The “Athlete”

What makes someone an “athlete”?

This question randomly came up in a recent conversation with a friend. When she responded, her answers were purely physical, “Someone strong, someone [muscularly] built”. Her definition of an “athlete” centered around physical capabilities.

Google the word “athlete” and you get a slew of dictionary-term definitions — a person who is trained or skilled in exercise, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. By this definition, I grew up — and am — an “athlete”. I played competitive water polo, ranked nationally as a swimmer, and continue to push my physical limits.

However, when my friend flipped the question back to me, I found I have completely different take on being an “athlete”. To me, being an athlete is about one’s mindset, not physical capabilities.

Being an athlete is:

  • Striving for constant improvement. Kaizen.
  • Knowing that there will be days/weeks/months that suck but pushing through it anyway
  • Knowing that setbacks are just that
  • Taking one step backwards to take two forward
  • Showing consistency and perseverance.

If you have ever done any hiring or recruiting, I’d be willing to bet you have been told to “hire the best athlete”. But, what does this mean?

“Hiring the best athlete” does not mean that you should go look for D1 football players, Boston Marathon runners, or the next Serena Williams. The underlying common trait that these world-class athletes possess, after the super-human genetics that bless them, is that they all have that mindset that sets their drive… their driving motivators.

When you’re told to “hire the best athlete”, hire the ones with the intangibles listed above.

… Then tell them to flex so hard that their sleeves fall off. 😉

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Partnering with recruiting

There is a “lightbulb” moment for every recruiter when their hiring leaders truly partner with them. It doesn’t happen often enough (unfortunately), but it does happen. And, when it does, we want those leaders to know that we are grateful for your collaboration with our efforts. Together, we can accomplish so much!

 

I am proud to be a part of a company where every one of my hiring leaders puts hiring as a priority, and sees recruiting as an extension of their own business units. Recruiting is more than just filling seats. It’s finding the best person, with the best skill set, and the best attitude for that seat. It’s finding what works, not only, for the candidate but for the hiring leader. It’s finding that beautiful match.

 

That being said, to all you hiring leaders who partner with your recruiting team…

 

THANK YOU!

My Recruiting Toolbox

Every recruiter has one… their go-to box of the latest-and-greatest gadgets that help reach and engage with candidates to fill their pipeline.

Over the last decade, recruiting has changed. A lot. When I initially got into recruiting, I was filling my pipeline primarily through inbound applications, a lot of cold calling (hello whitepages.com), and employee referrals. Today, my arsenal includes, but is not limited to: text messages, Twitter mentions, hashtags, and timed-email blasts.

Keeping on top of trends is important to keeping any career robust. Though I must say, there are many who are extremely successful sticking to their “old school ways”. Major kudos for keeping up in an ever-changing industry!

I’ve played around with a lot of different tools over the past few years, and have landed on the ones I use religiously. Below, I list my Top 5 tools in my toolkit.

  1. LinkedIn — Every new-age recruiter says “I don’t rely on LinkedIn”. They lie. While some candidates in some geographies don’t live and breathe on LinkedIn, there are 450 million profiles on there that we can search. That’s a LOT of people, guys! While I don’t necessarily agree that LinkedIn Recruiter is an absolute “must”, being active on LinkedIn is.
  2. Email Hunter — A cool little Chrome extension that sits on top of LinkedIn. When you go to someone’s profile, a red “Email Hunter” button appears. Click on it, and it searches for an email that is likely to get you connected. 99% of the time, it is a work email. But, hey. I guarantee you they open their work email every day!
  3. Mixmax — I’ve always said that recruiters are professional stalkers. Mixmax allows me to take this to a new level. I can track when my emails get opened and when links get clicked on. I can actively see when you open my email, and I will ping you RIGHT when you do because I know you’re looking at my message. Sneaky, I know. On top of this, Mixmax offers a slew of other things I love. You can insert calendar availability to schedule candidate screenings (we use Googlemail and it integrates seamlessly, but I’m unsure of other servers), schedule emails to go out at a certain time/date (useful for overseas recruiting efforts), snooze emails to reappear in your inbox at a later time or date (great for those emails that aren’t super urgent).
  4. Prophet — A free Chrome extension that allows you to see information about people – email addresses, phone numbers, and any social sites they are active on – as a pretty little pop-up on the right hand side of your screen. The only downside is that this extension will not work on top of LinkedIn (as most don’t, ugh). I’ve found this to be a great tool for really understanding who a candidate is. What are they passionate about? Are they bad mouthing their employer on Twitter? Ooooh… puppy!
  5. Rapportive — This is a Chrome and/or Firefox extension that allows you to see a person’s LinkedIn profile right in your Gmail inbox. Once you open an email, you can see their picture (if they have one posted on LinkedIn), their location, what they do, the company they work for, and any shared connections. I’ve found this particularly useful in building instant rapport when getting responses back from candidates. Pretty nifty.

