Monthly Archives

August 2018

Scott WinTrip’s “High Velocity Hiring”

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Being in the Talent Acquisition Business for more than 20 years, I can honestly say I have read more than my share of Recruiting Books.  Without a doubt, Scott Wintrip’s “High Velocity Hiring” is the best one I have ever read!  It was the first book that kept me engaged throughout wanting more, instead of being bored saying to myself “I know this already teach me something I don’t know”!   All I can say is that High Velocity Hiring did teach me something I didn’t know, actually a lot!!

So without giving away the book which if you are in a hiring capacity I certainly recommend getting, here is the highlights!  The focus is on proactive hiring based on the type of profiles your organization needs, as opposed to hiring only when you have an opening that comes up.  When you start the hiring process only when you need to backfill a position or an influx of new business demands resources, you are putting yourself in a very reactive and vulnerable recruiting situation.  Reason being is you are limited to a talent pool of people available only at the time you need to hire.  High Velocity Hiring teaches your organization about creating “hiring profiles” as Mr. Wintrip puts it.  The methodology to “High Velocity Hiring” is always be in a proactive recruiting function for those profiles that fit your organization at all times, even when there is not an opening.

The key ingredients to this theory of recruiting is; planning, research and consistent activity, I’ll explain.  First the planning, this is probably the most important step.  If you don’t map out where you are going and what you need as an organization to service your customer base, than its impossible to gauge who are the right people to hire for your company.  Once you know that piece of information, you can start putting together what Mr. Wintrip calls the company hiring profile.

The second step to the process can now be implemented which is the research.  This process involves taking a look at the attributes of people in your company who have been successful and more important people who have not been.  Also to be included in this process is the critical function these employees serve for your organization.  From that data you are building out a profile of the type of people you want to be recruiting.  Now if you are starting a brand new company and have never had to hire an employee before, a good place to start is look for people that share the same vision and passion that you do.  As part of this research process you want to evaluate not just abilities, but passions and organizational chemistry.  Once you have all this data compiled and all the key hiring officials in the organization are in complete agreement about this data, you can then put this in a “blender” to use a metaphor and create your Hiring Profile.

Now for the third and final ingredient to the High Velocity Hiring method, implementing a consistent recruiting activity is a must!  The biggest problem organizations have when it comes to recruiting the right people for their company, is the right people often are not available when the opening is available.  This is the biggest problem that High Velocity Hiring solves!  By planning your long-term staffing needs of roles that you will always need for your organization to function, it allows you to build a pipeline of these people.  Therefore when a need arises, you have a contact list of warm candidate leads that know your organization because you have been in contact with them.   In order for this to work, this has to be an ongoing job function that someone needs to hold.  Either a Human Resources person, or better yet a Full Time Internal Recruiter that works for your organization.

Knowing Your Customers First Before Calling On Them is a MUST!!

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What the target market is? Is there a real market? How much is the target market willing to pay? Are there competitors? and the most essential question: what needs are we satisfying?

People have always dislike being pressured by a sales person, now with all the resources Consumers & Businesses have at their “fingertips”, its now not being accepted. With so many choices out there in general no matter what the service or product, unless you have a relationship as the Sales Person, “NOBODY IS BUYING FROM YOU”!  Now people demand a subject-matter expert who can offer advice and give them relevant information according to their needs before making a commitment to buy. This switch in people’s behavior requires a different approach which is a consultative sales approach.

Under this new way of doing business a company first must engage their prospective clients by offering tons of relevant information, which is known as content marketing. Sharing is caring so a sales call for example is an exchange of value and it is a win-win situation: a company shares knowledge and a prospective client shares his wants, needs, fears- in other words, factors that will be involved in the decision-making process.

When coaching or offering my consultancy services use “this can’t miss approach”

Explore/ Discovery:

Ask lots of questions which help me understand my client’s needs, wants, fears. In other words I honestly care about my client and my only goal is to answer this question: How can I offer value to this person?
Summary: After I gather as much information as I can, I start to identify possible solutions and I make sure that what I have determined as his needs are really his needs. I ask questions like: If I understood correctly, you are telling me that what you need is to improve your delegation skills, is this right? From what you told me, I understand that you feel disconnected with your team members and this is causing you great difficulties when taking decisions as a team, is this right?

Explain the logic behind the solutions I offer

You want to be in complete agreement with your potential customer so you are not missing anything relevant.
Together WE (Sales & Customer) decide the plan of action and determine specific areas that need improvement and goals with deadlines

In order to effectively use a consultative sales approach there are two elements that can not be missed:

The goal is to honestly add value to your client:
There must be an authentic interest, empathy and conscious understanding of what your clients needs are and how can your product/service satisfy them.

In order for you, as sales person, to do it effectively you must build trust and credibility, otherwise nobody is going to volunteer the information you need to know to establish your client’s needs.

FEAR is a Sales Person’s “Best Friend”:

I mentioned “fears” in the first paragraph and I did it for a reason. Let’s say that my client has identified an area of improvement for example; effective communication or delegation or leadership skills that they perceive as a weakness hindering them being successful. Behind any of these, fear is hiding. Fear of being seen as incompetent, fear of trusting people and thinking that only you can do it, fear of being judged as an ineffective leader, fear of failure.

Let’s explore other areas. Let’s say that I am a personal trainer and my client’s goal is to start a fitness program and see results in 3 months. First identify what are his needs, wants and fears? She/He wants to feel better about himself, need to look good because of more likable, needs to be healthy,needs to fit in, wants to exercise. What are their fears? I am fat or overweight and I fear rejection, health problems and I am not persistent, I have tried before and I have failed. He has low self-esteem. As a personal trainer I must know all these information otherwise how can I support him properly and effectively?

Give before you get. Give your time, effort, knowledge. Give in the same way that you would like to receive!

Written By:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

I Want Relationship Builders NOT Sales People

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When I recruited for Sales Managers in the past and asked the question, what do they look for as key attributes from sales people they look to hire?  The dominant answer is this. 

“I have been asked by many people in my career on how I have led teams to sales, marketing, awards and success; here it is in a nutshell. It has nothing to do with me, I am just a dating service provider. I take two great parties who think alike and allow them to build a relationship (My team members and our customers). Want the big secret how to find that?”

“Here it is, I have had great sales results because I don’t look for great sales professionals.”

My Sales Managers look for problem finders and problem solvers.  So in recruiting for these people I look for behaviors first.  This involves identifying people who listen before they speak, I look for people who should have worked at The National Inquirer (Inquiring minds want to know. Get it? Ok I am dating myself again).  I want candidates who are looking deeper and longer term than the sales results, and value that experience is just as critical as the end result. What does that get me? The industry’s best, with all the “sales” results you would expect.

“While you are off looking for Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Ross, who will always be closing, I am off looking for Sherlock Homes  with the Servant heart of Steve Jobs in solving the customer’s true why”, is what my one hiring manager use to say.

Here are the three traits that seem to be that “magic potion” that lead to sales success and industry leading customer service levels.

1) Inquiry vs. Advocacy

  • Be forewarned, if you apply to join our exclusive team of elite professionals, membership involves a role-play. I make each candidate that gets to a final interview with me role-play a sales experience with me as a client. I send them all the info on a real community, all the product and pricing , corporate info etc.

  • Most candidates comeback ready to wow me on what they know about the product and advocate why I should buy. They don’t get hired.

  • Some candidates ask me questions like do you want a 3 bedroom or 4 bedroom, hardwood or carpet, 1 car garages or two etc. They don’t get hired either.

  • Now some rare candidates come in and ask me about my life: Why are you moving? Why now? Tell me about your family? What does your future look like? How is a day in the life now in your home? What would you change? What do summers and winters look like around your house? What are you afraid of? What have you heard? Those ones. They have a chance.

  • Talk about a candidate pool being narrowed down. Finally the ones who have asked the right questions, solved the right problems, and  now advocate proudly based on their expertise and how their product best solves my customized functional and emotionally problems, needs and wants, THEY GET HIRED ( if they are the best among the best being interviewed)

2) The Experience is everything 

  • I look for people who have great results and are winners, but for those who define that success as coming from how they made their customers feel, not just what they bought.

  • If you have a professional who is empathetic and demonstrates “do unto others, as you would have them do to you” and is driven to make a difference in others’ lives and believes in that responsibility, you will never have to hold them to account on this, they raise their own bar.

  • They view themselves as the brand and as the customer’s champion, and you can’t lose. These are people who thrive off getting results, but thrive on the qualitative recognition as much as the quantitative. Look for this.

3) Their personal brand means more than their sales results  

    • Some of the best sales professionals out there with the best sales results, define themselves based on what the market says about them, not their sales results.

    • The great ones get the results as a bi-product of upholding their reputation for service and long term relationship skills, not with short term transactional thinking.

    • The players you want on your team are the ones that people rave about because they value that more than any number they will produce

    • We are in an age where it is seller beware not buyer beware. Are you hiring people who are always closing or are always opening up new relationships?

    • You go your way, and I will go mine, let’s see who crosses the line first, and keeps their sanity 🙂

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Written By:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

Is Scaling Up Your $1MM Organization Facing Growth Challenges? A Solid HR Talent Acquisition Strategy Can Alleviate That!

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What is the Major Hurdle in Scaling your Organization?

Congratulations, your organization has reached its first major milestone; the company made its first Million Dollars in Revenue! As a growing Entrepreneur your next desire is probably $2MM, $3MM, etc...  However this is easier said than done.  As a newer Leadership Team, Scalability is probably presenting some major “hurdles” for you that maybe you didn’t quite anticipate.  The most common challenge for organizations of the Million Dollar Size, is lack of bandwidth to generate this additional revenue to grow.

Lack of Sales is usually the 1st problem to be identified.  “If we could just sell more to our current customer base while adding just a few more new clients, we could probably double our size within one, two, three years.”  This is the most common line of thinking that CEO’s and Founders usually gravitate towards.  However if you really take an extended deep dive analysis into the problem, lack of sales is usually not the culprit.  In fact, even if you could line up an additional project or two from your current customers or add another client would you still make more money?  This answer may surprise you, BUT NO!  The reason is if your current workforce is producing at full capacity and additional resources are not added, your organization can’t generate any more revenue beyond what your resources are producing.  It’s impossible to grow as you can see.

What is the Solution?

So now that we have identified lack of resources as the root cause to achieving scalability for your organization, the next question is how to solve it?  These challenges can easily be solved with a Talent Acquisition Strategy.  The key is your strategy has to be consistent with a committed effort to keep up with a regular cadence of activities.  Even if you may not be hiring in that particular moment, the key is giving the world the perception that you are always looking to hire strong people.  So how exactly does this work and what components need to be in place in order to execute this strategy?

First piece that I mentioned is a commitment to be consistent with execution.  Let us compare this with how any organization views their sales functions.  Companies don’t stop selling just because they land one or two deals, so why should they stop recruiting for talent just because you hired someone?  Believe it or not hiring is far more volatile than landing a sale.  With sales there are contracts involved binding both parties to the agreed terms.  Hiring a candidate for a job does not bind them at all to take the job or even stay in the job once they start.  Most States abide by “Employment at Will” Laws meaning a company can let an employee go for almost any legal reason and an employee can certainly quit without giving notice.  So would it not make sense to always have your “Plan B…Plan C..” etc… in place just in case?

The other critical component to have in place is either have a dedicated HR Talent Acquisition Department or the very least have a person in place dedicated to ONLY recruiting functions.  The mindset of the organization has to be that this Recruiting Resource is to be viewed as an investment to building Talent Funnels.  If an organization is thinking, “we don’t anticipate doing any hiring for minimal 6 months probably a year why should we waste the money paying for a Recruiter?”  Then as an organization you could be making a critical mistake.  People quit all the time, new projects come up all the time so the smart organizations that think strategically “two moves ahead” are the ones that have a higher success rate of achieving their scalability goals.

Implementing the Talent Acquisition Strategy

First step, engage in an internal assessment of where you are now and what that next level goal is.  More important once you figure out where you want to go, then you want to figure out from a resource and fulfillment perspective what you need to get there.  Essentially your organization wants to build hiring profiles that will serve as a blueprint for the type of talent the organization needs to achieve that next milestone.

Second step and this is critical implementing the Talent Acquisition Process, “go all in” and make the investment in a Hiring Department.  This is where a lot of smaller organizations get caught up.  Its difficult to invest money into hiring functions when you don’t always need to hire.  I get it, but think of it from an ROI perspective.  If opportunities come up that can bring your organization instant revenue stream, having the ability to take advantage of that “real time” far outweighs the alternative which is showing your customer you CAN’T DELIVER.  This leads organizations into desperation  where reactive hiring activities take place, which then leads to bad hires and we all know the consequences of bad hires!

To be honest it would not take a whole lot of investment to implement this strategy.  As a smaller organization you can even start out with one employee who takes the mold of a Corporate Recruiter.  Let this person drive your Hiring Profile Strategy where potentially all they are doing for you is building candidate relationships and pipelining talent.  You don’t want to compensate them like a sales person, however you may want to have a bonus component in place on how many people they are pipelining that fit the hiring profiles the organization has set up.  I would mix into the strategy some corporate branding on Social Media from a HR Talent Acquisition perspective.  The messaging should be specific for what the company does, why people would want to work here and some specific information on some of the exciting initiatives the company is involved with.  Essentially the company wants to take on a Persona that they are always hiring if strong talent comes across.

The final step is what I term “Storing Your Treasures”, what I mean by that is you want a safe place to save your information.  If you have implemented Steps 1 & 2 then you will be generating candidate leads and resumes.  You will want to have this stored in some type of Database specific to Recruiting called an Applicant Tracking System or “ATS”.  So as situations come up where you need to hire, you now have a virtual “Tickler File” of warm leads to find applicants from.  This certainly beats what most organizations do when they need to hire quickly, pay hundreds of dollars to post an online add then have to scramble to find the right people from applicants who apply even though they don’t fit the job requirements.  If you follow the system, your recruiter should be always speaking with candidates that fit your company profile therefore when you do have to hire, you will be selecting from profiles where an initial match has been identified.

If you are serious about looking to scale up your business, a Talent Acquisition Strategy might be your “Best Medicine”!

Written By:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

Professionals in the Tech Sector Resorting to Social Media for Co

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Are you a Mid-to-Senior Level Professional working in the “Tech Sector” trying to find a new job, but need to “fly under the radar” so your employer doesn’t find out? Are you trying to avoid publicizing your resume for fear of being over-whelmed by the countless amount of emails and calls from recruiters trying to talk you into an opening that doesn’t fit? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions then I may have a solution for you!

The strategies I’m proposing are proven effective for individuals wanting to conduct a highly confidential job search to try and move in-between or upward into a technical or managerial position where discretion is important. The strategies I’m specifically referring to is Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc…). I understand most people know how to use these tools already, but I can assure you there is an incredible amount of things these tools can do for your job search that you can’t even begin to imagine! Take it from someone who over the last couple years has dedicated themselves to really understanding how to use Social Media for my job. The only boundary Social Media has is the limits of your creativity!

Why is a Job Search Different for Technology Professionals Then Other Professions?

So there are a couple of reasons I really wanted to focuse this blog on professionals working in the Tech Industry. For one, I have spent the majority of my professional work life recruiting, evaluating and hiring Information Technology skill sets so I have a very good understanding of the importance that their abilities and talents directly have on an organization. Therefore I have some specific job search strategies that someone working in technology can leverage to best market themselves. The second and most important reason I wanted to reach out specifically to technology people and folks in management is that their search is very specific and focused, thus making it different and in most cases more difficult.

Believe it or not conducting a search when you are employed is far more difficult than when you are a “free agent” or in between jobs. The reason is when you are employed in most instances, you don’t want your current employer to know you are looking. This means you don’t have the ability to advertise out to the “free world” that you are looking for a new job for fear of consequences you could face if your employer finds out. The second problem with looking for a job when you are working is the lack of flexibility to interview. In fact having initial conversations with potential employers to do initial inquires are even difficult during business hours when you are working.

Due to the nature of work and the level of difficulties that technical professionals possess make them attractive to many potential employers out there. The training IT people have to endure is intense and very expensive, so if an employer can hire someone who already owns those skills without having to pay for it makes that person attractive to a company. With that said technical people have many opportunities which on the surface sounds great, but if you dig deeper this could be a negative because a lot of these opportunities may not be a good fit at all. For any of us who have taken the wrong job, that could prove to be a disaster. Hence this is a great transition to the main focus of my article, how to leverage Social Media to conduct a confidential job search.

CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Earlier in this article I teased you mentioning the amazing things Social Media can do for your job search, especially when you are trying to “fly under the radar”. Social Media really is an incredible gift technology has given us, you can be anywhere in the world and at the touch of your fingertips communicate anything you want and access any information you want. Best of all its free!!!

One thing to keep in mind is that freedom comes with a price. Just as you have the ability to communicate anything you want and research anything you want at the the touch of your finger tips, everyone else also has that power. That is why the first thing you need to do which is what I consider to be the most critical when getting onto Social Media, establish credibility!! You not only want people to take you serious from a professional perspective, but you want them to believe that you have some level of expertise in at least one if not many subject areas. If you can’t do this, then there is no amount of technology that will help your job search. The best way to accomplish this is to develop a strong professional brand for yourself that will create “buzz”.

When I talk about “buzz” I’m referring to things about your professional background that will make people “stand up and take notice” wanting to know more about you. The way to do that is through your special milestones you have accomplished on the job. As a recruiter one of my “pet peeves” is to see someone take the time to put a profile on Linkedin or Twitter, especially Linkedin and just list your jobs you worked at with maybe a short bullet list of your daily task; “BORING”. Being someone in the profession hiring for my job openings, I use social media a lot to find people. If someone doesn’t excite me with how they made a difference at their organizations and what they accomplished, I will not give them a 2nd look let alone reach out to them to learn more.

First step, take a note book or type somewhere on your computer where you can make a list of neat things you accomplished job by job. Speak about special projects you were involved with, the role you took on those projects and how they made your department or company better for this accomplishment. Another key thing to cover for technology people is talk about the technology you used and relate it to how it served the business purposes. Some examples might be (task you did to reduce cost/increase revenue/processes you implemented to drive better efficiency). These functions “scream” you are a potentially valuable employee to a future employer.

Target your Search Through Research

Now that your professional branding is created and you have some credibility behind you which will drive people to your profile through key word searches, this is where your search on social media begins. That beginning starts with you identifying organizations that you want to work for. You are working and you have skills that are attractive to many employers, so I beg of you please be selective of where you choose to work for your next place of employment. Take it from someone who has made this mistake in the past, you are better to be mildly miserable at your current employer then to take a risk going to a new company and taking on a role you are not 100% sure is the right move.

What I mean by that is you have built up credibility and tenure at your current company, if you give that up for a new job you are unsure about and it turns out bad that could be a very nasty situation. At least with your current job you should have some flexibility since you have proven your credibility. At a new job you have to prove yourself all over again meaning lack of flexibility to look for a new job if things turn “sour”. Now that I have your attention, this is where you want to take your time and figure out the best company to make your next move to. You want to take into account factors that are important to you such as industry preference, company size, initiatives they are involved with that might match up with things you want to do in your career and most important, their reputation with their customers and how they treat employees. Luckily with Social Media which again I stress is free, this information is very easy to obtain and the accuracy of the information is very easy to confirm.

The two tools I think you get the most “bang for your buck” meaning allocation of your time is LinkedIn and Glass Door. First LinkedIn, you can search company profiles and employee profiles to see all company history and the backgrounds of key personnel who run that organization. This is where you can get a first glance to see if the projects they are working on match your skills and things you want to do. Also you look to see if the backgrounds of the people working their share common backgrounds and interest to you. This is the first and most important indicator if this is a possible organization that is right for you. I also mentioned a tool called Glass Door, this is basically Yelp for Companies. Employees can go to Glass Door on strictly a confidential basis and post their true experiences and feelings about working at a company without fear of having their identity discovered. This is where you can learn about specific examples of how a company treats their employees and sure you have to take this information with a “grain of salt”, but I have found it to be very accurate especially if comments are in a majority fashion sway one way or the other. If you have 10 people within a year or so time frame saying negative or positive comments about a company and they have worked in various areas of the organization, its safe to say that is probably a trend you will find to be true.

“Let the Networking Begin”

Ok, you have completed your thorough preparation of short listing some organizations you want to work at that match your values. You have also created a very attractive profile so those companies can gain an awareness of you and see if you match what they look for in an employee. Now you are ready to take the plunge and let those companies know you are interested, “let the networking begin”.

Networking, this is where a lot of job seekers make their biggest mistakes. Most people think networking is connecting with others to ask for a job directly. True networking is more passive and less aggressive and is one of those situations where “less is more”. Yes you do want to reach out and connect with people who share your same skills or work for a company you are looking to possibly work at, but it is for information purposes only with advertising yourself through intelligent questions is a “byproduct”. Reaching out to others should be for the purpose of learning what they like about the company, initiatives they are working on that they enjoy, things they feel the company could improve on and last advice seeking.

People are more likely to answer your invitation and be open to speaking with you if you let them know you are seeking their advice or want to do information sharing. It is ok to say once you have established some credibility with the people you are reaching out to “look I’m looking to potentially make a move from my organization but I want to seek your advice on some places that you feel would be best for me to perform certain types of work”. “I notice you are doing some similar things to what I have done, what do you like about your organization”. This tactic will get you much further with people because all you are asking them for is information as opposed to a job. Also they gain respect for you because you are coming off as someone who is thought provoking and very serious about a job change as vs. someone just desperate to find a job.

Another way to get yourself known as an expert in your field is joining professional groups in LinkedIn and Meetup in your areas of expertise and post useful information and questions. This is a great way to get yourself known in the industry and advertise your knowledge.

Steve Rosen

Interviewing to Win The Job!

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Tips for a Successful Interview

Door is Open Now How Do We Handle the Meeting?

Effective Communication Strategies

Verbal Communication:

  • What to say to land the interview talk about milestones and how you were effective in the job not the task (value you bring to the job).

Art of Interviewing

Interview education on what goes on inside a hiring manager’s head

  • As the candidate how you can take control of the interview and how to prepare

  • How to answer some of those difficult questions

  • Why interviewing blind candidates is actually more intimidating for the hiring manager

1. Create a 2-minute pitch of why you should be hired.

  • Include 3-5 accomplishments from a similar role

2. Create a list of personality traits that are a complimentary fit to the industry or position.

3. Come up with intangible attributes you have to offer

  • Enthusiasm for company’s mission

  • Ability to work with many diverse personalities

  • Ability and desire to work in untested/new situations.

  • Adaptable in a change environment.

4. Based on the position or industry try to come up with some objections the manager would have and figure out how to handle them.

  • Information interview someone in that position you are pursuing to gather this information.

5. Position yourself to make perspective employers see you in the new position.

  • Determine what skills they will want

  • Search your background to determine where you have demonstrated those skills

  • Write a position statement (emphasizes what you want to do and a statement of what you bring to the table.)

Interview Coaching Effective to Winning the Job

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Do you want to interview well or interview to win?  Most people think they are one in the same and  if they are good interviewers or even great interviewers, they will automatically get the job.  “My friends”, that could not be further from the truth!

There is a difference, in fact there is a monumental difference between the two!  Interviewing well involves doing the little things that an employer expects of you when you walk through that door to meet with them such as, (dress well, effective use of body language, effectively communicate your background, great eye contact, etc……).  Don’t get me wrong when you interview to win those things must happen.  However, here is the major difference between someone that interviews well and someone who interviews to win; differentiating yourself from the pack!!

That’s right, the ONE component to interviewing to win a job over other candidates who just interview well is differentiating your background from the others that fits the particular need the employer has.  If you and 15 other people with similar backgrounds interview well for a job without differentiating something special about you, whats to give you the nod over any other candidate.  At that point the employer can pretty much “pick a name out of a hat” and your job landing prospects is relying on pure “luck”.

I prepare my clients by teaching them strategies how to win the job!  This involves a “1-2 punch” strategy which is a lot of work by both myself and the client, but in the end its worth it!

Preparation and attention to detail about the company and the needs of the manager are a critical 1st part to the plan.  Once these critical details are obtained then I teach my clients to approach the interview like a sales or consulting meeting vs. a job interview.  This is a critical part to differentiating yourself as a top tier candidate!

When the interview meeting, yes I said “meeting” is approached like a meeting where the focus of the conversation is how your background can solve a staffing problem for the employer, that makes you special.  Its a interviewing skill that a lot of people don’t have, but for people who do, its an effective weapon in putting you at the top of the selection list!

“Techie” Tricks to Slay the Job Search

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Being a Technology Recruiter for a number of years and interviewing hundreds of technology professionals at all levels, I discovered something.  Of course this statement I’m about to make is a generalization and doesn’t apply to every technology person. I find most technology people are great at what they do but not so great at explaining it verbally or written in a job search situation.

Now there is a caveat with that, their work is of a highly technical nature and carries a great degree of difficulty.  Therefore breaking that down into laymen’s terms can prove impossible at times for Technology Professionals. This can cause major problems when it comes to marketing themselves for  interviews and the overall job search. However have no fear my “Techie” friends, I have some suggestions to combat the job search issues to help make you more effective!

The first step is learning how to correlate your abilities and how they can add value to an organization and their bottom line mission.  My suggestion here and its what I recommend to all of my candidates is buy a notebook and make it specific your “Job Search Diary” and put nothing in it accept for job related information.  Separate it out by jobs/projects then list how you were involved in that project and the end result. The popular acronym a lot of people use is a PAR (problem/action taken/end result).  Writing this down in a notebook accomplishes two things, first you have a organized written record of your work.  Second, its been proven when we write something down we actually start to learn it and that builds confidence in communicating it in an effective manner.  Once you have this information written down, you want to then transfer it on your resume and more important, update your LinkedIn Profile!

In speaking about your LinkedIn Profile and really all of your Social Media you really want to give that a lot of “fine tuning” to make it look professionally polished!  Make sure you are including relevant skills that are highlighted somehow by bolding them and put them into a bulleted list so that your audience can easily be attracted to it.  In addition separate your projects out under each job with a bulleted list of what you did and the goal it accomplished.  Last, make sure there are not any distasteful photos or comments hanging around somewhere on your social media profiles.

Now that you have your written documentation of your “body of work”, on to the next important section which is putting emphasis on researching prospective employers.  Options for learning about your next perspective employer is to pay attention to them on the news and on their website.  I would put focus on trying to find out the type of projects their IT Department is involved with and the direction they are moving into.  Examples could be with cloud computing, converging technology or what the next big tech discovery they are working on. Join groups and connect with IT people that work at that company to see what they are blogging about.

The Meeting (Interview) has finally arrived after the labors of your hard work in preparing yourself!  How should you handle that effectively you may ask? Based on your projects you recorded in your Job Search Notebook, you can now give specific examples of your past accomplishment and share quantifiable organizational goals you helped your past employers reach.  You want to summarize how you were successful by using the PAR Methodology to break it down for the future employer to help them create a visualization to remember you by!

These few simple adjustments to your job search process can make an incredible impact in helping you not only find the right organization and job for you, but put you as a serious competitor to “win the job”!

Written by

Steve Rosen-Senior Technical Recruiter

Critical Interviewing Advice for Executives & Senior Managers

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1) Overconfidence sinks plenty of candidates

The longer we work, the more there is risk to develop a chip on our shoulders called “been there, done that.” Experience and professional accomplishments do not automatically equal having strong interviewing skills. Unless you interview on a regular basis, chances are you are rusty.

Another problem is that we commonly do things the same way year after year, even if it is the wrong way. Let’s call them “bad habits that we can’t shed”, which exist in part because we are clueless of our flaws and inadequacies. We may not have a Chiefly Brutally-Honest Officer on our team to help flag an issue. You may hear: “I do not need these skills,” when in reality those are the people who need them the most. If you are not getting jobs, it may be a signal that it’s time to revamp your interviewing arsenal (and perhaps not only interviewing).

2) If you don’t have a plan, companies don’t want you

Some job seekers erroneously believe that they do not need a career plan, as they pursue various career opportunities. What ends up happening is that the lack of planning comes through in your message to the hiring teams. In addition to knowing that you qualify for the job and can actually do it, they want to know the following: What do you want to do in the long-term and why? Why do you want to be in this company and this industry? Do we have a future together?

How will you have a vision for the business if you do not have one for your own career? When you have a plan, you can deliver a message that is crisp, pithy, and makes sense.

3) You failed to create a reputation that speaks for itself

Your reputation exists in the marketplaces whether you want it or not. You can let your reputation evolve on its own, but that’s hardly taking charge of your own destiny. If you do not know what your network, current and former team members, and the rumor elves are saying behind your back, it is time to get to work. PR is important in securing senior level roles just as much as your positive attitude and ability to be an appealing commodity to a prospective employer.

4) Can you connect with various ages and ranks?

Regardless of the level of your interpersonal skills, the ability to connect with prospective colleagues of any age and rank is critical. Many companies approach recruiting process as a team, with all team members’ input taken into account. Some senior level candidates can come across as patronizing or condescending to junior team members and, as a result, do not get the offer. Others may seem shallow and insincere in their attempts to connect both with junior and senior team members. The hiring teams will question whether you will be an effective leader when you cannot connect quickly and genuinely with others.

It is possible to rise through the ranks in the absence of interpersonal skills. Yet, there is a limit to this climb. Ultimately, such individuals tend to be exiled to the areas of corporation where they have little visibility or few, if any, direct reports. I worked with one very intelligent senior executive (he is not the only one I can recall), who was great with numbers and vision but terrible with people. He tried to improve but soon reverted to his old habits. Ultimately, people just did not want to work for him and often with him.

When it comes to job searches and career opportunities, our reputation tends to precede us. Don’t get caught with the absence of the next career move because you neglected to develop the ability to connect with and relate to people. You may find an article called Find Time to Play in Their Sandbox helpful as well.

