A recap of our trip to the Employer Branding conference in Lisbon. A give away candidate-first focus within Employer Branding is a must!
Being a part of the Web Summit event was a big hit and we met a lot of inspiring people, one of which is a guy named Luis Sottomayor. Luis is a Community Director at Talent Portugal , a company that brings together job seekers and organizations. We had a very nice chat about Employer Branding and how the implementation of this concept could use some reshaping (read: video). The more we got to talk, the more we realized that we shared the same ideas and perspectives. Louis told us that he was organizing an event in Lisbon entirely dedicated to Employer Branding. Of course, when he asked Bram if we would be interested to speak at his conference he immediately agreed. And so it was soon time to take Flipbase on an international road trip again!
In planning our trip we decided not to rush back and forth so we arrived the night before the one-day event, which took place on a Tuesday, and left the day after thereby giving us the opportunity to enjoy the local weather and food. Once again our Airbnb over-delivered with a beautiful apartment in the heart of the Portuguese capital. From there the site of the event, which was located on top of a hill overlooking the city, was easily accessible by public transportation. We knew our way around from the last visit, so our Portuguese language skills were not challenged, at least not yet…
When we checked in at the event we noticed that this one was a little different from the events we normally attend. There were a lot of interesting companies but also many educational institutions (I will later explain why this surprised us a little). Because we flew in separately, Bram from Amsterdam and I from Valencia, it was hard to bring any marketing material. We, therefore, were, in terms of noticeability during coffee/lunch breaks, solely dependent on our Flipbase sweater (that we of course proudly wear to every event). But as it turned out there was no need to excessively try to draw any attention since Louis was there to save the day. The role of Community Director, even in its most literal form, was made for him. He directed the community in a way that people of interest to each other would meet and shake hands. And so we had a lot of interesting conversations about our video tool, its benefits to certain companies and how it could fit into the Portuguese labor market.
Portuguese people are very open to innovations and trying new technologies and we are therefore confident that great partnerships/collaborations will result from our visit. Another great take away from the many insightful chats we had was how Portuguese labor market communications have a primarily candidate-centric focus. The idea of “customer comes first”, with the candidate being the customer, was of course not new to us. But given the fact Portugal copes with major unemployment among the youth, recruiters were very much engaged with the candidates in order to help them with their job search. This big gap between supply and demand in the labor market suggests that all the power is in the hands of the businesses, but surprisingly the business wants to put candidates as much in control of the process as possible.
This embrace of innovation and candidate-first focus was also showcased in all the speeches and talks. Unfortunately, we couldn’t understand all of it because the speeches were mainly spoken in the national language so our Portuguese skills, which are limited to none, were put to test. However, the common thread became clear from all the English (business) terms they used. This was amazingly helpful to us and proved that within the Employer Branding sphere a common language has evolved that transcends (European) national borders. What also contributed to the overall theme was the smooth overflow of one subject into the next. All the speeches stuck together seemed to form a great Employer Branding book, authored by one person but each chapter narrated by one of the speakers. All the speakers mastered outstanding rhetoric skills, as did Bram! With his inspiring speech covering various implementations of video technology within labor communications, the Employer Branding story got an exciting new twist.
In the end, we went off to Lisbon to enlighten people with the way our technology can contribute to their Employer Branding strategy and, in return, came back with some powerful insights about a more candidate-centered approach. We at Flipbase currently have two different modules, Employer Branding, and Candidate Screening. The first is focussed on outbound labor market communication and the latter on inbound but, like the Portuguese would say, why not do both? So after returning from Lisbon, we started working on ideas to approach both the recruiter and the applicant with the same product and we must say: it feels like an innovative step in the right direction. Different nationalities, different cultures, different people, same business/market problem: it’s a golden formula!
Well, enough to get our heads around for the next few months. We are very excited about what’s to come and look forward to collaborate more with Talent Portugal. Thank you, Louis! Once again, thank you Lisbon! We promise we’ll be back soon!