Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Recruiting during the holidays

Hey everyone, hope you are doing well.  Sorry I’ve been slow to post here lately, I’ve been really with the Recruiter Tips and Tricks series on the Google Students Blog that posts have been few and far between.  However, I did have some things I wanted to get out there this week.  Recruiting during the holidays.  It’s tough right?  No one wants to do anything and people are taking time off for vacation and shopping all over the place...meanwhile, you’ve got jobs to fill.  Here are a few thoughts!

Be Sensitive -  This time of year it’s impossible to try and stuff interviews in...there are just too many things going on.  You’ve got to be sensitive to people and how they celebrate the holidays.  When trying to schedule an interview you’ve got to think not only of the candidate, but also of your team.  I mean, some of these people might celebrate Festivus and you don’t want to offend those folks.....

Timing - Timing is brutal this time of the year.  No one works the last week of the year, and if they do....they are not cranking along at full speed.  So you need to be smart about who you schedule for interviews and when they come in.  The worst thing you can do is book something on a day where no one wants to be there....and have the candidate suffer from a poor interview experience.

Expectations - Last but not least...make sure you set expectations properly.  Don’t tell the candidate you’ll have an offer on 12/23....only to not call them back until January.  Same goes for hiring managers, lets face it...if the job isn’t filled yet it’s likely not getting filled until 2012.  Turth hurts people but being upfront and setting realistic expectations will go a long way towards your 2012 goals.

That’s it, I’m going to try and get one more of my stupid movie related blogs by the end of the year.......we’ll see.  Until then, good luck wrapping up the year!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why you should use Twitter to recruit

Twitter....that mysterious and intimidating social media platform that many people find totally confusing. If you haven’t seen it, this video is amazing will give you a good laugh about Twitter.

All joking aside, I use Twitter all the time and find it to be a great recruiting tool. Unfortunately, most recruiters I meet either tweet for fun (see above video) or don’t touch Twitter. I wanted to share a few tips/tricks on why I’m a recruiter who tweets.

1) Learning - That’s right, I’ve learned more from other recruiters sharing on Twitter than I even care to admit. There are literally hundreds of recruiters who are sharing info, blogging and networking on Twitter. If you are a recruiter who’s looking to learn/grow I can’t recommend Twitter enough. Go to a list like this one on “The Recruiters Lounge” and follow these me you’ll learn a ton.

2) Networking - Twitter networking is one of the coolest things for those of us who enjoy networking (even if you don’t enjoy networking, Twitter is still a tool for you). By following people on Twitter you get to see what they talk about and how they interact with their social community. Basically, you get to know them a little bit. Once you know’s really easy to find a connection and start networking (disclaimer, don’t talk people that’s just weird)

3) Random connections and opportunities- I think this is my favorite thing about Twitter. It makes the world smaller. One day a while back, I was cc’d on a tweet by someone asking “Does anyone know a recruiter at Google?”.....come to find out, someone who follows me connected me with this person and sent me their resume (for a job outside of my area of expertise). Now, they didn’t get hired but what was great is I sent their resume directly to the hiring team so they got reviewed ASAP by the proper team. Without Twitter....this person applies online and has one fewer connection in their network. (I actually told her to apply online too as you have to cover all your bases...see last weeks blog but whatever I digress). Being active and tweeting in your field introduces you to a huge cross-section of people and opportunities that you won’t find unless you join the party.

That’s it this week.....get out there, me, your career will thank me!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Google Students Blog - #googleoncampus

Hi Everyone,

Wanted to just do a quick update this week that for the next several weeks I'll be guest writing for the Official Google Students Blog helping New Grads prepare and navigate the college recruiting season.

You can find the first post here:

I'll still be doing updates here...they just might not be as frequent until we get through the fall!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Give me the job!

A tip you hear from a lot of recruiters is that at the end of the interview you should “Ask for the job!” You know, when the person interviewing you says “Any questions for me?” you say stuff like: “ Do you think I’m a good fit for this job?”, “Are there any concerns with my background relative to this role?”, “What would keep you from hiring me?” there are a million of them but you get the idea...ask for the job.

The real question I this a good idea? Should you “ask for the job”?

Honestly, it depends. Sometimes I like it and think it’s great. Other times, it’s obnoxious and totally out of line. I think “asking for the job” is a great tool to have in your interview toolbox but not something you want to do with every interview. If things are clearly going well, it’s great. You’ve killed it with the hiring manager and you ask for it....boom! you’ve got the job. Interviewing for a sales or recruiting role....again, feeling it.....rocking it....boom! you’ve got the job.

