The Desk

November 8, 2014

Telltale Signs: Company Profile

A young man stood on the bus stop wearing a navy blue suit. He held a notebook-sized portfolio. His attire was impeccable. I ventured a guess and decided to test it.

“So how did the interview go?”

“Okay. But I’m not sure about them.”

“Just okay? Do you think you’ll accept the position?”

The more he spoke, the more I noticed excellent articulation and vocabulary. There were some physical features that were not very attractive. However, they were quickly dismissed as he continued his discussion of the interview and his analysis of the company and how he would fit into the organization, if he chose to. It was a restaurant and he was to be the host.

He talked about the glowing interview and the very attractive offer that was made. He expressed uncertainty about the acceptance and I questioned him, again.

“I’m not sure about them. There’s a lot of talk but they make me nervous. They’re cutting too many corners.”

Just as important to the recruiter is not only the candidate’s appearance on paper and in person but also how the client looks. And just as the candidate needs to present a good appearance and profile, so does the client. Care needs to be devoted to the quality that goes into the product in addition to the running of the company. Selection of those who appreciate those imperatives and can deliver in a professional, ethical manner is what needs to be reached.

The recruiter is looking for the best match for both sides. Very important to their livelihood is the client who has desirable attributes. A savvy executive management candidate, as well as the recruiter, will consider things such as amount of time in business, success record, office atmosphere, profit and loss statement, vision, planning, industry ranking and reputation, management, turnover rate, timely payment of debts and debt management, to mention just a few factors.

Cutting corners shows, no matter what the corners. When recruiting for the best, it’s important to put forth the best image possible. In the long run, you’ll attract the best and most loyal customers as well as the best candidates who will serve them to keep your business alive and profitable.

What is your interviewing style saying about your company?

Additional Resources:

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Republished from Career and Executive Recruiting Advice (October 31, 2002)
Republished from Suite101.com (June 5, 2001)

November 2, 2014

Do the Research

Entrances is a 360 networking forum on LinkedIn. It’s for an exchange of information and for networking with others in order to develop new connections and awareness of new opportunities. The purpose is to gain better insights about another part of the employment sector other than your own space so that better choices are made based in feedback from the other players. One goal is developing relationships that can lead to referrals.

Entrances-Faces of the workplace

Entrances – Making sound choices based on informed networking

While it isn’t a forum for political speech, there are a series of videos running that are produced by ColorofChange.org based on their #IfTheySpeakForMe theme . They show by various examples of what ensues if others make choices for you because you didn’t do your research; instead, you were passive and took whatever you got. In this weekend before midterm elections, the videos emphasize the importance of doing good research before embarking on an endeavor or entering into relationships.

With those compelling ColorofChange messages are scenarios of hair care dictated by a stranger and being hijacked in a taxi. Those are similar to taking on employment with a client or employer you haven’t researched.

I encourage you to do the research this weekend that will help you make the right choice for you in the voting booth. Remember to vote. Exercise your rights.

Who Is This

That being said, remember to do some research, ask meaningful questions, about where your livelihood is or will be. Find out who the potential employer is. Determine whether the recruiter is the right one for you. What does the recruiter want in terms of a “qualified candidate” and how can the resume writer or the career coach help you them reach your goals. Maybe they simply are not the right fit. Maybe their philosophies are (and never will be) in consonance with your own ethics or beliefs in good practices. Consider the video wherein the hairstyle of several women is determined by a total stranger who contravenes the women’s wishes and relationship with their hairdresser.

We’ve talked about hair in Entrances from the perspective of what is accepted by the other side of the employment desk. It was intended to look at the various styles, colors, whether it constituted good grooming, and whether hairstyle is a valid hiring criteria. A few interesting views were expressed.

Making Impressions

Has someone impressed you with their words? What did they do to make that impression? How reliable are they? Would you be willing to refer them to something that may be a good match for what they have to offer?

