The Unofficial (and totally non-scientific) History of HR Blogging

I’ve been gearing up for the 10 year anniversary celebration of the Carnival of HR and, as we all know, I enjoy nothing more than a good party! The Carnival was started in 2007 by Suzanne Lucas (@RealEvilHRLady) who passed the reins over to Alison Green (@AskAManager) in 2008 before everything was handed off to Shauna Moerke-Griffis (@HR_Minion) in 2009; in January 2016 Shauna passed on the stewardship to me…and that means I get to plan the festivities!

So over the weekend I tossed a query out on Facebook to assist me in building the timeline of HR blogging. Who was first? Who wrote what…and where? Has Laurie always been blogging or does it just seem like that? Was there chocolate involved? Who brought the wine? And/or the G&Ts for our friends in the UK?

There was lots of reminiscing about which HR bloggers were the entre-drugs (my phrase) into HR blog reading; Kris Dunn, Laurie Ruettimann, Neil Morrison, Lance Haun, Ann Bares (and the crew at Compensation Cafe), ERE and Recruiting Blogs made many a list.  And, since this is my space, let me add some of my early blogging faves:  Trish McFarlane, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Steve Boese, Ben Eubanks, Bill Boorman, Sharlyn Lauby, Paul Hebert and Mike VanDervort.

Just the tip of the iceberg.

The Original Gangstas


Most everyone agrees that the Godfather of HR blogging was (and remains) John Sumser. John started Interbiznet in 1993, that, according to Inc. was … “a self-proclaimed Web hub for on-line recruiting… an easy-to-navigate site that, in addition to rating the top job-listing sites, also provides regular newsletters about recruiting on-line.” John, of course, remains at the forefront with HRExaminer (plus all the other things he does).



Early 1990’s – Bill Vick starts doing recorded telephone interviews

1994 – a few words from Gerry Crispin: “the first person I ever encountered ‘writing’ on the web about HR was John Sullivan who was driving academics crazy. He was using Cornell’s HR Listservs (which by the way were all managed by a grad/new professor name of Boudreau). John totally pissed off the academics who dominated in those days – which is how I tracked John down.”

1996 (May) – SHRM registers

1996 – CollegeRecruiter is registered by Steven Rothberg

1996 – Gerry Crispin (and Career XRoads) starts an email newsletter

1997 – Debbie McGrath registers; the deal included a case of Canadian Beer

1998 – David Manaster starts ERE (which, of course, was called “Electronic Recruiting Exchange”)

1998 – Kevin Wheeler writes his first blog post for ERE (and then began his regular column)

1998 – Barb Ling writes the book “The Internet Recruiting Edge” which leads to this August 1, 1998 article in Inc. entitled“What’s Hot: On-Line Recruiting” featuring this classic line: “…there are anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million World Wide Web sites that list job openings. That’s pretty daunting.”

1999 – a newsletter of sourcing tips is distributed called “The Sourceror’s Apprentice” (as remembered by Jim Stroud) (extra points if anyone remembers the author?)

The Young Turks

Young Turk (n), 1. Young progressive or insurgent member of an institution, movement, or political party. 2. Young person who rebels against authority or societal expectations

2000 – Louise Triance launches UK Recruiter on October 18th – the newsletter has been sent fortnightly ever since! #Props

2001 – Bonni Lile Titgemeyer starts the Employment Opportunities List

2002 – Jim Stroud begins blogging

2002/03 – Heather Hamilton launches a company blog with Microsoft

2004 – launch of RecruitingBlogs by Jason Davis; later there’s a launch of for content sharing

2004 – Animal and Anthony Meaney begins Canadian Headhunter in 2004. Animal, of course, was all over radio even then!

