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It’s been a busy month… the kind that wears out suitcases and relationships. When it’s all said and done, it will be 10 conferences and two analyst confabs in slightly less than seven weeks. Endless hotel rooms, 15 extra pounds, routines decimated. Great dinners, new friends, fumbled emails
I even skipped a week so I could get a little work done. That’s how the 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR and Recruiting found its way into the light.
If anyone was a mobile worker, it was me. With an iPhone, an Android, an iPad and my sleek MacAir crammed into my briefcase, I was ready to set up shop wherever and whenever I could slice a little time out of the dull roar of things passing by. Me and my four rectangles.
No wireless? The Android is a hotspot. Need to work on a document from the office? All four of the rectangles are synched to one set of files using SugarSynch. The moment the piece of work changes, all of the machines have the new version.
That’s what the future looks like from here. Pick the task appropriate rectangle and use it. Email and directions from the phone. Content for consumption on the iPad. Content production and data manipulation on the notebook.
Ease of input varies by the size of the rectangle. Laptops (and desktops) are good for big projects. I pads are good for small tasks. Phones are best for very pointed data entry and small decisions.
I watched my workflow and thought about Mobile Recruiting. My conclusion is that there’s no there there? There was not the slightest opening in my workflow for the consumption of advertising of any kind. The few bits of text spam I got made me mad.
From the candidate side,
- No candidate will ever build a resume on the phone.
- No candidate is likely to ever make a thoughtful job application on the phone.
- Most job ads are unreadable on big screens; no one will ever read much of them on small screens
Bottom line? Mobile Recruiting is a great way to engineer a flood of ill considered applications that are of lower quality that people are already complaining about? Why? The tool (a phone) is ill suited for the rigors of job hunting. Research is impractical. Cover letters would have to include apologies for the implicit typos.
From the Recruiter’s side?
- The phone is not a good place to evaluate resumes. They are best for smaller chunks of data.
- The phone is good for scheduling (see Tungle) but that is not unique to Recruiting.
- The phone is a bad place to do Boolean searches on Google.
- The phone is a crummy place to write a job ad.
- The phone is a bad place to do a video interview. (Though it might be an interesting place to watch them.)
- The phone is a good place to respond to angry hiring managers with short notes.
All things considered, the only thing a Recruiter can reasonably do with her phone is answer some email.
From the hiring manager’s perspective, the phone is a great way to check up on the errant Recruiter and complain about how long things are taking.
So, would someone please educate me about why there’s so much fuss about mobile Recruiting? I just don’t see it.
Good advertising copywriters are very expensive. A direct mail piece, written by a real professional, can cost as much as $10,000 per page. The right two words, penned by a real advertising copywriter, can cost millions. Advertising agencies know this. It’s odd, we think, that these skills and prices aren’t a part of our industry.
When a job hunter reaches a job ad online, he or she will encounter something like this:
The xxxxxxx Candy Factory, a xxxxx Company, and a leader in the children’s confectionery market, is seeking a qualified professional for its manufacturing facility.
This position coordinates and implements assigned projects from initial cost estimating through installation, start-up and debugging; recommends projects to improve plant operations, safety and reduce operating costs; works with AutoCAD, computerized purchasing and budgeting, and all departments in a manufacturing setting. Supervise, as required by project activity, contractors, in-house mechanics, draftspersons, outside vendors/consultants.
A BS in Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, 3-7 years of applicable experience in a manufacturing environment, and computer proficiency a must.
xxxxxxx offers a competitive salary, opportunity for advancement, and a benefits package that includes: medical/dental/vision/hospital life, STD/LTD, 40l(k) plan, bonus, tuition reimbursement, pension plan and more.
After consuming a dozen or so (out of thousands) descriptions just like this one, the typical job hunter simply starts applying blindly to any company that comes close. It’s easy to send thousands of resumes through the internet. The job hunt, driven by slothful job ads, results in a huge pile of not-necessarily related resumes.
Whose fault is it?
