June 18, 2018

Talent Acquisition Interviews


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Talent Acquisition Interviews

Alison Hadden - The Power of Employer Branding


If you don't manage your employer brand, then someone else will write the story for you.

Published on April 07 2014
Alison Hadden, director of product marketing for Glassdoor -TotalPicture Radio interviewAlison Hadden
"69% of Americans would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation - even if they're unemployed." (Corporate Responsibility Magazine)

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton. I just returned from the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia - one of the many interesting people I connected with at the Hilton Mark Center you'll meet today - Alison Hadden, Director of Product Marketing for Glassdoor.

Alison lead a session at the Recruiting Trends Conference titled "Assemble, Arm and Amplify: Next Level Employer Branding Strategies to Stand Out from the Pack"

As the resident Talent Solutions Evangelist, it's Alison's job to help shape Glassdoor's job advertising and employer branding products to best meet the needs of today's HR leaders and educate companies on how to effectively manage their employer brand to attract and retain top talent.

Alison Hadden - TotalPicture Radio - Recruiting Trends Interview

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast here on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting. I just returned from the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. There were many interesting people and ideas discussed at the conference, and it was certainly nice to see the flowering magnolia trees at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. One of the speakers I connected with at the Recruiting Trends Conference, you'll meet today, Alison Hadden, Director of Product Marketing for Glassdoor.

Alison led a session titled Assemble, Arm and Amplify: How to Build An Employer Brand That Attracts Rockstars. Before we get to the interview with Alison, I wanted to mention that I'll be covering the Fall Recruiting Trends Conference at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, October 28th through the 30th.

TotalPicture Media has high visibility and cost-effective marketing opportunities available to a limited number of vendors, exhibitors and consultants in Las Vegas for video and podcast production. Flexible in design and execution, podcast and video productions can include client testimonials and interviews featuring clients, prospects, partners and conference speakers one-on-one. To learn more, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

And now, here's my conversation with Alison Hadden.

Peter: Alison, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today on TotalPicture Radio.

Alison: Sure thing, happy to be here.

Peter: You had an interesting session this morning and you started out with a bunch of statistics in your session that were published by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. One of them was 84% jobseekers would change jobs for a company with a better reputation, employer branding and 69% would not take a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. Really?

Alison: Yes.

Peter: Dig deeper into this for me please and give me some of the background and research that you guys have been doing over at Glassdoor.

Alison: Over at Glassdoor, the research we've been doing, we're able to survey over 22 million jobseekers that we have in our community and it helps us understand some of the trends in jobseeker and candidate behavior. What we've seen is that employer branding today matters more than it ever has before because of social media, the Internet and the pace of information and all the things that are going on that wasn't really there a couple of years ago.

So what's happening with candidates today is they're requiring a level of transparency and authenticity from employers that they've never really asked for in the past because their reputation of a company is really weighing and having a tremendous influence on a jobseeker's decision to take a job or not.

Peter: So is this across the board or is this mainly Millennials that are disengaged in social media and really care that much about transparency? Or is it also Gen-X and Boomers?

Alison: That's a great question. I think definitely when it comes to social media and going to some of those channels and really being active in the conversation, we're going to see it skew a bit younger in terms of the Millennial set. But we're seeing Boomers. We're seeing across industries, we're seeing across generations and across regions and even globally, people starting to want to take place in the conversation and that idea of what is it really like to work somewhere, is really universal.

I believe that even some of the older generations are still looking for that transparency because one of the stats I mentioned this morning, 51% of new employees today say that they have buyer's remorse.

Peter: Yeah, I found that really surprising, when you consider the amount of vetting that's going on today before people even get a job offer and also sites like yours, like Glassdoor, where it's pretty transparent that most jobseekers today are going on to your site, they're going on LinkedIn. They're just Googling the name of the company to see what they can learn about an organization and its culture before they join.

Alison: Yeah. I think that, as you just mentioned, there was a recent study that was done, I mentioned it this morning by Software Advice. They put out a report in January of this year, in 2014, and they found that 48% of jobseekers are using Glassdoor at some point in their search. And again, this is crossing all generations, industries, regions.

So I think this is a universal need and I think with the tools that are out there, we're even seeing a number of employers sort of open the kimono themselves and say, we are a transparent and open employer. Come to our career site and you're actually going to see a direct link to Glassdoor so that you can see openly about what people are saying about our company.

I think the employers that are leaning into the conversation and really embracing this era of transparency are seeing the benefits in the form of right candidates and the candidates that are going to stay at the company from a retention standpoint.

Peter: I know on Glassdoor, you can go in there and the CEO is rated. Other than that, what else is rated?

Alison: We've got 6 million pieces of content that have been submitted by current and former employees across 300,000 companies worldwide. That content consists of everything from as you said, a CEO rating, a company rating, and our average company rating across the site is anywhere between a 3.2 and 3.3 out of 5. So we're seeing that most people are actually pretty satisfied with where they're working.

Other pieces of content that can be submitted are interview experiences. So it might not be an employee. It could be a candidate that goes through the process. Facebook for example has iPads at the end of their interview process on site. They hand it to candidates and they say, we encourage you to go onto Glassdoor right now and post a very candid experience of what this process was like.

So interview experiences, also salary reports can be posted anonymously so that people can get an idea of a range when they're researching that company. You can also post photos; that's another piece of content that could be submitted as well.

So we're really going a level deeper. We started with just the review and the rating piece; now we're getting into not just an overall company rating but, would you recommend the company to a friend? Do you believe that this company is going to have a more positive outlook moving forward, stay the same or it's going to basically go down? Would you recommend the CEO?

We're really going a level deeper too with things like work-life balance and the salary and compensation benefits so that we can then deliver to employers this fantastic data around how their company brand and their reputation stacks up against their talent competitors.

