December 21, 2009
I wasn’t looking when iCIMS published this guide to 21 HR Leaders in Web 2.0 You Must Follow back in October, but now that I’ve come across it (it was in my feed reader) I’m fascinated. First, because it provides a great list of noteworthy influencers; second, because it supplies their Twitter IDs all in one convenient post; and third, because it made me realize that the concept of “following” has become absolutely integrated into the way “we” think today.
The we here is not only the one in five Americans who tweet (according to a recent Pew Report) but also the many international tweeters, plus those who participate in some form of social networking (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) but don’t necessarily tweet themselves. That’s a lot of folks who are directly involved in the social communications “revolution,” and there are many more who are indirectly exposed via the now almost ubiquitous engagement between Twitter and the mainstream media.
Every newspaper, magazine, entertainer or commentator has a Twitter presence and mentions it at every opportunity. Ditto every film, television show, musical group, sports club, charity—ad infinitum. So the Twitterverse really does affect (and reflect) popular culture well beyond its enrolled number of users.
And it’s not just a pop cult phenomenon. I confess that among my followees are CERN (which tweets frequent updates on the status of the Large Hadron Collider) and FOXQi Physics, along with The Van Cliburn Foundation (which tweets concert information and news about past competitors) and the fabulous LibraryThing. Just a tiny reflection of the way Twitter has penetrated the whole human enterprise.
So we have taken up “following” as a way of relating to parts of the world that interest us. And now the space once occupied by “experts” is the province of “thought leaders”–because after all, you can’t follow if there aren’t leaders! A study by the Harvard Business School a few months ago found that 90% of tweets come from 10% of users. Really.
There are two potential takeaways from this post. One is practical: Use the iCIMS guide to find and follow people you think have interesting ideas in the HR 2.0 topic space. (I created a separate Twitter account, put them ALL in, made a separate column for the feed in my TwitterDeck, and will let you know what I learn from the experiment.)
The other is something to think about. Many of the iCIMS superstars are sources I refer to in this column, and I think the list does a good job of identifying the thought leaders in this area. But it is 100% American. As corporate careers and recruiting become increasingly globalized, it’s going to be important to share ideas effectively across borders and beyond language barriers. I’m not sure how that will happen . . .
December 14, 2009
Start thinking about real time. Start now.
If that statement makes perfect sense, you can probably stop here and return to your Twitterstream. If not, read on.
ReadWriteWeb took a swing at Explaining the Real-Time Web in 100 Words or Less. Here’s the first sentence:
The Real-Time Web is a paradigm based on pushing information to users as soon as it’s available–instead of requiring that they or their software check a source periodically for updates.
And here’s the last sentence:
Real-time information delivery will likely become ubiquitous, a requirement for almost any website or service.
ReadWriteWeb is not infallible, but still pretty authoritative–so let’s assume this topic is important! However, that definition was published on September 22, 2009, and “two months ago” equals an eternity in real time. So we fast-forward to a very recent post and presentation by the guru of now, Jeremy Owyang: Real Time Web Is Not Fast Enough—Three Strategies For Business.
While I’m writing this, Jeremy is tweeting his real-time observations from LeWeb, “Europe’s largest Internet conference,” which is focused this year on (you guessed it) “Real Time.” And LeWeb is live broadcasting in another window on my desktop.
Which is a perfect example of the real-time-web experience. I’m semi-watching the conference (which is in another country) along with nearly 3,000 other viewers, while getting tweets from people who are there, while simultaneously researching the topic on the “slow-time web” and writing about it on my WiFi laptop.
All of this takes very little effort on my part (though of course I’ve spent time setting up the infrastructure). Nor do I need fancy equipment—everything I use comes from regular retailers and is reasonably priced–and I have normal broadband cable service, which is not especially fast.
There really are few barriers between the average user and the real-time web. But there are some real challenges involved for companies.
