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Sunday ShoutOut: Kevin W Grossman – The Talent Culturist #TChat

This weeks Sunday ShoutOut goes to my friend Kevin Grossman, who I first connected with about 3 years ago on twitter. Since then he has been a constant in most of the channels I hang out in. I’ve also met Kevin a few times in person and I’ve always enjoyed his company. Kevin has recently teamed up with Lucian Tarnowski at Brave New Talent as the Director of Product Marketing. I see Kevin as a great appointment for BNT, and I’m going to be following the growth of the platform now that the career development platform is taking shape.

Kevin is a marketing man in the HR/recruiting space, who was quick to adopt social technologies. In 2010 he teamed up with Meghan M Biro to launch the Talent Culture Community. Talent Culture is a community of bloggers on workplace culture and talent. It has been good to watch this community grow, starting with the blog and launching the hugely popular #TChat, which is one of the twitter chats that has lasted beyond the initial enthusiasm and continued to grow. TalentCulture continues to grow in terms of readership, contributors and popularity. I’m sure that Kevin’s marketing expertise and personal network has had a lot to do with this.

Kevin’s background is in marketing to the HR sector, helping bring products to market. Prior to joining BNT, Grossman was Chief Strategy Officer at Fisher Vista, LLC and HRmarketer.com where he led their strategic B2B marketing and business development initiatives. I also advise HR and other B2B suppliers on marketing best practices and marketplace positioning. One of the more interesting products in the portfolio was SocialEars, the social listening product that provides conversation analysis in the HR space. Grossman was also advisor to start-up JobsEscrow, who are introducing an innovative service linking recruiters with employers, changing the fee model for third-party recruiters. This is an interesting service that may well prove to be disruptive, and launches later this year.

Grossmans experience in the HR/Recruiting community stretches back to 1996. He has seen the marketing focus grow from e-mail to social, and the growing importance of the HR community as a whole, brought together globally through social. Not being a marketing man, it is useful to have someone in my network who thinks and communicates in marketing terms, whilst evolving his thinking in line with technology. I have learnt a lot from Grossman, and rarely miss a #TChat. TalentCulture is one of the few real communities.

I’m glad to call Kevin a friend, and I look forward to toasting his new role at #truSanFrancisco next Thursday. He manages to mix a little rebelliousness with some sound HR thinking in all his content. He is not afraid of straight talking in his chat. Thanks Kevin for all your contributions,


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A Message To The Media: More Of These Celebrities Please

I got this update on Facebook from FitFarmsClub.  I liked it a lot, and so did plenty of my connections. The message is clear, and I thought it a good one to share on a Saturday.

Have a great weekend,


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@ITweetlive: My new cool Twitter tool

You know that I get really excited when I find new tools and applications to play with. Earlier this week I got sent an invite to take a look at ITweetLive, a new twitter engagement, searching and analytics tool. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days looking at recruiting and sourcing applications and I can see real potential.

The search function enables you to identify people from their content. One of my most popular posts was about Ivan Stojanovic who searched for “geek words” to identify programmers and hired 27 people. Geekwords are those words that only the target candidates would use. This application makes these searches easy with filters for:

> Has all these words or “phrases in quotes” 

> Has one or more of the words

> Don’t show results with any of these words

> Geolocation

Searches can be saved and return the tweets with the option to follow, list and tweet back. The results show the tweet with a tweetback column. You can organise results by time, following, klout scores, peer index and other criteria. i love the results screen because it makes it easy to reply or message tweet by tweet.

The other features that i have been testing are:

> Group actions enables you to group accounts together and send bulk tweets. I’m not personally a fan of bulk tweeting, but I could see the benefit of sending everyone an individual message who were using a hashtag,

> Interactive analytics. This is a very neat way to split test tweets to sections of your potential audience according to search results. I like to test 3 different tweets to see which gets traction, and this makes it possible to identify a new target audience from search and send the 3 tweets out evenly. You get results back on retweets, mentions, url opens for each tweet. I’m going to be testing this next week to find a specific audience for each new blog post and I will let you know how I get on. The geolocational option makes it great for targeting jobs to reach the right people and testing which tweet gets the best result, and you can sync ITweetLive with the link shortener bitly for even better analytics.

