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Friday, May 4, 2018

A Message to my Non-TA colleagues

The talent landscape is changing.  The skills gap is growing. And the harsh reality is, that gap is only going to increase.  According to the AARP, 10,000 baby boomers are hitting retirement age every single day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030's.  We can also look at the following statistics to give us a deeper glimpse into some of the trials we will face as the labor force continues to evolve -

The emergence of these challenges combined with the ever-increasing impact of technology on how people consume and share information has created some fundamental shifts in the talent acquisition space. How companies attract candidates, acquire talent, and the factors that candidates look at when evaluating a potential employer are different than they were even 5 years ago.  As competition for talent grows, it’s important to understand these shifts and the impact they have on our approach and philosophies.

The solution will be multi-faceted and it will take some time but one of the things that I want to share is this - One of the key philosophies that we have to adopt is the idea that Talent Acquisition is everyone’s job.

Talent Acquisition truly is a team sport.  The Talent Acquisition team members are the subject matter experts and they will lead the charge but it’s important that everyone plays their part.  We must create a compelling story and we must let our employees tell that story. The facts and experiences that we share give potential candidates a holistic view of what life is like inside of these four walls.  These are things that someone outside of the organization may never get an opportunity to see and they are vital to our employment brand. Employment brand is a huge topic that is having an ever-increasing impact on Corporate America. There is a ridiculous amount of research and insights into this topic but it’s no secret that a successful branding plan starts from within.  

The beautiful thing is that there are a couple of simple things we can do to impact our employment brand and these things do not require a lot of time or resources.  What are they you ask? Well, I’m happy to share. The first is to clearly understand your EVP. At the foundation of any good employer branding effort is a defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP) or collection of philosophies, values, and factors that summarize why a potential employer is desirable.  Now, some experts will tell you that all of us sharing the same fundamental EVP will be paramount to the success of the EVP. While I believe that having core principles that we share consistently is important, I also believe that as we delve into data-driven storytelling (more on that later), it’s critical that you are able to share YOUR story.  Why do you work for the organization? What’s attractive to you? What are 2-3 key things that you would share if you were trying to highlight what is special about your role, team or work environment? By focusing on what is important to you, you can speak about it in a very genuine matter and the passion that you convey will be picked up on by others.  So take a moment and think about your personal story, your EVP, and what you would like to share with the outside world.

Once you have that identified, let’s think about how we want to disseminate your message.  We all have access to various social media platforms. Chances are you belong to groups and you belong to associations.  You consistently interact with others in your area of expertise. These platforms are free. They require a little bit of a time investment, but they can have a significant impact.  According to a recent study by Social Media Todaycontent shared by employees get 8 times more engagement than content shared by a brand's own channels.  Therefore, by being the instrument that shares components of your work life and doing it with a clear understanding of the message that you are sending, you can have a substantial impact how potential candidates perceive your team, your job, and your organization.  And if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Marketers get paid to market and recruiters get paid to recruit. What really resonates with people are the insights of the people that are “living the life”, the people that are performing in the same type of role that they would be if they joined the company.  It’s also fair to assume that the best talent networks for a particular skill set are owned by the people doing the job every day. You have worked alongside people, you went to school with these get the idea.
It’s important to note that in order to do this successfully, you need to have the right tools to do the job.  If you look at a tool like LinkedIn, having an active, updated and compelling profile is crucial. There are lots of resources that can help you get there (here is a nice one from Forbes) and it’s something that can be done in minimal time.  If you have further questions I suggest consulting your friendly neighborhood recruiter.  Once you have a stellar online presence, it’s important to expand your network to ensure that your message is reaching the appropriate audience.  This is beneficial in a number of ways. Not only do you help spread the word about the unique things going on in your world but I can’t tell you how much I have learned by networking with others and sharing ideas.  Again, if we look at a tool like LinkedIn the easiest way to do this is with groups. They allow you to interact with people in your field and easily find folks with similar interests or skills. They have groups for everything.  They even have a group for Underwater Basket Weaving.  I’m not making this up.  

