Talent Circles

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How Google Glass is Shaping Recruiting and the Performance of Now

The landscape of technology is changing right before our eyes (and actually ON our eyes - Google Glass anyone?) and is subsequently changing the landscape of workplaces and recruiting. With each new technology that makes a significant impact on our lives, the expectations from employers, employees, recruiters and job seekers change and grow. Of course, technological advances are fluid and happening all around us, but every once in a while there is a technology that makes a splash and changes the way we think.

For me, Google Glass is one of those things. I recently started beta testing the product and I feel as if I’m seeing the future of how we utilize will utilize technology and what types of expectations people will have when we all have the power to access Google search and find answers to any questions we could think of by just a few taps of the finger on the device or by speaking a couple of words. It’s more than just wearable technology. It’s about the performance of now. Video is streamed, pictures are taken and the answers to the questions we seek are available immediately. It’s a powerful thing to have any information you could need available at a moment’s notice and it will impact how human resource pros operate.

The Performance of Now

The time that we live in has conditioned us to not need to exercise patience in very many situations and Google Glass is at the forefront of the Performance of Now movement. Though Google Glass is certainly on the cusp of becoming a mainstream technology providing instant gratification, one of my favorite books, Age of Context, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel really paints an image of how all the technology we are surrounded with promotes Performance of Now. All these technologies will continue to develop and advance, placing even more pressure on people to provide the same instant results that technology can.

This instant access means that job seekers will expect results from their prospective employers in the same fashion they receive it from their technology. As they research the organization, ask questions to the recruiting teams and participate in the formal hiring process for their target companies, a two to three day communication turnaround will seem like a lifetime and companies that don’t have information and answers readily available will miss out on candidates.

Question is are we ready to give candidates the resources and information about our company, industry or culture to those questions they seek, or do we rely on a competitor or news outlet to distribute and tell stories about us as an employer of choice or company? More importantly, does the performance and information in the now only stop once we’ve onboarded that new employee?

Providing candidates with what they’re looking for

For employers, instant answers will sometimes be available but that will not always be the case. We must anticipate those questions to provide information our employees, bosses, peers and candidates will be asking. So how do employers and recruiters keep up with the desire for instant communication? Employers, recruiters, managers and leaders must be asking the right questions and rewarding those that ask questions without holding back.

This starts with focus groups, employee surveys and meetings that really get to the heart of what’s important to the job seeker, your team and employee before you create a strategy or evaluate a plan. Do this before writing a word, sending a tweet or shooting a single frame of video. The best way to provide candidates a full experience, which is supplemented by social media and other outward facing channels is by asking the right questions to build a strategy in which to create resources through digital storytelling, content creation and information to those questions they seek. A customized environment that is unique to the organization and hosted online will create a centralized gathering place that candidates can visit and get their questions answered through one of many channels. Just like the user group for Google Glass, companies must provide a unique environment customized to their ideal job seeker and employee.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Friday, December 27, 2013

Recruiting & Reaching Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Part Three of a Three-Part Series

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Parts one and two of this series provided insight on why different approaches must be used for recruiting digital natives and digital immigrants and how you can identify each category. I talked about why a solid foundation of research is essential to creating a successful recruiting campaign and where to start when you’re ready to dive in. Now that the research is done, it’s time to embark on the action part of your campaign: the strategies you put into play to meet digital natives and immigrants in the online spaces they frequent and in a way they can relate to.

Defining your campaign The size and scope of your campaign will depend on how much of your organization’s resources can be devoted to these efforts and how great of a need you have for new candidates. For instance, if you wish to gain 20 new prospective candidates, your approach and time required will be different than if your goal is five candidates. Additionally, the channels you use and the ways in which you use them will vary depending on whether you wish to reach digital natives, digital immigrants or both.

Strategies for reaching digital natives In general, digital natives are drawn to flashy technology, new approaches and active communities. They are attracted to different and unique, and in a lot of ways they are the first adopters of social networks, apps and tools within these networks. Because of this, they tend to be more jaded, meaning that your efforts will have to be creative and out of the box to make a splash. Technologically advanced and creative recruitment strategies are essential here.

