What did I do wrong??

Have you ever:

  • Sent an email to a recruiter… and never heard back?
  • Applied for a job… and never heard back?
  • Interviewed… and never heard back?

Let’s face it, the answer is a resounding “YES” to all of the above.  Don’t be shy.  We have all been there.  Even the best of us have struggled in our job searches.  And that’s ok!  So many times, I get asked “What did I do wrong?”

I can sum it up into one word: PRESENTATION.  This applies to anything and everything involved in an interview process.

Imagine the following scenario.  You email a recruiter, “Hi there, I’m intrested in the sales postion your posted on LinkedIn.  Selling SaaS software is my life, and I can’t wait to here from you!”  What’s wrong with this?  You want me to believe you’re great at what you do if you can’t use spell check?  Your crazy. (See what I did there? :))

Let’s try another scenario. You sent your resume into the “resume black hole”.  Why didn’t you get a call back?  I can go on and on and on about reasons why you didn’t.  But, let me list the most common.  1)  You weren’t a fit for the role.  Did you read the job description?  Do you have the required hard skills?  2) Your resume says another company’s name in the Objective.  “I want to help build NOT-YOUR-COMPANY’S brand to it’s potential.”  Great, good luck with that!  3) No contact information.  Surprised?  Don’t be.  A lot of times, candidates do not provide a good phone number or email address for us to reach them.  If we can’t reach you, how can you be considered for the role?

Ok, one more.  You got the call back!  Congrats!  You interviewed with the team, thought it went well, and… nothing.  I will say that it is NEVER ok for a recruiter/company to not provide you with an update to your candidacy.  But what could have possibly gone wrong?  You thought you had it in the bag!  Again, PRESENTATION.  Did you research the company?  Were you an off-the-wall bundle of energy interviewing at an old-school, play-by-the-rules corporation?  Did you wear jeans and a t-shirt to a super formal workplace?  Perhaps your thoughts were all over the place, or maybe you were a nervous wreck.

The moral of the story is: presentation.  Be diligent with you who present to your potential future employer.  How do you want them to see you?  What kind of person do you want them to view you as?  What is it they will gain by hiring you?

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


The Importance of Candidate Experience

Lately, there has been a lot of focus on the importance of candidate experience.  The value that candidate experience brings to a company is extremely powerful.  A poor candidate experience can ruin an otherwise great company and employment opportunity.  On the other hand, a great candidate experience has the power to give a company that competitive advantage in the hiring market place.
I have come to realize that there are just not enough “positive” candidate experiences out there.  In my own past job searches, I can’t even begin to count the lack of communication, lack of answers, and lack of genuine “care” for my candidacy.  Any offers I received, my preference almost always went to the company that provided me with the best overall interview experience – the one where the recruiter was responsive and kept me informed, where the managers were very informative and interactive, and where I felt I was being treated like a human being rather than a “just another resume”.
When I began my own interview process at SuccessFactors, I was overjoyed to find that my recruiter cared and made my interview experience fantastic.  I could not have asked for more.  As a company, SuccessFactors has always preached that we should “drink our own champagne”.  And, so here I am, as a SuccessFactors Recruiter, sharing how I hope to provide you with a great candidate experience.
SuccessFactors strives to keep as connected as possible with candidates through TwitterFacebookLinkedIn andGoogle+!
To me, the definition of candidate experience is how a company (and its recruiters) approach the recruiting process – how they interact with the candidate, how the candidate feels throughout the process, and ultimately how that all affects the candidate’s decision making process.  I firmly believe that recruiters have the power to influence an applicant’s attitude towards the company.  They are, after all, the first “face” of the company an applicant comes in contact with.
1)     Be warm and knowledgeable.  Answering all candidate questions with warmth and enthusiasm seems to matter heavily in the eyes of the applicant.
2)     You can never over-communicate.  “No news is good news” does not apply in recruiting.  As a recruiter, I try to let my candidates know of their application status weekly and will send them an email even if just to say “I don’t have an update for you yet”.  This goes a long way.  Be honest and keep the candidate as informed as possible – even if they are no longer being considered for the position.
3)     Offer feedback.  The interviewing candidate thought he was a good fit for the role, which is why he got to interview with the manager.  Offer to provide any feedback on why they did not get the job, where their weaknesses were, and/or how they can do better next time.  This falls under the “communication” category (see #2).
4)     Be reachable.  Whether it is by phone, email, or text messages, I try to make myself available to my candidates at all times.  I will answer promptly when they have questions about the interview process, interview preparation, or candidacy updates.  How many times have you felt your recruiter fell off the face of the earth?  Not with me.  I’m at your disposal for any question, big or small. On Twitter or LinkedIn.
In the end, when a candidate has a positive experience, whether they were offered the position or not, they are more likely to recommend the company to a colleague or another candidate, or return again in the future for a new opportunity.
That said, we promise to try to provide you with a great candidate experience.  And, if we’re not, please let us know so we can fix it!  We appreciate your interest and look forward to working with you.

