The Cornerstone Eagle Jan 2016

THE CORNERSTONE EAGLE is the newsletter for senior executives, friends and partners of the Cornerstone International Group around the world. The Eagle is majestic, free and towers above all else when gracefully gliding the currents in the air. The Cornerstone International Group likewise feels close affinity with the Eagle, in professionalism in our practice, honesty and integrity in all our interactions, and making positive changes in our work and processes to improve and create added value for our clients and candidates.

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Recruiting Content: the Long Way to the Best Result

If you have not come across the words “Content Marketing”, enjoy the journey to Pluto.

If you Google the phrase, you will get 383 million results. If you are a member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) representing 10,000 brands, you have just declared this the 2015 “Marketing Word of the Year”

Recruiting Content infographicContent Marketing is a big deal.  Small wonder, then, that it no longer sells just products and services, but people.   Recruiting content is the new buzz-phrase in the hiring business.

We looked at “why” in my last post.  Decision-making by job candidates has become a lot more complex, involving lifestyle choice to a far greater degree than a decade ago.  Good candidates want to know a lot more about the working environment and the values of the hiring.

In filling this gap, recruiting content covers a broad spectrum of needs.

At entry level, content that gives more detail of the job not only serves the candidate but pays back in time saved at the hiring end when a significant percentage of potentially eligible candidates drop out.

At a senior level, the driving force is reversed.  The hiring company is not that concerned about the job detail – unless it is quite unique – but is VERY concerned about making the company attractive to the right candidates.


You would like it here

A CFO is unlikely to be motivated by a detailed job description.  The main challenge for the hirer is to differentiate the company so as to attract the CFO to begin with.  This leads to putting carefully structured, motivating content in front of the target group.

Not every company thinks they need to do this.  Some of the biggest companies feel they are already well-known.

“Most companies are under the false assumption that just because they know what their company and logo stand for, everyone else does, too,” writes James Ellis, director of inbound marketing at TMP, a global recruitment advertising agency.

“But as a loyal shopper at Target or Walmart, I really only know the retail experience — not the employee experience. Companies seem to assume that because I spend time and money within their stores, I must have a positive association with their employer brand. But that’s a faulty assumption.”

These companies need to tell the story of what working at the company is like, what the office is like, what the job is like, and what the career path is like.

“That’s the information a job seeker in consideration of changing his or her life needs to hear.”


It’s not about the job

Recruiting through the use of inbound marketing strategies does not focus on a specific job opening.  The strategic focus is on building an Employer Brand that will be attractive to the type of candidate the company wants to attract when it does have an opening.

In this respect, recruiting content is operating at two levels, like thermal streams in the ocean.  Content may explain the attractions of a specific job, usually as long-copy ads in career media.  The longer term task is creating the image of the company, its values and its processes in such a manner that, when a candidate finally does come across a suitable opportunity, he or she is motivated to know more.

There is a third level.  Articles about the company itself will not necessarily be read by passives who are not contemplating a move at that time.  So the content needs to be more embracing, more on industry issues or generally positive trends.

Understood.  But where do you place this kind of content?


It’s an SEO World

You already know the answer.  The same process that swallows up significant amounts of your website budget applies her also – search engine marketing.

Your recruiting content is coded in the same way to end up in front of the type of people you want to appeal to by selecting appropriate social media channels.

This is a lot of work but it is rapidly becoming a necessary consideration in any recruiting strategy aimed at the higher employment levels.

Is it worth the effort?  Back to James Ellis, whose firm completed a study of 300 career sites.  This study showed the following impacts of recruiting content on candidates.

Entry-level job seekers were 30% less likely to apply after seeing content.  They self-select out and no-one wastes their time.

For the experienced veterans – 10+ years of experience – content made them 289% more likely to apply.

That could be called a win-win.









Understanding the Cyber Dialogue

Cybersecurity is more than a technological issue—it’s a business issue. In a BoardVision video moderated by Judy Warner—editor-in-chief of NACD Directorship magazine—Mary Ann Cloyd, former leader of PwC’s Center for Board Governance, and Zan M. Vautrinot, former commander of the Air Forces Cyber Command and current director of Symantec, Ecolab, and Parsons Corp., discuss effective cyber-risk oversight, addressing the following questions:

  • How can boards communicate with management about cyber risk?
  • How does cyber risk fit into discussions about risk appetite?

Cyber Dialogue

Here are some highlights from that conversation.

Judy Warner: For directors, I think one of the greatest challenges around the issue of cyber is how to engage in an informed conversation with management. And how do they become informed about their oversight roles as they relate to cyber?

Zan Vautrinot: One of the things that was absolutely clear about the private sector and corporate leadership is that they understood how to have a discussion about risks and strategy. The only thing different with cyber is that some of the technology and some of the solution sets are slightly different, but the conversation is the same. It is a discussion about a particular kind of risk and how it relates to the kind of business you are [in].