When it comes to community, this group relies heavily on crowdsourcing and utilizing their networks to meet as many of their needs as possible, from choosing a movie to go see to finding a job. You can use this to your advantage by making your company’s job information available on social networks and giving them everything they need to assess your company without ever leaving the social network. They prefer quick replies and aren’t afraid to reach out or reply to an online connection. This means that you’ll need to be diligent in communication with digital natives but should have a bit of luck connecting with them because they are open to having conversations right there on their social network.

Strategies for reaching digital immigrants Overall, digital immigrants enjoy utilizing social networks, just not in the same ways that digital natives might. For many in this category, their online existence is based around a need or desire, from needing to create an online professional profile to wanting to connect with family and friends. They also crowd source, but they are less trusting of those they don’t know. This group tends to be more wary of people they don’t know reaching out to them and are less likely to do the reaching out. As a recruiter, it’s important to build some type of familiarity or relationship with these prospective candidates because trust is key to engaging them. Recruiters can typically use a more classic approach with digital immigrants and should be mindful that response time may be greater and frequency of responses may be less than that of digital natives.

Some may interpret the habits of digital immigrants as providing less of an opportunity for recruiters but this is not necessarily the case. Since this group desires community just like digital natives, you actually have the opportunity of developing more solid connections with these candidates, leading to real results.

At the end of the day, both of these groups desire the same things, just in different ways. They are both seeking community and interaction, so when approached the right way, they are both open to creating connections.

Have you tailored your approach for digital natives and digital immigrants? Tell us about your efforts in the comments section below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Friday, December 20, 2013

How "seasoned" do you like them?

I remember the first time I heard the word “seasoned”, I wasn't quite sure why you would say that about a person. My immediate thought was that too much seasoning is not necessarily palatable and aging seasoning is often rancid. Back then, I did not know that "seasoned" had also meant "fit for use" or "acclimatized, accustomed" for centuries. Did I feel much more comfortable with the word? Not really...      
  • Seasoned people may be fit for immediate use. They are relevant if the employees that we are looking for are to be simple cogs in a corporate machine or if the task they are assigned is completely defined with no room for change. Yet, do all the positions we have to "fill" follow this exact pattern? Chances are that they don’t — unless an entire company is outsourcing-ready. So we may want to look for people not too ideally "fit for use," but instead, those who are ready to learn, are fit for future use and fit for new purposes.

  • Seasoned people may be a great asset if the goal is to always conduct business as usual, i.e. where everything must be done in an ordinary way. Yet, what happens when decisions are to be made because something extraordinary happens? How fast or well do they react? How effective can they become if you need to "rewire the way you work to succeed in the consumer revolution." In other words, give them Brian Solis's great book "The End of Business As Usual," and quiz them about what they think of it before you hire them if your company is competitive and/or on a growth path! 

Yes, we all must be "seasoned" to some extent, but "seasoned" recruiters may be the ones who are capable of deconditioning themselves continuously in order to better read who people are behind the screens of clichés and optimally serve an unremittingly changing business environment.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Recruiting & Reaching Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Part Two of a Three-Part Series

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

In part one of this series I talked about why it’s important to recognize that the approaches utilized for digital natives and digital immigrants must be different. I shared about how to launch your strategy for reaching each group separately and I said that the first step in the process is research. It’s sometimes an overlooked part of recruiting (and marketing) strategies but it’s absolutely vital to the success of the campaign.

To kick start your research efforts, we’ll tackle the characteristics, including differences and similarities, of digital natives and digital immigrants.

First things first Before I begin defining each group, I want to dispel some myths about digital natives and digital immigrants. Generally speaking, people like to categorize these groups based on a few key factors, with age being at the top of the list. While it is true that statistically speaking, generation X is more accustomed to utilizing social networks for just about everything, there are some seasoned professionals who have been on Twitter since the day it started. Additionally, it may hurt you in the long run to make assumptions about the level of usage by digital immigrants. While you do have to make some generalizations in order to categorize these two groups, don’t be too quick to rule out social network usage by seasoned professionals or digital immigrants.

