You Don't Actually Want Recruiters To Help You

How is that for a title? Forgive me. It's been a while since I've written here and I'm just converting a Facebook comment into a post because it's pretty good. I think. You be the judge. 

Derek Zeller posted a character study at Recruiting Daily where he creates "messages" from candidates. His main thesis lies in treating candidates better. I get it. It makes sense. But he's just dead wrong, and I'll explain why. 

Derek writes, 

"Without candidates, we wouldn’t have recruiters, and you’d be just another candidate desperately searching for a job instead of the person responsible for filling them."

This is the old, our clients are most important resource. Without clients, who would pay the bills? Unfortunately, that's not actually the point of those stories. Clients and customers and candidates exist because they exist. Our mindset in selling them is important, and there's a lot of truth in the idea that people do business with people they like. The point of treating someone as special is that they will like you. 

That's a sales gimmick. It's like the whole, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People pitch. It's not moral. It's effective. There is a big difference. 

I have two main problems with Derek's theory. 

1) People are not rational

In studying consciousness, we know that what we perceive of as a justification is literally a "fake" memory processed in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that is manufactured as a past event in response to a judgement from the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala. Basically, our brain gets good and bad tingles, and then tells a really good story about those tingles.

That makes it very hard to get into the mind of anyone. Their brains lie to them.

2) No candidate should care about you, and you shouldn't care about them. 

I'm serious. You should care about the people you plan to care about. Pretending that a candidate is special because they called you or emailed you makes you feel better, but it does nothing for them. 

Candidates care about getting jobs. That is their focus. If you want to help them, you help them. If you want to care about them, care about them as a person, not as a candidate.  

Let's slaughter another sacred cow to make the point here. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for a candidate is to ignore them. 

What's funny is that is not a best practice for you, but it is the best thing for a candidate that you can not help. Time spent with you, especially time spent with someone who will use your conversation to put off other conversations, is not time well spent. If a candidate likes me, and I like them, our talking together creates a false sense of security for both of us. 

As a third party recruiter, I guard against this. Feeling good after a call is not the same thing as moving the recruiting ball down the field. Getting someone on the phone who isn't yelling at me is great for me - but it's a waste of time for that person. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 5.54.31 PM
Let's finish this off.  Here's how candidates act:
1) What's in it for me?
2) Will this person help me?
3) What do I need to do to make this person more useful to me?

It would be bizarre if they acted in any other manner. Our goal should not be to understand, but to be useful. Useful comes in many forms. One way of being useful is ignoring people you can't help. That's not in any training manuals, but it's more useful than wasting their time trying to make yourself feel better about not being able to help them.

Recruiters exist to perform their job. That job is making introductions to people who can get hired. When we try to be more than that, it's because we want to feel like we are doing more.

This is not bad. I'm not saying don't be polite and don't try to help people. I'm saying we should recognize our role, our limitations, and not pretend that a sales pitch is the same thing as having a big heart. 

The Best Job Search Advice You'll Ever Get

This is my list of how to find a job. 

1.  Research companies within a fifteen minute drive. Use Google maps or the library or just drive around. Build that list, and when someone asks you what you're doing, give them that list and ask them who they know at those companies. 

2. Build a list of companies you know you want to work for based on what they do. Try to find people you know who work there, and repeat the referral strategy. 

3. Work out. Whether it's an hour walk or two hours at the gym, your physical appearance has an impact when you interview. Don't lie to yourself - you're judged by how you look, and any improvements will make a difference when you get that interview. 

4. Read. Yes, this counts as looking for a job. Read business books - read blogs, and then add in good literature. Some interviewers love people who read books. It gives you a reference point for networking events. And few people do it. 

5. Practice your phone and voicemail etiquette. Call your own phone and leave twenty messages. What do you sound like? What do you want to sound like? Write down a list of interview questions, and then record yourself answering them. 

6. Record yourself with video. Repeat number five, but do so with a live camera. How can you improve your interview? Do you slouch? Do you not smile enough? Are you self conscious?  Do you ramble on? 

7. Know how much you need to make. Use the time you have to address your finances. Look at your bills. Make a budget. And know, to the dollar, what you'll ask for in salary. If a recruiter or manager asks - tell them. One number. Be firm. Never give a range or say it depends. 

8. Know what you want to do. Yes, you can do many things, and you are open to all of them. But if you give an answer like that, no one can help you, and they won't want to. Pick one job title, and when someone asks, tell them that's the job you want. You can change that job title every day - but when speaking with someone or emailing them - pick one title.

