Ditch “In Transition” if You Want to Land Your Next Job!

Be honest—what’s your first thought when you see “In Transition” on someone’s resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you’re like me, the reaction isn’t positive. If it’s not working in your favor, it’s time to remove it from your profiles!

When I see “In Transition,” I wonder, “Why are you in transition? Is something wrong?” No one aspires to be in transition. While career transitions can be positive, the term often carries negative weight.

Why does “In Transition” have such a negative vibe? To me, it suggests uncertainty—you’re not clear about what you want. Instead of being “in transition,” you should focus on clearly stating your goals and the direction you’re heading.

Why You Might Be “In Transition” and Seeking a New Job:

  • Retirement from your previous role (often viewed negatively due to age bias)
  • Switching careers entirely (potentially positive if you’re willing to start at an entry-level position)
  • Fired from your last job
  • Laid off or company closed down
  • Owned a business that has since ended
  • Took a personal leave of absence (for reasons like FMLA, further education, child-rearing, or caring for an aging parent)

The challenge is finding a term that doesn’t immediately raise red flags for TA pros and hiring managers. While there’s no perfect phrase, honesty framed positively can go a long way.

Here are some suggestions to replace “In Transition”:

  • “I resigned from my last position because…”
  • “Retired from my previous role and now seeking opportunities to contribute my skills in…”
  • “Took time off for [specific reason], and now looking to…”
  • “Laid off from my last job due to [specific reason]…” (Be truthful, as savvy TA professionals can verify this.)
  • “Started and ran my own business, which [insert outcome]. Now, I’m excited to leverage my entrepreneurial skills to help your organization in…”

What do you think? Does the term “In Transition” make you wary of a candidate?

Skilled Trades Aren’t Winning Gen Z & Millennials

What!? They aren’t? Surprise, they don’t like Facebook either!

So, picture this: I’m cruising to work, listening to NPR (I’m old), and this dude from Gen X pops up, talking about how teens aren’t into skilled trades because, well, they’re not sexy. And I’m like, duh! Even I know that!

Who’d think a job fixing stuff or working with tools is sexy?

It’s not about being sexy; it’s about being stable.

Let’s face it: Trying to pitch skilled trades to teens is like offering snow boots in the Sahara – it’s just not on their radar. They’re not buying it.

But you know who might? Those folks hitting the big 3-5. Why? Because they’re at that point where stability starts sounding like music to their ears. They’ve been humping $40K jobs for 15 years and have almost, but not quite, given up on hope.

Imagine walking into a restaurant and saying, “Hey, want a job that pays well, has killer benefits, and sets you up for a comfy retirement?” It’s like waving a magic wand. And who’s going to be first in line? Not the teens dreaming of six-figure gigs without lifting a finger. Nope, it’s those 35-year-olds who’ve been around the block and know the value of a hard day’s work.

So, sure, skilled trades might not be on the top of Gen Z and Millennials’ wishlists, but who needs ’em when you’ve got another generation out there dreaming of steady work and a fat paycheck!

Should Companies Pay for Interviews?

It’s Re-Run Friday! This post originally ran in May 2014.

Would You Pay A Candidate To Interview?

Last week I got my ass handed to me for daring to consider that those who interview with a company, should pay for interview feedback.  Not just normal interview feedback, like thanks, but no thanks, but something really good and developmental.  Most people think that idea is bad.  Interview feedback should be free.  It’s not that I really want to charge people who interview a fee to get feedback, it’s just I think we could do so much better in terms of candidate experience, but we have to get out of our current mindset to shake things up a bit.

This all leads me to the next idea (hat tip to Orrin Konheim @okonhOwp) what if companies paid interviewees for their time?

Cool, right!?

We’ve built this entire industry on shared value.  Organizations have jobs, candidates want jobs, let’s all do this for free.  What happens when the equation isn’t equal?  What if candidates didn’t want your jobs?  Could you get more people to come out an interview if you paid them?  How much would it be worth?  It’s a really cool concept to play around with, if we can get out of our box for a bit.

Let’s say you’re having a really, really hard time getting Software Developer candidates to even consider your jobs and your organization.  It’s a super tough market, and you just don’t have a sexy brand.  You also don’t have the time to build a sexy brand, you need the talent now!  How much would it take to entice great candidates to give you an hour?  $100? $500? $1,000?  What if I told you I could have your CIO interviewing 5 top Software Developers tomorrow for 5 hours for $5,000?  Would you do it?

I hear the backlash of questions and concerns already forming in your head!

– People would just take the money, but not really want the job!

– How would you know these people were serious?

– Why would you pay to have someone interview when others will for free?

– Did you get hit on your head as a child?

– This might be the dumbest idea since your idea last week.

When we think about really having a great candidate experience, shouldn’t compensation be a apart of the conversation.  For most interviews you’re asking someone to take time off work, losing salary, time off, putting themselves at risk of their employer finding out, etc.  At the very least, you would think that we might offer up some kind of compensation for their time.  I’m not talking about interview expenses, but real cold hard cash, we appreciate your time and value it!

If you started paying candidates to interview, do you think you would get and have better or worse interviews?

When you put value to something, i.e., an interview, people tend to treat it as such.  Now that interview that they might go, might not go, becomes something they have to prepare for, because, well, someone is paying me to do this.  To interview.  I’m guessing if you paid your candidates to interview, you would get a higher level of candidate, and have a higher level of success in hiring.  It’s just a theory, wish I had the recruiting budget to test it out!

How Long Should Candidates Take

When it comes to candidates accepting job offers, how long should candidates take? Should they say yes right away or take some time? Let’s talk about why waiting might be a good idea.

In the past, it was common to expect an immediate answer. Just say yes or no. But things have changed. Now, it’s more about whether the candidate fits well with your company’s culture and values.

So, why suggest giving candidates 72 hours to decide? It’s like giving them time to think after the initial excitement wears off. This helps them consider all aspects of the job and compare it with other options they might have.

What’s meant to be will always be, right?!

What if they get another offer during those 72 hours? It’s not a big deal. If they accept another offer, it probably means your company wasn’t their first choice to begin with.

What about the fear of candidates changing their minds? In today’s job market, it’s understandable. But if a candidate hesitates because of a short wait, it might mean they were never really sure about the job.

In the end, there’s no one right answer to how long candidates should take. It depends on your company’s culture and what feels right. Whether it’s asking for an immediate response or giving candidates time, the important thing is to create a process that’s fair, respectful, and right.

What do you think? How long should candidates take to decide?

There’s No Stupid Questions (said no one ever)

When it comes to interviews, the questions you ask as a candidate can make or break your chances. Instead of providing you with stellar questions to impress your potential employer, I’m here to give you three questions that could send your interview spiraling downhill in just seconds. And believe me, these questions aren’t hypothetical; they’re straight from the playbook of real candidates we’ve encountered.

  1. “Do you conduct drug tests?” We do now! You might as well be waving a red flag. It screams I’m going to fail a drug test, and I’m convinced it’s a tactic to ensure they won’t be hired. Their loved ones probably just wanted them to interview. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen. Other question on this path – Do you do background checks? Do you do credit checks? Do you hire felons?
  2. “When can I start using sick time?” This question should set off alarm bells for any HR pro. It signals a potential attitude or attendance issue. Let’s be clear: if someone is already planning sick days before they’re even hired – you aren’t going to be happy with that hire. Other questions on this same path:  When would I get a raise? How soon can I use my health insurance?  What happens if I’m late to work?
  3. “Is dating coworkers allowed here?” *raises eyebrows. While it may seem innocent, it implies either ulterior motives or a lack of professionalism. Or I’m-still-a-frat-guy mindset. I once had a candidate ask this question and my immediate follow up question to this, without answering his question, was – “Are you dating one of the employees here?”  To which he said “No” – but that he ran into this at another employer and didn’t want to ‘have any problems’ again.  So, you’re assuming we have folks here who are just not going to be able to hold themselves back and must date you!?  Is what I’m hearing!  Which by the way, totally fine with work place romance, but don’t ask about it before you’re even on the team! Other questions on this same path: Can you drink alcohol on the job here?  Can you smoke pot in the work bathrooms?  Can you steal office supplies?

What’s the most cringe-worthy question you’ve ever heard in an interview?

Zero-point-zero!

Zero. Nada. Zip.

In my decades of hiring experience, that’s the exact count of candidates willing to commit to a job without a phone call. Zero-point-zero!

Chances are, your experience aligns closely with this. I swear it’s a universal benchmark across corporate, agency, and RPO sectors, spanning all job types—hourly, salaried, temporary, contract, and seasonal. The whole shabang. No one’s willing to just jump in.

Let me ask you a couple of questions:

  1. Would you accept a job without talking with anyone from the company?
  2. Would you go for an interview without prior dialogue about the role?

My guess is almost 100% will say no to number one, but some of you would actually say yes to number 2. Okay, I’ll buy some of you would go to an interview before ever speaking to anyone live about a job. I don’t think it’s many, but I’ll give you some people just want a job and a text or email communication is good enough for them. I’ll also assume the quality of those people will be questionable.

The fact is that there’s a very strong correlation between engaging candidates through live conversations and their commitment to the hiring process. Like extremely strong.

Recruiters who invest in meaningful phone outreach witness a surge in candidates eager to explore opportunities. This principle holds true in every recruitment setting—every single one.

If you’re not picking up the phone every day, you’re likely missing out on candidates who are ready to navigate your hiring journey.

I Want You To Want Me

We make talent acquisition much harder than it needs to be. We talk about employment branding, candidate experience, and recruitment analytics—all important, but sometimes we overlook the basics of attracting great talent.

At its core, the most powerful talent attractor is simple: it’s about being wanted.

I want you to want me.

Imagine getting a call from a recruiter who wants you to join their team. Doesn’t that make you feel good? It’s like a validation of your skills and worth. We all love to feel wanted—it’s a basic, natural emotion.

