Plans for 2013

Just a short update and a small reflection.

At this stage nothing set in stone, still talking to a few people and looking at the jobs on offer.

My review of next steps has me looking in two different directions both equally interesting; IT project management ideally in HR Technology (either vendor or customer) or advise and consulting most likely with a vendor or consulting firm. Both options interest me and I think allow my skills to be used to add value to an organisation.

I have applied for a number of jobs and while none have been a 100% match to my skill set I have been interested in the deafening silence from recruiters. The ATS talks to me on application but to date not a single follow up either automated or personal. Not surprise by this as the roles are not a 100% match, however I had expected something. The general application process has been fairly painless each time but a few thoughts:

  • Cover letters, I really hate not knowing who I am addressing the cover letter. This anonymous recruiter ends up with “Sir or Madam” which just does not feel right, nor is it personal which is my style.
  • Cover letters take the most time in the application process I think they are very important as they allow you to highlight how your skills can meet specific requirements outlined in the job ad.
  • Many job ads are uninspiring and some even turned me off applying because they seems so dull. Now this could be a good thing as if the ad reflects the culture of the organisation, there is a self selection process taking place. This is bad if the ad reflects the recruiter’s culture and not that of their client’s as I suspect on a few occasions.
  • Job ads still have typos and many I find lack sufficient detail to work out what the role does other than generic “manage projects”.
  • Some job ads have so stringent must haves I wonder if there are candidates out there to match.
  • The actual application process has tended to be 50% through the job boards own tool and 50% through the advertiser’s ATS.
  • Employers seem to use their ATS for direct applications, recruiters the job boards tools.
  • Only a few ATS’s have asked me to write “War and Peace” or answer many questions.

I suspect in the next few weeks I will find a role and will certainly update once it is set in stone.

Search Update

A bit of an update.

Yes the networks do work, got a few interesting leads and a couple of meetings to follow up to see where things might go.

In addition I have been reviewing my resume and looking at what I enjoy doing as a step to determine the right sort of role and organisation for me in 2013.

The first part of this process is very hard I hate writing my own resume, I can look at other peoples and give advice but my own is much harder! As part of this I have actually considered getting some professional help on it, mostly to see if it improves my chances of landing a cool job. I would definitely do it if I could conduct some A/B type testing on the same job and see which (if either) got interviews. But as a preparation step I have uploaded my current resume to my blog, still need get a link on the front page and update LinkedIn most likely over the weekend.

The second part is trying to decide what type of role and organisation I want to work for. As part of this process I remembered a post I wrote a few years ago about a tool, CMy People, to help to long term unemployed get back into the workforce, while not long term unemployed I figured reviewing it would be a good idea. As part of the feedback process I was very lucky to have Kevin Chandler from Chandler Macleod give me the feedback a very amazing experience still to this day.

So what job can I do? In general he stated I was intellectual and could basically do any job I wanted as long as it held my interest. To determine the best job Kevin reviewed my key interests from a list of key words, based on these I have a 98% fit for a Web Development type role. While he felt I could do any role there were a few he indicated I would not be as good at as others: General Manager, CEO, Magistrate or Medical Scientist. Finally my personality is one of a high degree of self control.

Now those that know me well would probably laugh at me being a “real” developer but I feel the context of a development type role is fairly true. I like the process of creation and seeing a substantial end result, a primary reason for my interest in project style work and probably a reason I have changed roles (not necessarily companies) every 2 years. However a part of the review of the role the key portion that rang true to me was the comment, “as long as it held my interest”.  This means a project style role that was not within my interests area probably would not work.

These thoughts provide additional weight to my idea that going back to project management/pre-sales for a software vendor, into a consulting firm, or part of project management team inside an organisation would be the best idea. Now to just sort out my resume to match these types of roles and start on a list of employers.

The search

As I mentioned earlier I have been busy, I still am but now looking at my next steps and that will most likely result in some employment arrangement within an organisation. I have just started this journey but I do need to find something for March 2013.

