Hiring for an InsurTech (*is tough)

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InsurTech v FinTech

InsurTech’s are all too often referred to in the same context as FinTech’s; as a broadly defined part of ‘financial services’, the Insurance industry is characterised as the slow-moving ‘older brother’ of banking.

The use and reference to FinTech firms happened after the 2007 financial crash, when ‘fintech’ became a common term outside of the finance world, owing to various venture capitalist firms making huge investments into fintech businesses which aimed to disrupt the failed financial institutions. InsurTech, as expected, was a term coined later.

In InsurTech market in the UK, according to the recognised commentator Nigel Walsh, is divided into “3 categories” in a recent blog post – 1). cloud-native equivalents of the traditional (large) core system 2). a similar model to ‘Category 1’, however, with the option to write business in specific states or geographies, and 3). adjacent InsurTech players that have been built from the ground up to solve a niche, single specific problem.

The main challenge for these burgeoning technology start-ups in InsurTech is the same as it was for the FinTech companies – hiring talent! 

Courage man jumping over cliff on sunset background,Business concept idea

The War for Talent

The use of the phrase ‘war for talent’ has been used (and overused) considerably since the recession and one conclusion had been drawn – the talent won! 

It is a candidate-driven market now and companies find themselves aggressively competing for technical talent. As an employer now, your brand position, culture, environment, mission, technology stack, benefits (i.e. pension, flexible working policy) and overall offering are scrutinised and considered at every stage of the recruitment process. Fail to get the brand positioning and message to market wrong and you don’t attract or engage talent and if you give little or no consideration to the candidate experience, you will lose candidates from the process or simply get ‘ghosted’.

The dynamics of the market are such now that, as the employer, you have a significant challenge to recruit talent – you are no longer in direct control – therefore, your approach needs to change to be successful.

Teamwork meeting concept

Define the differences

Life in a start-up and scale-up is different from operating in an established SME or enterprise business – in most cases in the Insurance industry if you’ve worked for a major Insurance carrier, you have been ‘the client’. This is one of the most significant differences and one of 3 major differences.

1). Client v Service Provider

There is a mindset shift that is required to operate successfully in an InsurTech; stakeholders are no longer internal or 3rd party suppliers – they are actual customers. You are now customer-facing, driving a commercial agreement to deliver a project(s) that have implications for the end clients’ business and significant impact on the reputation and revenue of the InsurTech you represent.

There is no hiding place – you are front and centre and you will be responsible for all the commercial conversations, issues and escalations, client engagement and end-to-end delivery. You will be dealing with ambiguity, crafting solutions with limited amounts of resource available and you will be under pressure both internally and externally as the focal point. Would you be comfortable with this level of exposure and scrutiny?

2). Learning while in-flight

Typically, an InsurTech won’t have a slick on-boarding process that provides you with training on all the core products and services, an induction about the current state of the business and a few days grace to orientate yourself with your environment and colleagues and/or team members. The approach is often ‘laptop-open-and-GO!’.

You will need to be resourceful and collect information, data and self-learn as you start to take on responsibility for deliverables (both new and existing); the onus will be on you to set-up meetings with your peers and team to introduce yourself and get a sense of them, their role and how they fit into the dynamic of a constantly growing business.

In short, if your first question is ‘what’s the induction process?’ – this isn’t the environment for you.

3). What does success look like? 

Creating the exact psychometric profile for an individual that will be successful in a start-up and scale-up has been the pursuit of many incubators and accelerator programmes, VC and Angel investors and talent acquisition and recruitment companies. There doesn’t, at this stage, appear to be a definitive profile that guarantees success.

In my experience, there are 3 characteristics that are commonly found in the companies I have partnered with when they are scaling their business.

Resilience

The pressure to deliver, the pressure to find solutions, time-pressure, pressure from client demands and pressure to be forward-thinking requires one thing – resilience. If you don’t have experience of dealing with pressure, finding ways to personally reconcile the demands of the business whilst maintaining healthy mental well-being, this environment can be challenging.

A resilient mindset will help steer you through the ambiguity, find solutions when there appears to be no straight-forward answer and it will ensure you protect your team when the demands are high and the final phases are close to being delivered. You will lead where others simply manage.

