Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Léo Moulinas, marketing director at Hays, on how to stand out in the marketing recruiting process thanks to data skills:

Shaheen Samavati 0:12
Hi, everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m here with Léo Moulinas, marketing director EMEA at Hays, a leading professional recruiting group based in London and operating around the world. Thanks so much for joining us, Leo.

Léo Moulinas 0:25
Thank you for having me.

Shaheen Samavati 0:27
So, where are you joining us from today?

Léo Moulinas 0:30
Well, I’m currently based in Barcelona. However, we’ve got a few offices around the world, as you said. Our global headquarters is in London, we are a British company, but we’ve expanded across the globe. So I happen to be based in Barcelona now, in the region that has responsibilities over EMEA, mainly continental Europe, and the Middle East. But, we also have other hubs in Australia, the Americas, South America, and also a big hub in Germany as well.

Shaheen Samavati 1:04
Okay, so I guess usually you would be doing a lot of travel to different markets but right now you’re stationary there in Barcelona

for the moment.

Léo Moulinas 1:15
Yeah and I’m not complaining so much about this. Neither are my kids and wife. Since I’m obviously travelling less now. But yes, part of the job was, obviously to work with the teams and there’s nothing like human interactions in the end. As much as platforms have been at the forefront of what we do now, to run meetings or work with people, through zoom or Microsoft Teams or other types of Skype related platforms. I think that travelling will hopefully resume at some point to allow us to get back to normal.

Shaheen Samavati 1:53
Yeah, absolutely. So just to get to know you a bit better, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into marketing in the first place and then your career trajectory up to now?

Léo Moulinas 2:05
Sure, well working in marketing came over time. It’s not that I had a personal aspiration to become a marketing director from a very young age. But it all started with the studies, which I completed in France, but I was lucky to benefit from an exchange programme to go and do a master’s degree in the States in California. That’s where marketing in the Silicon Valley was particularly big and the latest innovations there were very interesting. So that’s more or less what led me to start a career in marketing, following my MBA in San Francisco, where I managed to work for my first job at ETRADE for about three years and learn a great deal of marketing techniques at the time when digital marketing was becoming bigger in the marketing mix and budget. After this first stunt, I decided to travel a little bit and then go back to the homeland and Europe in particular, which I did back in 2004 and I started working for ETRADE again, they were looking for someone to launch their operation in Europe and in France, where i’m originally from. So that’s what I did, then I moved to some more regional roles at ETRADE in London, and eventually I moved back to Paris to work for Expedia and a B2B branch, called Egencia, where I spent a couple of years managing European marketing for them. From there on, I decided to take a fantastic opportunity with Hays, which is encompassing the two target audiences I was dealing with. In the first instance B2C, when I was working for ETRADE, because that was all about investment solutions for individuals, and B2B, which is what I was doing at Expedia before. So for the last eight years i’ve been managing marketing for the EMEA region at Hays, a global recruiter and that somehow encompasses two main target audiences. The candidates, the B2C side, we’re trying to engage and speak to as many of these very useful and hard to find candidates for clients. At the same time, we’re trying to speak and market to organisations that are in recruitment needs, and try to sell our services or at least engage with them and sell our services to these guys and be the middleman between the two. So matching jobs from clients to the appropriate candidates. So that’s basically what we do at Hays and I’m very privileged to be able to market those services with a team of about 80 people, spread across the 14 markets that we’ve got in continental Europe. So there’s obviously a lot of specificity market by market, but all in that’s the recruitment industry that’s panning across all these countries.

Shaheen Samavati 4:39
So the 80 people, that’s just the marketing team? Or is that marketing and sales?

Léo Moulinas 5:37
Just marketing actually. So we’ve got countries where we’ve got larger teams like Germany, for example, with about 20-25 guys. Or one man bands, in smaller geographies, I’ll pick Italy, for example, where we’ve got two individuals, based in Milan, running marketing in Italy for Hays. But working with all these guys and obviously driving the strategy there and trying to exchange best practice, lead the team, and plan the strategic initiatives that we’ve got across the region.

