About Craig Fisher
Craig Fisher leads Recruiting Innovation at Allegis Global Solutions and employer branding SME for AGS RPO and MSP customers. He has led talent acquisition teams at the Fortune 500 level. His digital branding methods have been adopted as best practices by companies like Linkedin, Toyota, YUM! Brands and many more. He's the author of Inbound Recruiting, and a popular keynote speaker at tech, social media, HR / recruiting, and sales conferences worldwide. We are extremely happy to have someone of his stature on our interview series today.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Craig Fisher today to our interview series. I am Sumitha Mariyam from the peopleHum team. before we begin just a quick introduction of peopleHum. peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.
Welcome, Craig. We’re thrilled to have you.
Thanks, Sumitha. It’s nice to be here. I appreciate you having me on. How's your day going?
Our day is going well. It’s our pleasure to have you, Craig. So moving on to the interview, the first question I have for you would be,
You had quite a journey in your career. Can you tell us a little bit about your learnings throughout this joy ride? If I may call it a joy ride?
Yes, absolutely. So I started my career in health care. I was actually a sales rep for, what is now GSK. At the time it was called Glaxo Smith Klein. And then I sold hospital equipment. And then I got recruited into recruiting physicians for a living and then that was in the mid-nineties and I've been in recruiting ever since, mostly in the technology sector and then I became a leader in the industry for a couple of different organizations before starting my own staffing firm and around that time, I was trying to get innovative about using the Internet to post great content out in the world to attract job candidates and employers as customers back to me.
And we began using all these free Internet tools to do all of the functions that you can do for a recruiting organization and we were able to do some really amazing sourcing and hiring at scale with all these free tools. And so I started writing about that in my blog, and eventually, I started a Twitter chat for recruiters.
It was the first-ever Twitter chat for recruiters called ‘TalentNet’. At the time, it was #TNL. Now it's #TalentNet, that became also a podcast. It was a weekly show, and hundreds of people from all over the world were joining into this weekly Twitter chat. It was really fun. And at the time we were talking about, is Social Media really effective for recruiting, right? So that was the conversation in 2008.
That quickly pivoted into a live event. People were clamoring at that time because we got to know each other on places like Twitter and on various blogs and we were clamoring to meet IRL, right? In real life. And we had a bad economy then, and no one could afford to go to a big conference and so we decided to start our own conference, the TalentNet conference here in Dallas and make it a low-cost event to enter.
But it’d still have the same level of talent that you'd find at an HR technology conference. So learning and networking is really good. It's a local event. And we celebrated our 10 year anniversary last year.
Well, I'm making a documentary about how talent acquisition has come up in the world and has really helped HR have a bigger seat at the table, at the executive level. And the documentary is gonna be called ‘A suite at the table’ and it's really about how I've seen my friends in the industry really move up in the ranks and help talent acquisition and recruiting to be a bigger part of an organization and make companies better people first at operations. And so my learnings are I think we're growing and improving, and I think talent acquisition has been a big part of that.
That’s wonderful and all the best for your documentary.
Thank you. Skill Scout is helping me with that. If anyone is looking for a documentarian, Skill Scout, it’s really good.
So, we're talking about recruiting so much and you are a person who’s used social media and who likes to leverage technology for the purpose of recruiting. Recruiting is said to be, it was called a human job.
So how do you, how would you describe the balance that you have between human intelligence and artificial intelligence and mix it with all sorts of technology and leverage social media for recruiting? Can you elaborate a little bit on that?
Absolutely. So I think that there are two schools of thought and one is sort of the smile and dial mass email sort of style of recruiting where you're not really getting to know your prospects very well before you reach out to them.
And it doesn't work very well, really. I mean, we all get the emails about applying for a job that’s not even a fit for us and then the other school of thought is sort of the way I like to do it, which is really get to know your candidate better, be way more selective about the people you reach out to, but always use the technology available to understand your candidates, right?
And to network with them. I like to reach out to my candidates on social places first and just get to know them, right? Like follow them on Twitter and comment on their posts and texts. And the same thing with LinkedIn. I even reach out to people on Facebook. I use Facebook for business a lot and I think it's very effective.
