Do You Hire Well? A Lesson From HubSpot

I have been a fan of HubSpot for some time. I love the way that they relentlessly connect the dots between marketing and action, between marketers and their customers, and the web and the business of marketing.

Over the years, the HubSpot team have developed and driven the concept of inbound marketing – releasing free tools to help educate and empower marketers, sharing webinars, whitepapers and a constant stream of email messages. I’m not saying that, at times, the stream of content is not overwhelming … it can be. But the underlying message is what fascinates me – you are left with the unmistakeable impression that if the web is a new way of doing business, then HubSpot is leading the way.

But what makes this new breed of company tick? What happens when you scratch beneath the surface – and is it really any different from the businesses that we are used to dealing with?

With the release of the HubSpot Culture Code, we can gain a glimpse into the philosophies and policies that inform and activate their culture. They have rethought the old and newer ways of working around focus, support, working hours, workplace and tenure. And the culture code makes the point that while people have changed, “many organizations operate as if they’re frozen in time”. (In many ways, some of these concepts feel foreign, unexpected, like travelling to a place that is familiar yet different at its core.)

You can leaf through the culture code below or on Slideshare. As an organisation dedicated to transparency (radically and uncomfortably), it makes sense. But how many other businesses do the same? How many business could bring themselves to operate in this way?

They say it’s to do with the care and attention with which they choose colleagues. And for a company that is hiring, the culture code is perhaps, the greatest advertisement there is. Nice work – inbound marketing at its finest, especially when you’re aiming to attract people, not clicks.

Gustin Shows Why Retailers Still Don’t Get Digital

For years, Australian retailers have under-invested in digital. They held back technology investment, closed down innovation programs and hired traditional marketers when they should have been growing their own breed of tech-savvy innovators. And while retailers had their heads in the sand, the world changed.

Recent failures like ClickFrenzy have been down played and it’s clear that even the retailers with some digital budget are unprepared for the fast moving transformation taking place thanks to mobile.

In spite of all the trends, facts, figures and forecasts, retailers remain unconvinced. What is driving this myopic view of the future of business? In many ways, it feels like a classic illustration of the The Innovator’s Dilemma – companies (and indeed a whole industry) misses out on new waves of innovation because they are unable to capitalise on disruptive technologies.

But I also think retailers are captives of “Big Thinking”. Because they operate at scale, big thinking clouds their judgement. It’s easy to discount competitors when they generate sales that are fractions of a percentage of your business. But it’s not the percentage that’s important, its the velocity and momentum.

Hand made men’s clothing manufacturer, Gustin, illustrate this shift beautifully. They launched a Kickstarter campaign some time ago with the aim of raising $20,000. The premise was simple:

  • Capitalise on their growing brand and reputation for premium menswear hand-crafted in San Francisco
  • Allow for pre-purchasing of products through crowdsourcing – perfectly matching the demand and supply chains
  • Deliver the retail items to customers directly at wholesale price

Now, with two days before the campaign closes, Gustin have massively over-reached their goal. Currently sitting at almost $407,000, Gustin have smashed the target, connecting with almost 4000 new customers and validating not only their approach but also whole product lines.

And all this was done by taking an outside-in view of their business.

Until other retailers can transform the way they think about their business, their customers and the experience they provide, they will continue to struggle with this new world of digital.

Don’t Like Me – Hire Me: Recruiting Goes Social

The 2012 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey reports that 92% of US companies have used social media to identify talent and potential employees. The survey also indicates that 43% of companies using social recruiting have seen an increase in candidate quality – with 73% successfully hiring.

Increasingly this means that personal brands and employer brands are colliding online – well before an interview or conversation takes place. This will impact both the employer and the individual job seeker in positive and challenging ways – with all having to come to grips with the potential and impact of digital marketing as the global economy recovers and the war for talent resumes.

Social Networks Are the Place Where Personal and Employer Brands Meet

In a crowded market it can be a struggle to stand out. On the one hand job seekers compete for the attention of leading businesses and promising startups; and on the other, employers strive to identify and source those with the talent, skills and cultural alignment to succeed within their business.

Increasingly, social networks are the space where personal brand and employer brands meet – bridging skills and geographies through business opportunity.

  • LinkedIn allows individuals to create profiles and companies to create pages, join groups, advertise events, jobs and corporate information. It has over 150 million individual profiles and more than 2.6 million company pages
  • Xing is the European focused equivalent of LinkedIn with over 7 million profiles
  • BranchOut uses the Facebook Open Graph to bring a professional and skill based layer to the most social of social networks
  • Ushi is a Chinese invitation-only business social network and focuses its membership on executive and senior professionals
  • Tianji has 12 million members and connects China’s white collar professionals and entrepreneurs
  • Niche professional networks abound, offering very focused connection based networks by industry, role or even age and experience

Finding the signal in the noise on any of these networks can be a challenge for employers and individuals alike.

Individuals Turn to the 4 BEs and Employers Respond

Even when there is a war on talent – when the demand for the best and brightest workers outstrips the supply, the sheer volume of names, profiles, links and data can prove disconcerting. And for those individuals seeking new career challenges and opportunities, it’s no longer good enough to prepare and send a CV in response to an advertisement – job seekers need to use the 4 BEs of Social Discovery:

  1. Be found: Without some form of digital profile, individuals will struggle to compete with the more digital-savvy. A LinkedIn profile is a minimal starting point but can be easily augmented through simple online publishing tools like
  2. Be known: Individuals are increasingly using digital publishing platforms to showcase their skills, experience and networks. Employers are scouring this information to verify career facts and experience of candidates
  3. Be trusted: It’s not just what you know – it’s who you are connected to. Reputation is an essential component for both the job seeker and the employer. This goes beyond the simplistic recommendations on LinkedIn – employers are seeking overlaps in networks to create verifiable profiles of candidates
  4. Be successful: Reputation is also about delivery. What are the personal case studies that individuals can publish or link to? What are the outcomes and learnings that can be identified and how does this match against other profile and career data. Employers are seeking a broader understanding of candidates – information that goes beyond the facts and figures and provides a sense of “character” and “personality” (for which social media is imminently suited)

4-BEsPersonal Branding Meets Talent Sourcing

Proactive job seekers are seeking out, following and engaging prospective employers across social networks – but the reverse is also true. Those businesses who require highly specialized skills and expertise are identifying and tracking candidates across their careers. Talent sourcers are employing ever more sophisticated techniques and technologies to accelerate their discovery process.

Vendors have already begun bringing technology to bear against this challenge. Yvette Cameron suggests that Oracle’s new Social Relationship Management suite will bridge personal social and enterprise data to great effect in the coming 12-18 months; and that we should expect similar announcements to come from Salesforce during the annual Dreamforce event.

Social Technologies Disrupting the Workplace Silo

Today’s workers expect that social and mobile technologies will not only be available within the enterprise – but that they will be used to in ways that will empower them and improve productivity. Business leaders have been challenged to justify investment and to trace the value proposition involved. Social technologies and the business rigor that they provide may well provide not only the disruption required to create value within the enterprise – they may well create the future of work – and that’s where personal and employer brands may find their perfect match.


Social Judgement: Recruiting and the Social Interview

I have long had an interest in the power of social media to impact the way that companies recruit and in the way that we, as individuals, can attract employers. LinkedIn is the king of the mountain for most business professionals – for the moment – but we all know that hiring new employees is not just about hiring for skill or experience. It’s also about “fit”, attitude and chemistry.

For years we have focused on CVs, profiles and reference checks. We have relied on quizzes, questionnaires and our HR processes to lead us to the right hiring decision. And sometimes the best person for the job is culled at the first step. But what if went directly to the people who know these candidates best?

That’s exactly what the digital agency R/GA did for their internship program. They came up with a Facebook app called The Social Interview – where questions were posted to the candidate’s Facebook wall and were answered by friends. It takes the “LinkedIn recommendation” to a new, more personal, level.

When I talk about The Social Way, I am at least in part, talking about this type of shift.

Whether we like it or not, our actions in the sphere of business impact our lifestyle and vice versa. It is, for example, slowly but surely becoming unacceptable to bully your team members and then post status updates about being a “family man”.  The social proof of our behaviours are not just available, they are searchable and verifiable. And this changes the way we make decisions. I call it social judgement.

