Recruiting

The perfect #SocialRecruiting tool for agency owners

You remember this from the film Men In Black, a neutralizer to wipe the brain. After a few conversations this week, I think it is the only device, tool or application that would convince agency owners to take the risk and let their staff get social.

A few weeks ago I read a blog post that advised getting new starters to sign a contract to say who their contacts were on joining, and to hand over any connections when they left. The lawyers have been filling their boots (and wallets) over this fear. Devising contracts, handbooks and handcuffs to tie down new recruiters. I think it is just rubbish!

How motivating and welcoming is it to start your new job being told how you are going to have to behave when you leave, and that your new employers are already planning your exit and don’t really trust you.  It just doesn’t work. You set the scene of distrust, don’t be surprised if your recruiters do the dirty, particularly when you hired them for their contacts.

The simple message is:

YOU CANT OWN DATA ANYMORE

Data is public, it is in the public domain, and the only people who can claim ownership on LinkedIn connections or data is LinkedIn. Here is a revolutionary idea, how about you trust your recruiters, and you build relationships with the contacts in the business. If owners invest time in to the relationships in the business, then who your clients and candidates are connected with on LinkedIn is not important. The revenue is in the relationship not the connection.

We don’t yet have a neutralizer, so you can’t erase what your leavers might know. Exercise some trust and reap the benefit of social recruiting, rather than being paralyzed by fear.

Bill

The Evenbase Quarterly Job Market Review (My Take)

My friends from Evenbase recently published the Autumn edition of their quarterly job market review for the UK. I always look forward to this research because it is conducted independent of the Evenbase brands and provides a real insight in to the UK job market. The survey is conducted by HPI Research.

The survey methodology

The quarterly review is based on in-depth, independent online research among 500 job seekers and 200 recruiters, carried out by market research agency HPI in April and May 2012.
Respondents are selected from a third-party database of job seekers and businesses, with a 50/50 split of male & female respondents, as well as a good spread across factors such as age, location, sector and salary. This spread is maintained consistently across the research each quarter, so that the findings can be compared with confidence.
Job seekers are split approximately 50/50 between active and passive candidates. Active is defined as anyone who is attending interviews or has taken steps to find a new job, such as looking at relevant vacancies. Passive is defined as anyone who is considering or open to switching jobs, but has not yet taken any action.
Business respondents are selected according to business type as follows:
● 50 recruitment decision-makers from SoHos (10-49 employees)
● 75 recruitment decision-makers from SMEs (50-249 employees)
● 75 recruitment decision-makers from corporate organisations (250+ employees)

The headlines. (My thoughts are in italics below the headline.)

> 57% of active job seekers feel the job situation is worse than last year

This is an interesting stat, given that the Evenbase report that job advertising is up on the last quarter. More jobs but less confidence. This perhaps reflects the miss-match between the types of jobs and the experience and skills of the job seekers who are active. In demand employees tend to be in demand by their current employees  with less job insecurity and a reluctance to move. I describe this as the war for other people’s talent.

> Advertised vacancies have risen from  5.5 to 7.7 mostly on-line

For the moment, advertising is still the default process for companies recruiting. Get a job, post it and see what happens. As more companies in the corporate sector develop their direct sourcing capability in their recruiting teams I anticipate this changing. Not imminently, but gradually quarter by quarter over the next few years. Job boards will never die, there will always be a place for job portals but I anticipate more companies looking to their own resources over time. In particular, I would be interested in how many of these companies are moving from automatic post to developing talent pipelines and developing their capability to search historical candidates.

> SoHo employers have open posts but corporate and SME remain cautious

The growth in hiring is coming from companies with under 50 employees. Smaller companies are more agile to change, responding to changing market demands and technology. Smaller companies will also contain a good % of technology start ups in the last 3 years who were set up and built with the new economy in mind. Those that are proving successful will be the ones hiring for growth. Technology companies should be considering offerings for this sector. Recently Work4Labs have announced the release of a free SME facebook job posting tool, Tribepad have released an SME version of their enterprise product, SMART Recruiters have developed a free ATS. These are great examples of products developed for this growth market.

> Job seekers using agencies as the route to work down 5% on the last quarter

This perhaps reflects the perception job seekers have of the value of agencies right now, and should be a worrying statistic for them. Another consideration though might be that as the active job seekers don’t match the needs of the active employers (as evidenced in point one), the agencies are distancing themselves from less in demand candidates and being more specific in advertising and approaches. Job seeker apathy seems to be prevalent right now, evidenced by some of the results in this latest survey. As much as they are reluctant to make speculative inquiries to employers, they are also moving away from registering with multiple agencies unless there is a very specific job advertised. If I were running an agency right now I would want to investigate this to understand why agencies are being seen as less of a source of the best next move, and more of a necessary evil for a specific job.

> Job seekers making speculative applications down 6% after a 9% rise last quarter

This is a reflection of 2 things in my opinion. Job seeker apathy, and unfriendly technology and process employed by corporate companies. When I reviewed a series of career sites recently, it was not uncommon to see notifications of speculative CVs not welcome or “if you don’t hear from us in 3 weeks we are not interested.” The speculative CVs fall through the cracks and just get ignored. It comes as no surprise to discover that job seekers are deciding this is a waste of time, which means companies could be missing out on some great talent, and need to rethink this process.

The most used recruitment methods.

> For SoHo organisations personal networks are the most used recruitment method – 35, job boards – 25, newspaper ads – 20, agencies – 15, trade publication ads – 10, social networks – 15.

> For S.M.E.’s:   Trade publication ads – 30,  Job boards – 32, Newspaper ads – 30, Personal networks – 25, Agency – 22,Social networks – 16.

> For Corporate: Agencies – 32, Trade publications – 27, Job boards – 25, Newspaper ads – 22, Personal networks – 20, Social networks – 10.

I would be interested in knowing where social media fits in with the high ranking personal networks. It might be that social channels like LinkedIn are an important part of personal networks, and what the respondents mean is that they are not planning on posting jobs in social networks. This is an area of confusion for many people, what recruiting via social media actually means. I also feel that the impact of employer branding activity in social media channels should not be under estimated in driving applications via career sites and job boards, although these may not be included in the respondents thinking.

The agency numbers for corporate remains high. I would be surprised to see this figure remaining high over the next 6 months, as more corporates adopt direct sourcing as an approach to hiring. It would be interesting to know the split between RPO and agency hiring, which I suspect would paint a different picture.

Most considered job search methods by job seekers.

> Job boards – 75, Company websites – 72, Newspaper ads – 70, Agencies – 60, Spec CVs – 55, Trade publications – 50, Social networks – 40.

Probably the biggest surprise here is that newspaper ads and trade publications feature so highly. I would be interested in understanding how much of this is through traditional printed newspaper ads, and how much is through the associated on-line job sites. If you go to Guardian On-line for example, or the caterer on line, would you consider this a newspaper or a job board? I suspect the former, though my view is that it is the latter. 

Most considered recruitment methods by business

> Job boards – 60, Newspaper ads – 50, Personal networks – 50, Agencies – 45, Trade publications – 47, Social networks – 40.

It is interesting to note that career sites feature so highly on the job seeker list, but don’t merit a mention in the considered recruitment methods by business. Perhaps this explains the generally poor state of many career sites, with limited investment in development or design, particularly around mobile.

> Smartphone ownership among job seekers up from 47% to 71% in 3 months.

> Location search for jobs the big feature

This is really self explanatory, and begs the question why more companies are not taking mobile and mobility more seriously. With such a hike in Smartphone ownership by job seekers, you would expect the increase in mobile sites and mobile friendly features to grow at the same rate; You would also expect mobile to be top of the list of requirements that companies want from job boards, but it doesn’t. 

Last week I blogged that e-mail opens on mobile devices had now taken over from desktops. Even features like jobs by e-mail, and the attached links should reflect this. If messages are going to mobile, and job seekers are opening them in the down time, then the job boards should reflect this. I suspect the reason mobile is not more in demand from companies is that they are not yet ready to extend the experience from board to application. 

The location features is perhaps the most interesting point in this data, and is a key consideration in how jobs are served to job seekers. It is common to post jobs from the location of the recruiter rather than the location of the job. I will be posting on this in more detail next week, in the build up to the mobile tracks at #trulondon.

> Price the biggest factor in choosing job boards,Specialism and knowledge feature highly.

No surprise to see price as the biggest factor in choosing a board. When price is the main consideration, it is fair to assume that companies find it close to impossible to differentiate between the main boards. This should be an important consideration for the boards themselves. Companies are less interested in the value add features like video upload, and are looking at the basic features.

Based on the points around specialization being key in choice, the main boards need to find a way to segment jobs and develop focus in core markets. This will help companies to compare board to board in order to choose the best option on something other than price. The desire for niche locations should also send a clear message to agency recruiters, the appetite in the market is for specialization, and clear differentiation. 

>Social media features are ranked as slightly more important than previous surveys, though still not important.

It is encouraging to see an increasing demand for social media features, even it is quite low. I would expect this to continue growing over the next year, becoming more important to companies. Over the last year we have seen more social features develop linking the boards with the job seekers social networks. The more features that are added to the major job boards, the more important they will become in buying decisions.

> Press and TV advertising to support job boards the biggest drop in importance to companies.

Only down by 7%, but the biggest drop in this section of the survey. I think this might be a reaction by the increased spend over the last quarter by all the boards in media and TV advertising. As each of the main boards even up the spend, it becomes less of a differentiator, and as a result, less important in decision making.

> Mobile still not featured as a requirement by companies

As mentioned earlier in the post, mobile is off the companies radar right now, but this has to change.

This is a quote from the report that gives a good indication as to job seeker behaviors:

“For the second quarter in a row, a close look at the most popular and desired job board services among job seekers yields few surprises.
Browsing for jobs remains the most used service, but there was
continued growth in the number of people researching sectors and
companies – an indication that job seekers are spending more time
on preparation and less time on direct approaches to companies,
further illustrated by the reduced numbers of candidates storing CVs online for direct applications.”

My feeling is that this is in part down to the rise in mobile.Job browsing via mobile in down time is also another factor in the browsing figures. I know from previous data from Jobsite that mobile access to the board continues to rise.month on month. 

The quest for more information indicates that job seekers, particularly those who are working, want to be 100% sure of their decision before applying. This highlights the big part social media and employer branding can play in the decision. The more information that is easily accessible, the more likely the potential candidates will be able to research and make informed decisions. This type of employer brand content does not necessarily increase applications, because candidates are as likely to opt out as opt in, but it often results in an increase the efficiency of application to interview to hire.  I would be interested in seeing future surveys asking companies what employer branding activity they are doing in social to support their recruiting efforts, and job seekers, what research they conduct in social media channels. My feeling is that this would give a much better insight in to the part social media is playing in recruiting, and not just the applying part.

> CV uploads up by 9% to job boards

Again my feeling is that this is linked to the impact of mobile. Candidates need a CV on-line in order to apply via mobile. This also illustrates that job seekers are in for the long haul. Uploading a CV to a database is a more passive approach to speculative applications. The job seekers want to give companies access to their details. In the last report from Evenbase, there was a big increase in the time employers were spending searching the database. This increase could be an extension of this. As job seekers have got results from being on the database, so news spreads.

> New measure of the desire for contacting employers via Facebook and LinkedIn – low at 17%.

For the first time, the survey looked at how job seekers felt about being contacted directly in social media channels by employers. The low number is a surprise. I suspect this is the result of clumsy recruiter contact in LinkedIn. The Facebook question is an interesting one. When asked the question, job seekers often say that they do not wish to be contacted in this channel. This contradicts the reality of the volume of hiring that goes on in the channel through fan pages. I would like to see that question posed the other way round, “How would YOU feel about contacting employers in social media channels?”. I suspect the results would be quite different.

> Researching companies by job seekers continually  growing in importance.

I won’t comment further on this as it has been covered in some detail earlier in the post.

> CV to email and jobs to print most desirable features. No appetite for video upload, chat or other perceived value add services by employers.

It looks like employers want the simple functions with no frills. I think it is probably to early to dismiss these add on features yet. It is notable that job seekers want access to more information on companies, whilst the companies want to stick to the provision of the basic information i:e: jobs. This could be because companies are not ready for video or engagement features yet, rather than a lack of demand from the job seekers.

> Most used services by employers CV search and advertising a job.

CV searching continues to grow in importance to employers. this indicates that recruiters are taking a more proactive approach to sourcing people, possibly because they are not getting the response they want from advertising, or because they are unsure what they are looking for and want to see the options. Either way, it seems that both job seekers and employers are heading in the same direction for a change on this one. As searching in CV databases becomes more sophisticated through the addition of new features, I would expect to see this rising as a source of hire.

> Display of print advertising on boards doubled this quarter.

This points towards companies wanting to stand out to beat off the competition. Employers clearly feel that visual look will help them to be different and improve response rates. I’m not sure that this is not thinking old school newspaper advertising i.e.: the biggest ad stands out. It would be interesting to see some data on the improved (or not) effectiveness of display ads.