Real time data is exploding at a rapid pace with the influx of status features and mobile devices. This brings new opportunities for people to get information when they need it and opportunities [for] the companies that want to provide contextual information. Yet, despite the opportunities, most companies are unable to keep up with the “Slow time” web as it is.
More to come about those challenges—and some emerging prescriptions—in future posts. But for now, I strongly recommend Jeremy’s post mentioned above, along with a more detailed version in which he offers some forward thinking about “what’s next” (the Intention Web) and how business can meet the challenges of “right now.”
Takeaway: The time to start thinking about now is . . . well, you see the point.
(Many thanks to kasrak for the evocative “self-portrait.”)
July 14, 2009
It’s an “Aha!” moment at WSJ’s Career Journal, with a recent story titled Beyond Job Boards: Targeting the Source. To quote the lead:
For many Americans looking for work, the first stop is an online job board. Now job seekers are finding that prospective employers increasingly are looking elsewhere to find new hires-the companies’ own Web sites.
The story ambles on through the following points:
- Companies are buffing up their Career pages, adding videos, employee profiles and social networking tools.
- They are doing this to save money, reduce the number of applications, and improve the quality of applicants.
- Job seekers should change their tactics to match, using multiple job search tools, networking with companies and other job seekers, and researching the companies they apply to.
- Both company sites and job boards are seeing an increase in applicants of as much as 30%.
- Companies are focusing more on building their employer brands.
- Companies are turning to employee referrals and social media tools to increase and improve the applicant pool.
If all this sounds familiar . . .
In part, I’m surprised that WSJ (or at least this columnist) is so late in noting “trends” that have been widely discussed for many months. And in part, I’m surprised at the simple view provided by the story, which mentions an assortment of phenomena without exploring their situational context. The account relies mainly on general observations (for example: “‘Part of it is letting people know who we are as a company,’” says Melissa Rutledge, an employment-branding manager at Intuit.”) and anecdotal references to a few companies that are leaders in the online recruiting space (Sodexo, Adobe, Intuit, Zappos).
In fairness, the story is obviously intended as an overview, not an in-depth study, and it does offer a convenient summary of the Recruiting 2.0 landscape. Nothing mentioned is actually wrong or misleading (except perhaps describing Zappos as a “shoe retailer”). But the article raised two questions in my mind.
1. If this is “old news” . . . what’s the new news?
2. Where is the intersection between company interests and job-seeker interests?
I’ll come back to the first question in a follow-up post. As for the second, here’s what I mean: Job-seekers want jobs and companies need employees. Yet the process of getting them together seems to be more of a frustration-fest than a journey toward mutual satisfaction. There’s actually a whole industry devoted to making employment connections, yet no one on either side is happy! Job-seekers mistrust companies and complain about recruiting processes, while companies mistrust the recruiting process and complain about the large number and low quality of applicants.
I’m not sure if it was always this way, but if not, I wonder how it got this way.
So my closing thought is: Could “social networking” become more than just another process tool? Perhaps an increased emphasis on communication will produce greater understanding and cooperation between seekers and hirers–which could only be a good thing. (And maybe that will be the shape of Recruiting 3.0?)
June 24, 2009
First, read or listen to NPR Morning Edition’s story entitled Job Seekers Find New Rules of Recruitment. The gist: Recruiters and hiring managers don’t have much patience with job-seekers lacking LinkedIn profiles, snappy digital resumes, and an established social media presence. “If someone sends us a paper resume folded in thirds, stuffed in an envelope,” opines one CEO, “it’s hard to take it seriously.” And even for job-seekers who communicate via email, the report notes, there are potential faux pas–such as email sent via AOL and husband-and-wife addresses.
Next . . . read the “lively” (not to say vitriolic) discussion of this story. Among the commenters are populists who think Recruiting 2.0 is elitist; sympathists who are concerned for the plight of elderly (i.e, thirty-something) job seekers; cynics who think it’s all about HR laziness; and conspiracy theorists who accuse the NPR reporter of shilling for LinkedIn. Also a few people making thoughtful points.
