A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu, Chinese Philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)
In 2011 I quit my job in SAP recruitment in London and moved to China. Little did I know what was going to happen, but I hoped that the relocation would help me change my career.
I didn’t love my job, but I didn’t strongly dislike it either. As everywhere, it had its rainy Monday mornings when commuters were rushing through the Liverpool Station. Everyone seemed stressed out and unhappy about starting a new week in the City. However, as soon as I would get inside the office and make my coffee while chatting with colleagues, it didn’t seem that bad. ‘I can do it, I can get through another week, if I only survived Monday’ I would say to myself. There was also the thrill of headhunting, the constant buzz in the office, and a lot of laughs. Life was good and the closer to the weekend the better it was becoming. Around Wednesday, emails from my friends were starting to circulate as we were preparing for another fabulous weekend in London. It rarely happens that we are entirely happy or unhappy in our job, and I guess that makes any decision harder. When is the cutting off moment when we say: “I’m done with it and ready for a new role”? Once we have reached that stage another obstacle appears – we don’t have clarity on what we WANT.
I realized that what bothered me the most about my job was the fact that I didn’t feel challenged anymore. I didn’t want to live only for the weekend. I thought about moving to internal HR, as that was one of the most common “career transitions” for agency recruiters. I was also asking myself when was the last time I was happy at my job? The answer was three years ago, working as an executive search consultant in the energy sector. With that in mind, I was considering going back to the executive search. Then my boyfriend got a job offer in Beijing. We discussed three options: a long-distance relationship, me staying in London and trying to job hunt in Beijing, or finally quitting my job and relocating together. From a recruiter perspective, I knew that being in the right location could make a huge difference. Firstly, my CV with London and the UK number on it could go into the “bin folder” in a matter of seconds. Secondly, meeting hiring managers face to face is a small difference that makes the all the difference.
While discussing relocation, we also decided to get married. Three weeks later, on a Monday morning, I was rushing through Liverpool Station to work. I was going straight from the airport and I asked my manager if we could have a meeting. He knew I just came back from Las Vegas, he wasn’t particularly surprised about the marriage decision. However, he didn’t expect the news that I was now moving to Beijing.
I was moving to a country that I haven’t visited before. I didn’t know anyone there and I didn’t speak the language. A country that scores at the top of the most difficult places to live and work in the world. The goal was to find a new career path and I was excited about it, especially about the fact that everything was going to be different.
What happened in China?
Maasa, can you please tell us about yourself?
I love being able to connect with talent digitally and in-person and especially leveraging social media to tell a story behind some of the jobs that I recruit for.
I’ve been recruiting for the last 5.5 years, working across various industries ranging from healthcare, IT, marketing, creative, retail in both agency and corporate settings. I’ve been fortunate to recruit for many top brands & companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon, and Expedia.
Social media allows recruiters to connect with prospects in a more meaningful, authentic, and engaging ways than the traditional “submit and pray” system. For me, this is the most exciting part of my job as a social recruiter. I especially love showing off “behind the scenes” content and information to talent – whether that be fun group photos of the team or writing and sharing a blog on the “human” aspect of each job, team or organization.
Your LinkedIn summary is very impressive. It has all the “right ingredients” of a powerful summary, which are: storytelling, description of what you and your company do, call to action, keywords, and imagery. How did you come up with it?
Thank you! You know, in any profession, whether you’re a sales person, marketer or an engineer – there are tons of other people who do the same job you do. If you look across my network, I’m sure you can find many recruiters who have worked for the same organization or have held similar roles and I have. Given that situation, you have to figure out a way to stand out from the herd in an authentic and memorable way.
When I wrote this particular summary of mine, I thought about few things: 1) Who am I and what is my “brand”? 2) What are things I’m particularly good at? 3) What type of stuff gets me really excited?
The first part is really important – knowing your personal brand. Beyond being a recruiter at “company A” or being a specific industry recruiter, I have my own “flavor” or brand that I represent regardless of the company I work for or team I’m on. You have to have clarity & consistency in that brand & messaging.
The second piece is also important because that’s what makes you unique and different – your superpower if you will. You definitely need to understand the value you bring to the table and be able to celebrate that differentiator.
Third is being able to articulate the area of passion. This is where I ideally like to build more of my career on, and I think it’s beneficial for others to know as well. I’d like to think this is the reason why you reached out to me for an interview. I think overall you open up more doors by being transparent and letting others know what drives you.
Christie Cordes is a CEO | Director of Global Talent Acquisition and an Employer Brand Consultant @Ad Recruiter with over a decade of digital and social media recruitment branding experience. Today we are going to talk about the evolution of Human Resources and Christie’s social recruiting best practices in bringing a talent pool to her clients companies.
Christie, can you explain the meaning behind your company’s name?
I recruit executives in the ad (advertising | branding) industry. Being in the digital media industry I knew SEO and Google results would have an impact on my company’s visibility, so I looked at the major industry news sites such as Ad Week and Ad Age – and there you have it: Ad Recruiter. I think the name really helped clarify to industry executives what disciplines I focus on. I think it was a simple yet powerful naming strategy as a sole proprietor.
Social media conquered the world and it shows no sign of slowing down. What do you see as the most effective social media channel to recruit at?
Social platforms shift in popularity much like fashion does. Different platforms ‘trend’ and then new ones emerge – it’s very fluent and always shifting. Being ‘visible’ where the cutting edge, curious people are in social is important for recruiting and attracting the very best talent. Social media is composed of people and people are talent. It’s important to have a handle on how all the platforms operate. If I’m looking to attract college grads and interns – they absolutely love SnapChat. It’s such a fun platform, it’s a great place to attract them, because that’s where they are spending time! Instagram and Pinterest is a visual creative network for many aesthetic minded designers and creatives. It’s a great place to ‘discover’ talent and see how different people curate their boards and also see projects they are working on. LinkedIn is fantastic – for referencing and seeing peoples experience, it’s an invaluable tool. I’m not sure if it’s incredibly ‘social’ but they keep trying to improve that to some extent.
The best network (as of now) for Ad Recruiter is actually Twitter (w/LinkedIn) together. There are a few solid reasons why it’s great for communicating to talent and identifying talent. Twitter has low barrier to connecting to top executives and forming relationships. We’ve all experienced top executives ‘not accepting LinkedIn invites from strangers’ yet a follow is typically met with ‘how nice’ as a positive compliment! That makes it an ideal place to identify and build trust based on relationships with executives all over the world. I consider my social followers across all platforms – my candidate pipeline (not an automated database of pdf CV attachments).
I use LinkedIn with Twitter at all times, in other words a new follower who’s bio on Twitter is vague, I’ll locate their LinkedIn profile to understand who they are and what they do. I advise all executives, to have a transparent / informative Twitter bio with a link to LinkedIn on Twitter – especially for career advancement, business networking and ‘being discovered’. The other platforms can be more personal and so people don’t share their real names, or where they work often times, especially Snapchat! So that’s makes it difficult to identify ‘targeted talent’ but attracting them there is always important!
You’re not only a seasoned recruiter, but also an employer brand specialist. Can you share how you engage candidates on social media?
Adding Value, Coaching, Consulting, Human Resources, Leadership, Location independent, Modern Career, Relocation
What do coaching, opening a new café, and creating a time saving app have in common?
Too difficult to answer?
How about this one: what do all the above have in common PLUS establishing an internet shop, volunteering in Africa and running photography workshops – all at the same time?
