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13/04/2008

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Alex Hens

I've read this all with interest - but don't know whether it's just me or perhaps, may I be so bold as to suggest, maybe a wider reaching "britishness" that means I, and people like me, are slightly uncomfortable bigging ourselves up so blatantly in such a public arena - and let's face it, bigging yourself up is effectively what a CV does. Perhaps this is an odd thing to admit for a committed public ranter / blogger – but if I feel that way then what about all those people who read and never contribute to blogs and the like other than within their own established spheres.

I guess I'm wondering whether it's an innovation adoption issue (do we indeed lag behind – almost certainly that plays its part) or maybe it’s something more fundamental, something that just doesn't sit well with the national psyche.

At a recent ABCe www.abce.org.uk conference it was explained by two of the speakers, as clearly as I’ve ever heard, exactly why mobile web (be that WAP or 3g) just hasn’t really taken off here to the level that it had in other countries and to the degree gambled on by the phone operators – Japan was the example of the most web mobile enabled economy and it could be summarised in the national stereotype: compact living space – massive commutes – fiercely private.

So I wonder, before we all get carried away prophesising the next great coming, whether it will truly find a prominent place in the wider hearts and minds of Candidate UK – over and beyond early adopters and sales people (who, with the greatest respect, are least reserved about blowing their own trumpet – perhaps a little like our brethren from across the pond?).

It’s important to look ahead – it’s equally important to see how emerging innovations could impact the recruitment space and seek to use them as much as we can along the way – but I think sometimes there’s a little danger of getting caught up in our own “early adopter” enthusiasm for things. I don’t doubt it’s already a really powerful resource for keen networkers and recruiters, and I agree offering links to your Linked-in profile is a good addition to asking for a CV – but I don’t really see it heralding the death of the CV. Come on. Do you really?

I am so becoming a grumpy old git aren’t I? (rhetorical!)

Right – let’s go ask my Mum to write me a recommendation on Linked-in then just in case I come to need it.

;-)

Matt

Come on Alex, live a little! Were you one of the people who saw the internet when it first came out and thought you'd be better off sticking with Ceefax because it was never going to catch on! ;-)

At the end of the day it's the users / candidates who decide. Recruiters are already using it to source candidates and not just in the US either. If people see it as a valid channel to getting a job then why wouldn't they upload a profile. There is a way to go until it's mainstream and lots of product evolution needs to happen but I think it's an important trend nevertheless. It's more to do with having your CV where you can control its content and distribution rather than having numerous copies lodged with third parites.

Interesting theory about Japan by they way, I would suspect the real answer is more to do with the fact they got 3G a long time before we did!

Matt

John Whitehurst

Also ... the Internet never really took off in Japan - it was straight to mobile.

Part of their culture ....

There has been a lot of research looking at how and why people use social media in business ... so if you want to pop yourself into a box Alex you can :-) I will not be so bold ...

But there are positive and negative elements to social media ... I am being far more careful about who I link to and the information that is shown.

One click and effect many people ...

Linkedin.com does make a lot of CV information open - this is great for recruiters as they can see how peers rate you and how good your networking skills really are.

Alex Hens

I appreciate it's already being used in many places - and rightly so - a recruiters job description is to use all available means to source appropriate candidates, Linked-in is just a further natural extension of the web that helps them by clearly displaying the employment details of the profilees.

I recently heard that in Italy Fiat are making a significant portion of their hires using Linked-in.

My observation is just that the success or otherwise of such platforms may be as much dictated by a nation's underlying psyche as any other factor (which it could of course you could state "wasn't it always thus") - and it's my belief that the British, as a nation, are generally accepted as being more selfdeprecating than our American buddies, so would maybe, when taken as a larger entity, take to such a self promotion facilitating tool differently. That said - all your points in regards to the single place to keep your information etc etc are absolutely valid and that, together with the globalisation of the labour market, may be sufficient for people to forget their British hang ups and get on bigging themselves up for all to see.

And according to people far more knoweldgeable than I (UK Head of Marketing - Microsoft), it was the rate of mobile web access uptake and penetration in Japan that was significantly different, not the fact that 3G was years later arriving.

Matt

Blimey Alex I never had you down as a Social Anthropologist. I concede that you have introduced a new and interesting slant on the argument. I'll even admit to using Ceefax myself the other day, I needed to look something up and couldn't be bothered to boot my PC up. This is also something that is indicative of the lack of UK mobile web take up!

Alex Hens

I'm not very social and don't really like insects - so not sure how you came to that conclusion ;-)

But I agree - the "can't be bothered" factor is a massive decider, much like I couldn't be bothered to give up any more of my first life wasting time in second life, or (and I'm sure you have a web enabled phone Matt - Senior Advertising Exec like you ;) you deciding to use your remote rather than struggling with the browser and search on a phone screen.

We are lucky in that generally we have the opportunity to chose what is most fit for the purpose we need at that moment. Just because you can do something doesn't mean people will - and that applies to linked-in too.

I felt the initial discussion was going the way of mass bubble prediction - whereas in reality you'll certainly have a good uptake of mid to senior level types hungry to further their career and used to networking and such like getting on there, but it still will suit some sectors and personality types far more than others, and like one of my colleagues recently commented (and this is a true quote given today) "I just can't be bothered with it - I just accept people's invitations to be linked, but I never go on it".

I can see why serial networkers and recruiters are wetting themselves with excitement at this development - but just because they are doesn't mean those who follow will be quite as tempted to divulge their innermost career secrets - especially if you were the type to swing the lead a little to try and secure that next step up.

So kill the CV? Probably not.
More promise to fulfill? Certainly.
Making a real difference (at least for some parts of the recruitment market)? Definitely.

Good debate though - and will certainly be interesting to watch.

Matt

The essence of it for me though isn't the current functionality or attitudes to the product in it's existing form. It's actually the concept of people being able to put their CV in one place, keep it up to date themselves and essentially drive recruiters to it. That's where the revolution is going to come from. LinkedIn may well be the company to drive this but it needs careful handling so it may be whoever comes after them. It's going to happen though!

Peter Gold

Interesting post Matt; I've got a post coming on this point so you can all add your views at that time.

It won't be on CEEFAX so Alex may miss it :>p

Alex Hens

I've got a TV with 4 buttons on the top - so no idea what the hell this CEEFAX thing you're all blathering on about is anyway!

;D

Derek Pilcher

Having read this blog for ages, I thought it was about time I stopped being a lurker

Working for one of the 'volume reach' websites (Monster for those that don't know me), I found the post and subsequent points very interesting ......although not sure that the comments reflect widescale adoption possibilities.

The early adopters will always be the net savvy candidates - the same people that will use all tools and options across the net to promote themselves widely. Alex gets it right (rarely agreed to!) - Sales people will obviously provide a strong candidate flow. The same people using Linked-in as their CV storage centre, no doubt, also have their CV's widely registered across all the core and specific niche websites.....so why is Linked-in going to give them the added edge

Surely, it's not about the technology but always about how much the relevant company (Linked-in) promote the ease of using this as an online CV warehouse link for individuals......which could be one of their key and differentiating USP's. Unless they push the brand it will never get to the masses before the next big thing hits and leaves them behind the game - 'word of mouth' will give them an early lift but won't create the scaleability.

As Matt said - Linked-in + another application (Twitter).....now that could work.

Nevertheless as we speaks I'm sending out loads of recommendations for my Linked-In profile! I am a salesman after all.

Looking forward to being shot down in flames!

Alex Hens

(have also placed this as a reponse to a parrallel debate on Tim's blog you can pick up here - http://timelkington.typepad.com/tims_blog/2008/04/how-much-is-too.html)

Thanks for popping your head above the parapet Derek - and don't worry - agreeing with me tends to wear off quite quickly ;-)


Wait for long enough and someone will explain with absolute clarity what your struggling with - and if you're lucky then it's someone as noted and eloquent as Seth Godin.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/04/signal-to-noise.html

For me this is all getting a little too testosterone fuelled in regards to the pursuit of naming the next great recruitment shaping arrival – almost playground-esque “who wants to be in the emerging channels gang?” and if you don’t “you smell”. I’d even go so far as to wonder out loud if it’s an agenda being driven by people with distinct signs of paranoia who feel that if they're not connected 80%-90% of the time then they're missing out on something, or else in some way inadequate if they’re not wowing people by name dropping the new and obscure from the web.

Let's face it - recruitment moves far slower than most of the loudest voices seem willing to accept - and those early adopters are by a long shot the exception rather than the rule. Great for making new business noise – fab for spinmeisters - absolutely something to watch - but a long way off being a worthwhile investment for most recruiting brands. And as I keep saying – so few actually have web1.0 right yet – perhaps as an industry a little while concentrating on improving the quality of delivery in that arena and upping the standard would be no bad thing in regards to truly leading candidate engagement.

A colleague of mine was recently talking to a senior contact from Yell who freely admitted what TMP seem unable / unwilling to – their award winning 2nd life presence http://www.yellgroup.com/english/media-pressreleases-2007-tmphelpsyelltakefirststepsinsecondlifeforrecruitmentdrive was an out and out PR stunt, and judged on that basis a great success. And in case you doubt my feelings on this - sincere congratulations go to both Yell & TMP for a brilliantly executed piece of work on that basis.

I don't doubt that twitter could prove of business worth for some, whether in recruitment or other spheres - but for many many people it is indeed additional "noise" that I and like minded people don't need in our already packed lives. And no - that doesn't make us ludites - it makes us experienced, pragmatic and busy recruitment people.

Maybe by the time Gen Y or whoever's next comes on stream as a major part of the workforce Twitter/LinkedIn will be part of the very fabric of society and indeed be an invaluable recruitment tool – but I have a hunch by then it will be something 3 or 4 times newer that is grabbing the headlines as THE social media phenomenon.

Or perhaps something far more controversial - employers could come to the conclusion that real world skills (for the majority of their recruitment requirements) are far more important than the ability to connect with 74 people you barely “really” know whilst microblogging about your bowel movements – thus steering clear of people who spend a disproportionate amount of their time on such pursuits – or simply not factoring it into their recruitment consideration at all. Maybe real world things like “going to gigs” and “meeting up with mates” on your CV (or LinkedIn profile) will go from being an nothing statement to being an active positive differentiator in evaluating a candidate for a position.

Maybe.

Matt

@ Derek - Good to see you posting! I think the key point I was trying to make in the original post (but didn't quite nail!) was more to do with people only putting their CV in one place and promoting it. So rather than having numerous versions outside of their control they have one definitive version in one place. LinkedIn won't be the only answer I'm sure but I suspect that the current CV database model will flip on it's head in some way

@Alex - Yawn! ;-) I'm posting a special video for you and Tim on here in a minute. I completely agree with you on Second Life by the way! As a concept social media is already here and already mainstream (I'm sure I read that 46% of the UK population is engaging with Social Media in some way). It's not about the "next big thing" it's about what combination of Social Media tools reach the right people for the client. If finding candidates that are hard to reach via old fashioned methods (i.e. most candidates!) is now a minority activity in recruitment communications then I'm happy be one of the minority of agencies that advise clients on how to harness and measure effectiveness in new channels!

Alex Hens

Oh - sorry Matt - didn't know you worked for "one of those agencies".

I take it back.

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