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The Big Picture 2017 - Craig Fisher, Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies

Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn, Employer Branding, Inside CA, Mobile Recruiting and More!


Craig Fisher, Head of Employer Brand CA Technologies - TotalPicture Radio interview with Peter ClaytonCraig Fisher

"I believe your company's most unique feature is it's people. Give them a voice." Craig Fisher

This is straight from Craig Fisher's LinkedIn summary: Head of Employer Brand at CA Technologies : Host of LINKEDIN TRAINING Dallas events : Inbound Recruitment Advocate, Social Media + Employer Branding SPEAKER for sales, marketing, + recruiting. Purveyor of the 5:1 give to ask content ratio.

Craig leads employer branding at CA Technologies. His digital branding methods have been adopted as best practices by companies like Linkedin, Zappos, YUM! Brands, Hootsuite, + many more. He's the author of Inbound Recruiting, and a popular keynote speaker at tech, social media, HR recruiting, and sales conferences worldwide.

Craig will be speaking at the Employer Branding Conference in Chicago this May.

Welcome to a Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio, I'm your host and Podcast Protagonist, Peter Clayton.


Craig, It's been a long time -- if I remember, it was a Recruiting Trends Conference in Las Vegas several years ago where we first met and I interviewed you. And now we're both part of the volunteer CandE council. I'm really happy to have you back on TPR.

I want to get your thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn -- after all, you partnered in the first LinkedIn certified training - What impact is Microsoft going to have?

Do you think LinkedIn Groups are going to survive? LinkedIn has done away with the 50 limit group restriction. Do you think that is a result of Facebook's success in establishing groups.

I'm going to quote from you eBook, Inbound Recruiting, "Posting core values (culture content) on job descriptions can be the best attractor of the right person." -- Have you ever figured out why most job ads are so bad?

I'd like you to discuss your role at CA as head of employer brand - I think is rather unique.

CA invests significant resources in your YouTube channel on a wide variety of topics -- have over 1,000 videos posted - one of the most popular called Winning in the App Economy has close to 340,000 downloads. How do you determine the ROI and get buy-in from senior management?

You mentioned to me that CA grows by acquisition - how does that impact recruiting?

I want to talk about mobile recruiting (a topic near and dear to my heart); You were recently interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition, (listeners, you find the link to the interview on Craig's show notes) you said CA gets half of its job applicants through mobile - you must have made it very easy.

Speaking about candidate attraction and the candidate experience, what's it like applying for a job at CA? Are job seekers required to use your ATS?

Where do you advertise your jobs?

Once a candidate applies what are the steps your recruiters take to evaluate the application and communicate with the candidate?

I'd like to switch gears to social media: It's fair to say you're a prolific tweeter. How do you manage your account? What tools do you use?

Craig created the first Twitter Chat for recruiters called #TalentNet tell us about it.

You're a big fan of Instagram - what do you like about the platform?

Here's the obligatory question for this time of year. What TA technologies or trends do you see for 2017?

What didn't I ask that you would like to share with our audience?

What's the best way to connect with you?

TotalPicture Radio Transcript Craig Fisher 

Welcome to TotalPicture Radio.  I'm your host, Peter Clayton.  Today's big picture channel podcast featuring Craig Fisher, head of employer brand CA Technologies, is sponsored by Jobs in Pods, the cleverest way to advertise your jobs and employer brand..  Jobs in Pods is a podcast, a jobcast, a blog and a YouTube video all on one platform.  Visit jobsinpods.com where real employers talk about their jobs and tell you how to get them.  Recruiters and HR managers mention TPR when you book your first jobcast for a $50 discount.  That's jobsinpods.com.  

Now, here's our interview with Fishdogs, Craig Fisher.

This is straight from Craig Fisher's LinkedIn summary:  Head of Employer Brand at CA Technologies, Host of LinkedIn Training Dallas events, Inbound Recruitment Advocate, Social Media and Employer Branding Speaker for Sales, Marketing, and Recruiting, Purveyor of the 5:1 Give-To-Ask Content Ratio.  

Craig leads Employer Branding at CA Technologies.  His digital branding methods have been adopted as best practices by companies like LinkedIn, Zappos, Yum brands, Hootsuite and many more.  He is the author of Inbound Recruiting and a popular keynote speaker at tech, social media, HR recruiting and sales conferences worldwide.  He will be speaking at the Employer Branding Conference in Chicago this May.  You'll find links to this and other resources on Craig's show page on TotalPicture Radio.  

