It's Not About How Private You Are; It's About What Privacy Means to You

I’ve heard people say that if you’re very private, then you would prefer not to post all sorts of stuff about yourself on social media sites. And of course I’ve heard people say that people who are really open are happy to post anything. 

Now, I’m thinking that it’s not so clear cut.

The dividing line, I believe, is not about whether you’re a private person or an open book, but rather it’s about what topics you like to keep to yourself.

I don’t consider myself private. I’d happily share my views on most anything, most any time. On the other hand, I’ve noticed a significant number of people post about their dating lives, not just on the more personal Facebook but on the more work-oriented Twitter. This is something that, if I were dating, I probably would not.

Sometimes people post about their illnesses and their diseases. Thank goodness I do not have either; if I did, I suppose I’d feel comfortable talking about them. For some reason, I’m OK with that. 

I’ve noticed that another person, who I used to work with and who generally considers her views on politics and religion and other issues to be fairly private, has posted on Facebook about her fertility challenges in more detail than, well — let’s just say, she used specifics.

Another person I know is otherwise very private, but speaks about his and other people’s salaries pretty openly, a topic I and many other people don’t normally broach.

I usually like when people post personal thoughts about their families; for example, on the anniversaries of the deaths of one of their parents or grandparents. It makes them feel more human to me. Sometimes, however, when people post all sorts of really schmoopy things about their spouses or significant others, it feels a little too personal for my taste.

After and during the president’s speech two nights ago, a lot of people in the recruiting field weighed in, pro or con. For them, politics should be shared. For others, they’re more comfortable sharing about the challenges they’re having with their reproductive organs.

Have you ever cringed when you read something an employee of your company, or a candidate for a job at your company, posted online? If so, I wonder if it’s one of those things they felt that to them just wasn’t that private.


After the Green is Gone

A year ago, so many recruiters I am connected with on Twitter were making their Twitter photos green, in solidarity with Iranian dissidents. This was nice, but not many photos seem to be green anymore.

What happened? Were the green photos a temporary fad or something? I mean, this isn’t an issue like apartheid, which came and went. Sadly, there are still countries oppressing women and torturing (and killing) gays.

Five months ago, we all used our cell phones to text-message donations to Haiti after the earthquake. Ever wonder what became of the country? Because there are fewer reporters talking about Haiti, does that mean it’s all better now?

It makes me think of other issues and topics that have come … and not gone. Also a year ago, we started a list on ERE of recruiters looking for jobs. Though some have likely left the industry, for others the hunt hasn’t gone away. I’d love any thoughts you have on how ERE can continue to try to help, so that list wasn’t something that just appeared on the site for a while and then left.

Similarly, a couple of months ago, Steve Levy and Rob Dromgoole kicked off the 1,000 recruiters of light project to match job-seeking veterans with recruiters who can help them. Again, I’d love any thoughts you have on how ERE can continue to try to serve as a platform for this issue. Again, I’d hate to think this article ran on the home page, people got excited, and then perhaps the issue faded from our radar screens. Veterans will continue to arrive home by the thousands over the coming many months and will continue to need help.

I hope the ERE community continues to use the site for projects like Steve and Rob’s. And I hope we can find ways to keep these efforts alive after the initial push has come and gone, in situations where the problem being addressed has not come and gone.



What's Missing When it Comes to Corporate Career Sites

A funny thing is happening to job candidates. They’re finding corporate career sites more interesting and informative, with more multimedia, and they’re seeing employment brands, at least sometimes, that are different than the next company’s.

But when they get to the part of the company’s career site where they search for a job, or apply for a job, they often find themselves in a hosted talent acquisition system that looks much different than the main corporate career site, and more like the systems powering other career sites.

In other words, the experience changes. The brand gets lost.

This is a topic I wrote about for the next Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership. I talked to, among others, UnitedHealth, Intuit, and Intel about what they’re doing to address this challenge.

The Warehouse has put a lot of thought into this. The Warehouse’s Head of Talent Management, Jane Davis, for example, said that “One of the most important things to us when setting up the careers site was to have a seamless brand experience right through the application process. When we researched others’ careers sites, we were very disappointed to see the number of beautiful sites that created an excellent brand experience, which was then ruined the minute you clicked through to apply for a role.”

Davis says: “To lose candidates at the application stage she says after you have sold them on the organization is just crazy!”

I’m not sure how many candidates are being lost. Certainly some. Others are being bored, by job search pages and job application pages that don’t look too appealing, and others are being confused, by search results that can make it difficult to navigate between the job they clicked on and the results they had got a minute prior.

Anyhow, like I said, I’ll get into this more in your next Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.

In some cases, the solution is to find a vendor who can “optimize” the transition between your career site and your back-end system. In other cases, the solution is to make minor color and font changes to the talent acquisition system to make it at least a little more consistent with your look and feel. And in still other cases, the solution is still being searched for.



How People Describe Things

You can learn a lot by the way people describe things.

A former boss of mine told me that usually when people describe their pets, they are describing themselves. I wasn’t sure if I believed her until an old childhood friend of mine described his dog as “a big softie” — which was a great description of himself. I’ve heard other people describe their pets as being social or antisocial, or having other characteristics, in such a way that reflects more of themselves than the animal. (Why people eventually look like their dogs we’ll save for a later blog post.)

You can learn something by listening to how people describe the presents they give for birthdays, graduations, or Christmas. There are the people who want to fix other people, who describe presents like this:

I got my father a new shirt. He really needs one. His shirts are all getting old and he won’t get any more.

Normally these present-givers, so focused on fixing what they perceive as a problem, don’t realize the present-recipient has precisely as many items of clothing as they want. 

Other present-givers have a deeper interest in the recipient’s wishes:

I got her a book about lacrosse. She loves lacrosse. She’s been playing since she was 12. I don’t know what she’ll do with all this lacrosse now that she has graduated. I know lacrosse is important and it’ll always be, regardless of what else she’s got going on.

How people describe their jobs will tell you as much about their companies’ brands as the description of pets and presents will tell you about a person. If you want to know a company’s employment brand, don’t ask the company to describe it. Just listen to how people who work at that company answer the question, “what do you do?”

I listened to people answer this question at a Memorial Day party. That’s over, so listen during July 4 barbecues. You’ll learn what people really think of their employers.

On Memorial Day, one person described to me his job at a healthcare company. He mentioned what he did there, but also told me in the next sentence how critical the organization was to the local area, how much it meant.

Another person, a high school coach, immediately told me about the successful athletes who’d graduated and become college stars, names many Americans know as near-household names to a country that loves football. 

Another person, involved in the security business, was passionate about the ability of the company’s products to make its customers safer. Much safer, he believed, than customers of his competitors.

Another person described her job and company without making a real connection to how it helped its customers or made a difference to much of anything. Hearing about her dog would have been more interesting.