Rethinking Business

Is recruitment 2.0 making you forget about yourself?

Social media has taken over. If you haven’t included it in your recruitment strategy, you’re behind the curve today and you’re not ready for tomorrow. The danger, of course, is in going all out. In other words, putting all your efforts in social media and ignoring the rest. By “the rest” I mean your career site (your home base), media metrics, site analytics and how everything is tying in with your recruitment objectives (usually increasing relevant hires and decreasing costs). So why is focusing too much on social media a dangerous thing?

Renting vs. Owning

When you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ you’re renting space. You might not be sending them a check on a monthly basis to be present, but you do definitely not own the space you’re using. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google own that. If they decide to change something that has a negative impact on you, there really isn’t much you can do about it. For example, Google just kicked out a whole bunch of corporate accounts from Google+ and there isn’t much those companies could do about it. You’re also at the mercy of those companies’ marketing, tech and privacy initiatives so if their user base decides to leave there’s, again, not much you can do about it. For example, a while back I might have told you it’s important to connect with your candidates on MySpace. If you had decided then to put all your recruitment efforts there, you might not have much to show for it today.

Owning — that’s why it’s important to put continued effort in your home base. You own your career site and job postings. You own the marketing efforts that drive potential candidates to that site and those postings. Sure, social networks are part of that mix, but they shouldn’t where all your investments go. If you’ve decided to put all your efforts on one or more social networks, you might not have anything to show for it at the end of the year.

That’s why I’ve put your career site at the center of the online HR infrastructure. Everything should come from there. Three things that you should definitely put some time, effort and money on today?

  • SEO, content and visuals – to make sure your potential candidates can find you and want to browse your job openings
  • Web analytics – to make sure you are converting properly and to be able to test the new designs, lay outs and content
  • Media metrics – so you can once and for all determine which medium is driving the best candidates: Job boards, aggregators, media buys, SEM campaigns or social media efforts.

Investing in building and maintaining a strong home base will help you guarantee success in the long run. That’s not to say that social media isn’t important, quite the opposite actually. But investing all your resources on someone else’s platform isn’t the wisest use of your funds.

Where are you placing your recruitment efforts?

(Photo credit: Stuart Seeger)

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Working from home increases employee happines

The tools we now have at our disposal allow us to work from home just as easily as from the office. Cloud computing, VPN and smart phones allow us to work and communicate like we were sitting next to each other. If you agree that happy employees are productive employees, do you encourage remote working?

The results are in, employees that work from home (or coffee shops, or public libraries, or wherever) at least 50% of the week are the happiest. That’s right! 50% of the week – that’s two to three days a week. Before saying something like that’s impossible or they’re happy because they aren’t working or team spirit will suffer, listen to why they’re happier and you’ll see that productivity and team spirit will actually increase.

Why are web workers happier?

Intuitively you might think it’s because they’re more in control of their schedule, although that might be true, GigaOm reviewed a study that looked at the reasons. They two main reasons were:

Less disruptions

Spending less than 50 percent of the week in the collocated office affords more flexibility and aids in the balance of work and personal roles, which teleworkers find satisfying.

Telework is associated with less frequent information exchange, which relates to lower stress from meetings and interruptions.

It’s pretty much accepted that meetings, visits from your colleagues, emails and phone calls disrupt you from doing real work. Just ask Tim Ferriss, Jason Fried or Seth Godin. Working from home allows you to cut at least 50% of those distractions. By the way, if you want to learn how to cut down email and phone (and more) I strongly recommend you read The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link) by Tim Ferriss.

Less exposure to office politics and negative behaviour

Teleworkers are less likely to perceive that general political behavior is pervasive in the organization, and in turn are less likely to perceive that people conform to political behavior in order to get ahead. Being less exposed to, or perceiving less of, this type of going along to get ahead behavior is linked to higher job satisfaction.

We conclude that decreased face-time in the office affords a distinct advantage by limiting teleworkers’ exposure to political behavior, or at least allowing them to feel removed enough to downplay its prevalence… Less frequent interaction with others may be desirable.

It’s no secret that the office space is full of political behavior and negative emotions. As people try to get to the top and deal with day-to-day frustrations the mood in the office can get depressing and frustrating. It looks like taking some time to be away from all that can actually improve the atmosphere and in turn increase productivity.

Unless your employees are directly face-to-face with customers, anyone can benefit from working away from the office. So the real question is, if you don’t encourage your employees to work from home, why do you not want them to be happy?

(Photo credit:  Nick Keppol)

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Kids, teens, computers and mobile phones

Last week I went to Toronto to meet with some potential clients and meet the TMP Worldwide team over there. At TMP we tell our clients that recruitment has changed forever. It’s not in the process of changing, it has already happened. Younger generations are more comfortable with digital technologies than you and I will ever be. I took the train and on the way back I heard a couple interesting things. If you’re thinking “kids? teens? what does that have to do with recruitment?” then stick with me.

