W.T.F. Jobseekers? Get Real

I know when you’re looking for a job or out of work, you need all the support you can get. You need encouragement and praise to keep motivated, but sometimes what you really need is some harsh love, this could be one of those occasions.
In my twitter stream recently, I’ve got increasingly frustrated by some comments from job seekers and some of the advice being giving. Here are the top 9  “W.T.F.” comments you really should ignore:

1: If the A.T.S. is too complicated, asks too many questions or takes too long to complete I drop out.

Reality: Many A.T.S.’s suck
Reality: The bigger the drop out the more chance you have of getting the job
Reality: You will not get 100% of the jobs you don’t apply for.
It might be frustrating but you need to stick with it. Employers understand mistakes, and if you are confused by the ATS, ask for help!

2: I only connect with people who send me personalised invites or who I know.

Reality: The number 1 source of hire is referral.
Reality: You never know who knows who till you are connected
Reality: The wider your network, the more chance it will deliver a job
Connect with everyone you can at first invite or finding, you can weed them out later if they are spammers or undesirable.

3: I avoid connecting with recruiters unless they have a job for me.

Reality: Recruiters get people jobs.
Reality: If there is anyway a recruiter can place you they will, it’s how they eat. They are however, not the welfare office or career coaches.
Reality: If a recruiter has a job for you, they will hunt you down.
Make as many recruiter contacts as you can. Don’t expect instant feedback and make it easy to work with you by being friendly and having a clear idea of what you want. Don’t give them a hard time if they have nothing for you now, and DON’T as was suggested, put the phone down on them if they don’t know a job/company inside out.

4: It’s pushy to ask for the job

Reality: Many hiring managers take not asking as not interested.
Reality: If you don’t ask, you won’t get. (My mum taught me that.)
Reality: The offer only goes to someone who is perceived to really want it.
Always ask: 1: What the next step is? the timetable for that? Any reservations they have about you and if you can have the next step.

5: Only interview for jobs and cultures that fit what you want.

Reality: Most job descriptions do not match the real job.
Reality: Job descriptions are often changed to fit the candidate once strengths are identified.
Reality: If you don’t go to the interview you will never know.
Don’t be the one that got away. Go for the interview!

6: Lock down your Facebook privacy settings.

Reality: Recruiters are increasingly sourcing candidates through Facebook.
Reality: Your privacy settings are not really private anyway. there are lots of ways in for the really determined.
Reality: The person who can refer you for a job is probably not a college friend or family member.
Clean up your profile if you’re worried about it. Talk to your friends on the phone. Complete your professional details on Facebook. Sign up for BranchOut, they just got a $6mn investment and the networks/job platform is growing quickly. Make it clear you want a job.

7: I don’t prepare for interview because I want to be natural

Reality: The more you prepare the more confident you will feel.
Reality: The more you know about the company and the job, the better questions you can ask and the closer you can present “fit.”
Reality: Hiring managers are impressed with prepared candidates who tell them why they want the job.
Success at interview is 80% in the preparation, only 20% in the presentation.
8: Why should I chase feedback. if they want me, they will contact me.
Reality: The one who gets the job is usually the one who wants it most.
Reality: Every contact reminds the hiring manager of you.
Reality: The jobs not filled till someone starts.
Follow up, communicate and ask for feedback. Express at every stage that you are interested. It’s not their job to hire you, it’s your job to get hired!

9: E-mail is the best way to communicate.

Reality: E-mails get ignored.
Reality: You can counter objections in a call
Reality: You can project enthusiasm in a call.
PICK THE PHONE UP. E-mail is for confirmation and cowards. Don’t be the latter!

That is  the end of my rant. please add your own comments, examples of bad advice that make you say “W.T.F.” and anything else you want to add. Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to keep getting tips. You can do so on the e-mail button. It’s quick and simple.

Be social in your job search,

Bill

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Linked In Invite Research And Other Tips

Get daves attention?

I’ve been reading some well intended posts recently from Linked In experts Neil Schaeffer and Tim Tyrell-Smith on how important it is that you tailor your Linked In connection invites. This is something I have advocated in the past, believing the theory to be correct. It certainly sounds like it should be. You should read their post as it prompted me to write-up this post on some research I completed recently on this very subject.

. The actual results of the test and follow-up were far from what I expected, showing something to the contrary of what I believed and is the expert advice given in these and similar posts. (including some of my own!)

I sent out 50 invites to connect to people I was not connected with anywhere else. I got 31 acceptances in total. Bear in mind that some of the 50 may not yet be opened. It’s not uncommon for some people to either follow you for a while and accept or archive later or those that have profiles they rarely visit, choosing to either ignore or turn-off e-mail alerts.

The results of the 50 invites were:

The Standard Linked In Invite: 23 out of 25 accepted.

The Tailored Linked In Invite: (This introduced me and stated my objective in networking.): 7 out of 25 acceptances.

I took this further by sending out a further 20 invites, 10 using the standard Linked In Invite and another 10 using tailored invites. These were sent as introductions via connections.

I received 6 acceptances. 5 for the standard invite and 1 from the tailored invite. Of the 20 invites, 14 were forwarded to the second level connections.

To complete the experiment, I sent out a further 20 invites to members I shared a group with. At this stage, all of the invites were the standard Linked In Invite.

Of the 20 I sent out, I got 19 acceptances. By far in a way the most succesful.

To understand this better, I mailed all of the people I had invited for feedback regardless of if they had accepted or declined my invite.

Of the 90 e-mails I sent asking for feedback, I got 32 responses, interestingly, 19 from those who had not responded.

Feedback included:

The tailored invite with a stated objective was seen as too direct in an invite. It was felt that there should have been more engagement prior to the invite. With so much spam flying around on linked In, for everything from internet brides to S.E.O., a longer message with any more than the standard RECOGNISABLE invite, then it got dumped without acceptance.

People were comfortable to accept or investigate the standard invite because they knew what it was.

Most people who received the invite chose to either:

  • Ignore, Archive or Delete immediately for the reasons outlined above.
  • Of those receiving the standard invite, most reported that they viewed my profile first before accepting, hence the reason for making sure that your profile is a real advert for you. Having looked at my profile they accepted the invite.
  • Of those that didn’t respond, most had chosen to “follow” me and wait and see. They stated that they may review this status to a full acceptance in the future.
  • Of those who accepted my invite who shared a group, most did so on receipt. They felt that if we shared a group, we must have something in common, and as the group had accepted me already I was “pre-vetted.” This emphasises the importance of belonging to groups.

Of those who replied and were willing to take a call to discuss in detail, (20), I got the following feedback:

In order: they would be most likely to invite people to connect if:

  1. They already communicated on another social channel, particularly twitter.
  2. They read a post they liked in a group or noticed someone on the new “most influential” list.
  3. People who are suggested via linked In on “People You May Know” lists. (The more connections you have and the more groups you belong to, the higher the likelihood of appearing on these lists.) Displaying relevent information from the top line of your profile is key here. You have 140 characters and this shows below your name in the “people you might know.” tab.
  4. People that come up on key-word searches. That means getting your key-words right and separating them with commas.
  5. People who answered their questions.
  6. Via e-mails received with a Linked In connect button.
  7. Via “connect with” buttons or invites on blogs and other places.

When looking at profiles to decide if to connect the top influencers in the decision were:

  1. A professional photo or one they recognised from your avatar in another channel. Be consistent with your picture. No picture, no connection.
  2. Your professional top line matching their area of interest.
  3. A recent update in the last 7 days. professional not personal content.
  4. Contact details for follow-up. (put this at the top of your profile.)
  5. A well written summary and objective.
  6. If you have an embedded blog most included this in things they look at on your profile.
  7. Whilst nearly everyone responded that they were impressed to see slide share presentations on the profile (professional image), most did not look at them unless they found the title really interesting and relevent.
  8. Most importantly, no one looked at recommendations at all, and gave them little credence. People with lots of recommendations, (more than 10), were seen as fake.
  9. The whole twitter feed on a profile was seen as irritating or irrelevant. Don’t do it!
  10. Interestingly, most reported that they go back to profiles in more detail once relationships were established, then they go back to profiles and look at the downloads (box.net, blog entries and slide share presentations.) In particular they go back to the profile from group posts, group comments or mails from update notifications.
  11. Most will look for contact details on Linked In first before Google. Make sure yours are prominent.
  12. Most fed back that they found relevent links on updates to be the most likely reason to engage with someone.

Other interesting feedback included:

  • The least popular thing about recruiters using Linked In is random  job approaches without any prior engagement or jobs with no real relevance.
  • Hiring managers in the sample were unlikely to connect with connection requests post interview but would accept them pre-interview, would be more likely to engage and respond to e-mails via Linked In than a standard e-mail. They also admitted peeking on-line for comments post interview on Linked or Facebook. (Always be positive!).
  • Some of the Hiring managers compare the Linked In profile with the resume received. If they differ, you are unlikely to get the job.
  • Most said they couldn’t care less what you have pictures of Facebook, and while they wouldn’t friend you, they would accept a Cow from you or fight you in Mafia wars! (Worth checking for this. I never would have thought of it!)
  • Most are comfortable engaging with you on twitter and are impressed by this, though not about the job or interview in detail, other than “good to have met you. Very interested!” Always check the Linked In profile for twitter profiles and follow. This is the most likely route to engagement!
  • Most stated that they had been made uncomfortable during the interview if the applicant refered to personal detail about them found on-line. (like where they had been on holiday!) Research is impressive, but profesional detail only.

