Archives for October 2013

HR professionals surveyed

Mobile Games - Bejeweled by on Flickr

Mobile Games – Bejeweled by on Flickr

I spoke last week at the GVFHRA HR Summit on Gamification in Mobile Recruiting at Penn State Great Valley.  I took the opportunity to gather some intelligence that will be helpful to understand the implications of and barriers to adoption of gamified mobile recruiting. This blog is dedicated to sharing this data.

37 attendees (the classroom’s maximum capacity)


Everyone would rather have their recruiters out amongst people actively recruiting than sorting through online submissions.

Four attendees had said that their organizations had explored gamification for either recruiting or training. One attendee said that her company had been evaluating it for 10 years, but due to compliance, cost and development concerns, no decision had been made yet. Another attendee pointed out that the companies who have implemented gamification for training will be able to provide others who aim to implement it for recruiting with a lot of insights on both being successful AND avoiding failures.

How many applicants per job: 75-100 average, which is in alignment with national averages and how many depends on level of the position.


When the group was asked, who was the most elusive demographic or candidate type, no one answered. One attendee did voice the concerns of the whole – While “demographic” is a common term when it comes to marketing, which was discussed as a function of recruiting, it is illegal to profile candidates who are of a particular age, gender, race or health status.  For the sake of ongoing reflection of how using a mobile game to attract talent, we defined demographic as a profile of a candidate with particular behaviors, interests and qualities, regardless of age, race, gender or health status.


We also clarified that during strategic planning, a human resource organization would determine the general skill level of candidate for which they will want to build a pipeline, and that would influence whether a mobile game would be a good investment and critical component of a human capital planning strategy.


A lawyer who spoke in a later session brought up an issue with using Facebook during the qualification process, as more may be revealed about a candidate than you should know prior to giving that candidate a fair assessment. This insight will most likely influence which social media sites are accessed at various junctures in the recruiting cycle in the standardization of recruiting workflow in an internal mobile recruiting game.


All but two people were using LinkedIn groups to as a talent community to source skills needed ongoingly. Other talent communities mentioned by Joe Stubblebine of (founder of, who attended this session as well as spoke in the next session on social recruiting, included GitHub and Stackoverflow (a forum for programmers) as alternate talent communities.


Most were in general agreement that the metrics that their organization uses to measure recruiting performance were 70-85% accurate.


Only one attendee knew her organization’s cost-per-hire off the top of her head, and stated that it was $35,000-$40,000. Five attendees knew that this data was available to them, but they did not know if off of the top of their head. This seemed shockingly high, as a survey of average cost per hire conducted in 2010 by Bersin & Associates found that the average cost per hire for all U.S. companies was $3,479, though companies with 10,000 employees or more averaged $1,949.

Eddie Vedder’s Recent Words to Live By

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Wild horse passing by Inyucho on Flickr

Artists, musicians, actors, speakers and politicians wield an amazing power to captivate and inspire us. Any time I imagined being in the public eye, even if it was as a highly recognized thought leader in careering as opposed to a rock star, I have always been very intimidated by this power. I feel that such a delicate balance must be maintained in order to do the optimum good and not be intoxicated by it, both as the wielder and the recipient.


Compared to many of my friends, I would be considered a Pearl Jam fan by default. While I enjoyed grunge music when it emerged in high school, most of my friends and I were much more into hip-hop and R&B. It took me a couple years after it was pervasive to adopt an appreciation for grunge. It took until I met my husband to be a fan of it. We had recently been debating about what defines a true “fan,” a conversation spurred by the recent airing of an exclusive interview between Pierre Robert, Nick McIlwain and Matty Cord at WMMR (93.3 FM Philadelphia) and Eddie Vedder, lead singer for Pearl Jam. For the sake of this blog, we will consider a fan to be someone who attends at least 5 concerts (though I know my friends will say 10, 20, 50…)


My husband had been dubbed “the biggest Pearl Jam fan alive” by some of his friends, a title that was recently resurrected at a 90s party we attended last weekend. I know that there are A LOT of extremely zealous fans who would refute that, and he has no interest in defending the title. He’s lost count of how many shows he’s been to, though. Before kids, he would travel internationally to see them. There is no comparison between us; he is the “true” Pearl Jam fan.