Here are two examples…

“Mommy, can I play with the games on the phone?”

Not far from me was a kid with his mother – he was roughly 4 or 5 years old. He asked her if you could play with games she had on her phone and it hit me: He’s going to be applying for summer and part-time jobs in roughly 10 years. Most of us will still be working then and if he’s already completely comfortable with mobile devices just imagine his reality when he’s 16. If your career presence isn’t optimized for mobile today, is your digital presence going to be able to speak to him in a decade? Will you be able to attract him to your company?

Start optimizing your presences today so you can be ready tomorrow.

Teens and computers

Still not convinced? Ten years is still a long way ahead? On that same trip I spoke with a guy who was in charge of computer networks at a school district in Ontario. He’d been doing that job for over a decade and the one of his conclusions? “Those kids are getting better and better with computers. Each year it seems to be easier and easier for them to get around our security measures” (obviously I’m paraphrasing).

Think about it. Unlike the kid in the first example, these teens are applying for jobs in the next few years. Are your job postings going to appear when they search on Google or Bing? Are they going to be able to browse on their iPhones or Androids? Are they going to be able to interact with your company on Facebook or LinkedIn?

Are your recruitment strategies inline with this reality?

Digital is evolving at a faster and faster rate. Are yours keeping pace and able to attract today’s candidates as well as tomorrows?

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The digital landscape is increasingly complicated. You went from posting on job boards and having an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to having to think of SEO, Social Media, media buys, SEM, analytics and much more…

To make it easier, I’ve put together a simple diagram which includes the major elements of recruitment today (click on it to make it larger):

The online recruitment landscape

Notice how the career site is at the center of everything? If your home presence isn’t strong and continuously optimized, working on other stuff isn’t the best use of your time and money. Why? Because everything else is driving back there and because search (not job boards, not ads, not newspaper postings) is one of the main ways people find your job postings. So if your career site  isn’t attracting and converting what is a great Facebook page or ad campaign going to accomplish?

Start at the middle and move outwards, then optimize.

What’s your take?

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HR Today

It’s been a couple of months that I’ve changed the topic of this blog from marketing to Human Resources. It’s been a great and the discussions both on and places like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I’d like to dedicate 100 posts to the state of HR and recruitment today (thank you Chris Brogan and Blog Topics!)

What I’ll do to make it easier for you to find all the articles about HR Today, I’ll set up a special tag for it. We’ll call it HR Today so it’ll be really easy for you to find articles like:

One more thing What I’ll do is start the hashtag #HRToday so that we can continue the conversation there too.

Sign up here to get the posts by email!

(Photo credit: Mike Wegner)

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Improve your career site

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Looking for work sucks. In large part that’s because most career sites and job posting content is incredibly boring, generic and don’t say much about the company or the job. I don’t want to insult you, but it’s the truth. The thing is that with Google’s new adjustments to search, having great content that people actually want to read is also a must if you want your site and jobs to rank well. Here’s a simple test to see if your job postings or career site are worth the read.

The label scrape test

A while ago the incredibly smart marketer Christopher Penn wrote about the Marketing label scrape test. Here’s the gist of it:

Scrape off the labels, names, and brands in your marketing collateral and see if you can tell if the company/product/service is still unquestionably you, or if it could be anyone at all – maybe not even in your industry.

Now apply that same test to your HR collateral and see if your postings stand out or if they’re dull and generic. Let’s give a try a few examples:

We’ll only look at career site copy to save some space and I’ve taken consumer brands so chances are you’ll know them.

Who’s career site do you think this is?

Your way to […]

We expect a lot. Just like you do.

We are looking for personalities who value an interesting professional environment and top-class opportunities for their personal development. Personalities who believe that they are capable of meeting the requirements of […] and who are fascinated by sports cars. Become part of the […] myth.

Manifold possibilities exist for your entry into […] – be it as a student, a university graduate, or an experienced professional. We offer interesting opportunities for a professional development to committed people.

Refer to the […] Job Locator for current vacancies within […] and our international subsidiaries all over the world.

Who do you think you’d be working for?

How about this?  Can you figure out who’s career site this is?

Less of a job, more of a calling.

Working at […] is a whole different thing. Because whatever you do here, you play a part in creating some of the best-loved technology on the planet. And in helping people discover all the amazing things they can do with it. You could call it work, or you could call it a mission. We call it a blast.

License to change the world.

We make things that make an impact. Like when someone creates their first video with […]. Surfs the Internet — the real Internet — on an […]. Or uses the built-in […] camera to video chat with their grandchildren. Making it all happen can be hard work. And you could probably find an easier job somewhere else. But that’s not the point, is it?

You’ll be in very good company.

