Union Square Ventures recently posted an opening for an investment analyst.
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.
A résumé doesn’t provide much depth about a candidate, says Christina Cacioppo, an associate atUnion 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.
StickerGiant’s John Fischer, right, and interviewee Adam Thackeray shoot a video Monday.
“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.
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.
By Rachel Emma Silverman l
There has been and will continue to be a lot of hype and, frankly, fear-mongering by some less scrupulous vendors. Basically, their pitch goes like this:
“Pay us to register www.yourcompany.xxx to protect your brand and good name. If you don’t, well, you never know when someone might create a porn site under your name. Act now! Every day you wait is a day you are at risk.”
Although technically true, this type of implied threat comes dangerously close to “internet blackmail” in our view.
Let’s look at the facts:
- .XXX is the newest of nearly 400 active top level domains.
- .XXX was created to make it easier for individuals seeking adult entertainment online to find it, and those who are not interested in such material to avoid it.
- Like all TLDs, anyone can register “somename.xxx”. This includes both legitimate use (i.e., “hotporn.xxx”) and cyber-squatters (i.e., “yourbusinessname.xxx”).
- Cyber-squatting is a contentious business practice, whether it involves XXX or not.
- The policies, laws, and regulations governing cyber-squatting are complex, vary from country to country, and are an active battleground in the courts. If you are interested in the gory details, http://www.caslon.com.au/domainsprofile13.htm provides a good jumping-off point.
- In the U.S. and many countries around the world, you can request arbitration under ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Compared to litigation in U.S. courts, costs are quite low. However, remedies are limited to transfer (from loser to winner) of the domain name, or outright cancellation of the “squatted” domain.
- In the U.S., you can file suit against cyber-squatters under the Federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999. ACPA provides for statutory damages up to $100,000 per domain name, or actual damages and profits, plus court costs and legal fees.
- Perhaps because of the enormous global value of the adult entertainment industry (some estimates suggest that $3,000 – $5,000 per SECOND is spent on porn worldwide), domain name registrars are charging premium prices for .XXX domains. For example, a 5 year registration ofwww.johnsrepairshop.com retails for $114.95 ($23/year) at Network Solutions, butwww.johnsrepairshop.xxx retails for $649.95 ($123/yr) for the same 5 year term.
Should YOU register a .XXX?
- Is it likely that someone would want to operate a legitimate adult entertainment website with the same name as your brand or company? For example, www.realestatenashville.xxx is an unlikely choice for a porn site, whereas www.BestSkinUS.xxx might be more at risk.
- Do you think that squatters might want to target your brand or company with the intent of selling it back to you (“ransom”)? Clearly, you’d be a greater risk if you have a global brand and deep pockets, like Coke or Apple. Is there a personal or political reason someone might target your brand or company for financial gain: www.joesmithforgovernor.xxx, orwww.yourcompanynamesucks.xxx ?
- If your customers stumbled upon www.yourcompany.xxx, is there a meaningful risk they’d believe that you operate a porn site as a sideline business? Aren’t they more likely to realize that the overlap is coincidental or that someone is trying to take advantage of you?
- When looking at search results, are prospects likely to get the wrong impression or make the wrong choice if they see listings for both www.yourcompany.com and www.yourcompany.xxxlisted? Or are they more likely to choose the .COM link and move on?
- If you found that someone had registered your company or brand name as a .XXX site, would you be willing and able to commit the resources required to litigate? Would you have time and resources available for arbitration?
- How effective is your current domain name registration position? Could you benefit more by adding registrations under .INFO, .BIZ, and .CO (for less money) than under .XXX?
- How well does you current site perform in SEO rankings? Is your content fresh and authoritative? Would legitimate search results overwhelm whatever www.yourcompany.xxxlinks that might exist? Remember, the best defense is a good offense.
These questions should be considered as a part of your overall strategy for establishing, promoting and maintaining your online brand identity. Domain name coverage beyond www.yourcompany.com can be beneficial, both in terms of brand protection and in link-building; so are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare, and other social media outlets.
