What Every Company Needs To Know About Social Networking

July 30, 2009

social networkingA recent study released by Universal McCann reveals that we are immersed the fourth wave of internet usage that is being defined by social network participation. Their study notes that social networks are becoming the dominant platform for personal interaction and content creation and distribution.

The global internet audience now totals 625 million people, with almost 100 million of those users located in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of these users are active in one or more social networks.

What’s also revealed is how these users spend their time on the social networks. The most popular activity was watching video, followed by listening to streaming audio, blogging and connecting with friends.

What does this mean for you or your industry?

First of all, the place to connect with people – whether personally or professionally – is on one of the social networks. They’ve made their choice how they want to interact with others, and it’s not through email. For professionals, this typically means LinkedIn, though Facebook is being used more and more by professionals who have learned to adjust their privacy settings so as not to share overly personal information with other professional contacts.

These trends also mean that you need to generate content that is interesting, engaging and compelling enough to generate views and inspire your connections to share your content with their own network of friends and colleagues. The dominant format for this content: video. If you’re not creating videos to put on your site, your blog, your LinkedIn page, your Facebook Fan Page, then it’s time to start.

polaroidBut don’t stop with video. Over 70% of social networkers also post photos to their pages. People want to see who they’re connecting with, and a thoughtfully designed series of photos can generate a powerful impression. For the professional, these can include images of your office, your personal workspace, your coworkers and even photos from events that you participate in. Sharing some personal visual insights will increase your familiarity, strengthening your connections with your networks.

Finally, if your company really wants to engage online, you need to create a community that’s worth joining. That means frequently updated, compelling content. The promise of interaction with other, like-minded people.  A thoughtful, meaningful – even delightful – user experience. And the ability to listen to your community members and adjust your activities to satisfy their needs, not yours.


How to Make More Than $5000/hour

July 20, 2009

bigmoneyOne of the recurring themes we hear from our recruiters is their surprise at the lack of preparation that job seekers display when interviewing for a position. Frankly, we find it stunning and nearly incomprehensible when an individual seeking a job won’t commit at least a full eight hours to preparing for an interview that will gain them $40,000, $50,000, $75,000 or more.

At the relatively low end of the salary spectrum, spending a complete eight hours on interview preparation can yield an annual salary of $40,000. That’s $5000 for every hour spent reviewing your resume, researching the company, gathering information about the individual conducting the interview, practicing your interview answers and formulating relevant questions to ask yourself.

Yet a recent survey revealed that more than half of the job seekers queried spent less than two hours preparing for their interview. Pretty shocking, considering the potential reward for the well prepared candidate.

At a minimum, we suggest that interview candidates do the following:

  1. Review your own resume. Make sure that you are intimately familiar with every date, title and responsibility. You’d think this step would go without saying, but candidates frequently go weeks or months without rereading their own resume and trip up on specifics that can raise flags with the interviewer.
  2. Go through the company’s entire website. Read their press releases to learn about their latest initiatives, new hires and any potential legal issues they might be facing. If they’re a public company, read their annual report. Go through their entire product section to familiarize yourself with their entire line of products and/or services. If they sell online, go through the entire buying process until you have to actually submit payment. Understand completely what kind of user experience they deliver.
  3. Find out who their competitors are. Visit and read their websites to understand how each company positions itself and to determine what cultural elements are clearly communicated.
  4. Locate an industry trade publication online and read several issues. These publications typically provide in-depth analysis of issues confronting the entire industry, industry trends and they frequently reveal which companies are regarded as the most influential.
  5. If the industry is large enough to attract public companies, try to find analyst reports that detail financial trends and outlooks.
  6. Find a list of the 50 most frequently asked interview questions. Read them all. Practice your responses so you don’t have to stop and ponder why this company should hire you. Know the value that you bring to the company.
  7. Practice your interview responses some more. In front of a camera. In front of other people. Ask for feedback, incorporate it into your answers and practice again.
  8. Create a portfolio of your work. Examples of writing, analysis and creative production that can support your claims of personal excellence. Do you know how many other applicants will bring samples of their work? Typically, none. Do you want to stand apart from the crowd of engineers/analysts/accountants? Show your work.
  9. Drive to the interview site a day or two ahead of the interview. I can’t count the number of candidates who were certain they knew where the building was until they drove to their imagined site and discovered that the interview address was actually miles away.
  10. Create a list of topical, insightful and revealing questions. Once again, too many candidates leave the interview without asking any in-depth questions and reveal themselves to be unprepared or shallow. If you need help, Google Questions to Ask at a Job Interview.

Now you’re ready to handle any question, respond with an insightful and measured response, display your personal mastery and land that job. That was worth eight hours of work, wasn’t it?


Why You Belong On Facebook

July 17, 2009

exponential-growthAlthough Facebook began as a site to connect young college students, the social networking site recently passed 250 million registered users, making it the largest social networking site on the web.

Surprisingly to many, the fastest growing segments are not the young users, but the  35-54 year old demographic segment which accelerated to a 276.4% growth rate over the past 6 months. Which means this is where many job seekers will interact.

Top insights from the survey:

Top Insights:

1)  The 35-54 year old demo is growing fastest, with a 276.4% growth rate in over the approximate 6 months since we last produced this report

2) The 55+ demo is not far behind with a 194.3% growth rate

3) The 25-34 year population on Facebook is doubling every 6 months

Of Facebook’s 250 million users, more than 120 million log in every single day, indicating that much of their online social interaction now revolves around Facebook. If this is where they are, this is where you belong also.


Why You’re Really Hired

June 30, 2009

interview v2While a carefully crafted resume is a crucial part of your job hunt, it’s important to acknowledge that your resume serves one task: getting you an interview. The resume does not get you hired – your interview does.

That’s why it’s so surprising to see so few candidates prepare thoroughly for each job interview and take the time to understand what’s really important to the hiring manager.

Too many job seekers focus exclusively on their specific skill set. Their accounting skills. Their programming expertise. Their writing ability. Although these skills are essential to any hire, they are the minimum required for anyone invited to interview. How will you separate yourself from every other candidate with the same professional skills?

Focus on your personal skills. In an excellent post in the Detroit Examiner, Christine Wodke outlines the seven personal skills that employers are looking for in any hire. These include:

  1. Leadership
  2. Team Player
  3. Motivation
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Time Management
  6. Flexibility
  7. Sense of Humor

Your job in the interview is to find a way to weave these personal skills into stories relating to your previous positions.

Don’t just describe the technical complexity of your last programming project, detail how you assembled a team, kept them motivated, managed the project to ensure you met the deadline, and how you stepped in to help when one of your team members needed support. These are the truly valuable skills that separate you from every other candidate whose answers focus solely on their professional proficiency.


Don’t Forget the Blogroll

June 29, 2009

blogrollThere are dozens of wonderfully written, informative blogs dealing with career and staffing related issues. Some are very specific, addressing a single topic in great depth while others take a much broader perspective. We’ve made an effort to collect the best of the staffing world bloggers and include them in our Blogroll.

Check out the list in our sidebar, and let us know if you think we’re missing someone important.


Social Media’s Impact on Hiring

June 19, 2009

magnifyng glass linkedinA study released by Jump Start Social Media reports that “of the hiring managers surveyed, 75% use LinkedIn, 48% use Facebook, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.”

This study simply confirms what we’ve understood for the past several years: social media channels are becoming integral to both the job search process and the hiring process.

Job seekers now have the ability, as never before, to exploit their personal networks and their extended networks to announce their availability and make personal contacts with potential employers. For job seekers, the ability to disseminate their professional and personal interests and capabilities can be a double edged sword.

Although it’s terrific that your entire professional history, replete with references, is immediately accessible to interested hiring managers, it’s also important to note that your public profiles on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace may also be accessible to the hiring manager so it’s critical to keep the posted content professional.

It’s understandable why hiring managers turn to LinkedIn first. It’s designed for the professional, focusing almost exclusively on career activity. However, to gain a more thorough picture of a candidate, more hiring managers are also examining Twitter posts and other social media channels to gain insight into a candidate’s personal characteristics, interests and views.

So, be careful what you post. Once you hit Send, it’s forever.


25 Ways To Sabotage Your Job Search

June 15, 2009

There was a terrific post on CNN.com that listed the 25 ways that job seekers sabotage their own job searches.

As someone who has been involved in the staffing industry for nearly 20 years, this list resonated with me because I’ve seen so many job seekers ruin their chances by committing one (or many) of these career killing mistakes.

The mistakes fall into two basic camps: lack of thought and lack of manners.