Millenials killed my Sports page

I know everyone gets news online now, or has been for a while. So have I. No one under 30 reads the newspaper, and the rest of us have had to adjust. But until recently, I still reveled in one blast from the analog past. I read the newspaper Sports page every morning with my coffee. On work days, I read it at the dining room table, as it seemed more formal and more business-like. Saturdays with my lucky college football mug and a spot on the couch. I deserved this moment after a week of work. My dog always joined me on my lap. Sundays? The couch again, this time maybe with some music and more formal of a breakfast than just cereal.

But all that changed a week ago and nothing has been right ever since. My local paper kept cutting back on content. Adding links to “read more” online and putting some stories and features primarily online. Box scores? That has always been the bastion of print. You need to sit and read them. Study them! Who went 8-20 last night with 20 points and 8 rebounds? Who went 3-4 at the plate? What’s your favorite player’s batting average now? These are things designed to be scoured in the printed word spread out in pages in front of you. Yes, sometimes even sitting on the can! When my local paper cut not only the content, but the design and size of the paper, that was the last straw as a Sports page reader. It was their way of saying, we’ll just keep shrinking this thing and taking away your fun until you join us on-line. Well it worked. I cancelled the paper and opened my laptop.

Now Saturday mornings are spent on the couch with my laptop open. I have to log onto numerous sites to find my news. Sports over here, local news and business news here. Box scores? I don’t really read those anymore. Haven’t found them and it’s just not the same. The dog? He’s still on my lap but he doesn’t really have a good space now either. He’s shoved down onto my legs somewhere having been replaced on my lap by the computer.

We’re adjusting but not happy about it. Some things, Sports pages and dogs, should just remain analog.

We own that post. Employers and social media.

Oh boy this is gonna be a good one! ‘Cause no one knows what they are doing!

Social media kind of just went splat on our windows and everyone is trying to figure out what to do with it. It gets really complicated when you mix employers with employees and a level of communication that makes things really transparent. And social media negatively or positively affects your personal brand and your company brand. And you have little control over certain aspects of social media. Uh oh.

So what to do?

Employers listen up. You need to establish social media guidelines as company policy. Think common sense. Don’t think George Orwell. I’ve seen some really heavy-handed policies and some really unrealistic expectations of your employees.

It’s OK to tell employees they cannot trash the company, clients, staff, etc. on social media. You have your business to protect and are allowed to do it. No divulging of trade secrets and any confidential information. Be respectful. Be judicious. Common sense stuff. Fine.

It’s not OK to dictate to them what they can post unless it has to do with your company. For example, an employee’s LinkedIn profile is their profile. Don’t tell them what to put on their profile about your company. You can provide suggestions, or marketing-speak to help them represent you well, but they own their profile. They don’t have to do what you say. It’s about them, not you. Unless of course, they are managing your Company’s page or a Group if you have one. Then they are acting as an agent of your firm on social media and you can have more control over that. Telling employees that they have to follow a company-crafted description of the company in their profile is heavy-handed and not fair.

Facebook. Don’t go there. Unless it’s your company’s FB page. Do not friend your employees. Or if you do, don’t follow their feeds. This may sound harsh, but think about it. You see a post from an employee to another employee that seems inappropriate. Maybe harassment. What do you do? You can’t ignore it. You have to address it as if it happened in the office right in front of you. It is best to not expose yourself to this stuff in the first place. Not acting could mean that you condone the behavior.

Is the mobile device that your employee uses for personal social media something you provided them in their job? If so, you own the messages sent through that device. Their work computer is an obvious but people don’t always think of their mobile devices as company property. Twitter posts and Facebook posts done through those devices are under stricter rules than messages sent on personal computers. Hmmm, that poses some issues for both the employer and the….

Employee. Next up: How employees should manage their social media profiles and posts as it relates to their professional brand and their job.

Peddling People

One of my favorite movies is Soylent Green. Not because it’s a great movie, but because it’s a great concept and of course, Charlton Heston is classic. No one else could yell like he could. Soylent Green is people!

Which brings me to a common practice in the staffing industry but one I have always found distasteful: The marketing of people.

For a lot of staffing companies, their product is the talent they represent. Their product is people. And to let the market know they have the best people, they market them and their skills usually through blanket e-mails and marketing materials to clients and prospect clients.

Meet “Mark”. “Mark” is a skilled web developer with great digital agency experience. He’s ready to work for your great digital agency. He has experience in HTML, CSS, has worked on big budget sites….he’s available now. Schedule a meeting soon!

I don’t know. Makes me feel like “Mark” is a product/package on a shelf. Where is the nuance of finding the best fit? Just because “Mark” has great skills and great experience does not mean he can just be slotted into roles and companies to do his thing and all will be great.

There is more to making a match than matching a resume and a job description. A lot more. Like looking into cultural fit. And looking into organizational/structural fit. And asking, “can I see “Mark” being happy working for this company?”

Besides, I’m pretty sure “Mark” is a real person with real feelings on where he wants to work. And does “Mark” really want to be “shopped” around town to the highest bidder?

On many levels I have never agreed with this staffing industry practice of marketing people. If you meet someone whom you think would work great for one of your clients, or vice versa, that’s different. You might help someone find a great job or a company make a strategic hire. But just sending faceless campaigns? Just peddling people?

Something does not taste right about it. Now, soylent green? That might taste good.

Gimme Some Closure

John Lennon once sang…. All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

What I hear from most job seekers is gimme some closure.

The number one complaint candidates for jobs relate to me is that they never hear back from the companies where they interviewed. Had interviews, never heard anything. Sent my resume, never heard anything.

For employers, here is why you should acknowledge people who send resumes and call back people who have interviewed but you did not hire: people talk.

And they are talking in new ways. According to Fast Company, not only are they talking, they are taking it to social media.

But, the reasons to reply to people are not to only protect your brand and your reputation. For one, it’s the right thing to do. Second, while the candidate may not be right for your current opening, they may be right in the future for something else with your organization. And, this is not only your brand; this is your recruitment brand. People talk and their network has heard that you, as an employer, do not treat job candidates with respect.

That network may include people you may want to hire. The candidate you did not call back may be a friend to the candidate you do want to hire. Think of the message you are giving both.

Your brand is damaged. Your ability to hire is damaged.

Do they right thing.

Give some closure.

Employers Behaving Badly

Usually we hear stories of interviews gone bad from the employer’s point of view. This summer has been one story after another of people relating the boorish behavior of employers. Not good when you are competing for talent every day. Unless you just don’t care who you hire.  Or how you treat people. But, things have a tendency to come back around in business and life.

When there is no established internal process for hiring, and no one “watching the store” all sorts of stumbles can occur. And they all reflect poorly on your recruitment brand and your company. It hurts business and you may not even know it’s occurring.

Recent examples from our travels through the employment landscape.

Candidate A goes to a web marketing/SEO agency that is growing rapidly. He has just left a web agency that was somewhat adrift. With a background in client and business management from both the agency and the client-side, he is highly qualified and has a strong Rolodex. He interviews with the agency principal and VP of business development.

During the interview, the VP of business development remains completely unengaged, sends text messages and e-mails, and when he does insert himself in the conversation, he is unclear as to what role this person was interviewing for. The agency principal does his best to keep the meeting on-track but the disconnect is clearly present. Result: no hire.

Now, the agency is thinking, well that was not the right fit for us. Fair enough. But, the individual had such a bad experience that he relates the story to others in his network. Result: people have a bad impression of the agency and the way they treat people. If one of these people in his network (one that maybe the agency does want to hire) hears his story, their initial impression of the agency is negative.

Oh, and by the way, Candidate A never heard back from the agency letting him know he was not offered the job. Naturally.

Large PR agency seeks account director. Former corporate/consumer brand manager and PR manager, candidate B, seeks new opportunity. Excellent candidate, respected agency. Candidate lives out of state….actually across the country. Agency recruiter schedules phone interviews that go extremely well. Wants the candidate to come in for a face-to-face interview with members of the executive team. Provides options on days/times. Candidate B begins to investigate flight/travel options. Waits for confirmation. Waits. Sends messages that flight needs to be booked soon to make the window of days the recruiter gave. Radio silence. Another message. Radio silence. Finally, candidate just needs to book flight and lands in town.  Still radio silence from the agency’s recruiter on confirming the interview. The candidate extends the trip to ensure they will still be in town if the recruiter finally calls.

Finally, the recruiter calls about scheduling the interview. They completely ignore all of the messages sent by the candidate and has scheduled the interview for the week after the candidate was in town, and even though she stays an extra week, it is scheduled on the one day the candidate has said they absolutely could not meet.

The agency not only looks unorganized and the recruiter has damaged their credibility. If put in a position of hiring negotiation, the candidate knows the recruiter has little internal influence. The recruiter has no respect for the candidate, but apparently is not respected in their own organization enough to get answers and scheduled interviews locked down.

The candidate may still be offered the position. And the executives in the agency have no idea of the poor treatment this person has received. Candidate B certainly cannot say anything about it. A candidate for employment is in no position to be a tattle tale.

Candidate B is left with an extremely negative opinion of the agency. If offered the job, she doubts she will accept. Worse yet, she is interviewing for corporate client side roles where one of her responsibilities will be hiring a PR agency.

Do you think she will call this agency?

No, don’t think so.

Companies….get a process, stick to it, communicate it to your staff and start building a recruitment brand. Or flounder in the war for talent and treat people like crap.