Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

02/04/2016 01.02 EDT

There’s a small subset of search professionals who really know how to take this data and create personalized messaging that resonates with their target audiences. They are the ones who win for their clients and get the hard-to-get, high-potential candidates.
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Just because you have access to troves of personal data on candidates, doesn’t mean you have to use it.

There’s a small subset of search professionals who really know how to take this data and create personalized messaging that resonates with their target audiences. They are the ones who win for their clients and get the hard-to-get, high-potential candidates. They are the ones who anticipate how the digital world is changing the recruiting industry and effectively use the available toolsets or create new ones in response.  ...

Why Networking Is So Important As We Get Older

12/02/2015 03.07 EDT

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They may have more experience, but job seekers over 50 are unemployed 5 to 8 weeks longer than 30 to 49 year olds.  That’s according to a study by Professor Connie Wanberg at the University of Minnesota.  We may immediately think the reason is age discrimination.  Although that may be a factor, it is also true that this group is more selective in maintaining personal and professional networks.  Researchers found that older people on average have smaller social networks than younger people.  I am sure that news is not surprising and it implies we become more discerning about who we associate with as we get older.  On the other hand, the connections we have are critical as we launch a job search. Therein lies the dilemma.   No matter what your age, what can you do to expand your network and boost your chances of landing that job?   Actively seek out new projects to learn something new. It stretches your thinking and enhances your knowledge and experience base, but also introduces you to new people and expands your network. Reach out to former co-workers and college friends. LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media tools make it easy.  Rekindle those friendships now rather than waiting until you need to ask for a favor. Join a professional association. By attending events, you will gain more knowledge and perspective about your profession.  If you actively participate, you will also grow your network and be seen as a leader in...

I really can’t wait to see social recruiting at its best. Until then…?

07/01/2015 03.11 EDT

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I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the current crop of social recruiting experts out there are simply full of it.  In a vacuum, this statement is going to delight one of my partners, who routinely rejects any application of ”science” to the “art” of retained search (yes, we know you had to walk ten miles barefoot to school every day, Grampa John).  However, I believe that social recruiting, and the creative use of current and future applied technologies, will have a huge impact on talent acquisition and the way we engage with the individuals we want to join our companies.  But here’s the thing:  I just don’t think the people leading the charge at the moment are very good at it.   I’ve reviewed the published lists of social recruiting gurus and the bios of speakers at talent acquisition and human resources conferences.  From these sources, it would appear that the two most significant qualifications required to be anointed a guru are: “I tweet a lot!” and “I have a ridiculously large number of LinkedIn connections!”  This, my friends, is a very low bar.  However, the demand for social media expertise is high, and if you tweet more than your clients then, to them anyway, you are an expert.   I equate the current state of the burgeoning social recruiting consulting industry to the state of retained search in a booming economy.  Just about anyone can throw out a shingle and make a quick buck...

To Share or Not To Share

09/02/2014 11.28 EDT

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Nothing annoys me more on LinkedIn than to find that one of my 1st connections has blocked the ability to view their connections (beyond the ones we have in common).  I don’t know why people do this; in my mind, it directly contradicts the social networking purpose of the site.  It also tells me that people are much less discriminating of whom they connect with on LinkedIn than they are of whom they connect with on Facebook.  Most Facebook users don’t limit the ability of their friends to view their other friends.  So, why do people do it on LinkedIn?   First, I really don’t think people give much thought to responding to a LinkedIn request.  I know I don’t, beyond checking to see how that person is connected to people already in my network.  If they are a 2nd connection, particularly one where we share several folks in common, I automatically add them.  If they are a 3rd connection, I give it a little more thought, but more often than not, I add them as well (unless it’s obvious that they are cold selling something).  Let’s just say I’m not conducting thorough due diligence.   LIONS I occasionally debate whether I should be more critical when accepting connection requests.  After all, LinkedIn does advise you to only add people to your network whom you trust and would be comfortable referring to other connections.  And, as I noted in my first-ever blog, referral functionality decreases exponentially when...

The Rules of Engagement

03/01/2013 01.44 EDT

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This article originally ran on TLNT.  To view it, click here.   Let’s face it.  The active candidate has become a second-class citizen.  Conventional wisdom says that there continues to be a glut of in-transition executives in the job market.  Just post a job on Monster.com and you can expect an avalanche of resumes to bury your inbox.  Or, set your corporate recruiter loose on LinkedIn and within a few days, she will be sitting in your office with a stack of profiles from which you can choose your next VP of [insert job title here].  The only catch is that the vast majority of these candidates are either out of work or have something going on in their current companies that is pushing them out the door.   That’s not to say there are not a number of talented executives in the active candidate pile.  There are.  You can’t have the type of economic upheaval we have experienced over the past several years and not some very talented professionals be displaced.  But, do you really want this demographic to make up the entire applicant pool for a critical senior hire?  That answer comes down to making a choice between whether you are looking for the best talent available or the best talent period.   In my opinion, this is where the talent acquisition function is currently failing its client base.  Many have mistaken the increase in candidate visibility for an increase in candidate quality.  That’s simply not the...

