Saturday, March 26, 2011

RecruiterGuy’s Top 11 Tips for Successful Networking

As the author of “RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job” and as a professional recruitment consultant since 1981, there have been many times when I observed people “working the room” while attempting to effectively network with others.

Most times they have been ineffective because they are more interested in quantity than quality relationship building. These are the people who are similar to the opera soloist warming up as they meet people – ME, ME, ME, ME-E-E! You have met them too often.

Successful networking requires building a relationship. Truly effective networkers strive for in person opportunities to network. The more senses a person uses when they meet you, the more likely they will remember you. Remember our smell sense works well in determining whether someone will remember you; and How they will remember you.

1) Everyone is a prospective candidate for networking. We all need to meet someone to propel our career or business forward. I am thrilled when I am able to introduce two people who become wildly successful as a result of that introduction. You don’t know who that seatmate on a flight knows.

2) List everyone that you know currently and from your past – high school, college, sports, first job, other jobs, neighbors, etc. You know more people than you realize.

3) Prepare yourself for networking conversations. List everything you do well professionally and personally. Place asterisks next to things you do well and like to do. Then create a story from your experience that demonstrates that skill or attribute. People remember stories better than facts.

4) Dress is a sign of respect. Subconsciously we measure an approaching individual by their dress, level of confidence, and expression. It happens automatically. You have the power to make it more positive, simply by dressing with respect.

5) Give is the attitude that successful networkers project. When you give, you receive. What you give is what you receive.

6) Focus on the other person. Listen to them. Process what they are saying. Offer suggestions.

7) Eye contact is very important. How often have you experienced a conversation when someone kept looking around? How did you feel about their interest in you?

8) Interview the person in front of you. Ask them probing questions. Why did you choose this field? What is your greatest challenge right now? How may my contacts help you?

9) Here I Am! Speech is your elevator speech or one minute commercial. Note this is number 9 because your focus needs to be on the other person. Prepare a quick discussion of your experience and accomplishments to help that person frame where they may help, discuss your current situation in a sentence and then tell them where you could use some contact help.

10) Communicate with the person in front of you. Right now they are the most important person in the room. Treat them as such.

11) Thank them for their thoughts and their help. Ask them for a card and email them that evening to thank them again.

Using these 11 points will help you consistently help more people; and as a result receive more targeted referrals.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interviewing the Seasoned Contract Recruiter Consultant

As the “jobless recovery” begins to transition to a hiring recovery, companies nationwide need to begin to plan for the need for more employees. This is the last in a series of four articles on deciding whether the company needs an additional corporate recruiter, support from contingent recruiters, or the more strategic support a seasoned (not $35/hr.) contract recruiter consultant provides.

In the previous two articles, we discussed the interview questions that companies may ask the corporate recruiter candidates and contingent recruiters (yes, you should interview them!). This article is focused on contract recruiter consultants.

A seasoned contract recruiter consultant has a minimum of 15 years of recruitment experience in a variety of companies. Why 15 years of experience? This demonstrates they have the knowledge and skills to survive a recession. Why a variety of companies? No one solution fits all situations. Therefore it is best that person has successfully experienced a number of corporate environments. How do you measure “successfully experienced”? If they have worked with a client more than once, that client was happy with their services. If they do not have a history of repeat business, that should be a flag for you.

Ask the contract recruiter consultant what industries they have recruited for. If they specialize in one industry and trumpet they have a rolodex of candidates in that industry, ask who their clients are. If their clients are your competitors, you will probably not receive resumes from those clients. If they forward candidates from those clients, they will also help create churn in your organization by recruiting out the new people in their rolodex from your company. Remember the premise behind behavioral interviewing?

Certainly you want to ask them about their most difficult assignment and probe why it was difficult. Ask them about their most interesting project and why? What impacts did they make on each project? Keep in mind that occasionally people inside of a company block potential impacts because they perceive the consultant is “making them look bad”. Those situations are not as satisfying for the consultant but they need to handle them.

This series of articles should help Salt Lake City companies make better choices on the type of recruiter they choose and the specific recruiter. You may reach me at if you have questions. works nationwide.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Contingent Recruiter Interviews

What makes a great contingent recruiting firm? The recruiters and their practices. What makes poor recruiting firms? The recruiters and their practices. There are great, good, and poor contingent recruiters. I was a successful contingent recruiter for 12 years in the Washington, DC/Baltimore market. As a contract recruitment consultant, occasionally clients request that I use contingent firms to add to the candidate list.

Therefore I will suggest how growing firms can best pick contingent recruiters to help them staff their teams. How do you pick the recruiter to help you be more successful attracting and delivering the best qualified and the best fit candidate? It is important to interview contingent recruiters prior to selecting them to spend time recruiting for you.

How do poor contingent recruiters sell you on using their services? They say, “Oh just remember, you don’t pay unless you hire someone we send to you!” Does this sound like someone who will partner with you? Of course not…chances are that mindset will only result in wasting your time. Contingent recruiters who are the low cost providers must deal with lots of numbers in order to stay in business. Therefore they will spin your wheels with many unqualified candidates, hoping that one will stick. Hiring companies – is that what you want? Of course not!

How do the best contingent recruiters sell you on using their services? They take the time to build a relationship with your company, you, and your managers. In that process they develop the process to help you attract the best candidates for your firm. Their fee reflects the commitment they are making towards your success. In other words, they are not low cost providers.

If a recruiter tells you they specialize in your industry, ask “What companies in our industry are your clients?” That answer will tell you which companies are on their “don’t touch” list. If you receive a candidate from one of those companies, be very aware. That means they will mine your company.

Always ask for corporate references. Then ask the reference for their sense about the recruiter’s honesty and integrity. Was the candidate they introduced an impact performer? How many candidates have they successfully introduced to that company? How many left after the guarantee period?

Only after you are comfortable with the results decide to work with that recruiter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview Questions for Fulltime Corporate Recruitment Candidates

Your company needs to hire a recruiter. You’ve decided that you would prefer to find someone who is a fulltime employee. What questions do you plan to ask the recruitment candidates?

Your first step is to go to your job description. What level of experience do you seek? Obviously entry level candidates will be questioned differently than experienced corporate recruiters. The competition for qualified candidates is beginning to heat up. Therefore, you may want to try to recruit an experienced successful recruiter.

What are the first year goals for this position? Are there strategic duties required, such as recruitment strategy development? What planning responsibilities are required?

Remember that recruiting is a sales process. Therefore, your interview questions should help identify the sales strengths of your candidates.

The warm up questions may be:

Discuss your responsibilities at your current company. What were your challenges? How did you overcome your challenges? What challenges do you feel could have been handled differently? Why? It appears that you are doing a good job (if they are) for them, why are you interested in making a change at this time?

Then you can focus on the goals for your position and sales skills.

What have you discovered in your research for your interview here? What do you feel are the low hanging fruit that you would target? How do you feel you will sell our company to potential candidates? How is recruiting in this industry different than recruiting in other industries? How do you respond to those differences? Based on your experience so far with our process, do you have any process improvement suggestions? How many candidates did you extend offers to in your current job? How many candidates accepted your offers?

One key to successful interviewing is to listen closely to candidate responses. Then ask probing follow-up questions.

The next column will be based on interview questions for contingent recruiters.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Your Company Decided You Need to Hire a Recruiter?

Once your company decides it needs a recruiter or additional recruiter, what are your next steps?

Decide whether you need permanent or temporary help. How many positions are budgeted? Are they budgeted to be filled in one or two months or will they be spread throughout the year? What is your current status with recruitment? Will this be your first recruiter or are you adding new resources? If you have a recruiter on staff, what is their experience level? Are they capable of handling more open requisitions or will they hit their limit soon? What is their track record? Have they recruited top performers? Do hiring managers respect their work and enjoy working with them?

By the time you pay a permanent recruiter, add the benefits, and taxes, the numbers may indicate that your need is temporary. Perhaps you are going through a peak hiring period. What will you do if you run out of requisitions for your recruiter? Consult with your CFO to better understand their perspective.

If you need temporary help, decide if you need contingent recruitment support or contract recruitment support or contract recruitment consulting support. Contingent recruiters are great if you have one or more specific openings and need to have a couple of recruiters providing you with candidates. Obviously beyond providing you with targeted and screened candidates, they need to deliver the candidates if you decide to make an offer.

Experienced contract recruiters (not the $25 to $35/hr. variety) generally have a minimum of 5 years of experience and may join your recruitment team for short term support. Generally they split their time between onsite and virtual. Virtual works well while they are sourcing. While sourcing, they are focused on networking and calling. They can talk to hiring managers on the phone to update them.

Contract recruitment consultants typically have 15 or more years in the trenches. They’ve seen more than one recruitment model and provide recruitment process improvement, recruitment marketing, and recruitment consulting/interview training and recruitment support.

Next column will offer proposed interview questions for recruiters.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Recruiting Function – How Highly Valued in Your Company?

Since 1981 I have been a professional recruiter/recruiting consultant. Over the years, I have worked with start-up ventures and large multinational companies (many you know). For 1 ½ years I was the Recruiting Manager of a telecom start-up until they went public. My clients valued the recruitment function. They knew their recruitment processes needed improvement and invited me back as they needed tweaking.

Why do my clients value the recruitment function? They realize every position is critical in a growing company (Companies are either growing or they are shrinking). Are customer support positions critical in your company? Who is your point of contact with customers when they are encountering problems? Are they going to encourage customers to continue to purchase your products/services or go elsewhere? And what level of person in your company recruits for these critical people?

If the entry level position in Human Resources is recruitment, what does that say about the value of “talent acquisition” in that company? When I see companies are looking for “contract recruiters” that they want to pay $15 to $35 per hour, it is easy to see the value that company puts on recruitment. Remember, if you pay for advanced clerks, you receive advanced clerks.

Recruiting is a sales process. This is the simplified example to demonstrate that recruitment is a sales process - there is a sourcing function, a needs analysis function (interviews), an offer function, and a close. Sounds like a sales process to me.

Are the people that your company hires for the recruiting function sales professionals? Do you train them to act like sales professionals? Do they provide great customer service like great sales professionals? Do you train them how to conduct effective interviewing screens? Are they creative?

This week we will discuss interviewing potential recruiters. Then we will discuss one of the better processes to begin a new recruiter.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Doesn't It Make You Wonder?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies don’t understand that the recruiting process is a sales process?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates don’t understand that the job search is a sales process?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies are sold on the idea that recruiting is a technology solution?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates do not put their accomplishments on their resumes?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies punish hiring managers for checking references of candidates whom they are considering offering a job because it is a “Human Resource function”?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates do not research the company where they are interviewing prior to their interview?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies do not train managers how to effectively interview potential employees and then expect them to make good hiring choices?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when candidates lie about their education and feel they will not be caught?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies are going to understand that candidates may be customers or potential future customers?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when candidates who know that posting and praying doesn’t work, continue to expect success finding a job by posting and praying?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies do not yet understand that employees are their most important asset because they control all other assets?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – that despite all of the above conditions; occasionally good companies attract good candidates? Amazing!

Obviously there are companies and candidates who do understand all of the above and their performance reflects their understanding.