Simple Ways to Improve Your Ability to Secure Top Talent in Today’s Market

April 12, 2017

By Adam Ulmen, Manager, Research & Technology and Healthcare IT Research Manager

As a Third-Party Executive Search Firm, we see the following unfortunate scenario play out daily: we present a solid Candidate to the Client, the Client likes him or her and gives positive feedback, however the Hiring Manager wants to see some more Candidates as points of comparison to gauge the quality of the existing Candidate against other profiles. While on the surface, this seems like a fine practice that should ideally lead to finding the best possible fit for the role and organization, this also directly leads to a delayed and cumbersome hiring process for all involved.

Today’s job market is very Candidate-driven; meaning that your company is competing for the top Candidates at every turn, and those Candidates have many options available to them. When Candidates have several options to choose from, you as a Hiring Manager need to be agile and move with haste to secure these Candidates before the competition does. Two of the most prominent reasons why Candidates will choose the competition over you include:

Slow Hiring Process – In a Candidate’s mind, a slow process reflects the organization as a whole. Slow processes may be interpreted as your company not being very serious about the Candidate or about being competitive in general. This leaves a very sour taste in the Candidate’s mouth and a lasting negative impression of your company.

Inflexible Compensation Packages – Hiring Managers need to be aware of where the bar is set in terms of the market value of these Candidates. Being inflexible on compensation when it comes to top talent is a death knell for your ability to secure the best Candidates. You don’t always need to throw the kitchen sink at a Candidate, but being open to different structures or levels of compensation can transform your ability to attract and maintain top talent.

Regarding the slow hiring process: Today’s hiring process should be streamlined and simplified wherever possible.  As a Hiring Manager within your organization, you have likely interviewed people before and you likely know the culture of your company and what type of person fits in well. You should also be able to tell quickly if someone is qualified and can do the job. Do not stall the process with a high-quality Candidate for the sake of getting comparison points. These high-quality Candidates are being courted by other companies with interesting opportunities in addition to your role, they are expecting a reasonable hiring process and dreading a long and drawn out one, and they are rapidly losing interest in your company within days of your last contact with them while you sink a ton more time into finding comparison Candidates. Additionally, you already have comparison Candidates to begin with: your current staff! Chances are there is at least one person in your organization who is doing a fine job in the same role you are adding to the team, so use that person as your barometer to expedite your process.

Regarding compensation: Not all Candidates are created equal. There is a tremendous spectrum of talent and skill in the market and you need to decide what part of that range you want to attract and what that range requires to land. If your goal is to hire the best possible Candidate, then you may need to pay what that Candidate is worth based on the market and their personal compensation history. If you find that you truly cannot afford the best of the best, then you may need to adjust your expectations across your hiring team and calibrate the search toward Candidates who may need a bit more training and ramp-up, but who are in the price range you are offering.

As a Third-Party firm, we see the above happen daily and it cripples the entire process. We know what the market looks like, we know who is looking and who is not, and we know what it is going to take to land these top-tier Candidates. You as the Hiring Manager can only benefit and thrive by implementing some of the above commentary into your daily talent acquisition strategies.

College Grads…Here’s How to Get the Best Jobs Part I

May 25, 2016

By Dave Bevington, Director of Automation, DRI

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There is a stigma today that young adults are all hopelessly entitled AJ Soprano type individuals. While this is most definitely not the case, like it or not, it’s a reality every young job candidate needs to be prepared to overcome.

Before you graduate. Protect your reputation. Be smart—think and plan before you act. For example, never drink and drive. If you are compelled to go out, take an Uber! Why risk a DUI—it not only costs hundreds in penalties and fees—it sticks in the public record and can cost you tens and hundreds of thousands in reduced income over the course of your career. Also, your social networking activities can sink you. Just assume your prospective employers are watching because they are.

Find a mentor. A trusted, impartial advisor is worth their weight in gold. Pursue a relationship with someone who is willing to share the secrets of their success as well as the benefits of learning from their mistakes. In general, beware of mentors to whom you who are emotionally attached—I’ve seen more than a few instances where a boyfriend, Dad, Uncle, or Grandpa gave bad advice to a candidate during offer negotiations and that can kill a deal.

