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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why I Stay Away from the Job Boards

I will first say that I do see value in job boards, and believe it is a critical tool to become successful as a sourcer/recruiter.  It’s like building a house.  You can not and would not build a house with just one tool.  It takes many tools to build a home.  As a recruiter/sourcer, you need to take the same approach when finding the perfect candidate.  Not only will you be successful, but you will be able to find candidates no one else is working with.  Doesn't it feel good when you get asked how you found a candidate, and you have some great story about the sourcing technique? I believe you can find a lot of value in your internal ATS, while taking advantage of work done by others.
What would you need to start your own staffing company? Answer: Telephone and a subscription to a job board.  However, you will soon realize almost every candidate you speak with has 5 other better opportunities he/she is exploring.  I have always been a believer in if you live by the jobs boards you will die by the job boards…
Let me explain a little for those of you who do spend a lot of time on these boards.  What is the first thing you do when you find a good candidate on the job board?  If you are doing your job you most likely put this candidate into your ATS.  As time goes on, this candidate more than likely has either found another job, or decided to stick it out with his/her current employer thus making him/her a non-active candidate.  Sometimes these candidates realize they have made a bad choice, and would be interested in listening to potential better job opportunities.  BAM! This passive candidate is like gold, and where you want to be spending your time.  Chances are they have not been kept in touch with by other agencies, and at times you are the only one they are speaking to about a new position.  However, you will need to be cautious about working with these candidates.  This can be a double edged sword, and you will need to dig into why they would want to make a switch so soon, or why they have again decided to leave their employer.  Last thing you want or need is a candidate who will again leave your position for another better opportunity. 
I know what you are saying at this point….”I dig through the database, and NO ONE is interested” or “I dig through the database and feel like I leave 1000 voice mails.”  You will have days like these when working through an internal ATS, but I guarantee if you put in the work you will yield great results. Stick with what you are doing, and the numbers will owe you (I always thought this phrase was a bunch of crock, but for some reason it always rang true).
It is no secret, passive candidates are the candidates we all want to be working with.  Working with passive candidates gives us a better opportunity to sell them on the position we have, and gives us a better chance to reduce fall off after an offer has been accepted.  Those who succeed in this business, are the ones who can find and sell to these candidates.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The 4 Things to Expect When You Aren't Expecting....Recruiting Style

By no means is this post meant to be a dig at the recruiting industry, nor a gripe on my career choice.  My purpose of this post is to give some of the newcomers into the industry some sound advice on what to expect.  When I first received the call about working for a staffing company, I had no idea this industry even existed.  It was completely new to me! A company would pay another company to find talent for their organization?  When I was initially contacted about this exciting opportunity as a recruiter, my first thought was "how hard can this be?"  Much to my surprise, staffing turned out to be a HUGE challenge.  In my first 6 months, I thought about walking away several times because the reality of the position did not align with my expectations of the position.

Taking a step back, it would have been nice to have realistic expectations as I entered this new career.  Below are are few of the biggest areas where expectations did not align with reality.

  1. It's not just as easy as finding the right candidate: You are dealing in people, not with a commodity, people/candidates have the gift of freewill.  They will tell you what you want to hear and at times they will fib about their experience.  They may not show up when they said they will show up, and very often will get "lost" on the way to the interview.  You do your best to prohibit these issues, but the reality is you can not predict everything that could possibly go wrong during the recruiting process.  Not everyone will be difficult to work with, but you should always prepare yourself with as much detail as possible to try and avoid the inevitable "bumps in the road."
  2. DO NOT get into the industry because you have been sold on MAKING THE BIG BUCKS: When I was interviewing for my first position in the staffing industry, my future manager told me I had "six figure potential" within the first couple years.  As a recent college grad I said CHA-CHING!!!!  I can tell you that after 7.5 years of recruiting I have never broken the six figure mark.  At this point in my career, I am more motivated by helping people than I am by the earning potential.  If you are someone who is motivated by money, then a different form of sales may be the best option for you.  I am not suggesting it is impossible to make good money in the recruiting industry, but it takes a little luck and some very hard work.  Recruiters can make a lot of money, but more often than not these individuals have dedicated themselves to be the best at what they do.  They become experts in staffing, and provide value to the customer in many different areas.  In some rare cases you will find someone new to the industry who is making decent money, but in my experience these individuals happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  3. Most newcomers fail within the first six months: This is plain and simple.  People go into this industry with false expectations, and will be quick to find a new job when things get tough.  If you do choose to start a career in recruiting, you should know right away, times will get tough.  You will go through many highs and many lows, and these variances can come within days of each other.  It is how you deal with the peaks and valleys that will determine how successful you are in the industry.  The key here is to find a way to make the highs not as high and the lows not as low.  Celebrate the wins, mourn the losses, but in both cases move on quickly. 
  4. Take recruiting for what it is: In my opinion, the best recruiters in the industry are those who are trusted and well respected.  To these individuals it is truly about finding a win-win for all parties involved.  Those who go through their daily recruiting routine with little regard for how they are treating candidates or hiring managers will never be successful in this type of position.  At the end of the day you are working in the relationship business, and you must know how to develop relationships.  If you do a Google Search on "recruiters" you will most likely find a lot more people who hate our profession than you will find people who love us.  This negative image is created by people who do not care who they step on to get to the top, and do not truly care about the well being of the candidate or client.  They have no interest in a win-win scenario.  If you are just in it for the money, you will lose sight of what is really important, TRUST!

