Interview With Bob Bishop, The Marketing Recruiter

Bob Bishop is a marketing recruiter from St Louis, Missouri. Many years ago, we sat down and worked on how to use a blog to generate candidates and business - and Bob took to it like a fish to, well - he liked it and has kept it up. It's called the Perfect Fit, and Bob has been running it since August of 2008.  

At the time, local recruiting firm blogs were growing, but most recruiters gave them up or passed them off to someone else to write. There are only a handful left, poeple like Paul in Minneapolis, Will Thomson in Austin, and of course, Harry Joiner in Atlanta

Bob was not a trained recruiter when he started. He was a photographer and a marketer, and one day picked up the phone and started making placements with his deep knowledge of the industry. He does that most feared placement - the agency, and he does it well (for those not in marketing, it's feared because agencies try to hire based on prospective clients, which they aren't sure they need until the client is signed, and then they need a talented person immediately). 
 
Here's Bob, explaining in much better words what he does. 

Bishop Partners is an executive search firm specializing in marketing/advertising and Digital Media.  We consistently succeed in conducting searches from executive leaders to premier performers at virtually any level.  We're proud of 100% success with retained searches over the past 11 years.  75% of candidates are still at our client after three years. 

And now on to the interview:

1) Bob, I guess the first question, is just how hot is the market? Locally for you in St Louis, and then nationally?
 
The hiring market is the strongest it’s been since 2008.  Most in the recruiting business are optimistic that the hiring trend is going to continue and possibly accelerate!  My firm is seeing consistent new business opportunities from both the advertising/marketing agency side as well as the Corporate Brand side.
 

One other good indicator of the employment market (including the marketing community) heating up is that we’re hearing from new client prospects all over the Midwest and the South.  That’s a pleasant trend that I certainly hope continues!

2) Is that translating into higher salary requests? Or is it harder to get people to move? 

It’s safe to say that it’s not the same “employers’ market” that it used to be.  Employers now have to be very realistic about compensation when hiring someone.  For years, employees might be very happy with a lateral move, at the same level compensation.  Employers felt that they could get away with less comp, because there were so few Companies hiring at all.  
 
That’s not the case anymore.  Candidates are in a much stronger position to negotiate the compensation package.  Many are willing to stay where they are, without a bump in comp.  So, in that sense, yes it’s a bit more difficult because the candidates have higher expectations (which seems entirely reasonable to me!).

 

3) Do you see a shift in what candidates are looking for in the last four years? Is that a generational thing, or a normal market correction?

I think it’s all normal, in the sense that different generations have different values and goals.  We’ve all heard plenty about the Millenial ‘differences’.  I think much of what that generation likes, is valued by every other generation as well.  Things like being told they’re doing a good job, providing a clear career path for advancement, more realistic work/life balance all make a lot of sense.
 
 
4) Net migration from California to Missouri from 2001-2010 was something like 10,000 people, almost all families or couples looking to start families in their middle careers. How do you find new talent that moves to a market?
 
I talk with a lot of former Midwesterners who want to move back (from one of the coasts) to take care of aging parents or to raise their young family.  I find that talent to generally be very smart, ambitious and balanced.  They have a fundamental value system that seems to lead to reliability and stability in the longer term

We haven't figured that out in Dallas at all - so many people have moved, are moving, and you don't know it because they were internal transfers or posted their resumes in their old cities.  I do find people from St Louis here, but the KC-Dallas connection is much closer. But on to other questions.

5) You work in an office. Do you find that you can turn it off at the end of the day and go home? 

Generally, yes.  There are times when a candidate is interviewing after hours, or it’s the only time I can really have a longer phone conversation with them.  I try to shut “normal”  business off around 6:00.  I think there’s an advantage to being balanced and actually having a family life that one cares about.  You know what they say about “all work and no play . . . “
 
6) How much phone time do you clock in a regular day? 

Not as much as I used to.  It seems much harder to get a candidate on the phone.  In fact, I’m struck by the fact that so few people answer their phone anymore.  I still have a lot of in person meetings.  I probably send more than 100 emails and texts in a day.  Those same candidates who will not answer their phone (and in fact, have their voicemail boxes full!) will respond instantly to a text.  


