Excellent Follow-up to What I Wish Recruiters Knew

January 18th, 2007

Harry Joiner - Marketing HeadhunterYesterday there were 14 (and counting) excellent comments on my post about what I wish recruiters knew. Most of them were from recruiters and all of them were thoughtful. Its obviously a sore spot for lots of folks, which seems to stem from misunderstandings about the roles. I’ll follow-up on various points in different posts but I wanted to highlight one specific issue – having a recruiter follow-up.

My frustration was that I would get no e-mail reply or returned phone call from most of the 30 recruiters that I had initiated a relationship with. It was so frustrating and not what I expected from people who I thought were in the people business. It didn’t help that in my last job I was high enough up that I always got replies from everyone… and now I was less than a nobody. Poor more salt in my wound, please!

What do the recruiters have to say about the follow-up? Here are 4 quotes from the comments yesterday:

Carl Chapman, Executive Restaurant Recruiter: The fact is that they do have a follow-up system. You see there are three piles – Can use right away, maybe later, and Can’t Help. The can’t help pile is the circular file…

Harry Joiner, the Marketing Headhunter: I liken being a busy recruiter to being a triage nurse in an emergency room: It’s tough to be the one to decide who gets treated and who dies in the waiting room, but that’s my job.

Rob Merrill, Utah Tech Recruiter: The hard thing my candidates don’t realize sometime, is that we receive about 200-300 emails a day from candidates.

Lucas Arnold, People Driven Solutions: “I think i am looking at it from the wrong way from the jobseeker…” (Jason comment: I hope that recruiters never stop looking at it from the jobseeker perspective. I’m not sure what expert recruiter and Big Biller Bill Vick has to say about this, as his emphasis is teaching recruiters to be more successful than they can imagine, but I hope that there is some emphasis on developing long-term relationships with candidates.)

Harry’s analogy (the triage nurse) helps me get it best. But it sure sucks when you are the one that gets neglected. So, here’s an excellent example of follow-up that I saw from Harry after I e-mailed him. Its an auto-responder. Note the content of this e-mail is much more than just “I’ll get back to you when I can”… check this out (I’m only linking out to one link, because it is awesome):

Thanks for your email. I will respond to it shortly.

Please Double-Click here to Download my vCard:

… then forward this email to a talented colleague.

Kind regards,
Harry Joiner
As seen in the WSJ’s “Career Journal Online”

NEW for Candidates:

28 Job Search Tips? He is already doing what I wrote yesterday… if I wanted to work with Harry (I’m not a marketer) then I could read his blog and see his tips… awesome! He is sharing relevent tools, techniques and information to help me understand “where we go from here.” Kudos Harry, for having this in place already! And its in an auto-responder, so everyone that e-mails him gets it!



What I wish recruiters knew

January 17th, 2007

GapingVoid - Too Busy - is this you?Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed for another podcast, but this one was a twist as it was 100% for recruiters. I had a few questions sent to me before the interview but of course we didn’t get to everything… so I wanted to have some follow-up thoughts here even though the podcast isn’t live yet :) Remember, these answers are for recruiters, and I was representing “the job seeker”… so these aren’t typical answers that I’ve give to Joe Job Seeker.

Why did I start JibberJobber?

You have to realize that when I got laid off I went into high gear on my job search. I worked about ten hours a day, six days a week for at least two months straight. During this time I developed “relationships” with about 30 recruiters, and I quickly learned that most recruiters had no reason to follow up with me. I used my pre-JibberJobber spreadsheet to keep track of who my recruiters where, log any activity with them, and set up action item dates.

This system (which would soon become JibberJobber) was very useful to keep track of where I was at with each recruiter and ensure that (1) I kept in touch with them regularly to see what opportunities might have come up recently, and (2) stayed fresh in their mind so that hopefully they’d think of me first when something came up. There’s now way to keep track of these 30 very active relationships without some kind of system like JibberJobber.

Did I work a lot with recruiters, and how did I find “the process?”

Kind of! I say I had 30 recruiters but the truth is it was a lot of Jason sending out e-mails and leaving voice mails… and not getting much in return. It was common that I wouldn’t get a return e-mail or phone call, to the point that I wondered if they were full-time, or on an extended vacation, or just didn’t work their business that hard. Granted, I didn’t understand the role of the recruiter, and my role. I had been accustomed to the basic courtesy of getting a reply back on my e-mails – even if it was one or two words – so to switch to no replies at all was really weird.

What have I heard from candidates (that’s recruiter-speak for “job seeker”) about working with recruiters?

Most candidates that I talk with are really excited excited to establish a relationship with a recruiter, and I think they usually see this recruiter as their savior that will lead them out of unemployment into a bigger and better job than they left. Later I hear about the regular frustrations of recruiters not getting back to the candidate (there is a difference in sense of urgency for sure) and bad advice (I heard of an executive recruiter that advised a candidate to get a low-paying step-job while she searched for a higher-level position (the candidate was furious)).

My favorite advice (not because I agree with it, I really don’t, but it was funny) was from a senior executive that said “spend two days shooting your resume to as many recruiters as you can and then don’t even look back.” So basically he’s say get your name out, see who bites, and then spend your time in more productive areas of a job search!

What can recruiters do to improve the process?

I can tell that there will be other blog posts spinning off of this one, so I’ll keep these short. I’d really like to get some dialogue here from recruiters and candidates… and we’ll go from there. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Please have some kind of system for follow-up. I know you are busy but so is everyone else. At least let me know that you got my resume (or whatever) and if something comes up you will call me – at the very least. (candidates, realize that some recruiters get over 100 new contacts a day, and following up to 500 every week could be… impossible?)
  • Please tell me what your role is, and what my role is! The best feedback I got was: “Jason, you’ll find a job for yourself quicker than I’ll find a job for you.” This made me rethink our relationship, and start to reevaluate my strategy. If you are not my silver bullet, please don’t lead me to believe that you are.
  • Please inform me that I am not your client. I need to understand this so that I can understand your job, what makes you tick, and perhaps how to work with you in a way that you appreciate me more (like, opening my network to you).
  • Please tell me what I should be doing aside from talking to you. Perhaps an article (or a series of articles) on your website that I can learn about this job search process, and avoid pitfalls. This can include things such as how to use job boards, how to use LinkedIn, how to use JibberJobber, how to format e-mails when approaching a potential hiring manager, recommended books, networking events I should attend, etc. I know this sounds like a lot but I bet you can put together short, valuable primers in less than 30 minutes (for each one).
  • We both know that I’m talking with other recruiters… let me know how you feel about that. If you think I should be then tell me to… don’t try and hoard me as “yours.”
  • Please treat me as a valuable long-term relationship. You never know if I’m going to be in a position to bring you in, or open my network to you later. If you are serious about being a recruiter, why do you want to show me how bad you treat me as a job seeker?

Now, this is not a bash on recruiters post – I can name some recruiters that I had an excellent experience with, or those that I have a ton of respect for. This post is direct response to a recruiter asking me what I think about the process and how to improve it, from my perspective.

Why don’t you tell me what YOU think about the recruiter/candidate experience?



We can all use a little help in this area: Manners/Etiquette

January 16th, 2007

A few months ago I came across two ladies (Ellen Reddick and Lorie Gonzales) that have been coaching and teaching executives for years, and was intrigued to see they had come out with their own job search book. The reason they did this was because their executives had job search questions for/from their kids.

Anyway, one thing led to another and we end up chatting for a couple of hours at a local deli. These were two very classy ladies (and I showed up in my usual jeans ;)).

Aside from checking out their book, I signed up for their weekly etiquette tip (its free). Even though I’m quite gruff I figured I wouldn’t learn much more than which side of the plate to put the spoon, and general stuff like that. But since I signed up I’ve been amazed that the tips cover a very broad set of subjects, and while some of it is common sense to me, I do learn a lot. Here are some of the topics from the last couple of months (which they follow with a number of small 2 or 3 sentence explanations):

  • Ten Ways to Build a Better Career Search “Thank You” Letter
  • Etiquette Tips for the Sushi Bar
  • Gym Etiquette
  • Teaching Our Children To Be Polite, Kind and Honest

I strongly encourage you to go signup for the free tips e-mail – it is non-intrusive and has excellent information. In fact, it has proven to be an encouragement to leave my gruff behind and perhaps become more of a proper gentleman (but, I still don’t eat sushi).