Warner: Mary Ann, from your perspective, how does that conversation take place, or start to take place, at the board level? And is it a conversation for the full board or a specific committee?

Mary Ann Cloyd: I guess I always say it depends. I never want to be so prescriptive as to tell somebody what they need to do because every board and every committee is different. However, I do think that, given the magnitude of how this affects so many businesses, it’s not a technology issue. It’s a business issue. So, with that, where would you oversee any other business issue at your board? And I’m guessing that a lot of it would belong at the full board, with parts of it delegated down to a committee.

Warner: The NACD recently published a handbook on cyber-risk oversight, and one of the discussions is around risk appetite and where does cyber fit into that equation today. And I know, Mary Ann, you have said we need to think of cyber as any other risk.

Cloyd: I think you bring up two interesting things. [I]n fact, we did a small publication [at PwC’s Board Leadership Center] earlier this year, and we called it “Defining Risk Appetite in Plain English.” What prompted it was I had a director come to me and he said, “Mary, we’re doing our off-site strategy session and we always talk about risk appetite. Do you have a good pre-read that I could give to the board so that they can understand what risk appetite means?” So we did this to really put in plain English, in four pages or less, what the dialog is between management and the board, and how you develop and define your risk appetite. And, to me now—as you have so beautifully put this, Suzanne—cyber is just another part of that risk discussion and how it fits into your overall strategy.

Vautrinot: Right. And if you have already had a discussion about your strategy and those things that are most important to you as a corporate entity, is it the data that is unique that you’ve collected—the information and the access to that information—that makes your corporation unique? Is it the technology or your research and development? Is it your insight into financial transaction or merger and acquisition? Is it [about] manufacturing processes or distribution processes?

Every board and every management team knows what is most important to them being successful as a corporation. It is likely that those things are the areas that [the board] would want to focus on with assessing cyber risk. If you look at that area and say this is what is most important to us as a corporation, and this is the technology that we depend on to do that activity, now I can say that is sufficient or it is insufficient relative to the amount of risk I am willing to accept in that area. There may be other areas that aren’t core to the business, and so you are willing to accept a different amount of risk or put different systems in place that kind of sandbox it—[systems] that put a fence around, or that separate or provide different controls to allow [the lower-risk] activity to run more openly, whereas [higher-risk areas are] much more controlled and much more precious.

Additional NACD resources

NACD’s Director’s Handbook Series: Cyber-Risk Oversight

NACD—Building a Relationship With the CISO

NACD—Assessing the Board’s Cybersecurity Culture

NACD—Cybersecurity Risk Oversight and Breach Response

The Resurrection of Recruiting


A recent U.S. survey by the Pew Research Center indicates that among those who have looked for a job during the last two years, 90% went online to search and 84% applied that way.

There’s more.  Of that 90% who went online, 34% considered it their most important resource.  And among millennials (age 18-29), 54% used their phone for job hunting.

But you are not surprised.  It’s figures like these that lead people to say “Recruiting is broken”.

Resurrection of recruiting finds the best

Well, maybe the old one.   As with many pre-web practices, technology is simply re-assembling the pieces to meet changed priorities.

Call it a resurrection of recruiting

The job market is a multi-faceted environment and job seekers go through many avenues to find the career they want.  For active candidates, the Internet has become a key resource.  Mobile phone usage is simply a logical add-on in a process that dumps tons of data into the top of the funnel at great convenience, negligible cost and often questionable value.

Technology’s Finest Hour

This is technology’s shining moment.  The benefits fade pretty fast as you move on.

For the candidate, the job board posting or the 30-second ad give only the bare bones of the job.  For the employer, automated resume processing and selection by algorithm save time and money but deliver a limited view of who is applying.

The benefit tends to be in the lower reaches of employee hierarchy, where technology facilitates unprecedented numbers of applicants, then solves the problems it has created with auto-assessing procedures.

As you go up the elevator and out to the corner offices, however, the new “efficiency” fades fast.

Recruiters – especially those such as members of the Cornerstone International Group who focus on Retained Executive Search – have a very specific finding the Best Person, including people not necessarily looking for the job.

Record Year for Recruiters

This is something technology is not particularly good at apparently.  The Association of Executive Search Consultants, which sets global standards for recruiting firms, expects a record year in 2015 for industry revenues and continued growth in search mandates.

What technology has done is refine and redirect the recruiting model into a more selective area where it continues to add value.   A smart recruiting company doesn’t compete with the web for junior positions.  But a hiring company will contract a recruiter to find a Chief Financial Officer or a plant manager in a niche industry – the harder to fill jobs that trigger a significantly more complex search protocol.

For the serious career seeker, the ad posting an interesting-looking job is nothing more than a marker.  He or she wants to know a whole lot more about the job, the company, its values, its working environment before they consider an application.

Companies slow out of the gate still expect the candidates to make themselves eligible for consideration. Companies who are leaders realize their first job is to make the opportunity attractive before demanding all the personal data.

This is the level at which the recruiter brings value as a trusted advisor on both sides of the table.

For the hiring company, the agency draws on experience and sector knowledge to locate and recommend the most qualified and the best fit.   For the candidate, the recruiter must communicate the job attributes and the company persona professionally but persuasively.

Rise of the Employer Brand

The supremacy of the candidate in current job markets has given rise to creation of the Employer Brand, which does the job of marketing, but for the primary benefit of the people it hopes will join the company workforce.

This means differentiating the hiring company from its peers in the same was as achieving distinction in the market place.

The leading strategy behind building business brands today is overwhelmingly dependent on Content Marketing.  Differentiation comes from attracting the attention and interest of the target customer through quality content presented on an on-going basis.

It is only logical, then, that the same strategies would be equally successful in attracting the best people to fill a key position – people who are not going to make a career move unless they feel sure it is the right fit for them.

Recruiting content does two things the old model passed over.  It differentiates the company in the job market and it reduces uncertainty in the mind of the applicanty

Recruiting is not broken, it’s been resurrected.  Like many other disciplines, it has just been reshaped and refined into a more valuable process by understanding how to use technology.


NEXT:  How Recruiting Content Works






Executive Search Continues to Grow

A third-quarter report from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) shows that the executive search and leadership consulting profession continues to grow both in revenues and number of searches.

Average fee per assignment grew 3% year-on-year and 5.81% quarter-on-quarter.   While the average number of searches started declined slightly quarter-on-quarter (1.25%), its year-on-year performance is up 4.87%.

The quarterly research has been carried out by the AESC since 2004 on trends in the global retained executive search and leadership consulting industry. Data for the report is collected from a consistent sample of AESC member search firms representing the activity of 1,430 executive search consultants in 46 countries worldwide.

Executive Search President

Karen Greenbaum

Access to retained executive search data by the AESC, the global representative body for this industry, positions this report as a leading indicator of the future worldwide management employment market.  It is a barometer of hiring trends for top-level and seldom advertised positions in key market sectors.

The Q3 State of the Executive Search Industry report reveals that the technology sector had a very strong quarter, moving it into second place behind financial services for average number of searches started (up 18.52% year-on-year and 5.36% quarter-on-quarter).

“We were pleased to see the technology sector rebounding after a somewhat surprising drop last quarter,” said Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO.  “The strength of the most recent quarter was impressive.”

The life sciences / healthcare sector slowed slightly during Q3, but overall has performed strongly this year (up 20% year-on-year but down 1.27% quarter-on-quarter).

Industrial remains the largest sector at 24.6% with financial services remaining steady at 21.1%. Technology and life sciences / healthcare are at 15.3% and 15% respectively.

North America is the largest market for executive search, controlling a 44.4% share of the profession, followed by EMEA (32.4%), Asia Pacific (17.1%), and Latin America (6.1%).

Year-on-year three of these regions recorded significant growth in the number of searches started (Asia Pacific, 7.23%; North America, 6.94%; EMEA, 6.94%). For the second consecutive quarter Latin America witnessed a decrease in the number of searches both quarter-on-quarter (1.73%) and year-on-year (8.7%).

To read the full report, click here.


Global Recruiter Supports Free Enterprise

ATLANTA, GA,  December 4, 2015.   The global recruiter Cornerstone International Group’s ongoing support of free enterprise has been in evidence at opposite ends of the world recently.

In China, the Group has been awarded “Sponsor of the year 2015” recognition by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.   In Chile, Cornerstone International Group’s Alejandra Aranda was recently nominated for a third term to the Board of Directors of AmCham Chile, where she also chairs the Human Capital committee.

“We have been prominent in the Shanghai organization for many years,” says James Ng,  Managing Partner of the Cornerstone Shanghai office, who accepted the award. “It is actually the largest chamber of commerce in Asia-Pacific with 4,000 members and marks its 100th year anniversary this year.”

Cornerstone International Group is a leading executive search and leadership development organization in 65 locations around the world.  It has headquarters here in Atlanta and in Shanghai.  Members, who own their own businesses, are regional leaders and collectively represent one-stop, proven global capability for international clients.

The American Chambers of Commerce Abroad, part of the US Chamber Federation, are in 103 countries and supported by 70 policy experts.  Many of the Cornerstone International Group members are active in their regional AmCham organization.

“Rules-based trade and investment is a path to opportunity for all,” says Aranda, who is also Chairman of the LATAM Region of the Cornerstone International Group.  “We are strong supporters of these international efforts by the US Chamber of Commerce, which is a powerful advocate for international economic engagement.”