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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I never heard back. Why?

There comes a time when everyone thinks, “I thought I interviewed well.  What happened?  Why didn’t I get through to the next round?”  I think it’s human nature to always be asking “why”.  Let’s split this into a few scenarios:

You submitted your resume, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Before I make the decision to email/call you back, I look at your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, your blog posts, your Google+ page.  I Google you.  I have seen the rants about your job, how much you hate your boss, how you can’t wait for the day to be over.  I have seen the, sometimes, “unclassy” pictures of your drunken stupor from last weekend.  Would you hire you after seeing these things?
  • Your grammar.  Did you pass 2nd grade?  If so, I expect you to know the difference between “their”, “there”, and “they’re”.  Not only is this a poor reflection on you, but I risk my reputation as a recruiter as well.
  • Your resume is hard to read.  Why is it not in chronological order?  How long did you work at XYZ Corp?  When did you leave XYZ Corp?  Why is the font so small???  
  • Your resume is lackluster.  I can tell when you just copy a job description into your resume.  That’s great.  But tell me what YOU did in that role.
  • Your resume lacks information I want/need to see.  You’re in sales, and you don’t tell me how AWESOME you are at closing deals?  Why not?  Are you not proud of your accomplishments?  Things that make me go “hmm” will quickly put you in the reject pile.  

I had a phone interview with the recruiter, but never heard back.  Why?

  • You didn’t do your research.  Tsk tsk.  Always – ALWAYS – do a little reading on the company you’re interviewing with beforehand.  Know what their offerings are, know who their target clients are, know what questions you want to ask.  What else can you research?  The recruiter.  Find out where they went to school, their career history… use it to your advantage.  Build rapport with them off of any commonalities you might have.
  • You talk too much.  Long-winded answers rarely get you anywhere.  Why aren’t you listening to questions I’m asking?  Why aren’t you answering my question directly?  What are you dancing around?  Nerves are hard to overcome in interviews, I get it.  But you have to listen for cues.  What is the recruiter asking of you?  What kind of information does the recruiter need to evaluation your background? 
  • Your answers sound rehearsed and redundant.  Are you telling me the same thing using different words?  Have you said these sentences/phrases over and over in front of a mirror, and in every interview?  We can hear these nuances.
  • You don’t follow directions.  I found you on LinkedIn, I already have access to your profile.  When I ask for a resume, please send it to me.  Don’t direct me back to your LinkedIn page.  Not following an “ask” is a tell-tale sign of how much you want something.  
  • You interview poorly.  I have said it a million times, “interviews are just conversations”.  We are here to learn about each other.  I talk to some candidates where I feel like I’m trying to pull teeth.  Brag about yourself!  Be confident in your abilities.  Ask questions right back at the recruiter.  Just as we’re interviewing you, interview us!

I had an interview with the hiring manager, but never heard back.  Why?

  • Lack of detail.  By the time you’ve gotten to the hiring manager, they are looking for details on why you’d be great at a job.  If you can’t back up statements like “I’m a successful sales rep” with things like “I achieved 200% of my quota YOY by continuously prospecting my territory, fearlessly hunting and cold calling, and continuously analyzing my plan of attack”, the hiring manager isn’t going to be able to assess how well you’d do here.   
  • You didn’t send a “thank you”.  Call it what you will.  Some hiring managers don’t care.  Some do.  Some make it a “mandatory”, while others are just a “nice to have”.  But, why not increase your chances by taking 2 minutes out of your day to email them?  Show them you want it!

Job searches are hard.  Some would say, interviews are harder.  They’re stressful, they put you in a position of vulnerability.  Approach your job search like you would any other tough situation in life — head on!   

Remember… head down, chin up!  

 

Job Hunting is Like Dating!

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Friends, we have all been there.  The wonderful world of dating!  Whether you are still courting your neighbor, flirting with every cute girl that walks into your office space, spending your time with your one-and-only (for now), or fully committed to Prince Charming… we have all “been there”.  The trials and tribulations of dating teaches us so many things in life.

… Like how to job search!

What?!  Seriously, Lianne?  Yes!  Let me explain.

