TalentNet Live Dallas Notes And News

Sitting here at Capital One in Plano, which truly is a magnificent campus. I'll keep this updated throughout the day, but you can also follow along at #talentnet on Twitter and on the Facebook feeds of Dallas folks. 

First up - you have event sponsor http://www.ElevatedCareers.com, this is eHarmony - yep, the dating site, which is using its technology to leap into the careers and job board market. They're going to try and match you to a company's culture based on the same kind of personality matching they use to find your your life mate. It's still in beta, but you can sign up to learn more. 

Next we have a panel on sourcing. Jeremy Roberts, Kyle Lagunas, and Shannon Pritchett are on stage talking about the change in sourcing from entry level recruiter to marketing/profile building. This is a tougher one - they talk about marketing and profile building, but in my experience, and as many of you will know who are marketers and not recruiters, profiles are easier to speak about when you think like a marketer. This would be a fascinating trend if true. I'm not sure that the marketing mindset fits into trench recruiting. 

I popped into a section led by Matt Charney in conjunction with Aspen Dental. They were talking about the difficulties of hiring dentists in remote locations (which isn't really that remote, but more small town versus urban). They have two marketers and an agency, and are looking to increase their funnel, which suffers from conversion programs (how do you get a dentist to leave/dissolve their practice and start over in a new city?). 

 Capital One's Kara Augone is talking about using big data within the organization. This is very much an enterprise level talk, as they have access to hundreds of hires and the ability to track candidates through their ATS, but one big takeaway was the recruiters identifying characteristics of people who would leave in under six months. Tracking their hires using cookie tags, they were able to alter who they hired, and the insight came from the individuals doing the work instead of a "data" consultant showing them. The other big push Kara made, leaning on a Horatio Nelson historical reference, was the importance of giving teams the freedom to make choices rather than top down management. A final note is that they continually improve, making it clear they have a long way to go (despite that insight being a pretty good one). 4-5 people on their data insights team, just for their hiring. 

By the Way - I'm speaking at 1:30 on Intake Meetings - how to prepare for meeting with managers. My basic take is that you have to get the manager on board before you start asking questions - and I try to show examples of how we make those mistakes. It's posted up at Slideshare under "Intake Meeting: Is it worth $30,000 of your time?"


Hirevue's Phil Rodriguez is talking through using video to hire. Hoping to pick up some tips. His first one is to prepare the candidate for the interview experience.



Summer Hiring Season Is Over. Ready For September?

Best year in 15 years for hiring across the board, and as anecdotally reported by recruiters, permanent hires are through the roof, even in the month of June. That should tell industry veterans something. 

Normally, summer months are slower, because so many people are scheduled with vacations and early days off that interviews just take longer. It's also a weirder time, because companies who are hiring feel more pressure to get it done so they can head to the lake. That's certainly been the case this year. But like the winter holidays, those who work hardest in June reap the benefits of July hiring before August falls off the cliff. 

It's just hot in August, and it's a bad month to start for the kinds of jobs I work on. It is great prep time, as hiring in September is pretty much the last viable month if you want production out of someone in 2015. 

That's not just me yapping. An awesome digital salesperson in North Carolina told me to get on the phone and make his hire happen now, because if he started in September, with a month of training, his output for the year would be scraps, versus if he started now, he got the last great month in the year to grab his share of budget. 

In Retail Marketing, it's even more important. You can't hire a digital marketing in the 4th quarter, because they and you are so busy, getting together is nightmarish. 
It's July 17th. If your digital manager left this Spring after their bonus, and you've been searching since then, now is the time to call your recruiter or ramp up your sourcing efforts. September hiring starts day. You have 45 days to get it right. 

SourceCon Podcast: Meet The Speaker Series, Jim Durbin

Jeremy Roberts, the editor of SourceCon, is doing  a series for his speaker at the Spring Sourcecon In Seattle. This is a short podcast talking about my background, my likes, and some of my favorite tools.

The podcast is embedded below, and can be downloaded, and the full script is at the Sourcecon blog

 For those curious, Sourcecon this spring is in Seattle on March 24-25, and I'll be doing a session on how different kinds of recruiters would tackle a job req (contract staffing, exec search, internal, sourcer).


