Archive | Recruiters RSS feed for this section

I’m Now Writing for Mac’s List

8 Feb

Thrilled to announce that beginning today, I’ll be writing original content for Mac’s List, based in Portland, OR. This is a great site for job hunters – lots of relevant local job postings, good content articles, and much more with a distinctly Oregon emphasis.  Today’s article is: How Headhunters Hunt.  Here’s the link:



How Headhunters Hunt… and How To Get Yourself Found

26 Dec

This week I interviewed Susie Hall, the President of VitaminT – a very large recruiting agency that deals primarily with “creative types”. We spoke about how recruiters go about finding great candidates, what they look for, how they network, and how job seekers can get on their radar. I’ve shared the highlights of that discussion, along with several tips about things that a job hunter can utilize to create an effective personal brand and get hired faster. Note: her advice is valid for people with all kinds of backgrounds, interests and aspirations. You can see what she says by following this link to my USNews & World Report article for this week:

Happy reading… happy hunting, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!



3 Oct


Headhunters, or recruiters, are all about finding top-tiered talent to fill permanent, full-time positions for their client companies. But in order to do what they do well, they are in a continuous networking mode. As a job hunter there are ways that you can enhance your own relationship with a recruiter by understanding their needs, because like anyone else they enjoy helping those who help them. In my latest article published by USNews & World Report, I show why it is important for you to share what you have been doing to get a job, open up about your red flag issues, five other ground rules you should follow to make that relationship work for your benefit.  Here’s the link:



26 Sep


Despite continued high unemployment numbers, companies are hiring. Surprisingly, they are finding it difficult to find just the right people for positions that they need to fill. Recruiters, often called “headhunters,” who took a huge hit when the economy tanked in 2008, are reporting that they are now busier than they have been in several years.

Working with a recruiter can be a great benefit in your job hunt, but only if you understand their role in the hiring process. It’s time to clear the air and bust some of the myths. In my latest article in USNews & World Report I debunk 5 of the most prevalent myths about recruiters. Here’s the link:

Happy Hunting!




28 Aug

Celebrities like Lady Gaga (approximately 28.8 million Twitter followers) and Justin Bieber (approximately 27.1 million followers) can advance their careers and gain even more notoriety with a 140 character long tweet. But can a job hunter with no followers actually use this site of very short messages to get a job? You bet you can!

In my article this week, I identify Twitter techniques that recruiters use, and how you can capitalize on them as you hunt for your next job. This major social media site can be mined for job opportunities not easily found elsewhere and help you track the activities of companies. When you carefully put yourself “out there” you can greatly add to the value of your own personal brand. To learn more, follow this link to the article:

Happy hunting !


9 Feb

Not long ago, I was at Disneyland on vacation.   While waiting to get into the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor in the Magic Kingdom, I spotted a sign on a door that read:  “Inhuman Resources”.  Good humor, of course, is best based in reality, and the reality here is simple: most Job Hunters think of HR as inhuman.  Like the late great Rodney Dangerfield, HR staffing specialists often get “no respect”.

Take a minute, however, to look at the hiring process from the other side of the desk.  A typical HR staffing person might be assigned to deal with 20 to 40 job requisitions at a time.  Each one of them will likely attract 100 – 500 candidates in today’s job market.  Assuming each applicant has a 2 page resume, that amounts to 200 – 1,000 pages of repetitive, boring, and all too often, irrelevant resumes to be considered for EACH job requisition.  Overburdened staffing specialists can’t possibly afford the spare seconds to ask: “The candidate said XXX.  I wonder if that means he/she has done/can do YYY.”  They simply don’t have the time to contemplate what the resume writer is “really getting at”.

The reality is that the HR person’s role is screen OUT more than screen IN, to look for any excuse to reject rather than to accept a candidate.  The human impulse to help people is replaced by the unfortunately necessary “inhuman”, unforgiving response to any typographical error or small doubt about any given candidate.  It isn’t about whether any given candidate might be able do the job if given a chance.  Rather, it is about winnowing the field to find 5 or 10 exceptional candidates out of hundreds to pass on to the hiring manager.

