Talent Circles

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Uniting Open Networks and Hierarchy in Talent Networks

"We can walk our road together
If our goals are all the same.
We can run alone and free
If we pursue a different aim.
Let the truth of love be lighted,
Let the love of truth shine clear.
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty,
With the Heart and Mind united in a single perfect Sphere."

--Neil Peart, The Sphere: A Kind of Dream

Again with the Millennials and Generation Y. Those were the first words out of his mouth and I immediately became polarized to my previous points of Generation Now.

The ones about treating everyone non-generationally and talking with them straight. That being passionate about what you do is one of the most important tenets of the world of work, ever, regardless of when you were born. That today we’re not only loyal and committed to the work that moves and schools us, but also to the people who are part of that committed work — because that’s the work that moves us to do greater things for the world.

That’s the work that makes it easier for startups to start up and for established companies to grow — creating new jobs and replacing some of those lost over the past five years, including full-time, part-time, flex time, contract, and project work, and any combination of those and more that you can imagine. That’s the work that transforms technologies, processes, communities, and the very heart and soul of the world.

At least that’s what thought at first listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s keynote at this year’s SHRM Conference & Exposition in Atlanta. Because he said, “Let’s talk about Millennials.”

But that’s not where he went at all. In fact, speaking of being “moved and schooled” in the end, I certainly was. No, where he went was talking about two generational differences that do exist – and should co-exist.

These are:
  • Hierarchy
  • Open Networks

What Malcolm explained so eloquently and intelligently is that we've gone from hierarchical, disciplined, centralized social organizations (think Boomers and Gen X) to collaborative, amorphous, organic, open social networks (think Gen Y and Z).

Which isn’t really a good or bad thing, because they’re two very different worldviews that have changed dramatically the way we participate in the world of work yesterday and today. On the one had you’ve got the traditional top-down management structure that according to Malcolm began to break down in the 1970’s when individuals began to demand more ownership over their career aspirations (and paychecks). And then on the tail end of my generation, Gen X, those born in the 1980’s and 1990’s found knowledge and power in the collective, their personal and professional social networks that upended the top-down structure.

But the amorphous nature of open networks versus the structured leadership of a strong few – the differences between the succinct success of Civil Rights movement and the oblique success Occupy movement in the examples that Malcolm shared – tells a tale of two separate states of mind and heart. However, when combined, it’s a force to be reckoned with. Think different. Think Apple – open social networks internally run by a formidable dictator and brilliant business mind.

Apply this strategy to your open talent networks, the ones made up of new candidates, current employees, management and the like – the ones you’re sourcing from for any position current or future. But manage the networks with structure and direction and sound leadership, however you decide to do it.

Embedding hierarchy into open networks makes for magic, uniting hearts and minds. That’s what truly transforms technologies, processes, communities, and the very heart and soul of the world of work.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Three Types of Rest Stops to Consider Along Your Talent Network System

The U.S. Interstate Highway System construction was authorized in 1956 by the Federal Aid Highway Act. Over 55 years later its network extends nearly 50,000 miles of highway and about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use this system. Add to that thousands and thousands of miles of other byways and bad roads and you’ve got a lot of driving going on.

Along the way there are a myriad of rest stops, fast food restaurants, gas stations, hotels and motels, run of the mill and eclectic points of interest – you name it. Along most major thoroughfares you’ll find plenty of places to stop and “refuel,” but there are times where there’s a whole bunch of nothing and you better be sure you’ve got enough fuel in “all tanks.” Add to that extreme hot and cold weather, accidents and commute gridlock and you’re along for one helluva ride.

I took a road trip this week to see my best friend in Chico, CA. I know the route well, as a collective group of friends and I from high school have made the journey every year since my friend moved here in 1989. Not so much in the past few years with all of us getting older and life getting more complicated, which is why my trip was overdue.

The highways and byways are a means to an end; we’re not driving them for the journey, just the destination. Most of the time at least, unless it’s a first-time vacation road trip experience – like your first true job hunt. Or even the next one, or the next one…

Like an Escher maze, the social networking pages to job boards to career sites to applicant tracking systems are as endless as the miles and mils of roads we travel everyday. Most career search drivers just want to get on and off, and yet we don’t really help them do that; we don’t provide them with a Zen-like GPS so they can get to where they’re going to and apply for that dream job. You know, the one advertised on the big, religiously gaudy billboards along the highway – “Jesus is really sorry about the candidate experience. Have some fries and a Coke. Or a Pepsi.”