Shaheen Samavati 6:18
I see. So it’s really impressive, you’ve worked with really big names in each of these three very different industries. So I was curious, what’s the commonality in your role? What has been the same and what’s different that you’ve done in each of these different companies?

Léo Moulinas 6:39
Well, obviously, the industries are very different. So you’re not going to market an investment or banking solution, the same way you’re going to market recruitment services to clients. But I think that the rules around marketing always remain the same and are fairly basic. For me, when being asking what is it that you do and I’m saying I’m doing marketing and communication, it’s down to two things for me. The first one is that I’m in charge of building the brand, the reputation of the organisation that employs me, and no one else is doing that. To be frank, the marketing department is directly responsible for building the brand equity and the brand for an organisation. Something that is very valuable to shareholders, because if you’re selling a company, I think that the brand equity is obviously part of the valuation process, we’ve got direct responsibilities in marketing to build that brand. And the other side of the equation is fairly basic and it’s backing up the sales, whether the sales are very direct or conducted online, or to sales teams and more traditional commercial functions. I think that marketing is always working hand in hand with the commercial sales function, to make sure that the sales volumes are reaching the objectives and marketing is quite essential. So you could probably claim that sales is marketing or marketing itself. But I definitely see marketing as a very strong cog in the overall commercial engine of any organisation.

Shaheen Samavati 8:25
Do you think the role of marketing has shifted during the time that you’ve been working in marketing, I mean, your long career?

Unknown Speaker 8:33

Léo Moulinas 8:33
Definitely. Obviously, when it was a little bit more traditional, maybe more PR driven, or more of the traditional marketing mixes that we’ve all studied at uni 20 years ago. Nothing is the same right now. There’s no such thing as planning marketing three years in advance with a strategic plan anymore. It’s obviously gone a lot shorter in terms of the cycles, the agility, the adaptability is very, very important for marketing. But nonetheless, I think that the core pillars of a marketing function remain the same and you’re back to creativity, customer experience. It’s back to the techniques to engage with your target audience and making sure that you think top of mind with the people that you’re after, that you’re trying to engage with.

Shaheen Samavati 9:31
Definitely. When it comes to content marketing, which is our focus at The Content Mix, that’s obviously become a bigger part of the of the marketing mix. I’m curious how you use content at Hays to engage with your target audiences and can you explain who your audiences are?

Léo Moulinas 9:49
Yeah, it all started with who who are we trying to talk to. In the case of Hays, as a recruiter, we’re trying to speak as much to clients, so organisations, that may have some recruitment needs and may need to recruit some talents’. The other very important target audience, is the candidate origins. So anyone with a willingness to make a move in terms of career, or not even a willingness just yet, but interested in career paths, or management of his or her career, we’re trying to also speak to these guys. Secondary audience are probably the same for any marketing function around the world. That would be the journalists origins, to obviously be able to get some good PR for a name and build authority through that, but also the investor origins, especially for us, we’re a traded company. So obviously, speaking to the investor support agencies, is also something important. But primarily, I would say, we’re talking to employers and candidates. How we do that, which was the second part of your question, through a whole bunch of channels, from digital channels to offline channels, we’ve got a lot of content dissemination happening offline as well, with big events that were pre-COVID. Or now we’ve obviously moved that to more of a webinar format and digital channels, they’re also trying and working very hard to digitising the approach there. We’re very, very happy, for example, to claim to be the most followed recruiter on LinkedIn, which is probably one of the most important content platforms you can think of when it comes to recruitment and career management, with about 4.3 million followers around the world on that platform, something that we’re definitely investing a lot of our budgets and time into, and we’re trying to build reputation and more and more followers through this platform. Another type of channel would other types of social media, whether we’re talking about image related social media, like Instagram, for example, or any other sort of platform. Or, more generally, the email channel, which for me, might be a bit old fashioned, but still people’s inboxes remain probably the best place for me to reach out and engage in the right way. Obviously, I’m not spamming at all, but I still believe that a good, targeted email with the right content, to the right guy, at the right time, with the relevant content will probably be one of the best tools I’ve got to engage with a particular individual.

