Five Things We Learned From Doing A Twitter Only Recruitment

About five or six years ago I applied for another job. It would have been a significant promotion – nearly doubling what I earned at the time.

I went through the usual shenanigans that come with this type of recruitment. The huge application form. The CV. The covering letter. The telephone interview. The online assessment. The endless psychometric tests.

I don’t think I got to speak to a human employed by the actual company until I was at the final stage interviews.

What I remember about the culture was in the five hours I was there no-one offered me a cup of tea. And no-one in the offices laughed.

I never got the job in the end (I had a message left on my voicemail telling me so) so I’ll never know whether I’d have sacrificed my principles for a payslip.

But I know that someone wasted an awful lot of money on recruitment when we could have just started with a social conversation.

Twitter

Two weeks ago we started a new experiment to mark the launch of our Innovation Lab. What if we literally crowdsourced the people we would work with?

What if we only recruited via Twitter?

This is still a work in progress – we are still having conversations. But in the spirit of capturing learning as you go – here’s my top five:

Your networks network for you

The buzz that has been created has been tremendous. Each of the role profiles on Slideshare has been viewed over 2000 times – with combined views of nearly 9000. That’s way above the normal hits we’d get on a conventional recruitment.

But –note to excited recruiters reading this – don’t think that just by tweeting your job openings you’ll get the same results. That interest has been generated by getting the support from people like Dominic Campbell, Immy Kaur, Mervyn Dinnen and Helen Reynolds. And the other 200 people who have tweeted about it. Build up an engaged social support network. You get interaction through building relationships – not broadcasting or posting flashy slide decks.

You can react in real time

Recruiting via social gives you constant feedback. The first stage took place over 10 days meaning we could adapt to feedback and amend the process as we went along. So , for example, I picked up very early on that the inclusion of Klout as an indicator of social influence was putting people off. I was able to remove this from the application criteria and feedback publicly. This helped boost interest as well as build rapport.

Similarly – a conversation about the “geekiness” of the slides led to comments about the lack of interest from women. We were able to amend this and call specifically for more female interest highlighting the flexibility.

It reduces waste

A couple of people have already dropped out of the process. They’ve been googling me. I’ve been googling them. We’ve had a couple of conversations about the way the Lab will work and we’ve agreed we’ve got different ideas but can perhaps collaborate in another way. Ever been in the first 5 minutes of an 45 minute interview knowing this is wrong for both parties? Yep – a huge waste of everyones time.

A couple of people from HR and legal backgrounds have suggested that we are potentially breaking employment law here as we could discriminate against applicants based upon what we find on Google.

Come on.

We are just trying something different. If you think you’ve got sexist,homophobic,racist,ageist managers I’d suggest you’ve got bigger things to worry about than Twitter. Thanks Jacqui Mortimer for supporting me here – every HR team needs someone like you!

People are shaping our thinking

Already the nature of the conversations , and the wonderful diversity of interest , has led us to start making amends to the way the Lab will work. It’s become less about how people fit into our boxes and more about tearing those boxes apart and building around people. It’s more organic and is evolving day by day.

Who knows. Your next restructure might well be crowdsourced.

It’s 24/7 and global

Imagine the talent you might miss out on because people are on holiday or travelling. That doesn’t happen on social media. Word gets around. I’ve had interest from Europe , the USA and South America. Right now whilst writing this post I’m messaging someone in South East Asia.

I haven’t had a lot of naysayers but probably the biggest misconception is that this approach would only work for these type of roles.

I don’t get that. It’s 2014 and perfectly conceivable that a Housing Association could employ someone based in Indonesia. Geography is less important than broadband speed.

Maybe we need to stop thinking about what our organisations are today and start imagining what they could be.

Hope you find this interesting – I’ll update you soon.  Thanks for the support from everyone – I can’t name check you all!

Be great to hear your views.

 

 

Why Social Recruitment Is Disrupting How We Apply For Jobs

recruiting-via-social-network

What if your next employer spent ten minutes searching your online profile? Are you happy with everything they would find?

Last week I posted about how social media could land you your next job and the dangers of online professional invisibility. But having a badly curated profile can be even more damaging when it comes to job search.

But should recruiters be looking anyway?

In his thought provoking post “The Application Of Social Media – Using #SM in HR” Phil Lyons raises issues of potential discrimination against job applicants, and the dangers of unfair judgements about candidate suitability. Phil recounts advice he was given rather than presenting his own views. This included the suggestion of a ban on the use of social media during an application process. Essentially a hiring manager was NOT to check someone’s online activities.

But do the people who are giving this advice really understand how SM is used in practice?

In response to the post John Popham questioned whether recruitment may be one of those areas in which the current rules have been overtaken by the pace of change. That “the concept of infringing privacy can’t apply to social media because content is, by definition, in the public sphere.”

I think he could be right.

If I were to recuit a role on my team the first place you will hear about it is on SM. And rightly or wrongly , I’m going to make an initial judgement about a candidate based upon their digital profile. I would expect that if I was applying for a job. I think we have to accept that initial opinions will be formed about you online rather than face to face.

Of course – this is problematic. It could be argued that your online presence is more real than the image you choose to present when you walk into an interview room. Generally it won’t be as polished and you are more likely to see someone’s true opinions. And – social media is all about opinions. Unless you only post pictures of kittens, it’s likely that someone may take exception to one of your posts.

Interviewing someone begins the moment you connect online.

Old recruitment went something like this:

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But isn’t modern recruitment more akin to this?

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OK , I exaggerate for effect. But the normal rules of recruitment are being disrupted.

Just this week we have seen another new approach. Pizza Hut stated that interviews for a new post would take place in 140 seconds. Follow up interviews will take place via a Google Hangout. Your application is being made public and crowdsourced. Of course a lot of this is about brands gaining valuable PR by using unconventional approaches – but the point is that social recruiting is happening.

