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#DoesNotSuck: Tech Recruiting with Talent42

Posted by Kevin Johnson on Jul 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM
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I’m a sucker for a creative hashtag. It’s true. I go full nerd on a good hashtag, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I still chuckle at my cousin’s #YourGirlLikeItThough workout pictures on Instagram, but that’s probably a topic for another day.  In early June, I was lucky enough to attend the Talent42 recruiting conference in Seattle.


Talent42 is a one-of-a-kind conference, 100% focused on tech recruiting. It blends keynote presentations and hands-on workshops to test all the cool new things you are learning. It was an absolutely fantastic conference… the best I’ve been to. Hands down. Sure, some people used the #Talent42 tag for those two days, but just as many used #DoesNotSuck. It was true- the people, the sponsors, the venue, the presentations- It definitely did not suck.


Talent 42 Presentation


Here are a few, random fun facts from the conference:


  • Uber receives over 2 million resumes a year.
  • Over 80% of Tableau’s hires come via employee referral.
  • Globally, Microsoft has over 1000 people working in talent acquisition.
  • Uber is experimenting with “surge-compensation” which allows for quick adjustments to starting salaries in times of high demand.
  • At Pinterest, interviews for senior level positions must include at least one female and one underrepresented minority.


There were a number of hot topics discussed over the two days in the Northwest. Recruiting analytics, diversity, tools/technology, pipeline, closing techniques… All are critically important, and it was so awesome to hear about what other companies are doing in these areas. When I think back over the most impactful conversations I personally had during the conference, they tend to circle around the idea of an organization’s culture of recruitment: the old “it takes a village” approach to recruiting. I identified with the importance of getting everyone from the CEO to the new entry level hire involved in the process of securing and identifying top talent.


As recruiting professionals, how often do we hear “I really don’t know anyone for this position” from someone within our organization without pushing back? I know I’m guilty of this. I think some people feel they don’t know of anyone good for the role because we haven’t created a culture that puts an emphasis on networking and recruiting outside of HR. Some organizations are better than others at this though. Tableau builds recruiting responsibilities into all job descriptions. Right there in black and white… EVERYONE in the organization is a recruiter.


 Tableau Job Description of Recruiting Culture

Written expectation in Tableau job posting


I absolutely love this. From the moment someone applies for a position with Tableau, they know the expectation. There is also the expectation that hiring managers are spending 5-10 hours per week on recruiting activities (interviewing, identifying candidates, networking, etc.). If hiring for a position is behind schedule, Tableau first looks to that manager to ensure they are meeting their weekly time commitment to fill the role. With this focus on communal hiring, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Tableau has an insanely high number of hires coming from referrals (80%). We can debate how they measure that number, but it’s hard to argue that the intentionality around communal hiring is drastically affecting their hiring process.  This approach definitely changes the responsibilities of the recruiter as well. While they are still held accountable for identifying and engaging talent, their role becomes more of a project manager of the hiring process.


So what’s this mean for Springthrough? And what does it mean for me? It means a focus on helping people feel comfortable networking and telling our story. It means respectfully pushing back when someone says they don’t see recruiting as a part of their jobs. It means helping people see the benefit in referring someone they think would be a good fit, even when we don’t have an immediate need. It means commitment from the top down to an approach where we support, train, and hold people accountable for being involved. It’s means I need to continue to grow my skillset and continuously improve the way I interact with and track communication with people at various stages in the career exploration process. It’s not like Springthrough is starting from scratch with this idea, but we definitely have room for improvement. I’m excited to champion this cause for us.


I’m extremely grateful that Springthrough was willing to invest in me and send me to Talent42. I had an absolutely fantastic time and learned so much that I’m still digesting it all. Hashtags don’t always live up to the hype, but I can confidently say that Talent42 #DoesNotSuck and would highly encourage recruiting pros to consider attending in 2017. You won’t regret it.


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