USA Today: Hiring via Twitter is Back #ICYMI

On the front cover of this morning’s USA Today, you’ll see my contribution in a piece called “Tweets, not résumés, are trending #icymi“.  My fellow 8pm Warriors were the first sounding board for the idea back in 2011 when I wrote about my experience screening and hiring a social media manager based solely on tweets:

Since the experiment went so well, I honestly thought I would hear of someone else trying it.  Nope.  Not until years later, when Bruce from USA Today contacted me last week for an interview.

Why is that?

Twitter is very public and even though it makes sense for some positions, most hiring managers would be afraid to interview someone in public.

Not because they’re afraid for their applicants, but because they’re afraid for themselves. Afraid of everyone watching them.

Fear drives most business decisions.

Why else did it take so long for most businesses to get into social media?  Same reason why it’s taking so long for them to follow the online video wave now.

Twitter isn’t the right tool for hiring most positions.  However, we need to celebrate people that are boldly using Twitter.

We need to celebrate leaders like Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at the tech firm Enterasys Networks, who is filling a six figure senior social media strategist job via tweets only (no resume accepted), or Kristy Webster at The Marketing Arm (part of Omnicom Group, a big advertising firm) who is filling five social media internships based on tweeted answers to five questions over the course of five days.

Cool times we live in.

What say you?  Is hiring via twitter here to stay? Or, will we be back here in 2 years talking about it again?

Have an innovative night,

Aaron @Biebert

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6 Takeaways from My Twintterview Crowdsource Experiment

Want to hire someone to connect with clients on social media sites?  Use social media to test candidates while getting feedback from your clients!

You might be surprised by what you find…

It’s official. The first half of my crowdsourced “Twintterview” (Twitter Interview) experiment is completed and here’s a brief summary of how it went:

  • 1100 position page visits
  • 15  pre-screened candidates
  • 7 days of twinnterviews
  • 3 final candidates
  • 1 easy choice

I offered the social media manager position to Nathan Nommensen, a recent graduate of one of the best business schools in the Midwest, and he accepted it.

Along the way, I developed some principles I wanted to share with job seekers who may face a similar twintterview process:

  1. Respond quickly, don’t make the process difficult
  2. Don’t be afraid to show initiative and enthusiasm
  3. Don’t reschedule your live interview (if you need the position, act like it)
  4. Check your public social media profiles for crude, distasteful pictures
  5. Be different, catch my attention
  6. Be personal

In my mind, the perfect candidate would already understand what was needed, quickly answer the question “How can I help you”, stand out in the crowd, and use real life skills to move the discussion to the next level with a coffee, lunch, or even a beer. Most of all, they would be intelligent, likable, and personal while answering my tough questions.

Many leaders prefer to hire “people people” with real life skills, but don’t always know how to test for it.  Through this process, I was able to find someone in one week, with limited impact on my busy schedule, and a guarantee they are qualified.  I highly recommend you try this.  (Comment below if you have questions on how to set it up)

How did the crowdsource part of it turn out?

Almost 100 people were eager to offer feedback in private, but there were a handful that offered public observations and helped steer the discussions.  Here are some examples:

 

“I’m digging Nathan. He seems the most natural & engaging. Everyone else was trying too hard, tweeting at you; he’s tweeting w/ u.”

Tiffany Kummer

 

“I’m very intrigued. Count me in. I like Nathan. But would like to see more from Jacki. Still reading abt the others”

Celinda Appleby

 

“Great! A fascinating process to observe @Biebert. After gauging enthusiasm, online personality, drive for greatness, I chose @NathanNommensen

Andrew Syiek

 

Now on to the second stage.  How will this turn out when it counts?  Will this be the right addition to help increase viewership of these two startup productions.

Stay tuned!

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Crowdsourcing a Hiring Decision? This Has Gone Too Far!

Right?

The problem is that I don’t know and I’m not going to let fear hold me back. I’m not sure anyone has ever used twitter to hold public interviews before, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. (No hate speech please)

Let’s start with why I’m doing it and then see if you’d like to help me:

1) I could really use help

For a full-time entry-level position in Social Media with no education or experience requirements, I anticipated 1000 to 2000 resumes within a week.  With my current time constraints there was no way I was going to make the right decision out of that pile.

Great people would be missed.  A mistake would happen.

Since I’m wrong 90% of the time, I take all the help I can get.  By doing this publicly, fellow 8pm Warriors have stepped in to make sure I’m not missing something.  Andrew kicked off the informal crowdsourcing session today by offering some commentary and advice. Tiffany then offered analysis and helped me pick up on something I missed.

This could work.

2) I am passionate about picking the right person

My latest venture led me to serve as Executive Producer of two new shows.  We’ve got big plans for taking them national and we’re passionately building two of the largest free real estate resources to help heal the real estate industry, build communities, and open the doors to future opportunities for everyone involved.

Momentum is key and I feel like now’s the time to strike while the iron is hot.  I just need the right help.

To reach my life’s goal and enjoy my work, we’ll need to assemble the right team. This includes entry-level team members too.

No one is ever dispensable in my leadership philosophy.  I hire for the long term and it is a devastating failure to me when people must be laid off or fired.  I take full responsibility.  I either hired the wrong person (my mistake) or made a decision (or lack of one) that hurt our ability to continue operating at our current staffing level.

Hopefully with your help I’ll make the right decision.

3)  I want to do this quickly

No waiting.  This allows everyone to participate in the interview when they can fit in a tweet or two.  It also avoids wasting anyone’s time. If you don’t like my style it’s an easy exit.

4)  It weeds out poor candidates

There is more to a person than a resume.  I only want the candidates who are brave, tech savvy, and not afraid of the public.  If we’re going big with these projects, then I need someone who is not afraid to be in videos, tweets, emails and other forms of public communication.  

I need to find a Mini Megan Berry!

5)  I want you to hire the people I don’t hire.

This is key.

I know some of my fellow 8pm Warriors would like to hire a solid entry level marketing associate for $25,000/year but are scared of wasting time in the process.  Once I’m done, I’ll end up with enough great candidates to share with other business leaders in the area.

I’ve been able to conduct 8 initial interviews, with more on the way.  Here’s the cast so far (in order of appearance):

If you’d like to help me out, feel free to follow them on Twitter and share your thoughts with me here.  I’d love to hear your two cents and/or have you vote for your favorite candidate either on Twitter or in the comment section.

If you feel sorry for them and just want to help them out.  Don’t just complain about my method, help them get a job.  They all seem like excellent candidates and I’d like everyone to win.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Do Leaders Deserve to Know Who They Are Hiring?

…or should they voluntarily make hiring decisions based on limited information?

Here’s a sampling of feedback I got since publishing my “Using Twitter to Screen Job Candidates” post yesterday:

  • “Eeeeh bad idea. I am not my social media account. My talents aren’t the same as my tweets.”
  • “The rules of the world we live in should be broken. Next, HR will be monitoring our grocery list…”
  • “Sure, life needs to balanced but that’s not the same as companies making a decision based on something found on twitter.”
  • “It’s intrusive. Online data, like a resume, doesn’t always paint an accurate picture.”
  • “Nope! Let people have a life & interview them.”
  • “Aaron is an idiot!”

Wow!

For better or worse, we live in a very different world compared to 5 years ago when jobs were plentiful, Facebook was for college, and Twitter wasn’t even around.

For some folks, they long for the days when they could go to work at their secure 9 to 5 job and then go home and say racist, sexist, stupid, or offensive things online. Others are not confident with their online personalities. Still others are hoping to get a position they aren’t truly qualified for.

Times have changed.

In an increasingly connected world, smart business leaders, sales reps, recruiters and other relationship driven positions will connect with clients and partner groups through social networking. We live in a transparent world now and if you do anything personal on behalf of a brand or company, your actions on public social media sites may harm your team.

So why shouldn’t I and other business leaders use Twitter to screen candidates that will be using Twitter to develop new business?  Candidates can learn about a modern company prior to making a career decision, why can’t companies learn about their candidates too?  Isn’t that how the best relationships form?  Mutual interest?

It’s just too risky to hire the wrong person.  It’s time that transparency goes both ways.

Please share your rational thoughts on this.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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