Monday, April 27, 2015

The Great Search for Talent (association professionals)

The recovery means fewer people searching for jobs. Boomer retirements (some claim as many as 10,800 per day) suggests more openings for association professionals.

The two trends suggest associations are headed for major competition when hiring talented staff for their organizations.
So, when my wife shared a friend’s blog related to this topic, I asked if we could use her thoughts for SCDdaily.

So, here is a guest post from Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg, Professor and Educational Technologist, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO:

High Speed Sleuth: Quick To Judge or Just the Facts?

You may think you are a cool digital detective, but Magnum P. I. was on fire!

This time of year brings new hires, retirement announcements, rounds of interviews and updated placements. Some are surprising, others are needed, many are bittersweet. When someone is being replaced in a company, school, organization or church, sparks of interest ignite with the need to find out more. Who is this person coming in? Why is another leaving? What impact will that leave on me? In our world of light speed access to all kinds of information, we have a wide open portal filled with endless virtual file cabinets.

Is Googling a person the most effective way to get the facts you need? Are they fact or fiction?

What's the first thing you do when you want to know more about someone? Be honest!
  1. Ask that person.
  2. Ask someone who knows them?
  3. Google it.
This isn't confession, so keep your answer to yourself. However, if we were completely honest, we would say that we first Google a question we have. It makes sense. Easy, usually reliable, you get to see a pic, find out other things about them that maybe you weren't even searching for. We have created a society of digital detectives. Move over Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, Cagney & Lacey, Dick Tracy, and Kojack...everyone with a Wi-Fi signal has a P.I. badge.

So, we Google, then we make (often times, jump) to conclusions about what we see, hear or read. It's human nature, we are curious people! Here are some points to consider when you are sleuthing:
  1. Is there a logical fallacy? We know now there are some "facts" which are not true, even if at the time they seem completely logical. The Earth is not flat, Pluto is not a planet, dropping a penny from the Empire State Building is not deadly, you cannot get warts from toads, and Bruce Jenner is no longer a man (actually, that one is still under debate, I can't keep up). Everyday new information is uncovered and people are sometimes wrong. Don't believe every fact you find.
  2. Who's your eyewitness? Nothing seems to get past Google or does it? How amazing that we have this free, quick and exciting research assistant at our fingertips? A recent study found that about 50% of medical information searchers googled was inaccurate. I don't know about you, but that doesn't make me feel comfortable when it comes to my health and other topics I'm asking Siri about. There are many different "people search engines" out there for you to find (for free) information, obviously some are going to have misleading material. Have you ever Googled yourself? I do from time to time, and I have all kinds of aliases because I have a nickname and a married name, so sometimes it will state that I am either 29, 40 or 51 (I'll take age 29). According to Spokeo, there are 46 different females named "Mandi Sonnenberg" in the US today. I guess I am not so unique or original after all! 
  3. The third degree? If you want to know something about someone, how about just asking them? Are they approachable or near you to do so? There's always email, Facetime, texting or old-school talking on the phone. The best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them. Using social media doesn't count as getting to know someone. I remember a few years ago during the spring season, one of our students was graduating to be a teacher and she was job searching.The principal from one of the potential schools she was interviewing looked up her Facebook page and quickly made some negative assumptions about her. When she wasn't asked back for an interview, she asked the principal why and he explained that her Facebook page was not a representation of the type of teacher they wanted at their school. After some more conversation with our student, the principal realized he had looked up the wrong girl with the same name!
  4. Testimonial evidence? We all live in this fishbowl, swimming around, hoping to get a little privacy by hiding behind our plastic plant ornament or hiding under a rock here and there. Yet, our business is not always our own business. Life happens. Kids get in trouble, couples get divorced, someone's financial situation changes, pictures are posted on Bragbook (I mean Facebook) and people start talking. Documents located via the internet and social media can be deceiving and misrepresent anyone or anything. Here is a good read about why social media has a credibility problem. This doesn't mean that social media and internet searches can't be helpful, they can! It can be a great starting point to diving deeper into what you need to find. The point is, a picture doesn't always mean a thousand words.
  5. What's your motive? When it comes to hiring and firing, out with the old and in with the new, we tend to get a little nervous. Change is HARD. Really hard. When children are involved, or if your job is at jeopardy, or there is a new hire as a boss, educator, leader, or whatever change agent is coming, this naturally raises a level of concern. It's understandable to find out what you can about someone who is entering your life in some personal or professional capacity. Here are some tips for finding anyone, anything online and Google search tips. You wanna make sure your reasons for gathering more information are solid and you have others around you who can help you go through the material to see different angles. 
Everyone has the right to their own opinions and, thanks to our technological advancements, we have the right to search for important information. Being cautiously concerned sometimes is imperative when it involves the safety of our children and families and/or the prosperity of an organization or company in which we are invested. But, the process doesn't begin and end there; using our brains and reflecting on the accuracy of the information takes time. How about less interrogation and more interest in the whole person.

Let's slow down, reflect on what we are searching and hopefully we will find what we are really looking for.

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