** This blog appeared here on the SuccessFactors Blog

What Happens When You Assume…

I oftentimes get asked by friends to make edits to their resumes.  I actually really enjoy doing this.  It allows me to do a few things:

  • Sharpen my own skills
  • See where “the norm” is for resume writing
  • Realize where a lot of people go wrong
By example, I recently was helping a friend edit their resume.  The resume went back and forth with some edits, both on formatting and content.  My friend’s final draft came back with a note saying, “I took your edits and am using them as a guideline for interview questions, and I have answers prepared for them.”  The suggested edits were not in the resume. 
I cannot emphasize this enough – DO NOT ASSUME.  Do not assume anything.  Do not assume you will GET that interview to tell the interviewer your answers to the questions he wants to hear.  Do not assume that the recruiter knows what you are talking about when you say “Displayed great communication skills” (what does that even mean??).  
Leave nothing to chance.  If you want someone to know, tell them.  You may feel it will sound redundant if/when you get that interview, but at least you have covered your bases.
So, as you are preparing your resume, ask yourself:
  • What do I want the reader to know?
  • What do I know about my skills/qualifications that the reader does not?
  • How can I explain this to a reader who doesn’t have a background in what I do?
  • How can I show the reader that I am good at what I do?
  • How can I make myself stand apart from everyone else?
  • What kinds of questions would the reader have for me? How can I best answer them?
  • How can I make my resume easy for the reader to pinpoint me as the best candidate?
Good luck!  And, as always… I’m all ears!

Maintaining Recruiter Relationships

In the world of recruiting, building and keeping relationships are key for both parties.  As a recruiter, it benefits us to “keep tabs” on our best candidates, even if we don’t have an opportunity for them right now.  At some point down the line, we will have the perfect opportunity for you and we will reach back out to you to check your interest.  As a candidate, it is in your best interest to maintain a good/professional relationship with your recruiter since they may have the keys to your dream job… in a couple of months.
I cannot tell you how many times I have cut someone out of my network simply because they called 10 times too many in the course of a week, or how many times candidates lowered their “professional wall” because they were not an active viable candidate.
Maintaining recruiter relationships is good.  Setting expectations and boundaries are better.  Here are some ways to make the most out of your recruiter:
1)     Know your skill set.  I have received a number of emails from a number of candidates expressing interest in any and all job openings posted to our job boards.  Did you read the opening and the requirements?  If you don’t have the skill set we are looking for, you will likely not hear back from us.
2)     Be positive.  “Do you KNOW who I am?? I am ’s #1 sales rep and your email is offensive, rude, and unwanted.  Please take me off your spam list.”  You got it.  Coming off as rude will, almost always, put you immediately into our “trash” file.  We are just doing our jobs, and our jobs are to find the best talent out there for our company.  A “thanks, but no thanks” works wonders, and may work in your benefit down the line.
3)     Network.  Whether you are working with an agency recruiter or an in-house recruiter, it’s likely that you have a network of colleagues (or former colleagues) that they may be interested in.  Making this relationship a mutually beneficial one will help keep you on top of a recruiter’s mind.  On the other end, connect with the recruiter via a social media outlet like Twitter or LinkedIn.  Many recruiters are utilizing Social Media tactics to attract and advertise to new talent.
4)      Mind your manners.  When I was in sales years and years ago, I remember being trained by the renowned motivational/sales trainer, Zig Ziglar.  While the outline of his presentation was “Will + Skill + Refill = Success”, he stressed the importance of etiquette.  Calling four times a day, leaving no messages, “Following up on my follow up” emails are not the way to win anyone.  A call/message and/or an email once a week is fine.  Anything more and you run the risk of making yourself look like a pest.  Sell yourself appropriately.
5)     Express thanks.  Today’s recruiters are very proactive, versus the reactive nature of yesteryear’s.  We are headhunting and talking to candidates who are not actively pursuing other opportunities.  We don’t win over every candidate, but we appreciate your appreciation.  Always.

As a recruiter, I ask you to heed some of the above advice.  In return, we promise to keep you in mind for your dream job, speak great things of you to hiring managers, and to provide you with valuable and constructive feedback.

** This blog appeared here on the SuccessFactors Blog

Resume Tips

“Human being with human interaction skills.”

“Good at staring at a computer screen for hours.”

“Good at phone sales. Native language: American Sign Language.”

“Impeccable atenshion to detail,.”

