Our work in the recruiting and employer brand space has been featured in Fast Company, Mashable, Washington Post, Tech Cocktail, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Forbes, Social Media Examiner, SHRM, ERE, and more. Lars shared his views on the intersection of recruiting and brand as a regular contributor to Fast Company, Forbes, TechCo, LinkedIn Talent Blog, SHRM, ERE, and more. The collection below includes quotes and original authored posts for other publications.
Fast Company - Four Job Skills The Leaders Of The Future Will Need
Times are changing. According to a recent report issued by HR Open Source (HROS), the community platform for HR professionals that I cofounded, 68% of current HR professionals have worked in fields outside of human resources. Inevitably, they’re steadily cross-pollinating the HR function with new skills and ideas that organizations should be all too eager to embrace. Still, modern HR requires more than a semantic shift from “human resources” to “people operations.” It requires broader capabilities and job skills than have typically been demanded of HR professionals in the past–allowing them to tackle critical issues ranging from sexual harassment to emerging recruiting technologies, not to mention a business and industry acumen to rival their executive peers.
Wiley - Employer Branding for Dummies
Employer Branding For Dummies is the clear, no-nonsense guide to attracting and retaining top talent. Written by two of the most recognized leaders in employer brand, Richard Mosley and Lars Schmidt, this book gives you actionable advice and expert insight you need to build, scale, and measure a compelling brand. You'll learn how to research what makes your company stand out, the best ways to reach the people you need, and how to convince those people that your company is the ideal place to exercise and develop their skills. The book includes ways to identify the specific traits of your company that aligns with specific talent, and how to translate those traits into employer brand tactic that help you draw the right talent, while repelling the wrong ones. You'll learn how to build and maintain your own distinctive, credible employer brand; and develop a set of relevant, informative success metrics to help you measure ROI. This book shows you how to discover and develop your employer brand to draw the quality talent you need.
You’re just coming off that promotion you’d been angling for, and feeling great about the bump in pay, added responsibilities, bigger team, and the chance to make a deeper impact. You’re still settling into the new position, so the last thing on your mind is your next role after that. But maybe it should be.
The point isn’t to encourage paranoid, presumptuous, or premature action–it’s just to make it clear that there are risks to not planning at least one step ahead, no matter what–as I’ve learned firsthand. A few years back, I was a rising star in a public company that was grooming me to succeed our chief people officer. I moved cross-country for a promotion that put me on the leadership career path I was excited about. My future at company was bright, so I focused single-mindedly on rising up the ranks there. That was my mistake.
Forbes - The End of Culture Fit
The notion of hiring for culture fit was established as a foundation of many corporate recruiting processes. The term was embedded in career sites, integrated into interview processes, and touted as a competitive advantage for many organizations in the tech community. Over the years, the term has taken on more of a tribal meaning. People who think like us. People who work like us. People who live like us. Please who look like us. A hiring process built around an undefined notion of "culture fit" is fraught with bias. In some organizations “culture fit” has become a weaponized phrase that interviewers use as a blanket term to reject candidates that don’t match the hiring manager’s view of the ideal candidate; and as such, it has become the embodiment of unconscious bias. Most interviewers are more likely to hire people like themselves and discount those who are different. This type of thinking hinders diversity and leads to homogenous cultures.
Fast Company - Why HR Needs To Go Open Source
At least that’s the theory we set out to test with HROS when I cofounded the platform in 2015 with Ambrosia Vertesi, Duo Security’s VP people, first as a pilot program with Hootsuite and shortly thereafter as a standalone, public initiative. From the start we’ve asked users to lay out the “how” of their efforts in a prescriptive level of detail, plus dish on their failures and pitfalls so others can avoid repeating them. So far, HR professionals from major companies like Cisco, Virgin Media, Dell, GoDaddy, and others have all proved willing to do so.
This creates a sense of community–and a collective intellect–that minimizes inflated fears of losing a competitive edge. Beyond the case studies and curated resources, HROS users trade ideas, knowledge, and expertise in real time through the organization’s Facebook group. What’s more, they save their companies money in the process. Practitioners don’t hesitate to ask questions about issues their employers might otherwise hire consultants to solve, or pay fees for access to research reports and training materials.
According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016, 59% of companies are investing more in their employer brand compared to last year. Five years ago the field of employer branding was just emerging on the scene as a focused effort for recruiting teams. Today it’s a core component of a comprehensive talent strategy.
While this makes sense in today’s connected candidate marketplace, an over-emphasis on talent attraction and hiring without equal emphasis on development and retention will create problems for companies in the new year.
It used to be that the only way to climb a career ladder was to pick up more skills. Learn how to do X, get paid more for it, and earn job-title Y. Up you went. Each new capability you mastered got you to that “next level,” either inside your current company or at a different one. Today, many of those ladders have fallen and shattered, with just a few left standing. Lately there have been efforts to hammer together some new ones, with new skills–usually tech-based–like cybersecurity or coding expertise held up as the new keys to staying competitive in the future job market.
That isn’t exactly wrong. Some skill sets really are in higher demand than others, so it makes sense to counsel undergrads and entry-level workers to brush up in certain subject areas in order to gain an edge. But this kind of advice still reflects a “ladder-climbing” mind-set in a world that’s looking a lot more like a lattice, where talent–and people’s entire careers–are much more fluid.
Recruiting is no longer a transactional field. It’s now a creative field. This shift runs deeper than the cosmetic rebrand to “talent acquisition”. As competition for top talent increases, companies have to rethink how they can stand out to draw talent. This new landscape puts increased pressure on recruiting teams to find news ways to stand out and cut through the noise – and this is mainly being accomplished through storytelling.
“Lars Schmidt, owner of the employer branding agency Amplify Talent and cofounder of HR Open Source, an open-source HR platform, explains the power of the dual messaging: “From a consumer brand standpoint, GE wants to reposition itself as a digital industrial company. From an employer brand standpoint, it’s trying to reintroduce itself as a place young technologists can go and do meaningful work.”
"Human resources (HR) is one of the most unsexy parts of any organization, but no matter the size or company age it’s a necessary component to operating properly. Companies need to recruit, hire, retain, and keep people happy, but the industry is a bit out-of-date, and typically follow certification programs that don’t cater to the largest growing workforce: Millennials. A new initiative, HR Open Source – created by Amplify Talent’s Lars Schmidt and Duo Security’s Ambrosia Vertesi – is looking to change all of this and then some."
How many tabs do you have open in your browser right now? How many emails have you responded to today? How many videos have you watched?
There has never been more competition for our eyes and ears. We're awash in stimuli almost every waking moment. The constant bombardment of our senses is chipping away at an already limited attention span.
To cut through the noise, media organizations are embracing personalization. Audio has been doing this for awhile with Pandora, Spotify and others serving up tailored playlists based on your musical tastes. Established broadcasters like NPR, have followed suit. Netflix is famous for their personalized content suggestion. All of these efforts are an attempt to get and maintain attention by catering to their audience's specific needs.
Think about the last time you looked for a job. What was that process like for you? How many interviews did you walk away from feeling valued, important, and relevant? What about feeling human?
Knowing he was up against a battery of automated “applicant tracking systems” (ATS), one industrious job seeker recently tried to fight fire with fire. As Robert Coombs told Fast Company last month, he cobbled together a bot to apply to thousands of job openings in one go, customizing his application materials to each listing. It was an epic failure. “It doesn’t matter if you submit two, three, or 10 times as many applications as the average candidate,” Coombs concluded, “they’re rarely going to work out in your favor, for factors beyond your (or your robot’s) control.” He added, “By trying to game that system, I inadvertently learned how powerful it really is.”
Openview Partners – Why Creativity Is The New Must-Have Recruiting Skill
“The way that employer branding is maturing and evolving, to me is really interesting, because recruiting hasn’t necessarily been considered a creative space,” Schmidt says. “It was more about selling and relationships, all those kind of soft skills. But now you really need creativity, as well. You need to find new ways to reach candidates and figure out how to use new channels. There is this kind of experimental nature to it right now that really fascinates me.”