BUT! Wait a minute!! Interviewing for an engineering job and you ask the, I don’t know and won’t know until I talk the folks who did the technical evaluation. Interview going terrible (hopefully you realize it) and you, you’re obnoxious. True story - I interviewed a person one who had a lie on their resume. Obviously didn’t like the answer and ended the interview in about 15 minutes (it was supposed to last an hour). This person then “asked for the job”....I was shocked. Horrified even. And responded “um, no, I don’t think you’re a fit, not at all.” Not the answer this person was looking for to say the least. So, you’ve got to be careful if you’re going to be aggressive and ask for the might not get the answer you’re expecting.

So, like all things interviewing you have to use your judgement and if things are going well (and you are talking to the final decision maker) I don’t see any harm in asking for the job. But if you aren’t sure or you’re not talking to the final hiring manager....let it slide and follow up a few days later for feedback.

Enjoy the week and happy hunting!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Should you apply online?

Should you apply online? The age old question I guess eh? Do you send in your resume thought the online application and hope it’s not a black hole?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Hell yes.

This isn’t really rocket science but when you are applying for a job, you have to cover your based and do anything and everything you can to get an interview. Applying online is one of those bases and honestly at most places it’s not a black’d just not the BEST way to get into company. As we all know by now....the best way to find a job is through referrals (ahem, NETWORKING!)

Applying online will do a couple of things for you and they are important...

- Get you “into the system” - Most companies use some sort of applicant tracking software. You will need to be in the system to go through the hiring process. Do your recruiter a favor and send the application in online. Less data entry for recruiters, means more happy people recruiting.

- Other jobs - Um, yeah...that’s right. Recruiters frequently run a quick search on their internal database when a new role comes open. You’re in the system, they need a person like you and voila you have a new gig.

- Multiple views - Applying online usually allow you to apply for multiple roles.....usually being seen by multiple recruiters. Remember, the goal here is to get the interview and then get hired. The more folks see your resume/experience, the better.

That’s it, short and sweet. Based on this and my other tips, here is my quick plan for doing all you can to get into a target company:

1) Apply online
2) Network w/ current employees you know
3) Network w/ current employees you DON’T know...
4) Meet some recruiters
5) Rinse and repeat steps 2-5 until you have an offer

Until next time, have a great week and good luck!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How not to recruit someone

We all read a ton of articles about how to recruit people, where to find people blah blah blah.  Right?  I mean, it’s almost like information overload with regard to how to find great candidates.  One thing I’m finding though, with all this talk of how to find people.....I’d like to focus on how NOT to recruit someone.  Why?  Well, l’m noticing all these great recruiting tools have made recruiters lazy.  Rather than picking up the phone and having a conversation with potential candidates, we’ve gotten lazy and just use technology to blast out in the name of “networking”.  The reality is, using social media or even email to just pummel your network with random information is probably doing more harm than good.  So, with that, my few tips on how not to recruit someone........

1) Spam them - Spam is the worst, I mean really....send me an obvious spam recruiting email and it’s right to the trash for you.  I got an email last week that was addressed to “Hi,”.  My name is Jeff, if you really want to recruit me you should realize that a) I have a name and b) if you think I’ll forward this to folks in my are dreaming.

2)  Don’t spend any time doing research about the candidate - Why bother right?  I mean, is it worth your time to understand who you are targeting?  Um, yeah it is.... ugh!  Again, I got an email (true story) asking me if I’d be interested in a “high paced role” perfect for someone with “1-2 years experience”.  Um, yeah...thanks for that.  I’ve been recruiting for a little more experience than you need.  Thanks, delete.

3)  Bait and Switch - This one is my favorite, the old bait and switch.  Tell the person something they want to hear...get them on the hook and tell them something they don’t want to hear.  Better yet, wait until you make them an offer and then spring the surprise.  Candidates LOVE that move.

4)  Don’t reply - Another personal favorite.  Reach out, ask someone if they are interested in a job...and then don’t reply to their message if they get back to you.  Sounds crazy but happens all the time.  Doesn’t matter if you are actively recruiting someone or just trying to network.  If you take the time to approach someone and they, take the time to have the conversation you initiated.