Peter: Right after your session, we had lunch today and I was sitting with an executive from Mass Mutual and she said that was really interesting. She was in your session and she said that, 'if a company wants to create a company page on Glassdoor, how do you know that person actually works for the company or is the designated representative for the company, that they really want to be managing their Glassdoor presence?' Can you talk through how that whole thing happens?

Alison: Sure. When a person signs up for a free employer account, they are submitting their email address which has to be validated on the backend after they submit it, to ensure that that is the case and that is a company email.

Peter: In the case of Mass Mutual, it would have to be someone who actually works at Mass Mutual and has that email address.

Alison: Correct. They also have to submit their first and last name. They have to submit their own personal email address. They have to submit also their title. So there's a series of sort of backend algorithmic things that go on from a technology perspective to ensure that that information's correct. But then that person is also, by submitting their information, they're saying yes, I am a representative of the company.

The nice thing is that there can be multiple people who sign up for their company's account and if I didn't know and I'm working for a large multinational - if I work at Shell and I didn't realize that Shell, we already had an employer account and I sign up for one, it's going to merge the accounts, and then you have the opportunity to determine who can, on our team, just view information, who can respond to reviews, who can edit some information and who can just be sort of a viewer of things. So there's different levels so that we can ensure...

Peter: So it's sort of like a content management system.

Alison: Exactly. That's actually one of the permissions, is you would tag someone as a content manager and they would have the ability to edit information but other people would just be sort of a reader of content.

Peter: Another question that came up during your session which I'm sure you get all the time, when you think of people posting online reviews, I often think of it as sort of bifurcated markets. So you either have people who are just in love with you, think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, or people who hate you. So how do you get that middle ground of employees that work for your company? How do I get my engineering department to go on to Glassdoor and post a sort of day-in-the-life review of working at my company?

Alison: Yeah. That's a really great question. We hear it all the time. Employers saying, help us. So just the first thing, when you look across the 300,000 companies, as I said the average is actually a 3.2 or a 3.3 out of 5, which is slightly above average, right?

Peter: Right.

Alison: And that last time we surveyed our 22 million members, 70% said that they were okay or satisfied with their job. So 70% said okay or satisfied. So in terms of the two ends of the spectrum, across the board and aggregate, it's actually more of the middle. Like, Hey I really like the place where I work for a couple of these reasons and this stuff can be improved.

So we don't really get too many ends. For those companies that are saying we want a more balanced perspective here, there are a couple of things that they can do to get more employees engaged in a conversation on Glassdoor.

We have a number of resources that are on our website. If you go to glassdoor.com/employers, in the top right-hand corner, it says Resources. We've got two fantastic ebooks on how to encourage reviews from your employees. We've also got a fantastic section that says Managing Reviews and there's a ton of FAQs.

There's even an email template that companies can send out in a way that says we want more of you to tell your story. It's not saying we want you to post good reviews here or we want to incentivize you because that's not a best practice. But we want to be able to really share with people why this is a place they should work so that we can help vet out the people who are going to be the right fit.

So a ton of things that people can do, I encourage people to reach out to me directly too if they want some more ideas.

Peter: One of the things that really surprised me in your session today, and you had a good-sized audience and you said something to the effect that, how many of you in here are really satisfied with your career portal. I'm sure you were expecting half the room to raise their hands. Not one person in the entire room!

Alison: Yeah.

Peter: That's really surprising. As you said, I meant that's really where you need to start if you really want to have an employer brand that means something out there, first of all you've got to have a decent career site.

Alison: Yes. I definitely think that's the first place to start, Peter. And I was surprised too. Usually that's the - at least 75% will raise their hands and say, yes we've got 'why work for us' messaging or 'why we're an employer of choice,' or we might have some photos or some videos. We're speaking to our ideal candidate on our website. It's not just a static page that we update once every 5 years with just job postings. So I was surprised because most people know that that's really the first place to start.

Five years ago, six years ago, that was really the only place other than a job description that someone could find out about what it's like to work somewhere. The difference today, as I mentioned previously, is candidates are still going to your career site which I encourage everyone to make that sort of the centerpiece.

But then what you need to do is mirror that same content and push it across multiple different channels so that you can really amplify that message. But it begins there.

Peter: Right. Absolutely. I totally agree with you and it's really surprising sometimes with large organizations, you'll go to their career site and then you'll go to their Facebook page which is being managed by an outside agency. It has a completely different look and feel, a completely different messaging, and there's no relationship at all to their career portal.

Alison: Yeah, and what that says to a candidate, again a candidate today that is looking for that transparency and authenticity, they're going to sniff it out. They're going to go, the message that you're promoting here is not the same message you're promoting here, which tells me that communication internally or that you're hiring someone else to promote that message, it's going to kind of cost their trust alarm to go off a bit. That's not what the candidates want. They want to see that consistent message. They want to feel like there's good internal communication and they want to feel like the employer sees the importance of this communication so much that they are putting resources and putting time towards getting this message out consistently across channels.

Peter: So how do you go about measuring your employer brand out there? How do you know how effective your career portal is or whatever you're doing on Facebook?

Alison: So when it comes to your career site, a very easy way that's totally free is to use something like Google Analytics to measure the traffic that's coming to your career site and your career portal. I also would encourage companies to see if there's a way that they can also track that traffic to their career site, if that's coming in through desktop but then also through mobile. So what we're seeing today is that a significant amount of traffic is essentially coming through mobile, to companies' career sites and as a result, they're potentially missing out on the significant percentage of candidates because their career sites aren't mobile optimized.

Peter: That sure is true and everything that I've been seeing in the last year at any of these conferences, you look at companies like UPS; half of their applications are over a mobile device and that makes sense if you think of the drivers out there, right?

Alison: Right. And the challenge is, is it's as if you were hosting a recruiting event or a career fair and you did all this work to market the career fair to the ideal candidates and all of a sudden, there are a bunch of candidates that try to get in but the doors were locked, you don't know how many candidates were outside the door.

