Game Changers, Red Herrings and Relentless Hype

Now that was a long blog break! No particular reason for it either, I wasn’t kidnapped by Monster and forced to write a nice article about BeKnown as ransom (see my last post) nor unfortunately did I spend the summer sitting on a beach drinking ridiculously named but reassuringly expensive cocktails. I’m back blogging again now though and thought it might be worth giving my verdict on a few things that have been going on over the summer. Google +

Firstly I suppose I should say something about Google +. I like the interface but I absolutely hate the ridiculous bandwagon-jumping link baiting hype that has accompanied it. The Quora stuff at the beginning of the year was bad enough but some of the complete rubbish that has been written about Google + (some of it recruitment related) is really clouding the water when it comes to any actual usefulness the platform might have.  Yes Google+ does have some nice functionality but if that is your USP then it is easily copied. This is exactly what Facebook has done in the last week or so and in so doing has graphically illustrated that functionality alone will never make Google+ a Facebook killer.

Google’s actual USPs are its reach into the Gmail user base and an implied role in SEO. This it what has driven its growth and is also why there is very little content and engagement on there.  At the end of the day while people may join multiple networks they will only invest their time in places where their friends / target audience hang out. Google+ might get some traction in certain niches in the short term but will take a very long time to go mainstream, if indeed it ever does

My Verdict – Relentlessly overhyped, will have relevance moving forward but it is too early to say what that will be

Be Known

I know that I promised an in-depth review in my last post and I’m sorry if I’m disappointing anyone by not doing one. While I still think this is an incredibly significant move by Monster there really isn’t very much to review at the moment. In some ways I think the situation is similar to Google+, lots of people are joining, with Monster leveraging its enormous existing audience to drive this, but there is very little actually going on.

The “commercial talent community” space is an interesting and evolving one but platforms like BeKnown and Branchout have yet to prove that users join for any other reason than to look at job postings.  As it stands BeKnown is just another platform for job distribution and little else. That said though its mention (albeit just on a slide) in the recent F8 conference and partnership with Facebook to be one of the first new social apps could be very interesting indeed!

My Verdict – A Red Herring for now but watch this space!

The LinkedIn Apply Button

I’ve blogged about this before but it seems that lots of people got distracted by a summer long argument about the “death of the CV” that was quite frankly pointless. I really wish a lot of this black or white 140 characters powered thinking would just go away. Ninety percent of the time in has no foundation in the current realities employers are facing.

In an attempt to get closer to the reality of the situation I spoke to LinkedIn’s EMEA Marketing Director, Laurence Bret-Stern, earlier in September. When I asked her about the CV vs Profile debate she pointed out that thousands of companies have already voted with their feet and have installed the LinkedIn apply button! She also intriguingly hinted that there was much more to come as LinkedIn becomes an ever more open platform to “connect professionals with opportunities more efficiently and effectively”

I really feel this is the most under commented on story from the whole summer. Not only has LinkedIn launched an apply button but a significant number employers are now actively using it which, despite their user growth, is not an achievement Google+ or BeKnown can currently match.

My Verdict – The game changer of the summer and I’m amazed no one seems to have noticed!

Social media and HR - arch enemies or vital partners?

This article was originally published on The recent ban by Portsmouth City Council on their employees accessing social media sites such as Facebook while at work, has provoked much debate in other companies and organisations.

I suspect that a large number of HR departments up and down the country are looking at the issue in more detail than ever. Retailer magnet Theo Paphitus encapsulated the social media detractor’s point of view very well when he said this in a recent interview: “At Ryman, we had to knock this problem on the head about a year ago, when it became obvious that too much staff time was being eaten up by this nonsense”.

What HR departments might be less familiar with though, is the strong case for the integration of social media into the workplace. Tony Hseith of Zappos, has this to say, “If you don't trust your employees to tweet freely, it's an employee or leadership issue, not an employee Twitter policy issue” While he might not be as well know in the UK as the Ryman’s Dragon, the recent sale of Zappos to Amazon for the best part of a $1 billion illustrates that he also knows a thing or two about running a successful business. Indeed it’s not a coincidence that Zappos is considered by many as the best place to work in US.

What this tells me is that producing a sensible, successful corporate policy on social media usage is very difficult if you don’t use it yourself. It’s very easy to jump on the bandwagon of negativity if you have no idea what the advantages could be for your department and your company.  If you’re struggling for a place to start then it’s well worth considering some of key benefits of social media for the HR profession

Information intelligence

Over the last two years there has been a proliferation of blogs covering HR and recruitment issues. Information can be updated in an instant and breaking news now travels in seconds rather than hours or days. Relevant industry conversations take place daily on sites like Twitter and useful content is continually being uploaded to sites such as YouTube and Slideshare. Is this market intelligence you can afford to miss?


LinkedIn and Twitter offer the opportunity to expand your professional network like never before. Organisations like “The Firm” (The Forum for In House Recruitment Managers) are also proving this isn’t just happening in cyber space. After starting life as a LinkedIn group they now have regular events, which allow corporate recruiters to meet and network in “real life”.

Recruitment strategy

Recruitment budgets have been slashed and the recession is making it less likely that the very best people will be tempted to move role. Against this backdrop, “social recruiting” is giving many companies a cost effective and dynamic way to evolve their recruitment communication strategy.


Social media is also driving a corporate communications revolution for many organisations. Major CRM systems such as are integrating Twitter and Facebook so that customers can communicate with companies directly via these channels. Secure network services such as Yammer are making internal communications more informal and useful while social networking and wiki technology are finally dragging the corporate intranet into the 21st century.

The aggressive consistent growth of the social web should be proof in itself that we are dealing with revolution not a fad and progressive companies like Zappos have already integrated it deep into the culture of their business to great success. As similar positive case studies emerge expect the debate to become more balanced and social media to start being seen as the force for corporate good rather than something that should just be banned.