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!

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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 🙂

thanksgiving

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!  

 

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!

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.