Evolving Your Social Recruitment Vocabulary

In my last blog post (TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary for Business Use); I spoke about the need for HR professionals to really understand some of the industry technology terms that are being used in strategic conversations. As a part two, I want to expand that conversation and drill down a layer further. This post will focus on deciphering the terminology behind social recruitment.

21st-century-recruiting-8-statistics-to-prove-social-media-is-the-way-to-go-1-638

The term social recruitment was first used as early as 2009, but started to become part of conventional recruitment strategy around 2011[1]. Social recruitment has now become mainstream and many vendors now offer social recruiting and marketing products in addition to their core recruitment management system (RMS) offering. With the increasing adoption and investment in social recruitment, also comes the necessity to articulate ROI and explain its success. But, despite data being available through a multitude of channels, many recruitment functions still struggle with compiling data to answer to the lingering Executive question… Tell me how social recruitment adds value?

Stumped? There’s good new… this is not a quiz!

For a few years I’ve talked about the importance of introducing new metrics into the HR dashboard that can clearly describe the impact of social recruitment.

social-media-for-recruiters

Metrics can be the gateway to tell your story. It provides the forum to share success, lessons learned and forecast strategy based on data. To anchor social recruitment, a new wave of terminology needs to be adopted into daily operational metrics, performance measures, intake discussions and sourcing strategies make it meaningful.

Not sure where to start? First, let’s examine a few common industry terms that you and your team should know and use on a weekly, if not daily basis:

Term Description Why is it important?
Click Through Rate (CTR) Measures the click from the initial link though to the content page. (e.g. the click from the initial job posting link on a job aggregator to the apply button on the job posting RMS). It provides insight into how compelling your content is. The marketing to get you to click on the initial link may be good, but if candidates are not clicking through, it could be due to your content. Companies should use click through rate metrics as an indicator on what’s working and what needs to be improved. You want high click through rates to measure applicant channel ROI.
Employee Value Proposition (EVP) It’s a unique set of offerings, associations and values that will positively influence the most suitable target candidates to choose you as an employer. The proposition must be attractive, true, credible, distinct and sustainable.[2] In a nutshell, it articulates what differentiates your company from your competitors. Why should someone choose to work at your company versus a direct or industry competitor? If you want Manager’s and employees to become brand ambassadors, they need to be equipped with EVP marketing messages to promote the company.
Engagement Two way interaction of your companies brand and content between the end user and the company. Engagement identifies people who express an interest in your brand and content by interacting with it. It provides the opportunity to build rapport, creating a pipeline of candidates engaged with your company brand. Research shows that engaged employees have higher retention rates resulting in bottom line savings to the organization over time[3].

 

engagment analytics_1

 

Job Aggregator An on line database that scrapes and advertises job postings from company websites at no cost. Job aggregators have transformed the traditional job posting model. Jobs from companies are posted in one central place and are SEO indexed. Companies don’t pay to advertise job postings, they are there for free. This makes it more appealing for candidates as all jobs can be found here regardless of where they start their search (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Indeed.com, etc.). Job aggregators provide high source of hire ROI.
Pay per Click (PPC) The amount paid when sponsored content (e.g. job posting) is clicked on a website. This helps companies stay within a budget and measure ROI based on clicks. If you sponsor jobs, you only pay for what is performing.
Reach Reach is the potential audience for content based on total follower count (Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn followers, total Likes on your Facebook page, etc). If your boards have 1,000 followers on Pinterest, then each of your pins could potentially reach 1,000 people. [4] Reach provides insight into the visibility of your content as it is shared (via a like or share) to other users networks. The higher your reach the higher the probability you will attract more applicants.
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Is the ability for your content to rank higher on a search engine when search results are returned. Most candidates now start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). The higher your content appears in search results, the higher the probability it will be clicked on.
Social Sharing Sharing content through social media. Most websites recognize the power of sharing content on social networking sites. Social sharing is the modern version of emailing job postings to networks. RMS’, aggregators and job boards, now offer the ability social share jobs on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

engagment analytics_2

 

Talent Brand The highly social, public version of your employer brand incorporating what your talent thinks, feels and shares about your company as a place to work[5]. Your talent brand carries more credibility than employment brand because your employees are advocates or detractors of the message. Talent brand is important because it represents a genuine view from an employee. Tools like LinkedIn’s Talent Brand Index allows companies to benchmark against competitors to see how your talent brand is performing to attract and source candidates.
Talent Communities A recruitment product that offers websites geared to specific roles, candidate types or locations where people can register and receive company information and notifications. Talent communities provide specific branding, content and messaging to candidates based on demographic information. While content on talent communities can be engaging, they also serve as the feeder for talent pipelines for specific roles.
Targeted Marketing Recruitment Campaigns Use keywords and/or demographic information to target and attract relevant potential applicants for specific roles. (e.g. Call Centre, Actuaries, Mobile App developers, etc.). Most candidates start their job search on a search engine (Google, Yahoo, Khoj, Baidu, etc.). Unlike traditional methods of post and prey advertisements, campaigns have become a game changer because it seeks out specific individuals that appear to fit the role profile of the job. This creates a relevant pipeline and/or applicant pool. In addition to Google AdWords, social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter also offer these services.

460x250xtalentcommunity

This by no means, is an exhaustive list of social recruitment terms. It’s really meant to be an introduction to some of the more common terms you can expect to hear and see in blogs, articles, white papers and research briefs. So the next time you are asked how reach impacts your sourcing strategy, you’ll be well positioned to give an answer!

If you would like more information on HR metrics, check out my blog post Are You Using Data to Drive Your HR Strategy.

I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know if you found this list useful. You can tweet me @annzaliebarrett or follow me LinkedIn.

Ann_Nov_2012Ann Barrett, Director Integrated Solutions

_________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Wikipedia

[2] http://www.slideshare.net/duraturo/what-is-an-employer-value-proposition

[3] http://www.bus-ex.com/article/employee-engagement-retention-and-communication

[4] http://blog.hootsuite.com/beginners-guide-to-social-media-metrics-reach-exposure/

[5] http://www.slideshare.net/linkedin-talent-solutions/5-reasons-for-investing-in-your-talent-brand-v3

Advertisements

Course TSPK101- Expanding Your Technology Vocabulary For Business Use

In my opinion, there are three things that have become the norm of modern day societal interaction:

  1. Mobile Devices
  2. The Cloud
  3. Social Networking

I’ve affectionately labelled them the Technology Trio. Most of us could not go an hour without interacting with one, if not all of these items. This Technology Trio is fast becoming the driver of business strategy development; encompassing sales, marketing, product offerings and the employee value proposition.

Technology_Trio

That’s right I said employee value proposition.

Employees are increasingly demanding the use of mobile, cloud and social collaboration at work. Things like importing their talent profile from LinkedIn, requesting and approving vacation on their smart phone or using SharePoint to crowd source ideas from multiple internal and external stakeholders to complete a project.

Discussions about the Technology Trio have also become common place in executive strategic planning discussions. functions including . Departments such as Sales, Finance, HR, Marketing, Legal, Procurement, Operations, Compliance, etc., are now expected to have some general knowledge of the Trio to develop solutions to support businesses strategies.

Cloud-Ops-Model-lg

These could include providing answers/recommendations on whether to use a new SaaS solution to manage sales. What’s the contract/ cost implications if we move to an integrated best in suite solution or continue with a series of best in breed solutions? If  we enable API plugin’s how do we mitigate privacy concerns? If we use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers as part of our sales strategy are they any compliance risks? What guidelines need to be added to our code of conduct around acceptable usage of social media at work? How should we address anonymous employment reviews  on social media sites about our company? How do we leverage big data to gain insights into projected sales revenue or succession planning for baby boomer retirements? What’s our social recruitment strategy? And on and on….

iStock_000012479982Small

For many, this is new and overwhelming territory. Symptoms may include eyes being glazed over, increased heart rate, bouts of perspiration or having to leave the meeting early due to a sudden appointment!

Relax. Take a deep breath.

For all of you who would like a crash course on the essential technology terms* you need to know for your next meeting; this blog post is for you!

 -Technology Terminology Cheat Sheet-

Term*

Definition

Example

Android Is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google. Android is designed primarily for touch screen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It uses touch inputs like swiping, tapping, pinching, etc. to manipulate on-screen objects. It also offers a virtual keyboard.
  • JellyBean
  • NexusGalaxy
  • HTC Mobile
API PlugIn An application programming interface (API) specifies software component inputs and outputs.  Its main purpose is to define a set of functionalities which allow integration (plug in) of new features into existing applications or to share data between otherwise distinct applications.
  • Apply for a job on a recruitment system using your LinkedIn profile
  • Login to TripAdvisor using your Facebook profile
Best of Breed (BoB) Applications that offer specialized functions in specific areas that ERP’s suites usually do not feature. (E.g. Time and attendance, compensation, talent management, financial planning, etc.) Most BoB  solutions are now SaaS and Cloud based.
  • Kronos
  • Salesforce.com
  • HireVue
  • Jobvite
  • JobsDB
Best in Suite (BiS) Applications that provide a broad set of functional capabilities as part of an integrated suite. These components can be sold as standalone modules or bundled. They sit on a unified platform which makes integration easy.
  • SAP
  • Oracle
  • IBM
  • Blue Link
Big Data Is an all-encompassing term for the collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand data management tools or traditional data processing applications. Big data solutions:

  • Zaponet
  • SAP Big Data
  • Oracle Big Data
Cloud Computing Is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices remotely as a utility (like an electricity grid) over a network such as the Internet. Cloud computing allows users to access their information anywhere, anytime and on any device type.
  • Google Drive
  • Yahoo email
  • Facebook
  • WordPress

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24614112

Term* Definition Example
Integrated Platform A unified technology solution that offers software that delivers services across multiple subject areas such as learning, recruitment, compensation, talent management, etc. Unlike BiS, there are no modules to sell individually.
  • Workday
Middleware Computer software that connects software applications to other software applications. Think of it as “software glue”. Middleware is used behind the scenes to execute transactions, facilitate data flow or build integration.
  • Custom API’s
  • Web Servers
  • Automated backup system
Mobile Refers to a variety of smart, portable devices that can access the internet and facilitate the usage of apps.
  • Blackberry
  • iPad
  • Smart Phones
Mobile App A computer program designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. Apps (applications) are available through application distributors such as the Apple App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry App World.
  • Good
  • Mobile Bank Payments
  • Instagram
SaaS Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud model that delivers on-demand applications that are hosted and managed by the service provider and paid for on a subscription basis (fee/ license).
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Workday
  • Salesforce.com
  • SuccessFactors
SEO Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of influencing the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”)search results. The goal is to have content indexed so it ranks closer to the top (higher) on the page when search results are returned. The higher results are ranked, the higher the probability  visitors will see content and click on it. Content can be in the form of text or digital media such as videos, audio files or images.
  • Your content shows up in the top 10 search results on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Baidu, Naver, Khoj, Achei, etc.

