Don’t Roll the Dice in Selecting a Recruitment Partner [for Hiring Managers]

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During 13+ years of recruiting I occasionally find myself cold calling new prospective customers. During “first contact” I usually get a similar response about their experience in working with recruiters in the past. It’s rarely positive and they vary in form, a few examples include:

“We’ve had limited success in working with recruiters”,

“We have an internal-recruiter and have struggled with finding the right candidates”, and

“The past recruiter we used did not understand our business and charged us an exorbitant fee”.

In this post I’ll discuss ways in which hiring managers can qualify a potential recruiter to be a better match for your hiring goals. I’ve also included a a few links to other blogs/articles on the same topic towards the bottom that my be of interest.

 Professionalism

Perhaps one of the best ways to determine if a recruiter is qualified or not is to ask if they have a college degree. Just like when searching for a senior level candidate for a position, the first criteria typically is whether or not they have a college degree. For instance, one would not hire a CPA or a Financial Planning & Analyst without a college degree in Accounting or Finance. Similarly, a solid recruiter should have too and best to look for Business Administration, Management Information Systems, Accounting, Finance, etc.

 

Determine if they have real life “in-the-trenches” experience in your particular domain. If you are a consulting company or a software company, your best choices will be those recruiters who have worked in that field themselves and later moved into the recruiting industry. Of course the follow up question is, “Why?”

 

Are they experts in the “Competitive Landscape” that our business is in?

Another key characteristic to evaluate a recruiter is, do they have expertise within the industry that you are seeking quality candidates from? Even better if they have strong working knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, and best yet if they have knowledge of how your company is perceived in the marketplace as compared to others. In many cases knowing whom the client’s competitors are yields stronger potential candidates and better long-term fits. Many of those candidates will be passive candidates (those who are not actively on the market), will have years of experience in your space, can bring industry-related knowledge to your company and ramp up quickly.

 

Any recruiter worth their salt should be able to list fairly quickly the major competitors in your domain and formulate a search strategy for attracting candidates.

 

How long have they been recruiting in your domain. Are they a specialist?

As many domains mature, they become more popular. More and more people, good and bad, seek to benefit from that wave of growth. As a result, you have more people, candidates and recruiters competing for the same job opportunities. If a client is seeking junior level positions, a specialized recruiter may be overkill for their particular needs. However, if you’re seeking hard-to-find skills, it’s best look for a recruiter that has 5 to 10 years of experience in your domain. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “He who chases two mice catches neither”. My experience shows this to be true. As a specialized recruiter focusing on only a few areas, I’ve been able to be much more successful for my clients and candidates than if I attempted to chase everything that came my way. 

Candidate and client recommendations

Every recruiter should be able to provide you with a list of references from candidates or clients they have worked with. Ideally, they should have references from clients that show ongoing multiple-year relationships. It’s not uncommon for a recruiter to work only on one or two searches with a given company and move on for numerous reasons. However, a recruiter that is considered an ongoing strategic partner and thought of as an extension of their client’s company, will be a sure bet. At Fairwinds we keep a list of references, both current and past, right on our website. All of which are verifiable via LinkedIn.com profiles.

 

Qualifying candidates beyond what’s on the resume

You wouldn’t believe it but is true! Sometimes jobseekers stretch the truth, ever so slightly, about their experiences throughout past positions. Just because a skill is listed on their resume does not mean they have detailed knowledge of that particular item. We see this quite extensively within the Information Technology and Consulting industries. It’s not uncommon for consultants to have been on projects where multiple software technologies are utilized such as Hyperion Financial Management or Hyperion Planning/Essbase. However, that does not mean the candidate has intimate skills with Calc Scripts, MaxLs, Visual Basic rules development, FDM vs. FDMEE, etc. One great way to determine whether a recruiter has experience in your area is to ask a few technical questions around the software tools and their methodology for prescreening candidates.

 

Effective communication style

Another vital qualification often overlooked by hiring companies is, “Is this the recruiter we want representing our company?” And “Do they possess the communication skills, follow-up, follow through, similar to the company values and culture that we seek in the people we want to hire?”

When a recruiter is working on a search for a given client, they become the first point of contact, which can make a lasting impression on potential new hires. Similar to Sales Development Representatives and Sales Account Executive, they become the initial face of the company.

In conclusion, the success of a recruiter working for a company lies in the ability of that particular company to qualify the right type of recruiter for their company, their culture, and their domain. It’s a two way street! The development of a strategic partnership and a trusted advisor, takes time.

