So I have made my way through most of this book (skipped a couple of sections specific to customer engagement & marketing), and have a quick review to offer. 

The Facebook Era is first and foremost a general discussion on: a) how social networking technology is the next big revolution in IT, b) the nature of social capital and digital media, c) how social networking sites will change the way that we do business, and d) specific discussions on how social networking sites can be put to use by marketers, sales reps, and recruiters.

Mary Lynn mentioned that she uses it as a textbook in her course on Marketing Through Social Media (see comment, last post). I can definitely see how the book could function well as a guide to the basic principles involved in using an SNS as an advertising medium. Shih covers the basic reasons why a social networking site can offer a highly targeted approach to reaching consumers (what Shih refers to as hypertargeting or microtargeting). Ads can be placed according to the content of the individual user’s profile and/or updates, as well as gender, location, age, education, workplace, relationship status, relationship interests and interest keywords. (That explains why I keep seeing all of those dating service ads on my Facebook page… sigh…).

What about from the point of view of a recruiter? Shih includes a couple of chapters on why/how recruiters might make use of social networking sites to develop and make use of professional networks. She includes discussions on why it is that people are more likely to respond to requests to connect with someone (such as an introduction on LinkedIn), and how that tendency promotes the effectiveness of the site itself. What she does not discuss, and I do not say this as a criticism of the book but as a point of relevance, is the nitty gritty or nuts and bolts of recruiting through social networking sites. The impression I get is that she did not intend the book to address that topic in that much detail. 

The Facebook Era is useful as an introduction to topics associated with social networking sites (and again, this is why it would function well as a text for a social media marketing class).  But I don’t think that the book will really turn on any light bulbs for a recruiter that has at least some experience using social networking sites. On the other hand, if you are relatively new to these services, then I think that the book would make a great “big picture” introduction, as well as include a few useful details. However, anyone looking to break out of a rut or buck any trends as a recruiter using social networking sites should look elsewhere.

Chuck

Downloading… Please Wait…

September 8, 2009

No rambling post today, I am working my way through a book… “The Facebook Era” by Clara Shih.

Anyone read this yet, have any opinions/thoughts/rants about it?

Chuck

This post will be somewhat tangential in terms of the SNS line of thought, although I would like to respond/think about Ken Forrester’s blog post “Searching for the New Recruiting Model”. Ken describes a conversation with a contact about how everything is being turned upside down, and that we now have a need to reassess what constitutes a workable recruiting model.

A lot of information is available for free now, where it previously was not. Hence we cannot assume that people (whether companies or candidates) will be willing to pay for services as they have before. Ken’s take was that recruiters need to reestablish themselves as a particular kind of consultant, one that spends “time with their clients to understand their needs and provide a service for a fee.”

Personally, I think what we are faced with here is the need to upgrade the service that we offer in terms of improving the quality of the information that we can make available to clients (again, I am thinking here in terms of both companies and candidates, at least for the time being).  SNS make available an astounding amount of information, for free. But, from the point of view any one particular job seeker or company looking to hire, most of that information is what you might call white noise. It is useless information in the sense of being irrelevant to the task at hand. It is something that needs to be filtered out in some way. It is our job to get someone the information that will be most useful and productive, when they need it.

I will give you an analogy. One of the clients that I work with is a smaller and relatively new pharma marketing firm. They offer consumer analytics services to pharma companies by partnering with retailers involved in the filling of prescriptions (such as larger drug store chains). The problem is that most prescriptions don’t get filled, so it becomes ineffective to get the data about consumers from the professional side (i.e., from physicians).  There is, in effect, a lot of white noise in the raw form of the data. This marketing company essentially scrubs the HIPAA information from the data, sorts out what actually gets filled (along with relevant demographic information) and is then able to offer actionable analytics information to their clients.

This company provides a valuable service by managing and understanding information. The trick is that even if the raw information relevant to finding and filling jobs is available for free, there are still important steps to be taken in order to make that information actionable, and that is where a good recruiter can come in.

