The Social Media-Enhanced Job Search: Creepy or Courageous?

kevin grubb NACE Ambassador Kevin Grubb
Associate Director, Digital Media & Assessment at Villanova University’s Career Center.
Twitter: @kevincgrubb
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingrubb
Blog: “social @ edu”.
Blogs from Kevin Grubb.

At the 2014 NACE conference, I heard lots of conversations about social media, recruiting, and job searching. That’s not surprising; social media is still influencing our work and changing it with exponential speed. I found myself often reflecting on the class that I teach at Villanova on social media and creating a professional identity online and whether all that we can do with technology now is creepy or courageous.

In my class, I have every student read the privacy policy of Facebook or Twitter and write a reflection on what they found. If we were taking live polls of my ratings as a professor, I can tell you my scores would drop like a lead bucket as soon as that assignment goes out. Doesn’t everybody just click on “I agree to (insert website name) privacy policy and terms of use” right away and start the sharing? Ugh!

Facebook Terms of Use

Have you ever read this entire thing?

But, when I read the resulting papers and talk with students afterward, there’s always been only gratitude. What they learned was a mixture of “creepy” and empowering: they’re now aware of what information is out there and start confidently making decisions to be smart online.

“Creepy” is a word I hear often when I talk with groups of students and professionals about social media. I hear it especially in conversations about LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature, which shows you just what it says it will. Conversely, when you view the profiles of others, they would be able to know that, too. You can change your visibility in this feature via privacy settings, though I will say I think users should remain visible in almost every case. I’ve heard many good stories about connections getting made and even an interview being offered when two people realized they stumbled on each other’s profiles.

Are there elements of social media that feel creepy? I won’t argue that it can create uncomfortable moments. However, social media can also be empowering, as the students in my class find out together. To get active, to share your goals and your ideas (without “oversharing”—either emotionally or just by posting too often), and to connect with people about those ideas: that’s a powerful possibility social media creates.

It’s a big, big stage we’re on when we talk about sharing ourselves and our stuff on social media. Anyone who realizes the magnitude of reaching thousands or millions of people with a few taps on the keyboard and a mouse click is right to say, “I should really think carefully about this.” In my experience talking with people, that also scares the heck out of them. What if I share some things that really matter to me and nobody cares? What if someone bashes my ideas? Do I have anything worthy enough to share?

For students, being active on social media in a professional manner takes courage. It’s trying something new. Just like putting on a business suit for the first time felt strange, so does putting on your digital suit when you interact on social media. Did it take them a little courage to make the first introduction to someone at a networking event or career fair? So, too, does it take courage to ask for help from alumni on LinkedIn, to tweet to professionals they think are doing great work or to write a blog post?

Perhaps the social media-enhanced job search is part creepy and part courageous. For now, I’m in the courageous camp. NACE blog readers: What do you think?

First NACE Excursion Is a Hit!

NACE14 Excursion

Some NACE14 attendees hiked their way through a conference workshop on Monday, visiting three historic San Antonio locations for a presentation and a question-and-answer session with business representatives.
The 1.2-mile walk began at the Marriott Riverwalk. Attendees made their first stop at the Arneson River Theatre, an 800-seat amphitheater on the banks of the San Antonio River, with entrances into La Villita Historic Arts Village.

NACE14 Excursion 2

NACE14 Excursion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The excursion continued to The History Shop, a shop that carries original antique maps, antique books, militaria, and antique weapons. The shop specializes in Texas history: Spanish Colonial, Texas Revolution, Republic era, and the Civil War. The excursion ended with a 45-minute, 2.5-mile cruise. Rio San Antonio Cruises provided a narrated boat tour of the city.NACE14 Excursion 5

The NACE14 Excursion is a concept adapted from Jim Gilmor and Joe Pine (The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage) and their annual thinkAbout excursions.san antonio river cruise

Pictures From the NACE14 Conference in San Antonio!

The 2014 Conference & Expo opens in San Antonio!

OpenRecept02

NACE President Dan Black and NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes welcome attendees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connect. Compare. Collaborate. Opening keynotes.

Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros

Sarah Michel

Sarah Michel

Tim Sanders

Tim Sanders

 

 

 

 

 

Then, colorful dancers and a Mariachi band close the opening ceremonies and lead attendees to the opening reception.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Colorful dancers and a Mariachi band at the opening ceremonies.

Exhibit hall

Exhibit hall

Preconference workshops

Preconference workshops

Registration

Registration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed Your Career at NACE14

Cindy Billington

Cindy Billington, Associate Director, MBA Career Education Graduate Business Career Services, Texas A&M University
Twitter: @cindybillington
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/cindybillington

It is that time of year!  Once again, we are less than a month away from the NACE Conference & Expo, and this year it will be held in beautiful San Antonio, TX.  I look forward to this conference every year as an opportunity to reconnect with and meet new colleagues and friends.

Each year, I find myself returning from the conference recharged and ready for an innovative and successful year of career coaching at Texas A&M.  If you have not registered to attend this “can’t miss” professional development opportunity, I urge you to visit naceweb.org immediately.  If you are like me, then your career is probably begging you for some nourishment.  Don’t ever neglect your career nourishment folks.

For those of you who have already registered, don’t wait until you arrive in San Antonio to prepare.  I recommend following these steps in order to make the most out of #NACE14:

1. Begin your networking ahead of time.

2.  Plan your schedule.

  • NACE has implemented a new tool called NACE14 Itinerary Builder.  Where have you been all of my life?  This tool has allowed me create a tailored agenda just for me.  I love things that are made just for me.  I feel special, don’t you?
  • Research the keynote presenters.  If you are like me, you buy every book available. Be familiar with who is speaking ahead of the conference and reach out to say hello. Welcome any and all guests to our “FAMILY REUNION.”

3.  Brush on your networking skills.

  • One of my favorite books on networking is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  Keith actually spoke at a NACE conference a few years ago.  I urge you to never break bread alone at a conference.  Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with someone else attending the conference.  Great friendships are made over coffee.  I promise.

4.  Follow up after the event.

  • As you travel away from San Antonio, don’t let your experience become a distant memory.  Return to your office and immediate send thank-you notes to speakers NACE staff and president, and the amazing #NACE14 co-chairs.  Pull out those business cards you received and connect with those folks on LinkedIn or Twitter.

5.  Implement what you learned.

  • Be very careful not to let your conference notes get dusty.  We all have a tendency to return to work after a conference and immediately jump back into old habits and the surge of e-mail.
  • Host a lunch and share what you learned with your office mates.  Ignite energy in those who work with you based on what you learned.
  • Start a conversation on the NACE LinkedIn Group page to keep those relationships and ideas growing.

I cannot wait to meet all of you at #NACE14.  Register today and get ready for a great time in San Anton.  And don’t forget to pack your proper attire for the Diamonds and Denim Celebration on Tuesday evening.

Using Facebook to Easily Connect Students and Employers

Smedstad-Headshot

Shannon Smedstad, Employer Branding & HR Social Media, Geico
Twitter: @shannonsmedstad
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shannonsmedstad

Before we jump into the meat of this post, I’ve got a few initial questions for you …

EMPLOYERS: Does your company have a career-related Facebook page?

CAREER CENTERS: Do you have a Facebook page?

BOTH: Could you be doing more with your page?

If you answered “yes” to two out of three of these questions, please keep reading.

Most people know that Facebook is good for sharing photos and status updates. But, what if we could use Facebook as a virtual career fair platform? How exactly would that work?

facebook_logoThe Magic of Facebook for College Recruiting

You can access Facebook from anywhere: desktop, phone, dorm room, or in-between classes. You can chat with an individual or group. You can share information and link to jobs. Some recruiters already use Facebook to connect with job-seeking students.

As the manager of a corporate career page on Facebook, I have now successfully led three virtual career fairs … right on Facebook!

  • June 2013: More than 230 people engaged with recruiters over a two-day virtual career fair. Hires were made!
  • November 2013: We took a more targeted approach and attracted 75 students to our page during a one-day fair. It cost us less than $50.
  • April 2014: Co-hosted a virtual career fair with a collegiate honor society and grew our followers by 3 percent in one day and organic reach was the highest it’s been year-to-date. It’s still too early to know if we’ve made any hires—my fingers are crossed!

Advice and Lessons Learned

When it comes to social media, you have to be willing to take some calculated risks and try new things. Social platforms are designed for real time communication; we just have to be creative in our thinking to create opportunities to do just that.

To me, these Facebook career fairs fall into the low risk/low cost/potential high reward category. It’s all about the planning, promotion, human resources, and execution of the plan, not how much it costs. Here are some of my top tips for anyone interested in hosting your own virtual event:

  • Determine your audience and whether you have any existing partners that will work through this idea with you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to create a targeted, multi-channel promotional plan.
  • Visual imagery is important in attracting talent and sharing details of the event.
  • Schedule a pre-fair call with the recruiters to talk through what to expect and how you might want to handle certain requests or situations.
  • Make sure that your page (booth) is properly manned during the allotted career fair time, and for a day or two after (questions continue to trickle in).
  • Measure results using Facebook Insights, ATS data, and feedback from the entire team to determine whether the event was successful and worth doing again.

Since our most recent event, we’ve had two student organizations reach out with interest to our team. When you can bring people, technology, and opportunities together for the greater good … it’s a beautiful thing. Thanks, Facebook.

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey into Social Recruiting (Part 3)

Chris Carlson

 

Christopher Carlson, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Booz Allen Hamilton
Twitter: @cciCarlson
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ccicrc

In my home office, there is a large neon sign that I picked up at an auction that says, “Buffet Open, All You Can Eat”. Every time we start to discuss social media and recruiting, I think of that sign. There are so many options from which to choose. You can eat from across the whole buffet and self-select those items you want to eat, or you can go to one of the specialty stations to be served a specialty item such as an omelet or a cut of meat. When approaching a good buffet (and there is only one that I will frequent which is in Vegas and you know which one it is), I am careful to review all the options before even grabbing a plate. Once I review my options, I develop a strategy based on how hungry I am and how much time I have. I have been known to relax between courses and to partake of king crab legs for hours.

It was this same approach in developing our social recruiting strategy. We took the time to really understand why we were going to this buffet, and we were careful to review our options in order to select the right ones to meet our needs. We realized that we couldn’t have everything on the buffet. We knew we had time to roll it out and to make a few trips to the buffet as we evolved our thinking. We also knew that we didn’t want to do something just to do it. It had support one of our key objectives which for us included (1) further personalizing our value proposition, (2) enhancing candidate engagement (3) being scalable and sustainable, and (4) building a long-term talent community. All of these objectives aligned to our “burning platform” or the key areas of opportunity for us. Each of you may come to different objectives for your efforts based on your rationale. It is essential in developing your strategy that you have clear objectives and that you design your efforts to support those objectives.

So we grabbed our plates and we started to select the components of our strategy. We wanted to look at short- and long-term initiatives that would allow us to make impact against our objectives with the resources available. Some members of the team had eaten at this buffet before and some had avoided this buffet all together. To ensure we all were on a level playing field, we reviewed the buffet – we looked at the most popular social media tools including but not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. We reviewed how our organization was using these for marketing purposes. I will say here that a lesson learned is to make sure everyone knows that although these platforms support social networking, the strategy isn’t just about one-on-one networking with everyone and his or her mother. Everyone on the team has to understand that it isn’t about posting pics from the intern BBQ or that you have to have a special business handle. It isn’t about each person on your team picking a platform or everyone picking the same platform. It is about composing a balanced plate of options.

So our “small but very mighty” team approached the buffet. We realized as we started to map solutions against our objectives that we didn’t want all of those options right away. At least we recognized that we didn’t want them as a main course but rather as side-dishes to a larger “main dish”. For example, we wanted to leverage Twitter and LinkedIn to promote our interactive webinar series for students and career services and not as primary means of interacting. So our webinars were the main course that linked back to our objectives and the social media tool was the side-dish that complimented the effort. We continued to build our plates to include internal-facing initiatives such as a firm-wide campaign leveraging employees at the grass roots, enhancing our SharePoint site and sharing information broadly via Yammer and quarterly firm-wide teleconferences for all staff. It is starting to look like a composed plate with some real depth of flavors but we know that we need to continue to revisit the buffet to satisfy our hunger.

If this blog entry made you a little hungry for more, I am going to be sharing more about our lessons learned and additional trips to the buffet in upcoming blogs. Also, as a reminder, I am presenting in more detail at #NACE14. If any of you want to connect to share stories or best practices, reach out to me and we can start the discussion over the phone or via one of the social media tools. Who knows, maybe we can start a Twitter chat.

“Everyone Is a Recruiter” will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. See the #NACE14 Itinerary Builder for details.

Did you miss Christopher Carlson’s first and second installment on his journey into social recruiting? Read them now! Look for his next blog on May 15.

Am I Mashed Up or Just Fried? A Journey Into Social Recruiting (Part 2)

Chris Carlson
Christopher Carlson, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition, Booz Allen Hamilton
Twitter: @cciCarlson
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ccicrc

Picture it: NACE 2012, I remember sitting, listening to a panel of my counterparts and experts talking about social media and recruiting, and thinking, “Oh dear, is that right for us?” After that session there was another session and another. Panic soon ensued. I knew how to post pictures on Facebook and I had a LinkedIn page, but I have trouble keeping up with the requests on those as well as my e-mail. How are we going to handle individual engagement with college students from every campus via social media??? After several other sessions, more experts, and more articles, I was even more distressed.

After calming myself down and taking a deep breath, I realized that this is just a change. Change isn’t scary; after all, I am a Change Management Advanced Practitioner. Let’s start at the beginning: Moving into social recruiting, whether as a primary thrust of your strategy or just a component, is going to require change. With any change you need to be able to articulate a “burning platform” or a rationale for the change. Before you build a strategy and pick an approach or even figure out on which social media to be present, it is important for you to determine the “why”.   Phew, ok, I had a starting point. Then, I needed to figure out if this made sense for us.

To start building the case, it was necessary to do an environmental scan to determine the trends across our industry. I began searching the NACE website as well as other related sites to track key trends related to social recruiting and university recruiting. I began to see some interesting data related to how students were identifying positions. A recent survey by Collegerecruiter.com [Agrawal, Sanjeev, “How Companies Can Attract the Best College Talent”, March 17, 2014, Harvard Business Report] quantified that trend when it was noted that the number one source of college students finding a job was through their friends followed closely by job boards. It is becoming clear that social networks may be fueling the job search at the university level. So, I quickly realized that my first goal was to understand how to tap into that social network.

Our team has always reviewed data around majors and schools to identify any specific trends. When we started to review our own data, we quickly started to see some additional emerging trends one of which was somewhat antidotal related to on-campus activities—“where were the seniors in computer science?” We were finding freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the Fall, but seniors were slowly dwindling. We also saw that competition for talent, overall, was on the rise which was confirmed by NACE data around on-campus activity. We had to make some assumptions based on what we were seeing. We had to assume that more companies were converting their interns and that competition was heating up, especially for technical majors. We made a concerted effort to target our on-campus activities to specific departments and were seeing results. We also knew that we had worked to brand ourselves more in the technical space and again, were seeing results. However, when we looked at projected demand and the current pipeline, it hit us. We realized that we had to strike early and often to reach a highly competitive pool of candidates and we had to cast a much wider net—four, five, or even 10 “core” schools can’t deliver the pipeline that our firm needs anymore. So, how do we sustain and scale that to reach a pipeline that will meet our needs?

We then had to look at our own team, our resources, and our service offerings. Could our “small but mighty team” engage in a new endeavor into the social recruiting world? Do we have to add 10 more schools, and then 10 more schools to build that pipeline? How could we leverage the enthusiastic employee base to our advantage without breaking the bank?

An inventory of our organization, historical demand, our budget, and our team’s competencies was the additional step necessary for us to norm around our “burning platform.”  Clearly we couldn’t replicate our winning on-campus strategy across any additional schools. We would burn out and fail to provide that personal touch that students like.

It was clear: We had to go into the social recruiting space. Our next major step would need to be focused on how to leverage social media to achieve our objectives. (I would encourage you to explore your business case before going into the social space and make sure it is the right path. Do you have a clear understanding of your demand? Make sure you understand how it can enhance your program. If you have a successful on-campus approach and are seeing the results you need, then you may not need to jump into the pool head first. You may want to wade into the water. My team will probably tell you that I more than likely bumped my head on the bottom of the pool when I dove in.)

In the next blog, I will explore how we began to execute and obtain support for our leverage of social media in our program. We are still learning and would love to connect with others to chat more about this—perhaps a networking circle or a Tweet chat. Of course, please come see me @NACE14 where I will be presenting on this topic.

“Everyone Is a Recruiter” will be presented on Tuesday, June 10, at 3:30 p.m. See the #NACE14 Itinerary Builder for details.

Did you miss Christopher Carlson’s first installment on his journey into social recruiting? Read it now! Look for Part 3 on May 6!