Twitter’s Hiring Strategies

Last week, SourceCon ran the first part of an article series on Twitter’s Hiring Strategies, outlining some of the significant new hires Twitter has made this year. I also showed you the video that Twitter put out to help its recruiting efforts. I was able to grab about 30 minutes with Twitter’s director of recruiting, Oliver Ryan, and talk to him about some of the recruiting and hiring practices that Twitter has in place for its internal efforts. While Twitter has talked with several tech media publishers about their recruiting video, this is the first time it has talked about their recruiting practices directly with the HR, recruiting, and sourcing community.


Last week, SourceCon ran the first part of an article series on Twitter’s Hiring Strategies, outlining some of the significant new hires Twitter has made this year. I also showed you the video that Twitter put out to help its recruiting efforts. I was able to grab about 30 minutes with Twitter’s director of recruiting, Oliver Ryan, and talk to him about some of the recruiting and hiring practices that Twitter has in place for its internal efforts. While Twitter has talked with several tech media publishers about their recruiting video, this is the first time it has talked about their recruiting practices directly with the HR, recruiting, and sourcing community.

Oliver Ryan, Director of Recruiting (or “People Wrangler” as it states in his LinkedIn profile), joined Twitter about a year ago. When he arrived, there were no full-time recruiting resources at Twitter, and total headcount was only around 40 employees. Since then, Ryan was offered a full-time position and the company has grown to over 250 employees, with the recruiting team now at eleven people. Leer más “Twitter’s Hiring Strategies”

How Should You Be Structured? 10 Questions to Ask

Centralized Structure: The most common is the centralized structure that more than 50% of recruiting functions follow. Central structures are not only common; they are efficient. A single person controls all recruiters, all budgets, and all resources. Decisions get made quickly. It “looks” efficient and streamlined to those who approach organizations like machines and expect people to act like machines.

Its weakness is that most leaders make decisions with imperfect data, distorted views of events, and often play to what pleases their boss more than to what’s right for the organization. The very best recruiters and many who have strong ideas may become disengaged and leave, depriving the organization of their perspective. It also limits creativity and experimentation as central leadership is about expediency and the here-and-now.

However, it can be an effective structure, especially in a small organization. If your company has only a handful of recruiters and little infrastructure, a central organization does make a lot of sense and would be a logical form. It requires a central leader with a sense of vision and with the capability to set direction.

Decentralized Structure: Completely decentralized structures are much less common and only appropriate in the rarest of circumstances. In a large and highly diversified conglomerate, perhaps a form of decentralization would be an acceptable way to organize. This structure allows each part to have total control over itself. In effect, it is many centralized functions working under the same umbrella. Its strength is the freedom it gives to a recruiter to do his or her job in whatever way desired. But the flip side is that the resources to implement ideas and the commitment to follow through are often missing, making the freedom much less valuable.

In decentralized structures many things don’t get done very well or at all: metrics are not rolled up, recruiters do not receive consistent training, EEO standards are hard to enforce, and it is probably hard to even get the right data. There is no overall strategy and little sense of belonging to a larger organization. While freedom is nice in many ways, this is too much of a good thing.

Matrix Structure: This is a complex structure where individual functional areas are divided to support particular products, product lines, business units, etc. For example, the recruiting department might have a sourcing group where individuals are assigned to particular product groups or business units. There might be teams made up of sourcers, recruiters, HR generalists, and so forth to support the business.

The weakness of a matrix organization structure is lack of clarity as to where loyalty really lies. If an individual is responsive to the business and neglects the functional loyalties, or vice-versa, there can be tension, anger, and loss of financial rewards.

Matrix structures rarely work well, but when they do, leadership makes it very clear where rewards come from and where primary loyalty lies.

Hybrid model: This is also called the federal model because it look a great deal like the way the United States has modeled the relationship of its central government with the individual states. The “states” in our model are the various divisions or branches of your organization, and they have the core responsibility for recruiting. The central function still exists and has its own set of responsibilities and duties. It sets an overall strategy for the recruiting function, develops standards and training so that every recruiter does things in a similar way, funds research, and purchases and maintains a central talent acquisition system or other system for building talent pools.

Organizations who adopt this structure need recruiters who are collaborative and yet can focus on filling the needs of their internal clients. They need creative and flexible managers who can adapt quickly and figure out ways to stay within the guidelines and standards and still get the positions filled. It is a structure filled with give and take — with the need to compromise and share for the greater good. It is a powerful model, but harder to sell than the seemingly more efficient centralized model.

