Category Archives: Job Search Blog

….the HR Department

Most people don’t even know where the HR department came from. It was invented in the early 60’s to protect companies from racial discrimination. There were, before that, quasi-administrative people who managed the company’s insurance programs when those programs began right after World War II. But once the government started requiring companies to keep track of the kinds of candidates the company was interviewing and hiring, it was logical to have those administrative people who were taking care of insurance to keep those records. People managing the departments of companies hated keeping those kinds of records anyhow, if they did it at all. Then laws were passed regarding other types of discrimination requiring record keeping, i.e. gender bias, age, etc. so the HR department got bigger. As companies had to protect themselves from all kinds of discriminatory problems once people got hired by developing policies and procedures, the HR department was tapped for that task also. The HR department was now becoming “proactive” in its protectionist activities. Its mission, and the people in it, was to protect the company from the mistakes of its own employees.

Well, as long as the HR department was doing all of these things with employees, it only seemed logical that they should be involved in the initial recruiting and screening of job candidates. After all, records of candidates applying for jobs had to be kept. Besides, most hiring managers hated that part of their job anyhow. It was a terrible distraction from what they really knew how to do. They didn’t do it very well to begin with, so it was a good deal for them if they offloaded it to someone else, even if those folks weren’t competent enough to know what they were doing (An added benefit for the head of the engineering department, accounting department, etc. was that since they weren’t any good at the initial acquiring and interviewing of candidates, this offloading gave the chance to “blame” someone else when the hiring process wasn’t working out.)

So, the nature of the HR department is to proactively protect the company. They really don’t know the amount of experience or qualifications that the accounting department or engineering or sales departments might be able to live with regarding a candidate. They really don’t know much about how an engineering candidate needs to be a competent engineer in the company. When they go to hire, or at least perform the initial functions of interviewing and hiring process, they see it through protective eyes. They rarely know the “gray area” of give-and-take that a direct, hiring authority would know. But since they are supposed to know all of this they act like they do.

So, when you are directed to apply to the HR department when you go to apply for a job, realize that the probabilities of you getting an interview have decreased by at least 75%. The HR department is taught to look for reasons of why things won’t work, not reasons as to why they will work. They see the glass as half empty rather than half full. After all, their job is to “protect” the company from lousy employees (like you).

Now, to even give you even greater comfort, sometimes these HR folks get so busy even they have to offload the “recruiting” of new employees. The truth is, they aren’t very good at it and don’t like it any more than the hiring authorities do so they hire internal recruiters. Sometimes these internal recruiters are experienced professionals and sometimes they are “contract” recruiters who have little to no experience. Many of us have talked to them over the phone. You know, that 22-year-old kid who was tasked with evaluating your 15+ years of experience in your profession. Right! Sure! They were given a list of 15 questions to ask and if you answer ‘yes’ to ten of them, in their wisdom, they might consider you as a candidate. You probably talked to one of those this week. And you can’t understand why you were eliminated. Well, they don’t know either. But since you didn’t hear back from them, you know you were.

I know many candidates who won’t even apply to a job if they have to go through the HR department. We, very often, even as recruiters have to work through a company’s HR department. Having done this since 1973 I know hundreds of very competent HR folks. But whenever we have to work through the HR department, the search becomes a back burner priority. It’s not that these folks aren’t nice people…I’m sure most of them are. But it is just one layer of “screening” that stands between a candidate and a good job. Getting through this “screening out” process, even for the most competent candidate, is sheer luck. Remember, these people are hired to “protect” the company. They may not even like your “summary of qualifications,” let alone understand what it says, but you’re out! After all, they have 180 other resumes that might look better.

So, the best way for a candidate to avoid being screened out by an HR department is to call and speak directly to the hiring authority. Don’t give me that silly stuff that you don’t know who the hiring authority is. LinkedIn will tell you. Email that hiring authority your resume along with a short… I said short…note as to why you are a good candidate and should be considered. Call and leave him or her a voicemail before or after you send the resume. Make sure that your voicemail has a very short but informative “value proposition” as to why you should be considered for a job. You may have to leave two or three voicemails like this before the hiring authority calls you back. So, you ask, “Wow, should I be this aggressive? What if I make them mad?” Well, having left messages like this since 1973, I guarantee you, nobody is going to ever get mad at you. In fact, you’ll be surprised at the number of them that admire your tenacity and persistence. Let’s face it, your needing a job is a lot more painful than the possible embarrassment of calling somebody… even if it’s the wrong person. Don’t even worry about what you look like; you need a job.

