My HR Technology European Vacation

In his keynote presentation at the 2012 HR Technology Europe Conference in Amsterdam, Across Technology CEO Peter Hinnson discussed the concept of “the new normal,” and the impact of the “consumerization of technology” on the constantly evolving world of work.

While the jury’s still out if “consumerization” is an actual word (although dictionaries can’t possibly keep pace with Moore’s Law, after all), it was a recurring theme throughout the conference – and the industry dialogue in general.

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Recruiting, Karma and the Candidate Experience

Originally published on the Talent Technology Blog

We can talk about candidate experience all day (and do), but here’s the real reason why recruiters should care: as last in, first out when it comes to headcount, and as a pretty significant corporate cost center, you’re basically one bad business decision away from being a candidate yourself.

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The Best of the #HRTech Backchannel

Walking onto a trade show floor is like walking into a Moroccan bazaar, a myriad of vendors promoting every ware imaginable, from the esoteric to the mundane, to passersby running the gamut from deep-pocketed pashas (your Fortune 500 buyer) to penny-begging thieves (think: start-up sales guys).

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Social Media Secrets for Small Business Success

Contrary to popular belief, not every big company is putting big bucks into spreading their brand and employer message via social media at work.

Most corporate social media functions have limited headcount, time and resources dedicated to social networks, demanding low-cost, innovative approaches for attracting and driving social media engagement, both current and potential.

That means the social media playing field for businesses has been leveled.

Small business recruitment strategies actually have a leg up when it comes to realizing the power (and profit) of social media. Breaking through the buzz doesn’t require a huge investment in manpower, tools or technologies. It takes dedication, creativity and experimentation to formulate and deliver the right message to the right targets on the right platforms — in other words, it requires a solid small business marketing strategy.

While there’s no “secret formula” for success, there are secrets that every small business owner should know when it comes to crafting a social media strategy. Here are eight social media secrets designed to give you a head start on the competition and capitalize on the conversation about your brand, business and bottom line.

Fax machines send the wrong message: Nothing makes your business appear behind the times more than advertising your fax number throughout your e-mail signatures, HTML newsletters, home pages and business cards. Ask yourself when was the last time you likely received an unsolicited fax which led directly to sales? More than likely, it’s back when you were jamming to an eight-track tape.

Secret: Exchange the prime real estate your fax number now takes up and replace it with links to your social profiles. Doing so instantly brands your business, signaling your willingness to engage with your customers and candidates. Besides, in the off chance someone needs your fax number, they’ll know where to find you to ask.

What the Hashtag? It’s a good idea not to jump into the Twitter conversation right away; it’s challenging to know which conversations you should follow when you’re starting out. Even harder is cracking the hashtag code.

WTHashtag.com solves both problems with one easy to use website that’s free (and you don’t even have to register).

Simply enter any hashtag into the search bar, and within seconds it displays top users, definitions, usage statistics and related resources. The best part, though, is its transcription service.

It easily captures a word processing-friendly transcript of all tweets using that hashtag over a user-defined period of time so you can read (and report) without constantly monitoring your feed. Why do that? Because you’ve got more important things to do.

Hint: For small business owners, popular hashtags include #smbiz, #smallbiz and #startup.

Blast Follow: Once you’ve found out which hashtags you’re most interested in, enter them into BlastFollow.com to automatically generate a list of all accounts referencing them. Put in your Twitter credentials, click blast, and you’ll start following all those users “en masse.’

You Don’t Have To Pay To Measure ROI: A growing number of corporations are using increasingly sophisticated tracking tools to monitor and measure the success of their social media efforts, paying a premium for advanced analytics, reporting and analysis.

While these technologies make sense for Fortune 500 Companies, your small business can generate more than enough data using free tools to maximize the influence and impact of your social media efforts.

When it comes to making friends on Facebook and YouTube, both channels provide self-generated reports for channel and fan page activity, respectively; this simply requires opting in on your business account to see analytics that are easy to understand and interpret. For Twitter, Twitter Analyzer is just one of many free options that provides advanced and accurate analytics. It’s a goldmine of actionable data, tracking unique readers, reach, retweet trends and most tweeted topics among its many reporting capabilities. When it comes to measuring your blog, Google Analytics remains the gold standard for its insights and interface.

Pipl.com: This “deep web” people search engine can help fill in the blanks about almost anyone. If you have a name, phone number, e-mail address or even a social networks username, this free tool will return all available online data within seconds, from public records to social profiles.

E-Mail Still Matters: Even with the rise in social media, most of your customers and clients, both current and prospective, likely still rely predominantly on email for communication. But for your message to break through today’s increasingly crowded inbox, you need more than a clever subject line.

For email marketing, check out Mail Chimp, which allows you to create, distribute and track customized HTML newsletter campaigns that can help small businesses make a big impact.

Their “forever free” plan lets you send up to 6,000 e-mails to up to 1,000 subscribers a month; if you need more, their pay for performance model guarantees you get what you pay for.

Case Studies Are Learning Experiences Social media’s all about transparency, which means that many companies make valuable information about their social media objectives and strategy publically available.

Reading case studies not only highlights real-life examples of social media initiatives that really work, but more importantly, what doesn’t. Two of the most comprehensive sites for social media best (and worst) practices are the Social Media Business Council and SmartBrief on Social Media, with new cases delivered daily to your inbox.

Finally, there are no secrets in social media…and that’s the point.

But you didn’t hear that from us.

The Big 3 Questions of Talent Acquisition

What HR Really Thinks of Social Media

When creating a social media recruitment strategy, there are 3 critical considerations every employer or talent organization must address directly and comprehensively. The good news is, you already know the answers to these crucial questions, and while unique to every company, recruiter and job opportunity, those answers provide a strategic, measurable framework for social recruiting success.

The Big 3 Questions of Talent Acquisition

Hiring managers, HR business partners, recruiters and executive leadership (not to mention current employees) are all crucial stakeholders in the talent acquisition and retention process. That’s why it’s important to remember that no matter what your role or the size of your company, recruiting relies on performance based feedback.

Like whether or not top talent accepts your offer.

1. What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to finding and retaining top talent?

There’s always that one req or passive candidate profile that’s the most pressing, the most critical, and, by general rule, the most difficult for which to source. The one with an empty pipeline where “just-in-time” was yesterday.And, of course, market demand’s creating a revolving door for the A players you’ve already managed to bring on board.

No matter what the title or department, if it’s the role which is the most imperative to your company’s business objectives, it’s the one you need to concentrate your social recruiting efforts on.Because it’s likely the one that’s taking up most of your time, anyway.

Bottom Line: Social Media saves time and should enhance, not replace, your current talent acquisition strategies.

2. What are you doing to overcome this challenge for recruitment and retention?

To build an effective social recruiting strategy, you have to know your objectives. And if you’re in the business of people, there’s only one objective: to find the best talent the most efficiently as possible.

According to Career XRoads 10th annual Source of Hire Study, for all the sourcing and spend dedicated to identifying external talent, the top source of hire (by far), was internal promotions and transfers. Internal movement accounted for 50.3% of all hires. #2 on the list, and the top source for external referrals (27.5%) was internal referrals.

Following closely on both lists? Job boards, which accounted for 24.9% of all external hires in 2010.

Bottom Line: Engage your employees and hiring managers; they’re your most likely candidates, or the most likely to have that next hire in their network. The easiest way to connect the dots? Social media. The content engine driving online engagement: job postings.

To put it in Boolean terms, you can’t operate with OR anymore. It’s AND. That’s logic.

3. Why should top talent want to work for you?

The war for talent is heating up. If you find and engage a qualified, interested and available candidate, chances are so has the competition.

That’s why when creating an employment value proposition and communicating it through employer branding, you’ve got to appeal to the head and the heart.

Bottom Line: Job descriptions, title, compensation and recruitment advertising looks a lot alike, but at the end of the day, top talent makes its decision based on one single competitive differentiation: your company’s culture and the people who create it.

That’s why the most valuable recruiter you’ve got is your current employees. Lucky there’s social media to put a face to the name (or Twitter name, or Facebook photo).

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