Mailbag: Can an experienced Recruiter be any good with 378 LinkedIn Connections?

I had a Talent Acquisition Leader reach out to me this week. She is having a hard time hiring recruiters and was looking for some insight. Now, she was looking for more of a professional generalist recruiter. Someone who can hire some hourly, but also corporate positions that include: finance, IT, operations, marketing, etc.

She mentioned she had gotten a resume of a recruiter who had four years of experience, but when she looked her up on LinkedIn, she only had 378 connections. Could this recruiter be any good with so few LinkedIn connections?

The Answer

No.

Okay, before you become unglued, let me explain.

Let’s say this four-year recruiter was only hiring high volume hourly. That would mean this person would never spend time on LinkedIn, since hourly workers, for the most part, do not have profiles on LinkedIn. So, now you’re thinking, “yeah, Tim, LI connections don’t matter for this person so they could be a great recruiter!”

Still, I say no!

Because, for me, a great recruiter builds a network of other recruiters and sourcers to constantly learn from. It basically takes almost no effort or skill to connect with 500 other recruiters, sourcers, HR pros, and your personal network on LinkedIn. Once you get to the 500 mark, no one knows if you have 501 or 30,000.

I challenge my own entry-level recruiters that have no recruiting experience to get to 500 connections as quickly as possible. Within six months, they should be able to do this very easily. So, if you run into a recruiter who is three or four years into their career, and they are under 500, they are showing you that they probably have very little interest in expanding their network and learning from others.

500 LinkedIn connections are like training wheels for a recruiter. I don’t expect every profession to have over 500, but recruiters, sales pros, and people looking for jobs should always have over 500. There’s no reason not to, it’s literally the easiest professional networking available to everyone for free.

Do more LinkedIn connections then equal someone is a better recruiter than another?

No.

But, wait, you just said…

Recruiters, of all types, need to get to 500. After that point, it really becomes more about the quality of the connections that you build. If you just accept every Open Networker on LinkedIn, that network will be full of Life Coaches and Pyramid Scheme sellers!

Great recruiters build networks that help them learn more and recruit better. I would say once you establish a network, you then become much more selective about who you invite and which invites you to accept. Right now, with my network that runs over 20,000, I only accept about 1/3 of the invitation requests I get based on the criteria I want in my network.

I know recruiters that quickly maxed out their LinkedIn networks with garbage and had to go back and scrub their networks, and it’s very time-consuming. But, I also see recruiters who switch industries and skills who do this as well. Your network should grow and change with you based on where you are at in your career.

So, LinkedIn connections matter and they don’t. That’s just reality in today’s world of recruiting. Whether you are recruiting doctors or truck drivers, you should still be using LinkedIn for your own professional development on an ongoing basis.

Your LinkedIn Newsletter Sucks, and Other Truths No One Is Telling You!

Before I get into this rant, let me give a shoutout to Hung Lee. Hung runs the Recruiting Brainfood newsletter out of the UK and it is seriously the best recruiting newsletter on the planet. Also, Hung believes everyone should start a LinkedIn Newsletter, which leads me to believe that maybe he caught the Covid or something and his brain is slipping!

First off, is there a glitch in the Matrix or something? Since the beginning of the year, I’ve seriously received over 50 LinkedIn Newsletter invitations. Somedays I’m getting over 5 per day! What the heck is going on?

Second off, no one needs all these dumb newsletters!

Have you seen some of these!? Most are bad life coaching newsletters or professionals who are working at home and just flat bored with nothing else to do. I have yet to receive one that looked half-interesting. Here’s a sample of the newsletter titles:

  • Leadership and You
  • The Cup’s Half Full Newsletter
  • Leadership Insights
  • The Thoughtful Leader
  • The Top Talent Newsletter

Reading these again just made me fall asleep, where was I again?

Why Shouldn’t You Start A LinkedIn Newsletter?

You shouldn’t primarily because you won’t sustain it and ultimately it makes you look like you’ve got a follow-through problem professionally!

