Technology and Relationships: From Face-to-Face to Cyberspace
Redefine your career site in five steps
Several years ago, I wrote an article discussing Kevin Kelly's
book, New Rules for the New Economy.
Kelly was the editor of Business 2.0 magazine and still
plays a major role in Wired magazine. Kelly believes that
networks are the key to 21st century business. Technology is the
means by which these networks are put together and it is through
them that relationships form. In fact, these networks create
It is interesting to think that the reason social networks have
grown so much over the past five years is because of the fundamental
technology that makes them possible: the Internet.
Technology in the 21st century is not just a tool to manage
information; rather it is a tool to create and channel relationships
between people, between businesses, and between employees.
What is hard for most of us to grasp is that relationships don't
have to be face-to-face. What is happening is that relationships are
moving to cyberspace. Whether we are using chat rooms, email,
instant messaging, social networking tools, or some other media, we
are creating or maintaining a relationship.
Most young people are quite comfortable talking with strangers in
chat rooms and by email. The best recruiting sites are most likely
to be interactive and focus on relationship-building.
Successful and truly value-added uses of recruiting technology
have almost nothing to do with information storage, sorting,
searching, or retrieval. Instead, the real value lies in using the
technology to facilitate communication with prospective candidates,
to educate, sell and screen them, and to build global networks of
contacts and prospects.
Ideally, a prospective candidate finds your website and is
enticed by interactive content and exciting design. This encourages
her to explore what various jobs might be like. She watches a
day-in-the-life video, takes a video virtual tour of your site,
hears the head of R&D talk about new products, and has an
opportunity to take a short, fun quiz on how well she fits into your
Perhaps your site will let her define a dream job and then find
the position closest to that in your firm. All of this will be
personalized and easy to navigate.
If the candidate finds nothing of interest, she will be given an
opportunity to remain connected with your organization by joining
your social network, perhaps created with a tool such as Ning. The
social network will offer a newsletter, chat rooms, and the ability
to email you or others in the firm.
If the candidate is interested, software tools will begin to
evaluate her for the position. It might begin by asking a few simple
questions about the candidate, questions you might ask in a
telephone screen. Depending on those answers, it would move on to
more sophisticated and complex questions.
Throughout this process, there has been no face-to-face or
voice-to-voice contact with the candidate, although these options
could be made available easily. What is defining here is that the
candidate is no longer passive but is being invited to participate
and interact with your site. The candidate is placed in control of
what she sees and where she goes and what she chooses or does not
choose to do.
A recruiting site that is fully in the 21st century will have
most of what I have described as well as many other tools and
functions to enhance networking and relationship-building.
Here are five fresh ideas to use today:
Write job descriptions for individuals, not categories
or types of people. There really aren't any programmers,
but rather individuals who can write C++ code, or some other code,
for a particular application at a certain speed and level of
complexity. The job descriptions should generate some excitement
and jump out at the right candidate. They should also be easily
emailed or referred to others because one of the growing ways to
find people is by referrals from others. If I see a job described
that fits someone I know, I am likely to let them know about it if
it is easy to do so.
Create blogging opportunities, which are powerful ways
to keep prospective candidates engaged. Even though
blogging has been around for years, only a handful of recruiting
sites have a blog aimed at candidates. The most well-known is
Heather Hamilton's at Microsoft. Most of us have let legal issues
and the difficulty to overcome internal bureaucratic processes
stifle the use of this potentially excellent communication and
Build chat rooms into sites so that candidates and
recruiters can have ongoing discussions. Recruiters
should spend more time building traffic in the chat rooms by
offering seminars on what the company does, profiling various jobs
by having someone who does that job answer questions in the chat
Use online seminars or webinars to build traffic and
create learning opportunities. There are a number of webinar firms
that offer inexpensive software that you could harness for this
Generate excitement through contests and
games. People respond to trivia games, contests, and
online surveys. They like the instant feedback and the ability to
do something rather than just read. These contests are also a way
to get people to return frequently to your site. Each time they
return is another opportunity to recruit them, or at least to have
a conversation with them and keep them excited about your
The takeaway point here is that rather than inhibit
relationships, well-defined technology facilitates the creation of relationships. Whether we like it
or not, technology will define and enable all the recruiting
that takes place in the 21st century.