Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Go Where The Puck Is Going To Be
January 27, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

Wayne Gretzky, arguably one of the greatest hockey players of all time, has a few of my favorite quotes. First one is probably his most famous, and that is “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Slightly less well-known is this:

“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

I will add to this and say, “I skate to where the puck [in my game] is going to be, not where it has been.”

When you are sourcing, do you think about where YOUR potential candidates are going to be, or do you just go to the same tired places because that’s where everyone else has been?

When looking for candidates, go where the candidates are going to congregate in your industry. And for each of us, that is going to be a different place. For example: a marketing sourcer is probably going to find a plethora of candidates through various popular social networks. An accounting sourcer – not so much.

The whole idea behind this quote is forward thinking and future planning. You have to be one step ahead of your target or you’re going to miss it, or be late to the game and get stuck with all the leftovers.

Are you a talent attraction professional? Start thinking 6-12 months ahead of your target audience. How is the economy going to affect them? How is the current labor market going to affect them? The latest technologies? Then locate resources discussing these types of topics and share them. You’ll earn brownie points for thinking of them and their future. And while you’re at it, digest those resources yourself. Chances are a few new candidate resources will surface when you start thinking ahead…

We’re each playing similar, yet decidedly unique, games here. Stop worrying about the puck in other people’s games. Make sure you’re following the puck in your game and look ahead to where it’s going to be.


College Students and Twitter
January 26, 2010, 11:00 am
Filed under: college, Networking/Social Media, Twitter

My primary focus with the AT&T Talent Attraction team at this point in time is working with our Campus Recruiting team to find new and innovative ways of reaching students and new grads to make them aware of the opportunities we have at AT&T. I found this video this morning – an interview with several college students regarding their thoughts on Twitter:

“It’s a lame way for celebrities to share information about stuff that nobody should really know.”
“I feel like a lot of people just … talk about random stuff.”
“I don’t think people really want to hear about my personal life.”

Hearing these statements is disheartening and tells me that those of us who are proponents of the professional use of Twitter are not doing a good job of sharing with this particular demographic how it can be used.

This is a call-out to all of you who read this blog and are current students. If you’re a college student, please leave a comment with your thoughts on Twitter. Share with us why you do or don’t use Twitter. I’m most interested in what your perception of its purpose is and why you do or don’t see the value in participating in the Twitterverse.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Balance, and Basics
January 26, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media

A couple of weeks after the beginning of 2010, I started attending a fitness bootcamp at my gym. This bootcamp is three times per week for a total of eight weeks. My goals attached to attending bootcamp are simple: I want to lose between 20-25 lbs. and be able to run 2 miles with no stops. I have aggressive goals beyond this, but for an 8 week program, I think these are ambitious, yet do-able.

On the first day of bootcamp, we worked out HARD. I had sore muscles where I didn’t think muscles existed. I was a little surprised by this because I’ve already been working out with a personal trainer a couple days per week to work on strength and tone. The bootcamp began revealing areas of weakness that I didn’t know were previously there.

Last night, one week into bootcamp, we did measurements and took photos. To date, I have already lost 2 1/2 lbs. and .5% of my total BMI. No – the “before” photos will never appear on this blog ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ll have to see about the “after”s…

I am learning some things about myself as I go through this bootcamp that I don’t particularly like. When you make a commitment to change, a true commitment, there are going to be parts of you that are going to be peeled back and exposed as weak. For example – I have incredibly weak hip flexor muscles. Those are the muscles that help you bring your knee up to your chest. But I am also learning about strengths of mine, such as the fact that I have pretty steady aerobic endurance. I used to be a competitive long-distance swimmer so it’s natural for me, but it’s been years since I last competed so I am pleased to learn I still possess this strength.

The kicker though is that strengths and weaknesses have to work together in order for you to operate properly. I can’t just focus on strengthening my hip flexors and neglect the quads or the calves. I can’t just work on my aerobic endurance and neglect sprinting activities. If I did that, I would be unbalanced as a whole. The whole point in working toward achieving this goal is to become more balanced in my fitness. And in order to do that, I have to go back to some basic movements to retrain my muscles on how to do things properly.

So – what does this have to with sourcing? Everything, if you ask me. In order to refine your strengths and strengthen you weak areas, you often have to go back to the very basics of your function. You have to return to developing basic Boolean search queries, or perhaps you have to go back to some basic phone skills to hone your style of communication. If you neglect these foundational areas, you will become unbalanced in all your efforts to better yourself professionally.

Discovering, and in particular owning up to, your weaknesses can be a pretty unpleasant experience and leave you feeling somewhat exposed. But owning your weaknesses and recognizing that you need to make some improvements can also be liberating and open up a world of learning opportunities. I was reluctant to admit that I needed help in achieving my fitness goals. I wanted to believe I could do it on my own. But finally realizing that I work harder in a group setting has been incredibly freeing for me. The same is true for pinpointing your professional weaknesses. Admitting them can be painful, especially if you’ve denied them for a long time, but it also allows you to begin the process of getting back to basics and retraining the way you approach things at work so you can be better balanced in your skills.

I have every intention on reaching my short-term goals during this eight week period. However, if for some reason I don’t, I know I’ll still be better off for having tried because I will have started a process of continual improvement and desire to achieve balance. So, when you apply these same principles to work, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to where you want to be as quickly as you wanted. Just know that you’re better for having tried, and keep the end result in mind. You’ll make it there eventually!

Conan and Burning Bridges
January 22, 2010, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Career Advice

OK, typically I like to stay away from the hype that surrounds drama in Hollywood. But the things that are going on with Conan O’Brien and the Tonight Show caught my eye when a Time article came out about a $4.8 million show expense that was done to ‘stick it’ to NBC. Granted, no one can blame Conan for being salty about what’s going on; any of us would feel shafted by this treatment. But there’s more to this than hurt feelings…

I was pointed to this article on Brand For Talent, and in the article it discusses the HR nightmare being created by this situation. Was also shown this article by Jason Seiden. And in light of the recent actions by Conan, I think this is setting an incredibly terrible example for the average person in properly severing ties with a former employer. To all my HR and recruiting friends out there, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to burn bridges like this, or in this case, attach a powder keg to the supports and blow it up.

Please keep this in perspective: Conan is a celebrity. He gets paid to be funny, and on top of that, he is getting millions of dollars out of this debacle. How many of us would ever dream to get the kind of severance that he is? So obviously this is a special situation. Unfortunately, lots of people skip over the ‘special situation’ part, and they just look at what he’s doing and say, “Yeah, Conan – you tell NBC. Stick it to the man!”

Unfortunately, there will be a LOT of people who think that this is acceptable behavior when leaving a company, whether by your choice or by theirs. That’s just simply not the case. If we were to translate this kind of behavior into the average person’s experience, that would be like taking a box truck, backing it up to the front door of your office, and loading it up with all of the office supplies and computers within before giving your former boss the finger and telling him to shove it while you walk out the door. I’m sure many of us have wanted to act like this, but we know better. Because we know that almost inevitably, there will be a situation in which we will run into our former employer, or former co-workers who witnessed such an event, in a professional setting. Awkward! Actions like that will always come back to haunt you – choose your reactions wisely.

So while this is all wildly entertaining, I just ask you to use discretion and common sense when thinking about making a similar grand gesture on your last day of work. What works for one doesn’t always work for another ๐Ÿ™‚

My Pledge To Communicate With You
January 19, 2010, 8:30 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Thoughts

I have a confession. Over the last several months, I have sucked when it comes to communicating. Phone calls have gone unreturned, and emails have been piling up in my inbox. Looking at my inbox right now, I have 1,480 unread messages just in the mail email alone, not to mention a few of the filters I have. I have a few other boxes with close to 100 unread messages. Sure, lots of the unreads are probably notifications or email subscriptions that someone signed me up for just because I gave them a business card at a conference (shame on you!) – but the fact remains that I haven’t done a good job at staying in touch.

I could use any excuse in the book – the move, the travel, settling in to a new place, new job, etc. But I’m not going to because I’m tired of making excuses for not achieving the things I set out to do. It’s a bad habit I’ve somehow picked up and has never been a part of my M.O. before, so I am losing it today. No more excuses.

I feel like a hypocrite talking about the importance of networking and developing relationships with people, when many of you reach out to me and never receive a response, or it takes several weeks at best. Networking is not just about friending someone, or leaving a note on their Wall, or accepting a LinkedIn invitation, or retweeting something they said. It’s about responding, engaging, and building trust. And it may sound silly to you but I think it’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t acknowledge your attempts at communicating with them.

I’m so sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So my pledge to you today is this:

  1. No more unreturned phone calls. If you call me, you can expect a returned call within 48 hours. If you thought enough of me to reach out, I am going to return the favor right back to you.
  2. Personal emails will be responded to within 72 hours. I’m trying to give myself more personal time on the weekends, so if I get an email on Friday, it might be Monday before I respond, but I WILL respond.

To do this, I am going to need your support:

  1. Be specific – if you have a question you want me to help you with, be specific about it. Don’t just say “I’d like to pick your brain”; tell me how exactly I can help you!
  2. Be patient with me – we’re all human and we all make mistakes. I am not planning to slip up on this pledge, but it might happen and I might fall behind at some point. All I ask for is encouragement; be my cheerleaders! Kind words do more to motivate me than you may know…
  3. Return the favor – we all lead very busy lives. For some of us, email or a phone call is the only way to stay in touch any more. I miss a lot of my friends whom I used to talk to a lot; please call me back ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you will all hold me accountable to this pledge. I’m completely serious about this: I am drawing a line in the sand. The time for action is now, and I am excited about reconnecting. Look for me in your inboxes and on your caller ID!

Cool Tool Alert: Twiangulate
January 14, 2010, 9:00 am
Filed under: Cool Tool Alert, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research, Twitter

This seems to be a great tool to find common connections between you and someone you follow or want to follow on Twitter. If you’re looking for a tool to help find great people to follow, give Twiangulate a shot.

“Twiangulate is a tool for discovering hidden tweeters, friends of friends (or friends of enemies), micro-influentials who only insiders follow… or sometimes just friends you haven’t yet realized are tweeting.” So basically, this is an automated discovery version of Twitter lists. But unlike lists, these groupings aren’t generated subjectively by individuals – the results are generated by algorithms and other complicated tech things designed by Henry Copeland, Kaley Krause, andย Jessica Siracusa among others.

Here’s how it works: you can auto-authenticate your Twitter account to get started, and then enter up to 3 usernames of people whom you follow or would like to explore. I chose to start with just one person whom I highly respect for this example:

Caution: if you choose people who are popular, you may have to run them one at a time or else you’ll get an error message.

As a result, this is what was returned – three people who are mutual connections of ours, as well as a long list of others that Twiangulate found to be the most influential people whom these folks follow.ย The provided list may be sorted by # of followers, # of people whom they follow, or by location as well:

While this is certainly a fun tool for finding new, interesting people to follow – think about it from a sourcing or recruiting standpoint. What if you were to plug in the Twitter account for say, an alumni group, or a professional association that tweets? You could then get a list of the most influential Twitter accounts followed by those people…

Example: @NACEorg– not a huge account, but one of interest to me, because according to the bio, “The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is the leading source of information on the employment of the college educated.” So I plugged it into Twiangulate and here’s what I got – some pretty interesting new accounts that I should be following and interacting with:

Go ahead and give it a shot yourself. You might be surprised at the individuals who come up that you should have been following all along!

Job Competition
January 11, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting

Lots of competition for jobs these days, with the economy on the repair. Have you found yourself in a situation like this recently?

It’s tough out there today! Instead of resorting to sabotage of your fellow job-seekers and risking bringing bad karma on yourself, try making yourself memorable instead. As a recruiting professional and also the occasional job seeker myself, here are some things that I think will help you out:

  • Dress conservatively for your interview, but wear just a hint of flair – ladies, a bright colored collared shirt under your skirt- or pants-suit, and guys, a colorful or interesting tie. Caution: make sure it’s interesting without being tacky/inappropriate.
  • Find out a little about the people with whom you’ll be interviewing before you meet them, and write down some interesting facts about them that you can use in your interview. I’d caution against making direct connections with them until after your interview though (i.e. LinkedIn)
  • Bring a notepad to your interview pre-loaded with questions about the company. Take notes during your interview and ask questions related to the things you discuss with your interviewer.
  • Following your interview, send a hand-written thank-you note to the people with whom you interviewed, in addition to a quick thank-you email. Hand-written notes are not common any more, and people remember them.
  • Tip: always be pleasant to the receptionist. That’s your opportunity to make a great first impression, and a lot of interviewers ask them how they are treated by those who come in to interview.

If you have other interviewing tips, please leave them in a comment below. Wishing you the best of luck on your interviews!