Monday, April 28, 2014

Why is Social Media Important? Answers From a Game Industry Recruiter.

Recently a reporter asked me a few questions for inclusion in an online story. Seeing as how they usually pull a few responses to use as quotes, it seemed useful to post the entirety of my response here. Enjoy!

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I work as an Executive Recruiter in the video game industry for Mary-Margaret Network. All of our employees use social media in one way or another to promote our company as well as our own personal "brand."

Social media is absolutely vital to Mary-Margaret Network because it is the main way we maintain our clients' trust. For my company we all post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn regularly so we can stay active in the community. We share relevant recruiting tips, ask questions and provide answers, and of course, list jobs. 

The most important thing to remember when you are using social media is that you have to be honest and genuine

The first law of social media is that you have to 100% honest. There are simply too many people that read your work to be able to lie or even mislead people online. If you make a mistake, admit it as soon as possible. Fall on your sword. Your customers respect when you are willing to accept responsibility for your mistakes. 

The second law of social media is that in order to connect with your friends, followers, or fans, you have to be genuine; you must really care about them. People know when they are being played and when they are being manipulated. Tell them how you feel; you must confide in them because that way they know that you are human, too. 

The third law of social media is that you are a click away from obscurity. Your customers are fickle; they can leave your site with the click of a button, never to return again. You have to build up their trust, and trust is what it is all about. You are investing in them and hopefully they reciprocate with purchasing your goods or services. 

The fourth law of social media is that you have to maintain your presence. When you start participating, you have to keep participating. Customers can tell when you don't care, so you have to really commit if you are going to stay social and relevant. You can't develop loyalty with 2 Tweets a quarter. Too many companies have abandoned social profiles, and that is bad business. 

What social media channels are you finding the best to engage with your current customers?
The best way to engage with our current customers is to go where they are. In our case, "they" means applicants. For video game recruiters that means at the very least, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Sometimes we venture out to other, more specific sites, but in general we stick to sites where we are committed to posting. We also regularly write blogs. LinkedIn is the professionals network, so we tend to focus on business-related items there. We post links to our blogs or other interesting recruiting items: resume tips, how to interview, and other ways to increase the value of our potential applicants.

How has social media helped you to retain customers vs. other more traditional channels- i.e. phone, face to face, events? 
Social media has helped us retain customers through our combined use of our email newsletter and engaging them through Facebook and LinkedIn, where we have our job postings. Providing job search tips, such as how to write a resume or interview for a job are ways to prove to our potential applicants that we care. This is in many ways better than face to face for those types of customer education because we just do not have the time to spend with each candidate to give them that type of information. That said, there is nothing that replaces face-to-face to truly build trust with people, but running a global job agency means that you can't be everywhere at once. We do go to large events, but we can only meet with the people that travel to those events. Talking to our clients and candidates by phone is the next best way to retain our customers because there is just no way to run a people centered business without becoming part of their job search personally.

Do you have any specific examples you can share?
As with everyone that uses social media well, we run metrics on the effectiveness of our posts and blogs. It's interesting to me that, while our job / career related posts do well with our clients and candidates, the posts that do the best are ones that are funny and even unrelated to our field. The personal touch that adding things that we think are hilarious seems to resonate with our friends and followers. We're just as geeky as they are!

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Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter with Mary-Margaret Network (www.mary-margaret.com) and focuses on the video game industry. He has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain

Monday, April 21, 2014

What are the Top Warning Signs That It's Time to Get a New Job?

How do you know when it's time to start looking for a new job? 

I have done a lot of research with my colleagues and they have helped me come up with a list for you. All of these are good things to watch out for, but I want to make one thing clear: in the end, "the company" doesn't care about you or anyone else.

"The company" only cares about continuing its existence whether that is with or without you.

It's a harsh reality, but all employees need to keep that in mind. The best you can do is to keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date and ready to go. You're your own hiring manager. Be ready to look for a new position at any time.

Pay attention to these Warning Signals. 

  • You recognize that you have maxed out reasonable opportunities for career growth, promotion, or salary increases.
  • Your actual work assignments are putting you behind the curve in technology or tool use.
  • Reductions in force happen, even if they don't hit you.
  • Your team experiences widespread morale drop.
  • Performance bonus plans are dropped, curtailed, or go unpaid.
  • Your boss/manager/team lead leaves and his/her replacement is a jerk or starts in with a "Not Invented Here" mentality towards work previously done. I.e. your work can be replaced with less expensive talent.
  • You find yourself assigned relatively meaningless tasks rather than the type of work you had been doing, even though your recent work has been otherwise praised.
  • Formerly transparent seniors on your team suddenly seem to be having a LOT of meetings without sharing what is going on.
  • Your performance review has obviously been crafted to expose you as this year's stack-ranking victim.
  • Meetings are held by management with people attending who don't normally have meetings with those attending and no results of those meetings are shared. 
  • Managers have trouble looking you in the eye. 
  • People start to update their LinkedIn profiles and hiring freezes start. 
  • Your boss starts taking phone calls at work and has to excuse themselves or talk quietly as they walk out for each call. 
  • Managers take the mornings off or have extended lunches when they never really did before.
  • There are two types of "when to quit" feelings. There is that nagging feeling of "is this the best I can do?" and then there is that "no way in hell am I going to violate my ethics."  
  • In the game industry, one of the best ways to know it's time to update your resume is when they take away the free sodas. 
  • When your company obviously values one department over another. i.e. programmers get large raises, public commendations, upward job mobility and other departments do not.

Honestly the best way to "get ready" is to ALWAYS BE READY.

How can I always be ready? That sounds crazy! 

It's not hard if you do a little each week. And you need to do this; there is no such thing as lifetime employment. You are the only one that is going to manage your career. YOU.

