ATC: James Elliott National Recruitment Director Deloitte

James Elliott took the stage after lunch to give us a run down on Deloitte’s (Update: to clarify this is only the Australian operation and does not reflect the US operations.) recruitment function, specifically their Sourcing function. James indicated he was a little concerned about presenting, mainly because of the real time feedback that would be on Twitter. Some of my notes from the presentation are below:

  • Globally 160,000 people with $27 billion in revenue!
  • They got into sourcing because while operational excellence had meant recruiter efficiencies were up 50%, vacancies where still going up, something had to change
  • In 2007 while 3rd party agencies as a source were low their costs were still very high
  • The Deloitte definition of sourcing is:
    1. Identifying and mapping passive talent for current and future roles
    2. Approaching passive talent
    3. Maintaining talent pipelines through a systemised CRM cycle
  • As part of the move to sourcing they had two key learnings:
    1. Wholesale changes to recruitment processes were needed as sourced candidates need to be treated differently
    2. They had to focus on planning & forecasting which was much harder than first through. Lots of change management, and recruiting team structure to make the transformation possible
  • In general Australian resume databases are extremely poor in quality
  • While they use Taleo as an ATS, it is not a CRM (they use SalesForce) which they needed to:
    • Map competitions
    • Track contacts
    • Segment contacts
    • Manage ongoing CRM through tasks, reminders and emarketing
  • Deloitte’s sends out 4,500 e Newsletter a quarter to people in the CRM
  • The sourcers at Deloitte’s get their prospects from:
    • People who withdraw from the rtecruitment process
    • People who did not get a job they applied for
    • Graduates
    • Phone lists
    • Conference & professional associations
    • Name generation workshops
    • New hire competitor intelligence
    • Web search
    • And dumpster diving
  • Social Recruiting is starting to be used to:
    • Enhance brand & position as an innovative professional services firm
    • Engage external talent by offering an authentic insight into working
    • Leverage employees networks
    • Search for talent directly
  • Deloitte YouTube channel has had 25,000 views
  • They use Twitter to connect applicants to other Deloitte Twitter users in similar areas
  • Built a custom Facebook application called Join Me @ Deloitte to facilitate referrals. The application had 90% of employees install, good number of hires have come through but less than 3 figures even with that James felt the ROI was very good as it was cheap to build
  • As a source 3rd party recruiters provide the worse quality of hire whereas referrals are the best

ATC: Sue Polo Engineering and Operations Staffing Director, Google

Sue Polo from Google, Australian readers yes Google HQ, followed Dr Williamson with a fantastic look at not only Google as a corporation but also their staffing challenges. She provided us with so much information I did not get a chance to write many notes as she talked, but here are some of my top takeaways:

  • Google has 21,000 employees and $5.8 Billion revenue in 2008
  • Recruiting is now not the major focus at Google, the first time ever
  • Objectives generally being find them, grow them, keep them – The Google Way
  • A key challenge over the last few years through the dramatic growth has been how to keep their culture
  • You Tube is the 4th largest destination on the web and every minutes 15 hours worth of content is uploaded every day!
  • Food at Google is paramount; no engineer can be more than a 100ft from food!
  • They are now looking to grow their own staff and focusing on internal mobility
  • Nothing is done at Google without hard facts provided by data
  • Almost every decision at Google goes through some form of committee, I found this strange and unexpected. Effectively they strive to meet consensus not a democracy, and decisions are not based on HIPPOs – Highly paid persons opinions
  • Like many organisation they run an Annual Employee Survey:
    • Adoption – 85% of employees participate with tonnes of text feedback
    • Freshness – 70% of survey stays the same with 30% changing every year
    • Transparency – The results are delivered in tag clouds, tech talks, emails, and newsletters. Reports by Geography & Business are given to any manager with an n-count of 7.
  • Last year’s survey results:
    • Underperformance stick out like a sore thumb
    • Underwater options lots of concerns
    • Career development concerns
  • Employees said they would not leave due to the underwater options because the work is engaging!
  • To address the underwater stock they introduced two programs:
    1. TSO, transferrable stock options
    2. A repricing has been done but interesting as a 1:1, which is unique and everyone at Google got to trade, 93% of Googlers took advantage, and the process was done through a custom tool that took 3 clicks
  • Hiring process: initial resume screen, phone screen, then onsite interviews (up to 8 or 9 in a day), reviewed by hiring committees, then finally the executive management team. The committee reviewing and assessing the candidate and will probably not have the hiring manager involved.
  • With employee development the focus is on Google employees training Google employees, as most of the time they have all the experts on staff!
  • Performance Management is done quarterly with a system built in house again highly data driven. For example you can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 like most organisations BUT at every tenth ie 3.4.
  • Semi Annual promotion process that is peer driven not manager driven
  • 15% is the smallest target bonus in google
  • On the Intranet you can put any title you want on your profile, there are no titles on doors etc, instead you get a special shirt that shows you have been promoted
  • At Google 40% hires are employee referrals
  • Sourcers teach the engineers how to use their networks to find candidates

