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RHUB: Highlights from the Recruiters Hub Conference (Day 1)

RHUB Australia - Day 1 - March 21 2012

The Recruiters Hub Conference (RHUB) kicked off today in Sydney. It’s a 1.5 day conference, with a smashing lineup of speakers. Day one featured just over 100 attendees – mostly agency recruiters – and was very ably moderated by Ross Clennett.

Here is a quick summary of speaker highlights, for those who couldn’t make it.

Kevin Grossman – Head of Strategy, HRMarketer

Kevin Grossman - RHUB AustraliaKevin has been a prolific industry blogger and speaker for many years. He focused on the changing nature of marketing, particularly how it relates to the HR and recruitment industries.

His key message: the world of marketing has changed. It’s a noisy and crowded space, with convergences of 3 traditionally separate roles: social voices, analysts and media/journalists.

A few interesting stats on the global recruitment industry: in the US, recruitment services and technologies are worth $480B each year. Huge. In Australia, the contingent recruitment market is estimated between $10-20B (a pretty big range!).

In this crowded space, one of the key marketing skills is now influencer relations. He offered 9 tips for HR vendors to maximize the reach of their message:

  • Distribute your news/content in a news wire
  • Write a blog post about your news / content
  • Tweet about it
  • Share it in other social networks
  • Identify appropriate influencers
  • Share it with them
  • Comments on blogs and articles that relate to it
  • Send it to the media
  • Pitch it for placement (traditional PR)


Greg Savage – CEO Firebrand Talent

Greg Savage - RHUB AustraliaGreg Savage needs little introduction in the recruitment industry. His session was titled ‘Social Fire’. It was a revealing look under the covers of Firebrand’s social media strategy. He calls Firebrand a true ‘social recruitment company’, rather than a recruitment ‘company dabbling in recruitment’.

A few of the stats from their network below prove this point.

It was an awesome, inspired session. The biggest surprise to me was Greg’s transparency in sharing the digital medial strategy that has rapidly boosted the Firebrand ‘brand’ globally, over its short lifespan.

His key message: social is here to stay. He has bet the company on it, and it’s the primary way they source passive talent.

Firebrand has an ’11 point digital strategy’. It’s the first time he shared it publicly, and it’s a genuinely rare insight into the inner workings of a true social company. Here it is…

1. Drive social media strategy via the CEO – leadership from the top was an immediate differentiator.

2. Promote social media use amongst our company. Team members are encouraged and trained, and the tools are Implemented everywhere. As an example, all staff have branded twitter profiles and consistent email signatures, including links to ‘connect with me online’ and ‘connect with firebrand online’.

3. Greg Savage Blog (The Savage Truth). Greg’s ‘personal’ blog attracts a huge number of visitors.

4. Firebrand Blog – this is updated 3 times a week. Awesome stats show the level of engagement: 6mins avg visit; thousands of visits each week. 20% of visitors click the link for ‘I’m looking for a job’ (the primary purpose of the blog is to attract passive candidates).

5. Twitter: Greg and his staff are active and targeted. Greg alone has +11,000 followers.

6. Facebook Pages – Both for the Savage Truth and Firebrand. Interestingly, they have far fewer followers on Facebook, but they are more engaged than anywhere else.

7. YouTube channels. ‘They don’t do enough video’, but do see a strong level of engagement.

8. Esalary survey. This is a free, transparent tool that allows anyone in marketing and digital media to compare their salary to industry bencharks. It’s a ‘value added service’ to clients. But again, the primary purpose is to grow their database of passive candidates. Very clever.

9. Socially enabled website. All recruiters have individual profiles (similar to ours!). But with an added benefit of being completely socially enabled. This is something we’ll be looking at for our recruiters shortly!

10. Support of automated marketing. Firebrand uses Marketo to automate their email and online marketing. Crazy statistics: they sent 800k emails in 2011. Tools like marketo allow these emails to be targeted based on detailed segmentation and online behavior.

11. Social database. All other parts of the social media strategy drive towards the candidate database. They idea is that by building a large community of talent, they will have an advantage over other agencies they compete against.

Overall, this was a hugely insightful session, and showed just how far most recruiters have to go until they are truly ‘socially enabled’.


Jo Knox – founder and editor of HR Daily

Jo Knox - RHUB AustraliaJo is a journalist. She’s constantly annoyed by poor media pitches from shameless self promoters, and had a few tips for recruiters when dealing with the media.

A few tips that really apply to anyone seeking media coverage:

1. Find out what your audience (eg clients and candidates) are reading. And read that religiously.

2. Focus on topics that add value to that audience. For HR managers, those topics include:
– Salaries and demand for skills – eg demand for hr staff increasing, 83% expect a pay rise
– Current affairs – eg, what the budget means for employers

3. When seeking media coverage:


  • provide context for the pitch. Tell them why it’s important
  • be available to talk about the pitch
  • understand when you’re on the record. Don’t mix on and off the record in a single conversation
  • time your pitch. Jo will only publish someone once every 3 week period
  • keep trying. Don’t be upset when your pitch gets knocked back.


  • waste your time writing an article unless it’s going on your site. HRDaily won’t publish external articles
  • waste their time with request for a coffee
  • be vague (eg – “I can talk about recruitment”)
  • ask about follow up stories (unless it’s controversial)
  • request approval rights (this will get you blacklisted!)
  • use corporate speak.

Bill Bartee – Managing Partner, Southern Cross Venture Partners

Bill Bartee - RHUB AustraliaBill is a venture capitalist, and one of the early investors in Seek. A bit of a change of pace!

He talked about the patterns he’d seen in successful business he had invested in, which applied across industries. In short, startup companies should follow these rules:

1. Solve big problems.

2. Only hire a+ people. They should be self starters (smarter than founders), who get shit done. Then manage them well.

3. Understand the customer in detail. You need to know about the life of that person from 8am. It’s not ‘everyone’ or ‘all CEOs’. Eg- “it’s Trevor. He’s 35. He manages SEO function at a bank. Loves detail. Reads these blogs.” For this customer, be a painkiller not a vitamin. Know why they will buy from you and how your product will change their life.

4. Be different. A specialist. Be remarkable. Don’t be very good. Very good is average. Average is bad.

5. Legendary service works.
People are used to crappy service. Figure out how you can do it better.
Adopt the Blue Angels review process: always be improving.

6. Have plan A, B and C.

7. Fail fast but learn faster. Release an embarrassing product… Perfection never wins.

8. Embrace sales. Sales is greater than or equal to product. Founders of your business need to be the best salespeople.

9. Ltvc > cca. This one confused a few people in the room. What it means: You need to make more money from your customers, than you pay to acquire them. If not, you’re dead.

10. Manage meaningful metrics. Actionable. Auditable.

11. Have right team and chemical fit. This was one of the main reasons he invested in seek. In his words, ‘a kick arse team’. They had a ‘no excuses mantra’. They were each responsible for separate parts of the business, and had no excuse for not hitting their metrics each month.

He claims seek were one of the only companies he’s ever seen hit their revenue targets. Constantly.


Closing out the day, we also heard some of the huge problems caused in Australia by different state-based legislation across the full spectrum of employment relations. I won’t cover the topics here, but fair to say there was a real level of angst about the complexity of managing workers in Australia. Particularly when it comes to contract staff.

All up – a great first day to RHUB 2012. We’re looking forward to another big one tomorrow, including photos and videos.


Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. Previously with McKinsey. Passionate about startups, health and technology. Surf when I can; ride a bike most days. Follow me @mboverell.