Collaboration


Well, I finally have a minute between calls and emails and lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Now, I can sit down and write a little review of the Recruiting Roadshow Unconference. Overall, let’s just say that it was not a waste of time (scared you, didn’t I, Paul?). In fact, I gathered so much good information, I think my little newbie head might just burst.

The morning started with donuts. Lots and lot of donuts. Pink donuts. Chocolate donuts. And some danishes. I heard that they were good, but I was a good girl and ate none of them. I had to save my calories for cookies after lunch.

Then, John Sumser spoke about the Generation Gap in hiring. John is a Baby Boomer, and spent time explaining the tightening job market, and how it affects your recruiting processes. John’s main point was this: there is one worker for every job, and you have to know how to attract and retain employees who may have a different work ethic than you do. Which, from what I gathered, was no work ethic. John pointed out that a Generation Y employee will do what he is asked, but will not sit in the office if he’s not tasked with something at that moment. Paraphrasing John: “I’ll do what you ask, but if you don’t give me something to do, I’m going to the mall.” Then he pantomimed sending a text message to all his friends telling them to meet him at the Food Court. Here’s my concern with that mentality: if I haven’t given you something to do, why aren’t you proactively seeking out new challenges? The Recruiting Animal had an interesting post on this subject this week. Hippies. heh-heh. He said hippies.

Anyway, John was an interesting speaker. As I have heard said, he can be somewhat, um, what’stheword?, abrasive, and can rub some people the wrong way. He tried to do that with me, by claiming that educated women don’t have a lot of children, and adding something to the effect of “he doesn’t blame them.” After the conference, when I was hanging around being a groupie, I called him on it by engineering an introduction that began with “she has 4 kids.” He’s a good sport, though, and we had a laugh.

Some important points from John: Transparency. Collaboration. Flexibility. Employment Branding. Sounds like BSG to me!

And so we move on… Next up was Steven Rothberg of CollegeRecruiter.com. Steven started his presentation with a lead in from the Wall Street Journal about the perceived entitlement mentality among the Generation Y workforce. Steven hypothesized that the Generation Y fascination with themselves (a.k.a. self-absorption) is exasperated by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Thus began his very informative discussion of the whats, whys, and hows of using social networking to build a workforce.

Important points from Steven’s presentation: be careful what you look for on MySpace and Facebook, since how you use the information you find could put you in a big old pot of boiling water. Utilize MySpace and Facebook to build an employment brand. Social networking can be beneficial to your recruiting efforts, especially when used correctly.

Steven also briefly mentioned Second Life, but only to say, and I quote “It’s really cool, it’s useless, and it’s really cool.”

The next presentation was a round table of sorts about blogging. I am a bad woman because I didn’t get everyone’s name, but I assume mnheadhunter.com will have that up soon. This was enlightening, especially since Paul took the time to introduce a wonderful new blogger by the name of Katie Tierney. Perhaps you’ve heard of her? I hear she’s absolutely amazing and terribly humble. But, I digress…

The panel provided various points of view for why people should blog, and how to go about getting started. The consensus was that blogging is important to building an employment brand, and that people interested in blogging need to read the blogs first, and then find their voice.

I know that Josh Kahn (who graciously convinced Best Buy to allow us to use their facilities) was on the panel, as were three other great people whose names I just flat out don’t know.

Last, but certainly not least, Nicole St. Martin and Doug Berg of jobs2web.com provided a great presentation on search engine optimization and employment branding. This was a great look at how you can make simple changes to your career communications that will engage candidates for the long-term, rather than for short-term, need-it-now searches.

Main points to take from Nicole and Doug: candidate communities are essential to effective long-term recruiting and staffing. Communication should be bi-directional, media rich, interactive, relational, and easily accessible via RSS and XML feeds.

Overall, this was a great unconference (what does that MEAN??). I had the opportunity to meet lots of new people, saw an old MOMS Club friend, and had some great conversations about recruiting and life in general.

I want to thank Paul, Steven, Josh, and John for putting together a program that didn’t suck. In fact, it was great, and I was lucky to have been able to attend.

Have a great weekend!

-Katie

Update – 7:21 PM – Paul posted a nice little entry that named all the folks in the blogging roundtable (well, they weren’t at a table, and it was more of a straight line, but you get the point). You can check it out here.

So much has changed since I was last in the workforce. It will be 7 years this September that I last had a paying gig (until, of course, this one). When I left the workforce back in 2000, people still used email as their main form of communication. And Lotus Notes was as “collaborative” as it got. We sent Excel spreadsheets back and forth, trying desperately to ensure that no one made changes while someone else was making changes. We even had a checkout sheet on one of the Lotus Notes databases to try to prevent double-edits. If I lost someone’s email address, it was unlikely that I would ever be able to contact them again. And my cell phone weighed more than 6 ounces! Everything was bigger, and nothing was better.

Now, we have wikis, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Amazon, and everyone knows my name!

I log into Amazon, and it knows what I like to read. It’s an intelligent website, and I sort of like that it takes some of the research work off my plate. Yes, I would like to read Utilizing Military Techniques in Child Discipline, thank you. Click. It’s purchased and on its way to my front door.

So, I want to figure out how to leverage these new, Enterprise 2.0 collaborative technologies in my Recruiting life. We already use wikis and social networks at BSG, and our collaboration is quick, easy, and oh-so-efficient. But how can I extend that to “Sourcing?”

I am trying a couple of different things. First, I used LinkedIn to search for people with the skill sets I need. Then I can contact them through my network or through InMail. I haven’t gotten a lot of responses this way, so I think I need to revamp my initial communications. I’m also answering questions related to any BSG-type topics, such as Enterprise 2.0, collaboration, or our verticals. That, I hope, will build some visibility for me, making the name BSG more commonplace in the career market.

Second, I am gathering information from collaborative websites that are dedicated to recruiting in the electronic age. It’s fascinating to see what specialized Google searches can bring you.

Third, we’re using the (relatively) old-fashioned job posts on our BSG community site. The nice thing about our site, though, is that it is a community, and people are welcome to join, and discuss the various things that make up Next-Generation Enterprises. Again, this builds BSG into a brand, and a brand that people will want to work for.

And, finally, I am trying out Twitter! Every so often, I post a job description (in ten or fewer words), and hope to get a hit. We’ll have to see what happens with that – it’s fun, anyway, and a bit addictive.

For my future plans, I am looking towards Facebook. We’ve just started a BSG Alliance group, and I am going to think about some ways to utilize Facebook to attract stellar candidates to the BSG fold.

What else does the future hold? Only God and Steve Papermaster know. ;)

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