PART 1:  Finding the “one”

  1. Setting standards.  As in dating, we need to know what we want.  If you have no direction, how will you ever find Mr. Right?  Take your standards and apply them to your job search.  What are you looking for?  What excites you?  What is an absolute deal-breaker?  What are you willing to compromise on?  Do you have your heart set on anything?
  2. First impressions matter.  Ask anyone about what they first noticed about their partner?  For fun, I asked my sister’s boyfriend and he responded, “How put together she was compared to everyone else”.  Couldn’t have said it better.  What is going to set you apart from everyone else?  How will the employer remember you, and not the guy who interviewed before you?
  3. Desperation stinks.  Who wants a stage-five clinger?  Don’t be that person.  Employers want to know they are hiring someone with options, not someone who will take the first thing thrown at them.  They want to know they are investing in YOU and what you bring to the table.
  4. Be yourself.  You want your date to like you for who you are… not who you pretend to be.  In the same regard, employers want to hire YOU!  Not who you are pretending to be.  Facades only get you so far.
  5. Two way street.  Dating is a two way street.  Do you like me as much as I like you?  No?  Then it probably will not work out in the long run.  A job hunt is the same way.  While it may work in the short-term, the company has to be just as much a fit for you, as you are for them.
  6. No big egos.  Big egos are a turn-off in almost any situation.  Need I say more?

PART 2:  Stages

  1. Courting.  Flirting with disaster?  Luring the forbidden?  Whatever you call it, you need to find a way to make them notice you!  How will you do that?  Wearing a big sparkly hat at the restaurant?  Maybe.  In a job search situation, being an industry expert certainly sets you apart.
  2. Dating.  This is essential.  It is where people learn about each other, where they learn whether or not they like what is under the makeup, where they determine if you fit their “standards” (see Part 1, #1).  Dating is like interviewing.  It’s a time for both parties to ask questions, to probe and to prodder about things that they want to know about, to find out what they love and hate about you.
  3. The Close.  After a few weeks, you know you’re 100% into her.  You want to spend all your time with her, and no one else.  You know you’ve found the match!  Now what?  Close to deal.  Make her your “better half”.  Just as in dating, when you find that company that is a mutual fit, find a way to seal the deal.  Sell them on your ability to transform their organization.

What do you think now?  Dating and job searching are pretty similar, huh?  That’s what I thought.

I wish you all a life full of happiness together 🙂

 

As always… chin up, head down!

 

Working with Recruiters (Hiring Manager version)

Hiring Managers, this post is for you.

As your recruiter, my job is to help you hire your perfect candidate.  My job is to understand your group’s weaknesses, faults, and areas that you need to improve upon.  My job is to help you fill the gaps and inconsistencies.  My job is to help you.  I have said it a couple of times in previous posts, “help me, help you”.  We work as a partnership.  We need to be friends and each others’ most critical colleague.  

In my career as a Corporate Recruiter, I have come across different Hiring Manager types:

  1. The “Helper”.  In my opinion, this is the best type of Hiring Manager to work with.  This is the one who wants to help the Recruiter do their job.  Responding to emails, answering calls, providing feedback, being readily available for interviews… all in a timely manner.
  2. The “Do It For Me”.  This is the Hiring Manager who thinks that the perfect hire comes without work.  That they will just appear.  Typical behavior of this Hiring Manager is a “do what you want with the candidate” attitude.  Everything is done … albeit, slowly, and at their availability. 
  3. The “Ghost”.  This Hiring Manager is the hardest to work with.  They are the ones who never respond to emails, calls, text messages.  They don’t provide feedback on candidate resumes, interviews, or questions about their open positions.  They are the ones who get angry at you for not filling their position three weeks ago, when you otherwise hadn’t heard a peep from them.  

Each profile has their pros/cons, as with everything in life.  But as YOUR Recruiter, here are some suggestions on how to work with the ones who are trying to hire for you:

  1. Be responsive.  All the time, on time.  We work hard for you.  We cold call, research (some call it “career stalk”!) candidates, extensively screen candidates for tough information (ie: salary and compensation structure, reasons for leaving, what they hate about their current position).  We spend a LOT of time trying to find the best candidate for you.  Please respond timely to emails/phone calls.  Your company’s Candidate Experience relies on it also.  
  2. Provide feedback.  Did I send you a candidate profile that wasn’t a good fit?  Tell me why.  Was it his personality?  Was he missing a programming language?  Did he not show up to the interview?  Wrong background?  Too tenured, too junior?  The more feedback we get from you, the more refined our search becomes for your perfect hire.
  3. Accept interviews.  We understand you are busy doing your “real” job… the one your title suggests.  But, to build out your team, you will need to accept interviews at odd hours (sometimes after 5pm).  If you don’t make time to interview these candidates, how can we get to the point of extending an offer?  Bottlenecks are not good.
  4. Be open minded.  No candidate (and I repeat … no candidate) that is 100% what you are looking for.  Be open, and willing, to think outside the box.  You never know who may surprise you, and with what. 

As always… chin up, head down!  Work hard, stay humble.

 

Burning Bridges, Part II

I am an optimist.  I always try to find the best in people… Until I encounter something ridiculous.  I am always surprised by what I encounter on a weekly basis as a recruiter.

