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Recruiters – Yes We Can

By February 14, 2013No Comments

This week I’m delighted to announce a new Director at Rice Consulting and virtualRPO as Sean Walters makes the step up.  And so it is with great pleasure I hand over the Whiteboard marker pen to Sean to bring to you this week’s guest blog post, and I’ll be back causing mischief in your inboxes again next Friday:


This week saw the return of the Air New Zealand Social Media Breakfast, and thanks to the generosity of a particularly satisfied client, I was lucky enough to be in attendance. My experience of most corporate breakfasts has been mixed to say the least, but with Teddy Goff, Barack Obama’s two-time Digital Director presenting, I had to give (excuse the pun) props to Air New Zealand for pulling in the big guns.

I won’t take you through a blow-by-blow account of the content covered; there were studious note takers in attendance who will no doubt be blogging about the event. My handwriting resembles a drunken Doctor, so note taking is a dark art to me (I can however source prescription medication). To summarize, if ever there were a game of two halves, this was it. The warm-up act, a “Futurologist” with the USP of not actually talking about events post 2009 receiving a welcome usually reserved for visiting French Secret Services , followed by the main event, Teddy…

Fast-talking, witty, humane, insightful, a true force of nature. Like Marty McFly on speed, Barack Obama’s Social Media guru whipped the crowd into an Obama loving frenzy. I’m largely clueless regarding US politics, but after 10 minutes and thirty-thousand words from the smartest guy in the room, I was high-fiving and doing my best Bruce Springsteen impression.

During the 2012 election campaign, it would seem that the Democrats delivered a masterclass in social media engagement. Strong, emotive images, engaging videos, humour, infographics – this had it all. I’m not afraid to admit that there were times, listening to Marty Teddy share his stories and content that not only did I get the emotional cripple’s worst enemy, the “goosebump”, but I also had a visit from his twisted brother, the “misty eye”.

Not only was the campaign’s content superb, it was also shareable across all social media platforms. Following (Republican) Clint Eastwood’s bizarre interrogation of an empty chair in the lead-up to the election, the Democrat’s response created one of the most iconic images of the campaign. Times they are a-changin’ though. The riposte didn’t come from a press release. It was a tweet….followed by over 60,000 retweets.

Although we were talking social media for politics, this got me thinking about our industry. So what are we doing in recruitment? We all have at least one job board login. Most of us have access to Facebook. Some of us tweet. Some of the more broadminded or “Scandinavian” amongst us may have even uploaded YouTube videos before. And how would you rate the quality of our content versus the above?

As Recruiters we have an incredible opportunity to publish media across multiple platforms on a daily basis. We’re even paid to do it. New Zealanders also spend more time on social media than any other nation (as highlighted by the retro-Futurologist). Do we maximise this opportunity by making our content nearly as engaging as it could be? Do people share our ads for no other reason apart from, well…they’re just cool? Have we become (or always have been?) so risk-averse that our content has become more like my long weekend eating broken biscuits in Blandford Cottages, Blandington, in Blandfordshire?

The Democrats response to “Chairgate” was, according to Teddy, decided after a few beers with the President in the Whitehouse and tweeted that very night. Teddy Goff, a guy who appears not long out of College, had final approval for all digital communication. The approval process for our “edgier” content, especially amongst the big corporates, takes months at best, or more usually, never sees the light of day. What Teddy made clear, was that the most powerful man in the world’s re-election campaign was more spontaneous, more engaging, and more human, than a job ad for an Auckland-based marketing assistant in an SME.

I was reassured this week however to see two job ads much more akin to what Teddy was sharing (with respect going to both ASB and Warehouse Stationery for taking the plunge). As a takeaway from the session, I feel inspired to do so much more around creating interesting and engaging content which conveys the culture, personality, and quirks of our brand and those which we represent.

And as for Teddy Goff and his clever social media tricks…. I don’t care what that guy is sellin’, I’m buyin’.

Jonathan Rice

Director of New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice & Co, co-founder of freelance recruiter platform JOYN, and people-centric technology firm superHUMAN Software. Recruitment innovator, agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.