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IACPR Interview, Sherri Nadeau, UberMedia

Reflecting on the Candidate Experience: Sherri Nadeau, SVP, UberMedia

 
Sherri NadeauSherri Nadeau

Welcome to a special Inside Recruiting Talent Acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting from The IACPR -- That's the International Association for Corporate and Professional Recruitment Global Conference in New York City. Our podcast is sponsored by Riviera Advisors.

Today we'll be speaking with Sherri Nadeau who just joined UberMedia as Senior Vice President Human Resources and Administration. UberMedia is the world's leading independent developer of feature-rich social media products, including Chime.in, UberSocial and Echofon. She is a Senior Human Resources Leader specializing in transforming companies and their human resources functions.

"I think from the HR/Recruitment side, I have an appreciation for the fact that recruiters are busier today than they have ever been. Certainly corporate in-house recruiters maybe handling 20 searches a month when they used to do maybe 10. So I feel for them and I understand that and I also understand they get thousands and thousands of resumes but one of the things we used to impress upon our recruitment team at Sony, which I think is very good to remember is everyone who comes through the door as a candidate, is a potential customer for your product." Sherri Nadeau.

 

Sherri's expertise is in a wide range of industries including entertainment, hospitality, financial services, consumer package goods, telecom and technology distribution. She has a broad international human resources experience in all major international markets including two successful expatriate assignments. Her most recent role was with Sony Pictures Entertainment where she was responsible for all international human resources operations encompassing 2500+ employees in 40+ countries. 

Sherri Nadeau IACPR Transcript - TotalPicture Radio interview

Welcome to TotalPicture Radio's exclusive coverage of the International Association for Corporate and Professional Recruitment Global Conference 2011. The New Talent Management, Strategies for the Future. This podcast from the IACPR Global Conference in New York, is brought to you by Riviera Advisors, a premiere global human resources consulting firm, celebrating its 10th anniversary. Riviera Advisors delivers proven, real-world solutions designed to meet each clients' unique Talent Management needs and challenges. Visit RivieraAdvisors.com/podcast to access interviews from the IACPR Global Conference, as well as the new Riviera Advisors monthly podcast series, Insights Amplified featuring interviews with the movers and innovators in talent acquisition, staffing and corporate human resources.

Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting from the IACPR -- That's the International Association for Corporate and Professional Recruitment Global Conference in New York City.

Today we'll be speaking with Sherri Nadeau who just joined UberMedia as Senior Vice President Human Resources and Administration. UberMedia is the world's leading independent developer of feature-rich social media products, including Chime.in, UberSocial and Echofon. She is a Senior Human Resources Leader specializing in transforming companies and their human resources functions.

Sherri's expertise is in a wide range of industries including entertainment, hospitality, financial services, consumer package goods, telecom and technology distribution. She has a broad international human resources experience in all major international markets including two successful expatriate assignments. Her most recent role was with Sony Pictures Entertainment where she was responsible for all international human resources operations encompassing 2500+ employees in 40+ countries.

Sherri, I really enjoyed the panel discussion you participated in on the candidate experience here at IACPR, and thanks for taking time to speak with us.

Sherri: Happy to be here.

Peter: One of the interesting things about this panel was that all of you have recently taken a new job within the last 6 months; every single person on that panel.

Sherri: I know, it was really interesting because when we first formed the panel I think only one person had actually changed jobs and so it was supposed to be about our experiences going through the search process, in the meantime despite what you might hear about the economy, we all have landed in new roles so it was very much talked about not only the process of a search but also landing somewhere.

Peter: And when Paul Marchand, who is the VP of Global Talent Acquisition at PepsiCo, who moderated your panel asked you all about how you landed in your new roles, it was all about networking and personal relationships.

Peter: However Sherri, as we all know this economy is not the best economy to go out and find a new position as most of these recruiters are talking about in here. It is a buyer's market. So did you feel fairly confident that you were going to be able to land as quickly as you did into this new role?