That's the challenge today, I think, with this mobile opportunity is there's a ton of candidates and a ton of applications that companies are missing out on because they can't see how many people are locked out. They can't see how many people get to their career site and go, oh this mobile process is confusing. I'm on the BART in San Francisco and I'm looking up jobs and I found a job. and I click on Apply Now but it's not a good experience for me as a user so I guess I'll just do it later. And then we have that drop-off rate.

I think it's a huge challenge that it's really not for any one function within this industry to fix. Definitely the ATSs and the companies that are using those ATSs need to really push them to further develop because the buck stops right there. It's still an education process that most people aren't aware of.

Peter: Yeah. The other thing Alison is the companies who have mobile optimized their websites to the extent that you can now actually apply through a mobile device have a huge competitive advantage over those companies that they're competing with who do not have that. With most companies today, you get to a certain point and it says and now you have to jump off and get on a PC to actually finish the application.

Alison: Yeah. It's incredibly accordant. We realized this at Glassdoor. In the last year, what we've done is we've had to obviously get in front of the curve and we've further developed our mobile apps and our native platform on mobile to ensure that the companies that advertise their jobs on Glassdoor, that those jobs get pushed out through those mobile devices as well because if upwards of 30, 35, even 40% of activity is coming through mobile, which is not unique, it's pretty consistent now across the board and it's growing at a hyper speed, we want to make sure that the employers that need to hire and are using Glassdoor to do that are getting their jobs in front of people where they're looking for it, which is now on their mobile device.

Peter: Exactly. So you bring up something that I think a lot of people don't realize about Glassdoor, is that there is a lot of companies who are now advertising their openings through Glassdoor. What are some of the advantages that they're finding and using your platform for job advertising?

Alison: Yeah, that's a great call. As to your point, most people know us for ratings and reviews. I think the industry understands that they can use Glassdoor to help promote their brand. What many companies are now realizing, we've got over 1500 employers that are advertising their jobs on Glassdoor as well because it's not just about the candidates that already know about your company; it's how do we get the jobs out in front of the rest of the qualified, engaged, informed candidates on Glassdoor by promoting your jobs to those that don't have you top of mind.

So for companies like Facebook, Box and VMware in the Bay Area where I'm from, to also companies that people maybe wouldn't think would fall into our bucket, companies like Nordstrom, like 1-800 Contacts, like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, helping them with management trainees. Because the candidates on Glassdoor really aren't just limited to also white collar but blue collar, hourly, retail, seasonal, we're having a tremendous amount of success across different industries here helping companies hire.

What they're telling us is that when they advertise their jobs and promote their brand on Glassdoor, they're seeing significantly higher applicant quality for two reasons. One is because the candidates are doing their research on Glassdoor. They're getting sort of the good, the bad and the ugly, similar to an internal employee referral. They're highly selective.

They're going to learn about a company and then say, "You know what, yes that management consulting job, it's going to be long hours. But you know what, I'm an A player and I thrive in that environment. I know the good, the bad and the ugly. It's the right place for me. So what we're finding is that it's taking up to 2 times less résumés to get to a hire with the candidates that people are sourcing from Glassdoor.

The other reason is with our behavioral targeting. So the way that we serve up the job advertisements that are posted by the employer clients is uniquely targeted to the right members on Glassdoor, based on what they're doing on Glassdoor. When they're logged in and 80% of those that are searching for jobs on Glassdoor, they're logged in. We're able to take every single piece of information...

Lou Adler this morning was talking about LinkedIn and kind of knowing the information. We do a similar thing on Glassdoor. We just do it to benefit the employer so that we know so much about the candidates that are on Glassdoor that we can tailor the jobs that are going to show up throughout the site for them based on their background, based on their Facebook profile and based on the behavior on Glassdoor.

So this is all resulting in significantly higher applicant quality, which is helpful, and significantly less unqualified résumés because all I keep hearing now talking to people across the country is, I don't want more applicants. It's not about more, right?

Peter: Right. It's about the right ones.

Alison: Exactly. And I hire myself, the last thing I want to do on Sunday morning is sit in bed with my coffee and go, great now I've got to go through 150 résumés and maybe I want to phone screen one of them.

Peter: Right.

Alison: So that's what we're trying to do with Glassdoor. We're trying to ensure that it's not about quantity; it's about delivering a better quality applicant that is going to turn into the right fit hire and is going to end up staying at your company longer, and then becoming a fantastic brand ambassador for your company.

Peter: I want to return a little bit and talk about what is involved in a company page on Glassdoor, which I understand you can set up a company page for free. And what do you get in return for that as far as stats? What kind of information can you glean by having an active company presence on Glassdoor?

Alison: Most organizations are going to already have a company profile that's up on Glassdoor. We either pulled information from a publicly available source or someone submitted a review about that organization, which then kind of created their profile. Any company that's a representative is able to create a free employer account and get access to their profile.

A free employer account gives them really three things and frankly, I think we give away a lot because we just want employers involved in the conversation, kind of money aside. What they're able to do first is they can edit basic company information, so they can go in and make sure is the CEO name correct, is our headquarter location correct, employee size? They can do things like add a company description and add a company mission. Make sure that they're in the right industry so that when people search for them, it comes up. Then what they can do is they can even add photos. They can add awards. Again, all of this is free. So they can edit that basic company information.

The second thing that they can do is they can respond to reviews publicly. This is something that's incredibly important that getting back to that transparency, this is what today's jobseekers want. They want to see an employer that's highly involved in the process.

I told the story this morning about a public company CEO that we can't share because he thinks it's a competitive advantage. He's a public company CEO who contacted us and said, I know for a fact, because I spoke to them, that four hires that I got in the last couple of weeks said, what swayed us was when we got on Glassdoor and saw that you, the CEO of this large public company were taking the time to respond to reviews on Glassdoor. They said that's the company I want to work for, somewhere where the CEO is that engaged in the process. So that's the second thing that employers can do; they can respond to reviews publicly.

