Why social media is not a threat to the smart recruiter

14 May

No one likes change, well most of us don’t, but why do we resist a change that is so critical to our survival? I have seen business after business, even whole industries that fail, because they have refused to accept or drive change.

This topic is something that is explored in Peter Sheahan’s book titled Flip. In this book, Sheahan refers to a number of case studies where this resistance to change, in what most thought were untouchable industries, became the reason for their demise.

If there is one thing that you take away from the examples in this book, it’s that companies who refused to change or even have left it too late to do so, don’t survive.

There is no doubt that introduction of the internet has significantly changed our landscape. However, as Nick Dean points out in his post ‘Using social media to redefine recruitment’ it also has it’s drawbacks, and just like job boards, clients eventually come to the realisation that this technology isn’t the answer to all their prayers. The recruitment process still takes time. The ad still has to be written; the ease of submitting an application means there tends to be more irrelevant or inappropriate responses to sort through; and candidate sourcing is just one part of the process.

However, this being said, candidate sourcing is one of the most crucial parts of the recruitment processes and we can’t pretend that the introduction of tools such as seek and LinkedIn haven’t devalued our product service offering.

So what are the smart recruiters doing? As highlighted, by Simon Lewis in his recent post ‘Why we will always need recruitment agencies’, “Building communities around networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn takes many months of hard work”.  This is an important point, as recruitment is often primarily about timing and speed.

The smart recruiter is embracing these technologies. They have started to develop their own networks and establish an online brand.  Essentially what they are doing is ensuring they know how best to utilise these online platforms, in a more efficient and effective manner than their clients. In effect, staying one step ahead in the technology race.

As Isabelle Ratinaud, at Monster.co.uk, was quoted in NoisyPost’s article ‘From social networking to social recruitment’, “There is no threat from social networks. The only threat is that if we did not know how to use it or how to embrace it and that could become a threat”

For the recruiters who simply act as the bridge between the candidate and client, social media platforms such as LinkedIn are a real threat. But for the smart recruiter, it’s just another weapon in their arsenal.

These recruiters have changed their value proposition, by becoming experts in their field.  They deliver their candidates and clients insights; and educate them in the time, cost savings and benefits of utilising an agency.

If it makes you feel better even sites like LinkedIn cannot afford to rest on their laurels either. In January this year, the new professional networking site Resu.me launched its version of an online career network, which it claims to be strong competition for LinkedIn.

Change is imminent for all of us, it’s the key to our survival.


Social media and recruitment – the writing’s on the wall

8 May

At a recent industry event, I attended, it was suggested that while Gen Y see social media platforms as an acceptable tool to conduct business, they couldn’t be more wrong when it came to the recruitment industry. The argument was that our industry is about developing strong relationships and Gen Y was simply missing the power of face-to-face.

It is a common argument that I hear within the industry from those who resist and/or do not see the value of utilising social media platforms; however, it’s definitely not one that rings true.

We can all agree that a large percentage of roles are obtained and filled by utilising our networks; so why is it so hard to envisage the power of networking online?

Daniel Schawbel hits on the key point of this issue in his article ‘Can You Put a Value on Virtual Relationships?’ While Daniel does substantiate that our offline relationships provide us with a higher ROI, than those we have online, the facts and figures also support that our online contacts have significant value too.

But here is the key; Daniel points out that the greatest value in our online contacts lies in our ability to CONVERT them into offline relationships. This is something that Gen Y knows all too well. Social media provides people with more accessibility and connectivity to people than they could ever obtain offline.

The other glaring flaw in this statement is that it isn’t just Gen Y who are utilising these networks.  A study conducted by pingdom, which was highlighted in their recent post ‘Study: Ages of Social Media’, found that “social media wasn’t dominated by the youngest, often most tech-savvy generations, but rather by what has to be referred to as middle-aged people (although at the younger end of that spectrum).”

