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Facebook For Sale

I had a posting earlier today, Your Online Presence And The Recruiter. What Will They Find?, and I want to clarify my position.

I think these social networking sites are great, personally and professionally. It’s some of the people using it I have an issue with. Well, not so much them as a person but the information they are sharing and then to be shocked, SHOCKED, that it might be used against them.

Back to Facebook, what a great story it is. Two dudes in college want to build a site at their college, Harvard, so students can better communicate and it becomes very popular.

So the kids at Stanford start using it. Then it spreads like a wildfire.

Then the founders turn down $750 million hoping for $2 billion.

Yep, that is how BusinessWeek is reporting it today with this story, Facebook’s on the Block.

Your Online Presence And The Recruiter. What Will They Find?

I swear (a lot) that people need to be hit in the head before they stop being an idiot. I tell the college crowd, you can be stupid but do not elevate yourself to the idiot level. You’re young, in college and do silly things. Now this is not a license to be stupid but most young ones, 18-22, will do some growing up during this stage.

For the over 23 and over crowd I expect better.

A week or more ago I signed up on I have an interest in social networking and thought I would see what the fuss was about.

Basically I found many users and their “grown-up” profile acting like the college kids on FaceBook.

That’s bad news if your future employer is actively using the sites to recruit and research and now you have been excluded. How would you feel?

Think I am joking when I say recruiters are using these sites? Here are four examples:

For the “grown-ups” a March 19, 2006 New York Daily News article, What a tangled Web we weave, we have this:

But when a member of the search committee Googled her, he found she had called him a "belligerent jerk," though not by name, and canceled the interview. "I almost immediately deleted the blog," wrote Healy via E-mail. For obvious reasons, Healy doesn't think employers should Google candidates, but also because she doesn't believe that one's entire life should be up for review. "What is on the table at an interview should be skills, detectible levels of craziness, overall impression and a good fit in the workplace," she writes, "not your foibles, rants, petty opinions or brilliant insights."

HELLO!!! You are writing online. Most people write online to have others read it and we are.

For the “college crowd” two articles from the USA Today on March 16, 2006, Alarms sound over athletes' Facebook time:

The tone of the site can be sophomorically jocular: Many underage students include photos of themselves with alcohol, and some make references to drugs and sex. These sorts of postings are emerging as a particular danger for athletes, who often sign a code of conduct as a condition of their scholarships.

And What you say online could haunt you:

"I brought this up in English class, and everybody was like, 'Are you kidding me? Why are these people in our profiles?' Initially, everybody had a sense of this is their own little private thing."

Umm, no.

You’re right, it is your profile on a web site with a user name and password. The thing is the web site is not just for the college students but university staff, faculty and alumni too. So again, you have the freedom to write what you want and we are reading it.

Last but not least and maybe more important, on ERE yesterday Dr. John Sullivan had an article Outside-the-Box Recruiting — Using as a Recruiting Tool.

I assure you that for as many people who read what Dr. John has to say, more recruiters, researchers, and headhunters will be on MySpace by the end of the week.

We will be reading...

Action In The Microsoft Blogosphere

The Good

I am a big fan of the bloggers from Microsoft, particularly Heather’s Marketing at Microsoft and Gretchen’s Technical Careers @ Microsoft. They give a great view into the corporate side of recruiting and blogging.

Today Heather has a posting The difference between companies that WANT their employees to blog and companies that ALLOW their employees to blog.

I point it out because a few of my clients and a couple of my search firm friends have been asking me if I think they should start blogging too. I have two questions for them. One, what is the message you are trying to convey? Two, do you have the time to do it? For me the first was easy and the second has been very hard.

For the corporate folks, take a read at Heather’s posting today as she does a much better job with the subject than I have with you. It will also start youe conversation on who should be doing it and who will own it.

The Controversial

Red Herring has a news story today Microsoft Bloggers Post Gripes. Looks like the anonymous folks at Mini-Microsoft had a post last week Vista 2007. Fire the leadership now! This one post has 475+ comments on it.

I like anonymous posts because they can give you an idea of what folks think on the inside but I always wonder how many of these folks are grandstanding. More than that, how many of them are the problem or raise their issues in meetings. Now if could get metrics on that…

March Madness, 2nd Weekend, Elite Eight And The Final Four

Some Dick Vitale quotes are coming to mind but this one sums it up for me:

“This is awesome, baby”.

After the First Round I had picked 22 of the 32 teams. After the second round I had 11 of the 16 teams. After the third round I had 4 of the 8 teams with 3 of my Final Four still in it. At this point I was in the top 5% on

Umm, yeah, not so much now. Although I suppose everyone else has gone in the tank too so I should check again.

After the fourth round I have 1 of the 4, UCLA.

I am so, so happy I did not do a bracket this year. I mean in the sense of in a pool for cash, for ego, or for trash talk. I am going to be interested to hear from my friends the number of points or the percentage of correct picks because these numbers are going to be very, very low.

The other reason is that I have been rooting for every underdog, Cinderella, mid-major conference team.

Hey, remember when Billy Packer and Dick Vitale were nearly screaming about some of the teams in the tournament? One of the teams always mentioned was George Mason. George Mason, they lost to Hofstra twice. They should not be in the tournament so the experts said. Lets see,

Look, I loved Connecticut, Texas, and Boston College. But watching George Mason take down Connecticut was awesome. Watching LSU, gotta love a guy with the nickname “Big Baby” and he likes it, take out Texas was awesome. Watching Villanova beat Boston College which, really was not an upset unless you were like me thinking a four guard offense could not survive this long, was awesome.

And not just the victories but they way they happened. These overtime games have been awesome. The players their personalities and their stories that we have been able to learn about have been awesome.

Yeah I know, I have used the “awesome” word too many times but what other word comes close?

More thoughts on some of these games in days to follow…

These were the Elite Eight. In gray are my original predictions. In (x) is the round I predicted they make it to. In maroon are the winners I did not pick.

LSU (8)

Texas (2)

Kansas (8) Memphis

UCLA (4)

Connecticut (1)

North Carolina (8) George Mason

Boston College (4) Villanova

Ohio State (8) Florida

These are the Final Four. In gray are my original predictions. In (x) is the round I predicted they make it to. In maroon are the winners I did not pick.

Texas (2) LSU

UCLA (4)

Connecticut (1) George Mason

Boston College (4) Florida

More On Customer Service

I tried to update my original Thursday posting, Recruiters, Morons And Scumbags..., but for some reason I am having issues with the HTML on the post and rather than spend time trying to fix I’ll just add a new post.

Mike Goldman had a blog post March 20 on ERE, Customer Service Skills For Recruiters. Mike takes a polite look at how some companies treat candidates and external recruiters (us third party folk). Surly not all companies function in this manner but many do and going back to my blog post there is an impact on perception, image, and reputation of companies.

A side note: a tip of the hat to David Manaster and the good folks at ERE for adding the trackback option to their blog posts.

March Madness, Sweet Sixteen

So I am quite a few days late in getting this posted considering we already have four of the Elite Eight teams moving on.

After the First Round I had picked 22 of the 32 teams. After the second round I had 11 of the 16 teams.

All I know is that the first weekend was all us March Madness junkies could have ever hoped for.

On my first post I had some main themes:

-Parity, any team can go down at any time. Will this finally be the year of a #16 beating a #1?

We almost had it with Albany and Connecticut.

-Brackets will be a mess. I just have no idea which upsets to go with.

That certainly played out.

-March Madness earns its nickname this year.

Ummm, yeah, sheer madness.

Cinderella’s, 1 per region: Southern Illinois, Bucknell, Wichita State, Wisconsin Milwaukee

Yep, other than Southern Illinois I picked those well but I missed Bradley and George Mason. My excuse is that I only picked one per region. (Whatever makes me feel better)

First Round notes:

#8 vs. #9, all of these games are a coin toss. #5 vs. #12, all of these games are a coin toss. #2, #3 and #4 seeds will each have at least one loss.

This prediction was not all that “out there” but I definitely was seeing the crystal ball clearly.

Second Round notes:

-North Carolina and Michigan State, a coin-flip and the winner could take Connecticut out.

Oops, would have helped if they had made to the Sweet Sixteen.

-Syracuse, out of gas or still riding the wave of emotion?

They ran out of gas in the first round.

-Pittsburgh or Kansas will take Memphis out.

Oops, neither one made it this far. Memphis still dancing.

-Villanova, an early exit? By the way, I am a big fan and I do hope they make it to Minneapolis

My issue is the four guard offense. I love the team and I am glad they made it here to Minneapolis but I am just not convinced they can go any further.

These are the Sweet Sixteen. In gray are my original predictions. In (x) is the round I predicted they make it to. In maroon are the winners I did not pick.

Duke (16)

LSU (8)

West Virginia (16)

Texas (2)

Memphis (16)

Kansas (8) Bradley

Gonzaga (16)

UCLA (4)

Connecticut (1)

Illinois (16) Washington

North Carolina (8) George Mason

Tennessee (16) Wichita State

Villanova (16)

Boston College (4)

Florida (16)

Ohio State (8) Georgetown

Recruiters, Morons And Scumbags...

About a month ago a friend of mine pointed me to Slashdot and a post, What Do You Want in a Job Website?

I saw a few blog posts in the RSS feed focused on the job board aspect of the post. I was more curious about what the masses thought of those in my profession. The recruiters, headhunters, staffing specialists and human resource folk.

It was not pretty. I understand that when you can post whatever you want to say and the topic itself is going to get a bunch of responses from frustrated users that the response was not likely to be positive.

There were a few things to learn from the responses and this is information I hear all the time so the Slashdot folk are not any different from anyone else.

Yeah I know this is common sense but apparently it is not being practiced very well. These go for the in-house staff (morons) as well as us third party guys “scumbags”. Of course there are many more but to get started:

1) Find a way to respond to every qualified inquiry in a timely manner.

2) Be knowledgeable about the job you are recruiting for.

3) There is some fudge factor but only respond to resumes on job boards who closely resemble who you are looking for.

4) Read the full resume before contacting the candidate.

I know how hard it is but part of what we do is part customer service and it directly impacts our companies (for the morons) and our clients (for the scumbags). It’s about marketing and branding. We can have the coolest employment web sites but if no on is there to respond to the email or phone inquiry the result is the same, frustration and a bad reputation.

As the labor market continues to tighten up my moron and scumbag friends we do not want to get bad reputations for failing to respond or properly qualify a candidate. We will likely lose them forever as a potential employee and their friends who they tell their story to.

Here are just a few of the many choice quotes:

-There's nothing I hate more than having to go through some recruiter (who often turns out to be a scumbag). What I want in a jobsite is an actual connection between job seekers and employers, with no middlemen getting in the way. The recruiters are a problem in more ways than I can count.

-Well... I have always wanted job websites to allow you to blacklist known scumbags and filter out their job ads. Unfortunately it is the scumbags which pay the website, not the jobseeker.

-... I really don't use job sites, but I've poked around a bit.

1) ban recruiters
2) mandatory salary ranges
3) must include company name so I can do research
4) use a good set of standard tags (travel, COBOL, PMI, etc)
5) list when you're deciding to award the job

-…The correct answer to this is "I hang up on morons who waste their time and mine."

MN Headhunter Gets A Facelift

Last weekend I did a color change on the three MN Headhunter pages that is very similar to the scheme I will be using for the new search firm.

I also added the newsletter signup function (I still need to work on the color scheme there). On Tuesdays I will be sending out a message with jobs I am recruiting for, technology volunteer opportunities, and the top five read blog posts from the previous week.

I also am working on a new feature, not yet titled, where I will be asking six questions (seemed like a reasonable number) to business, political and academic leaders in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area on topics relating to the local job market and business community.

Finally I have started formally pitching the creation of the IT volunteer network to area corporations, consulting firms, and individuals. The response so far has been very good. The only problem I will have is that business is very good around here and time is in limited supply. Too bad I did not think of this a few years ago when everyone had time on their hands…

Minnesota Job Reports

Now that I have the U.S. Job Reports posted here are statistics on Minnesota job creation.

The recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for 2nd Quarter 2006 had the following results from the Minnesota employers surveyed:

28% increase

50% maintain

6% decrease

16% apparently have no idea what they are doing

In terms of percentage of jobs gained in 2005 Minnesota ranked #30 and behind Iowa, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin:

1.2% MN

1.5% Nationally

Minnesota unemployment rates:

December 4.2%

January 4.1%

February 4.4%

Total Minnesota jobs:

2,731,600 job in January

2,731,500 jobs in February

U.S. Job Reports

It has been a while since I posted national jobs numbers so here we go (Month – number of jobs created):

December ’05 - 145,000

January ’06 - 170,000

February ’06 - 243,000 (the consensus number was 210,000)

The Northeast and Midwest have seen relatively slow job growth. Michigan has lost jobs since the national job boom began in mid-2003, and Maine, Massachusetts and Ohio have grown by less than 1%.

The recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for 2nd Quarter 2006 had the following results from the 16,000 national employers surveyed:

30% will increase hiring

58% no change

6% will decrease hiring

6% are unsure (How can that be? Are they asleep at the wheel?)

Staffing plans for the Northeast, Midwest, South and West are all expected to remain consistent through June of 2006.

National unemployment rates:

December 4.9%

January 4.7%

February 4.8%