Not Able To Attend A Conference

Every year there are countless conferences I want to attend and every year I have to pass up on almost all of them. It is disappointing but I find ways to follow along. If you find yourself in a similar situation to me, what might you do to still gain insight about the conference?


LinkedIn – Check LinkedIn events and see who is attending and begin to network with them. Some individuals you may know and others maybe not. But connecting in advance could lead to sharing of information and feedback on the conference and topics and maybe even the sharing of notes about valuable take aways.

Twitter – Find out the particular hashtag of the conference and follow along with what is being shared and follow along. See what is being shared and even participate in the conversation from your home or office. Good tools to follow a particular hashtag include:

Ustream – Some conferences, like the 140conf will use Ustream to play live video of the sessions so that everyone may see what is happening. You are able to listen to the sessions, just miss out on the in-person networking.

Facebook – Some conferences will create a Facebook Page for people to join and get upcoming information about a conference or seminar. What is also valuable about these Pages is that the conference hosts may also upload pieces of the conference after the fact in video form or transcripts or with reviews.

YouTube – Many conferences or conference attendees will take video and upload the content to YouTube to share with the masses. This is an excellent way to get information but also hear others opinions on topics that were discussed.

Blogs – Use Google and do a search for blogs from the conference name and see what others wrote about their experience. These posts may appear after the conference but they will be helpful in accumulating additional knowledge about events.

While all of these are good tools to use, it is helpful to follow a variety of channels to maximize the impact and knowledge of what is being discussed. Conversations even continue online after events or into the evenings. Knowing that we are all busy and following along all day is not realistic; pick and choose what makes sense for you. And chances are, you will network and meet new people along the way even though you are not there in person.

Interview With #DriveThruHR

On March 28th, I had an unbelievable opportunity to be interviewed by William Tincup and Bryan Wempen on their BlogTalkRadio show: DrivetTruHR.

This was my first opportunity to speak with William and Bryan and I am sorry I haven’t spoken with them earlier! I have interacted with them on Twitter but have not met them anywhere. After speaking with them, these are two engaging and interesting individuals (plus William and I have a passion for Manchester United which is always a solid bonding point).

It was great getting calls from Animal, who is always looking to stir the preverbial “pot”, and a call from Tammy, from the 616 in Michigan. It was just knowing that someone is listening out there, regardless of the fact that I know William and Bryan have an impressive listener base.

Thank you again to William and Bryan and everyone at DriveThruHR for listening to me yesterday. If you want to hear the entire conversation, you may do so here.

Hope you enjoy!

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 ( 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

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.”

The Mobile ATS

Recruiting has been centralized around online applicant tracking systems (ATS) and being tied through traditional, non-mobile compatible applications.  In general terms, the entire application process is fairly lengthy for many companies and could be a detriment to candidates taking time to apply.

Now you introduce mobile phones and how many people rely on them for internet searches.  In a conversation with my brother-n-law, he let me know that he uses his iPhone for every type of search.  He only uses a computer or laptop if he needs to print something else.  I do not think he is in the minority in this regard either.

Mobile recruiting is already important and will only become more necessary in the short term.  But you also need a way for interested candidates to connect with you.

This will probably be an investment for all of us, but to connect and build relationships this is an absolute to be addressed, the sooner the better.  If companies wish to infuse their talent networks, we all must now think about how to merge the mobile world with the existing technology.

The Mobile Market

Everyone seems to have an opinion on mobile marketing and mobile recruiting.  Is it important, when should we get there, will anybody find my content?  Ultimately the answer is anybody that you view as a target is there already.  Is your web site mobile compatible?  This is extremely important on how potential clients, customers or recruits perceive and interact with you.

The positive news is that if you have a company profile on any of the social networks, you should be able to leverage this as a means to connect and drive interest and interact with your followers.  Obviously social networking is an excellent way to interact, participate in conversations and be active.  Activity is important.  If you are all over the place, it will show to your followers.  If you only post jobs, that will reflect on how you utilize the tools available to you.

Like it or not, video is also important.  If you use YouTube, you are all set for mobile viewing which is a huge plus for you already.

In the end, if your web site is not compatible then work to redirect to sites where you maybe viewed and have a more positive user experience.  It truly is more important than you may realize.

New Recruiting Toys

We seem to talk, read and write every day about something new happening in the world of recruiting and – lately – the conversations have concentrated around social networking, mobile apps and video.  Personally, I think these are fantastic tools and certainly the future of recruitment.

Social networking is an ongoing activity and must be focused on each day in order to reap results.  However, conducting searches and making calls/introductions to new candidates seems to be a topic that is not being focused on as much today as it was as little as one year ago.