But here are the most important figures. In 2010, JXT reported that in Australia, there are 10 million Facebook accounts, 1.2 million on Twitter and 1.5 million on LinkedIn. But most importantly, 42% of Australian and New Zealanders with online profiles have looked for a job on a social networking site

This is the largest pool of candidates you will ever come across. Your database certainly wouldn’t get near it; you wouldn’t know or be able to connect with this many people in real life; and the amount of passive candidates that glance over your job ad in the paper in comparison is almost laughable.

Tiffany Black sums up this point quite simply in her article ‘How to Use Social Media as a Recruiting Tool’ “As a recruiter you want to be where the most qualified, talented, and largest pool of applicants are”.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that social media is the silver bullet, but the writing’s on the wall. If you don’t incorporate social media into your recruitment strategy, I believe you’re the one who’s got it wrong.

Agree? Disagree? Be sure to include your thoughts in the comments box below.

Klout wars – in a twittersphere not so far away…

24 Apr

Da da-da da, Da da-da da… OK, so you get the idea.

So what is Klout?

For those of you who haven’t got involved in a klout war and/or obsessively checked the klout website to see whether your score has increased, here is a quick run down…

Klout is a website that measures your online influence. Simply set-up an account, link your facebook and twitter accounts, and the klout software will give you a score from 1 to 100. The higher the score, the more so-called social media influence you have.

The software uses more than ‘…35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability and Network Score’, which together make up your Klout score.

For our office, it all started when the Managing Director sent an email referencing Klout to the most avid twitter users within the company. He thought it would be a bit of fun to give us a run down of our scores and where we currently stood against each other.

Being a competitive bunch, we took the challenge quite seriously and the Klout war began.  We have been incessantly checking each other’s scores from that day forth. (Well I know have).

I went as far as spending a few hours researching online, what I needed to do in order to increase my score. In my endeavour to obtain office glory, I came across a few interesting articles.

As is the case with any metric or research, the tendency is to find the flaws in the way the data is collected or measured, in essence, questioning its value or merit. Klout is no different. I came across article, after article dissecting why Klout was not a reliable or accurate source.

One of the resounding arguments that came through was that Klout created competition that was not in the spirit of social media. In particular, people begin engaging in tactics purely to bolster their score; such as over tweeting and setting up fake accounts to retweet their own posts – devaluing the quality and content on these platforms. Some even start sabotaging others, by refusing to engage with those that they are competing against. This is something that Amber Avines jovially covers in her post Kloutgate – The battle between mean girls and influence. As Amber Points out and so will I, the people she/I engage(s) with are not so immature. However, the point is – this is not the majority.

Margie Clayman raises another interesting point in her post ‘Klout Does Not Measure What Really Matters’.

Clayman’s major gripe is that the more you build and covert twitter relationships into real relationships offline or to other platforms, the lower your score will be.

I think that this is quite a valid point, isn’t this the ultimate influence one can have online?

There are other sites (software) out there that provide analytics and ratings, such as PeerIndex or Twitalyzer, which combine more of the social platforms into their metrics. But let’s be realistic, there is never going to be one that covers them all and especially not the way they interact together or offline. Let’s face it, you will never know the true level of engagement and influence; however, Klout can certainly give you an indication.

I think Tom Moradpour hit the nail on the head in his post ‘The one thing Klout is not” when he explained that the purpose of his post was not to praise Klout, but rather an opportunity to investigate Klout’s limits, and real usefulness.

Every theory/methodology, in this case metrics, has its limitations. I have always felt that the greatest teachers are the ones that teach you a theory, but also point out its limitations. In essence, arming you with information to use and apply it safely (eyes wide-open).

So does Klout have a place? Is it useful? Reliable? Sure, if you understand it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Maradpour concludes in his post that ‘Klout is great at measuring just one thing: your ability to get the stuff you say and link on Twitter read, shared, favorited, quoted…”

Do you agree? Be sure to include your thoughts in the comments field below.