Look, here’s the deal. Most people suck at writing. Some are good, but will just run out of things to say in around ninety days. Either way, all of these newsletters will just sit there with old content. Then one day, someone will find it and their first thought won’t be, “OMG! This newsletter is amazing and changed my life!” It will be, “this is odd, this person hasn’t written in 18 months, I wonder if the Covid got them!?”

To Hung’s belief, yes, everyone has a voice. But this is where Hung I part ways. He believes because you have a voice you should use it. I believe most voices suck! If yours sucks, don’t use it, use something else you’re good at! What the last twelve years of writing have shown me is most people’s writing voice isn’t very good, and no one wants to read it. But you’re bored and you think what the heck, someone might turn their life around by me sharing my “Thoughtful Leadership” thoughts, but they won’t, in fact, you might actually be the catalyst that finally pushes them over the edge! Let that sink in, you LinkedIn Newsletter Murderer!

By the way, this is not an indictment on LinkedIn! That would be like me blaming Taco Bell for fat people. No, Taco Bell is awesome, I love it. My low willpower is to blame, not Taco Bell. I don’t blame LinkedIn for stupid people. LinkedIn just provided a great tool for stupid people to spread their stupid. How did LinkedIn know stupid people wanted to share their stupid?

Another reason you shouldn’t start a LinkedIn Newsletter is that you actually don’t have an opinion. “Racism is bad!” Groundbreaking, thanks. Any other hot takes, Sparky? You actually have to have an opinion. Have a legitimate take on something. Stating the obvious, while probably be cathartic at some level for you, isn’t readable!

This isn’t to say that LinkedIn Newsletters can’t be ultra-popular. One of the Top 5 LI Newsletters is a dude who gives career advice. He has over 750K followers. I’m sure it’s great stuff, like, don’t stink and don’t throw up during an interview. All the ‘real’ stuff job seekers need to know. I haven’t read his newsletter but I’m guessing he had a 13-minute career as a recruiter which makes him highly qualified to now give out this life-changing advice.

I know. I know. You’re going to make so many new sales and clients with your newsletter, plus your Aunt Jenny who’s a retired accountant told you how great she thinks it is. No, you won’t and No, it’s not. Stop it. Stop sending me your damn invites. I hate your Newsletters! They’re awful! Someone needs to tell you the truth!

Okay, I have to go start my Linkedin Newsletter before I miss out on this gravy train!

What if you allowed anyone in your company to hire?

Let me walk you through a scenario and you tell me what I’m missing.

We all have hiring needs right now. Almost all of us are struggling to fill those needs. We love employee referrals! We also have great employees, doing great work who work with us, that we trust.

What would happen if we went to our employees and said, “Hey, we love you and trust you, so we are going to allow you to hire one person. You have total say in whether this person gets hired. We have a few parameters around HR stuff, drug screen, background check, etc., but the hiring decision is yours”.

You could probably add in some fun parameters like:

  • Here are the positions we have open that you can hire someone for. (IE., you might have some positions you don’t want the run of the mill making hiring decisions on)
  • If your hire fails, you won’t get this chance to hire another person for at least a year, so make it a good one!
  • If your hire succeeds, you will be given the ability to hire another person.
  • Maybe you want to throw some sort of bonus to your folks for successful hires, explain what “success” looks like, etc.

What might happen?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve never done it, but I think I would be willing to test it out.

Let’s dig into what we think would mostly happen.

My best guess is you would have some employees who would be like, awesome, I’ve got a friend or family member I think would do a great job, and I’m going to hire them. Yes! Some positions get filled and they have some employee sponsorship that will probably help hold them accountable and be more successful.

You will probably have a few misses. Yeah, I thought Johnny would do well, and since he has a record no one will hire him, but he’s my sister’s kid and I really thought he turned his life around and this was a great chance, but ultimately he’s a loser.

You will probably have some employees who think you are nuts and not serious.

The big question is would you allow this for any positions, or just low/no-skill type of positions? I mean, really, conceptually, it works for any level. If I have a finance position open, and there are certain requirements needed for the job, then it isn’t really that hard to see if the person can conceptually do the job or not with their experience and education. So, it could work for any level job, blue-collar or white-collar.

Does this empower your employees?

Imagine being an individual contributor in your organization and one day you wake up and go to work and you realize you can actually hire someone. I can have that experience of making a life-changing decision for someone else. That seems like it would be pretty powerful!

Do you remember the very first person you ever got to hire? That’s a giant career moment. I tend to think every person you hire is a pretty great career moment, but the first one is big!

I think being able to hire someone would be super empowering and it’s really just a next-level employee referral program. Instead of you just referring someone, just take it few more steps and make it happen!

I tend to look at our current staffing problems with a strong testing mentality. Let’s try a bunch of stuff and see what might work. Most of it won’t work, but we might run into something amazing! Maybe our first test of this concept is to go to a hand-selected group of 10 or 20 employees and give them the first shot. Measure the results, gather feedback, decide if it should be rolled out further or what changes should be made.

All that I know is that early in my career if the CEO came into my cube and said, “Tim, we are going to allow you to hire one person to work here!” I would have taken that assignment very seriously and would have thought that was super cool!

What do you think? Tell me how crazy this is.

In 2050, all education will be online. If so, how will we create adults?

I read an article the other day where a guy (a futurist, if you will) decided to give his best explanation of what the world would like in 2050 based on technological, environmental, societal, financial, etc. advances or regressions.

I’ve talked about this before, but being asked about the future is a fun thought experiment because you can be wildly wrong and no one really cares. It’s all a guess. I get asked all the time to talk about the future of TA and HR Technology. I love it! I can say anything I want you can’t tell me I’m wrong. Well, you could, but by the time one of us is right, it’s in the future and we don’t care.

So, this dude, Erik Hoel, says that in 2050 all higher education will be done solely online. No big campuses with gothic buildings and manicured lawns. No student unions and big libraries. No dorms and cafeteria food. No fraternities or sororities. Just you and a laptop sitting in your parent’s spaceship doing Econ 101.

Sounds dreadfully awful!

I don’t have a problem with education being online. In fact, it could be the most equitable thing the future will bring us. Everyone could now have the best professors from all over the world! Harvard could have 1 million graduates a year, instead of a few thousand of the most privileged students on the planet. We could bring world-class education to everyone.

But, only one type of education…

Part of the college experience is the socialization, both good and bad, of becoming an adult in sort of a lab-like environment. You get to go out and experiment in a community of mostly like-minded folks, of similar ages and test your ideas, your looks, see what you like and what others like about you. You get to begin to build a network of friends and peers that you can carry into your professional world.

University just doesn’t give you book smarts, it helps prepare you to deal with real-world stuff, but not all at once. You get to live on your own away from your parents, but someone is still making your food and paying the heating bill. It’s a period, for those who get a chance to experience it, to gradually move into the world of adulthood.

I get it, going from high school to the military, or working on a factory floor is also another type of becoming an adult, and in a much quicker way! We all have our paths, I’m not judging any of those as being more or less valuable. All I’m saying is full online college for everyone, if the future brings us this, I think is a mistake.

How did college make me an adult?

I can look back at my undergrad college experience at the University of Wyoming and think most of what I learned had very little to do with the classes I took. It might have helped if I showed up to most of my classes, but that’s another story.

After I blew through all of my college savings in my first semester, I quickly had to learn how to survive, to pay bills, to use the system to help me, to ask for help, to help others, to build a network of support, and sometimes to just call home and cry and tell my parent’s life sucks being an adult!

Gawd, how stupid was I to think my “little” problems as a college student were adult problems! What most of us wouldn’t give to go back to those problems.

College taught me how to barter. I really only had one skill, I mean besides my charm and dashing looks, I could work hard, or at the very least I was reliable to show up and work as hard as I could. My hard work got me many meals, many free drinks, tickets to entertainment to take my eventual wife. College towns are mostly run by college kids. To barter was life! I will do this for you and you will do this for me, no money has to change hands! I worked many bar shifts for free, for food and drinks. I traded out many movies passes at the theater I worked for dinner.

College taught me that people will take you in when you have no place to go and treat you like family. Every holiday when going home was too far and too expensive I always had multiple offers to stay and feast. When I had my own kids, they knew our house is always open to anyone who needs a place to stay and feel like they are home.

