How to Cut Through Red Tape and Get the Job

August 27th, 2012 No comments

Ever applied for a job, interviewed, and never heard back — only to see the same job re-posted with a different job title or modified description weeks later on the company’s website? If yes, you are not alone.

This is the third post in a five-part series designed to take you behind the scenes for an in-depth glimpse of what really happens behind closed doors as employers go through the hiring process. We’ve shared information about how jobs are created and how employers find employees. Today, we turn our attention to a persistent problem that takes place inside companies when recruiters, hiring managers, and senior executives aren’t on the same page.

Miscommunication in the workplace with regard to hiring decisions costs companies time and money in lost productivity each year, and leaves many great candidates on the sidelines scratching their heads. Here are three common scenarios that happen as companies hire — as well as tips on how to spot and address them.

  1. The unadvertised opening – a job “you’ll be perfect for.”Over 1/4 of all hires come from referrals or recommendations of employees or trusted colleagues. In a perfect world, you mention an interest in a hypothetical job to a friend. Your friend knows of a job and recommends you. You give a friend a paper copy of your resume. You land an interview. And you get hired — without ever applying. Unfortunately, this rarely happens without a few bumps. The biggest reason why: A majority of U.S. employers must comply with EEOC and federal hiring guidelines which state that jobs have to be advertised, and that candidates can only be hired if they are official applicants. (Other obstacles to the “hire on recommendation” approach include other colleagues who don’t know you.)The fix:Submit your application materials to the company when you hear of an opening — even if you have a friend who already works there and has offered to put your resume on the CEO’s desk. Apply through official channels, even if it is only a matter of submitting your resume and a letter of interest to HR. Don’t be afraid to drop names in your cover letter or e-mails: Make it clear who alerted you to the potential opening, and — ideally — state how you know them.
  2.  The position that disappears — only to be re-listed after you’ve applied and/or interviewed.This is a tricky one, since employers re-post positions for multiple reasons: Perhaps the hiring manager decided the job required a different skill set, perhaps the job did not get posted on the right websites to comply with company policies, perhaps the CEO of the company wanted to see additional candidates…The list goes on.You’ll never know what happened unless you ask.The fix: Be direct with the company. Call HR or the Hiring Manager. Ask about the status of the position. State your continued interest in the job and provide information about any communication you’ve had with them. Ask if you can — and should reapply. (Tip: Don’t leave a message or send an e-mail. Easier to get a direct response when you call and ask — in person!)
  3. The perpetual job opening.Ever seen the same job listed in the paper — every day for a year? It could be a sign of a scam, or a job search that is on hold — or it could be the sign of a position where employers can’t keep new employees.The fix: See if you can find an inside connection to the hiring organization — and ask about the job before you apply. If you can’t find out any information, make sure it is not a scam.  (You can also seek out listings on sites that focus on providing new and current job listings. At StartWire, we only post positions that have been posted within two weeks!)

    When you do apply, don’t rely on that job application alone — apply to multiple positions and organizations at a time.

Have you ever experienced these challenges or any other “what happened” moments as a job search candidate? If yes, weigh in — we want to hear from you!

The 5 Habits of Effective Job Seekers: They Use America’s #1 Job Search Organizer!

April 9th, 2012 No comments

We’re at the last part of our 5 part series on “The 5 Habits of Effective Job Seekers”!

The aim of this concluding part of our series is to tie together all the habits we’ve uncovered together in the past weeks. To refresh, the habits of effective job seekers are:

1) They Don’t Post and Pray

2) They Apply Early

3) They Get Referred

4) They Get Found

5) They Make Use of America’s #1 Job Search Organizer


Now that we know the habits necessary for effective job seekers, the important question to ponder is what then does StartWire do to help job seekers adopt and practice these habits (this is the StartWire blog after all!)?

StartWire does in fact offer solutions to these problems.  StartWire was built from ground up to make the process of job search more manageable, less stressful and, of course, more effective!  What this means is, for each of the habits that we’ve talked about, StartWire has resources in place to help you adopt the habits of an effective job seeker.  Some of you may not be aware of all that you can do with StartWire, so we wanted to take some time to highlight how StartWire can help you with these specific and effective habits. 

We’re more than just advice here at StartWire News – we’re constantly working to build and improve tools that can help you execute on the advice we give.

In a Job Search? Get Found by an Employer!

April 3rd, 2012 No comments

This week, we’re on tip #4 of our 5 Habits of Effective Job Seekers: They get found.

There’s a lot of talk right now about social media and how many employers use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to find and connect with job seekers. While social media is a great place to meet employers, it’s important not to neglect other places employers go to seek out great talent. And one of the places employers go to look is job boards that have resume databases. So today, we’re spotlighting job boards and the reason why so many companies still use them to find talent.

Why? When a company needs to hire an employee “right now,” they may not take the time to advertise widely. They may also be looking for a specific skill that isn’t easy to find.

And one of the best tried and true places to find those skills is a database of resumes. When you stop by a job board, you may search for jobs. But when employers login to job boards, they search for resumes. And when they find the resume they want, they follow up directly with the candidate.
They don’t have to jump through hoops, they just get in touch. Bottom line: Resume databases help employers make hires.

Want to get found this way? Yesterday we shared some basic tips for formatting your resume. Here are three additional things you can do to increase the likelihood of getting found.

  1. Get out there.  Don’t just visit job boards; upload your resume. It takes less than five minutes — and you can’t get found otherwise. As my wise friend Anna says, “you can’t meet anybody if you don’t put yourself out there.” Or to look at it another way: The only way to win the lottery is to buy a ticket!Worried about privacy? Leave off your address — and maybe even the name of your current employer (instead: you can give a descriptor — e.g. Consumer packaging company with 250 employees.
  2. Make sure you can be found in a search. Use the right keywords for your field in your resume and begin your resume with a summary that provides an overview of your experience. Here’s a five-minute trickyou can use to do this — just apply it for your field instead of a specific job.True story: In a past life I was a recruiter working inside a company. I hired a candidate on Friday who listed his resume on a Tuesday. I found him on Wednesday. Another recruiter contacted me about him on Thursday. Why? He had a unique, hard-to-find skill that employers search databases for all the time. He later called it, “the easiest job search I ever had.”
  3. Set your watch and update your resume — at least every 30 days.When employers look at resumes, the ones that were submitted most recently come up first. (Generally, employers have the option to view resumes that have been submitted within 7 days, 30 days, and 30 – 90 days. Since they want to focus on candidates they know are still available for work, they tend to focus most only on the resumes submitted within the last week first — and then on the pile that’s come in over the last 30 days.Want to stay at the top of the search results? All you need to do is go in and change one word in your resume, then repost this. Keep track of your resumes, update your listings every 28 days or so — and your information will stay current so you can be found.

That’s all there is to it. Try it out, and let us know how this works for you!

The 5 Habits of Effective Job Seekers. Habit 4: They Get Found!

April 3rd, 2012 No comments

 

 

 

It’s week four of our 5 part series on “The 5 Habits of Effective Job Seeker”!

The fourth habit of effective job seekers is: They Get Found!

What does that mean?  80% of companies are now searching resume databases to find their next hire.

With many applicants applying with unqualified credentials, employers offset this by turning the search around.  Instead, employers are doing the searching.  Knowing this, what can you do?  Take the initiative to be found.

The benefit of posting your resume online is the increase in eyes that your resume will be receiving!  Instead of sending your resume to a specific number of job postings and restricting your resume to be read by the HR manager behind those postings, posting your resume onto a job board allows a larger pool of employers to review your resume.  Do make sure your resume is in the right databases by searching for and placing your resume in job boards that cater to your industry, function, or geography.

A quick tip to posting your resume online: format it to be posted online.

  1. Convert it to text-only form by saving it as a .txt file.
  2.  Edit by left-aligning everything.  Center or right-aligning text will be lost on most online resume postings.
  3. Indent using spaces, not tabs.
  4. Don’t use special characters or symbols.
  5.  Protect your identity! Leave out personal information, such as date of birth and home address.  Instead, post your city and state as an alternative to your home address, and set up a special email for job search.

Follow us throughout this week for more tips on getting found!

Highly Effective Job Seeker Secret #1: Don’t Post & Pray

March 13th, 2012 No comments

We’re excited to announce the release of a new webinar, The Five Habits of Effective Job Seekers hosted by our CEO, Chris Forman. Prior to co-founding StartWire, Chris and our EVP Tim spent years developing training programs that teach recruiters how to find candidates and job seekers.  The technologies Chris and Tim worked on are now used by 70% of the Fortune 500. We’d call them job search rock stars, but they are humble guys and won’t let us!
 

You can watch the webinar here for free, but for the next five weeks we’re going to give you a crash course in all of the five tips. Each week we’ll focus in on one of Chris’s five habits – and expand that with easy takeaways you can use in your job search.

Sound good? Let’s get rolling!

Habit #1 of Highly Effective Job Seekers: They don’t post and pray!
 

What, you say, is “post and pray?” It’s applying to jobs online and then putting your feet up and waiting to hear back.

Our tough love: Don’t confuse applying for jobs with searching for a job.  Only 20% of all corporate vacancies are filled through listings on job boards…

If you apply to a job and do nothing else – it’s a little bit like taking a raffle ticket and then not showing up for the live drawing: In reality, there’s a slim chance you’re going to get a call back – because the interview list is often filled with applicants who’ve taken additional steps to make sure they get full consideration.

We’re not telling you not to apply for jobs online – you don’t want to miss out on opportunities. But when you do, we want you to lean forward and be proactive so that you can get the call back! Here’s how to do that.
 

  1. Apply only for job listings that match your skills and experience.If the job description has a laundry list of qualifications (and you can’t imagine the company could possibly find candidates who have 100% of the skills and experiences), apply only if you meet 70% or more of the skills and specifications mentioned in the description.

    Why? If your skills don’t line up with the job, you have a slim chance of getting on the interview list – unless you’ve got an inside recommendation for the job from someone who knows you could do the job.

    Additional tip: Don’t apply for more than two types of jobs with one company. If you apply for jobs in Marketing, Accounting and Customer Service at the same company at the same time – it makes you look like you aren’t focused. If you apply for more than one job, specify what makes you interested – and qualified — for each job in your cover letter.
     

  2. Use the right words for the job in your resume and cover letter.  It’s the equivalent of using “the force” in your job search. As employers review job postings, they look for keywords that match up with the job. Use these keywords at the top of your resume – and you have a better chance of getting your job application looked at.

    Here’s our favorite 5-minute trick to finding the right keywords.
     

  3. Get personal.

    Addressing a cover letter or e-mail to “Dear Sir or Mam” typically fails to impress most employers. Whenever possible, address your job applications to a real person.

    Quick ways to find one? Use LinkedIn’s Company pages or do a Google search on the “Director of HR” or department at the Company where you are applying. Then use the name in your application materials.

     

  4. Tag team every job application with a follow-up – even if it feels uncomfortable. Calling and asking someone, “Did you get my application?” can feel like a psychological return to early awkward experiences with dating…but following up is one of the best ways to transform yourself from one of many applicants to a real live person with a voice and an interest in getting to work.

    3 Great Ways to Follow Up(Use one or more)

    I. Like the company on Facebook, then send a message letting them know you’ve applied

    II.  See if the company has a Twitter account for recruiting, and send a Twitter @reply letting them know you’ve applied and expressing interest in working more.

    III. Call and follow-up. If you’re shy, do this at night or over the weekend. You can almost always find a general company phone number online, use the company directory to find the right department or person – and leave a short message introducing yourself and letting them know you’ve applied.  (Mess up and need to re-record? Most corporate systems will give you a do-over if you press the * or # key)

    Bonus points: Mention the top skill or experience you have that aligns closely with the job when you follow up.

  5. Be ready to look the part.

Studies show that up to 90% of recruiters admit to doing online research on job search candidates: you should expect to be Googled.

If you are in the job market, know what search results will come up if an employer searches for your name. A great way to make sure your professional interests can be found is to develop a public LinkedIn profile.

Create a formal phone message with your first and last name. “Hi, this is _______. I’m not available right now, but leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

Following these five simple steps can help you transition from “post and pray” to the top of the application pile for the jobs listed online. But remember – job boards are only one piece of the puzzle. We’ll be sharing strategies that can get you faster results for your time in weeks ahead.

Tune in next week when we’ll share with you the number one reason why you may not be hearing back on jobs – and the simple thing you can do to change that! (If you can’t wait, check out our webinar.)

 

5 Easy Ways to Score Your Next Gig from Tucker Robeson

February 29th, 2012 No comments

Last week, we shared an exclusive interview with Tucker Robeson, CEO of CDL Helpers, a company that’s out to solve a $5 billion dollar problem in the trucking industry. (Because 89% of truckers who sign on with large trucking companies don’t stay on for longer than a year — there’s a huge cost of staffing and training. Not to mention safety.)

When we sat down with Tucker, we were wildly impressed not only by what he’s doing with his business — but also by his innovative approach to hiring. A former recruiter who studied entrepreneurship in college, here’s his take on the best ways to score your next job.
 

  1. Get creative with how you approach employers.

    I know it’s tough, because sometimes it means spending more money. I’ve been there. However, there are lots of low budget ways to reach people outside of the box.

    For my last resume, I actually included charts that showed how I spent my time in my past jobs – this helped employers see what I was good at and what I had done in the past.

    Want another way to do this? Interview someone who works in the industry you’d like to work with. Ask them to share their biggest challenges. Then write out examples of times you’ve solved problems similar to those challenges – and share those examples – in your cover letters, in interviews – and in any situation where you talk about why you’d like to work in the job and the industry.

    Tip: An easy way to find out what matters to current employees is to check out employee reviews. Track any job you’ve applied to in StartWire and you’ll see a quick link to that company’s information — as well as salary ranges and interview questions you may be asked. (It’s a free back door to Glassdoor.)
     

  2. Focus on adding value to the company.

    Companies that weren’t planning on hiring will find room for someone they truly believe will add more value to the company than they cost in wages. Don’t think about meeting requirements. Think about, “How am I going to make this company a better company because I am in it?” It will show during interviews and during conversations with network connections.
     

  3. Be friendly – even when asked tough questions.

    Even if you’re asked a challenging question that you feel challenges your credibility, show you can be polite and encourage open, unthreatening dialogue. “I know I’m right doesn’t get offers.”

    One of the questions we love to ask is: “When someone tells you that you are wrong, but you know… you are certain… that you are right, how do you handle it?”

    People that truly love to learn and adapt well to a new job usually show it by answering in ways that are polite and encourage open, unthreatening dialogue. We want to see employees who are open-minded to other opinions. Would you want to work with someone who isn’t?
     

  4. Don’t sign up to do something you know you won’t like.

    You will be terrible at it. Eventually, your dislike for your work will seep into your soul and make your whole life less enjoyable, and everyone will notice.
     

  5. Be open to re-location.

The economy is tough right now, especially for recent grads and people in the 18 to 25 year-old age range. Our entire nation was built on the efforts of a migrant and mobile workforce. The only reason the Midwest exists is because people were willing to move here, away from their families in the cities, and make something happen. I truly believe everyone has the potential to add value to the world in a unique way. Sometimes, it’s just hard to find the right spot, so you have to go find it.
 

Speaking of relocation, are you hiring?
 

Yes, we’re hiring for three spots right now. You can see them on our Careers website.

We don’t do applications, and we don’t have normal interviews. We just want to see a basic resume, and some reasons we should hire you. We ask people to be creative. We like to see candidates who show they can think on their feet.

Basically, if you’re energetic and have demonstrated through basic work history that you can learn and adapt yourself with passion, we can train you to do the rest.

We want to be the Zappos for truck drivers. We’re hiring people to help us listen to truck drivers employed by our clients.We literally start every call by saying, “How can your day be better, and what can I do to make that happen?” One time, I conference called in a divorce attorney for a driver, because he was so stressed about issues with his wife and his divorce. The poor guy didn’t have the time, being stuck out on the road, to look up someone reputable in his home area and get some advice. So, we made it happen. Whatever it takes.

We gather confidential feedback from our drivers and then share strategies with our clients so that they can help their employees feel more connected to the company and engaged. Truck drivers often feel isolated and cut off from their work just after they make a delivery. Giving a check in, “hey, how are you doing?” call just after the delivery can boost employee morale – and also help companies get valuable information about their clients. Members of our Tactical Management team gather and share this data – those are the primary roles we are hiring for right now.


You can reach Tucker Robeson on Twitter (@tuckrobeson or @CDLHelpers). If you’d like more free tools and strategies for your job search, we encourage you to check out StartWire and send us a tweet — how can we help you in your search?

A $5 Billion Hiring Problem (& What’s Being Done About It!)

February 23rd, 2012 No comments

Finding a new job may not be easy, but sometimes it’s just as hard to be on the other side of the hiring equation. This week, we’re putting the spotlight on the problem by showcasing an industry where employers have a hard time hiring and keeping employees.

We’re talking about the transportation industry – and truckers. Whether you love or hate tractor-trailers on the highway, the trucking industry moves supplies that feed us, clothe us, house us, and cure us when we are sick.

Yet Tucker Robeson, CEO and Co-Founder of CDL Helpers, a company that provides employeeTucker Robesonretention services to the transportation industry, says the system truckers use to hire and retain employees is beyond broken. So broken, there’s an 89% turnover rate of drivers year-to-year in big trucking companies. Can you imagine working for a company where less than one out of ten employees stay for more than a year?

How expensive is this problem to the trucking industry? Robeson says it’s a $5B dollar problem, and he’s created a business to help fix it. A former recruiter, Tucker was born in Winona, MN and graduated from Saint Mary’s University of MN with a degree in Entrepreneurship. He started CDL Helpers to change the way the trucking industry thinks about its work force, and how drivers are treated and supported by their employers. In a nutshell, Tucker’s mission is to make the trucking industry ask “how’s my hiring?” just as frequently as they ask “how’s my driving?”

We sat down with Tucker to get his perspective on how the recruiting process is flawed and how it can be fixed. While today’s process focuses on the trucking industry, the problems faced by companies in this industry are not unique – many industries struggle to find employees and manage their own reputations. Want proof of this? Just ask companies who’ve had their jobs profiled on the TV show Dirty Jobs?