Is the recent lack of more traditional recruitment talk due to it not being a “sexy” topic or whether recruiters are actually focusing their time more on these emerging tools other recruitment methodologies.

Have you found your sourcing has changed with these new tools?  Are you spending more time searching social media over the channels you were using not too long ago?  Have you revised your approach to candidates at all as a result of social media?

I look forward to your comments!

2009 Social Recruiting Summit

On Monday, November 16th in New York City, the Social Recruiting Summit took place amongst a great crowd of presenters and attendees.  The energy was high and social media/social networking was on everyone’s mind!

Laurie Ruettiman (AKA Laurie Woman) was an awesome MC and one who really gets HR, Recruiting and Social Media.  And she should get it knowing her vast and strong HR background.  Laurie was a perfect choice to MC this event and kudos to ERE for this selection.  Also, yes, Laurie was standing on her soapbox all day!

Fred Wilson, Carmen Hudson, Kelly Dingee, Ben Gotkin, Kerry Noone, Heather Tinguely, John Sumser, Master Burnett, Susan Burns, Gerry Crispin and Jessica Lee all provided excellent insight to social media for recruiting and the only shame is that during the day you had to make choices on who you would like to hear.  These were presenters that were worth coming in, meeting, listening to and interacting with on a variety of topics.

Not only were the presentations great but the networking opportunities were invaluable as well.  It was a chance to meet those that you have Tweeted with for a while, spoken with on the phone or just reconnecting from anther function.

What did I take away from #SocialRecruiting?  I got something out of each presentation I attended but the 5 big ideas that really stuck out in my mind were: 

  • Fred Wilson – Blogs are where people build trust and to build an audience.  Blog every day.  It is hard to do but you have to make time to do it.  And make it a key part of your company web site.
  • Fred Wilson – Identify 3 things you have been doing for over 10 years, stop doing them and replace them with 3 new things.
  • Kerry Noone – Make sure that every comment is followed up on, either by a direct response or by connecting with the right recruiter.  It is important to keep the direct contact going on your social networking sites.
  • Master Burnett (reiterated by Gerry Crispin) – If you are not in the conversation, others will lead it.  This is so powerful and completely TRUE.
  • Jessica Lee – Do it for you and enhance your brand.  People want to get to know you more than they want to know the company.  People will learn about the company through your interactions.

And my bonus take away:

  • Chris Hoyt gave a perfect glimpse at how effective a Google Wave at a conference is to share information, provide insight to others and how it is even a great tool to have the conversations continue even after the conference has ended!

If you couldn’t attend this session, definitely make it part of your 2010 plan.  The information is phenomenal but the connections are invaluable!

A Recruiters Plan

It took me a while, trial and error, but years ago I worked out a plan on how to attack my day and it works for me.  I prioritize my day, start with the most important items and work to the least important.  I remember to build in time for the unexpected phone call or the visitor who stops by the cubical.  This is very simple to implement and stick with but it is equally very easy to forget.

Also, don’t forget the follow up phone calls for feedback!  Make sure to build those in especially!

Do you have a plan when you begin the day?


One of the easiest ways to attract new employees is through current employees and yet this is an area where so many companies struggle in talent identification.  Companies still struggle with employee referral numbers and, while some groups may do it better, it always appears to be an overall company struggle.

What is the psychology behind an employee referral…

Fear of referring poor hire, thinking their name will be tagged on the person they referred?  Hesitancy to refer a friend or family member?  Don’t want to refer someone who may jump me for the next promotion?  These are all valid concerns, and there are many more that I missed.

From an HR perspective, we need to begin (or continue) to think about new approaches to the question “who do you know” for employee referrals.  So many recruiters just don’t ask the questions to lead a person to a potential referral.  This should be the goal on every call, to get connected to someone else.

Should companies look at incentivizing employee referrals (cash bonus, PTO time, gift cards, and sporting event tickets)?  While these are all good options for non-HR employees, recruiters should always be looking at ways to add top talent.

When speaking with an external candidate, I have found, they are willing to talk and either provide a name or pass along information.  If the later happens, a recruiter needs to follow up on this action otherwise it was not a productive call.  As with anything, the follow through is critical, an in a profession that is already scrutinized, it is probably the most important thing a recruiter can do.

The key is to follow through to drive better referral results.  Make it a goal of your day or week, work to get connected and use LinkedIn to build your network this way; it is amazing at what you might achieve.  Social media is opening the door even wider for this activity but it will not be given to you.  Engage, interact and then something good just might happen.