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!

Final Round Interviews

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As this quarter starts coming to a close, I have a handful of candidates entering final stage interviews.  They will meet the CEO, and we will either pull the trigger and make them an offer… or they will be left by the wayside.  With that in mind, I thought I’d take the time to shed some light on these nerve-wracking final interviews and give you some insight from the “inside” (generally speaking).

So, you applied for Position ABC at Company XYZ.  You’ve been through a phone screen, a 1st round interview, a 2nd round interview, perhaps a 3rd round interview, and you’ve been invited back for a final round!  Congratulations!

If we take a look at this logically, you would not have made it as far as you have if a) they didn’t like your resume b) you weren’t able to showcase your expertise, or c) they didn’t like you.  I bet that’s some weight off your shoulders, huh?

“But my final interview is with the {enter fancy title here}!!!”  How is this any different from the former interviews you have encountered?  This {enter fancy title here} is just another human being, just like you are.  And, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know my favorite saying… it’s just a conversation!

What can you expect in a final interview?  Great question.  If you’ve made it this far, the team is confident in your ability to deliver what is needed in the role.  They know what they want, and you have it!  Below are some general things final interviews are looking to cover (not an exclusive list):

  • How much do you want to work here?  Very important information.  There are the people who are running away from their current jobs, and then there are the people who are running towards this new opportunity in front of them.  Most companies want the people who are running towards them versus the other option.  Running away is never a good sign.  Why are you running?  What will happen here if you find yourself hating your job?  Will you run?  Tell them – better yet, show them! – how much you want to work there.  Show your excitement for the role, the company, and express your genuine interest in the industry.
  • Career path.  What’s the end goal for you?  We have to make sure our expectations align.  If you are coming in today as an Account Executive, and want to be CEO in the next 2 years… I’m not sure this is the place for you.  If you are coming in today as a Financial Analyst, and 3 years down the line you want to be a Finance Manager… let’s keep talking!  Make sure you know where you are, and where you are going.  Make sure the company lines up with what you want for yourself.
  • Culture fit.  What does this even mean?!  A company’s culture defines them.  It is the characteristics, values, and beliefs that make them who they are.  It is the “personality” of the company, if you will.  Do you fit into that personality?  Does it fit you?

As with any interview, come prepared with questions.  Show your interest in the company, and show you’ve done your research.  Interviews are two-way conversations.  As much as we are interviewing you, you are also interviewing us.  Take your time to get your questions answered, and we will do the same.

As always… head up, chin down!  Good luck!

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!