Understanding The 3 Candidate Personas When Hiring

There are only a few stories in life, and recruiters often make the mistake of complicating the decision to take a new job. There are broad themes that run through all hiring decisions, and most of the obstacles, road blocks, and stumbles occur when we divert a candidate from the right path with the wrong kind of information.


Why does someone take a job? I’ve identified three major themes that cover 95% of hires.

Next Step:

These are the best candidates for a recruiter. A person is getting a promotion, getting a raise, moving from a smaller company to a larger one, moving from a slow company to a fast one, or gathering experience in a new position that will enhance their career.

Next step candidates don’t need to be sold on taking a job. They need to be sold on taking your job. They need to see that this is the right time for them to leave their company and join another. You can identify them when they use words like “career,” or “I’m ready to” and obviously, “the next step.”

 

Selling points to NextSteppers include; confirmed budget, a better title, more responsibility, and public exposure (like speaking at conferences or access to media).

To win Next Steppers over, you have to talk to their ego, without inflating it. You treat them with more respect then they’re getting at their current position, but you don’t over do it (running the risk that they think their Next Step is bigger than what you’re offering). A script would include something like, “What you’ll find at your next position,” and “At this level, this is how you carry yourself and what you can expect.”

Next Step is also very easy to sell to clients, who recognize someone planning their career.

A New Hope:

Some people are looking for a reboot of their lives. They’re in dying companies or dying industries, or they’ve reached the limit of their desire in their field, and want to move in a new direction. Examples include digital creatives who move into manufacturing, reporters who move into marketing, salespeople who move into consulting, and executives who open up franchise small businesses.

The New Hope is hard for recruiters, because it’s success rate is based on personal relationships or a track record of hiring similar candidates. If you know someone, you can offer them a job and train them. If you’re paying a recruiter (internal or external), you expect someone with experience (it’s a mistaken notion, but a normal one).

New Hope roadblocks include salary considerations (in both directions - both drops in earnings and those whose new job pays significantly more), lack of training structure, and romanticized visions of a new job. It’s important to differentiate here between New Hope and Get Me The Hell Out Of Here Candidates. They often sound alike.

Verbal clues include: “Reached the end of,” “don’t see a long-term vision,” as well as comments like “How many web designers do you know over 40?” You can also identify New Hopers at companies whose industry has struggled through layoffs, even if they themselves have not experienced it. New Hopers are not those who lost a job and need to start over. They’re employed, have a career, and are ahead of the curve in terms of planning their career.

To sell New Hopers, you need to first break them down. A journalist who tells you they are a journalist is not a good candidate for a non-journalism job. They have to fully commit to a new path, which means they discuss writing, research, and interviewing. It’s their skills you’re after, but if they can’t let go of their title, or refer to how things have been done, they’re not ready. You have to tell them that. If they get it, then you need to work with them to remold their resume and story. What have they done that is similar to the new job? This can include phone calls, customer service, accounting, technology, interviews, or management. Recreate their story as a timeline where the New Hope is really a Next Step. Emphasize the commitment at the end, and be sure to include the current title in a Summary or Objective. Repeating the title and skills on paper and throughout the interview will signal that commitment to the hiring manager.

Most important, practice accepting job offers and practice relevant questions. Consider it similar to assuming the sale. If the candidate sounds like they are ready to take the job, the manager will be more likely to see them as competent at the new job.

Get Me The Hell Out Of Here:

This is sadly the most common kind of candidate. From bad bosses to needing money to personal issues to naivete and poor planning, many candidates want something new, but what they really want is to get out of the old.

Competent candidates mask it well. Many pitch it in terms of Next Stepping or A New Hope, but when a candidate tells you they’re open to anything, finish that thought mentally with “anything that gets me out of here.”  Please note there’s nothing wrong with the person. They could actually be a great employee that is just fed up. They could have fear that has held them back, or personal conditions like family or medical issues that necessitate a change. But if you’re going to place them, you have to convert them to a new channel.

Verbal cues here aren’t as useful because the candidate rarely says - “just get me out.” They are often governed by emotions, and while they are in the grip of those emotions, they’re stuck. It’s like a guy in rapids without a life preserver. They’ll take any line thrown to them, but after you’ve hauled them to land, their thank you is short-lived. If they’re on the wrong river bank, or if their peer group is still in the water, they will regret taking that line.

A Note About Channels:

Channels are useful personas to use in hiring situations because they’re true. They are logical progressions that lead job-seekers into a particular train of thought, which is why interview answers sound the same. An example is,“What is you biggest weakness?” The answer, “I’m a perfectionist.” It’s not really the answer - it’s the logical best answer to a silly question.   

