This is my advice for executives looking for a job

I give this list out to a lot of people - so thought it would simplify it to just write it for you. I'm a headhunter, but a niche one. I only work on jobs that clients give me in digital and social marketing, and I have never been successful in taking a candidate call and shopping them around.

Maybe it's me.

Here's what I tell every candidate/manager/executive/friend/family member I don't have a job for. It works, but only if you do it.

1) Make a list of 10-20 companies you want to work for that are local, and find one executive at that company that could hire you at the level you want. Write the company, name, and title in a spreadsheet.

2) Follow every company on that list on LinkedIn.

3) Search for recruiters and headhunters who have your resume keywords on their profile. Send an invitation to every one you can. Focus on ones with experience that you would call back (they are usually called executive search). Don't write anything in your invitation, and don't send a note if they do accept .

4) Go through the companies and look at 1st and 2nd degree connections. See if there's anyone you know. Send a message to your first degree with a short positive memory of how you know each other, and send a connection invite to anyone you've met in the 2nd degree. Don't ask for anything, unless they reply and specifically want to help you. (no, they don't want your resume, and you shouldn't send it).

5) ) Get a google voice number and put it at the bottom of your summary. You can always turn it off when you get the job. Send the phone to your cell and have it ring your number, so if someone calls, you'll know it's a recruiting call from LinkedIn

6) Connect to senior executives (VP HR and above), and executives senior enough in marketing to hire you. Send them an invitation and simply say (same industry, respect for your company).

7) Search for jobs at the company website and on LinkedIn. If you see a job you like, look at your connections. Message them and say, "I'm going to submit, but if you get a referral fee, I'll let you do it."

8) Carry your list with you. Anytime you meet or talk to someone, and the subject of employment comes up, ask them if they know a name on the list. If they do - ask them to text their contact with your name, because you're going to email them. If they don't have the cell, ask them to email from their phone or send a LinkedIn message, and you'll email the executive afterwards (ask if you can use their name - but even if you can't, that's okay. The exec saw your name).

9) You want to start an application, but if all you get is a call with an executive, tell them it's 20 minutes, you want to talk about the list of companies you want to work for and see if you're missing one, and ask about trends in the market you should look for.

10) At all times, your goal is information and connection. Never ask for help with the job search. Ask for a job or ask if they can connect you to someone on your list who can offer you a job. This is very important. "Networking, coffee, casual interviews, and help" are nonsense words you use to hide the fact that you want a job. Instead, be clear your intent is either to get a job with that company, or with a company they refer you to.

That's it. Those ten bullet points will improve your job search, and find you employment faster than you could imagine. They will also strengthen your network. Most important, they won't fool you into believing that you're making progress because someone took your call.

Don't agree? Post your experiences.

Candidate Personas: The Motivated Mover Versus The Happy Hard Sell

Candidate Personas Series: Introduction, and Part I

When looking at candidates, it's important to look at their motivations for the job search. Over time, and with enough interviews, you can begin to identify candidates based on why they would consider your position.

This is not a cure-all. It's not a substitute for behavioral assessments or proper interview procedures. It is simply a way of thinking about a candidate's point of view, so that you can learn to identify their needs and communicate in a way that will increase your likelihood of success. This is a... basket of general attitudes. It's not candidate-specific, but as you see the patterns, you should be able to clearly place someone into a general category.

Let's take a look at three candidate personas, and then we'll look at ways to start conversations with them.

Motivated Mover:

This is every recruiter's favorite candidate. The Motivated Mover is an in-demand, talented candidate who interviews well, understands their value, makes good choices, and is absolutely looking to make a change. 

Motivated Movers have a track record of success. They ask questions about what is needed and who they'll work with because they're trying to picture success at your company. Interviews are two-way conversations. Negotiations are tough, but they're part of the decision-making process. The Motivated Mover isn't looking to just get the best deal, they're determining if your compensation policies deliver success. Throw money at this person, and they'll know you overpay to cover flaws in the business. Come in too low, and they know that you can't or won't pay for the right kind of talent.

Motivated Movers also have multiple options. They don't interview with one company. They have multiple interviews and multiple offers, which means speed is important as well. Wait too long, and a Motivated Mover will get a better deal.

This is prime candidate beef.

How to win: You need a transparent hiring process that is clearly communicated and actually followed by the company. You need high responsiveness from everyone on the hiring team. It's as simple as saying what you'll do and doing what you said.

