Living in Interesting Times

Hire me

It’s almost three years since I last started a social job hunt. Back in November 2010, the concept of leveraging social media channels to create awareness of yourself to potential employers, whilst along the way creating content that both chronicled your insights and perceptions of the job hunting process, as well as showcasing the knowledge and attitude that you could bring to a role, was fairly new.

In October 2013 this is now more commonplace; in fact for many individuals it’s expected.

Using Social Networking for Job Hunting

At the recent Social Media Week London I joined Steve Ward and Bill Boorman in presenting to job seekers how they could effectively use social media as part of their job hunt. My session covered three areas:

Research – find out about sectors, businesses and individuals. Who is hiring, who may be hiring and who’s doing what in the industries that interest you and what skills, capabilities and knowledge they may require.

Engage – it’s not just enough to find out the information, you need to interact with the individuals, put yourself on their radar. You need to connect to the people who are doing the hiring, which may mean identifying those who can introduce you to them. And not just the companies and recruiters but also bloggers from your preferred sector; read what they write, comment and share.

Self-Promotion – make sure that what you do brings you to the attention of the people you are trying to reach. Use a video of yourself, create a blog (Tumblr or WordPress), use images and seek out and share interesting and unusual content and become known as someone who has access to and shares interesting insights. Develop reach and contacts.

Influence and Network

There’s little doubt in my mind that the importance of what someone can bring to an organisation in terms of knowledge, network, access to information and (crucially) that oft misused word influence will be crucial hiring factors in the very near future.

Attendees at the recent Discover Sourcing event heard Andrew Grill (ex CEO Kred, now IBM) present onTalent in the Age of Social Business’ and talk of the importance of influence to a business both internally and externally, how to recognise it, source it and the importance of hiring it in to your organisation.

For me Kred are different from Klout, PeerIndex and other influence measures because of the outreach factor and the transparency – not about how much stuff you put out, or how often and how many followers see it, but about how you interact with and share others’ content, and how they interact with what you do.

Are you a trusted source? Do others share what you have shared? Do people trust and act upon what you say? Do you build authority? Or drive unique interactions from new sources? Do you build relationships? These are some of the things that hiring managers will be considering in the future.

When they hire you they will also be hiring a network, a community of people around you who are part of what you can bring to the day job. Connector, facilitator and enabler will be key attributes.

It’s over two years since an IBM Social Jam had as one of its conclusions that employees have a personal brand, existing both inside and outside the business, that companies do not own but effectively ‘rent’ from them whilst they are at work. They went on to say that these personal brands should be rewarded based on how they help the company.

Future of Talent Communities

I found it interesting to hear Don Tapscott talk at HRTech of how talent communities should be about getting tasks within an organisation completed and not just be a ‘pipeline’ of potential future employees. This reminded me of conversations a couple of years ago about how the future of talent community management would be building a network of flexible, freelance workers, creatives and writers, designers and UX specialists, analysts and data scientists. Keeping them engaged and informed, able to share and help, refer and recommend. And maybe some future employees too.

Business as Usual

Where is this leading us? Well, I think that as ‘social’ business becomes business as usual, and sentiment begins to overtake likes, shares and clicks as a key metric, then having a socially enabled workforce, a proper social engagement strategy and the ability to share the stories and create the content that encourages customers, clients, employees, suppliers and partners to want to be a part of what you do, will become crucial, and the organisations that fail to take advantage of this may well get left behind.

Customer and consumer expectations are rising. They often now have better tech than companies and are changing the way they communicate and collaborate. Smartphone ownership is driving a different kind of consumption. For example, we spend too much time talking about ‘mobile’ recruitment when all our candidates are doing is job hunting – the medium through which they connect and apply is irrelevant to them, convenience and experience matters more.

And employees, your number one brand advocates, are not only using social channels but expect to be able to harness the opportunities they offer in their day to day business roles.

Social Job Hunt 2013

And so it’s into this evolving business landscape that I head off on my Social Job Hunt 2013.

