Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pushing Forward Back - Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

Well, here we are at the end of the year and I wanted to get one last blog done before welcoming in 2012.  You may be wondering, what does “Pushing Forward Back” mean?  Well, it’s a great tune by Temple of the Dog and you know me....I love me some grunge music.  You can check the video here if you haven’t seen it.  Anyway, the idea of this post is a chance for me to push back on 2011 and look forward to 2012

Pushing Back

- Huge thank you to all the folks who took time to read my blogs this year.  Between this blog and cross posts on and the Google Student Series over 20K people took time to listen to me’s humbling, thank you.  Extra special thanks to those of you who commented on my posts and reached out for additional advice/thoughts

- Major thanks to all the folks on Twitter and G+ who shared their thoughts/insights with me. Its shocking to me how much a tool like Twitter can teach you about recruiting

- Personally and professional 2011 was a great year.  TONS of great stuff with fantastic family, friends and colleagues....2012 you’ve got big shoes to fill

- Congrats to my Boston Bruins for winning the Cup this year.  So happy to had a chance to see my Boston teams win a title (or two...or three) during the last 10 years....awesome.

Pushing Forward

- 2012 will be presenting a great deal of professional challenges for me...and I’m ready.  Can’t wait actually.

- Social Media is going to take a huge leap this me, great stuff coming....especially on G+.  Trust me, this will be so cool.

- In a strange sense of irony, I’ll be teaching a course this Spring at Northeastern University on Social Media.  Specifically related to strategy, assessment and governance.  I hope I’m up for the challenge.

- Finally, I hope to keep this blog growing.  I wanted to really expand the amount of content here and went from 17 posts in 2012 to 32 in 2011 so that’s good progress.  REALLY want to break 50 next year.....not sure I’ve got that much to say but I’ll try.  I almost hit 50 if you count the Google Student blogs....but I don’t.  So here’s to 50 in 2012.

Happy New Year everyone, here's hoping 2012 brings a good fortune and exciting opportunities to everyone!


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!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A few thoughts on building a diverse organization

Ok, so I have no idea where this diversity series is taking me....but hopefully you’ll come along for the ride.  I just got back from speaking on a discussion panel so my mind is going a mile a minute on this topic.  What I’d like to address is how, we as recruiting professionals can help our organizations continue to hire and grow awesome, diverse talent.  Here are a few thoughts:

Pipeline - Build a big, massive, diverse pipeline of candidates.  A lot of times our hiring managers are looking for the perfect well the should!  However, if we don’t have a huge pipeline we are doing them a disservice.  How will they know they have the perfect candidate if every person looks the same and has the same background?  Taking the time to create a robust pipeline of candidates will ensure that when a req opens you can show your managers a broad set of candidates so they can make the best hire.  Exposing your managers to more diverse candidates will allow them to hire the best...while moving the needle on diversity.  That’s a win-win folks.

Process - When thinking about diversity, we should all be looking at how our process works and make sure it’s not screening out potentially great people...we should be screening great talent IN!  What’s this you say?  I like to think of the entire recruiting process as a series of “microdecisions”.  Recruiters figure out who to talk to based on a bunch of factors, managers do the same thing, interviewers and so on and so on.  Another phrase I like is “Death by a Thousand Papercuts”.  Now, you don’t want a process that does this to great candidates.  Some amazing people didn’t go to college, others went to State schools (ahem) so you have to be really careful that your process doesn’t just nuke candidates b/c of preconceived notions of “who” or “what” makes a great candidate...on paper.  

Advocate for the great - Again, we as recruiters have to keep the goals and objectives in mind when trying to make a hire.  We are the experts in hiring, defenders of the culture..voice of the candidates.  We need to speak up and advocate for people we think are great.  Again, you’ll notice I’m not saying pick the diversity person over the non-diverse...what I’m saying is, hire the best, period.  The best might be a diverse candidate...the best might be a white dude from NH...doesn’t matter “who” is the best.  What matters, is that we recruiters are advising our managers and forcing them to think long and hard about what “great” means for every job.

Ok, that’s it, sorry if this is a little rambling.  I wrote most of this on a flight home from California and wanted to get a few thoughts out there and see if we could keep the conversation going from my last blog.  To me, diversity recruiting is about awareness and making sure that when we hire, we show our managers as broad a set of candidates as we can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

An Intro to Diversity and Diversity Recruiting

I’m back from a trip to CA and a week of vacation...feeling pretty good.  I wanted to get started on a small series about Diversity and what Diversity recruiting means to me.  It’s an issue that is a real challenge for those of us recruiting but it’s bigger than that.  I honestly don’t know what this blog series will look like....but that’s the fun part right?  So, let’s get it started....

What is Diversity?
Diversity is about having a broad set of employees that represents people from all kinds of backgrounds and makes your internal population representative of the population as a whole.  Make sense?  People from different backgrounds (ethnic, sex, financial, geographic, sexual orientation, etc etc) bring different perspectives and ideas to the workplace than if your team is made up of a bunch of folks with identical backgrounds.

