In one of my other Linkedin Articles, I wrote about effective messaging and the importance of trying to find something in common with the person you are trying to elicit response from. One of the stronger bonds to find in common with a stranger is being a fellow College Alumni! Linkedin's Alumni Tool is one of their most underused and I believe underrated tools that are tied to the Linkedin platform!
'Aine Cane, Reporter on the Careers Section for Business Insider writes a nice short piece on this (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-use-linkedin-alumni-tool-2017-1). I recommend taking a look at if time permits, it's well written! 'Aine's perspective is for job seekers and how this can be incredibly valuable to make potential job connections with members of their school alumni. However, for my piece I'm going to take a different perspective. I want to share some valuable strategies on how the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Community can also utilize Linkedin Alumni for their advantage.
The search functionality works very similar to the main page, however in my opinion the layout and functionality of this page is set up much more clean and user friendly! In the top right corner is a drop down to choose your University then directly below that are 3 drop down categories giving you options for graduated/attended, start year and end year. If you go down a little more, the tool allows you to design your search as granular as you like. It allows you to sort your alumni by three areas (where they live, where they work and what they do). As you can see from a business perspective, this can be incredibly invaluable in helping you construct a list of potential customers that attended the same University as you. More important, the Alumni Tool provides you with endless information about your fellow alumni! This is critical when designing a strategy to approach these people for potential business opportunities. This is where I will spend the remainder of the article covering.
For anyone selling a product or service, I think Linked did an amazing job designing this product that can compete with any paid marketing list out there, best of all its free! Depending on your product or service, this tool can narrow down your demographic searches pretty thoroughly with the flexibility to do it anyway you want. This will help you design a unique and powerful message geared toward that specific demographics' interest. Of course the secret weapon with the message is you can lead in with the commonality of attending the same school. Let me present an example to really illustrate how this can be powerful!
Example: Let's say you designed a product for coffee drinkers who wanted to make their own fresh cold brew coffee out of the convenience of their own home. You can use the tool to narrow down a few different demographic categories based on their age, region they live in and what they do for a living to connect with them through a message that you know will pique their interest. So for example if you want to find people in your age category that you might of graduated with. An effective strategy might be to establish the relationship of "we went to school together and graduated together, I would love to catch up to see where you are at now and what you are doing after graduation". That approach is harmless and will usually elicit a response back. Once connected and the relationship is established or re-established, introducing your product in a non-threatening manner will be easy.
To my Small Business Capitalist and Entrepreneurial audience, to be honest with you I think this the most valuable tool I can introduce to you in helping you build your business! Stay tuned for more tips in future articles.
Steve Rosen-Talent Acquisition Consultant
Joan V. Out of Minneapolis writes,
"Dear Recruiter I need help. I've been in the Accounting Profession for 20 years now and I'm bored I want to do something else completely different. In fact just over the last few years I discovered I'm a people person and want a job that utilizes my personality but Accounting is all I have ever done. Any suggestions?"
Joan actually I do and it starts with you. I know the first thing people tend to want to do is jump back in and go to school but that is the last thing to do. First figure out do you like Accounting but need something that quenches your thirst for being an extrovert. If so maybe look into being an Accounting Recruiter where you can talk to people all day but still utilize your accounting knowledge.
Or if you want to completely do something that leaves Accounting behind take a notebook and do a job journal where you list some key attributes or skills you would like to use in a job. Then run a search on one of the job boards with those skills to see what jobs come up. If something interest you I would then use Linkedin or your network to find out who is doing that job and set up an informational interview. That person can give you some insights into what that job is like, how to get into a job like that and any other suggestions. If you like the job I would see if there is a way to do some side projects even for free just to get some experience.
Joan the biggest roadblock to switching careers is experience. If you can find a way to get applicable experience even if it means doing some project work for free. That will help eliminate what seems like an impossible feat and make it manageable.
Hope this helps and stay tuned for our next "Dear Recruiter Help" story!
For anyone unfamiliar, the term “Headhunter” has long been a staple term in the Recruitment Industry to describe someone who goes out and runs searches for organizations trying to find talent for Strategic and hard to find Job Openings. Prior to the induction of the “Digital Age”, these individuals were a highly sought after premium that provided an invaluable service to Organization Hiring Managers who needed to hire tough to find talent. These individuals would literally cold call into companies blindly without any resources trying to recruit people out of their current employers. The way these individual “Headhunters” would infiltrate competing organizations to find people was an “exact science” mastered by very few.
Now here in the New World of “Digital Age” the invention of the Internet and Artificial Intelligence, finding people for anyone who is not working in Recruiting is not only possible but actually very easy. Therefore the need for the “Headhunter” I won’t say went away but it definitely shifted things around. With the Internet it was believed that mass "Email Marketing Campaigns" driving candidates to apply for jobs into a Company Owned Database was not only the best way to find talent, but the most cost effective. In addition to Digital Technology, another methodology that organizations believed would be an alternative solution to hiring a "Headhunter" was outsource the entire Recruitment Function to a Country with cheaper labor cost.
Hiring Managers I'm here to tell you, its time to get re-connected with your "Headhunters" if you have not already. Something critical has been overlooked, the Recruitment and Hiring Industry has and always will be a People Business. Job changes are a very emotional decisions for candidates, even when it comes to leaving a job that they are not happy with. Even though the Internet and AI applications are great ways to find people, they are not equipped to deal with the Human Element of guiding a candidate through the "emotional roller coaster" to make the decision of leaving their current company to take a new job. That takes patients, understanding and counseling through those emotions that technology will never be able to replicate or replace from a Human Being. Plus the messages candidates receive through AI campaigns come off very generic and "cookie cutter" without regard for selling or "schmoozing" a candidate on a company or job to attract their attention. A really good "Headhunter" has the art of "schmoozing" a candidate and getting them interested in a job change down to a "science".
Earlier in the article I mentioned a shift of the role of the "Headhunter". The discoveries I made about missing the human element to recruiting, organizations also have made that discovery. Therefore for more critical searches they have gone back to utilizing "Headhunters". Actually Companies have taken it a step further. They are hiring their own "Internal Headhunters" called "Sourcers". The role of the Internal Sourcer is to do nothing but build pipelines of critical talent for their organization they work for and do Talent Acquisition Marketing. "Headhunters" great news, as long as companies hire Human Beings they will need you around to not only find these people but persuade them into a job change!
Steve Rosen-Sr. Recruitment Consultant
Now take what I’m saying with a “grain of salt” because I always try to see the opportunity in every situation! What the government workers are going through in not getting paid due to the shutdown is awful, however could it be turned into an opportunity?
There is a large gap in the market place for U.S homegrown technology workers at all levels. The unemployment rate is at near record level lows of under 4%, forcing businesses big and small to go overseas to import talent and even outsource projects. Organizations are quickly discovering that these solutions are expensive, problematic and causing long-term issues. To thrive businesses need to invest in organically growing their technical talent. Unfortunately, there are various reasons such as high “barriers of entry” among others, creating a lack of interest in the U.S workforce to train for these type of careers.
Thanks to organizations such as Suncoast Developers Guild (SDG) out of St. Petersburg, Florida https://suncoast.io/ investments in growing technical workers on U.S. soil has become a priority. Organizations like SDG, which was started by Jason Perry https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonlperry/, are beginning to pop up all over the country. These are organizations built by people who have a passion not only for technology but to help others succeed in this field as a career.
SDG is set up as an alternative to a standard educational setting for people who want to pursue a career in technology. Students come from diverse backgrounds and educational experience. Whether they are getting a jump start directly after high school, starting their desired career after college, or marking a career change, they have the opportunity to do so without racking up the expenses of a four-year university. Programs such as SDG can take what would be 1-2 year investment of the students time and condense it helping get them job ready. In non-profit organizations, such as SDG, the tuition to attend the program is invested back into the programs to constantly improve on the experience.
So now getting back to the government workers who are being directly affected by this shutdown, maybe this is the “universe” telling you now is a great time to consider a career change! There are programs out there to help subsidize this investment. At very least it’s something to consider because if this shutdown happened once what is the guarantee it wouldn’t happen again? Do you genuinely want someone else controlling your career?
Steve Rosen-Career Consultant
If you are in the Talent Acquisition Business and you think a strong or attractive job description is enough to help "land you" that hard to find Enterprise Sales Person or Software Engineer that most organizations covet, than think again! The reason being, no matter how much effort goes into differentiating a job description in the end Job Family Descriptions have to be standardized. Therefore a job description for the same role will look very similar among most organizations.
So then the question is, if our job description doesn't attract those candidates our organization's way what will? The answer to that is a "one-two punch" of Employer Branding alongside creating an Amazing Candidate Experience that will stick in a Job Seeker's Mind!
Organizations spend a lot of time and effort crafting their marketing message and brand to their perspective Client Niche on Social Media and their website. That same effort needs to happen from a Employer Branding standpoint when trying to hire and more important even if you are NOT trying to hire in that moment in time. The reason, candidates have a perception that the same job among most organizations is going to be very similar so in order to select a company to work for they need something special, and in most cases that is NOT always money. In fact when candidates were asked why they chose one organization over another. They say they will choose to go work for a company that offers growth opportunities, passion for the product/service or flexible work/life balance over more money.