My Labor Day weekend starts tomorrow…  Hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Chuck

In my last post I spent some time worrying about whether adopting new SNS based technologies was really worth the trouble, and if it wouldn’t be better to sort of temper our acceptance of the technology with a need to preserve some of the more traditional ways of developing a professional network. With that in mind, I have laid out a few points to keep in mind when attempting to integrate SNS.

First, I will describe a hypothetical workflow that incorporates both AddressBook and Jobvite (discussed in earlier posts).

 

Rough sketch of how one might incorporate Jobvite & AddressBook

Rough sketch of how one might incorporate Jobvite & AddressBook

 

Yeah, if only it were that simple… The diagram is over simplified but hopefully gets the basic point across. With AddressBook and Jobvite as part of the placement process, the idea is that a recruiter can manage the referral process on the fly, with everything synced to a smart phone. I have outlined this part in red, with the more traditional workflow (starting with the SNS bypass box) outlined in blue.

This is not to say that the distinction can or should be drawn this clearly or made so sharp as this. I don’t think it is that simple. The idea is to compare and contrast the blue versus the red so to speak, and give serious consideration as to whether the change in process can be accomplished while preserving the quality of relationships that are added by it. In other words, are we really adding productive and fruitful relationships here, or are we simply creating more work for ourselves with little or no ROI?

Notice the two boxes in bold on the lower left of the flowchart. It would seem that these two steps are crucial, regardless of which approach is adopted.  Here is where the quality of relationships is developed and maintained (in part at least). Given that the flow chart is so simple, I am really just making a more intuitive point, but hopefully the idea is clear enough. When the information is made available to the recruiter, some networking savvy will have to take over.

Enough babbling. This is a rough sketch of how I see this technology being used (one way at least). If anyone has any suggestions, thoughts, comments, etc.; let me know!

Chuck

In the past couple of posts I have spent some time pondering how SNS can/will be incorporated into recruiting efforts. I looked at how Asurion Mobile Application’s AddressBook might integrate with an ATS, such as Jobvite. Both are focused on making use of and managing SNS based efforts, and therefore offer a way to capitalize on those technologies.

So at this point I feel the need to play devil’s advocate, at least from the point of view of someone who is typically skeptical of newer technologies. Do I really need to spend my day twittering, posting and sending invites? I mentioned in a previous post that it seems ‘obvious’ that a recruiter who does not adopt/make proper use of SN technologies will be left behind, but is that really true?

First of all, professional networking is still the name of the game, regardless of how it is accomplished. You find the best candidates through your network, and your network is comprised of…? People you have met in person? Not necessarily. People you have met through coworkers? Not necessarily. So it doesn’t really matter how you meet? Why can’t I do this the old fashioned way: swap cards, shake hands, and do lunch some time?

You might think a relationship is what happens after two people meet. However, meeting off line, because it is less and less common, seems like a great way to buck the trend. Human beings are hard-wired to remember faces and other aspects of physical interactions. Hence the initial interaction sticks, and it therefore more likely to lead to something productive, right?

What’s more, SNS will only crowd my network with people that I do not know well at all, and who may not be able to give good recommendations or referrals. What good will it really do me to have several thousand connections on LinkedIn if the quality of those connections is such that the vast majority of them do not take seriously any request or question that I might have? It seems like all that SNS can do for me is force me to stay on top of a network that really might not be worth managing at all. In other words it forces me into a strategy that opts for quantity over quality.

Well… there is some truth to this, and of course some misunderstanding as well.  But I think it is important to incorporate this point of view into our efforts, so that we do not suffer from the ill effects of an over eager rush to embrace new technologies.

So… how do we reconcile the Luddite with the Technophile? My take, at this point anyway, is that reconciling the two views is in large part (but not exclusively) the age old debate over quantity versus quality. Of course, from a production stand point we want as much of both as we can get.

In the next post I will take a careful look at adopting SNS and associated technologies with an eye towards maximizing the quantity and quality of the relationships.

Chuck

In the previous post I talked about a new mobile app in the pipeline from Asurion Mobile Technology: AddressBook. This app allows you to integrate social networking services with the address book on your smart phone such that one can track all of the SNS-based (social networking service) interactions with a particular individual from one place. Of course this provides a number of benefits, including time management and better relationship management. In this post, I would like to move on and take a look at some options for integrating SNS with ATS. Specifically I will take a quick look at MaxHire’s Social Networking “footprint” feature, and the more SNS focused Jobvite.

