It’s Official! Seraph Capital Forum Appointed its New Co-Presidents – Resourceful HR’s Jennifer Olsen and HydroPeptide’s Annette Rubin

Seraph Capital Forum, the first all women angel investor group created in the US in 1998, recently announced its new co-presidents, our very own president, Jennifer Olsen and HydroPeptide’s managing partner and COO, Annette Rubin. The organization’s goal is to help entrepreneurs and investors form strong networks through investment, mentoring and collaboration. As a group they are exploring new ways to support the Puget Sound Region’s start-up community and forge a path to help companies grow, innovate and succeed for the long-term. The organization is always looking for innovative companies to invest in and identify ways in which they can support entrepreneurs.

Jennifer and Annette’s appointments entail leading the organization and assisting, supporting and growing our region’s start-up community. You can check out the press release here.

Supporting Business Growth and Innovation is Important to Resourceful HR
Resourceful HR is also a sponsor of Grow 50, which mission is to stimulate emerging businesses in the Pacific Northwest to benefit the local economy. Their long-term goal is to help grow 50 companies in 10 years. See more at See more at:

The Recruiting Revolution: Human Interaction

In the past month I’ve read countless articles and seen advertisements for presentations highlighting a new way of recruiting and what is being termed an impending RECRUITING REVOLUTION. I love to learn improvements and new trends in my field so that I (and the Resourceful HR team) can be on the leading edge. So of course, I was all ears – What could be the new development that could impact recruiting to this extent?

Answer: Human interaction.

Yes, you read that right. Old school, old fashioned, plain and simple one-to-one human conversation.

For those that have been in the recruiting field a good amount of time, this doesn’t feel revolutionary, but for many it is. In the past decade things have changed dramatically when it comes to ‘connecting’ with candidates. Many recruiters have stopped picking up the phone to call prospective candidates or attend events to meet and interact with professionals in a targeted field.

Social media, especially LinkedIn and the internet in general have allowed recruiters to be more targeted with their outreach and efficient with their sourcing and research. Many recruiters have come to rely on mass blasting candidates that match a key word in hopes that good candidates will respond. Some recruiters assume the cream of the crop will get their “Inmail” and immediately jump to respond and want the job they are filling. But the problem is the cream of the crop have been inundated with these messages and tactics and are no longer responding to these messages. It’s become noise to them. These sought after professionals are busy making an impact on their current employer and only responding to recruiters who are providing a compelling and more personal reason to contact them. If you want them to join your team and contribute their needed skills be thoughtful, be specific and don’t send mass communications – which means human interaction wins out over Inmail.

Good recruiters still use human interaction to identify the best candidates, sell hot prospects on the compelling opportunity, and determine alignment and fit with the position. This tactic is how great recruiters have sustained through the peaks and troughs of hiring and has their clients returning to them time and again.

At Resourceful HR, we’ve never stopped including human interaction in our efforts. We have always believed that you need to find and sell great candidates if you want to build a great team. We use LinkedIn, job boards and other social media as a tool – not the solution. This ‘new revolution’ in recruiting is a good reminder that new trends and resources do not negate the power of tried and true practices but instead enhance them.

How do you see this revolution changing your organization’s approach to recruiting? I’d love your thoughts on how revolutionary this is for you.

The Evolution of Sourcing: Momentum, Metrics, and Moxie!

As a Recruiting Consultant for Resourceful HR, sourcing continues to be the #1 priority in driving recruiting efforts for clients.  Without sourcing, there would be no candidates, and consequently, there would be no hires.  When I took a leap of “career faith” 10 years ago and left the world of non-profit management, sourcing was a rarely copped term in the industry.

As my recruiting career quickly progressed, I discovered my talents lay in the “front end” of recruiting.  I was a natural hunter and my ability to find and assess talent developed as I grew my internet research skills and overall awareness and expertise in the industries I served.

Since then, sourcing has become an industry standard as part of current recruitment driven initiatives, inclusive of small, mid-size, and large organizations. Before I was fully cognizant of my specific recruiting strengths, I was well on my way to defining my career as a sourcing specialist in a volume driven corporate culture.  At this stage of my career, I relish the opportunity to attend forums that allow me to synergize that experience, while connecting with sourcing strategists who are the driving force behind sourcing momentum, expectations, and metrics.

Attending the SourceCon 2013 conference in Atlanta this February enhanced my perception and provided valuable insight into the direction of sourcing as an industry and as it clearly aligns under the umbrella of recruiting and human resources.  Some of the critical elements to a solid recruitment/sourcing initiative remain constant; the ongoing objectives from sourcing should include:

  1. Increasing the total number of hires
  2. Decreasing candidate hiring costs
  3. Decreasing the time to fill a job opening
  4. Increasing candidate satisfaction in the hiring process

As sourcing strategy evolves with the growth of the internet, social media and mobile devices, we are seeing a transformation in recruitment sourcing priorities as it relates to hiring cost management and long-term forecasting.

As the proverbial sourcing ship sails into 2013, the opinions of top hiring leaders suggests that technology will continue to drive the momentum and metrics behind this growing and clearly defined industry.  I’d like to share some of the elements I personally found most relevant to my sourcing development from this year’s SourceCon conference:

  • Ask the right questions. Understanding the requirements of the client and the organizational culture, as well as candidate motivation is essential to the hiring process.  I see sourcing as Matchmaking 101; listen, learn, and connect!
  • Develop your persona through social media.  As I build my personal sourcing brand through social media, I have to find a way to relate to multiple candidates in a diverse array of professions and industries our clients reside while remaining authentic and approachable across the board.   By creating consistent messaging that genuinely reflects your persona, you can build your credibility.
  • Craft a strong story. Sourcing is about story telling. Job descriptions should tell a good story, but it’s your initial pitch to a candidate about the company, the opportunity, and the culture fit that drives hiring momentum.  By prioritizing key client needs, you can significantly reduce the assessment time and potential fit; know your client and take the time to understand the story you should be telling.
  • Brand baby brand. With the rise in recruiting through mobile devices and social media platforms, aligning the company profile with a positive focus on employee culture and job openings becomes mission critical.  As we move away from traditional sourcing methods, which rely on job boards and postings, candidates prefer social media engagement to get a feel for a company and further  garner their interest in you as a potential employer.  Enlighten your sourcing strategy by promoting social media branding awareness with your clients!

If you have questions or comments about sourcing as it relates to your recruitment strategies, we would love to hear them!

Think Twice Before Requesting Employees’ (or Potential Employees’) Facebook Password

Scoping out employees’ and potential employees’ online lives has become commonplace for employers, and there are many solid reasons to do so. However, requesting employees’ Facebook passwords, or any access information to their personal online accounts, is another situation entirely. Not only does gaining such access to employee accounts bring little useful information, it delivers a negative message to employees and may expose employers to a host of ethical and legal issues.

Scoping out employees’ and potential employees’ online lives has become commonplace for employers, and there are many solid reasons to do so. However, requesting employees’ Facebook passwords, or any access information to their personal online accounts, is another situation entirely. Not only does gaining such access to employee accounts bring little useful information, it delivers a negative message to employees and may expose employers to a host of ethical and legal issues.

First, consider the message that you send to your employees when you request their passwords to their personal online accounts. Do you really want to be Big Brother, with a finger in every aspect of your employees’ lives? Do you really want to encourage employees to conceal information from you, which is what they are likely to do in an attempt to maintain a modicum of privacy? Do you want to send the message that you place such a low value on information security that you would ask your employees to violate the security policies of their online services providers?

Second, consider the ethics of such a request. Can you honestly say that you have a business interest in gaining such access to your employees’ private online accounts? Can you honestly say you have the right to access these accounts? Is it ethical to place an employee in a position of having to choose to protect their privacy or please their employer?

And finally, such requests carry numerous legal implications. While this area of law is unsettled, such requests likely violate the law on several fronts.

  1. Terms of Use Violation. Requesting that employees provide their passwords is asking employees to violate their contracts with the online providers. Nearly without exception, online providers’ Terms of Use prohibit users from sharing their passwords, and the practice of requesting employees’ access information has already been condemned by Facebook and other social media providers.
  2. Unauthorized Access. Some courts have found that an employer’s request for access information from an employee is essentially coercive because of the power imbalance between employer and employee. Therefore, using such information may then be considered “unauthorized access” in violation of some state laws.
  3. Discriminatory Information. Accessing your employees’ private online accounts may provide you with information that you, as an employer, may not request or consider in making employment decisions, such as ethnicity or religious affiliation. An employer may not legally use such information in the employment arena, and merely possessing such information may cause future headaches in the case of a disgruntled employee looking to bolster a discrimination claim.
  4. National Labor Relations Act. Requiring your employees to provide you with their passwords to social media sites is likely in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law that prohibits, among other things, employers from acting to discourage employees from “concerted activity” regarding their employment and working conditions. Recent case law has held that employees’ actions on social media are considered protected “concerted activity” and that employers are limited in what they can do to regulate or restrict such social media activities.

Overall, requesting your employees’ Facebook passwords or other access information to their personal online accounts, while perhaps the latest trend in employee relations, is a high-risk, low-reward strategy that employers should avoid.

