Why I Love Recruiting – Mack Truck of Reality

I love recruiting for a ton of reasons.  When I first started thinking about this writing competition I thought about all the buzz words I was planning on using to impress the readers; strategically align, metrics, revenue generation, blah blah blah.  I was at lunch yesterday, and like a big Mack truck, the real reason I love recruiting hit me square between the eyes.

The scene: me, alone at subway, eating a sandwich, listening to talk radio on my iPhone, and catching up on all things Twitter.  I was the picture of a recruiter, sitting alone in the corner ignoring the world around me.  Pretty impressive, huh?

While tweeting furiously and trying to pick fights about how social recruiting is turning the recruiting business upside down (Which, by the way, I will argue to the death that it didn’t!), a lady walked up to me and said “Thank you”.  I didn’t actually hear her say it because I was in talk-radio land, but I read her lips clear as day she said it, thank you. I sat there, stunned, and took my ear buds out.

“Thanks for what?” I asked

Her answer, the Mack truck: “For getting me a job.” The person thanking me was actually someone who had just started the day before with our company., I felt like a schmuck for two reasons. First, I didn’t immediately recognize her because I was so deep in my own world. Second, she actually thought I had gotten her the job.  The times had taken a toll on her psyche. She was clearly ready to work for peanuts, desperate for an interview and willing to do what ever it took to get the job. She had been out of work since late last year, and had a previous stint of unemployment just before that. She was beaten down.  The one thing she forgot is that she is really good at what she does. 

I smiled at her and said “Jane(not her real name), you have it backwards. I didn’t get you this job. Sincerely, thank you for accepting a job with our company.  Thank you for sharing your talents and gifts with us, and thanks for making me look like a great recruiter.”  She was taken aback, but managed to eek out a smile while simultaneously trying to hold back a tear.

I can remember three separate times in my career now that I have had a similar situation. I can remember their names, their stories and the heavy hearts they carried with them to meet me. I can remember the job they got and the company they went to work for,and I can remember feeling like I had done something really good.

So Why I love recruiting? It’s simple. Every once in a while I get to do something really good with my talents.  I have gifts that no one else has; I am a blessed man.  I may not solve world hunger or end the deficit, but I have helped change the luck of at least three people. Those people, and those stories keep me grounded, keep me fighting and keep me looking at people, not resumes

This is a great lesson to help job seekers channel their time and energy while living through a job search; Learn something!

Marc My Words

There’s not much positive you can take from a job search, especially one that goes on for an extended period of time. It’s often an endless roller coaster ride of emotions and highs and lows. More often than not, the lows linger if you let them. Your time is most often spent searching for and applying to multiple jobs per day, following up on jobs you’ve previously applied to and working any and all connections to help you find a job.

Sometimes it’s important for your mental health to close LinkedIn and Indeed and do something else productive: learn something. Take an hour or so a day to teach yourself new skills. Ideally, something related to the jobs you are applying to, but something that will stretch the boundaries of your knowledge, and possibly further your career. Here’s a good article to read about the importance learning while searching for…

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What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

I think this is a great post to help job seekers focus not only on the job of seeking work, but in being successful in general.  Job seekers need to focus on the job search, so successful habits will help!

Mornings are a great time for getting things done. You’re less likely to be interrupted than you are later in the day. Your supply of willpower is fresh after a good night’s sleep. That makes it possible to turn personal priorities like exercise or strategic thinking into reality.

But if you’ve got big goals–and a chaotic a.m. schedule–how can you make over your mornings to make these goals happen?

Because I write about time management frequently, I’ve gotten to see hundreds of calendars and schedules over the years. From studying people’s morning habits, I’ve learned that getting the most out of this time is a five-part process. Follow these steps, though, and you’re on your way to building morning habits that stick.

Success Before Breakfast

by Laura Vanderkam of FastCompany

Do We Really Want to Hire Rock Stars?

One of the interesting things I have taken special interest in recently is the usage, or often time’s mis-usage, of words in work place.  Have you ever googled the words talent and acquisition separately and then put the two definitions together?

“The act of acquiring or gaining possession of a persons special natural ability or aptitude.”  Kind of weird, right?  Doesn’t sound like a noble occupation, sounds like slavery.

I have being seeing the term “Rock Star” everywhere.  And I have to admit; I bought into it at first.  Go look at my LinkedIn profile; I think I may still be recruiting for Rock Stars.  But, with my new found obsession for words, their meanings, and the images and emotions they represent, I started to think about what a Rock Star really is.  Here are a couple definitions/images that I found with a quick trip to Google:

  1. Someone who is in a popular rock band. Some of these guys live the craziest life that exists.
  2. They tour around the world to play their music while getting worshiped by their fans. After the concert they f#$% a bunch of groupies and leave for the next gig while taking some drugs.
  3. Someone who doesn’t follow rules, they make their own. The go out of their way to be extraordinary,  different from everyone else.
  4. Keith Richards.

No offense to Keith Richards; but this is not a list of characteristics and traits I think I want to be recruiting for.  Can you imagine building a job description with this in mind?  I’ll give it a crack on a few requirements that might need to be included in hiring rock stars, regardless if it a rock star recruiter, developer, or whatever.

Requirements:

  1. 3-5 years living the craziest life that exists, please submit pics, stories, and eye witness accounts to substantiate all claims
  2. Ability to repeatedly fail a drug test
  3. Specific experience defying authority, refusing to follow the rules, and insubordination.  References required for proof.
  4. Inability to work within the defined cultural norms of the company
  5. Criminal record, nice to have (only misdemeanors’, drug/alcohol related charges, or missed child support payments will earn extra credit)

I get there are two sides to the definition and the image.  Do you want to risk confusing the two?  I think I am going to be editing some job descriptions, and my LinkedIn page ASAP.

Job Search Accountability Coach

Since moving to Texas a little over a year ago I have learned about a special partnership between Josh Hamilton and his “Accountability Coach.”  Josh’s Accountability Coach is his father-in-law, and he actually travels with Josh and the Rangers in order to help Josh with his commitment to sobriety.  The more and more I got to thinking about this type of relationship, the more I realized the same premise can and should be used for job seekers; especially unemployed or underemployed job seekers.

I get it, being unemployed isn’t the same thing as having an addiction, but being unemployed or underemployed is extremely tough to cope with, much like addiction.  I have interviewed a lot of people in my career that have struggled to find work, and the struggle sets off a vicious cycle of self doubt, depression, and more challenge to finding work, and addiction is a similar cycle.

I suggest that all job seekers, especially those that are unemployed or underemployed , find a Job Search Accountability Coach to help see them through the struggle.  A Job Search Accountability Coach is someone you can trust to help push you to achieve your goals without pushing you to the end of your rope.  A Job Search Accountability Coach is someone who can hug you when you need it, and kick you in the pants when you deserve it.  A Job Search Accountability Coach is a friend, mentor, goal setter, cheerleader, boss, fan, critic, confidant, and partner.  A Job Search Accountability Coach is not someone you have to pay, is not an expert, is not a guru, and probably shouldn’t be your significant other!!

Here is how a Job Search Accountability Coach Can help:

  1. Goal Setting – This is the most important aspect of the relationship.  If you are like me, I set goals for myself all the time, but if I don’t share them with anyone they are easy to forget about.  However, if I tell someone I want to lose 10 pounds, want to be the best recruiter in my company, or want to write a book, I have invited someone to share my goals and check in on me to see how I am doing.  Working with a Job Search Accountability Coach will help you set goals for your job search, goals like; # of jobs applied to, # of contacts made, # of follow up emails, # of interviews, # of social activities to support the search, etc.
  2. Measure of Success – A Job Search Accountability Coach will help you measure, reflect, and celebrate your success.  The end goal is a job, I get it, but there are a lot of wins along the way that will add up to the end goal.  Ask any good sales person or recruiter, it is a numbers game.  Celebrate the achievement of your success measures because you they will add up to get you where you want to be. If you are only measuring on getting a job you are setting yourself up for a lot of failure along the way, and that makes the job search hard to survive.
  3. Metrics for Focus – Similar to goals and measures of success, metrics for focus will help push you in various directions that are necessary for a well rounded, successful job search.  If you only focus on applying to jobs online, you are missing the boat on many other opportunities to get where you are trying to go.  Metrics for focus means you and your coach can talk about the metrics you are achieving, and the ones that provide opportunities for growth and learning in the job search.  It is easy to sit behind the computer and apply to jobs.  You coach should push you to focus on the other measures of success as well.
  4. Structure for Documentation – This is simple, document and share what you have done.  If you have goals and measures, build a scorecard to document what you are doing.  Keep it simple but be diligent in your documentation.  Not only will this help you to visualize the success in your search, it will help you stay organized and on track with your process.
  5. Encouragement and Motivation – Your Job Search Accountability Coach better be a damn good cheerleader.  Searching for a job right now sucks.  It is hard work.  It is depressing.  It will beat you down.  You will hear no way more than you will ever hear yes.  Your coach needs to be able to keep you on track with your goals while be compassionate.  Your coach HAS to embrace your goals and measures and cheer for you for every achievement you make.
  6.  Accountability – DUH.  Your coach has to hold you accountable for the goals you have set.  You are responsible for giving your coach the power to hold you accountable because you are asking them to share with you the trials and tribulations of your job search.  As someone who has talked to many folks struggling with the job search, it is hard to hear the stories without being effected.  You are asking someone to share the ups and downs with you, so let them.

There is a reason Josh Hamilton travels with his Accountability Coach.  To all you job seekers out there, I suggest you travel through your job search with a Coach as well.

Good luck to you.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

Corn On the Job’s Top 25 Twitter Accounts for Job Seekers to Follow

For those of you who don’t know, Rich DeMatteo, AKA Corn on the Job, is a globally recognized Career Expert, Gen Y Career Coach, and Social Media Marketer. Rich has spent time in Agency and Corporate Recruiting, and has a Masters in Human Resources from Villanova University. Along with being featured on Monster.com and Reader’s Digest, he was also named one of the world’s Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors.  If you are looking to learn about the job hunt through social media, check out the number one twitter chat for job seekers #JobHuntChat on Monday nights at 9am CST.

Rich has put together a list of twitter accounts that will help you learn about job hunting, social media, interviewing, and everything in between.  Check out his best of the best here:

Top 25 Twitter Accounts for Job Seekers

#BeTheBird: Bird Watching and Culture.

#BeTheBird:  Bird Watching and Culture.

Recently I had the opportunity of attending a Talent Net Live event hosted by JCPenney in Dallas, Texas.  For those who don’t know, Talent Net is a social recruiting forum featuring big names in recruiting and social media covering the hottest tips and topics of the day for job seekers, social media enthusiasts and talent professionals.  While I attended the event to learn more about up and coming social media tools and their application in the recruiting industry, my biggest take away came from the Keynote address delivered by Michael Long and part of his Culture and Communication Team.

Michael Long is the Head of Culture Branding at Rackspace Hosting, and yes, his department is really called the Culture and Communication Team.  Michael and his team were on hand to give us an inside look at how Rackspace is building their culture brand from the ground level.

Michael, also known to many as @theredrecruiter, shared an interesting analogy that really hit home with me: bird watching. Michael has a serious disdain for the overused buzzwords “employment branding” and considers what he and his team are charged with as “culture branding.”  Sounds like a simple play on words and not much difference, right?  So what’s the big deal, and where’s the connection to bird watching?

Bird watching, as Michael put it, is simply going out into the woods and faking like you are a bird in order to see, chirp, and/or interact with a bird.  Employment Branding is similar: fake and dis-ingenuous. The Culture and Communication team isn’t in charge of developing and imposing a culture at Rackspace, they are PART of it.  They are Rackers.  They are the bird.  Culture Branding is being the bird, documenting  the life of the bird, and sharing it as appropriate.  This my friends just might be the next great hash tag if you are looking to get one kicking #BeTheBird!!

The crazy thing about Being the Bird is that is seemed like a lot of people didn’t get it.  I got the feeling they were looking at this idea in a very shortsighted nature, as in, “be the bird like they do at Rackspace.” Michael wasn’t suggesting we make the same kinds of videos or share same stories, he was suggesting that every company has their story, culture, and reality to document and share.  In essence, birds of a feather flock together.  An accountant might HATE the culture at Rackspace, and that’s OK.   A Racker might, and probably would, HATE the culture at Deloitte, and that’s OK too.  The point was that each company should embrace what makes it special, document it, and share it.  What better way to build the culture of an organization than to embrace the culture that is already there, and let it grow organically.

The bottom line; there are over 10,000 species of birds in world.  All of them look, act and sound different. Don’t try to make your company look like something it isn’t, and don’t try to make your brand like some other company. Embrace who you are, document it and share it with the world.  Just Be The Bird.

Here are some of my cryptic notes from the Keynote:

  • Transparency and Authenticity are the key to attracting the right people
  • Document and share everything
  • Culture and strategy love each other
  • Look for the right talent, as opposed to the best talent
  • Culture is the behavior you reinforce, sited from Rework
  • Celebrate values, and constantly revisit
  • Employment Branding is bird watching
  • Culture Branding is real, be you