I know this to be true, because I used to be one of those people, sorting through the resumes, dealing with Applicant Tracking Systems, deciding who merits an initial interview, and conducting those phone screening interviews.  The wise job hunter will look at the phone screening interview as a prized opportunity to gain an initial advocate.  Here are tips how to do so:

  1.  SPOON FEED INFORMATION IN A WAY THAT THE INTERVIEWER WANTS IT.  The screening interview is about doing Due Diligence on the part of the company, dealing with “red” and “yellow” flags on otherwise stellar resumes, discerning a candidate’s true interest level in the job, knowledge about the company, and general fit for the position.  It is ALL about the EMPLOYER’S NEEDS, and NOT AT ALL about the candidate’s concerns.  If you are asked about a potential “red flag”, be grateful for the opportunity to deal with it and put it out of the way—and be ready to do so.  By the way you deal with these and other issues you can build rapport and give the ammunition needed to help the HR staffer make your case, or you can shoot yourself in the foot.
  2. BE COOPERATIVE, AND UNDERSTAND THAT EACH QUESTION HAS A PURPOSE THAT ISN’T ALWAYS OBVIOUS.  Often hiring managers provide HR with questions that every candidate must answer, even if the answer is as plain as day on their resume.  Responding by saying, “If you read my resume you would see what you are talking about,” will be regarded as hostile.  The process, especially at this stage, is all determined by the employer.  You may not like it, but you have to conform to its contours.  From your answers your interviewer will derive insights about your intelligence, ability to communicate effectively, emotional disposition, eagerness to learn from failure or mistakes, and more.
  3. DON’T BE DEFENSIVE OR COY.  For example, if you respond to the question, “What will be your salary requirement?” with an answer like, “I’m negotiable”, or “Make me an offer and I’ll consider it”, you are more likely to generate antagonism than a next interview.  It’s much more reasonable to say something like:  “In my last/current position, I was/am earning XXX, but I can’t at this stage know how that would equate to this position in your company.”
  4. DON’T WASTE TIME WITH PROCESS QUESTIONS such as:  “When will I hear back from you?”, “Where are you in the hiring process?”, “How did I do?”, or “When do you want the person you hire to start work?”  It’s obvious that every job seeker wants the answers to these questions, but this isn’t the proper time for them.

Toward the end of the interview, you will likely be asked if you have any questions.  This is an opportunity to show, by the questions you ask (and the way you ask them) your understanding of the role, the company, your skills and your enthusiasm.  Don’t forget to close by expressing your appreciation for being considered, and offer to give any follow-up material that would be helpful.

The really good screeners know how to interpret tone of voice, attitude, levels of competence and self-confidence.  Speak clearly, articulate your words, make sure you respond fully and forthrightly to the question that is asked rather than spewing out some canned message that you want to get across.

It all comes down to this:  be the professional that you are to earn the respect you deserve, and the chance to proceed in the hiring process.

Happy Hunting!



26 Oct

A newsletter circulated to recruiters is suggesting that they focus on today’s hottest occupations to maximize their commissions.  This should indicate to job hunters the kinds of skills that are most sought after, and which are most likely to land you your next job.  If you are in a career transition, you might want to consider one of these fields:

Computer software engineers for applications and salespeople are among occupations with relatively healthy growth in online job postings, according to career-services company Monster Worldwide.

Listed below are some occupations in which online job ads over the past 120 days are up strongly from a year earlier:

  1. Industrial engineers, up 28%.
  2. First-line supervisors/mgrs of mechanics, installers and repairers, up 25%
  3. Automotive specialty technicians, up 24%.
  4. Mechanical engineers, up 21%.
  5. Sales agents, financial services, up 20%.
  6. Retail salespeople, up 19%.
  7. Electrical engineers, up 17%.
  8. Loan officers, up 16%. Computer software engineers, applications, up 14%.
  9. Accountants, up 12%.

Social Media Cheat Sheet – Free Offer

11 Oct
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

People are getting hired!  The economy remains in the doldrums, but savvy job hunters who effectively use social media become prized targets for recruiters and HR staffing specialists.  I’ve just put together my latest “Cheat Sheet” which includes 20 tips for how to use LinkedIn and Twitter to get a job.  There is even an October Jobhuntercoach special offer included with it.

I’d be happy to send you my cheat sheet as a PDF file.  Send me a request with you name and contact information and you will receive it via return email.  Contact me at:

Happy Hunting!





6 Tweeting Ways to Find Your Next Job

27 Jun

My clients tend to be mid-career professionals, well accustomed to email and searching on Google.  Their comfort level with LinkedIn varies.  But when it comes to Twitter the trepidation dramatically rises.  “How can Twitter fit into my job hunt?” they skeptically ask.

The smart job hunter will recognize that Twitter’s functionality has become a reality not only for media celebrities, but for both main stream and start-up businesses.  Twitter is being used for corporate branding, marketing, and scouting for plugged-in “high value” talent to fill jobs.  Corporations, HR practices, and recruiters all value access to Twitter’s 75 million users.  CEO’s, HR, hiring managers, career experts and recruiters are all actively using Tweeting as a part of their messaging and staffing strategies.  It only makes sense that job seekers hunt in the same forest as their prey!

So… what can Twitter do for you?

  1.  Uncover job leads posted by recruiters, and job search tips from career experts like myself and many others.  To do this you don’t even have to tweet – just learn about hash marks (#), searches, how to create your own lists and access the lists of others.  Seek the things that are relevant to your expertise and experience.
  2. Create a powerful profile branding statement.  A strong profile gives you the answer to the standard interview question, “Tell me about yourself” in 160 characters.  Use my Twitter profile as an example:  “JobHunt Strategy Maestro, LinkedIn Guru, Expert, Acclaimed Speaker, resume writer, personal branding, social media, network and interview prep.”  It’s amazing how much information you can convey about yourself in 160 characters (the maximum length on Twitter)!

Be sure to make your branding statement consistent on Twitter, LinkedIn, your blog, your resume, and your business card.  It becomes the essence of your “elevator speech”.

  1. Position yourself as a valued candidate.  Take part in ongoing discussions.  Share your subject-matter expertise.  Intelligently answer questions that others raise.  Share resources that you have found, ask questions that demonstrate you know what you are talking about. Point people to your website, blog, LinkedIn profile and all the rest of your professional online content.
  2. Follow Power:  Remember that you can follow and stop following anyone you want, anytime.  Unlike LinkedIn where connections involve an invitation and acceptance, on Twitter you can have immediate access to all the tweets of anyone you choose.  By searching Twitter you can find thought leaders in your field.  You can learn about what is important to companies on your target list and to their employees, managers, and venders.

For example, search for “cisco engineer”, and look in the upper right of your screen to find a list of people who are cisco engineers.  Or search for “HR recruiter Boston” and recruiters in the Boston area who focus on HR professionals.  Start following the people on your search results and you will begin to get a much better feel for them and how you can position yourself to be the answer to their prayers.

  1. Search for anything and everything!  Try searching, “How to find a Job”, “job hunt strategy”, or something that describes the job you are seeking like: “java programmer jobs Boston”.  Whenever you find an interesting tweet, follow the author, and RT (retweet) it so other can see.
  2. Hash Mark # Power:  In order to assist people to carry on discussions about any given topic, you can create or follow “discussion headers” called hashtags or hash marks.  They are words preceded by the “#” sign.  Some of my favorites for jobhunters include:  #jobadvice, #jobsearch, #jobhunt,  #career, #resume, #networking, #interview, and  #salary.  Search for hashtags that relate to your industry, skills, education, job function, and geography.

Of course, these six tips only scratch the surface of Twitter’s value to the Jobhunter.  Experiment for yourself, see what others are doing, and follow my blog to learn more tips along the way.

I’m always interested to hear from readers.  Tell me what stymies you, what energizes you, what works, and what doesn’t.  I’d love to hear some success stories!

Happy hunting!