Whether you want to be an […] engineer or a Concierge at an […] Retail Store, we’re looking for the best. People who are smart, creative, up for any challenge, and incredibly excited about what they do. In other words, […] people. You know, the kind of people you’d want to hang around with anyway.

What do you want to do?

You’ve got talents. We’ve got some great ways for you to use them, including some you probably never thought of before. There are two great places to search for your dream job.

Who do you think you’ll be working for?

I’m not necessarily saying one is better than the other. Maybe you’ve even figured out who both companies are. What I hope you get out of this is: Take the time to review what your career site says, how your job postings are written and take the time to make them unique and compelling — you’ll get more qualified candidates because of it. If you can scrape out all references to your brand, website, products and services and people can still tell who you are, you’ve done your job as a recruiter and a budding SEO expert.

What do your job descriptions say about you? Do they pass the scrape test?

(Photo credit: Bill Jacobus)

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Google+ and HR

Google+ and HR

It seems like everyone is reviewing Google+ these days so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring as well. Simon Mackie from GigaOm wrote an interesting piece on Why Google+ could find a home in the workplace. I agree with him and I think that’s why HR needs to pay extra close attention to this one. I feel the personal vs. professional life debate is going to be a big one. Google+ could be the social network that finally bridges the gap.

According to Simon, one of the benefits of Google+ for business is seamless contact management. With Circles it’s incredibly easy to manage who you’re connected with and what you share with them. You can have completely separate Circles for your friends, family, coworkers, team members, clients, prospects, etc. It’s as easy as drag and drop. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all offer ways to segment your Connections, Friends and Followers, but nothing as seamless as this. Just the terminology has its advantage – Friends and coworkers can be in my circles; but can I really call coworkers my Friends or friends my Connections?

Easy video conferencing is another advantage. With Hangouts you can create easy-to-use video chats. It’s all browser-based so coworkers can just turn it on when they’re available. No need to use download applications. Finally, by using Sparks, which crawls the web for information on specific interests, you can keep your teams up-to-date on all the latest news. For example, if you work in digital advertising, you get all the latest news from around the web delivered to you so your team.

To that I would add the mobile app which allows for most of the same features as the mobile version. To that Google has added group SMS and Check-ins which I think are great for recruitment and employer branding. The integration with Chat makes it easy to have video calls on your phone too…

Of course Google+ is still in beta so there are lots of kinks and disadvantages (like not being able to access without a Gmail account) and Google has a history of failures with business collaboration tools (Wave anyone?). On the flip side,  many businesses – small, medium and large – have adopted Google product suites and the integration of tools such as Docs could make them more comfortable with using Google+ as a social collaboration tool. More over, integrating Search for instant search like could also make it a great brand monitoring tool.

Assuming Google has learned it’s lessons, I think HR departments need to be early adopters on this one.

What’s your take? Would you let your employees use Google+ to increase productivity?

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HR jobs

As the world of HR and recruitment changes, these departments are going to need to vary the type of people they hire. There’s really two ways you can go about it – hire specialists or train existing staff. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’ll really depend on your needs and size. Here are a few positions you will need to add or integrate in the not too distant feature.

Chief HR Technologist

We’ve already talked about the need for a Chief HR Technologist. If you accept that things change at the top first, you’ll need to have one leader of your HR department be fully versed in all things technological. It’s no secret that digital has taken over, whether that means search, social media, mobile, laptops, tablets, etc. It’s all about scarcity vs. ubiquity – everything is available to all of us. I can search all jobs, not only jobs you posted on Monster or Workopolis. I can connect with most employees at any company, not only the ones that I personally know. I can see what the company is about where and when I want, not only in the evening, after work at my home computer.

Your HR department needs to be able to navigate that reality.

The Chief HR Technologist will need a team to support activities and decisions. Access to Digital Strategists, Web Analytics, SEO and SEM Practitioners is important. Digital allows you to measure every action taken and a team (whether directly placed within HR or not) is vital to help you make strategic decisions…

Writers & Designers

It’s not a secret, searching for a job is boring. Most job sites are bland and complicated to navigate and postings are dry, lack emotion and really don’t say much about the job or the company. The consumer brand doesn’t always reflect the employer brand. Google’s new updates to search (Google Panda) will put more emphasis on usability. This means that if it’s hard to navigate your career site and your job postings are bland it will actually harm your organic rankings. Why does that matter? Because, of ubiquity. Remember, it’s all available – if I’m looking for a job, I’ll find more jobs by searching Google or Indeed that I would searching Monster, Workopolis, your career site or LinkedIn. So if you’re site doesn’t rank well, you’re missing out on candidates. Plain and simple.