Bottom Line

Which is the more important emphasis? Know who the employer is. Know their product or service before going on the interview or taking them on as a client. Recruiters are held liable for the misdeeds of their clients. It is a recruiter’s duty to guide a client along the more ethical path if they are erring in their decisions or execution of their business practices. But it’s imperative to know all of these things before getting involved or else having a delicate but compelling reason for taking a different, better path to open the right door and make better entrances.

April 8, 2013

8 Sites for Researching Employers

Filed under: Job Search,Recruiting Tips — Yvonne LaRose @ 3:39 PM
Tags: , , , ,

ITWorld tells us about 8 websites for researching your next employer. At the top of their list is Glass Doors. That site and I have some history that doesn’t need to be made public. However, I will take into consideration what others have to say about it and their impressions of it.

The most attention-grabbing comment on Facebook about Glass Doors was a recent one voice by Jason Buss, a recruiter in the Minneapolis area and diversity specialist, who complained that their algorithms are off by a significant amount for job search purposes.

Glass Doors sent him some job leads: “The results include a truck driver for TMC, a sales associate for PETCO, and a PeopleSoft systems administrator.” I gently teased him about the results by saying, “Well, I told them those were just the types of things for which you’re best suited, Jason. You mean we didn’t hit the nail on the head? You said you like to travel for work. You love animals. You’re good at talking to people and public speaking. And talk about analytical! You’re constantly poring over reports.”

Jason backed up his protest about using the site for job search by commenting on the positive. He said, “It may have info on researching employers but the algorithm for matching jobs really sucks.”

[Recruiter Tip embedded in this post.] It’s good for recruiters to kick the tires at some of these job boards and job sites. You need to know what they’re doing, what they’re dispensing in the way of industry intelligence, and how well they’re doing at pointing applicants in the right direction.

That being said, it appears Glass Doors is a good competitor with Vault as far as shedding light on business environment and such. And in that regard, it seems the other six sites named are also excellent for researching your next employer.

Sponsored Link: Vault Guide to the Top Government and Non-Profit Legal Employers (Vault Guide to the Top Nonprofit & Government Employers)

January 26, 2008

Recruiter Tip: Importance of Circulation

This week’s tip is specifically for those of you who are independent recruiters. You may be an early start-up or have been a one-person shop for years. No matter which, that little alcove in the garage or in the corner of your bedroom is your office. When you wake up in the morning, you can see your office and the place where you’ll start your cold calling. In fact, there’s almost no time that you’re not “in your office” because you’re so there. There are some who have a really cushy life. The home office is in the kitchen. So the real conveniences are literally just an arm’s length away.

You’d think this type of life would be ideal. The day can start at whatever hour you decide and it can end as early or as late as is necessary. The trouble is, things start to get staid and stale. There are days when it’s hard to get the engines running or to get excited about doing the same routine today as you did for the past 18. And if you’re one of those who doesn’t know the definition of “weekend,” then Life (and the calendar) is becoming one huge blur.

Yes, keeping a home office is very economical, convenient, sensible, and a lot of other adjectives. But it can lead to stagnation if you’re not careful. One of an independent’s mainstays is creativity and the best way to keep creativity at its height is to carefully feed it each day with exposure to a variety of situations so that you have a different perspective. Therefore, one of the things you need to do in order to keep that flow of variety is make certain you’re circulating.

While it’s a good thing to have everything at your fingertips at your home office, have you considered setting up a virtual office presence at an executive business setting? Some offer mail service only for a very reasonable monthly fee. If strategically chosen, this mail service can keep you up to date on services available to other businesses in the suite, conferences and trainings, and potential contacts. It’s also good exposure for you and you may have a class that’s waiting for you to teach with the right development.

If the mail service idea doesn’t work for you but you’re still dying on the vine from the sameness syndrome, try doing some of your work at a Kinko’s where you literally can put your presentation together, have it printed, bound, and shipped while in your office. The beauty is that if you use the same center on a regular basis, in no time you’ll have established a rapport with the staff who will be willing to help you with bits of this or that to make life better.