9. Stop asking for coffee. If you haven't done 1-8, you're wasting the time of your contacts. If you can get someone to meet with you, show them what you've done, and they'll be far more motivated to help you. 

10.  It's smart to post your resume on job boards.  Dice, Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, a LinkedIn profile - they all help. Searching for jobs is harder, because everyone clicks Apply. It's not that applying is bad, it's that it's a low return. 

So - use the job boards to research the types of jobs you want. Don't restrict it to your area. Find titles, keywords, descriptions of jobs you've done, and use that to boost your profile and resume, and then identify companies that hire for the jobs you want to apply to. If you can get in front of a recruiter or hiring manager before they post the job, you can get to the front of the line. If you're resume #469 out of 700 that day, you're not getting noticed. 

 Most people don't want help with their job search. They just want a job. If you will do 90% of the work, your friends and contacts will often help you go the extra 10%

A Review Of Dice Open Web, November 2013

Dice, known throughout the recruiting industry as the best job board for Information Technology professionals, reached out to me to test their Dice Open Web product.

The following is a review of the product, which was offered as a trial.  No other compensation was provided other than free access to the product.

My first experience with Dice was back in 2000. Everyone was raving about this tech only job board that worked great in California, and my company signed us up to help us place engineers at Intel in NorCal.  The talent level was great, and I was pleased when it made its way out to St Louis later in my career (in the sense that St Louis talent began signing up).  In recent years, I've gotten used to seeing Dice at conferences, taking photos, shooting videos, and sponsoring events.  So when they asked me to review Dice Open Web, I was all in. 

My focus tends to be on digital marketing, but I get IT jobs every once in a while, and I wanted to test the tool for some obscure positions like my CNC programmer jobs.  At the same time, a prospect asked me to find a Linux Engineer in Dallas, so I ran it through the paces on live searches. I took some screen shots, but cropped them to avoid publishing private data. 

Step 1: Getting Used To Dice Search. 

There are two views on the platform.  The first is a Resume View that is your typical job board.  You search like you normally would, looking through titles, using the filters, and trying to narrow down your description.

   Dice 1

Step 2: Open Web View

My preferred method is to use the job board to source.  If I can't find what I want from a Dice Profile, I click on the Open Web View and look for additional candidates.  While speaking with the new Dice CEO, Shavran Goli, he explained that most Dice users supplement their recruiting with Open Web View. In addition to finding new candidates, you can find out more about the candidates who have uploaded their resumes to Dice.  Either way, this is the view you get.  

Dice Profile

Do you see all of those icons?  Those are the profiles on different social sites, from Facebook and Twitter, to Github, Vimeo, and Linkedin.  The social sites that are indexed are those deemed most likely to have business information, but there is some overlap into the personal world. 

The interesting thing for sourcers is you can see who has a Dice Profile and who does not.  This means you can see who was recently looking, and who might be a passive candidate. That allows you to tighten or broaden you search, based on your sourcing criteria. 

If you're working an open req, you start with the profiles, and move to the Open Web.  If you're building a list for an evergreen requirement or trying to reach someone in a passive environment, this screen gives you the flexibility to do both. 

The next step was to begin to apply it - to take a look at what silly searches turned up to check the algorithm, and then to dive into my live requirements. 



Step 3: Search Results

 The first thing I did was search Social Media Headhunter.  I'm all over the web, so if the algorithm matched up to Google or LinkedIn results, we'd have at least a baseline search. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 11.51.38 PM

So far so good.  I'm first.  Paul DeBettignies and Craig Fisher are three and four.  That's pretty accurate for results from other sites. Considering the number of sites scraped, it's hard to say if all of them say the same thing, of if some social results get a higher weight (this looks a lot like the LinkedIn ranking). 

So let's do some other searches.  


I tried Corona SDK, something I've sourced for my Facebook training. Very few of these developers exist, but I was able to find 553 people who had it on their social sites, but not job boards. Many of these developers have their own firms, and don't post profiles because they don't often need to look for jobs.  That's a good haul, useful for finding mobile developers and the companies they work for. 

When I did this through Facebook, Found 806 names of people who "Liked" Corona SDK, but you then have to go through each and every profile to see if there are more clues. In the case of Dice Open Web, I could right click directly to the LinkedIn profile, blog, or Stack Overflow. 


Let's try another one. 

CNC Machinist, New Britain, CT

This was a hard search on LinkedIn, because I was trying to find blue-collar workers that didn't have profiles, and who only looked for jobs through personal networks.  Facebook worked better, with over 1800 in the state of Connecticut with the title, but the geography filters for Facebook always mess with me, and I end it up with just a few names in each town.  

