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.

Sourcing Techniques for Business Development

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 15.15.57

 

How many recruiters think about using sourcing techniques for business development? Well, if you don’t, it is time you did. That was the message from Shane McCusker‘s session at the Discover Sourcing Conference. As Shane said . . .

Using social recruiting tools to source candidates is only the half of it. You can use all sorts of clever social recruiting techniques to find vacancies and get new business.

He kicked off his session on Sourcing Business Development Opportunities by asking delegates how they would search for vacancies – and by that he meant vacancies that were fresh i.e. had not been advertised for months.

He then gave some answers. Shane split his approach into internal and external intelligence.

Internal intelligence

Recruiters are already sitting on a lot of information that can help them identify new vacancies. For example, a candidate comes to you saying they are looking for a new role. What does that tell you? That there will soon be a new vacancy in the company they are leaving.  The challenge for recruiters is how to manage this information so that they get some value (i.e. new business) from it.

External intelligence

Shane showed an example of how to gather information on upcoming vacancies on LinkedIn. To do this you can do an Xray site search on a particular company using the word “past” to identify leavers.

The search would look like this:

site: linkedin.com “past * * at companyname”

That on its own is not enough, however.  By doing this you will get a long list of former employees. As a recruiter, you want to be alerted to when someone has changed their status to “past” on LinkedIn so the next step is to create an RSS feed of alerts (using Google alerts, for example). You will then be alerted as soon a someone changes their status.

James Mayes wrote a live blog on this, which you can read here. Check out the comments because there are some useful tips and insights into identifying vacancies ahead of time.

Shane also shared some tools he uses to scrape data from the web.

He has also showed a custom search engine for LinkedIn which can be accessed on his site at:  http://www.intel-sw.com/search

Shane is more hacker than recruiter, which was reflected in some of the tweets during his session . . .

Geek Rating going through the roof with @1ntelligence

Upping the geek rating!
He uses his software engineering skills to build tools and hacks that find information to help recruiters source candidates and grow their business.

Whilst showing delegates a bulk email button he created for LinkedIn, he said:

You guys really need to know how to hack Linkedin.

He certainly does: he uses a Chrome extension that enables incognito searches on LinkedIn profiles, which means you can reveal more of the profile of third degree connections.

For plenty more of Shane’s tips and tricks, check out his regular webinars, which you will find on his blog: http://www.intel-sw.com/blog/

Visit our content round-up for all the content and resources from Discover Sourcing.

Discover Visual Sourcing – Exploring the Value of Images for Talent Sourcing

Visual Sourcing

In our increasingly visual world photos tell the story. Social networks have been early in recognizing this, together with the human urge to post, share, view, like and comment on photos. Images have become the driving force behind social network growth – helped by (auto) tagging and awesomizing features.

On average 300.000 images make their way to Facebook alone every minute, on New Year’s Day and Eve this nearly doubles. A rough estimate brings that to over 300 billion photos on Facebook alone. Now that’s Big Data.

Big – Cold – Data

To host all these pictures Facebook expanded their data centers, building ‘cold storage’ data centers for less popular or outdated pictures. All these pictures are indexed. And that’s not all. Social networks not only index the pictures, from their computer vision systems backend – machine learning systems that have the power and intelligence to identify what’s in an image, what a building looks like versus a face versus a landscape – they know exactly what’s in these pictures.

And it doesn’t stop here. More camera’s, phones, apps and social networks now have GPS enabled so users can display their photos by location with a mapping feature, utilizing the device’s geolocation abilities to visually showcase where photos were taken. Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Foursquare, to name just a few, have this all enabled. Also EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data – small data files embedded in pictures – can show exact GPS location – revealing where photos have been taken and where people in these picture have been hanging out.

A Sourcer’s Goldmine

So if social networks know who and what is in these pictures and where they’ve been taken, sourcers should be able to find out as well. After all, since sourcing is about finding people, every online trace gives us more information about the whereabouts of our potential targets. And believe me, with the amount of pictures people have floating all over the internet, sometimes without even knowing of their existence, there’s enough traces to give sourcing a whole new dimension. Images have become a sourcer’s goldmine.

Avatars or profile pictures usually give fantastic results for visual sourcing. Many people online have the habit of using a single picture for different online profiles, making it fairly easy to find them in the different social networks they use. Reverse image search in Google Image Search of a person’s profile picture will easily point to profiles with identical pictures.

Interestingly, one of the benefits of visual sourcing actually is that it can deliver more relevant results as opposed to just name searching. Especially for more common names, images prove to better identify a unique person.

But there’s more than just profile pictures. Think of pictures on company introduction pages, event pictures, pictures used for online check-ins on Foursquare, photo sharing websites like Flickr and much more.

Face Recognition Technology

And then face recognition technology was introduced. Fascinating technology, already heavily used for finding criminals. People who frequently travel have had their faces being recognized by advanced computer systems while passing international boarders. Just imagine the data that governments collect with that. Face recognition technology is already being used commercially, to adapt product offerings in digital commercials for men or women passing high street stores, checking in using their online profiles or to accept payments.

Facial recognition technology can already identify people with 99 percent accuracy under the best circumstances. Best circumstances for facial recognition technology still mean having an ideal probe image and a database of similarly ideal images for comparison as possible matches, like headshot photos similar to those seen in passport photos or mug shots, however the power of machine learning systems and improvement of facial recognition techniques will quickly decrease dependability of best circumstances. Faces then will be recognized in all circumstances.

Facial-recognition algorithms can already be pared down and streamlined to run on the limited computing power of a smartphone or Google Glass devices.

OK Glass, Source Now!

And yes, that’s where we could be now. Having face recognition technology available in a high-tech device called Google Glass would give us sourcing superpower, making true spies of every single sourcer. If it wasn’t for privacy concerns, this would be a major breakthrough in talent sourcing. Finding information of people based on the visual evidence they have available online through the sources mentioned above, triggered by the OK Glass, Source Now command. Sourcing will never be the same.

Oh, and if we ever pass those privacy concerns and Google Glass becomes part of your standard sourcing equipment, it’s highly recommended to not have your hiring manager touch your Google Glass. Ever. Just for the sake of staying employed. After all, if Google Glass will be capable of doing all the Visual Sourcing, what would be left for you?

More on the topic of Visual Sourcing – including a deep dive in sourcing techniques, tools, best practices and examples – will be discussed at the Discover Sourcing Event taking place on September 17-18 in London.
Oscar Mager - Google Glass

Sourcing In The 21st Century

Future City by Sam Howzit

 

“Sourcing is the proactive searching for qualified job candidates for current or planned open positions; it is not the reactive function of reviewing resumes and applications sent to the company in response to a job posting or pre-screening candidates. The goal of sourcing is to collect relevant data about qualified candidates, such as names, titles and job responsibilities.” (From the US based organization SHRM, the Society of Human Resource Management)

To better understand where we are; let us take a gander back at where we began.

I can recall reading of recruiting in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Individuals (let’s call them Candidates) would document their skills, experience and education on a piece of paper, usually with a typewriter. These resulting documents were called Resumes or CV’s. These CV’s were handed out, snail mailed and dropped off in the hopes that someone (let’s call them Employers) who needed their combination of skills, experience and education would find them. The fax machine expedited the process, allowing for further distribution, slightly increasing the chances of a match of Candidate and Employer, resulting in a Job.

Engineering Department employees, 1962People called Recruiters, figured out in the 1970’s, that if they could convince Candidates to create these CV’s they could actively market said Candidates to prospective Employers. For a fee of course. Some of the, shall we say, nerdier Recruiters leveraged whatever technology that was available to expedite the finding of the Candidates and the distribution of the CV’s. Fax machines got better, lists were found, cold calling became prevalent. Phone systems were developed with automated directories, Recruiters “hacked” them.

HADOOKEN-ROM

Services were developed, like CD-ROM’s with lists of gathered potential Candidates. I started in recruiting about then. Email was starting to take hold. Once a month the new CD-ROM was delivered and we all clambered for it. Of course the data was six months old
when we got it, but it was DATA. We’d add it to our lists and our organized file cabinets of organized CV’s. It was wonderful. It was cutting edge. And recruiting stabilized a bit. But some of the nerdier of the nerdy Recruiters, got really good at finding Candidates using the available technology. We’ll call them Sourcers.

So, you have the Data that leads to Candidates and the delivery mechanisms, whether it be fax, or email, or snail mail or hand delivered; and that’s about how it has stayed. Continued stabilization.

Throughout the 1990’s and the 2000’s, new sources of Data evolved and new delivery mechanisms evolved, but the basics of the whole thing didn’t really change.

Waiting QueueWell, here we are 2013. I was quite hoping we’d have flying cars by now, or at least rocket packs. But less those wonders, we have connectivity. For the first time in human history, we have access to real-time Data. Gobs and gobs of it! Everyone on this planet can be found and categorized according to some basic qualification.

Now the rub… how to leverage all of that. The job boards are still here. They are a continuation and automation of the delivery mechanisms of ye olden times, but Social Media allows us to message individuals and contact them in new ways. So that’s better right? Sure, it’s a step forward, but isn’t it just another delivery mechanism?

I was speaking to a technical architect the other day whose skills are in high demand. She’s been recruited extensively throughout her career. She joined LinkedIn to network with other technical architects and she joined Facebook to stay in touch with friends and reunite with long lost ones. But she explained that something has been happening the last year or so, something she didn’t expect. Showing me her LinkedIn inbox, there were 236 messages from recruiters. She logs into it monthly now and deletes them. Via Facebook, she gets friend requests from… recruiters, and messages suggesting that there are opportunities to network… with recruiters. It’s driven her away from social media to say the least. Social Media, with all its promise, has become another delivery mechanism.

I’ve been working on Talent Intelligence, an offering from Avancos that uses the abundance of data now available to us to identify a candidate pool. Slicing and dicing this data allows for companies to make strategic decisions on where to recruit and how best to approach candidates. Analyzing this data and its flow allows for the creation of unique, purpose driven Talent Pools. Our clients use this Intelligence to determine business growth, market expansion… the options are nearly endless.

How can we do such a thing? Come visit us at the Discover Sourcing event and find out how…

Images from Sam Howzit, Seattle Municipal Archives, Bohman and chumsdock on Flickr

A Recruiter’s Guide to RSS Feeds and Using Google Reader

RSS IconA lot of Recruiters I meet are not sure what RSS means.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. You will find it on any website where there is regularly updated content – like news sites and blogs.

If you regularly check out more than one or two news sites and blogs during the day then using an RSS reader might be a big time saver for you. The most common RSS Reader used is Google Reader. A tool like Google Reader allows you to bring in feeds from all your favourite new sources and blogs to one location. This means that you will only have one place to check for new posts and articles while you enjoy your morning coffee.

You can find Google Reader by visiting google.com/reader. If you already have a Google account, then you already have Google Reader without even knowing it.

Add some subscriptions

To subscribe to this blog, simply type the web address into the subscribe box on the top left of the page. You can do this for all your favourite blogs.

Subscribe to UK Sourcers

You should also add subscriptions to any blogs and news sites that you regularly check for new updates. This will ensure that you don’t waste time or miss anything important.

For example, the BBC segments their news into a number of different news feeds. You can get just the things that matter to you delivered to your reader.

You might also want to subscribe to any news feeds your company might have on its website, or blogs written by your company’s employees. You could do the same for your competitors too.

It is also possible to get alerts brought to your Google Reader every time a new webpage is indexed by Google that matches your chosen search criteria. You could use this if you’ve found a particularly good Boolean string for identifying candidates or you could use it to listen to what is being said about you or our company. Use Google Alerts to set this up.

When working in a recruitment business, I have used RSS to keep up to date with job feeds on the company websites and even niche job boards – great for marketing!

Manage your subscriptions using Folders

You can organise your feeds into folders, in much the same way that you probably use folders on your computer.

You might choose to have a folder for work feeds and a folder for personal feeds, keeping the news about your favourite sports teams separate from the latest recruitment updates.

You could go further and make some folders like this:

Google Reader Folders

Reading Posts

Latest posts from the blogs and websites you subscribe are automatically added to your Google Reader when they’re published.

The number of unread posts is shown in brackets next to the folder name (as in the picture above).

Log in to your Google Reader account. Click on the folder you want to read. Make sure it is set to Expanded view so you see the full post.

Google Reader expanded view

Just scroll down through the posts in the folder to read all posts. You can use the ‘J’ and ‘K’ keys on your keyboard to hop up and down between posts.

As you scroll the posts will automatically be marked as read and the number of unread posts listed next to the folder name will decrease.

Just click on the post’s title to visit a post and add a comment or share it via Social Media.

Sharing Posts from within Google Reader

It is easy to share posts that you think your network will like to your Google+ profile directly from within Google Reader. There is a button below every post.

If you haven’t set up a Google+ profile yet, I would recommend doing so. It will make you much more discoverable via Google search and more people are using it then you might realise. If you do, don’t forget to look me up.

If you want to share to another social network like Twitter, then you can either click through to the article where it is hosted on the author’s website and share as you normally would. Alternatively, you could set up a rule using ifttt.com. Ifttt is a handy tool that allows you to create rules for many social sites. For example, you tell ifttt to share a link on Twitter every time you “star” a post within Google Reader.

Do you already use Google Reader? What is your experience?

Please Stop Using Internet Explorer 6

Internet Explorer 6 logoFirst of all, what is Internet Explorer 6 (IE6)? IE6 is a web browser, the piece of software that you use to access the World Wide Web. You probably recognise the logo on the left.

IE6 is a very out of date version of the Internet Explorer browser from Microsoft. Only 1.4% of web traffic in the UK comes via IE6. That is such a small amount that many web services no longer support this browser, meaning that many features won’t work if you’re using IE6.

Even Microsoft want you to stop using this browser. Their Internet Explorer 6 Countdown site was launched to encourage web users to switch to a more up to date version of their browser. As you can see – use of this software is rapidly diminishing.

If you use Internet Explorer 6 then you not only miss out on a lot of features, but your browsing experience is much less safe than with a more modern browser. The web has changed significantly in the 10 years since Internet Explorer 6 was launched. The browser has evolved to adapt to new web technologies, and the latest browsers help protect you from new attacks and threats.You also benefit from tabbed browsing and improved speed by upgrading to a more modern browser – either a newer version of Internet Explorer or another browser like Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome.

Some report that they continue to use IE6 as they have no choice but to use it at work. Microsoft have put together some resources that you can pass on to “the powers that be” in order to make the case for the upgrade.

As a sourcer, I much prefer the offerings from Google and Mozilla. Google Chrome has been my browser of choice almost since the moment it launched in 2008. You can customise both Firefox and Chrome with addons and plugins to make them work for you in the way that you want. This puts them streets ahead in my view and I would advise you try them both and find the one that works for you. These browsers are also fast and very stable, meaning that you can have a lot of tabs open at any one time. If you’re anything like me there’s rarely a time when you have less than 15 tabs open.

What browser do you use?