Having said all of this about the HR department, I have to tell you that there are a phenomenal number of very professional, polished and efficient HR departments. We do work with some tremendous people in HR who really know exactly what their hiring authorities want and actually make the hiring process more smooth. They have a great way of simplifying the process. But these folks are the EXCEPTION rather than the rule. Unfortunately, the majority of HR departments aren’t run that way. In fact, most of us consider them to be the Hiring Roadblock Department.

(While editing this post this Monday morning, I got a call from an HR ‘screener’ at a client company who was supposed to screen one of our candidates today at 1 PM CST. The screener told me that he would like to move the time to earlier in the day. He explained that today was the opening day of baseball in his city and he wanted to go to the game and since the 2 PM EST would be the time of the beginning of the ballgame, he wanted to move his phone screen up to this morning. Get the idea?)

This may come as a surprise, but often times hiring authorities are just as frustrated with their HR recruiting efforts as you are. Most of them aren’t seeing the quality candidates as the HR department would lead you to believe they are. How do I know this? I am told at least once a week by a hiring authority that their HR department hasn’t gotten them any qualified candidates. And, if they have plenty of good candidates to choose from, they will simply tell you that they have plenty of candidates, but that you are welcome to apply.

So, the next time you’re told to work with the HR department, be prepared.

 

….if we all worked like immigrants

I first wrote these thoughts three or four years ago when immigration, especially illegal immigration wasn’t on the minds of Americans like it is today. There is no doubt, that we need to fix our immigration system. We need to make it easier for good folks to be able to make it into this country more quickly and easily and we do now. However, if all of us worked with the same tenacity and diligence that I see most immigrants to the United States do, our economy would even be stronger. This is my own observation from having worked in the trenches, finding people jobs since 1973.

For the most part, and there are exceptions, immigrants work harder, longer and more diligently that most of the working folks in this country. They have an attitude that “I have to work harder, longer and more enduring, because I have overcome prejudice, language issues and cultural issues.” Diligent and hard work is one way to get ahead in America. And we are all blessed with the same opportunity.

You will rarely hear an immigrant, needing a job, say that they are going to pass up an interview because they can make more money on unemployment (which we hear often from lots of born here Americans). I remember my grandfather talking about what it was like as an immigrant in 1900. I’m sure the stories got better over the years, but it was clear that he and his peers worked harder than most everybody else and his work ethic has been passed down.

I realized that there’s a big difference between the immigrants of today and the ones of my grandfather’s generation. His generation and their families went out of their way to become more “American.” They changed their names to be more “American,” encouraged their children to speak only English instead of their mother tongue (oh, I wish my father had taught us to speak Arabic, but he grew up encouraged to only speak English). They wanted to be American. They all came here legally and did whatever they had to do to be “legal.”

It is probably true that many immigrants today do not want to blend into the American culture as much as previous generations did. And there are some, even though they live here, who have contempt for the American ways. Some, especially the ones that are here illegally, are taking advantage of our schools, healthcare and government systems. I’m not saying that’s right. But these problems are not caused by the vast majority of immigrants. Even the ones that are here illegally want to respect the laws and provide for their family. They do what they have to do. I understand.

But if Raul wants to mow my yard and do a better job at a better price than Billie…let him. If Hector wants to takes care of my building as though he owned it…let him. Eric (Chinese) is the hardest working network systems guy I have ever met. He has been doing our systems work for 28 years, at a very reasonable rate…and he is available 24/7. If Patel is willing to go to school, graduate with an IT degree ( stuff most Americans just don’t want to do) and wants to write code In the wee hours of the morning…let him. Ali, the Pakistani cab driver in New York didn’t smell good and neither did his cab. I won’t use him again. But Nasser, the Egyptian Uber driver in San Francisco, had an impeccably clean smelling, wonderful Prius. He was great company as well as a good driver. We had just been to a Muslim wedding and he was helpful explaining it. I’ve got his card and number if I need it. He shared that he loved his job because he could work as much as he needed or wanted to. He had a very high rating.

