Navigating Through Mobile Recruiting Waters

Posted on December 24, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, Job Search Tips, Recruiting | Tags: |

technical recruiterBoy, do we love trends. A study like the one by PotentialPark comes out that 19% of job seekers are using mobile devices to look for job opportunities, and suddenly we have an outbreak of mobile recruiting (the study also states that 50% can “imagine” doing so…whatever that means).

Social media is a buzz with how the mobile job search or “mobile recruiting” is (and I quote) “going to change everything.”

Wow…it is certainly hard not to be impressed by something that is going to do all that!

(BTW, for the record, I also have no idea what “change everything” means, but as a career services pro, I have certainly heard it before!)

Now recruiters have moved from endless chats on “social media recruiting” to “mobile recruiting” as if they’ve unlocked some secret code. HR consultants are busy pressuring companies to “get on board” the mobile job market trend or…else! And everyone is dancing a jig that the resume is officially dead! (I’m not sure how turning the resume into a “mobile resume” makes the resume dead…but hey, it seems to make everyone happy to say it.)

Woohoo! Everything’s changed (or, er, changing)!

Now it’s all “faster” and “more meaningful” and “better for job seekers.” Or, rather, it is going to be…soon…very soon.

Hmmm.

Now, I love my recruiting and HR friends. I really do. (So when I speak of them, I speak in general terms, not specific ones.) But I have learned from hard-earned experience working on behalf of top-quality tech candidates that when recruiters or HR consultants say something is better for the job seeker (or, worse yet, when they start using phrases like “enhancing the candidate experience”), it is really just code for “we want to believe we are helping the job seeker because we like to think we are doing it all for the love of God, country, and humanity.” (For some reason, it is bad form to talk of the “business” of hiring, so they prefer to speak about hiring as a humanitarian effort.)

Believe me. This is certainly not the first time we have had this happen. Here are a few examples:

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). The ATS was supposed to help job seekers because it was going to weed out all those unqualified people who were applying for the same position and it was going to bring your qualified resume to the top of the heap. In other words, it was the job seeker’s friend, and it was going to make things better and easier. In reality, job seekers now just have another thing to worry about…how to make sure their resume “passes” through the ATS because the ATS generally does not work the way it should. There are cases upon cases of qualified candidates who get lost in its black hole. And job seekers spend a great deal of energy trying to figure out how to get around a company’s ATS.
  • Social Media Job Search. LinkedIn and the rise of the social media job search was introduced as the greatest thing for job seekers because now they could reach out to hiring pros across the world and “network” with them. And in some cases, it has worked…although getting pure stats on just how often is sketchy at best. More often than not, however, what has happened is that now job seekers are burdened with yet another element to their job search strategy. They suddenly have to figure out how to make social media work for them, and it isn’t just enough to do face-to-face networking or attend professional groups. Now you must devote time to your online influence, content marketing, and quality communities. You must convince the world you are a decent-looking subject matter expert that people all over the globe will recommend because you blog well.
  • Death of the Resume/Rise of the LinkedIn Profile. As a resume writer, people seem to take great joy in telling me how the resume is dead, how they hate resumes, and how no one reads them. They proceed to go on and tell me how the LI profile is so much better. And it is then that I know some recruiter told them all this. The reality is that although the traditional resume’s role is changing (basically because now it just isn’t “enough” anymore), it is still very much alive and well. (In fact, I might argue it is more essential than ever!). Here’s the thing. The LI profile is important, and in mobile recruiting efforts, it will be even more important. But at the end of the day, no matter how much search goes on across LI, you still are being asked to present a resume. And as much as everyone hates them, they still better be good and on target, especially because no one is taking the time to read them through! And while the mobile resume might get you in the door, as soon as you walk into the room, the hiring manager (you know, the one who really makes the decisions in this whole thing?) will say, “do you have a [traditional] resume I can review?” No, all the rise of the LI profile has really accomplished is to add yet another skill to the job seeker’s list of “must haves.” You need an effective resume and an optimized LI profile. (And with mobile recruiting, apparently, you will also need a mobile resume now!) So, we went from having just one document, the traditional resume, that no one reads to at least three (plus they claim they want to see online content like web bios and pages, blogs, Klout scores, etc. You’re telling me they have time to read all that but not a resume?)

So what does all this mean?

You can thank the hiring industry (and it is an industry, not a charity) for making the job search even more expensive and confusing for you, the job seeker.

The problem, of course, is that in reality there is nothing about the hiring process that really “cares” for the job seeker. But, again, they don’t like to admit it.

Both external and internal recruiters are there to represent the company and its interests. If your interests as the job seeker coincide with those of the company (and you’re willing to jump through its hoops), then you are most likely hired. If not, then, well, you’re not.

The “old” ways made this clear. The “new” ways cloud the issue.

Therefore, inevitably, then, any “new” process put in place by the recruiting and HR industry is necessarily going to benefit the hiring company the most. It has to. That is who they work for. That is who is investing in all these mobile recruiting apps and ATS (which isn’t to say that these practices really work on the company side either; check out my earlier post on “From the Corporate Goo to the Tech Job Market Zoo“).

Now, all this doesn’t mean the job seeker completely loses.

But it does mean the job search has become a multi-layered, time-consuming, even painful process for the job seeker who is sent mixed messages and hoop after hoop to jump through. The waters are murky and tough to navigate.

So, yes, mobile recruiting will make things “convenient” for job seekers. Sure, it will be nice to have a mobile version of your resume handy. But don’t be too fooled. Your 5 minutes of convenience now will cost you.

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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: , , , |

Recruiter

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: http://fistfuloftalent.com/2008/05/average-recruti.html), 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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Executive Job Search TweetChat

Posted on September 9, 2013. Filed under: Career Management, CIO, Interviews, Job Search Tips, Recruiting, Resumes, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

toon890The Executive Job Search can be a challenge. Where does one even begin in today’s tough market?

Well, I will be serving as an Expert Panelist for a twitter chat on just this topic hosted by Executive Career Search leader BlueSteps. The chat will take place on Tuesday September 17th at 12:30pm Eastern. Simply sign in to Twitter or TweetChat and use the hashtag #ExecCareer to make comments and follow the discussion.

You can review the details and panelist information on the BlueSteps Blog. We hope to “see” you there!

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