Good to Know

Ways of Seeing Recruitment


Employment Branding

When Your Recruitment Marketing Agency Threatens You…

Imagine this. You’re wealthy (I know, I know – you’d never imagine that… but for the sake of argument, if you don’t mind just this once…) You’ve got a bunch of money you’d like to invest. You reach out to an advisor, and hire them to manage your fortune. They agree to provide you with regular updates on performance. Seems fair. Things percolate along. You’re not trained at this investing thing, and assume they must be an expert, because… well, because they told you they were.

Time goes on. The “reports” you get are pretty basic, simple Excel spreadsheets. Plus, they only show you “expected results”, not the actual returns. That’s weird. The team that is supporting you seems to change constantly – lots of turnover. That makes you a bit nervous, but you carry on. Eventually, you decide to dig in a little. You’d like to know more detail around how your money’s doing. Heck, you’d at least like more insight into where your money’s going. When you ask the consultants for detail, they tell you not to worry. This makes you worry.

You ask for some detail behind the numbers. They let you log in to the platform they use, and everything seems great. But… also weird. You see a line that shows where around 50% of the money’s invested. Turns out, they’re putting half of your money into their own product. And the tool they’re using to measure & report performance is that same product. The one that’s telling you how great it’s doing.

Ever been so full of yourself - Imgur

So, yeah: that seems off. You ask your consultant if you can use some other tool to measure your investments. They get angry, and tell you that will damage your entire portfolio. It feels almost like they’re threatening you. So you move from nervous to mad. You start researching alternatives. Turns out, every advisor you talk to seems to have a similar model: invest half your money in their platform, and then assume it’s giving you accurate reporting on its own performance. Oh, and you ask the advisors (both your current one, and the ones you’re interviewing) if you can talk to representatives from some of the investments you’re making. It’s sizable money, and you kind of feel like as a stockholder you’d be allowed to do that. They all insist that they know best, and that part of their “model” is that they’ll control all the conversations, and that you shouldn’t worry your cute little head about complicated things like this.


Because you’re an idiot, amiright?

At this point, you’ve got a decision. Stay with what seems like a really broken model, one where you’re pretty sure you’re being taken advantage of (or, best case, where your money is not getting the bang for the buck you think it should). That, or take on a task you don’t really have a lot of training in, nor bandwidth for. It feels lose-lose.

Here’s the thing. This is happening in our industry. When I look around at the, that’s what I see a lot of companies struggling with. Last week I sat down with a Fortune 500 prospect, that was using a career site & job distribution tool from the same agency they used for consulting and advisory services around… career site performance and job posting effectiveness. The agency really didn’t like them talking to vendors (ie, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc), and had been insisting that they could handle it for them and that this was standard practice. The prospect had told the vendor they wanted a new platform for their career site, and the vendor told them flat-out “if you do that, it will ruin your SEO, and you don’t want that, just trust us, we’re the experts here”. And, when the client would ask around metrics that went beyond cost-per-applicant, and that could show cost-per-hire (ie, what are the actual, not just projected returns on this investment), they were told the ATS wouldn’t support that. Which is BS, by the way.

That rang a bell. At a previous role, as a practitioner, I fired a competitor to the vendor I’m referencing above. Their line? “If you do this, it will kill your SEO, and you don’t that”. They were, I suspect, also still pissed off that I’d gone behind their backs to a few vendors to see if their data matched up with what I was seeing from my agency. It didn’t.


This is all kinds of messed up. You, as a talent acquisition leader, should be able to trust the data your agency gives you. Annnd, you definitely should be able to talk to your vendors. Not to mention, why do they think they can threaten you, and why in the world do any of them think they’re going to fall for the “our SEO is king!” line? Unless they’re named something like Indeed, Glassdoor, or, say… Google, your career site listings are not coming up first. It just ain’t gonna happen. Heck, your SEO is way more influenced by the activities of your corporate marketing team than they are by a recruitment marketing agency. That’s just how the algorithms work.

I’ve got a whole lot to say about bias and general bs in the industry – because there’s a ton of it. That said, I’m staying focused on the agency piece for now, for two reasons:

  1. I work for an agency, and we are deliberately taking  a stance that we’ll never make products. Because we think it’s an automatic conflict of interest, and we think our clients deserve better. We do take a percentage of spend per media site, but it’s a consistent percent across vendors as well as standard advertising industry practice (and something we detail to clients and prospects in writing and verbally).
  2. This junk has a huge impact on not just companies, but on the economy. When vendors put their own wallets ahead of hiring, obfuscate data in order to make themselves look better, they hurt all of us. Hiring slows down. Bad hires happen. People lost jobs, kids go hungry, etc etc. It, quite frankly, pisses me the hell off. It should do the same for you.

