“BeKnown” in Facebook

“BeKnown” in Facebook

Sometime back I remember seeing an email from Monster about BeKnown. I hadn’t tried it until today when I happened to get another email about it.

What is this? This is an application for Facebook to make it appear/work similar to LinkedIn. So you can use facebook to create your professional profile and recruiters could use it to search profiles. It takes a few clicks to install BeKnown on to your Facebook account. It claims to keep this professional network separate from your friend network. But the rate at which these networks grow, many times I forget their association among my 400 odd connections and am a light facebook user anyway so doesn’t matter to me.

The oppty: I think if Facebook users adopt this application (not sure what’s their incentive since many likely ones to adopt may already use Linkedin), it becomes a way to reach a larger pool of users who are not on LinkedIn (roughly 700 MM Facebook users vs. 200MM on Linkedin).

My experience: I tried it today and haven’t yet filled out my profile fully but seemed easy to do. However my curiosity was to see if this helps Pragna’s recruiting projects. There I have to say, was little disappointed with the search results and the completeness of the profiles. I tried a few searches for technical, manufacturing roles and couldn’t find anyone really.

I am sure recruiters would love the prospect of tapping Facebook. BeKnown is a first such oppty (Branchout was one such app  before), but then they have to wait till the network throws up something meaningful :-).

Google+ For Recruiting

Google+ For Recruiting

Well – No “Wave”, no “Buzz” but “Plus” seems to be way to go!!

After two failed attempts, Google has a promising product – something I can use. What’s the selling point for me? I couldn’t figure out how to use Facebook categories to slice-n-dice my friends list. Google+ definitely did the trick very nicely. Especially can think of Friends, Co-workers, and Other Friends as being a necessity for me to share more freely. Then was thinking its pretty secure until I found out about how to use it for recruiting!!

Google+ for Recruiting is simple:

Goto http://findpeopleonplus.com

Put the filters to search by occupation (Software Developers, Architects, Software Designers et. al). Supposedly 20% of everyone on Plus currently are Techies. For example, http://findpeopleonplus.com/Country-United-States/Occupation-Computer-Scientist is one such URL

Search the profiles, use keywords if necessary (fewer keywords) to narrow down the profiles

Best of all, it allows you to email them pretty easily from the Profile pages. Neat!!

Heck with security and privacy, it seems to help Pragna and its customers definitely.

High Potential Hires

High Potential Hires

Continuing on our saga to hire good candidates – here is what we are looking for. I believe this applies both for our internal hiring at both Pragna and SmartCloud companies as well as the hiring projects we undertake for our clients. Essentially there is a lot of difference between high potential hires/candidates and just another hire/candidate.

Though its not always possible to hire the “high potential” ones, one can atleast try to evaluate if we have found one! There sure is a very short supply of the high potential hires which is probably the only reason why Pragna even exists.

Lets see what defines a high potential candidate (Hire)

1. Ambition – I would rate this higher than the others just from the fact that we are talking about a “high potential” hire and not just another hire. Ambition drives people to scale heights beyond their means and wild dreams. Makes the impossible possible. This is #1 for high potential hires. So, sometimes I get excited when I meet people with ambitions and sometimes have been guilty of overlooking other things :-(.

2. Ability – One could argue this should be #1 (maybe true for regular hires). This is to validate some of the  qualities/capabilities that one needs in oneself to achieve the ambitions. Some of these can be tested easily in the interview process and some probably is a gut call or a marginal call based on prior work history.

3. Agility – This is extremely important for high potential hires, that one demonstrates flexibility (especially in startup environments) and also tendency to take a step back to review/analyze, identify root causes and always to keep an open mind to change, feedback, business strategy, criticism etc. and should have openness to share thoughts and learn.

4. Achievement – If the hires/candidates have certain amount of experience, then the above must have resulted in some achievements in their careers. I would think identifying their achievements with special emphasis on the above areas would give proof points about their potential. I don’t think its right to measure this in terms of $ revenue achieved or the valuation of the company (which I have myself been guilty of in the past), but more in terms of overcoming the adversities and challenges to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Well that’s it, The four A’s to find the high potential candidates; gives me little bit more structure to the interviews I need to do at Pragna and SmartCloud.

“A” Resume vs. “The” Resume

“A” Resume vs. “The” Resume

What’s the worth of a resume anyway? The answer depends on whether its “A” resume or “The” resume.

Let me explain – Majority of recruiters tend to send back as many resumes as they can find which kind of matches the text of the job description. Well – that’s what is called “A” resume. And I think it would be worth about $1. Adding up all the cost of access to job boards (probably 30 cents per resume) and labor costs of sending it along, it won’t be more than $1 especially with many shops worldwide competing to find and dump these.

“The” Resume, on the other hand, is easily worth $10,000.  Taking an average of recruiter fees (if any) or internal recruiting costs, it worth that much if not more. Big difference ha?

Now the art of finding “The” resume is what makes the recruiters and recruiting projects to succeed. The true skill and value of a recruiter are to increase the value from $1 to $10,000 or more through a careful understanding of the job, domain, candidate skills, motivation, and interest, presenting the candidate profile and managing the selection process. Its time to ask the question when you engage a company whether they are in the business of finding “A” resume or “The” resume.

Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

So far we have looked at imaginative searching of active job seeker profiles and being a good Linkedin Recruiter. Now we will look at another strategy to get more inbound leads for your open jobs through internet marketing using meta-search engines.

