Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Social Media and Soccer Moms

I remember my younger sister telling me several years back about this new thing on-line I just had to do. “Facebook, what’s that?”  I was sucked in and soon all of my minivan-driving soccer mom friends were too. I simply viewed it as great social tool to connect with old friends, post family pictures, and share funny little anecdotes on my status.  As I found myself back in the professional world of recruiting, I started to think. I was a bit surprised by what people would post and thought twice about what I was posting. Whether it  (what I would think) was an inappropriate picture, off color comment or a link to, well,  whatever...I began to think about the first impression they were giving to a potential employer who came across their profile.  Now the world of social media (Twitter, Linked In, Blogging, etc…) has exploded and has become a popular and essential tool in the recruiting field.

 Professionals have all sorts of tips on the subject.  So I ask,  what kind of impression do you want to give on your profile?

Kim Roach, Staffing Consultant
Colvin Resources Group

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Future of the Resume

              On a daily basis there is constant discussion in our office as to where recruiting and staffing is headed in the future. As a company we are currently tweaking and adding to our goals and plans for implementing new technologies be it a blog or video interviewing. One of our Staffing Consultants, Kristi Gregory , came across the article below discussing the possible future of resumes. 
             The resume is often seen as a formalized, antiquated document that rarely gives the full picture of a candidate. So much weight is put on one piece of paper to determine whether or not you get through the front door of your dream company. Perhaps the people of Union Square Ventures have the right idea. They proposed that compiling a portfolio of sorts showcasing web presence and personal interests gives a company a better idea of fit. As a recruiter, the potential value in the idea is enormous. While the idea may never transition to the world of accounting and finance (our CRG specialty) it may be able to add value to many of the emerging media, sales, and related industries where personality is key. But our question is to the potential new hires our there. Do you see this as easily executed, or more trouble than it's worth?

No More Résumés, Say Some Firms

Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst.

Instead of asking for résumés, the New York venture-capital firm—which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies—asked applicants to send links representing their "Web presence," such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position.

Union Square says its process nets better-quality candidates —especially for a venture-capital operation that invests heavily in the Internet and social-media—and the firm plans to use it going forward to fill analyst positions and other jobs.

Companies are increasingly relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, video profiles and online quizzes to gauge candidates' suitability for a job. While most still request a résumé as part of the application package, some are bypassing the staid requirement altogether.

[More from WSJ.com: Your Résumé vs. Oblivion]

A résumé doesn't provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate at Union Square Ventures who blogs about the hiring process on the company's website and was herself hired after she compiled a profile comprising her personal blog, Twitter feed, LinkedIn profile, and links to social-media sites Delicious and Dopplr, which showed places where she had traveled.
"We are most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, how they think," she says.

John Fischer, founder and owner of StickerGiant.com, a Hygiene, Colo., company that makes bumper and marketing stickers, says a résumé isn't the best way to determine whether a potential employee will be a good social fit for the company. Instead, his firm uses an online survey to help screen applicants.

Questions are tailored to the position. A current opening for an Adobe Illustrator expert asks applicants about their skills, but also asks questions such as "What is your ideal dream job?" and "What is the best job you've ever had?" Applicants have the option to attach a résumé, but it isn't required. Mr. Fischer says he started using online questionnaires several years ago, after receiving too many résumés from candidates who had no qualifications or interest. Having applicants fill out surveys is a "self-filter," he says.

A previous posting for an Internet marketing position had applicants rate their marketing and social-media skills on a scale of one to 10 and select from a list of words how friends or co-workers would describe them. Options included: high energy, type-A, laid back, perfect, creative or fun.

In times of high unemployment, bypassing résumés can also help companies winnow out candidates from a broader labor pool.

IGN Entertainment Inc., a gaming and media firm, launched a program dubbed Code Foo, in which it taught programming skills to passionate gamers with little experience, paying participants while they learned. Instead of asking for résumés, the firm posted a series of challenges on its website aimed at gauging candidates' thought processes. (One challenge: Estimate how many pennies lined side by side would span the Golden Gate Bridge.)

It also asked candidates to submit a video demonstrating their love of gaming and the firm's products.

IGN is a unit of News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal.

Nearly 30 people out of about 100 applicants were picked for the six-week Code Foo program, and six were eventually hired full-time. Several of the hires were nontraditional applicants who didn't attend college or who had thin work experience.

"If we had just looked at their résumés at the moment we wouldn't have hired them," says Greg Silva, IGN's vice president of people and places. The company does require résumés for its regular job openings.

