Filed under: Research
This topic doesn’t really ever come up in these exact words, but it disguises itself in phrases like:
“This [insert search engine name] search isn’t working; I can’t find any resumes!”
“I typed in [keywords] but there’s nothing out there!”
I have heard this so many times throughout my career as an internet researcher. The thought behind this mindset is that everything on the internet was put there using the same structure, the same wording, the same format. But the thing that must be remembered is that the internet is NOT a database. One definition of database is “a systematically arranged collection of data, structured so that it can be automatically retrieved or manipulated.” Meaning: everything is neatly arranged, catalogued, tagged, coded, and filed away so that you can find it with a couple of quick search terms. Let me ask: how many of your actual databases/ATSes look like this? That’s what I thought…. so don’t apply that same thinking to the internet as a whole.
When running searches online, if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for – chances are that it’s not the fault of the search engine. The search engine doesn’t think for itself; it simply follows the instructions that you give it to retrieve information based on what you’ve asked. If your search isn’t returning desired results – it’s probably your fault, and you need to re-evaluate your search query. Try wording something a little different; try thinking about how someone may have written a phrase instead of thinking about how you believe it should be worded and therefore searched.
If something’s not working right for you, own it. Don’t blame the search engine, or the internet, for your query. Try re-writing your search, thinking about the way the person you’re trying to find may have worded what you’re looking for, and you’ll probably get better results.
Everyone who knows me knows I love analogies. I also love comparing job functions across different industries. While I worked in the PR world, I saw so many similarities between PR and recruiting that it really made me think about how we, as research, sourcing, and recruiting professionals, need to understand public relations better than many of us do. I recently read an article by Todd Defren on his blog, PR Squared, entitled “What PR Cannot Do For Clients“. After reading through his article, I thought “This is exactly the relationship between researchers/sourcers and recruiters, and even on to hiring managers!” An excerpt from Todd’s article:
“Public Relations is not Sales. PR can absolutely help guide the prospect toward a purchase decision, in a measurable way. PR can surround the prospect with thoughtful, candid, compelling conversations and content and references until they think, “Wow, okay, I’ve got to check these guys out.”…But when the prospect gets to the website or picks up the phone or shoots over an email: PR’s work is done.”
Let’s change just a couple of words, and apply this statement to the role of research and/or sourcing:
“Internet Research / Sourcing is not Recruiting. Sourcers can absolutely help guide the prospect toward a job opportunity, in a measurable way. Sourcers can initiate the relationship and provide the prospect with interesting and compelling high-level information about a job until they think, “Wow, okay, I’ve got to check these guys out.” But when the prospect gets to the website or picks up the phone [to interview with a recruiter] or shoots over an email: the sourcer’s work is done.”
The last sentence of the article strikes me: “PR can set you up for success. It cannot make you a success.” This is no different from sourcing – a good sourcer will set you up with people to speak with and to present your opportunities to, but it’s up to you as the recruiter to intrigue them to the point where they would be willing to interview for and eventually accept your position. Once your sourcer has brought you what you’ve asked for in basic qualifications, their work is complete. Placing blame back on research for failure in a part of the recruiting process that is beyond the scope of research is simply unfair. That’s like blaming the butcher when the chef at the restaurant undercooks your steak. Sure, the butcher was involved by providing the meat to the restaurant, but it’s the chef’s ultimate responsibility to ensure that your order is correct, not the butcher.
I’ve never understood metrics that hold sourcing responsible throughout the entire hiring process, because of these facts. You cannot measure someone’s success in a process in which they are not involved. I appreciate Todd writing this brief, yet thought-provoking article and jogging my brain as to how this also holds true to my own job function. Please read his article in its entirety here: What PR Cannot Do For Clients.
Filed under: Article Reviews
I think Jason Falls is a rockstar. He lives about 2 hours down the road from me in Louisville, KY, but we’ve only “met” once (I use the term loosely because we were both in attendance at a Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast meeting last year, but we didn’t get to have a conversation). His blog is always chock-full of great content, thoughtful ideas, and blunt honesty. About a week ago, Jason discussed a topic that I too have been thinking a lot about lately – the idea that so many things today are “free”, or so we think, and how long that can possibly last. After all, businesses are in existence to make money for themselves, not to provide us with cool free stuff.
Jason’s inspiration for the post was a conversation with a friend who said, “I love my DVR. I haven’t watched a commercial in months.” When asked how long he expects to still be watching his favorite shows, the friend looked puzzled. Jason’s reply:
“The avoidance of those commercials means those shows will eventually be cancelled. You’re killing your own chances of being able to watch them by watching just them.”
Nothing is ever truly free. Henry A. Wallace, the US Vice President from 1941 – 1945, wrote an article originally published by The Atlantic Monthly in which he suggested a post-WWII worldwide economic regime offering ‘minimum standards of food, clothing and shelter’. While this sounds well and good, an observant journalist named Paul Mallon wrote a response to the article which was published in several US papers:
“Mr. Wallace neglects the fact that such a thing as a ‘free’ lunch never existed. Until man acquires the power of creation, someone will always have to pay for a free lunch.”
Think about the unconferences, podcamps, social media breakfasts, and other various gatherings we attend today where we’re not charged. Someone has to provide the meeting facilities, the equipment, and the ‘free lunch’. In exchange, we owe it to these people and companies to hear what they have to offer. But oftentimes, we brush it off as just another sales pitch. Continuing with this entitlement attitude will cause these fantastic free events to no longer be available to us, and then we’re going to have to *gasp* start paying for stuff.
Jason continues on to say in his post:
“What we’ve created is a marketplace that isn’t sustainable…While I’m not one to predict all the good ideas have been had, the disproportionate amount of money that is being poured into technology startups these days makes me shudder to think what the entrepreneurs will do when the investors come calling wanting their money back.”
Hey, I’m with you. I do love Hulu, and I’ll be the first to admit that I love getting a good deal and I’m all about the free stuff. But we need to pay our respects to the companies that provide us with the freebies.
I think back to one of my favorite books as a little girl, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. In the book, the little boy always takes from the tree, never giving anything in return, until finally the boy cuts down the tree in order to make a sailboat, and the tree has nothing left to give. Some say that this book is a story about selfless love, but in this sense we are the little boy who continually takes [freebies] and never gives anything in return [purchases]. Eventually, our giving trees [the companies and individuals which provide us with the 'free' stuff] will be merely treestumps, and we’ll be sitting beside those stumps wondering what happened.
Let’s not take too much advantage – support those businesses and people who support you with the freebies, or else they won’t be around for long. Please check out Jason’s entire post here, The Economy of Free Is Stupid.
Admittedly this isn’t anything terribly new, but I would bet money that most of you have never participated in a hashtag chat before! So, what is a hashtag chat?
First off, let’s define a Hashtag: it’s putting the pound (#) sign in front of a word or a phrase in order to track conversation about that word or phrase on Twitter. So for example, some of the most popular hashtags at the writing of this post included #iranelection, #jobs, #journchat, and #bachelorette. This means that a lot of the conversation being had was about the election in Iran, people looking for jobs, folks discussing The Bachelorette, and people participating in the hashtag chat, #journchat. Which leads to the next definition…
A hashtag chat is an organized conversation via Twitter that is followed using a hashtag term. The chats are usually moderated, have either pre-set questions or chat leaders, and usually happen at a pre-determined day and time on a semi-regular basis. Since these conversations happen real time, and in the public Twitter stream, they can be participated in by pretty much anyone who’s interested.
Here is a list of some of the more popular and best organized hashtag chats, as provided on www.wthashtag.com:
- #cmtychat – a weekly discussion about the business of online communities, Fridays from 12-1pm CT, hosted by @sonnygill and @bryanperson
- #journchat – a weekly conversation on Twitter between journalists, bloggers and PR pros, taking place Monday nights from 7-10pm CT
- #smchat – a discussion on the power of social media among active practitioners and strategists, taking place Wednesdays at 12pm CT
- #blogchat – a chat on Sunday nights from 8-9pm CT that was started by @MackCollier to discuss blogs and best practices
There are plenty of other topics, ranging from SEO to K-12 education to healthcare communications and marketing practices, and even cars and the automotive industry. I recommend checking out the organizers who have registered with What The Hashtag here.
I’d also encourage those of you in the recruiting business to check out the #talentnet (or #TNL) hashtag chat run by Craig Fisher and Susan Kang Nam. It’s a hashtag chat specifically for recruiters that takes place the last Wednesday of each month at 9pm Eastern.
Some of you may be wondering why I’m listing this as a “Cool Tool” and the reason is simple: large audiences discussing the same topic. This is like you attending an industry trade event. If you work in a particular industry or function that has a hashtag chat already established, it’s a great opportunity for you to network with these professionals. It’s also a great place to learn about a particular topic you’ve been interested in finding out more about. I’ve also noticed that every time I participate in a hashtag chat – I mean REALLY participate by following the topics and adding value when applicable (there’s a tip) – I typically gain anywhere from 5-15 new followers. And usually the new followers work in some capacity related to the chat.
By the way – if you don’t see a hashtag chat listed in YOUR industry, don’t complain, throw your hands up in the air, and say it doesn’t work for you Why don’t YOU start the chat – that’s the beauty of social media. You don’t have to wait around for someone to create content; you can take the initiative and do it yourself.