Ambition

Ambition can be seen as an unattractive, slightly disruptive, quality in an individual. Ambition in a start-up is essential. Start-ups are built on the ambition of its founders. Assessing the ambition of an individual that wants to join a start-up can be approached in a number of ways; have they been or sought promotion in their previous companies? why do they want to join a start-up? do they have a plan for their role within the start-up and what are they going to improve, change or add to the business?

If working in a start-up ‘appeals to you’, or you think you could ‘add value’ or perhaps you think you have ‘relevant skills and experience’ – make sure you define the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to support these statements. Start-ups run fast, run hard and ask questions – they don’t make unsupported statements. 

Critical thinking 

What is critical thinking? – that’s a question I get asked by recruitment agencies and candidates. In the context of the companies, I have partnered with, it’s the ability (based on intellect and experience) to critically evaluate a decision, solution and/or existing project, commercial process or scenario and then provide a number of options – even options that haven’t been tested (but, could quickly be tested and validated).

It’s not the ‘ability to think outside the box’ as that cliche means very little in the context of a highly pressurised project delivery.

Critical thinking also requires you to trust your own decision-making process and be comfortable with known ‘unknowns’. It also means trusting your team and their knowledge and input, however, being confident enough to make and take the final decision.

Zirvedeki Aşıklar

Summary

Joining an InsurTech, on face-value, maybe be very appealing – and these companies need talent like any established business – however, the environment, requirements and the ability to be successful are determined by different factors on a personal and professional level. If you think you want this kind of challenge, feel free to contact me for an introductory chat. InsurTech needs great talent! 

 

Reference material:

Nigel Walsh post entitled “Is the insurance core system the lowest common denominator in the InsurTech (r)evolution?” – Read the full post here

TechBullion – “What is InsurTech, Origin and History in Financial Technology?”

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The Battle for your ‘Sourcing Soul’

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GIF courtesy of https://giphy.com/

Show me the future!

While the ATS war rages on, there is a new battleground slowly building momentum on the fringes of the talent acquisition eco-system focused on sourcing tools for technology talent.

The majority of you reading this blog will be familiar with LinkedIn Recruiter or a version of LinkedIn’s diminishing offerings (depending on your budget) and you’ll likely have tried to build a credible reputation on Github and accessed StackOverflow. For the uber-techy sourcers, you might even be looking at how to use Kaggle to source Data Science professionals.

New tools

As a talent acquisition professional that has focused his career sourcing technology talent for 14 years, tools that promise to increase my prospects of finding and identifying Developers, DevOps and Data Science practitioners across multiple social channels and platforms, is going to get my attention straight away!

For this reason, I decided to ask for demos of 3 sourcing tools currently making their way in the UK market.

  1. AmazingHiring
  2. Talentwunder
  3. Hiretual

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Criteria

The criteria for assessing these tools was based on my requirements for return on investment (ROI); as a freelance TA Project Manager, I really don’t have an endless budget for tools and systems to support me in my projects and assignments with clients. I have to factor all my costs into a daily rate or project cost that allows me to make enough margin to cover my travel and accommodation costs and pay my mortgage.

For this reason, I decided to ‘go shopping’ like any customer would and consider the following:

  1. the speed of response to my initial enquiry about the product
  2. the demo and overall presentation of the product
  3. the product
  4. the price of the product
  5. and, post demo activities 

: and I decided to create a scale to measure my thoughts, reactions and decision thought process for each demo.

1 to 5 Scale

My scale of decision making

 

1. The speed of response

AmazingHiring, Talentwunder and Hiretual all had a ‘Demo our Product’ page and I completed this with all the required information and then ‘waited’. It’s worth noting that my message contained a narrative that I will be joining a new client in February 2019 and I’m assessing tools to recommend to this client – this was 100% true.

Interestingly, AmazingHiring – and their representative, Yulia Kuzmane – had attended a recent event I was also at and we’d been introduced, however, I wasn’t aware she was part of the AmazingHiring team. She followed up personally to offer me a demo of the tool very quickly after the initial contact. Score: 3

The contact with Hiretual was a little more chaotic; I received contact from one of their team on the 4th February 2019 (after the form filling on the 31st January 2019); we had contact again on the 6th and 7th February and I finally spoke their US-based Sales Manager on the 11th February 2019. Score: 2

Talentwunder responded after about 1-week; I’d submitted my request on the 31st January 2019 and their Sales Manager contacted me on the 8th February 2019 to set-up a demo. Score: 1

In this first stage of my shopping experience, AmazingHiring certainly had the early lead for a combination of reasons; 1). They are active in the UK recruitment and talent acquisition community – attending events and talking to ‘users’ adds value for both parties. 2). Personalisation in any B2C or B2B process will always increase the potential for a sale. 3). Simply acknowledging a request for information (or in this case, a demo) quickly and managing expectation is a positive action.

2. The demo

In my experience, a successful demo is delivered with a passion, enthusiasm and illustrates the expertise of the presenter and this will guarantee high-levels of audience engagement.

The Hiretual demo was memorable for one quote – “if you can’t afford the subscription fee, you shouldn’t be working with us” – this is slightly paraphrased, however, what I think the Sales Manager was trying to convey was that the tool justified the price. From my perspective, I just came away thinking I had been categorised as a low-level / low-revenue prospect that isn’t the ideal target audience. And you know what, I’m a pragmatist and I understand my subscription/licence for 1 person is not going to make any significant impact on the companies bottom line – but come on, I’m still a potential customer and I could turn up at an enterprise company sometime soon. Also, this was another Zoom presentation with no video face-to-face contact. Score: 1

The Talentwunder demo was conducted using Zoom and a shared screen, however, whilst I was ‘video on’ so the Sales Manager could see me – he choose to not turn on his video which I thought hindered our ability to connect during the course of the demo. As far as the actual flow, narrative and description of the tool’s value proposition, it was all very compelling and I didn’t find myself reading the slides myself – which can often happen when you’re just listening to a voice. The end of the demo was closed with a soft sales pitch about the pricing tier, however, I didn’t feel that I was being closed aggressively as a potential ‘sales lead’ as can often happen. The ‘close’ was friendly and open-ended in terms of a follow-up. Score: 3 

The demo with AmazingHiring happened before the demos with Talentwunder and Hiretual, so perhaps, a benchmark had already been set in terms of personalisation and engagement. When I clicked on the Zoom link and was taken through to the virtual meeting room the first thing I saw was Yulia – video on and ready to chat. She opened with general conversation and she asked me what I wanted to learn specifically about the tool to ensure those areas were covered in more detail during the demo. Great start!

As we progressed through the demo, she pointed out the functionality that I was interested in and we went through a couple of test searches specific to the company I was joining in February. When she closed the demo, she also offered me a free trial of the tool and also set-up another v-meeting to get my feedback after the trial period. Even better ending! Score: 4

Because AmazingHiring had offered me a free trial, I went back to Hiretual and Talentwunder and asked if they would offer the same free trial; Hiretual didn’t actually respond to that question and Talentwunder said they could offer ‘the company’ a 2-3 day free trial – so I assume, they wanted the client engagement as opposed to offering me a free trial.

 

3. The product

To be fair to AmzingHiring, Talentwunder and Hiretual, in this section I will not delve into the detail of the tool’s functionality as my requirements are specific to me and there are plenty of other use cases for these tools. My initial criteria were on 1). User Interface (UI) 2). Search capability and results 3). Workflow management 4). Integration with ATS 5). Social searching

UI

Hiretual’s UI seems to be derived from a LinkedIn-esque colour palette, however, if you were a first-time user, it’s very easy to navigate and understand the key functions of the sourcing, folders, insights/reporting and candidate sections. This is the same for Talentwunder, and I completely understand the reasons behind this; if you’re launching a new product to market, and you want traction, what you don’t do is release a radically different proposition to a conservative audience. In short, LinkedIn is easy to use for any level of the user and this drives adoption. AmazingHiring is slightly different in so much as it’s UI feels like it’s been designed by a technologist – it doesn’t insult the user – it assumes a level of competency with search tools and is built to serve a level of capability in terms of the function.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 3 

Search

The AI search builder for all 3 propositions appears to cover a vast number of technology search options – and certainly saves time inputting elongated boolean searches as an additional bonus. For a first-time user or new recruitment consultant, this will be very valuable and will supplement alongside in-house training.

The results from each search are displayed uniformly and you can instantly review real-time search results and numbers – very useful for refining search criteria before reviewing the ‘search results’. Additionally, I note that AmazingHiring has a very useful AI sourcing functionality that helps refine searches and avoids the returning of a number of irrelevant profiles – for trainee or entry-level sourcers, this would be a major advantage.

With regards to the results from searches – I only had the opportunity to run a couple of searches inside the demo for Hiretual and Talentwunder, and these were focused on Developers – however, it did illustrate the breadth of options that could be found in each search. AmazingHiring were more generous and allowed me a limited trial after the demo to further explore the search functionality which I found useful as I was able to fully test this against my current and future needs.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 5, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4 

Workflow

The workflow management for candidates was, again, logical across all 3 products, however, there were some differentiators. Hiretual has an option to invite other colleagues to certain ‘folders’ that include candidates saved from searches (again, very a la LinkedIn). Talentwunder has a whole ‘Project Management’ function for ‘Team Collaboration’ and ‘Talent Pools’. In terms of AmazingHiring, these types of functions didn’t appear to be on offer at this stage, however, you can see whether a person is already in the folder using the Chrome extension which and my understanding is that there will be feature upgrades in April 2019 which will provide further functionality and interaction with an ATS.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 3, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4 

ATS Integration

Hiretual partners with most new ATS propositions such as Workable, Lever and SmartRecruiters and other CRM’s, however, this is on a ‘push’ basis – in short, the systems are not interoperable – it’s one-way traffic. Add to this the fact that you’re actively encouraged to use the workflow management of Hiretual, duplication of admin tasks might be an outcome. I can’t actually recall whether Talentwunder offers ATS integration, however, I’d be surprised if it didn’t – at a basic level – allow you to export data on a CSV or Excel and then insert that into your existing ATS. AmazingHiring only appears to have integration capability with Greenhouse and the aforementioned option to export data, however, I did learn in the demo that they provide an API to corporate customers that support’s the build integration with any ATS.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 3, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 4 

Social Searching

I can’t fault Hiretual, Talentwunder or AmazingHiring on the number of sites that it has the capacity to search across; from LinkedIn, GitHub, AngelList, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and even Google. From a GDPR perspective, I was assured by the fact that all data presented publicly available data. The ability to unlock personal email addresses and find new information is a very powerful option that is offered by all these tools, however, with ‘great power, comes great responsibility‘.

AmazingHiring and Talentwunder were both very specific about ‘how’ to use the data available, in line with GDPR, and they both pointed out their code of ethics in terms of approaching candidates and making them aware of ‘how’ they were found and giving them the option to opt in/opt out of further conversations.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 4, Hiretual – 3 

4. Pricing

This is a simple comparison of numbers:

  • Hiretual – $6,000 annual subscription (single user)
  • Talentwunder – €3,900 per annual subscription (single user)
  • AmazingHIring – $3,600 annual subscription (single user)

: if you go for options for more than one user, the price per user decreases. As the price was a key consideration for me.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 2

 

5. Post Demo Activities

After the demos, I’d set the expectation of each of the 3 companies and explained that I would be presenting my findings to my new client and that I would look to contact them again in 2-3 weeks time when I’d discussed the options. Both Talentwunder and Hiretual sent me the customary email asking for an update, only AmazingHiring actually contacted me to set-up a v-meeting to discuss my further thoughts on the tool’s suitability for my new client’s needs. From this meeting, it was agreed that in the short-term, my new client wasn’t ready for AmazingHiring, however, they left me with the option for another trial in 2-months time – a ‘reminder trial’ – to refresh my memory of the tool and to see if it was then suitable for my new client’s needs. A nice touch and quite sales-savvy in my opinion.

Additionally, AmazingHiring has also invited me to join webcasts that have been really useful in terms of a broader discussion around recruitment and the trends that are developing in the market.

Scores: AmazingHiring – 4, Talentwunder – 3, Hiretual – 3

 

Summary

The final scores when accounted for are:

  • AmazingHiring = 34

  • Talentwunder = 29

  • HIretual = 27

: and I think anyone needs to consider these scores in the total context of the experience – not just the product specifically. If you were simply looking at the product specific scoring, it would look like this:

  • Talentwunder = 19

  • AmazingHiring = 19

  • HIretual = 18

: which illustrates a slightly closer product comparison. In this case, I think the differentiators are the ATS integration and how you can you and access the data you collate in the product itself – interoperability is key in a recruitment or talent acquisition technology ecosystem.

My closing thoughts are that the race to be the leading intelligent search tool is close and further developments and new functionality from each one of these companies will gather pace in 2019. I also invite Talentwunder, AmazingHiring or Hiretual to comment on this blog post as I am very open to feedback.

The #SocialRecruiting Show (Ep.115)

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And today’s guest is…

When you’re invited to appear as a guest on The #SocialRecruiting Show — as a relative unknown — it’s very flattering. It helped me that I know one of the hosts, Katrina Collier, from our time together working agency-side between 2005–2010 — is this the reason I was invited onto the show? — I certainly think it helped, however, Katrina and Audra are two professionals who know what they want for their show — in short — they’re only going to invite folks on that add something value to the community they have built around the show.

Automation versus Human

The premise of the show was to discuss the trends, challenges and (perhaps) conflict of opinion regarding the use of automation versus human interaction within the interview process. It helped the discussion that I’m currently running a survey asking about interview trends in 2018 and professionals thoughts on the 2019 landscape — you can take the survey yourself here as it’s open until 31st December 2018.

Some stats that I prepared pre-show from the survey so far included:

  • less than 16% of Hiring Managers, In-House and RPO Talent Acquisition and Recruitment professionals surveyed so far have used ‘video-based’ interviewing in 2018 — over 26% have stated they will use video interviewing technology in 2019
  • The survey asked ‘Which of the following interview formats have you used / prepped a candidate for in 2018?’ — the rank order so far is: 1st). Face-2-Face 2nd). Phone 3rd). Technical Assessment and then Cultural assessment fit was quite low in the ranking — however, correlate that to the question the survey asks about a ‘poor hire made in 2018’ and over 73% said it was down to poor culture fit and values alignment to their business.
  • Companies reviewing the automation of parts or all of their interview process need to think about their ‘digital readiness’ to implement new solutions and the net result for the interviewee experience.
  • Over 50% of survey respondents so far don’t have a member of HR involved in any part of the interview process.
  • Video recruitment is a top 5 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trend
  • New interviewing techniques (e.g., soft skills assessments and job auditions) are gaining favour as ways to augment traditional interviews, but adoption is still early.

Debate

Thankfully, some of these points started questions and debate in the ‘chat channel’ as show favourites such as Steve Levy, Alex Brock, Tris Revill and Mark Lundgren introduced their opinions which included:

  • there is no proven data that interviewing for ‘culture fit’ achieves anything more than a baseline for likability and manageability
  • individuals that talk and discuss the concepts and business case for introducing new tech, such as AI, VR, AR or Blockchain, often don’t have a baseline understanding of the actual technology in the first place
  • there are examples of companies making offers without the need for an interview (*CV assessment only)
  • anyone quoting “..and the LinkedIn report said…” are probably not worth listening to in the first place.

: these opinions certainly made for further debate when cross-compared to the stats I’d introduced from the survey.

Culture Fit

Of personal interest was the opinion regarding ‘culture fit’ interview data. My thoughts are that, whilst there is no conclusive data at this stage (a point I respectfully acknowledge), that doesn’t mean that as recruitment and HR professionals, we should dismiss the idea and not try to create, test and learn with ways to assess for culture fit within the interview process.

I see it as our responsibility to produce this data and then share it with our community.

For the full show and all the discussion points, you can reply it here and listen to it here.

Bot Project  -  to Be or not to Be?

 

IDEA and REASON

My thought process was pretty simple, “..why do it on Google Forms when I could create a ChatBot!” – that was back on Monday 19th November 2018; as I sit here typing this post, I think I’ve gone too far down the chatbot-shaped rabbit hole. In short, I think I’ve over complicated it!

The motivation behind the chatbot, was to create an interactive survey as part of my on-going research into the job interview and my attempt to answer one question – “Has the job interview format changed that much?”

Why am I interested in interviews?

The reason for this is twofold; one, there has been a proliferation of technology that has been created to support, automate and replace the ‘human element’ of the interview process. Secondly, the traditional interview focused on skills and experience are also now starting to incorporate (or be replaced) by the assessment of soft skills, behavioural and motivational drivers and, the often referenced, ‘future potential’.

In addition, I wanted the survey to be a ‘community project’ as I intend to share the results with everyone that requests a copy of the report; in short, if you’re a Hiring Manager, In-House Talent Acquisition Professional, Agency Recruiter, HR Professional or you work for an RPO, the report could inform your plans for 2019. Also, as an interviewee, this could provide you with valuable insight into the formats you might experience during the interview process next year.

