Cancer Sucks

I was a recruiter, in HR. I’ve since moved to the IT department. Someone I know informed me  that a former co-worker, in Recruiting, had passed away. She worked remotely, so I did not interact with her very often, mostly on conference calls or the occasional visit to corporate HQ. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just before Thanksgiving 2013. She passed away this past week, March 26 or 29th, not sure exactly. That’s fast folks. I sent a card to her widower and son. Tragic. Unfair.

Then there’s Si. He got cancer when he was 2 years old. Two! He’s now 5. I am connected to his father on Google+ and found out about Si from a post of his. Si now has his own website. You can find it here: http://supersiguy.com/

I’ve never met Si, but I consider him my little buddy. I guess he and his mom were keeping occupied one day making some crafts. His father was mentioning providing the crafts to those that may be gracious enough to donate money. I jumped on it, immediately. It wasn’t a lot of money. I got the first one of Si’s creations that went out to the public receiving it in the mail yesterday. I told his dad that Si could pick the colors. I now realize it has ‘SI’ on the wrist band, in green, and that it is just the right size for my wrist. Thanks again Si! I love it and proudly show it off to everyone.

Kids like Si should not be thinking about medicine, getting sick, feeling like crap, wondering what their T cell count is, and the dread that comes with a chronic illness/disease. Continue reading “Cancer Sucks”

A Corporate Recruiter’s Happy Place

You close your eyes and imagine the following…

Your in-box notification pops up. It’s a “you’ve been identified as the Lead Recruiter on the following requisition” subject line of an email you just received. It includes a link to the talent management system. Right after receiving that email you get a second email notification. You check the new message in your in-box and realize it’s invite from the same hiring manager that initiated the aforementioned requisition. It’s for a 30 minute meeting with the subject line “discuss position” with a location. It’s not just a message, it’s a meting invite for the next day.

You meet the hiring manager and your head explodes by what transpires… Continue reading “A Corporate Recruiter’s Happy Place”

Departing Facebook

This has been in draft for quite some time. I didn’t publish it because it seemed rather trite to me. I recently reread it and figured that it does explain a bit about my departure from Facebook and worth putting out there in case one of my friends or family wanted more insight into my rationale.

The Beginning

I joined Facebook years ago. It’s been so long, I can’t even remember the year. I can’t even recall if I was an early adopter. I ramped up my friends list to a few hundred people. Most, of course, were old high school friends and family.

Over time Facebook had changed things. Their structure changed, and more importantly they changed their security/privacy settings whenever they tried to expose that which is the data of the user base. Sometimes those changes were public and overblown. Kudos to the smart ones that keep on top of these shenanigans, without their warnings, news articles and blogs, we’d really be screwed. I considered deleting my account altogether, but refrained. I did remove a lot of contacts, but I kept family and very close personal friends. Continue reading “Departing Facebook”

Gamer Business Card

Vista Print had a deal for low-cost business cards. I got inspired after I saw one of their templates. I made the following and seemed to get some pretty good feedback when I posted pics of the product on G+. I wanted to keep in touch with gamers that I run into at cons and thought this would be pretty cool to pass along. Modeled after the old OSR, yellow, 1st ed AD&D character sheets.

 

Recruiting IT Professionals – Above and Beyond

Yes, I know, I am not in a recruiting role right now. However, it’s not hard to get pulled back in when duty calls. I’ve had people contact me and ask for me to review their resumes. I have had staffing firms contact me to ask for recruiting referrals. I read articles on the industry and the trends that are recruiting. I was a part of the recruiting industry for over 5 years. Like a pro-football player, you may move on from being on the gridiron, but you’re still associated with the game. Maybe you become a sports commentator or coach.

IT staffing and recruiting is difficult, and it’s going to get tougher. I have stated this for the last year, and I’ll continue to say it until the ice age comes and electronics are ultimately fried by some radiation from the sun, or 25% of college grads have technology degrees. I can’t even be sure that 25% is enough. What’s a (IT) recruiter to do nowadays? How do you tell your client, “Mrs/Mr Manager, I’m doing what I can”? Often times a corporate recruiter will have requests coming out of their ears. Recruiters and Sourcers cost money, and accepting what some industry-focused think tank, puts out as a ‘best practice’ will come up short when it comes to deliverables. Who is this ‘best practice’ referencing?

Some fundamental things need to be put into place, and sometimes it can take an act of God to make it happen. It’s not that the recruiter can’t execute, it’s that hiring managers, staff and everyone else that could help, don’t. Lets put it out there and if it can happen, great.

