What makes YOU an attractive candidate

What makes YOU an attractive candidate

In this blog, I try to make it a combination of work and play.  For most of us, that’s what our lives primarily consist of working our real-time jobs and then whatever we do outside of work, which isn’t always “play” or fun, but you get the idea!

 

Since I am a recruiter and interview people all day every day, I give career advice and interview advice from what I have experienced in hopes that it will help you when the time comes. 

 

Previously, I have talked about how to prep for an interview and how to write a thank-you note.  Those were tips that you can apply in real-time and you would then get an immediate reward from. 

 

Today I want to talk about the characteristics that make you a really attractive candidate to a hiring manager and they are characteristics that you have to build up over a longer period of time.  Writing thank you’s and preparing for interviews will definitely help you move forward during the interview process.  But I would like to focus on the characteristics or traits that you have worked on repeatedly, (hopefully) throughout your career, that you didn’t always see an immediate reward for, but will make you stand out in a hiring managers eyes.  

 

These are the top traits that an interviewer looks for when conducting an interview.   The things that you have to work towards your entire life and career. The intangibles that will make you the most attractive candidate.  

 

 

Can you do the job?

This seems like the dumbest question to ask – but it’s one of the most important.  Can you actually do the job you applied for, or have been recruited on? Very rarely will your “soft skills” or your ability to pick up on new things quickly, get you the job.  If a hiring manager is looking to fill an engineering position or a developer and you don’t have an engineering background and you can’t code… then you can’t actually do the job. Often times when hiring managers are searching for a person in a specific position, they need that person to be able to come in and almost hit the ground running.  They are not expecting you to know what the company does right away, but to at least have the skills to get the job done. 

 

 

Job Stability 

No matter how much the market is changing, and companies are evolving, or the circumstance at hand, hiring managers are STILL NOT interested in job hoppers.  

The definition of a job hopper will vary drastically from one person to another, but my personal rule of thumb is that if you have moved from one job to the next every 1-2 years, you look like a job hopper.  

Being in recruiting for years I have heard every story in the book as to WHY someone moved from one job to the next, and some are very legitimate and we can explain. But at first glance, it still doesn’t look great.  If we see that you have 10 years of constant job movement, maybe you should be vetting out your next job more carefully to make sure it really is a good move. 

This sounds negative, but it’s an elephant in the room and one of the biggest reasons a hiring manager won’t be interested in a candidate.   So I really want to make sure you are conscious of it when making a career step. 

On the other hand, if a hiring manager sees that you have been at a company for 3-6 years, they think the exact opposite.  They see someone who has stuck it out through the hard times, someone who took the time to learn and grow within a company, and who contributed years of their career to make it a better place. Someone they want to hire. 

Sometimes when we stop and try to see it from their perspective, we can better understand why they would feel that way and how we can better make decisions moving forward. 

 

 

Positive Outlook

Having a positive outlook isn’t something that is only talked about in self-help or fru fru stuff.  It’s legit and needed in the workplace. As you all know, “fires” or problems arise all the time. It’s inevitable and none of us can hide from it or control it, but what we can control is how we act or react when faced with adversity.  

If you are the type of person to freak out when shit hits the fan, no one really wants you on their team, because they have to pick you up and calm you down while they are trying to figure out a solution themselves.  On the other hand, if you are the type to look at a problem or unfortunate situation head-on thinking of solutions or the lessons learned, people will naturally be drawn to you needing that positivity to keep pushing them forward. 

Having a positive outlook and a can-do attitude is essential, and hiring managers can pick up on that just by how you talk about previous roles or situations you have worked through.  

Are you picking out the positive or the negative? Are you focusing on where you learned and could improve or where you lost? 

 

Work Ethic

I have never met a hiring manager that doesn’t love or respect a hard worker.  Some colleagues might get jealous or poke fun to settle their own insecurities to make themselves feel better, but that has never happened with a hiring manager.  

Your work ethic and how much of a driver you are comes through in an interview and is applicable to any job.  You know exactly who I am talking about too. It’s the person in the office who comes in early, or work late, and is just always giving it their all.  Hiring managers are never going to be upset about that and will bend over backward to keep employees like that happy or to get someone interested in joining their team.