I look forward to hearing your views, until then may the social media force be with you…

Social media policies: how to get your employees to colour inside the lines!

10 Apr

The essence of a social media policy is to communicate to your employees what they can and can’t do. In short, here are the lines; colour inside them at will.

The biggest mistake you can make when implementing a social media policy is to be too prescriptive and most importantly; to focus on what the employees can’t do rather than what they can.

As explained by Jordan Capp in response to our previous article ‘Introducing the fun police… why your company needs a social media policy’ “…the lines are now blurred between life at work and life outside work. This has made it harder for employees to accept a social media policy, as it doesn’t just guide our behaviours online at work, but it also potentially restricts what we do and say online outside of work!”

Therefore, a social media policy that handles this ‘Social Media Overlap’ delicately, as illustrated in the image below, is more likely it is to be successful in implementation.

So, what are the core components of a social media policy?

There are many top 10 lists out there but here is ours! (Essentially a compilation of what we think is the best of the best).

  1. Cover what constitutes social media and how the policy applies  to this definition
  2. Be open and transparent about your company’s monitoring of social media and ensure the policy is linked  to disciplinary action. As highlighted by Sharlyn Lauby from Mashable in her post, quote, ‘Should your company have a social media policy’ “Employees should be made aware that company policies on anti-harassment, ethics and company loyalty extend to all forms of communication (including social media) both inside and outside the workplace.”
  3. Remind employees they are accountable for what they write – encourage them to exercise good judgment and common sense. For example: refrain from comments that could be interpreted as slurs, demeaning, racist or inflammatory.
  4. Respect copyright – always give people credit for their work (reference) and ensure that you have the right to use something before your publish – even online
  5. Remember to respect privacy – make sure you employees are aware of any obligation they have to protect confidential or proprietary information
  6. Keep the audience in mind – remember that your audience could include past, current and potential clients; competitors; and past, current and potential employees. Be sure to consider all of these groups before you post.
  7. Highlight the importance of maintaining the balance between professional and personal information – people buy from people they know and like; however, they must ensure they are clear that their views are their own and not necessary those endorsed by your company.
  8. Cover who owns what – clearly a personal blog that is written in an individual’s own time is the property of the individual; however, a blog written using the company brand and within work hours is owned by the company.
  9. Bring value – What you post must deliver value to the customer, not just the company. Don’t simply post for the sake of posting.
  10. Productively using social media at work  – social media is an effective tool for your business, but not if comes at the expense of neglecting the core functions that deliver your product service offerings

Still don’t know where to start? When you set-off to create your social media strategy there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Many companies share their policies online. Click here to view more than 100+ links to corporate social media strategies.

Has your companies implemented a social media strategy? If so, what worked? What didn’t? Don’t forget to place your thoughts in the comments box below.

Introducing the fun police… why your company needs a social media policy

2 Apr

Social media’s recent explosion in popularity and its uncontrollable nature have seen many of our large corporate companies ban social networking sites.

In the report ‘Networks vs. Management’ released by Manpower in 2010 “Lost productivity, security problems and reputation issues” were listed as the main drivers behind companies restricting their employee’s usage of social networks.”

The problem is, this hasn’t stopped people from using social media, even at work, especially with the introduction of smart phones.

Your business may not be actively engaging in social media, but chances are most of your employees, clients and competitors are – your brand is out there whether you like it or not.

As stated by Clay McDaniel from Mashable, in his recent post ‘How to: Avoid a social media disaster’

“You can never fully ‘control’ what your customers say about your brand on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and forums”

Clay does suggest, however, that a social media policy and community management plan is a company’s best line of defence in both avoiding and minimising any negative threats that social media can pose to a company’s reputation.

However, a survey conducted by Manpower found that “Worldwide, only one-fifth of the companies surveyed had a formal policy for employee use of external social networking sites. Firms in the Americas and Asia-Pacific were somewhat ahead on this front, but the majority of respondents in all regions had no policy in place.”

