Recruiting Purple Squirrels

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Information about Recruiting Purple Squirrels
Recruiting & HR

Published on October 24, 2014

Author: drjohnsullivan





2. 3 My goals for today 1. To convince you of the value of recruiting top performers 2. To expose you to some leading edge hiring practices 3. To provide you with a handful of takeaways and action items 4. To answer your questions 5. To have some fun I’ll move fast today…but please interrupt at any time

3. 4 Part I Introduction

4. Our approach to management is a little different 5 In case you haven’t been to the Silicon Valley…

5. 6 Can you match this? The Sweet Shop

6. 7 Can you match a BBQ smokehouse story?

7. What do you have compared to this employee bar? 8

8. Google wants going to a meeting to be fun Slides in Google offices (they see no compliance issues) Regular slide Quick slide to the food Fireman’s pole 9

9. Google sends a message that they want you to think 10 Massage chairs

10. 11 You are competing against Google “It's like… going to Disneyland everyday” Source: A Google employee on

11. 12 What exactly is a purple squirrel?

12. 13 Why the name purple squirrels? In the Silicon Valley… we call these innovators “purple squirrels”… because they are so rare and difficult to catch These innovators go by a variety of names including: Purple Squirrels (Google) Pioneers or Ninjas (Facebook) Game changers (GE) Disruptors (Intel) Wild Ducks (IBM)

13. 14 A quick definition of a purple squirrel A rare individual (< 1% of all of those in a field) Who can bring a major breakthrough to a firm They have a successful track record of producing innovations They create a measurable ROI of at least 10X more than the average employee They are highly sought after because of the value they bring

14. 15 A famous purple squirrel Tony Fadell (Fa dell) conceived of the concept of the iPod MP3 player… and he was recruited away from Philips to Apple, where he made them billions

15. 16 Part II Don’t do anything … Until you understand the higher business impact that comes from recruiting top performers and purple squirrels “Recruiting a handful of purple squirrels may have the highest impact of anything you do in your business this year”

16. If your firm needs to shift from an “also-ran”… into an industry leader because of its innovation You should realize that the jolt provided by hiring a single purple squirrel may be enough to begin 17 that transition! (LeBron)

17. 18 13 reasons… why you must hire purple squirrels

18. You hire Purple Squirrels… because of their ROI 19

19. 20 1) Realize the value added by top performers They’re a bargain… you pay them only what % more? 25% but they produce what % more? The top 1% of your workforce produces what % of your total output ? 5% The top 5% produce 26% (5X) - U of Indiana study A top performer produces how much more than the average employee in the same job? - 10 times more than the average ee GE & Yahoo - 25 times more than average employee - 300 times more than the average - 1000 times more than the average Apple Google Microsoft

20. 21 Successful businesses must have innovation 2. You hire them because they increase innovation “Creativity” is the most important factor for the successful company of the future CEO survey conclusion from IBM’s Capitalizing on Complexity  Innovation is replacing productivity as the #1 business goal (as a result of the success of the Apple approach)  The impact of innovators in mid-level jobs is becoming… greater than the impact of many executives

21. Why it’s worth the effort to recruit Purple Squirrels 22 Hire them because… 3. Purple squirrels make everyone around them better… because they are team players and they help and inspire others (i.e. Magic Johnson) 4. Your customers will notice the change at your firm when you hire purple squirrels 5. Adding them will act as a magnet to attract others to your workforce and that will instantly improve your employer brand image (LeBron) 6. Hiring them will help to convince current employees to stay because they can learn from them

22. Why it’s worth the effort to recruit Purple Squirrels 23 Hire them because… 7. They are self-motivated – you won’t need to spend any time motivating them… because they are driven to be the best 8. Their economic impact is immediate… so they will measurably impact a firm’s products/services and revenue within 18 months 9. The expertise areas of purple squirrels are critical to dominance in the marketplace (i.e. technology, product development, mathematics, the monetization of products/services, marketing and Social Media)

23. 24 Hiring weak performers costs the firm money 10. Weak performing employees are costly A weak employee may cause errors and disruption each year up to 2 ¼ times their annual salary (O’Boyle and Aguinis) They take up a manager’s time because their managers must spend nearly one day a week (17%) dealing with them (Source: Robert Half) Bad ones stay forever… weak hires may stay 20 years, multiplying their negative impact