Shaheen Samavati 12:59
Yeah, I saw you guys are doing some really professional content and I was impressed that you have a full fledged magazine, the Hays Journal. I was wondering, what’s the story behind that initiative?

Léo Moulinas 13:09
Yeah, so that’s something that we started a few years ago, with a view to imitate some of the other consultancies. I remember walking to my CEOs office and seeing a full shelf of McKinsey’s magazines being over there. So the idea of the Hays Journal has always been to try to build evergreen content, more of a journalistic approach, and have something that can be printed, sitting on people’s desk. So it’s a fantastic tool for consultants or commercial people to literally walk into someone’s office and hand over a copy of the of the Hays Journal. But the other tactics or strategy around the Hays journal has always been to try to have defining stories and talk about trends in the recruitment and HR industry in general terms to our target audiences. So it’s primarily targeting the B2B target audience or clients, mainly HR people, HR directors. The goal is obviously to have a journalistic approach in the way we’re building that content to make sure that the target audience sees this as an anchor, once a quarter they will have the Hays journal. I think over time, we’ve managed to build a tool that really allows our brand name and our brand in general to stand out in the recruitment industry, and have some really compelling stories with the latest trends. I would say around HR and recruitment in general, really hitting these guys and giving food for thoughts in the end.

Okay. Yeah, that’s a super interesting initiative and I wanted to also ask you, because our audience at The Content Mix are professionals in marketing and content creation who are looking to advance in their career, so the topic of recruiting is quite relevant. I was curious, what are the trends that you’re seeing right now in recruitment? And what kinds of resources are you creating for both the recruiters and the recruitees in this time and during this poor economic environment?

Well, in terms of trends for content marketing, I think that we are all seeing the same thing, which is definitely a shortening of the cycles. I would even claim that there’s definitely content fatigue happening right now. So I think that the name of the game for us is to stand out and try to grab some share of mind from our competition, because I think there’s absolutely no shortage of content nowadays, especially with social platforms. So how do you stand out, how do you personalize as much as possible content, at scale. There are plenty of tools that allow you to do that, so that you can interact and engage with your target audience in a very meaningful way at the right time with the right messaging. So I think that we are all seeing this. In recruitment in particular, obviously, our industry is following the economic cycles quite closely. So when things are great economically, companies tend to hire and candidates have more confidence into moving jobs, which is definitely something that’s helping. So we’re following this through and therefore that informs the way we are crafting the content, the editorial calendar and the policies that we’ve got, as well as the tone of voice that we’re going to be moving. But in terms of long term trends for us, in recruitment, it’s all about becoming more and more of a lifelong career partner to our target audiences, to our candidates and clients, and not just being the guy that makes the match when someone is actively looking for a new job or when an organisation is actively looking for backfilling an empty position. So having content in the mixer is absolutely capital and I would say that content marketing is one of the fundamental pillars for marketing strategy, the blood that will really feed through our channels. We’re really putting a lot of investment time into developing original, constant and good content for our target audience to ensure that these guys are interacting with us in the right way. Now, the other part of your question was what do I see, in terms of trends for content marketers or marketing individuals, in terms of their employability nowadays. I think that there are still lots and lots of pockets of opportunity for individuals with ambition and with the right skill sets. We’re definitely seeing that anything that’s obviously data centric, and data driven, in terms of marketing royalties is definitely in high demand. I would probably say that anyone with capital or skill set in data led marketing is not going to have too much problem finding a good job nowadays, that still is something where marketing departments are investing. But that’s basically at the border of data science and proper creative marketing. So my advice would be to basically try to develop new experience, and a skill set that basically spans over the two sides, have creativity and sensibility for marketing and for branding, but also a keen eye or sensitivity towards data and really making decisions. Whether it’s in the budgets or an editorial calendar made and based on data. I think that data driven content decisions nowadays are absolutely paramount for any good marketer.