Once again, thanks to Evenbase and Jobsite for making this data publicly available. When you follow it over time you start to see the trends evolving. You can download the original report HERE. This certainly impacts on my thinking. My big take-aways are the gap between what job seekers want and employers demand from job boards. It is almost opposite (except for the CV database), the certainty candidates are looking for before applying, and the rise of mobile.

Be glad to know your thoughts,

Bill

DISCLAIMER: Evenbase and Jobsite are platinum sponsors of #truLondon

 

 

 

 

 

A look at R.P.O.#SympEventsRPO

 

I’ve spent the last couple of days with Zachari Misko, Sally Hunter and some of the team from Kelly OCG at the RPO and e-recruitment summit organised by Symposium. I was on a bit of twitter silence because the event had no free wireless, and delegates were asked to turn off their phones. It has been a while since I’ve been at an event without wireless. It is always the first thing I check when I look at a venue.The internet aside, this was a good opportunity to look closely at what is happening in the RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) market.

Over the last 6 months or so I’ve had a good opportunity to take a good look at the RPO companies, and they fall in to two distinct camps. The good ones, and the not so good ones, and there’s a big difference. The good ones you don’t really hear getting talked about. They become almost invisible because like any good outsourced solution, they are considered an integral part of the client. When you see the cracks, and look on them in their own name then you know you have a problem.Great RPO is invisible in an organisation, and the recruiters see themselves as a part of the organisation.

It was noticeable to listen to the firms in the room, and some of their representatives, that some of the talk was straight out of the agency book around areas like temp to perm, temp to temp etc, where as the more established players talked talent topics, employers branding, skills shortage etc. An RPO should not be rent a recruiter. It’s not about simply moving the physical location of the agency, it really should be about full integration.

My friend Jonathan Campbell of SocialTalent talked about what he is seeing in the market, where corporate companies are reversing the 80/20 model.Two years ago hiring was 80% agency and 20% direct, whereas the ratio has been reversed by many of the organisations he works with, training recruiters in direct sourcing so that they can do it themselves. The corporate teams take on responsibility for sourcing and hiring the core staff with the biggest requirement, and use agency for the one-off positions or specialized roles.

I had this conversation with one of the clients I worked with earlier this year. The graduate team were spending most of their time recruiting for small teams as one-off positions, and using agency for their bulk hiring, they now do this the other way round.

Adam Templeman of RWE NPower shared a great case study about how they have integrated social recruiting and e-recruiting strategies in to the business. Over the last year they have hired 1000 staff. The historical spend was 98% agency, but is now 85% direct hire. Of course there are big cost savings, but one of the big problems was confusion over employer brand. With 136 agencies telling their own version of the story, they were pushing out a really confused message.  Bringing things in-house changed this. They have turned things around by clear messaging, vanity URL’s for each job, and getting active in social, particularly LinkedIn. NPower now hire 40% of their staff via LinkedIn, employing a mixed strategy of sourcing using LinkedIn recruiter accounts, advertising and group activity.

The other interesting data Templeman shared was that 18% of traffic to their career site comes via mobile. Their career site is fully optimised with an additional mobile app. NPower recognize that it is important that the experience is the same whatever the device candidates are using to access the site. Templeman also shared a very neat QR code campaign that worked and that I’m going to include in a post next week. I really enjoyed this presentation, and hope to get NPower to #truLondon to share the story again.

Sally Hunter, of Kelly OCG ran a track at #TruEurope in Brussels about the reasons companies are looking to RPO as a solution. Because they want to move to a direct sourcing model for hiring, but lack the internal expertise. They see RPO as a route to bring in expertise and experience, reducing cost per hire and regaining control and influence over employer brand. An RPO should be bringing much more than hiring to the table, with culture and employer branding being a shared responsibility.

The table I was sat at made up of a mix of HR professionals and recruiters, with a 50/50 split between those who worked with an RPO provider and those who didn’t. As an observer, it was interesting to note what people were willing to outsource, and what functions they wanted to retain. There was a general consensus that the recruitment admin functions like references, CRB checks, scheduling, etc., could easily be outsourced for reasons of both cost and efficiency, but had concerns about outsourcing the recruiting and branding elements, whereas the ones who had taken the plunge were for the most part delighted with the results. An outsourced recruiting partner offered them. I think the key is in achieving real partnership, where the partner has become fully integrated in to the business. The advice of those who had been down the route was not to leave the contracts to the lawyers, involving operational management on both sides to agree realistic expectations, Communication is key, including the RPO team in all operational meetings.

