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Leaders Dive Into The Workplace Cloud

I only sometimes talk about technology here. Yes, my inner nerd is still alive and well for those of you wondering what I’ve been up to lately. I’ve been hanging out in the clouds pondering this enormous topic. I assume, like 90% of us, it is there, meeting my needs, and don’t worry overmuch about marketing labels. Leaders have a way of offloading (ignoring?) many of the technical details as we hurry about our over-scheduled days.

The Cloud” is one of those technology marketing terms which represents a shift in the way technology is delivered; after all, you’d have to really be tuned out to not hear the word ‘cloud’ at least once every 15 minutes.

Oddly enough, though, cloud computing is the ultimate it’s-been there-a-long-time technology. And it is forcing leaders and HR practitioners to sit up and take notice. Why?

At its core, ‘cloud’ is really about optimizing the effectiveness of IT and systems in the workplace. Cloud computing is the successor of distributed computing, client-server and utility computing, a model where defined services depend on standardization and customer satisfaction depends upon optimization of those defined services.

Furthermore, as concepts go, it’s an abstract one, and as most tech stars will tell you, every problem in computer science can be solved by adding a layer of abstraction.  So, if you’re a techie, you know cloud is just a way to deliver computing resources.

If you’re an end user, you may think cloud is a way to get the computing resources you want without necessarily having to understand, or pay for, the ramifications of your decisions.

For those of us less technical Luddites, there are a couple of areas where the eventual impact of cloud seems greatly underestimated.  I’m speaking, of course, about  HR, especially recruiting and job search, as well as leadership, particularly as it relates to human capital management.

But when it comes to the cloud, what do leaders need to know?  Here are a couple critical cloud questions for organizational leaders & talent managers:

1) What does cloud mean for hiring and managing people?

2) What do leaders need to know about the cloud?  Are leaders struggling with any misconceptions?

Chances are most leaders will answer “no” for #1; for #2, most will likely not be sure of their answer.  But while the concept of cloud computing, like leadership, is a complex one, it underscores a far simpler truth:

The cloud is already in your workplace.

All that recruiting and HR software you use, delivered via the Software as a Service (SaaS) model? It’s cloud. Online networking and career sites like Facebook and Monster? Delivered via the cloud.

Do you use Gmail to connect with prospects? On some level this could be translated as Cloud. Store your resume online, or keep files in Box.net? Cloud. And so on.

As you can see – It’s everywhere – including your organization.

For users, the changes may be subtle. Many leaders perceive these changes strictly as benefits, and there are many – no servers to buy, no on-site IT guy to worry about. But there are also – especially in HR – areas of concern, like security, multi-tenancy (shared services within the cloud) and reliability/availability (there have been some spectacular, recent cloud crashes).

Here are 3 common misconceptions about cloud computing and what leaders really need to know:

Security in the cloud is one of the challenge areas where misconceptions abound. At its most basic, security in the cloud is the same as security in an enterprise data center: policies and processes must be in place to ensure uptime, adequate resources must be provisioned, reliable and proven backup and disaster recovery procedures must be in place – and audited, and security must be in any contract you sign with a cloud provider.

In fact you must be able to define your requirements for data security. Part of the discussion should be which applications or data to put in the cloud, because not all data and applications should be in the cloud. Quiz – no, grill – your cloud provider about the security of its offering and the practices it employs to keep your data secure.

Multi-tenancy is a bit different. There are three general forms of clouds – public, private and hybrid – and three ways in which cloud services are provided: IaaS, or infrastructure as a service; PaaS, or platform as a service, and SaaS, software as a service.

If you choose multi-tenancy because it’s less expensive, you must also realize that your data and apps will be sharing space with someone else’s data and apps. You’ll be a tenant among tenants. One of your security safeguards will be gone. Just something to think about, and negotiate.

Reliability (also known as availability) is the stuff of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Make sure to set requirements – SLAs – for uptime, reliability and availability, and negotiate penalties into your contract in the event they’re breached. Don’t accept a contract that lacks a financial penalty or for which the remedy is a service ‘credit’. This is your business, after all. It’s your data.

So leaders, go to the cloud by all means, but go with your eyes open. Ask hard questions. Cloud is an innovation that promises massive efficiencies. Make sure you’re on the right side of those promises. Protect you business, your data, your people.

In IT adding a layer of abstraction may help solve problems; chances are, in HR, an added layer of abstraction will just make it harder to know who’s doing what to whom, and if it’s really the desired outcome.

So go to the cloud, but remember: be careful out there.

Also posted by Meghan M. Biro on MonsterThinking Blog

The Professional Future of Facebook: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charney, on MonsterThinking Blog

The short history of social media is littered with tools and technologies that were, for a brief moment, the “next big thing” for business, the proverbial ‘killer app’ that would justify, and expand, the investment of brands and organizations in the social web.

From MySpace to SecondLife and a thousand other already obsolete platforms in between, only Facebook, so far, has proved a legitimate contender for the title, as ensconced in popular culture as it is in public consciousness.

After all, Facebook has effectively joined the US Military, SportsCenter and the White House in the pantheon of venerable, timeless institutions, at least if Aaron Sorkin’s filmography is any indicator.  And while right now Google+ may hold the mantle of “the next big thing,” but so too, at one point, did Google’s Buzz and Wave (remember them?), and unless you’re in Brazil, you’re probably not on Orkut, either.

While Twitter tweaks its business model (which has, frankly, a long way to go as promoted tweets are about as organic to consumers as Google’s sponsored results), Facebook is, for now, the undisputed king of all social media, quickly becoming a category defining brand in the same vein as Kleenex, Xerox or Coke.

Whether its reign can continue over the long term, of course, remains a critical question, and one that, like all businesses, lies completely in the hands of its customers and the rapidly shifting sands of consumer taste.  But so far, it’s survived, and thrived, through evolutionary progress that would leave Darwin befuddled, its loyal community expanding from a cadre of elite colleges to, well, just about everyone this side of the Great Firewall of China.

With its global reach and highly engaged user base, Facebook isn’t the only entity with a stake in its long term success; its implications – and possibilities, extend to all brands, personal and professional (of course, on Facebook, those aren’t mutually exclusive unless, of course, you’ve heard of this pretty kick butt app called BeKnown…)

Facebook at Work: #TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (08.17.11)

We hope you can join us Wednesday night at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT for this week’s #TChat: “Facebook at Work: The Professional Future of Your Personal Network.” Invite your friends and get ready for wall-to-wall conversation about what Facebook means for the evolving world of work – and life.

It’s sure to be a lively discussion with some great ideas and insights (and maybe, just maybe, we might find out what exactly the purpose of “poking” someone is…).

Here are the questions we’ll be covering, along with some recommended reading to help prepare, and inform, your involvement in this week’s #TChat.

We hope you “like” it!

Q1: What are some interesting or innovative ways businesses are using Facebook effectively?

Read: 20 of the Most Innovative Facebook Campaigns Ever by Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher

Q2: Do you engage with brands or companies on Facebook?  Why or why not?

Read: Online Networking for Beginners by Charles Purdy

Q3: Where does Facebook fit into job search and recruiting/hiring?  Is it an effective tool for recruiting?

Read: Recruiters Turn to Facebook to Find Candidates by Joe Light

Q4: What are some important reminders for organizations when creating a Facebook presence?

Read: Don’t Rely on Facebook for Your Social Media Marketing by John Jantsch

Q5: Many think Facebook will replace e-mail.  What other business applications might it augment or replace?

Read: Company Branding and Employee Social Networks: A Social Media Win-Win by Emily Bennington

Q6: What does the future of Facebook look like in 5 years?  10?  How will it impact businesses and careers?

Read: The Future of Facebook is GooglePlus by Josepf Haslam

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.

There’s No Going Back From Global: #TChat Recap

Today’s recap is written by Caty Kobe, a member of the TChat community and the Focus Community Manager.

Last night’s #TChat made one thing was clear: globalization means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. People from all corners of the Twitterverse came forward to share thoughts, ideas, definitions, opinions and suggestions based on years of experiences across a wide variety of cultures.

Many agreed that globalization is creating incredible new opportunities for both workers and their employers, but cautioned that certain opportunities may come at the cost of exploiting other people and cultures. Technology and social media are certainly aiding in breaking down linguistic and physical barriers, yet we agreed there’s no way to automate the dissolution of cultural barriers. In other words, nothing will ever replace the good ole fashioned handshake.

Corporate America has a lot to learn from their counterparts overseas. For years we’ve been perceived as operating under the assumption that the American Way is the only way, but globalization is quickly proving this false. In order to succeed, US businesses must invest in diversity programs, language training and offer flexible work schedules. We must be willing and able to accept other cultures as equals.

So how do we attack this daunting to-do list? Leadership teams and employees all share the responsibility in commencing change. Cultural shifts will likely start from the Top, but don’t wait for your boss’ permission to learn a new language or nurture relationships through the web. Globalization has forever changed the way we do business. Better to embrace it and learn the strategies required to succeed in this rapidly shrinking world.

One last thing before I go, please be sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday August 31st. #TChat Radio returns to Focus.com with an all new live episode! We will be featuring a few special friends from the 12 Most Blogging Community! Look forward to sharing more details with you soon. Our goal is to bring two live radio shows every month along with our regular #TChat on Twitter which happens every Wed from 7-8pm ET.

You can read the #TChat preview here, and here were last night’s questions:

Q1: How is globalization changing the world of work?

Q2: What lessons can US workers & leaders learn from their international colleagues?

Q3: What role does workplace or business culture play when working internationally or with global teams?

Q4: What can leaders do better to meet the needs of a global or international business?

Q5: How is technology or social media influencing the rise of global business?

Q6: What are the biggest opportunities for organizations going global?  Biggest drawbacks?

Global Technology Stepping Up Workplace Collaboration

For anyone that can remember the time that a latest and greatest technology emerged to bring business to the next level, we can say that it is profoundly interesting the impact that these advancements actually make on companies.

Some can probably remember the days before email and before cell phones when letters were either typed by hand and traveling sales people had to actually stop at a pay phone to verify an appointment or call home to check in.

More than ever management need to be watching technology trends and making sure their organization is equipped.

Times are changing, the proliferation of technology is moving faster than ever, and businesses are the ones that are benefiting.  At least they should be!

There are many ways that technology is leading to better business practices.  There are systems for managing customers, accounting, communications, and operations.  We are connected 24×7 if we so choose and we are able to reach all ends of the world instantly via the click of a button.

As a proponent of successful businesses being comprised of people that use technology and not just technology alone, I believe that nothing in business may be affected by emerging technology than Human Resources.  Recruiting, talent development, and employee retention are all seeing a significant boost based upon what advances in technology have to offer.

Two of the specific technologies that are revolutionizing talent and professional development more than any are IP (Internet Protocol) Based Communications such as Skype, VoIP, and Video Conferencing as well as the rapid emergence of Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+).

Let’s take a look across the scope of Talent Management and explore how the aforementioned technologies as well as a few others are facilitating success for so many companies.

Recruiting New Talent

It used to be a newspaper ad or a sign in the window.  Your audience was narrow and your options were thin.  It was difficult to reach the best talent leaving positions to be filled by less than ideal candidates.

  • Communications – With the ability to inexpensively bring employees in via the network  either by voice, video, or perhaps a combination such as Webex, employees can now be sourced from and potentially located anywhere.  Productivity tools allow companies to hire the BEST candidate from any location and get them integrated with the team whether they are near or far.
  • Social Media – Depending on the specifics of the job, talent can be sought through massive global social networks such as Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter.  These networks allow a help wanted ad to reach millions of users who may or may not be actively seeking employment.  Recruiting and searching for talent has also never been easier due to profiles, recommendations, and other affiliations that can be easily found online using Social Media.  As an aside, Social Media has also helped many companies decide who not to hire.

Talent Development

It used to be a quarterly or yearly trip to headquarters for remote employees and or classroom learning for those already in town.  Coordinating training was intensive and time consuming.  With technology advances now learning can be routine, meaningful, and completed on demand.

  • Communications – Similar to the recruiting process the continued education of employees can be accomplished using technology tools.  Webinars, Distance Learning, and E-Learning platforms all pave the way for continued education for employees regardless of where they are located.  On top of being able to create content and have employees learn and develop on demand, it also helps companies to utilize global resources to provide the education.
  • Social Media – Intranets have existed for companies for some time however they were rarely used all that effectively.  With professional usage of social platforms employees can learn from one another as well as competitors by following, reading, and embracing the information that is widely available.  Content is created and shared regularly and it allows company talent to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry and any important changes within.

Employee Retention

It has been discussed to no end the impact that turnover has on a business.  Whether near or far from headquarters, companies need to focus on how they can keep people satisfied, growing, and engaged.  In the past when companies would hire remote employees they oft felt isolated and/or disconnected from the organization.  With emails and phone calls perhaps being the only regular communication eventually the employee may choose to be with an organization where they feel more involved.  Technology has changed that, and if used correctly it can assist the organization with retention allowing it to focus on strategy with key employees rather than on replacing them.

  • CommunicationsHearing a voice on the line is fine, it is practical, but like long distance relationships in life, eye contact means a lot.  With offerings from Free (Skype) to immersive telepresence costing millions ( Cisco, Polycom) and everything in between companies and their employees can now sit across the table and make eye contact with the click of a mouse.  Now as easy as a phone call, video can be accomplished and the quality is really good.  Video is not only beneficial for the employee, but also for the company as it forces focus and regular collaboration (We all know how easy it can be to multi-task on the phone).  Another item that is critical to many employees is flexibility, with tools that allow productivity anywhere and everywhere, (pending signal) companies can be more flexible with their resources allowing both parties  to benefit.
  • Social MediaSocial is a medium for even smaller companies to build their brand and create an identity for their employees. This effort can often aid in the development of company community and in some cases successful out of work friendships.  While peoples out of work activities generally don’t bare much success for the organization, happy people tend to generate more productivity.  People that feel connected to their brand and feel that they are a part of something special tend to work harder and drive greater results.  Social Media is a growing vehicle for accomplishing this.

For as long as business has been business, companies have only been as good as their people.  In almost all cases where a great product or service fails it isn’t the product or service at all, rather it is those behind it.  With emerging communication technology and proper social media integration you have the chance to be ahead of the curve.

Now technology of course isn’t all free, and choosing the technologies that are best for your organization may take some work, however, it is time well spent.   You can all but assume that the competition are looking at all the options too, some are integrating, some are watching and waiting, and you can only hope that a few are oblivious.  Nevertheless, technology will continue to advance making companies faster, smarter, and of course full of better talent.

The question is, are you embracing it, or are you hoping to ride to prosperity on the tired old horse that got you to where you are today.

Image Credit: Pixabay

What Your Workers Really Think About HR: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Charles Purdy on MonsterThinking Blog

If you’re in an HR or recruiting position, you likely interact with a lot of job seekers and employees, and  you may believe that you already know everything you need to know about their mindsets and attitudes.  After all, you’re in the people business.

Plus, you’re busy! You’ve got an inbox full of resumes and a calendar full of meetings and interviews, and you think you’re making things easier by applying an unchanging checklist to the job seekers you have to sort through.

It’s time to think again. Preconceived notions can hurt you and your business, because they may be leading you to reject top talent before you can discover it.

At Monster, we talk to job seekers every day; like with #TChat, we know conversation counts.  Because, after all, that’s the ultimate goal of connecting.  And here are just a few of the commonly held recruiting notions that today’s worker – who, statistically speaking, is likely also a job seeker – want HR pros to know:

5 Job Search Myths and The New Recruiting Realities

MYTH #1: Currently employed candidates are preferable

You don’t still ignore “active” candidates in favor of “passive” ones, do you? The line between people who are actively looking for a career change and people who aren’t has blurred — Monster polls have found that a considerable majority of employed people would jump ship for the right opportunity. (As a side note, this makes employee engagement very important right now — what are you doing to keep your current employees engaged?)

MYTH #2: Gaps in employment make a candidate undesirable

Times have been tough, right? Great workers have been laid off and had a hard time finding new employment. Rejecting candidates for gaps in employment means you reject a lot of great talent out of hand. Look into “gaps,” and you’ll see that many candidates have been filling downtime with personal-development activities that make them better hires, not worse.

MYTH #3: It’s all about salary

This just isn’t true for today’s workers. It’s no longer about throwing money at great candidates — especially for younger workers, quality-of-life issues can trump monetary compensation. Want to make your company more attractive to talented people? Look into adopting flex-time and flex-space policies. Provide on-the-job learning opportunities (and make sure that all employees, even “entry-level” ones, are treated with respect and shown how they contribute to company success). And think about how your company can promote its green and social-good efforts — corporate responsibility is becoming more and more important to workers.

MYTH #4: “Overqualified” people are unacceptably risky hires

That “overqualified” worker has the expertise your company needs. Instead of rejecting him or her outright, find out why he or she wants to head in a new career direction. As with salary, many great candidates are now less interested in titles and more motivated by other concerns.

MYTH #5: Over 50 means over the hill

Now more than ever, age is just a number. People are living longer and putting retirement off for later — not only because they need income, but also because they want to stay engaged with their careers (or begin a new one). Like “overqualified” workers, Baby Boomers are a great untapped employment-market and expertise resource.

#TCHAT Questions (06.28.11)

What recruiting myths are you challenging? Have you uncovered any other outdated recruiting mindsets? What can HR do about it?  Tonight’s special #TChat Live! from SHRM 11 will focus on the current state of affairs with regard to talent management and HR leadership.

If you’re at SHRM 11 this week, stop by ARIA Resort & Casino’s Bluethorn Meeting Room #3 for our meet-up today. Food and drinks will be available. You don’t have to be in Vegas to follow the action. Search for hashtag #TChat on Twitter or your favorite Twitter client and join the conversation.

It’s sure to be a lively discussion, so we hope you can join us at 8 PM ET/5 PM ET on Twitter for #TChat!

Q1: What does HR do? Is that different from what they’re supposed to do?

Q2: Why should HR be responsible for all talent management and recruiting? Why not?

Q3: What are the common misperceptions other departments have about HR and why?

Q4: What’s HR getting right in today’s world of work and business?

Q5: HR pros: What can employees do differently to better partner with HR?

Q6: What does the future of HR look like? Does it have one?

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 this Tuesday night as co-hosts with Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern) via @MonsterCareers and @Monster_Works.

New Technology Changing The Future of Resumes

Written by Kevin Wang

There are core values and ideas that will remain eternal. However, the shape and form in which they manifest themselves constantly changes through time due to improved technology or cultural shifts. Think of what marriage, transportation, or news outlets looked like or meant to people in different periods, and you’ll see what I mean.

I believe the resume will never die. As long as a majority of companies hire their employees based on knowledge, resources, and experience, the resume’s purpose will remain vital in the process. I do believe, however, that the form in which a resume manifests itself is slowly growing outdated. Just as the email attachment replaced the mailed print copy, one of the following below could easily replace the email attachment as the next standard resume.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, a social networking website for professionals, has rapidly taken off since its founding in 2003, with the company now boasting over 100 million users and over $160 million in annual revenues. Just as Facebook became the platform on which we interact with our friends, LinkedIn is becoming the platform on which we interact with contacts and companies. People of all ages are realizing the wealth of potential and opportunity awaiting them on the website, and flocking to start their own accounts.

With one’s experience, education, recommendations, contact information, and just about everything else conveniently listed on one’s page, it only takes a quick profile look-up from HR to find everything they need to know about an applicant. Perhaps in the future, LinkedIn may even go beyond allowing users to simply submit applications to posted jobs, building tools and services (like video chat, applicant evaluation software, etc) onto its platform to allow for the entire hiring process to take place on its website. With the company’s continued sustained growth and innovation, it is likely that this will usurp the traditional resume.

Video

It has become relatively easy in this day and age to create high-quality homemade videos. Video cameras (or phones) and simple-to-use editing software are everywhere, and uploading content to the web is a breeze. A video resume allows an applicant to present himself or herself in more dimensions to a recruiter by showcasing creativity, personality, and interests while still communicating qualifications and experience

Additionally, the visual presence of the applicant allows him or her to speak more directly to a recruiter than any cover letter could ever allow, making for a more compelling personal pitch. This format has already started to become more prevalent: for example, Cambridge-based tech start-up SCVNGR now accepts videos in lieu of a cover letter. There are even companies, like TalentRooster, which specialize in producing such videos for hopeful hires who would otherwise produce something laughable, like this. Or awesomely ambiguous, like this.

Personal Pages

With more people embracing personal branding and establishing their presence on the web, it becomes important to tie all their outlets together. Recruiters don’t just want to see a resume anymore; they want to learn about your opinions, values, and personality, which they can extract from your online activity.

Whether it’s a WordPress blog, YouTube account, or a Twitter handle, every digital footprint left generates exposure and adds value to an individual’s personal brand. A personal page aggregates everything into one convenient location for a recruiter to look through. Additionally, like video resumes, a personal page allows you to add creativity and a visual presence in a way a traditional resume cannot. Such sites are quite easy to set up: building a solid fan page on Facebook or a splash page on About.Me or Flavors.Me can be completed in less than half an hour. For those willing to go the extra mile and spend a little cash, purchasing themes, domain names, and outside help can help add a little flair.

The death of the email attachment resume is fast approaching. Thanks to the web, applicants no longer have to submit anything beyond their basic information, for a plethora of information about them is already readily available online and Google-able. It’s not hard to imagine a future job application reduced simply to this:

IMAGE VIA L Hollis Photography

The HR Technology Disconnect…Not What You Think

Last week on May 25th and 26th, Las Vegas hosted the 2011 HR Demo Show in conjunction with the HRO Today Forum, including the RPO Summit. The point of the demo show was to showcase the best and latest HR and talent management technologies. Organizations that presented were Kenexa, Guidant Group, Epicor, CareerBuilder, Taleo, iCIMS, RECSOLU, JSTN, OneWire and many more. Throughout the two days, I closely followed the main hashtags for the event, which were #HRDemo and #HRTech. I also paid close attention to the Blog Squad, particularly the ones I personally knew—Geoff Webb, Meghan M. Biro and Jessica Merrill.

During the event, the weekly #TChat that I am religiously a part of focused on “Innovation Gap Realities Workforce Technology.” From my perspective it was probably one of the most active #TChat’s that I have ever participated in because the focus was on innovation, or lack of innovation when it comes to HR technology. Here is the high level “Jeff Waldman Brain-Dump Summary” of what I discovered during this chat, which is also inspired by the #TChat Recap: “HR tech innovation should keep us all in business.”

  1. Most HR technology is focused on recruitment and talent management.
  2. People think that innovation must be something new or a re-imagining of how technology can drive efficiencies in HR, and contribute to the business.
  3. HR practitioners need to better educate themselves on the use of technology in the workplace.
  4. Technology “users” think that existing HR technology is NOT innovative but “providers” think otherwise.  As Meghan M. Biro of TalentCulture stated, “HR and recruiters just are not perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile application.”
  5. There is huge disconnect between technology providers and technology users regarding their perception of how valuable technology is in completing work.
  6. Technology cannot replace the human element.

What’s the main point in all of this?
The one thing that I heard consistently was that a huge gap exists between HR technology providers and HR technology users (a.k.a. HR practitioners). I could not agree more with this. But… yes, there’s always a “but!”  But, I strongly believe that the reasons that were discussed for this disconnect missed the boat.

The Technology IS There!
There are so many phenomenal platforms that HR practitioners can strategically leverage to help them add more value to their clients. Off the top of my head, awesome platforms that come to mind that I have used include Rypple, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, ZuzuHire, SurgeHire, StickyHQ, Yammer, ClearFit, FreshTransition and BranchOut.

Now, I want to note that I bring a unique perspective to TalentCulture because I work in Canada, and the majority of my professional experience is with Canadian organizations. Here is the problem… the HR community in Canada does NOT possess the knowledge and understanding of HR technology, the necessary technological skills or the ability to evaluate the strategic impact of HR technologies. They inadvertently avoid the conversation about HR technology because they have not a clue where to begin.

So, it does not matter how good the technology is, the Canadian HR community as it currently exists will never get to the point where they will be on the same page with technology providers.

Change is Change… “We” Don’t Like Change!
Technology is a tool. It is not meant to replace the human element or the responsibility of performing the activities that impact “brand building”—e.g. talent attraction, employer branding, employee engagement and the overall employee experience. Integrating new technology into the workplace represents a change.  It could be a huge change, or it could be a small one. It doesn’t matter; people naturally are not very good at coping with change.  So let me ask you this question. If the majority of HR practitioners are unable to even begin the technology conversation, do you think HR technology providers are able to lead and manage change?  Hmmmm…. I don’t think so.

Case in Point…

A couple of years ago I was brought into a very entrepreneurial, yet small organization that possessed an extremely strong corporate brand. They sold really cool things, and employed some really neat product marketing and promotional tactics. This company was really just starting to build its HR infrastructure, and they were in the process of implementing a technology to help them with the full recruitment cycle, all the way to on-boarding.

They retained a PMP (Project Management Specialist) to lead and manage this project. He did an absolutely stellar job of identifying business needs, potential technology platforms, engaging most of the right internal players to select the platform, all the way to “flipping the go-live switch” on the new platform. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well… the execution failed miserably for one simple reason. He completely ignored the end-user. To add fuel to the fire, the technology providers were completely hands-off with the people change management components of the execution; they just focused on the technical aspect (of course, this is where their expertise lies). The failure basically boiled down to a couple of things:

  1. The end-users (HR practitioners) were technologically illiterate.
  2. The end-user was never engaged during the technology selection and implementing process.
  3. The end-user was never trained on the new technology.
  4. No platform testing was performed with the end-user group during the project phase.
  5. The end-user was simply directed to “just do it”.


Conclusion…
Technological innovation is NOT the problem right now. The problem is a severe lack of technological competence within the HR practitioner community and a complete disregard for change management being fully embedded in the technology integration process. If you can resolve these two fundamental problems, the perceptions of providers and users regarding technology innovation and work-related value will be pretty close, and the result will be favorable.

HR Demo Show Vegas – Humanizing Employer Brands Makes Me Happy

There are technologies that transform an economy (railroads), and technologies that lead to an industry (and an economy) treading water (railroads.) HR technology is a transformative set of technologies, one I can’t wait to dig in to. The place to see what’s coming up for us HR and Recruiting practitioners is the HR Demo Show, to be held May 24-25 at The Venetian in Las Vegas.

Did I say Las Vegas? Yup. I will be making an appearance on a blog squad that includes friends like Maren Hogan Craig Fisher and Geoff Web. I also look forward to meeting Jessica Miller-Merrell IRL for the first time. Fun times.

In this case I’m talking about new technologies for the workplace and talent management, not trains. Technologies have transformed many businesses and industries and displaced others. But its value as a creator of strategic value has been under attack for some time.

Flashback way back yonder to the year 2003 Nicholas Carr published ‘IT Doesn’t Matter’ in the Harvard Business Review, followed by a book, Does IT Matter? in 2004. His argument (to paraphrase the article, and some of Carr’s rebuttal of various criticisms): because IT is structural, built in to a company’s operations, it is no longer a strategic differentiator or source of advantage to businesses. Sure, it helps with competitiveness – you need to be on par with those in your industry in your use of IT to survive – but it’s no longer a source of tremendous advantage. IT has become a commodity.

Back to the present. Not so fast. Technology is very much transforming industries. In Recruiting and HR specifically, technology is a transformative power because today’s social tools have the power to enable emotional connections between employers, employees and job seekers (future employees). This is a hugely important tool for connecting with and hiring the right talent. And it’s no sceret I love any valuable tool that helps employer’s humanize their workplace brand when recruiting new people to teams. Job seekers “buy into” a workplace culture when they accept a job offer – it’s an emotional connection made with people first and foremost.

Things are changing fast in the world of software tools designed to support Recruitment and HR functions within a workplace. As Kevin W Grossman says, the next five to 10 years should be an interesting time for talent management technologies in our space. Cue the flash and sizzle: be at the HR Demo Show to hear what’s changing.

So much is exciting. I am going to look at things that promise much improvement for talent management in the workplace:

  • Humanizing talent acquisition—by facilitating human interaction and establishing emotional connections between employers and job candidates. Taleo looks like an interesting option here.
  • Helping to build an employment brand—by creating talent communities via social, mobile, cloud and collaboration technologies and activities.
  • Going beyond standard applicant tracking system features—by reaching into the CRM realm to keep the pipeline filled with truly qualified candidates, to grab and nurture candidates’ interest, and to empower global recruitment and multi-lingual outreach. Kenexa has an interesting set of offerings, as does Epicor.
  • Getting social networking to work effectively by driving applicants back to companies’ career portals; giving companies a clearer picture of their social media efforts/effectiveness, and helping them track and manage referrals more efficiently.

I’ll be attending talks on RPO, HRO and MSP practices and IT solutions, and reporting back to you. There’s a ‘demo’ in the show name, so I’ll be going to demos of various interesting and geeky offerings – right up my alley. I’ll be separating the very cool from the not-so-cool and on where we can use new technologies for strategic, competitive advantage.

It’s Vegas, so there will definitely be a stroll and a dance (or five) down the Strip (no cards, please) or a stop at the Red Square. There will be opportunity to connect with my fellow HR and Recruitment practitioners and purveyors of HR systems. And there will be lots of opportunity to find out about talent management, and how systems will help our industry make this a priority to stay innovative.

Join me in Vegas. Or check in here and hear what I’m hearing. HR/Recruiting technologies are on the cusp, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity, the transformation, the prospect of creating competitive advantage.

IMAGE VIA Flickr

Recruiting Trends & Effect on Job Seekers

Today’s post is by Ty Abernethy — founder and CEO of ZuzuHire, a multimedia candidate screening tool incorporating video, voice, essay and multiple-choice questions. He has a background in executive recruiting, and currently manages the finance/accounting recruiting division of Chase Professionals.

The hiring process is changing–not only for companies and recruiters, but also for candidates. With companies facing challenges like budget cuts and understaffed recruiting departments, they are looking at new tools to simplify the hiring process. Things are changing quickly, and it’s hard to keep up. But it’s also difficult to tell which tools and innovations will stick once the dust has settled. Here’s a breakdown of some of the exciting new technologies that will (most likely) stick and how candidates should adapt to keep up.

Ding, Dong the Job Boards Are Dead (well sort of…)

Once upon a time, all hiring strategies went like this: 1) post an ad to a major job board, 2) review resumes, 3) interview, 4) and hire. But things are changin’. Now, with the advent of social media, companies and recruiters have so many more recruiting gadgets in their tool kit. And with aggregate job sites like Indeed and SimplyHired, there is no longer a need for employers to post with the major job boards. Companies can use the smaller, lesser known (and cheaper) boards and get great results. And LinkedIn has now become the largest “resume” database in the world. Soon companies and recruiters will use LinkedIn profiles interchangeably with resumes. And before too long, companies will start allowing applicants to apply to their job postings via the “Connect with LinkedIn” plug-in instead of having to upload a resume. For candidates, this means they must have a professional, updated, and detailed profile.

Video Is Not Just For Pop Stars!

Video is fast becoming a major component to the hiring process, both as a marketing tool and as a candidate screening and interviewing tool. Companies are realizing that the more they differentiate their jobs from their competitors’, the easier it is for them to attract exceptional candidates. And video is a great way for a job seeker to get to know a company better. YouTube and Facebook videos help to give a company a face and a personality and make candidates more excited about the organization. Additionally, video offers a great time saving solution for companies during the interviewing process. Companies can interview candidates in a fraction of the time by incorporating video, and save on travel costs as well. Very soon it will be commonplace for companies to screen and interview candidates via video before bringing candidates in-house to interview. Job seekers need to purchase a webcam so they can keep up!

Mobile! (It’s not just a town in Alabama!)

Mobile recruiting will be huge in the future. Currently, companies looking for a competitive edge have started to incorporate mobile apps and text messaging into their recruiting campaigns. New technology allows recruiters to send out a job via an app and candidates can “check in” if they are available. Recruiters see not only that the candidate is available, but where he/she is geographically located. Then recruiters can reach out to candidates that are in the closest proximity to the job. Crazy, right! Additionally, recruiters now have the capabilities to mass text message candidates with job specs. Instead of having to wait for a candidate to check his/her email, recruiters send the message directly to the one device candidates never put down—their cell phones! Powerful stuff, especially for recruiters sourcing for time-sensitive temp jobs. Job seekers should update to smart phones to keep up.

How Job Seekers Should Adapt

Job seekers that adapt the fastest will see the best results. Being prepared for these changes really helps a job seeker stand out from the crowd. First off, it’s imperative for candidates to leverage their social media communities. Great sites like StartWire make it extremely easy to keep your networks updated on your job search and to ask for assistance and support along the way. It is imperative to find and apply to jobs within the first 24 hours that they are posted. Candidates should set up Indeed and Bing job alerts for target job titles in their geographic location. Signing up for social media job search tools like BraveNewTalent can also be quite effective for finding companies that are hiring. Job seekers should purchase a webcam and become comfortable communicating and interviewing online. If job seekers can keep up, they will stand out among the crowd.

The times are a changin’, and if you adapt you will thrive. What are you doing to update you recruiting or job search strategy?

IMAGE VIA  Bramus!

Leveraging Your Career Culture

Developing Good Career Habits Early on Will Serve the Rest of Your Career.

Even the most mundane, front-line roles – whether doling out room keys as a front-desk motel clerk or dishing up burritos and serving beer at your local Mexican restaurant – are of value, not just to the customer, but to you, in developing your career reputation.

You may perceive your early roles as mainly a means to an end; e.g., for college students, jobs often tie directly to paying for textbooks, entertainment and basic living expenses while you prepare for your ‘real’ job. Therefore, you miss prime opportunities to create shiny, bankable career coins. By making regular deposits, you can nurture a positive reputation and network of career advocates that will help shepherd you to more meaningful roles.

I encourage all early careerists to realize that, whether you are 18, 25 or 45, each job in your career arsenal is potentially bankable and, if you attend to it with enthusiasm and as a problem-solving, customer-focused contributor, you can build a career-propelling resume, and as a result, the career to which you aspire.

March Madness, a Motel and a Mexican Meal

In a recent trip to Lake Texoma (Texas), my husband, Rob, and I played the role of customer in a series of initiatives that reinforced for us the value and impact of early-career, front-line staff members.

In one example, 30 minutes outside of Durant, Oklahoma, we vetted pet-friendly motels and dialed the Comfort Inn.

“We have no rooms for the night, Mr. Poindexter,” explained the youthful motel clerk. “In fact,” she asserted excitedly, “It’s March Madness, so you won’t find a room from here to Atoka!”

Frustrated by her sweeping response, but undeterred, we called the Days Inn, which was just across the street, and were met with a prompt and amenable, “Yes, we have rooms available!”

We instantly booked an overnight for two adults and one pet.

Rob and I were curious that the first motel clerk snapped to a conclusion that, essentially, we were out of luck in finding a room for the night in her city, or the neighboring town. Rather than take a moment of her time and suggest a possible alternative solution (such as the name of another motel in the area), in effect, she waved us off.

Checked into the Days Inn, we ambled over to a Mexican restaurant. This was a clean, calm venue that was underwhelmed by customers and appeared to have more than a sufficient ratio of wait staff to diners. A friendly young server approached us, and, though sweet, she was a bit sluggish in tending to our needs. It was as if she was on ‘island time;’ yet, there was no island, no ocean, no pleasant sea breeze to distract while we awaited our orders.

The first issue occurred when my dinner order was misinterpreted. After we alerted the server, she swept away the dish, along with all silverware, and the new meal perfunctorily was placed before me. We scrambled to locate replacement utensils.

Next, we ordered a Corona Light, which they had run out of; rather than being proactive and presenting us an alternative option, the server reflexively returned to our table empty-handed.

Moreover, throughout the dining experience, we were met with casual regard, and whether seeking out a missing set of silverware, a replacement for a wrongly delivered dinner or a substitute beverage, the minutes ticked by, and the onus, therefore, was on us, to direct our server to fulfill our needs.

In both of these instances, these young ladies overlooked opportunities to build value with us, and possibly expand their career reputation that could benefit them down the road.

Leveraging Your Ordinary Job to Create Extraordinary Career Value

No matter how lowly or ordinary the job may seem, it’s important to create your career culture early. Even though Rob and I realized the people serving us were probably not earning a lot of money, we were still the customer and were expecting good service.

Rest assured, careerists, though your simple gestures of problem-solving and customer care may seem small, in and of themselves, cumulatively they will sell your future value, and you never know whom you may meet who not only cares about how much you care, but who will also care enough to extend your message beyond the four walls of your diner, motel or other service arena and help lift your career goals to a new level. The impact, therefore, of your simple gestures, can be exponentially valuable to your overall career goals, and help you to be the culture you desire to attract.

So, your reputation builds and customer advocates multiply while your strategic problem-solving, customer service, leadership skills and talents also become more honed. Ultimately, your resume story becomes robust and compelling, advancing your career satisfaction and culture!

IMAGE VIA Flickr

5 Steps for Career Branding: Make Employers Come to You

In your job search, you, the job seeker, seek out the employer, but that doesn’t have to be the case throughout your entire career.  There are many ways that you can brand yourself to stand out, increase your visibility in front of career stakeholders and inevitably make employers come to you.

Here are just 5 ways you can change the game and get employers to come to you:

1. Start Blogging: Starting and maintaining your own blog requires investment and commitment of your time, energy and creativity.  While you can choose to blog on any topic you desire, focusing your blog’s theme and content to better serve your industry can be an outstanding way to show off your personal brand and demonstrate your unique value to potential employers and career stakeholders.  Not only can this blog be a great entrepreneurial venture to include on your resume and online profiles, but it shows your hiring managers and interviewers industry involvement and contribution outside of your full-time experience.  Blogs are very easy to get started.  There are both free and self-hosted platforms to choose from, including WordPress, Blogger and Typepad.

2. Get Quoted: Whether or not you start your own blog or contribute guest posts regularly to industry-related blogs, getting quoted online in blogs and other online magazines or offline in books or other periodicals on a topic relevant and valuable to your industry and target employers adds a new credential for you to taut in your job search, but also really boosts your personal brand for your long-term career.  HelpaReporter.com (HARO) is a FREE service that links reporters, journalists, bloggers and authors with experts and experts-to-be to get quoted in print or online media.  Sign-up to receive daily queries from HARO and respond as often as possible and appropriate to any related to your field or areas of interest.  Before long, you may be quoted in the Wall Street Journal, a published book or interviewed for leading blog, which will increase your credibility  across your network and beyond.

3. Get to the People Behind the Postings: Most job seekers and professionals neglect informational interviews, likely because they sound boring, hard to get, ineffective and/or all of the above.  Informational interviews are actually powerfully effective both in your job search and in your career networking.  By reaching out and asking for a few minutes to learn about a fellow professional’s career, experience and advice (Note: this does not mean asking for a job), you get a chance to introduce yourself and your brand, share your value and make a stronger connection with someone new.  While this person may not be in the position to hire or ready to hire at the time of your interview, you are now on that individual’s radar and maybe a first go-to candidate for the next opportunity that comes up.

4. Offer Your Ideas: If you’re willing to put a little work into targeted job searches and take a small, calculated risk, you might consider doing a little research for your chosen company, identify the right contacts within and offer them a free proposal of fresh ideas related to trends and opportunities in the industry or functional area.  Consider sharing some relevant case studies that support your suggestions and spark more thought.  It will be essential that you really think these through in putting them together and that they be grammatically correct etc., as these may be someone’s first or last impression of you.  Offering your ideas or suggestions is risky in the sense that it opens the door for rejection or no response; however, it immediately shows the recipient your investment, your creativity 7and ultimately the value you offer the organization.

5. Step Up to the Podium: If you like the opportunity to speak publically and have something relevant to share with your peers, whether it be advice, experience or case studies, consider developing a presentation or presentations that you can pitch to present for various industry associations, alumni groups and other organizations.  Whether they are webinars or in-person events, presenting to an audience sets you apart as a confident thought leader who has true value to share with others, whether it be an audience or an employer.  Do a little background research on both what organizations and associations are out there and exactly what topics and events are currently being offered so to determine how you could offer something to serve unmet needs or compliment their current event programing.

Chris Perry, MBA is a Gen Y brand and marketing generator, a career search and personal branding expert and the founder of Career Rocketeer, Launchpad, Blogaristo and more.

The New (Old) World of Job Hunting & Hiring: #TChat Recommended Reading

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

recent Monster+HotJobs poll found that 98% of American workers are “primed and ready” to look for a new job in 2011, their optimism buoyed by a recovering employment and economic picture.

The war for talent is on — and the rules of engagement have changed. Job seekers are mobilizing, and employers are fighting to hire and retain the best employees, in a new and fast-changing landscape.

But what does it take to succeed in this new world of job hunting and hiring?  With the rise of emerging technologies such as mobile job search platforms, more powerful search engines, and the new ubiquity of social media in talent identification and acquisition, it’s clear the tools of the job hunt game have changed.  But have the rules changed?

It’s easier now than ever before for job seekers to position themselves, and their “personal brands,” so employers can find them. Employers can also target and connect with top talent at the speed of the Tweet.  However, the most important elements of the hiring process remain, for all intents and purposes, unchanged.

“Old school” job hunting and hiring hallmarks such as a well formatted traditional resume, a firmly established (offline) professional network and the ability to sell skills and experience in an interviewremain the most important considerations in the job hunt process, and the most powerful tools in the job seekers’ arsenal.

Join #TChat tonight, brought to you by @TalentCulture, @MeghanMBiro, @KevinWGrossman, @monster_works, and @MonsterWW – They will be joining the #TChat conversation live every Tuesday night with from 8-9 PM ET, 7-8 PM CT, 6-7 PM MT, and 5-6 PM PT as we explore what’s changed, what’s stayed the same and how job hunters, and the companies looking to hire them, can not only survive, but thrive, in the new (old) world of job search.

#TChat Recommended Reading: 1.11.11

This background reading isn’t mandatory to get in on tonight’s #TChat action, but we suggest checking out these articles by top career advice and talent management thought leaders and explore the possibilities (and pitfalls) of the evolving world of the job hunt and hiring:

5. How Technology is Changing the Recruiting Landscape by John Rossheim

4. The Rules of the Game Have Changed: Insights into Today’s Jobseekers by Nicole Williams

3. 11 Smart Career Tips for 2011 by Kathryn Ullrich

2. Recruit from the Inside Out: Establish A Relationship with a Talent Acquisition Partnerby Meghan M. Biro

1. Job Searching in a Coffee Shop by Peter Gibbons

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

Hope to see you tonight @ #TChat!

To read more, please visit www.monsterthinking.com/

‘Polishing, Scrubbing and Tweaking’ your Resume (Oh My!)

After reading a recent US News article, 6 Steps to Polish Up Your Resume,” my vision of a staid, buzzword-rich resume with your top 10 accomplishments waxed.  Though the bones of the article were solid, and the emphasis on translating your work history into achievements respectable, I couldn’t help being consumed by a certain dull roar of the same-old, same-old resume advice.

Unfortunately, the focus on the tactical aspects of resume construction seem to command the most media air-time, undermining, it seems the depth and breadth of a meaningful, meaty and strategically written marketing message.

Having collaborated and consulted with, cajoled and coached 100s of career-transitioning and career-climbing clients over the past 13+ years, I can quickly glean the nuanced differences between a strategically written resume and one that meticulously (and sheepishly) follows the tactical rules of “keyword smattering and front-loading accomplishments.”

Keep in mind that a majority of companies (especially the mid-sized and smaller organizations) still do not use key-word-screening software to ferret resumes, and that your resume will ultimately be absorbed by a human being. In fact, ideal job search, research and relationship practices would have your resume being read by a real-live person from the outset. In other words, depending solely upon job-search boards and other online job-attracting initiatives will certainly limit your results.

Metrics and properly spelled words are essential, basic resume ingredients. Extending the message beyond the basics, however, whets hiring decision-makers’ appetites, spurs calls for interviews and encourages the conversations beyond the interviews. In this way, your resume stands apart from the pack. Here’s how:

  • BEFORE writing your resume, be introspective. Simply put, take the time to perform career brain dump through an exercise comprised of challenge/action/results (C-A-R) stories enhanced via problem-stomping, product building, idea-inducing initiatives you took to spur business improvement. Then, dive deeper (beyond the C-A-R) and weave in the leadership, team-building, relationship-leveraging talents you leveraged to battle through armies of naysayers or climb to the summit of mountainous challenges.
  • Did what you do help your department, division, region or overall company do something bigger and better — save money, reduce time to market, boost revenues, attract new customers, build a better reputation, expand the profit margin, etc.? Command attention for the little things you did and how they helped the organization do something larger. The bottom line is that you must bottom-line it!
  • Of course, command attention for the BIG things you personally achieved, as well. Taking credit for your individual role in business that has skyrocketed, sustained and survived (especially during these lean economic times) is crucial for marketing yourself. If you can take singular credit for a larger, business-transforming initiative, DO it!
  • While bottom-lining is essential resume nourishment, the story around the bottom-line should be equally rich.  Simmer your nuances with the finest of career messaging juices to establish you as a unique individual focused on target companies’ needs.

Rather than churning out a canned resume recipe with career vocabulary inserts across your Summary and Experience sections, blend together a custom recipe of your finest career enterprises that meld forethought, vision, creativity, bottom-line savvy and customer relationship management insights. Warm up the decision-making reader with words that wrap around their needs.

Position your career expertise by writing with passion, tempered with pragmatism. Show flair–be personable and enticing and assert your culture fit that will attract the culture you desire. People hire people who express ideas and show HOW their ideas and execution talent build corporate value. People hire people who are turned on and tuned into the company’s needs (the it’s-all-about-THEM-resume-concept). And people hire people who evoke emotion and show confidence in their contribution and culture-enhancing initiative.

Rather than scrubbing, polishing and tweaking your resume, consider how you can differentiate your candidacy in the interviewing process! Wile them with your words!

The Power of Headlines: Captivate to Enhance Career Search

You may know about Newser.com. This is the news aggregation site that summarizes the news item in a catchy two paragraph lead in, and then gives you the deeper links so you can see the original article. The site wins because of clever editing, headline writing and artwork selection. Try it for a few days and see if you are more addicted to the news.

How does this apply to your job search?

There are a couple of learnings here. First, it really demonstrates that we are a nation of fast skimmers and headline readers. So, next time you slave over the wording on page three of your resume, forget it. Most hiring managers people may even get that far. They give your resume 20 seconds. Next, it also shows the importance of having a voice in your communication efforts, resume or cover letter.

Let your personality shine through.  This is one area that is almost never discussed in the career arena. It’s almost like we all become professionalized and non-personal. Newser’s editor have a bit of an attitude, certainly a voice that comes through on each news item. Does your cover letter show something important? Anything valuable?

Your career is filled with Newser-style artwork and headlines. We know this. How would you create a Newser style resume using artwork and short headlines? It might give you some new ideas on how to present yourself to get noticed.

I realize that certain people are going to cringe at these ideas. Still, for some of you, your resumes are BORING. It occurs to me that one needs to stand out and be a bit different. So why not try?

First place to start would be your headlines, those phrases that break up all those accomplishments and objectives. Those are what the hiring managers, recruiters and HR profesionals read, don’t forget. So, take a tip from Newser, and spend more time on them.

To get started, here are 20 tips from How To Write Headlines by Leo Babauta:

Catchy  The first job of a headline is to grab the reader’s attention. It should do so appropriately and honestly, of course, but the headline is the way that you draw a reader into a story. If it doesn’t grab attention, it doesn’t matter what else the headline does. However, do not overdo it — if your reader is drawn to the story, and the headline oversold it, the reader will feel cheated and swindled. That’s not exactly the emotion you want to incite in your readers, I would guess. My note: There is a difference between catchy, clever and just weird.  Find the balance.

Be useful  The best headline will tell the reader what he will get out of reading this story. Will it teach you something you’ve always wanted to learn? Will it help you become smarter, stronger, better looking, better in bed? Will it help you become more informed? Will it give you the juicy gossip you’ve been craving? Whatever the story will do, it should have some use to the reader. The more useful, the better. My Note:  If the job description is clear on what they want, work that into the headline.

The main point  The headline should summarize the main point of an article. This is another of the headline’s biggest jobs (some would argue the biggest job). So to write the headline, you need to read over the article (or re-read it, if you wrote it) and figure out what the main point of the article is — and if it’s well written, that shouldn’t be too hard. If you don’t get the main point, or think that there’s 3 or 4 main points, the article hasn’t done its job. It should be rewritten. But at any rate, find that main point and summarize it in the headline. My note:  what is the ONE thing you are most proud of.  Announce that.

Curiosity  The best headlines will summarize a story, but leave you curious to find out more. “Why You Should Care About Technorati” or “The Secret to Making the Perfect Snowball” will leave some readers wanting more (maybe not all of you). My note: or why should they give you an interview, to find out MORE…

Succinct  Wordy headlines will lose a lot of readers. Sure, people should be able to read 15 little words, but they expect to get their info quickly. Don’t ask me why. Shorten a headline down to 5-10 words, eliminating all that’s unnecessary.

Controversy  There’s no better guarantee of catching a reader’s attention than to stir up a little controversy. Be bold, dare to incite a little indignation, or get the pulse racing just a bit. Don’t be moronic about it though. You don’t need to incite a riot. My note:  Here is where you can think about solving a problem they might have.

Specifics  Specific headlines are better than vague ones. Throw in a detail or two that will catch a reader’s interest — but don’t throw in the kitchen sink. This is why numbers in headlines work, no matter how many people hate them. You’re not going to give me “A bunch of tips” but instead “10 tips”. My note: key in any sales situation “Specificity sells.”

Magazines  If you want to get inspiration, look at the cover of magazines. Half the time they get them wrong, but sometimes you’ll find a great headline. I hate it when they oversell a story, but those magazine editors sure know how to write sexy headlines. Skip the Enquirer — they oversell. But magazines know the secret of headlines: it’s the headlines (and the sexy model) that sell the magazine. Same thing with your blog headlines.

Blogs  This should go without saying, but I’ll say it nonetheless — read good blogs. The successful blogs got where they are because they provide awesome content with headlines to match. And blogs that have been successful for some time have usually perfected the craft. Use them for inspiration.

The How To  There is probably no type of headline more likely to do well than the How To headline. Start a headline with those two words, and follow them with a skill that many people would like to learn, and you’ve got a winner. Well, most of the time. Don’t overdo it.  My note:  how to solve your problem in customer service will be better than 95% of the resumes that company gets today.

Lists, with numbers  Yes, they’re overdone, but that’s because they work. Look at a list of the most popular articles on delicious or Digg, and you’ll find list headlines — at least a few. I overdo them, actually, because just about every post I write has a list. It’s just the way I think. And if my post has a list, my headline will likely have a list as well. I had to resist suggesting a list headline for this post. “20 Tips for Writing Great Headlines”

Write several versions  Challenge yourself to write the best headline possible. Don’t just go with your first attempt. Write that down, then do 3 or 4 more tries. Test each headline by saying it out loud. Look over these guidelines and see if any of them will help the headline. Say it out loud to your spouse or best friend or your mom. Which one catches their attention? Sometimes a clever headline will sound confusing to others.My note:  you should have a new resume for every job you want, done after you have done the research.

Question headline  Sometimes the best headline poses a question. It makes the reader want to find the answer. Or it alerts the reader to an interesting debate. Give the question headline a try — it might work for your article. My note: or resume.

Write a command headline  Tell the reader what to do. Sometimes a command headline can be too bossy — but other times, it’s just the advice the reader was looking for.

Be detached  In print journalism, a detached editor writes the headline. The writer is too close to the story, and is biased. She thinks every word is important, every point is the main point. And no headline is good enough. If you’re writing your own blog headlines, you should become detached. Write a headline, leave it for awhile, come back to it. Try to see it as an outsider would see it — someone who hasn’t read your article yet.  My note: friends, spouses and even HR people are great add-on readers. Just ask.

Find balance  You need to find the middle line between being boring and being crazy. It’s not always easy. “20 Ways to Write a Great Headline” is better than “Headline Writing” but not as strong as “Write a Perfect Headline or Your Blog Will Fail and So Will You”.

Key verb  Try this exercise: find a strong verb that best fits the story. Then find other words in the story to go around the verb to form a sentence that summarizes the story. Then shorten that sentence to make a great headline.  My note: this takes work and should include a dictionary, at least.

Short, active words  Prefer short words to long ones, and active words to passive ones. Avoid jargon and acronyms. And feel free to be creative and break any of these rules if it works.

Double check  Before you go to print with your article (or press “Publish”), check over your headline again. Read it for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, factual mistakes (the headline is the worst place to make these mistakes). Make sure it makes sense, and that it does its job.

Write it first  Don’t save the headline for last. It’s too important, and when you’re done with a post you just want to write the darn headline and be done with it. Write the headline first — this allows you to know your main point before you even start writing. Then rewrite the headline later, and give it some time to get right.

Recruitfest! Join Us. The Future of Talent Starts Here

I’m very excited TalentCulture is a corporate sponsor for this event Thursday, Oct 7th. Look forward to seeing everyone. We will also be present at the TweetUp – Here is today’s guest post from Eric Winegardner, Vice President, Client Adoption, Monster Worldwide.

This week promises to be the highlight of my year.  In just two days, nearly a year’s worth of brainstorming and planning will come to fruition and illustrate the possibilities when two organizations partner around a common desire of moving the Recruiting industry forward.  Of course, I am talking about Recruitfest!

I had the opportunity to attend RecruitFest! in-person last year in Toronto. I had skipped the inaugural event the year before and to this day consider it a professional miss.  What I experienced over those two days was a truly unique, transformative recruiting event that I knew I wanted to be a part of- and quite honestly wanted Monster to be involved in.  The first day had not even wrapped, and the wheels of partnership were in motion.

There’s something about the RecruitFest! brand that attracts the best and brightest minds from our industry.  Some credit the casual environment where people can participate in the conversations that matter to them.  Others say it is the design of the agenda that encourages speakers to lead conversations around topics rarely discussed, but critical to moving our profession forward.  I think it is a combination of the two- great people having passionate conversations about the possibilities inherent to the evolving world of work.

While this year’s RecruitFest! agenda is a bit more structured, it is still built around voicing opinions (however controversial) and exploring possibilities with the objective of transforming the conversation from theory into practice.   Our collective goal for the day is that everyone walk out (or log off) of RecruitFest! excited about being a part of this amazing community and reminded that what we do is perhaps one of the most noble professions on the planet: finding great jobs for great people.

Most importantly, we want you to have an experience that changes the way you think about recruiting and makes you a stronger, better informed professional equipped to serve the people who really matter: your clients and your candidates.

The Recruitfest! agenda is designed to tackle the business of recruiting holistically. We know that it’s not all about sourcing, or interviewing, or compensation, or benefits or any of the hundreds of tactical responsibilities involved in placing the right candidate in the right job.  It’s about how all of those elements can work together to position you and your talent organization as strategic business partners.

This year, we’ve selected a group of world-class leaders to steer the conversation.  Just check out this line-up!  Some are familiar names, others will be.  They all have one thing in common, wicked-smart and passionate about the business! What’s cool is we’ve grouped them together to facilitate conversations about topics that while they may be experts in require examining perspectives that they- and you- might not have thought of before or even entirely embraced.

More interestingly, the track leaders will be joining the audience of recruiting professionals at the event for the duration, participating in and adding to the dialogue as peers, not “influencers” or “thought leaders.”  That means that you get to hear from some of the most influential minds working in talent today, talking about the topics that really matter, in a completely spontaneous, unscripted, and unrehearsed format.  More importantly, they want to hear what you think.

The biggest learning opportunities and most valuable takeaways at RecruitFest! happen in real time. That’s because the conversation informs the content, instead of the other way around.  And that’s where you come in.

I truly believe that the best ideas and the brightest minds in recruiting don’t necessarily spend their time publishing blogs, joining me on the conference circuit or even sharing their insights and ideas with others in the recruiting community.  Why? You’re too busy recruiting!

October 7 is the day that all changes.  That’s because RecruitFest! has redesigned the un-conference experience it introduced to the recruiting space.  We will be utilizing cutting-edge tools and technologies to create a true “un-conference” experience whether you’re in Boston, Baltimore or Beijing.  You don’t just get to watch the stream at your desk, you get to participate in the conversation! The Recrutifest! virtual experience will allow you to converse with other participants, ask questions of the presenters and in-studio attendees, and evolve the conversation- all from the convenience and comfort of your own desk.

I encourage you to check out the schedule, speaker bios and session descriptions and start thinking now about how you can lend your voice to shaping the success of RecruitFest!  Register for the FREE virtual event today, and join during every available moment you have on Thursday!

As the emcee of the event, it’s my job not only to introduce our amazing speakers and awesome topics, but to keep the dialogue flowing.  That means it’s my responsibility (and my promise) to show no preference to any attendee because of how they are hearing and seeing the conference.  I don’t care where you are.  I care what you think.  And it’s not every day that a recruiter hears that.

 

HireFriday: A Culture. A Community.

I have a favorite saying: “culture and community go hand in hand.” Seeking community is really important to job seekers. TalentCulture is an ideal setting to share my thoughts on this topic.

The culture of Twitter is fleeting, and swift. Some might argue that Twitter is the short attention span theater for recruiters and job seekers alike. I didn’t take me long to spot a gap. There are numerous Twitter streams for jobs, but I was concerned job seekers were falling between the cracks.

People ask me all the time, why did I create #HireFriday? I thought FollowFriday outlived its usefulness. I realized it would be better to take the time and energy we invest in promoting our gainfully employed friends, and put that energy into helping an unemployed person instead.

What started out as a lonely tweet: “Instead of FollowFriday, let’s tweet HireFriday and put our friends and family members back to work”; has mushroomed into a movement that now spans the globe.

On Tuesday, I wrote a post “HireFriday Is Recruiting In Reverse!” It is there that I articulate some of the lessons learned as this community has blossomed.

Job seekers, HR Pros, and companies love it. Recruiters also appreciate the ability to watch candidates in the stream. #HireFriday is a stream of active candidates, engaged and ready to work. They are not job beggars, losers or less talented than the so-called passive candidates. They happen to be actively seeking a position, that is all. Recently, there was an article published in the Huffington Post that exposed employers for posting jobs that stated “We are only hiring people who are currently employed.”

From a cultural view point what does that tell us. It says, “job seekers, you are recyclable, and unattractive.” As a fierce advocate for job seekers everywhere, I protest the short-sightedness of this cultural mindset. Yes, it is a cultural impediment.

I started HireFriday in February of this year to extol the virtues, talents, and strengths of job seekers around the world. Within 3 weeks, HireFriday expanded to The United Kingdom, and now it’s thriving in Canada. I created guidelines for HireFriday to offer suggestions and guidance to recruiters and job seekers alike.

When Chris Brogan was on Compassionate HR, we discussed FollowFriday, and how HireFriday is a much better alternative. Brogan said, “There was a time when FollowFriday had some traction, in it’s early inception, people paid attention to the stream, and followed others based the recommendations of trusted friends.” But, in my eyes, it just looks like clutter.

I remember thinking to myself, “there has to be a better way to promote people we care about, people who really need our help.” As much as I like Chris Brogan, he really doesn’t need another follower, but a job seeker who’s short on hope sure does.

HireFriday isn’t just the retweeting of people’s credentials. HireFriday reminds people in career transition that they are not alone, or forgotten.

In the beginning, I tweet a job seeker’s @name/jobtite/industry/location/ keywords. Then I realized people would be better served to post a link to their linkedin profile so that people could check out their credentials and get in touch with them. As this grew more and more popular, I encouraged people to tweet for themselves, because I couldn’t handle the onslaught of requests. I couldn’t do it without volunteers. Kimberly Roden, and Lou Bonica stepped up to the plate, and became HireFriday evangelists. Other job seekers jumped in as well, and before you know it everyone’s tweeting and retweeting for one another.

Now if you think about this from a mathematical standpoint, some people have a few hundred followers, some people have several thousand. With each retweet, the job seekers receive exposure to a vast number of contacts. We we offer is access to our networks. There’s power in numbers, and even more power in giving people an opportunity to be visible to those who can help them.

The most beautiful part of this groundswell movement is that we have built a caring, supportive for job seekers, and it makes my heart glad to see so many people joining in to give a hand. Companies like Monster.com and TalentCulture tweet my resumes have been instrumental in sharing resources, articles and opportunities with our community.

Culture and community go hand in hand. HireFriday fits in the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn communities. It’s unique, special, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Make Like Madonna And Reinvent Yourself

Written by Kirsten Taggart

It’s been almost thirty years since Madonna claimed fame as an international pop-icon, and at 52 years old, she continues to top the charts.  Needless to say, Madonna has come a long way since her Like a Virgin years, yet she has never lost her knack for catching the public’s eye. Yet Madonna is more than just a talented singer – she has mastered the art of reinventing herself. Like this pop star, it’s important for job seekers to know how to appeal to their audience (employers) and stand out in the crowded field of candidates.  With these three tips inspired by Madonna, you’ll be transformed into a corporate rockstar in no time.

Though it barely needs to be said, Madonna is an innovation leader.  She is constantly one step ahead of her industry and I attribute this to her ability to follow her passion while adapting to the times.  Even if you’re not a superstar, following her recipe for success is simple: reflect on what you do best. What are you passionate about and how can you incorporate that into your job search?  Think about how and in what fields your natural talents make you shine. Doing so will help narrow your search to positions you will enjoy as well as direct you towards corporate cultures in which you will feel comfortable.  Of course we all understand that aiming for the dream job isn’t always realistic (Enajite Onos explains this well in her post, For Love or Money), but it’s not a bad thing to start out on a smaller scale, if it means getting to do what you love. Remember, even Madonna didn’t rise to the top overnight!

With her creative vision in mind, Madonna then takes to the studio. She has built a reputation for being honest and a perfectionist about her work, but her critical eye has served her well. When it comes time to reevaluate your resume and cover letter, you too should be your own worst critic. Be certain that your talents, passions, and related skills are clearly stated. Take time to tailor your cover letter to each company which you apply; add relevant skills and eliminate unnecessary ones. Be sincere in your cover letter and leave out exaggerations. Remember, show your potential value rather than tell companies they should hire you.

When it’s time to make an appearance for the interview, give yourself a “get-with-the-times” makeover. Madonna’s outfits have come and gone with each era, and so should yours. Rummage through your wardrobe and toss a few trends that don’t seem to be coming back anytime soon. Your long suit jacket with the padded shoulders will stand out in today’s office just as much as Madonna’s traffic cone bra would, well, anywhere.

Although you may not become the Madonna of your field, the opportunity to grow your talents is not unreachable. All it takes is a little bit of creativity, some courage, and a lot of believing in yourself.

Jobseekers: how have you reinvented yourself to adapt to today’s job market?

Career Searching and Community Building on Calm Waters

Akin to career building, my husband Rob’s and my foray into the sailing lifestyle just three sailing seasons ago has been a community- and skill-building experience that is at times confidence building and euphoric, and other times, discouraging, back-breaking and frustrating. Brick by sailing brick, we accrue relationships and skills, unfurl latent talents and work toward strengthening our sea legs.

Like someone launching a brand-new career in an unfamiliar work-place landscape, we initially offered our enthusiasm, energy and inexperience in jumping aboard the sea-loving community as entry-level sailors. Now, three years in, we are entrenched into a community involving dozens of sailors, many with global, ocean-going experience and all with a love of the art and science called sailing.

Researching and Interviewing

With a bit of online and in-person research and interviewing, we chose and purchased our first sailboat, a 28-foot Columbia; it offered a sturdy framework and thick hull with a weathered exterior well suited for novices who would be inexpertly entering and exiting ports, occasionally bumping and scratching the sides.

If we’d invested in the largest, fanciest sailboat from day one, it would have been akin to an entry-level accountant aspiring to a controller role or a production assistant applying for a chief operating officer role. We had neither the skills, training nor sailing sophistication to navigate the intricacies of the sea with a more complex, pristine and overwhelmingly large vessel.

Likewise, if you are new to the sea of job search, fresh out of school, offering little or no real-world experience, bear in mind that sailing master is a role to aspire to, but your internship as swabby will help you get acclimated into the basics without too much disrepair. Research and submit your resume for opportunities that would benefit from the value your entry-level skill sets and zeal offer, while also ensuring those opportunities offer prospects for future career advancement and propulsion.

The excitement and discovery of learning the job ropes will be the wind that moves your career ship from beginner to more advanced and ultimately to expert contributor who one day will be mastering the wind and exuberantly commanding your shipmates.

Selecting a Culture

Not only was investing in the appropriate sailboat a critical step toward our new sport/hobby, but locating the harbor in which to dock her was key. Geographically speaking, we researched our options and narrowed them down to three locations, basing our decision primarily on reputation among other sailors: where the ‘wind’ was most suitable and where the culture accommodated the best experience and value-laden sailing lifestyle.

The actual financial investment to house our vessel was, quite honestly, low on our list. If the other needs were met, then their value-add justified the investment for something so integral in our lives.

Likewise, in researching and interviewing for your new career company, wrap your mind around the company with a reputation for a culture that fits your needs and values versus focusing purely on salary and job specifications. These other fulfillments are fluid and will expand and evolve over time as you prove your value and impact on the company’s bottom-line.

Integrating Into the Community and Adding Value

As we settled into our new Lake Perry, Kansas, home, the culture we’d entered into not only met, but exceeded our goals. Within a matter of one or two visits, the community around us, mostly seasoned sailors curious as to the novices who’d entered their port, began introducing themselves to us and including us in their tightly-knit, respectful and collaborative group.

One sail, one weekend, one season at a time we embraced, engaged in and were honored by the acceptance of a community of sailors who as easily could have kept us at arm’s length or put us in a position to prove ourselves worthy of their engagement. In fact, just six months after deploying our little ship in this Midwest lake, Rob and I not only promoted to a nicer, larger (34-foot) and more challenging sailboat, we exchanged our wedding vows on our sailboat, amongst our sailing pals and family members.

Perhaps we emanated our sincere desire to become sail-worthy, along with our respect for, and interest in, learning the mechanics and savvy required to sail well, safely and with joy, thus encouraging the collegial warmth of our dock-mates. Perhaps, as well, we got a bit lucky to have found such a lovely community to call our second home!

Likewise, job seekers, if your career goals extend beyond a singular focus to earn a salary and achieve your individual goals to include contributing value to your colleagues, managers and company with whom you collaborate, your likelihood for career success and propulsion increases. Your career resume will blossom as the roots within your community deepen; the culture of which you now are a part is enhanced and the probability of your long-lasting impact and career success soars!