Sherri: Well I think yes, the economy has been difficult but I think people with good skills are always in demand. Maybe I had a couple of sleepless nights in there thinking, did I do the right thing, I actually was pretty confident that given my time horizon, I was willing to go a year of doing nothing but kind of exploring life and traveling and enjoying myself before I figure out what I wanted to do next and I felt that within that time horizon, I would certainly find something.

Peter: An awful lot of people who I speak with, who are out there looking for jobs, they find the candidate experience to be pretty miserable and some of their concerns were brought up on your panel. First of all, that candidates never hear back from, even if they go on a job interview and we're not even talking about the black hole of the resume submission and the ATS and all that stuff. You go out on an interview and you don't hear back from that employer.

Sherri: Yes, unfortunately that happens quite a bit to be honest and not just hearing or seeing it myself but talking to other people who have been candidates and also other recruiters, I think from the HR/Recruitment side, I have an appreciation for the fact that recruiters are busier today than they have ever been. Certainly corporate in-house recruiters maybe handling 20 searches a month when they used to do maybe 10. So I feel for them and I understand that and I also understand they get thousands and thousands of resumes but one of the things we used to impress upon our recruitment team at Sony, which I think is very good to remember is everyone who comes through the door as a candidate, is a potential customer for your product.

Peter: Correct.

Sherri: So if we want that person to buy a Sony television or when I worked for Universal Studios in the theme parks, if we want them to go to a Universal Studios Theme Park again, we better treat them very nicely as a candidate.

Peter: Let's talk a little bit about cultural fit because that's something else that has been part of the conversation here at this conference. You've gone from working for very large organizations to the small company and how has that transition work and how have you fit in culturally into a much smaller, almost like a start up organization?

Sherri: Yeah well UberMedia is definitely a start up. I would say that it's very different but I've done it before, twice before. I've worked for a company called Savvis Communications which was until recently, public and has just been acquired by another company but that was very much a start up type of venture but more importantly I think, when I first went to Universal Studios, I was in a division that was building a new theme park for Japan. I was the 20th person they hired and we scaled it up to 7,000 people in two years. So you want to talk about a start up, that was on a huge growth trajectory over a very short period of time. I can only hope that UberMedia has such a growth trajectory.

Peter: Let's return to talking about your candidate experience and your recent job search. How did you go about identifying what you wanted to do next, how did you go about looking for organizations that perhaps you would be interested in joining, tell us a little bit about that process?

Sherri: Yes so I think for me, and let me just step back and also say that this is the second time in my life when I've chosen to leave a job and take some time off and look for something else. So the first time happened in 2002, kind of right after 9/11. I was working for a company that was somewhat impacted by 9/11 and I was an HR person dealing with a little bit of the aftermath of that. We'd also gone through an acquisition and I chose to step away to deal with an elderly parent who was dying, and so I think that put a lot things in perspective for me and then when I rejoined the workforce, I was obviously working for many years but it may be easier this time to think about what's really important in life and if you can afford to do so, it certainly is great at a young age to take some time out and step away, as long as you have the confidence that you'll be able to get back in the game I think.

Peter: We've been seeing the statistics on the screen today, like 50% of the people are just satisfied in their current jobs and that can't be good for anyone.

Sherri: Right.

Peter: So what is going to be your role at UberMedia?

Sherri: So I'm the head of HR and Administrations, so I'm responsible for sourcing candidates, developing our employee base, everything from soup to nuts in the HR arena, plus facilities and travel and communications and all those other things.

Peter: What really attracted you to this offer?

Sherri: What really attracted me was the opportunity to work for Bill Gross. He is an incredible entrepreneur, he started 100 companies since 1997.

Peter: 100 companies?

Sherri: 100 different companies. 30 of those have probably either gone public or had a major positive liquidity event where people made a lot of money and he's brilliant. So and we have a very open floor plan, very technology type of entrepreneurial workspace. So I sit at the desk right next to him and it's incredible to just be around someone who's that brilliant.

