Monday, February 27, 2012

Sincerity Matters: Effective Business Networking

As part of my role in business development, I meet a large number of people.  I do my best to remember names and backgrounds about each person.  Since I truly enjoy meeting and talking with people, I think of my job more as fun than work.  At a large networking function just the other day, I ran into at least a half dozen people that I had met in the last couple of years.  Of the six, there was one individual whose name I could not recall, but I remembered the name of the school that his kids went to because it was the same small school that I had gone to growing up in Dallas.  He asked me how on Earth I remembered that.  I realize that a person’s sincerity makes a big difference in how I view that person and whether or not I would choose to do business with them, so I try to reflect that myself in my interactions with others.  Below is an article I read on a similar topic about a person’s success in business being attributed to the kind of person that they were.  I found some valuable pointers in this that I think are worth sharing.

Carolyn Murray, Director of Client Development


Feb 1, 2012

How to Be the Most Memorable Person in the Room

           Christina DesMarais
Within the last few years two very special men in my life died. They weren’t family, I didn’t see them often, and they had lived long, fruitful lives. But when they were gone it suddenly seemed to me that the world was missing something big. And others felt this way too.
Both funerals were standing room only. Family members gave eulogies that would break your heart—the lives of these men made a big impression on the people around them. In both instances, I looked around and thought to myself, I want my funeral to be like this.
Elloyd and Kenneth had been accomplished entrepreneurs and later in life, angel investors. The former founded a financial transaction processing company that today competes with the biggest names in banking, in spite of it only having 130 or so employees. And the latter spent much of his life as an international executive for several large companies before starting his own business and selling it for a premium when he retired.
So what exactly did these two men do to make such a large impact on so many people? In business and in life, they knew how to deal with people. Here’s what they did, and what you can do, too:

Be interested in what’s going on in other people’s lives. There’s something endearing about a curious soul. How much do you know about the lives of your business associates and employees? You don’t need to pry, but expressing a genuine interest in what’s going on outside of work with people can go a long way in the level of influence you have with them.

Really listen. When’s the last time you spent time talking with someone who was fully present? Technology often gets in the way of this. If you want to make an impression on someone, silence your phone and hide it away.

Be authentic. I recently met an entrepreneur who had it all together but was disingenuous. Nothing could have turned me off faster. Before he died Kenneth wrote a missive chronicling much of his life and one of his daughters read it at his funeral. His posthumous candor was moving and reflective of how he interacted with people during life. He was authentic and everyone knew it, so it set him apart.

Set a good example. At Elloyd’s funeral one of his daughters read an e-mail she had received from an employee who had never met him (because he was retired by then). In the e-mail, the employee said she could tell by the way his children ran the company and treated their employees that he must have been a very good man to raise them up the way he did.

Be happy. It sounds so simple yet cheerfulness is a quality that eludes many. After retiring Kenneth and his wife would watch old TV shows while eating lunch. His frequent (and loud) laugh was infectious. And one of Elloyd’s daughters, a lifelong friend of mine and now head of sales for the company he started, took on her father’s positive attitude, which is something everyone who now works with her appreciates.

Be generous with your money and time. Both Elloyd and Kenneth donated generously to worthy causes and other entrepreneurs with funding and mentoring. While coaching a fledgling business into success can be time consuming, it’s an investment that will be long remembered. I hear from founders all the time who effusively express gratitude to the mentors who steered them when they most needed direction.

Stand up for what you believe in. Kenneth had no qualms about asking a neighboring table at the country club to stop cussing with his daughters in earshot. And Elloyd believed wholeheartedly in the American Dream, believing that with hard work, a good idea and solid coaching, anyone could succeed.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What Corporate Recruiters Wish They Knew

 I recently read an article on (See Related Article) about taking the leap from corporate recruiting into agency recruiting, and the first thought that came to mind was, ‘yeah leap is an understatement’.
 I am one of those brave souls who decided to take the plunge into the agency world, and I have to admit I was plunging into dark waters – I didn’t know what I was getting myself into!  I thought, ‘I have been in recruiting for seven years – I can handle this’.  I was in for the roller-coaster ride of my life!  It has been hands down the most challenging job I have ever had - emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  But, it has also been the most rewarding, creative, and thrilling experience.  I firmly believe every recruiter needs to experience the agency recruiter role at some point in their career.  It is essential in so many ways, and even in the short amount of time I have been with CRG, I have learned more than I have in my entire seven years in corporate. 
As I am learning how to navigate through this business, I keep hearing myself say the same thing over and over again: “If I knew then what I know now, I would have done it differently”.  I was always cordial and thankful for the vendors I worked with while I was a corporate recruiter, but knowing what I know now, I would definitely have treated the relationship very differently.  So here’s some advice to all the corporate recruiters out there who are currently working with or thinking about working with agencies: 

1.       Pick 2 or 3 firms max to work with.  I would not have employed the services of 20 different firms, rather focused all my energy and attention to developing strong relationships with only 2 or 3 trusted firms.  Knowing there are 20 other firms working on a job order knocks that job order down a couple levels automatically. 

