Students Get The Job Search Wrong

I attended a college career fair recently and was somewhat shocked at the conversations that occurred with me as well as a few I overheard. Granted, this was the first college career fair that I have attended in easily 10 years, which hopefully means I came into this experience with an unbiased opinion as to what would transpire.

The students who attended had one common theme: what can the company do for them. As a recruiter, this is not a question I ever want to be asked. An employer doesn’t have to do anything for a job seeker. PERIOD. End of sentence. Move along please.

What I learned is that colleges, universities, career services, and the specific “colleges” (i.e. – College of Business, College of Science, College of Education, etc.) need to drill into minds is that it isn’t about the student. The students need to focus on 6 key areas before, during and after a career fair.

Dress For Success

Yes, often overstated but seldom adhered to. Recruiters have their own preferences in this area but I am a believer in the conservative suit for men and women. What if your company is business casual or strictly casual? Come in a suit. Why? Because at a career fair you will interact with a wide variety of organizations and it is better to stay on the side of being conservative over what you wore to that 9 AM philosophy class.

Elevator Pitch

Please, please, please do not hand me your resume and try to talk with me. Put together your pitch that you will repeat 50 times in a 2 hour window to highlight your experience and sell yourself as someone a company would be missing not to have. I don’t want to hear about what classes you’ve taken either. I want to hear what you’ve done and how it will help any company.

It’s About Who?

Don’t walk up to a recruiter and say something that resembles the following: “Hi, I’m John and I’m looking for a position in Marketing. What can you do for me?” Actually, I can do nothing for you so move on. A career fair is about the company and how the student/job seeker can help the organization. Job seekers shouldn’t be confused in this aspect.

Being Prepared

This is the killer. If you show up to talk with me and say “um, I don’t know what you do but I’m looking for a career in sales.” Really? You just sold your way out of being considered for any positions I have available. The best way to get around the companies you are unfamiliar with is to…

Use Your Cell Phone

First off, turn your ringer off whenever you are in an interviewing setting. Now, if you haven’t gotten a company attendee list in the days leading up to the career fair from any of the 100 locations around campus advertising the fair, don’t worry. Have your phone at the ready and review the company’s you are unfamiliar with as you walk around. Do a walk through first to see the companies and see those you know and those you wish to learn about. Take your time and build your plan to maximize each stop.

Thank You

Identify the 3, 4 or 5 companies that you felt were of interest for you to start a career with and make sure you follow up with the recruiter. Keep it brief but show your interest and restate how you can help the company.

The entry-level job market is certainly a competitive space and students need to take every advantage of this impression. Trust me, recruiters take note of those that separate themselves from everyone else.

 

 

Photo Credit to Riverview Gardens School District and Video Credit to WorldTalkLIVE.

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Reality of Influence

Influence appears to be one of the topics of 2011. As Klout secures an additional $8.5 million in funding means that enhanced metrics are sure to follow. But what does influence really mean?

Klout provides a fairly detailed overview of how they measure influence which is a starting block for this new metric. While measuring influence is still in its infancy, but rapidly developing, what does this mean for you?

When you login to Klout for the first time, connect all of your social networks and click the “measure” button you wait eagerly for the results. Logically, it will lead to three emotional reactions:

-1-     Happiness

-2-     Disappointment

-3-     Who Cares

 

Happiness

“Yes, my score puts me as one of the most influential people in the online social webs!”

This might be the reaction of someone seeing a top score return. This is a metric you would expect to see from a Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Seth Godin or another of the like. This will be someone who has 5-figures of followers and is viewed as a leader in their space.

Others will get to this status as well depending on their personal or business niche. Is it possible to get to this level without thousands of followers? Sure. But it helps to be followed by people with thousands of followers too.

 

Disappointment

“I really thought I would score better than a 36.”

What if you have 300 followers on Twitter that you are really active connecting? This score may return lower than someone who has thousands of followers and but is re-messaged less than you. You could argue over more influence but you network numbers may not compete.

An interesting question may arise, would a negative or lower-than-expected score impact how you use social media going forward?

 

Interesting

“But what does it really mean.”

Brian Solis wrote an interesting piece last year regarding the Influence Project put on by Fast Company. The post basically said influence is not popularity… which ironically was the name of the article.

This group might find the results interesting either way but not put much stock in the numbers, it’s too early to truly tell what this means.

Personally, I find myself in the “Interesting” group. I believe Klout – or similar metrics – are on the right path but not to a particular accepted standard. I am skeptical over influence. Damien Basile wrote an excellent guest post on the subject on not confusing influence and popularity.

What if a friend/follower reads something I post and does not repost, comment or retweet? I may have influenced someone but because it was not shared further it hurts my number? Also, if I do not connect all of my networks it will impact my overall score. There are still too many variables to consider for this to be a truly accurate measuring tool.