> Follower list. this lets you group your followers according to your needs, as well as twitter lists. I really like the way you can organise your searches and see the results as individual tweets. it easy to scroll down the list and reply to individual tweets, or select messages for a group reply. This tool is built to make engagement easy and you can run multiple twitter accounts through the same platform. I found it really useful to see full conversations with one click so that I can enter them in context.

> RSS Tweets. This is ideal for feeding jobs, blog posts, content and updates. It is very easy to set up and set frequency, different tweets, timed posting and repeat feeds.

> Cloud based. Everything is in the cloud so you can log in from anywhere with any device.

> Tweet chat widget. This is a really neat widget you can embed anywhere that enables visitors to tweet and enter in to conversations with you in real-time. You get a tweet sent with every message for instant reply and conversation.

> Open API. The open API tracks conversation trees in a way I haven’t seen before. This enables developers to perfect searches and apply synonyms tailoring any of the features for your users. This is a very open collaborative platform.

What I’m most impressed about ITweetLive is that it is built to make personal messaging simple and quick. Your replies to messages are saved, giving you these tweets as options when you get similar search results back. When you set up a new account, the platform imports all of your saved searches from twitter. The navigation is really simple, so you can separate results for grouping and replying.

There are 4 pricing options:

> Free – this gives you 50 credits. A credit is a tweet through the platform. You earn credits by allowing a sponsored ad from your account every 50 credits used. once the sponsored tweet goes out you are back to 50 credits.

> 500 credits – $9.99 – No sponsored tweets sent from your account and opt out of ads on the platform.

> 5000 credits – $50.00 – No sponsored tweets sent from your account and opt out of ads on the platform.

> Unlimited credits – $250 a month – No sponsored tweets sent from your account and opt out of ads on the platform. Full support.

I can see this being a perfect toll for running employment branding and recruiting campaigns on twitter because of the search capability, targeting, engagement and how easy it is to organise your activity for group or individual messages. Give the free option a try to see what you think.

This intro video explains a little more.


ITweetLive Try it

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#SocialRecruiting and employer branding in China(infographic) #SRChina

A client recently asked me to find out a bit more about what was happening in China with regards employer branding and social recruiting because this is proving a bit of a problem for them. There is extreme competition for skilled technical candidates and their efforts from their global programs were falling short. I am by no means an expert in China, fortunately the benefit of social networking means I know a man who is.

According to SocialBakers there are 2,269,575 LinkedIn users in China. This represents only 0.17% of the population and 0.54% of the on-line population. Facebook has 515,380 registered users. China means different channels and a different approach.

I’ve been following the work of Maximum, the employer branding and recruitment advertising agency for some time now who are well established in this market. Followers of the #Tru events will have come across Patrick Boonstra who works for Maximum in Rotterdam. They have produced some excellent work for the likes of Delloite NL and the Dutch Army. CEO of Maximum Ed Barzilaj has been operating from an office in Shanghai for quite a few years. Maximum include Starbucks, Deloitte, Baidu, Shell, Novartis, Yum! Brands and Schaeffler in their client list in China.

Recently, Maximum published a survey of HR professionals in China to research attitudes and practices to social recruiting and employer branding in the region. The report makes interesting reading. You need to buy it to get the full report, although the executive summary makes interesting reading for the curious.

The summary of the report reads:

“The research revealed that 51% of the survey participants have been using Social Networking Sites (SNS) for employer branding and recruitment since 2010. While Qzone appears to be the largest online SNS in China, Renren and micro-blog platform Sina Weibo are in fact the most utilized SNS for employer branding and recruitment purposes at the moment. Majority of HR-professionals see social networks as the most important channel to invest in for employer branding and recruitment in the near future, whereas print media and mobile marketing are being considered as the least important channels to invest in.”I was particular interested in the closing statement on mobile. This mirrors the Evenbase researchin the UK which found the same thing in the minds of recruiters. It would be interesting to see the views of the job seekers to see if they share the same view.The most popular site in China is QZone in terms of users, but for employer branding and recruiting  Renren and micro-blog platform Sina Weibo are the most utilized.

