Do You Have an Internal Employer Brand?

 

Last week, I took a trip out to Seattle to spend some time working, exploring, and learning about the city. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to visit Amazon.com, one of the many corporate campuses that are located in the area. I had never explored a “campus” in the past but I’ve always been extremely eager to get a first-hand experience after reading the many articles that are out about it. Needless to say- I was impressed. But I wasn’t just impressed by the immensity of the campus, I was blown away by the branding located around the campus which had me thinking about the whole “employer branding” thing. I know HR is struggling to implement a strong brand to attract external candidates, but what about their internal brand?

One of HR’s main functions is to recruit and attract quality talent to their organization but it’s also about retaining the talent that is currently there. What are we doing to keep our employees engaged and loyal to our organizations? Competitive compensation isn’t going to be the only option to keep an employee from walking. Maybe you aren’t an enormous organization like Amazon.com, Google, or Linkedin who are notorious for having awesome internal brands, campuses, and culture, but there are ways to adopt some of these things to fit with your organization:

  • What vibe does your workspace give off?: One of the most notable things I think of when it comes to campuses like these are the different workspace options that are available. Yes- I said OPTIONS. Their offices are not set up with jail-like cubical rows with the occasional office or conference room here or there. They have open spaces, co-working options, lounge areas, and unique personalities. Perhaps you don’t have the space or budget to create these areas but there are plenty of ways to create an open environment that seems welcoming and non-restrictive.
  • What internal recruitment marketing do you have in place?: As I was riding an elevator in one of the Amazon buildings, I noticed a vibrant poster marketing one of their departments that currently was recruiting for Software Engineers. One side of the poster showed a man sitting at a computer with the saying, “This is what it looks like to work on my team.” The other side showed an imaginative, creative, and fun scene surrounding the man at the computer with the saying, “This is what it FEELS like to work on my team.” Below both posters had the team manager’s contact information that you could rip off and take with you. I absolutely loved it. Amazon is huge so having marketing options like that could really make it easy to recruit for internal candidates that didn’t know about your team. Makes sense for a company that’s as large as that, right? Here’s the kicker- even employees in small organizations admit that they aren’t aware that specific jobs exist or they don’t know about internal job openings within the organization. This can be a huge issue, especially since many employees leave their company because they feel like they have no internal mobility options. That situation might not be true and their perception of this might just be due to lack of information.
  • Are you too scared to adapt?: I understand the phrase, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” And that phrase is a perfectly reasonable one. If your company is functioning fine, there is no reason to fix it but what about offering more options? Compensation isn’t the only thing that can retain your employees, sometimes other options can be the deciding factor: telecommuting; flex work; tuition reimbursement; on-going training; co-working; employee engagement initiatives; and so on. Your competitors are coming out with really cool options to provide to their employees. Don’t let them beat you out because you were too scared to adapt to the changing world of work.
  • Is it a place of hierarchy or community?: There most definitely needs to be order within an organization but top down communication doesn’t really work as well as it did in the past. Your employees want their voice to be heard, they want to make suggestions, they want to contribute, and they want to build relationships. I’ve worked in an organization where the President and Directors are extremely open to two-way communication. They make it very easy to hold conversations, even to the point where interns aren’t scared to make suggestions or hold a casual conversation with someone higher up. It has created a great sense of community within the organization which has helped it be more progressive than other companies who haven’t adopted this.

Your employer brand isn’t just about convincing external candidates that your company is a great place to work, but it’s also about making sure your current employees also love working there to the point where no other company or job offer seems more attractive.

Job Seeker: Maybe Your Online Personality is Killing Your Job Leads

The other day, a few of my peers and I were discussing our social media presence and how it’s evolved over the years. One of them had mentioned that they often Google themselves to see what the search results were pulling up. Of course, being that she was a consultant, I felt that this was necessary in order for her to gain client leads. However, as I thought about this topic a little more, I realized that this can also be true for job seekers.

I’ve been in a talent acquisition and HR role for a few years now and I’ve most definitely heard some stories in my day. One of the biggest things I’ve heard from other recruiters would involve their sourcing methods for candidates. Sometimes, when recruiters are in a crunch for candidates and can’t seem to get the contact information they need to reach out to them right away, they will do a Google search. This is an alternative method to find job seeker’s contact information. Sometimes it is an effective method and sometimes it’s just scary.

Some of the most interesting things I’ve heard in regard to this from other recruiters:

  • Blatant lies about work experience: Make sure your resume and your Linkedin profile match up because recruiters most definitely cross-reference. There have been times where candidates stated they had 10 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree, only for the recruiter to discover that this wasn’t the case.
  • Incriminating photos: it always baffles me when people (especially individuals who are 18 years old or older) find it ridiculously cool to post pictures of them with some sort of drug in their possession. It’s even more baffling if they have pictures posted of them using the substance.
  • Very bad posts on social media: discriminatory comments, racism, and the like are often found on social media. Whether the person is joking or not, the recruiter may never know. All they can do is take it at face value.
  • Police blotters: don’t mark off that you have no felonies or misdemeanors on your background check if there’s potentially an article about you getting arrested on the internet. With a lot of these publications becoming available online, it’s a lot easier to come across this information than if it was only in print.

It’s hard enough to land a job as a job seeker in this economy, it’s even worse if your online presence ruins chances before you can even get to do a phone interview. Do yourself a favor and Google yourself to see what kind of information is at recruiter’s disposal and do some damage control. This could help your chances.

More links:

Check out this Infographic about Social Resumes

Photo Source

Are You Searchable: The Boolean Search

Throughout my employment with my current employer, WilsonHCG, I am constantly introduced to new and interesting ways to source and recruit for quality candidates. In my past recruiting roles, I would do simple searches on job boards like Careerbuilder or Monster. But recently, I learned that there are even better ways to find candidates that possess all the qualities the job opening requires. Recruiters are now utilizing Boolean search strings to identify top candidate matches. If you are a candidate, it’s important to understand how this works so you can customize your resume for the best results.

As I have mentioned in the past, it is important for candidates to use keywords in their resumes. It is even more important for them to customize their verbiage to have the words that are either used in a particular job posting or for a specific industry. These Boolean strings can use 2 or more words or phrases to really screen out and/or hone in on candidates that have the most experience relevant to a specific job’s needs. As a candidate, here are some ideas on how to research hot keywords to place in your resume:

  • Make a list of the top companies you want to work for. Thoroughly look through several job openings relevant to your experience or interests to get an idea of how they lay out the posting and what they’re specifically looking for.
  • Research a specific industry and job postings in that industry to get a better idea of what terminology and industry-related language are used.
  • Look at job postings for a particular role you are targeting. Look through a large range of postings that different companies and/or industries use. Compile a list of the common words, phrases, and verbiage that all of these different companies and industries seem to commonly use.

Once you get a better understanding of what recruiters and companies are looking for, take a look at your resume and see how it compares. Make necessary edits and customize some of the words or phrases that seem to be predominate for a company, role, or industry you are targeting. Feel free to even make several resumes with different keywords, post it, and see what resume gets more views/hits.  Making these changes can seriously help your resume get noticed by the recruiters. For more information on how Boolean search strings are used during the recruiting process, feel free to read the following:

Why Boolean Search is such a Big Deal in Recruiting.

Boolean Search Strings are Not as Scary as you Might Think.

Photo Source and more Boolean examples.

Death of the Traditional Resume

A couple months ago I had written a post regarding a new twist on resumes. The post went over a couple ideas on how to add a little something extra to your traditional resume. Today, I would like to revisit this topic and also add some more suggestions and details on how to make your resume outshine the others. A recent Twitter chat on Friday called #HRTechchat revealed that many other recruiters and HR professionals believe that the traditional resume is dead and had strongly suggested that job seekers find other means to display their abilities and eligibility for a job. Therefore, a few suggestions below might help make a positive impact in job seekers’ searches.

Here are some tips that can help you through your job search:

  • Spruce up your traditional resume: Although HR professionals and recruiters claim that this is “dead”, it is still used when applying for jobs. Consider your resume as just one piece of the puzzle and a way to get a foot in the door. Make sure your resume is updated to have relevant information. Add industry specific keywords to make it more searchable. Reformat your employment details to use verbiage that matches the job postings you’re applying to. Include specifics of size and scope to help employers see how you’d fit in with their specific company needs.
  • Determine what you would like your personal and professional brand to be: Even if you aren’t a marketing guru, it is important to learn how to sell yourself. Make sure your resume reflects the brand, job, and industry you are targeting. Network with relevant people to show your knowledge on this subject. Help others, volunteer, and try to become the “go-to” person in your networking circle. Put yourself out there and make it known that you are the epitome of this brand.
  • Build your online presence: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date.  Join other professional websites relevant to the industry you’re branding yourself in. Join in discussion posts on career websites and social media sites. Create your own blog to show that your industry knowledge is tangible. Offer to write for other websites’ blogs as a guest. After you take part in all of these things, do a quick online audit of yourself. Recruiters most likely will be Googling you, so be sure to check and ensure that you’ll be appearing in the search results in a favorable way
  • Show results: Many recruiters and employers rely heavily on results. You can say that you’re capable of “x, y, and z” duties but unless you find a way to put tangible results as supporting documentation, it won’t be seriously considered. Build a portfolio if you can or even get creative and make an infograph of your experience and results. This can help add a quick, visual document that can show recruiters that not only can you perform the duties, but you are also successful at them.

Job seekers- you need to do your due diligence in your job search. Recruiters are bombarded with resumes and eventually they all look the same. In this day and age, you can no longer simply submit a resume and assume that it will get noticed. You need to set yourself apart from the mundane masses and find other ways to capture employers’ attention. Set yourself apart, brand yourself, and make yourself searchable. Doing these simple things will help you land a job faster.

Links:

Death of the Resume.

Visual Resume.

Yes, the Traditional Resume is Dead.

Photo Source.

What Your Online Presence Can Do for Your Job Hunt

When I thought about the ideal job hunt, I always had believed that to be the most professional and proactive hunter, it was best to update your resume often and simply upload them to career websites. In addition to this, I was led to believe that the best way to get my resume in front of a recruiter was to apply to jobs online through job boards and applicant tracking systems. After all, these systems were put in place to help our resume be re-routed to the appropriate person, right? That used to work just fine until everyone else started to resort to this option. Now I realize that job seekers need to do something more to really set themselves apart. Over the course of the last few months, it became apparent that creating a personal brand via online can really help you during your job hunt.

I always assumed that doing anything online or on social media was typically considered something personal. I also heard the stories about how companies Google candidates to find these sites to do a quick “background” check before considering them for an interview. When I was in college, many teachers and guidance counselors told us to keep our online presence private or to delete anything that can potentially cause us to lose a job. With all these warnings, I never felt that having an online presence would help me land the job that I wanted. But after months of searching and being unsuccessful, I decided to give it a try.

To play it safe, I decided to keep my personal social media accounts private but then decided to create separate accounts strictly for business and maintaining a professional appearance. Of course, I decided to focus on LinkedIn first because that site is all about networking business professionals. It didn’t really pick up steam, though, until I invested more time into it. Putting up a profile with your experience isn’t enough to catch the attention of recruiters. You really need to participate. Here are some things I did on LinkedIn that helped me get more job interviews:

  • Update profile content and headline. Use keywords relevant to what you’re searching for so recruiters can find you easier.
  • Join groups. Joining groups are great but you must make sure you take time to participate in order to really allow yourself to get exposure. Comment on members’ discussion posts in a way that can show you are knowledgeable about a subject. Even post your own discussion questions on there to welcome interaction.
  • Keep the conversation flowing. In order to network effectively and build relationships, you must invest in time to keep the conversation going. If you comment on something or post a discussion question, make sure you respond to those who are also commenting. This flow of communication can help people get to know you better and open up an opportunity to connect.
  • Post interesting articles. Spark up some further conversation by posting online articles, publications, blogs, etc. This could grasp people’s attention and also display the fact that you keep up with industry trends.
  • Get personal. If you plan on sending a message or an invite, be sure to add something personal in the message. If you’re adding a recruiter, you could even mention that you’ve applied to a specific position at their company and wanted to talk more about it. This could help them pull your resume from the pile of hundreds they get regularly.

After I got LinkedIn up and running, I decided to take it a step further and see what Twitter had to offer. I used to use Twitter sporadically since 2009 and never really thought it could be useful for anything more than personal use. I was SO wrong. After using Twitter in a professional capacity, I ended up receiving more job offers, interviews, and assistance to find a job than I ever did when I used to just apply to online job boards. I couldn’t believe it. Here are some ways I effectively used Twitter during my job hunt:

  • Add people that are relevant to the industry you’re trying to get a job in.
  • Add recruiters that work at the companies you are interested in working at.
  • Write thoughtful responses to their tweets to help open up communication.
  • Tweet links to relevant online articles, publications, blogs, etc.
  • And most IMPORTANTLY, join Twitter chats(this was the easiest way I was able to get interviews.) Twitter chats are amazing. It opens up real-time communication and could help you get exposure to the right people. Some TweetChats I’ve joined that were really great for my job hunt were:
    • #JobHuntChat – Mondays @ 10PM EST
    • #TalentNet – Tuesdays @ 7PM EST
    • #TChat – Wednesday  @ 7PM EST
    • #GenYChat- Wednesday @ 9PM EST
    • #HFChat – Friday @ 12PM EST

These chats are either geared towards connecting job seekers with recruiters or the chats are HR related which means you can easily connect with HR and recruiters. Of course, these are just a few chats of the many that are out there. I would suggest researching chats that are relevant to the industry or job type you are looking for.

After a while, I really started to enjoy the results I was getting from this and decided to take it even another step further. I created a blog that was relevant to the industry I was targeting (Human Resources) and started to write on a regular basis to help extend my online presence even more. I promoted it via LinkedIn and Twitter. This blog has helped recruiters to see my competency, knowledge, and even get to know a little more about me. They were able to see how I could fit in with their company. If you are able to do something virtually that is relevant to the industry you want to work in, give it a try. It could really help you stand out even more and add something extra to your candidate profile.

Having an online presence can really help you if you do it right. Keep it professional but also keep it YOU. Your online presence can help hiring managers, recruiters, and companies really get an idea of who you are and what you could potentially do for them. I was happy to see that investing time in this has paid off. After committing time to this, I was able to get job interviews, internship offers, and guest blog post offers. I felt that I made more progress doing it this way than the months I spent just dedicating time to job boards and online applications. Give it a try, it could make a huge difference.

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Is your Company “Perky”?

Last night, I was introduced to the #tchat on Twitter. It was the first Twitter chat that I’ve been involved in, so it was pretty interesting to see how ideas and feedback could be effectively expressed with only 140 characters. I was really impressed by all the great responses the members gave during the chat session that it actually helped spark the idea for today’s post, which is about company perks.

The basis of the chat was about companies with “extreme perks.” Now, I’m used to the usual perks of health care, Employee Assistance Programs, and paid time off. But in order to really get an idea of an “extreme perk”, I had to dig a bit deeper. I researched the 100 best companies to work for in 2012 and narrowed my investigation down to the top companies for the best unusual perks. Below are three companies from that list and the extreme/unusual perk that they offer:

1. Google (obviously)- If you’re a dabbler, you’ll enjoy their perks of: free gourmet food; an outdoor sports complex; “nap” pods; a bowling alley; celebrity visitors; and free android devices.
2. NetApp– If you’re “working on your fitness”, you’ll be sure to enjoy their perks of: basketball courts; massage rooms; exercise classes; outdoor sand volleyball; and the hub for different sporting tournaments.
3. Zappos.com– If you’re preparing for a “superhero” lifestyle, their version of “Employee of the Month” program is a perk for you: employee is named “Hero” of the month; a parade in their honor; noise makers and the “I Need a Hero” song played for them; a covered parking spot (Nevada is hot!); a Zappos gift card; and of course, no hero can go without a cape.

Perks can be a great thing for your company if used properly. They can attract talent or potentially help talent choose your company over a competitor. They can make the workplace more enjoyable to be at, thus reducing absenteeism. They can be used to recognize employees’ efforts, making them feel appreciated. It can help reduce stress in employees’ personal lives if they work long hours (i.e. on-site dry cleaning, cafeterias, on-site baby care). And it can be a tool to motivate employees to reach company goals.

Although these are some great ideas, they are only possible if you are a giant in the business world. If your business is not quite on that level yet, there are plenty of other options you can choose that will be better suited for your company. Some suggestions from #tchat’s members were:

• Doughnut or bagel day on Fridays.
• Gift cards given to an employee that went “above the call of duty.”
• Tickets to local sporting events.
• Giving a few hours of “free” PTO to the employee of the month.
• Randomly allowing “casual days” throughout the month.
• Creating a company team for your local sport and social club.
• Company events such as a picnic, in which employees can bring family and loved ones.
• Public “Fuzzies” (saying thanks to a teammate during a meeting).
• Or simply just saying thank you to your employees and giving specific reasons why you appreciate their work.

No matter how extreme or simple your company perks are, they can make all the difference to your employees. You may find it wise to ask your employees what they would want for a perk and try to incorporate it in your plan. Test a few out and see the positive difference it can make.