7) How successful has blogging been for you. Is it useful to the business (do you know how much money you make from it yearly on average), or is it useful to you? 

Blogging has been very good for my business.  I know that candidates find it a valuable tool.  I’ve heard the same thing from clients.  I think it helps my credibility with both candidates and clients.  I like the feeling of trying to give back, with what I hope are valuable tips and advice about navigating around new career opportunities.  I’m glad I’m doing it.  Sometimes it’s hard to post as regularly as I’d like, but I believe it’s worth the effort.


8) What two positions are you masterful at placing? 

Roles of Leadership, whether agency or client, those senior executives who effectively lead teams.  
 
Bob - thank you - for being a friend, for carrying the banner of recruiter blogging, and for your time today.

Should Recruiters Blog?

There's a common question in social training for recruiters. How much time should you spend on the computer instead of on the phone?  The answer is that if you have phone calls to make, you make them first, and then you use the internet to find more people to call, but the bigger question is why do you need social media at all?

It's not just that social media helps you find candidates. It's that it helps you find yourself 

 

YourHRGuys tells you why he does it.  Reasons #1 and #2:


1. It has made me more thoughtful - Many people think blogging means you have to go out on a limb and say something sexy every post. My experience has been the complete opposite. People appreciate advice that is interesting, unique and thoughtful. Some people who give career advice seem almost glib at times and others give perpetually boring advice. If someone says you should wear a top hat to your next interview to stand out, that’s just entertaining but not useful. If someone says you should work on your handshake, that’s not entertaining but it is useful. I’ve tried to say things that are both entertaining and useful. So when you wear that top hat, make sure you give a really great handshake.

2. It allows me to learn - There are some really smart people in the blogosphere that I have been fortunate enough to interact with in-person or through telephone, e-mails and comments. This is why I couldn’t possibly do all of my 2009 predictions without including feedback from the great people online as well. Since I started getting involved with blogs (a lurker for four years and contributor for more than two and a half), I’ve learned about subjects I never would have even known about. It is truly amazing.


The key reason to blog is knowledge - both about your industry and about your business.  You'd be surprised how many people never take the time to look critically at the way they do business. In today's business climate, that's going to be a problem.

How can you improve, if you don't know what you do right and wrong?  Blogging demands content, and the best content is looking at your situation and discussing what you do wrong, and how you plan to fix it.

Forget the rest.  Blog for yourself. It makes you a better employee, more aware of what's going around, and there's that personal branding boost you need for the future.  Most recruiting is about closing candidates and closing deals.  You have to have that down.  But what comes next?  How do you reach another level?  Some people pay for training, others take long vacations, and some do what comes naturally - they network with friends and colleagues online to get better at what they do.

That's the reason to blog. It makes you a better person.  It forces you to think through what you do and why, and if you find yourself unable to write, you might find it's not because you ran out of time. It's because you've stopped learning.  Writing for me came naturally after five years of recruiting, but I was also at a crisis point.  I wasn't burnt out, but I was close.  Writing blogs about the industry ultimately taught me that recruiting is in my blood, which is why nine years later, I'm still excited to get new requirements, and still identify myself first and foremost as a recruiter.


Advanced LinkedIn Training: August 25th Webinar For Executive Search

New changes to LinkedIn rules and expectations have altered the way we need to talk to candidates on the business social business platform out there.

What you need is a full strategy for using LinkedIn as a hub, not just as a database.  We're providing that August 25th with the Advanced LinkedIn Recruiting Webinar for Executive Search.  Yes, it's a long title, but we want to be specific. 

 

Here's the link to the advanced webinar.  The registration fee is $100, and you will receive a video download link after the presentation.  

Why is it Advanced? 

This time, we're not talking about how to understand LinkedIn or how to improve a profile. We're talking about the changes, and then walking through a series of my personal recruiting experiences, learning how to integrate not only LinkedIn, but your entire social network to source and recruit candidates. 

How can unmarked Twitter accounts improve your LinkedIn Sourcing? 

How can Slideshare be used to get candidates to respond faster? 

What secrets in profiles of your current employees can be used to identify new employees?