A hard worker doesn’t only yield results faster, but it also brings the entire team motivation and overall energy to a level higher.  If everyone is goofing around in the office and not getting their work done, then there is less pressure to get back to your desk.  Whereas if there is one person grinding away, and hitting their goals and numbers while you sit and talk at your desk then there is a little bit of a nudge to get back to work to keep up. 

 

 

Culture Fit 

Aka – Can we work together?  As you all know, the people you work with or see in the office, you spend WAY more time with than your actual family and friends.  Since you spend so much time together it is crucial that you actually like each other and can get along.  

This one is typically harder to vet for.   Everyone is their own unique person, and no one ever wants you to change who you are, and it really depends on whether you just click with the hiring manager or not and if you have some of the basic qualities that a company is looking for. 

For example, many companies today have a “no asshole” policy.  There is no specific guideline or tool kit to follow to figure out if someone is an asshole or not, you just know or you don’t know.  

From a hiring perspective, a good way to be sure you like someone is to have the candidate interview with multiple people at a company to make sure the stories stay consistent and you get multiple opinions on a candidate.  This is never guaranteed to give you perfect results, but it will at least give you back up behind your ultimate decision. 

If you are the candidate interviewing for a job, if you have been a good person your whole life and you are kind and work hard you are probably going to be fine.  But what is most important here, is to just be yourself.  If you aren’t clicking with a team or meshing with a hiring manager it probably isn’t the best place for YOU.  

Remember interviewing is a two-sided sale.  BOTH parties have to be interested in each other to officially make a match.

 

 

Past Performance

How you have performed in a previous role or in anything in life, is likely a good indication of how you will perform in the future.  History repeats itself.  In the past, if you were a really hard worker with a positive attitude and didn’t give up until a goal was accomplished or an initiative met, you will likely act the same way when faced with another problem. 

If the opposite happens and you dodge conflict, or are always late with deadlines and blaming others for things that come up, you will likely continue to do that in your next role.  

Now with that said, there are always tough work environments or circumstances outside of our control that hinder us from hitting a goal.  But like I said in the job hopper bullet, if this is continually happening job after job then a hiring manager is going to get suspicious on where the blame should really lie. 

Hiring managers want top performers so that the top performers could help them meet their own objectives and goals, and will be a good influence on their team. 

 

In general, whenever you are interviewing for your next job the only thing that you can do is your best.  Put your best foot forward and show up to every interview prepared and ready to show them the best version of yourself.   

 

From now on, in your current role and every role moving forward, if you are consciously thinking about and working towards these long term characteristics to be the best version of yourself then no matter where you go or where you are, you will be valued and you will make your way to the top. 

 

Until next time, stay classy. 😎

How badly do you REALLY want it?

How badly do you REALLY want it?

Relationship advice from a recruiter… 

 

When I first started recruiting my boss at the time would always compare the situations we were working through to relationships.  Leaving your company is like breaking up with a significant other, and how attentive a candidate is during an interview process shows how interested they are in the job, or a relationship.

 

At first, I thought it was a bit out there, “how could a business transaction be like a relationship?”.  But the more examples they gave, and the more time I recruited and worked through those deals, I started to realize just how accurate that comparison is. 

 

One of the best lessons that I learned, which turned into a question that loomed over my head every day with every candidate and client that I talked to was, “How badly do they really want it?” 

 

Whether that question was directed toward if a candidate really wanted the job or the employer really wanted to hire the candidate, I thought about it constantly.  Once a candidate was officially in the process I would constantly be looking out for warning signs, or any sign that would tell me if the candidate wanted the job or the client wanted to make the hire. 

 

This was really important for me to understand because that would determine whether or not I would make a sale.  Since recruiting is a two-sided sale, and they have to both like each other in order for the deal to go through. Because of that, this is a super important question that I had to constantly question and find answers throughout the interview process.  Luckily, if you are looking for the answer, there are ALWAYS signs pointing you in the right direction.  As a recruiter, I got really good at looking for those signs and then finding them. 

