Interview by Steve Walker, CTO and Founder of idibu.
Steve: So, lets keep this light. What’s the meaning of life?
Rachael: Oh my God! The meaning of life? Enjoyment. Being happy.
Steve: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Rachael: A bowl of muesli.
Steve: Alright good. Interview is over.
Rachael and Steve: *Laugh*
Steve: Ok, to business. What do you think the average effectiveness of a recruitment agency’s marketing strategy is?
Rachael: I think that most recruitment agencies focus on the client equation and that’s also true of even some recruitment technology. Historically we’ve been very client-led because it’s the client that pays direct to you.
And I think actually what consultants would be better doing is to focus on candidate engagement. And actually that’s the whole point of TempBuddy. It takes a candidate-centric approach and it’s a really different.
Steve: Do you think candidate engagement is driven from a cultural shift? Or an economic shift?
Rachael: I think it’s both. But I think it is society now has become far more peer to peer, it’s much more open, it’s more transparent, it’s more accountable. People talk via Glassdoor, I’m not sure how widely that is used in the UK. But certainly, if you’re not happy, you can talk about it on Facebook / Social Media and that carries weight.
We’re now very familiar with 360 degree ratings, as candidates or consumers – people have got much bigger share with voice and they’ve got more channels.
Steve: So just as we have Trump tweeting, so we do with candidates – and fortunately the potential noise is kind of the same.
Rachael: We do and that in itself, is an interesting question because there is too much noise from every direction – not just recruitment agencies but marketing in particular.
We need to understand and segment properly – to channel down on the of focus – to find ways of monitoring that noise, and then practice putting in the right conversation.
Steve: When you look at social media, how un-effectively, and I’m leading the question here… How un-effectively are you seeing it being used by recruitment agencies?
Rachael: I think there are some agencies that do it well and then there are other agencies that are just scary. For example, they add a Twitter button to their website, it opens up to encourage a share, but doesn’t even feed back to the page they’ve shared!
Then you’ve got another group who just don’t understand it’s about conversation, it’s about engaging, and literally their feed is just jobs. 100% jobs. And let’s be honest, why would you even follow that unless you’re job hunting and you’re very going to very quickly switch that off?
And then I’d say there’s a middle group who are generally much better and understand that “OK, I’ll post some jobs but in between I need to share content as well” – but they are still mis-using it as a push channel rather than really listening or understanding, or even responding to what some of those questions and themes are.
Steve: What’s your favourite social network as a professional marketer?
Rachael: Oh interesting, I have been a huge Twitter fan and I’ve been using it for a very long time… I love Twitter because its current. If I want to find something out, my first go to is find it on Twitter rather than Google because with Google you’ll get the most prevalent search rather than the most recent.
And LinkedIn obviously, you can’t ignore LinkedIn as a platform. It’s an incredibly good professional networking system without question. But also for me now, Facebook is becoming more relevant in order to to talk to your candidates, and it’s becoming more used as a professional network in the US.
It’s all about understanding what these channels are and using them intelligently and testing. It depends on what your defined objectives are.
Steve: It’s interesting that Twitter seems to be losing its market value and at the same time, I think from a professional value standpoint, it seems to be increasing.
Rachael: I think it’s doing that partly because they’ve failed to understand how to monetize it – they’ve been less, strong perhaps in terms of the paid social campaigns that you have there. It still works well for you if you have built a solid Twitter follower base.
If you’re following the right people, and they’re following you back – you’ll be reaching the right audience and by additionally targeting those that can influence a group… *then* you’ll get great results.
Steve: What do you personally like to use to increase productivity, either to reduce “busy-ness” and create space in your life or to increase results. Do you have any methodologies, software products, anything you’d like to share?
Rachael: I’m hearing good things about Trello.
Steve: I’ve heard positive things too, it seems to work well on both the personal and team levels.
Rachael: Yeah, and we may see that two parts of our business will use that for collaboration, sharing, brain storming, thinking, but outside more of a formalized google docs environment – it’s definitely on my agenda for the next couple of weeks.
Steve: A well known and useful productivity habit is to always define “what’s the one thing I’m going to achieve today that really important, to allow me to tick one thing off my list and therefore define the day as a success.” Do you ever do that?
Rachael: You can get very busy with the day to day can’t you… The fact is our business is in a transitional stage, and that means deadlines – fitting everything in, working to other team members timelines.
You can also get caught up in social media – I have nothing against going into it, getting a snapshot of what’s going on. But then you must come out to regain focus on other activities.
Somebody once said to me if you fill your bucket with too many small activities, there’s never room for the really big stuff – I actually have that as a reminder above my desk. Tick-off the big rocks first!
I heard about the concept on a training course years ago – if you fill the bucket/jar with small tasks (grains of sand), there’s no space left for the big tasks/projects, but if you complete the big stuff first you can still fit in some of the smaller stuff (emails/tweets etc). I think in our uber connected world it’s very easy to get distracted, so we need this message/reminder/discipline more than ever.
Steve: That’s an excellent productivity habit!
What about noise. How do you find space in the noise?
Rachael: You might not describe it as mindfulness, but for me, having a break to look at media like Twitter, reading some topics and articles that helps me to be thoughtful, to understand some of the broader topics happening in the business… and I think you can do this, almost subliminally to help push your thinking in other areas and not just be 100% task-focused. The other thing is I do is regularly get up for couple of minutes, grab a drink or whatever, come back again – you need to move physically.
Steve: Marketing for me is really a combination of creative plus good process. And you need to have space to be creative.
Rachael: Yes! And for me marketing is always about having an outside view as well. As a marketer you can’t just sit inside your own world – you’ve got to see competitor trends, understand the bigger trends, take the time to research, and inform other people in the organization what is happening.
So you can also see a part of marketing as also being about the collaboration, the negotiating, and even working with competitors, having dialogues, having conversations, and ensuring you’re always being challenged professionally as well.
Steve: Rachael, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me.
Rachael: Thank you, you’re welcome.
(Previously published at idibu.com)