Taking Social Media Recruitment to the Next Level

instagram and vine

For years we’ve been hearing about utilizing social media for recruitment. Over time, this developed beyond sites like LinkedIn and has now spilled over to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Open Source. But are you still missing out on available talent?

With more candidates finding ways to creatively share their personal brands, it might be wise to start tapping into other social media sites like Instagram and Vine. Not sure where to start? Check out a blog I wrote on SourceCon last month.

“Let’s Get Visual: Attracting and Sourcing Candidates Using Instagram and Vine.” Click here to read the original blog post on SourceCon.

Showing Your Candidates That They Matter

Recently, I was having a discussion about the importance of the candidate experience with a friend. She’s a job seeker and was expressing her stress and frustration when it came to customize every single cover letter, resume, and letter of interest. It’s time consuming and exhausting. In the end, she sometimes only receives a generic e-mail back stating that her resume was received or that the company was going to “pursue other candidates that more closely fit their needs.” And just like that, it was all the interaction she got. Cold, human-less, and impersonal. We make candidates jump through all these hoops, but why aren’t recruiters held to the same standards? Recently, I came across an article on CoderWall and it really got me thinking about the messages we send to candidates.

The article on CoderWall discussed the issues with recruiting tech talent. I’m currently recruiting for tech talent and I know that it’s definitely not easy. This talent is in demand and more often than not, they get to pick and choose their opportunities. But regardless of this industry, the statements made in the article can ring true for any industry. With options like LinkedIn messages, e-mail templates, and automated messages, recruiters are able to increase the amount of people they contact in less time. But just because we have these tools doesn’t mean we should get lazy or abuse them, right?

Stacy Donovan Zapar also wrote a recent blog about spammy messages to candidates, which just continues to show that candidates are sick of our lack of personalization. How can we expect candidates to respect us or even be interested in talking to us when it seems like we didn’t invested a couple minutes to read about their personal experiences? We make them customize their messages to show us how they would fit in our job opening but shouldn’t we be doing the same?

Have I been guilty of shooting out generic messages to candidates in the past? Unfortunately, yes. And I realized that it’s no way to build a relationship. I’m not saying that templates are a bad thing. It could make it easier to include the job details you don’t want to have to rewrite over and over again. But it’s important to leave a section of your message open for editing based on each individual. Read their profiles, research their blogs/portfolios, check out their skill sections, and so on.  When you message them, include the things you researched. Maybe even ask them how they apply that to their current job or side project. There are plenty of ways to uniquely humanize your messages for each individual candidate.

I know that I’m instantly impressed by candidates who take the time to customize their letters of interest or cover letters for a job opening I have. I appreciate what they did and it makes me want to talk to them because they seem like they care. I’m sure that candidates feel the same about our messages to them. So let’s raise the bar and show these candidates why they matter to us.

Photo Source

Making the Most Out of a Networking Event

Last year, my fiancé decided to go back to school to pursue his passion and obtain a degree in Software Development Engineering. Although he is learning a great deal from classes and independent learning, unfortunately he doesn’t know many people in this field and sometimes lacks the network he needs to bounce ideas off of and collaborate with. Last month, I discovered that there was a CODEshow occurring in our local area of Charleston, SC. After days of convincing him that it was important for him to attend, he finally agreed that it would be in his best interest to learn from the individuals in this industry. To make the most of this learning and networking event, I utilized my inner HR skills and prepped him the best way I knew how.