The secrets behind LinkedIn Groups, from a community manager expert

How mobile and location based services can alter your recruiting strategy. 

Why LinkedIn should be the second site that you go to, not the first. 

What I'm talking about can't be taught by social media experts, and it is not known by recruiting experts.  Come learn from the Social Media Headhunter how Social CRM will change the way you look at recruiting. 

Let me reiterate.  This is not a basic program, and it is not just a webinar on how to use LinkedIn.  Half of the material talks about how to use other sites in combination with LinkedIn to be effective.  This is about finding and closing candidates in the post-IPO market.   

 


JavaStl Has New Blog On Chicago Recruiting

How's that for a title that ought to twist you up.

Brad Hogenmiller, affectionately known around the social media world as @JavaStl, has officially started his own social media company and is working on a project for Rehabcare.  Brad's new site is called Spot On Chicago, and it covers recruiting, social media, and occupational therapy in the Chicagoland area

What's cool about this is one - it's another example of a recruiter that is using social media to hire people (and yes, that's his main goal), but it also is a chance for him to dig into a recruiting operation and help transform the way they gather and filter people to hire.

We'll do some interview with him as he goes on - but it's a pretty exciting thing to do, and I wish him all the best.

You can find him at Twitter on http://twitter.com/spotonchicago and Facebook.com (help him get to a hundred fans and he can claim the name.


Rehabcare Column Up At ERE.Net

I have a column up at ERE on the success of the social media recruiting projects at Rehabcare. Rehabcare is a local company that hires occupational, speech, and physical therapists for facilities nationwide.  Recruiting is a very important division in the company, as there is a shortage of therapists, and competition is fierce for new graduates.

The column lays out a good portion of the social media strategies that have been employed, including Facebook, podcasts, maps and pictures, all centered around the Rehabcare college blog.  For most clients, I don't get the chance to talk much about what they are doing.  Social media is a long-term project that has to fit into the DNA of a company, and gathering results takes time.  For Rehabcare, those results are good enough they let me write about them.  Social Media types won't be surprised by the tone of the piece, but credit has to be given to the Campus Relations staff.  For 18 months now they've integrated social media into their hiring in small ways.    

Social media has not been a silver bullet, and it certainly doesn’t replace the work the team already performs. Rather, the social media projects enhance its profile, and are an easy way to communicate with its audience. That communication clearly contributed to its success last year, especially in the eyes of the executives, who have green-lighted even more ambitious recruiting goals and strategies despite a tough economy.

The lesson is an important one. Social media recruiting works, but only when in concert with a strong team, a knowledgeable manager, and buy-in from executives. There are no starry-eyed Facebook surfers or YouTube watchers in this department. Just recruiters using social media to do their jobs — better.

I like this piece.  It's a good summary of where internal departments need to head for Recruiting 2.0. 

 

Another Tired Entry In The Search Firms Suck Field

There's a new blogger on the scene, a rabble rouser from D.C. whose marketing plan seems to be tearing down recruiters as the scum of the earth. How very unique and original!

The Staffing Advisor, who is a search firm owner in D.C. has a new business model - well, he has a business model where he pays a salary instead of commission and charges only 8% a search, including a policy where a company can hire as many people as they want from submittals and still only pay the original fee.His blog would be classified as hate speech in much of Canada and Europe, if recruiters were a protected class, but we have to cut him some slack, as he actually has a background in recruiting, and isn't just someone off the street with a new model.  He also writes well, and covers topics that are fair to address. But, he is an ass, or to be more correct, his writing is asstastic, which makes it more of a pleasure read than a chance to connect with someone and share best practices.

Bob Corlett is his name, and he's a member of Recruiting Blogs. Bob, why do you hate us so?  Let me address Bob directly.

"Bob, setting aside your bombastic rhetoric, which is only fair, because I've been known to engage in hyperbole myself, what exactly would drive you to insult your fellow recruiters? If your firm really is the wave of the future, and not another gimmicky business model that rewards the owner at the price of the employees, then results should speak for themselves. It's a well known maxim that if you have to tear down your competitors, you probably are hiding your own weaknesses. All that is missing in your blog is a video of you pounding your shoe on your desk. Hmmm - I think I'll make such a video.


