Good to Know

Ways of Seeing Recruitment


Recruitment Marketing

There is No Funnel. Or Spoon.


Navel/ Star Gazing

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Last night, as I sat in my backyard listening to the wind and the sea, my wandering brain started thinking about a post by Adam Gordon in a Facebook group I run called Talent Product Plays. He’d asked about the (oft rumored) death of the ATS. I love the comments in it, how it meandered but ultimately stayed on topic. And, there was talk of the marketing funnel – it’s something a number of my peers (friends, clients, whatever the portmanteau of those two is) bring up as a normal, “of course you measure the funnel” thing.

I disagree. (Also, as a side note, it’s a bit sad that this is what I’m thinking about at 3 am in the dark of the night).


We’re Really Playing Infinite-Dimensional Chess

Here’s where I’m at: not sold on relying on the marketing funnel (or, recruitment marketing and/ or ATS funnel)- heck, even marketing isn’t sold on it anymore. Marketers started looking askance at the concept several years ago – for good reason. Consumers don’t follow linear paths to specific, measurable conversion points. The job discovery process isn’t linear – it never was. But, way back, a supply chain engineer decided you could make recruiting software. So, he built a system based on… supply chain. It’s called Taleo, now, and it has had an overly-large impact on the ATS’s that came after it. Some of the more progressive systems have tried to shake off that heritage, but… you still see echoes. Ghosts in the machine.


Job discovery was never really transactional – which makes it challenging to layer a funnel on top of. Real workflows look like pretzel logic, if they’re being honestly used. Our prospects come in and out of view, from different directions. They engage in the process randomly, and disengage the same way. Sometimes they skip steps. Move backwards, in and out. I’m viewing it as akin to the board game Shoots & Ladders – sometimes they’re on one square, about to hit victory (for you), the next they’re sliding out of view, only to (hopefully) come ‘round the bend again. Maybe.


Fun, amiright? Also: how the hell do you measure that? Also, I don’t think even that does it justice. The sheer fact is, it’s more like somebody took Shoots & Ladders, and then made it 3-dimensional. Go Shoots & Ladders, as it were.

…and There are New Dimensions Opening Up

Along with that, we’re now entering into an economy that is becoming less rigid – work is more transactional, gig roles are evolving, and everybody’s got a side-hustle. Mechanical Turk, Amazon’s “digital guns for hire” tool is spreading the wealth (and/ or creating a digital serfdom, but that’s a post for another 3 am ramble). And this is just the beginning –  the majority of leaders at the companies we support are increasingly convinced that this trend is their future, and (of course) they don’t know how to get there. Go Shoots & Ladders, only you’re playing it underwater. While drunk.

While 66 percent of companies believe their use of off-balance sheet talent will grow significantly in the next 3–5 years, only 49 percent say they are not able to manage contingent labor well and 55 percent say they have never used or do not understand how to leverage crowdsourcing. So while some elements of the future of work are well understood by business leaders, others are still in an emerging stage of understanding. (Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends – The Future of Work: The Augmented Workforce)

So… yeah. I don’t think many of should be sleeping well. The funnel can’t measure well, as it is, and it’s about to get a whooole lot more complicated, my friends. The center, it never really could hold.

(Also, this made me laugh):



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… 

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…





HireClix Strategic Consulting Services Launches

So, first off: let me say that working at HireClix is like working with a bunch of people you love, all of whom just want to make recruitment marketing better.

Wait: it’s not like that. It is that.original

Recruitment marketing thunder-buddies for life.

Thing is, we decided it was time to start talking more publicly about the new group we’re setting up. We’re gearing it around the idea of being a Sherpa for our talent acquisition clients, helping them find the top of whatever mountain they’re climbing, silent partners who know the best paths, and tools, to help them succeed. We’re playing with names for the new group (Sherpa is in the lead, but Recruity McRuitface, and Tequilla Cobra are strong contenders – that may tell you a bit about our culture, too: very boring, and buttoned up…).

We’ll offer a number of service, and more to come.

The Strategic Consulting Services will include…

  • Talent Acquisition Architecture & Design
  • Recruiting Systems Review and Selection
  • Recruiting Process Transformation
  • Applicant Tracking System Audit & Optimization
  • Recruitment Marketing Audit & Assessment
  • Customized Strategic Services

Meantime, we just issued a press release. I’m blatantly using my blog’s SEO to give it additional life. I’d be thrilled if you shared it around. And, if you happen to work for, say the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, or – heck – the National Enquirer, feel free to republish (btw, if you’re with the latter publication, yes, that was Elvis, and no, Bigfoot was not drunk at my New Years Party – that was the Yeti, because: sherpas).

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: