Memorial Day

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” – Douglas MacArthur

Danbury Area Vietnam Memorial - Photo by: Michael Herrick (http://www.HMdb.org)

A paradox in the history of human thought is that peace is worth fighting for. The very irony of that sentence is rarely discussed. Most religions of the world teach that killing another human being is wrong, but the number of wars fought over religion is astounding. Our laws prohibit killing and then we codify the degrees of taking someone’s life into neat categories like “manslaughter” or “murder.” The same governmental entities that protect life also give themselves the authority to take life by execution or war.

Without debating the issue of the morality of war and other ways of legalizing the taking of human life, one fact stands out: the majority of people do not want to die. This becomes a personal standard which allows us to rationalize or justify intentionally causing death. Life is so precious that we never want to lose it and assume that others have the same set of values. By deductive reasoning, capital punishment is a deterrent because “they deserve to die.” Sometimes we are proved to be wrong in this notion when terrorists give up life for a cause that we cannot understand. In reality, the real product of terrorism is not death, it is terror. We are terrified by the thought of dying.

Speaking from the viewpoint of a veteran who served for the purpose of protecting my family and others, I graciously acknowledge the thanks for doing my so-called duty when in fact I never really wanted to die or put myself in danger. The fact that for a period of time I was on the edge of danger and lived gives me purpose today; that perhaps I really am here for a reason. It also gives me the ultimate respect for those who served and did not return home. Hopefully, that was the purpose for which they existed and they did not die in vain. On Memorial Day I will probably get calls from my kids who totally overestimate the significance of my contributions, while I will remember those who saved my life and those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect my freedom.

Chatting with Twitter: Why and How To Do It

I laugh when I hear skeptics claim that Twitter is a passing fad and they won’t use it. “I don’t need to tell people what I have for breakfast every morning.” If that were the extent of the use of this social media phenomenon, I would probably agree. There is certainly evidence that a huge percentage of the content is total fluff when @charliesheen and @justinbieber are two of the most popular Twitter users. A San Antonio based market research firm launched a 2-week long study in mid-2009 and concluded that 40% of the content could be categorized as “pointless babble.” The growth of Twitter over these past two years is proprietary information and in fact it is a violation of the API Terms of Service to “…use or access the Twitter API for purposes of monitoring the availability, performance, or functionality of any of Twitter’s products and services or for any other benchmarking or competitive purposes, but estimates as reported in Wikipedia are that there are currently 200 million users generating 65 million tweets a day and handling over 800,000 search queries per day. Also in the past two years, Twitter has outgrown the image of the childish gibberish observed several years ago and has been adopted by professionals in the news media, financial services, politics and government. Coincidentally, the current economic woes and high unemployment rate has put Twitter into the hands of businesses and job seekers as a tool for research and communication. For skeptics to say that they won’t use this tool is the same as saying that they are ignoring some of the tools in the toolbox. Maybe they don’t know how to use it properly? These are the people you might see trying to drive a nail with a screwdriver.

While there are no real numbers (yet) on Twitter user stats, there is no denying the popularity of its use as a quick and easy communications medium. Like the early days of chat rooms monitored by online services like Prodigy and AOL, Twitter has opened a free form space to do the same thing by the use of hashtags (words or phrases with a # sign prefix) which serve to group topics together for clear public recognition. If you are a foodie or follow a sports team there is probably a hashtag for that. A number of community leaders have scheduled specific times for like-minded users to “meet” together online and “chat” about a topic using a common hashtag. There are currently over 400 different chat hashtags in use and the list is still evolving. One such Twitter community #HireFriday was originated over a year ago by Margo Rose, also the founder of Compassionate HR, with the purpose of helping job seekers find work in a tough economy. Every Friday people looking for work tweet their needs and a link to their resume in 140 characters or less and that is re-tweeted by others to multiply their reach and exposure. At Noon EST each Friday this community meets in a public forum for an hour with the hashtag #HFChat to discuss pre-announced job search topics. So far in 2011, #HFChat has reached over 840,000 people with an exposure of 46.8 million impressions and its popularity is still growing.