The third thing, as you mentioned, is the data and the analytics. We give away a lot of fantastic data and reports completely for free. We can show the brand awareness in the form of page views and traffic to a company's Glassdoor profile month over month. You can even select up to two other companies, any companies that you compete with so that you can actually see in real-time what your traffic is compared to them.

So if I am Facebook and I want to look at Google and I want to look at Microsoft, I'm able to actually track month over month what my brand awareness looks like and how that's changed.

I talked this morning, we talk with companies regardless of size. If they basically start hiring, they go through a hiring push or it's a certain time of year, we can see the trend and the spikes in their Glassdoor traffic that shows us when candidates were more actively researching them on Glassdoor.

We're also able to show a side-by-side comparison of demographics. We can show these are the number of people who have been actively researching you, this is who those people are. This is the age breakdown. This is the education they've received. This is the gender. This is the age, and we can again compare it to up to two other companies. We can look at the number of locations, the types of locations, the types of jobs and the other companies that those candidates have been actively researching.

It really gives you an idea of who you need to sort of message to and where those candidates are potentially looking, other than just you.

The other thing that we're able to provide for free with our analytics is show really a ratings trend over time. So we're able to show a breakdown of the amount of content that they have on their page, but we can show what the CEO rating has trended over time and we can show the overall company rating over time.

All of those things we give to anyone who wants a free employer account. You can go to glassdoor.com/employers and you can see the call to action button that's right there.

Obviously you're going to get a lot more enhanced reporting analytics when you chose to enhance your profile and purchase our employer branding. That would enable you to see things like a word cloud which our employers love. It basically pulls out a word cloud of pros and one of cons that pulls out the most common things that are cited in the reviews in aggregate.

We're able to show a company reputation heat map comparison where I can take a look at work-life balance, salary and benefits, compensation and I can see a stack ranking of me versus four other companies and how people are rating us, things like that.

When it comes to jobs, I'm able to track job click activity. What jobs are people clicking on the most? Where am I getting the most job click traffic? Is it coming directly to my profile or am I having people that don't really think about me, see my job, showcased throughout Glassdoor, and then they click on them and they find us that way?

A big key of how we do our job advertising is it's one click directly to a company's career site as opposed to clicking on a job that you might see on a job board, getting sort of hijacked to a third party site where you've got to register or log in to view the job and by that point, you're like, forget it.

Peter: Forget it, exactly.

Alison: The candidate drop-off rate is something like 90% with each individual step. On Glassdoor, every job that's being advertised directly on Glassdoor, it's a one click apply. They click on the job. They go directly to the company's career site. We pull directly from their ATS all of their jobs because the whole point of branding and promoting your jobs is to get those hires. We don't want there to be any barriers to entry.

Peter: Another lunch time question here.

Alison: Yes.

Peter: Someone else said, you know what I worried about with Glassdoor is - you brought up VMware. Let's say a competitor to VMware wants to juice their rankings down so they go in and they post all of these negative reviews about VMware. How do you vet all of this content that's being brought in and published on your website to make sure that it's legitimate and valid and it's not a competitor out there trying to juice somebody else?

Alison: Juicing! You bring up a great point. So I think one thing that's important that I'm not sure people are aware of is how our content moderation works, which is different than other kind of ratings and review sites that are out there in different industries.

We have a multi-tiered review process that involves both technology and human touch. The technology aspect of the moderation includes algorithms on the backend that search for bots to ensure that they're actual human beings and not kind of spam programs that are built to create automatic reviews.

We do things like we look at IP addresses and we see if there have been multiple user accounts that have been created from one IP address or if you have multiple reviews that are going out that say different things from one IP address. There are a number of other things that I'm not able to share that we do to ensure that there's no gaming of the system.

But because technology can't kind of solve everything as I mentioned this morning, we also have a content moderation team of human beings.

Peter: Wow.

Alison: Yes! That's based in Ohio. So their job is to take a look at every single piece of content, every photo, every review, every rating, every interview experience and before it goes on the site, it has to go through that team who says, yes this does meet our community guidelines or no. And when they say no, that piece of content does not get posted live on the site.

Our community guidelines are things like no profanity, things like no calling out the C-suite by name. The way we even structure our content on Glassdoor which helps us with quality is we're asking for pros and cons. We're asking advice to senior management. We're asking, where do you think this company will go? We're really creating an environment for constructive feedback that's going to help jobseekers.

When we see those ratings across the site, we recognize that most people are here because they really do want constructive information that's going to help them make a decision about a job, and as a result, we're seeing that they're kind of submitting content the same way.

So hopefully that answers your question. It's a common one. One thing we do tell employers is if they feel like something should go through further moderation, they can either flag the review so that it goes back through the cycle. They can respond to a review publicly like I talked about or they can contact us directly.

It's always trying to find that balance between being the largest transparent and trusted place for candidates to search for jobs and research companies and then also ensuring that it's a constructive environment. As I've said, I think we've done a really good job but it's evolving over time.

Peter: I think the moral of the story here is that if you want really engaged employees and if you want a stellar employer brand, as a leader of your organization, VP and above, you have to be engaged as well.

Alison: Yeah. You don't have to but I believe that if you don't, you are going to be missing out on, as you said, the candidates that everybody says that they want. There's a missed opportunity there. The ostrich head in the sand, you can do that as long as you like, but there's a world that's going by above the sand that you can leverage as an employer and use it to your benefit when it comes to really recruiting and building out company reputation.

Peter: Great. Alison, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us here at the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. It's been very nice meeting you.

Alison: Thanks Peter. I appreciate it.

Peter: Thank you.

Thank you for tuning in today. You'll find this podcast in the Talent Acquisition Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com and of course on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and many of the podcast aggregation sites. This is Peter Clayton reporting. I'll be covering the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Expo, April 28th through the 30th in Nashville, Tennessee.

TotalPicture Media has high visibility marketing opportunities available to a limited number of vendors, exhibitors and consultants for video and podcast production at the conference. To learn more, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I look forward to seeing you in Nashville and this fall at the Recruiting Trends Conference.


