Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Find Your Target, Then Settle in for the Hunt.

Targeting Your Job Search is part of the puzzle to launching a successful job hunt. Recruiters and hiring managers love to have many candidates to choose from; however, being too available can also backfire.

Here are a few Do's and Don’ts on job hunting:
  • DO look up the job openings at a company before contacting their HR department
  • DON’T say "I need a job, what do you have open, I'll do anything". (even if it's true!)
  • DO highlight what your skills are and if you're not sure, learn what they are...we all have strengths.
  • DON’T get too down on yourself if you don’t get the job. You might be a great fit but three other great people might also be a great fit, companies can’t hire all the people they want. (sad but true)
  • DO Google yourself. Do you have an online presence that looks professional or is your personal brand littered with spelling errors, online rants and inappropriate pictures? (if you answers yes, time to do damage control!!)
  • DO keep your options open. Your dream job might be at XYZ company you should still keep applying to other companies because when looking for a job, you need options!
Good Luck! While the job market might be picking up, it’s still tough out there and most recruiters (both agency and corporate) want you to find that perfect job!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Don't Stress to Impress

For many people the idea of talking about themself is an anxiety producing pit stain. First impressions matter. We know this from a first date, first day of school and, of course, an interview. When you're conscience you need to showcase your positives sometimes the exact opposite happens.

For example, I interviewed someone, via the phone, who dropped a slightly racist comment the other day. He realized his error right away and quickly said, "I can say that because I'm 'insert ethnicity here'. I actually felt bad for the guy. I know he meant no harm and was making a joke at his own expense but it was still not the right time to make the joke. He was a little green and had slipped up. If hired he represents my judgment and my company. Knowing he made a guffaw like that within 10 minutes of talking to me means I just can't take a chance that he won't do it again. A slip like that would be an employee relations nightmare.

There are many great people who I interview and don't get the job. Some are just not right for the position. There are some candidates who I question whether they actually want a job. Then there are those who trip themselves up to the point of no recovery. I compiled a list of basics to remember when interviewing. It sounds like common sense to pros but to someone who's nervous or a natural introvert it might help to keep these in mind.

  1. Don’t give one word answers: This makes you sound very uninterested in the position and makes me wish I had scheduled an interview with another applicant.
  2. Sound enthusiastic: I don’t think this should be something I need to write, yet I still talk with people who sound half asleep.
  3. Don’t use slang: Even if you’re a fantastic fit it still makes me cringe when people use slang in an interview. It's Ask not aks and dude is not the proper term for person. Don't be using no double negatives neither. Think about your social speak and adjust it a little when your speaking to a professional.
  4. Phone interview: Find a quiet place. Loud places distract both you and me.
  5. In Person interview: Always dress in business attire. You never know who will be interviewing you and what their opinion is on jeans.
  6. Be prepared: Always know what job(s) you applied for and know a little bit about the company. When someone says "I don't even know, I'm applying to 60 jobs a day" it's a huge turn off.
  7. Don’t take control of the interview: Asking questions is great, but when you start interviewing the interviewer it can get annoying really fast.
  8. Be Honest:If you lie and we find out, your fantastic resume and interview are now in the garbage. There is a reason we’re taught at a young age not to lie.
  9. Expand on your accomplishments: I read your resume and I liked it, hence your interview. Tell me why I should hire you over the other candidate with the same exact credentials.
  10. Specific examples are great: When people are too vague it makes me think you might be embellishing on your accomplishments.
  11. Remember, professional on e-mail: it’s way too easy to be relaxed over e-mail, fight the temptation!
  12. Stay organized: Creating an Excel sheet tracking all of your job search activity is a nice way to keep organized.

These are just some tips to help you survive and shine during the nerve racking experience that is the interview. I am sure there are many more interview tips that I did not include so feel free to comment with yours or just tell me about funny interviews you have conducted or been on in the past!

Remember: Recruiters want you to succeed, we're rooting for you!