Find more videos like this on RecruitingBlogs.com


Companies may complain about recruiters, but they continue to use us. Making the claim that we all suck is very broad - so perhaps you'd like to name names? As you won't - the complaints, however close they may be to your real feelings, are indeed a gimmick."


So let's go down the route one more time of why lowering fees isn't a long-term successful business model for the rest of the industry.

Continue reading "Another Tired Entry In The Search Firms Suck Field" »


Blogger Starts Helping Out VoIP Candidates

Sometimes technologists are prone to exaggeration.  What I mean by that is shiny new technologies are impressive, and they put butts in seats for conventions, seminars, and webinars.

I've spent the last four years telling you that social media is coming, and that as recruiters, we need to be involved before candidates and hiring managers cut us out of the loop.  If we do our jobs well, we'll continue to be the go-to source for the employment experience.  This applies to internal recruiters as well as third party firms.

Our job is to know where candidates spend time, and meet them where they live.

So what happens when an increasingly networked public recognizes that the same tools we use to source (linkedin, blogs, facebook) can be used to get them jobs?  Recruiters start looking for a new industry (and mortgage isn't coming back anytime soon).

From an old blogging friend, Dean Esmay, whose son works in VoIP, I found this note about a VoIP blog that is offering to help candidates find positions in the VoIP community.  Note the blog author isn't asking for a fee, or selling job postings.  He's simply an industry expert offering to make the connections for employers directly.  He's offering to do for free what recruiters and job boards pay for.

No big deal, right?  The blog has about the same traffic as this site, which is about 100 readers a day plus subscribers.  It's not bankrupting a 122 billion dollar staffing industry.  Well, Craiglist was just a free classified listing when it started, job boards didn't start out that big either.

What this blog speaks to is a failure on the part of staffing professionals to engage with the public.  Treating a customer base as a fishing pool works great until the fish figure out how to grow legs and walk away, and that's exactly what the public is doing.  SmithonVoIP is just a start.  Social networks around industries JobsinSocialMedia and blogs on specific positions (goodproductmanager.com) are going to start taking the best players in a field out of the hands of recruiters (and they already have left job boards).

Are you going to get in this game?  Start with LinkedIn training for recruiters, and move to using Facebook to Hire.  Time is ticking, and if you're not interfacing with candidates in social media now, they won't need you in the near future.



Interview With Bob Bishop, St Louis Marketing Recruiter

1.  You’re a marketing headhunter. What exactly does that mean?  Narrow it down for us.
It means that I’m an Executive Recruiter specializing in Marketing.  I’m using Marketing as an term encompassing other aspects of marketing like advertising, sales promotion, online marketing and corporate communications.  In my case, I’m a retained marketing recruiter which means that the client actually pays a percentage of our fee “upfront”, to engage our services.  I specialize in the marketing industry that I’ve been a part of for over 35 years.  I’m a marketing headhunter because I have expertise in that field, which is appreciated by both marketing candidates and clients in need of marketing executive search. 

As a headhunter, I identify, recruit and hire candidates in partnership with my clients.  My goal is to find the finest talent available, matching my clients’ needs . . . whether they are actively looking for a job, or very happy in their existing position.

2.  What are the top three positions you recruit for?

The top three positions are: 

VP of Marketing
Senior Interactive Strategist
Creative Director

3.  What is the single biggest mistake that candidates make when they interview with a client?


They don’t ask enough thoughtful questions in their first interview.  It’s imperative that a candidate find out everything they can about a company before they interview.  They should know what that company does and how they do it.  They should know what the corporate culture is and what the company values in employees.  They need to put themselves in the position of actually getting the job and then asking themselves,  “How can I best prove value (and succeed) to my employer?” What is something that’s been missing (from the department of company) in the past that I might provide?  What’s the most important thing for me to do when I start?  Is there an issue that my boss needs addressed as soon as I start?  What’s the one thing that the employer is missing in his department (that I might be able to provide)?  How can I contribute beyond my literal job description?