College taught me that you can live on almost next to nothing and still be completely happy and thriving. Great friends, conversations, challenging things to learn. No one really cares what you are wearing, or what car you drive or don’t drive because you don’t even have a car. They only care that you add to that conversation in a positive way and accept others may think differently, but that’s the fun of learning and interacting.

I’m not sure what 2050 will bring. I’m sure it will be different. I hope we can find ways to give more people the gift of a higher education, but also the gift of slowly learning how to become adults before they really have to be adults.

College Recruiting For Candidates Is A Giant Mess!

I think about 99.99% of us believe that we actually put a man on the moon! We have put together technology to take someone on earth and put them on the moon, and then actually get them back to earth! That is amazing. Do you know what we haven’t figured out?! One system to help college kids connect with employers to get jobs!!! UGH!!!!

Why hasn’t recruiting technology solved this issue?

Okay, don’t start with me on Handshake or LinkedIn or Yello or Brazen or whatever dumb tech that says it’s for college recruiting but doesn’t really work for every college or every student.

First, shout out to my guy John Hill, former Campus Evangelist for LinkedIn, who is now with TechStars. Six years ago this man figured out how LinkedIn could have owned this space, but they weren’t interested. They walked away from owning every single professional at the beginning of their career. It could have been so easy for us all. One platform under God, indivisible, and all that sh*t. John, you are a genius, and I so badly wanted you to succeed with that idea!

If you want to hire an upcoming college grad for a job you have, it’s a freaking nightmare, mostly. First off, you have to find out from each college/university who they actually work with and to which platform are they sending their kids. Handshake is the big one, but not everyone works with them, and as an employer, they are kind of difficult to work with (I’ll explain later). LinkedIn is the easiest to work with. Yello and Brazen, and others like them, are more event and campus management, than a database of students.

The reality is, employers just want a database of students! We want to log in, pay whatever fee you ask, and search by the university, year, major, location, etc. We are simple people with simple needs. Why can’t we have our simple tech!?!

Why doesn’t one technology own the college recruiting space?

First, it’s not really a technology problem. It’s an empire-building and power play by university career services offices. Let’s do some history. Old school career services ran “Job Fairs”. You came to campus, paid them money, and ran the dog and pony show. It was awful. Everyone hated it. Except for the Career Services employees. This was their singular job and how they proved their value to the powers that be.

The future came and employers and students were like, “Job Fairs Suck!” and why can’t we just put up a profile on LinkedIn or something like LinkedIn and connect with employers that way? Well, you can’t because then we (the Career Services) lose power! You have to join the platform we tell you, so we can still get paid because while you paid us way too much for your education, we still need to make more money on you and your hard work!

Is all of this sound familiar and accurate?!

Before “Karen” or “Ken” from Career Services at State U. loses her/his mind, let me just say, I get it. I know of many career services folks who truly want to help the Art History majors of the world get employed. Which they never succeed at, but keep helping those MBA’s and Engineers find a job…

Can I be real for a minute? in 2021, do we really think the function of “Career Services” at a university is necessary? If a kid can’t figure out how to get on Handshake, or LinkedIn and Indeed, shouldn’t that be kind of a sign of their employability?! I just hear from too many students that feel like Career Services did nothing for them in finding a career. In fact, that’s all I hear. I can’t remember ever hearing one story from a new grad going, “OMG! Career Services at State U. was so amazing and helpful!” Not once, in twenty-five years!

My Experience with Handshake

Recently, I was hiring a couple of recruiters for my team. We have had great success hiring new grads, we have a great university (Michigan State) in our backyard, so I was like how do we post a job for MSU students to see. Handshake has entered the chat.

The MSU Career folks said get on Handshake it’s easy! Which was mostly true, any idiot can figure out how to get on a site and register themselves. But using Handshake to recruit becomes a different story. First, we are a “recruiting agency” so right off the bat Handshake hates us. Plus, Handshake works off of a “Trust” score to get schools to work with you, which seems super fishy!

