In mid October 2010, my friend David Perry called me and shared some of his insight.
“Donato, in the Detroit area, there are hundreds of Exhaust System Engineers, yet when I do a Google Search, I can only find a handful of them. ”
David was explaining this while speaking to a group of recruiters. “This is a problem, these engineers are not on the radar of recruiters.”
The Back story: A recruiters first step in finding a candidate is his own database. Next, recruiters leverage the Internet for candidates. Job Boards, Social Media and open web searches are the tools of the trade. Only after the immediate sources are exhausted do recruiters start the process of “direct recruiting”; looking for new candidates via referrals and many, many conversations.
Most job seekers don’t understand this.
If you are not in the recruiters database and you are not present on the Internet, to the recruiter, you don’t exist.
David had impeccable timing. Over the previous year, I had been absorbing all I could in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO). In my own initiatives, I had earned the top spot in Google many times. “How can SEO help job seekers”? I thought.
While on the phone, I did a quick Google search for “Exhaust System Engineer”. David was right; few of these engineers were available via a search engine query. Next, I proposed an hypothesis to David. He liked it.
On October 19, 2010 I registered ExhaustSystemEngineer.com. It cost about $8 from GoDaddy.com.
Using WordPress.org, I set up a blog and hosted the domain for an additional $20 for the year. No technical knowledge is needed. If you don’t know how to do it, the people at Godaddy are very helpful. Total cost $28.
Next, I added a few excerpts from articles about exhaust systems. The single paragraph had links to the original article. After adding some content to the site, I found some articles about exhaust systems to comment on, leaving my blog address. (it is important here to leave real comments and show an interest in someone else’s work, otherwise it is seen as comment spam).
As the last step I signed up for Twitter and created the username ExhaustEngineer. My first Tweet was an announcement of my blog, ExhaustSystemEngineer.com. The total time spent to do this exercise was about 1 hour. If you were doing it for the first time, it may take you 2-3 hours to get familiar with WordPress.
On October 21, 2010, 2 days after registering the domain, creating a blog and adding some content, a the first Google search result for Exhaust System Engineer was ExhaustSystemEngineer.com.
If I was a real Exhaust System Engineer, the next step would be to add my resume and contact information to blog and keep it updated with fresh content.
After 3 years: If you google: Exhaust System Engineer, the site I created almost 3 years ago is still #1.
Remember, if you are not present on the Internet, you don’t exist to most recruiters. The difference between being found or not is taking action.
I was in Starbucks this morning after a 2am return flight from Boston yesterday. When I lose sleep, it upsets my normal schedule. Things that I wouldn’t normally notice, I get fixated on. While waiting for my latte, I had the chance to observe three people standing and eating muffins. They were waiting for a table to become available. One guy had no care about spreading crumbs all over the floor. Mr Clueless. Guy number two would drop crumbs and push them under a table with his boot. Mr Sneaky. The third guy was hyper-careful to not make a mess, armed with a napkin. Mr Careful. Who would I hire as a sales-rep and why?
You can learn much about somebody based on how they eat a muffin.
For the first time in several years I’ve put my recruiting hat on. Broadlook is expanding and we need to hire about 10 people. I decided to get in on the ground floor and do the initial outreach to prospective candidates.
Here is what I observed:
The general professionalism of the better candidates was…better. Does this seem obvious? Possibly, but what I am talking about is simple things like voicemails and formats of email addresses.
Emails: One of the emails contained the following: DaddySpankU@(email domain.com). This was in application for a Director level position. The resume contained the minimum level of experience, but I had to ask myself, “what is this persons level of professionalism?”. In the end, I don’t care, I’m not going to roll the dice with this person.
Voicemail recordings: Next, I called a candidate and got a voicemail with dogs barking, an obvious party going on in the background. Again, not professional. BTW, he also sounded as if he had at least a six pack in him, slurring his words.
Poor Voicemail message: “Yeah, high um, I like got your message and I ahh will send you my resume…. blah blah blah”. Message deleted.