This is the just the tip of the iceberg on this topic.  Employees outside of Talent Acquisition are so important to a successful strategy.  I didn’t even address how important the role that everyone plays in the candidate experience is or the importance of adhering to processes that makes sense or the significance of educating yourself in an attempt to eliminate unconscious bias... If I keep going this little piece is going to get really long. We have a lot of work to do. For now, this is a good place to start. Traditional recruiting is obsolete and so we must evolve. My challenge to you would be to think about your EVP, expand your network, and spread the word!  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Why you're a bad salesperson (or recruiter)

They all send SPAM

This is the most obvious and I can’t emphasize this enough.  I have never been to a conference or training where the presenter talked about the value of bulk messaging.  Do you know why?  Because it’s awful and incredibly ineffective.   It’s easy to identify and it sends the wrong message.  They usually look like this –
Dear (insert the wrong name here),

I work for this company that you’ve never heard of

It’s glaringly apparent that I know nothing about you or your organization

Send me your availability


Awful Salesperson / Recruiter

Does that ever work?  Has anyone ever really gotten a sale that way?  I guess it’s possible, there’s a sucker born every minute but it will never work with this guy.   I’m also amazed at the number of messages that I receive from recruiters that include a job description.  Not just any job description, but one that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with my background or interests.  All that you’re telling the recipient is that “Hey, I’m lazy and I really don’t give a crap about your company or you as an individual”.  You may think that you are being more efficient or saving time but the reality is that you’re setting yourself up for failure and hurting your brand.  If you’re doing it, stop it.

They approach every conversation with just their goals in mind

Too often I observe people going into conversations with a sole focus on the sale, commission, or placement.  This is a bad behavior and one that you need to do some soul searching to recognize.  When I’m dealing with our vendors, it is my expectation that they are approaching each situation with our company’s best interest in mind.  That is being a true partner.  I would hope that they would never try to sell me something that wouldn’t benefit the organization or push us towards a direction that didn’t make sense for us.  They may lose that particular sale, but you build credibility and trust and as a result, will have greater long-term success.  The same thing happens with candidates.  I know that we all have metrics that we’re trying to achieve.  However, I too often see recruiters trying to jam square pegs into round holes.  It is possible that an opportunity is not the right fit for someone and we need to be cognizant of that.  Again, you may get that particular placement but the long-term ramifications are huge.  If you are a third-party recruiter and you place someone that doesn’t work out then you lose credibility.  If you are an in-house recruiter and you place someone that isn’t a good fit you are harming your organization.  I don’t know about you, but my bonus and 401K are tied to my organization’s performance so there are selfish reasons for me to be concerned about this.  And finally – you’re screwing with one of the most important components of someone’s life.  Think about how much of your sense of purpose, happiness, and ability to provide for your family is associated with your career.  Don’t be a jerk, think about others. 

They don’t follow up  / keep in touch

I think that most people would agree that communication is key to any successful relationship.  Now, we all have known people whose friendship seems to be full of convenient timing.  In other words, you won’t hear from them for a long time and when you do, they need something.  I have had salespeople like this and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  They don’t visit, they don’t check-in, and they don’t try to improve our professional relationship.  However, when it’s time to renew a contract or pitch a new product, they show up with a smile on their face.  Under those circumstances, it’s easy for the customer to make note of the
salespersons self-centered motives.  Again, it sends a very bad message.  We can do the same thing as recruiters.  A pipeline is useless if it’s nothing more than a list of names and numbers.  Take time to build your network, to understand your clients and candidates, and position yourself as a partner.  Relationships can’t be enhanced in the absence of communication.  It can be time consuming but with effective time management and a little commitment, it’s something that can improve your partnerships and business results.

They lack transparency

Similar to communication is transparency.  The thing is that candidates and customers don’t like surprises.  You can avoid this by sharing information and being as honest as possible.  I think that we tend to try and avoid conflict or disappointment by putting spin on a situation that would be better addressed with
forthrightness.   From a customer perspective things like price hikes, changes to the product, or changes in support structure shouldn’t come out of left field.  For candidates, not having proper information around the true specifics of the job or the culture of the team that they would potentially be a part of can be damaging.  The best-case scenario is that a lot of people’s time ends up wasted.  The worst-case scenario results in a bad hire and we all know the effect that can have. 

I could go on and on about this.  I really could.  As I was making notes on this subject it quickly occurred to me that I have a ton of thoughts related to this topic.  I’m sure that many of you do as well.  We have all experienced a bad salesperson or a bad recruiter.  The good news is that there are a lot of good salespeople and phenomenal recruiters in the world.  I interact with people on the positive side of the spectrum every day.  Even more encouraging is that there are a lot of talented folks that do it right and are willing to share what they know.  Take time to seek these people out, take a “partner-like” or consultative approach with the people you interact with, and put a smile on your face and you will be just fine.  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How GM Put Its Talent Sourcing in Overdrive

What happens when a company of 250,000 employees only has four people working in talent acquisition?
Answer: It doesn’t acquire much talent.
This may be a corny joke, but it’s also a simple truth. And back in 2009, it was a reality for General Motors. It’s pretty telling when your entire talent acquisition team can take the same Lyft ride to work. (Think about that the next time you feel your company doesn’t have enough recruiters!)  Thankfully, things have changed at GM (we’ve outgrown using a single Lyft!) – but it didn’t happen overnight.  As part of the team charged with building our talent acquisition function, I had to come up with fresh sourcing strategies, which I shared at SmashFly’s Transform Virtual 2017. Here are a few of the key principles that put GM on the path to world-class sourcing.