I wanted to hire someone directly for my company, not a client. We are a good employer. Good culture. Good pay. Local. Etc. Doesn’t matter, our “Trust Score” is low. How do we increase this Trust Score, I asked? Go to this one page and read a bunch of stuff that won’t help you at all! That is all. Can I just pay you some money and we stop this nonsense?!

The way it’s supposed to work is I have to reach out to a school and ask to be able to post a job and have access to their students. But the schools don’t know one employer from the next, so they rely on this “Trust Score” but no matter what you do, your score doesn’t really move that much. I’m assuming it would move if I paid them money, but that was the one thing I didn’t try!

I actually had local schools reply back and said because of your trust score we have a policy not to post your job! This is particularly hard for small employers who don’t have much activity. Thankfully, most schools would let you in if you made a personal plea and explained the issue. Still, this is a pain in the butt! This isn’t a good experience for anyone involved, the employer, the schools, or the students trying to get jobs.

Don’t take this as a slam on Handshake, it’s not! At least they are attempting to build something that is better than showing up on 500 campuses and doing traditional job fairs! The biggest problem is they left the Career Services still in charge! (BTW – I reached out to Handshake to try and get some help with this, I’m kind of in the space! No one would help, besides sending me to the same lame talking points on how to increase your trust score.)

There has to be a better way!

You would think because of the pandemic someone would have figured this out, and I’m sure even the folks at Handshake could figure this out if they had willing participants at the college and university levels. I’m still a bit salty that LinkedIn just didn’t do this because I’m guessing they had the size to just roll over career services and actually make something that works great for both students and employers.

The reality is employers are trying to recruit like it’s the 2000’s. Students are trying to get jobs like it’s the 2000’s. University and colleges are still trying to help like it’s 1970, and the technology companies are trying to find some sort of weird middle ground to keep them happy, but at least give students and employers something to work with.

Well, it doesn’t work. It sucks.

We (the recruiting industry overall) should be better than this. University and college career services should be better than this. We should have one global database for graduates and upcoming graduates to see all the jobs and internships, and for employers to see all the potential student candidates, and allow them to interact.

Instead, we play this game of who has the power, and who wants to make money on whom, and in the end, the students and employers are the ones paying the price.

Is there a way out of this mess?

I think the only way out of this mess is for students to recognize one brand as the place to go. The problem is, they don’t. If you talk to most university students about where they should go find a job, the answers are all over the board, and they mostly take direction from those at the university who are paid to help them.

A brand like Google or Apple might be able to break through the noise and stop all of this mess, but they are like any other company, there just isn’t enough money in it. I do think 100% of organizations would pay to have access to something like this if it was all-inclusive. Get every single public and private college to put in their students, give them a cut of the money based on being a part of the system, and everyone is happy.

I have yet to speak to one corporation’s Campus TA team who thinks the current situation is good. It’s a giant sh*t show, and university Presidents and Boards have no idea how bad it is.

Okay, rant over, that’s as long as a chapter in a book. Thanks for attending my Ted Talk. Now Fix the Damn Thang!

Writing LinkedIn Recommendations like Yelp Reviews!

I want to start a trend.

I’ve had some really great people write LinkedIn recommendations for me. I think all of them are from people I’ve actually personally worked with and had a strong relationship with. The dirty little secret, though, is no one really ever reads or pays attention to these reviews. I mean, no hiring decisions are based on “OMG! Tim’s LI recommendations were off the charts! We must hire him!”

The trend I want to start is to start giving each other LI recommendations like we give Yelp reviews of restaurants, hotels, attractions, etc. Wouldn’t that be at least more fun!?!

They would read something like this:

Tim S. on Laurie Ruettimann: 5 Stars – Once walked a mile, drunk, with Laurie to a Sprinkles ATM in the middle of the night because Sprinkles Cupcakes are the best! We have a secret IG group where we talk “ish” about everything, and it’s super fun! Be careful though, she’s always trying to talk you into going to work out and other stuff you probably don’t want to do.

Tim S. on Kris Dunn: 4.5 Stars – I would have given him 5 stars but I was expecting Kris Dunn the NBA basketball player, and while this Kris Dunn does play basketball, he’s nowhere as good as the real Kris Dunn in the NBA. Loves to wear dress sneakers as part of his get-up, which I dig. The only person alive who drinks 32 oz Powerade Zeros in the morning, but didn’t drink the night before.