How do you join one of these chats? First you have to have a Twitter account (follow this link and just do it!). The simplest way to check out a topic or follow a chat stream is to enter the hashtag in the “search” box at the top of the screen and you have now filtered all tweets into one stream. Ta daa!

There are several other useful tools that can be used to facilitate a Twitter chat. Most are highly intuitive and give detailed instructions when you sign up so there is no need for detail here. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but since it is free to sign up for a basic account on most of them, you can shop around until you find the one that works best for you. Keep your eyes and ears open for new tools entering the market, but here are a few of the most popular:

  1. One that is probably easiest for beginners is TweetChat which lets you follow the chat stream in real time and automatically adds the chat’s hashtag at the end of your post so that you can easily add your own thoughts and ideas to the flow. It is relatively simple to scroll back to catch up if you missed something as these chats do move rather fast at times. You also have the ability to change the refresh speed and font size.
  2. Another tool that is good for experienced tweeters as well as beginners is Twubs. This offers samples of communities to follow if you are searching for a particular topic and don’t already know the hashtags. Like TweetChat, Twubs also automatically adds the chosen hashtag to your tweets so that you don’t forget to do so and miss communication with the rest of the group.
  3. Another powerful tool is Cotweet which is not only good for chats, but is a useful alternative front-end for Twitter. You can toggle back and forth between the ongoing chat and your Twitter inbox with the SearchPad.
  4. TweetDeck is unlike the other tools mentioned here which are launched in a browser. This application becomes resident on your computer because it is an Adobe Air desktop application which must be downloaded. TweetDeck has been the most popular Twitter application with a 19% market share and was recently bought by Twitter for a reported $40-$50 million price tag including cash and Twitter stock. Because of its reliable up-time and real-time refresh rate it is ideal for chat moderators. This has been my personal choice as it allows me to have columns visible for private DM (direct message) tweets from my colleagues, a separate column filtered to show the chat team’s public tweets, and a general column to follow all users.
  5. No discussion of Twitter or Twitter chat is complete without mentioning HootSuite. The refresh rate is not as fast as the others for real time chat, but the tabbed format makes it ideal for following tweets from various topics, users or conferences. When someone says to check something on Twitter, I go to HootSuite rather than to open Twitter itself. This is the only one I actually pay money to use. The free version is extremely powerful on its own, but for power users there are paid versions which take it to another level. In the professional version tweets can be uploaded from a .csv file, it can be tied to Google analytics, and there is a powerful search feature which lets you find other users by various criteria including their Klout score. There is something for everybody here.

Things are changing so rapidly in social media that this article will probably be out of date a few minutes after you read it. New tools are becoming available all the time and the ones mentioned here are on a constant path for improvement. For starters, hopefully you know that tweeting can be informative, profitable and fun and have a few ideas of the major online devices to make it work. Now tell me what you had for breakfast.

 

Job Seekers: Think Like a Recruiter – Part 3

Don't Sit Still While You Think

In the first two installments of “Think Like a Recruiter” there was a consistent theme which is a clue as to how the job search should begin. This may be a good place to pause and mention that there is a wide variety of thought on how to best perform a job search. The progression of these articles is not intended to provide “the” answer to such a complex process, but to refocus the search mentality. To continue to think from the perspective of the hunted can only result in shock and surprise when ultimately confronted by the hunter. It is not “wabbit season” it is “candidate season” and the prey needs to be as wily as the predator.

Speaking of taking a shotgun approach at preparation for getting a new job, the planned outcome cannot possibly happen with this approach because, by definition, there is no plan. There are distinct steps to building the process and it is impossible to hang the roof before laying the foundation. Without fail, the knee-jerk reaction of most people is to begin to write a resume, or dust off an old one, and start submitting it online. On the surface this may seem expedient, but in reality it only feeds our need for instant gratification. Preparation goes far beyond writing a resume. The purpose of the resume is to get you in the door. Period. What you may not know is that most company applicant tracking systems keep a history of your applications. The jobs you apply for and the documents you send are “stacked” in the database and the recruiter can see your complete application history. If you are already thinking like a recruiter, what would be your impression of someone who has applied for multiple non-related jobs? What would you think of someone submitting several resumes that don’t match or line up logically? This could be excused in certain circumstances and that in itself is not a problem, but if you only have one shot at applying wouldn’t you want your best image to hit first? You only have one chance to make a good first impression. And what about that elusive personal branding you have heard so much about? Are you thinking like a recruiter yet? Which would be more important on a level playing field: Skills that match the job or a shiny brand?

A key task of a recruiter is to insure that the job specifications are clearly communicated to a candidate. So what does a candidate look for in a job description? Do you want foggy bullet points which are so generic that you remain clueless as to the job specifics? The same thing works in reverse. If you have a vanilla presentation of yourself, don’t expect the recruiter to add the flavoring. One of the most frustrating parts of the recruiter job is when something really seems to click with a candidate and there is a gut feeling that there is a possible match, but something is missing…they can’t articulate that elusive, intangible missing item.

If the resume is all that your shotgun preparatory work accomplishes, obviously you will need to start all over again to get ready for an interview or to be prepared for a continuing dialog. Laying a good foundation for the entire process prepares you to arrive at the destination and not just to gas-up for the first leg of the journey. The brick and mortar basis for a job search foundation is a total personal inventory. Here is one way to begin building the information base that a recruiter will want to have:

  1. Overall Life Inventory – Prepare the framework of your search script with a total self analysis in writing (important as reference for future steps) using a free-form entry list. Using MS Word or some other word processing software is useful to organize thoughts into bullet points and to sort and edit as you fine tune your self assessment. Education is the most likely first measure of you qualifications. Formal education may be required for many positions simply because of company culture. You may disagree with this as a statement of a legitimate requirement, but you will have little power to change this environment. Aptitude to do the job is probably more important than being educated, but think clearly how you would plan to communicate that. Simply stating that you have a knack for doing something does not offer proof. Experience is difficult to inventory as it is not just an accumulation of tasks but a demonstration of activities successfully performed. Interests are also an important starting place. If you have the opportunity, take a standardized test from a career coach or school counselor that can uncover best jobs matches for your interests. Personality can also be tested professionally (e.g. Myers-Briggs), but most people intuitively know generally how they would react to certain situations. If you are the shy and retiring type, outside sales is probably not your thing.
  2. Skills Inventory – There are many opinions regarding the definition of what the term “skill” really means, but start with a general definition and then think like a recruiter. A skill is an ability which demonstrates the execution of a task effectively using your education, aptitude, experience, interest and personality. These are usually a single word or two, usually a noun. Save the action verbs for the resume. Don’t get wrapped up in sub-sets of skills at this time and write everything down. This time it is best to do a spreadsheet and just brainstorm your list of skills as they come into your head. Don’t worry about the difference between “teaching” and “training” or whether “leadership” and “management” are the same thing. Column A on the spreadsheet should be filled with as many skills as you can find. Then begin looking at yourself with your recruiter glasses and subjectively evaluate each in Column B on a 5-point scale with “1” being lowest and “5” being highest. Start with giving yourself a “3” for all skills and then make a second pass to modify upward or downward. Sound easy? Well it isn’t. The soul searching that will prepare you for the journey is beginning and it is hard to be brutally honest.
  3. Accomplishments Inventory – Clear your mind and start another spreadsheet. These don’t have to be chronological (yet) but if you have an old resume you can begin to pick it apart now. An accomplishment is an event that has been completed using the skills you have acquired. They are an express use of talents which are uniquely yours. They can be repetitive, but this is not a list of job tasks or responsibilities from a job description. An accomplishment is measurable and the outcome meaningful to the unit, company or organization. So Column A will be a list of things like “Engineered plant expansion” or “Designed new data system.” Next to each accomplishment in Column B enter the measure of that accomplishment, such as “Annual cost savings of $1.2 million” or “Reduced department data processing costs by 26%.” This is where you define for yourself the real definition of an accomplishment. All accomplishments are measurable even if not a concrete number. “First ever for company” or “Exported process to other divisions” are measures of success. In Column C use the same 5-point evaluation to rate the strength of the accomplishment, where “3” is average and “5” is a bragging point.
  4. Merge Skills with Accomplishments – Yes, the process not only gets more complicated now it gets repetitively redundant over and over again (yes, I repeated that to lighten things up a bit). Get ready for two more spreadsheets and you can probably guess what they are. Take your edited list of Skills (edited because it is never complete on the first pass) and put that in Column A. Then in Column B put the accomplishment(s) which utilize that skill (This model may mean repeating skills on more than one line to keep it flowing). On a second spreadsheet, do the reverse: In Column A list an accomplishment and in Column B list the skills associated with that event. Why do this twice? The first one is the foundation of your interview script where you will answer a recruiter’s question by boiling it down to the skill required and providing an example to prove depth of understanding. The second spreadsheet is the beginning of a scratch resume. When added to a chronological listing of jobs you have your curriculum vitae.

Hopefully, the recruiter has done homework on the job specs, interview preparation and how to communicate that to you, but how nice it is to be confident that the most knowledgeable person in the room is sitting in the candidate’s chair. Like all life situations, success begins with examining the environment and determining how much control you have over a situation. In a job search, you have no control over what the recruiter will do, but you can think from that perspective and control how you respond by being totally prepared. This sounds so simple, but we all judge people by how professional they are in presenting themselves. If you see a performer reading from a script or a singer reading notes from sheet music, you do not see confidence. Looking into your recruiter mirror at yourself you should see someone who has memorized who they are and doesn’t fumble, jumble or mumble their presentation.

 

The Four Pillars of Recruiting

The knee-jerk reaction to describing essential elements of a function is to think of the columns holding up some massive structure. This is understood to be a symbol of strength. A very supportive person is known as a “pillar of strength.” While somewhat overused by business to show the strength of ideas, it also has the ability to show how complicated situations can be simplified into a few basic support structures. Recruiting is a perfect example of a complex function that can be better understood in a simplified model of columns. If you perform research on different staffing models you will find countless organizational structures on which companies base their recruiting efforts. These can range from a simple one-person (or less) function, a hierarchical team, or a complex functional matrix organization. There are variations depending on the degree of centralization or decentralization of the company. The underlying basic principles of recruiting apply in small companies, large companies or agencies. The reason it is necessary to add one more definition to something which is already so well defined is because of extended concepts like asking jobseekers to think like recruiters. They need to know the perspective that created those teaching points. Concepts such as considering the value of the sourcing function to the recruiting effort requires knowledge of how it relates to, and is different from, other aspects of the process.

When you think about all the organizational charts or theory concepts you have seen, whether they are shown as a 20 point wheel or 2 boxes on a chart they all have these basic pillars of thought holding up the recruiting function:

