After the job report this morning, I think it is safe to say that if you are able to secure an interview with a company you better take full advantage of the situation.  In my world as a recruiter, I have come to expect the unexpected.  I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore by what I hear from interviews, but I do deal with people and well, people are unpredictable!

With that, I thought I would share with you a recent situation we encountered.  This candidate is interviewing for a higher level job, paying in the upper $100K range and would be working in a management capacity.  One would think to get to that level in your career you would have to have your head on straight and know what you are doing, as well as be able to read situations correctly and act accordingly.  One would think…

Describe your management style…


To which the candidate responded  – “My employees love me. I make sure they have cookies, and cake and happy hour and stuff like that all the time.”  (Granted, I am sure most of us would love that as well, it probably isn’t the best way to conduct yourself in an interview.)

There were other questions asking the candidate about situations and relating to the potential position, but there was also another where the potential employer asked the candidate to describe their dream job and to speak about their passion to which the candidate replied “I’d like to be a tour manager for a rock band.”  Again, I am sure the person was just being honest and that sounds like it could be a pretty fun job, but I doubt it was what the person giving the interview had in mind, especially coming from a person of such “high caliber.”
There were a couple other odd answers as well, but that is enough to help prove my point.  Even though the job market is slow in certain parts of the country and having the chance to interview doesn’t come nearly as often as you would like, it is one thing to be yourself, just keep it within reason.  You may feel this is your one and only shot to leave a lasting impression.  And it is.  You just want to make sure the impression you are leaving is a good one where you don’t come across as immature or crazy or any other negative feeling.

Do you know anyone with some “different” interview answers?  Leave them in the comments section below and share with the rest of us!

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This is to all the managers, directors, C-level executives and anyone else with an interest in the company they own/work for.  If there is only 1 blog of mine which you read, make it this one.  I am here to help you avoid me.

Recruiter, talent acquisition specialist, headhunter, call me what you will, but at the end of the day, what I do is all the same in the eyes of most people.     I target the top talent in your company and I try to discover any source of dissatisfaction in their current working environment.  This usually doesn’t happen on the initial conversation, and it may take months before any true tidbits pop out, but they will.  It may just so happen that I call them on a Friday afternoon after they have an argument with you or you have dropped a bomb on them that the deadline for that project which once finished will give them the bonus they have been waiting for is now Monday morning and they may have to do some extra work over the weekend.  Jackpot!  Now that the plans for the weekend with the family have to be altered, other little instances which in the past were tolerable and minor at most now become larger than life.  This is where your top talent is now interested in learning more about coming on board to help build a new team in this company with cutting edge technology.

Meanwhile, you have already checked out for the weekend and made your way to the beach.  Sure you had some clients to meet on the way, but in all reality you were heading that way in the first place long before the appointment was set.

2-3 weeks ago, your top dog wouldn’t have even picked up the phone, now you may be doing some searching of your own on top of the fact that your special project probably won’t be receiving all the attention you had initially hoped.  Now with the abundant amount of information floating around and the ease at which someone can call or click and get an interview within no time it is more important than ever to make sure you are treating people in your organization from the bottom up with the respect they truly deserve.

Remember that huge lay off you had last year?  Dan (who was already overworked) had to pick up the slack for his three friends that you let go.  It was a tough decision I know, but you just had to do it.  Dan felt lucky you kept him and kept trudging along telling himself that since he is doing the work of 4+ people, he will be rewarded for it once things turn around.

Well it has now been a full year since you let Dan’s friends go and they have since found new, better jobs  making better money than they were before on top of a better work life balance.  That’s what everyone wants these days right?  Well it’s what Dan wants at least and seeing his friends have it while he does his work plus what they used to really is getting to him.  It may sound like Dan is out the door already, but if you get there before he does you may have a chance of stopping him.

It’s no secret money talks, but it might be a secret that money isn’t always loudest.  Lifestyle (flexible hours, work-at-home etc.), training and development, career tracks and promotion are other major factors people consider when checking out what their counterparts are up to these days.

How is that budget coming along now that things are picking up?  Dan has done a great job carrying the extra weight and your department now is swimming with their head above the water again.  How about a little bonus, or even better, a salary bump for ‘ol Dan’s efforts?  Maybe even a free flex day?  Are you back on track to hire someone else? Did Dan want to be in management someday?  This would be a great time to bring in someone for him to mentor.

Being able to do this would of course mean you need to know your employee’s and what makes them tick.  Let’s say you don’t.  I can still possibly save you.  Do you have a LinkedIn account?  How about Twitter?  Facebook?  Are you connected to Dan on any/all of the above?  For simplicity sake we are going to say you are connected via LinkedIn.

I watch LinkedIn like a hawk.  You know those updates that come across your screen every time you log on? “Mike updated his experience.”  “Sharron updated her education.”  “Becky updated her expertise.”  Yes, it is possible and actually probable that Mike has more experience today than he did yesterday, but it’s highly unlikely that is what he is updating.  Couple avenues here for Sharron as she possibly added her education to expand her network to people with whom she went to school.  (To network!) And maybe Becky DID just complete her 10,000th hour of work and truly IS an expert.  Again, lets just say that none of these people did just gain anything, in fact they had it all along.

A great way to be found for a particular job is to have the same title as your target position.  If I wanted to move on as a recruiter, that would be my title.  Headhunter, same thing.  As I mentioned, it is all the same most of the time and can just change from company to company.

So let’s say you notice Dan has updated his LinkedIn profile.  You look at his production and the past couple weeks it has dropped a little.  You know he is working night and day and you know he is underpaid for the work he does.  Chances are if he is updating his profile he is already contemplating checking out.  If you truly value him and want to keep him, RIGHT NOW would be the best time to look into one of the above mentioned perks.   Big or small may not even make a difference.  What WILL make a difference is you noticing his efforts.

