William Uranga is the Staffing Director for TiVo. Yes that TiVo, the DVR that is changing the way we watch television. Franki and I bought ours several years ago, and to be honest, I don't know how we ever lived without it.
So when we found out William and his team were going to be at the Spring ERExpo, we trotted over and introduced ourselves, and suggested an interview. The following are the notes from that interview.
TiVo has recently completed a experimental hiring project, using the TiVo box, new recruiting processes, and the Jobster system to find new and exciting ways to hire employees. TiVo wanted to try something new, as they were suffering the typical heartburn in recruiting one gets from working in Silicon Valley. to add to their difficulties, TiVo is a boutique shop. They never hire 15 c++ engineers at a shot, each of their needs is individual and unique.
So at first, they made the basic changes. They went fom 4 major job boards to 2, switched to niche boards, pumped up the referral program and added contractors to the pool of eligible referrers. That yielded results, but they wanted something new. So they decided to use their brand to do the hiring.
The first problem William faced was the TiVo experience. It's so much fun, and they put so much stock in the use of the TiVo, that using the brought to hire brought up concerns about diluting the experience.
This was the first time using Brand Recruiting, and there's always the fear that users would not like having TiVo pitch them on working at the company. The big question was how to tap into the excitement that TiVo generates to get a good response.
Initially, they decided to go to conferences and use the TiVo brand as a draw for other people. They went to CES, Digital Life, and tried recruiting at seminars, using meeting rooms. Then they struck on the idea of using the DVR itself. They performed a central messaging test, where a white envelope message in the TiVo user screen sent a short text message when selected, which boosted traffic to the TiVo careers site over 2-3 weeks.
But it was while experimenting with ways to sell TiVo advertising that the idea of pitching the TiVo work experience came to light. Using the options that are normally reserved for Now Playing Lists and advertisement, TiVo decided to try a direct recruiting pitch integrating video, the website, and their new ATS system to reach out to the community.
The original careers site was not so great, and William admits it. Feedback told them the website ranked poorly, and their recruiting process needed some tweaks. So they purchased an Applicant Tracking System, tweaked the site to better reflect the excitement of working at TiVo, and signed a contract with Jobster to set up a referral community and communicate directly with online social networks.
They created two videos" A 30 second call to action, and a 3 minute plus, MTV Cribs Style video, treating recruiting as advertising and branding, and recognizing that commercial watchers are tired of getting brand crammed down their throat. So they went for pull marketing, allowing people to choose whether to watch the video, sign up, and join their Jobster community.
The video was the first sign of success. Users on average completed 95% of the videos, the net result meaning people actually watched the 3 minute spot, and then clicked through for more information.
The information they provided later went to phone and e-mail contacts, which came out in a CSV format and went to the sourcer. The sourcer then plugged into the jobster software, providing them a place to watch and manage the jobs and brands. This allowed them to watch people, and manually load the right fits into the ATS (though a link that did it automatically would be nice (take note, Jason)).
At the same time, every person who showed notice was responded to in some way (that’s the big deal).
The TiVo message was originally sent to 1.5 million users. They had a response rate of 2-2.5% (he had the exact figure, but my CD was scratched with the data)., and of those who applied and indicated interest, they ended up with 12-13,000 people in their target locales. Not bad for a 500 person company that only advertises for job in the Bay Area and in New York.
The direct results was the hiring of a Senior Director Level Adsales person for about the same amount it would have cost to use a third party firm, and in addition, they have a huge social community of potential hires and referrers through the Jobster network, which will continue to pay dividends for years to come.
William sees his project as a success, and TiVo is now looking at the possibilities for other companies with a broader range of hiring needs. Imagine if they can work with national companies with diverse geographical hiring requirements. Using job advertising and their own experience, they can use the TiVo platform in a non-intrusive, but wildly effective manner. As teh TiVo user base grows, their ability to target ads through segmentation (geography, user self-labeling). Imagine Citibank hiring in eight different cities, segmented to specific zip codes. Or imagine the value of hiring a tech-savvy audience (as most TiVo users are, in aggregate).
It's a simple matter of going where people are, and letting them self-select their responses.
It's as Easy As TiVo...
This interview is a unpaid and unedited description of a phone interview between Durbin Media Group and William Uranga, Staffing Director for TiVo.