I recommend that employers really think about the experiences they’re creating for job candidates, that they should travel the same roads themselves to experience them first hand.

Did you get lost? Get a flat tire? Engine catch fire? Stuck in gridlock? Did you get a ticket? Did you get flipped off by someone you cut off? Did you flip someone off who cut you off? Did you find a rest stop along the way? Did you ever get to where you’re going to?

Once you’ve done that, then consider these three types of rest stops along your talent network systems:
  1. You don’t need rainbows and unicorns along the side of the road while they apply, but you do need to give those candidates wanting to apply easily and efficiently the courtesy of the path of least resistance. Reduce the number of clicks; these folks just want to apply for your jobs. Don’t make them do road work along the way. 
  2. But oh, do have periodic rest stops for those who need to pause for whatever reason – and give them glimpses of your company culture in between. Meaning, if I apply and then take a break before I complete an online assessment, keep selling me as to why I want you to apply in the first place and why you should be working here. Give me a reason to come back and finish, entice me, don’t make it a chore just because I have to stop and go pee. 
  3. And lastly, for the smaller percentage of candidates who want to take more time to get to know you and others, both outside your company and your current employees, give them fun-land rest stops complete with collaborative refueling stations, gaming options, testing centers, white boards to share insights, virtual face-time communications across networks and whatever else you can think of to have them get to know you and vice-versa. Give them the opportunity to shine when they want to make the time and stop.

That is all. Happy driving!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TalentCatch: Increase your leads by 300% versus a vanity URL!

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

At NACE, Jenn Terry, the Director-Staffing Strategic Initiatives at AT&T and Becky Parson, Sr. Project Manager University Relations discussed Mobile Career Fair Engagement, responding to an interesting question: How do we recruit at an event if we can’t collect paper resumes to ensure full OFCCP compliance? Should you spend fortunes in brochures? Yet, money will never be enough to respond to this question: How do we make the most of our face-to-face events while staying compliant?

High efficiency at your fingertips
AT&T has adopted a proactive mobile approach with TalentCatch, an iPad app created by TalentCircles. TalentCatch allows AT&T to sign up candidates on the fly.

Carrie Corbin, the Associate Director - Strategic Staffing & Talent Attraction at AT&T used it at SXSW on the AT&T booth to attract candidates. At NACE, Jenn and Becky invited the attendees of the room where they were speaking to sign up. Instant success of their engagement offer: nearly one hundred names within the hour. That simple! Subsequently, nobody was to be surprised to hear about their results over time:

It's no wonder that the AT&T approach has been hailed so frequently over the last few months. Productivity pays off! The best buzz always comes from tangible results. Productivity pays off!

Why not you?
A fully branded TalentCatch app with custom fields can be yours in one day. No learning curve. So you can be up and running overnight.

You start an event. New applicants enter standard fields (First name, Last name, Email, ZIP, Phone, Mobile) as well as any custom fields that you decide to include (job category, desired position, availability, etc.). We are speaking of less than one minute per applicant here.

TalentCircles stores the applicants locally and syncs the data with the Talent Network server (and TalentCircles). But you can also operate offline and send all the data later. If you don’t have a Talent Network, you can export your applicant data as a simple Excel spreadsheet, and continue the conversation with applicants by email.

Relationship-based hiring starts here! No business card. No resumes. Just an in-person contact stored in a friendly and easy-to-use iPad app that bears your colors!

For more information, you can contact Sean Sheppard! sean@talentcircles.com

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Recruiting still lost in an Escher maze

By Kevin W. Grossman

She took the microphone, paused, then asked, “So how do I get noticed when I apply to a company online and my resume goes into an applicant tracking system with dozens of others competing for the same position with similar qualifications and keywords?”

She feigned a smile, held the mic at half-mast and then handed it back to me. Not just dozens of applicants, I thought, hundreds if not thousands. Not matter how she served herself up, no matter the keywords used and embedded throughout her resume and online profile, she’ll still most likely get lost in the proverbial black hole.

This particular candidate experience has been written about more than most, and unfortunately hasn’t changed much over time. My recent experience volunteering to speak at Hirewire, a local organization to help job seekers in Santa Cruz County with career development and job search advice, verified this sentiment from the woman above as well as over 20 others who attended the monthly event. Multiply that across similar gatherings in municipalities all over the U.S.