Just look at all of the companies that have been started by immigrants. The people who complain about Immigrants should give thanks that they are here. I will grant you that our immigration policies are a mess. So, okay, fix ’em. We should let as many immigrants in this country who want to come.  The free market will determine how well they do. Don’t let them or anyone else freeload with entitlements or take advantage of the system. But if they want to try to outwork me or anybody else….let them. Bring it on! I’ll just have to work a little harder. It’s good for me.

To show you how screwed up things are, the love of Hector’s life was in Mexico. It took the better part of a year to get Savina here legally so that Hector could marry her. Chrissy and I went to the wedding and it was wonderful. I don’t appreciate people coming to this country illegally and taking advantage of all of our rights. But, then again, it took Hector almost a year to get Savina here the legal way. That’s crazy. You can’t blame people for simply crossing the border. We may not like the idea, but you can certainly understand why people do it. It’s almost too hard to do legally.

If even half of us worked as hard as Hector does to keep our building running and looking as good as it does, our country would be better off. He has the mentality of an immigrant. God bless him! …wish more folks did.

…”we are a Christian company”

I don’t hear it every day, but I hear it often enough for me to say, “that’s great,” because we aspire and subscribe to the same principles. But I say to myself, as I express the fact that I’m glad to hear that, “we’ll see!” I have been a practicing Catholic all of my life…notice I say “practicing,” because I’m sure that I will never quite arrive, so to speak, in this world. All of us that espouse Christianity are trying to practice as best we can.

What was so interesting about this fellow’s comment…he was the CEO… was that he kept saying it as though he was trying to convince me as well as himself. I let it go without much of a response, thinking, again, “well, we will see how you all act.”

Over a period of four weeks, the VP of sales told us that he would interview our candidates on two separate days and changed the day, one time the night right before and the second time, the day of the interviews. (There were six interviews.) After finally getting together with the candidates, who were quite frustrated with having to rearrange their day twice, the VP of sales told every candidate that they were a great candidate, just exactly the kind the company wanted to hire and they would probably have them back within a day or two. I knew something was wrong when the third candidate called and said that he was told that he was an excellent candidate, exactly the kind the company wanted to hire and that they were going to bring him back in the next day or two, which is exactly what the two candidates before him had said. Of course, I’ve seen this kind of thing before and so it was no surprise when the sixth candidate called and reported exactly the same thing.

Okay, we will give the benefit of the doubt. The VP was just one of those kind of people who has hard time saying ‘no’ to anybody and wanted to make everybody feel good. Not the nicest way to do things, but understandabl. All of these candidates thought that they were going to be called back within a day or two, as they were told. We called and emailed the vice president who did the interviewing for five days and never heard a word from him about the candidates. Out of frustration for our candidates we nicely emailed the CEO explaining that the VP promised these candidates at least a response in a couple of days after the interviews. Three days later the VP sends an email stating that he wanted to have two of the candidates back to meet the VP of Marketing.

In spite of our calls and our emails asking him feedback on the other candidates, we finally come to the conclusion…the obvious conclusion…that he wasn’t interested in four of them. We passed along to our candidates who were eliminated that they obviously did not make the cut. Unfortunately, we were not able to tell them why they were not being considered. It was as frustrating for us as it was for them.

The candidates that were supposed to go speak with the VP of Marketing smartly called the VP of sales to get his ideas about what the VP of Marketing would be most interested in seeing or hearing from them. Not surprisingly, they didn’t get a phone call back. One of them wrote a very nice email and, again, not surprisingly didn’t get a response. The interviews with the VP of Marketing were arranged by the CEO’s administrator and it was all done via email. Obviously, not a lot of love being shown here

.The two candidates who interviewed with the VP of Marketing were told the same thing that they had been told by the VP of sales, that they were “absolutely perfect” and the company should be getting back to us and to them within a day or two. She couldn’t be more convincing of each candidate that they were perfect. She even gushed to each of them how wonderful they were. We called the VP of Marketig, the VP of sales, the CEO, and the CEOs admin for a solid week. We heard absolutely nothing. On the Monday of the second week, one of the candidates got a call from the CEO’s admin, informing her that the CEO would like to have her in for one last interview before they hired her. The admin followed up with an email that she also sent to us and it said that the company wanted to hire the lady. The candidate was understandably guarded, but needed the job.

The CEO spends two hours with the candidate and tells her that they’re going to hire her. They discuss everything… duties, benefits, start date, money…etc.  The candidate thinks she’s been hired. Then, you can guess what happened…nothing. Neither she nor we heard anything from the company the next day, a day after, the day after or the day after that. The candidate called the CEO twice. She even called the admin once and got no return call. Responses to her emails were not returned either. She even texted the CEO….nothing!

One week after she had been told she was going to be hired we getting email from the admin…not either of the VPs….not the CEO…that they were not going to hire our candidate. We tried to get a response from the VPs, the CEO and even the admin and nobody called us back.

The last candidate, who thought she was going to be hired, found a connection on LinkedIn who had worked for this firm. She tracked down the contact and found out that the company runs just about the same way that all of our candidates had been treated. Her contact holder that despite their espousal to “being a Christian company,” it couldn’t be further from the truth based on how they treated people. It was a big joke in the company. It was probably a good thing that we didn’t place anybody there.

Now I realize that we are all sinners, trying to aspire to a higher level. I assume that there are lots of candidates out there who preconceived or assumed we were going to find them a job when we couldn’t. I realize that sometimes, even our actions can be misconstrued as not caring. But you don’t stay in this business we are in since 1952 if you don’t genuinely concern yourself about people. We may not be able to help everybody but we certainly try to be as compassionate as we possibly can be. We know the golden rule and we strive for it.

I will have to admit though, that this company was just downright rude. Even if they would’ve hired someone from us I can’t see how they were being “Christian.” Their actions spoke so loudly about who they were and what they were, we could never really hear what they said.

So, when someone says “I’m a Christian,” or says “we’re a Christian company,” watch out for what they say. Judge them by their actions. Pray for them either way.

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” – C.S. Lewis

“Treat others the way you wish to be treated.”

..Charles Krauthammer and work

I always try to stay in my own “swim lane,” and only write about things that I know and practice, i.e. hiring, searching for a job, successful interviewing and successful. I do a lot of reading, listening to podcasts, CDs etc. outside the “lanes” because many, seemingly distant or external issues effect that subjects that I practice daily.

As most of you now, Charles Krauthammer died Wednesday and the world has lost a heartfelt thinker, philosopher, commentator and author. It wasn’t so much that he was a “great” human being, although he might have been, what struck me about him more than anything was how hard a worker he was, what he overcame and how simple and clear he made what he wrote and said.

He never made any big deal out of the wheelchair because of the accident. Even though he sustained it when he was young, he completed medical school and went on to a tremendous career as a writer and commentator hardly ever mentioning it. You never used it as an excuse or impediment to doing what he needed to do. I can’t tell you the number of folks I’ve interviewed over the years who blamed their poor judgement and lack of success on no where near as drastic as being a parapalegic. (I had a candidate tell me just this week that her whole year was a disater and her carreer was totally off track because her dog died.)

Any of us that write, even poorly, try to read as much as we can other people’s writing so we can get better by learning from them. One of the few books I read more than once was Krauthammer’s   Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and PoliticsThe topics of the book were not as important as the way with which he wrote. Most of what he wrote about, especially politics, went over my head because I’m not that much of a historian. What made his work especially good, was that you could tell that he worked at it really, really, really hard. There is a tendency to think that with good writers the words simply flow out of them. But, the truth is, that good writers make you think that’s how it happens. It is supposed to appear that way. Most of us who try our hand at the art of writing, know how hard it really is.

In order to get the beauty, simplicity and flow that Krauthammer had, he must have written, rewritten and rewritten many times. Editing your own writing is probably one of the hardest things  all of us do. You can simply tell that the guy worked his rear end off to make things concise and clear.

He did the same thing when he made comments about the world. Maybe I liked him so much because I also, believed in the 60’s that the Great Society was going the save country. And, like Charles, I came to understand that it probably did the opposite. He went from being a liberal to a conservative. But he did it never offending anyone even when he pointed out how misguided they might be. And that, in itself, takes a tremendous amount of thoughtful work.

I heard him say how lucky he was to be able to work so hard and how humbled he was to think that people actually payed attention to his work. He was subtle, understated and brilliant. It is a real joy to watch people like Charles, LeBron James, Clayton Kershaw and the few others on the top of their game. You do stand in awe.

Some just leave us too soon. Thank you, Charles. (I even appreciate baseball a little more because of you.)

…”take me OFF your list !!”

The rest of the quote said, “you have been sending me stuff for 10 years. When I have needed you, you have only gotten me one interview and never found me a job. And I’m really good at what I do.”

I really have a lot of empathy for this fellow. Most folks don’t really understand how our business works. If we place 10% of the people who come to us or we recruit, we are lucky and our company is, as it turns out, one of the oldest and most established in the country.

I reminded the writer that we don’t place everyone…wish we did. I reminded the writer that, last week, I placed a guy who has been a candidate of mine for 25 years, since he was right out of school. He called me every three years or so when he needed me and I never had anything for him. I’d call him every once in a while, when I needed him and he would tell me he was happy where he was and wasn’t interested in what I had. Then, bingo! I get an opportunity, call him, timing is right, send him to the client, they hire him…all in one week (…actually 25 years).

Ours is, like many businesses, a crazy, unpredictable one. We never know what kind of opportunity or candidate we will find or need. I’d love to tell you it is ‘dazzling brilliance,’ but, as much as anything, it is ‘s–t house luck’ and timing. The ‘skill’ is in getting the timing just right! We have to collect lots of candidates, all of whom think they are well-qualified for just about any job in their field…and try to match them with as many job opportunities as we can. Our fees are high because what we do is really hard! (The average recruiter in the country only stays in this business 15 months, placing 1.5 people a month and the average recruiting firm only stays in business seven years with 3.5 employees.) [Our recruiters average 16 years in the business, and there are 20 of us and we average four placements a month each. And we have been here since 1952.]*

Every business is hard. No company makes “easy money.” It appears to most of our candidates that they can do just about any job opportunity we have in their field and all we have to do is to send them out and they’ll get hired. Well, there is a big difference between being able to do a job and getting it. For every one resume a company receives, there are 150 others applying for the same job. In spite of the 3.something% unemployment, companies can still afford to be very picky and have hordes of good candidates to choose from. And even when a good candidate gets the interview, most interview so poorly, they don’t get hired. Companies interview, on average, 14 candidates to hire ONE person and take an average of 120 days to do it. (I know those figures seem astounding but they are facts.)

All of this is to say that we can certainly ‘take you off the email list.’ But neither we nor you may never know when you might need us or we might need you. We will sincerely do the best we can at finding you a job or fill your position. We don’t write the rules of what our clients demand nor can we miraculously change the quality of candidates available for the money your firm wants to pay.

We are ‘information brokers.’ We can’t always control the information. Our experience and sheer volume of candidates and companies we have in our database (over 100,000/over 90,000) gives us a great advantage. But even with all this information, we may not be successful with every candidate or every opportunity.

*BTW …we are searching for two new recruiters. Our IT and Accounting departments both are so overwhelmed with business, they need help! Call me 214-515-7613

 

 

…ego and blind spots…the job seeker

Listening to a really great book by Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work. One of the many, many principles that he advises is for all of us to beware of our ego and our blind spots. His advice is to be so aware of your own ego and your blind spots that you counterbalance whatever tendencies that are a result of these two factors by, first of all, recognizing them, and then seeking the opinions of others, especially those who do not have the same blind spots. Most of us, (98% of all drivers), for instance, feel like we are more competent than 50% of all the drivers on the road. Our ego and the blind spots we have in our ability to be a competent driver override our true and realistic ability. The vast majority of us are rather poor drivers. Ask our insurance companies.

Ego and blind spots are particular hindrances when it comes to seeking a job as well as hiring. This session is devoted to the job seeker.

Since 1973, next to discovering great career and job opportunities and  recruiting quality candidates, much of my time is devoted to helping most of those candidates overcome their egotistical “I can do anything…just get me in front of them” …”I don’t need any coaching”..  attitude. Along with this attitude comes a healthy ignoring of the “blind spots” they have about their experience, mistakes in their career and interviewing faux pas.

Just this past week, I interviewed a pretty solid VP who, egotiscally, thought that his following a previous manager to three places was a high compliment to his management ability. His blind spot was that he followed this guy three times in three years. While he was bragging about his being ‘sought after’ because he was so good, it simply didn’t dawn on him that anyone who might think of hiring him was going to wonder, “So, if I hire this guy, how long will it be before his ex-boss calls him to hire him away….can’t run that risk.”

There is a difference between a “big” ego and a “healthy” ego. A big ego ignores or overlooks their blind spots. A healthy ego recognizes they have blind spots and even asks others to help them out in recognizing their blind spots. And, after acknowledging them, figures out how to address them, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Dealing with being uncomfortable in interviews takes lots of practice. Most egos won’t readily admit that and, therefore, screw up lots of interviews until they learn to address their blind spots.

Most ego mistakes are defensive mechanisms, especially in interviewing situations. We instruct candidates to ‘sell themselves,’ but that doesn’t mean to lead with the ego. Most candidates aren’t anywhere near as aware as theny should be of how tough their competition is. Most see their attributes through their own eyes, or believe their spouses, peers, and rsometimes bosses who tell them how wonderful they are. But hiring authorities have lots of ‘wonderful’ candidates to choose from. Simply gracing a company with your willingness to interview won’t cut it. A candidate needs to be able to clearly and concisely articulate the four or five features, advantages and benefits complete with numerous performance examples as to why they should be hired over other candidates. Remember, stories sell, numbers tell.

Ego and blind spots can kill your job search.

 

 

 

….hey, hiring managers…there’s a new set of rules

The amount of time that good candidates are on the
market is shorter than it has ever been.

The number of good candidates that are on the
market is fewer than it has been in ten years.

The money you paid two years ago or even one year ago
won’t get you the kind of candidate you really want.

Candidates are not as prone to “fill out your online application”as they used to be.

Candidates won’t talk to your 22 year old corporate recruiter
whose job it is to screen them.

Candidates are not going to go to your “tracking portal” to
apply for your job.

Candidates don’t want to talk to anyone but YOU . . . the
hiring authority . . . WHY? . . . Because the people who are also
trying to hire this candidate are also having their managers
talk with them directly.

The candidate you prefer is likely being considered by at
least three other organizations . . . he or she has many choices.
If you tell a candidate that you’re going to get back to them
by a certain time, you had best do it . . . a year or so ago good
candidates had to “live” with being treated poorly . . . they
don’t have to put up with that any more . . . they have too many
choices. Your competition is “courting” them heavily.

A “lowball “offer is likely to be rejected.

“Meeting the team . . . just so you can get a feel for our company.”
The REAL TRUTH is: “So they can possibly eliminate
you as competition.” This request will be ignored or outright
refused by many candidates . . . The majority of the time they
are employed and are getting so many “REAL” interviews, they
don’t need or take the time for team meetings.

Candidates are more likely to receive counteroffers than
they ever have in the past.

Candidates may not have an updated resume . . . in this
market, they may not need one . . . please don’t recite the mantra
of “Well if they’re serious about looking for a job they’ll
have a new resume” . . . their “seriousness” simply depends on
whether your opportunity allows them to better themselves.

Assume that if you’re going to make a candidate an offer, so
will two other organizations.

Candidates won’t tolerate the “nine person interviewing process
that we have to use in order to be careful and hire the right
person” . . . they don’t have to put up with this anymore . . . Your
competition is interviewing them no more than three times and
making them an offer . . . and doing it quickly!

Candidates don’t have to consider “temp-to-perm” types of
opportunities . . . there are too many companies that are willing
to hire them permanently from the get-go. While you’re
trying to be “careful” by hiring them “temp-to-perm,” your
competitor is making a perceived long term commitment, with
benefits that start immediately, etc.

SELL YOUR JOB . . . Give candidates real good reasons
why they ought to be going to work for you . . . The idea that
“anyone would be lucky to work here” just doesn’t fly anymore.

Treat every candidate as though they were being ‘recruited’
. . . happy with their job . . . with a number of suitors and
choices.

Your interviewing cycle needs to be short . . . anything
beyond ten working days is a risk . . . your competition is moving
faster than that.

Respectfully explain to your H.R. recruiting department
that you need to streamline the usual hiring process. Their
well-intentioned, protective compliance activities may be
costing you top candidates. The HR Dept. may not understand
how hard it is to find these folks, because they don’t have sales
quotas to meet. No one in their department sees you doing the
work of two people while you are trying to fill a vacancy . . .
they’re trying their best to follow procedures but it often costs
you candidates.
.

. . Also, talk to the candidate directly. If candidates have
to go through your H.R. department/recruiter/admin./office
manager/screener, etc., they don’t feel loved and will be more
likely to go to work for hiring managers who establish a personal
rapport with them.

Please stop saying to candidates that “hiring is one of the
most important things I do . . .” then act like hiring them is not
a high priority by not returning their calls, keeping in touch
with them, postponing a decision, keeping them in the dark,
going ‘silent’ etc.

Stop looking for “Mr. or Ms Perfect “. . . the purple squirrel
who doesn’t really exist or, if they do, are happily employed
and making more money than you can afford . . . it will take
you months to come to the conclusion that you’re not going
to find this perfect person and you’d best try to hire the best
athlete you can find . . . the person who has been a winner at
most everything they’ve ever done but, just not in the exact
area you are searching. In the time it takes to find Mr. or Ms
Perfect, you can hire one of these best athletes and train them.

Try to avoid writing a wish list of “requirements” that
reflect your fear of hiring the wrong person . . .We got one of
these lists recently and it had 32 items on it . . .the vice pres
ident who sent it to us laughed, saying that he’s not sure why
he wrote all this stuff down and that even he didn’t have all of
these requirements. He didn’t know of anyone who did!

…are you a risk?

since 1973, I have never met a candidate that thought they were a risk… Every candidate that I ever interviewed thought that they would be a glowing employee and that hiring them would never be any kind of risk for a hiring authority…

But the truth is, every candidate is a risk in some way … and every hiring authority, whether you like it or not is looking at what kind of a “risk” you pose to them…

The hiring authority is asking himself or herself, “if I hire this candidate what is in his or her background that is going to cause me to regret hiring them … are they going to be here a short period of time … are they going to fail on the job … am I going to have to fire them? ”

“risk factors”come with every one … a number of years ago,  I placed a candidate with a company who had a heart attack and died about a month into the job … the hiring authority, when he called me, implied that I should have known that the candidate had a bad heart… Go figure?! … now I realize that he was simply venting his frustration, but how could I know the candidate was going to die?

30% of the hiring authority’s consideration of  you as a candidate is going to be based on what kind of “risk” you are … in other words how is it not going to work out with you as a candidate when you become an employee?

Some “risk factors” are obvious … if you have had three jobs in three years, the hiring authority is going to be concerned that if he or she hires you you’ll only be there one year… If you have made significantly more money than the job pays, the hiring authority is going to be concerned that even if you take the job, you will keep looking for a higher paying job… If you’ve been the president of the company or the owner of a company, the hiring authority is going to be concerned that you’re going to come into the organization and “tell them” how they ought to run it… If you have been a bit of work for an extended period of time, the hiring authority is going to wander why you haven’t been able to find a job … never mind that unemployment is high and good jobs are difficult to find, you’re still going to get this question…

So, as you prepare to interview, think about what kind of “risk factors” you pose to a potential employer … don’t give me that business of “I’m not a risk”… because every one poses some kind of risk to a perspective employer…

Be sure, in your presentation of yourself to perspective employers that you offset the risks that you pose … and you know what those risks are … if you’ve had three jobs in three years be ready to offset that concern … if you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time be ready to offset that concern…

But offset these risks in the presentation of yourself BEFORE they come up or you have to be asked, … you can even make them a positive … something along the line of, “I realize that I’ve had three jobs in three years so, whoever I go to work for is going to get a five year to seven year commitment from me and as long as they’re around, I’ll be there… I can’t afford another short stint on my resume. ”  Do  this before you are asked, “why have you had so many jobs in the last few years? ”

Think about your risk factors … deal with them!

