James Mayes

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Blogs and babies…

In Personal on April 26, 2010 at 7:11 pm

If there’s one thing I seem to have in common with other new-ish bloggers, it’s that blogging changes your perception. A soundbite, an event, a result – all these things suddenly become the subject of  analysis and oftentimes result in blog posts.

As many will now know, our second child has now arrived. In the early hours of 26th April, I witnessed a new life enter the world. I spoke to family, texted friends, even sent a tweet. Now a calmer moment has landed and I can think about all that’s happened.

You know what? I’m not telling. Everyone gets to share in the joy when a birth is announced, and that’s right and proper – but the thoughts and emotions entailed are for us to share with those we love over the many years ahead – not for broadcasting now.

There’s only one thing going on record here and that’s how very proud I am of my wife. She’s the quiet, shy and retiring type but I’ll say it loud n clear – she’s got more backbone than just about anyone I ever met. I’m a lucky man – and that’s all I want to share right now.

Tweeted highlights from #SMIR conference

In LinkedIn, Personal Development, Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on April 23, 2010 at 10:50 am

Rather than my usual reasoned (rambling?) posts, I thought I’d go with something a little different today.  The following are highlights from yesterday’s Social Media in Recruitment conference (#smir), which I’ve simply picked out from the Twitterstream for those who couldn’t be there and didn’t manage to follow.  If any fellow attendees have others, please do feel free to add them!  Great event, kudos to @MikeETaylor for the organisation – very smooth indeed.

@BillBoorman: My favourite quote at #SMIR I used to send my clients wine, now i send them Cows! (Farmville) – This came from @ElkieHolland’s presentation.

UKStaffSearch: 3million new signups a month, impressive stats for Linkedin! #SMIR

ChairmanSam: Key words from #SMIR Real-time, Recency, Relevance – the 3R’s quite fitting for a Conference on Recruitment via Social Media…

@garyr0binson: Need augmented reality app to locate all my Twitter friends in the audience at #SMIR

myworksearch#smir getting onto interesting Twitter lists can bring you to the attention of recruiters

vicokezie: Online communities enhances the human touch in the recruitment process #SMIR

SiteAdvisor#smir – People know where they want to work but they want to know about the job and company but in a social way – NOT corporate babble

BraveNewTalent: CK Clinical hired a social media recruitment manager after coming to #SMIR last year and has reaped the rewards. Every company shud hav one!

@CKClincal filled a director level role from a YouTube video!! #SMIRJonathan is inspiring!!

@WaasdorpiGI: 3D’s of social media: dedication, discipline and determination #smir

Kilkennykitten: Most Recs have a long way 2go re engaging job seekers. Most don’t even respond to job applications. Gr8 opptys for gr8 recruiters #SMIR

HRWPB#SMIR MAYBE I am obsessive about the subject am surprised noone has mentioned culture, they are all depending on it but not conscious of it

vicokezie: Cands that knows employers used social networking sites could claim reason not successful was discrimination, eg religion etc #smir

luciant: Surprised that the legal advice is still to block employees from using the web! That isn’t social! #SMIR

luciant: I strongly feel the legal risk of getting it wrong is not comparable to the phenomenal benefits of getting engagement right #SMIR

HRWPB#SMIR corporate organisations, scared about brands being in the hands of employees. Employee owned organisation is radically different

There will no doubt be fuller blog reports on this subject – including one already published by @topbananas with some video interviews.  Keep following #smir on Twitter for the wrap-up.


Does unemployment make for happier people?

In Personal, Personal Development, Recruitment on April 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I met recently with a personal branding consultant. It wasn’t something on my agenda particularly, but he was looking to do a little research on the local area, we connected via a third-party on Twitter.  You know how these things can happen.

Anyway, our conversation meandered through various territory over a morning coffee and among other things, we touched on the recent global recession and resulting redundancies around the world.  During my long years in recruitment, I’ve had time out on a few occasions, for a variety of reasons. Each time, I’ve tried to do something constructive. Personal development, fitness, garden improvements, a fairly obvious list. In retrospect, I always think I could have done more with the time I had – but I’ve also spent sufficient time relaxing and reflecting, resulting in my re-invigorated return to work.  What I haven’t previously noted is that each time, I’ve also developed clearer perspectives, a stronger purpose and a more defined view of what I’d like to achieve in life.

Through the path of this recession I’ve read numerous reports pertaining to the consumerist society we find ourselves in and how short-term bonuses drove greed & risk in the banks.  I’m also aware (as a result of the branding consultant) that some of the highest course take-up in UK and US educational establishments is for personal happiness courses.  I wonder to what extent the recent high unemployment on both sides of the Atlantic will have influenced wholesale re-evaluation? As people return to work, will aims be different?  Will the work/life balance be less of a conversation and more of a reality? Do these unemployed candidates actually constitute better value than those currently in work (who often-times seem more desirable)?

On the basis of personal experience, I’d like to think the global events of the last two years can drive some positive change in more areas than just financial regulation – and I’d love to hear views from others who’ve been on this kind of journey.

Does LinkedIn get Social Media?

In Recruitment, Social Media, Twitter on April 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

I’ve been present on LinkedIn for many years now. Being an ex-frontline recruiter, it was a core tool I made regular use of and I always found it worthwhile. Safe to say, it was one weapon in my arsenal and a useful one at that.

In my more recent capacity, building and developing TweetJobs, I’ve been looking more closely at other social media platforms and how we might work with them. Obviously I’m not the only person doing this, which is actually great. I’m not looking to be the only person in a market, but one of several shaping a new market – though I think that’s possibly a great subject for a more philosophical post further down the line. What it does mean now is that I can have open conversations with peers at partner AND competing firms, where we feel able to share views.

This culminated in a conversation recently which really crystallised one question in my mind.  Does LinkedIn ‘get’ social media?  By this, I mean there are any number of means by which one may define a social media platform (dissemination through social interaction; publication to a shared environment; online content generation and engagement; virtual network development) and on many (if not all) LinkedIn delivers.  However, the more I consider and discuss, the more I evidence I uncover to suggest that this might not be the case.

On what do I base this, you ask?  Allow me to illustrate via anecdote – recent quotes from people I hold in high esteem

  • “They may have made the API available, but they sure don’t make it easy” – third party app developer
  • “My level of engagement with Twitter is 10x that of my engagement with LinkedIn” – marketer
  • “80% of my usage is research, 20% just keeping a record” – recruiter
  • “Pricing seems aimed at those wanting to make contact – yet a mobile number is easy enough to obtain and texts/calls get far more attention than an email over LinkedIn” – salesman

It’s very much perceived as a site purely for business; this isn’t necessarily a problem as it gives the platform professional cachet and probably eases people into parting with payment for it’s service – however, this inherently steers people to keep the conversation limited to the commercial arena. We all know that business is built on human interaction though and Twitter’s more informal nature allows human relationships and personality to come through so much more easily. Is this the fault of the LinkedIn platform or the User?  A little of both. With no change, they may remain simply a site for research and (yet another) online personal address book. The core platform allows for so much more, so I don’t believe it’s simply a technology issue – much more one of perception and usability.

Where does it go from here? I believe LinkedIn needs to take the first steps.  The opening of the API and some of the recent layout changes show some willing; further, the direct link with Twitter shows LinkedIn are aware of the issue and wish to take steps.  They have a great user-base already, but they’ll need to move quickly if that user base isn’t to suffer swift erosion.  I don’t have stats for the level of active versus passive LinkedIn accounts, but I’m betting it shows cause for concern.  I see many people trying to use Group pages in ways which perhaps were not originally anticipated – and again, Twitter has taken a strong position on this by trying to actively introduce functionality which mirrors changes in the way people use the platform (retweeting, lists).

Finally, there was a warning from the past, back in the news this week too.  I would be remiss not to mention Jobster, “a company most famous for burning $55m in VC funding”.  A jobs board? A UGC platform? A social media / networking site?  They took so long to decide that it’s now difficult to define where they sit. Perhaps that concern, more than anything, will dictate the speed of change at LinkedIn.

For those who recognise the quotes above, you’re welcome to identify yourselves if you wish. I do not presume to do so – but as always, comments and opinions are welcome here!

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