Category Archives: Recruitment

Facebook + Skype = recruiter engagement

Following on from my Facebook fatigue or just lazy journalism article comes news from Online Social Media, who also source Mashable and TechCrunch, that Facebook and Skype will work together to provide an in-browser video chat platform.

Facebook + Skype = Faceypook

This, I believe, is awesome news. It’s great because you will be able to video chat with friends and family easily through the social networking tool that you use most regularly to keep in touch with them. Brilliant! I would call it Faceypook. They will probably not call it Faceypook.

Those benefits (and my proposed working title for the project) to one side, lets discuss one of the main objectives of university careers offices – getting students and graduates in front of employers. I’m not talking about your established graduate recruiters, but the masses of other opportunity providers out there. The majority of these providers have Facebook pages and more or less every student has a Facebook account, and despite the great work so far in linking the two through university Facebook pages, the benefits are there for all to see but could be much higher. There is a great opportunity for careers services to facilitate these online conversations.

In its current state, it is difficult to take advantage of Facebook’s massive reach within the student community in relation to careers advice and opportunities. In the eyes of most students, Facebook is for friends, photos, family, etc, not for finding employment. Careers service Facebook pages are gaining more interest, Salford University are doing some great work and reaping the benefits, but often pages are used as a referral mechanism to events or information outside the remit of Facebook. How great will it be then when (although it is tbc) Skype video chat through Facebook becomes a reality? It will, I believe, be the catalyst for students to use video in their job search and become more aware of the need for a professionally maintained online presence.

Careers service Facebook pages will become meeting points for job seeking students/graduates and potential employers – facilitating video interviews between the two. As a recruiter, I’d pay for that service – to chat directly to job seekers. I imagine that Skype’s group calling functionality will be implemented at some point, thus enabling calls to be moderated if required. What a great opportunity for organisations to tap into a fantastic recruitment market and for students to ‘meet’ employers and hone their interview technique!

Lets leave the ‘video can be used to discriminate’ chat at the door for this one. My stance on this issue is that if an employer is stupid enough to let the age, race, gender or a disability affect their recruitment decisions in a video interview, by excluding the video interview process you simply postpone their discrimination until the face-to-face interview. The opportunities that come with being able to tap into the world’s biggest social network outweigh the potential negatives brought about by “what if”s.

On a sidenote, if you hear a loud groan when the Skype/Facebook video chat service is released, that’ll be Google realising that Google+ is now even less likely to take off properly. Ah well Google, chin up, 4th time lucky eh?

Add your thoughts and comments on how this service could be rolled out or whether you think it’s a good idea or not, alternatively tweet thoughts to my account – @OnlineAStevens.


Quick fix: How careers services can utilise social media

I presented at the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Technology Day this month, I’ve added my presentation to this post.

Part of the day included a Q&A with a student panel, made up of 4 students from various courses. The comment that hit hardest was that the panel was barely aware of the careers service and the support it offered. This is a situation you will find at most universities, but how on earth are careers services supposed to build their reputation with every student when resources and budgets are so tight? Well, I’ll run through the other points raised by the students and, hopefully, some quick fixes showing how careers services can use social media to work towards building their reputation amongst students.

When asked what the best way of reaching them (students), they all replyed that email is probably the best channel

Although currently this is the case, owing to a slow uptake with Linkedin and Twitter, I think that this provides the perfect opportunity for careers services to act as educators in social media. If you, as a careers service, teach someone how to use a tool that they will use for the foreseeable future, you will be engrained in their conciousness forever. Considering that the panel had bearly heard of the careers service until this point, this would be of massive benefit. This is further supported by the following point…

We (students) would attend sessions or view online how to videos showing how social media can be used to search for jobs

A member of the audience raised the point that they don’t have the time for this sort of activity, which is a fair point. But consider this; in one afternoon you could either see up to 6 students in one-to-one sessions, which is useful. Or you could download some free screen capture video software, which records your on-screen activity, plug in your webcam to record your voice and record a video commentary showing how to set up a Twitter account and search for job opportunities. There is an interest in the student and graduate market for this type of information and, along with some promotion, it will reach thousands of students and graduates. Include a link to your careers services pages at the end of the video and it will act as a traffic driver to raise awareness of your careers service.