Influencing metrics is currently subjective, no matter what science and math you wish to put behind it. In time it will become more accurate and grow into something robust but it still needs time and adjusting.

I do use Klout but as a snapshot in time for me. Using it fairly regularly it could provide trends and analysis to my network and how I connect with my friends/followers. But I do not put more recognition into this tool than that.

Please share your feelings on Klout or other metrics tools, I am very interested in hearing your impressions on the metrics of social influence.

 

 

Photo credit to BplusD and Servant of Chaos.

 

Aim High and Then Get Realistic with your Social Media Plan

Recently I spoke at #BrandsConf in New York about HR being left out of social media conversations. In short, I shared with a predominantly non-HR audience what many of you already know and maybe have even discussed yourself: HR and Recruiting MUST be included in strategy, best-practices, legal and implementation discussion and activities.

This may seem like an over discussed topic but it is amazing at how many companies, employees and external agencies ignore HR and Recruiting professionals in these conversations.

Let’s face it, HR/Recruiters are talking with external candidates and are sometimes it maybe the first time a candidate is learning about the organization. Recruiters are sales and marketers in these instances which happen daily. How is it possible then that we are often a forgotten group?

Here is what I propose and even challenge to you. If this sounds at all like your company and social media is a space that you have identified as a place you need to have a presence, make a social media “wish list” for your HR group. Make a lofty list and push the boundaries of what you want to implement but make sure you know the 3-4 initiatives that are critical sites to have a presence.

Now, after you have created this list and the business reasons HR needs them, schedule a meeting and invite the existing stakeholders (often Marketing, PR, Legal) and present to them this vision. Be prepared for push-back and embrace their feedback. Then sell them on why you must have the 3-4 tools you identified.

If you are lucky, you will get more than those 3-4. Worst case scenario, you have presented your case and importance as to why HR must be included.

If this sounds like something you have already experienced or are going through now, please share your comments so others may hear about your successes or concerns that you encountered along the way.

Get ready to welcome HR to the social media table. Good luck friends!

Photo credit: Social Media’s Future

Improve Your Recruiting Practice

Recruiters tend to be creatures of habit, we stick with what works. While being productive and filling open positions is the ultimate goal, we shouldn’t get rooted in our ways and afraid to adapt to new techniques and methodologies.

I continue to be surprised while talking with recruiters about what they haven’t tried. I understand that not all social networking tools are not for everyone and there are far too many for any one person to have an impactful presence on all of them.

I still believe that recruiters, or people in general, must expand into areas that are uncomfortable to grow. Trying a new tool isn’t a bad thing. But don’t just try it and move on. Truly spend time with the tool and give it a fair try. Otherwise you are cheating yourself out of a potential new and valuable sourcing tool.

Make 2011 the year you try at least 1 new tool. Give it time as anything new takes time to evaluate. If you are unsure as to how to use the particular tool or if you are looking for tricks to make it easier to use, ask someone. Most recruiters enjoy being viewed as a subject matter expert and will be happy to provide insight and helpful hints.

Spend time doing research on what sites might be best for you to use. If you are in the Federal or State/Local government space then GovLoop will be a great option for you. If you are seeking entry level or recent college graduates then you may want to consider KODA. If you recruit on a wide variety of positions, then give Facebook a fair try.

Also, please don’t say that you are going to try LinkedIn (http://www.LinkedIn.com). I mean, isn’t that cheating? You should be there already.

These are just a few ideas but give something a try starting in January. If you really want to challenge yourself, try one new tool every 3 months to see if you are able to continually expand your sourcing toolbox.

Have fun!

Photo credit: Significantblog

Lessons Learned in 2010

 

This year was a very interesting year for me to say the least. It started with a lot of excitement and opportunity that I wanted to grasp and run and be as productive as I possibly could be in social media and recruiting.

I wanted to attend every happening and meet as many people in person as possible. Well, that wasn’t a fiscally responsible or realistic idea but I was able to attend a few events throughout the year. I mean extremely fortunate based upon who I was able to meet and get to know even better. After all, that truly is where great relationships thrive!

But I digress.

As I was saying, 2010 began with a bang of excitement. But something happened along the way. Change happened… hey, it does happen and often it is out of your control – like it or not it happens. In this instance, I worked to stay in control and did what I felt was best for me both professionally and personally.

Now, I am finishing 2010 on a high. I love where I am, I love what I am doing and (most importantly) I think my family sees the benefits of a happy me once again.

I hate how personally I take things but I guess that wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take things personally. So here I am ready to jump into 2011. I’m still eager to get out and continue to meet so many people and continue on the recruiting and social media path.