 

When I first started out those signs weren’t always super clear.  I would ask different questions to help me get a better gauge, but often times I was still unsure.  As my career progressed, I finally started to work on better jobs that people actually wanted and then recruited better candidates for jobs that managers actually wanted to hire.  At that point, I started to fully understand and saw how someone acts when they REALLY want something. 

 

How people act when they REALLY want something may be obvious to some of you, but personally I never fully understood it until I witnessed it as a recruiter.  When it finally clicked, it dawned on me that this same reality is true in SO many more areas of our lives. People will ALWAYS act differently when they REALLY want something to happen. 

This is a huge LIFE lesson for all of us that can carry over to getting a new job, dating, or going after a goal.  This is a life lesson that I wish I could go back and tell my high school self about love, goals, and dreams, but since I can’t do that, I am sharing it with you. =]

 

In writing this blog, I wanted to share with you how to find the clues and signs that determine how badly you or someone else really wants something. 

Below are the top traits that I have noticed in candidates and clients on how they start to act when they really want a job or really want to hire a candidate.  You will quickly see how these can be applied in many other areas of your life. 

 

 

RESPONSIVENESS 

This is the first thing I notice in a candidate and client when they are interested.  They actually respond to me and they do it in a timely manner. Instead of the typical 1-2 days of waiting before you get feedback or a response, it’s more immediate.  If they stay interested, this responsiveness continues throughout the whole interviewing process.  I don’t have to nag or hunt them down for an answer. They freely and quickly give me the answers to my questions.  

This is the same in relationships.  If someone is taking days to text you back or is playing the game and they won’t reach out for a couple of days.  They probably aren’t THAT interested at the time. That could change, but if they really wanted to talk to you, they would respond or reach out.  

This reality made me wince because I would remember all of the times I made up stories in my head of why someone WASN’T texting me back or reaching out.  I would make up the most ridiculous stories to make myself feel better when in reality, they simply weren’t interested. 

FOLLOW-UP 

Whenever a candidate is interested in a job, they will reach out a lot, asking the status of the job, how they are doing in the interview process, they ask for advice on how to stand out and what they can do to keep moving forward.  The same holds true for the client side. When a client really wants a candidate, they will ask me the candidates status throughout the interview process to gauge how interested the candidate is and what we will have to do to get them to take the job. They both follow-up with ME to check in and see what the other is thinking. 

This holds true in relationships in two ways, maybe you meet someone through a friend and then you are constantly following up with the friend who set you up to check in to see what the other person thinks of you and if you really have a chance.  Or very simply, if someone is interested in you, they will follow up after a date and ask you to meet up again.  

FLEXIBILITY 

You start to notice this trait later on in the interviewing process.  At the beginning of the recruiting process, typically, you need the first date/interview or two to happen before the sparks start flying.  But once that fire gets going there is this magical thing called flexibility that starts to grow. At this point, the candidate and client want to woo each other.  They want to make each other happy, so they loosen up their strict standards and checklists and even their calendars.  The times they couldn’t make an interview before they are now magically wide open.  Salary ranges are now “open to discussion”. Commutes and travel requirements that were a hard no, are now a maybe.   

In relationships, when you really start to like someone, the flexibility grows.  It grows in ways like realizing she really loves sushi, and even though you hate it you take her to out to sushi to make her happy.  Or the times you know he loves to watch baseball so you take him to a game, but you really despise the sport and are legitimately upset there isn’t halftime so you can take a break from it, but you do it because you like him.  

Those small ways new found flexibilities, and the ways we will bend to make something work, they are indications that they care and want you. 

 

ENERGY LEVEL 

This makes me think of a puppy.  When you first come home from work and you have a puppy they are just so freaking excited to see you.  They run, they jump, they go get their toys to show you. You can almost see their brains working, working out their next move to show their excitement.  People act the same way when they are excited, except they aren’t quite as cute. 

When people are excited about an opportunity their energy level’s spike up.  You can hear the excitement in their voice through the phone and through their emails.  You can feel it from the managers when they are talking about how an interview went with a candidate they really liked.  It’s like everyone is on an interview high, just happy and excited about what’s happening and next steps.  The energy level for the entire search lifted up like a cloud and we are all floating up there waiting for the final decision. 

