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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Lily Rose-Wilson

Posted June 04, 2019 by

Employers shouldn’t — but still do — stalk candidates on Facebook

One of my favorite podcasts that sits at the intersection of human resources and technology a/k/a HRtech is The Chad and Cheese Podcast. The hosts are friends Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman, each of whom have been in the industry for two decades and regularly compete with each other to see who can out-snark the other. Shows are usually about 40-minutes long, easy to listen to, and informative.

Toward the end of the May 31st episode, Chad and Joel got into a discussion about an employer in Australia or New Zealand — they couldn’t remember where — who left a voice message for a candidate that was a little more revealing than the employer planned. Apparently, the employer didn’t realize they were still being recorded and started to discuss the candidate’s fake tan, tattoos, and other items which weren’t at all relevant to the candidate’s ability to do the work. Big thumbs down to the employer.

I did a little Googling and found the story on news.com.au. So, it was an Australian employer. Perth to be exact. The employer was Michelle Lines from STS Health and the candidate was Lily Rose-Wilson. In the recording, Lines can be heard discussing Rose-Wilson’s Facebook photos with a male colleague.

According to news.com.au, the conversation went as follows: “Not answering the phone now,” Ms Lines says. Her colleague suggests she’s “probably getting another tattoo”, to which Ms Lines responds, “She’s probably doing her fake tan.” The male asks, “Did you really like, Facebook stalk?”, and Ms Lines says, “That’s what you got to do, babe”. “Yeah, well it’s very thorough, good on you,” he replies.

Ugh. I’ve been speaking about how employers wrongfully use Facebook and other social media sites since Facebook was only accessible to students, staff, and faculty at dozens of colleges and universities. I really, really thought that employers had grown up and realized that sites like Facebook are great sourcing tools if they’re used to help the employer be more inclusive when hiring and should never be used to exclude candidates from the hiring pool. Yet, here we are again. Ugh.

To the candidates reading this blog, beware. Understand that every organization is made up of individuals and individuals all make mistakes. And some make more mistakes than others. But even if an individual within an organization to which you’ve applied makes a mistake and looks at your Facebook profile to see if they can find a reason to eliminate you from the candidate pool does not mean that you should cross that employer off of your list. Chances are, the person will be in HR and unless you’re applying to work in HR you’ll likely never interact with that person after you’re hired.

Don’t leave yourself open to the irrational, mistaken whims of some idiot who decides that looking at your tan or tattoos is a good idea when deciding whether you’re qualified for a job. If that matters to you as it does to many candidates, then lock down your privacy so that the prospective employer cannot see those photos. And if they’re the kind of photos that you’d be embarrassed to show your favorite grandmother, get them off of your profile altogether.

Posted April 03, 2019 by

How to optimize your job posting ads in the era of Google for Jobs and Google Cloud Talent Solutions

College Recruiter was one of the first job boards to replace its proprietary job search technology with what is now called Google Cloud Talent Solutions (CTS).

We went live about 15-months ago in January 2018 and have been very, very happy. As I discussed on a recent episode of The Chad and Cheese Podcast, the results we’ve seen have been superb: far more candidates searching far more jobs and far more applying to those jobs. In addition, our costs have plummeted because we’re saving a ton of development and customer service time.

But the transition has also been eye opening to us in terms of pretty minor adjustments that very few employers are either aware of or are willing to make yet which would yield great results for them. Here are just some:

  • Include compensation, even if it is a range. Most employers are still reluctant to disclose compensation range because, they typically claim, it undermines their ability to negotiate with the candidate. That reveals a problem with their negotiation skills and that’s understandable, but fix the negotiation skills. Some employers want to underpay employees and that’s why they don’t want to reveal the salary ranges, but it isn’t 1952. Employees can easily find out if they’re fairly paid and those who aren’t will become disgruntled and leave, which leads to a lack of productivity and so any money they may have saved in wages will more than be offset by the productivity issues.
  • Include street address, city, state/province, postal code, and country for every job. If the jobs are remote, denote that in your location field using a word like “remote” so that Google can easily identify those. Without the street address, Google has a harder time figuring out the exact location of the job and that leads to problems with the new commute search feature. College Recruiter built a bunch of code to get around this problem, but few job boards will do that. If we don’t get the street address, we use the Google Maps API to look-up the address and then we feed that to the CTS API, but some employers have multiple locations in a city and so our look-up may identify the wrong location. Also, some employers don’t have every location listed in Google Maps, such as those who have field offices. If your field office isn’t listed, then a Maps API look-up won’t work properly. Our search is now commute time driven rather than location driven. With Google CTS powering 4,000 job boards and ATS sites, the days of looking at candidates looking at location and inferring commute time are, thankfully, quickly coming to an end.
  • I know from The Chad and Cheese Podcast that Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman hate the use of words like “ninja” in job descriptions and that’s fair, but the use of those words isn’t a problem if the employer also uses more standard language like “sales representative.” The standard language will allow CTS to infer what the job is about, and it is amazing how accurately CTS does that.
  • For years, Joel and other SEO experts have tried to convey to employers and others that they need to think of a job posting as a web page and that web pages need to be SEO optimized. That’s still the case, but isn’t as critical as it used to be because Google is smarter than it used to be. Still, the most important signal to Google and therefore to job boards and ATS that use CTS about what the job is about is the job title. Do not use internal jargon like SE II to refer to a Software Engineer Level 2. In fact, don’t refer to “Level 2” at all because that’s only meaningful internally. Use for the job title language like, “Software Engineer Team Lead” as that’s more meaningful externally. If your lawyers tell you that you need to use SE II, well, get new lawyers or stop lying about what they’re telling you as that’s bullshit. Second, use the internally approved language in the body of the job description but use externally accepted language in the job title field.
  • Think about Amazon recommendations when writing a job title. If you like A, you’ll also probably like B. Include language like that in your job descriptions. “If you like math, then you’ll love this job as our programmatic job ad buying manager”. Google will understand that someone who searches for jobs using the keyword “math” should be shown that job because of the keyword, but it will also understand to show that job to someone who searches for jobs using keywords like statistics and physics. This is starting to happen. One of our employer customers is hiring hundreds of people for a maintenance technician job and they started to see respiratory therapist applying. They interviewed some, hired some, and want to hire more. I didn’t get the connection until they told me that respiratory therapist know how to operate machinery and that’s what the technicians do.
Posted January 21, 2019 by

Is matching technology the silver bullet that employers (and some vendors) want it to be?

Merriam-Webster defines a “silver bullet” as something that acts as a magical weapon, especially if it instantly solves a long-standing problem. Sounds to me like the promises that a lot of vendors make to potential customers, including promises made by some HR tech vendors to employers. 

A recent episode of The Chad & Cheese Podcast (note the capitalized The, as in The Ohio State University, but I digress) caused me to ruminate about this subject, and if there’s one thing about rumination that I don’t like, is that it often ends up as vomit. The guest was the bright and likeable Claire McTaggart, chief executive officer of SquarePeg. During the episode, Claire described her company’s mission, product, customers, pricing, and value proposition and then the hosts, Joel Cheesman and Chad Sowash, passed judgment. In short, they liked her but not her business model. There were a number of aspects of her business to like but also some deal killers, chief among them the reliance on matching technology. Joel listed examples of sites which had claimed to have superb matching technology but essentially no longer exist including JobFox, Jobster, and Climber. What the hosts did not take the time to dive into, nor was that episode the appropriate time to do so, was why none of these sites have been able to make matching technology work and why that may be an impossible task, at least for certain roles.

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