Community Managers & Evangelists

A big reason for this ubiquity is social media and user-generated content online. Not having a strong online presence that tells your story is a big miss. People want great jobs and great lives and you have to be able show them how your company can offer that. I’ve talked about the distinction between Community Managers and Evangelists before. Basically a Community Manager will represent your company online and an Evangelist will promote your industry. Is the importance of having someone at your HR department represent your company, answer questions, promote openings, showcase your work and life at work evident? Do you think having someone promoting your industry is important?

It’s time to rethink who is part of the HR department. The world is changing faster than we can imagine and it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re equipped to recruit the right people to help our organization evolve.

What’s your take? What other jobs would you add?

(Photo credit: vonSchnauzer)

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Employee influence

Evaluating your employees’ influence online before an interview is something HR departments will increasingly pay attention to. The main feedback I got from the recent post Hiring with Klout was that influence is important depending on the type of position the employee will occupy. I think it goes way beyond that — the online influence of ALL your employees is important. If you’re only worried about the influence of your sales people and recruiters to gain an immediate benefit from their online network, you’re missing out on some opportunities. Ideally you want all your employees to be the black sheep in their field — you want the ones that will stand out.

How can the online influence of your employees help?

Help with hiring

Hiring employees that have a larger sphere of influence will, in turn, help with your future recruitment efforts even if they aren’t in HR. Let’s say Company X is a larger retailer. Chances are they have a fairly important need for IT folk to take care of their network, servers and maybe even some hosting and support of the e-commerce sites. Finding new talent in IT is somewhat challenging — especially if it’s not your core business. Having influential IT staff will help you find new employees. Each time they share an opening on their blog or on Twitter, it will reach a far greater, targeted audience.

Brand ambassadors

Employees with influence will help you by becoming brand ambassadors. I think it was Chris Brogan that said, we’re all sales people now. It’s not because I’m in IT or accounting that I have no impact on the company’s image and reputation. Every video on Facebook, every check-in on Foursquare, every photo that gets tweeted out and every share on LinkedIn impacts how connections to your employees perceive your company. For instance, if your accountants are posting pictures and videos of their department dinner, that increases the appeal of your company to their fellow accountants and any other friends they have…

Thought leadership

Being seen as an expert in your field is one of the greatest marketing assets you can have. The thing is “your field” is not only what you sell. Stick with me here…If you take the example of Company X above. What they sell to their customers is one thing. Granted it’s a big thing…it’s what brings in the revenue. But what if their IT staff are thought leaders in the sphere of IT in retail? Amongst other things, it will attract some of the best in the business. In turn, it will probably guarantee that you have some of the best infrastructure and give you an advantage over your competition. That will empower your sales staff and grow your business…

The online influence of all your employees is something HR will increasing need to look at if they want their company to stay competitive. How much importance does your company give to candidates’ influence?

(Photo credit: John Haslam)

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SEO for HR

If you’ve been working in HR for at least a little while, you probably never thought you would have to worry about stuff like SEO, web design, branding, SEM and what not. Having a good relationship with job boards reps like Workopolis, Monster and Jobboom was good enough. But not too long ago, Comscore released numbers indicating that most major job boards had suffered traffic losses – losses in the vicinity of double digit percentages. That’s an indication that recruitment has changed (only an indication, the reality is the change has happened long ago). Do you still think they’re a credible cornerstone of your recruitment strategy?

Enter the world of online

The loss in traffic, just demonstrates how important it is for us to have strong career sites. While social media is taking the world by storm, a strong presence you control (ie.: the career site) allows candidates to find you regardless of which job board is up and which social network is down. This is where your knowledge of SEO kicks in.

Google changes implements changes you need to know about

The search engine has been working on new things that will directly affect how findable your career site is:

Search results are now different for each person based on their social connections. What does that mean? If you have a Twitter account such as @ABCCompanyCareers and you have 10,000 followers. When these followers search Google for new opportunities, your job openings will be displayed more predominantly. Add to that the influence of all your employees…think about the impact you could have.

What should you do?

  • Encourage employees and prospects to connect to your Twitter account.
  • Encourage employees and other corporate account to tweet out job openings.
  • It’s also a good idea to start following, influencers in your domain.

Google just updated their algorithm (Google Panda they call it). SEO is definitely no longer only about links, content, meta descriptions, tags, titles and so on. Here are 3 things Google now looks at to determine if your site is relevant:

  1. User design and experience – is your site appealing to people or does it look like it did back in 1990?
  2. Quality content – not content that was optimized for SEO, but actually written for people to want to read it. How do your job postings read? Like a legal document or like a script from Modern Family?
  3. Usage metrics – are people coming to your career site? Do they bounce off or do they read 3-4 pages?

What should you do? Take a long hard look at your career site. Is it really a place that’s engaging for your candidates? Is it up to date? Do you offer reasons for people to share, browse and interact? Is your content (including your job postings) interesting to read?

Recruitment is changing and it might just be the time for an Chief HR Technologist to take charge. What are you doing to improve your SEO?

(Photo credit: TopRankBlog)

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