Monday, September 28, 2009


Susan Burns and Jeff Hunter wrote powerful and provocative blog pieces on the elusive Talent Camp (#talentcamp). If you haven’t read these two pieces you are missing out on true thought leadership; you would be remiss not to pay attention to these two if you are a recruitment professional. With them, a group of industry visionaries are coming together to discuss the future of the talent acquisition space. There will be specific attention paid to one of the most misjudged and poorly understood organization assets--TALENT.

Rapid changing currents of socioeconomics, social innovation, environment and quality leadership have made our space more relevant than ever—but only as relevant as our ability to show responsible leadership. If achieved we can bring profound, long lasting credibility to our craft. If we as a collective industry can agree on common principles and focus our efforts we can influence an entire market. If we cannot make this shift the market will dictate the future of our profession. Focused attention to the long lasting health and sustainability of our profession and the impact it has on society will be a key focus of mine at Talent Camp.

Within organizations, marketing, sales, operations, production, etc., are often thought of as drivers of the business. HR/recruiting often is thought of as influencers/supporters of the business (I’m stereotyping a bit—this is not true in all organizations). One of my goals is to break down the difference between an influence model and a true business driver model. All too often recruiting professionals ask me if I had to get permission from this department or that department to implement a program or campaign. If the program or campaign falls within our area of expertise why would we ask permission? You may need buy-in depending on what you are trying to accomplish but this is different than permission. Practitioners in our space are often waiting for something to happen in the business or waiting for permission while the organizational need is already there. How do we as an industry shift this nuance in how we execute strategy and tactics within our space?

There are large disconnects between strategists and tacticians within the recruitment industry. We lack clear, definable understanding between the differences of organization building and talent acquisition. We battle points of view on whether it’s better to pick up the phone and cold call or brand. We argue about the best sources of our hires. We tend to avoid questions on how to shape the future generations of recruitment professionals and the political and corporate institutions we operate in. If we avoid these discussions we do the whole industry a disservice. I have been invited to keynote at several industry events over the past few years. At recent events I have presented on branding and marketing in the area of recruitment. Some of the feedback I received was around why I was so focused on marketing. A few people said I came across more as a consultant versus a practitioner. When I get up on that stage my focus is straight forward. Advance the industry. I often educate myself by looking outside the recruitment space. I learn from brand marketers, operational experts and other disciplines to understand how these can be applied to our space. There are a lot of questions about how practical this is. If you’re paying attention to the industry you will find more and more organizations are pulling leaders from these other disciplines to lead recruiting functions though. Why? Because they came from areas of the business that have credibility! If we fail to pay attention to the socioeconomic currents, the entirety of our discipline we will see more and more of this.

For some reason the recruitment industry has not been able to get this as a whole. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of individuals who do but there are too many who would rather spend their time derailing progress. It’s entirely possible to unite the industry though and advance our craft. The freemasons did it in the 1600 and 1700’s and remained strong into the last century—maybe an extreme example. The Human Resource profession has done a better job of it. Take a look at the size of SHRM and the speaker line-ups they get: Colin Powel, Jack Welch, Covey, etc. Business leaders! They are sizable enough and powerful enough to impact legislation. Recruiting industry pundits and speakers often criticize our HR colleagues for not partnering or valuing the staffing function. I’m not arguing that HR is the most progression function within an organization but where are we? The list of industries/crafts that have been able to organize effectively goes on—American Marketing Association, Information Technology Association of America, etc. Take the Information Technology Association of America ( as an example. Here is one of the first things you see when you go to their site:

"Tech Leaders Urge Investments in Digital Infrastructure as Part of Recovery Plan– In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders, The Technology Association of America, formed by the merger of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) and AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, joined over 100 companies urging lawmakers to include strategic investments More..."

This is an organized and focused effort to influence the government to spend in their sector. They believe this will help Americans, create jobs and as a result shape the future of their industry. This is strategic. If you are sitting in your recruiter seat filling roles and think that taking on something like this is way outside your sphere of influence—we need to rethink this. It’s about organization and coordination of common principles that we all share. And it’s this very thinking that can secure our future and the entire industries. We sit within one of the most relevant and vital disciplines to an organizations survival and we have not stepped up as an industry to create change in the way organizations value talent. Sure we talk about. But it’s going to take much more than chatter to significantly impact the fabric of how talent is valued.

