Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


The Recession & The Effects On Staffing
June 29, 2009, 10:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Thoughts

This economy has affected so many of us in staffing. A large number of our friends and co-workers, myself included, have been victims of companies scrambling to find places to cut back on expenses. One of the first places they look to make reductions are the “non-revenue generating” internal positions – and unfortunately recruiting falls into that category during times like this.

It’s sad to me because finding talent, in my opinion, is a business essential – especially when you consider the cost of having a position vacant. Dr. John Sullivan once estimated that it could cost between $7,000 – $50,000 per DAY to have an engineering position vacant, and that in key leadership positions, the cost of vacancies could run into the millions for each week of vacancy.

So why do companies cut positions that are responsible for keeping these astronomical vacancy costs down? Well, in an economy such as what we’re experiencing today, companies look at the fact that they’ve placed a hiring freeze on operations, or the fact that they don’t have budget for the next few quarters to make many new hires, and at the top levels, the decision is made that as there will be little to no hiring made for the remainder of the year, the natural thing to do is to reduce the size of the staffing team.

I think this is very short-sighted mentality.

We are not going to be in this economic situation forever. History dictates this. Geoffrey H. Moore, former director emeritus of the Center for International Business Cycle Research, Columbia University, New York wrote an article back in the 90s examining the various recessions and depressions throughout US history. In his studies, he determined that of the 3 depressions, the average length of time was 24.6 months. His studies also found at the time that we went through 6 sharp recessions – average length of time 12.5 months; and 5 mild recessions – average length of time 9.6 months. Even though this information does not include recent recessions from after 2000, the information still paints a historical picture and lets us know that things will eventually turn around.

Most scholars and analysts have agreed that our present recession began in December of 2007. If that’s the case, we’re due for an upswing and I believe that it’s coming sometime this fall. But when hiring needs resume, who’s going to be there to fill all of the vacant positions, since so many corporations have laid off massive numbers in their staffing teams?

That’s where the agency recruiters come in. For those of you who can hang on through these turbulent times, you will have more work than you can handle when the economy turns the corner. Lots of corporations have been downsizing their staffing teams to bare bones; some completely eliminating them. When hiring resumes – most likely sometime this fall or winter – they’re going to be seriously hurting for people to help fill their needs. That’s where you come in – since there won’t be people in corporate staffing roles, companies are going to look to you for assistance, and you’ll have more work than you know what to do with. So hang on for the next several months and you will be rewarded handsomely.

As well, here is my advice to large corporations: this is the time when you need people building trusting relationships with future candidates. Letting go of your staffing teams during times like this will only come back to hurt you in the long run. Hold on to those people who are good at building relationships – because candidates will remember those people when things get better. I personally feel blessed to be working with an organization that embraces this idea about staffing.

Just keep in mind: this, too, shall pass. Recessions never last forever. There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Make smart business decisions – do not be penny-wise and pound foolish. Stay the course and never give up!

*disclaimer: I am not an economic scholar; these are simply my thoughts on the current situation based on my observations and my own personal experiences.



Simple vs. Easy
June 26, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Thoughts

Simple and easy are often viewed as interchangeable words. But to me, they’re quite different. There are some who seem to think that using social media strategically for business is easy. I beg to differ.

When something is said to be simple, that implies that it can be grasped by anyone.

When something is said to be easy, that implies that it can be grasped well by anyone.

Do you see the difference here?

What’s simple is signing yourself or your company up for a Facebook profile, or a Twitter account. What’s simple is claiming social media real estate.

But what’s not EASY – is knowing what to do next.

Any Joe Schmoe can sign up for an account on a social media site. That’s simple. But gleaning value from it? That’s not easy. Crafting a business strategy that involves social media and getting some value out of it is going to be time-consuming, because the very nature of it is social, and it takes time to develop lasting relationships in any social setting. It’s not easy, but the outcome can be quite rewarding.

Just because you have a Twitter account and you update your Facebook profile to let people know “I’m looking for a Java Developer in Colorado” does not mean you know how to use social media for recruitment purposes.

