Recruiters as Media Buyers

RecruiterZone had a lively webinar this afternoon with Louise from UK Recruiter and Adam from Applichat, which is a facebook recruitment platform that allows users (recruiters) to post targeted ads to a segmented Facebook audience. Applichat then converts these ads into an interest in a job vacancy which results in a qualified lead being extracted to or submitted to a client applicant tracking system. Applichat, which is currently based in Mexico, and services clients from the Far East (due to their superior click-through rates) then collaborate with Facebook is enhance these targeted ads to heighten the likelihood of more relevant "ad" applications.

Louise runs through a variety of aspects including the perception that Applichat is a newly formed media buyer (scalable ad agency) for recruiters. This is all the more poignant because Facebook is seen very much as a passive avenue in today's social media market. What ought to be said is that the webinar posed a few interesting questions. Namely, the question of what industry/sector Applichat focuses on or operates within and how they plan to develop clients from this sector in the short-medium term? Adam highlighted the high-volume recruitment market as one which he took interest in.

Adam also mentioned something that was quite high-level for me in response to one of the questions that was asked by John. It was about his view on split testing on Facebook.

I learned quite a bit from Adam's responses and definitely recommend that you watch the replay if you have an interest in programmatic advertising as it relates to Facebook data and applicant tracking.

Matt Alder and Hishem Azzouz: Ep226

We live in a highly connected world but also a very noisy one. Standing out from the crowd can be very difficult for recruiters, especially on Linkedin where an unprecedented amount of content is being posted, much of it, unfortunately, is not very good.

Matt Alder's guest this week is Hishem Azzouz, founder of Azzouz Branding and host of The Recruitment Rollercoaster Podcast. Hishem works with recruiters to help them build authentic personal brands and develop content that cuts through the noise to resonate with their target audiences.

In the interview, the two heavyweights discuss:

• Hishem's career journey so far and his experience of getting started in recruiting
• Being more personable, more human and standing out from the crowd
• What does personal branding mean in 2019?
• Techniques to stand out and engage
• The importance of knowing your target audience
• What are the real measures of success?

Hishem also gives some examples of people and companies doing this well and shares more details about The Recruitment Rollercoaster Podcast.

Energy & Power M&A - The view from Merrill Corp

I recently co-published a report to demonstrate the value of M&A and Private Equity across Africa and the Middle East which is highly relevant to the energy market. I just wanted to say a big thanks to Bill Marko from Jefferies, Abby Roberts of Merrill Corp, Andrea Decore of Suncor Energy and Denmon Sigler, Partner at Baker & McKenzie. The panel gave a talk on the key issues, trends and due diligence best practices in Energy and Power M&A. The webinar series from Merrill Corp touched on a few interactive points which I have listed in bullets (below):

  • We discussed customer needs and the fact that customers want lower carbon solutions to their energy supply concerns
  • We discussed contemporary American perspectives on alternative energy investment vs European (i.e. Nordic) perspectives
  • One lively contribution was the slide on how dealmakers are reacting to the lackluster energy market (secondary buyouts, all equity structures etc)
  • A panellist mentioned the fact that there will be long-term demand for energy whether it's from Oil and Gas or alternatives
  • We discussed LNG, which was viewed as the perfect "bridge fuel" by several on the panel
  • Denmon mentioned the perils of battery storage and the inability to dispose of batteries and the inefficiency of rare earth minerals that go into smartphones, a lot of them from China (95%) and Africa, South America
  • Andrea answered a question on the role of government in energy innovation. Andrea mentioned fair and consistent energy market regulation across jurisdictions. The banning of fracking or compartmentalization of renewable energy projects

I learned a lot from this webinar, and am still learning quite a bit from the webinar series. One of the other attendees asked an intriguing question (below):

"I'm curious if you, the panel, are seeing more joint ventures and mergers for renewable energy companies in order to energize the capacity market and overcome the intermittency issue inherent in renewable energy".

I'm going to try and follow up on that.

All-in-all, this series from Merrill Corp is a great attempt to envisage the landscape for the US energy market in particular but also the European and Middle-East markets. I definitely recommend watching the webinar if you get the chance.