Cons:  When all is said and done, if you're truly dealing with "A" talent, you're still only going to nab 50% of them (that's a good thing. If you win every pitch you make to a candidate, it's because you're not talking to a high enough quality candidate). 

Happy Hard Sell:

The Happy Hard Sell isn't a candidate you're going to see very often. They're as talented as the Motivated Mover, but they're not motivated to move. They're still quality beef, but they're the steak behind the glass. They like where they are, and they're not particularly interested in hearing a pitch. 

Recruiters often make the mistake of finding a Happy Hard Sell and thinking they can talk them into an interview. If you can talk them into an interview, you then assume they'll take an offer. They're attractive to managers because they are talented and exclusive.

How to win: The Happy Hard Sell isn't interested in being screened, they're interested in being challenged. If they sense that they're just another candidate, they have no reason to continue interviewing. What they want to see is a well-thought out pitch that makes sense for them. Be prepared ahead of time. Focus on the work, and not on selling. The benefits and perks and salaries need to be competitive, but they're not the hook.

The hook is the problem you're trying to solve. During your pitch, you need built in problems that the Happy Hard Sell wants to solve.

Cons: The Happy is a Hard Sell for a reason. That reason may be something you can't match. If so, you can spend a lot of time and resources courting someone who will never move. There's also an element of luck. If a Happy Hard Sell is on the verge of finishing a product, and they're current company hasn't planned out their future, they are susceptible to a pitch. That's a very hard timeline to match.

Planning Player:
This is my favorite kind of candidate for digital marketing management. In our industry, there is an 18-24 month window for advancement. In general, a manager will either be promoted within their company or they'll take a new position at another company. That length of time varies by industry, but it's a good balance between completing a project and embracing new technology and trends.

The Planning Player is clear that their career is the motivation. The promotion is recognition that they are improving, and they are protective of making a smart move. They're okay with a less-defined process, and jumping through your hoops, because they understand that's part of the process. It's not what they care about. They care about your reputation, and the chance to get a short-term win. They're also very focused on selling themself. 

How to win: The planner looks for clarity. They want to know that there aren't hidden risks. They will be sensitive to the company's reputation, and the job description, and the planned budget. The easiest way to pitch is to keep it simple. If they can quickly understand the opportunity, and they can quickly run it past their friends and family, they'll probably interview. And once a planner is in the interview, just don't mess up. 

Cons: Planning players don't like ambiguity. They don't like managers who want to shoot the breeze and get to know them. They believe if they're interviewing that the company has an interest in them. They're not prima donnas - but they're not sheep. You can mistreat them as a function of the process (they're not as sensitive to extra demands or steps), but when they're done with you, they're done. It's like a stress test. They're fine until they're not, and their seeming unflappable nature is hard to judge when they're close to being done with you. The problem is they don't pull themselves out of the process. They will go through to the end to see if they can get the offer, but you're dealing with a dead candidate who is just practicing their interview and negotiating skills.

Things To Say To Each Candidate Type

Motivated Mover: 
1) I know you're looking at several companies. Are they all the same position? Do you clearly know what you want to do next? 
2) Thinking about the company you're at now - what do you wish they would have done to make your last project more successful? 
3) This process is going good places, so let's stop and have a conversation about compensation. This is the ideal package the company would like to see. You can see it places you a very specific niche below a VP but above a typical Director. That's because they want you to have autonomy, but not fall under a normal salary band that requires a certain number of employees to manage. Now in this, you'll be reporting directly to this executive, but will have dotted lines to these three, and regular contact with senior executives during planning. 
4) What are we missing here? If you take the job or don't take it, what do we need to add to the work to make it successful. Is our timeline right? Is our project too ambitious? Maybe not ambitious enough? 

Happy Hard Sell:
1) What did you want to accomplish when you started your current position? 
2) When looking at our company's future, it was clear that the right team in the position takes more than a job description written by a recruiter like me. There's a tension between what we think we need, what we actually need, and what the right candidate thinks they need. It's kind of impossible to know where any of us are right. We need to be flexible, but everyone can't do this. It's a commitment to the right person, to give them the tools they need. 
3) We're not looking for a moon shot. It's not the impossible - but you don't get the chance very often to make a real impact. Our company has this window, but it's not doable unless we find the right person, and put the right team behind them. 
4) Does any of this sound interesting? Is it even worth you hearing more about, or is there someone else you feel would really be able to get their teeth into this? 