Remember: you can use social media for more than candidate search. There are other important applications, such as marketing, brand/reputation monitoring, and *gasp* learning from others who might actually know something of value. All of these aid in the success of your recruiting efforts, and you should recognize the value associated with them.

So, give them a shot. Try using social media for something other than candidate generation to add value to your recruiting, and to separate yourself from the masses.

Simple thoughts to grasp? I think so. Easy to put into action? Well, that depends on you… 🙂



The Seven Year Itch – Seven Years in Internet Research
June 24, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Research, Thoughts

seven yearsToday marks the day I started my career in Internet Research, seven years ago. I still remember just like it was yesterday – I moved 1,000 miles away from everything I was familiar with to take my new job. I packed up my apartment in Tampa and threw about 2 weeks worth of clothes and other essentials (including my computer) into my Honda Del Sol, and heading up I-75 to Cincinnati on Friday, June 21st. I arrived in the evening the following day and settled into my brother and sister-in-law’s apartment. A couple of weeks later, my brother and I flew back down to FL to rent a U-Haul to get the rest of my stuff up to Cincinnati. We drove back up and packed everything into a storage unit where it remained until 2 months later. You see, it took every penny that I had just to move to Cincinnati, and my brother and sister-in-law allowed me to live with them until I had saved enough to move out on my own. I crashed on the couch until the end of August, when I finally was able to get my own place.

Now, seven years later, I can reflect upon those first few years in my first “real job” after college with fondness. Going through those years was tough at the time because I struggled to make ends meet. But knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change those times for anything, because I learned an awful lot about myself and what I was capable of.

I stayed with my first employer for four years before moving on to a position in which I was allowed to work remotely. In that position, Manager of Internet Research for a recruiting franchiser organization, I learned independence, and I learned how to consult with business owners. My role was that of research support as well as database training, social media use, and franchise owner support. I had to learn how to work with business owners, many of whom were fantastic to work with, and some of whom required a great deal of patience on my part.

In 2007, I joined an in-house staffing team as a sourcing strategist, this time with a PR agency. I started the process of learning how the “other side” operates – internal staffing, dealing with clients who were also co-workers and the bureaucracy of corporate hiring. Here, I fell in love with PR and communication, and I learned a great deal about how PR and recruiting are quite similar. I listened to and learned from my co-workers and others in the PR and social media communities. It is here where I learned just how valuable social media is to the recruitment process. Though I never operated as a PR account professional, I picked up many things along the way that have helped me to understand that world, including the value of my “Research Goddess” reputation.

Recently, I joined the Talent Attraction team with AT&T. Now working for an incredibly large Fortune 10 company, I am challenged with finding my voice within and being a good representative of an already well-established brand. I am tasked with being an ambassador of AT&T’s brand and reputation through social media channels, and finding and attracting professionals to the company. I am working with a seriously talented team and am enjoying learning this new industry, especially the way mobile marketing plays into our efforts.

Every step along my career path over the last seven years has gotten me closer to what I’m passionate about. I want to stay on the cutting edge of how we communicate and interact with each other, and each of my jobs has given me some knowledge and allowed me to earn experience that translates perfectly into the next position. I cut my teeth on the recruiting industry in my first four years – I learned the fundamentals of what it takes to be successful in a career in research. I learned independence and training skills with the next position. When I went in-house, I learned about the importance of internal communication and tapping into the resources that already exist within your own walls. And now with AT&T, I am learning about where we’re going in the future with communication, and I’m right on top of that wave which is really exciting.

