March 28, 2017

Talent Acquisition Interviews


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Talent Acquisition Interviews

Video Interviewing Goes Mainstream


Market Adoption for Video Interviewing in the Hiring Process Has Arrived

Published on June 07 2013
Sarah White, founder Sarah White Associates -TotalPicture Radio InterviewSarah White

"74% of the recruiters surveyed felt video interviewing would make their job easier. The number was even higher for hiring managers." Sarah White

Today, our show focuses on the adoption of video interviewing in the recruiting process. According to Video Interviewing Market Trends 2013 Whitepaper published this year by Sarah White Associates, "...38% of companies that responded to our 2012 Video Interviewing Usage Survey had used some form of video in the hiring process. That may have been one of the 30+ video interviewing platforms or a free service such as Skype or Google. Regardless of how it happens, video is no longer a far-flung idea - it's a reality for more than 1/3 of organizations out there."

This is Peter Clayton reporting. Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast and Vodcast (yes there's a video version of this interview - with Sarah White, founder of Sarah White Associates). Sarah is interviewed by Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox. You'll find the links to the video interview on the sidebar, along with links to her report and SlideShare presentation.

Mark's interview with Sarah was recorded at the Candidate Experience Awards wine-tasting reception during the ERE Recruiting Conference and Expo in San Diego.


Measuring the Strength of Your Employment Brand


Keith Hadley, Practice Leader, Employment Branding at CareerBuilder, Describes the New Normal. His Research May Surprise You.

Published on May 22 2013
eith Hadley, Practice Leader, Employment Branding at CareerBuilder -TotalPicture Radio InterviewKeith Hadley

The New Job Hunt: 74% of all employees are either actively searching for a new job or are open to new opportunities.

Even if you have the luxury of hiring from an enormous candidate pool, that pool may only run so deep. Finding qualified candidates with the skills necessary to drive your business is more challenging than ever. If your job is filling those positions, this is no surprise to you. If you're a hiring manager, pay close attention. Here's the headline: Any organization that wants to maintain its competitive edge must invest in building a brand that attracts top talent. The operative word here is 'invest.'

Welcome to a Talent Acquisition podcast on TotalPicture Radio, with Peter Clayton reporting. Joining me from Chicago is Keith Hadley, Practice Leader, Employment Branding at CareerBuilder. I met Keith this month at the Employer Branding Conference (produced by Universum), in New York. Keith's data may shock, alarm, or validate your suspicions... (especially if you're a recruiter).

Welcome to the new normal, where "nearly seven in ten workers search for new opportunites on a routine basis."

In this podcast, Keith describes the undeniable connection between internal and external brand strength.

Keith Hadley practice leader, employment branding, CareerBuilder, TotalPicture Radio Transcript

Today's Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast here on TotalPicture Radio featuring Keith Hadley, practice leader, employment branding at CareerBuilder, is brought to you by our sister media company, the only podcast where real employers, leading recruiters and staffing agencies talk about their jobs and tell you how to get them. offers employment branding, employee recognition and job advertising all in one. Visit and have a listen to our jobcast with real employees at companies as diverse as GE, GEICO and Intel. - the cleverest way to advertise your jobs.

Even if you have the luxury of hiring from an enormous candidate pool, that pool may only run so deep. Finding qualified candidates with the skills necessary to drive your business is more challenging than ever. If your job is filling these positions this is no surprise to you. If you're a hiring manager pay close attention. Here's the headline: any organization that wants to maintain its competitive edge must invest in building a brand that attracts top talent. The operative word here is invest.

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting. Joining me from Chicago is Keith Hadley, practice leader, employment branding at CareerBuilder. I met Keith this month at the Employer Branding Conference produced by Universum in New York City. His presentation at the conference was titled Measuring the Strength of Your Employment Brand and his numbers may shock, alarm or validate your suspicions, especially if you are a recruiter. Welcome to the new normal where nearly 7 in 10 workers search for new opportunities on a routine basis.

Keith, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.

Keith: Thank you so much, Peter. It's a pleasure to be here.

Peter: In your presentation in New York you put up a slide called the new job hunt where you talked about the statistics about how people are today viewing their jobs and are out there actively... I mean there really is no such thing as a full time employee anymore from the standpoint of how people view work.

Keith: Absolutely. If you think about the way the digital age has created a situation for consumers where we are always on, we're always looking, we're always open to new products, new services; we just simply have so many more resources, and the same is true on the job hunt.

We did a study recently using an outside group. It wasn't a study of CareerBuilder users but it was a study of full time employed individuals in the US and Canada and what we found was that 74% of full time employed workers said that they were either open to or looking for new opportunities. In fact, 69% said that job search was part of their regular routine. That's incredible when you think about that new normal. It's the age of the candidate consumers, the job consumers as one of the participants in my session asked me about and I think we're there.

Peter: Give us some context to your numbers, Keith. What's the sampling? What's your reach at CareerBuilder when you go out and do these studies?

Keith: There's two types of studies that we do. We do studies of just the general population and for those studies we typically will have sample sizes of anywhere from 1000-4000 and depending on what particular target audience that we're looking for.

For example, we recently did a healthcare study or a study on salespeople. But then beyond that at CareerBuilder we do a lot of custom studies directly for clients and if you think about CareerBuilder just by the numbers here there's roughly 308 million people in the US, 157 million would be eligible working adults and CareerBuilder alone has access to over 133 million of those people. In fact, we have over 140 million worker profiles; 23 million people are actively looking at our site every month. It's 1 in 5, 1 in 6 are on our site looking for jobs.

Some other numbers here are just astounding. Every single month in the US there are over 800 million job searches conducted. Now 300 million of those are conducted on Google - people going into Google and typing in some kind of a job search. On CareerBuilder alone there's 270 million job searches every month. So this is an active, active environment that we're in with people looking for new opportunities.

Peter: I want to return to what you were talking about a little bit earlier. You had mentioned that there really is no unemployment when it comes to nurses and engineers. According to your research, what are some of the other positions that are especially hard to fill today?

Keith: There's a number that we track constantly. Some of the ones that are of particular interest to me are truck drivers. Transportation companies, large consumer package good companies, UPS, Fed Ex, post office, anybody moving things around the country are finding it increasingly difficult to find truck drivers. To me that's an optimistic sign. That means that we have raw materials and finished products being shipped from place to place in this country, so that's a good sign for the economy.

Peter: Right.

Keith: The other category that we study is sales, especially the higher level outside enterprise level salespeople or sales engineers. It's increasingly difficult to find top salespeople and we have the numbers to show how tough that is. But again that's an optimistic sign because if companies are hiring salespeople, that means that they're optimistic about growing their market share and seeing their business thrive.

Manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult especially in the skilled positions - CNC machinists for example, tool and dye makers. It's very difficult to find welders - it's almost impossible to find. And then there's the ones that you would expect - information technology, especially the narrow skills within IT, a java developer for example, and then there's the entire field of healthcare - doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists - all extremely tight labor fields.

Peter: It is sort of surprising some of these skilled trades you would think that some of these high school grads would be going to trade school and learning how to be welders or electricians.

Keith: Yeah exactly. In fact, one of the discussions that we get into quite often is how do we help entire industries brand themselves. I was in a manufacturing group recently that talked about how challenging it is exactly to your point to go into high schools and convince high school students that there are some really exciting jobs in manufacturing. Manufacturing today is 90% brains and 10% brawn. So there are exciting technology opportunities within manufacturing organizations.

One company we're working with in the south is partnering with local high schools to get kids interested in fields like CNC machining and welding because they can make great money, they can have a stable profession and yet many kids just don't see that as a very attractive option for them.

Peter: Yeah and you're right, these are great paying jobs. Somebody that's a welder is making really good money.

Keith: Oh yeah. In fact some of the welders for this client that we have are making over $100,000. What are diesel mechanics and welders making up in South Dakota in the oil field region. They're incredibly in demand.

Peter: I've been to a number of conferences this year already, including the Universum conference and I was at ERE Spring out in San Diego and IACPR and Recruiting Trends, and we keep hearing that a great employment brand is a competitive advantage at these conferences. Do you have any numbers to back this up, Keith?

Keith: I do. There's some really exciting numbers. But I think it was 2009 or 10 Gartner came out with some really interesting research that they had done on the amount of reach that a company has that is listed in say the best places to work like Fortune Magazine or in other reputable sources. What they found by the numbers is that a company with a strong recognized employment brand has access to two-thirds of their total talent pool versus a company that doesn't have a strong brand or is an unknown brand has access to say less than one-third.

It makes sense. If you're Google what's the reach that you have among IT talent? It's a far greater reach than a company that might be a small IT consultancy that has no recognized consumer brand. What we found in CareerBuilder in some of our studies is we found 70% of people responded that they would accept a lower salary to work for a company with a strong employment brand. So we can quantify that very quickly.

There was a fascinating study just this month that came out in Harvard Business Review, it was an MIT Sloan Management review and it was a study of the impact of a corporate brand on recruitment. For example, one statistic that jumped out at me in that report is when recruiting MBA graduates your brand is worth what they calculated to be 16% of the total value of the contract. It's a fascinating study. You can read about their methodology and how they arrived there, but having a brand is giving you competitive advantage. There's no doubt about it.

Peter: Yeah that's really interesting. I spoke with Elliot Clark at SharedXpertise recently about this topic and on the other side of it if you don't have a good brand, you have to pay more for your employees and that is through the lifecycle, the lifetime of that employee. I mean there really is a lot of compelling evidence out there that it's important to have a good brand.

Keith: Peter, you're absolutely right and even our discussion now is very limited. What about when you start calculating what is the opportunity cost to say a delivery company that can't find a truck driver? Not only are you trying to pay overtime to your current drivers but you actually have to start turning down business because you simply don't have the people.

Or engineering projects, engineering firms if you think about the size of the value of the contracts that they're trying to fulfill on, if they don't have top engineering talent and they have to say no to business, what's the impact? The financial impact can be tremendous.

Peter: How does geography fit into this, Keith?

Keith: I think it plays a huge part and it plays a huge part in two different fronts. If you're in a geography that is considered a desirable geography, say you're in Chicago or New York, the good news is there's going to be a greater amount of talent available but you're also going to be competing with everybody else in that market.

On the other hand, if you're in a very small market, you have to have an incredibly strong brand presence to be attractive to talent to convince them to relocate to that part of the world.

One of the things CareerBuilder has is some really good data. We have an organization economic modeling specialist international (EMSI for short), and we can pull very specific data on how the availability of talent in a certain region right down to the zip code level.

I mentioned an organization we're working with down in Mobile, Alabama that makes ships and they need aluminum welders and they need them desperately. The availability of talent of aluminum welders in Mobile is very limited, so they have to draw welders from all across the US and they have really two jobs to do. One is to brand themselves as an employer of choice, and the second is to brand Mobile, Alabama as a great place to live and to raise a family and to have time on the beaches and Mardi Gras. They really have to sell Mobile as an opportunity. Now Mobile, Alabama is going to have more appeal to people from certain regions than other regions. So it might be a tough sell to get somebody from Silicon Valley or San Francisco to move to Mobile, but it might be much less of a tough sell to convince somebody from Chicago or Detroit in the middle of winter to come down to Mobile and enjoy some balmy afternoons. I think it plays a huge part.

One last element is willingness to relocate. The good news is that in our study 70% of those that we surveyed are open to relocation for the right opportunity. If you start looking at millennials 83% of millennials are open to relocate.

Peter: I think that makes sense, Keith, because the millennials aren't under water on their mortgages.

Keith: Right. Their roots aren't as deep.

Peter: When you look at the Gen Xers 50% of those folks are still underwater on their mortgages so they really can't move unless the company is willing to assist them.

Keith: Exactly, and we find too that the more in demand the talent is, the less open they are to moving. For example, I'm looking at a report right now computer programmers in greater Chicagoland area and I'm looking at the supply and demand. The demand is terrific. There is 9,000, almost 10,000 job postings right now for computer programmers in Chicago and the amount of talent maybe 20,000 total talent available workers. So 9,000 openings with 20,0000 current available workers and vast majority of them, 98% of them are currently employed.

Now when we look at computer programmers nationwide, 80% of them are unwilling to relocate. Geography plays a big role. If you're pulling talent from different parts of the country, you have to be willing to pay for it. You have to be willing to sweeten their deal to get them there and having a strong reputation as an employer helps to minimize their risk in choosing you as an employer.

Peter: Yeah, and I hope that the hiring managers who are listening to this understand the real difficulty today recruiters face in trying to bring top talent into their organization. It's not easy.

Keith: Yeah. I talked recently to a fellow here in Chicago who is trying to hire about 40 java developers, and he told me that they're not willing to pay relocation and they really only want to focus on Chicagoland area. Well it didn't take me long to pull the data on how many java developers there actually are in Chicagoland and how many of them are currently employed and he quickly saw that he had to expand his strategy as well as sweeten the deal.

Peter: One of your slides at the Employer Branding Conference really resonated with the recruiters in the room. It had to do with hiring metrics and you basically said pick two out of these three: quality of hire, time to fill and cost per hire. You can't have them all.

Keith: Right. You have to make tradeoffs. If you want to have the right amount of high quality talent you're going to have to make some investments. It does not come free. There's no shortcut to building a strong brand as well as executing a media strategy that's going to get your name out there in front of the people that it needs to be in front of, and that's really the only way that you can get the right number of high quality people.

Peter: One thing I'm really curious about is what kind of data do you use when you're measuring employment branding.

Keith: There's four pieces of data that we measure when we're evaluating what we call the strength of an employment brand. The four pieces of data lined up with really four different levels of interest that a person might have.

The first thing we look at is what's your level of awareness of your jobs with the total talent pool, and one leading indicator that we can look at is Google. How many people right now this month are searching for your company by name on Google. That's a great indicator of how much awareness and interest you have. Then if you compare that to how many people are searching for your company by name plus the word jobs or careers, you can see that there are some marked differences from company to company.

For example, if you look at how many people are looking for Apple jobs a month on Google; 132,000 searches for that term Apple jobs. Compare that to a very well known employer in the IT space CSC, a very large employer, 100,000 IT employees mostly doing government contract work; well they're only getting 5,000 searches for CSC jobs every month. So a difference between 132,000 and 5,000 - talk about brand advantage for a company like Apple. They have people coming to them. So their issue is selection, whereas CSC's issue is about attraction.

The second level in is to look at of the folks that are actively searching for jobs, say in CareerBuilder which is the largest job board in the US, are we getting more of those searches and generating more interest than the benchmark. So for hiring frontline food service workers, are we getting more clicks in our ads and application to our ads than other companies hiring frontline food service workers and so that's a way to gauge your brand advantage among qualified candidates. Or if there's certain initiatives that you have, like a diversity initiative, are we getting more diverse candidates than the others?

We have something called a recruitment performance portal where CareerBuilder serves up that data to their clients so they can see where they have advantage and where they are struggling.

The third level in is to look at applicants. Are we getting more applicants than our competitors as well as the applicants that we're getting why are they applying for us? What are their reasons? How do they perceive us in the marketplace and how would they rate their experience with us? In other words, our job is to take candidates and turn them into applicants but have our applicants turn into fans or engaged raving fans of our companies desperately want to work for us.

We see some alarming data in terms of how many candidates never hear anything back from organizations they apply to; 60% of candidates never hear anything back, and we can see right away how that effects the Net Promoter Score, for example. But we can also gauge reasons why applicants are attracted to a particular opportunity.

We worked with one large food service company on their brand and saw that the main reason people were applying for them in the past is just because of their location. Well location is a tough thing to brand upon because your location is your location and by the way, there's five other restaurants around your same location. After we did some branding work with them we really helped them nail down what their messaging was and put that messaging in their stores, on their career site, in their job postings and we saw that over time the top reason why candidates were applying was now because of their company culture. This organization had a rich company culture that was a real selling point. Measuring your brand advantage with applicants is the third level.

The final level is something that Glassdoor has done a tremendous job of getting out there and that is what are your own employees saying about you? Are your employees turning into brand ambassadors? Candidates today are very empowered. They can check you out on social media. They can read all about the reviews that your current and past employees are saying about you on places like Glassdoor or in Yelp if you're in the hospitality industry. Is your Glassdoor page compared to your competitor's giving you advantage or costing you advantage.

Those are the four levels that we measure to gauge, to give us some leading indicators of how our brand is performing.

Peter: Keith, I'm part of the Candidate Experience Award Committee this year and when I hear things like 60% of people who are applying for jobs on CareerBuilder don't even hear back from the employer, the résumé black hole is alive and well and I don't get it... I just don't understand why companies treat applicants that way, especially consumer brand companies.

Keith: It's crazy and you would think that well that's only true in say high volume positions like customer service but engineers - engineers that apply for jobs, 58% of them don't hear anything back. Nurses, 59% don't hear anything back. IT professionals, 56% don't ever hear anything back. I think it's partially technology and it's partially just a mindset shift.

Companies have to come to grips with the fact that they are no longer in the power positions. If they're going to grow and be successful they have to have top talent and they need to build a pool of top talent rather than just the old paradigm of saying well we have an opening, we had 10 applications and we selected one and the nine we just... why do we need to talk to them, we already have our candidate.

It's like no, you have one candidate that you're hiring today and nine potential future candidates; 40% of those who never heard anything back report that they have a worse opinion of the brand after that experience.

Listen to this Peter, what you just said about consumer brands is so true - 32% of applicants said that they were less likely to purchase a product from that company after they had that black hole experience and 78% talk about it. They talk about the fact that they applied to a job and they never heard anything back.

When you see how integrated consumer branding and employment branding are, these are the same people; your candidates are your consumers. There's just no excuse for not taking a different perspective on candidate relationship management.

Peter: Yeah absolutely. Again, I certainly hope that companies will invest the time and the resources to address this issue because the holy grail of recruiting out there, the passive candidate they're not jumping through any of these hoops to begin with so how do you attract them to your organization?

Keith: First of all, I always want to step back and explore well what do we mean by a passive candidate? With 74% of employed people saying that they're actively looking and open to new opportunities I think what we mean by passive candidate is that they're passive about us. They don't know about my company so they're passive. They're not looking for jobs with my company but of course that describes the vast majority of candidates.

Peter: Back to your comment about CSC, right, if only 5,000 people a month are searching for jobs at your company and you're a huge company with 100,000 employees you need to do something to really get your employment... you talked about this thing called... at the conference you used this term brand shine, and I think that's what we're really talking about here is that companies like CSC really need to do something to improve that brand shine so that they're on the radar screen of these "passive candidates."

Keith: I'm convinced, there are passive people but if you're truly not looking for a job, you're 100% content where you are, you're taking no steps to find new opportunities, you're either fully vested pensioner ready to retire or you're just more of a passive person. More people are open and looking and every now and then they kind of dip their toe in the water. So you're right, companies need to then be proactive in getting their name out there in front of people. How do you do that?

Well you need to understand where are the candidates. Our research shows that the average employed person is using 14.5 sources of information when evaluating a job opportunity. So we know that they're active on the job boards; 67% of candidates say they begin their search on a job board. We know they're active on Google search, 74% say they begin a job search in Google search. They're active talking to their friends, 68% say they use traditional networking, 54% say they use social media not to identify opportunities but to research companies they're interested in.

Thirty percent searches done on Google for jobs are done in the mobile device. On CareerBuilder it's 33%. Two years ago it was less than 5% and today it's 33% of searches on CareerBuilder are on a mobile device. For some of those professions I mentioned nurses, truck drivers, security guards it can be as high as 60% of job searches are done from a mobile device.

So how do we deal with the passive candidate? Well here's what you do. Simply you need to get your story out in front of them where they are. Where are they searching? What are the platforms they're using? We need to have an integrated media strategy that gets a story out there to the right place.

Secondly, what is that story? If the best that we can do is show them a career site that has a picture of our product or some stock photo of shiny happy people and when they read about our about us paragraph it starts with the words "Founded in 1970 by the Smith Brothers, Acne Corp is the largest supplier of widgets." I mean that's what 90% of career sites say. That's not a story that's going to attract people.

So what I like to think about is are you entertaining people? You look at your career site, what's the entertainment value of it and do you have your story out there where it needs to be told? If you're on Twitter are you tweeting regularly? Are you tweeting interesting stuff? If you're on Facebook, are you interacting with people? Are you on YouTube? Do you have a video of your last company picnic? That's what people want to see. Do you have an active managed branded presence everywhere where these folks are? We think of it in terms of a media strategy today more than a sourcing strategy. So we simply need to be where people are looking for information about us. That's how we get in front of a passive candidate.

Peter: Yeah and of course to your point there, Keith, of all of these professions that you were mentioning where there basically is no unemployed people, if they are kind of interested in seeing what opportunities are out there and they're at work, they're not going to use their work computer to do this; they're going to use their smart phone. Therefore, that shows why this tremendous growth in using mobile devices is so important to companies who are really trying to attract those passive candidates that are very, very hard to find and they've got to have a mobile strategy or they're just not going to find them.

Keith: Right and mobile strategy - nowadays the technology is there. A mobile strategy means that when you show up on a mobile device it shows up mobile optimized. You can use your thumbs to move quickly through an application process rather than a pinch and expand, a pinch and expand and just serving up your desktop experience through your mobile device.

When we build career sites for our clients they come out of the box mobile optimized so that it looks different. It's formatted different. It has the same branding, same messaging, same design concepts but it looks like it was made for mobile and that's what it means. One thing a lot of folks don't realize is that Google uses a different algorithm to optimize the search on a mobile platform. If you have a mobile optimized career site you actually will show up higher in a Google search performed on a mobile device.

Peter: Interesting.

Keith: It's another way of quickly boosting your SEO strategy.

Peter: What are the most important factors regarding employer branding. I kind of want to return to my introduction, what do companies need to invest and what are the priorities out there? What are you telling your clients?

Keith: I'm glad you use the word invest. What I would say is the intro you have to invest in building competitive advantage. This is not something you can sit back and idly do. You can't use the same budget categories that you used in 2005. You have to make some investments and the investment is in building up your competitive advantage.

Now I always fall back on three categories. The first level of investment is you need to build a strong brand story. Why should people come and work here? If you don't know the answer to that or if your answer is different depending on who you talk to, you don't have a strong concise brand message and that message needs to be built on insight. Too many companies build a brand message after just talking or surveying internally. You need to survey externally. What do your candidates want? How do they perceive you? Do you know what that is? Can you connect your story to what the priorities are of those java developers or of those nurses? So that's number one.

Secondly, you need to invest in a media strategy. We need to get out of our thinking of a sourcing strategy that I can get all of my candidates from this one source. The reality is people are using 15 sources of information on average, and so we need to get our story out there. It's like planting seeds; you need to cultivate the soil, throw the seeds everywhere and then on occasion you get to also pick up your spear and do some hunting because you need to find those companies using very proactive email campaigns or recruiter phone calls, sourcing screening type of calls.

The third investment is we need to invest in candidate relationship. Most ATSs don't cut it in terms of the ability to build the relationship with candidates. ATSs are primarily designed to make it easier on the recruiters to sift through résumés but they're not designed to make it easier on the candidate. CareerBuilder's talent network technology, for example, is something that is designed to make the experience easy, simple, trackable for the candidate. They can quickly join and leave their information; 75% of folks that join a talent network leave their résumés behind. We have all the information we need right at that point, and so then we can use that information to build long term relationships with candidates, staying in front of them, sending out reminders and updates on our jobs as they develop recognizing that it might be a year or two of investment in people before they're ready to make the move.

1: Strong brand message, 2: Fully integrated media strategy, 3: Candidate relationships.

Peter: Great. Keith, I really appreciate your time today here on TotalPicture Radio. I know CareerBuilder has a number of resources out there for both candidates and employers. What are some of the places you'd like to mention?

Keith: First of all, I want to direct people to our website. We are just passionate about getting people back into the workplace, especially in areas where we do see high unemployment and especially helping companies find the talent they need in those really difficult to fill areas. So what we've done in the empowering employment is gathered a lot of stories, not just from CareerBuilder, but from our clients and other organizations that are doing really noble things to get America working again. That's one place I'd encourage you to visit, share with us your stories about how you are empowering employment.

If people have questions about this concept of building brand advantage, how does our brand look today, how does it compare, we have a site that you can go to. It's, and if you give us some information there we'd be happy to pull a brand advantage report and get it right back out to your organization.

Peter: How do people connect with you, Keith?

Keith: Email me. I live on emails keith.hadley At careerbuilder DOT com and I'd be very happy to answer any questions and help out in any way that I can.

We've been speaking with Keith Hadley who is the practice leader Employment Branding at CareerBuilder. You'll find this interview in the Talent Acquisition Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's You can subscribe to TotalPicture Radio and on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and Sound Cloud. Connect with TotalPicture Radio and jobsinpods on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Sign up for our newsletter on Call 203-293-7003 today or email info AT jobsinpods DOT com and mention TotalPicture Radio and we'll give you a 20% discount on your first jobsinpods jobcast. Jobs In Pods - the cleverest way to advertise your jobs.


Challenging the Status Quo: 21st Century Resourcing


Mark Finn, CEO TalentBox, interviews Bruce Morton, Executive Director allegistalent2 and Chief Innovation Officer at Allegis Group Services

Published on May 21 2013
Bruce Morton, Executive Director allegistalent2 and Chief Innovation Officer at Allegis Group Services -TotalPicture Radio InterviewBruce Morton

"I've been in the industry for 30 years, and the recruitment world has changed more in the last year than in the first 29." Bruce Morton

With the widespread adoption of Web 2.0, communication once limited and restricted is now numerous and disperse. Millions of users have created digital identities and self organized into online communities, building a social map of their life. It is now more important than ever to understand your key candidate demographics, determine where they congregate online, establish what their core interests are and deliver an employment brand that the right users will connect with.

Given the plethora of recruitment technologies used throughout web 2.0, and the majority only addressing segments of this process, how do you know which ones to use, or which can be used in tandem? Realizing the gaping hole of a true end to end recruitment 2.0 solution, Allegis Group Services has created a technological platform to harnesses the web calling it : 21st Century Resourcing - 21R. is a strategic sourcing platform that creates a bond to the social map of millions; building talent communities, a strong employer brand, qualified talent pipelines and vibrant social networks.

Bruce Morton - Mark Finn - HRO Today | TotalPicture Radio Transcript

TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage of the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia is brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Save time. Cut costs. Improve quality. Share and collaborate with others. Four big reasons to start using TalentBox for your next hire. Visit and get started with a free 45 day trial today. TalentBox, where talent meets opportunity.

Hi this is Peter Clayton. Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast and vodcast. Yes, there's a video version of our interview with Bruce Morton, the executive director Allegis Talent2 and Chief Innovation Officer at Allegis Group Services. You'll find the links to the video on his feature page in the Talent Acquisition Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's

Our interview with Bruce was recorded at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox, our conference sponsor, discusses the future of work and talent acquisition with Bruce from his presentation titled 21st Century Resourcing. Bruce shared the stage with Jason Kerr to discuss the evolution in talent acquisition and social thinking.

Now here's Mark Finn with Bruce Morton. Enjoy.

Mark: Hi, this is Mark Finn at the Ritz-Carlton at HRO Today in Philadelphia. I'm here with Bruce Morton. Bruce, you see a lot happening on the innovation front in the recruitment space and the HR space more broadly. What are you seeing coming out of today or any things that are resonating with you?

Bruce: I think what's really interesting is - and I've been in the industry 30 years - the world of recruitment has changed more in the last year than it did in the first 29 without a doubt, and I think what we're seeing here at the event is everybody really gets that now. I don't think we're preaching anymore. I think people are converted. The massive challenge of the war for talent is over, the candidates won. We hear that phrase. So companies are now realizing that this is no longer nice to have, the talent acquisition strategy; what are we going to do to make sure that our business is sustainable from a talent perspective going forward.

Mark: One of the things I find fascinating is that obviously you see the leading edge of this stuff but out there in the world a lot of people are trying to understand where do they go, where do they look at, what products and what innovative things should they be realistically trying to latch on to and implement into their businesses.

Bruce: I think just a couple of examples of that I think one is workforce planning. The HR community have talked about this for years. Most companies have a head of workforce planning. But are we really tapping into the ability to use people's propensity to share information on the web and through social networks to truly understand the workforce. We find most companies they'll take a résumé, and then when the person starts, they'll put into their HRA system and then a couple of years on it's out of date and do they really understand the talent they've got within. So I think tapping into a new world and getting looking at technology that gives them the ability to truly understand their workforce, I think is key.

Second I think is the massive growth of the contingent workforce now all around the world. Some countries are faster than others, but it's now reality. So I think to have the ability to look at technology from a 'let's stop thinking about managing my contracts, managing my firm, let's think about how we can look at that holistically.'

Mark: So two big themes I'm picking up here are transparency given there is...

Bruce: Absolutely.

Mark: ... so much information out there both on companies and candidates and also the rise of the contingent workforce and that the ability to tap into talent pools not just outside of the place where you're working, but globally.

Bruce: Yeah absolutely. I think the world is shrinking rapidly but it's also not just about attracting that talent to you to come and work here; it's sending the work to the talent. A lot of what we do with our clients in the labor market analytics is saying tell us what project you need to get done and we could use some advice on where to put it in the world, where the skills are, how much it's going to cost you, whether they're available and making those decisions as opposed to well we're going to hire them here because we always have done.

Mark: In one of the sessions yesterday they talked about desegregating work and sending it to the places where it was right for it to be done and that could be people, that could be technology, it could be where you're based or it could be offshore and I think people are battling, companies are trying to understand how to desegregate that work and where to send it.

Bruce: Yeah that's right, and I think it's also about using the right tools so that in asking that big question how does work work within our company and how easy do we make it for people to do great work and that could be through collaborative tools like social networks inside an organization, how do we keep that disparate workforce truly engaged. It's more move now to flexible working, working from home. We've seen a couple of examples recently where companies have said hey that's enough, let's bring them back in house. It will be interesting to watch that. But the reality is we now live in a fluid world and we've got to get set up to do that and use technology to enable us to do that.

Mark: A fluid and connected world especially as well.

Bruce: Absolutely.

Mark: One I was on a tea chat actually just the other day in the room over here and one of the things that came up is we were talking about social and companies need to be thinking about social and how to recruit using social platforms in Twitter and Facebook and all the ones we're familiar with. I wonder whether that word social is almost a little off putting for companies and sort of scares them a little bit and the reality is that's where the candidates are and it's what people do on a day to day basis. So calling it social sort of puts it in this bucket, it sounds a little bit 2007 to me.

Bruce: Yeah you couldn't be more correct. We have people inside all of our RPO deliberately camped onsite that we use to call social media managers and it scared people. Because you get the brand police involved, what are you going to do with our brand and it's social and they're going to be tweeting. No, no, no. It's just part of a strategic talent acquisition team. They just have the ability to push the message through those social channels as we so call them. So yeah that's a great point.

Mark: So they're channels and means to connect with people where they are and what they're interested in.

Bruce: Because when I got into recruitment 30 years ago we used to put an advert in the local newspaper. There's just different ways of doing it, different ways of communicating.

Mark: And different ways to talk to different kind of candidates as well.

Bruce: Yeah and also understanding that what social networks has created is a different DNA of people. People now will share information they wouldn't have dreamt of sharing a few years ago.

Mark: Definitely.

Bruce: Anybody watching this if they've got children will know that's pretty scary.

Mark: You said you've been in the industry for 30 years and one of the things that I'm seeing is the time compression or the cycle of innovative products going through to mass adoption is shrinking dramatically. So you've probably seen that as I think it's called the diffusion of innovation curve that talks about innovators, early adopters, late adopters and laggards; 10, 15 years ago that time span of innovatives through to the mass coming onboard was 5 years maybe longer, but now with the rate that technology is coming out the ability to deploy and spread it and access it, that time cycle is coming down dramatically which creates uncertainty for people out there trying to understand if that is compressing, where do I go?

What tips would you give to people out there to just at least understand the framework of some of the things that are happening out there? Peter and I were talking and we say you've got to show up and you've got to be present at things and listen and have your ears open to what's happening. What tips would you provide?

Bruce: Yeah I think one of the easiest things to do is that the answers are within, as I call it. If you're looking to hire a certain type of skill set you've probably already got 10, 20, 30, 100s of those people. Get them in a room, a few beers and some pizza, will be the best investment you ever made, where do they spend their time online. What do they do if they were thinking about looking for another job?

That will give you some insight into the up and coming and some of these new things that are out there. It could be to think about where could we get peers, like-minded organizations, what tools have they used. It's hard with innovation and my job as head of innovation I see this everyday is people say 'that's amazing. Have you got some case studies?' Well we have, but not many because it's innovation. If I had two years of case studies it wouldn't be innovation anymore. So it's also about taking a bit of a leap and knowing that not all of it will work.

Mark: And having the courage to take a risk.

Bruce: Absolutely and 80% of it works that's great.

Mark: Someone also said to me the other day we had a similar conversation, and they said that not taking a risk is a bigger risk in itself.

Bruce: Right. Yeah. You cannot live with your head in the ground anymore.

Mark: Right. Right. Bruce, thanks for dropping in and having a chat with us here today and enjoy the rest of the conference and look forward to catching up again soon.

Bruce: Good to meet you. Cheers.

Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage from the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Recruiters and hiring managers can use TalentBox to shortlist the best candidates for any type of role. All online, simple to use, interviews can include video-based questions, text based questions or multi-choice questions and can be fully customized to whatever role you're looking to fill. Visit TalentBox on the web at and sign up today for a free 45 day trial. We think you'll get the picture. Also, keep an eye out for new TalentBox videos and podcast interviews on TotalPicture Radio Thanks for tuning in.

This is Peter Clayton reporting. Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast and Vodcast (yes there's a video version of this interview), featuring Bruce Morton Executive Director allegistalent2 and Chief Innovation Officer at Allegis Group Services. - you'll find the link to the video on the sidebar. Our interview with Bruce was recorded at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox, (our conference sponsor), discusses the future of work - and talent acquisition - with Bruce, from his presentation at the HRO Today Forum titled 21st Century Resourcing.

In Philadelphia, Bruce shared the stage with Jason Kerr, Founder and CTO of Findly, to discuss the evolution in talent acquisition and social thinking that captures active candidates, passive visitors and employees to rapidly build a large community of talent acquisition ambassadors.  Their concepts included talent acquisition strategies that:

  • Creates a bond with the social map of millions
  • Builds relevant talent communities
  • Builds a strong employer brand
  • Builds qualified talent pipelines
  • Creates vibrant social networks.
  • Creates great candidate experiences

Beyond the Contingent Workforce: Delivering On Demand Talent


At the HRO Today Forum, Jason Kerr took the stage to present his vision for 21st Century Staffing

Published on May 15 2013
Jason Kerr, Founder and CTO Findly -TotalPicture Radio InterviewJason Kerr

Have you ever wondered who invented TXT messaging? Meet Jason Kerr.

With the widespread adoption of Web 2.0, communication once limited and restricted is now numerous and disperse. Millions of users have created digital identities and self organized into online communities, building a social map of their life. It is now more important than ever to understand key candidate demographics, determine where they congregate online, establish what their core interests are and deliver an employment brand that the right users will connect with.

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast and Vodcast (yes there's a video version of this interview - check the sidebar), recorded at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox, discusses the future of work - and talent acquisition - with Jason Kerr, the Founder and CTO of Findly.

Jason Kerr - Mark Finn - HRO Today | TotalPicture Radio Vodcast Interview

TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage of the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia is brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Save time. Cut cost. Improve quality. Share and collaborate with others. Four big reasons to start using TalentBox for your next hire. Visit and get started with a free 45 day trial today. TalentBox, where talent meets opportunity.

Hi, this is Peter Clayton. Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast and Vodcast. Yes, there's video version of this interview. You'll find the link on Jason Kerr's feature page on TotalPicture Radio. Our interview with Jason was recorded at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox discusses the future of work and talent acquisition with Jason, the founder and chief technology officer of Findly.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Jason is a serial entrepreneur of leading edge technologies, challenger to the outdated accepted business practices and early adopter of new evolving business strategies. Jason has started, sold and IPO software companies spanning the aviation, cell phone and text messaging, human resources, video, voice messaging and most recently Jason is tackling the $100 billion recruitment industry. He has been issued a number of patents, including developing the original processes and products allowing the sending and receiving of messages to and from internet connected devices and mobile phones also known as text messaging.

And now here's Mark Finn and Jason Kerr. Enjoy.

Mark: Hi this is Mark Finn here at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia at HRO Today. I'm here with Jason Kerr, the founder and CTO at Findly. Jason how are you finding the conference so far?

Jason: I've been here for 45 minutes so that 45 minutes has been pretty good.

Mark: Straight in from New Zealand eh?

Jason: Yeah I got in on the early burner so a little tired but glad to be here.

Mark: How many coffees so far?

Jason: Only six. It was a single shot.

Mark: Those six coffees definitely set you up well for this session you presented earlier today. It was a fantastic session.

Jason: Thank you.

Mark: One of the things I was picking up that you were talking about was on demand talent and what does that mean in the future.

Jason: On demand talent is this notion that if we are able to find people and if we are able to capture them and keep them engaged that's good, but if we are able to get them closer through that engagement to the point where we can hire them faster more on demand, that's really where it's at. So on demand talent is all about capturing people who like us, who are interested in us, engaging them in a conversation such that they remain interested in and through that conversation, collecting pieces of information about them that enable us to hire the right people faster; that becomes an on demand situation.

Mark: What would be the first point of call when you are looking for an on demand talent in your line? Where should you go to first to try and access this on demand talent?

Jason: Well you can't access on demand talent. You build on demand talent. It's this thing that takes time and care and feeding. It's like growing a plant or a child or whatever. The notion of on demand is you can't be on demand. I mean on demand in today's world where we'll just post a job and someone applies to it. That's on demand talent in today's world.

In tomorrow's world on demand talent is I have people already who are warm and interested to me and I've done things or provided information, we know things about them such that when we ask them to apply we already have a good view of the outcome and on demand swings two ways. If I'm a company can I push a button and hire someone who is going to perform better on the job that would be on demand?

From a jobseeker it's the same equation; can I get notified of a job that I will have a better chance of getting should I apply and I'll perform better at it if I got it? That would on demand from a jobseeker's view. We're bringing those two on demand views together is what we're trying to do.

Mark: Right, and you see those close people that have provided strong referrals in the past as ambassadors of the company and they need to be thought about in that context as well.

Jason: I think what we're referring to there is that there are people inside your company, the employees who are also assets that you can leverage in this situation. Everyone's got an employee referral program, but how do I apply an on demand situation from employee referral, and the way that we're looking at doing that is to take the performance of the people that you refer and giving those employees in our business the first opportunity to refer others because they have a better outcome. They're people that are more on demand. They perform better.

Mark: How do you see, obviously there's a big rise in the contingent and the freelance workforce and everyone, people out there are trying to understand how they can tap into that contingent and freelance workforce but also how to structure around their existing employees and full time employees as well? How do you see on demand talent fitting in with the contingent workforce?

Jason: If you just take the word on demand talent it's pretty clear that this notion of on demand is going to extend into contingent and if you took a community of people that you are able to build, engage and collect credentials from them such that they're more on demand, the next logical step for those people is to become fully contingent. If you were to say to a company kind of a Maslow's Hierarchy of who you'd go after, you're going to go after the people who are interested in me, are highly credentialed, have got some indication of how they'll perform, I'm going to talk to those people first. To the people that are interested in me that know people in my company who have referred people in the past that work well, down to people that interested in me; the next step down is going to be why wouldn't I go to the alumni who's worked for me before on a contingent basis.

I think on demand is going to bleed from people I know inside my own community, to people that perhaps I know or other companies like me know in a contingent community. I think those two things are going to bleed over time.

Mark: One of the speakers yesterday said that work is a thing not a place and given that you can work from anywhere now for some jobs, not for all jobs, it does open up the talent pool, the potential pool of candidates particularly in a contingent case that you can build a community around or engage with. How do you see the globalization and interconnectivity of all this playing out?

Jason: I think it already happens; it just doesn't happen in a structured way. Guys like Manpower have started trying to structure it and they've got details in their offices on paper unfortunately about past performance and that's just going to change rapidly much like Uber has changed the landscape of booking a limousine or a taxi. I think it's not going to be evolution. It's going to be revolution that changes the next piece around contingent. We have some ideas on what that may be.

I think the interesting comment of work as a thing and not a place, I kind of debate if work is even a thing. It's a big part of your life. Your life is not a thing. Life's a journey and I think what's going to happen is as more people understand that they can control a bigger part of their life through contingent and that more opportunity in the new economy is able to be outsourced/offshore/in home contingent type work, you're going to find a lot of people changing the way that they view work from things and places to part of their life and contingent gives them the ability to do that.

Mark: How far down that road do you think we are now say versus five years' time? How rapid do you think the acceleration of the contingent workforce will be?

Jason: I think there are two probably things that are going to start there. The baby boomers retiring is one big issue. There's another issue that we don't train people for some of the trades anymore that really were kind of the early contingent plumbers, electricians, etc. And there's going to be a problem there, and I think those kind of gaps are going to give rise to people who don't go the traditional route to get there.

In my day I started out as an electrician. I got an apprenticeship and I crawled under houses and dark holes and sewers and all that kind of jazz and you had to go through that route. But I think there's a skill gap in the market starts to create, it's going to get people directly to become contingent because the tools are going to make such that that they can connect with people and opportunities, and opportunities they never had before.

Mark: You talked about acquiring, engaging and filtering talent as three steps sort of parts of on demand talent. I'm going to zoom in on the filtering side of things. Given that we can access so many candidates and so many opportunities, given the interconnected world that we're working in, what technology or skills or platforms do you think people need to assess the contingent workforce on that filtering part of it?

Jason: That's really interesting because a traditionalist would say we need to psychometric graph measurement, we need 360 history of performance, we need all this kind of stuff, and there's a couple of pieces about measurement. Do you read books? Do you read Kindle books?

Mark: I've read a couple, one or two.

Jason: I read like five books a week and I get them on Kindle, so I get them from Amazon and it's become clear to me that my measurement for trusting what a good book is is really is it's above 4 stars by more than 400 people and I think when you come down to some skills or some jobs or some opportunities kind of a very simplistic social score from employers that have used that talent in the past for outcomes.

Mark: Can say a lot.

Jason: It actually says enough because a lot of the things that we need I need the job done and do I really need all this other stuff? Not really. I just need it done. So I think what's going to happen is you're going to find democratization of the way we measure people and especially as you globalize skill the only way to measure on a consistent standard democratize it to some very basic level.

Mark: So with digital interviews or video interviews for example, there's platforms out there that allow them to be saved in the cloud and then the employing workforce can then collaborate around that selection and assessment process. What are your thoughts on the adoption of those types of platforms?

Jason: I'm in two minds to be honest. I understand the attraction of video interview. I don't need to fly there; I can see the person, how they react, how they interact. So I'm in two minds because what the video interview doesn't do for me is select that person out of 500,000 and I've got to spend time and energy. I mean it's a great qualifier the last two or three that I'm interested in but as a filtering credentialing technology to make me that choice in the first place, I don't think it's going to play a part.

Mark: Right. It needs to be part of other tools in the selection assessment process. It's not a standalone thing that's going to get you there. It has to be part of a broader platform.

Jason: I think there are features and there are tools and then there are solutions and a lot of features and a lot of tools create a solution. I think what everyone tries to do is over feature over talk solutions. I think the reality is talent is going to drive what the solution becomes and I think it's going to be simpler than everyone thinks it is.

Mark: Jason, you had a slide today that talked about a really successful example of a client of yours using on demand talent. I was hoping you could just share a few of those results with us.

Jason: Yeah that was a... I don't want to say an anomaly but it was a great outcome. We hope to be repeating that outcome with many more clients but this was a very large retail client. They've got a community of about 9 million other people and they have a traditional seasonal hiring issue. You have 30,000 to 40,000 people every year. They start in typically August to November of shelf stacking, December etc., and it's usually a long and quite expensive process which requires a lot of advertising and mass filtering.

So we said to them why don't we try and test this notion of on demand in this very simplistic way which is can we ask our community to help us and the community, if they are truly on demand will step up to the plate. So the outcome was that we put together a very, very simplistic game using some social mechanics and we asked the community to help. We said we're hiring 30,000 people, I think it was; do you know anyone who would like a seasonal job or if you'd like one yourself come and apply, play this game and have a little bit of fun.

The community really stepped up. About 1.6 million people actually did something to help other people and to help the company by sharing and talking and applying and we generated about 120,000 brand new candidates for the company that I've never seen before. We also generated about 3 quarters of a million applies from the community itself. We filled those. There was a lot of things we did as well. There was a lot of social sharing and stuff that happened about 10,000 likes on Facebook in two weeks for the company which was more than the company had itself. So it was kind of interesting.

But the reality was in 14 or 15 days I think it was, this community got together, did what we asked them to do and a lot of people did it for other people's benefit which is really encouraging and we were able to place 30,000 hires through that activity and of course there's no cost there.

Mark: I really just want to emphasize there the use of the word of community. I think that is sort of a new word that is entering in the lexicon of recruitment here.

Jason: Yeah and I think it's overused to be honest. I think most people right now have what's called a network. It's not really a community and even in our sphere. We're getting towards a community, we're kind of there...

Mark: So what's the difference between a community and a network?

Jason: A community goes to a coffee shop and hangs out and talks together, between each other and unless your candidates in this place that you're building are talking to each other and sharing things it's not a community. It's just a network of people. So right now most things are networks. We're moving from network to true community and when you can build a true community they do things like we asked our network to do which is can you communicate with each other and help and we're not there yet totally but I think that's the road of building community.

Mark: Right. So just to clarify an example would be like a concentric circle where communities' in the middle and the networks' the next one out and communities part of the network but it's a much tighter and closer part of that network.

Jason: Yeah a probably more stark example is this. Your ATS has people in it. Is it a community or a network? It's just a thing full of people that have done something similar. Facebook is a community. There's people who talk with each other and the people in your network are the people you talk to. So I think that's the difference. Right now most people that are building talent communities, they're really just databases. Until you can network those people together and build a community...

Mark: An engagement.

Jason: There you go, and I think that engagement you can't be the sole motivator or instigator of engagement. The community needs to start engaging itself.

Mark: Sure. How did the client react to this great success story?

Jason: Obviously pretty happy about that.

Mark: Fantastic.

Jason: Just got to repeat it next year.

Mark: Right, right or increase it. Thanks for stopping in and having a chat with us here today. Again another exciting day of presentations.

Jason: I'm going to go Independence Hall and see where the Liberty Bell was crafted and the constitution was signed, so it should be a good day.

Mark: And hopefully you can get some sleep some time soon.

Jason: Ah that's overrated.

Mark: Thanks.

Jason: Cheers.

Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage from the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Recruiters and hiring managers can use TalentBox to shortlist the best candidates for any type of role. All online, simple to use, interviews can include video-based questions, text based questions or multi-choice questions and can be fully customized to whatever role you're looking to fill. Visit TalentBox on the web at and sign up today for a free 45 day trial. We think you'll get the picture. Also, keep an eye out for new TalentBox videos and podcast interviews on TotalPicture Radio Thanks for tuning in.

Jason is a serial entrepreneur of leading edge technologies; challenger to outdated / accepted business practices and early-adopter of new / evolving business strategies. Jason has started, sold and IPO'd software companies spanning the aviation, cellular phone / TXT messaging, human resources, video / voice messaging, and most recently is tackling the $100 Billion recruitment industry. He has been issued a number of Patents, including developing the original processes and products allowing the sending and receiving of messages to and from Internet connected devices and mobile phones (TXT Messaging).

According to Jason, Findly has built "a revolutionary automated talent platform that acquires, manages, screens and engages only warm candidates, so companies can instantly hire the right talent.


Jessica Miller-Merrell: I Like My Men Like I Like My HR Technology


Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox Gets Personal with Jessica at the HRO Today Forum

Premiers on May 13 2013
Jessica Miller-Merrell -TotalPicture Radio InterviewJessica Miller-Merrell

"Signing a contract with an HR technology product that offers a full suite of services is a commitment, a marriage if you will. It's a relationship that has give and take. One bad decision can change your life and maybe even end your career at a company." Jessica Miller-Merrell

Welcome to a special Talent Acquistion Channel Podcast and vodcast (yes there's a video version of this interview - check the sidebar), recorded at the HRO Today Forum at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, Co-Founder and CEO of TalentBox, interviewed Jessica toward the end of the conference.

A little history: Our interview was filmed in the Rotunda building, constructed between 1904 and 1908 at a cost of over 1.5 million dollars. (That was serious money back then). When it opened as the Girard Trust in 1908, it was the largest dome in the western hemisphere, at over 100 feet in diameter. The oculas is 142 feet from the floor, the same as the Pantheon in Rome, which it was modeled after.

Jessica Miller-Merrell | Mark Finn - HRO Today Forum Interview. TotalPicture Radio

TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage of the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia is brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Save time. Cut cost. Improve quality. Share and collaborate with others. Four big reasons to start using TalentBox for your next hire. Visit and get started with a free 45 day trial today. TalentBox, where talent meets opportunity.

Hi, this is Peter Clayton. Welcome to TotalPicture Radio. According to our special guest today, Jessica Miller Merrell, signing a contract with an HR technology product that offers a full suite of services is a commitment, a marriage, if you will. It's a relationship that has give and take, one bad decision can change your life and maybe even end your career at a company.

Welcome to a special talent acquisition channel podcast and vodcast. Yes, there's video version of this interview on TotalPicture Radio, iTunes and YouTube, recorded at the HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia. Mark Finn, CEO of TalentBox gets personal with Jessica discussing her post on titled I Like My Men Like I Like My HR Technology.

Now, here's Mark Finn and Jessica Miller Merrell.

Mark: Hi, this is Mark Finn here at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia at HRO Today. I'm here with Jessica Miller Merrell or Jessica M2 for abbreviation purposes. Jessica, I was hoping you could tell everyone a little bit about yourself and who you are and what you do.

Jessica: Thank you. My name is Jessica and I have a popular human resources and a workplace blog - I guess several sites actually - where we talk about human capital topics, recruiting, social media, all those sort of things that practitioners in this space are dealing with on a day to day basis. I also work a lot with service providers and helping them be able to talk directly to HR because we spend a lot of time on the phone cold calling, emailing but there isn't really any meaningful conversations oftentimes that are happening in those interactions.

Mark: Jessica's a fantastic expert on a lot of the hot topics happening in this space. We were talking about some of them yesterday. I did read however one interesting blog that you wrote recently and the title of that blog was I Like My HR Technology Like I Like My Men. So my question is how do you like your men? ☺

Jessica: I like to do my research. The blog post which is somewhat personal, I like to have the sort of personal story that I weave into a business lesson or topic, and the story is that I had a failed marriage. It didn't go very well for me. I was young and I really took stock and kind of looked at what I'm doing, what I really want, and did a lot of research. And so I think that when you're selecting an HR technology product, you really need to understand exactly what you want and then spend the time prequalifying before you go down that road and make a commitment.

Mark: I was hoping you were going to say Australian but that's fine.

There's a lot of uncertainty out there given that there's a lot of technology and a lot of new directions on a lot of different things. I think HR managers and HR leaders and recruiters out there are really just trying to understand what to do or where to go. What tips would you provide those people?

Jessica: I think that there's a lot of information online. I think it's good to go online and talk to other practitioners. One of the things I like blogging so much is that there are so many great people out there who are sharing their stories and they're there in the folds of dealing with a workplace issue as a recruiter or HR person. So looking for those resources but then maybe sitting down with an expert in the space and kind of talking through it.

Thirdly, the most important thing in my mind is end users. As someone who has had to, you know, 17 clicks to be able to hire one person in an ATS, mind you, I have 150 people that I have to push through my applicant tracking system, that takes time. Senior business decision makers in HR and human capital, they don't think about those things because they don't have to do them. But these are the small things that they need to think about to really make the technology product friendly for the user, happy HR people.

It's kind of happy wife, happy life. Happy field HR person makes for an engaged workforce.

Mark: Jessica, you just launched a new-ish company called Workology. I was hoping you could just share a little bit more about that and how people find you.

Jessica: If you read my blog that I've had since 2007, it's Blogging4Jobs which is a little bit edgy; I love that we like to push the envelope over there and have a little fun. I have 24 writers on the site who are writing. I like having the diverse types of people that are there but I need a place just for me and I wanted to be able to talk to senior HR and recruiting professionals about some of the topics in human capital that we're talking about but put in a practitioner focused way so that as a senior business leader, you have something that you can print off - a white paper, infographic, something that's practitioner focused so that you can really make the business case to add social media or digital technology to your recruitment or HR plan versus just relying on analyst reports and other papers that are out there.

Mark: So it provides a practical way to look at what's out there and find a way to look at adapting or implementing those social media or the technology.

Jessica: Anything related to human capital, really. I'm going to be focused on technology on the site but I feel like we need to have more conversations for the senior HR folks in a way that's somewhat casual and not really technical and wordy but interesting for them to read because when you read some of the information that's out there it's hard to follow and it isn't really fun, because even HR people want to have fun. So we need to be entertained as much as informed about the topics.

Mark: I think that's an interesting point you raise about some of the senior leaders of human capital out there thinking about not so much the technology or exactly how things work but some of the more bigger demographic shifts and the global forces that are happening. What are some of the ones that you think should be top of mind for people that are planning their workforce over the next 5 years and beyond?

Jessica: There was an interesting session about millennials yesterday which I really enjoyed. I think the main thing to remember when we're looking at the younger workforce is not everybody fits into this box that we want to put them in. I am a Gen X but I have a lot of millennial tendencies, which I think a lot of people do. I have a really great friend who is a boomer that she's millennial through and through. The thing that I think is important for people to remember as far as age goes and experience is that these millennials, whatever their tendencies are, the helicopter parents - all the things that we're dealing with - they are now the majority workforce.

If you are marketing to that audience to have them come and work for you, you need to make sure that your messaging, the company culture, and all these things are aligned to work with those people. It's just like trying to sell a product or a service. Why would we sell Tide laundry detergent to men over 65? The audience is females probably 24-40. Your messaging needs to align with that.

Mark: And be relevant to the person you're engaging with.

Jessica: It's not about the senior business leader. They're not the target market, and I think that's the other thing; when you talk to the chief HR officer, the CEO, they're like "I don't get the social media. I don't understand...I don't use text messaging the same way." It's not about you. It's about the people that you're trying to reach, the best and the largest audience that you're looking for to come to work for you. The CEOs are not the target demographic. So what they want doesn't matter.

Mark: One of the interesting things for me in that session that you just mentioned was that there are a lot of actual common factors across all the generations and also delineating this sort of categorized generations which is the fact that people are in different stages of life. People at stages of life is very different from these generational traits that we sort of attribute to people. How do you feel about what do you see about the way different generations are working together and especially in this day and age where there is a democratization of work?

Jessica: I think that the main thing is just sitting down and talking to your people and honest conversations. A lot of times employees are giving the answer that they think that you want which is really not what they want. So getting to know your folks, talking to them on a regular basis, probably scheduled, to have an understanding of what their hopes and dreams are.

The other thing is too if you're building a strategy with a particular audience of people in mind, use your current workforce especially the newly hired folks and conduct interviews with them - focus groups, surveys - that sort of thing. Where are they coming from? Where are they spending their time and if that's the audience, the people that you're looking for, you can create a small strategy from that group of people and they have a real feedback that is as recent. You don't have to spend a lot of money using a large third party company to conduct the research for you.

Mark: I think it's a great point talking about transparency and increasing the dialogue or the two-way chat between employees and existing employees and also prospective employees as well.

Jessica: Social media is leading the way for that. We're use to having real transparent conversations with brands, with people online, so it's going to transition over into the workplace. Employees are expecting and want to feel empowered that somebody is listening to their problems, what they have to say and that they do in fact want to make a difference. Long gone are the days like my dad, he goes to work. He works on a printing press. He's done it for 35, 40 years. He is a machine - that's what he does. He can separate work from life. I, on the other hand, I don't operate that way. They crossover for me.

Mark: Right, right. That's an interesting point. I personally feel the same way as well. And you've got to have fun, right?

Jessica: Fun is important. I mean that's why we live, right? To enjoy the moments with our family, our friends and we spend a lot of time at work, more time than we do with our family, so it makes sense that we should enjoy the people and the work that we're doing.

Mark: It's interesting that you said we spend a lot of time at work rather than doing work.

Jessica: My impression of work for me like I spend a lot of time doing what I love with clients, on the blog, things like that it's not really work. My office is virtual so my commute is 15 seconds every single day. I have clients all over the world, so work for me is a little bit different than I think a lot of the traditional work.

Mark: Jessica, two words: San Francisco.

Jessica: I'm moving. We're going to be relocating in the next few months to the Bay Area. I feel like I need to be where all the evolution and the change and things are happening and especially with technology and that's really three places: New York, San Francisco, or Austin, Texas. My husband is a Sooner fan. I cannot go to Texas. It would be maybe the end of our marriage and I don't want to put him through that kind of misery in Austin being a Sooner. It's too cold in New York City. So the Bay area is a fabulous place and it's just the smell of possibility there. There are so many cool people doing amazing things in their garages.

Mark: Stay tuned for Jessica Miller Merrell or Jessica M2 in San Francisco coming to a store near you soon. Thanks, Jessica.

Jessica: Sure.

Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage from the HRO Today Forum at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania brought to you by TalentBox, the leading talent focused digital interview platform. Recruiters and hiring managers can use TalentBox to shortlist the best candidates for any type of role. All online, simple to use, interviews can include video-based questions, text based questions or multi-choice questions and can be fully customized to whatever role you're looking to fill. Visit TalentBox on the web at and sign up today for a free 45 day trial. We think you'll get the picture. Also, keep an eye out for new TalentBox videos and podcast interviews on TotalPicture Radio Thanks for tuning in.

Here's a excerpt from Jessica's Workology Blog regarding the HRO Today Forum: "Unfortunately, I've found that most employers and senior leaders including HR and operations don't understand how much information is actually available on the internet. Last week while attending the HRO Today Forum, I watched Matt Charney give a brief demo of how a much information is available using a free tool like combined with the power social media platform's Twitter and LinkedIn. The air sucked out of the room as conference attendees gasped once they realized that information like your home address, personal phone number and email address is available easily online. When it comes to the internet, nothing is really safe and true privacy no longer exists. The idea while terrifying for myself is only intensified by the fact that I'm a mom a to a 4 year old. These tools, however, can also be used as part of your social recruiting strategy. Understanding that fact is where the power of social listening for employers really comes into play. Somes a little shock like Matt's drives business leaders to this reality."

Stay Tuned... A complete transcript of Mark's interview with Jessica will be available soon!


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