New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

Last week I was contacted by a late-thirties executive who was seeking a career coach. He said he had worked previously with a coach in another state, the result of which was a move to Atlanta with a step up to a Vice President position and considerably more income. I asked him why he called me and he said he was ready to take the next step in his career. He said he had been very happy with the help he received from his last coach and wanted a local Atlanta coach to work with him in making his next step upward. I smiled … outside and inside. A common expression some coaches like to use is “Even Tiger Woods has a coach.” They say this in an attempt to wake people up to the fact that every level of performer can benefit from being professionally coached. Because many people are resistant to change, I believe that this comment tends to fall on deaf ears. Engaging a coach is an action that openly invites change. If you are like the VP who called me and are open to change, then professional coaching may be right for you. Most career seekers I speak with each week are not like my VP caller. They have gaping holes in their thinking when it comes to career planning and career changes. They want some free advice and then, upon receiving it, go along their merry way. But, if you are the exception and are interested in learning more about the benefits of coaching, then professional coaching may be right for you. Coaches seek to determine if a prospective client is “coachable.” Even if you are open to change, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are willing to do the work. It also doesn’t...
Seven Reasons Recruiters Are Hurting Your Career

Seven Reasons Recruiters Are Hurting Your Career

My first two posts in this series were Seven Reasons Your Resume Is Hurting Your Career and Seven Reasons Your Employer Is Hurting Your Career.  This time, let’s examine ways recruiters may be hurting your career and things you can do to avoid such situations. Often I meet job seekers who say they are “looking for a good recruiter.” When I ask them why, many say it is because they are looking for help in finding a job. These job seekers are laboring under the misunderstanding that they can find a recruiter that will help them. But, of course, recruiters work for employers and not for individual job seekers. Why? Follow the money. Most recruiters I know are good people. They want to help others find jobs, but their focus is on filling positions with the best job seekers; a process that rewards them with a paycheck if they are an internal corporate recruiter or with a one-time fee if they are an external third party recruiter.  In the process of doing their jobs, some of their actions can hurt unsuspecting job seekers, hindering their job search. Here are seven problems recruiters can pose in your career and future job searches: 1. They post “jobs” that do not exist which results in lost time applying for such postings, revising resumes, writing cover letters, etc. You can avoid much of this by minimizing the number of job postings you pursue. 2. They make the job application process laborious and time consuming  with questionnaires, testing, etc.  As with #1, you can avoid much of this wasted time by minimizing the number of job postings you pursue. 3. They...
Job Search-Increasing Your Calls from Recruiters

Job Search-Increasing Your Calls from Recruiters

Job Search and Visibility As my friend Skip Freeman noted in his excellent post titled SECOND Most Used Website by Recruiters and Companies, it is important that job seekers work to improve their ability to be found and professional presentation on LinkedIn and Zoominfo.  If you are actively looking for a new job or simply would like to have strangers call you and offer you better jobs while you are NOT looking, I recommend you read Skip’s post and follow his suggestions. My post today examines the recruiter world from some additional perspectives, based upon some recent recruiter training I have received.  Since recruiters are the gatekeepers you must engage to access many jobs, the following information will benefit you by increasing your odds of them calling you rather than ignoring you. Job Search and Recruiters To keep it simple, recruiters are driven by two general strategies. The first, and most common strategy is to identify a position that needs to be filled and then seek candidates that match the job description/requirements. The second and less common strategy, used almost exclusively by third party recruiters, is to begin by locating a Most Place-able Candidate (MPC) who they will direct market to potential employers… even though there is no specific need known at the time. Job Search Optimization for Recruiters, Technology and Information Overload Regardless of the strategy being pursued by a recruiter, in order to identify likely candidates they must leverage technology to sort through vast amounts of information efficiently. Here are five suggestions from which you can benefit. Five Ways to Optimize Your Job Search for Recruiters  Optimize Your Niche:  Recruiters want to focus on...
Recruiter-Job Search Misconceptions, Part 1

