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8 Shocking and Thought-Provoking Recruitment News Stories this Week - 29th August 2016

In recruitment news this week:

Monster’s Largest Shareholder Will Fight Company Sale

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Uh oh! One of the US’s largest newspaper companies and reportedly Monster’s largest shareholder has said it is opposed to the $429 million sale of the recruiting services firm to Randstad (announced 2 weeks ago), and has urged other stockholders to do the same.

“As Monster’s largest shareholder based on publicly available information, MNG believes the $3.40 per share deal would represent the textbook definition of ‘selling at the bottom,” said the Denver based MediaNews Group Inc. in a highly detailed letter it sent to Monster’s Board of Directors.

With improvements in operating efficiency, reduction in capital spending, and the sale or closing of some non-core business units, plus improved sales productivity, MediaNews Group (MNG) claim that Monster could have achieved a far greater stock price of $6-$8 in 18 months time. Not only that, but the letter also went into into detail about a number of aspects the MediaNews Group feel Monster could improve upon. They said:

  • To save $136 million, Monster should reduce its workforce by 1,600 workers.
  • Monster should pull out of parts of the world where its business is not profitable and sell its Military and Government Services business.
  • Monster needs to make improvements in how it markets its services, because even after spending $121m on marketing it “is clear that the strategy around marketing spend is not working given the acceleration in revenue declines”.
  • Monster should rebrand in order to appeal to Millennials.

Also included in the letter were a number of tables comparing Monster’s revenues and performance to that of other companies, including CareerBuilder. “CareerBuilder, Monster’s closest competitor, made the strategic decision to focus its product offering around subscription-based selling in 2015,” says the MNG letter, “and their revenue traction as a result stands in stark contrast to Monster’s, as shown in the table below.”

Pointing out that MediaNews Group is also a job board owner and operator, as well as a reseller of Monster job listings and other services through its 240 newspapers, the publisher said, “therefore we have intimate knowledge of how these businesses work and how they should be operated.”

In addition to MNG, two law firms are also investigating the sale with an eye for potential legal action. Shareholder rights litigation firm Robbins Arroyo said it is studying whether Monster’s board “is undertaking a fair process to obtain maximum value and adequately compensate its shareholders.” New York’s Faruqi & Faruqi firm is investigating Monster’s board “for potential breaches of fiduciary duties.”

(RELATED: Randstad Acquire Monster For a Cool $429 Million)


LinkedIn ProFinder Expands Nationwide

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Last October, LinkedIn began piloting a brand new platform that supported the freelance economy and last week, they finally announced its nationwide availability. Introducing LinkedIn ProFinder, a LinkedIn marketplace that connects consumers and small businesses looking for professional services – think Design, Writing and Editing, Accounting, Real Estate, Career Coaching – with top freelance professionals best suited for the job.

How does it work?

  • Submit your project request to LinkedIn ProFinder.
  • Once your request has been submitted, LinkedIn will send it to the most aptly qualified professionals, starting with those in your network or extended network first.
  • You’ll then receive up to 5 detailed proposals in response. As you review them, you’ll be able to see your common connections, and review the profiles of potential hires to see their experience, skills, samples of their work and recommendations from their past clients.
  • You choose the right person for the project.

“The gig economy is a growing and influential part of the modern workforce and we aim to provide the same type of value for these independent workers as those in more traditional 9 to 5 professions,” LinkedIn said in a blog post announcing the product expansion. “Finding the right person for these types of professional services can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. With LinkedIn ProFinder, we aim to do the heavy lifting to quickly and easily connect you with the best-suited and most qualified professional freelancers for the job.”

In its pilot stage, the platform already featured more than 50,000 freelancers across more than 140 service areas – each of whom have been hand-picked based on their expertise and high quality recommendations. It’ll be exciting it see how many other companies start using the service, especially as the “Uberization” of recruitment continues to grow.

ProFinder is available in the US only for now, but you can check it out here.