Peter: So obviously, you've done a very successful job search and landing in to a very interesting new opportunity. As an HR professional, what kind of advice can you share with candidates out there who are in a job search right now, some things, some tips, some ideas that perhaps could help them?

Sherri: I think I've seen a lot of candidates and certainly just last week where I attended a job fair to do some hiring, candidates who just kind of are wearing desperation on their face, oh I'll do anything just please hire me. No one's going to hire you if you look that and act that pitiful. You really have to have a clear sense of purpose, figure out what it is you want to do, hopefully it's something you are already trained in and able to do and then once you decide that, go attack that with vigor but you can't try to be all things to all people and chase every job.

Peter: Back to your panel discussion, The Candidate Speak-out. What were some of your takeaways from some of the other panelists that were on the panel with you?

Sherri: Well I thought it was interesting that Jackie had a very similar career trajectory to mine and we actually exchanged business cards afterwards.

Peter: And that's Jacquelyn Stern, she's the Vice President of Innovation at E Trade.

Sherri: She was great, and we decided we should definitely keep in touch.

Peter: Yeah absolutely.

Sherri: And then the gentleman from Time Warner, obviously I've worked for 2 major movie studios so we talked a little bit about that afterwards, yeah.

Peter: Now in this new start up, a hip company doing something really cool and this new product that is connecting Facebook and Twitter and all the social media stuff out there, how do you go about recruiting for your organization? Are you using LinkedIn? Are you using senior executive search firms like the ones that are represented here?

Sherri: Good question. First, let me just say that the distinguishing factor for Chime.in is that it's an interest network, so Facebook is probably where you connect with your friends and relatives. Twitter is probably your news feed, that's where you follow a bunch of people and get tweets all day long but most people do not turn around and re-tweet them, some people do. Chime.in is different because you'll be able to connect with people who are not well known celebrities or public figures but who share common interest so, if you're a Chicago Bears fan in Connecticut and you want to get connected with some other Chicago Bears fan then that's the way to do it, through Chime.in.

Peter: How is Chime.in different from, say, Twillow?

Sherri: I don't know very much about Twillow, but I will tell you Chime.in has major industry partnerships behind it. So we have Comcast has an equity interest in Chime.in, we also have partnerships with Disney, Universal Pictures, Bravo, The E Channel so lot of backing behind Chime.in.

Peter: Explain the product to us a little bit better because I'm still not quite clear. I spend some time on Chime.in and I'm quite active on Twitter and on Facebook so I signed up and I saw interesting people that we're tweeting about certain things that were certainly of interest to me.

Sherri: Yeah, did you sign up with your mobile device or on the computer?

Peter: I signed up on the computer.

Sherri: If you signed up on the computer off to the left side, you will see a variety of communities and interest. So for me personally, there are certain communities I wanted to join. I joined the community called Wine Geeks, which is all about wine, there's a community about NFL Football, there's 4,000 different communities but I subscribe to those communities and then everyone who chimes on that topic, I will see so whereas Twitter, you might follow certain people but 1, your Twitter feed all the tweets will be intertwined together. So if just are in the mood to talk about Football, you have to sort through all the other tweets that you get. On this you can identify which chimes you want to look at and then only look at those at any given time.

Peter: So I understand that when you left Sony you started a blog, is that correct?

Sherri: I did start a blog called the Ex-Executive, and it was all about the daily trials and trails of looking for a job in corporate America and what an executive goes through trying to decide what they want to do next. So do I want to buy a franchise, do I want to start my own business, am I going to be a consultant, am I going to move to Africa, what is it I'm going to do?

Peter: Are you still blogging or have you stopped now that you're...

Sherri: I stopped back in June, I went to the beach for a month and decided I needed a break and keep telling myself I'm going to pick it up and do it again, I just haven't had the chance to do it.

Peter: Okay so back to UberMedia, are you working with executive recruiters or how are you going about, going out and finding those candidates?