Five Steps Every College Graduate Should Take to Find and Land a Job

06/12/2012 03.27 EDT

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This is the month for college graduations, and after the celebrations are over, roughly two million new alumni will be out in the “real world.” Although it is quite an exciting time in the lives of these students, it has also become a time of great anxiety. Students and their parents worry about the job market and which potential opportunities may be available. Many students leave college with a great deal of debt and, as a result, are even more nervous about finding the right job to not only lead them on a positive career path but also put them on stronger financial footing. The job market has been challenging for new graduates overall in the past few years, but there are some hopeful signs as it appears the market has slightly improved for the class of 2012.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently surveyed employers and found that companies expect to hire 29,237 new graduates this year, a 10.2% improvement from the hiring of 26,529 college graduates from the class of 2011.   Although the market is still not robust and needs to improve, many students are completely unprepared to conduct an effective job search. Making the process even more difficult, this year’s graduates face competition from 2011 grads who are still seeking a job in their field. Many students have not taken advantage of the career services offerings on campus and have become reliant on applying for jobs online. Unfortunately, their resumes become...

Seven Ways to Land a New Job in 2012

01/04/2012 04.51 EDT

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I know.  We always start out the New Year with a resolution and try hard to stick with it.  Most times, we stray from our goal.  Whether it is fitting more exercise in our daily routine or spending more quality time with our family – we always have good intentions.  Our busy lives just get in the way.   As an executive search consultant, I receive a sizeable number of calls at the beginning of the year from candidates expressing interest in changing jobs.  Finding a new position becomes their New Year’s resolution.  Some individuals are blocked from a promotion, interested in a new challenge or just feeling unappreciated.  My colleagues and I try to make the time to spend a few minutes listening.  Typically, job seekers describe the kind of role and industry sector that interests them.   Conducting a job search can be loaded with several emotions that may sometimes cloud a person’s thoughts about how to start a search as well as how to manage one.   So if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find a new job but you are not sure how to get started, these suggestions may help guide you:   Have you exhausted all options within your current company?  Have you made your career interests known to your boss and other colleagues so they may have you in mind as new opportunities emerge? In addition to updating your resume, put together a list of target companies.  This list...

Why Technology Will Never Replace Executive Search

07/27/2011 10.43 EDT

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The business of finding and securing talent has been transformed by technology over the past 15 years. The biggest changes have taken place in the processes used to hire and develop entry and mid-level people in organizations. That world is full of Applicant Tracking Systems, Recruitment Process Outsourcers, on-line job posting and candidate databases. If you engage an executive who runs an internal recruitment function for a large company in a 30-minute conversation, I can pretty much guarantee that they will spend 25 of those minutes speaking about systems and technology. Our business is focused entirely on senior executive positions – so-called “C-level” executives – who run companies or divisions, or report to the people who run them. In our part of the talent-finding world, technology has also had a significant impact. We use sophisticated databases to identify executives and many forms of technology to communicate with them. If it is too expensive or time-consuming to interview them in person, we use Skype. Since everyone in the world has at least one cell phone, we can usually reach out directly to people we want to speak with, instead of trying to leapfrog over executive assistants. So, it’s true that technology has changed how we do our work. In many ways, it has made us more efficient. For years I have been hearing about how firms like ours will be put out of business by technology – why would you need a search firm if you have LinkedIn?...

Advice for College Graduates

06/08/2011 09.00 EDT

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“O brave new world! That hath such people in it!” … but where are all the jobs? Graduating from college is an exciting and anxious time for student and parent alike. Most students are thrilled to be relieved from the academic rigor but sad to depart from four years of a robust social life and friendships they have formed along the way. Parents look forward to seeing their child take this next step in his or her life, but are perhaps a bit perturbed that their newly minted graduate only half-listened when given the “you really need to be looking for a job” speech six to nine months ago. First, some good news. Many college graduates have already started their job searches, and due to the fact that employers are actively recruiting on campuses again and hiring is up 19.3% for 2011 grads, some have secured new jobs. This alone puts them ahead of the Classes of 2009 and 2010 who missed their window for campus recruitment due to the recession. However, a good percentage of this year’s graduating class is still on the hunt. Perhaps they didn’t focus on their job searches or were not as savvy on the best way to look for opportunities. Maybe they made the brave choice of majoring in English or Anthropology, majors for which most college career counseling offices are embarrassingly ill equipped to assist. For whatever reason, they are unemployed, on the hunt, and most likely living back in...

How Strong Are Your Weak Ties?

05/17/2011 11.02 EDT

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I asked my 16-year-old daughter how many friends she had on Facebook the other day. She has over 1,000. Her wall is littered with updates from people with whom she has no real connection and in whom she has no real interest. So what then is the point? When I asked her how many people are really her friends or, at least acquaintances, that number quickly dropped down to a more manageable level, well below what is known as the Dunbar Number. I haven’t done the primary research (very few of us do anymore) but Malcolm Gladwell popularized the Dunbar Number in his book The Tipping Point. Simply stated, the Dunbar Number defines the upper limit of the number of individuals we can have in a coherent social network — a network where we know how each member fits with us, as well as with each other. We know who is allied with whom, who hates who, etc. There is some debate as to what exactly that upper limit is but 150 seems to be the consensus. Now, let’s apply that to the current professional social network of choice, LinkedIn. As you send an invitation out on LinkedIn, you’ll see a message on the bottom of the invitation screen that says “Important: Only invite people you know well and who know you.” You know what? That is important. It’s important because the real power of a social network is in the weak ties it creates between two...