Showing posts with label recruiters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recruiters. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Working with a Recruiter or Talking with Myself

Yesterday I got a call from a recruiter who was seeking help for a friend in the wine business. This recruiter has been recruiting in a separate technical field for the last 20 years. When her friend returned from an international stint she started to think about how he could find a job in the wine industry. Talking to her on the phone yesterday was a breath of fresh air, and a bit like talking to myself. I noticed some great traits that transfer well to job hunting.

1. Leave a message with the reason for calling, your phone number, and repeat the information. Yes, I've written about it before, but there is an art to leaving a good phone message. Always give your name and reason for the call. Let the person know when you are calling. Then leave your phone number, and if necessary a good time to reach you. Then repeat your name and number. With the wide-spread use of cell phones, bluetooths and call waiting, it isn't unusual for a blank spot to hit right when you are leaving those final digits of your phone number. It might seem trivial, but your phone number is very important to get right if you expect a return call.

2. Be responsive when you get a call back. When you get your message returned, appreciate the call. My contact let me know she was doing some research on WineTalent and explained why she had reached out to me.

3. Be prepared to explain your situation. My recruiter was calling on behalf of a friend, and she quickly caught me up to speed on her search. If you are calling to find out how to work with a recruiter, let them know that. If you are following up on a resume submitted, let them know...etc. A few things that are worth mentioning is if you were referred by a colleague, if you are currently working but looking for a new position, or if you were just laid off. Make your case with the recruiter, concisely.

4. Ask for advice if you want it. Being in the recruitment business, this woman and I look at resumes constantly. She wanted to find out if wine industry resumes were different from other industry resumes, and we discussed it. If you have a burning question or need advice, now is the time to ask. Recruiters are in the business because we love helping people advance their careers. We know what works, and are happy to talk about it. Just ask.

5. Plan next steps. This could be sending a resume, setting up a call for later to discuss options further, or getting references to your recruiter. Make sure you know what your recruiter is looking for, and do it.

6. Schedule a time. This is when I knew I was dealing with a professional. When I advised my contact to have her friend get in touch with me, she scheduled a time with me that worked for both of us. Recruiters are experts at this--nailing down a time when a client and a candidate can interview is crucial to moving the process forward. By doing a "presumptive close" me on a time, I knew when I would be talking to her friend, I was sure to make myself available then. This helps avoid a long game of phone tag. I cannot stress enough how important and helpful this is--try it.

7. Follow up. Nothing can get accomplished if you don't follow through with your side of the equation. If you said you would send a resume, do it. If you are gathering names of references, get those sent along as soon as possible. Success has always come to people I know who are masters of following up on things--myself included.

8. Keep it personal and professional. When I was talking to my fellow recruiter, we were both interested in each others' business while maintaining a professional demeanor. Job hunting and career advancement is a very personal matter. Recruiters understand that, and knowing a bit more about you helps. While we want to know what makes you "tick", you need to make sure you present yourself in a professional light.

9. Network. Yes, I got the call from this recruiter because she had been talking to her friends about her friend's job search. This is networking 101 and crucial to a job search.

Just looked at my watch and it is time for that call that she booked. Gotta Go.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Getting Framed: Ask for Timeframes.

Currently in the throes of a busy recruitment. I've posted the position on and now am slogging through my inbox and voicemail. Also putting out all those feelers to people I know who might be interested in the position--or know someone who is.

The last couple of days I have been discussing the position with several people. I am learning about their backgrounds and interest in the job I'm working on. This allows me to make a "short list" of potential candidates. Determining who the best candidates for any job is always a learning process, and does take some time. This is where I encourage the job seekers to stay on top of their application.

When you are looking for a new job you can send your resume to black holes and never hear anything back. While I have given advice previously on how to manage this, it happens to the best of us. If you are fortunate enough to hear from a prospective employer, it indicates real interest and possibly a job down the line. Now is the time to take advantage of that contact. When you are on the phone or in an interview, ask the interviewer what the time frame is on this recruitment. Some time frames that would interest you are how long they have been looking to fill this position, when they are scheduling interviews, and when they want the position filled. This shows you how the process will unfold.