And so if you can do this, if you can be in a candidate's peripheral vision several times before reaching out to them directly and they get to know you a little bit as a non-threatening good network participant, then your chances of getting a good response from them go way up. And so I say, use all the technology available to do things like that, and to cut corners in things like interview scheduling and follow-ups and things like that. The gaps in communication that we have in the recruiting process are real.
To build a journey map and understand where those high and low points are in the process. And make sure at those low points you're doing a good job of communicating and use the existing technology and chatbots to help you do that. So I think there's a good mix of human and technology there. And, but we've proven over and over again that technology can't replace that human aspect. And that's what really gets you good results.
"We've proven over and over again that technology can't replace that human aspect. And that's what really gets you good results."
Yeah. I really think replacing the menu interface that we have with a conversational interface by having chatbots and things like that really helps. And I totally agree with you. You need to have that human touch to it.
And also if you can give us a little insight into what managers would do to recruit the right talent? What are the practices that managers can practice to recruit the right talent?
So one of the things that I think technology is good for is we've now actually made it too easy to apply to jobs. I think you had Lou Adler on this program. He says the same thing. That's his theory and so technology is good at helping us narrow the field of candidates because a lot of people apply to jobs that they're not really a fit for. So the applicants are too many, and technology can help us narrow it down.
And hiring managers should use the technology to build their stack ranked lists of top candidates to approach. But then they should do their own homework and get to know something about those candidates before getting on the phone with them, okay? Too many managers get on the phone, say, 'Well, tell me about yourself. What do you like about our company? Why are you interested in this job?'
And they haven't done any homework. They're not good at selling the opportunity because they don't know the candidate well enough yet. And they haven't done the research, and so they try to be too fast. And we use these metrics like time to fill and to measure success. And that's a terrible metric because if you've made a bad hire but you've done it fast, it's still a bad hire. And so you're hiring velocity, is what Jerome Ternynck from SmartRecruiters says, is a much better metric. And it's your ability to hire great people for that role fast, right? All people are great in their own way, but they might not be great for that role.
"We use these metrics like time to fill and to measure success. And that's a terrible metric because if you've made a bad hire but you've done it fast, it's still a bad hire."
So getting the appropriate candidate and understanding who they are before you get on the phone with them or on an interview with them is a large part of that level.
That's an amazing insight like we don't have to work with people really fast. We need the right talent for it. So if I may ask you, so we probably covered a lot of the facts surrounding this, my next question.
But when you come to recruitment, what do you see are the, I mean, according to you, what are the challenges that recruiting is facing right now? I mean, how do you think the practice of recruiting is evolving overtime right now?
So here's the thing. Recruiting is not broken. We keep trying to come up with all these technologies to fix recruiting, but recruiting is not broken. We're perfectly able to find, recruit, and hire candidates. What we can do is use the technology that is becoming available to help us do the administrative things, the non recruiting activities, to make us more efficient.
"Recruiting is not broken. We keep trying to come up with all these technologies to fix recruiting, but recruiting is not broken. We're perfectly able to find, recruit, and hire candidates. What we can do is use the technology that is becoming available to help us do the administrative things, the non recruiting activities, to make us more efficient."
So I think that's one of the things that we’re not quick enough to adopt. Companies will come to me and they say, 'Craig, I want a Chatbot or I need AI. I’ve got a budget for AI. So what do you recommend?' And my first question to them is, 'What's the problem you're trying to solve here?'
Because if you're just going to spend money on a chatbot because your competitors have one, then I would suggest we rethink that a little bit. And so I think, understanding what a company's tech stack should be for recruiting is one of the big issues that we have right now.
Companies don't understand their own tech stack. They have outdated ATS systems. They don't utilize the functionality of their CRM. And they’re really struggling to understand what their own gaps are.
And so my team will audit a company’s candidate experience, interview their employees, figure out where those gaps are and then make tech stack suggestions and so I see this a lot. So just from first-hand experience, companies don't understand their tech stack very well.
Yeah, that's absolutely right.
And if you can give us a small idea, you’ve given me an idea about interacting with your candidates on Twitter and things like that. So how would you advise candidates to keep up that social profile, that Internet presence that they have? How would you suggest candidates have that?
So I think job candidates suffer often from the scenario where they get real active when they're looking for a job and then they go dark when they're not. So, one thing that you should do as a job candidate is to be consistent.
If you're going to be a person who posts content and who regularly comments on their networks’ posts and is an active network citizen, don't stop that when you get into your job because that networking can help you in your job.
