Sing Your Way To A New Job

woman-sitting-at-table-and-using-laptop-with-tea-cup-in-background

As a recruiter, I’ve read thousands of resumes, interviewed hundreds of candidates, and witnessed a few common job search mistakes. What could possibly be better to ring in the new year than singing along with me and learn how to increase your chance in upgrading your career in 2017?

♥ Call Me Maybe ♥ Hey, I just read your resume/ And this is crazy/ But where’s your number/ So I can call you, maybe?!

To get a call back from a company, it is extremely helpful to give your contact information (duh!): full name, email, phone number, address (local AND non-local if relocation is applicable for the position), personal website or online professional profile (if available).

It is okay to use your alias on your job application but make sure to include your full name for a professional job (unless you are Beyonce or Drake and I can see why you don’t need to). Please change your email sender name to your name listed on the resume as well. I get how Katy Brand used to be Katy Perry. But what confuses me the most is when I emailed Bruno Mars (name on application) and then received an email from Will Smith (email sender name). Eh?

Also, please explain why you apply for a job in Phoenix, AZ if you have lived and worked in Ann Arbor, MI for ten years. Are you open to relocate? Are you looking to work remotely? Most recruiters don’t have the psychic power to read minds even though mind-reading would be an awesome skill and not yet a resume buzzword (!).

No, a LinkedIn profile or an online portfolio such as github is not required unless requested by the company’s job listing. However, it is in your best interest to update and clean up all of your social profiles prior to your job search. Yes, 100k followers on Twitter is definitely impressive but your hating-on-your-company tweet probably won’t help you.

∞ Hello ∞ Hello from the other side/ I must have called a thousand times/ To tell you I’m ready to consider you for the job/ But when I call, you never seem to be home

“I’m available before 8am and after 5pm during the week and I’m open to speak any time on the weekend.” This is the most dreaded phone scheduling response for every recruiter. We are not trying to take you out for a date! Right, you are busy with a full-time job and so are we. Like anything worthy in life, landing a better job takes time, efforts and commitment. Time management is key to your success. Be ready to carve out some time in your regular schedule for calls with potential employers.

× Don’t Speak × I know just what you’re saying/ So please stop explaining/ Don’t tell me cause it may hurt you/ Don’t speak/ I know what you’re thinking/ I don’t need your reasons

When singing Karaoke, it is great to express your emotions and how you feel about the song. It isn’t just about the lyrics; it is how you make people feel with your performance. To impress your interviewer over the phone, emotion management is just as important as your answers. Job search is indeed one of the most stressful life events and many job seekers are in the market due to an unfortunate environmental factor such as lay-off, management change or toxic work culture. Regardless of what you have been through lately, employers are looking for people who are able to stay humble and positive, open to learn from the past, and excited about the future.

Bad things sometimes happen to good people; you can still present yourself with dignity and grace. I’m not asking you to talk like a robot because we are emotional beings and it is natural to show your feelings. Rigid and scripted answers to interview questions are just as deadly as lip-syncing in a live Karaoke show. Interviewers can spot a scripted answer and lose interest quickly. Be honest and genuine without spilling your frustration or hurt feelings when addressing your employment termination with past companies, your relationship with previous supervisors, or any change in career path. Your attitude and action towards adversities is what defines you, not what happened to you.

« Don’t Stop Believin’ » Don’t stop believin’/ Hold on to the interviewin’/ Opportunities, people/ Ohh-Ohh-Ohhhhhhhh

It usually takes about a month and sometimes up to three months to fill a skilled position. Sit tight and be patient. It is a process that may be very rewarding and life-changing!

 

→ I’m always hiring! Click here for open positions. I read every resume and email unlike your last recruiter (Ok, maybe not your last one, just the one(s) who ruined recruiter’s rep).  

Sing Your Way To A New Job

Infographic: Ace Your Candidate Experience With Interactive Recruiting

In a world of talent shortage, passive candidates and LinkedIn inMails with low response rate, it is obvious that we are in a candidate-drive market. However, many employers are slow to adapt to the trend. For example, many HR & recruiting professionals don’t track any meaningful data beyond the old-school recruiting metrics such as time to fill and cost per hire.

With all the talks about candidate experience, the so-called talent strategies and recruiting technology are still reactive and limited by the design of applicant tracking systems.

How do we move away from reactive recruiting to interactive recruiting? How do we reverse the impersonal, transactional job search experience via applicant tracking system? How do we leverage the power of software without discouraging meaningful conversations & interactions? We know the recruiting process is broken and frustrating.

See the infographic and my proposal below on how to ace your candidate experience and apply recruiting analytics to your talent acquisition strategy.

Reactive VS Interactive Recruiting- Candidate Experience by Recruiter's Digest

  • Attract talent with great contents, UI/UX, & interactions.

First, find out if your branded, career-related pages are attractive to potential candidates. Second, update and create landing pages with great UI/UX design. Last, encourage conversations and interactions between recruiters and general visitors, including candidates, referrers, and brand followers.

  • Are your career-related contents relevant, educational or entertaining, and timely?
  • Are those career-related pages easy to find, use and navigate?
  • Do you encourage conversations and interactions on and beyond those pages?
  • Which websites or pages refer the most qualified candidates and the most loyal brand advocates to your site?
  • How friendly or unfriendly is your applicant process? Does it take more than 30 minutes?
  • Convert page visitors into candidates and/or referrers and/or followers.

Depending on the nature of your business, your website may attract mostly customers, vendors, partners or even competitors. However, it is crucial to optimize your branded pages and convert your visitors into your brand advocates on every degree possible: a brand follower on social media, a job referrer, and/or a candidate. Make it easy for people to apply for jobs, refer someone for a job, share a job with others, and follow your brand on social media and beyond.

  • How many people visited your page and became a candidate and/or referrer and/or follower on social media?
  • How many people clicked to apply for a job but never finished the application?
  • Do you send follow-up or reminder emails to candidates who abandoned the application?
  • Do you drive the target audience to visit and share your career-related pages?
  • Do you have call-to-action buttons for site visitors to apply for jobs, subscribe to job alerts, or follow your company on social media & niche sites?
  • Engage target communities with integrated campaigns.

People are tired of relentless cold calls and unsolicited emails about job openings. Employers are trying hard to connect with potential candidates by talking at them, not having an open conversation in a timely manner. Engage talent with activities, conversations, causes, and events that matter to them such as healthy contests, charity or community outreach, and purpose-driven sponsorships.

  • Do you actively monitor and manage your employer brand with open communications & public relations efforts?
  • Do you address candidate’s feedback and questions with respect and transparency?
  • Do you evaluate, validate and improve your recruiting campaigns and processes based on data?
  • Do you integrate your recruiting campaigns on multiple platforms and websites?
  • Do you know what each candidate segment is looking for and customize your recruiting campaign for each group?

Please share your thoughts and continue the discussion on candidate experience! Together, we can make the candidate experience better.

Infographic: Ace Your Candidate Experience With Interactive Recruiting

When Recruiters Go Bad

Bored waiting iStockphoto.com:drewhadley

Yes, I’m a recruiter and I’m going to talk about those recruiters who give us a bad rap. Why? Because I love recruiting and it hurts me to continue seeing those who ruin the experience for all. Being a recruiter is fun because we have the power to make someone’s dream come true (or at least bring him/her closer to it). We make magic happen- the moment when we seal the deal between a great candidate and a satisfied employer. It’s all about creating and maintaining happy relationships.

As both the company advocate and talent advisor, why can’t many recruiters follow simple business etiquettes?

Recruiter is probably the only occupation that gets away with being flaky and rude because no candidate wants to be on a company’s bad side.

I bet you have experienced this scenario at least once in your professional life: applied to a job, talked to the recruiter & hiring manager on the phone, brought in for in-person interview, then silence. You called, you emailed. Silence. You called again, you emailed again. Silence. 3 months later, you’d be lucky if you get a canned response about the rejection.

A bad recruiter is like that guy/girl who never called again (or returned calls) after the first date, leaving you hanging, feeling all the negative emotions, and going through all the possible things that could’ve gone wrong in your head. Sadness.

We are all adults; we know how to handle rejections gracefully with our dignity intact. Just tell us the truth and we both can move on. Right?

I understand sometimes a recruiter has no control over the course of action. An interviewed candidate can be ‘put on the back burner’, ‘kept warm’, ‘circled back after we see more candidates’, or ‘second choice if number one doesn’t take our offer’. Complete silence for 3 months or for good is just not nice. Right?