The differences Digital natives are those who have basically been utilizing social networks and interacting online for as far back as they remember. They may have rode the Xanga, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram (and I could go on and on) train over the years and use their social networks for everything from soliciting restaurant suggestions to finding a job. Conversely, digital immigrants have migrated, so to speak, based on recommendations, peer pressure from friends and family or because of professional reasons, to mainstream social networks. While there are varying levels of each group, digital natives are more likely to be interactive, exploratory than digital immigrants. On the other hand, digital immigrants tend to be less jaded and more open to someone reaching out than digital natives.

Other differences include the amount of time each group typically spends online, how they react to advertisements and posts and the way in which they search for jobs. For instance, digital natives are more likely to work their way through their network, exploring job opportunities and letting one link lead them to the next, while digital immigrants are more likely to go straight to the source or search exactly what they’re seeking. It’s important to keep these differences in mind as you develop your recruiting strategy.

The similarities Digital natives and digital immigrants do have some similarities and luckily, their similarities exist in areas that are important for recruiters. One of their main similarities is that they both desire genuine conversation and connection, which stems from real world interaction and the desire to have the same thing in their virtual worlds. The second most important similarity is that these conversations need to happen in a centralized location with a contact person they see and hear from. As I said, these are the areas in which recruiters live and excel. Utilizing your network to connect with candidates and creating conversation are both something you are likely extremely accustomed to and something that will produce results.

What similarities and differences of digital natives and digital immigrants can you add to these lists? Let us know in the comments below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The value of the Pew Research test: "How Millennial are you?"

Over the past few months, lots of people have taken the Pew Research test ‘How millennial are you?, which is part of 2010 research project "Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next."

Most people like tests. It's a narcissistic thing: we brag (or don't brag) about the results. Yet, tests are not simply about us. They are about understanding how we stand in relation to others. If you are a Baby Boomer or a Gen X, chances are that you did not take it considering that you are not a Millennial anyway. Yet if you do, you will:
  • Discover that being a millennial is not simply an age category, but also a mindset. Age isn't the only thing that makes you millennial—habits do too, as Time said to its readers when they invited them to take the test.
  • Be able to assess the efforts you must make to better understand a group you may not belong to (age- or behavior-wise). It's worth it:  Generation Y will make up 75 percent of the workforce by the year 2025. So no company will survive without them. But even more importantly today employers are struggling to retain them and according to a survey by Millennial Branding, almost one-third of companies lost a minimum of 15 percent of their Gen Y employees in the last year. These losses cost companies anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000 per Millennial lost.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Recruiting & Reaching Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants: Part One of a Three-Part Series

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to approach recruiting in the same way a marketing pro would try to increase sales but there is no place that this is truer than when you need to reach a specific type of candidate - one that can’t be categorized by experience level, industry or region. We all know ways to seek out candidates that fit those types of criteria but are you familiar with ways to reach candidates based on their familiarity with online networks and technology in general?

Why you’d want to You may think it wouldn’t matter how much time a candidate spends online, how interactive they are on social networks or when they joined Twitter but it does. One of the most valuable things you have is time, and when you are spending quite a bit of time casting a wide net hoping that your recruiting efforts stick, you’re not using your time very wisely. This is because the approach to reach digital natives is far different than the approach to reach digital immigrants. They interact in different ways, visit different websites and react to different things. When you understand each group and how to reach them, you’ll be more productive in your efforts and more successful in your hiring.

Thinking like a marketer If you’re going to reach your target demographic, you must start thinking like a marketer. You can skip the SWOT analysis (though it probably wouldn’t hurt) and go straight for the starting point of any great campaign: research. Part two of this series will hit the nail on the head for this category as we look at characteristics of digital natives and digital immigrants but you’ll also want to look at industry- or region-specific online spaces where your target candidates may be spending their time before you begin.

The next step is to develop your strategy. Again, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a presentation-worthy layout of your entire strategic plan, but if you plan to reach a specific group, you’ll need a specific plan that defines the channels you’ll use, when you’ll use them and what follow up will be done. The execution of this plan will be the simple part since the strategy is already there.

What stays the same Despite whom you’re marketing to or how you market to them, one things is the same: they all need a common gathering place, which is you and your team. Your talent networks come into play in a major way in this area because despite whether they prefer to text, talk or email, people desire interaction on some level. Making the most of a strategic recruiting strategy involves a mix of many channels and many people, connecting conversing and developing relationship.