MaxHire has incorporated a fairly straightforward search feature into its latest offering. It takes the email on record for a particular person and searches a number of SNS sites to determine whether that individual has an account with that service. You can find more information about this feature in MaxHire’s help pages here.

Jobvite, in contrast, is essentially based on SNS. The idea behind the service is to integrate SNS with a company’s recruiting process, focusing on employee referrals and thereby cutting costs. Jobvite will create job listing pages for a company, and visitors to that page can send a “jobvite” to individuals in their social network via a number of different services. In addition, Jobvite offers a Facebook app that allows employees (or anyone associated with a particular account) to post job openings on their profiles. They can also include job opening information in on their walls and/or updates.

Jobvite also offers a number of other services typically associated with ATS’s, but of course they are based on SNS as their backbone. Applicants can apply for jobs by submitting their LinkedIn profiles, and of course the candidate database includes links to SNS profiles, just as with MaxHire’s SN footprint feature. Scheduling and referral data/analytics features are also included.

The potential of integrating a Jobvite style ATS with a mobile app like AddressBook is pretty exciting. Imagine something like this: You select which individuals or positions to follow on Jobvite, that syncs to your AddressBook and suddenly you are tracking the bulk of your company’s referral activity from your smart phone in real time, in addition to tracking your interactions with potential candidates not already in the Jobvite db. Information overload? Probably. Something that is going to happen in the near future anyway? Yup.

At this point I am content to point out the fact that it is no longer a matter of when comprehensive SNS integration will arrive, it is pretty much here. In the next post I will spend some quality time with the pro’s and con’s of integration on this level. Chuck

 Over the course of the last few posts, I have fleshed out what I take to be the important aspects/core concepts of cloud recruiting. Two of the main points were:

  • Making use of social networking technology (using the same technology that makes up the cloud to connect others to the cloud)
  • Understanding that, in order to harness the power of free and apply Google’s model, recruiters need to provide a service to candidates and clients alike: effective and productive professional networking

I can (and eventually will) break both of these down into several stages/parts. But basically I take these two concepts to be at the heart of what cloud recruiting should be. I will start with a focus on the technological side of things. Which social networking tools should we be using and how should we use them?

I think the best place to start is with a tool that helps individuals organize and stay on top of their social networking efforts: Asurion Mobile Applications’ AddressBook. While the product is not out yet (you can sign up for the beta here), it should be available fairly soon, and for a number of different platforms although I am guessing that the iPhone is up first.

What it does: AddressBook essentially tracks all of the social networking activity between you and the people in the address book in your smart phone. For each individual, you decide which service that you would like to track (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and AddressBook will show you every interaction that you have had with that individual when he/she is selected in your AddressBook. The initial benefit should be pretty obvious here. Staying on top of interactions with candidates and clients can be a fairly intensive process when those interactions are spread out over a dozen or so social networking services. This application allows you to respond “directly from your address book with a call, email, IM or status update.”  The app also allows you to set up “Smart Contacts” which allows easier access to services such as plane and hotel reservations.

Screen shots for AddressBook

Screen shots for AddressBook

So what are we going to do with this aside from keeping track of who said what and when? Without a hands on evaluation, it is hard to talk about exactly what the app will what it won’t.  However, there are a few things to be said about the convenience and efficiency that this app would offer.  First, it is one thing to have mobile access to Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.; but it is another thing entirely to have access to everything that an important contact has said on several different services with just a few clicks (maybe just two…). What’s more, having easy access to this information from a mobile device for several individuals affords networking opportunities that might have been harder to notice without a more thorough and time consuming search. 

Think about it this way. Professional networking is largely a matter of knowing who needs what (and/or who) and when. Typically this information takes a while to round up when it is coming from a number of different sources whoe are using a number of different services. This app affords you the ability to determine more easily and more quickly the flow of talent needs in your professional network. Of course it also offers you the ability to respond to issues (read: put out fires) more quickly.

More on Monday…

Chuck