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Check Out Key Job Search Intel From Two Recruiting Pros

Posted by Kathleen Smith
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Take some of the guesswork out of your job search with insights shared by two recruitment experts in a recent panel discussion at BSides Las Vegas.

Kirsten Renner runs the recruiting team for the National Security Portfolio at Accenture Federal Services and Kris Rides is the co-founder and CEO of Tiro Security.

Kirsten and Kris know how to coach job seekers to navigate the hiring process. Hear their tips spanning interview preparation and follow up, to resume and social media advice.

The Hiring Process Timeline

Kirsten Renner: The best recruiters are going to guide you through what to expect next. The length of the process depends on the contract or the customer and what their requirements are (whether or not they require an extra background investigation, a customer fit review, etc.). Different customers put different things in the journey.

So we’re going to schedule a call initially with a recruiter. This screening call is where we build your profile and find out what you’re looking for and what you want to do next. I want you to be interviewed at your earliest convenience. As soon as I’ve established mutual interest with you, I’d like to go straight to offer.

My intention is always to get there as fast as I can. But if there’s a clearance requirement or a background investigation requirement, all those things are going to add days, or sometimes weeks to the process. If they want to meet you as well, we’ll explain that to you up front. We’ll tell you there’s one more phone call you’re going have to do, or maybe you need to go on site. I like to keep the process inside of 30 days.

Resume Do’s & Don’ts

Kris Rides: You need to make sure your resume represents the right set of experience and skills for the job you’re applying for. So keep your resume really straightforward – two or three pages if you’re hugely experienced. Nobody’s really interested in anything that’s 10 years plus experience, so that can be one line of just where you worked. You might even consider removing stuff that’s quite a lot of years back, because people can guess your age, and ageism is real.

If you’re looking at a job description, you should have that next to you as you look at your resume. If you’ve got relevant experience, make sure it shows in your resume, and then apply for the job. It will take you more time to apply for jobs that way, but looking for a job is a job in itself. Make it easy for recruiters. You want your application to stand out and be very obvious that you are worth taking to the next step.

Also, I don’t like columns on a resume. I know it’s tempting, but the applicant tracking systems (ATS) don’t really like those. It loses all that formatting and it causes a complete mess. So I would not use columns, please.

Kirsten Renner: The first thing you should do on your resume is start with, “I am a this, and I would like to be that” – not a dissertation, not a story. That’s it. Don’t assume that we know what you want to do next. Let us know right at the beginning in one sentence. “I am a Systems Engineer looking to become a Solutions Architect.”

Again, take a moment to review what you’re applying for. Try to summarize and customize how your resume looks based on the job that you’re applying for. It’s true that nobody cares what I did in 1994, but they probably care what I did in the last five years.

Interview Prep & Asking Questions

Kris Rides: First of all, speak to the recruiter. Ask them: Is this a video or telephone call? How should I be prepared for it? What should I wear? Find that information out – we want you to put your best foot forward, so ask us all those questions and anything you’re not sure of.

Have a notepad or something where you can take notes, because that will remind you to ask questions. Have a few questions prepared in advance: Why did you join this company? How long have you worked here? What makes you stay here? What do you think is the best thing about working here? If people can’t answer that, you might want to consider whether you want to work there. So there’s some questions you can have in advance, and others that you might want to jot down as the interview goes on.

Kirsten Renner: I always tell people when I’m coaching them going into an interview, to bring a notebook and to write things down. It shows that you’re interested. And then at the end you hear, “Do you have any questions for us” – that means the interview is over, right? You crack your knuckles, and then you say, yes.

Make it about them. For a minute they won’t be the interviewer anymore – they’ll be a human being telling you a story. What is the best thing you learned in the last year? That’s a really good question, because if they haven’t learned anything, how interesting is this place? So like Kris was saying, ask them, why did you come here? How have you grown here? That’s going to tell you if that’s a good place for you based on what they’re telling you.

Ask for Feedback

Kris Rides: We don’t always get the feedback that we really need from hiring managers. Sometimes we just get yeses and nos and that’s it, and it takes days sometimes to get a bit more than that. It can feel a bit awkward, but I always encourage people to ask, “How did you think I did in this interview? Think I could improve? How do you feel that I would be a fit?” Just open questions like that. You won’t always get the truth, but you can ask the question.

They might say, “I’ll think about it and come back to you,” or “I’ve got another three people to interview and then I’ll tell you.” Or something might come out that you haven’t discussed and isn’t in your resume, but you have the experience. It might be your opportunity to say, “I realized we never covered that. I actually did that here.” You might have missed out on something that would stop you from getting the job and you might actually manage to get it in there before that happens.

Kirsten Renner: That’s an excellent point. And don’t be afraid to tell the recruiter afterwards what the experience was like. Because trust me, they’re going to let the managers know if the person felt uncomfortable, so that they can do a better job as well.

How to Follow Up

Kirsten Renner: Don’t be afraid to reach back out. Please don’t just wait or assume that there’s a certain period of time that should go by. The recruiter is going to appreciate the reminder. And go about it in more than one way.

If you haven’t made contact yet, that’s when you need to probably be creative. Don’t just think the application is the only way. LinkedIn is the best way for a lot of recruiters. For me, it’s Twitter. I have people that are like, you never responded to my application or to my email, but they were creative and they found me on Twitter. So don’t be afraid to keep reaching out, especially if you get to the interview stage. Ask the recruiter for the hiring manager’s information. Let them know that you’re thankful for the time that they gave you.

Kris Rides: Say thank you, for sure. You often have access to their email addresses, so send them a follow up email the same day to say, “Thank you very much for your time. I really enjoyed it. I’m very interested in the role.”

You should certainly follow up with recruiters too. Our preference is to have the candidate feedback first, so that when we speak to the hiring manager, we have some idea of what to expect. So certainly chase us.

Connect with us and even connect with the hiring managers on LinkedIn as well. Hopefully you’ve worked hard to make sure that your LinkedIn profile is attractive and matches what’s on your resume. You could connect with them to say, “We’ve got an interview lined up for Tuesday. I’m looking forward to speaking to you.” So connect with them beforehand to see their background as well.

Kris’ LinkedIn Strategy

Kris Rides: I have a process that I think works really well: the 1-3-10 rule. Make the effort to post one piece of content a day, even if that’s sharing something of somebody else’s. Make it authentic and make it professional.

Three is for three comments on other people’s content. So not just, “yeah, like that” or “yes, agree.” Make genuine comments. If you’re interested and passionate about what they’ve written about, explain why. Actually put that on there. It stands out for me when people have taken the time to truly engage with it.

And then the ten part is look to connect with ten people each day that are going to help you forward in whatever your goal is. So if your goal is to get a new job, connect with ten people that would be the hiring managers in that job. If you’re genuine and authentic with your content and engagement, you’re going to catch people’s eyes.

What If I Don’t Want to Use LinkedIn?

Kris Rides: That’s fine – we’re not at the stage where we’re replacing resumes with LinkedIn. That might happen at some point, but you don’t need to be on LinkedIn. There’s pros and cons to it. If you’re not on LinkedIn, it’s hard to network remotely, get connected and build engagement with people that better your chances of getting a job. I think it’s a major part of job search now and I would encourage anybody that’s thinking about it to get on there. I think it would hugely help increase the opportunities you’ve got.

Kirsten Renner: There’s a large chunk of candidates that are qualified for the roles that I’m looking for that aren’t allowed to have a LinkedIn profile. And then there’s a whole other section of people that have a LinkedIn profile, but it just says, “Jane works at XYZ Company” and that’s literally it. So obviously, there has to be another way, right? We have to be creative.

So let’s say you don’t have a LinkedIn profile. You can still look at the companies that you’re interested in – they probably have a LinkedIn page. See who the recruiters and managers are in the areas that you’re interested in. Who’s in a management role in the departments that look interesting to you? You might set up a temporary account and message them. Or a Google search of their LinkedIn profile will give you most of that profile. Look at the preview and get their contact information. So you can still use LinkedIn as a directory without being active or having an account.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 19, 2022 8:30 am

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