There is almost no repercussion for a recruiter being flaky or rude.

It’s almost impossible for you to complain about anything to a company regarding their recruiting processes. Some candidates take their time to share their stories on Glassdoor, yet most employers dismiss the reviews assuming they all came from bitter, disgruntled, rejected candidates.

Again, I totally get how HR or Recruiting department is usually under-staff, under-budget and with the most ancient tools/software (if any at all) because HR is not a revenue generating function. This is one of the most ironic things about corporate America, we think “people are our biggest assets” but we spend minimal investment in treating talent right.

Unsubscribe marketing emails all you want, but you’re not likely to escape spam emails from bad recruiters. Most of them probably don’t even know what CAN-SPAM act is.

I receive about emails/inMails regularly for legitimate career opportunities that match my skills set and also for random jobs that match some keywords on my LinkedIn profile. Those random jobs include various engineering positions that I have no capability to hold whatsoever. It saddens me when recruiters don’t read resumes/profiles before they poach a passive candidate. It’s really sad, like 😦 x 10,000.

Selectively, I responded to some of the legitimate emails not because I was looking for a job, but to learn some market intel. After all, it is the best way to gain the insider’s view and industry trends from your fellow recruiters. And honestly, you never know what kind of opportunity you may miss until you hear about it.

Sadly, I also received poor treatment from recruiters. My most unpleasant experiences include the following: [1] When they rejected me as an active applicant and reached out to me as a passive candidate. {Why did you reject me in the first place? Hello?} [2] When they failed to reject me after interviewing me, and later tried to sell their services or products to me. {They just turned me from a candidate to a potential client without even consulting me first. WTH?} [3] When I responded to their poaching emails, they didn’t follow up but emailed me again two months later for the same job. {Now I know why that job was open for a year. Duh.}

It’s time for us to rethink recruiting. The system is broken. The process is broken.

We keep talking about this huge talent war and how we suffer from a massive talent shortage. How about starting treating candidates with respect? Adapt customer service and marketing strategy to create quality candidate experience. Similar to what the internet has done to the sales industry from a ‘Buyers Beware’ to a ‘Sellers Beware” world. We have to adapt the ‘Candidate Driven’ model soon away from the ‘Employer Driven’ standard.

My suggestions to break the vicious cycle and improve your candidate experience:

  • Hold your hiring team accountable for candidate experience, including the hiring manager, interviewing panel, and HR/recruiter. Ask your candidates to rate their experience on key performance indicators (KPIs) according to your talent acquisition strategy.
    • Email an automated survey link to every candidate after each phone and in-person interview.
    • Include a ‘unsubscribe’ link in each sourcing email. Track the unsubscribe rate, segment your candidate population, and create targeted job promos or candidate engagement campaigns.
  • Ask for candidate feedback regarding your current application process and applicant tracking system if any.
    • Add a survey link on your careers page or encourage candidates to talk about their experience on social media if applicable.
  • Be kind. Don’t be a jerk. Treat a candidate how you want to be treated.

P.S. Candidates, When a recruiter asks you to wait two weeks for a decision after an interview, please wait or tell them that you can’t wait that long. Also, please don’t hate on a recruiter when you are rejected in a timely manner after an interview. 99% of the time you just don’t match all of the hiring manager’s laundry list of requirements or some external factor happened to be against your odds. It’s not you, it’s them. Seriously.

When Recruiters Go Bad

Idiot’s Guide To LinkedIn

If you’re one of the general users (not in recruiting or sales) who only spend five minutes per week on LinkedIn, you probably get frustrated or lost on the site one of these days. You’re not alone. As a recruiter, I see a lot of mistakes people make when it comes to using LinkedIn. Since there are tons of articles on how to improve your profile, I won’t bore you with another list of recommendations.

Today, I’m here to guide you through the most important things you need to know as a general user to:

  • Avoid embarrassing yourself or confusing others via LinkedIn
  • Protect your privacy and control visibility of your LinkedIn activities
  • Promote your personal brand by acting ethically and professionally on LinkedIn

Where is the link to my public profile?

Yes, I think you need to know your LinkedIn public profile URL, especially as a job

seeker. You’ll be surprised how many times people submit the generic home page link as

their profile link along with their job applications (see picture).

Why am I connected to someone automatically after I looked him/her up?

