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!

Recruiter Turned IT Guy

1014431.largeToday was my last day as a corporate recruiter. I’ve been given the opportunity to join our IT Security team. Yes, I’ll be staying with my current employer so my email and phone number won’t be changing.

The  past week was filled with treat days, lunches with my peers, and getting my recruiting stuff in order so the interim person has an easier time managing the staffing needs of Shared Services as he also tries to find my replacement. Guess who has quite an incentive to fill my position? <let me know if you have a recruiting background and are interested in the position. 🙂 >

As I’ve mentioned to many people throughout my last 2 plus years, I never thought I’d be in a position in Human Resources. It wasn’t that I was opposed to it, I simply thought I’d be an IT guy doing server administration, penetration testing, coding, networking, whatever. I’m just glad that I was a member of THIS HR team. I’ve been employed in many companies, and worked with many different people, I never had a bad experience with any person in our entire HR organization.

One chapter ends, another begins.

Continue reading “Recruiter Turned IT Guy”

People Just Want To Be Wanted

As recruiters, we need to remember that people want to be wanted. That’s why performance management seems contrary to that. That’s why recruiters need to understand the sensitivity behind breaking the news to someone that did not get a job, especially to internal staff. I don’t doubt that people leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated, they don’t feel wanted.

Think about it for a second.

When you get the news of not getting a job, how does it make you feel? Many times there is little to no feedback. What are you supposed to think? I mean, your qualifications fit the bill, right?

When handling internal staff it’s vitally important to let them know, that despite the circumstances, you need them in the organization. If you don’t want them in the org, well, that’s a different story. While some in the industry may say that performance plans are HR’s method to exit someone from the company, it should really be looked at from the ‘we value you as an employee and want to get you on the track for success’ perspective.  The same goes with getting turned down for promotion or another position. ‘You do some things very well, and you can get there. The areas to concentrate on developing are… is that a path you want to pursue?’ The person may be responsible for their own career development, but the manager should be there to help and guide.

I’m in the people business, it’s important to know how to handle people.

Open Door Recruiter FAQ

  1. What is Open Door Recruiter? It’s basically a small networking event. I work out of a local coffee shop in and around the Madison, Wisconsin, area, or it’s an online group web meeting, that allows people to show up and meet one another. Conversation can be around jobs, the company I work for, job hunting tips, or anything.
  2. When is Open Door Recruiter? I try to hold it every 2-3 weeks depending on schedule, I rotate days of the weeks to help accommodate your schedule. Can’t make Wednesdays, no problem, the next one will be on a Tuesday.
  3. Where is Open Door Recruiter? See #1 above. 🙂
  4. How will I know about an Open Door Recruiter event? I post on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Please tune in to one of those networks.
  5. Do I need to reserve a time or let you know I’m interested in meeting? Nope. Just show up and introduce yourself. No appointment necessary.
  6. What if I show up and you’re speaking to someone? Simply walk up and introduce yourself. We’ll all introduce each other and make small talk.
  7. Do I need to bring resume or dress to impress? No. It’s informal. No pressure. It’s not meant to be a job interview or screening.
  8. You recruit information technology professionals, but I’m not IT. Does this matter? No. I speak to anyone of any background, experience, or profession. It’s really just a more personable networking opportunity.
  9. I am not interested in meeting, but can I pass your name along to others? Heck yes!
  10. What’s in this for me? It’s really what you make of it. I can provide job hunting and resume writing tips, job market info, insight into the company I work, or get you in touch with someone else that may be able to help you.
  11. Bummer, I don’t live/work in the area. I understand and I wish I could be everywhere. I have done Google+ Hangouts. This is a free online tool that allows up to 9 people to video conference. You would have to have a Google+ account, web cam, and microphone to participate, but it is VERY easy to use.
  12. I still have questions. Hit me up on one of the social media networks I mention in #4 above and I’ll be sure to get back to you.
  13. Do you ever have to cancel? I have not had to do that…yet. Because I blast it out to networks, I would do the same for cancellations. Again, please tune into those networks listed in #4 above for updates.  I would also want to express a sincere apology to you for the inconvenience.

Open Door Recruiter

Need A Break? Get Some Air

I met with my manager one day. She mentions to me, “you seem a bit… on edge. Something wrong?” At the time I probably was having a bad week. Maybe I had some declined offers or some things that didn’t go our way. She says,”you know, it’s ok if you want to work remote and get out of the office. You can be just as productive without distractions.”

It got me thinking and made me realize that her flexibility may allow me to get creative in how to recruit talent.

Enter 2013. Time to make things happen.

I decided to take advantage of my employer’s flexibility, yet be sure that it would benefit our corporate recruiting efforts. Many recruiters and staffing firms talk about the relationship. It’s all about establishing relationships. Agreed. Knowing someone brings down a lot of walls. You learn about people when you’re comfortable around them. You find commonalities and discover new things from people. Meeting face-to-face is key in making this happen. I decided that a couple times a month I would work remote, but in a publicly-accessible location. Coffee shops work well for this. Actually, they should encourage it. If I work out of their location, and bring in 4 people to meet with me, I brought in more business for them. Win! I digress. This is not about coffee shops.

I didn’t think it would be hard to execute, but I wondered if this would really pay off. I had buy-in from my manager and many people I know appreciate those that think outside the box. It’s also known by associates of mine, along with my client base, that I work social media pretty well. I have accounts on Google+ (1200+ followers), Linkedin (1300 connections), Twitter (600+), Facebook (285) and Yammer. I use all of them to some degree. I’m not bragging, but some of those numbers have bearing on what I’ll get to in a moment.

The Plan

Simple. Pick a couple places in town, maybe one on east side and one on the west, that have the following:

  • Internet access
  • Accessible parking
  • Decent location
  • Places to sit with 1-3 others
  • Staff that appreciate you being there

Pick out dates, two weeks apart, but make sure they’re both not on the same day of the week. If someone is always tied up Wednesdays they’ll never be able to stop by. So switch it up.

Let people know. It’s time to post to all the social media sites:

  • Where you will be.
  • When you will be there.
  • Why you will be there.

If nobody shows up, I still have plenty of work I can do – screening applicant resumes, fielding emails, sending more emails. Continue reading “Open Door Recruiter”

Recruiting – The Hiring Manager Can Help

I had an associate of mine approach me the other day.  There is dialog within her client base on how managers can help with the recruiting efforts of the manage’s department. This inquiry was not centered around “what can we do better from a process perspective – feedback turn-around, slimming down job requirements, etc”, but catering to more on pipelining candidates and finding good people for their respected staff. Credit to a manager for their willingness to help! Continue reading “Recruiting – The Hiring Manager Can Help”