Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Archive for October, 2009

It’s tough being a recruiter…

Posted by sweens on October 30, 2009

I find it tough being a recruiter sometimes! I do not mean because the job is demanding or the stress is insurmountable; but rather that sometimes, it is easy to be torn between the needs of your company and the needs of your candidates. As a recruiter I feel a direct tie to my candidates and that essentially I am their agent. I take on the responsibility of marketing them in a way that best represents their own needs as well as protects the needs of my company.

I recently spoke to a candidate who is displeased in their contract. The rate was not overly generous and I think the work environment might have been a little mundane at times. When they called me to explain why they were leaving prematurely, I could not help but agree with them. Every reason they came up with was accurate from their point of view and I could not help but think that if I was in that position, I would be doing the same.

Is this a normal feeling for recruiters?

I certainly did not put my company in a vulnerable position and suggest that the candidate was misrepresented – because they were not. The candidate was given all the facts before they signed up but it just was not a win-win situation for everyone involved.

I also found myself in a situation where I was working off limited information about the project and the client. This has ultimately comes around and proven to be a problem. As I mentioned before, sometimes when a recruiter recruits a positions for a system integrator, all the facts just are not there.

Very frustrating! Anyone else in the same boat??

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ResuWe

Posted by sweens on October 27, 2009

Has anyone heard of this service yet?  I was catching up on some blogs recently and discovered this service called Resuwe.  Their information page contains the following information:

We are experienced recruiters constantly reviewing resumes on a daily basis. We know what works from a company’s perspective and also see the most common mistakes firsthand. So often we are helping job seekers tweak the content and formatting of their resume to suit the requirements of employers.

Why Resuwe? We decided to launch ResuWe as a way to help job seekers quickly and easily optimize their resumes to improve their chances of successful employment. We also are excited to blend our expertise as recruiters to make a truly interactive resume optimization and job search site.

Many aspects of a resume and the job search process remain the same over time yet so many aspects change and evolve at a rapid rate. ResuWe is geared to preserve the traditional job search techniques like a clean well formatted resume, a custom cover letter, top interview tips, yet incorporate the most effective cutting edge tools including a web based resume, online profile, social media, and resume optimization.

So far the site seems to have some good content but I have yet to try their service.  They also have a blog titled Fight Unemployment which may be worth checking out.  I have included the link here and have added it to my blog roll as well.

Any feedback or comments anyone has would be appreciated….

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$13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job

Posted by sweens on October 22, 2009

By Michael Luo
Published: October 21, 2009
BURNS HARBOR, Ind. — As soon as the job opening was posted on the afternoon of Friday, July 10, the deluge began.

C.R. Engliand, a nationwide trucking company, needed an administrative assistant for its bustling driver training school here. Responsibilities included data entry, assembling paperwork and making copies.

It was a bona-fide opening at a decent wage, making it the rarest of commodities here in northwest Indiana, where steel industry layoffs have helped drive unemployment to about 10 percent.

When Stacey Ross, C. R. England’s head of corporate recruiting, arrived at her desk at the company’s Salt Lake City headquarters the next Monday, she found about 300 applications in the company’s e-mail inbox. And the fax machine had spit out an inch-and-a-half thick stack of résumés before running out of paper. By the time she pulled the posting off Careerbuilder.com later in the day, she guessed nearly 500 people had applied for the $13-an-hour job. “It was just shocking,” she said. “I had never seen anything so big.”

Ms. Ross had only a limited amount of time to sort through the résumés. While C. R. England has not been immune to the downturn, it has added significantly to its stable of drivers and continued to hire office staff members to support them. Ms. Ross was also trying to fill more than two dozen other positions.

The 34-year-old recruiter decided the fairest approach was simply to start at the beginning, reviewing résumés in the order in which they came in. When she found a desirable candidate, she called to ask a few preliminary questions, before forwarding the name along to Chris Kelsey, the school’s director. When he had a big enough pool to evaluate, she would stop. Anyone she did not get to was simply out of luck.

She dropped significantly overqualified candidates right away, reasoning that they would leave when the economy improved. Among them was a former I.B.M. business analyst with 18 years experience; a former director of human resources; and someone with a master’s degree and 12 years at Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm.

Over the course of four days, Ms. Ross forwarded 61 résumés to Mr. Kelsey, while rejecting 210 others. The remainder never even got a look. Many were, in fact, never uploaded to the company’s internal system because there were too many.

