The Best Job Search Advice Ever!

Okay, I’m going to give you the best job search tip ever, but first we’ve
got to talk about all the bad job search tips that are out there! And it’s a
lot! A LOT!

Let’s start with the folks on TikTok – this is just one example:

https://www.tiktok.com/@giovanna.ventola/video/7367043279516388654

Okay, first, I’m not slamming on Giovanna. Our girl got something that
really excited her, and she’s going with it. Thankfully, in the comments, the
real HR and TA pros came through and gave some perspective.

First, just because one HR person does their process one way doesn’t mean an
entire industry of millions of HR/TA pros do it this way. That should have been
obvious, but apparently it wasn’t. Second, most HR/TA pros will post jobs when
they can/have to because of today’s algorithms on Indeed/LinkedIn/Etc. It
doesn’t matter the day. It did, like, 8 years ago, but it doesn’t now. Also,
any recruiter worth their salt will tell you that they look at resumes every
single day because great talent gets picked off fast.

Here’s another one, and this one actually is smart for those who can pull it off:

 

@camipetyn

wanted to share this hack again bc it helped me SO much shoutout @Daym for teaching me it!!#recessioncore #jobapplytricks #jobinterview #applyingforjobs

♬ original sound – Cami Petyn

Okay, now we’re talking real job search hacks. If companies are going to use AI to scan, filter, and rank, you’ve got to play the game! In high-volume, where there are hundreds if not thousands of candidates, this actually works. Eventually, the AI vendors will catch up to this, and it won’t work. But take advantage while you can.

The Best Job Search Tip Ever?

Some of the job search/candidate advice “experts” in our space call this the hidden job market. It’s not hidden. It’s just understanding the reality of how many jobs get filled. Let me give you a quick rundown:

  1. A manager needs to hire someone.
  2. Before they even contact HR or Recruiting, they’ll think about who they know first. Maybe someone already on their team or someone else in the company. Maybe it’s someone they have in their network or someone who works for them in their network. All of this is done before the job is even posted.
  3. At some point, to get someone hired, they have to contact HR/TA. Some companies will have posting requirements, but at the end of the day, the lowest amount of friction always wins. This means that if the manager tells HR they already have identified someone, that person will almost always win.
  4. So, for intents and purposes, the job is filled before it’s even posted, no matter how great your resume or application is.
  5. This is the hidden job market.

How do you break into this? You network the sh!t out of yourself! You use every single connection you have. Your friends have. Your parents have. You let people know if something opens up, you want to be considered, and then you keep letting them know.

A lot of the hidden job market comes down to timing and relationships. It has little to do with skills, performance, and experience. That’s because, usually, no matter who you hire, the job will still get done at a satisfactory level. And putting in the extra time and effort to get someone who is a little better isn’t worth the work.

That’s the real 411.

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?

What’s Your Manager’s Salary?

Should you know your manager’s salary? Should companies share this salary information internally? I get it – they’re common questions. In today’s push for transparency, this is a complex issue. Generally, higher-level employees (not in publicly traded companies) are less inclined to support sharing this information within the organization. On the flip side, lower-level employees often desire more transparency.

Why is this?

The desire to know colleagues’ salaries boils down to trust. Interestingly, the higher you climb within an organization, the less you tend to trust those below you. That sucks, doesn’t it?  The lower you are, the more you trust those above you are making the right decisions. You could argue this. Sure many people at low levels don’t ‘trust’ management.  Yet, they still show up to work each day, and grind it out for $15/hr. Those at the top are making 6,7,8 figure incomes, and jump around from position to position.  Who is more trusting?

Whole Foods is known for its policy of disclosing all employees’ salaries internally. From Business Insider:

Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey introduced the policy in 1986, just six years after he co-founded the company. In the book, he explains that his initial goal was to help employees understand why some people were paid more than others. If workers understood what types of performance and achievement earned certain people more money, he figured, perhaps they would be more motivated and successful, too. 

