Archive for the ‘Headhunter Observations’ Category
Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
When writing a resume, keep these points in mind-
- Two-page maximum! I know this is hard to swallow but you are not as interesting or unique as you think you are. Imaging having to go through 300 resumes in a afternoon to find a dozen candidates you might be interested at looking into further. Trust that 98% of those resumes will not be read past the first page. Get to the point – immediately!
- Contact information: Be very clear on who (Name) you are, where you are located and how to get in contact with you.
- What did you do? : Very simply give your position and responsibility for each job you had.
- Where did you do it? : Identify the name of the company you worked for and where you performed your duties.
- When did you do it? : Do not generalize! Be very clear to the month and year of your hiring and separation from each of your positions.
- What was your impact? : Eight out of ten resumes miss this very important element. This gets to the heart of why you are head and shoulders over another candidate with similar experience. Be very clear how your employer was better off as a result of the work you performed.
- What are your credentials? : Education (With dates!) certificates, memberships, associations, etc.
Red flags nearly always are a result of someone missing or shorting on one of these points. Take a look at your resume and get rid of your red flags. Finding a new job is always hard. Don’t let the red flags on your resume make it any harder!
Friday, December 24th, 2010
There are many obstacles that you will experience in the hiring process:
►By the time the hiring client comes in contact with your resume, they may have reviewed as many as two hundred others for the same position. At this point, you all look quite similar on paper, which leads them to look for some sort of triggering mechanism to make you stand out and grab there attention.
►Hiring clients have a myriad of reasons and excuses for not getting back to qualified candidates.
►Taking proactive actions can and will set you apart. Though such actions may be awkward and not second nature for you; it should be noted, that no one has ever not gotten a job because they wanted it too much.
The proactive candidate should take the initiative to contact the hiring client.
This time proven phone verbiage works:
►“Hello (Client’s Name), this is (Your Name) and I am calling you with the understanding that you have received my resume from Dan Fitzpatrick for a (Job Title) position. As a proactive person, I called to find out if you’ve had an opportunity to review my resume. I would like to discuss my qualifications, answer any questions and ultimately find out what we can do to move forward in your interviewing process.”
As the discussion ensues and the opportunity presents itself, be prepared to proactively indicate your availability to interview on a specific date. Have alternative dates in hand.
►“(Client’s Name), if we’re at a point where you’re ready to schedule a face to face interview, I have cleared the following available dates . . .”
The hiring client should say and do all the rest at this point. This will set you apart from the myriad of candidates. If you don’t get the interview or the job, we can quickly move on. There is no reason to fear losing the job! Remember, you can’t lose something you never had. This as well as other employed strategies along way should help to give you a competitive edge.
Sunday, October 10th, 2010
If a picture is worth a thousand words then so too is the first impression the candidate has on a prospective employer. Unfortunately the problem with the first impression is that 900 of those 1000 words are likely very wrong! This only gets more complicated when the candidate decides to include a video snapshot.
Unfortunately most of these video productions are extremely low budget home grown efforts utilizing insufficient technology with an el-cheep-o digital camera that included a video feature, poor lighting, terrible audio and the scripting is something akin to a police interview. The end product is not something that usually helps the candidate; in fact it is something quite different.
A number of agencies jumped on the video bandwagon and quickly discovered it was not nearly as effective as they first believed. The agencies operational cost went up significantly and the outcome was not measurably improved over the traditional method of presenting a candidate. In fact video often ended up shooting the candidate in the foot.
Here are some examples of what can go wrong with a video:
- The candidate is struggling with a weight issue (like most Americans) and the camera only adds to this image. If the hiring company is looking for someone who has the stamina to do whatever it takes to succeed in the job, the video image may suggest something quite different.
- The candidate has a poor command of language with poor word and phrase use. They may stutter or slur or mumble in their speech. They may have an MBA or a Ph.D. but they end up projecting something quite different.
- The candidate may be viewed as too senior for the job.
- The candidates clothing suggests a fashion of a bygone era. Worse yet their clothing suggests a future era!
- Etc Etc Etc
What is a hiring company looking for?
When a hiring company is looking for candidates they typically end up weeding through dozens of resumes and usually narrow it down to a small handful of candidates to select to interview. The weeding is another way of saying the candidate goes through a filtering process by the hiring company that lines up with what attributes the hiring company is looking for in a candidate. The filtering includes relevant experience, age, sex, education, location etcetera. The video ends up being added to the filtering process and considering what I just mentioned above, the video is not likely to add to the candidates success in getting the job interview.
As always there are exceptions to all rules. If you are going to include a video with your resume to prospective employers I encourage you not cut any corners in the production area and be sensitive to the possibility that your video could end up the reason why you didn’t get the interview not the other way around.
Friday, October 1st, 2010
Relative to the resume, everyone is in sales. I don’t care if you are an accountant, a warehouse supervisor, a supply chain executive or the VP of Human Resources. You are selling a product and in this instance the product is you!
One of the fundamentals in sales is that people buy benefits, not features. Give some thought to your last handful of purchases and reflect on why you actually chose one product over another. Was it really the feature that drove your purchase or was it the benefit you would experience because the particular feature enabled it? The fact is it always comes down to the benefits of a feature, not the other way around. Further, think about what motivated you to buy that product in the first place. What was the problem you were trying to get resolved? All products are designed to solve a problem, otherwise else no one would buy them!
So with this as a backdrop, take a look at your resume and think of yourself as the product. For any given employment advertisements you need to ask yourself, does my product (me) solve this employer’s problem? If so, then how do my benefits improve on other candidates (competitor for the job you are going after!) benefits? Benefits present themselves as relevant experience and performance outcomes. It is no benefit to the hiring company if you performed similar duties before but made no positive impact while you did them. It is also no benefit to the employer if you were impactful in a certain job that has nothing to do with the job the employer is looking to fill.
The hiring company already pretty much knows what they are looking for in a candidate as they endeavor to fill an open position. In today’s economy the employee’s productivity is everything. Employers are rarely looking for candidates that can do the job. Employers are always looking for candidates that already did that job. It minimizes the chance that the new employee would fail at their job and rapidly increases the time that the new hire employee becomes productive. This is why the candidate with more relative experience will be favored over one that does not.
I challenge you to take a look at your resume and consider if you are only presenting features and not nearly enough benefits. Every time you list a feature about yourself on your resume you should ask yourself, who cares? The answer to that question will more often spell the difference in your getting the job or not.
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
So you just lost your job, or you are on the cusp of losing your job for one reason or another. What are your next steps? First and foremost you need to package and market yourself. Waiting for the phone to ring is a lousy strategy. Besides, how would your next employer know how to get in touch with you or how your skills might be relevant to their open position?
- Update your resume. (See past posts) Go through all your personal and professional contacts and let them know your availability. Be advised – this is not the time to be prideful or play coy or hard to get. The goal is to discover situations you may be able to plug into. By playing hard to get or coy your recipient may think you don’t really need the work and respond to you accordingly…with nothing!
- Reach out to recruiters directly and let them know what your situation is. Remember they are not your agent. They get paid by the hiring company. So put your pride away and don’t play coy or hard to get with them either. Else it is a promise you will be more than ignored, you will be avoided as being too difficult to work with.
- Much more – but this is a good place to get started. Look for future posts on this topic!
What about Job Boards?
The following are some job boards I have worked with in the past to find candidates for my healthcare niche. There are at least a few listed I would advise you consider plugging into. Examine each one before you do to see if it is a good fit for you. I could write a book on reasons to avoid these boards. Thing is I could write another book on why it is good to plug into them. Long story short, it is better to be connected than otherwise, just be selective.
As indicated earlier. These sites are a help but only a help. Connecting with these sites is only one step and one connection in the process. There are many more things you need to do to get proactive in your job search. For now, this is a great place to start and get you set up with a new foundation. In future posts we will talk about how to build on your foundation.
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Drive it home, face-to-face
With few exceptions, a resignation should be done face-to-face. It is your responsibility to request a meeting and to set the agenda. If the employer asks for a reason for the meeting, your response will simply be, “It is a matter of personal concern that needs to addressed confidentially.” Start the meeting by handing the prepared resignation letter to the employer, followed by this verbiage: “I have made a commitment to join another organization and will begin working with them in two weeks. Please accept this letter of resignation. Please take a minute to read my letter before we discuss how we can make this a smooth transition.”
If the employer attempts to dodge this request or begins asking questions about your leaving, it is because they are going through some predicable phases of denial and taking the initial steps to
establish a power play. They already know what the letter says and if they are attempting this ploy, it should confirm that your resigning is the right decision.
Stick to your agenda and fend off such questions with, “I know you may be curious about where I am going and why, but it is not my intention to discuss that with you today. My decision has been made. If it is truly important for you to know where I am going and why, let’s talk about it when it is not an emotional issue for either of us a month from now. Today, my goal remains to discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
This is not some sudden interest in advancing your career as they will often have it appear. It is a common stalling tactic for them to figure out how to cover their backside with this new problem that has just landed on their desk. At the conclusion of this meeting make certain that copies of resignation letter have distributed to those in the company’s hierarchy and HR.
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Two Biggest Mistakes
The two biggest and easiest mistakes to make verbally or in writing are saying “I’m sorry for leaving” or “Thank you for the opportunity to work here.” You do not need to say you’re sorry for leaving when your current employer couldn’t do what was necessary to keep you in their employ. They, in fact, should be saying that they are sorry to you for not doing what may have been necessary to key you as a key employee. Likewise, they should be thanking you for your good work and contributions.
Please accept this letter as my official notice of resignation. I appreciate the work we have been able to accomplish together at (Company), but I have now made a commitment to another organization and will begin working with them in two weeks.
Know that it is my intention to work diligently with you to wrap up as much as possible in the remaining time that I am here to make my resignation as smooth as possible. If you have any suggestions on how we can best accomplish that goal, I hope that you will share them with me. I am eager to leave on the most positive note possible.
Monday, May 17th, 2010
There are volumes of data and research on the pitfalls of accepting a counteroffer. For the purposes of this resignation exercise, if the desire is to evade a counteroffer, take the preventive measures in advance of telling at least two fellow employees that you are resigning. If there is the slightest chance that your employer will make a counteroffer, you will hear the words, “Have you told anyone else that you’re leaving?” If you were to answer no, your employer’s response will be to request a few days for management deal with the issue of your leaving before you make it public. If you indicate that you have informed others, you will remove any negotiating leverage that your employer may have been grasping for. If they present you with a counteroffer, they know there will be a line of resignations at their office door the next day, all seeking counteroffers.
Friday, May 14th, 2010
These post are to help companies searching for top level talent.
Friday, May 14th, 2010
These blog posts will be useful tips and pointers for Executive level job seekers.