Unsocial Recruitment

Earlier this year I was contacted by Hays, the recruitment company. They run seminars for their clients and having read about me, they asked if I could come to their London offices and talk to a group of HR professionals about how social media might, and might not, help to improve communication. We agreed I would waive my usual charge for speaking, and in return Hays would send some promo material to their guests before and after the event, and they would reimburse my out of pocket expenses. I’m a little reluctant to work like this, but as I believe in a basic principle of value trumps price, I decided to give it a go. The date was agreed and booked.

Next I went to meet the guy from Hays to talk a little more about the session and to check out the layout and feel of the place, it really helps to have an idea of the physical environment you’re working with. We sat in the room talking and the Hays guy came across really edgy. ‘Are you OK?’ I asked, ‘You seem very nervous’. ‘Well you see….’ replied Hays guy, ‘it’s just that…well we’re not sure how this session is going to go and whether we should be doing it?’ He paused, before blurting ‘We don’t want you to talk about social recruiting because it’s not something we do.’ ‘I wasn’t planning to focus specifically on recruitment’ I replied, ‘it’s not my area of expertise and anyway, it wasn’t in your initial brief to me.’ Hays guy sat back, visibly relieved at having had his confessional moment.

‘You will need to have a plan, some ideas around fielding questions etc’ I said to Hays guy. He tensed again, ‘what do you mean, a plan?’ ‘Well just because recruitment is not an area I will be covering, doesn’t mean your customers aren’t going to have questions about it, does it?’ The conversation continued and we parted company having agreed I would finish my prep, I would also send over a few images to frame the discussion, plus an updated two page guide about What Goes Around for Hays to circulate to their guests. Hays guy would manage any social recruitment curve balls, and I agreed I would support him where I could. I pulled everything together and sent it across as agreed.

A few days before the event I checked in with the recruiter. I confess I was a little surprised that Hays had not been back in touch with me, and what followed was an awkward backtrack on behalf of Hays guy. ‘Errr, umm, yeah….oh, Hi Doug, funny I was just about to call you, yeah been meaning to give you a buzz. Thing is you see, we’d like to postpone the event, just for a few weeks so we can gain more publicity for us and you, OK? I’m on the case and I’ll be in touch again very soon.’ And that, dear reader, was the last I heard from Hays guy.

Plans change – I know that. And I also know it’s basic good manners to be proactive when plans change, perhaps a dash of honesty wouldn’t go amiss either. Hays’ website says ‘It’s All About People, Worldwide’. Certainly didn’t feel like it to me, I sincerely hope they treat their customers and candidates better than this. I guess the main reason for sharing my tale is so that the next time you get an ‘offer’ like this – perhaps you’ll find a way to approach it more usefully than I did?

You might be thinking, ‘shit happens Doug, get over it’, and I am over it – just about ;). Subsequently Carole suggested to me that the next time someone proposes a similar arrangement, I should include the option for a cancellation/postponement charge. Interesting thought, and I’m also aware that with all of the varied paid assignments I’ve been engaged with, this fizzling out experience has never happened, weird huh?


In the zone

I met Natasha earlier this week. We’ve exchanged many tweets and I was excited about this opportunity to meet in real life. We had a flowing conversation and the time passed all too quickly, as it does when you’re in the flow. Natasha is a great listener. That’s a nice way of me saying I think I talked a bit too much.

One of the things I spoke about was nerves. I often get nervous when performing (in every sense of the word), particularly at the start of something. When I say nervous I mean sick to the bottom of my stomach locked up tight can barely talk or walk cold sweat fear of God. That kind of nervous. This is a shame because I enjoy what I do very much and I know if I could channel these nerves more effectively I could enjoy myself even more and give something much better to people.

Natasha suggested I try a slight shift in my thinking. Could I maybe convert nervous into excited? I’ll try anything and this sounds like a good idea thanks very much Natasha, let’s see when I can apply it.

Tomorrow I’ll be joining up with some of the biggest and best names in and around the world of social recruitment. I’ll be meeting some familiar faces and some new ones too. I’m confident that I will learn useful stuff and have a really good time, and make a useful contribution to the day. I’m nervous about excited by the possibilities.

On Friday evening I’ll be in the New Forest standing on stage performing to a group of friends and acquaintances. It’s our annual summer camp and therefore my annual big night out. I’ve been doing this for several years now and the organisers are always kind enough to invite me back. It’s high time I repaid myself and the audience for their faith in me. I am nervous about excited by the possibilities.

How will I get on? I am excited about checking in with you again next week to let you know.

Singing About Social Recruitment

The Social Recruiting Conference rolls into town on 30 June.

I’m looking forward to my visit, to get to see a few familiar faces, and to meet and learn from some new ones too. What is social recruitment all about? I guess we all have our own ideas; I’d be interested to hear yours. I’ve had a few conversations with conference chair Alan Whitford about this and the thoughts and ideas we have bounced around include:

• Engagement
• Technology
• Behaviour
• Opportunity
• Innovate…(or die?)

We thought it might be useful to try and sum up these feelings and ideas, and I suggested that rather than write another blog post on the subject, we should experiment a little. So here’s a song for you. A song about social recruitment. I hope it prompts a few questions for the event next week – looking forward to seeing you there.


Career advice is plentiful
You’re lost in the maze
So many ways to do this stuff
A head banging haze

I’ve done all my research
My planning is meticulous
If I think about any more
Slide from sublime to ridiculous

Yet there is something wrong
I need experts to see what they meant
I don’t understand
Don’t get social recruitment

Is it about engagement
And the importance of communication
But these two terms so over used
Like verbal constipation

They say all this social
Do it now or fall behind
Better get your message sorted
Or your business will be blind

No one sits still no more your business must be Mobile
Your brand has to be authentic
Else how you gonna make a pile

Is your strategy about technology, or maybe it’s cost saving
If you get the behaviour right, folk’s careers you can be saving

I don’t have to tell you, it’s Innovate or die,
I want to be there laughing with you
Not sitting back trying not to cry

Be Locally global take this thing around the world
Be Globally local your banner is unfurled
Be locally Global you wanna make that call
Be globally local grow the market grow it all

Where can you go
Be in the know
Be energetic
I don’t want ponderous
Head to London town
On 30th June
To the social recruiting conference

I’m in the market for a new way to work