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Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting v3.0
Social media creates an echo chamber. The walls reverberate with repeated memes that have a short acoustic half-life. Like Warhol’s vision of celebrity, social media personas burn bright and then burn out.
There’s an intensity and focus required to sustain a social media presence. It is particularly hard to maintain in the presence of the high volumes of work that result from it. What we’re starting to see is a rhythm to the rise and fall of players on our Top 25 lists. Visibility creates workload, workload diminishes visibility. Players peak and find homes.
That’s a key principle in the answer to the question, “How does industry influence work?” Influence is, more or less, held by people who have the time and resources to be influential. While they may not frame it as wanting to be on a list of who is or isn’t influential, there is a whole industry devoted to making some people look like thought leaders. That is, it’s good for business to be seen as influential.
We’re noticing that some people are sprinters and some people are long distance runners. A good celebrity ecosystem contains plenty of both. The sprinters move between paying gigs while the marathoners are after institutional levels of influence.
Then, of course, there are those who show up for a single race. These seem to be well intentioned PR campaigns from bootstrappy entrepreneurs who are looking to make a walloping impact from their social media activities.
Staying the course in social media, which means writing, rewriting and continuously publishing is exhausting. In some ways. it’s best understood as a long job application process. Very few people have the discipline to routinely publish across media over extended periods of time.
I spoke at some length with a well known social media celebrity in the HR-Recruiting space. She talked about the fact that big companies are tuning in to the social media question. “They want to know what to do in social media”, she said. I asked if that was really true. I don’t see any VPs of HR putting any effort into the whole social media thing. Rather, I see them staying away in droves.
That means that the people who are influential in social media are influential among themselves. That’s not that different from other trend setting demographics. The trendsetters are always trendier amongst themselves than they are with the public at large. That’s why they are trendsetters.
Still, the question remains, “Is there real utility for a company to have some or all of its HR present visible in social media?” The jury is still out.
Meanwhile, a nice woman came up to me at a meeting today and thanked me for publishing the Top 25 lists. “The HRExaminer is helping us understand who we need to talk to and who makes things tick in HR.” While I’m less sure, it’s nice that people are finding value here.
There are some big questions remaining to be asked. An important part of this experiment is the creation of real work that causes conversations about those questions.
Our lists are compiled with the least amount of human intervention possible. Determinations of influence are made through automated measures. In this edition, my name was pulled out of the list.
The method involves a dramatic (very large) spidering of the web for content related to Recruiting. All of the material that includes prioritized key words (see the image on this page for the keywords) are collected in a single database. It is then compared and contrasted with the data in the social graph.
In order to really quantify the dimensions of online influence, we measure three key variables:
- Reach: A measure of the audience size (number of eyeballs) for each individual. Traffic.
- Relevance: The degree to which content associated with the individual matches a cloud of keywords prepared for the analysis
- Resonance: The number of mentions, inbound links and participation found for each individual.
Dr. Dewett returns as a member of the HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board. Dr. Dewett is a leadership expert and professor at Wright State University, author, speaker, trainer, consultant, and Harley nut. Full Bio…
Training—Why Do We Waste So Much Money?
by Todd Dewett
I often argue with executives when they demand to see an ROI for training investments. Let me be clear, they are justified in demanding an ROI. However, if we are being completely honest, calculating an ROI is nearly impossible for most training activities.
What then can we do to help the brass have confidence in our training expenditures? A lot!
We must get the right people, the right training at the right time, the right way, and there must be transfer of learning. If you spend a training dollar that does not meet all of these criteria, you are flushing money.
We train the wrong person for many reasons. They are new and all new people receive (fill-in-the-blank-training). They need educational credits to meet company policy. Sometimes we send folks to training simply to use up the budget in an effort to ensure that we receive the same amount or more next year.
When do the right people need training? There is only one good answer: when it is needed! Unfortunately, we supply it when it is available, when the learner’s schedule allows, when the budget is approved, etc. Simple fact – the more time that exists between the emergence of a genuine need and the application of training, the less effective the training will be.
When we do train employees, we often train the wrong way because we fail to realize two vital truths. One, not everyone is fit to stand in front of a group of learners and help them learn. In fact, some trainers are so bad, they should not be allowed to teach. If Human Resources would like to improve its reputation instantly – force out the trainers who regularly receive poor ratings. The troops will love you. Two, everyone learns differently. Thus, variety is the spice of life. Books, CDs, online videos, traditional classes, applied learning activities – mix it up. The more approaches you offer, the more likely you will hit any given learner’s learning sweet spot.