Coming To You Live From Digital Dallas Summit 2014

I'll be at #DDSum14 today and tomorrow, looking to connect with digital and social candidates, but also introduce myself to companies struggling to hire. 

Look, it's tough out there. The people doing the work are heads down right now in Q4, and it's really difficult to separate those who are on the team from those who are leading the team. Knowing isn't enough, as getting your program or campaign through the enterprise is the skill that is more important. 

So don't be afraid to say hello. Here's my smiling face. Just try to imagine me without a beard. or a hat. 

2012-11-18 07.18.24

I am looking right now. I have a Director level position for social commerce in Southern California - someone who understands social strategy but can integrate social display with their content team while interfacting with customer service. I'll take senior managers, especially those of you who are underpaid, and I'll take those of you paid just enough but who want to move away the coming Snowpocalypse. 

Either way - look me up. 





Or you can text me at cyberdust, that new app by Cuban. 

I'm jimdurbin on cyberdust. 

DFWTRN Training Webinar And Chapter Fundraiser

I'm a board member with DFWTRN, the recruiting/staffing group for Dallas/Fort Worth, and we're doing  chapter fundraiser with training webinars for recruiters. 

This is the slide deck for it, and the description and the training is below. Everyone is welcome, and since it's online, you don't have to be in Dallas.  $30 per seat, or $99 per team. This if the first of four, and the work is below. 


To sign up, head to the DFWTRN.org page and check for the events tab




The first one is September 9th - next Tuesday, at 12:00, and the others are scheduled the second Tuesday of each month for the rest of the year. This is a chapter fundraiser for DFWTRN, and we decided to focus on basic skills involved in recruiting. 
We have four trainers - myself, Jeremy Roberts, Jim Schnyder, and Craig Fisher, who have all spoken at the chapter before, who will go through 60 minutes of material focused on entry level and intermediate recruiter. 
September is mine - I'll be handling writing job descriptions (both for third party and corporate recruiting), basic search engine uses, messaging candidates, and internet profiles, and some basic LinkedIn for the free account. 
Future months will be a more thorough LinkedIn course, Internet sourcing, and how to build and read social media profiles. These are all recruiting focused - it's not about using a platform, it's how finding and contacting people. 
Each course is $30, a team is $99, and all money goes to the chapter. 

 Sign Up Link

America's Got Social Media MarketingTalent

In the last two months, I've spoken with hundreds of social media consultants, managers, directors, speakers and strategists. 

That's what happens when you call people for jobs. 

And what I've found is that the level of talent when it comes to marketing and customer service integration has absolutely exploded. I'd say a good 20% of the people I speak to really get how to integrate social into their jobs. Many have other skillsets, including email, PPC, direct mail (I said it). event marketing, nonprofit selling, sales enablement, and even international logistics (how do you think you find trusted contacts in new countries without social media?). 

But, man are we bad at hiring. I can list five senior social media people who could run divisions for large companies who are out looking for work. I have a handful of digital strategists that are open to moving, are less than six figures, and have 8-10 years of experience. 

It seems that companies have done very well training their people to handle social, but when it comes to hiring social, we're failing. 

Part of the problem is everyone is calling themselves social these days. If we could just get more specific with our skills instead of lumping everything into social, I think we could bring down the noise ratio. The other part is the hot girl effect. If someone is really good at what they do, companies are sometimes afraid to approach them. Supposedly, really hot women date less than just attractive women because men are afraid of them (I'd like to note that unlike some of my peers, I didn't post a picture here to drive traffic). 

A third problem is that the higher up the food chain you go, the harder it is to fill a job, and the patchwork economy of today leaves some talented people in the wrong cities (remote doesn't work for everyone). 

I never do this, but here's my pitch - and it's to executives. If you think your social is dull, boring, not working, an expense, or something you plan to get around to, please call me. I can help you identify what you're looking for, and probably have the person you want to hire in my database. And I've probably spoken to them in 2014. 

There are too many talented people looking for their next big win. Not for jobs, but their next big win. If you want a win, please call.  

214-509-7262. Ask for Jim Durbin, the Social Media Headhunter.

If you leave a message, it will be our new company name, Brandstoming

Programmer Salaries By Region? Is It All About The Money?

hat tip to Recruiting Animal for the idea.  

I recruit across the county, hopping from city to city like a rock band on tour, and one of the things I notice is the difference in what's important to each part of the country. 

There's no scientific evidence to this, other than a data set of thousands of phone calls over the last ten years, but I wanted to try to explain the default setting for different regions when it comes to hiring in the internet space (digital marketing, mobile apps, start-ups). 

So ask yourself if this is  accurate in your part of the country, and if it applies just to technology, or to business as a whole:

Bay Area:

Low salaries and equity make sense because you get 5 or 6 bites at the apple.  The goal is to try out several companies, hoping to win the equity lottery so you can fund your true passion.  Contrary to popular belief, salaries are not high for most of the name brand companies.  Executives do make out, but that's often because they're moved from other areas of the country, and the cost of living is so high, they're actually underpaid in comparison.  Until they move to the Midwest, where they live like kings.  


No one believes that any company is going to explode anymore, which means hiring is about salary. Austin also has the unique property of not discriminating about working in a startup.  You can bounce seamlessly from startup to large corporation and back again.  In most areas, once you leave the large company, you don't get to go back.  In Austin, that's not the case.


We fly under the radar because although we're about business, we don't get the attention.  Startups here are more like small businesses, looking to build up to 10-50 million and sell to larger companies.  This is possible because so many large companies buy small companies here.  It's not an equity event, so the goal is to get actual percentages of the company and be on the exec team. Labor is more of a commodity, which means salaries are competitive, but not high.  Cost of living is low, and that makes a difference. 

Washington D.C and suburbs:

A strange bird,  DC is about who you're meeting, and access to big fat government grants.  Salaries are on the high side, but you get locked pretty quickly into government work or private sector reliant on government work.  DC is about the rolodex and access to power. The goal is to know the right people so you can get in on the best contracts.  

Let's face it.  NYC is about coolness, which means depressed salaries and little equity, but a resume you can brag on to your friends. I can't tell you the number of resumes I get from NYC people with very low salary demands who brag about who they worked with.  While there is a booming tech company ecosystem, the people at the top make out like bandits, but the ones in the middle struggle until they move somewhere cheaper. 


It's been a while, but my impression of Chicago is that everyone asks for high salaries, but settles for far less.  It seems to be a performance based city, but watch out! Promises of success far outweigh what it takes to be successful.  It's been six years since I've recruited there, so I'm open to changing.  

Boston and Seattle and Denver and Atlanta:

I have no clue.  Someone fill me in?

Midwest and 2nd Tier Southern cities:

There are two flavors to the rest of the country.  While salaries are lower, the cost of living is so much lower that many of the people who live or who settle outside the biggest cities tend to actually do better.  They own homes, have children, a couple of cars.   Flavor one is the really talented person who wants more.  These folks are catnip to the big city companies, who get lower salaries and great talent draining brains from the Midwest (St Louis, Minneapolis, etc).  Flavor two is the people who convince themselves they can run successful startups with local talent, so they build a cult of personality that just can't hang onto talent, because they lack the ecosystem to make equity plays worthwhile for the jobseekers.  If your startup flames out in St Louis, what do you do next (remember companies have a bias against coming back).  If your startup flames out in San Jose, you'll have a new one by Tuesday. 



Social Media Headhunter Quoted In Sprout Social

A nice piece from Sprout Social that includes quotes from Steve Levy, and the in-house Sprout Social recruiter on how social media recruiting works. 

"Conversely, a good recruiter can use social media not only as a tool to weed out bad candidates but as a way to dig for diamonds in the rough as well. Durbin says the one of the primary benefits he sees in using social media is the education and learning it provides him about the specific job and the vertical for which he’s trying to fill a position.

“Not every one of us is a ‘niche’ recruiter,” says Durbin, referring to the specialization that some recruiters have for specific industries or job titles. “If I have to recruit for a position that’s new to me, social media allows me to learn as I research and connect with potential candidates. Each contact I make tells me more about the job I’m looking to fill and gives me all the vital context I need to find the right candidate for the job.”

That about sums it up for me. 



Back In My Day, We Didn't Have Experts, Just Moderately Experienced Marketers

Is it bad to call yourself a social media expert?  There sure seems to be a lot of anger about it. Hard to tell if the knee-jerk response to snort at a social media expert is honest derision, or a superstitious attempt to to ward off evil, the 21st century version of "There but for the grace of Google go I."

Given how big an area the definition of social media can cover, one can either throw up their hands and say it's not possible to be an expert, or one can accept that social media is a preference layer that has more to do with our target audiences than the discipline itself. 

And make no mistake, social media is a discipline.  It's not enough to call it a tool in a tool box.  It's a skill set that is distinct from marketing, PR, and customer service.  Do you know how we can tell?  Experts with decades of experience in marketing, PR, customer service, and sales are often completely clueless when it comes to using social media to bring value. 

If social media is as easy as taking a piece of bread out of a refrigerator, why do so many people foul it up on their own?  Why are there so few true examples of social media success, if it's so easy?

It's because it's not easy, and we're not driving it.  Social media is the public's way of learning. The mass communication and connectedness of our audiences is driving change that companies cannot keep up with, and they know it.  It's simple math. There are more of them, than of us.  Because there are more of them, they learn faster.  So why do they need someone who is an "expert" in social media?  it's the same reason they need a recruiter. 

Here's a dirty little secret about the recruiting industry. We're not that much better than internal Human Resource departments.  But we don't have to be.  We just have to be a little better, a little faster, than internal departments.  And we are, because we have structural advantages, from representing multiple clients to being sales-oriented to spending more time searching and calling candidates and less time on paperwork.

Some people hate recruiters, but the industry continues to do well, because the marketing of the industry says we're experts in hiring.  Some of use are, some aren't, but the industry has a reputation of solving problems a little faster and with less hassle than internal departments (on average).

Do you know what you don't say as a recruiter to a client?  You don't say, "I'm slightly better than your internal people." You say, "I'll do the job, with my massive database, and I'll be accountable solely to you because I'm an expert."

That's mostly true, but it's still marketing.  We're marketing ourselves to sell our services, just like every other industry.  Do you know what we call ourselves?   Headhunters.  Staffing experts.  Talent acquisition experts. National Account Executives.  It's title inflation, common to everyone from teachers (educators), to Senior Digital Communication Vice Presidents for Advertising and Messaging, International Markets. 

Thus, the social media expert, or whatever they call themselves, from consultant, to strategist, to connector, to integrated marketers, to social business analyst, is engaging in a form of marketing called personal branding. Everyone does it.  Everyone does it. 

Calling yourself an expert in an area is an attempt to convey the idea that you are worth paying for your advice.  It's a rookie move, when you can call yourself better terms like Digital Integrated Director, Social Business Communicator, but it's all the same.  And mocking it is disingenuous.  

There is no difference between calling yourself a "social media expert," and describing a product you sell as a "revolutionary step forward in household disinfectants."  It's just marketing.  We can complain about it, we can mock it, we can judge it, but let's not lie to ourselves that making fun of someone for marketing themselves is authentic criticism, if we ourselves do any form of marketing, or if others do it for us (so no ducking if your job is help desk.  Someone markets your services for you).  

We have nonsense titles in most companies.  We have training programs that have little value to anyone not sorting resumes.  We have college degrees for people who can't write or speak in public.  We have Master's and Doctorate programs for 2nd grade teachers who now call themselves "educators," but whose children can't read when they leave the classroom.  We all market, from fake hair and nails to car leases we can't afford in neighborhoods where are house payments are based on no interest loans.  

Social Media Experts don't get special passes because of their titles, but do we really think they're horrible people?  They tend to be small fish trying to sell (and often failing), but sometimes they are people who recognize that social media is sexy, and thus it gets attention.  When attacking social media experts, why is there so much venom?  Is it because we're mad about title inflation?  Or is there something else?