Interestingly, they also found that “among companies that did have a policy, 63% claimed it was effective in combating lost productivity.”

Unfortunately, the word policy tends to evoke many negative connotations. The words stiff, inflexible and controlling are just some that come to mind. Adrienne Unkovich recently reported that The Commonwealth Bank was pressured to softened their harsh social media policy in response to public backlash when its policy made the headlines last month.

There are many important legal issues that legitimately warrant the need for a social media policy. However, as with all new technology, it takes a while for these to come to light.

A recent Australian case further highlighted the need for companies to have a social media policy, when a hairdresser who was terminated for posting derogatory comments on her facebook page, successful sued for unfair dismissal.

As explained by V. Storey, who summarised the case in her article ‘Unfair Dismissal Case Highlights the Importance of Social Media Policy’ There is already some recourse to a legal remedy for certain employee behaviour outside of normal working hours. The principle from Rose v Telstra may apply. That is, an employee can be held responsible for behaviour outside working hours if it breaches an express term of the employment contract.”

However, as we have already established most businesses do not have a social media policy in place, thus making it very difficult to terminate employment within the law – regardless of the severity of the offence.

So what should you cover in your social media policy, I hear you ask? Check back next week when we will cover the do’s and don’ts of writing an effective social media policy. In the interim, be sure to include your thoughts in the comments box below.

Don’t be a big banana – effective social media requires planning!

26 Mar

As a nation, we have always been obsessed with the next big thing. Take a look at our tourist attractions for example: the big banana; the big pineapple; the big lobster and the big cheese – just to name a few. (Click here for a comprehensive list of big things in Australia)

My point is; we tend to jump on board the next big thing without first stepping back and assessing whether this is the right thing for us.

This is essentially what Katie King, Managing Director of the PR and social media company Zoodikers Consulting, is talking about in her post ‘Beware of Jumping on the social media bandwagon’

Given the recent success of the FMCG (fast-moving-consumable-goods) industry’s foray into social media, many B2B (business-to-business) companies are feeling the pressure to jump on the social media bandwagon.

However, B2B companies are often guilty of emulating FMCG marketing strategies, without first accessing and/or adapting them for their particular business model or industry. Social media seems to be no different. As quoted by Katie in her post mentioned above:

Forrester Research predicts that B2B (business-to-business) social media marketing spending will grow from just $11 million in 2009 to $54 million in 2014. But the danger for SMEs lies in the fact that too many companies are prepared to throw their hard earned cash at social media, with little or no attention paid to a) their business strategy and b) how it integrates with their overall PR and marketing.”

This sentiment is backed by Tac Anderson from Social Media Today in his recent post where he suggests that, “… a social media strategy, for PR or Marketing, is a subset of the communications strategy. It should support the communications strategy in supporting the business strategy.”

Herein lies the biggest problem. As Neil Glassman reported in his post, for the Social Times, 50% of companies entering social media don’t have a plan.

Neil’s article refers to the R2integrated social media profitability study, which found that 35% of those who were reporting profitability from social media, were twice as likely to have a social media plan/strategy.

As King suggests, the starting point to creating a social media strategy, is to agree to specific goals. The most important aspect of this process is to remember the importance of measuring social media against specific business objectives.

It is in this first stage of planning that you may find that social media just won’t work. This is not to say that it won’t add value, there just might be more effective ways to achieve these objectives with the limited resources available. This is a topic that is explored in Kipp Bodnar’s post, 5 Cases When Social Media Isn’t Right For B2B.

In summary, if your business is selling pencil sharpeners, don’t expect that placing an over sized pencil sharpener on your roof is going to solve all your communication problems.  You need to think BIG-er!

Does your business have a social media strategy? Do you agree with the importance of a plan? Be sure to include your thoughts in the comments box below.