Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jobseekers-don't be an egghead about twitter

I haven't seen the latest and greatest stats, but last time I checked, Twitter had well over 100M profiles.  However, also the last time I checked, about half of all of these profiles are abandoned within a month of their creation.


You know why-most people have no idea what to do with Twitter once they get there!  The job search talking heads (me included) both tell you that you should be on Twitter and offer you suggestions for making the most of your Twitter experience, but the reality is that for some people, they are simply so overwhelmed by a medium that feels this foreign, they just ignore their profiles giving us the boring Twitter egg:

What does the egg tell me?  Not a whole heck of a lot.  Not only is an "egg profile" missing the opportunity to pull together a social media presence with a picture, but typically you will find limited postings, not many if any followers, very few people followed, and basically tumbleweeds blowing down the street of this profile.

So, is that bad?  Well, I won't say it's bad, but it's definitely a missed opportunity.  However, I get it-Twitter isn't right for everyone as part of their diversified job search.  But, if you think that you won't devote the time to at least having some kind of activity, I would encourage you to take it off your LI profile.  Disconnect it from your Google Profile.  And stop listing it on your resume, signature block, business card, and Christmas cards.   Bottom line-you need to manage (read: clean up) your web presence on a fairly regular basis so that you aren't projecting the wrong image.  It's better to have an online image that says "conscientious objector" versus one that says "I don't give a crap"...don't you think? 

Good luck and happy hunting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Will the new Facebook job board be a LinkedIn killer?

So, Facebook recently announced that they would be integrating their own job board in August of this year.  You can read the whole report here on Sourcecon's site. 

After I read this news, I have to say that I reacted with well...underwhelment..which I don't think is a word, but you get my drift.  While I firmly believe that Facebook is a valuable tool in job search, I do not think that the 12 year olds in charge over at FB have figured out how to make it the LinkedIn killer that they would like it to be.  Thus far, the closest I have seen to FB becoming a tool to make LI obsolete is through the 3rd party apps like BranchOut and/or BeKnown...and until there is more aggressive adoption of those interesting apps, it ain't gonna happen.

However, what I think it does have the potential to do is wake some people up.  So many of us really view Facebook as simply a tool to share pictures, post inane updates and for some people that I'm connected to, "like" everything ever created so I get nothing but stupid posts from you all freaking day you morons....but I digress.  Creation of this job board just may get some of the more reluctant users to understand that sites like Facebook are changing the way we live AND work/job search.

Anywhoo...keep your eye on Facebook as a site to have the potential to be a LI killer.  Until then, continue to build a strong presence on LinkedIn but also please do include Facebook (especially those 3rd party apps I mentioned) in your overall job search AND career management strategy.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Jobseekers-wake up and smell the social media!

I always enjoy reading Jobvite's Social Recruiting Survey.  They recently released their 2012 findings and it's a real shocker!  Employers are using social media to recruit!  WHAT???

Ok, aggregious use of sarcasm aside, no real surprises in the 2012 report.  However, the numbers of both employers using social media to recruit and employers using multiple networks are increasing.  As a result, job seekers who are still relying on job boards as their primary vehicle to the marketplace are going to continue to miss out on opportunities as employers work to find better, cheaper, faster and more effective ways to recruit talent outside of what we all think are traditional avenues.  It costs employers a boatload of money to source/advertise on traditional job boards.  Compare that with sites that are free or pretty close to it and it's not much of a hard sell for employers.  Of course they are embracing cheaper methodologies...hell-most of them are driving adoption of those methodologies.  So, please my gentle job seekers.  Leave behind your preconceived notions of what social media is...and isn't and try to adopt a social media approach to your job search.  It will not be time wasted!

And what's my bottom line?  None today-just read the Jobvite press release...they say it better than me anyway:

Burlingame, Calf., July 9, 2012Jobvite, the leading recruitment platform for the social Web, today announced the results of its annual Social Recruiting Survey. The data reveals social recruiting has become an essential HR practice, with 92% of U.S. companies using social networks and media to find talent in 2012, up from 78% five years ago. LinkedIn continues to be a dominant recruiting network, while Facebook and Twitter have seen major adoption growth in the past year. 2/3 of companies now recruit through Facebook and more than half (54%) use Twitter to find new talent. Jobvite also found that employers scrutinize social media activity, noting more than half of respondents would have a negative reaction to seeing a spelling or grammar mistake in a social profile. Overall, social recruiting has become an essential resource in the war for talent as competition is fiercer than ever - 89% of companies report plans to increase hiring this year.
Conducted in June, Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey 2012 polled more than 1,000 human resources and recruitment professionals on their social recruiting activities and intentions. Now in its fifth year, the survey has revealed social recruiting usage trends since 2008, providing insights into how popular it has become, who is using it effectively and the results social recruiting produces.
Jobvite allows companies of all sizes to harness the power of employee referrals by encouraging everyone on staff to share job openings through their social networks, exponentially expanding their recruiting reach. Getting a job referral from a friend or contact dramatically increases the chances of being hired – one in 7 referrals vs. one in 100 general applicants lands a job, according to Jobvite data.
Jobvite’s new customers making the switch from Taleo represent a number of different industries. Some of the companies who recently switched include Blend HRM, Doublverify, ReadyTalk, InfoReliance and Vizu. Jobvite is thrilled to provide these and other companies with the industry’s leading social recruiting solution, and has prepared a new offer.
Social Recruiting Adoption Reaches All-Time High
Social recruiting has moved from a trend, to a necessity with 92% of employers using or planning to use social recruiting in 2012. No longer exclusive to LinkedIn, all social networks are now fair recruiting game.

  • 2/3 of recruiters use Facebook to find new talent, a growing trend since Facebook saw the biggest gain in usage, jumping 11 points from last year to 66% in 2012.
  • For the first time, more than half (54%) of recruiters now use Twitter for their talent search, revealing the importance of watching what you tweet.
  • LinkedIn remains the dominant recruiting network, used by 93% of respondents. (87% in 2011 and 78% in 2010).
  • 71% of HR and recruiting professionals consider themselves moderate to exceptional social recruiters.
Employers like Professional Organizations but Frown on Drinking and Bad Grammar
Nearly 3 out of 4 hiring managers and recruiters check candidates’ social profiles – 48% always do so, even if they are not provided. New to the 2012 Social Recruiting Survey, Jobvite asked for their reactions to various types of profile content to see what recruiters like and don’t like to see.

  • 80% of respondents reacted positively to seeing memberships to professional organizations, while 2/3 like to see volunteering or donating to a nonprofit.
  • Content that recruiters especially frown on includes references to using illegal drugs (78% negative) and posts of a sexual nature (67% negative).
  • Profanity in posts and tweets garnered a 61% negative reaction, and almost half (47%) reacted negatively to posts about alcohol consumption.
  • Worse than drinking, grammar or spelling mistakes on social profiles saw a 54% negative reaction.
  • However, recruiters and hiring managers tend to be neutral in their reactions to political opinions (62% neutral) and religious posts (53% neutral).
Social Recruiting Delivers Tremendous Hiring Results
Social Recruiting gained momentum because of results. It’s an effective way to take a comprehensive look at a large candidate pool and quickly bring in high-quality talent.

  • More than 7 out of 10 employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media (73%). This is up from 63% in 2011 and 58% in 2010.
  • Of those social hires, 89% of respondents have hired from LinkedIn, 25% through Facebook and 15% through Twitter.
  • Since implementing social recruiting, almost half (49%) received more candidates to choose from.
  • More than 4 out of 10 (43%) say the quality of applicants has improved.
  • 1/3 of respondents see more employee referrals, which tend to lead to the most valuable hires.
  • 20% reported it takes less time to hire when using social recruiting.
“The rise in social recruiting has allowed both candidates and employers an easier way to find the best match,” said Dan Finnigan, president and CEO of Jobvite. “We continue to see social recruiting gain popularity because it is more efficient than the days of sifting through a haystack of resumes. It also increases quality referral hires, which our own data on Jobvite proves are hired faster and last longer.”
Referrals are the highest-rated sources of new hires, and it’s far easier for employees to share jobs through social networks. Industry data shows people have an average of 150 social network contacts, so a company of 100 could have a social recruiting reach of 15,000 direct contacts, and 2.25 million second-degree connections. The Jobvite survey notes that roughly 2/3 (65%) of companies seek to increase employee participation in recruiting by offering referral bonuses; more than 1/3 offer rewards of more than $1,000.
“Social recruiting became the norm because it works so well,” said Eric Hollander, global recruiting manager at Chiquita Brands International. “At Chiquita we use Jobvite to reach a pool of talent that we couldn’t access using traditional methods. We're able to turn our entire company into recruiters, and we've gotten tremendous results from employee referrals and candidates we found via social networks.”

