Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Another Win For The Firm

Congratulations to Natalie Gublis who won her first ever LPGA event this past weekend at the Evian Masters in Evian-Les-Bains, France. My firm has put alot into golf sponsorships this year, and it's paying off big time, with Zach Johnson's Master's victory, with the PGA McGladrey Team Championship, and once again with Natalie's victory.
Any victory like this is huge for the firm, each one helping to raise our overall profile, even if just through a visible company logo on a shirt or hat (see the side of Natalie's). Natalie has been a great representative for our firm, so a big-time congratulations again on her first tour win!

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Monday, July 30, 2007


Mega-congratulations today to Jason Davis and ERE! ERE has brought on Jason to help build The Fordyce Letter. This connection seems so natural to me, especially since the only time I have ever seen Jason has been at ERE Expos! So move over Fordyce Forum and SourceCon, a SlouchCon/Charity Poker Tourney will be coming to your town soon! :-)

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

400 Connections

Time goes on and my LinkedIn network continues to grow. I just hit 400 direct connections this week, adding one of the organizers of SourceCon (which I plan to attend), and who also happens to be local here in the DC area.

So as of today, in addition to my 400 direct connections, I have 77.7K 2nd Degree connections and 2.6M+ 3rd Degree connections. Although I have expanded the diversity of my network some through some recent proactive initiatives (see here and here), I clearly haven't done enough as my 3rd Degree connection numbers continue to grow slowly.

My motivations with LinkedIn continue to be primarily exploratory and collaborative in nature. But even more than that, I continue to preach the value of LinkedIn to our recruiters, attempting to educate them as to why they need to be power-users of this great social networking business tool.

In the past, I have discussed my feelings around the integrity of one's social network, and why Open Networking wasn't a strategy I subscribed to. With that in mind, I went ahead and analyzed my network to see who I really 'know', defining 'know' as someone who I had met in person, sent an e-mail to, spoken to on the phone, or had any relevant connection with prior to connecting with them on LinkedIn, and anyone who I have connected with outside of LinkedIn since we connected networks.. My analysis revealed that I 'knew' about 70% of my direct connections, not bad IMO. I'm still looking to connect with those who I 'know', but also those who feel there may be a mutually-beneficial reason for connection. If we haven't connected already, let's connect today!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Other Side of a Bad Reference Check

I think that most knowledgeable Recruiting and HR types would agree that reference checks are largely a useless waste of time, certainly not an activity that typically adds much value to the employment process. If a reference check is done right, it sometimes may shed some light as to how the potential employee may best be managed. On a very rare occasion, you may get a nugget or two that might make you reconsider hiring an applicant.

Part of the problem of course is how the reference checks are handled in the first place. If you are going to make the time and effort to check a reference, the most effective strategy IMO is to train the hiring manager on how to do it. Give them a list of questions and educate them on how to ask effective follow up questions. This allows the manager to probe and identify information that may provide additional insight into the type of employee the manager wants to hire.

Much too often though, reference checking is seen as an administrative task, relegated to the HR Administrator, who is given a list of questions, is not well trained on how to do the reference, especially when it comes to probing questions. In these situations, the Admin wouldn't typically know what to probe on even if they were properly trained. I've even witnessed reference checks being e-mailed. Oy! The further the reference check gets from a real conversation between the hiring manager and someone who managed the applicant previously, the less value there is. The reference check for most organizations is simply another box to check when moving through the employment process, adding unnecessary time and effort, slowing down offers from being delivered, thus ultimately frustrating the end 'customers' (i.e. the applicant and the hiring manager).

Today's Washington Post Magazine offers a funny (and sad) view into what it can be like being the unfortunate 'Reference', in this case when that reference check is being conducted by an embarrassingly foolish HR fool. Read and beware, cringing may occur! (Free registration may be required.)