Applicant Tracking Systems – The Hidden Peril – Guest Post

Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant Tracking SystemsHow to overcome the most invisible obstacle job seekers face today.

There’s a secret trap that stops great and highly qualified people getting hired. It’s the rise and rise of Applicant Tracking Systems. If you don’t know how these work, you are at serious risk of becoming a victim.

Here’s what you need to know.

You may have an excellent and relevant background, an impressive resume and be completely charged about working for a particular firm.

You may be by a country mile the best qualified person for the job.

But you still won’t get hired. Or even selected for interview.

And increasingly the reason is because an applicant tracking system (ATS) filtered you out.

Some sources quote that as many as 75% of applicants are eliminated by ATS systems, as soon as they submit their resume, despite being qualified for the job!

In this post, I’ll explain all you need to know about ATS and what you can do to not get caught out by one. I’m sure you’ll be happy to leave those traps for your rivals!

(More: Is the resume still relevant)

So what is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant tracking systems are increasingly used by many employers to process job applications and to manage the hiring process. They are also sometimes known as talent management systems or job applicant tracking systems.

Applicant tracking systems automate the way companies manage the recruiting process. They extract key data from resumes and applications and store this in a database.

This information is then used for screening candidates, applicant testing, scheduling interviews, checking references, and documenting the end to end process.

Sounds good so far doesn’t it? Instead of relying on the inconsistency of human screening, a machine will give everyone a fair and equal assessment.

If only that were true…

Why companies use Applicant Tracking Systems

The sheer volume of applications received for most positions today means that human reading of dozens or hundreds of applications and resumes is time consuming, expensive and prone to human error.

Applicant tracking systems are more than just administrative tools though. They are also used to provide a record of regulatory compliance and to track sources of candidates, for example where the candidate found the job posting.

How Applicant Tracking Systems work

Applicants upload their information, including their relevant experience, educational background and resume into the database. This information is transferred from one part of the system to another as the candidates move through the selection process.

(More: What does your resume say about your age?)

So where’s the problem?

The problem with applicant tracking systems, is that they are just that. Systems. They lack human intelligence. And that’s a big problem for candidates.

If your resume isn’t formatted how the system expects it to be and doesn’t contain the right keywords and phrases, the applicant tracking system may well misread it and rank it as a bad match with the job, regardless of your qualifications.

And there’re no fail safe checks. That’s it. You’re out.

This weakness has been proven by research

In a test last year, Bersin & Associates created a resume for an ideal candidate for a clinical scientist position. The research firm perfectly matched the resume to the job description and submitted the resume to an applicant tracking system from Taleo, the leading maker of these systems.

When the researchers then studied how the resume apppeared in the applicant tracking system, they found that one of the candidate’s job positions was ignored completely simply because the resume had the dates of employment typed in before the name of the employer.

The applicant tracking system also failed to pick up several key educational qualifications the candidate held, giving a recruiter the impression that the candidate lacked the educational experience required for the job.

This perfect resume only scored a 43% relevance ranking to the job because the applicant tracking system misread it.

So your only hope for passing through an ATS successfully is to understand exactly how these systems work and to make sure you don’t get caught out.

How Applicant Tracking Systems rank your resume

Many think that applicant tracking systems rely simply on keywords to score the fit between a candidate’s resume and a specific job. So they search to identify keywords in the job description and insert these keywords into their resumes.

In fact, what matters most to an ATS isn’t the number of word matches found. It’s the uniqueness or “rarity” of the keyword or the keyword phrase, i.e. those keywords and phrases specific to that particular job.

The ATS then calculates a ranking based on how closely each applicant’s resume matches each keyword and phrase and only then how many of the keyword phrases each resume contains.

What recruiters see when they look at your resume on an Applicant Tracking System

But scoring shortcomings are not the end of it. An ATS also restricts what recruiters and HR people see when viewing candidates’ information on the system.

When a recruiter views a candidate whom the applicant tracking system has ranked as a good match for the job, the recruiter doesn’t see the resume the candidate submitted. The recruiter sees only the information the applicant tracking system pulled from the candidate’s resume into the database.

The ATS will try to identify this information on a job seeker’s resume, but if a resume isn’t formatted in the way the system expects it to be, it won’t pull this information into the proper fields.

Sometimes, whole sections can be ignored, such as a key skills profile or an executive summary.

