My Headlines


We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

Dec 17, 2008

RFL: The Relationsip of Social Media & Recruiting

As I was entering the title for this blog, it occurred to me that this will likely be the first in an ongoing posting stream on this matter. As I deepen my research into social media and its value to employers, I will continue to share what I learn, dispell myths, and promote best practices. There is a great deal of time, money, and energy being applied to marketing these services, and a scarcity of reputable research, data, or objective oversight to be found.


I had originally posted the following comments as a reply to a LinkedIn question about this topic. If you are LinkedIn, you can see that question here, and comment for yourself. Though I'd also prefer comments to this post, here.

It's clear that the number of advertisers paying to post jobs online is declining, that trend is directly related to the number of jobs open, meaning that the social media and other outlets will also be declining in the world of recruitment.

I'm very wary of those who try to scare HR professionals into thinking that the value of internet job boards has vanished. In fact, the value continues to grow, which is whey every year, including this year, a the ratio of jobs posted on internet job boards to jobs posted in print grows. I do agree that aggregator sites have muddied the waters, and we'll see how long it takes with copyright laws to catch up to the internet. It would be silly to allow magazines to copy the entire content from other magazines, and then put their own brand on it and sell advertising. It would be a clear violation of infringement, if there was no permission granted. This will become a very hot issue as the economy weakens, and those on top (monster, CB, HJ, Dice,etc) must take steps to protect there assets- which in any publishing platform, is content.

I've been a zealous social media supporter, and am working to bring a better understanding of this ecosystem to HR professionals. The truth is that while there may be some very good candidates found through social media, most organizations don't currently have the resources to wade through the enormous volumes of those disinterested in job opportunities and those who have created completely bogus profiles. Ultimately, it comes down to a question of return on investment.

If an employer can find 20 candidates with 85% of the profile they're looking for within a week of posting a job online (which only takes a small amount of time), is that activity more or less valuable than spending dozens if not more than a hundred hours filtering through social media and finding 2 candidates that have 95% of the profile you're looking for?

I believe that all three types of social media- Social Networking, Professional Networking, and Information Sharing- have tremendous value to HR professionals, and should be researched and utilized to build stronger employment brands and increased employee engagement. But these benefits must be presented with realistic expectations. Building employee networks, feedback loop venues, professional research interchanges, and customer engagement can all be taken to a new level with social media. When working with HR folks, I do my best to provide a very thorough analysis of the functionality of the various social media outlets, including benefits and drawbacks, and present them with scenarios in which they can leverage these services to their benefit.

That being said, specialization continues to offer significant advantages in the business to business community. I fear that by pushing businesspeople onto the social media to aggressively is akin to the superstore approach to consumer goods. Soon, people forget the quality of the goods they used to get at specialty stores, and replace the desire for quality with the convenience of cheap prices and one stop shopping- the dumbing of the consumer market. The same goes with trying to do too much through social media platforms that aren't truly designed to deliver the results businesses need.

Dec 16, 2008

Not Enough Candidates? WHO SAID THAT?!

Steve Porter, who is an Outreach Consultant with JobsInRI, has been working closely with the Workforce Development Specialist, Amy Driscoll, at the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) to help connect employers and job seekers in that industry. Amy's role is part of the RI Hospitality Education Foundation. Together, they've developed and delivered presentations at netWORKri offices across the state to job seekers focused on Transferring Skills to new careers.

The reports I'm getting back have been eye opening, and provide tremendous insight into the struggles of both job seekers and employers. As you may already be aware, RI is now tied for the highest unemployment rate in the US. The presentation has been very helpful in showing candidates how to do their own skills inventory, and identify the soft skills they have that can transfer into new jobs. The target is really the recently unemployed, and those who have been out of the market for so long, they're out of the loop in the new job hunting world.

Great work and congratulations goes to the folks at the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) who have spearheaded this charge, and are out there making a difference!

In addition, the RIHEF lead a seminar to analyze how to find and train soft skills for the next generation workforce- high school students and teens. The idea here is to help develop the real world skills that are necessary to fill positions in the hospitality industry. (I have to say, focusing on this younger group is both forward thinking and creatively strategic. If more business leaders, association leaders, and community organizations were similarly focused, we could see a significant rise in apprenticeship style education, which I'm all for)

Any way, here are some bullets of the issues facing this one industry in this one state, as reported by the JobsInRI Outreach Consultant:

-- Many of the RIHA member restaurants and hotels have openings, but can't find good people.

-- In the business of hospitality, budgets will be cut and expenses reduced, but layoffs are usually the last option.

-- The RIHA doesn't feel the recession has affected the RI industry too deeply. Business at most restaurants and hotels are still down slightly, though.

-- The Newport business climate has not been hit badly at all, which is where the center of the tourism universe resides in RI.

-- The universal belief is that next year's tourist season will be excellent. Optimism is high.

-- The RIHA specialist maintains a folder of job openings from hotels and restaurants that she is personally trying to fill. Following the seminars, she speaks one-on-one with candidates searching for the right kind of people.

-- Many are frustrated with employment advertising options. The paper is expensive and online job boards result in too many desperate, inexperienced candidates.

-- In addition, while resume databases are exceptional for finding employees with specific hard skills (certifications, degrees, years of experience) they fail profoundly in finding candidates with strong soft skills (team player, customer service, friendliness, communication, etc.).

-- They are desperate for candidates with exceptional soft skills which is what fuels their industry.

Great work Steve, thanks for those insights!

Well, that's how it looks from the recruiting front lines at the intersection of Rhode Island and Hospitality!

Why I Blog

There's a tremendous blog out there hosted by J. William Tincup called During the month of December, he has been profiling recruiting bloggers of the world, and today was my lucky day to be featured. It's a brief segment about why I started the blog, why I keep doing it, and what's coming in the future.


Jason Blais on FoxNews

Word Cloud for RFL

Wordle: The Recruiting Front Lines

Using Video to Reinforce Employment Brand