I like how Susan Burns positioned her post about Talent Camp—“The Big What If”. Here are my big what ifs:

  • What if we can get agreement/synchronization on the industry future, the industry players and a game plan to focus and coordinate our efforts?
  • What if we can define the distinction between the sphere of influence and business driving within our industry?
  • What if there was formal education for the craft of talent acquisition?

Can all of this happen? It can. It’s not going to happen right away. This is just a start. The only way we can get there is if enough people in our industry can agree on a purpose and a direction. I meet brilliant people in our industry every day. It’s an incredible, passionate group of people. I meet fun people, creative people. We simply lack unity and direction. Whether this becomes something more, or simply a dream, I’m looking forward to the discussion the following Talent Campers:

Briand DeGroodt

Franny Oxford

Jeff Hunter

Joe Gerstandt

Lance Haun

Laurie Ruettimann

Mike Johnson

Ron McManmon

Shauna Moerke

Suzy Tonini

Susan Burns

Financial institutions contributed to the collapse of our entire economy. People institutions bring economies back to life. Shaping the thousands of people institutions out there is what we do. It deserves thoughtful, educated and measured commitment. Let the discussions begin!


Monday, September 14, 2009

ERE EXPO--A Recruiters Dream!

Just sitting here on the airplane (using GoGo wireless) and reflecting on all that is being accomplished in the recruitment industry and in recruiting at adidas. I’m going to forewarn you that this post is going to seem a bit random but that’s where my head is at right now. Spinning with reflections and ideas!

I’m returning from a recruiting industry event called ERE Expo ( I know there are tons of industry associations out there but anybody who is in the area of recruiting can most likely attest to the caliber of individuals you meet at ERE. This one was a favorite. Beyond my favorite industry guru hall of famers like John Sullivan, Gerry Crispin, Kevin Wheeler and John Sumsner we also had our super innovators like Jason Davis ( , Joel Cheesman ( just sold to , Neal Bruce (, Shally Steckerl ( & one of my favorite industry rookies of the year and industry MVP Josh Westover (

In addition to being able to network with some of my industry favorites I got to co-present, sit on panels with and meet many talented industry professionals. A few that really stood out to me were…Marvin Smith (Talent Community Evangelist at Microsoft), Mike Grennier (Sr. Director Corporate Recruiting at Walmart), Brian Schaffer (Recruiter at DaVita), Sejal Patel (Project Manager Staffing Marketing and Channels at Intel), Chris Hoyt (AT&T) and Angela Guidroz (Sodexo). In addition I got to see many industry friends including Grant Hubbard with Qualigence, Sarah White with HRM Direct, Master Burnett with and too many more to mention here. And last but not least I have to call out my partner in crime Steve Bonomo—Global Head of Recruiting at adidas He is a great friend and leader. I’m truly honored to work under his leadership at adidas. I also need to mention my direct supervisor in Portland, Jochen Eckhold, for his support and leadership in allowing me to come to these events, learn and grow.

There are a few themes and trends I would also like to call out that I see in the industry. Everybody seems to like to recap themes at these types of events. I actually enjoy reading these because everybody seems to bring their own twist…so here is mine:

Advertising—Traditional advertising in our industry is officially dead (dead of course is relative because dead things in industries don’t always die right away but can take many, many years simmering along with small beacons of success in niche areas—you don’t need to quote me examples of where it’s used). But the reality is that we will start seeing more and more shifts in advertising spend to pay-per-click and web advertising using contextual targeting, rich media, social networking, guerilla, word of mouth, PR. It’s been happening for a while but new players in this space will dramatically speed this up.

Media Fragmentation—With traditional advertisers threatened many new up and comers are emerging. Some are great and others offer false hope. Some show great ROI and others appear to be money traps. It’s becoming imperative to get educated on who the players are and what’s effective. Those that don’t will waste valuable organizational resources. There is a ton of hype in this space so practitioners will need to be more discerning than ever on which channels they choose.

Employment Branding—Is finally getting the respect it deserves in the industry. While companies may not totally be there yet they are getting the importance of it and are starting to look beyond the basics. I’m seeing more and more recruiting departments hire Marketing people from the business side. This is very intriguing and promising for the industry.
Integration—Everybody seems sick of the lack of integration in our industry, both from a technology perspective and a cross departmental perspective. Companies are starting to work hard and put more emphasis on this. There was a great article by John Sullivan today on on this topic.

Social Recruiting—You can’t find a conference these days that doesn’t focus at least 25% of it’s sessions on this topic. This is hot, hot, hot and more companies than not seem to be experimenting with how to best harness it’s power and show ROI. There are many promising stories in the industry right now. There are still a lot of hurtles in this space but progress is being made. In my opinion there is no turning back in terms of the importance of this in our space.

