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JavaStl Has New Blog On Chicago Recruiting

How's that for a title that ought to twist you up.

Brad Hogenmiller, affectionately known around the social media world as @JavaStl, has officially started his own social media company and is working on a project for Rehabcare.  Brad's new site is called Spot On Chicago, and it covers recruiting, social media, and occupational therapy in the Chicagoland area

What's cool about this is one - it's another example of a recruiter that is using social media to hire people (and yes, that's his main goal), but it also is a chance for him to dig into a recruiting operation and help transform the way they gather and filter people to hire.

We'll do some interview with him as he goes on - but it's a pretty exciting thing to do, and I wish him all the best.

You can find him at Twitter on and (help him get to a hundred fans and he can claim the name.

Learning About Recruiting In The Late 90's

My first experience with recruiting came in the 1990's. It was my job to wrangle up some friends and get them to come work for a local catering outfit.  $8-10 for them, and I wasn't paid, but it was social networking nonetheless.

My second experience was hiring employees for Abercrombie and Fitch. We'd bring in young folks in college (SLUH primarily), and those on break, and hire them to work because they had a certain look.  There was actually a "look book" that was put out. It was my first experience with sexual harassment.  When a really hot girl came in, all the male managers would interview her.  And then of course there was the jean folding.  They weren't bad guys - they were just young guys, and no one stood up to them.  Truth is - many of the women liked it, which is why they dated the managers.  Still - the hiring was interesting, because the brand was the best at the time.  People worked at Abercrombie because it was cool.  You made minimum wage, and had to buy the clothes, but people worked there because their employment branding was effective.

My third experience with recruiting was as a manager's assistant for a call center.  I was the first level of interviews for an inbound sales team, and my filtering was horrible.  Of course, so was the level of resumes.  The company decided to pull people off the floor and use them to bring in resumes.  They were incented with $10 a resume.  After making thousands with no hires, they moved on.  Turns out they were calling Apple Temp Staffing offices and asking them to fax over resumes.  Easy money.  That was my first experience with how incentive programs are useless if they aren't managed well. The resume scam was like a corporate version of the Sorceror's Apprentice, but the funny thing was it continued for two months after I reported it.  No one I reported to cared - because it wasn't their budget.

And that was my first lesson in office politics.

What makes all of this interesting, at least to me, is how these practices are commonplace.  Small businesses still look for friends and family to staff.  Retail hiring is all about the brand and the look.  And high-turnover jobs will always be subject to internal scams as managers seek to alleviate the hiring problem with a "system."

Understanding how this works is the first step to being a better recruiter, or manager.

Back In The Old Days

The first staffing firm I worked in was a satellite office in Los Angeles.  We had a Monster and a Dice account, but our primary files was a stack of resumes about 6 feet tall that came from a pair of files in the corner.  We would take the files, call people, and "update their resume," while putting them into the computer.

Good times.  And as I progressed in the organization, I would always start my recruiters out on those paper files - learning to pick up the phone, dial, ask questions, and enter information into the recruiter.  Those that did well in that first week excelled. Those who struggled with just that simple task, never got it and quickly moved on.

Today we have the fancy applicant tracking systems that are supposed to solve all our problems, but I still maintain that working with paper files the first week or two is the key to good training, both for the phone and for entering data into the computer.

Yes, I do a lot of training and talking abotu social media, but the secrets of my recruiting success has always been more phone calls than google searches or board resumes.  And while I use social media to prospect these days, I use the phone to close the deal.