Peter:  Welcome to a big picture channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio.  I'm delighted to have Craig Fisher back on the show.  It's been a long time and if I remember, it was a recruiting trends conference in Las Vegas several years ago where we first met and I interviewed you and now we're both part of the CandEs council, the Candidate Experience Awards.

Craig, thanks so much for taking time to speak with us today here on TotalPicture Radio.  Welcome, Craig.

Craig:  It's great to be here, Peter.  Thanks for having me.

Peter:  Thanks.  First, I want to get your thoughts on Microsoft's acquisition of LinkedIn.  After all, you partnered to deliver the first LinkedIn certified training; so what impact do you think Microsoft is going to have?

Craig:  I think the impact is massive, to say the least.  They finally officially announced the merger or acquisition just a couple of weeks ago and they haven't talked much about really what's going to happen, but they all say, Jeff Weiner, the Microsoft people - they all say that it's going to be nothing short of massively impactful to knowledge workers in businesses everywhere.  

If you think about what happens now with Microsoft with all the connected pieces of Microsoft Office, Yammer, Outlook, Documents, etc., Microsoft is continually gathering information in these places, sort of behind the scenes with what they call their office graph to make those tools more productive for you and to make sure you are better connected to the people in your networks, your contacts, etc., to share and collaborate.  So now, Microsoft has access to data from 400 million LinkedIn members in addition to the contact information that they already have through Outlook, and it's going to be easier to connect.  So when your Microsoft apps are open and probably conversely when your LinkedIn app is open, there's going to be a more connected experience with documents and productivity that goes way beyond sort of what LinkedIn limits us to at this point.

Peter:  Interesting.  When we spoke before, you had mentioned that you think there is a good chance that some form of LinkedIn will get connected directly to your Outlook.

Craig:  I think that's absolutely true.  LinkedIn has a social graph and Microsoft has its office graph, which sort of, again, works behind the scenes.  Most people probably don't even know that it exists, but imagine the power of collaborating those two things and if you can imagine some of the apps that we have in browser extensions now that pop up to give us social information about people in our contacts, in Gmail, and other places like that; how powerful would it be to have your LinkedIn contact information right there in Outlook and be able to connect with everyone in your inbox automatically through LinkedIn.

Peter:  Yeah, that would be pretty awesome, wouldn't it?

Craig:  I think so, yeah.

Peter:  A rumor mill topic is that LinkedIn groups will not survive.  LinkedIn has done away with the 15-limit group restrictions.  Do you think that's a result of Facebook's success in establishing groups?  I find the groups on Facebook to be far more engaging and interactive than they are on LinkedIn, which seem to me to be much more transactional.

Craig:  It was not officially announced, but sort of unofficially/officially that groups are going away.  I'm not sure how true that rumor is but we talk about it in actually a Google group of LinkedIn experts on a fairly regular basis these days and so that's the funny thing, right?  Facebook has done an amazing job of activating groups and getting participation and it really pushes the activity there to every device you have and Google+ groups are still actually really good.  

What's not good and what Huffington Post called a ghost town last spring is LinkedIn groups.  

Peter:  Right.

Craig:  And so it's no wonder that they started limiting what you could do as an administrator with groups awhile back, messaging all group members at once and other things, and downloading contact lists.  So the participation is low and there's a good reason for it because there's just not much utility there.

Peter:  I'm going to quote from your eBook, which is called Inbound Recruiting which you can find on Craig's LinkedIn.  Posting core values (cultural content) on job descriptions can be the best attractor of the right person.  Craig, have you ever figured out why most job ads suck so bad?  I mean they're terrible.  Right?

Craig:  Yeah, they're terrible and I'll tell you why.  There's a few good reasons.  So, compliance issues rule the day most of the time and the templates for these job ads were mostly written many years ago and they don't change much.  So when a hiring manager goes to enter a job, verbiage is  grabbed from the last job mostly that was similar to this and entered into the new job, and so that just continues to go and go and go until somebody puts a stop to it.  

There's a thing now that is getting to be popular called a two step or a multistep apply process that corporations are starting to do to increase the candidate experience to a better level.  So, rather than filling out a really long application, the first time you ever tried to apply to a job you might see a snippet of a job ad and apply sort as an interested party with just your email address and name and then if things progress, you might be asked to move on to add some more information to an application.  But the same now goes for that job description if you want to see more, you click here, but you can float something out there that is making it easier to access and not have to read so much boilerplate nonsense.  

So, one of these days we're going to see beautiful job descriptions all over the place that talk to the reader as a friend would tell another friend about their job, and that's what we need.  We need to get to that point, and the boilerplate stuff should be stuck in a footer and that takes care of the legal issues.  

