An algorithm deciding which programmer to interview? Permission to ignore resumes?
It had to happen sooner or later. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) were the first major application of technology to the decision about whom to interview. Now there is a new kid on the Siliconblock in Gild.com. .
A good article in the NY Times ties the paradigm of applying technology to applicant selection to Big Data and the emerging field of work-science. Already top companies are testing and using Gild's software: Facebook, Wal-Mart, Twitter and others.
The thesis is this: Traditional hiring of programmers for coveted employer brands such as Google and Apple has depended on credentials such as a degree from MIT or Stanford, work experience at another premier company, etc. Glid.com believes that talented programmers who may be as good or better are being overlooked because they don't have a degree from a top tech school or a prestige background. They have developed a technology to address this problem.
How do they identify promising candidates then? By applying Big Data analytics to recruitment and using ~300 variables to predict a valuable hire. Instead of looking at three or four factors, they weigh more heavily the actual programming work someone's done.
The NY Times describes the broader criteria this way: "The types of language, positive or negative, that he or she uses to describe technology of various kinds; self-reported skills on LinkedIn; the projects a person has worked on, and for how long; and, yes, where he or she went to school, in what major..."
Executives at Gild.com in an interview with NPR said that they have ambitions to apply similar technology to fields in which work is harder to quantify: teaching, community organizing etc.
Gild's vision aligns well with the paradigm shift going on in HR (human resources) towards metrics-based decision making about recruitment and new hire evaluation. HR increasingly is needing to justify its existence in terms of providing quanitifiable value to the business.
Takeaways for programmers and job seekers in general? If this early-stage tech company is a harbinger of things to come, jumpstart your online footprint now! Leverage Linkedin to the max, including work products (once you get the media feature), put up a personal website to provide even more examples of your work and its impacts, start now to build thought leadership on Twitter, and blog. In other words, be everywhere and anywhere recruiters might be looking.
It's hard for me to say this more strongly: If you're not branded online - with breadth and depth, you will not be ready for the hiring environment of the future. With the tremendous communication potential of the Internet, you have the potential to beat out other applicants with much more impressive credentials. Who doesn't want to be able to do that?
What are your thoughts on this trend? I'd love to hear.
Photo courtesy of Mat Robinson of Enduring Images Studio
“If someone doesn’t have a photo of himself on his LinkedIn profile, I’m not inclined not to trust him,” a hiring manager said the other day. Many people feel this way. Whoa! This message is coming in loud and clear: If your goal on being on LI is to network and potentially be considered for job opportunities, get a photo up there, and make it a good one!
Have you noticed that the photos are bigger on the new LI profiles? LI is moving in a direction paved by other social media sites that know that visuals are HUGE in terms of impact and influence. You only have to look at the role visuals pay on Facebook and, of course, the explosive growth of YouTube. The new media button that is being rolled out by LI is further evidence that visuals – in this case slide shows, videos, and additional photos – are key to conveying individual and corporate brands.
With the new, larger LI photo, you have more of a chance to create a more personal connection with the employer or recruiter who views it, before they ever read a word about you. Your executive resume also will be read with more interest if the reader has a mental picture of you. A properly lit image of you, appropriately dressed, with an engaging expression, can enhance your written profile, invite trust, and provide an intimacy that words alone could never do!
Think about what a friendly, open, constructive person looks like. Do you like the headshot of someone you’re connected to? You want your image to be professional but not stuffy. Above all, you want to look approachable.
The good news is that you don’t have to win a beauty contest for your photo, just have a great expression.
Here are 7 valuable tips that can help you ensure that your photo will HELP YOU, not hurt you (remember, having no photo WILL hurt you), and even serve as a competitive advantage for you!
- Hire a portrait photographer to get a professional quality headshot of you facing into the camera. An angled picture can make you look sneaky. A profile picture doesn’t allow for eye contact. Sometimes your investment can be little more than $100 for a professional to help you out. Don’t use a Facebook-type picture of you partying with friends. If you can't afford a professional, then find a friend with a digital camera to take some pictures of you against a white background. Then pick the best shot.
- Use good lighting so that your photo gives a fair representation of what you look like and so that your face isn’t bathed in shadows.
- Use a white or neutral background. Some people use black. You don’t want to have a photo with a distracting background. Try to capture from the neck or shoulders up.
- Dress for success. If you are applying for an executive or managerial position, dress for the role. A good rule of thumb is to dress the way your immediate superior does on the job. For a woman, avoid too much jewelry or busy patterns. For a man, keep your tie (if you are wearing one) from stealing the show.
- Have the photographer try to capture some of your personal brand attributes by conveying them in your expression. They may include one or more of the following: leader-like, sincere, assertive, strong, charismatic, steady, creative, humorous, outgoing, confident, etc.
- If you are worried about age discrimination, then feel free to touch up the gray hairs and use a healthy layer of foundation for a youthful and energetic appearance. I recommend getting a professional makeup job done, for both men and women. There’s a reason why TV anchors look so great and why they have teams to make them look that way! Ask your local hair designer for a referral to someone good.
- Finally, try to look as up-to-date as possible. This means having your hairstyle and your clothing styles current, but not far-out trendy. Some of the larger stores have personal shoppers: Nordstrom, J Crew etc. Take advantage of their free guidance in selecting a suitable outfit.
See how great a professional headshot can be by viewing the image above. If you are in the New Jersey/New York area, contact Mat. Otherwise, try to find a professional near you whose work you like. Your headshot on LinkedIn, done right, can be an immediate invitation to a recruiter or hiring authority to read on and find on-brand, written content and, hopefully, more visuals that cause them to contact YOU.
Where is that? Yup, you guessed it, social media is where recruiters report sourcing 25% of executive hires. And those are 2012 figures! I'm ready to say it straight out:
"If you're not spending a portion of your time every week on one of more of the following - LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, youtube, Pinterest - you will be seriously handicapped in your job search both now and in the future." Here's what you'll want to do: Leverage the power of social media sites to build your thought leadership and make connections with professionals and recruiters in your space.
No longer is private reputation all that matters. What matters is that you are a player in your industry and function and visible as such. I don't say this to make anyone feel overwhelmed - we all have enough of that! But the executive resume is no longer your only reporting mechanism for your professional achievements and brand. The Internet is where recruiters will first make decisions, based on what they find, about whether to contact you.
LinkedIn is apt to be the first place recruiters will be encountering you. So pay AT LEAST as much attention to getting your LinkedIn profile 95-100% complete and keyword loaded as you do to developing a branded executive resume that can be visually scanned in 6 seconds.
So to fight the overwhelm, I'm going to list FIVE concrete, easy steps you can take to start reaping the benefits of social media for job search. But first, get the basics in place and establish a discipline for "keeping at it" in social media. You may actually find this fun after awhile and a valued addition to your usual professional activities.
The Basics: To start, I suggest you have profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and ZoomInfo. Make sure they are marbled through with the right keywords and that they convey your branded value proposition. Then...
The Discipline: Set aside a half hour a day or 2-3 hours a week (maybe Sun. night?) when you can start to participate in online conversations going on in your industry and functional area. You are aiming to become known. You are also aiming to get to know the movers and shakers in your space and the recruiters who are monitoring where you hang out. Every interaction potentially creates valuable two-way networking opportunities.
- Start curating content relevant to your target market. Mine it from blogs of thought leaders and leading news sources and magazines. Select a RSS reader to aggregate your favorite blogs and enable you to quicky scan for content you would like to comment on and tweet out. There are lots of them. I use Google Reader and now Feedly. Try to do 2/day and space them out, using Buffer or one of the Twitter clients (TweetDeck, HootSuite). Feel free to tweet your own thoughts. One of my clients after implementing this advice says he gets all of his professional information now from Twitter.
- Set up your tweets so they automatically go to LinkedIn as well. When recruiters find your profile through keyword searches, they will see you are part of the conversation in your space. (Good!). Creates credibility and reassures them that you are a solid professional person to contact.
- Write a blog post once a week or comment on blogs you read that prompt a response in you. You will find that this activity will keep you in touch with emerging trends and news and enable you to filter it through your unique perspective, as a specialist in what you do.
- Select LinkedIn Groups you want to be part of. Choose ones where execs in your target company are active and recruiters participate. Comment, ask for opinions on something, link people to relevant content.
- Make heavy use of LinkedIn Updates and Mentions. More on these in another post. This prominent real estate - the Updates - on your LI profile enables you to give real-time information about an interesting talk you heard, infographic you saw, presentation you are giving, or people who have impacted you professionally in a positive way. If you set your Settings so that the updates go out to your contacts, they will start to know you as an interesting person and active in your field. Mentioning someone's name too is something LI is promoting now - the person mentioned will get notified and a potential connection can be made.
