sourcing context and techniques to cluster and synthesise information (eg into verticals, skills matrices, talent maps) - thanks Christain Le Loux and co.

Most presenters talked about sourcing as something sourcers in a sourcing team should do, but there are opportunities to think and look more broadly. We need, especially in Australia and NZ, to more actively tap into referral networks. One presenter referred to all their firm’s employees as sourcers, but I’m thinking broader than that and now have some ideas on how to get the public to be sourcers. 

I’ve enjoyed playing with some of the sourcing tools and tricks over the past week to uncover people (aka retrieve information) on the social web in places I thought would not have been possible a few weeks ago. And I’m still thinking about the events, which has made organising my thoughts tricky. It’s like when you’ve been to a thought-provoking movie, you’re still thinking about it days or weeks after. I’m bursting with creative ideas and feel very itchy to apply my learning. 

Social recruiting 2.0: embrace the hero

This is my guest post which featured on Bill Boorman’s blog. Thanks Bill for featuring it :)

My Facebook newsfeed is chock full of broadcasts. Employers are relaying to me, using a variety of formats and broadcasters, their news, EVPs, benefits, company and employee insights, and all manner of information and updates. They want me to engage with their brand and love it when I, and a very small selection of their other subscribers, ask questions, like, and comment on their posts.

But at a deeper level, do any of these employers get me, understand me, really step into the minds and emotional drivers of their jobseeker community? Who is the hero here - the employer or the jobseeker?

The social gaming industry gets it, they create heroes (superheroes), winners, investors, and addicts everyday. It’s all about the player and their experience - everything is centered around the player. Players describe their quests and overall experiences as fun, challenging, engaging, and addictive. It’s psychology at its very best. 

What would happen if employers embrace the hero? If we shifted our mindset from broadcasting, responding and transacting, then would we find unrealized potential and buy-in from our community? How would we communicate differently? Could we turn our community into a movement and create crazed fans who are knocking down the door to work with you, rather than your competitor. In fact, how can we be truly “social” without embracing and understanding the hero? Maybe it’s time to re-imagine recruitment as we know it. 

On a final note, are your employees heroes or bored-senseless subscribers?

Quick response (QR) codes - recruitment firm application

Example of a New Zealand recruitment firm using smart phone scannable QR Codes in the employment section of the newspaper. The codes point to the applicable job listing on the agency’s website.

Quick response (QR) codes - jobseeker application

I posted this question and video to the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) group on LinkedIn and it has attracted quite a bit of discussion.

Original post:

Do you want to receive this level of creativity in a CV or would you ignore / discard it?  

HR people receive lots of CVs, which from a visual perspective follow a pretty similar format. HR people typically prefer the stock standard static CVs, especially when they deal with a high volume of applications. At the same time, jobseekers are becoming more savvy using social media to showcase their personal brand, personality and experience. Check out this Quick Response (QR) code example - you scan a QR code (2-dimensional code) with a smart phone and it takes you to a link. Should HR professionals and recruiters embrace these types of jobseeker innovations or should we discourage and ignore them?

QR CODE - Content-rich Resume from Victor petit on Vimeo.

Burger roulette on Facebook, interactive without the porn. Clever, if they get the take up.

Facebook live streaming #socialrecruiting

It appears New Zealand and Australia are leading the way when it comes to one area of social recruiting.  Working with Deloitte New Zealand, we adopted an approach used by celebrities and politicians and applied this to a graduate recruitment context. About 15 months ago we ran our first interactive live streaming video show on our Facebook page. At the time Livestream’s unofficial Facebook application was very buggy, so we applied to Ustream and Facebook to embed their application. Over the course of 2010 we ran about 12 live shows in various formats and won some lovely silverware and write-ups for our pioneering attempts to be more “social” in how we engaged with our student community. 

Fast forward to 2011. Lion Nathan National Foods Australia, Ernst and Young Australia and New Zealand, and Deloitte Australia have all launched using the official Livestream Facebook app, which is surprisingly quick to set up and has some nice sharing and community-related features to it. 

I’ve enjoyed tracking how these employers are experimenting with the technology. It looks like some are trying to be very slick in their production, possibly to the point where it could diminish the level of authenticity and approachability. 

There’s been an interesting development within the past week. In light of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch and the postponement of the careers fairs at Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury, GradConnection NZ has put together an awesome initiative.  Using live-streaming, Christchurch students will get the opportunity to watch and chat live with a variety of NZ employers and industry associations (eg  WHK, Westpac, BDO, Audit NZ, PwC, BNZ, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Telecom, Staples Rodway, ANZ, Deloitte, NZICA). GradAID NZ will take place on Facebook on March 24 and 25. There are already virtual career expos out there, but I believe it makes sense embedding a show on the Facebook platform, especially as that’s where are a lot of students are. Possibly this hosted foray into live streaming will be the confidence spark for many of the participating employers to roll out their own live streaming initiatives.

This year Deloitte NZ has evolved the live streaming initiative. We’ve run a couple of live shows where students can hear from career experts, and young leaders and entrepreneurial people. We’ve shifted the focus from a purely employee branding strategy to one where students can emotionally connect at a broader level with Deloitte’s values. 

Before I go, I want to mention that UK-based Bill Boorman is doing some fantastic work with Hard Rock Cafe, and has introduced live streaming to Hard Rock Cafe Firenze (Florence) and their Facebook page. I look forward to seeing their “…live video chats and Q&A sessions with our guests, fans and applicants via Livestream on Facebook…”

If I’ve missed any other social recruiting examples of live streaming then please let me know.

(Source: thedailywhat)

Facebook vs Twitter - 2010 social demographics

The fashion of social media - wearing your Facebook profile

The fashion of social media - wearing your Facebook profile