Craft Your Story

If we were going to fix GM’s talent acquisition, we had to understand the problem. I know what you’re thinking: “The problem was that you only had four recruiters … at GM!”  Well, yes, obviously that was a challenge. But more resources and staff wasn’t the answer. We had to get to the core of the problem, so we did research. We talked with our new hires, as well as candidates who considered joining but went elsewhere. We discovered that GM candidates were ILL. ILL is the acronym we came up with for the top three barriers we faced in hiring the best talent: Industry, Legacy, Location.

Industry: Despite technological advancements, people still view the automotive industry as antiquated, stuffy and stodgy. They pictured greasy and grimy automotive plants with assembly lines, not the millions of lines of code that go into every vehicle today.

Legacy: The company had a very public bankruptcy in 2009, and despite the progress we made, people still remember it years later. Candidates had feelings of uncertainty: How are they doing financially? Will I have job stability here? Are they on the verge of going under again?

Location: Picture your ideal city to live and work in if you had to relocate for your career. Pause. Did Detroit come to mind? Didn’t think so. When most people think of Motor City, they want to motor through it, not live there! And honestly, four or five years ago, neither did I.
To heal the “ILL” view of GM, we had to change the narrative. We needed to control and communicate the story, actively and uniquely – not just the GM story, but our personal GM story.

Like I said, I wasn’t an initial fan of Detroit. But once I began to see the revitalization of the city the past few years, it blew me away. It’s really an up-and-coming city. I can talk to people about that in an interview. I can identify with their reservations about Detroit and share my story, which will likely resonate with them because it’s personal. It’s real. So operative number one was moving away from canned and corporate and into raw and real.

Find Your Ambassadors

We all know the market is candidate-driven, and the competition for talent is fierce. We hear about it every day … wash, rinse, repeat. But you know who has no clue about our struggles? The salespeople. The software engineers. Those guys in accounting.  Talent acquisition needs to be an organizational effort – and that doesn’t just happen on its own. No one goes to work thinking they need to be recruiting or advocating or referring. It’s our job to communicate its importance to every department. 
Everyone can be a talent ambassador. And everyone should. Every employee has a personal network of friends, former colleagues, and alumni. You need to tap into those networks to attract more talent like the great people you already have hired.  Think about it: Who better to relate to a software engineer than another software engineer? Who can explain what it’s like to be in sales at your company better than your salespeople? So you need to ask and equip people to be ambassadors for your brand, setting up channels and guidelines to facilitate this process.  We haven’t mastered this yet a GM, but we’re still striving for it. It’s the foundation of a brand-led talent acquisition strategy.

Develop the Future Sourcer

Yesterday’s recruiting skills and methods won’t cut it anymore. We have to think like strategists, promote like marketers, write like search experts and inquire like data scientists. Then, we have to share and instill that knowledge in others.  As I started to build the sourcing team at GM, I looked for four key pillars:

Search Expert: Search is the foundation of sourcing. The best sourcers must be able to use new tools in unique ways to find data from a variety of sources. They have to mine information from the web and be creative in hunting for top-notch talent, truly finding needles in haystacks.

Strategist: It’s one thing to know what a hiring manager is looking for, it’s another to know how you’re actually going to find it. Sourcers are on the front line; they are the eyes and ears of your operation. They should be able to build a plan based on data, the market, competitive intel and the tools at their disposal, then communicate and deliver on that plan effectively.

Marketer: If everyone in your company needs to be an ambassador, sourcers must be the ambassadors-in-chief. They must be great communicators, turning a two-sentence formal EVP into a personal, genuine story that relates and intrigues. GM may not be for everyone, and we’re OK with that. But we want to give candidates a realistic view of what it’s like to work for us. That can’t come from a script; it has to come from that first personal touch point, like a sourcer who shares our story effectively.