Elaine Orler - Benchmarking the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards


In 2013, Talent Board evaluated survey responses from 46,000 candidates who applied to approximately 95 forward-thinking companies eager to look in-depth at their candidates experience

Published on March 24 2014
Elaine Orler, The Talent BoardElaine Orler

"Winners of the 2013 CandE Awards were more likely than non-winners to set expectations and describe key components of the application for their candidates, had more job-relevant components in the application, and were more likely to seek feedback from their candidates."

If you lead a company, a business unit, a team; are involved in talent acquisition, human resources, recruiting, employee engagement or retention, or aspire to any of these roles, today's podcast will be particularly relevant to you.

This is Peter Clayton reporting with a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. I've been privileged to be a Council Member of the Candidate Experience Awards (the CandEs), founded in 2010 by Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler, and Ed Newman. Talent Board, "the founding non-profit behind the CandE Awards, truly believed then, as we do now, that a business that treats its candidates well - even those candidates who are not hired - benefits in measurable ways and should be recognized for their success." On today's podcast, Elaine Orler provides an inside look at creating the 2013 Candidate Experience Benchmarking Report -- along with some of the results that may surprise you.

In addition to the awards, (which will be presented this September in Chicago), each year, the Committee analyzes the data collected to publish an in-depth benchmarking report which serves as a blueprint and guide organizations can use to evaluate their talent acquisition process as it relates to the candidate experience. There is NO COST to receive the report. The North American Candidate Experinece awards program has grown to a significant dataset: In In 2013, Talent Board evaluated survey responses from 46,000 candidates who applied to approximately 95 forward-thinking companies eager to look in-depth at their candidates experience and see where there was room for improvement. "The expansive response from companies and candidates alike highlights the growing importance that both parties place on the candidate experience."


Kara Yarnot: Introducing the Recruiting Service Innovation Awards


The 1st Annual Recruiting Service Innovation Awards (the ReSIs) Recognizing Innovators & Game Changers in Hiring in the New Economy

Published on February 26 2014
Kara Yarnot, founder Meritage Talent Solutions-TotalPicture Radio interviewKara Yarnot

"By the end of 2016, the employment services industry is projected to grow to an annual value of $490.1 billion"

The 1st Annual Recruiting Service Innovation Awards (the ReSIs) will be presented on June 25, 2014, following the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. Joining Peter Clayton for a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio is Kara Yarnot, Chair of the 2014 ReSI Selection Committee and founder of Meritage Talent Solutions.

According to a recent press release announcing The ReSIs, the new initiative "sponsored by Boxwood Technology and Simply Hired, are the first accolade to recognize ground-breaking sourcing and recruiting products and services that help employers "optimize their recruiters' experience." Why is that important? Nan Weitzmann, Americas Talent Acquisition Leader at Hewlett Packard and a member of the ReSIs Selection Committee, explains: "The ReSIs recognize those solutions that provide a value-add to improve the recruiter experience. When recruiters are more effective and productive, the hiring process moves more quickly and enhances the overall candidate and hiring experience."


Talent Sourcing & Recruitment


Peter Clayton interviews the sourcing master, Shally Steckerl, at the Recruiting Trends Conference in Las Vegas.

Published on December 21 2013
Shally Steckerl-TotalPicture Radio interviewShally Steckerl

"It's easy to find a needle in a haystack - you use a magnet. But finding a needle in a stack of needles is another kind of challenge." Shally Steckerl

From outreach through social media to specialized Google commands, The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook is a dynamic weapon for recruiters, professionals, and sourcing specialists wishing to compete in the global marketplace.

Our special guest today on TotalPicture Radio, Shally Steckerl, is often credited with being one of the founding fathers of the Talent Sourcing specialization within Recruitment and Human Resources. A globally recognized recruiting thought leader, over the last two decades Shally has helped build sourcing organizations for companies like Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola, Cisco, and Motorola among many others. Today, as President of The Sourcing Institute and Director of the Board for The Sourcing Institute Foundation a 501(c)(3) public charity, Mr. Steckerl advises recruiting leaders on successfully embedding key sourcing initiatives into their current efforts, improve the performance of their existing sourcing teams, and establish sourcing functions from the ground up.

Shally is a highly sought after speaker who has presented at every major recruitment conference worldwide including SHRM, ERE, Sourcecon, Recruiting Trends/Kenndy-Onrec, and Talent 42 among many others. His presentation topics have ranged from Recruiting Social: Leveraging LinkedIn to The Top Four Cures for Your Sourcing Slump. He also serves as adjunct Faculty at Temple University's Fox School of Business where he is the first professor to teach an HR capstone course entirely dedicated to recruitment and sourcing.

Often compared to a shot of adrenalin for recruitment organizations held back by confusion, hesitation or fear Shally's unparalleled obsession for talent sourcing continuously drives him to probe for practical solutions where nobody has looked before. He delivers the courage recruiting leaders need to walk the edge to success in today's over-informed world.

Covering all the latest trends, tools, tips, and tricks, the focus of The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook is placed on practical applications that improve the acquisition, onboarding, and management of employees-sourcing them better, smarter, faster, and cheaper than the competition.

Stay tuned -- The Video Version Our exclusive interview with Shally will air soon! Happy Holidays!

Putting Big Data Into Play at Credit Suisse


Exclusive Interview with Will Wolf, Managing Director, Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Development, Credit Suisse. This Big Data Play is for keeps.

Premiers on November 22 2013
Will Wolf, Managing Director, Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Development, Credit Suisse -TotalPicture Radio interviewWill Wolf

"Contextually, banking is going through a secular change. Our CEO Brady Dougan and the head of all the Human Capital Functions, Pamela Thomas-Graham, have committed us to being much smarter about how we hire and grow people because it makes economic sense. We can't be in the habit, as banks have often been, of always just going across the street and poaching the next guy from the other bank that has the same title." Will Wolf

It's the big topic at every HR and Recruiting Conference this year. Here's real world information with William Wolf, a senior leader at Credit Suisse tasked with using Big Data to provide critical answers. For instance, who amongst our management and top performers are likely to leave? And... what can we do about it? In this exclusive TotalPicture Radio interview with Producer/Host Peter Clayton, recorded at The IACPR Fall Leadership Strategies Summit in New York, Will provides an insiders look at a world-class talent acquisition department.

