Archive for the ‘Networking’ Category

How Hiring Managers Use Social Media to Screen Job Candidates

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

In a 2011 Reppler survey about how recruiters use social networks to screen candidates, 91% of the respondents claimed they have visited a potential candidate’s profile on a social network as part of the screening process. But why? With all the tweets, status updates and comments, it’s unavoidable for any social job seeker not to be searchable in some way.

To learn more about why recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates online, I talked to a few social media and recruiting experts.

Why Do Recruiters and Hiring Managers Care?
With social media, it’s possible to learn a lot more about a candidate than what’s on their resume.

“Businesses and recruiters want to know as much as they can about a person who they may give a job offer,” says Eric Meyer, partner in the labor and employment group at Dilworth Paxson LLP and author of The Employer Handbook. “But the real purpose behind screening is to make sure the person you’re hiring doesn’t have any red flags that would make them a bad fit or a potential liability for the business.”

According to the survey, 69% of the respondents have rejected a candidate based on content found on his or her social networking profile. At the same time 68% have actually hired someone. Of those, 39% did it because whatever they found “gave a positive impression of the candidate’s personality and organizational fit.”

“In terms of mindset and outlook on life, people use their social networks and their blogs to really express themselves,” says Rachel Dotson, content manager for ZipRecruiter. “If you see someone consistently posting negative things and it’s apparent they have a poor outlook on life, that’s the kind of thing that’s going to give us a lot of pause. One toxic employee can ruin an entire department or organization, depending on its size.”

When it comes to commenting, posting photos or sharing status updates, we don’t typically update our social media profiles with recruiters in mind. Instead, we post things that are relevant to our lives, interests and personalities, giving recruiters a clearer picture of the person behind the resume.

Tips for Job Seekers
For recruiters and hiring managers who choose to look up candidates online, it’s likely that what they find will also shape their first impression of that person.

“Perception is reality in the business world,” says Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, part of Randstad Technologies . “The way people perceive you online, through social media–that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”

And even with privacy restrictions set up on social networking sites like Facebook, it doesn’t mean an employer won’t take extra steps to get a look at what’s behind those privacy restrictions, even if that means bluntly asking a job candidate for his or her login information.

But by requiring login credentials for candidates’ social media profiles, employers run the risk of losing top talent due to a perceived lack of trust.

“Employers run the risk that if they require job candidates to relinquish Facebook logins and passwords as a condition of employment, those candidates will respond by removing their names from consideration,” Meyer says. “At the moment the company requests that private information, it projects a lack of trust, which is a bad building block for an employer-employee relationship.”

What other best practices should social job seekers consider for maintaining their social reputation online?

~ The career blog welcomes this guest post written by Jennifer King. Jennifer is an HR Analyst at Software Advice, a company that reviews and compares recruiting and employee appraisal software. She reports on trends, best practices and technology in human resources. You can read Jennifer’s full article on the Internet persona and screening job candidates online on her HR blog.

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Power Pack Your Job Search!

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Updating Your Job Search Strategy

If you’re like most job seekers, you invest the majority of your time and precious resources in scanning Internet job boards and responding to ads in the newspapers.

Reality check. Estimates vary, but if that’s the strategy you’re using to find a job, indications are that your likelihood of success is around 10 to 13 percent. No wonder people get depressed and quit before they find a job. It can be like pounding your head against a brick wall.

The problem is that there are a lot more people looking for jobs these days than there are jobs available. (I’ll bet you already figured that one out!) Consequently, there are literally millions of resumes posted on the various job boards, giving new meaning to the term “needle in a haystack,” and when an ad hits the Internet, it’s not uncommon for an employer to to receive hundreds of responses, if not thousands.

So if your primary strategy for finding a job is to surf the Internet boards and respond to newspaper ads, you are competing with dozens, hundreds, thousands, and in some cases millions of other applicants, making the odds against you pretty overwhelming. No wonder you’ve begun to feel as if you’re dropping your resume into a black hole! There’s got to be a better way.

There is, but it’s going to take some hard work and initiative on your part. If you enjoy sales and marketing, it will be right up your alley, because for this little window of time (i.e., while you are trying to find a job), you are in sales, and the product you’re marketing is you. And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, there are lots of other “products” out there. Some of them are cheaper, some of them are smarter, some of them are older, some of them are younger, some of them have more experience, and some of them have less. It would be nice to think that the most qualified applicant will be the one who lands the job, but it frequently does not work that way.

Put yourself in the position of the person doing the hiring. You have an opening you have to fill within two weeks. You have two hundred resumes to review and counting. You would love to shut down the office for the next fourteen days until you’ve settled this matter, but that’s not at all practical. And so you get the awful job of sifting through resumes and calling people to come in for interviews while still performing all the other functions of your position. And you would rather submit to a root canal without an anesthetic.

And then some eager beaver (let’s call him Joe) gets a hold of you on the phone. Actually, he’s been calling for weeks. He’s talked to your assistant and sent you e-mails and forwarded his resume and then e-mailed another copy “just in case the first one got lost.” Finally, he calls early one morning before your assistant gets in, just as you are facing the prospect of going through all those resumes. He is pleasant and polite and to the point. He tells you briefly what his skills are, he expresses an interest in your company, and he asks about employment openings.

On the one hand, this call is a little annoying. On the other hand, you look at the growing number of resumes and think, “This guy seems to know a little something about what we do around here, and he’s awfully eager.” And at a subconscious level you’re even thinking, “If he works out, I won’t have to go through all these resumes.”

