Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Bathroom Wall Authors, and the Researchers who Hunt Them Down
July 11, 2007, 12:37 pm
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

When you’re taking a road trip and you thought you could chug that 72oz slurpee and not have to stop and take a bathroom break, eventually you’re going to have to pull off the highway at some dumpy little gas station to pee. Inevitably, you’ll go into a stall and see written on the wall or the door any number of things, including “For a good time, call Sandy 555-1212”, “Erin luvs Josh”, and probably lots of colorful descriptive 4-letter words. Rarely do the authors of this poetry leave their mark to be credited for their musings.

Blogs have become the bathroom walls of the Internet. A place where any Joe Schmoe can claim he is knowledgeable about any topic he chooses. A place for an anonymous writer to spew forth unqualified information that he received from his brother’s wife’s cousin’s girlfriend who was a rectuiter for 24 hours once. There’s not any universally acceptable method of policing blogs to ensure that the information written on them has any element of truth or validity, outside of an unspoken code of conduct that many choose to ignore. A new favorite quote of mine comes from none other than Bill Warren:
“The “world of blogs” where everyone instantly becomes an industry expert on everything regardless of their background, training, or in some cases lack of good judgement and common sense…”

The research job function interested me because of scenarios resembling this, and when I found out that I could actually get paid for trying to find these un-findable people, I was hooked! Granted, the people that I hunt down are not the bathroom wall authors but rather qualified industry players, but part of what I do as a researcher is make sure that is the case. We researchers (the good ones at least) will conduct cross-reference searches to make sure that the information we are gathering and the leads that we are uncovering are indeed valid, and our contact information is as up to date as possible.

I am always amused at people who tell me that they have ‘conducted research’ which roughly translates to “I done typed a word into Google and hit search and I got some results.” I like Bill Warren’s words – “…lack of good judgment and common sense”. When researching, you want to make sure that the information you are reporting back (names you gather for your recruiters) is valid, and to do that you must use common sense and good judgment. Don’t believe everything you read; make sure the resources you use are credible. Cross-reference as much as you can. This can be a time-consuming process but in the long run it will pay off.

Sure, you’ll always find some information that turns out to be incorrect. Any recruiter who’s been at it for a significant amount of time has at some point called a ‘candidate’ who was deceased – embarrassing! I admit, just recently I provided a list of names to one of my recruiters and just such a person happened to get slipped into the list, even though I checked through and validated as much of the list I created as possible. It happens. However, due diligence will more times than not yield good results.

Be wise about the things you read and the source from which they come! If someone is unwilling to identify themselves as the author of their work, chances are they are trying to hide something. When researching information, make sure that you know what you’re doing and use common sense before presenting the information. Do as much background checking and cross-referencing of information as possible to ensure that your data is as valid as possible. Use credible sources (you get what you pay for; resources that cost money will usually be worth it). Do your homework!

Has anyone actually ever called Sandy for that good time promised? Doubtful! (if you did, you may want to consider seeking help…or get some antibiotics)
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