I’ve learned a lot over the last three years, and have gained much knowledge and insight from an ever evolving network of connections covering recruitment, HR, employment law, the future of work, digital marketing, social strategy, branding, FMCG and agency. Not forgetting content creation and curation, community building, encouraging employee and management participation and building reach and influence. A lot has changed, and a lot of change is yet to come.

Judging from some of the conversations I’ve participated in, and from the experiences and insights shared, at various events recently we are certainly living in interesting times.

I’m excited about the future, the opportunities and avenues that are being opened up, and am looking forward to playing my part in helping business navigate these interesting times.

It should be a fun ride. Let me know if you would like to talk…

Common Sense, Judgement and Social Business

Social Business

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing Brian Solis speak. He’s passionate and insightful, gives good soundbite, and is able to convey some of the intricacies around social business in a way that makes them natural and easy to understand.

He’s recent released a co-authored ebook – The Seven Success Factors of Social Business Strategy – and last night ran a webinar dealing with topics from the book.

Sadly I wasn’t signed up to the webinar but was able to follow the conversation it created through Twitter and the hashtag #7socialfactors – here are five main takeaways from the thread that seemed to be most popular…

“Outcomes are not Likes, not RT’s…outcomes are business benefits”

“People don’t remember words, but they do remember stories”

“Social media is too important to be left to the marketing department”

“Don’t just do something because you read it on Mashable”

“Social Media success lies in focus on engagement, experiences, relationships and outcomes – not channels”

A lot of the wisdom and thinking around ‘social business’ is usually good business practice requiring a mind-set that doesn’t see using social media for business as complex and uncharted just because the technology is new and emerging. As Brian wrote recently:

Social media = technology
Social business = thinking or convictions

We used to talk about internet commerce and internet recruiting, then e-commerce and e-recruiting and now it’s just commerce and recruiting, and the same will go for social over the next couple of years as social business becomes business as usual.

What we really need to make a lot of this happen is common sense and judgement …and as some of the commenters on last night’s thread noted – common sense isn’t always common and judgement isn’t something you can train. As one tweeted:

“Social Media training = what you should do and what you shouldn’t. Judgement is needed in-between. You can’t train judgement”

Maybe common sense and judgement are two things we need to look for a lot more in the hiring process, and also seek to create a social media ‘knowledge hub’ in the business.

After all, social engagement in a business isn’t owned by one person or one department – it’s owned by everyone.

10 Things about Social Media and Business

Social Media Network


Over the 4 years I’ve been a regular user of social networking platforms for business I’ve heard, and been asked for, plenty of pearls of wisdom to help newcomers, or those looking to get more involved.

Clearly there are far too many to include in one blog post, but here are 10 of my favourites for a start.

Remember, no saying, slogan or cliché (nor speaker or blogger for that matter) can tell you everything you need to know…only by jumping in, experimenting and trying different things can you ever really experience the joys of social media and find out what works for you…

Your brand is what others say about you, not what you say about yourself

You’d think that everyone would know this by now but sadly not. There’s no point broadcasting air brushed messages about how wonderful you are. Over 80% of your potential, lapsed and current customers and employees will trust the experience of a peer over anything you say about yourself so embrace your satisfied customers and employees, make them your advocates, and let them tell your story.

Brands don’t tweet, people do

I won’t try and take credit for paraphrasing Euan Semple’s must-read book but changing ‘organisations’ to ‘brands’ reminds those using social platforms for business that behind every corporate update, every piece of content, is a person…talking to a person. It may also be worth remembering the words of Adobe’s Head of Social Jeremy WaiteIt’s no longer about B2B or B2C, it’s now P2P’

If you make people use social media they’ll use it badly

Once a business embraces social platforms there’s often a sudden desire to get everyone in the business using them. As someone who has had to encourage employee participation in a business I say Don’t! Identify your internal advocates and influencers who are comfortable using the tools and start with them. Then encourage, empower and enable all who want to use them. As Content Marketing author Jay Baer says “if you don’t love social media you will suck at social media” so go find the passion in your business.

Social Media – It’s Evolution not Revolution

From carrier pigeon and letter, through post, telephone, telegram, telex, fax, computers, email and mobile to social platforms… business always adapts to the way their customers, partners and collaborators communicate. Social platforms are another stage along the business communication evolutionary cycle.

I don’t think you should have a social media policy – what you are saying is ‘we don’t trust you’

This is one of Neil Morrison’s sayings, and is usually likely to cause apoplexy amongst the lawyers. It’s harsh but it’s true. If you can’t trust someone to use a communication platform properly then what are you doing employing them.

Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent

This is one of my favourite one sentence social media guidelines. When you take to the platforms it’s often easy to try and entertain and challenge, but if you’re doing it as part of your business role then remember your duty to that role, to peers and colleagues, your profession…and your friends and family.

Get as good as you can be at the platforms you’re already using before you go looking for new ones to try

At every conference, exhibition or event I attend there are always people wanting to know what’s next. Which up and coming platforms are the ones to try out, and what new ways of creating and presenting content can be embraced. My advice is always to get really good on the wagon you’re driving before jumping to a new one. The principles of engagement and reach, content and community, will be the same on whichever platform you try – if you’re not yet good at one then you quite possibly won’t be good at another.

You don’t need to be big to make a big noise

Social media is a great leveller. The big companies may have big budgets but in the land of connect, engage, share and learn it’s the quality of conversation that usually counts. If you’re going to run a twitter campaign for recruitment you’ve got to have good content to put out there, irrespective of size. Check out my coverage of Bromford Group’s #gottalovecake campaign to find out more.

You don’t need 1,000,000 likes. You need 1,000 new customers

This is one of Jeremy Waite’s 80 Rules of Social Media, and one that should never be forgotten. At the heart of your business you need an outcome from social interactions, and producing content that gets liked is only one small part. You need to make sure that what you do on social channels also supports the business objectives. And you should check out Jeremy’s other 79 rules too!

The conversation that never sleeps

Unashamedly this is one of my own sayings and also the title of one of my earliest blogs! Social media, especially twitter, literally is a 24/7 365 days a year conversation and if you’re a global brand, or have an interest in global business or global HR issues, then every minute of every day there will probably be someone saying something that’s deserving of your attention.


Convincing the C-Suite

Following my recent blog on the barriers to embedding social media within an organisation, I made the offer that anyone who wanted to share their story, and maybe give a different view, could do so anonymously on this blog.

Here’s a guest post from an HR professional telling a slightly different story to the one that I did…

‘It’s just so superficial’.  Said the MD to the HR type.  ‘I don’t see how it is relevant to us’.

Yes, you’ve got it; this conversation was about social media.  I’m writing this blog anonymously, mainly to avoid being fired.  I have a big mortgage you see.

This is the story of my so far futile attempts to convince our C Suite of the benefits of social media to them as leaders, to them as individuals, to our business.  So far, I have heard every dumb reason why we don’t need or want social.  (Klaxon alert).

  • It’s only going to interest younger employers.
  • I haven’t got time for it.
  • It’s intrusive.
  • I don’t see it as a main part of our internal communications.  Newsletters and roadshows are better for our sort of employees.
  • Yammer is a security risk.
  • If we give people access to social media sites then they will time waste.
  • Social networking is for personal not work.  If it is social that is what it means.
  • I wrote a blog once before and it didn’t work.
  • If we give people access to twitter then they may tweet inappropriate material about our company.  Said by our IT DIRECTOR.

And here is my current personal fave:

  • It’s irritating.

So I think that is pretty much the complete list, don’t you?

I’m guessing that the readers of Meryvn’s blog won’t need to have the benefits of social media explained to them.  If you’re reading blogs and tweets you get it already.  But how do we get other people to see it?  Right now I am taking some inspiration from Doug Shaw.  I am proceeding until apprehended.

