From the category archives:

I work in HR

Cartoon by Hugh MacLeod

Recently a blog post on tlnt.com by the fabulous Laurie Ruettimann caught my attention, “Don’t Facebook Me: Why You Shouldn’t Google During the Recruiting Process.”

Laurie writes, “I don’t believe it is appropriate for Human Resources professionals to hop on Google, root around the Internet, and look for incriminating pictures and create reasons not to hire qualified people during America’s worst recession in decades.

Googling is a sloppy, lazy, and unseemly method to verify a candidate’s character. And who the heck is HR to put itself out there as a judge of character? I told the audience, “Some of us in the room are human and screw up on a daily basis. If you can’t use Facebook to post pictures, where is the joy in life?”

My first thought was, “But I am not looking for information to rule candidates out. I am looking for information to rule them in.”

When I am using Google or any other search tool as a part of my sourcing and recruiting efforts, I am seeking information about individuals’ professional experience and expertise. When working on a search, the goal is to find the most qualified candidate. Most of the searches that I work on are highly-specialized; clients hire me to find qualified individuals at a certain level within a small, very specific niche.

There is typically an extremely limited pool of these people that I am looking for. So, when I start researching someone’s professional background, I am hoping to find information telling me they are the right candidate for the job.

I WANT this person to be the right person for the job – so I can fill it and move on to the next one!

The problem arises when things pop up during this research that provide some doubt as to whether the individual may be the right fit for a client. The reason I am always writing on my blog about how it’s not a good idea to have drunken, naked, or otherwise unprofessional photos that are available to the general public is that we recruiters don’t want to find that stuff when we are doing our research! If we do, it might give us pause: ”Well, now, what if my client researches them and finds this and I didn’t tell them about it?”

Let me give you an example.

During a search I was working on several years ago I came across a potential candidate’s resume. He was a consultant for a Big 4 professional services firm, and his education and work experience were impressive.

The problem?

His resume was outlined on his MySpace page…right next to pictures of him, um, hugging the Porcelein God if you know what I mean. ;) 

There was also a lot of commentary about how he likes to drink and get drunk and there were pictures of naked woman all over his page.

My first thought was that if the partners of his firm saw this they would be mortified. And what if a client or potential client of theirs found it??

And then I thought the same thing about if the partners of the firm I was representing at the time saw that. They would be equally mortified. To have the name of the firm right there next to all of that…I still shudder at the thought.

Fortunately for me, it turned out his experience was not a direct match for what I was looking for so even if I had not seen all of that he would not have been a fit for that particular role. However, I just kept thinking…what if he had been? Then what am I supposed to do with that information once I have it?

Part of being a good fit for certain MOST roles is demonstration of good judgment. That, was not.

I think it’s perfectly fine to post your pictures on MySpace or Facebook or wherever. Naked or drunk or otherwise.

I think it’s also a really, really good idea to think long and hard about whom you want to see that stuff and whom you do not…and to USE PROTECTION THOSE PRIVACY CONTROLS THEY GIVE YOU.

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Still working on that whole getting-back-to-blogging-thing…

It’s a start, right??

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Cartoon by Hugh MacLeod

Nearly a year ago I was a guest on the Gravity Free Radio Show with Erik Wolf + Stephanie Frost and was asked my thoughts on employers’ fears about their employees being active on social networking sites.

I stumbled upon a fantastic article on Advertising Age yesterday that outlines all of the reasons I laid out on this radio broadcast and then some.

I LOVE the tagline for this article: ”Collaboration Can Increase Productivity. That and Resistance Is Futile.”

I also love this article because it so succinctly sums up the conversation we had on the radio.

“Here are five reasons companies should allow social networking:

  1. Resistance is futile.
    Workers increasingly have internet access on their smartphones. By the year 2013, 43% of global mobile internet users (607.5 million people worldwide) will be accessing social networks from their mobile devices, according to a new
    report from eMarketer.   
  2. Don’t assume people won’t find other ways to waste time.
    Executives’ biggest concern? That social networking would lead to “notworking” instead of working. As the Economist report notes, “This assumes that people would actually work rather than find some other way to pass the time they have to spare.”
      