He presses a little bit. “Would it be possible for me to come in and speak with you? I promise I won’t take up too much of your time, but I would appreciate just a few minutes to introduce myself and present my qualifications in person. Would today be okay or would sometime later in the week be better?”

What would you say? If you’re like the hundreds of hiring managers I’ve talked to who have been through this, you’re likely to say something like, “I’ve got a little time this afternoon if you can be here at 3:00.” So Joe gets a crack at the job, while the 200 applicants who simply submitted resumes and then sat around twiddling their thumbs hoping for the phone to ring may very well be history.

What made Joe stand out? Is he smarter or more qualified? Not necessarily. He was simply the one who called the right person at the right time.

But, you say, how can you possibly know when to call whom?

You can’t. And so what you do is make a volume of phone calls (I recommend 10 to 20 or more a day) and persist through a thousand stalls, rejections, and maybes until you touch base with the right person at the right time who says yes. It’s that simple. And that difficult.

Before you moan and groan and say you can’t do it, it’s not your style, let me reiterate. In the past, the approach to getting jobs was passive. You submitted resumes and waited, hoping for a response. Since back in the good old days there were more jobs than people to fill them, you usually didn’t have to wait very long, and this approach worked most of the time.

But we’ve already established that the world has changed — a lot — and today the onus is on the job seeker. You must take an active, persistent, aggressive approach to finding the job you want. If you don’t do it, no one will. That I can guarantee. And my experience has been that for many people, the process can be exciting and empowering. Rather than submitting helplessly to the whims of the job market, which can be the most depressing experience of a lifetime, you are taking control of the process for yourself.

~ Excerpted and updated from the book Power Pack Your Job Search! by Anne Follis, Certified Professional Resume Writer

© Copyright 2012, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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The 2-Minute “Elevator” Speech

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

It’s a good idea to prepare a one- to two-minute introductory speech that you can use when networking, contacting job leads, or during an interview. (This is sometimes called an “elevator speech”: it’s something that can be tweaked for a short elevator ride.) Then memorize it, and practice so it doesn’t sound memorized, and so you can easily adapt it to different situations.

I cannot overstate the importance of this. The biggest complaint from people receiving networking and job-search calls is that they are rambling and unfocused. No one wants to help you figure out what you can do for them, so your initial contact must be prepared, polished, and direct. This will also be a life saver the first time an interviewer says, “So, tell me about yourself.”

Following is a sample introductory speech:

Ms. Smith? This is Fred Fine. Jack Jones from Ace Manufacturing suggested that I give you a call. Do you have a moment, or would it be better if I call you at another time? . . . For the past 14-years I’ve been in marketing and management with Strong Products, where I’ve progressed from an outside sales position to director of their marketing division. My responsibilities include researching and expanding into new markets. I’ve been successful in more than doubling our client base in the past four years. You may have heard about the reorganization at Strong, and as a result I’m one of 12 management employees who’ll be leaving there in the next month. Do you anticipate any openings for anyone with my qualifications? . . . Do you know of any openings elsewhere in your company? . . . Can you recommend anyone else I might speak to you in your company? . . . Can you recommend anyone outside of your company who might be looking for someone with my qualifications . . . May I use your name when I call him?

You probably won’t get a chance to ask all of the questions that you’d like, and you don’t want to push it, but ask the ones that fit into the conversation. Then follow-up with a note of thanks, accompanied by your resume.

The introductory speech can be adapted for an interview. For example, in response to the question, “So, Miss Reardon, tell me about yourself . . .”

I have more than ten years’ experience in office management and administrative support. In my most recent position with Briggs Electronics, I was Executive Assistant to the CEO. Along with managing the day-to-day office operations, I supervised two assistants, prepared payroll for 120 employees, and acted as liaison to upper management. While I was there I had the opportunity to implement cross training in the department, I set-up procedures and developed job descriptions, and I worked with a programmer in upgrading our system. I’m proficient in a variety of computer software, I’m well organized and able to balance multiple responsibilities, and I believe my history indicates that I have particularly strong communication skills, both written and oral.

~ Anne Follis, CPRW

© Copyright 2007, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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Research, Networking, Cold-Calling, and the Job Search

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Sending out resumes in response to newspaper ads and applying online are relatively easy, passive approaches to finding a job. The passive approach used to work; not so much today. It’s estimated that only about 10 to 20% of all job openings are ever advertised. Add that to the fact that Internet job banks hold literally millions of resumes, giving new meaning to the phrase “needle in a haystack.”

Networking and cold calling involve a much greater investment of your time, but combined they are by far the most successful strategy.

First, you must compile a list of companies. You may want to begin with a Web search or a visit to your local library. The following resources may be helpful:

Standard & Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors, and Executives

The Job Hunter’s Sourcebook: Where to Find Employment Leads and Other Job Search Resources

Check out the following Websites to research company information:

Compile a list, not only of names and addresses, but of relevant information about the various companies that interest you, including names of division heads. Once you have a list of companies you would like to pursue, search their Websites for yet more information about them. Also, be sure to verify all information before you make direct contact, as things can change by the time a book is published, and even Website information can quickly become outdated. A simple phone call to the company can verify details.

Next, call these companies, and make an effort to contact managers within the departments that interest you. Your goal is to get past the human resources department (unless you’re applying for a position in human resources, the HR Department doesn’t hire, they only screen) to the person or people who might have the power to hire you. Also, call your friends, acquaintances, and co-workers, get names and recommendations from them, and follow-up on all leads.

~ Anne Follis, CPRW

© Copyright 2007, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.

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