Technological Black Hole of Job hunting

pt_1277_12015_oPeople can’t be reduced to  numbers, key words, or expendable equations on a spreadsheet, and they shouldn’t be treated that way by employers.  Technology is pushing forward at ever increasing speeds.  However professionalism often dictates that the hiring process can’t be a purely push button operation.  Social Media can make things so impersonal that talking to a person seems like a luxury.  Some trends that are frustrating in today’s world are:

1) Phishing Season is Clearly Open!  I genuinely appreciate when potential clients and job seekers reach out to me but I always ask why they picked me. Often times they can’t give me a reason because they emailed so many other recruiters they don’t know which one is calling or emailing them back. This shotgun method makes me question whether I should work with the person, as well as how many other recruiters they’ve contacted beside myself. I know it’s the same when recruiters reach out to so many potential candidates in an impersonal email as well.  So many unsolicited emails are clogging inboxes that it’s hard to keep up with them or discern the legitimate ones from the questionable ones.

2)  Casting Too Wide a Net.   Companies often put their jobs all over the internet. This strategy would seem like a logical course of action to many, however unless you want to be buried in resumes it’s often not the way to go. It’s just as easy to push a button and reply as it is to post that job, so companies will get many resumes that are overqualified, underqualified, or just not a fit at all.  As I mentioned in my first point this method often leads to candidates never hearing back on jobs they applied for in good faith.  The numbers of resumes received for one opening can be in the hundreds or even thousands.  You have to wonder what companies have the time to sift through that many applicants and give them the time they deserve.

3)  Please email your resume into the Black Hole.  I know that one of the top complaints from job seekers is they have no idea what happened to their resume when they emailed it and they never hear back on their status.  It’s always disappointing when people are left in Limbo after they apply for a job.  Companies need to be aware that the way they treat applicants can affect their brand in positive and negative ways depending on their action or inaction.

Communication is so important in the Hiring Process, that it’s tough to see breakdowns that make it more frustrating for everyone.  It is called HUMAN Resources after all.  Sometimes a phone call is just better than an email and sometimes scheduling an in person meeting is best of all!

Mindset for finding that Job in 2014

job-seeker-button (1)The New Year is a time for resolutions, and it is a time for looking ahead in your life and your career.  I look forward to posting more often in 2014 on the recruitment and hiring process than I did in 2013.

Although there are many blog posts on the subject of interviewing and hiring, there are always new people that attempt to address age-old questions.  With over 20 years of recruiting experience I have witnessed a lot of fads come and go.  One trend I see as I read other blogs about careers and interviewing is boiling down the interview and hiring process to make it seem almost simple.  I have noticed more and more people writing about the “One question that will get you that job” or “One question you have to ask the hiring authority to find out if they’ll be a good boss or not”.  During my time as a Recruiter I must say that the interview process is much more complex and I find it hard to believe it could be broken down to one or two questions.  Sometimes there are not easy answers and you have to dig, struggle and even face rejection before you successfully get that coveted job offer.  Walking in to an interview with one question that you can use to figure out if a position is right for you can be a recipe for disaster.  As the saying goes…Nothing worthwhile comes easy.

These days when so much information is at your fingertips, being prepared through research on the company and even the Hiring Authority is often very key knowledge to have before stepping into the interview.  This is where a skilled and experienced Recruiter can be very helpful.  A recruiter’s knowledge of the person doing the hiring is invaluable when you go through any interview prep. As I talk to very talented people that are interested in making a career move, they tell me they enjoy the ability to brainstorm with someone about the next steps in their career progression.  Also it’s very valuable to have someone that can explain the company’s culture from an independent perspective.  I always look for an opportunity that fits the candidate as well as the company because I believe that leads to lasting partnerships. It’s so rewarding each time candidates are the missing puzzle piece for organizations where I place them.

Things to think about before working with a Recruiter

job-seeker-button (1)Although I am biased I do believe working with a recruiter can be a successful and easier way to find a new career path than doing it on your own.  That being said, recruiters are not always the best way to go depending on your personal circumstance.  I will go through some common questions and issues to look at before working with a recruiter.  The number one question you have to ask yourself before working with a recruiter is “Am I exceptional?”  What does that mean?  It means that a recruiter has to work with the top performers especially since he or she is getting paid a fee for placing you in a company.  It’s a great free service (there are some recruiters that require money from candidates they work with but I am not one of them) for the candidate but the client company is expecting someone that is a difference maker.  A company that works with a recruiter wants someone that can hit the ground running with little to no training.  To use a sports analogy they’re looking for a Starter not someone that comes off the Bench.

Another challenge when working with a recruiter is placing a deadline on the search.  The job search process can take months and the old saying was it takes a month of searching for every 10K of your salary.  That translates to 12 months to find a new position if you’re making 120K.  Let me be clear – I do not subscribe to that salary based time line on any job search.  The job market is too unpredictable and volatile to try to boil it down to a simple equation.  However, I do believe that you need to expect the process to take at least 3 months and many times a good amount more depending on your circumstances.  Therefore I do think it is often tougher to work with a recruiter if you need to be somewhere else in a very short time frame, unless the recruiter has one or more jobs that fit you when you first call him or her.

Asking a recruiter to help you get an interview with a company after you’ve already tried on your own is another trend I’m seeing more and more currently.  If you’ve sent a resume in to a company and you haven’t heard back it can be very frustrating.  I can definitely empathize, but once the company has your information on file they’ve likely already made their decision that you’re not a fit for one reason or another usually based on your resume.  Also once a company has your information on file they will typically not pay a recruiter a fee for bringing you to their attention.  Therefore I always tell candidates I am actively working with to call me before sending off their resume so I can let them know if I’m already working on the Search or if I have connections at the company to help them get an interview.

Realistic expectations are key to success when working with a recruiter, but it’s also important to look for win-win scenarios.  Partnering with the right recruiter can give you a strong long-term advocate and advisor that can help make a difference in attaining your career goals.

How to make a hit in the Job Market

Michael_Jordan_BaseballWhat are companies looking for when hiring today? It’s a question that I get asked so many times I want to tell you what I’m seeing. If I had to boil it down I’d say you should be doing what the hiring company is looking for in your current position. Prospective candidates always tell me “I can do that job” and confidence is great, but it’s more important that you have done the same type of job for another company (sometimes a competitor). I often use sports examples when trying to make point about the hiring process so here goes. If Tom Brady decides he wants to be the starting pitcher on Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox this year should he be allowed to start? As an outstanding athlete maybe he believes he could be successful. Sounds a little crazy but that’s the way a lot of companies will look at a candidate with no industry specific experience that guarantees success. Now don’t get me wrong, there are numerous examples of Executives that go to new industries especially in sales and marketing roles where they continue to thrive. That being said you’re often most valuable in the industry where you have made your mark. Just ask Michael Jordan how things worked out for him when he tried baseball after dominating basketball for so many years. Also ask him what he was paid as an unproven player in Minor League Baseball as opposed to his salary in the NBA.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is the ability to show a progression in your career. Have you built a reputation and a name for yourself in your chosen Field? If you have it will be obvious when you begin to test the job market. Strong companies are almost always willing to look at a difference maker that is proven especially when they are working for a competitor. That’s why so many companies require such executives to sign non-compete agreements. I always tell people to keep an eye on the competition while making certain to not burn any bridges. When looking for a new position always remember that actions speak louder than words. So don’t tell them you can do it, show them that you have done it, and done it well.

“Thoughts of a Recruiter in this Economy”

515_WEB2As I start writing a blog that I will try to update twice a month with thoughts on recruiting, hiring and career issues I realize how important business relationships are to success in any career.  As resources like Twitter, LinkedIn, and various Job Boards increase in popularity many Hiring Managers have less and less contact with the people that are applying to work for their company.  Applicants have to wonder what type of Black Hole their resume and application have been sucked into.  Human Resource Managers are inundated with applicants to such a large degree that often there is not even an acknowledgement that they have received your resume.  I have spoken with several candidates that often say that is getting more and more dehumanizing to search for a job in today’s market.  It’s important to realize that there’s a person attached to that resume you received and they want to know where they stand in the process.  Bad news is never easy or pleasant to give to people, but leaving people in Limbo is often worse and more frustrating.

Another troubling trend that I see is companies that talk about “partnering” with vendors and “valuing” their employees still push both to the limit.  In a market where employees are already stretched very thin, more and more companies seem to be adding responsibilities while paying the same or less salary wise.  It has been quite a buyer’s market for some years now, but is making your budget on the backs of your most valuable human resource a good strategy?  Maybe in the short term, but as the saying goes – what goes around comes around.  How you treat people is also a huge factor in how likely those same people are to help you if and when you need them.  It’s also a major factor in employee retention.  Many surveys say employees are now more stressed and less satisfied with their current jobs.

For me it’s been interesting because in such a tough job market you don’t want to be firing the clients that pay you.  However, it doesn’t take too long to figure out which companies are interested in partnering with you and which companies are not.   Actions always speak louder than words.  When companies do not get back to me with timely feedback on resumes and candidate interviews, I am put in a tough position.  Companies also have to realize lack of communication during the hiring process usually has a very negative affect on the company’s perception with prospective job seekers.  I have had to counsel a few clients and explain to them that professionalism and responsiveness also affects my effectiveness on their searches.  I was pleasantly surprised by some of the responses and one client (a business owner) even apologized to me saying “How would I feel if I was looking and I couldn’t get an answer on my candidacy.”    Recruiting is a relationship business and as people move from company to company having those relationships is key to success.  Treat people the way you would want to be treated and the rest will fall into place, because you never know when you’ll be the one asking for a favor.