I had the privilege of speaking with Sue one on one several times over the course of the two days. At one point we went a little deeper into the hiring process. Candidates self assess their technical skills using a scale of 1 to 10. Sue said that if someone puts a 10 down they had better have a) invented the technology, b) been on the industry bodies who invented the technology or c) written the book about it. If not then the person who did will be in the room interviewing you! 

ATC: Dr Ian Williamson

Unfortunately the schedule for ATC was changed so I missed the first 30 minutes of Dr Williamson’s presentation, however what I did catch was very very good.

Employees are repositories of both human and social capital therefore talent retention is all about relationship management.

Dr Williamson (Associate Professor from Melbourne School of Business) talked a lot about boomerang hires and employee referrals as methods of recruiting that provides an extremely high ROI. Effectively leveraging the human capital of former employees

The benefits of sourcing boomerangs:

  • Lower uncertainty
  • Reduced recruiting costs
  • Reduced training cost
  • Lower turnover risk

But one of the challenges of getting boomerangs to come back to your organisation is addressing the issues as to why the employee left in the first place. Dr Williamson recommendation is to address these issues is through the use of exit interview results to address the reasons for leaving. Then during the interview process let the employee know that you have addressed their issues.

In today’s climate a key to having successful Alumni and boomerang programs is to ensure you are managing your layoffs properly – fair & consistent manner, outplacement etc. You do not want to damage the relationships with these employees as they are leaving the workforce.

Dr Williamson also presented a very interesting idea of using Alumni networks for short-term projects, a similar idea to one I put forward in the 52 Social Media Ideas for HR & Recruiting where internally you allow employees to bid internal credits for additional project work, once complete the manager then rewards employees with additional credits to be used on other projects.

Dr Williamson finished his presentation looking at approaches to managing external employee mobility. He sees three key approaches, the choice of which one to use depends on the strategic value of the employee and the destination of the employee. These approaches are:

  1. Defend against mobility
  2. Retaliatory
  3. Relationship

He put forward the following framework for managing employee’s who leave your organisation:



ATC: Gerry Crispin

At the end of the first day Gerry Crispin gave the audience a great run down on revamping their career’s web site. There are four aspects you need to consider when revamping your web site these are:

  1. Demographics: How many prospects are there that you can target?
  2. Class of Workers: Who are your workers?
  3. Source of Hire: Do you know where you get people from?
  4. Communications: How do you prospects communicate with you?
  5. Candidate Experience: Do you have a good enough candidate experience that viral marketing will occur?

Once you know these factors only then can you begin the process of revamping the site. Gerry brought in lots of information from his publically available reports. Such as make sure you respect your candidates still in the US only 70% of organisations acknowledge application and 17% inform on rejection! He also continued on the themes from Master Burnett and Dr John Sullivan make sure you are segmenting your approach to the market, you cannot treat every one the same way!

Gerry gave credit to Australian organisations who he felt were doing a reasonable job with things.

There are lots of other things he spoke about but most are covered in his freely available reports so I have not reproduced them here.

Can you do the #splits?

There are several interesting services taking shape on Twitter to help the recruitment industry; such as HashJobs, JobFeedr and now allows recruiters to share both jobs and candidates and splt the fees. Now Split networks are not new but this one is. comes out of the new Recruiting Blogs Labs (does everyone have a lab these days?) and allows Twitter users to hashtag either jobs or candidates they are willing to do splits with.

The system works as follows:

  • Recruiters who are willing to do splits in general put out a Tweet using the hashtag #willdosplits
  • If you have candidates that you are willing to split with you reply to @have and use the hashtag #splits
  • If you have jobs reply to @need and use the hashtag #splits
  • A very simple search tool has been built at to allow you to search the data

Right now there are a few recruiters and job seekers in Australia testing the waters, some being @Mentaura, @robsmithxp and Emily_Wheeldon. I am not sure how the system can be “secured” from job seekers “spamming” the #splits hashtag with their own resume as if it takes off this will certainly happen.

Great idea, and starts to build the concept of semantic web into recruitment. Personally not sure it will scale but you never know and we need to experiment more to find ways of connecting candidates and recruiters.

ATC: Naomi Simson, RedBalloon

Up before lunch was Naomi Simson, CEO of RedBalloon, and CEO means Chief Experience Officer. RedBalloon vision, we are changing the face of giving in Australia, the goal is to change employee engagement in Australia by 1%. Given lack of engagement costs Australia $21billion that is a lot of savings. Some thoughts:
  • How can you spend millions of dollar on advertising but not know who works there, their names or locations?
  • 30% of your employees are waiting to leave, as soon as they find the job
  • 52% of Australian employees buy their employees a leaving gift but only 2% an arriving gift
  • 78% of actively engaged employees will promote their company & it’s products
  • Employee Engagement: It is all about connection, first logical, then emotional and finally brand
  • The first connection the first time you hear about the company, then the job ad.
  • On boarding is the initial engagement
  • Pleasure Relations Team gives people a good time on the phone (aka call center staff)
  • The customer always has a valid contribution but they may not be right
  • Leadership: Vision, Values & Alignment
  • Brand is built on relationships
  • Employees are the new customer
  • Cash is not a gift and becomes compensation as it expected
  • Experiences creates a story and stories are shared.
  • All work and no play makes it a boot camp, but all fun is a kindergarten! 
The RedBalloon recruitment process:
  • Sends vision statement on job application
  • Asks them to apply by replying to the email saying “Interview Me Now”.
  • Group interviews to learn about the applicants, for cultural fit. 
  • Then they do technical assessments, via a test, 
  • Finnally the formal interviews
  • Before the legals documents are signed the new employee get emails, network logins etc and they get invited to all social functions all before they start.
  • Second day on the job you get given a gift that they must use before the probation is up
  • After 2-3 weeks they have lunch with Naomi

ATC: Russell Kronenburg from Pacific Brands

Next up was Russell Kronenburg, Group People and Performance Manager, Pacific Brands. Wow want a fantastic session. Russell provided us with some amazing insights into what Pacific Brands are doing to attract key talent. Pacific Brands had an issue with finding designers, who could take up to 180 days to hire! Russell introduced us to the Barrett Model for Organisation Values and how this relates to talent management.

His point of view is that if you focus on the community and then administrative things will work themselves out. Looking at this from a talent management point of view Pacific Brands are focused on developing the talent pipeline for their revenue impacting jobs, ie designers. To this end they have been working heavily with universities and designer industry organisations. Some examples:

  • Pacific Brands established a LinkedIn Group for designers to connect and communicate, while not designed for recruitment Pacific Brands have made a hires from the community. Of interest Russell is the community manager.
  • One of Pacific Brands designers’ has been invited to be an adjunct professor at University in Canada
  • Partnering with RMIT to develop the world’s first surfwear design school to attract students from around the globe and maybe stay in Australia, resulting in more designers in Australia which down the road may result in employees for Pacific Brand.
  • Pacific Brands are working to help educational organisations develop content in their design programs so that the graduates have the required skills.
  • They will be holding an international student design competition; the winners would then come spend a couple of weeks working with the top Pacific Brand designers. If Pacafic Brands wants the ideas from the competition they will pay the students for the idea including an ongoing profit share model.

    ATC: Dr John Sullivan

    So much was covered in the morning session at ATC I will try and summarise some of my thoughts in a few posts.

    First for the summary was Dr John Sullivan, and like always he provided a massive amount of information and stirred up the crowd. Here is a summary of his one hour information dump on us:

    Early Warning Signs of downturn

    • # of approvals to get a req approved
    • Travel freezes
    • Paper clip memo – do not buy small stuff
    • Stop hiring contingency workers/or laying them off
    • Other firms freeze their hiring
    • Recruiting budgets cut
    • Layoffs, furloughs, pay freezes

     Why this is different

    • Volatility of stock markets & credit availability with short spurts of growth
    • Global markets, means that there is still growth out there
    • Global competition will increase as organitions need to regain their positions
    • Expectations for innovations will not decrease
    • Churn will be common (hiring & laying off at the same time)
    • Government bailouts
    • No other career options for recruiters

    Advantages of recruiting during tough times

    • Less competition from other firms, because less recruitment budgets, means it will be easier to sell the job to candidates (I don’t agree with this point)
    • More high quality candidates available as some of the layoffs are massive in scope
    • Less loyalty amongst survivors
    • Weakened employer brands
    • Turnover & retirements rates will decrease
    • Cheap recruiting technology
    • get ready to explode out of the box when things turn around
    • Tight times make you stronger
    • Workforce planning will be encouraged
    • Some industries will suffer less

    Potential Problems during Downturns

    • Executives are already viewing this as a time that has surplus talent which means they think there is no need for recruiting
    • Resource limits that impact top performances
    • Stock options are no longer a major motivator (other engagement tools)
    • Job security is king
    • Increased volume of traffic
    • Relocation issues (no credit)
    • Loss of trust & confidence in organisations
    • Managers will be less focused on recruiting
    • Technology budgets disappear
    • HR politics gets worse (aka build vs buy)

    CRM in Recruiting

    The first session I attended at ATC Sydney 2009 was Master Burnett’s workshop (with the occasional interjection from Dr John Sullivan) on how organisations can benefit from using CRM for talent management.

    He started by introducing the audience to social media and the changes this is having to the relationships that organisation need to develop with candidates. The basic summary being communicate through methods that the candidates’ trust. In doing so make sure your messages are open, transparent, candid with no more trade secrets. The session took several sideways looks at social media, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and even a quick review on social media policies in the workplace, I might have had something to say on these topics ;-).

    Master covered discussed the concept that line managers are really not in the position to be able to provide a talent management approach and that talent management needs to be viewed holistically across the corporation. Further given the current business cycles if you are not updating your workforce plan and talent management approach every 6 months you are falling behind. He introduced a nice four step process for CRM in talent management being:

    1. Labour Force Marketing
    2. Labour Fore Acquisition
    3. Labour Force Support
    4. Labour Force Analysis

    We had a very good discussion on how organisations should be conducting a buy vs build analysis on all critical hires along with internal project “job” boards, wikis, and market segmentation.

    An interesting note he saw CRM at only two levels transactional and analytical. This differs greatly from my recent discussion with Anthony Lye SVP of CRM from Oracle who is seeing a third layer of social interactions. Much of what Master was discussing was around the social CRM gestures but he did not call it out as such.

    Master also helped formulate several ideas in my mind around how CRM should be applied to talent management.

    All in all a good afternoon.

    Heading to ATC Sydney

    Today I head up to Sydney to attend the Australasian Talent Conference. During my 4 day stay in the harbour city I will be catching up with Phillip Tusing from Destination Talent to discuss our Talent Sources survey (watch this space), attending ATC, speaking for in the workplace and running the first Sydney JobSeekr Mixer.

    The end result is expect lots of tweeting (#atcsyd is the hashtag) and maybe some blog posts, and even some audio!