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Last November, talent leaders converged in Boston for something big: Transform, the first-ever recruitment marketing conference. The event inspired action, changed perspectives and enabled a network of recruitment marketing gurus and newbies to come together and share recruitment marketing tips. Last week, we tapped into that network, what we’re calling our recruitment marketing tribe, for Transform Virtual.

The virtual conference was just as inspiring and tweet-worthy as the in-person event (if you missed the tweets, check out the Storify). In a conference chock-full of insight, it’s hard to pick just a handful of one-liners, but I took a stab. Take a look the top ten Transform Virtual takeaways and recruitment marketing tips from the speakers themselves, from American Airlines’ Carrie Corbin to Staples’ Lisa Pueschel.



“The human element will always be relevant.”

Dan Schawbel, Research Director at Future Workplace @DanSchawbel

As technology continues to advance, it will only automate and streamline more aspects of our jobs. But, technology doesn’t build relationships. People do. In a world of automated emails, artificial intelligence, virtual interviews and resume-grading software, we have to be careful to not lose sight of the human element. After all, this is human resources. If you want to really connect with people and inspire them to apply for your jobs, you need to communicate and form personal bonds with them.


“When it comes to employee advocacy, your employees shouldn’t be forced into sharing — they should feel inspired.”

Carrie Corbin, Head of Talent Attraction, Employer Brand and Diversity, American Airlines @TheCarrieCorbin

Encouraging employees to share their experiences with the world is an important part of building an authentic employer brand. But, when it becomes a requirement of the job, it kind of loses that personal touch. Instead of writing posts for employees and forcing them to share them on social, create a working environment that is so good it inspires employees to showcase it organically. In the end, you’ll see authentic, employee-created content that candidates want to engage with.


“Talent acquisition is not just the talent acquisition department’s job. It’s everyone’s job.”

Will Maurer, Global Talent Acquisition Sourcing Manager, General Motors @Will_Maurer

Recruiting top talent is a team effort that spans functional groups. Every person at your company has a role in building your employer brand.  Whether it’s a customer service rep going above and beyond on a call, or the CEO taking a stand on workers’ rights, everyone at your organization is part of the picture of your brand as a great (or not-so-great) place to work.


“People don’t necessarily want to leave their companies, they just want a new opportunity.”

Lisa Pueschel, Head of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning, Staples @pueschelisa

We’ve said it before: people come for your brand and stay for your jobs. It’s true when hiring someone for the first time, but it also rings true when retaining employees. When your employees feel ready for a career move, they will likely look for opportunities within your organization first, because they’re connected to your employer brand! But, if they aren’t empowered to grow within your company, they’ll look elsewhere.


“Advocates are organic. Employees are storytellers. They are the people who live and breathe our brand and they personify our culture.”

Carrie Corbin, Head of Talent Attraction, Employer Brand and Diversity, American Airlines @TheCarrieCorbin

Think of your employees as windows into your company’s culture. If you have 1,000 employees, you have 1,000 employer brand ambassadors. Empower them to share their stories. Organic storytelling and advocacy produces content that is authentic and that speaks to candidates on a personal level.


“Just because others say that it’s impossible doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.”

Allyn Bailey, Recruitment Capability Adoption and Transformation Manager, Intel @allynbailey

Being the driving force behind organizational change is a challenge for the bold. Every organization has people up for this challenge. Here at SmashFly, we call them the recruitment marketing rebels. They’re the ones challenging the status quo and pushing us towards a better, brighter tomorrow. Sound familiar? If you identify with this group and you do what others think is impossible, you’re at the heart of recruitment marketing innovation for your organization.


“Keep it personal to build meaningful connections between your brand, your candidates & your employees.”

Rod Adams, US Talent Acquisition Leader, PwC @Rod_Adams1

People want to work for companies where they feel a connection, but those connections aren’t built overnight. It’s important to get to know your candidates by sharing relevant stories, sending them personalized content and showcasing authentic employee experiences. Once that bond is built, you’ve impacted candidates for life, and getting them to apply for your jobs and accept an offer becomes much easier.


“Storytelling is great for marketing, but it can also change everything about the way we work, live and do business.”

Shane Snow, Chief Strategy Officer, Contently @shanesnow

People trust people more than corporations. In the eyes of a candidate, a story shared from one of your employees’ personal social media accounts is much more authentic than a list of corporate perks on your career site. When creating recruitment marketing strategy, it’s important to remember the power of storytelling—it may turn a passive candidate into your best new hire.


“Don’t fear change. Prepare for it.”

Adam Glassman, Recruitment Strategies Manager, Alorica @aglass99

A lot is changing in talent acquisition right now. From social recruiting, to Google Jobs to artificial intelligence, the talent acquisition landscape looks much different today then it did 10, or even 5, years ago. As we continue to innovate and push boundaries, the space is only going to continue to evolve. When it comes to change, you can either fear it and cling to the status quo until you’re forced to change, or, you can prepare for what’s next and lead the charge.


“We’ve got all these great ideas, but at the end of the day, if people at the front lines don’t adopt this really cool thinking, it isn’t worth very much.”  

Allyn Bailey, Recruitment Capability Adoption and Transformation Manager, Intel @allynbailey 

Perhaps the most important takeaway from Transform Virtual lies in this quote from Allyn Bailey. Talking about ideas and dreaming about ways to innovate recruitment marketing and talent acquisition is only half the battle. Implementation and adoption are major parts of transforming the recruiting function at your company. So don’t let your ideas stay ideas! Put a plan in place and start executing.

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