Archive for the Recruiter Category

The “Wait” of the World

Posted in Change, Job Search, Recruiter, Uncategorized, Waiting on December 1, 2010 by jcsicareerassist

Right now there are millions of people on a job search that are feeling like they can’t fill out one more application or send in one more resume.  It’s felt like an uphill battle with no end in sight.  They have tapped their network, tightened their resume, and attended workshops all in the hopes that they will find a position that will allow them to get back to their life.  They feel alone and are promising themselves that if they ever get out of this situation, they will never let this happen to them again.

Somewhere in the city, there is a CEO who has been working 80+ hours a week trying to figure out how she can get her company back on track.  Before the economy shifted, they were on target for their best year ever.  Sales were astronomical.  Customers and prospects were getting the message that their products and services were changing the way business is done.  People were willing to take risks because the promises of rewards were so clear.  Now, it seems like they are in a situation where they may have to default on those promises.  She is now wishing that she made more conservative projections about where the company was headed.  She’s determined to turn this thing around and when she does, she will never let this happen again.

Downtown there are elected official who are beginning to lose faith in the system to which they have dedicated so much time.  They were elected on a platform of fiscal change and job creation.  Their plan seemed so easy.  Tighten spending, redistribute funds, eliminate unnecessary programs, and invest in those with the greater potential to yield more income to the state.  In addition, they will hold off on increasing taxes on those most effected by the current economic situation and work on strengthening the state’s infrastructure which will create jobs and equip it to handle the projected growth.

How could they have anticipated a natural disaster?  For several months the resources meant for the new roads were going to relief efforts.  Several companies had to close their doors because they could not sustain this type of hit.  Now there is more competition for fewer jobs which causes delays in hiring which in turn minimizes income from state taxes.  As a result, the legislators must recommend a tax increase on the very ones who put them in office.  The officials know that this will effect their chances at reelection next term and there is so much more they still want to do.  They are going to have to start campaigning early.  Once they are reelected, they will be able to do more of what they hoped to do when they got in office.

Somewhere there is a team of recruiters.  They are working on a position that has been open for 11 months that should have been filled in no more than 6.  This is a critical position that requires very specialized skills.  The person hired will be part of a government project that holds the promise of creating greater access to renewable energy sources. 

However, they are are also flooded with resumes for the many support positions that will report in to this high level official.  There are so many candidates applying for the jobs that it is hard to narrow down to the  ones that could clearly fill these roles.  As a result, the congestion is making it difficult to dedicate time to the lead role. They know it would be better if they filled the lead position first.  If that person can’t work with the team assembled there will be even further delays to getting this project under way.  What can they do? 

Somewhere in between the recruiters and the jobseekers, there is a world that is complicated.  It is an interconnected web with responsibilites, commitments, and intentions that takes countless people behind the scenes to keep it going.  Conflicting needs often appear to battle for precedence and when one wins it seems like the other has to lose.  Yet, at the end of the day, its the wins that make up for all of the apparent losses.

No matter how difficult a situation may appear to be, there is always more to the situation than meets the eye and 9 times out of 10 it isn’t personal.  We’re all working together to keep this world moving.  For those of you on the job search and for those of us who are working to hire people, we need to be mindful that although there is a world between us, we can choose not to bear it on our shoulders.  Keep moving forward.  Keep reaching out.  Make connections and keep your eyes on the prize.  Change takes time, but it will come.  It always does.

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Every Hire Is A Miracle

Posted in Confidence, Hiring Managers, Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Networking, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized on February 9, 2010 by jcsicareerassist
Your Resume Has To Get Through Here

Your resume is in here

As you can see, it has been a month since our last blog post.  Let this be a sign for those of you on the job market that better days are coming.  We have been working on some hard to fill positions that did not allow me to complete some of the blog posts that I have started.  This post was one of them.  The inspiration for the title came from the fact  that behind the scenes of every job posting, there exists  a complete network that is constantly expanding and contracting, bringing in people and releasing them all in an effort to make the right fit.

Many of you will agree that navigating today’s job market is a mystery. With so many avenues to potentially connect with employers, how can one know which one will bring the results they are looking for? Do you rely on your recruiter, the job boards, and social media or do you stick to your network? And what if you don’t really know how to network? With so much to think about it’s hard to see how anyone gets hired even when the economy is good.

Well the fact is, even if you are the best interviewer in the world and mastered every one of the above mentioned tools and techniques, finding a job is still a miracle when you examine it. Much like the “Butterfly Effect“,  a job opening that ultimately matures into a filled position depends on certain conditions. Most people assume that just because a postion is posted somewhere it means that it will be filled.  This is not always the case.  Unless, the position is open to replace someone who left a mission critical role, many positions are created for other reasons such as anticipated growth, consolidation of functions, or to be solution providers for areas that require some form of process improvement. 

