Attract the Best Candidates

The noise regarding today’s job market is unavoidable—you can’t go anywhere without hearing about how low unemployment is. With all this noise you may wonder: How can I hire with all this competition? It’s critical that you learn how to Stand Out…in the right way.

Defining Your Need

For Hiring Managers, how you define your candidate need as an organization, how you approach going to market to recruit for that person, and what your interview process is like are critical discussions to be having well before going to market for a candidate. If a candidate is interviewing or exploring an offer with your organization, they are absolutely exploring other jobs with other companies.

Let’s look at the noise and competition on the job boards this year compared to last year:

job postings
Source: EMSI www.economicmodeling.com

With so much competition, it’s imperative that an organization sell their company and role to prospective employees.

Selling “The Why” and Be Organized

There is no such thing as a passive candidate. Once a candidate is contacted about an opportunity, that person is officially on the market…and with a market like today’s you cannot waste time. Candidates want a smooth interview process, career trajectory, and solid benefits.

Candidates can sense a messy environment a mile away…and a disjointed, over-extended, multi-step interview process will quickly turn a candidate off. One of the best things you can do to ensure a smooth hiring process is identify your 3-5 non-negotiable candidate requirements. Sit down and come up with your laundry list that you’re looking for…go ahead, get it alllll out there. And then edit it 35 times with all the people who are making the hiring decision and in agreement with the top 3-5 qualities you want this person to possess to make your life easier.

When I meet with clients to discuss an open role, I love to ask them the fun parts of the conversation: the why parts. Why are you here? Why do you stay? Why has your longest tenured employee stayed? Why this company? It’s critical for organizations to be compelling and sell who they are to sought-after candidates.

Be Open-Minded

Be open-minded to candidates who demonstrate having the aptitude to grow with your company.  Pay attention to why they made jumps in their career, not how many. Think about how they approached the interview itself when you’re thinking about the candidate as a full package. Were they polished and prepared? Did they bring ideas? Waiting for the “Perfect Fit” who checks off all the boxes signals that you’re not really ready to hire—and puts your time to getting the candidate who can truly help you advance your strategies in the chair that much further down the road.

Defining Culture Fit

Culture fit ranks high up there with the “Reason for Rejection.” It’s a lovely grey area. Well, yes, this person can define a marketing plan on a limited budget, they are HubSpot certified, and yes, they can code emails…but the culture fit is missing. How are you as a hiring manager effectively assessing culture fit during the interview process?

I went to lunch with a friend of mine who leads marketing and operational success for a SaaS organization here in Chicago. She shared with me a great series of questions she asks candidates to help her successfully vet for culture. These questions help develop themes and consistencies across a candidate’s background. Themes that form synchronicity with your brand and beliefs can turn a “not-perfect fit” from a skills perspective into a candidate with the right aptitude to be a great hire.

culture fit

These questions start with the very first experience listed in the candidate’s resume. The answers candidates give to these questions are very telling and can paint a pretty descriptive picture of the accomplishments this person is capable of achieving with your organization.

2018 Marketing Career Resources

So how do you build a more organized interviewing process, close skills gaps, and find sources of inspiration? Here are some excellent career resources including books, blogs, continuing educational suggestions, and networking groups! I look forward to next year’s recap and findings! I’d love to hear from you–I am always here to support you in hiring or with your career development.

