A few weeks ago, I was honored to be at the rebrand event by Hiretual, now hireEZ. One of the requests of the team was to cover the event (natch) which I was more than happy to do. However, while I was watching Shannon Pritchett do her thing at the event and heard all of her (and her awesome team) discuss how quickly they did it, I was struck by how seamlessly Shannon had become an incredibly savvy powerhouse marketer.
“It’s going back to basics, a whole new set of skills,” Shannon said when we jumped on the phone to discuss how her sourcing career had prepared her for the world of marketing and what she thought some of the commonalities are.Wondering how to become a powerhouse when it comes to marketing? In this article, @hireez’s @SourcingShannon shares how she uses her #sourcing background to enter the world of #marketing: Click To Tweet
From Sourcing to Community Building
When Shannon first stepped out of the simple sourcing game, it was fresh into SourceCon, the ERE property that has grown from a scrappy group of researchers into an incredible community and series of events, under some great community managers like Jeremy Roberts, Amybeth Quinn, and now Tangie Pettis. Running a behemoth like that was no easy feat, primarily because Shannon was used to enterprise gigs; ERE…on the other hand, was run like the startup and lean machine it was.
“Everyone was expected to do many different jobs while we had a marketing team; that was my first experience truly owning a brand,” Shannon recalled. And own it she did, quickly growing the franchise further than when she arrived and passing the baton. According to her, while hard work, it was a simple concept to grasp, “What do we need to do to better market our events, to bring people here, to get their companies to give us their money, to get sponsors to buy in?”
And her hard work paid off, opportunities came through the door, and Shannon was raising eyebrows everywhere — from respected analyst firms like CXR to well, you probably guessed it, hireEZ, then Hiretual.
Great, Now Evry1’s Involved
But instead of hiring Shannon for a marketing role, Steven and the leadership team over at Hiretual wanted her to launch a new kind of community (full disclosure Red Branch Media did help with some of these efforts), a community that would serve as sort of a basecamp for all the other events, communities, websites, media offerings, you name it. They called it Evry1, because that’s who it was for. The team behind Evry1, including hireEZ CEO Steven Jiang and Shannon, were fighting a lot of uphill battles.
“With SourceCon, there was a really solid foundation, many years of a community that was already present. With Evry1, we were starting from scratch. I didn’t have the same trajectory from a community standpoint as I did before,” said Shannon.
In addition to the pandemic, low online engagement due to screen fatigue and the inability to meet offline, and the fact that a vendor was investing in the community, Shannon’s sourcing reputation was also to consider.
“It was and remains a totally independent community. We’re continuing to build that trust with the community. This community is not about sourcing per se, but something more holistic, open to everyone. We don’t just want to help people be a better recruiter but a better brander, sourcer, better person, better employee, better mother…whatever you are. The only commonality we have is the industry itself.”
Shannon says she and the hireEZ team (and the Evry1 team) all have that basecamp mentality and want to motivate and drive change and behavior. “No topic is off-limits!”
Why Are We STILL Doing it This Way?
Perhaps that’s part of what drove much of how the new product is advertised. With her finger plainly on the pulse of the sourcing and recruiting industry (for at least a decade), Shannon has a keen awareness of what talent acquisition pros NEED in their lives. Or as she deadpans:
“We should not be recruiting the same exact way today as we did ten years ago, or even twenty.”
So it happened as she began working on the community Evry1, she was quickly approached by CEO Steven to potentially branch out of that role and look more on the marketing side.
“He said ‘I wanna give you the option, marketing or community, but I think you need to branch into marketing,’” said Shannon. She went on to describe accepting without hesitation. Although she was urged to “try it before you buy it” regarding the marketing position, she was eager to get started.