Just before the advertisement was removed, a standard one-page résumé arrived from Tiffany Block, 28, who lived in nearby Portage and had lost her job four months earlier as an accounts receivable manager at a building company when it closed its Indiana office.

Someone she knew had applied for the job and had said so on Facebook. Ms. Block went to the company’s Web site and filed an application online, which many others had not. By doing do, her application went directly into the company’s system. She was hardly optimistic, since she had not had an interview in months.

Ms. Ross, however, passed it on the next day to Mr. Kelsey.

Attendance at Mr. Kelsey’s school has surged during the recession. Mr. Kelsey, 33, had just promoted one of his three administrative assistants, who handle the paperwork needed for drivers to hit the road. He needed a replacement quickly.

The overwhelming response astonished him. He asked Cheree Seawood, one of his current assistants, to go through the résumés and help pick out several to interview. To make the task easier, he decided they should be even more rigorous in ruling out anyone who appeared even slightly overqualified. Mr. Kelsey, an ardent New England Patriots fan, compared his personnel strategy to the team’s everyman approach.

“We like to get the fair and middling talent that will work for the wages and groom them from within,” he said.

In other words, he said, he did not want the former bank branch manager Ms. Ross had sent, or the woman who had once owned a trucking company, or even the former legal secretary.

He also realized that in this climate he could afford to be extra picky and require trucking industry experience.

The company eventually settled on eight people to interview, inviting in the first two just five days after the job was posted.

In the past, Mr. Kelsey had mostly ad-libbed interviews, but this time he asked his company’s human resources department for help. They sent him a list of 13 questions, as well as an eight-page packet with 128 questions grouped under 50 “competencies.” He decided he would ask them all.

At the end of each hourlong interview, he and Ms. Seawood each jotted down a rating for each applicant and then compared them.

Invariably, the candidates’ job search travails came up. One woman who lost her job had started working as a waitress and confessed she had come directly from her job on the overnight shift.

But Mr. Kelsey resolved to keep his personal sympathies at bay. “If you start judging applicants on want or need, eventually that want, or need, will go away when they get the job and their financial situation stabilizes,” he said. “Then you’re left with whatever skills they have.”

Before Ms. Seawood called Ms. Block to schedule an interview, she had been getting increasingly depressed.

“I felt like, I’m 28 years old, and I don’t have a job,” she said. “What am I doing with myself?”

But Mr. Kelsey was immediately impressed when she came in on the second day of interviews. Dressed in a conservative business suit, Ms. Block patiently answered all of the 100-plus questions. Mr. Kelsey liked that she remained consistent in her answers and showed independence.

Afterward, Mr. Kelsey gave Ms. Block a 9; Ms. Seawood rated her at a point lower.

The next week, however, Ms. Seawood gravitated to a different candidate. The woman had just had nose surgery and came in wearing a protective mask. Besides her qualifications, the fact she had not tried to postpone impressed Ms. Seawood.

But when Mr. Kelsey invited the woman back, the interview was a disaster. She grew visibly irritated amid his battery of questions.

Mr. Kelsey immediately called Ms. Block to ask if she could come in for a second interview.

Was an hour from now too soon?

Momentarily panicked, Ms. Block quickly assented.

Mr. Kelsey marched through many of his questions again. Then, trying to gauge her ability to be assertive among truck drivers, he added a new hypothetical: if she were in the stands at a baseball game and a foul ball came her way, would she stand up to try to catch it, or wait in her seat and hope it fell her way?

The other finalist had said she would wait. But Ms. Block said immediately that she would jump up to grab it.

Mr. Kelsey decided he had found his hire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/us/22hire.html?_r=1&hpw

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Not looking for a job? Great. Not hearing about jobs? Why not?

Posted by sweens on October 19, 2009

I am pretty confident that if there was one thing that I could get consensus on it would  be that everyone hates searching for jobs. (If you are currently looking for a job, glad you are on my site)

The frustration of resume writing, interview prepping insecurity or trouble of not having a job is not the best experience. So when you finally get a job, most likely, you don’t want to go back to that god-forsaken process of searching again.

 If you are not looking for a job, I think that’s great –-you’re the type of candidate that recruiters love to know. You either, love your job and don’t want to leave, or you do not mind your job and you do not want to look for something else. Mind you, what I do not understand is why some people do not want to even hear about job opportunities. You may say that you are open to it, but are you? When is the last time you were offered a job when you were not looking for one? When someone offered you a job, did you stop and take note? Do you know how much your position goes for in another organization? Are you putting yourself out there to be found? 

