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Understanding the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems)

November 7th, 2013

There is a lot of buzz about how to get your resume through an ATS (aka: applicant tracking system).  An ATS is to a recruiter what JibberJobber is to a job seeker.  It is a tracking system.

Before I go on, if you don’t think you need JibberJobber to keep track of your job search, realize that HR and recruiters are using some kind of ATS or tracking system to keep track of you.  Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight – get on JibberJobber!

So here’s a great article on ATS systems: Ensuring Your Résumé Avoids Applicant Tracking System Pitfalls

In yesterday’s Ask The Expert call with The Recruiting Animal, Animal said he doesn’t use an ATS, and that is really something that internal recruiters are going to use.  In other words, getting your resume through an ATS is not going to be an issue for ALL recruiters.

Check out Arnie’s article:)

 

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Awesome, Empowering Thought from Leah Harris

September 23rd, 2013

leah_harris_headshotI saw this article on my local news website a while back.  It tells a little about a keynote speaker, Leah Harris, at a conference of professionals that was sponsored by the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

The article is short and interesting.  But this one paragraph JUMPED out at me:

After years of considering her life in terms of her diagnoses of borderline personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and suicide attempts, Harris said she realized there was tremendous power in redefining herself as someone who had dreams and ambitions.

I absolutely loved this.  She has titles that easily categorize and group and define her: borderline, OCD, suicidal (or, having been suicidal).  But her empowerment came when “she realized there was tremendous power in redefining herself as someone who had dreams and ambitions.

I love, love, love this!

In 2008 I wrote a blog post titled I Lost More Than My Job 2 Years Ago, where I talk about losing my identity, which I had encapsulated in my little professional job title, printed on my business card.

Losing a job title makes you a nobody, kind of.  At least, if you’ve been using a title to define yourself for many years, like Leah talks about, losing that title, or switching it to “unemployed,” can be very debilitating.

I tell people that I eventually lost hope, but one day I got my hope back.  It was when I came up with the idea for JibberJobber.  It was when I found dreams and ambitions!

When you lose sight of who you are because you listen to titles and stereotypes that try and define who you are (that’s profound, reread that), step back and REDEFINE YOURSELF as someone who has DREAMS and AMBITIONS!

This is so empowering!  Please share this with someone who needs to hear it!

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Who are the Villains in your Job Search?

June 24th, 2013

Last week I went to a writing conference to expand my skills as a writer.  The conference was full of aspiring novel authors. I was easily twice the age of everyone else in the room.  The first session (which was fabulous) was all about THE VILLAIN!  What makes a good villain, what kinds of villains are there (there are a bunch!), how do villains act, how does the author resolve the villain, what is the purpose of the villain, etc.

As the instructor was talking about villains I began to wonder who the villains were in my job search.  Who were the people, and what were the things, that kept me from getting out of my status as “unemployed.”  I would love to know who YOU think your villains are… here were some of mine:

Myself.  Not going to hide this one. I was not prepared for a real job search. I had been working and preparing to be a professional manager, strategist, technologist, not a networking, interviewing, job seeker.  I treated my job search like a wound that should be healed instead of thinking about career management as a way of life for the future.  I got in my way many times.

Job Boards.  They stole time from me.  I felt productive and felt like I was playing the numbers game.  There is no numbers game.  You don’t have to get through 1,000 applications to get a yes.  You have to get the right info to the right people to get an interview.

Recruiters.  All but one lied to me.  They took my resume, smiled (or replied “thank you,”) and planned to do NOTHING with the resume.  They didn’t tell me I shouldn’t even approach recruiters hoping they would find me a job.  Finally, one recruiter said “you’ll find a job for yourself before I find a job for you.”  And that helped me understand the role of recruiters in my job search, which was dramatically different than what I thought the role was.

