Posts filed under ‘Recruiters 101’

“Pealse hyer mee” What is setting YOU apart from the other hundred billion job applicants and landing you the job?

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This morning I logged in to my email and received this warning from the System Administrator:

“Your mailbox has exceeded one or more size limits set by your administrator.”

My InBox has filled up with tons of applicants applying for active openings. The sheer amount of applicants isn’t what amazed me. It was the amount of people applying for postings that don’t match the skill set in the listing. One missed requirement that stood out most was:

“Attention to detail”

As I’m sifting through the applicants and finding background matches to contact, I find myself thoroughly disappointed and honestly, saddened. I’ll use one resume in particular that caught my eye – and forced me to pour another cup of coffee. At the top it stated:

Key Qualificaation:
–  Excellent customer relations, verbal, written and interpersonal skills.
–  Outstanding marketing skills including website designs and creation of other promotional materials.

We all make mistakes, but when it comes to professional first impressions it is so important to be “spot on”. Spell checking and proof reading is basic.

In this case, the little things can make or break your chances of consideration. A resume or cover letter that is so distracting with errors can create missed opportunities for you. Active job seekers that are sending out resumes and not getting interviews should take a look at how and what they are using in to correspond with to perspective employers.

Does it read well? Does it match what the employer is looking for? Is your contact information clearly legible?

Successful applicants NEED to stand apart from the rest of the job search competition – stand out that is in a positive way.

What first impressions have YOU made?  Are you being your own career search watchdog?

Hoo do u staand owt frum the reast of the krowd?

February 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

My husband cheated.. I’m in a messy divorce… the ointment’s not working and 2 DUI’s put me in financial crisis while waiting for my wrongful termination settlement check to arrive….

…. So why won’t you hire me?

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People say the darnedest things.  What might be okay to bring up during a personal conversation may not be a good idea in a professional one.

During the interview process keep your personal stuff to yourself.   Be honest, but don’t divulge too much information that is not relevant to your professional background.

Sharing too much information about yourself, such as your financial difficulties, the lawsuit you filed against your last employer or any other information not relevant about why you are the perfect candidate for the job might just cost you that opportunity. 

Interviews are an opportunity to make a great first impression about why you are the “perfect” candidate for an interviewers opening.  Even if you end up not getting the job offer at that time, the lasting impression you make during this interview process just may land you the next opening.

For many of us it might seem like simple common sense not share your personal issues to what might possibly be your next possible hiring manager.  But at times, we may have a lapse in judgment and let something slip out in conversation.   After all, we are human and vulnerability and emotion can get the best of us.   Prior to your interview, you may have just received word that your utility bill is past due, your mortgage APR just went up or of some other financial hardship.  You may just really NEED this job.

The hiring manager is looking for the right skills and experience relevant to their open role and wants to better understand if you are the right person to hire.   Sharing all your personal woes will only make a hiring manager wonder, will you also share their trade secrets if you are hired? 

It’s like a new skill to master, but try to gather as much information as possible regarding an open opportunity before sharing your career highlights.  This will give you an opportunity to position yourself accordingly and select the right examples of your abilities to sell yourself into the role.   

I’ve found that some active job seekers are sometimes too eager to share their salary expectations during an opening statement like this: 

“I will NOT consider an opportunity if it is less than XXXXX.” 

When it’s uncovered that the position actually pays XX, it becomes difficult to back track without losing some credibility.  Avoiding salary talks until you completely understand what the opening actually pays will benefit you in the long run.  Of course, this is a negotiating skill to some degree and you have to be good at being able to skirt around the subject while asking the right questions.   If done wrong, it can also hurt your chances for consideration, so tread lightly.

Active job seekers should never lie on their application or fudge on their resume.  Giving out false information could also cost you a great position.  A former candidate of mine fibbed a little on their employment application with one entire year of employment dates.  Because the job offer was contingent on a background check and government security clearance, the inaccuracy came up and the job offer was rescinded.

Keeping in mind at all times that the interview is a professional setting and qualifying an opportunity by listening to the hiring managers needs will more often than not benefit your chances of landing a job offer.  If you find that you are having a really difficult time mastering the successful job hunt, it may be a good time to hire an experienced career coach to pin point just what might be failing for you.  Sometimes it might be what your sharing is inappropriate and costing you the job.

Where do you think personal issues belong?

December 12, 2008 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Is Botox really the answer to my Job Search?

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Is Botox really the answer to my job search?

More often than not, age is not what is stopping you from getting the job.  Attitude, energy and selling yourself as the perfect candidate will.  

I recently had a candidate email me his resume.  In his introduction email, he wrote:

 I am in desperate need of employment.” 

