Social Accountability

One of my favorite things about being connected to other professionals online is the accountability it brings. I am an advocate for connecting to other professionals and exchanging stories and best practices. As fast as the world moves these days no one should be spending time reinventing the wheel (and believe me our problems are not as unique as we think they are). I’m connected to people from all over the country through this blog, my Facebook, twitter, Instagram, g+ and I love it. I read what they are sharing, I call on them for advice, we call on them as a chapter when we need some great speakers, we solicit invitations to write for each other and encourage each other to be better professionals for our businesses.

accountability

It also holds me accountable for my recruiting. I’m connected with recruiters that are far more experienced than me so when I do a lame post to catch the eye of job seekers and then call those experienced recruiters to complain that I can’t find anyone for this position, they are going to call me on my crappy work. I can’t hide what I’m doing if there is an electronic trail of everything I’ve published right? Sometimes we like to tell our side of the story when we are complaining, venting or presenting information but if it’s online there is no getting around what was said (or wasn’t said). No sugar-coating or pretending I gave it all my effort if there is proof that I didn’t.

You can use social accountability for any and everything these days. Seriously, there are groups for like every single thing. I also use it for fitness. I follow people on Instagram that workout like beasts every day. We look forward to seeing each other post about our workouts and we encourage each other to keep going. It’s a wonderful thing to see that someone you follow did a killer workout even when they didn’t want to on the very same day that you are considering skipping your workout. The cool thing about using twitter and IG (and FB even though some people think otherwise) for accountability is when you use a hashtag (not a pound sign Juanita 🙂 ) for your group to track! I’ve found one that combines my HR world and my fitness world. Wait for it…wait. for. it.: #hrfitcrew (Thank you Chris for kicking that off!) I totally found this by accident, but I love that its other HR pros getting fit and encouraging/challenging each other. I know this makes me sound like a huge dork, but it’s perfect for me.

Pick up the phone

You remember that awesome recruiting workshop I just talked about a couple of days ago? yeah… I’m going to talk about it for the next 6 months probably. I get excited when respectable, experienced pros start talking about social media and its role in todays work place.

The most obvious thing Tim talked about that made me go durhhhhh was the Facebook page for Facebook recruiting. Facebook is a little scary to personally recruit with because there are a bazillion creepers out there. At a previous job I made a page just for my office hello is it leads your looking for(to avoid creepers), but why didn’t I think of just having my own page and having each of my recruiters have their own page? Hindsight. This totally just reminded me of another thing that I had been introduced to for Facebook recruiting: the monster.com BeKnown app. Two problems with it: 1) Monster is not my favorite and 2) Just reading that it keeps your personal and professional life separate exhausts me.

Separating your personal and professional life is another topic that we touched on. I’ve been asked before “Why do you use your twitter for personal and professional? Why don’t you just have two separate accounts?” I use the same account for everything because it’s exhausting to have multiple accounts on the same social media outlet. For the most part I am completely myself on my social media accounts and the fun thing about that is, I’m not such a terrible person that I need constant censorship AND I am a recruiter 24/7 so it is part of my personal life.  The one thing that I’m not as careful with, though, is making sure I’m sharing relevant information for my targeted audience. It’s okay to share stuff you like, but if it’s not relevant to the people you are trying to attract to connect with you don’t be surprised when you are not making those connections, ya dig? The biggest thing you can do to be successful in this arena is make sure you are giving your audience more than you are taking from your audience. I’m the worst about sharing things irrelevant to my targeted audience these days because I will share something that I think is funny in a heartbeat, or an HR article in half a millisecond without thinking about those EEs or CEs that don’t care about that stuff. This is where my social media recruiting needs improvement, lots of it. (See, its okay to not be perfect with your #SoMe efforts from day one. Don’t let that scare you).

By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!
By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!

The main thing you need to know about using social media for your recruiting efforts is that it does not replace the telephone. Those of us who push social media recruiting push it because it helps you, not because it replaces anything. It’s a form of marketing to attract the talent you need. It works for you when you’re not working. Much like HR technology it is just a device to make your recruiting work faster. It is another tool in your tool belt! It is not the end all be all. It is not a replacement for the telephone. Just in case you are confused, NO it does not replace the telephone 🙂 . Pick up that phone and call people! Social media does not take the social function out of recruiting, you still have to develop relationships with people and have voice to voice conversations.

I love social media and I love it when other HR folks love social media. If you have been thinking about taking that social media step, but you have questions or you are worried, email me (hutto.ipad@gmail.com)! If I don’t know the answer I bet I know someone who does! If you have a great tip, please feel free to leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you’ve found works for you.

The HR selfie…

This year was a fun year. Christmas on Wednesday, eh? It has thrown everyone’s work calendar off and people aren’t sure what to schedule or what days to be at work at what days to not be at work; it really lightens up the work load for those of us in the office, right? I’ve found myself scrolling through LinkedIn to see what’s up with the people I don’t keep in touch with enough. I’m a recruiter so I should be on LinkedIn all the time, right? Well I’m not and I was a little surprised by what I found… the HR selfie… Wooo, isn’t LinkedIn our professional place to network? Yowza.

You look stupid… here are some examples to prove that you look stupid:

We all know this is what 1st take selfies look like and it took you 27 tries to get a great one.
We all know this is what 1st take selfies look like and it took you 27 tries to get a great one.

 

Truth be told I love a good selfie. Selfie’s are good for the soul aren’t they? They really allow us to admire ourselves, prove we once had a good hair day and show off our “no make-up face”.

"NOMAKEUP"... umm no, no one EVER believes that by the way.
“NOMAKEUP”… umm no, no one EVER believes that by the way.

They belong on instagram, they do not belong as your profile pic on LinkedIn. No matter how good you think you are into tricking us that someone else took that picture, we all know otherwise. We’ve all taken a selfie and attempted to master the “you-can’t-see-my-arm-in-this-one-so-someone-else-must’ve-taken-it” pose. Give the camera to someone else next time you’re having a good hair day and tell them that you need a new profile picture for your LinkedIn account!!!!

I know this has not just taken the HR profession by it’s claws, it’s also seeped into other professions, but I’m specifically interested in my HR brethren. I see your selfie and I think you must have a reputation that rivals Delores Bromstead (HR on NCIS). Employees say they’ve never seen her smile and avoid her at all cost. Is that why no one else will take your picture?

Yes you look pretty in your selfie, but you need a profile pic okay. I can’t take you seriously if your profile picture is you making a stank face or sitting in a car with your seatbelt on clearly practicing unsafe driving. Yeah, I can tell you’re in the driver’s seat.

Social Media Part 2: The chronicles…

So as an extension of the last post (go read about it before you read this!) this is the story of the first bad comment on our business Facebook page. GASP I know right? For the  most part we don’t get bad comments on our personal page, I mean Facebook is a place for us to be friends with people who think like us right? ahahahah I kid I kid… moving on.

The Very First Time… So someone gets on our wall and posts some gibberish along the lines of complaining because we didn’t do our job-because we didn’t hire them. Blah-d Blah-d Blah-d. Please, kind sir, step into our office and begin telling us how to recruit. You clearly exhibited a high level of professionalism the first go around so after your Facebook rant we are sold! You are the person we are looking for! I, being responsible for our office operations and our Facebook page, F-R-E-A-K-E-D OUT! What do I do? Who do I ask what to do? This is uncharted territory for us? Commence throwing blank papers in the air and running around in circles screaming useless cries for help. My first answer-do nothing. So, I did nothing. I ran through all kinds of scenarios in my head-including the thought that what if the VP saw it and decided that was it, we were shutting down the Facebook and good riddance! A bit later I had decided that I had crafted the perfect professional response and I was going to handle this like a pro! WRONG. One of our other temp employees had seen it and taken it upon hisself to comment back explaining that my staff and I were beyond excellent at our job and we probably didn’t hire this creep because he wasn’t qualified and clearly sucked at life. Oh. My. Gawsh! What do I do now? Commence throwing blank papers in the air and running around in circles screaming useless cries for help. [let me explain further why they are useless-no one is there to hear me!] Alright, so let me put the kibosh on this-still going to handle it like a pro! WRONG! Now I have given them time to argue and for two more people to jump in, all defending us (which was nice, but irrelevant). With no more energy to run around in circles I decided to delete the whole thread and move on with my life.

What did I learn?

  • That some of our employees recognized our hard work and didn’t hesitate to stand up for that
  • You can never make everyone happy
  • Our reputation was on the line more than ever. Now it wasn’t about someone having a bad experience and telling their neighbor, it was about someone having a bad experience and telling OUR Facebook audience that consists of applicants, current employees, former employees, clients, potential clients, local businesses.
  • We had to take our customer service to the next level
  • We had to work harder
  • And I had to do some research

What do I know now?

  • Don’t hide from the bad comments. Use it as an opportunity to show your audience that you can take constructive criticism and that you care about issues.
  • Don’t delete them!
  • If it’s not a viable complaint, your audience will recognize that and will still take into consideration your response… and sometimes defend  you. [however let me be clear that I don’t support the idea of letting an argument happen on your business page, but that’s up to you!]
  • Don’t delete them!

I messed up the first time because I broke a primary rule, but cut me some slack, remember how I told you it was uncharted territory for us, it’s because it was! Now the second time I handled it like a pro and I’ll tell you all about that one tomorrow!

AAAAAAAGH! Social Media!??!

There are a bazillion posts out there about the many reasons why businesses are/need to be using social media as a marketing platform… In our industry, marketing AND recruiting platform (a little redundant of me considering these two things go hand in hand). It seems though, many businesses fear the “social platform”. As a recruiter, manager and a person who strives to move our industry forward I think that it is important that we dissect our fears and move beyond them. No one ever changed the game by doing things the way “they’ve always been done.”

I recently traveled to our corporate office to give a quick overview of how my office has utilized social recruiting and to brainstorm with a few members on improving our website and other social avenues. The question that every single one of them asked me was in reference to negative comments/feedback. “Can they say something bad about us?” “Can we delete it?” so on and so forth… YES they can say something bad about us, but what are they going to say? YES we can delete it, but why would we? By the way, I have had the “social media fears” conversation with several other businesses as well so I’m inclined to believe that this is a fear for many businesses. Before I explain my response to these questions I do want to shout this out for everyone to hear loud and clear: NO ONE AND LET ME REPEAT, NO ONE, HAS MASTERED THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE BUSINESS WORLD. Right now we are playing games of trial and error and sharing our experiences with others and learning how to track ROI, etc., but none of us have it 100% right yet. If you think you do I’m eager for you to teach us, all of us!

Ok-everyone still with me? It is important that you do not delete the negative comments, but respond to them. I do have an exception to this rule and so far its my only exception; when someone uses bad language. I choose to stand firm in the allowance of deleting these comments because I don’t want to subject our audience to these words. Outside of deleting those comments, if we deleted negative comments we would just be telling the world we live in a fantasy land-one where we don’t believe we ever do anything wrong. I’ve learned that the audience we cater to is going to be far more forgiving if we acknowledge our mistakes and improve than if we pretend they do not exist. I use the negative comments and feedback to publicly address issues and to make my staff aware of our shortcomings. If someone has a bad experience with us I want to know about it. I know we cannot please everyone, but we can please the majority and we can make sure our mission is clear to everyone. By letting my staff know when someone publicly tells us they had a bad experience it holds them accountable and is a reminder to not let anyone slip through the cracks. People will talk about us, good and bad. And please believe they will talk about us and our company whether we have an online presence or not-at least if we have an online presence we have an opportunity to defend ourselves.

The second most common question I get “Doesn’t this make us too vulnerable to our competitors?” NO! We have to stop “hiding” from our competitors. We have to take the risk that we are good enough at our job that we will win out over our competitors. If we hide from them we could very well be hiding from potential consumers. In our line of work we have a lot of competition and I absolutely love that! I am naturally a very competitive person and I believe you cannot be the best until you compete with the best out there and win. “Publishing” our customer list is a scary thought and typically unheard of in our industry (in our area anyway), but my thoughts are this: I know who my competition services and they most likely know who I service… If I’m telling people who I service without reservation it is because I know we have established a relationship with that client that leads me to believe they aren’t going to leave us for the next company. What I am getting at is the ones my competitor should be interested in going after are the ones I won’t openly tell. I’m probably playing them close to the chest for a reason, eh? When we use social media for a marketing/recruiting platform it is putting all of our information out there, it is becoming transparent so not only is it a risk, but a motivating factor to bring your A game to the table every single day, because we can’t afford not to.

This is a topic that I could currently go on and on and on and on about, so I will! The rest of this week I will post some examples of how we handled some of the negative comments, being transparent to our competitors and how social media has grown our business for the better so stay tuned! I’m also eager to hear other examples from you- so please, do tell!