Other articles/blogs on how to choose the right recuiter for your company:

How To Tell Good Recruiters From Bad Ones – Forbes

How to Find Recruiters in Your Niche – WSJ

Seven Deadly Sins of Resume Writing – Fairwinds Blog

Contingency Recruiter or In-House Recruiter? – Fairwinds Blog

 

ABOUT

Dan Counts President Fairwinds RecruitingDan Counts, Founder of Fairwinds Recruiting (Twitter @FairwindsRcrtg) is a recruiter/coach for candidates and clients, specializing in the software and consulting industries for Enterprise Performance Management (Oracle/Hyperion), Business Intelligence, Data Science/Big Data, Cyber Risk Security, Sales, and Product Management. His hands-on positive style as an advisor to candidates and clients provides an environment for redefining the recruitment experience one placement at a time, resulting in better long-term matches. Residing in Monterey, CA near Silicon Valley, he works with boutique firms to large companies nationwide. In his free time he enjoys sailing, hiking/walking, woodworking and most recently home coffee roasting. You can check out his website at www.fairwindsrecruiting.com.

 

 

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Fairwinds News Jan 2017

January 2017 Industry updates

As a specialist recruiter in the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) consulting industry I wanted to take a moment to update my followers, as a valued member of my professional network, on how the job market is looking for 2017.

Industry Updates:
The second half of 2016 proved to be slower within the Hyperion consulting industry.  Oracle made a stronger push towards cloud delivery which resulted in much slower project starts. Additionally, the EPM Cloud-Based software providers continued to make headway in market share.  This appears to be particularly true with small to midsize companies.  However, the traditional Hyperion consulting space continues to thrive as there are many industry customers whose needs outweigh the current capabilities of Cloud-Based solutions.

2017 Outlook:
“…Openings hit an all-time high in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—and the 2017 outlook is particularly rosy for mid- to senior-level workers…” Why 2017 Is Going to Be the Best Job Market in Years

Website Updated:
I’ve revamped the website with information about the areas we recruit in and made it easier to find  job openings.  Also I created a new blog  about interviewing tactics, resume optimization, job search techniques, and industry news which hopefully will be informative to you and  result in me being a better partner for you.

A few recent Blog posts:

Upcoming Posts:

  • Creating a Personal Branding Statement-Separating you from the pack
  • How to choose the right recruiter as a partner.  The little-known intangibles
  • The Art of the Thank You Note.  The overlooked strategic value.

Watch for continued updates around the 15th of each month (and sometimes in between).  Would love to hear your thoughts!
New Group on LinkedIn:

To help navigate the changes in the EPM space, I created a new group LinkedIn Group EPM Cloud Software.   The intent of the group is to be a forum for Oracle/Hyperion, SAP BPC, Cognos TM1 professionals to navigate the changing industry and the effects of other technologies inclusive of Host Analytics, Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Oracle PBCS, and other related technologies.

We are 128 members and growing strong.  Please join us!

FaceBook
Something I’ve neglected for years is a decent Facebook page.  It’s now been updated to be full of more meaningful information, such as industry news, trends, job openings, etc. So please Like US on Facebook. And let me know what you think.

AND OH YEAH!  Fairwinds Recruiting just crossed another  anniversary.  8 Years in business! Founded in 2009 which gives me a total of 13 years in the recruitment industry.  Thanks to you, you’ve made that possible!

 

Dan Counts President Fairwinds RecruitingDan Counts, Founder of Fairwinds Recruiting (@FairwindsRcrtg) is a recruiter/coach for candidates and clients, specializing in the software and consulting industries for Enterprise Performance Management (Oracle/Hyperion), Business Intelligence, Data Science/Big Data, Cyber Risk Security, Sales,  Workday and Product Management. His hands-on positive style as an advisor to candidates and clients provides an environment for redefining the recruitment experience one placement at a time, resulting in better long-term matches. Residing in Monterey, CA near Silicon Valley, he works with boutique firms to large companies nationwide. In his free time he enjoys sailing, hiking/walking, woodworking and most recently home coffee roasting. You can check out his website at www.fairwindsrecruiting.com

 

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Seven Deadly Sins of Resume Writing, Tips to Fix

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As a seasoned recruiter I have the opportunity to see and review hundreds, if not thousands of resumes annually.  Good ones and bad ones fly across my desk… okay through my email inbox… but quite frequently.  The ones that tend to get my attention are those that are well thought-out, put together logically, organized, that don’t break any of the rules of resume writing.  There is no one rules fits all, but let’s face it, your [bctt tweet=””A resume is a representation of the product you are offering to a potential employer.”” username=”www.twitter.com/FairwindsRcrtg”]  Let’s look at a few of the seven deadly sins of resume writing and a few tips to remedy them.

 

1.  The use of “I”

The use of  “I” in resume writing is perhaps one of the biggest pet peeves of anybody who is evaluating a resume.  There is a general consensus that a resume should be written in third person.  The use of phrases such as “I managed the Western sales region” or “I closed business resulting in” are not acceptable.  It’s been said that people judge you by the words you use.  Your resume is an immediate indicator of one’s writing ability and therefore an indication of how effective you would be in communicating with colleagues. Let’s face it, a resume is a formal document and should be treated as such.