Ok that’s it, if you are recruiting or networking remember that the most successful people are thoughtful and responsive to EVERY person they contact.  Networking and recruiting are about long term relationship building. Take your time and do it right.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A deeper look at "Circles" to organize your network

A lot of great content has already been written about Google Plus and how we can use it for recruiting (or networking if you are not a recruiter). I continue to think circles are the key feature for those of us feeling unsatisfied with other social media platforms ability to organize and structure our contacts. I wanted to give my take on how to really dig deep and use Google Plus to organize your online world.

1) Start Big - Huh? Don’t people usually recommend starting small? Well bad idea here. Create as many circles as you find relevant to your purposes and vigorously add your contacts. For example...adding me to your Google Plus account? I should probably show up in the following circles - Recruiter, Googlers, MathWorkers, Boston, UNH, Framingham State and a few others. By putting people into multiple circles you can make sure that when you need to tap those networks you’ve fully represented everyone you know.

2) Don’t be shy - Circles are private, so you could add me to “People to ignore” and I wouldn’t know it. So, don’t be shy about creating circles that you might not want to share with the general public. For example - “People I’ve Hired”, “People I wish I hired”, “People I’d never hire”....lots of potential here, be creative and use this feature to its full potential.

3) Import Address Book - Another great feature, and yeah, most other sites have this but not with the easy to use circles. Here’s what you do. Import your LinkedIn contacts (easy to do, um, Google it) and any other .csv files you’ve got. Not sure who’s on Google Plus or what circles they should be in because you are a networking machine and have like a million contacts? Well, that’s ok. Add them all to a generic circle “LinkedIn Unfiltered” is mine...and as people add you to their circles you’ll get notifications back, review their profile (aka remember how you know them) and then resort into the appropriate circles. It works, seriously, takes all the manual work out of what could be a daunting exercise.

Hope this helps, would love to hear your comments. We are all just getting started with Google Plus and exciting to hear what other folks are doing to maximize the platform!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Team or Company?

When looking at a new job you’ve got to consider a bunch of in particular is what’s more valuable to you: the company name or the team you’re joining.  

Now, in some cases they are the same thing right?  Joining a start up?  The team IS the company.  However, joining a larger organization like Apple or Microsoft you really need to consider the specific group you are joining as much as the overall company.  The question is, how do you make that call?  Alas, a few tips:

1) What can you learn?  This is really the crux of the issue right?  I mean, if a job is with an amazing team you can learn a ton even if it’s not the worlds greatest company. Assuming you learn a ton, you can then grow your skill set and long-term you’ve made a great move even if it ends up being a shorter term gig.

2) Reputation - Great team but a company with a bad brand?  Tough call honestly but I think you stay away from companies with bad brands if you can....for example.  Enron calls?  Um, pass.  Now, there are exceptions right and you can justify anything but as a general rule....avoid it if you can, even if the team appears awesome.  Not worth the risk.

3) Networking - The flip side of bullet #2 of course is networking right?  Some companies or organizations have AMAZING networks...getting into that network can be as valuable as the role. (Think Harvard)  So, if you have an opportunity to join an org with one of those legendary networks you should jump on it.

4) Other opportunities - Huh?  Consider other gigs before you even take the new one?  That’s right.  Here’s why.  If you are joining a company like Microsoft or IBM...whatever.....there are TONS of opportunities within the org that you’ll have the ability to compete for in the future.  So, let’s say you join a team in Boston...18 months later you’re a top performer and the world is your oyster.  Of course the flip side of this is you absolutely-positively have to perform to take advantage of these roles....and typically, it’s hard work so just be ready to bust your tail and make things happen.

5) Trust your gut - Sage advice here but if you gut tells you something is probably is the wrong company or team.  If you just can’t stop thinking about how great a gig it is and how cool the people are then you’ve meet a good crew.  You might think I’m crazy but I’m a huge believer in trusting you instincts when looking at gigs.  

Ok, that’s about it......just remember a new job is about much more than just the job description and your day-to-day work.  It’s about personal growth, professional brand and how it fits into your overall career........until next time, good luck out there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Early thoughts on "Google+" for recruiting and networking

Ok, so we all know that Google+ is the hottest thing in social media right now.  Everyone have an account already?? (I have a few if you need one)  

I’ve been playing with it for a while now and I have to admit, as a recruiting tool there is a lot of potential here.  To me, the problem with social recruit is and continues to be that it’s very hard to draw the line between the “personal you” and the “professional you”.  

Anyone who’s friends with me on Facebook has to put up with all kinds of posts about my family, concerts and political rambling......oh, and the occasional recruiting insight too.  So what I’d done is drawn the lines myself....Twittter is for work (mostly), Facebook is for fun and my professional Facebook page has about 4, yeah, not a big winner there. Then, of course there is for sure but definitely more professional.  My issue with LinkedIn, it’s hard to organize.  If you’ve got 500+ connections it’s really hard to organize them and going back in time to 2005 to add notes on my connections is not happening.  

Well, I think, Google+ has a change to be that recruiting tool we’ve all be looking for and will take social recruiting to the next’s how:

Circles - Ok, by now we have a million names for the people we associate with via social media (friends, followers, connections, etc etc) but Circles are a little different.  Basically Google+ allows you to decide VERY easily who goes into what Circles and also allows folks to be in multiple Circles.....all of them only visible to you.  How do you use this as a recruiter or job seeker?  Easy.  Create circles and target your content.  Here’s an example:

Jeff recruits engineers, has a bunch of friends from college and also does a lot of networking with other recruiters (some of them former college buddies).  So, I’ve created Circles for “Software Engineers”, “Coworkers”, “Recruiting Folks”, “College Buddies” and “Family”.  Some of my content goes to all of those folks, some of it is VERY targeted and some of it crosses multiple genres allowing ME to control who sees what and make sure I’m making efficient use of my social network and not just spamming away to people who only care about my open roles

The key here is quickly and efficiently use Google+ to split you network into easy to use Circles and maximize your impact.  If you are a recruiter, setting up Circles for each of your candidate types and tailoring your content to those folks is an absolute no-brainer and something the other social networking tools don’t do as well as Googe+

Takeout - This honestly is so cool.  Takeout allows you to take your data out of not only Google+ but any Google product.  You can learn more here but the reason this is so cool is that the data is yours and it comes in portable open formats that you can import that data to other services as you please.  My favorite thing?  You can download any content you’ve pushed through your Google+ account.  Not to mention, quick and easy downloading of all your contacts from Google+ in easy to use vCard format organized the same way you organize them via Circles.....without jumping through hoops. Also, shout out to the Google team in Chicago on this....rock on guys!

Sourcing via +1 - This one isn’t a reality yet...but give it time.  +1 (more info here) basically allows your social circle to recommend links and push relevant content into your search results.  Um, give this time but for recruiters this could be the holy grail.  Imagine you have 1000 folks in your Circles...organized well so you are pushing them fresh and exciting content.  Now, imagine these folks using +1 to recommend articles and other content related to whatever field they work in.  Still with me?  Ok good...because when you search the web for the latest news in your field...voila.....some of the people you are connected to happen to be recommending all kinds of content related to your search.  As a recruiter, these folks are great networking contacts or even potential candidates because they are looking at the same content you are!  Now, again, this is NOT happening right now but give Google+ and the idea of being able to “+1” content and you can imagine a world of much more robust and targeted recruiting.

Just a few quick thoughts, obviously more to come but If you are using Google+ and have a few more tips please share them here, I’ve seen a few other blogs on this so it’s exciting to watch as everyone takes a different look at this new and exciting too.  That’s it for this week, until next time good luck and happy hunting

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Job Search Tips

Ok, it’s officially summer and the 4th of July is coming (my favorite holiday if you were wondering...LFOD baby!).  The sun is finally out and vacations are starting actually happen.  Alas, the summer is also one of the hardest times of the year to network and get a job.  All those things we love about the summer make finding a job slow and painstakingly annoying as things get rescheduled and pushed out to make sure the whole team is around.  With that, before I go on my vacation....I give you a few tips and works of wisdom for the summer job seeker.

Lower expectations - Take a deep breath, relax and understand things will be a little slower this time of year.  Nothing you can do about and you’ll be better off just chilling out.  Don’t change anything you do but realize it will just take more effort and time to accomplish your goals.

Amp up the networking - Summer is a great time to network.  Let’s be honest, everyone is looking for an excuse to enjoy the why not take advantage of that and do a little networking.  Coffee outside at Starbucks?  Sounds good to me!!  All joking aside, with interviews and offers taking longer in the summer.....the best way to keep momentum w/ your job search is to network like a crazy person.

Look beyond the postings - As we all know by now, in the current economy most jobs are being filled without ever being posted.  So, in the words of those dudes from must go deeper.  Ping your network, do that networking thing and aggressively poke around to find roles that aren’t posted out on the web.

