Recruiting In 3D

Maybe Size Doesn’t Matter

I spent the vast majority of my career thus far, working in small to mid-size companies. I always carried a bit of trepidation about working for multi-national conglomerates, so I stayed in my comfort zone. In retrospect, this wasn’t unlike how I chose where I was going to go to college back in the day. I was hesitant to go to a huge school and sit in a lecture hall with 500 strangers, mainly since I came from a smaller high school. Something about being lost in a sea of bodies was particularly offsetting to me, and this carried into my career.

Living in a Small Pond

Working in small companies, I had the chance to know my co-workers on a more personal level. It was also more comfortable to build relationships and move things through the decision tree process. If I needed to prod something along in Tech for a recruiting effort, going to the CTO and sitting down for coffee was as easy as me typing on this keyboard. In essence, the access was always there.

If I had technical issues, I’d parade myself down one floor to the support team and get the help of people whom I’d most likely sourced and hired into the company. One could liken it to the FastPass at Disney parks – straight to the front of the line. The same can be said for any system and procedural issues, whether that is a busted CRM, a benefits data snafu, or just getting office supplies, it was all at my fingertips.

The flip side of this, of course, is that with visibility comes accountability. There’s nowhere to hide in a small company when you mess up. You have to own it because there isn’t anyone else to pin it on. It seems trivial, and in most cases, I felt that was a good thing because it kept me on my game. Read More

LivingSocial: When Networks And Culture Actually Work.

The terms “network” and “networking” have a rather nebulous definition, dependingon who you ask; of course, for so many in our spam infested, hypersocial and intrinsically interconnected world, “networking” involves something as simple clicking on a friend or connection request online.

Ross ArbesFor others still, “networking” involves attending an in person event, where it’s often just easier to quaff a few cold ones and eat some finger foods while standing around making awkward shop talk than it is to go home and bathe the kids or pay the bills.

At the end of the day, what “networking” actually is can get a little bit murky, given the fact that pretty much everyone has a different definition. Consequently, what we should be doing to effectively build our “networks” becomes increasingly opaque and obtuse, too.

The fact that we can’t even agree on a universal definition of this ubiquitous concept underscores the fact that making your network work works differently for everyone – that is, if they even work at all.  Read More

Once In A (Recruiting) Lifetime: This is 40

As I sit here, dedicating a few of my first full 24 hours as a 40 year old to this post, I realize that I’d spent the last four days figuring out what the hell, exactly, I wanted to write.

After all, as you know, our editor is something of a stickler for meaty editorial content (to say the least), and has an expectation for quality that can sometimes be hard to meet – particularly when you have something to say, but you just aren’t quite sure how to say it.

Because frankly, hitting 40 is kind of heavy, at least judging from the past few hours of introspection, soul searching and second guessing.

It’s not so much that, statistically speaking, my life is half over (give or take a few years and a lot of luck), or because I’m having some sort of existential mid-life crisis. Seriously. I’m sure that, were things a little different, I’d be out there test driving sports cars, signing up for skydiving lessons or whatever the hell it is men of my age generally do when they hit the big 4-0.

But as much fun as that stuff sounds, the thing is, personally and professionally, as I turn 40, I’m truly in a good place. I know how lucky I am to be fulfilled in both fronts, and even though I’m now in the next decade, I know, somehow, the best is yet to come. Read More

Top Recruiter: Reality Bites

Well, my friends – I suppose it was inevitable. After all, for years we’ve been hearing recruiters use stupid superlatives and specious self-descriptors like “rock star,” “ninja” or (gag) “guru.” And oddly enough, not ironically, either. 

Now, we can finally add “reality TV star” to that little list as well (if, of course, you use a really liberal definition of the words TV and star, that is).

Top Recruiter is here, and well…it’s here. Read More

Why Giving Notice Matters

Welcome to 2015, and another year of unlimited possibilities and opportunities. Among these opportunities, for many people, landing a new job is by far one of the most exhilarating feelings one can experience. With this new job so many possibilities are abound: a fresh start, higher pay, more responsibility and/or management potential, and a whole new world of challenges to be taken head-on. It’s understandable why people are excited and why they immediately turn focus to their new future surroundings.

However, too often people make the mistake of leaving their old job without sufficient (or any) notice period to their employer. This is a tragic, yet wholly avoidable mistake. Again, it’s entirely understandable that excitement really takes over, but it is equally as important that you keep in mind the long-term ramifications of leaving a job without proper notice. Read More

Personal Branding – More than just “vanilla”

I had the opportunity to co-write a post with Susan Strayer on her site about personal branding. I think it’s about time we put what that is into perspective. I think we’ve covered a great deal of bases and I hope you have some time to take a look.  You can find the post here.

If you don’t know Susan, and/or have not had the pleasure of working with or talking to her personally, I can tell you that there are few people in the business that have as deep a scope of knowledge as she does. I’m honored to have had a chance to collaborate with her.  Be sure to follow her on Twitter  – she has two handles: @SusanDStrayer  and @DailyCareerTips

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Back from Hiatus – All the Fun of a Vacation without the Vacation

So it’s been a while since I put any new material up here. Since the end of the year, I’ve had my share of things going on which kept me away from contributing here – but not from all sites (more on that below). So let’s see, what have I done since the end of 2010:

  • Potty trained a two year old – when in doubt, offer M&Ms. TRUST ME my wife on this one
  • Started my MBA program, and am about half way through – Kicking ass and taking names with straight A’s. Anyone who knew me in college in the late 90’s knows that A’s for me in Accounting and Economics classes defy all known logic. Coming in 2012/2013 – Yours Truly with an MBA in Human Resources Management.
  • Continuing to build upon the foundation for the recruitment process at my current employer. Adding many needed processes, some of which are tedious. Raise a glass if you’ve ever had to implement a Digital I9. Now chug said glass, because it can be mind-numbing.
  • Remodeled the bathroom – much needed. One day I’ll post a picture of the rug that was our bathroom floor in that room for years. (Nausea sets in)

I’ve been fortunate to be asked to guest blog on a few sites and also had a short stint as a ghost blogger on a site that gained huge popularity in a short time frame. Alas, it is no longer, but it was a GREAT ride while it lasted and it was great to have a forum to talk about the real issues with pure anonymity.

I’ll have a guest spot as a co-blogger coming up soon on a very popular site, and I’m excited about the content. It gave me yet another outlet for my snarky side. (MOI?)  It’s a great piece and I’m excited to see the reaction from the community at large.

One of the best parts of my hiatus was having the chance to participate in the planning for recruitDC, a great networking event for recruiting professionals in the DC area, which I spoke at last year. This year I was a part the planning committee, which was a great opportunity to work with some of the most incredibly talented recruitment minds in the DC area and beyond – but in a more behind-the-scenes fashion. It was a tremendous success, and I’m looking forward to the next event where we can build upon the success. I’ll have a full rundown of that event, but here’s a peek at the slide decks to whet your appetite.

I could add in 100 other points of minutiae here and bore you to death (HEY, wake UP!) but I won’t. Instead, I’m just going to jump back in to the routine and get back to doing what I do, adding my two cents in about the world of work, HR, and Recruiting – with the occasional foray into some non-recruiting topic.  I’ll have some new content coming, including my takes on:

  • Employee Referral Programs
  • The new laws that are making life in recruiting and HR more difficult by the minute
  • Reference checking tips for candidates

Keep an eye out for a badly-needed site redesign which I’ll be working on this summer. It may even be time to pony up for a URL. Maybe.

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Showing up late for an interview? There’s just no excuses.

