Where Are You On The Social Media Super Highway?

I’ve had the opportunity recently to hang out with some really great thought leaders in the social media space (Scott Stratten and Amanda Hite at the Jobsite Fresh Thinkers series) and also to attend a couple of presentations from digital agencies who have been looking at how big brands approach social media.

It’s always interesting at the breakout and networking sessions (coffee breaks are so passe) to chat to attendees and find out where they are in terms of social media adoption and usage, both on a personal and professional level. Because of the job that I have there is an assumption that I’m one of the ones who ‘gets it’ and conversations inevitably move on to how I got started and what is holding others back from taking the plunge.

On a personal level there always seem to be three recurring themes:

Some People Who Rocked My Week

Over the last week I’ve attended two amazing events – HRevolution and ConnectingHR Unconference – and have met some super people. In fact I’ve not met anyone who I wouldn’t want to spend a lot more time with.

I don’t really do #FollowFriday on Twitter anymore and have been fairly ambivalent towards the various debates that have sprung up about it in recent months, seeing it more a matter of personal choice.

This weekend is different though. I want to let my blog readers/followers know about some of the people I’ve met. 

I could have tweeted out lists of names with an #FF hashtag but decided that would add little value.

So how about I focus on the people who really did it for me, who really rocked my world this week?

Now I’m putting in the disclaimer early. Everyone I met rocked my week in one way or another. I could easily have put down 200+ names, so I’m going for those who either I didn’t know very well before, or those with whom I really made a connection and who readers of this blog should connect with too…. Continue reading “Some People Who Rocked My Week”

Goddamn Right Its a Beautiful Day!

‘You’re a law unto yourself and we don’t suffer dreamers / But neither should you walk the earth alone

We’ve got open arms for broken hearts / Like yours my boy, come home again’ (Open Arms, Elbow 2011)

Anyone with a passing knowledge of the band Elbow will know that towards the end of each album you get an anthem full of hope, pride, dignity, optimism, redemption and love – Grace Under Pressure, One Day Like This – and the new CD is no different, giving us Open Arms from which the above lyrics are taken.

Without getting too mawkish, I sometime run out of superlatives to describe the online community of which I am part. I’ve often referred to it as being like family, but then I think it’s deeper than that. The depth of connections, the sharing, openness, inclusion, collaboration makes it seem so much more. And it is the strength of these bonds that continue to amaze me.

Almost every day is an Elbow-like anthem in which we support, confide, encourage and inspire each other through the highs, lows, achievements and frustrations…sharing the joy and feeling the pain. Open our arms and offer comfort to all.

It really is the community that keeps on giving.

And if you want to smile, then there are always random acts of kindness.

Take Friday morning. Continue reading “Goddamn Right Its a Beautiful Day!”

Recruiting like Radiohead

It’s Monday night and I’m listening to the new Radiohead album for the 10th or 11th time, yet last Monday I didn’t even know that there was a new Radiohead album about to become available. I then got an e-mail directing me to a website where I could pre-order a download, or a box set with vinyl, CD and artwork. It all felt very personal and exciting… even though several hundred thousand of us probably got the e-mail! No long marketing build up, nor critics or reviewers shaping your expectations. 

As some of you will probably know, a few years ago the band decided not to renew their recording contract and have since released new material themselves when it’s available. They make more money, and they keep a community of fans very loyal. I’m mainly interested in the music and the gigs, but for others there are regular activity updates, sometimes with new film or information.

I’m a fan of the band, and if there is a large community of Radiohead fans, then I’m in a smaller group who have remained with them as they’ve moved from a more mainstream rock sound to the experimental direction that they take nowadays.

At last week’s TruLondon unconference there was a lot of talk about talent communities, how important they are, how necessary they are and why they represent the future for companies looking to attract, engage and retain the best talent. I happen to agree with that view…and for some reason I kept thinking of Radiohead.

There’s been a lot written about how the music industry models need to adapt or die, and many bloggers have drawn parallels between that and the recruitment industry. So maybe Radiohead have the answer…

Is this what being in a talent community feels like? Quite exciting, really! Moving along in your current role and then up pops an invite from a company that you really rate, that you so want to work for, and they’ve got a brand spanking new position that could be just right for you!

Mind you, it also got me thinking about a different type of community…maybe one that grows around the individual. If companies can create their own talent communities with potential employees, alumni, recruiters, contacts, interims etc then maybe individual jobseekers can do likewise.

Why not? Develop a community containing recruiters/sourcers who specialise in your sector, contacts in companies that you would like to work for, ex-colleagues, coaches, mentors and confidants.

Like Radiohead you can keep them in touch with what you’re doing, blog updates and postings, new projects, CV revisions…even let them know when you’re ready to talk about a new role.

Let me know what you think…   

(PS I love the new album)

From Network to Family

Sometimes a simple ‘Thank You’ isn’t enough. Sometimes you feel the need to say more, make a grander gesture. Shout it out loud.

Sometimes ‘network’ isn’t a strong enough word. Sometimes you feel part of something bigger, stronger. From network to friendships to family, with all the interdependency that word entails.

Last week was a really great week. I started a new job. Not any job, but exactly THE job that I hoped to find. I wrote about it on my blog and was overwhelmed by the response, the good wishes, the congratulations and the confidence that people had shown in me. It meant a lot.