2004 – Laurie Ruettimann starts blogging “anonymously” (and went public in August 2007)

2004 – Joel Cheesman / Cheezhead (which runs until 2009)

2004 – Steve Levy writes the first post at Recruiting Inferno (November 16th) – The Case for Character

2005 – Paul DeBettignes begins blogging

2005 – Travis Sinquefield launches his blog “Disorganized Behavior”

2005 – (circa) – Steve Toft (@FlipChartRick) begins blogging

2006 – Peter Gold launches HireStrategies

2006 – Paul Hebert writes his first post as “Incentive intelligence”

2006 – Michael Haberman launches HR Observations

2006 – Peggy McKee – gives us Medical Sales Recruiter blog

The Golden Age (2007 – 20013/ish)

A golden age is a period in a field of endeavor when great tasks were accomplished. The term originated from early Greek and Roman poets, who used it to refer to a time when mankind lived in a better time and was pure. (wikipedia)

Here’s where things picked up and there are, literally, too many to name them all. I, in a very unscientific manner, am choosing 2007 – 2013 as the Golden Age. Why? I guess because I saw people starting blogs for their love of writing or eagerness to have a conversation with the world. Beginning in 2013 (ish) <unscientific…remember??> it appeared it was more about content-machines designed to drive eyeballs to company websites, and, the individuals who did want to start a blog on their own began to do so to “build a brand.” (I am not even kidding when I tell you that here in the year 2017 I have recently had one HR practitioner say to me “I think I need to start a blog to establish my brand.” FFS).

2007 – Jon Ingham – launches Strategic HCM (July)

2007 – Jessica Miller-Merrell launches Blogging4Jobs in September (recently relaunched as Workology)

2007 – Mike Vandervort gives us the HumanRaceHorses blog (he published 1.530 posts before ending new content on the site in 2014)

2008 – Steve Boese kicks off the HR Technology blog


And hundreds of new HR blogs hit the interwebs. Hundreds. (The HRSchoolhouse was launched in 2010; I, myself, was not immune).

This was also the time of #HRHappyHour and #DrivethruHR.

Fistful of Talent was running strong and we saw the surge of other multi-contributor blogs like Performance I Create, Recruiting Daily <everything old is new again from the Recruiting Blogs family>, and TLNT and the other sites under the ERE family.


Whew.  Quite a trip down memory lane!  I didn’t name-check loads of people; I know. Who do we need to add? Hit me up in the comments and let’s expand the list.

And don’t forget to watch for the SPECIAL 10 year anniversary edition  (February 21st) of the Carnival of HR when we celebrate all things HR blogging!


All Recruiting is Local: Triage

sisyphus punishmentThis has been quite the summer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Alton Sterling (July 5th). The ambush/shooting that resulted in the death of three law enforcement officers (July 17th). The flood of epic/biblical/Zeus tossing lighting bolts/’Tony Perkins didn’t understand God” proportion (August 12th /13th /14th).

We were reeling, as a community, after the first two events; it’s the kind of news coverage no city wants. We’re used to national or international news being made due to (1) LSU football (2) the foolishness of our government/former governor or (3) because somebody is singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at some karaoke bar while drunkenly lamenting (in kinship with Janis Joplin) about being ‘busted flat in Baton Rouge.’ (admit it; you just sang along to that….didn’t you?)

Then came the flood.

But let’s rewind.

How do we spin this mofo?

After the Alton Sterling shooting (and weeks of protest marches) and the grief that settled on the region after the killing of the 3 officers, people were unsettled. Obviously.

How could this be happening to good old Baton Rouge? We’re a charming city halfway between New Orleans and Lafayette! Oh sure, we may have the worst traffic along the entire stretch of I-10 but we’re the city that Garth Brooks sings about for God’s sake. We have unbelievable food, great music, friendly people, and what many consider the epitome of college football tailgating traditions. Are we a bit behind the times with a soupcon of (hidden) southern racism? Well, yeah. But, by God, we’re also bustling and growing and working super hard to change.

But then … pow. Ouch. A punch to the collective solar plexus. Awful and heart wrenching and devastating.

But, because our Baton Rouge Area Chamber (of Commerce) has a really super cool Talent Development group (seriously; the two awesome women that have led this since its inception are so incredibly stellar), they convened a meeting of local HR/Recruiting/Talent leaders on August 3rd so we could chat about positioning Baton Rouge as an employment destination after these two events. We discussed how, as employers, we’re promoting opportunities to in-demand talent and discussing relocation with people who, let’s face it, never considered BR as a career destination in the first place. We dove into WTF is IBM going to do? What about our local mega-hospitals? How do we convince Justin and/or Jasmine to choose Baton Rouge over Austin or Dallas or Atlanta or Seattle? This was, obviously, a challenging task before July; by August 3rd this was starting to seem like a chore of Sysiphean proportion.

Then the rain fell.