Note: I needed this so much I even had to look up etiquette in to see if I was spelling it right. I wasn’t.



Book Review: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated

January 15th, 2007

Book Review: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I GraduatedI met Justin Driscoll a few months ago and was intrigued by one of his job functions. Basically, he speaks at colleges and universities across Pennsylvania to motivate and educate the students with regard to their career. How cool is that to go back to school but as an expert, still relating to the people you are speaking to, to help them figure out what they want to be when they grow up?

I finally got my hands on his book 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Graduated and just finished it last night. From his blog you can see what the seven things are:

  1. Meeting The Need
  2. Real Life Work Experience Matters More Than Textbooks
  3. Willingness To Relocate = Finding A Job Faster
  4. Innovative Employees Are Invaluable
  5. Integrity and Character STILL Matter In Business
  6. Those Who Aren’t Afraid to Change Will Never Be Unemployed
  7. Find Your Passion and Not Your JOB!

Here’s why this book is so different than anything that I have read so far: its written for the student. I realize that all the books that I’ve reviewed, or will review, should be read by students, but this book is literally written for the kid that doesn’t have a clue (scared of the real world, or still thinks they are going to teach all of us old geezers what the real world really is ;))

Justin spends his professional life talking in this forum, meeting with HR and hiring managers, and helping these kids, and it really comes across in his book. He writes things that I never really thought about, and understands the “what do you want to be when you grow up and how do you get there” space better than I do. You see, I kind of always knew what I wanted to do, so I’m not sure how I would have accepted this book. But, as a parent (and a mentor) I would recommend this book to any one that’s between a junior in high school and college graduation.

Justin’s personal stories, passion and observations make this a fun, light read that is quite easy to get through. Forget the corporate or business speak, this is written on the level that a high school kid with an interest in “what’s next” can devour (its a short read). The mix of philosophy, tactics and motivation all contribute to the flavor of this book. He carries the ideas and motivation forward regularly on his blog.

If you get this book for someone like that I recommend that you read it also and then use it as a starting point for dialogue. Perhaps this will be one of the answers to getting kids out of the house before they turn 30 :) :)

So let’s use this as a starting point – is there anything that YOU wish YOU knew before you graduated?



Solution to Introductions gone bad… ?

January 12th, 2007

Yesterday I presented the problem, today I present a quasi-solution (my life is all about quasi-solutions). Read the problem here (make sure to read the excellent comments)… the following is an example (with real people, real stuff – this assumes that Carl Chapman introduced me to Susan Strayer). If you are a blogger I invite you to write your own example on your blog and my readers can benefit from your wisdom 😉 (here’s one from Noah Kagan at (thanks for the link Phil!))

Hi guys,

Carl, thanks for the introduction!

Susan, I have been following your blogs for a while and have been interested in getting in touch with you. I’m glad that Carl hooked us up. Its pretty admirable that you have put out this book while in the middle of an MBA program. When I got my MBA it was really strenuous, so I have a little idea of what you are going through – but I didn’t write a book during that time!

I’d like to introduce myself so you can get a better idea of what I do. I’d love to know if there is anything that I can help you with. My background is in IT, specifically in internet applications. I have been in this field for about nine years and have programmed for a good portion of that but my love is in business strategy. I have always had a passion for helping solve regular problems for regular people and love to help users do mundane things better.

Enough about me – I noticed your post today about the Home Depot exit package for the CEO (?). It was a really good post and made me rethink my position on executive compensation. I have a few thoughts for your blog that I think could really improve it. If you are interested just let me know and I’ll shoot over a list of things I came up with.

I’d like to know if there is anything I can help you with, in your book promotion, or your blogging, or whatever. Please let me know what I can do for you – I look forward to hearing from you,

– Jason

Some thoughts:

  • Please please please include both people in the e-mail. It does 2 things: First, it lets Carl know that you are acting on the introduction (this is HUGE). Second, it puts a subtle pressure on Susan to respond (not that you are out to pressure people, but its a reality).
  • This may be disjointed – I didn’t get good grades in English, but it works for me. I’m sure it could be better.
  • I don’t put “Dear” and “Sincerely”. I’ve never felt comfortable with that and i wonder if it is a generation thing?
  • Keep the “about me” rather short – this is your only chance for a first impression, and you don’t want to impress that you are a blabbering novelist :p
  • In the third paragraph I’m trying to be helpful, offering help but not giving it because (a) I don’t know if this person is going to care, or be offended and (b) the list could be long and detract from the purpose of this e-mail. If they reply back I’ll shoot back a list of things, otherwise I’ll let it go at that.
  • Finally a call to action – I’ve been kind of bad at this in the past where I write an e-mail that basically amounts to “cool. Nice to meet you.” But it should be something that invites the person to move the relationship forward a bit, one step at a time.