I could not have fallen into a better career, and I am very appreciative of all the people I have met along this journey.  I did not have the best first manager/mentor, but in reality I would not be where I am today without him.  If you are one of the fortunate ones to find a career in talent acquisition, be sure to keep in perspective why our industry even exists. Companies spend millions in their budgets to fund talent acquisition as well as third party agencies, and they can easily replace you with another recruiter or agency.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Those Who Can't Do...TEACH

I have heard this saying many times in my life, and recently I have realized this is the reason why I am in the recruiting industry.   One thing at this point in my life I have never been good at is selling myself to a potential employers!  I know for those of you who have trusted me to help find you a new job, this might scare you a little.  Some of you may be saying; "I knew that's why this guy could not find me a job!" The reality is because of this fact, I am MUCH better at my job.  I have done the wrong things in many interviews in the past, and with these interview bloopers, I am able to steer my candidates in the right direction.

PUNCTUAL: One thing I have always been good at, which is crucial to starting an interview on the right foot, is coming to the interview on time.  If you are late, you are wasting the time of the person who has decided to interview you for the open position at the company.  Think about this for a minute, if you are the one who is late for a job interview that is an immediate strike against your application.  If the hiring manager is having a tough time deciding between two or three candidates, then this strike against you will be an easy disqualification and will end you up in the NO pile.

CONFIDENCE: Here is an opportunity to show why you would be the best choice for the position.  You may want to avoid one of my interview answers in the past.  After being asked why I am the best fit for the position:.  My answer: "Well I am definitely not the best recruiter, but I work really hard."  Not really the correct way to answer that question.  My downfall was that I was not prepared for the question, and ever worse I did not show confidence during the interview to back something like that up.  It was a situation where the answer sounded MUCH better in my head, and after I said it I knew immediately it was the wrong thing to say.  If I would have had confidence, and had been prepared for this question, I would have been able to provide a good answer that showcased the confidence in my background.

QUESTIONS:  Be prepared to ask questions to the employees who have used their time to interview you. People love to speak about what they do, and why they are successful in their position.  A simple question such as; "why do you enjoy working here?" or "why do you feel you are successful at your position?"  These are both very simple questions, and it could lead to more dialogue about your background.  These are very simple questions you may want to ask at the least, but you still want to come to the interview prepared to ask questions.  Basing these questions around research you have done about the company is a great way to show your interest in this position.

FOLLOW UP/THANK YOU:  This part of the process does not need to be anything over the top.  A simple Thank you e-mail stating your appreciation for everyone's time is sufficient enough.  In my opinion, a thank you note is NOT another opportunity to sell your skills.  You have had plenty of opportunity to do this, and should not be mentioned again in the follow up/thank you e-mail.  This thank you e-mail should be sent to each individual employee, and should NEVER be grouped together.  During the interview you can ask each person for a business card so you will have contact information.

You should never go into an interview thinking you have the position in the bag.  If everyone was sold on you as the right candidate, then you would have received the offer for the position.  It is not over until you have offer in hand, and this is why it is so important to take the time to prepare as best as possible for your interview.

These four areas above will help ensure you make your application stand out among the other who have applied for the same position.