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!

Money For Old Rope??

“How can recruiters find candidates that the corporates can’t find themselves?”

That tweet caught my eye yesterday. I think it emanated from a TruAmsterdam chat, I don’t know who said it or the context but it stood out and really got me thinking…Why ask that now??

Why haven’t recruiters been asking this kind of question for years?

Surely that’s what recruiters should always do…find talent that clients can’t find for themselves.

The flipside of this would be to say that recruiters are too used to offering clients a route to market that the client could use themselves. Which is of course mainly true.

Job board advertising, CV databases…all very well, but why?? Surely a client has always been able to utilise those for themselves?

Unfortunately it’s been too easy for too long for most 3rd party recruiters…take a brief, advertise the role, wait for response, blow the dust off a few database CVs…and charge a fee.

Money for old rope? Harsh, but looking at it from a client’s viewpoint you may ask where the value is.

Having said that, clients themselves have often been complicit in allowing this to happen, but the times they are a-changing…

Clients are doing it for themselves

Recruiters are now trying to use LinkedIn more, but guess what…they’ve missed the boat! Clients are already starting to use it…and LinkedIn themselves are offering functionality and capabilities that are ONLY for the corporate market. A corporate recruiter will now probably be able to find a much stronger shortlist than a third party using LinkedIn.

Barely a day passes without another blog or article criticising the attitudes and behaviours of 3rd party recruiters, and you can’t deny that we often give them an easy target.

In the last couple of days we’ve had ’12 Lies Recruiters Like to Tell’ by Christine Livingston and ‘I Strongly Dislike Recruiters’ by Veronica Ludwig. There was also had a long piece in Recruiter Magazine which further drove a wedge between agency and in-house recruiters, painting them as two tribes with different views, attitudes, aims and rewards. My colleague Andy Young responded to that with the excellent ‘It’s not WHERE you work, it’s HOW’

We seem to be here on a weekly basis. I wrote recently about the sales model and how it was responsible for so many of the behaviours that annoy clients and candidates and had the usual range of responses from believers and deniers.

In reality there seems to be a real ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ attitude and unfortunately the measure of ‘broke’ isn’t customer satisfaction but bank balances.

The belief seems that it makes money, and if it makes money it must be right. New offerings, which are invariably old offerings with new price models, are aimed at cost and speed, not really with providing a better or different experience or building long term relationships.

There seems little appetite for re-invention. We hear talk of communities, talent pools & puddles, social sourcing, but ultimately most 3rd party recruiters are remunerated and incentivised to place as many people as possible, whilst their employers look for the cheapest, quickest routes to market.

So what are we really doing that’s different?

What do most 3rd party recruiters offer clients that they couldn’t do for themselves?

How are we adding VALUE?

Let me know your thoughts.

Blogs mentioned above:

It’s not WHERE you work, it’s HOW

12 Lies Recruiters Like to Tell

I Strongly Dislike Recruiters

Making the Switch

Gotta Get Myself Connected…

Make sure you’re connected
The writing’s on the wall
But if your mind’s neglected
Stumble you might fall

I’m not sure that Stereo MCs foresaw social media when they wrote those lyrics, but one thing I am increasingly sure of is that if you want to succeed in business in the future, you’re going to have to be connected.

There’s little doubt that Social Media, Social Networking and Social Recruiting increasingly impact on my day to day working life…if I’m not communicating with people through social media channels, then the chances are that I’m engaged in a discussion about those channels…whether face to face or over the phone.

Very soon we’ll have the second ConnectingHR event. This is a meet-up for HR people using or interested in social media, and is co-organised and co-promoted by Courtenay HR, the company I work for. It will be a landmark event; I don’t think I’m giving too much away if I say that it will be the launch pad for the ConnectingHR Unconference, the UKs first specialist HR unconference…and an event where the attendees will have a unique chance to create and shape the content.

These will be just two of many events surrounding social media, and organised and promoted through its various platforms, which I will have attended this year and I never cease to be amazed by the energy, passion and momentum that each one generates.

At each event I have met intelligent, interesting and committed people who are there to meet and share, learn and inform, and do it all whilst having a great time!

If you’ve ever doubted social media, or its ability to connect people and facilitate learning and information flow, ideas and creativity, sharing of thoughts and opinions, then I urge you to just join in and go along to unconferences, networking events or workshops and experience it all firsthand. There are 3 things you’ll find:

1)      It’s the ‘Social’ that makes the media, networking, learning or recruiting so powerful and enriching

2)      Everyone you meet will be exactly as you imagine – one thing about social media is that the platforms and channels really do work when everyone is just themselves

3)      You will learn something! More knowledge is available through these channels that you could imagine!

What are you waiting for? Jump in and get connected…the writing’s on the wall!

Networking, Learning but I still got Those Talking Gen Y Blues – TruLondon thoughts

Following last Thursday’s adrenaline rush of a blog I’m now looking back on TruLondon from a slightly more reflective angle!

There’s no denying that it was great event, and it enabled me to meet and engage with so many interesting and passionate people, from the UK and US, Canada, Holland and Switzerland. Whilst day 2 was certainly more ‘organised ‘than day 1, nothing could detract from the fact that overall there were some very insightful debates.

Three things struck me about the whole event.

Networking… it provides a fantastic networking opportunity. With a mix of HR professionals and recruiters, sourceologists and technologists, job boards and journalists, there is always someone interesting to talk to. My favourite parts are always the ‘break outs’ or the mini tracks where 2,3,4 or 5 people leave a track and start their own discussion. Through this you really get to talk ideas and experiences, sometimes without even knowing who it is you’re talking to!

Learning…  there is a lot to learn. Some of it from listening and some from asking. There is also variety between different tracks, from listening to track leaders debate amongst themselves, to debating with them and finally to those tracks where the leaders often pass their knowledge on. I sometimes wish the attendees would open up more on these and get involved, but then maybe that is something that we all need to work on in this embryonic format. I’m certainly keen to attend unconferences elsewhere to see if there are cultural differences in how we absorb information and ideas.

Got those Talking Gen Y Blues…without doubt my favourite comment of TruLondon came from Charlie Duff when her headline for Day 1 was ‘HR practitioners claim that Gen Y talk is nonsense, but can’t stop talking about it’ …and indeed they can’t!

Talk of Gen Y, the uniqueness of their position, the skills they bring to the workplace, their audacity, creativity and expectations, seemed to permeate through many tracks…and when the debate finally got its own track, then things got quite feisty – an agenda of technology, economics, sociology and geo-politics in one mass of opinions, hopes, fears and convictions.

Without getting shouted down, I’m not sure that their position is so much different to any other generation.  Every age group has wanted it all, and every age group has often had a far sharper and detailed knowledge of current technology and societal mores than their elders. (Dare I say that some of the social and political talk of change sounds not dissimilar to that we’ve read from the ‘hippy’ generation?)

What they do seem to have though is a conviction and confidence that has often been lacking before, but I think are in danger of turning themselves into a cause. However with over 20% of their age group in the UK unemployed, and with companies needing to find ways to best utilise and harness their talents and attitudes, I somehow feel I’ll be Talking Gen Y for some time yet…

All in all TruLondon was an extremely successful event, offering the chance to meet so many new people and learn so many new ideas…and leaving you wanting more. Just reading the tweets and blogs since Friday has made me realise how many people I never really properly got to talk to…

…hopefully I will next time!