All panel members use YouTube and Facebook

Once you have created your video as outlined above, you can upload it to YouTube and post the link on Facebook. This is where the concept of waterholes comes into play, i.e. be where your audience is. Also insure that your video is posted to the main university Facebook page and any other pages associated to the university (including the Student Union). After all, the one thing all of these page users have in common is that at some point they will be searching for jobs! Get creative with this, maybe record a ‘How to tie your tie for an interview’ video, or run a competition on campus for the funniest careers related video. User generated content such as this will give your Facebook and YouTube channels a personal touch that will make them extremely shareable. At every careers event, get your camera and video camera out there and create some content!

A member of the audience asked the one question that everyone, including myself at one point, asks about social media. ‘How can I justify allocating the time to tweeting or updating Facebook?!’. I believe that the extra investment of time is worthwhile because it amplies the effort that you put into each task and provides a soundboard for your service. If we’re honest, whatever we have been doing thus far to promote on-campus career services has not worked as well as it could have. So, let’s change it up and try something different. Try commiting some time over the next 3 months and I am sure that you will see the benefits.

5 tips: social media for recruitment

I spoke at an Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) technology day on Wednesday, the aim of which was to discuss how technology, including social media, can be used to improve the standard of, and accessibility to, careers advice and information.

Although it was written for a higher education audience, I think that regardless of your industry, the 5 points raised can be applied across the board. Remember that these are just the slides, the majority of the context was included in what I was saying. If the presentation raises any questions, add them as comments and I will respond. If you would like me to hold a similar talk at your university my contact details are on the final slide.


Short video – social media for recruitment

A short video recorded by Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) at last week’s Social Media Surgery Manchester, the title of which was ‘Social media for recruitment: Getting a job through Twitter or Linkedin or Facebook’. Ian asked for the one piece of advice that I would give to a job seeker using social media. Before you watch, I’d like to apologise for 3 things:

  1. The “I’d…erm…” at the start of the vid
  2. The horrendous black waiter’s shirt I was wearing
  3. The terrible hair do

This was taken after a long day at work, upon which I blame these 3 things.

You can still access the live blog from the evening and if you are a job seeker you may wish to take a read of my social media surgery take away, which offers some pointers on the effective use of social media in your job search. Keep an eye on my Twitter account (@OnlineAStevens) or drop me an invite on Linkedin if you would like to know more about the next event. The likely topic of discussion will be content generation for social media and reporting stats accurately.

#mansms takeaway: Social media for recruitment

Social media for recruitment takeawayThe May 2011 Social Media Surgery Manchester event took place last night, the topic for the evening was ‘Social media for recruitment: Getting a job through Twitter or Linkedin or Facebook’. Social media surgery events are free to attend and supported by the Manchester Digital Development agency (@MDDA on Twitter). The event was transcribed by Holleh Nowrouz (@Orchard_holleh) from Manchester-based digital recruitment agency Orchard. You can find details of the panel, attendees and the discussions that took place on the live blog page.

Following last night’s discussion here is my social media for recruitment takeaway, designed for job seekers as opposed to tactics for using social media to recruit:

  1. Don’t neglect the Old Skool. We are in the midst of a cultural shift and, whilst a professional social media presence will offer many advantages in a job search, they will be immediately undone if your CV is not up to scratch. A strong CV and cover letter remain an essential element of a successful job search. My employer has a great CV and cover letter section. Once you have a strong CV, then move on to setting up a professional social media presence (your personal brand), and if appropriate take it even further with a Facebook CV, page or video CV (ok, maybe not like this one, but you get the picture).
  2. The social media shop window. Don’t just look at social media as a channel for searching for opportunities, use the various channels as an opportunity to showcase yourself, i.e. help a recruiter to use social media to search for more information about you. Don’t be under the illusion that if you create a fantastic set of social media profiles a recruiter will come knocking on your door. You still have to put the same amount of effort into finding a job, but you can use your CV to direct potential employers to your social media profiles which will then give them more of an idea about what you’re about and the skills you possess.
  3. Linkedin groups. Join Linkedin groups that your target employers are members of, not just the ones that they set up – for example the Association of Graduate Recruiters group. Don’t just be a spectator, contribute to discussions and share your experience, and more importantly try to add recruiters as connections after engaging in discussion with them – give them a reason to connect with you. Read my 9 simple steps to getting the most out of Linkedin post for more advice.
  4. Social media amplifies your efforts. Every piece of work you do, every event you attend and every conversation you have requires effort. Make the most out of these interactions and activities by tweeting, blogging and connecting. To use #mansms as an example, I blog prior to and after the event. I tweet before, during and afterwards as well as following all attendees and panel members. I direct people to my Linkedin profile and try to connect with as many attendees as possible. I also take a picture for blog posts and my Flickr account. So from a 2 hour session, which is very useful even in isolation, I’m amplifying the benefits by using it to create content for my social media profiles.
  5. Be social. Remember that social media, regardless of the tool used, is about facilitating relationships. If you meet someone face to face, add them on Linkedin and Twitter so that you can build on that relationship. Also, if you have an online connection that you regularly communicate with, arrange to meet them in person to consolidate that relationship. Whether they are potential employers, potential job referrers or just an interesting person, good connections always lead to opportunities.

Here are the attendees from last night’s surgery. Whether or not you attended last night, feel free to add your name, a bit about yourself and your social network profiles as comments to share/connect with other readers of this post.


Twitter for events/social media for recruitment

 The last Social Media Surgery Manchester event took place in April (hashtag: #mansms). Local businesses pitched their questions to myself, Chi-Chi Ekweozor, Ian Pettigrew, Adrian Slatcher and Fran Holden relating to the use of social media to generate interest and awareness in events that they are running. You can still access my resulting blog post and the live blog from the event. Ian also cruelly made us commit our thoughts on using Twitter to promote events to video, and here are mine…

The next Manchester surgery will be held on Tuesday 10th May from 5.30 p.m. until 7.30 p.m. discussing ‘Social Media for Recruitment’. You can find out more information and book your place here. It’s free to attend, there is plenty of opportunity for Q&A and whether you are a social media beginner or expert, the discussions are always useful. The panel will consist of myself (@OnlineAStevens) from Graduate Prospects, Ian Pettigrew from Kingfisher Coaching, Carol Maughan from DLA Piper UK LLP, Jess Perriam Online and Radio Content Producer and Matt Hackett from Orchard.

Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it tweet your questions along with the #mansms hashtag and we will try to answer them on the night and include the answers in the live blog.

9 simple steps to getting the most out of Linkedin

If you complete these 9 steps you WILL get more out of Linkedin. I guarantee it. This is by no means a fully comprehensive list, so feel free to add your comments and further suggestions. But if you do (complete the 9 steps) but you don’t (get more out of Linkedin), then let me know and I’ll come and wash your car or something to make up for the time you’ve lost. Right, lets get cracking.

Step 1 – Complete your profile and make it relevant

Use the progress bar. It’s simple, 100% is the target. As you are completing your profile add context to every element of your work experience. This gives the viewer an insight as to whether you’re worth connecting with. What will you be using your Linkedin profile for? Networking? Job hunting? Business development? As an example, if you work for an advertising agency and you’re trying to attract more clients, write about your success stories and large campaigns, not about your transferable skills.

