The Coming Fall of Facebook?

The Coming Fall of Facebook?

Many of us have made decisions about how (and if) social media fits within our recruiting strategy, but if the past repeats itself, many of us are going to find that things have shifted and that we have fallen behind.

Why? Because social media is changing more rapidly than we can and we are almost always slow to adapt and adopt.

Let’s be realistic, some of us are still struggling to figure out how to use Facebook and Twitter effectively in recruiting and they are 10 and 8 years old respectively!

The only reason we know how to use LinkedIn is because its use is immediately obvious and not too different than products we have used in the past at its most basic level.

Consider the following:

Facebook
According to a blog post by the New York Times, the number of teens using Facebook has declined by 25% over the last 3 years, while use by those 55 and older has gone up by 80%.
Many say that teen usage declines on Facebook are because of the rise of those 55 and over and it definitely has some merit.

Does Facebook eventually go the way of MySpace? Probably not for a long time, but patterns of use have still not been established.

We do not know, for example, whether or not those teens that have not started using Facebook will eventually join later in life… and if they do, will it be when they are 55? I would argue that they probably won’t, because my feeling is that social media will become like music, something that each generation or group of generations carry with it throughout life.

As such, each new generation will bring in with it a new set of social media platforms that meet their needs.

Twitter
Although Twitters challenge is less certain and perhaps simpler, the sites biggest issue is that it may have already peaked, with just 3.8% growth according to some over the last quarter of 2013, slow by social media standards.

Along with growth are issues with usability and engagement. The platform remains somewhat limited in its use by the nature of its design. Additionally, the sale of “followers” or fake people to follow real people for a price (how sad is it that people pay for that?) is not helping.

Twitter has great use, but for many that use is fairly narrow.

New and more specialized media
We have seen the rise of new and more specialized social media that is designed to meet the needs of various groups. Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest,Tumblr,Tagged etc. are just the begging.

For example, the same article that spoke about Facebook’s declining teen reach highlighted a new social media platform targeting college students called Blend… I can’t say I ever heard of it, but if you’re responsible for college outreach, this may be something to keep an eye on.

A search for a list of the top social media sites presented me with a list that on which I only recognized 9 of 15 sites.

A search for social media sites turns up more than 200 different properties and the list was far from complete. Some were very niche, many very irrelevant, but depending on what talent you are looking for, some of those very niche sites are targeting exactly who you need.

This specialization brings more difficulty for us, and more complicated media plans and strategies.

We’ve seen this before… remember when our hardest decision was whether or not to run an ad in the Sunday paper? That was replaced by whether or not to post the job online and which of the 3 or 4 major boards to use, if not all of them.

Now we manage plans with SEO, SEM, job search aggregators, organic listings and sponsored listings, talent communities, employee referral platforms, talent assessments and the list goes on and on.

We’ve handled transitions before and we will handle this one, but some of us will be well ahead of the curve.

Conclusion
What do we need to do? We need to do what we have always done. We need to understand our media, who it reaches and use it accordingly.

Of course, we have to watch for those properties that have a lot of promise, but little substance, and we need to be ready for changes. We need to take intelligent risks and have measurements in place so we know when something works and when it doesn’t.

In short, to paraphrase Darwin, we need to adapt or be left behind in an ever more complex environment and a returning war for talent.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them my way!

© 2014 Michael K. Peterson, All Rights Reserved

Mike’s Predictions for 2014

So I am running a little late with my annual predictions this year, but I wanted to share them with you before too much time went on.

With that said, here are my predictions for 2014!