We got Yammer up and running by just launching it, although the IT department aren’t speaking to me because we didn’t ask their permission.  Everyone now has access to Twitter and LinkedIn, although Facebook is a battle for another day.  And yes, I did have to throw my teddy out of my pram to get this.  I had to point out the absolute obvious.  If you want to tweet something rude about your employer, you can do it on your smartphone.  If you want to go on Facebook you can do it from your smartphone.  If you want to time waste you can do it on your smartphone.  At your desk, in the canteen…even in the toilet if you want to. Deal with it.  Or deal with the individual.  You think your employees don’t want it? So why did we get 200 of our employees joining Yammer in a matter of days? Perhaps you should go over and take a look at what they are talking about.

We now have a blog too, and a Pinterest page, and a twitter account. No one has actually contributed to the blog yet, and the twitter account only has 63 followers.  But we are getting there, we will get there, one new Yammer comment at a time.  As Mervyn himself said in a recent blog, it’s evolution not revolution.

So here is the rest of my rant to the C Suite.  You don’t have time not to do it.  You are missing a massive opportunity to talk directly to the people that work for you.  Turning up twice a year with a PowerPoint presentation with the great strategy from on high isn’t internal communications.  It is talking at people.  Communication implies dialogue.  You want to know what your people think? Get on twitter, write a blog, post on Yammer.  It will give you a little bit more real time information than that annual survey you get your wallet out for every year.  If none of those interest you?  What about staying in touch with your industry, making contacts, your personal brand, improving your job prospects?

Or maybe I’ll just do what Perry Timms does when they say they don’t have the time for it.  Just wish people well in keeping up to date in their careers without it.


 …Is this similar to your experience?? Share in the comments…or offer your own guest post, either named or anonymously…
Here are some comments from Twitter…
CSuite tweet1
CSuite tweet2
..and try this excellent graphic about Alexander Graham Bell from Jane Bozarth, author of Social Media for Trainers, if they still need convincing…

HR, Social Media & Punk Rock

I’m chairing the CIPDs Social Media in HR conference next week and so I’ve been thinking about how the conversations around social have grown and developed in the space at the apex of social networking, HR and recruitment – pretty much the bubble I live and work in.

I wrote in one of my blogs about CIPD12 of how the questions have clearly been moving from ‘why‘ to ‘how‘ and this is clearly a shift which informs much of the writing and speaking that I see and hear. Sure, there will be many who are going to need some evidence before taking teams and businesses on the social journey, and rather than stamp off in a strop I think more of those who do ‘get it’ need to raise the conversation away from statistics on usage and reach, and talk more of outcomes.

The more I think about the rise of ‘social‘ the more I seem to think about punk rock. Not sure why, but there are similarities.

Punk wasn’t enabled by technology but by attitude. Coming at a time when you needed an ology to be in a rock band it was a clear shout by a ‘forgotten’ generation who felt they had no voice.

The link here is that it started with a younger generation but quickly became more widely adopted. Just as with today’s social media consultants, gurus and evangelists who climbed on the bandwagon quite early, back in 76/77 you had many journeymen rockers getting a spiky haircut, skinny jeans and a few tattoos and ripping out some three chord thrashes to sudden acclaim.

Of course you had the doubters, those who thought it was a fad and would never really catch on. In music broadcasting, for every John Peel you had a Nicky Horne.

Nicky H was the serious ‘rock’ DJ on Capital Radio. He broadcast regular shows that we’re ironically called ‘Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It’ – ironic because it featured just the type of corporate rock music that most people’s mothers WOULD like.

He was quick to rubbish punk, famously and proudly proclaiming that his shows would be punk free, that you wouldn’t hear any punk music on them.

And guess what. Less than a year later you couldn’t move for the punk and reggae that he was playing on his shows!!

How many social engagement naysayers and doom mongers are now evangelising? Even the PM (he of the ‘tweeters are a bunch of twits‘ sound bite) now has an official account. Though I accept he may not have much input!

And just to square the Punk circle, here is part of an interview that the Sex Pistols gave to NME in the summer of 77. You can read more of the interview on this website – complete with the famous Sid Vicious ‘The definition of a grown-up is someone who catches on just as something becomes redundant”

Just read though this excerpt and substitute mentions and references to ‘punk rock’ with ‘social media’….



Punk Rock