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.)


New job recommendations engine and 1334 new companies added to the StartWire application update engine.

August 8th, 2011 Comments off

We’ve been burning the midnight oil the last couple of weeks to pump out a new and improved job recommendations engine and dramatically expand our network of companies in our application update engine.  We’re happy to announce that we just rolled these great updates.  We hope you like the results. 

Here are the details:

  • New & Improved Job Recommendations: Every time you track a new application with StartWire, our recommendations engine gets smarter. We analyze your applications,  look for key characteristics you like (and dislike) and use these to recommend better jobs.  You can edit and enhance these Likes and Dislikes on our new recommendations , tab with a few simple mouse clicks…so you can tune our engine to an even higher level.  Give it a try. The results are awesome…and as always…we’ll let you know about any Insider connections you have for any job we return!
  • 1334 New Companies Added to the StartWire Application Update Engine: Job seekers and companies alike are ‘into’ our our application update engine. Job seekers love the fact we are closing the ‘black hole’ and companies are ecstatic about the fact we are helping their applicants feel better about their recruiting process.  Today, we’re happy to announce we’ve added 1334 new companies in the last month…bringing the total network to 4,000+ supported companies.

And BTW, last week was the best week in StartWire’s short life. New users, tracked applications, and site usage is going through the roof. Thank you all for spreading the love about StartWire. 

StartWire is completely free for job seekers; you can sign up here.

About StartWire

StartWire™ closes the ‘application black hole’ by providing job seekers with free, automatic updates on their job applications from over 4,000 employers via e-mail and text. StartWire™ also provides a suite of tools that streamline the job search process from recommendations on where to apply and friends who can help, to status indicators of your chances of getting a call based on your application date, the age of the job, and industry benchmarks.

StartWire™ launched in early 2011 to rave reviews and write-ups in US News & World Report, About.com, AOL Jobs, CNN, ERE, HR Executive Magazine, & Career Xroads. StartWire™ is the 1st product commercialized by StartDate Labs™ – a recruiting and job search technology incubator. StartDate Labs is based in Lebanon, NH.

New Award Evaluates Employers from the Job Seeker’s Perspective

June 30th, 2011 Comments off

Wouldn’t it be great if employers got graded for their part in the job search process too?

Enter the Candidate Experience Awards 2011 – a competition for corporate recruiting organizations operating in North America. The award process evaluates and recognizes organizations that deliver outstanding candidate experiences. Companies that apply will receive confidential benchmark data on how their scores compare to the applicant group as a whole. Companies that meet or exceed the award standard will receive a C&E (pronounced “candy”) award designation. Finalists will also receive special recognition. The C&E Awards ceremony will be on October 4, 2011, at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas. There is no cost to apply for the award. (Editorial disclosure: StartWire is a sponsor of this award.)

The C & E Awards are being produced by a non-profit organization called The Talent Board. We sat down with two key players in the project, Talent Function Group co-founders Mark McMillan and Elaine Orler, to get an overview of this new program.

What is Talent Function?

MM: TalentFunction is a talent acquisition consultancy. Staffing leaders hire us to make their teams more effective.  We are known most for our expertise in helping companies get the most out of their recruiting technology. If I’m in an elevator with someone outside our industry, I like to say that “We are the management consultants for the recruiting function.”   

What drives this award?

EO: The genesis of the C&E Award (pronounced “Candy”) was a coffee meeting between Chris Forman and I in November 2010. An award idea was proposed by Chris, and I couldn’t have agreed more. From my perspective, the last 16 years of my career has had a focus in some way on the candidate experience. From my first role of recruiting in a fast paced corporation to the need to constantly evaluate how candidates are being communicated with in regards to their submission. Every consulting engagement has an aspect of thinking about the critical talent needs and the behaviors an organization wants to present in recruiting that talent. How corporations treat those that they are interested in is shadowed by how they treat those that they are not interested in. And the latter is a population of thousands, and in some cases millions to key organizations. Getting that experience right is no longer an optional exercise for organizations, and is now a critical competitive advantage.

MM: If you are a recruiting consultant, you tend to hear about candidate experiences all the time. Your friends, and friends of friends, share their job search experiences with you. For Elaine and I, we have heard too many bad stories over the years. I have also experienced this personally; here is one example of the impact that this can have on an organization’s reputation.

Everyone involved in the C&E Award has a strong conviction that this [candidate experience] could be better.  This is our industry and we all want to do something about it.   Companies need help.  Most recruiting leaders need help making the business case to their management.  We feel that the best way to affect change is to create an award that highlight what companies are doing well.  The goal of the award is to re-enforce a standard of humane treatment.