Have you considered developing separate strategies for various candidate groups? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Candidate Retargeting Through Content Marketing (Part 1)

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Content marketing puts the power of storytelling through resources and information in the power of the individual recruiter and company. Capturing the attention of candidates through your employer brand isn’t easy. Developing a successful employer brand requires several pieces of a puzzle to be completed in a fluid manner.

According to various survey’s you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention on your website before they move along. This is the same with an employer brand. When developing a marketing strategy it must be centered on capturing the candidate’s attention and ultimately having them fill out of a job application or join your talent network. If you fail to capture their attention there are other traditional marketing practices that employers are able to tap.

Using Content Marketing to Re-target Candidates

Retargeting is the practice of serving display ads based on prior engagement. While there is more than one form of this technology, the most frequently used is site-based retargeting. Retargeting allows employers to continuously target those who have visited their career site in hopes that they’ll return and fill out an application to ultimately be hired. Retargeting helps recruiters because it allows them to stay at the forefront of a passive candidate’s mind.

Retargeting candidates is a cost effective way to keep your brand at the forefront of a candidates mind. When working with retargeting you’ll want to create engaging ads and use witty content marketing to draw them back to your career site.

When developing a successful retargeting campaign it’s important to develop ads that create a compelling storyline so passive and active candidates will be encourages to click and return back to your site. From there you’ll create a specific landing page based on the ad that’s used to convert prospects into candidates. The goal of a strong retargeting campaign is to constantly remind job seekers about your brand, repetition works.

As a recruiter it’s your responsibility to attract candidates to your career site or talent network and by doing so you’re able to sell them on open positions and why your company is the best place to work. Using traditional marketing methods such as retargeting to keep your company in the back of candidate’s minds will allow you continuously develop a flow of both passive and active job seekers back to your site.

Has your company used retargeting on candidates? How successful did you find it?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Women in HR should be thrilled about the appointment of Mary Barra as GM's CEO


By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

I was thrilled to hear that Mary Barra will be the new CEO of GM. The appointment of any woman at the head of a company is a victory for all women and the fact that she is the first woman to head a major automaker is just equally inspiring and worth celebrating. In an article about her, Jena McGregor of the Washington Post reminds us of still dismal numbers: "On average, women hold 16.9 percent of board seats and 14.6 percent of executive officer roles in large U.S. companies. But in the manufacturing-durable goods sector, which includes automakers, the percentage of female directors is 15.6 percent, and the percentage of female executives is just 11.2."

She started with a degree in Electrical Engineering in the early eighties when there were so few women at a time when the percentage of Electrical Engineering degrees awarded to women was at around 10%. Great for all the girls in this country!

Her history reminds us of something that has almost disappeared from the industrial world, a time when large organizations were deeply involved in the scientific training of the next generation. She studied at the General Motors Institute, which later became Kettering University in Flint, Michigan and ultimately worked at GM since she was 19. And according to an interview she gave to the LA Times, her father was a die maker for the Pontiac motor division for 39 years.

Here are some even greater takeaways for HR:
  • The value of being able to keep talented interns.
  • The power of internal mobility: Mary Barra was involved over the years with virtually every aspect of the business.
  • The power of an being outstanding VP of GM’s human resources department, a position that she occupied between 2009 and 2011. She is credited with making the culture of the company evolve. 

In short, Mary Barra is living proof of the long-lasting value of talent and human capital management. There have been a lot of articles about her just recently in multiple newspapers. You can also check her bio.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Importance of Fluidity in Recruiting

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Recruiting, the process, headcount numbers and the changing processes and best practices we use are a fluid and flexible living thing. Recruitment and our strategies flow like water. Our recruitment strategies change much like the river as it digs into the river bend or weather alters its course.

Some things we can anticipate through seasonality, forecasting, compliance and big data but with the increase in technology adoption and use in our industry as a strategic competitive advance the real importance of fluid recruiting is remaining flexible and aware of the changing talent landscape. As technology in the human resources field continues to expand employers are shifting to a new way of thinking and in order to succeed you must be able to adapt.

Adapting to constant changes in HR technology should be a top priority for organizations. With a new workforce entering the market organizations need to be aware of techniques that work the best when recruiting this new type of employee. For years companies have been afraid to adopt new technology or ways of sourcing candidates. This has not only hurt them financially, but hiring

Want to know how to be more fluid in recruiting?