I never understand it when a candidate shows up late for an interview. It’s a job interview, and presumably since you scheduled it, employers assume you want the job. I mean, I JUST don’t understand when a candidate shows up 30 minutes late and expects that the employer will still want to conduct the interview. Would you show up to your wedding 30 minutes late? (If the answer is yes, its likely best to stick with the singles scene for while)

While life indeed “happens” – traffic occurs (especially if you live here in DC!), kids get sick, and clocks lose power occasionally, there are things you have in your power to ensure that you can reduce the potential for you to be late for a job interview.

  • Leave with plenty of time. If you know that a commute to a certain area can be hectic, give yourself plenty of time to get there. Get there too early? I’m sure one of these places would be happy to take your $5.25 for a latte while you prepare further for the interview. Additonally, try to schedule your interview at non-peak times of the day if you are going to a place that is notoriously traffic-laden in the AM or PM rush hours.
  • Map it out and take a test drive prior to the interview. Saying that you got lost on the way to an interview tells an employer that you A. Don’t know how to use technology (specifically a GPS) OR B. Didn’t bother to map out the locale. With as much technology as we have on smart phones these days, everything can be found with a few slides of the thumb.
  • Have backup alarms to get you up well ahead of time. “I overslept” just doesn’t work for employers. You have an alarm clock, your cell phone, the old school telephone (yes, ask someone for a wake up call if that is a challenge for you)

Always have a plan and stick to that plan. You get one shot your potential employer to make your 1st impression. This is one of the easiest slip-ups to control, so take ownership of it. Employers remember who was late, and who stood them up. The memory of a good recruiter is a vast expanse that holds more long term tidbits than should be allowed by law. They will remember you. Make sure its for the right reasons.

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You are the Red-Headed Stepchild. Embrace it.

Recruiting is classically the red-headed stepchild of any organization. It’s just a fact of life. You’ve known it, you’ve either embraced it or you’ve spent the better part of your career trying to fight it. But when it boils down, we hear the same things. “Its an operational role”, “They are not a revenue-generating department” “All they do is shuffle paperwork”. Yep, all of these sound familiar to you if you have been in recruiting for any significant period of time.

Is it true? Probably not. Think about it – sure, we are an operational unit, and yes, we probably are responsible for more deforestation than any other team in a company (But we’re all starting to digitize, right?!?). What I cannot get over, and trust me I’ve fought this battle in my head for years, is the “non-revenue generating” claim. Exactly who do you think produces the candidates from thin air who DO generate the revenue? Without a strong recruiting function, there aren’t any “rainmakers”, “sales kings” or any other fancy name you want to derive. We may not hit the P&L as “sales”, but almost all of our jobs involve a level of sales, and showmanship.

What we really need to do (and this includes me, TRUST ME), is to just embrace the fact that there are some perceptions we may just never overcome, no matter how much data and “metric-y” information we provide. What you can do, is to build a trust and rapport with those in your organization who will ultimately recognize the value of a strong recruiting function. By doing this, you’ll be building an army of supporters who can voice to the organization that they just can’t live without you. Having that voice be speaking on your behalf will ultimately get you the seat at the table you so desperately want. That, and solid data to prove what you contribute. Not just time to fill, and applicant source data. Data that speaks to the revenue generating side – cost effectiveness, business savvy with contracts (job boards etc.) How much money did you save by employing your vast set of skills. Sales folks don’t just say “hey I closed 3 deals this month!”. They say “hey I closed 3 deals this month worth $425,000!” You can be an efficient recruiter, but be sure to quantify HOW efficient you’ve been.

If you don’t, the beatings will continue.

Authors Note:
Sadly, I wasn’t sure sure how the phrase “red-headed stepchild” came about, but I got curious and looked. You should too. Looks like we have Charlie Sheen to thank, at least in part.

Thanks Charlie - you've doomed us all.

