Archive for ‘Human Resources’

October 17, 2012

Not sure I endorse LinkedIn’s new “endorsements” feature

Over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a few emails about people “endorsing” you on LinkedIn.  I got a few of them too, so I thought I’d check it out. I logged into my account and viewed who has endorsed me, and started endorsing people.

LinkedIn’s blog announcement says “We are introducing Endorsements, a new feature that makes it easier to recognize them for their skills and expertise. With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!”

And with this, LinkedIn is trying to join the game of online influence. Essentially, they’ve created their own version of Klout, or PeerIndex, or Kred.  Just take a quick look at the profiles on these services below…

…LinkedIn “endorsements”…

 

…kind of looks like…Klout Topics…

…which kind of looks like…the Kred Dashboard…

….which kind of looks like…PeerIndex…

In a world saturated with “topic influence” services, I fear that this isn’t the right move for LinkedIn. Besides competing with an already crowded marketplace, the “endorsements” feature has the potential to harm the LinkedIn experience itself by detracting from the “recommendations” feature. In short, I think people will opt to endorse somebody rather then recommend them, and here’s why that matters: “recommendations” are written explanations about why an employee is valued. They usually refer to specific  experiences, work projects, or professional attributes, and the relationship of the author to the person they are recommending is disclosed. An “endorsement”, on the other hand, is a quick “+1” on the user’s self-proclaimed skills. One can simply scroll down a user’s profile and click on each of their skills. No explanation, no disclosure of relationship, no details.  This quick “+1” ability may also leave the door open to “I’ll endorse you if you endorse me back”  behaviour.

Trying to measure online influence isn’t a bad thing. In the past, I must admit, I’ve tried to boost my Klout score. I made sure my content was focused, interacted with others regularly, pushed out a lot of updates, etc. But there have also been times when I just didn’t care about it and I completely ignored my social media accounts. Neither of these actions seemed to have influenced my score much, so I can’t see myself continuing to be active in the “endorsement” game.

The Project Management LinkedIn group has a decent discussion this week about “endorsements”. A few good points were made:

What do you think? Are “endorsements” a welcome way to give kudos to colleagues, or a wasteful exercise in meaningless rewards?

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September 28, 2012

Students, young professionals, and social media in the workplace [Infographic]

I work with college students everyday, and we often chat about making the transition from College to career. This includes conversations around finding their first professional job, expectations they have of the employer, and how to manage personal and professional lives. A lot of them talk about wanting to enjoy the work that they do, work for a company they believe in, have the freedom to work from home, and belong to a collaborative team environment where guidance is nearby, but not overbearing.

When we get to discussing the intersection of their social media accounts and their professional careers, they often see it as their “right” to use their own social media accounts at work. The attitude seems to be “if the job gets done, what’s the big deal if I spend 15 minutes on Facebook while having my 10:30 a.m. coffee?” And I would have to agree. If the job gets done, I have no problem with office Facebooking. It’s also quite interesting that when I ask these same students if they would be OK doing some work at  home if they couldn’t get it done in the 9-5 office hours they are paid to be there, they say they would…without hesitation.

The infographic below from OnlineCollegeCourses.com shares some findings that seem to support the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen in the attitudes of college students as they transform into young professionals.

A few statistics jumped out at me:

  • Almost 30% of college students said they value social media freedom and device flexibility over salary
  • 67% of young professionals believe their company’s IT policy needs updating
  • Nearly 70% of the same young professionals believe it is OK to use a company-issued device for both professional and personal matters

Big thanks to davidhallsocialmedia.com reader Muhammad Saleem (@msaleem) for sending me this infographic.
Social Media vs. Salary
Brought to you by: OnlineCollegeCourses.com

August 15, 2012

I challenge you to Google yourself! [Infographic]

A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?

You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:

  • 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
  • 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
  • Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.

Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:

  • Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • Supported their professional qualifications
  • Showed the candidate was creative
  • Showed solid communications skills
  • Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
  • etc.

Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.

For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.

The Google Yourself Challenge
From: BackgroundCheck.org

…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…

March 22, 2012

Nevermind asking for Facebook passwords: Are social games the new HR recruitment strategy?

Social gaming is huge. Top Facebook game developer Zynga, reports over 220,000,000 monthly active users (MAU), with the remaining 39 of the Top 40 developers each reporting MAU numbers in the tens of millions. Recently, in my daily internet rummaging, I came across Marriott International’s Human Resources Careers page and was intrigued by the Facebook game they were promoting that targets college and university students. I was instantly impressed that they jumped into the world of social gaming with My Marriott Hotel, as this was the first time I’ve heard of an organization trying to recruit employees using social games.

The game itself is similar in concept to the highly-popular Farmville and Cityville games (both Zynga games). In My Marriott Hotel, users create their own restaurant, buy equipment and ingredients on a budget, hire and train employees, and serve guests.  You earn points for happy customers, and lose points for bad service. Your primary goal is to turn a profit.

Here’s a quick video that explains the game:

In a news release, Marriott International notes that this is their way of recruiting more Millennials – those born after January 1, 1982. The game enables the hotel giant to “showcase the world of opportunities and the growth potential attainable in hospitality careers, especially in cultures where the service industry might be less established or prestigious.”

What I find most interesting is how much information Marriott, as an employer, gathers on potential employees. To start, when authorizing the app, it asks  to “access your basic information: Including name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information you have made public.”  The Facebook Developers’ Policy expands on that information to  include  email, birthday, and current city. That’s a lot of information to start pre-screening your applicants.

Now pair this data with some of the in-game behaviour and they would get some new and unusual insights into potential hires. It’s brilliant, really. For example, in-game users get to decide the gender and ethnicity their supervisor and employees. Each and every finished product must be checked to make sure it meets quality standards. Ingredients must be ordered to make sure enough is on hand – but not too much that you are overstocked. And finally players must hire and train this staff to make sure they have a full brigade.

I’m not sure to what level they are using this information because when I contacted them (several phone calls, voicemails, and emails) I was told that the person responsible for leading that project has since left Marriott International and there is nobody internally who can comment on the game.

Am I reading too much into this? Perhaps. But it’s not outrageous to think that a multinational organization would put such an effort into getting the right employees. Recently, it’s been widely publicized that employers are now asking job candidates for Facebook usernames and passwords, and ethical questions have been raised. A more reasonable approach would be to “friend” the potential employee, or go the My Marriott Hotel route, and use the profile data and personal information gathered from Facebook games to access the details they may be after. After all, the cost of a bad hire is enormous. If social games can offer some insight to hiring managers, they are one step ahead of the rest.

But the problem with My Marriott Hotel is, and this may be part of the reason they didn’t want to provide a comment for this post, nobody is playing the game. According to www.appdata.com, over the last month My Marriott Hotel has 5 daily active users (DAU), which works out to about 200 monthly active users (MAU)… and one of those 5 DAUs was me. Their Facebook Careers page is pretty active, but the game is nowhere to be found.

The gameplay itself is instantly amusing, but that feeling wears off pretty quickly. I spent a few hours playing a number of rounds to see if it improved, but I eventually got bored and decided to stop.

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