June 18, 2009

Notes from the Social Recruiting Summit

June 18, 2009 - Categories: conference, web2.0

I love being part of industry conferences outside my field. I learn so much from the sessions and the conversations, and I meet all sorts of amazing people I might not otherwise have come across.

Yesterday, I participated in the first Social Recruiting Summit, where recruiters shared questions, ideas and tips on how to use social media to connect companies and candidates. I gave a presentation on The Awesomest Job Search Ever.

Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) gave the keynote address, demonstrating LinkedIn Recruiter. Listening to the conversations afterwards, I got the feeling that people had hoped to have more exciting news about where Reid saw the industry going in the next five years, or some other insights and information not available on LinkedIn’s website. Note to self: When you keynote a conference, focus on the big picture and give people something special.

The summit had an unconference portion. I like unconferences because they let people bring out fresh perspectives, late-breaking news, and more conversation. I proposed a session for sharing success stories and war stories, which I removed when I saw that other sessions could fulfill that quite nicely. Ryan Caldwell and Dion Lim had proposed separate sessions around social media and ROI. When I saw what Dion had written, I called Ryan over, introduced the two of them, and convinced them to merge their sessions. Ryan said he thought I should be in mergers and acquisitions instead. ;) It became a four-person panel with some interesting points, although I think they were counting on a more experienced audience with success stories and war stories of their own. In the future, providing unconference sessions with whiteboards or easels would be a great idea because the facilitators can then capture and express more complex ideas.

There were lots of other interesting sessions and conversations at the summit. During my presentation on “Awesomest Job Search Ever”, I encountered some difficulties hooking my laptop up to the projector, so I just went slide-free. I told people the story about how I got to know IBM, how IBM got to know me, and how that led to just the right position being created for me. We took almost 40 minutes for questions and answers, I think. I learned a lot and I had tons of fun. Others did too! The key messages that emerged were:

  • Social media allows employers to learn about candidates and candidates to learn about employers to an unprecedented extent, and this can help form strong personal connections.
  • Those connections make it easier for new employees to hit the ground running.
  • Recruiters can be ambassadors who help their companies and candidates learn more about making the most of social media.

Lots of good stuff, but I better get these notes out before they become stale!


It was difficult to extract one of our companions for dinner, so I suggested that we all go. There were about 16 of us. Chandra Bodapati took us to a terrific Indian restaurant. (Yay local guides!)

I had a terrific conversation with John Sumser, who opened by saying, “You must have amazing mentors.” He explained his company name (Two Color Hat) by telling me the African teaching tale about a man with a two-color hat who walked down a street and asked people what they saw. He likes bringing together different perspectives. He’s also very interested in the demographic shapes of companies and labour markets.

John gave me tips on storytelling and emotional modulation. He encouraged me to find ways to develop my technical skills in parallel with softer skills like presentation and influence. He suggested checking out things like The Quantified Self, The Technium, Kevin Kelly (kk.org), cybernetics, and other complex things. This reminds of what Michael Nielsen told be about Lion Kimbro, who found that the practice of writing down his every thought made him think much more clearly. Must see if John knows about him.

On the way to the airport

I hitched a ride with Eric Jaquith and Geoff Peterson in a SuperShuttle, which worked out to be a very cost-effective and hassle-free way to get from Embassy Suites to the SFO airport. Along the way, they shared even more insights about recruiting, technology companies, leadership, life, and other good things. I’m really so lucky that people are so generous with their insights!


I arrived at 11:00 at the San Francisco International Airport. Since I had a few hours to spare before my 3:05 flight, I connected to the wireless network and started working. Jennifer Okimoto (enterprise adaptability consultant) sent me an instant message asking me about the summit. She said,

so… I’ve received a request to respond to a media relations request ABOUT SOCIAL RECRUITING and you appear to be the current IBM expert!

Jen had been reading my tweets, and she wanted to pick my brain about emerging trends in social recruiting. I spent 20 minutes braindumping the ideas and stories I’d picked up from the one-day summit. Here are some bits:

  • Applicant tracking systems are starting to incorporate data from social networks so that they can track that someone came in from Twitter, Facebook, or somewhere else.
  • Progressive companies are interested in using social networks to find out who their employees know, so that when candidates come in, they can figure out who knows that person in the company (or who has some affiliation).
  • Social recruiting right now tends to be ad-hoc, based on people’s individual social networks. This is a problem when a recruiter leaves a company. People are looking at using groups on LinkedIn and other services so that they can keep the networks even if individual recruiters leave. Contact relationship managements are useful, too.
  • Everyone’s interested in how to approach and build relationships with passive candidates. Blogs and social networks seem to be a good way to reach out, get people interested in you or following you, and build the relationship from there.
  • Some companies are turning to rich media (video, podcasts, etc) to give the companies or recruiters faces, a personal connection. Recruiters who have public video interviews get more job leads and resumes at job fairs.
  • People are still trying to figure out social media. Many people still think about it like a job board, broadcasting information. Some people are starting to get into it as a conversation: reading, commenting, posting stuff about their company or useful things that might help people, and only posting the occasional job-related update.
  • Mobile is really interesting. The recording for the session on mobile recruiting should be on the socialrecruitingsummit.com site shortly.
  • The economic climate mean that people aren’t hopping about like crazy trying to fill slates, because hiring has slowed down. But companies like Microsoft are starting to bring in new metrics– not just time-to-hire but also how quickly they can put a slate of candidates together when they get a request (which encourages them to develop a pool of interesting people).
  • LinkedIn Recruiter has lots of interesting faceted search features. (I liked how they walked through that scenario from the IBM ad.)
  • Very few people do real metrics. They try all these things, but they don’t know if they work, or how well. There are some companies working on this space.
  • About 20% of the summit participants have a blog. Most of them have commented on a blog.
  • They think community managers and social media marketers are going to be hot positions in a short while.
  • Many of their companies frown on social networks or blogging, but some are taking the opposite tack and trying to get everyone in the company on LinkedIn.
  • Some companies are building employee job ads / referral widgets on Facebook.
  • V Australia (energy drink) set up a site to help Gen Yers find jobs at other companies. They got great ROI in terms of marketing and exposure.
  • You know that Southwest rapper flight attendant video? Turns out he had been working as a ramp agent for 6 months before that, and he was unhappy with his work. He took one of their personal development courses to figure out if his values lined up with his job’s, and realized that being a flight attendant was a much better fit. He gave it a shot and really enjoyed it. A customer captured his rap on video and uploaded it to YouTube after asking. The video went viral, and the guy has made the rounds of the usual talk shows. Good story about people development and about social media.

So that’s the braindump from the conference. I’ve asked an assistant to transcribe my talk, and I’ll post that after I clean it up. =)

129 summer camp ideas

June 18, 2009 - Categories: life

J- doesn’t want to go to any camps this summer. Instead, she’ll try to come up with interesting things to do. I spent a few minutes compiling this list of summer camp ideas. If some of these catch her eye, we can see about putting together our own curriculum and activities… =)

  1. Adventure
  2. Animal safari
  3. Animation
  4. Archaeology
  5. Arts and crafts
  6. Astronomy
  7. Backpacking
  8. Baking
  9. Baseball
  10. Basketball
  11. Biking
  12. Biology
  13. BMX
  14. Building / woodworking
  15. Business
  16. Canoeing
  17. Caving
  18. Cheerleading
  19. Chess
  20. Clay
  21. Claymation
  22. Chemistry
  23. Circus
  24. Computer
  25. Construction
  26. Cooking
  27. Creative writing
  28. Cross-country skiing
  29. CSI
  30. Culture
  31. Debate
  32. Diving
  33. Dog sledding
  34. Environmental
  35. Etiquette
  36. Farming
  37. Fashion
  38. Fitness
  39. Fencing
  40. Field hockey
  41. Film
  42. Finances
  43. Fishing
  44. Flash animation
  45. Football
  46. General academics
  47. Geology
  48. Gifted
  49. Golf
  50. Gymnastics
  51. Hiking
  52. Hip hop
  53. Horseback riding
  54. Hunting
  55. Ice hockey
  56. Ice skating
  57. International studies
  58. It’s a girl thing
  59. Jewelry
  60. Journalism
  61. Kayaking
  62. Lacrosse
  63. Language
  64. Liberal arts
  65. Life on the farm
  66. Life skills
  67. Life sports (tennis, golf, badminton)
  68. Magic
  69. Marine science
  70. Martial arts
  71. Math
  72. Medical
  73. Modeling
  74. Motocross
  75. Motorsport
  76. Mountain biking
  77. Mountain boarding
  78. Mountaineering
  79. Multi-sport
  80. Net sports
  81. Orienteering
  82. Paintball
  83. Personal growth
  84. Piloting
  85. Primitive skills
  86. Photography
  87. Psychology
  88. Rappelling
  89. Riflery
  90. Robotics
  91. Rock climbing
  92. Rockets
  93. Rollerblading
  94. Ropes
  95. Rowing
  96. Sailing
  97. Scrapbooks
  98. SCUBA
  99. Secret agent
  100. Sewing
  101. Shakespeare
  102. Singing
  103. Skateboarding
  104. Snowboarding
  105. Snow skiing
  106. Soccer
  107. Softball
  108. Spa
  109. Space
  110. Squash
  111. Stunt
  112. Survival
  113. Swimming
  114. Tennis
  115. Theatre arts
  116. Traditional
  117. Track and field
  118. TV
  119. Veterinary science
  120. Video game design
  121. Volleyball
  122. Wakeboarding
  123. Waterskiing
  124. Water polo
  125. Whitewater rafting
  126. Wilderness
  127. Windsurfing
  128. Wrestling
  129. Yoga

Weekly review: Week ending June 14, 2009

June 18, 2009 - Categories: weekly

From last week’s plans


  • More photography, tidying up


  • Give presentation on ABCs of Boomers, X, Ys, Zs (nonprofits and generational differences)
  • Fix more Transition2 bugs, add new partners
  • Prepare for “Awesomest Job Search Ever” and “Totally Rocking Presentations at IBM” talks
  • Fix my Linux partition

Skills/personal growth

  • Write more articles / blog posts

Bike to work on Friday =) Stayed home instead.


  • Planted blueberry bushes
  • Made my own eye mask from my fuzzy cat fabric

Plans for next week (this week, really):

  • Social Recruiting Summit
  • Taking the Stage: The Power of Voice
  • Develop Drupal system – Transition2
  • Coach clients on LinkedIn
  • Prepare presentations
  • Attend sprouts class
  • Dinner party

Twitter brings down walls

June 18, 2009 - Categories: web2.0

In addition to Twitter, YouTube has been a critical tool to spread videos from Iran when traditional media outlets have had difficulty filming the protests or the ensuing crackdown. One YouTube account, bearing the user name “wwwiranbefreecom,” showed disturbing images of police officers beating people in the streets. On Monday, Lara Setrakian, an ABC News journalist, put out a call for video on Twitter, writing, “Please send footage we can’t reach!”

“We’ve been struck by the amount of video and eyewitness testimony,” said Jon Williams, the BBC world news editor. “The days when regimes can control the flow of information are over.”

Washington Taps Into a Potent New Force in Diplomacy – NYTimes.com

The world is changing. Technology helps people make a difference.

Thanks to Bernie Michalik for the pointer to the article.

Taking the Stage: The Power of Voice

June 18, 2009 - Categories: kaizen, leadership, presentation, speaking

The second session in the Taking the Stage women’s leadership program I’m taking at IBM was called The Power of Voice. We learned about some of the vocal habits that undermine people’s confidence and rapport, such as trailing off or using a rising tone at the end of sentences.

We also had a short discussion about what makes presentations engaging. Many of the participants mentioned enthusiasm and passion–if not for the content, then for something beyond that.

The three key tips I picked up were:

  1. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm so that you can support your voice.
  2. Open your mouth both inside and out, because that affects your tone and articulation.
  3. Resonate using different areas of your body: head, chest, and others.

I’ve thought about finding a speaking or presentation coach who can help me learn how to make even better use of my gift of spreading enthusiasm. I’m good at collecting and retelling stories. I’m good at finding something worth being excited about, sharing my enthusiasm, and helping people remember why they care about their work. I’m good at mixing presentations up with creative approaches. I’m good at scaling up – getting more value from the effort I put into making a presentation. I’m good at handling questions and dealing with the unexpected.

The first thing that can help me become an even better speaker would be to learn how to use even more vocal variety. I’ll start with varying tempo, then I’ll learn how to vary pitch, and maybe even learn how to bring in different accents and sound effects. These will help me build more dramatic tension into storytelling, use emotional modulation, and pick the right voice. Articulation would also be good to improve.

I can practice on my own with vocal exercises, aerobic exercise (to increase my breathing capacity), and perhaps even podcasts. I can also practice in my presentations, which usually come once or twice a week during conference season. Once I get my work permit paperwork sorted out, I’ll sign up for Impatient.ca‘s longform improv classes. In the meantime, I can look around for acting workshops or speech coaches who won’t charge an arm and a leg, and I can check out lots of books from the library on how to improve speech.

Other things I can work on in the future: storytelling, navigational structures, vocabulary =) (richer words! more concrete expressions!), improvisation, humor, rhetorical structures, illustration… There’s so much to grow into!

I’m interested in this for a number of reasons:

  • I learn things much more effectively when I teach them, and learning how to communicate well lets me enjoy communicating even more. It keeps me excited about learning and teaching.
  • If I learn how to communicate more effectively and more engagingly, then I can deliver more value when I give presentations–and I can scale up even more when I write or share recordings.
  • So many opportunities come to me because of my presentations and knowledge-sharing. The better I get at this and the earlier I improve, the more cumulative effect this will have over time.
  • The better I can communicate and the more control and range I have, the more I can do professionally and personally.
  • If I can help other people develop their communication skills, then this will scale up even more.
  • It’s fun!

Next actions: Check out library books on voice training, and ask for quotes from voice coaches in Toronto. Waiting for paperwork: sign up for improv classes, and look for acting workshops.

Social media and education

June 18, 2009 - Categories: teaching, web2.0

There’s an insightful 82-page PDF entitled Educating the Net Generation: A Handbook of Findings for Practice and Policy. Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (And the report’s CC-Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike!)

Interesting bits:

  • Gen Yers aren’t all that likely to use emerging Web 2.0 technologies, and may not necessarily want to use those tools in learning. (p6)
  • Web 2.0 tools have unexpected benefits for engagement with subject material, peers, and community.
  • Teachers like wikis more than students do. (p10)
  • Lots of great case studies (p27-51)

Educating the Net Generation: A Handbook of Findings for Practice and Policy

If you’re in education, you should definitely check this out. Might be interesting to write case studies like this for the corporate world, too.

Thanks to Millennial Leaders and Ryan Coleman for the link!