2.       Feedback, feedback, feedback!  Anything is better than nothing.  As a corporate recruiter, half the battle is trying to get a hold of the hiring managers for feedback and updates, but let the agency recruiter know that.  We would rather hear, ‘I don’t have any updates’, than nothing at all.  I was slammed with millions of emails, and I admit, the ones from the agencies would be pushed to the bottom of the priority totem pole, especially if I didn’t have any updates.  But just a quick one line email is critical to the agency recruiter.

3.       Help us help you!  Information is golden.  If I could go back, I would have taken the time to really discuss the hiring manager’s needs with the agency recruiter.  The hardest part of being an agency recruiter is trying to find qualified candidates in a very short time frame with only two or three pieces of information. We play the guessing game half the time, which in essence wastes time.  If we have all the information from the get-go, then we can be most effective in the least amount of time.

4.       We are not your enemy!  Unfortunately, agencies have a bad reputation, but we are not all slimy used car salesmen.  We would like to be viewed as your partner providing you a valuable service.  Our main goal is to assist you and make your life easier.  As a corporate recruiter in a large organization, I was bogged down with so many applications and additional administrative tasks all day, I simply didn’t have the time to creatively source and network like agency recruiters do.  Towards the end, I was so thankful the agencies were sending me candidates, because it made me look good!  I was getting the positions filled, and at the end of the day, that’s what counts.  We are just another resource that you can utilize.

Ali Kairies, Director of Recruiting

Friday, February 17, 2012

Working With Recruiters Via LinkedIn

Good Morning and Happy Friday!
In the job hunt there are countless options in getting connected and finding the right position for you. Recruiters (especially the fine staff at Colvin Resources Group) can be a great benefit in getting just what you are looking for in your next move. These days, LinkedIn is far and away the number one source by which we find our candidates, followed closely by referrals (which we can often get through LinkedIn connections). This morning as I was doing my daily perusing of LinkedIn articles (yes that's even where I get all my news, useful huh?) I came across the article below by one of my favorite bloggers, The Evil Hr Lady a.k.a. Suzanne Lucas. She always has the sassy honest answers to those writing in with their HR quandaries. Enjoy! - Ashley

How to work with a recruiter on LinkedIn

By Suzanne Lucas

  Dear Evil HR Lady,

"What is the best way to work with a company's recruiters? I currently work for a small non-profit, and I have only ever applied for jobs where if the organization had an HR department at all, it was only one or two people, none of whom were "recruiters."
I am really keen on working for one particular large organization that has a whole "recruitment team" of three or four people! They even have a LinkedIn page for the team. (However, I don't want to connect via LinkedIn because then my current colleagues could tell that I am job hunting.) How do I make contact with the recruiters? Since all job postings are put online, I'm not sure where these people fit into a job-hunting strategy, but I would love to know. I really have no clue about the rules of engagement in this situation. Any advice?"

