When You Haven’t Had a Job Interview in 6 Months, Do This

Let’s say you’ve been unemployed for a while. A long while, at least six months. You were laid off from your Orange County company and were able to score a nice severance package and so you decided to “take it easy” for a few weeks, catch your breath, rest up, relax, maybe take in some of the Southern California day trips you’d been wanting to take, but never had the time.

And then a few weeks turned into six, then into two months and you woke up one  morning and said to yourself: “Todays’ the day! I’m revamping the resume, taking a look at some job boards, maybe make a few calls.”

And you do start with gusto. But 45 minutes in to the resume redo, you decide to check Facebook. Then it’s on to the Fox News or CNN websites. Before you know it, it’s 11:30: can’t make any calls now; it’s time for lunch.

As you eat lunch at your desk, you browse your favorite sites. You look up again and it’s 2 p.m. How did THAT happen!? So you work for another 45 minutes and then take a break.

Break over, but it’s now 4:45. Contacts won’t be at their desks. You call it a day.

The Same Pattern, Day After Day

Three months in and you’ve revamped the cover letter, but you’re starting to get worried: that severance package won’t last forever.

So you make some calls and people are polite but you can her them yawning on the other end. They’ll let you know if they hear of anything.

You start applying to openings you see on the job boards. You carefully craft each cover letter to the position and tweak your resume for that particular opening, too.

Still, that sound you hear? Crickets.

Six months is coming in mere days and you’ve no prospects and you’ve gone on no job interviews and you’ve definitely received no job offers.

Panic is now your middle name.

Time to REALLY Get to Work!

Even if you’ve been diligently applying for jobs, networking, and so on but have no job offers or even interviews, well, we’ll be blunt here: it’s going to be a lot harder for you to get interviews/job offers. Not impossible; but definitely harder. In a way, employers will look at you as if you’ve been out of work for five years: “What’s wrong with you that you’re still unemployed?”

(Note to self: never again “take it easy for a few days” after being laid off. Start the job search within no more than a week after leaving your employer.)

Enough with the Bad News. Here’s What you MUST Do: You’re Going to Break Some Rules

  • You’re going to approach companies directly (No more applying on job boards. You are DONE.) You’re going to find out who can hire for the type of work you can do and you’re going to contact that person directly.
  • Once you get a name, you’re going to research the hiring manager. LinkedIn, Google, the company’s website. You’re also going to research the company’s website to see what its goals and challenges are and you’re going to Google the heck out of, finding everything you can about the company.
  • Once you’ve done your research and you know the hiring manager’s name, you’re going to write her a letter. But not any old letter. Nope. Definitely not. Instead, you’re going to write a letter about a problem you figure the hiring manager has and how you can solve it for her. You could call this a “pain” letter if you like (go ahead, that’s what she calls it).
  • People hire people to solve their problems and you’re going to state how your skills and experience can help a hiring manager solve that problem. And you’re going to ask for a meeting or phone call to discuss your capabilities in person (instructions on how to do this).
  • Next you’ll place that letter (don’t fold it) with your resume in an 8.5 x 11-inch manila envelope and address it to the hiring manager.
  • And you’ll do this again for several different hiring managers at different companies.

Results can happen pretty quickly once the letters go out. This takes considerable work upfront (finding names, research, crafting the letter, etc.) but hiring managers will contact you. After all, you’ve just shown them evidence that you can solve their problems! Not all of them, of course, but enough will and you’ll soon be headed out on interviews.

Whether you’re looking for a full-time position or some temporary assignments while you look for your next opportunity, Helpmates can help. We have dozens of job openings every day: take a look and if one or more look interesting, apply as instructed.

Why Social Talent Sourcing May Not Work

Social media is teeming with people, millions and billions of people: Twitter boasts of 100 million users per day. Facebook was heading toward 2 billion users worldwide in February. LinkedIn, meanwhile, now has half a billion users.

And many of them could well be interested in a new job or career opportunity.

