Working With Recruiters Using Google+

Our Strategic Recruiting Manager Kelly Dingee gives you the inside scoop on how to set up your Google+ profile with the things that recruiters are looking for, as Google+ becomes a more popular social media platform.

3 Top Tips for Improving Your Online Profile

In our latest video, our Strategic Recruiting Manager Kelly Dingee lays out what recruiters really want to see when they look at your resume or online profile. Check it out below!

Hint: Broad, generic traits like “self-starter” won’t be getting you an interview.



Is Using Glassdoor Worth Your Time?

questionnaire and computer mouseWere you flung headlong into a new job-search due to layoffs or getting fired? I’d wager you’re starting your journey pretty demoralized and full of self-doubt. And if you’re just looking for a new opportunity, you might be struggling to figure out how you’ll juggle your current responsibilities and sneak around to your various interviews. In short – starting a new job search is overwhelmingly daunting.

We talk a lot on our employer blog about the importance of hiring for fit. Finding a perfect fit for the job description’s requirements isn’t nearly as important as making sure that the candidate is a good match with your overall culture – skills can be taught. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get an interview without some affinity for the position you’re applying for. But cultural fit is an essential portion of any job search that goes woefully under-discussed. Partially because it’s notoriously difficult to figure out a company’s culture from the outside.

Fortunately sites like Glassdoor disrupt that closed-culture model. But how effective are they really at laying out information for job seekers? New research from Software Advice found that about half of job seekers use the site to research companies, narrowing down their job search before they even start sending applications. And if you’re in a certain demographic, Glassdoor can be an effective insider look into company cultures. Here’s are some highlights (see their report for more, including some pretty charts):

Almost half of [survey] respondents say they use it before they even think about applying for jobs. Glassdoor serves as a way to narrow down the options and create a select group of companies that job seekers will then consider as potential employers.

Positive reviews in the compensation and benefits category were most important to job seekers. Meanwhile, good ratings of work / life balance came in at a close second.

40 percent of respondents said they would apply at a company as long as it had a rating of at least one star. However, it is important to note that by having a low rating, many candidates may be deterred—one third of job seekers said they required a company to have at least a three star rating.

Individuals making between $25,000 and $49,999 a year were the most likely to use Glassdoor in their job search. This may be an indicator that entry-level to mid-level job seekers are the most likely to use Glassdoor while doing research on potential employers.

Teasing out whether your future manager is truly toxic

Business relation

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. —Malcolm S. Forbes.

It is possible to tease out how toxic a potential manager will be from your brief interactions in an interview setting? It’s certainly not easy, especially since their toxicity is often odorless and hard to detect like carbon monoxide. Yet teasing out the truth of the manager’s behavioral tendencies is an important element of your interview strategy. Like with determining cultural fit, fully preparing for this aspect of the interview is vital, because you’ll come well-informed on the basics and can spend more time asking pointed, tough questions to tease out the truth.

Generally you won’t discover a manager’s toxicity in their direct answers, but rather in subtle clues. Think of it like the common piece of dating advice. If you’re on a date at a restaurant, pay close attention to how they treat the server. Because that’s how they treat anyone they aren’t trying to impress. Similarly, your strategy should be to tease out their opinions of their team. Just hope it doesn’t become too intense of a battle of wits.

The first attitude to whiff out is any disdain and intolerance for the position you’re applying for. If the manager perceives your future job as an easy position, that’s not going to change. They’ve already actively chosen to not understand the position’s nuances, so they’ll be set in their ways. After all, how hard could a job that’s just answering phones be? Sure, one phone call is generally simple enough. But answering calls full-time is exponentially more difficult, especially when they’re from angry customers, or involve tracking hundreds of appointments simultaneously. A manager who considers a job’s tasks beneath them won’t respect any work done in that position, no matter how well it’s performed. Design your questions to tease out how much respect for the position a manager holds, and how much knowledge they have of the nuances and complications that go along with any position they supervise.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is how a hiring manager tells their stories. Say you ask the manager about a project that didn’t work out and how they and the organization handled it. If the manager’s focus is on how stupid the other people were, run and hide. It’s a lethally disrespectful attitude.

But if a manager demonstrates respect for their people, and elevates others on their team even at the expense of boosting their own reputation, then you can expect they will do that for you. Seek out and work for the managers who hog the blame and give away credit. They will make you look good to other people by sharing the credit for team success, but taking the blame for team failure. So in their examples, pay special attention to who receives the majority of the blame – because managers who hog the credit will inevitably damage your career.

One final thing to keep an eye out for is their attitude toward taking risks. Avoid any environment in which you’re afraid to play the game flat out, even if it involves pushing your luck. Babe Ruth once held the MLB strikeouts record, but he’s definitely not remembered for that. Brett Favre holds the NFL record for the most career touchdowns, but also holds the record for most career interceptions. A good manager doesn’t let the mistakes haunt you, because they expect occasional failures when risks are being taken. But a bad manager focuses on the mistakes and not the successes. You’ll end up constantly on the defensive and doing everything you can to minimize mistakes. If a manager puts you into a defensive crouch, afraid of making any mistakes and just clocking hours for a paycheck, just know that won’t change until the manager does.

How to Think Strategically About Your Career for the New Year

New Year's resolutions listedWith New Years’ fast approaching, you may be thinking about those pesky resolutions. If one of them is to make a change in your career, but you’re struggling to come up with an achievable, fulfilling resolution, here’s a few of our favorite ideas to help get that Resolution Engine running again:

Develop Leadership Skills By Volunteering – If you wanted to volunteer more anyway, you could kill two birds with one stone. Book-learning isn’t going to cut it when it comes to gaining true leadership experience. But don’t only volunteer at the soup kitchen. You can potentially make a big impact by volunteering for the board of a nonprofit you admire. Boards of directors provide strategic and financial leadership to ensure each organization’s vitality, integrity, and mission fulfillment. Make the most of your time on the board with these tips. (Also, here’s a quick 10 Point Test of Leadership).

Want That Promotion? Stretch Yourself. – You may be gaining more experienced, but your skills have probably plateaued if you’re not taking the time to “deliberately practice” new skills. Success in a career requires more than simply showing up early, staying late, and responding quickly to every email. True standouts systematically develop rare and valuable skills. But building these skills requires practice, which isn’t something that most people seek naturally. Follow these tips to turn your training brain back on. (Related: How to Master a New Skill)

Consider Treating Your Life Like a Grand Experiment – Maybe you’re looking to take the next step forward in your career. But staying with one company for decades and steadily working your way up the career ladder is gone, replaced by a much more difficult ascent to the top. All hope is not lost, it just means realigning your thinking about your career trajectory. Here’s our advice on how to envision the next steps in your career. (Related: Defining Your Life’s Goal)

A Step By Step Guide to Landing Your Dream Job – Yes, job hunting is still a miserable experience. Just remember, as much as it seems like you’re the only one going through it, misery loves company (even if they’re on another laptop hundreds of miles away). Part one of our guide focuses on knowing your strengths – and recognizing your Kryptonite. You also want to find the right work environment. (For more guidance, you can read part two here.)

Where Do You Look For Jobs Online? – If you’re looking for new work, and would prefer working for a small business, you might be looking in the wrong place. Here’s our advice for job seekers trying to stay up to date. Hint: you might want to take a brief jaunt into the recent past. (Also make sure you’re digitally approachable).

When Applying for Jobs, Do You Have to Do Everything Employers Ask For?

Jumping Through HoopsEmployers ask for a lot of things – cover letters, salary histories, desired salary, first-born son…the list goes on. But do you have to comply with all those requests, every single time?

Well, it depends. Your level of frustration with a job hunt – and ultimately how long it will take – is heavily determined by what sort of job market you’re in. Are you already being offered plenty of interviews for attractive jobs? Then you can pretty safely ignore all those extras that employers request. I’m sure your eldest son will thank you. But if you are not getting calls, maybe you should pack him a bag lunch and follow the rules.

But how do you know how strong your job market is? How sought after are your skills? Well, first you need a decent resume and you need to not be invisible. You’re probably invisible if your coworkers are all being recruited, and you’re stuck in neutral. The first rule of Recruiter Club? Get on LinkedIn. The second rule of Recruiter Club? Get on LinkedIn! Fill in as much info as you can, including a quality, professional-looking picture. Build out your network of contacts – connect with your colleagues and friends. You could be in a strong job market, and your specialty might be hotly desirable for recruiters and companies, but without LinkedIn, you’ll never know for sure. Being invisible on LinkedIn means modern recruiters won’t find you.

If a river of opportunities starts flowing once you’ve set up LinkedIn, then you might have some negotiating leverage. Your skills are currently in high demand, so when you’re applying for jobs, you can probably overlook some of those typical requirements – cover letter, salary history – without fear of repercussion. Most employers will call you anyway. Even better, you will likely have enough leverage to negotiate a higher salary. Check out my recent interview with compensation expert Kim Keating, so you can better level the playing field during negotiations. (By the way, don’t expect your hot streak to last forever; job markets are just as prone to supply and demand fluctuations as any other).

But if you’ve updated your profile and answered a few job ads, and the response is more like a trickle in a dry creek bed, take that as a sign that the market for your skills is not that hot. It doesn’t matter how talented and wonderful you are, if there is an overabundance of talent in your field, then you’re just lost in the noise. You don’t have much in the way of leverage, so be sure to follow any instructions to the letter. Do all that you can to ensure you have the best chances of getting interviews and callbacks. You’re one of many options, so forgetting a cover letter or ignoring salary requirements/history will easily get your resume thrown in the reject pile, since there are still plenty of candidates to choose from who followed instructions to the letter.

Can a Recruiter Help You Discover Your Hidden Talent?

200126439-001Once they’re in the workforce, many people go through life wondering.

Wondering if they are in the right job.

Wondering if they have some hidden talent or secret superpower that would burst forth if only the environment were right.

Wondering if someone with a better knowledge of career paths and the job market could help them discover their latent talent and suggest a perfect job for them.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Here’s part of an email that came across my desk from a friend, “You think you know what you want out of life/a job, but maybe you’re not seeing a talent or skill you possess that might be in an area you never thought of before.”

So, can a outside recruiter help these lost souls discover some hidden talent? Unfortunately, no. It’s not the role of a recruiter to guide a candidate along a career path, or take a chance on them because of some indescribable “spark” for the job/industry. It’s nothing personal – a recruiter’s responsibility is to the client who hired them, and the client always wants the best and most-qualified candidate possible.

So now these wandering, wondering souls have a choice, though it’s a bit of a Catch-22.

One: Career Coaches. They could help to discover a secret super-power. But they rarely have in-depth knowledge of the current status of the real-world job market. It’s an important distinction, because while they might help figure out what someone is good at, they don’t necessarily have the connections to help find an open job in the desired field.

Two: Recruiters. They (should) have terrific job market knowledge. But their goal – because they’re paid for it – is to find someone who already demonstrates the strong skills needed for an open position – not to help someone who is passionate (but inexperienced) break into a company. Large companies have in-house recruiters, which may present a slightly better hope. They may be willing to take a chance on someone. But the odds of stumbling across such a perfect opportunity are pretty slim. Even if the recruiter is willing to take risks on inexperienced newcomers, breaking into a new industry would still require finding and applying for the open position before it’s filled by someone experienced. I’m guessing there’s almost never going to be a callback for an interview.

But don’t worry lost souls – all hope is not lost.

Third Option: Self-reflection.

One of our recent posts suggests taking a different view of how to manage a career, suggesting that careers are merely grand experiments, filled with lots of dead ends. But like Edison with the light bulb, keeping the experimentation alive may lead to a breakthrough, or a discovery of hidden super-powers. Back in December, Bob also offered some advice on finding hidden passion. Just ask the right question – What’s the problem you love to solve? And if that’s not enough, there’s a much more in-depth way of looking at meaningful work here. It’s not as “follow your dreams” hokey as one might think – there’s 5 specific pieces of advice would hopefully help formulate how to find a life full of meaningful work. The book referenced, So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport might help as well. As the blog writer puts it, “Unless we can clearly define our choices to ourselves, we can’t make informed decisions.”


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