 – – –

Lauren Burgon is an associate at Equinox Business Law Group, working closely with business owners to ensure they are minimizing risk and protecting assets. While she especially enjoys working with business owners in planning ahead to avoid litigation, other areas of Lauren’s practice include protecting clients’ intellectual property rights and assisting them in drafting carefully written nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements. More recently, Lauren’s practice has developed in Internet and online issues, advising her clients on their online presence, retail activity, social media, and the ramifications of virtual work with customers worldwide. Read more about Lauren.

Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark Part 2 – More Formal, More Frequent Communications

An extremely common remark made by employers once they hit the 50-employee mark is “I don’t know everybody by name any more”. Communications, always a critical component of success, is increasingly important the bigger a company becomes. The more people, the more room for misunderstandings, the more room for not getting word around to everyone and the more important direct communications become.

In my most recent blog, Hitting the Magic 50 Employee Mark – What do You Need to Think About? – Part 1, I go over some of the Employment Laws that come into play at the 50 Employee mark. In this blog I focus more on communication with employees.

An extremely common remark made by employers once they hit the 50-employee mark is “I don’t know everybody by name any more”. Communications, always a critical component of success, is increasingly important the bigger a company becomes. The more people, the more room for misunderstandings, the more room for not getting word around to everyone and the more important direct communications become. The 50 employee mark is the time that the following should be instituted if not already in place:

Handbook, handbook, handbook

If your company has hit the 50-employee mark and you still do not have an Employee Handbook, it is now even more important that one be written and distributed. An Employee Handbook is important as a means to protect your company against litigation, provide employees with a succinct and comprehensive resource to clarify the expectations your company has of them and their conduct in their workplace, and market the benefits and services they receive as a member of your workplace. By the 50-employee mark, the employee handbook should cover, at a minimum, policy statements for standards of conduct, discrimination, harassment and retaliation in the workplace, workplace violence, safety, technology use and security, and confidential and proprietary information, equal opportunity, employment at will, reasonable accommodations, internal complaint process and timekeeping/overtime requirements. In addition, most companies of this size have instituted paid time off benefits such as vacation, sick and holiday. Lastly there must be verbiage covering the FMLA and other federal and/or state required leaves such as military, jury duty, voluntary emergency rescue and voting. If your company has multi-state operations or is international, your employee handbook contents may include state or country specific employment law verbiage.

Company Meetings

Gone are the days of yelling out across the company “come to the break room – we’re going to meet”. With 50 people it is now time to institute some type of pre-scheduled all-staff meetings so that employees are able to attend. How often a company meets depends upon their unique culture. At minimum, a company with 50 employees should be meeting quarterly as a group.

Newsletters/Photo Boards/Venues for informal communications

More people equals more activity equals more information. It also means not being able to get around and see everyone every day and keep up with who is who. Now may be the time for your company to create some type of communication where the activities, special mentions, status updates, and new employee introductions can be consolidated and more efficiently communicated on a regular basis. A newsletter need not be fancy or complicated – a once a month email can serve the same purpose. It may also be the time to institute a photo board with everyone’s picture and name posted.

By this size, most CEO’s are no longer involved in the day-to-day aspects of the business but are spending their time at the strategic level. This translates into less time in the office and less time interacting with all levels of employees. It is CRITICAL to recognize this and to create venues for your CEO and other officers to have an opportunity for connecting with the employee population. For instance, I always start by getting a once monthly roundtable lunch on the CEO’s schedule and inviting around eight employees at random to attend. This gives the CEO and employees an informal venue to interact in a small group that encourages two way feedback.

The bigger the company grows, the more important it is to create venues that connect people across the organization. This can be as simple as doughnuts in the break room every Friday at 10:00. The CEO of one company I worked at instituted a “Safari” concept where employees were encouraged to take someone else in the company who they did not know well out to lunch (on a safari). The participants would then submit a slip containing an interesting fact they learned about one another. At the monthly staff meeting the slips were placed in a drawing and several were drawn, the facts were read and the submitters received fun prizes.

Using Social Media Sites as References when Screening Potential Employees

There is debate among recruiters over whether or not it is wise to use social media as a means to check references for potential hires. On one hand, obtaining information about a candidate through social media sites can provide insights into an individual’s behaviors and attitudes, which can help determine whether that person will fit into your company’s culture. Conversely, when taken out of context, the information may be misinterpreted. Either way, you must consider that if the information obtained is not specifically relevant to the position you are hiring for, you may be exposing your company to potential litigation.

