Friday, 9 December 2011

Social Media Etiquette

It must be a sign; in the last two minutes I read a twitter from Jonathan Holowka @jholowka about social media etiquette and then a post by Pam Moore on Twitter etiquette and how to get retweeted.  This inspired me to write something on common civility in life, work and social media. All are intertwined and it helps if we follow basic guidelines in our everyday interactions with others.  Both the blog and tweet resonated as etiquette takes common sense but sometimes we step over the line of what is inappropriate.

Here are some useful websites on social media etiquette.  If you know of any others please comment below.

This website had an interesting suggestion advising not to drink wine and tweet.  (I have to put my Bordeaux down now)

Chris Brogan has a common sense approach to using social media - great job!

Tamar Weinberg mentions some faux pas and provides correct usage on different social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, etc.; a must read.

My social media motto is to: give, give and then give again.  My guidelines are to try to follow those who have similar interests, professional backgrounds, and potential clients/employers.  The reason I follow these individuals is that I want to know more about them and learn about their interests.  Hopefully, I can incorporate their passions to mine and vice versa.  It helps if you understand who your audience is and then cater to them.  What works for me is to pretend my followers are coming over to dinner and I am serving them a delicious meal, some good wine and [hopefully] interesting conversation.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Associations could benefit by getting on the social media bandwagon

Last night, I attended the AGM for one of my associations Canadian Association of Management Consultants (CMC) and spoke with a few board members, Glenn Yonemitsu and Lianti Müller, on social media and the importance of this medium for our longevity.  I offered some suggestions and volunteered to help provide advice on how CMC can leverage social media.  I have some experience helping associations; in the past I was on the recruitment and communications committees for the Human Resources Professional Association and most recently GoodYear Toastmasters.  (GYTM) Like most successful initiatives, I could not have done this alone.  I want to thank  board members of GYTM Promod Sharma and Jonathan Holowka for their support, expertise, and giving me a chance to update our Toastmaster's Twitter account @gytm81.   You may ask yourself why associations need to leverage social media.  The benefits for getting on the social media bandwagon are:  promoting the group, recruiting new members, exposure to a larger audience, announce events, showcase and engage members.

I know that social media can be intimidating and there are many platforms available but once you get onboard and practice your skills it becomes less daunting.  I have listened to a number of webinars, tried social media for myself and for my clients and have learned some skills by listening to experts.  Listed below are some valuable takeaways on leveraging social media properly for:  yourself, your business and associations.

1. Have a Plan

Your first stepping stone should be to have a plan on what your social media campaign will look like, who is your audience and who is going to manage this process.  I recommend using project management methodologies by considering scope of the project, timelines, costs and resources.

2. Social Media Etiquette
There are many faux pas that are done on social media. One of the main faux pas is not catering to your audience's needs.  Social media allows great exposure but it is not all about you.  You need to provide value to your audience by sharing information and giving accolades to other individuals' contributions.  (Examples of accolades are the links listed in this blog, and by adding other blogs to mine.)  I recommend you research other social media pet peeves via the web, twitter, friends, co-workers and family  -- these are lessons learned on the social media journey.
3. Give, Give, Give and Then Give Some More
I can not emphasize enough on the importance of sharing important content information, giving accolades to others, and giving your time to improve social media.  I had a very interesting conversation with Allan Wilson at last night's event on how social media reminds him of the 60's revolution.  Allan provided some insights of the 60s on how collaborative it was - it was a time of sharing communication.  I agree with Allan, social media has created a revolution on how we communicate and share ideas.  Associations can add enormous value by sharing information through social media platforms.
4. Understand Personal Branding
There are many personal branding gurus and I have learned from these experts that you have to be authentic in your message.  Your postings on Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. all need to reflect the same message and it has to be a 'true' reflection of who you are -  the 'real you'.  I found  William Arruda resonated for me and I hope that one day I can be as successful in my delivery as Shirley Williams.  Associations need to portray what they are, what they represent, and the benefits they provide to members.
5. Be Concise and Consistent
Another important tip that a social media expert, Promod Sharma, provided was to be concise with my delivery and be consistent.  Consistency does not mean tweeting 100 messages a day.  Rather you could post one tweet per hour or a blog per week.  You cannot start social media on a regular basis and then drop off the planet by not posting due to:  vacation, new job, etc.  You have to be committed and stay on course.  If you do not heed this rule then followers will think you are not genuine and lose interest very quickly.
6. Time Management Skills
These skill can not be underestimated; they apply to work, personal but also social media.  You will need to decide what is appropriate for your audience, manageable for you and your schedule.  I found it helpful to add timelines on my iPhone calendar as it synchronizes with my iPad and MacBookPro. [I am not being endorsed by Apple - just love their products.] I found the below website useful to determine when is the best time to reach out to your targeted audience.
7. Research - Stay Current
Get your research hat on as you are going on a whirlwind expedition to learn tips and tricks for using social media tools.  You need to stay current with all the available platforms, new technology devices, and popular websites.  Valuable sources of information are:  your local news, blogs, twitter, tv, websites such as and attending social media networking events including Word 11 impact99.
8. Measure Success
There are many tools available to track your success on social media.  You will need to ask yourself what you consider success; increase hits (numbers), number of comments, valuable suggestions, people tweeting your website/blog, thumbs-up/Like/1+.   One tool that I find easy to use and measure is Klout but there is also Google Analytics.  Some tools are free and others have a cost such as HootSuite.

I would suggest that, without delay, you jump on the bandwagon with:  a plan in mind, share information, give accolades, stay current and measure your success. Trust me, you will find it is fun -- this is an exciting new journey and times we live in.

I hope you find this useful and any suggestions and recommendations are greatly appreciated.  Kindly sign up to get my blog by email and connect to the RSS feed. Both are located on the right.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Launching a "Cool" Recruitment Campaign

This blog will be lighter than earlier versions as my video blog below outlines how to get started on a "cool" recruitment campaign.  I was asked by one of my interviewers how I did this for a previous company.  If you want to know how to get started please watch my YouTube video below.

I appreciate any feedback by leaving comments and hopefully a thumbs up.   Please forward as I would like this video to go viral.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Networking for Job Seekers

As the old adage goes "it is who you know" not "what you know" that gets you the job -- is partially true.  You still need to demonstrate how you add value to the company by providing examples of how you can save them money or make a profit.  It is important to know people as they are the gatekeepers that help you get into the door.  One way to find these gatekeepers is through networking.  Below are some opportunities for you to network:   in person, over the phone and using social media/web.

Social Media 101

  • Start joining groups on social media such as Twitter, Linked-in but ensure the groups are related to your profession.
    • Add professional content and provide interesting links or articles.  It demonstrates that you are staying current and are a subject matter expert.
    • Do not post that you are at Starbucks waiting for your tall coffee--leave this trivia to celebrities.


  • Go to networking events for job seekers such as:  Happen, Eng (for HR), Earn,, even your association may have events.
    • If there is none available in your area consider creating one and add the meeting on and make the location neutral such as a coffee shop.
  • Attend career fairs in-person and on-line even if it is not geared towards your profession.  It will keep your interviewing skills sharp and you never know who you will encounter at these events.

Pay it Forward
  • Volunteer with your association; you have time and it will show you believe in the philosophy of giving "paying it forward" by giving to others.   [great movie]
  • The HRPA has networking events for those who are in transition.

Keeping skills fresh

  • Join Toastmasters as the presentation and leadership skills helps you practice and improves your confidence and self-esteem.
    • The great thing is that you can attend for free.
    • There is no obligation to join but I highly recommend joining a group that resonates with you.

Good luck on your job search!  Please add any networking places in the comments section below.

ROI on Social Media HR Campaign

The last blog addressed how does HR leverage social media and this one answers the second questioned posed on how HR proves the return on investment (ROI) on a social media campaign.

The proof is in the pudding - ways to measure your success
There are a number of types of measurement tools that is at your disposal including:  qualitative (hard to measure indicators like trust and loyalty), quantitative (numbers), comparative (from other sources), competitive (against your competition).  From my research you need to look at a number of success factors in your social media campaign such as:
  • Activation:  What do users do on their first visit?
  • Retention:  How often do users come back?
  • Acquisition: You want to see all the media sources you are using, volume and compare who is the best performer (# of hits, etc.)
  • Referral:  Do your followers drive referrals to your account and other accounts?  For example:  Are they sharing their 'happy' experience on Facebook.
  • Revenue:  Qualifying your customers, # of sales, sales revenue $, etc.
  • Measure:  audience demographics, channel source, campaign theme.  For example: come work for a 'cool' company
Some on-line tools that I am aware of have a price tag and others are free.  (,,

Qualitative intangible yardstick measures
Historically it has been hard to prove hr measures with a direct link to improved productivity and profitability.  Through my research I believe there are some ways to measure the unmeasurable:
  • Loyalty/trust:  positive comments made by followers, amount of conversations, how many go to your website afterwards, is there any increase in job applications.
  • Satisfaction:  any good suggestions made on your blog.   Are you able to implement the ideas?
  • Authority on the subject matter:  the amount of blogs that reference your website, (see below bibliography) retweets on Twitter, referrals
You could incorporate all hr functions on to the social media platform but there is only enough hours in the day, human power, and budget.  I encourage leveraging social media and attempt it on a few sources at first and on only one campaign such as recruitment as a starting point.  Try to get volunteers (fellow employees) on board and use your marketing and communications departments if you have one.

I describe some ROI tools for social media on my YouTube video....please click play below.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

HR Leveraging from Social Media

I had a really interesting interview yesterday and was asked by the management team some thought-provoking questions on social media and how HR can leverage from this technology.  Now, I am sent to task to discover how does HR use social media effectively and prove the ROI?  I haven't been this stumped before in an interview!  I wanted to go behind the interviewer and take the white board marker and start brainstorming on the spot.  I didn't sleep well that night as I was really excited about these questions and how to tackle them. Hence, I am attempting to answer some of them in this social media forum--my blog and then add it to my linked-in and twitter account.  [it's like a 3 for 1 pizza deal]

I will also test the model by using the below YouTube video and forward to my friends, colleagues, etc.  I will use some broad labels (like meta tags) to see if that bumps up the usage on google.  I will try one or more tools like or to watch the numbers; to measure the effectiveness of these tools.  Who knows I might be fixated on the numbers like a trader is glued to the S&P.
I am so revved up on this subject that I may end up making this more than one blog with the help from the input/feedback from my followers. I feel I am on an adventure to uncover the secrets of the Cadbury chocolate bar--how do they get the caramel in the center?   So here I go for the quest of the holy social media grail.

More questions to explore
I have leveraged social media in the past for: recruitment, networking, sharing best practices, branding, staying current on trends, reading the news.   How else can we use this technology tool for hr purposes?  How do we measure ROI and the success social media brings to the hr table?   It is already hard enough to measure hr efforts as a lot of our work is unmeasurable.  How do you measure the intangibles like company culture?

The upfront cost is minimal to set up a social media account as a lot of tools are free and it is easily accessible to our fingertips.  [You can even do it in a housecoat sitting on the couch.] However, there is a significant cost when it comes to the investment of time and energy of the person(s) who are involved in putting in the data, revising it, reviewing followers, auditing and measuring the success of the social media campaign.   Also, one has to stay current on all the social media tools and metrics to measure some of the following:

Social media and Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0.....
It includes blogs, social networks, bookmarking, wikis, mobile computing, Apps, online video, etc.  There are many available to you including: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Wordpress, Blogger, Flickr, Buzz, Digg, Google+, etc.

Like any business initiative you have to have a solid business plan and that ties in to the company's vision, mission, and culture.  You have to ask yourself what is that you want to measure and why?  The plan should also encompass who is going to lead the social media campaign, who is inputting the data, auditing content/feedback, costs, timelines, which sources to leverage, etc.  Once you have the stakeholder's buy-in, the plan established, and know what your successes are, then you can measure how your campaign is performing.

Please view the below YouTube video and read my next blog on ROI of social media campaign.....

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Get Your House in Order Before Looking For a Job

This time my blog is catered to those looking for a new job opportunity.  I will try to alternate between those seeking talent and others who are selecting their company of choice.  I really appreciate any feedback or areas I have missed to help job seekers and recruiters alike.  I am hoping this will be a forum to share best practices on both sides of recruitment.

We all know that looking for a job is a full-time job.  Some job seekers dive-in head first without seeing how deep the waters are--they are deep and choppy waters.  There are many forums to find jobs and navigating these waters are tricky without a little help.  I will throw a lifesaver with some tips below to help get you started in an organized job search.  (the below is targeted for the Toronto/Ontario/Canada job market)

Helping Hand

  • Get the support from your family and friends by asking for their encouragement and to keep their ears to ground if they hear of any suitable jobs.
  • If you belong to an employee assistance plan ask for a coach that specializes in job search.  They may also provide feedback on your resume.
Roll up your sleeves
  • Make a list of on-line job posting boards such as:  monster, workopolis, craigslist, kijiji, yahoo, etc.
  • Get your resume and cover letter up to date and upload on applicable websites such as:  linked-in, monster, workopolis, yahoo groups, etc.
    • Prior to posting, have a second set of eyes to review your resume for grammar, spelling, formatting, etc.
    • You will need to customize your cover letter and resume for each job application.
  • Research recruiters that specialize in your area of expertise.  You can search google, check out your library.
  • Research companies that you want to work for and see on linked-in if there are any connections. 
    • Sometimes jobs are not posted but are in the works--pipeline jobs.
  • If the job advertisement does not state "do not call" then I would advise you contact the person listed.
    • Ask the person for five minutes of their time to discuss the role as you have the value-added skills and experience for the job.
    • I would have handy the top 10 skills/experiences that benefits the company.

There is only 24 hours in a day

  • Time management skills are key as you can get lost in the web of information.
  • Block time periods on your calendar (outlook for instance) that you will research jobs, apply for jobs, and networking events.
  • Reconnect with old employers and let them know you are seeking another opportunity.
  • This is a good time to also ask those you reported to and worked with for permission to use them as a reference.
Keeping track
  • Last but not least you will need to create a tracking mechanism of jobs that you applied for so that you look organized and professional.
    • You may use an excel spreadsheet, access database, etc.
    • The data should contain at a minimum:  company, website, contact name, phone, email, position name, date applied, associates (that work there from your linked-in research), interview date, interviewers name.
Also, please stay tuned for using social media on your job search.
I hope you found this helpful and any feedback/input is greatly appreciated.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Tips and Tricks for HR, Recruiters and Hiring Managers

So this is my second kick at the can at blogging.  My first blog mentioned some of the challenges a person faces when looking for another job; be it full-time, contract or consulting.   I thought it would be beneficial to anyone on the hiring seat by providing meaningful solutions to some of the problems I identified in my earlier blog.   In the future, I plan on blogging for those who are on the other side of recruitment that are in search of a new job opportunity.

Before I provide the tips and tricks I want to convey my enormous respect for recruiters both internally and externally.  I have partnered with a number of professionals that have 'saved my bacon' as an human resources (hr) manager.  I have also encountered a number of polished hr colleagues who have a strategic pulse of their organization and the external environment.  Some of these seasoned veterans in the fight for recruiting and retaining talent have shared their best practices with me.  Some of the points below are theirs and others are my own.  I would also like to mention that I was once a recruiter for Manpower, and for two recruitment firms--one was a partnership and the other was my own.  I still perform recruitment duties, from time to time, but I prefer to partner with the experts that have leveraged social media and have an established network of candidates.

Below are some tips and tricks that I have learnt and practiced over the years.  Recruitment and retention is an ever evolving process attributed to technology and globalization.  I would appreciate it if I could get some additional suggestions from you.

Have a Plan of Attack
  • Have a recruitment plan/process in place.  The plan will describe who is responsible for what in the recruitment lifecycle.
  • Communicate the recruitment plan to all stakeholders; the plan should take into consideration everyone who is affected by the process.
  • If you are using the company's website, web/discussion forums, blogs, social media please ensure your information is current--remove all filled jobs from the websites.
  • etc.
  • If applicable, leverage from the employee referral network.  Provide the employees with useful tools such as postcards, a company website that outlines the company's culture and benefits of working there.
  • If you are the hiring manager or hr and are using an external recruiter please provide them with a valid job description that does not change.
Time Management
  • For those responsible for the hiring process, both internal and external, be honest with the candidates and get back to them on a timely basis.  Do not keep them waiting; be respectful of their time by keeping them in the loop.  It is your reputation on the line as well as the company's of being a company of choice to work for.
Staying Current
  • Keep current with social media, hiring practices, legislation by:  attending seminars, reading association's website and staying current with the newspapers.  (web has some important information but you need to filter what is not reliable.)
Interviewing 101
  • Make sure you have valid interview questions and that you use them for each interview.  
    • Make sure you take down notes for each interview
    • It is ideal if you can have a tandem interview; one person asks questions and the other writes it down.  Take turns in asking questions and jotting down the candidate's answers.
    • Ensure that they are compliant with human rights legislation
  • In Canada; do NOT throw out the interview questions ever; this includes those selected and not selected.
    • The reason you need to retain information forever is that if a complaint is filed against you and/or the organization it is the onus of the company to prove they were not in the wrong.
    • You need to prove due diligence in your hiring practices for:  wsia, human rights, employment equity and pay equity.
    • There is no expiry date for pay equity.
Keeping track
  • Use an applicant tracking system.  If you do not have one; acquire one or build one yourself.  This is to manage the talent database for current and future pipeline recruitment.  You also want to track who you do not want to call back as candidates did not make the cut.  
    • There are many systems available that range from standalone or are part of an Human Resources Information System  [HRIS/HRMS], or a dynamic system such as SAP.
      • (Adequasys, Dayforce, Peoplesoft, ADP, QHR, etc)
    • Worse comes to worse use your C: drive,  MS Outlook and place the candidates in folders labelled with the position name.
    • You can even use excel or access to keep track of candidates.
  • Use a time management tool that tracks the beginning and end of the recruitment lifecycle for each hire.
    • This tool should also have a reminder system for you to contact the candidate on their status.
    • You can use MS Outlook or any other reminder system.  You can even leverage a sales system such as Salesforce for reminders--it could also be used as an applicant tracking system if you are creative.
  • Use a dashboard or even a powerpoint presentation to show the C-Suite your efforts in recruitment.
    • Providing quantifiable information on:  how many candidates applied, pre-screened over the phone, interviewed, selected, offers accepted/refused, timelines of each of the above, costs, who referred them (vendor/employee),
There is so much more information that I have missed or purposely omitted due to blogging constraints.
I would appreciate other people's input to share best practices in this process so that all stakeholder's benefit.


Friday, 4 November 2011

Thought I would put pen to paper....or fingers to keyboard

Well this is my first blogging post and I already have writer's block.  I thought I would try this forum to put down my feelings, experiences as a job seeker for a way to journal my thoughts.  I firmly believe in helping others so I thought if I can garner enough unemployed people (should be in the millions) to share views--we can all rest one another's heads on this virtual shoulder.  I am doing this to help myself as well by learning from other's experiences.

What I find challenging about looking for another job/contract is the length of time in knowing where you stand.  The uncertainty of not knowing where I fit in the hiring manager's or recruiter's file.   I ask myself if I am in the 'no' pile, 'maybe' pile, or 'yes' pile.  I was a recruiter once myself and I know the game:   you get too many resumes, you shortlist them, you call people over the phone to screen them, if no one is suitable start again, if successful at the screening then bring the candidates in for an interview, bring them in for a second and even a third interview, then wait some more before the offer letter is cranked out, signed, sealed and delivered.  It is not easy being on either side of the recruitment table as the recruiter has a need to make the right hire quickly and the lack of knowing or control of the job seeker.  I understand the pain points of recruiters that sometimes the good ones get away.  I also know sometimes timing isn't on any one's side.

There are self doubts, the what-ifs, the shoulda, coulda, wouldas after the phone screen or interview.  Even when you do your best in creating an amazing resume, acing the phone screen/interview--you can still get the rejection email, letter or call. The best advice I can give is keep plugging along as the right job will come your way--these are lessons to be learned in the rejection process.

If I could give one piece of advice for recruiters and hiring managers keep your candidate in the loop.  I know how busy recruiters, hr and hiring managers are as I have worn all three hats but we need to be respectful of people's time.  I am still a firm believer on what I told the first HR person I mentored "to make sure you call the people back that you did a phone screen and/or interview."  At the very least, in today's crazy, busy, technology obsessed society, please send an email to let the candidate know you are still in the process.   I have spoken with a number of job seekers and they have waited over a month for a call back after their interview.

As recruiters, hiring managers and professionals we need to keep in mind that our reputations are on the line as well as the organization we work for--if we do not respect peoples time it may affect the company's ability to attract superstar candidates down the road.

If anyone is reading this...what are your thoughts?