You can crowdsource answers to things, right? And so be consistent. Once you get into that role, don't just go dark and quiet. The other thing is, if you're in job search mode, don't just look for a job forever without doing something else, okay?
So my example here is, start a small company, start an LLC or a small business with the purpose of researching the employers you'd like to work for and documenting your research and solve some problems you see that they have, right?
Take a look at their hiring process and write a research report or a case study about how they could do some things better. Document your answers. Post it to your LinkedIn profile, right? Create a job for yourself, call your company, whatever it is, and have that as your current position.
And when you document your findings about that company, tag all of that company's recruiters, right? At some point, one company will notice what you're doing and say, wow, that guy's really good, or that gal’s really good. We'd like to talk to you about this and the activity begins.
Wow, that's wonderful. That's a fresh idea over there. I think that is going to be an important pointer for all our audience out there.
So as we go on talking about equipment, so I have this question for you, which I think is very interesting. So what would you suggest? If you can suggest a few tips to tackle unconscious bias in recruitment, what would that be?
So there's not much we can do about it. I'm gonna be real honest. So, some of the technology out there is starting to take words out of resumes before they're passed on to any member of the hiring process. And those words would indicate, for instance, college degree, sometimes or anything that would indicate gender or age, things like that.
And so it's starting to become possible to be less biased in the process with technology. But people are inherently biased. And so if we leave it up to just people in the process, there's always gonna be some element of that.
But some of the tech that we have that is filtering resumes is now starting to fix that.
Yeah, that’s a wonderful answer.
And if I may ask you another, if we shift the focus to a different thing, how do you think building an employer brand is important for a new organization, for a small business that is growing?
So I think it's almost easier for a small business that is growing to brand themselves as creative and innovative and fun because they don't have this legacy of a brand to hinder their efforts there. And so I think that if you're a small business trying to hire really great people, then really go for it, really get creative and big about who you are and what you're trying to do, definitely showcase your people, right?
In a small business, very often, your core group of people is going to be there for a while, right? And so showcase your people every day. Do a Twitter and Instagram takeover. And get your people on video on a regular basis. Do the podcast, really do some fun things, and get innovative on topics, right?
Don't just talk about hiring and culture, right? Talk about your favorite memes. Talk about great books. Talk about, just anything you hear on NPR, right? Do your own version of that as an organization and you're gonna have some success if you include and invite the people onto your videos and your podcasts that you want to work with and get to know them.
That's a fresh perspective and I love that one. So, I have one more question for you.
So we were talking about recruitment and how a candidate should present themself. So for an organization to give an exceptional candidate experience, right? So we have an online presence and we have our bricks and mortar, our buildings. So how do you think we compile both of these and give the best experience to our candidates?
So my favorite thing that started to come to life a few years ago and kind of stalled out, but is now kind of coming back because of stay at home situations is virtual or augmented reality tours of an office or organization, right? So if you can get your employees even to do 360 tours of their home office, things like that that you can share with candidates.
And talk through it, then candidates can better understand who the people are in your organization, what their work life is like, the things that they have on their desk. Years ago, there was data that said that the number one thing a candidate wants to see in your employer branding elements online, is pictures of desks like, what does an employee's desk look like? And so I always say, show the office and now show the home office because I think those things are interesting.
Yeah, I think that's a fun activity to do and to get more candidates to understand how their environment is like, their future office, how they're going to have their environments around them. So that's nice.
And Craig, just to kind of wrap up the interview if you have any important soundbites that you would like to leave our audience.
Yes, so, one, put your dog outside before you go on a video.
I could hear it in the background, yeah.
She's pretty loud, but second I've got a thing that I'm thinking about as employers are advising their employees to stay home if they feel sick as we start to get back into brick and mortar offices. Use this, I think this is fun. If you sneeze, stay home or stay out of the office. And I think that's gonna catch fire.
Wonderful. It was a pleasure talking to you Craig. I really appreciate your time and sharing your views with us. It's been a very enriching learning experience for me personally, and I'm sure it is going to be for our viewers also because you share a lot of fresh perspectives and fascinating ideas on recruitment and candidate experience. Let's keep in touch and have a healthy and safe time ahead of you.
Thanks, Sumitha, it's nice to see you.