Posts

Improve Communication in a Time Crunched/Technology Based World

(Editor’s Note: All of us in the TalentCulture community mourn the loss of our dear friend, brilliant colleague and mindful mentor, Judy Martin, who passed away unexpectedly on January 31, 2014. Her message and her life are a lesson for us all. We will forever fondly remember her humor, warmth and wisdom.)

“Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.”   ~Dalai Lama

The old adage goes, if you’re not going to say something nice than don’t say anything at all. Yes, silence speaks volumes but so can efficient communication and it’s a stretch sometimes when having to tangle with work while keeping peace on the home front.

Poor communication creates frustration and on a practical front, makes for inefficient interactions and inevitably can lead to stress or the monkey mind of coulda, shoulda, woulda. We make up stories in our head as we anticipate what will happen during a conflict, instead of being open to the ever-changing moment that might lead to a productive conversation. Strive for the 3 C’s: Co-creation of a Conscious Conversation.

Communication covers a broad territory. It comes in the form of meetings, phone calls, e-mail exchange, social media etc.  We tend to lose sight of some basic tenets of effective communication in our new world. So keep the following in mind whether in a meeting or when communicating with someone via the many modes of technology:

  • Technology can filter a message – don’t react from the gut.
  • Everyone has their individual story – but that story can change in an instant due to info-overload. So be adaptable to change in someone’s attitude.
  • Rapid fire communication via texting can quickly heat up a simple interaction.
  • Perception is everything. Be willing to be a witness to what’s happening if conflict arises. Remember that you are co-creating a conversation. 2 sides to every story.
  • When conversing, especially via technology, it’s smart to repeat – or mirror back to the person you’re communicating with – what YOU heard.
  • Be mindful of how you end conversations and what the next step of communication or call to action should be.

Keeping the lines of communication open at work and at home is probably the most important factor in creating a less stressful work-life merge. Your “merge” might change on a daily or weekly basis, so an assessment of your  S-O-C (state of communications) is crucial before you can set up your guidelines.

We tend to take communication for granted because there is such an ease of access to technology. The trick is to be more mindful of  your communication. Your time is valuable. The analogy of examining communication as a meal works well.  Remember that communication on any level is feeding your mind. As bestselling author Tim Sanders (Love is the Killer App) says, be aware of the diet you’re feeding your mind.

A. Communication Guidelines

  • Don’t eat too late: Try to avoid interacting with people up to the moment you hit the sack. It’s stressful and could impact your sleep if the conversation or communication was upsetting or mind-consuming .
  • Don’t over eat: Be sure to have an agenda for your communication and accomplish the task. Don’t keep gabbing on the phone to take up time.
  • Don’t stand while eating: Be mindful and present in your communications. If we allow ourselves to be distracted we dilute the conversation, make it longer than it has to be and risk not accomplishing the task.

B. Assess Your Communication Streams

  • Write a list of every type of communication stream that you plug into daily. For example,  e-mail, BBM’s, texting, social media and the old-fashioned phone.
  • Identify which forms of communication are you most comfortable using and at what times of the day.
  • Limit extraneous communication to certain times of the day.
  • Set time limits on phone calls and meetings. Have an agenda before you head into a conversation.
  • Identify Energizing and Depleting Relationships. Make a list of the most important personal and work relationships. Assess which unions foster your growth as an individual.

C. Design a Communication Formula

Ask yourself about the three W’s :

  • Who are the most important people you communicate with on a daily basis at home and at work.
  • What is the most efficient form or technology that you can use with this person.
  • When is the best time to communicate with this person.

In our rapidly changing business climate being mindful of how we are interacting at work and at home is increasingly important. How do you track your communications? Do you monitor and/or filter your communication at work or at home? If so, share your strategy!

HRO: Engagement Perception and Social Recruiting Technology

I spent most of this past week at the HRO Today conference in Las Vegas as a member of the blog squad, and what do I have to show for it? A new appreciation for HR and Recruiting technology innovation – that’s what.

On the personal side, new friendships were made and old bonds renewed. In short, a very good conference. I even had an opportunity to sing along with dueling pianos  – talk about a Talent Show. Right up my alley. We had many laughs. What happens in Vegas is not always meant to stay in Vegas after all.

This week’s #TChat was a highlight of course. As I referenced earlierin the week,  The HRO Analyst Study was pretty fascinating from my perspective. So while there’s plenty of HR technology out there, much of it is focused on talent management and recruitment. 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. What the survey found, instead, was a gap in perceptions of innovation.

For example, 62 percent of technology providers think it’s vital to innovate in talent management technology – but only 33 percent of practitioners agree. Even more telling: 70 percent of providers surveyed think talent management technology supports work, while practitioners – 37 percent – view the technology as ‘just gadgets’.

But wait, there’s more – over 70 percent of practitioners surveyed say providers ‘rarely or never’ talk to them to gauge whether their offerings align with the practitioners’ business strategies and goals. Yikes, what a disconnect! As a “recruitment practitioner” (one of my hats) I’m hoping there are many more of us who see these innovative tools as a must have – I certainly fall into this grouping.

So let’s go to Door #1 and a review of my stint as a judge on the iTalent2 Demo Competition. The talented roster of hopefuls: BranchOut a solution that helps people tap into their Facebook friends network to find career opportunities; InternMatch a brilliant yet simple application that simplifies finding interns and marketing internship opportunities for organizations of pretty much any size; JobScore a social media-enabled talent management application; SmartRecruiters a winner (did I say it is free?) application with a great SaaS recruiting solution; Wednesdays a team building and employee engagement application built on social media networking, and Work4labs, with a very cool application that enables career sites on Facebook. Quite an impressive array of new technologies included here.

As a judge who ended up being closer to Simon Cowell than Paula Abdul as we first thought – I was way careful about the numbers I gave each company featured, never going past 8 on a scale of 1-10. Apologies to the contestants if that seems harsh, but we’re talking about my passion here: innovation meets matching people talent with new career opportunity.

I have a weak spot for technologies that do it well. In classic start-up form no company or application is perfect just yet. Innovation is truly about creating a culture of working and reworking ideas where it’s ok to make mistakes in the early innings. I found flaws in each application from either a usability or branding perspective. It will be exciting to watch their progression in the coming months. There were almost too many good things on offer for the judging panel.

SmartRecruiters won – it’s a free (yes, free), social-media enabled application that helps companies recruit top talent. The pitch was strong, the website is user friendly, it’s organized and the people are enthusiastic about it’s potential in the market.

I have a soft spot for InternMatch. I mentor as many interns as I can and many people know I’m an advocate for these programs. Pay it forward and all, interns are a great resource for any company – and actual work experience with actual companies is part of a complete education.

I’m so energized by the people I met, the ideas that were presented, the technology that is available right now that will make talent recruiting and hr management so much easier and more productive. I can’t wait to talk to people (and clients) about what I’ve heard about in Vegas and beyond. Onward we go.

IMAGE VIA BestofWDW

Preventing Unforced Social Recruiting Errors

Written by Omowale Casselle

Usually, one of the key characteristics of champions is that they have an amazing ability to prevent themselves from making unforced errors. Opponents will often try to force you into situations that they can utilize to their advantage. But, if you can do those things that you do well on a consistent basis without making mistakes, you will often come out ahead. As we know, nothing is more important for the sustainable competitive advantage of employers than the ability to continually attract, recruit, and retain top employees.

As we move further and further into the emerging territory of socialization and online recruiting there is an increased opportunity to make unforced errors. The primary reason is that the rules aren’t well defined so both candidates and employers are as awkward as two teenagers on a first date. Each wants to impress the other, yet neither knows exactly what to do or how to do it. This uncertainty is combined with the fact that there are some people who would be totally happy to see you fail.  The key is to stay focused on your employer value proposition and effectively communicate that with candidates.

If not, you’ll find yourself making unforced errors which will compound the already difficult challenges of recruiting in an emerging environment.

So, what are the unforced errors that you should be on the lookout for?

Instigators

As long as people have been interacting in the online environment, there have been a small group of people who are interested in stirring the pot for no other reason than to make others angry. These people who have far too much time on their hands will attempt to take advantage of the increased access to employees to engage in anti-social behavior.  Without discipline, your company can easily end up making an unforced error. This can happen by either engaging in unprofessional back/forth discussions or circular arguments.

To prevent this, you must remember the purpose of your online activity. Your #1 goal is to attract, recruit, and retain the top talent that will increase the competitive advantage of your organization. Anything that is counter to that purpose should be ignored. The immediacy of social media and social networking makes it more likely that instigators will try to bait you into arguments. But, you should take steps to ensure that ambassadors for your organization have the discipline to maintain their composure when engaged by instigators.

Disgruntled Candidates

After going through perhaps a phone screen or an in-person interview, this person has not advanced to the next stage in the process. Unfortunately, they don’t agree with your rationale. So, their goal is to create a scorched earth policy within your current social recruiting efforts. This person will not make it clear that they are a candidate that wasn’t selected. Instead, they will try to use social discussions to highlight perceived flaws within your company that they feel will make your opportunity less attractive to prospective candidates.

It is important to diplomatically take these discussions offline. Not because you are trying to create the impression that your company is without flaws, but instead these people are presenting information about your company without the proper context (rejected candidate who has a score to settle). These discussions can be extremely confusing to prospective candidates and can do significant damage if your employees engage publicly.

Competitors

As we’ve seen from the different anti-poaching agreements that have recently come to light, most employers recognize the need to win the war for talent. Competitors have an opportunity to create unforced errors by using their industry knowledge as well as their understanding of your competitive advantage.

Often, competitors will not have deep insights about what exactly it is like to work at your company. But, their knowledge is dangerous enough to create challenges with your social recruiting efforts. If you are in a discussion with someone who appears to have the level/quality of information as a competitor, it is important to reinforce your unique value proposition. Remember, your competitor is just as convinced that their value proposition is superior to theirs as you are. This is a great opportunity to communicate exactly what your advantages are for prospective candidates. Don’t be tricked into argue your value proposition on their terms.

As an increasing number of employer and candidate interactions happen within the online environment, it is extremely important not to make unforced errors. We see that there can be a variety of different scenarios that might lead you in this direction. What other unforced errors have you seen employers make and what advice do you have for preventing it?

IMAGE VIA chascow

About the AuthorOmowale Casselle (@mySenSay) is the co-founder and CEO of mySenSay. We help top companies and future leaders make better employment decisions.

HR Innovation Should Keep us All In Business: #TChat Recap

“Gadgets be gone.”

Ah, no truer words have ever been spoken. That was one of my lighter “tweetable” sentiments from yesterday’s HRO Today Forum analyst panel where we discussed the process of innovation between HR technology suppliers and practitioner buyers, and more specifically the lack thereof. A recent HRO Today survey of over 100 buyers and providers of HR technology revealed quite a disparity, more so than I would’ve guessed.

The analyst panel was a great group that included Madeline Laurano, Talent Systems Analyst of The Newman Group; Mark McMillan, co-founder of Talent Function Group; Katherine Jones, Principal Analyst of Bersin & Associates; Jayson Saba, Senior Research Associate of Aberdeen Group; and myself. Look for collaborative content to come from this group and HRO Today about the state of innovation in HR technology.

The survey itself revealed that while providers for the most part feel they are highly innovative, the practitioners disagree. This is contradictory of where many vendors are with their customer service and user adoption, because time and again late vendors will tell you that besides customer advisory councils, focus groups and user group gatherings, some SaaS deployed products have created the “sandbox” approach.

This is where customers can play with features and enhancements before they’re live. They’ve also created online care/idea centers where customers can suggest, vent and collaborate. However, the democratization of customer product development hasn’t quite closed the gap yet.

My fellow analysts and I agreed that innovation must be something new, or a re-imagining, of how technology can drive efficiencies in HR/recruitment processes and activities as well as contribute to overall business growth. It must take into consideration the how and why of the workplace today — the best practices in acquiring, empowering and retaining talent. It can’t be a gadget for gadget’s sake just so the vendor can say, “Hey, you can log in to our system on your smart phones now.”

“To do what exactly?”

“To do…cool stuff. You know.”

“No, I don’t. Can I download your system information to a spreadsheet?”

“Why would you want to do that when you’ve got our perfectly good system to work within?”

“To do…cool stuff. You know.”

Maybe you’ve heard some of that kind of conversation. But, HR practitioners need to also better educate themselves on the use of technology in the workplace and even take business “tours of duty” in finance, operations, IT, customer service and more to understand what it means to run and grow a business, not just keep it in compliance and be risk-averse.

We posed similar survey questions to #TChat-land last night (questions below), and there was a resounding agreement on one thing:

Tech and innovation is great to a point, as long as it helps to humanize acquiring, empowering and retaining the workforce.

And keep us all in business.

Read Meghan’s great preview here as well as the questions from last night:

  • Q1: How important is technology innovation in acquiring, empowering and retaining a workforce today?
  • Q2: Are HR and recruitment technology providers truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?
  • Q3: Are HR and recruitment practitioners truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?
  • Q4: How have technology innovations impacted end users’ experiences? Using it or not?
  • Q5:How do you use technology to support business strategies and objectives?
  • Q6: Do HR and recruitment technology innovations support the work, or are they just gadgets? Why?
  • Q7: What can practitioners and providers do to facilitate and improve technology innovation?
  • Q8: In summary, what do you think it means to be innovative in the HR and recruiting business today?

Thank you all who participated last night! We’re taking an extended Memorial Day weekend break from #TChat next week, but we’ll resume on Tuesday, June 7

Innovation Gap Realities Workforce Technology: #TChat Preview

We’ve talked before about how hot the theme of ‘innovation’ is. In the technology world, much of what’s filed under ‘innovation’ is related to cloud technology, or mobile, or ‘apps’. What isn’t so hot, in my observation, is technology that links innovations to people. And so it is here at the HRToday conference in shiny Las Vegas, where technology is everywhere, but the links to employees and workforces are not so clear.

I’m looking forward to visiting the technology demos, and especially speaking with today’s analyst panel, which is bringing a group together to discuss the ‘innovation gap’ in HR technology. As I wear my “everyday practitioner” hat it is apparent to me that we still have some major holes to contend with. Reality Check!

At today’s panel, our hosts for this event, HRO Today, have brought together a great group including Kevin W. Grossman of Ventana Research; Madeline Laurano, Talent Systems Analyst of The Newman Group; Mark McMillan, co-founder of Talent Function Group; Katherine Jones, Principal Analyst of Bersin & Associates, and Jayson Saba, Senior Research Associate of Aberdeen Group. This group of analysts – many with a focus on talent management – are discussing a survey HRO Today ran earlier this year of over 100 buyers and providers of HR technology. The survey’s goal was to get a better pulse on the pace of technology innovation.

So while there’s plenty of HR technology out there, much of it is focused on talent management and recruitment. HR just isn’t perceiving what’s out there as innovative, perhaps because most of what we’re seeing isn’t screaming cloud, mobile or app. Very interesting.

So, what should the role of the buyer and the technology provider be in pushing innovation? My take:

Collaborate to innovate, but do it differently, depending on which side of the table you sit on. If you’re an HR tech buyer, make your technology recommendations based on how, say, innovative recruiting technology can help you build an innovative company. Don’t worry about the technology being innovative per se; that’s the role of the provider.

Providers of technology, listen to your customers. Ask about their recruiting and retention challenges, and think about how to use social media technologies to enhance the technology suites you’ve already built.

With smart solutions like these available, could there be a disconnect between technology innovation and HR?  I say a big yes, and the survey seems to have found the same scenarios unfolding with their samples.

I base my observation both on what I see here in Vegas, and more on what I’ve been experiencing in the market for the past three years. Sure, there’s lots of HR technology. Solutions that target enterprises are probably doing fairly well. But the real struggle is in the SMB, where most people look for and find work.

Workforce technology, perhaps more than other technology solutions, needs to scale. It needs to be useful for the 10 person company and the 10,000 person company. And when we talk about tech innovation in HR and recruiting, please hold the spreadsheets and go long on social media. That’s the edge case.

SharedXpertise and the HR Demo Show just completed a survey on what industry stakeholders, both practitioners and providers, think about innovation in HR technology.

Based on that premise, we want our #TChat community to chime in on the subject later today. Tonight’s #TChat questions are:

Q1: How important is technology innovation in acquiring, empowering and retaining a workforce today?

Q2: Are HR and recruitment practitioners truly “innovative” today? Why or why not?

Q3: How have technology innovations impacted end users’ experiences? Using it or not?

Q4:How do you use technology to support business strategies and objectives?

Q5: Do HR and recruitment technology innovations support the work, or are they just gadgets? Why?

Q6: What can practitioners and providers do to facilitate and improve technology innovation?

Q7: In summary, what do you think it means to be innovative in the HR and recruiting business today?

Back to the conference floor. More thoughts from me soon. Cheers to Vegas!

Balance: Reconciling Work and Life: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on Monster Thinking Blog

It’s interesting that the genesis of work-life balance really started, with, well, Genesis: somewhere, between creating the heaven, the earth and all things in between, even God needed a day off to rest.

We’ll leave interpretations up to the theologians, but there’s a pretty firm, historical precedent that’s been followed for millennia: everyone deserves a break now and then.

In our increasingly interconnected age, however, omniscience and omnipresence aren’t Biblical constructs, but the burden of having a Blackberry.

The real price of real business in real time is that real time is rarely one’s own. The movie 9-5 (“It’s a way to make a livin“) seems a historical anachronism for more than its polyester pant-suits. In a blink of an eye, the 8 hour day that the title (and oh so catchy theme song) suggest seem to have all but disappeared.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Increasingly, employers are realizing that the key to attracting and retaining top talent, and getting the most out of employees, requires creating a work-life balance that’s actually balanced. And workers are starting to realize meaningful work, and by extension, a meaningful career, aren’t mutually exclusive from having a life outside the office.

Tonight’s #TChat will explore work-life balance and it’s far ranging implications on the world of work (and life). Join the conversation at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT as we look at ways that work and life can coexist, and even thrive, in today’s business environment.

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading (5.10.11)

Here are tonight’s #TChat questions as well as some recommended reading designed to inform, and inspire, tonight’s conversation about work-life balance:

1. Who’s ultimately responsible for managing work-life balance: the employer or the employee?

Read: The Case for Work/Life Programs by Freek Vernermeulen.

2. What are the benefits/drawbacks of being salaried/exempt vs. hourly/non-exempt? Which would you prefer?

Read: Family Friendly Employee Benefits: Create A Win-Win For Hourly Workers by Donna Fenn.

3. How does company culture effect work-life balance?

Read: 5 Great Ways To Create A Winning Company Culture by Carmine Gallo.

4. What role does technology and social media play in the work-life mix? Is connectivity a blessing or a curse?

Read: Technology at Work: The Creation of the Anywhere Worker by Connie Blaszczyk.

5. What are some things employers and managers can do to improve work-life balance?

Read: 5 Keys to Staying Civil When Work Calls On Your Off Time by Judy Martin.

6. How important is work life balance to top talent when assessing new opportunities?

Read: It’s All About Engagement by Jayson Saba.

7. What are some of the most effective or creative “perks” your company offers for work-life balance? Which do you wish they’d offer?

Read: Do You Have Work Life Balance? by Thad Peterson.

NOTE: We’ll be extending this conversation at Care.com’s Care@Work event series, Focus Forward at the Times Center in New York City on June 1st and we want you to join us. Tonight after #TChat, we’ll be giving away one ticket to this invitation and innovation only event focused on shaping the future of work. We will randomly select someone from tonight’s #TChat to attend.

Tune in tonight to find out how and learn more about the Care@Work event at http://www.icareatwork.com/

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.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin Grossman and Meghan M. Biro from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW. Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!

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

Social Networking For Career Success

Today’s post is by Miriam Salpeter — owner of Keppie Careers. She teaches job seekers and entrepreneurs how to leverage social media, writes resumes and helps clients succeed with their goals. Miriam writes for U.S. News & World Report’s “On Careers” column, CNN named her a “top 10 job tweeter you should be following” and Monster.com included her in “The Monster 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Search.” She blogs at KeppieCareers.com and GetASocialResume.com.

Why do companies hire the people they hire? Is it always because the selected candidate is the absolute best qualified to do the job? It’s hard to quantify, but my guess is probably not. Hiring is a complicated art involving selecting a person to do a job, but, often more importantly, someone who is a good “fit” for the role.

Think about interviewing someone to join your family – someone you need to see and spend a lot of time with for the conceivable future. You may be interested in particular skills, depending on your family’s culture. (Cooking? Softball? Driving?) At the end of the day, you probably want to select the one who won’t annoy or embarrass you; someone willing to pitch in (even if it is not his or her job), the candidate who can communicate – and who people like to be around.

It’s not surprising to learn these emotional intelligence skills are gaining more focus and impacting job seekers. A quick definition is in order. Here is one that I like and is easy to understand from Mike Poskey, VP of Zerorisk HR, Inc:

Emotional Intelligence…is defined as a set of competencies demonstrating the ability one has to recognize his or her behaviors, moods and impulses, and to manage them best according to the situation.

Companies are incorporating emotional intelligence into their hiring processes, with good reason. The Sodexo(one of the largest food services and facilities management companies in the world) blog reminds readers that “businesses that will succeed in the 21st century will be the ones that allow employees to bring the whole of their intelligence into the work force – their emotional and intellectual self. Not only does this impact morale, but productivity increases, too.” A recent study from Virginia Commonwealth University shows that “high emotional intelligence does have a relationship to strong job performance — in short, emotionally intelligent people make better workers.”

To be successful in a job hunt, you not only need to demonstrate an association between what the employer wants and your skills and accomplishments, you need to be able to tell your story in a way that makes it obvious you have the emotional intelligence/emotional quotient (EI/EQ – or soft skills) to fit in. Companies want to hire a candidate who will work well in the team; they all seek someone who will contribute and get the job done with finesse. Most seek employees they will trust to represent the company graciously. No one wants to be embarrassed.

This is why social media is such a great tool for job seekers. A job seeker with a pristine online portfolio and nothing questionable in her digital footprint makes a strong case for actually being someone who knows how to negotiate the digital world where we all function.

Using social networking tools to illustrate your expertise can provide entree into a network of professionals writing and talking about the topics important for you and your field. If, for example, you write a blog to showcase your knowledge of the restaurant industry, or use Twitter and Facebook to be sure people understand you know a lot about finance, you have a chance to connect with multitudes of potential contacts, any one of whom may connect you to the person you need to know to land an opportunity.

At the same time you demonstrate your expertise online and grow your network, you are also giving people a taste of the type of person you may be in person. Granted, some people have a distinct online-only persona. Many of us know people who seem mean and spiteful online and are amazing friends in person. Certainly, the opposite is possible.

However, for the most part, it’s safe to assume how people act and communicate online represents how they behave in person. When we get to know people via social media, by sharing tweets (including those all important personal tweets about what we’re eating, watching, and doing for the weekend), trading comments on blog posts, and keeping in touch via Facebook and LinkedIn, we are part of the longest job interview – with a very long “tail.”

No doubt, for some people, social media is dangerous for their job search. The people who aren’t attentive to details (and don’t untag themselves in inappropriate photos), the ones with short tempers and no filter who share every thought, and those who complain about people or things and appear excessively negative online. In an environment where employers are reviewing digital footprints, those people, who are not illustrating high levels of emotional intelligence, may have difficulty landing jobs.

The flip side? If you know your business, connect and share easily online, make new friends and contacts, and try to give at least as much as you hope to receive, social media may be just the “social proof” you need to help you stand out from the crowd.

My book, Social Networking for Career Success, shows you how to leverage the “big three” tools (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook), and describes how blogging and many other social media tools can help job seekers distinguish themselves. Learn more at www.socialnetworkingforcareersuccess.com. Download a free chapter HERE.

Miriam Salpeter, MA
Coach, Speaker, Author

Empowering Success
http://www.keppiecareers.com

Take a look at what people are saying about Social Networking for Career Success, just released by Learning Express, LLC. Copies are available from Amazon or your favorite bookseller.

IMAGE VIA www.socialnetworkingforcareersuccess.com/

4 Employee Engagement Drivers: Workplace Social Technology

We’ve heard the term “employee engagement” a gazillion times, and one could even say it’s now just a buzzword.  If you ask me, it is the most critical aspect of any successful organization….without a doubt!  A positive correlation exists between employee engagement scores and business results (via Right Management – “Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance”).

I have worked with a dozen plus diverse organizations on their employee engagement strategies, not only identifying their top engagement drivers, but facilitating strategy design and execution.  I can see how it could be a buzzword to many because they have not the slightest clue how to take employee engagement beyond just simply talking about it.

Regardless, my definition of employee engagement is, “an intimate emotional connection that an employee feels for the company they work for that propels them to exert greater discretionary effort in their work.”  Take note that their are many definitions that exist, and whichever one you favor, remember this…it all comes down to the positive emotions that employees possess, individually and collectively.  In my experience the top 4 engagement drivers are the following:

  1. Strength of leadership capabilities of direct managers.
  2. Perception that advancement opportunities exist, and are attainable.
  3. Opportunities for personal growth and development.
  4. Appropriate recognition for the good work that I do.

The “What” Versus the “How”

I just listed what I have seen to be the top 4 common engagement drivers.  The next natural question would be, “now what?  How are we supposed to improve engagement if we now know where our focus needs to be?”  There is no cookie-cutter response because it depends on each organization, because each organization is unique due to the distinctive make-up of their workforces.  But, I will say this…the “how” (i.e. executing an employee engagement strategy) is as important, if not more so, than the “what” (i.e. what we need to focus on).

This is where social technology could theoretically play a huge impactful role.  I say theoretically because again, the success of strategy execution does not lie in the technology/platform itself, but in how it’s executed.  At the top of my head, key things that are required for successful execution are strong leadership, people change management, communication, trust, authenticity, and ultimately a strong perception of competence in the eyes of employees.  Notice how this is nothing different than any other major organizational initiative?

One Step Further

You need to also recognize that workforces in North America are more diverse than ever before.  Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives, rather than being completely separated like it was just a few decades ago.  We value customization, personalization, flexibility, variety and choice.  Organizations need to understand this, and find a way to fully integrate these characteristics into how employee engagement strategies are executed.  Now enter social technology!

Where Technology Could (Really Should) Play a Role

Keep in mind that technology by itself means very little.  It’s a very similar concept to strategy, which I’ve said many times before, “is just a piece of paper with words on it” (see Strategy = A Piece of Paper…).  If you don’t execute it well, it doesn’t matter how great the technology/strategy is.  All technology does is enable organizations to be flexible, offer variety and choice, enable personalization and customization.  It’s a vehicle, albeit a very effective one ONLY if you actually get the “how” part and focus on executing.

Having made my point about what technology is I will say this.  The market has just been bursting with new niche social technology platforms that aim to help make business easier, more effective and efficient, and ultimately more successful.  The mainstream platforms include the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google and others.  Example niche HR platforms include Rypple, ZuzuHire, SurgeHire, Yammer, Yackstar, ClearFit, Success Factors and I Love Rewards.  Thousands more exist out there, but you get my point.

Tying it All Together…

So, I have talked about the following:

  1. Employee Engagement, Maximizing Organizational Performance
  2. How employee engagement strategy is executed is more important than what you’re executing.
  3. Impact of workforce demographics on our preferences for customization, flexibility and personalization.
  4. Work is now fully integrated into our personal lives—no longer separated.
  5. Social technology is a huge part of our lives, and social platforms are highly effective vehicles to support strategy execution.
  6. The key in all of this is that leveraging technological platforms within traditional HR functions, particularly as it relates to employee engagement strategy will enable organizations to optimize their ability to drive positive employee engagement results.

(Note: The next post in this series of 3 posts will explore a case study of an organization that integrated social technology into its employee engagement strategy to drive positive results.)

Image Credit Flickr

http://jeffwaldman.ca/?p=86St

What's Your Personal Social Media Policy?

Googling “social media policy” returns nearly 5 million hits – obviously a topic getting lots of attention. Modifying the search to “personal social media policy” reduces the hits by 99%. That’s relatively scant attention to how individuals could or should formalize how we conduct ourselves personally across various social media channels.

My sensitivity to this grew recently when the opportunity developed to meet a couple of people in a city I was traveling to for business. Each of them had reached out and tweeted with me quite actively leading up to the trip. Our Twitter conversations had been very friendly and both appeared quite outgoing online. Out of a real interest in getting together, I suggested a tweetup along with another local person. Given how visible they appeared to be in the community (based on their online interactions), I composed a tweet inviting others interested in joining us which included their Twitter names, the location, and the start time.

Something must have told me I was pushing the boundaries since I scheduled the tweet for the next day to allow time to think about sending it. My thoughts obviously moved on to other topics, however, and the tweet published the next morning. This led to a rapid direct message from one of the participants expressing concerns about the tweet and the tweetup’s broad disclosure.

I apologized profusely (via direct message and later phone call) and deleted the tweet, but not before it had already been retweeted and shared on Facebook. Suffice it to say, this additional round of sharing led to more concerns, and a negative spillover from someone else who saw the message on Facebook.

My initial hesitation was obviously well-founded. This tweet felt like it was in the social media grey zone, but based on cues from their online activities, I determined my new friends would be comfortable with it. My conclusion was based on very incomplete information, however, and could have seriously damaged a budding online friendship.

So how do you approach personal social media guidelines? What directs what you communicate and how you interact with others through via social media?

Since it’s clear I don’t even have all the answers for me, let alone for you, here are some questions I’m revisiting:

Can I explain who I follow / like / link to?

The answer differs by social media platform. My short answer for Twitter is “people who are intriguing.” Pretty vague, but on LinkedIn, I expect to have met someone or have a traceable tie to them. Occasionally, I’ll go through my network on LinkedIn and undo connections with people whose connection history I can’t readily recall. Facebook is sketchier for me. I’ve kept my total number of friends small, and there’s no rhyme or reason to the group. My favorite Facebook guideline was from a conference speaker who said he only friended people he “loved.”  If you’re using Facebook for personal interactions predominantly, that’s a pretty clean standard.

What specifics do you share about yourself?

Some people share seemingly every detail – career, personal, location, etc.  I know some people who contend this level of sharing is a part of online transparency. Not me. What I share is a single view of my thinking and professional life. If details and specifics aren’t necessary to help someone understand the context or meaning of what I’m sharing, they’re just unnecessary characters taking up precious space.

What specifics do you share about others?

You don’t have to share much content online to traipse over into potentially disclosing information about your family, employer, friends, etc. On Twitter especially, I try not to draw others into the social media fray any more than they have already done themselves. As the opening story showed, however, this is far from a fool-proof criterion. The challenge is to avoid disclosing details unwittingly in the course of having online conversations. It requires a pretty active filter, continually asking what could be read into any mention of someone else. As I’ve learned, if there’s any hint of a question about what another person would be willing to share about themselves, avoid specifics, or better yet, ask them directly what’s in and out of their comfort zone.

How often do you participate on social media channels?

Regularity and frequency are vital factors in establishing a successful social media presence. There are clearly different frequency expectations by platform.  Tweeting 10 times a day might be fine, but Facebook or LinkedIn connections aren’t likely looking for updates anywhere near that frequently. It’s important however, to get to an ideal update frequency and become predictable with it over time. Nothing worse than making a splash online, building relationships, then letting them evaporate after you disappear for weeks or months.

What steps are necessary to deepen the level of interaction?

Generally, Twitter connections can seem much more sketchy than those on LinkedIn or Facebook. If Twitter interactions are your basis to get a sense of someone, what makes you comfortable deepening the relationship? Doing it in stages (i.e., email, then phone, then maybe in person) or jumping directly to an offline meeting? While I’ve moved from tweeting/direct messaging to an in-person meeting without even an email in the interim, that doesn’t make sense for everyone. Proceed with caution and the patience to build a connection over time.

How do you put the brakes on heat of the moment responses?

You see lots of passive-aggressive behavior played out online. You have to know the steps to keep yourself out of this pattern since social media interactions tend to cultivate more aggressive interactions than might be typical. Even if it’s not your usual interaction pattern, it’s important to know your potential trigger points, and harness the emotional intelligence, self-discipline, or other circuit breaker to keep you from responding harshly online.

Summary

That’s my starting point for formalizing what I’m doing after a number of years of heavy online activity. How about you? Does it make sense for you to formalize your personal social media guidelines? If so, what questions will you be asking yourself?

Ten Ways to Kill Your Twitter Brand

Twitter is a powerful social networking tool that helps you brand yourself and grow your own community of followers. Just as with any professional or social network, everything you do on Twitter can have a positive or negative impact on you, your personal brand and your reputation.

Whether you’ve been tweeting for a while or are just getting started, protect your Twitter brand by avoiding these 10 fatal Twitter personal branding mistakes:

1) Mixing Business and Pleasure

If you are on Twitter with the objective of building your personal brand for career advancement, focus more on tweets you would feel comfortable sharing with an employer.  This doesn’t mean you can’t tweet anything personal.  I simply suggest you create a separate profile for your social life so not to confuse and/or turn off either group of followers.

2) Spamming

One of the top reasons people lose followers on Twitter is that they over-promote themselves, their businesses, their blogs and/or their offerings.  Always maintain the 80/20 balance in your contributions: 80% of your tweets should be free and value-added and the remaining 20% can be more self-serving in nature.

3) Not Helping Your Network

Helping others, whether it be promoting their efforts, re-tweeting their content, sharing a valuable resource with them or answering a question they have posted, can earn you a loyal following and help build your network.  As a Twitter rule of thumb, always make sure to give more than you receive.

4) Not Tweeting Enough

It is estimated that over a quarter of all Twitter accounts are inactive.  If you are inactive or infrequent in your Twitter contributions and activity, it is going to be very apparent to any potential followers and/or network contacts. Be sure to invest some time and energy into your account and tweet on a regular basis so to engage and build a network of followers.

5) Forgetting a Personal Avatar

In today’s digital world, it is even more important to get the people out from behind the profiles.  Skip the business logo and make sure that you include your own personal photo as your avatar so potential followers can see who they are interacting with.

6) Wasting Your Real Estate

Your Twitter profile offers you a lot of real estate that you can leverage to promote yourself, your profiles, your blog and more.  First, make sure to include a personal bio or summary and site or profile link in your profile sidebar.  Also, don’t forget to create a personalized background.  This can include a personal photo, your business logo, as well as business, personal and/or contact information and links.

7) Following Everyone Under the Twitter Sun

While building your network does involve you following other Twitter users, it comes across desperate and less professional when you have thousands of followees, but much fewer followers.  Be patient in your network building and avoid letting the number of your followees overtake the number of your followers.

8 ) Plagiarizing

Don’t take credit for a tweet or idea that isn’t your own.  While it technically isn’t a crime, it isn’t right or professional, won’t build a good relationship with the originator and may hurt your brand if your current and potential followers were to find out.  Whenever you are sharing something with your followers that you are sourcing from someone else, be sure to add an “RT” at the beginning to show that you are re-tweeting it and/or include @JohnSmith at the end to give credit to the originator.

9) Only Re-Tweeting

Re-tweeting others’ tweets and links can help you build stronger relationships with your followers and with others within the Twitter universe; however, make sure that you contribute your own POV and your thoughts, opinions and resources and are not guilty of solely re-tweeting everyone else’s.  You won’t build your brand as a thought leader if you don’t have any thoughts of your own.

10) Not Creating a Dialogue

Obviously, to be active on Twitter, you have to start tweeting.  However, to be truly effective on Twitter, you must go beyond your own tweets and engage others in two-way conversation.  This can be down by asking questions of your followers and answering those they post, initiating or participating in Twitter chats and responding promptly to any direct messages or @ messages sent to you.

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.

Social Media Meets Lightning Workplace Learning: #TChat Recap

Two camps.

One that digs social media as THE engine driving recruiting, learning and organizational development.

And the other that does not.

That was pretty clear during last night’s #TChat about social media in the workplace.  Some of you may have tired of the social conversation, but many of us have not.

Remember the resistance to e-mail and the Internet?  Good Gosh — what business value do those time-wasters and secret sharers have?

So much fantastic input last night — like workplace laser word tag.  Zap.  Zap.

Zap.

For me, “social” has always been about networking and learning outside and in the organization and taking the conversation offline to “live” to further discuss:

  • That job opportunity
  • That sweet hire opportunity
  • That business opportunity
  • That learning opportunity
  • That sharing knowledge opportunity
  • That mentoring opportunity
  • That business birth opportunity
  • That consulting opportunity
  • That collaborative R&D opportunity
  • That partnership opportunity
  • You know, these opportunities and more

Again, the key is taking these conversations offline to “live.” The anecdotal statistics are there for me and many others; I’ve generated many of those opportunities above as I’m sure many of you have as well.

But, the business metrics are still all over the place and underreported and overestimated.  Such is the life of a business metric, right?  I wrote a little about that yesterday in my post I say recruit how we do business, and do business how we recruit.

With the rise of the mobile/virtual workforce, I can’t imagine the world without organic and holistic social connectivity.

The “does not dig” camp is choking on the words organic and holistic right now.  We are here to share different views. Like a real workplace. Like a real social community.

Here were the questions we asked last night:

  • Q1: How has #SM specifically impacted the way you conduct a job search and manage your career?
  • Q2: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance HR/recruiting initiatives?
  • Q3: Within your org, how have #SM platforms/tools been used to enhance learning initiatives?
  • Q4: How have #SM platforms/tools been effective – or not – at any or all levels within your org?
  • Q5: What business metrics have you established to measure how effective your #SM efforts are?
  • Q6: What specific barriers do you see within your org that impede top to bottom acceptance of platforms/tools?
  • Q7: Be honest – how do you see yourself improving your efficacy in utilizing #SM platforms/tools within your org?

Thank you to all who participated.  It’s good folk like you who make every #TChat a lightning learning round of workplace laser word tag.

Zap.

Social is about us, not the technology.

Here were the top contributors from last night:

  1. @talentculture – 172
  2. @meghanmbiro – 129
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 105
  4. @IanMondrow – 89
  5. @JeffWaldmanHR – 79
  6. @gregoryfarley – 77
  7. @LevyRecruits – 77
  8. @CyndyTrivella – 64
  9. @dawnrasmussen – 53
  10. @Kimberly_Roden – 52

See you next week, January 25, 2011, 8-9 pm ET (5-6 pm PT).

Taking Over the World With Social, Mobile & Video Rock Stars

Yes, we want to take over the world.  Our monster end-of-year #TChat show about how social, mobile and video as rock stars impact workplace culture and predictions for 2011 was a rousing success.

Over 1,500 smarty pants tweets in the hour alone.  A hat tip and a thank you to all of you who did.

Top Contributors included:

  1. @talentculture – 315
  2. @meghanmbiro – 147
  3. @KevinWGrossman – 120
  4. @LevyRecruits – 73
  5. @dawnrasmussen – 67
  6. @jillianwalker – 64
  7. @tedcoine – 57
  8. @DrJanice – 53
  9. @IanMondrow – 50
  10. @EmilieMeck – 47

We referenced social, mobile and video as “rock stars” — even though we meant they are figurative rock stars and wanted to discuss their impact on workplace culture.

But some of the discussion morphed to literal social media rock stars in organizations today, and that’s okay.  In fact, much of the conversation was about how companies could better perform by allowing social to permeate.

And video and mobile are the two dots they’re connected to with dotted lines to us all…

Companies that don’t allow social media are killing their brand ambassadors.

Amen to that.

Here were some of everyone’s 2011 Predictions:

  • Mobile/virtual workforce on the rise. Video conferencing and coworking are where it’s at in 2011.
  • Companies will wake up and develop more inclusive SM policies at work.
  • HR will have to ROCK in 2011 if it wants to remain relevant. It will and the gap between SM and practitioner will shrink.
  • I am expecting that Role-Based Assessment will rock and roll in 2011.
  • Google to buy FB. FB to be Google. Googling your employees now unravels their whole life & danger zone commences.
  • Closer joining up of social networks. less engagment in channels. More use of 3rd party apps.
  • Lines moving between trad. old school ‘work’ continue to get erased as more people stay connected.
  • Companies are going to go to their legal dpt to define ‘privacy’ as lines between work / play get blurred.
  • Increased buy-in & participation from corp. leaders to join the conversation (social media).
  • Traditional workplaces will continue to un-teether and ppl will have to find new creative ways to connect via SM. Hello cloud!
  • More tools will become available to consolidate our SM.
  • Global concerns about privacy will slow personal SMV growth as companies trip over themselves to push out more “relevant” content.
  • Companies incorporate multimedia interviews in their hiring strategy!
  • In 2011 LinkedIn will reveal more strategies that require people to purchase premium memberships.
  • SM for the team – coming soon, because first you have to measure networking quality!

Meghan added at the end:

“My 2010 prediction held true. Workplace Brands = An intricate collection of Personal Brands :-) So much more to talk about!”

So let’s do that next time on Tuesday, January 4, 2011, from 8-9 p.m. ET.  We’re going to continue workplace culture predictions for 2011 and talk more about what they mean!

#TChat wouldn’t be what it was without all of you, so thank you again!  Happiest of Holidays to you all!

How to Blog Without a Blog

While many students and professionals have jumped into the blogosphere to share their POV with the world on different topics, industries and areas of interest, some out there are more hesitant to make the investment and commitment to full-time blogging.

This may be due in part to them a) not knowing how to build and maintain a blog, b) not knowing exactly what to write about and/or c) not knowing whether they will have the time and energy necessary to keep it updated on a regular basis.

However, what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to start and maintain your own individual blog to share your POV and your personal brand online.  There are several ways you can start contributing immediately to bloggerdom and working your way up to potentially owning and managing your own blog down the road.

  • Commenting: Commenting on others’ blog posts can help you start networking and engaging your name and opinion with other bloggers.  Pick a couple blogs to follow on a weekly basis and contribute your comment.  Make sure you always add value to each post.  You can also use Google Alerts to flag new posts containing specific keywords.
  • HARO: HelpaReporter.com (HARO) is FREE tool that connects professionals and students with bloggers, journalists, writers and authors seeking sources for their articles and publications.  This is a great way to get interviewed and quoted across various blogs and other media outlets.  It also becomes a nice credential to feature in interviews and career networking.
  • Twitter: Micro-blogging using services and platforms like Twitter gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions, link your followers to valuable resources, articles and other information online and work your way up to more substantial blog contributions.
  • Guest Blogging: For those of you who want to try your hand at full-length articles, consider contributing a periodic guest post to one or more blogs in your industry.  It’s best to reach out to the blog owners and ask permission first.  This will start a relationship with them, but will also allow you to customize your content to their needs.
  • Team Blogging: If you’re ready for more regular contributions, reach out to a team blog and ask to join as a weekly or more regular contributor.  You can also start your own team blog if you can recruit some fellow bloggers to join you.  This will help you all share the load and commitment while giving all of your personal brands exposure to new audiences.

Once you get a good feel for contributing, if you decide you’re ready to launch your own blog, I definitely recommend you use the WordPress blogging platform.

There are two versions of WordPress: WordPress-hosted and self-hosted.

You can host your blog for free with the WordPress-hosted version via WordPress OR for a monthly fee with the self-hosted version via third-party web host. You may think this is a no-brainer and that you should go with the free WordPress-hosted version. Do what you please, but the WordPress-hosted version leaves you with less control over your blog and will end up costing you more in the end due to the fees WordPress charges for any customizations you may desire (including adding your own custom domain name and your own themes and designs).

I recommend you go with the self-hosted version and check out Page.ly which is an easy-to-use hosting service that will help you get your new WordPress blog up and running in a matter of minutes.

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.

Twitter Chats: A Method to the Madness

I’ve recently gotten into the practice of managing, organizing and consulting for Twitter chats including #LBSchat, #TChat and others. Bear with me in this very straightforward methodology for creating a chat on Twitter.

A Definition: What’s a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is a scheduled group orchestrated around a hashtag. Chats usually last about an hour and can capture any size audience. Typically, Twitter users are drawn to chats because chats offer a forum to air out ideas and opinions about a specific topic.

Goals

A Twitter chat should exist to accomplish a set of goals. The goals can be specific and measurable or qualitative in nature. Some examples of Twitter chat goals are as follows:

  • To grow thought leadership for the chat founders
  • To create an open forum for discussion around a previously under-explored topic
  • To fuel content for a blog, book, ebook or wiki

TalentCulture - Twitter Chat - How-to Image - "The View" Roundtable as a Twitter ChatDetermining a Need

There are already a ton of Twitter chats today. So determining whether or not enough demand exists is crucial to the success of a chat. Chat founders need to aim to create an experience participants can’t get elsewhere. Before jumping in head first, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are the existing conversations about my topic burgeoning, but disjointed? In other words, is there a need for organization around the conversations about this topic?
  • Are there enough sub topics to fuel this chat for more than a few sessions?
  • What influencers would be interested in this chat? Can I convince them to participate?
  • How many people would be ideal for a conversation about my topic?

Organization/Moderation

Structure

Establishing an official Twitter persona for your chat has several benefits:

  • The profile bio can be used to give a description of the chat.
  • The profile URL can link to a chat blog, group, category RSS feed, etc.
  • The account can be used to ask questions during the chat.
  • The account can build thought leadership in a niche vertical.

Some chats do not have an official Twitter persona behind them. They are run by the individuals who founded them. This format can work too, especially if the individual organizing the chat wants individual credibility.

Density

One of the most difficult issues to work out during a chat is how closely you want to control it. The number of questions in your chat can steer a conversation into very niche discussions or an open-mic style chat puts the chat direction entirely in the hands of the participants.

For many chats, 5-10 questions work well. Some chats will change format from time to time by hosting an occasional open forum or bringing in a special guest to do a Q&A.

Frequency

Most Twitter chats are weekly. Others are monthly. Still others are scheduled sporadically. Finding the right frequency for your audience will be largely based on how engaged they are and by how consistently compelling the content is.

It may take a few months to figure out an appropriate frequency. You will get a sense of how often a chat needs to take place based on the volume of participation.

Touchpoints

It’s helpful to think of your Twitter chat like a community. Figure out where and how your chat community will reach its members. Some examples of touchpoint models are:

  • Email newsletters
  • Twitter reminders (public @replies or Direct Messages)
  • LinkedIn group messages
  • Facebook Group notifications

Growing an Audience

Momentum is crucial to a successful chat. In an ideal world, your chat would gather more participants each week. Unfortunately, your Twitter chat is just a Twitter chat. It will not be a high priority item for your community members. So some of your chats will be smaller than others. However, there are best practices for growing a community between chats:

  • Encourage community members to spread the word about the chat.
  • Create recap blog posts for anyone who cannot participate in the live chat.
  • Thank and highlight chat participants regularly.
  • Establish a paper.li for your chat hashtag and tweet it during each update.
  • Keep engagement on the hashtag going even when the chat is not live.

Capitalizing on a Chat

Sponsored Twitter chats are becoming increasingly common. Some options you have for monetizing a chat are:

  • Charging per tweet
  • Charging per chat
  • Selling a sponsorship package for a set number of chats
  • Charging per click on a sponsored link

Resources

Some chats you may want to look at:

Some technology you may want to test into:

VIP Treatment for Hiring Managers and Recruiters: College Campuses

Today’s guest post is by our talented colleague and friend  Karla Porter.  Karla is the Director of Work Force Development and Human Resources for a chamber of business, industry and economic develop­ment agency in Pennsylvania and blogs about Human Capital & New Media at karlaporter.com You can follow her on Twitter @karla_porter for “all things human capital, career, recruiting and new media… maybe more.”

In 2008, college students and their parents were wearing out their worry beads thinking there would be little hope for a long time for graduates and no way to pay students loans for many years to come. Post graduate enrollment increased with students thinking they might as well stay in college rather than face unemployment or have to deal with underemployment. At least that way they could stave off student loans a while longer.

At the same time, in one of life’s ha ha I fooled you moments, employers coming out of recessionary shock realized the economic woes were going to be a chronic case of global acid reflux not a mere blip on the radar, but they couldn’t necessarily hold out on hiring any longer. What to do?

In many companies the answer has been to help manage budget cuts by hiring recent college graduates with the aptitude to do the job at entry level salaries, rather than seasoned professionals with track records that command heavyweight salaries.  At the very least, hiring managers are much more willing to interview and seriously consider recent graduates than perhaps they have ever been. Whether it will prove to be a wise business decision in the long run or not, it’s the hand many hiring managers and recruiters have been dealt.

So, why not enjoy the VIP treatment college and university career services centers are delighted to bestow upon you in order to help place their grads, especially in these times of a tight job market? Get to know the players, build rapport with them and they’ll turn into a team of willing assistants for you. It might even help ease the pain of a “light” placement fee for third party recruiters or a smaller bonus for in-house recruiters.

Here are some tips to tap into talent – even if you don’t have a budget to get out to on-site campus recruitment events. I’ll use computer science/engineering majors as an example.

Do you have any tips you would like to share for tapping into fresh college graduate talent? Interested to hear your stories and examples.

10 Tips To Building a Social Community

The human resources, career, and recruitment communities are communities in the truest sense of the word. Social media communities are popping up everywhere these days. Why do some work, and some don’t? How do we build stronger communities? Where do you go for advice and resources for community development?
First, the success of any social media community depends upon engagement, interaction, and positive reinforcement for participation. Back in February, I started a job search community called #HireFriday. It spread to 3 Countries within the first 3 months, and went viral throughout the web. HireFriday is not just a community, it’s a movement with grass root supporters, volunteer community leaders who act as stewards, and evangelists to grow our community.

I attribute this to the pay it forward aspect of our social community. I believe it is hunan nature to want to be kind, and helpful.  In the down turned economy, people seek out ways to make a difference.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Engage-give people a reason to be part of your community. Reach out to your industry leaders and enlist their support.

2. Interact-be a conversation starter. People appreciate making contact – particularly when the banter is positive and upbeat.

3. Reinforce interaction with public recognition. Retweet on Twitter. Create a blog post noting and linking the people who are engaging with you community. This encourages other people’s participation.

4. Find people who need your help and help them. Enlist others to do the same. For instance, job seekers appreciate it when you amplify their search with a retweet, or tweet.

5. Make sure you are listening and responding to participants in your community.

6. Be prepared to address negative comments immediately. Rapid response is crucial to building a better relationship. A problem resolved quickly and attentively builds community loyalty.

7. Provide excellent content.

8. Be consistent in your content by staying on message and reinforcing your core brand values, goals, and mission.

9. Don’t spread yourself too thin-find the space where the interaction is greatest and focus your attention there.

10. Stay positive. Garner support from your community and build those relationships.

The relationships I’ve built over the past few years in social media communities have grown dear to my heart. Nothing builds community loyalty like deepening relationships with your participants. The top ten tips I’ve mentioned have helped me focus my community building efforts. I hope they help yours.   Mashable and Techcrunch are staples in my Google Reader. I like these topical articles – Enjoy:

How To: Use Social Media to Connect With Other Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur People & Lists

The Fastest Growing Social Sites

8 Things to Avoid When Building a Community

How I Found My Job on LinkedIn and How You Can Too

Being as passionate as I am about social media’s ever-growing role in the career search process, I proudly thank LinkedIn, one of my favorite social media networking tools, for helping me obtain my current position.

How I Found My Job on LinkedIn

In my career search last year, I felt that I had reached a dead-end, having attended a major career fair, applied for countless positions online, and seemingly exhausted my MBA alumni network without any success.

I was on LinkedIn at that point, but hadn’t taken it too seriously.  Feeling that I had nothing to lose, I spent some time searching Google and reading various LinkedIn job search success stories and started applying some of what I learned to my own efforts.

First, I followed LinkedIn’s steps to complete my profile 100%, adding a professional headshot, all of my relevant work experience and a personal brand summary.  I went beyond LinkedIn’s suggested 3 recommendations and requested as many recommendations as possible from classmates, professors and previous colleagues.  I joined a number of LinkedIn networking groups, including both those related to the job search, as well as those related to my industry, in order to open the doors to a greater network.  I then identified companies of interest within my chosen industry using LinkedIn’s Companies feature.  By doing this, I came across both my employer and some of its employees listed in its company profile.  While none of them then were first, second or third degree contacts, because I had joined several LinkedIn groups, one of the employees had a “Group Member” icon next to his name meaning that we were members of the same networking group.  It turned out that sharing a group gave me access to send him a message.  I did just that and requested 15-20 minutes of his time for an informational interview to discuss the company and his career path.  He generously agreed, and at the end of our call, he offered to share my resume internally.  This resulted in an invitation to interview with the company and, later, the offer for my current position.

How You Can Find Your Job on LinkedIn

1)     Complete Your Profile 100% – Not only does completing your profile 100% help you rise higher in LinkedIn People searches, but it also makes you look more professional.  First impressions matter, and your LinkedIn profile may be the first impression you make on a potential employer or career contact.

2)     Get Recommended – Request as many recommendations as is appropriate from your colleagues, classmates, professors, partners or clients.  They don’t have to be long like traditional recommendations; they just need to be genuine and supportive of your personal brand.

3)     Build Your Network – Make sure to connect with all of your current and previous contacts.  You may also choose to get involved in open networking, which involves connecting with both those professionals you know and those you don’t.  Also, join relevant LinkedIn groups, including alumni groups, industry-specific groups, interest groups and more.  These efforts will increase the size of your network, but may also allow you to message more contacts regarding potential opportunities.

4)     Get Active – Start being active and contributing value from Day 1.  Share interesting news with your network via status updates, post links to intriguing articles and join in discussions in your groups, offer insightful answers to questions on LinkedIn’s Answers forum, add your blog feed or share your recommended reading list with profile applications.  This will increase your visibility on LinkedIn and will help you share and enhance your personal brand in front of your network.

5)     Search Jobs – Don’t forget that LinkedIn has its own job board of listings you can browse.  Many of the opportunities list the individual and/or company that posted them.  This makes it easier to apply for positions and simultaneously identify the appropriate contacts with whom to follow up and network. Also check the discussion and job boards on the groups you are in, as many opportunities are posted there by fellow group members.

6)     Follow Company Activity – You can now choose to follow the activities of specific companies by visiting their profiles and clicking the “Follow Company” link.  This can be a great research tool to help you stay on top of recent news, job listings, new hires and more.

Taking the above steps on LinkedIn can substantially improve your prospects for finding potential job opportunities and career contacts.  However, it is important to keep in mind that no amount of social media engagement can replace the traditional avenues for finding a job.  At the same time that you are optimizing your LinkedIn profile, you should be updating your resume, tailoring your cover letter to specific positions, requesting informational interviews, attending networking events and meeting new contacts and seeking unique online and offline ways to promote your personal brand.

So many job seekers assume that social media will be a magic solution and forget to maintain or use the other skills necessary to effectively pursue an opportunity.  From my own experience, you can see that I used LinkedIn as both a personal branding and networking tool to impress and get connected with the right contact within my target company.  However, once connected, I leveraged my interview skills in both my initial informational interview and then my official in-person interview to help seal the deal.

Do you have a story of how you leveraged both social media and the more traditional job search strategies to secure a new opportunity? Please share yours with us.

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.

Crowdsourcing For Your Business Or Community

Crowdsourcing. It’s more than just a popular buzzword.

It’s a really useful community knowledge-sharing technique. Think of it as an open call for tasks, information or data collection – mostly through new media technology.

Often, a passionate, informed crowd can much more powerful in generating ideas or offering solutions  than an isolated individual, business or closed community.

Here’s How Crowdsourcing Works:

1) You identify and define a problem or a need.
2) You broadcast that need online and call for solutions.
3) An online crowd discovers that call and collectively contributes solutions.
4) You use the crowd’s suggestions to choose a way to fix your problem and reward the individuals who developed that suggestion.
5) In the end, you’ve fixed your problem and the passionate crowd gets that feel-good reward of helping someone out. Everybody wins.

 

Examples from the video:

NotchUp
Cambrian House

Another example of crowdsourcing at work:
Waze is a turn-by-turn navigation system that has been mapped and tagged entirely by its users. It’s a mobile application that aims to make driving a smoother and more social experience by giving users the power to inform other drives of speed traps, traffic delays, accidents and more all while their phones send geo-data to the waze network. Check it out at waze.com.

Image Credit: Pixabay

How to Promote Your Blog with an Empty Bank

I, like most of my fellow bloggers out there, do not have the funds necessary to launch national advertising campaigns to promote a blog. Therefore, since my team and I founded Career Rocketeer over a year ago, I have constantly faced the challenge of finding new, free and/or low-cost ways to promote our content, build up our blog’s awareness and increase our readership.

Thankfully, if you are creative and determined, you can uncover countless ways to promote your efforts without breaking the bank.

Here are a number of tips for promoting your blog on a dime from leaders throughout the blogosphere:

Looks matter. If your blog looks like and sounds like everyone else’s, no one is going to care. If your blog looks like crap, it doesn’t matter that you have the best content out there, no one is going to read it. We’re a superficial society so if you’re going to spend money on anything beyond a domain name and hosting, it should be on the design of your blog. – Brandon Mendelson, BrandonMendelson.com

Don’t bury your best content. Direct readers to your most popular postings using links, a featured articles section, a resources page etc. – Chris Groscurth, BareNakedCommunication.com

Linked on LinkedIn. One totally free and effective way to promote a blog is to post blog articles to the news section of your LinkedIn groups. You can now post articles to many groups simultaneously. You can also post the URLs to articles when you answer questions on the Answers section of LinkedIn. This gives your blog exposure. – Cheryl E. Palmer, CallToCareer.com

Don’t forget to feed your social media! The best thing I ever did for my blog was to have it automatically feed into my social media profiles. The headline and link go into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo, and the full text goes into Facebook Notes. – Shel Horowitz, PrincipledProfit.com/Good-Business-Blog/

Status Updates. While this one may seem pretty obvious, it’s not that simple. Sure, you could just type your blog post’s headline into all of your social sites’ status boxes, include your shortened link and call it a day. But this might not maximize clicks. Realize that each social site is a little different (i.e. different environment, social etiquette, audience demo/psychographics). Tailoring your status/headline for each community could make a big difference. No time for that? Use Ping.fm. Plug in all your social networks and use Ping.fm to shorten your URL and launch your new post to all your sites in one step. Brody Dorland, SomethingCreativeInc.com

Help a reporter out. If you’re not using Help A Reporter Out (HARO) at www.helpareporter.com, you’re really missing out on an outstanding free resource.  On HARO, you can register for free to receive article and book topic queries from journalists, writers, bloggers and authors across multiple topic categories to which you can respond and pitch your relevant advice, experience or insights.  If selected, you almost always get some press, including your name and blog/company, as well as a link back to your preferred site.  This is a great (and FREE) way to get some visibility for your blog while networking with other leaders in your field. – Chris Perry, CareerRocketeer.com

Identify guest bloggers. Search out people who do things similar to what you do and ask them to be a guest blogger. They will likely tell their readers about your blog, resulting in a great promotion for you. Many bloggers will then ask you to guest blog for them. It becomes a winning situation. – Jill Nussinow, TheVeggieQueen.com

Become a guest blogger. One of the simplest strategies I’ve found to promoting a blog is to write guest posts for other blogs. The secret is to write for blogs that are just a little outside of your own niche — if you write about cooking for instance, write a guest post about cooking inexpensively for a personal finance blog. That approach will help you reach an audience beyond what your competition (the other blogs covering the same topics) sees. – Thursday R. Bram, ThursdayBram.com

Create lists. I know other bloggers get HUGE traffic out of doing lists like “Top 50 Blogs on Knitting”. Without fail, the authors of the majority of these blogs will link back to the referring site, even if that listing site has very few readers. Bloggers are vain, after all. I don’t often do stuff like that, but maybe I should. – The Cranky Product Manager, CrankyPM.com

Get listed. The best way I’ve found to promote my blog is find sites that list blogs about your topic and get on that list. For example, I got myself on WorldGolf.com’s blog list as well as TravelGolf.com’s list. It gives credibility and promotes your blog. It’s also listed on Wikio, BallHype and Golfblips. Usually all I have to do is put a link to their site, if anything at all. – Michael Wolfe, WAMGolf.com

Track how you’re doing. Take advantage of Google Analytics to track your traffic so you can see how people are finding you.  If you notice that a lot of people find you via “Best used cars,” you might want to write a few posts on that to keep the momentum going. – Jon Stroz, Accella.net

Get creative with bartering. If you offer a service and want some ad space, offer to trade your service for a free ad. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer who wants to get featured on a bride’s blog, offer a discount or a free shoot in exchange for exposure. – Mandy Boyle, SolidCactus.com

Latch onto a star! Here’s what I mean: For more than two years, I’ve blogged for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a top-twenty American news site (40 million page views per month). Except for my time, my costs are zero. The domain is professional with ads galore, so there’s plenty of opportunity and it’s all over Google. – Roberta Beach Jacobson, Blog.SeattlePI.com/CatLady

Promote your blog offline. Instead of Twitter, use the local trade fair, or networking event (again, focus on making friends over networking).  Make business cards, but don’t “sell” people on anything.  Your business cards are a reminder for people to get in contact with you, not a desperate attempt to push your business/service on them.  Talk to as many people as possible.  Make friends not just “network”. – Zach Davis, ZRDavis.com

I want to give special thanks to all of the bloggers who contributed their blog marketing insights!  If you have some tips or other free or low-cost ways to promote a blog, please share them with us!

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.

Give Your Facebook Brand a Facelift

With so much great advice out there about how to build one’s personal brand through blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn and other networks, it’s important not to forget how all of it applies to one’s Facebook activity.

Here are some top personal branding tips on how to enhance your Facebook presence:

Plug your personal brand. Before you do anything else, physically plug your personal brand and supporting pitch or statement right into your Facebook profile.  You can do this in the About Me box below your profile picture, the About Me section under your profile’s Info tab as well as in a profile Note.  This will not only help you communicate and reinforce your brand to your current friends, but also to new friends, potential partners or prospective employers. – Chris Perry, CareerRocketeer.com

Claim your domain. The first step in Facebook personal branding is to obtain your own domain name on Facebook if available (i.e. http://www.facebook.com/derrickhayes). Having your own Facebook URL makes it easier for people to find you and can be a great marketing tool that you can add to all your social networks, business cards and in your email signatures.  – Derrick Hayes, DerrickHayes.com

Optimize your keywords. Ask someone (in your industry) to proof your LinkedIn profile.  I used to recommend doing this with a paper resume, but even easier if you have a friend in the industry.  Just ask them to peruse to see if you missed any key words, etc.  – Diane K. Danielson, DowntownWomensClub.com

Be a resource. Don’t just use the updates.  Share resources (articles, websites, book reviews etc.) to show that you not only have an expertise but you generously share your skills/knowledge. – Drew McLellan, The McLellan Group

Initiate conversation. Seek comments on your wall and start a dialogue with your Facebook friends. This will galvanize your friends to share and link back to your content, thus increasing your reach. Join or create relevant groups and fan pages, and actively participate in them. Posting your promotions blindly across the site will simply be viewed as spam, so two-way communication is key. – David Mathison, BetheMedia.com

Create a Facebook fan page. This page is separate from your personal profile and should include a clear attractive photo (modest attire), basic personal information i.e. postal address, valid professional email etc. and at least 3 notes, written by you.

The first note describes your educational and professional accomplishments. Consider this an elaboration of your resume. The second note describes the type of company you would like to work for. Use this to describe in detail your “perfect” company and ideal working conditions.  Finally, your third note is your personal advocate note. Hypothetically describe a problem that a company faces and how you would solve it.  – Charlene Nora, WorldUnboundNow.com

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this wealth of personal branding insight!

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 Brand Building Bird Named Twitter

Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, offered a really insightful Twitter job search tip about Twitter, stating, “It’s not the individual Tweet that attracts the employer, but your cumulative presence on Twitter.”  He went on to say that Twitter is not just a broadcast tool for self-promotion and short-term job searching, but also an opportunity for long-lasting brand building and development through conversation and community engagement.

There are many things that you can do to begin building a truly meaningful presence on Twitter so not only to enhance your brand for your job search, but also for the rest of your career.  Here are just some of the top ones to get you started:

Use a memorable name. Make your “Twitter Handle” your full name or company name.  People will come to associate your Twitter handle with YOU and your work, make it count. – T.C. Coleman, @UpwardAction

Don’t forget your profile. Precisely fill out your information so potential employers know who you are and what you’re looking for.  For more depth into your background, be sure to include links to your LinkedIn, blog or other professional networking sites on your Twitter.  – Heather Huhman, @ComeRecommended

Craft a Twitter background. Complete your brand identity with a background that resembles the colors, format and logo from your personal website, if you have one.  If not, choose colors and graphics (if relevant) that support the brand you seek to create.  Then, add in additional information that isn’t covered in your Twitter profile, but is relevant to your expertise and job search, such as pointers to more websites or contact information. – Betsy Richards, @erichards24

Share relevant, applicable and interesting content. “Listeners” are interested in following individuals from whom they can learn, grow and share. – Justin Honaman, @jhonaman

Show your expertise. You can differentiate yourself by showing your expertise – HOW you are different. Many if not most of your tweets if you are just starting up should be links to news articles in your field. Use #hashtags to help people find them. – Maryanne Conlin, @mcmilker

Twitter works best when used conversationally. Many people get on Twitter and just promote themselves, and wonder why they don’t have any responses.  If Twitter is a party, than Tweeting only about you is like standing in the middle of the room shouting your ideas.  Find people and retweet what they’re saying or reply if they post something you find interesting.  The more you get involved in conversations, the more fun the party is. – Jennifer Turner, @Talagy

Create value. Beyond simply linking your followers to others’ content, begin thinking about how you can create content to help your community or industry.  Start a blog and tweet your advice, tips or insights.  Use Twitter’s list feature to create a group of the industry’s top experts and thought leaders and share that with your community.  This will undoubtedly build your brand and help you as you pursue opportunities throughout your career. – Chris Perry, @CareerRocketeer

Special thanks to everyone who contributed to this wealth of personal branding insight!

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.

Birth of a Brand

When I started the career search process during the second year of my MBA program, I encountered a serious challenge.  Having multiple talents, strengths and potential career paths, I was faced with the daunting task of having to identify and communicate my value in a single word.

It was thanks to a class visit by Frank Lane, Brand Entrepreneur and Author of Killer Brands, that I learned how  to formally brand myself.  At the end of his talk, he asked us to participate in an exercise that he thought might help us in our ongoing job search efforts.  The exercise involved writing down our top 3 to 5 strengths and then identifying a word or phrase that tied them together and could become our personal brand.  I listed my strengths as energy, creativity, problem-solving and relationship-building.  The only word that I could think of that could tie them all together was “generator,” for I generate lots of energy, I generate creative ideas and solutions, and I generate strong relationships so to build durable, cohesive and productive teams.  Thus, my personal brand was born.

I quickly and consistently incorporated my personal brand in all of my career search outputs, including my resume, my cover letter, my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, my emails and anything else that I thought might meet the eyes of a potential employer or career stakeholder.

Furthermore, I reached out through my professional network and through LinkedIn for informational interviews and shared my personal brand and supporting pitch with them in our conversations.  One such conversation led to an onsite interview where I also shared my personal brand as the answer to the question, “Why should we pick you over all of these other top candidates?” My personal brand gave the interviewer something that he clearly remembered as he mentioned it to me later that day.  While there are many factors that may have contributed to my resulting offer, I believe it was my ability to consistently communicate my value in one memorable brand that assisted me in successfully achieving my current employment.

It was also through my own personal brand-building and development efforts that I discovered how much I enjoy helping others create and communicate their own personal brands, both in their job searches and beyond.

I cannot tell you what an honor it is to have been asked to become a strategic partner and contributing member of the TalentCulture community.  In alignment with my personal brand, one of my objectives with Career Rocketeer has been to generate relationships with the industry’s top experts and bring them together into one common forum where we can all share our experiences, advice and insight with others.  It is exciting to see that TalentCulture is another community with a similar mission.  I look forward to serving this community in any way that I can.

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.