You can keep up to date with other research from Maximum by signing up for their newsletter and updates. in the participation section.

To capture the headlines, Maximum have produced this useful infographic. Thankyou for sharing.



Dear LinkedIn, Heres What You Need To Do About Spam

Last week I ran a post appealing to recruiters not to kill LinkedIn. This was my most viewed post in a single day that i have ever had, and the most shared, so it clearly hit a note. I did not get a single message or comment that disagreed with me, and plenty from non-recruiters remarking that the recruiters really needed to read the post and take note. Spam and irrelevant messages clearly are creating big issues for LinkedIn users. Today, my friend Glen Cathey at the BooleanBlackBelt blog ran a post on a similar theme entitled “Do recruiters ruin LinkedIn?” It seems we are all starting to think on the same lines. I addressed the source and spray approach adopted by some recruiters and irrelevant messaging in my last post. In this post I will be addressing my thoughts on updates and groups, and jobs over populating the feed.

Glens post focussed on groups and irrelevant In-mails, updates and messaging.The big cause for concern from LinkedIn groups is the practice of flooding discussions with jobs, to the point where genuine discussions are lost among them and other product promotions. I manage a few groups on LinkedIn, so I know that it can become a full time job for the manager just removing ads, warning people and removing repeat offenders. In busy groups, the need to vet and approve every member is also time consuming. I addressed the source and spray approach adopted by some recruiters and irrelevant messaging in my last post so I’m not going to cover that again, but the area of groups really got me thinking. Part of the problem is undoubtedly irresponsible and unsociable recruiters, but I also think that part of the problem in groups and updates is caused by the features built-in to the channel which fuel, and in some ways reward anti-social behaviour.

The best recruiter group I belong to is Recruitment Consultants And Staffing Professionals. This group has over 106,000 members, plenty of discussions and 51 comments (last week.) I’ve noticed that LinkedIn have now taken the number of discussions from group stats, listing only comments. I posted earlier this year about how groups had become dominated by discussions with less and less comments. I suspect that this is the reasoning behind why discussion numbers have been taken off group stats. I know that this group is heavily policed by the group owner Jacco Valkenburg, because my first exchange of messages was  when he informed me that my first post contravened the rules of the group because it contained a link at the end of the content to a course I was running. From talking to Jacco, I know he invests a lot of time managing this group. Despite this, when I checked in today I noticed jobs in the discussion stream. It seems that the jobs are getting posted in discussions quicker than the managers can move them.

My reasons for thinking LinkedIn is inadvertently contributing to this is as follows:

> Networking. 

In order to be able to network, search, connect and message as wide as possible it is necessary for users to belong to the maximum 50 groups. No one can engage in all 50, which makes it hard to contribute whilst it is easy to post.

> LinkedIn jobs

LinkedIn jobs on company pages and the channel are charged for. This means that recruiters are more likely to post jobs to updates as links to jobs on external sites. This has 3 results:

Taking people away from the channel.

Not great for PPC or increasing engagement on the channel

Over populated updates in the feed.

This is going to prove counter productive to LinkedIn’s intention to make the channel more social. If the majority of updates are jobs users are going to tune out and stop looking. LinkedIn need an option to post jobs to job updates rather than the timeline. Whilst this offers a free alternative to LinkedIn jobs, which might be the reason for not including it, the benefits from paid for job advertising outweighs this, and a clean feed would be a good thing for both the users and the channel. Only the paid for ads go in to search, recommendation and the referral engine, which will always make them first choice.

Job links in company page updates.

Only paid for jobs appear behind the careers tab on company pages. The result is job links going in to updates which will over populate the page updates and hide other content,. Allowing links being posted to the careers feed would change this for the better.

> Updates to groups

The group update enables sharing in all groups without the need to enter the group. This is great for time-saving, but there is no option to post to jobs in groups as anything other than LinkedIn updates. The net result is that jobs can only be posted in to the discussion section of the group in this way. The option to post to jobs in groups to the jobs section without the need to enter each group individually would help to clear the discussion feed. The other option would be for LinkedIn to integrate an automated update parser that automatically reads updates and links and moves them to the right place in groups or updates.