(More: Social Media Strategy – My Resume)

How to optimize your resume for an Applicant Tracking System

So if you are job seeking, ATS systems can potentially ruin your chances of getting hired. Fortunately there are some simple tips that can help ensure that the other applicants rather than you get tripped up.

Never send your resume as a PDF

ATS cannot readily structure PDF documents, so they’re easily misread, or worse fail completely.

Don’t include images, tables or graphs

An ATS can’t read graphics and they misread tables. Instead of reading tables left to right, as a person would, applicant tracking systems read them top to bottom and consequently the information can get jumbled or missed altogether. So don’t be tempted to use images, boxes, tables or graphs anywhere in your resume.

You may choose to submit a longer resume

The length of your resume doesn’t matter to an applicant tracking system. It will scan your whole resume regardless of its length. Because a longer resume allows you to include more of your relevant experience this may enable you to improve your ranking in the system.

However do not overdo this. If you get through the ATS screening, real people will still be reading your resume, so you still need to keep it concise and present it in a way which communicates your main strengths as clearly as possible.

Label your work experience, “Work Experience”:

You may have chosen to refer to your work experience on your resume under headings such as “Professional Experience” or “Key Achievements”. Don’t. Some people get very creative with their resumes because they think it will help them stand out, but in fact it damages your prospects once an ATS gets involved. Don’t run the risk of letting the computer miss your work experience just because you didn’t label it as such.

Don’t start your work experience with dates
To ensure applicant tracking systems read and import your work experience properly, always start it with your employer’s name, followed by your title. Finally add the dates you held that title. It’s wise to give each of these pieces of information its own line. Applicant tracking systems look for company names first. By the same token, you should never start an entry about your work experience with the dates you held the position.

Follow these tips and at the very least an ATS should give your resume a fair assessment. And with luck your biggest rivals won’t know how to dodge these traps!

This post originally appeared on the 40PlusCareerGuru Blog!

About the Author:

Neil Patrick is the Editor of 40pluscareerguru, a blog which deals with the career issues facing mature professionals. He is also on Twitter at @NewCareerGuru

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Evaluating the Job Offer – What is Missing?

job offerEvaluating the Job Offer

When you get a job offer what the first thing you look at?

The Money!

If all you are looking at is the money in the job offer, you may end up very disappointed a few months down the road.

I wrote about determining what you want in non-financial terms in a previous postI wrote about the need to determine what you really care about before evaluating the job offer.

What is Missing or Hidden in the Job Offer?

There are two areas of compensation that are changing in the workplace—Paid Time Off (PTO) and health insurance.

When I went to work for IBM in 1978, I was given two weeks vacation that was allotted to me at the beginning of the year, and I had virtually an unlimited amount of sick leave. Pretty generous! At five years, I was allotted three weeks of vacation, and we could carry any unused vacation forward.

Most companies have moved to a Paid Time Off (PTO) model where you earn a certain number of hours of PTO with each paycheck. This way, companies do not have to track whether it is sick or vacation time.

What you should be looking for in the job offer as it relates to PTO:

  • Holidays – Some businesses have cut the number of paid holidays back to a minimum and expect the employee to use PTO for the rest.
  • Beginning PTO balance – Is the PTO balance zero when you start? If you have a planned vacation within the next six months, you will probably not have enough PTO time. You can negotiate for PTO time to be added at your hire date.
  • When does the accrual rate of PTO time increase? Do you have to wait one or three or five years to start accumulating PTO at a higher rate? You may be able to negotiate to start at a higher accrual rate.
  • Can you carry the PTO balance over from year to year?
  • Will the business pay out any remaining PTO balance when you leave? This was a huge issue for me when I left my last corporate gig. I had accrued over 5 weeks of PTO and I had to make sure I would get paid before I left.

Time off from work is valuable. You need to look at this carefully.

What you should be looking for in the job offer as it relates to health insurance:

  • Is you spouse covered? Are you planning to put your spouse on the health insurance plan? Check to see if that is allowed. Many businesses are dumping insurance coverage for your spouse.
  • Does the business contribute to coverage for your spouse and children? When I went to teach high school math for a couple of years, the school district allowed me to add my wife and child to the policy, but I had to foot the entire bill for the additional coverage. My out of pocket expense was double my COBRA payment from my last high-tech position. I stayed on COBRA until we could find alternative insurance for my wife and child.
  • If your spouse is covered, but the out of pocket expense is very high, consider going to the Healthcare Market Place. Due to the fact that your spouse is eligible for group healthcare coverage from the job offer, you will NOT be eligible for any tax credits. This can be a balancing act with thousands of dollars dependent on your decision.