Planning Player:
1) I like your background. It's methodical, it's planned. You've managed your career well. Is this the move that you anticipated? 
2) The roles you've had in the past show you can succeed, but the next rung in the ladder is an important one. It has more competition, more risk, and is fundamentally different from your last few roles. The interview, the process, the negotiation - they're more difficult because there's more at stake. 
3) Many of the candidates that have been successful in your roles had a mentor. As their mentor was hired, they brought them along. Has that been your experience? I mean, it's great, until the mentor's career stalls. Have you been largely self-motivated, or have you been trained and led? How does that effect you now? How do you plan to adapt without...air cover? 
4) I don't like to dig into salary history, but I do want to ask, have you thought through what you need to take this next step? Financially, are you in a position to make a move, and is it about a specific dollar amount or a specific increase? What is the reward for your work, and why hasn't that occurred at your current employer? 



Candidate Personas In Recruiting: An Introduction

Developing a persona is standard in the full marketing stack. The goal is to create a series of customer segments, create an individual who represents that segment, and then tailor messaging to that individual.

It's effective because good messaging is written to a person, not to a group. What "sounds good" is not the same as "what appeals to an individual. 

Recruiting has a real problem with this. We're obsessed with data, which means that we tend to view candidates in terms of lists, instead of as individuals.

This is good. 

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 3.27.02 PM


This is bad. 

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 2.04.02 PM

It seems to be common sense. Of course you want to talk about people as individuals instead of as a group. Then why don't we? Why do our ATS's lack pictures of the individual? Oh sure, compliance. Can't have any bias creeping in. Instead of an accurate picture, what if we had random pictures of people we could look at as we searched resumes and talked on the phone? That is literally the purpose of personas in marketing.

A persona is a lens that focuses our messaging on a real person and let's us discuss the impact of our message in terms of a real person. Does that sound confusing? Let me simplify it.

Your emails and phone calls are bad if you're looking at a list. They're better if you're looking at a person.

Lists focus are attention on what we want. Titles, companies we recognize, skillsets, keywords... when we write with a list in mind, our tone and message tends to be focused on what we want.

"I'm looking for full-stack programmers to work in our office in Seattle."

"We're on the search for great talent for our product team! B2B marketers experienced in lead generation using Marketo should apply now!"

I'm bored just writing that. 

When you focus on a picture, you take the attention off of your needs, and put it the candidate. Try these out.

"Your profile had links to code samples that were pretty impressive."

"Brian, your background in B2B marketing with Marketo could be a good fit for our team." 

They're still generic, but shockingly, they work. Candidate response to personalization works every time it's tried. That's not actually a positive thing. It means the bar for response is so low that your Yorkshire Terrier can jump over it. And those are very little dogs with tiny little legs. Don't get me wrong - response is important - it's the first step. But truly great recruiters and truly great hiring teams know how to take it further. They use a persona to create a messaging framework the candidate and the hiring team throughout the hiring process.

Customizing your personas requires you to do that most dreaded of exercises - putting yourself in the shoes of a candidate to understand their motivations. This series will help you do that. Stay tuned.

What Is The Value Of A Reference Check


                                Your offer is contingent upon a successful reference check from this guy
We've seen that before. We've written it into our offer letters. We've worried about it briefly when we accept a position (what if they uncover something they don't like?). The reference check is considered a last line of defense by hiring authorities - the golden standard that can make or break a hiring decision. 

And yet, they're almost always a complete waste of time, useful only when the jobseeker has successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of each and every interviewer. I wonder sometimes if people who talk about references understand that a reference check bad enough to sink a candidate is only possible if you stink at interviewing

I've been writing about recruiting since 2004. In that time, I've heard hundreds of people extol the value of the reference check. I can't even imagine the fainting spells I'd see if I pitched this at an HR conference. That reference checks are common sense and mandatory is holy writ - and we'll pull your SPHR certification if you disagree! Do those people actually make reference calls themselves? For those who do, do they have a script, interview notes, or the courage to ask real questions that were brought up in the course of the interview? 

Clearly not. These are the questions we hear. "Were they employed?" "Was this their title?" "Would you hire them again?" "Were you their supervisor?" These are basic fact checking questions. Why don't we ask the tougher questions? 

