From the Corporate Goo to the Job Market Zoo (to You)

Posted on November 18, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Job Market Trends, Job Search Tips, Recruiting | Tags: , , , |


Fact or Fiction? Hiring Is About Finding the Best Talent

Spend a few minutes on social media wading through career and job search advice, and you are bound to see lots of pronouncements about how companies are “determined” to find the best talent, that there is a “severe” shortage of top talent, and that companies are “investing” more resources than ever in finding this top talent.

For the most part, they actually believe what they say.

After all, the recruiting industry is booming, thanks to the investments companies are making in hiring recruiters. And candidates are more desperate than ever to get the attention of a recruiter because  a recruiter “has jobs” for them.

So what’s the problem?

Most of what companies have invested in to find this “top” talent does just about everything but find top talent.

As a technical career management firm, we have been fortunate to build a large database of internal and external technical recruiters in our network. We have spent a great deal of time getting to know what motivates them so that we can better advise our clients. We also have partnered with another firm to provide a recruiter strategy service that helps advise candidates on the best way to approach recruiters, launch a campaign, and find the “good” ones because as in most fields, including ours, they are not all created equal. And working professionals can spend a lot of time and frustration wading through them.

Here’s what we have discovered:

Hiring is really most often about meeting corporate metrics…because it isn’t what we say, it is what we do.

By and large, recruiters are just professionals like you and me, not some type of employment superheroes with their fingers on the pulse of all things “hiring.” Generally, they either are (1) internal recruiters who are part of a large HR department or (2) executive recruiters who most likely work for a recruiting firm, which is a mini (or a not-so-mini) corporate startup of its own. There are various studies out there regarding how much a recruiter makes (one that has a good breakdown but is a couple of years old is as follows:, but generally it is wide ranging, anywhere from $30-40K for entry-level internal recruiters to about $125K for more experienced and external recruiters. The average pay for an external recruiter seems to come in around $75K, but of course, there are a few outliers making much, much more, as in any field. Internal recruiters generally seem to make less unless they are recruiting managers.

Internal recruiters are, well, internal, so they are wrapped up in the corporate mindset they operate in, and external recruiters, although generally considered more “sales-like” because they have to compete for their contracts, often have a hard time balancing meeting quotas while maneuvering through the muck and mire of the internal HR dogma of the companies they recruit for.

Obviously, though, whether they are internal or external, the recruiter’s job is to find this “top” talent for their companies.

Sounds pretty simple, right? It is until you realize that this top talent is supposed to materialize quickly and that hiring must take place within the confines of the often self-imposed governance these companies adhere to.

In a recent post on the site Recruiting Blogs, where a spat began regarding the merits of internal vs. external recruiters, some interesting insights about the profession in general came out of the comments section:

“I got tired of shmoozing for job orders and feeling like a used car sales girl when I convinced and pushed my client to hire some mediocre candidate just so I could close a deal. ”

“[M]ost of the work that 3PRs [external recruiters] do…is often performed by poorly trained newbies who dial for dollars, find candidates off boards and RPOs, and try to get 20% fees from clients too ignorant or desperate to know there are *much less expensive and quite effective alternatives available and as long as there are clients who are looking for excellence on the cheap, these second- or third-raters will stay in business.”

“I think you know there are plenty of recruiters form BOTH sides that are only trying to fill positions rather then putting the best people in the right positions.”

“An organization with people first in mind – many say they are, but very few walk their talk, unless by ‘people’ they mean ‘the people at the very top’.”

The takeaway for the job seeker?

Somewhere along the way, “some” companies and recruiters got the impression that they always had the upper hand in the process, and as a result, they got sloppy in how they handle their hiring practices.

Not surprisingly, then, they don’t have strong policies and procedures in place to hire the “best” talent, and hiring really becomes more about fulfilling metrics and putting butts in seats, hopefully fairly decent ones but maybe not always the “best” ones.

I mean it all makes sense if you think about it. Internal and external recruiters alike proudly brag that they spend 6 seconds or less looking at a person’s resume and that they care more about the quality of a person’s LinkedIn profile photo than about spending more than 6 seconds reading through a candidate’s materials. (Yet they seem to have lots of opinions about resumes…you know, this document they “hate” and don’t read.)

