LinkedIn – The Follow Up!

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Recently there has been plenty of discussion around online engagement and social media. @HRManNZ and @KylieTelford have both posted about it, as have I. Engagement on LinkedIn was my main focus – how LinkedIn was becoming a generic platform, trying to be many things to many people but only being OK (at best) and not being truly great at any of them.  I had some great feedback (both constructive and positive) to my blog, excellent tips suggested and I also felt like my blog got people thinking about their own ROI on LinkedIn. Funnily enough I have a meeting with our company’s LinkedIn account manager next Friday…. But I digress.

In the words of Jake the Dog from Adventure Time “sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something”. Pretty awesome way of looking at things right?

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To be awesome with a digital platform you need to be innovative, push the boundaries and stay current. You also need to have a core focus for your platform and keep your users happy and engaged with that core focus. The added extras on top of that are just a bonus. It’s a tricky balance to keep, and getting it right every time is very rare! I feel that LinkedIn has so many focuses with so many product offerings. Great in theory, but the implementation and management of this is a tougher ask.

So LinkedIn, let’s see how connected you are with your market. I’d like to start an advisory group for you, maybe even create a Beta user team perhaps? Give you realtime feedback on your product, updates and how you could improve/develop these. Realtime feedback from people who use LinkedIn everyday as a recruitment and networking tool. Many people in our industry would be keen to get on board – I know because they’ve contacted me after my blog!

So, what do you say LinkedIn? Let’s do this?

 

p.s. As an update from my last blog, I have now reached 11 “great post” generic direct messages through LinkedIn Publisher. Down on normal volume, but hilariously ironic given the content of the post!

 

 

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When Flattery Becomes Plagiarism…

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Recently I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed and a very familiar looking blog popped up.  Now, the reason it was so familiar to me was because I wrote it.  Yes, my own words.  However, the post about it wasn’t a link to my blog. Or even me. Someone had taken my blog, changed a few words around and claimed it as their own.  Sections of their post were identical, and they hadn’t even bothered to change the title.  There was no reference to me or my blog. It was an imposter!

At first I was annoyed, then I was intrigued.  What makes someone want to copy you and pass off as their own?  I debated about naming and shaming them, putting both blogs on my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts and outing them to over 10,000 people, but thought better of it.  I emailed the “author”.  It does however raise a good point – when does the flattery of being imitated become plagiarism?

I don’t think that many of us can say we have never looked at another company’s job adverts, social media, recruitment campaigns and the like to generate ideas from them, to gain an understanding of what our competitors are doing in the marketplace.  Can you?  I know I can’t.  As a young recruiter learning the ropes in agency land I know I looked at other job adverts to gain ideas and potential structures.  And once I moved to the big world of internal and started setting up the employer brand for Youi in NZ there was SO much out in the marketplace to learn from.

If you are using someone else’s work word for word (or almost) a quick email to them to ask permission to use it with credit to them is normally enough.  Had this “author” cited me in their post I would have been absolutely happy for her to use it on her website.  However, if you’re straight copying a job advert or marketing campaign I’m not sure that the author is going to be so giving – I’d encourage you to take the idea and improve it or customise it to your brand, business and values.  If you don’t you could be in a little hot water, and also missing out on an opportunity to take to best practice ideas and grow your own from them – sometimes this can produce the best results for you!

We don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time we work on something as a profession, but if you plan on copying what everyone else is doing you are going to get left behind.  Innovation is key to recruitment and staying one step ahead.  We all know how important it is to stay relevant and be leading the way in digital, recruitment strategy and employer brand awareness.

The final update on the blog plagiarism?  Three days after my email was sent the blog post was down.  I’m still yet to receive a reply to my email – and I don’t think I will get one. But I’m happy with the outcome.  Next time however, I may not be so cool about it.

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“You’ve been unsuccessful” – how to handle rejection when job seeking!

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Job seeking is tough for most people. The applications, the interviews, the emails, the phone calls, the references…. and the rejection.  In the line of work I do, I reject a candidates on a regular basis.  It’s a recruitment funnel – there will always be more applications than there will be jobs to offer (oh, how I wish it was different some days).  Check out the usual recruitment funnel below.

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We all suffer rejection at some time – the role might be too senior (or too junior), you might have flunked the interview or you might just not be quite right for the role.  Rejection is a tough pill to swallow – particularly if you really want a certain position or to work for a specific company.  Rejection can affect us all differently and people take rejection from me as a recruiter well, and not so well. They can either take it incredibly personally, bounce back really well or somewhere in the middle.

Unlike in England recently, where a woman staged a sit in for 90 minutes at an employer who rejected her application (and had to be removed by the Police), there are much more tactful ways to handle rejection!  I’d encourage you to:

  1. Remain professional and polite.

It’s a small world out there, and a lot of people in industries are connected (especially in recruitment!). Remember what Mum taught you about treating others how you want to be treated? This is still the case when dealing with rejection from a job application.  If you are rude upon rejection – do you think you might be the first person they call if they get a similar or better suited to you vacancy? No.  You just cement the reason for rejection.

  1. Don’t take it personally.

It’s not always all about you. As a job seeker you usually have no idea who you are up against in the running, if there is an internal candidate, any specific quirks or requirements with the role etc. There may have just been a better suited candidate.

  1. Ask for feedback.

If you have been unsuccessful, it’s OK to ask for feedback.  I would even encourage you to do so – it’s only going to give you insight as to where you could improve and it might help you on your job hunt for future roles.  I give all unsuccessful candidates I decline feedback – it’s part of running good recruitment practice!

  1. Keep in contact.

If you are unsuccessful, and the company is one you still want to work for, then sign up to their job alerts from their careers page, add the hiring managers you met with on LinkedIn, follow their company pages on social media and engage with them ongoing. I’d also encourage you to send a thank you note to your interviewers (if you had a face to face meeting).  You never know what role might be coming up in their business that you could be perfect for – so keep the lines of communication open!

Overall, I would encourage you to not be discouraged by rejection, it’s a part of job seeking. It’s just not possible to get every job we apply for (although it would be nice wouldn’t it?)!

Giving Back… Today I Returned to High School!

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Some of you may not know, but I grew up in Northland.  Born in the Hokianga, I did my early schooling in Rawene, then moved to Kaikohe and attended Northland College.  I then completed my degree at NorthTec in Whangarei before heading off to the big smoke of Auckland.

Today I had the absolute privilege of returning to my old high school – Northland College.  Decile 1, it’s a regional school with its (well documented in the media) challenges.  However, the staff there are fantastic.  Some of my old teachers are still there and it was great to catch up with them all – these are some of the people who have helped shape me and my career.  To my teachers – thank you.

Today I spoke to 300 odd students at morning assembly and then I did a workshop about careers, job seeking and education after high school with the Year 13 students afterwards.  I really enjoyed it, and hope the students got some insight out of it too.

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At the end of my presentation I wanted to leave the students with three big things to remember.  I wanted to share with my blog readers too.  They are:

1. Respect.  

Respect your leaders and your teachers.  They are there to grow and support you. And you never know when you might need a reference for your first job either! Respect your peers.  Life after high school in a small community means you never know who might be your boss in future.  New Zealand is actually really small and very well networked!  Treat others as you want to be treated. And finally, respect yourself.

2. Want something?  You have to work for it!

Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those that work their ass off to get it.  You have to be proactive – knock doors, do work experience, get life skills and take opportunities given to you and run with them.

3. If you think you can’t – you’re right.

People will expect you to fail, or give up.  You need to back yourself and chase what you want.  Believe you are good enough, believe you can do it and you more than likely will!

While these 3 principles were for school leavers, they are also three very important principles for any part of our working lives.  Take note, and grow your career!

Sometimes “no” is just a not right now…

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Recently I attended RHUB in Auckland (organised by the awesome Phil Tusing).  What a great event over two days.  If you missed out you really should make sure you are there next year.  I’ll take away a LOT from the workshops (particularly around Boolean image searching thanks to Laura Stoker) and the speakers, as always, were fantastic.  A special shout out to Bridget Cooksley of the Department of Corrections – top presenter of the day in my books.

Another great presenter on the day, Gemma Gracewood, talked about the word no.  In her words “a no isn’t always a no, it’s a not yet”.  It’s something that stuck out for me on the day.  How relevant is this for us in recruitment?  Many a time we are told “no” by candidates, but most of the time I would suspect this is a not yet.

As recruiters we spend a lot of our time searching for talent.  For a range of roles and skill sets.  When we are reaching out to talent we search contact details, suitability to role etc and we take time to speak with people about opportunities.  What do we do with those details if the candidate isn’t successful or isn’t interested?  Most of the time, nothing.  What a waste of that time, effort and potential future talent.

