Are you speed dating or job hunting?

13 01 2011

Speed dating rarely results in long term relationships. How many of us have heard a married couple answer, “Oh, we met at a speed dating night down at the bar”, when asked how they met? Not many of us, I would imagine. With internet sites becoming extremely successful for matching ideal couples and the old tried and true method of old school dating the success rates are much greater. The reason is that the later methods take time establishing the needs of both parties involved and allow each party to get the sense of overall compatibility.

I like to think of the job search as the dating process. While some things are purely chance success if generally a result or an initial compatibility along with communication, effort, and compromise from both parties. If you think of your career search like you do dating, or did for those of us that are already married, you’ll find it much easier to stay focused in your search, gain more from interviews you attend, and ultimately have better results.

RESUME: Asking someone out on the first date

You approach needs to be suitable to match what the other person is looking for… you have to be dressed properly and be able to project yourself as a person worth spending time with. All this must be projected in a quick and to the point way, usually on the first attempt.

PHONE SCREEN:The first Date
This is a meeting that doesn’t take too much work on the part of either party. Both parties have said yes, I”m open to the possibility of investing time in this person. This is where both people typically try to only talk about the positives but sometimes, previous dating experiences, why past relationships didn’t work and so on. Both parties typically end with something like, That was fun we should talk again, regardless of actual intent to follow through.

IN PERSON INTERVIEW: Dating for the long term
This is the moment that we’ve all waited for. A meaning full sacrifice by both parties to go out of their way to spend meaningful time together. You really find out if it’s worth going on or should you break up and and look for a more suitable partner that better matches your needs and who’s current situation and future plans are similar to yours.

OFFER STAGE: Engagement
This is the stage where you decide that you are in it for the long run. You are dedicated to moving forward because you have seen everyone else who’s out there and you are confident enough you’ve found the right person. You then go to the jewelery store to pick out a ring. This decision is based on a lot of factors. Tradition is often taken into consideration (industry standard pay) along with Budget, Payment Options (benefits), and a few other things. You also have to take into consideration how desperately you want this person to say yes. If this person says no, will it crush you or do you think you can find another person who’s a better fit given enough time. If you don’t think you can replace the person you always buy a little bit nicer ring than you can really afford to help seal the deal.

There is always a budget for salary (the ring). This budget can sway sometimes in either direction for many reasons. The Dating (Interviewing Process) is you chance to ask important questions. Make sure you, as a hiring manger or potential employee, get the answers you are looking for throughout the process as well as share with your potential partner. If the answers aren’t going in the right direction take a step back and if they are “deal breakers” walk away in a professional manor.


FIRST DAY OF WORK: Wedding Day.

While you may think that the marriage is the acceptance of the offer, like engagements, we all know runaway brides. The first day of work if the first time you are officially married and you can update your LinkedIn or Facebook status with the great news of your new job. Like marriage each and every day after is based on communication, effort, reward, compromise, loyalty, along with all of the typical requirements to make a solid long lasting relationship.

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LinkedIn’s New Tool Helps Users Find What They Are Looking For

29 10 2010

I’ve been noticing a lot of talk within my network about LinkedIn’s new beta application called LinkedIn Signal. People have talked about how it’s changing LinkedIn, the way people will use it, and how it will improve your efficiency in task like seeking new jobs.

I finally was able to sign up this morning and play around with it a little. It’s quite interesting and there is some great potential for the service depending on how large your network is and how much you intend on using it.

Let me start out by explaining what it does. Signal controls which status updates you see from your network contributors. It allows you to use many of the features found in their people search tool to focus on who you would like to see. For example, you can select only to see updates within the last week from first level connections in the pharmaceutical industry.

As someone with 6,000 first level connections and group membership in over 50 groups, (including subgroups) my LinkedIn homepage updates have become irrelevant. While I feel that each and every connection is valuable to my network. There are some members of my group that I’m going to be more interested in keeping track of on a daily basis.

By focusing the feed on my LinkedIn signal page I can conduct a search of all recent updates including the word “Hiring” and focus on the last week. This search yields me 21,000+ results. I can then further focus by region and select “Greater New York City” yielding 3,6xx results. From there I can continue to focus more and more by selecting companies, industries, schools, time posted, and even tags until I have a manageable number of feeds to read.

This becomes a great tool for candidates and recruiters alike, allowing you to find pertinent discussions. Also, because LinkedIn allows you to link information from all over the web, including Twitter and RSS Feeds, you can reach much further than ever before and still maintain focus.

So, my overall opinion of Signal is a good one. By providing another free tool LinkedIn has increased the usability for all of their users and provided a tool that will help you find what you are interested in on LinkedIn without feeling overloaded.

One disadvantage that I have noticed is that Signal is not yet set up for Internet Explorer users. If you would like to try Signal, you must either install Firefox or Google Chrome. This isn’t a big deal though. And if you prefer to use Internet Explorer you can continue to do so for all of your other browsing needs and leave Firefox open for your Signal account.

To try Signal please click on the link below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments about anything that I have missed.

http://www.linkedin.com/signal/





LinkedIn Groups, Are you using them to your advantage?

27 10 2010

Some people may ask me if my blog is about recruiting of LinkedIn because of my numerous mentions of the great professional social networking giant. This is because LinkedIn is an essential tool for giving you the edge in the job search. Today I’d like to discuss LinkedIn groups and what you may or may not know about them.

LinkedIn Groups are all joined by networkers voluntarily. This means that everyone in any given group is there because they choose to be and are interested in the subject mater of that group. This means that each and every member is in some way connected to the subject mater in some way, thus having a vested interest in preserving the group and its’ goals.

As we all know the value of LinkedIn is based on being connected to people, and more importantly, the right people. The groups feature on LinkedIn is the most effective way to connect with the people that matter to you. The importance of groups is that when you join a group you are given the option to accept messages from other group members even if they are not connected to you in any other way. LinkedIn sets the default option to accept messages. This is great because most people will not deselect this option. Meaning you can search members of the group and send them messages directly without them approving an invite, introduction, or using a valuable InMail.

There are two ways to join a group. You can be invited because someone in the group thinks that your expertise would be an asset to the group. You can also submit a request to join. Some groups allow you open membership where a group owner is not required to accept invitations. Many groups will require the group owner to review your profile and manually approve your membership.

Now that we know how you get in groups and some of the value in being in a group there are some other things you should know about LinkedIn groups. The single most important thing is that you NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF 50 GROUPS at all times. By having membership in 50 groups you get the most out of your LinkedIn account. You always have to remember that the more people that you are connected to, the more potential you have to be noticed by others as well as notice opportunities posted by members of your network, which includes group members.

I would like to mention one last point. Use care in choosing your groups. LinkedIn lets you view the membership numbers of each group prior to joining. You always want to be in the largest group, granting you connections with the most people. Also, use different search terms when searching for a group. For example if you are a scientist working on an Oncology projects within the Biotech or Pharmaceutical industry and you are seeking new opportunities try, Biotechnology Jobs, Biotechnology Careers, Biotech Jobs, Biotech Careers, Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Medical Device, Careers, Jobs, and so on. For a majority of these examples you may even see one of my groups “Oncology Jobs In Biotech and Pharmaceuticals”.

Best of luck and enjoy your groups!





LinkedIn Premium Accounts: Are they worth it?

19 10 2010

I’ve been utilizing LinkedIn’s vast networking capabilities to connecting with potential candidates and clients for some time now. I consider myself an avid and successful user of LinkedIn. Within my first year I grew my network to well over 3,000 first level connections, admittedly the majority of my early connections were open networkers and of little direct significance to my clients. However, open networkers are all worthwhile as they allow you to see a greater number or profiles in your searches.

While LinkedIn has great advantages there are still many challenges to overcome be an efficient tool. LinkedIn can be overwhelming by offering so much information, most of which may not be relevant to your end goal. Although LinkedIn is great at minimizing SPAM there is still a fair amount of SPAM messages that make it through. It also takes a fair amount of time to understand the limitations of your account and LinkedIn could do a better job of pointing these limitations out when you first open an account. Did you know you only have an initial 3,000 invitations and there is a magic number of rejected invitations that will result in you only being able to invite members to join your network if you have the email address associated with their LinkedIn account.

Well, now that I’ve pointed out several weaknesses of LinkedIn I must let you know that I feel it’s the single best networking tool out there, even before signing up for a premium membership. I’ve been able to gain several contracts and find several senior level candidates which I’ve placed as a direct result of the free membership on LinkedIn.