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Networking, Why its important

Depending what side of the fence you are on – recruiter, corporate honcho or job seeker – you have different perspectives about what everyone should bring to the table in the hiring process. Recruiters want candidates quick, and for them to glide with ease through the hiring process. They also want managers to respond quickly. Managers (AKA honchos) want everything 3 days faster than it is today, and job seekers want to either find their next landing spot or obtain employment ASAP.

Yet, each of them follows a different path of getting there. What if we combined wonder-twin forces, and all realized the power of our NETWORKING capabilities? Are recruiters asking everyone they know for referrals (after they’ve built the relationship of course, otherwise they just look like candidate hoarders), are managers asking new hires if they think former co-workers might be a good fit in the organization, then passing any leads they get to the recruiting team? And are job seekers following the “pay-it-forward” mentality of passing along good opportunities to friends and colleagues about an opportunity that sounds good but isn’t for them? What if all of those cylinders were firing in unison? Would we see drastic reductions in cycle time? Maybe. Referrals are always about quality, not quantity.

But herein lies the dichotomy – if we are all working off of the same mindset of networking with those who are in front of us, and who we know from past lives, we’ll build quantity, which by law of averages should bring some quality with it. Yes, I know there will be those who want to fillet me for asking for quantity and expecting quality, but if you don’t cast a wide net, you’ll catch less – simple math. And recruiters need to drive activity. Job Seekers need to promote themselves, and managers needs quality employees to fill critical roles.

We should all be using whatever tools are available to us in order to network for our openings, our team or our next gig. Do that, and life becomes exponentially more simple. The technology is there, and it’s user-friendly. We can never get away from the personal touch, but combine all your resources and you’ll see the results.

The world of work and how people get work and employees is increasingly becoming less about what sites you know, and more about who you know in the places you want to go.

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2009 – Whew, I am EXHAUSTED

Quite a year. Quite a decade, come to think of it. I’ve had some time to reflect recently on the last year, and also the last decade – Having to drive up and down the eastern seaboard does that do a man. I’ve come to know quite a bit in the last decade, my first one in the recruiting industry. But first, the year in review:

  • Changing jobs is never going to be easy. No matter how many times I’ve done it, or will do it going forward, its never easy. It might be right, but never easy.
  • 2009 was the year Social Media truly crossed over into acceptance. You know why? Data. And data doesn’t lie. It also helps you to get budget money.
  • There is a balance for work life and personal life. I’m not sure I’ve found the crux of said balance, but I got much closer this year.

All in all 2009 was a good year, per se. Hey, I’ve had worse. But raising a 16 month old, trying to be a good dad and husband, all while working, and doing all the things that life entails is truly exhaustive.

From the rest of the 00’s, or whatever the hell we’re calling this decade, I learned/determined, or was otherwise informed:

  • Recruiting without passion for it, is just not the same. I’ve seen great passion and great lack thereof. Great passion wins out every time, and makes more money.
  • The best recruiting bosses, are the ones who have been recruiters. Those that have not, well,……you know.
  • Social Media changed the way I do my job, the way I approached it, and grew my love for it. Calling resumes and scouring Monster, CareerBuilder, and the like, would have driven me out a long time ago.
  • This is a people business – if you can’t work with people, get out now. You don’t have to LOVE people, but you need to be able to sell, relate and empathize – everyday.
  • Be curious. No one is asking you to be a generalist, but know how all the pieces move together. With that, comes respect from others.
  • Let your career take you. It’s an exponentially more fun ride, that forcing everything.
  • Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Both help you to be your best, and having one helps you find the joy in the darkest of recruiting days.
  • Speaking of dark days – this profession is the worlds wildest roller coaster. The highs are high, and the downs are as low as you can imagine. Just remember at each end, it always shifts back and forth.

The best advice anyone gave me? Two pearls of wisdom:
“Remember, you are dealing with people, its the most unpredictable commodity in the world.”

“Treat people as though you were sitting on that side of the phone, because one day you just may be.”

Cheers in the New Year all. Do what you love, and do it well.

Twas a wild and wacky decade

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