The other week I had an opportunity to chat with a friend of mine, Leela Sreenivasan from LinkedIn, about my thought process in deciding to leave the corporate world and launch a new business. She was working on a blog post for the LinkedIn Talent Blog and gathering thoughts from me and a fellow new entrepreneur from the talent world, Kara Yarnot (@klyarnot).
In reading the post, I was struck by the similarities between Kara and my paths to starting a business. Both of us had great full-time roles we enjoyed. Both of our moves were triggered in some way by internal drivers within our organizations. We both cited the influence and impact of our networks in supporting our decisions. We also shared the same sentiment about what we felt we’d miss most in making this decision – leading and mentoring teams. The similarities were quite interesting.
Kara’s company, Meritage Talent Solutions, was launched to “disrupt the talent acquisition process and marketplace by providing a blend of solutions to impact the way companies acquire talent”. She has the experience and vision to make a big impact in our space. I look forward to watching Kara and Meritage’s growth.
You can read more about Kara and my views on launching a new business in the original post below.
Have you ever considered striking out on your own? If you think you’re ready to climb out of the corporate recruiting trenches and advise your peers, read on.
In the last several months, two of my favorite corporate talent acquisition leaders stepped away from high-profile corporate roles to launch their own consulting firms. First Kara Yarnot, who previously ran the Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence for Fortune 500 company SAIC, resigned and launched Meritage Talent Solutions. Then Lars Schmidt gave up his Senior Director role at NPR to focus on his new business, Amplify Talent.
In speaking to both, I identified certain commonalities in their stories (beyond, coincidentally, both of them living in the Washington DC metro area). As they struck out on their own, our protagonists each had the following 5 things going for them:
1. The sudden impetus to go out and do it.
Both Kara and Lars were sitting pretty in their previous jobs – until a business shift made them rethink their careers. In Kara’s case, SAIC split into two separate companies, heralding change for the Talent Acquisition function. And while Lars had been mulling over the opportunity for a while, the catalyst was the departure of his VP HR and the resulting team re-alignment.
2. A powerful and extensive network.
Kara and Lars assert that who they know will be vital to their success. “Our community is incredibly supportive, even to those of us who ‘change sides’,” said Kara. “I have a large number of connections that have given me advice, sent me leads, reviewed my marketing materials and challenged my business model. I will be forever grateful for all of the advice and counsel.”
Lars agrees that “If you’ve worked hard to cultivate a network, they will be there for you.” For him, launching the business “really reinforced to me how important relationships are – a core learning for any new entrepreneur.”
3. Determination and know-how to drive wholesale change.
Whether you work in Talent Acquisition or any other function, change management is not for the faint-hearted. But apparently it’s something that both Kara and Lars run towards, not flee from. Before launching her firm, Kara did explore other more mainstream careers, “to be sure that other corporate opportunities weren’t going to meet my need for regular change and disruption.” When they didn’t, Meritage Talent Solutions was born. Having heard her speak with authority on the power of pilots and working on ‘small, manageable chunks’ to make change stick, I know she embraces that challenge.
Similarly, Lars notes how “most recruiting teams today are so heads-down with their requisition loads that they have a hard time thinking differently about how to engage and attract talent.” If your recruiting organization is ‘bogged down in transaction mode’ and needs help thinking differently, Lars says he’s your man.
You can read the rest of the post, 5 Things You Need to Form Your Own Talent Acquisition Consulting Shop, on the LinkedIn Talent blog.
It’s that time of the year again – SXSW voting. This is a three-week period where pundits, experts, thought leaders, ninjas, gurus, aaaaaand other folks with ideas to share (that’s me) pander for your votes. I’m teaming up with Jessica Miller-Merrell (Xceptional HR, Blogging4Jobs), Mark Babbitt (YouTern), and Tim McDonald (Huffington Post) to have a spirited discussion on brand ambassadors.
Here’s my pitch:
Many organizations are exploring the concept, and execution, of brand ambassadors. This is not without risk, and there have been some high-profile missteps of orgs that got it wrong. I’m a firm believer in the strategy if the right organizational foundation is in place. We’re hoping to explore both sides at SXSWi.
You can learn more about the session we pitched below. If you would do me a solid and click the link below to vote for our panel, I would be grateful. If you’re new to SXSW panel picker, you’ll be asked to create a log-in.
Brand Ambassadors: Risky Business or Pure Genius?
In today’s social world, many companies are broadsided by an unflattering pic-gone-viral, a rogue tweet or a cause-driven virtual lynch mob.
There are also organizations riding social media to extreme benefit; their employer branding, recruiting and online reputations have made them far more competitive. How? By leveraging the passion of their employees as brand ambassadors.
These ambassadors enthusiastically serve as champions for their employer’s brand. In the wake of their passion comes employee referrals, customer testimonials and word-of-mouth advocacy far more effective than traditional advertising.
“When we say it about us, it’s marketing. When others say it about us, it’s branding!”
- This expert panel will discuss employees-as-ambassadors, including:
- The cultures that enable brand ambassadors to thrive organically
- How to leverage ambassadors in HR, marketing, and employer and product branding
- Trend-setters and companies worthy of emulation
- The ROI of social ambassadors
- With social media so prevalent and sites like Glassdoor, the candidate experience is more important than ever. How can companies turn job applicants into brand ambassadors?
- Employees are the most under-utilized resource companies have when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing and brand advocacy. Why aren’t more companies taking advantage of “employees as ambassadors”?
- What elements of company culture combine to create an environment where social brand ambassadors are not only discovered and nurtured, but thrive?
- What companies are already doing this well? What makes them more successful than other organizations who have perhaps failed at social ambassadorship (and perhaps social media)?
- Every manager, leader and C-level executive wants to know: “What is the ROI of social recruiting”? How is that question best answered? What metrics do we track? How do we account for the intangibles brand ambassadors bring to the table?
Recruiting is no longer a subset function of the HR team. The key to competing in today’s global talent market is engaging your colleagues to help with your recruiting efforts. Networking, branding, conferences, referrals – all are key components of a successful recruiting strategy.
As a talent leader at a non-profit with limited resources, this has been an important factor for our recruiting team. We’re constantly exploring new ways to engage our colleagues, and make it easy for them to contribute to NPR’s collective talent scouting efforts.
You never know when you might meet your next co-worker – conferences, meet-ups, coffee, PTA meeting, wherever. We wanted to develop an easy way for our colleagues to connect prospects with our various recruiting channels. That led us to create the ‘recruiting calling card’ below. It’s a business card-size summary of many of our key recruiting channels.
A few months ago I attempted to make a video job description with a colleague for a new paid internship we just opened for Generation Listen. It bombed. Our intentions were in the right place, but our execution missed. I’ve tried a few others. Some turned out okay, so were so bad they couldn’t make a blooper real. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned so far as I’ve experimented with video.
Here are some of the things we got wrong:
- No script. The idea to make the above mentioned video was spontaneous. We thought having an unscripted discussion about the opportunity was the best way to convey our excitement about the role. While I don’t necessarily think you need to have every word scripted, having at least an outline of what you plan to cover is a better way to go.
- No plan. If you’re developing a solo shot video (maybe of the hiring manager) with no editing you’re good to go. If there are two or more people in the shot, you need to have an idea of when you’ll kick it back and forth to each other. Natural banter is good, awkward transitions are not.
- Time of day matters. Shooting a video late in the day is probably not the way to go. You’re punchy, it’s late.
- Setting matters. What’s your ideal backdrop? We ended up doing several takes from a variety of angles to find one we liked for video two below. Is there a black background? Remember black shirt = floating head.
- K.I.S.S. Unless you have experienced multimedia pros in your arsenal – keep it simple, and keep it short. No one wants to sit through a lengthy pitch. Have a point and get to it soon. I was excited about this Q&A with our VP, Programming to promote hiring for the new TED Radio Hour show – but at 5+ minutes, even I had a hard time watching the entire thing. Continue reading
I’m writing this at 30,000 feet as I’m on my way to Las Vegas for LinkedIn’s annual global user conference, Talent Connect. I’ll admit, I’m a LinkedIn homer, and a devoted fan since I joined in February of 2005.
I admired their strategy to build market share and focus on becoming the de facto professional social network, before looking for more way to monetize their site and offerings. I’m a tech geek with an affinity towards mobile apps, and LinkedIn has strong iOS offerings that really provide a lot of value for recruiters. The Outlook calendar integration in particular, and tools like CardMunch, are huge time savers with practical use for mobile recruiters.
Today’s recruiters have to be mobile, engaging the populations where their organizations recruit, and evangelizing for their companies at every opportunity. These are some of the benefits LinkedIn provides that I mentioned in a contribution to George Anders recent Forbes cover story on LinkedIn.
So, yes, I’m a fan. What am I looking forward to over the next three days in Las Vegas? Continue reading
Dice has been doing a tremendous job in partnering and advocating in the HR social media space. They developed a great YouTube channel and have engaged recruiting leaders like Sarah White to get tips from a broad range of human resource professionals. Here is an interview I did with them following my presentations at ERE’s Recruiting Innovation Summit earlier this year.
We were fortunate to recently be featured by The Daily Muse in their ‘Inspiring Places To Work’ series. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a community of bloggers based out of NYC who share career advice on a broad range of topics. Earlier this year they started a new feature where they put together multimedia online presentations on different organization including Mashable, Foursquare, Pinterest, Warby Parker, Klout, Tumblr and more. You can read an article Fast Company did on these features here. It was very cool to have NPR included with so many companies at the forefront of digital innovation. You can check it out here. Continue reading