In the world of recruiting, Jim Stroud is a superstar. Entelo CEO John Bishcke called Stroud one of “the most influential thought leaders in the recruiting industry” on the Entelo blog, and Stroud’s track record proves that is no overstatement: he has consulted for major companies like Microsoft and Google; YouTern named his Twitter
as one of the top 50 accounts that jobseekers must follow in 2014; and his blog, The Recruiter’s Lounge, made HR C-Suite’s list of the Top 100 Career Blogs to Follow in 2013. This list of accomplishments only scratches the surface of Stroud’s long and illustrious career as a writer, consultant, speaker and entrepreneur.
Stroud, an expert in “lead generation strategies, social media recruiting, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, community management and training,” may be so successful because of his somewhat unorthodox background: “I grew up on comics, and as such, I have a deep respect for imaginative thinking,” he says.
“My initial career ambition was to make it as a Hollywood screenwriter and best-selling novelist. My girlfriend at the time gave me the ultimatum of getting a real job or else. Ironically, I chose the ‘real job’ and broke up with her,” Stroud says.
This is not to say that Stroud abandoned his creativity and joined the stereotypical “faceless corporate machine.” In fact, Stroud uses his inventive prowess to energize everything that he does – and, because of that, his writings, presentations and videos never fall victim to the zombified language or status-quo thinking that plague the business world. Take, for example, “The Lone Ranger Manifesto,” a blog post in which Stroud uses the classic television series as launching-off point to create “a moral template to live by,” offering a few life lessons drawn from the Lone Ranger’s adventures.
The ‘real job’ that Stroud took in 1997 was for a cutting-edge Internet researcher position with MCI, Inc. But the person who hired Stroud did not have time to train him before he started, so Stroud trained himself. “I went home, looked at the jobs they had available, figured out how to source resumes and sent them some via email. I was working there the next day, and that jump-started my career in sourcing,” Stroud says.
According to Stroud, the world of recruitment has changed in some important ways in recent years, but it is not an entirely different beast from what it used to be. “Recruiting today is different in terms of the tools and talent landscape. However, it is the same in that recruiters often feel overwhelmed in the volume they are expected to meet and the time it takes to reach most of their goals,” he says.
Of the new developments in recruiting, Stroud says that social recruiting is “essential.” According to Jobvite’s 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, 94 percent of recruiters “use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.” Stroud mentions big-name social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as major sources of hiring, but he also points out that less traditional sites like Github, Pinterest and Instagram have become valuable networks as well. “Prior to 2013, those sites were not even mentioned in previous Jobvite surveys,” he says.
Jobseekers are often encouraged to carefully manage their personal internet profile brand while on the hunt for a new position, and Stroud echoes these sentiments: “If you are a jobseeker, what does Google say about you? Whether you want to accept it or not, potential employers will look you up to see how well you have represented yourself and your expertise. What they find out about you can impact their professional interest in you profoundly. So, protect your personal brand. Enough said.”
Stroud stresses that companies, too, must be aware of their brand when they are looking for new talent. “If you are an HR professional, you have to ask yourself how candidates view your company. If the word on the street – or rather, the word online — says your company has rotten management, guess what? It will be hard to attract the stars you want to hire,” he says. For recruiters and candidates alike, it is all about the brand.
For more of Stroud’s unique expertise, check out his book, “Resume Forensics.” Stroud says a sequel will debut later this month. Readers can also connect with Stroud on LinkedIn, check out his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter.