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Lean into Change: Transform 2019 in Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

At Smashfly’s Transform conference in Boston, keynote speaker Erik Qualman told a personal story from his early days as an author trying to establish his brand:

For a photo shoot for one of his books, his team had the idea that he should wear Clark Kent-style glasses to help him stand out. St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner, so a bright green color was a no-brainer. 

Fast forward a few weeks and while preparing for a press release, someone asks him where his green glasses are. Erik is surprised and slightly embarrassed — do they really think he wears those all the time? 

They quickly tell him that his fans know him by his green glasses. Slightly uncomfortable but not wanting to disappoint his fans, Erik scrambles to find a pair. From that day on the green glasses became a huge part of his personal brand and success — he embraced the temporary discomfort and leaned into the change, and it paid off.

Erik’s message to the Transform attendees: the world of recruitment marketing is changing, and change can be uncomfortable. Together, let’s embrace and lean into that change

1. “It’s not about intensity, it’s about consistency.”

Smashfly CEO Thom Kenney’s opening quote was echoed throughout Thursday and Friday’s sessions.  Strong employer brands aren’t built from isolated interactions with your brand such as a relocation package, first-day swag, or a promotion; trustworthy brands are built from the accumulation of consistent actions across both the candidate and the employee experience. 

But according to Cox Enterprise’s Adam Glassman, that’s not the case for the large majority of companies: only 19% of employees say that their experience matches what their employers sold them. How do we close that gap? 

Well, “dump the funnel,” says Intel’s Allyn Bailey and Tyler Weeks. And create relationships, not transactions. 

Enter: the infinity loop.  In the traditional recruitment funnel, employer branding ends at ‘hire.’ The infinity loop recognizes the role of brand throughout the employee experience and its power to impact productivity, engagement, and future talent attraction. An authentic brand is an infinity loop where the left and right sides match. Read: how does your Glassdoor compare to your career site?

Don’t miss this RM trend, folks. It even has its own dance. 

2. Recruitment marketing should make your life easier, not harder. 

As the recruitment marketing ecosystem is exploding before our eyes, it’s easy to be distracted by all that we could be doing. Don’t let the ‘shiny objects,’ as IBM’s Saman Haqqi and Wendy Brock call them, complicate your work. Maintain focus and act intentionally in order to maximize your impact. 

Holland McCue focuses on recruiter enablement in Delta’s recruitment marketing strategy: investing in and providing the process, content, and technology that increase the time recruiters are spending with qualified leads. 

For Holland that means working with recruiters to identify critical candidate touchpoints. Together, they created content that is designed to engage candidates at each step. This resulted in higher performing content, and better equipping recruiters to engage their candidates with the right content at the right time. Not to mention a seven minute video with a 100% play-through rate. Kudos!

Kerry Noone’s CVS Health team is hyper-focused on nurturing at scale. With over 3,000,000 applications per year, 2,870,000 are left disappointed, many of which are CVS customers. A strong nurture campaign is key to retaining these candidates as customers. 

3. Willingness to embrace change and Transform

The recruitment marketing landscape is changing. In the opening keynote Thom urged us to take action: Driving change must be intentional. 

Torin Ellis moved the crowd with his presentation on the power of diversity and inclusion. Torin clearly breaks things down as Will vs. Skill: you either want to focus on diversity and inclusion, or you don’t. It can be as straightforward as ‘fishing in new ponds:’ There are over 5,000+ colleges in the United States but the average company still only recruits from 7-10. 

Intel’s Morgana Carter provides the data that can help: technology can enable organizations to see how ‘similar’ their new hires are to existing employees. You can intentionally hire from the darker blue dots, but will you?

From a branding perspective, The Washington Post’s Austin Graff was presented with a challenge when the Post evolved into a digital media company: what culture do we need to reach our goal of becoming a top digital media company? He evolved the brand to center around digital experiences on social media, with branded hashtags such as #MomentIKnewMonday.

How will you #TransformRM ?

After two great days of networking and learning, the takeaway was clear: take what you’ve learned and make an impact on your organization.