HR.  How can you make a list of job search villains without including HR?  I find HR to be distracted, unempowered, unknowledgeable (especially with indepth job openings, like programmers), and not fun to talk to at all.  They are gatekeepers and their job is to keep you out.  Everyone, including HR professionals, tell you to AVOID HR in your job search.

Interviewers. I found interviewers to be highly unsophisticated (read: not trained in interviewing), or apathetic, or rude and pompous.  The worst interview I had was buy an ex-microsoft guy who was working at a startup who acted like he owned the entire world.  I needed the job, thought it would be great to get mentored under someone of his experience, but he led me on through various lies and finally emailed me that they had hired someone else (which was a lie).  This guy was a creep and I was too wounded to know that I should have run away.  Instead, I let it hurt me more and I went to a dark place for a while after that experience.

Alright, enough about my problems… WHO or WHAT are the villains in your job search today?  And how will you resolve them?

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Julie Walraven on Age Discrimination vs. Poor Job Search Strategy

May 23rd, 2013

Hands down the biggest issue I hear about from around the world is age discrimination.

Sometimes, though, your age is the least of your problems.

Julie Walraven wrote Is It Age Discrimination Or Your Job Search Strategies?

Go read it.  If age is your problem, read the post carefully.

Age discrimination is real. It is out there.  BUT, someone who will discriminate based on age will also discriminate on other things, including height, weight, color, religion, race, number of teeth, how you smile, etc.  You just can’t win with everyone.

Maybe you need to focus more on strategies and tactics, and mastering those, rather than blaming your age.

I know Tim and Dick and Nick and many other job seeker advocates would agree.  Don’t throw in the towel and admit defeat because you are old (whether that is 40 or 60 or 70 or 80).  Focus on what you CAN influence and change!

Read Julie’s post here.

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Nick Corcodilos on old people in the job search

May 14th, 2013

Old being 50.

I know, I know.  That’s not old.

But it is old enough to have discrimination.

Read what Nick says here: Over The Hill At 50?

Nick was recently an expert on my Ask The Expert webinar.  You can find his video in the Ask The Expert archive.

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Affirmative Action and Diversity Recruiting a la Recruiting Animal #discrimination

May 2nd, 2013

I like the Recruiting Animal.  A lot of people find him offensive but he brings out real issues and doesn’t let you hide behind rhetoric.  You can hear his show on Wednesdays.

Here’s something he wrote on Facebook earlier this month (I’m posting with his permission):

Yesterday, on The Recruiting Animal Show my guest was Chris Fields.

He wrote a blog posting in which he declared: “We all know that diversity helps make everything better.”

I challenged him on this. How is a Greek programmer better than an Italian programmer? How is a woman programmer better than a man?

What about a Dutch accountant? Better than a Russian accountant?

He hadn’t thought the issue through and all he could say was, “The teams I’ve worked on have always been better when they were diverse. I don’t want to work on a team full of me.”

But, in fact, he also said that people are naturally attracted to people like themselves. That’s why every minority needs affirmative action.

Because most of the hiring managers are going to be from the majority population and they are naturally going to favour people like themselves. Inotherwords, everyone in the world is, by nature, averse to diversity.

So, if people like people like themselves, how can teams be better when they are diverse? Chris didn’t tell us that either. He wants to come back on the show. And maybe he’ll have answers then.

When Ed Newman was a guest (here’s a less-than-three-minute clip), he said that diversity programs are just to prevent the standard bias in hiring. But they don’t promote innovation through the hiring of diverse thinkers.

There are a lot of things to hate about affirmative action, whether you are a minority or not.

It is an ingrained part of HR and hiring… so for now, how do you get around any decisions based on discriminatory hiring and focus on talents, skills, deliverables, etc?

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Is Your Tooth A Little Crooked (and other first impressions)

April 4th, 2013

Yesterday someone deleted their JibberJobber account and said that JibberJobber was “really dated.”

I emailed the person back asking for more information, hoping that it wasn’t because of the layout and colors (less than a year ago we redid the layout), but I knew it is impossible to please everyone.