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So recruiters have flocked to social sites in droves. And who can blame them: all those millions of people in the U.S. in one place, available to contact with an easy click on the Enter key after writing a short message.

Yet, 80 percent of recruiters report that they’ve had zero luck in actually hiring someone they sourced on Facebook and Twitter. Nada. None. Big fat goose egg. Zilch.

How is this possible? So. Many. People.

And that’s the problem: the author of the post linked to above believes that recruiters tend to look at the social sites as quasi candidate databases because there are just so many potential candidates on them.

Yet the sites weren’t created with recruiting in mind, so it’s quite difficult to find qualified candidates. After all, look for people who are business managers and good luck finding them with that keyword on Twitter (the social platform doesn’t sort profiles by job title). As for Facebook, most people don’t put career information on their profiles at all.

Many people have written on how to source talent on social media. (For example, take a look at this terrific piece on sourcing and recruiting on Twitter). Take a look below for our advice.

Sourcing on Twitter

To source on Twitter, you need to be active on it: you should be participating in its community regularly. Make sure you have a photo of yourself (rather than the “egg”) by your Twitter handle. Tweet about more than jobs and recruiting issues. Stay away from just tweeting job postings.

Work hard to get followers: it helps build your credibility. This will mean tweeting possibly five times a day (job postings don’t count). You can use Hootsuite to schedule your posts, but will need to scan through your followers’ tweets and re-tweet, comment and like them.

Facebook Sourcing Tips

You may want to use a free sourcing tool created specifically for Facebook, Social Talent.

Successful Facebook recruiters join the Facebook Groups where their typical prospects hang out. Comment when you feel you have something worthwhile to say; answer questions that provide true help. Don’t recruit; you’ll be seen as pushy and sales-y.

Go ahead and reach out to people you feel might make a good candidate for an open position: Facebook is public. It’s also a business. It’s OK to treat it like one – carefully so, however.

The most important thing when it comes to sourcing on social media is sincerity. Be genuine. Be enthusiastic – this opportunity could a life changer for someone and her family!

Speaking of sourcing: we know where the good guys are! If you need help finding and vetting potential candidates for your company’s job opportunities, contact the Helpmates’ office nearest you. We would love to hear how we can help: contact us today.

Do the Job to Get the Job

We can’t take credit for that headline: it comes from the great Nick Corcodilos of AskTheHeadhunter.com who is a firm believer that candidates have much more power than they believe and that the absolute best way to find work is to directly approach a hiring manager. (Go ahead, visit his site and read as much of it as you can; you won’t be disappointed.)

Orange County careers

More importantly, once a candidate has piqued the interest of said hiring manager, it’s up to the candidate to, as Corcodilos puts it, “do the job to get the job.”

Here’s what he means, and it’s downright brilliant:

When candidates are pretty much equal in background, skills, education and ability to perform the duties of the job well, who tends to get the job? The one who shows the most enthusiasm for it.

Enthusiasm is important, but a critical part of that enthusiasm is understanding that one must work to prove one is the best candidate for the job.

In other words, the candidate that is so enthusiastic for the job that she’s willing to show the hiring manager that she’s up to job by actually “behave[ing] like an employee” instead of candidate, often is the one who receives a job offer.

This Doesn’t Mean Working for Free

Far, far from it. What it means, according to Corcodilos, is showing a hiring manager how you actually will do the job and how hiring you will help an employer become or stay profitable. (Remember: the main reason companies hire people is to solve problems and all employers’ problem boil down to one thing: making or saving money (and saving money is pretty much the same as making money).

Here’s a real-life example of this:

A reporter – one without a college degree – decided to apply for a job with a national PR firm. The job description said a college degree was required.

Still, because of her background and writing skills (she sent samples), the hiring manager called her in for an interview. The interview went well and the hiring manager gave her an assignment (as he did all interviewees): she could choose one topic out of three offered and write a pro and con piece on each. She needed to get her samples back to the hiring manager within a week.

The interview was on Monday. The young woman wrote the pro and con pieces on all three topics (six pieces total instead of two) and delivered them to the hiring manager on Wednesday (rather than the next Monday).

She got the job. Without the required college degree.

The “Do the Job” Interview

When going to an interview, be prepared to show your stuff! Corcodilos suggests that you tell the hiring manager beforehand that you want to demonstrate how you will do the work she hires you to do.

At the interview ask the hiring manager to present you with a real problem, one she’s actually facing, and show her how you’d solve it. This can do nothing less than impress the manager big time! (Don’t worry that you will get something “wrong,” because you won’t know all the facts about the problem; just solve the problem as best you can with the facts you have. Ask questions if needed).

Before leaving, look the manager straight in the eye as you’re shaking hands goodbye and tell her that you know you can do the job well and that you want it.  (If you end up turning the job down later, that’s ok. You may learn it’s not what you really want. The idea is to get the job offer.)

Not Easy, but Effective!

This strategy is not easy. It takes guts. A good amount of self-confidence and assertiveness. It may not be possible to speak to or e-mail the hiring manager before the interview to let her know you want to demonstrate your value in this way.

Yet even if you can’t tell the hiring manager beforehand, you can certainly announce it at the interview itself. Study the company as thoroughly as possible so that you can know its goals, challenges and successes as much as possible. (If you land an interview via a recruiting or staffing service, ask your recruiter for as much information as possible about the company.) Know your strengths and how they can translate to providing value to the hiring manager and do not be shy about demonstrating that value.

Go do the job and GET THE JOB!

For help in finding great openings in Orange and Los Angeles, counties, contact the Helpmates’ office nearest you. Or search our job opportunities and if one piques your interest, follow the instructions to apply.

Streamlining the Recruiting Process: Hire Fast, Hire Well

If you’ve noticed that you’re losing some great candidates because you’re taking too long to hire, you’re not alone: in this candidate-driven market, where there are just 1.5 applicants for each opening, a slow hiring process can mean you’re losing out on top performers, because someone else has already snatched them up. (Many top prospects are hired within just 10 days of dipping their toe in job search waters.)

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We understand that sharing the misery of missing out on the best candidates in no way alleviates the pain of losing those prospects. So we have some strategies for you. Take a look below.

  1. Make sure the job’s description is well defined.

That is, know exactly what the job entails and make sure you define it clearly. Absolutely clearly. Knowing precisely what type of background, certifications, education, and skill sets required from the get-go helps you make better – and faster – decisions when it comes to comparing qualified candidates with varying degrees of what you need.

  1. Use an applicant tracking system to shortlist candidates.

An ATS uses keywords to filter through candidates and pass over those who don’t fit your requirements. This can make the sourcing process much faster compared to having an individual spend hours going through resumes received. This also can help ensure great candidates aren’t lost due to simple human exhaustion.

  1. Consider allowing a candidate to send you a link to her LinkedIn profile first.

Doing so can save you some time in the preliminary vetting process, especially so since not all great candidates (think passive candidates) have an updated resume on hand. Looking at a prospect’s LinkedIn profile can allow you to see if he or she has the qualifications you need. You can always ask to see a resume later.

  1. Embrace the video interview….live and pre-recorded.

Many companies already use live video interviews/conferencing for preliminary interviews. Others are starting to drill down even further for preliminary vetting by sending candidates a set of questions and asking them to send them a video recording of their answers. This does benefit candidates: it allows them to think carefully about their answers and they can record their answers at a time convenient for them.

  1. Rate prospects against the job, not other candidates.

We must admit, we really like this one: instead of comparing candidates to each other, compare them to the position. That is, because you have clearly defined the role (see number 1, above), you should be able to see how each candidate would or would not fit it. This allows you to choose the candidate best suited for the role, not the best candidate among the candidates.

  1. Use a recruiting or staffing service to vet prospects.

Of course we are going to suggest using a staffing service such as Helpmates to help you get through the sourcing and vetting process! Doing so can free you up to interview only the top candidates for the position. Together we can craft a clearly defined job description and then source and vet candidates, sending only the best on to you for interviews.

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

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