We’re happy to discuss your online brand presence at any time, including questions about .XXX. And yes, if you want to lock-down your .XXX, we’re happy to help. But don’t succumb to high-pressure sales tactics or email scare campaigns.
By Garry Hornbuckle, Compliments of Bytes of Knowledge Management
There was a time that Research in Motion (RIMM) was the darling of Wall Street. The products that they sold were on the leading edge of technology; interactive, life and business simplifying, and a product that quite literally had an “addictive” nature that produced uncanny sales and loyalty from their customers. Their signature SKU, the Blackberry Phone, was infamously dubbed the “Crack-berry” for that immediate comparison to the most addictive drug on the streets.
Well times have certainly changed for the once dominant wireless communication company. Over the last four years, RIMM has seen a literal disappearance of market capitalization to the tune of 84%, going from $54.81B in 2008 to $8.79B to date. While their revenue growth year-over-year has been steady since 2009, along with steady EPS growth, and net income growth, RIMM has incurred increasing debt, shrinking cash flows, and most importantly the absolute onslaught of their competitors with newer, better, and more customer pleasing products developed by Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) most specifically.
Adding to RIMM’s woes will be a half billion dollars in charges related to two major failures this fiscal year. First was the dramatic overproduction of the “Playbook” tablet (est. loss $485M). The second related to the prolonged service outage in October ’11 that will undoubtedly result in numerous lawsuits (est. loss $15-20M). And when CEO, Mike Lazaridis, was asked about his thoughts on the most current earnings reports, he showed an audacious denial of reality by stating:
“RIMM is committed to the Blackberry Playbook and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy…early results from recent Playbook promotions indicate a significant increase in demand across most channels.” (TechCrunch, “RIM To Miss Earnings Goals After Half a Billion in Charges”,12/4/11)
And if all of that weren’t enough to make you scratch your head, according to an article published in November by BusinessWeek, for the first time in nine years, RIMM’S stock price fell below it’s book value.
“So, what did RIMM do?” to get themselves into this mess becomes the most obvious question. However, analyzing what RIMM didn’t do and what their competitors did do reveals the true answer. One only needs to compare RIMM’s financials with that of its most formidable competitors, Apple, Inc.…
Created in 1976 by the legendary Steve Jobs, Apple rose to prominent status quickly in the ‘80’s. The iconic Macintosh was the precursor to home computing of the future like no other technological innovation of the 20th century. But just as quickly as it rose, Apple fell to the double-edged sword that helped create it; Jobs himself. He was ousted by the other directors because of his unpleasant demeanor, insistence on everything having to be done his way, and just a little bit of ego.
Little did they know, Jobs’ personality and paradigm changing vision for personalized technology was to become the actual heartbeat and core foundation of Apple and its coming success. And until his return in ’96, Apple’s growth, market share, R&D, and profits languished mercilessly. Once back in the captain’s chair, Jobs spearheaded products like the iPod, iPhone, iMac, Macbook, iPad, and transformed personal computing with the advent of the touchscreen on all devices. And the results have been nothing short of Wall Street gold since his return.
According to the financial data compared to RIMM, Apple has become the 21st century’s reincarnation of the dominance that RIMM once garnered at the end of the 20th century. Since 2009, Apple’s sales have grown 157%, their market capitalization has increased 120%, their debt ratio and working capital have decreased significantly, their EPS has more than tripled and their book value per share has almost tripled! And if all of that weren’t enough to impress you, the media widely reported how Apple had more cash on hand than the United States government early this summer!
However, not all of Apple’s success has been directly attributed to the wireless communication devices that directly compete with RIMM’s products for a fair evaluation. Of the $108.2B in revenue for their last reporting period, roughly $70.8B (65%) of those sales can be attributed to the iPhone and iPad, while the other $37B (35%) were sales of their desktop and portable computer devices where RIMM does not compete. Even so, Apple has dominated the wireless industry of late and their current revenues dwarf RIMM’s best year ever of revenue, computers aside. And once Verizon became licensed to sell the iPhone on February 10th of this year, after having had an exclusive agreement with AT&T since it’s launch, their sales have taken off even more dramatically.