Stuff in Black Boxes - Hirevue

Had a lovely exchange with Bas from the Brainfood Facebook group about the guys at Hirevue, who I wrote about a few weeks ago. Now, Hirevue's pre-hire assessment tool is data-driven but unfortunately for Bas, it doesn't provide candidates with feedback as to why their applications were rejected i.e. a score or a report on your performance during the gamified application.

Bas refers to this as a black box algorithm and says it defies US law because it creates hiring decisions not based on these reports/scores. We started discussing this topic because of a recent WSJ article on the complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Hirevue for "algorithmic malpractice".

Artificial Intelligence meets Employer Branding - Unilever

I just thought I'd share this article on Unilever.

Their Employer Branding effort is impressive but it still bugs me, big time. Why? Because according to Bernard Marr & Co. on YT, Unilever, one of the larger entities in Europe and across the globe, actually utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning (NLP, computer vision, etc) in their screening process.

Using AI to narrow down the candidature, as Bernard puts it is a great idea, but how is that synonymous with the idea that great Employer Branding equals great Candidate Experience? While marketing is a very "eyes on me" sort of exercise, AI tends to leave the candidate feeling objectified and arguably, the recruiting world is left better positioned by having recruiters at the initial stages, arguably.

Lack of human contact can be concerning for a large organization like Unilever because it gives off an air of superiority. The push-back must be unreal!

The Dangers of the Silo Effect

I start this one off with a quick question. What percentage of us Brits would happen to know who Justine Henin is to the sport of tennis? Yes, ok, we may know who Serena is but, what about Henin? 

Strange, the percentage would be quite low I would assume. Unless of course, you happen to be an avid Wimbledon fan or attentive to the WTA world rankings. Justine Henin was a world-class tennis player, who graced the game in the mid-noughties and bowed out on a high not too long ago for confidential reasons.

Okay, how about this? What percentage of my American audience have ever traveled to anywhere outside of America, to say...Northern Tibet? It's an unusual destination, outside of America, that is. The answer according to this Forbes article is not too many. Fewer than expected at the rate of 11% of a 2,000 person survey which was conducted in May say they have never left the comfort of the state they were born in and a further 40% say they've never left the country.

Gillian Tett (Financial Times) coined an analogy in the title of her famous book: Silo Effect (which I haven't read yet) but it's a point that resonates. Working in silos can be and is of significant danger to warrant this article. I compare silos to a sort of pride that comes before an epic fail. Not knowing Henin but knowing Serena, not leaving our houses but expecting the world in return. It's selfish and slightly clumsy. We're better than this.

Hence my surprise when I received a Slack notification this morning from Dama at BGV informing me that the FT had published another annual BAME leaders list for its readers. Congratulations to Deborah from YSYS and Kike from BYP and others for making the list.

I honestly thought my colleagues had each achieved a level of recognition that would amount to more than a place on this list. Maybe a televised award ceremony with FT subscribers and guests or perhaps (and some people may hate me for mentioning this) maybe it's time for an industry-wide shortlist that maps the contributions of every noticeable rising-star, founder, entrepreneur, and investor in the UK, regardless of their race or creed?

It's up to you. You the reader to make your voice heard about this. Very little I can do except point to the error. Let's make this happen by next year November 2020 and remember, avoid working in silos, or in what I ought to call the Henin-Serena thought trap, more precisely.

Movers and Shakers - Sheree Atcheson joins Monzo

You may have encountered Sheree's work via her award-winning role with Deloitte in London as shared through social media and other channels. Sheree has done her fair share to ensure Deloitte and the industry as a whole compete on the basis of (diverse) talent and has developed a great following on social media along the way, myself included.

Hence, it was no surprise when Sheree announced quite gracefully that she will be joining Monzo, the UK's preeminent challenger bank and leaving her consultancy role at Deloitte for the bright world of fintech.

I'm so thrilled that Sheree has made the leap to join Monzo (as their new Head of Diversity & Inclusion) and wish her all the best of luck in her new position. If you would like to ask any questions to Sheree, you can connect with her via LinkedIn or via Twitter if you'd like to learn more about her professional activities in D&I.