  1. Sourcing – Of course the recruiting process is cyclical, but taken in isolation the beginning of any staffing campaign is sourcing candidates to meet some requirement. Ordinarily, it is not the job of the recruiter/sourcer to write job descriptions, fine tune the details of the specs or determine the “must haves” and “nice to haves” in the pursuit of talent. It is the recruiter’s job to uncover these things. Workforce planning is the job of someone else, either in HR or management, but the sourcer must clearly understand these points in boring and gory detail to peel back the layers of the onion and get at the heart of what makes a good employee for every position. The success or failure of a recruiting campaign begins here. Like a surveyor measuring a line of sight, only a fraction of a degree off target can move the end point by miles. If a recruiter complains that they do not have time to source properly, they are really saying that either they don’t want to source, don’t know how to source, or the organization is placing too many other burdens on them. To expect the door to open on a new position and the perfect candidate to walk through leaves way too much to chance for consistently positive results. In an age of specialization, this is the one area of the staffing process that can operate efficiently as a separate entity if clear hand-off rules are established. There are factors that influence how sourcing as a service works and there are many opinions on the value of sourcing as a specialty, but you don’t go to a proctologist for a toothache. If the situation requires dedicated internal or external sourcing expertise you won’t have to look far to find someone not only skilled in the complexities of sourcing, but who is also excited by the thrill of the chase.
  2. Relationship Management – What is the value of a human resources degree in recruiting? Reality shows that someone educated in marketing, education or psychology can do just as well or maybe even better. This is not to say that knowledge of human resources is not important, but experience in technical areas or other left brain activities produces excellent recruiting talent as well. Regardless of formal training or experience, possessing the knack to work magic with people is the key to making the process work. Recruiting magic requires managing interpersonal relationships at all levels. The two most prevalent relationships are the internal interface with hiring managers and the external contact with candidates for employment. Hiring managers know the skill set of person they want for the job, however their expertise lies in some area other than recruiting (whether they know it or not). Someone experienced in this area has to translate across all departments in the company and communicate knowledge about how the process works most efficiently. The culture of an organization is only as good as it is implemented by management, so while hiring for skills is the predominant requirement, the value of organizational fit can’t be overlooked. The recruiter is usually in the best position to referee the struggle between nepotism/discrimination/favoritism and merit/diversity/collaboration. Externally, the recruiter manages the expectations of candidates with regard to the detailed requirements of the job, the skills required to perform that job and the interface with the environment of the job. Expectations also include the timing of feedback and closure. Much has been said and written about the elusive concept of a “candidate experience,” but the truth is that all candidates will have an experience…the kind of experience is usually a mark of how well the recruiters do their job. Both internally and externally, the recruiter must be able to communicate negative information and know how to defuse conflict. Disagreements regarding candidate selection have to be resolved without creating discord in the department. Candidates who are not selected for a position should be given a firm “no” answer tempered with compassion to their situation.
  3. Administration – Everyone has seen the motivational (?) poster of the toilet paper roll with the caption, “The job is never finished until the paperwork is done.” This is a great point because the volume of administrative tasks in recruiting is daunting! From a strategic viewpoint, gathering metrics, analyzing processes and reporting results to management can only be done well by someone extremely knowledgeable in the recruiting process. Speaking from a more tactical viewpoint, a candidate does not become an employee unless someone takes care of all the seemingly endless tasks of making it happen. This is a thankless job because there is so little margin for error. It is an understatement to say that attention to detail is critical. A great selection, interview and offer experience can form a positive impression in the mind of the candidate, but forget any part of payroll, benefits, security or other essential tasks and the situation can go downhill rapidly. The term orientation and onboarding are distinctly different aspects of the process, but when handled by knowledgeable experts there can be a much more positive image of the new company, a lessening of the culture shock and elimination of “buyer’s remorse” after committing to join the company. Unfortunately, administration is the least exciting part of staffing work and isn’t very sexy. Just like that subject in college that you had no interest in taking, it is easy to get a “D” in administration for lack of interest or effort. To give the organization a grade of “A+” these tasks are often given to specialists who take over the nuts and bolts of the back-end process. There is an obvious downside to this: Tossing this responsibility over the transom for someone else does not eliminate the need for the recruiter to be involved. Feedback continues throughout the gap between making the offer and starting the job. Often, the recruiter, not the hiring manager, will be the person called if there are problems in the process. After hire, it is not uncommon for the recruiter to continue to be considered the expert in everything to do with HR, Payroll or other things that are beyond the scope of the recruiter job. It probably goes without saying that post-hire follow-up to improve the process is an essential part of the job.
  4. Trabranketing – The recruiter’s job description usually doesn’t include this specific term, but trabranketing is a fourth major pillar that holds up the roof. Forgive me if I take some liberties with coining a new word here, but I could find no really good term to explain how Training, Branding and Marketing join together to make a successful recruiting department. This could be considered to overlap with the three other pillars, but together they form an essential part of the support structure. It goes way beyond the ongoing relationship management duties and requires the recruiter to have the passion to go to the next level…to become a missionary for the cause. Training as a service will functionally belong somewhere else in the organization, but the recruiter daily trains managers on processes, use of applicant tracking systems and the logistics of interviewing. Members of interviewer teams may be able to get formal interviewer training as a part of an overall company training program, but it is usually the recruiter who gives ad hoc instruction to a new manager or provides mini-classes before a round of interviews. This goes way beyond the typical management of the relationship between manager and recruiter as it is not intended to instruct a single manager but to insure uniformity of practices and conformity to company policies. Branding is usually a higher level public relations function of the company, but even if the staffing organization is not formally included in company branding programs the establishment, execution and maintenance of a recruiting brand has to come from the recruiter. Determining the direction of the recruiting brand may be more of a project oriented assignment or performed at the strategic level of thinking. On the other hand, insuring that negative branding trends or issues contrary to the company brand are tasks which happen daily on the recruiter’s desk. Recruiting is also a marketing and sales effort since there is always the need to fine tune the pitch to each candidate and recognize the specific close required to seal the deal. Internally, there has to be some value added by the recruiter to the selection process through providing interview feedback and performing interview follow-up sessions. Selling the best candidate who will become the best employee is a way of insuring that the final selection is not just a quick-fix technical match to a job description.