Finally, there’s the local wi-fi coffee shop. Stop in to read the morning paper with a cuppa Joe and a bagel. Once you’ve noted which way Wall Street is headed, scan for those “must-find” business names in the news. The great thing about the coffee bars is that you’re welcome to stay as long as you want and come as often as you want. There are few restrictions and these are also great places to hold first meetings while still maintaining a professional presence.

The most important underlying thing about all of these suggestions is that availing yourself of some outside resources also allows you to stay fresh, aware of what’s going on currently, and still circulating.

August 18, 2007

Recruiting Tip: Your Brand

We talk about the wonderful concept of branding. Have any of us identified what our “brand” is to us or what our “brand” is to candidates and clients? It’s a collection of many things that create the identity of our business, the services delivered by the business, the way we do business, and the culture that is embodied in our business.

What are the elements of “brand?” Day of the week that you do something? Logo? Colors in the logo and lettering? Style of answering the phone? Office decor? According to The Free Dictionary, these are elements that constitute one’s brand. But it becomes more. It becomes an attitude, even a statement about what the customer chooses to use and what it makes them feel they’re saying about their self.

And the other thing that puzzles me (for the moment) about brand is the range that it can encompass. For example, there is bohemian compared with classic. And as long as you’re getting your work accomplished — with credibility — does it really matter which one is your statement about your company’s identity? Actually, yes, it does matter. It makes a statement about the market to which you’re trying to appeal. It acts as a magnet to those who become your constituents. So if bohemian is your style, then you more than likely are working with an artistic crowd still working on making an identity for their selves. They are the more dramatic and require the most qualifying and grooming.

Finally, there’s the question of whether brand is something that we actively choose or whether it evolves as our company develops. Those who start their business with a well-defined business plan have already targeted their market segment. With that guidance, there is cognizance of what it takes to appeal to that niche. Therefore, brand is to an extent already determined and is not a process of growing with the business. Those who are striking out on their own and on a shoe string have not had the luxury of creating that all-important business plan. Therefore, brand is something that happens on a trial and error basis and molded by what works best under the circumstances. The beauty of this is that there is no rigidity. As market pressures change, so can the dynamics of the business. Things will not collapse as the market for people who can program in BASIC changes to those who know SAP because the business is still evolving and moving with the trends The downside of this spontaneous response ability is there is little direction and an extremely small safety net when major market disruptions occur.We talk about the wonderful concept of branding. Have any of us indentified what our “brand” is to us or what our “brand” is to candidates and clients? It’s a collection of many things that create the identity of our business, the services delivered by the business, the way we do business, and the culture that is embodied in our business.

What are the elements of “brand?” Day of the week that you do something? Logo? Colors in the logo and lettering? Style of answering the phone? Office decor? According to The Free Dictionary, these are elements that constitute one’s brand. But it becomes more. It becomes an attitude, even a statement about what the customer chooses to use and what it makes them feel they’re saying about their self.

And the other thing that puzzles me (for the moment) about brand is the range that it can encompass. For example, there is bohemian compared with classic. And as long as you’re getting your work accomplished — with credibility — does it really matter which one is your statement about your company’s identity? Actually, yes, it does matter. It makes a statement about the market to which you’re trying to appeal. It acts as a magnet to those who become your constituents. So if bohemian is your style, then you more than likely are working with an artistic crowd still working on making an identity for their selves. They are the more dramatic and require the most qualifying and grooming.

Finally, there’s the question of whether brand is something that we actively choose or whether it evolves as our company develops. Those who start their business with a well-defined business plan have already targeted their market segment. With that guidance, there is cognizance of what it takes to appeal to that niche. Therefore, brand is to an extent already determined and is not a process of growing with the business. Those who are striking out on their own and on a shoe string have not had the luxury of creating that all-important business plan. Therefore, brand is something that happens on a trial and error basis and molded by what works best under the circumstances. The beauty of this is that there is no rigidity. As market pressures change, so can the dynamics of the business. Things will not collapse as the market for people who can program in BASIC changes to those who know SAP because the business is still evolving and moving with the trends The downside of this spontaneous response ability is there is little direction and an extremely small safety net when major market disruptions occur.

One thing is certain, brand will determine what type of clientele and what types of candidates will gravitate to you. Brand will determine who sticks it out with you. And brand includes things such as attitude, communication style, language, attention to detail, as well as the color and font style on your letterhead.

One thing is certain, brand will determine what type of clientele and what types of candidates will gravitate to you. Brand will determine who sticks it out with you. And brand includes things such as attitude, communication style, language, attention to detail, as well as the color and font style on your letterhead.

July 27, 2007

Recruiting Tip: Learning the Qualifications

Throughout the past ten years, we’ve been talking about the war for talent and the lack of qualified candidates. At least, the rhetoric is that they’re so sparse that they come at a premium. To get that prize is the same as churning because you simply keep going through the same spare number who are already in the marketplace and seem to be very satisfied with where they are and with what they’re doing. And all the others go to the waste can.

There have been many times that I’ve watched a conversation evolve and dissolve about screening applicants. There’s the perusal of the resume for the desired background and skills. Some things look interesting. Some things just don’t seem to be a match. Still, this “comer” seems as though they’re worth expending a little coaching time on in order to develop them for the next time. Some recruiters offer resume restructuring advice without disclosing the fact that the applicant’s qualifications (which are more than the minimum required) didn’t jump out and bite them. Other recruiters will ask leading questions in order to get the applicant to self-disqualify. I call this brainwashing into mediocrity (or less). Still other recruiters simply blast off a cursory email (does anyone still write letters?) saying the background was impressive but not a match, we’ll keep your resume on file . . . blah, blah, blah. And the last portion will simply toss the resume and keep looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

One thing all four of these types of recruiters have in common is that they need to know more about the particular industry in which they’re recruiting. Usually these are generalists who have a “soft” feel for what the position is about, the general requirements, a rhetorical stab at years of experience necessary. Since they have no background in that particular field, there is little to no familiarity with terms of the trade, steps involved in moving from one rung on the experience ladder to the next, matters involved in the execution of certain tasks and how those can translate into another field as lateral experience.

There are many reasons why the recruiter does not ask about these things. And time is the highest reason for not researching the position in order to learn about these matters. That is “time to fill” the order, “time to place” the candidate, time to get paid for doing the work, time to do this day’s cold calling. Therefore, the extremely qualified candidate gets passed over because their shorthand presentation of the junior steps toward being qualified for the opportunity are mere fluff to them.

Starting a conversation with this applicant about why they are not qualified is a bit like spitting in their face. No one wins. One walks away thoroughly insulted; the other with a false belief that they have done a good turn. In an industry where building relationships is premium, it is crucial to frame conversations with applicants so that the applicant can maintain their self esteem. No one wants their experience or their work to be minimized or discounted. And the last thing on a priority list is for the applicant to go away with the impression that the recruiter doesn’t know what they’re doing — or worse, are simply crude. That means not only is the contact lost but also any referrals they may have sent are vanished with them.

There are qualifications for a position. Those merits were earned in a particular way and made the person qualified for a reason. Find out what they are and why they’re important. Discover which tasks are not as important and which that are superfluous.

In other words when you’re doing the recruiting for this specialized position, become a specialist in the position that’s being recruited. Gain the extra knowledge. You will not only be doing your client a good service. You’ll also be helping yourself win the talent war because you took the time to learn the qualifications for the position, which skills are needed, and why they’re meaningful. Not only that, you’ll immediately (or very soon) recognize the qualified candidate.

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