However, between us, I may just be the bigger Eddie Vedder fan. Yes, I like his solo music, but I am talking more about the person. I don’t claim to know him; I know from my New Kids On The Block days (don’t judge) that I should not delude myself with that fantasy. What I do know of him, however, and what I continue to learn about him impresses me and deeply inspires me.


From where he has come, he is unequivocally emotionally intelligent. He is witty and a compelling storyteller. He uses powerful analogies that make poignant points, that don’t just resonate, but linger.


For instance, in the WMMR interview, Eddie was asked by Nick, another “biggest Pearl Jam fan alive,” if he is cognizant of the energy that is ever-present between the band and their concert attendees. I have been to a lot of concerts for all types of music, but there is definitely something unique about how unabashed a Pearl Jam crowd is to sing every lyric back to the band at the top of their lungs, some for the whole show  – every word…unabashed! A sea of this. There’s also a LOT of hugging and high-fiving, and I’m talking guys and girls, both known and strangers!


Eddie said, “It’s not always there and you can’t predict it.” Then he compared this energy to a horse. Paraphrased from memory:


It’s bigger than you. You have to respect it and know how to handle yourself around it, especially if you want to ride it.


This was a thought that hung in my brain all day, as I instantly recognized this as the same sentiment I have in regards to the respect I feel must be given to the greatness that is within all of us. If we could harness it, and ride it like a horse (or a wave), we would live exhilarating, fully actualized lives, but only if we were able to maintain awareness and appreciation that we are (all) great because of something greater than ourselves.


I can’t help but be in awe of Eddie’s ability to tune into this great energy to create life-altering music (a collaborative effort for which I’m sure he would not want sole credit), produce amazingly inspirational interviews, and engage a crowd like no other I have seen.


As a performer, Eddie gives me something to strive for. I would love to have an impact on people’s lives through music (or spoken word) like he has had. Check out the ESPN story on Steve Gleason.


Another quote about life in general that worth sharing:


“It’s not getting around the fire, it’s getting through it.

It’s about looking out for everyone on the planet.”


An aside: I am ecstatic that Eddie recognized WMMR. I decided to leave radio in 2000, when DJs were being replaced by computers, while a former classmate took the reigns as Producer of The Preston and Steve Show, which was then on Y100 (100.3 Philadelphia.) The show moved over to WMMR in 2005 and I am very happy for the show’s as well as the station’s success. Philadelphia is very blessed to have WMMR and XPN on our dial!




A Gamer in the Real World

In the real world there is no save feature.

XBox Controller by Claran McGuiggan from Flickr

XBox Controller by Claran McGuiggan from Flickr

If there was I’d probably reload my life to a save from 1992.  That’s the year I entered college for marine biology.  Don’t even ask me why a total geek like me wasted even one semester thinking I should be a marine biologist.  If I had known what was possible in gaming back then my career path would have been an easy one.  I would have been studying computers and computer programing.

Instead I decided after three and a half years and three semesters that school wasn’t for me. I’d like to go back to 1992 and change a few things. In 2013 I’d be designing the greatest post-apocalyptic role playing games anyone had ever played! I’d be a celebrity in the gaming world.  At E3 they would chant my name as I took the stage to peddle my latest title…

But this is the real world and there is no save feature.

It’s never too late to change careers and put yourself on the path you wished you’d taken 20+ years ago. You don’t need to go back in time or “load a save game” to be the job seeker you want to be today. The tools and opportunities are here, now, in the present and they are waiting for you to take them up and be the person you want to be.  Today.

As long as we draw breath it’s never too late!

By Jack Shipley © 2013

Are you rubbernecking your way out of a job?

by WaitSCM on Flickr

by WaitSCM on Flickr

It seems the word stuntman has taken on new meaning. Back in the day it was just amazing to see Evel Knievel do his motorcycle jumps across cars and canyons. It was jaw-dropping to see others do flips, spins and ride on one wheel. But Jeb Corliss as the ‘wingsuit man’ must be the daredevil of our day.

Recently, he performed his death-defying ‘flying dagger’ jump from a helicopter 6000 feet above. He glided at 75-mph between two Chinese mountain peaks 25 feet apart. In his words, “It was the single gnarliest (craziest) thing I’ve ever done in my life, without a doubt.” The jump was almost cancelled due to bad weather. By the afternoon there was a break in the fog and a lull in the winds.

Corliss says he did the stunt to show how with courage others can pursue their dreams.

Well, Operation J.U.M.P. (Joining in Unity to Motivate Progress) says this level of courage is not required for everybody’s dream. It’s not about being a daredevil as much as being a dare-dreamer. Dreams come with equal expectations but different sacrifice. But it does come down to taking a leap of faith.

This is true whether someone’s unemployed, under-employed or emerging self-employed. Every month the Bureau of Labor releases the Jobs Report. Then after a day or two it slips off the radar. Many experts explain the up or down changes in the jobless rate. There is evidence of those who’re discouraged and given up. Sometimes it seems society can be so focused on the have’s we forget the have nots.

Imagine riding to work and being stuck in traffic? There’s frustration and anxiety about getting there on time. The roadway alert says disabled car ahead. It clears briefly, then another disabled car. The ‘stop & go’ persists because 13 of every 100 cars are disabled on that stretch. That would be like car-maggedon! Well, that’s happening in the marketplace. The jobless are like stalled cars in the economy.

We see a slight speed-up, closely followed by a slowdown in jobs. People are ‘rubbernecking,’ to see what’s happening. After a while many become discouraged and give-up due to market congestion. Highway patrol responds with a service truck to give a ‘jump’ or whatever else is needed. Operation J.U.M.P. provides a similar response to the long-term jobless.

If disabled vehicles are bad for traffic flow then a long-term jobless state is bad for the economy and average Joe. At the end of the day, think of Operation J.U.M.P. like raising the sunken ship Costa Concordia. A team of specialty engineers put together a plan to upright the ship. This was a very complex operation that involved pulleys, cables and steel structures. Operation J.U.M.P. is such a partnership with other ‘social-preneurs’ to help upright the job market and keep raising new-found dreams.

Footnote: The level of courage required for pursuing dreams is not the same for everybody because dreams come with equal expectations but different sacrifice.

Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham is an Entrepreneur, Blogger and Career Re-inventor. He spent 10 years as a Computer Engineer before starting a communications & empowerment business to live his dreams. He’s also the author of “Becoming Layoff Proof: What it Means to Be the CEO of Me Inc.”

Twitter:@DocCunningham, @OperationJump

When Communication Drives You Crazy

Help Point by Mark Hillary from Flickr

Help Point by Mark Hillary from Flickr

My brother-in-law in Kentucky sent an email out last week to his immediate and some extended family regarding referred methods of keeping in touch.


It spurred some very interesting responses and some very intriguing conversation between my husband and I.


I know I have my own “rules” about how I think its best for people to contact me. I try my best to explain them to others so that they can accommodate me, and I ask them how they prefer to be contacted. However, there are sometimes people that just seem to refuse to indulge my preferences, and furthermore, those that insist that their preferred form of communication is better than my preferred form of communication, which can be so frustrating.


I really want your opinion on this scenario:


As a result of my outreach and posting on LinkedIn groups, I get a lot of invitations from people I do not know, which to me is evidence that my content is engaging and that my profile is inviting. However, I explain to them that before we connect, I would like to get better acquainted and give them my CELL PHONE number to give me a call so that we can schedule something. For me, extending my personal cell phone number (which is my only number) is a way of telling them that connecting with them is important to me, because it is a number I do not make public and because it is the device that I respond to with the most urgency (however I do not answer it when I am with clients, unless it is my husband or babysitter.) Most people, I am finding, choose instead to give me their number or their availability in response via LinkedIn messages. The problem with this is that now their response has lost urgency, as has the scheduling of their meeting, because I get the notification via e-mail, which is a non-urgent form of communication. Furthermore, in order to resist any “time sucking” effects that social media can have, I regiment my time, setting designated times to post group messages, respond to network status updates, and reply to messages and invitations. I perform research for clients or business development on an as needed basis. I am a reasonable person who is happy most of the time to extend some flexibility, so I had made some exceptions, logging in to LinkedIn at undesignated times to respond to these individuals and schedule a time to talk. Unfortunately, I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH to resist the distractions that abound on these social media sites (I try to do the same for Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.) I know I am not the only one with limited time to spend on social media; however, if you could see how my blocks of time depend windows carefully planned and vigilantly protected around my kids’ schedules (as most know, I work from home and take care of them – both full-time jobs.) You can probably see how problematic it is to waste ANY time.  If I waste any time, something else has to suffer, and I cannot let it be my clients. So, it may be inflexible, but I went back to regimenting my time and decided to make repeated requests of these individuals to move our scheduling conversations OFF social media to the phone, or e-mail if need be. One individual recently never acknowledged, let alone obliged, my request, so I thought I would explain my regimenting. Still, he insisted on giving me his availability via LinkedIn message. That particular day, even if I had chosen to make an exception, I was out of the office all day for personal business (it was my mom’s birthday.) So, his message went unanswered (as I had explained that it might unless we could schedule via phone or e-mail.) He sent me a message that read as follows:


“Karen, I am withdrawing my invite this has gone on since Aug 27. I respect your time but you must respect mine.”


Who is disrespecting whom here? I wanted to make connecting a priority, which is why I gave him my direct number and urged him to call me.


I know I will hear from some LinkedIn and social media evangelists who think that LinkedIn invitations and messages should be a priority, but let’s get real: EVERYTHING can’t be a priority. If you want to be a priority, use my phone number. If I gave it to you, it means you are a priority. If you tell me that you are best at responding via e-mail and that happens to be an appropriate venue for our exchange, I’ll be happy to accommodate you.


So, what is appropriate? Does each person decide for himself or herself? I know I have my own ideas, but a lot of them were inspired by efficiency experts who I have studied, read and followed on behalf of my clients who also have to make the most of their time while accommodating the communication preferences of their audience.


I hope this post elicits a LOT of responses, because I am hungry for feedback!


Here is a summation of communication media and what I have come to determine as the best practices of using each:


Email – a non-urgent form of communication. It is best for things that have to be documented and referred to on a future or ongoing basis, such as instructions or directions. Can also be good for communications sent outside of normal business hours. Efficiency experts warn of the time abyss of e-mail and recommend only checking this 5 times per day.


Text message– immediate/urgent, short. Best for sharing critical details, scheduling meetings, short sentiments. IT is not a good forum for debate, argument or describing complicated concepts


Phone – Personal, implies desire to connect on a “human” level, good for leaving an explanation of moderate length or when something needs to be expressed with inflection and sincerity. It is critical any time a decision has to be made that requires much consideration of both or all parties. My biggest complaint is when people ask you to call them back at a number different from the one that they called from and they say it fast. I recommend that if that is necessary, attempt to text or email the number as well, and tell the recipient that you are doing so. In the days of smart phones, when people check their voice mail from anywhere, including while driving (not condoned,) who has a pen handy to take down a number? How many would rather just click on the number to call the person back?


Social Media – Great for initiating conversations or instant messaging when others are on concurrently. For any of the above, move it off social media.


Snail Mail – If it isn’t a bill, it better be a thank you, an invitation, a greeting card, or an announcement.


Web conference/webinar – If I need to provide an introduction or more in depth instruction on a program, a service, a product, a methodology, a workflow, etc. screen sharing is an incredible asset, and being able to benefit from others’ questions and comments can be invaluable to reinforcement in learning.

Celebration…And Stress Management

September has just whizzed by, and so has the past year, hasn’t it?

I just celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary … Yay!  It’s another big milestone since my divorce a few years ago, after my 26-year marriage fell apart.  I’m so much happier now … happier than I ever thought I could be!  It’s amazing how life can be so much brighter after navigating a life-shaking transition.  (I hope those of you currently going through a tough transition will take comfort knowing how wonderful life can be on the other side.)
A major factor in my happiness is how I’ve learned to manage and reduce stress in the past few years.  I’ve been sharing many of these techniques with my coaching clients.  Last week, I took the time to compile my stress management tips into an article.
In celebration of my 1st anniversary, I’m sharing my article with you:


10 Tips to Manage and Reduce Stress … Without Alcohol, Drugs, or Chocolate


Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

As busy people, stress has become such a huge and omnipresent factor in our everyday lives.  At work, we’re under more pressure than ever to get results because of the stagnant economy and because downsizing has resulted in fewer people available to get the work done. Our email boxes are overflowing.
At home, we’re spending less time having fun and doing activities that we love, and we’re getting less sleep than we need.  We’re addicted to our mobile devices delivering messages to us 24×7.  Crankiness abounds.  It’s affecting our physical health too.  And the stress is even higher if we’re going through a life-shaking transition such as a career change, relocation, separation, divorce, or death of a loved one.
Sound familiar?   OK, then take a deeeeep breath.  Here are 10 tips to help you manage and alleviate stress … without alcohol, drugs,or chocolate.  🙂


1.  Recognize the difference between pressure and stress.
Pressure is imposed by external sources such as events or other people.  Stress is created by internal sources, i.e. it’s self-imposed.  We generate stress by the way we react to the pressures in our life.  This is an important distinction because we may not be able to do anything to eliminate the things causing the pressure, but we can certainly learn to control how we react to it,thereby alleviating stress.  The following Tips #2-6  are about how to manage how we react to external triggers.


2. Stop beating yourself up.
The biggest cause of stress is when we beat yourselves up over something we did or didn’t do.  We are our own harshest critics. If you find your inner critic shouting “I shoulda,” “I coulda,” or “I woulda,” that’s a sign that you’re beating yourself up.
Separate yourself from your inner critic.  Know that your negative self-talk cannot undo the past.  It’s only making you feel bad. Use positive self-talk and affirmations to shift your mood and energy.  Know that you did the best job you could, based on the information and resources you had at that time, and that you learned your lesson and will do better next time.  Be gentle on yourself, and move forward.


3. Accept what is.
Is cross-town traffic grid-locked when you’re late for your appointment?  Are the jackhammers across the street so loud you can’t hear yourself think?  Is the mother of the screaming toddler on your flight doing nothing to calm him down?  Is your ex-husband taking calls from his new girlfriend while you’re trying to have an important conversation with him?  Is your blood pressure rising, just reading this paragraph?
An ancient Buddhist proverb says:  “Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.”  It means that sh++ happens and you can’t do anything about it … but you can choose whether you’ll let it bother you or not.   Things bother us when we tell ourselves that “Something’s wrong” or “It’s not supposed to be this way.”  Re-frame the situation.  Don’t let those things bother you.  Just accept them as being “normal,”  even if they’re not.  Maintain an even keel.


4. Re-set your expectations.

Annoyed because your employee missed another deadline?  Upset because your sister never returns your phone calls?  Feeling overwhelmed because you thought you would be much farther along on your big project that you committed to have done by next week?
When your reality falls short of your expectations, you feel disappointed, unhappy, overwhelmed, or stressed.  Sometimes, the best way to deal with that is to re-calibrate your expectations:
  • Realize that your employee works at a slower pace than others. You can either give him more time, or take other actions to manage his performance.
  • Accept that your sister may not value staying in touch as much as you do.  Don’t take it personally when she doesn’t call you back.
  • Forgive yourself for your project delays and allow more time in the future for unexpected obstacles.  (And stop beating yourself up.)   Take big projects and break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks.  Don’t be such a perfectionist.  Other people don’t expect you to be perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to be.
5. Notice what you’re worrying about.
What are the things you most worry about?  Which of them are things you have some control over?  Which are things you truly cannot control?  What benefit are you getting by worrying about these things?
There is a famous prayer that goes “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Focus on the things you have control over, and take actions to make them better.  Let go of worrying about things that you can’t control, including trying to change other people’s personalities or behaviors.
6. Avoid people and situations that upset you.
Notice what triggers you.   Is it rush hour traffic?  Or certain people who exude negative energy?  Your ex?  The maddening crowds?  Store employees who don’t understand the meaning of customer service?
The more aware you are of what triggers you and how you react, the more you can avoid those situations.  Set boundaries to protect yourself and your sanity.  Learn to say “no” when people demand your time.  Take a different route to work to avoid heavy traffic, even if it might take a little longer.  Minimize contact with people who are toxic, even if they’re family members.  It’s not worth the aggravation.  Instead, surround yourself with positive people.
7. Write it down.
Our brains are running at light speed all the time.  We get brilliant sparks of genius at the most inopportune times.  We’re constantly thinking of all the things we need to get done or all the things we need to remember.  Our mind is in a constant swirl,even when we’re trying to sleep.  No wonder we get stressed out.
Carry a small notebook everywhere you go.  Keep it on your bedside table.  When you think of something you want to remember, write it down.  By downloading it from your brain, you have more mental space and calmness so that you can focus on being present.
8. Give yourself the gift of peace and quiet.
Give yourself some quiet time every day to rest your mind.  Focus on the positive things in your life, and be grateful for them.
People who practice Transcendental Meditation say that they can re-set their minds with just a 20-minute deep meditation twice a day.  Even if you don’t practice TM, you can benefit from meditating every day or just engaging in quiet time.  For more tips on meditating, see our February 2013 article:
9. Take care of your body.
Prolonged stress will tear up your body and upset your natural rhythms of health.  Your body will rebel by getting sick when you’re on overload, forcing you to rest.  Your immune system will suffer.  You’ll get high blood pressure or ulcers. In extreme cases, you’ll be susceptible to serious diseases or even cancer.
Commit to a regular sleeping schedule so you can re-charge your batteries.  Drink lots of water.  It’s amazing what water does to enable your body and brain to function properly.  Eat well balanced, nutritional meals.  Cut back on caffeine and sugar to avoid mood swings and energy crashes.  Keep your body moving with regular exercise, especially yoga or cardio exercise.  Take an invigorating Zumba dance class.  Vigorous exercise generates endorphins, the natural “feel good” chemicals in your brain.  Take a relaxing hot bath.  Get a soothing massage.  Most importantly … Breathe!
10. Engage in fun and enjoyable activities.
Even if you don’t have much time to spare, devote some time each week to do things you enjoy.  Have fun.  Celebrate small successes.  Keep a sense of humor about things that are going awry.  Laughter is the best medicine!  People have even been known to cure themselves of cancer by engaging in serious laughter.
Life is too short to be stressed out all the time.  Breathe.  Smell the roses once in a while.  Keep a positive outlook on life.  Take care of the #1 VIP … YOU!! 
I hope you found these tips to be helpful, especially Tips #2-6, which are about how to manage how you react to external triggers.  If you feel challenged in this area, consider investing in some coaching.
For a complimentary consultation to explore how coaching can help you, fill out a brief request form here:
To a joyful and more fulfilling future,Keiko Hsu
Award-Winning Certified Life Coach,
Business & Executive Coach, and Transition Mentor
Wings for Women®
San Francisco, CA