Archive for the ‘ Networking ’ Category

The FIRM – a 2011 update

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In December 2007 I created a Group on LinkedIn called The FIRM – The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers, to allow a few in-house recruiters and recruitment managers who had already been ‘speaking’ with each other via email and Yahoo! IM for a week or two to collaborate with each other. Little did I know then how big and successful The FIRM would become and never imagined it would become so useful to many, myself included. Now three and half years later there are 3800 members in 49 countries. We have established ourselves as an online community that meets offline, whose members enjoy sharing experiences, asking for and offering help and learning plenty along the way.

Our Vision – today

Run by in-house recruiters for in-house recruiters The FIRM was founded as a LinkedIn Group in December 2007, it is a supportive and collaborative community of corporate recruitment professionals that provides both an online and offline hub for members to network, request help, share knowledge and give advice on all aspects of recruitment and talent management.

We aim to promote the values and professionalism of our members, as well as ensuring ethical integrity and best practice – raising the standard of service we provide to our internal customers and receive from external suppliers.

I can’t speak for every one of course but I have heard some great comments from other members who also get regular benefit from engaging and meeting with each other, each professionals doing very similar jobs. Personally I have learned plenty, thanks to the input and/or introductions made. It is always the first place I turn when I need help with an issue related to the recruitment life cycle, processes and policies. It is also the first port of call, as it is for many, when I need to hire someone.

Offline we having been holding events on a fairly regular basis. They started out in January 2009 as a simple breakfast and the morning networking meeting. That was all it was, a chance to chat with fellow in house recruiters, with a little presentation from our first sponsor, LinkedIn. There were 45 people at this first event, many of whom still attend regularly, some of who have become friends now. It was at this first event I realised it was too big for just me and where I met Emma Mirrington for the first time. The rest, as they say is history.

Based on the success of that event we ran more. At each event we’ve asked the attendees what they wanted to discuss or hear about at the next or future events, we’ve progressed in this manner ever since albeit with slight bigger conference style events. We have been very lucky and very grateful to have had the support of so many of the members of The FIRM who come along, many are repeat visitors.

Currently all of the events have been restricted to the UK, this is purely a logistical issue, however we have aspirations to repeat some of these events in other countries in the future. We have courted with ideas and invites already to do something in Australia, China, Singapore and UAE however the time to find sponsors as well as the critical mass of members to make it a success somewhat influences us. Any ideas or suggestions would be welcome here please.

We have also benefited from the great support and help of our fabulous sponsors over the last 2 years, without whom we just would not have been able to hold any of the events at all. So a hearty thanks to LinkedIn, Matt Alder (Barkers when they existed), SHL, 33, Google, TotalJobs.com, TheNetwork.com, Avature as well as to CareerPlayer for the filming and editing of the videos in this blog. Further thanks go to Frances Lewis of Osborne Clark, Peter Gold of Hire Strategies and Mark Williams of ETN Training for generous time helping us with the webinars we have been able to put on for the members. And of course the generous contribution of all of the speakers we have been lucky enough to have spend time informing us, educating us and helping us.

In the last year both Emma and I have changed jobs, which has meant huge changes and adjustments for each of us. And because the day jobs must always take priority we haven’t had the time to deliver against some of the plans we’ve had, nor has it afforded us the time to organise some of the events we had wished so. We have ideas to address this now.

Also in the last 18 months Emma has moved house, gotten married, had a baby and still found the time to get stuff done. The FIRM just wouldn’t be The FIRM and the success it is without her. Put it this way; I talk a lot, Emma actually does a lot.

Thank you Emma. x

Going forward? Simple. We would like The FIRM to be what the members want it to be.

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This one is all about me – #myjobhunt 2011

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It seems frightening to think that it has been nearly a year.

A little over a year ago, in fact at the end of next week it will be a year, that I made the decision to change jobs.

Time flies when having fun.

Little did I suspect how that decision would impact me and how the activities of last summer and the people I would meet would change my life. I’m not talking about a change so inspiring that an afternoon TV drama could be made of it. But it did change me, for the better I hope.

What was I doing?

I was looking for my next job. I won’t review that experience in this post because I wrote about it extensively last summer in the series “#myjobhunt”, covering Days 1 to 32 of my experiences.

It became the best bracketed six weeks of my adult life; a period that still makes me smile.