There is plenty of blame to go around. Any recruiter who doesn’t work to polish the job ad to a precise solicitation is a fool. Any job ad distribution service that doesn’t offer help is a waste of money. Any agency that doesn’t insist that job ads are well written and compelling is cheating its customers.
Effectiveness is always a question of the right investment at the right point. Understanding how to write the right job ad for a particular job board is the most expensive part of online recruiting.
While the world is berginning to focus on the experience of the candidate, scant attention is being paid to this root cause of the resume overflow and bad candidate experiences. Proper attention to the job ad should both reduce the flow of errant resumes and improve the candidate’s experience.
Time was once just a clock to me
And life was just a book, a biography
Success was something you just had to be
And I would sell myself unknowingly
And you know that I could have me a million more friends
And all I’d have to lose is my point of view
But I had no idea what a good time would cost
Till last night when I sat and talked with you.
John Prine’s song, A Good Time, is all about the incredible magic that comes from a good conversation. Anticipating over-friending of the world, Prine notices that a meaningful point of view might just be at the opposite end of the popularity spectrum. Great insight comes from great conversation.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this:
It’s really hard to have great conversations in social media. In some cases, like LinkedIn groups, theres a kind of dialog that involves moving the ping pong ball back and forth and around. A really solid topic on ERE (doesn’t it seem like there are fewer of them today?) can really move an idea forward.
But they’re not really conversations. Online dialog resembles conversation in the way that kindergartners play resembles sharing. In the pre-school, kids usually play by themselves together not so much sharing as not infringing on each others’ space. Online dialog tips so easily into heated noise because it doesn’t have all of the aspects of real conversation
While I’ve been sort of whiny about my travel schedule recently, it’s only when I forget about the great conversations that happen on the road. It’s always the unexpected encounter that turns into an exploration of personal history and industry stuff. In the past couple of months, I’ve had really interesting conversations.
They all involve eye contact, close proximity, a willingness to take personal risks, a sense of safeness (trust) and a sort of intimacy that grows over the course of the conversation.
After a routine diet of real conversation, it’s hard to return to flicking 140 character spitballs. (And, oddly enough, the more connection I have in the real world on a given day, the lower my Klout score.) Getting back into the groove of documenting my status seems silly and challenging.
Real conversations happen right now. Social media happens in the past.
My take away from this conference season is that social media is tragically flawed. All that happens in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter is a detailed examination of the recent past. The liveliness and intimacy of the present moment is completely absent. There is precious little evidence of the future.
If you want to see the present in an online setting, join a collaborative classroom. With video, chat, collaborative white boarding, wikis, link farms and shared mind mapping, the experience is overwhelming and transformative. It is not yet adequately integrated into the social universe (G+ hangouts are a move in the right direction).
As for the future, it’s hard to examine the future without a real conversation as the foundation. Social media can carry the documentation of people’s ideas of the future. It can’t (yet) really help build, direct and shape it in the way that organizations have to to survive.
When things move forward, they are happening in the present and shape the future. When things stand still, it’s generally because they are focused on the past. It’s what lawyers are for. The very best way to avoid risk is to keep the past front and center.
Frankly, I don’t know how to think about this very well yet. What I’m noticing is that very little social technology is actually social. Mostly it’s about the collection and distribution of data. That’s not inherently bad.
It’s just that the present and future have so much more to offer.
The pre-order period closed yesterday for the new HRxAnalysts report The 2012 Index of Social Technology in HR & Recruiting. Thanks for your orders (see end of this post for how you can take part in our new report bundle detailed below).
New: Today we’re announcing a new pre-order report bundle for $695 that saves you $495 off the regular price of purchasing both HRxAnalysts reports separately.
When you order by November 8, 2011 you’ll receive:
- What HR Thinks and Feels 2011
- The culmination of three years of research into what makes HR people tick
- Get focused on what matters in ‘social’ for HR and Recruiting
Remember, offer is valid until November 8, 2011 11:59PM EST.
For existing customers who ordered the Social Technology report during our pre-order period:
You’ll receive a separate email this week with how to get What HR Thinks and Feels 2011 for the equivalent price of this new bundle.