Category Archives: recruiter

Fix your Career by the New Year

Halloween is over and the rush to the end of the year has begun.  Things are going to get busy….really soon.  If you have career goals that are still hanging out there, this is the time to sit down and make a plan to move forward.

Whether you are looking for a promotion, transfer or something new altogether, now is the time to take action.

But where to start?

Make time – carve out 20 minutes every day to work on your objective – either block it in your calendar or make it the same time every day.

Make a list – who do you need to meet and how can you connect with them.  Email, voice mail, and LinkedIn are all options – decide what is most likely to get a response.

Reach out – start connecting with your targets and following up

Expand your network – send LinkedIn invitations to colleagues, neighbours and the guy you met at that thing last week.

Promote yourself – find articles that are relevant to what you do and post them on LinkedIn.  Your connections will see your content and be reminded of your expertise.

Send thank you notes – everyone appreciates being recognized and the good will that is generated will translate into all kinds of neat things.

Take calls from Headhunters – these calls can provide good market intel on your skills and what they are worth – don’t ignore us.

Apply to job postings – notice this is way down the list?  The best opportunities come from connections and good connections come from doing the work in the first place.  Don’t just rely on the application process.  It will rarely show you any love.

 

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Filed under career change, Job Search, linkedin, Networking, recruiter, Resume

Mastering the Skype Interview

This week has been interesting. I met a lot of people – about half in person and the other half virtually.

I like the skype interview. I don’t feel guilty about making people come all the way to my office (and mortgage their car to pay for downtown parking). It’s also easier to fit in to busy people’s schedules.

Here is what I noticed. The people who met me in person had obviously taken care with their appearance and their timing. There was a general sense of preparedness about them when I met them in our reception area.

The skype chats were different. It seemed to be a much more casual thing. Not too much care with the surroundings and not to concerned about attire.

Now, I know that different industries have different “uniforms”. If you meeting someone from a financial institution, you need to look well dressed and successful. Cuff links and monogrammed cuffs are optional but the suit is mandatory.

But even if you are interviewing in a software company with Red Bull on tap, you are probably going to put on a clean t shirt.

Don’t let a video interview be your downfall. It is just as important as an in-person one.

  • Be ready – test your wifi connection with a friend before the call
  • Look neat – you can take the TV news anchor approach – shirt and tie on top, shorts on the bottom
  • Have your resume and place to make notes beside you
  • Turn off your phone – you know it’s going with that obnoxious ring tone you assigned to your brother-in-law in the middle of the thorny salary question
  • Remove distractions – let everyone (including your dog) know that you are in an important meeting

These things won’t necessarily get you the job but they will help you make a better impression.

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Job Postings and Romance

I have been reading a lot of romance novels.  Don’t hate me.  They are really are lovely.  They are not too long and they always resolve in such a nice, neat package – very appealing.

The problem is that I have now started to day dream about a rich, handsome guy showing up at work or on the train to sweep me off my feet.  Not just any rich, handsome guy. No, this guy has chiseled abs, just the right amount of stubble and a home in Sardinia.

I can wish all I want, but I have already been swept off my feet.  He has the stubble, but alas, no home in a sunny, warm locale.

And wishing is not going to change that.

I tried to explain that to a few candidates this week.  Not the part about getting a new husband, but the part about wishing for a new role that’s a departure from where you are today.

It’s not that a major career move is not possible.  It is just that you need to be rational.

I had someone try to convince me that they would be ideally suited to sell medical devices because their neighbour was a doctor and they had spent a lot of time together building a fence.   He honestly thought that having a beer with a doctor imparted enough knowledge to make him a legitimate candidate for the role.  Come on!

It is fine to daydream about a job when you read a posting on monster, but give your head a shake.  Read the list of requirements.  Can you honestly say yes to at least half of them?  It does not matter whether you agree with them nor does it matter that you think you have a better list of requirements.  The employer has put them there for a reason.  Respect it.

If the posting says “living, breathing human”, then by all means, go ahead and apply but if it says “have a degree in mechanical engineering”, then going on a date with an engineer is not going to cut it.

But if you see a place in Sardinia, could you let me know?

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To Refer or Not to Refer

One of the first lessons you learn as a recruiter is to ask for referrals.  If you are talking with someone and they are not interested or qualified, you should ask if there is anyone they would recommend for the role.

I always thought this made sense.  People like to be asked for their opinion and generally, people like to be helpful.  I figured it would feel pretty good to help someone discover a new job that they really like.arrow

But then I listened to a podcast where a software engineer said he felt used when he is asked for referrals.  His feeling was the the recruiter was not going to earn a fee from him/his experience and yet he was being asked to provide information that would lead to the recruiter earning a fee from someone else.  And in the end, he would get nothing.

