Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What's Your 20 Seconds? ...Here's Mine

When I finished a run the other day, I looked down and noticed that my time was 20 seconds off from a personal record.  20 seconds! 

After grumbling through my cool-down, I began to think through the why.  It could have been my slightly slower start as I pondered if my recovering ankle was 100%, it could have been the slow down because I started the wrong playlist and needed to adjust.  I was spacing out when my GPS informed me of my time and pace when I had only a mile to go and I knew I still had energy left in the tank when I was done.

In short, my head wasn’t in the game when I started, I didn’t prepare properly, didn’t pay attention to the details while in the moment and didn’t give it all when I had the opportunity.  A change in any one of these details could have made the difference, if I had none of these challenges I could have significantly broken my record.

This same review and lessons can have a tremendously positive impact on your business. 

As a salesperson, the extra effort of one more new prospect call per day can make a huge difference.  Keeping focused and on pace all day decreases distractions and increases results.  As a leader, preparation for each day, month, quarter, year is essential.  Pay attention to the details along the way.  Finally, when you commit to start something, be all in- with maximum effort at all times!

The extra effort doesn’t need to be elaborate to make a significant difference.  You just need to recognize where you can put that extra effort in, then commit and execute.  The results can be the difference between a strong result and a result you measure all future efforts against.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

10 Things You Should Know About Every Candidate

1.             Complete compensation details. Understand exactly how the candidate’s current compensation program is structured. This means more than the candidate’s base salary; the base salary is just part of the overall package. Be sure that you ask about bonuses; if, how and when they are paid out, stock options or grants that have been awarded. Compile a complete list of benefits and how they are structured and know when the candidate is up for his or her next review, because this can alter cash compensation.
2.             Type of commute. Commute is a quality-of-life issue and discussing it is important.  If the commute to their next job is worse for the candidate than it is in his or her existing job, bring it up and see how the candidate responds. If the commute is better, use it as a selling point. Be sure that you understand the candidate’s current commute and how they feel about the new one.
3.             The “what they want vs. what they have” differential. Most candidates do not change jobs just for the sake of changing jobs. They change jobs because there are certain things missing in their current position that they believe can be satisfied by the position your client is offering. This disparity is called the “position differential” and it is the fundamental reason a person changes jobs. Know what this position differential is and you will be able to know if you have what the candidate is looking for. If so, you will be able to develop an intelligent capture strategy when it comes time to close.
4.             How they work best. Some candidates work best if left alone, while others work best as part of a team. It is your job to know enough about the client’s philosophy and the way the hiring manager works to see if the candidate will either mesh. Beware of recommending hiring a candidate who does not fit into the current scheme, because, at times, style can be just as important as substance.
5.             Overall strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to get some understanding of the candidate’s strong points and the candidate’s limitations. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. Your role is to identify them and be able to present them to the hiring manager. Hint: Ask what functions the candidate does not enjoy performing. We are seldom good at things we don’t like.
6.             What they want in a new position. Everyone wants something. Find out what the candidate wants in a new position. Be sure to do whatever is necessary to get this information. Feel free to pick away during the interviewing process with open-ended questions until you have all of your questions answered. It is difficult to determine whether a given hiring situation has a good chance of working out if you do not know what the candidate is looking for in a new position.
7.             Is the candidate interviewing elsewhere? This is big; I don’t like surprises and neither do hiring managers. I always ask the candidate what else they have for activity. If the candidate has three other companies they are considering and two offers are arriving tomorrow, this is absolute need-to-know information. If the hiring manager wants to make an offer, it’s time to advise them as to what the competition looks like and move this deal onto the express lane, fast.
8.             What it will take to close the deal. This is a first cousin of #6 above but it is more specific and flavored with a “closing the deal” mentality. #6 relates to what the candidate wants in a new position, but this one quantifies that want. For example, if the candidate wants more money, this is where you will assess how much it will take to close the deal. As another example, while #6 will let you know that the candidate wants to work on different types of projects, this one will tell you exactly what types of projects those are.
9.             Can the candidate do the job? Even though, as the recruiter, you might not be able to determine if this is the perfect candidate, you should exit the interview with an opinion as to whether or not the candidate can perform the functions of the position. Furthermore, that opinion must be based upon information that was unveiled during the interviewing process and not just a gut feeling. It has to be based upon what the candidate has successfully accomplished and how that aligns with the needs of the current position. If you can’t offer a solid opinion on this one, you need to dig deeper until you have a solid case for why the candidate can or cannot do the job.
10.          Will the candidate fit into the culture? Predicting the future is tricky business, but someone has to take a shot at evaluating a candidate’s chance for success. Not everyone that is capable of doing the job will have a successful run at the company, because culture does play a role in candidate success. For example, the culture of a buttoned-down insurance company in Chicago is very different than the garage culture of a software startup in Silicon Valley. If you have a reason to believe that the person is the wrong DNA for an organization, it is imperative that you raise the issue.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Single Most Important Interview Question Is...

There are a great deal of interviewing strategies, techniques and methodologies out there.  Some of these techniques are good, some good only in theory.   However, interviewing doesn’t need to be so complicated that it warrants books on the topic.  An interview is nothing more than a conversation with a purpose – with that purpose being to learn if this person is a good fit for the role and culture of the company.

There is one question that will tell you a tremendous amount about a candidate…

“What made you decide to leave that position?”

If you ask this question about a candidate’s current position and every position they list on their resume you will learn a tremendous amount about how they process the world around them, their character and what drives them.

In order to make this question work for you, you must really dig into the answer.  Don’t accept anything vague or answers that don’t make sense.   Listen to what they focus on, as that is what drives their internal motivations.  Be sure to look at trends.  If a candidate left their last 3 jobs because of the same reason, there is likely more to the story.

Think about these responses:

·      “Personal” – Not good enough, ask for more information about what was happening that made them decide to leave their employment.
·      “It was time to make a change” - Why?
·      “Wanted more money” – Was this not an option where they currently work? What prevented you from getting a raise?  If the candidate has only been there a year ask: “If you were excited to take the job at this salary, what changed to make you feel you need higher compensation at this time?” 
·      “Layoff” – I like to ask how large the reduction in force was.  If it was just them, dig in a bit more.
·      “The company was going through changes and everyone was leaving” – Not acceptable.  You want independent thinkers.
·      “Company could not make payroll” – You can’t argue with that one.
·      “I outgrew the role” – First ask if there was any opportunity at the company to grow in the direction they wanted.  If there was and it was not available to them, dig in there may be a red flag.  If there wasn’t, or there is a logical reason for that opportunity not being available, then this is a valid reason.
·      “I am not a cultural fit” – Dig in more, but may be valid and you have to applaud the candidate for being wise enough to recognize it.
·      “I have learned I want to have challenges in…” – If those challenges are not available where they are now, this is very valid.

The list of answers could go on and on.  If you really dig into the answers to this single question, you will have a solid understanding of the candidate’s drive, character and motivation by the end of your conversation.

Friday, September 6, 2013

13 Best Social Media Management Tools

Social media management can be overwhelming.  Adam Connell did a great job summarizing the pros and cons of the top tools used today.

13 Best Social Media Management Tools

13 Best Social Media Management Tools
1 Sep 2013
In the following post you’re going to discover some of the most powerful social media tools on the market. These will help you save more time managing your social accounts, pull out actionable insights about influencers and ultimately help you get results.
Social media has some huge benefits, you can use it to promote your content and you can use it to connect with influencers.
That’s great, but when you’ve got various profiles across a number of different social networks, managing them can become extremely time consuming.
What if you could find a way to save an incredible amount of time, connect with more influencers than before and ultimately get more from your social media marketing efforts?
The collection of tools that I’ve put together for you are the answer – all of them are extremely powerful and have some great features.
Hold on to your hats …

Top Social Media Management Tools

Social Oomph (Free + $)

Social Oomph - Management Tools
Sure, it doesn’t look pretty but it doesn’t need to be. Social Oomph gets the job done.
Social Oomph will take your productivity to the next level with advanced scheduling, integrated timelines, click tracking, advanced methods of combatting Twitter spam, support for Facebook and Linkedin along with support for unlimited accounts.
You can even manage multiple blogs right from your account which means managing your blogs can be done easily. Social Oomph supports a number of different platforms from free blogging platforms to self-hosted WordPress installations.
There are free and paid accounts available, but you really need the paid account to make the most of it, pricing starts at around $26 per month and you will never need to pay any more than that no matter how many accounts you use.
I have a paid account and it saves me loads of time, it’s an integral part of my social media toolbox.
Sign up for an account | Read the review

Buffer (Free + $)

