Great Sourcers do not need industry experience!
What is Social Evidence?
Recruiters and Sourcers have fought the commoditization of our industry as best we could through the years. RPO, WMS, VMS and any number of other TLA's (3 letter acronyms) have been putting the squeeze on us for longer than I care to remember. I came into the business in 1997 and these programs were already in the marketplace. To the extent that the world spins on and companies continually seek to cut expenses, this fight will forever continue. Here I'm speaking strictly as a Recruiter with a Recruiter's point of view. In another post I'll take on the same system from a sourcers point of view.
Look at that shelf behind you, or just over your desk, and tell me what non-fiction books you see. By looking at the titles of professional (or technical) books you keep, I may be able to guess your specialty. If I tell you that on my shelf there’s a dog-eared copy of the ‘Standard Handbook of Power Plant Engineering’ by Thomas C. Elliott, and that ‘Power Plant Engineering’ by Lawrence F. Drbal, was the last book that I read, you would most likely be able to guess that my field is Nuclear Power Engineering or that at least I work closely with nuclear generators.
What follows is a transcript of an interview conducted by Peter Clayton for Jobs in Pods with Total Picture Radio. The original transcript can be found here or download the podcast here. Other interviews with Peter Clayton include:
Today’s podcast from SourceCon 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia is brought to you by our sister media company, Jobs in Pods, the only podcast where real employers, leading recruiters and staffing agencies talk about their jobs and tell you how to get them. To learn more about Jobs in Pods, visit jobsinpods.com and download our media kit, or call 203-292-0012.
As a globally recognized recruiting leader over the last 15 years, Shally Steckerl has helped build sourcing organizations for companies like Microsoft, Google, Coca-Cola, Cisco and Motorola. Today, he advises recruiting leaders at over 200 organizations and how to successfully embed key sourcing initiatives into their current efforts, improve the performance of their existing sourcing teams and establish sourcing functions from the ground up.
A frequent and valued contributor to TotalPicture Radio, I spoke with Shally after his workshop representation to kick off SourceCon in Atlanta, which was held this year at the beautiful Georgia Aquarium Ballroom, a really fantastic facility. If you’re planning an event in Atlanta, I highly encourage that you check out this facility. It’s totally unique and inspiring for a conference venue.
Shally, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today here on TotalPicture Radio.
Shally: Thank you, thank you. To our left, we have a beautiful beluga whales and to our right, we have whale sharks.
Peter: We do.
Shally: It’s amazing.
Peter: It is. It is truly amazing. It’s a beautiful facility. Your workshop here at SourceCon was titled, Gone Beyond Boolean and you’re heading up a new organization called 4SCT. Give us some background, Shally.
Shally: 4SCT is really just my company, my partner and I, and we’re just using it as a place to set up the corporation, so we have a laid out a shingle, if you will. It’s really more of a holding company that’s going to hold intellectual property. It’s set up around digital media rights and content management, and things like that.
The purpose of 4SCT is to drive my consulting business, which I’ve always done. All I’m going to do through that company is continue to work with my clients and consulting. It’s the company that carries all the insurance necessary for the big requirements: E&O, liability insurance, fidelity bonds… all that stuff you have to do as a consultant, continuing the recruitment management consulting side of what I do.
We are launching tonight, very quietly, at a secret event here in Atlanta, The Sourcing Institute, which will go online in March. The official announcement and the official release is going to be coming out at Onrec when we’re up there and there’ll be an event around it and everything. That is the learning management system that we’ve created. It’s an online content and knowledge management system for sourcing. It already is the world’s biggest library of sourcing and recruiting knowledge. The idea is that we’ll have programs in there that are modular and people can acquire a membership at 1-2-3 level basically (which we have to announce yet), where they’ll be able to take the modules in a specified prescribed way. There’s a series of modules, each one of them requiring a test to pass to go to the next module, and at the end of the three levels, there’s a certification that will be based on having completed successfully all the modules and taken the tests. So, not based on whether or not you just attended the modules; you really have to pass.
The whole thing will be revolving around a scoring based online management system that will give you continuing education credits for your PHR’s, PHRG. PHR attorneys, accountants and insurance people will also be able to get continuing education credits, it’s going to be certified or has been certified by all those organizations.