"Why aren't they working for you anymore?" "Was there anyone better?" "Is it true that they left because they were never going to get your job?" "When they left, were you surprised?" "Did they have other offers when they accepted your position?" "What did their references say when you checked them?" "What is your vesting schedule for options?"

Now that would be a reference check!

Alas, it's not to be. While a few people have given me those kind of references over the years, the majority have been rote, plain, and filled with grunts of assent. Of course they are. The population we're looking to hire normally has some kind of longevity in their role, and are currently employed, which means that references are literally years old or decades old. Checking a reference from 2002 is just plain stupid. And yet, I've done it. It was policy. 

What About The Candidate Experience? 
Aren't we supposed to worry about candidate experience? I was reading a book on hiring systems, and the author said that we should ask for the spelling of the names of former managers because that's a great way to warn off candidates who will lie about their references. The author explicitly says that the fear of you calling managers who aren't their references is a good thing.

Here's the problem. Why are you trustworthy? Is there some magic that makes a 24 year old HR generalist a competent reference checker for a Senior Director of Operations? I remember taking a call one day from a "professional" reference checking organization. They were calling to verify employment for a current employee who had not yet given his notice. The hiring company intended to make an offer, but hadn't yet told the candidate. This kind of mistake happens on a regular basis, and yet candidates are supposed to trust you with the cell phone numbers of their current employer? 

Are They Worth It? 
I shouldn't be so hard on the system. I've had references that alerted me to fraud. I've had references who tried to deep-six a candidate (it didn't work - you can usually identify a bad manager). On occasion, references have actually sealed the deal, providing important information on how to manage a new hire or where they could use training.

Those are the exception - and that's for a guy who is very thorough in gathering references. But if you must do so - and that's almost all of us, there a few tips I can give you. 

  1. Be upfront what you're looking for. Direct supervisors, clients, or direct reports (when hiring a manager, get at least one direct report). 
  2. Once you get the references, have a call with the jobseeker to discuss them. Discuss each one, looking for questions to ask, ways to build rapport, and verifying information from earlier interviews. 
  3. Ask for references that you can't call. There are bad bosses. There are horrible companies. I'm more concerned with a candidate being honest with me than them having a perfect background. Having a hands-off list is a great way to dig through the information the candidate is hiding. Be firm, but polite about this. Your goal is to work with them, not filter them for living in the real word. 
  4. Don't ask, "would you hire them again?" Instead, ask them, "What should I be looking for when managing them?" That's a neutral question that allows savvy managers to tell you the truth. 

List Of Interview Questions For Email Marketers

This is a series of scripts I've been writing for digital recruiters. Today, we'll address an email marketer.

Here are some current requirements for Email Marketers posted as jobs. I'll go through the requirements and post my questions at the end.

Here's one that's posted for an Email Specialist.

-Develop and maintain email marketing campaigns that integrate with website and magazines. (Integrate email with the website and with print?)
-Create and manage Email lists. (what do you mean, create? Pull from a database? Excel? Actually build the list from scratch?)
-Day-to-day activities include email set-up, scheduling, tagging, targeting, and deployment of ESP's. (ESP normally means Email Service Provider. When you say deployment, do you mean, sending the email? Do you have multiple providers? Or is this internal jargon? Do you really mean, deploy the email through an ESP?)
-Other duties are assigned. (I think you mean as assigned)

Skills and Experience:

-Minimum 2 years experience in Email & Internet Marketing. 
-Proficiency in mass mail platforms. (Mass. Is that 1M, or 100M? And how many do you need to know? Silverpop and Salesforce and Eloqua? In only two years?)
-Knowledge of basic HTML, and Adobe Suite programs. (So, a coder and a designer? Or someone who can use Mail Chimp's templates?)
-Outstanding written, verbal communication and collaborative skills.  (Outstanding, or just, pretty good? How do you measure outstanding?)

Here's another one that's more detailed. 

  • Assume primary responsibility for deployment of email campaigns, including: scheduling, content/asset gathering, creative development, database management, client approvals, landing page creation, testing, troubleshooting, detailed reporting, and overall quality assurance.  (Okay, that's a pretty good description of everything you need)

  • Develop customized email invitations and registration forms. Registration forms? For the website? Do you want me coding forms?  

