Writing an eBook

I have been reviewing many of my posts from the last 18 months and decided to try and turn some of them into an eBook, estimated about 40-50 pages. At this stage the book will cover the impact of web 2.0/social media on recruitment, exact title unknown. While a majority of the content is available on the blog the eBook will for purchase and available by download. As part of the book development I hope to weave together many of the thoughts and ideas from the blog into a bit of a road map, providing tips, hints and links for the reader.

Some of the topics I will be covering are:

  • Key trends in recruitment
  • Where candidates can be hiding
  • How to engage with candidates and get them to want to work for your organisation
  • How to use free tools to identify potential applicants
  • To which aspects of social media you should be paying attention

Availability, soon I hope.

The price will be around US$25 I think, is that too high or too low?

Meet Australian Oracle Recruiter David Talamelli

When it comes to corporates’ who blog the typical names mentioned have been Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, and IBM. One company who has been quietly working away at their social media strategy is Oracle. Globally they have hundreds of blogs, a customer focused wiki, employees on Twitter and in general tackling social media on all fronts.

In Australia Oracle has been working hard to engage with bloggers and social media, with several employees having blogs, such as The Red Room, interacting on Twitter and Facebook. What interests me more is Oracle Australia has one of the very few internal recruiters in Australia, David Talamelli, who blog. I have caught up with David for coffee, interacted on Twitter and on our blogs and very impressed with the things he is doing so I felt it would be good to sit down with him and learn a bit more. 

Without anymore introduction below is my short interview with David, I hope you enjoy it.

How long have you been a recruiter?

I have been in IT Recruitment since 1999 my initial focus has been on recruiting in Australia over the past few years this has expanded to the APAC region.

Tell us about your work experience?

My first role was working in an Agency Environment with a company called GAP IT, this was a very sales focused role and I was responsible for meeting my monthly sales targets, I was in this role from 1999-2002. In 2002 I moved into an onsite role at Hewlett Packard where I was responsible for sourcing and managing HP’s Contract Workforce. The recruitment at HP was a combination of high volume recruitment and sourcing for specialist roles. In early 2006 I joined Oracle’s growing APAC Recruitment Team as it expanded its presence in the region. I am coming up to 3 years in Oracle and am quite proud of some of the successes we have been able to achieve.

How about your education, formal, informal?

I graduated from Laurentian University (Canada) in 1996 with a Bachelor Degree (honours) in Psychology. Since that time I have also completed a Graduate Degree in HR Management at Monash University. I have attended many Recruitment Training Events and Seminars – the two presenters who I have found most beneficial/influential are 1) David Carman from CarmanWhite Training and 2) Shally Steckerl who is a Web 2.0 Recruiting Specialist from the US. I also enjoyed hearing from Kevin Wheeler when he was in AU recently.

How long have you been blogging?

I set up http://oraclerecruiter.blogspot.com in January this year and had posted a few posts here and there, but I really started blogging regularly about 6 months ago.

Who or what was your inspiration to start blogging?

I am always open to new ideas to recruit/identify people and actually tried blogging in 2007 to help me in filling a role I had to recruit for. At the time I did not get the response I was looking for via the blog, but it did get me thinking about blogging for my role. I set up this blog in January this year and after talking to my management a few months later they really sparked an interest in me in getting this going. At first it was hard to see the return or value in blogging but I am now seeing it become an important part of our sourcing strategy.

What approvals did you have to go through internally to Oracle before starting the blog?

Oracle has a Blogging Policy that all employees must abide by. I had to ensure that I worked within these guidelines. My management has been very supportive and helpful with regards to my blog.

Given Oracle is a large publically listed company did they provide you media training before starting the blog?

No, I have not had any media training, however our PR/Marketing Team are always there for assistance when I need to run something past them or make sure that my commentary is correct.

Does Oracle have guidelines on what you can or cannot blog about?

Yes we do, there are a number of items that we are not able to disclose information about.

Do you feel blogging has helped with your role at Oracle?

At first, I was not sure if blogging was assisting me in my role, as the viewers and subscribers was relatively low (I was thinking is anyone actually reading this?). However over the past 6 months I have seen my daily blog viewers and subscribers increase dramatically. I find blogging a great forum to reach out to and connect to people and give them an overview of some of the interesting things that we are doing. I think people reading my blog get value in the blog entries I write but it also gives people the opportunity and avenue to explore roles with us that they otherwise may not be aware of.