I have spent a little time looking over my LinkedIn contacts and a few quick searches on jobs boards, reached out to a couple of contacts and even contacted a recruiter or two. Already a few of things have jumped out at me:

  • Most recruiters have not changed, while I have only had contact with a limited selection but I believe not much has changed. That is sad.
  • Seek is still top.
  • There a “truck loads” of IT jobs. (Most are not me.)
  • There are very little strategic HR Technology roles (I have had job alerts in place for 4 years and no change).
  • I have no idea what type of organisation I want to join.
  • I have several ideas on what type of role I would like, but given my background they vary from software pre-sales to HCM consulting to IT management.

An idea occurred to me today. I might document my process of finding employment in 2013. It might be interesting. It also could be boring, also it might not be a new idea (it probably isn’t, well I know it isn’t but Ellison has some ideas about what she wanted).

What I do think will be interesting is I have a five thousand followers on Twitter, close to 700 LinkedIn connections, a blog (this one) that at one point had over 25K unique visitors a month, I have spoken many times in the last 5 year, run conferences and traveled the world combining HR and technology.

So it should not be that hard to find something that will excite me. Or will it?

4 years on some thoughts

I was have a chat with an old colleague this afternoon and we were discussing where social media has gone in the last few years, specifically around recruitment.

Which got me thinking. You know where has social media gone? This then took me back in time to some of the crazy ideas I had about what one could achieve with social media, specifically inside the enterprise.

About 4 years ago I published a list of 52 Social Media ideas for HR, at the time I had not seen a single consolidated list of ideas documenting the various ways these tools could help transform an organisation and its business practices. Now some of the ideas (and sites mentioned) are not relevant or the benefit just not lived up to the hype. However other ideas, actually more the philosophy of the idea, I firmly believe are still important to engagement of your current and future employees.

For example allowing your employees to engage in frank, open, constructive discussions internally, leveraging your workforce for referrals, focusing on “headcontent” not headcount, are all still as relevant as they were 4 years ago and I suspect will be relevant in 5-10 more years.

I am interested and if I find the time I might start a research project to find examples of all 52 ideas to see if anyone actually implemented any of these “crazy” ideas! I  know some organisations have implemented similar concepts as I discussed which is not surprising as most people floating around the social media circles at the time would have come to the same conclusions.

But these are just my thoughts, you might disagree, let me know especially if your organisation has implemented a similar idea.

ATC Social Media Presentation

Here is my presentation from the ATC Social Media event. My main messages that I hope people took away were:

  • Using social media for marketing is ok, but engagement and community is better
  • Engagement and community is harder than just a Twitter account or Facebook
  • Social Media is not easy, nor is it free
  • True engagement with social media is about people conversing with people, not brands servicing people
  • CFO’s like to talk about dollars

Social media and the elephant in the room

Once again a longtime between drinks, however this post might start to demonstrate why.

For many months I have felt that something is not right in the world of social media. The problem was I have not been able to put my finger on the issue.

I happened to read a post over at Social Media Today that might help to shed some light on the issue. To sum the post up in a few words – we have lost the social in social media.

Ernest Barbaric discusses how the Human Factor in Social Media has disappeared:

Go to almost any brand’s twitter account and you’ll see exactly what most marketers get wrong. There is little more then business updates. No conversation, no relationship building, no questions being asked or answered. Just another “blast post”, a sad remnant of traditional one-way thinking.

Very sad really.

Maybe I am just a cranky old man, but please go read Cluetrain Manifesto and maybe I will start to enjoy what you put out on the Internet again.

Who owns your employer brand?

BPLast week while I was at ATC Sydney there was lots and lots of talk about employer brands and who really controls them in today’s social media world. For example Steve Fogarty, Recruiting Captain, from adidas in North America covered the topic highlighting that recruiters need to think more like marketers to attract top talent, not to mention that everything that happens online create meta-data about your brand. Kevin Wheeler touched on the topic during his closing keynote saying the personal brands are taking over from corporate brands.

So what does this mean?

Like consumer brands your employer brand is not longer “owned” by you the employer, candidates, employees, ex-employees, analysts, everyone can now shape how your brand is viewed by the world. From a consumer perspective just look at the fake BP Public Relations Twitter account, who has many thousands more followers than the real BP PR team, and their comedic look at what is shaping up to the worlds largest environmental disaster. Every tweet has a hashtag #bpcares creating a creative and funny stream of tweets however I doubt the BP PR team is very happy.

