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Show #502 - November 19, 2009

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Content summary

Mitch Joel's book offer; FIR Interview with Tac Anderson coming; update on the FIR Twitter List; FIR #500: more listener predictions; Dan York reports; the Media Monitoring Minute with CustomScoop; News That Fits: Ronna Porter's example on calling on your online community to verify your social media credentials in a job application, social media is influencing business decisions says new research from SNCR; David Philips reports; listener comments; music from Mario Tomic; and more.

Time Codes Here!

Thanks, volunteers...

Contributions and Comments from these Listeners

Dan York
Tom Murphy
Mike the Bee
David Philips
Simon Young

Today's music: Tribal Fusion by Mario Tomic.

Contributors to show notes for this show (add your name here)

  • Neville Hobson
  • Ronna Porter

FIR #502 Transcript / News that Fits
Ronna Porterís example on calling on your online community to verify your social media credentials in a job application

Itís a bit out of the ordinary from a news point of view. But it concerns a friend of ours and itís about a topic that is quite thought-provoking about what happened and why. And this relates to this friend of ours called Ronna Porter, someone, Shel both you and I have met. We both met her back at an FIR dinner we had back in 2007.

And Ronna is somebody very involved with audio among many things. Sheís got strong credentials in social media, and thatís really at the heart of this story Iím going to recount to you based on what Ronna has told us too. And what Iíve observed myself online.

And this goes back a while from when she, Ronna moved to Germany, she lives in Nuremberg in fact, and she expressed a desire that adidas, the sportswear manufacturer is a company sheíd like to work for, and wrote a blog post about that a year or so ago. What happened in the last week or so is that thereís an opportunity arisen at adidas that would involve someone with some experience in social media.

Again, I donít have the details so Iím not going to try and interpret what I donít know. But it lead to Ronna being in touch with them and they basically, from what I understand, have said to Ronna: ďNice to .. whatever they said .. but have declined to allow her to interview for this particular role as they feel that she doesnít have strong enough credentials with experience in social media and of course she is taken aback by this. I can imagine on two levels. One is the disappointment at her dream almost appearing and not to be able to get an interview, and the HR person simply saying your experience is not at the level they are looking for, so she is taken aback by that as well.

Now what she did is the key thing here. She says that following a very short telephone conversation with personnel, thatís HR:

adidas doubts my social media experience - should they?

I'm interviewing for a senior PR role with adidas. It is my dream job.

The problem is, following a very short telephone conversation with personnel, adidas has decided I may not have the necessary social media credentials for the specific role (this surprises me and several experts in this field).

So I ask that if you know my capabilities well enough, to please corroborate that I know my stuff and am worth interviewing.

Either respond here, on the adidas Facebook page or to me on Twitter .

Many thanks for any support you can give!

Regards, Ronna

Thereís the interesting aspect to this. That Ronna raised this as a point she made in a question that she sent to all her LinkedIn? network. She also contacted directly a number of people asking for help Ė I got a request like that from Ronna too. And it struck me as fascinating that on the one hand youíve got a traditional thing that applies to a job and, sorry weíre not going to invite you in for an interview: What would you do normally in that situation, if you felt you werenít being given a fair enough chance to just get to that interview. Youíd probably just tell your friends, you might right someone about it, do emails .. No, Ronna has called upon her community via social communication tools including networks like LinkedIn?.

The equally interesting thing is if that you go to the adidas Facebook page which I did, I was taken aback by the shear volume, the shear quantity, of comments from people corroborating, or actually verifying Ronnaís credentials as somebody that adidas ought to interview. And my thought in the comment that I left that really about how could you ignore this sort of verification. If this is not independent third-party verification of someone then I donít know what is. Now I donít know the outcome of whatís happened, Iíve not been able to get in touch with Ronna to ask her before the show. So Iíve not seen her tweeting about, or anything on her blog, so I doubt that this has proceeded to interview, but sheís got a huge quantity of support.

Another of our listeners, indeed a voice you hear on this show from time to time Krishna De from Ireland dropped me a note about this asking if we were going to talk about this on FIR, and she had a couple of thoughts herself. Got her wondering , she says, is this a savvy approach lobbying your network to support your work on a companyís facebook page. And secondly, if you were the brand owner or the recruiting manager, how would you respond?

And these are two very good questions, because Iíve not seen any response from adidas. Having said that, I havenít looked at the Facebook page for a few days so there might be one since. But Iíve not seen anything, and I doubt there has been one as Iím sure I would have seen someone in Ronnaís community whom Iím connected with tweeting that Ronna has got a result of some kind.

So this is still up in the air in my view. So here weíve got someone with some influence, connected to people with influence if I can say it that way, who is asking questions. And adidas is being mentioned all the time, not in very flattering terms. Itís not like they are getting lots of criticism, but you can just look at the issues that are being thrust at adidas, who are not responding at the moment.

And that is probably the thing. Now we donít know, and without Ronnaís disclosure exactly what the detail of this is, what the reason is that they have decided against inviting her in for an interview. Nevertheless it is rather interesting that nowadays you can call on your community to support you in a way that is transparent, that is open, that is public Ė its on the public internet. Anyone with a connection can see the tweets. Anyone with access to Facebook can go to adidasís page and see what everyone is saying about Ronna, and indeed on LinkedIn? as well. So this again another dimension of what being online means when you have a point to make and you ask others to support you or at least contribute some opinion. And this to me simply just opens up another dimension to this whole thing of personal inter-relationships, whether on a personal or a professional level. If I were adidas Iíd be, well frankly Iíd be responding in some way. They may well have done, but it doesnít look as though they have in which case they are missing a trick here. Shel?

Shel: Well, yeah. And I think Krisnaís two questions are good ones. The first oneís being, is this a good idea. And my answer is: it couldnít hurt, sheís been declined the interview, so by undertaking this initiative I donít think sheís undermined her chances of getting an interview. Sheís already been told no, so its either going to get adidas to pay attention or its not, but it canít hurt. Iím wondering if there are other companyís paying attention and adidas ignoring of Ronna is going to turn into an advantage for some other organization thatís going to say, well, we want her. And we want her social media chops here.

Neville: Thatís actually what I mentioned in my comment that I left on adidas page. Their loss will be a competitors gain, cosí someone is going to look at Ronna and say, weíll hire this person, I would think.

Shel: Well the way an HR person should react is contingent upon how clued-in the organization and the HR department are on all of this. I think there might be some who will roll their eyes and say ďOh, just getting all of their friends to weigh in doesnít really mean anythingĒ, but somebody with a clue is going to say oh this is a person who has built a strong community online and obviously understands what community means and how you can activate a community that I think we should pay attention to.

Neville: At least get them in for the interview. Shel: Absolutely. Talk to this person at this point. But, you know I remember we talked several shows ago about the idea of the networked company. And one of the characteristics of a networked company was going to be that recruiting was going to happen through social networks. The people that you are interacting with that you identify as someone just perfect for a particular position that you have to fill.

Thatís where you are going to go for those people. You already know them, youíre already interacting with them, why would you put a display ad in a newspaper or on a job site when you already know the people out there youíd like to bring in. So I think the very nature of recruiting is going to undergo a change.

I saw, and Iím not at liberty to say who this is, its through a public relations agency with which I have a professional relationship with. But they are trying to recruit a senior level social media person for one of their clients, a big company that you would recognize the name of this organization. And the job description requirements, I told my contact at the PR agency that I thought they were completely unrealistic, with 8-10 years senior management experience, but also social media experience. Iím wondering if the whole issue with adidas thatís keeping Ronna from being brought into an interview is that they have unrealistic expectations about the qualifications of people that they can find out there.

Neville: Mm. Its and interesting one isnít it. And weíd love to know what happenís next. Ronna, if youíre listening, yes let us know what has happened since the commentary that weíve given today.

Shel: And include in that any unintended consequences, such as approaches that youíve had from other organizations. Neville: Yeah, weíd love to know that.

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