Try tweeting if you’re looking for the right person for the job

NOTE: This column first appeared in the May 13 issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

You already know how the Internet has changed the way you hire new employees. You already know how LinkedIn has changed the way you find qualified people for your business.
But Tom Gimbel says don’t neglect Twitter if you’re looking to fill or find a job.
Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing and hiring agency with offices in Arlington Heights, Oak Brook and Gurnee, says Twitter is a valuable tool for both the employer and the jobseeker.
For the jobseeker, it’s a cheap, easy way to research a company, simply by following both the company’s Twitter feed and the feeds of its employees.
“What you have is access to information about a company that’s free, that’s put out by the company and employees of the company, about the company,” he said. “You get an idea of what the company and the people who are working there say about it.
“If you’re not using that for your jobs search, you’re just not using all the tools at your disposal,” he added.
For the employer, Gimbel said Twitter is an excellent avenue to not only get a job opening out to potential talent, but also to check if a potential employee is a good fit for the company. The key for a business using Twitter, he stresses, is to build a sizable following to your Twitter feed.
As you build your network credibility, you are more likely to have your job openings retweeted by followers, getting the word out quickly to an audience that is interested in your company, Gimbel said.
“The more followers you get, the more (tweets) are passed along,” he added. “And it’s so easy to retweet posts that you can get something going pseudo-virally fairly quickly.
“If you use it appropriately and you have people following you, that job will reach people who may or may not be looking for a job and may not have seen it on a normal job search mode.”
Once you’ve found a candidate, you can also search his or her Twitter feed to see if they would fit your company’s profile, Gimbel notes.
“If somebody’s tweets are so off-kilter, they might not represent your company image. It’s similar as what was going on two or three years ago with Facebook,” he added. “If somebody’s tweets aren’t in line with what you want your company to be, that can rule somebody out as well.”
Gimbel offered some other tips in finding candidates and hiring employees using Twitter:
Be consistent: Whether it’s your personal or company account, make sure you designate one Twitter handle as the sole source of posting jobs.
Be direct: You only have 140 characters to get your message across so make every character count. Tweets should be direct.
Use a hashtag: By adding a hashtag, you are categorizing your tweet so that it’s searchable, which will make it stand out among the rest. Consider #job, #jobpost, #employment, #recruiting, #hiring, #career, #staffing, #salesjob.
Know who to follow: You have to be strategic in who you follow so that other followers can be redirected to you. For example, consider following hiring managers/recruiters who can be a direct source to be job candidates.
Gimbel stresses that Twitter is a reciprocal network, meaning you should be following people who follow you. He suggests making sure you follow people who you find interesting professionally or are in line with your business, and making sure your content is of interest to them so they will follow you back.
“You need to view Twitter posts and your tweets as brand management,” he said.

Your business isn’t too small or too local for hackers

NOTE: This first appeared in the March 18 issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger

As a small or medium-sized company doing business regionally, you probably think you’re too small to have your conference system hacked by international criminals.
Or, while you’re running your weekly sales strategy conference call with your sales team, you’re probably not thinking someone outside the company could be listening to your group discuss sensitive or confidential material.
But Robert Bellmar says it’s that approach that makes small and medium-sized businesses vulnerable to hackers and corporate spies. Bellmar, senior vice president of Chicago-based conferencing services provider InterCall, notes telecom fraud is a global problem that is feeding international organized crime.
“It’s an everyday occurrence,” Bellmar said. “The conference call is the perfect place for (criminals) to continue to fraud and make money.”
Telecom fraud has become a huge problem. Losses to global businesses are around $40 billion, according to the Roseland, N.J.-based Communications Fraud Control Association, while Houston, TX, tax consultancy UNY Advisors estimates annual fraud costs in the neighborhood of $1 trillion.
As a result, telecom security has grown into a is big business, according to industry analyst Gartner Inc. Corporate spending worldwide on security in 2012 was up 8.4 percent to $60 billion, and Gartner estimates spending could reach $86 billion by 2016.
Bellmar notes there are typically two types of fraud that result from hacking conference lines. The first is called a calling card scheme, where the hacker will call a business’ conference bridge and continually enter passcodes until he finds one that works. The hacker will then sell the passcode, which is used as a calling card, only the hacked business is charged for calls.
“They make money on the transaction of the passcode,” he said.
The second type is what Bellmar calls a “classic call pumping scheme.” The criminal uses international premium rate number — similar to a 900-number in the U.S. — but that number would not be recognizable to an average business. Hackers use the business’ conference bridge to access that premium number, so charges are occurred by the business.
“It looks like a normal number, just that it gets charged at a premium rate,” he said. “So what happens is they’re making money on the number they own, but they’re generating revenue through the hacking of someone’s system.
“You can be liable for those calls, and that can rack up very fast,” Bellmar added. “It’s not that uncommon for an hour or two of usage to bring you up to $10,000 on your phone service. It can happen quite quickly.”
Bellmar said companies across the U.S. are constantly being hit by hackers, primarily from countries like Belarus and San Marino, using call centers and “war dealers” — phone systems with hundreds of dealers constantly entering sequential phone numbers.
“The scale of organized crime in this is huge. On a weekend we’ll see hundreds of simultaneous connections from fraudulent organizations trying to compromise us,” Bellmar said. “That’s call centers and war dealers shooting at our environments trying to compromise them in order to build up their base of codes they can sell.“That’s not a small organization.”
Another area of concern is corporate espionage, when a hacker breaches a conference call. Bellmar notes this issue gained notoriety in 2012 when an international conference call on corporate espionage hosted by Scotland Yard in London was hacked by the group Anonymous, who recorded the meeting and posted it on YouTube. An investigation found an officer attending the event had forwarded information to his private email, which was hacked.
“It’s a case in point that even the most security conscientious people, if they’re not making the right tool choices, are at risk,” Bellmar said.
Bellmar said business owners can take some simple steps to make their conferencing safer:
1. Use a 10-digit code that is randomly generated.
2. Don’t use a PIN number that has the last four digits of your phone number.
3. Never post conferencing details on the Internet.
4. Lock your conference once you start so no one else can join, and use your roll call function so unknown people can’t join.
5. Use visual tools to manage a call. “There are a number of apps out there that can take control of call,” Bellmar said. “You can take the call and see (on your smartphone) who is on bridge. They’re out there and they are the best way to manage your call.
Bellmar stresses that small or regional businesses are just as vulnerable as global corporations, and even more so if business owners take an approach that they could never be targets.
“For the average organization, it’s a very small problem until you’re compromised,” he said.
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