This is JUST ONE plan for getting going in social media. There are lots of other possible ways to engage. But, for executives, this one gives you a solid start. For more on how to create a killer LI profile, see other blog posts here. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
People come to an executive resume writer for a number of reasons. One or more of the following may sound familiar to you.
- "My resume is attracting lower level jobs that are too hands-on technical"
- "My resume doesn't communicate my true value"
- "My resume doesn't communicate anything beyond my technology skills, like my business skills"
- "I’m not sure what job titles I should apply to out there - my company uses titles no one else is using"
- "I’m not sure what my objective should be and what jobs I can get"
- "I got off track in a niche area of IT and don’t know how to get back into what I want to be doing"
- "I’m not being paid what I think others are for what I do"
- "I’ve done everything there is to do here, and I feel as though my career is getting stalled – I need more challenge"
- "I want to be making more money, and I'm not sure how to go about getting a higher salary"
- "I'm more of a generalist, so how do I go about getting a job where my skills are valued?"
- "I have a lot of skills and experience, but all the tech jobs, even the executive ones, want specific technology experience that I often don't have"
- "I want to change industries, but employers want you to have had experience in their industry; how do I break into a new sector?"
- "I don’t have the exact tech skills and experience with certain environments employers are looking for, but I know I can do the job – how do I convince them?"
- "I'm too senior for a lot of the tech jobs but too junior for the ones I know I can do and want to target; what do I do?"
- "My resume and LinkedIn profile are attracting the wrong kind of jobs"
If you can relate to any of these issues (there is some overlap), you are not alone. There are ways to overcome hurdles like these with a skillfully written (and strictly honest) resume and LinkedIn profile and some career and interview coaching. Don't be hesitant to reach out for help to someone in the careers community. It can make the difference between getting a great job and just settling. Good luck!
Every once in a while I get to step back and look at the work I do with my clients from a larger, more expansive perspective. Ordinarily, we are laser focused on developing a branded executive resume and LinkedIn profile that will attract interviews and job offers. But what is really at stake here?
Nothing less than your life. I'm currently reading The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling by Stephen Cope, Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the famed Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Western Massachusetts. I tell you I did a double-take! He's talking about personal branding using the vocabulary of yogic fulfillment!
Yet, the criticality of discovering who you are, who you are given to be in your life, is rarely mentioned in personal branding discussions. Personal branding sounds like it's "nice to have," optional, a smart thing to do for career advancement, for making more money, and achieving greater fulfillment, but - is it a tragedy if you don't do it, find it, live it out?
Steven Cope says it is. If people "miss the mark" by even a little - say, they're a priest when they reallly want to lead the choir - that person may well experience ill effects from boredom, depression, feeling out of sync with what they do with most of their waking hours. And the world will have an uncomfortable, conflicted priest instead of inspired sacred music making.
Another thing that happens is that people undervalue their gifts, and therefore continue to do what they do with a nagging sense of falling short of "the big thing" they should be doing.
This is the situation I see most often. Wiliam Arruda's Reach 360 Survey is a fabulous tool for helping my clients see the gifts that others see in them - that they are too close to to see - or that they discount because their gifts come so naturally to them.
Learning that others DON'T usually have their particular gifts and that they turn to them for their gifts is a real eye-opener. The process helps my clients achieve a new sense of themselves as highly valued for their unique, natural-to-them ways that they do their work and interact with others.
What does the world lose by inidividuals not valuing themselves for their intrinsic personal brand? A person on fire with their passions and coming from a place of inner alignment with the greatest life that they can have - who does his work skillfully and with joy.
So, when you come to write your executive resume, be sure to let employers and recruiters know who you are - someone no one can duplicate - along with why the company needs someone like you. Get your personal brand out there - and give the world a chance to be benefited by you, living out your greatest life.
I was prompted to write this post in response to a comment on an earlier blog post found both here and at CareerHubBlog:
7 Key Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search
I just had to write a quick post to let you all know about an intriguing trick interview question and the trick to answering it!
I was talking to an IT Director who said that he was asked this question when he was applying, earlier in his career, for a position managing a Help Desk. He was offered the job on the basis of his answer. The hiring authority told him other candidates failed to answer this question in a way that would convince him that they had an innate sense of customer service - that is, a natural tendency to deliver top-notch answers, support, and solutions.