Beef up your resume. Cite projects, extra-curricular activities, and don’t sell yourself short. Also, no one cares if your resume is more than a page long. Make it clear you know PowerPoint and Excel. Indicate how fast you type. Presentation skills are essential in most any career sooner or later and your resume is a tangible representation of your ability to communicate. It should be clear, informative and aesthetically pleasing. Every word should have a role in answering the question, “Why me?”

Pursue internships. An internship is a great way to build your resume and distinguish yourself from other candidates. And once you are known and liked on the “inside” it is easy to network within the company. Ask for more responsibility and exposure and chances are you will get it.

Build your references. It’s never too early to start building a strong list of references. Stay in touch with former colleagues, supervisors, coaches, professors—and don’t be shy about asking them for letters of recommendation. In most cases they will feel honored you asked. Besides, you have nothing to lose—if you don’t like what they’ve written, you don’t have to include it in your application.

Personality counts. I specialize in placing engineers.  In general it’s a group that does not have the best reputation for inter-personal skills. This can be a great opportunity for you to get ahead. Take a class on it. Read a self-help book. Practice, practice, practice. Being the exception, rather than the rule, can pay big dividends when it comes to getting a job and climbing the ladder.

Become well- rounded, well-traveled, and cultured. Go to museums, art galleries, and the theatre; learn a second language; visit a foreign country; learn to appreciate different kinds of music–jazz, classical, blues, and ethnic. Spend time with your grandparents, neighbors, and others with more life experience. Watch the History Channel, Discovery, Natural Geographic. Read, read, read! Why go through all this effort? Doing so will help you identify with older generations and enable you to better speak the universal language of humanity.

Target companies that are growing. Go to trade shows and ask around. Growing companies in stable markets are going to have the most advancement opportunity, stability, and most times they are the best paying Companies because they know they need to retain their top and even middling employees.

3 Helpful Tips to Beginning Your Job Search

April 20, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

Are you looking for a new job opportunity?  Will you be graduating soon without a job lined up?  If you are, you may be experiencing a range of feelings- excitement, fear, or happiness to name a few.  Job searching may be a brand new experience for some, while others are constantly looking for that perfect career opportunity so job hunting is very familiar.  Regardless of who you are, it is important to know how to navigate your job search process effectively.

Below are three tips that I found helpful in preparation for landing a new job:

Networking is key.

You have heard it a thousand times; “It’s all about who you know.”  You may think that your connections are not relevant to the jobs you want, but your network is still one of the most valuable tools in your job search.  Even if you send 200 resumes out online in a month, you’re more likely to get an interview or conversation from the one resume that someone you know passed along for you.  The following contacts are just some who could be a vital piece in finding your next job opportunities:

  • College professors
  • Alumni from your college
  • Past employers
  • Previous coworkers
  • Contacts from networking events

Whether you are making short phone calls, writing e-mails, attending networking events, or connecting on social media such as LinkedIn, be sure to update your contacts on your job status.  If possible, let them know you’re looking for jobs.  Even if your network can’t directly help you land a job, their network may have opportunities that you can be connected to.  Always keep the lines of communication open and be candid about what you are looking for.

It’s easier to find a job when you already have a job.

Picking up a temporary position or even an internship can be beneficial in the process of finding a full-time gig.  Many employers show concern when seeing a gap of time on your resume since your last job.  While it’s commonly known that job searching can seem like a full-time job in itself, it is important to find a way to continue working.  For example, substitute teaching jobs are available for anyone with a Bachelor’s degree and are welcomed in many school districts, along with seasonal or temporary retail jobs, or get creative and start your own side business to fill in the time gap.  Added bonuses of working while searching are the opportunity to continue networking with different people in different fields and a way to make income while you continue to job search.  Additionally, it is likely that your future employer will be impressed that you stayed occupied and continued to build your resume even during a transition phase.

Be prepared and proactive.

Job opportunities and the chance to share your professional information can show up at any time.  For that reason, it is safest to keep these job searching and interview materials up-to-date and current:

  • Resume
  • LinkedIn and any other social media profiles
  • Reference Sheets
  • Cover letter template
  • Business cards

Keep in mind to be organized with your materials and keep them on hand (or at least saved on your phone) to be able to send anytime and anywhere.  Whether you are at a job fair, having coffee with an old friend, or even at a family function, there’s always a chance to make a connection to a job opportunity.

