Episode 58 – Marc interviews HR expert Gary O’Neal with Austin HR, on how he would search for a job today.
Gary O’Neal is Director of Recruiting for Austin HR. Gary is a recruiting and hiring consultant. His mission is to help business leaders hire more than their fair share of top talent and beat the competition by building superior teams. Gary has seen the inside story of how recruiting and hiring happened inside of well over 200 companies. He’s led high-performance recruiting teams in both agency and corporate environments and has over 20 years of experience in recruitment. He’s been close to near 20,000 hires. Gary’s industry background is vast and includes software, IT, banking, public, semiconductor, engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and environmental companies. His experience spans all levels, including C-level executives, senior management, technical leadership, high-performance professionals, as well as support staff.
Listen in for actionable advice on re-entering the job market as it is today.
[:57] Marc announces his first audience survey on what demographic listens to the podcast, what you like, and what you would like to hear about in the future. Please take the survey at CareerPivot.com/PodcastSurvey. This will redirect you to a SurveyMonkey page. Marc will keep the survey going through 2017 to hear from you.
[1:30] Marc has released the audio files to the publisher for his audiobook Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life, and believes it may be ready for purchase. Marc will send an email blast to CareerPivots Insights email subscribers once he knows more. Or check its availability at CareerPivot.com/Repurpose-Your-Career/
[2:07] Marc explains the schedule. The last episode was an interview with Mac Prichard of Mac’s List. This episode is an interview with Gary O’Neal with Austin HR, on how he would search for a job. There will be no episode on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, but Marc’s favorite episode of 2017 will be re-released on Tuesday, January 2nd.
[4:47] Marc welcomes Gary to Repurpose Your Career.
[5:00] Gary has made big career pivots, himself. He started as a NASA software engineer, then joined a startup as director of professional services for IT, working with large companies. Gary helped grow the startup to almost 2,000 employees in seven years using a hiring architecture that he helped create. Sprint bought them in 1997.
[5:58] Gary saw that more than anything else he had done, helping a startup hire more than their fair share of top talent made a material difference. He started his own company, Cool Hires, outsourcing recruiting departments for companies. The market turned ugly in 2009 and Gary went back into IT for a while, and now is at Austin HR.
[6:44] Gary spoke at Launch Club recently about how he would conduct a job search, which inspired Marc to invite him to Repurpose Your Career.
[7:00] Gary starts with why he would follow a specific path to finding a job. He has recruiting experience as a consultant in at least 200 companies. Rarely does a company hire very well. So the traditional approach many people use to find a job and companies use to hire is really broken. Most people look for openings online and apply.
[8:07] In most of the companies Gary has helped, most of the resumes never get seen. No one has the time to devote to them. So junior people without experience around the job or the background experience to fill it filter the resumes. No one gets hired without talking to the hiring manager. Everything and everybody else gets in the way of that.
[10:19] People are afraid to break the rules for hiring. The rules are not there to serve you. People hire people. Connect with the hiring manager. Forget the rules. Step 1. Get really crystal clear on the job you want to have. What problems do you solve and what role will you fill? Don’t go to market being open to ‘lots of possibilities.’
[13:00] Align your background with where you are most likely to be accepted, with what the opportunities are, with what you are likely to get paid for, and with what motivates and excites you. Eliminate from your vocabulary anything not pertaining to that position. Become that role. Wear the jacket. Rehearse over and over your story of that role.
[15:01] When you’re not clear about what you are, you become less interesting, for whatever reason. Gary tells a story of a sales leader who talked himself out of a job by mentioning an area of expertise that didn’t relate to his prospective employer.
[17:25] Research the best opportunities. Compare job boards with the workforce, as shown on LinkedIn. Go after a job that is in high demand, not a job in decline.
[18:43] Step 2. Get there ahead of the opening. By the time an opening appears on job boards, it’s too competitive. Most resumes won’t be seen. Instead of looking for jobs, target companies that have the kind of problems you solve. Search LinkedIn for companies hiring people who look, feel, and talk like you. Lower any barriers you can.