"I think of the arrival of data into the dialogue we're having in HR to be much like what advertising was probably like 20 or 30 years ago, where people used to joke about how 'I know I'm wasting 50% of my advertising budget. I don't know which half.'"

"But advertising isn't like that anymore. They're much more targeted because they have data and they have analytics and they have the Internet and they can target their reach to micro segments of people. I think that HR is on the same threshold today that they were 20 or 30 years ago where because we have better ERP systems, we have intermediaries and tools like SuccessFactors and Workday. You get access to better reporting so business leaders are beginning to expect a more data informed, data rich conversation with HR professionals. Whether they be subject matter experts like we have in recruiting and talent development, or your basic business partners, who are generalists, they're advising folks on strategy and policy."

Watch the Video:

Will Wolf, Managing Director, Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Development, Credit Suisse, joined the global financial services firm to further enhance its people analytics - a role he performed for clients as a partner at McKinsey & Co. The HR department at Credit Suisse has collected data on employees during their entire life cycle for many years, but wanted to delve deeper into turnover.

TotalPicture Radio's coverage of the IAPR Leadership Strategies Summit 2013 is sponsored by Riviera Advisors, a premier global human resources consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations develop stronger internal recruiting and staffing capabilities. Riviera Advisiors is an IACPR Premier Sponsor.

Will Wolf, Credit Suisse Interview Transcript - IACPR Global Summit

Hi, this is Peter Clayton from TotalPicture Radio, in New York City today at the IACPR Global Leadership Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel. I'm very happy to have with me today Will Wolf, who is Managing Director, Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Development with Credit Suisse.

Will, thank you very much for taking time to speak with me.

Will: Glad to be here, Peter.

Peter: So you did a whole session just now titled Putting Big Data Into Play, and I have to say that in all of the conferences I've attended this year, big data is like the big topic; that and mobile. That's what everybody is talking about.

Will: Sure.

Peter: So a couple of the interesting things that you talked about is big data is such a buzzword in this industry, what's really different between what's going on now and say 10 years ago?

Will: I think of the arrival of data into the dialogue we're having in HR to be much like what advertising was probably like 20 or 30 years ago, where people used to joke about how I know I'm wasting 50% of my advertising budget. Ha, ha, ha, I don't know which half.

But advertising isn't like that anymore. They're much more targeted because they have data and they have analytics and they have the Internet and they can target their reach to micro segments of people. I think that HR is on the same threshold today that they were 20 or 30 years ago where because we have better ERP systems, we have intermediaries and tools like SuccessFactors and Workday. You get access to better reporting so business leaders are beginning to expect a more data informed, data rich conversation with HR professionals. Whether they be subject matter experts like we have in recruiting and talent development, or your basic business partners, who are generalists, they're advising folks on strategy and policy.

Peter: So you're a bank, what's the ROI on this as far as recruiting cost versus investment? Obviously, all large corporations today are investing a tremendous amount of money in their ERP systems, in tracking and all of the things that they're doing now, trying to get a sense of who is in their organizations and have a better pulse on all of that. As Jeremy Eskenazi brought up in your session, LinkedIn knows more about your employees at Credit Suisse than probably you do.

Will: A couple of points, Peter, on this. Contextually, banking is going through a secular change. Our CEO Brady Dougan and the head of all the Human Capital Functions is a woman named Pamela Thomas-Graham; they have committed us to being much smarter about how we hire and grow people because it makes economic sense. We can't be in the habit, as banks have often been, of always just going across the street and poaching the next guy from the other bank that has the same title.

Peter: Which traditionally is exactly how this has worked.

Will: Brady and Pamela call this grow your own and we're committed to it because we know it makes economic sense. We're building the capability internally to do analysis about our human capital practices and policies that are right for Credit Suisse, our bank. We think of LinkedIn as a valuable source of insight for the 70% of Credit Suisse employees that have a LinkedIn profile they have voluntarily created. We can't, however, use LinkedIn as a credible source of regulatory quality data. If regular wants from us - if they want to know that we are EEOC compliant, if they want to know that we are practicing appropriate pay policies, we have to provide credible data from our own resources and we have to provide it for everybody. So it's nice to have LinkedIn there and it's nice for us to be able to access Credit Suisse profiles when we want to fill an internal opening there but it is by no means exhaustive for us. So we have to also use our own analysis with our own data.

Peter: Right, like you said in your session, if somebody has on their LinkedIn profile that they graduated from Oxford University, you actually have to call Oxford and say hey, did this person really graduate...

Will: To make that distinction. Anybody can put what they want about themselves on LinkedIn.

Peter: Exactly.

Will: And maybe someday if they're exaggerating it, will catch up to them but for our purposes and for what we care about in terms of our own data quality and local laws. In London, if I want to put into our inside systems that someone has graduated from Cambridge or Oxford, I have to call Cambridge or Oxford and validate that that's true. I can't put it into our systems until I know it's true. That's why we have to have that higher burden of data quality, which consumes a lot of time, but in the end we think it's worth it.

Peter: One of the charts that you showed in your presentation, you were kind of looking over the past five years. We went through this recession, nobody was really leaving organizations and now in the last couple of years you're seeing a lot of movement again, a lot of attrition within your high performance. What are you doing to try to proactively manage that attrition?

Will: It begins with understanding the causes of attrition and then starting to put in place new practices and new policies to prevent unwanted attrition. There's always going to be a healthy level of - in the American economy we believe there's a structural level of unemployment. You'll never get below, right?

Peter: Right.