The key to successful talent acquisition is helping your team and organization understand this. Imagine if recruitment felt more like trying to impress someone you like, rather than assuming candidates should naturally be drawn to us.

Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. We tend to act as though candidates should be eager to join us, rather than recognizing our own desire to have them on board.

Now, flip the scenario. Imagine that same call from a recruiter, but this time they’re not interested in you personally; instead, they’re seeking referrals. How would that make you feel? Dismissed and unimportant, right?

We want to be wanted. We want to be desired.

If you can shift your recruiters’ mindset to embrace this concept, you’ll notice a remarkable change in how you approach candidate interactions. Understanding that candidates are just like us—yearning to feel wanted—makes recruiting feel effortless.

“So, I shouldn’t act like I’m doing them a favor by talking to them?”

Exactly! Treat every interaction like you’re hoping they’ll agree to a date—with enthusiasm and genuine interest, but without the direct proposal. Consider your communication with candidates as a reflection of how you’d want to be approached yourself.

What is a Passive Candidate anyway?

Every hiring manager wants passive candidates – to stumble on those hidden talents just waiting to be discovered. But what exactly defines a passive candidate today? Let’s break it down without the frilly stuff.

Traditionally, passive candidates were those who were not actively seeking jobs. But what does “actively searching” really mean? It used to include only the unemployed, those in irrelevant jobs, or on the verge of being fired. But that’s too narrow in today’s reality.

Recruiters often boast about finding “passive” candidates like they’ve hit the jackpot. But let’s be real. Take Timmy, for example. He seems passive, but he’s quietly applying for jobs while stuck in a dead-end job. Anyone with an online profile is fair game – they may not hunt for jobs daily, but they’re definitely open to offers.

So, here’s an updated definition:

“A Passive Candidate is someone found through various channels, not actively seeking your job.”

A passive candidate isn’t someone you found who hasn’t happened to think about applying to your job, yet. They actually might be the most active candidate on the planet, who you just happen to run into. Think of candidates buried in your database or referrals from employees.

We know a truly passive candidate when we speak to one. They’re a bit nervous. A bit surprised. A bit flattered. You can tell they’re not used to talking to recruiters and feel guilty talking to you. This is the person you’re hiring managers are asking for when they say they want a passive candidate.

This isn’t to say passive candidates are better. That’s an entire other post, but let’s not act like we are providing passive candidates when we aren’t.

Getting Recruitment Right

Sometimes we get so far into the weeds in recruiting that we forget what is actually important.

We have to have a brand!

We have to have an ATS!

And now, a new ATS!

We have to have a CRM! What the hell is a CRM!

Our job descriptions need a refresh, and let’s face it, our career site could use some work too.

And don’t get me started on the employee referral program.

There’s always a million things to do in recruitment, and it’s hard to keep up.

But here’s the thing: recruiting isn’t rocket science. It’s just about finding people to join your team. There are plenty of potential candidates out there; you just need to let them know you’re hiring.

That’s the golden rule of recruitment: Spread the word that you’re looking for new team members.

It’s pretty straightforward, yet so many good candidates slip through the cracks because they didn’t know there was an opportunity.

Recruitment is all about getting the word out. Sure, you might get some applicants who aren’t quite the right fit, but that’s part of the process.

To find the right people, you need to cast a wide net and let everyone know you’re hiring. Cast that net people!

It’s not just about posting on job boards or your career site; it’s about creating a culture where everyone in your organization understands the importance of spreading the word about job openings.

Unfortunately, many companies miss the mark on this. Whether it’s because they’re too proud or they think it makes them look desperate, they don’t make enough effort to let people know they’re hiring.

This is a big mistake that can sink your recruitment efforts.

Recruitment isn’t about showing off; it’s about being humble and inviting talented individuals to join your team.

It Takes a Village

In the hiring game, going solo just doesn’t cut it. It’s like raising a kid – you need a village. This village isn’t just HR and TA; it’s the whole organization.

Dealing with clients who think we can do it all on our own is a challenge. Even if we’re an outsider, we still need input from TA, HR, and the hiring manager to know what makes their company tick and why a candidate would want to join.

And guess what? The same goes for in-house hiring.

For me, it starts with the hiring manager and the team needing a new member. Sure, TA does a lot, but the big cheese in hiring is the one making the final call.

Some top-notch hiring managers stand out by doing a few basic things:

  1. Making it crystal clear what they need in a candidate.
  2. Getting all the info out there pronto, even redoing job descriptions on the spot.
  3. Jumping into the candidate search, getting the team involved until the job is filled.
  4. Making hiring a top priority in their schedule.
  5. Setting up a simple communication plan to stay in the loop without the drama.

If more leaders did these simple things, hiring would be a breeze. Too often, though, we’re told to hire alone – just fill the position and stop complaining. Usually, it’s from leaders who are as clueless as us about how to make it work, so they vent their frustration this way.

Give them these steps, and suddenly, they become team players. Define the roles, and things start moving smoother for everyone.

Don’t let yourself get stuck hiring solo. Your gig is to lead a team effort. TA’s main job? Keep things on track and make sure everyone knows their part.