HR Examiner v4.03 January 18, 2013
Table of Contents
Introducing HRExaminer Radio
I’ve got a range of fascinations with the worlds of HR and Recruiting. I love the edges of the field and spend a lot of time wondering about what’s coming.
I’ve been a tech guy since I first learned coding in 1979. A liberal arts degree didn’t turn out to be very useful when I started to look for work (the alternatives seemed to be retail or being a door to door Santa – really, ask me about it). We were hearing rumors of desktop computing but there were only a few signs of it.
I landed, by complete accident and failure to plan, in the middle of the Radar industry at the heart of the defense comples. Somehow, I passed the security clearance and got a wonderful job as a copy boy in the Xerox room. Once I looked around and noticed that the guys (they were all guys) who were getting ahead were all engineers. So, I learned coding and went to night school with a vengeance.
For a decade, I took two or three classes a week. Between engineering, OD and an MBA program, I accumulated the world’s largest collection of graduate credits. A heavy travel schedule got in the way of the actual credentials. I tested my way into a certificate as a professional logistics engineer.
When I was at work, I always threw myself at the hardest imaginable jobs and programs that noone else was dumb enough to touch. I tackled the toughest learning curves. I taught the graduating class of Taiwan’s Naval Academy how to design an supply chain and logistics infrastructure for a shipyard. I trained battle tank assembly line soldiers in the middle of nowhere in the middle eastern desert. I negotiated 9 figure contracts, navigated federal procuement, ran a skunk works and saw amazing things as engineers routinely broke the state of the art.
15 years on an impossible learning curve gave me one particular skill. I learned to never be afraid of learning and to never be afraid to ask peole smarter than me for answers. I’ve been lucky enough to continue that experience in the worlds of recruiting, HR and HRTech.
A couple of weeks ago, I launched the HRExaminer Radio Hour. It’s 30 minutes of a deep dive in our industry every Friday at 2pm eastern (11 am pacific). Of course, it’s also available for download at blog talk radio or on iTunes.
The show is a sort of a bookmark. This year, I’ve decided to experiment more with communications media. So, the show is liable to include ‘field trips’ to Google Hangouts and a variety of integrated learning environments. As the experiments open up, we’ll keep you in the loop in the pages of the HRExaminer and on our weekly email newsletter.
For now, the show is going to go deep in the realm of Recruiting and Recruiting Tech. There’s a universe of great minds who never see the light of day in social media because they are so busy building their companies. I’ll be talking to them.
I’ll ask some hard questions and try to keep the conversation interesting
Check it out. This week it’s Michael Long
Five Links: The Future is Close
This week’s links include an online class, two views of crowdsourcing, spreading ideas online and the industrial internet. As a bonus, there’s a pointer to the universe of Smart Dust. This edition is brought to you with one foot in the future and one foot in the past.
- Defining the Industrial Internet
Shortly, the majority of internet users will be things. As sensore, refrigerators and jet engines get tied to the net, significant changes are in store. What is happening involves increasingly sophisticated integration of sensor information. This is an emerging topic that will make its way to the boardroom shortly. Alongside these developments will be questions about the data that employees generate by using machines that reside on the Industrial Internet.
- How to Make That One Thing Go Viral
Understanding the way ideas (memes) move through the culture is at the heart of virality. This madly irreverent slide deck gets to the root of the question.
- How Amazon Teamed Up with Twitter On Its Human Search Army
There are some things that happen too fast for search engines. Breaking news is a great example. In order to stay ahead of the competition, Twitter hoped to find the exact moment when news breaks. To do that, they needed a big team of human monitors. That’s exactly what Amazon’s Mechanical Turk provides. The Mechanical Turk is kind of a crowd sourcing marketplace for small repeatable tasks. You need to understand it for two reasons. First, this is the sort of tool you use to clean your data for sme of the emerging ‘Big Data’ applications. Second, as chunks of your comapny’s workload start to get executed this way, the question will be ‘What is HR’s role in this form of Human Capital’?
- How Crowdsourcing Will Affect HR in 2013
The mechanical turk approach is only one of a number of ways that crownsourcing will creep into HR in the coming years. It’s an ssential undercurrent in GAmification. It is an interesting method for making performance reviews more real time. It’s Generation 2 of the stuff that’s trying to be Social Recruiting Referrals.
- Online Statistics Education: An Interactive Multimedia Course of Study
This course, which I’m currently taking, is a solid Statistics 101 offering. It’s online. It’s free. It’s self paced. With each passing day, statistics literacy looks like a survival skill for 21st Century organizational life. Getting through an intro course is a right of passage.
- The Inevitability of Smart Dust
Computing doubles in capacity, falls in price by 50%, requires half as much power and shinks in size by 50% every 18 months to two years. Ultimately, that means that desktop computing vanishes into its own interface. It also means that dust particlle sized computing is in the medium term future.
Events, Happenings and New Resources
- HRExaminer Radio: Industry News and Commentary. Fridays @ 11AMPST (2PMEST)
- Social Recruiting Strategies Conference(San Francisco, Jan 30-31, 2013) John Sumser keynote on the history and future of social recruiting
- HRTech Europe: Spring Warmup(London, March 19-20, 2013) Sumser on Where Ideas Come From and a half day of Cutting Edge HR
Marketing that works well has the net effect of reversing the flow of the phone traffic and lead generation. With no clear marketing strategy, the enterprise is forced to identify every potential sales target by name and then reach out and create the relationship. The hard work of physical lead generation is a part of building or rebuilding a business.
Marketing, when executed effectively, is all about making the prospect of doing business with you so attractive that the normal dynamics of promotion become inverted. It is an offensive game that deteriorates at the moment that it shifts to the defense.
Recruiting, as currently practiced, is a defensive and reactive process full of promotional techniques. Placing an ad on a job board, hiring a staffing or search firm, and, filling a requirement after it is identified are all reactive behaviors executed in defense of a set of circumstances that happen out of the control of the recruiter.
The industry that has grown up to support Recruiters and other HR professionals assumes that a reactive posture is the starting point. When you sift through all of the BS from all of the suppliers, it’s all about catching the horse after it’s left the pasture. The ‘best places to work’ meme, once a way of attracting people is now a cynical game played by well-heeled larger firms.
The problem with promotion as a development tool is that it makes people want to run away. Promotion, as demonstrated by the cold call or the surprise demonstration, introduces the ‘prospect’ to a strange thing and asks that s/he consider it without regard to schedule, quality or need. The presence of fear in promotional tools is precisely the reason that cold calls and direct marketing approaches have such low rates of closing. When you reach out cold to a prospect, your batting average falls rapidly.
Attraction, on the other hand, gradually and interestingly introduces the prospect with no threat of immediate sales pressure. Usually, attraction oriented tools and processes give the prospects something of value well in advance of the sales pitch. Advertising is much more about attraction, through increasing brand awareness. Advertising takes time and focus. It operates on different rhythms than the direct approach. It is friendlier with a relaxed pace.
Community development is an even longer path.
Now, of course, you have to beat the bushes to get started or restarted. Recruiting in an early stage enterprise has a higher promotional content than a mature operation should have. But, promotion as a development tool is best left to fly by night operations.
The question is why the Recruiting industry has avoided the more productive approach of building attraction into its basic processes. We think the answer lies in not understanding that the acquisition and maintenance of Human Capital requires a solid infusion of regular capital. Since the question is rarely understood in those terms, Recruiting is treated as an expense rather than as an investment.
Recruiting is an investment and always requires an investment at the front end. Techniques that attract candidates are the best ways to convert so called passive seekers into active seekers.
If you have good judgment and common sense, social media can be a great tool. If not, it’s evidence.
There’s a lot of bad advice out there about using social media. Some of it is well intentioned. Other is just plain stupid. Some of it will hurt you.
Don’t believe these 5 social media myths.
Myth 1. Revealing Your True Self Requires Revealing Your Whole Self.
Right. And having a true body requires revealing your whole body. We don’t walk around naked. Most people would agree that dressing for the occasion is both socially appropriate and good business practice.You don’t wear a bikini to a job interview or a tux to a little league game.
