Have you been following the defriending trend? The notable tip of the iceberg is the Burger King campaign offering a Whopper in exchange for deleting fr... on Facebook.
In an industry known for indiscriminate and promiscuous linking (Recruiting), Jason Davis has started what might be the Social Software version of the Slow Food movement. "Having Friends", Jason's post on RecruitingBlogs.com is an introduction to introducing ourselves to each other. How you use your networks is a question of what you want and what your network wants. Jason is wrestling with the question of what the network wants. He introduced the "An Hour with...." project to underline the emphasis on intimacy.
As I waded into the deeper relationship mine field, I was handed a number of opportunities. I asked Craig Silverman to spend an hour with me and we're going to do it on the 26th. Wednesday morning, I spent an hour talking with Michael Johnson from avature. It was a great start and we're talking again next week.
My first experience with the power of this idea came from Jerry Albright who posted "Wanna be my friend? It's easy - just call me - 260-347-1715 - let's...". It's exactly the sort of thing JD was trying to promote. So I called him. We talked for an hour the first time. Into the conversation, it became apparent that he had built a product called Verbal Summary. Ultimately, I asked him to give me a demo. Jerry was so focused on delivering value to recruiters that I had to see what he was talking about. (This video will tell you a little bit more about Verbal Summary)
So, earlier this week, I got on the phone with Jerry for a demo of Verbal Summary. It's a cool tool. At $50/license/month, there are few purchases that will give you a better return on investment. The software does three things really well:
The tool gets its name from its most observable feature. With Verbal Summary, you can easily record, edit and store recordings of interviews and job descriptions. The software makes it easy to create, send, archive, forward and manage audio files. The idea is that hearing a candidate in her own voice will distinguish one resume from another. Jerry says that it is a great value-add for recruiters. The idea is sound (no pub intended).
The second feature, tracking is a fantastic way to get your customer's pulse. Are they opening the emails you send, are they looking at the resume? The dashboard summarizes customer transactions with your products. Until now, the only way to do this has been a cumbersome and very manual process using read receipts in Outlook. With Verbal Summary, you get immediate information when your customer reviews your materials.
Branding and the ownership of data are hot buttons for recruiters. By automatically adding your branding information, Verbal Summary allows you to preserve the value you create while your product travels around the customer. There is enormous comfort (and great risk reduction) associated with knowing that your materials are tagged with your information.
The great thing about Verbal Summary is its focus and simplicity. The tool does three very useful things and doesn't try to be more.
Jerry told me that he'd give RBC members a discount. I think it's a bargain at $50/month. If I were you, I'd get Jerry committed for a long term contract. The service is worth more than he's charging for it and the price is bound to go up.
As I said at the outset, "it's not the shovel, it's the garden." That means that the tool is not as important as what users do with it. Both Verbal Summary and An Hour with.... are great examples of using technology to improve the lives of users.