Where I am 100% in agreement with Tim, and he brings this up in the comments section of his blog is that once you’ve connected, you need to get social. collecting names, like collecting stamps won’t get you employed. As always, my best advice is be social in your job search!

Thanks to everyone that replied to my questions, it has been enlightening, and is quite different to a lot of the advice that is flying around. It has taken me about 100 hours to complete but has been well worth while.

Subscribe to this blog for more detail on this research and some interviews with some of the respondents on what they really want to see from Social Job Seekers.

Keep it social in your job search and be lucky!

Bill

Links Mentioned In This Post:

Best Practice In Writing Linked In Invitations By Tim Tyrell-Smith & Neal Schaffer

Get Hired By Word Of Mouse

You might have heard the rumbling around the growing use of “referral” as the favoured source of hire. For a hiring company this has a lot of benefits.
for a start there are no fees involved. (Although some companies will pay a bounty to the referer as a reward.)
Given that an employee has been willing to stake their reputation on the recommendation, there is less risk than unknown candidates.
Given that the both the candidate and the company are known to the referer, the cultural fit is most likely right.
Getting a job through the referral of a friend gives greater commitment through peer pressure.
Given these points, it’s easy to see why hiring companies are so keen to make this route to hire a top priority, and are developing new ways to utilise social media channels like Face Book, linked in and twitter. Getting hired will increasingly be about who you know and are connected with, rather than what you know or where your C.V/resume is on show.

How can you get yourself marketed by word of mouse?

1: Make sure all your profiles and bio’s are up to date and present you in the best light. In particular, remember to complete the professional pages on Facebook and that you have an open, accessable profile.

2: Sign up for the free “Branch Out” application on Facebook.

3: Identify the companies you want to work for and run searches on Linked In, Branch Out and Twitter Search to see who you are connected to in those companies. With Branch out you can also see all the secondary and third level connections with the company.

(Branch Out have just announced $6Mn in funding from Microsoft Bizspark, so i’m expecting a rapid growth in users.)

4: Ask those you know for a referral to your target companies. If you don’t have any close connections, consider targeting them through a facebook ad. These are very cheap, targeted and you pay only per click.

5: Give your connections something they can share within their connections and employers. This should include your LinkedIn profile, (with a C.V/resume added using the box.net application,) and a clear statement of the type of work you are looking for. You should also consider a blog that will showcase you and a clear, concise statement of what you are looking for in a job. Make sure you are easy to contact by having your contact details on all your profiles, bios and places. (A hire me button really stands out, is easy to create and link.)

6: As I listed in my last post, a video on You Tube is an easy thing for your connections and friends to share. I’ve attached another video that was shared with me by one of my connections, that showcases the skills, experience and personality of Graeme Anthony. (It’s a UK one too!) You can record a short video that is tailored to the company you want to join, what you can offer them and why you want to join them. Taking the time to research the company, your connections and finding out about them will really stand out.

Word of mouse will get you hired. Your friends and connections want to help you, but you need to give them material to share!

Be social in your search,

Bill

Links listed In This Post

Investment In Branch Out

Create Your Own “Hire Me” Button
Box.net Application

Social Media Job Search Model

I’ve been asked to post on how to develop social media networks in the job search. My starting point is to forget about having separate strategies for each social media channel in isolation.
I consider all social media to be one channel, with each place serving a different purpose.

This is my model for what you can use each channel for, and the tone to take in each place.

1; Linked In – This is where you find targets through search, joining and posting in groups and asking questions. Home base and reference point at the start of the search.

2: Twitter – where the conversation starts. Organise your targets through tweetdeck and start replying, commenting, questioning, retweeting and engaging. Gets you on the radar.

3: Facebook – Fan the company and comment or question. Ask for help.

4: Invite to Friend on Facebook for closer conversation, instant messaging, commenting and looking for opportunity. (don’t be disappointed if this is declined.)

5: You Tube – For showing. Great material for sharing in all the channels and promotes your capability.

6: WordPress for telling and sharing. If you are ready to blog in order to showcase your skills and opinions.

This is my model of the stages of building social presence through the channels, to link you with the right targets in your job search.

Good luck in making your job search social.

Bill