Will: People need to leave because they need to pursue other opportunities. They need to grow in their careers. We were trying to manage down a problem that we think is costing us some money. So we spend a lot of time analyzing the root causes of attrition so that we better understand a simple question like, what is the importance of a well trained manager on an employee population. We know that people react quite positively from a retention standpoint to good management practices. We can demonstrate this and this actually gives us more emphasis and more evidence upon which we can tailor our management training practices and our retention of better managers. We can even value good management to a greater degree in our performance reviews. The insight that comes from the data analysis completely informs changes we make to the way we manage our people and it affects recruiting to training to all aspects of the human capital, human lifecycle.

Peter: Another graph that you showed, Will. I've been covering this space for a long time now and I keep seeing this. High performers really pay for themselves. The amount a high performer brings to an organization is substantially more than just your average performer.

Will: That's true. We could debate for a long time how you could build an organization full of high performers or whether or not high performers are motivated by being different from everybody else and whether that's even possible but we always use - one of the charts that I showed was some external research that basically says there's value in this. The more complex the job the more differentiating a high performer can be so getting an environment where you can attract, retain, train and grow high performers is clearly important.

Peter: I want you to talk about - you really kind of broke this down with big data. The steps to improving insight through big data of people analytics, define taxonomy. So talk to me a little bit about that and how you approach this and the kinds of things that you were able to glean in really digging into this data.

Will: Sure, Peter. In my speech, what I attempted to do is maybe de-stigmatize the big words, big data. You have to have some sort of super computer to have better insight on human capital practices. I don't think that's the case although people like to use that term. What we're really talking about is what analysis of variables can do in informing our people decision making. How do you build the capacity to do that? You need to have a common language of human capital data and definitions. What do we mean when we say retention? What do we mean when we're talking about our screening effectiveness, our onboarding effectiveness? Companies need to have that taxonomy as a basis for problem solving.

From there, it's about getting data quality that is good enough to do analysis and it's not super computer driven analysis. We're talking employee records to run an analysis of maybe 30,000 to 40,000 people in our case, where we want to look at patterns among variables and how they relate to one another so we have insights. An example of that would be again, the relationship between a supervisor's performance rating and the attrition that they have in their group. What we've been able to show is that there's a clear relationship between well performing supervisors and retaining people. That won't surprise anybody. That's been well documented outside.

We have done a contextual adaptation of that to our own environment at Credit Suisse meaning we know how that works in Asia. We know how that works in Switzerland. We know how that works in the United States. We can inform our practices better based on that analysis.

Peter: So gather insights and priorities. Again, when people are speaking about big data and especially in a relationship to human capital and talent acquisition, a lot of what they're really talking about is predictive analytics.

Will: Correct.

Peter: It's a predictive analytics piece that really informs you on taking the actions that you need to take.

Will: Right. From there, presupposing you can find relationships between variables that allow you to predict human behaviors better, not perfectly but better, then the question comes, well, so what. For us, where we spend a lot of our time is moving from the insight to the analysis to the practical things we can do to actually address some of the findings. If we believe that after people get promoted they are susceptible to poaching from other companies, that's an interesting transition that we need to better manage. How do we actually welcome them in to their new role in our organization without recognizing the fact that they may be actually at risk and may have perceived in their own mind that they've hit a milestone where they deserve more access to our opportunity, more money or what have you. We need to be anticipating that stuff and it's those types of choices that we need to make based on the data that we have analyzed.

Peter: Talk to us a little bit, what does it cost Credit Suisse when a high performing executive leaves your company and you have to replace? What is one executive leaving the organization cost you?

Will: We've analyzed this inspired by a lot of academic research and then mapping those ideas to our own environment that I would say the interesting relationship here Peter is that the more senior you are, the more cost relative to what we're paying you. That's an important distinction. The more senior you are - if you're a junior employee, it wouldn't be unreasonable to say somewhere between 50% and 80% of your annual compensation might be at risk in leaving you. If you're a more senior employee, it could be as high as 150% to 200% of that much more expensive senior compensation because you're looking at replacement cost that includes search fees that are quite high and longer times to replace because it's hard to find and you lose productivity. The more senior the more expensive, even relative to their own compensation.

Peter: So something else you brought up is you have really started an initiative at Credit Suisse where you're trying to build up an internal senior level recruiting team to go out and actively solicit those kinds of placements. Tell us a little bit about how you went about doing that and some of the results that you're getting for having that team in place.

Will: As I mentioned earlier, Brady Dougan, our CEO, Pamela Thomas-Graham, who's head of all of our human capital branding and communications functions, they are committed to the idea that if we have an opening at Credit Suisse, first dibs go to an internal employee as opposed to the person from across the street. They call it grow your own. We're actively trying to foster a grow your own environment. To accelerate that, we've created an internal search function so when an opening comes and people want to post it, we have a rule that basically says you cannot post that job and go outside until our internal guys have had a couple of weeks to try to fill it from within.

First dibs go to insiders and we proactively reach out to people who are very comfortable in their roles wherever they're sitting and say if you have the right background, we'd like you to consider coming over and taking this new position. Would that be of interest to you? It might be a step up opportunity. What we've learned from experimenting with this in the United States is that people love when we call them and say we might have a new opportunity for you here. Would you want to hear more about it confidentially? So we don't run afoul of your manager yet. They love this idea.

Peter: I think that plays really well into the whole retention issue because people are always looking for - high performers look for opportunities, right?

Will: They love to know that we're looking out for them and if there's a place that they can go if they want to learn more.

Peter: What's so important about all of this, Will is when you have this data and you're able to really analyze. You were talking about the fact that you've only had an applicant tracking system Taleo implemented for a couple of years within your organization where you're able to really look and assess where talent is with different skill sets. When you have that kind of information that place such a huge role in the whole onboarding process, right?