The things I taught him this past week can be relevant in almost all networking events. Here were some useful tips I shared with him:

  • Make sure your professional social media is up to date: a couple nights before the event, I took the time to update his Linkedin and Twitter profiles. I ensured that: his pictures matched across social media channels; that his pictures were professionalish; his work title/experience was up to date; that his skills were accurate; and that there were links to connect his social media channels together so individuals knew they had the right person.
  • Do a little research: The night before, he and I researched things involving the Codeshow. We read articles, researched what people were saying on social media, and so on. He was able to locate a few people who stated they were attending and sent them a quick message about connecting at the show.
  • Live-streaming at the event: sometimes it’s a little hard to multi-task. I get it- trust me- but you’d be surprised by how much easier it makes it for you to have warm networking leads. A trend I’ve noticed was live tweeting from events in which participants would quote presenters, take pictures, and provide feedback. This would be a live stream and would include a hashtag specific to the event/conference. Live streaming allows you to see who is at the event and creates an easy opening for virtual conversation that can lead to in-person conversation during breaks.
  • Connecting after the event: make sure you get business cards or contact information from the individuals who presented or who you spoke to. Be sure to reach out to them through professional sites like Linkedin and include a personal note in the invite to remind them of how you two know each other. This is a great way to stay connected and build relationships post-event.

My fiancé was beaming when he came home that night, completely buzzing from all the amazing things he learned from the presenters. He had some great conversations with people in the industry that not only sparked his passion more, but confirmed that his decision to change career paths was the right one. He seemed to have a natural talent for understanding the art of software engineering. What’s more, he was able to build relationships with other engineers in the local area so he could totally geek out with people that understand and love the languages. He had great success with the steps that I taught him and appreciated the fact that I helped him make the most out of this situation. And yes, I did gloat about it for a bit.

Make the most of your networking events/conferences and try the steps above. Even introverts can find this to be an easy way to break the ice and build relationships.

Photo Source

Humanize Your Brand

It’s important to humanize your brand, whether you are branding yourself, consumer-based things, your corporation, or your employer brand. In the past, we would market our brands via content that was pushed out to the audience. More often than not, this marketing strategy limited communication to a one-way scenario: from brand to audience. As technology and social media have become more predominate in the world, marketing and branding have taken on a life of their own, and it seems as if though some of the best brands out there are the ones that open up two-way opportunities.

Some companies and individuals have failed to realize that social media shouldn’t just be a way to push out information and content. Yes, it’s a great way to promote those things but it shouldn’t continually post enough to be considered “spam-worthy.” Your brand also needs to have some personal touches to it. It needs to have a personality. It needs to be social. It needs to listen. And most importantly: your brand needs to reflect the way you “live” and vice versa.

I think some of the best companies and people that humanize their brands well are the ones that actually take notice of what their audience is saying. They listen and they try to deliver what they’re audience is asking for. Additionally, they actually communicate back to these individuals. They respond to messages, posts, and tweets. They even go out of the way to be the first ones to engage in conversation with some individuals in the audience. This can take the brand from just being a “thing” to something that people become engaged with and feel connected to.

Humanizing your brand can help audiences identify with the brand. They could feel like they’re a part of how the brand is developing, which can make them invest more and show loyalty. Additionally, it can be an organic way of building brand influencers and ambassadors. Use your key audience or fan members to help build your brand. Show your appreciation and support and they’ll be sure to do the same.

Branding is no longer about pushing things at people and expecting them to care. It’s about being personable and connecting with others. It’s about showing good “customer service” and appreciation. It’s about breathing life into it and making the brand seem approachable. It’s about finding a way to build some form of a relationship. What are you doing to humanize your brand?

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join in the discussion on Twitter: #Tchat – Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

#Tchat Preview: Real Brands Humanize

#Tchat Recap: Face-To-Face with Brand Humanization

Photo Source

Build your Network Before You Need It

During typical Twitter banter this week, a message from Susan Avello really stuck with me: build your network before you need it. It was simple but an effective statement that inspired today’s blog. Whether you are a job seeker, employed, generating leads, or building partnerships- it’s important to proactively build your network. Life and business change fast, you need to always be one step ahead.

Why should you spend time and effort building your network? Simple:

  • It puts you on the map: it allows people to get to know you and consider you for job openings or as an option to do business with you. Warm leads made easy.
  • It’s a quick resource: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to pick up the phone and get some insight quickly because of the fact that I networked with people beforehand. And this resource was even more useful than simply researching online, because I was able to get answers to specific questions I had.
  • You’ll be prepared for instability in your career: lay-offs, downsizing, termination, or glass ceilings are all situations that we’ll potentially run into in our lives. Networking can help you keep a pulse on what companies are hiring, who to contact about specific jobs, and allow recruiters to locate you for their pipeline.
  • Build relationships and credibility: building relationships with people can allow them to see that your experience and skills are credible. Impressing them in this way and staying in the front of their mind can allow them to recommend and refer you with confidence rather than someone else.