Is this going to change the way you operate? Will it change the way that people find you or your business? And will it impact your reputation with peers, friends and family? You bet it will. And we’re only just starting. Get ready!

Via SimplyZesty.

How We Hire in a Social Media World

As soon as I know I am scheduled for a meeting I do a search on the people that I am meeting. I’ve been doing this for years. But these days, I am finding much more information – personal, professional and social. There are Facebook accounts and pages, blogs, Twitter accounts, articles, pictures, movies and even LinkedIn recommendations. It’s a jumble – but if you let it wash over you, it’s amazing the kind of image that can be built up relatively quickly. For example, here’s what I found when I did a vanity search on visual search engine Spezify.


But does this sort of thing impact the way that others see us? In particular, does it impact our careers in a positive or negative way? And would you take steps, as Jye Smith recently did, to erase the past?

Forbes writer, Kashmir Hill shares an interesting report from social profile management company Reppler. The results from interviewing 300 recruiters tell an interesting story – 91% of those surveyed use social networks to screen candidates – and 69% claim to have rejected a candidate based on what they found.


On the upside, 68% have hired a candidate because of what they found on social networking sites. So clearly, it’s a double edged sword.

Why-employers-decided-to-hire-candidates (1)

But like everything to do with “social media” – hiring processes show that we are really just doing the same thing in a different medium. As Kashmir explains, at the end of the day:

It boils down to demonstrated creativity, well-roundedness, and the ability not to tell lies about their educational and professional qualifications. Surprisingly, no one said “Because they looked really hot in their profile photos.”

Need Work?

Need Work?
Originally uploaded by Alistair Howard.

Matching job seekers with future employers must be challenging. Whenever I meet a recruiter I am always fascinated by them … they would require an interesting mix of skills, a dedication to sales and an ease with people that pushes, cajoles and encourages. They also need to be excellent networkers.

So it comes as no surprise to see Guy Kawasaki opening his own job board. But this is a job board with a difference. Guy puts his credentials out there for all to see right up-front — find out about his traffic, his audience demographic, and even get instant feedback from his audience via the comments. And, of course, Guy is hugely influential and could boast (should he want to) many leading business figures from the US and around the world, making this new job board an instant challenger in the recruitment market.

What I find quite fascinating (oh ok I know I am currently "fascinated" by sooo many things) is the way entrepreneurs such as Guy Kawasaki are using blogs to quickly spin-off and test new business ideas. The ones that are able to gain an immediate audience work, while others that fail simply disappear. It reminds me of the way TV channels promote their own shows … with good, connected and contextual linkage and targeted advertising. Now I am thinking "The Kawasaki Blog Reality TV Show" … starring … well you (and if you don't believe me, check a copy of TIME magazine — when do they ship to Australia?).

Blogs are the New CV

If you are looking for a new job, how do you find it? Do you spend your time looking online job boards, do you talk to recruiters or do you “let it be known” to your friends that you are on the market?
I hope, at least, that you are not putting out CVs with typos like that in the picture here!

Russell Davies has a fun post responding to an email he received asking questions about why he blogs, and what is the future of blogging (for planners and the like). He shares his response here. And while his response is humourous, Russell has a great point — blogs will eventually replace CVs for many of us (no matter what industry we work in).

As I was saying in this post, blogs allow others to gain a deeper understanding of the person blogging. The posts become a repository of their ideas as well as a journal of their intellectual and creative pursuits. Interestingly, the WAY in which bloggers deal with their readers/audience/community says a lot — and smart employers will do well to check very closely through the archive of postings prior to any interview.

What does this mean in practice? I guess anyone wanting to hire the Servant of Chaos gets what they deserve … but I see this as bringing another level of transparency to the recruitment process (and we all know what a hit-and-miss affair hiring can be, so any help is sensational!). Blogs are great for strategic planners and for creatives in general … but make sure you are aware that some of your readers may be your future employers!

Update: OK … I have no original thoughts in my head. Here is the same article on Fast Company.