The Future of Hiring New Employees

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This post originally appeared on

Technology and data are changing the ways companies do business but perhaps more interestingly is the way they are influencing how companies are hiring, and could be hiring, new employees. In many organizations the human resource department is considered the most important part of the organization. And rightfully so. A company is nothing more than the people within it so it should be no surprise when you hear about how rigorous some hiring processes are. For example, its been said that Google has had candidates come in to interview “as many as 16 times before ultimately releasing them back to the wild.”

So let’s take a look at three new and innovate concepts that may help drive the future of how companies are staffed.

The Social Graph. It’s not what you know but who you know. We’ve all heard this phrase before but we finally have social graphs that are accessible through technology. These are social graphs and social connections that will at some point be used to help us as individuals in our careers. So imagine how powerful it would be if companies could leverage one’s social network to get personal references at scale. A company called Jibe is doing this and their employers have said that Jibe candidates are 4x more likely to be hired than those from traditional job boards. And it makes complete sense. Personal references are invaluable and its why 92% of hiring managers in 2010 used social networks as a recruiting tool, according to

Statistical Data Models. If data exhaust was actually smoke we would all be suffocating by now. The abundance of raw data is staggering and making sense of it all can be a daunting task. It is the reason new cloud computing based companies are starting to emerge. But capturing and understanding data is very different than taking actionable steps from the findings. There is a new school of thought among firms that look to statistical models as the basis by which candidates are hired. For example, every company has an associated cost with hiring and training a new employee. The cost of hiring this new employee is recouped if that person stays for a certain period of time. If however that candidate leaves before that time, the firm realizes a loss in opportunity costs. So what if you could predict with a high level of probability that a candidate will stay beyond a certain period of time? What if you could essentially predict which candidates are retention risks? Well this is what one, stealth-mode Chicago firm is working on and their results could end up saving firms millions of dollars annually in their hiring process.

Niche Data Sets. Hiring a math teacher is very different than hiring a quantum mechanics physicist. As the world continues to slice itself up into niche verticals, it will also be important to have niche data sets especially for the purpose of hiring highly specialized candidates for very specific roles. This is probably the reason why LinkedIn (NASDAQ: $LNKD) has seen its biggest growth in revenue come from its hiring solutions line of business. This is also probably part of the reason why LinkedIn has subtly added new fields like “skills” into profile pages. These fields make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to look for people with very specific skill sets. And just as the tailored to folks looking to make over $100k, I believe there is also an opportunity to specialize on other niche verticals like B2B sales, pharmaceuticals, nuclear engineering, and many, many more.

New solutions will continue to emerge but I think we are beginning to see the future of how new firms will hire employees.

Connect with Dan Reich on Twitter – @danreich.

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Nice’n Niche

A lot of people recently asked me about internet based businesses. Things like: How to start a blog or website, what is twitter, how to use twitter, how to increase followers and traffic, how to register a domain name, what is a domain, how to create a mailing list, how to use analytics, what is a good number of followers, how to obtain affiliates, how to create partnerships, etc.

These things may all seem trivial to anyone in the tech space but to those just entering, they seem non trivial, foreign perhaps, but very attainable.

Simply put, the evolving web has made things easy. The barriers of entry to creating an online business are much lower, but creating a long-lasting business under this premise is much harder.

It seems to me like this is one thing that is severely overlooked these days. I’m all for starting new projects and businesses, but if you plan to do so, you should also recognize that you are most definitely not the only one.

One way to overcome this obstacle, and perhaps the best way (without knowing how to write code) is to start a business with a very niche focus. If you are successful, you can certainly expand your focus, but to start, you probably want to try to build a loyal following first. And to do that takes hard work.

In the beginning, try to be the very best at something very niche. That’s what I would do.

Take it from this guy (Gary Vaynerchuk). He certainly has.

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The “Do Whatever the F you Want” Decade – Past 10 Years in Review

After spending some time away from the computer over the past two weeks, I finally got some time to think back on the past 10 years and here’s what I’ve got.

The past 10 years have really just been about instant gratification. It has been the “I want it, and I want it now” mindset, thanks to a whole variety of toys (ie. Google, MySpace, AIM, Xbox, YouPorn, PartyPoker, iPhone, Investment Banks, TIVO, among many other things).

Looking back on the decade, here are a few things that really stood out in my mind as “game changers.”

  • Google – Obviously. I remember having to call 411 for information.
  • Call of Duty, Xbox Live, US Airforce, and Blizzard Entertainment – We used hover around Nintendo 64 in order to play Mario Cart and shoot each other with turtle shells. Then there was the emergence of Blizzard’s first online multi player forum which really set the stage for online gaming.  Now if I wanted to, I can sit back on the couch, load up Call of Duty on XBox Live and snipe Chad Ochocinco with an AK-47. And if the US air force wanted to, they too can sit back on the couch, fly some unmanned drones in the middle east and take out some Al Qaeda operatives.
  • Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Finance Degrees, and the collapse of the banks – I remember one of my engineering professors telling me a story about how his colleague spent years trying to invent new technologies in order to become rich. Well, after many years of failure, he decided the easiest way to get that paper was to hop on the Wall Street train, which he did. And now, according to my professor, he is very, very well off. Some of the brightest minds headed to Wall Street, and it is a movement that has already started to alter this country in a very bad way.
  • AIM, Skype, BBM, Twitter and iChat – Instant messaging and text messaging really took off this past decade. BBM officially lets us know when our friends blatantly ignore us while twitter makes you think your friends actually care and are reading what you have to say in the first place. Either way, this change has been all about real time communications.
  • ADD, Ritalin, and solitary confinement study sessions – “What, you have a test tomorrow and only 2 hours to study?” Cognitive enhancements have really changed things. Go to most major universities these days to see what I’m talking about. For some reason, it seems everyone has ADD. In order to deal with an extremely fast paced environment, as well as growing societal pressures, youth are beginning to turn to little white pills that make our minds focus better.
  • Party Poker, Sports Book, and online gambling – We don’t all need traditional jobs. In fact, many people make more money after work (or not working) gambling online than they do at their day job sitting on their couch. Years ago, if you wanted to gamble you’d have to consider bookies breaking your knees or would have to worry about large holes out in the middle of the Las Vegas desert (well, maybe some people still have to worry about these things).
  • Kaazza, Napster, iTunes, and MySpace – It used to be so easy getting music and it has only become easier. You could download it almost anywhere, at anytime, for free (and illegally). This dynamic changed music forever. In addition, artists no longer need record labels. When was the last time you actually cared about a record label? Today, music can be obtained whenever and however you want.

Bottom line is, the past decade has paved the way for mass, real time communication highways. In the coming decade, we will all be slaves to media and information. We will want, want, want because we can, and things will be so easy to obtain and access through these faster, more distributive digital highways. The next decade will be called the “Do whatever, however, and whenever the F you want decade.”

(although the video is a little dated, I think they were on to something)

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MetaBusinesses and the Aggregation of Anything

The Internet and technology makes it so easy to do anything.

  • Want to be a musician? Grab a mic, plug it into your computer, hit record.
  • Want to make a movie? Grab a camera, edit on your computer.
  • Want to be a journalist? Create a blog, start writing.
  • Want to learn a new language? Download language software.
  • Want to be an artist? Draw a picture and make it available online.
  • Want to invent something? Sketch an idea and outsource production?
  • Want to be in finance? Use the latest in market analysis software.

Point is, as technology makes our lives easier it also becomes easier for anyone anywhere, to create something of value for the rest of us to use or consume. It really is incredible.

As a result, we’ve seen this mass explosion of user generated [fill in the blank] because the barriers of entry to do anything are being reduced every single day. This creates an overwhelming amount of information, ideas, music, movies, businesses, services or whatever else you can think of. There are so many options and so many choices. How are you supposed to know what’s best or most relevant to you? How are we supposed to know what’s right or wrong, good or bad, true or false? I mean, people actually thought actor Jeff Goldblum died because they read it on Twitter (video below).

With all of this noise creation comes an opportunity to create filters or smart methods of aggregation. A sort of Meta-Business if you will. This concept isn’t new, but the methods that will be used will be.

