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!

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.

What!? *Don’t* put ‘looking for a job’ in your LinkedIn status?!?
December 16, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Research

I was pointed to a new blog post today by Laurent Brouat entitled “Don’t put ‘Looking for a job’ on your linkedin status“. In the post, Brouat advises those who are in the market for new employment not to place these words in their LinkedIn status because “you position yourself as someone asking for something, asking for a job, waiting for things to happen…”

Say wha-a-a-a-t!?!?! I completely and quite loudly disagree with this!

  1. If you don’t ask, you cannot receive. There’s a Book that talks about this quite extensively, actually 🙂
  2. ANY recruiter, and sourcer especially, worth their salary, knows how to conduct in-depth LinkedIn searches and would be quite pleased to discover someone who’s left word that they’d be open to listening to new opportunities right on their LinkedIn page. Don’t believe me? Just type the phrase “looking for a job” into the LinkedIn search field and check out the resulting 8,000+ individuals seeking new employment AND LETTING YOU KNOW THEY ARE.
  3. Guess what? I have automated search agents set up through LOTS of social media sites with key phrases like “looking for work”, “I need a job”, “need a new job”… and I’ll bet a million bucks I’m not the only one!

Granted, Mr. Brouat is from London so the way things are done across the pond could be quite different from here in the States, but I believe a better piece of advice might be to tell job seekers not to simply STOP at putting this phrase in their profile.

Job seeking is essentially self-marketing, and the one thing that you should know about good marketing is that you should NEVER rely on one method to get the job done. The reason for this is that you’ll have different target audiences that will be reached via different methods. So I say in addition to putting a phrase such as “looking for a job” (or perhaps you prefer “entertaining new opportunities”, “seeking a new venture”, or “in transition”?) it’s good to combine other active outreach such as IN-PERSON networking, looking to see who is hiring and then proactively reaching out, etc. In my personal opinion, it certainly can’t hurt to leave a note on a page that I guarantee is going to be visited by actively querying recruiters and sourcers.

It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for something you want – just make sure you do it tactfully!

Sourcing Isn’t Dying… It’s Evolving (Part II)
November 16, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Recruiting, Research

Last Wednesday, I wrote a post about how I believe that sourcing is not dying, but evolving. I ended the post with a teaser about what I believe sourcing will evolve into in the coming years. I certainly don’t think the need for the skills which sourcers possess will go away, but I feel like other aspects of a sourcer’s repertoire will become more in-demand as our communication methods continue to change.

As I mentioned last week, human interaction is an integral part of any profession that falls into the same classification pool as sourcing, talent attraction / acquisition, recruiting, HR, etc. To ignore the fact that our jobs are very ‘high-touch’ would be foolish, no matter how deep into the technical aspect of sourcing we may be. In the coming years, and I think especially over the course of 2010, I see sourcing taking on a huge role of proactive communication. Since the accessibility of information via social networks keeps getting easier and easier, I believe being a good relationship-builder is going to go up in value. Please note: I do not believe this means that sourcing will inevitably equal recruiting. The reason I know this is because not all recruiters know how to build relationships. You all know what I’m talking about – we all know at least one recruiter who is a script-reading robot with the interpersonal skills of a rock.

Sourcers who are good communicators are going to be the goodwill ambassadors and (I hope Glen will forgive me for this) the talent pipeline builders. Sourcing is going to take on a very proactive marketing-type role, involving such things as interaction in discussion forums, posing questions on LinkedIn, writing for and selecting content for a company blog, getting involved in the Chamber of Commerce, attending networking events, and getting the word out about either their companies or their clients.

We have seen throughout the history of recruiting how important building true relationships is, and sadly I feel that recruiting, and thus sourcing, has become more transactional in recent years. Sourcing of the future will move away from the transactional and more toward the strategic, as people become more web savvy and numb to blanket messaging. Sourcing, I believe, will begin to take on more of a proactive than a reactive role. Since more of the technical search aspect of it can (and will) be automated, this opens up a window of time to start being proactive. Consider this: traditionally, sourcers wait to research until they receive a search request from a recruiter. I think the future role of sourcing will be for sourcers to continually have their ‘antennae’ up for good talent, and to also take the opportunity to start developing those initial relationships so that when timing is appropriate, the recruiters can approach them warmly with job opportunities.

There is no cookie-cutter mold into which a sourcer fits. At SourceCon 2007, during my presentation about what true research is, I stopped for an interactive portion and polled the audience of researchers for their educational and professional backgrounds. I asked 5 people to share, and not one of them had the same educational OR professional career path. So, when thinking about who would be the best types of people to hire for this future sourcing role, two in particular come to mind. They might surprise you a little:

  • Public relations specialists: In the ‘entry level’ years of PR, traditionally individuals will conduct research and create ‘pitch lists’ for their companies or their clients. While they’re honing these research skills, they are also taking lessons on pitching, managing campaigns, and client interaction from their senior coworkers. Translate this into a sourcing role: you’ve got someone who knows how to find the right people, and then who knows how to interact with them professionally and get them excited about a company or a job opportunity.
  • English majors: I am the daughter of an English teacher, and I used to help Mom grade her students’ grammar papers. But earning a degree in English goes well beyond knowing proper grammar – you learn to master the high standards of accuracy, clarity, and finesse of the language as well as information synthesis, summarization, and analysis of literature. As search engines strive toward semantic comprehension, a person who has studied sentence mapping and understands the historical progression of the meanings of various words and phrases will be able to pair this with searching a social network to find the right people. And with the increasingly lackadaisical attitude toward proper grammar and punctuation in communication due to spellcheck and text message abbreviations, someone who has mastered these skills will be highly sought-after in a role where good communication is so crucial.

I have mentioned the PR job description in a couple of blog postings, discussing the similarities between its and recruiting’s job duties. English, on the other hand, I would guess is a bit of a surprise to some, but I truly believe that will be a sought-after major in the coming years.

As we observe and experience the change in our job functions, let’s not forget the importance of knowing the basics. Understanding Boolean will always be key to successful sourcing. But understanding the rising value of strategic proactive relationship discovery and development will help you evolve with the position. Work on GOOD networking skills. Start learning about semantic search. Educate yourself on professional communication skills. Study the people who really know how to cultivate relationships. And don’t believe for a second that sourcing is dying – it’s just getting a facelift.