Sorting Through the Noise

On Wednesday night we had Tech In Motion 2 that highlighted a fantastic startup called Utellit. Utellit is an application that basically brings social media to life with the power of your voice. Simple voice messages on Facebook or Twitter that makes your message stand out, special and to add the human element. The human element is the special part of the product. 

After the networking event on logged on to Facebook and was reading my threads of posts and realized that I haven’t heard any of my friend’s voices in years. I didn’t know what they sounded like anymore. 95% of my friends on Facebook I’ve met before so I have heard their voice before but my Twitter account is much different. Most of my Twitter followers I’ve never heard speak – they’re my social media posse. They retweet me and I retweet them. We @ each other and sometimes engage in the occasional DM or D for short. 

Then I read a blog post from someone I’ve followed for many years on Twitter that posted about his random meeting on Google+ and it all came full circle. We love to engage, we’re just too lazy to get out of our comfort zone. The fear of failure freezes us to a point that we don’t seek that edge any more. Social media makes it easier for people to get out of that comfort zone. Social media gives me the ability to talk with someone I may never meet, may never hear the sound of their voice. But with all of these tools we use on a daily basis to extend our reach, are we really reachingpeople? 

Finally, after seeing Utellit’s presentation on their product it became very apparent that the best technology is the power of a handshake, eye contact and our very own voice – the rest is just noise. 

It Starts with a Spark

It has to start with a spark. Just like thinking up a great meal to cook on the grill, it has to begin with a spark to light the fire. On the eve of an event that I’m heading up calling Tech In Motion, the anticipation of an event that will explore how to move that spark forward to a raging fire is building to a roar in my mind that won’t shut off. 

My vision for focusing on the spark is, in essence, a spark of its own. I hope the tech community in Chicago grows into something substantially better than it is today and if I can have an impact in that growth I want in.

Who doesn’t want their name etched into people’s minds? Or, on the side of a bar like this picture. 

Grow wise. Not up.

So you grow up. You figure it out or at least you try. Lately I’ve been thinking and talking about getting older. I’m not too old, I’m 31 years old, but just how does one act when they not only turn 30, but 31 years of age? It’s becoming time to start thinking about security, and whether or not you’re capable of of supporting not only another person but bringing a new life into the world. Whether that’s the plan or not, you should be able to make this happen. 

I’ve known this for some time, but always figured that the security was financial and everything else would follow in turn. Growing up has always been, in my mind, possessing the ability to be financially self-sustaining and have the ability to support your growing family around you. I never really admitted that I also needed to grow up in other ways. Take things more seriously – embracing the ability to exhibit self control on going out until the next morning, drinking every weekend. Taking care of yourself physically and becoming a better person for yourself and others you surround yourself with. 

Growing up doesn’t mean becoming lame. It means in my mind, becoming more interesting and flexible in lifestyle. Where you don’t just hang around a certain type of person, but expose and emerse yourself in new cultures. New experiences. Afterall, just because you get older doesn’t make you wise. It’s the experiences that give you wisdom. 

Giving Interview Feedback

Ask anyone who has ever looked for a job what their major gripe about the entire interview process would be and it would be centered around not getting feedback in a timely manner. It falls on your shoulders as a hiring manager to give them constructive feedback. When I give a candidate negative feedback about an interview I automatically worry I’m being brutally honest and even say “Don’t shoot the messenger” before I deliver the feedback. But every time I give a candidate negative feedback they thank me for letting them know how to improve on their next interview.

Giving negative feedback sometimes feels awkward and like you’re a jerk for telling them, but it’s a selfless act that helps only the candidate?after all, you really have nothing to immediately gain from it. So why do it? Well, hopefully you believe in the “greater good” or Karma, but at a minimum you can look at the reputation score of companies that never provide candidates with feedback at all. The fact is that word gets out on and it circulates in the industry that you’re in and reaches the people that you typically hire for. Don’t take the chance of potentially scheduling your next “rockstar” developer to meet with you only to have the “rockstar” cancel the interview after consulting his developer friends and hearing negative opinions about your company that his friends formed based solely on never hearing back from you.

Don’t Wait

Feedback should be given immediately after an interview, or better yet, at the end of the interview. Waiting on giving feedback just kills your incentive to help and let the candidate know how they did. I’ve talked to many candidates who have gone on interviews, and even though they didn’t end up getting the job, they respect and admire the hiring manager for telling them, at the end of the interview, why they think the candidate wouldn’t be a fit for the position. After all, if you were interviewing for a position, wouldn’t you appreciate that as well?

There’s also the chance that you, as a hiring manager, may be completely off base in your assessment. When you tell a candidate his .NET skills are not appropriate for what you’re looking for and you tell him why, the candidate has the opportunity to touch on something you may have missed in the interview process. Recently I was faced with a similar situation during a sales interview when I said that the candidate didn’t possess an “edge” to him to be entrepreneurial enough for what I was looking for in my sales environment. Not only did I misassessthis candidate, the candidate responded in a way that was by far the most impressive part of the interview and I ended up hiring him. Had I just shaken his hand and said the typical: “I have more interviews to do this week and next, but will circle back with you if we’re interested,” I would have completely missed out on a successful hire.

When you know that you want to offer the candidate the position then give him an idea that you want to make him an offer. Why? In today’s market, especially for technology professionals, it’s becoming increasingly hard to keep good candidates in the “queue” while you put together an offer. Not providing positive feedback in a timely manner just runs the risk of the candidate accepting a job somewhere else. If you’re a mid-sized company that means you have red tape to go through before making an offer, and this red tape takes time to navigate through, so what’s the point of going through all the red tape when by the time you have something ready to offer there’s no candidate to offer the job to anyway?


Be honest with the candidate, or better yet, if you’re using a recruiter be honest with them about your feedback. Talk through your concerns, surface them to see if they stick if they do, then you’re 100% sure that those concerns were valid. If they don’t stick, however, and you were off base with your assessment, not saying anything will ruin your chances of hiring the right person.

Lastly, from a recruiter’s perspective, having a company never give me feedback will usually result in me immediately dismissing the business relationship. While some have the mindset that there are a million recruiters and recruiting companies out there to choose from (which is correct), the chance of partnering with a good recruiter or recruiting firm long term is exceptionally rare. Feedback makes us get better as recruiters and get better candidates in the door to meet with you as a hiring manager. But don’t just give feedback solely for you to get something out of it give feedback because that’s what you’d want if the roles were reversed.