So there you go. Perhaps I’ll shoot this link to someone the next time I do an introduction :)



Introductions gone bad…

January 11th, 2007

I read in Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone book about power connectors and knew that is what I wanted to work towards. The idea is simple – be a person that knows a lot of others, knows needs and talents, and tries to make connections to various people. I’m not sure if I wanted to be a power connector for selfish reasons, or just because I get a lot of fulfillment out of helping others.

Keith named various professions (such as realtor, headhunters, etc.) which tend to naturally create this power connector status. Funny that he didn’t name one of my early bosses, a mortician (I worked/lived in a funeral home for the first 14 months of my marriage – it was great! Quiet neighbors!)

So anyways, over the last year I’ve made a huge effort to be aware of supply and demand (or, people skills and desires and companies needs), and hook people up where appropriate. And it has been rewarding for me to see at least two people get jobs right away, and many others begin to develop great relationships with superstars.

But I’ve had a couple opportunities in the last few months to observe what others do with my introductions. I’m not talking about those that do nothing… because those that don’t reply to an introduction are just building their own personal brand (as being non-responsive, or not interested or whatever), and that is their choice.

I’m talking about those that do follow-up, but they do it in a way that is not appropriate. Here’s an example of an e-mail that may have been sent in both cases (and remember, my idea of networking is 100% based on building relationships – you tell me if this is building a relationship):

Dear John,

I am interested in x because of y. Please tell me what you have for me.



When I make an introduction I have a high regard for both parties. I think that each person could provide value to the other. I think about what could become of a relationship, maybe because that’s the way that I think about networking. I would never send an e-mail like that as a first introduction, and I forget that others would when I make the introduction.

The first time I got cc’d on the reply that said “we regret to inform you that this position is no longer available.” Immediately I cringed because I knew that Jim’s approach was not in building a relationship, rather it was the common job-search question of “here I am – what job do you have for me.” And John did the same thing that he does with all other job seekers.

The second time I got a private e-mail from John. It can be summed up in “why didn’t Jim figure out who I was, what my organization does, and approach me from a professional position? Instead I get just one more ‘what can you do for me’ e-mail.”

This is clearly not what my professional contacts are expecting from the introductions I extend. I admit that I’m not the best at all-things-relationships (just ask my wife). I hope you don’t think that I’m coming across as smarmy. These are just observations that I’m picking up on as I hook people up – and I realize that its all about education (in other words, they aren’t trying to come across as “rough around the edges”) – that’s one of the purposes of this blog :).

What do you think? Who should be doing something differently, and what should that be?



Podcast with Anna Farmery

January 10th, 2007

Anna Farmery - The Engaging BrandI came across Anna Farmery while looking for blogs on networking or personal branding and was pleased to find one that covers both! Anna’s bio from her site:

After 20 years of being a Corporate Director I have branched out on my own to explore how new tehnology can help with the constant strive to improve company performance through the engagement of people.

I work with companies and individuals through tailoring development via e-coaching and podcasting. I also work with companies on employment branding, coaching, people/business strategy.

Yesterday we spent about 45 minutes on the phone for a podcast, and I’ll have to say, this was not like the others that I’ve done. The others were great, focusing on my story, JibberJobber and stuff like that. Anna wanted to explore areas in personal branding and networking that I hadn’t though too much about. I found it to be a most intriguing 45 minute dialogue, and hope you will to. Click over to her site to get links to the podcast… and here are two tidbits that are fresh on my mind (read: I’m still intrigued by the dialogue we had):

– should companies network?
– personal branding is taking a 2-dimensional profile of someone and making it 3D.

And a testimonial never hurts, right? Mike Murray from e-mailed this last night:

Quick note – great podcast today. You and Anna were fantastic, and it was full of excellent thoughts. I even heard a “wow, that’s cool” from my wife, and she’s notoriously tough to impress. :)

Now you know when you impress someone’s wife that you are on to something! Just for the record, this was my 4th podcast interview and my wife has not listened to any of them! 😉

Anna, thanks for the opportunity – it was a blast!



Happy Anniversary!

January 9th, 2007

January 9th will always have a special place in my heart. It was exactly one year ago today that I went to work only to get laid off on a board phone call. It was a quick phone call – right down to business. There were some admonitions, there were some praiseful comments about how great a guy I was and that I’d do just fine (the praises sounded pretty hollow considering the setting), there was discussion about details (last date of work, severence, etc.).

Getting let go was something that I thought could be coming, but it is never real until the words are spoken. You have this little hope that just maybe it won’t really happen right up until its official.

And it happened. I got the boot.

I was offended, bothered, saddened, and embarrased. Over the next few days I’d go through more emotions, from elated to “being free” to very angry for allowing myself to be targeted. Whether it was justified or not, it was a time of many emotions.

Over the next few weeks I worked about 60 hours a week looking for a job. My job search was very ineffective and the emotions multiplied. Thoughts like “why me?“, “what if I just did x differently, then I wouldn’t have lost my job!“, “If only I would have worked harder/smarter/(fill-in-the-blank)…

I looked at what I was doing and tried to figure out why I was ineffective. I was frustrated at the amount of reading there was about a job search – I didn’t want to become an expert, I just wanted a job!

It was during this process that JibberJobber was born. And as many of you know, those that have been following JibberJobber and this blog, its been a wonderful thing. I have learned about things such as career management, personal branding, the job search and various other topics along those lines. Go read some of these categories in this blog to see what I’ve learned about it.

I have also learned about blogging, web 2.0, podcasts, press releases and many other things that I thought I already knew about.

My life has been greatly enriched by dozens of people that I have developed deep relationships with, and the hundreds of people that I communicate regularly with (I spend lots of time e-mailing or calling others – that is my job now as I promote JibberJobber to the world). As I meet my JibberJobber users, in person or face-to-face, I feel lucky to be a small part of their process to learn, grow, and become self-sufficient.

My relationship with my wife and kids is significantly stronger as I work from home and am able to see them more often, and participate more in their lives. My relationship with my business partners has moved to a different level. All of this has made my life richer.

I did not ask to be let go. I think it was a dumb business decision by the owners of that company. To be honest with you, I am still angry and feel deceived. I realize that this is natural and one day I’ll need to just let it go. I’ve even tried to “just let it go,” but it hasn’t worked 😉

All of this contributes to my passion to help regular folk like me understand that unemployment is a natural thing, no one is immune, and that we all need to figure out how to deal with it and move through it.

All of this has led to my deep passion for JibberJobber. Not because it is the best way to organize your job search. Not because it is the best way to manage the relationships with your network contacts. Not because it allows you to carry this information with you for the rest of your career, no matter who your employer is. But because it empowers you. JibberJobber is all about empowering the person. You need career empowerment, and this is one of the most critical tools that you will find to empower you.

Thanks for being a part of it! I guarantee there are great things to come in the future!



and now I’m back home…

January 8th, 2007

For those of you that have been following the few details I’ve put in about my trip to Texas, I’ll to wrap it up today. Here’s a top 10 list of my Texas trip for 2006/2007 (I was there for almost 2 weeks):

1. Networking is easy – to prepare for my trip I used Google to find people that I wanted to hook up with and then sent an e-mail, made a phone call, and arranged a time/place to meet. Sometimes that’s all it takes – an e-mail to invite someone to meet with you.

2. Networking is hard – my meetings started early and ended late. I met dozens and dozens of incredible people that I’m putting into JibberJobber, and have some great notes to put in (personal information, their desires, etc.). All of this takes time and commitment, and I admit that if I didn’t care about what could result then I probably would slip into lazy mode and not do it (or worse, not follow-up with great new relationships).