Shaheen Samavati 19:45
Yeah, that’s actually a question that comes up a lot in our Facebook community, what continuing education would make sense to pursue. That’s a good point, courses around data and how that ties into marketing and the more technical side of things is really valuable right now.

Léo Moulinas 20:04

Shaheen Samavati 20:07
I wanted to also ask you, as you work across various markets in Europe, what do you find challenging about that?

Léo Moulinas 20:17
Well, it’s a challenge, but it’s also a great pleasure. I suppose the number one thing that I keep saying to my boss is that yes, unfortunately, not everyone speaks English across Europe and we’ve got to deal with a variety of languages and cultures. So we’ve got to be very mindful of that and we’re trying to address that localization challenge, as best as we can. It takes resources, it takes time. But I think that trying to become good at it, which I think is the case for Hays, really allows us to stand out. So it’s a variety of techniques, I would say. Obviously, we’ve got central teams that are completely dedicated in building different blocks for content strategy, whether it’s pan-European reports and surveys, trying to figure out what the target audience wants in this particular geography or that other geography. But also, we’re giving lots and lots of freedom to local marketing teams, to also come up with their local content. So I would say that the right mix for me would be a blend of the two. Centrally driven, good content, which allows us to really build leadership authority on segments, like recruitment in our case and to be frank, the way people are looking for a job or looking at a talent is not drastically different from one country to another. So I think that the type of content that we’re building in one geography, can definitely be re-utalized in many forms or shapes in other geographies. Complementing this not just against the right level of translations and localizations but also, added bits that are very, very genuine, very local, really makes a world of difference. So I’ll give you a concrete example. We are publishing the Hays journal, for example, which is the same journal for everyone around the world. Obviously, we are covering lots of topics that we feel are very relevant to our target audience and very topical, in essence, then that goes to the hands of our local marketers that basically take it to market, it’s translated, it’s printed, it’s completely localized. But we’re really wrapping this with lots of promotional marketing done in local languages, videos, social graphics, extracts that are translated and relayed and repurposed on local blogs. Or, for example, some of the articles are used as the basis for speeches that were making at speaking opportunities or local events. So I guess the mechanic to translate, localize and repurpose pieces of content across the patches, is really what’s at stake there and I think that if you’re capable of going relatively quickly, with the right tone of voice and really build that experience over time, that’s when your content becomes more and more impactful and relevant to your target audience.

Shaheen Samavati 23:44
Absolutely, yeah, it sounds like Hays has really bet on localized content marketing. That’s awesome. I didn’t realise that you had the Hays Journal in all these languages. It’s super interesting. So I wanted to move to the recommendations part of the interview. So could you let me know what’s a source of professional inspiration or marketing inspiration for you?

Léo Moulinas 24:08
Well, I’ve got an all time god in marketing called Seth Godin. You can obviously Google, YouTube, his name and it’ll come up with lots of TED Talks, he is a great guy. I remember reading a quote from him a long time ago, which I think is still very relevant in October 2020. He said, marketing is not about the stuff you’re selling, it’s about the stories you’re telling. I really believe in that. I really believe that storytelling remains at the centre of any good marketing plan. It’s about creating emotions, it’s about creating relevancy, it’s about touching people’s hearts. It’s about being romantic to a certain extent with your content if I may say. I think that if I take this back to my role in what we do in recruitment, on the face value of it we may be building lots of content that’s a bit technical sometimes or very industry driven. But for example, one of the core surveys that we are launching every year is called the salary guide and that’s something that everybody is definitely willing to look at once a year and to become an anchor in our marketing calendars and in our editorial calendars. The reason being that people always want to know if they’re well paid or not and for employers to know whether they should give that raise, or maybe bump up or bump down someone’s salary. So that comes back to the very core of why we’re working, which is trying to make a living, and trying to connect your content with that story, with that romanticism, so to say, which touches people really at the core is super important. So thank you, Seth, if you’re listening to me today for that huge source of inspiration. He is the one.

