Monday, January 25, 2010

Hiring Outside the Box: How to Diversify Your Talent Pool

As consultants committed to inclusive search processes, we’ve noted over the years some of the challenges organizations face when attempting to diversify their talent pool. One of the easiest is to identify what we call “right fit” decision making.

At the beginning of many searches and during the interview process, we often hear this refrain from clients—“I’ll know it when I see it.” This feel-right approach poses a challenge to an inclusive hiring process. Why? For two reasons: first, knowing it when you see it assumes you’ve seen it before and second, many “diverse” candidates who offer an organization new perspectives are just that—new.

One of the most universal principles in human psychology is the positive relationship between similarity and attraction. We are most attracted to those who are similar to us and diversity is by definition different. If decision makers rely too heavily on gut feelings to guide what feels right, they can develop unintended biases towards ‘familiar’ candidates. Doing so will slow the progress an organization can make toward diversifying its talent pool.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Find Your Voice in Web 2.0

The business advantages of embracing social media are clear. But so are the challenges. Now that everyone has jumped on the Web 2.0 bandwagon is it too late to jump in the game? Is it still possible to find a voice above all the noise?

The social networking landscape is changing. Last year I heard statements like:

“Twitter is for teenagers.”
“Facebook is for posting drunken pictures.”
“I don’t have time for LinkedIn.”

Now these same colleagues sing a different tune. Why?

  • The marketing potential of social media is too large to ignore. Where else can you reach a mass audience with a single post? Do traditional marketing methods like advertising still work?
  • The cost of entry for social media is low. So far the cost of using social media is exponentially lower than traditional methods with comparable benefits. Job boards can cost a firm 50k per year. We still have our job board accounts but now we find about 30% of our candidates on LinkedIn.
  • The potential for finding solutions through social media is huge. When developing our new website we found a wealth of code examples and design tips on Twitter.

Remember when an attractive brochure-style website was all the corporate web presence your business needed. Now you need a dynamic website that engages your community with more than advertising. You need to interact with your customers through blogging, tweeting, groups on LinkedIn or Facebook...the options are limitless.

I think it is still possible to make your voice heard in this new reality. Web 2.0 has drastically changed the marketing landscape but it hasn’t changed the basic building blocks of business: focus, value and quality.

Your social media presence is a reflection of you business. The best way to find your voice is to focus on what’s important to your customers. Share relevant information. Make sure that everything you put out reflects the quality that you offer in your products and services.

Only a fraction of your posts should be self promotional. Don’t blast your followers with marketing or they’ll feel the same about you as they do about telemarketers. We try for a 1 to 10 ratio, with only one in 10 posts focussed on marketing.

Networking through social media is your opportunity to offer value that is above and beyond the products you sell.

Tim Collins

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Technical Interviews: A Survival Guide for Recruiters

It’s a typical scenario. You’re recruiting for a technical role but you don’t happen to be an expert in the technology. How do you get the candidate to take you seriously?

Prepare. Plan an agenda for the interview. Compile a list of questions. Sample technical interview questions and responses can easily be obtained online.

Practice. Make sure you are confident and ready to carry out the interview. Try a mock interview. The first impression a candidate has of your or company is based on your first few interview questions and your confidence.

Take charge. Set the goals of the interview. Make sure the candidate knows what to expect during the interview.

Establish credibility. Mention the types of technology placements you and your company have made and some of the organizations you work with.

Get on the same page. Determine that the level, salary and responsibilities of the position match what the candidate is looking for.

Qualify the candidate. Explore the candidate’s background and accomplishments. Ask open ended questions. What were they most proud of in a position, their largest accomplishments, challenges they overcame.

Dive into technology. How did they use the technology? What percentage of their time was spent with the technology? For example, what was their role when working with a programming language?

Don’t bluff. If the candidate describes something you don’t understand ask for clarity. You will lose all credibility if you try to look like an expert when you’re not.

Work vs. academic experience. If their profile lists a technical skill that’s not on their resume find out if it’s an academic skill or if they used it in a work environment.

Get acquainted. How might this person fit into your organization. Use the interview as an opportunity to create a positive experience for the candidate and to build your company's reputation.

Network. A technical interview might lead to more than a successful placement. The candidate might refer you to other qualified candidates and opportunities.

Tim Collins

Monday, January 4, 2010

Google Goggles: Mobile Phones with Eyes

Google's latest innovation in search technology is big. They've developed a visual search application called Google Goggles.

Essentially you take a photograph with your Android phone and then use the photo to initiate a Google search and learn more about what's in the picture.

Why is this big? This visual search app will change the way searching is done on mobile phones. It gives your mobile phone vision. An Android phone with Google Goggles can process visual information. It potentially gives you immediate access to everything the Internet knows about the image.

For the past few years a fleet of Googlemobiles have been continuously snapping photos for Google Street View. Now they are busy collecting even more images to expand the reach of visual search.

Apparently Google Goggles works well with stores, business cards, restaurants and books. It's useful for business people. You can photograph a business card and quickly enter it into your contacts and click on the number to call them.

Imagine taking a picture of restaurant and linking to reviews, the menu and information about other restaurants in the area. Google has an extensive list of books as well. You can take a picture of a book while browsing at the book store and get reviews and price comparisons.

It looks like Android with Google Goggles is going to compete with the iPhone market. Google is saying that there will soon be over 1000 Android apps available.

Check out video clip about Google Goggles at