Sourcing plan.

What is the plan? Lay it out to the manager. Here are the steps we’re going to take…together:

  • Places to post – calculated and targeted. Don’t post tech roles on Monster. Do it on Github or Stackoverflow, where tech folks are currently go on the web.
  • Networks to leverage including personal and professional networks.
  • Upcoming job fairs at campuses that have programs catering to your area – CompSci, MIS, etc
  • Feedback from hiring manager and keeping them moving. If they don’t get back to you in a timely fashion, things will fall apart
  • Spread the word, spread the word.

Great place to work

If your hiring manager is not ‘cool’ and the place you work at is not appealing you’re going to have your work cut out for you. This will be a huge challenge. Start out small. Get the manager, and team members, on board with why they show up for work. What are the great challenges and differences this person can make on the team?

Meet People

I mentioned networking above as part of the sourcing plan. This is where many recruiters fall short. They do. Even the ones that go every week to local tech users groups. Why? Because they attend those meetings with clear intentions – recruit. Turn it off. You don’t have to be the car sales person all the time. Take a genuine interest in the technology. You’re there because of that. Be sincere about it too. People can see through someone that is trying to fake the funk. Your ultimate goal is to have people know you as just a normal person that happens to work as a recruiter. If they think you’re smarmy and have ulterior motives, you’ll be less effective. Remember the part above where I keep getting pulled back in by people sending me their resumes? Hello? McFly.

Social

I saw  a person who had a company change on their LinkedIn profile. I know the person. Used to work with them. I immediately messaged them through the site and asked if they moved on to another role. The news, he got let go a few days ago. Bummer, yes, but I immediately started offering advice. I think he appreciated it. If you don’t tune into these opportunities, they’ll sail right by you.

Lending your expertise

You have 30+ requisitions. You have managers all over your tail. Your boss is getting heat from your client group. I get it. You have not time to breathe, but, you have to gain trust of candidates and not all of them will be cut out for the roles you’re trying to fill. Help them out. Give them feedback. Provide advice to them. You. Are. The. Expert. They will appreciate it. There’s a quote out there somewhere. It goes something like, “a person should be not be judged for the people that can help them, but on the people that can’t.”

It’s a comprehensive approach and one that must be met on all points. Yes, all points. Fall short in one area and it will crumble. All it takes is for a manager to not get back to you in a timely manner and candidates will go elsewhere. This is not your marketplace, it’s the IT job seeker’s. Understand that.

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Gaming Twitter

About a week ago, on a Tuesday, I had a contact of mine ping me on instant messenger. “Hey, I’m over a 1000 followers on Twitter!” in which I replied, “nice work. Did you check how many are real?” He did. I proceeded to rain on his parade.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Twitter. I don’t find the engagement level that I do on other social media platforms, especially Google+. Even those you message and try to initiate discussion often times result without a reply. Not always, but it’s something I often see. Hell, I’m not above admitting that it could simply be that folks are not interested in engaging with ‘me’! I get that.

At the time of the aforementioned instant message I think I had just over 800 followers on Twitter. I told him, I could get to 1000 by the end of the week. He didn’t have much doubt at all. He’s a good guy. In all sincerity, he got to a 1000 in a way that provides more value to him. My quest to get to 1000 would certainly provide less value to me. I know some folks that follow me on Twitter may be offended at this statement, but I’m just trying to be honest. However, we’re talking quantity over quality.

To be clear, I’m not touting this entry as a ‘Get to 10000+ Followers on Twitter, Guaranteed’ article. It is really an attempt to actually mock those schemes. Granted, there are services that provides followers in exchange for a fee. I’m actually talking about putting some effort into getting there.

Having been on Twitter for some time now, I know there was the initial ‘protocol’ that if  someone follows you, you reciprocate the follow. This has changed over time, and many people scoff at such an approach. A person with this approach will monitor their followers to ensure there is reciprocation, often using a website that tells you who is not following them, and if they find you’re not reciprocating, they’ll unfollow you. It’s a bit of “oh, so you decided not to reciprocate? Ok, fine, piss off” way of doing things. This is very important when considering growing your followers on Twitter, and this is where the manipulation comes into play.

First step, find a person that has a ton of followers. I’m talking someone with greater than 10,000. Many of these people are either celebrities or social media consultants, gurus,  or whatever. You want to find those with equal amounts of followers/followed. Celebs may have low ‘following’ count but have tons of followers, we don’t want that.

Second, open the list of people that your initial target follows and peruse it. I often open up people’s twitter in multiple browser tabs. You’ll find a few people that are social media consultants, gurus, aces, ninjas with just as many followers as your initial person. Start following these people and anyone in their ‘following’ list. Repeat.

You’ll start seeing some reciprocation. You can set your watch to it. The notifications that filled my inbox started happening within 30 minutes of going crazy. You’ll eventually start getting followers that you did not originally follow. I can only imagine that your profile is contained in emails to these people. You may have seen the ones that contain the blurb ‘People that followed <insert  your name> also followed <insert random name>.  I got hit with a lot of authors. Guess I happened to hit a few of those folks in my quest.

I can hear you now, “but Sean, I don’t really want to get updates from social media people. My interests lie elsewhere. Now my stream will be filled with stuff that doesn’t interest me.” Ah ha! True, but if you start unfollowing people, they’ll do the same. Your follower count will dip. Here’s how you get around this. You create lists based on interests. You start adding people to these lists, whether you follow them or not. I have a private list, one that no one can see. Private lists do not divulge to anyone who belongs to such a list. It’s private! I have one called ‘the_bomb’. I put anyone that I know, interests me, or has engaged with me, into this list. I then open my Twitter client of choice, which happens to be Tweetdeck at the moment, and essentially use this list, ‘the_bomb’, as my home stream. Now you can tune-in to those that you want to read about, disregard your main Twitter stream and not alienate the ‘I follow you, you follow me’ protocol.

Allow some time to lapse and  wait for those followers to reciprocate. If they don’t, hit a website that tells you they’re not following and unfollow them.  This will keep your following-to-followers ratio pretty close to 1:1.  Keep doing the above and you’ll probably get to more than 10000.  The big problem with this approach is that you may get lumped in with the masses. In my case, I want gamers to follow me. Problem is, Twitter lumps me in with the social media gurus/consultants/etc, so I won’t get followed by the people that I want. That’s ok because I still have my lists. I hinted at this earlier, this is where the quality piece falls short.

By midnight of Friday night, I was nine people short of a thousand. As of the time of this article I am sitting at 1028. 🙂

Personal Disaster Recovery and Continuity

It is just my wife and I, no kids. I am the one that handles many of the household details. Read: pay the bills, etcetera. I was thinking, “what if anything happened to me? Would my wife know that I have a life insurance policy here or there?” Probably not. I decided to put something together to help her should something bad happen to me. Some may think it is a bit on the morbid side to think about death, but it’s something that happens. I just don’t want it to be harder on my wife, family, friends, than it needs to be.

I bought a USB drive. A pretty beefy one, 64gb capacity. I’m going to use it for a few other things, not just this little project. I then looked into Truecrypt. I’ve used it before. It’s an open source encryption tool that’s also easy to use. The information I’m going to store absolutely needs to be encrypted. It’s going to have some pretty sensitive data on it. I won’t go into detail about how to use Truecrypt, you can go to their website for that information. I created an encrypted section of the drive.

Once  the encrypted area was in place I created a text file that lists all the accounts she could possibly need. As I get bills I set them aside in order to grab the pertinent information from them. The text file includes account, policy and phone numbers for insurance, 401k, checking/savings, credit cards, bills, and other online accounts. It also lists usernames and passwords to some of those online resources.  At some point I’ll put my will there and maybe a video or two. As things change, I’ll update the text file as needed.

I have instructions for using truecrypt printed off (covering mac or windows) which I will put into an envelope. I’ll store the password separately from the instructions and the usb drive. I’ll eventually need to give the instructions, password and usb drive to entrusted individuals with very clear instructions. I am still contemplating how to do this. My fear is, what happens if the person I entrust has something happen to them? Or, they lose the stuff. That would be a problem. Maybe a law firm is in order.

My hope is that my wife won’t need to dig through papers for required information. I also want to prevent the discovery some time down the road, “oh, look at this! I found a life insurance policy of Sean’s”. It’s all in one place. The important stuff. A lot of the username & password info will allow her to forego any hassle verifying my death or her having to prove her relationship to me. She’ll be able to simply log in as me and take care of business.

Now remember, when I go, I want an Irish wake. There better be whiskey and song!

How Do You Handle Google Plus Circles

Every now and again I evaluate how my online social networks are setup. Here’s the latest on my favorite – Google+.

My Circle Setup in the Beginning

I thought I had Google+’s circles down. I thought I had a good setup from the beginning. I logo-googleplushad circles based on how I knew the person and I had circles that outlined a prevailing interest of the person being circled. If Irecall correctly I had some of  the following in place when I setup Google+:

  • Tech
  • Friends/Family
  • Acquaintances
  • Gamers
  • Social
  • Recruiting articles
  • Bookmarks
  • Misc (catch all if I couldn’t determine what circle they should go into)
  • Friends 2nd Degree

Rationale from above could be obvious. The frequency of those circles to show up in my stream were all consistently set at ‘standard’. It was more ‘how do I know this person?’ way of thinking. It worked, but I wasn’t sure it was the best way. I had lots of people in my ‘Gamers’ circle. This lead to a lot of sharing of the same posts and got to be a bit much. Someone in my stream, I fail to recall whom, posted how they manage their circles and so I base my recent approach on what they provided.

Current Google+ Circle Setup

Here is what I have in place now:

  • Notify
  • Flow1
  • Flow2
  • Flow3
  • Gamers/Geeks
  • Recruiters
  • Bookmarks
  • RPG images
  • Wisconsin

Rationale: G+ is about staying in-tune with your stream. I’d refer to this as the consumption of posts by people in your circles. The other piece of G+ is the sharing you do. This could be the production of your posts. It really comes down to your audience, and you being the audience.

For the ‘Notify’ circle, it’s for people that may not post often but you don’t want to miss. Very close family or friends. Maybe an industry big wig. It can’t be someone that posts often or you’re going to get a lot of notifications. I try to keep the amount of people in this circle relatively low. Then it trickles down, or should I say up, since the amount of people in a respected circle goes up from there.

Flow1 are people that interact with me. They are often found commenting on my posts. There’s some kind of online connection or friendship. Again, it’s a low amount of people, but more than ‘Notify’. This set to ‘more’ on the frequency gauge.

Flow2 is set to ‘standard’ and Flow3 is set to ‘fewer’. Each one, ideally, having more and more peoople than the previous circle. You can start seeing the cascading effect take shape.

Flow3 are typically folks that tend to post less and are less interactive or engaging. I should also point out that I don’t view each circle’s stream, rather I default to ‘All’ when I’m on G+.

The Notify and Flows are for my consumption. I’m the audience. The other circles are for sharing.

While I typically posted to ‘Public’ much more than any other way, I started to think that I should pick and choose how to share what I produce. My first setup made this more difficult than what is now in place. Something found on the internet, something catering a broader audience, can be shared publicly while more personal topics can be shared to specific circle(s). One example is that I may want to post what kind of beer I’m enjoying, but not post publicly so that anyone viewing my public posts don’t think I’m a raging alcoholic.

It is not uncommon to have a person in at least two circles. Again, keeping in mind that I’m an audience to those sharing posts and the person circled being an audience of my posts. I have found a noticeable difference in duplicate postings or shares/reshares. A lot of gamers find similar things interesting, which is good and fine, but this helps out the ‘All’ stream from being completely inundated with the same regurgitated posts. As people in Gamers and Flow3 start to engage more or less in comments, plus 1’s, and conversation, I move them up or down.  Example of this is when one such person started to fill my stream with some political opinions and articles. I’m ok with a moderate amount but it got to be too much. I simply move them to Flow3. They’ll still show up, but not overload the ‘All’ stream. You won’t find a person in more than one ‘flow’, this would break the method behind my intentions.

So far this is working out really well. It certainly took some time to hash this all out. At times I’ve had to go one by one to determine where that person fit best. It’s an ever-changing system.

I hope you find this interesting and helpful. What’s your take on circle management?

Veterans Day 2013

13E10 – Fire Direction Specialist

Charlie Btry guy…spent time in 3 different units. Each assignment was in good old Charlie battery. Hell, now that I think about it, I think it was always 2nd platoon too.

17th BDE, 1/36 FA – 8inch!
1st AD, 4/29 FA – In order, 155mm
17th BDE, 1/18 FA – 155 continued.

I got out of active duty for 18 months and then went back in. In that time the 17th BDE originally in Germany had deactivated. I then ended up stateside…finding myself with the same unit patch I had 4 years earlier.

There’s nothing like the call for fire, getting on the radio, and controlling the guns. FIRE MISSION!!

Gun bunnies, you know I love you guys. 😉 MARCH ORDER!!

To all past and present vets, have a safe and peaceful Veterans Day. And thank you for your service…even if you weren’t an arty dog like me. 😉