Candidate Experience—Still suffers in our industry. Candidates continue to feel that they don’t get the respect they deserve from organizations. This one is sad in that it’s been an age old problem we have not cracked yet as an industry. Those that due though can show true competitive advantage.

Employee Engagement—is a hot topic for organizations right now. With organizations becoming leaner and meaner it’s even more important to engage the current workforce. Internal careers plays a major role in this so more and more recruitment leaders will need to turn their focus internally over the coming months and years.

Conferences—less people are going but most of those that are going are creative, innovative and hungry to learn. This makes the experience of going much more exciting. This last ERE proved to be one of these cases. It was a fantastic conference all around. That said I still see many disengaged people at many of the conferences I go to. I also see a lot of disbelievers in industry advances and innovations. My prediction for these people—find another industry to get into because you will most likely not survive with that approach.

Industry News and Networking—I’m blown away by how learning, networking, conference going is combining so many forms of community, technology, communication, etc. At this ERE, the events and sessions were set up and advertised using social media, changes communicated real time. Events were streamed live. People were Tweeting what they liked real time. Highly organized events were intertwined with guerrilla events and parties are turning into charities and vice versa. And all of this is weaved together in this way that just seems to make sense—maybe it’s the freeing nature of the internet and technology. There are not a lot of rules and so it becomes thoughtful and human. This is one trend I love!

Hiring—Is picking back up. Almost everybody I talked to tells me they are seeing an upswing. This is one of the many things I love about the recruitment industry. It’s my personal barometer for how the market is doing. This is the greatest news of all! When the market is hot recruiting is HOTTER!

Final Thoughts—I want to thank Dave Manaster and his team for putting on such a fantastic event and for the opportunity to keynote at this event. I also want to say that if you are out there reading this and you haven’t ever attended an event like this in your industry or raised your hand to present at a conference consider it. There is no better way to give back to your craft and to learn from others.

At this event Steve Bonomo and I got to tell our Employer Brand story and share what we have learned in recruiting. The questions we get from the audience inspire us greatly. The fact that people care and are willing to take a stand to make our industry even stronger is profound. And the opportunity to inspire others is a chance of a lifetime. The one comment I won’t forget is when someone walked up to me afterwards and said that he wasn’t an adidas guy but is going to buy his first pair. He said that during the videos it made the hair on his arms stand on end. If we can touch one person like this, create one better candidate experience or inspire a recruiter to want to learn and grow it’s all worth it to us.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Follow adidas Careers on Twitter

For up to date feeds on new adidas job postings and career information follow adidas Careers on twitter:

Saturday, September 05, 2009

adidas Launches New Global Career Site

Check out the new face of adidas careers:

Hopefully by now you have noticed that this is not your average career site. Here you will get to experience some of your favorite athletes and learn about careers at adidas in a fun and interactive way. You also get to hear first hand from our employees on what it’s like to work at adidas. There are many things we would like to tell you about working with us but we will let the site speak for itself.

The one thing we do hope you take away from the site is that working at adidas is much more than a job. We did our best to convey this on the site, and hopefully, someday, you can experience this first hand. Until then we hope you continue to visit our site, check for updates, and apply to the many career opportunities offered by adidas and our sister brands.

We also want to hear your feedback. Creating the best career experience for you is our end goal. We aren’t perfect though and will work hard to continually improve this experience, especially as we receive your feedback. Under the "Why adidas" link at the top of the page you will find our feedback section where you will have the opportunity to take a quick survey or e-mail your feedback directly to us. While you are there you may also check out our mission statement, overview of benefits and application process. Other areas you might want to check out are:

  • Future Talent Section: Here you will find our internship and graduate programs. Read program descriptions, view videos of current employees in these programs, and apply.

  • Locations: We have created robust location pages so you can get a sense of what it’s like to work at adidas locations around the world.

  • Sustainability: This link will direct you to our main corporate site and give you information about what adidas Group is doing globally in the area of Social Environmental Affairs.

  • adidas Group Career Sites: Check out our adidas Group career site and our sister brand career sites--TaylorMade, Reebok and Rockport.

  • Retail Stores/News & Hotjobs: Learn what it’s like to work in retail, check out our hottest jobs, and read about what’s new.

We believe the greatest value is interacting with the athletes and learning about the departments you are interested in. Of course if you want to skip all of this and jump right into the job search you can do that too.

Impossible is Nothing