In order to get approval for a requisition, a hiring manager has to make the case that this new role is critical to achieving the goals set forth by the leadership.  Once this is done, they must create a job description to assist them in finding someone that they are not even sure exists. The search ensues using every available resource.  Throughout this time they will receive many resumes.  Some resumes will be close and some will be quite a departure from the criteria.  In the meantime they must interview potential candidates as well as keep the department running.  Each hour that they are interviewing for the right candidate is an hour that they are potentially losing production time or having to work later.

As the process is moving forward there may be several changes made to the requirements, offers can be made and declined, and projections may change based on market fluctuations.  All these behind the scenes situations are directly affecting whether or not a candidate is hired or even interviewed for that matter. Meanwhile many candidates who are unaware that all of this is going on are wondering why they never heard anything back from their online application submission.

Ultimately, most positions are created to keep money and time from being lost or to bring more money in while cutting the time it takes to create the product or service offering.  That means if an organization can figure out a way to get the job done with the resources they have on hand they will hold off on making the hire.  So with that in mind there will always be comparable forces working against a hire as there are working for it.  So do you see why I say every hire is a miracle?

I think this message is important to jobseekers for several reasons, but most importantly, it is for you to have perspective.  One never knows how long a job search will last.  Understanding the process is important to maintaining momentum throughout your search.  There are a lot of moving parts to the recruitment and selection process.  Each of them has to work in concert in order for someone to make it through the entire process.  Multiply this by the number of people applying for the position and you can see that finding the right fit is no easy task for anyone involved.

This is why we encourage candidates to stay the course.  If we thought about all of the people and resources it takes to get eggs to our grocery store, we’d be amazed by every omelette we ever see.  Such is the recruitment process.  The hope is that with this information, you will not let the hiccups of process discourage you in your search, but rather see that when you are called for a phone screen or interview, this dynamic process has come together to give you the opportunity to tip the scales in your favor.  We wish you the best.

January 8th Job Search Resolutions

Posted in Confidence, Interviewing, LinkedIn, New Year's Resolution, Recruiter, Salesmanship, Social Media on January 8, 2010 by jcsicareerassist

Happy January 8th

It cannot be avoided.  It is the new year and talk of resolutions will abound.  However, rather than blog about new year’s resolutions in December when people are speaking of future commitments or January 1st when we are still buzzing with excitement that we survived another calendar year.  I waited a week out when the cloud has been lifted and the high has worn off.  Since it usually only takes about a week for most people to start breaking their resolutions, I felt that those who make it to January 8th are going to take their resolutions seriously enough to get something out of this post.

The following resolutions that I am going to suggest to job seekers are based on what I have heard from candidates on the market, from other recruiters, and from what I’ve witnessed of the way finding a job has changed.

  1. Get active on LinkedIn.  I have asked so many candidates if they are using LinkedIn and so many of them answer, “I’ve been meaning to do that” or  “I don’t see the point.”  I then ask if they know that there are jobs posted on Linkedin.  Very often they don’t.  Here you have a recruiter asking you if you use LinkedIn and you don’t see the point.  Besides finding candidates on LinkedIn, I have been further educated by the benefit of engaging with others with broad perspectives on topics of interest.  If you are on the job market, I suggest taking 2 hours a week to get familiar with this platform.  Even if you don’t see the point, recruiters do and that’s who you are trying to connect with.
  2. Know your value.  Even if you are not a dollars and “sense” kind of person, you need to know that you have something to offer an organization.  Many candidates that I speak to allow their worth to be determined by their W-2.  If you are such a person, without the confidence of having a job already, you are going to give a terrible sales pitch when you interview.  If you need to gauge your worth in money, use your last salary or desired salary to determine how much your time is worth.  Then when you go in for an interview, go in there like you expect to be paid for your time and service because ultimately you do.
  3. Dare to be different.  There’s a quote that says something to the effect of, “If you want results you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”  I talk to people all the time that won’t even try to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones.  I once had a candidate who would call me every week and just say, “Got anything?” One day I asked him had he tried doing anything different in his job search.  He said he hadn’t.  I gave him the homework assignment of doing just one thing different that weekend, even if it was trying a food that he’d never had.  I wanted him to tell me about it the next week.  He agreed.  A week later the phone rang.  “Got anything”, he asked. I asked him what he had to eat that was different in the last week.  He said he wasn’t able to do it.  I haven’t heard from him since.  In order to manage in this world you are going to have to embrace change.  If you can’t, resolutions aren’t for you anyway.

