Posts Tagged hiring

Get that job: Using social media to stand out

Posted by on Thursday, 13 June, 2013


We are in the midst of a global corporate culture change being driven by social tools and behaviours. One of the many ways this is occurring is within the hiring/recruiting processes.

No longer will a simple resume suffice to land you that dream job, or any job for that matter. Today, hiring practices have turned to Google as the defacto research tool; sometimes prior to an interview, sometimes even during the interview to vet the details you’ve provided on the spot. Imagine, for a moment, that nothing comes up in that search…. how likely are you to get the interview, or job if your knowledge and experience can’t be corroborated digitally? And what are your chances if the search returns no results for you, but does return results for another candidate?

Let us not kid ourselves: there is no such thing as “even footing” or fair playing fields when it comes to job searching and landing that right position. We all must do whatever we can in order to stand out as the right candidate for any job we may go after. In this new fluid world of corporate culture change, we have an amazing amount of tools at our disposal to help with that. Here’s a smattering of the easiest and most effective which can aid you as a buoy in your online presence:

  • LinkedIn: For professionals, this is a simple must-have these days. More than a resume, it is a network of opportunity that goes well beyond just job-seeking. Build your profile and join in some group discussion and you’ll begin to see the deep professional value both during the hiring process and within your day-to-day activities after you’ve been hired. While you are working on your profile, make sure you avoid these 14 mistakes and ensure you are putting your best foot forward.
  • Some may call it a virtual business card, but this site is more than a simple card. It allows you to connect your other internet properties and act as a jumping off point, while also letting you stand out creatively with visual interest. Like LinkedIn, however, there are mistakes that can be made. Take the same advice above and apply it to this site as well to make sure you have a professional presentation and have the right text added to help with search engine optimization (SEO).
  • GooglePlus and Google Authorship: If you blog or write articles you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t setup/connected your Google Authorship to your GooglePlus profile. I’ve blogged about how to claim your authorship before, and I’ll say it again: this is the single best way to improve your search ranking/results when people look for you. Setting up your GooglePlus profile with relevant bits of information will help your Google Authorship show more robustly and help you stand out even further in search results.
  • Twitter: Yes, there is solid business value to Twitter. It’s not just a bunch of tweens speaking in acronymic code. Twitter is a great way to build a robust network of quick and easy shares pointing to even better content around the web. Links shared via Twitter and other networks also work to improve the SEO of that content, so when you share your blog posts or articles, you are increasing not only your reach but also your search results.
  • Facebook: My advice here is going to differ from the above (and from what I actually do)- lock down your publicly visible content to provide only a professional image to anyone whom you’ve not added as a friend. This will help you keep in lock-step with your and LinkedIn profiles so you present a consistent and professional image. This will also let you use Facebook for your more personal/casual use with friends behind the security of a more tightly controlled public profile. But don’t lock it down too tightly, having a little bit of content publicly visible will help give people a sense that you are indeed there and active.

All of these channels will work to improve your search-ability and allow you to focus and drive the right content found about you. Call it building a personal brand, or just managing your digital persona; making sure the right content is available and searchable will go a long ways to helping you land that next job. If you still think it is okay to ignore social media channels, think again: it could be the difference between extended unemployment and that next six-figure-income job. Sharing your expertise and knowledge to help others is the new paradigm of corporate culture.

I can’t say it more simply than this:  if you don’t have a social presence, you don’t exist. That job you want? It will go to someone else who does share their knowledge socially.


Building a better business: Hiring ducks and eagles for the right jobs

Posted by on Wednesday, 5 September, 2012

I’ll get to the title metaphor in a while, but first, let me start with a brief story about the hiring practices of a company long gone and a support team that has survived.

Back in the day, when I was a new wet-behind-the-ears Technical Support Engineer, I was hired into a team that exhibited a brilliant hiring practices. A practice, which was so powerful, it caused me to back out of an employment opportunity at the last hour. The money wasn’t better in this new job, the benefits were comparable, the companies on even ground, and the role itself was exactly the same. So what was it that swayed me? It was the team interviews.

When hiring into this new job, I interviewed with no fewer than five team members including the supervising manager. Sure, it was a daunting process, but what I saw as a result of those interviews was a deep commitment to the team by the team. Each one of the support engineers with whom I spoke exemplified the ownership they felt over their own success as a team and the desire to ensure whomever was hired in shared the same attitude. I also saw a team that had been together for over 5 years in the same roles; a time span of remarkable length in the support industry at the time. This was a group devoted to customer service at their core, a team which collectively understood the need to hire in members who shared that same driving desire to help. This is what swayed my decision, and I considered it an honour to join them.

Over the years working on this team I had opportunity to again be involved in the hiring process, this time from the other side where I got to ask the questions. I soon realized the depth of responsibility I had to the team as well as the candidate; after all, it would do none of us any favours to hire in the wrong fit for the role. But what was the *right* fit and how did I do my best to see it? I’d sit down with the candidate after having looked over their resume in preparation. I’d glance over their resume once more, then toss it aside. Admittedly, perhaps a tad cruel to do to a nervous interviewee, but it helped bring my purpose and point to focus as I noted to them: “I am not too interested in what tech skills your resume tells me about. We can teach you tech, we can teach you the products. What I care about more are your soft skills; your abilities to communicate and provide exceptional service to the clients, as those are skills I can’t teach you….”  The interview would commence from there as we chatted about scenarios and I listened intently, not to what they were telling me, but how. Did they have the drive to help? The ability to communicate effectively and with empathy? To be warm, but professional? Those were all the things that made this team so great and what we needed to protect and foster in the team moving forward.

I’m happy to say that through some ups and downs, the team stood strong and remained together through the years, having just come upon 15 years for some of the core members. This isn’t to say there hasn’t been turnover, and in fact I left a few years back to pursue my own goals in the content creation and knowledge management fields. But the core team still stands strong and solid as it ever has been; a testament to the ideals that make their team a truly best in breed group.

It is this kind of focus, this inherent empathy for the customer and driving desire, or even need to help. They are problem solvers at their core with a fundamental capability to understand a client’s plight and work tirelessly to solve their issues along side them. What some may call “going the extra mile”, these tech support engineers see it as doing what’s right, making sure their clients are successful in their endeavors. That is empathy and caring in big business, and that is what we need more of in today’s markets. It is achievable, but it all comes down to hiring the right people for the right jobs, not just a body to fill a seat who happens to have the technical skills to accomplish the tasks. The right people not only have the skills for the tasks, but the capabilities to see beyond the tasks and truly empathize and care about the client’s success and struggles.  Hire to your needs, but also to the candidate’s strengths and abilities. It isn’t easy, but the rewards and your future success depend upon it.

All this dove-tailed nicely this morning into the following link and inspiration for this post that I liberally borrowed  from Luis Suarez’ G+ share. (If you aren’t following him there I urge you to do so, as he is constantly challenging the status quo of business today and *will* be on the forefront driving change whether the focus is on social business specifically or business transformation in more general aspects.)

This video below wholly captures (in just the first minute) the main component we looked at when hiring new people into our technical support crew back in the day, and more concisely explains why that same crew saw the lowest turnover rates for most any technical support group in the industry.  Please, take a moment, or three, and reflect on how these platitudes directly impact business today:

You Can’t Send A Duck To Eagle School:

Further, when the video is over, I urge you to reflect on how we can continue to drive business in the right directions through empathy and caring to become more authentic, transparent, and effective at achieving our goals.