In addition to the time frame of the hiring process, try to get some time frames for YOUR process. Ask when your resume will be submitted to the hiring manager, when interviews will be going on, and when you can expect to hear back. If you hear that they are scheduling interviews next week, you know to be on top of your schedule and ready to book the meeting when that call comes. If they are waiting to finish publishing the position on the company's website before scheduling interviews--things might drag on awhile. I try to let candidates know what the timing will be on recruitments, and when they should expect to hear from me. I often let them know to contact me in case the window of time passes without hearing from me.

Here's a little secret. I get a lot of people interested in the jobs I am recruiting on. A lot of them are very viable candidates for the position. While I'm recruiting, there are a lot of people I interact with. If I haven't heard from someone in awhile, they may drop off my radar. If you are one of the people I'm considering--you should make yourself visible. A polite follow up call in a week let's me know you are thinking about the job, and interested in continuing the process. The person I don't hear from may have taken another position and is no longer in contention. Those follow-up calls keep me on my toes, and thinking about you for the job. This is what you want.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Where do I Find Candidates

I have worked in recruiting for 15 years now, and have always told every candidate who submits their resume or contacts me that I will keep them in mind for current and future positions. I think this is easy to say, good to hear, but not always believable. Having amassed a lot of resumes, referrals and contacts over the last five years for WineTalent, I was recently thinking about how I have found my recent hires. Here's what I have found.

In the last two years, about half of the candidates that I present to my clients come from ads I run and the other half are from a variety of sources. These sources include my professional networks, referrals from colleagues, job fairs and my database.

The candidates who ended up being hired were sourced many different ways. Several were from contacts I made over the years and finally the right position came up for them. Others were people I had talked to over many months or years, and then they saw an ad for a position I was recruiting on that they wanted to be considered for. Some hires were people who have submitted their resume in the past from an ad I posted, continued to check in with me over the years and ended up getting a different job through WineTalent. Additionally I have hired people that were referred to me by other qualified applicants. I have also placed people who years ago I met at a job fair.

As a recruiter I know that everyday I need to talk to people and find out who is looking for what position. I also continuously talk to my clients to find out what openings are coming down the line. I am checking in with people at various levels and keeping my ear out for any changes that may affect my clients or job seekers. By doing this, my database of great candidates has become a great tool for placing employees. It also allows me to say with certainty that I do keep all resumes under consideration, and perhaps one day the resume that came in my inbox will end up being the resume of the candidate who gets the job.

As a job hunter I think this is great information for your job hunt. While people always think that it is who you know, it is also what you do with what you have. If you are looking for a job, keep the hunt alive. If you are working with a recruiter, let them know you are still interested in being considered for other openings. Check in with your contacts from time to time to let them know you want to hear about any openings that might be out there. And look at all opportunities to meet recruiters and hiring managers--whether it be by responding to an ad, meeting at a job fair or doing an informational interview with a company. These options could lead to the job you get.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Do Companies Use a Recruiter?

Often people ask why companies use a recruiter. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. The company does not have a Human Resources department. While most large companies do have an HR department, many wineries are small operations. After hiring a General Manager, a Winemaker, a Sales and Marketing person and someone who is in charge of the Tasting Room, most wineries have the main managment positions filled. Then the responsibility gets put onto one of those manager's shoulders--while they still have their day to day work to do. While most winery professionals have experience in hiring, many don't enjoy doing it. Taking the time to post a job, go through the resumes, interview the top candidates and then perform references is very time consuming, and not something that they have time for. A recruiter does those functions for them, and presents the best candidates to them for their review.
2. The company requires confidentiality about the opening. Executive searches are often conducted when a company is planning to change the direction of the company, when a current executive is underperforming, or when a key executive is planning a departure. With a high profile management position, the health of a company is brought into question when an opening goes unfilled. Proactive companies want positions filled to prevent any undue attention. This is frequently when I work with wineries to find a new employee. Through my search services I can network with executives, advertise about the opening, and address questions and concerns that job seekers may have about the management change of the company.
3. A company needs to look at a broad spectrum of candidates. Several of the larger wine and spirits companies work with recruiters to make sure they are talking to all of the available qualified employees. Sometimes companies get a reputation of not hiring people from certain competitors or without a certain degree. When companies change directions, they sometimes need the input from people throughout the industry. By using a recruiter they can talk to some people who previously may have avoided submitting a resume to the company.
4. A company wants someone with a particular talent, but doesn't have the resources to recruit. When a special skill is required, the talent pool is much smaller than for a general experience level. To find the best and the brightest, research is required to find out who the qualified people are, and then who might be interested in the new position. HR departments aren't always equipped to do this, and smaller operations don't have the resources to do it. That's when a recruiter is contacted. Having the recruitment experience and contacts within the industry, I'm able to quickly ascertain who the right candidates are, and work to find who might be interested in looking at a new job opportunity.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Are you there recruiter, its me, Perfect Applicant?