Refresh - Simplest tip of them all.  Use the summer to refresh and recharge your job search.  Recognize things slow down and take advantage of this time to make sure you are not burnt out by an endless quest for kick-ass work.  Having a great attitude will get you a long way during your job, enjoy the summer and knock whatever interviews you do have out of the park.

Ok, that’s it, short post by me this week.  I’m taking the next week off for some RR and work around the house (hello 8 yards of mulch).  Good luck with the search and until next time....

Oh, if you are looking for more summer of the best....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview tips for the rest of us.....

Ok, so loyal readers will know that most of my interview tips focus on engineering type roles. Well, I can’t code....not a lick. So, I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about some interview tips for the rest of us. Those non-technical masses who must prepare a little differently for an interview. Here you go, how to prepare for that non-technical role you are dying to get!

1) Study - Take time to study the company. What’s the business model? How are they doing? Any current issues that might impact your decision? You should know all this stuff. Take some notes, print some articles and bring them with you. Why? Well, you want to be able to have an intelligent conversation with your interviewers. If someone asks you how you feel about better know what XYZ is!

2) Cliff Notes are for smart people - Remember Cliff Notes from High School? Everyone always associated them with slackers and cheaters? Well....maybe, but not this time. You are going to create your own cheat sheet of notes to bring to the interview. Trust me, I do it for any interview and look at is as a must have when it comes to interviews. What is on this list? Examples of things from your work for example:

- A successful project you’ve worked on
- An example of your leadership skills
- A time you had to learn something new
- Data and more data (sales quotas, hiring goals, etc)

Basically, anything you want to make sure you stress should be on this sheet....the worst thing you can do is leave an interview saying “I wish I told them about....”

3) Know your audience - If you know who you are meeting with (sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t) take a few minutes to do some Google searches (ahem, shameless plug) and check them out on LinkedIn. Why? Well, you don’t want to say something stupid or offensive just because you didn’t do your homework. True story: I was once asked how I felt about hiring people from 2nd tier schools. I went on the explain how I believe people go to school for different reasons and that you can find diamonds in the rough if you look hard enough at these schools. Good answer on my part, this person attended a lesser known school and agreed with me. You’ll thank me for this tip during your next interview.

4) Who do you know? - Tap your network for a few insider tips. Now you may not have any contacts and that’s fine but if you have someone on the inside just spending a few minutes with them can be invaluable before your interview. Another true story: I had coffee this morning with a person interviewing for a role with Google. Great guy, mutual former colleague made the connection for us. Could I help him prepare for the interview? Absolutely not, but I could share some insights on what I love about the company as well as give him 20 minutes to soak in the atmosphere and have a little coffee. I’m guessing he felt much better when the interview started than he would have without our short chat.

5) Relax - Take a deep breath and go rock the interview. That’s the biggest and best tip I can give you. Seriously, I meet a lot of people and they are so nervous the interview is over before it begins. If you aren’t relaxed and comfortable you’ll have a hard time explaining why you are a great fit for the role. So....chill out, you’ll be fine.

That’s it, I hope these help....if you have any other tips you’d like to add I’ve love to hear them. Until next time, happy hunting!

For anyone looking for more tips/tricks you can also try this book!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My review of "The Google Resume"

A lot of people ask me about interview prep and I’ve blogged on it a few times but I wanted to share a few thoughts/insights on “The Google Resume” by Gayle Laakmann McDowell. This book came out recently and I picked it up the first day or two it was out and REALLY hoped this book would be the one I could tell candidates....”Go buy this book and you’ll be fine”. Well, it’s not perfect but I would definitely recommend giving “The Google Resume” a quick read if you are interviewing for a software engineering job.....doesn’t have to be at Google, lots of the tips in this book will serve you well in any interview.

You can buy the book by hitting this link -

The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or any Top Tech Company

I don’t want to go crazy and rewrite the book here, but there are a few tips/chapters that I want to call out. They are:

Chapter 3 - “Getting in the Door” - Great chapter here and really useful tools for anyone in an active job search. Gayle gives some of the same advice I give all the time. Hit your alumni networks, do your homework, getting personal referrals, doing information interviews, all GREAT stuff. However, one thing really jumped out. She gives a tip on how to reach out and find recruiters at companies. This is a great idea, especially if you are targeting one particular place. Only thing I’d add to this....use LinkedIn too, building out that network can help you find recruiters much easier than ever before.