Finally, even if you get the right people the right training at the right time, delivered the right way, you still have not added one bit of value to the individual, their group, or the organization unless you also ensure transfer of learning. Transfer of learning is taking what you learned back to the job. Unfortunately, more than half the time this transfer does not happen. One reason the person and the training aren’t well matched as we’ve been discussing– the person was the wrong person and received the wrong training delivered at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Other common reasons are more insidious – the person’s direct supervisor and key colleagues do not know about the training, don’t care about the training, and make no real effort to try and derive value from the training on the job.
Training and development dollars are precious. Though good ROIs are tough to come by, believe me, people know great training when they see it. Considering the factor above won’t help you with the ROI, but I’ll bet they will protect your budget just as well – and they will certainly boost learning, morale, and productivity in your organization!
Referrals are the best way to find new employees, right?
Sort of. You are no more likely to hire all of your employees through a referral program than you are to broil everything you eat.
When you’re hunting for team members who will give the company a powerful competitive edge in a specific technology, do you want the VP of marketing’s frat brother or the Nobel prize winning scientist? Conversely, when you’re staffing a call center, do you want a hot shot Harvard Business School graduate or the brother-in-law of your best performaer?
Pretty much, you never want to use referral programs to staff functions with check writing authority.
Referrals, like any recruiting methodology have their place. They can be powerfully useful. They can also cause culture-rot if managed without care.
In keeping with our current ‘X is not X‘ theme, referrals are not referrals. Referral programs range in design from high volume candidate flow drivers to the sort of referral you might make about a bottle of wine or a good restaurant. While the implementation approaches range widely in effectiverness, the idea that all referral programs yield predictable and repeatable results persists.
At its core, an individual referral involves some key elements:
- An employee who
- has the best interests of the organization at heart
- knows the sorts of people who can help the company meet its goals
- is willing to stake her professional reputation on a recommendation
- believes that her recommendation will help her friend get the job
- can adequately distinguish between her interests, her friends interests and the company’s
- is willing to live with the cognitive dissonance associated with integrating her social and work personnas
- An employer (really, a hiring manager) who
- values the employee’s recommendations
- believes that the workforce will be better if there are ‘more like her’
- is willing to give an advantage to someone the employee recommends
- is comfortable blurring the lines between work and social life
- wants accountability for acting on referrals to be a part of the employment relationship
- is willing to risk the morale damage when it doesn’t work out
- is willing to be vigilant on the dicrimination front
The difference between various referral programs is a function of how much emphasis you put on each of these variables.
All referral programs are more or less like lottery drawings.
The most effective versions of the game are played in close quarters (I recommend you to my friend in HR and you get the job). Like any process where actual dirt gets under actual fingernails, there is an astonishing intimacy that ties the reccomendation to performance in a very direct way.
When executives say that referrals are the best source of new employees, this is what they are talking about. Close, personal referrals in which everyone has real skin in the game. While there is some chance that your friend won’t get the job, the whole idea is that your recommendation improves the likelihood that she’ll be coming to work for the company.
Still, there’s always the chance that it won’t work out.
At the other end of the spectrum are mass efforts to increase the number of names that go into the top of the funnel. Each and every employee, regardless of performance or attitude, is asked to contribute friends and connections to the company’s talent pool (perhaps, talent cesspool is closer). There is little intimacy and even less chance that one’s recommendation is meaningful. All of the names collected in this sort of a program go into the same queue as the other people applying for jobs.
It’s just like buying your friend a lottery ticket and every bit as likely to pay off.
This new form of referral, divorced from all of its social intimacy, is the crap that many social media recruiting tools are peddling. Since Andresson-Horrowitz founded Top Prospect, there has been a rush of lemmings racing towards the nirvana of socia media generated referrals. For all of the supposed innovation in that segment, there sure is a lot of chase the bunny going on.
At any rate, the kinds of referral programs that work are the ones where all of the players have real skin in the game. A one in ten thousand shot at winning the prize, getting the job, achieving the recognition is not skin in the game. Investing one’s reputation to help a friend and the company is.
Since we no longer know what a friend is, it’s no surprise that we’ve forgotten what a referral is.