4 Quick Tips on Authenticity from LinkedIn’s Talent Connect

October 12, 2016 Sarah Payne

LinkedIn’s annual Talent Connect conference, a gathering leaders in HR, recruiting, and talent acquisition, was held in Las Vegas last week. As I walked along the Las Vegas strip each day, I couldn’t help but think that the strip serves as a bit of a microcosm for the greater talent landscape.

Everywhere I turned, casinos and bars were fighting for my attention—handing out drink coupons or blasting top 40 hits. One person was even offering free limo rides. It’s quite loud and showy, and—one could argue—similar to the way some employer brands operate today. They spam job postings all over the internet, hoping to hit as many job seekers as possible.

But the problem with this method is that it offers little in the way of authenticity. And if there’s one thing I learned at Talent Connect, it’s that authenticity is what creates real business value.

So here are 4 quick lessons in authenticity that I learned at Talent Connect last week:


  • “Harness the tribe.” Your organization can have a presence on nearly every social media platform out there, but if you’re not sharing compelling content, you won’t engage job seekers. Macy Andrews and Carmen Collins from Cisco shared how they’ve achieved three times the engagement on social media by “harnessing the tribe.” By tapping into the voices of their employees, they are telling an authentic story of what it’s like to work at Cisco—through employee bylined blog posts and even snapchat takeovers. Cisco’s Snapchat account is so successful that Nasdaq asked them to do a snapchat takeover in Times Square earlier this year.
  • Be a maverick. One of my favorite sessions at the conference was a Q&A with Richard Branson, who loves mavericks and believes, “If you’re looking for the best in people all the time, you generally get the best back.” He also shared some quirky recruiting tactics—like the time he dressed up as an elderly taxi driver to pick up a group of Virgin Group applicants at the airport. He wanted to get a sense of how the applicants treated people. Some of the applicants were downright rude, making fun of his age. Others made him carry heavy luggage. What tactics do you use to better gauge applicants’ authentic selves—not just the image they portray in an interview? Are you truly hiring and developing according to your core values?
  • Focus on magnetism and bonding. According to OglivyOne Worldwide CEO Brian Fetherstonhaugh, the key to building a magnetic talent enterprise is to focus on the four kinds of bonds in the workplace: structural (contracts), financial (employee rewards), emotional (purpose), and social (relationships). What does that look like? OglivyOne delivers what they call “career fuel” to employees, which includes transportable skills, meaningful experiences, and enduring relationships. Investing in people creates a stellar employee experience. And as Brian noted, “let them leave happy,” so they tell the next 15 people applying to your company how awesome it is to work there.
  • It’s all about DIB, not D&I. In HR, we talk a lot about diversity and inclusion (D&I), but is it enough? Pat Wadors, WorkHuman speaker and CHRO at LinkedIn, argued that there’s a third element that builds upon D&I to fuel even greater engagement, and that’s belonging. She said employees who feel like they belong in the team believe, “I can be authentic, I matter, and am essential to the team.” We as humans are compelled, genetically, to belong. It’s why we form clans and families to survive. Pat suggested a few small ways that each of us can create more belonging moments at work, like going out of our way to welcome new employees, delegating equally across a team, or simply listening to people’s stories.

Blog Post: 4 Quick Tips on Authenticity from @linkedin #talentconnect
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Can you relate to any of these employer brand challenges? What are some ways you foster a sense of belonging in your workplace? Please your insights in the comments!


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