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.

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.”

Exit Your Job Gracefully, Even If You Think You’ll Never Come Back

Smiling businesswoman with briefcase waving hand, looking at cameraI’ve had my share of terrible jobs, and if you’re reading this, I bet you have too. There are entire industries that elicit grimaces and horrible flashbacks for their former (and sometimes current) employees. The mere mention of jobs like “fast-food worker” or “call center representative” often invoke a tacit understanding that your job was terrible – entire industries elicit grimaces and painful flashbacks. Bring up an old terrible job, and watch a former employee shiver as if a Dementor entered the room.

Or maybe you’re in a great industry. But your company is in financial turmoil or poorly managed. Or your direct supervisor is a nightmare, or maybe you’re actually suffering from a boss who is too nice (yes, sometimes nice bosses can be just as destructive to your career as the nightmarish ones).

There’s always a fantasy in a terrible job. It’s Day Whatever-54 of dreadful, boring existence. You’re trying to escape the Pit of Despair – yeah, your coworkers nicknamed it years ago, and it stuck.

So you send out countless resumes, and the interviews you do get grant you tiny glimmers of hope that you need to keep sticking it out. Then you finally get an offer for a great company. And your current job is so terrible, all you want to do is trash your desk, walk up to your boss and yell in their face a string of expletives followed by “I QUIT!” It’s tempting, but should you do it?

No, of course not! It’s completely unprofessional, and burning your bridges is a terrible idea. Surprisingly, many people return to the organization they once left, after being absolutely sure they’d never, ever return. You never know what might happen – what if the job you just got doesn’t work out? What if you get laid off suddenly and have no other immediate prospects? You need to follow the advice in this article and exit with grace. Another possibility? If all goes well at your new position, you might have a chance to return to the Pit of Despair’s corner office with a huge promotion. And you would have been the ideal candidate too, if not for that black mark on your file from when you flipped over your desk and cursed out your boss. Be rational – your future self will thank you.

How To Get Help From Busy People

frustrationVery few people know how to grab the attention of a busy person. As a recruiter, I get dozens of emails a week from job seekers, and daily requests to connect on LinkedIn. 99% of my LinkedIn inbox requests are the standard invitation, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Don’t do that. Sending the generic LinkedIn invite is a terrible idea.

Now, I’m in the business of placing people, so I’ll still make the connection, but lots of other busy people won’t. That’s why I loved a recent article about how to get important people to respond to your emails. It’s a great read, filled with six common-sense and easy to follow bits of advice that should start helping you today. If you want your email or LinkedIn invitations read – and more importantly, responded to – read it.

So if you want help from a busy person:

  • Get to the point.
  • Provide some context.
  • Explain what you want specifically and succinctly.
  • Thank them.
Once you’ve made a connection, cultivate it. If email won’t cut it and you need to make a phone call, the advice in this article will keep you on track – try to keep it under 15 minutes.

Being Digitally Approachable in Your Job Search

 Job searches rely on making lots of great first impressions. And once upon a time you could control your first impressions, by actually being there when they happened. It may surprise you to learn that, a long, long time ago (back when I was 40), humans introduced themselves to one another in person. Face to face, not on Facebook or Facetime.

Those days are long gone.

Today, job seekers make most of their first impressions online. You can’t get through a dinner out with friends without someone pulling out a smart phone to look something up. When I recommend a restaurant, or movie, or a beer, where do you go to check it out? You go online. In the office, when you mention you are looking for a solution to an IT problem, and I recommend my IT vendor, what do you do? Do you leap to the phone to call them … or do you check them out online first?

When you Google your own name, what do you see? There is your first impression. Google is the new business card.

Every time someone refers a candidate to me, I check them out online. If they are on the hunt for their next position, I assume they paid some attention to their digital first impression. And I’m often disappointed.

If you are a business professional about my age, and your LinkedIn profile is bare bones, you are sending the message that you are behind the curve with technology. It is assumed that you either don’t understand it, or perhaps you are afraid of it. Like it or not, that’s your first impression, and it is darn hard to shake. The fact that you have not yet found social media relevant to your work, or that you find it a silly waste of time only confirms the suspicion.  You may think that not having a robust online profile confirms that you are a mature, secure, serious professional who has no time to waste on YouTwitFace. But among people who use Google to form a first impression, rest assured, that’s not what they think.

Conversely, if you are an early career business professional, and your LinkedIn profile is bare bones, it is assumed that you know your way around social networks because you are young, so the absence of a professional profile means you are either lazy or perhaps you just don’t understand how things work in the real world. Not good.

So if your current job is quite secure, and if you have no interest in being contacted about a new job, then by all means, feel free to remain digitally anonymous. Put out a big old “Beware of Dog” sign online. No problemo.

But if you are even thinking of making a first impression with someone who is in a position to help you, like an HR professional, or a headhunter, or someone who is well networked … well then, you would be wise to make yourself more digitally approachable.

How to Network Mutually Beneficially

Networking is likely the route to your next job… It’s more personal than applying on a stark job board, and it may help you find out about opportunities that aren’t openly advertised.

So is networking a good thing? Definitely. But there are ways to do it properly (and effectively) and ways that are just a waste of your time.

Luckily, the experienced Jeff Haden gives us 5 great networking tips. Here are my 3 favorites:

  1. Give before you take. Of course you want something; you want their help. But the trick is: “never ask for what you want.” By giving your expertise and your help, you can establish a real, solid, meaningful relationship. A relationship will make them want to help you, not just an annoying person asking for help.
  2. Don’t assume they care about your needs. You’re out of work and you need a job – that’s your problem, not theirs. Haden says “the only way to make connections is to care about the needs of others first.” Show them you care about them, and then maybe they’ll care about you afterall.
  3. Network where it’s mutually beneficial. Yeah, having the top executive connect with you would be great, but the way to actually make a helpful connection is to find someone who can benefit from your expertise – and vice versa. So that you can follow up on #1 and #2… make a relationship that goes both ways.

Top Tips for Building Good Relationships

Whether you are a job seeker or just starting a new  job, you can’t ignore the rules of building and maintaining relationships. The ability to establish good relationships is essential for building a successful career. Martin Zwilling, blogging for Forbes.com, dips into Jan Yager’s latest book “Productive Relationships: 57 Strategies for Building Stronger Business Connections,” and offers these top tips for building good relationships:

  1. Create a favorable first impression. You only get one chance for a first impression. Don’t miss an opportunity for face-to-face communication, where you can use body language, which scientists say constitutes more than 50% of all communication.
  2. Proactively form relationships with positive types. These are the people who will help you thrive and prosper. They include real mentors, facilitators, visionaries, motivators, and negotiators.
  3. Find a way to motivate others to want to get along with you. Understand your own agenda, and figure out the agenda of others, hidden or obvious, to make it a win-win relationship. How can you appeal to others so you can work together?
  4. Reexamine your attitude toward conflict. Some conflict in the workplace is inevitable. The key is how to deal with it effectively. Recognize points of view, respond to what happened, resolve what needs to be resolved, and reflect on the lessons learned. Then move on.
  5. Deal with the “back-off” before it turns antagonistic. When a conflict occurs, rather than have a confrontation, someone needs to backs off. You can’t make someone want to deal with you, but you can try to increase their motivation to deal with you – like getting together for lunch, or trying to communicate in another way.
  6. Benefit from harsh feedback about your work. Receiving criticism is never easy. Try some recovery techniques, like taking a deep breath, give yourself time, and look at the issue from their perspective. Keep your initial response short and sweet and in control.
  7. Use social networking to build and improve your business relationships. Savvy workers at all levels are using these sites to develop and strengthen their business relationships as well as to reconnect with previous business connections. Make your own luck by giving and seeking referrals.
Compounding these strategies in today’s business environment are two divergent concepts: a heightened degree of competitiveness, and a greater emphasis on teamwork. This means you need even more emphasis on effectively engaging others, and learning to deal effectively with potentially negative work relationships. Success in today’s collaborative, customer-driven, networked economy requires real business relationship efforts by everyone involved. No matter where you are in the spectrum, there is no time like the present to kick it up a notch
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