Sunday, November 30, 2008

Little Things that Make a Big Difference


The following entry is from the adidas-Group Global Head of Recruiting, Steve Bonomo. One of his biggest passions is candidate experience and he wants your feedback!
from Steve Bonomo.....

In an earlier entry, I wrote a bit about the candidate experience and how important I feel this is to the reputation of an organization and ultimately it’s employer brand. We are entering into a big project in 2009 that is focused on finding the actions at the key parts of the recruitment process that truly make the difference in the eyes of the candidate.

There are key stages in the recruitment process that we are currently looking at:

Perception – the general perception of the adidas Group that may attract a candidate to look a bit closer.

Initial Contact – the point at which the candidate first comes into contact with a recruiter or HR representative.

Screening – the first communication between the candidate and recruiter/HR person.

Interview – the in person interview.

Offer – when the candidate gets the offer.

Onboarding – the time between offer acceptance and 6 months into the job.

I would like to get feedback from anybody interested on the above 6 items plus any others I may have overlooked, and the actions that a company should do to make the recruitment experience an exceptional one.

This could be anything from the way advertisements are displayed, career site presence, ease of application, phone screen, what happens in the interview, the atmosphere, feedback, giving offers and getting people started.

In order to gather real data on how to improve in these areas, I would like to solicit feedback.

If you would be interested I helping us shape our strategy around “candidate experience”, feel free to email me directly at

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Focus, Music, Sport--Leadership

I recently returned from the Florida Kennedy conference and as part of my trip I got to visit my father in Tampa.  He is a 40 year exec with technology company that competes with IBM among others.  I got to spend time with him on his Birthday along with my boss from Germany.  We started talking about great leaders and executives and what makes them truly great.  My father got on this kick about focus.  He said the single commonality that he saw in them was a deep, unbreakable focus.  He talked about Steve Job's ability to focus on the right priorities.  

I hadn't thought about the discussion again until about a half hour ago.  I am not a big runner but I've been trying to do more of it lately.  I grabbed my ipod this morning, threw on some tunes and went for a run.  By the way, this all ties together...just bear with me for a moment here.  I ran down my street, along the ridge on Willamette Blvd. near the University of Portland, down a dirt path along the ridge and ran on railroad tracks along the Willamette river.  I ran by large tanker ships and old closed down industrial buildings.  It was an intersection of natural form infused with gothic machine like relics.  I cruised by this while listening to my favorite beats.  The mix of imagery, rhythm and beat made me forget that I was running.  This is important because when I focus on the running itself it's a boring act, my muscles ache, and I feel fatigued.  With my favorite tunes and stimulating scenery I'm able to focus on my end goal--run three miles faster than I have in the past and turn my body into a machine.  

Towards the end of my run my conversation with my father came to mind, as I was accomplishing my goal.  I starting thinking about the ability to focus and how this is critical to success.  I also started thinking about how this is very difficult to do in modern corporations.  Everyday I get hit with a thousand ideas, pressures, roadblocks, etc.  If I focus on strategy and it takes too long people get skeptical, want to do something easier, etc.  It's a battle to pick the three most critical things you need to accomplish and make them happen without them being sidetracked, budget cut, death my committee.  Yet, that's exactly what my father was talking about with these leaders.  They sometimes come across as a$$holes in order to stay focussed; they may seem hyper focussed on something that someone new coming in doesn't have a clue about because what they are focussed on is an end goal established before that person started.  And yet they stay focussed, their brains are like laser sights on an assault riffle and they never take their eyes off the target.  

Not many people have this resolve.  Nobody has it all the time; there are just too many distractions.  But think about the parallel with my run.  I don't like running but I accomplished it.  Many people think the answer is clearing their mind to focus but it's different for everybody.  For me I am more focussed at a rock concert than in a library.  Quietness makes my brain wonder all over the place.  Music and physical energy allow me to get focussed and determined.  This is part of the problem with all the pop psychology that is out there...most of it talks about meditation, quiet time, figuring stuff out, bla, bla, about the complete opposite.  Finding the things that get your adrenaline cranking, your blood pressure racing, heart pounding, mind working at full throttle and then go hit your toughest problem.  Not everybody needs zen to stay focus.  

The other piece to this is the intersection of music, sport and focus.  How many people do you know that throw on some tunes when they want to stay focussed on a problem or task.  How many people do you know that go for a run at lunch time or hit the gym after or before work to relieve stress?  Try combining all three!  Seriously.  I think you will find it pretty amazing and maybe a total alternative to the zen approach.  It makes me think of Rob Strasser, ex CEO of adidas North America.  This guy was the brains behind some of our most compelling and emotional campaigns.  He was anything but Zen like.  The guy bellowed in meetings.  Now--I don't think the guy really took care of himself and unfortunately had a short life span.  But, he was a creative genius.  I see Jobs as the same way---anything but Zen like.  These guys have amazing energy, passion; they go at full throttle always.  I'm not advocating everybody juice up five shots of espresso in the morning, throw on some hardcore thumping music and hit the gym right after work for a killer hour and a half workout....that's not too far off a typical day in my world by the way...but it's to find your inner focus and not let anybody break it.  I meet so many people with amazing ideas but they have no focus and ability to execute them, drive them culturally, push the limits...I believe if you find your way to focus you can do all of these things.  So if you tried the peaceful approach to staying focussed and that hasn't worked for you--grab some beats, push your body to the limit and shoot for your end goal if you if you were a sprinter in the Olympics.  Oh, and tune out the nay sayers and non believers in what you do.   

