Meeting Bill Boorman

Over Christmas I decided with the rest of my family that Improved Employees really needed a product that recruiters would like. At this point I investigated the recruitment world and discovered Bill Boorman.

Recruitment Expo London

The recruitment expo in London provided a great opportunity for me to learn more about the recruitment industry so I went down with my dad to find out what we could.

We were not expecting to make any sales or anything – really, my primary mission was to learn if we had any competition for our new SoftSkills product and discover what recruiters really want and need.

14 Cool Recruiting Tools

The first seminar we went to was by Bill Boorman and was called 14 Cool Recruiting Tools. Bill strutted about on the stage as people entered and once they were all settled down he introduced himself in his inimitable style:

My name’s Bill Boorman or more specifically @BillBoorman – Bill Boorman

He proceeded to introduce the audience to a variety of modern and mostly free recruiting tools that can help recruiters hunt heads.

At the end, my dad, Ian Hilditch, clapped vociferously and we headed up to the stage to get a chance to speak to the living legend. My dad took the lead telling Bill how much he appreciated the tips and that he’d never heard of any of the tools but he was certainly going to go and explore their usefulness. We left to explore the conference and the various stands.

You can view Bills presentation on the Colleague website.

Social Recruiting

My dad was only at the expo for the Tuesday so he missed Bills other presentations but here’s the jist:

Bill was a recruiter for a long time before becoming a recruitment trainer. He built his training company up to quite a significant size before the recession hit and crippled his business. Sitting at home twiddling his thumbs was not for him so he started exploring social media, ostensibly he says so that he would appear busy to his wife.

Social media lives by the rules of the pub – Bill Boorman

It turns out that he understood the fundamental rules of social media so well that he has now risen to become one of the most influential recruiters in the world. The significant difference that I heard in his presentations when it comes to social media is that you can’t just barge in and announce what you do and what you want – there has to be give and take. He explains it succinctly thus: “Social media lives by the rules of the pub.”

The Rules of the Pub

You wouldn’t walk into a pub and announce that you have a job available – if you did, you might get someone to interview but in all likelihood they’d be a really crap candidate. Instead, you’d walk into the pub and listen to everyone elses problems, talk about stuff that is totally irrelevant to what you’re aiming to do but ultimately grow your network and other’s confidence in you.

When it finally comes time to gaining from this irrelevance, it is likely to happen because your friends in the pub met someone else who was looking for a role or alternatively who was looking to fill a role. They would then say – I know this good guy at the pub who does that kind of work and next time they see you they will mention it.

Bill sums it up with his redefinition of ROI. Rather than Return On Investment, when it comes to social media you are looking at Return On Irrelevance.

It is the conversation without objective that builds network – Bill Boorman

I think he’s hit the nail on the head here, but I think this is a difficult sell for people managing the purse strings – paying their agents to contribute and listen to irrelevant material in the social media world in order to grow their network and influence. Maybe someone will come up with some way of measuring Return on Irrelevance.

Getting Bill into the pub

By the end of day 2 of the conference, I was getting a little bored with the pitchers trying to get me to buy their recruiter insurance or RPO software. I cornered Bill and asked him if he fancied a pint or two at the pub.

We went to a local and had a great chat – we talked about social media, about gamification, about the rapidly changing advances that were coming to recruitment and lots of other techy and non-techy things which are either incidental or irrelevant to my business. This was good. The rules of the pub dictate that this is how it should be.

The pub rapidly filled up with other exhibitors and Bill introduced me to Lee Biggins, the founder of CV Library and Dan Martin, the MD of BroadBean. Again, the rules of the pub dictate not talking business at that point although I may reintroduce myself to these two at some point soon to demo my software to them.

What does Bill actually do?

Firstly, he talks to people a lot. This means he will definitely know someone who can help you if you need something in the recruitment sector. I’m not sure if he ever charges for this, but I presume there is a boundary somewhere at which point he starts charging for his networking services. Update: Bill tells me he never charges for introductions –

Secondly, he runs the #tru conferences. I was really hoping to go to the London one but unfortunately could not make it. These conferences are billed as UNconferences – no name badges, no pitching, no presentations. They have ‘track leaders’ who help chair the conversation but typically everyone should be getting a chance to talk, share ideas, contribute and learn.

Since I missed the London one last week there aren’t any more in London for quite a while but then they do exist all across the world. So, I may attend the one in Warsaw or Amsterdam depending on my location nearer to the time. You can find out more about the #tru conferences at the Global Tru website.

Finally, I would hazard a guess that he makes some cash through sponsorship since he’s so highly visible.

If you would like to reach Bill, you need only Google him – he’s unmissable in his hat. Alternatively, here are some locations where you can find him:

Bill Boorman on his Recruiting Unblog site
Bill Boorman on his favourite social media platform, Twitter
Bill Boorman on LinkedIn

There are other places where you can find him – you need only look. Once you meet him, I promise you will never ever forget him.