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, 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 and we’ll share the love.


12 Career Tips for 12: Recruiters Share How to Be a Rock Star (Part II)

December 27th, 2011 No comments

Each week, StartWire News features insider tips from recruiting directors and talent acquisition pros. As we look ahead to 2012, we’re encouraged by the uptick in hiring — and we want to share some of the best of the best with you so that you can land the job you want — fast! 

This is the second of two installments on this topic. You can find the first one here.

Show you’ve got “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

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.

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

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


Wear your enthusiasm on your sleeve.

Editor’s Note: This is something we heard over and over — from virtually every company we interviewed. 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
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

Insider Q & A: Chris Hoyt on How to Get a Job at Pepsi

December 16th, 2011 No comments

Chris Hoyt is a Talent Engagement & Marketing Leader at PepsiCo. He’s also known as “The Recruiter Guy.” PepsiCo offers the world’s largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.

We sat down with him for a conversation on recruiting, working at PepsiCo, and best practices on finding a new job.

You recruit a lot on social media, but have also gone on the record as saying that sourcing candidates via job boards is also a good idea. How does a candidate get your attention?

This came up recently when I responded to an article that alleged that job boards were at the end of their usefulness – which I disagree with completely.  Job boards will continue to evolve as they have for years, in an effort to keep up with, and balance, the needs of both jobseekers and employers.  Because of this, job boards still aren’t something that jobseekers around the world should remove from their plan of attack when looking for employment.

At PepsiCo, we work hard to strike a balance between both traditional and progressive recruiting tactics, because we know that there is no cookie cutter approach to recruiting for such a diverse stable of talent.  At any given time this year we’ve had over a thousand jobs available around the world.  In our search to hire what we hope is the best and the brightest we know that our efforts can be a combination of ‘smiling and dialing’, real-world networking, brute sourcing and social recruiting.

Getting the attention of a talent acquisition professional at PepsiCo has gotten easier over the last year with our explosion into social and mobile recruiting.  And while resumes are still important, they’re not necessarily what a sourcer or recruiter is going to see first.  Job seekers that manage their online footprint, how they are portrayed and how they’re engaged, on various social and professional networks like Twitter or LinkedIn could find it makes all the difference.

What types of jobs is PepsiCo hiring for right now?

Wow, that’s a loaded question.  I mean, this morning we had over 800 jobs posted in just the United States and Canada which covered a range of jobs – from Drivers and Warehouse workers to Marketing Managers, Scientists and Finance professionals.

What’s been really exciting for us over the last year has been the update to our career site that allows job seekers to create automated search agents that notify them of jobs based on their key interests or preferred work location.  We even took that technology and incorporated it into our Facebook fanpage and recent mobile applications released for iPad, iPhone and Droid called Possibilities.  So no matter what type of job someone is interested in, they can receive custom updates quickly and easily.

What don’t job seekers know about working at PepsiCo that they should know?  Do you hire for any PepsiCo subsidiaries as well? (For example, McGraw Hill also includes Standard & Poors…)

I think one of the things that job seekers might miss at a glance is the sheer variety of brands and products that sit within the PepsiCo umbrella.  We have over 19 different brands that earn over $1 billion in revenue yearly – including Pepsi, Walkers, Tostitos, Aquafina and more.  But in addition to these we have an amazing array of other products like Rice-a-Roni, Cap n’ Crunch, Sobe and others that are incredibly successful.  So when you think of all of these products, you might assume that we’re a company of just manufacturing and marketing people.  

The truth is that we’re made up of over 300,000 game changers and mountain movers that handle incredibly complex challenges related to any aspect of our business.  You’re a Finance major that loves Mountain Dew? We’ve probably got a job you’d love to take on right out of college.  You’re a part-time athlete that can’t get enough Quaker Oats and has a passion for sustainability? I’d bet we’ve got something that would keep you pretty fired up. 

Any bad assumption that you’ve seen job seekers make in applying for jobs with PepsiCo?

I think that often job seekers assume that at large companies there isn’t anyone on the other end of the application system – and that it’s all completely automated or that they’re submissions won’t ever be seen.  But while we do have a system that helps us to more quickly find qualified submissions, there is a real recruiting team at PepsiCo that wants nothing more than to find the best match for each job available.  A well constructed bio, resume, skillset – whether online or offline – still goes a long way.

Do you have any “never do” tips for individuals in working with recruiters? What are your pet peeves?