Five Years of Jobvite Social Recruiting Surveys

About Jobvite

Jobvite is the leading recruiting platform for the social web. Today's fastest-growing companies use applicant tracking, recruiter CRM and social recruiting software solutions from Jobvite to target the right talent and build the best teams. Jobvite is a complete, modular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform which can optimize the speed, cost-effectiveness and ease of recruiting for any company. For more information, visit

Monday, July 9, 2012

You are not overqualified.

I recently offered some absolutely unsolicited (will I never learn?) job search advice to someone.  This person came back and shut me down explaining to me that my advice wasn't helpful and it was really just the fact that he was overqualified that was keeping him from getting jobs.  I've been thinking about this for some time and I think it's time to make sure that we all understand something:

You are not overqualified.  Ever.

As a recruiter, I rarely used the overqualified comment as a rejection unless I was qualifying it with more info.  What do I mean?  Well, let's decode the true meaning of overqualified:

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: We typically pay 25% below market rates but I don't want to admit that, so instead we just give you the easy out of overqualified. 

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: You could do this job with your eyes closed, but I have a manager in place that would be totally intimidated by you and I don't think it's going to work.  You are an A player, he's a B player, you do the math.

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: I know you are desperate for work.  I really feel for your situation, but it's my ass if I hire you into this job and you leave in 6 months when the market turns around.  We really cannot afford more turnover, so I'm going to reject you before you have the chance to reject us.

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: Ok, so you could do the job and you even claim to be happy with the salary that we would offer.  However, we both know that you would be bored to tears in this type of role even if you won't admit it and while I don't care if you are bored, I do care about you making me look good...and boredom does not equal high performance.  So, to try and end the pain for both of us, I'm going to go with the easy out here.

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: I'm an idiot because I'm afraid to hire anyone older than my dad.  I fear that you will retire in 2 years and see above statement about how we can't afford turnover.  Did I mention that I'm an idiot?

What they say: You are overqualified for this role.
What they mean: You are the idiot.  You think you know everything and it's quite obvious that it would be next to impossible to train you to our processes, which are quite solid thank you very much.  Plus, you seem to think that you are qualified to do this job even though you have never had a position anywhere equal in level.  Are you punking me?  No?  Well, since you have such a superiority complex, I'm sure it will make you feel better to think you are here-I'm throwing you a bone.  You're're welcome.

Still think this doesn't apply to you?  Well, see it from an employer's perspective.  Let's say that they find a candidate who has more than enough skill, experience, education PLUS they believe that the person would be a cultural/personality fit.  The cherry on the top of that delicious recruiting sundae is the fact that the person actually would be happy to work for the money they are offering  AND they believe that the person would stay at the job for the long haul...still think they would tell that person that they are overqualified and send them away just because they have too much skill?  Short answer: Uh, no.

So what the heck is my bottom line here?  Well, there isn't much you can do if you get this reason for rejection.  However, if you are consistently getting this reason for rejection, you need to take a hard look at yourself and ask if you are REALLY qualified for the types of roles you are applying for, are you presenting your skills appropriately and communicating the fact that you are still open for learning.  You do all of that well and I bet you won't be hearing "overqualified" for much longer.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The morning after

I was inspired to write this blog rant after receiving a few networking emails over the last week or two.  I was thrilled to find that these folks reached out with specific agendas, didn't make me fish for info and in some cases actually showed concern/interest for me as a human.  Kudos to you!

So, I spent time I did not have crafting responses, offering up networking leads and providing suggestions hoping to hear back if it was what these folks were hoping to get from me.

You know what I got for my efforts?


Which makes me think that we often forget that follow up the morning after (the week after?  the month after?) is just as important as the effort that we put into the original outreach.  Again, another parallel between dating and job searching.  How do you feel when that special guy/gal/whatever doesn't call you to say how nice you looked and how pleasant your company was?  Pretty crappy, right?  Well, now imagine how it feels when it's a networking interaction and no one even bought you how are you feeling?  Probably still crappy but maybe also little less likely to take that person's call next time, right? 

So, how do we fix this?  Well, we have to think back to those old school manners that our mothers and grandmothers tried to drill into our stubborn heads.  Just because an interaction takes place via email and/or social networking site, it doesn't mean that a thank you is inappropriate.  How might that thank you look?  Here are a few examples:

When the information given to you by the networking contact is incredibly helpful, you might respond like this:

Dear Fred,

Thank you so much for making the time in your schedule to respond to me.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!  The market is still fairly tough, but I'm confident that there is a role out there for me as a Project Manager in a Telecommunications company.  I will follow up on the contacts that you gave me within the next 24 hours. 

If there is anything that I can do to add value to your day, please say the word.