About 3 weeks ago Facebook released a new feature, Community Pages (read the official blog post) where they are aggregating Wikipedia content, along with user generated post from across the web to create a “profile” of brands, places, organisation etc. The difference between these pages and corporate sponsored pages is that right now no one controls the content on the Community Page! Now Facebook has said they are looking for passionate people to help curate the pages content. But for now your brand is at the mercy of automated collection of content. To make matters worse Facebook profile pages have been changed and now there are links attached to employers, likes and interests, favorite books, music and movies!

You do not own what Facebook is displaying on these new Community Pages, and you may never own the content.

Still think you own your employer brand?

Social networking and reputational risk in the workplace

Over 6 months ago Deloitte released their 2009 report on ethics and the workplace this time focusing on impact social computing is having on reputation risk for organisations. The results are very interesting, and given the recent background checking and social media discussions, they also impact individuals and their online reputation.

reputation

Let’s review the result:

  • 74% of employees said it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media
  • 58% of executives agree that reputational risk & social networking should be a board room issue, but only 15% say it actually is
  • 53% of employees think employers should stay out of their social networking pages
  • 40% of executives disagree with employees and 30% informally monitor sites
  • 61% of employees said even if employers did monitor they would not change their online behavior, because they know it’s not private, and have already made significant adjustments to their online profiles
  • Almost 50% of employees said they would not change their online behavior if their company had a policy
  • 27% of employees do not consider the ethical consequences

These figures worry me because to quote James Lovell; “Houston, we have a problem”. (Yes I know he did not actually say that but the real quote won’t work.)

74% of employees agree it’s easy to damage a company’s reputation on social media but only 27% actually think about it.

So let’s break this down

For me this calls for more education of people about their activities online so let’s re-look at The Mother Test:

  1. Make sure you have a consistent profile you are willing to show your mother. It is very hard if not impossible to remain completely anonymous online, even if you never use your real name. For example I know of several bloggers who blog under anonymous names, but I also know who they really are.
  2. Make sure you don’t do/say anything you would not be proud to show your mother. You might not want your mother to see what you have done, but if you had to show her and example yourself would you be proud of what you had done?
  3. Make sure you don’t post pictures/videos you would not be willing to show your mother. Like doing or saying things online, if you had to explain yourself could you and would you be proud of what you have done?
  4. Is your reputation online one your mother would be proud of? You might not specifically say or post anything that is suspect but we all have a reputation, even on sites that are password protected.
  5. Would your activities online make your mother trust you? Trust is the ultimate test of what you are doing and defines your integrity, ability, or character.

(Image: Flickr)

Unique Video Usage

If you have been following some of the other HR and Recruitment blogs in Australia there has been a bit of talk about using video, even I joined the discussions with a bit of a technology review.

Today I want to highlight a fairly unique use of YouTube Video. (If you are in marketing circles you might have seen this already.)

Ad agency BooneOakley moved their whole web site on to YouTube! Yes you heard it their whole web site onto YouTube.

Do brands have a Dunbar’s number?

Well do they?150

(You do know what Dunbar’s number is right?)

This question was posed by Manu Prasad over in India, thanks to Gautam Gosh for pointing it out.

Manu ponders that:

if there was a Dunbar number for brands, dictated by the number of people the brand can connect with- internally as well as externally? There are two things I read recently which added to the thought. One was the idea of the Intention Economy (via Surekha) which “grows around buyers” and is “about markets, not marketing”, and which is builts beyond transactions alone – conversations, reputation, authority, respect all of which are earned by the sellers and buyers. This is a provisional idea, the other is a report from 360i (via Mashable) which states that “that a majority of social media search listings that appear for brand-related queries are created by individuals not affiliated with the brand”, an increasing trend.

An interesting concept because behind each brand online is a person, an individual who wants to get out and make a difference. Remember when we engage either online or offline it is about one on one relationships and conversations.

Back to our brand and its people. Each of these people are in fact limited by Dunbar’s number. So does that mean a brand is limited by the number of people they have online times 150?

Thought provoking.

(A side note my view is Dunbar’s number applies to people and specific contexts. For example if you are in a social mode while using a service you can only have meaningful connections with 150 people. While if the next day you are using the same service for business you might interact with a completely different set of 150 people.)