It was interesting because his resume told me a different story.  It detailed many successes and career achievements.  But it was his introduction email, his 15 second pitch that was lack luster.  No energy or enthusiasm.  In fact, a statement like this could be what’s eliminating him from being considered for future roles.

Keep this in mind when interviewing for job or contacting a potential hiring manager:

1.      Being desperate is not a good reason to hire you.

2.      Being the perfect candidate for the job is a good reason to hire you.

How will you position yourself when given the opportunity to interview for a role?  When the hiring manager asks you why you’d be a good fit, what is your answer?

99% of the placements I make are without ever seeing the person first.  My impressions are based solely on background, ability, our conversations, interviews, references and our direct correspondence.   With regards to physical appearance, my only concern will be that you arrive to your interview dressed appropriately and are well groomed.

Just this morning a candidate said to me:

“Wow, you have a lot of energy.  It’s like you could jump out of the phone.” 

I know it doesn’t sound flattering, the idea that I could possibly jump out of a phone, but as under the weather as I feel today with a cold, the fact that I can still convey a sense enthusiasm and be upbeat gives me a sense of pride regardless of the age I feel.

Recently a friend told me that she is considering Botox as she approaches an milestone age.  I found it so shocking that she would consider such measures so she responded to my dismay with a great big smile and pointed to the smile lines on her face. 

Smile lines are good and will only increase your chances of landing the job.  Read my earlier post on the importance of the “smile”.   After all, isn’t attitude everything?  It will be your lack luster and inability to correctly position yourself as the right person for the job that will cost you.

The moral is:

“Don’t spend your money on Botox, hire a solid Career Coach/Strategist instead.  Not only will it cost much less but it’s painless and will have a lasting effect.”

So, tell me what is costing you the job?

 

 

 

November 7, 2008 at 8:58 pm 3 comments

I know it feels like we’re breaking up, but can’t we still be friends?

 

Every time I have to deliver the “bad news” to a candidate I feel this same way.  There is never joy in having to tell someone that they aren’t moving forward in the hiring process.  Never.

Please rest assured that no matter what the outcome is, I do want to continue my professional relationship with you. 

I sincerely want candidates to know that my intentions are always to present them to a hiring manager for consideration based on our initial interactions.  I have every intention of a successful match.

BUT, there might be as many as a dozen candidates being considered for a specific role at any given time.  Unfortunately only one of them can get the job. 

This makes my role as recruiter very difficult.  I see a potential fit in all my candidate presentations and this includes you.

Many candidates discount the role of the recruiter after they don’t get the job.  Keep in mind, if the recruiter is good, this will not be the last role that they are recruiting for. 

Making an excellent impression on both the hiring manager and the recruiter will help you go places.  Hopefully a similar position comes up that you are suited for and will be considered in the future. Another scenario is that the recruiter moves on to a different company and thinks of you as a missed hiring opportunity!   Their departure from company A, could turn into an wonderful career opportunity at company B. 

Forming a professional relationship with your recruiters can be successfully done by checking in periodically via telephone, email or newsletter.  This keeps you “in top of mind”.   Based on your interactions with them, when your dream job comes across their desk, they will contact you!  

I like the idea of connecting with your recruiters via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.  This is a great way to stay in touch long term and you will always know where to find them and what openings they might be recruiting for this way.  We generally broadcast our openings on a regular basis and use all forms of social media to do so. 

Please, let’s keep in touch and maintain contact with one another, even when you didn’t get the role I had your interview for.  I see talent in you.  Know that I believe in your exceptional skill set, abilities and experience.  Unfortunately only one person can get the job and that leaves me with the role of delivering the news. 

I’ve love to hear about your experiences.  What is the best way for a recruiter to continue a professional relationship with you, even after you didn’t get the job? 

October 29, 2008 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

It’s all in the Details baby – how your job hunt is like event planning

Details details details…. Everyone recognizes the importance of details when planning a party, but they are also more important than you realize when job searching.   Just like planning an event that you want to run smoothly, you have to plan out your job hunt the same way.   Here’s my direct comparison:

1.       Possible Party Locations = Target Company list

2.       Guest List = Hiring Managers

3.       Invites = Cover letter

4.       Menu = Resumes

5.       Party = Interview

6.       Entertainment = References

7.       Party Favors = Thank you letter/email/note

No location, no party. 

Identifying a target company list you are able to focus your job search on specific companies that you’d like to work for.   This list can be large to include a wide variety of business types or small for a very specific target market.   

Guest list – who do you invite?

