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The Rise & Fall of BlackBerry

September 30th, 2013

The former favorite mobile device of corporations everywhere had a pretty rough week. After years of dwindling sales and transitions in the smartphone marketplace, BlackBerry posted a $965 million loss on sales of $1.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter. Timing of the bad news coincided with the announcement of Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s, offered at an unprecedentedly low price point of $199.

The Canadian company, formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), entered the marketplace in 1984 as a provider of advanced pagers before moving towards the classic BlackBerry phone design that truly revolutionized the corporate email game. As the company evolved, a greater focus was placed on the convergent nature of its technology and certain device features, like drupelet-shaped keys (leading to the BlackBerry name) and trackball pointers, became hallmarks of the brand.

Despite continued heavy usage by government agencies and transit staff, primarily thanks to high-security encryption features, the loss statement came alongside an update that the company has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion. BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, headed by a former BlackBerry board member, will likely be the company’s purchaser – with a deal scheduled for early November. The deal gives the company additional time to strategize and attempt to revamp their image. Current plans include to exclusively market two devices moving forward: high-end handheld phones targeted towards the business market.

What does this mean for the world of technology staffing? As a result of the major revenue loss, BlackBerry will be slashing over a third of their global workforce. These 4,500 job cuts come after several other major rounds of job cuts in the past twelve months. One less competitor in the world of mobile technology and a significant addition to the I.T. candidate pool will help drive the action towards Android and iOS-related businesses. With BlackBerry’s development team utilizing a wide range of technologies and programming languages (HTML, AIR, C++, etc.) the market is open for a diverse set of professionals looking for work in multiple locations, including their global headquarters in Ottawa, Canada and offices in Texas and the United Kingdom. This continues a trend over the past few years of former BlackBerry professionals trickling back into the marketplace, first from top executives and now individual developer contributors that provided the infrastructure support behind their systems.

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

The Talener Times – September 23, 2013

September 24th, 2013

Click -> The Shirazi Times- September 23, 2013

Posted in Client News, Current Events, Events, News, Talener Blog

The Talener Times – September 16, 2013

September 17th, 2013

Click -> The Shirazi Times- September 16, 2013

Posted in Events, News, Talener Blog

SourceIn NYC Conference in NYC – 9/10/2013

September 12th, 2013

Some highlights from this very informative gathering of staffing agencies and LinkedIn recruiting specialists:


Why is Talent so hard to find?

Candidates have a choice of offers and use them to demand better compensation and benefits

Increases in # of Counter Offers / Cold Feet as Talent Retention becomes paramount

Competition from other agencies. Even agencies who try to work exclusives with their clients are under pressure to deliver quickly vs. invest the time to source the best

Managing clients’ expectations in line with the market continues to provide challenges across industries, particularly in tech

“Despite some naively held beliefs of some staffing executives, there actually is little loyalty in the marketplace from clients or candidates, which leads to a vicious cycle of more of the same”

*Differentiation remains the key for staffing agencies to remain competitive


The most successful recruiters are already looking to how recruiting will be done in 2015. The big 5 trends are:

                1) Embracing the Social Enterprise

                                #1 long-lasting trend in recruiting

                                #1 source of quality candidates

From a business development standpoint: 57% of a purchase decision is complete before a customer engages a supplier. 75% of B2B buyers say social media would influence on a future purpose

                2) Engaging the 80%

There are 4 types of candidates in the world:

  1. Active – sending out resumes and actively looking for a new position (21% of the market)
  2. Tiptoer (15%) – Thinking about changing jobs and reaching out to close associates
  3. Explorer (44%) – Not looking for a new job but willing to discuss a new opportunity with a recruiter
  4. Super Passive (20%) – Happily employed and not interested in a new opportunity

The tiptoers and explorers of the world (59% of the market) are together known as approachable

                3) Build Trust + Preferences through Education

Don’t be afraid to share knowledge, intelligence and expertise publically. There’s a difference between releasing trade secrets and keeping your audiences tied into you through content.

E.g. Home Depot – by offering incredible content around DIY projects in the home, like how to properly lay tile, they vastly increase the chances that consumers of their content will purchase the tile/grout/etc. from Home Depot as opposed to anywhere else (the benefit is far greater than the potential cannibalism of their own offered service to install tile)

                4) Optimize content for Mobile, because it’s not going away

                5) Embrace Data and its Power

                                ~The Moneyball Effect


InMail Protips

The average InMail response rate for agencies is 10-15% — 20% on the high end for a very effective agency.

1)      No more blanket template messages – write a master template and CUSTOMIZE it for targeted individuals

  1. Offer a sincere compliment and a specific observation of their background
  2. Quick, simple, no BS message

2)      Take the time to subdivide projects

  1. More, smaller projects will always trump scale-heavy approaches. No identical message should go to more than 10-15 people (otherwise find a way to subdivide further)

3)      Keep a level of mystery/intrigue in your InMail message

  1. Keep it short and simple, but make them want to engage YOU (i.e. not your client/job) back

4)      Short subject lines (optimize for mobile) – even just a word or two

5)      Limit the use of adjectives – they are fluffy

  1. Powerful verbs are much better

6)      Give them a piece of yourself

  1. We’re all humans after all – don’t ever forget that

7)      “Magic phrases” to help increase response rate

  1. “Open minded”
  2. “2nd Request”

Talent Pipeline

1)      Examine your “Touch Plant” (if you don’t have one, GET one)

  1. What are the systematic ways we are engaging our prospective and existing candidates daily?
  2. Most agency recruiters are admittedly too afraid/lazy to take the necessary time to create stable talent flow processes, and structure their day around them.
    1. Many stop at structuring the daily business, not the activities within the structure

Personal Profiles and Group Memberships

1)      Don’t be afraid to have your LI profile stand out, be unique and express your individuality

  1. Your audience is not dumb, and again, we’re all humans. People engage People

2)      Group memberships should be maximized, but remain fluid throughout a career

  1. They’re much more effective than most agency recruiters realize
  2. Don’t just post jobs – monitor conversations, engage back whenever possible

7 Habits of Highly Effective Recruiters

1)      They do their Homework!

  1. Connect to all your clients, candidates, coworkers and other industry participants
  2. Consider the LI member experience
  3. Mix up your search strategies
    1. Keyword, concept, implicit, natural language, indirect searches
  4. Utilize the Skill Tags page (

2)      They are Boolean Ninjas

  1. Beyond the standard OR and AND, use parentheses and NOT in creative ways

3)      They use Shortcuts!

  1. Refinement filters on searches
    1. Creating custom filters for commonly executed searches
  2. InMail Templates
  3. Update Me

4)      They organize their chaos

  1. Use the Clipboard
  2. Use To-Do Lists
  3. (Effectively) use projects

5)      They source 24/7/365 (even in their sleep)

  1. Search alerts
    1. Capture new LI members (over 2 per second globally) and existing members who update their profile
  2. Similar Profiles and Profile Match features
    1. Combine with a custom filter to get constant new, relevant results

6)      They stay up to date with new products

  1. CheckIn by LinkedIn
  2. LinkedIn Talent Solutions Learning Center (free to all LI Recruiter account holders)

7)      They invest in their recruiting future

  1. Use tags and statuses within LI Recruiter to make future searching faster

Social Selling

                “Social selling is reminding everyone that who you know is more important that what you know”

                “Visibility creates opportunities”

                “It’s not the size of your network, but how you use it”

1)      Use your status updates to

  1. Engage and Promote your network
    1. E.g. LinkedIn gives you Birthday alerts – give someone a shout out from time to time!
  2. Inform your network
    1. Industry News & Relevant Content – one click sharing makes it VERY easy

“Proficiency in social media is a differentiator now, but will soon be a qualifier.”

Resume to Reputation (R2R) – The 9 Core Principles

1)      Promote your brand through your LinkedIn profile

2)      Elevate your status from sales rep to trusted advisor

  1. To succeed you must be the best at what you do for a specific audience

3)      Let your profile sell for you

  1. Focus on how you’ve helped your customers, NOT on your personal achievements

4)      Educate potential clients/candidates who visit your profile

  1. Use a variety of rich media, and update it regularly

5)      Transfer of trust through profile to another member

6)      Attract top talent

7)      Differentiate yourself from other recruiters

8)      Spur your network connections to take action

9)      Generate reciprocal business for the ecosystem       

Posted in Current Events, Events, Sourcing Ideas, Talener Blog, Training

EdTech in Boston

September 11th, 2013

By: Mike Slovak

Boston has always been known as the center of education in the country, dating back to the opening of Harvard’s doors in 1636 and continuing today with the presence of over 50 colleges and universities in the greater city limits. The city has also been one of the nation’s centers for the development of educational technology, with roughly 200 EdTech startups based in the area and some of the largest publishing houses located here as well. With investments in EdTech tripling in the last decade to $429 million in 2011, the city’s future as a center of EdTech looks bright, as well.

EdTech companies both large and small call Boston home, focused on a number of different sectors in the field. Large companies such as Desire2Learn, a Canadian based company, are basing their stateside operations in the city, and traditional publishing houses such as McGraw Hill have opened R&D labs in the city’s Innovation District. Universities are also at the forefront of this push, with both faculty and students making waves by developing new products that introduce cutting-edge technology into the classroom. For example, Harvard and MIT teamed up to form edX, a non-profit that offers free MOOCs to people across the globe. Startups have gotten into the mix as well, developing cloud-based technologies that allow students to share interactive notes and assignments amongst themselves and with their teachers, creating a new meaning for the term “interactive classroom.”

The massive increase in investments and innovation within one of the oldest industries on the planet is largely a response to the problems that current and former students have identified through their experiences. With the cost of tuition rising at a ridiculous rate, many companies have focused on developing technologies that connect students from across the globe with universities out of their reach. Additionally, the rising cost of textbooks has led both startups and large corporations to develop various eBook-type applications, offering students the same resources at a fraction of the cost. Boston has, and will continue to be, positioned at the forefront of this industry for the foreseeable future, with EdTech definitely being one of the sectors to watch in the area.

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

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