Discrimination charges are a significant legal risk associated with investigating candidates online. Learning about a disability or a characteristic that would include the individual in a protected class is likely information that would not have otherwise been disclosed on a resume or during the interview process. If the individual is not hired for any reason, the fact that you had the protected knowledge could work against you. Here are some tips to avoid legal risk:

  • Establish a standard screening policy that includes specific language spelling out the criteria being utilized to make a decision regarding an individual’s candidacy. Ensure that the policy is implemented consistently across the entire company or across similar job categories.
  • Create a list of sites that will be researched and use only those sites.
  • Have the information reviewed by an individual who is detached from the selection process. This person should also make the determination as to whether or not any piece of information should influence the hiring decision.

    (Ideally, the individual reviewing the sites should be the same person who makes the final recommendation based on the documented policy.)

  • Document your findings. Keep accurate and detailed notes that indicate the sites referenced, as well as the information that was found and your final decision.

A final factor to consider is whether or not the information obtained is even likely to be useful with regard to the position being filled and therefore if it is worth the legal risk. When hiring a public relations professional, a company would be justified in wanting to know how a potential candidate brands and represents himself/herself online. The information obtained may reflect how that individual will represent the company. By contrast, it is probably not necessary to research the online profile of an individual being considered for a mail room clerk position. Because the information is not related to the position, is it worth the legal risk?

In the majority of situations, my recommendation is to utilize social media sites for finding potential candidates only and to stick to traditional methods for reference checking. Exceptions may exist for specialized positions where individuals are being hired for highly public or recognizable positions that represent “the face” of the organization. If social media sites are utilized, make sure policies are well documented and reviewed by counsel.

What do you think about using social media sites to research potential candidates? Have you used this resource successfully? How does your company use social media to support its hiring process and what are some of your lessons learned?

Social Media in the Workplace: Do you have a Facebook Policy?

With all of the recent buzz in the media about Facebook we thought it a good time to address the topic of employees use of Facebook at work. Regardless of your industry, your employees are using Facebook, whether at work or at home, and they may be talking about you!

The Facebook dilemma is not new – it is simply the “next step” of communications. For decades employers have been faced with how to handle employees’ use of company time to participate in personal communications. This decade it is Facebook and other social networking sites. Last decade it was the use of email for personal correspondence and accessing personal email from work. The decade prior it was voicemail; employees using a work phone to access personal voicemail messages.

As with all policies, your social media policies should be addressed in a manner consistent with the company philosophy and other like policies. Things to consider include:

  • What is your culture? Is it informal – promoting independence where you allow employees to track their own time? Or is it formal and more structured – requiring strict monitoring of employees’ time and the use of a time clock? Do you have a lot of hourly employees and a tight production flow?
  • How do you currently handle employees’ personal use of email and phone? If your current policies restrict their use to breaks and lunch, then the use of Facebook should also be restricted to those times.

>> CONTINUE READING about providing guidelines >>

Employee Benefits: A Problem or Opportunity

In today’s economy, most employers view employee benefits as a high cost problem. Switch your thinking! It can be an opportunity. When designed properly, you can save premium dollars and give your employees incentive to stay healthy. In my opinion, wellness is paramount to turning the tide in rising health care costs. Many Americans are living “high risk” lifestyles. These “high risk” conditions are the root cause for more than half of all health care expenditures.

What are these high risk conditions?

Social Networking: What Are Your Employees Saying About You?

What do you do when you discover employees are discussing company issues on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook?  Do you shudder at the thought or reel with excitement?  Potential clients and employees know more about your company than ever before (whether you have officially embraced social networking or not). Companies and employees alike need to understand social networking is about authenticity, transparency and insight into a company’s culture. These channels create dialogue that can promote an organization’s products and workplace as well as enhance or damage careers.  One can’t control who might be “listening”.  Check out: Read more about social networking

Best Recruiting Practices During a Down Economy

By now, most recruiting managers are dealing with the impact the economic downturn has had on both recruitment and talent management. During the “good ol’ days”, hiring managers and recruiters spent a majority of their time seeking out the best talent from small candidate pools. Now, we have large candidate pools coupled with a limited number of openings and in some cases, no openings. How can you make sure your organization’s recruitment practices are aligned with current economic challenges and your business goals? Read more best recruiting practices

Recruiting Through Social Networks

Netpop, a Market Research firm, recently released a study indicating that social networking has increased 93% since 2006. Microsoft is piloting a new online recruitment campaign for the Entertainment and Devices Division that includes built-in connections to the top social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Intel has taken it a step further by posting its Social Media Guidelines online and  encouraging employees to get involved in social media activities on the company’s behalf. Read more about social network recruiting