So I used the geographic filters to pick within 50 miles of my target town. 

CNC Machinist 

Not bad.  55 names, with a much smaller imprint than the tech guys. 



So what about IT Recruiting?  I was looking for a Linux System Engineer in Dallas.  It's  a tough req, with over 100 open positions in the six figure range. 

I went to the search screen with the following criteria. 

Refine Your Search

  • Title: Systems Administrator 
  • Skill: Linux
  • Keyword:  citrix installer
  • Geography:  50 miles of Addison

This gave me a broad search.  I then filtered the titles, as you can see on the right, down to system engineer.

There were 282 total results

Of those, the filter took me down to 59 Systems Engineers. 

And 13 of those had a profile on Dice in the last 90 days. 

I went through those names, and had pretty much exactly what I was looking for. 

But 13 names isn't a placement, so I also searched hosting companies to see who was previously an administrator, and might be ready to take the title of Engineer.  That search led me to the largest hosting provider in Dallas, which led me to 7 other firms where those engineers had moved. 

Now that's a sourcing list. 




Inside Open Web View, you have the ability to reach out through Twitter and Facebook. The messaging worked, but as I told Shavran, I would never do that.  I prefer my messaging to be clean and from a single platform I control.  He told me new developments are coming in that area, but I would be careful if you're using the system that way (primarily because recruiter are notoriously bad  at it.  The problem here is between the seat and the keyboard). 



After I did the test, I was set up with a phone interview with Shavran.  We talked for almost an hour, and he shared technical specifications, why they set things up the way they did, and how they planned to continue to upgrade the accuracy of the updates (all of this is done through API's, so there's constant change).

It's a neat tool, not because it's revolutionary, but because it extends the search capabilities of the average recruiter. If a match between Dice Open Web and a Social Media Sourcer, the sourcer wins every time.  Machine learning hasn't quite gotten to the point of beating the human brain, but in the hands of an experienced social recruiter, the tool would make you better (but that's not a new argument from me).

I'll leave you with this: 

1) I would use it. If I was in IT recruiting, I would use Dice, and I would use Open Web.

2) When I used it for its intended purpose, finding an IT candidate, the resume search delivered and delivered quickly. It's important to remember that when speed matters, job boards outperform all other search. 

If you have questions, you can reach out to me, or think about contacting Dice for a trial.  If you have Dice, you'd be a fool not to take advantage of this tool. 



Facebook Recruiting Webinar: The Basics

We're introducing a new title in our webinar series for recruiters.  This one is going to focus on Facebook, something I haven't done since 2008.

Facebook historically has been a terrible place to recruit unless you have a full social media marketing team pumping out content.  Now, I can see it rivaling LinkedIn in terms of efficiency, if you know how to use it correctly. 

The details:

Registration Link: Cost is $100.  This is a 90 minute webinar live inside the Facebook site. 

Guest Speaker: Jim Durbin, the Social Media Headhunter
Date: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Time: 2:00-3:30PM Eastern; 11:00AM-12:30PM Pacific

For an overview of the program, check out the first video. For a comparison of LinkedIn and Facebook Graph Search, check out the second. 

1st Video:


2nd Video:



If you have any questions, reach out to me through the email link or on twitter at @smheadhunter. 

2008 Post: Recruitment Marketing Is The New Black

This post was an original for ERE.NET I wrote way, way back in December 2008. How do you think it holds up?

Way back in the 20th century, I learned an important fact about recruiters. We’re all salespeople. There are good salespeople and bad salespeople, but every recruiter has to be in sales if they are to function. This is not up for discussion. We sometimes dance around the premise, but recruiting is essentially the selling of a company on a candidate and a candidate on a company. Those who choose not to engage in selling can pretend to be noble, but they’re doing a disservice to their clients and employers. It’s engraved on stone tablets for every third-party recruiter who makes it longer than three months, and even the most sales-averse HR generalist has to admit that at one time or another, they’ve tried to talk a manager into meeting with a candidate based on their internal interview. It’s the nature of our business.

Where we sometimes butt heads is in the implementation of a sales mentality versus that of a process-oriented human resources approach. I have good news: The sales mentality is remarkably effective for finding high-quality candidates or hiring large numbers of people quickly.

Unfortunately, no company needs that kind of structure forever, and the friction caused by a sales mentality in hiring can lead to management, administrative, and even legal obstacles. The human resources approach of a kindler, gentler HR works when you don’t have urgency, and when you have an enlightened HR/executive management relationship, but process-oriented hiring turns off the top creatives and results in the hiring of a stable, but less aggressive workforce. That’s no way to run a company in uncertain times.

These are uncertain times, but also exciting ones. Jobseekers, through social media, now have access to information on their would-be employers that is truly revolutionary. In addition to being connected through social networks to hiring managers and other employees, candidates can gather information on individual recruiters, staffing firms, referral programs, and even interview questions. They can do so while they are sitting in an interview room waiting for that manager to arrive. The imbalance of information has been a strength of companies, who can set wages, benefits, and generally control the employment process. Today’s job-seeker has access — and is learning the skill — necessary to balance that information. The result is smarter, better-prepared candidates with wider options as to where they work and what’s acceptable in the employment process (such as whether someone will put up with multiple interviews and long assessments). This trend may not yet have affected your open requirements, but the strategies employed by the very top candidates are spreading to other high-quality candidates.

I know this because I, and others like me are helping train them. Every time I write about a tool on a blog or a social network, candidates have every bit as much incentive to read as do recruiters. And from my website stats, those kinds of readers are growing in droves.

A declining economy, high unemployment, and an increasing need for knowledge workers is running up against demographics, increased specialization, and social media. Recessions are supposed to be times when companies get lean and mean. They cut benefits, reduce or eliminate raises, and often use layoffs to restructure the business. All of that is happening, but the ease of finding candidates hasn’t changed. Companies sometimes get hundreds of resumes per open position, and with the implementation of ATS and database search technology, one would assume that companies could afford to sit idly by and let job-seekers come to them. Companies adopting that attitude are already hurting, and have been for years.

The Answer: Become A Marketer

You don’t have to buy non-prescription lenses and large amounts of hair gel, but will have to adjust to a world where employment branding is not a buzzword, but something that defines what kind of candidates come knocking on your electronic door. Those companies that brag of hundreds, or even thousands of resumes per position aren’t happy with their results.

Candidates looking for work blast off resumes hoping for a lucky hit, which ultimately clogs up the recruiting system, especially when you’re in an industry required to log what you’ve received and why you accepted or rejected the resume. Recruitment marketing used to mean writing job ads and placing them in newspapers. Today, it covers a wide range of disciplines that includes creative, copywriting, SEO, web analytics, pay per click, video, blogging, and social media marketing. The new goal is getting in front of the right people at the right time, and that’s a marketing function. To be successful, it requires that every touchpoint (another marketing term) within your company be aware of how you hire and the best way to apply. Providing accurate information to channel candidates into the correct funnel is the most efficient use of your recruiting time, freeing your employees up to interview and match, rather than sort and sift.

Let’s be honest. Even with massive databases and an influx of resumes, most recruiters still spend over half their time on the job boards searching for new resumes. The reason is simple. Resumes are old the second they hit your database, while resumes posted on job boards (particularly if you search by “last posted”) show an interest in getting hired right now. The advantage of a marketing mentality, especially one of pull-marketing, is a value to all activities taken. Searches for a position today can be magnified by social media to create a long-term search engine value and online profile for your company. Unlike job boards and company websites where information appears and disappears, online marketing creates relationships that continue to bring value after a search is completed. It’s not easy, and much of this work is in its infancy, but companies that embrace online marketing through the prism of social media are finding that recruiting gets easier, and more efficient.

It’s no panacea. Marketing requires a lot of retraining and a sympathetic management who puts a priority on hiring. Marketing requires a commitment to long-term employees and long-term strategies, but the benefits of an enhanced company profile are easy to measure using onboarding surveys. Rather than simply asking where the candidate heard about the position, questions should focus on what worked to influence the candidate during the employment process. Where did they get information? What information was helpful? Who was helpful? Companies who embrace a thorough strategy of recruitment marketing will find it easier and easier to hire the best employees. Those who focus on short-term sales or long-term process-oriented hiring will find it easier to hire those who are left.

Jim Durbin On DriveThru HR With Brian Wempen And William Tincup

Had a good time today on DriveThru HR, walking through what keeps me up at night about recruiting and HR.  

I covered Google Plus, Social Recruiting VS Recruiting in a Social Company, and a recent experience as a hiring manager. 


Listen to internet radio with Wempen and Tincup on Blog Talk Radio

The full embed is there, and you can download the full event to listen on ITunes as well.  30 minutes long.  Two smart guys with a pretty decent radio following. 

 The comments about Google Plus got me thinking, so I checked in with my friend, Recruiting Animal, and we're tentatively booked for February 15th to talk about Google Plus and Recruiting. 

There's a lot of audience participation, and Google Plus is going to encounter a lot of skeptics on Animal's show, so be prepared for a lot of yelling and a lot of dissension.   


Wanted: Social Media Recruiting Experience

Thanks to the magic of Twitter and the sharing savvy of Maren Hogan, I read this article in Human Resource Executive Online about "social recruiting" as a core competency for the hiring of new recruiters.

HR occupations most commonly seeking these skills are recruiters and training specialists, according to the platform, created and monitored by Wanted Technologies Corp., headquartered in Quebec City, with primary U.S. offices in New York.

"We've heard the 'buzz' about social recruiting," says Bruce Murray, CEO of Wanted Technologies, "but the facts are showing that forward-looking companies are now expecting their recruiters to have mastered this core competency.

"Social recruiting," he says, "has moved beyond 'buzz' and is definitely mainstream."

 Awesome.  Allow me to step forward, and on behalf  of all the bloggers, dreamers, and trainers that dug into this over the last seven years, I'd like to say, you're welcome.  Thank you to all the readers and writers of  Thank you to Kennedy Expo and ERE and OnRec, and to folks like John Sumser and Jason Davis and Craig Silverman and Heather Hamilton and Recruiting Animal and Anthony Meaney and David Manaster and well, all of the Jason's, and Dennis Smith and Dave Mendoza and Shally Steckerl and Joel Cheesman and Maureen Sharib and really, anyone who started pitching this as "extra sauce" in the core recruiting function. 

And I'm sure I missed a whole slew of folks.    

But seriously, this is a good sign for the industry that social media is seen as  a core competency.  It is.

But what does it mean?  And how do you hire for it?

While we've taken great strides, there is still a fundamental disconnect between understanding social media and actually using it in the recruiting process.  So if you want to hire someone with social media skills, can I just a simple remedy? 

Ask them to demonstrate it.

If you know what you're doing in social media, it shouldn't be that hard to sit down in front of a computer and show it off.

Picture 10  This is a screen shot of LinkedIn, and at the very least, you ought to be able to demostrate how to use LinkedIn to find candidates.  Show a trick or two. 

And when done with LinkedIn, you can show how Meetup can help you find active candidates whose online profiles are passive. 

Or perhaps you can demonstrate how you'd go about interviewing accoutants in Seattle when the job is in Tampa. 

Or maybe just show how you can get direct phone numbers off old resumes in the database? 



What you can't do is say that you know social media, put it on your resume, and then skate through the interview because your future manager doesn't understand what it means to be social savvy. 

I'd be interested in finding out if this is case.  Back in the old days, coders would sometimes interview by, you know, writing code.  Now that technology is such an important part of every job, you'd think that we tested for skillsets.  They used to give typing speed tests and number pad drills in an interview.  Why wouldn't you have a LinkedIn run-through in your hiring process? 

Say, that's not a bad idea.  Maybe I'll call Tincup.  


Global ThermoNuclear LinkedIn Strategy

Jason Alba reports on a feature that changed in LinkedIn.  Endorsers, the people who leave recommendations on your profile, don't always show up, which means that if you're not using a paid account, you won't be able to recruit endorsers in a broad search

Last month, I noticed a another new change that affects your recruiting.  Being part of a Group no longer allows you to invite someone to connect.  This is a real hassle for recruiters using the free service, because Groups allowed you to do open networking in a specialty.  You can still connect if you have the email address or if you lie and say you worked with the person (not a good idea if you want to keep your account long), but the ability to create new connections is being restricted for free accounts. 

Most people won't notice it, and over time, new work-arounds will be found, but if say you're about to do training on LinkedIn on Thursday, it helps to be current on what is changing. 

I've been teaching LinkedIn to recruiters for five years now.  I've made good money, and helped a lot of people.  And most important to me, the training I gave people years ago is still mostly effective today.  That's not easy to do, but it's because I don't teach tactics, I teach strategy.  This means that minor changes in the user interface and functionality present annoyances to recruiters who are used to gaming the system, but for those who approach LinkedIn with an open mind, those changes don't hamper your ability to recruit. 

Think of it like this.  LinkedIn is a tool in a system.  That system is your recruiting process.   Many people think of LinkedIn as a system unto itself, but your control of that system is minimal.  Your control of the recruiting process is total.  This means your company is looking at LinkedIn and trying to fit it into their hiring process.  If you overbuild your process to work with LinkedIn as it exists today, you'll have to redo the process tomorrow. 

If you underbuild your process, you're not getting the full value for your time, and you may lack the experience to adapt to changes in the future.  It's quite the conundrum. 

Let's make a hard stop here and switch direction. A "hardened silo" refers to the Coldwar Strategy of building missle siloes underground and protecting them from nuclear blast.  The idea was to build them so well, nothing but a direct hit would prevent them from being damaged.  It was a great idea when missles weren't that accurate, but today's GPS systems are so sophisticated, there is no concern about hitting the target.  The money spent on hardening the silos was great at the time, but it led to new technologies that ultimately severely degrade your attempted hardening.  

This is LinkedIn as most people see it today.  Heck, this is social media strategy as most people see it today, from "Best Practices" to "How-to" videos that can be out-of-date a few days after you release them.  There is a lot of value in this approach, but there can be a lot of cost.  While training your people to use LinkedIn can save you hundreds of thousands (or make it for  you on the outside), that training is only good for a short period of time.  You have to extract the value out of it immediately, because that value drops every day.

The flexible strategy is similar to the Cold War practice of using nuclear submarines.  They represent a training of people to deal with contingencies, rather than facts on the ground.  A nuclear submarine captain (41 for Freedom!) had to be prepared to react to bad data, from lack of direct authorization to making their own judgements about what happened if they fired the missles.  They were trained to think and given the authority to act.  While recruiters aren't pushing shiny red buttons, the mental model is the same.  Training for adaptation means giving up control, a fact that makes a lot of managers uncomfortable (and sometimes with good reason). 

Of course, this means that the third leg of the Nuclear Triad would have to be job boards.  Archaic dinosaurs and sleek new stealth machines that look cool, and given free rein, can rain down job postings an unsuspecting populace. 

Strategy in social media isn't just about picking tools and "Listening."  It starts with a decision of how you're going to employ your resources, and what level of control you're willing to give up to achieve supremacy.  Also, LinkedIn is making big changes, and you need to be prepped for that.


Social Media Article Done Right: Anne Deeter Gallaher

It gets tiring and it's more than a little counterproductive to point out bad columns and outrageous statements in our space.  Far be it for me to be a curmudgeon when the truth is I speak to a lot of highly qualified people with clear goals, great experience, and a desire to understand how social helps their companies and their careers. 

So here's a more positive take, based on an article I just read at Crowdshifter. 

Anne Deeter Gallaher delivers specific information  on how to pitch, understand, and ultimately do a better job in social business. Her article, Social Media and the CFO, seeks to explain how "business works," and the ways in which you can educate yourself and improve your selling proposition when in front of a number cruncher.

My two favorite in her list.

4.  Understand operational expenses vs. revenue generation. How can you use social media to generate revenue? If you use social media to sell cars or for customer service, can you follow the conversation into a lead into a relationship into a sale? Can you use social media to connect with a decision maker or learn something valuable about the company (e.g. the CEO tweeted that she was attending a Penn State University football game and you’re an alumna)? If so, then it’s a good investment and worth the resources...

6. Read what they read.

Read the whole thing.  Both for what it can teach you, and as an example of how to write.  When we compare this to the normal column on social, what we see is a clear point of view expressed with specific recommendations on how to create change.  This is a good thing.

One of the harder things to do as a consultant is to give enough information in a column or a speaking opportunity without giving away the farm.  Without a doubt, writing great content is important, but the third time you see some joker steal your material and get paid to rewrite it, you began to rethink your content sharing strategy might be flawed. 

Ms. Galleher's column solves the problem by going ahead and telling you what to do, while recognizing that actually doing it takes a range of experience most consultants lack. Great ideas can't just be stolen, they have to be acted upon with competence. Sure you can suggest that consultants read the magazines their clients read, but who actually does it?  Only the successful ones who plan to stick around.   

This touches on a bigger problem social media faces.  Our lack of the ability to sell as a community leaves us prey to someone else adopting our ideas and claiming our reward.  Before I did the work, I had this problem.  It's originally what led me to stop writing advice.  My solution was to become a solution provider, and not a strategist.  Being a solution provider meant learning how to sell our services, not coming up with ideas that took us 30 minutes to type into a blogpost.

In future weeks, I've got more interviews of practioners in the field on whom I rely to give me the real skinny of social business innovation.  We're going to discuss how they got their jobs, their range of experience, and what it takes to be successful as a social employee.