I don’t know if it’s a crusade, but it matters. Find out what platform you agency uses to track data. Ask them if they take referral fees when their clients buy products where they have a deal with a vendor (dollars influence – heck, we’ve had vendors off us “a free iPad to your reps for every deal they close for us”). Find some former clients, and ask them what it was like to fire the agency. Ask if they’d go back. That sort of stuff. Because it’s your money, and your company.

(Long rant ended – for now)


HireClix Continues to Grow – Come Join Us

Not for nothing, but things are a’cookin at HireClix. Very pleased to be able to share this press release. The acquisition of Meritage brings us many things, but most importantly, it brings us Kara Yarnot, while demonstrating the exciting growth path HireClix continues to follow.
A quick pitch: HireClix combines seasoned leaders from corporate talent acquisition (ie, “been there, done that, feel your pain”), with a talented team of recruitment marketing analysts, recruitment technology experts, creative services, and deep vendor relationships. It’s a very hard model to match, and we’re proud of the service we’re bringing to the market, as well as how often our client’s refer us into new relationships.

Beyond that, it’s the best culture I’ve ever been part of, full stop.

If you need our help – be it with your recruitment marketing mix, ad spend, technology selection, sourcing strategies, etc, please reach out.
Annnnd, if you’re thinking about career change, we’re growing, and building our own talent community to engage with as that happens. What will you get, aside from the opportunity to work on fascinating projects, for great brands, delivering work you can brag about? Colleagues you’ll love. A leader who’s all heart. Random paint parties. Outings to Escape the Room (where a bunch of, sadly, did not in fact escape said room). Lots (and lots) of free lunches. Dogs running happily around the office. No hierarchy – every idea is listened too, and everyone’s voice counts. We are defining the culture. Oh, and benefits. Full (100% company paid, with multiple plan options), medical, dental, vision, company matched retirement plan, APE service days (have to help animals, people, or the earth), and on and on. And on.

This is an amazing time to join us – either as a client, vendor partner, or colleague. Whatever ship your arrive in, we can’t wait to greet you 🙂

Oh, and here’s how to reach me – I’ll move you along to the right person, if it’s not me:

And now, some gratuitous pictures… 

HRsmart Customers Just Took Another Hit

Follow the bouncing ball. In 2005, Monster agrees to be a reseller for an ATS called HRsmart. Over time, as the market shifts and other tools (Indeed, LinkedIn) outmaneuver Monster, it decides to roll itself out as a product company that also happened to have a deep candidate database, and a job board. They bought several companies, and began offering career site hosting, nominal job distribution, etc. They kept HRsmart at part of that offering, but did not acquire the technology

*(As an aside, the ATS is a super important tool to not control it as part of your tech-offering stack, if you’re offering a full stack solution for sale…)

Monster sells its solution to a number of companies.

In 2015, HRsmart is acquired by Deltek, a poor-man’s, wanna be Oracle.

You remember them, from the movies, right..?

They decide that since Oracle has an ATS, they need one too. Support and development at HRsmart stops almost immediately. ATS begins to go down for clients, sometimes for days on end.

In 2016, Monster is acquired by Randstad, which has its own set of tools, as well as investments in numerous recruiting tech start-ups. Including some which could compete with Monster’s tech stack – so, is the tech at Monster being sunsetted, merged, or what..?

This week, HRsmart drops the ball with at least a dozen clients. Jobs do not post, and applying is turned off, as they announce that Deltek is being acquired by Roper Technologies. And if you use HRsmart, and think things were bad under Deltek? Just you wait. This ride’s gonna get all sorts of bumpy for you.

Here’s the thing – this is where it helps to be able to “dial a friend”. If any company that bought HRsmart over the past few years had asked for our advisement, they would not be in the boat they’re in now.

It’s that simple. HireClix Consulting Services (we’re calling it “Sherpa”) is designed to help avoid just these types of problems. We have spent years getting to know the technology in our space – who’s doing what, where, what’s the innovation, what’s breaking, who integrates with who & how, who simply cannot be implemented, and on and on. Our depths and breadth of knowledge in talent acquisition technology comes from years of working within the space. We install, rip out, reinstall, fine tune, etc, ATSs, live within their CRM, marketing platforms, sourcing tools. Manage our clients’ tool selection processes.  Partner with the investment space, providing guidance to HC tech investors. Test products and help with design for vendors.