All my best,

When you appreciate the effort given but aren't so sure that the contacts are going to be exactly right for what you are trying to do (think well intentioned Aunt who doesn't have a clue), go with this:

Dear Fred,

Thank you so much for making the time in your schedule to respond to me. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! The market is still fairly tough, but I'm confident that there is a role out there for me as a Project Manager in a Telecommunications company.   I will include this information in my search strategy.  

If there is anything that I can do to add value to your day, please say the word.

All my best,

And for the times when you (if we are going to be really honest) don't really appreciate the effort because so little was given but you need to say something:

Dear Fred,

Thank you so much for making the time in your schedule to respond to me.  The market is still fairly tough, but I'm confident that there is a role out there for me as a Project Manager in a Telecommunications company.   

If there is anything that I can do to add value to your day, please say the word.

All my best,

You'll notice that each of the responses is virtually identical.  Why you might ask?  Well, regardless of the effort expended by the person on the other end of the "line", you need to show appreciation for the response.  Not responding with at least a thank you says more about you and your professionalism than it does about them and their effort-trust me. 

Bottom line is simple..even when you don't think they deserve a well-written response, you owe it to yourself to act professionally.

Good luck and happy hunting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Interviewing...don't cut the red wire!

We all have been in that interview where it happens.  You are making jokes, you're building rapport, you are basically figuring out where your fancy new office furniture is going to go when it happens.  You get that question that makes you feel like you need to cut either the red or yellow wire to keep it from blowing up in your face.  So, you make a split second decision when suddenly 

And now you are facing an issue where your seemingly awesome interview just went to hell in a handbasket because of a mere question. Not sure what I mean? Well, you are one of the lucky ones. For the rest of us who feel like we have been caught in an interviewing landmine, we can probably recall what some of the questions sounded like:

I see you used to work for Bob Jones?  He's such a jerk.  How did you handle it?

I know you were laid off from ABC Company.  I can't imagine what that feels like.  It just looks like they are falling apart at the seams!

I can't believe you guys were using insert system here still.  We stopped using that 5 years ago.  What a piece of junk!

Hey...did you guys service XYZ account?  Was Sue your contact there?  My goodness-she is a tough cookie!

Now, before you conspiracy theorists start telling me how employers are only out to trip up candidates and questions like this are designed to make candidates feel uncomfortable and awkward, you need to understand that in most cases, this is just not true.  Like me and you, most interviewers are humans (some I'm convinced aren't actually human)...and as humans, we say inappropriate things, we ask awkward questions, we have gunk fall out of our mouths before we know better.  It doesn't make you a bad person, bad interviewer or representative of a bad just makes you, well..human.

Yeah yeah yeah...we get it.  To err is human.  But how do we as job seekers (who let's face it-are expected to be perfect) handle these simple questions that aren't really simple at all?  With grace and diplomacy.  No matter how much you think it will earn you points, do not sink to the level of these queries.  Let's work through them to talk about how a graceful response might look:

I see you used to work for Bob Jones? He's such a jerk. How did you handle it?  I did work for Bob Jones.  He certainly was a character but I have found that anytime I have worked for someone with exacting standards like Bob it just helps me up my game. 

I know you were laid off from ABC Company. I can't imagine what that feels like. It just looks like they are falling apart at the seams!  Being laid off is certainly a humbling experience, but it's not one that I'm dwelling on.  I have enjoyed the time away from work, but I'm ready and anxious to throw myself back into a new project!

I can't believe you guys were using insert system here still. We stopped using that 5 years ago. What a piece of junk!  We did use insert system here.  I have found that systems come and go at companies but my trick is to just focus on finding every efficiency that I can knowing that chances are, it will change again before you know it!

Hey...did you guys service XYZ account? Was Sue your contact there? My goodness-she is a tough cookie!  We got a chance to service a lot of different accounts.  I remember one where the customer was so tough, it felt like she was going to fire us every day.  But as soon as I took over the account, I made sure that we had regular expectation meetings to get on the same page.  I found that by doing so, things went a lot better.  As far as any individual companies, unfortunately, my severance agreement prevents me from disclosing company lists and I certainly don't want to get in any trouble!  (And make light of this as appropriate).

In summation, let me say that it's not really the questions that are going to do you in.  It's how you respond to the questions.  If you get flustered and bash other people/companies chances are that you are the only one who is going to come out looking bad.  Don't assume that by dishing dirt you are mirroring the other person's communication style-just take the high road and rest assured that no one ever lost out on a job because they had too much discretion and tact!

Good luck and happy hunting.