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Monday, November 2, 2015

What I learned from man's best friend

Earlier this week I was playing fetch with my four month old blue heeler, Otis.  To be clear, I use the term “fetch” loosely.  At this time in my pup’s life, fetch consists of chasing and retrieving an object and then bringing it back to a general direction as long as something more interesting doesn’t cross his path along the way.  Nevertheless, I found myself becoming increasingly impressed by his level of persistence and the determination he showed chasing the little ball that I was throwing across the yard.  During that time I saw him trip over his own feet, wipe-out and take a face first dive into our fence, and knock the ball under an object seemingly lost forever.  Despite these obstacles, he always found a way to get his baby canine teeth around the ball and then celebrate by running around the yard as if the presence of this rubber ball was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to him.  This got me thinking and I was able to take some of the things that I was witnessing and relate it to the work I do every day. 

The first thing I took away from this is that if you’re going to go after something, do it full speed, with everything you have, every time.  For you animal lovers that have ever had a puppy you know what I’m talking about.  These little critters have two speeds: 100 mph and sleeping.  I think there is a lesson there.  To get your desired results, you have to go all out.  I think in recruiting that can come in many forms.  Did I have a plan for the day? Did I display energy and enthusiasm with everyone I came in contact with?  Did I maximize the amount of contacts that I made throughout the day?  You never know when that person that you are connecting with is the perfect candidate and you also never know when the next phone call or email is going to be the one that puts you in touch with the individual that can fill the role that you’re working on.   You have to be on your “A” game all day, every day. 

The next thing that I made note of is that obstacles are just speed bumps, you simply keep going.  I think this is a point that resonates with me more than any other.  I have often reflected on how challenging it can be to work in this field.  The brutal truth is that for every time you get good news or positive feedback on a candidate, you are going to get negative news several times over.  The hiring process is fraught with peril.  We lose candidates to competitors, have people not interview well, watch candidates accept counter-offers, etc.  Now while we can position ourselves to minimize those occurrences, we will never be able to eliminate them completely.  You are going to trip over your own feet or fall face first into a fence on a daily basis.  The important part is that you learn, keep moving forward, and don’t lose sight of your prize. 

This ties into my next point which has to do with how happy Otis was every time he retrieved that little ball, even though he was probably going to have turn right around and chase it again.  Not only that, this process was going to repeat itself over, and over, and over again.  Nevertheless, each time this little furry guy took time to celebrate.  I think that when we fill a req or have a victory, it’s easy to gloss over what we just accomplished and focus on the next req or the next task.  Otis taught me that in order to live a happy life, you need to take time to celebrate the little victories.  These celebrations turn into enthusiasm and are contagious.  These celebrations also give you the energy you need to overcome the speed bumps. 

I’m sure that there will be several more lessons that I will learn during my journey with my little pup.  Even though the principles that I spoke of here are simple ones, I think it’s important that we take time to remind ourselves of these little things and how they can benefit our everyday lives.  While I will probably never have the energy of a four month old puppy, hopefully I can have the enthusiasm and outlook that Otis does.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chrome Extensions for a Sourcing Enthusiast

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a tech geek.  With that said, I think it’s important to note that there is a difference between a tech geek (someone who gets excited about new technology) and a tech expert (someone who can use aforementioned technology effectively).  I’m striving to be a tech expert but for now, I have to settle for just being extremely curious when it comes to technology and trying new tools.  I’m telling you this so that you can get some context surrounding this article.  I am also telling you this so that you can’t hold me responsible if your computer catches on fire while trying the tools that I mention below. 

My tech geek exploits have recently led me to the world of google chrome extensions.  If you are an avid chrome user, then these are probably very familiar to you.  For those of you who are not familiar an extension is a small software program that modify and enhance the functionality of your chrome browser.  There are literally thousands of these extensions that cover a wide range of user needs and enhancements.  Being a recruiter, I focused on chrome extensions that I felt would help me in my day-to-day recruiting activities.  This could come in the form of added search functionality, organization, or just overall work efficiency.  So without further ado, here are the top 5 google chrome extensions that I have discovered (so far).


This is one of my favorite chrome extensions.  Prophet sits in your sidebar and is easily accessible when you need it.  It extracts information from social sites such as LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook, etc. and uncovers information about the person whose profile you are visiting.  More specifically, information that may not otherwise be listed.  This includes email addresses, other social profiles, and websites.  It’s a fantastic tool to obtain several ways to contact people and can serve as a poor man’s alternative to LinkedIn Recruiter. 


Speaking of LinkedIn Recruiter we next have the LIR search tool.  This extension is very simplistic, but can prove to be a time saver if you are extracting data from the web.  The search tool allows you to highlight anyone’s name that is listed in an article or a webpage and find that person on LinkedIn with a simple “right click”.  This saves you from opening a new tab or toggling back and forth. 