We’ll tie that to quarterly or maybe even once every month or so, events called SourceU, and that’s going to be taking place at a couple of different where we’ll do live classes. If you like to learn online, you can do the online courses. They’ll be score based in a very professional, high-end LMS (learning management system), and if you prefer to do it in person, then we’ll have the option of attending SourceU. Either way, you get access to the online library of knowledge.
Peter: Has Job Machine been rolled up into this new 4SCT?
Shally: Job Machine went through so many different evolutions that I think it was time to start over. It’s been abandoned; the brand name and the brand essence of Job Machine. It had a really long run. It started, I think, in 1998 or something like that with our first start up that was in Arizona. It survived a couple of recessions and then eventually ended up getting merged into what was then RecruitUSA, that later became Arbita.
It had too many things on one place. When you try to do too many things under one brand, it doesn’t really work. So, part of what the decision was to split the company into 4SCT and Sourcing Institute was to keep consulting on one side and have all the necessary insurance, and all the other documents, and accounting, and everything that you need for that, and then have the educational side separate. That way, both can operate.
A lot of people say education and consulting are kind of hand-in-hand, but we never had a customer that bought both. Either they did one or the other. So, either one of the education, the training, the workforce development, or they wanted the consulting. Very rarely did they bring us in as a consultant and then continue on with training. It was one or the other.
What we decided is it’s better just to have them under two different organizations. Hence, the split. The Sourcing Institute focuses on sourcing in the traditional way. If you look up sourcing in the business dictionary, it’s obtaining what’s necessary for your business. It’s acquiring the things that are necessary. In an industrial environment, sourcing is sourcing for materials, sourcing for parts. It’s part of supply chain.
So really that’s how I foresee the education of recruiters and the specialization of recruiters is in a sense we, recruiters, are the ones who are sourcing talent. Sourcing is recruiting. That whole Sourcing Institute is going to revolve around the attraction, and identification, and engagement of talent. In other words, sourcing talent. Whereas, 4SCT is more management consulting where we work as advisers to leadership. It’s really two different business models.
Peter: We’re here at SourceCon and this is the largest SourceCon yet. There’s almost 250 people here at The Georgia Aquarium. What’s the buzz that you’re hearing from the participants this year?
Shally: I’m hearing a lot about a major shift in the perception of sourcing in the industry. It used to be very much kind of a secondary role. Oftentimes, sourcers report into recruiters and so on. And now I’m hearing more and more conversations around sourcing and recruiting being one in the same, equals, part of the same process, etc. It’s certainly bringing in onto its own. It’s matured, I think, to a certain level. It still needs to mature quite a bit more and we’ve got a long way to go, but we certainly have crossed some threshold of some sort that I can identify. It feels like we crossed the threshold. It feels like we’re on the other side of sourcing being established as a profession and having credibility.
What I hear is people are looking for sourcers, they want to hire sourcers, they don’t know how to bring them in, they don’t know how to manage them, they don’t know how to measure their success and they’re really starting to ask questions that managers ask when they have people that they lead. That wasn’t happening before. Before, the sourcer was a specialist that would come in, do a job and leave, and they weren’t being really managed. Now you have teams of sourcers and people are asking questions about how do you run a team, how do you organize a team, how do you structure it. That tells me that we’ve arrived as an industry.
Peter: What you’re seeing is that the C-suites, so to speak, has realized that sourcers are on par at least with recruiters, and it’s a very specialized practice, and it needs to be considered as such.
Shally: Yeah, not necessarily the C-suite, but definitely staffing leadership. It’s not necessarily about being par or not, it’s more about the need for specialization. Fewer and fewer companies are questioning whether or not you need specialization. And whether you call it sourcing or not, it doesn’t really matter.
The fact is that the recruitment function has grown in so many different ways and technology has changed in so many different ways, not just with the internet, but with other things as well, that there really is a very clear need to differentiate the role, and the traditional generalist role fits only in organizations that are smaller where they really only can afford one or two people in that department. Therefore, you need a generalist, which isn’t seen in any other organization. A lot of roles like sales, marketing, and legal, and other things like that that are specialized, when you are small enough, you have a generalist. But as soon as you start growing, you soon find that you’ll need a PR person versus a marketing person, inside sales versus an outside sales, IP counsel versus litigation counsel.
That’s what’s happening. That never happened with recruiting. Until very recently, it was just recruiting is recruiting. Recruiting was still part of HR. Now, recruiting is definitely on its own as a function. We have recruiting leaders, recruiting directors, VPs of recruiting. Sourcing is now becoming – you have managers of sourcing, directors of sourcing. Those are job titles that you didn’t see on business cards very often.