When you identify your target companies, you can than network to identify who the hiring managers are.  Sometimes it makes sense to identify the head of the department that you are targeting and other times building a professional relationship with the corporate recruiter is the key. How you find them can take on many tactics from LinkedIn searches to hiring a career strategist to do the work for you.  Identifying the key internal hiring contacts can help you be considered for a role that is open, or maybe before an actual opening comes up.

Invites, quests won’t come if they aren’t invited.

Cover letters offer you a good way to give a 5 second pitch on why you are right for the role or company and get you that interview.  You should make your point right “short and sweet” since most hiring managers don’t read through a five page cover letter.  Based on the role that you are applying to, you can address several areas that the hiring manager is looking for with just a few lines in a paragraph.  And remember the DETAILS!  I can’t begin to tell you how many cover letters come with spelling and grammar errors.  Even the best of cover letters can become quickly devalued without that “attention to detail” – words you will find in so many job descriptions!   Use spell check and proof read before sending.

Have a good Menu.

The resume is similar to a menu. The hiring manager or recruiter reads it and either selects you as a possible candidate for the position or not.  There are a zillion professional resumes writers out there to hire if you feel your resume is not working.   If you want to know if your resume is working just ask yourself this question: “Are you getting the interview?”  If the answer is no, it’s not.  If the answer is yes, your resume works just fine.  

Party – the time for your event is here and the guests have all arrived.  It’s party time!

Now that everyone has showed up its interview time.  This is the time that all your hard work has led up to – the infamous interview.   It’s the one and possibly only chance you get to make a great impression on the hiring manager and be considered for hire.  Not to stress you out too much, but it’s really your opportunity to sell yourself on why you are the perfect person for the job.   When the hiring manager asks you why you should be hired be prepared with why you are right for the job.  Do not say something like “you should hire me because I need this job.”   Needing a job might be your reality, but the hiring manager is looking for reasons why you would make a good fit and job need more than likely isn’t on his/her list of qualifications – so choose what you say wisely.   Sometimes the interview leads you to the second interview round… and so on.. but ultimately it’s your time to “sell yourself on why you are the right candidate to hire.” 

Entertainment can make the party really special.  Depending on the event, the entertainment can really “wow” your guests.  A birthday party may warrant a magician, a wedding may bring a DJ and the list of possibilities goes on….

References can make you stand out.   Depending on what your previous managers say or write about you, can really add that extra touch.   Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who’s former bosses continue to rave with wildly successful stories about you.  Just as you might audition the entertainment you hire for the party, do the same for your references.  Make sure they are glowing and that you’ve given them the courtesy of asking their permission to use.

Party Favors – my favorite part of the event planning. It’s the last thing my guests will have as a reminder of the party.

Following up with a Thank you card, email or note is so important.  It is the last opportunity you get to make a lasting impression.  Even if you think the interview didn’t go as well as you’d like, this is your opportunity to send a short note and address a few key points why you are perfect for the job.  If you find it hard to write a compelling and short note to a possible hiring manager, invest in a good book or find some online resources to help you.  It may seem not so important, but remember, it’s all in the details just like planning an event.   It can make you the best of two equally qualified candidates because you took that little extra step.  Not enough people send “Thank you” notes these days.

If you find that your events continue to flop, it might be time to consider hiring a professional event planner. 

The same can be said about your job/career search.  If your attempts at landing that dream job are failing, a career coach might be in order.  Many times it just takes a little coaching on what it is that isn’t working and a neutral industry professional can help lead you to success.  I have a few that I recommend in my network and am always happy to offer up referrals.   Just let you would interview someone before you hire them, I encourage you to do the same with your career partner.

Let’s hear how your party went?  Did it land you the job?

October 21, 2008 at 8:06 pm 2 comments

“Smile” – It can really help you in your career search

Job hunt tip of the week: “Smile”

It’s really easy to get down in the dumps when you are an active job seeker.  I’ve spoken with folks that have had a rough go lately.  They land plenty of interviews but don’t get the offer.

If you let it get to you, it will come out in the interview.  So “smile” instead!

It sounds so cliché, but “put on a happy face.”  I cannot stress enough the importance of state of mind during the interview process. 

Sitting across from a hiring manager you should be upbeat and positive.  Otherwise you may come across as negative and/or desperate – this may be your actual reality, but please don’t let it show.

Share your tough times with friends and relatives, not to the interviewer.   The hiring manager wants to hear how you will make, save or achieve great goals if hired by the company.  They want to hear more about the past successes you listed on your resume.  They do not want to hear about how many interviews you’ve been on where you didn’t get the job. 

Don’t share anything negative about your financial woes or worst of all, your personal life. Nobody wants to hear about your last break-up, how horrible your kids are or anything else personal in nature – especially when it’s not positive.  Keep it strictly professional and upbeat with specific answers to interview questions.  As that old saying goes “there’s a time and a place” and during an interview is NOT the place.