All of that being said, I find it interesting that less than 1% of Apple’s insiders own Apple stock, where RIMM’s insiders own 11% of their stock. And as of December 2 of this year, RIMM’s P/E of 3.06 compared to Apple’s 14.08 makes RIMM possibly more attractive as a buy for nothing other than a takeover scenario. And now that Steve Jobs has passed away and Timothy Cook has taken the reigns, are the innovative technological breakthroughs going to dry up for Apple without their spiritual leader? Or become less than spectacularly popular like every single launched product of the last ten years for Apple? I guess we will all see soon. But if I were a betting man, I would put my money on Apple, even with a new CEO…
Until next time…
Jason Ritchason -President/CEO
“Once you can prove to them that there’s a reason you’re in your position, it’s a lot easier for them to respect you,” Ray Land. (Ray started his own business, Fabulous Coach Co., as a teenager. His company now exceeds $4 million in annual sales).
As a young professional, I find myself hurdling new obstacles on a daily basis. This is to be expected for a person fresh out of college and merging into the business world. Many of these issues can be overcome with plenty of hard work and dedication. However, there is one thing I cannot bypass: my age. So the question is, how can I gain the trust of an owner or decision-making principal of a company with very little professional experience?
Naturally, knowledge comes along with years of experience. With that being said, I have developed several strategies in my time at Skyline that have helped me get in the door, and then develop the respect that is essential towards closing deals. I believe that these things have set me apart from other 24-year-old young professionals. If this blog helps just one young professional shorten their learning curve in their career path, then my goal will be accomplished.
A primary rule that I follow is always dressing for success. I always wear a suit and tie when knocking on doors or attending professional meetings and this clearly separates me from my age group in the business world. This immediately gives me a significant amount of credibility, even if it is just how I look. I believe it conveys respect towards the client and shows that you have taken that extra effort to make yourself appear as professional as possible. If first impressions are everything, your customers will immediately realize that you are serious about doing business if you show up dressed to impress.
Besides the dress code, there are several other rules that I adhere to. Be punctual. Show up to meetings early with a sufficient amount of time to prepare yourself. Contact the customer before you arrive to confirm your appointment. This proves to the customer that you are diligent, organized, prepared, and excited. But again, BE PUNCTUAL! Turn your cell phone on vibrate or completely off. There is nothing more disrespectful than your phone going off when you are trying to establish credibility. If this ever does happen by accident, apologize profusely and beg for forgiveness!
Another component in my success thus far has been “tactful persistence” in following up with a prospective client. I have come to realize there is a fine line between being persistent and pestering a client. Following up with them in a reasonable amount of time defines you as not being too pushy, which can kill a deal. But in that process, be aggressive yet flexible and understanding. Finding that balance is not something I can elaborate on in detail. You just have to be able to read the signs the client is giving you and either push forward or back off. There have been several times that I backed off and got a call months after I initially made the call, all ending in deals!
Some other very basic tips I can give you fall under the common sense category, yet I find that is not the case for a lot of young professionals. Fortunately for me, I was born and raised in the South and because of that, I was taught early that patience and manners are not optional. These traits have helped me immensely and have also helped me tremendously when meeting with much older clients. “Yes Sir”, and “Yes M’am” answers are a must for young professionals. Showing respect is a sign of character. And if people do business with the people they know, like, trust, or admire, showing simple gestures of respect will put you into one of those categories of character immediately and will ingratiate your customer with your manners.
I also try to convey to my customers that although I am young, I am ambitious and humble to learn new things. God gave me two ears and one mouth for a reason, so I try to listen more than I speak. If I am unfamiliar with an aspect of the conversation, I humbly ask my client questions, and make them feel that I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from them, or anybody…and I am!
At the end of the day, wiser more experienced professionals can smell a “starvin’ salesman” a mile away. So carry yourself well, dress well, be respectful, be tactfully persistent, show manners, turn the phone off, and above all…speak with confidence. Believe in what you have to offer. Know that you can legitimately help the person in front of you and they will respond accordingly.
Following these simple guidelines will give you a huge head-start over the competition no matter what age you are, but especially if you are young like me.
All the best,
Casey Price –Executive Business Development