As a career coach, I might be slightly more attuned to these ideas I hear literally every day – from my friends, acquaintances, and clients. What is this all about, you might ask. Is it about who has the best idea? Who is the most creative? Maybe who can execute something and bring it to life? Or perhaps about picking and focusing on just one idea? I can see something on a much deeper level: people desperately long to add value to the world and be truly useful to others. When others around me say ‘I want to open a vegan bed and breakfast’ or ‘I want to create a job search app’ or ’I want to be a life coach,’ I hear “I want to add value.” They want to change the world – or at least help improve parts of others’ lives. At the same time, we would like to use our unique talents, be creative, have fun, and earn for living (except, of course volunteering). Earning while doing something valuable and enjoyable seems to be the trickiest part. I think many of us still believe that they can not earn well while doing something they love. Others think they first have to sort out their own careers and financial security and only THEN they can start adding value and changing the world.
Is adding value and helping others a luxury you can only afford after you yourself become established and successful?
There’s no one better to talk to about social recruiting than a recruiter who has worked previously as a marketer. Today I interview a Strategic Recruitment Manager at Scott Logic, Michelle Minnikin, who shares a great deal of useful practices on recruiting through social media, company culture and branding. Michelle also shares her top 3 resources for HR managers. Keep reading.
Her background is in occupational psychology and recruitment, having built 14 years of experience. She is a Recruitment Manager – Strategy, having joined Scott Logic after three years at Balfour Beatty and prior to that, AMEC. In her role she provides a bridge between recruitment and marketing activities for Scott Logic. She’s been in post since February 2016 and her favourite things (at work) are employer branding, selection and assessment.
Michelle, social media are already full-fledged recruiting tools. What do you see as the most effective social media to recruit for Scott Logic? There is so much out there and sometimes it can be a waste of time if not used properly.
As a business, we create carefully targeted content, including three different blogs for different audiences that are shared through various channels. Our technical blog, which our consultants write, shares our thoughts and experiences of using technologies, techniques and tools, and is very popular. Our insights blog is for business leaders and decision makers, and our careers blog helps software developers, test engineers and user experience designers with their job search while showcasing what it’s like to work at Scott Logic.
At Scott Logic, the quality of our service is defined by our people; they are our greatest asset, so we already know we want more people just like them (we’d love to clone them, but this technology has not been suitably developed yet!). So, we asked our people what social media sites they spend time on so we can focus our efforts on the channels that are relevant to them.
Based on this information, we are focusing our efforts on LinkedIn and Twitter as recruitment tools. As an organisation, we do have a LinkedIn Recruiter License so we are able to source directly using that. However, I think delivering engaging, useful content that positions our employees as thought leaders and showcases what it is like to work here helps make our recruitment brand more desirable.
I wonder how do you assess the efficiency of your content marketing? How you set yourself a goal to reach which specific content and what stats are you looking at to define the success?
Our strategy is a long term one focused primarily on raising awareness of the Scott Logic brand among our key audiences. So, tracking all applications to ask how each candidate heard about us is vital. We also survey all candidates to assess the experience they’ve had of our recruitment process to obtain anecdotal and qualitative feedback that helps us improve on an ongoing basis.
Can you share how you engage candidates in your employer brand on social media?
Interview with Jennifer Jones Newbill
Senior Manager Global Candidate Attraction, Engagement and Experience at Dell
Jennifer Jones Newbill is a quintessence of a modern HR director who is not afraid to play by the marketing rules to achieve higher quality hires as well as, lower turnover and better engagement rates for Dell. She has over 20 years of Human Resource experience working as an Employment Branding/Social Media and Recruiting Specialist and Leadership Development Expert, and she has also managed various global and regional HR programs/projects for Fortune 50 companies. Today she shares valuable lessons about developing the right set of skills within the HR profession and social recruiting best practices based on her experience at Dell.
Jennifer, you’re a Senior Manager: Global Candidate Attraction, Engagement and Experience. Your title already shows that your job is not a standard set associated with the tasks within an HR department. Can you tell me more about where your title comes from and why a Senior HR manager role would not be enough to describe your expertise?
I wanted to describe myself and what our team does in a way that was easy to understand and describe. It was tough and yes my title is a bit long, but typically people I speak to understand quickly. Our team is all tasked with candidate attraction (messaging including digital and, print as well as technologies used) engagement (social media and employee advocacy in partnership with our marketing team) and analyzing and improving the overall candidate experience.