Recruiter-Job Search Misconceptions, Part 1

Last week I got an email from a job seeker. She said she had been unemployed for 11 months and went on to say ”Ihired an executive search firm in month three with the understanding they would fully market me so I’d have a job in three months.” In this article, I want to point out three misconceptions/fallacies in her statement so that you do not fall prey to them in your current or future job searches. The Truth About Recruiters and Your Job Search First, let’s examine the statement “I hired an executive search firm”. Employers hire executive search firms to find them people; they do not help people in their job search.  It is illegal in many circumstances for a search (recruiting) firm to take money from a job seeker, which leads me to my first point: this job seeker is 11 months into her job search and has paid this company money, yet she still doesn’t understand that the company is not a search firm. They appear to be what I refer to in Chapter 11 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) as a Career Marketing firm. Unlike recruiters, Career marketing companies are businesses that provide fee-based services to individuals seeking to improve their careers. In the rare case where a firm does recruiting for employers as well as providing job search support for individuals (this didn’t appear to be the case in her situation), they should tell the job seeker this in the first conversation. The bottom line is that recruiters don’t work for job seekers and, in almost all cases, they do not do...
A Tale of Two Job Markets – Implications for the Unemployed in Job Search

A Tale of Two Job Markets – Implications for the Unemployed in Job Search

Last week I played golf with a highly successful recruiting firm owner. As usual, I took the opportunity to ask for his opinions of the job market and to learn how he connects hiring managers with the candidates they want to hire. One statement he made I found particularly interesting.  He said “There are two job markets.” I had no idea what he meant, so I asked him to explain.  In essence, here is what he was saying: “There are two job markets. One is available to employed people, the other is available to the employed as well as the unemployed.” I asked, based upon the recruiter’s experience, what portion of the job market is available to both the employed and unemployed in a job search, and he answered “20%”.  In other words, he felt that unemployed job seekers would be considered for 20% of the jobs available. “Why?”, I asked.  He said that his estimate was based upon the percentage of employers he has observed willing to interview and hire unemployed job candidates. Job Search Facts Independent recruiting and staffing firms fill approximately 15% of all jobs. His comment was specifically addressing this portion of the job market, however, it has broader implications for the entire job market and job search.  This is because it is also true that some percentage of ALL employers tend to ignore unemployed candidates.  Based upon my experience, I would estimate the portion of the job market which is unavailable to the unemployed job seekers to be 60%. In addition, it is also important for the unemployed job seeker to be aware that their marketability is reduced the longer...
Why Recruiters Ignore You (and What to Do About It)

Why Recruiters Ignore You (and What to Do About It)

Are you a job seeker who is contacting recruiters and being ignored?  Have you called and left messages, applied for their jobs, or submitted resumes on their web sites … only to be left wondering if they got them?  You are not alone.  This is normal.  It is what MOST people should expect.  In this article, I want to help you understand some reasons recruiters may ignore you…and what you can do differently to get more attention from recruiters of value to you. Follow the Money Here’s the bitter truth:  Follow the money – recruiters are paid by employers, not job seekers.  They are the agent of the hiring organization. They have a process they follow for identifying qualified job candidates and your unsolicited call, email, etc. is a nuisance. I was on a panel presentation with a recruiter friend in late 2011 and I asked him if he returns voicemails from job seekers he doesn’t know. Here is what he said: “Last Friday I was out of the office most of the day and returned to 15 voicemails of which 12 were from job seekers I didn’t know. Delete, delete, delete.” More recently, I had lunch with a recruiting friend and he referred to unwanted job seeker inquiries as a “time suck.” Not a very positive personal brand to display with a recruiter who could help you, huh? So, what can you do differently to get more attention from recruiters and improve your personal brand with them? Here are a few things I recommend. Engaging Recruiters Positively Establish Positive, Giving Relationships:  For the long term, identify recruiters in your...