Sherri: We have so many resumes right now that are hitting our door because of the hotness of our product that we're not using any search firms but that may not continue, I don't know but as of right now we're looking for people primarily through social means as you might've imagined.

Peter: Right.

Sherri: So our job site, post jobs out to the Internet. I think on LinkedIn as well, on our own site and then we're looking for people who are currently bloggers, currently active in social media and that's how we're finding people.

Peter: Do you have a virtual workforce or are you looking for people who can come to your office and work in your office?

Sherri: So our corporate headquarters in Pasadena, California but we do have people all over the world working for us so kind of depending on the role and the skill set, we do have some people working virtually.

Peter: So outside of your panel here at IACPR, what are some of your insights and take aways from today at this conference?

Sherri: I thought Towers Watson presentation was incredible. I've seen that research in prior years and it really continues to amaze me how different the drivers are for attraction, retention and engagement.

Peter: Across generations.

Sherri: And I think, across generations and then just kind of in general. So the things that attract you are not the things that retain you and they're not the same things that keep you engaged. So I just think that if every HR department could fully digest that and act upon it, the world would be a better place.

Peter: Yeah and of course a lot of HR departments today as you well know are under siege because their staffs has been cut to basically nothing right, and they're doing the jobs of 10 people and now they're recruiting as well as doing HR so they're on a difficult role.

Sherri: Yes, and I don't think attraction, retention and engagement is solely the bailiwick of HR. I think management owns that as well but I think HR has to be the driver in an organization to make those things top of mind but yeah every good CEO will know what it takes to attract good candidates and retain them and engage them.

Peter: Yeah, I think you're absolutely right and every good CEO understands that retaining and finding those A players really is what their whole business is predicated on, right?

Sherri: Yeah and even though there seems to be an over abundance of people looking for roles, there's never an over abundance of A players.

Peter: That's right and hiring managers often times get little ticked off because well when there's 9.2% unemployment, why can't you go out and find me a candidate tomorrow for this job right? So it's a tough role.

Sherri: Yeah it really is because there's a vast mismatch of skill sets to jobs right now and I think one thing companies are going to need to be able to do in the future, maybe even today is look at people with a certain skill set and determine which of those skills are transferrable to the job you're trying to fill and which ones aren't.

Peter: I interviewed an executive at Groupon not long ago and I asked him a question because that's a hot company and they're doing an IPO and so how do you assess a candidate and not just hire someone who's coming in to get the stock options and could care less what they do, but somebody who's really going to be passionate about your product and the role that you're bringing them into the organization, how do you go about indentifying that kind of person?

Sherri: Well I think in our business it's probably easier than others because people who are passionate about social media, you can see they're on Twitter, they're on Facebook, they're writing a blog, they're on Foursquare, they're doing all these different things and for the most part it's already out there for general consumption. So one of the things I obviously do is look to see what kind of social media presence someone has. If a candidate comes in and they don't have anything out there, chances are they're probably not going to be a good fit for our company.

Peter: One last question for you Sherri, for those interested in learning more about your organization and perhaps joining your organization, what's the best way to apply for a job?

Sherri: Go to our website, UberMedia.com in fact that's the only way, we will not take phone calls or resumes through the mail.

Peter: Great. Sherri, thank you so much for speaking with us today on TotalPicture Radio.

Sherri: Thank you.

Sherri Nadeau is Senior Vice President Human Resources and Administration with UberMedia based in Pasadena, California.

Please make a point to make a visit Riviera Advisors.com/podcast for the monthly podcast series, Insights Amplified. You'll find a complete library of thought provoking interviews on HR and recruiting including the complete transcripts from these in depth discussions with leaders in HR and recruiting at the IACPR conference. While there, please join the conversation with recruiting and staffing professionals on the Insights from the Riviera blog. To learn more about Riviera Advisors real world experience in leading and managing corporate internal recruiting and staffing functions, please call toll free 800-635-9063.

This is Peter Clayton reporting, thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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