As a result of #myjobhunt I started my current role at the very end of Sept, nine and half months ago. It started as a six month contract. Since then I have learned so much, grown plenty and achieved a huge amount both personally and in my job. The job itself was incredibly exciting and daunting before I started, quite a stretch from my previous role. This perception was nothing compared to how I felt after the first month. The pace and scale of what I had to do and what we were trying to achieve was and still is incredible. This job is huge!

I would love to go into the details of what has been achieved by me personally, by the Recruiting teams and by the European HR Service Delivery structure, of which the Resourcing and Recruiting structure is a part, but discretion and company confidentiality needs to be respected. Many of the challenges are the same that plenty have been through before and will go through time and again in the future. Organisations change and develop, going through OD programs with multifaceted change and transformation programmes in order to evolve and grow.

It is what happens. I am excited to be an integral part of these changes.

There are of course frustrations that come with a complex multi-cultural corporation that has grown over 3 centuries. There are the matrix of reporting lines, local priorities, legacy attitudes and the inevitable resistance to change, all of which need to be managed to be sure the overall business goals are achieved in the timescales required. Not only that, there are the inevitable moving goal posts. But one thing has been constant; the desire by the Service Delivery management team to get the job done and work through a problem, not circumvent it regardless of the challenge and degree of difficulty, and still achieve results that will make a substantial difference.

From my desk I can see where the improvements have been made. I count reducing the average Time to Hire by nearly 30%, the average Cost per Hire being reduced by 50%, the dependency of agencies being reduced from approx. 80% to less than 20% across the region in 9 months as significant achievements, but there is always much more that can be done. That is the best and most exciting part of my job. Set aside the five hours a day I have to commute with a 5am start and the not-so-wonderful smells on the tube, I actually feel like I work in HR now and belong in it as part of the changes we are making in the business and I tell you what, I love it! Maybe it is the company, maybe it’s my boss, or it could be her team of direct reports or it could be my team of direct reports or it could just be the job is the right one for me. All of the above I suspect.

I have been asked a number of times over the last few months what my perfect job would be if I were to spec it out myself. I have always answered that it would be the one have right now.

Which is sad, because being on a contract means that it inevitably it is going to come to an end and that end is likely to be fast approaching.

So time to dust the CV off, update it with all that has been done this last year (sorry Merv – still need a CV) and embark on another #myjobhunt. Of course anything can happen and I could still be here this time next year. I hope I am, truly I do. It would be great to take the changes and the results of this last year and use them as a platform next year and the year after. Can’t always have what we want though, eh? But I have to be practical and think and act wisely. So #myjobhunt starts again.

Needless to say that #myjobhunt won’t be the same daily serialisation it was last year. I won’t have the time for that – I will still have a job to do. Yet I will do my best to share my thoughts and observations in much the same way I did last year and I really hope I will meet as many wonderful supportive people and have as many laughs. I also hope I learn as many new things about myself as I did in the six weeks last summer and the subsequent 9 months.

And of course I welcome any input, introductions and opportunities.

Song of the Day – Back from Cali by Slash (feat. Myles Kennedy)

The FIRM gets Technical – guest blog by Peter Hetherington

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In a change from my norm I am very fortunate to have Peter Hetherington (@phetherington1 on Twitter) create the first ever guest post on this blog.

Peter thank you so much and by way of introduction, Peter is Head of EMEA Recruitment at Corporate Executive Board, and is also a long-standing member of The FIRM, a volunteer police officer, a semi-obsessed swing dancer, and a committed boat-dweller, who firmly believes that when London finally floods, he’ll be the last one laughing.”

Thursday 23rd June saw The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers (The FIRM) host the latest member conference in London, this time on the topic of Technical Recruiting. This is an umbrella subject, covering all manner of staple sourcing issues, right from the venerable subject of Social Media, to the young and thrusting newcomer Mobile Recruiting, flirting with the Hollywood glamour of Video, and getting uncontrollably techy on the topic of Search Engine Optimisation.

Whilst there were other elements like a talk from Avature’s CEO on how his CRM product can help you get ‘in the Zone’, and a rousing sermon from Recruitment 3.0 evangelist Matthew Jeffery on the future of recruitment, the areas that I will focus on are those of Mobile recruitment, use of Video and Search Engine Optimisation, as these all have some key takeaways that every member of The FIRM can benefit from immediately!