Here’s Tucker’s take on the challenges faced by the trucking industry in hiring, what’s broken and what can be fixed, and how you can feel confident when you’ve found the right company to work for…

This is the first of a two part series, next week we’ll share Tucker’s unique take on job search strategies that work – and learn more about how he hires!

You say that the recruiting process for the trucking industry is fundamentally flawed. How so? What’s the problem – and what are the costs to both the industry and employees?

Recruiting new truckers doesn’t address the real problem the trucking industry faces: Why are people leaving? If I’m running a successful business, and I pay/treat people fairly, shouldn’t they want to stay?

So many trucking companies have had their names poisoned by former employees, recruits, and others that had a bad experience.  Since they weren’t customers, nobody thought to focus on their personal experiences with the company.  However, bad experiences they encounter could ultimately, end up hurting the company in the future.

When I used to recruit drivers, there were some companies I couldn’t pay people to go to, just because they had heard some horror story from another driver at a truck stop about things going sour. Word-of-mouth is incredibly important to drivers as they look for work.

What are common qualities of top employers in your industry? How can job seekers spot companies who have these qualities?

As is the case with many industries, top employers in the trucking industry are hard to recognize because a lot of advertising and recruiting efforts tout great things that don’t always turn out to be true, and there are very few ways to hold the bad companies accountable. So, you can’t always go by advertising.

There’s a huge lack of trust and misinformation in the industry which has left many drivers extremely skeptical or cynical. That’s part of what we are trying to fix. My company, CDL Helpers, partners with trucking companies to address employee issues. Trucking companies hire us to provide support to new hires during their first few months on a job and we have the ability to escalate problems directly to the top if necessary, to make sure their concerns are addressed.

Breaking into the trucking industry can be challenging for prospective drivers, as there are many hiring requirements that are rigid. You have to be in good physical health, hold a strong driving record, and more often than not – have experience.

Other than that, they should look for companies that are easy to communicate with. After 10 business days post-application, if they haven’t heard anything and can’t reach anyone inside, that’s often an indicator of how things will go from then on out.

The best trucking companies to work for are also usually the hardest to get into. They require the most experience, and the cleanest records. Drivers that work for companies that are headquartered or have a main terminal within 30 miles of their domicile seem to do much better. If drivers can’t find a company that’s close enough to home, they should seriously consider either re-locating to another area, or looking into other careers. Their time at home will be better, they won’t have to risk as much of their own personal resources going to orientation, and they will probably have more reliable miles at the company if they live close by.

Stop by StartWire News next week for Tucker’s perspective on great ways to stand out in the applicant pool and get noticed. In the interim — if you haven’t done so already — pop by StartWire and take advantage of our free tools to organize your search.

 

Get Promoted: On Leadership Development Programs – and a Q & A with BoA

January 24th, 2012 No comments

We’ve all heard stories about the traditional American dream – the career path of the man or woman who starts in the mailroom and eventually becomes CEO. But how do you make that happen today – when so many jobs require very specific types of experience in order to be considered. What are the best ways to work your way up inside an organization?

The answer varies: It depends on the type of position you are applying to.

In start-up companies, often people grow into new roles as organizations expand.  In some non-profits, educational institutions, and smaller organizations opportunities to move up may only happen when someone leaves or a department downsizes – thus creating an opportunity for you to have a new role.

Fortunately, a large number of organizations see the value of training employees for new roles and offer in-house leadership and training development programs designed to groom you for a new role.

Side note: A great way to learn about your future prospects for advancement inside a company is to track jobs you’ve applied to within StartWire – click on the Details tab for any job, and you’ll see a live link to Glassdoor.com, a site which provides you with employee reviews on organizational culture, salary, and even interview questions you may be asked.


This week, we talk to Shavit Bar-Nahum, a Leadership Development Executive at Bank of America. Read on for information on Bank of America’s approach to leadership development – and tips on what to look for when you look at your next job. (Note, you can see current openings at Bank of Americahere or follow them on Twitter.)

In her role, Shavit is responsible for talent management, leadership development, organizational design, performance management, assessment design, and executive assessment and coaching.  Prior to the bank, Shavit worked as a Senior Consultant at Personnel Decisions International, where she partnered with global organizations to maximize their success by improving the quality and strength of their leaders. Shavit earned her M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and her B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.  

Bank of America is ranked #9 on the 2011 Fortune 500. You have over 290,000 global employees. In your position as a Senior Vice President of Leadership Development, how do you work with individuals and groups?

In my role as a Leadership Development executive, I partner with both leaders and their teams to better assess the performance and potential of their team and to manage their talent and organization in alignment with their business priorities.  I am very lucky in that I get to do 1:1 coaching with senior executives, but I also get to do team interventions and strategic planning sessions with groups of people.

Do you have events and programs that make the bank feel like a community as opposed to a city of employees?

With so many people in so many locations, it is difficult to maintain a true sense of community across the bank.  However, our identity as an organization stems from our corporate values which establish a culture of trust, teamwork, opportunity, and inclusion.  We also leverage various forms of communication to help us sustain a sense of team through our global intranet sight, Global Town Hall meetings that are broadcast around the world, community volunteer events that allow for people from across different parts of the bank to come together, and a global recognition program that promotes employee engagement and satisfaction.
 

Bank of America sets a goal of helping employees meet their personal and professional goals. How do Leadership development programs help employees achieve that? Can you give me an example of employees who’ve started out at the entry-level and progressed to senior positions?

At Bank of America, both the individual and the organization are accountable for development and career opportunities.  Employees have a broad set of e-learning programs at their disposal through a learning portal, an online internal resume profile tool, internal job posting sites, and different training opportunities they are encouraged to leverage to define their career goals.  Along the same line, the organization frequently assesses the skills and capabilities of employees, develops programs that address group level skills gaps, and bi-annual LOB talent planning discussions that create new opportunities for employees around the globe.  I currently work with someone who started their career processing checks in an accounting function 25 years ago and currently works overseas, running a global operations function.
 

What if I want to work as a leader of a leadership development training program? What makes a great HR candidate and employee in a financial services firm?

For anyone in HR to be successful in financial services, they have to not only understand the business, they have to approach all of their work as a true and trusted business partner.   This means that they need to understand the people and talent implications of the business strategies and the market conditions, but they also need to develop a people strategy that can be and is flawlessly executed.  It is not enough to have “good ideas” or talk about a “people process,” they need to be able to demonstrate how that process adds value to the people in the room and can take the business forward.
 

Inside organizations, there’s a common perception that referral to a leadership development program is a sign that that you’re not getting a good performance review and need to improve? True or not true?

That couldn’t be farther from the truth at Bank of America – in fact, when you get an invitation to attend one of the coveted enterprise leadership programs, it is an indication that you have been recognized for your performance and are being invested in for your potential.  Our leadership development programs aim to enhance leadership versatility, enterprise mindset and strategic thinking.  We look at development needs from a more holistic perspective, and use individual 360 to help individuals gain insight into their strengths and opportunities.  We also look at group results to create programs that develop a wide range of skills needed to drive the business priorities. 
 

What are good questions to ask – during an interview at any company – about career progression and leadership development opportunities?

I always like to ask, “How do you manage your career at this company?  What are the opportunities you take advantage of that the company offers its employees?”
 

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

Take a true inventory of your values, career goals and skills – but be really honest about your strengths and development areas.  If you have big gaps between what you want to do and the skills you will need to have to do it, put a plan in place to help you solve for those gaps.  No one knows you and what you want better than you.  (p.s. – if you want to be really honest with yourself, think back to the piece of feedback you once got that you disagreed with the most, and see if you can now acknowledge that some of it may have really been true, this will test your maturity and readiness to take the next step forward in your career.)

Companies Who’ll Treat You Right

January 17th, 2012 No comments

Last week, we advocated for a Job Seeker Bill of Rights – if you spend time applying for jobs it only seems fair if employers also take the time to review your application and tell you where you stand in the applicant pool, right?

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why StartWire has features that allow you to track and receive updates on the status of your job application.  While not all companies provide this information, it’s helpful to get information from companies who do.

But we also wanted to let you know that – fortunately – we’re not the only business that thinks companies should do a better job of keeping applicants informed of where they stand. And many companies are working very hard to do just that.

At the HR Tech Conference last October, a new awards ceremony for “The Candidate Experience” recognized companies who do a great job of treating applicants like candidates – and potential customers in the future. You can see a full list of the companies that won here. (Disclosure: StartWire was one of the award’s sponsors.)

Since the Awards ceremony, we’ve interviewed many of the winners – and other great companies who are working hard to be not only a “best place to work” — but also a best place to apply.

Here are highlights from a few of those interviews – with suggestions on why you may want to take a second look.

  • Whirlpool provides free customized community tours to candidates who visit their Michigan based headquarters – complete with free product gifts to those who attend.
     
  • Connect with a recruiter at Deluxe Corporation via Facebook or Twitter and rest assured they’ll get back to you. Here’s their advice: “Get online. If you engage with organizations today on social media, you will get a little bit of a bump. You will receive extra attention. All of those avenues of social media engagement can help. This is a new world for employers so we are being extraordinarily careful to engage a little bit better, and to give more feedback.
     
  • Apply for a job at Adidas and expect to be treated like one of the team. They scout for recruiters who are good at building relationships with candidates as well as hiring managers. Proof in the pudding?  Adidas global head of recruiting Steve Bonomo didn’t get hired for the first job he applied to within the company. So he wants to make sure you don’t get overlooked either.

Have you ever had a great applicant experience at a company even if you didn’t get hired? Have a company you think we should interview? Tell us about it. Drop a line to chandlee.bryan@startdatelabs.com and we’ll share the love.

 

12 for 12: How to Put Insider Recruiter Tips into Action for your Job Search

January 5th, 2012 No comments

To top off the year, we posted our exclusive 12 Career Tips for 12 list, highlights from StartWire interviews with recruiters and talent acquisition pros.

You can find the advice here. But we also know it’s one thing to read advice – and it’s another thing to actually put it into action. (Classic example: Spending more time reading about how to lose weight than exercising.) Maybe you know what we mean here…

So here are our tips – paired with action strategies designed to help you to jump start your search.

Get social. Engaging with recruiters online can help you get hired.

Get online. If you engage with organizations today on social media, you will get a little bit of a bump. You will receive extra attention. All of those avenues of social media engagement can help. This is a new world for employers so we are being extraordinarily careful to engage a little bit better, and to give more feedback.

Stacy Van Meter
Senior Manager of Social Marketing/Employment Brand for Deluxe.

How to do it: Two strategies that will take you under ten minutes:

  1. Like the organization you want to work for on Facebook. (Make sure you have a professional profile.) Post a comment about company news or share a related item on the organization’s Facebook wall. If you see a great job, share it — as one recruiter recently told me, “when you share a job that’s different from the one you’re applying to — and tell us what you’ve applied to — you are helping us with our work before you even get started!”
     
  2. Follow the company on Twitter and send an @reply message via Twitter expressing interest in learning more about jobs. Be specific — if you’ve already applied for a job — say where you’ve applied. (New to Twitter? An @reply is like a postcard — anyone can see it, and a quick message can be an easy way to open doors with potential networking conversations.)


Find a way to get introduced to someone inside the company.

Over 30% of our hires come from referrals. The biggest advantage you can have is when people know you. Get someone inside the company to advocate for you. Find the job, than find someone who can vouch for you, and apply for it. By the time the job is posted, it is almost too late. Hiring success often comes from someone you know.
Adam Eisenstein
Recruiter for McGraw Hill

How to do it: Connect your LinkedIn or Facebook account on StartWire and see who you know at any job listed on the site or for companies that you’ve already applied to. StartWire’s “Get Referral” and recommendations features provide a quick way that you can get in touch.
 

Get a referral.

On average, one of out every 33 candidates is going to get hired from an online source—such as a job board or a career site. If you are referred, your odds go up to one  in four. Those are better odds.

Shanil Kaderali
Manager of Talent Programs at WellPoint
 

How to do it: Apply to places where you can get a referral as much as other jobs.
 

Be accessible. Tell people how they can find you.

Don’t forget to share your contact information. Put your phone number and email in every single communication that you send to a recruiter. If you save time so I don’t have to look for your information, it makes it much easier for me to give you a call back.
 
Rebecca Warren
Recruiting Manager at General Mills

How to do it: Include your email and phone number in a signature line of your email and always give the position number when you follow-up so employers can easily find your information. Another quick path to success? Name your resume with your first and last name — and include the job you’re applying to. When you can be a fast find on the computer, it’s easier to stay top-of-mind.
 

Wear your enthusiasm on your sleeve.

Editor’s Note: This is something we heard over and over — from virtually every company we have talked to. It’s important to share you care about what the company does and the type of work you want to do.
 
If you want to win the job, you need to portray that you are passionate. Then the natural or optimistic assumption is “this person is going to work extremely hard.”  Show that there are things you work really hard at – and I would do this at your company.
 
Alex Moazed
CEO at Applico LLC

How to do it: Research the company where you’ve applied and show that you are familiar with the culture. Want an easy back door entrance? Track your application in StartWire and click on the “details” view of any job for instant access to employee reviews from Glassdoor.com


Don’t take yourself out of the running for a job by not applying. Let them decide if you’re qualified.

People assume that they aren’t going to get into Google. The reputation is such that it is very hard to get into Google. And so some people don’t even try.

I didn’t go to a great school. I didn’t have an amazing GPA. But I work at Google. So could you.

Don’t take yourself out of the game by making assumptions and choosing not to apply. I’ve hired people who don’t have college degrees.

Jeff Moore
Lead Engineering Recruiter for Google

How to do it: Apply for any job that you meet 70% of the applications for…and apply early. StartWire research shows that 50% of successful job seekers apply for a job within one week of the job listing.
 

Get to know the whole company – not just the job you’re applying for.

I always say a career is like a puzzle; you have to look at the whole picture. Whether you are looking to go into finance, marketing, product design or sales, be open minded and take into account the whole experience – think about what it is you can take away from a particular role. Understand the many pieces of the company and be willing to learn about new things that might be the right fit for you. You’re not going to know enough unless you are open and aggressive learner.
Nancy Hickey
Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer for Steelcase Inc.

How to do it: When you get invited to a group interview, ask the participants how they work together and interact on a daily basis. One of my favorite questions: If I was hired for this job, what would my first priority be — and how would I work with each of you to get that done?


Don’t give up if the phone doesn’t ring.
 

When a job seeker applies for any job they should remember that being qualified doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as being the most qualified.  So the assumption by a job seeker that they are entitled to an interview just because they meet the qualifications is a tough thing to swallow at any level.  

The fact is that even if recruiters wanted to interview all 1,000 qualified job seekers that apply to their job, they can’t always do so.  And even if they did, they’re only able to hire one of these people.

It’s why connecting outside of the application process is so important for both job seekers and recruiters.  It’s why having a visible and living profile that showcases your expertise and engagement with industry peers is much more powerful than is sometimes thought.

Chris Hoyt
Talent Engagement & Marketing Leader at PepsiCo

How to do it: Try this experiment. Follow-up on all of your applications with a referral — or direct outreach to the company via a social network. Chances are good you’ll get a higher follow up rate.
 

If at first you don’t get hired, try, try again.
 

Understand that whenever you are applying to an organization that is highly desirable, people tend to get discouraged if they don’t get the first job they go for. We may get 400 or 500 applicants for one job. There could be 10 top people in the field. If you are passionate about the organization continue to look at the organization.
The first time I applied for a recruiter job with Taylor Made – I came in third. Then four years later, I’m leading global recruiting.

Michael Jordan got cut from his high school varsity team and ended up becoming one of the best players of all time. You shouldn’t discourage easily. I find that the lessons I learned on the playing field have guided me to this point in his career: Hard work pays off, you accomplishes far more working with teammates, and a good coach is critical to deliver successful end results!

Steve Bonomo
Head of Global Talent Acquisition for Adidas

How to do it: Don’t give up on a company because you didn’t get hired the first time out. Don’t be afraid to apply for another position, apply for other jobs of interest as well.
 

Be humble.
 

Occasionally, people aren’t humble enough. People say “I meet all the criteria for the job.” A lot of candidates have come in from our process and people have walked away saying “That’s the smartest person we’ve interviewed for this job but they come out of the interview saying ‘let’s not hire them.’ We like to see people who feel like they have something to learn from us, too.  I’m not going to ask you to rewire yourself.  You want people who can sell themselves, but people who can be themselves, too.

Miles Parroco
Director of Recruiting, Eventbrite

How to do it: Again, It’s important to show what you want to learn from a job just as much as you share your accomplishments. Show you are human…and why people should want to work with you, too.


Demonstrate you’re a team player with “humble confidence.”

We look for individuals who have a collaborative style and what we call a “humble confidence.” Can you listen to and build on the ideas of others yet respectfully advocate for your own ideas, too?
Julie Motta
Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for Whirlpool Corporation

How to do it: When you talk about details, be concrete and avoid adjectives: “The event I organized was attended by 500, an increase of 200 over the year before” says more than “I did way better than last year’s organizer in getting people to come to the event.”

Don’t be afraid to say what you don’t know — and what you hope to learn from a new job. Remember, most employers value employees who can follow instructions as much as they do leadership.


Ask for the job.
 

Research each company you want to work for.   If you are socially connected (personally or professionally via social media) with someone from the company, if appropriate, query those associates about the culture.    Ask related questions about the job and the company.  

Interviewing is getting to know one another.  During the interview process, instead of answering questions with one word, tell a story about how you positively responded to a situation.  Before you leave the interview, ask what the next steps are in the process.  In the best-case scenario: Ask for the job.

Wanda Callahan,
Director of Recruiting, Harris Interactive

How to do it:  Don’t be afraid to show your sincere interest in an opportunity, and ask how you can follow-up. If you don’t hear back, pick up the phone and follow-up. Once hired, how you follow-up on activities for the job will be important — so why not demonstrate that you have these qualities in advance!
 
 

 

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