Books

“What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith

“The Unwritten Rules of the Highly Effective Job Search” by Orville Pierson

“Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi

“Creative Conspiracy” by Leigh Thompson

“Who Gets Promoted Who Doesn’t and Why” by Donald Asher

“Digital Marketers Sound Off” by Matt Chiera

“1001 Ways to Recognize Employees” by Bob Nelson

 

Blogs

https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2014/11/cornucopia-of-content-marketing-inspiration/

https://www.marketingprofs.com/

https://chiefmartec.com/

https://humanworkplace.com/blog

https://hireplexus.wordpress.com/

 

Interviewing

https://whothebook.com/

https://www.slideshare.net/caroy/summary-of-who-presentation

 

Continuing Education

Ice Nine: https://icenineonline.com/training-sessions/

General Assembly:  https://generalassemb.ly/locations/chicago

 

Networking

American Marketing Association’s Chicago Chapter

Meetup.com (“Chicago Area Marketing Associations”)

Content Marketing Institute

Women in Digital

 

AMA Career Smart

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Chicago’s American Marketing Association continuously offers high quality, valuable networking and enriching events for both job seekers and hiring managers within the marketing space. Their Career Smart events are no exception! I’m excited to be speaking at their upcoming Career Smart event taking place this Thursday, November 15.

2018’s job market is super competitive for both job seekers and hiring manager searchers. Whether you’re hiring for critical positions in the midst of the lowest unemployment yet–or thinking of launching a job search of your own, come join me in learning about effective tips, helpful trends, and valuable resources to help you stand out. I’ll be speaking with Jess Moyer, SVP of Marketing and Operations at Gibraltar Business Capital. Jess brings a fantastic career leading marketing initiatives from both large-scale organizations and mid-sized companies in the financial sector.

The event is at the IIT Stuart School of Business at 565 W. Adams on Thursday, November 15, starting at 5:30 PM. Members of the AMA can register for free and there is a charge of $50 for non-members. I’d love to see you there! More details can be found on the AMA Career Smart website.

Job Search FOMO

wanderlust

What if you’re happy in your current job? You are satisfied with your pay…you make enough to cover your essentials, sock away for tomorrow, and even sign up the kiddos for park district activities. Heck, you even have the flexibility to coach soccer. You know the players on your team, you have seniority, and you’re quite, well, comfortable…but the rumbling freight train of today’s stellar job market shouts, “It’s a candidate’s job market!” “These are the highest salaries we’ve ever seen!” “It’s the lowest unemployment rate, in, like FOREVER!” If you’re not part of this action you may, well, feel like you’re missing out.

Reading the constant stream of New Job Alerts on LinkedIn can also really make you feel like you’re the jokester for not bailing from your great gig. You’re not rapidly applying for jobs but you may chat with a recruiter from time to time. You may entertain an interview for something that sounds really enticing but the next morning you realize you’ve got it pretty good so you stay put. You’re happy…but you feel a tug and are unsure if staying put is silly when there’s all this great opportunity out there. Is it OK to be OK in your role?

We hope–especially those of us who make our living in the staffing industry–that unemployment will forever stay as low as it is today, in October of 2018. It is thrilling to see so many folks gainfully employed while those on the market actually have roles to choose from…but will this high last forever?

Refer back to your list of priorities and be assured that the role you are in meets what you need to feel satisfied. Comparison is the thief of joy–revel in where you landed yourself in your career and allow yourself to feel satisfied in the path that you walked. When it’s time for you to take your next step, you’ll know because your list of priorities will shift, change, or flow–and when they do, I’ll be right here to help.

Retaining Your Team

People are your company’s greatest asset : How are you keeping your folks happy?

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People are a company’s greatest resource. Not the product a business creates, the membership it drives, or the apps it produces. The people who keep the machine running are the most critical asset of an organization. People are your company’s walking reputation.

The employment data that WunderLand has at its fingertips shows that it takes 64 days on average to open up a requisite and have your dream candidate start the job. That is over two months of sifting through resumes, conducting interviews, executing background checks, and too many tours of the office cafeteria. We all know it’d be much easier to keep the folks we have engaged, happy, and employed than to start the 64 day cycle.

There are two main reasons people share with me, time and again, as to why they leave a job: not being heard and not feeling valued. So what are some things you as a hiring manager can do to keep your employees happy?

