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Thoughts On How Much Your Facebook Page Sucks From an HR Manager

Remember yesterday when we talked about LinkedIn? Sure you do, it just happened. Anyway, the discussion prompted one HR manager to reach out to me with related thoughts on Facebook. Keep in mind this person is directly in charge of hiring at an unnamed mid-size firm that, as far as I am aware, treats its staff pretty well (great culture, competitive salary, CPA exam support, etc). I suggest those of you looking for work pay close attention to the following.

Reading GC again this morning. I can never tell if this behavior is an indication of job engagement or apathy. Nonetheless, the inquiry about LinkedIn sparked some reallypful dialogue. It caused me to think about what I perceive as much needed guidance on Facebook.

I know you field a lot of inquiries from those who aspire to be slave laborers CPAs. I think these folks are missing out on the basic do’s and don’ts of Facebook. While I loved the rule “facebook is for the people i enjoy being around and linkedin is for the people i am paid to be around” irresponsible Facebook privacy settings are abundant and makes TMI available to recruiters.

Case in point: I recently learned the name of a student who accepted our offer. I couldn’t recall exactly who he was- give me a break, I speak with hundreds of students- so I typed his name into FB. Not only could I see the profile pic I was looking for, I was able to view all of his albums. I want to rescind the offer after viewing the album of his fraternity trip to Vegas. (And yes, I know that I didn’t have to look, but we don’t have to look at car accidents and we still do.)

Second case: A candidate is coming in to the office for an interview. The staff accountant assigned to take the candidate out to lunch does a name search on Facebook. Before the candidate arrives to the office, the email system is routing pictures of said aspiring CPA in a toga. So much for a first impression that conveys professionalism.

Also, one doesn’t even have to go to Facebook to see these pictures. I have Outlook Social Connector, which integrates Facebook and Outlook. If a person emails me from an email account associated with their Facebook account, guess what: at the bottom of their email message, I can see any information that is public (e.g. their profile picture and wall).

I am sure other professionals and recruiters have similar stories. Can GC give these kids a heads up?

Lord knows we’ve tried.

Doesn’t everyone know recruiters and hiring managers check Facebook? I thought that was common knowledge but maybe not, or maybe people don’t realize that pics of them drinking in Vegas are not as cool to recruiters as they might be to their friends.

A few quick tips:

Make sure your Facebook settings are TOTALLY private and not just lazy private. The broader Facebook privacy setting will only block your wall from strangers but your friends, likes and EVERY SINGLE PICTURE are still out there for others to stalk. Since Facebook privacy settings are subject to change (and do, constantly), it’s your job to stay on top of things and make sure you’re only sharing what you want to share.

Use an email you don’t often use as your Facebook login email. This is common sense. When I was screening interviewees for my last job, I would routinely plug their email addresses in to see who would pop up and, not surprisingly, almost everyone did. Let’s just say a few of them did not get interviews. Gmail is free, there’s no reason not to have a spare for this purpose.

Reconsider your profile picture! True story, one of our CPA exam students emailed me with a sob story about how he had been unable to study for weeks and therefore failed his exam miserably and not only wanted advice on how to pass but free time to study even though he’d used up most of the time on his course. Well he forgot we were also friends on Facebook, so when he popped up in my timeline, I couldn’t help but notice the picture of him partying in Mexico with a half-spilled Corona in his hand. The picture had been uploaded the week before his exam, and was even conveniently captioned with “had a great time last week!” so I knew that he was totally full of shit. While not all cases are that extreme or closely connected, it is important to put your best foot forward on Facebook, at least if you are going to allow strangers to see your profile photo. If you can’t handle using a professional shot for your profile, change your privacy setting so no one but your friends can see it.

I’m sure there are a bunch of things I’m missing here, so if anyone has anything to add, you know what to do.

Deloitte Offers Insight on How It Plans to Retain Its Workforce

Continuing with Wednesday’s attempt to provide insight on some KPMG H.R. banter, I will try to do the same with a recent Deloitte press release.

What seems to be their attempt to provide the private sector advice on how to prevent an exodus of talent actually sounds like a fluffy internal HR memo. Perhaps the Big 4 should review Deloitte’s top ten list of ways to not get slaughtered by the ever-improving job market:

1. Take advantage of the continuing globalization of talent and leadership markets.

DWB – Raid your competitors of their best talent, downplayed earlier this week.

2. Know your critical leaders and most critical talent. Keep your talent pipeline robust enough to deliver those critical skills.

DWB – Pay your top performers in order to keep them happy. If they receive an offer elsewhere, counter-offer their asses. Because the only inevitable outcome is the loss of some talent, see #1.

3. Prepare for a workforce that is more mobile and quicker to pursue new career opportunities.

DWB – Keep tabs on your people. Job loyalty has gone the way of the dinosaurs Baby Boomers. The “what’s in it for me” mentality is keeping job markets saturated with talented individuals looking for a better deal.

4. Tailor your strategies to address the generational and geographic diversity of your workforce.

DWB – Old people and young people don’t get along. They’ve never gotten along. They never will get along. Accept it and move on.

5. Show your employees both the money and the love. Communicate your employer brand as clearly to employees as you communicate your product brand to customers.

DWB – One part water plus two parts HR spin, stirred. Pour over ice. Serve.

6. Know what it takes to stay ahead of your competitors in retaining critical talent, developing new leaders, implementing workforce planning and driving innovation.

DWB – I don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to learn from this. Money is the main driving force. Money makes people dance for joy or jump ship. If your retained talent is net positive, suhhhweeet.

7. Create clear career paths for employees at all levels.

DWB – I like this one if implemented correctly. The traditional career trajectories are well known; communicate practice-to-practice and geographic rotations. Change – even short term – can refresh one’s career and create a greater sense of loyalty to the firm.

8. Align your leadership development programs with your long-term business goals.

DWB – Every firm has ‘the chosen ones” and invests in additional training, retreats, and leader cultivation courses. This should come as no surprise.

9. Know the real impact of talent retention and voluntary turnover on your bottom line.

DWB – Newsflash: it is not cheap to replace talent. Considering most hires begin their careers as interns, we’re talking years of financial investment in every staff member. From pen giveaways to amusement park tickets, there’s a steep price for every staff member lost!

10. Be a beneficiary — not a victim — of the resume tsunami.

DWB – Perhaps you should revisit point #1.

Big 4 Firms Are Planning for Your Exodus

For some time now, Caleb has been touching on the upcoming/ongoing/always-occurring exodus from Big 4 into the private sector. The obvious reasons for the change from public to private are obvious, but here’s a few for kicks:

• Bigger pay day (and potential growth)

• CPA requirements completed

• Actual work/life balance

&ill set transition to a new career

There are other reasons of course, but it is the ferocious combination of these that leads to the breaking point – low morale.

Going Concern received an email from a distraught and burnt out Big 4 auditor from the Southeast region:

The level of morale in the [XYZ] office is at an all time low. Discussion with low level staff, through managers, have yielded the same opinion of overwhelming expectations without the needed support from the firm. They want us to draw blood from a turnip, and they want it done better, faster, and with less resources than last year. This has caused everyone to start exploring options in the market. A vast majority have started fielding resumes and contacting recruiting firms. The select few who have made it past that hurdle are interviewing with no looking back.

Not to downplay what this auditor is saying (and I’m not), but this sounds like the unfortunate reality of many auditors working on smaller, non-public clients. You know, the not-as-sexy-as-ABC Bank but just as important to the firm’s bottom line. You won’t get tickets to the pro sport’s game, but thankyouverymuch for your efforts.

The reader goes on:

Primarily, people have expressed their interest in holding out any real intentions of leaving until promotions roll around in the later part of the summer. They’re hoping that maybe there will be some juicy 20% raise waiting for them, but the stark reality of a measly 5% raise is what they know is coming. Any fifth year Seniors who are waiting for the promotion to manager are just using it for resume purposes.

Our offices are already using under qualified second year staff at the Senior level, as well as retaining new managers in the Senior position because they are extremely understaffed at that level. This, in turn, is causing all of those people to take measures to leave perhaps after busy season and certainly after the insulting promotions come through in August.

It’s a matter of time before this individual (and half of their respective office) becomes another statistic that the Big 4 HR guru’s term “natural attrition.” From an HR perspective, here’s a loose idea of the attrition formula:

Fall 2010: 100 new hires

Fall ’11: 95 new hires become “2nd years”

Summer/Fall ’12: 88 2nd years promoted to senior staff, 70 seniors remain

Summer/Fall ’12: 2 years of public experience reached, 55 seniors remain

Summer/Fall ’13: 45 seniors remain

Summer/Fall ’14: 35 seniors remain

Summer/Fall ’15: 25 seniors remain; 15 promoted to manager, 10 remain on as seniors

Summer/Fall ‘XX: 10 senior managers are eligible for partner

The recession stunted this formula for every firm, as they were forced to make cuts, not only for cost cutting purposes, but also to keep their staffing formulas close to being in-check. But think about it – your firm expects this kind of turnover. They know it’s a matter of time before their hiring class is whittled down to 10% of its original size.

And in the case of the reader, their firm dropped the analytic ball 3-5 years ago. Had they better estimated the percentage of projected losses, there would be more seniors to handle the work.

Remember that time you felt bad about leaving? They’re waiting for you to do so.