‘Tis the season for gratitude posts, and I’m grateful for all of the incredibly supportive and generous members within the online HR community. One of those folks is Adam Karpiak, who has made a name for himself for his honest (and hilarious) perspectives on the recruiting industry.
While you may often see him joking around on LinkedIn, Adam is an example of someone who is also using the platform for the power of good. Recently I had the chance to catch up with Adam on his most popular initiative, the 3rd Annual LinkedIn Holiday Toy Drive:
Q: First of all, tell us about your background
A: I’ve been in recruiting for (gasp!) more than 16 years now. I was a political science major who didn’t want to go to law school or have anything to do with politics, really. But I did like talking and I liked research (still do).
For the first year out of school I did financial advising/sales, and for some reason or another I had the word “recruit” on my resume (…see maybe it *does* pay to lie on resumes). Anyway, I had my resume posted on HotJobs(!) and someone found it and invited me in for an interview. I had no idea what recruiting was but once I found out that there was a base/draw involved I wanted it. Been recruiting ever since, and always trying to leverage social media to help.
Q. What inspired you to start the holiday toy drive?
A. Basically, I had no idea what to do with my network as my connections and follower count kept rising. So many people were using their networks as clients (i.e. milking them for financial gain), but I recruit for public accounting and most of my network is definitely not public accounting; I just kinda wanted to figure out how to leverage the voice I had on LinkedIn for the power of good.
Being a recruiter I come across a ton of people out of work and looking for help, and being a parent, I know how important the holidays are for the kiddos. Growing up with parents who were sometimes out of work, I know how a struggling holiday can be sad. I figured maybe I could coordinate something to help out people that needed it.
Q. Who benefits from the drive?
A. So the idea is, in the US (since that is where my network is based and focused), there are a ton of unemployed and underemployed parents that are struggling to make ends meet. My goal is always to make sure their kids have something to open on the holidays. Not just toys, but clothes, baby supplies, school supplies—whatever kids need this holiday season. In 2018 we were able to impact nearly 50 families with an overall total of 120+ children.
Q. How does the drive work?
A. I’m sure there are more efficient ways to do this but basically, anyone that needs help this holiday season providing for their kids sends me an email:
The email address is LinkedInHolidayToyDrive@Gmail.com and include the following:
- LinkedIn Profile URL
- Ages & Sex of Children
This is the important part: Make an Amazon Wish List and share the wish list URL
- Here are instructions on how to create an Amazon Wish List
- Here are instructions on how to share the Amazon Wish List URL
Once submitted, wish lists will be made available to donors to purchase items.
Q. How can we help?
A. It’s easy! If you are interested in participating, send an email to GiveToAdamsToyDrive@Gmail.com and you will receive instructions. You will have access to a Google spreadsheet with all of the participants’ wish lists—and don’t worry, when you select/order from the wish lists, the wish lists are updated in real-time so no one will receive 200,000 coloring books.
Q. How do you hope to see this initiative grow long-term?
A: I’m really not sure, I just focus on reaching as many kids as possible as my network grows. Corporate sponsors would be helpful, whether it be matching donations or purchasing gift cards for participants, but I’m just letting it grow organically and see what happens.
Q. Anything Else?
A: It’s really grown over the last two years and I’m actually really excited that people have been asking me since October if I’ll be doing it again this year. The fact that people remember it is kinda cool and I think it shows how helpful people can be in this humble-brag atmosphere of social media 🙂