Recently I was speaking to a job seeker who had solid experience in both sales and marketing. I was urging her to tailor her resume for specific job openings, and expanding her descriptions related to the job description. By focusing a resume to the job, it allows you to present yourself well to the reader.

When you are applying to a position directly with a company, often all the resumes are sent to a general delivery email address. A Human Resources recruiter then slogs through the inbox to find out who has responded to the ad. As when I post a job, lots of relevant resumes come in, but also a lot of unqualified but interested job applicants apply. The company recruiter is tasked with finding those applicants that come closest to the job description, and making those resumes available either to an HR manager, or to a hiring manager. Within big companies, the recruiters are going through tons of resumes for all sorts of open positions, from winemakers to CFOs, viticulturists to sales managers. It only makes sense that the concise, clear resumes make it out of the inbox, and onto someone's desk.

While tailoring your resume is important, keeping it readable to the recruiter is crucial. Explaining your work experience clearly and thoroughly is important. Also, keep a handle on your use of buzzwords. While everyone in your industry may be able to quickly ascertain your knowledge when looking through a list of acronyms, to a company recruiter it may be all gibberish. A happy medium is to explain your background in plain words, and list technologies, systems, etc at the bottom of each entry. This allows your resume to be understood by anyone who is looking at it, which is exactly who you want looking at it. Now you just want it to get out of the inbox and into the hands of the decision maker. Good Luck.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Salesperson seeking new opportunities

Recently a wine salesperson contacted me for advice on how best to look for a new position. I frequently get this inquiry, so I thought I’d post what my response was. Hope this is helpful for others trying to move within the industry.

“I'm glad you were able to find me on the web. With your education, you have many options in the wine industry, and I'm glad to see that you are already working within the industry.

With your sales experience, I'm sure you have cold called clients. I think there is nothing better than stopping in to the tasting rooms and seeing what you can find out. And since you are in the industry, most wineries offer free tastings to the trade. Not everyone you talk to at a tasting room will know about hiring plans of the winery, but it's a start. Some of the smaller wineries have been bought by bigger wineries, so find out who is who through the web or winery directories (Wines and Vines puts one out, and there are a couple of others). You should also see if the wineries have an HR department, and maybe try contacting the General Manager to find out if there are any openings. Selling yourself is just like selling a product, so act professional yet approachable, and trust your instincts when you are talking to someone. You are currently employed, so keep your inquiries confidential. Take a look through my blog to find out other advice, like places to look for jobs, etc. “

Another question frequently asked by jobseekers is how I get paid. Here is my response: “As a contingent recruiter, I am compensated by my client, a winery, when I find the right employee for a position they have open. I have never charged a job seeker for my services, outside of a gift of a bottle of wine for resume advice.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Career Advice: How you act in an interview

A few months ago I interviewed a gentleman for a sales position I was working on. I interview all of my candidates in person before I send them along to my clients. There is a very good reason for this. To make sure I'm representing them in their true light, and to make sure there aren't any personality problems I need to be aware of.