So – do we need new rules? I don’t think we can expect them just yet – this is still an emerging area. Both recruiters and applicants have got to adjust to the online world and find an approach that is both ethical and fair. Jobseekers need to be sensible , curate their profile and search themselves on a regular basis.

Recruiters need to respect that people have a life. Someone who has been on that weekend in Magaluf and posted some very embarrassing photo’s has made a mistake. But is also human.

And personally I’d rather recruit someone who shows they are a real human being – flaws and all – over someone who has zero digital footprint.

What do you think? Does there need to be more control over what employers can use in an application process?

The Social CV: How Social Media Could Get You Your Next Job

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I often joke with a friend of mine that if they ever lost their job they would be unemployable. Because they have a great CV but zero digital footprint. No LinkedIn , no Twitter , no Facebook. Nothing.

I ask them to imagine a future where you don’t have a CV or resume. A future where your talent and achievements are broken down into tweetable chunks. Your professional life , and a good bit of your personal too, is available online for all to see. You are scored according to your worth and the value of your followers. Your score can determine whether you get that job interview.

And they laugh at me. ‘Paul , you are such a geek.’ As if that is ever going to happen.

Except it has happened. In 2013. At least if you are applying for a job at Enterasys Networks.

As many of you will already know the web was set alight when Vala Afshar pronounced the death of the CV.   “The Web is your résumé” he said “Social networks are your mass references”.

Enterasys have just broken new ground with their latest job advertisement. The minimum requirements for which are:

  • A Klout score above 60
  • A Kred influence score of 725
  • 1,000 active Twitter followers

This has made a lot of people start frothing at the mouth at the absurdity of it all. It’s a natural reaction when someone proposes a completely new way of doing something.

But I’m more interested in the opportunities this presents than its flaws. I think Vala is right for trying to disrupt the way companies recruit people. Why shouldn’t we start using social influence and the Social CV as part of recruitment?

Most minimum job requirements are based on what people achieved in school. If I were to apply for a job tomorrow the first thing it will ask me after my name and address is what I did 20 years ago. A time when jobs required completely different skills.

But we are still hung up about educational attainment. Even when it has no practical relevance to what we are applying for.

Don’t believe me?

A former colleague of mine recently applied for a job and was told that because a GCSE didn’t meet the required grade they were an unsuitable candidate. They came with my full endorsement – someone I’d employ again in a heartbeat.  The qualification that scuppered their job chances was 15 years old –  everything they had done since was irrelevant to the employer. And this wasn’t some blue chip city firm – it was a housing association- a business supposedly founded on the principle of giving people a second chance.

15 years of achievement and all it comes down to is what’s written on a piece of paper.

How absurd.

What I like about the idea of a Social CV is it is a genuine meritocracy. Anyone , anywhere can become influential on social media. Regardless of educational performance you can reinvent yourself online. Whatever their faults – Kred and Klout have something that educational qualifications will never have – they are bang up to date.

  • Go on holiday and your Klout score declines
  • People stop finding you engaging? You lose Kred.

Surely something like RebelMouse , that creates a Social front page based on your digital presence , paints a more relevant picture of you than the conventional CV?

Social Media has changed recruitment forever. HR teams and employers must change their practices to adapt to it , not expect social media to adapt to them.

I would agree that the concept of the Social CV has got a lot of maturing to do. But it will become accepted as employers realise that social media skills are becoming a necessity.

But what do you think? Could the Social CV replace the traditional approach?

An Opportunity 4 Employment

On Friday I was faced with a major dilemma – choose just one of three unemployed people , who also happen to be customers of ours , to be my personal assistant for 6 months.

All deserve the opportunity , all desperately need someone to give them a break.

I’m convinced companies need to think and act differently if we are to have any chance of reducing employment and creating jobs for the future.

And nothing needs disrupting more than the way companies recruit people.

I’ll post more on this next week.  For now I want to hand over to Sonja – who was unemployed just 9 months ago.  Sonja helped me have chats (can we lose the entire concept of interviewing?) with the customers.

She was confident ,inspiring and the applicants (awful word , lets lose that too) could relate to her more than me. I , like most people who recruit , have not been in their position for a long time. We use process and language that was created in a different time. A time that isn’t relevant anymore.

I asked Sonja to write a few words:

“I had the opportunity today to sit in with Paul on his interviews for his Opportunities4Employment placement. I was so excited as O4E made such a difference to my life. I couldn’t wait to meet the next candidates! As soon as they walked in I saw their faces and I was transported back to how nervous I felt at my interview – it was all so close to home.

It was amazing to be on the other side of the interview and listen to why they want to come and work for Bromford and what this will do for them! I know that they were probably thinking what I was thinking 9 months ago what do I say? How do I sit? Should I have a drink if they offer? What will make me stand out from the rest?

My journey? I started out homeless without anywhere to go when I had my first connection with Bromford – they offered me a house!!!

Then to top it off after about 12 months they offered me a job!! – I remember being called and told that I had got through to the assessment day and being really nervous almost sick feeling because I thought I can’t do this what will make me stand out??

The assessment day was brilliant and I was made to feel so welcome, afterwards I wanted this job more than anything but with so many candidates making it through I thought I had no chance.

At the interview I remember being so nervous that I was shaking walking up the stairs, I wanted this opportunity so badly! Then I got the call…. I got the job!!!! I was so happy things were going to be so different for myself and my family!! 6 months down the line after working really hard and pushing myself doing things I have never done before and hopefully making an impression on the team I finally got the news that I had my apprenticeship I am now 3 months into it and loving it.”

We need to create hundreds of thousands , millions , of stories like this.  And , along the way , we need to reinvent employment and recruitment for the 21st Century.

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