Do any of you use these tools? Do you use any others that aren’t on this list? If so, let me know! I’d love to explore them!

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Recruiting is like sales

I come across profiles of candidates who I think would make great recruiters. . . but their background isn’t in HR/Recruiting. How can that be, you ask?  It’s simple. Recruiting is JUST like sales. The roles are analogous; they are one in the same.

Hear me out.

Sales / Job description

  • Identify target audience (enterprise, mid-market, small business, tech, healthcare, finance, government, etc)
  • Prospect and cold call
  • Follow up on warm leads (ie: inbound leads)
  • Peel the onion and find pain points
  • Close business
  • Get contracts in place

Recruiting / Job description

  • Identify target audience (sales reps, field marketing, financial analyst)
  • Prospect and cold call
  • Follow up on warm leads (ie: inbound applicants)
  • Peel the onion and find pain points
  • Close candidate
  • Get contracts in place (ie: employment contract)

I’ve seen a number of people successfully make the move from sales to recruiting and they’ve done amazingly well. Sales is a grind. But, guess what? So is recruiting.

I made the change from sales to recruiting back in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I loved the grind and I loved the commission checks, but something was missing. Read more here.

What do you think? Are sales and recruiting closely aligned?

 

How to lose a candidate in 10 days

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our thoughts are circling around the hopes of our “interests” liking us as much as we like them!

In Recruiting’s case, we want to make sure our candidates love us as much as we love them.  But, let’s be realistic.  Sometimes, we (recruiting) don’t always do the right things to win them over.  Rather, the question should be… what are we NOT doing?  Hint: The answer isn’t “sending them flowers on their birthday”

Below are 10 ways to lose a candidate:

  1. Job description doesn’t match the actual job duties.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times a Hiring Manager (HM) has given me a job description to post, only for me to find out later down the interview process that s/he is looking for something completely different.  If this is irritating for the recruiter, imagine how the candidate feels.  Make sure what you are asking for is what you actually want.
  2. Failing to update them on their candidacy.  This one is self explanatory, I feel.  If you’re interviewing, wouldn’t YOU want to know where you stand?  Even if it’s a “thanks, but no thanks”
  3. Being non-responsive.  I know a lot of recruiters who let candidates’ emails, phone calls, and text messages just simmer in their inboxes.  I don’t know about you, but doesn’t this scream “I [the recruiter] don’t care enough about your candidacy to respond to you”
  4. Not answering questions directly.  Why don’t you know the answers to their questions?  If you don’t know the answer, did you go find out and then relay the answer back to them?  Not knowing answers is a big red flag.
  5. Related to #3, dancing around questions.  Don’t dance around questions.  Answer them directly.  Show them you are a no-BS type of recruiter/company.
  6. Saying one thing, but meaning another.  “You’re one of our finalists!”… yet they never hear from you again.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
  7. Having a tedious interview process.  Long, drawn-out interview processes are a candidate killer.  There is a limit on what seems appropriate.  Depending on the level of the hire, I’d say anywhere between 4-5 interviews should be plenty to know whether you will hire this candidate or not.  Do not — I repeat, do not — make them go through 8-10-15 rounds of interviews.  It makes it look like you can’t make up your mind, or that the company is unorganized.
  8. Too much shuffling, too little communication.  “Wait, I have a new recruiter?  Who’s this new person the recruiter copied on this email? Why is she emailing me now? Who’s my main point of contact???”  Keep your candidate informed along the way… all steps of the process.
  9. Being arrogant.  This is simple.  Don’t be arrogant.  Candidates know you are the recruiter and that they have to, first, win YOU over before you pass them forward.  That doesn’t give you (the recruiter) the right to completely disrespect your candidate(s).  You were a job searcher at one point in your life, too… and you will likely be one again.
  10. Undervaluing the candidate.  This one is a personal pet peeve.  The candidate comes and says “Today, I make 150k base salary, with a 10% bonus”.  Once the company gets to offer stage, they offer the candidate 120k base, 5% bonus.  That’s a punch in the gut to the candidate.  The sell of “If they want to work here, they will take the offer” doesn’t always fly.

Let’s keep our phenomenal candidates and treat them with the respect they deserve!

Head down, chin up!

Today, I give thanks…

In light of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks.

Thank you to all my readers for reading my random ramblings.  Thank you to my candidates for being so open with me and for sharing your dreams with me.  Thank you to my teammates who continue to show me they’re a great bunch of folks to work with.

To my US-followers, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  To my non-US-followers, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you also 🙂

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