Manage Your Social Media With Buffer
Buffer makes scheduling status updates so easy.
The annoying thing about pressing the tweet button or publishing an update on most social platforms is that it goes out straight away, not when you want.
Sometimes you want to share a few posts but if you share them all at the same time then chances are you’ll annoy your followers – Buffer allows you to spread them out how you want.
Just add an update to your Buffer and they will be published at pre-determined times which you can change to whatever you like.
The great news here is that Buffer is now compatible with Google+ pages which isn’t supported by many platforms (yet).
There’s also helpful analytics and the option to setup team members.
The ‘Awesome’ account as they call it, starts at $10/month.
Sign up for an account

Hootsuite (Free + $)

Complete Social Media Management With Hootsuite
Hootsuite is the tool that I use for my day to day management of my social media accounts.
It makes responding and updating profiles really easy and their mobile app makes things pretty easy when I’m on the go.
The free account limits you to 5 social profiles, gives you basic scheduling and reporting but the real good stuff happens when you get on the pro account.
The pro account allows you to monitor and update over 50 social profiles along with some other helpful features.
You can also import unlimited RSS feeds to your social profiles and while you are better off doing things manually, this is a quick way to keep your profiles updated if you are short on time.
The free account may do what you need, but it’s well worth giving their 30 day pro account free trial a go to see what you think, if you like it then it’s only $8.99 a month.
Sign up for a 30 day pro account free trial

Tweepi (Free + $)

Clean Up Your Social Profiles With Tweepi
The way that Tweepi can help you is by giving you the ability to clean up your account and figure out who to follow, who to unfollow etc.
The unfortunate part is that you can’t really do all that much with the free account, all the good stuff is part of the premium account (as you’d expect).
Premium accounts start at $7.99 per month but the data you’ll be able to get back more than makes up for it.
You’ll be able to make decisions based on Klout score, verified accounts, protected, location, # followers, # statuses, follow ratio and clean up all those accounts with the egg display picture.
Sign up for an account

Commun.it (Free + $)

Get more social insights with Commun.It
Commun.it is unlike any other Twitter management tool I have ever come across.
It is geared towards helping you engage with influencers which is awesome because Influencer Marketing is huge but what really makes this platform great is that it tells you what to do next.
The free account is quite limited however, but it’s still incredibly useful.
Pricing starts from around $30 if you’re paying monthly which allows you to add 4 profiles and have unlimited engagements – if you need more then there are a few other accounts that add other helpful features.
Sign up for an account

Manage Flitter (Free+ $)

Manage Your Social Profiles More Effectively
Manage Flitter is focused mostly on Twitter as opposed to the likes of Social Oomph and Hootsuite that offer a more complete social media management solution.
That being said, Manage Flitter has some extremely useful features that highlight who to follow and who to unfollow. For example, are you following fake profiles? Manage Flitter will tell you.
You can also use Manage Flitter to import your Google+ posts to Twitter.
One feature that really jumps out at me is the ‘Power Post’ feature that allows you to post updates at the best times.
You can add different pieces of data and overlay it on a time line so you can visually see when the best time to post is.
Types of data you can add boils down to when particular segments of people are on Twitter, you can add particular locations, people you follow and the pro account allows you to add your followers which is incredibly useful.
Sign up for an account

Market Me Suite (Free +$)

Social Media Marketing At It's Best
While Manage Flitter focuses more on Twitter, Market Me Suite is a different kettle of fish (so to speak) it’s positioned as more of a complete social media management tool.
Plans start from free but you’re restricted to 1 profile and only a few scheduled messages although if that’s enough for you then I’m sure you’ll find some of the features interesting.
The pro plan starts at $15 per month and lifts the limit on profiles and adds team members, analytics and other add ons.
The way Market Me Suite works isn’t as much about ‘personal’ social media use but using social media for generating business leads.
Sign up for an account

TweetDeck (Free)

Ultimate Twitter Management With Tweet Deck
TweetDeck is pretty awesome and it’s completely free; providing you an easy to use tool that you can use to monitor and manage unlimited accounts, schedule tweets and more.
There is a mobile app too so staying updated on the go is extremely easy.
Despite this being a tool owned by Twitter it also integrates Facebook too.
On a personal note, I do prefer the feel of Hootsuite (maybe that’s because I’m so used to it) but TweetDeck does seem to deliver more data in your Twitter feed, including who’s followed you etc.
Learn more here

Raven Tools ($)

Your Complete Social Marketing Platform - Raven Tools
Raven Tools comes in at a higher starting price point ($99 p/month) but you get so much more because this is a complete marketing toolset that includes in depth research tools, rank tracking, PPC management, SEO and social media management tools.
I won’t go too much into the other features here (please note, they are awesome) since we’re talking more about social media.
Raven Tools is currently compatible with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – it includes a monitoring tool that pulls in mentions from search results across a bunch of different platforms, so if you’re looking for an alternative to Google Alerts too, then this is the tool for you.
There’s even some really useful reporting functionality that pull in metrics from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Raven Tools is team friendly and also has a built in CRM and task management system – the Swiss army knife of marketing platforms.
Sign up for the 30 day free trial

Sprout Social ($)

Social Media Management At It's Finest
Sprout Social is a comprehensive social media marketing platform that puts all of your social profiles in one place.
There’s a task management system built in to make tracking what you’re doing easy, especially if you’re working with teams.
Sprout Social has put a lot of thought into scheduling, similar to Buffer there is a ‘Sprout Queue’ that you can add updates to that will filter out whenever you like.
You’ve got all the usual search and profile clean up options that a lot of other social media management tools (especially those that focus on Twitter) have these days.
Supported social platforms include the following:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+ Pages
  • Linkedin
Along with integration for RSS feeds and Google Analytics.
Sign up here

Social Bro ($)

Social Management with Social Bro
Social Bro currently just supports Twitter but it brings you the complete package that allows you to;
  • Target the right people
  • Engage with the right people
  • Analytics and tracking
  • Twitter management
There is so much to this tool that you really need to sign up to their free trial to see exactly what it can do.
A few other interesting features include Hootsuite integration and their ‘best time to tweet’ function.
Overall, Social Bro starts at a lower price point than most tools, but it does have a few restrictions
Sign up for the 15 day free trial

Social Motus ($)

Social Media Analytics and Tracking Tools
Social Motus is a complete social marketing platform that will help you manage your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
You’ll also be able to schedule posts, find highly targeted prospects and track the success of your marketing campaigns.
You can also monitor your blog or brand name to see what is being said – great for reputation management.
Sign up for an account here

Sendible ($)

Ultimate Social Media Management with Sendible
The problem with a lot of social media management tools is that they only support a few services, what If I could show you a tool that allows you to manage a huge number of social platforms easily?
It’d be great right?
Well, say hello to Sendible!
Here are a few of the social media sites that Sendible supports:
  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Flickr
  • Ning
  • Instagram
  • Foursquare
  • Delicious
  • Diigo
  • Instapaper
  • Tumblr
  • Blogspot
  • WordPress
  • WordPress.com
  • Typepad
… The list continues.
In addition to being able to manage the above platforms you can also measure the success of everything you publish, monitor, respond and more.
There’s also built in support for an SMS auto responder and a number of free email services along with more cool stuff.
Sounds good right?
Pricing starts at around $15.
Sign up for the 30 day free trial

Rounding up …

Now you’ve had a good look at what social media management tools are available on the market, I hope you can come to a good decision to really make your mark on social media.
The tools I’ve listed incorporate a good mix of tools that do other awesome things, especially the likes of Raven Tools that will turn you and your blog into a marketing powerhouse with all the tools you’ll need to succeed.
And right down to straight up productivity tools that enable you to get more from social such as Social Oomph.
So now my question to you is – what do you find difficult about managing your social media accounts?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Recruitment Ads Not Getting Results? Try Surprising Broca!


I came home and my dog was bald.  I then realized that in my rush to get to my new job - which I absolutely love -  I left the electric razor on.  It looks like Fido had as much fun at work today as I did.  Are you looking for an opportunity where you too can have that kind of excitement to get to work each morning?  Consider this…

Okay, the above example is a bit over the top.  The point is that when you post a position on your website, job board, social media, or anywhere else, the more interesting you make it, the more people will actually read it and be excited by it.  Think of these job postings as if they are TV or radio commercials for the position you are recruiting for.  The dull commercials are quickly forgotten (or you don’t know what they are trying to sell), the exciting commercials have you thinking about their message.

There is an area of the brain called Broca’s Area.  Broca’s Area is the area that filters what the brain will pay attention to, and what gets filtered out.  You must surprise Broca in some way if you want to be remembered.

When writing postings, think about what makes this job exciting or unique.  Will your heading and intro be unique enough to draw them in and make them want to read more?  It may be a simple as “30 seconds off the freeway with free parking!” (a big perk in a large market) or as grandiose as “Enjoy cook to order breakfasts & massages at work!”

 You get the idea.  The next time you have a job commercial to write, have some serious, but professional fun.  You will be surprised by the results.