Digging Out

Two weeks after this meeting we had 31 inches of rain in 2 days. Mud and sludge and water, water, water. Mold and more mold and mold upon mold. We now live amongst sheetrock and gutted homes. Our residents talk about lost cars and lost homes and, sadly, lost lives. We had entire cities decimated in a matter of hours.

How do you dig out from crap like that?

The People

A woman I work with arrived at the office yesterday for the first time since the flood. She gave me her iPhone and we swiped through hundreds of pictures of her house. Saved for her own memories, of course, but also saved as the necessary documentation for FEMA and the SBA and the insurance adjustors and the company’s employee assistance fund/foundation and for God and baby Jesus and anyone else who could help.

We looked at pictures of her life; everything piled on the curb in Denham Springs, LA. We giggled at the photo of her son-in-law, sweating profusely after ripping down water-soaked walls in 95 degree heat/humidity. In one photo he sprawled in a lawn chair, beer in hand, shouting exuberantly to a room with concrete floors; nothing (save him and his outstretched arms), blocking the view from the front door to the far back of the house.

She wept, just once, as she told me about her mother’s belongings that are now lost forever; tangible mementos from her childhood and her mother’s life that now sit in a 10 foot high pile of garbage waiting for the Waste Management truck to scoop up on its next pass through the neighborhood.

She dealt with all this in just two weeks. She’s back on the job.

But not everyone is.

Hiring (not just recruiting) is local

Those problems we discussed on August 3rd (one month ago today) seem almost solvable now in light of recent developments. Not to sweep those July events under the rug of course; crime and institutional racism are not trivial by any matter. That hen has yet to come home to roost.

But how, locally, do we recruit in a market where people are in need of putting their lives back together before they even consider looking for a new job? How do we entice folks to move here when there is no housing stock on the market, apartments are booked across a 20 parish region, and people are on waiting lists of 600+ just to get a rental car? (note: guy at work told me yesterday he could get a rental car if he was willing to drive to Oklahoma and then, once he was done with it, drive it back to Oklahoma).

The economic recovery in south Louisiana is projected to take a year. Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, who coordinated military response in New Orleans after Katrina, says he expects it will be 8 – 10 years. (Have always loved me some General Honoré; that man needs to run for POTUS).

We have thousands of residents displaced, thousands of Louisianians homeless, and thousands more destined to feel the full force of emotions hit them in a few days, weeks or months. How do we triage that?

Would you move to Baton Rouge for a career opportunity?

There’s the ultimate talent question.

Source me some of that.



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The Week in HR: Baton Rouge Edition

bootsSo what’s happening? What have y’all been talking about in HR & Recruiting over the past week? I’m sure I missed a blog post or two about “When Candidates Act Like Ryan Lochte.” There were, no doubt, numerous posts I didn’t read about the Randstad/Monster deal. I bet there was countless content churned out about employer branding, employee engagement, personal branding, and analytics that never made it to my radar screen. Oh…and for the serious side of HR I’m sure there was loads of stuff about the looming FLSA deadline and chatter about ACA and open enrollment season that I’ll just have to catch up on some other time.

You’ll have to forgive me and the other HR professionals, talent leaders and recruiters of the greater Baton Rouge area; we’ve been just a bit pre-occupied for the last 11 days.

We’ve not had much time for talk because we’ve been caught up doing HR – in all its difficult, messy, imperfect, unloved, “make fun of it all you want” glory.

My peers (and I know this because many of us have been messaging and calling each other throughout the week) have been:

  • Making decisions with executive teams and owners about when to close/re-open
  • Reaching out to tens of thousands of missing or displaced employees
  • Determining how to provide pay and immediate access to funds for employees
  • Connecting employees and their family members to EAPs, insurance carriers, FEMA and Disaster food stamp programs
  • Setting up disaster relief funds
  • Mobilizing 401(k) providers for an influx of hardship distribution requests
  • Organizing food, clothing and cleaning supply distributions
  • Arranging temporary housing for employees
  • Buying gas, clothes, toiletries and food for employees
  • Coordinating carpools and transportation shuttles for employees who lost their vehicles
  • Volunteering at shelters, meal distribution centers, and animal rescue sites
  • Gutting and cleaning houses – for self, friends, family, neighbors and complete strangers
  • Crying
  • Holding hands
  • Hugging

Do we have issues? You bet. But I’ve never been prouder to live in Louisiana. I see the strength and resilience of the human spirit as everyone, from all walks of life, is playing a part in recovery. Together and united.