And, because of all of that – we don’t build products. Not ever. Any consulting firm that tries to offer advice on what tool to buy, when they build a tool like that… is pretty suspect. Our guidance is agnostic – client driven, and knowledge informed. We can get you to the top of your next mountain.

Meantime, if you’re reading this, and you’re using Monster’s technology, call us. Asap. It’s free – we’d like to help, since the site dropping, and acquisition, cannot be fun to be dealing with. Just email, or call: 617-851-7277.

Heineken’s New Recruitment Advertising: The (Oh, So Very) Bitter in the Sweet

Last week, I was shown the new Heineken recruitment campaign site for Go Places.

It was, and I’m sorry for using this word, amazeballs. (I am really sorry for using that word, actually, but… it was). I believe I called it “genius” on Facebook. Showed it around. Loved it. Choose your own adventure, on steroids. Stylish, cool, fun steroids.

It’s almost perfect.

And then… god, and then it is terrible. Awful. Like meeting the person of your dreams, greatest first date ever, only to get invited in for a coffee at the end, to discover they live with their parents, 35 cats, a flock of pigeons, two of their exes, and their spouse. And then being told that they’d like to talk to you about “Our lord and savior, Cthulhu” (okay, that last bit might be hysterical).5b1d071c622d3bb26b6c26a80d80534e.jpg

Here’s the thing: Heineken invested a year-and-a-half, and a ton of money on this. It’s clearly a work of love. Their employment branding and recruitment marketing teams deserve huge praise.

But. No, they don’t. Not yet. See… they take that experience, one where at the end you are delighted to apply for a job (seriously: I wanted to apply, just for the sheer fun of it all), and tank it. Kill it. Stick a knife in it’s back, whilst forcing strychnine down its throat, all while laughing and shouting “Tricked ya! There is not true joy in life! Taste the pain!”

It’s the ultimate example of the front of the house not checking in with the back of the house. This is the mullet of recruitment marketing.

The pain? The pain in question is called HRSmart – its from Monster, and it’s part of their tacked together recruiting “technology”. They take you, the consumer of jobs, freshly pumped full of love and joy, from this:


Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 2.00.37 AM.png

To this:

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 6.23.11 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 6.22.55 PM.png

Yup. It says there are two accounting jobs in California. Until you hit search – hey, where’d the jobs go? And why aren’t you matching me to the info I just gave you? And why is this getting so hard, so fast??

Right. I get it. They need to get your info, collect it, and all the rest. It’s an application process. We expect to have a bit of this. But… this? Wait – I have to create a profile before I can apply?? This is terrible!!

Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 6.26.09 PM.png

Because: HRSmart. Potentially the _worst_ possible option. A career site notorious for going down and dark. That forces candidates through so many hoops, and lags, and lost data, that the apply drop-off is one of the highest in the industry.

But… it’s even worse: the entire premise of “The Interview” is that they’re assessing you, in a very, very fun way. Heck, at the end, they say “We think you’re true character is [Investigator/ Innovator/ etc]”. They say they think they know some potential types of roles for people like you. That’s great! Fun! ‘Click here, and we’ll show you a bunch of potential fits,’ it implies.

But… no. Nope. Everything you just did, that fun work, the choosing and laughing and feeling hip stuff? A complete and utter waste of your time. None of it transferred. The campaign site, with all its data, can’t work to the freaking ATS. Here’s the conversation the marketing site and the ATS have at this point:

“Hey, this is Martin, he’s so super excited to apply, and we told him he could do it with his LinkedIn profile – wait, he can’t use his LinkedIn profile to apply? Oh, he kind of can, but it’s really not clear, and he really can’t, in the end, because that option fails all the time? Huh. Well, we lied to him, but.. well, never mind. We think he’s an Instigator! You know, that career category, and if he just tells you some basic stuff about his background, you’ll match him to – wait, what? No matching? What do you mean, you have no idea what I’m talking about?? Wait – who am I? You don’t know?? Didn’t employment brand talk to Operations about this, and get – he, where’d you go?? Shit – your entire site just went down again!! Goddamit, I’m gonna start pointing them to Sam Adams. Maybe they’ll listen….”

Heinken: why……?????? This was so full of win. And then full of fail. So sweet. And then so, so bitter….