 

2.  Present tense versus past tense

I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of quickly updating our resume for a new job opportunity that we just heard about, and forgetting that the only position on your resume which should be in present tense, is your current position. That means that everything prior to your current position must be written in third person as well as past tense. For instance, “Sell application software and consulting services to Fortune 500 companies”, would be a good statement for a position you currently hold.  Whereas, “Sold Enterprise Software into named accounts in the Silicon Valley area” would be an example of a statement coming from a previous position.  Mixing and matching present tense and past tense is also not acceptable.

 

3.  Achievements and responsibilities are two different things!

All too often we see resumes in which the context does not differentiate between the achievements and responsibilities.  It’s important to show your responsibilities (duties) at a given position, however it’s equally important to show what your achievements were in conjunction with those responsibilities.  Employers want to know not only that you successfully managed your duties and responsibilities but also how you achieved expectations and accomplishments.  Here’s a quick example:

 

  • Responsible for the Western region of sales development for a nationwide software company focused within the ERP space.  Recruited, hired, managed, and drove sales from lead to close
  • Exceeded sales plan by 153%
  • Decreased cost of sales by 30% through these effective sales strategies
  • Increased prospective customer awareness in the Western region through direct and indirect sales activities such as…”

As you can see, it was easier for a hiring manager or recruiter to identify your areas of expertise and achievements and then match that to the position they are seeking to fill.

 

4.  Typos and grammatical errors

Next on the list is the improper use of grammar as well as typos throughout a resume.  In many cases I’ve experienced hiring managers passing on good candidates whose resume contained numerous grammatical errors and inconsistencies.  Incorrect use of periods, semicolons, colons, lack of proper capitalization, run-on sentences and the improper use of words such as “complementary” versus “complimentary” are a big no-no!

 

At first glance, this might seem a bit rough but remember, prospective hiring managers are judging you based the appearance of your resume.  It is your brand, your billboard, your advertisement, it is a reflection of you as a potential asset to their organization. First impressions do matter!

 

5.  Poor description of your current employer

Many hiring managers want to know the similarities of the employer you’re currently working for and how that relates to their organization.  For instance if you are a Customer Success Manager within the ERP cloud software domain it’s very likely that a hiring manager would recognize a company such as Intacct being similar to NetSuite (both ERP cloud solution providers).  However, if you work for a company that’s less known, you need to give a description of who and what that company does so that the hiring manager can quickly see the similarities of the work that you have done with that company and how it relates to what they need on their team.

 

I always advise candidates to add a one or two line description (in italics) of their current company.  Always best to error on the side of creating similarities in your work experience now and how that relates to a new potential employer.

 

6.  Poor formatting

Make it easy to read! If your resume is disorganized or the formatting is not appropriate it will be a challenge to read and therefore won’t get the attention that it deserves.  Further, don’t feel the need to put in every single detail of what you’ve done since high school.  There’s an old rule of thumb: never have a resume longer than one page.  That was true in the old days of physically mailing hard copies of resumes.  Nowadays in the computer world, it’s easier to have a longer resume that captures the essence of who you are.  The downside of that is going too far.  Resumes that are five to nine and even 10 pages are way outside of the accepted norm of two to three3 pages.

 

Always consider using white spaces, lines, indentions (and I should say consistent indentions) etc. that will make your resume stand out in the crowd.

 

7.  Cyber Friendly

Don’t forget that we live in a keyword search environment.  For your resume to come up to the surface whether you are submitting it to the candidate tracking system at a large company, a recruiter, or even have it posted on the website, consider the keywords that best describe your background.

I typically advise candidates to consider putting together a “Core Competencies” or “Area of Expertise” consisting of two to three columns at the top of the resume of keywords that describe your unique background and skills.  The section has two purposes.  One is to serve as a keyword/tag area to help search engines find your resume, and second is to provide a summary where hiring managers can quickly see your areas of expertise, which will cause them to want to learn more about your background and experiences in later sections of your resume.

 

As you can see, there are lots of things to think about when putting together a resume or even updating it.  At Fairwinds we offer a resume assessment and evaluation service which consists of an hour-long consultation, for a small nominal fee.  We discuss where you are in your career, where do you want to go, what your goals are, the ideal job that you are seeking, etc. to get a full understanding of what makes sense for you.  Further, we also provide a detailed written feedback of recommendations and suggestions to help during your next career transition.

 

In a follow-up blog I’ll discuss how to create a branding statement, more advantages of the core competency section, suggested resume formats, and how to align your LinkedIn profile in conjunction with your resume.

 

 

Dan Counts President Fairwinds RecruitingDan Counts, Founder of Fairwinds Recruiting (@FairwindsRcrtg) is a recruiter/coach for candidates and clients, specializing in the software consulting industries for Enterprise Performance Management (Oracle/Hyperion), Business Intelligence, Data Science, Cyber Risk Security, Sales, and Product Management. Residing in Monterey, CA near Silicon Valley, he works with boutique firms as well as large companies nationwide. Redefining the recruitment experience one placement at a time. You can check out his website at www.fairwindsrecruiting.com.

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