“I’m challenged on salaries all the time,” Mackey explained. “‘How come you are paying this regional president this much, and I’m only making this much?’ I have to say, ‘because that person is more valuable. If you accomplish what this person has accomplished, I’ll pay you that, too.’”

Beyond making compensation data available to all employees, Whole Foods also has its managers post their store’s sales data each day and regional sales data each week. Once a month, Whole Foods sends each store a detailed report on profitability and sales at each of the chain’s locations. In fact, in the late 1990s the widespread availability of so much detailed financial data led the SEC to classify all of the company’s 6,500 employees as “insiders,” according to a 1996 story by Fast Company.

“Timmy, that only works at a big, great companies like Whole Foods!” Yeah, you’re probably right. It takes a strong, positive culture to handle this type of information being out in the open. It takes extremely good leadership to handle the challenges coming in from average and weak performers believing they should get what someone else is getting. It takes a great talent acquisition team to hire the right people with the maturity to work in an organization that has this much trust in their employees to handle such delicate information. It takes co-workers trusting one another, that each one is adding value to the corporation, and respecting the value each brings.

Staying True to Your Game

The saying “Stay true to the game” pops up all the time. It’s been around in sports and pop culture for ages. Basketball especially! (Side note: who do you have winning tonight?) Anyway, I feel like I keep hearing it more and more.

“The game” stands for your thing, whether it’s sales, accounting, basketball, you name it. For me, it’s recruiting. Whether third-party, corporate, or RPO, we’re all in the same boat.

Being true to recruiting is kind of subjective. What does it even mean?

If you zoom out from recruiting and think about staying true to something you’re passionate about, how do you do it? How do you make sure it’s a priority? What do you do to show you’re committed?

This way of thinking sets the stage for understanding what it means to stay true to recruiting.

Recruiting is my thing. To keep it real, I stick to a few key things:

  1. I soak up as much recruitment info as I can.
  2. I connect with top-notch recruiters.
  3. I swap stories and tips with fellow recruiters.
  4. I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills.
  5. I know that staying loyal to recruiting is a choice I make.

Staying true to recruiting means always aiming higher, personally and professionally.

Sure, it’s not always easy, but it’s about staying true to the game.

So, here’s the deal this Monday. Share what your thing is in the comments below. Then, let us know how you’re staying true to it this week. Go for it.

Don’t Just Wait to Be Discovered

As a recruiter, we’re always on the lookout for talent. Whether we’re at work, running errands, or enjoying time off, we are constantly searching for people with the right skills and drive.

But, I’m here to tell you, opportunities won’t just land in your lap. If you’re waiting for someone to find you, you could be waiting forever.

Because recruiters don’t stumble upon talent by accident. They look for people who are actively showing what they can do. Every single day. It’s like trick-or-treating – we only go where there’s a light on.

Too often, I meet people who want a new job but aren’t doing anything about it. They’re afraid to let their current employer know they’re looking. But that’s not the best way to get noticed.

Instead of waiting around, get involved. Connect with others in your industry and community. Let people know what you’re looking for.

Even in today’s job market, there are plenty of opportunities out there. But you have to put yourself out there to find them.

So stop waiting to be discovered – go out and make it happen. Success isn’t luck; it’s hard work.

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.

The Truth About Reference Checks

When I started in Talent Acquisition and HR, I was sold on the idea that checking references was the key to snagging top-notch hires. The whole “past performance predicts future performance” spiel is practically carved in stone tablets right?

But around 100 reference checks into my HR career, I stopped believing it. Either I was a hiring genius (mostly true), or the reference check thing was a massive hoax.

Reference checks are the perfect scam. And not just any scam, but a scam that everyone is in on. Everyone knows the set up: The candidate wants the job, so they want to make sure they provide good references. The candidate provides three references that will tell HR the candidate walks on water. HR accepts them and actually goes through the process of calling these three perfect references.

Let’s face it: When was the last time a company passed on a hire based on a reference check? Most draw a blank; we hire based on references every single time. Is that a solid system? If you’re struggling for an answer or it’s always ‘never,’ maybe it’s time to rethink the whole reference check circus.

  1. Get Your Own References: Ditch the usual references candidates throw at you. In interviews, get the names of their old bosses. Give them a call – you might get some real talk even if official references are a no-go.
  2. Go Automated: Use fancy tech for reference checks that doesn’t make references feel forced into singing praises. It spills the beans on a candidate’s work style without giving away the game.
  3. Fact-Check with Tech: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn – they’re not just for stalking. Use them to fact-check a candidate’s story. With over half of people stretching the truth on their resumes, tech is your truth serum.

Smart HR folks should question a system that gives the green light to almost everyone. Catching less than 0.1% of fakers isn’t a sign of quality; it’s just lazy.

Break the mold, try new things, and maybe your company will see you as the one who can pull off walking on water.

What are your tips for checking references?

HR and Recruiting: The Unspoken Rules

Some unsaid rules guide us through HR. They’re not really hard and fast rules, just practical tips that we’ve learned along the way. Let’s break them down:

  1. Stay away from personal questions in interviews.
  2. Keep reference checks simple – just confirm dates of employment.
  3. Guard employee files like they’re top-secret.
  4. If it’s important, put it in a policy.
  5. Take every accusation seriously and look into it.
  6. “Mutual decision to leave” usually means otherwise.
  7. Measurement gets things done.
  8. Be careful about setting precedents.
  9. Expect things to go haywire on day 2 of your vacation.
  10. A candidate hasn’t really accepted the job until they show up to work on Day 1.
  11. If it’s on the ‘roadmap’ of your HR or Recruiting technology vendor, it means it’s not actually built and might never be built.
  12. Employees tattling on others probably have their own issues.
  13. Employee harassment stories are rarely simple.
  14. Open enrollment meetings need cookies.

We love our rules in HR! Ironically, I love the profession so much because I’m a low-rules kind of person. The reality is, in my couple decades of HR and recruiting work there really has only been one Rule of Thumb that has been the same at every organization I’ve worked in. Big and small. Public and private. Across all industries…

– Things change.

This basic principle reminds us that flexibility is crucial in the ever-shifting HR landscape. What’s your go-to rule in HR and recruiting?

Employees Want You To Tell Them This

“Can I be honest with you?” is a phrase usually followed by some sh*t you don’t want to hear.  We talk about this concept a bunch in HR. We need to tell our employees the truth about their performance.  We work to coach managers of people on how to deliver this message appropriately.  We develop complete training sessions and bring in ‘professional’ communicators to help us out on the exact phraseology we want to use.  All so we can be ‘honest’ with our employees.

Can I be honest with you?

No one wants you to be honest with them.

Employees want you to tell them this:

  1. You’re doing a good job.
  2. We like having you on the team.
  3. You’re better than most of the others here.
  4. Your career looks promising, and a promotion might be on the horizon.
  5. Here’s your yearly raise.

But that’s only true for about 5% of your crew. The other 95%? Well, they won’t be thrilled with total honesty.

Talent management is a tough nut to crack. No fancy software can fix this. Most folks don’t dig straight-up honesty. It’s uncomfortable, causes drama, and people don’t like hearing they need to step up. Tell someone there’s ‘room for improvement,’ and they think you just called them a failure about to get the boot.

As managers, we tend to dance around the truth. We all have things to get better at, but saying it out loud stings. If someone says they’re cool with feedback, they’re probably lying to you and themselves. Those are the ones who lose it when they hear the truth. People who say they want honest feedback actually want to hear they’re rock stars. Anything less, and they freak out.

So, what’s the real solution?

Say nothing. Set clear metrics for performance. Make sure everyone gets them. When an employee asks for feedback, hand over the metrics and let them spill first. That way, you can agree or disagree. Otherwise, it’s all just opinions, and opinions and honesty don’t mix well.

But hey, you already knew that. Thanks for stopping by. You’re doing a solid job – way better than the other readers. Keep it up, and you’re on the up-and-up!