Will: We study all aspects of the human capital lifecycle to better understand where we can be growing people faster, who we should be hiring, apples to oranges comparisons and so forth. One of the things we've learned is that the onboarding event is pivotal, showing up to a place where you're getting acclimatized to the culture. What steps we can take to actually make you understand the history of Credit Suisse? We've been around since 1856. We were founded by Alfred Escher, who was a statesman who realized that if he didn't fund the building of the Gotthard Railroad, that the entire European economy was going to pass by Switzerland and go straight from Germany to Italy circumventing the Swiss Alps. That was a social purpose. It's really interesting history.

If we're not bringing that to life for people, they miss the fundamental mission and the purpose of the company. We think it's important to help people understand that; at the same time, we think it's important for them to get a computer that works, a name badge that's spelled right. These are not trivial things. It's a complicated process. So through our analysis we've seen that that onboarding [inaudible 15:26].

Peter: Tell us what you've learned about millennials and especially around the topic of performance rating.

Will: It's interesting because we fight a very competitive battle with other banks over recent graduates of top universities. We hire hundreds of them a year and it is bare-knuckle competition to watch millennials then leave us to go to private equity or to other banks is heartbreaking because we're investing so much in winning these head to head competitions. We do think about millennials as a segment of our population that might require handling that is different from more senior populations. It's clear that they have different preferences and attitudes.

We actually have launched - we had an internal project group study the millennials question and as a result of that we've launched a training program called Managing Millennials for people basically my age who may not use social media or may believe that only - may have attitudes about performance ratings and coaching and feedback that don't map to what they're used to where they're coming from. It's a real difference but it's the kind of thing that really does lend itself to analysis and to study.

Peter: You have been watching like 30,000 people over five years and you talked about the analysis of key variables around the whole retention, hiring human capital process. Obviously, compensation figures largely in this whole conversation. So again, how are you using big data to analyze where you might have problems and how you're going to address those?

Will: So the project you're referencing, we have a database where we've tracked Credit Suisse employees over time and at the end of that period of time they either stay or they go. We've study the relationship of 50 or more variables with that actual outcome of staying or leaving to try to establish relationship. This is a classic big data analysis that looks for relations between variables and we've learned a lot. We learned much more that we would learn simply by doing an exit survey. That's also useful. We'd be crazy not to have some insight from people on the way out just to what would have kept them. But we also see things - we can't through an exit survey for example really understand the impact of say the size of the team that you're on. We believe that there is an actual sweet spot for team size that anybody would work on in terms of the cohesion and the likelihood of retention for the people on that group.

We have similar learnings about compensation, performance ratings. Those are the types of variables that we track and we believe that our answers are - in some cases they wouldn't surprise you but we believe that they are close enough and contextual enough that it's important to do that analysis in our own context as opposed to just taking best practices off the shelf.

Peter: Another data point on this and this is something we've talked about a little bit but I think is really important for people to understand that internal mobility, especially with Gen Y'ers, is really important and they look for those opportunities.

Will: That's one of those variables that we track again so that attrition and retention variable is how many times you've moved and what's the right frequency and clearly people value the ability to grow their careers in a bank as evidenced by the fact they've been able to take multiple jobs.

Peter: Campus recruiting is something else that you focused on that is, as you said, it's incredibly critical to your organization and yet it's so competitive and it's really difficult to figure out how to really make those attractions.

Will: We're not alone in the competition for top campus talent.

Peter: Absolutely.

Will: We compete with consulting. We compete with technology. We compete with other banks and so we're always working on what themes work. We don't just do data analysis. We do focus groups with students who may have accepted our offers. They may have not accepted our offers. We always want to know - we're projecting what they are reading in the newspaper that's resonating with them and how we need to address that in the campus environment because it's hotly competitive. It's actually quite healthy because it forces us every year to reflect on what we can learn from last years' experience on how do we improve our game. Our guys are really good at taking those insights and then bringing them back into the campus recruiting environment.

Peter: One of the things I find so fascinating about what's going on today is that you're competing against not just other banks but Microsoft and Deloitte and other organizations for the same top talent.

Will: I think these things come in waves. In the dot com years it was incredibly difficult. I was in a consulting firm then and we thought we would never be able to get people to come and join us if we couldn't offer them bizarre equity packages that had no real value but on paper they were worth millions of dollars. Then two years later people were begging us for opportunities with things on their résumés you couldn't even understand, right? These things ebb and flow. We've been here since 1856 and we've been a top draw in America, in Switzerland, all over the world. So for us it's about tuning the machine as we go and we're going to be here, I don't know, a hundred years from now having the same conversation, hopefully better.

Peter: I really appreciate your time today, Will. Talk to me a little bit about your plans for 2014. What kinds of things are you going to be doing and especially in this whole aspect of big data to help facilitate talent acquisition and retention within your organization?

Will: Any professional that works in human capital could easily recite to you the things they like to know about how to create more value for the organization. We've been studying the attrition event exhaustively. We feel like we have a lot better understanding of what goes on there. The next obvious thing for us to be looking at is how we can acquire it better and how we can actually be sharper about who wants to come to us and who we want to have come join our bank. I could make you a long list of all the things we'd like to know current return on investment and in talent of training and development. There are so many interesting questions. There's a risk of actually learning too much and not being able to operationalize the insight so we're doing it at a steady pace.

Peter: So Credit Suisse, conservative European bank, are you using social media aggressively in your recruiting efforts? Are you using Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn?

Will: Yeah, from a pure comparable to other banks basis I think we're actually pretty smart at virtual recruiting. Anybody who's had a manager recruiting budget particularly on campus in recent years realizes that the numbers of schools you have a presence at drives cost. But the extent you can actually serve some schools well in a virtual environment, that's important. But we use social media in terms of how we do our recruiting. We certainly use LinkedIn as a source of ideas for who to - and that's how we've taken out agency cost as a result. Yeah, there clearly are huge applications for that type of media in our space.

Peter: Will, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us here in TotalPicture Radio. It's been great to meet you here at the IACPR Global Leadership Conference in New York and I look forward to seeing you again.

Will: Thank you, Peter.

Peter: Thank you.

Will: Thanks for the time.

Thank you.

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