Tim S. on Steve Boese: 5 Stars – Have you felt his muscles? No, he legitimately works out, under all those fancy suits is a chiseled beast (or at least I’m told). The one dude is constantly on speed dial for a road trip to any sporting event in the world but prefers NBA and Gamecocks sports. Super secret Chairman’s dinners were the best until he sold out and went commercial. King of the top ten list.

Tim S. on Carmen Hudson: 4.5 Stars – She and I were separated at birth. Don’t even try to question, we have the 23 and Me results, haters! Shoes on point. Perfect travel pal. Drags a dude around with her that’s pretty cool, but he constantly complains about his plane seat while on this way to 5-star hotels. Not a 5 star because she lives in Seattle and that’s too far away from me.

So, what do you think!?! 100% improvement from a traditional LI Recommendation, right? I mean, you would hire all of these folks above, I mean if you could afford them, but you can’t, but you would!

Hit me in the comments with your LinkedIn/Yelp Recommendation of me (oh, this will be fun)! Also, be aware, I might hit you back with mine of you!

The Secret Sauce to Landing Your Dream Job? Apply Less!!!

Robert Combs over at Fast Company had a brilliant article recently, and if you’re in Recruiting or HR, it’s a must-read! If you’re looking for a job, it’s also a must-read!

Here was Robert’s concept. A.I. (robots) are running the world. It’s the biggest innovation to come into recruiting since Big Data (wait, didn’t we always have data…). If robots can run the application process and find you where ever you are, Robert thought, why not use a robot to apply to jobs for him. Let the robots fight it out!

So, that’s what he did, he built a robot to go out and find jobs he would want, apply to those jobs, and then even follow up!

He applied to hundreds of jobs in minutes! It got a bit out of control:

So I started slowly casting about for new challenges, initially by applying (perhaps naively) to openings at well-known tech companies like Google, Slack, Facebook, and Squarespace.

Two things quickly became clear to me:

  1. I’m up against leaders in their field, so my resume doesn’t always jump to the top of the pile.
  2. Robots read every application.

The robots are “applicant tracking systems” (ATS), commonly used tools for sorting job applications. They automatically filter out candidates based on keywords, skills, former employers, years of experience, schools attended, and the like.

As soon as I realized I was going up against robots, I decided to turn the tables–and built my own…I fired it up I accidentally applied to about 1,300 jobs in the Midwest during the time it took me to get a cup of coffee across the street. I live in New York City and had no plans to relocate, so I quickly shut it down until I could release a new version.

After several iterations and a few embarrassing hiccups, I settled on version 5.0, which applied to 538 jobs over about a three-month period.

So, what did Robert find out? Here were his biggest learnings:

1. Even your ATS robots suck at giving responses! Around 70% of his applications never got a response!

2. Only 4% of 538 jobs he applied for, got a personal email response from a recruiter.

3. Only about 6% of your hires come from people applying to your career site.

Robert found out what most of us in the business already know. Applying to jobs doesn’t actually work. Yet, we spend so much time, energy, and resources building these great tech stacks and apply processes for just his!

So, what works?

Turns out about 85% of jobs are filled by good old fashion networking. You know someone, who knows someone, who has a friend, whose cousin works in the department you really want to work for.

“Out-of-the-box hires rarely happen through LinkedIn (or any job board, career site) applications. They happen when someone influential meets a really interesting person and says, ‘Let’s create a position for you.’”

I disagree somewhat with the above quote. I’ve worked in large corporate TA shops, we just didn’t run around all willy-nilly creating jobs for really cool, smart people! We did many times find really great people and then stick them into a job we already had open, and usually, the reason we found the person was someone who knew the job was openly referred the person to us.

My advice to job seekers is always the same. Stop applying to jobs, start networking with every person you have a possible shred of connection with, and let them know you’re looking for a position, what position you prefer, what position you would take, and where in the world you would work.

Every minute you spend networking is a thousand times better than every minute you spend online applying for jobs. Robert just proved this!

