Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

Deliberate vs. Situational Job Seekers on Twitter
February 4, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research, Twitter

I believe there’s a lot of untapped gold on Twitter when it comes to searching for job candidates. The thing you need to keep in mind is that there is more than one type of job seeker on Twitter. Here are the two types of active job seekers I’ve noticed on Twitter:

  1. The Deliberate Twitter Job Seeker
  2. The Situational Twitter Job Seeker

The deliberate twitter job seeker is the person who has written in their bio line that they are looking, whereas the situational twitter job seeker is one who might tweet that they dislike their job or want a new job after a frustrating day at work. The key is to run searches for both types of people. If you only search Twitter updates for job seekers, you’re going to miss out on the ones who have their job seeker status in their bio.

The deliberate job seekers most likely have other social network profiles elsewhere noting their status as a job seeker, and Twitter is simply a part of their ‘campaign’. As such, it would be best to use a tool such as TweepSearch or Tweepz to find these people. These two search engines search only Twitter profiles, not the tweets themselves. Here is a sample search string to use:

“looking for a job” OR “looking for work” OR “seeking employment” OR “need a job” OR “need work” OR unemployed OR “new opportunity”

Situational job seekers are going to be a bit more challenging to find, because they probably don’t even consider themselves to really be ‘active’ job seekers. Rather, these are the individuals that maybe had a bad day at work and are venting. For example:

When approaching these people, it’s important to catch them close to the time in which they expressed their disdain to their job. That is, if you wait until 2 days after they’ve expressed hatred for their current job, you’ve probably missed your window of opportunity. For this search, I recommend conducting a basic search through Twitter’s advanced search function and subscribing to an RSS of the results. This way, you’ll get fresh results for people who are having frustrating days at work. Here is a search string that has worked pretty well for me:

“new job” OR “need a job” OR (“looking for” job) OR ((want OR need) “new job”) OR (hate “my job”) OR “job sucks”

Another good resource to follow is the Twitter account @hatemyjobfeed. This particular Twitter account automatically retweets message that contain “hate my job”. While often just amusing, there are occasionally tweets that come through this feed that warrant a response from a recruiter with a good opportunity.


Why “Research Goddess”?
February 2, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Rants, Recruiting, Research, Thoughts

“Research Goddess” is a silly nickname that was assigned to me nearly 4 years ago. The story behind how it came to pass is pretty interesting, so let me share with it with you and put to rest any notion that its meaning is anything more than completely fun and innocent.

When I left my first internet research job, which I held for 4 years, I also left a sizable internet research community via a listserv (numbering near 500 participants). As it was a proprietary listserv, I was no longer allowed access to it. I started my blog in order to stay connected to several of these researchers as well as to meet new people outside of that community. My first blog, by the way, was called “SPI Research” (now simply a placeholder), NOT Research Goddess. Research Goddess came about after I had conversations with Joel Cheesman and Jim Stroud. Joel informed me that I needed to create a memorable identity (as he did with Cheezhead), and Jim told me it would be in my best interest not to tie my blog directly to the company for which I worked at the time. He told me it would be hard to continue with the blog title “SPI Research” if I ever left SearchPath International, which I eventually did a year later.

Jim and I played around with some new possible blog titles on the phone one day, most of which I cannot recall now. In jest, I threw out “Research Goddess” and the line went silent. I thought at first I’d lost the connection, or that it was a horrible idea, but then I heard an enthusiastic “That’s awesome!!” from Jim. I chuckled, stating that it was just a joke, but Jim insisted that it was a great blog title and a memorable one at that. To this day, whenever Jim calls me or I call him, he always greets me with “Hello, Goddess!” It makes me giggle that he still does this, as it’s all in good fun.

As months turned into years, the nickname stuck. In fact, when I go to conferences now, I usually introduce myself and then throw in “I write Research Goddess”, and only then do I get the “Ohhhh, I know who you are!” responses. I am almost better known by my silly pseudonym than I am by my real name. What this tells me is 1) it’s a memorable nickname, but 2) I need to do a better job of tying who I really am in with the nickname. Working on that…

As a test to those of you reading this, here are a couple of other popular ‘nicknames’ of people you might recognize:

  • The Sourceress
  • The Searchologist
  • Cincy Recruiter
  • HR Bartender
  • The Recruiter Guy
  • The Red Recruiter
  • Recruiting Animal
  • MN Headhunter

While you may not know their real names off the top of your head, you recognize the names and know that each has a niche or a gimmick that is recognized and understood. That’s one of the important parts of creating a memorable identity for yourself. And one of the reasons “Research Goddess” has stuck to me.

Does it mean I believe I am a goddess? Heck no. I’m just another girl in this game, trying to learn and grow just like the rest of you, while sharing my thoughts with this little community. And quite honestly, for those of you who know me, I mean REALLY know me, you know that pretentious, selfish, or conceited are not words that describe me. Opinionated, yes. You’ll never have to wonder where I stand on issues. But having an opinion does not equate to being full of oneself.

If you think that the nickname “Research Goddess” means that I think I am an expert or a guru of sorts, please talk to any of my peers and learn otherwise. I will say that I feel blessed to have had opportunities cross my path that have enabled me to learn and develop my skills. As such, I do believe I have a decent grasp on good research techniques as well as some application of social media technologies when it comes to sourcing. Also, I believe my peers will tell you that I certainly have earned any praise that I have received. I believe I’ve worked hard and contributed some value to this industry, and I hope I’ve done a good job of paying it forward as well. BUT… I know I still have SO much to learn, and you will never hear me say anything to infer that I feel I’ve ‘arrived’. EVER.

If after having talked to my peers you still believe there is a conceited, pretentious, or conniving underlying purpose for my blog and my nickname, I strongly urge you to leave a comment here. Or call me directly – (360) 389-3227 – and let’s talk. Give me your thoughts as to why you believe this of me, and make some constructive suggestions for alternatives. I’m open to all ideas if you think I should take another direction. All I ask is that you don’t judge me or my intentions until you get to know me.

In the end, you’re certainly entitled to think whatever you want to about me. But I believe my work, my track record, and my peers’ experiences with me speak louder than anything else. I hope this sheds some light on the whole ‘research goddess’ thing. It’s just a stupid nickname, but it helps people recognize and remember me. And in my book, that’s a good thing.

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.

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, and 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. 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!

Defining Success In Recruiting
January 8, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

When you ask recruiters how they measure their success, most of them will tell you that it is related in some way to their placements. Notice I didn’t say NUMBER of placements, because that is going to vary depending on the kind of positions for which you recruit. Examples:

  • A recruiter who only recruits C-level executives might view success as making one placement every 6 months, if those placements are worth six or seven figures a pop.
  • In contrast, a high-volume recruiter who places candidates in call center environments wouldn’t be able to put food on the table with one placement every 6 months. They might view success as making 10 placements per month. For the C-level executive recruiter, this is simply an unrealistic expectation, given the nature of their work.

One size never fits all, so generalizing success in recruiting will always yield you inaccurate data. We all have different amounts of experience, different approaches to client and candidate management, different methods (and tools!) for sourcing, and let’s face it, we each have our own biases to our own way of doing things.

What this means is that you don’t need to go running off signing up for every new resource just because it worked for someone else, or changing the entire way you work just because one of your peers found success with a new method. But in the same breath, just because a particular method or tool doesn’t work for you, this doesn’t mean it will not work for anyone. Each situation is unique.

Define your own success and don’t measure your results against anyone but yourself. You don’t know other people’s stories, what their focus is, what tools they are using, what their fees are, and what their cost of living is.

2010 Prediction: Employees MIA
December 28, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Thoughts

As a professional in the recruiting world, I love watching employment and hiring trends and the way the decisions we make as a collective nation affect us immediately, and the ripple effects of our decisions over time. In the past decade, with the popularization of the Internet for public use, a microwave mentality has crept into our daily lives. We want everything instantly. If something doesn’t happen immediately, then we become impatient and antsy. As a result, we have forced companies to create some efficiencies to help streamline the delivery of products and services for our consumption. This is fantastic, as I believe it creates much-needed competition and quality control in commerce. However, in many instances, our desire to have what we want, right here right now, creates an urgency that forces shoddy workmanship and thus produces cheap / ineffective products or services that, if we could have waited a little longer, might have produced a higher quality, more beneficial product or service. Our impatience as a society has forced operational efficiency in some area, however in other areas it has produced poor quality work.

What does this have to do with the disappearance of the traditional employee? Last week, Paul Hebert wrote a great post on Fistful of Talent asking the corporate world to consider employee attraction and retention practices if the anchors of employee benefits, which include healthcare, were not in place to entice them to come on board. As well, earlier in the week my colleague Dave Mendoza pointed out an article from the Wall Street Journal that talked about the implications in the workforce of the healthcare bill in its current form, should it pass through Senate. (update: as of Christmas eve the Senate gathered enough votes to pass this bill)

Whether we want to admit it or not, healthcare is a huge issue today. And it’s going to affect more parts of our lives than just how we’re able (or not able) to obtain coverage. Most believe we need healthcare reform. Some think what got rushed through Senate will take care of that. Others don’t, and would like to slow down and consider some other viable options. While this is not the time or place for discussion of your position on this, I think we can all agree that whatever comes out of this situation is seriously going to affect many parts of our lives outside of our health. Including our employment situations.

Having read both of the above linked articles, and taking into consideration what I’ve learned over the years on the inside of HR and recruiting practices, I came up with this prediction:

Over the course of 2010 we will see a decline in direct-hire employees and a rise in both contractors and entrepreneurs in the workforce.

Let me just say that I am by no means an economic or social expert. The things I’ve considered in taking my stance on this prediction are simply from observing my community, my industry, and people in general. I could be completely off-base, or I could be spot on. I am simply one person with an opinion and a thought I’d like to share, with a few personal observations to back up why I think the way I do. I appreciate you respecting my thoughts in this and taking the time to read about them, even if you disagree with them.

So, why am I predicting this? Here are a couple of observations:

  • With the astronomically rising cost of healthcare coverage for employees (mind you, this has been going on for years and I fully recognize that it did not start with the onset of the government wanting to take over healthcare, but I certainly don’t feel it will be alleviated by the proposed bill either), companies are less and less inclined to offer this benefit to employees. Thus, a reasonable alternative is to hire contractors, putting the financial and benefit burden off of themselves and onto the contractor’s shoulders.
  • Necessity is the mother of invention. With the number of people unemployed or underemployed still in double-digits, it makes for a better environment for creativity in creating income, thus encouraging individuals to start a business and be self-employed.

This could be a fantastic thing. I think for some people, self-employment is the way to go. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are not averse to taking a risk, the reward can be great.

But it’s not guaranteed… and there are things to consider that companies eliminating offering benefits could have an impact on when it comes to employment, and ultimately, retirement:

  • With companies being less and less inclined to either offer healthcare benefits (and consequently 401K and retirement), or being more inclined to hire contractors so as not to shoulder the burden, this will force people to have to be proactive in seeking out their own healthcare and investment opportunities. From personal experience, I know that purchasing healthcare independently is quite expensive, and that cost will only continue to rise. I’ve read that as much as 21% of one’s income would go to nationalized healthcare, should it be instituted. *again, I’m not an economic expert, this is just what I’ve read and heard from those who live in countries with nationalized healthcare, like my friend’s mother who was a nurse in the British NHS for 40+ years – she would know!*
  • According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, our rate of savings over the past decade is pitiful, averaging near 3%. For the average household which makes about $40,000 per year, that’s a pathetic savings of $1200 yearly. In all reality, most Americans save nothing at all when you count credit card debt, car payments, and home mortgages. So obviously our rate of savings leaves a lot to be desired already. Being forced to purchase government-mandated healthcare coverage because our employer simply can’t foot the bill any longer could essentially wipe out the ability for people to continue saving even at a meager 3% rate.

Ripple effects:

  • For both employer and the individual:
    • What is a company’s incentive to hiring direct when they have to pay such astronomical costs for benefits for their employees? I believe companies will start to hire more contractors; then they won’t have to shell out for the benefits. Could be a good thing, as it would encourage more entrepreneurialism, which ultimately leads to the creation of more jobs.
  • For the individual:
    • As a result of this, contractors will end up paying out-of-pocket for health insurance (expensive), & there will no longer be ‘auto’ savings in the form of 401Ks or retirement plans – through the company, at least. Making those decisions will be left up to the individual. Again, this could be a good or a bad thing, depending on the level of personal responsibility of that individual. But as seen in the above example of personal savings over the last 10 years, it’s not a likely scenario for many.
  • For the employer:
    • An increase in recruitment and hiring costs. Employees are more likely to be loyal to a company than contractors. While contractors don’t carry the cost of insurance and 401K matching, it’s an expensive process to constantly hire new and renew existing contractors. It gets even more expensive if you’re going through a 3rd party contract provider, because not only are you covering the contractor’s rates, but the escalated rate of the provider in order for them to cover their operating costs.

Distant future ripple effects:

  • With the decline in savings in the US, as the X and Y generations reach retirement age, there will be even more of an increased demand for someone else to foot the bill, unless we get a grip today on taking personal responsibility for our futures.
  • I’m all for entrepreneurialism – if you feel called to be self-employed I totally support that! Just make sure you prepare for your future. The great thing about being self-employed is that you rely completely on your own efforts. The downside of being self-employed is that you rely completely on your own efforts. There’s no one there to blame but yourself if retirement time comes around and you didn’t plan ahead enough.

My recommendations for this 2010 prediction:

  • Individuals: Be personally responsible. Start saving today. If you don’t believe you can, find a way. I’m sure there are things in your budget you can cut back on. Do you really need that daily Starbucks latte, or 5000+ TV channels?
  • Companies: continue to offer benefits and have a leg up on your competition for talent. As other companies drop benefits like a bad habit, a company can use this to their advantage by continuing to offer them as value-adds for new hires. You’ll attract more, and loyal, talent if you offer something that your competitors no longer can.
  • Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, or it will cease to do so. Companies aren’t perfect, but employees aren’t either. Remember that the next time you’re grumbling about the popcorn tower your company gave you for a holiday gift as you’re stealing office supplies. The fact that many companies DO currently offer benefits is a privilege, NOT A RIGHT (please do not confuse the two). Yeah there are some companies out there that do shady business or don’t treat their employees well. If you work for a company like that, you have the option to leave. No one is hand-cuffing you to that desk, regardless of what you may think. (by the way, if your response to this is “but I can’t leave; I’ll lose my benefits!” – I suggest you re-read the bolded text that started this bullet point…)

Be THANKFUL for what you do have. If you currently work – you are much better off than 17% of this country as of September this year. Be careful, and think about the things you ask for; consider all of the consequences, short- and long-term. The long-term ripple effect might overcast the short-term benefit.

Disclaimer: I anticipate many varying viewpoints on government-controlled healthcare as related to this post. I don’t feel this post, or this blog, is the correct venue for that discussion, however, you have a comment to make about the rise in contractor / entrepreneur status as compared to employee status, feel free to do so! If you’re insistent upon sharing your opinion on healthcare, you are more than welcome to email me directly and I’ll be happy to engage in a civilized conversation. Thank you for respecting my space and I look forward to an engaging exchange!