Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

So I ‘GOOGLEd’ myself…

Posted by sweens on March 24, 2010

The great thing about having my blog hosted through WordPress is that it tells me what search strings people have used to eventually lead them to my blog.  So I thought I would try one out and I ‘GOOGLEd’ my own name.  I was happy to see that my blog was now the first search GOOGLE was able to display. 

I think I am going to count this as a small victory in the world of blogging.  Others might refer to is as ‘egosurfing’ but I assure that my intentions for ‘GOOGLing’ myself were not to boost my own ego.

Some would suggest that searching yourself frequently is a good thing to monitor the view you have created for yourself on the web.  I know when I searched my name the options for ‘Tom Sweeney’ were endless as I am clearly not the only person with this name but there are many people with this name on Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, ZoomInfo, etc.

Try it – let me know what you find…

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

$13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job

Posted by sweens on October 22, 2009

By Michael Luo
Published: October 21, 2009
BURNS HARBOR, Ind. — As soon as the job opening was posted on the afternoon of Friday, July 10, the deluge began.

C.R. Engliand, a nationwide trucking company, needed an administrative assistant for its bustling driver training school here. Responsibilities included data entry, assembling paperwork and making copies.

It was a bona-fide opening at a decent wage, making it the rarest of commodities here in northwest Indiana, where steel industry layoffs have helped drive unemployment to about 10 percent.

When Stacey Ross, C. R. England’s head of corporate recruiting, arrived at her desk at the company’s Salt Lake City headquarters the next Monday, she found about 300 applications in the company’s e-mail inbox. And the fax machine had spit out an inch-and-a-half thick stack of résumés before running out of paper. By the time she pulled the posting off Careerbuilder.com later in the day, she guessed nearly 500 people had applied for the $13-an-hour job. “It was just shocking,” she said. “I had never seen anything so big.”

Ms. Ross had only a limited amount of time to sort through the résumés. While C. R. England has not been immune to the downturn, it has added significantly to its stable of drivers and continued to hire office staff members to support them. Ms. Ross was also trying to fill more than two dozen other positions.

The 34-year-old recruiter decided the fairest approach was simply to start at the beginning, reviewing résumés in the order in which they came in. When she found a desirable candidate, she called to ask a few preliminary questions, before forwarding the name along to Chris Kelsey, the school’s director. When he had a big enough pool to evaluate, she would stop. Anyone she did not get to was simply out of luck.

She dropped significantly overqualified candidates right away, reasoning that they would leave when the economy improved. Among them was a former I.B.M. business analyst with 18 years experience; a former director of human resources; and someone with a master’s degree and 12 years at Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm.

Over the course of four days, Ms. Ross forwarded 61 résumés to Mr. Kelsey, while rejecting 210 others. The remainder never even got a look. Many were, in fact, never uploaded to the company’s internal system because there were too many.

Just before the advertisement was removed, a standard one-page résumé arrived from Tiffany Block, 28, who lived in nearby Portage and had lost her job four months earlier as an accounts receivable manager at a building company when it closed its Indiana office.

Someone she knew had applied for the job and had said so on Facebook. Ms. Block went to the company’s Web site and filed an application online, which many others had not. By doing do, her application went directly into the company’s system. She was hardly optimistic, since she had not had an interview in months.

Ms. Ross, however, passed it on the next day to Mr. Kelsey.

Attendance at Mr. Kelsey’s school has surged during the recession. Mr. Kelsey, 33, had just promoted one of his three administrative assistants, who handle the paperwork needed for drivers to hit the road. He needed a replacement quickly.

The overwhelming response astonished him. He asked Cheree Seawood, one of his current assistants, to go through the résumés and help pick out several to interview. To make the task easier, he decided they should be even more rigorous in ruling out anyone who appeared even slightly overqualified. Mr. Kelsey, an ardent New England Patriots fan, compared his personnel strategy to the team’s everyman approach.

“We like to get the fair and middling talent that will work for the wages and groom them from within,” he said.

In other words, he said, he did not want the former bank branch manager Ms. Ross had sent, or the woman who had once owned a trucking company, or even the former legal secretary.

