Archive for July, 2013

How To Recruit Using Twitter

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Polonius would not have been a good tweeter. Shakespeare’s famous character, the neighbor of Hamlet, and the father of the prince’s love, Ophelia, uttered his best-known quote, “Brevity is the soul of the wit”, and then blathered on with several less enduring platitudes for another 10 minutes. Brevity is the soul of Twitter, and it is a perfect tool for those who are concise and/or impatient. With tweets limited to 140 characters, conciseness is a must; for the latter, consider that tweetshave become a top priority for those who have piles of unread e-mails in their inbox; thus, a tweet sent to a potential candidate might be answered fasterthan an e-mail. Twitter is also handy for referrals, as re-tweets are easy and they can quickly reach many people. In an earlier blog, we’ve discussed the basics of Twitter, and if you haven’t started an account, it’s never too late to begin. For those who are already Twitter veterans, here are some Twitterapps that can help you find and contact candidates.

One of the best Twitter apps is Followerwonk. While it has many uses, it is an effective tool for recruiters. Followerwonk allows you to search through tweets and biographies by keywords and locations. The detailed search results tell you about their Twitter activity, including number of total tweets and how long they’ve been on the network. Go deeper into the stats and you’ll find word clouds that tell you what they tweet about. And since Twitter is an open network, you can communicate with the candidate directly from the application. Followerwonk is a free program, but you’ll need to work with it in short time increments, as it is based on a credits program which limits the number of searches you can perform over a two-hour period, Also, because it works best at finding individuals instead of groups, it can take time to get your message to several candidates. A better option may be to collect a group of tweeters from Followerwonk onto a Twitter list, and then enter them into a program calledSocialBro. This application will help you analyze and target your candidates. You can discover if they are presently on Twitter, who they tweet with, and thebest times to contact them. SocialBro has an astonishing number of unique search filters that can provide pinpointed results. Once you have a focused, targeted list, TweetDeck or HootSuite will let you post and schedule your tweets. TweetDeck’s columned layout lets you physically create search lists on your desktop and follow multiple streams at the same time. HootSuite is a more powerful tool, but it may be necessary to purchase their Pro version (at $9.99 per month) to get the full range of features. However, it is best to examine both TweetDeck and HootSuite to discover which program will work best with your own needs.

Travis Scott (@SeaWARecruiter), Recruiter with Microsoft, adds “The most important thing when tweeting is to tweet about things people are going to find interesting and will want to retweet or follow you to find out about.  Don’t use tools to cross-pollinate Twitter and Facebook at the same time.  Facebook will ‘penalize’ you for doing this and they are two different platforms, with their own unique communication styles. If you tweet just about job openings, people will tune out pretty quickly. I would use it to let people know about events, ask questions about various topics, promote your blog posts as well as other articles and news items that are relevant to your audience.”

For all its concentration on brevity, Twitter can provide an enormous amount of information about its users. With skillful use of Twitter and the above applications, recruiters can target their searches to a high degree. The cost to implement these programs is low and the results can save a great deal of time and energy. Twitter is an important resource for recruiters and one well-worth adding to their collection of tools. It might even make Polonius be quiet and pay attention.

More Placements with Referrals

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

You’ve heard it since Day 1: “Referrals are golden!” Yet, most of us just blithely ask that generic question, “Do you know anyone else that’s looking” and the response is usually “Not off the top of my head”. Get that answer enough times and you’re likely to write off asking for referrals altogether.

But referrals ARE golden, provided that you ask for them in the right way. You may have called someone regarding a specific job, but doubtlessly, you have several hot jobs on your desk waiting to be filled. So, probe a little. Start with the basic “we’re always looking for good referrals; who do you know that might be interested in exploring this position?” If you get the “no one off the top of my head” answer, keep going! “We have some other opportunities here. Do you know anyone who works in the ________ business?” Now that you’re getting specific, you have a better chance of triggering memories of potential referrals. Don’t give up—you can run through several fields in a minute or so, and you don’t have to give job specifics unless the person you’re talking to says “Wait a minute! I think I could do that job!”

This method is particularly good with people in management and executive positions. Most of the time, they are excluded from the referral programs at their companies, so they don’t think about offering referrals unless someone has directly asked them about positions at their company. Once again, probing is the key to jogging the memory. There is no question that managers and executives have a large network of friends and colleagues. All you have to do is ask the right questions and you’ll tap into that network.

Once the names start flowing, let the referrer take the reigns. Ask them to e-mail or call the person that they’re referring, and tell them that you might have a position in their field. You can offer to send a generic e-mail template that the referrer can adapt into his own words. Call back the referrer in a few days to be sure that they contacted the referral, and then give the referral a few days to get back with you before trying to call them. People are more likely to try something new if they think it’s their idea. If someone calls you to ask about a position, you’ll have a better chance of success than if you’re just another recruiter calling from an unknown number. Remember, if they don’t answer the phone, they don’t know that you’re calling on a referral.

In short, taking time to ask about referrals, and then taking time to follow up can result in quality long-lasting relationships with potential candidates. Of course, your new referrals can refer their friends and colleagues to you. And a good reputation is as golden as a good referral. – Thomas Cunniffe

How to Entice Candidates and Retain Employees

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

When hiring for competitive professional positions, it is safe to assume that most qualified candidates are weighing interest from several different companies. While the candidate may not tell you about the other companies, it is important for recruiters to offer a total package that will be hard to turn down. The paycheck is only part of the equation, and assuming that your company is offering competitive salaries, the benefits may be the element that turns a candidate into an employee.

One of the greatest challenges facing professionals is the balance between their personal and professional lives. Regardless of status (single, married, married with kids, divorced), everyone needs time to take care of their own life, and companies need to offer reasonable flex-time as part of their benefit package. Some of this flex-time can be incorporated into the category of paid time off, but a flexible schedule will also carry an implied trust factor, as the employee is expected to work extra hours to make up for the hours off.

Every company should examine their benefits package periodically to ensure that it meets employee expectations. Regardless of what happens to President Obama’s health care plan, your employees require insurance, and employees want more than basic coverage. As a society that stares into computer screens at work and at home, it is only natural to expect a health insurance package to include vision coverage. Wellness and fitness have been concerns for several years, and access to preventive health care and fitness centers (either on-site at work or through a commercial fitness center) are also high on employee want lists. Another possibility is to offer a vigorous intra-mural after-hours sports program.

Of course, after-work activities also help build team spirit and raise company morale. The things your company a great place to work should be emphasized as much as traditional benefits when enticing a new candidate. So, examine what your company has done for their employees lately. Do they trust their employees to use their own knowledge of company policies and make their own decisions? Do they keep all of their employees within the information loop? Do they ensure that every employee feels like part of the team? All of these factors contribute to employee recognition and appreciation, and they will not only attract candidates to your company, but it will keep them there longer.

Further, think about something extraordinary your company has done for its employees. One company that lost money by closing early due to a blizzard took a giant step when the next blizzard came a week later. They booked a block of rooms at a nearby hotel, and offered a free night’s room and meals for anyone willing to stay overnight and come to work as a skeletal crew the next morning. The response was overwhelming, and those who participated felt a special connection with the company. Although the company had to pay out a considerable sum up front, they made up the deficit and much more by being open the next day.

The simple act of appreciation can lead to long and profitable relationships with your employees. A new employee that sees such appreciation is likely to be energetic toward achieving the company’s goals. In other words, keeping your employees happy should be as important as keeping your customers happy. -Thomas Cunniffe