10 Things Employers & Recruiters Want From Candidates

21 Apr

Every job hunter has the same question:  What do employers look for, and how can I best show that I’ve got “it”?

A few days ago, I attended a panel discussion for career coaches led by three of the leading recruiters in Greater Boston.  Each recruiter had the assignment of explaining their view of today’s hiring environment, what employers are looking for, and then to give a few tips for candidates.  The recruiters deal with different specialties, including:  Human Resources, Medical Devices, Information Technologies (IT), and Marketing.  Nonetheless they agreed on one thing:   Five years ago, if an employer listed a job with 8-10 bullet points of “requirements”, a candidate might have been hired if he/she only had 3-4 of them.  But today, virtually every client of theirs wants “12 out of 10 requirements to be evidenced— just to get the initial phone interview.”

It comes as no surprise that they all report that both recruiters and companies are being inundated by resumes, as more people are chasing fewer and fewer jobs.  In this environment, they report that employers have come to view job boards like Monster as counter-effective.  When they advertise a position, they get SO MANY responses it becomes an overwhelming task just to sort through all the extraneous resumes to find the quality people who would be of interest.  Result?  They are utilizing alternative methods of identifying and recruiting top talent.  It is more time efficient and effective for both corporate (in-house) and contingency (3rd party) recruiters to scour LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates worth pursuing.  More and more, self-submitted resumes are not responded to because they aren’t even read!

Employers are looking for the following:

  1.  Candidates are expected to clearly articulate their accomplishments as part of their personal brand.  LinkedIn profiles must highlight an individual successes and results! Skills are important – but only insofar as candidates use them to attain results.  Never lead with:  “XX years of experience doing….”!  Each resume bullet point should tell a story: “Accomplished X by doing Y, resulting in Z”.
  2. Clear branding:  know who you are, what you offer, and what you are after.  Be comfortable with your own story, and have that story down pat.  Convey it consistently in your resume, LinkedIn profile, on Facebook, and increasingly on Twitter.  Tip: get all those references to partying, and anything that wouldn’t well represent an employer’s brand off your own Facebook page – NOW!  LinkedIn is seen as a way screen people in, and Facebook is viewed as a means to screen people out – even before an individual knows that he or she might be considered.
  3. Fit, Fit, & Fit! It’s the buzzword of the decade, but it means different things to different companies.  Fit goes beyond the job requirements and speaks to an individual’s experience working in a similar type organization in size, product/service, marketplace or geography.  Questions of “fit” go to the concerns: would a given candidate be happy working as part of this company/team… and would the people here be happy to work side by side with this individual?  If hired, would the person last? Commonly, employers are utilizing behavioral interviewing to determine if a candidate is a “fit”.
  4. One recruiter put it this way:   The length of time [companies are taking] to fill openings is increasing.  Companies are increasingly picky about who they hire.  But they are hiring people who have “bull’s eye” skill sets, have industry experience, and are a fit for their particular corporate culture.  More and more, you have to have all three to be hired, and candidates should adjust their job search accordingly.

 Recruiters are looking for the following:

  1.  People who can show that they volunteer to do more than is required of them in the workplace
  2. People who “know what they don’t know”, make no bones about it, and constantly strive to learn to fill in the gaps of their knowledge and experience.
  3. People who can explain what they did in a past job that makes them valuable to a future employer.
  4. People who can understand that recruiters are professional service providers who deserve respect. (If you are dealing with a recruiter who doesn’t deserve your respect, move on to another one!).  Understand that recruiters work with candidates, but ultimately for companies.
  5. People who make an effort to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, by addressing them personally, offering to help find other candidates for positions if they aren’t the right fit themselves.
  6. People who recognize that it is counterproductive for both themselves and the recruiter to do the “end run” around the recruiter and deal directly with the company that they represent.

All of this goes to show the importance of seeing the search for a new position as a “hunt” which requires a coherent strategy and a consistent message.  Getting a job is a job!  For more information about what recruiters are advising job hunters, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly.  I offer an initial free consultation to any job hunter.  Happy hunting!