Recruiting In 3D

I Get By With a Little Help From My…Hiring Manager

A great many sourcing discussions start with or involve some talk of candidate engagement. There are countless viewpoints on the best methods of outreach (how’s that Tik-Tok thing going?) and the best ways to get the talent we want to respond to our craftily worded messages.

The truth is, sometimes, despite the best research, the funniest meme, or the bullet point choices to get them to give you any response, it just won’t get it done. People who are talented have options. Lots of them. The sheer volume of messages they are getting is staggering and exhausting for them. And it’s time-consuming to parse through all the noise to get to the good ones.

Sometimes we just need some additional help. Someone with a different perspective, who can add an extra option to get the person to respond. Enter your hiring manager. (For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you’ve got a hiring manager who is willing to play ball and help you out with some messages. If they aren’t, I’m sorry. And that’s a whole other post.) Read More

5 Simple Ways to Enhance Your Sourcing Engagement

In the day to day world of sourcing (or any line of work, really), we’re often inundated with a “to-do” list that is overwhelming and stressful. Seeing as we’re all human and prone to mistakes when we’re overloaded, we can often make mistakes in our messaging that can derail any candidate engagement before it even has a chance to blossom.

Attention to detail matters in our world, and small mistakes can have not-so-small consequences downstream. So here are some things you can start immediately implementing in your processes to ensure you stand out.

What’s in a Name?

This is the easiest one to control. We’ve found the person we want to reach out to, and have identified a plethora of platforms where they have a profile for us to gather information from. Yet, too often, names get misspelled or the wrong name is put in the message altogether. Those messages are often discarded before they are even read, and that effort is wasted. Take the extra second to make sure you’ve spelled the name right. Additionally, if someone uses a nickname on all their profiles, you should have a reasonable level of comfort using that name. For example, if a candidate uses “Steve” on all their profiles, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for one to approach that person with “Hi Steven”.

People misspell my name all the time, even when it is part of my ...

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I’m not a great sourcer, BUT…

I am not an expert sourcer. Pony

That feels good to say, after so many years. I’m a good sourcer, but I’m not going to be building APIs and hacking into the back end of databases this week. This isn’t because I don’t have the curiosity to do so, but because my role expands beyond being a pure sourcer. In other words, it’s just part of my job, albeit a part of my job that I tend to love. This is mostly because nothing is more self-satisfying for me than finding gold among the internet rubble and coming out the other side with the right candidate. But time also gets in the way.

Aside from the usual suspects of time and desire, my role requires me to be able to provide a high-caliber end-to-end experience for the candidate as a representative of my company. We (like most other companies) run lean on the recruiting and sourcing side. Therefore, I have to make sure I’m covering all the angles and proverbially leaving no stone upturned. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good, and I absolutely subscribe to that. But when I meet people newer to the recruiting industry, and more precisely the sourcing function therein, they often turn to tools first. And while logical, you still need to “crawl before you walk.” So many recruiters and sourcers want to be “in the know” with the latest and greatest, while forgetting, or outright not having mastered the basics. Hence, this is advice I give to new recruiters and sourcers. Read More

5 Rules For Contacting Sourced Candidates

It seems, at times, that those of us in the recruiting profession can be slow to catch on to trends or common sense norms. It’s not something that is unique to only this industry, and it likely has more to do with the void of common sense in the world, more than it has womanto do with any particular industry.

One of the great mysteries of mankind is the omnipresent deficit of common sense when it comes to contacting candidates for the first time. For social creatures who have spent decades interacting with other humans, the basics of beginning a dialogue seem to evade many recruiters. And that inability to do so effectively has made the term recruiter anathema to many in-demand candidates in the market.

But the beautiful part of being cognizant humans is that we can learn and change our behavior. We can be better than we are today when we reach out to a candidate. In fact, we have to be, if we want to remain relevant. Because, you know, the AI robots are coming to take our jobs and stuff.

Here are a few things to remember before you hit send next time. Read More

Little Secrets: Salary and the Impact of Things Left Unsaid

When Massachusetts enacted their law prohibiting employers from asking for or requiringtumblr_inline_mvven1z1lf1rg0g8s  the salary history of a candidate, there was a great deal of consternation. Even though the law does not take effect until July 2018, the immediate buzz is loud. Many recruiters are panicking in fear that this legislation may well catch on and become the proverbial law of the land. You can count me among those that find this incredibly disturbing. Read More

Busted: I Have Resume Bias

Ah, college. It’s where so many of those “this one time..” stories start, unless you attend a screen-shot-2016-09-01-at-10-33-10-amlot of open bar HR conference happy hours, of course. College is the place where you start to learn your story – personally and professionally. You being to refine those dreams and realize that maybe you don’t want to be a doctor or lawyer after all.

Upon graduation, 5 or more years later for most kids, you’re responsible for telling that story. For translating all of your learning and “work experience,” or lack thereof, into a cohesive and coherent resume. Of course, up to this point – you’ve never been taught to write a resume in the first place so your resume advice comes from an array of sources: family, friends, the Internet, of course. But many colleges also offer another resource, your college career center.

The first resume advice many of us get from an actual human is from that college career counselor. They’re supposed to be experts on careers, after all, and at the low price of $0 (if you ignore the tens of thousands you’ve already paid for college), they’re worth it.

I can almost hear the recruiters cringing now, especially those of us who have looked at a thousand resumes with the same formatting. The same mistakes. In general, we have a bit of mistrust towards these guys, often 20 plus year tenured veterans of the career counseling department. Our hesitance is valid considering they haven’t actually applied for a job since faxing in your resume was a thing at most companies. Read More

Its OK Not to Be a “Technical” Recruiter

There is a pervasive thought among technical candidates these days that the recruiters who are contacting them for opportunities haven’t got a clue as to what they are doing. And, by and large, they are absolutely correct. After all, we’re recruiters, and we’re in a profession that has little to no barrier to entry.

While it’s been proven that with the right amount of (correct) training, strong recruiters can be built in the model of nurture over nature, it doesn’t happen by osmosis. So what can we do in order to help prepare ourselves better to speak with technical candidates? Because doing so will not only help us recruit better and build a stronger rapport with candidates, but will indirectly have a positive impact on your company’s recruiting brand.  Read More

Sin City: Hacking Candidate Conferences


Under normal circumstances, I would not find myself within several hundred miles of Lasvegas Vegas at the beginning of August. I guess I’m a creature of habit and prefer Sin City at the start of the NCAA Tournament. That, and 110 degrees being OK because it is a “dry heat” is about as rewarding as being a member of the “clean plate club” as a kid. At the end of the day, you still ate that food, and 110 is still 110.

When I was invited by my friend and colleague Kathleen Smith (CMO of ClearedJobs.net) to come out and cover the BSides Las Vegas (BSides) security conference, I was happy to take it on. After all, I’ve hired security people before and I’m admittedly a little curious to know how they do what they do. That curiosity is just good recruiting behavior.

But I did have some reservations. I knew I’d be in way over my head with this crowd. I was sure they’d KNOW I was a recruiter. I’d be tossed out like a busted 13-side dice at a D&D marathon. And then for good measure, they’d hack the hell out of me.

I’ve never been so happy to be wrong before.

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Mining For Gold: Turning The Resume Upside Down

When you are in Talent Acquisition, there are few certainties in your world. Job descriptions will change at the 11th hour, and budgets will be slashed, and candidates will change their minds with the frequency of  strobe light. But one thing has remained the same through all the hiring (r)evolutions in the last decade or so – the resume.goldrush

It may have changed in its look and feel, or the method of delivery to you the recruiter, but it still contains the core basic information as it always has. From the resume, one is able to tell where the candidate went to school, what they have accomplished professionally, and a few other odds and ends needed to assess if there is a baseline fit for a role. Depending on the candidate, you may also have additional sections to glean information about the candidate. They usually fall under a banner of “volunteer experience”, “hobbies”, or something similar. And this section, for all its brevity, it’s where the gold can be buried. Read More

5 Things Every New Recruiter Needs To Remember

I’ve been at this recruiting thing for almost 16 years now, and I can’t say that I knew I’d be doing what I do for a living in my 40’s. And it’s always good to take stock of your life and path when you’re hitting a milestone that either makes people go skydiving, hit up the coffeeshops in Amsterdam, or eat a bullet.