Usually, the health insurance issue is not negotiable. What you do want is to be able to evaluate the offer with your eyes wide open.

PTO and health insurance benefits can be a large portion of your compensation. Look at these items in the job offer seriously!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Surviving a Resource Action – A Different Perspective

Surviving a Resource Action

Resource ActionI have two clients who are surviving a resource action from a major employer. One had her position eliminated, and one was moved to a new position within the organization. Lots of similar emotions for both of them!

They are both relieved that the long-awaited resource action has happened. Weeks ago, the company announced that the changes were coming, so it became like working in a intensive care ward. Everyone was waiting to see who would die…I mean, get laid off, and who would recover…keep their jobs.

Grief and Sorrow

There was grief and sorrow for both of them.

My client, who was adversely effected by the resource action, wondered “why was I laid off when there were others less worthy could have been?”

My client that survived the resource action wondered “why was I selected to stay when there were more worthy people who were laid off?”

Some of it was being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being in the right place at the right time.

(More: Resource Action – It is not about you)

Who is better off?

In this case, I believe it is my client who was adversely effected by the resource action – i.e. laid off!

WOW really?

This was the third resource action that she had experienced, and the second where she was actually laid off. After the first resource action she experienced, she found a new position at the last moment. She knows what to do!

  • Visited her financial adviser to get the facts. She discovered was she was in good shape and could go two years without working.
  • Visited an employment lawyer. She had a number concerns about how her retirement was being handled. It felt good that she was covering all of the bases.
  • Applied for another credit card. When you are out of work, cash is king. Having additional credit lines, even if you do not use or need them, is valuable.
  • Set up an L.L.C. or Limited Liability Corporation. I have told her I do not want her to work full time again this year. She needs to recover from the stress of working in a toxic work environment. Having an L.L.C. allows her to perform freelance work and write off equipment purchases (new computer) that she would have bought anyway. This also allows her to date companies where she might want to work.

(More: 7 Positive steps to take after being affect by a resource action)

Who is worse off?

In my humble opinion, those left behind are often the worse off. Workloads do not decrease, but are spread across fewer people.

Will this be the last resource action? NO!

In 2003, I worked for Agere Systems, a spin off from Lucent. We had small resource actions just about every month. I called this the Chinese Water Torture of resource actions—drip…drip…drip… I was on one of the teams that ranked employees. UGH! That is something I never want to experience again.

I volunteered for a resource action at the end of 2003. I have never regretted that decision.

She is now motivated not to wait for the next resource action. She knows that she is living on borrowed time and needs to move to her next position on her own schedule and not that of her employer.

Everyone is affected by a resource action. Some are more affected than others, and they may not realize it at the time.

Have you been affected by a resource action?

Who was worse off? Those who were laid off or those who stayed?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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You Did Not Get the Job! Now What?

You did not get the job! What do you do now?

get the jobYou just got the rejection notice that said you did not get the job you really wanted.

What could have happened:

  • There was a more qualified candidate than you for this position.
  • You did not demonstrate one or more attributes that they were looking for in a candidate. You may have those qualities, but you did not convey them in the hiring process.
  • There was an internal candidate that was deemed a safer hirer.
  • They just made a mistake and hired the wrong person.

You did not get the job. That is true—but let’s create a process where you can learn and grow from the experience.

What are you going to do now?

Post Interview

Immediately after the interview, consider doing the following:

  • Write a personalized, hand-written thank you note to everyone you interviewed with. If possible, hand carry them to the office where you interviewed.
  • Write a personalized e-mail to everyone you interviewed with.
  • Send a LinkedIn request to everyone you interviewed with.

Post-Rejection Notice

After you have been informed that you did not get the job, consider doing the following:

  • E-mail the hiring manager, thanking him or her for the opportunity to interview for the position. Mention that you would like to be considered for other opportunities in the future.
  • E-mail others that you interviewed with, and thank them for their time. Ask them for any feedback that they may be able to provide.
  • If you followed the Targeted Job Search strategy and Targeted the Company , you should have had an employee referral. If so, then ask your referral to do some detective work.

