Tag Archives: social media

Recruiting – It Has (almost) Come Full Circle

The last four years has brought on a change within the recruitment industry – corporate and third party – that at the minimum has sparked conversation around brand, candidate experience, how candidates are sourced or how they find open positions. Several articles have been posted stating how much recruiting has changed and that certain aspects of it will fade away or (gasp) are already dead. To me, it appears to have come full circle – almost.

During the pre-internet/applicant tracking (ATS) timeframe the strategy to find top talent included:

  • targeted campaigns in print advertising with select outlets that would drive the right talent to mail or fax in a resume to the organization
  • partnerships with schools and career service centers for the intern and entry level roles that included campus visits, presentations, interview days, meetings with professors and campus groups
  • research of key professional associations, industry conferences, and either attending events or finding a way to receive a directory of members
  • effective employee referral programs

These were typically done through manual processes, phone calls, letters and monotonous work of opening each paper resume and quickly scanning for fit. I remember spending hours with hiring managers developing recruitment strategies around finding the right talent to apply to our print ads in various niche magazines and newspapers. We did not want hundreds of people to apply because that meant a large amount of work going through the responses.

When the internet and ATS usage gained speed and exploded in the late ’90’s the strategy changed a little but the core points above were still a strong foundation within recruitment plans. With the advent of key word search (boolean) on job boards and in ATS’s the mindset moved from ensuring the right talent applied to bring in as many as possible because maybe our methods before missed some really good talent. These systems could hold thousands of resumes and in time millions. Recruiters would brag to hiring managers that XX number of candidates applied to a posting and that number was typically in the hundreds. They would then add to their bragging that due to the internet or ATS technology they could whittle down the number to a select few and screen them for the role.

The use of the internet and ATS tools built a wall between the recruiter and the applicant. No longer was a fax number, mailing address or email address contained in postings. They were replaced with web site addresses or generic email addresses and phrases like “no phone calls please” or “no faxed or paper resumes accepted”. Recruiters (mostly corporate) were now behind a curtain that only privileged candidates who were contacted would be able to see behind it.

However, as the internet evolved and it moved from one-way communication to two way (web 2.0) recruiters were being exposed via tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google searches, or other on-line communities. Those that started in recruiting behind the curtain realized they needed to gain certain skills or use the skills they learned during college in social media settings to effectively communicate with candidates. The recruiters that started pre-internet spouted that the changes were not silver bullets but just another communication tool and recruiting is still the same thing as it was 15, 20, or 25 years ago.

I think it has evolved and is similar but a recruiter can be much more effective than pre-internet. The same foundation remains as my bullet points above. Take those points in today’s terms:

  • develop an employment branding campaign that will attract the right talent to your company – this could include social media, job boards, niche industry sites, video, mobile and believe it or not – print
  • university relations and campus programs that can now be managed through on-line tools directly with the school or through other tools that have significantly reduced the workload on building those partnerships but increasing the effectiveness of on-site visits
  • research of specific industry associations, contact lists and networking events can now be done in minutes instead of hours or days
  • automated employee referral campaigns making it easier for tracking, reporting and payments/recognition

There is a mantra I use in managing recruiters today that I know grates their nerves because it goes against the mindset of the “post and pray” days between 1999 – 2008. Less resumes, less interviews, more offers. That is how recruiting has almost come full circle. In 1995 I did not want 200 resumes mailed or faxed to me and today I do not want 200 resumes submitted to a non-high volume role. I want to make sure the role is marketed to the right candidate pool, enticing enough to have them apply and given today’s tools I can quickly and effectively identify top talent through the use of various internet resources. In addition, I want top talent to find me and connect with me about opportunities within my organization, no more curtain to stand behind.

