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Career Corner: 5 Action Steps to Communicate Your Transferable Skills

We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “No time like the present.” Given the uncertain times, these words are feeling more relevant as days go by. Industries are changing daily, and organizations have to shift gears on a moment’s notice, causing many people to self-reflect on their work and personal situations. Whether you’re ready to take the plunge into a new career or industry, or still considering the switch, knowing which direction you want to head and how to communicate your transferable skills is pertinent. But no need to fret. We’ve got you covered.

You may be asking yourself, “Where do I begin?” Or, you may have already conducted countless hours learning about your desired new industry and/or role, and you’re ready to make the jump. No matter where you are in the journey, communicating your transferable skills and share your personal brand presence will set you apart from other candidates, even those currently within the field.  Here are five action items to get you to your dream job and feel confident about your decision to change careers.

Action Item No. 1: Pre-work and Research

The hardest part about changing careers is deciding which direction you want to head. It’s important to take time to self-reflect and learn about the industry and the role you truly want. Think everything through thoroughly. Are you feeling stuck because your role has been affected by Covid-19? If this is a short term fix due to our current environment, that is understandable. However, these steps are for someone who has the clarity and conviction to make a change – and now needs that extra support to cross the bridge from one industry to another.

Here are some questions to ensure you are 100% committed to making this leap!

  • What is most and least fulfilling about your current role? How does your new role interest fill the gaps in your current/previous role?
  • Are there factors in your current industry that are affecting you to pivot now? Is this a long-term or short-term pivot?
  • Does this new role/industry fulfill your passions?
  • How long can you endure this roller coaster ride as you make the transition, both financially and mentally?

A bit of due diligence and pre-work on the front end will give you a competitive advantage as you communicate your motives and worth. Need help with some of the questions above? Here are some recommended resources:

Hire a Coach

Many organizations offer in-house career counseling services to assist with succession planning. Nicole Wagner’s role focuses on in-house career counseling to students entering and starting with Compass Group. If your organization does not, please reach out directly to Rebecca Ahmed as a follow up to this article, or research the plethora of certified coaches through the International Coaching Federation.

Research

Platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Recruiting Daily, and ERE are common sites to check out for advice on organizations, job expectations, culture, interview processes, and compensation. Hear from experts directly through their blogs and reach out to those experts for additional insights and opinions.

Read

Looking for a book to tackle this head-on? Richard N. Bolles is a trailblazer when it comes to the job search front. His book, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is a tried and true method for anyone looking for direction and pinpointing career paths based on interests. His Flower Exercise will send you on a self-discovery of knowing who you are so you can explore the best path for your next career move.

Action Item No. 2: Identify and Communicate Your Transferable Skills

Your professional success shines through in the stories you share about your past experiences and roles. Here are some questions to help create three elevator pitches that highlight your accomplishments and achievements.

  • What is/was your last role?
  • What problem existed in this role?
  • Exactly what tools did you leverage to address this problem?
  • What solution did you provide to address this problem?
  • How did your solution benefit the organization?

Once you have thought through and answered the above questions, step two is taking these solution-oriented approaches and relating them to your new desired role. Check out our case studies below to see exactly how we did this step by step.

Action Item No. 3: Integrate your transferable skills

Now that you’ve identified your transferable skills, next on the agenda is articulating your career journey and past experiences into your branding. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are the first impressions you are making to potential employers. Think of them as digital advertisements showcasing your talents, accomplishments, and the overall badass you are!  Below are a couple of ingredients to help you integrate your story and stand out in the digital world.

Resumes

On average, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds skimming resumes for keywords. Ten seconds, that’s it! So how do you convey your awesomeness on one single page? Skills-based resumes are the perfect format to highlight your expertise and transferable skills clearly and concisely.

  • Ditch the objective. These one-liners tend to be generic and fail to demonstrate your true talents and abilities.
  • Showcase your value and skills at the top of your resume in a “summary of qualifications” or “core competencies” section. Leverage sites such as TopResume to assist with verbiage to beat the bots!
  • Under your work history, list out three to five accomplishments for each role. We recommend using The Ladders formula for effective and concise communication – success verbs and data points to emphasize each role’s accomplishments.
  • Make sure your resume is targeted to the role and company. You will want to update it for every job you apply to, ensuring you speak to each role’s desired experience and company culture.

LinkedIn

Tapping into your LinkedIn community and utilizing all facets of this platform will give you a competitive edge. In addition to showcasing your experience, LinkedIn is a great platform for you to share your passions, connect with various networks, search for jobs, and build your brand!

If you’re new or in need of a refresher, we highly recommend checking out this article on how to leverage your LinkedIn profile. Looking to go more in-depth with their Sales Navigator platform? Check out recommendations from Samantha McKenna.

Action Item No. 4: Leverage Your Resources

You’ve completed your research and determined your next move. You’ve built a resume and designed your LinkedIn profile. Now it’s time to get out there and ensure everyone knows your desired next steps. Have your network work for you. You are only one person, but your network can reach thousands!

How can you ensure your network is working for you? Here are some quick steps to get the ball rolling:

  • Let recruiters know you are actively seeking an opportunity and ensure they know what the opportunity is. There are settings in each social media platform to turn on and ensure you show up in Boolean searches.
  • Leverage your alma mater connections. Even if you don’t know someone from your school, send a private note to connect with them. People naturally want to assist others from their communities, even if they don’t personally know you.
  • Hit the town or hit up zoom! Sign up for networking events that attract leaders in your career field of interest. Attend galas, association events, virtual coffees, wine tastings, etc. Have fun connecting with people in a variety of communities that all align with your desired role. All it takes is one personal interaction that can lead you to your dream job interview! 

Action Item No. 5: Nail the Interview

You leveraged your connections, made it through the bots then landed an interview. This is your time to shine and highlight how you bring value to the new organization.

Most often, companies use behavior-based interview guides to assess how candidates handle certain situations. As you can imagine, these guides ultimately tell them if the candidate is a good fit and also a match for the role. These questions tend to have multiple parts and can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the format. The STAR Interview Method is a fool-proof way to answer and nail these questions every time. Think of it as giving a personal example in a story format.

  • Situation: Briefly set the scene by providing a few short concrete details of your example and how it relates to the question.
  • Task: What was your role in the situation? Be concise and clear.
  • Action: Explain the steps you took to overcome the challenge. How did you bring value to the situation?
  • Results: What was the outcome, and how did your achievements lead to the result?

You’ve now read through our five actions to communicate your transferable skills effectively. No matter where you are in the career change journey, these steps will empower you to communicate your value and worth!

 

Editor’s Note:

This post was co-authored by Rebecca Ahmed, an upcoming TEDx speaker, a certified Energy Leadership Coach with the International Coaching Federation (ICF), and a published writer. She has taken her expertise and launched her own business, Laugh Thru Life, where she brings energy and joy to the workplace.

Rebecca AhmedRebecca is a recognized expert in talent acquisition, culture, and diversity and inclusion. During her 10+ years as a leader in Human Resources (HR) in Hospitality, she is most notably recognized for partnering with C-Suite Executives through a 2.8B M&A, overseeing Talent Acquisition, HR Operations, and Technology for up to 16,000+ team members. Rebecca has a bachelor’s in public relations with a double minor in communication design and business from the University of Southern California, and a master’s in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

HR Still Needs to Solve Its Resume Problem

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend at another company about an intern set to join my team. To my surprise, he was also excited because his team was hiring a summer intern. We expressed our shared excitement over the ability to teach a young professional.

“I have so much to teach him already,” he said to me. “I saw his resume  —  he didn’t even have a hobbies section.”

I’ll be honest, before this conversation it hadn’t occurred to me that a hobbies section was a requirement for a good resume. But I’m certain that good people can disagree on the issue of what makes a good resume. This is fine until you realize that resumes are often the sole measure of whether a candidate will move forward in the recruiting process, and even if a resume manages to pass the screening process, the personal preferences of the reviewer will influence the hiring decision.

For every job posted online, hundreds of people will apply. The majority of resumes submitted along with these applications will never meet the eyes of a human being. That’s because they’ll be eliminated from the process by a computer system. Of the resumes that make the cut, less than 10% will advance to an interview. Then, if the company is lucky, one will belong to an applicant who accepts an offer in the end.

Over the years most companies have evolved their recruiting efforts to keep up with the times. Meanwhile, the submission of a resume has been a tradition since the day Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first professional resume in 1482.

This tradition continues to dominate the recruiting process in essentially the same manner it did over half a millennium ago.

Clearly there’s a valid reason that employers use resumes: They’re the best tool we have to weed out unqualified applicants and prioritize strong candidates. This may seem like a unique benefits of resumes, but careful examination reveals that resumes aren’t as effective at this task as one might believe.

Resumes Are Subjective Recollections of Experiences

One key flaw in resumes is that they’re subjective recollections of experiences. Thus, they can’t provide essential information about the candidate’s potential to succeed at a job.

John Sullivan, a professor and thought leader, wrote that “Resumes are at best, self-reported descriptions of historical events  —  the very definition of a resume highlights its fundamental weakness. Rather than providing information that you really need to hire someone (examples of a candidate’s actual work or a description of what they could do in your job), resumes are merely self-reported narrative descriptions of the candidates’ past work.”

Resumes rely on the candidate to recall their past experiences. Many of these experiences may be partially forgotten or selectively left out. To put it simply, relying solely on self-reported past experiences isn’t a good indicator of a candidate’s potential. Nor does it identify their future contributions in the role they’re applying for.

Applicant Tracking Systems Reward Keywords, Not Qualifications

Another limitation is that resumes are screened by applicant tracking systems programmed to reward keywords and likeness to a job description. In effect, if a candidate puts the “right” words on their resume, they are more likely to get an interview. This is true even when someone else is more qualified but describes their experience differently than the job description does.

Unfortunately, many candidates are still unaware of the impact of keywords. Even though they may be qualified for the job, they can be disqualified from the process because they weren’t keyword experts.

Leslie Stevens-Huffman, a business and career writer, argued more than a decade ago that “Resume keywords are an increasingly critical element of a successful job search. They’re important because recruiters search resumes for keyword matches when sourcing candidates from databases loaded with job-seeker profiles. The more frequently your resume matches the keywords contained in a recruiter’s search, the more calls you’ll get.”

It goes without saying that whether someone is an expert in keywords doesn’t determine whether they’re qualified to fill a job. Yet this continues to be a significant loophole in resume screening.

Resumes Often Misrepresent Experience

Thirdly, resumes often contain misrepresentations of a candidate’s previous experience. This makes it difficult to rely on them as an accurate measure of whether a candidate is right for a position. The 2018 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report stated that as many as 84% of employers found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume.

The report found that candidates at all levels misrepresent information on their resumes. The research around misrepresentations in resumes is clear. But this hasn’t been enough to convince employers to re-evaluate their reliance on resumes.

Looking Forward: Reworking the Resume

Given the challenges with resumes, why do employers continue to rely on them? The answer is convenience.