Personally, I’m choosing option #2 since I’ve found enough ways to almost off myself since the mid-90s without having to try # 1 or #3 at any point. At the risk of copyright infringing on my main man, Derek Zeller: #TrueStory…

One of my favorite topics to discuss (aside from the show in Mountain View) is how to better equip recruiters at the front end of their career, rather than abiding by the time-tested “sink or swim” method. As I’ve mentioned in previously, mentors and those realitywho help shape the future of our industry are indispensable.

But reality is reality, (unless you are a Kardashian), so for those unfortunate souls who are new to recruiting and will have to learn to fly by being thrown off the cliff, here’s a few things to keep in mind. PS: I think it’s important to note that my definition of a “new recruiter” is really the first five years of your career. Read More

No Time For Losers: Why We Love To Hate Recruiters

Pick any trending topic that’s top of mind in recruiting right now, from the candidate experience to onboarding.

Chances are that once you strip away all the unnecessary layers of BS, buzzwords and bureaucracy, and once you get rid of the ubiquitous consultants and unnecessary complexity, all recruiting is just variations on the same theme, really.

Step back and take a really good look. Fact is, every problem plaguing our profession shares both a common cause and a stunningly simple solution.

Turns out, overcoming even the most pressing or pervasive talent challenge really comes down to what seems, superficially at least, to be a pretty obvious silver bullet: adding a little humanity to the hiring process.

No matter how many machines we have, no matter how much data we generate nor how many processes we can automate, the simple fact is that every recruiting process revolves around people. Hiring managers, not algorithms, still have the final say in who gets an offer.

The most advanced matching engine or sophisticated software can’t build scaleable, sustainable relationships with candidates, no matter what the product marketing material may say.

And as much as the talking heads and “thought leaders” would like us to think otherwise, the fact is that for many of us, working directly with candidates represents a significant part of the way we spend the days we spend at work.

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In Plain English: How To Talk To Tech Candidates

For many recruiters, particularly those hunting in-demand technical candidates, talking tech can be one of the most daunting and intimidating parts of their job. And when you need to assess whether or not your candidate can do the job, this becomes an integral part of doing your job well.

Having spent the better part of 15 years doing technical recruiting, I had to climb this mountain as well to get to the level of comfort that I have today. I still have to go back to the well and gather more info when new technology emerges, but that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Here are a few ways to get more comfortable in a world that many of us did not go to school for.

Know Your Tech Stack

If you’re struggling to understand the difference between front end and back end or HTTP calls and responses, then you need to do some homework. Nothing is worse than being the recruiter who calls a Java engineer about a JavaScript role, you know, because they both say Java.

TalentBin has a great beginner reference that breaks down the variations on a tech stack, which you can find here. You may still need to do some digging in order to then understand what each tool or platform does, but this gets you a head start in the right directiontalentbin cheat sheet

You may also find times when you need to just know what the heck something is. There are a few that I’ve used in the past, which still aid me to this day. Bookmark them, and keep them handy for when you need them.

http://whatis.techtarget.com/ 

http://www.webopedia.com/

Spend Time With Engineers

One of the most resourceful ways to get info is to ask questions of the people already doing this work at your company, the engineers themselves. I’ve spent many hours talking with engineers at the companies I’ve worked with to understand what they do, how different technologies work with each other, and exactly what the point of those technologies are. Humans by nature love to have their ego stroked, and people love talking about what they are passionate about.

This is your opportunity to ask the questions you need to about the technology and the day to day work that you don’t get to see every day. As always, you never get any questions answered if you don’t ask them.

Research StackOverflow & GitHub Profiles

A good proportion of tech candidates spend time curating their Github and Stack profiles, just as we do with LinkedIn, and other sites for our social footprint. Simply perusing what questions they have answered, their reputation and the technology that they use most often.

Not only will this give you a sense of their background and expertise, but it can provide you with talking points that will engage the candidate. And, what’s more, is that they may even be answering questions that are relevant to the position you are hiring for, which gives them some credibility.

Admit What You Don’t Know

Simply put: Don’t fake it and give an answer for the sake of giving an answer. If you don’t have an answer for the candidate on a tech question that they have for you, it’s OK to say you don’t know and need to get back to them on it. (If you say, that, follow through and get the answer – again, credibility is a two-way street. Your candidates will appreciate your candor, and the engineering teams you work with will value your desire and diligence in understanding the work they do, which too many people often take for granted.

Happy Hunting!

 

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