The neat thing about channels is that you can’t sell people into them. You can’t train someone to get out of their mindset. You have to bring them to the point where the normal thoughts that everyone thinks in the channel are coming to them. That’s why it’s a channel. Once you’re in it, the normal person moves forward to the same conclusion. Your goal is not to create a script they can follow, but to nudge them into the right channel, and the channel will do all of the work from there.



 





Facebook Is Crazy Useful For Recruiting

Last year, I added Facebook recruiting to my training webinars through Experts-Connection (over 6,000 trained!). The introduction of Facebook Graph Search was exciting, as it allowed you to search through Facebook ti find candidates that weren't on LinkedIn. 

I've done four of those webinars, and each time, the improvements to Graph Search have amazed me. 

If you've attended one of my trainings, you'll know my whole pitch is the power of the human brain. How we think and what we do is very important when it comes to sourcing, as your unique experience creates different search strings than your competitors. 

The steady march of algorithms, from LinkedIn's Galene Update to Google's One Account SERPS to Graph Search itself, alter what you see and try to homogenize your results. It is only your brain that is going to find new candidates that haven't already received a dozen inmails. 

That was Facebook's initial value. It gave you additional candidate pools, and a different starting point then job boards or LinkedIn. And now that has changed. 

The filter system in place in Graph Search, used correctly, give you clean lists that you can start calling immediately. The data isn't fully entered, because candidates on Facebook don't yet see themselves as candidates, but as public awareness of people getting jobs through Facebook continues to grow, expect to see the skills section grow, and the results magnify. 

Facebook is facing a lot of public backlash about privacy issues, and recruitment just isn't as big a market as advertising. If you could pick Google's market cap or Monster's, which would you pick? But it's usefulness is increasing. As LinkedIn pivots to B2B marketing and increases their aggressive selling to recruiters, I fully expect the staffing world to begin focusing on free options. Facebook is currently the biggest free option. 


The Value In Social Media Isn't Your Love Of The Twilight Saga

I always cringe a little when I read the word, social media trainer. Even though I am one, it makes me a little afraid about what I'm going to hear.

That's not fair to the many wonderful speakers and trainers out there, people who drive the industry forward and seek out new ways and new technologies, but I see it so much, that it's like a street taco. When you get it, you don't know if it's going to be really good, incredibly bland, or ruin your afternoon. 

So I did a video. But Youtube kept crashing on the desktop so I did it outside, which is sadly why the lighting is bad and the sound had too much wind. And for that, I apologize. 

But the content is good. 

  

It breaks down to this. 

Social media research that is used in sales and recruiting isn't about personal details. The idea that you can form a bond with a person by researching their social profile is silly, and if you actually try, you'll come across as a creep. If it does work for you, it's because the person wants to talk to you, not because you figured out they like double stuff Oreos more than regular oreos. 

Social media in sales is good for three things. 
1) It leads you to relevant information (business information). 

2) It allows you to showcase your value which leads to more interest from your prospect. 

3) Social mediums are often less cluttered than phone and email. Not always, but sometimes, and they can serve as great messaging tools to move to phone, email, and face to face meetings. 

That's it. It's sales research and sales enablement. If you're looking at social for cues to connect with candidates, I'm not going to believe that you do it very much. It sounds like one of those things that we want to believe, but no one actually does.

 

 


LinkedIn Recruiting Quiz Finally Posted

A lot of recruiters talk about their experience in social media, specifically LinkedIn.  Here's your chance to find out how good you are. 
This is a quiz I created for training webinars.  It is not an official quiz, and it requires  a background in recruiting to be successful. 

10 Reasons Surfing LinkedIn Profiles Is Like Panning For Gold

I love sifting through my LinkedIn account.  There's so much rich data in the system, and so much to learn, that a casual glance at a profile leads me to hours of contacts and websites. 

It helps that I'm a social media headhunter, but it's not just the search.  For every business I work with, LinkedIn remains my go-to application.  There's always something I can do to show off to a prospect that they hadn't thought of, or can't do with their own accounts. 

If this sounds a bit like a love song, it's because I've had a lot of occasion to be on LinkedIn in the last week, and even though the changes are frustrating to some recruiters, there really isn't anything like it out there.  A business database that is updated by the contacts. It allows you to contact them.  The expectations are that you are supposed to do business with others on the site.  And most important, all that is needed is the curiosity to explore. 

How do you use it? 

1) Identify companies to sell your products, hire you, or hire from. 

2) Learn market terminology from titles to jargon. 

3) Understand career paths from those who have gone before you, to better understand what led to their current titles. 

4) Find out what technologies partners and competitors are using, and how long they've been using them. 

5) Find out what alumni of your school are doing, or find out what alumni of the school you want to attend are doing. 

6) Find out if that MBA or Law Degree is worth it, by looking at profiles of recent graduates.

7) Use LinkedIn as a springboard to research a company and its microsites.

8) Find out when people leave jobs or start new ones, and where a company hires most, both geographically and from what companies.

9) Research a company to see if they're really engaged in social media, or if they are just posting a profile because others told them to. 

10) Find out who is looking at your profile, and reach out to them to see if they're looking to hire. 

All of these are free services that can be used with just a little creativity and a healthy dose of curiousity.  All of these are actually enjoyable for researchers. And if you dig long enough, no matter what you are looking for, you always find something that will be useful to you, from a remembered name to a lost contact to a company you should have known was there, but was not. 

And don't forget serendipity. Two weeks ago, I was giving an Advanced LinkedIn Webinar.  A friend of mine from college was asked to view it with the HR manager.  Imagine his surprise when he sees my name and hears my voice!  We just had a great dinner with his family, reconnecting after what must have been 7 years.

There's some good science behind why this occurs.  What matters to you is that you get curious about these social networks, and do some of your old exploring.  It may take patience, but do you think finding gold was easy?  You know it's there.  You just have to find it.  That's how LinkedIn is today.  I can't swear to it five years from now, but it's been a major contributor to my success, more than Facebook, more than Twitter.  Heck, more than blogs, if you want to tie a dollar figure to it.

Get curious.  Get a pan.  Head down to the LinkedIn River and figure out what you're missing. 


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 Isn't Changing As Much As We Say It Does

One of the "outs" we give ourselves in social media is the complaint that so much is new, it's impossible to keep up. 

Is it really?  Is it social media that is moving fast, or is that just something we use to explain away why we can't give concrete results as quickly as others want. 

It's  a sop to our ego.  It's an excuse.  Social media is often referred to as common sense, but if that's the case, than what about common sense is changing so fast?  For most of us, there's no difference in the real world between the speed of social media and the speed of any other discipline.  From doctors to customer service to physicists, the pace of change has little to do with the companies that rise and fall, and much more to do with our recognition of what we've been avoiding for years.

Videoblog: 

 

Do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing, and keep it in mind the next time someone says, Social Media is moving too fast.  They don't mean it.  They mean, "we're going to be making some huge mistakes and our predictions could be way off, but don't blame us because we're cutting edge."

 


Adding Large Numbers Of Facebook Fans Is Still Cool, No Matter What The #H8ers Say

I'm a big fan of social media as a tool to measure and alter customer behavior.  While numbers can be gamed (You'd be surprised how much $50 would buy you in fake traffic), there is a value in building a fan base in social media because of what it tells you.  Sometimes, adding numbers is useful because of what you learn. 

It starts with this:  What makes someone click Like

Let's say I have an email list of 10,000 customers. I send out an email asking them to like my new Facebook page.  My fan base goes from 115 to 2200 in a week.  Is that a good thing?  What can I learn from it?

Many people would say that the number of fans doesn't matter because 98% of those people liking the page will never go back to it.  But I'm not counting the increase in fans.  I'm counting a response rate in my email list.  Boosting your fan base from 115 to 2200 based solely on an email is phenomenal, because it tells you huge numbers of your email list are responsive and are on Facebook.  It also tells you they like you enough to do what you say and click "Like."

Experiencing a jump in Facebook fans from email, or from putting a sticker on the door of your restaurant, or in having your managers go around tables and asking people to do so, is a very valuable data point.  It's not cheating, it's understanding what you're capable of doing with the resources at your disposal.  In these cases, the traffic, while it may be of little consequence, gives you clues about your information networks that are very valuable. 

That example was a little too easy.  How about we go after one that gets laughed at?

It's not supposed to be kosher to run contests giving away things to get Facebook fans.  Asking someone to Like a page for a contest doesn't measure value.  But what happens after the contest is over? If you go from 1000 likes to 1,000,000 likes because of a contest, that's a PR win, but the agency doing so didn't really help you, right? We can all agree to that (while secretly being jealous that the agency is going to use that as a case study). 

So what happens, when that 1,000,000 turns to 2,500,000 likes in the next year, without a contest?  If it's all nonsense, what is happening that you can see a result like that?  Clearly, having a large number of likes led other people to click like - simply out of the peer pressure of wanting to be like others.  Can we learn something from this?  

I'll leave that for you to ponder (and if you still say no, you can get off my damn page right now), but numbers mean things, and any time you can create activity online, you can learn something about your audience. 

In the argument about social media expertise, maybe we ought to be asking ourselves what social media teaches us, rather than about what we can do with it.  

 

 

 

 


I Can Measure Social Media ROI. Why Can't Everyone?

Simon Salt, a specialist in location based marketing and good guy, points out that people measuring Social Media ROI tend not to understand it's a financial device. 

"Let’s clarify here, while I do not deny that there are returns to be made from making an investment in social media, social media ROI does not exist in the terms that it is usually couched in. ROI or Return on Investment is a financial term, usually defined in the following way:

Return On Investment (ROI)"

Simon identifies a real problem, which is misuse of terms, but these types of measurements aren't difficult to come by.  In fact, I find Simon's title to be innaccurate, even though his reasoning is sound. 

Here's the Title:  Why There Is No Social Media ROI

Here's my response. 

  • Count Likes on Facebook
  • Survey Facebook Likes for money spent per sale/month/quarter/year. 
  • Run Social Media Campaign to boost number of Likes 
  • Survey Likes post-campaign for money spent per sale/month/quarter.year.
  • Compare data on a per customer basis (recognizing a Likes campaign may dilute that share with fake likes). Contrast per person data for success of campaign inside social media (revenue per customer)
  • Analyze email list, or in-store visit list for similar per-person data.  This is your control group. 
  • Crunch data to find increase in per person sales during the campaign, based on the number of likes and the baseline data. 
  •  Contrast to control group to determine if the social campaign was more effective than the email list. or general in-store customer. 


Problem solved? 


Seth Godin, Selling, And SXSW Douchebags

Seth Godin is no douchebag, but he gets the fundamental disconnect between selling and marketing.  In an another post, I lamented the idea that selling at SXSW was like, so uncool

People who market at SXSW are douchebags.  There was even a whole panel devoted to it.  Being a douchebag covers all manners of sin, including looking at someone's badge to see where they work, spending too much as a company instead of participating in engagement, and even trying to get into a cool party or checking in too much on Foursquare.  Also, don't introduce yourself to people you don't know.  That whole meeting turning online contacts into real world contacts?  That's out of line, buddy!   

Seth pitches it differently, in that it's the difference between inviting and selling

If I invite you to a wedding, or a party, or to buy a $500,000 TV ad for $500, there's no resistance on your part. Either you jump at the chance and say yes, or you have a conflict and say no. It's not my job to help you overcome your fear of commitment, to help you see the ultimate value and most of all, to work with you as you persuade yourself and others to do something that might just work.

He ends with this comment, which is very important to social media marketers. 

But please... don't insist that the hard work be removed from your job to allow you to become an inviter. That's great work if you can get it, but it's not a career.

This is the fundamental disconnect most social media consultants have in generating results.  They've never had to sell, or alter internal habits, or cut costs using their tools, so they mistake social activity with business activity. This is one of the primary reasons I pound the drum on not hiring people with little business experience to do your social media.  If they don't understand how things get done, how can they understand social media's impact on how things get done?  That's why metrics can seem hard in social media - they're not tasked to what you're paid to do. 

But wait, there's more.  Someone I met at SXSW, and with whom I now carry on a Twitter conversation, gave me a fantastic idea for how to look at social media, that solves the essential problem of how to measure social media.  Felix Wetzel called social media a "preference layer." And in doing so, he opened up a new way of speaking about it without inducing a gag reflex. 

Look at it as a layer. 

Think of social media marketing as, well, marketing. 

Think of social media selling, as, selling. 

Think of social media customer service, as..okay, you get the picture. If we treat social media as a layer on top of other skills and departments, it loses its mystique, and also the negative connotations beginning to develop around the practice.  We can stop some of the silly squabbles, like, don't sell with social media, if we agree social selling is different than social PR is different than social branding.  Social selling is about selling.  Social recruiting is not. 

If we can narrow our focus to what someone as an individual is trying to do (get hired, increase mindshare of a product, selling tshirts through Twitter), then social becomes a tool to be discussed, tested, and then applied, and not a "new way of thinking."  

Is Social a new way of thinking?  Yes and No, but of more importance is that you can't get there, until you first walk through our current systems and connect social to their goals.  More to come, with visual displays and pretty graphs.