Chapter 5 - “Deconstructing the Resume” - Good stuff here, I’m not a huge stickler on resumes but her advice here is spot on and should really help you build a better resume (frankly I may try and do this myself to see how it comes out) The best advice here is on page 88. Parting Words. I won’t deconstruct them all but “Too big, Too bulky and Too boring” should be on the front of your mind when writing your resume!

Chapter 8- “Interview Questions” - One tip I always give people when they are interviewing (especially at a place like Google or Apple, etc) is to “Search for Company X interview questions”. You’ll find good stuff, horror stories and some just plain weird stuff....but the info you find should give you a general idea what to expect. Gayle takes things a step further and breatks down behavioral based interviews, estimation interviews, brain teasers and design interviews. Fantastic stuff. MUST read if you are actively interviewing.

Chapter 9 - “ The Programming Interview” - Gayle takes things just a little deeper and this is gold if you are interviewing for a software engineering role. She breaks down coding, design, algorithms, memory usage and scalability in this chapter. The best part though, is page 167 where there is a grid of about 25 concepts that you have to understand to be successful. That grid is a “how-to” for landing a great software job. Trust me on this one.

Chapter 11 - “The Offer" - Everyone has different opinions on negotiating. Page 219 Gayle gives a few tips on how to win a negotiation. I can say, I don’t agree with all of these. Some of them are good “Have a specific ask” for example is a must....know your worth and ask for it. Totally cool. I really disagree with “Don’t name the first number” and I realize why people might think it’s bad to do but here’s the deal. Your recruiter is trying to fill jobs, that’s it. We don’t get credit if you don’t take the job so be honest about what you want and/or need and do a deal. Don’t play games during the negotiation. And here’s why....recruiters negotiate ALL the time. Honestly, throughout my career I’ve negotiated hundreds of offers. Recruiters will do their best when you are upfront, honest and sincere with what you are looking for in a new compensation package.

So, there you go...good read and I’d recommend you pick it up regardless of where you are interviewing. Like any “self-help” book you’ll agree with some of it and disagree with some other parts but that’s ok. When preparing for an interview, the more research you do the better. This book is certainly no silver bullet for getting a job but adding “The Google Resume” to your list of preparation materials will be money well spent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thinking about a career in Recruiting?

Recruiting is one of the careers you don’t aspire to when you are a kid, you just become one. Not really sure how or why to be honest. For me, it was an opportunity to try something new and come to find out I was pretty good at it (well, maybe?). A lot of people see recruiting, especially when the economy is strong as a way to make a ton of money...and you can, but the fact is, to survive as a recruiter you have to love it and realize that it’s an up and down kind of career. Another thing about’s hard, like really hard.

If you are thinking about a career in recruiting here are few tips that will serve you well.

1 - If you bat .300, you’re an All-Star - My first boss in recruiting told me that the hardest thing in recruiting is dealing with rejection. He’s right. In baseball, if you hit .300 you’re in the All-Star Game....same is true for recruiting. If three out of ten people take your call, you’re on you way to being a good recruiter. What makes this hard? That means at best, 70% of your calls will be either voice mail or “Leave me alone”. It can wear on you, trust me. I once had a day where I made 140 calls, and spoke with zero people. Every single call went to voicemail or I was hung up on. What did I do the next day? Pounded the phone and tried to make 150 calls.

2 - Changing jobs is an emotional decision - This same boss explained to me that changing jobs is one of the most stressful things people can do (along w/ buying a house, getting married or losing a loved one). In order to be a good recruiter, you have to realize this is stressful and be prepared to coach your candidate through the decision and be respectful of their situation. A good recruiter listens to their candidates and helps them come to a decision as it relates to their career. Why is this hard? People will make decisions that don’t make sense to you. And they won’t make sense because at the end of the day, your candidate won’t share EVERY detail with you. Sound crazy? It’s not, it’s just part of the job you have to learn to embrace.

3 - Stars don’t align - This one drives me crazy. I’ve had great candidates, people I KNOW are good and for some reason I just can’t find them a job. Lots of factors go into this but as much as you try there are times that the stars don’t align and that superstar candidate finds another gig before you can help. Frustrating...

4 - When the going gets’d better be good - Recruiting in a down market is tough stuff. Companies slow down or stop hiring and the first folks to go are the recruiters. Fact, not opinion on that one folks, sorry. So, how do you survive? For starters be REALLY good. A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold and companies will keep you around for when things change. Another key to survival is to find great companies. Corporate or agency, doesn’t matter. Great companies are always hiring and can use a good recruiter.