Peter:  Yeah, I think that's an excellent idea.  I have started to see that with some companies because the drop off rate is just too massive, especially for the good candidates, the ones that they're really trying to attract.

Craig:  It is, and companies that are doing a good job of recruitment marketing and employer branding now track heat map data from Google Analytics and other tools that show where candidates actually drop off on that application process and we now have tools that pop up and say 'wait, don't go.  Join our talent community so we can keep in touch with you,' things like that.  And so these standard marketing tools for lead pages, lead capture pages, are being employed in the recruitment space for job applicants and they work really well.

Peter:  I'd like you to spend some time discussing your role at CA as Head of the Employer Brand.  I think that's a rather unique job title.

Craig:  It really is.  I've got a technical title of Director of Marketing and Communications for Talent Acquisition Americas, but what everyone calls me in the organization is the Head of Global Employer Branding.  I do have a global team of marketers.  There's six and a half of us.  We have a part time graphic design resource that we utilize.  We're stationed all over the world.  A few of us are stationed right here where I am in Dallas, that's my local team and we've got a couple in London, one in India.

The cool thing about this is most organizations aren't sort of forward thinking enough to say yeah, we want to attract better talent but we want to hire our own team to do that and that team isn't recruiters because that's not a recruiter's job.  That team is experts in marketing and can create targeted Facebook advertisements that bring a candidate to a really beautiful landing page that shares video from people doing the job and capturing those leads in a talent community and actually doing something with marketing campaigns beyond that and retargeting those candidates.  

So you lose fewer candidates.  You reincorporate more people that were just curious at some point.  You can use these powerful networks to build what we call boomerang groups.  What used to be alumni organizations are now retargeting those people to come back to the organization and that works really well and your internal employee community... how do you do mobility within the organization better - all these things are the fun things that my team gets to do and I get to come up with the crafty ways in which we go about doing it.  

The other fun thing that I'm really passionate about is getting your company's own employees to sort of spread the company culture online and even in Friday afternoon barbecue conversations with their friends and neighbors.  The idea that an Employer Brand exists in a vacuum and is created in some conference room by a few people in corporate marketing that doesn't anymore.  People don't believe it.  They believe things that are shared by people they know, not organizations and branding.

I'm really passionate about our employee advocacy platform and you can see, for instance, our Life at CA Instagram page that most of what we've shared there is things that our other employees have shared using #lifeatCA and we're sharing their stories more than trying to sell a corporate brand.

Peter:  Well speaking about video, you invest significant resources in your YouTube channel on a wide variety of topics.  You have over a thousand videos posted.  One of the most popular called "Winning in the App Economy" has close to 340,000 views.  How do you determine the ROI of this and get buy-in from senior management for this type of initiative?

Craig:  One of the things that's really important to remember is that a company's culture and products and people grow and change on a regular basis.  We're big believers in keeping that content fresh.  Some of it's sort of evergreen, and you can go way back and see sort of the history of CA through these videos, but we try to make sure that there's real current information out there for our clients and prospects and potential new employees to see and understand really what we're all about today.  So the corporate buy-in is there.  Our CEO, Mike Gregoire is 100 percent behind this and loves it, participates, let's us do our thing.  Our corporate marketing team is great.  And at a company like CA Technologies, which is 11,000 people, a $5 billion company, there's a marketing team for each vertical within our organization.  I've got a marketing team and talent acquisition, which is 100 people in the talent acquisition team.  Notably, we're all there through an RPO company called Allegis Global Solution.  So Allegis has done a really good job of helping CA sort of stay current and modern as well, and all this combines to give us sort of the flexibility to do these things on the fly.

Not all of our videos are really professionally done and cost money.  We have a lot of what we call shaky cam videos, which are really good as well.

Peter:  Yeah.  Millennials love them because they're authentic and that comes through.  Something you just said, Craig, that is so important, it all starts at the top with the CEO.  If the CEO of an organization believes in this kind of stuff, it's going to happen.  

Craig:  That's right.  He's great at leading by example.  He's out speaking at events and has regular town hall meetings with the entire organization.  We get to see and hear him a lot.  It's great leadership that's driving the real change at CA Technologies.

Peter:  You mentioned to me when we talked earlier that CA grows by acquisition.  How does that impact recruiting and your job?  

Craig:  Like most software companies, that's how things happen.  You want to enter a space like agile development and you acquire a great company like we did called Rally Software, which is an amazing agile development company and they were (still are) really popular in the agile space but they've got a different culture in their offices than we do in some of our other offices.  

As CA is growing and evolving sort of the gray cube areas are disappearing from our legacy offices and we're growing into a more sort of modern agile space type of organization.  We don't just do that agile development or create agile development environments for companies to do software development.  We actually have these agile spaces all over many of our offices now.  

If you look at our profile on TheMuse.com, for instance, you can see different offices have sort of different personalities, and so that means we have a few different employer brands that we have to market to potential candidates.  So we're not just one thing, we're not just the office in Framingham, Massachusetts; we're in over 40 countries around the world and there's a different personality all over the place.  The employer brand is not a static thing; it's, again, more about the people in those places and those are the stories we try to share.  

Peter:  That's great.  I want to talk to you about mobile recruiting, a topic that's near and dear to my heart, with Jobs in Pods.  You were interviewed recently on NPR's morning edition (listeners, you can find the link to that interview on Craig's show page) and you said CA gets half of its job applications through mobile.  You must have made it really easy.

Craig:  Yeah, and that's actually a really common thing for a lot of companies now.  So, it's maybe an iPad device.  It's maybe a mobile phone device, a smartphone, but we get an enormous number of applications through mobile devices and that's sort of the growing trend in this economy.  If your company's application is not mobile optimized, then you're really missing out on a lot of good prospects.

Yes, we made it really easy.  Our careers page is a flexible page and appears good on any kind of device and it's easy to navigate.  We're working on shortening again that structure of the application so that we have a two-stage or a multistage apply process.  What we've done more than anything is just give potential applicants an easy way on mobile devices to join our talent community and then opt in for more later.

Peter:  That's really smart.  So, once a candidate applies, what are the steps your recruiters take to evaluate that application and communicate back with that candidate?

Craig:  We've done an interesting thing.  A couple of years ago, we sort of audited ourselves and found that more than half of our applicants weren't getting any sort of response at all when they send their application in, other than the automated response that says "Yes, we received your application."  And so we determined to make that a more human experience - and we hired people who had been our recruitment coordinators to basically become what we call... well, we'll just say they screen every applicant that comes through the door, and they're fairly amazing at it.  

So they put applicants into a Yes/No/Maybe pile and if you are not going to be moved on to a recruiter interview or for a recruiter to review, then you get a personal email from our screeners there that says 'thank you for applying.  We appreciate it.  We don't have this right job for you right now, but we may down the line.  Please join our talent community and keep in touch.  Here's my phone number, here's my name.  I'm a real person, etc.  We appreciate you.'

Everyone gets a personal note back saying if they're rejected right off the bat, keep trying, we want to keep up with your career.  Those who don't go into the Yes pile or the Maybe pile and then a recruiter will contact them.  But these responses come now within 24 hours of an application from a live person, and it's made a tremendous impact.  I've received multiple emails from candidates saying "Hey, Craig, I got rejected, but it was great because someone actually contacted me." And that rarely ever happens.  

Peter:  You're so right.   Just that human interaction, that human contact, somebody taking the time to reach out on a personal level really changes the whole dynamic for a job candidate then they know and there's a real person behind it instead of just an automated response.  

Craig:  This team we call talent assessors do a really amazing job and they get a lot of love from the organization for a good reason.  It's not an expensive thing to do.  It's just the smart thing to do, and it really has made a difference.

Peter:  I want return to Instagram for a minute which you mentioned that you do video things with.  I know you're a big fan of it.  What do you like so much about this platform?

Craig:  Instagram is great for a lot of reasons, but I think that it's great to tell your company story in a visual format because it's quick and it's easy to see what's going on.  Most Instagram posts have a very short description, and what we have now in the sort of app economy and the digital native economy is short attention spans to read long job descriptions, for instance, or long narratives about what your company is all about.  When people go to your company's website, again, we have now a heat map data that says they don't really scroll below the fold of the first page and you need to put all the interesting stuff right at the top.  

The visual format is perfect for showing real people in your organization and reposting their posts and then creating sort of a little bio posts about actual people.  

The other thing that's great about Instagram is you can now share those posts with other people and we use this great ratio of what I've always called the 5:1 give-to-ask ratio, which is don't just post your job openings or your blog posts or your white papers or surveys; give something to your community that is valuable to them.  Pictures of real of people and culture and activities and doing service in the community and things like that - those are all gives.  Those aren't asking any action on the part of the viewer and then every once in a while saying "Oh by the way, we're hiring" is great and if you can do that in a visual format on a square tile on the Instagram, it has good impact and we track the links from Instagram to applications and we really get amazing traction there.

The other cool thing is Facebook paid $1.6 billion for Instagram and they're still sort of propping up that investment by making Instagram a priority in the newsfeed.  So it gets us good placement there as well.

Peter:  Here's the obligatory question this time of year - what technologies, especially talent acquisition technologies, or trends do you see in 2017?  

Craig:  Right.  There are numerous apps now that help you write better, Hemingway and other apps like that.  I think you'll see those types of tools used to help job descriptions get written better and more concisely and in better verbiage and language that speaks to the sort of demographic you're trying to reach.  I really think that employee engagement platforms are going to be more prevalent.  We use a tool called Cue Social, which is... it basically gives a number of brand champions in our organization a text message with a link to an article that we've already preformatted for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posting, and they can just touch 1, 2, 3, which of these do I want to share it with and push go and share that article.  It's got photos attached to it, whatever.  It's again, this 5:1 give-to-ask content ratio, so it's a lot more information on how job seekers can find jobs better or how people can be more productive in their daily life, and it helps employees build their networks versus just saying 'hey, share our company news.'  

So, I think you're going to see more of that.  I go all over the world speaking at conferences and to companies talking about this sort of activity and I think it's starting to sink in - not just for me, but in general.  And that's really about inbound recruitment.  So any tool that helps with inbound recruitment is going to be popular, but I think employee advocacy is going to be a big deal.  

Peter:  Wow, that's some great information.  Craig, it's really been great to have an opportunity to speak with you today here on Total Picture.  What's the best way for our listeners to connect with you?

Craig:  So you can get to my blog and my sort of corporate Craig page at craigfisher.info and fishdogs.com.  It all goes to the same place, and all my contact information is there and you can connect with me on multiple places.  I'm on Instagram and Twitter @Fishdogs as well, and reach out and connect with me.  I'm going to be an open networker on LinkedIn for as long as they'll let me, that's a great place to connect with me as well and I connect with lots of people on Facebook.  I'm social.  I'm out there.

Peter:  You sure are.  You use Twitter a lot.  How do you manage that account and keep so much content - is this a Cue Social thing that you're using to keep so much content on your Twitter feed?

Craig:  A couple of things.  Cue Social is one and we only push out one post per day through Cue Social, but we've noticed that the 80 brand champions that we have on that platform, their networks don't completely overlap.  They only overlap by about 10 or 15 percent.  So, we're reaching a whole lot of new people every time we do that, which is great.

Personally, I also use a tool called Hootsuite Suggestions.  Hootsuite is a great social listening platform that you can connect all your social network and even LinkedIn groups and things like that to, and monitor and post to just about every place at once.  It's amazing and you can track hashtags there and things like that, but they also have a publishing piece to Hootsuite that will allow you to input RSS feeds to post every article that comes from certain blogs or websites that you know and love.  There's also this little app called Suggestions that is an iPhone app or a smartphone app that you get to input three topics into.  My topics are LinkedIn, apps and recruiting (big shocker there), and when you open the app, it shows you all the latest articles written and shared and that are popular about those topics, and you can swipe right to share now or swipe left to share later.  When you do that, it will post those articles over the week at peak times when your audience is most likely to see them.  

Hootsuite Suggestions is one of the greatest tools.  I share that in almost every presentation or training that I do, internal or external, and I highly encourage.  It costs $4.99 to get past the initial few posts that you can share - $4.99, and it's well worth it.  I'm a big fan of Hootsuite.  My podcast partner, Lars Schmidt and I got to go out to Hootsuite  a couple of years ago and train their recruitment team on social recruiting, and we found out at that time that they are about 10% canine in that office in Vancouver.  There was a dog in our training class with us, which was really cool.

Peter:  That's great.

Craig:  I've got a sort of lifetime pro-membership to Hootsuite and use all their extra tools to great advantage.

Peter:  Well, again Craig, thanks so much for speaking with us today here on TotalPicture Radio.  It's been awesome to catch up with you again.

Craig:  Thanks, Peter.  I appreciate the time.

Today's show featuring Craig Fisher, Head of Employer Brand, CA Technologies was brought to you by JobsinPods.  It's a podcast, a jobcast, and a YouTube video all on one platform where real employers and staffing agencies advertise their jobs and tell you how to get them.  

Recruiters and HR managers, if you're looking for a mobile first employment branding and social recruiting marketing solution where your job posting will have a real voice, talk to me about Jobs in Pods.  Join the conversation on our Facebook page, facebook.com/realjobcasts and follow us on Twitter @JobsinPods.  

This is Peter Clayton.  You'll find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and TotalPicture Radio's Facebook group.  Thanks for listening.  Have a great week.

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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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