“Let Me Be Honest With You”

I’m continually annoyed with people who put “fillers” in their speech patterns, especially in the interviewing situation. I know they’re not conscious of their using these “lip loads,” but they are still annoying.  Here are the ones I hear most often:

“You know… you know… you know”… it makes you sound so stupid

“Honestly”… as though you haven’t been honest with me and the other things you’ve said?

“Let me be honest with you”… which means you haven’t been honest with me up until now?

“Trust me”… and you say it so many times that I have to really wonder if I can or should.

“Let me be transparent”… as though you’ve been hiding stuff from me throughout the whole conversation.

“The truth is”… as though everything else you said hasn’t been the truth.

If you are in the habit of using these kinds of “fillers,” you need to practice getting them OUT Of your vocabulary, especially when you are interviewing. Interviewing and hiring authorities are making very quick judgments about you and everything about you based on very little information. Most of that information is communicated in what you say and the manner in which you say it.

These kinds of lip loads are used because people are very nervous. And worst of all they are uncomfortable with silence so they fill the void with these kinds of sayings. None of them amount to much, but in a 35 or 40 minute interview if you say them fairly often, that’s what people will remember you by. It takes about 10 to 14 days of practice but you can be rid of these things and quit embarrassing yourself.

… so you been out of work more than a year

It sure crept up on you awfully fast, didn’t it? You have absolutely no idea that much time could pass since you were working. It just kind of crept up on you. After you lost your job, you took a little time off because you “hadn’t had a vacation in a while.” Then you started casually looking around thinking, “last time I looked for a job, it didn’t take me that long.” It took six or seven months for you to all of a sudden get serious about finding a job and then, all of a sudden, you found out how darned difficult it was to do.

So, now you’re beginning to get interviews because the economy is getting a little better and you have to try to explain why it’s taken so long for you to find a job or why you have been out of work so long. After the first couple of interviews like this, you really understand that an employer is very cautious, even dubious about the fact that you’ve been out of work so long and will normally discount all of your excuses. You will have caught on that a hiring authority is much more likely to want to hire someone who is either presently employed or, if unemployed, for only a short period of time. Every time you go to explain you become more and more self-conscious and you can literally see the doubt on the hiring authority’s face. Since most of them have not been out of work that long or even experienced that kind of thing, they have absolutely no idea the challenge you have had. In fact, their attitude is, “What’s wrong with this person?” They think, “There’s got to be something wrong with somebody who can’t find a job in a whole year.” And then they move on to the next candidate.

There isn’t much you can do about this attitude, except when you get the chance to get in front of them for an interview you cannot try to make excuses for being out of work for a year, blame the economy, etc. You must take full responsibility for it by saying something along the line of, “I really had no idea it would be this difficult to find a job. In years past when I’ve looked for positions, I’ve always been able to find one relatively rapidly. I have been actively getting as many interviews as I possibly can. (It is not a bad idea to have on hand the names of the companies that you have interviewed with or the kinds of positions you have interviewed for.) I have come close on a couple of opportunities and decided to pass on a couple of others because I didn’t think it was a good opportunity for the company I was interviewing with or for myself. I want to be very careful to be sure that the next opportunity is a long-term one.” Then, shut up about why you’ve been looking for a job for so long and ask questions of the employer about the present position you are interviewing for. It’s that simple.

If you do anything other than this, it is going to dig a deeper hole of doubt, uncertainty and fear on the part of the hiring authority regarding you as a candidate. If you make excuses, you’ll sound like a whiner. If you go on and on about why you started so late to look for a job and express the bad luck in getting interviews, you simply won’t look like a wise business person. Most every way you try to explain this problem will be very treacherous. The “mea culpa”, simple quick statement above is the best way to do it.

If anyone has come up with some great “lip loads” to deal with this issue, please share them with us.