As recruiters we have always adapted to new technologies and in some cases blown out the use of a tool that was not considered as it’s original intent. When developing a recruitment plan are you relying on spray and pray that will create a habit of sit and wait recruiting, or is it an active program that drives the right talent to your organization and a go out and seek mindset? I believe the latter will move your organization forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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I’ve Heard This Before…

Recently we moved into a house where the previous owners had left a very nice set of Encyclopedias and a special edition Philadelphia Inquirer “America: What went wrong?” from 1991. It was a nine part series that touched on everything from the “dismantling of the middle class” to jobs going to Mexico (now China) and the lack of salaries keeping pace with the rich, to big business tax breaks, the expansion of a global economy,  to health insurance, the decline of pensions and how Capitol Hill is influenced by lobbyists. The article states on the front page it will “…show how millions of Americans have fallen victim to a combination of rulemakers in Washington and dealmakers on Wall Street.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you heard this before?

I have. Do not expect me to present my opinion on these hot button topics or try to explain them. If it took two Pulitzer Prize winning reporters two years and thousands of miles of travel to conduct interviews, research and write their series, there is no chance I can present mine in a single post.

In reading the series and reflecting on those times I remember it was not much better then than it is now. In the early ’90’s we were in a serious recession and though I was in college I read article after article about how it was the worst time in recorded history for college graduates to find a job. Several of my friends who had graduated in ’90 – ’93 spent months looking for work. Most ended up in fields outside of their major. Several moved back home and some never could get their careers started and remained in entry level roles for years.

My first job out of college did not pay enough for me to live on my own and remember buying groceries on my credit card knowing full well I would not be able to pay the monthly bill. It was tough seeing the bank account always around zero. I wanted to make it on my own, I wanted to live independently but my main motivation came from my parents who informed me that if I moved home I would have to pay rent. Who wants to pay rent to their parents AND live by their rules?

I do agree that this recession is worse, and it is much tougher on people to find jobs in their chosen careers or just viable work. Especially those recent or new graduates. There are plenty of stories of how people have been creative in finding work, landing that perfect job, or having an extremely short job search. However, for every success I have a feeling there are five to ten stories of no success. This sounds so familiar to the early 90’s and 00’s recessions.

A key difference this time around…social media. People being able to reach out to friends from several years ago and reconnecting. The ability to find a job, a network connection, a reference check all through various sites that have given candidates a great opportunity to connect. Candidates have access to recruiters and hiring managers like never before and that is helping.

As with the job search in the ’90’s and about 10 years ago the job search is still about connections. Whether it is old school networking or if it is the new way through social media channels it pays dividends to build your connections/network before, during and after your job search.

Recruiters have access to an abundance of information on candidates through the same channels and that makes the search for talent that much easier and yet that much more complicated. Appreciate the fact that we impact people’s lives everyday and that by being smart about our recruitment techniques and identifying the best fit for our organization (and not just dropping a candidate because of how long they have been out of work) we will move our companies forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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My Personal Job Search Stats

Recently I met up with Bryan Chaney to discuss my job search and to just hang out. Bryan and I have known each other for about two years both professionally and personally initially meeting on Twitter. He has been a great sounding board for me and offering constant support during my current search. At one point in our conversation I had told him that I am utilizing all avenues and so far it didn’t really seem like one source or approach had an advantage over another. He seemed a little surprised and asked me if had I really looked at my data. I told him that I had not reviewed it in depth but was keeping a mental track record and constantly reviewing my notes. I had started a spreadsheet at the beginning of my search and stopped after the first five opportunities fell through. It was tough to look at “my losses” and being reminded of them on a daily basis. After talking with Bryan I knew it was now time to try and test my suspicions and either prove my anecdotal information right or wrong.

After digging through my inbox, sent items, LinkedIn mailbox and notes I created a new spreadsheet. I set it up by Company Name, Position Title, Phone Interview, In-House Interview, Source, Status and Reason. Nothing scientific or fancy but something to give me a solid picture of my activity. I decided to limit the spreadsheet to only those companies or third party recruiters (TPR’s) where I had submitted my resume and not count the number of people I had sent my resume to help network me around (that number is in the neighborhood of 50).

Here is what I learned:

Since January 19th when my position was eliminated my resume has been submitted 36 times. There are three main sources: Directly Applied*, Contacted by the company or TPR, and Referral. Out of the these 36 I have had 14 phone interviews. (I am only counting one phone interview per job per employer. In some cases I have had multiple phone interviews with one employer for a role).

Directly Applied – 14 submissions resulting 2 phone interviews or 14%
Contacted by a company or TPR – 9 submissions resulting in 4 phone interviews or 44%
Referral – 13 submissions resulting in 8 phone interviews or 62%

*I had researched the companies before applying and in some cases found employees that were first or second level LinkedIn contacts and sent them a note or had a phone conversation. None of these attempts led to a phone interview or “advantage”. In other cases I did not find any contacts but based on my research submitted my resume.

Out of the 14 phone interviews I have been invited for an in-house interview twice and I am expecting to hear on three more phone interviews. If those hit then the low percentage should quickly jump to a more respectable number.

The conclusion from my unscientific research (but personal experience) appears that I should focus my efforts on being referred instead of directly applying or waiting to be contacted. However, just like in recruiting, I do not rely on one source or approach in finding candidates. In addition, the three opportunities I am waiting to hear on consist of one referral, one direct apply and one where I was contacted. So if I only focus on being referred then I would be down at least six phone interviews and waiting to hear on one opportunity – not three.

By doing this exercise I learned that I have a fairly balanced approach to my search, each method resulted in activity and only one company where I had a phone interview never provided an update. I also confirmed what I suspected: using multiple communication tools – email, social media, phone, and in person networking – will spread the net as far and wide as possible creating leads. Having a balanced and methodical approach whether in recruiting or in a job search will help me move forward along with whatever organization I join.

I welcome your thoughts.

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Scores, Lists and Influence

The #TNL Twitter chat on Wednesday (4/27) was spirited, educational and great humor thrown in here and there. Craig Fisher invited Megan Berry from Klout to help educate the recruiting and HR community about Klout and what the numbers could mean in our space. The questions were flying at Megan and, in my opinion, she did an excellent job responding with valuable information in a quick manner. That had to be tough considering she had on average 120 characters to use [after the hashtag and Twitter handle]. It was interesting to see the spectrum of attitudes, beliefs, strong opinions and snarkiness towards the Klout numbers and other sites that try to show someone’s influence in the social media sphere.

One of the hottest questions/topics was around if people should put their Klout score on a resume, or submit it when trying to land a project or business for consulting work. The responses ranged from suggesting that someone with a high score is spending too much time in social media and not enough time working to if you are going for a social media role then it should probably be listed. An example was given by @2morrowknight losing an account because his Klout score was not high enough in the customer’s eyes – I was a little shocked because his score is in the upper 70’s and he has over 180,000 followers on Twitter (in addition he has blogs, started on-line communities and works for a well known publication) and is clearly influential in the social media sphere.

After his comment the question “What is a good score?” came up a few times in the stream. Thankfully no one said “it depends” (see my previous post) but the answers ranged from the sarcastic to the serious. Some posted they could care less, some almost bragging how high their score was and others admitting their scores were low with explanations on why. As the conversation continued it became clear that it is all subjective and what may be considered high on one site may be low on another. Someone may be influential to one group but have absolutely no influence within another. An example was given showing that someone who had a higher Klout score than a peer did not put much faith into it because the peer is considered to be much more influential. Here is the link to the example: influence is not a number

Is influence getting people to take action, buy a product or change their opinion or approach? Sure, but does a score or being on a list guarantee your level of influence? Should we only listen to those who have the high scores and are regularly on “influencers lists”?

In my opinion, no. Take them for what they are – the measurement of on-line activity. I commented during the chat that my score is around 40 but fluctuates with my activity and that I am a “casual” social media participant. I average two to three tweets a day, one or two blog posts a quarter and it is nice to see people respond to my work in ways that may never be measured by Klout or other sites. I use social media to professionally network, to educate myself on trending topics within recruiting and HR or to seek advice. I also use the tools to interact with people I may never meet in person but share common interests.

The Talent Net Live conferences started with my one tweet response to @DorothyBeach and Craig has taken the event and run with it. I am not trying to boast here but trying to drive a point home. If I had never responded to Dorothy’s tweet and included Craig and others we would have never experienced these great events. That moment will never show up in any scores, lists or influencer rankings and I am happy it will not.

By using the tools to fit my needs and to stay focused on the task at hand I can ignore the scores and lists and take away what is important for me to do my job. By doing so I can move an organization forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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Corporate Recruiters Can Effectively Source

“Corporate recruiters do not know how to effectively source like third party recruiters.” How many times have corporate recruiters heard this from the third party recruiters? Sure some TPR’s will say that they used to be in-house recruiters before making the switch to the agency side of the business, therefore they can claim to know and can speak on everyone’s behalf.

I agree, to a certain extent, that due to large requisition loads, broken processes, meetings upon meetings, and involvement in personal development projects that corporate recruiters are at a disadvantage. (Side note – as a leader I have done as much as I can to eliminate or minimize these issues for my teams). However, even with these obstacles corporate recruiters can still effectively source no matter the size of the organization and the lack of a dedicated sourcing function.

In previous postings I have stated that time management or the structure of the recruiter’s day are key to ensuring a successful search. Another ingredient is a methodical sourcing strategy. After the kick-off meeting I would have a plan either in my head or in my notes on the sources I would go to first. Then I would work through them at the specific times I had set aside each day for sourcing activities. This allowed me to use my precious time efficiently resulting in the identification of quality candidates.

My plan was usually – company database first, job board databases, referrals, job board posting(s), broader internet searches, and then, depending on the positions, other sources could be career fairs, school visits, alternative advertising, target competitor companies or more recently social network sites.

By being methodical in my approach to sourcing I could act more like a TPR in seeking out talent for the more difficult searches and moving my company forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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It’s a Garden Not a Grocery Store

Over the last two weeks I have used this analogy when talking to recruiters within my company that recruiting via the social networks is more like a garden and not a grocery store. It seems to have connected with them and I know there are hundreds of other analogies out there describing “social recruiting” and this one just came out of my mouth during a conversation. My point is when a recruiter is using the social networks to find candidates and engage them either in conversation or to direct source, the mindset is different than before.

This change in mindset is a challenge for me. I am used to the grocery store approach where I would go to my company resume database and search those that directly applied or to a job board database and pick out the candidates I felt were the most qualified and contact them. This is like going to the store where you know what you need and in what aisle it is located. The choice is then determined on fit, price and need. Do I go “generic” because the salary range will not allow me to select the name brand? What store seems to carry the best produce that is fresh?

Now, with social recruiting, the mindset feels more like planting a garden. I am doing research on where should I connect with people, setting a strategy with goals that need to be very flexible and seeing where I might want to go for future needs. Unlike the grocery store, the people I am connecting with are not necessarily looking for a new position and will most likely wither away if I over fertilize them with job opportunities.

There are hundreds, maybe a thousand posts on what a recruiter should do in the social network space – listen, engage, ask questions then approach. I do not disagree with this approach, but the recruiter mindset changes in this environment. There is rarely a quick hit or a one and done phone call, but more of a chain of connections through one or multiple networks. It is not a mindset of post and pray or wait and see but going out, seeking and being vulnerable. It is a mindset that I had when I first started recruiting and in order to find candidates I had to cold call, develop leads and relationships and attend networking events in person.

To me we have come full circle with our transparency, engagement, social networks and connecting. The key difference now is that it is so much easier than digging through phone books, association directory books and cold calling into companies. Now I can “lurk”, listen, perform far better research and searches before making the decision to contact. I can follow someone and determine if they really are a guru, expert, rock star or ninja (all terms I dislike) and then decide whether to contact or hit the unfollow button.

As you conduct your searches and social recruiting tactics remember the mindset is different – it’s not a store but a garden. By changing the mindset you can move your company forward.

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