Until next time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Company Branding on Pinterest

Pinterest. It seems as though it came out of the blue this year. While clearly a lot of people were using it prior to 2012 it certainly didn’t have the media coverage and clout it does today. Pinterest is equivalent to an online bulletin board. Genius idea but I actually thought it sounded silly until I played around on the site. Two hours and 50 pins later I came up for air realizing I had converted into a pinner. 

Not only was I now a pinner but I was immediately all edumacated on crafting. Oh, and my diet was going to be crushed by all the peanut butter and chocolate delights I would be baking. This got me thinking.  If it only took me two hours to become a great crafter AND baker on Pinterest how could I use this for recruiting. I don’t always like to think practically but I truly enjoy incorporating new media into recruiting and branding.  Pinterest though?  

I did some research but found there weren’t many articles about recruiting with Pinterest. With no solid track to follow, I decided to go all willy nilly and try and figure it out on my own.  I set up some boards for recruiting and I found others who were doing the same thing. I followed them and they returned my follow. I quickly realized Pinterest’s power for Employment Branding.  Proper branding is huge in recruiting top talent and getting people to KNOW your company and who you hire. To me this most definitely precedes having a fancy job ad, which is a more common focus in recruiting departments. Not that job ads aren’t important but having a company people know and want to work for will trump a fancy job ad any day. 

Most people would describe themselves as visual and Pinterest is such a visual tool. One way to brand your company on Pinterest is to create several boards and use them to paint a 'corporate culture' picture. This can also be done on YouTube and other picture/video sites but Pinterest has the massive referral potential that makes most recruiters salivate. The ease of use and the referral potential are two reasons why Pinterest should not be overlooked as just a crafts and recipe site. Pinterest is very easy to learn and use, which explains its exponential growth and probable staying power.  

Some ideas on how to use Pinterest to promote your company as a great place to work:

Board Ideas
  • Work Culture
    • Who are you as a company?
  •  Future of your Industry
    •  Forecast articles on your industry.
  • Innovative Ideas
    • Did your company develop a groundbreaking product?
  • Company Perks/Benefits
    • IPADS for all? Flexibility? Casual Dress?
  • Volunteer Day at your company?
    •  People love working for companies who gives back. Post pictures of it.
  •  Employees, outside of their job
    • A lot of people have side interests. Helping cross promote those interests helps shape you as a company and your employee as an individual.
Since I signed up for Pinterest I have seen articles on Recruitiing + Pinterest increase in droves. This means that Pinterest isn’t a fad. It’s definitely gaining traction and if you don’t have an account, get one, it’s fun!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why can't you see how great I am?

You are a great employee. 
You know it, your boss knows it and your coworkers know it. Why can't anyone else see it? What's the deal? 

There could be a whole slew of reasons. You might have a crappy resume, poor interviewing skills or sweat like a wild boar. Though, hopefully you're aware of a massive sweating issue. Then there are those lucky cherds who get a job without even really trying. They are those self-confident and charming people who you wish would just crawl into a hole. On the other hand, that would make you sad because they're just so damn charming. Those charmers know how to impress their audience and interviewing comes naturally to them. Thankfully for the rest of us interviewing is a skill and like most skills it can be learned.

Before an interview write down your accomplishments, practice talking about them to a trusted friend and ask your friend for an honest critique. It might take a little practice but a good salary is worth it. Be sincere, the worst type of interview for me is when I feel like someone is trying to sell me a used car. No thanks, I take the subway.

Way too often people don't research the company. Even charming people are guilty of this but they're better at 'winging it'. Please don't try 'winging it', you'll fail. Save the laziness for after you get the job. Another common tip that every interviewing article will tell you is to make eye contact. This is an oldie but goody. If you don't make eye contact then it's shifty, people don't trust shifty. On the other hand, don't stare at your interviewer either. That will just guarantee they lock their door after you leave. While locking ones door is a safe practice it shouldn't be the result of your interview.