According to a recent HR Executive article titled Not Ready for Recruiting, we’re still not improving. In fact, in the 2012 Allied Workforce Mobility Survey from Allied Van Lines highlighted in the article, found two-thirds of 500 HR professionals polled saying they have "extensive" or "moderate" plans for hiring this year, and 80 percent of larger companies – with more than 10,000 employees – plan for "extensive" or "moderate" recruiting. And yet, 52 percent of those respondents consider their recruiting programs to be only "somewhat successful."

Ho-hum, diddly dumb.

Complicate that with the highly competitive IT job market. According to a TLNT article, 83 percent of startups from a Silicon Valley Bank survey said they’ll add IT staff in the next year. But, a Dice survey says that despite the growing competition for tech talent, getting professionals to jump ship isn’t easy. Only 37 percent of the surveyed managers say their voluntary departures have increased this year.

A big disconnect that relates to all this is the fact that although many companies have made progress in creating initial quality user-experience career sites, when it comes to actually applying for the jobs, it’s like trying to traverse an M.C. Escher drawing where you end up where you never started from.

Recruiting is getting more complicated than ever and it’s amazing to me that companies aren’t making the candidate experience any easier to explore career opportunities – and this means new candidates as well as internal candidates. Sourcing, recruiting, hiring and retention should be highly collaborative activities, and yet we’re truly still lost in an endless Escher maze, losing quality hires and internal moves along the way.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The art of experimenting: Talent network Petri dishes help screen for balance

By Kevin W. Grossman

When the numbers are in the trillions – 10 trillion to be precise – a lot can be accomplished. But then again, a lot can go wrong as well.

The human body is made up of 10 trillion cells, the building blocks of life. That means the exponential number of cellular interactions and chemical reactions are nearly endless. A lot of amazing things can happen along the way with the human body’s ability to adapt and flourish, and as modern biology has shown us, a lot can also go horribly wrong.

Cancer has been used as a metaphor for a long time, but it’s vile destructive path both literally and figuratively unfortunately never wanes, never lacks a heart-wrenching, shake-your-head story. Organizations get cancer; individuals get cancer. My father has been battling melanoma that has now spread throughout his body, and most likely anything the doctors do will only prolong his life for the short-term, adding months instead of years. It’s a difficult time for our family, which is why those who have been through it vilify cancer and other diseases of cellular failure.

But there are lesser dysfunctional evils that affect those trillions of cells, and those can actually benefit the literal body in an evolutionary way as well as the figurative body in a world-of-work way. However, the irony is that we talk so much about the progressive global workplace of today when the most of the world is still pretty suit-and-tie conservatively corporate and women still struggle to be seen and judged as individuals. And while on the one had we argue the ethical, medical and spiritual pros and cons of DNA cloning and genetic engineering, the other hand wants to clone and hire cookie-cutter employees based on bland job descriptions that don’t allow for coloring outside the lines.

Again, the cellular dysfunction isn’t all so bad. According to a recent article in The Economist:

“Julie Login of Cass Business School surveyed a group of entrepreneurs and found that 35% of them said that they suffered from dyslexia, compared with 10% of the population as a whole and 1% of professional managers. Prominent dyslexics include the founders of Ford, General Electric, IBM and IKEA, not to mention more recent successes such as Charles Schwab (the founder of a stockbroker), Richard Branson (the Virgin Group), John Chambers (Cisco) and Steve Jobs (Apple).”

The great captains of industry suffer from synaptic connections gone haywire. And mercy look at what’s it’s gotten us via some pretty happy and successful accidents. That doesn’t mean they’ve need polarizing balance on the other side with sound management and front-line folk, but it does mean some of these cellular interactions and chemical reactions have been good for innovation and business.

Organizations think they can’t experiment with talent screening for new and existing employees in their own Petri dishes, but they actually can, and that’s in the form of talent network petri dishes. A place where applicants and employees alike can communicate with one another, collaborate with one another, commiserate with one another, and the “mad” scientists – the HR, recruiting and hiring manager scientists – can witness in real-time the interactions of who does what with whom when, why and how.

Throw in some controlled experiments (scenario-based experiments, problem-solving, individual and group assessments), and the talent network petri dishes give insight as to future brilliant “dysfunctionals” who innovate and those who will keep them balanced for business growth in kind.