Here are a few arcticles i've liked of late:

[1] The Guerrllia Guide to Interviewing. This is a good one to give a new hiring manager who is conducting techncial interviews. I like the premise around the idea, that interviewing is more an art than a system - and that finding SMART PEPOPLE, that GET THINGS DONE - is essentially the name of the game. Read it here.

[2] Don't miss the next strategic turn. This is an interesting arcticle worth scanning over. Yves Lermusiaux, president of Taleo X, talks about some of the recent trends surrounding coporate career sites for Fortune 500 companies in the US, he also poses some interesting questions around designing an integrated talented management system - a subject which we must master in Microsoft if we are to be applicant driven rather than systems driven.

I had a look at Yve's personal blog and it's good. If you look at the right hand column he has some interesting articles like: Accenture Finds Four of the Top Ten Executive Issues Fall Within HR. I like the way he has somw articles from AMR Research and Gartner and co. Some good credible research units.


The Recruiter as we know it is a walkin' fossil!: The Flat CV

My generation is the last of a dieing race. Recruiters as we know them will be extinct very soon. Maybe 30 years! Caput.....boom....gone, or should I say transformed into some kind of 1/4 man 3/4 computer grotesque humanoid. Recruitment will be an end to end automated process. XML is changing the way the world interoperates. As groups like Oasis, RosettaNet and The Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) try to mediate the peace and wrestle the trenchantly vested subjective proprietary focuses away from the 20 stone A-pex Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Oracle, SAP's of the world, they usher in a new age of shared information. System to system business will flourish. Call it what you will - I call it S2S; not sure if that acronym exists already but if it doesn't -it should!!! With the publishing of the recent XML Resume format back in August of last year we've come one big step further to realising this. I've been nattering on about this for a while. I even wrote a brief article about it 4 years ago which was published on our domestic business paper, Sunday Business Post, on Monster and also on the Irish HR magazine called People Focus. However, not all recruitment will be automated. It will be piecemeal. It will be by osmosis. Like most revolutions it's an evolution. The fluffy-bunny-cuchie-wuchy- hold your hand-look them-in-the-eye interview will always exist. An eye ball staring at an eye ball (let's call it i2i It will be around for a long time [ it needs a name too ] ). It's the quintessential screening differentiator. The point being though, staring us in the eye is we should stay ahead of the creative curve to constantly reinvent our sourcing, screening and closing techniques to ensure we can connect to talent niches as effectively as possible.

What we will see in a super-flat recruitment model is a very carefully laid out schematic which breaks down each segment of a candidates skill-set and each section of the screening process and probably also all the semantics involved in offering and closing positions to a granular, infinitesimal, scalpel level. Ultra precise screening will exist ( just look at the XML resume and you'll see what I mean). A lot of this may happen with a few simple clicks of a button. And who knows even one day with one magical click. Someday there may be ubiquitous, universal agreement on what this schematic should look like. It may be different for individual job categories and even individual jobs but in my opinion due to the cost savings, time savings and increase in quality, companies will come round, set their subjectivity aside and make this happen. If companies don't do it job seekers will do it. XML can make this possible in conjunction with the merging of RSS feeds, Wi-Fi transmissions, and God knows what else is around the corner.etc. It's hard to explain the way I see it happening. I reckon it might look a little like this, let me paint a scene, it's easier:


A young hiring manager called BOB, wearing a U2, let's go play on the moon t-shirt, has just received a message while driving. His rear view mirror turns into an LCD panel and begins to beep. It sends a signal to his one-piece nano ear plug controlled by his car COMPUTER.

......Ok. I'll take it.....!!!

Bob hears a incoming message from John Crammer (his software lead).

Text. Audio or Left Eye Visual?


The transmission takes place.

Bob, after careful consideration, and God knows it hasn't been easy - I've decided to leave the company. I had a chat with the wife and kids and we've decided as a family it makes a lot of sense if I leave the company to set up that restaurant we always talked about. It's the right time. And I won't be changing my mind. The thought has been in my mind since Easter and now that we've launched XP Seamless 2.0. It's time to go. I'd like to see out my 3 month termination clause but I'll understand if you want me to leave earlier. I'll talk to you in the office when I get in. Thanks Bob.