Resumes are still the most accepted method of applying to a job. But this doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

Charles Coy, senior director of analyst and community relations at ReWork, writes that “Today, rather than sift through the thousands of resumes their companies receive, many HR teams rely on keyword-crawling bots to sort out the top candidates. In the future, they’ll have a similar tool  —  but it will be much, much smarter. AI will be trained to process a much more complex set of data, including social media posts, project experience, relevant trainings, personality test scores and more, to assess candidates more holistically.”

The hope for the future is that the resume will be more expansive and gather inputs from a variety of sources. This would allow employers to rely less on self-reporting and to increase accuracy and improve the process. Employers can get a head start by working on ways to rank candidates holistically and by not relying solely on the resume.

For now, it’s imperative that we become aware of the limitations of the resume and the problems with using them as the sole determinant of whether a job applicant moves forward.

Artificial intelligence may open up a world where the resume of tomorrow looks very different from today. In turn this will give us more objective ways of ranking candidates and determining whether they’re qualified. It will mean that we can rely less on subjective preferences and instead focus on actual skills, abilities and potential. Who knows, maybe artificial intelligence will also be able to tell us whether a hobbies section belongs on a resume.

4 Reasons Leaders Hire In 3D

It’s time leaders got smart about hiring. We have to make sure they do. I know for certain that—as you read this—a lot of creative people are trolling for jobs. People who would completely shake up a company culture in awesome, unthought-of ways, if simply given the chance. But, as my friends all know, unless they have four degrees, years of experience and invented the iPad—it feels like they may well just be talented voices crying in the wilderness.

Our social business culture talks a lot about Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Meg Whitman. Don’t get me wrong, I’m including myself here. Smiles. I’ve posted here before about Mark Z. But have leaders really learned the most important lesson from their success?

Which is precisely this: the most creative people out there may not be—in fact, often will not be—the ones who do things by the book or who “look like” your traditional employees. They will be the ones who break the rules; who may not have finished college (or even high school); who don’t have the standard resume, wear the standard work clothes, or live the “standard career life.”

They may well be the ones to make your company either a household name . . . or, if you overlook them, an example of bad business acumen.

They may well be the people you look back on in five or ten years and moan about not having taken a chance on. The hearing-impaired Thomas Edison whose resume you trashed. The J.K. Rowling who was too much of a daydreamer. The next Steve Jobs whom you didn’t even consider, because he was homeless.

Real leaders set the standards of creativity. To do this, these leaders think, see, and hire without blinders—in 3D. In Meghan-speak, that means they work hard to comprehend the whole person behind each resume. They find the gold in that nontraditional-looking job applicant. That rare gem of a talented and unique person.

In short, true leaders lead.

It’s amazing, though, how many CEOs and so-called leaders are terrified of stepping outside the traditional resume to hire job applicants. It’s almost as if those 4.0 GPAs and honor society memberships on the CVs create a life raft, so that if the applicant turns out to be a bad hire or adds nothing much to the organization, the hiring team can float safely away from any possible criticism of their choice.

Well, in my book there are four watertight reasons for hiring in 3D:

1) Playing it safe, as a general strategy, is not leadership. Period.

2) 3D vision lets you see “the whole job applicant.” You’re going to end up with someone who’s more than his or her GPA. You’re most likely to end up with someone who “gets” your company’s goals because you’ve taken the time to “get” the applicant’s thinking, skill set, background, passions.

3) 3D intelligence—going outside the box—models behavior that encourages creativity in the whole team. Leaders are always modeling behavior. Are you going to model a limits-bounded, non-risk-taking approach to your product or service, or a forward-looking openness to new ideas?

4) 3D thinking allows leaders to bring in employees whose diversity triggers better thinking company-wide (full disclosure: my last blog post was on the wonders of such diversity).

You may have heard about Kevin Matuszak, a 25-year-old working a Hire-Me campaign to get Applebee’s to make him its online spokesperson. Kevin is definitely creative, passionate and may one day be a “real” leader. But the leader I’m writing about is Applebee’s management.

Not only did Applebee’s leaders respond with humor to Kevin’s very public haunting of it, they suggested to Kevin that he make videos of his campaign. Applebee’s then posted those videos on its own website and shared the #HireKevin love.

Kevin’s career story didn’t end with a job with Applebees. But Applebee’s didn’t close the door with a frown at Kevin’s non traditional career search tactics; they opened the door with a grin. The company chose to play in this new digital ballgame, on its own terms: to get a closer look at this passionate “outside of the box” guy, to test his creativity, to go beyond the resume and look at Kevin in 3D – his whole entire person and personality.

In my view, that’s smart leadership.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes.com.

Photo Credit: Mark Montoya via Compfight cc

The Talent You’re Looking For Doesn’t Have a Resume

A recent expedition into a client research project gave me a sudden “A-Ha” about creating a Fiercely Loyal internal culture. While I can’t share the specifics of the project, I can share what I learned and how it is directly linked to creating a Fiercely Loyal culture, the kind where amazing work gets done and no one is job hopping.

First let me share a significant framework: According to Gallup research, lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $450 billion in the U.S. annually. This staggering statistic says there is something very very wrong in the workplace. Organizations know it. One of the ways they are trying to fix it is in the hiring process.

Looking for the best talent that’s looking for a job would seem to solve the problem, yes? No.

Because here’s what I can tell you. Most of the best talent isn’t in the job hunting market. They aren’t officially looking. They may toy with the idea from time to time, but they aren’t about to engage in a “Talent Acquisition Process”. Which means that most hiring managers are starting from the wrong end of the telescope.

A recent Fast Company article titled “How to Get a Job Using Social Media When You Aren’t Looking for One” underscores this idea. According to Fast Company “a survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management that says some 84 percent of companies now use social media to recruit “passive” job candidates”. The article goes on to share specific tips for beefing up social media profiles so that these passive candidates can be found by perspective employers.

And yet, a quick scan of the top job posts on the LinkedIn Job Board, Indeed, Monster, and the Ladders still end with “submit a resume”. While some companies allow a candidate to import a LinkedIn profile, the application process also asks for a resume. Great candidates who aren’t actually looking won’t make it past this point and you will never know they are interested.

Another important thing to remember about these potential job candidates is that many of them have established lives. They’ve put down roots. Their children may be in a great school system. They may live near important family members. Upending all of that may be too unpalatable to even consider applying for your position.

Many organizations are answering this challenge by drastically expanding the concept of telecommuting. Research from Global Workplace Analytics found that 3.7 million Americans work from home at least half of the time. Tele-commuting isn’t a trend that stops at the C-suite either. The head of the entire financial services division at SAP, the enterprise application software maker, tele-commutes from Maryland to the division hub in New York. That’s what it takes to recruit and keep the very best talent.

If you want access to this vast pool of job candidates who aren’t officially looking, you have to shake up your hiring process. Here’s what I mean:

  1. Are you asking for a resume just to get the conversation rolling? You’ve just eliminated 75 percent of your best candidates because they not only don’t have one, they aren’t going to go to the time and expense of putting one together.
  2. Are you 100 percent sure that your position MUST be location specific 100 percent of the time? The best talent out there already have established lives somewhere. Starting the conversation with “You have to uproot your entire life” is a sure way to keep the conversation short, if you ever have one at all.
  3. Bonus question: Do you call your hiring process anything like “Talent Acquisition”? Pens and pencils are acquired. People, especially highly talented ones, are not, nor do they want to be. How you talk about your hiring process will either attract or deflect the top talent you want for your organization.

I know that I’m talking about disrupting an ingrained approach to hiring. In today’s incredibly competitive market, isn’t having the best talent you can find working on your team worth that extra effort? If you don’t think so, I’m betting you’ve got competitors who do.

photo credit: Accept Reject via photopin (license)

#TChat Preview: How Social Recruiting Makes the Talent Business Case

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, December 2, from 1-2 pm ET (10-11 am PT).

On November 18, we talked about how wellness programs improve employee performance, and on December 2 we’re going to discuss how social recruiting makes the talent business case.

Social recruiting is no longer a trend. It’s the new norm. According to new Dice research, 9 out of 10 recruiters are using social media in talent acquisition.

In fact, the same research shows that social media has improved or is greatly improving tech recruiting results—including quality of candidates, referrals and time-to-hire.

Social has become the tool for promoting jobs, building brands, sourcing candidates, creating relationships, and vetting applicants. Recruiters know this is the future, and they’re investing their time and money accordingly to make the talent business case.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET

#TChat Events: How Social Recruiting Makes the Talent Business Case

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how social recruiting makes the talent business case with this week’s guests: Stacy Zapar, Founder of Tenfold, and recruiting strategist, trainer & advisor; and Allison Kruse, Senior Manager of Social Media and Talent Acquisition at Kforce.

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Dec 2 — 1 pm ET

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, December 2 — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT
Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: How prevalent is social recruiting today versus five years ago? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q2: What are the best ways to initially reach out to candidates on social sites? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How has social recruiting improved tech recruiting and recruiting overall? #TChat  (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

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IT Hiring Trends: Predictions For The Year Ahead

The tech industry is ever changing, and if you don’t get with the times, you’ll be lost in the conundrum of today’s competitive world. So whether you’re looking for a job or hiring, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a list of top hiring trends that are transforming the hiring process of IT companies around the globe.

Well, to start off, we know that the IT sector has no shortage of jobs. In fact, a recent survey done by dice.com has shown that for the first six months of this year, hiring will be at an all-time high. Around 72% of US-based IT companies are expanding to about 10%. This beats last year’s survey by a mile.

Employees: Here To Stay

Considering that more full-time employees will be coming into the IT industry, making employees content with their jobs would be very important. In the recent past, IT companies did not have to worry about employee engagement, as they mainly worked with consultants and freelancers. With the improvement of the economy, there is an inflow of jobs, putting the spotlight on employee satisfaction.

Employers are planning to introduce several more activities like team building exercises, hackathons and even days out to keep their employees engaged. Hikes in salaries, promotions and job benefits would prevent ‘job hopping’, which is pretty common these days. Companies will also want to improve the employer-employee relationship and create more trust to retain employees at work.

After Hiring Talent – Training For Gain

Young talent today want to know that they’re contributing to the company’s growth. That is why several companies are planning to introduce interactive programs that encourage active participation in the organization’s working. These programs will train members of staff in skills relevant in today’s industry. This training may include several, workshops, conferences and have a number of initiatives such as ‘Corporate Universities’.  Building these skills will make them more efficient and help with team-leading, subject expertise and overall confidence. Companies hope that this will increase the employees’ trust, and they will be willing to go the extra mile. These programs will not only be conducted by IT giants, but by small-scale start-ups as well.

Social Media: #1 Choice

Hiring with Social media is not really new – young professionals and recruiters have both preferred to use social media sites like Linkedin to find new talent.  According to Jobvite’s survey on social hiring, about 92% of recruiters use or plan to use social media, and the number will grow this year. Companies are updating their social media brand to be fresh and attractive to younger candidates, and this trend will most likely continue. Companies can sell their vision, goals and workplace culture to potential candidates, who are like-minded and more tech savvy. Recruiters will also have a better idea about prospective candidates’ interests through social media.

