Tag Archives: social media

You can’t poke, tweet or email a handshake

Never a truer adage when looking for a job not what but who you know.  Your network is key to a successful job search strategy.   Growing your network has never been easier.   Social media has taken care of that.

No matter how extensive your virtual network, no matter how advanced and extensive your use of technology, nothing beats good old-fashioned face time.  Pressing the flesh, shaking hands, eyeballing, getting up close and personal, this is how and when things happen.

Whilst building your network online is certainly of value, building your network in the good old-fashioned way is still the best way to real results.

You can’t email a handshake.  It will cost you, time, shoe leather, cups of coffee, a round of sandwiches, dinner, a glass or two, some good questions, lots of listening and conversing, following up, staying in touch, but make the investment.  Get out from behind the desk, get away from the screen and get in the room.  It might just change your life.



Filed under Careers, Social Media

The best job application ever?

Every once in a while someone comes along and really raises the bar.  Earlier this week I blogged on the brilliant “Employ Kyle” campaign conducted by Kyle Clarke.  Hot on his heels I came across this exceptional approach to the job search from self-confessed “PR propagandist, social media transmitter, digital brigadier” Graeme Anthony.

This just might be the best job application I have ever seen.  Creative, thought-provoking, passionate, engaging, different.

Would you employ this guy?  Judge for yourself.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Filed under Careers, Hiring, Recruitment, Social Media

Should Social Media be banned in the workplace?

The debate still rages.   Social Media – Productivity drain or Marketeers dream offering untapped and untold revenues from places as yet unknown?  This debate still polarises opinion as evidenced by a recent survey from McAfee, the Computer Software Anti – Virus Giant.

1000 executives were surveyed from 17 countries.  75% of companies surveyed usual web 2.0 applications for marketing and customer service or for crowd sourcing rather than outsourcing projects or tasks.

Tellingly, countries with high growth economies such as Brazil and India are more likely to view social media as a potential source of revenue.  Could this be that as a rule they are more open to challenging assumptions, to testing the status quo?

Despite the obvious upside evidenced by the survey, more than 50% of those surveyed prohibited Facebook use in company hours.  The larger the company, the more likely the prohibition.  Around 25% of those companies monitored employees social media use for inappropriate behaviour.

What’s the real issue here?  According to the McAfee survey, employers principal concern around web 2.0 applications centre around its use as a platform to deliver malicious software.  More than 70% of those organisations surveyed lost more than $2m as a result.  Whilst clearly an issue, is this not just simply an excuse?  Bottom line, company execs consider employees using social media are slacking off.

I remember being told only 15 years ago by the Managing Partner of a large well-known Law Firm that not everyone in the practice would have a personalised email for fear that important information would be passed to the outside world.  He was also convinced that chargeable time would suffer as employees would be emailing friends to arrange that evenings social activities.

I know employers who have banned mobile phones in the office.  What does that do for talent attraction and employer branding. Do you want to work for an organisation who trusts you and treats you like an adult or one that doesn’t?   On the flip side are you ready to behave responsibly in the work place?

Social media is just the latest  toy on the desktop and its revolutionising the world of work in the same way that the mobile phone and email did.  Management has to work out a way of engaging with it to the best advantage of all involved.  Ignoring it is simply down to a lack of understanding and trust.

In my experience rarely do people come to work to do nothing all day.  If they do and you hired them that’s your fault, you hired the wrong person in the first place.  Trust people, set them objectives, engage them, inspire them, manage them, lead them.  Treat them like grown ups.  If they behave like kids, treat them accordingly and deal with it.  That’s management.  Banning social media says much about the failings of management.  It’s here to stay, take it for what it is, a great tool to reach out in new and exciting ways to customers that five years ago you could only have dreamed off.


Filed under Employee Engagement, Social Media

The privacy debate outcome…….

Of all the blog posts I have written to date, the issue of social media as a recruitment tool and in particular how this impacts on privacy was by far the most emotionally charged.  I sort opinion on a wide range of platforms, from Twitter and Facebook to discussion forums on LinkedIn as well as the poll on the blog.  The results of the poll were conclusive, with 76% of you voting the German Government is wrong to restrict the use of social media in hiring.

From the discussion forums the comments were wide-ranging.  Some argued for the rights of employers on the basis that if an employer is to make that investment in you then they should have every right to know as much as they can about you before making that (expensive) decision.  There was an over – riding sense that references are worthless.  The world is now so litigious and very few are prepared to offer any decent insight or opinion with respect to an employees performance, behaviour and attitude in the workplace.  Social media has given employers the opportunity to open the window and peer in to a prospective hires world and employers would appear to be appreciative of that opportunity.

Many on the employees side argue that the gap between professional and private is becoming ever more blurred.  There is in some cases resentment from employees that employers should even consider “snooping” on what takes place away from the workplace.  However the over – riding consensus was that we have a choice.  We can choose what to publish, we can choose what remains private and what is for public consumption.  We can choose who we connect with, who we engage with and who we have as friends.

It would appear the majority resent or are at least suspicious of any form of government intervention, mediation or regulation.   Employers and employees should have the right to choose.  Treat us like grown ups.  Some will behave like grown ups, some won’t, but that is their choice.  Social media is by the people, for the people.  Freedom of choice is good for all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hiring, Social Media

Social media and recruitment – the privacy debate

Regular visitors to this blog will know my views with respect to web privacy.  We have a choice not to post, not to upload, not to share.  Accepting that may take much of the “social” away from media, we have a choice nonetheless.

I appreciate we cannot hold the same degree of control over what our friends, family, colleagues or even enemies may wish to post or publish about us online.  Once on the web, it’s always on the web.  Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, was recently reported to have said that generation y’ers will have to change their identities several times in their working lives to erase the trail of photo’s of drunken college pranks that may come back to haunt them and hurt their career aspirations in later years.  That’s a scary thought.

Social media works because we are all voyeurs and show offs.  We are all curious, we all need to communicate and we all need to be loved.  Social media allows us to feel loved and to tell anyone who is willing to listen (or look!).  We are not going to stop posting, uploading, sharing.  So where does privacy step in?  Where is the line?  How long before governments (who in most cases would appear to be terrified at the power of social media) step in to the debate around privacy?

Step forward Germany.  As part of the draft of a law governing workplace privacy, the German government has proposed placing restrictions on employers who want to use Facebook profiles when recruiting.

The proposal would allow for searches to be conducted on the web for publicly accessible information about prospective employees and to view their pages on open networking sites like LinkedIn or Xing. However the bill will draw the line at purely social networking sites like Facebook.

I am undecided as to how I feel about this.  I have a choice, I have privacy settings on my Facebook profile, I can choose who I want as my friends and choose what I want the world to see and what I don’t.  Is this another example of big brother government bullying middle brother (the employer) so that little brother (the employee) is protected?  No bad thing.

I am starting to feel like I can’t be trusted.  Shouldn’t I expect to be accountable and responsible for the choices I make?  Should I continue to be punished or penalised for them 20 years after they have happened?  Doesn’t everyone make mistakes?

Do I need the government to protect me in this way?  Can’t I decide for myself?  Is this the first step of part of a wider process of sanitising the web?  Too many questions for one posting, many of which as I reflect remain unanswered.

Social Media has become a powerful “checking out” tool for recruiters.  I suspect governments are using it in exactly the same way (oops, careful, conspiracy theories in a blog posting, whatever next!).  So what do you all think?  Are the German Government right or wrong?  Let me know your thoughts, I would love to know what everyone is thinking……….


Filed under Recruitment, Social Media

Employers, love your recruiter and they will love you back.

The opportunity for an employer to engage direct with an enormous range of potential hires is more prevalent than at any other time.  Social media has changed the rules of the game.  So why engage a recruiter?

When I first started out in recruitment (here we go I hear you say, it’s going to be one of those “back in the day”stories) we pursued candidate exclusivity as if our lives depended on it.  The only thing to differentiate us was the quality of candidate we represented.  It was our only asset.  We were better than the competition for one reason and one reason only, we had better candidates.

Candidate exclusivity is impossible today.  We might like to think it’s not.  Lets be honest with ourselves.  If  a candidate gets an email from a job site they have subscribed to with a job being handled by another recruiter, they love the look of it and apply, who are we to think we can stop that.  Frankly it is right that we are unable to.  As the employer you are not missing out instructing only one recruiter.

So how do you differentiate as the employer?  Recruiters will all claim to do it better, faster and with greater reach, that they have access to the widest database of possible candidates.  That argument falls flat in 2010.  We all have access to the widest range of possible candidates, it’s called the world-wide web.  They are out there on Linkedin and Facebook.  The best way to differentiate a recruiter is on the strength and reach of their network.  You can see it for yourself.  The value to you of that recruiter is in their ability to manage that network, to cut through the noise that is the world-wide web and to deliver to you the talent you need to realise your business plan.

Pick a recruiter who is more interested in listening than speaking, whom you can trust (accepting that is something that must be earned, give the recruiter chance to earn it).  The Recruiter is the first point of call to a prospective candidate and therefore is representative of your employer brand.  Brief them fully and extensively.  Treat them as if they were one of your own employees.  Invite them in to your business, show them around, introduce them to key people, show them where the job is based, who the candidate will be working with.  Don’t just send a job description and person specification out to a list of recruiters in your contact directory.  Recruitment is personal, it is not a transaction.  Don’t treat it as such.  Invest in it, give of your time if you want great results.

Briefing multi – agencies is a bad idea for all.  A candidate will go to at least 2 or 3 agencies.  We all have access to the same pool of candidates.  Pick one recruiter, brief them fully, give them the time to do their job and make sure they do it.  If they don’t, clearly you have a choice.  However the minute you make recruitment a multi agency scenario you remove the focus on quality from the process and make speed of delivery the key driver for the recruiter.   This is a false economy.  You are opening yourself up to an inbox deluge that will keep you busy for days.  The recruiters wont be doing the pre – screening, you will.

Recruiters are competitive by nature and under pressure to get results.  Nobody wants to miss out.  So rather than being rigorous in selection the opposite occurs.  They don’t want to risk leaving a candidate out based on their judgement for fear that a competitor will put them in, resulting in inbox deluge.  You are left with the impression that there is little accountability and responsibility amongst recruiters.  You are right, but you created the game that is being played out.  Fear is driving he outcome, not quality.

Pick a partner, someone who takes in interest in your business.  Pick someone who has researched your company, taken the time trouble and effort to understand your business, your people, your culture, values, products and services and vision for the future.  Pick someone you feel you can trust, trust them and let them get on with the job.  Reward them handsomely if they deliver.  Sure be commercial, but you get what you pay for.  Why wouldn’t you reward a recruiter well if they continue to provide the talent you need to succeed in your business?  It shouldn’t be about price.  Talent is not a commodity.

We all have a basic need to be loved.  Recruiters are no different.  We want to earn your love, we want to please, to meet your expectations.  We know we have to earn the right.  Give us the chance to earn and you will reap the rewards.

Leave a comment

Filed under agency, Hiring, Recruitment

You are what you say you are

I was once very cynical about the idea of personal branding.  Not so much the idea as the phrase.  It struck me as jargon, the latest in a series of expressions that would eventually morph in to something new, in much the same way as Personnel became Human Resources became Human Capital (a simply dreadful term).

However the more I think about it, the more I like it.  Understanding your personal brand is more critical than ever as you strive for career success.  If finding a job is all about sales, personal branding is all about the marketing.  Social media and the internet is the vehicle through which to promote your marketing messages.

Your email address.  What does it say about you?  What do you want it to say about you?  Think of the impact on your job application as your CV and covering note arrives in the inbox of the Hiring Manager from funstartshere@beermonster.com?

You have a choice as to what email address you use, choose it wisely.  How appropriate it is to the image you want to associate with your personal brand?  How will it resonate with your audience?

What about the words you use in your mail?  How do you start?

Communication has become increasingly informal, it doesn’t mean we should get lazy.  Hi, Hello, Good morning / afternoon, do you include a name and personalise your message or do you start with nothing at all?  How do you sign off?  Kind regards , Best Wishes or a good old-fashioned Yours sincerely (I can’t remember the last time I saw an email signed off like that!).

Take the time and trouble.  That’s the point.  That’s what the Hiring Manager wants, to see you took the time and trouble.  Make it relevant to your audience, it will say much about you to the person on the receiving end of the communication.  Whilst nothing is guaranteed, it will certainly improve your chances of being shortlisted.

It is difficult to get much by way of a meaningful reference these days.  The first thing I do as a recruiter before engaging with a candidate is search for what I can about them online.

I google, youtube, linkedin, facebook, twitter, whatever I can to find out as much as I might need to know about you.  Why?  It is because my clients are doing it.  I need to check you out because my client will.  I need to know what they are going to find and what it might say about you.


When you make the decision to upload a video of your latest Saturday night exploits, stop for a minute to consider the impact that this may have on your career prospects.

I am not suggesting you shouldn’t post it, just simply consider who you will want to see it.  If you don’t want me to see it, don’t put it on your wall without first considering the privacy settings.  Even then remember, your friends can and will forward things on that portray you in a less than positive light.

WHEN SOMETHING IS ON THE WEB, ITS ALWAYS ON THE WEB (Somewhere, even if you can’t see it anymore).

What about your user name for your online profiles?  Does PartyBoy resonate with your audience?  If so, go for it.  If not, go back to what message you want to promote about your brand.

I am not suggesting for one minute that we are not all deserving of a private life and certainly one that we can live offline, without the spotlight of 24/7 social media.  We all have a choice.  Think about your image, your personal brand, the message you want to give out and be consistent and relentless in that consistency.

There is much to be learned about personal branding and the impact it can have on your career.  The expert online is Dan Schawbel and his excellent http://www.personalbrandingblog.com

Look him up today, its well worth the visit.  Tell him I sent you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Careers, preparation, Social Media