How Do Organizations Create a Great Candidate Experience
So what can a Company do to create this amazing candidate experience? Mainly, it has to be a team effort involving other employees to help sell the company as a great place to work and create an upbeat vibe! Here are a few tips to get you started:
Steve Rosen-Recruiting Consultant
Tara A out of Indianapolis writes…“Dear Recruiter Help!
I just found out I’m going to be losing my job due to a layoff and I have not written a resume in over 10 years where do I even begin to start?”
“Well Tara don’t panic I have an easy to use format but the first thing to focus when writing this resume is this is your branding tool to market yourself to employers. So when writing the resume you don’t just want to list what functions are of your job you did, but in what capacity you performed those activities such as how you performed and what you accomplished.
My suggestion before writing the resume is get a note book and start listing out your accomplishments, special projects you were on and what your role was. The reason I suggest a note book is so that you can brainstorm without worrying about the grammar and it will be in front of you. Once you do that then you can write the final draft of your resume.
Now as far as the outline, since you have so much experience you want to emphasize that over education because experience is what sells an employer. Here is the Format I suggest (see below).
1. EXPERIENCE: LIST YOUR (COMPANY/JOB TITLE)
2. NEXT LINE LIST YOUR ROLE SUMMARY
3. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: PUT IN CAREER HIGHLIGHTS IN BULLET FORMAT
4. NEXT LINE LIST IN BULLET FORMAT WHAT YOU DID IN AN ACCOMPLISHMENT
5. REPEAT FOR EACH JOB
6. EDUCATION: THIS GOES LAST AND ALSO INCLUDE SPECIAL SKILLS BELOW
Tara that should give you a good place to start good luck on your search! One last thing I want to leave you with, view this as a new opportunity to do something new and exciting instead of focusing on the negative of losing your job. Employers pick up on your attitude so if it’s a good one, they will be more interested in hiring you!
Video Resumes are a great way to get a job applicant's "foot in the door" for any type of job, but especially for Critical Roles to a Company such as Sales, Technology, Leadership, HR and Marketing! What a 3 minute clip can accomplish highlighting a Candidate's background in a very vivid and visual way to an employer far outweighs a multiple page Written Resume.
If you really want to create it but don't know where to start, no problem! I will highlight in a few easy steps the way to construct this for anyone. Best thing about it, with the powerful video capabilities of our smart phones it won't even require you hiring a Professional Video Person unless you want to.
LETS GET STARTED!
1) "Dress For Success"-You want to simulate an Interview Experience. That means dress professional just like you would for an interview and film it in a quiet and office type setting in your home to keep it professional looking.
2) Keep it to 3-4 minutes long NO LONGER. In fact I would keep it closer to 3 minutes because you want your audience's attention span as much as possible through the entire thing.
3) Contents to include:
-60 Second Elevator Pitch summing up your professional background with a couple of unique "tidbits" about yourself which will grab your audience's attention. It's ok to include personal information about yourself as long as you make sure to use Professional Etiquette when doing it. HINT: Those personal items can be tied to what drove the passion for you to work in the professional field you want to work in.
-Talk about your passion for the role you want to get into such as why you are passionate about it and what excites you. This is different than the Field mentioned above as now you are talking about a specific role.
-Discuss briefly your career progression that got you to this point in your career.
-Discuss briefly 1-2 projects in a quick summary that were career accomplishments.
-Discuss what you brought to the table to your past employers in a similar role and how that will make you an immediate value to your next employer.
-Last, give a quick couple of action points on what you would do in your first 30 days if you were hired to set yourself up for success. Employers love to hire people that are proactive and show they have a planned vision for success.
If this format is followed, this will give anyone a great start to creating a successful Video Resume with the end result of attracting a Hiring Manager's attention so they call you in for the "real interview"!
In conclusion, my last piece of advice is this. Rehearse a couple times before shooting your final video, and play it back to see what it looks like. Great thing about video is you can shoot it over and over until you get it exactly how you want it.
Feel free to let me know any comments or questions you have. Hope this helps!!
Steve Rosen-Recruitment Specialist
This is the First of a series of "How To Recruiting Strategies" designed specifically for Smaller Organizations with limited HR Resources to successfully hire which is critical for scaling their businesses.
What is an Avatar
For anyone unfamiliar with the term "Avatar" in the Business World it refers to the profile that fits what an organization deems as their "perfect customer". However the term is universal and can also be used in the HR World for describing a organization's ideal employee.
For the strategic roles within an organization such as Sales/Marketing/Technology/Leadership it would be smart for an organization to determine what their Ideal Employee OR Avatar would look like. The reason being these are the roles that put a brand on your organization to their client base and helps drive success!