He said he only spend 15 minutes on JibberJobber, and found links to Monster and articles that were 5+ years old.

I wondered what he was talking about, and where he saw a link recommending Monster.  As you know, I’m not a big fan of job boards in a job search strategy.  On the Ask the Expert call this week Nick Corcodilos shared that Monster accounted for about 1.3% of jobs found, but companies spent more than $1B on it.  And I’m sure job seekers spend way more than 1.3% of their time on Monster.  I only promote Monster as a place to do “competitive intelligence research,” not as a place to waste time getting sucked into the resume black hole.

Where did he find a link promoting Monster??

Finally, we figured it out.  In the user-curated Library.  This is where JibberJobber users share links, books and articles that they have found useful in their job search.  Monster was at the top of the “job board” category, which is at the top of the Links page.

And that was it.  This person, who has a decent title at a huge company, judged JibberJobber and said it is dated, because there is a link to Monster.

Again, we can’t please everyone.  Earlier that day I was on the weekly user webinar and I got a lot of very positive feedback about JibberJobber, the job search organizer.

Look folks, I’m not in the business of providing links to you to Monster and Craigs List.  I figure you are an adult and you can find all the links you want.  We put the library in for job seekers to share gems they find online.  When I was in my job search I think 90% of the advice articles where garbage.  But if I found a gem (here’s one that is in the library: How to Write a Strong Value Proposition (by Jill Konrath)), I wanted to save it for me and share it with others.

If you judge JibberJobber by what others put in there… I can’t really help you.

This morning I’ve spent time cleaning out the library.  That means deleting useless junk, and adding descriptions to good stuff.

Here’s why I am sharing this with you.  You will have people JUDGE you based on completely trivial, non-important, irrelevant things.

Like what?

When I was a hiring manager I judged on (I’m not saying it was right to do this, but I think it is human nature.  If you think less of me, sorry.  But I guarantee others are judging you on the same, or similar):

Hair style. The girl who had the biggest hair I’ve seen in an interview… her hair was such a distraction (and the thing I remembered most) that, well, she didn’t get the job.  But she did make it into this blog post!

Short skirts. I don’t know if this girl thought a short skirt would be a benefit to her interview but the entire time my mind kept thinking one thing: SHE WON’T FIT INTO THIS COMPANY CULTURE.  It was a conservative company, and her skirt was too short when she was standing (much less when she was sitting).  Do I remember her interview responses?  No, and that obviously didn’t matter.  She didn’t make the short-list.

The suit. I remember interviewing a dozen university students for three internship positions.  ONE person wore a suit.  The rest didn’t take the time to dress up enough.  What should have been normal (dressing up) really stood out and made a favorable impression.

There are other things like choice of words, chewing gum and stuff I’m sure they didn’t think about when they were preparing for the interview.

But they got JUDGED on those things.

Here’s the truth: I was looking for someone who would make me look awesome.  Someone who would do a great job, fit into the company culture, be fun to work with and have around, and not be an embarrassment (in other words, someone we didn’t have to keep in a back room, away from the front desk where visitors might see him/her).

As an interviewer, I’m the JUDGE.  And a JUDGE makes JUDGEMENTS.  The judgement could be on your answer and how clever or experienced you are, but it usually can’t get there until the other things (big hair, gum smacking, choice of language, clothes) are non-issues.

I’m kind of sad that one person decided not to use JibberJobber because the Library (a very, very minor part of JibberJobber – I don’t even show that on the user webinar!) had a link to Monster.

But he was the judge.

Be careful, my friends, to not let something in your appearance or brand or first impression be “the monster” that keeps you from going to the next step in the process.

(Monster is now deleted from my Library :))

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Why Discrimination Won’t End: Stupid Article about Social Media Manager Age Limit

December 18th, 2012

I don’t want to focus on this ridiculous article: Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, or the 600+ comments on the article, most of them probably blasting the author.