Bob hits the horn on his steering WHEEL. Shouts. Calm's down. Gathers his thoughts.........

Computer, switch on DVB-S link to home computer.


Find the recruitment folder on my floating drive. Select job specs. XP Seamless division. Software lead. Have you got it?

Got it. What next?

Send it to my left eye visual and also to my iPod. Also please read it to me.

The computer turns off the music and he listens to the job description being read out to him. he thinks for a moment before responding....

BOB (ctd)
Computer. Please add an extra 10,000 euros to the base salary and increase the car allowance to level 65. Please call in SU-XSIO [his PA]

Su-Xsio's voice can be heard. A Chinese twang comes on the phone. She's at home. Her babies can be heard screaming in the background.

Yes Bob. Sorry about the noise. They'll be quite in a moment. I just turned the fish bowl screen saver on the TV. They love that. It works all the time...Shssss there.....


I had a resignation today of one of my lead engineers. He's probably told some of the team already. I want some new candidate profiles before I arrive to the building in 15 minutes. Who are we partnering with at the moment. It's been a while since I had to do this. What is our number one source for someone from the XP Seamless division.


What about Yahoo?

We've partnered with all the top 4 search engines as well as using our own internal system. There is also the Seamless Elite Community in Ireland and Europe, and there is the XML Resume Bank Forum which we can access for free. Also there is the Lead Software's in MS podcast which we automated last year which we can use. It sends out an hourly feed to pre screened candidates. It's updated every two hours. You can also turn on your own personal community site to take CVs for the role. I'll also put it on your next blog. Have you revised the spec.


Ok let's use them all. I'll pay for the cost. Course I have. Computer send new job spec to Su-Xsio. By the way what will it cost?

It depends what price model you want to use. Do you want to see 1-3-5-10-15-25 or all the candidate profiles that qualify.Or do you want a pay the time to hire price? It's 500 euros a day to offer stage. And a once off 3,000 on hire.

I'll go for the first option and give me all the qualified candidates you can find. There won't be that many. I want to see what's out there and John is going to hang around for a month so I have a little breathing space.


Ok. I have the spec. I'll have the final price for you before your meeting.

Great. Please add the relevant screening schema to the RSS feeds that go out. Level 4 screen. Also I want you to add to add to the feed that I will only be taking video link interview with the best 4 candidates. Have the candidates' acceptance criteria and questions sent to me before the interviews. I'll take them on my laptop. Also send a message to the Seamless Leadership alias saying what has happened. And do the usual to let payroll and whoever needs to know, know. When do I have a free 2 hour slot?.

This Friday at 6pm.

Ok. I'll do one in the car and the rest at home. Let's go for that. Su-Xsio I want the candidates' profiles on my IPod so I can listen to them when I walk from the car park to the meeting. Hopefully there won't be too many. I only have 20 minutes to listen to them. Sorry I barked a little early. It's just he's a really good guy. I went to college with him

No problem. Will that be all?

Yeah. That's it. If I think of anything else I'll ping you.

Tooty butty... See you later.

....yeah...yeah... see ya.

Bob turns back his music and turns up the volume....as BEAUTIFUL DAY by U2 kicks in...BOB is a little more relaxed and begins to join in the song...

BOB (ctd)
F*ck that, I never really like him anyway...he wanted my job from day one.....................oh yeah....computer....have my Jacuzzi on when I get home at 9pm and open a can of Guinness for me when the car is 5minutes from home.

You've got it.