(RELATED: The ‘Uberization’ of Recruitment: What You Need to Know)


This Recruitment Firm is Banning Employees from Sending Emails

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Well, well! In an effort to increase its face-to-face versatility, Chicago based rec firm, LaSalle Network, have decided to make their employees give up emails for one day. Yes, the US firm has announced its plans to do away with emailing job seeking clients for one day, in order to win people over with one-on-one contact.

“Nothing irks me more than two co-workers sitting 20 feet away and having an email conversation,” explained Tom Gimbel, Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, in an interview with Chicago’s CBS Local. “So we say, you know, enough of that for one day. We can see if we can generate business the old-fashioned way. Email is a necessary evil. It’s great for documentation but it doesn’t win people over. Voices win people over.”

The ban also extends to instant messaging, with Gimbel adding: “We’re trying to get up and go to people in the office to have those live conversations. For me, it’s a better way of building relationships.”

What’s your opinion on their decision? Do you think it’s something more firms need to try? How would this drastic strategy work at your firm? Let us know in the comments below.

(RELATED: 7 Invaluable Email Insights Recruiters NEED to Know)


Twitter’s New Button Lets You Accept Private Messages from Your Website

Twitter have just rolled out a new button for websites that allows visitors to privately message an individual or company directly. The feature, now one of several website buttons available, follows the company’s recent test of a change to brands’ customer support profiles that encouraged users to direct message, not tweet, at the business’s Twitter account.

A new “Message” button has appeared on the profile of many companies on mobile – taking over the full space where “Tweet to” and “Message” used to live side-by-side. Early testers included big names like Apple, Uber, Beats, Activision, and others.

Twitter has become known better as a place where consumers go to complain when things go wrong – often posting angry tweets, with the brand’s @username attached. By developing more tools that let customers take that sentiment to a private chat, the hope is that businesses will continue to use Twitter as part of their marketing, consumer outreach, and support strategies, instead of shifting all their communications to Facebook.

(RELATED: 7 Things EVERY Recruiter Should Be Tweeting About)


The AI that Can Make Sure Your Email Gets a Reply

Response rates not what you want/need them to be? Don’t fret! Boomerang, the email scheduling plug-in, has just added a brand new feature called ‘Respondable’ to its Gmail and Outlook plug-ins, which uses a combination of artificial intelligence to suggest ways to improve your writing and increase the likelihood of a reply.

How does it work?

Respondable analyses the many parts of your email message to help you get your point across in the most effective way. This includes the length of the subject line, message word count, readability, tone, and politeness. As you type out your message, the Respondable tool ranks these components based on how likely they are to prompt a response, from ‘very unlikely’ to ‘very likely.’ The tool also provides explanations for each ranking, along with suggestions on how to improve your writing across each category.

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“Unlike applications that seek to use technology to replace humans, our philosophy is to enhance human creativity with assistance from artificial intelligence in a manner that puts humans in control,” said Aye Moah, Chief of Product at Boomerang.

Respondable is available for Boomerang users in both Gmail and Outlook, and those enrolled in the free Basic plans will have access to unlimited messages using the tool. Check out the video above for more info.

(RELATED: 6 Productivity Boosting (FREE) Email Tools for Recruiters)


Apple Wants 5 New Inclusive Emojis for Different Professions

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In an unusual but welcome step towards improving diversity and inclusion, Apple has requested male and female variations of 5 new professions be added to the next Unicode update — an artist, a firefighter, a pilot, an astronaut and a judge.

In case you’re unfamiliar, the Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organisation that standardises characters and symbols online, creating the Unicode Standard. Members of the consortium include Apple, Huawei and Google. The last major Unicode update was version 9.0, and it caused a hubbub thanks to the inclusion of the bacon and avocado emoji. According to Emojipedia, Emoji 4.0 should be released in November, so they’re likely to be available on your phone later in the year or early 2017.