What do you think?

Bill

Disclosure: Kelly OCG are sponsors of #trulondon

 

Recruiting: The Homeless Dept? My #MBuzz Conclusion

The panel by Peter Gold

It has been a few days since #MBuzz, hosted by Monster. I like the format of this event. It is half conference (the Q & A part anyway), and half unconference, in that anyone can talk and give an opinion. The plus side of this is that the discussion will take a few twists and turns, with points coming up that wouldn’t have in a conference format. The downside to having a panel facing an audience is that the panel are the focus of attention is always on the panel, and if much of the audience holds an opposing viewpoint it can get a bit hostile. A bit them versus us. The benefit of the unconference format is that the conversation can move from one person to the other, and no one person is on the receiving end of all the attention. The audience on Thursday evening was mostly agency recruiters, where as the panel was made up of some senior talent acquisition professionals. I thought the event raised some very important questions that highlight some of the challenges businesses face right now around the area of turfism.
Turfism is destructive in business, but it is easy to see how the current economic climate has created a situation where everyone wants to protect their position and their worth, and to fight off what they see as insurgency from other departments.

Agency recruiters have always had a tenuous relationship with HR departments with mutual distrust on both sides. The reasoning behind this is that HR departments have been set up to be the bastion of hiring activity, and to “protect” the line from making deals outside of the agreements the organisation has asked them to set up by way of PSL’s. As a trainer, I taught recruiters to try to avoid HR and always talk direct to the hiring manager wherever possible. The HR department was seen as the “enemies” to recruiters doing business. At the same time as spreading this gospel through training, I also wore an HR hat in the business, and my job was to manage the agreements (at a fixed fee) with the Rec to Rec agencies, and to make sure that the branches did not fix their own deals.

The majority of in-house recruiters start life as agency recruiters. In the UK, internal sourcing is a new function set up over the last year or so. The switch

One of the panel, Rob Jones, made an excellent point in his summing up, which I think gets to the heart of the conflict. The function of HR in an organisation is greatly misunderstood. The perception of HR as an admin dept whose purpose is to stop rather than enable is a very dated one. My view is that every aspect of human involvement in a business falls under the HR remit. I don’t see recruiting being any different to learning and development, performance management or any of the “people” aspects of the business. Recruiters are responsible for introducing people, and that has to be central to human resources, not separate. There is no reason why someone from the recruiting team can’t lead the whole human resource effort, or from any other arm of human resources, learning and development, payroll or legal. Business needs the best leaders in the business to lead, rather than dividing functions. One business, one vision, one purpose. I know plenty of people who work in HR functions. None of them could ever be described as cardigan wearing administrators, and a lot more specialists, expert in one discipline of HR.

My take away from #MBuzz is that there is too much turfism in organisations, rather than shared vision. The view was raised that perhaps recruiting should be a part of the marketing team, because recruiting has more or less become marketing, and recruiters should be working to  similar metrics for talent attraction and conversion to hires as marketing work to for customer attraction and conversion. There is also the argument that candidates should be treated like customers, and marketing know best how to deal with customers.

The counter argument is that recruiting is all about sales, particularly when the recruiting team is taking a direct sourcing approach. There is plenty of prospecting, qualifying, closing and converting. The sales funnel is similar to the hiring funnel, could it be that recruiting should sit within the sales team?

And so it goes on. Recruiting seems to be a homeless department at the moment, not wanting to be seen as a function of HR, but not being placed anywhere else in the organisation either. My view is that recruiting is an HR function, much the same as learning and development and other HR functions, because recruiting is ultimately about people, and the people in the organisation are the realm of the HR department.

The question that seemed to ruffle the most feathers was if HR and Recruiting required a whole different DNA. My answer to this is that all the different parts that make up the HR team have a different DNA. The payroll people need different skills and qualities to learning and development, to compensation and benefits, to an HR generalist, and yes, to recruiting. They all share one common thread though, the support of the people in the business from entry to exit, and it is this that gives them shared purpose in the organisation.

The last thoughts I had before leaving #MBuzz was that in fighting between departments and teams over who lives together is counter productive and destructive to the organisation. Better to get a bit of unity and focus on beating the competition to the best talent, taking the best from HR, Sales, Marketing and all of the business. One company, one direction and one objective. People are the essential ingredient, and from hire to exit they come under the remit of the HR dept in all its guises, including recruiting.

