Down At SXSW: Recruiter Report

I spent five days at SXSWi last week, hanging out with recruiters and staffing types curious about the old and new ways of leveraging technology to hire.

It would be a shame not to mention #TNL (Talent Net Live) Craig Fisher's recruiting unconference that kicked off the trip, as it got me thinking about recruiting uses from geo-location to databases.  He shared a google search that was crazy the other day.  A search on Foursquare check-ins at corporate headquarters to determine which users were on the service, and where you might meet them or contact them. 

It's serious high-level stuff, and something you should be reading about.

Monster also had an interesting presence, with a large board proclaiming "Find a manager who will let you expense SXSW."  This, along with the Hiring Hub, gave SXSW attendees the ability to be recruited live and onsite by companies looking to hire.  Sure, it's a little underhanded to recruit employees from employers who paid to send those employees to SXSW, but the pitch is an effective one.  You can't keep your employees from attending local events, and what if recruiters started attending, offering a similar technology that allowed people to confidentially interview?  More on that later.

Now, I'm a Sendouts user, but I saw TempWorks there, and it was curious to see a recruiting technology firm that wanted to see the latest and greatest.  In fact, if nothing else, seeing which companies sent people was a checkmark on how seriously they take innovation.  It's not that sending someone to SXSWi makes you innovate, it's that anyone who goes is willing to invest a substantial amount of money and time to see what they can take from the interactive world and apply to recruiting. 

Some very big companies were there talking about their employment strategies, and the danger for recruiters is just how cutting edge they are.  From building talent communities, to applying graphical interfaces to social network analysis, to mobile resume farms, the ideas were truly groundbreaking.  For a long time, individual recruiters led the way in social media.  Today, it is big companies with big budgets that are leading the way in adoption, and I'm not just talking about LinkedIn.

It's never been my thing to talk about the death of recruiting as an industry, if for no other reason, the the structural mechanics of a staffing firm provide a difference maker to corporate HR.  And while SHRM and others are taking strides, the vast majority of HR is already overburdened and can't take on new tasks.

With that said...What is coming... is a rude awakening to firms that work with big companies who are more advanced in candidate selection and engagement.  It's long been a headhunter trope that we're better than internal divisions because we have to work harder for our money and are rewarded by success.  It's going to be quite a psychic shock when internal recruiters generate better results by working smarter. 

Seven years ago, I started blogging about recruiting.  Not long after, I hooked up with Jason and Animal and Anthony on  While we were alternately praised and attacked for looking at the future of recruiting, it's clear that the change coming was a big one.  For those who were at SXSW, what they saw was not some new breakout technology, but instead the interconnected world of the future, where massives amount of information were translated instantly among huge populations, inside and outside the conference.

Welcome to the new world.



CareerBuilder Ads Fail To Inspire

The only jobs oriented ads in the Superbowl were CareerBuilder this year, and I only saw one, but I did get a sneak peek because I've written about them in the past.

The ad was okay, but they failed on the basic premise of job searching - hope.  Monster used to do that well, which was selling the promise of a job that didn't make you want to stab your eyeballs with a fork.  CareerBuilder'a new ad was somewhat clever, but it was also annoying.

See what I mean?  Now, CB tried to make it viral.  They let out a sneak peek earlier in the week, and sent me two emails encouraging me to check it out, probably because I wrote a nice post about them last year.  Well, the post isn't that nice - I did point out they're being way too negative, and that was last year before we really knew what was coming down the pike.  The more I think about it, the more they really missed the boat.  Unemployment in California is over 9% and getting worse.  Massive layoffs are weekly news, and they want to pitch the idea that work sucks?

Didn't they get the memo about hope and change?  I'm not one to blow sunshine in unspeakable places, but surely an ad intending to bring people to your website should really be more than a guy in speedo playing with his toenails? 