What would be your one greatest success story from your blogging?

I get people from around the world contacting me to comment on my blog, or send me their resume, or just getting touch with me from my blog. I think the biggest success is that this gives me an opportunity to reach a large audience and share with them my thoughts, ideas which people are enjoying. From a recruitment perspective – I recently advertised and searched for a number of developers in Australia for a project I was recruiting for. The blog address was listed on our advertising and as candidates clicked on the blog link there was a story about the roles and the project in full detail. This gave candidates a full overview of what was expected and helped streamline the process for me as when I connected with these candidates they already had a good idea of what we were doing. I think this separated and differentiated us from the rest of the companies advertising.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge about writing a blog?

At first I thought I would not have enough to talk about, however after 6 months I have found that this is not the case at all. Blogging also took up a considerable amount of my time in the initial stages as I was getting the layout correct, the coding right, still getting my creative thoughts flowing, etc…. However now that it is up and running it has become a much more time-effective tool.

If someone was thinking about starting a recruitment related blog, what advice would you want to give them?

If someone is going to start a recruitment blog, I would recommend that they do it for the right reasons, I think a blog is a means to help you interact with your audience not to sell to them. Recruiters can tend to focus only on filling the role(s) they are recruiting for, however a blog is a long term investment and it is not necessarily just there to collect resumes. Use it as a means to talk to people and be honest in your communication – you should treat your online relationships with people the same way you treat people in person.

What other blogs do you read and why do you recommend them?

Most of the blogs I read are either Recruitment or Oracle focused. I have 9 Blogs listed on my Blog they are: ERE.net, IT Brief, iTNews Australia, The Red Room, Michael Specht – discussions on HR, enterprise …, PR 2.0 (Brian Solis Blog), Shally Steckerl’s Blog, Six Figures Blog

What other social media tools do you use?

I am listed on many of the social media tools available however there are so many social media tools/websites available I mainly use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and my Blog.

Any final comments or words of wisdom?

I think with blogging just like anything else, you only get out of blogging what you put in. It is a lot of work to set up and get running and to maintain but it is also very rewarding as well.

Second Life Business Teleconferencing

Today Second Life & Red River announced a new service called “Immersive Workspaces” providing an special area on the Second Life grid to allow business meetings to take place. 

Some of the interesting features of the system:

Organizations then have the option of a completely exclusive and secure experience, with no connectivity to the Second Life mainland, or a connected experience that enables employees to traverse the two domains without having to log on or off.

 A set of tightly integrated web-based applications and the ability to seamlessly upload and integrate real world content – e.g., PowerPoint – brings enterprise-level efficiency and flexibility into a virtual world.

But I have to agree with Silicon Alley Insider *yawn*, even the YouTube video demo is fairly meaningless the interaction did not need this new immersive workspace to finalise a presentation.

Now at least the annoucement by Nortel (disclosure I use to work there) in August of their web.alive project had some useful features.

“People are no longer satisfied with existing collaboration tools or with static web sites supported only by a telephone contact center as the main point of interaction. They want to discuss potential purchases with others, exchange ideas, make business proposals, and fluidly interact with others in real-time,” said Arn Hyndman, web.alive chief architect. “Additionally, web.alive will offer security not available with other virtual environments today because it is integrated with corporate enterprise systems and software.”

The intergration with enterprise security systems is key for using these virtual worlds for business transactions. Why? Because this integration the provides the identity foundation that trust and repuation can be built.

But will these virtual world applications revolutionise corporate collaboration, not in their current state.

10 Recruiting trends for 2009

As the world economies seems to be collapsing around us what will be the best practices in recruiting for 2009? Will video resumes be the killer app? Will niche job boards take over from the big boards? Will social media be the killer app?

Nope, none of these alone will get you the best candidates. Sorry.

If the economies do completely collapse there are a couple of outcomes; unemployment will rise as companies go under and people in secure jobs will be less likely to want to move. At the same time companies will need to do more with less and work hard to keep good talent.

So where should you focus?

  1. Quality of hire. Some people looking for jobs will be B grade, from layoffs, while some will be A grade. Given companies will be operating on thin margins you cannot afford to recruit the wrong person, ever! 
  2. Time to hire. While there will be more candidates to choose from, as with quality the time to hire will still be critical. 
  3. ROI, ROI, ROI. Every single recruiting activity must provide a positive return on investment. You can no long afford to just engage agencies to find candidates, it must be justified and most likely a last resort.
  4. Use your talent pool. Following on from the previous point companies that leverage the data in their talent management systems will reduce the time to hire and cost to hire. 
  5. Look for innovative and cost effective advertising. Post 10 job ads on the biggest job board for $1,000 might seem easy but is it the best use of the $1,000? Maybe providing micro-sponsorship to an industry event will get you in front of better candidates.
  6. Branding. Everyone is talking about it, but it is true. If people want to come ane work for your organisation you are half way there to hiring them. The best people want to work for the best organisations, no matter what the economy is doing.
  7. Referrals. Time and time again referrals provide the highest quality hire at the lowest cost.
  8. Social media. While it will not save you, social media will help. Look at social media to help improve your brand, and engage with top talent.
  9. Social networking. As with social media it will not save you but it will help you find candidates and improve your brand. Not to mention the ROI is very high.
  10. Learn to use search engines to find candidates.

You might look at the list and think, so what’s new? Well not a lot. It is just how you apply the processes which differs.


Checkout medical jobs at Health Jobs USA.

Tips for laying off employees in a social media world

Over the weekend Techcrunch posted about the layoffs traking place due to the economic downturn. There are two main themes in the post; first some of the layoffs are clearing out of dead wood and the other being it is hard to keep layoffs a secret when everyone is a publisher.

To the first point. This is not new companies have always used downturns to shed deadwood, not sure why this was even raised by Michael Arrington. 

The second point is far more interesting and will have major impacts on employers for years to come. In a world where anyone can publish, and does, how you manage this process is critical.

But in the age of everyone-is-a-publisher it takes just a second after someone is walked out the door for them to post about it on Twitter or their blog, and it spreads from there.

Blog posts, tweets, video content all remain in search engine caches for a very long time, if not forever! Which means if you are thinking of cutting back here are some tips for doing so in a social media world, some of these are just plain common sense.

  1. Do it quickly, ok this is always the case but even more so now. Use the old carpenter’s rule “measure twice, cut once” the last thing you want to people having multiple chances of publishing about the process.
  2. Remember the jobs you are cutting have people in them. Treat them that way.
  3. But also remember humans do not make rational logical decisions based on information given to them. They will instead pattern match with either their own experience, or collective experience expressed as stories. This usually means they will react poorly initially.
  4. Provide employees some advice about being careful if vent online, make sure if they do it will not lead to nasty legal battles down the track.
  5. Expect things to be blogged, tweeted, and generally discussed. 
  6. Monitor the internet to see what is being said. Allow people to vent but if needed gently correct the messages if they are blatantly wrong.
  7. Don’t get into a online publishing war over the smallest of things published, sometimes ignoring it is the best option. The more times search engines find a topic the higher they rank it in the results. Also bloggers tend to react quickly and harshly don’t give them additional fuel to write about.
  8. Communicate with the employees who are leaving, but do so honestly and openly, limit the corporate bullsh#t.
  9. Communicate with the employees who are staying, again do so honestly and openly, limit the corporate bullsh#t.
  10. Setup a Facebook alumni group (if you don’t have one), automatically invite all of the employees who are leaving. Remember some will be boomerangs.
  11. Setup an internal wiki to allow the people leaving to document their knowledge in a central location. This way you might collect some of the knowledge that is leaving before it leaves.
  12. Communicate to your customers, suppliers, media, analysts and blogosphere what is going on and why.
  13. Make sure you are not applying double standards with your executive team as this will certainly get people talking. 
  14. Make sure the rest of the organisations is also cutting back on expenses. If you keep people flying first class while laying off employees this will also get people talking.
  15. Highlight the other cost cutting measures that the organisation is taking to show layoffs aren’t the only thing.
  16. It is a great time to have the CEO start an blog, this will show them as a real person a factor that should not be overlooked during this period of change.
  17. Finally make sure you pay severance packages fairly and on time.
These are my initial thoughts, have to head off and join the family but chip in with your own while I am gone.


The Cluetrain rides again

Almost 10 years ago Chris Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger and Rick Levine published a book that was going to change the way we saw the world, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

The basic premise in the book is that markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, and honest, sometimes even direct. Basically you can’t fake it.

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to engage in a corporate monotone of mission statements, product strategies and , marketing brochures.

However everything is now changing. People are connecting, and working together. The Internet is enabling these conversations and there is nothing corporations can do to stop it.

With the book are 95 theses that summarise everything into a nice simple message. Yesterday I was re-reading them and wanted to share them with you all. So I created a quick slideshow, enjoy!

Social media in recruiting

Over the last few months I have had many discussions with people both inside and outside the recruitment industry over how to use all these new “web 2.0” tools for recruiting. Mostly in the context of tapping into the Gen Y market, which is not the right approach, more on that later. While some already get it, I felt it was probably good to lay out some ideas for you all, if this is preaching to the choir sorry come back on the next post.

The first thing to realise is “web 2.0” has been built on a number of fundamental principles, and that to succeed you need to understand them all. The principles are summarised below, however it would take a blog post (or more) on each to fully break them down when it comes to recruiting.

  1. Transparency
  2. Conversation
  3. Wisdom of Crowds
  4. Data is Key
  5. Speed
  6. Reuse
  7. Rich User Experience

With the above principles out of the way, on to social media in recruiting.

Hang on, before that don’t we need a strategy?


Building a social media strategy in to your organisation recruitment strategy is not something that can be done overnight, or by a select few within the organisation. The strategy needs to take into account many different factors, such as organisational history, culture, values, industry, funding, and above all commitment. Just putting a “Share on Facebook” link at the bottom of a job ad IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!! Likewise creating just a Facebook group IS NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY!!These are not the easiest things to work through, in the meantime here some generalised areas where you could apply social media in recruiting:

  • Sponsor some blogs to help prospective candidates understand what it is like to work at your company, or what the recruitment process is like
  • Create a Facebook group for your graduate recruits
  • Having a YouTube channel for videos about your organisation, not just corporate sanctioned ones
  • Using social networks to source candidates
  • Use social networks to develop relationships with potential candidates
  • Have your employees & managers run online career fairs, talk about life in the company, court potential talent using social media
  • Setup an internal tagging site to allow anyone in the company to “tag” people who might be potential future employees
  • Teach manager how to use RSS, alerts to find out when people are discussing your company and products, as they could be potential candidates
  • Publish exit interview answer (personal details removed) on the internal intranet so everyone can see why people are leaving
  • Embrace the principles of “web 2.0” and rework your end to end recruitment process, ok this is not just social media but it would help with the candidate experience

I could go on and on, however I serious encourage you not to undertake any of these without fully understanding the broader impact of what you are doing. While yes would should start small, but social media has a funny way of getting out of control so if you are not ready for the results you might have some difficult discussions with marketing. 

If you want a social media strategy for recruiting give me a call, sorry for the shameless plug but I am getting sick of so called “experts” in social media putting their hand up to help organisations when it comes to recruitment, branding and talent acquisition or retention. Only to have the opportunities being wasted.

HR Technology Best Practice

Over night I received the results from Cedar Crestone’s 2008-2009 HR Technology survey, while I am yet to digest the full report, a quick review of the document and the assocaited press release reveal some interesting facts. Oh, the statistics are mainly North American focused but if history has shown me anything they predict a general trend for Australian organisations.

Some of the interesting points:

  • Use of administrative applications are obiovusly mature, however the results are showing an initial movement from in?house to software?as-a?service (SaaS) solutions. Now is this driving vendors or are vendors driving this move, not sure.
  • Talent management applications are very important and that these applications are helping organisations deliver higher financial performance.
  • The Employee Self Service and Manager Self Service trend is still deliverying value and reducing the size of HR departments and improving transaction cycle times.
  • Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 is still the arena of early adopters, with the biggest area of usage being recruiting and branding. The survey shows that organisations using these tools had double the sales growth of organisations that did not. This reminds me I really need to push/define my Enterprise 2.0 services more.
  • A final theme change management is the one key differentiator towards achieving a successful HR technology project. Which is good news as this is another key services of Inspecht.

Some points emerged in the results that I want to cover further.

those taking an integrated talent management approach strongly outpace organizations with a best of breed approach on operating income growth nearly three times (13.1% vs. 4.8%)!

Now it is important to understand the definition of integrated; “If two or more of the talent management applications are from the same vendor as the underlying HR management system, they were designated as having an “integrated” talent management approach.”

This little nugget seems to go directly against previous research reports that we shoud be moving towards a Core HRIS vendor and a Core Talant Management vendor. Could it be ouch for folks like Taleo who are heavily pushing their Unified Talent Management approach? Or one could say the Cedar’s history as an ERP implementation consulting firm might bias the results? I don’t think so.


Today’s talent management tools from best of breed vendors tend to focus mainly of recruitment, preformance management and sometimes compensations management. What they miss is learning management, which is key for developing one’s internal talent pool. Could this missing link be the key to why organisations who have a fully integrated environment are returning greater financial results?

Another result showed that organisations with comptency management achieved significant sales growth. Comptencies form the core of being able to manage your employees, aka talent. With separate systems it is very hard to have a consistent comptency framework so most organisations either do it very poorly or not at all.

Some further reading and analysis of the full report is in order.

Capitalism & Poverty

Today is blog action day, and the topic is poverty. I was wondering what to write about and decided on the topic below.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been reading The Wal-Mart Effecthttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=inspecht-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B001CJP2OC, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the globalisation of business. Overall the book is an eye opener to the way one of the largest corporations in the history of mankind operates.

Throughout the book Charles Fishman highlights several examples of where through Wal-Mart’s drive to have the lowest prices all the time is, in my mind, actually causing harm to not just America but countries all over the globe.

An example, health insurance in the state of Georgia as of writing over 10,000 children of Wal-mart employees we enrolled in the state insurance program for poor children who had parents who worked for Wal-Mart. the next highest employer in the state was 734. Now ignoring the size differences Wal-Mart had 1 child for every 4 employees while the next employer was 1 in 22.

There are stories after stories in the book of the impact that this massive company is having on people’s lives not just in America but all over the globe. While the drive to have the lowest prices all the time is smart for business at one level. When you get to the size of Wal-Mart it can have a devastating effect on organisations and people. Dare I say it possibly driving some into poverty, and not just in western countries they could in fact be keeping some people in poverty by pressuring manufactures to keep their prices down.


Oracle Social CRM Part Two

I started this post yesterday but was interrupted by meetings and personal life, so now back to my discussion with Oracle on their Social CRM offerings.

I said the tools were limited in functionality, but let me explain in more detail. They are NOT limited in functionality within the firewall, but external user generated content is not something that seems to be in the current products. Yes you can use your favourite social network to background check potential customers. I can understand some of the reasons behind this but the options should still have been incorporated.

The products have a nifty looking UI, some of which is modelled on what looks like Apple’s iTunes. For example the Sales Library product allows user to flick through presentations by tag or to search traditionally. If you like a slide drag it to your area, then continue browsing. Once you have all of the slides you want, download and Sales Library creates a brand new powerpoint chart pack based on your selected slides. You now make your own changes and then upload the revised product for others to use. A great tool for building those sales presentations.  What is missing is linkages to tools like SlideShare to bring in user generated content.

The linkage with social networking tools of your choice allow you to complete detailed research on your existing and potential customers. for example if you are selling a new eLearning system, go find out which sports team the learning manager supports, what their favourite hobbies are, where they went to school. 

The tools have a fantastic integration with the iPhone allowing seamless integration with the CRM products. Which for example if you make a phone call to a CRM contact, automatically updates the CRM from the iPhone handset over the air that the call was made. The CRM tool provides a nice interface showing appointments, tasks and contact all over the air from your CRM on Demand product. Just wait, get lost on your way to see a client, a single click on the CRM contact on your iPhone and you have the Google map appearing showing the location.

A final thought I know more a more companies who are using traditional CRM tools as part of the recruitment process to manage the relationship with candidates. The additions into the Oracle product line make this application even more compelling.