Mobile Recruitment

(Credit to key note speakers Dave Martin, MD of All The Top Bananas and Katie McNab, Head of Recruitment, UK & Ireland for PepsiCo)

As unlikely as it may seem to some, research shows that by 2013, more people will access the internet via a mobile device or smart phone than will access it by a traditional PC/worktop. Combine that stat with the fact that whilst it takes on average 72 hours to read an email after delivery, the average time for a SMS or push notification on a mobile is 30minutes, and suddenly email and PCs start to feel a little prehistoric…!

Leading thinkers on all things Recruitment believe that corporate career sites will more and more become a collection of content stored in multiple places and designed for multiple formats. Early adopters have already accelerated their ‘cloud’ recruitment presence, and during the conference, members of The FIRM were encouraged to consider doing the same.

Outside of recruitment, the world is already much changed. For example, today there are well over 175m users of Facebook, and over 50% of these users are more active on their mobiles than on a PC. The candidate landscape is equally beginning to change, with job boards now allowing mobile searching and applications from the device. If you truly want to engage with candidates, it makes good sense to allow candidates to apply for jobs in the manner and medium of their choice. 20 years ago we were receiving fax CVs and posted copies. The maturity of the mobile market has accelerated far quicker than the growth of the internet, and companies need to be ready for that change.

PepsiCo is an early adopter of Mobile Recruitment, and we heard from Katie McNab (a fellow member of The FIRM and @Recruitgal blogger extraordinaire) about her experience in developing PepsiCo’s mobile web pages and app, which was unveiled to us as a teaser prior to UK launch. It is a thing of beauty, and once the “oohs” and “aahs” subsided, we were treated to an objective view of the pitfalls and considerations each of us would need to be aware of if we were to follow her example. Katie, like many of us, is a natural cynic – so her own verdict was inevitably ‘we’ll wait and see’, but comforting to hear that 2 hires in the US have already been attributed to the mobile site, and 10 more candidates in process from it!

Key Takeaways

1. At the bare minimum you may need a mobile-enabled careers site. At the moment, any prospective candidate who navigates to your site through a mobile (conceivably from LinkedIn, Facebook, or your 3rd party job board postings) may not have an optimal experience.
2. Ideally you should have the ability to present jobs and allow applications through a mobile site.
3. An App would go a step further in allowing you the ability to engage candidates who opt in to push-notifications – providing them with job alerts and important company news

Use of Video in Recruitment

(Credit to CareerPlayer Director, Rob Wescott)

Scientific study has shown that the video impacts the mind of a viewer in a way unlike other forms of information does. Put simply, just like Heineken (but without the disciplinary consequences if used in the work place), video reaches the parts of a brain other recruitment media can’t reach. These parts are most associated with emotional impact and long term memory. Video is therefore a powerful element to a recruitment branding exercise.

A study of graduates have shown that, in order of preference, the elements they would most like to see on a graduate recruitment site are:
a. A Day in the Life video
b. A video showing current graduate trainees
c. A virtual office tour (video or flash)

Video can also be used to great effect in Onboarding, and messages from the CEO or senior leadership played over video, or other emotive information can help to build a stronger psychological contract with new employees and improve retention and discretionary effort.

Key Takeaways

1. It would be worth the investment to produce a ‘day in the life’ video and maybe some virtual office clips and stream through YouTube onto your careers site (and future mobile sites, Facebook page, etc.!)
2. It could be time to revisit how you use videos in Onboarding/Induction days.

Recruitment Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

(Credit to key note speaker Peter Gold, Director of Hire Strategies and all-round ATS, SEO and SEM guru)

Job boards rule. So do aggregators. You will never beat them at advertising things like ‘sales jobs’ or ‘java jobs’. What is important is what content or websites you have linking in to your jobs and career pages, how your job adverts are written, and how you measure, test and weed out your web content. Members of The FIRM should consider the following:

1. The longer and more specific a job title, the better it will rank.
2. Optimise your site for occurrences of ‘jobs at xyz’, ‘work at xyz’ and ‘careers at xyz’ – whilst you may have a good ranking in one or more, you may be at risk of having your ranking supplanted by a job board or even a site like Glassdoor.com!
3. Resistance is futile – you will be aggregated! No, it is not the Borg* – we’re talking about those troublesome sites that steal your job descriptions and aggregate them out to the world at large without so much as a please or thank you. Given the inexorability of falling victim to these sites, members of The FIRM are encouraged to work with Indeed.com, Workhound and SimplyHired to make sure the Right content is aggregated, not what they ‘spider’ from us without direction.
4. Create ‘Authority’ pages for recurring jobs. These are persistent pages that you then start to build content around, and link to. The best ranking web pages are those that have the most amount of relevant links going to them, and build up their relevance over time. (E.g. links from LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, aggregators, job boards, other relevant websites).
5. Measure and test – use Google analytics to monitor traffic in to the careers site and Taleo job postings. It is very important to weed out pages that nobody visits, as these dilute the search ranking.
6. Make sure pages have proper meta title tags and H1 headings, as well as repetition of job titles in content
7. Have most relevant content highest on page – i.e. finish with ‘About xyz company’, rather than have it at start of job descriptions.

*obligatory geek reference. Every technical recruitment blog needs one..

The FIRM’s Technical Recruitment conference was much Tweeted about using hashtag #FIRMrectek – go see what people said on the day!

Peter

___________________

thank you Peter. Peter’s LinkedIn profile

Write your own damn blog!

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

I am willing to be up front and state that I have moderated a comment on this blog post and rejected it as spam. It was the inspiration for this spontaneous post.

Unfortunately there are one or two people that tend to comment quite a bit on other peoples blog posts in order to antagonise or worse, just plain promote themselves, their company or their products under the guise of very thinly veiled comments. Not here you don’t.

It is a dilemma isn’t it? Do we allow open and honest debate letting anyone comment and letting the reader decide or should we give a slap to those that abuse the platform, lazily using it as an opportunity to influence, abuse or promote to someone else’s readers?

I suspect that the usual suspects will respond to this. If they do should I point them out so that you can read what they write on other people’s blogs and see why I am taking this stance?

Thoughts please.

Do you need a LinkedIn Profile to be trusted?

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I have a question for you; the post title isn’t it. But first a bit of background

For those that don’t know I frequent the Twitterverse quite a bit and am generally happy to chat with people in the open on Twitter about anything that interests me. Yesterday evening I struck up a conversation on Twitter with @Jerry_Albright, someone who follows me and whom I have followed for some time and is known to many through his blog www.jerrytherecruiter.com. Jerry and I share a professional interest in recruiting and as of last night I now know that we also enjoy fishing. So the conversation continued. After a while I get a question from a completely unknown Twitter user. Not a problem as this happens a lot and I concluded that this person follows Jerry or had searched on conversations around fishing and decided to join in. Always glad to talk fishing with people. On further investigation, his Twitter profile indicates that he too is interested in recruitment, so two points of common ground. Tweets go back and forth and nothing alarming happens at all. However being curious by nature I decide to find out a bit more about this chap.

My first port of call is always LinkedIn. I am a big fan of LinkedIn and have been using it daily in my professional business life since early 2004. In fact I found out this week I am member #150,542, which is very cool. I use LinkedIn lots, far more than I use Facebook or any other platform, Twitter aside, as a recruiter to find potential candidates and as a Group owner to engage with other people. So when it comes to looking into someone’s background, even if it is just to find out where they work or have worked, where they may live, to get an idea of who they are, LinkedIn is always the first place it turn to. Invariably it provides me the information I need. So when I looked this chap up, searching different permutations and couldn’t find a LinkedIn profile, it unnerved me quite a bit. Was I right to feel this way?

Now he is likely to be completely genuine and has done nothing at all suspect or underhand. There are many genuine reasons for not having a LinkedIn Profile. Am I right to question and doubt or am I narrow in my thinking?

So the question I have for you all is:-

Would you trust someone on Twitter if you couldn’t find a profile for them on LinkedIn?

Friends Like These

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I have had one of those weeks that are so rare that they stand out as truly brilliant and memorable.

It didn’t start off well to be truthful, Monday was very stressful and by the end of it I have booked myself a nice two week break; recuperation from surgery! Yeah not nice but needed and as such I’m strangely looking forward to it.

So why was the week so good? Those of you who are active on Twitter and who follow me will have seen that I also follow a very special lady. A lady who within the last 12 months has gone from being a total stranger, to being someone very special to me. This week Sarah Knight commenced and then completed her climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. People who know Sarah and have followed her training and her blog know how committed she was to not only the climb but in using it to raise funds for charity. She kept us updated with texts that got translated by some clever technology into tweets so on Tuesday morning I know for a fact that the vast majority of Sarah’s Twitter followers were commuting to their places of work with smiles on their faces and loads of respect for what she had achieved – well those that were breathing anyway.

Earlier this week also, there was a little bit of magic that had an impact and effect on me. Normally readers of the myhellisotherpeople.com blog usually anticipate either something insightful or at the very least a rant from The HRD. Something that at the very least stimulates or incites emotions in most readers. This day was no different in that respect. Yet in all other respects the post, The Strength to be Different was. The HRD, or Theo to those brave enough to speak with him (heeding the warning to keep hands closed and arms by ones side) had written one of the most moving pieces I have had the pleasure to read. A proud Dad sharing with us all, his feelings and love for his Son on his birthday. It brought tears to my eyes and a large smile to my face that even now is still there with the recall. I know it moved others it was that uplifting.

Not finished yet. Just before Christmas a couple of my other fave people lost their jobs when the company they worked for was closed down. Mervyn Dinnen was resolute to the point of denial, or at least that was how it felt from where I was. I read his blog avidly, talked to him, had coffee with him, introduced him to people I knew who I thought might be able to help. Mervyn remained his usual calm (well sort of) and smiling self. On Weds night this week I asked him how things were going and was pleased to hear that there might be good news on the horizon. Yesterday I was thrilled to find out that he had not only taken a new job but it was THE job that he set out to get. Jobsite are lucky to have him on board. I am so excited for him.

As if that wasn’t enough I actually bumped into The HRD at the station this morning. All the millions of commuters going in and out of London’s many train termini at any time and there we were walking next to each other at the same time; me on my usual commute, him not having a scooby’s where he was going or how he was going to get there. He is in HR so cut him some slack and it was too early for him to have had his requisite portion of raw meat. He always makes me smile. So off to work I go with a plan to meet with Gareth Jones, the other person who lost their job before Christmas mentioned in the paragraph above. Over lunch we covered quite a few topics, high on my list was his job hunting activities. And yes! There was good news. Gareth has so much experience in his locker, a very sharp business mind and a catch for anyone. I can’t reveal much, but again I am so made up for him.

So my week has been that memorable because four people, who over the last year have become close friends, are very special and mean the world to me have achieved or done something that has meant a lot to them. I didn’t do much out of the ordinary myself, I didn’t achieve anything but my friends did and they are happy.

Music of the Day = Angels Walk Amongst Us by Anathema

I hope I have many more weeks like this

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting? – Day 32 #myjobhunt

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Since Day 1 I have been blogging frequently about my quest for a new job. When I started I did it purely to reflect on the day past. Within 2 days this had changed. The response I got from people gave me confidence and made me realize that this blog could be a fundamental tool in my job hunting activities. By the end of the first week I couldn’t believe the response and support I had received from so many people, some of whom I had already met, many I had not. It was however Week 2 that things really took off and by the end of Week 3 I had secured my first offer (Day 16). I think I have already written about how I got to Week 3 previously and will no doubt do so again in more detail, once #myjobhunt comes to a conclusion, if in fact it does before I lose interest in writing about it.

Since Week 3 and that offer I have come to realize something and it has been on my mind since. I have made my job hunting activities so open and visible to people, what will happen and what will people think of me if I don’t secure a job? Of course it is inevitable that people will start to wonder why people don’t want me. What will happen if I get a job and then it doesn’t work out? What if I can’t cope? What if …..? What if…..? So many what ifs? I have asked myself if writing this blog was the sensible thing to do in the first place and how can I stop without any negative impact.

Then I looked at the positives of the blog. The blog almost became my CV, the opportunities it created for me, not only actual jobs, but further discussions to take my career in a different direction have been constant throughout the last six and a bit weeks. Some are not for me, others have been too much for me i.e. I didn’t think I was ready or not likely to meet the expectations of role. Some have been great but the salary or rate and location hasn’t worked well. Others still haven’t mature yet and may or may not at all.

The blog has given me so many new perspectives on things; it has taught me some huge lessons about the market and the ability (or lack of) of the many practitioners in it; good and bad. It has made me think and be more reflective about what I want and what I can do. The good thing is that all of the lessons learned will be taken into my next job and built upon and shared with my colleagues, hopefully adding value at each step. This whole journey has taught me so much and no matter what, I expect I will still continue to blog in such a manner going forward.

This quest, this journey so far has been very emotional; worrying, stressful, annoying, humbling, inspiring, enjoyable, amusing. I have to this point, every step of the way enjoyed it immensely and I have made some terrific new friends.

Music of Day 32 – Daydream Believer by The Monkees – very loud and singing on the train!!! Oh yes I did! And others joined in!

How much visibility do you want / need when Job Hunting?

On Day 30 I got the call I was waiting for (and dreading!).

Today I accepted a job. I start 1st October 2010.

THANK YOU EVERYONE