Some quick examples:

  • Brazen Careerist – Aggregates “top Gen Y thought leaders” thereby filtering the noise of all the other junk of us millennial
  • StockTwits – Aggregating all of the stock market conversation using Twitter, and more recently have begun aggregating a network of top financiers
  • Properat – Intelligent filters for email or “Assistance for enterprise users to manage the growing volume of e-mail and to seamlessly embrace new messaging media” (In the finals of Cisco’s 09′ Global Business Competition)
  • The Hype Machine – Collection of music from all over the world both user generated and by well known artists
  • Lotame – A collection of consumer insights and web properties, that allow advertisers and marketers to pick the most relevant consumer segments for their marketing needs (Disclosure: My current employer)
  • Digg – Filtering the most popular stories online

Their are plenty of people and companies doing this aggregation and filtering thing already, in very smart ways, and it’s only the beginning.

(Video – Colbert: “According to multiple Jeff Goldblum passed away on Thursday in New Zealand“)

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jeff Goldblum Will Be Missed
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Jeff Goldblum
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HOW TO: Use twitter to help your organization

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

People have recently asked me:

“How can I use Twitter to help my organization? I know I need to be on there, but how do I use it? What do I do?”

Answer (3-parts):

  1. Define your organization’s objective
  2. Establish your voice
  3. Build an audience


Before you do anything, you first need to define what it is exactly you are trying to accomplish. Are you selling something? A product or service? Are you recruiting or building a team? Are you entertaining for the sake of amusement? Are you informing and educating on a specific topic? Is it a mix or variation of the previously mentioned?

Once you figure out what your ultimate goal is, you can than establish a voice within twitter (or any social networking or media property for that matter) in order to communicate your goals.


Now that you have figured out what you want to convey, you need to figure out how you will say it. People use twitter in many different ways, but 3 key examples are:

1. The “What I’m Doing” Method (Real and Random Examples):

  • Tonight…I am going to hit the treadmill. YIKES.
  • Taking a fun, random drive on a warm spring evening.
  • Just had the world famous Bongo Burger Aka Persian Burger. Ohhh yeaaah!
  • Eating with @—– at pf changs
  • At meeting, Fed to weigh options to revive economy (AP) #Finance

Unless I personally know who you are, I’m probably going to unfollow you if you tell the world Tonight…I am going to hit the treadmill. YIKES.” I mean, I really could care less if you are going to work off that cheeseburger you just ate for dinner. However, if you for example are someone big in the finance community and tell me “At meeting, Fed to weigh options to revive economy (AP) #Finance”, than I probably do care a bit about what you are doing.

Point is, when being personal and communicating in the first person, make sure what you are saying coincides with your goal as an organization.

2. The “Check This Out” Method (Real and Random Examples):

Look at the Twitter name. Look at the update. Very purposeful, very informative, and most importantly, the message ties back to the goal of that organization.

3. The “Conversation” Method (Real and Random Examples):

If I’m going to consider your organization legitimate and beneficial, I’d like to see that you are involved with some other people or organizations that are influential in your space. Demonstrate that you are engaged in your own community or niche market. This method, in conjunction with other twittering tactics, is how you are going to build an audience.


Now that you’ve identified what you want to say and how you are going to say it, you need to get together a group of people that will listen to you and hopefully pass along whatever it is you may be saying. You need followers.

If you are starting from ground zero and no followers on twitter:

  1. Head over to or (same thing).
  2. Type in some keywords that coincide with your organization’s objectives.
  3. Follow the people that are speaking your language and talking about the things you will be talking about. Reach out to them and tell them about your organization.

If you already happen to be on Facebook and want to leverage your existing FB network:

  1. Log in to Facebook and download the Facebook- Twitter application:
  2. Now everyone in your Facebook network will get your Twitter updates.

At the end of the day the best way to learn anything is simply by doing, so if you are looking to create value from Twitter, just head over to to, create an account, and dive right in.

Some tools that I use to help with Twitter:

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Looking for a job?

So is Jamie Varon

“My name is Jamie Varon and I’m living in Danville, CA (if you haven’t heard of it, no worries) right now, hoping to move into San Francisco soonish, rather than laterish. The sole purpose of this site is simple: I want to get hired at Twitter and the only way to stand out in this competitive job market is to do something unique.”