24. 25 11) Hire only “A” players Always hire the best managers – "A" people As soon as you hire a B, they start bringing in B’s and C’s" Source: Jay Elliot in “The Steve Jobs Way” “Never ever, ever compromise on quality,”… “It’s toxic. If people see poor performers all around them, they decide they don’t need to work that hard. Your very best people will leave” Source: Laszlo Bock Google “The problem is that A players are only attracted to work at places where they see other A players, they smell B from a mile away” Inventor James Dyson

25. Why it’s worth the effort to recruit Purple Squirrels 12.Firms now operate in a VUCA world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) and Purple Squirrels are adaptive… so they thrive in a chaotic world 26 Perpetual crisis

26. 13) Hiring has the highest business impact of any people management function (BCG) How much business impact does great hiring have? Source: BCG/WFPMA - From Capability to Profitability: Realizing the Value of People Management, 2012 27

27. Mid and lower impact HR functions 28

28. How much do Purple Squirrels impact the bottom line? Which of these firms hire the most / fewest Purple Squirrels? IBM HP Amazon Microsoft Google Facebook Apple 29

29. What is the % difference in “rev per employee” between firms with good vs. great recruiting? A comparison of employee output (rev per employee) Average $208,000 IBM $229,700 (11% above the average) HP $352,400 (Nearly 1¾ times the average) Amazon $697,016 (Nearly 3¼ times the average) Microsoft $877,000 (Nearly 4 times the average) Google $1,320,000 (Nearly 6.5 times the average) Facebook $1,580,000 (7Apple.5 times the average) Apple $2,218,000 (Nearly 11 times the average) Key learning - it takes nearly 10X more employees at IBM… to produce the same revenue as Apple 30 (From 7/2014 data from )

30. Does bold recruiting impact stock value? 31 Market cap rank/ value 1. Apple $412 billion 2. Exxon $401 billion 3. Microsoft $298 billion 4. Google $292 billion

31. 32 Part III Realize that smaller and less glamorous firms can still attract purple squirrels

32. 33 Prospect research reveals that smaller firms actually have recruiting advantages The top 7 smaller firm attraction factors 1. Build not fix – you can "create something brand new ", rather than "fix" already existing features 2. Continuous excitement because you are involved in everything – a constant adrenaline rush because you will play a major role in every problem, decision and opportunity Your entire team will literally depend on you 3. Broad responsibilities – with lean staffing, you will have broad job responsibilities, cross functional opportunities and there will be no restrictive job descriptions

33. 34 Market research reveals the factors that attract purple squirrels to a firm Startup attraction factors 4. Access and knowing why – you will have continuous access to decision makers and if they reject your ideas, you will know “why” 5. Rapid approvals - unlike at large firms where new ideas take forever to get implemented, you will have rapid approval or rejection of your ideas and in many cases, you will be able to make your own decisions 6. Collaborative work environment – you will be in a highly collaborative work environment where everyone helps out regardless of their rank

34. 35 Market research reveals the factors that attract purple squirrels to a firm Startup attraction factors 7. Location – your firm may be located in a place where your pay goes further and it’s a great place to raise a family

35. 36 Part IV You won’t be able to successfully recruit purple squirrels unless… you know “their job acceptance criteria”

36. Know that job attraction factors vary between top performers and average candidates An average candidate at firm xyz wanted these things… But top performers at the same firm wanted these factors… 1. Doing the best work of your life 2. Proud of their impact 3. Great managers 4. Opp. to innovate/ take risks 5. Learn rapidly / being challenged 6. Work with top co-workers 7. A choice of projects 8. Opp. to implement ideas 9. Opp. to make decisions 10.Input into schedule/ location 37 1. Guaranteed pay 2. Exceptional benefits 3. Security 4. Time off with pay 5. No surprises/ predictable 6. Seniority matters 7. Equal treatment 8. Minimize risk and stress 9. Work/ Life balance

37. 38 Part V In case you haven’t noticed… recruiting has become much more aggressive Here are some examples >

38. 39 Free tacos attract resumes and the media Tokbox parked a taco truck across from Yahoo's 12/10/08

39. 40 POP “mobile” recruiting Yahoo coffee cart recruiting at the Google bus stop

40. 41 POP “proximity” recruiting Bigcommerce recruiting at hi-tech bus stops with “poached” egg sandwiches and coffee

41. 42 Most hiring is inaccurate Gate Gourmet at O’Hare used big data to improve new hire performance  It analyzed new hire turnover rates  It learned they were closely connected to… commute distance and access to public transportation  After changing its hiring criteria, the firm achieved “fully staffed status” for the first time  And cut unwanted turnover to 27% Source: Talent Management 11/22/13

42. 43 Video job descriptions provide a competitive advantage A video job description can reveal the excitement behind a job (Quickstop, Accenture and Deloitte)

43. 44 Would this be an aggressive poaching? EA vs. Radical entertainment (ASK-EE)

44. Mobile recruiting… during layoffs This firm drove a van around the neighborhood of their “target” competitor (Blue Coat) when they were in trouble… with this sign in order to enticed their employees 45

45. Inspired by Dos Equis’s “Most Interesting man in the World” Scopely’s Dos Equis approach - Engineers received a year's supply of Dos Equis, a custom-made tuxedo, Cigars, sex panther cologne, a spear gun, beard-grooming oil and an oil painting of themselves And a sign-on bonus which included a briefcase with $11,000 in bacon-wrapped cash 46

46. Uber Smart Recruiting “Lock up the good drivers & you lock up the market”  “We can’t successfully recruit drivers without talking to them” and better yet, recruiting drivers in their very own car”  So Uber Ambassadors (recruiters) book short rides on Lyft (their competitor) to make their recruiting pitch  The referral fee is $250, which doubles to $500 for a Lyft driver and $1000 for a Lyft mentor

47. 48 Boldness is the “new normal” Is this a subtle recruiting approach? 150 baskets

48. 49 Crowdsourcing for a CEO to get $100,000

49. 50 Startup recruiting future – Offensive recruiting Boldly making fun of competitors at EA

50. 51 Part VII Recruiting purple squirrels requires a special approach

51. 52 10 tips on recruiting purple squirrels 1. Even though they are rare individuals (less than 1% of the workforce), they can easily be identified because of their past high impact work 2. They must be fought for… because they already have a good job, their boss will fight to keep them and they constantly receive “anytime you’re ready” job opportunities 3. Rather than perks and even money… you must realize that their primary motivator is “the work” and the opportunity to do the best and most challenging and impactful work of their life (Apple)

52. 53 10 tips on recruiting purple squirrels 4. They are “super passive” prospects... that cannot be successfully recruited or even contacted using traditional methods 5.They realize their value and power, so they will expect special treatment and a great candidate experience during recruiting and after being hired 6.Offering remote work may be necessary because Purple Squirrels expect “the work” to shift to… where they want to work 7. If they don’t experience innovation and tech during the recruiting process, they will assume it doesn’t exist at the firm… and they will drop out

53. 54 10 tips on recruiting purple squirrels 8. Skill assessment becomes secondary to selling because they have a successful and visible track record of implementing innovation 9. A longer-term relationship and understanding their “job acceptance criteria” are both required before you can even discuss a career opportunity 10.Because they probably already have a personalized job and work environment, you must be willing to offer at least the same level of personalization (their “dream job”)

54. 55 Part VIII Be aware that… Much of what you think you know about recruiting… may not be true

55. 56 Most hiring is inaccurate “46% of new hires fail within 18 months” Does that reach 6 Sigma quality level? Source: Forbes 1/23/12 Based on study tracking 20,000 new hires

56. Here are a few Google data points that might change your thinking about hiring “GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring” “Test scores are worthless” “Brainteasers are a complete waste of time” Interviews – We looked at tens of thousands of interviews… “we found a zero relationship (between interview scores and on-the-job performance) it’s a complete random mess” “The proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time” The key determiner in deciding among candidates is “capability and learning ability” Laszlo Bock, Senior VP of people operations at Google The New York Times 57

57. 58 The power has shifted to the candidates 81% of recruiters say it is a candidate driven market Source MRINetwork Recruiter sentiment study 2014

58. 59 Benchmark firms to learn from Google Facebook Apple Zynga Microsoft Zappos Amazon Marriott Uber Sports teams

59. 60 Part IX And finally… The most effective recruiting approaches

60. 61 Why are you finding that you can’t land top talent? It may seem like Purple Squirrels aren’t interested But the real problem is that your firm has no compelling attraction tools or bait (beyond a paycheck job)

61. 62 Referrals are #1 for quality hires Use the “give me 5” referral approach (Google) Proactively approach top performers and ask them  To identify the top five people that they know in their field… in these categories The best performer you ever worked with The most innovative The best team player The best manager The best working under pressure  Then ask your employee to contact these 5 individuals and try to convince them to apply

62. 63 Boomerangs are #2 for quality hires Use a Boomerang re-hire program  Determine when they are leaving who you would want to re-hire based on their performance and skills  Use offboarding to explain your desire to keep in touch  Build a corporate alumni group on LinkedIn or Facebook  Periodically push information, discounts and relevant jobs… ask for business referrals  Use reference checking calls to your firm as an indication that they are looking

63. Reconsider semifinalists Implement a "silver medalist” approach Maintain ties with candidates who have been runners-up for past jobs… and • Those that rejected our offers • Soon to be qualified • Bad fit for this manager • Top recruiting process dropouts "we hire a ton of people from that group" Silver medalists get emails and text updates as more job opportunities become available Also used by GE and Intuit 64

64. 65 “Proactive” tools Reach out to job references for referrals  Identify top performing hires from last year  Call their references that said accurate things  Thank them  Ask them “Do you know anyone else as good?”  Ask them to be a future reference source

65. 66 Recruiting on the “right day” On most days, you will get a hard “no” from purple squirrels… except on these “right days”  Christmas and New Year are reflection days  A boss/ mentor/ best friend / CEO left  Day of a merger or layoff  Lost a promotion or a key project  After their yearly bonus  After their performance appraisal  When their project is ending  Their annual work anniversary

66. 67 Employee Videos are powerful messaging tools Employee videos make “finding and feeling the excitement” easier for outsiders (Film Festival)

67. 68 Referral cards can be powerful Your customer service just now was exceptional. I work for the Apple store and you’re exactly the kind of person we’d like to talk to. If you’re happy where you are, I’d never ask you to leave. But if you’re thinking about a change, give me a call. This could be the start of something great.

68. 69 Simple but effective recruiting tools Ask for names during the hiring and the on boarding processes During interviews, challenge the industry knowledge of your best candidates by asking them to list the names of the outstanding individuals that they know Also ask all top new hires during onboarding “who else is good at their former firm and in the industry?" Next ask the new hire to help you recruit any desirable individuals that they know.

69. 70 Simple but effective recruiting tools Make your job postings exciting Most job descriptions are painfully dull So hiring managers and recruiters should work together to rewrite them so that they “sell” the exciting aspects of the job At the very least, job descriptions should be tested side-by-side against your competitors’ descriptions to ensure they are more compelling

70. 71 Simple but effective recruiting tools Utilize the mobile platform because people carry them 24/7 Smart recruiters take advantage of them because of their high response rate Make sure that your corporate website and application process is compatible with smart phones And then use it’s text, picture, voice and video capability to communicate your recruiting messages

71. 72 Simple but effective recruiting tools Develop a “company sell sheet”… because managers do a poor job selling the company to potential recruits Survey your key employees to identify the specific factors that make your firm superior to your competitors Provide them with a “side-by-side” opportunity comparison sheet showing where your firm’s opportunities are superior to each of your competitors You can also attach a version of this sell sheet to your application form

72. 73 Simple but effective recruiting tools Select a hiring team Some managers aren't good salespeople or recruiters So identify a group of your employees that excel at selling candidates and let them do most of the hiring Because they will do a lot of hiring, they will naturally understand the recruiting market and be better at it… than a single manager that only does hiring once or twice a year

73. 74 Simple but effective recruiting tools Show them where they will be in 2 years Provide top candidates with a profile of what “others like them” have accomplished and learned while at your firm Excite them by showing them where they could be in a year or two… if they were to join your firm

74. 75 Simple but effective recruiting tools “Hire them both” buddy program This is a variation of the successful U.S. Army program When you encounter an exceptional candidate, offer to hire them and their best friend at the same time (i.e. colleague, college friend or spouse/ partner) This may provide a desirable candidate with an opportunity to commute together or to work together with a best friend

75. 76 Simple but effective recruiting tools Utilize "exploding offers” Candidates that are likely to get multiple offers need to be closed very quickly So try offering a significant sign-on bonus that is contingent upon accepting an offer immediately (either before they leave your facility or the same day) If the offer is not accepted right away, the bonus continually decreases over the next few days This bold approach can provide a powerful incentive to accept or make a quick decision

76. 77 Improving candidate assessment 1. Live video interviews will make more candidates available (iPhone app) 2. Give them real problems during the interview (like you would hire a chef) 3. Ask them to project the future of their jobs/the industry 4. Give them a flawed process and ask them to find the weaknesses 5. Review samples of their work 6. Hire them for one time weekend or remote work

77. Did I make you think? Give you a few takeaways? 78

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