I wasn’t the only one who had a special week. Read these blogs from Gary Franklin and Gareth Jones to find out about others in our network who had cause to celebrate, be joyous or just shed a tear.

I feel really lucky to be part of an online network, community…FAMILY…that offers support, guidance…dare I say love.

So as it’s Valentine’s Day…and I’m pretty sure that my Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn followers and friends don’t want to read endless individual messages of thanks…I want to send one BIG HUG to everyone who has offered support, advice and congratulations.












And as a kind of pay it forward, why not read about some other people in the network who could also use a little support, advice, insight and input…

HR Hopeful – A Letter To My Boss

TinyBean HR – When HR Messes Up…Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Emma aka Onatrainagain – Baby Blues

As I wrote in a recent blog…We’re One Big Happy HR Family!

One Big Happy HR Family

Today sees the fourth ConnectingHR get together…a tweetup which had been widely and energetically anticipated. Having been involved in this community from the idea stage through previous tweetups and an unconference to its current stage of weekly chat and daily twitter interaction I have been excited and energised by the way it has developed from a social network into a real community. 

We are supportive, collaborative and encouraging, sharing information, thoughts, feelings and wisdom. Every week sees new bloggers and a new contributors. We talk HR, we talk food!

I was drawn to a blogpost from Kevin Wheeler which first appeared last summer – From Social Networks to Communities – in which he talks of the development of networks of people into communities, in which everyone has access to and can communicate with everyone else.

The post is a really good read. Kevin talks of 5 characteristics that a strong community exhibits:

Collaboration and Sharing

Feeling Included

Similar Values



There’s little doubt in my mind that the ConnectingHR community exhibits all these…it has  moved from tentative to social to fully collaborative. I know from personal experience how they have pulled together to help during my recent change of circumstances and they are welcoming and embracing.

Last week I joined some of the community at a local CIPD branch meeting where we helped HR professionals new to social media to navigate obstacles and hesitancies and to start connecting and engaging. It seemed natural and was borne out of a strong interest to get as many people involved as possible.

The ConnectingHR tweetup is more than a networking event.

It’s a night out with friends.

We’re one big happy HR family!

Simply The Best?…What Makes a Great Recruiter

Years ago I worked in sales recruitment. Every Friday we finished at 5pm and then sat in a circle and took it in turns to review our week. We gave ourselves a score out of 10 and then we each voted for our ‘Consultant of the Week’. Inevitably the most votes always went to the consultant who had made the most fees. Very occasionally the group would recognise the closing of a particularly difficult assignment, or the winning of a retainer against the odds, but those occasions were rare.

The biggest biller was always the best recruiter.

If someone said ‘he’s a good recruiter’ you knew they meant ‘he’s a big biller’

Times change…my sales recruitment experience was before e-mail, job boards, unprecedented boom and bust, and social media… so now I wonder

What makes a good recruiter in 2010?

Maybe it’s still the biggest biller? Other recruiters, managers and directors will still recognise the bottom line, the recruiter that not just hits their targets but surpasses them. During my years in recruitment to recruitment I often heard these people referred to as ‘billing machines’. I always found this an odd description, somehow dehumanised as if great recruiters are mechanical without compassion or emotion.

How about the most contacts or the biggest network…the Largest Community? Making placements historically pays the bills, but moving forward might we need to find other ways to monetise our networks? Great recruiters should build great relationships and it may well be that focusing on closing individual deals somehow turns attention away from the value of the wider network. A lot of effort goes in to developing relationships that may or may not result in a deal…information, knowledge, ideas, networking, introductions and referrals. If we cling to the traditional billing model are we in danger of giving away what we should monetize and trying to monetize what we should give away?

Perhaps it will be the best feedback, which should give rise to the most referrals? I’ve written at length how I am rewarded on feedback, and it would appear that a number of other recruitment businesses are adopting an element of client/candidate feedback in their incentive schemes. There’s little doubt that giving a consultative, positively different experience to candidates and clients, transparent and honest, managing expectations and delivering what you promise to the timescale you agreed, will result in recommendations and referrals…and there is no better client or candidate than one that has been recommended to you.

So who would you now salute now as being a great recruiter…?

The big biller….

The networking community builder….

The deliverer who gets the best referrals and recommendations…

There are those who would say that all 3 go together, that big billers will automatically be good networkers and deliverers, but I’m not so sure. During my time working in recruitment, especially when placing recruiters, I have met and worked with quite a few contingency ‘big billers’ and I have to say that often they aren’t the most engaging of people. Usually they are motivated by the deal, the commission, and their methodology can be quite transactional…many times I have referenced someone to be told that their relationship skills are somewhat lacking but they display a determination that pulls them through, often to the detriment of colleagues.

Interestingly, the recruiters who make the best matches, whose candidates succeed most in their new roles, aren’t always the biggest billers precisely because their placements stick. They get recommendations and referrals but their success often negates recurring business.

My view is that networking, community building and reputation will drive success in the future, as the traditional transactional sales model gets squeezed. For now, we still monetise what we do in the same way we always have however I believe that this will change.

Let me know what you think? Shoot me down or give me your own view…as recruiters and HR professional one thing I know we aren’t is shy!!

(This post originally appeared on RecruitingBlogs)