For me, a simple “smile” has been the best ice breaker during the most awkward professional situations, not just the physical smile, but the virtual impression it can make with a positive attitude.  It helps to laugh – and if you need something to laugh at, take a look at the sticker on my son’s forehead.  It simply states “Place on forehead. Smile.”  I had a grin the entire time we shopped at Trader Joe’s the other day!

How has your “smile” helped you?   

October 13, 2008 at 8:58 pm 1 comment

“Fatal Attraction” Job Seeker style – don’t become that Glenn Close character, ever!!!

This is the BEST advice with regards to job hunting:  DO NOT let your emotions control your search.

It is very easy to let disappointment rule and take it personally when you are not offered the job.  You feel rejected, you may be upset, possibly angry or sad, BUT whatever you do, don’t show it. 

This can be one of the best skills you master in the art of job hunting – hold on to those emotions and graciously accept that someone else got the job over you.   Take a moment when you get off from the phone call, finish reading the email or rejection letter to take a deep breath and pause before acting. 

When you are emotionally ready send the “Thank you” note to the hiring manager, recruiter and/or HR coordinator.  Sincerely thank everyone involved in the process despite the rejection.   It can be a simple email or handwritten note.  But remember to send the “Thank you” even when you don’t get the job.

Why you ask?  There are many reasons why, but the most compelling might just be:

“Not everyone works out after getting hired”

Did you get that?

“Not everyone works out after getting hired”

Sometimes the first choice isn’t always the best hiring decision and you want to stay in front of the hiring manager’s mind in the event that the candidate does not work out.  This is important to think about every time and again, don’t’ take it personally.  The person they chose may work out great, but you just never know, so why take that chance and do something unwise?

OR

That group you interviewed with gets extra headcount.  Wouldn’t you want to be immediately considered for it?  After all, they did really like you enough to put you through several rounds of interviews.

OR

Someone in that group quits, gets promoted, gets fired, restructured, relocated…. Or whatever the case may be – you want to be considered next time and by leaving a good lasting impression you might just be.

Some things to keep in mind are that when two people, who are equally qualified go head to head in the final round of interviews it’s never an easy decision for a hiring manager to make.  Only one person can get the job.  Sometimes it’s because of the internal candidate or referral or something else out of your control.  So if for whatever reason it’s not you, the way you react to the hiring manager will determine whether you are considered for a future role. 

No matter how disappointing it is, you have to keep your cool – don’t let it drag you down.  This is another time that you need to remember that you will hear a lot of “no’s” before you get that “yes”.  The more upbeat and positive you are will reflect during future interviews and you can’t let hearing “no” drag you down.

I have kept in touch with candidates who respond to the fact that they didn’t get the job very graciously.  When an opening arose in the future that they were well suited for, I call them just as promised.  How they communicated with me during the interview process up until the final hiring decision are huge and not forgotten.

On the flip side, I’ve had people react so poorly when they’ve been told they didn’t get the position.  A snide or nasty response closes many doors and only reaffirms that the correct hiring decision was made.  It’s okay to be disappointed, but don’t vent to anyone at that company – keep it to yourself, share it with your close friends.  As hard as it might be, it’s in your best interest to do so.

I run into quite a few active job seekers that are feeling down and out about the hiring process.  It’s easy to start to feel in the dumps when you repeated go on interviews and are repeatedly turned down for jobs. 

My best recommendation for those not able to pick back up again is to find yourself a good career coach, career strategist or mentor.  Someone who will be in your court with you and help to guide you during what might be a very tough professional journey.

Sometimes we just need a cheer leader to keep us moving uphill.  This can be a family member, close friend or professional mentor. 

At some point, you may need someone to critique what you are doing or not doing that might be costing you the job.  Many of us can successfully embark on the hunt just fine on our own, but as the job market changes, a little extra professional advice might be worth the cost. 

I have a few Career Coaches that I recommend to candidates who ask – see my blog roll for their links.

I suggest you interview them as you would a new doctor, realtor or employee and select the Career Coach you feel would be your best advocate and has the right personality fit.  It might be the wisest decision you make for your career.

Remember that you might never get a second chance to make a lasting impression once you’ve tarnished it and the last thing you want to come across as is the character Glenn Close plays in the “Fatal Attraction” movie.  Who could forget this famous line – one you don’t want to ever reenact in real life:

“Well, what am I supposed to do? You won’t answer my calls, you change your number, I’m not going to be ignored, Dan!”

Love to hear your thoughts on sending the “Thank you” even when you don’t get the job….

September 18, 2008 at 7:39 pm 2 comments

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