by Shally Steckerl, Founder at JobMachine, Inc. & Manager Sourcing Research, at Microsoft
CyberSleuthing! …or how to really mine the web for candidates Expert research strategy from http://www.jobmachine.net/shally/
What in 2004 started as a risky move when a few of us stuck our necks out to vulnerably make public our thoughts in an open forum has in a quick staccato grown to a cacophony. In the ancient history of our profession, around the turn of the century, there were only a few voices but they were clear as a crystal bell. These voices broadcast ideas through unidirectional vehicles like newsletters, both in print and online, as well as static websites that required considerable skill to publish. Comparatively a rank amateur in 1996 I was lucky to be a barely discernible junior voice among the ranks of big influencers who started revealing secrets online about our industry as early as a year before my meager beginnings in this industry. Some of those ancient leading voices have grown very strong while others are returning after a long hiatus.
But who cares about that? After all, its a time forgotten and things have changed.
Well, the truth is I care. Lately I have been having increasingly more disturbing conversations with my peers, mentors, apprentices, customers and business partners, about the growth of the signal-to-noise ratio. With the maturing of the “click here to post” blog technology, not only has the amount of new voices increased but also their volume is rising as is the diversity of opinion they represent.
Signal-to-noise is the ratio of information to interference in the medium. In other words, when the ratio grows it gets increasingly harder to tell the useful information from the background noise. While I strongly believe our industry will benefit from numerous conversations among people of widely varied opinions, trying to listen to all of them will shortly be impossible. Good voices are being drowned out by noise and feedback loops. So, I’m doing something about it.
Actually, I have been doing something about it for a few years, but I just haven’t made it known openly until now. I started out doing what many of us do when we are trying to have an important conversation and that is to grab the volume knob and turn it all the way down and to the left so I can knobhave a decent conversation. This temporary lull in the ruckus before turning the knob back to the right allowed me to conduct direct conversations with leading voices in our industry. What was initially a simple reaching out for direct connections eventually became a method of listening which in turn grew into limitless opportunities for me to learn, influence and be influenced.
Through my public speaking, blogging, and those unguarded dialogues I have forged partnerships that have lead to building unity among the voices and a choir has begun to form. I’ve been granted a great trust by this choir which I have used to promote the open sharing of knowledge and thought leadership. At my bequest many have taken the risk to start their own blog pages and fill them with revealing content, and some have chosen other instruments. What concerns me now is that even as a choir we are muffled.
Many of these partners, new and old, have asked that I keep our conversations to myself and since the ideas are not just my own I can’t yet tell you much about their nature, or about the choir’s master plan. What I can tell you is that great momentum is building behind a movement to combine our voices and share the sound stage for the purposes of presenting our ideas in a much more organized way to cut through the noise. You may have already seen or inferred how some of that is coming together. As always I’ll keep you informed once I able to share more.
In the mean time I urge you to take a stand against the noise by joining in with your favorite voices and supporting their cause, or at least take a moment to turn the volume off once in a while and have a candid conversation. This way, instead of the rising commotion of a popularity contest with no ultimate winner we will create a natural consensus that can truly affect change in our industry.
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