It’s funny – I just had a bit of discussion on Google+ about this exact topic.  I think that my biggest pet peeve with anyone, not job seekers specifically, is a sense of entitlement.  For a lot of people it is incredibly tough to find a job right now – the right company, the right location, the right pay, etc.  And this can understandably weigh on anyone.  But 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.  We’ve taken huge steps over the last few months to create active LinkedIn groups related to specific job interests like Finance, Human Resources, Sales and others.  We’ve expanded our engagement channels to be more visible to job seekers around the world by including recruiters from other parts of the globe to engage people online.

Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

How does someone learn more about PepsiCo as an employer?

I don’t give the standard response to this that most recruiters provide which is, “go do your homework.”  I believe that pulling up a company’s Wikipedia page or heading to their corporate page is 101 – and it’s typically pretty boring.  I encourage job seekers to look past the “corporate sell” of basic benefits and stock history. They should be looking for the bigger picture.  At PepsiCo we’re making this easy with things like our People of PepsiCo page that shows employees talking about what’s possible for them in AND outside of work as a member of the PepsiCo family.

Our employees are becoming widely available in networks like LinkedIn and are now actively sharing stories about our company in their status updates directly from our internal newsfeeds in the hopes that you’ll talk with them about what’s going on.

Look for these things. This is a level of authenticity that makes an employer worth really looking at.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

Manage your social footprint and engage the company you’re interested in learning more about.

Landing a Job in the Polls: How Harris Interactive Hires!

December 7th, 2011 No comments

Executives prefer SUVs, navy blue suits and part their hair on the right. More than half of Americans leave 11 days of vacation on the table every year. 80 may be the new 65 for retirement age.Wanda Harris, Director of Recruiting for Harris Interactive

These are but a few results of the recent surveys conducted by market research leader Harris Interactive on behalf of their clients.  Harris Interactive provides full service market research and polling services for multiple industries across the globe including ad-hoc and customized qualitative and quantitative research, service bureau research (conducted for other market research firms), and long-term tracking studies.

We sat down with Harris Interactive’s Director of Recruitment, Wanda Callahan, to learn about how Harris Interactive hires – and also to get a few tips on job search strategy from the perspective of a recruiting insider.  Prior to joining Harris Interactive in 2004, Callahan worked in corporate HR recruiting for companies including Kodak Imaging Services and Pitney Bowes. She started her career as an executive recruiter for private search firms, so she knows the hiring process inside and out.  Callahan has a passion for finding and delivering quality candidates to hiring managers.

I would imagine that most people who apply to jobs at Harris Interactive have read your polls and are familiar with your work. What surprises candidates about working at Harris Interactive?

I think one thing that surprises people is how warm and genuinely friendly our staff is – as well as how smart our researchers are.

Harris Interactive was recently selected as a great place to apply by the Candidate Experience Awards.What stands out about your hiring process?  What’s unique about the job applicant experience at Harris Interactive?

We are a service organization so we want to hire customer-focused employees.   In turn, we want to be as responsive as possible to our candidates assisting those in the interview and on-boarding process as much as possible, as well as making sure that applicants know when a position has been filled and that we will retain their resume/CV for future opportunities.

What types of jobs are you hiring for right now? Is there one place to find all of your employment opportunities?

Right now we are hiring for several market research and inside sales positions. For market research, applicants must have a minimum of a four-year degree.   We can usually find quality graduates who enjoy research with majors in Psychology or Statistics.  The Harris Interactive website contains all our open jobs.

What makes a great Harris Interactive candidate and employee?

We look for high energy, client focused applicants – people who want to go above and beyond.

Can you tell me about someone you recently hired? And what made them stand out?

I recently interviewed a Ph.D. researcher for one position but discovered he was not appropriate for that particular job.   However, he was open to continuing a dialogue with us so we could learn more about him.  He had additional traits and skills in an area where we could expand our business.   This happens frequently.  We might have one job in mind for someone when reviewing a resume, but other jobs may be created.   Be open to other opportunities that you may not ordinarily consider. Many job seekers are closely tied to what they are looking for.  Increase your odds by expanding your search.  Never close a door.  Your background might be very appropriate for several different opportunities, even those not currently available and posted.

What’s the best way a job applicant – for any job, at any company – can stand out in the applicant pool?

With today’s electronic tools to assist HR in the interview process, many applicants may feel their resumes go into a black hole.  Something as simple as remembering to accurately provide contact information is vital.  Mis-spelling an email address or supplying the incorrect phone number on a submission form may eliminate or delay communication from arriving to your destination punctually.  Also, you will want to make certain you are applying for the appropriate position that meets your background.  Technology and one’s speed can sometimes click on the wrong job.

If you are relocating to a specific area, make certain to include that information with your resume.  A resume can easily be rejected depending on the address provided.

Why do people like working for Harris Interactive?

Our market research employees work on a lot of different subject-matter projects.  They enjoy the variety; to name just a few:  conducting online research regarding packaging of a consumer product, researching a political issue, determining if a new financial product is worthy of marketing, etc.  

In order to succeed here, researchers thrive as an individual contributor but also enjoy working and providing value on a team.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

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 relative 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.

Harris Interactive always appreciates your opinion.  Join the Harris Poll.  We’d like to hear your thoughts.  It’s free to join.  And you’ll have the chance to earn rewards for your participation.  It’s free:

How to get a job at Staples (There’s More Than You See in Stores)

November 28th, 2011 No comments

Staples was founded 25 years ago –after co-founder Thomas Stemberg searched for a replacement printer ribbon over Fourth of July weekend. Stemberg was unable to find his printer ribbon as there were no open office supply stores. But he did develop a big idea of creating a supermarket for office supplies with affordable prices.

Today, Staples is the world’s largest office products company with over 1570 stores nationwide and annual sales of $25B. With 90,000 associates worldwide and opportunities in retail, dot com, catalog and B2B channels, Staples has a presence in more than 26 countries throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia — bringing “easy” to offices and consumers everywhere.

Erica Rockenback leads Staples’ global recruiting efforts. Previously, she led Talent Acquisition teams for global Fortune 100 companies like 3M and United Healthgroup, with a focus on manufacturing, healthcare, retail and technology. We sat down with Erica to learn more about working at Staples.

I would imagine that most people who apply to jobs at Staples have shopped at Staples and seen employees at Staples in action. What surprises candidates about working at Staples?

When candidates think of Staples they tend to think of us solely as retail stores, however we’re also a B2B and B2C company with a significant corporate infrastructure. Additionally, we have a large e-commerce business, as Staples is the second largest e-tailer next to Amazon. To see all the jobs we’re hiring for right now, start your search on our website or LinkedIn.

Due to the breadth of the company there is a wide array of employment opportunites. Once you begin employment with Staples you see how much we promote from within and move talent across businesses and business units.

Candidates for jobs at Staples— as well as our new hires— sometimes refer to Staples as a “think tank.”  Candidates and new hires are really impressed with the smart thinking that our people dedicate to all parts of our business. The people that work at Staples are one of our most important differentiators.

Everyone knows that you want customers to say, “that was easy” after shopping with Staples – do you want candidates to say the same about applying? And if yes, what’s unique about your hiring process?

We do anything we can to make the process of applying easy. We have multiple access points from online applications on our website to LinkedIn. We are also building a new talent community that will make it easier for candidates to apply. We are always looking to help job seekers optimize the process of getting hired. We ask ourselves, “How can we make the process of applying even easier?” We are focused on having the process be a simple one.

What’s unique about our hiring process is that you meet a variety of people. We have panel interviews. We have people meet potential colleagues. We look at the employment process from both the perspective of the candidate and from the perspective of a hiring manager: How can we assess that Staples is the right fit for you?

What types of jobs are you hiring for right now? Is there one place to find all of your employment opportunities?

We hire across the organization. We always have a large volume of store jobs, typically with 6-7 key roles. Right now, we’re hiring people for sales positions across the company, as well as jobs in technology, mobile technology, merchandising, finance, and marketing. We have a huge push to hire new colleagues for eCommerce roles. Of course we are always hiring for support roles like HR as well.

What makes a great Staples candidate and employee?

You have to be strong in your discipline. We are looking for people who are drawn to a challenge and who want to make an impact. Being able to collaborate is also important. As a potential employee you have to be able to work and live in a fast-paced, customer focused environment.

You can’t be adverse to change. In our 25-year history, we’ve made big investments – and we have also taken risks.  We’re a company that has always evolved to meet our customers’ evolving needs.

What’s the best way I can prepare for an interview at Staples?

Research always helps. Even though we are far more than just a retail store, one of the quickest things you can do is to shop at a store. We have a very comprehensive website as well. From a personal tactical point of view, come prepared with demonstrated examples of your experience and how it relates to the job that you are applying for. Be able to bring color to your interview. Think about how you can make an impact at Staples.

We coach our interviewers to do job specific interviews as well as behavioral interviews to look at all of your abilities so that we can assess your capacity to succeed.

 Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

Isn’t this a bad time to apply given the state of unemployment and the labor market?

While the perception is that the labor market is soft, we are definitely hiring.  There’s so much more to working at Staples than many of our customers will ever recognize. Most people have – and want to have – more than one career now. You can do more than one thing at Staples.

There’s also a lot more coming in terms of opportunity. You are going to see and hear a lot more about hiring from Staples – from Facebook and Twitter to our website.

Keep in touch with what we are doing and stay connected. If you apply once and don’t get selected – keep trying. Look at more than one job. If you are just looking at retail opportunities, don’t hesitate to broaden that search as well. Stay informed. See where Staples is in the news. Visit our stores. Visit our Websites. Ask: How can I get connected and network with employees? All of these steps will help you get ahead in our process.

Use it now—actionable advice for job seekers:

Spend time researching employers upfront. Pay attention to the companies that are moving and shaking. Check the local news and media. Look at the culture and be prepared.  You’ll stand out when you show how you can fit in.

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Insider Q & A: Julie Motta on How and Why to Work at Whirlpool

November 21st, 2011 No comments

Julie Motta is a Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for Whirlpool Corporation, where she is involved in activities around predictive assessment, employer branding, vendor management and recruitment process optimization.  She has held roles in both the recruiting and generalist space at Whirlpool and ExxonMobil and has a passion around connecting employees and external candidates to the right development and career opportunities.

Whirlpool is the largest manufacturer of home appliances in the world, with over 70,000 employees globally and more than 70 manufacturing and research facilities. You recently won recognition for having a great “candidate experience” and for treating job applicants well. How does a big company create personal relationships with job applicants?

This can be a challenge for any organization.  We’ve found that having a well-defined and centralized process that focuses on the candidate needs to be in place to successfully create a positive experience.  Ours is called The Exceptional Candidate Experience (ECE). The ECE is fully embedded in our candidate process and is a key part of the work our talent acquisition team – otherwise known as corporate recruiting – manages on a daily basis.

We make concentrated efforts to ensure our candidates are informed and engaged throughout each stage of the process.  Each candidate works with a centralized contact from interview to offer. We also provide customized community tours of the area where our global headquarters facilities resides in Benton Harbor, Michigan, along with a gift of our branded products when candidates visit us onsite.  It is very important for us to ensure that candidates have all of the information they need before deciding Whirlpool is the place for them – it has to be a fit both ways.

Our recruitment process is built on the principle that every potential candidate for employment is also a potential customer – and it’s important that we treat them that way. In fact, we regularly measure the level of satisfaction candidates have with their onsite visit – whether or not they were hired. 

What do you want job seekers to know about working at Whirlpool?

We just celebrated our 100th anniversary this year. One of the most attractive features of Whirlpool is that the core values the company was founded on are still the foundation of our organization today: Integrity, teamwork, respect, diversity and inclusion, and a spirit of winning.  

We are a global company offering vast career opportunities and consumer solutions across the world, yet the work environment still feels like that of a smaller organization.  Our culture drives a natural focus on collaboration, ownership and accountability, a respect for individual diverse thinking, and a continuous energy around personal development.  In fact, we’ve recently been recognized as one of the top-10 Global Companies for Leaders as part of a study released by Aon Hewitt, the RBL Group and FORTUNE Magazine.   In addition, our diversity networks and our strong focus on social responsibility through efforts like Habitat for Humanity, Cook for the Cure, United Way, Whirlpool Foundation (to name a few) help to develop a strong internal community as well. 

What types of jobs are you hiring for right now? Where are they located?

Our openings span across various functions – from engineering and product development to procurement, sales, customer relations, marketing and corporate functions like IT and finance. The majority of our U.S. positions are located around our global headquarters and technology centers on the shores of Lake Michigan, with additional opportunities available at our various US plant locations.  You can review our open jobs at

Whirlpool has offices all over the world and markets products in about 170 countries across the globe.  How should U.S. applicants who are applying for U.S. based jobs acknowledge the international nature of the company? Do you have any tips on skills that candidates should emphasize when applying to a multi-national corporation?

While some roles have more of a global nature than others, it is important to understand the impact each function and region has on the organization as a whole.  Whirlpool is truly global in every sense of the word.   It is not unheard of to have employees who sit in the US report up to leaders sitting in other countries, or vice versa.  It is very common to have meetings with people from various regions, all working on the same initiative.  The ability to effectively communicate with and drive clear actions among these cross-regional teams is crucial.  

We look for a broad cultural mindset specifically when we hire for jobs with a global focus. In addition, we look for respect for diversity, communication skills, the ability to build relationships across regions and functions, as well as the ability to drive initiatives beyond your own team or region.   These skillsets become increasingly important as we continue to expand our presence across the globe.

What makes a great Whirlpool candidate and employee?

A great Whirlpool candidate has a desire to learn, will bring new thinking to the table while absorbing input from others and have a history of achieving surprising results.  They will have successfully initiated and executed meaningful changes and have a passion for building and being surrounded by strong teams.    

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?

Above all, you need to be able to build and manage relationships and exhibit unquestioned integrity. Our core values have deliberately been placed at the top of our leadership model. Respect for diverse thinking and backgrounds is required and you need to be able to consistently challenge the status quo in a way that will help us to win in the marketplace.

What’s the best way to connect with Whirlpool employees and recruiters? Do you have any pet peeves – or things job seekers should not do to contact you?

Start out by applying to our careers site online. Our recruiters review our candidate database regularly and can match you to positions you may not have reviewed. You are more than welcome to email a recruiter with your resume, but make sure that you also apply online.  If you include a cover letter, it is best to keep it short.  Recruiters review a lot of resumes every day – these letters should be reserved for highlighting any critical information that isn’t on the resume.

While we don’t have too many pet peeves, don’t be a “serial applicant” and apply for every job regardless of whether you are qualified. Carefully select the roles that best match your skillsets and experience…and apply for those versus applying for everything. This shows that you have put thought into what role you can perform most effectively and how you can best apply your skillsets.

Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

What’s so exciting about working in the appliance industry? 

There’s an old perception that the appliance industry is a sea of white boxes. If you head to your local retailer, you’ll see that this is far from accurate.  The appliance industry has demonstrated a huge amount of movement and innovation over the years. Look at washers and dryers – if you see where we started in 1911 or even 1970 to where we are now, dramatic changes have been made in their features, functioning, and aesthetics.   In addition, we are always working on ways to reduce energy usage, save time, and shrink our ecological footprint.   Our people are empowered and expected to think outside of the box….and to contribute to progressive work processes that generate new ideas, products and services.  As a result, we are able to deliver real value to our consumers in ways never before seen in our industry

We work with products that we also experience on the consumer end, so our people have a lot of passion for what they do.  We don’t consider ourselves to just be designing, manufacturing and selling appliances – our products, technology and services are providing consumer solutions that help make everyday life easier.  With these continued advancements, there’s not a more exciting time to be a part of our organization.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

Your resume is the often your first introduction to an organization.  Outside of proofreading it and making it concise, it is also important to make it results focused.  Many resumes read like a job description – the candidates who stand out to me are those who are able to share the results they’ve achieved and changes they’ve driven within the context of their job.

Research the organization you’re speaking with and be prepared to ask informed questions and offer information around how you can add value.  The interview should be a two-way conversation – you should be assessing the company’s fit for you as much as the interviewer is assessing your fit for the company.


Insider Q & A: Steve Bonomo on How Adidas Hires – and How to Score a Job

November 14th, 2011 No comments

Steve Bonomo is the Head of Global Talent Acquisition for Adidas; he’s also a sports enthusiast, a recruiting nut, and a man living his dream job who started preparing for his job when he first startedout on the little league field 30 years ago. A graduate of San Jose State University with a BS in Psychology, Steve worked for a search firm before working for TaylorMade Golf, one of Adidas’ primary brands, in San Diego. For the past six years he’s worked in Herzogenaurach, Germany where he serves as the Global Head of Talent Acquisition for Adidas.

Adidas is one of the largest sporting brands and manufacturers of sporting goods in the world. You produce products for multiple sports — Football, Running, Training, and Basketball – are you looking for well-rounded candidates to join your recruiting team? Or do you focus more on specific areas of expertise?

When I got out here six years ago, I was given the opportunity to build a recruiting team. I wanted to do something a little bit different from the traditional approach to corporate recruiting where the focus is often on the number of jobs you have open. I wanted to build a recruiting operation where there was also a focus on the candidate.

We began hiring people with a recruiting agency background because they were accustomed to being paid on based on their ability to develop relationships with both job candidates and the company that hired them to fill a vacancy. After all, to fill a job you want to make sure that the candidate is a fit for the job and that the organization is a good fit for the candidate.

My brother says, “The secret to being successful is to follow up and do what you say you are going to do.” In recruiting, you have to have people who have relationship skills, and who follow up.

The other thing that is important – when we hire for all jobs and brands within the adidas Group – we look for passion for our brands, our products or a love of sports. If you don’t love what we do, you don’t get everything you can out of working for the organization.

We’ve also found that we are a lot more successful hiring people who have grown up playing team sports, as opposed to people who have grown up working in individual roles because when you are working in – and with – a team you can accomplish great things.

What do you want job seekers to know about working at Adidas?