Takeaways? (a) There are a lot of passionate opinions on this topic. (b) Recruiting 2.0 probably is elitist–but that’s the reality of the current job market. (c) Rising unemployment statistics will shine a harsh light on hiring practices.
For another take on this topic, consider Lou Adler’s article Recruiting Top Talent 2010 – Are You a Traditionalist or a Web 2.0 Free Radical? Traditionalists, according to Adler’s model, may be using niche sites, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other 2.0 trappings–but they are still operating on “the flawed premise that top people will respond to negative, boring, and exclusionary ads if you post them in enough places.”
Free radicals, on the other hand, are “talent-driven,” and their strategy is “nurturing prospects for future opportunities.” The article offers a ten-point test/action plan for assessing/strategizing this shift. For example: “3. Go req-less, using big-target talent hubs,” and “8. Convert your recruiters from screeners and sales reps into career advisors.”
Food for thought: What will happen if or when all major employers are nurturing talent with social networks and wooing prospects with precisely targeted micro-sites? Will that be Recruiting Paradise–or merely passé?
March 26, 2009
This post is really about two different types of “community,” but they are closely connected in the evolving environment of Recruiting 2.0. One is the creation of an online community that attracts and nurtures candidates. The other is the use of location and lifestyle information to attract candidates and nurture new-hires.
I started this train of thought when an interesting tidbit about Proctor & Gamble’s new website focused on Cincinnati—about which more in a moment—came along at the same time I was reading some updates from the recent South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Better known as SXSWi, this gathering attracts both a lot of people and a lot of attention (get the flavor with a CNET roundup), and one of the hot topics this year was virtual/online communities, and the management thereof.
If anyone is thinking “What even is an online community?”, there’s a useful explanation/analysis at trusty old Wikipedia. And if anyone is asking “What does this have to do with recruiting?”, there’s an interesting discussion at EXCELER8ion, which explains that many candidates today have expectations of the recruitment experience based not on what has traditionally been provided by companies, but on the type of experience they have become accustomed to on the web.
Those expectations include a variety of factors (such as snappy design, quick performance, media enrichment, etc.) that have already been very influential in the development of Careers sites. But an additional–and increasingly important–set of expectations has evolved from the connectivity created by social networks, blogs and articles that allow comments, and discussion forums. In short: Many candidates are accustomed to virtual communities and want to find something similar when evaluating a prospective employer.
Creating a virtual community begins with putting the online part in place, but continues with the care and feeding of participants. The second part is called “community management,” and a new area of expertise has developed to meet emerging needs. If you want to get under the hood of what a community manager is/does, check out a couple of community manager blogs: community spark and Kommein.
In terms of recruiting, the EXCELER8ion post suggests that a community manager can have several critical functions:
- As a candidate community advocate, focused on listening, understanding candidate needs, and facilitating social media conversations
- As an employer brand ambassador, spreading positive views of the company and highlighting opportunities through social media channels
- As an analyst/evangelist, who can identify needs and issues, and communicate with both technical providers and business stakeholders to facilitate improvements
Now—what about Cincinnati? As reported in the Business Courier recently, mega-company Proctor & Gamble is building a website that will leverage in-depth information about living in Cincinnati to create interest among job candidates and support for onboarding recruits. It also provides an opportunity to showcase the eight P&G facilities in the area.
In addition to what’s on the current version of the site, P&G reportedly will add about 40% more content before a July launch, including features on company hires who have moved to Cincinnati.
Obviously, Proctor & Gamble is making a big investment in connecting candidates and employees with offline community (aka, the real world). So of course I was curious about their Careers site—and not surprisingly, it is feature rich. But not plugged into the 2.0 world! Apparently P&G is starting to develop a social media agenda, though. Read about their kick-off, and we’ll keep an eye on developments.