First, a question. How much attention do you pay to whom people are linked on LinkedIn? I ask because I just sent a LinkedIn request to my cousin Jenny, who runs a business called Acting Out Loud. Presuming she accepts my request (which she should because I'm, you know, awesome and all that), this new connection may well show up in my editor's LinkedIn update this week. I doubt his first thought will be, "Oh no! Suzanne is now connected with Jenny Peterson and by clicking on her link I can see that she teaches acting! I bet Suzanne wants to leave MoneyWatch and become an actress! I will fire her now! Or perhaps recommend her for the next great CBS sitcom!"
No, if he thinks about it at all, it will be, "Hmm, Jenny Peterson. I went to school with a Jenny Peterson. I wonder if it's the same one?" Because, honestly, even your boss doesn't care that much about you. So my point is, if you want to connect via LinkedIn, do it. For all everyone else in your network knows, this recruiter is your college roommate, former business associate, next door neighbor or cousin.
However, do be sure to check that the people you link with aren't linked with your boss, because then he will notice and will ask you how you know this person. Also, proceed with caution if this company is a known direct competitor of your company's.
Here's what does really get people notice that you're job hunting: when suddenly you're updating your experience, asking for recommendations from everyone you've ever met, and adding a zillion new contacts. That's when it's obvious.
But if you want to keep the recruiters off your LinkedIn page (or if the contact wouldn't be with Jane Doe, Recruiter, but ACME's Recruiting Department), you can send a personal message through LinkedIn and mention that your job search is not public. Recruiters understand that you don't want your current boss to know you are looking for a new job. That's part of their job.
And just what is the rest of the recruiter's job? For positions that lots of people could fill, the recruiter's job is to go through the 350 resumes (generally using a computer program to help) and reject as many as possible, ultimately presenting the top candidates to the hiring manager. The recruiter then screens, interviews and shepherds the entire hiring process, communicating with candidates and hiring managers
For hard-to-fill jobs, the recruiter's job is to find qualified candidates and then follow the rest of the process outlined above. This is why they have LinkedIn pages in the first place. If you have a unique skill set that they are trying to find, they would love you to contact them. Always be nice to recruiters (both in-house ones and headhunters) because you never know when you will need their help.
Here's something else you could do: Skip the recruiter altogether. Oh, the horrors! My recruiting friends will never forgive me for saying it. (And they shouldn't, since the recruiters I know personally are fabulous and don't do stupid things with candidates.) However, I've been around enough to know that there are recruiters who set up arbitrary rules and then exclude people who can't read the recruiters' minds, no matter how qualified and fabulous a candidate she may be.
But if you can speak directly with a hiring manager, you have a better chance. If you can get that information and network your way into contact, that is much more effective. Why? Because although hiring managers aren't very good at thoroughly explaining to the recruiter what they need, they can often recognize it even if you don't have the full checklist. Your resume may make a hiring manager think, "Oh, wow, it would be awesome to have someone on staff who knows how to do conjoint analysis, again. I hadn't thought about that!" But because the manager didn't tell the recruiter he needed someone to do conjoint analysis, this skill won't trigger the recruiter to act on you.
If you don't have a legitimate connection to the hiring manager (or can't figure out who it is, which can be very difficult), then you can do the actual application online. The recruiter will tell you to do that, anyway. It puts your resume and cover letter directly into her software. So do that.
When you're tweaking your resume to fit the job description, match the keywords from the job posting to ones in your resume. If the job posting says, "conjoint analysis," and you can do that, but your resume says, "complex advanced statistical models," you might not get noticed. Rather, write something like, "advanced statistical models including conjoint analysis, logistic regression, blah, blah, blah." If you have the skill on the job posting, make sure the computer can figure that out. Those computers are very literal.
Don't be afraid to work with recruiters and don't be afraid to contact them on LinkedIn. That's why they're there.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Recruiters: Job Seeker Friend or Foe?

I've been doing this recruiting "gig" for a while now and I have seen my fair share of nay-Sayers, when it comes to using a recruiter for their job search.  Like any industry, there are always a few in the bunch that make the rest of us seem less-than-glamorous.  So, it was with a sense of awe/relief/excitement that I read the following post.  In fact, I found it informative enough to post it in our blog in its entirety.  

And, for the record, through my years I have also experienced numerous thankful candidates and those far outweigh the nay-Sayers and make it all worthwhile.

First Blog Post - Benefits of Being Listed in a Recruiting Agent’s Database - Dame At Dot Com

If you have not yet talked with a recruiting agency in your search for mining jobs, you should definitely consider it. Also called job recruiters or headhunters, recruiting agencies can be a valuable tool in your career search.

There are several benefits to getting your name and resume into a recruiting agency’s database:

1. The agency’s services are free to you.
If you’re hired through an agency, your employer will pay the agency’s fee. This gives you access to a great job hunting resource with no payment required on your part.

2. Recruiters are motivated to find you a job.
Recruiters only get paid when they place candidates in jobs. If they don’t find you a job, they don’t get paid. Your best interest, getting a great job, is also in their best interest.

3. Recruiting agencies know about jobs that aren’t listed online or in the classifieds.
Many employers go straight to agencies with their best jobs. If you’re in the database, you have a chance at those jobs.

4. Recruiting agencies keep your job search confidential.
If you work with a recruiting agency, you’re not going to see your resume on Facebook, where your current employer may also see it. If you’re trying to keep your job search a secret, recruiting agencies are a very good way to keep your resume off the Internet.

5. Headhunters talk to each other.
If you’re registered with one recruiting agency and your information is in their database, you might get a job through another headhunter. They often trade information with each other because it helps them fill positions.

6. You may get a higher salary by working with a recruiter.
If you negotiate your own salary, you may end up getting paid less than if a recruiter does the negotiating. Not only are headhunters more skilled at negotiating than you probably are, but they also have a powerful incentive—they get paid a percentage of your salary.

7. Headhunters know the hiring managers and human resources directors.
You can spend hours trying to track down jobs, post resumes and figure out who to contact. Headhunters already know the people who hire for mining jobs and will submit your resume to the right person and sell you as the perfect candidate.

Career searches are very seldom fun. They’re stressful, time-consuming and agonizing, for the most part. A recruiting agency can make your job search easier, simpler and faster. When you sign up with a recruiting agency and get into their database, they do the leg work for you. You no longer have to spend hours looking for jobs on CareerBuilder or and submitting resumes to every possible opportunity. You have someone in your corner fighting for you.

Sheila Kyser, Director of Staffing