  • Ask your team members what they truly think. This is the most critical thing. Job seekers constantly share with me that their managers don’t listen to them—either about an idea or the trajectory of their career paths. Employees who express desire to manage, mentor, or lead and are told that the organization doesn’t support it will leave. A round table meeting is held but only a few folks’ ideas are acted upon—they will get frustrated at not being heard and will leave.
  • Write down all ideas and listen. Listen to what your folks say and find ways where they can mentor, manage, and lead with or without a staff…open up discussions around leading by example. Help identify and enroll in classes, provide the ability to spearhead a specific project of influence. Make your team members feel valued…think creatively and respond.
  • Treat Others With Respect. Feeling respected translates into feeling valued. Valuing your employees is more about doling out raises, praise, and promotions. Instilling an open, trusting environment is paramount to keeping your employees happy and engaged. Permitting (or worse, participating in) gossip, G-Chat rants, and negative chatter can cause folks on your team to feel untrusting and unvalued. Think about how you respond and interact with your team members when they bring up concerns—or simply how you greet them on a Monday morning.

It’s hard to stop in the moment and give your employees the attention they may need—you are pulled in so many competing directions that taking a moment to connect can seem like a moment wasted. You hired these folks because you know they are the best ones out there—as good as they may be, they don’t always know they’re on the right track. Take a moment to tell them they’re doing a great job. Be proactive to keep  your office positive, trusting, and open.

Today’s job market is ripe for the picking—create an environment of value so your star folks stay with you. It’s as easy as stopping to listen.

How you treat folks who are interviewing for your positions is another way you can set the tone for your business’ reputation…watch for those tips in a future article. Meanwhile, I’m always here to help you should you want to break out in a new direction or you need to help your staff develop their skills into a new role.

Be 35% Better

Starting a new job typically brings a monetary increase–what if you applied that money to personal growth?

alone-back-view-blonde-247195You got the job. The one you applied for on a whim at midnight after you reached your breaking point. Well, they called you back. And you went to three onsite interviews. And you got the job. Along with that job came a whopping 35% raise. That job is paying you 35% more than you were making in your current job. Let that sink in for a moment and then think about how you can be 35% better as a person when you walk through those new doors.

Leaving a job to start another gives you the chance to redefine yourself. Negotiating that pay bump isn’t just about adding to your take-home pay. Think about translating that bump into creating a more enhanced version of you.

A Crafted Life

Starting a new job, at a new company, means more than swapping out one Keurig for another. You’re embarking on meeting a whole batch of new people, navigating an entirely new commute, and figuring out the Office Politics Dance. There’s a reason that folks who jump to new jobs typically net an increase—it’s to help pad the stress and offer enticement to wandering into new territory.  Starting a new role is your chance to jumpstart a new habit, pick up a new tool, or modernize your appearance. People you worked with for five, six, or seven years knew you. Your predictable one-liners were always good for a groan at lunchtime. They knew your commuting backpack, your schedule, your routine. Now is your moment to choose to craft a New You. Instead of sitting at your desk every day glued to CNN while scarfing down lunch you can be the one making healthy choices that truly benefit you in the long run, like running off to the gym or going for a walk.  What an opportunity! Visualize a new way to present yourself to the world. Your habits, image, conversational ability, stress management tactics—pick an area and give yourself the gift of reflection to make yourself that much better.

Don’t stress about piling up a mound of debt registering for costly certification programs to help you realize your reinvention. Plenty of free options exist including  downloading thought-provoking podcasts that present new, timely perspectives. Checking out a book from the library on a current trend or new communications style is another way to flex your transition muscles.

A day, week, or short span of time is enough to download a new Podcast, pursue many of the fabulous, inspiring TED Talks,  or to visit Lynda.com to peruse numerous courses on business leadership, communications, and tools. Shifting your focus to enhance your skills instills a strong sense of accomplishment and confidence as you bust into a new office wondering who do I sit next to at lunch?