This is a case where “a little can go a long way.” As long as you are sincere.
On top of updates in profile, new connections to competing companies may be a sign your top gun is about to take flight.

Right now more than ever is time to recognize what REALLY makes your company successful and that is the people.  More often than not, people don’t leave companies, they leave people.  If someone had to take on more responsibility or their job title has changed up a little bit, now would be a great time to make sure they are happy with their present situation.

To me it makes no difference, but I did say I was here to help.  If you don’t call Dan that’s fine because I sure will!

Did this hit close to home?  Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

Matthew Norwood (@MatthewNorwood) brought this to my attention today during a conversation via Twitter.  If you are a recruiter, you should find some humor in this (and probably switch things up a bit) and if you have ever had a recruiter “reach out to you,” you know the gig all too well.
Anyway, thought it was pretty funny and definitely worth sharing!

Shout out to Ethan Banks (twitter.com/ecbanks) for taking the time to put them all together.

 http://packetpushers.net/top-10-it-recruiter-catchphrases-humor/ 

“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock.

I feel this quote is a perfect way to lead in to my first blog post.  I have been kicking around the idea for a few weeks now, but have been making excuse after excuse of not getting started.

The excuse train left and I wasn’t on board today!  I need to go with what I know and trust that I can do this.  I am a salesman.  In reality we all are, we just may not know it.  Often we take for granted what we know and assume everyone else knows the same information, but when it all boils down that isn’t necessarily the case.

For instance, trust can have different meanings to different people.  I am the type of person that gives my trust to others until they prove I shouldn’t.  Others are a little more reserved and they wait to make sure people are trustworthy.  Regardless of where you fall in this equation, I feel it is safe to say that trust can be gained or lost in a moments notice.

Being in a profession where speaking with people is my lifeline, I must constantly make sure I am able to come across as a trustworthy person.  This has to be done in less than 20 seconds, and most of the time much more quickly than that.  This is one of those instances where I take for granted the fact that I am used to starting conversations or quickly building rapport.  I have had numerous people ask me how I do it or if I have any suggestions.  I decided this could be the perfect avenue to help someone.

For demonstration purposes, our example is going to be a telephone conversation.  Once the phone rings, before the person on the receiving end even looks at the caller id or answers, thoughts of “Who is this?”, “where are they calling from?”, or “why are they calling?” arise.  Sometimes all of the above.  One of the biggest questions though is “What’s in it for me?”

Those questions, in addition to countless others, need to be addressed within 20 seconds.  The trick, however is to answer the questions without talking too much and boring the other person causing them to hang up, but giving them enough information to cause curiosity to learn more.

WHO? – Who are you? Just let them know your name and name of company if applicable.  Do you have mutual friends or did someone refer you?  Had you recently met or did you meet in the past and you are following up?  This would be the time to be a “name dropper” but limit it to just one or two people.

WHERE? – Part of this may have been addressed in the who part, but if not, now is the perfect time to let the other person know where you are calling from.

Saving the best for last, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or WIIFM – Everybody today is extremely busy.  Even if someone isn’t truly busy compared to others, they still think they are.  Because of this, when picking up the phone, the person on the other end is going to be wondering how this conversation is going to benefit their life.  After you have established who you are and where you are calling from (your reason), you better have a something good lined up because this is your one shot.  Think features and benefits.  If you have competition, what features do you offer that will benefit this person that others don’t?  If you don’t have competition (in all actuality, you do, just maybe not specific) what features and benefits do you offer which warrant continuing this conversation?

Done with the right voice inflection and speed and catching the person at the right time on the right day, you may gain enough trust to continue building the relationship and going further with the conversation.

Below is a sample phone conversation using some of the tips above.  I have also added some additional questions, but using them is obviously completely up to you.  I plan on writing more next week so please check back on Friday and also please leave comments/questions/suggestions as I would greatly appreciate them!

Joe Customer – Hello?

You – Hi, is this Joe?

Joe – Yes, this is he.

You – Hi Joe, my name is Adam Iceskate from XYZ Company. I didn’t interrupt anything too hectic did I?  – I let him know my name and my company name and wanted to make sure I wasn’t interrupting anything.

Joe – No, nothing too hectic.

You – OK great!  The reason I’m calling is because we share a mutual connection on LinkedIn through Suzy Smith.  Are you guys really close or just acquaintances through networking? -Letting him know you share a mutual contact softens the call and shows you aren’t just some random telemarketer (even though you may be!)

Joe – Yes we have known each other for years.

You – Well I was talking with her the other day and she mentioned that your company is looking for some help with your website.  Is that the case?

Joe – Yeah, we have been talking about it for a while and we are now at the point we think it’s time to update things.

You – Perfect!  I don’t know how familiar you are with XYZ Company, but we specialize in website improvement! (Add 1 feature/1 benefit)  I know you are busy, but do you have 10 minutes next week I can come by and put a face with a name and show you how we could possibly help with your updates? -You restate your company name because chances are he wasn’t listening the first time or he forgot it. Here most people will go for the sale, but if you are respectful of the other person’s time, you are more likely to be invited to meet with them.

And that’s it!  Assuming the conversation with Suzy did take place and Suzy and Joe didn’t have some terrible falling out, Joe will trust you a little more than someone else who may just call and say:

“Hi, I’m Adam Iceskate from XYZ company.  We specialize in website improvement, can I come show how we can update yours?”

Put yourself in Joe’s shoes.  Which would you prefer?