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HR Technology Recruiting Talent Management

I’m Going Corporate: Next stop, Cornerstone OnDemand

I’ll be the first to admit, I never thought I would leave the world of being an independent analyst and go to work for a vendor.  The last five years on my own have been really amazing,  I’ve been so fortunate to work with great clients on three continents, travel the world speaking on my research, publish reports and been a behind the scenes part of some truly innovative product work in the talent acquisition market.

I’ve been doing my dream job.

Today, my dream job evolves as I join Cornerstone OnDemand as Principal Consultant, Talent Acquisition on their Global Thought Leadership and Advisory Services (TLAS) team.

I know what you are thinking…aren’t they the learning company?

Well, Yes. But also, No.  I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that as a “Talent Acquisition person”, I always associated them with Talent Management and Learning.  As an HR Tech Analyst it’s hard not to be familiar with Cornerstone, as they’ve been a leader in learning and talent management since I was in college— talent acquisition on the other hand, was historically a smaller focus for the company, so I’d never worked with them or followed them all that closely.   My interest peaked about a year ago when they announced Cornerstone Edge and I started watching them evolve not only partnerships, but became really intrigued about what they were doing pretty quietly with their recruiting product as well.

When the recruiter reached out to me a few months ago, I fell in love with the role itself; it was so different than anything else I’ve seen vendors trying to do I actually gave the recruiter a number of other people they should reach out to. The TLAS team, an in-house group of former analysts and consultants  — each one focused on their area of specialty — would not only work with the sales team and clients on getting the most out of Cornerstone’s technology, but also to work with the product team on developing an offering that was best in class full suite recruiting software integrated with their talent management suite.

An unrelated analyst briefing for a project I had been working on gave me a look not only at the existing ATS but at the coming roadmap — it blew my mind how far Cornerstone recruiting has come so quickly. While newer to the market, this product is competitive with what I’ve seen coming out of startups — something unheard of in this space for an enterprise-level company.

So, how did I end up taking a job I wasn’t even going to consider?

Passion.  A skype with Cornerstone’s founder and CEO, Adam Miller. (He has a 94% rating on Glassdoor, btw) solidified the fact that recruiting is not just a “we have to check the box off” product for this company.  I’ve worked with teams and leaders who have that goal. This was different.  Recruiting was a key initiative driven from the top down. The executive team stands behind the impact recruiting can have on businesses, and they want to have a best-in-class product — not just to compete with full-suite vendors, but directly with standalone ATS solutions.

It’s gutsy.  It’s bold.  It’s challenging.  It’s the opportunity and team I’d been waiting for and didn’t know it. Want to learn more about what I do now or see the recruiting product?  Shoot me an email!

What HR & Recruiters should take away from my hiring experience…

Passive Candidates Are Always Active for the Right Role.

I’d been approached for opportunities more times than I can recall over the last 5 years – typically I’d give a few suggestions for names, make a few referrals and move along.  Much like I did in this case.  The recruiter had me talk with a VP informally to just learn more – Don’t give up if your gut tells you they are a great fit. 

Insight is Key. 

I read Every. Single. Review. On Glassdoor about Cornerstone before I talked to anyone in the C suite.  I knew the good and the bad.  I knew their wins and struggles.  So did they.  I never felt like I was getting “sold” – I felt like I was being given honest information to make a smart decision.  How do your candidates feel going through your process?  Most would rather know the truth about management styles and work hours than be surprised.  And your executive team would rather have retention than a role simply filled over and over.

Employment Brand Matters: I’m a “Cornerstar”

It’s hard to compare the employment branding of companies that “get” it – beyond Glassdoor I was able to watch videos on their website and YouTube posted by employees.  It’s a laid back Southern California culture with things like “beach days” and candy walls.  While I’m not going to be based in corporate, I’m looking forward to taking part in a company culture that not only believes in helping their clients recruit and develop the right talent, but also believes in recruiting and developing the right talent themselves.  What do candidates see on your website?  Does it really reflect your company?  Check out some tips I gave on branding here

Values Matter

Finally, all that other stuff was great – but I’m a Gen X/Millennial cusper.  We used to be called Gen Y but someone on Wikipedia changed that.  Anyway, I care about what a company stands for beyond what they do.  For some organizations, it’s something simple like allowing volunteer hours to be paid time off one a year; or running toy drives at the holidays.  For others it’s more elaborate.  Cornerstone, through its Innovation Fund and the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation, is doing so much of that – their focus on the next generation of innovation and tech talent demonstrates a commitment to wanting the best for their clients, not only today, but five, 10, and 25 years from now.  Are you telling your story, no matter how large or small, about what matters to your business, beyond business?


If you happen to be at HR Technology Conference next month, stop by the Cornerstone Ondemand booth or Wednesday night party and say Hi  – I’ll be in/out over the course of the days!  (And hopefully this explains why I’ve been dodging the briefing requests)


As an aside, HRTechBlog will be business as usual as it’s a separate entity from me and even Accelir.  We will continue to have a number of guest posts and regular content.
Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan is a recognized HCM industry analyst and advisor focused on improving the impact of technology on people, business and the future of work.  Sarah Brennan has been named a top global influencer in HR Technology by more than 50 publications and shared her insights at speaking engagements around the world. As Chief Advisor at Accelir, she partners with HR Technology vendors and investors as an advisor, interim CxO role and on engagements focused on growth strategies, product roadmap & market education/evangelism. She also works with corporate teams enhancing talent strategies.

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