PodCasting for The European Development Centre

Hi Guys,

Last night I did my first PodCast. Sitting in the comfort of my own home I dialled into a conference call using my Skype connection and my saucer size, super cool, and super comfy, Samsung headphones. Ian Dixon, creator and owner of the successful Media Centre PodCast Show interviewed me for 15 minutes on what Microsoft was doing for the recruitment of the new European Development Centre. We talked about the setting up of the EDC, the new jobs being created and the curent hot jobs we are recruiting for. His show currently has 40,000 people from all over the world listening. This market he explained is predominately made up of developers and highly tech savvy individuals. The exact audience I have been trying to get my key recruitment messages out to.

For those of you that don't know PodCast's effectively provides “free radio” to very targeted communities. Think of it like a radio blog. By recording a live stream in mpeg format, with the help of some very simple, audio and editing equipment, any individual, can set up, record, edit and reposit a conversation on the Net. Then give people and communities access to the content. You'll hear a lot more about PodCasts in the near future. I suggest you start exploring and listening to some when you get a chance. They're free, focused and fun! If you've never heard of PodCasting or if you are unsure of what it is check out: here

You can listen to the interview we had here . It will be live in a week’s time so hopefully it will drive some candidates to our website!!!


The Future of Recruitment

This week I read again one of my favourite articles on the future of recruitment from one of the best recruitment industry commentators around, Dr John O'Sullivan, Professor of HR, from San Francisco State University. Even though the article is a little scary predicting most of us will loose our jobs (and I don't agree with all his predictions)!!! It's an interesting glimpse into the future of HR/Recruitment and provides a wealth of strategic insights that we should be assessing ourselves off on a regular basis to continuously improve the way we go about our business.

If you're going to read any article next week read this one. It's broken into 6 parts and while some parts may concentrate on more strategic overviews there will more than likely be a lot of areas that Dr John comments on that on a practical level may prompt you to revise and improve the way you source, screen and think about your recruitment strategy as a whole. See his article at: here.

Also I came across an interesting index that Monster have recently begun to compile on job board activity in Europe, called the European monster Employment Index. While basic, it can give you an idea of some of the main skill needs in some of the bigger EU countries. Hopefully, it will get more detailed as it grows.


Power Checks - Part 2

Last week we had a look at using some Boolean strings to reference check a developers java skills. This week i am going to look at how you can validate if a senior manager was a senior manager at a given time and in a given company as stated on his/her CV.

Let's take Mark O'Neill the CTO of Vordel a small Web Services Security start-up in Ireland as an example. So where do we start. Usually it's with the company's name and then it's with the URL of the archive site. Mark works for a company called Vordel and the site is http://www.archive.org/. Once you have these you click on the URL, go to the main search prompt, and type in the home web site of the company you are searching under. In this case Vordel. Give it a go.....Boom!!!... What you have in front of you is a cache of the website showing how the site looked at any given date. Generally it's collated on a monthly basis and it's tidy 'cause it's also done in yearly columns.

So let's have a look. Mark claimed that he was a manager in the company in 2002. To validate this I select the 2002 column and then pull one of the caches - let's say September for arguement sake. Amazingly, it brings us back in time and we can see from the home page his name being mentioned for an article he wrote. This is an added bonus. Usually, you wouldn't find his name on the home page. So let's go the normal route. He claimed to be a manager so let's think about it. Where would we find out about a manager on the web site. For me the best place to start is the "About section", or company information section on the menu bar. In Vordel's case their site wasn't the prettiest back in 2002, so it seems to be under More About Vordel.... Boom again!!... There he is, and we have a bio about him. And also some of the other managers he worked at which we could ask him if he would allow us reference check or even ring them for potential leads.

Give it a go with yourself or one of your own contacts and see if it works!

So now you know two different ways to do checks on candidates. Reference checks will never be the same!


Power checks - Part 1

We're all used to the classic form of reference checking where you ask a candidate you have made an offer to for usually two reference contacts for you to call. Generally, the reference is asked a number of standard questions trying to solicit if the candidate actually did what he said he did and reaffirming that the candidate was trustworthy, reliable, intelligent, etc.

Usually, these go smoothly and typically very little is learned about the candidate as the referee is usually very polite and possibly a personal friend of the candidate!

That's your classic reference check but there is a new way of doing it which is particularly powerful for validating the skills of developers or technical candidates. Not only can it validate domain skills it can also be a proactive way to dig up leads for other roles you may have.

Here's how it works. When conducting a power check the first thing I usually do is place the candidates name is quotation marks for e.g. I hired an engineer in my last company called "morten jorgensen". Morten claimed on his CV that he was a strong java developer. To test this i went into google groups to see if he had posted any technical questions or solved some other persons technical questions in one of the numerous IT forums that are running daily.

So I typed in "morten jorgensen" Boom!!! 5 lines down there he was asking a jde bug question, see here
Straight away I knew that he had done at least some level of coding which helped me validate his skills. But not only, was this pleasing to learn. It revealed loads of other data that could be used to conduct some guerrilla recruiting. It gave me the name of the forum he used. It gave me the email addresses of other like minded individuals and it gave me strings of solutions to the questions which could be used by hiring manager to design questions for interviewers. Next, I decided to dig a little deeper into Morten's technical online blueprint so I typed into Google's normal web search prompt "morten jorgensen" +@sun. It said on his CV that he had worked for Sun Microsystems so by using the @ plus company name I was able to fine tune my search and see a whole bart of questions he had been involved in, see here. Not only was I now a little more confident that Morten knew not just a little coding but a lot from the frequency and complexity of his posts but he seemed to be a well established coder answering other coder's questions as well. This information was very helpful for me and the hiring manager.

Power checks in my opinion are a good way to conduct some reference checks but they are also good ways to check candidate’s skills even before a candidate comes to interview. It may help a hiring manager tailorise a particular interviewing question and may allow you gauge before a candidate sits foot into an interviewing room how strong their technical skills are. Something often difficult to validate in the best of recruitment screening processes!

In the next blog i'll show you how to conduct a power check using archives. Particulalry useful if you are trying to validate if a candidate claims he was a manager in a company.


Will Google buy Monster???

Will Google buy Monster? Yahoo bought HotJobs and are doing quite nicely out of it so why not? With deep pockets, a track record of successful acquisitions (Deja News, Applied Semantic, Blogger, Picasa) and a passion for creativity Google are well positioned to create a Monster of their own with keyword arms, toolbar legs, and API eyes and ears the likes of which TMP and Mary Shelly in their wildest dreams could never have have imagined. Have a read of this very interesting article from Will Wolff and make up your own mind. If the Cyber Sleuth was a betting man he wouldn’t bet against it!

The world of recruitment is changing and changing fast. Google realise this and have done so far a long time now. The number one force driving and stimulating the global recruitment market is the Internet. No more than in the world of technical recruitment is this evident. We all know that there is a plethora of agencies to use to find software engineers, a plenitude of internet job boards in Ireland and abroad to canvass for CVs and a preponderance of domestic and international newspapers, niche technical magazines, trade shows and fairs to cast the recruitment net on, but, there is much much more. With the advance of Teoma, DogPile, AltasVista and Google; XML, robot technology, Pod Casting, Skype, Desktop search technology and a host of new gadgets and gizmos coming to the market the way in which we recruit is about to change forever. This blog is about such issues.

In the next few weeks I will research and comment on a variety of internet recrutment issues in an attempt to stimulate debate and dig up some of the newer and often stranger techniques being used in modern day recruitment. I will highlight some of the search engines that can be used to target passive candidates on the Internet. I will explain how a 19th century mathematician called George Boole will have a massive impact on the future of recruitment. I will give examples of how to find passive candidates in the deep web, how to flip and x-ray servers to pull up CVs, and explain how using advanced search functionality in Google just might, if you're lucky, locate Org Charts from companies that you have targeted for recruiting. Along the way I will be commenting on some of the movers and shakers in the industry. I'll also be checking out some of the new technologies that are affecting the recruitment industry on a global scale, and, i will be suggesting ways to validate what people say they have done on their CV by using archives, Boolean operators and modifiers, and consulting newsgroups.

All comments are welcome. TICS.