Could Workshape.io Re-shape The Way We Look For Talent?

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One of the stand-out tools talked about at this month’s Christmas meetup was Workshape.io. This tool has been knocking on the door of my awareness all year.

Hung Lee, Workshape.io’s founder, told me all about it back in May at the launch of Andy Headworth’s Social Recruiting book and the conversation really stuck with me. Workshape.io won Best Newcomer at the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs) in November. Then, earlier this month at our Christmas meetup, Kasia Borowicz of The Sandpit told us about some great hires she has made with Workshape. I can’t ignore this one any longer, I thought to myself.

Hung Lee - Workshape.ioSo, it was time to have another chat with Hung. Here he is answering a few of my questions about Workshape.io…

Should I call you Workshape or Workshape.io?

We’re officially Workshape.io. But either’s fine. Just don’t call us ‘Workspace’!

What is Workshape.io?

We’re a talent matching platform for tech. We connect employers with software developers by matching them on their ‘Workshapes’ – visual signatures of the work they want, based on time allocated over tasks.
Matched Overlay - Workshape.io

What made you decide to build a tool that’s so different?

You know what Kat, I don’t think we set out to do so.

Our initial thoughts was to tackle a persistent problem in the recruitment marketplace – how noisy it is for in-demand talent. Speak to any developer friend you have and they will tell you they get 30-50 contact events related to recruitment every week. Do a quick Boolean search on ‘No Recruiters, please’ on LinkedIn and you will find dozens of pages of people who are so overwhelmed by the noise in the recruitment market that they’ve taken the unprecedented step of defacing their own headlines with a message for recruiters to leave them alone!

There’s a reason why recruiters behave like this. Too often, we just like to hammer the industry and blame bad actors for ‘bad practice’. There is a systematic reason why recruiters message in the way they do (lack of customisation) and at the volume they do (mass email, via some sort mail merge software). It is because the recruitment toolkit we currently have available produces the same type of information – historical data about what this candidate has done. There is nothing at all about what he or she wants to do in future. And recruiting – of course – is necessarily about the future. It is what this person wants to do next that is important. And this information isn’t available. So recruiters have to shoot blind and message as many candidates as they can and hope to convert their 1-2% into interested candidates.

What would happen if there was a platform that was able to tell you whether they person was interested in a certain type of work, in advance of your recruitment email or cold call? What if we could present this information in an easily consumable way that doesn’t require interpretation or even much cognitive processing? The answer is it will save everyone a huge amount of time. Recruiters can be more targeted with their messages, and candidates get less noise and are subsequently more likely to engage.

So, to answer the question, Workshape is different from other recruiting tools because we are trying to solve a different problem. We are trying to understand what a candidate wants to do, rather than what he has done.

How many techies have you matched up with the right companies so far?

6622 as of 10-12-2015.

Wow, That’s a lot of matches! What sort of businesses are using Workshape?

We’ve got huge variety in the types of businesses that are using Workshape. Of course, we are being heavily used by Startups – such as Qubit, Rocket Internet, Blinkist, Brainly and the like. But also we’ve had bigger companies – M&S Digital Services, Government Digital Services using the product. We think our market is basically any business that hires software developers.

What’s coming next in 2016?

We’ve got really exciting plans in 2016. We’ll kick it off with the release of possibly the largest developer sentiment survey ever conducted (over 15,000 people have gave us their opinion on what they want from employers), continue our expansion into the EU and build on the customer base we currently have in Germany & the Netherlands.

We’re also close to several partnership deals which will see Workshape technology implemented on other services. It’s exciting times!

That sounds like something a lot of employers would be interested in. What should recruiters do if they want to ask you something / connect / give Workshape.io a try?

Have them email me directly on hung@workshape.io or if they prefer Twitter DM @HungLee. Alternatively, you can just apply for an employer account and give us a try.

You can meet Hung at our first UK Sourcers meetup of 2016 on 26th January in London. Register now to secure your place.

Everybody Loves Prophet

Yesterday we ran our 9th UK Sourcers Meetup. It was our first event in Bristol and everyone there was new to our format – it was really exciting!

Meetup at Rethink Recruitment in Bristol

One plugin keeps coming up, whenever I meet sourcers and start talking about free tools. Some have never heard of it before and others are using it and finding it really useful. Either way, it generates quite a bit of excitement.

I’m talking about Prophet. Prophet is a plugin for the Chrome browser that helps you learn more about the candidates you find on LinkedIn, Twitter and other networks.

Click to install Prophet.

It will then appear in the top right hand corner of profiles you view on the web.

Prophet on @UKSourcers' profile

Some of the information Prophet pulls through is easy to find on your own, but the collapsed display on the right of the page looks like a notification and can help you to take notice of that extra information when you might otherwise forget.

Prophet is particularly good at email addresses – I don’t have to tell you how useful that is! It might find an email address, shared by the owner of a profile, or it will try to guess an email address. If Prophet does guess an email address, it will then attempt to verify it. Prophet will always tell you if a guessed email address has been verified or not. Email searched are limited, but you can get more by logging into Prophet with your Google account.

See how Prophet works in this very short video:

There was also some love for this little LinkedIn cross referencing tool from Sourcing Hacks.

What’s your current favourite free sourcing tool?

Don’t Fill Pools, Build Pipelines

Pipelines by Contando Estrelas

Talent pools, talent sourcing, talent pooling…

We (sourcers of the world) all hear these phrases batted around all day every day by our peers and hiring managers. Some more than others, no doubt! But generally all companies, whether start-ups or large corporates, want an immediate supply of top talent screened and ready to go. And why not? We have so many tools available to us that this immediate talent tap should be ever flowing, right? Sadly not! I’m sure in some cases top talent pools do exist, but I would beg to differ.

A pool, by definition:

  • A small body of still water
  • An accumulation of standing liquid; a puddle: a pool of blood.
  • A deep or still place in a stream.

Immediately you will see that “pool” means still, it doesn’t move. So, when you think of the meaning of pool and then associate it with the next generation of talent driving your company, it seems completely barmy!!
Here in the Research team at Sky we build talent communities. These are managed in a way that they could be “named” a talent pool but I would like to elaborate on the differences.

Top talent = a human being! Us humans have a certain something that even sourcers have no control over, their brain. Anyone who has ever worked in recruitment/sourcing will know from experience that people change their minds, and generally change them a lot, usually with no advanced warning or reason. This leads me onto why talent communities (pools, if it pleases you) need to be fluid, not static, as the talent we watch over needs constant attention and nurturing.

From experience, if I have a candidate is prepped and ready to interview then it needs to happen as quickly as possible or the said candidate is likely to do one of 2 things:

  1. Lose interest and look for another role (passive candidates are renowned for this!!)
  2. Find the long winded process tiresome and decide your company is not the dynamic, innovator sold to them by your good self (4 weeks for role sign off!) and withdraw – sound familiar?

I manage a team of sourcers/researchers and we manage our talent sourcing by building communities, these communities are segmented by discipline (using database tags) and managed accordingly by level of interest to us (top talent = highest level of engagement, good candidates = steady comms, and so on…).

We use LinkedIn’s Talent Pipeline tool as our database, managing our communities with tags and using the InMail function as the starting point to keep in touch – then moving onto twitter, Google+, email and (wait for it…) the phone! This level of contact, in all variants, keeps our future candidates engaged with our brand and us as a recruitment function. On a personal level, it also keeps us sourcing professionals, who just want to talk shop, very happy. It makes it super easy for us to reach out to these individuals when we have real requirements, pulling them straight into the recruitment/interview process, as our relationships are solid, current and credible.

This way of keeping in touch with your potential new hires is easy, effective and improves the candidate experience. You have talent to tap into whenever you need it – it’s just old fashioned networking, using today’s tools!

Keep in touch, know your markets and make sure your market knows you.

T.

Image via Elentlr on Flickr.

Twitter Replies & Mentions – Now An Even More Important Distinction

Twitter Lane by Duncan Hall

I’ve written about the difference between Replies and Mentions on Twitter before, but with this week’s changes to Twitter profiles, it’s even more important that you understand the distinction.

We all know that referencing someone’s twitter username with an @ symbol in front creates a link to their profile in your tweet.

Did you realise that where you place that @username can have a big impact on the visibility of your tweet?

So, what’s the difference between a reply and a mention?

When a tweet begins with @username Twitter interprets this as a reply. Only those following both you and the person you are referencing will see the tweet in their timeline.

Here’s an example of a reply:

A mention, on the other hand, references someone’s @usermane in the body of a tweet and all your followers can see it. This is why you sometimes see people putting a full-stop in front of a reply – so that it is visible to all of their followers.

Here’s an example of a mention:

With Twitter’s new profile layout, anyone viewing your profile will not see your replies without an extra click… who’s going to bother with that?

Twitter Tweets & Replies

If you go to our @UKSourcers Twitter profile and click “Tweets and replies” you will probably see some updates that wouldn’t otherwise have had come up in your main Twitter feed. You’re probably quite relieved that you didn’t have to see us saying “thanks” or “good luck” to people that you don’t follow.

So, if you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends and colleagues on Twitter, use replies as normal.

If you’re trying to spread content far and wide, or give someone kudos, make sure you mention @usernames in the body of your tweet, not at the start, so that all your followers see.

Attitudes to Social Media for Recruiting & Sourcing

Growing Social Media by mkhmarketing

There seems to be two camps in the recruitment community.

  • The blasé – they’re not convinced by Twitter or Facebook as useful for recruitment and they’re certain that they couldn’t possibly search or use LinkedIn any better. Don’t even mention Google+ or Foursquare without getting laughed out of their office.
  • The worriers – they seem very concerned that if their recruiters don’t know about every online search tool and technique going then they’re missing out on something fundamental to their success.

I think both could learn a lot from each other.

The first camp is well grounded, not ready to waste time on something that might not work when they could be doing something that they know will give results. The vast majority of the time, candidates are hanging out just where you would expect them to be. If you have 5 great candidates in your database or ATS, why wouldn’t you contact them first?

The second group is curious, hungry to learn and always think that they could be doing better. When their network is all tapped out and LinkedIn isn’t giving them the results they need, they have more ideas up their sleeve.

On the other hand, the blasé are closed minded and almost definitely missing out on great opportunities. The worriers are too concerned about finding talent via “the next big thing” instead of just finding the best possible person for the job.

Open mindedness without drinking too much of the Kool-Aid – is that the sweet spot?

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A Note to Hiring Managers – Good Recruitment Housekeeping for the Business

Ralph's Dastardly Dream Team

I was in the Pub the other day with an ex-colleague and, as we were talking, the inevitable topic of work came up. They said everything was going well, but that they were struggling to recruit for their team.

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, the recruitment team are not providing me with any candidates”.

With a knowing nod I said, “So, I guess your top 3 fell through in that case, too bad”.

They looked at me with a pause. I could see they were thinking What do you mean, isn’t that recruitment’s job?

Here is a thought:

We meet people every day, we read articles/blogs about our industry and go to events. If you meet someone who you think would be an interesting prospect to work with, then would it not make sense to begin dialogue with them and cultivate a professional relationship?

For example, I usually have three people on a list that I would like to hire at any given moment. These are individuals that I share articles with, I have a very good idea of where in their life cycle they are, and I am very familiar with what experience they have. How did we meet? Well, one was through Twitter, the other at a conference and the last one interviewed with us but they got away.

If I could convince any one of these three contacts to enter into the recruitment process, I could hire them in good conscience knowing that they would excel in our team and exceed our expectations. I wonder how many positions would get filled with greater efficiency, and less aggravation from a line manager point of view, if this way of thinking was part of day to day activities. I mean, let’s be honest, who knows your industry better than you do? Who can sell your team better than you?

Perhaps this simple activity is too hard to adopt in a busy schedule, or the “it’s not my problem, it’s recruitment’s problem” is too easy to adopt. Either way, I would be disappointed if my 3 contacts turned me down, but at least I would have 3 profiles that I can use as an example to consult with my recruitment team.

And if one of them did get hired, I would most likely be very satisfied with the new addition to the team.

Have you tried our LinkedIn Profile Search tool?

LinkedIn by Diego Cornejo

By far the most popular page on the UK Sourcers site in 2013 has been our LinkedIn profile Custom Search Engine.

The tool uses the X-ray (or site: search) technique to search for only UK LinkedIn profiles via a Google Custom Search Engine.

I received a message from Dennis Patel of IT Mob Ltd in July 2013 thanking me for the tool, which was a great feeling.

Thought I’d say Hi, and thank you for the great google tool for searching linkedin profiles. Heck…..I’ve just made my first placement using it!

Dennis also asked about adding more location filters to the tool, so I added the ones he suggested. Do let me know if there are any you would like too.

I hope you have found the UK Sourcers blog useful in 2013. We are delighted to be Finalists in the UK Recruiter Recruitment Blog of The Year Awards. If you have any suggestions for 2014 please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

Image Credit.

LinkedIn has closed the door on a useful group member search hack

Closed on Flickr

I wrote about a LinkedIn URL hack on The Undercover Recruiter blog several months ago.

This little trick was brought to my attention well over a year ago by the very knowledgeable Martin Lee. This allowed anyone with a LinkedIn account, Basic or paid for, to search the members of ANY group.

To search the members of any LinkedIn group with a basic LinkedIn account, you will need to have two windows open in your browser, both looking at LinkedIn. In the first window, run a simple search looking for the keywords you hope to find on profiles. In the second window, find the group whose members you want to search (for those keywords).

Once you have found the group you are interested in and opened it up in your browser, you need to look in your browser’s address bar at the URL of the page and find the groups ID number. The URL is usually in the format:

http://linkedin.com/groups?gid=TheNumberYouWant?trk=…

Copy (Ctrl +C) the group ID number from the URL, the number is usually 4 to 6 digits long.

Now return to the keyword search you did in the first tab. Using the filters on the left hand side of the screen, select one of the groups you ARE a member of to filter by (it doesn’t matter which one). Now look for that group’s ID number in the URL of the sear results page – The number is often right at the far end of the URL – so click in the address bar and hit the End button on your keyboard to go straight there. Replace it with the number of the group you DO want to search.

Hit enter and voila, you have searched members of your chosen group for the keywords you need without needing to join.

This was working three weeks ago, as I demonstrated the work around to a group of Executive Researchers, but LinkedIn had closed the door by Thursday 14th November when I came to show the trick to another group.

To be honest, I am quite surprised that LinkedIn did not fixed this bug sooner. Still, it is a little trick that I will miss having up my sleeve.

For now, it seems our best method for finding members of a groups we cannot join is to do an X-Ray site: search of LinkedIn looking for the group logo displayed on public profiles. This will not find all group members, of course. Not everyone will choose to display all the groups they are a member of on their profile, not all group members will have a public profile and Google is unlikely to have indexed all of those that do.

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Supercharge Your Twitter Use With Lists

Twitter buttons by Garrett Heath

Have you started using Twitter but unsure how to really get the most out of it for recruiting and business development purposes? Twitter Lists can really help you become a part of an engaged community.

Here are 4 types of list that can help you super-charge and focus your time on Twitter.

The Unmissable

There are some people whose tweets you have to see. You best friend, your mum (maybe), your clients, or breaking news about your favourite band (you wouldn’t want to miss gig tickets!). A list containing some or all of these people can help you check only the most essential tweets if you’re in a hurry.

In this category, I have a “VIPs” list for friends and family, a “Clients” list for those I work or have worked with and a “Doctor Who” list.

You might want to keep some of these lists set to private, especially the “Clients” one!

The Attention Grabber

If you want to grow a following on Twitter then you need to get people’s attention. Simply tweeting your guts out isn’t always enough.

You can of course follow lots of people and hope they will follow you back, but a high ratio of following to followers can look a bit desperate.

This is when I use lists.

Create a list and add the sort of people you would like to have as followers to it. I use this approach on the UK Sourcers Twitter account. I add any recruiters I come across on Twitter to a list called “UK Recruitment Types”. If they then check out the account and choose to follow, I make sure to follow back.

By their very nature, this type of list has to be set to public, rather than private, otherwise no one will know they’ve been listed.

The Networker

When you go to an event, the networking aspect can be tough for those of us that aren’t quite as extrovert as others. Run a search on the event name and the event #hashtag in the weeks ahead and build yourself a list of all the twitter users attending. That way you can get to know them and exchange tweets ahead of meeting in person.

There are a lot of events we can’t go to as well – time and money are not limitless. You can however use the same method as above to access those attending events, even when you can’t be there yourself.

It’s up to you if you want to keep your list private or make it public and benefit from “The Attention Grabber” effect too.

The Infiltrator

This type of list is really handy if you recruit people in a niche community.

Create a private list of people that work in your niche, have a particular job title, or who work for a competitor. Then visit that list on a regular basis and reply to its members’ tweets – but only if you have something worthwhile to contribute. Be helpful, insightful or funny and become a part of this community. Engaging out of work hours is particularly good – what do these people watch on TV? If you watch it too, you can join in with their tweets. These people are more than their job titles, in the same way that you are more than a recruiter.

The next time you mention a job that is relevant to this community, they will be far more likely to share it for you.

The Cuckoo

Don’t have time to raise your own chicks create your own lists? Use the lists that others have created.

You could pick interesting people and rifle through the lists they are on and the lists they have created (if any). This is great way to find similar profiles.

You can also use the site: search command with Google to search for interesting Twitter lists. Try a search string like this with your own keywords instead:

site:twitter.com inurl:lists inurl:code|programmers|java|ruby|rails|developers

or perhaps target people based on the lists they are a member of:

site:twitter.com inurl:memberships recruitment OR recruiting OR recruiter OR recruiters OR HR

Let us know, how do you use Twitter Lists for sourcing?

Image credit.

Do you take sourcing more seriously than your competitors?

half deflated by mr.enigma

I recently went to a conference full of HR and Recruitment Leaders. I felt like I was totally in my element, talking to peers and influencers of our markets and shaking hands with industry heroes etc. During our discussions we inevitably we came to the topic of direct sourcing and began talking about it.

All I can say is I was very surprised, in fact, I was absolutely dumbfounded when I discovered how little recruitment leaders knew about basic Direct Sourcing; never mind the more complex issues that are associated with it.

I had several discussions with different people who explained to me the role of a researcher was to learn the “how to of recruitment” and then to progress to a recruiter level position and begin stakeholder management. Essentially that was their career track. Or, “yes we do direct sourcing through social media” Q: “Like what?” A: “Oh you know, we are on the Professional networks”.

I was fuming and disappointed all at once, I almost felt like a half deflated balloon. But then I began to think about this a little differently. If direct sourcing is not done well, is that a big problem for you and me?

Well, no, in fact it is totally the opposite. It’s a great thing. Let me explain:

I used to work with a team of sourcers and occasionally we would come across a search that was done to death, you know the one, you have placed three or four candidates and the business needs two more. All of our media was over used and the market had not refreshed yet. I was asked to step in (with fresh eyes) and my colleagues explained to me what they had done so far. A few days later I came up with a list of another forty potential candidates. There were looks of awe and disdain all rolled into one. First reaction was: “how did you find these people?”

Now let me make this clear, I am probably a “medium” when it comes to skill level at technical sourcing. But I know that using different information sources and cross referencing with professional networks like LinkedIn, will usually yield you some results that are not keyword searchable on that platform. A lot of professional profiles are just a name, job title and company (if that). Those profiles are unlikely to come up in most keyword searches. I explained this to my colleagues; I think someone called me a “nerd” and took the list to go transact it.

Here is the theory:

If I know my competitor organisations are not taking candidate sourcing absolutely seriously and are adopting half measures approaching this issue; this is great! It means that they are not going to find the people that we are both looking for. This means I get first pick of a pool of passive candidates that no-one really speaks to, and I am going to find candidates that don’t already have 5 offers at any one time.
So when that question comes out in conversation, “so Ralph, what do you do for a living?” I am torn between a few ways of answering it. Should I say that I am a humble researcher (tongue in cheek), or “I’m your biggest competitor that you did not know of”?

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