Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jeff Bezos on effective meetings

Jeff Bezos speaks to Charlie Rose in this 2012 interview and provides some interesting insight into how Amazon does internal meetings

Here are some key take-aways:

1. Think Complex, Speak Simple

2. No Powerpoint for meetings - "Powerpoint is easy for the presenter, hard for the audience"

3. Meetings begin with 30 minutes of silent reading and are structured around a verbose 6 page memo.
“When you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences, complete paragraphs it forces a deeper clarity.”

He also talks about the 3 big ideas the company stands for...

1) Long-term thinking 
2) Customer obsession 
3) The willingness to invent.

Watch the interview here

Sunday, May 12, 2013

20 Tips To Fuel Your Hiring Efforts

1. Start blogging :-)

Being a subject matter expert instead of a recruiter will help you attract more candidates and will also hold you in good stead in the long run in the industry as a whole.
Blog posts live on almost forever online and many of the posts I have written still get visitors everyday even after a few years!
So what can you blog about? Blog about what the industry is interested in. How do you find that out? Use one of the classic SEO techniques, Google Website Analyzer. More about this tool below.

You can also learn to write link-bait headlines. Link-bait headlines are blog subjects that are highly bookmarkable and skimmable. Lists work very well but there are a lot of other ways. I will write a blog post about HR blogging soon.

2. Hide stuff which only the best candidates can find

Let me start with an example: For finding techies, one awesome tactic is to hide a job posting inside the Java script file included on your company's webpage. I remember years ago when I was messing around with Meebo's(no longer active) website, I found a job posting hidden deep in one of their Java script "includes". Meebo offered multiple IM usage over a webpage so I had found it interesting enough to dive in and look at their code.

3. Provide great content/resources for free

In exchange for an email address consider giving away a white paper about the industry free. Like a blog post, this is a gift that keeps on giving.

4. Leverage events
Organize events which help the industry yourself or at least participate and support existing events.

5. Include a call to action for jobs in your marketing and sales efforts
Every marketing campaign is an opportunity to reach out to find potential candidates.

6. Online conversations
I learnt this from Gary Vaynerchuk who is an social media marketing rock star. He asks you to spend at least 15 minutes each day on Twitter looking for people with questions about the industry and answering them and expecting nothing in return!

7. Bounty system for referrals
Setup a clear reward for employees for finding you candidates. Most recruiters agree that internal referrals is one of the most potent and effective ways to hire people.

8. Win a free trial on a job site
Many job sises have free trials. If not, you can even call up their sales and negotiate one.

9. Follow people on twitter
Use Twellow or WeFollow to find and follow people in your industry.

10. Use smart Boolean search operators
a. Go for a greater range

b. Do not use parenthesis and quotation marks in job title searches because it will limit your results.

c. Use a lot of OR operators

d. Use synonyms, variations, abbreviations and spelling mistakes

Example: CTO OR chief technology officer OR tech head OR technology head OR head of technology

11. LinkedIn Groups

a. Be active on industry LinkedIn groups. Better still find a sub niche and create one yourself. I know the HR guy from bangalore who created the "The recruitment network" group on linkedin and today has well over 200k members!

b. Make the search alert feature work for you. Use this feature on Linkedin to setup alerts whenever Linkedin finds new matches to your searches.

12. Promote company culture

Even though I suggested you don't blog about yourself, its beneficial and fun to post stuff that exposes the company culture. Working overnights? Having an office party? Got a new Coke vending machine in the office? Blog about it.

13. Make it easy for people to find you on Linkedin
Join the open networkers group, post your email and phone publicly if you feel ok about it.
Also, post all your jobs into your Linkedin stream.

14. Use Google to Search LinkedIn 
Google is a great tool for finding people who have made their profile public

Example the following search searches Linkedin, question and answer sites, directories, blogs for potential candidates: intitle:linkedin -intitle:answers -intitle:updated
-intitle:blog -intitle:directory plus your specific keywords, e.g., marketer "London" "ecommerce"

15.Use SEO tactics

a. Use SEO keywords in job descriptions to reach the maximum number of candidates
Use the Google Keywords Tool - which is a tool which tells you how many times someone is searching for a keyword in google every month. You can also filter by location. Its a great way to find rich topics everyone is searching for. Start off by typing your basic industry keywords and Google starts listing out similar keywords that people actually type.

b. Setup Google alerts for candidates.
Use the search technique in the point above and setup a Google Alert so you get an email every time Google finds a new match.

c. Optimize blog content for SEO using the keywords found in the Google Keywords Tool.

16. Use contact databases
like Zoominfo or Hoovers

17. Use, to find and participate in industry meetups.
Example, look for "hacker meetups" in Google to find techies meeting in your city.

18. Email newsletters
Sales/marketing teams in your company typically have an email list of industry stakeholders. Use Mailchimp to blast an email asking for referrals or include it as a part of your regular company newsletter.

19. Quora and Google Plus
Quora is a Q&A site where you can follow people in your industry and follow specific industry topics.
Its a great place to find top talent and a the best way to do that is to start getting involved by asking and answering questions regularly.

20. Always be hiring 
I am always hiring. I have this favorite question I ask everyone I meet in my company/industry - "Who is the best programmer you ever met?" substitute programmer with relevant industry title.

Let me ask you a question - What is the best tip on hiring you can ever give anyone?

Friday, May 10, 2013

10 Stunning HR Infographics

This infographic might make you want to be an university professor or a jeweler or at least want to make your son/daughter grow up to be one!

This hilarious zombie damage calculator and ready-reckoner is required reading for anyone who hires people in the company.

Thousands of HR related tweets gives us some interesting stats about HR.
I would have expected the male female ratio to be the other way round actually.

A leadership lesson as an infographic.

It irks me no end when companies block Facebook or Twitter access on their networks. Instead, they tap this innate tendency of the employee to be chatty and social to the benefit of the company.
I have always felt that everyone in the company must contribute to the blog, Twitter and Facebook feeds.

A nice follow up with the social media blunders infographic above, here is how to be awesome on Facebook and use it to recruit people

Some stunning stats about the state of employment in the US.

88% job rejection rate if you have a photo of yourself on your CV! Seriously?
More in "The confessions of the recruitment industry"

A a (former) workaholic myself, while I have finally learnt to live a balanced life, I see almost everyone in the start-up industry burning themselves out in front of my eyes.
This one goes to all of them...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

22 Common Mistakes in Hiring

Hiring is difficult. It takes time and the right mindset to get recognizably good at it.
Here are some common mistakes we have noticed that go against acquiring an effective hiring mindset.

1. Vague or narrow job descriptions
If the job description  is too vague you might find that candidates arrive under confident to the interview because they don't know whether they can add value to the company
On the other hand a  job description like "c++ on a Linux platform on Amazon AWS system" is way too shortsighted and narrows your pool automatically.

2. Not re-purposing candidate resumes
If the candidate is not a fit for the job, it is possible that there is some other job in the company currently or in the future that he/she might be a perfect fit for.
Its also a good idea to build a relationship with the candidate and follow the career of the candidate to see if anything interesting comes up.

3. Ignoring reference checks
Reference checks are also a clever way to network. It also provides insight into the more subjective things like the candidate's temperament, attitude and social style if done correctly.

4. Taking too long to decide
Candidates fear indecision and nothing says that they will be working for a vague boss more than taking a long time to decide.

5. Taking too long to offer the job
A well designed, quick and frustration free offer process is very important. Maybe its a subject for another blog post.

6. Not involving the team 
If you do not want any surprises, start keeping the team that the candidate will be working for in the loop. You might face objections, insights, change of plans early in the process avoiding wastage of time and effort.

7. Ignoring attitude because of skill
The Integrity to say no when you are tempted to hire a candidate because he is skilled while ignoring obvious attitude problems is very important.

8. Hiring everyone from the competition
It makes sense to hire from the competition but be careful not to overdo it. Not everyone is a good fit and its good to be aware that you might tend to be blind to judging them on skill, experience, attitude etc.

9. Hiring too late, therefore in a rush
Knowing that most teams tend to put off hiring requests till the last minute, it helps to ask and anticipate their future hiring needs so you can start the process early.

10. Lack of salesmanship
A job description is actually an Ad. Take a look at the job description on Monster and you will realize that learning a little bit of copy writing can't hurt. If you don't know how to do it, take some help from a copy writer or a sales or marketing exec in your company to help you draft a clear and persuasive JD copy.
If you want a crash course in copy writing  just Google The AIDA technique and start applying it to your "Ads". I might create a blog on this in the future.

11. Looking for Mr. Right
I encourage encouraging vulnerability in my interview processes. And it need not be limited to the candidate's side. There is no Mr. Right.

12. Hiring an exact fit
I am always looking for surprises when I am hiring. Rather than look for an exact fit, let the candidate shock, awe and surprise you.

13. Hiring for Image
This can be very expensive and is more or less always not worth it. Besides being shallow, hiring "trophy employees" is a bubble waiting to burst on you.

14. Emotional hiring
Its tricky when you mix business with friendships and family. I?f you have to do it, make sure you subject them to a totally transparent hiring process and the final decision rests with someone other than you.

15. Not looking internally
Is there someone internally that can be promoted, transferred, trained to this job. After all, they already know the organisation very well and it could save the organisation an unnecessary hire.

16. Not testing the candidate
Not all candidates need to be tested in the same way. If you are hiring to a senior position, maybe the test could me meeting the head of the department and taking their feedback in the matter

17. Not fixing an internal retention problem
If you are not able to source internally, there is probably a credibility problem luring there. Employees may not want to refer people because they might be embarrassed about the workplace. Its also important to encourage referrals by rewarding candidates who bring in new hires.

18. Failing to prep interviewers
A lot of time is wasted in not transferring context to the interviewer and the candidate can get frustrated with repeat questions from different interviewers. Its important for an interviewer to know the context, the brief about the candidate, the key findings and the most interesting points about the candidate so far.

19. No career paths
Candidates need to align their current career situation with their vision of who they want to be. To be happy and reassured, they need to know that there is at least a vague career path in the organisation.

20. Too much weightage on degrees
The point of a degree is to provide and indication of the candidate's potential. If the candidate has no fancy degrees but has done some great work, its time to ditch the degree(potential) in favor of actual experience(actualized potential).

21. Hiring a great talker
Unless it is for sales, you may want to distinguish between a great interview and a great candidate. While it is important to know how to sell yourself, you may want to give it some time before you take a decision on a candidate so the actual value that the person brings can seep in.

22. Not asking open ended questions
Instead of looking for a fit to what you know, leg the candidate teach you something new. Go looking to someone who surprises you. One of the effective ways to extract this uniqueness is to ask open ended, intuitive questions like, "What's your proudest achievement so far?" or "What have you learnt in the last year that blew your mind?" or "What is the one question you are hoping I might ask?"

So, What do you think? Do you agree?

What are some of the mistakes that you have recognized in hiring?

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