  • Gather requirements and create timelines for all email marketing campaigns.  good

  • Coordinate the cross-functional process to implement the campaign from project kick-off to delivery to performance reporting  good

  • Develop detailed documentation for best practices.  good

  • Maintain reporting log for email campaign performance. good

  • Analyze email trends and devise and develop new templates, ensuring best practices are followed and the creative is “on-brand.”  good

  • Develop list segmentation and email personalization recommendations based on data mining and email/website analytics.  Do you really mean data mining here? Or is that thrown in when it really means "eyeball the data and pretend you have a good answer?"

  • Conduct regular reviews and QA to ensure flawless execution of email campaigns.  Hopeful, but a good standard. 


  • Bachelor's degree

  • 3-5 years experience in content management, working on email campaigns, or comparable role. Law firm or professional services experience preferred. Experience with content management systems (CMS) preferred. (Law firm? That seems a bit strange considering all of the requirements you have. Did you copy/paste this from someone else with a robust department?)

  • Intermediate Web design skills including knowledge of HTML coding is required.  (Web design? What other language do I need besides HTML? Am I hand-coding the website? Or do I need to know enough to build a landing page and make changes in the design? Speaking of which - is there a designer, or an I the designer as well?)

  • Comfortable coding in foreign languages (not required to know the language). (I wasn't aware that you could code in another language. You can leave edit notes in another language, but that's not the same thing. Does this mean I'm working with overseas people who write other languages, and we're coding together? That sounds strange.)

  • Experience with Tikit or other email campaign software. (Tikit - that's a technology for the legal sector. I'm guessing you use Tikit. Can you just say you'd like Tikit experience? Why add the "or other email?")

  • Ability to identify, investigate, and act on opportunities to improve email performance/experience.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite. (Does someone on the planet that you'd hire not have this? What if they're only good at Google Docs or Pages?) 

  • Exceptional organizational and skills and attention to detail.

  • Excellent verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Must be a self-starter who understands the details within a much larger context. (Oh, so I'm working alone?)

  • Ability to work in a teamwork/collaborative style and environment with a willingness to share information, goals, opportunities, successes and failures with the appropriate parties. (wait - nope, I'm part of a team. So you want a self-starter that asks the team what they think first? What if you were forced to pick one?)


The first posting is just bad. It doesn't tell you anything beyond the title, and in the case of the ESP, actually gets the term wrong. The second is more detailed, but as you read through it, you understand that this is a template for the perfect worker, and is very likely copied from somewhere else. When you add in that bit about foreign coding, you began to realize they just want someone who represents well, because they have no clue how to run the program.  Both job description should make it impossible for a recruiter to find someone of quality through anything but blind luck. Basically, you find someone who did email for a law firm and present them. If that's true, why the long description? 

But let's not just pick on others. Here is a list of questions I would want to ask to determine the level of experience for an email marketer. Feel free to take them apart in the comments. 


Here are my template questions for email marketers. After each, I'd ask them to explain, and push past the simple answers: 

1) What did you do last Tuesday 

2) What kind of testing do you do? Which parts of the email (subject line, data sets, graphics load, bounce rates, open rates, forward rates and social share rates)

3) What software platforms have you used? Why did you like them? Are you expert in those? Do you code them yourself or use the template? Do you make the graphics or do you insert them into the email? 

4) Who compiled your data sets? Who managed them? Was that you? 

5) What was the behavior of the list (people bought, people opened, people called in, people clicked on a list to a landing page)

6) Did you create and test your own landing pages? 

7) Do you still send text versions of the email? Why? 

8) How much oversight did you have on this? Approval? Contribution, Interference?

9) What did you do with your data after you tracked it? (how was it used, disseminated to the rest of marketing)


Note that the questions I ask will give you the answers that fit your requirements, but they don't allow the candidates to simply say "yes," "no," or "I sent a lot."

And for extra credit, here are the answers I don't like to hear from candidates. 

1) We sent out 10 million emails a month (and no explanation of what they were). 
2) We did extensive A/B Testing of the emails. (what does extensive mean? what did you test? Was that a test each week before the send?
3) I've worked with all of the email software programs and know them well
4) We were CAN-SPAM compliant. 
5) Our data team would pull the lists each week, and we'd work with the graphics department to get the right images, and then the IT department to code the email. I would test and send the email (nothing wrong with that, but it suggests someone who is only good in a large operation, and will need each one of those components to work. But at least they know it takes more than one person. Those who don't know this and assume they can do it all, are often lacking in experience). 


Bad Interview Stories From Facebook

This is just a thread on Facebook between Brian Noggle and myself.

It started like this:

Brian:  I was told by the HR department at his first IT job that they'd never seen anyone score a 1 on the psychological profile for friendliness before.

Jim: I applied to Capital One, and didn't get a job. See, they put us in a room and gave us an aptitude test. They said it was okay not to finish the math portion - it wasn't designed to be finished. So of course I did. You don't throw a chal...lenge like that in front of a man and not expect it to be picked up.

Years later, I met the woman who designed the test. I introduced her to my roommate, and they dated. When I told her they didn't hire me, she went back to the records and checked.

She said. Uh, you finished the math section. No one finishes the math section. That's why you weren't hired. Nice hiring process, Capital One!

Years later, I applied to Best Buy. There was no aptitude test, but they did ask if you ever took things home from work like pens or staplers. I was a salesman. Of course I did. It didn't occur to me that it is a bad decision to tell an office retailer you take things home.

They didn't hire me either, but I think it was for totally different reasons.

Brian: I once took a test for a proofreading job. I aced the math portion of the test, getting the best score they'd ever gotten, and I failed the proofreading portion because I edited the proofread copy.

Proofreaders, you see, just compare copy to edited copy to make sure the corrections appeared correctly.

Jim: That's fantastic. I once interviewed for a job in Florida, but had to drive there without air conditioning. I rolled both windows and the sunroof down, and drive with my back six inches from the back seat.

Upon arriving, I went to the seco...nd floor bathroom, took off my shirt and tshirt, and dried them with the handdryer. When completed, I went back upstairs, and was told there was a position with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, but I would be washing cars in a suit in 100 degree heat.

There was another position with a Gallo distributor. It sounded perfect. I went to the interview, and wowed the first guy. The second guy came in and asked me the same questions. I decided I would answer them differently

He said - you're pretty smart. How many books do you read a month? I was unemployed at the time, so I said, "6." Realizing that this sounded impossible, I begin to describe them in detail. They include Michel Foucault and Francis Fukuyama and Dostoevesky. And a Tom Clancy novel.

After explaining in detail each book, to prove I wasn't lying, he looked at me and said "Clancy. Those are pretty thick books, aren't they?"

I didn't get the job. They said I was too smart. To celebrate not getting the job, I bought a jug of wine that night. And dropped it in the parking lot on the way in - which just goes to prove that I was never meant to have that job.

I'd like to point out that both Brian and I are excellent employees.  At least I am. Then again, I can only speak to the last five years.  Prior to that, you'll have to speak to someone else, and their opinions might vary.

Stupid Hiring Tricks

Anne from AdSaint had the misfortune to overhear a potential employer discussing her upcoming job interview.  With names changed to protect the guilty, let's just say this is one great blogpost, and a working to shall we say, jackass employers?

I'm not kidding.  Read the whole thing, but here's a snippet.

Man Z: "I did. She is on Linkedin, but all her information wasn't made public. I heard from "D" that he met her once before and said she was cute and outgoing. So, she made the initial cut."

Man X: "Cute and outgoing? Great, did you think to ask him, is she actually smart? "D" for all we know, could have just wanted her number. We don't need another pair of 't!t$' selling a product. If I wanted that, I could call a modeling  agency and fill that order real quick. You remember the crap we had to deal with with "J". Nice gal, not too smart."

Man Z: "G didn't really say. I did ask him age range and some stuff like that though."

Man X: "Oh really, like what?"

Man Z: "Well, I wanted to know how old she is, and he said he thinks in her 20's. He couldn't tell if she was older or younger. He also said she didn't have a ring on her finger. Which is a good and bad thing."

Man X: "How so?"

Man Z: " Well bad in that in those years, women want to get married and have a family and I would rather not carry the slack from that crap. That really bit my ass having to deal with 'J" and then not knowing if she planned to come back or not and then leave us hanging cause she had her meals bought and paid for. Good in that she is single and some of the accounts are men and you and I both know what sells."

[More Laughter]

Here's the scoop.  Let's say Anne was a bit more vindictive, and decided to pull out her Flipcam and record these two bozos.  Considering that 1), they just admitted to age and sex discrimination, and 2) This is a juicy story that the media would love to pick up to trumpet how all men are still pigs and this goes on daily, the footage would go around the world in minutes. Luckily for them, Anne is more interested in getting a job than they exposing two adolescents hoping for a good bonus and a vacation.

Don't read too much into the story, but do be aware - the world is watching.  These two checked up on her LinkedIn profile, but failed to catch that she was an AdSaint writer, and they probably never thought they were being checked up on as well.

Hiring is different these days.  The world is watching.  

Interview Prep

One of the most important aspects of getting clients to hire your candidate is interview prep.  Once you've found the right person, it's important you train them, prep them, and counsel them to avoid offer-killing mistakes.  My biggest one is a simple question.

What is the job as the recruiter has explained it to you.  Here are some Answers.

1) Well, from what little I know about it... FAIL
2) It's um, well, it's a a (job title), doing (job title as a verb).  FAIL
3) He's explained it well.  This is a short, concise description of the position).  Is that correct?  WINNER!

Why is this important?  If the candidate doesn't know the job, how can they possibly interview for it?  if the know the position, but can't explain it easily, then they aren't taking the interview seriously, and they probably are as sloppy when they are doing the job.  If they say, "from what little I know about it," they're making the recruiter look unprofessional, which if you're a candidate presented by a recruiter, do you really want to make the recruiter out as some idiot who doesn't even tell you much about the job?

A second common mistake is talking about where the recruiter found you.

1) I put my name up on Monster, and got a bunch of calls.  FAIL
2) I called her because I was just laid off, and she had something she said would fit. FAIL
3) You know, she never really told me?  She called me and quizzed me, then had me come in and we talked through the position.  WINNER!

Every client who uses a recruiter wants to know they're special.  Talking about how they found you is a huge mistake, because 1) you don't actually know what the recruiter went through to find you or how they checked up on you, and 2) Why would you devalue your candidacy by making the recruiter out to be a job board jockey or someone who "lucked" into a placement?

Now certainly there is some self-serving advice in there. As a recruiter, I want you saying nice things about me.  But as in all advice, the intent is the same - to get you the job.  It's all about you. I'm perfectly willing to throw myself under the bus during the negotiation stage or if you make an error in the interview.  That only works if you have already reinforced that the recruiter you're working with is the world's best.  So take your time and actually listen when your recruiter gives you advice.  We're experts - not at your job, but at interviewing. 

They're Just Not That Into You

MiddleAgedManager: So the interview went well from their end, and it seems you've passed their test, so now it's just a matter of securing the offer. 
YoungerSister: You think they'll call me today?
MAM: That depends.
YS: Depends on what? What else do they need?
MAM: They don't need anything else from you, but they may have to work through their own processes.
YS: That doesn't make sense.  Did they not like me?
MAM: It seems they liked you quite a bit, actually.
YS: Am I not qualified? Too expensive?
MAM: You're very qualified - the salary range is correct, and the truth is  you can do the job they need, but that's not all there is to getting hired.
YS: What else could there be?
MAM: Hiring is harder then you realize.  Managers are putting their jobs on the line every time they hire, and some like to let a decision simmer, like beans in a pot, before making that decision.
YS: Beans in a pot.
MAM: Bad analogy.  How about, it's like dating, and no matter how good you look on paper, it doesn't count unless they're into you.
YS: So the interview, the preparation, the reference checks, more interviews - they mean nothing.  it's just their gut feeling.
MAM: This actually works to your advantage.  If someone doesn't make an offer immediately, you know they aren't that into you, which should affect your decision to accept the offer.  Most people drag their feet when looking for a job because it scares them.  They are afraid of rejection.  So when they get an interview, they freeze up and don't do anything else until that decision is made. Unfortunately, if they don't get the offer, they're home at night on a Friday at 10:00, sad that no one called, but also dreading what happens if they get the 1:00 drunk call.
YS: So employers that wait to long are like booty calls?
MAM: More often than they admit.  They're looking for something that doesn't exisst - a candidate who will transform their business with no hassle, and do it for pennies.  It's a function of how we interview.  Rather than focus on what problem we want to solve, we look for some idealized version of what an employee might be.  What that means is when we have the right person in front of us, we balk at hiring them.  And when we do follow up, both the candidate and the hiring manager know the match wasn't perfect, which starts the employee-employer relationships off on the wrong foot. 
YS: So how long until I know?
MAM: 24 hours for first contact, three days before the offer, unless that first contact clearly lays out what's next.
YS: So what do I do?  I really like this job and company.
MAM: You never stop looking until you've accepted an offer. If they want you, they'll call.  If they don't...
YS: They're just not that into me.