TeacherIf talent acquisition wants to bring value to our organizations, we have to help and inform our colleagues. When I look for our sourcers, I want people who leverage the latest tools, techniques and technology (say that fast three times) and can share their expertise with others. Whether junior recruiters, seasoned recruiters, fellow teammates or managers, we all need to share our knowledge in best and emerging practices to better the organization.

Another part of the journey is the close partnership developed between the Sourcing team and the employment branding and social media team.  Sharing a consistent message about the new GM and why candidates should consider us vs. other employment options is an important part of our evolution.
With these key steps in action, we’re in a much better place than we were eight years ago (those “four-lorn” days are long gone). Just as the auto industry continues to evolve, so does our approach to sourcing and talent acquisition. Hopefully, these insights get your wheels turning so you can take the reins and steer your organization in the right direction. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leveraging Data To Fine Tune a Search


I’ve been doing some thinking.  For those of you who know me, you know this is typically cause for alarm.  However, I’ve been reflecting on some things that have been fundamental or rudimentary to me during my time as a recruiter/sourcer/manager.  It has dawned on me that with all of the talk of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robots that are going to take my job (I always think of Will Smith in I, robot when someone brings that up), there’s still room for some of the fundamentals.  So today, I want to talk about leveraging data from labor market reports.  Now if you’ve ever had the unenviable task of listening to me drone on about what I think is important, you know that I believe in using data, specifically labor market data to educate, advise, and set expectations during the recruiting process.  I’m not going to go into that here because that my friends is a topic for another time.  What I am going to venture into is some thoughts that I routinely had while sitting in my sourcing / recruiting chair.  One of the things that I used to think about was “How do I find unique avenues or unique searches to find the candidates I’m looking for?”  I simply didn’t want to run the same old boring searches and look in the places that everyone else was looking.  So essentially, I was looking for leads or ideas.  Sometimes those ideas came from simple information that I gathered from labor market data.  Now I’m not here to pimp anyone’s service or tell you who to use.  I just believe that having access to this information is important and I wanted to share some of the things I used to look at when I was building a search. 

One of the things that appear on just about any labor market report that you create is a list of the other companies that are looking for any skill set that you specify.  Why is this important to know?  Well, let’s talk about that.  As we talk to candidates, I think it is important to understand some of the competitive advantages you have when compared to the other companies that they may be considering.  In order to do so, it’s critical that you know who the competition is.  These reports can help with that.  In addition, if you know that a company is looking for a particular skill set, you can safely assume that those companies employ that skill set.  By honing in on these companies, it’s possible that you could come across a source of potential candidates that you weren’t familiar with.

One of the things that I’ve noticed (which should come as a surprise to no one) is that different companies have different names for the same role in an organization.  Now while I would never promote the idea that you should search by job title, sometimes when you are looking for different avenues to pursue it’s helpful to know the different things that people in that skill group may call themselves.  On a labor market report, there is typically a section that will let you know the most recent or most frequently used job titles associated with the skills that you specify.  Remember, there will be times when you are simply looking for unique ways to find unseen candidates and this can be a step in the right direction. 

The same rule applies when it comes to schools.  If you have a lead on a school that routinely produces quality candidates then this can be a valuable resource.  The most obvious thing is to use that school as one of your keywords in your search.  With that said, that’s kind of boring.  Let’s get a little more creative and think about ways that we can cultivate and leverage a relationship with that school.  In most cases, presenting yourself as a resource to the appropriate people and you will be welcomed with open arms.  Don’t just think new grads either as you can bring alumni networks into play as well.

The moral of this story boys and girls is to never stop thinking about the different ways you can make use of the tools or information at your fingertips.  If you’re doing everything strictly “by the book”, then you’re doing what the vast majority are doing.  Be creative, be unique, and set yourself apart.

Will Maurer is currently living his dream as the Global Sourcing Manager for General Motors.  With that said, his opinions are solely his own and do not reflect the opinion of his employer.  He firmly believes that Talent Acquisition is a team sport and feels very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best professionals in the world.  You can find his random thoughts at

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My interview with Jackye Clayton of Recruiting Daily

I really enjoyed spending time with Jackye as her enthusiasm is contagious!  To view the conversation, please click on the link below.

Recruiting Live!

Monday, May 8, 2017

My Interview with Shannon Pritchett of SourceCon fame

This is a clip from my conversation with the incomparable Shannon Pritchett at ERE.  I always learn so much from the SourceCon / ERE community! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hiring On All Cylinders

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Hiring on all Cylinders podcast. This is a clip from my interview at ERE. Enjoy!

Here is the link to the podcast on the HOAC page as well

HOAC - WMaurer Podcast