I hope this helps you looking to get into recruiting, it’s a great gig if you are into it. Work hard, keep networking and you’ll be fine. Until next time....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Total Comp is what really matters

Negotiating compensation is a core part of any job search right? One thing to remember is that when you’re looking at an offer is to consider the entire package being offered and not get too caught up on base salary.

A few easy to digest thoughts on total compensation and negotiating for your new job:

1) Base salary DOES matter - Its not the end all be all of the package but you do have to make enough to pay the bills. Life is about cash flow and base salary is the most consistent form of it. You won’t notice the difference between 45K or 46K so don’t freak out over small numbers but also, be aware of what your budget requires and make sure your base covers regular expenses.

2) Bonuses are great, especially if they pay out out - Lots of companies have a bonus percentage that pays out annually as part of a total package. Trust me, they are great but tough to evaluate. The question you have to ask is “What percentage of the bonus actually paid out last year. Once you know that, you can safely evaluate whether the bonus is legit or not. If it is, rock on!

3) Equity is a wild card - It’s really hard to evaluate equity as part of an offer so you’ll have to make a few assumptions in order to help come to your decision. For example, is the company public? If yes, then you can sort of guestimate the value and have a ballpark idea of the value. Private company? MUCH harder to do but again, not impossible. What percentage of the company do you have? Is it significant? Is the company trading private equity on the secondary market? What is the internal valuation of your grant? These are important questions to ask because equity can be a HUGE piece of total comp so you’ve got to make sure you’re doing your due diligence.

4) Sign-on the dotted line - Like I said before, cash flow is king so a sign-on bonus should be considered a great thing if you have one in your new offer. A sign-on can also help bridge the gap between a small cut in base salary or waiting until some equity vests. Long story short, a sign-on bonus can give you or your candidate JUST enough of a nudge to make taking that new job easy.

Ok, that’s it today...remember, it’s about total compensation and making sure you’re happy with the deal.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The post interview follow-up

Sorry I’ve been out of touch the last few weeks, SUPER busy and barely any time to tweet....scary. Anyway, I’m back and hope that this short blog will get me back and dedicated to this.

This week’s interview follow up. Nothing crazy here just common sense recruiting advice. When you interview with someone for a job or even if it’s just an informational chat you’ve got to do a few things:

1) Ask the person if you can connect on LinkedIn - This is networking in the 21st century 101 here folks. You should be connecting to everyone and anyone you interact with professionally. Built that online network, you’ll need it eventually.

2) Send a follow up thank you - I prefer email but sometimes it’s nice to get something in the mail. If you are going to mail something, use professional stationary and make it nice. Emails, you can you be a little more causal but you still want to make it nice and sincerely express your thanks for the persons time.

3) Stick to your commitments - Said you’d follow up with a resume? Do it. Offer to send some referrals? Do it. Nothing worse than having someone promise to help you with a few things...only to never hear from them again. Don’t be that guy.

There you go, a few simple tips that if you follow them after every hiring related’ll find your job search is much more successful!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Feedback to improve your process?

Going back to my airport reading, I read Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker (link here) as part of The Essentials book from the Harvard Business Review. Good article. One big take away was how this would relate to how we recruit. Specifically, how can you improve the hiring process?

Drucker says “The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis” which if you think about it is dead on. Peer reviews, 360 reviews and manager feedback are all critical to self-improvement. do you get this to relate to recruiting? Here are a few quick thoughts:

1) Track your metrics - Any data you can analyze about your process is sure to help you discover your strengths and improve the process. Find your time to fill is terrible but you have a 100% acceptance rate? Maybe your process does such a good job selling candidates that it takes a long time but as an org you’ve decided it’s a worthwhile trade-off. Whatever the data, taking a deeper look and analyzing the feedback will help you discover your strengths.

2) Survey your new hires - That’s right, 30 days after you have a new employee start you should sit down with them and do a post mortem of the process. What went well? What could be improved? Take this feedback to heart, discover the strengths and weaknesses of your process....adjust as necessary!

3) Ask people you don’t hire - File this under “take with a grain of salt” but I think there is value in talking to some of the people you don’t hire about your process. I’m not saying this is the end all be all of feedback but if you have a few selected candidates who maintain a good relationship with your organization you can get a ton of value from their thoughts. That said, I’d use this feedback as a way to verify feedback from the other sources as opposed to changing your entire strategy based on people outside the organization.

