As the Director of Recruiting and a Professional Life Coach, I have a lot of conversations with people about finding a new job. I also have a lot of conversations with hiring managers about finding the right addition to their team. For the most part, people are not enjoying the process on either side of the desk.
My strategy in life is to have fun. It’s a big value of mine. I relish the conversations with candidates who are curious and excited about a position. I dance the happy dance when a candidate that our client really wants accepts their offer letter. But what I really want is for everyone to have fun along the journey.
If you’ve been on the job market for a while and are frustrated by the process (let’s not focus on what’s not working), I’m going to ask you to set your opinions, attitude, and your polished resume aside for just a few moments and consider the suggestions in this SNAP approach to a job search. My intention is to make your search more productive, and hopefully more fun.
S = Screen yourself for the job.
Screen your background and education against the job description. Do you have the years of experience, the industry experience, the software or hardware experience, and the educational background that the company is looking for? Take this step very seriously, especially in mid-senior roles. Assume that there are three other candidate resumes in front of the hiring manager who have those qualifications. If you’re missing one, what is compelling in your background that will override that requirement? If you were the hiring manager, would you hire you?
This is probably the most difficult discussion for me to have with candidates because when I wear my coaching hat I want to say, “Go for your dream job!” and when I have on my recruiting hat I have to say, “Sorry, your background isn’t a fit.” So if you find your dream job and your background isn’t a fit, what is your strategy for getting the job? I’ll write about that next month.
N = Network your way in to the hiring manager.
At a recent recruiting event, senior recruiters from several large software companies in the Bay Area stated that 35% of their hired candidates were sourced from web sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor and 55% were from employee referrals. That means only 10% came from online submissions. Instead of the “apply here” button, the job ads should really have a button that says, “find someone you know who works here.”
When I mention this statistic to people who tell me they applied online, they say, “I know, but it makes me feel like I’m being productive.” Their time might be better spent making sure that their LinkedIn profile rocked.
If you don’t know anyone at the company who can refer you, try these tips:
- Follow the company on LinkedIn and read about what is important to them. Where are they speaking or having a booth? If it’s in the area, go and meet them there.
- Find the hiring manager on LinkedIn or someone in a similar role and request an informational interview. You can do that through an InMail on LinkedIn. Most people will honor that request if it as sent as a genuine request to learn more about the company and the role.
- Send an InMail to the recruiter asking for an informational interview. If your profile on LinkedIn shows that you’re a fit for the job, they will schedule a call.
A = Attitudes will make or break an interview.
I have had several candidates who had the right background for the job, got the interest of the hiring manager, and were then passed on because of their low energy during the phone screen. What happened?
There is likely a different sense of energy during an interview if you already have a job and are entertaining another offer than if you haven’t worked in a few months and the bank account is getting low. One might come off aloof and the other more desperate. Be aware of how your energy is during the call. Here are some tips:
- Sit on the edge of your chair while you’re talking. You’ll have more energy in your voice than if you’re leaning back with your feet up on your desk.
- Plan on 15 minutes before the call to review the company and the job description.
- Have at least three questions written down that you can ask.
- Bring up the LinkedIn profile of the person you’re speaking with and review their background. Who might you know in common? What do they have written under their interests?
- Be curious and interested.
P = Preparation means it matters to you.
Hopefully you researched the company and its products and services before you submitted your resume. Depending on the position that you’re interviewing for, you should be prepared to discuss not only the job and the requirements, but also the company, including:
- Their products
- Their main competitors
- What their last press release was about
- Their revenues, or funding level if they are a startup
- The name of the CEO
I don’t believe that a job search is a numbers game. A targeted SNAP approach will net you more interviews than submitting your resume online to every job posting that you see. Good luck and have fun with it.
About the Author
Mira Wooten is the Director of Recruiting at the 280 Group, a Product Management and Product Marketing company that provides consulting, contractors, training, certification, books and templates, and contingent recruiting services. Mira has over 10 years working with clients to identify the perfect team fit for their needs. She is also the owner of Clarity Coaching Works, a professional coaching company. Follow Mira at @mirawooten.