#MBuzz was a great event for posing plenty of questions that needed a bit of thinking time, which is why I enjoy them. The panels are the catalyst for the conversation that lights the touch-paper. My personal thanks and respect go to Rob Jones from Mastersorbust blog, Donna Miller from Enterprise, Charu Malhorta from Unilever, and Simon Boulcott  from AIB, who formed the panel and sat in the firing line. I thought you all did a great job. Thanks also to David Henry of Monster and Keith Robinson of E-com for hosting. I look forward to next months question.

Bill

The Technology Miracle

I was lucky enough to spend 3 days at the Paralympics in London a few weeks ago. it was an inspiring and humbling experience that I will remember forever, not least because the stadium is about 10 minutes away from where I went to School, and I had an office opposite the station in the dark old days. I wanted to write about what I took away from being there, but not in a gushy or clichéd way. I’m not one for what recruiting and HR can learn from the Paralympics type blogger. There are many blogs like that you can read on the topic.

The big thing for me, apart from the fantastic sporting spectacle was the fantastic ways in which technology was used in virtually every event to solve very real physical challenges, from prosthetic legs through to the one-armed Canadian archer who had a custom-made device on the top of his shoulder that enabled him to stretch the bow-string, aim and fire with his chin.

What I took away from this is the many ways technology and imagination can make things better. It is about moving the mind-set from believing opportunity to change and improve is limited by barriers, or because there are barriers, and considering how can we fix the problem? Forget what is the normal way of doing things, look at the problems and figure out the solutions enabled by technology.With attitude and technology we can fix anything by looking at the task and what needs to happen, and bridging the gap between the problem and the solution with clever technology.

I think this has important implications for work when considering the issues of disability and employability. My experience as a recruiter is that the reality of employing anyone who doesn’t fit the normal employee mode has been around quotas and legality. Employers have looked at reasons why people can’t do a job, and consider what could be done with technology to solve any work place difficulties. The interesting conversation coming from the athletes was how the difference with this Paralympics was that they were compared as athletes rather than those guys in wheelchairs having a day out. The supporters were able to see beyond their disability and see them as supreme athletes. Wouldn’t it be a real legacy if we could compare potential employees in the same way, as candidates for a job to be judged equally? The miracle of technology and innovation means that with a little imagination we can solve any physical barriers that might be in the way. If it works in sport, why not the rest of life, particularly work?

Bill

 

Swarms: The future of recruiting? #TruHelsinki

I’m just back from #TruHelsinki, where I sat in a track that has really got me thinking.about recruiting technology, methodology, what we are trying to fix right now and how this fits with the way work is changing. My over riding thought was that the problems we are trying to fix now will actually be redundant by the time we get them sorted. The focus is on fixing old problems rather than trying to come with innovative solutions to what we think will be the new ones. If I look at the top talking points right now, I would list them as:

> Retention

> Skills shortage

> Candidate Experience

> Mobile

My thoughts are that within 18 months work will be more contingent than permanent, and project based. The same issues will be key, but the fixes will be quite different, and the fixes will need to be different to the solutions we are talking about for the problems we have. My feeling is that it is time for future proofing and re-examining our priorities with a much bigger emphasis on how recruitment process and technology will apply to the contingent market, where recruiters will need to be project managers sourcing and managing flexible labour.

The track that got me thinking this way was run by Janne Ruhoisto, who is the MD of technology business Intunex, and was based on crowd sourcing recruiting and creating skills based swarms. Wikipedia defines swarm behavior as:

Swarm behaviour, or swarming, is a collective behaviour exhibited by animals of similar size which aggregate together, perhaps milling about the same spot or perhaps moving en masse or migrating in some direction. As a term, swarming is applied particularly to insects, but can also be applied to any other animal that exhibits swarm behaviour. The term flocking is usually used to refer specifically to swarm behaviour in birds, herding to refer to swarm behaviour in quadrupeds, shoaling or schooling to refer to swarm behaviour in fish.Phytoplankton also gather in huge swarms called blooms, although these organisms are algae and are not-self propelled the way animals are. By extension, the term swarm is applied also to inanimate entities which exhibit parallel behaviours, as in a robot swarm, anearthquake swarm, or a swarm of stars.

From a more abstract point of view, swarm behaviour is the collective motion of a large number of self-propelled entities.[1] From the perspective of the mathematical modeller, it is an emergent behaviour arising from simple rules that are followed by individuals and does not involve any central coordination.

Swarm behaviour was first simulated on a computer in 1986 with the simulation program boids.[2] This program simulates simple agents(boids) that are allowed to move according to a set of basic rules. The model was originally designed to mimic the flocking behaviour of birds, but it can be applied also to schooling fish and other swarming entities.”

The concept that has real potential is building skills swarms who group together in  one place, on and off-line. Janne showed an interesting model of how swarms work in real life, the 1/9/90 model.

> 1% of the people are the doers who make things happen.

> 9% are contributors who will add content and comment

> 90% are observers who watch what is going on but don’t contribute.

Swarms are informal in structure, and operate as self managing communities. As the workforce switches to contingent, learning and development could become a core function, less formal learning and more peer to peer. When learning becomes informal with no certification, having a place for crowd sourced recommendations and referral will become increasingly important. What I really liked about the  Intunex platform, which is built for creating swarms in organisations is the recognition of skills and interests by peers and colleagues. This will make an ideal resource when putting together project teams, and for contingency staff to stay in touch, share out work and get help with the projects they are working on.

Increasingly, skills are going to be the new currency, and independent workers on contingency are going to have to hang out together for the support, development and advice that they currently enjoy in permanent work. expect swarms to be a big feature of the future contingent landscape.

Bill

New Technology Coming Out Of Finland #TruHelsinki

As a new initiative for #truHelsinki we are trying to bring tech start-ups together with some of the influencers in the region for #truHelsinki. This is a live blog about some of the technology companies sharing their products and where they are up to in the recruiting space.

Joberate -

Joberate started life as a recruiting firm, which gives them a perspective on recruiting beyond technology. The purpose of the company is to position on-line advertising in the right place in the social channels. The site enables recruiters to post a link to any job for a customised campaign suggestion. The search is cross-channel and includes areas like LinkedIn groups based on research. Joberate are keen to stress that the research is conducted by humans searching for content rather than anything automated. The campaign breaks down audience and includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and traditional job boards etc. Joberate post both jobs and discussions. All posts are by the client brand rather than their own. Joberate post jobs, but they also post discussions about jobs based on the group content.

As a disclaimer, I advise Joberate on product. I did this because I love what they do in helping recruiters to apply research to social to find the right audience. A new launch on the product is a social sharing bar, get referred network feature and applying by profile. Take a look.

Recruitby.net

Recruitby.net is a video selection tool that has a very simple screen for companies to record video response to greet job seekers applying and set selection questions. What is different is the simple comment and share buttons amongst the recruiting/hiring team. Video can be set up by invite or by ad response. The technology is a bit different because they have removed time constraints and one take only, giving candidates the opportunity, with an approve and submit answer. It’s not quite as clever as a Wowzer or Sonru BUT it is very candidate friendly. It’s simple to use and the pricing makes it attractive to have a look at.

IntuneX

IntuneX are about connecting expertise within companies employees. Our work mainly consists of exchanging e-mails and documents when we could be sharing more. Right now sharing expertise is by accident rather than design. Intune wants to change that.

Anyone can share an idea or a project internally and anyone can contribute or comment. It is built-in HTML5 so it is responsive to any device. To take part any employees can sign in and sign up, importing social profiles and sharing their own ratings and views. Any employee can rank anyone in any area. Where interests or expertise match a project, invites are sent out to join the “swarm”. A swarm is a project or problem.the help areas are Idea, problem, project, task, announcement and competence survey. It looks like a cross between Twitter and Facebook that users will be comfortable with. This one will be a big hit in my opinion. take a look at it! this is the most exciting new tech I have seen for a while.

LabOfApps

LabOfApps is about figuring how mobile adoption changes business. More people have a mobile that a tooth-brush, that is frightening data. This video tells you more: http://vimeo.com/43167249.

The growth in mobile applications by app rather than mobile website is four fold. Once a user has an app to solve a problem, they never go back to web access. Social channels are struggling with mobile, witness the LinkedIn and Facebook apps, external apps are catching up. Once people connect with an app to do a job, they no longer return to the website. think Amazon.Com, if you download the global app, then you are unlikely to revisit the site. LabOfApps provide solutions to recruitment problems through bespoke apps. I’m coming around to seeing the need for Apps as well as responsive sites, which should be standard. Watch this space for more launches.

This has been a great evening for looking at technology companies in the region. I will be posting more live comment from Helsinki tomorrow.