In my experience, the more thoughtful the questions are, the better.  There are other obvious and more literal questions that I would expect any candidate to ask about things like benefits, start times, direct reports, etc., but not necessarily in the first interview.  The purpose of that first meeting is simply to see if the candidate and employer have a mutual interest in a second meeting.  The idea is to make it obvious to the hiring authority that you’ve given serious thought to how you might best contribute to the Employer.

4. What are some good ways for candidates to get noticed by you?


Send a personalized cover letter.  If it’s apparent to me that someone has taken the time to go through my website (http://www.Bishop-Partners.com) or has followed my blog (“The Perfect Fit” at http://www.TheMarketingRecruiter.com), I’m much more willing to spend some additional time with them.  Conversely, if someone sends me a cover letter that is obviously the same letter of introduction they send to everyone else, it tells me they don’t really care, or worse . . . they’re lazy.  It’s essential to stand out from the crowd at every opportunity.  Then, send a hand written thank you note after every meeting!

6.  What is different about recruiting in St Louis from other areas of the country? 


St. Louis is a “tiny town”.  Being a marketing recruiter in St. Louis, means being known by one’s reputation and successes.  There’s a genuineness about how people interact . . . usually.  I find that using a very open, honest, straightforward approach is appreciated and embraced.  The marketing community is rather small by comparison to some other markets.  Candidates and clients often seem to have the impression that they (already) know each other.  In my experience, more often than not that impression leads to conclusions that aren’t always true.  I frequently spend time dispelling rumors, straightening out misconceptions and talking about “realities”, to both my clients and my candidates.  I can do that because as a retained recruiter I have the ability to spend enough time with both clients and candidates to have sufficient information to know what’s true, and what’s not. 


7. Do you currently read Blogs or use any of the new Web 2.0 tools to recruit?

I’ve been very pleased with LinkedIn.  My LinkedIn profile has been a powerful tool in having premier candidates get in touch with me.  Additionally the LinkedIn database is an outstanding tool for research and identifying passive candidates.  When I contact a “passive candidate” through LinkedIn, my profile helps give me credibility.  I’ve also found my Plaxo profile, has been a useful tool.
Additionally my blog at TheMarketingRecruiter.com, has been a wonderful tool in supporting my approach to retained marketing recruiting and retained advertising recruiting.  It helps establish industry knowledge and enhances the trust that both clients and candidates have in my Company and me.


Reading industry related blogs as background for my blog is an outstanding way of staying current with what’s going on in the world out there.  I’ve found that the whole blogging process is helping me stay more current on latest trends in recruiting, marketing and advertising.


I also have a Facebook page and I’m on Twitter.  I encourage any reader (happily employed or not), to invite me into their LinkedIn network and follow my blog.

8. List two trends affecting the St Louis marketing industry.   


The current economy is obviously having a tremendous impact.  The biggest issue related to the economy is no one knows what’s going to happen next, so it’s difficult to plan, or consider expansion and hiring additional staff.  The second thing most affecting the St. Louis marketing industry is InBev’s buyout of Anheuser-Busch.  Again, nobody really knows what the result of that acquisition will be.  Will they continue their marketing efforts at the same level with the same staff as before, or not?  There’s a pervasive “wait and see’ attitude.  What AB-InBev does has a ripple effect throughout the St. Louis marketing community.

9.   Does networking work for candidates?  Where should they hang out, if it does?


Networking continues to be the number one way for candidates to identify new opportunities.  There are several associations, that support the St. Louis marketing industry.  The Ad Club offers networking opportunities, and for younger professionals I enthusiastically recommend REBUS and their monthly visits to agencies.  Additionally, there’s the American Marketing Association, the Business Marketing Association and for those interested in online marketing, the Gateway Interactive Marketing Association (GIMA), is young and growing fast.  Go to the monthly meetings of those associations and meet colleagues.  Networking is a two way street.  Successful networkers understand that it’s important to contribute to everyone’s networking effort, not just your own.  You must be willing to give, to receive!

