Do you ever sit down to write about something that you know you are “supposed” to write about and find yourself composing a different post? Well, my friends, that is how this posting began. Lately, I have been deluged with a lot of messages, posts, tweets, and Facebook statuses about back to school. Everyone in my life seems to be going back to school – from preschool to grad school and everything in between. With all of the attention on these important passages, I thought I would sit down and add my own wisdom to the mix. Wrong! I am officially declaring that I have nothing to add to the collective conversation, with the exception of sending everyone a hearty wish for academic success in whatever field of study they choose . . . and instead, I am going to write about technology that has impressed me lately.
First of all, a disclosure — I am not a geek. I am not the person who stands in line at Best Buy at 2am on Black Friday to get access to the next $600 gizmos – nope, that is not me. However, I know those people and as a result I am exposed to a lot of their thinking about the latest whiz-bangs. In fact, people seek me out to tell me about new applications and productivity tools. So, from that standpoint, it is safe to call me a gadget girl wannabe. *
I almost don’t want to tell you about Contactually, because then all my friends, family, and network who have heard from me recently will know my secret. Yes, Contactually is a customer relationship management (CRM) application. But what distinguishes them from the field is that they pull together contacts from a variety of sources – your email (all of them, I have 9!), your contact program, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – and put them in a cloud database. Of course, the hardest part of any CRM system is “bucketing” your contacts, but Contactually has turned that into a game. The Bucket Game is the bomb – they give you a bucket of your contacts and challenge you to click them into the right bucket. Every time one lands, you hear the clink of a coin hitting the bottom of the metal bucket. Of course, there is a timer because what fun is it to do anything without figuring out a way to beat yourself? Once categorized, you can then set up contact parameters like, “I want to contact family once every blue moon . . . er how about 30 days?” You then do that for all of your buckets. Of course you can move people around easily, set reminders, and schedule follow-up. You can also see all of the messages you’ve sent to each contact from email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. plus every time one of your contacts makes a change, the application automatically updates the contact record. Every day I get up and sitting in my inbox is a list of people I need to contact for the day; if I exceed the number, it places a nice congratulations banner on my page. Awwww . . . okay so I’m a fan. Although the basic plan is a steal, I do think I deserve a free month or two for this post. Like this post if you agree with me!
My second technology tip of the month addresses the note-takers in the group. You know who you are, you love to see yourself write and pecking out notes on your tablet just doesn’t do it for you. Plus, you’re not about to give up your writing utensils to look techno-cool without a darned good reason . . . so this is the reason. Trade your Waterman, Mont Blanc, or favorite brand of gel pen for a LiveScribe pen. Huh? Yessirree Bob and Bobbette, this is the nifty tool for you. It is a pen that electronically reads notes handwritten on a special paper and allows you to store them and/or upload them electronically to Evernote. I splurged and bought the 8MB wifi version which allows me to upload notes anywhere I have a connection, but the basic version is very serviceable. Some of you are probably scratching your pate wondering so what? I understand that skepticism albeit just barely, but for those of you writing, scanning, filing here’s the piece de resistance – you can search your notes in Evernote for key words. That’s right – I can search all my Evernote records for anything I’ve written. One note of caution: If you didn’t pass penmanship in second grade, Evernote may confuse Titanic with teutonic and God only knows what will happen. I write in cursive and I did not find this much of a problem but all of you scribblers out there beware as this might not be the product for you.
So if you have noticed that none of this has anything to do with recruiting or talent acquisition, you get an A+. I do have one technology that relates directly to the work I do with clients. This tool specifically benefits recruiters both on the agency and the corporate side. How many of you are doing homegrown Boolean searches or using a scraper to find candidates? If you are doing either or both, you must do yourself a favor and check out HiringSolved. I sat through a demo with Matt Ekstrom of HiringSolved and I haven’t been able to get the application off my mind. Generally speaking search strings take time to perfect and while you are trying them out you look at a lot of gunk, which is a highly technical term I’m told. Instead of looking at resumes – your goal – you can end up with lists, job postings, or other miscellaneous items. HiringSolved indexes candidate profiles so every search yields people for you to hire. I won’t lie – if you know Boolean logic, you will increase your results, but almost any search will yield results while you are fine-tuning your syntax. The big boon to HiringSolved is that it aggregates profiles – gives you the LinkedIn profile, resume if available, Twitter handle, Facebook account, github or stackoverflow account. Wow! I saw a search for big data analysts and was shocked at what I saw. Having used another tool to do a similar search, I did not turn up half as many results. I did hire an excellent colleague though – I love you, Kevin! – but I can only imagine what I could have turned up using this tool. Above and beyond the search functionality, HiringSolved supports downloads of the profiles and their API is open so if you have an applicant tracking system, you could theoretically have data flow from one system to the other. Warning! Do not take my word for this alone, please check it out with your IT organization.
I know there are probably a lot of other great tools out there to write about and if so I’d like to know about them. Could you send me your thoughts before we get to June? I’ll need something to write about instead of graduation!
Until then, sending you oodles of productivity karma,
*Recently, I did add the Twitter plug-in to my website when the old one ceased to work. I don’t think I’ll be creating any code to share on github though, but who knows? I might stay at a Holiday Inn Express and get inspired.