After my most recent senior candidate placement I asked my employer to consider a Premium LinkedIn Account. I’ve had it for less than a month and I must say that I feel that it’s worth every penny. For $99.00 a month I receive 25 InMails, numerous introductions, and several added features that weren’t even mentioned in their marketing advertising.

First off, the InMails are AWESOME! InMails virtually open LinkedIn wide open and allow you to contact all of your second and third level connections. For me this is essential because I’ve exceeded my LinkedIn open invitations. Prior to exceeding my invitations I was able to be sneaky and use a connection request to include a message directed at the recipient and it was going to make it the intended recipient. Once you’ve exceeded your open invitations it is worth price for the InMails alone.

The second feature that is invaluable is the increased number of introductions allowed. These introductions let you use your connections to help you meet others. In many ways these introductions are more productive than InMails. With an introduction you are able to touch base with two members of your network and put yourself out there more, which it the idea with social networking. I must caution you though, make sure you know who you are asking to push an introduction though. As a new user I once asked a direct competitor to introduce me to one of their clients. They were able to see the purpose of my connection. Fortunately, I did not reveal any secrets but my introduction was swiftly rejected. In this case an InMail would have been more appropriate and potentially effective.

There are several tools that are very helpful in growing a successful network and getting your profile seen. The search functions are vastly improved. You are given many search cosignatories which allow you to better target the people you are looking at. These categories let you select values like seniority, company size, years of experience, and type of connections that they are interested in. These addition search categories are of greater value because LinkedIn premium accounts allow you to see more of your results as well, so you don’t run into the, “Upgrade Your Account” page as quickly.

The other tool that I love to play with is the advanced profile activity results. These features let you see your profile statistics for the last 90 days. You can see how many times your profile came up in searches and how many people actually visited your site week by week. You can also see the top key words that resulted in your profile showing up searches by other members. With these tools you can play around with your profile and your group activity to see what activities or profile changes result in gained exposure. You can easily increase traffic to your profile and ultimately your company/personal web pages.

Lastly, the premium account allows me to accept open messages from all LinkedIn members. If someone wants to send me a message right now, they can. They don’t have to send an invitation and hope I accept. They don’t have to pray that their connections will forward an introduction. This results in anyone that is interested in conduction business discussions is able to do so, without me giving out any of my personal contact information.

Because I can profit directly from LinkedIn in my profession it’s a definite advantage. I would suggest it to anyone who uses LinkedIn on a regular basis. Please feel free to comment or ask any question that you may have about LinkedIn. If there is interest I’ll also continue to blog about some proven LinkedIn tips that I have used to grow my network to over 6,100 first level connections and continue to grow by an average of 6 new invites each day from other members.

LinkedIn Premium accounts have my vote. Go get yours!





Is recruiting Luck or Skill?

15 10 2010

I am constantly looking back at my successes in order to attempt to duplicate practices that work and eliminate those that don’t. Sometimes I look at the recruiting business as pure chance.

I spend a majority of my day tracking down candidates that are possibly qualified to find out that many of them are just off the mark, not interested in the position, or totally the wrong candidate. Then out of nowhere I find the perfect candidate who wants the job and is exactly what my client has asked for.

What I realize when looking at my past success and failure is that every placement I’ve made is a lucky situation for me. Something inevitably makes that candidate want another job. I’ve placed candidates that needed a new job because they had been unemployed for two years while taking care of an ill family member. I’ve placed candidates who have been told they are being laid off in 90 days. I’ve placed candidates who I’ve called one week after they were passed up for promotion at their annual review. All of these situations were by chance and lucky for me and my clients.

What is all comes down to though is Skill. I would have never spoken with any of the candidates that I’ve placed if it was not for taking the time to know my clients, their jobs, and my candidate’s situations. I would not have placed any of them if I didn’t put in the effort to conduct a search and continue to search after 90% of the candidates that I spoke with were not able to be considered for one reason or another.

In the case of my largest single placement to date I knew who the ideal candidate was within two days of searching. I called the candidate and established a relationship. He indicated that his employer was just purchased by a major competitor and, at his senior level, stood to gain a lot by staying for a while and cashing in on his stock options. There was no way that this candidate was going to leave and potentially give up significant earnings.