Shaheen Samavati 26:18
Yeah, awesome, that’s a great example. Then I also wanted to ask you your favourite app?

Léo Moulinas 26:26
Well, it’s not nothing original, but I’m commuting to work nowadays so Waze is probably the one that I’m using the most and I find the most useful as a network of individual drivers nowadays.

Shaheen Samavati 26:41
Yeah, no, it’s a useful recommendation, because not everyone has discovered the magic of Waze I imagine, they’re still using Google Maps. Okay, any recommended resource for job seekers out there?

Léo Moulinas 26:59
Yeah, I think that it’s about first and foremost, having fun in what we do. I think that translates into CV’s, into the way people are behaving during interviews, for example. That’s the connection that you’re trying to make when you’re trying to convince someone to hire you. So for good job seekers that’s what I would say, it’s about researching and trying to find the right messaging and really customising one’s approach to a particular job. But in terms of my advice to content marketing peers, I would say that what I’m seeing now, especially with the rise of COVID, is that you’ve got to get back to basics. As I mentioned earlier with my safeguarding quote it’s about the stories, it’s about being original. But also it’s about proper planning, having a good message framework, and a good editorial calendar that keeps on evolving is absolutely paramount. Then obviously being influenced by data and what it is that people are reading. How do they react to your blogs, which link do they click on to when they get your emails, or see your graphics or your infographics on social platforms? How long are they watching your videos is definitely informing the storytelling cycle in the end. We’ve, got to compete nowadays with lots and lots of media and content outlets. So always being on is absolutely paramount and to be able to be ‘on’ always, you’ve got to define and build a machinery that allows you to do that. But at the end of it all it’s the quality of the story that will make a difference and it’s back to good journalism, or good magazines and good content. If you are original and you stand up, then there’s no particular reason why your marketing cannot be successful.

Shaheen Samavati 29:11
I was curious if you have any shameless plug for content from Hays, I know you have a blog and training resources as well, anything that might be useful for members of The Content Mix?

Léo Moulinas 29:23
Yeah, a couple of things I can think of, definitely check our corporate blog, social., where you’ll see a large variety of our content, from the Hays journal, for example, to some of the latest videos that we’re producing in multiple languages, some of the influencers that we’re inviting to come and talk to us on our network. Also, try to check the format, there are some obvious things that you’ll see, having a title with “top 10 tips on how to write a CV” or “the top five questions that you should be asking to someone willing to recruit you”. You’ll see how we’re formatting and trained to basically make those pieces of content as makeable as possible. So that people keep on enjoying, so that would be the main resource I would point you guys to –

Shaheen Samavati 30:25
Okay, yeah, definitely. It sounds interesting to check out both from the point of view of seeing your strategy and content marketing, but also it sounds like there’s some practical tips in there for people who might be looking to change jobs as well. So very cool. Okay, any parting thoughts as we end the interview?

No, well, I guess

Léo Moulinas 30:45
Keep the bar high, be ambitious for your content and for yourself. I think marketing is absolutely essential for any organisation, obviously I have been working in this field for for many years, but I don’t see any reason why the purpose of marketing should be challenged nowadays. But for me, I would conclude back home, on that story telling notion. I think that having good stories for your target audience is really what will make your marketing unique and will allow you to gain trust, and therefore build relationships and run some good sales in the end. That’s what it’s all about. So, good luck, guys and feel free to reach out to me if you want to continue the chat.

Shaheen Samavati 31:32
Okay, excellent. Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights and knowledge with us.

Léo Moulinas 31:36
My pleasure. Thank you.

Shaheen Samavati 31:38
And thanks, everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out and keep tuning into the podcast for daily interviews with content experts across Europe. See you next time. Bye.

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