Search All is for all of you Boolean junkies out there.  This extension allows you to input a search string into a single field and view the results from various search engines and technical platforms.  As you can see above, with a simple click you can switch between Google, Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, EBay, Twitter, and even YouTube.  The obvious advantage here is that you only have to input your search string one place, one time and you can view the results from a variety of sources.  No more copying and pasting search strings and opening several tabs. 


The AIRS resume search is a free tool that was released by the same people that brings you the AIRS certifications and is powered by ADP.  It is similar to Search All in that it gives your results from a variety of sources with a single input string.  In this case, it pulls information from LinkedIn, Indeed, and even does a resume search on Google utilizing the keywords that you entered.  The drawbacks to this tool are the sponsored ads that show up at the top of each search and the clunky navigation system.  There are forward and back buttons but no single click access to the home page or your original search. 


I must admit that this particular extension is not geared towards recruiting or searching, it’s just cool.  Ad Block eliminates the advertisements that can overrun a web page.  It actually allows you to filter out undesirable contents of a page and leave you with a cleaner experience.  Not only does this prevent you from getting bombarded and potentially annoyed, the streamlined content allows your browser to move faster and more efficiently.

That is my current list of Chrome Extensions for the recruiter.  I’m sure that there are many more out there.  If you have ideas or tools that have proven effective for you, please share.  Again, my transformation from tech geek to tech expert is not yet complete.  

MVP Hiring Managers

Earlier this year, our Talent Acquisition team was given the opportunity to give the rest of the organization a sneak peek into our world.  The idea was that we could show everyone what was “behind the curtain” of the Talent Acquisition department.  In other words, it gave us a chance to dispel some myths and preconceptions that people have regarding recruiting.  During our presentation it occurred to me that there are hiring managers out there that don’t understand how vital their role is in attracting the best talent to their teams.  The reality is that recruiting is the ultimate team sport and the hiring manager could very well be the MVP.  So with that in mind, here are some tips that as a hiring manager you can utilize to help your recruiter be more effective and keep them from going completely crazy. 

Approach the recruiting process with a sense of urgency –
The importance of this cannot be overstated and the reasons why are numerous.  As a hiring manager, your insight and decisions are what keeps the process moving forward.  If you have a strong talent acquisition partner, it’s ultimately your actions that decide how quickly the process moves and how quickly your opening gets filled.  Another thing to consider as Tony Kubica and Sara LaForest state in their article The Benefit of Urgency in a Talent Short Market: “It is folly to assume there is an unlimited talent pool in this market…Once a passive candidate knows that they are attractive to other organizations, there is a very short period of time to make that hire.”  Top Talent is in high demand.  Because of this, it’s important to move quickly.  Doing so will help keep the candidate engaged in the process and reduce the risk of losing the candidate to another company. 

Treat your recruiter as a business partner, not an order-taker –
A strong recruiting partner will act as more than just someone who pulls resumes from job boards.  Gone are the days where you throw your recruiter a job description and they inundate your mailbox with random resumes.  Granted, the first challenge is ensuring that you have a competent Talent Acquisition partner. They should be your local labor market expert, your talent consultant and advisor, and your chief strategist when it comes to finding and attracting qualified people.  If you treat them as a fellow professional, make time for them and their questions, and make a concerted effort to partner with them, they have a lot to contribute to your business beyond just throwing resumes your way. 

Embrace the fact that your feedback isn’t just about speed, it’s also about quality –
There have been numerous times when discussing a candidate that I have had a hiring manager say something to the effect of “There was just something about them that wasn’t quite right.  I can’t put my finger on it, but my gut is telling me that he/she is not the right fit.”  Now, that’s all well and good.  That phenomenon can occur when we are interacting with other people.  However, this puts your recruiting partner in quite a bind.  First off, detailed feedback is important because it gives your recruiter something to convey to the candidate when they tell them that they are not moving forward.  More importantly, your feedback helps recruiters hone in on what you are looking for in a candidate.  Recruiters use your feedback to adjust their strategy and focus on finding the right people for your role.  If you are having a “gut” feeling about a candidate, it’s important to ask yourself “What prompted that feeling?”  It could have been a response to a question, a non-verbal cue, or a number of other things that you can share with your recruiting partner.  If a candidate falls short of your expectations, share the specific reasons why and you will see higher quality candidates going forward. 

Channel your own recruiting skills –

People are often surprised when I tell them that they can be the most effective recruiter for their own roles.  The reasoning is simple:  If you are a hiring manager, chances are that you have more knowledge in your field than the person that is recruiting for you.  That’s not always the case, but it happens frequently.  There is also a good chance that you have a network of people that work within your field.  Talk to your recruiting partner about what you can do to help find candidates.  There are many tools out there that can help you promote your openings, as well as keep track of your professional network.