1-2 Months Later

Monitor LinkedIn for changes in the department that you interviewed:

  • Check to see who was hired for the position.
  • If it was an external candidate, check to see how their credentials compare to yours. Were they better qualified?
  • Send a connection request to the individual who was hired.

3-6 Months Later

Reach out to person hired and ask to meet for coffee or lunch. Ask for AIR – Advice, Insights and Recommendations!

What could happen:

  • The person who was hired might not work out. I have seen this happen!
  • They might open up other positions for which you will be a better fit.
  • You could learn that the person they hired was better qualified and a better fit.

I recently had a client that was hired a year after the person they hired did not work out, and they changed the job description to better fit my client’s qualifications.

When you do not get the job of your dreams, be persistent and do not let inertia set in!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my personal branding white paper –  Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Inertia and Persistence as it Relates to Your Career

Inertia and Persistence

InertiaInertia inhibits us from moving forward in our career—persistence is what we need to keep us moving forward in our career.

Inertia

I am a baby boomer!

I was raised to be an employee to go to work for an employer who would take care of me.

We were also raised to be loyal to our employer no matter what. Therefore, we created a lot of inertia in our careers. Once we started something, we stayed and stayed and stayed…well until we got laid off or something happened to wake us up. For me, that was in 2002 with a near fatal bicycle accident. That accident set in motion a series of actions that has led me to where I am today. Until then, inertia had me stuck.

In today’s workplace, inertia is a dangerous thing. The world is changing fast, and you need to keep moving forward with your career.

Persistence

I have been interviewing entrepreneurs, and one key words keeps coming up—persistence.

The definition I like the best is:

“persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering”

The opposite of inertia.

I have helped multiple clients write their brand stories over the last year. In listening to them tell me their stories, I found a common theme—they have been laid off multiple times over the last dozen years. All have gotten back on their feet and moved forward in their careers. They showed persistence in spades.

Before that first layoff, inertia kept them from preparing for the next career pivot. However, once they were shoved forward and, often, off a figurative career “cliff,” they did not stop until they landed. Unfortunately, inertia would set in again until that next shove.

See the pattern:

  • We get comfortable, and inertia sets in
  • We get shoved into action
  • Our persistence kicks into gear
  • We land, and inertia returns

I have seen this over and over again. I have done this in my life. I bet you have, too!

How can we stay persistent and not let inertia settle in?

  • Take breaks. Yes, take a vacation. Take a day off before you become exhausted.
  • Celebrate success. Stop, sit, and digest the good feelings when you have a success.
  • Analyze failures, but return to the feelings of success. When failures occur—which they will—you have the option to go back to that time of success. Recapture those feelings.
  • Always look forward.
  • Be ever vigilant.

Persistence will keep your career moving forward.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

 

You can also download my latest white paper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

How to Impress a Recruiter – Guest Post

How to Impress a Recruiter

The other day I was on Twitter.  I am active on Twitter.  Right now, it is my favorite social site.  Why?   I am a little quirky, and I am pretty good with words.  I love sarcasm and creativity.   It is hard to say what you want to say in 140 characters or less, so if you can do it, I admire you.   I love friendly banter and I am impressed with the unconventional.

Your favorite site may not be Twitter.  It may be Facebook.  Why?  You may love sharing pictures and the way it is set up.  My wife is a Pintrest fan.  She loves to cook and loves seeing pictures of foods.  She gets great ideas from pictures.  Recently she planned a Batman birthday for our 3 year old simply by looking at pictures on Pinterest.

Smart.  Really smart.

As a candidate, you have to recognize what recruiters are doing and saying.  I had Matt Arch  send me a note on Twitter the other day that blew me away.  Why did he intrigue me?  He first went to LinkedIn and researched my profile.  He found that I was in Austin and I recruited Sales and Marketing individuals.  He then found my twitter handle on Linkedin.  Once he found my twitter handle, he sent me a note saying he was looking to relocate to Austin and sent me a hyperlink to his resume

Smart.  Really smart.

I always have a tab open on my computer on Twitter.  In addition, whenever I receive a tweet, I get a ding on my phone and the word “message” shows up on my phone.  You can probably get in touch with me quicker by tweeting me than leaving me a voice mail.

We exchanged tweets and I learned a great deal about him.  He was a college student in Pittsburgh.  You know what was cool about this?  He instantly separated himself from the pack for doing something different.

The story doesn’t end there.

For those of you reading this know, I write.  I write a lot.  He knew that also.  He knew that by researching me on Linkedin and reading my tweets.  He had a guest blogger on his blog site and had had sent me a radio blog which you can listen here .  This blog was creative.  It explained the frustrations, fears, and excitement of graduating from college. How clever.  This took time.

So, let’s recap.  He did research to find me.  He creatively grabbed my attention with a tweet.  He used technology to send me a resume.  He even blogged about job searching.  Not everyone does this.

When you are looking for a job, think outside the box.  Do some impressing.  Do something different.  Do something that will stand out.

Matt Arch will land a job fast!  Follow his lead.  Not many are doing what he is doing, and if you are looking to differentiate yourself, take this as a great lesson.

It impressed me!   Maybe you should send me a tweet too?!

willrecruits

 

This post originally appeared on Bulls Eye Recruiting

Author:

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He received his undergraduate from The University of Mississippi, and his Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Find him on Twitter @WillRecruits or at Bulls Eye Recruiting

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What Does Your Resume Say About Your Age

Your Resume and Your Age

The format and contents of your resume says a lot about your age. Age discrimination is a fact of life in today’s job market. This goes both ways for the young and the old. I want to discuss the signs that you are over 50 years of age and, hopefully, get you past the initial gatekeepers who might think you are too old.

Home Address

For many years, we sent our resume and cover letter through the mail. We put our home address right on the top. Fact is, there is no longer a need to put your home address on the resume anymore.

There are other reasons not to include your home address:

  • Economic profiling
  • Length of commute
  • Personal safety

If the employer needs your home mailing address, they can ask for it.

(More: Is the resume still relevant)

E-Mail Address

One sure sign that you are over 50 is to have a aol.com e-mail address, or even an e-mail address from your cable provider like rr.com on your resume.

Either sign up for a gmail address or get an e-mail forwarding service from:

  • A professional society – I have had e-mail addresses from IEEE and ACM both technology associations
  • Your Alumni Association – I have an e-mail address from my Northwestern Alumni Association
  • Get your own domain – I have one client who acquired his full name as a domain name like MarcMiller.com

All of these options say something about your professional brand.

I always recommend using a separate e-mail address for your job search.

(More: Social Media Strategy – My Resume)

Home Phone Number

Who under 45 years of age still has a home phone? We ditched our home phone five years ago, and I am quite a bit older than 45. If you still have a home phone and do not want to give out your cell phone number, get a Google Voice number. Put the Google Voice number on your resume as your cell number. You can set it up so that it will ring on multiple phones (both home and cell). It can be configured to transcribe the message, and then e-mail and text you the transcription. Some of the transcriptions can be really funny. I had one recruiter leave me a message and her name was transcribed as stressed out waters.

Double Space After Period

I am going to go out a limb and declare that putting two spaces after a period is obsolete. It is how most of us were taught to type on a typewriter. Therefore, most of us who do this (I have taught myself to stop putting two spaces after a period and it was hard) are over 50 years of age.

Over the years, I have heard that this has been used as a method of screening out older candidates.

Skills

Limit the skills you list on your resume to current and relevant skills. I have seen many technical resumes that list every system, software program, and technology that the applicant has ever worked on.

I could list that I wrote MS-DOS control programs, wrote machine level code developing word processors, managed IBM mainframe computers, and lots of other obsolete technologies. Unless I was applying for a position that required these skills, all it tells the reader is I am over 50 years of age and maybe older.

Look at your resume—what does it say about your age? Show it to others and ask them what it says about you.

Age discrimination is a fact of life in the job market today. You do not want to be filtered out by the staff who are screening initial resumes and lose the opportunity to demonstrate your talents and skills.

By the way, I chose to use resume rather than résumé in this article for the purists.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page  for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

 

4 Steps in Creating Your Video Interview Environment

Video Interview

video interviewHave you had a video interview? If you have not been in a video interview yet, just wait.  This could be done via Skype, Google Hangouts, or a variety of other platforms. The key to a successful video interview is to look and, more importantly, sound your best.

