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I’m joining the TalentObjects by Lumesse team!

I'm backI’m super excited to announce that after a seven month detour away from the world of HRTechnology, I’m joining TalentObjects by Lumesse as Product Marketing Manager.

What is TalentObjects?

TalentObjects is native-developed for the Salesforce1 Platform. And that brings the platform’s rich set of Mobile and Social capabilities that only native applications can tap. TalentObjects connects people to one another and the data they need. Wherever they are. Whenever they need. However they want.

TalentObjects brings HR, Business professionals and Talent together and turns transactions into interactions. A shared view of data helps managers make better decisions. Together. Social tools turn transactions into interactions. Daily. Community portals help create relationships with top talent. Sooner.

Timing is everything

I actually interviewed to join TalentObjects in February of this year after my last company, eiTalent, shut down. Unfortunately, timing wasn’t right then so I took another job outside of the HRTech industry.

While out with some friends during SXSW, I was introduced (by you guessed it, Bill Boorman) to a tall guy in a cowboy hat who turned out to be Allen Johnson, the Head of Marketing at TO. We had a few conversations over the next couple of days at different venues. I became impressed with him and the vision of where TO is headed. We’ve had many conversations in the months since and I’m excited about working closely with him (not to mention industry veterans like Rick Vigilis, Raymond van der Wal, Stephan Schmitt and others) to spread the word about TO.

Since then, TO have launched Recruit in the Salesforce App Exchange and it’s poised to make some noise in the industry. They are also working on an end-to-to suite of HR tools, all built on the Salesforce1 Platform.

My other box being ticked

My passion for HRTech and improving the recruitment process for everyone has grown steadily since I launched HireMatch.me in 2010 while I lived in London. While working in the startup world over the last six years, I’ve also become fascinated by the prevailing thought that larger companies cannot innovate from within. It seems to be widely thought that companies must purchase up and coming companies if they want to be innovative in their own industry. HRTech is no exception to this as illustrated by recent acquisitions highlighted in this Blogging4Jobs article about startup investment and acquisitions.

Serendipity (aka the Bill Boorman Effect)

Exactly one year ago this week I attended Bill Boorman’s TruLondon event where I pitched eiTalent in the startup arena and led a track on company culture. I didn’t know it then, but two other interesting things happened.

  • I met Romuald Restaut, the Head of Product at Lumesse. We talked a lot about what eiTalent was doing and about how we could possibly integrate with the Lumesse platform to help their clients assess candidate fit based on company culture. We had several conversations over the next few months and even met while I was in London earlier this year meeting with potential clients and other integration partners. When things fell apart with eiTalent shortly there after, he made intros for me into Lumesse for possible openings.
  • Bill led a small private session with several people talking about the struggles of HRTech startups – mainly around the barriers of integration and the shortcomings of offering a point solution instead of a platform. We all commiserated and the discussion shifted when Bill suggested that startups should seriously consider building a version to launch in the Salesforce App Exchange.

Fast forward a year, and I find myself in a dream scenario. Not only do I have the opportunity to help TO reshape the world of recruitment, onboarding, learning, etc., but I also get to work for a company that is challenging the notion that true innovation cannot happen from within. It’s like working for a startup again, but without a lot of the traditional startup challenges and the benefit of being a native app built on Salesforce1.

I’m a happy camper and ready for the challenge. I’m back!

Lastly, if you’re going to Dreamforce this year, stop by and see us at Booth N1101.

DF15

 

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Conferences, Content, Context and Conversations

Even though Electronic Insight and eiTalent are just getting started (companies can sign up for our demo), we’ve been able to attend a majority of the conferences in the HR/recruitment arena in 2013. I’ve been able to catch up with old friends (I’m looking at you Gareth and Mervyn), meet lots of new ones, learn more about an ever changing industry and have many, many great conversations with super smart people. By the way, in my eyes conversations can also consist of merely listening in to others talking, like I did when I sat in a room with less than ten people including Gerry Crispin, Bill Boorman and China GormanThere’s immense value in just listening and absorbing.

Conferences

I have personally attended the ERE Recruitment Innovation Summit (RIP apparently), the SHRM Annual Conference, the ERE Fall Conference and last week’s HREvolution and HRTech Conference. As a company, we’ve also attended the SHRM Talent Management Conference, Sourcecon and The Economist Human Potential Forum. We didn’t sponsor or exhibit at any of the conferences this year. Our goal, as a startup in the white hot space of HRTech, was to meet people, get our name out there, and figure out what conference(s) to exhibit or sponsor next year.

I definitely have ideas on which conferences are best for an early stage (but well funded) startup in this space, but this post is about the value of conferences themselves. My take away from my yearlong conference roadshow is it come down to this for non-exhibiting attendees: Content, Context and Conversations.

Content

Conference organizers do a great job attracting high-level keynote speakers. Whatever your political views, Hillary Clinton at SHRM was awesome. I also really enjoyed Don Tapscott and his talk on Radical Openness at HRTech. Organizers also do their best to lineup quality sessions, but these are very often hit or miss and rely on the quality of the presenter and freshness of content. I’ve walked out of more of these than I care to admit. Unfortunately, the presentations often evolve into a thinly veiled sales pitch given that they are commonly led by a vendor. I’ve struggled with this from the lonely side of the podium myself. It’s a fine line to walk between talking about a subject you’re passionate about and not talking specifically about what you are working on in relation to that subject.

Context

My favorite session this year was actually 1/3 of a session by Ray Wang. He wore me out pacing the stage and challenging my thinking for 17 minutes. His talk was mainly about how P2P (Point to Point) has replaced B2B and B2C. P2P communication, which is one of the foundations of our company values, really resonated with me. Looking back over my Tweet stream from that session is like an intense storm of knowledge (from Ray, not me). My other favorite nugget: “Context is king. With Context comes relevancy”. Spot on Mr. Wang. Looking beyond business to create direct connections based on where the person or company is coming from will pay huge dividends.

Conversations

As far as I’m concerned, the real value of attending conferences comes from conversations. Both with old friends and complete strangers. In the same session as I mentioned above, Bill Kutik (retiring HRTEch Co-Chair) had a mini rant about how people are letting technology lessen their conference experience. He started his intro to the speakers by saying (paraphrasing) that he’s amazed how people hide behind their device and that they should put down their gosh darn (cleaned that up a bit) gadget and walk across the room to talk to someone. He continued by saying that your next conversation could change your life.

Think about that for a minute. Count on your fingers how many times in your life you’ve had a conversation by chance that led to a great new friendship, changed your thinking, led to a big business deal or a new job, etc. I bet you can’t do it with only two hands. Sure, social media has been a game changer in the shear amount of conversations we can have, but nothing replaces face-to-face, look them in the eye conversations. P2P

Great example: I was rushing to a session and spotted Sean Sheppard, someone I know a little from social media. I don’t believe we’ve ever had an actual conversation off-line. I stopped a second to catch up with him and his newly acquired Nordstrom wardrobe (Ha Sean!) and he immediately introduced me to a recruitment manager at a very large company. His introduction made my connection with this person immediate and meaningful. Like he was my sponsor. All because I took the time to stop to formally introduce myself to someone I admire and it could lead to very big things.

I (and my company) found great value and gained lots of new potential clients by attending every conference we went to this year. (No, I don’t think conferences are all about gaining new clients). My favorite conferences, from a conversations point of view, have been ERE events. They tend to be smaller in size, but Ron Mester and his team do a fantastic job in almost forcing conversations. I believe this is due to the physical setup and the format itself. I never felt disconnected from the conversation, which were often led by interactive activities.

UnConferences = Conversations

The continued rise of the UnConferences illustrates my point. I’ll never stop going to more structured, larger conferences, but this growing trend is changing things. The rise of TalentNet Live (a bit more structure) and the #DiceTru events are all about conversations. The topic only and let the conversation flow format leads to thoughts and ideas sharing among those participating that you don’t get at larger conferences. I have attended both in the past and will be leading tracks for #DiceTru in three cities in the next week or so in Austin, Houston and Dallas.

P2P idea sharing vs. one to many, one way information sharing. Which is more valuable to you?

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Guest post: Networking tips for changing careers

So I’ve been either lazy or extremely busy with my new role at Cospace.co. Let’s go with the latter. Thankfully smart people like Steven Burrell have offered to provide guest posts. This post is one that is near and dear to my heart as a recent career changer.

Deciding to embark on an entirely new career can be incredibly daunting. You might be switching careers by choice or because of circumstances outside of your control, but no matter what the reason you are making this big life change, it is indeed just that: a big life change. And of course, that can be scary. Maybe some of your skills from your prior career will transfer into your new one, or maybe not. Maybe you already know people in your new field, or maybe not. Maybe you are returning to an earlier career, or perhaps this is an entirely new path. Either way, the key to your next career is the same as the key to your last one: networking.

Networking is one of the most important tools at your disposal for finding your next position, and sometimes for finding one several years down the road. It is often overlooked these days, as job hunters send out resume after resume to jobs posted online. But many jobs, some of the best in fact, are never posted online. They are the ones that only people “in the know” know about. The only way to find them is through networking.

Networking can also be a great tool to get the jobs you find posted online. If you see a job you think you would be a good fit for posted by Company Y, and you just networked with someone from Company Y, you now have a leg up over other online applicants. Whatever your approach to the job search, networking should be a part of it. Here are some tips on networking for changing careers.

Join LinkedIn and add as many contacts as you can. LinkedIn has totally changed networking, because it makes it as easy as clicking a few buttons. Create an up-to-date profile, highlighting your skills – especially the ones that are transferable to your new career. Import your email contacts and start adding as many of the names that you automatically recognize to your LinkedIn contacts. Add personal messages where appropriate. Continue adding people you know – family members, friends, former colleagues. You never know where might establish a helpful connection!

Start participating in “extra-curricular” activities outside your professional sphere. Networking is all about meeting new people with common interests. Don’t limit this principle to industry professionals. Increasing your social circles to include more people will help you make new friends and professional contacts. And if you are pursuing interests you enjoy, you will not begrudge the time you spend doing this, even if it doesn’t automatically give you job leads.

Contact old friends and colleagues and make plans. The best networking is done face to face, not over the phone or the computer. And the best results come from real relationships, not forced ones. So get in touch with people you have lost touch with over the years and get together for coffee or lunch. By spending time with people you actually like, you will avoid that forced feeling that can come with networking.

Market yourself in terms of the job you want, not the job you had. How you define yourself will shape how others see you. If you are a lawyer-turned-writer and call yourself that, that is how people will know you. If you just say “writer” though, they will know you that way instead. It is up to you to identify yourself correctly – on LinkedIn, on your business cards, and in conversation. Just like you don’t dress for the job you have, you dress for the job you want, you also should define yourself for the job you want.

Find local networking events of interest to you. A lot of networking events go on in big and small cities alike, and all you need to do is find them. Keep an eye out in local papers, do some Google searching, and allow yourself to step outside your immediate comfort zone by showing up alone. Be sure to bring your new business cards!

About the Author: Steven Burrell has been writing about business solutions and employee evaluation for nearly a decade. Visit the website to learn more about Steven’s work.

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Guest post: A Gen Y Guide to Entering the Workforce

This is a guest post by my friend Kyle Lagunas (@KyleLagunas), a super smart HR software guy. The post is aimed toward the Gen Y population who are out there banging their collective heads against the job search wall, but I would argue that parts of his advice applies to jobseekers in general. Especially points 1 and 4. Enjoy and feel free to comment. Kyle loves comments.

Summer is underway, and another group of “Trophy Kids” (Gen Y) preparing to leave their jobs at your local coffee shops and retail stores to join the ranks of the professional workforce. They have big plans and high hopes, but as many twentysomethings can attest, a diploma doesn’t guarantee success. A few of us have learned the hard way that there are some things that college simply can’t prepare us for.

On behalf of those Millennials who earned their stripes in darker days of the recession, I’ve put together a list of what Gen Y really needs to know about taking the first steps down the career path.

Six Do’s and Don’ts

1. Don’t lose your cool with recruiters.

Gen Y is very vocal when we’re not getting as much communication and “touch” from prospective employers as we want. And it’s often to our detriment. We fail to realize that recruiters have a lot on their plates and generally can’t satisfy our expectation of rapid, personalized attention during the recruitment process.

There’s a fine line between follow-up and harassment. A good rule of thumb is to follow up three times, every seven to ten days, and then stop. Always via email–never ever via phone (recruiters hate getting unexpected calls from applicants).

2. Do engage prospective employers.

If you haven’t already found a full-time job, you should be doing more than simply applying to jobs posted on Craigslist. Twitter and Linkedin offer unique platforms for building a relationship with a prospective employer. Search for industry forums or targeted Twitter chats, talk with people, ask questions. Jump in anywhere, even if their company isn’t hiring.

3. Don’t be a baby at work.

Is your first job less than glamorous? Were you hoping to run the place from day one? Fact: Many recent grads are lucky to land even an entry-level position. After being told by parents and teachers how awesome we are for the last twenty-whatever years, though, it’s easy to resent menial work. And if we’re bored, Gen Yers tend to jump ship quickly in search of something better. My advice? Don’t be a baby.

I know it’s frustrating, but don’t give up on a position just because you don’t love everything about it! Instead, look for ways to do more. Talk to your supervisor about any opportunity to take on new projects, and offer to help your colleagues. You should never simply go in, do your job, and go home.

4. Do be agile.

So maybe it’s not your life dream to be an office assistant. But you’re just setting out on your career path. If you can keep things in perspective, it’ll add up to something. If you can do your job well, show some humility (it’s hard for us, I know) and demonstrate just how agile you can be, you’ll find it easier to build valuable relationships with your coworkers and impress your supervisors. And you’ll likely find your career trajectory much more to your liking.

5. Learn what it means to be professional.

Gen Yers want to be themselves at work. We celebrate our individuality, and are a little more resistant to adjust to fit our surroundings than our parents or grandparents. But Millennials need to be aware of how that can impact their work experience.

This is especially true in how you interact with your supervisor. If your company has traditional values where business casual is defined as slacks and a button-down, you’re not doing yourself any favors by going against the grain. You’ll land yourself a pink slip in no time.

6. Do find a mentor.

If you think mentorships are old school and not worth your time, think again. Having a mentor (or several) is a great way to gain the much-needed perspective of someone who’s been there, done that, and has something to show for it. A mentor can provide guardrails for your career path, and let you know when to hit the gas or slam on the brakes.

A lot of leaders aren’t asked to be mentors anymore, and unfortunately many companies no longer have formal mentoring programs. Does this mean you’re out of luck? No! It’s up to you to find them. But don’t limit your search for a mentor to your company or industry. A mentor should be someone whose decisions and business ethic you respect.

A Career of Stepping Stones

While you might think that what’s happening right now is the most important thing ever, the truth is you’ve only taken a small step forward in your career when you start your first job. And in a lot of ways, your first job is a learning experiment of sorts. Challenge yourself, and learn as much as you can from the people with whom you’re working. With a combination of perspective, humility, and agility, you’ll be on your way to the next stepping stone (and then another, and another, etc.).

About the Author: Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice. He blogs about trends and best practices in human resources technology, and drives conversations around hot topics in talent management and recruiting.

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I got a job

Official announcement: I got a job!

I’m working at Cospace. More later. I have lots to talk about, but I’m eyes deep in all the super exciting stuff we have going on.

If you’re in Austin come check us out. If you’re some place else and interested in co-working check out our site or send me a message. We have big plans.

Thanks to everyone for your support and help!

 

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Stories of a jobseeker vol. 3: Learn something

There’s not much positive you can take from a job search, especially one that goes on for an extended period of time. It’s often an endless roller coaster ride of emotions and highs and lows. More often than not, the lows linger if you let them. Your time is most often spent searching for and applying to multiple jobs per day, following up on jobs you’ve previously applied to and working any and all connections to help you find a job.

Sometimes it’s important for your mental health to close LinkedIn and Indeed and do something else productive: learn something. Take an hour or so a day to teach yourself new skills. Ideally, something related to the jobs you are applying to, but something that will stretch the boundaries of your knowledge, and possibly further your career. Here’s a good article to read about the importance learning while searching for a job: Skills to learn while in between jobs.

There are plenty of resources on the web and in books to read and learn about theory and how things should be done. However, I prefer to use tutorials, sites and applications that actually allow me to practice the skills I need to expand my knowledge, and hopefully increase my chances of standing out from other candidates.

I’ve spent the last three years developing the idea and helping to launch and manage my startup HireMatch.me. When founding a startup one wears many hats and picks up a ton of valuable skills along the way. Before HireMatch.me I had extensive experience in account, project and team management, but the online world is a different world than traditional off-line business. I had to learn quickly by listening intently, Googling everything, and asking questions as a last resort.

In the last couple of months since I left my startup I’ve been teaching myself more of the abilities that employers are looking for when they’re search for project, implementation or customer success managers. Although I’ll probably never be proficient in back-end coding I’ve been working my way through Code Academy, learning the basics of app development in Xcode 4 and designing a WordPress site for an app I’m working on, FōTacts. I’ve also found myself to be pretty handy at doing mockups in Balsamiq and designing user journeys on InVision.

Individually, my knowledge and skill level of these new skills probably won’t land me a job, but together they combine to make a robust knowledge base that make me a stronger candidate and will greatly benefit my next employer. Of course, these set of skills will not benefit everyone. My main point is that when I first started to interview for jobs I would have to tell possible employers that even though I lived in the online world for the last three years, I was not very technical. That’s becoming less true every day.

My advice is to identify your weakness and make them disappear. Learn something!

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My problem with LinkedIn: Are we truly connected?

Just a quick post for some research I’m doing.

As I go through my job search I’m starting to realize there is one major flaw with LinkedIn: lack of true connections. Think about it. If I were to ask you to introduce me to one of your 1st Connections (assuming you know me personally and would be willing to make an intro), how many would you feel comfortable introducing me to?

I think we can all agree that the first place one should turn when looking for a job is your network, and LinkedIn is the go-to initial starting place. When you look through jobs on LinkedIn you are shown who you are connected to within that company, both 1st and 2nd degrees. You are encouraged to reach out to these connections to attempt to increase your chances of landing an interview. But, does it do any good if you have no true connection with these people?

This also begs the question: do you only make intros to people you know personally (online of offline), or do you feel comfortable connecting people to any of your connections regardless of whether or not you know them?

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