 

The BOT

Like most non-techies, I used Chatfuel to create my Bot and I started with the usual ‘Welcome message’ and choices of options for the end user basically giving them the option to start the survey, be persuaded by me to take the survey or completely opt out (see slide show below).

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Then I had used the Google Forms template to create the sections of the conversation tree and options for the person interacting with the Bot – the difference between the Forms and a Bot is that you have to put a lot more thought into the flow because you’re no longer just asking someone to ‘tick boxes’. Now you’ve reached the start of the process of constructing your ‘Groups’ and/or ‘Sequences’ which is both a wonderful option, however, I had to consider the ‘experience’ of the person now.

I think this was the point that I started to layer numerous options for two reasons; I was thinking about what possible answers and options a person might want to see, also, I was thinking about the options I’d like to see and experience.

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The AIM

The survey basically aims to answer the following questions:

  • What has been your role within interviews during the course of 2018?
  • What is your industry sector or your clients industry sector?
  • What interview formats have you used in 2018?
  • What interview questions have you used in 2018?
  • What interview technology have you used in 2018?
  • What interview formats, questions and technology are you planning to use / use more of / implement in 2019?

: however, with the Bot at my fingertips, I started to expand the details of the question(s) to see if I could add more value to the survey results (the thereby, add more value for everyone who wanted a copy of the report afterwards).

The QUESTION

This is the point I am at now….do I continue with the Bot or do I stick to the Google Forms option?

Sources:

GIF courtesy of Sylvia Boomer Yang @boomeryang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remote.com or Remote.con?

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I recently received an invitation from a former colleague of mine to connect with him on a platform called Remote; the website states it will be “Connecting 2 million+ professionals with remote and freelance jobs using artificial intelligence” and it continues to refer to current buzzwords and phrases such as “The power of the network effect” etc.

Remote

My experience, however, is quite different! 

The main issue is the requirement to complete 80% of your ‘Profile’ before you can access the job search functionality of the platform. This ‘completion’ requires you to part with sizeable amounts of personal and professional data along with your LinkedIn contacts – which you are encouraged to action quite quickly through a combination of prompts to complete your profile and ‘oversized buttons’ directing you to this action.

With regards to the LinkedIn connections; I now understand why my former colleague sent me an invitation to this platform – or in actual fact, he didn’t as it was automatically done for him. He (like me), probably wasn’t aware this action had happened until (like me) he started getting friends and colleagues messaging me asking me what the Remote platform was and why had I invited them.

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Naturally, I’ll be encouraging this former colleague not to bother signing up at all. 

Having completed every section of my ‘Profile’ with details and adding my social media channels AND adding my LinkedIn connections, my profile complete percentage was STILL (!!) only 70%. Where did this elusive 10% come from I started to wonder…

…so, I emailed the Remote team back on their ‘feedback‘ email address. See below:

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The response? – Nothing!

So, I went onto Twitter…again – Nothing!

Then I permanently deleted my account. A pretty definitive action wouldn’t you agree? – well, clearly, the Do Everything AI Bot @ Remote.com called Kira Roboz didn’t agree as she sent me this email (after I’d instructed them to permanently delete my account).

And what did she want? – you guessed itmore data from me! 

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With the increasing number of SaaS propositions being created for the talent acquisition and recruitment market, it is quite frustrating when you encounter a proposition that – on the face if it – appears to offer credibility by association (connecting you with fellow and former colleagues and friends). However, in truth, it’s simply an exercise in data collection to enhance the proposition and offer very little value in return.

So, the question I pose is it Remote.com or Remote.con?

Addition to original post:

A friend and former colleague highlighted to me that Remote.con (*the name I will now use) appears to have started its mass data-gathering fraud in the USA last year; she sent me a Medium post by New York Time journalist, K.J. Dell’Antonia, who wrote about her experience of Remote.con and how the platform accessed and contacted her network without authorisation – or at least without making it apparent that was the intention.

Read the full post here: Why You Shouldn’t Accept My Invitation to Join Me on Remote.com (Because I Didn’t Send It)

I’m very happy to hear from anyone at Remote.com to discuss this initial opinion I have formed of their proposition. Equally, it would be great to hear from anyone else that has used the Remote.com platform and had a different or similar experience to me.

Recruitment Marketing – ‘The Post’

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Digital Sinkhole

LinkedIn is a constant stream of news, opinions, sales material and job adverts; we have no end of information at the touch of a ‘New Posts’ button. You may linger on posts from friends and current or former colleagues, there may be posts that LinkedIn’s (rather inept) algorithm has pushed your way based on previous engagement, however, I’d venture the average user will actually engage with less than 10 posts a day. By ‘engagement’ I mean, click on the link, read the article and / or make a comment. LinkedIn just doesn’t have the same pull-factor as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or even YouTube.

My point is this, if you’re going to get discovered as a Recruitment Agency or Talent Acquisition professional, you have to stand apart from the generic (often lazy) “Great opportunity” and “Contact me to discuss…” posts. A ‘call to action’ post is a perfectly reasonable option, however, if you’re providing zero reason for that individual to engage with your post, it will just disappear down their digital sinkhole.

With this knowledge, and I know it’s a known fact – why do SO many recruiters persist with the same generic posts!?!

And folks, the evidence is there…

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…these posts seem to be typical of the ‘standard’ recruitment post. I’m not 100% sure what the thinking is behind this type of post, however, I’d take a guess that time versus return on investment is a factor. I appreciate, after 12-years of recruitment agency-side, that the feeling of never having enough time is still present in most agency environments. Having said that, a 3-line post, a couple of token hashtags, a ‘smiley’ and a contact number is not going to be enough to encourage the, often talked about, ‘passive candidate’ to rush to their phone to contact you.

Your post(s) need to have some thinking behind them….or at the very least, a basic understanding of your ‘target audience’.

I WANT YOU!

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If you want to attract individuals to your post, I would suggest at least having a template for your post content; to be more specific, I’d suggest answering the following questions:

  • What message are you trying to communicate? (i.e. call to action, brand awareness, engagement)
  • Why would an individual respond to your post? (i.e. action to take – ‘click here’)
  • Where does the link/hyperlink take the individual? (i.e. another website, blog post, event page etc)
  • What image are you using and why?
  • What time will you post? (i.e. check out this helpful post for timings)
  • What hashtags are you using and why? (*research your hashtags)
  • What key information should be detailed? (i.e. location, salary/daily rate, client name, job title)
  • Can you / will you use the company logo? (*do you have permission/consent?)
  • What contact details will you provide? Are these channels right for your audience? (i.e. individual, group mailbox)

: these are some basic questions that will help shape your thinking about the post template; also, once you have a template, it becomes easier to create them and look for relevant content (i.e. images, text).

GO CREATIVE! GO NATIVE! 

As you become more of a digital native, there’s a high probability that you will start to get more creative in your posts; this may lead to actually configuring posts for specific social media channels – how many posts do you see with the image cut-off or where it doesn’t fully fit the image window? – this is not rocket-science to address, there are plenty of SaaS products to help you with this – I use Canva – it’s a great tool for creating channel specific posts and even provides you with templates to get you started.

Another tool in my locker is Adobe Stock – while you build your portfolio of images for your client, you can use Adobe Stock to bridge the gap in the interim; it allows you to licence images on a monthly basis and provides a vast entity of images for all subjects (*this is far better than scouring Google Images for pics and then trying to right-size them into your post).

Another consideration are the hyperlinks you use for you post; you can use the auto-generated one’s that are provided by Twitter for example. Personally, I use Bitly because (once you sign-up for an account), you can customise your hyperlinks. A nice little added touch that sub-consciously reassures the hyperlink is still linked to the post subject.

HEY HO! LET’S GO! 

These are just some basic suggestions from my experience and I have found the results very pleasantly surprising and so have my clients. The next step – just go do it and please share your feedback, ideas, improvements and suggestions.

Hey Ho! C’mon Textio!

He Ho Let's Go

In my pursuit of learning and trying all things tech that in the talent acquisition and recruitment market, I have encountered products and platforms on a range from MVP stage through to fully deployed into the market. In previous blogs I have mentioned propositions such as Cyra and Sniper AI which I have yet to see gain market momentum. In contrast, there are products such as Job Pal that have gained serious validation through the on-boarding of major clients – I had the pleasure of meeting the CEO and Founder of Job Pal, Luc Dudler, back in 2016 and I could tell then that he knew where the future of recruitment and talent acquisition was tracking.

The latest platform I am working with is Textio – “an augmented writing platform”; these fine folks are so confident that I’ll continue to use the tool, they gave me a free trial to begin with and then extended the trial for a further 2-weeks after I’d received a further induction on the full operability of the tool. Kudos to you Textio!

A little background….

Textio was co-founded by two people – both former Microsofties and both worked on the MS Office suite of products; this will become evident in the UI and orientation around Textio – it’s familiar and easy to use. The first person I spoke to in a v-meeting was Anthony Serna, one of the Product Specialists – cool guy and maybe a Seattle-based Chicago Bears fan.

Textio’s entrance into the UK market was catapulted by a round of investment reported back in June 2017 – they managed to secure $20 million from existing venture capital and investors. Quite a springboard!

Combine this to having active advocates such as Katrina Collier, The Searchologist – the person that made me aware of Textio – I think the team should be confident of more adoption and interest across the wider UK talent acquisition and recruitment community.

User-experience

When I cut-&-paste a recently created job specification into a new ‘Job post’ window, I’m instantly drawn to the score collating in the top-right hand corner and I start to have a growing sense of competition! – I need a higher score! The ‘Textio score’ is how you track your progress and I am also informed that ‘Textio is currently comparing your writing to 4,954,652 recent job posts in the United Kingdom’.

Upon reflection, this is a really simple, however, very clever way of keeping users engaged and motivated to want to continue to modify the job specification through creative writing, implementing the ‘tips’ and ‘guidance’ provided such as; too much bulleted content, sentences are too long, uses repetitive wording and not enough verbs. Additionally, there is a barometer for the ‘tone’ of the job post which informs you if you have a overly masculine or feminine tone or if your job post has a neutral tone.

I was actually quite surprised by one job post I added as Textio awarded it a possible ‘2 out of 100’ score and stated the post was “really bad”; it had an overly masculine tone, used repetitive wording, it was using very corporate language, the sentences were too long and it had too much bulleted content. A challenge had been set!

 

 

Fast-forward a day and half of intermittently redrafting the aforementioned job post whilst travelling on the train, between meetings and in the evening as part of my downtime; I managed to increase the job post Textio score to 81 which I was informed was “Strong” with a “feminine tone” and I’d managed to introduce more ‘we’ statements, add more positive statements that increase job post interest and phrases that attract more female applicants. The difference between the original post and the one that was produced by using Textio was very evident.

Why is it important?

Diversity in the any team and business will increase creative, collaboration and successful business and personal outcomes; however, building diverse teams starts with a considered discovery, attraction and engagement strategy. Understanding the person(s) you want to engage and actually finding out what is important to them is the beginning of your discovery phase.

Equally, the generational shift in the workforce from the Gen X to the Millennial majority demands attention as the juxtaposition between ‘traditional approach’ and ‘new world of work’ to talent acquisition is a key consideration. I’ve blogged about part of this subject in a previous post.

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Taking action

I’ve been an advocate for the Tech Talent Charter since my first workshop back in 2016 and I continue to promote the awareness of the Charter’s unpinning goals in the context of recruitment. I would recommend reading the material contained in the Charter if you work in HR, Talent Acquisition or recruitment. 

One of the key components of the Charter is the ‘Rooney Rule’ which aims to ensure that at least one female applicant is shortlisted for interview, thus, improving the potential female candidate pipeline within technology companies.

It’s also pleasing to note that the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport announced its commitment to promoting the Charter in its capacity as the UK Government’s Department for Digital.

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Buyer beware

One final note on Textio, as the sub-title suggests; the 14 Day Free Trial and the extended trial (available if you asked for it), is incredibly generous and certainly helps to ensure you become suitably reliant on the tool. HOWEVER….

“Textio subscriptions are company wide, last for 36, 24, or 12 months, with the price being based on the number of open roles on an organisation’s career site. Currently, we don’t offer individual licenses or user-based pricing.”

….this was an incredibly frustrating discovery! I’m hoping that the Textio team will take into consideration the mass-adoption that could be driven through single subscriptions – as an independent business (of one person), this tool has vast potential for my business and end clients.

HEY HO! C’MON TEXTIO!