The WiFi’s Down, What Can I do Now?

On a recent cross-country flight, my seat-belt sign was off, my drink and complimentary bowl of nuts were at my side and I opened my laptop, ready to connect to the internet with my monthly subscription pass–the cost of which I’d justified by noting that, if I had three monthly flights, it would pay for itself. I clicked the connect button–and nothing happened. And then I heard the dreaded announcement: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience but the Wi-Fi is not working on this flight today.”

With that one announcement, I started taking inventory of what I now wouldn’t be able to do on this five-hour flight: Access the presentation I needed to polish for a meeting the next day, which was in Google Drive/slides; check my email for the updates I was expecting on a new client engagement and the statement of work that needed to be revised; chat/slack/message with colleagues regarding some specific details that needed to be addressed and coordinate for some meetings; and check Facebook/Instagram/Twitter to see what was happening for the full duration of the flight.

With the exception of the last item, everything was about work and productivity and was dependent on the simple, always-available (most of the time) internet. But it was hardly the end of my world. I immediately shifted gears to what I could do and how I could get around this productivity blocker and still make progress.

The ideas that came to mind included: Write an article for Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Bulletin (check); clean out those pushed-to-the-side emails that I promise to get to but never seem to (I do store email history locally, versus only on the cloud, just in case); draft a ton of other emails that I’ve been meaning to send; read the book I brought along with me; and listen to the few music tracks I’d previously downloaded (only about 10 because, after all, we always have access to the internet to stream music, right?).

So, I did get work done and I was productive, just not how I expected to be. How does this translate to anything related to recruiting or talent acquisition? Well, consider that one of my favorite consulting-project activities is the inventory discovery and analysis of recruiting technology. This work always includes figuring out how many products/solutions/vendors are contracted and engaged in the client’s recruiting process. The list can get extremely long, especially when we add in all the systems in every category (marketing, sourcing, screening, interviewing, onboarding) and then every possible sub-category (video, mobile, engagement, metrics, communication, etc.).

The project scope looks like this: First, inventory everything–any product that’s used in recruiting (including email, computer-operating systems, browser standards, extensions, products, services, site-access tools, etc.). Then, organize that inventory by technology/solution type:

  • †‚corporate infrastructure (email, browser standards, operating systems, network connection);
  • †‚primary recruiting applications (50 percent or more of the data and day-to-day activities, tracking, analysis). Consider these the core systems–if you couldn’t access them for 24 hours, it would disrupt the entire recruiting process; and
  • †‚secondary recruiting applications (less than 50 percent). These solutions are likely adding value and could easily be the preferred tools of the talent-acquisition staff but, when push comes to shove, they’re not mission-critical for recruiting to happen.

Now, time to fill in the blanks on the inventory matrix: Consider adding columns to capture critical information that could include (but is not limited to) contract end dates, service-level-agreement measurements, integration touch points, last release update date, business-product satisfaction, value statement as to why the solution was purchased and expected results.

Going forward in these engagements, I’m adding a column for “ability to work when there is no internet connection.” Although we’ve become increasingly dependent on a connected infrastructure 24/7, the ability to work while disconnected is still important. Many of today’s applications have capabilities that allow for some “offline” work to still be done. One of my favorites is the Email BCC Dropbox address. How many times a day do we need to send a quick message to a candidate or answer a question but we’re not able to access the system to record the communication? With specific email addresses, you can send that message to the candidate and have it copied to the system for you to file when you do log back in. This allows you to remain productive (drafting messages while offline) and, when the messages are sent, the system is also updated for quick access.

Speaking of productivity gains, you won’t want to miss Carmen Hudson’s presentation at the upcoming Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference in February (in sunny Las Vegas!), in which she’ll share her “favorite things”–the bleeding-edge products and solutions that are driving huge productivity gains in recruiting. Hudson is among the very strong group of recruitment thought leaders who’ll be presenting at the conference. Chris Havrilla will also be there–she’ll be bringing her crystal ball to talk about the 2020 trends to watch out for around recruiting technology.

As I said, great though the internet is, it’s important to have the ability to get our work done when it’s not available–and when it comes to exchanging ideas and learning about trends, offline and face to face at a conference packed with learning opportunities is best of all.

Elaine Orler
Elaine Orler is founder and CEO of Talent Function and program chair of the Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference.