Don’t Think Social Recruiting Affects You?

Posted on April 22, 2014. Filed under: Executive Job Search, Job Market Trends, LinkedIn, Recruiting, social media |

As I speak with our members at ITtechExec and NoddlePlace and engage across social media with IT/technical professionals, many are still not convinced of the value of social recruiting in today’s market. Although there are many different job search techniques (and I advocate a diverse “pipeline” approach), the rise of social recruiting should not be ignored as this infographic from RecruitLoop shows.


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Tired of Recruiter Mismatch on LinkedIn?

Posted on February 20, 2014. Filed under: Career Management, Consulting/Contracting, Executive Job Search, International Job Seekers, Job Search Tips, Recruiting, social media |

LinkedInMeet Bill. Bill is a Systems Engineer who is in full-speed job search mode. He put together his LinkedIn profile a few months ago, and ever since then, he has had nonstop calls from recruiters.

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, it might be if the calls were relevant to Bill and his job search goals. But they’re not. He is flagging several calls a week from recruiters about jobs he is not a fit for (over- or under-qualified) or interested in pursuing.

Bill is suffering from “recruiter mismatch.”

Yet, Bill still thinks his LinkedIn profile is “working” because he is getting calls. But he is still unemployed, and the calls are getting him anywhere.

Bill doesn’t understand niche marketing. Why should he? Bill is an expert in systems engineering, not necessarily in marketing.

Now meet Ava. Ava is a Business Analyst. Ava is happy with her current position, but she would like to make the jump to Project Manager and wouldn’t mind getting calls from recruiters about possible opportunities in that area. She cut-and-pasted her old resume into her LinkedIn profile about a year ago. She’s heard from two recruiters during that time, but once it was for another BA opportunity and the other time it was for contract work. Ava doesn’t want that.

Ava is suffering from both recruiter mismatch and lack of response.

Yet, Ava thinks she should just wait it out a little more. After all, she likes her current job. She just knows eventually she needs to move on. She just hopes at some point the right recruiter will come along with the right opportunity.

Ava doesn’t understand social recruiting. Why should she? Ava is a busy professional who also happens to be a mom of 3 kids. She doesn’t have much time to learn the ins and outs of “LinkedIn optimization.”

Perhaps these two scenarios sound a bit familiar. They certainly do to me. I spend a lot of time talking with my LinkedIn contacts, and many of them are Bills and Avas or someone in between. And whether they are the active Bill or the passive Ava, they are both frustrated with recruiter mismatch. They’ve heard that LinkedIn is the “place” to meet recruiters and get noticed by them, but they aren’t getting the kind of notice they were hoping for.

First and foremost, recruiter mismatch is not new to social recruiting.

Many recruiters or head hunters have been notorious for this even before social media and the Internet changed the recruiting world. Why? Well, there are two main reasons:

1. “Some” recruiters don’t read effectively. In fact, I have had several of them brag about their lack of reading to me as if this makes them look good in some way. They do keyword searches, and when they get a hit, they “skim” over your info for more hot spot words (like certain credentials, etc.) and then start contacting you if they see most of what they are looking for. In their defense, the ones who do this the most are the ones who are being pushed to find candidates and to find them fast. So, really, who has time for reading? (It would seem to me to take more time to waste their time and yours than to stop and read over the profile in more depth, but I digress…)

2. “Most” candidates don’t write effectively. Putting together your LinkedIn profile, much like putting together your resume, is about understanding audience. Therefore, the profile needs to be optimized to that audience and to how they are searching for you. Now, yes, as I said, some of them don’t read very well, but some of them do. And those are the ones you really want to attract. If you are only hearing from the other kind, who didn’t really read your profile and who don’t sound like they even understand the type of work you do, then yes they are frustrating, but there is also something wrong with your profile.

Because the good recruiters are out there, and they are not contacting you.

Now, this is hard to grasp because what’s the big mystery, right? You write down your background, publish your employment history, and showcase your credentials. How hard is that?

Harder than you think, apparently. Here is what I see:

  • LI profiles with old or inaccurate information. I meet professionals all the time who tell me certain things on their profiles are outdated or “not quite right.”
  • LI profiles that are incomplete.
  • LI profiles that are poorly written. Unlike resumes, LI profiles can be written in a more narrative form. And truthfully, most people are not that great at this. They spend their time these days writing quick-hit emails and texts with abbreviations. Let’s be honest. English and grammar skills are poor, really poor. That isn’t to say that recruiters are writing gurus, but you’re asking a lot when you’re asking people to muddle through your poor writing.
  • LI profiles with the wrong focus. Much like with resumes, many of us see our LinkedIn profiles as a list of achievements. It’s a “here’s everything I have ever done in my career; now you figure it out” kind of thing. In actuality, that is not at all what resumes or LI profiles are about. They are meant to match you up as a candidate with the needs of the potential employer. So, the more you understand what the employer is looking for, the more you focus your materials on that. (It’s great that you went to Harvard, but if the employer doesn’t care about that, then you are barking up the wrong tree. So you need to know your audience.)

Listen. Even the good quality recruiters are still using search algorithms and rankings to find you, and chances are you aren’t coming up in their searches…even though you should. A lot of that has to do with how you are presenting yourself on LinkedIn and on a lack of understanding about how LinkedIn works. I wrote a post a few weeks ago called “LinkedIn Is a Numbers Game, After All” addressing this very topic.

Bottom line: If you want to avoid recruiter mismatch as well as lack of response on LI, then it pays either to get help or to get educated from someone who does have the time to keep up with the latest in social recruiting trends. Like it or not, social recruiting is on the rise, and LinkedIn is the primary avenue.

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Perception, Reality, and Stealing Employees

Posted on December 30, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Job Market Trends, Recruiting, Work Issues | Tags: , |

cultural fit[I've been posting a good deal of content lately that has generated some great discussions on my Twitter and Google+ feeds. As a result, I wanted to post a follow-up to some of the feedback I've been getting.]

So recently I published a post called “Does Your Career Hinge on Perception or Reality?” The main discussion in this post “hinged” on a particular management style laid out to a friend of mine by her newly appointed telecom director in which he stated that to him the perceptions of those around you made up “reality.” In other words, how your staff and colleagues saw you was how he saw you and it didn’t really matter whether you agreed, if it were “true,” etc. What mattered is that it was up to you (as his direct report) to fix it.

At no point during her meeting with this new director did he mention results or performance or objectives. He kept it all to culture.

One thing I did not mention in that post is that he also went on to tell my friend that because some colleagues perceived her to be argumentative that he would not at that point consider her for a promotion. When she asked about other measures, such as results, performance, etc., he said that they were less relevant to him. When she mentioned that she had the highest ratings of any manager in the entire company (and it is a VERY LARGE company) for employee satisfaction, he said, “yes, but your peers are not happy.”

Now, I’m not exactly sure what the end game of this conversation was supposed to be, but he clearly wanted to get his point across that culture matters, and in his mind, it rests on the perceptions of everyone around you (I did bring up the point that I am not sure how he reconciled differences of opinion per se). As a result of this post, I received some great comments from around the blogosphere. So I thought I would share them here:

  • “Both [perception and reality] are important aspects!” by Jill S.
  • “All decisions are based on perception! Whether perception is right or wrong will determine the outcome.” by Bruce G.
  • “Whose perception/reality?” by Denton H.
  • “I care about what other people think, but I can’t always ‘fix’ that, especially in my job. Sometimes I just have to move forward doing the best I can.” by Stacey S.
  • “Your friend’s opinion should matter too in how he weighs things. Otherwise, she really has no way of defending herself.” by Joe T.

I’m not sure we can really resolve the philosophical debate about whether perception is always reality, etc., but I do think this managerial style in regard to culture is interesting (and was the real point of my post).

How responsible are we for cultural fit? And does culture trump performance in the workplace?

Because the “reality” for my telecom friend is that her performance results are very good and her employee turnover is very low (these are not perceptions; they are measurable reality). The “argumentative” comment is coming from peers who do not have these numbers and who have shown weakness in some areas, which my friend has voiced her concern over…whether her approach was “argumentative” or not is, well, a perception made by underperforming colleagues, which she felt she was trying to help when she voiced her concern. Now, she is being asked to fix that perception regardless of the reality of the situation with these colleagues.

In my mind, it brings up an interesting discussion in regard to all the initiatives to make “culture” more of a hiring/promotion issue. Just how much should it matter?

And that is where the “stealing employees” part comes in.

In another post, “Getting Stuck in the LinkedIn Wasteland,” I made the comment that recruiters like to “steal” employees away from other companies. Not surprisingly, this drew a little bristle from some of my recruiter pals who essentially said, “We don’t ‘steal’ candidates; they want to leave out of dissatisfaction with their current corporate ‘culture.’” (I will admit maybe “steal” is a little harsh, but surely “entice” would be fair. My point in the post was that recruiters prefer currently employed candidates over unemployed ones…they like to “woo”…a pronouncement they don’t like to admit but one that bears out in their actions.)

So, there it is…”culture” again.

This belief that people jump jobs primarily based on “cultural fit.” It sounds nice, and I would imagine if you took a survey, many candidates would rank it highly (creating a nice “perception”). But I don’t see it played out in “reality” very often.

Most candidates, especially technical candidates, are looking for an environment that is relevant to their experience and interests. And that pays them decently…with good benefits…and won’t go bankrupt or lay them off in a year or two. Even with this ongoing “war for talent” in the tech arena, candidates still don’t seem to be prioritizing culture over the basics…a thriving company offering competitive pay and room for advancement…as much as companies are banking on them doing.

Somehow techies are being perceived as only caring about the “cool” factor (offices without walls!) and about flex time, and these are the tools being used to try to “steal” or “entice” them away. It’s not surprising, then, that they are not being all that effective either. Many top tech pros aren’t leaving, even when they don’t “love” everything about the culture.

The reason? Because results, opportunity, and performance matter more.

Yes, it would be nice to have a boss who worries about how you perceive him or her. But it is much nicer to have one that recognizes the results of your work and rewards you for it (with more than just letting you wear jeans to work).

I mean, don’t get me wrong, the young, hip vibe has its perks, but eventually you get tired of being treated like a college kid. You grow up and understand that everyone isn’t “nice” all the time and that sometimes out of “argumentative” debate come the best ideas.

And you want real recognition for the real work you’ve done, not because you beat everyone at the cultural perception game.

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