We all rely on LinkedIn as the sourcing channel, witnessed by the ever-increasing sales for the hiring solutions products. It is in all recruiters long term interests to think about how they are conducting themselves in the channel. At the same time,it is in the interests of the channel to think about how they might be inadvertently be contributing to the problem, and how the good folks in the LinkedIn lab might be able to fix it.








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Use your social skills for good with the Child Bereavement Charity. (Job)

I’m not in the habit of posting jobs on the blog, but i thought this one was worth sharing. There is tremendous potential for worthwhile causes who use social to spread their message. If it is interesting to you please apply directly. Hat tip to Alex Strang for spreading the word. Please share the link if you think the right person to help this organisation spread the word the please share the link with your posse.

Communications & Marketing Officer – 2 year Fixed Term Contract
The Child Bereavement Charity works to ensure that all UK families should have the support they need to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a baby or child dies. We have grown significantly in recent years and have ambitious plans to make our aim a reality.

Of course we can’t do this alone so excellent communications with the growing number of people who share our aims and values is vital. We need someone who can equip and support all teams in effectively using digital communications, including the website, email lists and social media in the forefront of all areas of the charity’s work. In addition they will act as design lead and branding guardian for on-line and printed publications, in accordance with established brand guidelines.

It is anticipated that the scope and remit of this job will evolve with the charity as we introduce new technologies and improve practices.

The ideal candidate would have 1-2 years professional experience including a significant use of design software for on-line and print.
Salary: £18,000-£25,000 (Depending on skills and experience)

You can apply HERE


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“She Said,He Said” HR Edition: The Future Of Recruiting

“SheSaid,He Said” is a new monthly series on this blog featuring the conversations I have with my friend Robin Schooling on and off-line. Robin and I live in different worlds. robin is a practicing HR professional with Louisiana State Lottery, living in Baton Rouge, USA. Robin and I have great conversations, where she brings the reality of day-to-day HR in Louisiana, where I talk about a connected world, where everyone is on-line and doing cool things. Somewhere in the middle is reality for most people, and I learn every time we speak.

Robin is working hard to bring social, small step by small step to her Louisiana Community. We decided it would be fun and interesting to post the thoughts behind some of our conversations so everyone can join in.
Next year I’m going to be delivering the closing keynote at Louisiana SHRM. During the conference we are going to be running a live “she said,he said” session that everyone can join in. This is the beginning of that conversation. I hope you enjoy it and join in with your own comments. Robin will be featuring the same series on her blog. Her blog is brilliant.Please visit!

She Said:

I adore the conversations, blog posts, and twitter chats that dive into the topic of recruiting. Although I’ve been toiling plying-my-trade as an HR Generalist for a number of years, I cut my teeth as a recruiter and often find that my first love within the vast scope of HR continues to be in that realm. So over the years I’ve continued to hang out with the recruiting crowd wherever I may find them – blogs, conference, twitter chats – you name it and I’m probably lurking on the sidelines. Luckily, because of this, I continue to come into contact with lots of smart, amazing, and forward-thinking people – those who push the envelope, push the conversations and push the boundaries of possibilities.
The other night I was participating in the weekly #TalentNet chat where the topic was “Recruiting IS Strategic…Or it Can Be.” Good info and conversation with the discussion ranging from how recruiters move from being reactive to proactive and what role does social media and technology play in recruitment strategy. The wrap-up question was: How is the recruitment function evolving, if at all? What does the future of recruiting look like in 5 years? 10?
As expected, folks on the chat weighted in on the merits of the universal candidate profile, mobile recruiting technology and ultimately the ‘death of the resume’ – a topic on which I’ve had my say. And I get it – these smarty pants people from whom I continuously learn are dabbling with new and awesome technology and finding innovative ways to meet the candidates where they are. Quite often though I think this stuff that is talked about works well for either specific industries or for specific types of job seekers – tech dudes/dudettes for example or mid-level professionals who have carefully constructed their LinkedIn profiles.
I hopped up on my soap box once again and pointed out on the twitterz that “Susie who makes $8 per hour as a cashier does-not-have-a-resume let alone an online profile/presence #talentnet.” Comments back and forth with my friend Bill Boorman ensued (you can see his take on the matter below) which led me to ponder, once again, the situation around the “future of recruiting” as I see it down here on the field.
So the next day I conducted an incredibly unscientific poll which entailed sending text messages to a handful of HR colleagues – all of whom regularly hire pink-collar/blue-collar/entry-level candidates in the service, financial and manufacturing industries. I found that based on the position being filled the primary way to apply is to either submit a resume (fax, online, email, snail mail) for professional and higher level clerical positions or to complete a paper application. A few people indicated they “like” to receive resumes but they don’t require them; completion of the Employment Application (paper or via ATS) can suffice.
And like it or not, for many, paper still rules….
• According to an NTIA study from November 2011, “Exploring the Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use at Home,” only 54% of low-income families in the US (earning less than $25k) have a computer at home and only 43% have broadband internet access at home.
• The Pew Internet and Life Project found that 20% of American adults do not use the internet and 27% of adults living with a disability in the US are less likely than adults without a disability to go online. (Granted, survey results DID find that access has been enhanced through the use of mobile for some, including young adults, minorities and those with lower household incomes).
Thankfully, there are programs right here at home that are working to address the issue, including the Computers for Louisiana Kids program which works to put technology in schools and focuses on the importance of technology for workforce training – and future employment.
We can talk about talent communities all we want. However, when I think about MY community I continue to worry about how we can get the members of it ready for the ‘future of recruiting.’