We are doing our best to design the competition, and we think this will help the market see how leading and forward thinking companies are respecting their candidates. To achieve this goal the survey has three rounds and includes a component that directly approaches and solicit feedback from candidates who have applied to work at the company. If companies aren’t willing to let their candidates be surveyed, that demonstrates they are not that serious.

Another key principle to this award is absolute transparency. Anyone can go review the survey questions. We don’t want to have an award that is subjective, but rather one that is clear in its criteria for evaluation and success. We want to be as open and as forthcoming as we can be. We’re trying to affect a standard on how candidates are treated. We want other companies to see how they can do things better.

The Board Members including Gerry Crispin and Ed Newman are equally passionate about this issue. Gerry Crispin, for example, does his own secret shopper approach to this every year.

How does the award work?

The award is organized in three phases. The first phase is a 45-question survey that is designed to surface how the company designed their candidate experience. The survey is comprehensive and it provides the basis to identify and define and industry standards.   

Companies that meet the standard will qualify for second round of the C&E Award.  In phase two, we survey the company’s employment candidates directly to get a sense for how the company’s approach is actually working. The companies that do well on the candidate survey will go into the third round where a panel of expert judges will review, discuss, and confirm how they are delivering their candidate experience. We expect to find that some companies are really doing some amazing, innovative practices. We expect to give the award to all of the companies that meet the C&E standard. That number will be as large as there are companies that meet the C&E Award standard.   And beyond that we will be offering the award “with distinction” to those companies that are really setting superlative examples. The C&E Award is about highlighting a standard, not about just recognizing a small group of companies.

Are there any simple steps that companies can use to make life better for candidates?

There are several steps that companies can do to address the candidate experience and improve it immediately.

Typically the first line of complaint from a candidate is the lack of information shared about their status and consideration. Corporations can easily and quick reduce this frustration by improving the messaging distributed regarding status. Examples include providing candidates with a timeframe on when to expect to hear. “We are still receiving applications we expect to make our decisions in the next 10 business days” is an example. This sets an expectation and assurance that their submission is still under consideration. In this case the company needs to follow through, which leads us to the second most voiced complaint. “I think I’m being considered then I find out they filled the position. “

Companies can easily improve the overall communications to candidates by messaging them about their status as it happens. If a candidate is no longer considered, giving them that feedback in a timely manner provides them the respect they need for having completed the process that in some cases can take up to an hour to complete. Encouraging them back to the website to apply for another position, gives them a call to action that can be the difference between them going to a site to complain about how bad the experience is, and them following the link back to the site to see what new opportunities have been posted

How will the award help companies to refine their own practices?

Each company that applies will get a comprehensive report that benchmarks how they are doing in comparison with the aggregate group. They’ll know where they stand.  This is a compelling value and we aren’t aware of any place else companies could go to get something like this.

How can companies learn more about your program? 


The deadline to apply for consideration is July 15, 2011.

The Early Bird Gets the Job

June 3rd, 2011 Comments off

StartWire research study finds that 50% of new hires applied within first week of job posting.

Lebanon, NH (PRWEB) June 2, 2011

StartWire™ (http://www.startwire.com), a start-up focused on closing the job application black hole today announced the results of a study examining the relationship between a job offer and the timing of a job seekers’ application.  

Data from over 6600 hires and across 10 industries show a consistent pattern: The early bird gets the job.

Of those hired 27% applied within the first two days after a job was posted. Nearly 50% of the hires were applicants who applied within the 1st week; approximately 75% of all hired candidates applied within three weeks. “Job seekers underestimate the importance of being at the front of the hiring line,” says Chris Forman, CEO & Co-Founder of StartWire™.

 “Once a hiring manager or recruiter does an initial pre-screen of candidates and makes an interview list, they rarely look back at applications that come in later. To optimize your chances, apply as soon as you see a job, and seek out an internal contact within the company who can put in a good word for you.”

“This research sheds light on a long known but little discussed reality in corporate recruiting,” says Mark Lotz, Principal at Camden Delta Consulting and former head of Talent Acquisition for Kimberly-Clark Corporation. “Given the upswing in hiring, corporate recruiters are often working on filling many positions. The reality is that if they find enough qualified applicants to satisfy the hiring manager, they rarely have time to go back to review the resumes of any new applicants.”

The data for this study was derived from a private, internal StartWire research project looking into online job search and hiring behavior. All participant information is being kept confidential. This study used blind application data from 15 leading employers gathered over the last 12 months. Application data was collected across all functions and levels. 

About StartWire™

StartWire™ closes the ‘application black hole’ by providing job seekers with free, automatic updates on their job applications from over 2,100 employers via e-mail and text. StartWire™ also provides a suite of tools that streamline the job search process from recommendations on where to apply and friends who can help, to status indicators of your chances of getting a call based on your application date, the age of the job, and industry benchmarks.