Voicemail message with no recording: “You have reached the voicemail number 414-555-1212…etc”. My goodness, if you are applying for a sales or customer facing position, record a voicemail so people know they are talking to. I want to hear how professional you sound.
Funny voicemail: “If you are driving or over 30 send me an email later. If you are under 30, send me a text message”. I liked this guy. Shows some personality and that is better than an “UM, Er, Ah, speaking dolt”. Sales reps should have personality.
Facebook pages: I don’t care if you have a tattoo on your ass. But putting it as your *Profile* photo on Facebook is a bad choice. This lady did not get a call. Ok, nice photo, but I don’t want you representing my company. Mrs. politically correct in Human Resources may tell you different that you can’t be discriminated against due to something on your Facebook page. Reality: your application will be deleted and you will never find out why. No call. No job. No explanation.
Regarding your resume. For the experienced people… dates like 2010-2011 is a huge red flag. That could be December 2010-Jan 2011. Fill in all dates. Good interviewers will ask you to account for all dates and gaps in your work history. Did you take a 4 months off to travel Europe? Don’t hide it. This is a positive thing. What did you learn and grow from it?
Don’t lie. You will get caught and there is no excuse. In the first 10 phone interviews, I caught a few people in lies. The interview immediately ended. People lie about stupid things.
“I made $55,000 last year. ”
“Are you sure about that”, I ask
“Yes. It might have been a little more.” (then I got a detailed description of the compensation).
I interjected. “You do understand that we require copies of your last 3 years of W2 to verify past compensation”.
Pause… then. “Ok, then I only made $45,000 last year”.
“So you lied to me”. I stated
“I just really wanted the job”.
I terminated the interview. This is something that he should have learned in Kindergarten. Funny thing is that his skills would have commanded the $55,000 he was looking for.
What it all comes down to empathy. Job Applicants need to understand how each and every way you interact with a potential employer looks to the employer. Here are some take-aways. There are many articles and tips and what to do and not to do. Here are some of my pet-peeves.
- Have a professional email address. DormStalker@gmail.com FAIL. Try something like First.Last@something.com
- Have a clear voicemail message. If your message includes “Um”, “Er”, “Ah”, “you know”, “like” (at the start of every sentence), then re-record it.
- Fill in all dates on your resume. If there is a gap, explain that gap.
- Spelling mistakes on a resume. Have a friend proof-read it. Yeah, I’m awful, but I have a job
- Unless you are prepared to forge W-2’s Don’t lie about compensation. You will get caught when you are asked for proof.
- Do what you say you will do. Return calls when you promise, send paperwork, etc. Failing in what is required in the job application process is a huge red flag.
- Don’t treat my assistant rudely. She has a copy of your resume and will write notes about how you engage her. She is interviewing you too!
- Don’t lie. What you think is important may not be. Job applicants lie about the stupidest things.
After about 2 years of talking about this topic, I thought it best to collect some solid data before doing an official blog about it.
LinkedIn is not a social network.
A thing is defined by it’s major attribute. While LinkedIn has aspects of a social network, it is actually a social database.
Hey Donato…But they say they are a social network!
In the early days they were. As the network grew, savvy users realized they needed to grow their networks as large as possible to spread their reach. In polls done over the last year in live webinars, I’ve asked groups ranging from 200-600 how they use LinkedIn. Here are the questions and the responses.
1. I get as many connections as possible and figure out how to contact people directly.
2. I use LinkedIn to as it was meant. Connect with people through a series of connections.
3. I don’t use LinkedIn.
69% of people choose option 1. Last year, it was only 50%. The trend is growing and…
LinkedIn is a social database.
Looking to build you own iPhone app? Don’t make the mistakes I made. It is not just about developing the application; you need the talent to do it.
So I’m at it again. Too much content for one blog. For those readers of mine that are in the recruitment industry and digg the iPhone, you may want to check out iPhoneRecruiter.com. Since I have recruited for iPhone Development Talent and led cross platform mobile applications, I’ve got some experience to share on the topics.