Tag: networking

I realized I’m a professional networker. I think that’s a good thing.

Here’s a breakdown of my day:

– Sent about 100 emails and social media messages to potential cloud candidates on behalf of Microsoft.
– Had an impromptu conference with my daughter’s kindergarten teacher
– Invited 500 people to a Portland business networking website I’m working on.
– Played around with some Twitter tools I am developing
– Drove to Portland, texted rap lyrics to a couple of my boys (not while driving)
– Exchanged about 40 emails/IMs with my partners at Microsoft
– Getting ready to attend Portland Seed Fund launch
– If time permits, I’ll roll over to the ERE HR Meetup for last call

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Social recruiting is great. But don’t forget to PICK UP THE PHONE.

Here’s me in 1999.

My first recruiting gig was with Aerotek in Seattle in 1999.  On my first day, I was handed a stack of about 200 paper applications that were not yet entered into our applicant tracking system.  These were the forms people were required to fill out in the era right before 1999, when online applications were not yet the norm.  I was tasked with calling these people, screening them, and entering their profile into the ATS.  When I got done with the first stack, I pulled another stack out and called those people, and so on. 

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My thoughts on auto DMs on Twitter

I’m not a Twitter “power user”, so I don’t receive many direct messages (DMs).  When I do, I pretty much immediately click through the email notification to read it.  Most of the time it is an automated DM, saying something like “thanks for the follow, check out my website.”  If it is relevant, I’ll check it, and send a (non automated) DM reply letting them know who I am, and what I do.  In the rare instance I get a unique DM (“read your blog, saw you know this person, etc.”), it really stands out and prompts a more detailed DM from me, and hopefully a more close relationship.

I read a lot about automated DMs, and most people don’t like them.  I think they can be abused, but I don’t see a lot of that, because I’m selective of who I follow.  I don’t automatically follow everybody who follows me.  Rather I look at their profile, see if there is relevance to what I do, and follow them if there is common bond.  By not auto-following everybody, I don’t open myself up to spammers.

I always thought of Twitter as a killer app because it can be “spam free email” if used strategically.  By only accepting DMs from people you follow, you can’t receive junk DMs from random spammers.  That leaves the occasional auto DM as less of a nuisance, and maybe even a bit of a positive.

Effective LinkedIn Invitations

To really improve your accept rate when sending LinkedIn invitations, be sure to customize your message.  The default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” is fine if you’re firing off a quick invite to somebody you frequently communicate with.  For other types of invitations, especially those to people you are only vaguely connected with, be sure to customize the message.

This is the message I send when connecting with people via LinkedIn Groups:

“Hi John.  I noticed we’re both in a lot of the same groups.  I would love to connect with you on LinkedIn.”

Signed,

Your Name:

This shows the person you took the time to learn a little something about them, and let’s them know the value in connecting with you.  This takes about 5 seconds, and it goes a long way.

Network building with LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn groups serve many purposes, and if you’re trying to leverage LinkedIn to it’s full potential, you must incorporate groups into your strategy. 

LinkedIn groups are exactly what they sound like, groups of people with similar backgrounds, interests, and experiences.  Anyone can start a group, and groups are often sponsored by service providers, such as the group for users of the Broadbean ATS.  By joining a group, you can join that group’s conversation and connect with other users in that group.  I’ve joined all of the major HR/recruiting groups on LinkedIn, and I participate in their ongoing dialogue somewhat.  The key benefit of joining groups is that it allows you to connect with people that you may not otherwise know. 

To do this, simply click the “add this person to your network” link that appears next to the profile of the individual you want to connect with.  When asked how you know this person, you can choose “from XXX group” from a dropdown menu.  My success rate with this approach is about 90%.

PLEASE NOTE:  The odds of your invitation being accepted will be higher if you do two things.  First, have a complete LinkedIn profile that is relevant to the industry and interests of the person you are contacting.  Second, make your name known beforehand by participating in group discussions.  Recommendations help as well.  Sometimes (not very often in my experience) people will respond to your invitation with “I don’t know this person”.  If you receive too many of those, LinkedIn may revoke some of your privileges.