Be open to new technologies. In order to hire the best talent it’s important that human resource departments adapt and change their strategies. Frankly, can you expect better results if you use the same old stuff?

Get out of your comfort zone. Many reasons behind HR not adopting new ways to source is because they’re comfortable in what they’ve been doing for years even though they are not exactly proud of the results. HR professionals need to be able to source outside of their box in order to recruit and retain top talent.

Have a strategy. When your HR department doesn’t have a strategy in place for adopting obvious new technology trends, they are just applying old recipes that prove less effective every season. In order to recruit in a fluid manner it’s important to have some type of strategy in place so that all the pieces work together and are future-oriented instead on anchored in the past.

In recruiting just as in any other part of our lives, we can't create the future simply going for "business as usual."

How does your HR department flow? Do you recruit fluidly?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Why Your Social Recruiting Strategy Isn’t Working

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

We’ve all heard the term ‘social recruiting.’ Over the past six since the term has developed into more then just a buzzword, but a common practice in the recruiting and HR professions. According to a recent survey over 94% of recruiters surveyed have already used or planned to begin using social media this year. This is a 40% jump from those surveyed in 2011.

This shift in recruiting practices comes purely from the benefits of using social media to find and vet candidates. In the same survey there was a 33% improvement in time to hire and a 49% increase in the candidate quality.

So why is your social recruiting strategy failing? Because social sourcing is not social recruiting!

Candidates aren’t being engaged properly on these channels. The influx of mass-LinkedIn messages has turned candidates away because recruiters are casting a broad net without really qualifying candidates. As a marketer if you send me a job that’s in the IT field, you’re going to be removed instantly from my network. Everything recruiters do on social media should be centered on the candidate experience and building relationships. Without those crucial relationships you’ll spend wasted hours trying to vet talent.

According to another survey, 47% of job seekers have been targeted by recruiters using social media in the last twelve months. In order to maintain healthy relationships with these jobs seekers recruiters will need to develop a customized and personal approach to recruiting. Job seekers who feel more engaged with a specific recruiter are more likely to follow through with the entire process. Social recruiting is more then just a tweet or a Facebook update, it’s about real life encounters that are making your recruiting and engagement strategy truly unique.

Social recruiting requires tailoring communications and to do so, you need to have candidates first tell you who they are and if they are interested in you! It's about them them first. Not about you.

In order to succeed in the social recruiting arena recruiters will need to stop using mass-mailing tactics with candidates and start customizing each experience and respect the rules of social engagement. Taking the time to start a dialogue between each candidate whether it be InMail, Facebook, or Twitter, will go a long way in finding the brightest talent for your organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Talent Strategies Don’t Conform. They Create.

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Ants are habitual creatures that work together in every way as a team following the orders of their Queen. Ants have their own unique job and role within the colony. They serve her fully and completely no matter what their own fate may be. It’s a form of mindless conformity.

Army ants are blind and follow the trail and path by scent. Sometimes the scent loops itself causing an ant spiral or loop where ants go through the motions endlessly. Ultimately the ants meet their own demise because they’re conforming to a pattern that the ant in front has created.

I believe the industry is at an impasse and we’re circling our own ant spiral when it comes to adoption of new technology, recruiting strategies and old processes that are no longer benefiting our businesses or companies. In order to rise to the occasion and be successful companies must stop conforming and start creating their own unique talent strategy. If not, they’ll be running around in spiral loops just as the ants did until they meet their ultimate demise.

Companies are no longer able to skate by, but they must create a unique talent acquisition strategy that is unlike their competitors'. Ants break out of their spiral loops only when their physical environment is altered causing them through a disruption of reality. It’s time for recruiters, human capital experts and HR to break the cycle and create a new way of recruiting, sourcing and hiring. In order to do so they will be required to break traditional methods of conducting business, seek out, and incorporate new thought patterns.

Talent acquisition is key to meeting strategic business goals and strengthening your competitive advantage. Take a look at my post on the most viral recruit videos. These companies all thought outside the box and did something that caught a candidate’s attention. Not only is it important to capture a candidate, but deliver exceptional results through the entire candidate process.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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