 Whether or not youare the happiest person at your job, you should never runaway from hearing about potential jobs.

Why?
• You should always, always, know how much you are worth. Even if you love your job, knowing what someone else would pay you gives you extra leverage at your current job
• You might think that you have the best job, but what if an even better job is around the corner?
• You will never have to go back to the grind of actively searching again – you can just transfer from one job to the next without searching
• You always know that you are valued somewhere else

You never know the better option until you at least open yourself up to it…

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Put yourself out there and be found!

Posted by sweens on October 15, 2009

I have taken it upon myself to do a lot of research on the recruitment industry and if there was one thing that popped up over and over again it was this message:  if you want the right job to come to you, put yourself out there!

 I am sure this sounds obvious to most of you. But when you really start to think of it, how “out there” are you?  Is your resume on Workopolis? Do you have a LinkedIn account? What about a Facebook account? Do you have a blog? A website? Is your name on published documents?

 I am not saying that you should join every social network or post your resume on every site but I am saying that you should think about your own presence online. The fact of the matter is, if you are a talented and skilled worker in the tech industry, you should definitely make yourself available to be found. The labour industry is facing some incredible challenges and companies are always looking for talented people. But, those opportunities won’t always come your way if you are hiding in your office cubicle.

 It should also be said that recruiters are always vying for that coveted passive candidate, which means we are desperately looking for that person that is not looking for us.  So, hate to break it to you, but if you are the kind of person that applies incessantly to job offers, you are not exactly putting yourself out there in a way that gets results. You are better off making a name for yourself on LinkedIn writing comments on blogs and even joining “Talent Pools” for specific industries (jobs that go to you). The point is, get your ideas, your achievements, your personality posted in areas that will be seen and opportunities might just come knocking on your door.

 You would be surprised how many candidates, both passive and active, have been turned on to new opportunities which were made possible by the powers of social networking, and the ability to be found.  So, there you have it: make yourself known, make yourself accessible and make yourself found.  What is the worst thing that could happen??

**Article inspired by Jane and Marta**

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What’s Your LinkedIn Strategy?

Posted by sweens on October 14, 2009

Ask yourself: “What’s my LinkedIn strategy?” If nothing comes to mind, it could mean one of two things – either you lack a personal strategy for using LinkedIn or you’re not a LinkedIn user at all – worse yet, you’ve never even heard of it. Whichever category you might belong to, you need to get yourself out of it, join the masses, and create a brand for yourself online. Here’s why:

 Before I started my job here at Procom, not only was I absent from LinkedIn, but I was also an avid boycotter of all social networks, excluding Facebook. I didn’t like the idea of being “found” online, nor did I see the point of spending countless hours chatting virtually with friends that were really just a phone call away. As much as I wanted to believe that my “offline presence” strategy was benefiting me (by allowing me to be more productive with my time), it was actually doing me harm because as valuable personal and professional relationships were being formed online, I was being left behind to contemplate my “productivity gains”.

 After much deliberation, I decided to swallow my pride and join the millions of Facebook users and LinkedIn professionals, the latter network having provided me with countless career opportunities and valuable professional contacts from around the globe.  Just the other day, I was “InMail-ed” by a fellow Procom employee (whom I had never even met) for an interesting opportunity regarding my interest in hockey (details available to the public only through my LinkedIn profile). Thus my LinkedIn strategy is actually quite simple (as can be yours!):

  1. I have 100% Profile Completeness
  2. I am constantly connecting – be it with past colleagues; current friends; or contacts for future opportunities
  3. I include keywords in my profile that allow me to be “found” (ironically enough)

 Since having accepted social networking as a part of my life, I have not only recruited several individuals to join LinkedIn, but I myself have been “recruited” by others – something that my ‘real’ social network is unable to do for me – how can you compare your circle of personal contacts and friends with a rapidly expanding global network of 12million+ professionals? You can’t. Young or old, job-seeker or not, everyone out there needs to embrace social media and make themselves visible to the masses. And what better place to do it than the World Wide Web! Ignoring the power of social networking because the concept is overwhelming to you will leave you struggling to communicate in the very near future. Get out of your comfort zone and create a brand for yourself on the Web – don’t get stuck communicating the way people used to – start communicating the way people do today, for better opportunities tomorrow.

**Article inspired by Jane and Marta**

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