This is also a model that adapts well to global units and to virtual workers. Each can operate the way best suited to their circumstances, but they also agree to abide by the commonly agreed-upon rules, use the same technology, and share their skills and learnings. This structure fits the social network model and provides for focus while allowing the maximum amount of flexibility and freedom.

I have compiled a list of questions that may help you think through how you are organized and whether or not to restructure.

1. Does your current structure help you achieve your recruiting goals or does it impede attaining them by fostering inefficient or poor decision making?
2. Does your current structure play to everyone’s strengths? Do those with the right skills work in the right place and feel comfortable making suggestions and offering ideas?
3. Does this structure allow for cross division/business unit collaboration and sharing?
4. Does each business unit feel that it is being well served by this structure?
5. Does everyone have access to and use the same technology for tracking and reporting?
6. Have you removed all extra layers and reporting relationships that do not add direct value? Is it efficient?
7. Do the hiring managers understand where to go and who to go to for services?
8. Are there clear lines of responsibility and accountability for each aspect of the recruiting function?
9. Are decisions made with minimum bureaucracy?
10. Are critical data and facts funneled to a common core for reporting?

There are no absolute right or wrong answers to what structure is best. There are perhaps three criteria that are core to deciding if you have chosen the best one for your organization. These are:

1. The customer (and who that is can depend) becomes the central measure of success. His satisfaction is the core measure.
2. All data, internal and external, is centrally recorded and available for analysis and incorporation into HRIS and other tools.
3. Needs and resources are flexibly and quickly matched. Resources are allocated to ensure customer satisfaction.

Any structure that helps to achieve the organization’s goals in a way that is respectful of others, encourages creativity and honest feedback, and that accommodates virtual and global workers is a good one.


I see many recruiting functions wavering back and forth between centralized, decentralized, and some hybrid forms of organization. Recently this has been made worse by the increased number of virtual, contract, and part-time recruiters and the global spread of sourcing and social networks.

I usually end up, when talking to recruiting leaders, in the age-old discussion over whether it is best to keep the function centralized or to change to some other form. I think the majority of leaders want a centralized function for a couple of reasons. The first is the desire to be in control without question. It’s about power and prestige, because in the corporate world, the more people who report to you the more assumed power you have. The second is for efficiency because it is true that organizations with one leader can make decisions fast — whether they are good ones or not.

But leaders should ask which structure will be the best one for their particular organization. There should be a clear set of answers to these questions: “What are you trying to achieve?” and “What is your organization’s culture?” Because, in the end, every effective structure is a reflection of strategic intent and of the values and goals of the organization.

Within organizations there are structures are most commonly found, along with their tweaks, modifications, and adaptations. Leer más “How Should You Be Structured? 10 Questions to Ask”

Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year

You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.


You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. Leer más “Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year”

Sun Tzu on Sourcing

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.
Types of Spies…


Sun-tzu

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.

Types of Spies… Leer más “Sun Tzu on Sourcing”

How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 1 of 2)

It has taken many years to get to this point, but almost everyone in recruiting has come to understand the necessity of metrics. Unfortunately however, the vast majority of metrics in use today have little impact because they were not designed to effectively “get the attention” of executives.

The issue isn’t metrics in general; at firms like Microsoft and Google, executive team meetings are often referred to as the equivalent of “math camp.” While other firms may not be as “geeky,” metrics rule the boardroom. The lack of interest in HR metrics also cannot be attributed to HR being an overhead function, as that state is true for both finance and supply chain management, neither of which fail to garner attention.

The real issue few pay attention to HR metrics is a simple one: most simply are not compelling. Let’s face it: HR is rarely a strategic priority, and due to years of bureaucracy and failure to meet expectations, it is something that most managers and executives would rather deal with less rather than more unless it is immediately relevant to their business.

For metrics to be effective in altering behavior, they need to be both visible and immediately relevant to the audience that needs influencing, not the party producing them. To accomplish that, recruiting leaders need to proactively identify and understand the factors that make a metric a critical “must-see” metric. The goal behind measurement initiatives should be to get executives to demand access to y


It has taken many years to get to this point, but almost everyone in recruiting has come to understand the necessity of metrics. Unfortunately however, the vast majority of metrics in use today have little impact because they were not designed to effectively “get the attention” of executives.

The issue isn’t metrics in general; at firms like Microsoft and Google, executive team meetings are often referred to as the equivalent of “math camp.” While other firms may not be as “geeky,” metrics rule the boardroom. The lack of interest in HR metrics also cannot be attributed to HR being an overhead function, as that state is true for both finance and supply chain management, neither of which fail to garner attention.

The real issue few pay attention to HR metrics is a simple one: most simply are not compelling. Let’s face it: HR is rarely a strategic priority, and due to years of bureaucracy and failure to meet expectations, it is something that most managers and executives would rather deal with less rather than more unless it is immediately relevant to their business.

For metrics to be effective in altering behavior, they need to be both visible and immediately relevant to the audience that needs influencing, not the party producing them. To accomplish that, recruiting leaders need to proactively identify and understand the factors that make a metric a critical “must-see” metric. The goal behind measurement initiatives should be to get executives to demand access to your metrics, to pay thorough attention to them, and to know immediately how to act differently in response to them. Leer más “How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 1 of 2)”

For Recruiting, the Use of the Cloud, and the Crowd, Are Growing

A novel idea for a company, originating out of UNC’s business school, but you haven’t heard of it until now. So Engelke’s looking for someone to market it using a viral campaign. This weekend he plans on posting the project on a website called 31Projects. With that site, top, pre-screened students will have about three to five weeks to submit their suggestions for the build-your-own-cereal campaign, and Engelke will pick a winner. He’ll pay the winner in the neighborhood of $25/hour for implementing the campaign, and if all goes well, may end up hiring them.

Engelke heard about 31Projects through the Triangle area of North Carolina, where he says “everybody knows everybody through one or two connections.” 31Projects will launch next week. It has several hundred MBA and grad students signed up in its network, and has tested it with employers, including a non-profit research institute. Later, it hopes to expand, using undergraduate students as well.

Getting people who don’t work for you, or who at least don’t yet work for you, to do work, isn’t new. Raghav Singh mentioned in an email that “Brassring was doing something like this back in 2000,” using a big virtual network of people to clean up resumes.


Image representing CloudCrowd as depicted in C...

It’s not a new phenomenon, but watch for the use of the cloud, and also the crowd, to grow in the coming months as more vendors vie for your cloud/crowd-recruiting business.

Hajo Engelke is trying it out. Engelke has started up an unusual company in Durham, North Carolina. It’s a website where you build your own cereal, clicking on cranberries, dried apples, pears, pineapples, and so on, add them to either granola or corn flakes, and voila, place your order.

A novel idea for a company, originating out of UNC’s business school, but you haven’t heard of it until now. So Engelke’s looking for someone to market it using a viral campaign. This weekend he plans on posting the project on a website called 31Projects. With that site, top, pre-screened students will have about three to five weeks to submit their suggestions for the build-your-own-cereal campaign, and Engelke will pick a winner. He’ll pay the winner in the neighborhood of $25/hour for implementing the campaign, and if all goes well, may end up hiring them. Leer más “For Recruiting, the Use of the Cloud, and the Crowd, Are Growing”

Consumer Confidence Improves, But Jobs Numbers Hard to Predict

byJohn Zappe

It’s numbers week in the U.S. again. The time of the month when the official government employment data makes its appearance, influencing stock markets worldwide, and corporate hiring decisions nationally.

Predictions of what Friday’s labor report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will show are already beginning to appear. A Dow Jones Newswire survey of economists says that on average they expect the U.S. to have lost 110,000 jobs during August. That’s mostly due to the continuing layoff of temporary Census workers.

Because of the massive Census hiring, analysts have been paying closer attention to developments in private sector hiring. In July, the BLS said 71,000 non-government jobs were created, though the Census layoffs resulted in a total loss of 141,000 jobs. (Both those numbers are likely to be adjusted in the Friday release.)

Tomorrow (today), we get a preview of what may be in store when ADP releases its National Employment Report. The payroll processor uses its data to estimate the monthly change in private sector employment. While the numbers are usually lower than the government’s, they tend to accurately predict whether jobs were added or lost.


It’s numbers week in the U.S. again. The time of the month when the official government employment data makes its appearance, influencing stock markets worldwide, and corporate hiring decisions nationally.

Predictions of what Friday’s labor report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will show are already beginning to appear. A Dow Jones Newswire survey of economists says that on average they expect the U.S. to have lost 110,000 jobs during August. That’s mostly due to the continuing layoff of temporary Census workers.

Because of the massive Census hiring, analysts have been paying closer attention to developments in private sector hiring. In July, the BLS said 71,000 non-government jobs were created, though the Census layoffs resulted in a total loss of 141,000 jobs. (Both those numbers are likely to be adjusted in the Friday release.)

Tomorrow (today), we get a preview of what may be in store when ADP releases its National Employment Report. The payroll processor uses its data to estimate the monthly change in private sector employment. While the numbers are usually lower than the government’s, they tend to accurately predict whether jobs were added or lost. Leer más “Consumer Confidence Improves, But Jobs Numbers Hard to Predict”