10. You’re a retained search recruiter -  explain, and tell clients how to reach you.


As a retained executive recruiter specializing in marketing and advertising, our client pays a fee “up front”, as a commitment to the search.  This advance payment enables the recruiter to spend the time necessary to get to know their clients’ business and needs thoroughly.  The retained recruiting relationship also allows the recruiter to spend the time to get to know the candidate in a more detailed way as well.  The result is a more intensive, far-reaching and detailed effort to identify, recruit and hire absolutely the best possible candidates for our clients.  I invite any interested clients to visit the Bishop Partners’ website and then give me a call directly.  We pride ourselves on being responsive to our client’s marketing and advertising recruiting needs.


Interplay St Louis

The St Louis Blogger's Guild has been hard at work, putting together panels on web technology and social media for their event September 19th and 20th.  Interplay is a mix of music and interactive, and is going to be held in the loop.

Here's a list of some of the panels - which include St Louis Notables like Bill Streeter, Todd Jordan, Matt Homann, and Dana Loesch. 

The conference is here at http://www.playstlfest.com/, but be warned, as every page opens with music.  To cut the music, click on the pause button on the player.

If you are a local blogger, I'd strongly suggest showing up and meeting friends.  One of the best ways to improve your blogging is to take it offline.  And we expect to see a lot of pictures.




Is Social Media Relevant To Recruiting?

I've been writing StlRecruiting.com as a local recruiting blog since 2004, and in that time, the explosion of online recruitment blogs has been a wonder to behold.  It was difficult in the beginning, but as industry conference leaders like ERExpo and Kennedy Expo put us on panels, and with people like John Sumser flogging the ideas, we built a name for blogging in online employment. 

What set that early group of writers apart was our recruiting experience. Jason, Anthony, Animal, Harry, and Dennis were all practicing recruiters who saw a gap in the reporting.  We stepped in, in traditional blogging fashion, and gave our expertise to that niche.

That's the way blogging and social media work.  When an industry fails to accurately provide real-time information to its members, someone steps up and makes a name for themself.  That success led the Recruiting Blogosphere to be an early success story in social media. We were way ahead of corporate America, and ahead of PR, Marketing, Customer Service, while holding our own with IT.

But then something happened.  The community fell apart, as each of us went our separate ways and focused on our own businesses. It was inevitable, but ironically, the success of Recruiting.com led to a devolution in the online recruiting world.  The logical next step was for the national community to splinter off into more local communities, as recruiters focused on hires they could make in their own markets.

That is happening, but it's not getting the attention it deserves.  Rob Neelbauer in D.C., and Paul DeBettignies and gang up in Minneapolis, are doing great things locally.  Jason Davis and his RecruitingBlogs.com lead the way to Recruitfest in Toronto.   The Recruiting Roadshow is a great unconference that takes the message of social networking local.  These are worthy causes, but the majority of the online employment space isn't covering these events.

The purpose of recruiting blogging, which is to hire more people, simply isn't occurring in any meaningful way nationally.  Instead, we have a series of sites competing to be the next Recruiting.com, or ERE.net, or Fordyce Letter.  There's nothing wrong with these sites gaining traction, but they are once again leaving a niche open.  The top blogs and the top websites are now media organs, passing along information about recruiting technology, conferences, and new products. Where are the recruiters?  Where are the people using social media tools to do more HIRING? 

What's the number one complaint of recruiters who aren't in the super secret blogging cabal?

It seems like you guys are just talking to each other. Is anyone doing any real recruiting?

Now I'm not pointing out any motes in your eye.  There's a log in my own the size of, well, it's large, and there's no doubt that I dropped the recruiting mantle for two years to focus on my marketing business.  But since returning, what I see is a lot of people chasing the social media dream, but not a lot of people focused on making social media relevant to the average recruiter.  The ROI of social media should be more hires, better hires, and easier hires.

Nothing else matters to a recruiter.  Friends on Twitter, Facebook profiles, and podcasts should be tools, not destinations.  And so to close the gap, I'm working on a project that will train recruiters on specific social media tools. No fluff. No cool theories.  Just my experience in using social media to recruit.

For all of the us, the task is clear.  If we're going to talk about social media, we need to be involved in helping recruiters hire more people. It's the metric that matters most, more valuable than page views, advertising dollars, and even conference speeches.

What are you doing to help recruiters hire more people?