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Keith McIlvaine, The HR Farmer

Keith McIlvaine: How Recruiters Use Social Media to Source Candidates

 
Keith McIlvaineKeith McIlvaine

"Social media is a slippery slope for recruiters because the types of information that you're able to learn about candidates on, really opens a lot of doors. With what you've seen on Facebook, are you able to use it? Is it really a hiring criteria? That's something that's really up to each company to address and be able to understand if they're doing it. Because if you do it for one candidate, you have to do it for every candidate. A lot of companies are not using it that way. They may be using it to contact candidates but that's all... I think the question becomes how do you use that tool? Are you using that data as part of your hiring criteria or you're using it more as a part of where can I find them, get in touch with them. That's where it becomes more important and you need to put some clarity around that." Keith McIlvaine

Welcome to an Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio with Peter Clayton reporting. Here's the open I wrote for this interview a couple of days ago: "Keith McIlvaine is responsible for the strategy implementation, execution, maintenance, analysis and ongoing identification of new sites and solutions to incorporate into the recruiting methodology for Unisys, etc., etc."

Well, guess what? We have a new open. Keith McIlvaine, formerly the global social media recruiting lead for Unisys Corporation, blogger extraordinaire at HR Farmer and brand-yourself.com has just accepted a new position with Victaulic, the world leader in mechanical pipe joint systems. The What? The Who?

I met Keith a few weeks ago at the IACPR Global Conference. He participated in a panel discussion called That Social Media Thing - Getting Down to Earth - also on the panel: Lance Abisror from Nike, Susan Strayer from Marriott, Anne Buchanan, Buchanan PR.  The session was moderated by Douglas Wood -- an attorney with Reed Smith.

Compete Transcript: Peter Clayton, TotalPicture Radio Interview with: Keith McIlvaine, "The HR Farmer"

Talent Intelligence is an organization's lever for growth, innovation and customer success. Welcome to a special edition of Total Picture Radio, brought to you by Taleo. Leading organization worldwide used Taleo on demand, talent management solutions to attract, develop, motivate and retain their work force for improved business performance - know your people, grow your business. Visit Taleo on the web at taleo.com.

Welcome to an Inside Recruiting channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting.

Here's the open I wrote for this interview a couple of days ago. Keith McIlvaine is responsible for the strategy implementation, execution, maintenance, analysis and ongoing identification of new sites and solutions to incorporate into the recruiting methodology for Unisys, etc., etc.

Well, guess what? We have a new open. Keith McIlvaine, formerly the global social media recruiting lead for Unisys Corporation, blogger extraordinaire at HR Farmer and brandyourself.com has just accepted a new position with Victaulic, the world leader in mechanical pipe joint systems.

What? The who?

Keith, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.

Keith: I just say Victaulic is the global industry leader in pipe joint manufacturing. So it's a huge market and surprisingly interesting technology that they are implementing and quite a change certainly from what I've been doing.

Peter: Yeah, that's for sure. So is this as sexy as enterprise data security?

Keith: Well, you know, I think it is, but in a very different way. While enterprise data security is critical to people every day in many forms and companies, certainly how you store your personal data, how companies are protecting the data, it is your mobile phone address. There are so many different avenues of it.

The difference is that Victaulic's technology, while it's not quite as some news in your face, so to speak, as enterprise data security site, what their technology does is quite literally inside of your business. It's inside of the walls and making your business actually work day to day. So while it's not quite as sexy, it is in the regard that companies are using it to succeed.

Peter: Yeah, plumbing is important.

Keith: That's pretty much a yes.

Peter: Yeah. As you told me, I guess they did all of the pipe fittings for the new stadium down in Texas that the Dallas Cowboys play in. You know, when I went to their web site, it looks like they do a lot of huge projects, with stadiums and large installations.

Keith: Absolutely. They are a global organization, so not just what you might see in the US but they are all over the world with their solutions, which is very exciting.

Peter: Keith and I met a few weeks ago at the IACPR, International Association for Corporate and Professional Recruitment Global Conference in Philadelphia. He participated in a panel discussion called That Social Media Thing: Getting Down to Earth. Also on the panel was Lance Abisror from Nike whom I interviewed and Susan Strayer from Marriott, and the session was moderated by Douglas Wood an attorney with Reed Smith.

Keith, what were your takeaways from the conference and your session, in particular?

Keith: Well, this is my first experience with IACPR and it was really an incredible event. It was a perfect environment, a closed environment where both the corporate HR and recruiting individuals went to sit side by side with external search firms and really discuss how to work smarter, better and closer together while they're able to achieve goals that were in the companies' best interest. So it was a really interesting brainstorming event and sharing of ideas.

What I really found exciting about my particular panel that I on, was how many different companies are using social media differently than how many were not using it at all. The consensus there was certainly that social media is not a push technology. It's not a way just to disseminate information about you and your company but it's that engaging platform. The way that you're able to connect with your audience. I really liked what Lance had to say about Nike's locker room and their ability to start to attract executives into their Nike network, really enjoyed - Susan talking about Marriott and how they're just taking their time to figure out the best solution for Marriott and their brand.

So there was a lot of interesting things that were happening there and I really enjoyed the interaction and the conversation that was generated from the audience. They were very engaged and very interesting in seeing what companies were doing.

Peter: Yeah, I agree with you. And a couple of points that you just made that I think are so important; this is not a push technology and so many companies use it as such. And also, one of the things I find fascinating is the session was moderated by an attorney, which I think speaks volumes to the struggles that corporations, especially publicly-traded corporations are having to deal with when it comes to social networks.

Keith: Absolutely. There's really two concerns in this area, I feel. One is companies being very concerned about data confidentiality, and the second is the time suck for employees, and what does that do during the day. So companies worry that employees are going to post anything to the public; we're going to get it out there. I truly believe that that population is a very small population of professionals.

If companies were to actually take time to educate their employees - maybe not just only creating social media policy but maybe giving them some kind of a training on what to say, what not to say, how to reply to somebody that's going to make their employees much more social media savvy. It would reduce a lot of kind of implied risk within a company but also social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter, most specifically are fantastic tools where employees can use those tools to learn more about topics, industry trends, particular areas of expertise especially within human resources or recruiting. There are a lot of individuals who are happy to share, happy to engage and be able to share that information and teach.

It's a great avenue to go. It's a slippery slope for recruiters because the types of information that you're able to learn about candidates on, really opens a lot of doors. With what you've seen on Facebook, are you able to use it? Is it really a hiring criteria? That's something that's really up to each company to address and be able to understand if they're doing it. Because if you do it for one candidate, you have to do it for every candidate. A lot of companies are not using it that way. They may be using it to contact candidates but that's all.

It's really up to each organization on how they do it, which I think is the most exciting part of it is it does give some flexibility to the business.

Peter: To that point, Keith, I don't know a recruiter out there today who is not Googling a candidate's name to see what comes up on Facebook or MySpace or Linked In or Tweeter now is even getting indexed in Google. So that is certainly a tool that recruiters are using.

Keith: It absolutely is. I think the question becomes how do you use that tool? Are you using that data as part of your hiring criteria or you're using it more as a part of where can I find them, get in touch with them. That's where it becomes more important and you need to put some clarity around that.

Peter: Absolutely. I've done a number of interviews with people like Steven Rothberg, collegerecruiting.com. Steven told me numbers of stories of candidates that were about to get an offer letter and were rejected at the very last minute because of something that someone saw on a Facebook page or a Tweet.

Keith: I've heard of those instances as well, and I believe that there are a lot of companies that - some companies do use that and it depends on what you put out there and it certainly depends on the nature of the work that you're going to be doing. So it always comes back to whether you're in college or either you're a professional, you need to be very aware of what you post out there and what you're willing to share.

Peter: Absolutely. Just because you delete something off of Facebook, that doesn't mean it's gone, right?

Keith: Exactly. Exactly. It's out there somewhere.

Peter: Yes. And Shally Steckerl can find that stuff.

I want to return to your recent past for just a minute, if I could. What sold or motivated Unisys in using social media as a recruiting tool? Again, we're talking about an organization who prides itself in security.

Keith: I'm not really able to open up all the keys to use this but what I can tell you kind of in general is that social media was an area, that was strongly considered much more from a branding purpose, both across the recruiting and the career side as well as the corporate team, to further our brand out there and make others able to engage with us and then learn more about us. So we were able to expand into a lot of social media tools and one very successful in our launch and implementation. Really, from additional details about the specifics of what we did. I would certainly recommend there's been a blog post posted recently at the website blog.unisys.com, which is entitled Social Recruiting the Unisys Way, which will give you certainly more of an overview as to kind of the tricks of what the meaning was behind it and how we got into it.

Peter: Thanks so much for that link. That's really going to be terrific to check that out. As you know, although many companies are using sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn in recruiting and branding, they block access to those sites. On your blog, HR Farmer, you recently commented on this. Can you share your opinion regarding this practice? I love the cigarette break analogy.

Keith: Social media is just another tool of communication and companies have been worried about is technology all along. When the fax machine was introduced, they are worried about memos or information or employees directories being sent out and faxed. Then the email was introduced, that was the next concern kind of furthering that thought process. And now it's social media, which is just going to be the next tool in between the next tool that comes out.

There's always going to be another tool that's going to be a concern. So if a person truly wants to share, if an employee wants to share information, we're going to find a way to do it. And that's again, going back to my previous point. That's really a small population of any company and as you said, social media is the new cigarette break. Employees who go outside to smoke and talk is acceptable for companies. Meanwhile, you have employees who don't smoke, who may take a break during the day and want to check Facebook or Twitter or another social media tool, to see what their friends, to see what their family or their network are doing at any particular moment to stay in touch. So if a company is blocking this access, what's an employee going to do? They are going to turn on their phone and they are going to sit at their desk and they're going to access that information right from where they're sitting every day.

So employees are going to gain access one way or another and share information. Most times, the vast majority of times, it's absolutely nothing to be concerned about. Certainly, there is a time essence that's in there but if companies teach and educate their employees on the right way to do things and how to engage, that concern is going to dwindle significantly.

Peter: I agree with you and if they motivate their employees and their employees feel that they're really engaged in the job that they have to do; I don't think they have to worry about it.

Keith: Exactly. I could not agree more. Absolutely.

Peter: Are they hiring adults or what, you know?

The push back I get from most corporations about blocking these sites is security. That's the first thing that always comes out. It's a concern I'm sure you've heard voiced at many recruiting conferences. What's your response when somebody says, "somebody will really do something stupid and download a Trojan horse that will infect the whole network?"

Keith: Absolutely. There's a couple of ways to look at this. So many companies now are so technology savvy and they have strong teams internally that they're automatically monitoring all of those types of avenues. A lot of those can be quarantined very quickly if it does happen. Again, it goes back to education. If you're going to allow employees to get in these areas, you need to let them know that they cannot download any of those applications, from their work areas because then it will introduce them to the company.

Is that the end all, be all? Absolutely not, but if you're educating them on, okay you can use Facebook. Just don't play games. Use it as a professional tool during the workday. Obviously, there's going to be, if you allow that, some of the professional conversations are going to overlap and the personal conversations are going to overlap in there but if you make it a productive tool, it is a productive tool and your employees will value that much more and respect the tools much more.

Peter: That's some great advice. One of the biggest concerns I've heard from recruiters and HR leaders at the conferences I've attended this year is data integration. How do you get all of these databases, the software, all the systems to talk to each other and how do you integrate your social media efforts into something people throughout the organization can access, understand and use and get some value out of it.

Keith: There are many third party solutions out there right now where you're able to pool all of your data sources in one dashboard. For not only posting purposes but for analytical purposes as well, metrics. So there are some out there. Now the question comes in, I think a lot of the big, especially in recruiting area is how do we tie all these into our applicant tracking system, and I don't believe that there is a strong solution yet. I think a lot of companies are working towards that but nothing has been firmly introduced as here is the way that you're going to be able out of your applicant tracking system, be able to connect to the different social networks and do some sourcing or some of your candidate, just positioning and tracking all through those areas.

I think that's kind of the next generation of where these companies are going and certainly looking at exploring. I just do not believe that end all, be all solution has been introduced yet.

Peter: But it certainly is something that they are all working on because they all understand the problem.

Keith: Absolutely. It's something that - when they talk with, when these organizations go out and talk with companies, this is something that they are saying "we're working on and introducing." So, you know, I would expect - I would hope that by 2011, we'll begin to see the introduction of these technologies in the companies.

Peter: As I mentioned, you blogged for a site called, brand-yourself.com. And you wrote a recent blog about generating leads through social media which I thought was terrific. Can you share some of those specifics with us?

Keith: In this particular blog post I went through and I really highlighted five ways that you will be able to generate leads and the first one is probably the most important, the most obvious, it's people. Networking always starts with people. Whatever medium you're going to do a phone, email, social networking, whatever it is, it's all through people. So you're going to go out there and you're going to start talking with other people, building those relationships and being able to start influencing others and listen to what they have to say most importantly.

The second area is really looking at events; where are you able to go out and meet people face to face and be able to share ideas. Now, with social media, the events may change place from meeting in person to being virtual events where you can connect online. Either way, it's a great way to star to go and to build those networking opportunities.

The third are through pages list groups favorites, whether it's a Facebook page, a Twitter list, a LinkedIn group, a YouTube channel or whatever of the social media tool you're using out there to be stumbled upon as they go, or what have you. These are great ways that you're able to start to connect with pre-populated lists, finding people that are already willing to join groups, join specific areas and start to network with them directly about a common discussion.

Fourth is crowd sourcing. Everybody does it. You go out on Twitter, you go out on Facebook, you post a question, you're getting responses. So you're always able to get people's insights and understand what they're saying, what they're looking for and maybe it could be a personal lead, it could be a business lead.

And then fifth, which there are some companies who are extraordinary at, is customer service and feedback. When you receive unsolicited feedback or negative feedback or anything and it's all on how you respond to it and how you're able to engage with that individual. That person will end up either recommending you or not recommending you going forward and it's all in how you engage with those.

Those are the five main areas that you're able to really identify and really expand your networking and generating leads for a company.

Peter: I think the overarching theme with all of this is again, back to what we were saying earlier, this is not a push technology. If you were not going to engage with people, if you are not going to have conversations with people, don't use it. It's not going to have any benefit for you at all.

Keith: Exactly. I couldn't agree more.

Peter: The piece you wrote about events, you mentioned using hash tags on Twitter, which I think is probably one of the most valuable things you can do with Twitter is if you are going to an event, find out what the hash tag to that event because then you're going to learn about Tweet ups. You're going to find out who else is attending those are particular event and be able to start engaging with them.

Keith: Most definitely and it's a great way, not only for events but also if you're looking on a specific topic. So if you're a candidate looking for a job, if you type in the hash tag job or jobs in a particular area - it could be Java, it could be marketing or sales - and seeing what positions, all of those areas are going to help you network and further those types of opportunity. So whether it's an in person or whether it's something you're doing from home, the hash tag is, by far, one of the most powerful tools.

Peter: And it really is amazing the number of companies that are using Twitter to promote their jobs with sites like tweetajob.

Keith: Yes, they're becoming much more prominent, much stronger out there and certainly their branding capability in how they work behind the scenes with their scheduling, makes it easy for companies to not always focus on pushing the jobs but making sure that the jobs are being out there without it necessarily flooding their Twitter stream and making it, again, a push technology.

Peter: I have a question for you, Keith. Most of the information we see out there, most of the articles written around in the news and in the cable news channels regarding employment is the unemployment level. But from what I see out there and when I talk to recruiters and companies, there's a real war for talent. Do you agree?

Keith: I couldn't agree more. There's absolutely a war for talent. Whatever industry you're in, whatever company you're in you know who your competitors are and certainly targeting those that are successful and you're looking for... ideally, most companies are looking for somebody who has the skills, the qualifications to come in and really hit the ground running and be productive. So there is always a war for talent, for key skill sets, whatever industry it is.

If you're able to get into - if it's the IT industry and you're looking for a particular company, you may be receiving calls from your competitors to come over and help in those areas. There is absolutely a war. There has always been a war. There was going to continue to be a war for talent strictly because those skills that candidates possess in certain areas are so critical to organizations.

Peter: You had spoke a little bit about some of the projections for 2011, especially around the whole area of data integration. Are there any other projections that you can share with us especially in the areas of HR and recruiting technology and the use of social networks. What do you see coming out in 2011?

Keith: I think they're going to be three areas that are going to be developed really next year. I think companies are going to gain a better understanding of what social media ROI really means. What is the return? Is it a dollar amount? Is it a candidate flow? What does it really mean for each company, and I think there's been a big question about how to do that. Companies have come in and said let's get used to it, let's figure this out a little bit more and then we're going to start tracking that. So I think ROI is going to be a big discussion next year.

I think second that we're going to see further developments in mobile recruiting technology, whether it's apps or web based, websites or whatever the instance may be, I think mobile is going to take that next step, SMS type text.

And lastly, I believe location-based tools such as FourSquare, Gowalla, Whirl and recently the introduction of Unsocial, are going to become more widely used for recruiting to be able to connect with others and be able to direct people back to careers websites, make it much more of an engaging area so it's not just all about kind of the retail side of that but much more about companies integrating and connecting with an audience.

Peter: That's some terrific advice and projections out there. I think you're absolutely right. To me, both mobile and the whole location based industry is really going to explode next year.

Keith: It's going to be very exciting to see.

Peter: Yes, absolutely. Well, best of luck in your new role, Keith. By the way, what is your new role? Do you have a title yet?

Keith: I think my title, as far as it's coming now is as an HR recruiter and I'm going to be focusing on some strategic recruiting efforts and certainly getting involved heavily, is my thought, with social media next year as well. I'm really looking forward to it.

Peter: Great. Thank you so much and I look forward to staying in touch with you, Keith.

We'd like to thank Taleo for sponsoring our podcast today with Keith McIlvaine. TotalPicture Radio welcomes your participation in the conversation. Visit Keith's feature page in the Inside Recruiting Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com to voice your opinion.

You'll find additional resources including the complete transcript of this podcast. Connect with TotalPicture Radio on iTunes and join our new Facebook group, more than 4,000 organizations used Taleo to attract, hire and retain top talent, requiring no capital investment. Taleo software as a service delivered on demand, offers 95% customer satisfaction, 99.9% availability and 100% accountability.

Know your people. Grow your business. Visit Taleo.com to learn more.

This is Peter Clayton reporting. Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration. Our interviews connect your company with your customers and prospects.

Keith McIlvaine Specialties
Recruiting (full life cycle recruitment experience), direct sourcing, behavioral interviewing, candidate profiling, contract negotiation, vendor evaluation and selection, marketing, employee integration/training, social/professional networking, and product collaboration and evaluation.

Leading the global recruiting strategy and implementation of social media and social networking by expanding the recruiting reach into non-traditional avenues.

About Victaulic:
Victaulic, the world leader in mechanical pipe joining systems, was founded in New York City in 1925 to market a radical new concept in the piping industry - a mechanical bolted coupling that would engage into grooves and use a gasket seal.

The concept of joining pipe with bolted mechanical couplings originated during World War I for rapid deployment of fuel and water lines to Allied forces. The company that worked closely with the War Department of England to develop this new method of joining pipe was named Victory Pipe Joint Company after the coupling it had engineered - known as the "victory joint" from early military uses. Later, combining the words "Victory" and "Hydraulics" the name was shortened to Victaulic, and the company began to shift its focus to commercial piping applications to market its new innovative method of joining pipe.
For more than 80 years, the company's enthusiasm for crafting unconventional solutions has allowed it to forge new paths as it tackles the industry's most unique challenges.

 

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Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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