For now, happy recruiting and I hope to have another grunge post later in the week!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HBR "Essentials" and Recruiting....

As some of you know, I’ve been spending a lot of time on planes and in airports lately. So, one of the things I did was read the Harvard Business Review “Essentials” which is a really cool collection of articles and a nice quick read.

A few of them really jumped out to me as relevant to recruiting. Sometimes I feel like people just assuming staffing is this black art and most recruiters would never spend time reading stuff like the Harvard Business Review and think about how to relay it to hiring. Well, you’re in luck fellow recruiters…after about 48 hours on planes and in airports I’ve read a few and will give a quick summary with a few thoughts on how we can all be better recruiters!

The first one that comes to mind was “Innovation – The Common Traps” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. REALLY great article! It covers something near and dear to my heart too as I love innovation! I’m not going to do a full review but pull out a few thoughts on innovation that I really enjoyed…

1) “Add flexibility to planning and control systems” – I love this line. In my opinion, no better way to stifle innovation than to have rigid systems that cannot flex to meet business needs. As recruiters, we need to innovate and adapt to the changing competitive landscape. Adding flexibility to our systems is the only way to ensure we are innovating and looking to continuously improve what we do. Is your hiring process set in stone? How about your tools for measuring recruiters? How about team metrics like “Cost Per Hire”? If you are still using the same processes you used in 2005 it’s time to innovate and develop some new systems.

2) “Tighten the human connection between innovators and others throughout your organization” – I really think this rings true in large organizations. It’s hard to have your innovators building relationships around the team and creating a culture of innovation but it’s absolutely critical. One of the things that I’ve found is that people who are innovate are important not only because they spread the innovation energy but they also know HOW to innovate within the organization. They can tell you who else thinks like you do and how to get a team or project started. If you think about projects like Social Recruiting they require strong human connections to work within the organization to get the project started.

3) “Select innovation leaders with strong interpersonal skills” – Similar to the line above but slightly different. You need innovators who can also evangelize their ideas. Having a great idea but lacking the ability to articulate it won’t work. If you have a recruiter on your team who has wonderful ideas but they can’t seem to get them off the ground…put them on a team a fellow innovator who’s got world-class interpersonal skills and you’ll see results. What’s this mean? Want to create a new innovative recruiting strategy? Build a team about the most outgoing folks who can leverage the thoughts of the team and make the innovation a reality.

Clearly I didn’t go to Harvard but I’m trying…..until next time, happy hunting….

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coffee and a chat?

I’m a huge proponent of networking, it’s easy and frankly it works. Unfortunately, most people don’t really do much networking. Well, here is my biggest tip on how to get the networking going and going well....

Grab a coffee with someone....doesn’t matter who just do it. Taking the time to sit down over a beverage (drinks work too....), chat casually about work/life issues and have a good time. Networking should not be a huge ordeal, it should be fun and worth the time. Networking is not like dating, there should be no pressure and everyone realizes this is all about work and helping each other accomplish their professional goals.

Personally, I’m always up for a coffee. I rarely turn down the chance to do a little networking and enjoy a, here’s the question. Are you actively networking? You should be, especially as the economy recovers in 2011 you may just find that opportunity of your dreams.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Keep in touch

I tell a lot of people who I interview to keep in touch because you never know what the future will bring. Ironically, I never hear back from about 99% of them...fair enough, I’m sure you hear this same line a thousand times during the job search.

However, I’ve noticed something lately.....this advice works and frankly it works pretty well. Here’s how it works:

1) Things change and you actually get a job - Shocking right? Well, looking through my database I realized that this happens quite a bit. One of my favorite new colleagues is someone who we didn't’ hire a few years ago...things changed, projects launched an voila he’s now a great fit for the team. This made me think back over my career and it’s happened quite a bit.

2) Build your network - Keeping in touch with people is the only way to build your network. So, dropping a call to that friendly recruiter or hiring manager may not lead to an immediate role but will build up your professional network...which will eventually pay dividends.

3) Referrals! - Didn’t think of this one did you? That’s right, keeping in touch with people keeps you in the front of their mind and when someone they know has a need....they’ll think of you.

Quick post, but I really wanted to share how important I think this is to do. People say “keep in touch” all the time but no one ever me, build this into your daily routine and you’ll find yourself with an improved network and just maybe a great new job too.