Big data is the buzz word of the moment but how much can you really tell about someone just from looking at your computer screen? For instance, in order to understand animal behaviours you don’t visit a zoo you travel to and observe them in their natural habitat.
According to Martin Lindstrom, one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People in The World, Wall Street Journal best selling author and one of the highest paid branding experts in the world, in order to truly understand your clients and candidates behaviour you should move in with them!
I was extremely fortunate to catch up with Martin in Atlanta last week and interview him for the upcoming Recruitment Marketing Machine Summit (6th-17th June).
Martin travels for 300 out 365 days a year doing what he loves most – living with, shopping, partying and dreaming with people, in as many different countries, across as many religions and cultures and observing people. He LOVES his job!
Today, despite the many social media bridges to our clients and candidates, Martin feels the recruitment industry is only interacting with people on a very superficial level. Martin is a ‘Fan of the Consumer’ because to him, it’s the consumer who holds the key to every brand.
He believes that it’s only by getting involved with consumers – in their homes, their lives and their daily routine, that you get to know what the consumer wants and needs. And it’s more often the consumer who can tell you what your brand needs to do innovate, grow and deliver in your markets.
Many of you already know that for many years I have been calling for the recruitment industry to evolve or die. I have felt very strongly that unless recruiters and recruitment businesses radically change our traditional offering to candidates and clients we would go the way of the dodo.
Personally, I look forward to a future in recruitment where the recruiter is not just seen as a ‘necessary evil’ who is measured purely on her ability to ‘put a bum on a seat’. But rather as someone who adds significantly more value to not only the ‘attraction and selection’ of individuals but as a long-term talent strategist who genuinely partners with clients to help them with on-boarding and talent retention.
As far as candidates are concerned, I believe the recruitment industry has to move away from it’s selfish ‘commodity driven’ view of people as cattle to be herded from one employer to another and sold to the highest bidder. We need as an industry to get closer to our candidate workforce as people. We need to understand what they want and need from us and add a lot more value to them than we do currently.
In his book, “Small Data: the tiny clues that uncover huge trends” Martin describes the global seismic shift towards the age of the ‘personal brand’.
Couldn’t we as recruiters start to offer ‘personal brand development’ to our candidates (and clients)? Why can’t we offer a ‘career development and management service’ to our candidates? And I don’t mean the same old crap we stick on our websites about ‘we work closely with candidates, blah blah blah’.
Martin told me he believes that the recruitment industry’s greatest competitive threat comes from LinkedIn. I believe our greatest opportunity lies in looking at LinkedIn, learning from them and offering something that they do not.
For example, LinkedIn currently run an algorithm that tells you how ‘complete’ your profile is and suggests what you can do to make your details ‘more discoverable’. Couldn’t you run a similar algorithm that measures a candidates ‘personal brand’ and tells you/them what they could do to strengthen their brand and make themselves more attractive to potential future employers and increase their rate of progression within their current employer. How loyal do you think that candidate might be to you the recruiter who provides that level of service? You could confidently predict that the next time that person is looking at a career move she would be in touch with you – her ‘personal brand manager’ or ‘agent’.
I know the naysayers reading this article will immediately be firing tweets /comments about ‘not having enough time’ and how on earth can I manage the careers of 10,000 candidates on my database’. But hear me out, systemizing the ‘personal branding process’ where you consider outsourcing the delivery to specialist providers or career coaches could be good. Agreeing affiliate referral deals with image consultants, social media experts, photographers, copywriters, etc could be a very lucrative additional revenue stream for not much more than an introduction (something we do for a living anyway).
Do try and watch my full interview with Martin Lindstrom in which he suggests yet another ground breaking strategy for the recruitment industry to take a more dominant position in the talent management space. This one ‘left field’ idea literally blew my mind when he first suggested it but made perfect sense to me and will to you.
The future for the recruitment industry is very bright. Our future IS small data!
p.s. you don’t REALLY have to sleep with your clients and candidates just move in and live with them for a little while.
Article for Recruitment Buzz by Recruitment Expert, author, speaker and coach to the staffing industry, Roy Ripper. www.recruitmentmarketingmachine.com