Leadership Gamification at HireVue

I was recently invited to a webinar hosted by the guys a HireVue (Thanks to Clemens Aichholzer, Hirevue's Director of Corporate Development for extending the invite). HireVue is a company that has designed a market-leading AI-driven pre-hire assessment software, which also gets a very good level of feedback from the recruiters I know on Facebook and elsewhere. Although I may have missed the webinar (Apologies to Clemens and his team), this blog was subsequently created on the topic of gamification in leadership assessments.

Employee Value Propositions and Communities

I just wanted to say a big thanks to Nando and the cool team over at AIHR for this pretty comprehensive guide to EVP which comes with a great video on Shell's corporate experience in the oil sector. 

It goes back to what James Ellis said last week about EVP being "quite different from your Employer Brand". I agree 100% with James on this one, the EVP seems to be a much more internally defined concept. One which is housed under the same umbrella as everything from the mission statement to the corporate brand itself. 

So huge distinctions there.

Also, a quick message via Hung Lee regarding this week's Brainfood which will be on the topic of communities in the recruitment industry:

This Friday, we'll be bringing in some expert community builders in the recruitment space to help us think through the problem of community engagement.

  • Jamie Leonard, Founder of the Recruitment Events Co, and the amazing RL100 group
  • Piret Luts, Head of TA at Nortal, and founder Recruitment Thursdays
  • Shannon Pritchett, MD at CareerXRoads, previously with SourceCon as one person community firestarter throughout the globe. 

Will be joining us this  Friday 8th November, 4pm GMT
Free 1 hour webinar with experts in the field. 
Follow the channel here (recommended) 
Register for the show here

See you on Friday!

Lessons from Private Equity Research

A few days ago I wrote about a meeting that I missed on my way back from the Nigerian Embassy in London. The meeting was with an ambassador at One Young World, she's part of a team at #NSFMNextGen who are doing an interview about me for their Impact Influencer Series.

As part of the interview, I tried my best not to mention Mr Schwarzman and his perceived "flaw" in the Private Equity research recently released by Harvard Business School. The fact is, PE creates a net job loss. I wrote about this ages ago on my previous blog, which somehow I have managed to delete from the web.

Here's a link to the research - Schwarzman, being interviewed by Pitchbook, seems to think that a flaw exists in the average time length of a Private Equity deal, which he believes is not two years.

Schwarzman: "The average life of a private equity deal isn't two years. And the reason is that in two years, you haven't established enough growth, because just reducing people count does not add a lot of value. You always get a company that has more jobs at the end of five years than you started with after the first year or two, because that's how you make money."

It's phenomenal how many PE fund transactions were actually used for this research model, over 9,500 buyouts. What does it tell us about jobs and recruitment in tech? It tells us that a potential exit for a modern tech firm leads provisionally to tighter spend on salaries and more accurately, a 4.4% job loss ratio. The caveat is that this effect is only resonant in publicly listed companies, private limited companies demonstrate a 15% lift in jobs after a two year PE transition.

Sounds logical, right?

Employer Branding IS Candidate Experience

Happy 5th of November!

If you've had the chance to watch Brainfood Live from last week, you'd probably have realised that one of my comments on Candidate Experience (CX) may have made some reference to a non-existent theory given the context. A theory which I am yet to substantiate on my blog. After mentioning CX to the chat which was badly received, I did a quick look at the search engine results for the term "Candidate Experience Employer Branding" and found several articles from not too long ago which point to the fact that CX is highly assumed by leading talent leaders to be synonymous with EB.

Here's a link to the 1-hour long survey I was sent via e-mail recently on the topic of "CX" compiled by my previous employer - the one I mentioned in Brainfood Live. The phases of the questionnaire are extremely detailed and make for interesting reading if your organisation is trying to present a strong brand during the application phase for new employees. Shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to learn more about this.

But essentially, what I'd like to explore is the idea that this questionnaire reflects "good" EB. Indeed, it does. The e-mail which it was enclosed in was marketed appropriately and sufficiently enough to warrant me accepting it as a positive experience against my overall experience as an applicant. This then raises the question - what makes for "bad" EB? Well, again as I stated in Brainfood live, a piece of research I read not too long ago seems to suggest that candidates give negative feedback when their experiences are negative and no feedback whatsoever when their experiences are positive, except of course if they are chased for feedback.

So, what then creates good EB practices? Is it healthy to engage with candidates you have rejected so frequently so as to encourage them to re-apply or stay on as customers in a broader sense. One piece of research I read this week suggested that Virgin Media loses an average of £4.4m a year due to bad candidate experiences which convert into lost subscriptions.

What that tells us is that a candidate's experience can be a packaged and tangible fixed cost (or asset) to a business. Thus, the notion of an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) emerges as a remedy to this particular objective constraint. Where does the brand value in your organisation rest? How can you convey this to improve CX? Those are the only two questions you should be asking as a business leader in your organisation.

Thanks for reading.

Lessons in How To Raise Capital in an Egalitarian Society

So, my friend and business partner, who is a Finance Lecturer and Private Equity Investor wants me to do an intro to someone at a London-based venture capital firm and is offering me 5% of however much equity he receives from a capital raise which he will negotiate as a result of my introduction.

The problem here is that there arguably isn't enough respect or regard shown in the profession to allow black entrepreneurship networks like that of myself and my business partner to flourish. We have cautiously approached one investor who although being kind enough to provide his contact details, did not acquiesce to respond or provide constructive criticism. Some high-profile VCs have bad reputations and even worse attitude problems. Maybe it's a money issue?

I originally thought I'd share the context of the discussion, but I have since changed my mind. Best to leave it there. Let's just say the effect of this was a fruitful conversation I've had with my business partner in regards to social action, and the economic rights of ethnic minorities, with a reference to this exact journal article.

What ought to be said is that the foremost figure of civil and political rights of that time and perhaps of all-time, was a revolutionary who died (or was assassinated) in his prime due to attempts to combat the sheer lack of economic rights provided to citizens of Black African descent.

It's a great paper to read and I thought I would share it.

One can relate this paper and its argument to my experience in tech, and what we get is a resounding reaffirmation of how venture capital networks actually operate. Unlike the nameless resume process or the blind exam paper in Universities, venture capital is allocated on a preferential basis. This needs to change.

Myself and my business partner, albeit unknowingly, have a mission and commitment to ask questions and take notes about the nature of our experiences, on behalf of others (both investors and founders) who may be in our shoes, given the fact that a) we are seeking investment in a relatively competitive sector - augmented reality and b) we're not all white males, so we have no such associated privilege.

I'll keep you updated about my business partner's journey.

Further Thoughts on Employer Branding

Had a quick stop at the Nigerian Embassy today to collect my Flygerian passport with my mum. Happy to see that Brexit is in full swing also. On the way back to the office, I had to reschedule a prior meeting, I started thinking about Hung Lee's Recruiting Brainfood which I get reminders about every Friday at roughly the same time. 3pm. This week's topic of choice by Hung was an impressive attempt to clean up the thought leadership on what Employer Branding actually is?

Indeed, there ought to be a glancing eye GIF applied to all the instances where thought leaders in recruitment who have already explained the concept of Employer Branding (EB) begin to hasten at an attempt to convey its value to an estranged audience, hence when we see the likes of none other than the curator of Recruiting Brainfood, doing big numbers on LinkedIn and livestream on the topic of EB, the reason for GIFs like these, becomes ever more pragmatic and meaningful. 

So, come 4pm every Friday Hung Lee hosts Brainfood live on Crowdcast. Elena and James gave their high-level talk today on the values they see underpinning EB in the modern realm (with lots of puns and healthy banter). James (Ellis) is one of the most committed to implementing this field of study. His work is focused on the pragmatic definition of EB and extends its philosophy proudly through interviews and pods. 

Not too familiar with the work of Elena but she's also a pioneer in the Chicago scene. As for this week's episode of Brainfood however, it was an interesting6 platform for Elena and James (as well as the usual audience) to employ tactics to get recruiters to engage and participate in the scope of EB, especially while businesses are bidding up the price of brand value. Definitely worth a listen and watch if you are, like today's guest James, a hardcore EB advocate. I attempted to engage with the webinar attendees to define EB as correlated with the Candidate Experience (CX), but to no avail.

Warning: It's a 4-way conversation which gets very dense for a livestream/podcast