I always wonder what goes on inside one’s head as they put together a resume.  As a recruiter, I have seen some pretty fantastic, arguably decent, and horridly terrifying resumes.  While I have to admit, the “bad” resumes are highly entertaining, an applicant must realize that they get an estimated 15-20 seconds of a recruiter’s time once they submit their resume.  And while that may not seem like sufficient time, to a recruiter, it is just enough.

That said, here are some of the best ways to improve your resume.

  • Font:  Do not use a font size smaller than a 10.   Jamming your resume to fit into one page makes it hard to read.  Two pages is better than one sometimes.
  • Header:  Your name should be a couple of font sizes bigger than the rest of your text.  Also, include your full contact information.  This includes address, phone number(s), and email address. 
  • While we are on the subject, create a professionalemail address through one of the many free email domains available.  iWant2Party@hellokitty.com* does not bode well.
  • Objective:  Avoid the “obvious”.  Statements like “I’m looking for a job” are assumed if you are submitted a resume.  Instead, customize your objective for each position you apply for. 
  • Body:   List positions in reverse chronological order.  Make dates, companies, and titles easily findable.  In addition to listing responsibilities, also include your accomplishments (ie: “Made 135% of quota for 2011. President’s Club 2011. Highest new net business rate of 50 reps.”).  Keep in mind that your accomplishments will stand out more to the recruiter than your responsibilities.
  • Explain gaps in employment.  This eliminates the guessing-game.  (ie: 2009-2011 Took a leave to care for an ill family member)
  • If you are more than five (5) years out of college, you can omit the jobs you had while in school.  Unless they were relevant to where your career is headed, those positions are better left in the memory bank.
  • Customize each resume you send to an employer.  Be sure to include relevant information, key words, and highlights that will showcase your skills.
  • Spell check. 
  • Spell check.  Again.

*Email address is fictional and is not a functioning email address.
** This blog appeared here on the SuccessFactors Blog

Using Glassdoor in Your Job Search

When job hunting, how many times have you asked yourself:  Where do I start?  How do I know if this company is good for me?  What’s truly entailed in this position?  If you are anything like me, the answer is:  A LOT!  Starting your job search is, not only daunting, but complicated!
A good site that I have utilized in my own job searches in the past is Glassdoor.com.  This site gives access to a ton of job openings, and gives you an insider’s view of what it is like to truly work there.  These are unedited opinions and statements about the corporate culture, salary, benefits, and company reviews. 
Below, I will outline some questions to ask yourself in your job search, and great ways to utilize Glassdoor in helping you find your dream job!
What kind of role am I looking for?”  Answering this is the first step in your job search.  Narrowing down your specialties and where your passion lies is helpful in determining which direction to steer your job search.   Utilize Glassdoor’s access to job postings by going to the “Jobs” tab on their webpage and start searching for jobs that fit your background/specialty.
“What kind of company do I want to work for?”  The possibilities are endless.  Software, finance, health care, education, government, venture capital backed start-up, established Fortune 500?  Each company has their own “personality”, so to speak.  Figure out what has worked for you in the past, what has challenged you, what continues to challenge you, and what motivates you.  Once you have done some deep digging, narrow down your Glassdoor search to companies that interest you.
How do I know this company is worth applying to?”  I recommend signing up for a free (and anonymous) Glassdoor account so that once you have narrowed down your search, you can read reviews of each company.  Glassdoor will provide you with unedited, unbiased reviews about said-company – from corporate culture to salary, and pros/cons of working there.   While the information can be helpful, take this information with a grain of salt (and not a “deal breaker”) in your job search.  Interviewing with a company is your best bet when it comes to figuring out whether or not it is the right place for you.
How should I prepare for the interview?”  One of my favorite features of Glassdoor is the access to previously used interview questions.  Some companies recycle their interview questions, and while what is depicted on Glassdoor is helpeful, it should be used as a preparation tool rather than a strict guide.  Having questions formerly used in real-life interviews helps to get your wheels turning and thinking outside of the box.  It can also give you some insight as to the type of candidate they are looking for.
What questions should I ask in the interview?”  This is always a tough section of the interview process.  What do you want to know about the company that isn’t already publically available on the website / Google?  Reading through Glassdoor reviews can give you insight to areas of the company you might have questions about, like “What is the management hierarchy like?” or “What does career progression look like if I started in this position?”
Closing the deal.  Another cool feature of Glassdoor is the salary component.  Once you are on a company’s Glassdoor page, there is a salary tab which gives you information on the low, average, and high end of the compensation scale for a particular position you are interested in.  I like this feature because I feel that it not only allows you to gauge the type of talent the company is interested in, but it also gives you the opportunity to inform yourself before an offer comes to the table.  An employer who is fair to their talent, retains their talent.
I wish you the best in your job search.  It’s tough, but with tools like Glassdoor, it can be a tad easier!  Chin up, and carry on!