Case in point. This gentleman who has been selling in the wine industry for the last 15 years is very qualified for many sales positions. And I'm sure he would interview very well with many male hiring managers. He might not do so well with female interviewers. Why? The entire time I was interviewing him he was staring at my chest. I asked my husband if my outfit was too revealing, and he said "Possibly, in a black burka sort of way." Having worn a conservative, long sleeved black sweater that day, I didn't think I was calling attention to my anatomy.

While interviewing he brought up that he has a very active social life and that he has been divorced for the last three years. While these things come up in interviews, I felt the conversation was moving into personal waters.

While trying to direct his attention back to my face, let alone my eyes, I started to realize that if he's trying to find his next job, he might need to work on his interpersonal skills a little. Feeling like I needed a shower after the leering looks, I am now questioning what type of sales position would be best for him. Probably one dealing with male winemakers and male general managers.

So when you are interviewing, keep your demeanor professional and think about how you come off to the interviewer. We're paying attention, and may limit the opportunities we present based on how our interview went.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How to Make Your Recruiter Happy

I am currently wading through about 50 resumes a day, and being a diligent recruiter am inputting them all into my database for tracking. A word of advice to job hunters: Put your resume in a Word document format. Too often I get beautiful resumes in Adobe or in an unknown format that are difficult to navigate around or to input into my database. When I'm recruiting on a new position, I go to my database first. If your resume is in a different format, I might not see it right away. I know that Adobe is a nice program, but a simple, to-the-point resume in a .doc format is always preferred.

Yes, dealing with lots of resumes can make me cranky--but getting that perfect candidate is totally worth it. So keep those resumes coming--even if they are in Adobe Acrobat.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Yes, I too can get a job.

On Tuesday, June 5th I was reviewing the recruiting blog Secrets of the Job Hunt where Chris Russel was talking about his resume that never dies. Then today I received this message from the same woman who contacted Chris:

"Hi Amy

I recently received your resume for a position our firm had been looking to fill. This position was filled, however your resume appears to be a good match for some of the employers who frequently use our recruiting services in Sacramento. If you are still actively looking for a job in your field, click this link. If you are looking for a site specific to Sacramento, try here. Remember that it is important to keep your online resume up to date.

Best of luck,

Jennifer M,HR Manager"

Now, I haven't sent my resume out to a regular posting board in close to 10 years, so either this is a solicitation for my resume--which you should beware of--or a blanket response to a marketing email I sent to a client that was doing a confidential search. It makes me think that that confidential job search was only a company fishing for resumes.

Recruiters often post blind ads to pull in a lot of resumes for future opportunities. These resumes can be used to find out who is looking, what companies are going through changes, or to find contact names that are included on resumes. Unless you know the company that is searching, keep your references off the resume, and if and when you are contacted by the recruiting company, make sure they are up front with you about why they are contacting you.

Hmmm, now how do I keep that resume up to date!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blog Link: Is it Time to Ping Your Recruiter?

After writing about this a few times, I just came across a posting on about how to handle communicating with your recruiter. Helpful information.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Career Advice: Continue Looking

I'm coming off of a busy recruiting time with an average of one new opening coming up a day. With all those openings, I've been talking to both new and old contacts. I've noticed a distinct difference in job seekers; those you are in search of a job and those who are in search of a career. And the main difference is how they handle themselves once they get a new job.

Whenever I post a job on one of the employment websites I'm inundated with resumes. I typically get 20 a day during the first two weeks an ad runs. I diligently go through the resumes, input them in my database, and contact applicants about current openings. I also send out the obligatory email to all responders that they will be kept under consideration.

The surprising thing to many applicants is that I do keep all those resumes under consideration, and often contact someone 1-2 months after they originally sent in their resume. Sometimes it is several months to over a year before I contact certain applicants. What happens next is very interesting.

When I contact someone who I've talked to in the past, most often they update me on what's been going on in their job and job search. They may have gotten a promotion, there may have been a management change, or they switched companies. Most often, people who are interested in keeping an eye out for future openings let me know that although they are very happy in their current situation, they would enjoy hearing about future opportunities.

The other camp simply says they are no longer looking for a job and end all communication. In the old days I may have taken this personally, but with my tough skin I understand that this person simply is done with the job search, and may contact me again down the road. But for them right now, they are concentrating on the job at hand, not their overall career.

The most productive client and job seeker relationships I have had are with people who are open to hear about potential candidates and about future opportunities. Within my database I update job seekers' profiles, input their hopes for future positions, and put down my thoughts on possible employers. When an appropriate position comes up, I will reach out to old contacts--and often times they are the ideal candidate this time around.

So, if you are looking to manage your career, keep your ear open to a recruiter's call. Not only will it help the recruiter keep up on what's going on with you, but you will have insight into the types of opportunities out there, and help decide the timing of your next career step.

Or you can start the whole job search over again when you determine the new job isn't all it was cracked up to be. Your choice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Current Reading (or listening to books on tape)

I just found in my local library the book Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich. While it doesn't give the most flattering view of the white collar job world, it does give some interesting insight into the job search process, interviewing and the work world.

There are discussions about career coaches, counselors, networking and other related topics that you might find interesting, or even better, helpful.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Coaches, Conselors, Recruiters

Quick note on a Q&A item I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning. (To view the article, go to The complete link is: A subscription is required)

For job hunting you might consider enlisting the help of a career coach or counselor. The Journal article talks about some items to consider before signing on with a coach.

Career coaching has been an expanding field in the last few years. Career coaches help people identify career aspirations, identify and minimize personal foibles that could prove detrimental in an interview or on the job, and help you along the way in your career. I recommend researching the background of any coach you are considering. See if they will give you references and make sure you understand their fee structure before moving forward. Make sure you feel completely comfortable with this person. They will be talking about some very frank issues with you, and you want to make sure you can be open and honest with them.

Career counselors and coaches are working directly with you, and are typically paid by the person they are coaching. A recruiter, which is what I am, works to match candidates with companies. Recruiters traditionally are paid by the company that hires the individual. With this difference, the incentive of a recruiter is quite different. A recruiter wins when their candidate gets the job. Recruiters are not as incentivized to help job hunters identify their career path, but instead are always looking for the ideal candidate.

But there is a great reality of how recruiters can be beneficial to job hunters. Recruiters are constantly talking to people who are looking for a job, and also companies that are looking for people. Recruiters tend to know where your next job might be. Also, if you have great skills, a recruiter will be thrilled to work with you because the possibility of placing you is quite high. This means money in the pocket of the recruiter.

Another option is a temporary placement company. Temporary firms work to place people at companies for both short term positions, and increasingly for long temp-to-hire positions. Hiring a temporary is a great way for a company to "try before they buy" and make sure an employee fits in with the company culture, has a strong work ethic, and handles themselves appropriately. This also allows employees to try out an employer before becoming a regular, full time employee. Many, but not all, of the positions are more entry-level, so are a great opportunity for an inexperienced worker to gain experience at a variety of companies.

So when you are planning your career path and are considering employing the help of professionals, keep in mind where you are in your career. A temporary service is great for a career field changer or recent graduate. A counselor is good for someone mulling over where they want to go with their career. A coach is generally best for highly experienced and often management level job hunters who want to plan their next step. A recruiter is good to work with when you have figured out what area you want to work within, and are ready to make the move.

Recruiters, AKA head-hunters, are by no means blood hungry savages--at least not the good ones! Do enlist the help of a recruiter to keep abreast of what's going on out in the job world. My best advice for working with a recruiter is to explain to them your strengths, explain the next job you want, and tell them your position specifics. These specifics include required minimum salary, acceptable commute range, ability to relocate, benefits needed, expected profit sharing, and any related needs. A recruiter should be straightforward with you about your marketability and also how long your job hunt should take. And once you get involved with a recruiter keep them in the loop with what you have going on as well. Every recruiter has great war stories about the perfect candidate who their client was drooling over who just took a job minutes before the recruiter called.

And one last item. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of confidentiality your coach, counselor or recruiter gives you. My first priority with all my candidates is their complete confidence. I never want my actions to adversely affect a person's career. Make sure your career confidant feels the same way.