Links:
Google Perks
Zappo’s Heroes
NetApp’s Sports Hub

The Importance of Keeping your Company Real

Today’s topic is going to be about keeping your company authentic. For those of you who have read my previous blog postings, you know that I value companies that welcome individuality and are open to innovative ideas. Also, I enjoy companies that seem to be a little more human and a little less business. Although I’ve mentioned these values a few times throughout my writing, I haven’t fully given you an explanation of why I feel this way. This posting will let me shed some light on the subject.

Allowing your employees to be more like themselves can increase productivity. Have you ever worked at a company that had strict criteria on how the employees were to represent themselves? You need to say the right things, write e-mails with a certain professional tone, and make sure your shirt doesn’t have a single wrinkle. Of course, some organizations need this level of professionalism to gain trust from their clients but too much of it can hinder performance. If your employees don’t naturally do these things, then they have to use their mental capacity to train themselves to do it. Training yourself to be something against your nature for 40+ hours a week can be exhausting. Not to mention, the effort you’re putting towards doing that is taking away from your work.

Your employees will be happier. I’m not perfect, but neither is anyone else. To work for an organization that requires constant perfection can be extremely stressful. Life happens, we’re human, and people make honest mistakes. To work for a company that leaves no room for mistakes can cause employees to worry and doubt every little thing they do. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend a good portion of my day scared that the next thing I say or do will be my last at the company. That’s just a miserable way to go about life and eventually it will wear on them, both inside and outside of the workplace. Their unhappiness may start to reflect in the quality of their work.

Employees will feel more comfortable about offering ideas and suggestions. If your company was a little more open, a little less stuffy, and a little less strict, your employees may feel more comfortable offering contributing proposals during meetings. Creating an open and welcoming atmosphere can make employees feel better about freely expressing opinions, new ideas, and suggestions. If you don’t create this environment, employees could feel less inclined to speak up and you could potentially miss something of value.

Individualism can produce original solutions. I think some of the best companies I worked for are the ones that celebrate the individual and encouraged them to produce inventive ideas to demonstrate to the company. Employees loved the fact that they could use their personal experience and knowledge to present these suggestions. They gained a sense of accountability and became more engaged in the company’s well-being. Additionally, they found the company’s willingness to listen, consider, and offer feedback about these ideas to be motivating. They appreciated a company that offered this participative communication structure rather than companies dictating how things would be and expecting employees to follow without question.

You’ll gain trust from your employees. We aren’t robots, so it’s hard to trust someone who only communicates in an overly-formal, overly-professional, mechanical way. It’s hard to know what truly is going through that person’s mind and it’s hard to understand the meaning behind it all. Communication like that just seems closed and does not engage the other party in a useful way. Think about how you came to the point of trusting your friends, significant others, and family members. I highly doubt it was because of the “stimulating”, calculated conversations. You don’t get to know people from conversations masked with perfection. If you don’t get to know them, you also may not be able to trust them. To have an organization that employees don’t trust really isn’t going to do anyone any good. Try to keep it as real as possible.

You could reduce turn-over. If senior management is too-tight lipped about the organization, it could create a cause of concern for employees. As an employee, nothing is worse than being kept in the dark or out-of-the-loop…except being kept that way during the recession we’ve been experiencing. With layoffs, terminations, and failing businesses, it’s best to offer some honest information to your employees. This will help employees know where they stand in the company. It will also allow them to know where the company stands in the business world. Additionally, it can ease minds and lower turn-over caused by employees’ mentality of “getting out before it goes under.”

You’ll pique interest from outsiders. Think of some of the most interesting companies in business: Google, Apple, Zappos, and LinkedIn come to mind. These companies are notorious for their company culture. They celebrate and own their uniqueness and won’t conform to oppressive corporate structures other companies have had in the past. Because of the “realness” they bring to their company, candidates want to work there, employees are rating it the best place to work, and other companies want to adopt their corporate style.

I understand that business is business. I also know certain companies and jobs need to have an extreme level of professionalism. However, sometimes it can be too much and cause companies’ to be hindered rather than grow. Your employees are your biggest assets and you need to treat them as such. As I’ve said before, the companies that will dominate will be the ones that can find a way to keep the workforce working towards a collective goal but still welcome individualism and authenticity. Consider some of these points and even test them out. You may find that employee morale and productivity will increase.

Links:

Why Should Organizations be Authentic?

Companies Mentioned:

Google
Apple
Zappos
LinkedIn