I want to focus on a reality and truth:

YOU are being discriminated against.  Period.

As long as there are articles like this (and the many thousands of people who think like the author, but don’t have a platform or the time or guts to write about it), discrimination will exist.

I think this article had a backfire effect, which is to show young recent-grads as entitled, out-of-touch, and having poor judgement skills.

How do you defeat discrimination?  You can call for legislation (yeah, that will work – not), or you can figure out how to deal with it.

How do you communicate that the reason you are being discriminated against is not a liability?  Head-on and tactfully.

How do you do it? This is not a pink elephant… this is front-and-center, and probably the biggest concern my audiences across the U.S. worry about.

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Job Search Discrimination Exists – Now What???

November 28th, 2012

Want to read something disgusting?  Check out this article: Unemployed Black Women Pretends to Be White, Job Prospects Dramatically Increase

From the article:

“Two years ago, I noticed that Monster.com had added a “diversity questionnaire” to the site.  This gives an applicant the opportunity to identify their sex and race to potential employers.  Monster.com guarantees that this “option” will not jeopardize your chances of gaining employment.  You must answer this questionnaire in order to apply to a posted position—it cannot be skipped.”

Monster guarantees the option will not jeopordize the chances of getting a job?

How can they guarantee that?  And, if it cannot be skipped, it’s not an option!

This is maddening.  It’s crazy that it is anywhere on Monster’s page.  It should not be on there.  I’m guessing some HR knowitall asked for the breakdown in races for their equal opportunity reporting.

Monster should have stood up and said NO.

Alas, where does this leave us?  Folks, discrimination exists EVERYONE.  In your job search, in careers, in education, in stores, in parking lots, … everywhere.

How do people discriminate?

Let’s reword that.  How do people judge you?  How do people decide if they want to (hire, be around, recommend, etc.) you?

  • Height
  • Body shape
  • Hair (lack of, color, style)
  • Tattoos (which is more your choice than many of the others on this list)
  • Clothes
  • Handicaps (not sure what the latest PC way to say that is) – limp, canes, wheelchairs, blindness, etc.
  • Religion
  • Race (of course)
  • Language (accent, stutter, slur, lisp, etc.)
  • Ability to spell (sucks for dyslexics, doesn’t it?)
  • Work history (job hopper?)
  • Voice (too deep, to high, etc.)
  • Age
  • _____

There is no end to how people will make a 1/2 second judgement about you.

Because the person who does it is, well, human.  Susceptible to mood swings, prejudices from parents and community, misinformation (the media is a horrible advocate of racism and prejudice, in my opinion).

It is illegal, of course.  But tell that to people on the comments where I found the story.  They say the Justice Department is just as prejudice as companies are.

It is not right.  But it might be one of the worst problems in job search, career management, our life.

So then, what do you do?

Can you fight it?  How?

Can the issue ever go away?

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Why Recruiters Lie When Rejecting You (Recruiting Animal on JobMob)

September 4th, 2012

Ah, the unthinkable atrocity. The horror!

Would a recruiter really lie to you, during one of the lowest parts of a job search (getting rejected)?

Of course.

Read The Recruiting Animal’s post: Why Recruiters Lie When Rejecting You.

He starts with this:

I’ll often see a recruiter puffing up her chest online and strutting around bragging about how transparent she is with candidates.

So, then, I’ll ask her, “If the hiring manager rejected a candidate because he didn’t like her voice, would you tell her that? Imagine he said, ‘She’s very intelligent but if I had to listen to that all day, I’d shoot myself.’ Would you pass that on?” continue reading…

What do you think? Would they tell you?

Here’s how he ends his post:

“So, remember this job hunters: recruiters aren’t social workers. It’s not their job to tell you how to improve. If they can, they will; but usually they can’t.” continue reading…

A little dose of reality from one who knows. Thanks Animal for the honesty.

Now, job seekers, where can you go to figure out what you are doing wrong? You know, the stuff a recruiter won’t tell you?

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