Step 2 – Seek recommendations

Do not be afraid to ask for recommendations, they qualify you as a useful contact

“90% of people trust online recommendations from people they know” 

Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries

This behaviour applies to online consumers and online networkers. Request recommendations from colleagues, customers, graduates, suppliers, basically anybody that you have had a professional relationship with. It will feel weird the first time you do it, but more often than not people are more than happy to obligue. Like products on Amazon, people with recommendations are a more attractive prospect.

Step 3 – Link up with LinkedIn

Link your Twitter, Facebook, blog and website to your LinkedIn profile. If you’re a WordPress blogger, then add the WordPress application which will automatically send out updates of your latest posts. Another plugin you can use is the SlideShare application to share any presentations you would like to share.

Whilst on the subject of social media accounts, Google yourself and make sure your online presence, across all networks, is of a professional standard. Delete or protect anything that isn’t.

Step 4 – <This is an easy one> Personalise your profile link

This is easily done. Best case scenario is making your personalised profile link the same as your Twitter name.

Step 5 – Search for and add groups

The first and most natural approach here is to add groups that match your skills profile, and it is useful to do this. However you should also add groups that are used by your target market, even if they are not directly relevant to you. Also, don’t just use these groups as a platform to push your wares – this will turn people off you straight away. Offer advice and useful opinions, position yourself as an expert of your field.

Step 6 – Add EVERYONE!

Whenever you speak to contacts via email, add a line that states you would like to link up on LinkedIn. Don’t wait for a response to your email – invite them to connect on LinkedIn straight away. 9 times out of 10 your invite will be accepted. This is a great way to grow you connection numbers quickly and make the most out of every professional interaction. You can connect with me by clicking here.

Step 7 – Promote your Linkedin profile

Add your Linkedin profile to your email signature and if possible your business cards. Give people every opportunity to connect with you.

Step 8 – Use Linkedin Answers

This is the section of LinkedIn (first option under the ‘More’ menu) that is used to ask industry-specific questions to the Linkedin population. Try to answer 2 or 3 questions a week and you’ll be surprised at how benefitial this can be.

Step 9 – Use Linkedin regularly

Anything that is worth doing takes time and with Linkedin, the more effort you put in the greater the return. This doesn’t mean spending hours on the site. Once you have steps 1 to 8 in place, you can expect a useful return on the following:

  • a status update each day
  • one or two comments on groups each week
  • adding all new business contacts on a day-to-day basis

If you have any questions, thoughts or additions to the list, please add them as a comment and I will repond.

Back to basics – 5 tips for graduate job advert content

If you’ve read the About page then you’ll know that I work for Graduate Prospects, a student and graduate careers website. Occasionally I see job ads (on our site and on many others) with adverts that must be under performing due to some basic mistakes being made. So I thought I’d write a short list of tips. They may seem obvious at first glance, but you would be surprised how many adverts fail to follow all of these guidelines.

1. Job title

Clearly name the position available and avoid using generic terms such as ‘Graduate opportunities’. If unsure, search online for similar jobs for inspiration. Also use the first paragraph of your advert to back up the job title, e.g. “Are you a Creative Designer with a Difference? Then we have a fantastic opportunity at an award-winning Digital Agency who are based in Central London and have major clients from across the globe”.

2. Salary

Ideally you should put a figure as opposed to ‘Competitive’ or ‘Negotiable’. Job seekers do not have the time or patience in their job search to seek out what they think is an appropriate salary for the job advertised. Even if the salary is below industry standards, your advert will still receive a greater number of responses where a salary is quoted. If using a salary bracket, try to make it as narrow as possible to give job applicants a realistic view of what they are applying for. For sales opportunities state the basic salary in addition to the on-target earnings (OTE). If you post ‘Up to £X’, consider that most applicants will expect no less than 85-90% of the figure quoted.

3. Location

Try to avoid ‘Nationwide’, this is too generic. If you genuinely have nationwide opportunities then you should run separate adverts for each region of the country. This will improve your response levels and help you to ascertain your brand presence in each region.

4. Company info vs. role info

Company information should be short and concise, use a link to your company website to provide further information. Use the majority of your advert copy to promote the job on offer – that is what the job seeker cares about the most. Generate interest in the opportunity with enthused content and be sure to include keywords from the desired person specification throughout. This will ensure that your advert appears at the top of relevant searches. Elements that will increase the number of applications include:

  • Career progression opportunities
  • Health package/gym membership
  • Flexible working hours
  • Performance related bonuses or perks
  • Company car or parking space

When posting your advert, ensure that you only select the job categories that are relevant. Although you may feel you will receive a better response by selecting every category, you will in fact just receive a higher number of irrelevant applications.

5. Clear call to action

Ensure that closing date, method of application and an outline of the application stages are all supplied. Be absolutely clear as to whether potential applicants need to apply online, submit a CV or complete an application form.

There are obviously more guidelines to add to this list, but next time you’re conducting a job search notice how many ads still fail to cover the basics. Add comments (naming and shaming isn’t encouraged but won’t be deleted) below:

Social Media for the CEO: An evening with Eve Mayer Orsburn

On Tuesday night I attended Social Media for the CEO Manchester (#SM4CEOMAN), a presentation by Eve Mayer Orsburn who is known by her 43,000+ followers on twitter as @LinkedinQueen.

I must admit that after the first 5 minutes, where Eve gave some top-level social media information and quotes from the Nielsen report highlighting that 90% of online consumers trusted recommendations from people they know, I was worried that this was going to be pretty much the same content that has been spouted or written about social media hundreds of times before.

However, it quickly became apparent that there was much more to the self-proclaimed LinkedIn Queen than generic social media advice. This was introduced when business context was given to the presentation, initially with a quote from 7 habits author Stephen Covey related to writing any strategy:  “to begin with the end in mind”.

This is a pretty simple concept, but one that is so obviously simple that people often forget to apply it. I’m guilty of that myself. I set up my @OnlineAStevens Twitter account without first setting my end goal. Same with my LinkedIn account and to a degree this blog. The thing to take away is that whether you’re creating a personal brand or just trying to do your job more effectively; like you would with any marketing or business strategy you need to set your end goals as well as clear intermittent goals to help you get there.

Another change in perspective that I took away was in my content strategy for Twitter posts. I have always said that you need a rich mix of content to keep people interested. Like having a conversation with a friend, you wouldn’t constantly keep asking them to read your blog or buy a product. You’d engage in proper conversation, sharing interesting information and funny stories. I always pushed the following mix:

  • 25% – General content: What you’re up to and such
  • 25% – Retweets and @mentions: Share the love
  • 25% – Relevant info: Links to content specific to your industry
  • 25% – Irrelevant info: Links to content from anywhere except your industry

However Eve gave a much more focused approach that has your ultimate goal in mind (taken from the presentation):

Inform (20%)

Provide general information and facts about your industry. An example of this type of content came from a member of the audience, from a law firm: “20% of compensation claims are successful if made within 2 months of accident”, simultaneously informing and promoting your offering.

Entertain (20%)

It’s still people that you’re communicating with and people like to be entertained (just ask keyboard cat). Share humorous videos, odd/amusing laws (law firm example again), stir controversy and tug on people’s emotions. Say things that will inspire debate.

Interact (40%)

Ask people what they want. Listen. Respond. Act. Simple!

Convert (20%)

Eve said that many people from the social media industry advise to steer clear of trying to convert business via Twitter. However the fact is that people expect to be sold to and respond very well to offers delivered via Twitter. Conversions are ultimately the reason you’re engaging with Twitter, so don’t be afraid to try to convert business or traffic. Eve herself drives 40% of her business through Twitter and LinkedIn. Your followers won’t mind, because 80% of your tweets include useful and engaging information!

So, give it a try. Apply the above strategy to your corporate, university or personal Twitter accounts and see if it works for you. Comments and experiences below please, thanks!

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