I get it. They see hundreds, thousands of resumes. Who has the time?

Oh, I don’t know…maybe a person whose entire job it is to find the best talent out there?

Recruiters are stuck in the corporate goo, and somehow that is supposed to bode well for you.

Let’s face it. To say your job is to hire the best talent and then brag about how little time you spend vetting candidates but somehow manage to do the best job for the client, aka the employer, is, well, gooey at best. Instead they just whine and wail about how they have to sift through so many resumes. Internal or external…that’s the same backward thinking that so many accuse corporate of, isn’t it?

And I won’t even get started on how they bristle when you try to bring talent to them…that’s a whole other post, I’m afraid.

But you can only blame recruiters for so much. After all, they are just trying to please the companies who write their checks…and those companies say one thing but really mean another. “Find us top talent.” But what they really mean is “find someone fast.”

So, is hiring about finding the best talent? Fact or fiction?

Answer: Fact. It is meant to be “about” that. BUT the way things are done right now, most companies can’t be sure their own recruiting practices haven’t brushed aside that talent in an effort to turn hiring into a fast food commodity run by government-like rules and regulations.

So, what should professionals do?

Be vigilant with your career management even when you “aren’t looking to make a move right now.” Be documenting and preparing briefs on project performance, gather testimonials and recommendations, and learn some tricks from content marketing. And maybe most important of all, learn how to attract recruiters to you BEFORE you need them. (For more tips, check out my post “Still Falling for the Two Biggest Career Motivators?“)

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IT Candidates & Tech Jobs: What’s the Disconnect?

Posted on March 24, 2012. Filed under: Job Market Trends, Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , , |

IT candidatesby Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

Top 4 Reasons

So much is made today about the fact (or myth) that there aren’t any technical jobs out there. What I have heard from employers (and found to be true) is that they simply cannot find quality candidates to fill technical openings they have been trying to fill for quite some time. A current sampling of the technical jobs site finds more than 83,000 job openings as of February 7, 2012.

Why the disconnect? Here are my top 4 reasons:

  1. Lack of Training: Many technology candidates simply don’t have the training required in the necessary skill sets to qualify them for the openings that are out there. Very few are willing to go out and get that training (on their own, if need be) to position them for that next great opportunity.
  2. Subpar Academic Framework: Our schools and universities today are failing our true technical candidates. The push in recent years has been for colleges and universities (either brick-and-mortar or online institutions) to offer “technology” degrees. They end up teaching a lot of unapplied theory that corporate technology leaders don’t value, because they have not seen it translate into real-life results.
  3. Ineffective Resume: Some candidates do have the sought after experience, skills, and knowledge. However, many don’t know how to market those traits effectively on their resume to be seriously considered for the opportunities. One example is the generic resume. A job seeker wants a resume that works for many different roles, but makes it so general that they are not strong in any one area. Of course, when an employer is hiring, they are doing so for a specific role, not a general one, rendering the resume ineffective.
  4. Poor Job Search Skills: Finally, many job seekers simply don’t know how to look for jobs in the right way. More than 50% still use job sites like Monster, Indeed, or CareerBuilder exclusively. Although lots of jobs are posted on these sites, that’s not where the real action is. There are so many other, more effective channels that a job seeker can employ to identify and secure a great job.

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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Job Seekers & Their Twitter Pitch: Think Before You Tweet

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips, social media | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

by Sheree Van Vreede (@rezlady)

So you’ve started your job search and someone told you to “get on Twitter” and start “tweeting,” but all you see is your precious time going down the drain…or something like that…?

Elevator Speech for Twitter

Maybe you have heard of the “elevator speech,” that 2-minute or less prepared (but not too stiff) speech that job seekers are supposed to have at the ready when conducting face-to-face or over-the-phone networking? You know, that moment when someone goes, “so tell us what you’re looking for”? It usually goes something like this:

“I’m Joe Schmoe, a PMP with 10 years of management experience in the financial services arena, etc., etc., etc., and I am now looking for a new opportunity in the north Atlanta area…”

The premise behind an elevator speech is that by properly articulating your background and your desired position, you will have a much more effective outcome; i.e., listeners will know who you are, what you bring to the table, and where it is you are looking to go.

And believe me…the job seekers who do this well do see good results.

With the onslaught of Twitter, particularly its widespread appeal for job seekers lately, many of whom are taking advantage of resources like @JobAngels, the elevator speech now needs to evolve into the 140-character or less world. In other words, it needs to go from a short speech to a pitch.

Welcome to the Twitterverse

I’ve spent the last few years getting to know job seekers across Twitter, and the main issue that I see a lot of them struggling with (besides trying to figure out just exactly what Twitter is in the first place) is how to communicate what they need. There’s no doubt that they are going crazy over using the #jobangels or #hirefriday hashtags, but they aren’t exactly sure how to make it work for them.

So here are a few pointers:

1. Be as specific as possible. At ITtechExec, we love to offer up resources to job seekers that we come across on @JobAngels and elsewhere, but all too often, these are the tweets we see:

“I need a job. Please help. #jobangels”

“Luv 2 find job in LA. Why isn’t anyone helping me? I tweeted this out yesterday. No responses. #jobangels”

“Operations manager looking for work. #jobangels”

“Done with morning jog. Now I need a job! #JobAngels”

At least the third option gives some indication of what the person is looking for as opposed to the first two. The problem is none of them help to identify the best resources out there for that individual. At best, all I can respond with is some vague “try this and try that.”

It would be more helpful if a tweet went something like this:

“Program manager, Denver (OK to relo to west coast), w/10 yrs of manufacturing & IT exp. PMP, ITIL, Six Sigma. #jobangels, #job, #jobseeker”

Now I know something about this person, and I can think of resources and people I might know that might be useful, really useful. Plus, I can engage in some kind of conversation with that person.

2. Be careful what you abbreviate. Abbreviating is the name of the game on Twitter. We all know that. But you need to remember that not everyone is following @jobangels and these other feeds constantly. Instead, recruiters and hiring pros conduct searches using various Twitter applications. So you want to consider how they might conduct a search for someone with your background.

In the case above, you will notice that the main details like “program manager,” “Denver,” “IT,” “manufacturing,” etc. are all spelled out. Of course, if something is a common abbreviation like “LA” or a two-letter state abbreviation, it would be OK to use.

3. Think before you tweet. Just give yourself a moment (or several) and consider what you are conveying about yourself. Open a Word document and type it out there first. Check to see how many characters your tweet is, what you are saying, and whether it accurately portrays (as much as 140 characters can) what you need.

Also, remember that although Twitter is a social site, it is also full of professionals. And if you want them to help you, you need to present yourself as one.

4. Set proper expectations. Furthermore, if you want people to give you a recruiter name or a company name, state that if you can. If you want them to tell you about Twitter resources, state that if you can. I know, I know, you just want a job. But remember, @JobAngels and Twitter in general, really, is a lot like making a cold call. The first call is an introduction. The second call is a follow-up to gather more info. The third call is a reminder that you are out there. The fourth call is a “thanks” for what you’ve found out so far. And the fifth call is likely when you push for the actual sale.

Overall, just remember that you are asking people to reach out and help you. And believe me, there are a lot of people on Twitter who want to do that, but you need to understand also that it is a process. People need to know (1) what you want, (2) how they can best guide you, and (3) most importantly, that you are a professional just like them and are grateful for whatever guidance they can give.

So get your elevator speeches ready, but don’t forget about your Twitter pitch in the meantime. Who knew you would one day have to scale your resume down to 140 characters or less?

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it! Or send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.

The ITtechExec Way

To arm yourself with more tools in your technical job search arsenal, we offer a free Technical Jobs report & Online Identity Assessment to our followers. We also offer a 10% discount to our followers. Take advantage of our offer just by signing up to follow this blog or go to our website ITtechExec (be sure to indicate in the “How did you hear about us?” box that you found us through our blog).

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