At most companies, résumés are still the first step of the recruiting process, even at supposedly nontraditional places like Google Inc., which hired about 7,000 people in 2011, after receiving some two million résumés. Google has an army of "hundreds" of recruiters who actually read every one, says Todd Carlisle, the technology firm's director of staffing.

But Dr. Carlisle says he reads résumés in an unusual way: from the bottom up.

[Also see: Four Things That Can Send Your Resume into the Trash]

Candidates' early work experience, hobbies, extracurricular activities or nonprofit involvement—such as painting houses to pay for college or touring with a punk rock band through Europe—often provide insight into how well an applicant would fit into the company culture, Dr. Carlisle says.

Plus, "It's the first sample of work we have of yours," he says.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Networking for Dummies

"Networking: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest" (Dictionary.com
 Meeting new people and sharing interests, ideas, and contacts is vital to just about any business, or any human being for that matter. Getting out there and gaining new insights can help grow a company or an individual. Whatever your industry there is no doubt a need to mix, mingle and schmooze. Unfortunately, not every industry lends itself to having people willing or able to network effectively. For the introverts among us, (and there are many) often it is seen as a socially daunting task not worth the effort. Being one of these mysterious introverts myself, it is easy to understand the hesitation. For today's blog I felt it relevant to include a reprint from the Harvard Business Review Blog Network. Below are some insightful tips and tricks for the ones who are more social caterpillars, than butterflies:

An Introvert's Guide to Networking

9:15 AM Wednesday January 25, 2012
by Lisa Petrilli
HBR Blog Network

       I learned the critical importance of networking, and discovered my natural aversion to it, early in my career. I was a new college graduate working in the strategic planning division of a $10 billion company, and our business unit had been invited to a retirement party for one of the top executives. The gentleman retiring was someone I'd looked up to during my brief tenure, and I wanted him to know he'd made an impact on me.
       While I wanted to attend the party, as an introvert I usually avoided these types of events because they made me uncomfortable. Knowing there would be a lot of senior executives at this party made me even more fearful. In the end, I tamped down my fears and went. When I arrived I found a relatively empty room save for the executive's friends and close colleagues. That night, because of the small turnout, I had the pleasure and advantage of engaging in one-on-one conversations with some of the company's top executives, an experience that would prove crucially important in advancing my career.
       That evening I learned the importance of networking and realized I had to figure out how to engage in business events in ways that were comfortable for me. I went on to discover an array of strategies introverts can use, ultimately writing "The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership". Because I figured out how to embrace networking I found myself in the plum role of leading one of the highest visibility company teams as a new marketing manager at the age of 26, and representing the company at a United Nations conference in Geneva. I went on to run a $750 million business and negotiate pharmaceutical contracts with top global companies, all in a way that worked effectively with my introverted preferences.
Here's what worked for me:

I learned to appreciate my introversion rather than repudiate it.
          I have met so many introverts in business who talk about introversion as if it's a malady that one must get over in order to be successful. This is wrong. Introversion is simply a preference for the inner world of ideas because this is where we get our energy. By understanding and accepting this preference, introverts can optimize time spent with their ideas to refine them and recharge. This allows them to be as powerful and persuasive as possible when networking situations arise.
I recognized that one-on-one conversations would be my lifeline during networking. Generally speaking, business events — and particularly networking events that require engaging with groups — are demanding for introverts. An antidote to this, I learned, is to seek out conversations with one individual at a time. When I approach events this way I have more productive conversations and form better business relationships — and I'm less drained by the experience.

I stopped being afraid to be the one to reach out.
         My inner introvert used to think that making the effort to introduce myself was risky. I worried that my target would not be interested in talking with me or that I would make them uncomfortable. I learned over time that when I extended my hand with a smile and an introduction my effort would be reciprocated, even when I approached executives above my rank.
Social media makes this is easier than ever. Reach out via LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook to people who will be attending conferences or networking events you're going to and let them know you're looking forward to meeting them. This pre-introduction leads to a more relaxed and productive in-person connection. By reaching out, you open the door to potentially rewarding business collaborations, and you do so on your own terms.

I learned to prioritize time to re-energize.
          While it can be tempting to go from a networking lunch right back to work, or from a networking cocktail event right to a dinner, if you're an introvert and you do that you won't be able to bring your best self to your next commitment. Take the time to recharge, whether by walking from the lunch back to work, or by finding 30 minutes alone between cocktails and dinner.
Introverts who avoid networking are making a critical career mistake. Being an adroit networker is non-negotiable — and not as hard as it might seem.
If you're an introvert, what networking strategies have you found that work?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet Our Team

Colvin Resources Group (CRG) is a personnel services company specializing in placing accounting and financial professionals. We also offer placements in office administration, Human Resources, Tax, and various other areas. Since its inception in 1990, we have proudly served the greater Dallas area and have worked with some of the area’s top companies. CRG’s placements include direct hire and contract service positions. As an added service, we provide the client the opportunity to payroll service their candidates. Our current clientele include companies operating in the real estate, manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, and mortgage industries.

President Eddie Colvin, CPA, is President of CRG and has served in that capacity since founding the company in 1990. Prior to establishing CRG, Eddie was employed with Crow Family Holdings as the Special Projects Manager. His initial experience was gained at the Big Four accounting firm of Ernst & Young where he was a Senior Auditor, primarily assisting small business clients.  Serving as President of CRG has been Eddie’s most challenging and rewarding work to date. From making successful placements of Chief Financial Officers to managing his clients’ remote subsidiary personnel placements, Eddie has experience in all aspects of the personnel industry.  Eddie holds a BBA in Accounting from the University of Arkansas and is a member of the AICPA and the Texas Society of CPA’s.eddie.colvin@colvinresourcesgroup.com

Director of Client Development  Carolyn Murray, CPA, started with CRG in September of 2011.  Prior to joining CRG, Carolyn was Director of Business Development for Jones Square Financial Services, a local  accounting firm.  She began her career as an auditor with a Big Four accounting firm and then became the audit manager for Friday’s Hospitality Worldwide.  Carolyn earned a BBA with Honors in Accounting from the University of Texas.  She and her husband and two kids live in North Dallas.carolyn.murray@colvinresourcesgroup.com

Director of Operations Sheila Kyser started with CRG in June 1996 after graduating from Baylor University with a BBA in Entrepreneurship/Management. Sheila lives in Carrollton with her husband and son. sheila.kyser@colvinresourcesgroup.com

Director of Recruiting Ali Kairies is the most recent addition to Colvin Resources Group, joining in August 2011.  Ali has been recruiting for seven years in a variety of industries including public accounting, financial services, and healthcare and is an Advanced Certified Internet Recruiter (ACIR).  She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2004 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and currently resides in the Uptown area.ali.kairies@colvinresourcesgroup.com

Staffing Consultants
Kristi Gregory, Kim Roach, Ashley Meyer

Our team is always excited to meet new candidates and bring them together with the best companies in DFW. You can find us all over the web through our social media outlets like Facebook , Twitter , or Google+ . 
In addition, you can find our job postings on Careerbuilder, Indeed, SimplyHired, and many others. We hope that this blog can be a place to bring insights in to the accounting and recruiting worlds as well as information on the latest opportunities.  
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Client Spotlight

Colvin Resources Group (CRG) is a personnel services company specializing in placing accounting and finance professionals. As an additional service to our clients, CRG also provides administrative candidates. Having served the greater Dallas area since 1990, we work with over 100 of the area's top companies in providing the highest level of service and candidates. We are pleased to spotlight Social Strategy1, a valued and long time friend of CRG:

The principals of Social Strategy 1 (SS1), Mike Lewis and Dennis Stoutenburgh, founded Social Strategy 1 in 2009 after becoming frustrated using then available social media mining tools to manage the on-line reputation of their other business, ILD Corp. After 1 year of intensive research and development, Social Strategy 1 rolled the product out to its first customers in late 2010 and has been growing ever since.
The Social Strategy1 technology platform was built in conjunction with research it conducted with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a social media monitoring technology and services firm that delivers real-time clarity and insights to its clients. SS1 taps the richest source of real-time information available today – the Internet, where people’s actions and conversations reveal things you couldn’t get from focus groups, competitive reports or sales data.  SS1 couples its natural language processing and data mining technology with trained analysts who uncover real-time business insights helping companies grow their business.
When most people think of social media insights they immediately think of analytics related to marketing campaigns (ie. did the masses like or dislike a recent Super Bowl commercial).  While these marketing insights and “buzz” analytics can be derived from social media, the information mined can provide so much more.  Companies are using the information gathered by SS1 analysts for objectives such as: sales lead generation, social media marketing campaigns, on-line reputation management, competitive insights and analysis, product development, customer care and corporate governance to name a few.  SS1 clients include international public accounting and law firms, auto dealers, financial services firms and companies and brands just branching into social media for the first time.
We live in an ever increasing interconnected world and companies that interact with their customers, prospects and employees in forums and platforms where they currently reside will have a decided advantage.  SS1’s objective is to activate the social web for our clients to create actionable insights and response strategies to help companies grow. 
-Dennis Stoutenburgh