It all goes back to our value proposition: Adidas is a place where you have the opportunity to shape the future of sport through the work that you do each day. The founder of adidas, Adi Dossler, was focused on improving the true performance of athlete. He wanted to help people run a little faster, jump higher better. Our founder was all about helping people achieve what they want to achieve through sport.

If you do your job really well within the Group, you are going to be able to contribute to the betterment of that sport. That runs true for all jobs. You can truly impact the game of sport. Just like TaylorMade founder Gary Adams did when he introduced metal woods golf clubs into golf.

What types of jobs are you hiring for right now? Where are they located?

We have over 625 openings right now worldwide in 75 locations – not including store retail.  Our biggest areas are in the United States in three major locations in Carlsbad, CA (TaylorMade), Canton, Massachusetts (Reebok), and Portland, Oregon (Adidas). We also have 2500 retail stores around the world, which will soon represent  50% of our overall business.

Jobs at Adidas
run across functions from ecommerce, customization (personalization), interactive products (like miCoach). We almost always have open positions in marketing and design, as well as infrastructure positions like IT, HR, and corporate finance – I probably have 75 openings there now.

We’re having a great year in terms of earnings. Everybody had been in some way impacted by the recession but we were still able to continue to grow as a company.

Given that the adidas Group is a global company, how should U.S. applicants who are applying for U.S. based jobs acknowledge the international nature of the company? Do you have any tips on skills that candidates should emphasize when applying to a multi-national corporation?

You should absolutely show that you understand what it means to work at a global company.

It’s absolutely important to think globally if you’re thinking about growth potential. It opens a lot more doors. It is a lot easier to think about career progression if you are working with a company that has more than one office. We have 75 different nationalities working here at our headquarters in Germany.  It’s not uncommon working at our headquarters that you will be in a meeting with 5 people from 5 different countries.

There aren’t that many companies around the world where you have a realistic opportunity to work in most major locations around the globe. You have an opportunity to do that here. I joined the company in 2002 and had no idea I would ever be living in another country.

What makes a great adidas Group candidate and employee?

If we’re looking at for what I hire for into recruiting, I think you have to have the mindset of wanting to talk to people. You also need to be very organized.

For general positions, we are looking for people who are attracted to the brand combined with an area of expertise that fills a need here. Loving sports definitely helps. We have tennis courts, basketball courts, football fields, etc. So If you don’t like it, you are not going to get the most out of your location. However, we also offer a great environment, fun people and lots to do even if you aren’t playing sports regularly.

What’s the best way I can prepare for an interview within the adidas Group?

I can tell what you shouldn’t do. Don’t come in wearing the product of our competitors.

You should know who our competitors are; Puma was actually founded by Adi Dassler’s brother! Know your area of the business well and be able to think in innovative ways. We are looking for people who have a knowledge of our brand and who understand where we want to go.

If I am interviewing a person for a role, I want to hear how they have been innovative, and I want to see how they can work in culturally diverse situations. You have to be open minded and able to step back and understand how your cultural background influences your initial reactions to things. You have to be able to look at issues and events from different perspectives, and you have to be truly passionate about doing that.

Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

What is the adidas Group?

We are so often referred to as Adidas. The group is actually a collection of brands that have many similarities – Reebok, TaylorMade, Adidas, CCM (Hockey), Rockport, Ashworth and Adidas Golf. The founders of all of these companies have similar stories; the CEOs grew up in the industry and have lived through so much in the field.  We are successful because of the collection of the brands that we have today – and our common goal of helping athletes perform better.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

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!

Insider Q & A: Stacy Van Meter on How to Get a Deluxe Job (& Why You Should Chat Up Recruiters)

November 7th, 2011 No comments

Stacy Van Meter is a Senior Manager of Social Marketing/Employment Brand for Deluxe. Prior toStacy Van MeterDeluxe, she was a recruiter for 3M.  She started her career as the Director of eCommerce for United Healthcare and is very passionate about digital marketing and technology.

In addition to being one of the largest producers of checks in the U.S., Deluxe has offices in 33 U.S. locations as well as offices in Canada. Is there one place to find all of your employment opportunities?

Deluxe has more than three million small business customers and is a marketing provider for small businesses and financial institutions. As a marketing provider, we provide everything from web hosting to email marketing and logos for small businesses. We also do checks and forms:  A core part of our business for over 100 years.

You can see all of our jobs at

What do you want job seekers to know about working at Deluxe?

