Archive | April, 2010

Killing or Kissing

27 Apr

I am at your local Starbucks last week – meeting with a guy I have developed a lot of respect for over the years.  He has about 10 years on me in the recruiting biz and has built a relatively successful recruiting firm along with a couple of partners.  Besides being a good recruiter – he is a good guy.

We talk our usual shop as well as what is going on in your world stuff.  It was a one hour meeting and good to reconnect.  In the midst of the conversation, the light bulb goes off for me that I have a blog entry brewing with a phrase he drops on me.  I had never heard the phrase, still don’t know if it is common and if I had missed it or not somewhere, but it completely resonated and I think offers clear perspective in your job search.

His term for reviewing potential candidate resumes – Kiss It or Kill It.  I know you would expect the pile or file folder to have a better name – maybe A candidates or B candidates – NO, NO – Kiss it or Kill it.  Seriously – a smooch for being qualified and a snuff for not.  I love the word picture that paints for the job seeker and the question you should ask before you press submit.  Is my resume going to be in the kissed or shredded – I mean – filed under future consideration in their Applicant Tracking System – allegedly.

The idea of kiss it or kill it says decisions will be made and made quickly.  How long is the resume perusal?  At the most – 15 seconds.  Pucker up or say Buh-bye.  Have you spent the extra time proofreading it?  Read it out loud.  Not every HR manager and hiring manager offers grace to the typo.  Just assume they do not.  I don’t think it is that much of a penalty – it is more a basic easy reason to ding ya to the kill pile.  DOA.

The whole resume review process is all about having a glanceable resume that gives me a reason to actually read it.  In deference to the hiring manager, it has to be.  You have competition and there is no time.  More people applying for the same job.  I know this is basic stuff but I continue to see terrible resumes and plain cover letters.

Are you offering a solution to their problem?  Are you surveying the job description for key words?  Again, basic.  Be clear, be honest, be compelling.  Make them want to actually read on.  Tell your story.   Give the employer reasons to bring YOU in now.

My favorite quote of the week was from a VP of HR that said, “I just want to see that these people have done a little extra work.”  Is your resume begging for a big wet kiss or simply asking for it?

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They Know

14 Apr

Without question, my job has gotten much more difficult when it comes to getting people on the phone.  Answer your (expletive) phone!  (I often whisper this before you pick up the receiver)  I promise this works as well as pushing the elevator button repeatedly. 

It is tough to get people on the horn – they are busy, time is precious, prepping for a meeting, in a meeting, they don’t recognize your number via caller ID, all that.  It is a challenge.  You need to be ready to compete.

I am completely averse to making these posts about 7 tricks for getting past gatekeepers or 5 words you must use when marketing yourself – just don’t like it.  I will say though – the key is understanding that these calls are a mindset.  I have the tricks but I choose not to post them here because, in all transparency, they are not very glamorous and I choose not to.  If you want some tips and tricks in this arena, you will have to call me.

Recruiting calls, marketing calls are a grind if done with a sauntering spirit.  You better be on a mission.  Recruiters understand this, most jobseekers do not. 

You may be surprised that I still write scripts about my candidates and the positions I am working to fill for my clients.  I have been in this business for 13 years but I need to make stories compelling and even more so -concisely compelling.  Concisely compelling involves wordsmithed thought.  You need to be concisely compelling because the goal is a brief, meaningful conversation that opens a door.

Do you even have a positioning statement?  an elevator pitch?  What do you want to do?  How do you articulate your skill set?  Do you have depth of conviction in these calls or is this a stroll down potential hiring manager lane?  If you sense an interest, do you have a few key questions for the “what next” or are you going to wing it?

Back to the mindset.  You are going to get rejection, you are going to get voicemail, you may get hung up on, and you are going to get frustrated.  It is hard work making these calls but in my professional opinion, it is imperative you reach the hiring manager/decision maker.  A person is going to find you your next position.  It takes people.  It takes connecting with people.  It takes work. 

This post has rambled on all so I could say this – you must be persistent and know that it will take more than a few calls.  Out of my own frustration came the latest epiphany – you gotta earn the right to talk to them.  Your persistence will pay off – it will.  Here is what these decision makers know –

They don’t have to answer.  They don’t have to call you back.  Because THEY KNOW I will go away.  THEY KNOW you will go awayTHEY KNOW.

So DON’T GO AWAY.  Sounds so simple but it can be so difficult.  I am amazed about how many jobseekers go away.  They call me once, leave a half a…you know… a weak voicemail and expect a callback.  I never hear from them again. 

Don’t go away.  Don’t show frustration.  If you aren’t feeling it today, don’t make the calls.  But when you are ready to be “on” – Be on a mission armed with clear, concise, compelling words, conviction in your voice and key questions for the what next.   Just like my mentor always said, “Get on the phone!  I don’t want to see the phone in the cradle today.”

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