SHRM Article on Using Twitter for Recruiting

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Posted (admin) in Job Search Assistance, News, Perfect Job Seeker, chmura on February-10-2010

The following article was written by Allen Smith, J.D., SHRM’s manager of workplace law content. I was interviewed by Allen as a source for the story based on our involvement with the award-winning job help television show JobQuest on Blue Ridge PBS.

A few years ago, Stuart Mease was attending a lecture where he heard a professor recommend a new web site called Twitter. “What a waste of time,” Mease initially thought.
Fast forward to 2010. Mease is now recruiting manager at a Rackspace Email and Apps office in Blacksburg, Va., and using Twitter to help fill positions.

Twitter is a great tool for promotion and getting information quickly, Mease said in a Feb. 3, 2010, interview. While he thinks that relatively few companies use Twitter as a recruiting tool, he said it is becoming common in high-tech areas.

Mease quickly rattled off some of the benefits of recruiting by Twitter, including its speed in getting the word out about open positions, the possibility of a message about a job vacancy going viral on Twitter if it starts to get retweeted, the ability to reach a community’s thought leaders, the usefulness of searching key buzzwords in an industry to find candidates with rare expertise, Twitter’s potential use as a prescreening tool and the fact that it’s free.

Using hashtags like #jobs or #RKE for the Roanoke area, Twitter’s “powerful” search feature can be used to refine a search for possible candidates further, Mease noted.

With a unique URL (shortened on such sites as bit.ly) for each open position to a link that explains the application process, an employer can get useful data about who clicks through to job postings, including the location of those who click through.

But there can be downsides to recruiting on Twitter, Mease noted. Sometimes a posting might go viral in a negative way quickly, requiring fast damage control.

And management attorneys caution that there are some legal speed bumps when recruiting on Twitter.

Diversity and TMI

Christine Walters, J.D., SPHR, and owner of HR consulting firm FiveL Co. in Westminster, Md., cautioned that HR should use Twitter to recruit “in moderation.”

She recommended that HR ensure that new media recruiting tools such as Twitter do not become an employer’s sole or even primary source for recruiting. “This may adversely impact the diversity of your applicants and, consequently, hinder progress under your affirmative action plans, if you have them, and/or lead to claims of disparate impact in your recruiting practices,” she said.

There also is the risk, as with other new media, of getting too much information about applicants. “Watch your use of personal information that you glean from viewing candidates’ social pages that may be legally protected, such as their use of lawful products like tobacco, medical use of marijuana, political opinions, associations or familial relationships,” Walters said. “These and more are protected under some state and local laws.”

Lisa Harpe, senior consultant and industrial psychologist with the Peopleclick Research Institute and author of the e-book Social Networks and Employment Law, warned in a Feb. 4 interview that using Twitter to screen can raise a host of legal issues under anti-discrimination laws. If there is a photograph on the person’s Twitter site, for example, she noted that the employer instantly would have access to information about someone’s race, gender, age, disability or other protected categories that it ordinarily wouldn’t have in the application process.

“Probably the safest use” of Twitter is to disseminate information about job vacancies, she said. But if employers do decide to use it to screen, she cautioned that HR should standardize the process by allowing only a select group of individuals who are trained on employment laws to use Twitter for screening and then provide other decision-makers only with job-related information found on Twitter. Harpe also cautioned that there may be privacy and PR issues involved with using information posted on Twitter without the individual tweeters’ knowledge. Some state laws also prohibit the use of lawful nonjob activities in employment decisions, she added.

Federal contractors should ensure compliance with the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Internet applicant rule when recruiting via Twitter. Employers also should follow the record-keeping requirements set by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (UGESP), reminded Chris Mills, an attorney with Fisher & Phillips in Murray Hill, N.J. Employers that follow UGESP guidelines are better able to defend themselves from discrimination claims, he observed.

Business Needs

“Always let business needs drive your employment decisions,” Walters said. “Ask yourself: Who do you monitor? How often? Why?” Even in an informal venue like Twitter, where the tone often is like an online cocktail party, employers should “require respectful communications in all forms: verbal, written or electronic, and prohibit offhand disclosure of confidential information or disparaging remarks about the company, customers or employees.”

The business need for trying to fill some positions through Twitter is readily apparent.

Mease noted that when Rackspace sought to fill a social media managing position, it used Twitter to help broaden its applicant pool. Technology jobs often are natural fits for recruiting by Twitter as well, he added, noting that one Rackspace employee has thousands of followers and a list on his Twitter site of all the people he knows who are programmers.

Marketing and business development are other jobs that already seem natural candidates for recruiting by Twitter. Besides, Mease remarked, the people on Twitter tend to be “very proactive, more educated and tech savvy,” characteristics that are highly desirable for a wide range of employers.

The value of Twitter as a recruiting tool is easy to miss though, particularly for those who just visit the Twitter web site but don’t use an application like TweetDeck or JobDeck, Mease said.

Additional Tool

Of course, Twitter isn’t the be-all, end-all—it’s just one more recruiting tool.

“In order to be successful recruiting, you have to use multiple methods and tools, Just one way doesn’t cut it,”  noted Sharlyn Lauby (@sharlyn_lauby on Twitter), SPHR, president of ITM Group in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., who blogs on HR Bartender. But she said, “there’s definitely a recruiting presence on Twitter. The interaction makes it an ideal option. As far as results, I think that comes down to the individual using it and their goals. You need to have a strategy.”

Lauby added, “Twitter can be perceived as having a long learning curve. To be successful, it takes some time to build relationships,” she said. “People tell me all the time, ‘I’ve been on Twitter and I see people tweeting what they ate for breakfast. That’s why I’m not on Twitter.’” Her response is, “that’s the same stuff we talk about in the office. Sometimes those casual remarks help start meaningful dialogue.”

Mease (@stuartmease on Twitter) has shown he’s game for innovative ways to help with job recruiting, even helping with a television show, JobQuest, on a local PBS station. The monthly show features job openings and tips on job hunting and is sponsored by several community partners, including the Roanoke Economic Development Office (where Mease used to work) and Roanoke Valley Society for Human Resource Management chapter. The last show will air Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, 2010, at 7 p.m. Mease said viewers typically tweet to fill job openings while they watch. The show doesn’t stream live on the Internet, he said, but it can be tracked on Twitter by following @BlueRidgePBS.

What’s actually going to work when filling a job often is as surprising as Twitter’s overnight popularity. Many avenues might be tried before the right candidate is found, and Twitter isn’t likely to change that. Though Rackspace has used Twitter to help broaden its applicant pool, Mease noted that the company wound up offering the social marketing position to someone who did not apply through Twitter.

And it was clear that the applicant had done her research on the company—always a good sign, using a tool that’s becoming a popular way for applicants to decide whether they would enjoy working for prospective employers. With Twitter, Mease noted, vetting is “a two-way street.”

Be a Perfect Job Seeker to Stay Out of the Unserviced Workforce

Posted (admin) in Job Search Assistance, News, Perfect Job Seeker, chmura, unserviced workforce on February-3-2010

The following appeared in the Roanoke Times New River Valley Current on Tuesday, February 2.

In January, we introduced the concept of the Unserviced Workforce. These workers are stuck because neither the private nor the public sector is adequately servicing these people. Unserviced workers are defined as having good skill sets, but not billable skill sets. They have some form of higher education. They have upside and potential, typically younger, and are looking for a professional-level job. The goal of these people is to move out of this labor sandwich, but they do not know how. They need a roadmap to proactively manage their career. The Perfect Job Seeker is a proven strategy to get you out of the Unserviced Workforce.

The Perfect Job Seeker diversifies his/her time working and managing a career by investing in four buckets – Relationships, Humility, Study and Faith.  The first two buckets are immediate and the others have a longer-term horizon.

First, it’s all about Relationships. Only 1 in 5 of all jobs is advertised. To uncover the other 4 you must establish and nurture a network of contacts that provide information about these hidden jobs. A recent survey found only 6% of job seekers secure jobs through online resources. Relationships are king.

Practice Humility or someone else will do it for you. Unrealistic expectations and entitlements have created many bitter job seekers. In this economy, everyone is affected regardless of academic pedigrees, past accomplishments, or tenure and seniority. For a period of time, one may have to become under-employed and take on multiple jobs. Simply put, there are jobs available, if a person wants to do them.

More long-term solutions used by a Perfect Job Seeker to stay out of the Unserviced Workforce include continuing your education through formal or informal Study. The high school diploma or college degree from years ago now may be outdated. Acquiring new skills is essential to placing oneself in a fountain of opportunities. Again, there are jobs available, if a person wants to obtain the skills needed to perform the jobs.

Take a leap of Faith and start a business.  This does not have to be a full-time gig. Internet and home-based businesses plus franchise opportunities all offer the ability to create multiple revenue streams. At no other time in U.S. history has the barriers to entry in starting a business been so low.

Ultimately, using the Perfect Job Seeker model for guiding your career will not only help you navigate through this economic recession, but it will also prepare you for the next recession. Diversify your career planning and job search activities. Invest time in relationships. Humble yourself and take jobs beneath you. Commit to lifelong learning. Think about how to create a small business.

Using the Perfect Job Seeker recipe will keep you out of the Unserviced Workforce.

For more information, visit the www.perfectjobseeker.com and www.unserivcedworkforce.com.

Richard Florida on BigThink.com

Posted (admin) in Creative Class Leadership Program, Job Search Assistance, unserviced workforce on January-25-2010

The foremost authority on the Creative Class and workforce planning by region, Richard Florida, was recently interviewed on BigThink.com. As practitioners working on helping job seekers and regions, would be wise to implement what he is saying and help the Unserviced Workforce. Florida also is planning a new book late spring called the Great Reset.

Guest Blogger: Tiger Woods Identify Reality

Posted (admin) in News, Willie Jester Identify Reality on January-9-2010

The following is a guest post from Willie Jester. Follow Identify Reality on Twitter.

Tiger Woods is a business. The business success was undeniable. The business foundation is his golfing ability. The other attributes he brings to the business are integrity, focus, work ethic, looks, morals, family. His business totally derailed on a few of these. Now what? Identify the Reality, Accept the Reality and Own the Reality. What does that mean?  It means this, time does not stop.  As CEO of his business, he gets the key decision makers to the table. In this case, there is only one and that is his wife. All the facts are laid on the table. All that are known and all that are lingering out there waiting to drop. All of it, every single thing. Nothing is left off the table.

With EVERYTHING on the table (complete candor), the key decision makers have to do exactly that. Make a decision.  If everything is NOT on the table…the company will continue to fail and fall…as is clear and obvious in the current state.

What decisions have to be made? With everything now on the table, both decision makers have it all in front of them. Now, they must determine the goals of the business. Does he want a business any more? Is she going to continue to be a partner in the business?  These are yes or no questions. There are no “yes, but” answers. Business is hard, life is hard. There is a spiritual goal, there is a relationship goal, there is a parenting goal, there is a golf goal, there is a sponsorship goal, there is a family goal. Whatever the goals are, there is a path to achieving them.  Those paths have to be the focus. You can’t focus on the goal, you focus on path to the goal. “Your Focus is the Focus!” Each person has to buy into the plan. Hence, “must weigh in to buy in”. Tiger saying he wants to be a better father is like saying he wants to win more golf tournaments. The difference is there was a plan for golf, x hours of practice, x hours of training, x number of tournaments, x number of wins. All measurable results.  Successful business has a path for all goals, focus on the path to the goals and measurable results on the path.

With core management agreeing on the goals, the next layer of management is brought to the table. The “candid table”. The direction and goals are clear, now time to work out the path details. This group is vitally important to managing the path to the goals. The trainer, the coach, the nanny, the spokesperson, the caddy, the pilot, the sponsors, and any other “business division” that has a clearly stated goal or part of the stated goals. They all play a part in the path and the focus. Again, they must “weigh in to buy in”. They must also know their input is important, respected and free of retaliation.

The paths worked out are clear with measurable results. There is no double speak, nothing vague, it is clear, concise, understood and agreed upon. Every single person in the organization must be able to be awakened in the middle of the night, half asleep, one eye opened and explain clearly and decisively what the overall goal(s) of the business is and specifically what role they play in the organization.

What is so vital to Identifying Reality is the freedom that it brings. Until it is all out…Tiger and his business will never be free. Rush Limbaugh had his reality moment when he went through his pain issues. He came clean, identified the reality, had a goal to come back and focused on the plan to do it. Where is he today? Enjoying the greatest success of his career. Arguably he dominates the competition as much as Woods dominated his. People can say all they want about Rush, but his business can’t be touched. He can look them in the eye and say yep, did that, got anything other than name calling to through at me? Tiger has control over his life right now just as he did 10+ years ago. The decisions are in front of him. If Tiger chooses, he will dominate again. As the CEO, he holds the cards, no one else does.

If you do not face the reality of your business now, you will face it later and under less desirable terms. You cannot run from reality. This is very difficult to do. When you are part of the company, you are too attached in so many ways to make the bigger decisions. The earlier in the process, the smaller the decisions are. The later in the process the larger the decisions are. You have free will to make that decision as well.  The sooner you face the reality, the better. Ask Neville Chamberlain, ask Michael Vick, ask Enron, ask Circuit City, ask Tiger Woods.



Roanoke happenings courtesy of MyScoper

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