Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What questions do you have for me?

Anyone who has interviewed with me has heard me ask "What questions do you have for me?" It's always my first question and is usually the hardest one I'll ask because it can lead us in a bunch of different directions. It's a silly and simple question but really allows me to address any issues you have and make sure we are all on the same page.

Well, with this blog getting more and more readers I felt it would be cool to create a forum where people can ask questions. So, if you have a question for me about recruiting, hiring, interview, job search you can go to Google Moderator and I'll try to answer as many as I can.

Sounds like fun right? So, give it a shot, I'd love to create a cool way for us to interact and really start a great dialog. Oh, and it's a shameless promo for one of the cool new tools Google has launched.

More soon!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Save the phone!

I fear the day of the phone is dead, certainly when is comes to a job search the phone is sooo 1995. I'll be honest, it makes me feel old and say things like "I remember and enjoy the days of pounding the phone." Cranking out 500 calls a week, trying to build up the network. That's what recruiters did back in the day, I believe we now call it "old school". Many recruiters today have never and will never make a "cold call" and spend most of their time emailing candidates, performing Boolean searches, tweeting, etc etc.....

The problem with all this new fangled technology? Picking up the phone is still the best way to really get to know someone when you are looking for a job. People are busy so meeting with someone from every company you are interested in is not realistic, sorry, but picking up the phone and talking with someone possible. It's also possible for us recruiters to pick up the phone, cold call, network and find that hard to find great candidate.

The morale of the story here? If you are looking for a job or trying to recruit the great candidate...........pick up the phone! Sure, it requires you to be a little more outgoing than sending off hundreds of blanket emails to make contact but I can promise you that without a doubt you'll find more value from the call. For most of us this is a dramatic change in behavior so start easy - call your friends, former colleagues etc etc and make sure you are comfortable with the medium. Once you feel good, call that cool company and try to talk to a recruiter or (gasp!) call that candidate you saw profiled in the Wall Street Journal and "recruit" them!

That's it, just a short blog but REALLY important as nothing says I'm serious than a phone call to discuss.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are you just "filling jobs"?

When I started this blog I said it would address not only issues for candidates but also for companies who are really trying to break traditional recruiting models and really innovate. So, in that spirit....a few quick thoughts if you are running a company or trying to build a team. I am re-reading "Winning the Talent Wars" by Bruce Tulgan ( www.rainmakerthinking.com) and one of his points is worth digging a little deeper. The line is "Staff the work, not the job", think about it. Does your company fill jobs or hire people to do work? There is a difference. If you need to hire 5 software engineers, you don't need a full-time recruiter to join your team. You need a contractor or temp to come in, fill the jobs and leave. Most companies, COMPLETELY miss this point and end up having all kinds of people on staff being underutilized or even worse, people who are supremely talented just wasting time looking for candidates that don't exist.

Let me give you an example.

Company A is looking for a "Patent Attorney who understands Computational Biology". They need this person to come in and help the company develop a patent strategy for their new biotech business. So, they spend two years, countless hours interviewing and a retained agency fee of $50K to find the 5 Patent Attorneys in the US who have Biology degrees. Make an offer and by the time this person is up to speed they missed their window and spend years playing catch-up. (Semi-true story,btw.....)

Company B is competing w/ Company A and needs to find the same person. They decide to outsource the work to the best law firm in town. Working closely with their internal engineering team the firm is able to develop and implement a strategy in 6 months. By moving fast Company B not only gets working on this problem first, but they also seize the market and are able to gain the upper hand against Company A.

Company A is thinking about recruiting and hiring as a "job" based problem, Company B recognizes that they need to hire some people but they can also supplement that core team with temps, vendors and contractors to get the work done quickly.

How do you hire for your organization? Are you filling jobs or do you staff the work? If you aren't thinking about this, my guess is that you are filling jobs and not thinking about the strategic implications of talent management. If you are a recruiter you should be working with your clients to make sure they are not only "filling jobs" but managing their talent in the most strategic way possible. Showing your clients how to "Win the Talent Wars" will be a "win-win" and help you build the type of relationships that every recruiter needs to be successful.

Like I said, this idea comes from Bruce Tulgan. Great read and great stuff if you haven't read any of his stuff I'd recommend it!

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How to work with a recruiter.....

I've had a bunch of requests lately for a blog on how to effectively work with a recruiter. If you really want to maximize the services of your recruiter try the following tips. Also, these tips are true for agency recruiters, corporate recruiters, high tech, bio-tech, nursing, doesn't matter.......at the end of the day, all of the good recruiters operate the same way.

1) Be honest - I know right, do I really have to write this? YES. Don't tell the recruiter that you are making $200K if you are making $50K. Don't tell them you have never applied for a job at the company before even though you've now been interviewed for every job except Chief Bottle Washer. Your recruiter is your partner in your job search. Be open and honest with them, and trust me it will pay off. If you tell a recruiter EXACTLY what you are making now and explain what type of comp package you'll need to make a switch........they'll get it for you....and if they can't, it's not b/c they didn't try as hard as possible. The thing to remember about recruiters, we like to hire people and get deals done. So, be honest and upfront with your recruiter as it will help them help you!

2) Communication is a two way street - If you are wondering what's up with your application email or call your recruiter. Again, rocket science here but most people miss this one. Recruiters are busy, and in some cases they are ridiculously busy (ask me some time how may calls I do in a week). I figure, after meetings and other "non-candidate" related things, I probably spend 20 hours a week talking to people. It's really hard to talk to everyone as frequently as they'd like. So, don't be shy, I think I can speak for every recruiter on the planet when I say we appreciate the anxious candidate and know that if you are engaged with us you are probably excited about the opportunity. One last thing on this, send email and leave a voicemail. If we are on the phone all day (it happens) I may not get your message for several hours but I can usually email you back pretty quick.

3) Leave a message if you call - You'd be amazed how many people call me but never leave a message. I've been either on the phone or in meetings while the same candidate will call 5 or 6 times without leaving a message. Um, seriously it's REALLY annoying. If you left message and then follow up with an email you'll get a much faster response than just calling and calling and hoping we pick up.

4) Explain your timeline (in detail) - Not really looking around? Need a new job tomorrow? Going off to hike Europe for 8 weeks? The more your recruiter knows about your timeline the better job they can do for you. Recruiters are trained to push people through the process as fast as possible so we are always thinking "Go, go go!" If that doesn't work for you, tell your recruiter! Nothing more frustrating than sending a few emails and voice mails for a candidate only to get a call back 3 weeks later saying "sorry, I was on vacation".....um, thanks.

5) Ask us questions, LOTS of questions - Our job is to get you a job, so ask as many questions as you can possibly think of about the opportunity. You should be able to ask us anything, if we don't know the answer, we'll find it. I'm always amazed at some of the questions I get and really appreciate when someone stumps me. Questions about the role? Ask. Questions about the company? Ask. Compensation? Career path? If it's something you are curious about, ask....if your recruiter doesn't know ask them to find out for you. Really, it's our job.

6) Do your homework and confirm it with us - I hope this makes sense, but spend some time doing Google searches about the company, the team, your recruiter (that's right) pretty much learn as much as you can....and then when you speak with your recruiter use this information to make sure you understand the opportunity. For example, I had a candidate ask me "You spent a long time at The MathWorks and now at Google. I've heard they are both great places, what are the differences from your perspective?" Great question and really made ME think. So, do that homework and make sure you are 100% prepared for the interview.

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, been REALLY busy lately not only at work but at home........so, more soon. Until then, I hope you enjoy!