“But talent pooling is so hard” I hear you say.  I hear this so often when chatting to people in our industry.  Is it really?  It takes a large amount of investment (time being one of the more expensive investments in recruitment) to identify talent and then we throw it away when we get a “no”.  What if you thought of that no as a not right now?  What if you kept in touch with / kept details of those candidates who say no and used them again in future?  Keeping your brand top of mind for both recruitment and everyday life?  Auckland is a very small place in the big scheme of things (just look at our #nzrec industry for starters!) – your “no” candidate might just know someone who would give you a “yes”!

You may not have the budget or flash ATS – but you can talent pool in many ways.  Through LinkedIn, through your ATS or even more basic with an excel spreadsheet!

This is also the case for agency recruiters with potential clients too – you might get a no today, but you might get a yes in the future if you persevere.  So many times I get approached from agency, but I very rarely get a follow up call if it’s a no first off.  While that client might have nothing for you today, it’s a very dynamic Auckland job market meaning things are always changing.

I would love to hear in the comments below how you talent pool for the future in your business.

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Where does “Real Me” and “Work Me” cross over? Are they even separate anymore?

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Recently Maurice Williamson (MP for Pakuranga in Auckland) got himself into a bit of hot water over some comments he made while MC’ing an event.  I’m sure you’ve seen it in the news, however if you haven’t you can check it out here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11506926.  In his defense he has said that he wasn’t acting in his capacity as an MP or representing his party, he was acting as himself.  In another news article a female childcare worker has been stood down (pending an investigation) from her job based in the UK after she posted on her private Facebook page about being bitten, hit and a wide range of other things by children in her care (albeit very negatively with a few swear words throw in…..).  These examples raise a really good question – where does “Real Me” and “Work Me” cross over? And, are they even separate anymore?

As a recruiter and being from Gen Y – I am on social media, I network and I get out and about.  I also, funnily enough, am in paid employment.  For me, I represent my employer’s brand everywhere I go and everything I do.  Whether I am in work hours or not.  Now, before you jump up and down – when making my coffee in my PJs in the morning in the privacy of my own home I’m probably not representing the brand – but I’m sure you get my drift.

I truly believe that anything that is public – social media accounts, your interactions with people and your actions both inside and outside of work hours can reflect on your employer.  In 2015 the crossover of your “Real Me” and “Work Me” is growing.  If you are in a high profile role this crossover has really morphed into your “Work Me” and “Real Me” becoming one.  The higher your profile the larger the crossover is. And in politics I think there isn’t any difference between the two!

Apart from representing your employer’s brand, just keep in mind that once something is on the internet it’s quite difficult to get rid of it.  Also quite difficult to get rid of is personal brand damage.  There is a lot of talk about your employer’s brand, but have you thought of your own?  How your actions might be remembered and impact your job seeking, sales opportunities or personal friendships in the future?

My advice?  If it’s public think twice before you press the send button or make comments.  Because the HR training in me says that a conversation around “bringing the brand into disrepute” will be far more uncomfortable than you think!

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I’d like to connect to you on LinkedIn – Accept or Decline?

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LinkedIn has grown in popularity globally and in New Zealand in recent years.  According to LinkedIn over 25% of NZs population are members of LinkedIn.  It’s with this in mind that I write today’s blog around accepting and declining invites on LinkedIn.  I was online yesterday and I had a very random and unknown friend request on Facebook.  I immediately declined and deleted it. It got me thinking – if this happens on LinkedIn my approach is totally different.

 

Against all that my Mum taught me about not talking to strangers I accept every request on LinkedIn.  Yes, that’s right – all of them.  Why?  Well….

  • My profile is public – a connection isn’t going to get any further information about me from linking in with me.
  • Another connection grows my online network meaning I am further connected to other members (and meaning I can see lots more profiles with my free account).
  • If it is a scam account or similar they tend to immediately engage with you. I then delete and block them. Be mindful that if someone is messaging you about something that sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  Never give out your personal information or financial details online.
  • And, you just never know what that connection might bring you! Some great business and networking opportunities have come from LinkedIn for me.

 

While this approach won’t work for everyone, as a recruiter it’s my job to be exploring new connections and people online – uncovering talent and new skill sets for our business.

If you are going to adopt this approach just remember – never put anything on your profile that you wouldn’t want the world to know!