The field of recruiting has advanced significantly over the past several years. We’ve gotten smarter. We’ve expanded our marketing skills and competencies to help our organizations tell stories and build our employer brand. We’ve seen an influx of new technology that impacts almost all stages of the recruiting lifecycle. There’s never been more choices — and those advancements have created a widening gap between leaders and laggards.
We’re all at different stages of the adoption curve in recruiting, whether we’re talking practices, approaches, or technology. What if those on the leading edge opened up their playbook? What if they shared some of the resources and practices that make them great? What kind of impact would that have on our field?
RECRUITING FUTURE PODCAST – EMPLOYER BRANDING IN A DIGITAL WORLD
In this episode Matt Alder talks with Lars Schmidt of Amplify TalentEmployer branding is a much discussed and often much misunderstood topic. Over the last ten years the digital revolution has brought a significant shift in how companies are addressing the topicIn this interview Matt and Lars discuss what the modern definition of employer branding should be and how digital engagement and social media are driving thinking in this area. Lars also shares a case study about the work he has been doing with Hootsuite which embraces new technology to push the envelope on employer branding.
WALL STREET JOURNAL – THE NEW RÉSUMÉ: IT’S 140 CHARACTERS
[Lars Schmidt], senior director for talent acquisition and innovation at NPR, turned to Twitter when he moved to the nonprofit public radio company from Ticketmaster. With tighter resources, creative strategies were essential to meeting his recruiting goals. He started an @NPRJobs Twitter account and now uses it not just to broadcast job openings but to share information about NPR’s work culture, publicize openings at member stations, and build community by offering career tips.
“The people who are great aren’t always looking for jobs, and they’re not necessarily going to our career site, but they are on social media,” said Mr. Schmidt. Two of his key hires last year applied for jobs after seeing postings on the Twitter feeds of people they followed.
Mr. Schmidt says the interaction with candidates and potential candidates is what makes the tool work. He estimates he replies to about 90% of the tweets he receives. “Companies that fail at recruiting on Twitter are the ones that only use it to broadcast jobs and don’t interact with anyone. If you’re just posting jobs, it’s no better than a job board,” he said.
Recruiters spend lots of time combing through LinkedIn profiles—possibly more than many would like. After awhile, they can start to blend together, which means that whatever you can do as a job seeker to stick out from the crowd (at least in a way that reflects well on you) is probably worth trying.
At a minimum, though, you’ve got to sidestep the most common mistakes and drawbacks that recruiters encounter on LinkedIn constantly. These are some of the issues that recruiters, hiring managers, and execs who constantly use LinkedIn to staff their teams say the worst profiles have in common.
In the age of social media, we have countless outlets for job searching. Platforms such as LinkedIn are the first to come to mind, but can candidates use Twitter to find jobs as well? This past Thursday the HR teams at Twitter and NPR collaborated in the first live #NPRTwitterChat aimed at helping job seekers use social media as a job search tool. The chat was centered on six questions that received over 800 tweets from industry professionals all over the U.S., and even some from New Zealand and the UK. Below is a recap of the topics covered in the chat as well as tips you can use in your own job search. To see a cool Storify roundup of the live chat, check out Amplify Talent, the blog run by NPR’s Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and Innovation, Lars Schmidt.
At a time when many companies and organizations are trying to effectively marshal social media resources to promote their brand and attract talent, Washington-based NPR has put these platforms at the center of its recruitment strategy. It’s an approach that by nature targets a job candidate who is digitally savvy and an active user of social media.
Lars Schmidt, the organization’s senior director of talent acquisition and innovation, said he has found social media to be “a great equalizer” when competing for talent. As a nonprofit, NPR has limited dollars to put toward hiring initiatives, and Schmidt said social media allows it to better compete against other employers with bigger budgets.