When interviewing with a company, the rule of thumb “don’t burn bridges” applies greatly.  I had a candidate who was interviewing for one of my open positions.  Seemingly great background, good personality match, and he and I had a great conversation.  But, we aren’t moving forward with him…  And here is why:

  1. Hung up on his interviewer.  He was mid-conversation with the Hiring Manager (HM) when the HM asked a tough question about management, who he works under, etc.  Understandable question since HM used to work for this candidate’s current company.  The candidate must have been terrified because he quite literally hung up on the HM, and was not reachable after that.
  2. Was misleading about their employment.  As mentioned above, the HM had previously worked at the candidate’s “current” company.  I put current in quotes because the candidate was no longer an active employee.  Naturally, we (recruiters) will find out as much as we can about a candidate through means of our own.  As I’ve mentioned in previous posts… We know people, who know people.
  3. Hit on the recruiter.  Check out the final email I received (below).  This is not ok.  Ever.

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My advice?  There is a way to bow out of an interview (or anything, really) gracefully.  Don’t burn bridges; you never know when you will need that network.

“Help me, help you”

As Jerry Maguire so famously said, “Help me, help you.”

I receive emails from former colleagues on a weekly basis, without fail.  “Can you help me with my resume?  Can you help me with my job search?  How do I go about this interview?”  I would LOVE to help you.  Honestly, I would.  The whole reason I got into recruiting was because I love helping people.

But, unfortunately, I can’t do it FOR you.  If you need help with your resume, have a barebones/skeletal one that we can work off of.  I can help you make improvements, can offer suggestions, and offer insight from a recruiter’s point of view.  If you want me to help you with your job search, tell me what you’re looking for… show me you’ve done some work researching the company, position, and qualifications.  Want help with the interview?  Great!  What exactly do you want to work on?

Too many times, I feel people want me to DO their work FOR them.  I can’t do that for you, friends.  I don’t know your deepest, darkest desires.  I don’t know what makes you excited, nor what makes you tick.  I don’t know where you want to be 10 years from now, let alone where you want to be tomorrow.

So, before you go out and ask your recruiter friends for help, do yourself (and them) a favor and do your homework first.

 

Chin down, head up! 🙂

Going About Your Job Search

I had drinks with a former colleague of mine last night who, unfortunately, is on the job hunt.  Over the course of two hours, we sat talking about the types of companies that are popping up, the ingenuity (and sometimes, pure chance) of the people creating these companies, the opportunities he’s interested in, the companies he’s interested in, and what he’d love to be doing.

In listening to him talk about how he is going about finding opportunities for himself, it made me realize how many different approaches people take to navigate the job market.  Maybe you are using one of these strategies.  Maybe you aren’t using any of them at all.  Perhaps you could use a fresh set of techniques to assist you in your search.

I’ll outline some of the most common…

Job Boards.  Oh, the tried and true job boards.  There’s something to be said about them.  They’ve existed this long because the strategy works.  There’s a demand and a certain means to find that supply.  Easily searched, easily found.  It is a win-win for both employer and job seeker.

Target Companies.  Who wouldn’t want to work for a sexy “brand name” like Facebook, Google, or Pinterest?  We all know those companies and many want to work for them to have the company name on their resume.  In the same regard, however, there are smaller niche companies that tend to attract certain candidates.  In the same way, those job seekers specifically target opportunities at those companies.

Corporate Recruiters.  As a Corporate Recruiter, I say with certainty, that people search LinkedIn for “Corporate Recruiter” and connect with all of them with a note saying something in the likes of “I’m interested in working for your company. Please contact me so we can chat.”

Agency Recruiters.  An agency recruiter is one that is contracted out to many companies to fill roles.  They usually have a book full of listings they are trying to fill.  While they are acting as these company’s recruiters, they are also building relationships with people like you.  Learning about your likes, dislikes, career history, career progression, and dreams.  I see them as match makers.  If you are in a niche market, find a recruiter that specializes in your trade.

Networking.  How often have you heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?  There’s a lot of truth that rings behind this statement.  Someone you meet today, could very well be tomorrow’s founder of the next-big-thing.  Your dad’s old high school teammate and now fellow Board Member, is now the CEO of *insert big company name here*.  And your ex-girlfriend?  Well, she’s the lead recruiter for that position you so eagerly have your eye on.

LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is a great way for job seekers to follow companies, find job postings, figure out the people who posted the job posting, and network with people who currently (or formerly) worked there.  Using LinkedIn to network (see above) is also a great use of time for job seekers.  One day, it’ll certainly come in handy.

Social Media.  With the popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter, finding an opportunity via this medium is becoming a new trend.  There are millions of people and companies that have accounts on these networks and “social recruiting” is a growing trend in the recruiting world.  Find, follow, and interact with those companies/individuals that interest you.

Now, you are probably sitting there thinking “Which technique works the best?”  My honest answer: All of the above.

Happy hunting!