How to Retain People

So, I was on Stack Overflow (I like it there). The keychain “feature” Apple offers drives me nuts from time to time (or, maybe it’s just the sketchy way Chrome saves passwords…), and I was looking for solutions. Came across a question on the topic, with a highly rated answer. The answerer, a guy named Amro, has a blog.

Long(ish) story short, he has a solid post from about a year ago, about how to hang onto your employees – particularly the tech talent that’s all the rage these days. Bunch of good thoughts, but the one that sticks with me is “Employees don’t want to feel like “resources.””

Bingo. I work with someone who refers to our colleagues as resources. I’ve never once heard them say “colleague”, “employee”, or even “human resource”. A cog in a factory, a robot welding a car, a cow in a freaking farm: are resources. People aren’t. People, btw, absolutely know who refers to them as resources – and, feel the same level of loyalty to that company as, say, that cog does to its factory.

Want to retain people? The bells & whistles, benefits and pay, matter, but they stop mattering the minute you try and turn those people into “resources”. Want to know how they feel? Here:

Cut. It. Out.

Seriously. Shocking that it’s still going on – and, my peers in the HR & Recruiting communities have a share of the blame. Fight the power, etc etc. Make sure you capture data on work-life balance both when you’re recruiting as well as during exit interviews. Tie that into why people are leaving your company, and add in how often it comes up as a pain-point when you’re talking to candidates. If you can reduce turnover by 10%, multiply that times your cost-per-hire, and you can make a pretty quick case to your colleagues about treating people like, well, people.

*Also – and as an aside – Amro’s a great example of why it pays to have some level of presence online, and in your field. He’s now thought highly of by a company in his space, that’s doing very cool things. This is how you maintain a career, people.

Using Social Media to Build Your Brand – Quick Example

Blah-blah-blah: social media this, twitter that, zoominfo those.

What the hell, right?  Okay, so you’re reading a blog.  Whoopadeedoda!  What’s the big deal – just words on a screen, right?  I don’t know who’s reading this.  I don’t know where it’s going to wind up.  I make no money off of this.  Seriously, that’s weird to me.  The whole “if a tree falls in the forest, does anyone give a crap besides the squirrel it flattened?” has some sense of relevance here.


Ah ha.


I got an e-mail on Monday.  Nice person named Jackie Noblett asking a question (btw, I’m about to gleefully quote a journalist without their permission):

I just found your blog and saw it had a lot of interesting tips on how to use Web 2.0 in your job search. I am a reporter from the Boston Business Journal, and I was wondering if you would be willing to speak with me about how you are using your blog to attract talent to ZoomInfo.

The article came out today – here’s the link.

So here’s the lesson: build your brand online. Get random e-mails from cool journalists.  Win prizes (ie, job offers…).  Be a participant in the wholesale slaughter of the English language (see: “leet” “tweet” and “mismeeet”).  Be able to say “people know me”, and actually mean it.

You stay classy… planet earth.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Want to Get More Recruiter Calls? Stay Visible

Sometimes, what seems clear to some (due to their occupation) is pretty damned opaque to others.  I was just looking at a profile on LinkedIn – background seemed at a high level to be a fit for a job I’m trying to fill (Java Engineer).  So, I got excited.

Then I saw that he was interested in hearing about a new job.  I got even more excited.

Then, I decided to reach out to him.  And that’s when I got less excited.  Considerably less excited.

See, he’d made that part impossible.  He hadn’t done the standard workaround, for starters.  LinkedIn likes to keep e-mail addresses hidden, so they can charge you for access to the person.  If you want to be reached, add your e-mail next to your name, or title, whatever.  Just get it up there.  If you’re not so inclined to *ahem* play with the rules (I’m the “apologize later” type), at least provide some level of information.  This guy had blocked out the name of every company he’d ever worked for, provided clearly generic titles, etc.  I’m willing to dig around if I’m interested in somebody, and find a way to contact them, but there’s a limit.  And, no, I’m not paying for LinkedIn’s premium service (and, I’d say the majority of my recruiting bretheren are the same), when I can typically get the info for free.  If you’re the exception to that, then expect to remain hidden.

Beyond that, and back to my title, in general you want to be very visible.  I don’t mean show up (with a briefcase full of crackers – a la Kramer), start working, and expect to get paid.  Although, that’s taking the “apologize later” philosophy to potentially _awesome_ levels.  But: try and contribute to Q&A sessions on websites that relate to what you do (recruiters read those religiously, looking for people who seem actively engaged in their professsions, and are – always important – reachable); check out Meetup, and find a group that relates to what you do – get to that MeetUp, and mingle; post your resume online, at Scribd – it’s ridiculously easy, and makes your resume searchable (recruiters do keyword searches on Google all the time: putting “inurl:resume” plus some skill set words in gets great people); use JibberJobber to manage your search; and…

…wait, I’m digressing into how cool Web 2.0 can be when it comes to helping get a better job, and that’s it’s own post.  Just got excited again.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Great Personal Branding Resource

Knowing yourself matters for all sorts of reasons: general happiness, success, and avoiding being perceived as a jerk.  Personal branding matters because it’s how you let the world know who you are.  That said, if you are the aforementioned a-hole, maybe you should work on that before you let the rest of the world meet you. 

Chris Brogan (not an a-hole) has a great, free, and short eBook on Personal Branding you can download here.  Good stuff.

Shameless, Shameless Plug…

…for votes :)  For whatever reason, Good to Know  is up for best recruiting blog of the year.  I’m pretty sure it’s not because my employer is paying for the grand prize (seriously – what I suspect is that Jason Davis, the guy who runs, the organizer of the whole contest, is just ridiculously nice and felt bad at how poorly I did at poker last time we hung out).

While I’m under zero illusion I’ll win, I wouldn’t mind not coming in dead last.  Seriously.  Soooo…. if you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate it if you clicked here and exercised your right to vote.  Primarily in categories #1& #6 – well, feel free to vote in the rest, too – in fact, I’d recommend checking out all of the nominated blogs – there’s a lot of really great guidance out there, from a gang of remarkable minds.

What in the World Do You Want the World to Know About YOU

The Web is a scary place, full of rumors and innuendos (seriously – Wikipedia’snot always, umm, “accurate”).  It’s also full of ghosts of things past about you – and not all of them the types of things you want recruiters like me seeing – passed out on the floor drunk with a sketch of the Matterhorn in black ink on your forehead may be funny to some, but it ain’t get you a job at Goldman Sachs (it might get you one here, but we’re weird that way.

Eileen Gunn has a great piece in US News and World Report on that topic today – worth reading (even if it scares you a little).  Here’s a taste:

“…Or even worse, the top results of a Google search include way-too-candid party photos, court documents relating to your divorce, or other embarrassing material you wish you could retract.

A little bit of technical know-how can dramatically sharpen your online persona-and maybe even help sweep those undesirable postings under the rug. To craft your digital image, start long before you’re in the midst of a serious job hunt, since it takes time. The first step is making sure people can find basic, consistent information about your work and career. Once that’s in place, you can take more sophisticated steps to enhance your professional reputation-or do damage control, if you must…”

Blog, blog, blog (and get hired for – or in spite of – it…)

Always nice to know that we’re not the only ones hiring people based on their blogs (we hired this guy based on this blog, as well as a few others).  Just stumbled across Miss604, someone else who got hired due to her mad blogging skills.  She goes into a bit more detail about it – and her take on what impact blogs can have on careers – here….