This week’s career tip comes from VMware Program Manager – Strategic Staffing & Research, Gil Oakes, who talks about how the days of jobs seekers simply sending out resumes hoping to land that dream job just doesn’t cut it. It’s all about networking!
I had an interesting conversation about Linkedin on Twitter today when I saw someone in my Twitter feed post that they closed their Linkedin account. I was a bit shocked to see that and knowing the kind of money companies spend to advertise and source this network for talent, mine being one of them, I was curious enough to probe further as to what these IT professionals didn’t like about it and what other social media they were using for professional networking.
willstaney: @rjweeks70@reillyusa Would love to know why you feel Linkedin is a waste of time? Companies spend A LOT of money to find talent there.rjweeks70: @willstaney@reillyusa The interface is awful. There’s no actual useful information there, just regurgitated twitter streams.willstaney: @rjweeks70 That’s good feedback, thanks. Do you find other social networks more effective? Which ones? cc: @reillyusareillyusa: @willstaney@rjweeks70 I would argue, weakly perhaps, that the # of inbound “connect with me” emails I get from ppl I don’t know is the prob
This raises a lot of questions. Obviously, there are a lot of choices out there for social networks now (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Quora, Google+, etc etc) and that’s A LOT to manage. Maybe a shift is happening. Are we beginning to see people have social networking site overload, forced to start weeding out the networks they feel less essential to focus on the ones they do? Christian Reilly (@reillyusa) said he didn’t even consider Linkedin a social network! Is that assuming we do not socialize when we are being professional? Are we not being professional when we socialize?
Are social networks becoming more of a preference choice? It’s almost impossible for a person to be fully active on all of them. So like car brands or cell phone carriers…they are going to have to chose the few that they like the best to get the most value out of them. None of them will have “everyone” so is it becoming even more essential for recruiters and companies to have a presence on many to be able to engage and find talent they’re looking for? I think so.
Will Google+ be the everything network that allows you to manage all of your life online in one place yet keep your different social groups separate but equal thus eliminating a need for separate “professional networks?” That remains to be seen but I will tell you that Google+, especially as it is now, with mostly early adopters and tech professionals on there is a tech recruiters dream pool!
With professional networks like Branchout, that leverages “personal” social networks like Facebook a better place for career growth? (Honestly, who’s more likely to recommend you for a job, your buddy from college or that random person you connected to or met at a conference on Linkedin?) Will Branchout eventually break away from their dependence on Facebook and offer a stand alone site that is compatible and pulls social profile data via applications within MANY social networks? Facebook & Google+? That seems like a better business model than Linkedin!
I’ve been seeing a lot of headlines lately that reflect that there are an overload of choices of social networks for advancing your career . I’m beginning to wonder if specifically career focused social networks are less appealing and/or are less effective because your career is one of many aspects of your life…not a completely seperate one. Also, it’s all just becoming too much to manage, right? People want at most a couple of networks that allow them to connect and share with both their personal and professional contacts. I think our personal and professional lives merge more than people believe are willing to admit.
So, how does Linkedin justify their stock price and being such a costly service to employers when there are so many FREE social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ out there that could be just as effective for recruiting?
Some interesting reads related to this:
What do you think? Comment below and lets talk.
This week’s Career Tip from a VMware Recruiter comes to you from Clint Buelter, R & D Recruiter at VMware in Austin, TX:
As a candidate you apply to jobs, research companies, meet recruiters, and attend interviews. With the drive and purpose to make a forward move in your career. The reality is, you won’t get every job you apply to or interview for, there is a multitude of other candidates in the market actively or passively. And let’s face it, there is always someone out there smarter / better than you in your industry or profession.
Don’t be discouraged, here is the tip.:
What to do when you hear “we regret to inform you, that we are moving forward with other candidates…”
My advice, and I know at first this seems obvious, is to:
- Thank your recruiter for their time (in reply to the email or on the phone).
- Thank them for introducing you to the team / speaking on your behalf.
- Ask if they would please thank the team for taking their time to meet with you or provide you with an address that you could send a professional thank you note to the interviewers (this added touch let’s them know your a good sport and leaves a lasting impression).