Cloud Skills Requirements: Sky High

The demand for workers who are well equipped with cloud skills has risen in the last few years.  A study was done by Microsoft and IDC revealed that 1.7 million cloud-related jobs are available, many of which have remained unfilled since 2012. The good news is that the supply is finally catching up with the demand. Candidates with cloud certification will be paid with a 2.2% increase in salary – that’s 1% more than last year. This fad will most definitely continue all through this year.

Experience Still Matters

The team at dice.com have discovered through their survey that IT companies prefer candidates with prior work experience. Around 76% of hiring companies will look for experience in between 6 to 10 years; while others will offer jobs to candidates with over 10 years of experience. Also, certified IT skills will be in high demand this year. The market value for certified candidates have gone up as well, so a little more studying may do wonders for your career.

More Money, Less Tears

Recruiters find that in the last six months, a lot more candidates have grown comfortable with their marketability and ask for higher salaries.  64% of recruiters vouched for this, which is an increase of 3-4 percent from the last mid-year survey. It looks like recruiters are willing to pay more than last year. 10% of recruiters said that they would most likely layoff a few employees in the first six months of 2015. This is less than last year, which looks more promising for IT professionals.

2015 looks like a promising year for the IT industry, from the perspective of both recruiters and job-seekers. It just might be one of the better years the IT sector will have, and that’s definitely be something to look forward to.

 

References:

Author – Rakesh Singh

As Head of Marketing at Aditi Staffing, Rakesh is responsible for organizational brand outlook. Rakesh, very strongly believes in the golden circle of why, how and what and supports Aditi Staffing’s success by connecting the brand with candidates, clients and the recruitment engineers in the same manner. With over 10 years of experience in various sales and marketing roles including an entrepreneurship attempt in the Digital Display Advertising world, he brings a comprehensive approach to Aditi Staffing’s brand management in the global recruitment market.

5 Key Recruitment Trends For 2015

Widening gaps between demand and supply of skilled workers mean that recruitment will see a more competitive hiring and spending environment in 2015. In the coming year, 69% of recruiters expect to see competition increase. In the face of more challenging recruitment, what trends do recruiters need to keep up with to ensure successful sourcing and hiring in 2015? Here are the five key trends that you need to know about.

Increased Focus on Quality of Hire

It’s no secret that hiring the best people is the way to boost organizational success, and 2015 will see the quality of candidates becoming an increasingly important factor. Global recruiting leaders have cited quality of hire as a top priority, and as the most valuable metric for measuring a recruiting team’s performance. Four years ago, referrals were the best channel for sourcing quality hires. Today, job boards and social professional networks are preferred.

Increased Emphasis On Using Social Networks

Social recruiting has been big in 2014 and it’s set to be even bigger in 2015. With this in mind, 73% of recruiters plan to invest more in social recruiting. But currently 33% of recruiters don’t spend anything at all on social recruiting, so there are still big changes that need to be made in this area. LinkedIn remains the clear champion social site for hires with 79% of recruiters having found a hire through the site. While 94% of recruiters are using LinkedIn, next in line is Facebook, used by only 66% of recruiters. Social is now one of the most ripe platforms for finding top candidates, with both quality and quantity of candidates proven to improve when a social recruiting strategy is put in place.

Closing the Gap Between Active and Passive Candidates

2015 is going to see a big shift toward closing the gap that exists between active and passive candidates. Active candidates (those currently seeking employment) have been the main focus of recruiters for some time, but passive candidates (those who are not looking but are open to speaking to a recruiter) are a key talent pool that is not to be missed. In fact, 75% of professionals would categorize themselves as “passive,” yet this potential is greatly untapped, with only 61% of companies recruiting passive candidates. A recent poll has revealed that on LinkedIn, at least 63% of members are not actively looking but would still be interested in new job leads. 2015 is certainly the time for companies to capitalize on the passive talent pool.

Embracing the Concept of Talent Branding

Talent branding is the social, public version of your company brand that seeks to promote your company as being a great place to work so as to attract new talent. Companies are increasingly noticing the impact that a good brand and company culture has on their hiring process. Research from LinkedIn has found that costs per hire can be reduced by 50% and turnover rates lowered by 28% when a company has a strong talent brand in place. On top of this, three-quarters of talent acquisition leaders have said that talent brand significantly increases their ability to hire good talent. To give themselves as edge against other employers, 73% of organizations plan to highlight company culture in the coming year. There is no doubt about it, the line between recruiting and marketing is blurring, as recruiters are finding that marketing a strong talent brand helps them to attract better candidates.

Using Mobile Recruiting

This key trend is one of the least tapped into by recruiters so far. There’s a growing disparity between the 43% of job seekers who use a mobile device for their job searches and the 59% of recruiters who don’t invest in mobile career sites at all. Not to mention the fact that the number of candidates searching and applying for jobs on mobile devices is on the rise. Companies and recruiters need to increase their mobile recruiting behaviors to match candidate demand. 2015 is the time to make recruitment websites mobile-friendly and to mobile-optimize job postings. The easier it is for candidates to search and apply, the more applicants companies will be able to screen.

2015 is going to be a competitive year for recruiters who are facing skills shortages but high demand for quality hires from companies. Tapping into these five key recruitment trends will guarantee that companies and recruiters can keep up with the competition; there’s no option for lagging behind next year.

About the Author: Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.

photo credit: The Daring Librarian via photopin cc

Job Market Demands Creative Thinkers

The current job market demands creative thinkers. A recent study titled “Tomorrow’s Most Wanted” (conducted by Global Learning Institute Hyper Island and Edelman in Stockholm, Sweden) suggests that creativity, among other personality traits, is more important than technical skill sets.

Most applicants have a specific technical skill set related to the positions to which they are applying. However, the unsettling piece of this (at least for those currently looking for jobs) is that it can create a false sense of confidence in applicants. Did you ever submit an application to a job (that you were qualified for) with the utmost confidence that you will receive a phone call, only to be left hanging?

Think of it this way. Every job opening receives an average of 118 applications. The majority of these applicants have the technical skills necessary to complete the job requirements. How do recruiters narrow down the application pool if there are that many qualified individuals? Once the applicant pool is narrowed down to individuals who have the technical skill sets, employers look to your personality traits such as creativity.

Creativity can be learned.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s infamous TED Talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius,” shares the idea that instead of someone “being” creative, we all “have” creativity within us. Humans are born with the ability to be creative. This does not mean you have to win the genetic lottery in hopes of being creative – instead, it can be learned and taught.

We’re not saying you need to invent the next iPhone.

People often mistake creativity with innovation. Innovations are often creative; however, creativity doesn’t necessarily need to be innovative. Creativity can be used to transform mundane, repetitive jobs into something enjoyable (for the employee) and efficient (for the company). A common example is creating scripts to automated repetitive jobs.

Promoting creativity during the application process

Many candidates have it all: technical skills, experience, and the perfect personality traits. However, their resume only shows the first two, which brings us back to square one. How do you show employers that you have the creativity they are chasing? Answer: use a creative resume. Creative resumes are up-and-coming ways of showing employers that you have the technical skills required to complete a job, but also have the creativity to take on challenges and adapt quickly to situations.

Take the time to develop your creative resume, avoid having your resume tossed in the trash, and ultimately, sit down for the interview. As the late Steve Jobs famously said, “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

photo credit: A Health Blog via photopin cc

A Comprehensive Guide To Recruiting on Google+

One of the biggest advantages that Google+ has for recruiters is that the social media platform is run by Google. This means that any content being shared on that platform gets search engine optimised treatment in Google search results. It is also free to use, has more active users than LinkedIn, its profiles offer rich data regarding its users and it has access to highly valuable candidate niches. From a recruiting perspective, these features make Google+ a powerhouse for finding and engaging with talent. So, why are so many recruiters passing on the opportunity? This may well come down to a simple lack of knowledge about how to recruit on Google+.

In this article, we hope to inform you of the various ways that you can successfully use Google+ in your recruitment strategy.

We have teamed up with TalentCulture to help inform recruiters about the essentials of recruiting on Google+. Both our companies are social recruiting advocates and we wanted to help accelerate the adoption of Google+ by recruiters. Once you’re up and running on Google+ do follow us for more insights like these! (Social-Hire here and TalentCulture here)

How To Recruit on Google+ by Social-Hire.com in partnership with TalentCulture


An Overlooked Goldmine of Talent

Contributing to the slow uptake of Google+ is the question from recruiters as to whether it can help them hit their recruiting targets. Let’s start off by addressing this concern.

Google+’s potential reach is second only to Facebook, with a total user base of over 1 billion people. There is more of a chance that candidates will respond to your approaches or updates in a prompt manner on Google+ rather than LinkedIn because its active user base is considerably greater – and users receive their Google+ notifications whenever they visit a Google-owned site, including Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, etc.

By using Google+, recruiters have access to some extremely valuable candidate niches. As you can see by using the CircleCount tool to research user demographics, Google+ has been strongly adopted by IT professionals and students, to name just a couple prominent audiences on the platform.

Not all users have filled out their social media profiles as thoroughly as they have done on job boards or LinkedIn, but a recruiter can still garner a lot of information about these candidates. Recruiters can see the content they have shared, look at the communities they are active in and then find ways to engage candidates most effectively.

Is recruiting on Google+ starting to sound more appealing, but you have become drawn to LinkedIn’s enterprise tools? It’s true that Google+ will seem arduous and time consuming by comparison, if you just want to research a long list of candidates to approach and then quickly fire off messages to target candidates. However, adding Google+ to your recruiting toolset is absolutely essential if your company’s success depends on reaching a higher proportion of those targets, and on reaching candidates who are absent from – or overlooked – on LinkedIn.

There two main approaches that you can take here:

      • Building Your Recruiting Brand on Google+
      • Sourcing Candidates on Google+

I will be concentrating on the first of these and suggesting articles that cover the sourcing angle. But first, you must set up your Google+ profile.


Setting Up Your Google+ Profiles

Managing a presence on Google+ is similar to managing one on LinkedIn. Individual recruiters can manage their own profiles and be active on the site in their own right. Company brands can also manage their own company profiles and recruiting presence on Google+.

Company profiles on Google+ can do almost everything that individual profiles can do. As a company or recruiting brand, you can be active in communities (similar to “groups”), you can circle other people (similar to “following”), comment on their posts and +1 them (similar to giving something a ‘like’).

As we will talk about in a later section, this allows you to be build your recruiting brand’s following. On LinkedIn, this can only be done through paid advertising. This difference is particularly significant for any recruiters who are operating on a limited budget. Since company profiles elicit a different reaction from people than a personal recruiter profile, it is well worth investing the time to create and maintain both.

The first course of action to take here is to set up both your individual and your company recruiting profiles. After that initial set up, we will want to better understand how Google+ works so that we can leverage these profiles to attract and win over new candidates and clients.

There have been many fantastic posts written about how to create a visually appealing, keyword optimised and targeted profile. Therefore, in the interest of brevity, I would direct those who need help with setting up profiles to the following excellent resources:

>> For individual recruiters: How to create a Google+ profile

– see the excellent step-by-step walkthrough on Google+ and further ideas in this Google+ profile tips post by Hallam Internet

>> For recruiting or employer brands: How to create a Google+ company page

– again the company page walkthrough on Google+ is a great place to start and you will also find this video by Google+ expert Martin Shervington a helpful resource.

For now, let’s turn our attention to some of the basics you’ll need to know once you’ve created your profiles.


Recruiting on Google+: The Basics

Get organised. Google+ gives you the ability to follow people in a manner that allows you to be hyper targeted (in Google terminology, this is called “circling” someone…). On your profile (under ‘People’) you can create an unlimited number of circles and name them in the manner you choose. Other people on Google+ know when you have circled them, but they don’t know the name of the circle or circles you put them into.

Recruiters can therefore group contacts into circles by client, job title… or indeed in any other way that will help you to most productively organise and engage with your contacts.

Once you have categorized your contacts into circles, then you can view your homepage and filter to show only updates from a certain circle. When you share updates, you can choose to share them only with certain circles. This is one way to tailor Google+ to your business’s needs at any point in time.

Be smart. Like LinkedIn or Twitter, the majority of profiles you will visit on Google+ are not “active” users of the site. As with all social platforms, you always have to be monitoring what you’re doing to see if you are reaching real engaged users or simply disappearing into the Google+ abyss.

In my experience, active users on Google+ typically respond or react in a matter of hours which is a huge advantage for the platform. This is a true breath of fresh air for anyone who has become tired of waiting for a response on LinkedIn, only to get one months later!

Notifications play a major factor in this. A logged in Google+ user sees their notifications flag every time they visit Google, YouTube, Gmail … or any of Google’s other web services. This makes it hard, for most business people, to go through a day’s work without seeing these notifications at various points in the day.


Get Noticed on Google+

The notifications feature is an important part of the user’s experience on G+. If we want to be noticed, we must understand what triggers our activities appearing in someone else’s notifications stream, in a way that’s natural and appealing – rather than too eager or spammy.

The following are worth taking note of:

  • When you add someone to your circles or add them back (reciprocating them having added you), it will appear in notifications.
  • Commenting on someone’s post, resharing their content or +1’ing a post will appear in notifications – of these, comments are most likely to be noticed.
  • +1’ing a comment that someone has made will appear in notifications and is also a great way of acknowledging those whom are giving life to a discussion. This is also good for acknowledging that you have seen a comment someone has left you.
  • Inviting your circles to join a community or to attend an event or live video broadcast (hangout on air) will appear in notifications.
  • A summary of all new posts into a community will appear in community members’ notifications
  • Sharing a post with specific circles (rather than just publicly) results in your introduction to the post appearing in the notifications of those you targeted.

In this last point, I want to stress that many of the people who have circled you will see your publicly shared posts, as active users tend to check their homepage frequently. Sharing with specific circles, thereby bringing the post into someone’s notifications, can become tiresome if done too frequently. Because of that, we recommend only doing this for your most valuable posts (by which I mean “valuable” for your audience rather than valuable for yourself) or you risk losing or tuning out your followers.

Now that we have established how you can increase visibility with your profiles, let’s focus next on how you can leverage this to grow a strong candidate following – for either yourself as an individual recruiter, or for your employer brand page.


Build A Compelling Recruiting Brand on Google

It is possible to grow a following – and generate engagement – on Google+ quickly. This interactive chart (thanks again Circlecount) shows how my own profile grew at a phenomenal rate in the 10 months after I embarked on building a Google+ presence. Once I began to put the right approach in place, you will notice that both my follower count and the engagement on my posts accelerated dramatically.

On any social platform, my recipe for success is generally as follows:

  1. Build profiles that are filled with valuable insights and quality content which give the people who come across them a compelling reason to follow you.
  2. Figure out ways to identify the users on that social platform who are 1) active, 2) interested in the things your profile will become known for and, ideally, 3) already demonstrating that they like to share and comment on other people’s posts.
  3. Take the time to interact with your followers and fellow group / community members so that you give your profiles a real sense of personality and your followers feel that they “belong” to a community.

Creating profiles that are valuable to your target audience (1) is not specific to Google+. If you need help understanding this – and it should be part of your overall social media recruiting strategy – I suggest that you read through a recent guest post I wrote for Totaljobs.

Engaging with followers once you have won them (3) is also not specific to Google+. However, the essential principle on any social platform is that the more personal interactions someone has with your recruiting brand (or with you as an individual recruiter), the more inclined they will be to look out for – and engage with – your future updates.

Identifying the right people to try and engage with (2) is the crucial part. This is true on all social platforms, but particularly so on Google+ where the overwhelming majority of users are only on the network occasionally. (Google+ and Twitter are similar in this respect).

My suggestion for Google+ is the same I have for Twitter: begin searching Google+ for the type of content that you plan on sharing and any related hashtags. For example, a search for the URL social-hire.com on Google+ will return links of content from that website – and all the people who have +1’d the content, re-shared it, or commented on it. By taking this approach, we learn valuable information about our audience. We know the kinds of content these people are interested in, we know they are active on Google+ and we know that they are the types of users who will engage with other people’s content. You will soon be circling people whom are likely to circle you back, be interested in the content that you are sharing and inclined to re-share your posts.


Be Visual and Show Your Human Side

A good way to keep up with the types of content that are users are responding to the most is to follow the “What’s Hot” section of Google+. The posts that are generating strong reactions (at the time of writing this) incorporate striking or entertaining visuals. Similarly, occasional posts that reveal your personality or that show that your brand has a human side are also strong performers. Here’s a recent example from my own profile which combines both these points and has attracted a lot of shares and interest.

Having made this generalisation, be sure to monitor your activity in order to identify what is working well for you and what is not. Also understand that each Google+ Community has its own personality. Some are particularly vibrant, while others are subdued. Manage and nurture them by always trying to adjust your approach to reflect what’s producing results. If you would like some Google+ Communities to get you started, I recommend TalentCulture’s World of Work community for those working in Recruiting / Talent / HR; our Social-Hire Job Search Advice + Recruiter Contacts community; Andy Headworth’s Recruiting with Google+ community as a specialist recruiter help forum and the Plus Your Business! community for broader Google+ help and insights.

It is only by monitoring reactions to what you are posting – and where you are posting it – that you will be in a position to adjust your strategy and maximise your effectiveness. You cannot assume that you can just replicate what is working well on LinkedIn. Your strategy must be tailor-made for each platform and target audience.


Finding Talent on Google+

The topic of sourcing candidates on Google+ has been discussed by those in the recruitment industry thoroughly and since others have more expertise in this topic than I do, I will simply guide you to some recommended resources. To get a feel for the types of candidates you could reach out to on Google+, it is certainly worth taking a few minutes to have a play with Social-Hire’s candidate search tool.

For those who are serious about sourcing and want to take this to the next level, I recommend that you take a look at SourceCon’s brilliant Everything You Need to Know to Source Candidates on Google+. For a shorter read, you could turn to point 3 of Andy Headworth’s 10 Ways To Use Google Plus For Recruitment.


Concluding Remarks

In sharing these experiences and insights, I hope to have encouraged you to seriously consider using Google+ as a recruiting tool. With the information in this article, I also hope that I have made it easier for you to get started and to figure out how to make Google+ a powerful part of your wider recruitment branding (and sourcing) strategy. If you need more help getting your social strategy worked out, you are always welcome to schedule a call with us to walk through the things that you could be doing differently and more effectively as a recruiting team or recruitment business. Otherwise, I look forward to engaging with you on Google+ in the coming weeks!

 

photo credit: ePublicist via photopin cc

6 Social Media Recruiting Strategies You Should Be Doing

Some people are still skeptical about social media recruiting, though I can’t figure out why. The success stories on both companies and individuals finding their dream match through a social media recruitment campaign keep rolling in. Stacy Lambe got hired by BuzzFeed because of a meme he created of Hillary Clinton. Dawn Stiff was hired thanks to her Vine video by The Economist.

The question is, what should you be doing for the recruitment magic to happen? Here are 6 social media recruiting strategies to get you going in the right direction with Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Twitter

1. Become Best Friends with #Hashtags

Twitter uses Twitter for social media recruiting so it must be a good platform. The one thing that many recruiters don’t take the time to understand from the beginning are hashtags. It’s all too easy to put a “#” in front of a word and expect it to work. But if you don’t know the reach of that particular tag in terms of numbers and geography then you’re not using it right. If your chosen hashtag is getting lost in a sea of other tweets, it also won’t work. For example don’t use #jobopening but try adding your city’s abbreviation as well. Use tools like Hashtracking or TweetBinder to help you out.

2. Ask Employees to Tweet Job Openings

Lean into your existing network to spread the word. But before doing so, make sure that you have a solid Social Media Policy for your employees and that they understand what’s expected of them. They are your brand ambassadors after all, especially if you’re going to ask them to tweet job openings. It wouldn’t do to have someone post a job in one tweet and then crib about their boss in the next.

LinkedIn

3.Use LinkedIn’s Recruiter Homepage

LinkedIn is probably the first choice for social media recruiting by recruiters so it only makes sense that they provide a solid tool for the job. This is done through their paid product, LinkedIn Recruiter. Other than the basic LinkedIn functions you’ll get access to a matching algorithm which provides potential employee suggestions based on your recent activity and lets you monitor job application activity. It’s definitely a powerful tool to incorporate into your social media recruiting strategy.

4. Don’t Ignore the Power of LinkedIn Groups

There’s very little chance that you’ll read an article on social media without the word networking coming up. It’s just that important and that’s exactly what LinkedIn Groups will provide you. Be careful about the content you post because some groups provide limitations for recruiters. Make sure you know the basics about Company Branding on LinkedIn because it will determine how your organization is viewed.

Facebook

5. Use Facebook’s Search Feature the Right Way

Did you know, in Facebook’s Search you can type “People Who Work at Microsoft” and even filter the results by city? In fact, you can even search for “People who work at Microsoft and have friends who work at Oracle”. Very helpful if you’re trying to find someone at a company who has friends at the company you’re working for. Talk about powerful searching.

6. Engage in Paid Advertising

In 2013, Mashable revealed a 29% increase for Facebook ads every year, reaching 4.3 billion social engagements last year alone. Instead of investing in a recruitment agency, you can take the power of targeted Facebook advertising into your own hands and create a simple yet effect job opening ad and share it with an extremely targeted audience. This strategy is also far more effective than posting an ad in a newspaper which we all know often results in more bad than good CV’s.

There’s no end to this list and of course there are other tools including Google+ and Pinterest which shouldn’t be forgotten. A solid social media recruiting strategy should be well planned and documented to include the target audience, where they spend time online, guidelines for establishing relationships and which social channels to used. To be truly effective you’ll also want to include measurable KPI’s. I hope that this was enough to get you started and look forward to any additions you can make in the comments below.

(About the Author: Paul Keijzer is the CEO and Managing Partner of Engage Consulting in Malaysia, Pakistan and U.A.E. He focuses on transforming top teams and managing talent across Asia’s emerging and frontier markets. Paul has a firm belief that outstanding results can only be achieved through people, by engaging teams and building commitment by creating a new paradigm between company and employee. Paul has delivered transformational interventions for more than 50 blue chip organizations in countries across Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Egypt, Korea, U.A.E. and India.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: buso23 via bigstock

Ditching Your ATS? You’re Not Alone

Having been in the HR tech business for a number of years, I have spoken with countless HR and recruiting experts about their technology moves. As applicant tracking systems have grown in popularity over the last several years, larger companies are looking for new, more effective software and smaller companies are looking to make their first ATS decisions. Regardless of which group you fall into, there are a few things you should consider when shopping around.

Software Advice used the information that they gathered about past clients’ issues with their ATS and their reasons for switching, to create their 2013 ATS BuyerView report. Let’s look at the top three reasons that today’s software buyers are in the market for a new ATS:

1) Need More Robust Software

The applicant tracking software of less than a decade ago won’t have some features that have become pretty standard, and totally necessary in today’s recruiting climate. As other forms of HR and recruiting tech have advanced, each other type has to keep up. For instance, LinkedIn’s “Click to apply with LinkedIn” button has become wildly popular with applicants and recruiters alike, yet this option is not available with some of the older software.

Furthermore, social sharing and the ability to post listings on job boards directly from the secure platform is a relatively new function that only more current software will have. Many companies with free or outdated software are also finding that they need cloud-based software to keep up with the competition.

2. Current System Too Complex

Seeing this at #2 on the list isn’t surprising at all. I actually run into this a lot. A company is sold on a vendor that offers it all…except for user-friendliness, support or training. The most robust, all-inclusive and up-to-date software is going to be useless if no one can, or will use it. Recruitment expert Randall Birkwood said:

“You will find vendors will offer a number of bells and whistles, which may be confusing.  Ultimately, what is most important is whether it is easy to set up, intuitive, and requires minimal maintenance.”

3. Improve Efficiency/Effectiveness

This is sort of a broad category, but I have some solid hunches on what these users were unhappy with, given my experience in the industry.

Searching and Matching

An ATS that easily imports, parses and organizes all of the data you can shoot at it is great, but the user has to be able to access that data effortlessly. Poor search functionality can render an ATS useless.

Internal Candidate Portals and Referral Portals

HR is tired of being the middleman. Internal movement and career development is crucial to engagement and retention. Allow internal candidates to easily view and apply for listings. Additionally, your ATS should have a portal for employees to make referrals. These portals will provide all information that the candidates and referrers need, while decreasing the burden on HR and recruiting resources.

Reporting

Metrics are vital to the continued success of any recruitment team, and they aren’t easy to gather without the right tools. Companies are looking for reporting tools that effortlessly gather information on important metrics like time-to-fill, source of hire and diversity. RecruiterLoop provides more information on important recruiting metrics.

Cloud-based

Many companies quickly realized the burden on their IT team after purchasing their non-cloud-based software. The cloud is where it’s at now. With cloud-based options, your vendor is tasked with maintaining and updating the system, instead of using your own resources.

While there is plenty more to picking out the right software for your company’s unique needs, I think it’s important to hear from software buyers who have already spent the money and found the issues. That way, you don’t have to do it!

It is also important for software buyers to ask questions about updates and upgrades before deciding to make any purchases. These might come with hidden costs, but they might be simple changes that your vendor can make for you. One last piece of advice: Don’t buy until it’s right!

(About the Author: Raj Sheth is the CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online recruitment software and applicant tracking system designed especially for growing companies. Prior to Recruiterbox, Sheth founded two other web start-ups — a classifieds portal and an ecommerce site. He graduated from Babson College and spent the first three years of his career as a financial analyst with EMC Corporation in Boston.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday. To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: buso23 via bigstock

How To Use Instagram To Recruit: 5 Easy Steps [Infographic]

By this point, most of us have come across the term, “social recruiting.” With the rising importance of fostering a successful and sustainable company culture and hiring people who are not only the right professional fit but the right cultural fit as well, employers and human resource professionals have started to turn to the power of social media networks, like Instagram, to help with their recruitment efforts. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that recently surpassed 150 million active users and counting – 70 percent of whom log in to the site at least once a day. That’s a huge pool of potential employees!

A few articles have surfaced about how some companies have started to use Instagram from a recruitment perspective. Vocus, a cloud-based marketing and public relations software, hired a marketer with a background in social media to manage the employment brand, including their activity on Instagram. Instead of taking the traditional HR approach, Veronica Segovia created a separate Instagram careers account (@vocuscareers), specifically for the hiring side of the business. Segovia published a blog post announcing their presence on Instagram to both employees and candidates, which included guidelines on how employees could get involved. “We looked at Instagram as an opportunity to make contact with passive candidates, to show them that Vocus is a cool, fun, young company”, says Segovia.

But the question remains, can you really recruit candidates for a job through Instagram? The answer is yes, but it has to be a combined effort. Instagram is most effective as a complement to other social media channels – so it’s best if your company is already using other social media sites (as you should be!). Before launching the @vocuscareers Instagram account, the company had been actively brand building on other channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Images posted on Instagram can be repurposed for other corporate social profiles, such as the aforementioned, helping extend your reach. The real focus with Instagram should be on maintaining the image of your brand, which aids in the recruiting process by attracting people who want to be more familiar with your company.

So where do you start? We’ve put together an infographic below that outlines the ways that Instagram is most useful and how to use it properly for recruiting, employee engagement and brand building in 5 easy steps.

Recruiting-With-Instagram-WEB

Do you have an example of using Instagram to aid in your recruitment or employee engagement efforts? We would love to hear about it. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Written by Rachel Scott | Infographic by Tara Burt

(About the Author: Rachel Scott has a diverse background in advertising and communications that includes everything from working as a Research Assistant for the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Technology, working in the Public Relations department for CJSF 90.1 FM, to her most recent role as Marketing Assistant at Clevers Media, a marketing and consulting agency based in Vancouver, BC.

Currently Rachel is the Marketing and Content Manager at Boost Agents. Boost Agents brings together growing, forward thinking organizations and qualified creative, marketing and communications professionals through our timely and ethical process to make the perfect cultural fit. Whether you are a candidate (job seeker) looking to boost your career and need someone to help take you to the next level, or a client looking to grow your team, we’re excited to be part of the process with you.)

To discuss World of Work topics like this with the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events each Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or join our ongoing Twitter and G+ conversation anytime. Learn more…

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Photo Credit: Twin design via bigstock

 

How I Got Schooled On Culture

I had the good fortune of having my interest in the power of culture sparked nearly 20 years ago when I was a VP with a major automotive supplier.  We wanted to foster a positive environment and build an “involvement culture.” I had great mentors and read everything I could find on leadership and culture.

I learned about “building culture muscle” through rigorous feedback and prioritization to foster ownership with groups, transparent and regular communication habits, proactive resolution of major employee frustrations, and consistent tracking of strategies, goals, and measures.

The Main Learning Years – Trial and Error

I moved through a series of roles with different regional and global groups over the next eight years, each with a different sub-culture and urgent performance priories.  One exciting principle was further building ownership with the goal of having every employee feel like they were part of team “running their own business.” We implemented extensive cross-functional team structures to support this goal.  The same fundamentals worked across the world but customization was needed for communication, and different aspects of the operating model were emphasized based on the local culture.

I learned about the importance of understanding the history of an organization, a documented vision and strategy, large group “involvement meetings” to keep a team on the same page, and innovative group reward and recognition. The learning continued through regular community service activities and employee wellness improvements to support a deeper purpose, leveraging technology to streamline work, and proactively using feedback to refine communications and drive clarity.  I also learned about the incredible power of strengths-based employee development.  

The Financial Crisis – Fear, Uncertainty & Failure

Next, the financial crisis hit, automotive volumes tanked, and my responsibilities changed to focus on managing an urgent restructuring plan in North America.  The same operating model was implemented as in prior roles but there was an incredible focus on performance.  We were bought by a private equity firm, managed a massive downsizing, restructured the global business, and I lost my job at the end of it all.

I learned about urgently driving improvement because peoples’ lives are at stake, relentlessly emphasizing performance metrics, and confronting reality in extremely difficult times.  I also learned about fear, self-doubt, sadness, and regret.

Moving to a New Organization

I was out of work for a year before landing a role as president of a great family-owned business.  It was a massive turnaround effort but most aspects of the same operating model worked in an organization where I had no history.

I learned about the importance of having only one “top” priority at a time, focusing on 1-2 key values or behaviors to improve (discipline, teamwork, etc.), and about how to hold off on sharing my ideas or proposed plans in favor of starting with a vested group and a clean sheet of paper.  I also learned about eliminating fear, growing pride, phasing improvements, hiring for cultural fit, and proactively communicating with a board / owners so they feel involved.

A World of Culture Education

I moved to consulting as president of a culture assessment and consulting firm, before a transition to independent consulting and business coaching.   It’s been an amazing experience to see cultures across a wide variety of organizations.

I learned extremely effective organizations, small or large, apply relatively similar habits to support their purpose, values, and performance priorities. The vast majority of those organizations did what I did – they pieced things together over a period of many years without following a clear framework, model, or guide to help them sequence or prioritize the work.  

The Problem

It doesn’t make sense to me that leaders should have to go through a long learning process to deal with the complex subject of culture with confidence.   Culture is a hot topic but we’re buried in the popular press of disconnected tips, keys, and levers that over-shadow fundamentals about culture and the direct impact it has on performance. Sustainable culture change takes time but the initial efforts to build clarity, alignment, and leverage your unique culture will often have a rapid impact on performance as momentum builds.

I learned the lack of understanding the subject of culture is dramatically impacting results in the vast majority of organizations. There is also a huge social impact (think about organizations in education, healthcare, government, non-profit, etc.) where meaningful change could be accelerated.

The Bottom Line and a Predication

Leaders need to:

1) See through the popular press and understand culture fundamentals

2) Focus on specific problems, challenges, or goals and identify very specific values or behaviors to evolve that have been holding back performance

3)   Apply culture fundamentals as part of clear plan to engage their workforce in solving problems, achieving goals, and improving performance with a sense of urgency

4)  Connect the right set of improvements to get over the “culture tipping point” where momentum, results, and buy-in grows.

Culture will be widely accepted as the ultimate differentiator in organizations within the next 20 years.  The focus will over-shadow strategy, talent, technology, and all other areas.

What have you learned about the subject of culture? Is it the ultimate differentiator in organizations?

Networking: 5 Ways To Work It Into Your Life

Written by Lynn Dixon, co-founder & COO, Hourly

Networking. Some people consider it a guaranteed way to connect with industry luminaries. Others believe it’s the ideal way market your professional capabilities and build brand awareness. Still, others dread the concept, and try to avoid it at all costs.

Truth is, networking remains one of the most effective techniques for selling yourself, as well as uncovering new business opportunities, projects and jobs.

But there’s a key to networking success that isn’t often discussed — knowing how to conduct yourself in various social situations is essential.

While handing out business cards may work wonders for you at a designated networking event, the same strategy might not work in a different atmosphere. Is there a way to predict what techniques will be effective in a specific setting?

Let’s look at several common social scenarios, and consider an appropriate networking plan of action for each:

1) Work Events

Work events come in all shapes and sizes, from professional development courses to off-site meetings with colleagues. These events tend to be more formal and task-oriented. Typically these settings are not ideal for aggressive networking, primarily because your participation is tied to other business goals.

How to play it: Although you may know most people at a work event, you can subtly network by introducing yourself to other attendees. When it fits into the flow of conversation, you might also mention recent accomplishments or challenges you’ve overcome. This helps people in your internal network see where you shine, and helps them envision how you could contribute to future projects with them or others they know.

2) Office Parties

Events like the annual holiday party or your boss’s birthday don’t usually scream “networking.” Conversations are often focused on personal life, and you may not want to think about business. Although no one wants to “talk shop” throughout an entire office party, it can be an awesome opportunity diplomatically reinforce your strengths.

How to play it: Put the alcohol down and get to know colleagues you don’t know well, especially those in other departments. You don’t have to brag about your accomplishments, but you can weave in your expertise. Chances are, one day they may need your skills on a project. Be memorable and focus on how you add value.

3) Family Events

You probably believe family events are the last place to whip out your resume and market yourself, but these events can be a networking goldmine. Think about it. Your family wants you to do well in your career. It’s like preaching to the choir. You just have to know what songs to sing.

How to play it: Although members of your family probably don’t work in your industry, they’re likely to know someone who does. That’s why it’s advisable to touch base about business with as many people as possible while you “work the aisles” at reunions, weddings and other family gatherings. Bring a stash of business cards, in case someone expresses interest. In the future, if someone they know needs someone with your skills, you’ll be the first person on their radar.

4) Industry Conferences

Conferences are a great way to establish excellent connections who can help you expand your network. Sometimes the premise of a conference centers on networking. Other conferences are developed for you to learn more about your industry by listening to speakers, attending workshops and sharing ideas with professional colleagues.

How to play it: This is one of those obvious networking situations where you’ll need lots of business cards, a stack of resumes, and a variety of portfolio samples. Since conferences attract a plethora of industry colleagues, you never know who you’ll run into — so you need to be prepared. It’s also smart to refresh your LinkedIn profile before the event, so anyone who checks your profile afterward will see your most current information.

5) Running Errands

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store when you see an influential member of your industry. You don’t want to throw business cards at this important person, but you do want to make a connection. How do you approach a power player in public without appearing to be desperate?

How to play it: Look for an appropriate opening. Briefly introduce yourself and explain why you admire this person. Try to mention a recent article they wrote or compliment them on a recent accomplishment. Then, close quickly by asking if you could connect via email or on a social network. This opens the door to future conversations while downplaying what could otherwise be an awkward situation.

The ability to market yourself in any situation is a skill that should be practiced and polished. You never know who you’ll bump into and how they could help you out in the future. Look at every situation as a chance to boost your network and provide a possible stepping stone for your career.

What do you think about the power of networking in social settings? How have you marketed yourself at various events? What has been effective for you?

Lynn-Dixon(About the Author: Lynn Dixon is the co-founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Twitter and LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Can You Hear Me Now? Influence Goes Social #TChat Recap

“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.”
–John Hancock

Wherever you find people, you’ll find influence. The concept is as basic as civilization, itself.

John Hancock understood its importance in business contexts. But as business moves to the digital space, the way we gain, use and respond to influence is shifting into overdrive. How does this digitally-enhanced version of influence affect the way we engage and motivate others across organizations and in the world at-large? And why should it matter to everyone in today’s workplace? These questions were top-of-mind this week at #TChat Events, as the TalentCulture community welcomed two influence experts:

Mark Fidelman, author of the book, Socialized!, and CEO of RaynForest, an influencer marketplace;
Mark Willaman, Founder and President of Fisher Vista LLC, owners of HRmarketer software and Fisher Vista marketing services

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat Twitter slideshow and resource links at the end of this post.)

Defining Social Influence

What is a “social influencer” anyway? If a static persona accumulates social media followers, is that enough? Or is it about behavior that attract the attention and interest of professional peers? Is it when your presence (or absence) affects the nature and flow of conversations on social channels? Or is it when you write blog posts that draw an extraordinary number of readers and comments?

Of course, it can involve all of these elements and more. Effective influencers use social tools as a means to an end. It’s not just about building an audience. It’s about engaging and interacting with people in ways that leave them enthused, passionate, and eager to tell others about that experience. As word spreads about influencers, word also spreads about their company, product or service.

Social Influence In Action

Take a look at some of today’s most prominent business influencers — people like Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington. They really put the “social” in social media. Unlike “image-first” personalities like the Gagas and Biebers of the world — social influencers invest in real community connections and conversations.

It’s smart to focus first on quality rather than quantity. (What would you prefer — 100 engaged industry peers, or 100,000 random followers, who may not even care about you or what you represent? Where can you add value, and get value in return? I would pick 100 targeted connections with whom I can have purposeful interactions. If those interactions create a gravitational pull that expands my sphere of influence, then I’ve done something right. As someone mentioned last night at #TChat — don’t be mislead into thinking that it’s a quick process.

Why Should We Care?

I think of social influencers as “go-to” resources. When I want advice or inspiration, I turn to my network. These are trusted professionals, and use their influence for broader purposes than self-promotion. They build relationships based on integrity, transparency, vulnerability and humor — all the best traits we look for in humans. No doubt that’s why TalentCulture CEO, Meghan Biro, encourages everyone to “live your brand.” It’s the most unique, powerful asset any of us can offer.

Social media is an extraordinary tool that helps us establish immediate connections with business leaders, employees, customers, stakeholders and others. It can provide companies with valuable insight about market perceptions. It can be a powerful force that shapes business brands, cultures and communities — if organization are willing to show up, listen and participate. This is where leaders can make a difference. Committing to an active social presence is the first step toward empowering employees and customers as brand ambassadors. There’s nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

#TChat Week-In-Review: Social Influence as a Competitive Advantage

Publication1

See the videos in the Preview Post now…

SAT 11/2:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured brief “sneak peek” hangout videos with our guests. Read the Preview: “The Rise of Influence in Social Business.

SUN 11/3:

Forbes.com Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro suggested why and how modern leaders should invest in a social media presence. Read: “7 Traits of Highly Influential Leaders.

TUE 11/5:

Related Post: Guest blogger Paul Bailey helped us look at influence from the outside-in, with advice for job seekers on using social media intelligence to get hired. Read: “How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job.

WED 11/6:

TChatRadio_logo_020813

Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman how social media is transforming the concept of influence in today’s world of work. Fascinating stuff! Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests joined the entire TalentCulture ommunity on the #TChat Twitter stream for an open conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Competitive Advantage of Social Influence

[javascript src=”//storify.com/TalentCulture/tchat-insights-the-competitive-advantage-of-socia-1.js?template=slideshow”]

Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Mark Willaman and Mark Fidelman for sharing your insights on the evolving meaning and importance of influence in the social era. Your knowledge and experience are invaluable to our community.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about influence-related issues or opportunities? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we take a closer look at how the social/mobile/cloud revolution is redefining the entire hiring process. So save the date (November 13) for another powerful #TChat double-header!

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

How Social Sleuthing Can Land You A Dream Job

Written by Paul Bailey

Is your job hunt stalled because employers don’t respond to your inquiries? It’s time to rethink your communications strategy. Are you sending generic letters and resumes? Do you emphasize your skills and achievements? There’s a better way to gain an employer’s attention — and it’s easier than you may think.

Consider this — most recruiters rely on social media to check candidate profiles. Why not take a page from their playbook, and leverage social surveillance in your job search? It’s only fair. And it’s entirely free. All it takes is a little bit of digging.

Here’s how you can find helpful information and use it to ace every step of the job application process:

Start By Looking And Listening On Social Channels

Let’s say you find an ad for an attractive job. Your first step is to look at the company’s digital footprint — its primary website, as well as its blog, and presence on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter and Facebook. At each location search for the following:

•  Hiring manager or recruiter name. Review their Linkedin profiles. Do you have anything in common, professionally? Be sure to check their interests and interview pet peeves on Facebook or Twitter.
•  Company background. Familiarize yourself with the organization’s target demographics, recent news, and products/services.
•  Someone who’s working in the position for which you’re applying. That person has the job you’re targeting for a good reason, so check what you have in common. If they have qualifications or technical knowledge you don’t, and those are related to the job, that’s a clue. Study those differences.
•  Challenges the company and its industry are facing. Prepare two or three suggestions on how you could help address those issues.
•  Company values, vision and mission. This is required baseline knowledge for anyone who wants to be considered a serious job contender in the social era.

Next Steps: Put Information To Use 3 Ways

1) On Your Resume

Take time to customize your resume. Align your skills and credentials with the job you’re pursuing. Highlight related achievements, too.

Remember your research on the person who already has the job you’re seeking? Look at how that person describes the job, and think about how you could insert skills or tasks on your resume that fit with that description. (Of course, don’t list these skills unless you really have them. Authenticity trumps all.)

2) On Your Cover Letter

Don’t start your cover letter with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” Address the the recruiter or hiring manager directly.

Include key phrases from the job ad, and pair them with some phrases from the company’s mission/vision/values. For example, instead of writing “analyst with five years’ experience in banking,” say “analyst with a get-it-done attitude and five years’ experience in banking” (where “get-it-done attitude” is part of the company’s values).

You might think this is cheesy, but it gives the recruiter a subliminal signal that says, “Hey, this candidate will do well in our culture.” It’s also much better than using generic cliché phrases, such as “hardworking,” “honest” or “quick learner.”

3) In Interviews

Use your knowledge of the interviewer’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to break the ice. If you don’t have anything in common, try talking about their interests.

Don’t say something like, “I saw you worked at Chase Bank for two years. I worked there as an intern!” This ruins the ice-breaker because the recruiter will sense you’re trying too hard to establish rapport, and it reveals that you’ve been snooping on social sites.

Mention whatever it is you have in common, but don’t drag the recruiter into it. Say, “I was an intern at Chase Bank.” It’s likely that the recruiter will respond by acknowledging his history there.

Assuming you can establish rapport, the next step is to reinforce why you’re the best candidate for the job by eliminating the competition. This is where most of your research will pay off.

Asking questions makes you stand out from the hundreds who simply shake hands and say, “Thank you for your time.” Ask about the challenges new hires encounter, then tell a story about how you successfully handled similar challenges. Your awareness of current employees’ skills will be helpful, as you highlight your job-specific knowledge and competence with necessary tools. If you can confidently use the jargon or lingo associated with the job, use it.

Ask about the challenges faced by the company or industry, then share suggestions you’ve prepared in advance. However, don’t overdo it. Your task is to portray yourself as a problem-solver, not a know-it-all.

The next time you want to apply for a job, do research before you send an application. Customize your resume and cover letter for every job application you send. And use the intelligence to prepare yourself to stand out from the crowd.

Have you tried these techniques in a job search? How did they work for you? What other ideas do you recommend? Share you comments below.

168e7dae52120ad8976f5b.L._V388018754_(About the author:
Paul Bailey is a certified professional coach and business improvement consultant with more than 12 years of experience. He specializes in helping people realize their potential and unleash their inner confidence, so they can find meaningful work that matches their skills and values. Learn more about Paul and his coaching services at Impact Coaching & Mentoring.
Or connect with Paul on Twitter or Google+.

(Editor’s note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome for events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

Join #TChat at Recruiting Trends Social Summit

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of the week’s events from April 11, 2013? See The Best-of-All-Ages Workplace #TChat Recap)

Exciting news for social recruiting and HR professionals everywhere!

Save the date – April 11, 2013. That’s when TalentCulture Community co-founders, Meghan and Kevin will be  live at the Recruiting Trends Sourcing and Recruiting Social Summit 2013, where they’ll share insights from the event’s speakers throughout the day via #TChat and #rtrends Twitter channels.

Experts from across the industry are coming together for this very special one-day event in Washington D.C. to showcase innovative tools, techniques, and strategies necessary to strengthen and expand your organization’s talent pool in today’s social business world. You’ll also learn how to optimize sourcing and recruiting channels, and attract the right candidates through social media, mobile outreach, employment branding, screening, and much more.

Social media is still relatively new to many companies, so this event couldn’t be more timely.

#TChat Event Connects Attendees with Digital Community

The day’s activities culminate with a very special live #TChat forum, where Meghan and Kevin will moderate and review the day’s tips and takeaways with onsite speakers and attendees – as well as the online TalentCulture community.

If you’re in the Washington D.C. area, please join us live at the event — or stream with us online via #TChat and #rtrends channels. Either way, this should be an interesting and informative day.

Let’s see what it means to bring face-to-face interaction together with the virtual community. It could be the start of a very big trend! “See” you in April!

 

 

The Power of Online Endorsements: #TChat Preview

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to read the RECAP of this week’s events? Read “#TChat Recap: The Social Side of Professional Endorsements”

The digital reputation economy is fast approaching — it’s already here for movies, restaurants (including their restrooms), customer service in retail, and a growing number of employers. And it’s arriving for us ordinary citizens: “everyman” and “everywoman.” Startups are building software that can aggregate your tweets, “likes,” online commerce and more, to construct a profile of who you are. And employers, banks and others who have influence over your professional and personal affairs want to review that aggregation of data. This week we look at whether or not that’s a good thing in general, and how it changes our professional and personal currency.

Endorsements online can mean a lot. This we know, and their apparent relevance to the world of work is considerable. They can help an organization’s SEO, yes, and research shows that a large majority percentage of social media users turn to their peers for recommendations on products and services, and not to the organizations themselves that provide these — a sort of unofficial recommendation.

There must be a corresponding phenomenon in the world of work. And that would be digitally revolutionary. Against the backdrop of social endorsements are the official and unofficial mechanisms for professional endorsements and recommendations that drive careers, too. With its new endorsements functionality, LinkedIn recently has made a splash along these lines.

Let’s train our collective #TChat wisdom on endorsement, to look into whether or not all online endorsements are created equal. We’re going to do our best to extrapolate as many key takeaways as possible that might be applicable to the world of work. In the spirit of that quest, following are this week’s questions:

Q1: What is the value of endorsements and recommendations online, whatever the context?

Q2: In the world of work, are all online endorsements and related activity created equal? Why or why not?

Q3: How should leaders interpret online recommendations & endorsements? What is the value?

Q4: When do *you* endorse a fellow professional online? What criteria do you use?

Q5: How is tech changing the nature & value of endorsements & recommendations?

To view the #TChat Radio preview, click the image.

One of this week’s #TChat Radio and #TChat Twitter guests is Dr. Marla Gottschalk (@MRGottschalk), a prolific member of our community. Marla is practice manager in organizational development at Rand Gottschalk & Associates, a management consultancy focusing on organizational change and performance development. Here’s a link to her blog, The Office Blend.

Our other guest for the radio show, and moderator of Wednesday’s Twitter chat, will be Mike Dwyer (@cruiter), co-founder and managing director of market development at QUEsocial, a social business technology platform that equips employees in recruiting, sales, customer service, product marketing, and marketing with job-specific training, content and motivation to convert social media activities into desired outcomes.

So please, join us. Tune into the radio show on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT. And then bring your ideas to the Twitter chat on Wednesday, Jan. 23, from 7-8 pm ET (6-7pm CT, 5-6pm MT, 4-5pm PT, or wherever you are). We always enjoy and value your tweets and wisdom!

Image credit: Thumbs Up via stock.xchng

SocialHRCamp: Warming Up & Packing Light

I’ll Bring the Marshmallows!

Seriously, there’s a not-to-be-missed professional event happening right here in my hometown next week. It’s the Boston leg in a series of “un-conferences” for HR professionals. That means it’s not your typical, static “lecture” conference. Instead, it’s a dynamic, flexible, collaborative knowledge-sharing environment. And it’s designed specifically for HR professionals who want to leverage social media in their workplace environments and in their careers. Pretty cool stuff.

So, what’s the “camp” connection? That concept seems odd – especially during a cold New England winter. But stay with me on this one – it’s the SocialHRCamp! And it’s coming next Wednesday, Dec 5th, to the Cambridge, MA campus of my awesome former client, Google. I’m looking forward to huddling with some of the best and brightest talent strategy and career-oriented minds, as we explore how to integrate social media with in-real-life interactions to create business value. Sounds like a magic bullet, doesn’t it? It is! We invite all kinds of smart, innovative people to join us – college students, HR practitioners and leaders alike.

Let’s Gather Around the Campfire

I’ll be there talking about recruiting, of course – Recruiting 3.0 – along with my long-time friend Jeff Moore, Director of Global Talent at TripAdvisor. We are co-presenting the discussion “Recruiting 3.0: From Online to IRL-Qualifying, Deepening Social Relationships.” We look forward sharing a lot of laughs with you along the way. After all, when Jeff and I get together, it’s how we roll.

But between the stories and chuckles, we want to delve into a discussion about how to choose and apply the right HR technology, how to be better recruiting leaders, and how to grow stronger relationships in these social-media-driven times. Social channels have become an essential part of the recruiter’s bag of tricks, but it’s critical to remember it’s just one kind of tool. The key to success is in understanding where, when and how to use social media to establish, build and strengthen relationships and improve your career.

Not Your Father’s Day Camp

Because SocialHRCamp is an “un-conference,” attendees can customize this event experience to suit their particular interests and needs. So we’ll balance face-to-face chats and presentations with quick breaks to Tweet and post on LinkedIn and Facebook – an in-the-moment live stream of interaction and learning that spreads far beyond the event venue, in real time. It’s an opportunity to put social tools into practice.

This “un-conference” structure promises that SocialHRCamp attendees will walk away with a richer, more enduring connection with the people and practices they encounter at the sessions. I couldn’t agree more. Leaders and practitioners thrive when we’re active and hands-on in social media engagement and strategies. Regardless of your industry, role, or belief system, it’s critical to weave social media connections into the daily workflow. It’s no longer an option – it’s a core competency for brand representatives who must build greater trust with employees, customers and prospects.

That’s the beauty of an “un-conference.” It’s a safe, supportive environment that helps us all find better ways to share and apply leading-edge social HR skills, tools and techniques.

So let’s pitch the SocialHRCamp flag together! Join Jeff Waldman SocialHR Camp founder, Salima Nathoo of GLOW Consulting, your HR and recruiting colleagues, and me, as we connect, listen, learn and interact. Sign up below and make sure to say hi to me when you get to the conference – we’ll all be multitasking, talking and expanding our horizons. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

See you there IRL! Smiles.

Get a Special Friend Discount!

It’s on me! Please use the code “MeghanMBiro” when you register. Hope to see you there. Around this campfire, the more the merrier!

Collaborative Communication Car Pool Fast Lane: #TChat Recap

I got the invite to chill with someone. And that’s when it hit me: there’s just too much information, too many content curation tools, too many sharing tools, too many communications tools that don’t really help me communicate. Whirlwind. Zoom. Zis-boom-ba. Turn the fire hose off and get me a real drink.

Sure, early adopters are compelled by their very nature to keep the fire hose on their hip next to their smart phones — like six-shooters ready for action. We want to experiment with innovative ideas, build on them and launch our own.

But do we really need this much action and interaction? Or is it creating a lack thereof? For me personally, I probably experimented with over 10 new “communications” tools in 2011, 9 of which I’ll never use again. I’m sure there are dozens more I’ve never even heard of.

When you ask the question, “How many communication tools/services do you use daily both in business and pleasure?,” my answer is, “Too many and not well enough.” I would argue that’s the case for most of us — tasting and playing and using less than 5%-10% of the communications tool capacity no better than an email see-saw. New and old services alike need utilization that sticks, because if you don’t use it regularly, you kill it, and that’s not what the founders of new tools want to hear. That’s why it’s highly subjective and contextual, finding the right daily communication tools that help move life along and not hinder it.

Facebook doesn’t have to worry about that. Neither does Twitter or LinkedIn. But all are anchored in email, the long-standing messy message moving tool. Not a communications tool, a messy message moving tool. The novelty wore off for me in the early 1990s when I worked at San Jose State University and we used email to push messages back and forth. Because it was fun and we could do it. Woot.

Have you ever tried to have a collaborative conversation via email? I know you have. It’s painfully disruptive and a time sink. Back and forth. Wait. Back and forth. Wait. Back and forth.

Hold the friggin’ phone. Literally — hold the phone and call me. It’s easier that way and more productive. Three others that I’ve found for all my iterative work worlds are Yammer and Skype and SocialEars. I’m sure you have your favorites as well. If you’re in a bigger company, your HR software might even have social communication functionality.

Let’s kill email like I want to kill the resume. Please. And no, I’m not a big texter either since I always text in complete English sentences like critical thinking homies. Word.

The good news is that the #TChat collaborative communication car pool fast lane is one that has remained open for over a year now, and the sharing and comparing and contrasting and venting and networking and catching up every week about all things world of work has made the information superhighway a little easier to traverse.

Then again, another value of virtual collaboration and online communication is that I can turn it off and actually get some real creative work done.

Don’t look at me that way. Get back to work. We’ve got communication innovations to invent.

***

Thank you to everyone who joined us last night! Welcome to 2012 #TChat! If you missed the preview, you can read it here.

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Speaking Socially, What Is Influence? #TChat Preview

Written by Crystal Miller

Just for kicks, I keep a running list of “industry buzzwords” that make me laugh (or groan) because they are often misunderstood on the application level.  “Influence,” especially as it relates to the world of #SocialMedia, has long since been on my list.  “WHAT IS INFLUENCE?”

If you asked my 14-year-old, she’d answer that influence pretty much comes with popularity.  Come to think of it, in the compulsory school setting, that’s probably true… but in the World of Work, we navigate different jungle gyms than the ones we did during our earlier education. .. Don‘t we?  While who you know, who you spend your time with and how you’re perceived certainly still holds influential relevance; what you contribute, do, and can do for others become primary factors in achieving influence… offline & in a social media setting.   Social media influence tools such as Klout, SocialIQ, and Booshaka seem to back this up… but, as with any system, if it can be ‘gamed,’ can it be fully trusted?

When you do achieve ‘influence,’  what does it do for you, anyway??  In the World of Work it’s generally accepted that influence opens doors, strengthens relationships, and builds credibility.  People tend to trust the recommendation of their friends over the advertisement they saw during the Superbowl; no matter how catchy it might be.  Facebook took that concept all the way to the bank with their “Like” thumbs-up; and now we can tumbl, stumble, and +1 any article, brand, business, or product that catches our eye.

Of course, just as Uncle Ben explained to Peter Parker in Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility.”  Influence is, to a degree, power – so those who wield it do face the potential landmine of dealing with the responsibility that goes along with it.  In the world of Social, this often means promoting the causes and agendas of others.  This is not an inherently bad thing; but it does require the ability to balance those requests with our own needs & work.  Actually, that statement probably applies to the world of Social Media in general.  To gain and keep “social influence” online requires a time investment that must be balanced against our business and personal objectives/responsibilities; yet another potential landmine to navigate.  Yes, the connections & engaging conversations you have online may drive up your Social IQ score – but that’s going to be of little comfort if you lose your paycheck in the process… so know your end-goal objectives going in.

This week, we’ll be looking at what social “Influence” really means and how important is it within the World of Work?  Join us in our conversation TONIGHT 9/14 with our moderator @MeghanMBiro, along with Co-Hosts @KevinWGrossman and @TheOneCrystal  from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @TalentCulture and @Monster_Works as we explore how we go about being ‘professionally influential’ and all that goes with it… plus, we’ll take a peek at social influence meters like Klout, too!

Questions & Recommended Reading for the #TChat Discussion:

1.       What does “influence” mean to you?    Does it matter?

Read:  “Measuring Influence is About More Than Boosting Your Ego” on Klout by Joe Fernandez

 2.       What goes into creating influence?  How does one become ‘influential?’

Read:  “Outside-the-Box Engagement Tools” on WeKnowNext by Matt Charney

Read: “The One Essential Key to Developing Your Social Media Influence” on Social Media Today by Joshua Leatherman

 3.       What are some of the most significant ways “influence” impacts the world of work?

Read:  “How Social Influence Impacts Consumer Behavior”  by David, Search Engine Marketing Group

 4.       Are there any potential downsides or landmines associated with having influence?

Read:  “What are Pros & Cons of Social Media Marketing” on Social Media Today by Matt Ambrose

5.       Do current tools like Klout accurately reflect influence?  Can “influence” be quantified in the first place?

Read:  “Is Klout a Good Judge of Your Social Media Influence”  on Social Media Examiner by Elijah Young

6.       What impact does social media and emerging technologies have on our perceptions of influence or influencing our behaviors?

Read:  “Quality vs. Quantity Online Relationships” on PullNotPush by Justin Cambria

Create an Unsinkable Resume

Alicia Arenas’ recent TalentCulture post, Business Leaders: Go Niche or Go Home resonated!

Arenas says that entrepreneurs must “choose a target market.” Similarly, job seekers must zero in on their target reader, and then laser-focus their words and actions on attracting that audience.

As a resume writer, I only write for careerists who are targeted! And by this, I mean, you know what position you wish to attract with your resume, cover letter, biography, social media profile and the like.  Ideally, the position upon which you are concentrating is one that can be articulated with a title such as, “Marketing Director” or “Accounting Manager” or  “Information Architect,” or some combination thereto.

This position must be a genuine role that companies are, or should, be filling with YOUR type of credentials. Companies must have a present need to invest in folks like YOU who uniquely are qualified to step into vacant shoes–and create traction.

How you begin shaping your value story to appeal to that audience is this:

  • First, think about and get quite familiar with your target audience’s areas of pain – write those down. In an earlier blog post, I listed multiple Internet resources you may access to research companies; you can click HERE to access those. For your assistance, a few of those sites include Hoovers.com, Manta.com and ZoomInfo.com.
  • Second, craft a compelling message that shows how you can heal those pain points. Identify performance stories that prove you’ve been there and done that and include not only the basic, “I built a product plan, then built the product, then rolled it into the market in 8 months,” but also illustrate ‘the how’ including your thought processes, leadership idiosyncrasies, and creative way of developing and executing your plan that led to a profitable outcome. Describe your initiatives in great detail initially so that a glistening facet of what makes you UNIQUELY you doesn’t get dulled by ruthless initial self-editing.
  • Edit later, polishing and shining a spotlight on the most interesting and relevant story points that will entice your reader.
  • Next, reread your stories and ensure you are demonstrating business savvy and sensitivity as if you already were working at your desired company. Do this by connecting the dots to show how what you did at your past company helped not only your immediate team reach their goals but also aided the organization as a whole do bigger and better things and ultimately, grew the bottom line.

Funneling these career stories through a filter based on your target market’s (e.g., company’s / industry’s) needs is the only way to clear the clutter and create clarity that captures attention! Otherwise, if you try to build a resume that is all things to all audiences, you will, as Alicia says, “sink your business,” which in this case is, “You, Inc.”

The Cloud Goes On and On: #TChat Recap

Recently I bought the new Journey album. Yes, Journey the rock band. You know we love pop culture here at TalentCulture. Why not? Yes.

I joked that I had bought the album — no wait, the 8-track — no wait, the cassette — no wait, the CD — no wait, I downloaded it to my laptop — no wait, I streamed it virtually to every device I own.

What’s cooler? The album, of course — no wait, the streaming is. Right?

Welcome to the world of cloud software and services. Not that it’s brand new; on-demand, web-based consumer and business software and services have been launching throughout the past decade, which includes Salesforce, Amazon, iTunes, Facebook, LinkedIn, SuccessFactors, Workday and many more. It’s just that now with hardware advances, mobile computing and the scalability of cloud computing and server farms all over the world, the cloud has hit mainstream. I don’t have to own my own servers or software or employ an IT staff. I can rent them and outsource them. The barriers to entry for starting a business are lower than they’ve ever been, even in the face of the most challenging business environment we’ve seen in most of our lifetimes.

It can’t be stated enough — what is literally amazing today is that we can control our offices via laptops, tablet computers and smartphones from virtually anywhere. Again, that’s because of software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows me to purchase and use software online without having to download anything as well as cloud computing where the software is delivered more as a service rather than a product, giving me access to software, data access and storage services.

However, the cloud’s mainstream visibility is still more around the glitz and glamour of streaming music, entertainment, consumer software, apps and the social cloud we play in — these are all sexy cool and rich in marketing romance.

HR business software? Not so much. But that really doesn’t matter when software runs the world these days. Or, when it’s eating it according to Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape and is now a general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz:

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Why is this happening now? Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.

Eating the world, running the world – however you want to view it, it’s happening, sexy or not, in Silicon Valley and many other places in the world, although I did have an interesting discussion last week with startup TribeHR co-founder Joseph Fung. They provide HR management software for small to mid-size companies. He argued that HR software can be sexy cool, especially if you’re focusing on the customer and end-user experience as well as creating an emotional connection between product and consumer. Tough to do, but with the innovative SaaS and cloud mash-ups I’ve seen this year alone addressing multiple business problems, he may be right. It doesn’t mean that every company is moving from install-based software to cloud-based, but the trend is growing.

What’s next?

Well, once HR business software self-configures and adapts automatically once deployed, providing talent acquisition and management recommendations automatically like Watson on AI steroids, then that’ll be the day HR business software stood sexy cool.

The Journey anthem Don’t Stop Believin’ turned 30 this year. I remember vividly buying the brand new album Escape and giving it its first spin on the turntable. It’s now the most downloadable song in the world.

Oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on…

You can read Matt Charney’s precap here and here were the #TChat questions from last night:

  • Q1: What is the “cloud?”  To what extent does it impact our work today?
  • Q2: What are some of the biggest business benefits from cloud computing?
  • Q3: What are some of the drawbacks or potential landmines of the cloud?
  • Q4: How might cloud technologies impact recruiting, HR or job search?
  • Q5: What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Any misconceptions?
  • Q6: What are some new or interesting applications of cloud technologies that you see evolving in the future?

The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by @MeghanMBiro @KevinWGrossman and powered by our friends and partners @TalentCulture @Monster_WORKS @MonsterCareers and of course @Focus.

What Can Cloud Do For The World of Work? #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney one of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

Systems are the lifeblood of HR; after all, there’s nothing human resources loves more than compliance and reporting, two key functions driven almost solely by ERPs and similar solutions.

But as anyone who’s ever survived a systems conversion or integration can vouch, the biggest problem with these tools is that they’re almost always completely disparate, diffusing data into divergent databases that don’t intuitively interface or integrate.

But the question becomes (and it’s an urgent one for HR leaders, talent professionals and leaders): if our systems don’t talk to each other, how can we expect our people to do any differently?

For all the time and resources invested by HR and executive leadership to drive cross-functional collaboration and enterprise alignment among teams, the simple sharing of systems goes a long way into embedding – and automating – the business of doing business across your business.

The ability to seamlessly tie systems and solutions together, the scaling and maximizing of resources and potential cost savings are but a few of the reasons why so many people are so excited about the evolution of cloud computing, a broad concept with even broader business implications.

While it’s a topic many might neglect or take for granted, cloud computing represents both the future possibilities – and to some extent, present day realities – of today’s world of work.

If you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon, used Tweetdeck or “liked” an article or blog post, you’ve witnessed the cloud in action – even if you didn’t know it.

That’s the thing about clouds – they’re essential, yet ephemeral.

#TChat Questions & Cloud Computing Recommended Reading (08.24.11)

We hope you can join us this Wednesday, August 24 at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT for this week’s #TChat about cloud computing and technologies.  We’ll find out what cloud can do for you – and your business’ systems, people and organizations in what’s sure to be a lively, informative and potentially contentious conversation.

To help prepare, and inform, your participation in this week’s #TChat dialogue, here are the questions we’ll be covering this week, along with some recommended reading that, while not required to participate in #TChat, will help shine some light on the cloud – and what it means for the world of work.

Hope to see you at #TChat!  If you’re new to #TChat or want more information, be sure to check out “What is #TChat” from our partners @TalentCulture:
1) What is the “cloud?”  To what extent does it impact our work today?

Read: What We Talk About When We Talk About Cloud Computing by Rajen Sheth

2) What are some of the biggest business benefits from cloud computing?

Read: How to Get Started With Cloud Computing by Beth Schultz

3) What are some of the drawbacks or potential landmines of the cloud?

Read: Don’t Rain on the Parade: Cloud Computing & Leadership by Meghan M. Biro

4) How might cloud technologies impact recruiting, HR or job search?

Read: Turning “Big Data” Into A Big Employer Advantage by Jessica Sutera

5) What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Any misconceptions?

Read: Rethinking the Cloud by Brad Peters

6) What are some new or interesting applications of cloud technologies that you see evolving in the future?

Read: Moving the Mundane to the Cloud by Steve Boese

Visit www.talentculture.com for more great information on #TChat, as well as other great resources on careers and hiring.

Monster’s social media team supports #TChat’s mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate — the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation at our new time this Wednesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works