NZ and Australia leading the way - live streaming on Facebook - employer examples

March 25th, 2011

It appears New Zealand and Australia are leading the way when it comes to one area of social recruiting.  Working with Deloitte New Zealand, we adopted an approach used by celebrities and politicians and applied this to a graduate recruitment context. About 15 months ago we ran our first interactive live streaming video show on our Facebook page. At the time Livestream’s unofficial Facebook application was very buggy, so we applied to Ustream and Facebook to embed their application. Over the course of 2010 we ran about 12 live shows in various formats and won some lovely silverware and write-ups for our pioneering attempts to be more “social” in how we engaged with our student community. 

Fast forward to 2011. Lion Nathan National Foods Australia, Ernst and Young Australia and New Zealand, and Deloitte Australia have all launched using the official Livestream Facebook app, which is surprisingly quick to set up and has some nice sharing and community-related features to it. 

I’ve enjoyed tracking how these employers are experimenting with the technology. It looks like some are trying to be very slick in their production, possibly to the point where it could diminish the level of authenticity and approachability. 

There’s been an interesting development within the past week. In light of the recent earthquakes in Christchurch and the postponement of the careers fairs at Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury, GradConnection NZ has put together an awesome initiative.  Using live-streaming, Christchurch students will get the opportunity to watch and chat live with a variety of NZ employers and industry associations (eg  WHK, Westpac, BDO, Audit NZ, PwC, BNZ, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Telecom, Staples Rodway, ANZ, Deloitte, NZICA). GradAID NZ will take place on Facebook on March 24 and 25. There are already virtual career expos out there, but I believe it makes sense embedding a show on the Facebook platform, especially as that’s where are a lot of students are. Possibly this hosted foray into live streaming will be the confidence spark for many of the participating employers to roll out their own live streaming initiatives.

This year Deloitte NZ has evolved the live streaming initiative. We’ve run a couple of live shows where students can hear from career experts, and young leaders and entrepreneurial people. We’ve shifted the focus from a purely employee branding strategy to one where students can emotionally connect at a broader level with Deloitte’s values. 

Before I go, I want to mention that UK-based Bill Boorman is doing some fantastic work with Hard Rock Cafe, and has introduced live streaming to Hard Rock Cafe Firenze (Florence) and their Facebook page. I look forward to seeing their “…live video chats and Q&A sessions with our guests, fans and applicants via Livestream on Facebook…”

If I’ve missed any other social recruiting examples of live streaming then please let me know.

Reflections on the Social Recruiting Summit, May 2010

June 22nd, 2010

This is a very belated post. Last month I dragged my exhausted jet-lagged ass to the Social Recruiting Summit in Minneapolis, USA. It took me 5 flights to get to Minneapolis and over 20 hours of flying time - it was partly my fault as I decided to travel the less direct route from New Zealand via Australia to the USA. I just want to confirm that NZ is nowhere near France or England or somewhere in the USA - I had to point this out to a few summit attendees. This is the third Social Recruiting Summit. I attended the first summit at the Googleplex in the Silicon Valley last year, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The tweet-up prior to the conference took place at a bar / restaurant inside the crazily super-sized Mall of America - take a right past the indoor theme park, then a left past the wedding chapel, go up to the third floor, and then walk for a thousand miles to the meeting point. The night ended with beers, margaritas, and an array of Mexican fare at a Karaoke joint inside the Mall. I’m slowly recovering my hearing.

The next morning I shared a cab with the other foreign alien, UK’s Matt Alder to Best Buy’s corporate HQ.  For those of you outside of the US, Best Buy is a leading retailer of consumer electronics in North America, with a strong online presence. On entering the modern building I wondered if I had come to the wrong place. Was I on a university campus or at an airport? How many reception areas have a mobile popcorn stand?

We all congregated in the auditorium and the first session kicked off, not with a presentation, but with a 4-member, social media savvy panel from Best Buy. 

I picked up that Best Buy has a genuine interest in being “social” - they weren’t so bothered with the tools or the media, but with how to leverage the social web to engage with consumers and jobseekers. Best Buy has already done some interesting things in the social recruiting space (eg crowdsourcing job description design; webinars on their finance recruitment blog) and it was interesting to hear of some of their success stories and where they plan to take things. They are currently scoping up a job description for a store-level role titled Social Media Concierge. I’m picturing a future world of store-specific Twitter accounts, localized Facebook fan pages, and Foursquare customer loyalty campaigns.

Throughout the rest of the day I attended a variety of presentations, and had some great one-on-one chats between sessions, like with Richard Cho, lead recruiter at Facebook (who later gave a very insightful presentation). I also had an opportunity to mix with and learn from recruitment leaders from companies like AT&T, Microsoft, Google, Starbucks etc. I took heaps of notes during the day and hijacked my followers’ personal twitter streams with many sweet morsels. Below are some of the many quotes I scribbled down:

  • “Don’t vomit your jobs all over the place” (referring mainly to Twitter)
  • “Find a lawyer with a Twitter account to remove social media roadblocks”
  • “Return on Emotion” (not used in a Daniel Pink or employer branding context, but certainly could be)
  • “Why am I going to spend 55 minutes on a site, Facebook page etc?” (referring to increasing site / platform user stickiness)
  • “We don’t buy friends with discounts, we buy friends with value”
  • “Tell message to people who have the strongest influence”
  • “Referrals to website increased by  910% in 2 months”
  • “Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is female, 35 years and over” (must be all the addicted FarmVille players contributing to this me thinks).

Though the Americans are grappling with many of the same issues as we are in the Asia Pacific region, I get a sense that social recruiting is fast becoming mainstream in the US.  Some employers were reporting mind-blowing results. Listening to the discussions challenged my thinking around who should manage things like Facebook fan pages. I can sense there will be some very innovative and quite different approaches to social recruiting and employment branding, and how it is managed, in the not too distant future. Many of the small to medium businesses were definitely keen to follow the large corporates, but were hungry for guidance on how to best lobby internally. 

Though I gained lots from the summit, I felt the event could have been more cohesive overall. This may just be a personal preference, but some of the sessions seemed a bit out of place to me and were more about personal branding than social recruiting per se. I would have liked to have heard about topics such as social gaming and mobile recruiting, and some of the social media innovations outside of the recruitment industry and how these could be applied to recruitment. There still seems to be differing views on what social recruiting actually is, and I feel this needs to be sorted somewhat. We often hear the same messages coming from the same presenters, and I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing for the recruitment industry. I feel some of the excitement and enthusiasm that I sensed at the initial summit at Google has faded. Many attendees have since been to numerous social recruiting related conferences and unconferences in their own city, state, or industry sector in which they recruit. Then there is the group of attendees who attend pretty much everything that’s on. With pretty much every conference and unconference touching on social recruiting, the Social Recruiting Summit could potentially lose its significance. I would have liked the summit to have painted more of a picture of the overall current state or landscape of social recruiting.

After the summit I played tourist and met up with some great people like Gerry Crispin in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gerry is passionate about HR and recruitment outside of the US and we came up with an idea around shared learning between NZ and the US - stay tuned for details. Now, see that cannon above? Gerry in his student days, with some of his uni mates, took this historically significant cannon at the Stevens Institute of Technology, on a sojourn to outside City Hall in Manhattan, across the Hudson River and all. Luckily Gerry escaped getting into trouble. What a legend though. The cannon is now cemented down. Love this man’s renegade roots.

I’m now back in a wintery NZ. Thankfully, I piled on an extra layer of insulating fat in the US, eating enormous portions. NB: a “short stack” of pancakes can feed a family. I enjoyed my trip to the US and have come back with some great ideas, some of which I’ve been putting into practice with clients.

Paul Jacobs

Deloitte NZ hits Top 40

April 18th, 2010

Engage client, Deloitte New Zealand has received another accolade for their social media strategy. This time, Your Future at Deloitte (New Zealand) was recognised as one of the Top 40 Fan Pages on Facebook.

Paul Jacobs