- And finally, ask your recruiter if you can add them to your network (Linkedin/Twitter) so that you can be connected for future opportunities.
If you do these things as a candidate, you will stand out to the organization, the teams, and the recruiter. Who do you think a hiring team/recruiter will call the next time they have a similar role? The candidate who slams the phone down after arguing how great a candidate they are or the candidate that says thank you and leaves a good, professional impression?
About Clint Buelter:
Clint is passionate about technology and the products we develop at VMware. He enjoys being an evangelist tasked with finding, developing relationships, and introducing like minded – talented folks that desire to perform / make an impact, and grow with the leader in virtualization, cloud, SaaS, PaaS. Clint says he is also a big San Antonio Spurs fan. He currently recruits for the following roles at VMware:
Build Infrastructure & Tools
Enterprise Management – VCM
Not even a month ago I posted a blog called BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook and a New Recruiting Tool? and I can say to you now–you can remove the question mark!
“BranchOut heard the requests from recruiters that wanted a way to connect with other professionals within Facebook, in a safe and secure way, and I am very excited to announce the launch of BranchOut Connections. BranchOut members can now share their work history, education and skills data with others members, without becoming Facebook friends. This is an important step for BranchOut to provide robust career networking functionality within Facebook.”
In my previous post I reflected on the reluctance of many recruiters to connect with job seekers on Facebook saying, “Recruiters have been really slow to begin utilizing Facebook as a recruiting tool because they are afraid of mixing business with personal life”. While I went on to stress that the lines between business and personal in the web 2.0 world is becoming more blended and recruiters should be more open to utilizing Facebook’s larger network to connect, this was a real obstacle that Branchout was facing. Even if recruiters wanted to connect with candidates…candidates may be afraid of connecting with them for those same reasons.
On Linkedin, professionals don’t think twice about connecting with colleagues or recruiters because there are no pictures tagged of you from that party last Saturday and your mom isn’t posting embarrassing comments on your wall that could potentially seen by a potential employer. Facebook tends to be a place for your personal contacts outside of work [You can set individual privacy settings for specific groups of connections or individuals you are connected to on Facebook but most people don’t take the time do it (only 1 in 5 users even take advantage of this feature) and it can be quite cumbersome to maintain.]
Recruiters always want to leverage the hundreds of millions of user profiles on Facebook. However, recruiters often find that recruiting on Facebook is like trying to fix a muffler with a toothbrush. BranchOut makes Facebook the right tool for recruiting and professional connection. BranchOut essentially overlays a professional platform on top of Facebook – adding user data fields for work history and professional description. It turns your existing Facebook friend network into a Linkedin-esque professional network for work related discovery.
However, because BranchOut leveraged the Facebook friend mechanism as the exclusive method of connection, recruiters were still left in a bind. Users were beholden to expansion of their network through Facebook friending – which to many is as intimate of an experience as inviting someone into your home.
BranchOut plans to launch more fully developed recruitment services in the near future, but now may be the time to start connecting. The early super connectors in any social network become the network hubs of the future.
Do you think this new feature will make BranchOut an even more viable competitor to Linkedin? If you’re a recruiter, I’d love to hear what you think about this new feature and if you plan to or currently use Branchout. Please comment below.
A) Strategy-related errors
No strategy — most recruiting functions do not have a weak social media strategy; they have no formal strategy at all. As a result, most efforts are ad hoc and are not integrated or coordinated. Almost universally, they lack clear goals, they have incredibly weak metrics, and there is little accountability for producing results. Without a clear strategy, an execution plan, and metrics to continually improve, no recruiting effort can be expected to produce extraordinary results.
Targeting active candidates — attempting to reach active candidates by posting job announcements is the #1 most common error. As a microcosm of society, most online communities are full of people not actively looking for a job, so broadcasting announcements to them is both annoying and ineffective. Social media is a great tool to identify and build relationships with employed top performers who are not actively looking for a job at this time. Ninety-nine percent of your focus should be on recruiting people who cannot be found on job boards or your corporate careers site.
