Social Recruiting Summit

A quick summary from the Social Recruiting Summit that I attended yesterday at Google in San Francisco.

The day kicked off with Reid Hoffman CEO of LinkedIn giving us an amazing presentation on LinkedIn. One of Reid’s main messages was that every individual is now their own small business, which means everyone needs their own brand. Therefore you need to build the asset value of yourself. Further if every individual is a small business, every individual is an entrepreneur and everyone will have/need an online profile. Some interesting food for thought.

Reid also provided some interesting statistics on LinkedIn ; 1 million new signups every 17 days, 41 million professionals in over 1 70 industries across 200 countries with the highest per capital membership being from the Netherlands!

Next up was our tour of the Google campus. While only short it was still very hard to take it all in. Some of the highlights included:

  • Meng’s wall of Presidential photos
  • Free food, of course!
  • Two outside lap pools with a lifeguard
  • Lots of random things such as old style phone booths, steal shark fins, pink flamingos all over the campus
  • 24 hour free gym
  • Free blue bikes that you can just take to get around the campus
  • Posters. There were posters everywhere advertising all sorts of things. Not like most companies where there are “official” locations for posters. Not at Google it seems you just grab your poster and tape it up where ever you want.

For the first concurrent sessions I decided to try the unconference sessions on the assumption that the others were being streamed and I should be able to download the video and audio later. The session was Social Recruiting ROI. As with some other unconference sessions I have attended the session was a bit confusing and didn’t really answer any questions. The reason I believe was a mismatch in expectations between the audience and session facilitators. We had about 80 people in the room most hoping to hear from the panel how to identify ROI, while the panel was wanting to hear from the audience. My takeaway from this session is we need some metrics, but no one really knows what they are, yet.

After lunch we had Sacha Chua from IBM talk about the “most awesome job search ever”. A fantastic session looking at social recruitment from the candidates point of view. Sacha had been blogging while at university and during the process had connected with several people from IBM. She told a very funny story of going for her first interview at IBM. Beforehand she did all the right things and prepared for the interview but was very nervous about the process given she really wanted to work for IBM. At the start of the interview, the hiring manager introduced themself and essentially said “it is great to finally meet you I was a bit nervous about meeting you face to face”! Sacha was in shock because that was exactly how she felt! The profile she had developed online meant that IBM wanted her to join them and they were concerned that IBM would not be “good” enough!

Sacha then went on to talk about how productive she was from day one because she already knew so many people inside IBM. She knew more about IBM before she joined than she could ever get off a career’s site. This is essentially Cluetrain Thesis 84:

We know some people from your company. They’re pretty cool online. Do you have any more like that you’re hiding? Can they come out and play?

So why don’t more organisations allow their employees to connect with potential candidates? Don’t know how to do that just find employees who are passionate about your company and let them tell stories. Don’t have employees who are passionate? You might just have a problem.

Next up was Joshua Khan who’s presentation was about sacred cows and social recruiting. An interesting look at some of the work he had been doing with Geek Squad and Best Buy. Josh went through multiple examples giving the audience a great run down of what worked, what didn’t and what he has learnt from each experience. One of the key messages from Josh was that lots of social recruiting ideas don’t really cost a huge amount of money, if any at all.

The greatest learning here was that there was nothing new. The work I have been doing with clients in Australia is basically the same as what Josh has been doing in the US. So is Australia really 2 – 3 years behind? Now I will admit I had been speaking with Josh in the morning on the shuttle bus to Googleplex about the level of social media maturity of the audience, which neither of us knew. So this does mean he could of held back some of the really forward thinking ideas and approaches?

The final session was from Shannon Seery Gude on employer online reputation and social recruiting strategies. Even though I have known Shannon and her husband Julian for many years we have never actually met! Shannon knows her stuff and this was the best presentation of the day. Shannon gave the audience an inside look at how Bernard Hodes develops online strategies for clients, just this session provided enough practical tips and hints to cover the cost of event ticket.

You can see her full presentation on her blog.

So the real question is was the event worth the travel and expense. Yes.

My only regret I wish it went on for two days, in fact several people mentioned the same thing. The main reasons were the day felt rushed and I had to make some very hard decisions on which sessions I attended.