There are so many great uses to networking. Yes, it takes time and effort and at times it can be a little overwhelming. But the truth of the matter is, the benefits will help you and help save time in the long run. It’s best to build this up ASAP rather than scrambling later when you need it.

Photo Source

Stop Being a Social Media News Feed

Recently, a friend and I were discussing some tactics to use for networking and job hunting on social media. She had informed me that she had reposted/retweeted other people’s posts and links but still was not having much luck trying to grab their attention. Although that method could potentially generate some networking and job leads, that is simply not enough. By only doing this, you are simply contributing to a news feed but no one really will know who you are or determine what you’re looking for. In order to build relationships, you need to be more interactive.

Many people have the intention to do this but don’t know where to start. Engaging in conversation with connections or strangers really isn’t as hard or terrifying as some might believe it to be. Here are some ways you can humanize your social media brand rather than act as a news feed:

  • Go beyond reposts/retweets and actually respond: nothing is wrong with reposting or retweeting someone’s update or link but you need to take the extra step and respond to their post. Even if it’s something as simple as a one-liner or follow up question, this can help start a conversation either with the poster or others viewing it.
  • Consider thought leadership: creating a well-constructed, thought provoking question is always a great way to promote thought leadership among your social media community. Research hot topics in the industry you’re interested in and post something on your networks to get people talking.
  • Discussions/Chats: Twitter chats and Linkedin discussions are always a great way to easily converse with other people, with no pressure! These discussion groups and chats usually focus on a specific topic (so be sure to join in on one relevant to what you’re targeting). It will allow you to gain contacts, discover resources, learn, and build relationships.
  • Simply reach out: you don’t always need to wait for an excuse to communicate with people- just simply reach out to them. Say hello to them, ask them about their background/work, or start with small talk. After all, these things work in person so they should also work virtually.

I’m so glad that I started utilizing these options. Since doing so, I’ve engaged in so many inspiring conversations. I was surprised to see how responsive people were and how open they were to talking. Many of my contacts have developed online and have moved on to phone or face to face relationships. I’ve gained so much from humanizing my social media feeds and have met some really smart and supportive people. They have helped me find work, build partnerships, learn, and expose me to new things. Try these things out and see how much you can gain.

Photo Source

Switching Up to a Career Seeking State of Mind

Alright, the economy really did a number on us as employees. Many of us have lost jobs or were in fear of losing it. We took pay cuts, benefit cuts, and worked extra hard to compensate for being under-staffed. Some of us had to take crummy jobs after crummy jobs just to make sure our mortgages were paid and there was food on the table. Some of us even wondered if we’d ever find a stable job again. I say- enough! I’ve been there before and I know it’s rough. But 2013 is a new year and with last month adding over 100,000 new jobs into the mix, we’re hoping things are looking up. With that being said, it’s time to switch gears and start getting career-minded rather than “job to get by”-minded.

Building yourself up to get ready for your career and achieving your career goals does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. So, what should you be focusing on to help you get where you need to be? Here are a few ideas:

  • Personal Branding: resumes are becoming redundant and often highlight what you done rather than your career path intentions. It’s time to stand out of the candidate-crowd and get people to know you for what you WANT to be known for. Get involved in activities, groups, or conferences that can help you gain skills and network. Get exposure on social media. Start TALKING about it.
  • Be about it: maybe your personal brand won’t land you the dream job right off the bat, and that’s to be expected. Your relevant skills might be a bit rusty or maybe you need to develop new ones to keep up with the way the industry had changed. Internships, projects, and volunteer work are never below you- remember that. Some people’s pride and ego get in the way from taking on these seemingly innocent projects/roles. But the truth of the matter is; these situations help you build the skills you need to be an attractive candidate.
  • Learning is continuous: so be sure to add to your talking and doing by learning. Think of it as being extremely well-rounded. Your mind needs to be sharp and up to date. Be sure to find learning opportunities, whether it is to take classes, read business books/blogs, or simply join in a discussion relevant to the career/industry you’re targeting. This can keep you fresh and be ready to contribute useful ideas/insight when you have the opportunity to shine.
  • Build your network: doing all of these steps will be pretty useless if no one knows who you are, where you’re located, or what you’re striving for. It will also be useless if you have no idea what feasible options for you are. Build your network of contacts, get to know them and let them get to know you. Simply building and maintaining these contacts can help them reach out to you if opportunity arises or they can even help guide you so you can ensure you’re taking the right steps towards your goal. Your network will be your support, your mentors, your key to opportunity, or just a good conversation.

Your career isn’t a fleeting thing. It is your future, and a long-term future at that. Take care and pride in these steps to help you reach your goal in the most ideal way possible. 2013 will be the year that you will focus in on your potential and strive to be the best version of yourself. Take action!

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join #Tchat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

#Tchat Recap

Storify : Lose job, keep career

5 Powerful Career Drivers for the Future of Work – Forbes article by Meghan M Biro

Photo Source

Getting Connected: Networking Communities

In past blog postings, I have written about topics involving social media communities and talent communities. Of course, I am very passionate about both of these types of communities but the main reason behind my feelings towards it is what these communities offer. If individuals get involved in these types of situations, many will be happy to find that the communities offer some incredible networking opportunities. Not only do they offer networking opportunities but they can also be a great resource for learning, development, and thought leadership. So, what can networking communities do for you?

Here are some potential networking communities you can explore:

  • Networking groups: Recently I discovered the website www.meetup.com. It’s a great way for people to discover specific groups who are meeting up in your area. There are plenty of groups meeting up for specific reasons, whether it is for business, certain interests, or generally just to meet people.
  • Professional clubs: professional groups that meet regularly are also a good way to network with people in different industries. For example, in Charleston, SC there is a professional club called the Charleston Young Professionals. They typically set up monthly events to allow people to have fun and also mingle for business contacts.
  • Social media: websites like Linkedin and Twitter are fantastic ways to connect with individuals. Discussion groups and chats that are based on specific professions, topics, or industries can also make it easy to casually connect with individuals.
  • Work events: surprisingly, work events can also be a great place to network. Sometimes in office settings people don’t have the time or ability to talk to people outside of their department or to individuals they don’t directly work with. This can be a great way to get to know about others in your company.
  • Conventions: conventions are a way to meet people who are in a specific industry or specific role. This will allow you to connect with people that could potentially be in the same industry/role as you. Therefore, it may be a quick way to form a bond.

Some of the benefits of networking:

  • Business connections: networking with individuals can help you find business connections that can assist you with specific business needs or business development.
  • Learning and development: networks can help open up opportunities to learn and develop. For example, social communities can present online learning, training, and development opportunities for those who want to extend their learning outside of what their company can offer.
  • Resources: networking can help you discover some really interesting resources. For example, when I was starting my blog I came across some useful reference material that helped me add something extra to my posts. It’s also a great way for people to discover job opportunities or companies that they may never have heard of.
  • Thought Leadership: networking groups can promote discussion, which can ultimately promote thought leadership. I’ve witnessed occurrences where a simple group discussion resulted in a solution that helped better a business and situation.

Since I’ve been networking in some of the ways mentioned above, I feel like I’ve developed greatly as a person. I could almost kick myself for not partaking in this sooner. The individuals I’ve met have been unbelievably inspiring and have helped pave the way to build my knowledge to grow personally and professionally. Being involved in networking communities has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. How about you?

