Did you hear the one about the recruiter who crossed the road?
He wanted to recruit the chicken.
Because he knew the chicken would accept a poultry salary.
This morning I spent some time searching the web for recruiter jokes. This is the best one I could find.
Don’t get me wrong. There were lots of jokes but they were all cynical, rude and mean.
Now, it’s possible that the moon is in the wrong place and I am being too thin-skinned but I don’t think most recruiters are money loving salespeople who would lie to their mother to close a deal.
Real recruiters are advocates for their clients and for their candidates. They know how to listen to the back story. They know how to do research and how to use what they learn to make strong matches.
We take pride in getting thank you cards from candidates who have just gotten promoted. We are happier still when candidates call to ask us to help find people for their own team.
Sure, we have bills to pay and there is a certain pride and confidence that comes from making more money than before but not at the expense of people’s lives.
Real recruiters are happy to cross the road to talk to the chicken but only if the client can afford chicken. If not, we’ll head out to the barn to find a goat.
No one likes to talk about salary. It has this mystical kind of voodoo quality. No one wants to give the wrong answer. It can become a game of who goes first and the real objective can get lost.
It is really not that complicated. Money is just one of the things that have to align for you to be considered a “fit”. If you are already making $100,000 more than the position pays, then the fit is not there. If you are way below the salary range, that does not fit either.
But this is not entirely about the money. It’s also about the risk and the culture.
Say you absolutely love a role so much that you would take a serious pay cut to have it on your resume. Sometimes this can work (and might be necessary) when you are taking a sharp turn on your career path. If you are a corporate lawyer and you want to leave that world to do more human focused work with a better life balance then this would be credible and might be considered.
But here’s the risk: six months in, when the honeymoon is over and you have are driving home after a bad day, you are really going to feel that haircut and suddenly, your job will not seem as great as it did before. You will start to question your decision and that could have a negative impact on your work and life.
Here’s the other thing to consider: not all managers can handle knowing that one of their team members made a lot more money in their last role. It can create all kinds of negative vibes and really mess up a team.
So when money is the topic, be candid and clear about what you are used to and what you are looking for. Don’t try to get away with “Oh, it doesn’t matter” or “We can discuss it at an alternate time”. There is nothing worse than falling in love with an opportunity only to have the whole thing fall apart at the end because the salary is not appropriate for you.
So spill the beans. It is the only way they can be counted.
It’s pretty common practice to send a note after an interview. You want to show respect for the time that the hiring manager invested as well as demonstrate that you are professional and thoughtful.
But what happens when you are moving through the interview process and other people are involved?
Perhaps an internal talent acquisition person set up the meeting with the hiring manager. Perhaps you are working with a head hunter who coordinated everything.
Thanking them is important but what’s really important is to get back to that person after the interview to let them know how it went from your point of view.
First of all, it confirms that the meeting took place. Often, interviews are set up days ahead and the person doing the coordination is not in daily contact with either party. When they get an email or a voice mail saying every worked out and it was a great meeting, that will definitely be a positive thing.
The second important thing is that it provides an opportunity to reinforce why you are a good fit for the role. You can briefly outline what you learned from the hiring manager and how well it aligns with your skills/experience/objectives.
When that debrief conversation with the hiring manager happens, your advocate is fully prepared to share your positive thoughts and armed with specifics about the conversation. They are ideally positioned to reinforce your strengths.
This also helps them be prepared to bring up any concerns that surfaced in the interview. For example, if the hiring manager asked you about a skill or activity that you did not know what required or how you feel about moving to Moscow, you can let the coordinator know.
In the hiring process, the more people aligned around the cause, the better. Keep communicating and keep everyone in the loop. It will pay off in the end.
Answer the damn phone! Just kidding…..you don’t have to pick up the phone if you don’t have time at that moment or your boss is in your office.
But it might be worth listening to their voice mail or checking your inbox (mail or LinkedIn) to see what they have to say.
Frequently, companies partner with third party recruiters to do the initial screening of the applicants for a role. So that recruiter might be calling about something you actually applied for. You would not want to miss that.
They might be calling you out of the blue to tell you about something they are working on. Recruiters are not much for wasting time. We only get paid if we are successful in helping our client solve their problem. There is a reason you have been selected for a call. Your name was not randomly chosen out of a hat.
Find a quiet place to have a brief call to explore what they have to say. You are not saying “yes” to a job and you are not leaving your current job. You are just taking a few minutes to learn more.
I realize that I am quite biased, but there is a lot to gain from this investment. You could get some valuable market intelligence on your worth, your marketability, your competition. You might come away thinking the recruiter is a dolt and has no idea what you really do. But you might also be able to think of someone who is looking for exactly that sort of role. You would be a hero then right?
Take a few minutes; you never know what you might learn.
If you are lucky enough to know what you want to next, you don’t have to wait for it to be posted.
You can express your interest in ways other than the traditional application. This requires some research and perseverance but is likely to be worth it in the end.
Think about the role you want. What department is it in? Who leads the group? Who else interacts with the group or has overlapping activities? You can do most of this research on LinkedIn. Just search for people by company. Company is one of the boxes you can fill in on the Advanced Search page.
You can also check out the company web page to see who is listed there.
The next step is to figure out where you have connections. Perhaps some of the names were former colleagues? Maybe you belong to the same professional association? Any connection point will do.
A friend of mine got his last job from an introduction by one the parents he met at the arena during a hockey tournament.
The next bit is Networking 101. Reach out to say hello. See if they would be open to a conversation with you. Here is an opening line you can try: “You are obviously having great success with your organization. Would you be open to taking a few minutes to chatting about the culture?”
This will give you a chance to hear first hand about the organization and confirm that it is, in fact, the kind of place/department/group you want to join.
At some point in the conversation, the person will want to know why you are curious. That’s your cue to talk about yourself and your interest in a possible role. If the conversation has gone well, it is quite likely that they might offer to make an introductions for you. If they don’t offer, then put it out there yourself.
We can talk about how to follow up later but for now, do your research and get ready for the handshakes..
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.
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.