Archive for November, 2009

Linked In… To What?

November 30th, 2009

Bamboo HR: Good for Companies not Pandas

November 17th, 2009

So, here’s another company worth watching.  Check out Bamboo HR. Bamboo HR is an online HR database that gives you easy access to your employee records. Bamboo HR allows you to manage employee records, track required training, and store important documents securely on the web so all of you HR information is in one place. There is even a reporting function so you can slice and dice information as you like.

Not only is their name cool, I admire their business model too.  Bamboo HR offers a 30-day free trial, simple pricing listed on their website and their service is provided on a month-to-month basis – no long-term commitments! Seem like a no-brainer for companies looking to organize employee data.

Lear more about Bamboo HR at www.BambooHR.com

Sonar6: Performance Reviews that don’t Suck

November 13th, 2009
From time to time, we come across companies that we think are really cool. Sonar6 has been on our radar for a couple of years. While many of their peers seem to be making HR software more and more complicated, the folks at Sonar6 are doing the opposite by providing the simplest way to help businesses make better people decisions.
Founded in 2006, the goal of Sonar6 remains straightforward: Provide the best possible way to create in-depth performance reviews online. Sonar6 delivers.  They’ve built a slick, easy-to-use product and with their “quick start” option, activation is a snap.  Clear, no-nonsense, tiered pricing is available on the Sonar6 website so prospective users know exactly what they are getting into – no surprises!
Learn more about Sonar6 at www.sonar6.com

From time to time, I come across companies that I find really cool. Admittedly, it’s rare to find a cool company in the HR technology world.  Sonar6 has been on my radar for a couple of years. While their peers are busy making HR software more and more complicated, the folks at Sonar6 are doing the opposite by building the simplest way to help businesses make better people decisions.

Founded in 2006, the goal of Sonar6 remains straightforward: Provide the best possible way to create in-depth performance reviews online. Sonar6 delivers.  They’ve built a slick, easy-to-use product and with their “quick start” option, activation is a snap.  Clear, no-nonsense, tiered pricing is available on the Sonar6 website so prospective users know exactly what they are getting into – no surprises!

I really like this model.  While the “old school” HR technology vendors run around preaching about buying suites of integrated products, companies like Sonar6 disrupt the space with a best-of-breed point solution that kicks ass. I hope to see more companies like Sonar6 hocking their wares in 2010.

Learn more about Sonar6 at www.sonar6.com

Battle of the Online Resume Builders

November 11th, 2009

As the popular commercial reminds us, there seems to be an app for just about everything these days. For the past year or so, I’ve noticed a new category of online apps gaining visibility: online resume creators. Google search “resume builder” and you’ll find dozens of tools, some free some not.  Oh, and you’ll come across plenty of humans hocking their “expert” resume writing skills, many for a fee.

So what gives with these online resume builders?  Well, I decided to see for myself.  After wading through hundreds of search results and weeding out the pay sites (see rip off), I decided to try the 4 products listed below. To get an idea of how these systems work and to evaluate them more accurately, I created a resume on each site.

ResuWe

ResuWe is a free site that allows users to format, structure and optimize their resume simply by uploading a current version of the document. The site recognizes the key components of a user’s resume and automatically parses the information with minimal data entry necessary. I found ResuWe generally intuitive but the site is a little cluttered and the navigation is a little clunky.

ResuWe has teamed up with Indeed.com and has added the ability to search for jobs.  The site also plans to offer tips on preparing cover letters and will offer general job search tips. The service has some basic SNS functionality and simple promotional tools.  On the FAQ page, they also claim that they working on an advanced job match service that will be offered for a fee.  But, the automatic parsing is the knockout feature here.

Pongo

Pongo has a couple subscription options, including a free trial account, or, for a monthly or annual fee, you can download the resume you create and have access to other tools like advanced job matching and task management.  The free service is pretty limited.  The tool takes you through a monotonous step-by-step process by which you create your resume that is stored on the site.  If you’ve ever used free tax preparation software or renewed your driver’s license online, you’ll recognize the UI. T was no able to export my finished product because I didn’t upgrade to a paid account.

JobSpice

Jobspice is free and for good reason. Unless they are in stealth mode, creating some killer app behind the scenes, this seems more like a school project than a commercial app. Currently, the service is exclusively designed to make your resume visually appealing by allowing you to select from about 10 preset templates.  The site uses CSS to style resumes; Think WordPress blog templates. Unfortunately, I created 2 resumes and neither exported properly to .pdf.

Visual

VisualCV is an online resume tool allows you to include all the facets of a traditional resume, with add-ons like video, images, and links to your accomplishments. Think of VisualCV as Resume 2.0. VisualCV has incorporated easy-to-use job search capabilities and has simple privacy settings that allow you to control who has access to view your profile.

VisualCV could be a good tool for anyone working in a creative profession or consultants promoting their portfolios and client recommendations. You can download your profile to .pdf but, it will be branded with a VisualCV footer.

Overall, I like ResuWe the best because it’s thoughtful. ResuWe was created by recruiters that understand that a simple well-written resume is the way to go. Their service doesn’t let you use crazy fonts or insert videos or pictures. It only exports plain old MS Word docs. MS Word doc files are the standard and easiest for applicant tracking systems to upload and parse and frankly the easiest for humans to read too.  And, who doesn’t have the ability to open and .doc on their work machine?

Does Free Technical Support Make Software Better?

November 6th, 2009

“Contact support.” Sigh.

Steve Hazelton, the Head of Products, at Newton Software doesn’t believe it needs to be like that.  He and his product team actually handle technical support for Newton’s applicant tracking software.  To most software folks, this may sound crazy but Steve would beg to differ.  Recently, he wrote a post describing Newton’s “support driven design“.  It’s worth a read.

Job Seeking Success Depends on Your Personality?

November 3rd, 2009

Guest Post by Gary Kustis, Ph.D., Sr. Consultant, The Aldridge Group

In the most recent issue of Personnel Psychology (Fall, 2009), Prof. Dan Turbin and his co-authors, Cynthia Stevens and Felissa Lee, found some interesting relationships between job seeking success and the personalities of the job seekers. Specifically, the more conscientious you are the more likely you are to be successful in the early stages of the job search. However, it is your emotional state that has the bigger impact on your ability to move further into the final stages of the job search.

The research team followed 232 graduating college students (undergraduate and MBA) as they began their job search, tracking them over time and following up with questionnaires about their efforts to land a job. They noted how many resumes were sent out, how many first and second interviews they got, as well as how many job offers they received. The results were interesting and even a little surprising.

All that hard work involving making plans, developing a job search strategy, learning from mistakes made, etc. (the “metacognitive” stuff, as Turbin, Stevens and Lee call it) only helps you get your foot in the door. That is, people who do that “metacognitive” stuff well—you highly organized folks out there—send out the most resumes and are good at getting first interviews. But that’s not what gets you the job. In fact, once you get the first interview, the advantage of that kind of high conscientiousness dissipates.

So what helps seal the deal? Positive emotions. Positive emotions were the reason that people got second interviews and job offers in the study. Why? Well, they’re not exactly sure. Turbin, Stevens and Lee suggest that it could be that positive emotions are related to affability and likability. Sometimes people see others who exhibit positive emotions to be more confident and self-assured. It could also be a case of “behavioral contagion” where the positive emotions create a favorable recommendation. Regardless, happy, enthusiastic people get called back for second interviews more than their more dour counterparts.

What do we take from this? The research by Turbin , Stevens and Lee suggest that a strong organizational effort is likely to reap benefits early in the job search, but putting on a happy face and being genuinely positive and upbeat is what gets you hired. Smiles, everyone, smiles.