 

social_recruiting

Term* Definition Example
Smart Phone A mobile phone with more advanced computing capability and connectivity than basic feature phones. Smartphones include a touchscreen computer, web browser, Wi-Fi connectivity, 3rd-party apps, etc.
  • Blackberry
  • iPhone
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • HTC
Social Collaboration A processes that helps multiple people interact and share information over the internet to achieve a common goal.
  • LinkedIn
  • TripAdvisor
  • Google Hangout
  • SharePoint
Social Recruiting The use of social media and mobile tools to facilitate sourcing, marketing and recruitment. Many SaaS solutions offer social recruitment tools as part of their suite of products.
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Adwords
  • Jobs2Web
Technology Ecosystem The suite of systems in an organization that make up their comprehensive systems portfolio.
  • Your organizations systems

This list is by no means exhaustive. It should however, give you a good starting point to become a knowledgeable contributor in conversations.

I hope you find this blog post useful. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will delve into social recruiting vocabulary.

I would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line via  pca_icon_linkedin_111w_116h LinkedIn or twitter@annzaliebarrett

Ann_Nov_2012

By Ann Barrett- Director, Integrated Solutions

*Source of terms have been taken from wikipedia.com and modified for relevance.

How Twitter Is Changing the Way We Interact

I have a confession to make…I’ve become a bit of a Twitter junkie. If you had asked me eighteen months ago why Twitter is such a popular tool I would have shrugged by shoulders in bewilderment. At the time, I too was puzzled as to why so many people were using this channel to read “tweets” about what people were doing all day. I thought aren’t people already using Facebook for that?

As a social media professional I kept circling back to how we could leverage Twitter as a strategic channel for engagement and marketingimagesCAPM27TL. I often struggled with how I could use this channel for recruitment. Earlier this year I attended a Brainstorm conference which had one day dedicated to how to use social media for campus recruitment. Although I am not a campus recruiter, I did know that Twitter was an important channel for students and new graduates. Chelsea Newton and Michael Mahoney from Talent Formula delivered an amazing workshop reviewing all the relevant social  media channels. One comment that really resonated with me, one powerful statement that I still think about today is this; “…If you are looking to put together a social media strategy, you have to be on the channels to understand how they work.” It sounds so obvious, but it was really profound. Right then and there I logged into my dormant Twitter account and started tweeting to Michael, Chelsea and the group about what I had learned and observed. It was enlightening, powerful and liberating. People were actually responding and re-tweeeting me!

A few weeks ago, I was reading an article in Canadian Business magazine (yes an actual magazine) talking about how Twitter has changed the way we watch TV. The article stated that 70% of TV viewers now watch shows with a smart phone/tablet in hand; using them a second screen in imagesCAZ5Q2YGTV viewing. So, I have another confession to make…I too have adopted this practice. On Sunday nights I arm myself with my iPad and tune into to watch one of my favourite shows, The Walking Dead. Through a simple #hashtag thousands of us around the globe tweet our comments, reactions, predictions, etc. before, after and during the show. Many of the actors also tweet their own commentary encouraging further conversation. TV shows such as the Talking Dead take questions from Facebook and Twitter as discussion items for the show. It allows for much broader participation and engagement. The ability to interact with people in a shared conversation through Twitter has changed the way I watch certain shows.

As I use Twitter more and more, I realize why it is so popular and impactful:

1) Quick updates– You can share a thought, observation, picture or comment on the fly. It’s easy to do.

imagesCAKE6HJS

2) Expands Sharing- The integration of Twitter on other social media platforms and websites allow you to share pictures, articles, webpages, comments, updates, etc. to your followers that is easy to consume. Re-tweets are also fast and networking friendly.


3)
 
You can participate in conversations– You may say, can’t we do this on Facebook? I’ll answer it one word. #Hastag. This humble, yet revolutionary invention allows people to come together and participate in imagesCAK1XFF9conversations.  At the last conference I attended, conversations and observations were shared collectively through a hashtag. Even if you couldn’t participate in person, you could still be part of the conversation and contribute your ideas, thoughts and feedback.

4) You can follow people without being intrusive– Twitter has limited profile information. The idea is to converse. Most people feel comfortable “following” other people they don’t’ really know, but want to get to know. It’s the perfect bridge between Facebook and LinkedIn.

twitter-tablet-hed-2013

5)  You can have a single opinion or a unified voice- Twitter is a great way to rally people around a single cause. Good or bad. Product
launches can generate oodles of hype and amplify brand. In the case of JP Morgan, it can also provide a unified voice for disgruntled people sharing feedback and comments about the company.

So a few weeks after my Sunday TV + Twitter ritual, I circled back to the initial question; how can recruitment use Twitter in a more meaningful way? It’s no surprise the primary strategy is still based on a job board approach. While this may be low hanging fruit, it’s still missing the essence of what Twitter really represents; engagement. A few months ago I wrote a blog post about Bilal Jaffery who got a job at Enterasys through a tweet back to the CEO. The lesson is social media is more powerful if you take the time to converse. It means investing in creating a pipeline of people you would like to have a further conversation with. So how do you do that?

1)      Build up your follower base- As you start to follow other companies, you may notice people who are of interest. Start to follow them. Get to know them.