Not only do you need to make sure all your documents are up to date, but it is important to stay current on the market you are looking in.  Following relevant industry news, job opportunities available and companies you are interested in will help to prepare you and give you an edge in interviews.  It is also helpful to follow employers or job seeking social media sites that can be beneficial to you.  Make sure to have a clear vision of what type of positions you would like, or at the very least, what job functions you are interested in so you can relay that to your network.

Job searching can be a long and exhausting process.  Just remember that networking, staying busy, and being prepared will be extremely helpful over the course of your job search.

What other tips have you found helpful while job searching?

Volunteering Can be a Path to a New Job or Career

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By John Yurkschatt, Director of IT, DCA

There are a number of obvious benefits to volunteering including feeling good, giving back, and making a difference in your community.  But volunteering is a great way for you to find a job or new career.  Here’s how it can help:

Volunteers are desirable to employers. Employers like to hire people who can demonstrate that they are committed and hard-working even though they did not get paid for their efforts.

Volunteering can expand your professional network. If you can find a volunteer position within your field, you will have the opportunity to network with people already working in your target field. As you probably already know, networking is the #1 way to land a job these days.

Volunteering lifts your spirits. Taking time to help others increases your sense of usefulness and well-being. It’s keep you healthier as well. In turn, you’ll gain a positive mindset which is extremely critical for finding work.

Volunteering can help hone your skills and offer new ones. If you’re a seasoned professional, you can put your skills to good use.  You can also use this opportunity to develop new skills like project management, time management, leadership, strategic planning, etc.  The organization gets the benefit of your unique abilities and you’ll have a list of new accomplishments to talk about during your next job interview, which might lead to an offer.

Volunteering can fill in employment gaps. If you have suffered from long-term unemployment, volunteering fills the gap on your resume and shows you’re committed to the community. It can also earn you references, which could be key to getting back to work after a long absence.

Volunteering gives you a track record for a cause. Non-profit organizations value their volunteers. If you demonstrate hard work and commitment to their specific cause, they may take notice and hire you. Keep in mind that non-profit organizations are potential employers.

If you found a job through volunteering, let us know your story.

Thank You Notes…Still Protocol When Interviewing by Robert Cohn, Managing Partner & Director of Automation Practice

BLN467_ROBERT COHN_A WEBSo you thought writing a thank you note after an interview wasn’t necessary? Think again.

One of my best clients asked me to take on a challenging search for a sales professional who could meet their qualifications and requirements. My team and I worked diligently on this search and in a short time presented a candidate that piqued their interest.

This candidate went through 2 phone interviews, 1 face-to-face interview and was invited to HQ for a final face-to-face interview. When completed, I was able to debrief both the client and candidate. Both parties shared with me that it was a perfect match and were ready to move to the next level…the job offer.

Several days went by without a word from my client, so I reached out to them and asked if they were ready to close the deal and make an offer to our candidate. What I heard was an emphatic “NO”. The reason was simple…the candidate failed to send a thank you note or email when interviews were concluded. To our client, this showed a lack of gratitude, follow-up and the ability to close the deal…all necessary to be successful in a sales role. In addition, a thank you note would have allowed them to judge his response time and written communication skills.

I called our candidate to ask why he had forgotten this very important step especially since we discussed it as vital part of the interview and post interview process. He didn’t give me a reason as to why he failed to communicate with them but said he would send a note right away. However, it was too late. My client had already decided to start fresh and look at other candidates.

Bottom line, a thank you note or email is still protocol. It’s not old school but respect for a hiring manager’s time and consideration.  In addition, it gives you the opportunity to reiterate your strong interest in the position and answer any questions they may have. It can also set you apart from your competition.

With that, here are some tips to consider when sending your thank you note:

  1. Send your thank you note to every person involved in the interview. Each one should be personalized. Make sure to get a business card or necessary contact information before you leave.
  2.  Nothing beats a hand-written letter, but in this day in age this can be too slow of a response. If you chose to send a thank you note in the mail, send an email as well. Email is perfectly acceptable and is commonly used for thank you notes.
  3. Be sure to send your thank you note or email no later than 24 hours after your interview.
  4. How you write your thank you note makes a difference. Try to make each one original and provide 3-5 sentences thanking them for their time and expressing your enthusiasm. Also, include your contact information should they have questions or want to follow up.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Did writing a thank you note ever separate you from other candidates? Did failing to do so ever prevent you from getting the job?