This is the same with relationships. Think about when a new couple is in that “honeymoon stage”.  They talk about each other at nauseam and think that every little thing the other one does is the cutest thing in the world.  They are always smiling, excited and happy.  That high that they are riding, the excited energy that is buzzing through the relationship, that only happens when you really like someone.  

 

So there you have it! The top traits that I have picked up on, to help me fully understand how badly someone really wants something.

There are a lot more signs and details that I could share with you.  More signs that show whether a candidate really wants the job, a manager really wants to make the hire, or someone is really interested in starting in a relationship.  BUT we would be here for a very long time and these are the basics that will still point you in the right direction. 

 

On your next interview or date, look for these traits and follow these signs to really gauge how interested they are.   It might even lead you to realize he or she is THE one… 

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Reasons why you SHOULD take a recruiting call …

Reasons why you SHOULD take a recruiting call …

Last week I was going through a status update on one of the jobs I am working on with a hiring manager.  We were going over some candidates and he saw my note that one hung up on me. Once he saw that he asked, “Do people really hang up on you?”.  My answer, “Unfortunately, yes, and depending on the job, it happens often.” He was in shock and couldn’t believe that people would hang up on a recruiter.


I obviously hate when people hang up on me, call me names, tell me to never call them again and that they will never need a recruiter (not true, but good luck with that).  This does not happen to me all the time, and if it does it is mostly for more junior level positions.  Most of the people I talk to are kind and politely decline my offer, but it does happen, that’s just part of the job.  

 

I totally get that if someone is cold calling you at an inappropriate time, it’s easy to get pissed and we are all getting a bazillion robocalls. We are in a world of information overload, and hanging up the phone just seems like the easiest solution.  

 

I want to tell you WHY you SHOULD always pick up a recruiting call or at the very least give a nice brush off…

 

First I will start off with WHY recruiters are calling you and HOW we work. Companies, like the one you work at now, hire us to help them find top talent.  It is a necessary service, especially in today’s economy. If a company values its’ people, the company will pay us to find the best talent that is out there.

 

Now that we understand why recruiters are calling we will move onto the reasons WHY you should pick up the call…

 

1. You don’t know who has asked us to call you. Recruiters are often given direction as to who the best talent is and are given suggestions as to who a client would like us to reach out to on a company’s behalf.  Sometimes we get exact names to reach out to. If the hiring manager then follows up to see how the call went, having to let them know you hung up is not a poor reflection on us. A recruiting call truly is a compliment. It means you are in demand and someone wants you.

 

2. The top recruiters in the industry make cold calls I recently got asked by a reader if cold calling was dead. I was trained by one of the top recruiting trainers in the nation, Danny Cahill at According to Danny.  He is a big believer that cold-calling is vital and being comfortable making calls and being on the phone is imperative and humanizing. Everyone is so heavily relying on LinkedIn message and email and having a conversation with someone is the only way to establish a true relationship.

 

3. Top recruiters (who get there by making cold calls) have the best opportunities.  In our profession, the best recruiters are choosey with the positions they invest their time in.  They are only going to work jobs that they believe are “hot jobs”. A hot job is a job that a company has an urgency to fill the position and a great opportunity.  It has to be a win-win, a win for the company AND a win for the person taking the job. This is never overlooked by a recruiter before they start working something.

 

4. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, you never know when you will need to work with a recruiter again. -While I am sure you have a great network, you can NEVER have too many connections and people to network with.  Almost every senior person I call recognizes this and takes the time to call me back and have a conversation. They understand that there are NO guarantees in life and it is always a good idea to have an established relationship with a recruiter.

 

 

5. Speaking of help, when you work with a recruiter you receive career advice and interview help at no charge. –  When working with a recruiter you pay nothing, it is completely free of charge Recruiters to have a vested interest in your ability to succeed.  Because of that, they are more than willing to take the time to review resumes and give feedback, to prep you for interviews and to just give general career advice.  So TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!!

 

 

 

6. Your resume gets put right in front of the hiring manager.  -When you apply online or through a website, who knows if anyone has ever looked at your resume.  It’s put in through the system and a keyword search has to retrieve it.. A recruiter is your own personal marketing and sales rep.  

 

 

When working with a recruiter, what’s most overlooked is that a recruiter who you have established a trusted relationship with really does want the best for you.  They are invested in your next career step and are calling you to help get you there.

 

So just think twice before you hang up on them. 😉

A little Thank You goes a long way

A little Thank You goes a long way

Since I have been recruiting for some time now there are a couple tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way.  Tips for candidates on how to tighten up their interview process to help land their dream job, and suggestions for hiring managers on how to improve their interviewing process for today’s market.  Since I am talking to people all day everyday, I have heard a lot from both sides and wanted to share some of this insight with you to help you either land the job or hire great people.

Today’s focus is a topic I have been hearing about a lot lately from hiring managers, and have had to remind candidates of…

A little Thank You goes a long way.

What’s one of the first lessons we are taught when we are kids growing up?  I can hear myself repeating it to my parents now in a sing song voice now, “Always say please and thank you”, and god forbid you forget it!  Even if I was slightly delayed in saying please or thank you my parents would give me the immediate reminder, “Now what do you say?”, “Thannnnk Yooouu”. Continue reading “A little Thank You goes a long way”

My “swerves”

My “swerves”

Good Morning!

In lieu of Michelle Obama’s amazing new book, Becoming, I wanted to share with you my “swerves”.

For staters, if you haven’t read or listened to Michelle’s book yet, stop what you are doing right this instant and go buy it.  When you are done come back…

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To those of you who actually listened to me and bought the book, you’re welcome!  To those of you who read it, you get it.  To those of you who didn’t you still have time, it’s 1,000% worth it.

With my long drives to work, I listened to the book on audible.  I laughed, I cried (a lot), I was inspired, I was educated, I was hurt and upset.  I was all of the things and had all of the feels.  I am clearly not Michelle Obama if I can one day say I became a fraction of what she is I will be so proud, but while listening to her story, there were times I felt like she was telling my story.  She was so raw and real and open that you could relate to so much of what she was saying.

One story she shared was how she was a “box checker”, always doing what she thought she was supposed to do to get to that next level.  Get good grades, get into Princeton, go to Harvard law, practice law at a great firm in Chicago.  She did it all.  Then, when she met Barack he was different, he was swervey”.  He didn’t do things according to plan and in order, he was a risk taker.  He “swerved”, he zigged and zagged.  This idea of “swerving” was talked about a lot in her book and she went into a lot of detail of her own swerves and how they impacted her life.

Ironically, not long after I finished listening to that book, and finished crying because Michelle and I would no longer be BFFs every day even though she doesn’t know I exist, I was faced with a swerve. Continue reading “My “swerves””

Interview like a pro!

Interview like a pro!

Hey team!

Today I wanted to write a little about what I do for a living.  As some of you may know, I am a blogger by morning, a recruiter by day, and barre instructor by night.  Every day from 9-5 I am on the phone, almost all day long, talking to people about their next career opportunity.  I am interviewing them for positions I am working to fill, and helping them prep for interviews that they are going on.  

I am interviewing hiring managers to make sure I understand what they are looking for in a candidate for their open position.  I am interviewing candidates to see if they could be a good fit for the jobs, at the same time my candidates and clients are interviewing each other.

Lots of interviewing going on here!!

Since I have been completely surrounded by interviews and interview prep for the past 4 years, I have learned a lot from it.

On top of that, prior to my recruiting career, I even helped young women prep for their personal interview for the Miss Connecticut pageant.  Through it all, I have picked up on some essential interviewing skills that I would love to share with you to help with your next interview!

Continue reading “Interview like a pro!”

The Cashless Generation

shutterstock_380003569.0A few weeks ago, I went to the Harvest Fest at Angry Orchard with some friends. There were six of us, conveniently, all millennials. We found a cheap Airbnb and took Ubers to the event–all very “millennial” moves.  We had a great time, listened to some awesome reggae, drank way too many ciders, and then it was time to go home. Continue reading “The Cashless Generation”