Yes, you may have accidentally sent an invitation to your ex. This is a careless user interface problem. LinkedIn’s design is optimized for call-to-action. When you look someone up on LinkedIn, click on his/he name to view the profile instead of clicking on the bright blue button ‘Connect’. I know it’s very tempting to click on the big bright blue button.

See picture below for a search example on Jason Fried, one of my favorite authors.

I’m looking for a job. How do I make sure (1) recruiters and employers can find me easily (2) my current employer won’t know that I’m leaving?

1.1 Be very active on LinkedIn; complete your profile and include your contact info.

Log in, edit your profile, add more connections, post daily updates, and join group discussions. Your profile will show up as one of the top results or will be sent to a recruiter/sourcer’s inbox directly.

1.2 Insert keywords such as ‘looking for’, ‘open to’, ‘willing’, ‘available’, ‘immediately’, ‘relocate’, or ‘relocation’ somewhere in your profile.

A good recruiter/sourcer use keywords to find both active and passive candidates who may be open to new opportunities. Insert those keywords discreetly if you want to keep your job search private.

1.3 Keep your privacy and communication settings open.

LinkedIn has a preference menu for what type of messages you’re willing to receive from other LinkedIn users. Make sure your setting says that you’re open to messages that pertain to ‘Career Opportunities’.

1.4 Find the recruiter/hiring manager- view and/or connect with them.

If you don’t feel like it’s appropriate to send an invitation, simply view their profiles. People are curious by nature. Most people want to know who viewed their profiles.

1.5 Follow the target companies or join their groups.

It’s easier for corporate recruiters to find you if you are already their follower or a group member.

2.0 Look for a job privately without getting yourself in trouble.


I’m sick of getting messages from tireless recruiters/ salespeople. How can I stop them?

Don’t share your contact information openly.

Yes, they would still find some other way to reach you but you can make it harder for them to spam you. After all, it is a social networking site. If you don’t want people contacting you, don’t share your contact information.

Change your communications setting.

Select what type of LinkedIn messages you’ll receive.

State your interest- be specific.

It’s disturbing that not every recruiter or salesperson will read your profile before they contact you. That being said, you can emphasize your primary interest and preference in your summary to dissuade those who actually read your profile from spamming you.

Simply tell them to stop.

Some spams allow you to unsubscribe easily. If that’s not the case, tell them you don’t want to receive any more communication in any form.

Someone connected with me because she was interested in working for my company. I don’t think my company plans to hire her but she certainly fits one of our buyer personas. Can I add her email to our marketing list?

No. First, you’ll need her formal consent to become a subscriber. Second, you’re a jerk for asking her to buy your product after excluding her as a candidate for your open position. Third, you can’t abuse the relationship just because you’re her LinkedIn connection. You’ll probably ruin the relationship.

I reached out to someone for an advice/consulting gig/recommendation/introduction. He responded to my request. What do I do next?

Thank him for his response even if you don’t find the piece of information helpful or there’s no direct positive results from his response. If you care about building meaningful, lasting professional relationships, be appreciative when people respond to your inquiries.

Wow, Jane Doe from XYZ company is looking hot. Can I message her to comment on her beauty and ask her out?

No. You’re being creepy. Save your online dating activities for other appropriate platforms.

Idiot’s Guide To LinkedIn

To LinkedIn or Not?

Linkedin-Job-Search

LinkedIn is one of those things that you either want to do it right or not at all.

The benefits of having an All-Star LinkedIn profile:

  • You can be easily contacted by your network (and beyond) for any of the following:
    • career opportunities
    • job inquiries
    • expertise requests
    • reference requests
    • getting back in touch
    • consulting offers
    • business deals

An increasingly popular trend,  employers and recruiters are checking your social media profiles as part of their informal screening processes, especially your LinkedIn profile.

Busy recruiters don’t check every single applicant’s LinkedIn profile if the resume shows all three ingredients of the Holy Trinity. As a job seeker with a killer resume, you really don’t need a LinkedIn profile when you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for managing yet another social media account. My role of thumb as a recruiter for checking an applicant’s profile is to validate one or more of the following:

  • Missing Contact Information:
    • No kidding. I’ve received many resumes without their phone number and email address. Most of the time I ignore them for obvious reasons but I do try to reach out to some that look promising.
  • Omitted Job History:
    • This is more commonly seen with experienced professionals with more than 15 years of experience. Sometimes candidates try to shorten the length of the resume OR avoid possible age discrimination. My recommendation is to include all but keep the older, irrelevant job history short such as listing companies, years and titles only. If you omit most of your work history without an explanation, it would look suspicious. “How did s/he have all these experiences and titles within 10 years?” “Does s/he own the company?”