More tips for interviewing:
  • Know the difference between confidence and arrogance.
  • Feel free to crack a joke or two but stay appropriate.
  • Communication is mostly nonverbal so don't fidget.
  • Stay positive, no matter how much you hated your last boss.
  • Be prepared to talk about your career highlights.
  • Be yourself, but be the best of yourself. Pretend you're on a first date.
No matter what, getting a job can take time. Don't get discouraged. As a recruiter I often meet several candidates who would be great for the one job we have open. It sucks but take every interview as a chance to perfect your skill!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Writing a Great Resume

Resume writing can be terrifying and paralyzing. If you weren't born with awesome connections (ahem, Paris Hilton) you must have a resume. 

To stand out from the crowd your resume must be great.

Forget perfecting the interview for now. A poorly constructed resume will close doors before you ever had the chance to show off that dazzling personality. 

We all have our own style but there are some basic rules to writing a resume people will read. 
  1. Write the resume for someone who hates to read.
    • Bullets draw the reader's eye to certain points you're making - you only have about 5 seconds to catch the reader’s interest.
    • Recruiters don't have the time to read beautifully written poetry on your resume.
  2. Don’t just list your duties.
    • You do want to paint a picture of your experience and you do want to be brief but you don't want to have a "duties" only resume. It won't impress.
  3. Brag about your accomplishments.
    • Saved a company some money or added to their profits? Mention it! 
  4. If you have metrics - Use them!
    • Managers love metrics. This rule goes triple for anyone interested in sales and marketing. Numbers = attention.
  5. Focus your resume.
    • Looking for sales -> Focus your resume on sales. 
    • Looking for management -> Focus your resume on management
    • You get the drift
  6. Create multiple resumes so you can adhere to #6
  7. This is a you advertisement.
    • Stand out but don’t be gimmicky
    • Feel you're an asset to an employer? How so?
    • When did you shine?
  8. Proofread times three!
    • Spell check will cover spelling errors but it will not correct silly mistakes, like forgetting the ‘f’ in ‘for’ -  ‘Or’ is still a word.
  9. Always put the phone number that you want to be contacted on your resume
    • This might seem like common sense but if you use your cell phone, put that on your resume. Home phone numbers aren’t the standard anymore.
  10. Key words
    • The job you're looking for requires 'Marshmallow Eating' experience and you have it? Make sure it's on your resume. 
There are a ton of great resources out there on how to write a perfect resume. Do your research and put a lot of care into yours. However, these ten simple rules will definitely increase your chances of being noticed. Once you're noticed it’s a cake. Mmmm cake.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Social Media in Job Search