Twitter-Recruiting

2)      Participate in conversations- I can’t stress this enough. To make yourself visible you have to participate in conversations. So add your two cents!

3)      Be responsive- Conversations are two way. If you are tweeting you should also re-tweet and respond to tweets.

4)      Direct Message People of Interest- When you see someone you want to talk to direct message them.

5)      Don’t Spam- Don’t tweet just for the sake of tweeting. It’s better to a have a few quality tweets (including jobs) instead of hundreds that clog up peoples tweeter feed. You will be “unfollowed” pretty quickly and it could damage your reputation.

Twitter is a viable contender in the recruitment space. Many companies who have followed the steps above have touted success through product sales, brand, recognition and hires through its usage. McDonald’s,  AT&T, Cogent Company and Enterasys are few examples of this.

I hope these few tips will help you start thinking about how you can use Twitter for recruitment. I would love to hear from you so please tweet me @annzaliebarrett

twitter

Happy Tweeting!

Career Product Marketing- What Are You Selling?

In my last blog post I talked about how organizations are using crowdsourcing to improve marketing messages to make products more appealing. I spoke about how HR functions can also utilize this rich data to improve its employee value proposition and employment brand. As Recruitment functions start to climb out of a 2.0 model attention is being directed to use social media platforms for recruiting. In a quest to increase reach, many companies continue to push out long, traditional, wordy job postings that serve to instruct the reader rather than entice them. It looks something like this:

old_jd

If product marketing took this approach it would be the equivalent of pushing out a product specification to attract buyers. Sounds absurd right? Marketing knows they have to develop compelling messages to entice the reader to at least find out more about the product. Messages are developed into visual ads where social media acts as a forum to engage and interact with consumers. The difference looks something like this:

samsung_spec       samsung_product_ad

What if recruitment took a business approach and treated “careers” as products they’re trying to sell? Each vacancy would represent an individual product marketed through a job ad. The marketing approach would centre on crafting key messages to attract relevant prospects for the product. Job postings would be more marketing friendly focused on key communities to interact and engage in a meaningful way.

For companies who have embraced this type of thinking the outcomes are creative and concise ads geared at soliciting relevant prospects with links where the reader can learn more.

ASCPUN201006237Ad00701

1234807_10151794314309346_1163308203_n  microsoft_jobad

Think about what is attracting you to these ads. What makes you linger? Visual and emotional cues make you want to read more. Visual content marketing has a higher impact on social media because it’s easier to consume and share.

Some companies such as Salesforce.com have taken this even one step further by extending career marketing to a video format. This approach is far beyond recruitment 2.0, and actually moves into the realm of recruitment 4.0. Here, the Manager takes an active role in the recruitment process. The video is short, engaging and easily downloadable so it can be viewed on the go. Prospects are also offered the opportunity to engage with the Manager via social media (in this case Twitter) for more information. This creates the opportunity for real interaction instead of a one way push.

salesforce_pic

A forward thinking approach.

I know many of you reading this may think this is a huge amount of work that requires a lot of money. Not to mention, Managers would never do a video. To that I would say, start small. Do you have a few key roles you can start with that you can pilot? Start to create the foundation by shifting the mindset. Many companies have fantastic in-house creative, brand, communication and digital teams. Partner with them. Learn from them. Small successes pave the way for larger successes.

To help you get started, I’ve mapped out how recruitment can craft career marketing messages using the same thought process as a product marketer. Product marketing essentially has to answer three main questions for consumers:

Business Product Marketing Messages Career Product Marketing Messages
1- What will this product do for me if I buy it? (What’s In It For Me- WIFM?) 1- How will this job utilize and/or enhance my skills and develop my career? (WIFM?)
2- What are the main/exciting features of this product? What does it do? 2- What are the main/attractive features of this job? What would I do? (Keep it concise)
3- How is this product different from its competitors? 3- Why should I work for your company instead of your competitors?

I hope this blog post has energized you to think of your job postings in a new way! I would love to hear about your success stories.

 

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Why Social Recruiting Is Inevitable

I was inspired by the recent blog post by Bilal Jaffery who landed a social media job via Twitter. His story is a great example of how some Gen X and Gen Y’s are approaching job sourcing. It centres around engagement and conversations on social networking platforms.

twitter_helpwanted

The relationship component plays a bigger role in helping candidates determine if a company is the right fit for them. At the same time it also gives organizations the chance to interact with potential candidates to build a qualified talent pool.

His story also validates the shift happening within recruitment. Candidate behaviours are driving employers to adopt social recruiting practices to solicit passive talent. Companies who have been social media shy are at risk of being bypassed as a destination for top talent. Candidates are judging the employer as much as the employer is judging the candidate. Bilal’s blog post highlighted a few things that employers need to do to remain competitive:

imagesCAGEOSCE

  • Social media is mandatory– The fact of the matter is, if you’re not on a social media channel, at a minimum to build brand awareness, chances are you may be screened out as a potential employer. Much like dating, candidates want to build a relationship with their potential employer before they make a commitment. Your social media presence provides some insight into what your brand means to consumers and how you engage with them. The focus is on engagement and responsiveness.
  • Employees are your best brand ambassadors– There are hundreds of blog posts that attest to this. Tweet_bloombergIn the case of Enterasys it was the CMO’s tweet about a job opportunity that enticed Bilal to reply. Social media has empowered managers and other employees to actively participate in the recruitment process like never before.  Many managers have embraced social media as a way to partner with recruitment, actively share jobs to networks and identify possible candidates to contact. At the executive level, interaction via social media is a reflection of an organization’s willingness to working in a modern, forward thinking way.
  • LinkedIn will become the universal social job profile– LinkedIn has established itself as the professional social networking channel. This is the place where you can really create your own professional brand, market your experiences, projects, languages and LI_resumeportfolio of accomplishments. Consider that 100 new profiles are created every minute on LinkedIn*. According to mashable.com;  student use of LinkedIn increased 700% in 2012 as students and new grads individually and through their schools used the tool as a primary way to learn about new jobs and engage with potential employers. As a result profiles are being used as virtual resumes. As social media log on’s to third party applications continue to proliferate the virtual landscape, applicant tracking systems have also embraced LinkedIn integration’s providing candidates an option to use their profile as the basis of their job application. For those companies still requiring a resume, LinkedIn users can quickly download a copy of their LinkedIn profile in a resume format.

So what’s the message here? Candidates are learning about opportunities through a variety of social media channels. If you want to be a viable contender in the market, step up your social media efforts. That doesn’t mean putting all your eggs in the Twitter nest. It means diversifying your social media approach and really focus on engagement.

By Ann Barrett – Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

http://www.linkedin.com/company/linkedin-consultant

Building Your Best Online Professional Brand

The social realm is all about building your brand. With social sites and blogs people can define the persona they want to present to their friends, family, co-workers and the general public at large. The dilemma is separating your personal person(s) from your professional one. LinkedIn provides the perfect social platform to build out your professional brand.

LinkedIn-RolodexWith more than 225M global users and a whopping 155M user visits per month*, LinkedIn has become the virtual Rolodex for professionals. It’s the place where you can showcase your professional experience, build out your networks, participate in discussions and showcase your professional portfolio of accomplishments. Savvy users have realized its potential by using it as a marketing and talent tool to promote their professional brand by seeking recommendations and showcasing their career journey.

 LinkedIn can also launch students and new grads into the talent market through their professional profile. Students have realized that employers are using LinkedIn to proactively communicate, promote jobs and source new talent. Extending engagement beyond on site campus/college events. That’s why it’s important to create the best impression.

Here are ten tips to building your stellar online professional brand on LinkedIn:

    • A professional photo- I cannot stress this LI Photoenough. Photographs help create an emotional connection. Most people are better at recognizing someone based on their picture then just their name. Choose one that best represents the image you want your professional network and employers to see. 
    • Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to introduce yourself. What makes you a seasoned professional? What’s your area of expertise? What are you passionate about? What makes you stand out? Put some thought into this. The best practice is two to three paragraphs. Write your summary in the first person. There’s nothing more annoying than reading a profile where people reference themselves in the third person. 
    • Showcase your work experience- Your career history is important to building your professional journeybrand. It outlines your career journey and showcases all of the experiences, knowledge, skills and expertise that you have built up over the years. The best practice is about 8-12 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. What are your key responsibilities? What business groups do you work with? What are your outcomes? Do you specialize in a job family or region? 
    • Education– Your university/college. This can help build your network as LinkedIn may suggest other people who went to your school to connect with. If you’re a graduate, only list your post-secondary education. No need to put dates. For students ensure you document your education with your forecasted graduation date. This helps employers seek out students who will be graduating in the upcoming year(s). 
    • Skills– What skills have you acquired? What industries have you worked in? You may wonder why this is important when you may have documented this in your work experience.  The skills section makes it easier for others to read, and for your network to endorse you. It’s a great way to showcase skills you’ve acquired from all of your experiences, work related or not. For students, this is a LI_recommendationsgreat place to showcase skills you’ve acquired in school, through volunteering and/or work. 
    • Volunteering– What things are meaningful to you outside of work? Are passionate about any causes? Students, what volunteer experiences have you completed? Volunteer work is also important in shaping your skill set. You may acquire skills in your volunteer work that are broader than your work skills. Take a few moments to think about your volunteer experiences. How have they built your skill set and/or shaped your career path? 
    • Certifications– In addition to your education if you have obtained a license or certification (e.g. Society of Actuaries, PMP, CSC, LLB, etc.) this section lets you document it with ease. Other similar professionals looking to expand their network can find you easily. Certain LinkedIn groups’ require designations as a pre-requisite to joining their groups. 
    • Languages – Languages can become an important part of building broader networks. Not only canedit_profile you add languages on your LinkedIn profile, but you can create your profile in more than one language. This increases your network reach. If you speak more than one language make sure you have your profile available in those languages.
    • Add your Awards– Have you been recognized at work, in your community or at volunteering? Are you a recipient of an award?  The awards and honours section is a great way to showcase your recognized accomplishments. You’ve earned it, so show it off!
    • Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations becauseyoure_awesome they’re hard to get. While skills can easily be endorsed recommendations require more thought and are specific to you. A good place to start is asking previous employers, community leaders and work placement leaders. Recommendations are about quality not quantity. Think about what skill sets and work experiences you want someone to endorse. Those are the people you should reach out to for recommendations. 

These are just a few examples of tips you can use to boost your brand presence. What tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

*according to Techcrunch.com

The Mobile Revolution Continues: How Social Media Revitalized the Food Truck Business

social_food_truckMany articles and blogs have focused on how social media has helped corporations grow their business. There are so many great tips and success stories on how social media has impacted HR, marketing and digital media functions. Social media has also revolutionized many industries, providing a platform for creative entrepreneurs to develop, market and launch their products. One such example is the food truck. Now for many of you who are over, let’s say 30; you may have memories of food trucks as sterile mobile canteens that served basic drinks (tea, coffee, and soda), hot dogs and cold pastries. The 21st century has seen the rise of the social food truck. Many creative chefs have chosen to fuse the restaurant and street food food_truckexperience on wheels. The food truck offers a mobile option to inexpensively introduce great food to the masses. It is the purist reflection of what social media embodies. Meeting the masses where they are.

Through social media the food truck industry has literally been re-vitalized, creating a niche market for cooks and chefs alike. Their popularity has transcended the social realm into syndicated television shows such as Eat Street and Anthony Bourdain’s series Parts Unknown.

So how did social media rejuvenate the food truck industry?

Building The Brand

The first step with any good product launch is building a brand presence. Food trucks are no longer sterile, silver vans that lack personality or ffood_truck_pics_phonelare. On the contrary, they are works of art, reflecting the theme of the food, the character of the chef with playful, catchy names like Roaming Dragon, to build brand recognition.

Once the brand is established, the food trucks use a social media ecosystem to promote their products. Within the ecosystem you will find, at a minimum, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. Let’s not forget the delivery channel. Like the vehicle, it’s mobile.

Proprietors want people to know what kind of food they’re serving, recognize the truck and of course, communicate where they’ll be so you can buy the food. Applications like Instagram (100M users), Pinterest* (47M users) and Vine (via Twitter) provide the perfect channels to do all that. The beauty of these apps is customer can also participate in the experience by adding their own pictures and comments. They are then instantly shared their with friends through other social platforms in the ecosystem. Best part? No cost.

Engagement

Entrepreneurs rely on building their customer base by getting the “word” out there. With 1.1B people on Facebook, 500M on Twitter and 343Mfood_truck_phoneon Google* they represent the biggest, free, social distribution channels in the world. Every day menus and locations are posted and tweeted to a growing customer base. While content is pushed out, customers also engage in the conversation by posting comments, taking pictures of food, by asking questions and telling owners which locations they should include in their route. Tweeting or posting endorses the vendors and their products.  As we know, recommendations carry considerable clout. People are much more likely to try a new product or service if it’s recommended by someone they know. That translates into tangible sales.

Marketing Your Location

One of my favourite things about food trucks is their use of integrated GPS apps. Food trucks don’t necessarily go to the same spot every day. They diversify their routes to expand their customer base. Customers who want to experience new food trucks can download apps that track the ones closest to them.  All done in real time, on mobile.

food_truck_appMy blog post wouldn’t be complete without weaving in how this ties into social recruiting. With such an integrated social ecosystem, proprietors can easily advertise job openings to their fan base. 

The rise of the food truck through social media is an interesting and creative story. It’s another demonstration of how social media is creating new markets.

Kudos to all of those creative food proprietors who operate food trucks and offer good quality, flavourful food, at reasonable prices.

 
Support local businesses by finding the food trucks near you.

US:                 www.foodtruckfiesta.com

Canada:         http://streetfoodapp.com/

Toronto:       http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/

* Data courtesy of Digital Marketing Ramblings

By Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

Is Your Organization Ready for Social Recruiting?

It’s hard to believe that less than five years ago many companies were still contemplating whether social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter could be used as sourcing channels. Fast forward to 2013. The landscape of recruitment has significantly changed. The industry is in the midst of shifting away from traditional recruitment practices to what is now called “Social Recruiting”. Social recruiting is a model focusing on pro-active sourcing, brand marketing, engagement and metrics on social and mobile platforms. In a 2011 Jobvite survey, more than 80% of companies indicated they were using social media as part of their recruitment efforts.

So how are companies successfully using social media to assist with recruiting? Here are a couple of key suggestions to help you move to a social recruiting model:

  • Don’t treat social media as an add-on to your existing recruitment process – Social recruiting is an interactive, candidate centric model. It means socialinteractionthinking about sourcing in a drastically different way. Traditional recruitment focuses on a requisition centric approach. Recruiters spend administrative time screening out applicants to get to a qualified pool. Social recruiting turns this process upside down focusing on pro-actively finding qualified individuals and engaging them to market job opportunities. Instead of recruiters narrowing the applicant pool, they’re generating a qualified candidate pool through engagement. Successful companies have realized that social recruiting should focus on engagement, marketing and proactive sourcing. So, if you’re using social media as a job posting board it’s like using a smart phone to only make phone calls. If you don’t use the other options you won’t truly yield all the benefits.
  • Focus on engagement to build talent pools– Social media provides potential candidates with the opportunity to learn about your organization in an open and transparent way. Platforms such as Glassdoor and Indeed allow people to anonymously provide feedback about their experience with New-Rules-of-Recruiting-Promocompanies. In the social world, opinions carry a lot of clout. Most people will take feedback into consideration to help them form an opinion about a company. Candidate behavior is also shifting as social media becomes more commonplace and accessible. More than 60% of candidates expect to use a social media platform to engage with recruiting. Successful companies have realized that having a social media presence means providing a forum for people to interact. Candidates need to have an avenue to ask questions, provide comments or talk to someone if they want more information. What channels are available for your potential candidates to connect and communicate with you?
  • Really Proactively Source– Many companies buy into the concept of proactive sourcing but have trouble successfully executing. The shift from traditional post and pray to proactively searching can be a huge change for recruiters. It requires a thorough jobseekers_statsintake conversation to understand the search criteria. Most of all, it requires patience and perseverance. Statics show that 88% of all job seekers have at least one social networking profile. Successful companies have realized that they need to invest in training to ensure recruiters have the necessary skill set to execute. Consider partnering with a third party vendor with expertise in boolean search. If recruiters understand the basic concepts of online searching they will feel more confident executing.
  • Use metrics to anchor your strategy– Like any good strategy, metrics should be a core element.  Successful companies have realized that metrics can be used to tie their strategy together:
    • Measure to anchor accountabilities: Develop guidelines around what will be measured. Set expectations around ROI, and anchor accountabilities by creating benchmarks and frequently measuring against them. Hold people accountable for their performance.
    • Expand what you measure:  Traditional measures such as source of hire and cost per hire only tell part of the social recruiting story. Consider adding engagement and branding measures such as #followers, InMail acceptance % and talent reach to your dashboard to show the broader picture.
    • Refine your strategy based on results:  What is the data telling you? What are the accomplishments and gaps? What are the trends? As you consider your strategy for the next year let the data help you make the correct decisions. Make sure you communicate and share the your findings so there is transparency into the model.