Deluxe is a company in transformation. Our culture today is one of excitement but also one of ambiguity. People have an opportunity to make an impact fast. There are certain kinds of candidates that would be turned on by that. We are looking for people with passion and curiosity. We are looking for people who can trod that unpaved road, who can figure it out. It’s important to us that we find people who are a good fit with our culture.

Applying for a job is a hard process. At Deluxe we are going the extra mile to be approachable, honest, and open – and to help our job seekers with that process. We have a promise to stop referring to candidates for employers as candidates and refer to them as customers. Our promise is to treat you with respect and dignity.

Because if we do that right, we are turning our customers and prospective employees into advocates. Happy candidates will share information – even if they don’t get the job. Every time a customer sends an email to a recruiter saying, “I really appreciate your help in my job search. Even though I didn’t get the job, I appreciate the time you took with me,” we hold onto that email. We get hundreds of these responses.

What types of jobs are you hiring for right now?

We are hiring across the board. Five or six years ago we hired for a lot of jobs in print production. Now we hire for more digital jobs – analytics, ecommerce, and marketing. We also have interactive jobs and roles in ecommerce. We hire for finance jobs, operations and HR roles.

We also hire many people for call center jobs. We typically hire about 1,200 new employees a year.

What makes a great Deluxe candidate and employee?

Someone who is excited by change. Someone who wants to have that impact fast. Bottom line: We want to see passion and curiosity to figure things out. Because we are a company experiencing exciting transformation, our employees get a chance to help shape the future here at Deluxe.

What’s the best way I can prepare for an interview at Deluxe?

One of the most beneficial things you can do as a candidate is do your research. Know the company. Learn about the people. The culture. What the company does. Become knowledgeable. Check out Facebook, Twitter, and sentiment sites like to find out what others are saying.

Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

How should I follow up?

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.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

Check out Deluxe. Connect with us on social media – and get to know us online. Get to know not just employers – but also employees. We want our employees to be engaged in the process, too.

Insider Q & A: PNNL’s Rob Dromgoole on How to Get a Job at a National Lab

November 1st, 2011 No comments

If you’ve recently marveled at new airport security techniques, you’ve seen the results of work started at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a Research and Development facility.

We sat down with Rob Dromgoole, Director of Recruiting for the National Security Directorate & Director of Recruiting Technology at PNNL. Dromgoole is responsible for creating and implementing recruiting strategy for a 1,200 employee, $650-million business focusing on R&D related to nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism, but he calls himself a matchmaker. “I think recruiting is the best job in the world because I get paid to help people achieve their life aspirations. While I often have to close doors when a job isn’t the right fit for someone, I’m often able to find the right place for them later when another job comes open. And that’s fun.”

We sat down and talked to him about how he hires, what he looks for, and tips for getting a job at a national lab.

Tell me about the work environment at PNNL?

Almost all the research conducted at PNNL is collaborative in nature. We’re working on hard problems, which require a collective effort.  Scientists and engineers work together to solve problems for our clients.  It is not uncommon to have collections of physicists, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and biologists, all working on applied solutions.  Explosives detection and some of the work we’ve done in national security is one example that reflects that. Our flat organizational structure helps to promote that collaboration. There are only about 4-5 layers of management for the average individual engineer or scientist to our CEO.

PNNL is part of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science but managed and operated by Battelle, the world’s largest independent R & D organization. Given your overlap between both public and private sectors, should applicants submit a Federal resume to you – or a private one?

A private resume or CV is fine.  Battelle – the world’s largest independent scientific research and technology development organization – has operated PNNL for DOE and its predecessors since 1965. Today, approximately 4,900 are employed at PNNL; our business volume is more than $1.1 billion. Our Richland, Washington campus includes unique laboratories and specialized equipment as well as the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science national scientific user facility. In addition to the Richland campus, we operate a marine research facility in Sequim, Washington and satellite offices.

Most candidates apply with a standard resume or CV depending on the job. It’s okay to submit a 25 page CV for a science or engineering centric role that includes academic research publications. We expect to see publications on a CV.   However, a standard resume is acceptable for non-research centric roles.

What are you most proud of in terms of your work environment and working at PNNL?

People want to be here. The average tenure of a PNNL employee is 14+ years. That doesn’t happen at most companies today. We have a number of employees who are over 70 years old who continue to choose to work here.  As a result of this culture where people want to make a difference, it makes recruiting for the organization something I’m proud of.  

The collective passion and focus around our mission make PNNL a special organization in my opinion. 

I work with hiring managers who really believe in their mission and the research.

For example, our airport screening technologies were initially developed by PNNL   It’ s exciting to see how technologies developed at PNNL are used in different fields.   Another more recent example is our lab was the first in the U.S. to detect Fukushima radiation:

Tell me about one of your most recent hires. What stood out to you, and why did you make them an offer?

One hire that comes to mind is a Chief Scientist focusing on Nuclear Fuels research.  He’s one of the top nuclear scientists in the world. He’s doing research on ways to more efficiently design nuclear fuel so nuclear power plants can run more efficiently. He’s one of the best scientists in his field. He was living in San Diego and moved here to make a bigger impact in the nuclear industry, and potentially change the way nuclear engineering works across the globe through his research. The less often a power plant has to shut down to re-fuel, the longer it can operate and provide electricity to America. He’ll have real impact through his work here, and he’s already making a difference.

A more entry-level hire was a Post-Doctorate student who recently converted to a full-time position focusing in Analytical Chemistry. This student initially heard about our research in analytical chemistry while studying in South Florida. He wanted the opportunity to conduct research with scientists who are considered the best in the world in this space. As a result, this person who is single, could have continued to work and live in Miami and enjoy that lifestyle. However, he chose to move to Tri-Cities, WA and work at PNNL.    

That says something about our organization in my opinion.

 Another recent hire was an unemployed former Marine who’d gotten a battlefield promotion in Afghanistan. Our unemployment office and veteran’s office referred her to us, and we hired her. She’s doing a great job.  Her leadership qualities and initiative were an exact match for the position we considered her for.

Any “never do” tips for individuals applying to work at government agencies? For example, if you are applying for jobs with security clearance requirements, is it prudent to share your experience in the process on social networks?

Don’t apply with a sloppy resume; the little things can ruin your chances at securing an interview.

 People will hear it’s all about networking but at the end of the day unless someone applies for the role during the window the position is posted – you cannot secure an offer.  I know the process can take time, but unless you apply, you cannot get hired.

 Don’t contact people here about jobs unless you’ve applied for the job. Apply for jobs as you see them. You need to apply before the closing date for the job to get full consideration. 

I highly encourage networking and using your referrals, but you have to apply to get hired. Apply first, and then use your referrals to network. A strategy that has you applying and networking both increases your chances.

What’s the one thing people don’t know about working at PNNL that you wish they knew?

We offer robust relocation benefits for all exempt level jobs. Often, people have concerns that they don’t want to move because of the expense.  However, due to our benefits, we do not want the cost to be a barrier to applying for a great research opportunity.

We offer fantastic back end benefits that account for approximately 36% of the average employees pay. Included in that suite of benefits is a generous 401k match and a pension.

Tri-Cities, Washington is a great place to live. Watch this YouTube video: 

we would love to relocate more scientists and engineers here.

Are there any questions I haven’t asked that I should be asking? What’s the question, and what’s your answer?

What is it that PNNL does again?

What if you could discover dark matter … curb U.S. dependence on foreign fuel … cleanup an oil spill … or save the world from acts of violence before they happen – all by making a vital scientific discovery today? Better yet, what if you could improve humanity for generations to come by finding and nurturing the scientists who will discover a myriad of ways to improve the world around us? Would you?

We are.

 At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we are dedicated to addressing the most intractable problems in energy, the environment and national security. Located in Richland, Washington, PNNL is one among ten U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories managed by DOE’s Office of Science.

We strengthen the U.S. foundation for innovation, and we help find solutions for not only DOE, but for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration, other government agencies, universities and industry. Unlike others, our multidisciplinary scientific teams are brought together to address their problems.  More specifically, at PNNL we

* provide the facilities, unique scientific equipment, and world-renowned scientists and engineers to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation

* prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

* increase U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil through research of hydrogen and biomass-based fuels
* reduce the effects of energy generation and use on the environment.

What’s often overlooked in applications?

Paying attention to details. Make sure your LinkedIn profile and resume are typo-free and align with your resume. Pay attention to the little stuff, because employers will pay attention to that, too.

Use it now actionable—advice for job seekers:

Spend some time on the front end – before you apply – and design and figure out your interests and long-term career goals. What sells hiring managers are candidates who can clearly articulate and explain their interests and long-term career goals.

The candidates who get the offers are the ones who really show a passion in the mission of what you are doing. The candidate who shows their interest aligns with the job often is the one who gets hired – even if they have less experience or education than the other candidates at times.  

The key ingredient is passion for what you do, aligned with our research interests.

Be able to speak with confidence and clarity about what you want, and why a job is right for you. Getting others to vouch for you – and referrals – are also helpful.

Finally, don’t give up. Don’t forget that there are five million U.S. jobs that are unfulfilled, and we have 103 of them right now – reach out!