How about this: They still run the video for the web, but scrap it for a speech by the CEO, similar to the Sprint commercials, where the CEO acknowledges that employment is tough, but CareerBuilder is there to help.  Monster just launched their new site with help for candidates - perhaps CareerBuilder could have pointed people to their Jobseekers Resources page.  That would have generated the massive traffic they wanted, and touched the lodestone of Hope that we need when we're looking for work.

But no.  They just went with an attempt to be clever.  Maybe next year they'll just tell us to go to the CareerBuilder site to see naked women.  I hear that's been done successfully on the Internet before.

As for the viral campaign - two years ago, they used Monk-E mail, PPC, and video effectively.  This year, they just added a Facebook Connect page so you can forward the commercial to other friends.  I believe the 2008 term for that is FAIL.  I didn't mind the email, but it was clearly a press release email, sent out to get me to spread the news.  And that was the point - the agency running things clearly is measuring the number of views, and failed to take into account anything resembling interest, as in keeping our interest.

Sometimes good advertising is just being human.  In a Superbowl where the game ruled and the ads bored, it would have had that shot at winning the US Today Snap Poll. 

UPDATE:  I was rewatching some of the ads with my wife, and realized that indeed, Monster did have an ad.  It was the silly moose with is rear sticking through a wall ad.  It wasn't as annoying as the Careerbuilder ad, but it was also not as memorable.  So CareerBuilder wins on noticing the ad, and both companies fail on selling hope.  The CareerBuilder tag also stuck out the second time, because I've written about Start Building as being a good line. The problem I see now, is "start building" what?  Job Boards are transactional, and what seemed like a good start two years ago now seems an afterthought.  


Obama Adminstration Hiring Process

Wow. I just found a version of the 9 page, 63 question interview form to work in the Obama adminstration.  Assuming this is not some kind of cruel hoax, this could be the worse hiring decision I've ever seen.

Questions range from listing every resume you've used in the last ten years to names and phone numbers of cohabitants you've lived with in the last 10 years.  Then they get personal, like asking information on your spouse, loans, money, real estate, investments, facebook pages, diaries, emails and Facebook pages. 

It's understandable why the incoming administration would ask people questions.  During the Clinton years, several nominees for Cabinet positions were found to have domestic help that weren't legal, or shady backgrounds, and the Obama adminstration is trying to hire people that won't serve as a distraction.

But this, this monstrosity, is not the way to go about it. Check out the pdf of what it takes to get hired (pdf link).  If this were a corporation, a good half of the questions would be illegal.

Example:  61) Have you had any association with any person, group or business venture that could be used -even unfailry - to impugn or attack your character and qualifications for government service?

Um -like Abercrombie and Fitch, Monsanto, KFC, ACORN, or working for another politician who can be considered too extreme?  What if you worked as a mail clerk in Ted Stevens office.  Would that disqualify you? The problem with questions like these is the answer is, it depends on how honest my accusers would be. 

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Speaking At The ISA With Recruiting Friends

The Green Lantern won't be there, but it seems everyone else will.  The Illinois Staffing Association is holding a Summer event, and I'll be there speaking with Bill Vick, Margaret Graziano, Sendouts, and Talent Drive.

The event is June 19th in Chicago, and I'll be up there on the 18th downtown (if you're there, drop me a line and we'll catch a coffee at a Cosi). For information, check out the Illinois Staffing Association website.

I'll be giving my popular presentation on Using Social Media Tools to Recruit. 

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BlogTalkRadio With Harry Joiner

Harry Joiner and I will be live on the Career Conversation Blog Talk Radio program with Elizabeth Lengyel.

We'll be live at 7:00 CST talking about how to get found in a Web 2.0 world. This program is primarily for job seekers, but it's also good for recruiters who want to know how to source.

Elizabeth Lengyel, our host, is a career expert at Her show prep is listed at her site.

If you or someone you know         is looking for a job – or just getting started – don’t         miss my next Career Conversation Radio Show!
My special guests are:
Jim Durbin, VP of Social Media -- Specializes in social media consulting,         web design and development, and branding,
Harry Joiner, The Marketing Headhunter -- Specializes in integrated marketing and new         media,

Key takeaway: How to use marketing and social media tools to catch the eye of top-notch recruiters!