Photo Source

Helping our Veterans Enter the Civilian Workforce

Just in time for Veteran’s Day! #Tchat hosted a great discussion last week in regard to helping veterans enter into the civilian workforce. Once again, the contributors had some great suggestions on how we can help veterans prepare for job hunting, gain transferable skills, and format their resume so it can be easily read by recruiters in civilian companies. I was happy to see the passion that these recruiters and human resources professionals had for helping the veterans get where they need to be when it came to landing a job.

Here are some great take-aways and suggestions from this chat:

  • It would be wise for military branches to take a few months to properly prepare the veterans for the change between military life and civilian life. This includes helping them build necessary skills that will transfer into civilian work.
  • RPOs, organizations, and staffing firms should take the time to partner with military branches and prepare available jobs for transitioning veterans.
  • Veterans should seek help when it comes to gaining appropriate interviewing skills, job hunting skills, and resume writing skills. Companies should be open to helping them with this, even if it’s as simple as helping them reformat their resumes so they will have appropriate keywords that recruiters look for.
  • Veterans should be taught how to build on their networking skills.
  • Veterans should be educated on how to create a personal brand that they can use in face-to-face networking events, interviews, and even social media branding.
  • Companies and veterans need to take the time to collaborate and bridge the gap between military verbiage and civilian business language so they can have equally understandable communication with clear messages.
  • For mentoring and coaching opportunities, companies should pair new veteran employees with others who have made the transition in the past.
  • Companies should make special efforts to seek out veterans, help them become aware of job openings they could be a fit for, and create social opportunities to discuss how the job and candidate would be a fit.

There were so many great ideas in this chat that I simply could not name them all. We all hoped that these suggestions were inspiring and hopefully had started a helpful trend in this respect. You may review more of the suggestions, the recap, and additional tweets on this subject below.

If you are interested in topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 7pm EST

More links:

Employing our Veterans by Meghan M. Biro

Smart Mission- Hire Vets by Kathleen Kruse

Recap Slide Show

Photo Source

Employment Branding: Using your Employees as a Megaphone

Recently, I was discussing employment branding topics with one of my colleagues and the many different ways a company can try to promote their brand to prospective candidates. Many companies have done a wonderful job creating different marketing campaigns, job fairs, and conferences to help spread the word of why they should be a candidates’ employer of choice. But there are other methods that employers are forgetting about that can help spread their message, such as using their current employees as a megaphone and cheerleader. This can be a great way to build and promote a brand to large audiences that will know and trust the source.

So, how can you utilize your employees as a resource for branding? Here are some suggestions:

  • Educate your employees: sometimes employees are unaware or unclear of what your employer brand actually is. It’s important to educate your employees on your brand, how they play a part in maintaining the brand, and help them get a deeper understanding of what the brand is attempting to accomplish in terms of obtaining and retaining talent.
  • Present opportunities and attach rewards and recognition to it: tell employees how to promote the brand whether it be at networking events, social media updates, or just a regular conversation with someone. Let them know these options and the recognition or rewards that may be tied with it. This can create an incentive for employees to want to market the brand.
  • Encourage social media marketing: social media is huge when it comes to reaching a large audience of people effectively and efficiently. The message that is sent can even weigh more coming from an individual that the audience trusts on a personal or professional level (i.e. your employee). Help create marketing campaigns that employees can effortlessly post for on their social media channels. Also encourage employees to create their own personal marketing efforts (but be sure to approve them first to ensure that the message is properly and accurately executed).
  • Create a “word of mouth” campaign: what’s a better or more honest way to promote something than to get real-life customer testimonials? The same can go for your employee testimonials. Encourage employees to provide testimonials in which you can put into an employer marketing campaign, social media campaign, video campaign, or even a publication that focuses on your company.
  • Incentive: employer branding focuses on wrangling in some quality talent. A great way to get employees motivated to help the cause is by offering incentives or bonuses based on individuals who are hired that are directly linked to the employee’s efforts.

As I’ve always stated, employees are your greatest assets, but using them this way can even prove that on another level. This can be a cost-effective way to market your brand and most importantly, it can be a source that gives the brand more meaning. Be sure to consider this option when creating your employment brand marketing efforts.

Photo Source