He Said: (Thats me)

This is an interesting position Robin is taking now. I understand it for now, and it is not dissimilar to the position taken by many HR professionals across the world. They are so busy with the demands of the day, and playing technical catch up to now, that tomorrow is not really a priority. Any change is usually about enhancing what we have always done, rather than trying something new.
Minimum wage, hourly hires are on-line, that is for certain. What I have learnt over the last few years is that the candidates change what channels and technologies they use in their life well ahead of recruiters and HR, who are playing continual catch up. I would question if Robins contacts were really talking about the way they work, which has remained relatively unchanged over the last decade, and what suits their potential candidates. The wheels of HR move incredibly slowly.
Recently I featured the success Pizza Hut are experiencing through social recruiting, this is mostly for minimum wage staff who are applying for multiple positions using social profiles to sign in. the most successful recruiting project I have been involved in was Hard Rock Café in Florence, where the majority of the 120 staff hired, (and the 11,000) applicants were for minimum wage bar, waiting and kitchen staff. All applications were received through Facebook. UPS hired all of their casual staff for Christmas via a combination of a Facebook competition, YouTube and a fan page, again requiring a social sign in. The same applies to Sodexo and other brands, Facebook is the place where minimum wage, hourly employees are most likely to be on-line. I would be confident that “Suzie” would have an account, and the social footprint that goes along with it.
In terms of families with low incomes not having computers at home or access to the internet, this is rapidly changing through mobile technology and government intervention. Within 2 years, I would expect broadband and the internet being seen as a rite rather than a luxury. The Indian government has developed an i-pad type device that retails at less than 2 dollars, which is being introduced in to the education system. I’m sure the US is not going to be far behind. Devices and access are going to become cheaper and cheaper, probably paid for by subscription rather than purchase, and removing the price entry point will accelerate internet access in to the remainder of the population. Marketing, product companies and government departments need people to be on-line. E-books now outsell paper books and are available on demand. Education and learning is going on-line at a rapid rate, reducing the cost of learning, We are moving rapidly to a connected world, where everyone is on-line.
When we talk about the future of recruiting, we need to look at where we think we will be in 1 – 3 years, and not where we are now. We need to make access to employment easy, and that means moving processes on-line and connections in the places where people will be hanging out. Right now that looks like Facebook and mobile for the many “Suzie’s” out there. HR and Recruiting teams need to understand this, and be ready as the candidates move forward rather than playing catch up your community is moving on-line Robin, you need to be waiting.

Hope you enjoyed this. Please read Robins excellent blog to see the comments coming from her community and add your own. It’s going to be a great old school/new kool conversation. We can all learn from that!


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