These are just a few suggestions you can use to help build your social recruitment strategy. What tips would you suggest?

Is Resistance to Social Media @ Work Futile?

SEO Manager, Community Manager, Mobile App. Developer, Virtual Lead Generator and Recruitment Optimization Specialist. Most of these jobs were unheard of ten years ago. The high rates of user adoption on social media platforms have created new jobs to support technological development and new ways of working. Traditional jobs have also evolved as social tools permeate into our day to day work. Companies have realized they need to embrace social as part of their overarching strategy in order to remain competitive in the market. Resistance to social media may not only hinder company performance, but can widen the skill gap between you and your competition in the job market.

Don’t believe me?

Selling-Through-Social-Media-to-Close-More-Leads-InsideviewLet’s take a look at sales as an example. Traditionally sales people spent a significant amount of time cold calling and cultivating relationships to build their client base. There were limited ways of tracking information, let alone mapping out connections. Social media has revolutionized the approach to lead generation. Virtual networks help sales people identify, learn and connect with potential and existing clients by showing recent activity, new connections, job updates, people movements, status updates, etc. The savvy salesperson uses social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) to market themselves, and research people they want to get in touch with before making a call. The picture above shows the correlation between social media usage and increased lead generation.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Blind cold calling to generate leads      Uses social to research leads/ introductions
  • Relies on paper                                      Leverages mobile to get information on the go
  • Manually track clients                            Leverages social /CRM
  • Not on social media                               Use social media to engage and communicate

How about Marketing? This one is a no brainer. The introduction of targeted content marketing on the internet andsocial-media-industry-report-benefits-marketing-stelzner-march-2009 social platforms means messaging is reaching relevant audiences. So, if you’re a sales professional you won’t see job adverts meant for java programmers. Social media data also provides key insights to understanding consumer preferences, demographics and metrics around success/failure of targeted messaging. Content marketing has also evolved to become interactive. Savvy marketers know that fostering engagement between the company and their audience through a social forum builds brand awareness and relationships which can translate to new customers and customer retention.

Traditional Approach                                   Savvy Approach

  • Relies on push content strategy          Creates an interactive strategy to foster engagement
  • Limited/static social presence            Offers content types through social platforms
  • No mobile strategy                              Optimizes content for mobile

Recruitment has typically been an industry leader using social media . New-Rules-of-Recruiting-PromoNew industry terms such as Recruitment 2.0, Social Recruiting and Social HR have emerged to describe the shifts in recruiters work and tool kit. Think about it. Job boards, applicant tracking systems and staffing vendors were key sourcing channels to generate a just in time candidate pool. However, high memberships on social platforms have resulted in a shift to proactive sourcing to seek out the best candidate instead of just relying on the applicant pool. The savvy recruiter participates in social media to promote their brand, connect, search through networks and leverage managers networks to build proactive pipelines.  Savvy campus/college recruiters understand that pro-actively cultivating relationships with students and providing a forum to interact builds an emotional connection to the company and brand.

Traditional Approach                                       Savvy Approach

  • Spends time screening out applicants    Pro-actively searches and engages candidates
  • Requisition based searches                     Uses social to build candidate pipelines
  • Relies on career centre postings             Cross promotes jobs on social networks
  • Only interacts on campus                        Uses a variety of social platforms to interact
  • Opts out of using social media                 Cross promotes company social channels

One last point to think about is the new work force. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that young people have the highest

Edison-research-graphuptake on social media platforms (as shown). As they enter the workforce they have an expectation they will use some sort of social media platform (internal or external) in their job to collaborate and/or communicate.  As a result companies have started to transform the way they communicate, engage and collaborate internally.

So, to stay relevant and competitive you need to be willing to embrace new ideas and adopt change.  Job descriptions now incorporate using social tools as part of day to day operations. Whichever way you look at it, social media at work, is inevitable. Which means resistance to social media in the workplace is futile.

By: Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy

LinkedIn Guide for Sales People

What once started as a professional networking site, LinkedIn has quickly evolved into a more robust tool used for a variety of purposes including networking, job searching, sourcing and consumer marketing.

Savvy sales people have also realized LinkedIn can be used for lead generation and relationship management, making prospecting faster and more efficient. Here is my Sales person’s guide to leveraging LinkedIn to generate sales.