I have thoroughly enjoyed these last seven years and look forward to the coming ones. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have been:

  • “This too shall pass” – we all have to struggle in life in order to appreciate the good times. He who never has to struggle will never fully understand victory.
  • Every experience is a learning opportunity – whether good or bad, every situation you encounter in your career is a chance for you to pick up some nuggets of wisdom. Take the time to discover them in your own situations.
  • You can’t accomplish anything without the help of others – nothing of significance in this world is accomplished entirely by one person. Embrace those around you and appreciate the help and guidance they can provide to you.
  • People serve different purposes in your life – some people come and go quickly, and others stay for awhile. Cherish the time you have with each person – learn from them, discover their talents, and appreciate what they leave you with.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a risk – I moved 1,000 miles from my comfort zone, and look where I am today 🙂 Don’t be afraid to do something that’s uncharacteristic of your normal habits – with great risk comes the potential for great reward.
  • ALWAYS follow your heart – don’t do something you don’t love. You’ll never be happy. Find what you’re passionate about and run after it. If you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life because you will enjoy what you do.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of helping me get to where I am today. I am truly grateful for every opportunity, every experience, and every relationship.



PodCamp Ohio
June 22, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Blogging, Education, Networking/Social Media, Podcasts, Recruiting

This past Saturday, I spent the day in Columbus OH attending PodCamp Ohio. For those who don’t know, PodCamp is a concept that was originally started by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan (who incidentally graced us with his presence via Skype during one of the sessions!). Basically, a podcamp is a FREE BarCamp-style community UnConference for podcasters and listeners, bloggers and readers, and anyone interested in New Media.

There were approximately 200 attendees to PodCamp Ohio this year which was awesome! We kicked things off around 9am and went until 5:30pm. Presenters signed up ahead of time to conduct sessions ranging in topic from podcasting equipment selection, to keyword research and SEO, to corporate twittering, to finding a job using social media. There were six session timeslots and so many great topics to choose from that attempting to re-cap even from the ones I got to attend wouldn’t do them justice.

The best part is that all of the presenters did so voluntarily – this allows for people to develop their public speaking and presentation skills in a casual environment. There were seasoned presenters as well as first-timers, and much respect from me to those who signed up to present – you all rock!

I was pleased to finally meet Luke Armour, Digital Strategist with Fleishman Hillard. Luke and I have been Twitter buddies for a bit and it was nice to finally put a face to the name. I was able to have the company of Lisa Desatnik and Steve Gerl on the ride up and back, as well. I had some great conversations with Dustin Pyles, Gabe from Digital Disciples, and presenters Alison Bolen from SAS,  Michael Loban who did a phenomenal presentation on finding a job using social media, and Michael McDermott, who I was privileged to catch on camera (see below).

Serious ups to the sponsors who made it possible for our podcamp to happen at no charge to the participants!



Clips from Fordyce Presentation
June 19, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: Education, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research

Well, after some tumultuous travel to get home (you’ll have to ask me about my experience traveling on United Airlines!!) I’ve finally had the opportunity to collect my thoughts and throw together a few clips from my pre-conference workshop on Incorporating Social Media Into Your Recruiting Plan (link to the slides), presented at the Fordyce Forum in Las Vegas.

I enjoyed the content and the networking from the conference. My favorite presenters were Barb Bruno and Jordan Rayboy. I enjoyed Jordan because of his genuine-ness and complete transparency. Jordan and his wife, Jeska, work 100% remotely from their RV. They travel all across the continent and have the luxury of being able to choose their neighbors every day. However, they don’t allow this freedom to distract them from their work. Rather, the two feed off of each other – the travel inspires their work, and work in turn allows for the freedom of travel. Jordan and Jeska are incredibly disciplined with their business; they believe in the concepts of lifestyle recruiting and working to live. I recommend you check out Jordan’s presentation on the post-event page (coming soon!).

Barb Bruno’s session was the last one I was able to attend before having to dash off to the airport, and what a way to wrap up! Her discussion revolved around making slight changes that will produce dramatic results. Barb threw out nugget after nugget of wisdom. Some of my favorites include:

  • We are creatures of habit and so often our lives control us vs. us controlling our lives.
  • Identify at least one new source for candidates every month.
  • You gain control by giving up control. Delegate things that are not the best use of your time. (I personally love this)

The networking was pretty good too. I had the opportunity to meet some really nice people:

Many others, too many to name and I don’t want to start hurting feelings 🙂 I encourage you to check out the other presentations on the Fordyce Forum post-event site and see some of the great things we got to learn over the course of 60 hours. And if you attended, please take the time to fill out the feedback survey. That’s what allows those of us who presented to refine our skills and make adjustments so that we can bring you the best content possible.



Incorporating Social Media Into Your Recruiting Plan: FEEDBACK!
June 10, 2009, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Thoughts

Many of you may be coming here for the first time having just watched the #VegasRG live tweet-stream from my Fordyce Forum presentation! I just wrapped up the presentation here in Las Vegas, and wanted to provide a landing place for you to share your thoughts on the hashtag conversation from the last three hours…

As you may have observed from the beginning of this week, I have been tracking my activities here in Vegas using the #VegasRG hashtag. This was a result of observing my boss, Chris Hoyt, do the same thing when he visited DC recently. But the main reason I wanted to do this was to help the folks in the workshop to see firsthand how powerful conversation really is when you use social media appropriately, in this case through a guided discussion. I think I can say “Mission Accomplished!”

As throughout the whole presentation, I encourage your completely honest feedback with your thoughts on this little experiment. If you think it rocked, please let me know by leaving a comment. If you think it totally sucked, I encourage you to leave a comment with some constructive criticism as to how it could have been better.

So, now it’s up to you! Share your thoughts in the comments below; depending on the general consensus, I may make this a regular thing when I give presentations. Thanks once again for participating, and keep watching #VegasRG for the rest of the week for Fordyce Forum updates!



While In Vegas…
June 8, 2009, 8:15 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research, Technology

This week, I am working from Las Vegas, as I will be attending the Fordyce Forum on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I am presenting a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday from 2-5pm PDT on how social media can play a part in your recruitment plan. In an effort to practice what I will be preaching, I am going to have a live Twitter stream from my session using the hashtag #VegasRG through a site called TweetChat. You may have seen me using this hashtag over the last couple of weeks – I am keeping a sort of “Twitter journal” of my Las Vegas experience via the hashtag. My boss, Chris Hoyt, did this earlier in the year on his trip to DC with the #rgdc hashtag. I would encourage you to follow #VegasRG live between 2-5pm PDT and interact with those who will be attending the pre-conference workshop. My goal is to show them just how useful social media is from a conversational and information-sharing standpoint. Please feel free to respond to anything from the #VegasRG hashtag and present questions to the workshop attendees as well. I welcome any and all conversation!

evernote

I’ve done a lot of prep work for this presentation, because I realize that not everyone is as excited about social media’s place in recruiting as I am. Social media goes way beyond the popular LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter tools. There are also social bookmarking tools, cloud computing resources, podcasting/video/photo sharing tools, and so much more. In an effort to be transparent with my own use of these resources, I have decided that I will be going paperless for this conference and instead will be using some of the tools available through social media. I have loaded all of my presentation notes into my EverNote account and will be accessing them through EverNote’s iPhone app. So for anyone attending live, I promise I’m not checking email or text messages on my phone during my own presentation – I’m just following my notes 🙂

Contxts-researchgoddessIn addition, I’m not going to be handing out any business cards this year. That’s right – no paper cards from me! If you want my contact information, you will need to send a text message with ‘researchgoddess’ to 50500. I am using a resource called Contxts to provide my information via SMS. It makes for a good conversation starter, and it also helps you to be more ‘green’ 🙂

My hope is that those of you in attendance of the workshop will come away with some better thought process about how you plan to reach your audiences with social media. We’ll go over some tools of course, but my main goal is going to be to help you better understand the ‘why’ – because if you don’t understand why you are doing something, then how you do it isn’t going to make much of a difference.

Please pass the word about #VegasRG – I would love to see not only those of you who work in recruiting, but also my friends and colleagues in social media, marketing, and PR communities interacting during the presentation. There is so much we can all learn from each other. See you on Wednesday!

 

Please make note: the presentation is this Wednesday, June 10th, from 2-5pm Pacific time. So for Eastern time zone folks, that’s 5-8pm, and for Central, it’s 4-7pm.