The last post discussed an interesting, free service SmartRecruiters (http://www.smartrecruiters.com). They are obviously involved in social media at a very high level and social networking is integral to their business. Still, it is amazing that I received a request through LinkedIn the next day asking if I would post a link to them. They have partners with thousands of connections and they are willing to take a moment to request a connection from me with my piddly couple hundred? That is amazing attention to detail. So if you want to see how it is done in the big leagues, this is a great example. Here is the link again: SmartRecruiters.com. By the way, Prosig, the company with a great social media presence mentioned in the post “Part 6: Simple Social Media Tools – LinkedIn“, still has not contacted me after two weeks… Today is July 1st, the first day of H2 2013, a good day to check those website feedback forms, links, etc., are working correctly!
While doing research on LinkedIn recently, SmartRecruiters.com caught my attention. The tagline on their home page says, “Free Recruiting Software. Everything you need to post a job, manage candidates and make the right hire.” They are true to the word and maybe a bit understated since it is also quick and easy. One of the big problems niche technology companies face when hiring is reaching the right candidates, especially when it is done only occasionally. I have hired several salespeople over the years and the process was a challenge for the applicants and me. You might be able to relate. HR posts a job to Monster.com and to your company website and you get literally hundreds of responses from all over the world, many requiring a H1-B visa and many others swearing they have sufficient technical sales experience based on their GRE and summer job at Best Buy. The good applicants have been searching systematically and have applied to several jobs, each one with their own employment application requesting the same information over and over. A waste of time for everybody.
Today the situation has changed. You now have a basic social media presence (right?) so you can connect via your blog, periodic emails, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. You can post a link to your job posting to all these places including the relevant LinkedIn groups for your industry, but it is worth looking at Smart Recruiters to increase your reach at little or no cost. Their website guides you through the job creation process and the result is a job ad that can be posted to your blog, etc. with a major advantage, a big “I’m Interested” button. This allows candidates to easily apply for your position by automatically pulling information from their FaceBook or LinkedIn profile. SmartRecruiters also tracks the position from Ad to Interview to Offer to Hire.
There is a charge to use the major websites such as LinkedIn Jobs, Monster.com, and CareerBuilder.com to advertise your position, but again, it is free to post to your website, LinkedIn status update, and to several free job websites.
SmartRecruiters is an amazing tool that might help you find that next perfect candidate without the trauma of the traditional methods. If you have already had experience with SmartRecruiters or another similar service, drop us an note and let us know how it went.
The graph below caught my attention. This is the percentage of customers that fulfill three criteria:
- They own and use multiple devices: tablet(s), PC(s), and smartphone(s)
- They go online multiple times a day
- They are online from multiple locations: work, home, commute, and travel.
These customers can potentially be reached at all times through multiple online channels, especially via mobile device. They might be researching your product quickly before requesting information (or not) or maybe they are following your company for the long term. Unless you have a stellar reputation and visibility in your market area, the overall impression is critical to keeping existing customers and gaining new ones. Take a look at your website on an iPhone or Android phone. Does it look the way you expect it to look? Are your emails formatted for mobile devices AND PCs? If not, your exposure is declining in all age groups except “Gen Z.” This doesn’t mean that social media is not important to the next generation, just that they are so used to being bombarded with social media marketing that special techniques are needed to reach this group. This is an advanced topic that will be covered in a future post.
If you haven’t read the article on The Verge yet, it is worth the five minute read. The problem is that the pictures are so good that you will probably spend 20 minutes looking at those. My favorite quote from the article: “As James Gillies, head of CERN’s Communications Group explains, ‘we do basic, curiosity-driven research’ into the fundamentals of science and the universe.”
Something about the idea of spending almost $10 billion on “curiosity-driven research” is an amazing testament to the limitless potential of human imagination. The article can be found here (http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/19/4440730/large-hadron-collider-photo-essay). This is one picture from the article of the “Compact Muon Solenoid.” It weighs 12,500 tons, is 50ft in diameter, and 82ft in height. Somebody has a sense of humor!
So Apple had a big week this week. They announced the fall release of IOS 7, OS X 10.9 “Mavericks,” a new high end Mac Pro to be manufactured in the USA, a new MacBook Air with 8 hour battery life available now, and a streaming personalized radio service called iRadio. What has been in the news about Apple the past few months? Mostly comments like “Apple is boring,” “Apple can’t innovate,” “Apple losing control of its brand,” and so on. Apple can’t help but innovate and this was the result. So what was the news today? “Love and Hate for Apple’s New Mobile Software” (NY Times), “Apple designer Jony Ive’s iOS redesign mocked in new Tumblr blog” (LA Times), “Is Apple’s Beautiful iOS 7 Design Primed For Fall Crisis?” (Forbes), etc. There were positive headlines, but a quick search showed about 50 / 50 positive and negative. What is going on here? Does Apple have nowhere to go but down?
This is not just aimed at Apple. Microsoft is also in a challenging position at the moment. Windows 8 has not done well and the news has had quite a bit of negative press for it with articles like “Big hurdle facing Windows 8 tablet adoption” (ZDNet), “Windows 8 Adoption Hits New Low” (InformationWeek), and “How to Prepare for Windows 8 Even Though It’s Not Coming to Enterprises” (CIO). Customers screamed for a touch based operating system from Microsoft, they flocked to the iPad in the meantime, and once Windows 8 became available, they didn’t buy it.
Apple’s IOS competition, Google’s Android, is not immune. Apple pointed out the fragmentation in Android during their keynote and people might have said this was just Apple defending itself, but Business Insider recently published the same graph.
This situation is actually a good example of the uncommon “customer knows best” fallacy. Yes, being responsive to customer and market conditions is critical to business success, but the customer doesn’t always know what the customer doesn’t know (see my post from May 24th). In that post, my suggestion was to ask great questions and really listen to the answers. That is still good advice, but there is always the exception to the rule. When you get to the level of companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google, hopefully you know the rules so well, you know when they can be broken. Even Steve Jobs said, “Customers don’t know what they want” but as a Forbes article (http://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2011/10/17/five-dangerous-lessons-to-learn-from-steve-jobs/) from 2011 explained “Without Jobs’ talents and the unparalleled creative team and processes that he built around himself, you won’t get away with doing no market research and not listening to your customers.”
Tomorrow we will get back to social media tools, but hopefully this brief digression helped you think about your customer “truisms” in a new light. There can be a place for taking a risky, intuitive chance with a new product, approach, or service outside your customers’ comfort zone, but only if you can stand the risk of failure and potentially the short term negative press. On the positive side, you could be the next “disruptive technology” in your industry.