Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Do You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
September 29, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, college, Networking/Social Media

Alright – I admit it, I do occasionally drop an S*** bomb or call someone an a$$hole. And a good friend of mine told me that you know a person is trustworthy if they swear freely in front of you (I agree – but only to a certain extent). However, nothing makes my skin crawl more than the F-word, or using G/D. ESPECIALLY when I see this on social networks where the whole world can see, and search.

My focus lately with AT&T has been supporting our college recruiting efforts, so I have been lurking around and checking out where students are hanging out on social media. What I’ve found on Twitter has surprised me a little bit – both for the good and the bad.

The good – students DO in fact use Twitter, contrary to prior popular belief. There is even a new community called CampusTweet where you can opt-in to be included in your university ‘directory’, either as a student or an alumni. This is a rapidly growing and self-nominated community and has proven to be a great resource for my search efforts.

The bad – I still haven’t quite figured out what the general use of Twitter is for students. Some have told me it’s to take a break from studying and break up the boredom of the day. OK – that’s what a lot of us professionals use it for as well. Some use it to follow sports or celebrities. Again, par for the course with the rest of the Twitterverse. However, a couple of things I’m seeing are quite disturbing to me – take a look:

These are from college student accounts (the names have been fuzzed out to protect the foul-mouthed)

Students: how many times must you be told that THIS STUFF IS ALL ARCHIVED AND SEARCHABLE. We have created our own fishbowl here – there is always someone looking and reading, and when employers see stuff like this, we can’t help but cringe. We all get frustrated and spew forth some 4-letter words from time to time, but doing so on social media, on the Internet, for the whole world to see, is generally not a good idea.

From an employer’s perspective, I cannot stress ENOUGH how bad this looks. Two of the most important lessons that should be learned from this:

  1. The younger you are, the harder you’re going to have to work to be taken seriously. It sucks, but it’s true students. Being young is both a blessing and a curse. If you want to be taken seriously in the professional realm, you’re going to have to work that much harder to portray yourself as such. That includes refraining from profanity on all of your social networks. **This also includes having an appropriate avatar.** Ladies, looking like a hoochie-mama in your pics is going to get you treated like one – by both guys and gals. Guys, looking like a slob who just rolled out of bed and can’t seem find his belt to hold up his ripped-up jeans is not going to get you a job. Sorry.
  2. Someone is always watching. Whether you like it or not, social media search is happening every day. It’s my job, and it’s the job of thousands more out there. You may say “I’m not looking for a job, leave me alone and let me do my thing!” Fair enough – you have every right to express yourself. However – situations can change on a dime. Would you seriously jeopardize your chances at employment for the sake of “expressing yourself” by dropping an F-bomb? Just filter things through a brain cell before posting, updating, or blurting out.

Students – please please please be cognizant of your online actions. The world we live in today is transparent, and everything you do is going to be watched and scrutinized whether you like it or not. Don’t give people more ammunition than is already available. Think about the things that you type and post. It could come back to bite you in the A** if you’re not careful.



Cool Tool Alert: Masterbranch
September 28, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Technology

Found this new resource for IT professionals (and IT recruiters too!) – Masterbranch. It’s a network that’s currently only available for IT folks, letting them connect with each other through search based on projects, skills, and available opportunities.

According to KillerStartups review, “…through [Masterbranch] you can have something akin to an intelligent resume that reflects any change that should merit inclusion…This dynamic profile is built by looking at your sites and blogs (IE, your activity on the WWW) and the site also doubles as a sort of networking resource where IT professionals can meet up with each other and build relationships like that.”

This site grabs all your information based on OpenSourceID verification and it dynamically builds an IT ‘resume’ based on your web activity. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a resume that would be suitable to bring on an interview, but it’s a good sampling of your online presence and an additional place for you to build your personal SEO and be find-able to recruiters. For recruiters, this is yet another resource for sourcing! The site pulls your information from LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Google, Sourceforge, Serverfault, Launchpad, Ohloh, GitHub, BitBucket, and your blog if you have one.

Once your profile is built, you can start looking at other community members based on projects and skill areas. The most popular areas are linked at the bottom of the page, and you can join project “networks” to be found based on skill area.

People search is also intuitive; start typing a name and it will suggest people who are community members. It’s still a small community, but it’s certain to grow quickly. Updates are automatically pulled from the online accounts you add to your profile. No manual updates are necessary once you’ve added an account – pretty sweet!

IT recruiters: this is worth taking a look at. IT professionals – this is another place for you to get noticed!



Getting Into The Books
September 23, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Books, Education

According to a report from Publishers Weekly and the Institute for Publishing Research published earlier this year, total book sales are projected to dip 0.5% in 2009, to $35.04 billion. With its growing popularity, Amazon reported in May 2009 that Kindle-edition books accounted for a whopping 35% of book sales when the electronic editions are available. Sony has the Reader Digital Book as well. People are reading less printed material and instead choosing digital books, Kindles, Sony Readers, iPod ‘books’, books-on-CD, and so-forth over picking up a paperback and settling into their favorite recliner.

books

Not me!

While I do love reading my personalized newspaper every morning (that’s my RSS feed), nothing is better than getting a printed book and sitting down with a highlighter and pen to take notes in the margin and apply what I’m reading and learning to my work and/or my personal life. Lately, I’ve felt an urge to really start digging into social media trends, so this past weekend, I went to Village Books in Fairhaven, WA to pick up some titles that had been recommended to me, and a couple that really grabbed my attention while I was there:

  • The Cluetrain ManifestoRick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, & David Weinberger: this book was recommended to me by several people. Essential reading for anybody interested in the Internet and e-commerce, and is especially vital for businesses navigating the topography of the wired marketplace.
  • MicrotrendsMark J Penn: this book was in the Business section, and the subtitle caught my eye: ‘the small forces behind tomorrow’s changes’. This book gets into the details of seventy microtrends that are changing our lives today and will affect our lives in the future. I can’t wait to dive into this book!
  • Free: The Future of a Radical PriceChris Anderson: I’ve been wanting this since I first watched Chris Anderson’s discussion of the book at Google back in July. This book is about how today, companies can potentially profit more from giving things away than they can by charging for them, and how this can be a business strategy that may well be essential to a company’s survival.
  • The New Rules of Marketing & PRDavid Meerman Scott: like Microtrends, the title and subtitle of this book caught my attention on the shelf: ‘how to use news releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing, & online media to reach buyers directly’. To me, that reads ‘how to…reach candidates directly’!

Since more of my job duties these days are involving social media, whether it’s direct outreach or helping to come up with strategies to drive people to our jobsite, I wanted to get some reading material to help me understand how to do this better. I think I’ve got a pretty good start with these titles. My goal will be to finish one book per month and review it here.



Cool Tool Alert – AutoSearch Mobile iPhone App
September 22, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, iPhone, Technology

AutoSearch on the iPhoneThe Cool Tool Alert has returned! This week, I want to feature a neat iPhone app that is an extension of a service that I learned about way back in June at the Fordyce Forum from founder Lori Fenstermaker. Lori started AutoSearch almost by accident, and what started off as a “side business” has quickly become her main focus, with some pretty notable clients. (you’ll have to ask Lori for that client list!) Lori revealed to me at Fordyce that AutoSearch would soon be coming out with an iPhone app, and as an iPhone user I asked her to let me know when this happened. Well – here it is! AutoSearch Mobile:

“AutoSearch Mobile simultaneously searches leading business and social networking sites: LinkedIn, Twitter, Jobster, and ZoomInfo. AutoSearch Mobile also searches the entire web for matching resumes and CVs.”

Basically, it’s AutoSearch Lite. This is a great way to sample what AutoSearch can do. I tested out this new iPhone app and was very impressed with it. It’s quite user-friendly, compact, and relatively accurate. Keep in mind of course, you’re searching the Internet, which is not a recruiters’ database, so you must have realistic expectations of your search results. But that being said, the results I got from my simple search were actually pretty good!

AutoSearch ss1Things I liked about this app:

  1. You can add in your own locations, or simply choose from the ones that are already pre-populated. To add new ones, you simply click on the Setup button
  2. It’s VERY simple. You type in some keywords, a job title, a name, or whatever you’re searching for, and you get results all on one screen from Jobster, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Twitter, and regular web search.
  3. The app accepts pretty much all Boolean search operators, or you can just simply type in a few keywords.
  4. Search results keep you in the app. You never have to leave the app to view them!
  5. Search results are easily email-able to your account or wherever else you’d like to send them – again, right from the app.
  6. Search results are amazingly refined.

AutoSearch ss2

Just a couple of things I’d like to see different:

  • It would be great to see the actual Boolean search string in the results.
  • You cannot save the searches done on the iPhone app.
  • Would like search results to be able to be synched with the full version if you’ve purchased it.

It should be noted that in the full AutoSearch tool, keywords are automatically stored so this takes care of the saved search issue. At only $4.99, this is a great deal as well!

I’d highly recommend checking out the full version, and take a look at the video for the new AutoSearch Mobile app as well as the info video for AutoSearch itself. Definitely worth looking into!



Social Media Revolution
September 17, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Videos

Awesome video, based on research from the new book Socialnomics. One of my favorite stats is the one about Facebook being the 4th largest country in the world if you counted its members as citizens, and yet China’s QZone is larger, with over 300MM users. Wake-up call for those who’ve never even heard of QZone. Social Media extends w-a-a-a-a-y beyond the Western Hemisphere and is much, much more sophisticated and far-reaching than what most of us could have ever imagined.

Of note:

  • 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees
  • 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices
  • 25% of search results for the world’s top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content (if you think you own your brand, you are sadly mistaken!)
  • Only 14% of consumers trust advertisements
  • Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertisers.

This is the future, folks! You can either accept it and try to adapt, or you can get left in the dust. It’s your choice.

This video contains some updated stats from the original Did You Know? video based on research done by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman. Enjoy!

(hat-tip to my colleague Rowno for passing this along to me)



Recruiting Is The New Marketing
September 16, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Article Reviews, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting

I was pointed to this post on The Customer Collective blog on Monday about how HR is the New Marketing – hooray!! I’m so glad to see that others are recognizing the importance of marketing in HR – and I would say, equally as important, in Recruiting. I think recruiting and HR work hand in hand in marketing employment with a company because in recruiting, we attract talent, and HR is responsible for retaining that talent.

I wrote a post last year discussing the different hats that we recruiting professionals wear in our daily duties, not the least of which is Marketing. We are front-line representatives of our respective companies. Don’t you feel it’s important to know a thing or two about generating interest in a product (employment with our company)?

In the article, author Augie Ray outlines some things that can help with this new “marriage” of HR and marketing. The ideas he throws out will help not only with HR professionals embracing their inner marketer, but also with internal education and preparation of employees who are also becoming new channels for marketing (not to mention recruiting!):

  • Personality testing for all new employees
  • Selection criteria for all social communication roles
  • Brand training (this one is so important and so often is either just assumed, or simply overlooked)
  • Setting expectations internally
  • Monitoring & feedback

The sooner that we as recruiting professionals can accept the fact that we play a marketing role within our organizations, the sooner we can recognize our need for training in this area to do it properly. Let’s make sure we are being good stewards of our brands and embrace our inner marketer.

Read Augie Ray’s whole article here: HR is the New Marketing and Employees are the New Media



YES – Twitter Works For Recruiting! (I have proof)
September 15, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Twitter

This article was originally written for and posted on CruiterTalk.com for the Blog Carnival.

This post is dedicated to all the nay-sayers and people who keep belly-aching “Show me the ROI of Twitter”…. it’s time you stopped asking for proof that recruiting using Twitter works, and actually listen when people share proof with you. I recently used a fantastic resource called HARO (Help A Reporter Out) started by Peter Shankman, @skydiver on Twitter. I wanted to find individuals who have found their current full-time position through communication on Twitter. Take note: this could be via a job posting that was tweeted, an @ message from a company representative, or a DM from a colleague passing along some information about a position. Here are just a few of the responses I received. The results, quite frankly, I think are going to surprise you…

1.      Chris Kieff – Director of Marketing at Ripple6, Inc.: Chris lost his job in January of 2008. He did the usual things such as going to job boards and  applying for jobs, but he also started increasing his presence on LinkedIn and Facebook, and decided to start his own blog about internet marketing,www.1goodreason.com. He began writing about search engine marketing and internet marketing, and he started connecting with other bloggers through several social media resources and having offline meetings with people to solidify connections (hint). Chris had begun interviewing for various opportunities but as many companies ended up in hiring freezes, he simply wasn’t finding anything. After one such opportunity was lost, he went out to Twitter and tweeted ‘I just lost a job opportunity but I think they want me to be a consultant now…’ An observant employee at Ripple6 who was following him saw his message, said they were looking for a social media person, and he started going through the hiring process. He was eventually hired on full-time as Director of Marketing, based on a Twitter follower directly from Ripple6 who was keeping an eye open.

2.      Megan Soto – Account Associate at LaunchSquad: Megan was recruited and eventually hired by her PR firm through Twitter. She was a senior at the University of Oregon and had a couple of internships in the queue for the summer. Megan was active on Twitter and had a class-assigned blog about PR, which was her focus in the Journalism school. She tweeted about one of LaunchSquad’s clients in reaction to a cool New York Times article they’d just secured. While scanning for Twitter activity on the article, Brett Weiner, a partner at LaunchSquad, found her tweet, which led them to her blog and they eventually contacted, interviewed and hired her as a salaried Account Associate.

3.      John Robinson, Jr. – Interactive Developer at Balcom Agency: John started at Balcom in April of 2009. He is responsible for coding and helping design numerous websites for businesses and nonprofits using PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. John actually wasn’t looking for a new job when he noticed Balcom Agency’s tweet about a job opening for a developer for its fast-expanding interactive division. Still, he shot a quick direct message back to @Balcomagency to ask about the job, and by the time Balcom’s social media specialist, Kayla Bond, responded he’d already gotten a tweet from Balcom’s interactive account director, Chip Hanna. As webmaster for the Amon Carter Museum for five and a half years, John handled its Twitter account and the Balcom Agency was on the “friend” list.

4.      Andrea Slesinski – Media Relations Specialist at MediaSource: Andrea was working at a full-service communications/branding agency and had been hunting for a new job for several months when she saw the post by the media relations director at MediaSource, whom she knew in “real life.” She sent her some correspondence and arranged for interviews via Twitter the entire way through. The only time they communicated outside of Twitter was when Andrea sent her resume and cover letter for the position, which she did via e-mail.

5.      Rob Totaro – Account Representative at POTRATZ: Rob just started a job at the end of June 2009 that he found through an update on Twitter. He didn’t know Christy Potratz, one of the owners at Potratz Partners Advertising, but through other people she had begun following me. He followed her back and after a few weeks saw their posting for an Account Rep. He responded and interviewed, and eventually was hired.

6.      Lance Hunt – Software Architect/Consultant at Cogent Company: Lance had been on Twitter for a good while before getting laid-off and had around 100 followers at the time. Before the RIF, he already had accumulated a few recruiters as followers as well as many key players/influencers in the .NET Development arena due to a variety of past discussions on technical, social networking, and philosophical topics. The initial announcement about and from Lance and others being caught in the Telligent layoff was a big surprise to many who had been following Telligent over the years, so the overall response from the community was great. It seemed like everyone he had chatted with in the past offered to leverage their contacts and tried to help. At least 75% of Lance’s twitter job prospects were identified indirectly through colleagues in the industry who saw the tweets and gave him a referral or sent his information to someone they knew. The remaining contacts were directly from employers or recruiters who were already active on Twitter and were either interested in topics that he had been discussing and found him through that, or were actively searching on terms around layoffs and job search and found him that way. Lance’s current employer, Cogent Company, was one of those who found him through the former method of searching on topics and following other peoples’ discussions. Marc Hoppers, the owner, had seen Lance’s tweets while researching discussions on social networking topics and contacted him via a DM to see if he would come in for an interview. The rest is history.

7.      Tac Anderson – Social Media Director at Waggener Edstrom: Tac’s story is a personal one for me, because it was my direct message to him that alerted him to the position he now has. I had been following Tac’s blog, New Comm Biz, for a little over a year, and we had connected through Twitter and shared a few links and other niceties over time. When the position at Waggener became available, Tac was one of the first folks I reached out to for it. I sent him a direct message and asked if he might be interested. Tac was at a point where he was ready for a new opportunity, so he began the interview process at Waggener and eventually was hired.

8.      ME!  Amybeth Hale – Talent Attraction Manager at AT&T: I was laid off from my job at the end of February. Immediately, I started quietly reaching out to some of my network connections through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. One of the individuals I reached out to was Chris Hoyt, Associate Director, Talent Attraction with AT&T. Chris and I had been introduced by Jennifer McClure over the fall of 2008, and as we were both bloggers in the recruiting community, we developed a good friendship and respect for each other. When I told Chris what was going on, he set up a time for us to discuss an opening he had on his team, and it was a great fit for both of us. I was hired and started with AT&T at the beginning of April 2009.

I don’t know what additional proof anyone needs that Twitter is a helpful tool for connecting companies who are hiring to candidates who are looking. And for those who say this only works with certain job functions or in certain select industries – take a look at the variety in the stories presented here: we have marketing, PR, advertising, web development, software architecture, and recruiting professionals from companies operating in telecommunications, technology consultancy, interactive design, advertising, multimedia, and public relations. In addition, this worked for people ranging from fresh out of college to senior / director level professionals. So this isn’t limited to just the “social media” people or the “creative” companies.

Another interesting observation I had from reading through these stories is that the majority of the folks mentioned who were monitoring, seeking, and reaching out to these qualified candidates via Twitter were in fact NOT RECRUITERS, but observant employees and either partners or owners in their companies. So… perhaps this is a rude wake-up call to recruiters: the more you resist and poo-poo using tools like Twitter to find, connect with, and develop relationships with people, the more beneficial it will be for the direct hiring authorities, since they’ve already seemed to embrace this method of search.

So my recommendation to you is this: do what you want, and what you think is right for you. But stop asking for proof that it works, because it’s out there and you’re just not listening. And all those candidates are being grabbed up left and right by others who have chosen to embrace the tools, whether or not you do.