Rethinking Business

Using Facebook as a recruitment tool

With 600+ million members Facebook should logically be a great place to find candidates, but many companies are still struggling with it. Two things usually hold us back. One, potential candidates are there to waste time and “hang out” with friends — they’re usually not there to look for work. Two, many recruiters see the platform as a personal one and don’t want to mix it in with work. Here are a few ideas I have on how you can leverage Facebook to find new colleagues.

First I think it’s important to realize that the world has changed. It’s something that gets thrown around a lot, but the reality is that personal and professional lives are merging, we’ve talked about this before and I think it’s going to be one of LInkedIn’s biggest challenges. No matter how long you’ve been a recruiter, increasingly that separation is diminishing; that’s a reality. Without being a market of one, most of my Facebook Friends are colleagues, ex-colleagues and bosses and because of that I’ve had some great career opportunities. That simple reality just shows how recruitment is different now that it was even just a couple years ago.

Four ways to use Facebook for recruitment

The way I see it there are four basic ways to leverage Facebook to attract new employees: Ads, corporate Facebook Pages, career Facebook Pages and personal Facebook Profiles.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are probably the easiest way to use Facebook as a recruitment tool. Using them to attract people to your page or career site is easy. You could even go all out and use Premium Ads to supplement a recruitment event or campaign. Creative uses of ads can go a long way. Remember the story of Alec Brownstein who creatively used Google AdWords to find a dream job? Try thinking out of the box to find candidates.

Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are where companies go to leverage Facebook. If your company already has one or more strong Facebook pages, use them to find new candidates. Use the wall, pictures and video to promote your employer brand and corporate culture; use events to promote recruitment events or open-houses you might be holding; use apps to display all your job openings like Starbucks did. People already like your brand and products so turn those ambassadors into employees.

Similarly, if you have the resources look into building a Page dedicated careers at your company. If you go down that route, it’ll be important to have the staff to contribute. The goal of the page will really to showcase your company and get others excited about working there. Get current employees involved, answer questions, add pictures and videos.

Personal Profiles

Personal Profiles are arguably the best way to find new employees. Through your profile you can get in touch friends, family and ex-colleagues that can put you in touch with the right people. One of the biggest challenges is that it’s difficult to search members’ experience, but applications like BranchOut, that allow you to find candidates just as you would in LinkedIn, are changing that…

Try leveraging your employees’ networks by encouraging them to share openings, company events and pictures as well as Facebook check-ins. According to a 2009 Nielsen study, 90% of internet users trust a recommendation from people they know, whereas 71% trust corporate websites and even less than that trust “traditional” advertising. So the more your employees are sharing company stuff on Facebook, the more your employer brand will grow and gain trust. That’s the new reality…

Facebook is a great place to find new candidates. Because users are there to keep up with friends and acquaintances, it might actually be one of the best places to recruit.

How do you use Facebook to find new employees?

(Photo credit: dullhunk)

Read more

Hiring with Klout

Klout announced it would be adding LinkedIn to its influence analysis. If you’re not familiar with Klout, it’s a tool that measures one’s influence online. It was first based on your Twitter presence, they then added Facebook and now LinkedIn. In other words, the more active you are online and the more followers, friends and now connections you have, the more online influence Klout says you have (that’s a simplified explanation). The tool has had marketers talking for a while now, but with the addition of LinkedIn, Klout is about to enter HR discussions. How does influence affect recruitment?

Measuring influence has been the source of some controversy in the marketing world. Some like Jeremiah Owyang argue companies will increasingly focus on clients with higher Klout scores (without ignoring the other ones). Their online “importance” makes them more valuable to the brand – positive or negative mentions of your brand will impact more people. Others, like Gary Vaynerchuk will argue that every customer matters whether she has 15 Twitter followers, 1,500,000 or none at all. As Chris Brogan and Julien Smith argue in Trust Agents (Affiliate link), someone who has no influence today might be tomorrow’s next big thing, so ignoring him now could have negative repercussions later on.

Although it would make sense to give some extra attention to those with more online influence, one big issue is that Klout can be gamed. For example, if I’m know I’m going to be checking in to a hotel who looks at Klout scores and treats me differently if I have a higher one; you can be pretty certain, I’ll be pumping up my usage to increase my score the days before…

Klout and recruitment

The question now is, how will a candidate’s Klout score influence the interview process? Evidently the goal is to hire the best candidate for the job — the one that best answers the requirements and fits within corporate culture, but how can a Klout score enter in the equation? What if you have two great candidates, but one has no Klout score and the other has a score of 52…who are you going to give the offer to first? Now, what if the one with no Klout score is a slightly better fit, who are you going to give the offer to then?