Tell me how you find you focus? 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Apple Store on Black Friday

They say retail is down but it certainly doesn't look that way at the Apple store.  I love that Apple is reaping the rewards it deserves.  It deserves them because they care about design and view it equally as important as function.  So many corporate bureaucrats discount design as fluff or tactical...not Apple!  And if this video doesn't make the case for what so many companies don't get then let them bailouts for them!!  

Future of Search

I used to get into heated debates all the time about the relevance of 2nd life.  My point was never that 2nd life itself would be a major online force but that it was a precursor to the future of search.  If you pay attention to how search is integrating into so many different apps you start to get a picture of where it is heading.  Take Google Earth for instance, you have the beginnings of search integration with maps, satellite imagery, three dimensional space.  Then take 2nd Life where you have businesses introducing real product that you can buy in a virtual world, with an avatar that you created.  If you think about the internet even 15 years ago, before the first visual search engine (Mosaic) it was just black screen with text.  Then it became two dimensional.  Now take Google Earth, 2nd Life and Search and combine them.  Let's say you enter your body type, height, weight, features, upload your picture, etc and create a perfect avatar of yourself.  Now you go to search, look for your favorite clothes store, walk down a street in Soho with a Google Earth type app and then walk into a store with a 2nd life type app, try on clothes with your avatar and buy.  This isn't too far off in the future.  A blog post that I saw today predicts something even cooler with a future wireless device.  

Check this would be a phone with a clear screen that you line up with a city scape, it scans it and tells you what the building is and integrates search with this.  So the final element would be making all of this mobile and using proximity apps to guide you to and give you information on certain locations.  All of this is VERY close.  We are talking within five years my feeling is that this will start to show up widely and have a relatively high adoption rate.  


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nuerosciencemarketing on Bad Bosses

I found and interesting article from a Neurosciencemarketing blog on how bad bosses can shave off years to your life.  Neuromarketing in general is an interesting subject.  I've come across a few good books on it and I'm tempted to pick one up.  They tend to get into the deeper science of why people make choices, which of course if crucial in Branding.  The two main principles of branding are choice and expectation.  If you build a strong brand people will choose it and if you meet their expectations they will continue to choose it and tell others.  Therefore if you study Neuromarketing and know how people make these choices then you can design your marketing around this.  I'm somewhat becoming more of a pragmatist though so this has been my only hesitation on getting into Neuromarketing.  I'm not quite sure how much is theory and now much can really be put into practice.  If anybody has an opinion on this I would love to know.  

The blog entry from Neurosciencemarketing caught my attention mainly because it touches on employment branding specifically.  I have been on this mission to get recruiting professionals to get away from giving the same canned speeches around worklife-balance, work hard play hard and all the other junk that all companies claim they have.  Instead we should focus on what truly makes our organizations unique.  A boss may be an interesting way to do this.  I wonder what it would be like to sell a boss over selling a company....hmmmmm.  Anyway, check on the article and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Live Your Impossible

I just returned from the Kennedy Recruiting Conference in Orlando.  You know, I have to say that I finally feel that recruiting technology is catching up.  It's becoming simpler yet more powerful--the way technology should be.  A refrigerator runs--it keeps your food cold and you really don't need to know how it works.  I'm glad to see that there are people building technology out there for recruiting with the same premise.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a geek in many ways.  But when I'm working I don't want to have to read a 700 page manual to do a simple task.  That said I don't think we should skimp on design either.  I want my technology to be impressive (beautiful), simple and powerful.  If it has those three elements I will buy it.  

My latest gadget, the Flip camera.  It meets these requirements.  A small rectangular device, video camera.  You unpack it and all the software is built in.  you click a button and record video.  You plug the USB port into your computer, the software loads and your video downloads.  The picture quality is strong, it records one hour worth of video, no tapes or disks, the design is beautiful and it fits in your pocket.  That is worth every penny that I paid.

I also just brought on a new technology called Vipe that allows me to easily upload and send video.  There is a lot of very cool new tools out there.  The challenge for corporate recruiting functions is that there is also a lot of vendors holding onto old paradigms and antiquated technology and they are selling harder than ever.  Organizations can easily get distracted by the long standing relationships and addictions to worthless tools.  If you are one of those people you should really look at your return on investment and put a stake in the ground.  If you don't you fuel dinosaurs.  Wouldn't your rather reward the companies making things better for us and fund innovation?  Just a thought.  

Until Next Time....oh, wait...if you get a chance check out our new networking site on Ning: