Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recruiting Branding & Sourcing

Issue 1 of 3

Everywhere I turn, I keep hearing that in todays business climate, you have to build relationships with clients and customers to gain their trust and their business. Really? Was there a time when we didn’t have to worry about building relationships with our business partners? If this is a novel concept to you, you’ve probably already missed the boat. If it’s not in your DNA to care about those you sell to or service don’t bother trying to fake it. Your transparent lack of caring will surface whether you like it or not, so keep selling those encyclopedias and worry about the next customer another time. In my opinion, it’s always been about building long lasting relationships, demonstrating that your concern for clients and customers reaches well beyond the paycheck you receive for services rendered.

Through recent social networking platforms, building relationships with professionals has never been so easy. Whether you engage in sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter to name a few, our networks are growing by leaps and bounds. Spammers need not apply. Often times we begin a relationship on line before taking it to the next level off line and in person. How does this all relate to the recruiting industry?


Where is the recruiting industry headed and how should we prepare to succeed in it? One of the most respected publications in the recruiting industry is In an article written by Dr. John Sullivan (well known thought leader in HR) he discusses, 13 Trends In Corporate Recruiting for 2009. They are as follows:

· Update employment branding
· Reinvigorating referral programs
· Renewing the focus on quality hire
· Reinforcing the business case for recruiting
· Utilizing social networks
· Utilizing video
· Upgrading succession planning
· Using employee blogs for recruiting
· Using mobile-phone recruiting
· Using a CRM model for recruiting
· Hiring innovators
· Recruiting globally

While I plan on discussing many of these trends in future articles, for the purposes of this blog, I will tackle utilizing social networks in the recruiting industry and how they can effectively be used to help with personal branding and candidate sourcing. While I was not the first to utilize social networking in the recruiting industry I have been a huge advocate for how the two can intertwine.


No matter what industry you work in, we all want to be thought of as experts in our field and respected among our peers. There are many ways we can accomplish our goals however it takes time, effort, and dedication to our craft before we can be considered the ‘go to’ professional. LinkedIn is a great site to start the branding process through various features including testimonials, slide share presentations, group discussions, blog links, and much much more. I have found that helping others by answering questions is a great place to start. Having the knowledge and sharing with others is always a great way to establish your personal brand, but that alone is not enough. Real production, success stories, monetizing your business has to be a part of building a positive brand. There has to be substance, not just sizzle.

One of the fastest growing micro-blogging sites is twitter. In an article written by Adam Ostrow , Editor-in-Chief of Mashable Twitter is Growing Like Crazy: Up 422% in 12 Months. While it's highly unlikely growth like that will sustain, there is much to learn about where professionals are choosing to spend at least part of their day. The key is recognizing that every time we speak, write, and share with others we open ourselves up to observation and criticism. Mike Lipkin is one of my favorite motivational speakers and hits the mark when describing the need to build preeminence one conversation at a time.


What is so wonderful about networking is that every encounter, every conversation, and every introduction enriches our knowledge and deepens our network. I am constantly looking for talented, successful professionals for my clients and typically find them in the most unusual places. Most often, the candidates I find for my clients were not looking for new employment. Candidate sourcing is often reactive meaning they find me as opposed to me reaching out to them. With our current struggling economy you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting someone looking for work. The key to effective candidate sourcing is creating a sourcing strategy, then implementing that strategy.

I often spend time on twitter to both develop my personal brand as an expert in the recruiting industry but also to scope out prospective candidates. I’m reading blogs, engaging in conversation, and testing the waters to determine which professionals to pursue. Facebook has become a bigger player in candidate sourcing of late with its popularity and includes a combination of features some recruiters use to source. Most of these networking sites include profiles, work samples, testimonials, and more which are a recruiters dream.

For those recruiters reading this blog I ask you this question: What are you doing to build your personal brand and source candidates? We can all learn from one another.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Using Employee Blogs For Recruiting

Issue 2 of 3

In my last blog, I discussed recruitment branding & sourcing. This came from a list of 13 Trends in Corporate Recruiting for 2009. I now turn your attention to using employee blogs for recruiting. The blogosphere is exploding with every Tom, Dick, and Harry writing about whatever is on their mind. Hand in hand is the popularity in social media. Companies are starting to take notice.

According to Dr. John Sullivan, a practice that is finally beginning to enter the mainstream is employee blogging to support recruiting efforts. The very best firms use blogs not just to spread their message but also to answer questions and to make their company appear more “real” and approachable. Key focus areas include blogs by employees other than recruiters and micro-blogs. Firms already discussing such trends: Microsoft, Google, and Sun.

I recently asked the question, "Why do you blog?" on twitter. The responses were shared during a recent impromptu hockey tweetup orchestrated by Shannon Paul, social media guru for the Detroit Red Wings. Tweetup = People on twitter meeting up. Most of the attendees were frequent bloggers or people that spent time on professional networking sites. Common responses were, 'looking to develop their personal brand', and the opportunity to demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise.

Most of the time companies create blogs to interact with their customers, clients, and prospects. The longer you spend on a website or blog, the more likely you will connect with that brand. When you start engaging in questions and answers, relationships begin to flourish. With the sophistication of technology, more and more video blogs are entering the blogosphere allowing the public to get a visual with more than just words on a page. Recently I've noticed an increase in videos embedded for online newspapers. Ah yes, the world as we know it is changing.

Due to the recent downsizing in companies, a growing number of people are either unemployed or in job transition. The old way of looking on Monster or Careerbuilder to find a job is becoming archaic and most of the good jobs aren't listed on these sites as discussed in my video below. Creating a plan to 'job search' is no different than any other plan you look to implement. Often times people ask me to help them figure out what jobs to pursue. My suggestions are as follows:

  • Narrow down your target industries, looking in too many places will distract you
  • Determine which current job titles apply to your background and expertise
  • Connect with your network, let them know you are looking for a job/career
  • Join associations, networks, chambers, etc
  • Consider creating a video resume (will discuss in future post)
  • Seek out companies you respect and would LIKE to work for
  • Read company Blogs
  • Meet the influencers in your local community

Why read company blogs? Simply put, this is where you can find out great information about what is going on with a company, if there are any expansion plans on the horizon, if someone was recently promoted potentially creating a vacant position and more. The information you find just might be the difference between getting your foot in the door before the company posts the position and having to compete with hundreds of qualified candidates.

I would love to hear about your interaction with company blogs. Do you write them? What impact do you see them having now and in the future? Share the love!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Utilizing Video

3 Part Series:

Issue 3 of 3

Utilizing video is the last trend I will cover from: 13 Trends in Corporate Recruiting for 2009. The use of video resumes as an acceptable tool is currently being debated among corporations, recruiting agencies, and the legal profession and while many agree there is some appeal to using the new technology for recruiting purposes, the legal issues are most likely going to prevent this trend from becoming mainstream, at least for the foreseeable future.

CareerTV, which touts itself as “the most-trafficked career video website, with the largest collection of employer videos online,” ditched its video resume service back in 2007. The two main issues are that not enough companies are interested in getting involved since there is no standardized form for what a video resume should include, it is not time efficient. The other one and probably more legitimate concern revolves around the potential law suit from candidates who could try to make the case that they weren’t hired due to race, gender, and/or attractiveness. Yes, we still live in a highly litigious society.

As Joel Cheesman from Cheezhead states, “There seems to be little doubt that video as a tool for employment branding, or even as job description, is a trend that will take hold. Large and small are leveraging online video to create a clearer brand. However, if CareerTV’s move is any indication, the video resume has a long way to go before making it to prime time.”

While video resumes may never take hold, employee-generated unscripted videos are gaining traction. As Dr. Sullivan states, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then moving pictures demonstrating what it’s like to work at your firm would have to be “priceless.”