Podcasts and Launch of Talent Jockey

Being a Recruiter has it’s ups and downs. You get the high of making an offer and getting back an acceptance. The lows are when that acceptance does not happen. You make a lot of different connections. One of them I made was my buddy, Brett. He was a contractor at the time and my employer was looking to bring him on as a full-time employee. Later on we realized we were both gamers. Since then we’d do lunch every couple weeks, or Brett would stop by my desk, and we’d talk about roleplaying games.

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Behind the mic for Gaming and BS

I have always been an avid listener of podcasts, mostly ones that relate to roleplaying games. Then it dawned on me, Brett and I talk a lot about them, why don’t we do one? At the time of this entry we have completed 15 episodes of Gaming and BS. Careful, we have an ‘explicit’ rating on the show. We tend to be passionate about our hobby and it comes through like a couple long-shore men. I love doing the show. I can’t believe we have listeners and subscribers, and that we have been at it consistently for 15 weeks!

Somewhere I came across Cliff Ravenscraft. He’s known as the Podcast Answer Man. It might have been one of his tutorials. Regardless, I have been devouring his episodes and has been quite an inspiration. It’s not just his show, it’s his genuine nature and his transparency. His show started out to help people do podcasting but it’s morphed into a mix of different topics. There is still podcasting, but there is also social media, personal/professional development, advice, and much more. It’s not hard technical, which is a turn off for some, but I don’t mind. It’s really a show to help people take their game to another level. Some day I’ll meet Cliff and personally thank him.

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Talent Jockey logo

All of the above has lead me to launch TalentJockey.com. It is starting out as a podcast that helps job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers navigate the world that is talent acquisition. Eventually I will do workshops, public speaking, and advising. It is truly exciting. It will involve hard work and diligence, no question. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even in roleplaying games we say that the journey is the fun part of it all.

If you’re interested in podcasting or obtaining advice on new media, then Cliff’s your guy and you should check out PodcastAnswerMan.com. If you like roleplaying games, and the occasional f bomb doesn’t offend you, then check out Gaming and BS. G&BS is what I do for fun. Talent Jockey is truly a new venture, and a professional one at that. I try to keep it light. Anyone that knows me, knows my demeanor. Check out the website for episodes and resources for my three audiences – job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers.

New Projects – Future Endeavors

I was raised by my mother and I had a younger sister. My mom did a good job at hiding the fact that we didn’t have all the money in the world, and I look back now and thought that my sister and I had it pretty damn good.

I was a bit of an audiophile when I was young. I wanted one of those massive stereo systems. You know, the ones that had multiple components, flashing lights and gauges with bouncing needles. What can I say? I liked the look of analog over digital, at the time. I started my amassing my collection of music growing my selection of cassette tapes. I eventually got a Symphonic fm/am/turntable/cassette all-in-one stereo system. At the time, I thought it made my music plenty loud. It wasn’t everything I wanted, but I thought it was great, so the desired bells and whistles didn’t matter much after the fact.

If you were a child of the 80’s then you know the role boom boxes played. Man, I had friends who had some monster boxes. The bigger the box, the more awe you got. Even if guys you didn’t like had one, you’d still say “I can’t stand that guy, but damn, does have a huge boom box.” My boom box. HA! It was a Sanyo half of a boom box. No EQ. It had treble, bass and volume knobs. It wasn’t even lit. The eject for cassettes wasn’t even slow or simulate a hydraulic opening. Mine was more like a bullet from a gun. Press firmly down on ‘eject’ and the damn drawer opened with a crack. Oh, did I mention why it was half a boom box? It was because it only had one speaker. That’s right one speaker. The two benefits it had, it played music just fine and it was light-weight. I would walk a couple miles with that thing and my arm never got tired.

I remember having a DJ setup in my small bedroom. I had headphones on, plugged into my stereo and then I’d have my half boom box sitting on top. During the Memorial Day weekend a local radio station would play the top 100 hits of the year. I would play them from my Symphonic stereo as loud as I could get away with and record it to my half boom box while adding my own DJ style commentary before the song started playing. I’d go through a few MX90 Maxell blank tapes, stacking them up as they got full.

So why do I mention all this? Continue reading New Projects – Future Endeavors

A Corporate Recruiter’s Happy Place

You close your eyes and imagine the following…

Your in-box notification pops up. It’s a “you’ve been identified as the Lead Recruiter on the following requisition” subject line of an email you just received. It includes a link to the talent management system. Right after receiving that email you get a second email notification. You check the new message in your in-box and realize it’s invite from the same hiring manager that initiated the aforementioned requisition. It’s for a 30 minute meeting with the subject line “discuss position” with a location. It’s not just a message, it’s a meting invite for the next day.

You meet the hiring manager and your head explodes by what transpires… Continue reading A Corporate Recruiter’s Happy Place

Recruiting IT Professionals – Above and Beyond

Yes, I know, I am not in a recruiting role right now. However, it’s not hard to get pulled back in when duty calls. I’ve had people contact me and ask for me to review their resumes. I have had staffing firms contact me to ask for recruiting referrals. I read articles on the industry and the trends that are recruiting. I was a part of the recruiting industry for over 5 years. Like a pro-football player, you may move on from being on the gridiron, but you’re still associated with the game. Maybe you become a sports commentator or coach.

IT staffing and recruiting is difficult, and it’s going to get tougher. I have stated this for the last year, and I’ll continue to say it until the ice age comes and electronics are ultimately fried by some radiation from the sun, or 25% of college grads have technology degrees. I can’t even be sure that 25% is enough. What’s a (IT) recruiter to do nowadays? How do you tell your client, “Mrs/Mr Manager, I’m doing what I can”? Often times a corporate recruiter will have requests coming out of their ears. Recruiters and Sourcers cost money, and accepting what some industry-focused think tank, puts out as a ‘best practice’ will come up short when it comes to deliverables. Who is this ‘best practice’ referencing?

Some fundamental things need to be put into place, and sometimes it can take an act of God to make it happen. It’s not that the recruiter can’t execute, it’s that hiring managers, staff and everyone else that could help, don’t. Lets put it out there and if it can happen, great.

Sourcing plan.

What is the plan? Lay it out to the manager. Here are the steps we’re going to take…together:

  • Places to post – calculated and targeted. Don’t post tech roles on Monster. Do it on Github or Stackoverflow, where tech folks are currently go on the web.
  • Networks to leverage including personal and professional networks.
  • Upcoming job fairs at campuses that have programs catering to your area – CompSci, MIS, etc
  • Feedback from hiring manager and keeping them moving. If they don’t get back to you in a timely fashion, things will fall apart
  • Spread the word, spread the word.

Great place to work

If your hiring manager is not ‘cool’ and the place you work at is not appealing you’re going to have your work cut out for you. This will be a huge challenge. Start out small. Get the manager, and team members, on board with why they show up for work. What are the great challenges and differences this person can make on the team?

Meet People

I mentioned networking above as part of the sourcing plan. This is where many recruiters fall short. They do. Even the ones that go every week to local tech users groups. Why? Because they attend those meetings with clear intentions – recruit. Turn it off. You don’t have to be the car sales person all the time. Take a genuine interest in the technology. You’re there because of that. Be sincere about it too. People can see through someone that is trying to fake the funk. Your ultimate goal is to have people know you as just a normal person that happens to work as a recruiter. If they think you’re smarmy and have ulterior motives, you’ll be less effective. Remember the part above where I keep getting pulled back in by people sending me their resumes? Hello? McFly.

Social

I saw  a person who had a company change on their LinkedIn profile. I know the person. Used to work with them. I immediately messaged them through the site and asked if they moved on to another role. The news, he got let go a few days ago. Bummer, yes, but I immediately started offering advice. I think he appreciated it. If you don’t tune into these opportunities, they’ll sail right by you.

Lending your expertise

You have 30+ requisitions. You have managers all over your tail. Your boss is getting heat from your client group. I get it. You have not time to breathe, but, you have to gain trust of candidates and not all of them will be cut out for the roles you’re trying to fill. Help them out. Give them feedback. Provide advice to them. You. Are. The. Expert. They will appreciate it. There’s a quote out there somewhere. It goes something like, “a person should be not be judged for the people that can help them, but on the people that can’t.”

It’s a comprehensive approach and one that must be met on all points. Yes, all points. Fall short in one area and it will crumble. All it takes is for a manager to not get back to you in a timely manner and candidates will go elsewhere. This is not your marketplace, it’s the IT job seeker’s. Understand that.

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Recent Advice to a IT Support Specialist

Sometimes I get pinged from IT pros seeking to land an full time employment position in their respected field. This is one person that has a support background.  Here was my email response to him.

Thanks for contacting me. Unfortunately, I have moved out of recruiting and into IT Security. I’d be more than happy to help, but many of our support openings, re: help desk, reside in Waverly, IA, and doesn’t often include relocation to the candidate. I’d start networking pretty heavily. If you’re not on LinkedIn, get a profile. Join a few groups there and start telling people about your skills and weighing in on some discussions. I know you had worked for staffing firms too. I’d ping many of them to get some temp assignments, do awesome at those assignments and ask your interim supervisor if it’s ok to connect to them on LinkedIn and that your ultimate goal is to get FTE work.
It might even be a good thing to start a tech blog on wordpress.com or blogger. It’s free and will start showing off your knowledge beyond the resume. Then put that blog url on your resume. It’s showing your passion for IT support and your diligence on the blog. Make sure you update it consistently, that’s the key! A blog with articles every few months is not all that impressive.
I hope this helps. Good luck!