Why should your company care?
Well, regardless of any legal or social responsibility’s a competitive advantage.  Companies thrive on new, innovative ideas.  What better way to increase the innovation engine than to have a set of employees who have the ability to take their diverse experiences, apply them to your companies hardest problems and come up with great solutions.  Diversity is a lot of things, but most importantly it’s good business.

What Diversity is NOT...
Diversity is not about lowering your hiring bar or excluding others in order to hire a diverse team.  No, no, no, wrong attitude.  I’ve heard the word “reverse discrimination” and couldn’t disagree more.  Diversity, from a recruiting and hiring standpoint, is about building the biggest most diverse pipeline of candidates you possible can...and hiring the absolute best of that group.

Hopefully these few quick thoughts will set the table for a deeper dive on this topic as it’s a real passion of mine.  Also, for those of you loyal readers out there I wanted to apologize for the scarcity of my blogs lately.  Doing the series over at the Google Student Blog has been sapping my creative juices...but I’m getting my groove back.

Ok, that’s it for week I’ll get more into how to build a diverse pipeline of candidates...and hire them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Vacation ramblings.......

As many of you know, I’m on vacation this week.  I didn’t want to write a full post, did that already for the Google Students site.  BUT, I did want to share a few thoughts.  This vacation has been awesome and has really helped me clear out the old brain....I’ll be back next week full recharged.  With that, here are a few rambling, disconnected thoughts from a recruiter on vacation:

As the economy continues to sputter, I worry we’ve got tough times ahead...again....hold on tight

Hire the best.  Don’t compromise or apologize for insisting on the best person.

Networking is an absolute must, if you aren’t networking you are falling behind.

Diversity isn’t just a catch phrase or social’s a competitive advantage.

Changing jobs is a life decision for for people, we as recruiters, hiring managers and peers need to keep this in mind.  This is serious stuff.

Why do you leave vacation on the table?  Take it all and don’t burn out.

Hire for the work, not the “role” you want to fill.

The only way to increase diversity in your workplace, is the build a bigger pipeline of candidates...and hire the best.

Coffee is for closers (ahh, that never gets old)

Ok, that’s it this week....hope you’re all having as much fun as I am......and until next time, good luck.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview tips from Gunnary Sergeant Hartman....Full Metal Jacket Recruiting

A colleague got me going on this blog idea...and after a little research I love it!. For those of you who don’t know who Gunnery Sergeant Hartman is, he’s one of the main characters in Full Metal Jacket and is pretty much crazy. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d highly recommend it. Stanley Kubrick is a genius. Anyway, Hartman is the drill sergeant training new troops before the head to Vietnam and has a bunch of good lines...most of them pretty inappropriate. That being said, there are a bunch of funny/good recruiting and job search tips. Here are a few of my favorites:

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “I'm Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your senior drill instructor. From now on you will speak only when spoken to, and the first and the last word out of your filthy sewers will be "Sir". Do you maggots understand that?”

Just to make sure we are all on the same page here, if you ever have a boss or interview with someone who even remotely sounds like this. Quit, walk out, start over...regardless, not a good place. Ok? Now onto the tips.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “What's your name, scumbag?”

Be nice in your interviews. What’s funny is the smallest things can really ruin your candidate experience. Now, hopefully you’d never call your candidate a scumbag but you get the point. Even just showing up late to an interview, talking short or expressing frustration makes your candidates uncomfortable. If you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath and clear your thoughts...then do the interview and do it well.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps.”

I love this one. Really, it’s good advice for anyone doing interviews. If you are conducting an interview, you’re the front lines of defending your corporate culture and employee brand. You have to your best to make sure that anyone you do recommend for good and fits into the organization. Take this responsibility seriously.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: “Do I make you nervous?”

Another tip about interview etiquette. The goal is to evaluate candidates and hire the good ones. Play nice, make people comfortable and learn as much as you can to determine if they are a great fit for your team.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: What's your excuse?
Private Cowboy: Sir, excuse for what, sir?
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I'm asking the f#&king questions here private. Do you understand?

Final piece of interview etiquette. Make sure you leave time for the candidate to ask you questions and do your best to interview them in as much detail as you can. Changing jobs is a life decision for people, the more information you can share on why someone should join...the more likely they are to want to accept your offer.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Are you quitting on me? Well, are you? Then quit, you slimy f#&king walrus-looking piece of sh#t!

Last tip and in my opinion one of the most important if you hope to have a long career. People will quit their jobs, people will leave for better opportunities and people will leave for reasons you don’t understand. It happens. No need to get angry about it. Wish them luck and keep in touch with them...remember, networking is your friend and former colleagues are some of the best people in your network.