It has been proven over and over again that organizations who hire based strictly on skills without considering whether that person fits the particular company culture will have a higher turnover rate. The reason is even if someone can do the job, when they don't fit or don't like the company culture they won't be happy and if they are NOT happy well I think you can guess the rest of the scenario.
How To Create Your Company Avatar
-Determine which Job Families or Roles are critical to your organizations success
-Conduct an analysis of your current staff in those roles to determine the strongest players
-Create an Avatar which is a deeper dive than General Profiling on a personality type that fits that position. You want to determine all of the characteristics of that employee including personality type so that you have this mold of exactly what a perfect Sales Employee or Technology Employee looks like in your organization only. The goal here is not to be general on what any organization looks for in the role. It's what they look like for your company based on successful employees you have. This is important!
How To Use Your Avatar To Recruit For Your Organization
-Now that you have your Avatar Blueprint of what your ideal employee looks like this will set the tone for your Employer Branding Strategy
-Based on knowing your Avatar's Deep Thoughts and what they like, that information can be used to craft specific messages on your website, your Social Media and your Job Descriptions. This will help increase the rate of people your organization is targeting will respond.
-Knowing the characteristics of your Avatar will help you determine where they are located, what they read, what Social Media Platforms they are on etc..
-Craft a message that is specific to them letting them know your organization is doing strategic hiring for a critical role to the organization and that you wanted to make a connection for near term or future opportunities. The goal of the message is you want to get to know them before you pitch them about a specific job. DO NOT fall into the mistake that most recruiters make with sending a job description assuming that will attract the candidate.
-Companies that build rapport and relationships with their Avatars will find it easier to get their message return rate raised.
Hope this article helps and please let me know what you think. Stay tuned for the next article in the series!
Steve Rosen-Recruiting Consultant
James CEO of XYZ Company in Austin, TX writes...
"My name is James and I own a 5 year old Technology Consulting firm specializing in Medical Applications. We just hit our first milestone of $1mm in revenue and have been given additional project work which is great. However the problem is we need to hire critical tech talent in order to "ride the wave" and scale, however I know we don't have the "deep pockets" of bigger organizations to compete. I have spoken to a couple of candidates that are definitely interested in coming to work for us because they like the idea of working for a small company and like our mission. However I know I can't pay them what they are worth."
"Help Me Recruiter" what do I do?"
James first of all thank you for writing in I appreciate you writing in and sharing your issue! It's one that a lot of organizations of your size have so you asking will also help others in our community! The easy answer to that question is you don't play a game you can't win and don't compete with those organizations on trying to "one up them" on paying a higher salary.
Now that doesn't mean James I'm telling you not pursue the talent you need and want, you absolutely should! You just need to play to your organizations strengths. Here is what I mean.
First of all you want to find out other motivating factors the candidate has in selecting a "new home". If money is their top motivating factor, then James that is a candidate you DON'T WANT to pursue. Because even if you could give them the salary they are asking for. More than likely another firm will come in with more money 6 to 12 months down the road and they will leave you anyway.
Next you want to evaluate what makes your organization special to work for? Being a smaller firm you can offer more flexibility in work/life balance such as working from home or generous PTO. Work/Life is a very important factor to employees. Also being a smaller firm there is far less layers of management . Therefore the employee has more autonomy to do the type of work they want to do and have their efforts more visible at a higher level then in a large silo organization. Also being in a smaller firm opportunities to "wear different hats" gives employees the opportunity to expand their skills and maybe move into a different area far easier then in a larger organization.
James I can go on and on with the examples but I think you understand, find what makes your company special. Then when you are interviewing candidates hone in on what is motivating them besides money. If you can't find anything else I would decline them immediately in the process even if they are a "Rock Star" that you covet.
As mentioned earlier even if you "go all in" and can land them, chances are you will lose them in less than a year because someone will throw "outrageous money" to lure them away and if you are relying on them in a critical project that could be more devastating then never having that employee in the first place.
Once you find what motivates them this next step I know seems risky but it makes your organization look classy. I would say to the person, "so and so we are very interested in your candidacy and potentially see you as someone we want to bring onboard. However to be honest, with your skill sets I know you are going to have a lot of interest out in the market which will probably pay you way more than what we have budget for. We would love to compete in salary for you and would so without hesitation if we could. However being honest with ourselves we can't do that, but here are some other perks of working for us." Then James you start making your case. You would be surprised what that type of honesty and vulnerability does with a candidates emotions. If they can work with the salary you can afford, they would rather work for an organization like yours than a larger firm that will just throw money their way.
James I hope this helps and hang in there and good luck hiring that person to keep your business growing!
Hey guys if you like this article and think it helps or want to ask me another Hiring Question, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear from you! Until next time, Peace out!
"Help Me Recruiter"