Recruiters love a good hunt, so I would encourage all to study processes outside of your own environment. This keeps things fresh and sharpens the outlook for improvement. Many key leaders in sourcing and staffing have performed in-depth studies on how to improve the typical staffing organization and have published those online and in books. If you look hard enough you will also get a glimpse into the future of recruiting by studying where it has been and where the experts see it going. Be ready!

 

Recruiting Innovation

If you Google the words “recruiting innovation” this morning you will probably find a dozen or more blog posts about the Recruiting Innovation Summit yesterday conducted by ERE.net and hosted by LinkedIn at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. When I began blogging again, I promised that I would avoid becoming a “me too” blogger and only publish stuff that came out of my own head, but there is one condition which I failed to mention: When there is a “light bulb” moment that absolutely rocks me I am not responsible for the words that come out of the keyboard! It is impossible for me to give a total recap of the conference and also unnecessary because ERE.net will eventually post the video of the entire event on their website. I felt a need to highlight some of the most innovative points from my perspective and to encourage you to watch the presentations later if you missed it live. Also, just like when you take notes in class, I probably didn’t write down the things I thought I already knew, so this will be the high points from my perspective (your mileage may vary):

  1. Curating Performance And Culture Through Extraordinary HiringNilofer Merchant – I absolutely loved the “curator” of talent concept and there were several tweets during the conference about the use of that term. Nilofer defined culture as the environment that allows employees to co-create. There is no good or bad culture, but rather “does the group know how to work together to get the job done?” One key point that I think can never be made enough is that a culture of collaborative work must be created intentionally. It does not just happen. Great culture creates an exponential increase in talent. “It’s magic and you are magicians” was a segue into talking about the alchemy of people…”let it happen.” Culture is the invisible glue that allows work to happen, but it also changes when we change (to me that means adaptable culture). Success = Purpose x Talent (Culture).
  2. From Lab Dreams to Real SolutionsKane CochranTomya Ryans – Tomya talked about how cancer treatment had become so very personalized at MSKCC that it was not a stretch to personalize the employment process. Their presentation highlighted Innovation for Digital Talent Acquisition and reported a successful partnership of MSKCC with Hodes for the integration of Facebook and LinkedIn into a company recruiting website. 99% of LinkedIn profiles contain information about work history and the number of LinkedIn users worldwide is growing at a tremendous rate. It is a remarkable marriage which pulls data from social profiles to personalize candidate experience. This goes far beyond the traditional post-and-pray mentality making it easier for individuals to present themselves as candidates and gives recruiters a better tool for understanding the applicant and opening lines of communication. Could this be the beginning of the end of the black-hole?
  3. Recruiting College Students And Beyond Using Social MediaLarry Nash – The first point mentioned was that they treated colleges like a client. From that perspective, branding became a tool for change and the innovation. There were several innovative mentions of social media recruitment of college students using the usual suspects. One twist was the use of a Facebook page with a set of ground rules that allowed negative comments to remain. Of course, this took a bit of courage not usually found in such a traditionally conservative industry and I imagine there were some reservations from the legal eagles, but it provided an opportunity to respond quickly and soon college students knew that they would get fast answers to their questions. This alone gave this brand authenticity by showing that it wasn’t just another marketing creation. The innovation that absolutely knocked my socks off was their use of E&Y branded music channels on Pandora. Larry quipped that “this is because of all the accounting music out there” which drew laughter from the crowd. This is pure genius! It was not only an internal team builder which let the employees pick the music, but also it related more to the audience they were trying to reach.
  4. Shiny & Useful: Recruiting Technologies You Should Know AboutAmy Wilson – I like shiny things, especially when they are useful. This was more than just a laundry-list presentation of new and exciting tools, but I find it difficult to summarize everything in one paragraph. Of all the sessions of the day, if you only have time to view one presentation, make this video the one you watch. Learn about opt-in tools like find.ly and Avature, a candidate relationship management tool with people focus. These tools allow segmenting talent pool and using sourcing and screening techniques which are not done very well by traditional ATS. Amy also turned to the dark side…what she called the creepy side. Have you seen The Social CV? This pulls all publically available information on an individual from social media and other online sources and gives the recruiter information about potential candidates. On the plus side it makes the job seeker visible to those who would hire them and is a valuable sourcing tool, but several reservations were discussed about the ethics of such searches. While it is not revealing anything that a person has not already willingly posted online, there was a split decision on whether it was worth it or not.  At the very minimum it serves as a warning to careless online posters: Everything it public. I do wonder if this could be used internationally because of legal restraints under Safe Harbor laws in the EU.
  5. Location-Based Mobile RecruitingCraig Fisher – This was a presentation by one of the most recognizable people in social media. At the outset of his presentation, he told everybody in the room and in the streaming video audience to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even though there are recruiters who still have reservations about connecting with just anyone, he operates on the philosophy that as recruiters, that is what we do…connect with people. One of the most tweeted topics was his discussion of the competitive use of Foursquare as a recruiting tool as a best example of location-based mobile recruiting. Most developers are moving toward the creation of more location-based apps and it will become one of the most effective ways to find candidates in the future. Here is my “eureka” moment: I have go to expand my use of Foursquare to find low hanging fruit.
  6. Behind The Wall with Social RecruitingSusan StrayerDavid Kippen – This session began with a demonstration on how the professional relationship between Susan and David began while she was a graduate student and he was an expert online who was knowledgeable in an area of interest to her. This was a great introduction to the concept of moving social media contacts into real life. They illustrated the concept of getting behind the wall by moving from “lurk” to “like” to “talk” to make a connection. No one really makes close friends by Twitter alone. That requires real contact of some kind. There are tons of things that can be done with technology, but the medium cannot be confused with the message. Social recruiting doesn’t mean that a recruiter can’t take it offline, but there is still not a consensus as to whether or not it has to go offline to be social. There was an interesting group exercise identifying participants into groups on their feelings about this, but I will let you see the outcome in the video rather than spoil the ending. Let me just say that I am a “Green Dot” person with occasional red-dotness moments.

I feel that I owe an apology to these presenters for skimming over their sessions and paraphrasing their words. I don’t think that I would even attempt to say that I have exposed the tip of the iceberg since this was an all day conference and was intensely thought provoking. Hopefully my summary will pique your interest in looking into these topics further. If you are a recruiter and do not regularly read the posts on ERE.net you absolutely must do so, if for no other reason than to find out when these videos go live. It will be very much worth your time.