I was struck by such strong cynicism.  It rolled round in my head for a week and I actually stopped asking people for suggestions.

Now that the dust has settled, here are my observations. He worked as a leader in an industry that is desperately short of talent.  He did not say this but I bet he gets called by recruiters every other day.  I am sure his patience runs thin with our industry.  He is also working in an American company and while I don’t have empirical proof, I bet the attitudes here about helping out are different.  Who in Canada would not buy someone a Tim Horton’s double double if they needed it?

What do you think?  Is it rude and presumptuous to ask someone for referrals if a job is not right for them?

 

 

 

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Interview Like You Mean It

As a manager, interviewing is one of the most important things you do. You can’t build a great team that will reach great objectives if you don’t hire great people to be on that team.
Interviewing is the first step to hiring those great people.

When you interview someone, you are trying to figure out if they are the right person to help solve a problem.

Do they have the right skills and attitudes to be the fixer you need?

You establish this through questions and conversation and most importantly, concentration. We expect candidates to be highly engaged in the interview process. It is reasonable, therefore, that the hiring manager should be present in body and mind as well.

Before you step into an interview, take a few minutes to put aside the million things that you are working on. Think about the role (and problem) this person might be able to fix. Take another look at their resume.  

Put down your phone, square your shoulders and head in to shake hands and say hello.

Try to start with an open ended question as an ice breaker. “Tell me about yourself” is a bit tricky. It can lead to a really long answer if the person is nervous. It also could sound like you are covering up the fact that you did not take time to look at the person’s resume.

  • How did you get started in this industy?
  • Why are you interested in our company?
  • What have you heard about our technology?

These are all open ended but with relatively controlled answers that will give you some insight into the the person right from the get-go.

Pay attention. Call out something interesting. Ask follow up questions. This is your chance to figure out how they think and how they might fit with you and your team.  

If you are, at this point, rolling your eyes because interviewing is a drag and you never meet interesting candidates, then get with your recruiting folks and get that fixed. 

The world is full of interesting people. Find them, talk to them and hire them.

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Recruiting to Broaden the Applicant Pool

One of the best ways to change up your work groups and increase the diversity of your company is to use external recruiters and I am not just saying that because I am an external recruiter.
When you work with someone outside your company, you are focused on describing what the new person is going to do and where they fit into the greater scheme of things.
Your talk about the activities and leadership style, their technical knowledge and priorities.

The external recruiter does not know that people in your organization all went to Stanford and all play broom ball.

So they hit the candidate marketplace and start talking about your company and the great things that are happening and within a few weeks, you have a new group of candidates who would not have applied to your posting or been a part of your employees’ networks.

There is gong to be some fresh new thinking in that group. It can be a pretty interesting experience to interview someone who understands the role but is from a different environment.

They have credibility but none of the baggage. This can be a tremendous help with innovation based roles or where a group has become a bit stagnant.

The key is to keep an open mind when you are interviewing. Review your questions before hand. Be sure to remove things that contain company specific acronyms or personalities.  

When you find the gem and hire them, Make sure you have a very inclusive on-boarding process. Hiring managers and peers alike sometimes need to be reminded that even though someone can’t play broom ball, they still contribute some great ideas.  

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Take a minute. Take my call.

This week I have spent most of my time talking with candidates who are not looking for new jobs. They have jobs and they like them.

But something compelled them to make some time to hear about the role I am helping my client to fill.

Maybe they found the message compelling. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they were just plain curious. It doesn’t matter why. What matters is that they took a few minutes to explore an opportunity.

It’s all well and good to be happy with your job but how do you know its the best place for you? You only know that by comparing it to other roles in other places.

When recruiters call, its a great chance for you to kick the tires on something new with no obligation. You can assess the role, gauge the compensation package and get a better understanding of the market for your skills.

What if you have a rare, in demand skill set and it feels like you get calls all the time? Then be judicious about which recruiters you engage with but be conscious of the fact that sometimes companies go straight to recruiters. Some roles never get posted on corporate job sites.

I worked with a highly recognizable name brand company in the food and beverage sector and they used our firm for all their marketing positions. They found that when they posted these jobs on their own, they were inundated with hundreds and hundreds of applicants. Sifting through them was just too much.

Recruiters add value in two ways. By posting roles on behalf of clients and by digging into the market to find candidates who might be interested and qualified.

When we reach out to you, it is because we think you have good skills and experience. Only a conversation reveals the rest of the story. So talk to us. You have nothing to lose and solid market intel to gain.

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