LinkedIn Recruiter Spam…

Uggh. Alright, so first: it’s been 6 months since I posted. That’s insane. The new job at PwC is amazing, love my boss/ team/ and the work we’re doing. I’m very much in my happy place. All that said, time is whipping by. I’ll make an effort to be more diligent here. Maybe. Sorta.

Or, well, to be a bit more honest: I have no idea. I’ll try to write more. I love it, have a hacker-level ability at it, and gods know I need the catharsis… But. Yeah. I am loathe to promise.

All that said, it’s a typical busy day, err night by now, and I should be pushing a deliverable. I just need to vent for a second, about abuse. Abuse of my time, of LinkedIn, of recruiting in general. One particular thing. Spam.

I have a connection, whom I’ve never met, and I’m not sure how we connected. That’s fine – she seems legit, works in recruiting, etc. No big deal. But for this: her only communications to me, ever, are spam. I just got one, and I’m going to post it as an example of why, when I ask for feedback on “what’s your biggest complaint about LinkedIn”, I get responses like this one from an engineer friend of mine:

“Too many lazy recruiters sending job offers that aren’t applicable to some ones skill set or even better asking for free referrals #hacks#drainonhumanity

That’s a huge issue for our industry. We’ve talked and talked about it at a leadership level, but then we see data showing individuals who have sent thousands of inmails in a single month.

Thousands. Plural. Figure an average of 22 wrk days per month. 4400 inmails. 200 a day. Being generous, let’s say 4 hours a day just sourcing on LinkedIn. So… 50 an hour. Basically one a minute. That, or just pure bulk messaging (and we all know that’s what it really is).

How can that be effective? Nobody responds to those, unless they’re desperate. And, if they’re responding, they probably applied already anyways. It’s just busywork, by a lazy recruiter, and it’s killing us.

Please. Stop. It. Just leave the industry if that’s your approach, or take the time to learn a new approach. All you’re doing is making people hate  the rest of us… and, sometimes, you get blogged about for it.

In any event, here’s the inmail I got (redacted to, well, not be a jerk on my end). Bear in mind, this is from the president of a staffing firm who – supposedly – knows who I am, and what I do for a living. Knows that asking me for leads like this, and in this fashion, is futile – heck, under LinkedIn’s new rules tightly limiting the number of inmails recruiters can send per month, is actually a waste of money and time. Should also know I’m a mean son-of-a-gun at times. This is like poking a bear with a short stick…

Hi Martin,

We are hiring!!! (sorry, this is Martin – editorial note – what?I have actually blogged about how much I hate unnecessary exclamation points – and, kid, this is a case in point. Imagine someone coming up to you at a party and shouting at you like this “We’re hiring!! WEEE!!!” You’d want to knock them on the head with the punch bowl in self-defense. And everyone would applaud you). Even though it’s cold outside, the digital job market is HOT! We are looking for top talent to fill the following positions:

For full job details please visit our career page at


(best if viewed in IE) (Wait. Whaaa?  So: “best viewed in a browser that nobody in digital or marketing will ever use!”… and these roles are all about digital and marketing… anyways: go on…)

Account Management /Strategy
• Group Planning Director-Performance Marketing- NYC
• Account Director – Digital Performance Marketing-CHI
• VP, Group Account Director- Dallas/Ft. Worth
• Digital Strategist-LA
• EVP, Group Account Director- Boston
• Analytics Director- Boston
• Web Analyst- Chicago
• Supervisor, Insights and Data Science- Chicago
• Supervisor, Insights and Data Science-Social- NYC

Display Media
• Digital Media Planner-CHI
• Digital Media Planner- NYC
• Digital Media Planner- SF
• Associate Media Director- RTB-NYC (Really Trying BS? I don’t understand, but yes, that is what this email amounts to)

Email Marketing
• Deployment Consultant-Miami

• Associate Director, Search- Chicago
• Media Manager-Paid Search- Chicago
• Sr. Media Manager-Paid Search- Search- NY
• Sr. SEO Strategist- NY
• Director of Paid Media- Dallas, PA (Was that where they shot JR? I always thought he was a Texan…)

Social Media
• Social Media Manager/Recruiter- Ft. Lauderdale (NO. You are one, or the other. NO.)

• VP, Business Development- Multi-channel -NYC
• Media Sales- Digital OOH/TV/Video-NYC (What? OOOH TV! Is that somebody who’s still excited about the talkies? I’m confused. Also, clearly, if I don’t even know what the title means…)

Tell your friends!!! (Oh, trust me: I am)
We are offering a referral bonus if your one of your referral is hired by our client. You will receive an iPad or $500 gift card for your first hired referral and $1000 cash for any additional referrals that are hired. Candidates must exceed their 90 day probationary period before a referral bonus is issued. Referrals are valid for 6 months.

Thanks for your help! (Oh, no – thank you. I needed a distraction…)


Wanna Grab a Coffee? Talent Acquisition/ HR Conference Update

Hi there –

I tend to bop around the globe from time-to-time, generally for honorable purposes. October, far from the cruelest month, is when I’m at some fall conferences. I’m at three (so far) for the month. If you’re planning on attending any, I’d love to catch up and talk shop, look at tech, etc. Vendors: love to hear what you have to say – predictive analytics, talent pools, inbound marketing, social, and mobile are high on my interest list.

Here’s my quick list:

  • 10/2: Boston Recruitment Media Day (presenting)
  • 10/7-10/10: HRTech:
  • 10/20-10/24: LinkedIn Talent Connect:

E-mail, DM, text, carrier pigeon, etc me at your convenience…

Forget Mobile Apply – It’s Mobile Connect


There are few buzzwords in the recruitment industry being used with more frequency right now than “mobile”. Try it – ask a talent leader at an organization: “What’s your strategy for 2015?” I’ll bet they say something along the lines of “mobile social candidate engagement – using big data!” And then, I’ll bet they run away.

That is, of course, ridiculous. They won’t just run away – they’ll throw a smoke  bomb at the floor, and ninja the heck out of there. And, yes, speaking of buzzwords, I just used ninja. Yikes.

The Risk of No-Mobile

But… to my point. Mobile is, despite the word’s now-ubiquitous use at recruiting conferences, important. There’s debate around how it’s going to be used, why, how to track it, etc etc, but… no real debate that we need to play catch-up when it comes to our career sites, how we communicate our jobs, heck, even the formatting of our job descriptions.

(Finally, btw, firms are being forced to stop throwing every stinking requirement into a job description – mobile demands pithiness, simply because of the screen size. I love this.)

A key part of all of that is mobile apply – that point where a candidate gets to in your job description, and they say “Ah, I want this job, I’d like to let them know I exist”. Quite often, they see a note that says “Interested? Great. E-mail this job to yourself”

Oof – you lose 40% of your candidates right there. And then, how many actually remember to apply when they get that e-mail? I’m still digging into hard evidence, but right now we’re looking at about 50%.

That’s insane, to me – it comes down a 70% drop off rate among mobile applicants. With mobile now accounting for half of all job searches, that’s a number that should make you nervous. Very nervous, indeed.

The Risky Side of Mobile Apply

Now that said, Jeff Waldman – who I happen to think is one of the most terrific people in the industry – raises a solid point in his post “Beware the Dark Side of Mobile Apply”. The risk of an uptick of quantity, without quality. Making it so easy to apply to a job that you get resume spam – your team is overwhelmed with applicants, most of who aren’t qualified for the role, and you lose out on time getting to the candidates you’d like to speak with. You wind up losing time, money, and hires. It becomes a bit like what happened when LinkedIn made it too easy to connect via their mobile app. Connection spamming began, and it’s just getting worse.

That’s… messy.

The Power of CRM

This is where I suggest you leverage your CRM – you do have one, don’t you? If not, get on it – the CRM is critical. As important as your ATS. Peter Gold does a good job explaining why, here. Well worth your read.

The CRM is, essentially, your marketing machine. It’s where you want to have an abundance of potential applicants – the key word there being “potential”. It’s your collection of talent pools, your own personal LinkedIn/ Monster/ etc. Not candidates, per se, just… strong contenders. You actually want to lower the barrier to entry to your CRM, while keeping the barrier to your ATS where it is. The ATS is the walled garden, that you invite individuals into. The CRM is the front lawn, where you’re just having a bit of a party.

So, to my mind, don’t make it a mobile application – that’s almost impossible as it is, considering screen size, human patience, OFCCP issues, etc, when it comes to mobile. Call it… Mobile Connect. Ask them to join your community – tell them (in essence) “Connect with us, and if you’re looking for a job immediately, let us know by checking this box – we’ll take a quick look, and if we see a connection to a role we have open right now, we’ll let you know. If not. or If you just want us to be aware of you, you fabulous person, that’s okay too – we’d just like to invite you to the party against the time in the future when we’re ready for that great dance. And, if you’re really eager and want to get an application going with us, there’s an option to do that, too – we’d just recommend you do it from a PC or a tablet, since there are a few extra steps it’s easier to go through with a bigger screen.”

They key thing is: don’t shy away from mobile, but don’t cast open the doors so wide that you swamp yourself. Turn it into an opportunity to power your CRM, instead, and reap the benefits of a solution that combines… egads.. mobile… candidate experience… social… and, yep, big data (hey – done right, this strategy’s gonna give you all sorts of fun data to slice and dice).

Getting Away From Unicorns in Job Descriptions

I was reading a really interesting article in Forbes by Lou Adler, who I happen to think is very smart, about a time he helped a client recognize what he was looking to get done, as opposed to looking for a unicorn who could do everything. This is something we encounter a great deal in our work in talent acquisition. A big part of it, is defining what the person you hire is supposed to accomplish. It got me to thinking….

I’ve never been a huge fan of business/ self-help books – I’m pretty sure someone a one minute manager hit a tipping point and moved your cheese into your chicken soup, because. That said, I also know a good idea when I hear one (or, when I refuse to acknowledge it, fail catastrophically, and then say “Oh, what a good idea, I’m glad I recognized it…”). One of them is from the 7 Habits. It’s very appropriate when it comes to writing job descriptions, and I’ve told many a client this: begin with the end in mind.

What do you want this role to achieve? From there, pull back. How can that be achieved – by what actions? Then, work back, and find people who have demonstrated they can take those types of actions, successfully. Even if the ends they were achieving were not the exact same as the client was looking for, the abilities inherent in their ability to take those tactical actions are transferable quite often. It usually comes down to a base level knowledge of the industry, smarts, the ability to think around corners, creativity, and communication skills.

Once you have that lined up, it’s pretty likely your client (internal or external) is going to have the same “that’s what I meant to say” reaction – and that’s a good thing. It means your lined up, and you can define your search a whoooole lot better.

It’s not magical, really, but it gets people on-point, and away from getting lost in bullet after bullet of “requirements”. I mean, everyone loves a unicorn – especially the Scots, oddly enough – but… nobody likes hunting them.

And this picture… this is simply what the Internet’s given us…

Farewell, Mobiquity

About a year and a half ago, a good friend & colleague in the talent acquisition field connected me with Susan Miele, one of the top human resources pros in the world (as a side-note, if you ever have the chance to work with Susan, jump at it). We hit it off, to say the least. After several hours over coffee, swapping stories, approaches, ideas and ideals, she asked me to come chat with the executive team at a company she had recently joined: Mobiquity.

What sold me (beyond the chance to be mentored by an A+ level boss) was the opportunity to fix a pretty broken talent acquisition department. Over our tenure together, Susan and I have built a team that is second-to-none in terms of quality, camaraderie, and results (also, this team – if you have the chance to work with, for, or hire any of them, don’t lose that opportunity). We get things done, and we do it with a sense of humor. To paraphrase Joel Spolsky, we looked for people who were “Smart, Can Tell a Good Joke, and Get Things Done”. We succeeded beyond our expectations, and the team was able to play a key role in scaling Mobiquity from around 100 employees to close to 450, a small handful of offices in the northeast of the US to 12 offices on 4 continents. Personally, I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend time overseas, working on M&A from an HR perspective, along with traveling domestically helping open offices in key cities across the US.

It’s been a blast. And, now, it’s coming to an end – for me, at least.

I’m not going to say much, yet, about where I’m going, beyond saying that an opportunity arose that became too interesting for me not to pursue. When I was discussing it with a trusted colleague, in a Hamletesque moment of indecision they said: “If you don’t pursue this, I’m going to tell Susan to fire you so you can. You have to do this.”

So… I did. I’m beyond excited for my next step, while, like Janus, looking back with a pretty ridiculous smile at what my team hath wrought.

Here are (a few) of the people I had the absolute pleasure of working with – the Talent Acquisition team: Jeff Newman, Alex Bowler, Michael Fabiano, Melissa Adamo, Becky Bajan. I thank each and every one of them, and I can’t wait to work with them again.

More to come, soon – I promise….


How We Harm Our Daughters’ Futures

Not to soapbox (I have Facebook status updates for that), but this is something that struck a chord with me. For the past few years, I’ve been involved formally as well as informally, in efforts to encourage more women to get involved with technology.

It’s not because I’m heroic – it’s because I’m selfish and lazy. The more women there are who get involved in technology, the easier my work as in talent acquisition becomes. Not simply because there are more tech candidates (since, I’m not always a tech-focused talent acquisition person), but at a more meta level: the more people there are working in tech, the more rapidly we advance. New tools for talent acquisition, Better medications and technology to help us live longer.

We get to build NASA’s warp ship sooner.




Ahem – sorry… I get a little excited when I think about how WE’RE TALKING ABOUT BUILDING A WARP SHIP THAT CAN GET TO ALPHA CENTAURI IN JUST A FEW WEEKS.


S0. Right. Important real-world stuff time.

Do the math: over 50% of the populace in the US is female. The majority of college students are women. And yet: only 18% of college engineering majors are female. That not only makes zero sense, it’s also a major blow to us COLONIZING PLANETS IN ALPHA CENTAURI.

Google just released their internal study about diversity within the organization – and, it’s depressing. Admirably, they admit as much, and are committing to correcting the issue. (The race issue is another, and I suspect driven by similar social behaviors, issue that should trouble you greatly – we are wasting talent in so many directions…)


Here’s the thing: it’s blow-by-blow, the way we limit our development as a species. By constantly trying to make our girls more “girly”, we are killing them. Limiting their chances at success, while also limiting our society. There’s a terrific video out by Verizon that illustrates this much better than I can – I’m embedding it below. You should watch it. And then: watch yourself. I think we’re all guilty of this at some level, and it’s time we did better. For everyone’s sake… (also, so we can go to Alpha Centauri)

The PERFECT Summer Internship… Honest

I work with some fantastic, brilliant, as well as malicious interesting people…. Last year, we came up with this crazy idea to create an onshore development center down in Gainesville, Florida. Smack-dab in the swamp. Full of alligators. Also, full of genius students, a subversive rock culture, and, well, groovy people. Like Austin, but 20 years ago.

It’s been a good year – really good. Recruited an incredible talent acquisition & development specialist named Mike Fabiano, and convinced him to move from Rochester NY to Gainesville. We moved a great up & coming leader named Dan Cohen south, and it’s proven to be a genius move. Built a partnership with the University of Florida, found and built up office space, and set up programs like Agile Pizza. Scaled the office from nothing, to a growing campus full of fresh minds from all over the world, developing amazing mobile. It’s been a good time.

And, now: interns. An intern program. We asked the team down in Gainesville to design it, and man, did they deliver. I thought I’d share the program’s guidelines (authored by the brilliant Holly Gibbs) – in case you want to copy the magic. Please, especially if we’re corporate frenemies, copy away…


Summer 2014 Internship Responsibilities & Tasks

As a Mobiquity intern you will be expected to complete the following tasks in a professional and timely manner.

Daily tasks:

  1. Coffee must be picked up (from Starbucks) and delivered to the office every morning for all internship coordinators. The order is as follows:
    1. One half-caf soy cinnamon dulce latte with ONE pump of pumpkin syrup. If they say that pumpkin syrup is seasonal, they are lying. If there is no pumpkin syrup you will be sent back.
    2. One venti green tea frappucino with extra whipped cream, shaved chocolate and chocolate drizzle. Please make sure this is vegan.
    3. Three double-shot coffees. The brew should be medium and ask them to leave room for cream but don’t put any in there.
    4. One grande vanilla soy latte with no whip.
    5. Justin wants his coffee from Cymplify. A small Americano in an insulated cup so it stays warm.
    6. Elise prefers the coffee from Volta. A large iced vanilla chai latte.
    7. The coffees MUST be 150 degrees when delivered. Any colder or hotter and you will be sent back to redo the entire order.
  2. Pratik’s clothes must be ironed for the day. A key to his apartment will be provided. The ironing list is as follows:
    1. 1 pair of underwear (boxers should be ironed and briefs should be pressed)
    2. 1 pair of pants (slacks should be pressed, jeans should be ironed)
    3. 1 undershirt (ironed)
    4. 1 shirt (ironed and pressed collars and cuffs)
    5. No need to iron socks unless they are done the night before.
  3. Pick up the following items from Vine bakery:
    1. One chocolate croissant
    2. Two bread puddings
    3. One loaf of Old 85 bread (sliced thinly)
    4. On Fridays: five loaves of challah (they MUST be fresh and hot and they sell out quickly so it’s best to get there before 7am)
  4. Holly’s dogs are aging and cannot go to the bathroom by themselves. You will be provided with a key and they will need to be taken out twice a day.
    1. Luigi needs to be carried downstairs. He’s 50 pounds, so you must be able to carry that weight.
    2. Once downstairs, you must take him to several locations, pointing to a good spot and asking him if it’s where he wants to “go potty”
    3. He won’t choose any of them. Instead he will want to go behind a row of bushes
    4. You CANNOT watch him go to the bathroom
    5. He must be at the end of the leash or he will not go
    6. Afterwards, please thoroughly inspect his waste for anything unusual. He eats a lot of carrots so that’s OK.
    7. Bag his waste and dispose of it in the dumpster, not in the apartment
    8. Get Bellatrix next. You cannot walk them at the same time because they have two different types of leashes and they get jealous
    9. Bellatrix will need to be coaxed downstairs, but do not carry her. She is working on it. This can take in excess of 25 minutes.
    10. Once downstairs, she will likely go several times. She needs to be walked at least 15 blocks.
    11. Please pick up and inspect her waste as well
    12. Dispose of it in the dumpster
    13. They should both be given a quick bath after their walks.
      1. There is Paul Mitchell shampoo in the shower for them.
      2. Please make sure they are completely dry before leaving.
      3. There are specific dog towels in the linen closet. They are not labeled.
      4. DO NOT use the good towels.
    14. Before you leave the apartment, give them each half of a carrot. Luigi gets the bigger half. They must sit, lay down, roll over and ‘speak’ before they receive it.
  5. Daniel needs his workout clothing washed and laid out for him when he gets home. Please make sure that his wife or two children DO NOT see you while you’re in the house. You should be invisible at all times.
  6. Michael Fabiano likes shredded wheat for breakfast, but he hates shredding it himself. Please make sure it’s shredded and in a bowl for him on his desk before 9am every morning. Do not actually touch the shredded wheat.

Weekly tasks:

  1. Dry cleaning orders should be dropped off on Tuesday mornings and picked up on Thursday by 3pm. You are in charge of asking all staff members and reminding them about the service weekly. But not in an annoying way.
  2. Several of our staff members are on specialty diets (gluten free, paleo, Zone) and require homemade snacks for the week. You are responsible for researching, shopping for and making snacks for them each week. The kitchen must be fully stocked for the whole week on Monday morning by 9am.
  3. All interns will be responsible for cleaning the office weekly. Bathrooms and the kitchen should be paid extra attention. Please also make sure nobody actually sees you cleaning, because it makes some staff members uncomfortable.
  4. All cars in the parking lot should be vacuumed, cleaned, waxed and have their wiper fluids filled weekly. Interns are responsible for keeping track of which cars have been washed and which have not. Failure to do this during the week will result in weekend trips to employee’s houses to complete the task.
  5. Daniel likes to get weekly pedicures but DOES NOT want anyone to know or acknowledge it. You are responsible for arranging a pedicurist to come in to the office between 11:45am and 12:45pm every Tuesday to give him his weekly pedicure. They must bring a massaging chair and foot tub, as well as clear polish and all of the equipment they may need. Nobody can see them come or leave, and it is essential that nobody disturb him during this hour. You will be responsible for overseeing this process and for guarding his door. Curtains must be installed beforehand and removed once the pedicure is done.
  6. Dave has a 150-gallon fish tank that will need to be cleaned weekly. Please research saltwater tank maintenance before doing this task, as several of his fish cost thousands of dollars and you will be responsible for their well-being.
  7. We have a bit of a pest problem in the intern building. Interns are responsible for spraying the building, setting traps and cleaning them once something is caught.
  8. Sarah only drinks spring water, and it has to be fresh from the springs. Please take a 5-gallon container to the springs during the weekends to collect water for her. You are responsible for testing the water to make sure it’s drinkable. If it’s not, please treat it so that it is. She prefers the water from Ichetucknee Springs.

Additional tasks:

  1. Jason needs you to update this piece of software that we’ve been using. The guy that wrote it quit 7 years ago, and he thinks that he used Pascal. We don’t have any documentation on it, but it’s critical for our business.
  2. Dave needs someone to research the origins and history of .NET and to write a 50-page report on it. He won’t actually read the report before he makes his decision on it, but we need it just in case.
  3. We need someone to research and prototype a gaming system that does the following:
    1. Provide monitoring for 6 new video game systems, a maximum of 2 of any type from any given vendor.
    2. Generate clean data (data that does not contain any identifiable information from real people) from new video game systems.
    3. Design a prototype rig for capturing data from new video game systems.
    4. Implement the prototype rig on the new video game systems.
    5. Provide used video games systems purchased on the open market.  Used systems provided shall be likely to contain data from previous users.
    6. Extend tool development to implement creating signatures over sections.
    7. Survey console chat room technology and identify potential chokepoints where data may be committed to storage.
    8. Identify data storage points on used video game systems and attempt to demonstrate proof of concept.
    9. Extract real data from used video game systems.
    10. This is due in two weeks.
  4. Every intern is responsible for knowing each employee’s name, immediate family’s names, and weekly schedule. If there is anything an employee needs during the week, the intern is responsible for making sure they get it and the process goes smoothly. It’s your job to work around their weekly schedule.
  5. Several staff members have additional projects they’re working on outside of work. You are responsible for answering calls, emails and taking meetings in regards to all of these projects. DO NOT ask any questions about the details of these projects.
  6. We have several employee birthdays each month. Interns are responsible for planning a birthday party for each employee. They must be catered with that employee’s favorite foods and you will be responsible for coordinating the schedules of everyone in the office so all can attend. You also must contact their family for photos of them as a child and have large-format prints made to be hung up around the office. We cannot have birthday cake, however, so you will be responsible for finding a suitable replacement for birthday cake that people will get just as excited about. (Note: A “cake” made from fruit salad spears is bullshit)

If you have any questions regarding any of these tasks, please make a support ticket and assign it to yourself. Then figure it out.