There are quite a few such job search engines (specific to jobs only) that are pretty popular on the internet. Infact I was surprised that the most popular job meta-search engine (www.indeed.com) has higher traffic ranking than Monster.com (Indeed is ranked 110 and Monster 135 per Alexa for US traffic / popularity). Here are a list of such job search engines that I have come across:

  • Indeed.com
  • SimplyHired.com
  • Juju.com
  • Workcircle.com
  • jobs.oodle.com (classified site)
  • vast.com/jobs (classified site)
  • Sites for freshers like Jobsphere and Startuply

Now lets examine how to use these resources on your way to being a smart recruiter. Note that some of these are more suited for full-time jobs than contract jobs especially those that require very fast turnaround. It may take 24 hrs for the jobs to be live on the site and since its inbound and advertising based, it could take sometime for you to generate good quality candidates (2-4 days or more). But definitely works for job positions that have 1 week or more turnaround time.

Here are some of the steps to utilize this resource:

  1. Create an account or profile: Suggest creating an account in about 3 of these sites to start with (Indeed and SimplyHired are most popular and some of the others are stronger in specific domains/industry)
  2. Build a job feed: These job search engines are more structure driven than the typical search engine like Google. so they expect data in certain format on your website or you will need to build a specific XML feed for each engine. The guidelines for XML formats are available for each engine (for example – http://www.simplyhired.com/a/add-jobs/overview#creating ). We need to verify these jobs are picked up the search engine. This will ensure that your jobs are shown in search results.
  3. Advertising: This part works similar to Google advertising. You can specifiy a budget (say $50/job) and also the cost per click (say $ 0.50 per click). This will generate a few inbound leads to your open jobs. The art of managing this advertising dollars will require a separate post to understand how to maximize the value through right choice of advertisement, keywords, CPC etc. We will cover that separately.
Sourcing Strategies #3: Using meta-search engines

Sourcing Strategies #2: Being a Linked-in Recruiter

Its almost a month since my previous post. As part of ramping up our team, we have been training them about how to use the job boards effectively, its an art that takes some time to master. I keep saying if you can locate the right candidate faster than others – relying on job boards is perfectly fine. But as you move from quick contract placements to Full time (or FTE) positions, it becomes harder and harder to find good candidates on job boards.

That’s where the next strategy of a good “Linked-in Recruiter” comes about. True Linked-in is pretty well known and many people use it; In fact there are 65 million users (mostly professionals). However a majority of them, say 80% may not be actively looking for a job, so to be effective at using it and tapping into it is an art as well. Here are some of the tips to get better at using this resource.

  • Prepare your profile – Create a good profile with nice picture, add a detailed description of your job role, skills, education information as well as some fun stuff like your favorite pastime or movie etc. Then make sure you describe your company and who you are recruiting for really well (should be a sales pitch for the company as well as positions you are recruiting for)
  • Build your network – Besides inviting your friends, colleagues, family into your network, feel free to invite these sales/marketing professionals who have large number of connections. These folks normally “accept” most requests on their way to reaching astronomical number of (many have 5000 or more) connections.  After that start joining associations related to your work – Examples could be Local “Networking Groups” in each geographic area that you belong to / recruiting in – say Seattle area professionals or south bayarea networking events etc. In addition join groups related to specific disciplines you are recruiting in for example – SharePoint users and developers, Ruby on rails etc. Also add yourself to plenty of recruiting groups that are out there. Just search for “Groups” using keywords and majority of them are easy to join and easily get accepted. Then start inviting some of the members to your network to build your network. Its pretty easy through these mechanisms to add 500 or more people in a matter of days.
  • Share updates / tweets – This helps to be on top of most user feeds. It is important to post to your network the current job opportunities you have and some interesting stories/happenings from your daily life such as technology trends, funny stories about candidate conversations (minus the name ofcourse), difficulty you are facing in certain types positions etc. This helps to broadcast your updates to your network. In addition you should be active in some of the groups you join – perfectly OK to ask dumb questions or add comments to ongoing threads. Another tactic is to add a bunch of Linkedin Apps that capture some information like TripIt. All of these tactics will make you more visible.
  • Identify Candidates – Use fewer search terms than job boards since its very unlikely candidates would put detailed skills and capabilities. Use “imaginative” search criteria I described in my earlier post such as using competing companies, university names, ethnicity/language, location etc. to target/limit your results. Then select the right candidates to contact by reading people profiles to identify good match – this is similar to looking at the resume in a job board except that you will focus more on their current/past job details, most importantly the companies they have worked for, how long have they worked etc. Look through their “settings” to see if they seeing job opportunities.
  • First “cold” contact – Once you select a candidate to contact, a significant majority can be directly contacted by choosing them as a “Friend”. Now the trick is to write a good compelling message to them – It will help if the message is unique and targeted – for example, relating how the job opportunity is a logical extension to their careers or the job gives them higher degree of responsibility etc. Write a compelling message that highlight the company, career level, job type and how it matches their interest. Ask them to “add you to the network if they are interested and to pls ignore the message if it does not interest them”. So that way Linkedin does not penalize you for adding a whole bunch of  unsolicited requests.

Finally be patient and diligent in your follow-ups. Do not take “Lack of response” personally and continue to chip away – remember you are targeting the 10-20% of job seekers within the vast user base. Also two things that determine your response rate are (a) careful selection of right candidates to contact which is even more important than the job boards and (b) compelling message that you include in your introduction.

P.S: Linked-in is way way ahead of others, to be fair there is also similar sites like Zoominfo, hi5, Spoke, Plaxo, PartnerUp and others.