We got this.

#unBRoken #LouisianaStrong


The #tru Community – Louisiana Style

truNewOrleanssquare300x300I’m looking forward to a fun day! It’s #truNOLA time and we’ll be learning, sharing, collaborating and furthering relationships within our HR and Recruiting community.

I love everything about these events.

This is the third #tru I’ve hosted in Louisiana; we held #truNOLA in 2012, #truBatonRouge last year, and now we’re set for the 2016 iteration.

So what do we have in store? We’ve got tracks about Branding the Entire Employee Lifecycle and Applying the Candidate Experience to an Individual Applicant. We’ll be talking about the Recruiting of Veterans and How to Recruit Industrial Labor (from an ever-narrowing pool of interested candidates).

Oh – and we’re gonna dive into a debate about In-House vs. 3rd Party Recruiters as we ask the question “Can’t We All Get Along?”

A BUNCH of good stuff – check it out here.

Huge thanks to our sponsors (without whom this would NOT be happening!) – HROnboard and Clinch. Seriously – go check them out if you haven’t already.

You can follow along today using the hashtag #truNOLA. Oh, and here’s a fun story….there’s a New Orleans rapper on twitter named @JSLUGG500 who uses the same hashtag; I’m sure he can’t quite figure out what-in-the-hell is going on…..


An Idea Worth Sharing: HR Style

coke-mean-joeThe other day, while sitting in a track at #rcnvstexas thinking deep thoughts about the future of work and HR and whatnot, I received a text message from a friend. It was a simple one. It was also one of the Top 10 most boring phrases every human resources professional must employ in her career: “I have to write a safety management plan.”

Now that’s some #sexyHR.

And, the wheels of commerce being in constant motion, this meant she needed to (a) write this plan in a week and (b) roll it out – presumably with the accompanying training for employees, managers and company leaders.

Yup. #SuperSexyHR

My friend followed up her original text message with another SMS: “do you by any chance have a plan I can use as a template?”

Luckily, since I save e-v-e-r-y- t-h-i-n-g, I was able to say “I sure do; give me a few and I’ll email it to you.”

Which I did.

Social. Sharing. Somewhat detailed. Not necessarily cutting edge content of course; pretty pedestrian when all was said and done. Kind of dull and, let’s face it, probably google-able. The kind of stuff that bores some people to tears. “OMG…I would stab a fork in my eye if I had to do that kind of crap.” Real day-to-day trench HR. Mind-numbing to some; comforting to others.

Necessary to many.

That 5 minute interaction between colleagues, in its ultimate simplicity, defines the foundation of open source HR. #HROS is, as defined by Lars Schmidt and Ambrosia Vertesis, “a movement designed to encourage employers to open up their HR playbook, share their best practices, inspire and learn from their peers in talent acquisition and management.”

The vision of #HROS is to transform the field of HR to become more strategic and innovative with values of:

  • Sharing is caring (openness)
  • Have an impact (action)
  • The community is greater than the individual (humility)
  • Learn through collaboration (inspire)

Do the HR gals and guys at your local SHRM chapter meeting yearn to be more strategic? More innovative? Are they consumed by desire to set the world on fire? Well…not all of them. But some of them.

I do believe, I really do, that more and more and more HR practitioners are restless. They want to bust out and try something different. They crave new information. They want to be inspired.

We who work in HR, especially in fly-over country (aka not Santa Clara. Not NYC. Not London) may feel as if we’re the only ones slogging about with spreadsheets and word documents. Streaming is banned. There’s no wifi at the office. “For the love of G-*-D I have worse technology at work than I do at home!!” has been the keening lament of many an HR lady.

We sometimes feel like the only ones in an analog world while everyone else is living digital.

But you’re not alone, my fellow HR practitioner. You’re never alone when you have access to people. When you have access to ideas.

Is a safety management plan inspiring? Innovative? Transformative? Maybe not. But it’s shareable.

And sharing…IS caring.


Check out HR Open Source (#HROS). I’m truly honored to be serving on the volunteer team with a bunch of inspiring friends, colleagues, and overall amazing people.


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