Such the mullet. Next time, shoot me a note, or get in touch with HireClix. We’d be more than happy to help you get into a more modern style…





Seeking Extraordinary Talent Acquisition Professionals: Boston, Redwood City, and Beyond

In putting together a job description/ ad for the talent acquisition professionals I’m looking for, I wound up writing a manifesto. Not sure it’s what I’ll run with, but I like it. Kind of a lot – thought it deserved life somewhere, and since I have this handy little platform available to me, I’m going to take advantage. Please, feel free to pass along, dissect, disavow, dissemble, diagnose… just, don’t duplicate (unless you’re willing to pin the blame on me). Never was a fan of copycats.

In any event: I’m building a team. It’s going to be fun. There’s loads of potential, a great platform, some interesting challenges, and support from the executive team. Don’t expect me to breathe down your neck, but do expect me to help you when you need it. I know I need people in Waltham (near Boston), Redwood City (that’d be near San Francisco), and I’ll probably need somebody in Gainesville.

Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant                                                                                                                               mob_logo

Ever want to be part of building something extraordinary? Now’s your chance.

Why Join Mobiquity? Why Now? Because it’s Your Best Move, and Now is When it’s Available

There’s a reason why thought-leaders like Andrew Hiser, the pioneer of human-centered software design, have joined Mobiquity. It’s because they see the future becoming the present: Mobile changing everything.

It’s the 5th Wave. The world in your pocket. Applications that tell doctors how well your medication is working as it passes through your body, to ones that alert a restaurant that you’ve pulled into their lot and are ready for you to walk their take-out to them.

Apps that help drug addicts recover, and apps that will help you retire wealthy.

We’re not talking about flinging birds at pigs anymore (fun as that is). We’re talking about changing how people behave, how business gets done, and how we will shape the future.

Mobiquity is at the leading edge of the wave. Positioned to define the future of mobile, a name that will become as familiar to the world as the names of the biggest successes out of the Internet wave.

Talent Acquisition Makes it All Possible

Without solid talent, organizations stagnate and fade away. Without the greatest talent, organizations can’t surge, can’t become the key leaders in their space. Our job is to make sure that happens. We seek real recruiters. Budding talent acquisition thought leaders. We get the big It: that it’s always about the people. That A players hire A players, while B’s hire C’s, C’s hire D’s, and well… then you get to F. Failure.

Our role is to find the A’s, engage with them, excite them, and help them through the hiring process. We’re matchmakers to the Nth degree, but we’re also business people. We use marketing, social media, talent pools, innovative sourcing & research, and a degree of sales skills to attract the very best. We never cut corners, we don’t lie, harass, or avoid hard truths: we are the A-players of recruitment.

We Are Looking for You

Join us, if you see recruitment as much of a calling as a profession – if it’s your passion, as much as your paycheck. We’re going to blow some things up. You should find that exciting. You should feel process is a tool best used lightly. You should be funny. Funny matters, in this role and in life.

If you’re sitting there, thinking “holy crap – I’ve been looking for this!”, you have the next step in your journey to greatness: Find our Talent Acquisition leader, Martin Burns (you can use your mad Boolean to do that right now, or just scroll down a bit). He’s looking for people want you to share some new skills, try new approaches and make some mistakes along the way, and to grow into leaders in our game-changing, rapidly evolving profession. His goal is to make sure you get the opportunity to do all of that.

Make the Best Move – Join Mobiquity

You can find Martin all sorts of places: 617.851.7277. twitter. linkedin. facebook. etc, etc…. You’re in the game. You get it.

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Microsoft Tech Junkie? Like Your .NET, C#, SQL? Come to Code Mastery, Boston – It’s Freeeeeeee……

So, this is a little bit of me helping out a favorite client (Magenic), a little bit of me helping you out (if you’re a smartie who happens to dig developing in and around the .NET platform, or just wants to be around a bunch of nice geeks on a Wednesday), and a bit of me helping, well, me (because, I’d like to meet you, and help you with your next career move into a great company).

Magenic is a very cool, high-end custom application development shop. They do big project based work for clients that have hard problems to solve. The projects typically run 6 months+, are local to the office, six-seven figures in size, and require the use of the most cutting edge Microsoft technology available (for those of you whose religion is, say, Java, Ruby, whatever, calm down – .NET people are good people, too, they just develop in a diferent church platform than you do). The typical project team is a mix of architects(s), senior engineers, design, QA, project manager, etc. They don’t tend to outsource, as it helps with quality control. In between projects, consultants focus on training, speaking engagements, etc. Because they have to do some pretty heavy stuff, they hire really engaged, talented engineers and architects to get that done. Then, they give them lots of training opporunities, cool projects to work on, and the opportunity to speak at technical events like Code Camp, SharePoint Saturday, etc, about what they’re working on.

Which brings us to the post in question. They also run a series of events called Code Mastery. These are free, day-long events where they talk about what’s happening now, and whats coming, in the future for Microsoft. The speakers are interesting, bright, and highly informed, and include MVPs like Rocky Lhotka You’ll walk away with a ton of actionable information, as well ast contacts who do what you do, so well. There’s one coming up near Boston in a week that I think you should get to, if it sounds like your kinda gig.

And, if you’re looking for a job, you may well walk away with an interview scheduled…

Here’re the particulars:

Register here:

Go here: 21 Jones Rd, Waltham MA o2451

On: May 2nd, 2012 at 8 am

Hope to see you there.

The Intersection of Brand With Talent Migration

Funny thing. When you have actual, honest-to-goodness, freaking wonderful time to read, think, talk, and then digest all that delicious stuff into energy. When you have time, you get to refuel. When you’re as fascinated by every bright and shiny object as me, that can mean a lot of tanking up.

I’ve found myself most fascinated – if I can find a way to wrap a bunch of diverse learnings and tangential readings into one neat(ish) package – by the evolution of talent migration and employment culture. I know this is absolutely thrilling stuff.  Just, likely, not to you.

I’ll try and break down what I’ve been thinking about (if you’re not interested in recruiting, HR, and/ or the success or failure of companies, feel free to move on):

  • The job market has changed – radically
    • We’ve gone from a model where there were less jobs than there were available workers
    • Roles continue to increase in specialization, increasing the strain on the job market – Vector Composites, a high-tech manufacturing company in Dayton, is so strapped for knowledge workers that it partnered with a local community college and created a curriculum to train local laid off auto workers
    • Boomers may have delayed their retirement thanks to the recession, but this is just putting off a bill that’s going to come due sooner than we like – that’s a huge additional strain on the talent pool just waiting to happen. And it will.
    • Millennials and Gen-Xers have shorter attention spans
    • Social media (you knew it had to show up here) can get the word out about openings quickly, but can just as quickly damage a company’s reputation – I’m just waiting for the first “Nestle” to happen to a company concerning its hiring practices/ employment culture.
  • HR & Recruitment are more trusted by execs as business leaders than they had been in the past (when HR was often looked upon as a bit of a joke)
    • But: This is not nearly universal, nor is it generally strong enough trust
    • Earned or unearned disdain? Too metaphysical a question to get into as an aside
  • The next wars will be fought within HR’s domain
    • Talent. It will all come down to who has the most, and the most access to more as they need it.
  • Talent organizations within companies will need to be led by visionary, adaptable leaders who won’t (or don’t know enough to) adhere to an old-school style of HR
    • They will likely be called upon to do the radical (where it makes sense)
      • IE: changing your leadership development approach will “require profoundly different attitudes and mind-sets as well as major organizational changes.” (Charan, Ram: Leaders at All Levels, Willey, 2008)
  • If companies are made or broken by their employees, and the inventory of able employees is about to contract, then we should see some large-scale corporate failures as a direct result.
  • The key to the future lies in flexibility and attraction
    • Flexibility: your turnover rate is going to increase. You need to be okay with this. You also need to prepare
      • Stay on top of your succession planning
      • Make sure your succession planning is global (ie, internal as well as external – your promotion pipelines should extend well beyond your org chart)
      • Recognize that your company may well have to change how it views employees: the speed that tech & marketing are shifting may require you to contract for specific, project-based employees much more so than you are now
      • Develop deep and continuously refreshing talent pools
    • Attraction
      • Take a “be like Google” attitude here: over 3k top-tier applicants per week, minimal advertising or outside agency help
        • Brilliant branding
        • Partnering closely with marketing
        • PR as a candidate-traffic driver
        • Become loved: fresh engineering grad (true quote): “Well, I applied at X, Y, and Z. And Google. I don’t want to move cross-country, but, well, they’re Google. I would for them.”
      • Be hard to leave, and easy to come back to
        • Be the girl/ boy they gave up because they were too young, but that they can’t get out of their minds. The standard for any future relationship. Wait for a ring.
        • Pay attention to your organization: who are your future leaders? Are you challenging them enough? Do you have redundancies for if (when) they leave to go “date around”? Are you confident they will return?
      • Are you doing it right? Easy test: see how many of your employees brag about where they work. IE (actual Twitter bio): “I’m magic. I play at Mullen.”

What am I interested in? Standing at that intersection: where how organizations behave and adapt to the talent issue influences their survival.


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