Also, the employer will find out about your age eventually- you wouldn’t want to work for an employer who would devalue your worth based on your age, would you? So why waste your time appearing to be ‘younger’ and to be disappointed or dismissed or mistreated later? If you worry about being excluded due to the possible compensation concerns (“Oh s/he’s definitely too expensive for this role with 20 years of experience”), it wouldn’t hurt to include your salary history and expectations along with your explanation such as looking for a career change or enjoying more hands-on projects.

Try to include the reasons for gaps in employment history if possible and appropriate. If you went back to school full-time, state it. If you took a sabbatical, say it. Any legitimate reason without disclosing any or much of your protected class.

  • Omitted Graduation Year:
    • Again, this is more commonly seen with experienced professionals. No point to hide and it may create some confusion, “Did s/he graduate?” “Is s/he still in school? (We’re looking for graduates only!)” “What year is s/he? (We’re looking for juniors/seniors only for those internships!)”
  • Conflicting Location:
    • Please explain in your resume if (1) your current work location is nowhere close to your home address, (2) the position you’re applying is nowhere close to your current home address, or (3) the location of your current education institute is nowhere close to your current home address or the position you’re applying (without explanations, I often assume it’s an online program or the person is passively pursuing the degree while working full-time).
  • “Do I know this person?” “Oh wait… Bob from Accounting used to work for the same employer during the time when the person was there. Let me check if they know each other.” “Wow…she’s the organizer of a networking group that my friend always goes to. Let me check if my friend knows her.”
    • I can’t stress more about the importance of maintaining your professional reputations. Trust me- people remember things about you, especially when you’re stellar or horrible. I hope you’re the former.
  • Missing Target Skills or Results
    • I check the profile to validate the stated experience in the resume when the applicant didn’t include the target skills (e.g. specific software or technical skills) or results (e.g. executed marketing campaigns with 10 million budget and gained 5% market share in the US healthcare industry within a year)
  • Missing (Required) Work Samples or Portfolio
    • It’s an unspoken rule that you should have your own website(s) or links to showcase your work for certain occupations such as designers or developers.
  • Missing Information that We Asked You to Include in the Resume
    • For example: Your resume looks great but we have ten facilities with three shifts in the same city. You don’t answer your phone and we really need to know (or guess) what shift or location you would like to work. 
  • Any Other Discrepancy

Takeaway for all: invest your time in building both your own professional portfolio and networks either offline or online.

Good luck!

To LinkedIn or Not?

The Holy Trinity of Resume Writing

The Holy Trinity of Resume Writing

Most employers still expect you to submit your resume even though they are accepting online profiles as official applications.

So what exactly do employers look for in a resume?

The Holy Trinity.

These are the three key elements to demonstrate your qualifications for the position on a piece of paper.  Sounds daunting but it’s not that bad when you know what you should include. Employers don’t spend a lot of time reading each and every single resume. In order to stand out from hundreds of applicants, you must elevate your Holy Trinity and impress at first sight (you may only get a few seconds; minutes if you’re lucky).

Here’s how you can make your resume sexy and sweep the employers off their feet right away:

  1. Read the job description/posting of the position that you’re applying. Research about the company as much as possible on their history, mission, vision and current projects.
  2. Identify the skills, experience, and results the employer is looking for.
  3. Write down your own skills, experience and results that match up to the employer’s Holy Trinity during step 2.
  4. Voila! Now you showcase the most important things that an employer wants to gauge:
    1. Your caliber: What are your skills? How have you applied your skills? What have you accomplished?
    2. Your competence: How many years have you worked in the position/field/industry? What have you learned? Have you made any career progression?
    3. Your fit:  Is any of your accomplishments relevant to the employer’s current or future goals? Is any of your experience relevant to the employer’s current or future state? Can the employer capitalize or utilize your experience in the near future? Will you be able to replicate the same results for the employer who’s dealing with similar problems?

Good luck!

The Holy Trinity of Resume Writing