Job Growth will continue slowly in 2014, but more quickly than 2013
Currently the national unemployment rate is 6.6% and I predict that this will fall into the 5.3% to 5.8% range by the end of the year.  I also think we will see more consistent good news coming from the labor market, with many parts of the county enjoying fair to strong growth by December.  The nation will still be having conversations about changes in the types of work that we have, and “under-employment”, etc., but we always do when the market starts to really turn a corner.
A handful of leading companies will take “Big Data” and start turning it into predictive analytics
“Big Data” hasn’t realized it’s potential in many recruiting organizations, partially because our systems are not integrated and robust enough yet.
However, some organizations will shift from knowing what happened very well to being able to predict what may happen fairly well, like success rates and likely sources of strong employees among many other things.
The Talent Acquisition Market will start to move
We will, and in fact I think we already have, started to see the years of Talent Acquisition movement that has been “pent up” start to move, resulting in opportunities for people that have been waiting for that next Recruiter or Talent Acquisition leader role to finally have some options.  This will come in greater numbers at the staff level and will be more predominant in some markets vs. others.
Smart companies will take a hard look at their Talent Acquisition Teams and really consider whether or not the team that have will really be able to meet the challenges that are developing and will come in the market.
SEO will emerge as the new battleground
I have started to see the battle of the SEO tools,with big ones, comprehensive ones and cheap ones… the best one is yet to emerge despite what sales people from the variety of SEO products that are on the market say.
My thoughts?  The entire point to SEO is to get your jobs to a job seeker where they are looking with a few clicks as possible .  The justification for that has also been in part, to reduce your spend on SEM, job search aggregators and job boards (if you’re still there).  SEO tools can be very expensive and may essentially eclipse the savings part of any ROI, so you are left with ROI being based purely on performance (i.e. I can get more and better candidates).  I think it is unclear if that is where every organization can be using an expensive SEO tool and the modest ones may not yield the results you need…  my word of advice with this trend is to procedure with caution, it makes sense for many, but not for all!
This year promises to be a better one than last and may be a pivotal one!  Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

2013 End of Year Report Card: Mike’s Predictions for 2013

2013 End of Year Report Card: Mike’s Predictions for 2013

I am a little late in getting this out and have been neglecting my blog lately, but it’s a new year and I would like to be better about writing and sharing what I see in the recruitment space.  With that said, here is my end of year report card for 2013!

2013 continued to be an interesting year, with a lot of progress being made across many fronts of the labor market, but much more progress to be made in getting us to where we really need to be.  We have yet to hit the “magical” 300K mark, even for a single month for new jobs added to the economy, which many say is what is needed, on a sustained basis, to really bring the market back to full health.  This is complicated by a decreasing labor force participation rate (which I will write about in a later blog) and governments inability to find a way to work for anyone but themselves.

Continued Moderate Job Growth through most of 2013
Final Grade- A
As mentioned, the job market continues to slowly improve and we see some areas performing fairly robustly, namely technology in the Bay Area and other tech hubs and energy in, of all places, North Dakota (no offense North Dakota, but I never thought I would see the kind of growth you are seeing- congrats!) as well as other energy industry regions.   While the unemployment rate is actually below what I predicted (low end was 6.8% and it is at 6.7% as of December), it is a weak 6.7% with some of the rate being driven by people dropping out of the workforce.

“Big Data” will make more inroads into recruiting
Final Grade- D
“Big data” is still out there and lurking in the shadows, but it definitely has not become anywhere near the initiative that I believed it would at this point.

The government, especially the US Congress will negatively impact business and the labor market
Final
 Grade- A+
While the government has become marginally better about working for us, they still have a long way to go and still have plenty of opportunities to shoot themselves and our economy in the foot.  The unfortunate thing is that we are so happy that they managed to make it over such a low bar (as is doing a poor job vs. simply not doing their job at all) that they may mistake it for actual approval by us.

More growth of freelancers/contractors
Final
 Grade- A
This trend continues and I think we will see more and more people choosing to this type of work, especially if healthcare reform remains in place and diminishes the need to work for a company for health insurance.  This will be further accelerated by the fact that each generation is more and more comfortable with freelance work.

Conclusion
This year has seen much of the progress that we desperately needed.  I wish that the employment market would have had similar gains as the stock market and housing markets, but hopefully, 2014 will be the year that the recover finally takes a strong hold of the jobs situation.

© 2014 Michael K. Peterson, All Rights Reserved

2013 Mid Year Report Card

2013 Mid Year Report Card

So we are a little past the middle of the year and it’s time to look back at my predictions in January and see how things are turning out…

Continued Moderate Job Growth through most of 2013
Mid Year Grade- A
So far the prediction seems to be holding up pretty with continued moderate gains in employment and declines in unemployment claims. We are flirting somewhat with a threshold that would indicate the beginnings of significant job growth, which is very encouraging. The current rate of 7.4% is on trend with the end of year prediction of 7.3% to 6.8%.

“Big Data” will make more inroads into recruiting

Mid Year Grade- B
While “Big Data” in recruiting is starting to make some inroads, it’s not as prevalent as I would have thought. There is plenty of time left, but I admit, I think this may take another year or two to come to fruition.

The government, especially the US Congress will negatively impact business and the labor market
Mid Year Grade- A+
We all know some posturing is coming from our esteemed politicians in the coming months whether it be over the budget, debt ceiling, healthcare reform or another new artificial, self serving crises they will find a way to put their interests before those of the American people.

More growth of freelancers/contractors
Mid Year Grade- A
This continues to grow more and more and I think we will just continue to see this trend become more and more prevalent, especially with those early in their career that are willing to take the risk or simply need to.

Conclusion
So this has developed to be an interesting year so far and I know many of you will join me in hoping for more positive news in the labor market and many will also agree that we are genuinely seeing things moving, albeit slowly in a better direction.

© 2013 Michael K. Peterson, All Rights Reserved

No More MacGyvers?

April 29, 2013 1 comment

No More MacGyvers?

Segment(s) of the TSC Impacted:
All Segments

Introduction
Remember the TV show MacGyver from the mid 1980’s? Part Indiana Jones, part A-Team and part Bill Nye the Science Guy, in some ways it was a great show as it made science cool and was an example of how to creatively solve problems to a generation of kids… a generation that may have been one of the last to spend childhood solving problems outside of class which has become a critical problem in today’s workforce.

For those of you not familiar with the show, MacGyver became a noun and a verb for a while and meant that someone could solve what seemed to be insurmountable problems by taking duct tape, baking soda, a push pin and bubble gum and say make a car run again and/or rescue someone that was in danger.

The appeal of the show to the latch-key generation is not the shows great writing (because it wasn’t) it was that it took what a generation had been doing every day in a small, mundane way and went a step or several steps further. It allowed us to imagine where we could go and what we could do.

Department of Education Focus Group
I was recently invited to a meeting at the state Department of Education to participate in a focus group that was trying to help an organization that worked with students to get them excited about various careers.
This focus group consisted of a wide variety of people, from professors at leading research institutions to Dentists to workforce development professionals to talent acquisition leaders like me.

The organizer asked a simple question, what are students missing? You can imagine the discussion that ensued. Communication skills were thrown out, problem solving, work skills, etc., but the conversation moved to critical thinking skills, which is what I felt, was the driver of many of the problems.

I shared that I didn’t remember taking a “critical thinking skills” class in school. So this is not something that was taught at some point and was cut, rather I believe schools ever had this role to begin with. Critical thinking skills were taught through real-world life experiences and by actually doing something in non-structured environments.
I used to think this perception was simply inter-generational elitism… my generation is better than another generation, or perhaps inter-generational misunderstandings. Certainly, I think many perceived issues are based in one or both of these issues… but this specific one may be a genuine difference and I wanted to share my theory about why and find out what you thought.

The Last of the Self Made Problem Solvers?
Before some of you email me pointing out that they are problem solvers and/or know some great problem solvers and critical thinkers within their generation, let me clarify my statement. I am not saying that there are no great critical thinkers or problems solvers in younger generations.
What I am saying is that critical thinking skills used to be taken for granted because it seemed more common. Now it seems less common and/or does not come as naturally.

To be clear this skill is still developed over time, but in more and more cases, even the more basic critical thinking skills come noticeably later than they used to.
This problem is one that we have brought upon ourselves there isn’t anyone to blame; we simply live in a different world. Whether in reality or just in perception, I would never allow my two kids to do the things that me and my peers were expected to.

Let’s compare and contrast and let me know if this sounds familiar:

Getting to school
• Starting in 1st or 2nd grade, I would walk ¾ of a mile to school by myself in a very busy, not so great neighborhood and in the afternoon, walk back by myself
• My kids live 3 blocks from school in an incredibly safe suburb and I wouldn’t even think of letting them walk by themselves to school and they are older.

Coming home from school
• I would let myself into the house and I was responsible for locking up, doing my homework, doing my chores and if I was hungry, make something to eat. If I ran into a problem, I needed to solve it.
• My kids are picked up and ferried to a professionally run after school program where they do their homework and socialize while they wait for me or my wife to pick them up

Independence
• I would be miles from home and was responsible for being back before dinner, with no cell phone
• Now kids are at someone’s home or at a friend’s home, controlled and supervised environment, multiple means to communicate

Needing to eat
• If we got hungry when we were out, we pooled resources to buy food or went to someone’s house
• Generally since they are in a controlled environment, food is typically easily accessible

Things breaking
• If my bike broke down, I needed to fix it with few if any tools and little to no help other than my friends
• Again, generally they are in a controlled environment, so this is not an issue

Getting Hurt
• If me or one of my friends got hurt, we needed to figure out how bad it was, what to do and where to go
• Again, controlled environments, so this is not as much of an issue

Cars and Independence
• When we got close to turning 16 the majority of us that could realistically get or borrow a car would be in line on our 16th birthday to get our licenses.
• Compare that to now, where only roughly 24% of those under 18 that could get licenses do so. I have colleagues that have to force their kids to get licenses as they are going off to college…

Why Have Things Changed?
The reason why things changed is simple and it is our fault. The world is a different place and we feel that our children are under constant threat and that we need to protect them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to protect our kids, and I am certainly not advocating that they should do what we used to. Rather this is just a consequence of that greater protection and we have not found a means to mitigate it.

Solutions?
I am not an expert on education by any means, but I hear and agree with many others talking about the problems with the demands placed on teachers to teach to a test. I don’t think that this is the sole problem, but I worry that having structured work with more work that consists of multiple choice answers is going to exacerbate this issue.

I believe that this may be a real opportunity to balance the need to measure achievement and effectiveness through tests by changing and enriching the educational delivery. This would be done by allowing students to work together in teams to work on challenging problems with less directive guidance and where the answers may not be so clear. A model in which groups of kids can test their solutions to problems that they developed against the merits of other kids solutions to the same problem. This would not be in a competition to win, but rather in a competition to gain understanding, much like that in some alternative educational delivery methods that have emerged recently. Many times in these new schools, teachers, administrators, students and parents are all much more satisfied and confident in their kid’s progress and development.

Conclusion
I think all of us can agree that the state of education is not ideal for anyone involved, and I strongly believe that we have asked the education system to make up for things that it should never have to… however in this case, I see a great opportunity to drive positive change for all involved and potentially solve a critical problem by listening and working together… because if this problem is not solved, generations will struggle to compete in a global market more than ever.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them my way!

© 2013 Michael K. Peterson, All Rights Reserved

Mike’s Predictions for 2013

Mike’s Predictions for 2013

Once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a new year and we naturally try to anticipate what is to come.

In the spirit of that, I share my thoughts on where we may be at the end of 2013.

 

Continued Moderate Job Growth through most of 2013
We will continue to see moderate job growth month over month with some months performing better than others.  Near the end if 2013 we may even see jobs numbers approaching the level we truly need every month to significantly impact the unemployment rate but I do not feel it will be sustained for a variety of reasons, one of which I will discuss later in this article.

I feel that the unemployment rate will be somewhere between 7.3 and 6.8% but it will likely be on the higher end of the range.

“Big Data” will make more inroads into recruiting
We have seen a realization in other business areas that the technology necessary for comprehensive data analysis has started to catch up with the amount of data available.

Careerbuilder has been among the first to be recognized as something of a source of content in this area.

I believe we will see mostly large forward thinking companies start to use “big data” within their recruiting departments although the level of sophistication will vary widely.

The government, especially the US Congress will negatively impact business and the labor market
Unfortunately this is all too predictable, but I truly hope I am wrong.

Congress will continue to make ideology and not the American people their priority and will cause a significant drag on the economy as the result of the uncertainty they create through their bickering, inaction and inability to compromise and move on (vs. compromising and trying to “win” the next fight for their respective “bases”)

Further, the debate over the debt ceiling will likely result in a downgrade of the countries credit rating.

If it were not for this self-centered approach of party above all, I would not be surprised to see the unemployment rate drop 1 to 1.5 percentage points…  Isn’t that what we need and wouldn’t that be a win for everyone?

More growth of freelancers/contractors
This is something that experts have been saying would come for some time and this year will only accelerate this trend.  With such a large population that is skilled and has been looking for work, the prospect of working as a contractor will appeal to many who would not have considered it in the past.

So no matter what happens, this year is sure to be an interesting one!  Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

2012 End of Year Report Card: Mike’s Predictions for 2012

December 22, 2012 Leave a comment

2012 End of Year Report Card: Mike’s Predictions for 2012

This year has been an amazing year in both good ways and in far too many sad tragic ways.  I for one and somewhat glad it is coming to a close in the hopes that next year will be better.

However, for Recruiting and the employment market, we’ve come some way in a long and hard fought recovery, which is at lease one bright spot for all of us!

Here is this year’s final report card-

Moderate Job Growth- 7.3% to 7.9%
Final Grade- A-
Comments
This year we have seen some areas boom (did anyone see North Dakota as the place to go 5 years ago?) and many other areas start to follow…  all of this is good news, especially if we can sustain and hasten the pace!

Strong Healthcare Employment Growth
Final Grade- B+
Comments
Healthcare has continued to grow across all of its subsectors and is positioned to continue its growth into 2013.  This growth has been somewhat more modest than expected, but with the election behind us, I think it will accelerate its pace again in the coming year, especially ahead of the 2014 changes because of healthcare reform

The Election Will Have a Negative Impact
Final Grade- A
Comments
Many people point to the election as having a drag on the economy.  Now, unfortunately with the debate over the fiscal cliff, this drag only continues.

Emerging Markets will begin to lead a Global Recovery
Final Grade- B-
Comments
While emerging markets are contributing to overall growth of a global recovery, economic uncertainty in Europe for much of this past year along with a variety of other factors, including our politicians inability to lead for the countries good, vs. their parties good have overcome this positive effect in large part.

Mobile Recruiting Sites and Geo-Targeted Capability Continue to Converge
Final Grade- B
Comments
Mobile is everywhere and many companies are now seeing the value.  I am somewhat surprised to see who is and is not using geo-targeted capabilities for their jobs.  I have seen demos and through the examples given, who is using location based job search and I have to say the companies that I see using it are more focused on hiring mid-level to senior level professionals.  Generally these are people that are not cost sensitive based on transportation costs, not as time sensitive to a commute and not always likely to find the same exact position down the street from their home in the suburbs.

Conversely I see relatively few companies that do employ those types of individuals I described using it.  Companies that immediately come to mind are any that are similar to retail with smaller sites spread across an entire region with lots of entry level positions that turn over fairly quickly and populations that are not likely to drive 20 miles to make just over minimum wage.

The Sun Will Rise on 12/22/2012
Mid Year Grade- A

Comments
Well, what more can I say?  The world is still here!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them my way and next month I will post my predictions for the coming year!

© 2012 Michael K. Peterson, All Rights Reserved

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