He also realized that in this climate he could afford to be extra picky and require trucking industry experience.

The company eventually settled on eight people to interview, inviting in the first two just five days after the job was posted.

In the past, Mr. Kelsey had mostly ad-libbed interviews, but this time he asked his company’s human resources department for help. They sent him a list of 13 questions, as well as an eight-page packet with 128 questions grouped under 50 “competencies.” He decided he would ask them all.

At the end of each hourlong interview, he and Ms. Seawood each jotted down a rating for each applicant and then compared them.

Invariably, the candidates’ job search travails came up. One woman who lost her job had started working as a waitress and confessed she had come directly from her job on the overnight shift.

But Mr. Kelsey resolved to keep his personal sympathies at bay. “If you start judging applicants on want or need, eventually that want, or need, will go away when they get the job and their financial situation stabilizes,” he said. “Then you’re left with whatever skills they have.”

Before Ms. Seawood called Ms. Block to schedule an interview, she had been getting increasingly depressed.

“I felt like, I’m 28 years old, and I don’t have a job,” she said. “What am I doing with myself?”

But Mr. Kelsey was immediately impressed when she came in on the second day of interviews. Dressed in a conservative business suit, Ms. Block patiently answered all of the 100-plus questions. Mr. Kelsey liked that she remained consistent in her answers and showed independence.

Afterward, Mr. Kelsey gave Ms. Block a 9; Ms. Seawood rated her at a point lower.

The next week, however, Ms. Seawood gravitated to a different candidate. The woman had just had nose surgery and came in wearing a protective mask. Besides her qualifications, the fact she had not tried to postpone impressed Ms. Seawood.

But when Mr. Kelsey invited the woman back, the interview was a disaster. She grew visibly irritated amid his battery of questions.

Mr. Kelsey immediately called Ms. Block to ask if she could come in for a second interview.

Was an hour from now too soon?

Momentarily panicked, Ms. Block quickly assented.

Mr. Kelsey marched through many of his questions again. Then, trying to gauge her ability to be assertive among truck drivers, he added a new hypothetical: if she were in the stands at a baseball game and a foul ball came her way, would she stand up to try to catch it, or wait in her seat and hope it fell her way?

The other finalist had said she would wait. But Ms. Block said immediately that she would jump up to grab it.

Mr. Kelsey decided he had found his hire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/us/22hire.html?_r=1&hpw

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Put yourself out there and be found!

Posted by sweens on October 15, 2009

I have taken it upon myself to do a lot of research on the recruitment industry and if there was one thing that popped up over and over again it was this message:  if you want the right job to come to you, put yourself out there!

 I am sure this sounds obvious to most of you. But when you really start to think of it, how “out there” are you?  Is your resume on Workopolis? Do you have a LinkedIn account? What about a Facebook account? Do you have a blog? A website? Is your name on published documents?

 I am not saying that you should join every social network or post your resume on every site but I am saying that you should think about your own presence online. The fact of the matter is, if you are a talented and skilled worker in the tech industry, you should definitely make yourself available to be found. The labour industry is facing some incredible challenges and companies are always looking for talented people. But, those opportunities won’t always come your way if you are hiding in your office cubicle.

 It should also be said that recruiters are always vying for that coveted passive candidate, which means we are desperately looking for that person that is not looking for us.  So, hate to break it to you, but if you are the kind of person that applies incessantly to job offers, you are not exactly putting yourself out there in a way that gets results. You are better off making a name for yourself on LinkedIn writing comments on blogs and even joining “Talent Pools” for specific industries (jobs that go to you). The point is, get your ideas, your achievements, your personality posted in areas that will be seen and opportunities might just come knocking on your door.

 You would be surprised how many candidates, both passive and active, have been turned on to new opportunities which were made possible by the powers of social networking, and the ability to be found.  So, there you have it: make yourself known, make yourself accessible and make yourself found.  What is the worst thing that could happen??

**Article inspired by Jane and Marta**

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?

Posted by sweens on October 14, 2009

Ask yourself: “What’s my LinkedIn strategy?” If nothing comes to mind, it could mean one of two things – either you lack a personal strategy for using LinkedIn or you’re not a LinkedIn user at all – worse yet, you’ve never even heard of it. Whichever category you might belong to, you need to get yourself out of it, join the masses, and create a brand for yourself online. Here’s why:

 Before I started my job here at Procom, not only was I absent from LinkedIn, but I was also an avid boycotter of all social networks, excluding Facebook. I didn’t like the idea of being “found” online, nor did I see the point of spending countless hours chatting virtually with friends that were really just a phone call away. As much as I wanted to believe that my “offline presence” strategy was benefiting me (by allowing me to be more productive with my time), it was actually doing me harm because as valuable personal and professional relationships were being formed online, I was being left behind to contemplate my “productivity gains”.

 After much deliberation, I decided to swallow my pride and join the millions of Facebook users and LinkedIn professionals, the latter network having provided me with countless career opportunities and valuable professional contacts from around the globe.  Just the other day, I was “InMail-ed” by a fellow Procom employee (whom I had never even met) for an interesting opportunity regarding my interest in hockey (details available to the public only through my LinkedIn profile). Thus my LinkedIn strategy is actually quite simple (as can be yours!):

  1. I have 100% Profile Completeness
  2. I am constantly connecting – be it with past colleagues; current friends; or contacts for future opportunities
  3. I include keywords in my profile that allow me to be “found” (ironically enough)

 Since having accepted social networking as a part of my life, I have not only recruited several individuals to join LinkedIn, but I myself have been “recruited” by others – something that my ‘real’ social network is unable to do for me – how can you compare your circle of personal contacts and friends with a rapidly expanding global network of 12million+ professionals? You can’t. Young or old, job-seeker or not, everyone out there needs to embrace social media and make themselves visible to the masses. And what better place to do it than the World Wide Web! Ignoring the power of social networking because the concept is overwhelming to you will leave you struggling to communicate in the very near future. Get out of your comfort zone and create a brand for yourself on the Web – don’t get stuck communicating the way people used to – start communicating the way people do today, for better opportunities tomorrow.

**Article inspired by Jane and Marta**

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Junior or Senior candidates: I’ll take senior…

Posted by sweens on June 3, 2009

When it comes to recruiting a role, most clients are dividing the level of experience they are looking for into three categories:

  1. Junior
  2. Intermediate
  3. Senior

When it comes to recruiting roles of different experience levels, a different challenge presents itself with each level you are searching for.  Me personally, I would rather take on the senior role over the junior role.  I would prefer the most difficult position a client is trying to fill over an entry level position any day.

The reason for this is not that there is a higher commission on the senior role, but rather that I find it extremely difficult to search and evaluate resumes for junior level candidates.  I do not know how many times a client has said “find me someone right out of school and I will take them”, but if I had a nickel for every time I heard that – I would probably have enough to make a quick run to Starbucks.

While the idea of finding someone right out or school seems easy, I have found it to be rather difficult for a few reasons.  Firstly, someone fresh out of school likely does not have a lot of technologies listed on their resume so they are less likely to turn up in searches.  Secondly, I do not think they have gotten used to the process of finding a job – posting CVs, using search firms, etc – so any online profile they may have is minimal and not easy to find.  Lastly, it is hard to evaluate their skill set when they are coming directly from school and to weigh them against other candidates usually becomes a personality fit rather then a focus on their technical skills.

Perhaps this is only my view, but this type of search takes me out of my ‘comfort zone’ and leaves trying to find different ways to track down these people.  Usually my greatest success has come from posting the position on job boards that new grads pay attention to like:

-         Facebook
-         Kijiji
-         CraigsList 

Does anyone else have this problem, or am I in my own world?

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Twitter as a recruitment tool: I’m not buying it…

Posted by sweens on May 5, 2009

I signed up for Twitter about a month ago which came out of a conversation with my boss about using it as a recruitment tool of some sort.  Since signing up I have not used it once.  No ‘tweets’ for me – yet somehow I have 21 users following me.  I am not sure why these people would want to follow me as I do not know any of them and I have no content for them to keep in touch with.

I get a lot of spam emails from my LinkedIn contacts who are trying to promote webinars or are sending out email marketing campaigns that deal with getting ‘on board’ the Twitter train and using it as an effective tool.  The problem for me is the number of words you can use per ‘tweet’ – which I have learned is 140. 

For me, I can not convey enough useful information to someone about a position I am looking to staff in 140 words.  Maybe I like to use too much detail?  Maybe not!  But one thing is for certain, I am a BIG believer that a job positing is not a list of requirements and an ‘apply here’ button.

Your job description has to give the audience a sense of the job.  What they are going to be expected to perform, deliverables, team size, organization, responsibilities, qualifications, etc.  Giving that information to anyone is simply not something I have been able to master in 140 words or less. 

This leaves me with no professional use for Twitter.  I logged in before I wrote this post and I saw a lot of people saying ‘I am doing so and so” or “hurry and get such and such before it leaves”.  While this may work for some products or some people, it does not work for me and does not help me recruit candidates.

The problem with publishing a non-detailed job description is that it attracts too many candidates – most of which will not be what you are looking for.  If I sat down and wrote a ‘tweet’ discussing a need to find an experienced QA Manager, I would not be able to clarify my need to find a QA Manager with automated testing experience, using LoadRunner with the management skills needed to deliver high level reports to CIOs and manage a staff of 20 junior testers.  While all at the same time, discussing the company and what it had to offer to any potential employee. 

As such, at this time in my career, I am going to have to say ‘NO’ to Twitter.  If I feel like sharing my thoughts to the world I can use my LinkedIn account to touch my professional connections or I can use Facebook to notify my friends.  Twitter is just too little too late in my case…

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

All aboard: Next stop, social networks…

Posted by sweens on February 11, 2009

 

As social networking grows and becomes a more prevalent tool in todays’ work force, people are turning to social networking sites to grow their network and connect with like-minded individuals.  Recruiters are using these networking tools to find more and more people on a daily basis.  These tools do not just apply to the IT world, as professionals from many different fields share multiple networks. 

 

If you are looking for generic places to network then the larger social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook are your best bet.  This type of a network will allow you to connect with individuals from different professions rather then the same profession.  Facebook does not foster the same networking spirit that LinkedIn does as Facebook allows people to upload personal photos to share with friends.  Individuals can be worried of creating a negative professional image for themselves through what may be found on their Facebook pages.

 

 

 

LinkedIn on the other hand, does not have this functionality (yet) and is geared for social networking.  I have found through my own experiences that individuals are much more open to connecting on LinkedIn then any other platform.  Anyone who is looking to expand their network on LinkedIn should look to join groups such as:

 

-         Open Networking .COM

-         Open Networkers!

-         Networkers United

-         LIONs

-         Invites Welcome

-         Group Linked

-         The Dallas Blue Business Network

 

These groups are open to join and membership in the group means you are open to networking and will accept any invitation you receive.  One of the most successful ways to grow your network is by visiting www.toplinked.com and become an official TopLinked member.  This group has their email address imported into members LinkedIn accounts for easy invite lists and a rapid expansion of your network.  You may join this service for free or by paying a small fee for better distribution of your network.

 

 Lastly I would encourage anyone to join a specialized networking site or group based around your profession or background.  Google has groups for IT professionals.  Most cities have groups that meet once a month to discuss any given profession.  Online networking sites exist for specific industries.  By joining these groups, you simply increase your odds of being connected to like-minded individuals and open the door to more opportunities.

 

I would argue that networking does not occupy a lot of your time and can pay big dividends.  An understanding that recruiters use these networks to locate passive candidates can be a good motivating factor for anyone to jump on the networking train.

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Facebook turns 5… Nortel continues bankruptcy protection plan!

Posted by sweens on February 6, 2009

Internet social networking giant FACEBOOK turns five (5) today.  FACEBOOK shared this milestone with its 150 Million members.  To read more details on this, please view:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/090205/technology/us_society_internet_facebook

 

In other news, NORTEL is seeking to extend its bankruptcy protection to May 1 (a 3-month extension) while the former Telecommunications giant tries to restructure its business.  To read more details on this, please view:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/reuters/090206/business/cbusiness_us_nortel

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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