The millennials are here. Every year more and more people enter the workforce who grew up not knowing a world without an "online".
A couple of years ago my friend decided that he need to look for a new job. I told him to start developing his network on LinkedIn. His response was “I need a new job, not a new hobby”. This retort was no shock to me considering he still owned a rotary phone. However, he did make me think. Was his a common attitude, is it still?
It's 2012 now and there is no denying that social media is taking over the world. Every company with a will to survive has some sort of social media strategy. It's easy to see its value with advertising and brand enhancement. What is less visible is the value in recruiting and job hunt'en. I was interviewing for jobs not too long ago and more than one HR Director seemed to hold the idea that social media was a waste of time. Still? I guess we have a longer road than I thought.
Since I use social media for recruiting and employer branding I read a lot about the subject. I am connected to other big advocates and they saturate my life, my online life. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while a ton of people are invested in social media there are a ton who only dabble in it. Everyone isn't 'there' yet. Some people still buy a newspaper. OK, maybe I went a bit far with that one but some people still haven't embraced the new world.
The first of the big media sites is LinkedIn. This is the most professional and transparent on why you need to get on there to job hunt. The whole idea of LinkedIn is to create professional relationships and a public resume. It is just part of the deal. Your boss won't freak out if you're on LinkedIn. Your boss will probably just ask to join your network. The whole concept is great, as you can see from #4 in this article but I know too many easily marketable people who don’t take advantage of it.
LinkedIn is a place to post your resume and accomplishments even when you’re not looking for a job. You know what, recruiters love passive candidates. One day you could get lucky. Your dream job could fall into your lap because someone saw your LinkedIn profile. With new features constantly being added such as  the follow company button, job hunt'en only gets better here. Recruiters have a whole  slew of great LinkedIn toys making it easier to find you. This site has been around for a while and it keeps getting better. I won't be shocked if it takes over all things recruiting and job hunt'en (talking to you job boards). If you're not on LinkedIn, get on there.
Facebook is a little different because it is more social but I do think it has great value. For example, you can re-connect with an old college buddy. This buddy could be working at your dream company. Send a little facebook message saying “Hey, I noticed you’re at XYZ Company, do you know of any job opportunities there?” It can't hurt. Facebook is also a great place to follow career pages and brands. It keeps you in the loop. You do want to be careful because, as I mentioned earlier, facebook is predominantly social. When you're searching for a new job keep your profile clear of ridiculousness. That's right, keep your 'Trip to Amsterdam' pictures hidden for the moment. It won't kill you to use discretion but it could kill your chances at a company.
Twitter, ah twitter….I love it! I find it to be ever so useful and informative. I follow various people and brands. I stick to following those who post valuable information. To me, twitter has the most educational value of all the social networking tools. I follow tweeters who post links and/or comments that have helped me grow both professionally and in my knowledge of American Idol ;). I actually don’t follow celebrities because I find their tweets to be less interesting than a good old-fashioned snarky column or blog. I do follow experts and industry leaders who provide useful insights. Not everyone uses twitter the right way, but those who do are gems of knowledge.
Pinterest is the latest of social media trends and I am loving its potential. It is an online bulletin board and I will dedicate another day to this fireball of social media. There is a new kid in town and this kid has power!!

To end my “pro social networking” monologue my advice is to hop on monster, careerbuilder or any job search site but don’t stop there. Start looking in places you play and if you're not playing on these three big then start.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top Talent Talk

The past year or so I attended numerous meetings about how to find top talent. It's the "new" initiative.

New? What?

Isn't that always the goal? Any recruiter or hiring manager with half a brain already does this. In fact, we sometimes take a little longer to hire someone because of this very objective. Contrary to the "I don't care how, I want it now" crew our slower than desired 'time to fill' is not laziness or incompetency but due diligence. We are fully aware that hiring a great employee makes our lives easier.Yet, the great and powerful Corporate Ozes do not think this is common practice. Why?

I scratched my head to ponder. Scratching one's head for thinking purposes can be pure magic because I have already thought of two reasons why companies don't have 'top talent'. Well, to be honest, I have more but only two are objective enough for me to write.

Reason One: We DO have top talent.

They just lost motivation.

It happens.

It happens a lot.

I just spoke with someone who was almost in tears about a potential hires background check failing.  The depression in this poor girls voice was heartbreaking. She wanted me to tell her it was OK to hire. Alas, I could not. No, we can not hire people who lie to us. I am not the most sympathetic chappy on the block; yet, I felt really bad for her. She said, " I have been doing 3 jobs for 6 months and am just tired".

Sing it sista.

The way companies are slashing departments and expecting more and better results is amazing. The way the Oz creatures blame the lack of talent for dipping numbers is just cruel.  I don't understand how they (the big guns in the corner offices) don't get it. Are they really that removed? I understand these Oz creatures tend to be work-a-holics and actually enjoy never seeing sunlight, their family or the daytime drunkscapades of Snookie. They don't even notice they stopped living with the rest of us. However, they shouldn't expect this from top talent because work-a-holism is a trait of a CEO and most of us won't ever be a CEO. To be perfectly honest, I would rather own my own Kangaroo Scrotum Key Ring making company than be a corporate CEO.

My advice on finding the ever elusive Top Talent? Staff and train your departments properly. Watch the magic reappear.  These over-worked, over-tired and under-napped superstars are just stuck in mudd. Mudd that the Oz creatures slung at them. It's time to take a rag, clean up the mess and watch your munchkins shine!

Reason two: Sometimes we F up and hire a lemon. Mistakes are made and lessons are learned.
Whadda ya want!