Posts Tagged recruiter

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!

2013

2013

Wishing all good luck in the new year – praying mantis — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/may-2013-bring-mantis-like-mindfulness/

 Some of the worst job search advice EVER — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/follow-this-advice-to-knock-yourself-out-of-consideration-for-a-job/

Hidden reality of hidden jobs — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/are-the-jobs-hiding-from-you/

Job searching can be a crappy process, don’t make it worse — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/how-to-instantly-put-your-job-search-in-the-crapper/

Not all diversity looks like demographic diversity – http://www.ere.net/2013/01/22/talent-diversity-isnt-just-about-demographic-data/

Greatest job seeker gripes (about recruiters) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/follow-up-flubs-fiascoes-and-failures-that-frustrate-candidates

Learning how stuff works is YOUR job — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/does-this-thing-come-with-an-instruction-manual

Not all unlucky numbers are bad — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/pondering-significance-circumstance-3-13-13/

Can you train a monkey to do your job?

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/recap-of-this-week-s-rbc-lessons-don-t-monkey-around-with-lies

Maybe it’s April Fool’s Day everyday for job candidates — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/fooling-around-with-candidates-everyday

Who decided that 80% of jobs are not posted? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/who-is-hiding-all-of-the-jobs

What happens when clueless people become recruiters? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/sucky-slacker-sourcing-strategies

Companies say they want to hire for certain traits, yet end up selecting something else —  http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/hypocrisy-in-hiring

Overly restrictive job requirements — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/is-there-any-responsibility-to-educate-or-enlighten-your-hiring

Recruiters that are crazy, lazy, or both — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/these-recruiters-must-be-crazy-to-be-so-lazy

Job search version of 20 questions — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/20-questions-for-your-job-search/

Age old issue of old age (and discrimination) — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/admit-it-the-big-o-stimulates-quite-a-reaction

Shedding light on the stigma of job hopping — http://wthomsonjr.com/guest-blog–kelly-blokdijk/maybe-you-should-withhold-that-job-hopper-judgment/

#1 reason for resume rejection — https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/20-questions-for-your-job-search-2/

Opposite of good employer branding — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-cement-your-reputation-as-a-dorkola-recruiter

No need to settle for terrible HR — http://www.tlnt.com/2013/09/04/why-do-we-settle-for-low-information-human-resources/

Is it necessary information or an interview question? — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/are-you-sure-you-need-the-answer-to-that-question

We all know what they say about assumptions — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/stop-showing-candidates-your-a-s-s-umptions

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

http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-best-person-for-the-job

Caring enough to cook up creative content — http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/refried-beans-and-recruiting-blogs

 Talent Topic Compilation Edition 2013 Articles by Kelly Blokdijk http://linkedin.com/in/kellyblokdijkattalenttalks

Kelly Blokdijk on Twitter @TalentTalks

Publication sources include:

TalentTalks Talent Optimization Blog https://talenttalks.wordpress.com/

Recruiting Blogs Dot Com http://recruitingblogs.com

TLNT Dot Com http://tlnt.com

Electronic Recruiting Exchange – ERE Dot Net http://www.ere.net

Bulls Eye Recruiting via http://wthomsonjr.com/

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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!

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net 

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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

Answers:

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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How to Instantly Put Your Job Search in the Crapper

Some consider a resume and/or cover letter the most important professional documents to represent a person’s overall level of competence and credibility when pursuing employment opportunities. In fact for most US employers resumes/cover letters are the standard preliminary evaluation tools.

Therefore, I’m constantly astonished that so many people routinely submit error-ridden correspondence when the stakes are so high. Having to sort through stacks of lousy resumes is one of the most common recruiter complaints. The high-volume of applications and applicant tracking system black-hole syndrome does factor in to response rate, but doesn’t deserve anywhere the amount of blame as bad resumes. 

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Perhaps it seems unfair that people are being assessed by how they appear on paper (or on a screen), but that is why they say you only have one chance to make a great first impression. Some of the same sloppiness found on resumes and cover letters can be spotted on LinkedIn profiles as well. It puzzles me that so many career marketing messages reflect a lax attitude about attention to detail and obvious willingness to overlook easily preventable mistakes.

Effective and accurate communication skills tends to be one of the most universally expected qualifications across all types and levels of jobs. I realize that there are situations where that may not be the primary focus of a person’s job. However, those tend to be in categories where resumes and cover letters are not expected and applicants simply complete employment applications instead. Either way, it is still preferable regardless of document type, to receive content minus glaring errors such as typos, misspelled words, poor grammar, incorrect word usage, inconsistent formatting, unattractive fonts and so on…

No one expects the average person to be an expert profile, resume or cover letter writer, but most people in the hiring process do expect basic demonstration of written communication proficiency. Even if those fundamental literacy and quality assurance aspects are not critical for the initial position in question, I have seen plenty of people passed over for promotions and career advancement due to communication challenges. 

Anyone applying for jobs and not getting responses really should take an objective look at how their information is coming across to prospective employers. Make sure you are not flushing your reputation down the toilet by distributing information that makes the reader say: “this stinks!”

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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Never underestimate the importance of your companions

No, I don’t mean that four-legged, leash-pulling, running partner of yours… Or, your fellow job seekers at the local coffee house.

The often neglected companions I’m referring to are your cover letters, post interview thank-you notes and networking introduction messages. These are the most important career marketing companions your resume has. Without them, you miss an opportunity to bolster your professional image and further differentiate yourself from the competition.

When it comes to cover letters, I often hear people say they have simply chosen to skip writing one and only submit their resume by itself. Well, I’ve written plenty on this topic in the past, so I won’t go into all of the reasons that I think that is not the best course of action. Instead, I will share a couple of examples of how a cover letter made the difference for others.

Julie was called by a hiring manager who was so impressed by her customized letter that she “had to meet her.” What Julie did to produce that strong reaction was to tailor her letter so that the hiring manager recognized an exact match for her position. Not only that, but Julie’s letter was creative, interesting and clearly showed that she researched the company’s culture and linked several of her previous accomplishments to their mission and values. Not only did Julie get interviewed, but she got an offer.

Kate applied online for a position through an employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS). While she remembers uploading her MS Word resume in the appropriate step, the cover letter portion only allowed a cut and paste process. Apparently, a technical glitch prevented the resume from being received by the employer. But, what was receieved (by Kate) was a personal call from the recruiter handling that search.

Kate’s cover letter effectively communicated her qualifications for the position of interest, so the recruiter took the time to place a call to request her resume. She even provided her email address so Kate could send it directly to her attention. That call and evaluation of Kate’s resume later resulted in a phone interview. Without the cover letter, Kate’s application likely would have been skipped over entirely due to being “incomplete.”

Hailey was one of those “do without a cover letter” job seekers, until one day when she noticed quite a few employers were requiring them. Suddenly, she decided that her chances of attracting attention would be improved if she followed the application instructions by submitting a comprehensive cover letter. The letter she started with could have been used by any other job seeker. There was nothing unique or original about its content.

After we finished building a compelling, focused summary of her experience, there was no mistaking just how qualified Hailey was for her target opportunities. She immediately noticed a better response rate.

So, maybe now you are convinced that a resume can be enhanced with a well-written companion communication piece in the form of a cover letter. Once both of those documents serve their main purpose – to get you invited to interview, it is time to send a thank-you note. I won’t bother discussing the timing or the method (snail mail or email) of sending a thank-you note, but the sooner the better.

In fact, you might want to start writing a thank-you note as soon as you have an interviewe scheduled. You can add the custom touches after your meeting. That is when you take the time to recap the critical skills you bring and reemphasize any pertinent discussion points. Don’t delay building the foundation of your thank-you note until after you’ve interviewed. Here’s why…

A couple of weeks ago someone referred a job seeker, Maria to me for help. Unfortunately, her timing was not ideal. By the time Maria and I spoke, it was already a full day and a half after her interview. She called me in a panic about how to write a thank-you note for a job she really wanted.

The problem was not just that I had no prior background about her or her situation, but I also had a full project load of other commitments. I wasn’t able to offer much assistance beyond some basic recommendations. The next day – now two full days post interview – I received a frantic call from Maria that she was having severe writer’s block.

Again, due to other obligations I was only able to provide minimal advice and support, including correcting major typos, fragmented wording and unfocused thought patterns. Needless to say, I had some major concerns about Maria’s lack of preparation and even worse the probability that her hastily written and tardy letter was not going to reflect well on her communication and follow-up abilities.

As we all know, referrals are the preferred way to get introduced to potential employment opportunities. Martin a job seeker who was already getting plenty of attention from his professional quality resume and powerful cover letter, began been seeking introduction requests from networking contacts to reach niche recruiters and search firms.

In this case, Martin and I discussed using a different, consolidated version of his “employer audience” cover letter. Knowing that third party recruiters are usually most concerned with resume content, a brief introductory note contained in the body of an email was the best way to go for this particular correspondence.

I ended up crafting a customizable template that Martin could use to send to multiple referral resources as needed. It worked well to simplify some of the best features of his original cover letter, but in a more condensed presentation of that information.

Another application for a networking message is to help your professional contacts properly introduce you to someone in their network. When a job seeker is able to provide key information about their background in advance, the networking contact or professional reference has an easier time understanding what to share with the new connection. Likewise, even without a “middle-person” the job seeker him/herself can simply send a professional introduction to a key influencer.

The point of this article was to highlight the importance of preparation, planning and professionalism throughout the entire job search process. As the job seekers in the above examples illustrated, you only have one chance to make a great first impression. If done well there will be several opportunities along the way to make new impressions and you want them all to be positive and memorable.

Article by Kelly Blokdijk of TalentTalks –
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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