Step 1: Making the best impression

Your prospect is most likely looking you up on LinkedIn to better understand who they are dealing with. What impression do you want your profile to convey about you and the company you work for? Secondly, your profile can act as a great ice breaker to get your foot in the door. The more you add, the higher the probability your prospects see something they have in common with you.

Here are the eight must haves for your LinkedIn profile:

  1.  A professional photo. I cannot stress this enough. PhoLI Phototographs help create an emotional connection. Many people have a better time recognizing someone based on their picture then just a name without a picture. Choose one that best represents your professional persona.
  2. Summary– Your LinkedIn profile is about you. The summary section provides a great way to showcase your entire professional persona. The best practice is two paragraphs at the most that best describe you and summarizes you overall professional experience. What makes you stand out against your peers?
  3. Update your current work experience. The best practice is about 5-10 bullet points that accurately reflect the work you do. If you are a sales person, what products do you sell, what’s your territory?
  4. Add company links under your work experience: Promote your company by adding the company website, You Tube channel, Facebook page or product videos. As people check you out, they also get to learn more about your company and its products.
  5. Education– Your university/college. No need to put dates.
  6. Solicit a few recommendations –People put a lot of credibility into recommendations, especially from existing happy customers.
  7. Interests– You would be surprised what an ice breaker this could be. Things like, traveling, biking, playing tennis, etc.
  8. Cross Promote: If you have a Twitter feed, add it to your LinkedIn account. When you add status updates you can tweet at the same time.

Need help creating a profile? Click here

Step 2: Build Your Network

What does your current network look like? Are they mostly family and personal friends? If so, it’s time to invest in building out your professional network to include colleagues, customers, propsects, industry associates, etc. Connections breed connections. As you build your network your network reach (up to three degrees) will also increase, giving you a broader pool of people to reach out too.

Here are six ways  to build your network:

Tip # 1- Seize the moment!

Whenever you meet someone always follow up within 24-48 hours with a LinkedIn network request while it’s top of mind. Always include some context in your invite such as where you met them.

Tip# 2- Use Your Network to Identify and Target Prospects

Recruiters use LinkedIn to target potential recruits and get a better picture of their experience and skills. Sales people should be using LinkedIn to seek out key contacts, influencers and decision makers within organizations. LinkedIn profiles can provide a plethora of information such as office location, projects, groups followed, recommendations, etc. With a little investigation you can quickly zero in on who you should be talking to, who they’re connected to and how you’re connected to each other. Don’t forget to check out who’s viewed their profile to get some insight into who’s viewing them.

Tip #3- Use Advanced Search To Find New Prospects

sales_LI_searchLinkedIn has a fabulous, free, search component. With advanced search you can search for people by title, company, location or keyword. What’s even better is you can save your search criteria and set up a regular alert notifying you when anyone new matches your search.  For example, you could save a search for a “Benefits Manager” within 50 miles of Tampa. Then you can get an email with anyone new who matches that search and deserves a closer look.  New prospects to contact. Once you start using this you will wonder how you ever lived without it!

Tip #4- Get Introduced to Expand Your Network Connections

sales_LI_search2LinkedIn allows you to see up to three degrees of separation between your direct connections and your network. That means you can see how you are connected to people you may want to reach out to. In the example above, I can see that I am a third degree connection to Mary T. If I wanted to connect with her, the best practice would be to see who we have in common and ask that person to help make the introduction. People are much more likely to read and accept an email from someone they know then someone they don’t. If you send an empty connection request chances are your connection/email maybe ignored.

  • Click on the person you want to connect tooLI_introduction
  • Beside the “Send InMail” drop down arrow select “Get Introduced” option
  • LinkedIn will show you your common connections
  • Select the person that you would like to approach for the introduction
  • Craft your introduction message to the person making the introduction

Tip#5- Use Groups to Connect on a Large Scale

In my opinion one of the most under-utilized features of LinkedIn are groups. Think about it. A group of like-mindedLI Group Pic people, who share information, solicit advice, participate in discussions and ask for recommendations. This is where you want to be. Discussions can provide some insight as to where some companies need help or hot topics. Questions are often posted to group members asking for referrals or experts they can connect with. Group members can also see contact details of fellow members providing an opportunity to reach out. If you are not a member of at least 5 groups you are missing out on potential prospects!

Tip # 6- Follow Companies

LI CompanyAs a Salesperson, you want to be informed about what’s happening at companies you may be targeting. Are there changes in the structure? Acquisitions? New markets? This information can be powerful and present a good reason to get in touch. The “follow” company feature on LinkedIn allows you to receive updates into your news feed.  Don’t forget to follow your own company!

Step 3: Your Daily Checklist

Okay, now that you’ve updated your profile and put some key processes in place to help you build your network and identify new prospects. Don’t stop there. Each day you should spend at least 30 minutes taking a look at LinkedIn to see what’s been happening with your network and potential prospects.

  1. Review your news feed– What have your connections been up to? As your networks update their information it will show up in your news feed
  2.  Check your groups’ digests – look for new members and for opportunities to participate.  Join the conversation so people get to know you
  3. Look at who’s visited your profile and check them out to assess
  4. Calling a Client or Prospect? Take a look at their LinkedIn profile to find out if there any changes or updates? Knowing recent information helps break the ice and makes you look more informed. Pay attention to their profile changes and activity.

So, three easy steps to use social media to align with your sales plan. What other tips would you recommend?

by Ann Barrett, Director eRecruitment & Social Media Strategy