Maren Hogan sits down with Maren Hogan of BraveNewTalent, a new social recruiting tool.

We all know you, except for the ones who… don’t. What’s your background?

Okay well, I’m Maren. I like puppies, long walks on the beach and some recruiting stuff. Just kidding. Probably most know me from my blogging and community building in the recruiting space. I have nearly twelve years of marketing and communications successes, with the most notable being around new media, marketing and community building in the HR and Recruiting space.

Who doesn’t like puppies and recruiting? So what are you up to these days?

I just began work on BraveNewTalent, a social recruiting platform. It’s a really innovative idea that has produced real results in the UK. My role is as Head of Marketing for the US. Basically, I need to raise awareness about what we do (build talent communities for employers) and feedback from recruiting powerhouses (like clients Starbucks and Loreal) on how we can make the product ready for the big US launch in September.

And a talent community is…

A talent community is a place where employers can engage with talent; before, during and after the hire, no matter which jobs are open, no matter when they might need that particular person. It’s also a place for talent interested in a company to learn more about the culture, attitude, needs and news about a company. Oh yeah, and jobs too. Honestly, talent communities are really about what you put into them.

Can you give us the 30 second pitch for BraveNewTalent?

Why 30 seconds when 15 will do? KIDDING! Dang, how many seconds was that? Starting over…

BraveNewTalent is a social recruiting platform that builds talent communities for employers. Our core proposition is to eliminate the stupid and expensive bottlenecks that currently exist in the recruiting process.

Done! What do I win?

A blender, if you also describe one current stupid-recruiting-process-bottleneck.

Sure, not shopping your own ATS, not planning out talent holes, forgetting about succession planning, not hosting your job postings on your own site and slapping them up on multiple boards and then complaining about the dearth of resumes you receive.

Brave New TalentWho is the perfect client for BNT?

Well for BNT as a whole the answer is different. For me, as we roll out in the US, I am looking for high profile companies who maybe don’t have social recruiting down just yet. Maybe they are unsure of the implications, how to go about it, what sort of internal staff they’ll need. I can answer a lot of those questions and help them build a community in a really easy and painless way. Also clients who are interested in Gen Y and Grads are a really good fit for us right now, since our platform interacts amazingly with facebook.

My grandmother is on Facebook. Is Facebook really a good way to specifically reach out to Gen Y?

Yes, more and more we’ve discovered that not only is a great way to engage (everyone from grads to grandmas) but people really appreciate not having to leave a platform that they are using increasingly more every day. From facebook you can look at apartments, read articles, watch videos, apply for jobs, like products, engage with companies and check out deals. It’s sort of an all in one solution. Plus, the data being collected on the back end can be a wealth of information for smart hiring managers.

Would you say this is something totally new or a continuation of ideas?

Most of BraveNewTalent is totally new. Taken at face value, there are a lot of similar products on the market here in the US (as opposed to India and UK) but truthfully, none have the same integration or the educational components that BNT does. We’re looking to map the world’s talent, which is a pretty big goal. We have a complex, multi-phase strategy for this. Right now, we’re pre-stage 1. In the sense that Lucian Tarnowski (our CEO) has taken his cues from consumer marketing, it is a continuation of ideas yes, and a smart one.

BNT seems especially clear on a big vision or idea that drives the company. What is it?

Using talent more efficiently. It sounds trite, but if you break it down it really touches all parts of the HR continuum. Workforce planning, talent managements, organizational development, distance learning. We are trying to fix some models that are broken, from recruiting all the way to education. We think companies have the resources and technology to help us do that and at no time in the past has our workforce been better equipped to be mapped. Everyone at BraveNewTalent believes in that.

Does a company have to have a vision?

Interesting question. The answer would be, any company I work with does :) It’s the big picture stuff that gets you through the difficulties, especially in a start-up. Also? Selling is easier when you have a vision, because from SME to large corporation, everyone has a little voice inside him that urges him to change the world. OOOH! New slogan. BNT is your little voice…No?

I know your answer, but tell us anyway – will this vision happen?

I do. I have no doubt in my mind that BraveNewTalent will succeed in its mission. Lucian is the one everyone hears about, but there are some seriously talented and driven people in this company (grin). It will take time but like I said, we are in an age where education and work as we know it is RIPE for change. BraveNewTalent wants to be the agent for that change. Right now we’re building the infrastructure with like minded companies. It’s pretty exciting.

You’ve been helping to expand BNT internationally. What are some differences that you’ve seen with major employers in different countries?

We’re farther along in social recruiting than the UK, although they lead us in mobile. So employers in the US expect more from their platforms. Plus the US is just plain big, so one-size fits all doesn’t work here. A difference we’ve noticed in India is the need for competency filters for employers, since there is tremendous competition for certain jobs.

And what’s the same?

I would have to say that all employers are different but the coolest thing I’ve discovered is that people are genuinely interested in finding the right talent. Recruiting and HR get a bad rap for not caring about the candidates, but the truth is, they’re overwhelmed with them. We’re hoping the concept of talent communities become more widely adopted as it’s not a play for more resumes but for the right ones.

Any big plans for BNT that we can keep a look out for?

We’ve got a big rollout coming in June and another large feature upgrade in September. Our development team is simultaneously building for community users and employers, which can be difficult at times. We’re also hiring incredible people all the time, so it’s exciting to watch the team expand. Beyond that, look for us to switch to a SaaS “seat” model toward the end of 2011. We think this is the best possible way for us to serve customers, while making our analytics and messaging features more widely available to multiple recruiters within one company.


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