(RELATED: 5 Things Recruiters Need to STOP Doing in 2016)

This Recruiter Believes Wearing an Engagement Ring to Interviews Makes Women Look “High Maintenance”

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But while Apple are doing their bit for diversity, recruiter Bruce Hurwitz has warned women the world over that wearing an engagement ring to an interview sends the message that she’s “high maintenance”. Yep, as if the wage gap wasn’t a big enough problem to tackle, the President and CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd., has written an entire article based on the idea that women who wear engagement rings to their job interview will be considered “difficult” by male interviewers and will cause female office workers to automatically despise her out of jealously (wow, what does that say about his opinion of women?!). 

Hurwitz wrote in his post:

“A colleague interviewed a woman. I was not present during the interview. When they left the conference room the woman asked my colleague, “You know, I have had a number of interviews and no offers. Did you find anything wrong with my interviewing skills?” My colleague assured her that she had not. Even though I had not been introduced to her, and despite the fact that, at that moment, I was alone with five women all of whom were wearing engagement rings, I said, “Lose the rock!” Everyone looked at me. The woman had the Hope Diamond on her finger. She, and my colleagues, asked for an explanation.” When a man sees that ring he immediately assumes you are high maintenance. When the woman at the office who has the largest diamond on her finger, sees that ring, she will realise that if you are hired she will fall to second place and will, therefore, not like you. Lose the ring!”

Yes, you read that all correctly, apparently this lady’s ring was so huge that Hurwitz claims a male employer just couldn’t perform his own job. It didn’t matter that she was skilled, talented and right for a position. There was something big and sparkly on her finger. So naturally, she must have been a bad fit…

Thankfully, Hurwitz’s comments went down like a lead balloon with almost every reader. Check out this selection of comments left on the post:

However, in an attempt to seem unbiased, Hurwitz also published a post about how men should remove expensive watches during job interviews so they don’t give the employer the idea that he’s too valuable when it comes to things like salary negotiations. Note: “too valuable”, but not “high maintenance.” An expensive ring on a woman apparently means she’s difficult, an expensive watch on a man means he’s too good to be true. This too went down like a proverbial lead balloon:

To cap it all off, Hurwitz wrote a third and final post entitled, “How to Write a Viral Article on LinkedIn.” Hurwitz’s “advice” includes choosing the right title, writing for a specific readership and being prepared for “haters”…

(RELATED: Become a Black Belt in Diversity & Inclusion)

This Dog Just Got His Dream Job

Source: Australian National Maritime Museum

Bailey the border collie has just been employed as a seagull security guard for the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia. Apparently, the birds have been causing quite a mess in front of the waterside museum and on nearby vessels, and although staff have tried a number of deterrents (water sprays and fake birds), nothing has worked. That was until they adopted Bailey from a foster carer, who they actually had to tie up because he kept tiring himself out from chasing birds all day.

“Normally when there are seagulls down the end here, he’ll spot them and I’ll let him off the lead and I’ll say, ‘Bailey go’, and he’ll go down and he just automatically chase the birds,” Bailey’s keeper and the museum’s head of security, Adrian Snelling, told ABC 702. “He’s perfect for the role,” Snelling said. “The highlight of his morning is to come down to chase seagulls. And if you don’t take him down, he gets very upset.”

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Source: Australian National Maritime Museum

Bailey is so keen on his job, that he’s been given a dog life vest because of the amount of times he’s ended up jumping off the wharf and into the water. “He has ended up in the harbour about four or five times now from being over-eager. The height of the wharves are very high, so it’s got a handle for us to pick him out,” Snelling explained.

At night, Bailey sleeps in the security control room. The museum has 24 hour security, which means there is always someone around. During the day, however, he rarely spends time inside the control room, with staff taking him for walks or playing with him.

Since Bailey’s introduction, there has been a marked improvement on the number of seagulls on the wharves, but the birds have figured out that staying on the top decks of vessels means he can’t reach them. You show ’em Bailey!

(RELATED: The Animal Employees You Wish You Were Responsible for Hiring!)

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