Harry should have been the first guest.

Facebook Webinar Feedback

I finished the webinar, but had a gap in the middle where we lost connectivity with the audio.  There is a video playback available for those who registered, and they are editing the gap out, but I want to hear what your thoughts are. This is also important for those of you who didn't get a chance to view the presentation live, or who failed to get the sign-up e-mail.

I've offered to redo the webinar and record it so people get a clean presentation, and I'm considering recording it for myself for sale on the site.  If I do that, I'll be offering it to everyone who registered. It's important to me that you all feel like you got real value from my work.

That said, it went fairly well.  It wasn't my best performance, as I got a little rattled trying to back up and cover information.  I encourage your feedback, both positive and negative.  I will only edit cursing - everything else if fair game.   And if you have specific questions or want to know more, feel free to follow up with me.

Thank you to all who attended.  From what the said, it was the largest webinar Hireability has done so far.

Next up:  MySpace Recruiting in June, and In July, Social Media 2.0 tools in Recruiting.  We're going to be tackling Twitter, Click to Call, Squidoo Lenses, and StumbleUpon.

Privacy SmackDown: Jigsaw Versus Privacy Expert

Dennis Smith is one cool dude.  In addition to writing the wirelessjobs blog, he flys around the country doing good wherever he an.  I'm not saying he's Superman, but I don't know anyone who can honestly say they've seen Dennis in the same room with the Man of Steel (I'd note that nobody reports Michael Kelemen being in the same room as Aquaman, either).

Where's Dennis to be found this Spring?  The ERExpo in San Diego, of course.  Dennis, the voice of reason and moderation, is, uh, moderating a debate between the CEO of Jigsaw and a Privacy Expert.  The debate will focus on Jigsaw's use of business information, which is highly valuable to salespeople, with the desire of some people to remain private.  Jigsaw says information is available everywhere - they're just aggregating it.  The privacy expert will undoubtedly say that Jigsaw is profiting off information "owned" by other people.

So the question that's out there.  Can we hide our information, or are we just fooling ourselves.  A reporter decided to try and live for just a week without giving out his private information, and the reports aren't good

Does information yearn to be free?  And do we have an expectation of privacy?

81 People Signed Up For My Webinar

So who wants to be number 82?

I'm doing a free webinar with the Human Capital Institute on how to use social media to recruit.  I'm just finishing up the slides, and this is not one you'll want to miss.

How to Use LinkedIn the right way (it's not what you're seeing now)
How to Use Facebook to recruit top talent with employee referrals
How to Use MySpace to improve your sourcing
The care and feeding of blogs as referral sources
The use of cell phones to improve your candidate pool.

And that's it.  It's all the time we'll have.  The link for the program is here, with the corporate explanation, and a link to register 81 people are on board.  I want to break 150, so if you haven't signed up, get to it.  It's noon- 1p.m. CST online, and it's free. 

Social Media Webinars For Recruiting

I have three webinars coming up in the next month.  The first will be February 19th at 12:00 CST for the Human Capital Institute. The topic I'll be covering is Talent Scouting and Social Networking: The New Employee Referral program.  To register for the 60 minute webinar, click on that link.   

The second event is the Recruiting Tour De Force,  March 6th and 7th, where I'll be presenting with Shally Steckerl and Margaret Graziano  We had a successsful event in San Antonio at the NAPS conference, and we're revisiting the event on the topic of What's Next For Recruiting.  Shally, Margaret and I cover the hot trends in recruiting from the standpoint of practioners.

No dull theory here.  We'll teach you how to make money and hire more people.  The cost of the event is $89.97, and you can sign up at either of the links below, or by sending me an RSVP to

Shally has the event linked for the 6th here, and the 7th here. Margaret writes about it today on her KeenHire blog.

To help us out, link the post or make an annoucement on your own page.  I'll be happy to link back to anyone who advertises the events and sends me a note. 

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