  • Your resume should always be current.
  • Your LinkedIn profile should also be current.
  • Make sure to get LinkedIn recommendations as soon as you can get them. Don't wait until you're no longer employed there. 
  • Continually add people to your LinkedIn network. Adding a bunch when you are unemployed looks desperate. 
  • You should keep (legal) versions of any work you'll need for a portfolio. 
  • All publicly viewable presentation / portfolio work should be put online regularly.
  • Always have at least one interview outfit.
  • Keep some PTO saved aside just in case of an interview.

What about you? Do you have any tips?
bjc

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Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter with Mary-Margaret Network (www.mary-margaret.com) and focuses on the video game industry. He has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MEDIABRIX NEEDS SUPPORT ASAP WITH HTML5 TITLE

MEDIABRIX NEEDS SUPPORT WITH PERFORMANCE TUNING SMALL HTML5 GAME

Small HTML5 game needs assistance with how graphics are rendering as well as responsiveness of the controls on Android (4.1 & up).

The game is HTML5 using CSS3 & JavaScript running through an Android webkit browser. Seeking a resource who can examine the code & produce a solution that will allow the game to perform as expected.

We will support you with QA & direct interfacing if needed. Turnaround time is 3 days max as we are on a tight release timeline.

Contact ricneil@mediabrix.com.

PLEASE SHARE

Monday, April 14, 2014

When Should You Turn Down a Job Offer?

"No" is always an option.
You can also say "No, thank you."
I was recently asked a damn good question: "What are some reasons why a job seeker might turn down a job offer? When is it a good idea to turn down a job offer?"

I surveyed a lot of my friends and they helped me create this small list of their top reasons they would turn down an offer, or why they DID turn down a job offer. Here are the results.

TRUST YOUR GUT
By far, the biggest reason to turn down a job offer is a "gut feeling" that the job or company just isn't right for you. This can be due to the general feel of the office or the personalities you meet, the feelings you get from your potential manager, the organization or handling of the interview, or the company culture. 

THIS ISN'T WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR
Another good reason to turn down a job is when you find that the job is slightly different than what you thought you were applying for. This can indicate that the company has an overall lack of professionalism, shifts its expectations of their workforce, or even that management doesn't understand what the job requires.

QUALITY OF LIFE
How your work / life balance is going to be affected is very important. When you interview, remember that you are literally giving them the most precious thing you have, your time. They better be worth it.

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Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter with Mary-Margaret Network and focuses on the video game industry. He has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn and mention you read his blog! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain

Monday, April 7, 2014

​​Do You Need More Than One Resume?​ ​

​​Do you need more than one resume?​ ​Do you need to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for? Does just tailoring your cover letter do the trick?

Help the Hiring Manager
As a hiring manager, a custom resume is always a help to see how someone specifically fits the job role. The easiest way to get a hiring manager to cut to the chase is to make the resume tailor-fit to the role.

Why does a Hiring Manger Need Help From ME? 
Hiring managers have a lack of time to read between the lines. They may have a stack of other resumes that have been customized with specific details clearly delineated so they can match them to the job, and if your resume requires me to guess about your skills at all, you get tossed. 

There can be a disconnect between the job role and the resume's "soul." Your resume needs to emphasize your strength in that job specifically, not in the general career. We can tell if you really want it. Prove your interest in the job through your intent toward how you build your resume. Otherwise, you get tossed.

What if the Hiring Manager Isn't Reading Resumes First?
Often, an intermediary, such as a HR representative, is used to "filter" out the "obvious" resumes that aren't fits before they go to the hiring manager. The intermediaries are your biggest critics and the single biggest chance you will get tossed.

When your resume goes through an intermediary, this creates additional levels of communication breakdown. This can cause someone that is perfectly qualified to get tossed in the trash. 

Think about it from their point of view. They are trying to winnow down a huge stack to a manageable number, and they may be sorting through a huge stack of resumes. Make it easy to get in the "yes" or even the "maybe" pile. 

Top Reasons You Get Tossed Into the Circular File

  • The intermediary may not understand the position or qualifications well enough to know how items on your generic resume are really relevant to the position.
  • The intermediary may not understand what "equivalent experience" means to the hiring manager. Find a way to make equivalent experience match up with the job description. 
  • The intermediary may be going down the job description top to bottom and if your qualifications are like "Where's Waldo?", they may give up looking. Make it easy to find the relevant parts. Ideally you can even reorder your resume to make it even easier.

Are Cover Letters Vital?
They are always a good idea, however these get lost in the shuffle. We don't want to admit it, but they do. 

When a resume is forwarded to a team of people that evaluate you as a candidate, cover letters are rarely given to the team and if they are, they are rarely read. Writing a cover letter is a clear way to stand out to the person that originally receives your resume, showing us that you cared enough about the position for you to write something special. 

Your cover letter needs to be special and specific. And it must be polite and humble. 

Cover letters are a way for us to see if you did your homework and understand the company and job, and see if you can write well. And if you write one poorly, guess what? You get tossed. 

Final Thoughts
You want this job. You want this salary. We want to hire someone that solves our pain. We are trying to make the best decision for us, and we're ready to spend a lot of money for it. You have one chance to get our attention to get us to BUY. Yes, this is a purchase. 

Think about it from our perspective... has that candidate seemed to care enough about your opening? Do they care about working here? Get someone else to pretend they are the hiring manager. Get someone else to pretend they are you, and you role play as the company representative. 

Get really serious about this. 

Then go back and edit your resume to make it custom. And if you have the guts, go after that cover letter. 

You can do it!

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Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter in the video game industry and has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn and mention you read his blog! www.linkedin.com/in/billyjoecain

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