Peter: The whole industry is elevating to, really, I think, reflect on what’s going on in the marketplace where being able to recruit the right talent into an organization has become a strategic imperative and the C-suite does get that. They’re actually putting resources and building up teams that are able to do that for them.
Shally: I would agree with that. At that level, it does definitely get to the C-suite. At the level of this company can’t survive if we don’t bring in the right people. They turn to HR to do that and it’s the HR leaders that are beginning to realize that there is that need for specialization in our function. We’re really the last function inside of HR to specialize. Almost every other HR role has you have payroll benefits specialties, you have organized labor negotiation specialties, you have all these other specialties and recruiting was the last one.
The other thing also that this means is as we start to look towards the economy revolving around people with intellectual property, people with talent, and it’s not as much, I should say, about manufacturing goods, then it becomes a little bit more important how you talk to people and how you bring them on board. What we’re seeing is the contingent workforce is growing exponentially. When I was a “contingent worker” and worked remotely in 1998-1999, I heard numbers, maybe, there were 7 or 8 million people who did that, who worked as an independent consultant. Now it’s in the 30s and even higher. I don’t even know what the recent numbers are, but it’s significantly grown.
Recruitment, and HR, and the C-suite need to respond to that. Fewer people want a salaried full-time benefited job. More people are willing to work with two or three clients to spread the risk out and work 20 hours here, 20 hours there, instead of just having one single client that doesn’t need them after a year or two and then you need to go find another job. So, there’s something there that’s beginning to happen, and those people still need to be found, and still need to be recruited.
Peter: Dan Pink, Free Agent Nation, right?
Peter: I was one of the fortunate who got to sit in on your workshop yesterday and a couple of things I’d like you to just talk about a little bit with the audience. Google. One of the things that you brought up in your presentation is that every month you have to go in and refine how you’re using Google to source candidates because they keep changing things. Can you talk about that just a little bit?
Shally: Partly it’s because Google is evolving their product, it’s maturing. At first, the need was simply for somebody to try to make sense out of the vastness of data that was out there. There were a few search engine companies that started earlier than Google that were based on the verbatim principle of here’s a word, look it up, how many documents does this word appear in, and that’s how you rank the results.
Now, there’s so much information that finding a word in a document isn’t necessarily very accurate. You’ll get a lot of not necessarily related or you’ll get a lot of nonsense results if you just do that. If you look for a keyword inside a pile of a trillion documents, you’re going to get a lot of documents that are not related to what you actually wanted to find.
Google’s had to evolve to adapt and go in the direction of understanding what people might mean when they’re searching and trying to understand the subtext of the data. Computers aren’t quite there yet where we can process that kind of relationship between words like humans can. We’re still a few years away from computers understanding meaning, maybe more than a few years away. In the meantime, that’s what Google’s trying to figure out, is how do we make the equipment that we currently have try to do that as much as possible because someone who’s going on a search engine isn’t going to have the patience to click through 27 documents. If they really don’t see the answer in the first page of the results, they’re going to get frustrated.
The other thing that’s happening is Google is getting pressure from the way people find information elsewhere. It used to be the way everybody found information was go and ask a question on a search engine. And now there’s a market share that is definitely taking over. I think some of the numbers that I read, Bing, which is a Microsoft search engine is up in the 27percent, or something like that, market share where it used to be 5 percent not that long ago. Their approach to search is very different. Their approach to search is all about subtext and accuracy. They have a lot less data. Google is much more interested in searching lots of data because the more data you have, the more sense you can make out of it. Bing is more interested in focusing in on the things that people are asking questions about. They’re calling themselves the answer engine or something like that. There’s a difference there but that puts pressure on Google to try to do a little bit more of that interpretation of meaning.
And then there’s Facebook where people will go and ask questions not of a database or an Oracle of sorts, but of their friends. We’re starting to see social answers becoming important. Hence, why Google has Plus and why is searching in your network and people that you know on Google is now becoming really important.
All of these are leading to an evolution and search is no longer just enter a word and hit search and get all the pages that have that word in it. It’s now more about what does this really mean, what is this really about.
What’s changed are commands. Certain syntax works and works better now than it ever worked before, and at the same time, other things don’t. You used to be able to put the + sign in front of a word to make it mandatory to search verbatim. Now you can’t do that because the + sign is being used for Google+ and it doesn’t really search verbatim, but they’ve replaced that with an actual verbatim search. If you go on the left menu and go to more tools, you will see a verbatim link. And if you click on that, Google will behave in the traditional way of searching exactly for that word because sometimes you do need that. Sometimes when you want to find something that’s very specific, you actually want the search to be exactly verbatim.
They’re evolving to adapt to the different ways people use it rather than just being one place everybody goes to, now they have different tools. If you’re looking for images, if you’re looking for video, if you’re looking for date related issues or things that were published at a specific time, if you’re looking for content that you’ve never seen or content you’ve already seen. It’s segmenting because the sophistication of the user is becoming more specialized. People are searching for specific kinds of information not just going the web and asking a question openly, but they’re interested in finding stats, or images, or opinion, or reviews, and so search engines are responding to that.
Peter: I want you to talk a little bit about some of the other search engines you were talking about yesterday. One is called GigaBlast.com and you referred to it as the green search engine. Can you tell us about that?
Shally: They claim on their website that it only takes the same energy as it takes to run a light bulb to run their search engine because they’re carbon neutral or as close to it as possible. Meaning, that they are generating their own power and are more energy efficient than other search engines. In my opinion, that’s not the cool factor. It’s true that when you use Google, you are burning energy because you’re activating processes on not just their servers, but the data transfer all the way from here to their servers and back. But on your own monitor, a white screen burns more energy than a black screen. A white background is more energy inefficient than a black background. But how far are you going to slice stuff? It matters when it’s a billion people that are using it. So, that’s why people are paying attention to it because it does matter in volume.
That’s not what I mentioned GigaBlast. I just thought that it was kind of cool. What I like about GigaBlast is that it’s got the ability to create an ad hoc specialized or customized search. Whereas, it used to be on Google you could use the site command in a logical disjunction with multiple or’s, :Microsoft, or :IBM, or :Dell, for example. You can’t do that anymore. You have to use the Google custom search engine or used to be called Google whole UP to do that function. But not everybody (A) has the patience or (B) the wherewithal to do that. And even if they do know how to do it, you want your question answered right away, you’ve got three websites you want to search, how do you do that? GigaBlast has sort of replaced that.
There’s a couple of other features that GigaBlast still does that are unique. I have my eye on them, continue to, I’ve written white papers about them in the past, and articles and blog posts about them. I continue to go back to them and just check out what they’re doing because they still have a few features that they are not letting go of that make it very useful. This is one of them, the ability to click a dozen or so sites and search just those websites from GigaBlast.
The other search engine that I brought up was Blekko.
Peter: Right, and I interviewed Rich Skrenta, who’s the CEO a couple years ago at SES. They have a very unique approach to search. Tell us about it.
Shally: They do. I can’t tell you anything better than I’m sure the interview that you had with them. What I’ll tell you is, from the point of view of recruiters, sourcers, someone who’s an information searcher for a living, it’s very accurate. When we’re talking about Google versus Bing, and Google has the massive database and you can find a lot more information on Google than you can on Bing. But on Bing, you can find accuracy. So, you might get three results, but one of them is exactly what you wanted or you might not get a result at all. If you hit, it’s a spot on bull’s eye. If you don’t, you don’t.
Blekko’s more like that. Blekko is more accurate even more so, I would say than Bing because they ignore all the attempts that are made to artificially elevate the rank of a page in search results, which is called spam. Not saying spam that comes in your inbox; it’s search engine spam, which is people intentionally modifying the source code of a page to make it more appetizing to Google and Bing. Well, that doesn’t work. Those tricks don’t work on Blekko. Therefore, we are not getting gamed data. You actually get specific content that’s been prefiltered by almost as if a human being had made a judgment call and that’s much closer to that understanding meaning and subtext that we were talking about.
The other thing that Blekko does that’s very special is it gives you the ability to create a personal search engine on your interests or many different personal search engines on your interests by grouping categories together, so you create what’s called a slashtag. Let’s say that you’re interested in finding all there is to find out about oranges. You can go in and create a /oranges and then categorize all of the websites that you normally go to for information about oranges. You probably already have a dozen websites that are experts, and blogs, and communities that you visit if you’re an orange grower or an orange trader. You can create your own personal search my own special collection of websites about oranges search engine that nobody else really is doing. You could do that with Google CC or with GigaBlast, but with Google CC, you have to import the URLs and you have to manage the custom search engine. With GigaBlast, you have to copy and paste the sites. Whereas with Blekko, you simply type in oranges and it gives you a bunch of websites and you just check the ones that you like, maybe you recognize them. Very user friendly.
There’s also some global slashtags, pre-manufactured slashtag. There’s a directory on the Blekko website. Some of them are search clusters of sites, some of them are actual functions like the SEO function that do more than just search. They tell you about the data behind a website. They tell you, for example, with the people slashtag, they will filter only profiles that are of individuals, not companies, or jobs, but actual individual profiles.
This look at data allows Blekko to segment pieces of the web without having to create artificial intelligence around it. It just allows them to say our database can segment all these data for you just by creating a slashtag, and that’s pretty useful, I think.
Peter: One of the things that you demonstrated with Blekko, which I found really fascinating, and you made the comment that on Blekko, you can find the real SEO of any website. And you used the example of LinkedIn where you put in linked.com/SEO. It was amazing, the amount of data that showed up in there.
Shally: I don’t think it’s any website. It has to be a website with enough traffic to register. They have a threshold where they collect data and where they don’t. The data that they demonstrate is basically just raw, unaltered data, and because of that, they’re showing it in a graphical, visually friendly way, but they’re showing real, raw data instead of the marketing-ish feel that you get when you see statistics from companies that…
Peter: Like Quantcast and stuff like that.
Shally: Right, and Quantcast will try to be as accurate as possible, but at the end of the day, their business is providing business intelligence and they have a product to sell. Blekko is actually giving the stuff away. I don’t know why and I don’t know what they intend to do, but it’s very, very cool.
Peter: It is.
Shally: It shows things like the states that are visiting the website the most, the countries that are visiting the website the most; it gives you an actual accurate count on how many pages are on that website, an exact count; how many links out and in, how many links does the site link to, or how many other places does it point to, and how many links elsewhere point back to it, and that’s very accurate information. It’s a much more useful view when you’re considering the source of data. It’s a much more useful view in interpreting how valuable that website is with regard to the information that you’re asking for.
The reason I say that is because when you’re looking on the internet, you’ve got to consider the source, right? Just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean that it’s true.
Peter: That’s true, yeah.
Shally: And the same thing to be said about just about any kind of journal, just because somebody wrote it or said it, doesn’t mean that it’s true. You have to consider the source; how trustworthy, how valid is the source. That’s true for anything, but even more so on the internet because of spam, because it’s so easy to game the system and make it look like you’re more popular or bigger than you are. How many companies do you see that have a website where they look like they’re 1000 employee company and it’s just Bob in the basement. How do you figure that? If you do the SEO search on Blekko, you can see what’s really going on with this website. Not all of them like I said, but when it’s there, the data is very revealing.
Peter: Are there any other search engines that aren’t commonly used that you find useful?
Shally: I still keep my eye on Exalead, which is from France. Their key advantage is they have some very interesting tools that I don’t think anybody else has tried or attempted. For example, they have a phonetic search, “sounds like”. So if you know that the word sounds like something, but you can’t spell it, you can write the way you would say it even though it might not be correctly spelled.
There’s the opposite of that, which is “spells like”. You don’t know what the word is, but you think it’s spelled this way, it’ll find that. It’s got a phonetic search and it’s got a “I’m not really sure about the correct spelling, can you correct my spelling for me” kind of search, which is great for words that even in English are used or spelled differently between British English and US English. For example, words with extra E’s, or extra Y’s, depending on which side of the pond you’re at, not extra E’s, or not extra I’s.
That’s important, but there’s also the ability to search with what are called regular expressions. That is a way to search that allows you to look for variables of content inside a word. So, a word where the middle letter might be A or E. A word where the middle three letters might be different. Or where a series of numbers and the middle three numbers change. There’s a way to search much more than just one word as an entity.
You can search parts of words, you can search phrases. Regular expression is very powerful. It’s something that’s always existed in databases but it’s not really something that translates well to a search engine because you have to know a little bit about regular expressions and how to use them, and it’s fairly complicated. But it’s kind of algebra, like a variable inside of algebra, A+ X = Y, something like that.
It’s like that, which means I don’t think everybody’s going to have the patience to do it. But when you need it, there’s nowhere else to get it. When you need to find that thing that has the variable in the middle, that’s the only way you can do it.
Peter: It’s my perception, and I’m not a recruiter, I’m not a sourcer, that when recruiters and sourcers are looking for people, they’re on LinkedIn, and they’re going, and they’re using all of the kinds of techniques that you train people to use to source and find people. Is LinkedIn still the primary source for recruiters when they’re out looking for candidates?
Shally: That’s a loaded question because I would disagree that LinkedIn has ever been the primary source. It’s never been, and I really don’t think that it’s ever going to be the primary source and the reason for that is you have to consider, first of all, are you talking about internal candidates or external candidates. If your organization has 1000 job openings, how many of those are being filled by your own employees, which is good, that means you’re growing and developing. If half of those are being filled, then your primary source is your own employees. If you want to look at just the external, then you’re down to 500 if half of them are filled internally. The 500 external jobs, where does the majority of those candidates come from, and it’s certainly not LinkedIn. It would be, I would say, number one, people who already know about the position and were either referred, so employee referrals. A lot of companies who ask about employee referrals and they’ll tell you it’s anywhere from 35 to 40%. That’s a pretty common answer.
Out of 500, a good third to maybe more than a third of that 500 is coming from referrals from your own employees. People like working here so much, they tell their friends about it. That may be very much the primary source.
Outside of that, what percentage is coming from your career site, people that already know that you’re the employer of choice in the area or did a search on a search engine and came across your website and applied directly; inbound applicants that are already coming to you from your website, from advertising response… so the incoming traffic that may actually be bigger.
Now, if we take only external and only where the recruiter goes out of the way to go out and find people because the job is not something that is being filled by inbound responses. In other words, the recruiter can’t fill that job through traditional means, employee referrals aren’t happening, ads are not being responded to, nobody’s going to the career website for that particular job, then you have to go external. Then, yeah, you could make the argument that LinkedIn might be the primary source simply because it’s easy. But where does Monster fit in? Are they more primary than Monster? Are they second to Monster in that? How do you really know because it’s not being tracked, right? If I am tracking traffic that comes to my website, I know where they came from. But if I’m reaching out and finding somebody, and bringing them in, it’s not up to me to track that information. You see what I mean? Now, am I likely to find the name of somebody and then go find them on LinkedIn, so I can contact them? Did I find them on LinkedIn? You see what I mean?
In other words, I came across the name of someone on a website, let’s say an association of some sort. I’m looking for accountants and I found the Atlanta Accounting Association. I see the name of Bob Jingleheimer Schmidt, then I go to LinkedIn and type in Bob Jingleheimer Schmidt, and then I contact him that way. Does that mean I found him on LinkedIn?
Peter: No, it doesn’t.
Shally: Right, so how do you measure that? As a recruiter, when you do end up hiring Bob Jingleheimer Schmidt, what do you mark him down as? You got them from what? Now, if there’s a choice on the menu that says the Atlanta Accounting Association, you probably would pick that. But what if the choice on the menu only says LinkedIn? What are you going to pick?
Peter: You’re going to pick LinkedIn because that’s where you make initially your contact with that guy.
Shally: That’s right, even though that’s not where you found him. So, I really can’t tell you whether it was or wasn’t…
Peter: And, of course, Facebook now, are recruiters and sourcers actively using Facebook?
Shally: Yes. If you’re going to ask about that, then in that context, the comparison between LinkedIn and Facebook, we’re talking about the difference between social channels where online social networking channels versus traditional channels.
When it comes to online social networking channels, I would say LinkedIn definitely is the leader of the pack compared to all the other online social networking channels, but not compared to every source or recruiter has.
However, Facebook definitely is gaining ground and the reason for that is it’s becoming a little bit more accepted to be on Facebook. It used to be people would say, “Oh, you’re never going to see me on Facebook.” And now some of those people are on Facebook. It’s becoming a little bit more accepted and more acceptable maybe in part because Facebook has made some progress with regard to privacy and making it a little bit easier for people to control privacy. So that perception of why would anybody want to see my baby’s bathtub pictures kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. People are now more confident that they could be on Facebook without necessarily exposing parts of their lives that they don’t want made public, which is everybody has a right to their own opinion on what should be or shouldn’t be made public. Maybe it’s a little bit because of that. Maybe it’s because of just the sheer volume.
Let me put it this way: 800 million people can’t be wrong. And if you have a choice of going to a venue to meet people and that venue has 130 million people, or another venue that has 800 million people, given that the fact is that you want to meet people, which venue are you likely to choose?
Peter: It’s true.
Shally: You’ve got to look at that, right? If I have a choice of going to place A where there are 10 people or place B where there are 10,000 people, I’m much more likely to meet somebody that I want to meet at the 10,000 person location. That’s not an accurate scale, but just to give you an idea as to how that adds up.
The other part of it is that Facebook isn’t really designed as a database that’s searchable. Facebook is really a little bit more about engagement. Something that’s happening I’m seeing a lot is people that are unfriending or disconnecting from strangers that they never really knew in the first place.
Everybody was crazy about adding everybody that they knew on Facebook, and then they added everybody they didn’t know, and they accepted all the invitations that they had. And then all of a sudden, they have too many friends. And now that the status updates begin to have meaning, if you’re getting a bunch of status updates on your page from people that you don’t know and don’t care about, it’s interrupting your ability to stay in touch with the ones that you do.
We’re seeing a bounce back where people are shrinking down their Facebook network, which I think is increasing the value of it. Because if I can maintain contact through Facebook with 200 people that I really know that I really want to stay in touch with, that may be more useful to me especially if there’s a mixture of family, friends, colleagues, people from my hometown, fans of the same team, members of the same clubs, it starts to have a little bit more value. I think Facebook better reflects real life.
Peter: One last question. Oracle just acquired Taleo. There’s a ton of consolidation going on in this industry. Good thing?
Shally: To a certain degree. I think that there’s an analysis paralysis that happens when you have to many choices. I’m not very much a believer in competition benefits the consumer. In other words, if you have three, or four, or five, or a dozen choices, the choices have to get better in order to earn your business. That certainly benefits the consumer, it benefits the company, the individual.
But at a certain point, there’s really just too many choices and the same company sometimes has to many choices. There’s a need to disambiguate between the choices. There’s a need to clarify. Consolidation when there’s too many choices is a good thing. Consolidation when there’s only one choice left after all the consolidation, not so much, right? There’s a plus and a minus, there’s a give and a take.
I think what’s happening is that we’re beginning to see the segment, that was the applicant tracking system segment, existed to fill a gap in risk. And that gap in risk ...
Peter: And compliance, right?
Shally: That’s what I’m talking about. Compliance is risk to one executive. What that means is if I’m not complying, I’m risking what? See, the compliance here. If I have to be compliant, it’s not because I want to; it’s because if I don’t, there’s a risk I’ll get punished.
Peter: Like jail.
Shally: Yeah. Really the issue is risk, not compliance. To minimize risk, they put these systems in. Now those systems are doing more than just compliance, they’re doing other stuff. Bigger ATS companies are offering vendor management, they’re offering even development in training, etc.
Peter: Training and all that stuff.
Shally: You’re seeing a consolidation there. The need for that specialized risk management tool that used to exist in ATS is beginning to go away as a lot of the enterprise products are offering it. This is Oracle saying they had a solution before but it wasn’t very adopted by a lot of people. So this is Oracle saying we know that in our platform, there’s a gap. So this is how we fill that gap. And that just made Oracle all the more better prepared to handle all aspects of an organization. If it weren’t for the fact that there are other companies that offer large ERPs like that, it would be a scary thing. As long as we have a few of them, I think it’s okay. If SAP and Oracle merge, then we might have a problem.
Peter: Shally, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today.
Shally: My pleasure.
Peter: This is really fun. It’s always great to talk to you. Best of luck with your new venture.
Shally: Thank you. Thank you.
We’ve been speaking with Shally Steckerl, his website is 4SCT.com. You’ll find this podcast in the talent acquisition channel of TotalPicture Radio. That’s TotalPicture.com. While there, please signup for our newsletter and remember you can subscribe to TotalPicture Radio and to Jobs in Pods on iTunes.
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This is Peter Clayton. Thank you for listening to TotalPicture Radio, the voice of career and leadership acceleration.
Aristotle's Lyceum, also referred to as the Peripatetic School because Aristotle would teach by discussing and conversing with pupils as they walked along the shady lanes of the garden (peripatēticus) rather than lecturing inside the four walls of a rigid classroom. Like Plato, Aristotle was a master-student and fellow devotee of Socrates and the “Socratic Method” which greatly influences the way we teach adults even today.