The idea of course is that, in theory, an employee with more online influence will help your employee branding through blog posts, Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates because they’ll reach a broader audience.

Klout and treatment

Maybe adding influence to the recruitment equation is too farfetched for you right now. But where it becomes more evident is in the treatment of candidates through the interview process. Like customer service, candidate service is increasingly important (a post for another time perhaps). Yes, you should treat all candidates equally and with the biggest respect. But assume for a second you’ve done your research to see who exactly that candidate is and you know the woman interviewing tomorrow has a high Klout score, should you be extra nice, follow-up with her more often than with other candidates, get the VP to call her, give her a slightly higher salary?

After all, regardless of if you want to hire her or not, you want to stay on her good side because her online influence can have a impact on your consumer AND employee brand.

Should a candidate’s Klout score influence whether they get the job or how you will treat them?

(Photo credit: fester_franz)

Read more

Location is dead, long live location

The internet is bringing about a very interesting world. On the one hand locations is no longer relevant and the other location is everything. Let me explain…

Location is dead

Laptops, Wifi, BlackBerrys, iPads, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Evernote and all other portable devices combined with web apps have enabled employees to be just as effective (if not more) away from the office than in the office. Take an example from the world of sales and business development. I think most territory break downs in sales are making less and less sense. Sure a sales rep in Montreal will close more contracts in Montreal than a sales rep in L.A. But in a reality where employees are working remotely or in different offices, it can easily mean that the VP is in St-Louis, but the influencer is in Toronto. Who gets the commission?

Location, in that sense, is dieing…

Long live location

On the complete flip side, location is one of the most important elements to consider, just ask Sébastien Provencher… Most online searches are location-based, users are warming up to check-in services and mobile is fulling all of this.

What’s in it for HR

I think what that means is that real location is striving, while made up locations are dieing. What do I mean by that? Real location is where I am, it’s what is important to me. An office is important to you; you decided where you were going to locate it. My home is important to me, I decided to live there…real location.

For HR that means you need to accommodate an evolving workforce that wants, can and has to work in the cloud, while leverage local search and location based check-ins to increase employer branding and favor recruitment

What are your thoughts on location?

(Photo credit: josullivan.59)

Read more

The Chief HR Technologist

By now it’s pretty evident that the internet has changed everything. As the internet slowly (actually, quite quickly) changes the way business is conducted; all spheres — from marketing, to production, to the C-suite, to HR —  have to adapt. Some of you might want it not to be changing, but it is. Change does happen slowly in most large organizations, but now that the web is at the closing end of its teens (As Gary Vaynerchuk often says), the excuses for not changing are drying up. No excuses, fears, wishing and holding back is going the alter that.

Mitch Joel often argues that Fortune 1000 companies need a Chief Marketing Technologist — technology has evolved, marketing has evolved so it makes no sense that IT, technology and marketing don’t sit at the same table. Marketers can no longer be blind to techno-speak and IT can no longer hide from things like user experience. Well guess what, I’m convinced that HR needs a similar position.

Recruitment and employee retention is different

It’s no secret that candidates start their job search on Google so you need to understand SEO concepts. Potential candidates share, ask and check up on companies on Facebook, LinkedIn and Glassdoor so you need a solid understanding of social networks. Your employees are posting openings on Facebook and keeping in touch with old colleagues and friends. Your employees are getting recruited on LinkedIn and even Facebook and Twitter as we speak. Potential employees are scanning opportunities on their mobiles on a bus ride to work. And on goes the list…

Mass media such as TV, newspapers and radio still have their place in the recruitment process, but the real battle is happening online.

The moment is now

For some reason Marketers have slowly become more tech savvy while many HR departments haven’t. Granted many recruiters have hopped on the social media wagon because that’s where the candidates are. Maybe it’s the economy or maybe it’s lack of funds, but it’s more than social media. It’s RSS Feeds, it’s mobile sites, it’s QR codes, it’s iframes, it’s Google Places, it’s web analytics, it’s SEO optimization, it’s newsletters…

It’s not about being an expert on all topics, it’s not even about coming up with recruitment and retention strategies alone, it’s about being able to understand new features or and understanding limitations. In other words it’s about speaking the language so that you can fight for budgets and resources when needed.

HR is going to get harder and harder whether the economy gets better or not, so why invest in a Chief HR Technologist? What’s your take?

(Photo credit: ajmexico)

Read more

Using check-ins to increase recruitment

Last week eMarketer released a study indicating that mobile users are warming up to the check-in and that’s great news for HR and recruiters. As we talked about, allowing your employees to use social networks can have great repercussions to your company and I think mobile check-ins are packed with benefits. Why aren’t you encouraging your employees to check-in at work?