5) Didn’t do your homework

Like a skilled general, you do not want to go into a battle without knowing your opponent, understanding the situation, understanding terrain and challenges, and having a plan B. Similarly, a number of senior level candidates fail to invest enough time to understand the prospective company, the hiring team’s strengths and weaknesses, what their needs are, the industry and competition, compensation, and anything else related to the opportunity. Part of the challenge is that experienced candidates are very busy in their own jobs or in their job searches. They falsely think that the resume and the list of accomplishments can carry them through to the offer. However, those who take the time to research and shine during the interviews will get a preference.

Some experts recommend spending at a minimum 10 to 15 hours preparing for interviews with every company, researching it, calling on your network to get the inside scoop, and assessing if the opportunity is the right fit. While this number of hours is not always realistic, at a minimum several hours of solid research will help you maneuver through the interviewing process more successfully. And, practice before your interviews. Most skilled interviewees appreciate the importance of practice, from learning to control your voice and tone to being ready for odd and uncomfortable questions.

6) If you can’t communicate well, you won’t manage your teams well

A senior executive’s natural, confident response is that she or he is good at verbal and written communication. Yet, their team members may disagree. We’ve all sat through high level meetings just to walk out with a sense that we have no idea what that senior executive was talking about and what we need to do. The higher you climb, the more important it is to be on point and to the point. At the same time, one has to have finesse in communicating with colleagues and external parties.

Team members often complain that their executives “bark” in their emails: “Is this done yet?” or something similar. How about a Good Morning, a couple of polite phrases, and a thank you? And don’t forget to call that person by her or his name. If you think that proper communication and respect are not part of delivering on your executive goals, think twice. The same applies to communication by phone and face to face. If you can’t spend a few extra seconds to be respectful and polite, you can’t expect your teams to respect you either. And if you are naturally challenged in this department, get a coach. This investment will pay for itself over and over again during the remainder of your career.

As you can see, being a successful job candidate is a bit more than just leaning on a long list of accomplishments. It is not surprising, because the stakes are up and the price tag is high. Leadership and many other qualities are important as we progress in our careers as well as the ability to connect with people. Yet, knowledge of interviewing and strong interviewing skills need to come before you have a chance to get to work.

Good luck with your search for the next career move!

Written By:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

How to Really Answer That Interview Question We All Hate; “What is Your Weakness”

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How Should We Really Answer That Interview Question We All Hate; ”What is Your Weakness?”

I don’t care if you are a CEO or in a support role, we all struggle with that famous interview question that every potential employer will ask us on the interview; “What is your Weakness?”

WHY IS THE QUESTION ASKED

Before I help you with how to answer it in the most effective manner, I think we first need to try to understand why hiring managers ask it and more importantly what are they really looking for. There is no way to understand fully each individual hiring manager’s agenda for asking the question and what they are looking for because its subjective. I have asked several managers that I have supported as a recruiter and have received several different answers. In most part the census is, “its the question that everyone typically ask in an interview so I’m following suit”. The other popular answer is, “its the one question that puts a candidate on the spot and I get to see how she/he will respond when put on the spot.”

In my opinion the reason it is asked by Managers and HR People is because they want to see how honest a candidate is willing to be with them and how honest the candidate is willing to be with themselves and their abilities. Personally I ask the question a different way, because I want to assess what area a candidate needs to improve and how willing they are to make the sacrafice to improve. My question is, “what areas do you need to improve and what is something you would like to get stronger at?” In my opinion asking it in this manner takes the candidate off their game and off their defense mechanism to giving me one of those crafted stock answers that interview books tell you how to answer.

EFFECTIVE WAYS TO ANSWER THE QUESTION

Now that we have some theories to help us understand why the Weakness Question is asked, I bet you want some suggestions on how to answer it. First let me give you some answers to stay away from, and this is only my opinion so it doesn’t make it right or wrong. However with 20 years of hiring experience I have a pretty good pulse on answers managers love to hear and what they hate to hear.

The two answers I would stay away from at all cost is 1) I can’t think of a weakness or I don’t have one. 2) my weakness is I’m a workaholic that doesn’t know when to shut off and I tend to burn out.

I hate those answers because neither is true, and more important you are escaping the question which puts doubt in the hiring manager’s mind saying you are hiding something. I don’t care who you are and what you do, nobody has mastered everything about their job or even about life. We can always improve no matter how much we know or think we know!

My favorite way to answer this question is go back to my last appraisal/review and see what my boss gave me some constructive criticism on something I need to improve on. I would then craft my answer this way, “as far as a weakness goes my last boss brought to my attention that I need to learn this or I need to get stronger in this area, etc…”. With that information, I took it to heart and these are the action items I took to improve in these areas and this is where I’m at now.” An example would be taking a class to learn how to create PowerPoint Presentations or spending time mentoring under a Sr. Sales Person to shore up your sales techniques.

This answer really tells a future employer that you have a lot of character! First it shows them you are a honest and stand up person who is very serious about their career and is willing to go “the extra mile” to get better. The second thing it says about you that I think is more important is that hiring managers make an assumption that you are trainable and a team player! This is near the top of the list of intangible skills that employers love to hire candidates with!

In conclusion folks, “honesty is truly the best policy”!!

Written by:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

LinkedIn Branding to Boost your New Business Venture

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A majority of professionals have a Linkedin profile and know what Linkedin is. The fact is there is more to Linkedin. I want to educate professionals on strategic tactics for Linkedin that result in incredible value.  To entrepreneurs venturing out or established small businesses wanting to reach there goals!

Personal branding and marketing  your product/service is absolutely critical to success and growth!  (Ok we all know this.) What I want to share is the ways this is accomplished with the free version of Linkedin.  You have a profile and you make connections, from a marketing perspective, there is more to this. Here are a few “tidbits” to get your Linkedin Marketing Strategy started.

This article focuses on two things you as a Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses  have with a free edition of Linkedin;

Attention to your Business on your Personal Profile.

Brand your Business Venture through Groups.

The quickest and easiest thing is, promote your business venture using your Personal Profile Page.  In as much detail, talk about what your business does, the markets it serves, key product or service features etc… Be concise and to the point, use “key terms” that come up in searches, that way you are found.  Add links to videos, your website and Blogs you have written, to help your marketing efforts. The more you educate the public, the more they are aware of you and your business.

Interact with your professional connections.  I see a lot of people,  invite as many people as possible to connect, and not ever engage in any meaningful conversation; big mistake!  Especially if you are trying to brand and market your business venture! Once you connect with a professional on Linkedin, you communicate with them for free as much as you like.  This is one of the very few free offerings from Linkedin, take advantage of that feature! The strategy here, is not a direct sell to your connections, but an opportunity to learn what is important to them. When they reciprocate back and want to learn about you, this is where you brand yourself on what you do.  Let them know about your new business venture and why it excites and gives you passion! Share some exciting news, links anything that helps them learn what your business or service does and who it solves a problem for. If they are not a potential customer, they might spread the word with a connection they have!  The fact that you are not selling to them, will give them appreciation and make them want to help you more.

Join Linkedin Groups

This is the activity that integrates your marketing & branding strategy from your  personal Linkedin Account. It lets you join up to 50 Linkedin Groups for free. You have the opportunity to engage with your audience on a personal level.

Be strategic about what groups you join, and be an active participant. Select groups that are in your profession. What this does is allow you to see posts from people and companies on what is going on.  It gives you the opportunity to learn, interact with those people posting to engage in good professional conversation and even add some valuable insight from your perspective on the topic. Also in these groups you can post information, ideas or even questions.  This way professionals learn about what you do, and you have credibility of holding some level of expertise.

What you absolutely DON’T WANT TO DO is sell your product or service in the group.  People won’t appreciate it, and the Group Moderator can even kick you out of the group.

Another great way to promote yourself within Groups as a Business Owner, is open yourself up to volunteer to answer questions or let people engage your expertise if they get stuck.  Also sharing your personal blogs and interesting information on topics is a great way for people to get to know you and appreciate you.

Again, I just “scratched the surface” here of what you can do with Linkedin to market your new Business Venture.  Stay tuned for other Linkedin Articles from me, but in the meantime, focus on these few pieces. This is the way to generate good productive leads.  Let the Linkedin Marketing begin!!

Written by:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

Linkedin’s Alumni Tool Can Be Incredibly Valuable To Businesses

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In one of my other Linkedin Articles, I wrote about effective messaging and the importance of trying to find something in common with the person you are trying to elicit response from.  One of the stronger bonds to find in common with a stranger is being a fellow College Alumni! Linkedin’s Alumni Tool is one of their most underused and I believe underrated tools that are tied to the Linkedin platform!  ‘Aine Cane, Reporter on the Careers Section for Business Insider writes a nice short piece on this (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-linkedin-alumni-tool-2017-1).  I recommend taking a look at if time permits, it’s well written!  ‘Aine’s perspective is for job seekers and how this can be incredibly valuable to make potential job connections with members of their school alumni.  However, for my piece I’m going to take a different perspective. I want to share some valuable strategies on how the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Community can also utilize Linkedin Alumni for their advantage.

The search functionality works very similar to the main page, however in my opinion the layout and functionality of this page is set up much more clean and user friendly!  In the top right corner is a drop down to choose your University then directly below that are 3 drop down categories giving you options for graduated/attended, start year and end year.  If you go down a little more, the tool allows you to design your search as granular as you like.  It allows you to sort your alumni by three areas (where they live, where they work and what they do).  As you can see from a business perspective, this can be incredibly invaluable in helping you construct a list of potential customers that attended the same University as you.  More important, the Alumni Tool provides you with endless information about your fellow alumni! This is critical when designing a strategy to approach these people for potential business opportunities.  This is where I will spend the remainder of the article covering.

For anyone selling a product or service, I think Linked did an amazing job designing this product that can compete with any paid marketing list out there, best of all its free! Depending on your product or service, this tool can narrow down your demographic searches pretty thoroughly with the flexibility to do it anyway you want.  This will help you design a unique and powerful message geared toward that specific demographics’ interest. Of course the secret weapon with the message is you can lead in with the commonality of attending the same school. Let me present an example to really illustrate how this can be powerful!

Example: Let’s say you designed a product for coffee drinkers who wanted to make their own fresh cold brew coffee out of the convenience of their own home.  You can use the tool to narrow down a few different demographic categories based on their age, region they live in and what they do for a living to connect with them through a message that you know will pique their interest.  So for example if you want to find people in your age category that you might of graduated with. An effective strategy might be to establish the relationship of “we went to school together and graduated together, I would love to catch up to see where you are at now and what you are doing after graduation”.  That approach is harmless and will usually elicit a response back. Once connected and the relationship is established or re-established, introducing your product in a non-threatening manner will be easy.

To my Small Business Capitalist and Entrepreneurial audience, to be honest with you I think this the most valuable tool I can introduce to you in helping you build your business!  Stay tuned for more tips in future articles.

Written by:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

Loyalty: Secret Weapon That Could Win you the Job!!

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So I had the great opportunity and honor to hear James Kane (http://jameskane.com/) who is a world recognized speaker and author in the area of building relationships in business, speak at a conference. I have heard many speakers in my time, but James is the best I’ve seen thus far!! What made his presentation so special and powerful to me is the way he was able synchronize and demonstrate how Business, Neuroscience and Behavorial Psychology can work together to create a powerful sales strategy.  This can be used in literally any business model. He tied it around the power of one word;”loyalty”. James Kane is an expert on how to create such a strong loyalty in your brand and if you ever get a chance to hear him speak or expose yourself to what he writes, you are in for a treat!

Without going into a long discussion about the conference, I want to share one unique idea around loyalty that he mentioned. Kane’s idea that to win customer loyalty is not accomplished by fulfilling the expectation of delivering the product or service the customer pays for, but in creating an incredible experience. What he was referring to was the process of getting them there that customers will always come back to you for and brag about you to others. The idea is get to know as much about your customers not only on a professional manner, but personal as well. That knowledge will allow you to connect to your customers in such meaningful ways that you can create an “incredible experience” in how you deliver your service.

So enough about James Kane, I hope even though I didn’t meet him personally he will appreciate my promotion of him some day!! This entire discussion about loyalty started me thinking on how this could be leveraged on a job interview. If you think about it, an employer pays you to deliver the task you are hired for. We think as society in a whole, that if we complete the job we are paid to do it makes us special and we deserve rewards for that. Folks we need to change our thinking on that, your reward is the money the employer pays you to get the job done. Your reward is the privilege of getting the opportunity to continue to stay their and do your job so you can continue to get paid. Now if you are wanting recognition and real rewards, then ladies and gentlemen you have to focus on the way you do your job and creating a pleasurable experience for your boss by doing it in a special and prideful way!!

Some examples may be: taking initiative to do things above and beyond when you see an opportunity without having to be asked.  Also when identifying problems to your boss, make sure you pair that with some possible solutions you came up with OR figuring out a way to take as much responsibility off your boss allowing them to do other things. Folks what you want to demonstrate is not just how effective you are at doing your job, but how you created an incredible experience for your boss in the process of doing the job. If this was the focus of your interview strategy, this would put you “in the conversation” as top candidate for every job you interview for!!

Think about it, as Human Beings loyalty is one of the things we can never get enough of!!

By Steve Rosen

Sr. Recruiter/Certified Interview Coach

Writing Strategic Linkedin Messages to Yield Effectiveness

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Mission accomplished!! You set up your Linkedin Profile how you like it, you then joined some industry-related groups that fit your professional/interest profile.  Now you are ready to connect with people to engage them in what you are hoping to be a valuable conversation, even better a potential networking opportunity. This involves crafting the right message that is going to invoke not only a response back, but the response back you want!!

Whether an individual reaching out to someone for a potential job opportunity or a business trying grab the attention of a potential client, the messaging is critical!  It needs to be strategic in order to be effective. What does that exactly mean it needs to be strategic you are probably asking?

Like all of our English Teachers have taught us, any form of written communication needs to be clear, concise and capture the interest of your audience.  Please before anyone stops reading now, stay with me. I promise I’m not here to give anyone grammar lessons, there is nothing that needs to elaborate on.  Instead, I’m going to focus on the other important variables of a strategic message that are critical to yielding effectiveness.

Research-Before reaching out to anyone directly on Linkedin, it’s a good idea to have a strategy behind why you are trying to make the connection.  People know you have a reason for trying to reach them directly, so you don’t want to insult their intelligence by “sugar coating it”. If you have a specific and strategic reason for the contact, people will respect that because they do and want the same thing.  Next, you want to be as complete as possible when researching their profile before sending the message. You are looking for things in common that you can include in your message.  Places you worked, schools you attended, friends or colleagues in common even living in the same town.  The chances increase of people responding to your message if they like you. Establishing something you have in common that is familiar to them goes a long way in getting them to like you.

Show Benefits to the Attendee-Let us be honest about it, people will not respond to a message from a stranger unless there is something to pique their interest.  So when reaching out to them, it always helps to include an idea or share a piece of information that based on your research of that person you think can benefit them.  Other good ways to pique their interest is inquire about something they accomplished in their career. Acknowledging a certain “White Paper” or Blog they wrote and inquiring about that because you want to know more information will definitely stand out to them. Recognizing somebody’s career accomplishments is the biggest form of a compliment you can give!

Stay on point with your request-To reiterate, people know and expect there is a reason why you are contacting them.  So if you are clear, concise and can be on point with your request so they don’t have to take a lot of time to figure out what you are asking them, they will appreciate that.  Another thing to keep in mind with your message is this, people genuinely want to help other people if they can. Even if its people they don’t know, they still would like to help because it feels good.  So when asking for assistance try not to ask for something big, or at least right away. With that first message make the request small, manageable and something they can execute without a lot of effort.

Please feel free to try these tips the next time you are trying to network with someone you don’t on Linkedin.  You may get a pleasant surprise with a special message back in your email!!

Written by:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

Why Using Linkedin To Brand Your School Experiences is Critical for Millennials’ Job Search

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Working in HR Talent Acquisition, I hear all the time from brand new College Graduates about the struggles to finding that 1st job.  “I’ve sent out between 50 and 100 resumes since I graduated last summer and nobody will hire me because I don’t have any experience.”  Yes companies want applicable experience when they hire, however as a brand new graduate your experiences through college and internships are very transferable and would be attractive to an employer!

The problem is not the lack of experience, but how you are marketing your school experience.  Brand new college graduates struggle with how to properly brand themselves as a viable candidate in the job market, therefore they get passed up in a lot of cases from companies who are hiring.

Those College Internships during Junior and Senior Year whether you were paid or not holds valuable experience that is definitely transferable and desirable to a organization. Even college experiences gained through organized group positions such as serving in a counsel position or volunteering on special projects can hold valuable and transferable experience for a job.  How you ask? Simple, those positions held in school through projects and after school clubs hold similar levels of responsibilities that are required on the job in the work world. Whether there is a pay check or not involved it doesn’t matter, the value is in the work and the experience it brings.  A lot of the skills needed to be successful in school leadership or a volunteer position are exactly the same as in a paid position.  I know, so the next question is how do I communicate that to a potential employer?  My personal answer to that is, let Linkedin help you!

Working in Talent Acquisition, Linkedin is my “best friend”!  This is my number one tool that I personally use for finding talent for my clients when I was a Headhunter, and for my Hiring Managers I now support working in Corporate Talent Acquisition.  Its not just about looking at people’s electronic resumes that makes it valuable to me, but all the extra information that you can learn about a person’s professional life on it.

So for example; Linkedin allows me the ability in one platform to see which professional groups a person belongs, what blogs they have posted, what some of their peers and managers have said about them, etc…  As a new College Graduate, Linkedin gives you an incredible opportunity to showcase some of those amazing things you accomplished throughout college and on your internships!  Here are some of the tips I give to my entry-level candidates who need help designing their Linkedin Profile.

  • Talk about the projects you were involved with both on Internships as well as School Related.

    1. Describe your involvement with them.

    2. What you accomplished on them to help in the success.

    3. Talk about any leadership responsibilities you had and if you mentored other students

  • Ask for written recommendations from your Internship Managers or your Academic Professors speaking to your work attitude or how you worked on assignments.

  • Join some academic groups and professional groups on Linkedin specific to your area of interest.  Get involved in adding some professional comments or opinions.  Show that you are thinking professionally and strategically.

  • Connect with your Peers, Professors or anyone in your circle that you have come in contact with on Linkedin.  The more connections you have, the more visible what you have been doing in any type of a professional capacity will get noticed to the outside professional world.

  • Last but not least “pay it forward” with your connections.  The same way that “you” want help others do as well.  If you come across any type of lead that you know one of your connections would benefit from share it.  If you run across any type of interesting reading materials, articles, links etc… share it.  In the same manner let your connections know what you are looking for.

Ladies and gentlemen this is how true networking is done, and its “your network” that usually helps you land that first job!!

Written by:

Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant

ZOHO Software The Efficient Recruiters Tool

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ARE YOU USING Z O H O  software as an Applicant Tracking System?

If not, let me explain why you should be.

To all the Senior Level Human Resource Professionals and Recruiters who want and  need an ATS to track candidates because your files are out of date, then pay attention because I have a solution for you. It is Zoho.

BEST OF ALL YOU CAN GET A VERSION OF IT FOR FREE!

In all  organizations, Talent Acquisition is a top priority that requires high visibility!  When the demand of business for a company becomes greater than the amount of

Human Resources available, delivering on that demand can become extremely difficult.

This is why organizations constantly need to be recruiting and connecting with top notch talent in all areas, all the time! Even if there is not an immediate need, strategic recruiting  is what the top organizations are doing to stay ahead in the recruiting game.  These organizations are committed to recruiting strong passive talent .  This means employed workers are not actively seeking employment unless they were approached with the right opportunity. Successfully finding these passive candidates is directly correlated to the information organized.

Previously, many companies would use out of date methods such as excel spreadsheets as a way of  housing contact information.  If you need specific information about an individual  you are limited with an excel spreadsheet.  In order to capture  specific and important details about each candidate such as their resume, what they currently are doing and their “dream job” a database with capabilities to sync with calendars and emails is required.  These data bases which are specific to the Talent Acquisition model are called Applicant Tracking Systems.

Most ATS products (applicant tracking systems)  come with  basic limited functionality. Some have  incredible sophistication that  allow very powerful features.  These ATS Systems are expensive,  if you are not a  large Corporation. If you are a small even mid-size firms it would “break their bank”.  Sure you can purchase inexpensive software, the problem is,  the functionality is incredibly inefficient, that the work involved to build the system up usually  doesn’t justify the investment.  Trust me, as a recruiter with my own business,  I have used many of these inefficient inexpensive solutions.

I want to say I am not a representative of  Zoho  I  personally use  Zoho and it helped me transform my business from a cluster of inefficiency to being productive and putting a “charge” into my revenue stream!  Zoho mirrors  the features that robust data bases have, without the expense.  You can obtain a  decent version of Zoho that will allow the average user some very powerful capabilities for a price you “can’t beat, its FREE!  If you want a lot more that will give the average small to mid-size company more capability than they imagine, it is only  $25 a month.

The reason I am  writing this article is, as a veteran of over 20 years  in the Talent Acquisition Business, my opinion is often asked in various areas of Recruiting and Job Search.  One of the frequent  questions I am  asked by my peers  in HR Management positions is what I recommend for organizing applicants?  I say Zoho, I believe in this product, as it completely helped me organize and make revenue recruiting.  People have helped me  in my career,  I want to do what I can to pay it forward and help others succeed.  This is why I recommend Zoho.  Please continue to join me further!!

Zoho’s Capabilities:

The basic features of zoho are:

  • Have 5 active job openings

  • Import records from Excel files

  • Use web forms for Candidates and Contacts

  • Schedule interviews and submit profiles to Clients

  • Search, tag and shortlist records

  • Setup Workflow Rules and Alerts

  • Create a Careers Website page and use the Candidate Login option. This option lets candidates create an account and save their contact information and  apply  one or multiple jobs at once.  Also begin an application, logout, and come back to it.

  • Free Guest and Interviewer profiles

  • 250 MB Storage space

My Favorite Features:

I want to  focus on three key areas that  are my favorite features of the system and what business problems Zoho solves.  What I find  useful, is the way it has dramatically increased my productivity is the User Interface,  Search Capabilities, Interview Scheduling and Client Submissions.  When I talk about the user interface, I had the ability to design my dashboard anyway I wanted to.  This allows  the flexibility to run multiple panels on one screen,  with my important daily task, “hot” job orders to work on and candidates/clients I need to call. This efficiently managed my day,  plus it was always in front,  reminding me what I need to do. Once a task is complete , it is a click to take it off.  The other key piece of the user interface I found incredibly useful, is the ability to quickly parse resumes into the database with one click from an email.  This took away half of my administrative tasks, allowing  me to make more calls!

Second, and the most important feature to me is the search capabilities.  Once you start building up a robust database of client  and candidate leads,  the ability to search  quickly is imperative!  Many systems struggle to find a person’s name.  The Zoho system allows  the ability to search all fields and cross reference a candidate with a client as long as you have a piece of information from any part of the record.  Plus, it gives you the ability to save all your search criteria to run other searches so you don’t have to try and remember which criteria you used.  This came in handy when I had a client with the same opening come back to me months later, or a different

client needed a similar skill set found.

The third  feature, I love about Zoho is, interview scheduling and client submissions. Once you have a candidate or client record with all the contact information in Zoho, you have the ability to send that person an email from the system using a Zoho address you set up.  By sending it through Zoho, when they reply back it is attached to their record automatically. This way an entire communication history with that person is in one spot. Therefore it’s easier to find any important information from a conversation that goes back all the way to when the record was set up in the system.  This saved my “recruiting life” many  times, and even better if I had not spoken to a person in a long time I could research information easily.  As an example,  a candidate mentioned they were moving to Atlanta from Cleveland.  I could start calling my clients in Atlanta and start skill marketing this candidate.  That is just one example, that this amazing feature offers!

What Business Problems Zoho Solves:

Whether you are a large Publicly Traded Corporation or an Independent Recruiter working out of your home and anything in between, there are justifications that have to be made for investing in technology.  The center around that justification is if the investment outweighs the cost in solving a problem.

With Zoho’s Free Version that timely deliberation is taken out of the equation, the only thing a company spendsis time to set it up which is really not a factor either since it is housed in the cloud and the setup is incredibly user friendly.

With that said, just because Zoho is free doesn’t mean that it has any less of an impact when it comes to solving Business Problems for organizations in the area of Talent Acquisition.  I had  major efficiency issues  before I stumbled upon Zoho.  The biggest Business Problem was a centralized area to access all of my candidates, job orders and clients from anywhere.

Usually the characteristic of an inexpensive ATS is that software that has to be downloaded to a specific machine and if you don’t have access to that machine you don’t have access to your work life.  With Zoho (including the Free Version) it lives in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere and from any device as long as you have an Internet connection or cellular data on your smartphone.  In fact you can download the mobile version of it onto your smartphone and have access to your complete database anywhere.  Talk about incredible efficiency, I can be on the road an entire day trying to see clients or meeting candidates while still having complete access to my database!

The other business problem Zoho solves it was created as a specific recruitment database not a converted system of applicant tracking functionalities. That means it has specific customization abilities centered around recruiting functions.

For example importing resumes, its built in with features that format resumes in different features that format resumes in different ways allowing for easier visibility and for attaaching as part of an email to client presentation.  In conclusion is Zoho perfect?  Absolutely not!

Even the more expensive systems have their weaknesses.  The purpose here is to create

awareness for all the Independent Recruiters and HR Directors out there working with a limited budget to let them know there is an adequate option to digitally organize your recruitment efforts on a limited budget, best of all it can be free.

Check them out at www.zoho.com.

Enjoy  recruiting!

Written by:

Steve Rosen

Talent Acquisition Consultant

New Trends in the Company Screening Process; How can Candidates Fight Back?

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Companies are getting smarter and more efficient about the screening process for applicants that apply to their job openings; now it’s time candidates do the same!

THE PROBLEM
With hundreds of resumes being pumped into an organization’s database,  its become incredibly overwhelming for that company’s HR Department to keep up the pace of screening these applicants let along organizing the resumes.  These resumes get piled up in either a physical drawer or an electronic file never to be looked at and eventually, deleted forever into that “empty space in the sky” we call cyberspace.

Not only are applicants extremely frustrated by the process,  but believe it or not the companies are frustrated as well.  Hiring Managers are experiencing the pressure of not filling critical needs because of the “false notion” that there are just not enough qualified candidates out there that “fit the bill”.  The truth is, there are more than enough qualified candidates out there, in fact they are sitting right in their own database.  The problem is the HR Department is too overwhelmed to surface these people by no fault of their own.  Besides recruiting, HR has so many functions and responsibilities that they just can’t physicall do it all.  Companies have wised up to this critical problem and are finally doing something about, thus comes the solution!

THE SOLUTION
So what is the answer to this rather large staffing problem you ask?  I introduce you to the “Electronic Applicant Management System”.  Thanks to technology this is the new trend in hiring that more and more organizations are moving to. Not only is this a more efficient way to keep track and organize applicant flow, but this technology is also being used as a smarter way to evaluate candidate talent for a specific job.

So here is how it works; when an applicant applies online to a job on a company’s website they are asked a series of  job-specific questions along with matching behavioral-based questions.  Some examples of what is asked is, give applicable examples of how you applied the skills that are required in the job to jobs you worked at in the past? Other questions that may be asked is did you like utilizing that specific skill and explain why?  What this does is creates a specific profile for a candidate that tells a Hiring Manager far more in a quicker amount of time about a candidate then looking through a general resume trying to make a determination if this person even mildly fits the qualifications.  Let me give you a more specific example.

Lets say a Pharmacutical Company is looking to hire a Senior Level Recruiter that can come in and make an immediate impact with filling that companies critical positions.  Many great applicants will probably apply for this opportunity but are they great for your organization?  Meaning do they have the knowledge and background in the pharmacutical industry as oppossed to a recruiter with expertise in Information Technology.  The more traditional method would entail reading through hundreds of resumes trying to find key words, in this case pharmacutical companies or technologies.

With the Electronic  Applicant System a manager would run a search with the specific criteria they are looking for and those applicants that match would come up with their resume along with this profile.  This will not only tell a manager if this person has the matching skills, but a deeper look at how effective they were in utilizing them in past jobs.  Pretty neat I would say!

I know what you are thinking if you are a candidate that doesn’t exactly fit that position, “great I have no way of ever being considered for work in that company.”  To those people I have good news, that won’t happen to you.  Your profile will stay in the system forever, or as long as someone doesn’t physically remove the profile.  What that means is if anyone in the organization does a search and your profile matches, you will always be considered for a position in that organization.  So one day on a “Rainy Blue Monday” where your feeling sad, that phone call could come from that company you applied to two years asking you to come in for an interview to brighten up your day!

Now that I have introduced you to the new trend in company screening processes, candidates the challenge has been put to you!  How are you going to be smarter when applying to jobs so you will get that interview call?  Candidates, no longer can you be lazy in your job application process where you click a few buttons and send your resume in a matter of seconds and then go on your “merry way” thinking you have done your part now its up to the employer.  That thinking will get you left behind in the job search, so here are some suggestions to be more strategic.

1) Know what skills you are strongest at and show examples of how you successfully utilized them in past positions; give success stories.

2) Explain why you are passionate to work for that company, that particular job or to use that skill where givin the opportunity in the questionaire.  Companies more than anything love hiring candidates who demonstrate passion for their job and great attitudes.

In summary candidates this is an amazing favor companies are doing for you!  Even though its not your traditional face-to-face interview, companies are giving you a chance to tell your story electronically on why you fit that “company’s mold” and what you say may just “strike an emotional cord” with the right person that could get you hired”.

My advice; apply smart, apply strategically and more importantly apply with caution!

Written By,

Steve Rosen, CEIC Career Coach