[22:18] If you’re changing careers, you already have obstacles ahead of you. You need to build trust that you are a great fit for the job. Don’t target companies that have no employees your age. That’s a barrier that doesn’t need to be there. Step 3. Target companies hiring from your generation. Make a list of 200 companies to target.
[22:53] With your 200 target companies, identify at least three people at each company: one or more likely hiring managers, a recruiter in HR, and a peer in the company. That’s 600 people to reach out to.
[23:55] Austin HR is a company of headhunters. They recruit for other firms. For any role they are filling, they reach out to 175 people for a career conversation to get one hired. As a job hunter, reaching out to 600 people might get you three offers.
[25:36] Don’t be fearful of the number. Each of the 600 doesn’t know you’re reaching out to 599 other people. Their only experience is they got a message from you. It’s very individual on the receiving end.
[26:19] Step 4. Craft an outreach campaign with at least three steps in it. You’re sending a message to someone who really needs your help. They need your help because they’re busy. Since they’re busy, they’ll forget about your message. You send a follow-up message in a couple of days. They’ll want to get back, but they’re still busy.
[27:02] That person really needs your help. Reach out to them a third time. Use the takeaway close, “I know that your busy. I continue to be open. I would welcome a conversation with you, however, I don’t want to be a bother. This is the last message I’m going to send to you.” The recipient, if they need you, will immediately get back to you.
[27:36] The same three-step email campaign goes out to every hiring manager. You may craft it differently to send to every recruiter. The one to a peer would be different yet. At least mildly personalize every single one of the messages. It will take a while.
[28:11] You will cycle through 600 people by sending out 200 messages a week. Four days a week you message 50 people. It may take two or three hours a day, over a three week period. The next three weeks you will send the second email, and so forth. Something is happening at one or more of those companies.
[28:58] The reason you need a campaign is to avoid getting stuck. Be machine-like in your persistence to make all the contacts. Don’t be distracted. Use simple messages. Gary gives a message example.
[29:52] Even from companies that are not hiring, you’ll get quite a little bit of encouragement and very little rejection. You may get silence from many but some will respond. Be politely persistent until you get a no or a yes. Don’t ask them for anything. Ask them how you can help them with their problems that you solve. It’s not a bother.
[32:00] You’ll get various responses. One is, “Thanks, we’re not hiring, goodbye.” Follow up with a genuine thank you and courteously ask for advice, insights, or referrals.
[36:37] The response you really want is an invitation to call or visit. Some organization will need your help. If not, go back to Step 1. and target a job that’s more available.
[37:33] Once you get a conversation, the whole conversation needs to be about the company’s needs, what keeps them up at night, and the path forward for that company. Investigate if they have the kinds of problems you can solve for them. Try to get the conversation about how you might address that problem and what you might do.
[38:55] Needy isn’t pretty. Going to market looking for something for yourself doesn’t serve you as well as going to market looking for people to help. Marc suggests probing for pain points. This all takes finesse. The truth is, people are nicer than you think. They do want to help. When you take an interest in them, you are more likeable.
[41:58] Gary heard on NPR that in speed dating, people preferred people who asked more questions. Use that principle in interviews. Tell me a little bit about your career. What do you love? This is like dating. Not every date turns into marriage. Thom Singer suggests introverts ask the best questions and are the best networkers and listeners.
[44:14] Gary’s closing comments: None of the rules are real. Set them aside. Be a human being. Reach out to other people. Genuinely be interested in them. Genuinely be interested in helping them solve problems. Things will go much better for you.
[45:57] Marc comments that applying for a job in the old way is fruitless. Marc invites you to take the Repurpose Your Career audience survey and to pick up a copy of Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life. The audio version should be available now or soon.
[48:10] The next episode, on January 2, 2018, will be Marc’s favorite episode of 2017.
Mentioned in This Episode:
CareerPivot.com/Episode-57 Show Notes for last week’s episode with Mac Prichard.
Gary O’Neal on LinkedIn
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