I wonder how you’ve gotten involved in the role that links HR and Marketing?
In 2010, Marie Moynihan, Global VP Talent and Chief Diversity officer was appointed to her role and for the first time we had a global leader who had a centralized team (along with regional/local recruiting teams). At that time, we began looking at our standards, processes and policies across all regions and locations and that included evaluating our employment brand, digital properties, recruitment marketing strategies, etc. My role has evolved quite a bit since then including growing a global team that has strong proficiency in social media, content expertise and keeping a thread of candidate experience in mind with everything they do!
Do you think Marketing and HR have much in common? What changed in the last 10-15 years in your industry?
Marketing and HR have very similar goals – in a nutshell – candidate and customer attraction and retention. And it is clear that candidates and customers are frequently one in the same. Current or potential future customers can have their sentiment about your company influenced if they are referred to a job or interview with the company – very powerful stuff… There is huge opportunity for Marketing and HR to partner and collaborate in a way that is mutually beneficial.
Let’s get into details with the referral hires program at Dell you were involved in. In one of the interviews, you said that referrals were one of the best sources of hire and that you managed to achieve 50-125% increase in global referral hires. Global Employee Referral rate was 38% globally, and over 50% in some locations (previously only 19% in 2010). If you were to compare these numbers with the past, do you still think, it’s the best source of hire nowadays?
I can beat the drum about the importance of referrals all day every day! Regardless of the evolution of our digital lifestyles, we still believe in and trust what our friends and connections tell us – about products, services and yes, jobs. Where I think the industry struggles a bit is rewarding those that refer really great quality hires for the company. That is a next step for us at Dell – agreeing on a clear Quality of Hire metric and filtering by source – in particular referrals. Who is referring the best people/fit with the company? How do we drive this activity with our employees further?
Dell is on every social media channel including Pinterest. Which channel do you find most useful for recruiting?
Facebook and Twitter continue to have very inexpensive promotional solutions and we absolutely see hires through those platforms. Other social platforms are still important but play more of an influencing/branding role than direct hires. We don’t see people, for example, going to a job directly from Pinterest. However, we just hired someone onto our global social media team who specifically mentioned our Pinterest page and our Careers channel specifically. The mention was all praise and how it created more positive sentiment of Dell in their mind. This is a win even if we didn’t hire the person ‘from’ Pinterest.
Do you feel you are ‘stuck’ in your job and wondering what to do about it? Do you wake up every morning wishing you could stay in bed instead of going to the office? Do you have the impression that your job has no meaning or importance? Or maybe you are so fed up you want to run away to the sun and sip cocktails for the rest of your life? If you answered yes to any of these questions – rest assured, you are not alone. For several years I worked in a role that didn’t align with my natural talents or personal strengths. In fact I hear a similar story from many of my friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs but keep on going for years feeling unhappy and stressed. The long-term effects of working in such a relentless environment can be devastating. Chronic stress related to your work situation can contribute to serious health issues such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease and depression. Despite this, for many different reasons we remain in the jobs we hate or we make a change without understanding our real purpose, strengths and goals, ending up in the exact same job situation as before. Albert Einstein once said the ‘the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result’. Following his wisdom, before you make a drastic move and hand in your notice, pause for a moment and think! There are several things you can do to discover which job will truly make you happy.
It took me a while to make a conscious decision to change my career and today I can proudly say I did it! The time and effort I invested changing my path has already had an impact on my life. I have become more confident, positive and clear about who I am and what I want to achieve in life. I am writing this article to let you know it is possible to make a huge difference by finding a job you love.
We invite you to the creative workshop to Krakowski Park Technologiczny, 29 of March.
What you will learn?
1. Connect HR and Digital Marketing techniques to benefit your organization and yourself.
2. Explore new ways of engaging more and more demanding customers & knowledge workers.
3. Use cutting edge practices and newest trends in the rapidly converging talent and digital worlds.
4. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to support and enhance your business goals.