Websites I Write Besides This One

Curious About Missouri Politics?  I write a center of the road political blog for the state of Missouri, and have been generating decent traffic to it.  Check out www.24thState for information on MO politics.

Pregnant or know someone who is?  Franki and I write for Storkcalling, a phone birth announcement service that allows new parents to record a greeting and broadcast it to up to 50 friends and family.

Franki is working on the site redesign, and until then, I'm writing on the blog, connecting with mom blogs and talking about our decision to start a family as well.  To tell a friend or suggest a baby shower gift, go here, or if you are interested in purchasing a package, just go to the main site a Storkcalling.com

And if anyone is interested, I have BlogCaseStudies.com, and am contemplating selling it.  Make me an offer after you check the Page Rank.

And don't forget Brandstorming and LifeInAVentiCup, our Durbin Media blog and Franki's style blog.


Blogger Threatened With Lawsuit For Exposing Headhunter

Instapundit links the story of Just Another Pretty Farce, a Tennessee Blogger whose husband went to see an "executive recruitment" firm with a drawn out sales process that required the candidate to pay the fee.

Let me stop right here.  Candidates.  Never, ever waste time with a company that requires you to pay the placement fee.  Never give money of any kind to a recruiter.  Career counselors?  Resume Writers?  Online Software from trusted Sources?  Sure.  But never, ever give money to a recruiter.

On with the story. J.L.Kirk Associates, the firm in the story, ran them through a sales process where they discuss the difficulty of finding work on our own and then schedule a "second" interview where you are required to bring your Spouse/Significant Other along for the sales pitch.  And it is a sales pitch.

Are you ready for the kicker?  The company asked for $4,420 on a credit card to "place" the candidate.

We were told that Headhunters and Employment Agencies took fees only when a job had been secured for the job seeker, and they took their fees (generally 30-40%) from the hiring firm. But that means the job seeker gets a lower starting salary because all of their good money is going to the headhunter/employment agency. Thankfully, though, JL Kirk & Associates will be able to get my husband a job making a far larger starting salary

Hogwash!  This company, J.L. Kirk & Associates, is one of those companies we are always warning you about in the recruiting blogs.  You are at your most vulnerable when you are looking for work, and you should not be forced to pay a company to recruit for you. 

Katherine agreed, and posted the story on her blog.  The company is now threatening to sue her is she doesn't take the post down.  Instapundit has the story.  Needless to say, the  blog community is up in arms.  The company is trying to strong arm a candidate who described their personal experiences, and that just doesn't fly anymore.

If you feel strongly, post away on your own sites.  Be truthful - don't say anything libelous, but give your opinion of recruiters that charge fees to candidates.

Update:  The Law Firm who sent the demand letter is King & Ballow, a Nashville law firm.  If you are concerned about being sued yourself, you shouldn't be.  We are reporting on a news story, and as long as you don't write something that defames them, you're good.  Stick to reporting what you read, and asking questions, and you'll be fine.

Example:  What was the law firm of King & Ballow thinking sending a demand letter to a blogger?  If they are reading this and would like some expert assistance, my services can be purchased for $4,420.  Bill Hobbs has more.  And Ask The Headhunter covered Bernard Haldane Associates, a company that used to charge candidates feesMike Tiffany links my story and agrees - no fees for candidates


How To Get Comments on Blog Posts

I've got some longevity to this blogging fad, going on my sixth year now, and my comments have usually been pretty good.  I have about half as many comments as posts on this blog, but this isn't really a commenting blog, so I'm actually pleasantly surprised.

But if you're looking for advice on how to get lots of comments to your blog, I know who you should ask.

Jason Alba of Jibber Jobber must be some kind of comment king.  While the rest of us are dreaming up compex ways to write compelling content, he writes a short post, puts a couple of ducks on it, and voila!  Comment Heaven.

Jason gets 24 comments for a post that asks about Networking.  I couldn't get 24 comments if I offered 10 bucks for each of you who left a single letter (and I'm not).

How does he do it?  No surprise - he does it by giving more than he gets - networking with his community of job-seekers and readers, and creating a healthy ecosystem of people interested in working together to secure employment.

Good job, Jason. And remember - it's networking, good advice and pictures of ducks.  Not necessarily in that order.


Blogging Is A Legally Protected Activity, No Really

I just received an e-mail from Rick Bales, a law professor up in Chicago who often speaks on panels about blogging.  He just posted an entry after reading an article about how employee blogging, when done right, is probably protected under the NRLA (National Labor Relations Act).

His post on the issue is here.  The Article he is talking about is available for those with a Westlaw subscription, and it is  Marc Cote, Comment, Getting Dooced: Employee Blogs and Employer Blogging Policies Under the National Labor Relations Act, 82 Wash. L. Rev. 121 (2007). 

Rick says that employee blogging, when it discusses workplace issues like wages, hours, and conditions, is fair play, and legally protected, the same as speech about these topics.  I had heard from George Lenard one time that it is not legal to prevent employees from discussing their salaries, precisely because of NLRA, which covers all workers, not just the unions.  This doesn't cover proprietary information (and apparently, salary information is not proprietary, no matter what your HR department says), so don't go posting tech specs to the internet. 

But if you are wondering about your legal position on blogging, or better yet, if you are a company considering an employee blogging policy, definitely read the rest of Rick's posting.  For those of you who like to start controversy, keep this in mind.  Just because it isn't legal, doesn't mean that throwing this into your boss's face is a smart thing to do.  You can get fired for lots of things, and fighting a lawsuit in court won't pay your bills.

If, however, you have a wild streak in you, or perhaps if you have been dooced (fired for blogging), it's something your lawyer ought to be thinking about.  And if you're a company, let me stress this again - why haven't you talked to a a lawyer about your employee blogging policies?


What To Say To Someone Who Doesn't Get Blogs

Dennis Smith is one of the best examples of a corporate recruiting blogger we have.  The man enjoys blogging personally (he says it's in his blood), but he also wants to use blogging to improve the recruiting function at his company.

At an ERExpo roundtable last week, he was astounded to hear a participant state they 'didn't see much value in blogs and that the one's he'd read only talked about the weather and how their day was going.'

Dennis Smith is a nice guy.  He's also much more inclined to teach than insult.  That's why he offers several reasoned, well thought-out examples of how blogging has made a difference.

Me, not so much.

Here's my suggestion of how to deal with someone who says blog are all people talking about the weather.

You: I really enjoy blogging.  They bring a real benefit to my worklife.
Clueless: Blogs?  I don't think much of them.  What good are they for?
You: Have you read any?
Clueless:  Yes I have.  The always talk about the weather or how the person is feeling that day or worse yet, how clever all of the other blogs are.  What a waste of time?
You: You know, there are a lot of blogs that talk about that stuff.  Do you read any business blogs?
Clueless:  What's a business blog?
You: Business blogs are written by experts in a field who build an audience of like-minded readers to help promote their product, brand, and or company.
Clueless:  There can't be many of those. 
You: There aren't. It's just a tiny fraction of the blogs that are out there.  In fact, I'd be willing to say that 98-99% of blogs are personal, and only 1 or 2% are business blogs.
Clueless:  See what I mean?  Blogging isn't worth all the time spent on it.
You: Are you good at math in your head?
Clueless:  I'm sorry, what?
You:  Are you good at doing math in your head.
Clueless: Umm...
You: No matter.  I have a calculator here on my T-Mobile phone.  Let's do some math.  How many blogs are there?
Clueless:  I don't know
You: Technorati says there are 54 million. Let's keep the numbers even at 50 million, shall we?  Okay - now, let's say 1% of blogs are not talking about the weather.  What's 1% of 50,000,000?
Clueless:  Uhh...
You: Did you say 500,000?  That's correct.  500,000.  Okay, 500,00 blogs that are not about the weather, but talk about business specifically.  Now, what percentage of those 500,000 blogs deal with some aspect of business that might interest you.
Clueless:  Uh...
You: let's say 5%.  That would include, Marketing, Recruiting, Branding, Public Relations, Sales, Technology of course, specific industry verticals and of course, competitors who think blogging is helping them eat your lunch, I mean, gain market share.  So, 5%of 500,000 is...
Clueless: 2500..
You: 25,000.  Hmmm, that number seems a bit high.  Let's say only 1% of the 1% of business blogs is relevant to you, and only 1% of those is written well enough (and in English) to make it worth reading.  So 1% of 1% of 1% of 50,000,000 is...well, it's 50 blogs.  so 50 blogs provide relevant, timely information that you could benefit from reading, and which, by the way, helps you filter the 900,000,000,000 web pages and growing that are currently out there.  Now, how many of these 50 blogs do you read daily? 
Clueless:  That still means there are 50,000,000 blogs that are out there that talk about the weather.
You:  There are 7-8 billion people on the planet. How many do you know personally?  How many do you need to know?  Most of those people talk about the weather, but a small number, smaller than 1% of 1% of 1%, are your family, clients, friends, and co-workers.  The problem is not that blogs don't reflect your needs - it's you've looked at a few blogs, read a few articles, and declared the whole thing worthless.   That's not a problem with blogs, it's a problem with your perception blinding you to potential.
Clueless:  So how am I supposed to find these 50 blogs?
You:  They self-organize into communities and filter information for you.  That's one of the beauties of blogging - other people finding information and filtering it to help their communities learn more.  This is why bloggers are smarter, more informed, wealthier, and better connected than non-bloggers.  In fact, they are termed "influentials," because they have a big influence on the general population.
Clueless:  I guess I have a lot to learn about blogging before I say something foolish again.
You:  We all do, clueless.  We all do.


My BlogSwap Post up at Jobster

My first BlogSwap post is up at Jason Goldberg's blog.  It's about some of the science behind social networks, and it's based on a power point presentation I used to give during sales interviews on the power of warm calls. 

Jim Stroud was my author his week - his post on eight reasons recruiters don't call you was magnificent.

If you're not following the BlogSwap, you're missing out on some quality writing.  I've been universally impressed with the effort put into guest authoring on the blogs of other writers.

Can we keep up the momentum?


Fake Blogs and Paid Shills

I'm in high dudgeon over at Brandstorming ranting about the PayperPost site.  The idea and the launch of a site that pays bloggers to post their opinions without attribution is a dangerous one.

There are many reasons Ted Murphy's idea is a bad one, but the first and foremost is that blogging is at its best when its about transparency, and just a faint echo when it's about deceptive marketing.

Paying bloggers to write posts is bad enough, but doing so without disclosing a financial relationship is lying to the public.

There are vehicles to work with blogs to market your product.  Advertisments, affiliates, focus groups and hiring in-house all work and are honest ways to pitch your product.  PayperPost.com is not.

Marianne Richmond has her own thoughts about the ethics of the situation.


RSS Feed Change: New and Improved

One of the problems with running your own company is you spend your time working  on the websites and blogs of clients instead of your own.

I was reading the Minnesota Headhunter in my feedreader and realized I still had not put feedburner on this site or Brandstorming.

It's done now - if you have already subscribed, you might need to make a change.  Sorry for the confusion.  Actually, I should have made the announcement prior to making the change.

Hey, nothing like a fresh start!