WFH Tips

In light of the actions many companies are taking around COVID-19, I want to highlight a few things that have helped me be successful as a remote employee. Let me start with this: I have been a remote employee for the last decade of my career. I love it. It’s flexible. It’s challenging. It’s tiring. It’s rewarding.

Let’s first talk about challenges. Whether your office is in your home, at your local coffee shop, or at a shared workplace, the hurdles that remote employees face are the same. How do you stay focused? How do you deal with distractions? How do you stay motivated? How do you show “progress” in your work? How do you keep your morale up when you are “alone” day after day?

Challenges are present whether you are an office employee or a remote one. How you embrace these challenges set you apart. Here are my top five tips for WFH (working from home):

Disclosure: Every company is different in what they expect, and how they embrace and interact with their remote workforce, so please be sure to ask your leaders how to best work with them.

  1. Find your work space. While “working from home” has its perks — like working from home! — it also has its downfalls (hello, sofa!). Sofas are comfortable and great for watching TV and lounging at the end of a busy day. Is it the best and most conducive place for you to get your best work done? It may be! It may not be. Take a look at your surroundings and find the place that will inspire your best work.
  2. Schedule your day. Just as if you were in the office, block your calendar. Utilize it to keep you on track of your tasks.
  3. Project manage. You and you alone are responsible for your day, and how you manage your time. How you do so will be critical. What tools are you using to help you stay organized? How are you going to most effectively using your time?
  4. Get on the phone/video call with your colleagues. Don’t chat about work. Just talk! Office employees have this at their fingertips. Remote employees have to give a little extra to get a little extra interaction. These small moments of connecting with your colleagues can really help keep you grounded to your role, to your responsibilities, and to your company.
  5. Be responsive. Your teammates can’t see you. They can’t come find you at your desk, or at the coffee machine, if they need you. Make yourself available — be it via email, Slack/Skype/etc, or phone. Small caveat. Do not fall into the trap of always being available. You have a life, your family, your personal obligations. Working remotely does not mean “working always”.

As I reflect back on the last decade of my career, working from my dining room table in a condo in the San Francisco Bay Area, I find few things more rewarding. Being a remote employee has its challenges, but those challenges have made me a stronger and a more effective employee. It allows me to balance my life commitments and my career.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to bounce some ideas off me. I’m happy to help out how I can!

Stay healthy.

It’s an “evolution”

My husband and I are firm believers in “evolution”. I’m not talking about the process by which living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified over the course of history, but rather the process by which we live and set goals. Let me explain.

 

Every year, every birthday, every job, every home, every time in our lives we should strive to make it better than the last. Like most things in life, evolution is never linear. But to trend upwards, to be able to say that I’m healthier, happier, more engaged, more “complete” today than I was yesterday makes me incredibly happy.

 

I’ve been lucky that, throughout my career, I’ve been able to make this same kind of upward trajectory. There have certainly been times where I questioned what I was doing, why I was doing it, and for whom I was doing it for. Over the course of the last 13 years, I lived by something an old mentor told me, “Strive to make yourself uncomfortable. That’s where you’ll grow the most.”

 

I have made a lot of mistakes, leapt (and tripped face first) over hurdles, turned my back on opportunities, and have jumped because someone told me to. Every single decision I have made, good or bad, has led me to where I am today, and, for that, I am thankful.

 

We may not all start off in a career/job that we dream of, but the ultimate goal is to get that place where everything feels “right”. I encourage you to make yourself uncomfortable.

 

Try something that you didn’t think you’d do… professionally, or personally. Be like Nike and “just do it”.

 

 

Person vs Candidate

As I was preparing a candidate for their final interview, he closed the call with this statement:

 

“I feel like I’ve been treated like a person, not a candidate… thank you for that. It’s so rare and it really makes you guys stand out.”

 

This was music to my ears!

 

Riding high on my giddiness, I publicly posted a snippet of the above quote on Twitter and LinkedIn. Not more than 24 hours later, I had a slew of direct/private messages asking something along the lines of “how can I make this happen for me, as a candidate?”

 

I had to take pause on this because I failed to realize that few candidates realize that it’s not them, it’s us!!! This has nothing to do with what you (candidate) are (or aren’t) doing. The responsibility lies 100% on us, the Recruiter/Recruiting Team/Hiring Leader that you are working with. It’s our responsibility to reach out with updates when we have them – or don’t have them. It’s our responsibility to connect with you on a human level. It’s our responsibility to give you the respect that you deserve as a candidate.

 

Candidate experience can be two-fold.

 

On one hand, very much like a company’s culture, how a Recruiter approaches candidate experience can come from the top. How is the organization differentiating themselves in this fight for talent? How will candidates remember the company after the interview process is over? What will candidates tell their friends about the company, regardless of whether they receive an offer?

 

On the other hand, candidate experience can be very recruiter-driven. How well do I (recruiter) want to be remembered by you (candidate)?

 

I don’t know who to address this blog to, so I will address the two parties.

 

To candidates — You are not doing anything “wrong” when your experience is subpar. No excuses from us as recruiters. It’s not ok (in my book).

 

To recruiters / hiring leaders — Let’s follow the golden rule of recruiting… Treat candidates the way you want to be treated.

 

PS – Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

2018 SKO Reflection

Allow me a moment of reflection.

 

This week, Pluralsight held its Sales Kickoff in Orlando, Florida. Over 300 individuals in the sales organization, together under one roof, celebrating the huge year we had in 2017 and planning for 2018 success. To hear the tremendous feats that we accomplished this year left me walking away from each session with a smile.

 

What made me smile more was meeting many of the 200+ sales hires my colleagues and I have made over the last 12 months. Those individuals who made an impact in 2017. Those individuals who will make a huge impact in 2018.

 

But, what made me smile even more was the fact that every single person we met was here for the same reason… and that energy overflowed! They all believe in what we are trying to accomplish as a company. They feel the passion that exudes from our leadership. And they all want to work together to lead towards success. The intensity is contagious!

 

As we move into the week after Kickoff, I leave you with this message…

 

Find a company whose mission and values you can truly stand behind. It is then you will do the best work of your life.

 

Love what you do.

 

 

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!

Recruiter

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!