Reinvention is Free(ing)

Whether your overhaul is cosmetic, spiritual, or toolbox -oriented, you can control its cost and financial output. Maybe you were in your last role for over ten years—your choice of outfits and self-care was on auto-dial as you knew all of your colleagues and felt very comfortable in your decade-old desk and office environment. However, breaking out of that mold is a great time to yank open your closet doors and pitch the outfits you hated or the pants that really never were quite the right length. Get things tailored, shop sales, pitch items that didn’t work and come up with your unified closet that puts your best foot forward. You don’t have to run out and drop a ton of cash to realize your modernized outward presentation. Tossing outdated pieces and tailoring what you already have are great ways to modernize without breaking the budget.

Revel in YOU

Finally, look your next transition squarely in the eye with confidence. Yes, this new role may seem (several) ladder steps above your comfort zone. Yes, this new commute weaves you down unchartered highway lanes. But you got the job! An entire panel of experts brought you in and in today’s uber-selective job market that is amazing! Revel in the knowledge that YOU ARE THE ONE THEY SELECTED and face this new experience with confidence.

Take a few moments to remember why the company hired you. Jot down those reasons in a place you can quickly visit when you feel challenged or doubt that you have what it takes to be 35% better. You are who the company needs. This is the right job for you—you are exactly where you are supposed to be. And, you’ve got a new pair of boots to, well, boot!

I’m always here for you to help you navigate this exciting—and daunting time as you get situated! Good Luck!

 

 

Sharon’s List: Top 5 Quiet (Enough) Places in The Loop

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Nothing’s more awkward than scrambling to find a quiet (enough) spot to conduct a phone interview. Duck into a Starbucks and you’ll compete with the baristas’ Dave Matthew’s playlist. Dodge into a hallway and sure enough, your boss will end up strolling right past. Working in the ‘burbs may afford you the luxury to retreat to your car cocoon–but if you work downtown it’s tricky to find a quiet place to chat. Well I’m here with the rescue–check out my list of top 5 places to have a phone interview in Chicago’s Loop!

Set Time to Walk Your Path

Hiking Path

How often do you pause to reflect on your career or job search path? The momentum of 9-5 and post-work duties can easily overshadow time to reflect on possibilities or envision your Next Step. Setting a date to walk your path will bring vision—and action—to the surface.

At times our career paths are very well defined. They may be well defined by a clear rank and file or by the yearly goals you set with your manager. One step on the path clearly leads to another. But what happens when we feel stuck? Or directionless? That uneasiness can permeate through months or even years of our professional lives. Our life circumstances may begin to dictate, or interrupt, our next steps. Taking time out of a busy day to “soul search” may feel like wasting valuable time along your career path. Oftentimes, soul searching becomes “Indeed.com searching” involving frantic, urgent keyword searches on the train to work or while you eat your sandwich at your desk which quickly leads to feelings of defeat or shoulder shrugging as if to say, “Well, there’s nothing better out there.”

Set Sites on Priorities 

The New Year/New Start mantras we see through our LinkedIn feeds are either highly motivating or highly stifling. The endless scroll of opportunities, job descriptions, and off-track job titles is very daunting. In these times of uncertainty, reflect (or build) your Priorities List. I’ve touted the importance of a strong Priorities List before—the priorities list is your quick, 3-5 non-negotiable life and career pillars that work for you now, in this moment.

Making Strides

If you crafted your priorities list over the summer it’s a good time in this New Year to reflect and see what has—or could—change. Here are some tips to initiate change:

  • Build time into your routine during a commute, five minutes before bed, first thing in the morning, whatever works to give yourself time to meditate or contemplate (some might even say “pray”) over your priorities and visualize yourself feeling fulfilled, content, and motivated.
  • Ask for your vision to materialize. Why don’t you mark a date in the new season of spring, a date that feels right to you, to realize your manifestation of what is your right move.
  • Devote the time to yourself to take control of feeling stuck and take a step toward what’s next.

Change your New Year into a New Season.  You can do it and I’m always here to help.