Let’s keep the conversations going and continue to help each other with the tools we have while still looking forward.

And let’s put people to work along the way!

 

Photo credit: A2Z

TOTAL PICTURE RADIO with Peter Clayton

I’ve spoken to Peter Clayton on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for a number of topics over the past year or so. Peter is extremely recognized in the industry as a leader and has fantastic insight… plus he is amazing to connect with in real life.

We finally met in October when we both attended the IACPR conference in Philadelphia and were witness to a very interesting and well attended event. This was my first

Peter was kind enough to interview me on his Total Picture Radio show and you may download the podcast or read the transcript here.

I am truly honored to have been included in the show as Peter has interviewed amazing talent and thought leaders. I am a bit humbled (but honestly thrilled) to have been asked.

I hope you enjoy and always welcome follow up questions.

Moving On

Today is my last day with Unisys and what an experience it has been. This was my first step into Corporate America recruiting, meaning non-agency/staffing (NOTE: if you work for an agency this is not meant as disrespect but it is a different experience altogether). I found I love working for a company and being able to develop direct relationships with my colleagues/customers which led me to having a very productive and educational 5+ year experience.

I was also afforded an amazing opportunity to lead the strategy and implementation of the careers aspect of our social media presence. I can’t describe what I was able to learn and implement in a fairly aggressive timeline.

As with anything, there were positive and negative takeaways from my tenure and certainly lessons learned. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, but am very excited for my next opportunity.

I now have a few days to recharge, refresh and gear up for my next role. You can bet you will hear from me again soon.

On a Personal Note

A recent blog post has provided a lot of perspective into how one company is working with social media for recruiting efforts (read the post in its entirety here). I have to say that I have been thrilled and honored to have played a role in this process. Strategy and implementation are extremely enjoyable and is something that I truly enjoy.

Developing relationships, personally and professionally, through social media has allowed me to see a bigger picture of what to consider and certainly what is next and I will continue to do so.

Certainly more to come…

A Favorite Quote

OK, I’ll admit it. I stole something. It was pretty valuable and something I utilize almost every single day. I stole a quote.

You are probably thinking this is no big deal. Well, you are wrong and for that I will also admit that while I did steal the quote I also (eventually) give credit where credit is due.

I met Eric Winegardner at a conference in Chicago where we were both presenting. During Eric’s talk, he dropped TWITTER GOLD on me and it went a little something like this: “don’t tell me I don’t have time, tell me its (social media) not worth my time”.

Sheer genius.

That is a very distinct and important difference. Let’s examine the first part of that quote. All too often people will hear of something new and say “I just don’t have time for that”. Of course they have time, they are just afraid of trying something new. And they make this comment prior to even looking into the tool. The second half is so true. This states that you have tried a particular tool and did not get the results you need, so you moved on. That is critical.

Social media is THE new tool. There will always be something new and shiny for us to try next, but take the time to examine and evaluate whether whatever tool will actually work for you and your business.

Be informed, be educated and have fun testing the next shiny object!

No Such Thing As A Quick Fix

#SocialRecruiting or the use of social media for recruiting is not a new concept.  Many blogs have been written about how recruiting is social, has been and always be social.  What I am sensing from many recruiters is a “Field of Dreams” syndrome… if you are there, candidates will come.

Social media is not a “quick fix” for anyone.  These are tools that will take time while building credibility, adding value and ultimately trust from others.  There is a time investment, a willingness to share and an huge amount of listening that must occur as well.

In fact, listening might be the most important piece of the puzzle.  If you listen well, you will be able to respond to comments appropriately and make stronger connections.

This is not a push methodology for your jobs.  Yes, social media will allow you to post jobs and to let others know about your openings.  Just don’t be spam!  Don’t be that person that posts 40 messages in a row talking about your openings.  Don’t make others pull you or block you from their feed.  If they do block you, your information is now useless to someone and their entire network.

Be strategic with what you share.  Take the time to formulate what messages you want to convey.  Identify key individuals to follow and interact.

Social media is an incredible tool, just don’t rush it for both your sake and your business!

Transcript of Video:

“Hey, how are you.  Coming to you today, just wanted to talk with you about all of the recruiting summits that are happening now for social media.  And I’m seeing a lot of people come in and start to talk about “how do I get there?”  And the biggest questions that I always come across is “well, how much time does it involve?”  And I don’t think it is about time. And I had a great conversation at some previous conferences about time.  It is not about the time.  You put the time in to get the results. It’s not a quick fix, but over time the results will be there.  So take time, think about what you are doing, put the effort in and everything’s going to work out.  Just make sure you are there, you are doing it and you have the presence.  That’s it this week from the HR farmer, see you soon.”