Well, I stuck with him and contacted him on a regular basis asking for referrals for the same position that I knew he was ideal for. He gave me a few but they were not the polished diamond that he was. Almost two months past and my client began getting frustrated because they couldn’t find the perfect candidate and time was closing to find the right candidate for their project.

In one of my follow ups to the ideal candidate he finally said, “Hey, is the position still open. I’d like to be considered if it is” The rest of the story is that he was interviewing within a week in person and received/accepted an offer a week later. It seemed like the easiest placement I’d ever made because it went so smoothly.

What recruiting comes down to is skill and persistence. You must be able to maintain relationships. It’s not so much luck and chance as is it skill. You must know when to back away from a candidate and when to keep following up. While luck will always have to fall in your direction, you have to know what you are looking for in order to find it.





You’ve just been told you’re being laid off! …. Now What?

14 10 2010

It’s very unfortunate to hear that you are going to be laid off. This has been heard by so many in the last few years including myself.

If you are fortunate enough to work for a larger company most of them have support systems in place to assist you in your efforts to seek out a new opportunity. Some of these resources include contracted specialist that will help you prepare your resume, assist in providing you with job search training, and even council you on your career path on issues such as training and ways to utilize your skills in a manor that will open doors to other industries. If you are blessed enough to have these benefits offered take advantage of them. I’ve seen many people gain knowledge and find opportunities as a direct result of these benefits.

If you are not fortunate enough to have these types of benefits you must be proactive on your own. I’ve heard from candidates who follow rumors that many employees will be placed in other departments or if they hold out on unemployment long enough the company will bring them back. Don’t count on this happening.

You must start your search immediately. If your employer invites you back you can always accept and go back to work. If you employer offers you an opportunity in another department you can always accept and go back to work. If they don’t you will be that far behind the competition.

I’ve also heard a lot of candidates who say, “Well, they gave me a nice severance package and so I wanted to take a month off and enjoy myself.” Don’t fall into this trap. One of the first questions that will be asked by any HR professionals is to explain gaps in employment. Although you may have a good excuse it’s not going to look as good as you working consistently and your excuse will be taken as just that, AN EXCUSE.

Gaps in employment are difficult to overcome and to move past. Most employers look at gaps in employment as a huge weakness. One month is easily explained if it only happened once. I have seek candidates who were great candidates aside from gaps in employment be turned down for the interview based on not working.

It may be obvious that the first thing to do when you are told you are out of a job is to look for your next gig, but so many times people don’t get motivated to move forward. This is the single most important thing to do. So when you as asked, now what are you going to do, say “I’m starting my job search right now”





RSS feeds save time in your job search

14 10 2010

To search for opportunities takes a lot of effort. It’s highly unlikely that you will find a job very quickly in the current job climate. The way I see it is that there are only a few ways to learn of new opportunities.

1. Directly visiting target companies websites to see if new jobs are posted
2. Visiting Job boards
3. Social networking to learn of new opportunities
4. Directly contacted by a recruiter who wants to present a job.

In a recent poll that I conducted on LinkedIn a majority of the respondents indicated that they found their current role through a direct application to the company. So, the question comes, “How do I learn about these jobs so I can apply directly to the company?” Looking at the above list of options the only ones that you have significant control over are the first three, with number 3 depending a lot on chance and who you know or are connected to right now.

The first two choices both require diligence on the part of the job seeker. Weather you decide to check the job boards hourly, daily, or weekly is often associated with the amount of time you have and how desperate you are to find your next opportunity.

This is where I’ll be focusing today. I suggest you set up RSS feeds to alert you on daily activity in the job field. Most major employers permit you to subscribe to an RSS feed for their currently open opportunities. All of the major job boards allow you to conduct a keyword search and then subscribe to a search specific job feed. You can then have all of the jobs come directly to you rather than visiting each and every company or job board periodically.

There are numerous ways to check your feeds. If you have a smart phone just conduct a quick search in your application market and you will be given several options for RSS feeds. If you don’t have a smart phone you can always use the computer and countless methods to follow your feeds.

I haven’t gone into great detail about RSS feeds because I’m confident that a simple internet search will be more effective in locating information from more tech savvy professionals than myself. I just thought that I would present another option to help you in your career search.