I’ve heard many stories lately from people my age that have either lost their job, are about to lose their job, or haven’t found a job in the first place.

According to Forbes and their layoff tracker (as of this writing), there have been 511,925 layoffs since Nov. 1 2008 at America’s 500 largest public companies.

Something tells me that simply submitting resumes online and wearing a suit to interviews (if your lucky) isn’t going to cut it anymore. Time to think way outside the box and do something that demonstrates your expertise in your field. In the case of the recent graduates, many of us haven’t had enough work experience to substantiate a worth while track record.

So what to do?

Be different.

Things I might do if I wanted to be in…

  • Finance: Invest a small amount of money and demonstrate that you have the ability to earn good returns. Percentages not dollars.  See Stocktwits
  • Real Estate: Find a building you think is worth buying. Asses its value. Record its cash flow. Demonstrate why and how you know this is a good deal in a mini business plan.
  • Digital Media: See Jamie Varon – Screenshot of her site below
  • Doctor:  Study very, very, very hard for your MCATs.
  • Lawyer:  Study very, very, very hard for your LSATs.
  • Technology: Build something. Patent something.
  • Journalist:  Start a blog and a good one. Better yet, start a digital magazine and get some of your peers to be contributors.
  • Fashion/Artist: Create your own portfolio. Make it available online. Go to trade shows and network.

What can you do?

Here is a screen shot of Jamie’s site.

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Business Cards, Contacts and Services

My social Network on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter...
Image by luc legay via Flickr

The saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know”.

While I do not completely agree, there is some truth to this saying. Connectedness and networking matters. It matters a lot. The internet has made it easier than ever to enhance your current network of friends, colleagues, or like-minded individuals. Networking can and will increase your chances of success.

The business card, phone number, or email, just doesn’t cut it anymore. As a worker in the knowledge era, you should be leveraging the social internet to the fullest extent. Your personal brand or image is no longer reflected by just your in-person image. It now extends across the web. How are you developing your personal brand or identity?

Consider the following web services and ideas. How could they help increase your networking potential?

Of course, in-person networking matters, and will always be important. I’ll be at AdTech NY today and tomorrow doing just that.


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It’s amazing how far we’ve come

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Image via Wikipedia

Think about it.

  • A black man may become president of the United States
  • Google and Apple have created devices that are mini movie theaters, maps, newspapers, cameras and so much more
  • I can have conversations with all of my friends at one time via Facebook, Twitter, and Social Media
  • We have power plants that use wind, sun, and the ocean to create energy
  • People have electronic devices installed inside their chest to control their heart rate
  • There is medicine to help people sleep, concentrate, lose weight, and lose pain
  • We can take pictures, in real time, of your brain, bones, muscles, and tissue
  • We can communicate wirelessly from anywhere in the world
  • There are planes that can take paying customers to outer space

I can go on and on.

As the economy begins to slow down, I can’t help but to think about how far we have come and how much further we are going to go.

Recession? Acceleration!

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Online Monetization: Beyond Advertising and into Microstransactions

Let me start by saying this: I firmly believe online advertising is and will continue to play an essential role in the economic ecosystem of the internet (so much so, that I am working at Lotame). With that said, is online advertising the only answer?

Arguably No.

Microtransactions: According to

Microtransactions Definition

Microtransactions are small transactions, perhaps of the order of a cent. They are being considered for digital content on the web (a magazine selling an article (unbundled) rather than an entire issue (bundled with additional information that may not be of interest to the consumer). This may then open up additional revenue streams for the content providers.

As new web services, application, or any website for that matter becomes available, the priority typically lies with the user base and generating lots of eyeballs. Once that user base has reached significant mass, the service can leverage the base and monetize.

So if a company like twitter were to offer subscription based premium services, they could, in theory, generate revenue from their loyal users. But what happens if they applied a micro transaction type revenue model? What if they generate revenues based on individual actions (using a feature of the service), or premium actions (using a premium feature of the service), and charge users a fraction of a penny for the action. Granted there would have to be a standardized pay-pal like model behind this type of system, but the amount of volume or interactions that exist online, could yield significant revenue. Make sense?

There are definitley issues surrounding this idea (haven’t though them all through), but the premise is there.

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