3. Networking is personally rewarding – I have always loved people (this has nothing to do with being shy or not), so one of the things that I was looking forward to the most was meeting some of my friends that I had developed virtual relationships with through blogging. I can’t even begin to say how cool it was to sit down and hang out with them – some for a meal, others for many meetings. Here are the other bloggers that I finally met with face-to-face: Kent Blumberg, Mike Schaffner, Dan Sweet, Thom Singer, Liz Handlin, Scott Ingram, Scott Allen (author of TheVirtualHandshake and LinkedIntelligence).

4. Networking will impact my business – I was in 11 meetings during the 3 days I worked on JibberJobber and I walked away with a win-win opportunity from each of the 11 meetings. I will see the results of these meetings over the next few months, and am excited to have others help me bring JibberJobber to other professionals that really need and value it.

5. People are nice – I’ve always found people I encounter in Texas to be really nice, cowboy hats and all. But this trip was over-the-top. There were tons of nice people – I’ll highlight just one example: Liz Handlin and I have exchanged e-mails and blog comments over the last few months. But the day I was driving from Houston to Austin to meet with her and the others was the day that I really got to know Liz – she called to make sure I knew where I was going, and made herself available during my trip in case I need anything. When I got there she had a folder (!) for me with maps/directions for my next few appointments, an e-mail communication with someone that I was to meet the next morning, and a critical phone number. It was incredible to be on the receiving end of this thoughtfulness and I can assure you that because she cared so much (she put more preparation into my Austin trip than I did :)), I’d do anything I can to help her.

6. Helping others is where its at – I was with a business partner for some of the meetings and he was utterly surprised at how people where sincerely willing to help. I have taken this for granted over the last year as I’ve networked with this type of people but it made me realize that not everyone is looking for a win-win, how-can-I-help-you-relationship. It made me rethink what I do and realize that I don’t want to slip into any attitude that is not win-win.

7. There are tons of misconceptions about networking – as we met with various folks it was interesting to me to hear some of the same false ideas about job search and networking issues. I blogged on one a few days ago, but got a sense that people think they can’t network if they are shy, that networking ends when you find a job, that networking is an activity to get personal gain, etc. Good thing there’s people like Thom Singer and Keith Ferrazzi that are all about educating people on what networking is and isn’t – because the fact is, its not a fad, and its not going away 😉

8. JibberJobber is very cool – ok, I had to slip this in there. But after all the time I spent with job seekers, those that are unhappily or underemployed, and career experts, I still get lots of praise for what JibberJobber is. 364 days ago I would not have cared one bit about a site like JibberJobber (or even networking, or career management), but today I am completely impassioned by what has become my cause – helping and empowering people in their careers. And this has been an “easy sell” to the people that I have met with.

9. There’s more room for improvement – I need more training videos, I need to beef up the FAQ page, and there are various opportunities for feature improvements. Expect to see more polishing, enhancements and interfaces in 2007 – the end result is to make a tool for you that empowers you to manage your career and transitions in a way that wasn’t possible before.

10. Hm… windshield time (Texas is a place where you drive – alot!), armadillo chasing in the rain, great food… Texas is truly a great country state and I really enjoyed my stay there! Thanks to all that made it so rewarding!

It was awesome – I think that I’ll try and repeat this kind of whirlwind trip in other cities (I have 3 scheduled trips planned this year so far)… I’m very excited about 2007!



To start a blog, don’t start blogging…

January 5th, 2007

catchy headline?  I hope so… I’m in Austin, Texas this morning.  Had an incredible dinner last night which I’ll blog on next week, got a few hours of sleep, and now I’m in a Starbucks waiting to meet with the founder of an association to see how JibberJobber might help her goals for 2007 and beyond.  Thanks for keeping the blog alive with comments, I’ll be back to my “vacation” tonight (headed back to Houston where I have 2 more meetings), so sorry for not replying to e-mails as quick as usual!

At breakfast with Kent Blumberg we got on the subject of helping others start a blog (as part of the strategy to substantiate their personal brand).  Kent said something intriguing that I hadn’t thought of but it makes a ton of sense.

I had been telling people to start blogging, and “here’s how…”

Kent tells people, don’t start writing, just go read lots of blogs.  After checking out different styles, passions, themes, etc. you will have a much better idea of where you would fit in, and hopefully understand how easy it would be to do!

That’s it for today!  If you have thought about blogging, and still aren’t sure what that means, then go read lots of blogs (with the question “how can I do this in a way that it builds/reinforces my personal brand?”).


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