Revealing yourself on social media is the same. Everything you do on social media is public. You have no control over who will see it, who will share it, and then who else will see it.
So reveal the information and images that you are comfortable having public. Sure. Talk about things that matter to you, have opinions, express yourself. But also have good manners. The truth is, other people don’t really want to know everything you’ve eaten, how hung-over you are, what was in your cat’s hairball, or the size of your baby’s poop. And those drunken pictures are more pathetic than amusing.
You are not having an intimate conversation with your best friend. You are broadcasting to people you don’t know that well.
Myth 2. Privacy Settings Keep Posts Private
Privacy settings may briefly affect who sees an initial post. Yet, even that changes at the whim of the platform providers. For example, on Facebook if you designate someone as a close friend, you can see their activity on other people’s posts including everyone’s comments and photographs–even the people you don’t know, who think their posts are private.
More importantly, everything you post on social media is cached on multiple servers in multiple places, and can be retrieved easily by the police, your ex, or the opposing party in a lawsuit. Sometimes they have to get a subpoena and let you know. But lots of times they don’t. The police can stop you for a minor traffic issue and look at everything on your phone, including your Facebook posts. If you are friends with someone who is also friends with your boss, you can be sure the boss is seeing or hearing about all those rants saying what a douche canoe he is.
Nothing on social media is private.
Myth 3. Self Promotion is Essential for Personal Brand
Personal brand is usually interpreted as personal promotion. Guess what? We’re not that into you. So unless you are doing something interesting or useful to us, we don’t really care about all that nonsense you’re posting. Okay, maybe if we’re your mother or best friend.
Personal brand is not an objective. When done well, it’s not even that much about you. It’s about doing great work and building a solid reputation for being knowledgable, caring, and excellent at what you do. It’s about providing value to others. Otherwise, it just looks like you’re all you think about.
Develop a good reputation for doing great work, not just talking about yourself.
Myth 4. There is No Difference Between Work and Life
That’s like saying there is no difference between night and day, or summer and winter. We all live and function in cycles that progress and change. Sure, the lines are more blurry now that we can send an email from the grocery store and turn on the porch light from the office. It’s no longer about where we are or what time it is.
Work and life are still about relationships and appropriate boundaries. You have relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. You don’t have sex with all of them. You don’t talk about the nuances of your business deals with your kids or the guy you met on the train.
You still need to consider what level of intimacy and disclosure is appropriate for each relationship. It’s important to understand what information you want to be private and keep it that way.
Your boss may be your friend, but she’s still your boss. And if you reveal information that shows poor judgement, indiscretion, substance abuse problems or sheer idiocy, there will be consequences.
Myth 5. Social Media is Worth Your Time
Social media is a complete time suck. Do an experiment. Track how many times you checked Facebook or Twitter in a day, how much time you spent reading posts and clicking on links and reading those posts. Then just admit you were killing time and goofing around. I love goofing around. I also really enjoying having fun conversations with people online. Still, I also would be better off taking a walk, trying new recipes, or even cleaning the bathroom.
Social media is a great place to develop relationships with people you don’t get to see in person. It’s a great place to keep up with friends, consider alternate views and ideas, and know what’s going on with colleagues in your industry.
Mostly though, social media is brain candy. Is it time for a social media diet?
- HRExaminer Radio: Industry News and Commentary. Fridays @ 11AMPST (2PMEST)
- Social Recruiting Strategies Conference
(San Francisco, Jan 30-31, 2013) John Sumser keynote on the history and future of social recruiting
- HRTech Europe: Spring Warmup
(London, March 19-20, 2013) Sumser on Where Ideas Come From and the Big Data Showcase
- Learning Analytics Summer Institute
(Stanford, Palo Alto July 1-5, 2013) This looks like the right place to be if you’re interested in Big Data for Learning.
- Skills Gaps: Understanding Talent Shortages and What They Mean
This webinar (recording) covers the underpinnings of the Skills Gap. It’s part 1 of a series. Parts 2 and 3 available in 2013.