How did my client answer?
A brilliant answer that showed that his first instinct was to determine the needs of the customer. Other people may have answered: "Yes, I know how to bake a cake," or "If I have a recipe," or "Only if I have the ingredients," or "I'm not that good at baking cakes."
Companies use so-called "trick" questions to uncover qualities in a candidate that straightforward interview questions cannot. Candidates are pretty savvy as to what the interviewer is looking for when asking a question. Questions like the one my client was asked is less easy to "game."
So, how can you be prepared to answer a question that seems to come out of left field? Take a minute to think before you answer. It's OK to do that, even to ask, "Please give me a minute." Consider what core skills are required by the job. How does the question relate? Is it analogous to what you would be doing on the job? What answer could you give that would translate over to the job in question?
This tip may help - or not. Giving the right answer also may not indicate who is best for the job. I can imagine a person who gives the right answer to a trick question might be someone who has a particularly "creative divergent" thinking style, rather than someone with the core skill supposedly being tested.
But if you take a minute, you may be able to "psyche out" the real question behind the question!
PS I can bake a chocolate cake. But only with a recipe and the right ingredients. I'm not so good at white cakes. Why would you want a cake? What's that have to do with anything. I love cake! JC
One of the biggest concerns my executive clients have is how to use social media in their job search. They know that it's the new kid on the job search block, but they themselves have rarely gone beyond a bare bones LinkedIn profile (LIP). Facebook evokes shudders of horror, and Twitter is deemed trivial.
Some rethinking might be in order. Life calls on us to go out of our comfort zone on occasion - and this may be one of those times. See what you think about these steps to start actively leveraging the good in social media to promote your personal brand for job search and career advancement. Do they feel doable to you?
1. When you see a job you're interested in anywhere, use LI to connect with a couple of managers in the company that posted the job. Ask for 5-10 minutes of their time - say that you are interested in the job and want to find out a little bit about company culture, trends, etc. If it feels comfortable, request that they forward your resume to the hiring manager (not HR - submit that separately as instructed in the job ad). Why would they help you? Employees frequently get financially rewarded for referring a candidate that gets hired.
2. "Rinse and repeat" for your other social media sites: Identify employees, ask for a brief conversation, ask that they forward your resume to the hiring manager.
3. Reach out directly through LinkedIn to the recruiter or hiring manager. Express interest. Send your resume.
4. On Facebook, go to the company pages set up by your target companies and "Like" the company (recruiters say they notice "likes" more than comments!).
5. Expand your online footprint, so that when your name is Googled (and it will be!), you show up, on brand, in a number of places, not just LinkedIn.
6. Search for jobs on LI, Twitter, and Facebook every day or every other day. They (and job apps created around them) all have extensive job listings. To find third-party apps, Google like this: "[Twitter] job search."
7. Watch the activity of companies you are targeting. If you see they are going through M&A (mergers and acquisitions), opening up new offices, expanding product lines, etc., use that information to position yourself as a "solution" in a letter direct to the hiring manager (US Mail) or via email.
This is a limited list, but if you implement some or most of these items, you will be in a good position to both attract recruiter interest and get interviews. Practice until you become adept at leveraging the personal promotional potential of social media sites. Take the advice of my client who "poo-pood" these suggestions at first and now uses Twitter almost exclusively for Healthcare IT professional information. Do it and see. You'll be glad you did.
Tags: LinkedIn, Twitter, networking, social media job search, Pinterest, youtube
Usually we think of "passive" being a negative descriptor, right? Well, in terms of job search and career management in general, being passive in social media is good! Being active is good too! It's a case, not of either/or, but of both/and. Today we're going to talk about the passive job search via social media. Once you implement the tips below, you can be attracting recruiter interest 24/7.
With the acceleration of social media use by recruiters and hiring authorities, no professional in transition should delay in taking advantage of these new job search channels. Here are some tips:
Passive Social Media Job Search - Make sure that when recruiters are searching for candidates on social media sites, they can find you. These are active things you can do so that you can passively job search.
- If you haven't done so already, put up a 100% complete LinkedIn profile (LIP): professional headshot; keyword-relevant, branded Headline; keyword-rich, branded Background and Skills & Expertise; Experience section with top accomplishments with their contexts; URLs for your personal website and your personal presence on Twitter Facebook, Pinterest, youtube, etc., and Recommendations.
- Enhance your LIP by joining groups and adding slides. Please note: former LI applications are being switched over to a new format in the form of media links to images, presentations, videos, documents. This feature is not rolled out to everyone yet. When it is, jump on it.
- Consider posting frequent updates in your LIP "Activity" space. If you have a public job search, keep your network (or a select number of your close connections) posted on your jobs search activites. It will keep you top-of-mind as they hear about job opportunities.
- Expand your network to 500+ by sending invitations to connect to managers in your target companies (where you'd like to work), recruiters in your industry, and everyone you know.
- Participate in select LI groups. Set aside dedicated time each week to make comments and start discussions in groups where your target companies, industry thought leaders, and recruiters hang out.
- Consider setting up a professional Facebook page. Facebook is the #2 place recruiters go among the social media sites.
- If you use Twitter, set up your Twitter feed to forward to your LIP. This frequent updating will improve your chance of being found in a Google search. Google loves new content!
- Get active on Twitter. One of my clients said he "poo-pood" this suggestion when I made it. Now that he has his great new job at 10% higher salary, he says that he gets the vast majority of his professional information from Twitter! Follow thought leaders and recruiters in your field.
- Tweet professional comments and interesting links on Twitter. Re-tweet, with comments, interesting tweets from people you are following.
- Comment on other people's blogs or arrange to be a guest blogger on blogs that have good visibility to people who might be in a position to help you with your job search.
This is a limited list, but if you implement some or most of these items, you will be in a good position to both attract recruiter interest and get interviews. Take the advice of my client: even if you "poo-poo" these suggestions, do them anyway! You'll be glad you did.
In our next blog post, we'll have 7 tips for actively job searching via social media. Stay tuned!
The CareerXroads Source of Hire Survey for 2012 surveyed mid- to large-sized companies hiring for $150k-$300k jobs. 36 competitive firms responded with 2,139 total jobs filled. The results suggest some interesting directions for executives in job search mode to go. Here is some of the data, followed by implications for your job search and other job search best practices.
- 41% of jobs are FILLED INTERNALLY: Think hard about internal promotion rather than leaving the company to meet your career objectives | It's a great way to get an edge over the competition.
- Referrals - 28% of ALL EXTERNAL HIRES come from referrals | This is the highest percentage out of all external sources | Referrals have always been #1, but with significant numbers of those referrals coming from internal employee referrals, you would do well to leverage your offline and LinkedIn and other social media contacts to connect with employees of your target company.
- Job Boards account for 20.1% of hires | This is surprising since job boards have largely been viewed as an unfruitful source for executive job seekers | Drill down and we find that 1/3rd to 1/2 of those surveyed say that POSTING jobs results in hires, not searching for resumes posted on the job board | So, DO spend a limited time each day looking through online job postings and DON'T post your resume | Best job boards by the numbers? Indeed.com, CareerBuilder.com, and Dice.com (technical job board).
- Career Sites yield 9.7% of hires | So, add visits to your target companies' career pages and profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter | Don't forget to "like" your targeted company on their Facebook page (recruiters like that!).
- Recruiter Initiated: 9.1% | Put time into building relationships with a few recruiters in your space and/or function - preferably before you need to look for a job | Consider selecting executive retained recruitment firms that are small-to-mid-sized where you may have a better chance of making a personal connection | Reach out to the individual recruiters through your LinkedIn connections or your LI groups | Submit your resume to recruiters online databases, either through an email blast or one by one.
- Social Media: 3.5% | Although this number is relatively low, it doesn't reflect the INFLUENCE social media has on the large numbers of recruiters who use social media to vet a candidate they may indentify in other ways | > 80% of recruiters spend time on social media sites | In order of preference, they are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest | Without fail get a great professional headshot and keyword-rich, 100% complete profile on LinkedIn | Consider regular tweets and retweets on Twitter and a professional profile on Facebook | Social media is part of the hiring landscape and its influence is only going to increase, not just in hiring but in overall personal and professional branding.
- Other external sources of hire: Colleges 6.6% (must be for <$150k jobs - brings into question whether all the people polled restricted their answers to the $150-$300K range) | Rehires (4.3) | While we're on the subject, though, leverage your alma mater's alumni list and contact info, if you can get it, to network and get the word out - preferably to people in your industry and/or function, adjacent spaces and/or target companies | Do the same with association membership lists.
Stay tuned for the 2013 survey which we will bring you up to date on when it comes in - and good luck!