Broadcasting when narrowcasting is needed — recruiters have a long history of sending “broadcast” messages that are widely distributed to everyone in the database. While this “one message fits-all” is appropriate on corporate career pages and job boards that service job seekers, it is a major mistake in social media. Instead, “narrowcast” messages that are tailored and sent only to specific “segments” of your target audience are required. The segments to target might include those with shared professional interests, the same job level, a common location, and shared personal interests.
Not using talent communities — the most powerful strategy in social media is building “talent communities.” Unfortunately, most recruiting managers have never heard of it. Pioneered by Microsoft, this “pre-need” recruiting strategy emphasizes building relationships over time with multiple targeted segments. The relationship is based on learning and professional sharing, rather than potential employment opportunities.
Relying on recruiters — most organizations expect recruiters to “own” social media recruiting; however, there are never enough recruiters to adequately carry the load. Fortunately, your employees are already active and visible on social media. The best firms instead rely on their employees to identify, to build relationships, and make referrals into the employee referral program.
Expecting speed, low cost, and high volume — if you want high-volume, low-cost recruiting to fill immediate needs, you should rely on job boards or referrals. Social media recruiting is incredibly effective but it takes time, resources, and will never produce high volumes of hires. Its focus must be on landing a relatively small number of “high-value” top performers, game-changers, and innovators.
Under-emphasizing the building of relationships and trust — one of the most powerful capabilities of social media is the fact that it allows you to build close relationships and trust. Unfortunately, many rush or bypass this important step and prematurely bring up jobs (early adopters have found that between three and five separate “communications” are needed prior to job talk). Failing to build relationships first will ruin any social media effort.
Failing to target diversity — most corporate diversity initiatives have only shallow involvement in social media. That is a huge mistake because diverse prospects can be more easily identified and much more effectively sold with a tailored approach, which fortunately is much easier to accomplish on social media.
Limited use in college recruiting — college students are the most connected and active individuals on social media. Yet most corporate college recruiting approaches remain essentially unchanged from the 1980s. Recruiting college students on social media allows you to identify, assess, and sell the very best without expensive multiple campus visits.
Underemphasizing employer branding — only a small percentage of corporate branding resources are focused on social media. Although it is changing, this can be a major error. Because it cannot be controlled by corporate influence, social media may be the most powerful channel for creating and maintaining an employer brand. It is clearly by far the most powerful channel for identifying and “countering” negative and brand messages.
Assuming there is a dividing line — many within HR are conservative, so they automatically assume that traditional “dividing lines” (i.e. work issues should not mix with at-home issues) remain strong. This a major mistake because among new generations; these separation lines are becoming increasingly vague. Being conservative will limit your impact, so management must continually update its rules on privacy and work/life issues so that they meet the receding limits
B) Channel and tool selection errors
Incredibly narrow channel selection — I estimate that 95% of all social media recruiting occurs on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. They are valuable but there are also many other valuable channels that should not be ignored (i.e. “location specific communities,” meetups, food/travel/recreation channels, photo and video groups etc).
Treating all channels the same — assuming that all communications and social media channels are equal is a common error. Each has its own unique audience, informal “community rules,” and expectations. Recruiting management needs to provide guidance so that employees and recruiters know what channel or channels “work” and “don’t work” for each recruiting purpose.
Failing to fully “know” the target — the Internet makes it pretty easy to identify and exploit the interests and expectations of potential candidates. Unfortunately, “knowing the candidate” requires some research. Currently, many recruiters fail to identify critical things like learning areas, individuals they admire, where they “hang out” on the Internet, and the individual’s “job switch criteria”.
Not encouraging blogs — because employee-written blogs have a high level of genuineness or “authenticity,” it is a mistake not to encourage and reward employees who write them. Unfortunately, many firms actually discourage or even ban blogs from corporate channels.
Being overly direct — many channels require subtleness or indirect approaches in order to gain access and trust. In these cases, directly posting job announcements is a no-no. Instead, consider indirect approaches like commenting on their work, polls, asking questions, surveys, etc.
A narrow range of tools — most corporations’ recruiting efforts are limited to four areas, (job posting, corporate landing pages, Twitter followers, and recruitment advertising. Instead of this limited scope, you should educate your employees and recruiters about the tremendous impact that other tools can have. This list should include commenting on an individual’s work, passing on articles or best practices, sharing pictures, and CRM-type contact messages (i.e. birthdays, anniversaries etc.).
C) Message and coverage errors
Generic messages — it is a mistake to regularly send generic messages that are designed to “fit everyone” but that actually “fit no one.” Not only are these generic messages not likely to be read and acted upon, but they may also negatively impact your employer brand image. Spamming messages of any kind can get you ignored or blocked.
A lack of authenticity — a large majority of corporate messaging lacks what is known on the Internet as authenticity (i.e. the appearance of being real, believable, or genuine). For example, sending out press releases or vision statements is just silly because they will be viewed as propaganda.
Using the wrong message type — most recruiters and employees automatically use the “message type” that they are the most comfortable or familiar with. They may use the same message type (and message content) over and over. That is a major error because social media rules demand that you use the message type that best fits the communications preference of your target. There should be a corporate webpage that provides advice on when it is best (or inappropriate) to use text, e-mail, wall posts, group posts, status updates, comments, videos, blogs, podcasts, or direct messages.
Not identifying influencers — top people always check with friends, colleagues, and advisors before making a “job switch” decision. Failing to identify and to also sell these “influencers” can dramatically decrease your social media offer acceptance rate.
Failing to ask new hires to announce — most firms assume that will happen automatically but it should be a standard practice to encourage all new hires to publicly announce to their followers and groups that they are excited about joining your firm.
D) Recruiter and employee support errors
Not providing guidance — it is a common but major error to assume that recruiters and employees will intuitively know how to recruit on social media. Unfortunately, most will not go to formal training classes, so the best alternative is to offer templates, sample profiles, sample messages, frequently asked questions, and a list of dos and don’ts. Recruiters should also offer to critique your employees’ profiles, blogs, and messages.
Not supplying content — most organizations make the mistake of assuming that employees and recruiters are aware of every one of a firm’s compelling stories and practices. Research shows that employees and recruiters seldom know even the most powerful stories. So large companies should proactively provide access to “story inventories”: examples of best practices and compelling photos/videos. Obviously, all of them need to be authentic and employees need to be allowed to choose the ones that they find to “fit” their situation.
E) Process and administrative errors
Weak referral program handoff — when employees or alumni submit their social media contacts as employee referrals, they are often not prioritized and they are certainly not routinely treated as “high priority” referrals. The result is that employees get frustrated when nothing happens and they get no feedback. So eventually, they give up on making social media referrals.
Weak ATS handoff — even when recruiters enter candidates into most traditional ATS systems, their “warm” application is generally not treated any differently and can be lost in the volume of applications. Your ATS must capable of “marking” and tracking social media applications, or your entire social media program will flounder.
Not being mobile platform friendly — most innovators are avid social media users but they are also smart phone users and spend more time accessing social media while on the go. Unfortunately, it is quite common for social media recruiting tools (and corporate websites) not to work on mobile platforms. This is a missed opportunity and a first-class design blunder.
Weak “comment tracking” tools — it is a common mistake to assume that the tracking tools that are found on popular social channels are all you need to keep track of a continuing conversation that one of your targets is participating in. Instead, you need to assume that the conversation may eventually transition off to another channel. Keeping track of those cross channel conversation requires advanced “comment tracking” tools like YackTrack and ConvoTrack.
Weak business case — most executives support social media efforts at least in part because of the current level of hype. Unfortunately, without a solid, continuously updated business case, resources and thus results will quickly dry up. The CFO must be involved early on to ensure that the business case and your results metrics are convincing and compelling.
Failing to accept an online profile — if you are targeting prospects who are not “actively looking” for a job, it can be a major error to require an updated resume from them. The best are learning, at least initially to accept an online profile (in lieu of a resume) for an application or a referral.