Ok, that’s it this week. Kind of a different post which was a lot of fun but I hope you enjoyed it. Until next week, good luck out there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update on where to find me

As many of you know, I'm guest blogging for the Google Students blog over the next several weeks. If you are interested in these posts you can find them here

I'll have some new content here in the next few days too so keep an eye out and let me know what you think of the Google Students posts!

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.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"You're so money and you don't even know it"...words of wisdom from the movie "Swingers"

Swingers is one of my Top 10 favorite movies. Amazing story of the lives of struggling actors in LA trying to meet women. Mikey is sort of the lovable loser who is having a hard time getting over an ex-girlfriend...who ends up meeting “Lorraine” (a young Heather Graham) and ends up basically breaking all the rules that his friends taught him about women....only to find Lorraine loves it! Anyway, great movie...just a few words of wisdom related to recruiting and something fun that I wanted to do this week. Anyway, onto the movie lines.....

“This is like the skank shift.”

Great scene and a great line. Walking around looking at the blue hairs playing blackjack. Ever get this feeling when you enter a place that it’s the skank shift? Yeah? Don’t take the job. If you don’t understand “skank shift” um, nevermind....move along

“Give me the fucking part”

Trent explaining to the girls from the casino his experience interview for a part....unfortunately that part was to be of a boy, not a mid-20’s dude. Again, great scene. Recruiting link? When you feel like you’re a slam dunk for a should take a deep breath. Overconfidence in the job search is deadly and will kill your candidacy almost instantly.

“You're so money and you don't even know it! “

Ahhhh yes, Trent explaining to Mikey how money he is...and he doesn’t even know it. The opposite of overconfidence. When looking for a new job, be sure of yourself. You’ve got skills, there is a reason why the company asked you in for an interview. Prove them right.

“You know what. Ha ha ha Mike, laugh all you want but if you call too soon you might scare off a nice baby who's ready to party.”

Another fantastic scene examining the science of calling a girl back after you meet here...moral of the story, men are pretty silly. However, for your job search this is great advice. Don’t call 10 minutes after your interview asking for feedback. Give the team time to evaluate you and send a nice thank you note. Haven’t heard back for 3-5 days...follow up and see if they have an update. Anything else might scare them off.

“So let me get this straight. The party started at eight. Why are we going to a bar at ten? “

Party scene in Beverley Hills....classic. Fasionably late for a party? You’re cool. Late for an interview? You’re toast. I think I say this every blog, show up on time for your interview.

“You're a big winner. I'm gonna ask you a simple question and I want you to listen to me: who's the big winner here tonight at the casino? Huh? Mikey, that's who. Mikey's the big winner. Mikey wins. “

No recruiting link here, this is just my favorite line from the movie.....who’s the big winner? You are!

Ok, that’s it this week....stupid topic but it was fun and definitely a great movie if you haven’t seen it (or seen it lately) I’d highly recommend! Until next time, happy hunting.

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....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coughlin’s Laws and Recruiting

Ok, bunch of you guys are wondering what the hell I’m talking, quick history lesson. In 1988, Tom Cruise starred in “Cocktail” the story of a “talented NY bartender”. Well, I’m not sure I agree with that but this movie is the essence of 1980’s bad cinema....and I LOVE it! One of the main antagonists is Doug Coughlin who’s basically a drunk jerk.

That being said, he has the "laws" that he lives by and is generally obnoxious about them. Pretty much throughout the movie Coughlin sort of drops them into the conversation. Like I said, it’s amazing stuff and it is ALWAYS on cable.  I was thinking about a few of these laws and how they actually make great recruiting “laws”. So, without further adieu I present you with Couglin’s Laws of Recruiting:

Coughlin's Law: Anything else is always something better.

Sounds like the job search doesn’t it? I mean really, anytime you leave an interview it’s like the greatest thing ever.....well, remember, that’s probably not the case. See cliche “The grass is always greener” for further reference

Coughlin's law: Never tell tales about a woman. No matter how far away she is, she'll always hear you.

So many recruiting references here. I mean really, this isn’t specific to women but trash coworkers, former colleagues, companies, etc etc and someone will always find out. Be better than that people!

Coughlin's Law: Bury the dead, they stink up the place.

LOVE this Law. Lots of HR and Recruiting references here....I’m not even going to elaborate

Coughlin's Diet: "cocktails and dreams."

This has nothing to do with recruiting or HR but Tom Cruise opened a bar called “Cocktails and Dreams”. Seems like it would still be a good name for an 80’s bar...I’m just saying...

Coughlin's Law: Never show surprise, never lose your cool.

Best interview tip ever given by a drunk. Take this law to your interviews and you’ll do well.

And Finally..........

Coughlin's Law: As for the rest of Coughlin's Laws, ignore them. The guy was always full of shit.

Well, you could probably apply this one to lost of career advice you get...including my blog. So make sure you trust your gut and go with how you feel about a role when interviewing.

Until next time, happy hunting and good luck in the search!

If you really want to...but the movie here

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!