Bill

 

 

 

 

Being number one on Google (infographic)

I found this infographic when I was researching a post on Google and page rank. I think some of these points are really worth taking on board. How often do you look past the first few entry’s on Google, and most people start their job search on Google. If you like it please pin and share it.
Thanks to Brand Yourself for creating the infographic, and the Undercover Recruiter for sharing it on your recruiting board.
Bill

What is happening with mobile around the globe (infographic)

This is a brilliant infographic from CultureLabs that outlines the way in which mobile is changing the way we access content, and what we are actually doing with our devices.
In Europe, mobile phone ownership stands at 119% of the population. There is some great data in here. If you find it useful, pin it!
Bill

You must read this post on influence

This post is a bit of an experiment related to on-line influence and on-line impact. My view is that when we talk about influence, we really mean impact. Influence became a bit of a trendy word to use, multiplied by the likes of Klout and PeerIndex. Suddenly everyone was arguing about influence, relevance and whether it actually meant anything in the real world, or was just an elaborate marketing ploy.
Some bloggers have tried to intelectualise the whole influence conversation through their blog posts. As recruiters though what are we really interested in, influence or something else? These are my thoughts on what the principle measures should be for recruiters:

> How many people look at our jobs
> How many people apply for our jobs
> How many people get hired

> The conversion ratio of each

There are lots of other matrix I’m going to look at around influence. what content did people look at before they decided to apply. Is one piece of content better at progressing people to the next stage of the process than another. All of this is useful, but a recruiter is not judged on fans, followers, network numbers, likes, size of talent community or engagement, they get judged by hires. All of the other stuff might be useful, could even be considered to influential to recruitment outcomes, but in isolation none of them count for anything without hires.
On line activity is designed to create a reaction and an action. A click on a link, a share, a like etc, something happens because of the content. The worst thing is inaction, when nothing happens. That tells me that I’m either being ignored, hitting the wrong audience or lacking credibility as a source. It can also mean that I haven’t banked up enough credits in the bank of reciprocity. You know the kind of thing. you share my content or help me when I need it, I’m much more willing to help you. When that relationship becomes one-sided then I’m going to stop reacting to your content. I’m going to ignore you and do nothing. Not open your links or share them. Perhaps we should be measuring how many people are ignoring us rather than how many people are reacting to get a real picture of our influence, or rather the lack of it.

I have documented the story of the Barclay’s Social Hub in the past. What is impressive about the data that comes out of this story is that whilst traffic and page views increased considerably, applications dropped significantly. On the face of it this is not great, but the end result was a massive improvement in the conversion ratio of applications to hires because people were choosing to opt out because the added content enabled informed decision-making and opting out. It is fair to say that the reduction in applications shows that the content influenced the decision not to apply. As the conversion rates increased and the hiring targets were smashed, in this case it should be considered a positive influence even though no physical action took place. This brings in to question the whole measurement of influence because the inaction was the desired outcome, and the viewers were mostly “influenced” to do nothing.
I titled this post in the way I did because I wanted to test how easy it is to write a title or a heading that gets opened. Click throughs or open rates are easy to achieve with creative headlines or tweets, but what is important is what happens once the link is open. If nothing happens, is it really influence? If everyone looks at my job but nobody applies, should I be congratulating myself on my high traffic and great Klout score, or be concerned about the fact that no one is actually going to get hired. If the  headline of this post “tricked” you in to opening it, that’s great for my Klout score, but is it really influence?
One of the things that prompted this post was a conversation with a UK blogger who sends out tweets (automated) about her own blog post saying things like “Really interesting post” or “this is really helpful, great post.” When you click on these links it takes you to their blog and their content. I challenged her on this, asking if she had really said that about her own content. The response I got was that this approach was great for click-throughs and traffic. When I landed on the link, I felt cheated. my opinion of the blogger went down considerably. I added a click to the traffic numbers but was that really worth while. Is this influence, impact or nothing? This kind of link prompts an action, clicking on a link, but not a positive outcome because nothing else happens. There is an argument however that there was an opportunity for an outcome because I looked and made a choice not to act. Is this any different to what happened with Barclay’s? An automated job feed on Twitter gets a high click-through rate, but doesn’t really influence my thinking. It does however present the opportunity to consider applying. Should driving traffic be considered as important in social recruiting as “influence”, or is all this talk effluence?

My thoughts on this is that the most important thing is outcomes, and that is going to be different according to need. If you need to hire now, then traffic and applications are going to be key, if you are taking a longer term approach and looking to build pipeline then engagement, page views and other factors are going to be more important. To me, actions and outcomes are far more important than influence, and it is this that should be the main focus.

What do you think?

Bill