Lars Schmidt/HR Open Source

You’re in HR for a reason: You’re passionate about connecting talented individuals with roles in which they can soar.

And because you’re so well-acquainted with what helps people be successful, you know how important it is to keep your own skills sharp and stay apprised of what’s going on in the field. But that can be easier said than done. Practices are rapidly changing and you need resources to walk you through it—without any barriers to entry.

Which is why we couldn’t be more excited to announce our sponsorship of HR Open Source (#HROS), a knowledge sharing community bringing an open source learning approach to the global field of HR and recruiting.

At The Muse, we strive to make work more human and that extends to creating meaningful connections between companies and candidates.This is strongly aligned with the mission of HR Open Source, which is poised to become one of the leading global resources for collaborative learning, education, and inspiration in HR.

We sat down with Lars Schmidt, co-founder of HR Open Source and founder of AMPLIFY//, a boutique agency that helps companies like Hootsuite, SpaceX, and Cracker Barrel re-imagine the intersection of culture, talent, and brand. He has spent over 18 years building progressive recruiting teams at companies including NPR, Magento, and Ticketmaster.

Congrats on Building an Incredible Resource With HR Open Source! What Inspired You to Start the Site?

We’ve been following the widening gaps between HR and recruiting practitioners at the leading edge of the field, and those struggling to keep pace. We also saw a lot of barriers to access actionable resources, education, and inspiration around progressive people practices. We wanted to build a global community of practitioners willing to share their work, knowledge, and experience to help their peers. Something that would democratize access to high-value resources and conversations, and most importantly, something completely free for practitioners as we feel lack of budget and resources shouldn’t get in the way of progress in the field.

What Are You Most Excited About for HR Open Source in the Next Year? Five Years?

We’re really in the early days of this initiative. In two years we’ve grown to over 4,000 practitioners in 60+ countries who share our vision of a more collaborative and connected field of HR and recruiting.

What we’re really trying to do is shift the conversation and mindset away from “war for talent” siloed approaches, and more towards openness and collaboration. We feel that will really accelerate HR/recruiting practices and capabilities at scale.

That also means it’s not just about HROS. We want to inspire a shift in thinking, and how/where practitioners find education and inspiration. Whether that’s HROS, Google re:Work, or something else that doesn’t exist yet: Our main goal is to shift the conversation and practices towards openness and collaborations, wherever that may be.

What Kind of Resources Can Recruiters Find to Help Support Employer Branding on HROS?

Employer Brand is actually the most robust subject on HROS. We have nine case studies from companies including Hootsuite, Cisco, Dell, Lever, and more covering a broad range of initiatives. We’re going to be digging into some of them in an upcoming webinar from The Muse, so you readers should definitely check that out to learn more.

What Are the Biggest Innovations You’ve Seen in Employer Branding This Year?

I think we’re just scratching the surface on the potential of live broadcast platforms like Facebook Live. It allows employer branding pros to (essentially) create their own media studio, and provide a real window into culture, jobs, hiring managers, etc.

It’s funny, the old days of recruiting had recruiters acting as a buffer between applicants and hiring managers. Now it’s all about providing more access so candidates can make better decisions. That’s an important shift for the industry, but one we’re still in the early days of evolving.

What Companies Do You See as Leading the Way in Employer Branding Right Now?

I’ve been a fan of L’Oreal for years. They’re always several steps ahead of the industry, and really set the bar on innovation. SAP has been doing some great work under Matthew Jeffery’s leadership. Cisco has really emerged as a leader in the space. I’m also intrigued by some of the scrappier up-and-comers who make up for lack of resources with creativity and imagination.

Where Do You See the Future of Employer Branding in the Next Year? Five Years?

Radically different. The delineations between consumer branding and employer branding will be much less. Things like bots, AI, algorithmic assessments, individualized value props, personas, and augmented reality will be pretty common in most organizations. Virtual Reality has enormous potential, but the computing power needed for an optimal experience has to shrink significantly for it to be mainstream. We’ll need be able to power VR experiences from our phones first.

What Kind of Resources and Conversation About Candidate Experience Are Happening in the HROS Community?

Candidate Experience (CX) is an active conversation in the industry these days, so we find quite a bit of discussion on that in the HROS community. Case studies from companies like Virgin Media and Hootsuite share how they’re making CX a focal point of their efforts, and include some templates and takeaways like an application auto-response FAQ with job search resources, etc.

What Are the Biggest Innovations You’ve Seen in Candidate Experience?

I don’t know that this is a space ripe with innovation....yet. The sad reality is [that] many companies don’t get the basics right yet. They still treat applicants as commodities. Focusing on CX is really about bringing the humanity back to Human Resources.

Practice radical transparency. Don’t be afraid to share your warts and talk openly about some of the difficulties about your job/team/company. Candidates will find this out eventually anyway. If you own this upfront, your applicants are coming in with open eyes about those challenges and still applying. You’ll then be much likelier to have sticky hires.

What Companies Are Really Excelling in Their Approach to Candidate Experience?

CX is often less publicized or promoted than employer brand, so no specific companies come to mind. I applaud any company that’s making a point to end the “black hole,” builds a process to suit the candidates, and ideally uses NPS or other survey tools to measure and track how they’re doing so they can continually improve.

Where Do You See the Future of the Candidate Experience in the Next Year? Five Years?

I think technology can help here. We’ll see more tools that meet candidates where they want to be communicated to—email, social, text, etc. These tools exist today, but they’re not quite mainstream yet. [Additionally,] an always-on platform so candidates always know exactly where they stand.

I think we’ll also see more adoption of algorithms that will aid in the early-stage selection process. This will be great, as it removes some of the human biases and tendency for recruiters and hiring managers so make interview decisions solely on a resume. [Those biases] limits candidate selected to those who are fully baked, and dramatically reduces the field—costing many who might excel in the role, but have a more jagged career path that’s less obvious on paper.

How Can Recruiters and HR Practitioners Get Involved With HROS?

All of our resources are free, so you can visit and consume (use) anything that might help you. From there, you can visit to officially become part of the community. There you can also learn more about contributing case studies or Sparks (mini case studies).

The majority of our community conversation and knowledge sharing happens in the HROS Facebook Group. We see double digit posts and triple digit comments each week of practitioners helping each other overcome challenges, think through ideas, or solve problems. We affectionately call that the HROS Collective Intellect, and liken it to plugging into that matrix of HR/recruiting experience.