You could just say “Yes!” to everything!

I tend to say “Yes” at about a ten to one clip of saying “No”. So far it’s worked out well for me. Most of the time I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen when I say “Yes”, but it usually works out just fine. Some of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of were because I just said “Yes” and didn’t worry about the details.

What can go wrong when you say “Yes”? 

  1. You can take on too much and get overwhelmed and stressed out
  2. You could be taking time away from more important things in your life: family, working on stuff that is more financially viable, you-time, etc.
  3. You hate the thing you said “Yes” to,
  4. Some moron will try and take advantage of you.

What can go right when you say “Yes”? 

  1. You might actually find some really great stuff you love.
  2. You might meet and work with some awesome folks you never knew.
  3. You might find some business opportunities you didn’t expect.
  4. It just feels better in your soul to say “Yes” to others.

I’ll be honest, I probably say “yes” too much. I often have people try and take advantage of my propensity to say “Yes”. Will you do this thing? Sure! And then that “thing” takes up a lot of my time that is valuable, and the time I’m giving up is mostly benefiting the other person, and there is probably nothing they’ll do for me in return.

Pro-bono work feels great until it doesn’t.  It’s when I start questioning my life strategy of saying “Yes”. Everyone wants some free work from you, believing that it’ll all work out for the best in the long run. Which in truth, it usually does for the person getting the free work!

How can you say “Yes” more, but stay sane? 

That is really the question, right?

I think the biggest thing is to have personal boundaries you don’t compromise. Knowing when the “yes” becomes a “no more”. The reality is people aren’t trying to take advantage of you for the most part. They just are trying to do their thing, and if you don’t have boundaries they’ll keep doing their thing without much regard for your things.

Know your value. I say “yes”, but I also usually let the person know what I’m giving up to say “yes” to their thing. Even when I’m being paid. “Hey, thanks for the offer of “$X” and Yes I want to do this and help you, but normally I would be getting “$X+”. Why do I do this? It’s a boundary thing. This is my real worth, I like you or what you’re doing, I want to help, but let’s be clear, here is my real value. The value I’m giving you.

This is really hard because most people get uncomfortable with this. They don’t want to tell others what they are worth and they don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable that they aren’t paying you what you’re worth. But, if you want to say “Yes” more, you kind of have to come to grips with this!

At the end of the day, I still like saying “Yes”. I like trying new things and working with new people. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s worth a try!

The #1 Thing You Need To Do To Find The Job You’ve Always Wanted!

Last week I got a call from an old work friend. He wanted to have a “virtual” lunch or cup of coffee.  He just left a position and was in transition.  Not a bad or negative job loss, just parted ways.  When you get to a certain executive point in your career, it’s rare that bad terminations take place. It’s usually, “Hey, we like you, but we really want to go another direction, and we know you don’t want to go that direction, so let’s just shake hands and call it a day, here’s a big fat check.”

Executives get this.  For the most part, there aren’t hard feelings, like when you were young and lost a job. I usually find that the organization the person is leaving from are super complimentary, and usually takes the blame for the change.  Executives in corporate America are like NFL coaches. You get hired with the understanding that one day you’ll be fired.  It’s not that you know less, or aren’t going to be successful in your career, it’s just that the organization needs change, and you’re part of that change.

Welcome to the show, kid.

My friend decided that he was going to find his next position not through posting for positions online, or trolling corporate career pages, he was going to have lunches.  About two per week, with past work friends. Let’s connect, no pressure, we already know each other and I want to catch up.

You see, in 2021 you don’t find great jobs by filling out applications in ATSs and uploading your resume to Indeed. You get great jobs because of the relationships and personal capital you’ve built up over your career.  Having lunch and reconnecting turn on a relationship machine. I believe that people, innately, want to help other people. When a friend comes to you with a situation, and you have something to offer or help, you will do that.

The problem is most people who are looking for great jobs don’t do this. They lock themselves in their home office and apply to a thousand jobs online and get upset when nothing happens. Great jobs aren’t filled by ATSs and corporate recruiters.  Great jobs are filled through relationships. Every single one of them.

Want to find a great job in 2021?

Go out to lunch.