Room Selection

The room environment where you will be interviewed is key. You want good, consistent lighting and excellent acoustics. Pick a room that is devoid of hard surfaces (like tile or wood floors), glass table tops, or lots of windows. Select a room with carpet and possibly drapes on the walls. When I record my webinars, I am in my master bedroom closet where the hanging clothes creates a studio-like audio environment. You probably cannot hold a video interview in your closet, but you get the point. You will want to position yourself in the room where you are less than six feet from a wall. If you webcam has an auto focus feature you will want the camera to focus on you and not something behind. A little trick is to buy a simple room divider with smooth surfaces and place it behind you. If you select the right room for your video interview everything else becomes so much easier.

Lighting

You want even, full spectrum lighting on the front of your face. If this is your home or office, most lighting is from above or the side. Purchase three inexpensive desk lamps and install full spectrum light bulbs. These will act as key lights and give you even lighting. Place these pointing up at your face on the front, left and right. Finally, close all of the window shades. Do not spend more than $50 on the lighting. You may already have the lamps in your house or office.

Audio

In the world of high definition video, your audio is more important than your video. Our tolerance for poor audio is much lower than for video. You will want to sound great. If you have picked the room properly with sound deadening materials this is fairly easy. Use a set of headphones. These could be the ear buds from your cell phone. You can run the wire underneath the back of your shirt so they do not show. This will eliminate any chance of an echo. If you use headphones you can use the microphone built into your computer. However, I prefer to use a USB condenser microphone. I use a Samson condenser microphone that I purchased with a pop filter several years ago for under $100.

Clothing and Body Positioning

Pick clothes that have color and look good on you. For most of us guys, we will need to ask for help. Avoid patterns on shirts, jackets and ties. The cameras have gotten a lot better at dealing with patterns, but it is still best to avoid them. I prefer my clients to be standing up when being interviewed. You will be able to use your hands naturally. Since you will only be on video from the waist up, wear shoes that will not generate any noise when you move around. Flip flops work great. The most important feature is to be in an environment where you feel comfortable. You are on stage and you want to give your best performance. Much has been written on how to perform during a video interview. However,  a great performance can come across poorly without the right environment.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers.

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

5 Key Traits Recruiters look for in a PASSIVE CANDIDATE – Guest Post

Passive Candidate

Passive CandidatesYou wake up just like you do every morning and get ready for work.  You grab your cup of coffee, get in the car and head into your office.  You sit down in your cubicle, read through your e-mails.  Your boss wants you to get a report ready by noon. Your wife wants to remind you about your dinner party Saturday night.  Okay.  You read on.  Yada, yada, yadda.  Now wait! What is that e-mail?!!  “Hi, my name is Will Thomson, and I am the corporate recruiter for Rosetta Stone.  I saw your Linkedin Profile and would like to talk to you”. You may ask yourself, “What just happened?”.

Candidates, this is my life.  I am a corporate recruiter.  My job is to find you.  Last year, I wrote a guest post for Career Pivot talking about how recruiters will find you which you can read here   So now you know you are being looked for.   It is no secret.

In these times, no job is permanent.  If a public company has a few bad quarters, you are dispensable.  If the economy starts going south, the company “has to make difficult decisions”.  Believe me when I say to you, it is in your best interest to always be a passive candidate even if you are 100% happy.

Let’s talk about what happens next.  Hopefully I have convinced you that you SHOULD BE a passive candidate.  You have cleaned up your social media presence and you are FOUND.    Here are 5 things that we look for that you may or may not know that should help you become more attractive to a prospective employer.

1)      Your reputation.  Since we are “detectives” we want to know what your co-workers, former bosses, former co-workers have to say about you.  Sometimes we may ask someone in our network that knows your former boss to do a little detective work for us.  If you have great work skills, but awful people skills, then we probably will pass.   If you have crossed someone in your past, try to make amends.  Never burn a bridge.  EVER.  If you do, try to reconcile it.  You may get through the first couple of interviews, but you won’t get hired.

2)     Your Growth. Some people like staying at the same company for years.  I have friends that have been at companies for 20 years.  I have other friends that switch jobs every couple of years.  The important thing here is not to do the SAME thing for an extended period of time.  Take on new responsibilities.  Grow as an individual.  If you are with the same company in the same role for 10 years, that IS LOOKED AS A NEGATIVE.  If you have had 5 different roles and your career progresses with the same company, WE WANT YOU!

3)     Your Beautiful Mind.  I don’t care if you are 20 or 50.  Can you do what the job requires?  This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to stay current.   Take continuing education courses, get certifications.  Read.  Be a sponge.  Get involved with meetup groups.  If you did COBOL in the 80’s, I could care less.  If you can develop iOS apps now, I WANT YOU regardless of age.  If you don’t, I’ll find someone else.  Companies are now looking for the best and the brightest.  Are you in that category?  If not, do something about it!

4)     Your Peers.   You are who you hang out with.  There are some great people in this world and there are some not so great people in this world.  If you work for a company that compromises your integrity and you “drink their Kool-Aid”,  we don’t want you.  Make a change quick.  You don’t want to be pigeonholed in this scenario.

5)     Your Attitude.  I want someone who makes me feel excited about change.  Excited about technology.  Excited about the weather.  Excited about anything!  Leave your negativity at the door.  When you are negative, you are going to be poorly viewed another candidate will be chosen!

What traits of a passive candidate do you exhibit?

Are you ready to become a passive candidate?

Author:

Will Thomson lives in Austin, Texas, and works for Rosetta Stone as the global sales and marketing recruiter. He has been in recruitment and sales for 20 years. He received his undergraduate from The University of Mississippi, and his Master’s Degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. He has recruited some of the most sought-after talent around the globe, and is a regular blogger for the recruitment industry. Find him on Twitter @WillRecruits or at Bulls Eye Recruiting

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Negotiating for What You Want

Negotiating for what you want, and rarely is money the most important!

NegotiatingBefore you can start negotiating, you have to know what you want. Most people think this is about money. I say bull hockey. Think for a moment, what have been the most critical things that have made you happy in your past jobs?

I will almost guarantee you that they were not monetary.

When I took my last corporate gig in December of 2007, my wife and I had planned a three-week trip to Italy for September 2008. I was offered a position to build a sales training program and September is the third and last month of the quarter. This is usually when sales teams are going full blast to make their numbers. I made it very clear that my wife was the real boss. What I wanted was to have these three weeks be paid time off whether I had PTO time available or not. As it turns out, we did not go to Italy. The recession set in and we went to Oregon for two weeks.

My boss did not question me taking vacation during September.

Intangibles are worth more than cash

What is important to you?

  • Work from home?
  • Child care?
  • Pet care or maybe you want to bring your dog to the office?
  • Schedule? Maybe the traffic is horrible at certain times of day. You can negotiate the time you need to be in the office.
  • Desk chair? After I ruptured the L4/L5 disc in my back, I learned how important a proper desk chair can be.
  • Cell phone? For years, I refused to take a company phone. If it is my phone, I have the right not to answer it!

Develop a list of the items that are important to you. Remember the non-financial requirements are likely more important than the financial ones. Negotiate on the non-financial items first! Once they have made an offer, they have made a commitment to hiring you. They will not easily walk away. Use that to your advantage. It often turns out money is the least important negotiating point but is usually the one we put the most emphasis on!

Financial requirements

Never ever tell them what you currently make or what you want! Never! Never! Never! Know what you are worth! Talk to peers. The world has changed and people will talk about compensation. Look at the entire compensation including salary, benefits, 401(k) match, stock option, employee stock purchase plans, etc.

Check some of these websites for salary comparisons:

When you are given an offer, never ever accept it on the same day. If they insist on an immediate answer, then walk away as fast as you can! The answer is no. If the offer is low, tell them you want more. If they ask how much more you want, you respond I want to be compensated fairly. Do not take the bait!

Focus on the work environment and follow your gut instincts.

Create a list of intangible/non-financial requirements so that you are prepared when an offer letter comes.

Why are you leaving your current job? Negotiate for what is missing in your current position and it is rarely about money!

This post is an excerpt from my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Special Notice – Starting in December

I am initiating a free monthly teleconference where I will address a pressing topic and then take questions.

You will need to register for the event and you can provide a question ahead of time that I will be prepared to answer on the call.

The first call will be on Tuesday December 10, 2013 at 1 PM CT / 2 PM ET / 11 AM PT

Career Planning for 2014 – What you can be doing over the holiday season to prepare for 2014?

Register now

I plan on holding these once a month and generally keep them to under 1 hour.

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

Subscribe

Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my latest whitepaper Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist