The Closing of 2008

Just a quick final post for the year.

Firstly wishing all my readers a great break and a fantastic new year, be safe and make sure you spend time with your family.

Now to look back on 2008.

  • The year started with a bang working fulltime as Senior Project Manager for Nortel looking after Corporate Systems for Asia Pacific. For followers on Twitter they would have seen my crazy tweets working until 2am and then starting again 5am.
  • By June I was out on my own and had set up Inspecht, with far more control over my hours, but a lot less money
  • The blog & Inspecht both have traffic around 9,000 visitors a month, compared with around 3,000 a year ago
  • I became PRINCE2 certified, as well as Certified in the Principles of Change Management
  • As part of my work on Inspecht
  • Finally created the HR Futures Conference which will be held in Feb 2009

Overall a successful year.

Recruitment eBook available

About a month ago I decided to create an eBook based on some themes from my blog. After looking over the posts I decided to focus on the new trends and practices in recruitment. The eBook is finished and available for purchase at A$15.

Why am I charging if it is based on my blog that is free? Well first up I have pay rent somehow ;-).

No actually the eBook pulls together many of the key trends in recruitment today in a single easy to read 40 page document. I also believe that people tend to value and pay attention to something when they part with money.

Below is a short overview.

There are many ways to find the right candidate and like most things in life, some are more effective than others. Over the last 10 years, the process of finding candidates has moved from predominately print media to online. While this migration has been significant, the real changes have only just begun. With the Internet changing the way we work and communicate, how you find and engage with the workforce to identify the right candidate is also changing.

  • Some of the 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

Social media in big companies

A couple of months ago Telstra joined Twitter via their ISP Big Pond, I and others wrote harshly about how the implementation had been a failure. Since that time the Telstra team have been taking on board the feedback and have made significant changes to the way they engage with people online.  After initially trying to go alone they have engaged with some of the best minds on social media in Australia to change their approach. The changes have been so dramatic I am surprised and impressed.

The original engagement via Twitter was:

@bushgeek Got a BigPond® query?! Ask about BigPond® via this link 5ufhvf & a BigPond consultant will email you back.

Now this is a typical customer engagement via Twitter:

@jackmcintyre It’s a known issue being worked on,we suggest keep calling Tech to get it more attention to get it fixed quicker.

They are also having a bit of fun with people, yesterday was games day:

@BigPondTeam Wow! There are some fast people out there. #1 track currently is ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga for $0.99 and its DRM Free! about 17 hours ago from TweetDeck

@BigPondTeam Who can tell me what is the #1 track on BigPond Music, and how much does it cost to purchase? about 18 hours ago from TweetDeck

@BigPondTeam We are going to try a few different things today, so feel free to play along!! #BPS

They are generating interest in some of the services on offer and yes this is marketing but in a fun way. I played along and to tell you the truth will go back to the Big Pond site to check out what is there.

Telstra also ran a short survey yesterday to get feedback from a number of people on how they were performing on Twitter. Before filling in the survey I thought I would ask my Twitter followers their thoughts as well. Here are a few.

pollyemj @mspecht my only interaction with @BigPondTeam was a bit spooky – just weird to be contacted randomly after i mentioned them in a tweet about 19 hours ago from twhirl in reply to mspecht

joshsharp @mspecht after a terrible start they very quickly took on feedback and turned it around. they’ve actually done a quite good job.. about 19 hours ago from twhirl in reply to mspecht

jurgen @mspecht I think they’re doing a good job. It’s personal and personable. Friendly and forthright. Not just an announcement stream. about 19 hours ago from NatsuLion in reply to mspecht

ourfounder @mspecht I’m obviously across the big pond,but looking over their tweet history I like the voice and regularity of the posts. Good info too. about 19 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to mspecht

After further clarification from @pollyemj I found this interaction was at the start during the corporate robot response period.  The overall feeling matched mine. Terrible start, great improvement.

This gets me to wonder, the employees at Big Pond who are working with their customers in a more human and open fashion are they more engaged employees? Do they now enjoy their job more? Do they trust their employer?

Great places to work in Australia

The Great Place to Work Institute has launched their 2009 program partnering with BRW. They have over 20 years experience in measuring employee engagement from all over the globe, they define a great place to work as one where trust exists.

At the heart of our definition of a great place to work – a place where employees trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with – is the idea that a great workplace is measured by the quality of the three, interconnected relationships that exist there:

  • The relationship between employees and management.
  • The relationship between employees and their jobs/company.
  • The relationship between employees and other employees.

The 2008 Great Places to Work in Australia were:

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  2. Dow Corning
  3. Google
  4. McDonald’s
  5. Morgan Stanley
  6. NetApp
  7. Russell Investments
  8. SEEK Limited

Nominations are open now, so if you feel your workplace is a great place to work head over and nominate it!

Looking for a job? Meet Steve Jobs from JobFeedr

I ran across YAJS (yet another job site) today which is in very early stages of development, they started building it roughly 15 days ago! The site is built by two Sydney guys Mike Nicholls & Dale Hurley.


From their about page: aggregates Job Postings from major job boards in numbers of major cities in Australia, USA and UK it then posts those to custom Twitter channels and RSS feeds by city by and job type.

Basically it aggregates jobs found by type and city into a Twitter feed and an RSS feed. Each combination of city/job type creates a “channel” for job seekers to watch to find a specific job.

My thoughts. 


  • Light weight solution focused on a single goal
  • Global reach
  • Given Twitter primarily has the Tech crowd and early adopters as users they tend to flock to new tools, so this could be a winner
  • Economic downturn means many people will be looking for jobs
  • Pushing jobs to candidates as they are posted


  • Twitter & RSS are still only in the Tech crowd and early adopters
  • It is a very crowded market place, standing out will be an issue
  • Monetization, other than ads I just don’t see it
  • Economic downturn means not many jobs

Summary: Interesting, slightly innovative but not unique.

Having said that no one has really cracked the job market from a candidate’s point of view. We have all sorts of niche job boards, email agents on the large boards and vertical boards all trying to deliver but failing. With some changes they might just be able to do it.

Oh and Steve Jobs is their mascot using comment spam?

Today I woke up to find some comments waiting for approval from a site, a small job board here in Australia. The comments were typical of someone creating comment spam (such as nice site and 🙂 ) and on posts about a competing job board, all from the same IP address but with different mail boxes at the domain.

I deleted them as they add no value to the conversation on this blog.

Did I do the right thing? 

Have you heard of the Velociroflcoptersaurus?

There is a silly little game going on with some fo the IT folks here in Australia, basically to see who can own the word Velociroflcoptersaurus in Google by Jan 13 2009. Given I know very little about SEO I figured why not play and see what I could learn.

I was a little late into the game and some of the key sites on were taken, such as the .com, .net, & But I was able to snag, which is now the official Velociroflcoptersaurus Fan Club!

Now how about a little love from my readers and a link back to There is even a very badly designed badge you can place on your web site.

Social media recruitment strategies

Following on from the 52 social media ideas for HR I have pulled together a few ideas on ways to improve your organisation’s recruitment strategy. They are based around seven key principles

  1. Transparency
  2. Conversation
  3. Wisdom of Crowds
  4. Data is Key
  5. Speed
  6. Reuse
  7. Rich User Experience
Here is a the slide show for you:

New jobs site for Australian web developers

While watching my Twitter stream today I saw a Tweet about a new job board, Web Freelancers just for Australian and New Zealand developers. There are other freelance boards around some like RentACoder, elance, and oDesk provide major management tools (billing, time taking etc).

Right now WebFreelancers is free to post a job, so if you have a small web development job pop it up there as it will cost you nothing.

The posting process is quick and easy, with the job ad remaining on the site for 30 days. A bit of an issue as you don’t know if you are applying for a closed job, but I’m sure easy to fix.

New career ideas for IT workers

CIO just published a great list of 24 new careers for IT professionals who are no longer in IT, covering project managers, help desk operators, software developers, BAs, and Testers. The best one Help Desk should become phone sex workers cause they are good on the phone!

Here is a summary of the article:

IT Project Managers

  • Wedding/Event Planners: Making sure a wedding comes off without a hitch will seem like a breeze after dealing with the millions of variables involved in a software project. Dealing with Bridezilla, however…well, perhaps not so much.
  • Professional Organizers: You can use your organizational skills to get other people’s lives in order, and you’ll make a bundle doing it.
  • Personal Trainers/Martial Arts Instructor: Use your self-discipline to discipline others into getting in shape.
  • Symphony Conductors: If you’re musically inclined, you can combine your ability to keep teams of people on task with your musical interests to conduct an orchestra.

Help Desk

  • Entrepreneurs: Use your winning personality and customer service orientation to buy a franchise or start your own business.
  • Sales reps: If starting your own business sounds too risky, you can use your engaging personality to sell luxury goods in a high-end boutique, pharmaceuticals to doctors or software to CIOs.
  • Recruiters: Recruiters solve companies’ staffing problems, and they’re known for their sunny dispositions.
  • Customer service reps: The best customer service workers, like the best help desk workers, remain calm in stressful situations and are able to impose that calm on others.
  • Social Workers/Psychologists: These professions leverage your desire to help others.
  • Phone Sex Workers: You’re good on the phone, right?

Software Developer

  • Technical Writers: Software developers are uniquely qualified to excel as technical writers.
  • Novelists: Writing fiction is a heady intellectual challenge and a great way to exercise your imaginative side. But note that unless you win the Oprah’s Book Club lottery you likely won’t be able to quit your day job.
  • Mathematicians: Many computer scientists majored in math in college. Moving into a career in math wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
  • Musicians: Another way to indulge your creative side is through music.
  • Architects: Architects combine the best of left-brain and right-brain thinking, much like the best software developers.

Business Analysts

  • Translators/Interpreters: Good business analysts are effective interpreters and translators of business requirements. Your mind is suited to do the same with a foreign language.
  • Reporters/Journalists: Your ability to ask specific questions and elicit information from taciturn people would serve you very well if you chose to pursue a career as a reporter. With your tech background, you could easily become an IT journalist.
  • Conflict Negotiators/Mediators: Use your diplomatic skills to resolve conflicts among students in schools, inner-city gangs or pugilistic nations.
  • Dentists: You’re good at pulling teeth, right?

QA Testers

  • Copy-editors: If you know the fundamentals of grammar and composition, you can apply your ability to find errors in code to finding mistakes on the page.
  • Product inspectors: Use your QA mindset to inspect a product other than software.
  • Wine-tasters: If your palate and nose are as discriminating as your mind, you’d make Bacchus proud as a good wine-taster.
  • Movie reviewers: Apply your discerning eye to something fun.
  • Exterminators: Why not kill real bugs?