  3. Social networks can actually make workers more productive. Three out of four of the 895 experts interviewed for the recent Pew Internet report “The Future of the Internet IV” said that use of the internet enhances and augments human intelligence, and two-thirds said use of the internet has improved reading, writing and rendering of knowledge, according to Janna Anderson, study co-author.   
  4. You’ll miss great ideas.
    Great ideas can come from any level of a company. Using social networks internally (wikis, blogs, forums, even IM) fosters collaboration and allows workers at all levels to contribute ideas.
     Experts emerge from within a company when collaboration is encouraged, and along with them come some of the best ideas that would otherwise be lost. Because people can comment on information, companies often learn of internal expertise they didn’t know about already.In most big companies, instead of collaborating, marketing competes with sales, advertising competes with PR, and so on, creating silos that prevent fresh ideas from being heard.I’ve consulted for companies where the marketing directs of divisions had never even met their counterparts in other divisions, let alone collaborated with them. As a result, they often were working on similar projects without sharing knowledge or resources. This wastes money and squanders ideas that could be helpful company-wide.
  5. Employees are much more trustworthy than companies think.
    Managers worry that employees will leak confidential information or speak poorly of the company. Most people have much more common sense than to jeopardize their jobs with wanton comments in social networks, especially these days.
     If you can’t trust your employees, you have one of two problems: You are hiring the wrong people or you are not properly training the people you hire.People who want to say something negative will find a way, with or without access to social networks, during business hours. However, negative feedback can also provide an early warning that changes need to be made, either in policy or employees.

All in all, companies have more to gain than to lose by allowing employee access to social networks. My bet is that it’ll take another two years for most companies to figure that out.”

AMEN!

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Cartoon by Hugh MacLeod

Yes, you CAN get a job on Twitter.

I HAVE PROOF.

Last Tuesday morning I woke up waayyyy too early so I grabbed my iPhone and scanned Tweetdeck while deciding whether to go ahead and get up or try and go back to sleep for a bit.

I happened to see a tweet from someone in the #HR community I’ve been following for at least a couple of years. She is located in upstate NY and we’d never met IRL – or even spoken on the phone, for that matter. She stated that she was looking for a contract sourcer.

I happen to know a lot of people who might be interested in such an opportunity so I DMd (direct messaged) her with my email address and asked her to share details with me.

She replied, asking if I knew of anyone, and I said I might. She emailed me and we arranged to speak that afternoon.

We had a great conversation during which she provided me with some additional insight in to the nature of the work. I told her I had a few people in mind and would reach out to them on her behalf and send them her way if appropriate.

The first person I mentioned it to had already spoken to her about it. He’s also very active on Twitter…imagine that! ;-)

Several hours later, completely out of the blue, I received the following DM from another friend on Twitter.

Top secret – just found out that I’ll be part of a reduction next week. Would love it if you kept eye/ears peeled for any opportunities.

She is located in Texas, and while we haven’t met (yet), we have spoken on the phone and collaborate on a fun “volunteer” project helping job-seekers.

I replied:

@TXFriend, reach out to @NYFriend and tell her I sent you. she’s looking for a contract sourcer – could be long-term :-)

18 HOURS LATER, @TXFriend sent me this DM:

Yay! Great connection with @NYFriend. Signed a contract to source for her this morning. You’re awesome!

It still shocks me when I hear negative talk about Twitter…”it’s a waste of time, I don’t care what someone ate for breakfast, blah blah blah.”

1-800-GETALIFE.

I’d love to hear from others who have landed a new work project or job opportunity via Twitter…or a new client, even. Same thing, really. It’s paid work, right?

And, speaking of the power of Twitter, our most recent He Said, She Said episode was centered on this very subject. You can catch it here

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Meet Jeff Wolfe: VP, Marketing | Atlanta, GA

January 22, 2010

Desired job title: Vice President of Marketing I’ve enjoyed a successful track record of partnering with sales and marketing teams to close the selling gap, by combining traditional and cutting-edge methods in order to create integrated marketing strategies that deliver results. I’m receptive to various industries and seek to continue my success with an organization preferably […]

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Meet Doug Lehman: Sales Account Manager | Atlanta, GA

January 20, 2010

Desired job title: Sales Account Manager As a business development specialist, I am looking to leverage my sales and product training skills for small to medium sized companies with industry interests in creative agencies, social media firms and information technology companies.  I am open to relocation and will travel extensively as a company brand marketing […]

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Meet Pattie Lee: Media Buyer in Greater Chicago, IL

January 18, 2010

I am seeking a position as a Media Buyer. I have 13 years of experience working at boutique agencies. I have extensive print, radio, television, out of home and internet buying experience. I enjoy working as part of a team and will do everything it takes to serve the client’s needs. Why are manhole covers […]

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10 words + phrases I don’t want to hear in 2010

December 26, 2009

It’s been quite a year. I think 2009 has been a year that we won’t soon forget for a large number of reasons. Most of them not so great…though I think that the many unfortunate events of this year have inspired and spawned a lot of excellent ideas and movements. I won’t lie. I’ll be […]

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