Archive for Job Search

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Talent Topic Compilation 2014 Edition

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Talent Topic Compilation 2014 Edition

2014 phone screen

From – Articles Written By Kelly Blokdijk

How to Become the HR / Recruiting Holiday Hero

Simple Secrets to Make Your Hiring Process Suck Less

HR and Recruiting Professionals: Time to Pull Your Head Out

#SHRM14 Report – Evolution of Work and the Worker

Hiring Habits: Holacracy at Zappos

Picture This: Top Career Motivators for the Best of Us and the Rest of Us


From – Articles Written By Kelly Blokdijk

The Ticket Scalper Version of Direct Talent Sourcing

Conundrum of Candidates’ Conjecture

Recruiter Poll Regarding Active Applicant Interactions

Are You Bored With RBC?

Ditch the Double Standard

What Does it Mean to Be Employable?

Does Anything Good Ever Come From Skipping Phone Screens?

Who Should We Blame for Poverty, Debt, Obesity and Robots?

Recruiting: Just a Series of Conversations

Talent Shortage or Trust Shortage

Job Postings Are Not the Enemy

Grunts & Groans Sound Gross

Step Inside The Outhouse That Is LinkedIn

Call for Mr. Hole, First Name: Jack

Wall of Shame

Recruiting Stuff That Made Me Shake My Head This Week


From Human Capital Institute (HCI) – Succession Planning Webinar & Podcast Featuring Kelly Blokdijk

Podcast – Succession Planning

Webinar – Succession Planning


From Bulls Eye Recruiting – Articles Written By Kelly Blokdijk

Proactive Career Management

Mind Your Own Business and Career

What Makes a Tough Job Search Even Tougher?

A Yellow Guitar to Rock Out Your Talent Strategy


From Medium – Articles Written By Kelly Blokdijk

Appetite for Disruption

From the Depths of Obscurity

The Messy Me


From LinkedIn – Articles Written By Kelly Blokdijk on LinkedIn

Employers Dirty Habit of Treating Job Applicants Like Dirt

Why We Need a More Diverse View of Diversity

Could 3 Boring Tips Make Your Job Search Better?

Give Your Network a Hand When You Need Job Search Help

Buzzwords Myths and Absurdities in the Job Market

Resume Reality for REAL

Are Job Hoppers Flakes and Failures?

Is Who Gets Hired the Best Person for the Job?

The #1 Reason for Resume Rejection

Double Trouble Hiring Standards

Why Who’s Viewed Your Profile Doesn’t Matter

Imaginary Talent Shortage Caused by Real Trust Shortage

Ideas, Information and Influence


From TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Article Written By Kelly Blokdijk

Does Every Day Seem Like April Fool’s Day on LinkedIn?


If you like these articles, you may also like some earlier work written by Kelly Blokdijk

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Talent Topic Compilation 2013 Edition

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Talent Topic Compilation 2012 Edition

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog – Talent Topic Compilation 2011 Edition


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Note: some articles listed above may have appeared on more than one site and/or been modified from previously posted articles by Kelly Blokdijk


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Why You Shouldn’t Care About LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”

There could be any number of reasons why someone looks at your LinkedIn profile and why your profile shows up in a search.

LI Logo

A few possibilities include: 

1) Nosy lookie-loos just curious about what you have going on.

2) You’ve changed something on your profile and it shows in their timeline, so they click to see the “news.”

3) A certain word or series of words exists on your profile when someone does a search.

4) People who are unsure about how to build their own profile are checking out what other people have done.

5) Recruiters sourcing for talent or contacts in certain industries or companies.

6) Job seekers looking for connections that may help them land their next gig.

7) Vendors searching for potential customers.

8) You posted a comment in a group discussion and people want to check to see if your comments are worthy of their attention and if you have any credibility to comment on the topic.

9) New LinkedIn members who you may have worked with previously just saw you in their list of people you may know.

10) Connections of other connections see that you just connected with someone else and click to see who you are.

There are plenty of other things that could be going on when someone clicks your profile or you turn up in a search. The main reason I don’t think the tally matters is that you should be concerned with people not just looking at you, but calling, emailing, InMailing or direct messaging you because they found something appealing about you or that they could benefit from.

I often encounter people experimenting with various tactics to increase that “who viewed my profile” number without taking into consideration that gaming the system is not entirely possible, nor does it make much sense to try given the constant algorithm updates. There are some very questionable practices that have unfortunately created a pattern of people doing whatever it takes to stay in view. The majority of time the action, content, sequence and arrangement is geared ONLY to attract views. For some people this is the only goal they care about and that is how they justify those techniques.

What concerns me is that other people tend to mimic these ideas and my not even understand how that looks to those viewing their profile or their activity in general. For example, there are certain people loading their profile or timeline status updates with specific content that looks suspicious to viewers who regularly search LI for particular types of talent. Sure they show up, but then what?

When I (and others like me) see these type of profiles, it is immediately obvious what is going on and I assure you just because it may fool some people, other people will think of you as the fool. If someone is noticed for doing some of those things that they think are impressive, but are in fact harmful, they may never even know. Obviously, not the kind of attention most of us want to attract!

There are plenty of legitimate methods to enhance your LinkedIn profile – to make it reflect the impressive qualities you have to offer. That should be the focus, so when someone does search or look, they like what they find.

Written by Kelly Blokdijk. As a talent optimization advisor Kelly’s professional background “Creating a Voice for Talent” includes 10+ years experience offering exceptional human resources, organization development and recruiting support to diverse organizations. 

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Talent Topic Compilation 2013 Edition

It’s that time again to bid farewell to another year. Before we race in to the new year, here’s a rear view look at 25 of the talent topics touched upon in 2013. Please feel free to provide feedback and share your favorites with those in your network who might benefit. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014!



Wishing all good luck in the new year – praying mantis —

 Some of the worst job search advice EVER —

Hidden reality of hidden jobs —

Job searching can be a crappy process, don’t make it worse —

Not all diversity looks like demographic diversity –

Greatest job seeker gripes (about recruiters) —

Learning how stuff works is YOUR job —

Not all unlucky numbers are bad —

Can you train a monkey to do your job?

Maybe it’s April Fool’s Day everyday for job candidates —

Who decided that 80% of jobs are not posted? —

What happens when clueless people become recruiters? —

Companies say they want to hire for certain traits, yet end up selecting something else —

Overly restrictive job requirements —

Recruiters that are crazy, lazy, or both —

Job search version of 20 questions —

Age old issue of old age (and discrimination) —

Shedding light on the stigma of job hopping —–kelly-blokdijk/maybe-you-should-withhold-that-job-hopper-judgment/

#1 reason for resume rejection —

Opposite of good employer branding —

No need to settle for terrible HR —

Is it necessary information or an interview question? —

We all know what they say about assumptions —

Everyone believes they know how to pick the best person for the job

Caring enough to cook up creative content —

 Talent Topic Compilation Edition 2013 Articles by Kelly Blokdijk

Kelly Blokdijk on Twitter @TalentTalks

Publication sources include:

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog

Recruiting Blogs Dot Com

TLNT Dot Com

Electronic Recruiting Exchange – ERE Dot Net

Bulls Eye Recruiting via

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Reason #1 for resume rejection

When interacting with people looking for jobs over the years, frustration with the entire process always comes up in the conversation. Usually, those getting zero to minimal response rate on their job applications are understandably the most irritated. Some seem mystified and oblivious to potential causes and others automatically assume they know exactly why they aren’t getting called.

While there are always multiple factors in play, one of the most obvious culprits of lack of positive attention is a flawed resume. Despite numerous reports suggesting resumes are dead, they still tend to be almost universally required as a first step in applying for a job across the majority of the business world.

Rejected Image Credit

I’ve often stated that approximately 95% of the resumes I’ve seen could benefit from some form of improvement. Perhaps that figure sounds extreme, but the reason it is so high is that I truly believe (as do many others) that a resume is intended to serve as the best possible first impression a person can make to a prospective employer.

Some people have told me that my standards are too harsh and that it is unfair to judge someone’s entire career from a single document. That opinion may seem reasonable on the surface, but delve into what it represents from a business standpoint to see if it holds true. Let’s consider that a person applying for a professional level job is expected to demonstrate the following in order to be eligible for an interview:

  • Ability to communicate professionally both verbally and in writing with one’s target audience
  • Attention to detail and concern for quality in work-related physical documents or electronic content
  • Comprehension of proper word usage, verb tense, grammar, spelling, punctuation and formatting when producing business-oriented correspondence

The above is an extremely limited list and doesn’t even get into actual hard skills, technical abilities and specific job related experience, training and education. Unfortunately, if lacking, the components listed are precisely the items that will undermine otherwise qualified candidates’ ability to convey their competence in their field.

The reality is, even if not explicitly expressed in the above manner, most occupations require a person to have a reasonable grasp of basic communication skills. If there is any doubt created in a person’s best first impression introduction message such as their resume, cover letter or even online profile, they will miss more opportunities than they will ever know.

Stubborn job seekers prefer to make assumptions about all sorts of possible reasons they aren’t getting any calls. Of course, in some rare cases, there could be some room for blame beyond a badly constructed resume.

But many people just prefer making excuses and speculating about how evil applicant tracking systems, discriminatory HR representatives and biased recruiters are at fault and show no willingness to hold themselves accountable for presenting a positive image. Instead of taking an objective view at how it is perceived when they fail to submit something worthy of being considered for their target job, these job seekers are the primary source of their own aggravation.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk – As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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20 questions for your job search

The following are some of the most common “tips” or topics seen in the job search advice arena. Which do you believe are true or false and why?

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True or False Statements:

1)      No one will hire you if any of your Facebook photos contain alcohol

2)      Since it’s practically required to have your photo on LinkedIn, you should also include one on your resume

3)      Hiring companies always prefer candidates that have a blog

4)      You will differentiate yourself by submitting a video resume

5)      Cover letters are never read and won’t do you any good

6)      Handwritten post-interview thank-you notes help you become a top candidate

7)      Being active on social media proves you have advanced technology skills

8)      Your “digital footprint” (ultra stupid term) is more valuable than your resume

9)      If you have inconsistent work history, you must use a functional resume

10)   Hiring managers will be impressed with your infographic resume

11)   You need to build and maintain a consistent brand across all of your social media profiles

12)   You should share industry articles with hiring managers after your interviews

13)   If you don’t get a response after applying online you should call the company to speak with the hiring manager

14)   Candidate with highest Klout score should always be top choice

15)   If you get laid off, you should put “looking for new XYZ position” on your LinkedIn headline

16)   Job seekers 40+ years old never get interviewed because hiring companies discriminate

17)   You should do a lot of research before your interview so you can tell the company how you will fix their problems

18)   Contacting a lot of recruiters will help you get hired faster

19)   It makes sense to apply for jobs when you meet 50% of listed criteria

20)   Always circumvent HR because they never want anyone qualified to get hired


1)      False – though there’s no need to leave your privacy settings wide-open if you fear your happy hour happenings might be mis-judged

2)      False – keep your resume focused on your career qualifications unless your appearance is pertinent to the type of work you do (modeling, acting)

3)      False – most people involved in hiring aren’t spending their spare time scouring the Internet to find new blogs – caveat: unless blogging is what you are employed to do

4)      False – don’t expect people to click the link, wait for the video to load/play and then watch your show – caveat: unless visual presentation/public speaking matters in your occupation

5)      False – not everyone cares about cover letters, but unless you know your recipient’s preference best of take advantage of the opportunity to communicate additional information

6)      False – while not entirely unheard of, whether typed or handwritten thank-you notes rarely influence opinions enough to make a difference in being added to the short list

7)      False – considering you are amidst billions of other people on the planet also active on social media, don’t expect special attention

8)      False – it might be concerning if there is no sign of you whatsoever online, but the vast majority of employers still rely heavily on traditional resumes to evaluate prospective hires

9)      False – if your employment history is in such a state that a functional resume seems necessary, you most likely need to apply for jobs where a resume isn’t required at all

10)   False – unless you are pursuing work where your graphic creativity is pertinent, at best a hiring manager might think your document is cute

11)   False – whether personal or professional, all you really need to keep in mind is: what goes on the Internet stays on the Internet

12)   False – aside from sending something that was requested, don’t add any uninvited extra mail (spam) to anyone’s inbox

13)   False – be patient and keep in mind most companies have a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” screening process and your extra eager attitude might get you noticed for the wrong reasons

14)   False – with limited exceptions, your Klout, Kred, EA, follower count or any other measurement score might be interesting, but rarely connected to hiring decisions

15)   False – your LinkedIn headline space should be maximized to express what others – your target audience – need to know about you professionally

16)   False – some claims of discrimination are valid, yet practically all employers desire the most qualified person for the position to be hired regardless of demographic attributes

17)   False – you should research available information in order to be prepared and informed, though it might be presumptuous to suggest you know how to fix internal problems

18)   False – companies hire based on qualifications, recruiters may facilitate portions of the process, but their loyalty is to the company/client not candidates

19)   False – at a minimum, you should strive to meet at least 90% of the required experience and background criteria being sought

20)   False – it is in HR’s interest to serve the company’s interest in attracting and selecting the best qualified person for each open position

Many of these topics or statements may produce an “it depends” reaction and the example answers are not intended to be a full explanation of every possible situation where certain actions may or may not make sense.

What do you agree or disagree with on the above list?  

Article by Kelly Blokdijk – As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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Are the jobs hiding from you?

People often tell me they’ve heard they need to avoid job boards and focus on the hidden job market instead. That comes up in conversation because they have no idea what that advice means or how to interpret it for their specific situation.

Frankly, that may be the best or worst way for them to conduct a job search and they may not realize how to tell the difference. The fact of the matter is there is not and has never been a one-size-fits-all job search approach. Nor is it wise to exclude or include possible resources based on someone else’s opinion without them or the job seeker understanding what is entailed in the bigger picture.

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Statistics vary about source of hire. Some may suggest that up to 80% of employers use job boards to fill jobs. Others may reflect that up to 80% of positions are filled through relationship based methods such as referrals, references and recommendations. Based on those seemingly conflicting or at least confusing concepts, how is a job seeker in the current market supposed to spend their time?

Let me simplify this the best way I can… The main reason job boards have become under-appreciated isn’t because there is a flaw in the job board platform itself. The issue is with the users of the job boards.

Way back when job boards became common place, the “apply now” button enabled practically anyone, anywhere, at any time, to apply for any job. That in turn created too much volume for any employer to manage. Since then, a dramatic downturn in the economy flooded the market with even more users of the job boards.

Concurrently, to manage this volume of applications, employers started integrating their external job board postings with their internal applicant tracking systems. These were to filter the data and sort out the unqualified applicants. The problem that occurred then was applicants tried to game the system by keyword loading and other “tricks” so they would still show up in searches no matter what.

Overall the quality of applicants diminished. Meanwhile compounding the user-error predicament, the hiring side failed to upgrade their process to deter unqualified people from applying or add methods to attract the right type of applicant. Even if someone was qualified, the likelihood of them being identified under all of the clutter was minimal. The response to apply ratio was dismal.

The next thing you know, the only people applying for jobs are the unqualified people. That discouraged employers from using job boards and took things “under-ground”, if you will. No one on either side was satisfied with the return on investment.

While job boards remain a solid point of reference for taking the pulse of hiring trends, the kinks still haven’t been completely worked out. That said, I encourage anyone looking for a job to integrate any and all relevant job boards into their search strategy. In a competitive market, it would be foolish to discount one of the primary tools employers use to advertise opportunities and to identify talent.

Regardless of how, when or where a person becomes aware of a possible opportunity, it is critical to remain in contact with an extended network of business connections that understand your value in the employment market. In the event someone you know learns of a confidential search, you want them to keep you top of mind. You need to be known for what you have to offer in advance, that way when internal discussions start happening, people automatically think of you.

Alternatively, if a position is already publicly communicated, you need to do some research and investigating to reveal who is involved with the sourcing, screening and selection process. While having direct contact with the ultimate decision maker is ideal, don’t discount others who may be less prestigious, yet still influential in getting you closer to the front of the line.

Regardless, you need to be prepared to position yourself effectively through your professional marketing strategies and materials online, on paper and in person. No matter what form your tangible presence takes (value proposition, business bio, resume, professional profile or networking correspondence), it must convey deep understanding of the business needs through a concise and targeted message. Your communications must immediately demonstrate an obvious match for the desired role to anyone who “finds” you.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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When are you going to settle down?

That is a question that many single people have heard over the years. It is usually asked by their well-meaning, but perhaps meddling loved-ones or possibly even posed by complete strangers. What they are suggesting to the single person is that – in their opinion – it is time to check that independent carefree single life at the door and plant themselves into a committed relationship for the long-term.

The motivation for this question varies, but often it is because the single person has given the impression that they are either too free-spirited to marry or partner up or they are too picky to appreciate the right mate when they meet him or her. Perhaps the person wondering why they don’t settle down is judging their choices and offering not so subtle hints of disapproval.

Another group that may have heard this “when are you going to settle down?” question a time or two is the ever-expanding population of unemployed people. While the meaning for this group is slightly different, there are well-intentioned people who think they should “just get a job already.” Of course, they don’t really say that – well, at least I hope not – but that is how it is heard and felt by the unemployed person.

Unfortunately, the people who tend to ask or imply these ideas are not necessarily unsympathetic, but they are unable to comprehend the perspective of the “great recession” job seeker. Possibly they don’t realize how challenging a job search can be – even in the best of times – because they have never personally had to try very hard to land a new position. Some people just manage to wind up in the right place at the right time and only know what its like to experience smooth career transitions.

A more likely reality is that they don’t quite grasp how incredibly complex the entire job search process has become over the years. Much of how things work today is tied to technology advances or continuously changing preferences and practices within the employment arena, making the term “competition” sound like a galaxy-sized understatement.

If someone hasn’t had a personal incentive (i.e. their own unemployment) to explore or gain exposure to these evolving trends, then they would not be too familiar with exactly what that entails. Add on to that the immense economic uncertainty for the past several years that may have skipped right by them as they remained employed, and it is easy to see why they could be so misguided in their views.

The scenario faced by many job seekers is not simple or straightforward and there is no consistently effective approach that works from one person to the next. Though there are plenty of experts touting this or that solution and offering blanket generalizations and un-proven advice to anyone and everyone who happens to be looking for a job.

The worst part of this situation is that many of these unemployed people have contemplated and are actively considering settling DOWN. Not in their typical previous type of position, but in one that is far beneath their level of ability, education, experience and compensation. While it sounds simple to just go out and get a job, the fact of the matter is these professionals are penalized just as much for being over-qualified as they are for being under-qualified. That is a key point that the people expecting them to settle down fail to process.

Of course, there are exceptions to everything. Some people have indeed found new professionally satisfying positions in this economy. Luckily, many of them are comparable jobs to what the person held prior. We all hope there is more of that in store for the rest who are struggling to make the best of this overwhelmingly unpleasant job market.

In some other cases, people have truly settled for survival jobs. Look around at a few businesses you frequent and you will probably see someone who looks just a bit different than the rest of the workers there. Whether it’s a taxi driver (former CIO), an order taker at a fast food place (up ‘til 2008 a Marketing Executive) or the stock person at the home improvement warehouse (struggling Graphic Artist), you can be certain, some of those newer employees have not arrived at their ideal career destinations.

In a conversation I had a while back, several senior level people from diverse professions and I discussed what it would take to actually land one of those so-called survival jobs. Without exception each person in the group was ready, willing and able to do just that – financially, physically and mentally. So much for the theory that unemployed people enjoy collecting their bi-weekly UI stipend and have no motivation to get back to work!

One person during a separate conversation actually told me that they had reached a point where they would even consider a “job-from-hell.” What they were referring to was the kind of miserable job that anyone who has been in the workforce for any amount time has encountered. Though when interviewing, we must portray that nothing in our entire career has ever been anything but wonderful. Even when describing the job-from-hell, the people, the places and all the rest were blessed, blissful experiences.

The person who prompted me to write about his “settle down” topic is a mid-career professional with substantial work experience, advanced education and professional credentials that many of their peers probably wish they had. However, due to a barren job market in their particular niche this person has decided to think about taking it down a notch or settling down, if you will.

They have been presented with a potential opportunity to do something related skill-wise, but different than what they have done in the past. The challenge this person is dealing with is that the pay rate is about what they earned 20 years ago when attending community college and working in retail. The other part that stings a bit is that the income potential is limited (barely feasible in their geographic location) and resembles what the most entry level person that ever reported to this job seeker was earning. OUCH! Talk about a kick-in-the-arse to the ole ego…

The main concern is the prospect of this decision to accept the job, if offered, equating to a permanent career derailment. Obviously, nothing is forever, but this is the type of professional that sticks to their commitments and would accept only if they intended to remain around awhile, meaning not a survival job until something better comes along.

What would you do… settle down or stick it out?

Article authored by Kelly Blokdijk, Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks – “Creating a Voice for Talent” TalentTalks partners with job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling professional branding materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative and customized human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts job market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!

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