“Marketing is HARD. A lot of people think they can do better. It’s a judged position, a criticized position. But I decided I ran SourceCon and I think I can do this,” recalled Shannon. Her mettle was immediately tested with a whole company name change, rebrand, new funding round, and building out a team, in just a few short months. Using her skills as a recruiter, she quickly convinced a lot of very smart people to come help with the shared internal vision of Hiretual leadership.
Oh, and it had to happen on 2/2/22. The Chinese Lunar New Year.
“I’m not just proud of the marketing team but the engineering team, they had to work over a really important holiday in China,” said Shannon. Holidays stateside also took a backseat to the massive undertaking with the teenyweeny timeline. The rebrand began to shift into a new name, and the new name morphed further into the development of an entirely new category.
“I remember Steven approaching me with this idea of outbound recruiting. Saying we should play bigger. That motivated us to redefine the category and finally, to change the name. We make hiring easy, let’s just name it that.”“We should not be recruiting the same exact way today as we did ten years ago, or even twenty,” says @hireez’s @SourcingShannon. In this article Pritchett reflects on how her past career prepared her for a #career in the world of #marketing. Read now: Click To Tweet
The Snowball Keeps Getting Bigger
Shannon discusses the agile sprints of the rebranding process like she’s been a CMO for years. It’s easy to forget this is her first major marketing role. Perhaps because she really quickly mapped her sourcing and community building skills into the skills she’d need to be a great marketing pro.
“I didn’t know anything about marketing,” Shannon quips. “Every time in my life where I have thrived and done the best is when I have been uncomfortable. If I get too comfortable, I get stale. I thrive in imposter syndrome.”
“It’s funny, sourcing changes so much just like marketing. Both Marketing and sourcing are dependent on digital tools and search engines that seem to change their rules and guides daily, so you’re wondering if what worked last year will work now…or even last month. We are the first touch, trying to find people and bring them in to spend a lot of money on our product.”
Both disciplines, she notes, also rely on data, like a LOT. One of the first pieces of advice she recalls receiving was “follow the data,” which won’t sound too foreign to any sourcer worth her salt. Shannon also weaved in elements of customer service (candidate experience), search engine knowledge, and how sourcers and recruiters would use the product the engineering team was working on.
For example, as she was assembling her team, she broke down the percentage of leads for which they’d be held responsible and looked at the makeup, piping up with a question about why recruitment departments aren’t set up more like sales and marketing departments.
“Organically, look at pipeline contribution. Look at the marketing leg as inbound, trying to attract leads into the org – pass everything over to our outbound, prospect them and turn them into sales. Shouldn’t a recruitment team be measured similarly?”
Outbound recruiting, as a whole title, sounds tough to do. I ask Shannon about this:
“The advantage of AI or really automation allows recruiters to do much more. We (recruiters) need to embrace products and services and technology that can speed up their workflow. Before we were trying to hack into a webpage to get one phone number. You could have a whole day to chase down a lead,” Shannon said.
Then LinkedIn changed the game completely.
“We had access to so many people we didn’t have access to before, this online treasure trove of resumes. In the good old days, people messaged back!”
Now, messages rarely get returned, and often SPAM gets through the doors easier than enterprising recruiters and sourcers. “We needed to give people a chance to hire the best.”
“Look we are a profession that has zero formal education. Recruiting isn’t built on a solid foundation of education, institutional degrees and job titles, and team structure. We really can reinvent the wheel over again. Uber didn’t change the car, they didn’t invent a new wheel, making it easier to get from point A to point B. LinkedIn is the taxi, hireEZ is the Uber. Current tactics are not keeping pace with the market and the economy,” Shannon explained.
Aside from helping build and champion the product suite that will help recruiters keep pace with the marketing and the economy, Shannon also plans to call on Heads of TA to begin changing some of the ways they think about team structure. Her view of marketing seems to be action-based. As her fledgling marketing team continues to grow, she’s being held accountable by her team and her leadership. And now, instead of resting post-rebrand, she and the hireEZ team have about $26 million dollars to spend.
Not bad for her first marketing role eh?