Rather than beat anyone over the head with other resolution ideas, I will leave you with this.  When we think of resolutions, we commonly think of this far reaching goal that can make us feel inadequte regarding our current position.  This is completely contradictory to the true spirit of what it means to make a resolution.  If you look up the etymology of the word you find that the word originally meant the “process of reducing things into simpler forms”.  In other words, resolutions are meant to make life easier, not harder.  It is a matter of perspective.  The reward is not at the end of the journey.  It is the journey itself.  Decide where you want to be and have fun learning how to get there.

Happy January 8th, 2010!

The Light At the End of Your Job Search

Posted in Communication, Confidence, Empowerment, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Recruiter on December 14, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you land a position other opportunities start presenting themselves? Do you find that strange?  What about the phenomenon that occurs when several companies ask you to interview in quick succession?  How does that happen and why is it so unpredictable?  Well, there are several factors that play into these occurrences.  Some things that influence it are the market, the number of positions you applied for, and the depth of your network.  However, I am going to suggest that the number one contributor to this type of opportunity flow is the waxing and waning of confidence.

There’s no statistical evidence that I am aware of,  but if you just look at other key indicators, I believe a significant argument can be made for this case.  I’ve spoken with thousands of job seekers and heard their stories and a clear pattern has emerged.  If you imagine yourself in the scenario below, I’m sure you will get a sense of familiarity if you’ve ever spent any significant time seeking opportunities.

The First Wave – You have just entered the job market.  You’re riding high off the fact that you “have time” thanks to your severance package.  Furthermore, you know your skills are in demand.  You believe you’ll have a job in no time.  You talk to friends and let them know what’s going on.  Some  people are even jealous of your little break from the rat race.  What’s more, you already have a few prospects from people you know from the industry.  You have two or three interviews scheduled.  “This is going to be easy”, you think to yourself.  You go to the first interview full of confidence.  It ends with a lot of smiles and handshakes.  They tell you that you will hear back from them soon.  The waiting begins.  You think back on your interview.  It’s been two weeks since you heard anything and your calls weren’t returned.  You begin doubting yourself.  The other interviews follow suit. The future stops looking so bright.

The Second Wave – After some time you start to reevaluate your search.  Everyone you’ve spoken with confirms that the market is tough and what you are experiencing is normal.  It may not get you a job, but somehow it makes you feel a little better.  You start to reminisce on the earlier days in your career when things were easier.  Sure you made less money, but you had more fun.  You were in the trenches with your comrades or you had the chance to do the “real work” where the action happens.  Right now, you’d welcome the return of those days.  In fact maybe that’s what you should’ve done all along.  You get excited.  Now you have more jobs to choose from and a greater chance at landing something.  You start getting calls again, a few more interviews are scheduled, and you’re back in the saddle. 

The Third Wave – Looking at broader search criteria has helped you get more interviews, but the employers are concerned about you taking a “step back”. As a result, no one has pulled the trigger despite the fact that you’re offering them a bargain.  You’re getting a little frustrated with the whole situation.  You’re almost thinking of starting your own business.  You start looking into your options.  You realize that all these years you could’ve been your own boss.  You’re beginning to gain a strength that isn’t dependent upon whether or not you’re hired by one of the companies you’ve applied to.  You know you have value and if no one is going to take you up on your offer to impact their company, you’ll make an impact of your own.  You start thinking that all these companies have been doing you a favor.  They helped you to realize that you are not defined by your job.  You feel so good that you’re not certain if you ever want another job again.  That’s when your phone rings.  It’s a recruiter.

The Fourth Wave – You decide to go in for the interview.  Because you’re not concerned about the outcome, you are very confident.  Who knows, this company may turn into a sales prospect for your new business. You engage the interviewer(s).  You tell them your story and you even secretly give them your new sales pitch on how to improve certain facets of your industry.  You leave the interview and get back to work on your ideas for your business.  You don’t give the interview another thought except to send thank you notes. A few days later the phone rings.  The recruiter wants to know if you can do another interview.  You say yes.  A couple weeks later you’re signing an offer letter.  You say to yourself, “this is nice, but if it doesn’t work out I have my back up plan.”  For the next few months, with a twinge of pride,  you have to tell recruiters that you found a position.

While this may not be your exact story, I’m sure the message is not lost.  Confidence is key.  Not only have I personally experienced this phenomenon, I have spoken to numerous job seekers that can testify to a similar experience.  I have also spoken to people who had new jobs before their first severance check cleared.  I can tell you that these individuals made decisions quickly and did not lack in the confidence department.  Of course, just being confident won’t land you a job, but without it, you may never be able to convince employers to give you a chance.  So be mindful of your confidence level throughout your search and be sure to participate in activities that will keep it high as you seek opportunities.

How To Overcome The Need For Closure

Posted in Closure, Communication, Emotional Investments, Follow-up, Interviewing, Job Search, Motivation, Recruiter, Rejection, Uncategorized, Whole-Part Whole on October 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Do you see a connection?

Do you see a connection?

This isn’t the first time that the subject of closure has come up on the JCSI CareerAssist blog.  In a previous post entitled Handling Non-acceptance, we told candidates not to focus on the things that they cannot change.  Sometimes you will not know why you were not chosen for a specific position and you will need to rely on assumptions to move forward.  Then in Managing Your Emotional Investments In a Job Search, we encouraged our readers to keep interviews in perspective.  Being attached to every opportunity can be mentally and emotionally draining and can rob you of a true opportunity when it comes around.

In this post, we are going to assume that the advice in the above mentioned posts didn’t quite stick.  Intellectually you understand that rejection isn’t personal.  You can even see how the concept of leaving the interview at the interview would reduce some stress.  But at the end of the day you still find yourself waiting by the phone to hear back from a potential employer unable to breathe until they let you know one way or the other.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, then read on.

In order to make sense out of the need for closure, it may help to know that our brains are actually wired to see relationships holistically.  As the shapes above show, we tend to see things in wholes instead of individual parts.  Most people would describe the shapes as a circle and a square with missing pieces  rather than a bunch of disconnected lines.  This is known as Gestalt Psychology.

Translated to the job search, this means that when we speak to someone about an opportunity we are going to automatically expect it to come “full circle”–pun intended.  When it doesn’t, our brains tell us that something is missing and this is considered a psychological threat.  What happens in many cases is that we assume that we have somehow caused the “missing” piece by lacking in some way.

In order to overcome this, we must be able to see the stages of recruitment as “whole-parts”.  Based on the Whole Part Whole (WPW) Method used in some sports training  and other modalities, the participant is trained to see that each component is a whole within itself.  An example from basketball would be that while the ability to shoot free throws are a part of a game, the ability to shoot free throws is also a skill on its own.  In other words, an interview is part of getting a job, but it is also just an interview.

If you are following this logic, then you can see how “leaving the interview at the interview” is possible.  This is accomplished by:

  • Seeing the whole.  The big picture.  In other words finding a job. 
  • Gaining an understanding of how the parts relate to the whole. These are considered “whole-parts”. Phone Screens, phone interviews, f2f interviews (how many rounds?), etc.  Ask your recruiter for more information.
  • Focus on developing your skills in each “whole-part”. Phone presence, f2f interview skills, follow-up skills, etc.
  • Approach each “whole-part” as a singular event.  An interview serves its purpose in real time without being seen as making or breaking the opportunity.  The goal is to have an excellent interview experience.
  • When reviewing the event, keep it in perspective.  Don’t think how you can stop losing opportunities. Concentrate on developing your “whole-part” skills.
  • Realize that it all comes together in the end.  If you excel in your “whole-part” skills then the whole picture will eventually come together.

As you can see, overcoming the need for closure is more about what not to do than it is about doing  some technique.  The key is to keep the “whole-parts” in perspective.  By seeing the “Whole-Part Whole”, closure is integrated into the process as it moves step by step.  Seeing the process this way reduces stress by releasing candidates from carrying the burden of their entire futures into every recruitment engagement.

Planting a Resume Garden

Posted in Emotional Investments, Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Many candidates are not told this, but how they distribute their resume can contribute greatly to the response they receive from prospective employers.  To demonstrate this I will use the analogy of a garden to show your resume’s relationship to the job market.

In this example you should consider each copy of your resume as a seed with the potential to grow your ideal job.  The soil is represented by the places where your resumes end up, such as companies, organizations, job boards, and applicant tracking systems (ATS).  The sun’s equivalent will be the human eyes that will actually see your resume and determine how far it will go through the cycle.  And lastly, the job market itself will play the role of the weather conditions that can either facilitate or threaten your resume’s chances of fulfilling its potential.

Now, if you’ve ever tried to start a garden,  you know that it is not an easy task.  There are so many things to consider before you even start that the thought alone keeps most of us from ever taking on the task willingly.  It’s not as simple as deciding that you want some pumpkins or tomatoes and then throwing some seeds in a field (job board) and sitting back and waiting for the harvest (plenty of jobs to choose from).  You have to think about the type of soil available and whether or not it can sustain the plant.  You also have to consider the amount of sunlight and water that the plants will need to receive.  Lastly, you must understand the plant’s growth cycle so that you know when to plant them and when you can suspect a harvest.  And all that’s before you even consider dropping the first seed (resume).

Once you determine that you can manage the conditions necessary for growing a sustainable crop, you have to go about preparing the land itself.  This takes a lot of work as well.  You have to make sure that there is proper spacing between the vegetation so that each crop can get its fair share of nutrients.  It’s also necessary to separate certain plants from each other because they stifle each other’s growth.  In other words, you cannot rely on having your resume mixed in with a bunch of other resumes and you can’t overload a company with a truckload of resumes hoping one will slip through.  Think of how that will reflect upon your personal brand.

It is not until after you have taken these considerations and made the necessary preparations that you are ready to plant the seeds.  When planting the seeds you must make sure to plant them deep enough in the soil so that they can take root and not get flooded out by rains or picked up by birds or other creatures.  i.e. Try to get a referral or work with a recruiter (professional gardener) to increase your chances of resume survival.  Once all of this is done you have made it to the hardest part of planting a garden–waiting.

Perhaps your ultimate goal with this garden was to be able to make your own salad.  That’s the image you have in your mind and it is what motivated you to do all of the work in the first place.  Now that you’ve planted your seeds, you may find yourself getting a little anxious.  That’s because after all of the work that you’ve done you’ve finally come to the part that you have absolutely no control over.  Depending on the plant’s growth cycle and other conditions, you can spend several weeks maintaining the surrounding area to keep it free from, weeds, rodents, and bad weather and never see a single sign that anything is happening under all that dirt.  All you can rely on is the fact that you did everything that you were supposed to do.  Such is the case with your resume.

The main point that you should take away from this is to value your resume if that’s what you expect others to do.  Consider hiring a professional to review your resume to make sure that the seeds you are planting are good.  And once you’ve done that,  do what you can to give them the conditions they need to make it to harvest time.  That’s the way to plant a resume garden.

Discovering Your Transferable Skills

Posted in Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Social Media, Transferable Skills, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 on September 30, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Miyagi taught Daniel the Secret of Transferable Skills One of the most difficult, yet most valuable discoveries one can make on a job search is figuring out how to apply their transferable skills to a new opportunity.  This particular ability is especially helpful for people wanting to make a career change or those looking to enter the job market for the first time.

A transferable skill is any ability–whether it is a natural talent or acquired skill nurtured through employment, schooling, etc.–that can be used in multiple situations.  A perfect example would be the wax on, wax off  technique taught to Daniel-San in the 1980’s movie The Karate Kid. 

Throughout his training, Mr. Miyagi had Daniel performing all sorts of tasks, that to the untrained eye appeared to be focused more on the janitorial arts as opposed to martial arts.  Yet when Daniel left the Karate Championship with trophy in hand, it was very clear that  waxing a car, sanding a floor, and painting a fence had other uses beyond what can be seen on the surface.  That’s the power of understanding transferable skills.

As an empowered job seeker, it is up to you to look at the talents and skills you have developed over the years and determine where they can be used most effectively.  Undoubtedly, you are going to come across positions where you can employ your transferable skills.  However, unless you figure out how to draw attention to those skills, you will likely be passed over by an employer for other candidates whose acronyms match the job description.

Therefore, if you are serious about leveraging your transferable skills in your job search, you are going to have make an investment in marketing them–whether it is with time or money.  Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

  1. Hire a professional resume writer.  When your career path matches the logical progression of a job description connecting the dots is easy.  But if you are trying to get from point A to point B via point D with a short layover in Z then you are going to have to paint a picture that a hiring manager can see. 
  2. Build relationships with recruiters. Every star has an agent.  That should tell you something.  But not every person with an agent is working.  That should tell you something else.  With the obvious exception of having talent for them to market, the relationship you have with good recruiters can make the difference between getting your foot in the door and having it slammed in your face. Plus, their wide array of knowledge about the job market will help them to better see how your skills can be transferred.
  3. Spend time on your online profiles.By building a complete online profile, you are giving employers the opportunity to see you multi-dimensionally.  Sites like Linkedin allow you to attach blog posting, slide presentations, and book lists so that visitors can get a clearer sense of who you are and what you have to offer an organization.
  4. Volunteer to work on projects. You know you can do the work.  You just need your chance to prove it. Well, you can always do it for free.  This way everybody wins.  You get the experience and the person or organization that you  volunteer for gets a product or service that they are in need of for a price that they can afford.  Everyone wins.

These are just a few ways that you can discover, apply, and market your transferable skills.  Just remember that any action that you have mastered can be repurposed or reapplied to meet other needs.  Your task is to figure out how.  Good luck.