StartWire™ launched in early 2011 to rave reviews and write-ups in US News & World Report, About.com, AOL Jobs, CNN, ERE, HR Executive Magazine, & Career Xroads. StartWire™ is the 1st product commercialized by StartDate Labs™ – a recruiting and job search technology incubator. StartDate Labs is based in Lebanon, NH.

Want more information on the study? Contact us.

Free Programs Next Week to Help You With Your Job Search

April 23rd, 2011 Comments off

We want you to have the easiest job search possible.
StartWire is designed to simplify your job search and help you get better feedback. (One of our big features is the ability to get status updates for your applications via text or e-mail.)

Here is a run-down of the free programs we are running next week. We hope you’ll join us – or share with a friend in need of help.

StartWire Orientations

For an overview of our new features — including info on how to get interview questions for jobs you’ve applied for—sign up for one of our 15 minute orientation sessions.
10 Job Search Truths No One Tells You

Straight talk & unconventional strategies from the StartWire team on how the hiring process works behind closed doors. (Our pre-StartWire experience includes helping 70% of the Fortune 500 hire candidates; we’ll share with you tips and tricks to get noticed – and land in the interview pool.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011    Noon –  1 PM EDT
To Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/478665054

Spotlight on Entry-Level Jobs in Chicago (& How to Make Employers Care if You Are a Recent Grad)

April 20th, 2011 Comments off

Today’s Chicago Tribune includes a piece on the challenges that college grads are having landing jobs. That said, we also see over 46,000 job postings in Chicago alone with an estimated salary of $30,000 and over. Take a look at the jobs here.

Think no one is hiring? Check out the entry-level jobs at the University of Chicago. Tuition benefits are rarely a bad thing, and you don’t need a PhD to work as an administrative or research assistant.

One of the biggest mistakes recent grads often make is applying for jobs with the same resume they used in college. It doesn’t read well with employers.

Think about what employers need most – and rearrange your resume to show that.

Here’s a tip: after you graduate, don’t list your education first on your resume. Headline with a concise, summary section that specifies your skills, then move straight into your work (er, internship experience). Place your education after what you’ve done.

Because employers like to see that you’ve graduated, but they are first and foremost looking for what you can do with your education – not that you have it.

Q & A: Ted Rubin on How to Get Positive Returns from Your Social Relationships

April 6th, 2011 Comments off
Prior to Open Sky, Ted built a multi-million member database and social media presence for e.l.f. cosmetics. A leading social marketing strategist, Ted coined the term R-O-R – Return on Relationship, which is the basis of his philosophy. We asked Ted to share his thoughts on relationship marketing for job seekers, you can ask @tedrubin your questions on Twitter or simply interact – he’s famous for his quick response!

You’ve said “social broadcasting gets you a glance, but social networking gets you loyalty.“ Does this hold true for the job search as well as career management? And if, yes, can you describe the difference?

It holds true for establishing any relationship. Social Broadcasting is simply shouting out a message and hoping people are listening. Social Networking is engaging and interacting with your audience, which leads to trust and relationships that have value.

You advise companies to establish an emotional connection with their customers to build long term loyalty – is it appropriate for job seekers to seek a similar point of connection with a potential employer and if yes – how can this be done?

Absolutely, although not with the employer (a company), but with the people within the organization you are reaching out to and interacting with. Learn about them via all the available means at your fingertips today… LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Then do you best to connect on a more personal level with a one-liner or comment about something they seem passionate about. Make a connection.

Any big mistakes you frequently watch job seekers make in networking?

The biggest and most critical mistake, in my humble opinion, is joining so-called “support” groups of other job seekers and wasting valuable time commiserating and assuring each other you will be okay… You need to spend time with people and groups who are employed, involved and actively connected.

Many of us go through our lives, day to day, thinking that our only recourse is to put our heads down, one foot in front of the other, and persevere. It is easy to fall into this rut and believe it is the proper course, the only way to go, and all we have to hope for in the future.
I say NO.

“Action is the active ingredient that transforms goals into reality!” Let us never forget that we can always improve the situation in which we live, make a better life for ourselves and the ones we love, and effect/fight for change even when the odds are against such change. Being courageous enough to act on your goals/desires/needs to make a better life, better income, better business and/or better world, is the first and most crucial step in making your goals into reality.

Frequently job seekers are hesitant to ask for favors from others during the job search? Should they be? What should they ask for, and what should they offer in return for favors?

Never be hesitant to ask for favors… that is what relationships are all about and where the value of the connection comes into play. Be genuine and upfront and always be out there offering to help others. The more you give the more you get.

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

  • How to I build my ROR with my network, and increase their interest. How do I get them to want to call me back and help me in my job search?
  • Listen
  • Know the People You Want to Work With. Make it be about THEM.  Ask “How can I serve you?”
  • Aim for Ongoing Engagement. (Follow-up.)

Relationships ARE the new currency – honor them, invest in them, and start measuring your ROR!

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers:

You have the time, so don’t waste another day… start building your personal brand via social media today!

More than a Resume: Q & A with Hiring Insider Michael Gruber

March 17th, 2011 Comments off

Michael Gruber is the Chief Client Officer of The Right Thing, Inc., a global provider of services designed to help companies identify great candidates for employment. In addition to his 10 years of experience in recruitment process outsourcing, Michael was an HR Leader for the largestMichael Gruberpersonnel branch of the U.S. Army in Europe.

We asked him for his thoughts on how to be a great candidate.

Based on your work from the “other side of the hiring desk,” what’s the biggest mistake you see candidates making as they apply for new opportunities?

The biggest mistake I see candidates make is one that can be fixed: Look at the hiring process as a project, not a “wait and apply.” Too often candidates focus on the first stage of the hiring process—finding an opening, submitting a resume—and have a disorganized approach to later steps in the hiring process—from researching employer interests and interviewing to background checks.

Job seekers should be prepared to do more that submit a resume and interview for a job. Make certain what is in a resume and application will hold true to a background check in advance. Connect with friends who work at the company, get advice on how to answer a tough interview questions, prepare your references before you are called.

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of understanding SEO and the right key words to use when applying for jobs? Is this really important? If yes, how can job seekers make sure they are visible to recruiters and hiring managers?

What you need to understand first is that employers are as focused on being found by candidates as you are in finding a job. Hiring managers want their job postings to be found first, you want your resume to be seen quickly.

Use keywords in your resume and online profiles that correlate well with jobs you are qualified for. This is a good way to get found by recruiters and hiring managers. But, don’t exaggerate. You want a resume that is sophisticated enough so that your will be picked up, but you also want it to be genuine enough—and truthful above all else.

Your company provides services that help recruiters find passive candidates.  Do you have any suggestions for candidates who don’t want to publicly disclose they are looking for a new job?

Any information that is available online—social media profiles especially—is essentially a resume. Make sure your social media profiles articulate your key experiences and accomplishments.

Beyond an online social media presence, join associations within your industry, be vocal and showcase your expertise by participating in events, online discussions, and on blogs. Share your interests with friends and recruiters and ask that they keep you in mind—but make sure you ask for confidentiality. Good recruiters within agencies or RPO firms are good at retaining confidentiality as they share candidate credentials with potential employers.

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

What makes matching the right talent with the right company so challenging?

Recruiters look for talent every day, but job seekers don’t look every day. You need to think of job search as a job in and of itself. Try to be as knowledgeable about the hiring process and savvy as a recruiter when you apply for jobs. Be a great candidate, and your potential for being found for the right job will increase quickly.

Use it now—actionable—advice for job seekers (in 140 characters or less):

Job search is a process. See it as a project. Don’t just find a job and apply. Understand how the process works, develop a plan, and execute.

Aguilera & The Career Fumble: Who’s on Your Speed Dial?

February 10th, 2011 Comments off

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I played a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz when I was ten. I had one line, delivered just after the Witch of the East was flattened by Dorothy’s house, “The Witch of the East was proud of these slippers. They had a magic charm.”

When I was 14, I lost a heated game of Trivial Pursuit after proclaiming that the Witch of the West had been killed by Dorothy’s house. “How could you forget?” said my family in fits of laughter. I received a miniature ornament with red ruby slippers as a gift 12 years later. I still cringe.

Imagine you were Christina Aguilera and missed a line from the national anthem in front of 111 million people. Who would you turn to next?  Obviously you’d want to ignore the twitterati, especially the ones who proclaimed, “Her career is effectively over” or “We found Christina Aguilera’s career. It was stuck in her throat the ENTIRE time she sang.”

But who would you have on speed dial?  Entertainment Tonight or your mom, a best friend, and your mentor?

At StartWire, we get a lot of questions from users about our unique approach to networking. You can import your contacts from other major social networks, but you can’t invite them all to join your StartWire network. Why not? StartWire is different. 

By design, StartWire is a place to get help for your job search from your personal speed dial list—as well as job search experts. It’s a community designed to answer the questions about your career you can’t afford to ask in public. Your activity on StartWire isn’t meant for public consumption and won’t show up in Google search results.

Most of us will have careers spanning 40+ years.  Along the way, we can all expect to flub some lines, make a move that doesn’t work out, or drop the ball once or twice. It is an inevitable part of the process; what matters is how you recover and move forward. StartWire can help you do this.

How can we help you score a career touchdown?


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