And the survey shows…

The study indicates that most users of check-in services such as Facebook Places, Foursquare and Gowalla are under 35 years of age and that might not come as a surprise. The interesting stat is that almost 50% of users of check-in services are employed full-time and 23.3% are full-time students. That means your current employees and future employees are increasingly using check-in services.

How can you leverage this

Up front, there are two ways you can leverage this trend. First, you can encourage your employees to check-in every morning — that’s it, pretty simple. Ask them use their service of choice. The bigger your company is the better. What’s going to happen is as your employees check-in the office, your brand will travel through each of their personal networks and if enough of the employees use the same service, it might be a trending location in your area. Not only will it show how cutting edge your company is, but it’s going to give you some social proof. As I talked about before, I’ll trust my friends that your company is cool more than I’ll trust your ads so as I see them check-in there’s a better chance I’ll start seeing your company in a positive light. If you want to kick that into a slightly higher gear, these services allow you to add custom messages when you check-in, if you’re hiring new sales folk, ask your your employees to add a message saying so when they check-in…branding and communicating in one shot!

The second way you can leverage check-ins is slightly more time intensive. Look at who’s check-in around your office…restaurants and coffee shops. It means they work or live around you, try finding out more about them by searching their name on LinkedIn, they might be interesting candidates. I agree that that can be a long shot, but how about surveying student check-ins at local universities — especially departments that are of interest to you such as the management department or engineering department. Start following them on Foursquare (or whatever service they’re using) or Twitter and start building relationships with them. When graduation time comes, you’ll be seen in a much more positive light.

How to start today

The best part of all is that theses services are financially cheap or free (but they will take up some of your time). Here are a five tips on starting today:

  • Show by example: Get you and your HR staff on different check-in services. Use the one you like, but try to get people to use each one. Use them daily.
  • Add your company as a location to each service if it’s not already there. Add as much detail as the service will allow (full address, pictures, description, etc.)
  • Put signs up at the entrances reminding employees to check-in. Or even better craft and send out cards for employees to set-up at their desk to remind them
  • Create a contest around check-ins. For example, the mayor of the place at the end of the year gets an extra week vacation.
  • Set-up up a group of recruiters to survey who’s checking-in around work and at local universities and colleges to find focused candidates. Start following them on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn and start building a relationship with them BEFORE they graduate.

This won’t lead to fresh new hires today, but it will increase your employer brand reputation and it’s pretty easy to implement. Another interesting side effect might get a write-up in a blog or other publication.

What’s your take?

(Photo credit: Nicolas Nova)

Read more

The changing face of recruitment

As I dive deeper into the world of recruitment, I’m really noticing how much that world has changed in very little time. At this point it’s really no secret that the internet has changed the world for everyone but, while marketers and PR experts have be running around trying to understand this new reality, many HR departments still largely rely on “tradition” forms of advertising. One reason could be that the economic situation has unfortunately made it that tons of people are looking for jobs so they’ll jump through all the hoops necessary to find one. Unfortunately for HR, it’s a bubble, it’s temporary. The reality is that baby boomers are retiring and there’s no one to replace them.

Also, I’ll let you in on a secret: People looking for work are also internet users and consumers. What does that mean? They turn to Google, Bing and Yahoo to search for jobs; they hit up friends and old colleagues on Facebook and LinkedIn; they follow companies and directors on Twitter; they share their thoughts, ideas and impressions on blogs, message boards and Flickr. In other words, recruitment has moved from classifieds, to online job boards to SEO, Social media, SEM, web analytics and mobile. Are you still only relying on job boards?

Home bases & Outposts

How can we adapt to this new reality? Take note from our friends in marketing and business development. Chris Brogan sometimes talks about Home bases and Outposts. To summarize, your home base is your website or your career site. That’s the central hub where all your jobs are posted, where all your tips and advice are located, where your employee testimonials and awards are displayed.

Your outposts are your online presences outside of the Home Base. It’s your Facebook page and your LinkedIn company profile. I think it can also be your AdWords and banner campaigns as well as your job board placements. It’s your information where your potential candidates are spending their time.

How you can work with that

The great thing about your Home Base is that you control it. You can tweak it to attract users. Make sure to work on your content daily — are the job postings current, is the contact information up to date, is there any advice or tips you can share? How’s the job application process? Work on your SEO so that people searching on Google can find your postings. Install your site analytics so that you can measure the impact of your SEO, content and your Outposts efforts.

Your Outposts allow you to speak and reach candidates where they spend their times. You can pay for that reach and if that’s the case make sure your analytics are set-up so that you know exactly how each presence is working out. For example are the Google AdWords driving more applicants than your Banner campaign?

Social media presences are where you can interact with others and promote your openings. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, even YouTube and Flickr are place where you can show who you are as well as communicate and find potential candidates. Of course there are many other niche social networks that could be important to your industry, but the goal is to show why your company is a great place to work.

As the internet is rapidly changing the way people look for jobs and as less people are ready to work for you, it’s time to change your recruitment habits and transfer your budgets.

Are you doing recruitment differently?

(Photo credit: Paul Bica)

Read more

What HR can learn from consumers' sharing habits

Recently eMarketer published the report What Marketers Can Learn from Consumers’ Sharing Habits. I think HR can learn from this as well to encourage visitors to their career site to share job openings.

Paul Adams, global brand experience manager at Facebook, said that the average person has four different friend or influence groups. Each has an average of 10 people and they are based around life stages, experiences or hobbies.
“We are highly influenced by people who are up to three degrees away from us,” he said, which presents a tremendous word-of-mouth marketing opportunity via social sharing.

In other words, sharing is important because people trust more that a job opportunity is right for them if it’s been sent by a friend than if they see it on a job board. Favoring sharing helps to attract both active and passive job seekers.

It’s time for HR managers to ask themselves, what are we doing to encourage sharing?

Who are they sharing with?

The study found that email is still the number one way users share content online. By digging deeper into the eMarketer stats we can see that social networks are the top way of sharing info with friends, but email is the the number one way of sharing information with family and colleagues. Sharing content with the general public is done through message boards and blogs. We can also notice that regardless of how they share, by far consumers prefer sharing with friends, followed by family and colleagues and finally sharing with the general public.

What are they sharing?

Who they are sharing with is only part of the equation. What they share is also important. 60% of US internet users share a URL to published content and 36% share embedded content. Only 4% share a URL to a brand or corporate website.

What can you do about it?

If internet users by far prefer to share useful content with friends, there are two things to consider. First if your visitors want to share material of value, it might be time to start thinking about creating that valuable content. Stuff like blog posts, videos, podcasts and especially making your job postings shareable. Your visitors want to share information that will be valuable to their friends. For example, “what does it mean to work at our company”, “Top CV writing mistakes,” “How to nail an interview,” etc.

Second, to encourage sharing with friends, strong call to actions should be implemented — “Share this job posting with your friends” with large sharing icons. Don’t forget large email share options as well. If I know someone who’d be good for an opening at my company, I might prefer sending that privately.

Users want to share content, have you implemented sharing on your career site?

(Photo credit: Howard Dickins)

Read more

Marketing is a lot like recruitment

I’ve recently left my job and moved on to a new gig. For the first time in a long time I’m really changing industries. I’m moving from marketing to recruitment. But deep down, as Seth Godin says, we (marketers, customers, HR people, employees…) all want the same thing. We want others to:

  • notice me
  • like me
  • touch me
  • do what I say
  • miss me if I’m gone

But despite these similarities, this transition in my career means new things for this site.

What does it mean for you?

In short, nothing and everything. First let me say that I’m really grateful that you take the time out of your busy schedule to read my posts. Directly or indirectly because of this site I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great people like Ray, Sandy, Azi, Alex, Fred, Jeff…just to name a few. I’ve also had the chance to interact and chat with some great marketers like Chris, Jean-Luc, C.C., Karima, Adele…again, just to name a few. You’ve all helped me along the way in your own way and I thank you for that.

But as I said, I feel it’s time to transition the topic on this blog. I’d like to focus on:

Careers & personal development, social media and human resources

Careers & personal development

Although there’s going to be quite a bit more stuff like the importance of Thank You letters, I already talk about personal development quite a bit so that shouldn’t be too much of a change for you.

Social media

Again, I talk about that quite a bit, but there will be a change in focus from sales and marketing to recruitment, employee retention, finding a job and building a career.

Human resources

This will be the biggest change. I’ll be talking a lot more about how to use the digital space to find and keep great talent. We’ll talk about a wide range of stuff like SEO, SEM, conversions, call to actions, branding and so on. It’s going to be really interesting

Although I’ll still be writing a lot about social media, some of you might not find some of the posts as relevant to your interests. I’ll try hard to keep the posts along the lines of what I mentioned above. I don’t want to write something that will suit everyone and be interesting to no one. If you take the example above, I’ll write something more along the lines of The importance of a Thank You letter and less like The importance of saying Thank You. That being said, as I mentioned above, we all want to be noticed, liked, touched, heard and missed, so I think HR departments have a lot of the same challenges that sales and marketing departments have — how is this changing digital landscape impacting my goals and objectives and how can I readjust?

I hope you stay with me during this transition. I know that if you do we can have some great discussions that will help both of us learn. But if you don’t, I understand and I’ll see you on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Are you coming with me on this new ride?

(Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

Read more