"Off the Record…” Top 3 Reasons Why You Should be Open with Your Recruiter

Over the years, I’ve noticed that many candidates have a skewed perception of who their recruiter is, and what their recruiter does for them. There’s a concern that if certain information is shared with the recruiter that it will hurt their chances of being hired. There’s also an often misguided belief that all recruiters are trying to low-ball you so that they can make oodles of money off of your placement, or that they’ll push you into a job that may not be a fit, just so they can get the fee. These things paint a rather dastardly, villainous picture of recruiters, encouraging withholding of information. This in particular makes it difficult for good recruiters to effectively place all the amazing candidates they get, so I’d like to clarify a few things, change that image, and share with you the top three reasons why you should be honest with your recruiter.

1) Recruiters construct the bridge between you and the client, but you provide the building materials.

Your recruiter is in a prime position to know what you want in a career and what the hiring manager wants in a candidate. However, they can only work off of what information is communicated to them. There is certain information that recruiters and hiring managers aren’t legally allowed to ask you about, but those things and how they’re handled by the company you’re considering working for can be deal-breakers to you. For example, let’s say you have kids, and what you really need is a comprehensive medical benefits plan and a company that understands family and the necessary work/life balance that goes with that. Communicating that to your recruiter gives them the ability to better advise a client on your priorities without revealing the reasons behind them, thus respecting your privacy. Sometimes they may know in advance that a company’s culture isn’t a fit with what you’re looking for, and if you’re able to give your recruiter those details, they can save you the time and hassle of interviewing and going through the process with a company that doesn’t share your priorities.

If you have reservations about a company from what you’ve seen online or in the interview, tell your recruiter. They shouldn’t take it personally, and they’ll do what they can to help assuage your doubts, and/or help you find something that’s a better fit.

It’s also good to let your recruiter know if you’re interviewing with any other companies for other roles; not only does this help the recruiter and their client better schedule interviews with you, but if you’re a candidate the client is interested in, it can sometimes encourage the to go the extra mile in pushing the process along faster, so they can bring you on before someone else can. They don’t want great talent to slip away.

2) If you don’t make money, your recruiter doesn’t make money.

Most recruitment firms work on a fee system as compensation for their recruitment efforts, particularly with permanent placements.

For perm candidates, there’s a fee agreement that promises X% of the placed candidate’s salary value to the recruitment agency. This is often misunderstood, as many candidates believe that means the agency will walk away with a percentage of the salary they expected to make. This is not the case. For the sake of example, let’s say your recruiter’s company has a 20% fee agreement with Client A, and they place you at Client A’s company with your requested salary of $100,000/year. The fee owed to your recruiter’s company would be $20,000. The $20,000 doesn’t come out of your salary. You will still be paid a full $100,000 for the year; it is merely a way of determining how much on top of that the company will be paying out to the recruitment agency that placed you.

As you can see with the perm scenario, it behooves your recruiter to submit you to the client at the best pay rate applicable to your experience.

3) A good recruiter doesn’t want to put you in a job that doesn’t fit.

Recruiters want you to be happy in your role. Happy people perform better in their jobs. If you’re happy with your job and the company, you’re not likely to leave. If you’re not happy in a role and you decide to leave (and most cases, you figure that out pretty quickly), the recruiting company actually has to give back any fees that we collected on your placement. A bad placement can also impact a recruiter’s relationship with their clients. Furthermore, recruiters want to work with good candidates, and want those candidates to be so happy with where they were placed that when their friends are looking to change careers, they refer them to their recruiter as well.

This is not to say there aren’t bad recruiters—there are, and if you find yourself working with one that you don’t feel you can trust, perhaps you should move on to a different recruiter. There are so many ways that candidates and recruiters can help each other out, and being upfront and honest, and building that trust-based relationship with your recruiter is really the best policy. Recruiters can and should keep things confidential, but all the little details you can share with them help them help you.

If you would like to take the first step in finding the best fit for you, simply fill out the form below to contact a TekStream Career Specialist. You can also keep up with the latest news and job opportunities by following us on Twitter at @TekStreamJobs, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more.

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How Do You Grow A Company and Attract Talent When No One Knows Who You Are?

Starting a company brings with it many challenges such as determining the target market for your service or product as well as garnering the necessary finances you will need to both withstand initial fixed investments and the gap between your initial sales and collection of revenue owed.

Assuming you successfully overcome those challenges and have clients that are interested in your product or service, what is your plan for internal growth and recruitment to keep up with your client demand?  Recruiting for any organization that lacks a household name can be tough enough, so how do you overcome both the lack of a name and an established story?

In my experience of having to attract talent for my current organization and in supporting many start-ups over the years, these are the five areas to immediately address that will allow you to pursue the same level of talent as your competitors.

1.  Develop your target list:

a. Profile – Without getting specific to one position, the type of profile that will best suit your company should be identified.   Examples might be an industry background, experience with a type of product, or a general level of candidate you envision to be successful within the organization.  Taking the time to discuss what is going to be the right profile will save time as well as hopefully prevent the wrong hires.

Something to note – until you have sustained success or public recognition, you may not be able to compete for the talent that would feel more comfortable in an established organization.   This is okay, as this is often not the type of talent needed to get a company out of the initial phases of a start-up.  That isn’t to say there are not exceptions but in general, candidates that have experience in other successful start-ups will be familiar with the pace, variance in day to day roles and lack of formality often found in a start-up.

2.  Establish a presence:

a. Social Media –Website blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Posts (Current roles/current happenings) can all be built with minimal investment.

b. Employee Presence – Speaking engagements and Community involvement whether it is philanthropic or associations that align with your company offerings are great places to start. Recognizing and publicizing employee recognition is also a way to bring attention to your organization in a positive light.

3.  Address the common concerns:

a. The following questions, among others, will be asked by candidates who have no familiarity with your organization and members of your organization:

      • Is there an office?
      • Are there others that work there and if so how many?
      • Are there benefits?
      • Are there clients and if so, who are they?

It is imperative that you have a clear answer to the common candidate questions. If you happen to be in an organization that has not yet had the time or finances to invest in some of the more common items, at minimum you need to be able to give a concise answer on what the plan is to get them.

For example, “Although we do not currently have a 401-k, our plan in 2014 to allot for retirement income is to…”

4.  Develop and document the current story!

a. Focus on the people and past experiences of your team – Yes, getting that first company success to hang your recruiting hat on will have a positive impact! Until then, focus on what you do have, which are people with past experiences and successes. Where are they from? What have they done? What have been the previous successes of companies they have worked at in the past?

For example, “Although our company has only been in business for 3 months, our team is made up of individuals from companies such as… And successes that include…”

b. Be clear on the strategy of the company – What is the offering, who are your targets, what is your plan to get those targets? What is your plan for growth?

5.  Understand and be concise with the highlights for the individual!

a. The Role – How does it fit into the organization? What are the responsibilities? What are the technologies and exposure this individual will get? How will this be a move forward for the individual? What is the progression for career advancement? Note: It is typical that in a start-up that there will be more room for growth. So although you can’t compete with a longer, tenured company’s history, that same company may have a harder time competing with the upward mobility one might find in a smaller company.

b. The Company – What are the current offerings and how will they impact the individual? These could include salary, bonus, and/or stock options. Note: it is always suggested to stay away from promises of owning a yacht or retiring with an island based on stock options.

Be realistic and you will find better trust built with your target candidates. Other company overview items could include policy or general approach toward social collaboration, philanthropic causes, or team/company measurement. As you build your business, regardless of the space you are in, taking the time to think about your message and having a plan for the five steps listed above will give you the opportunity to compete for the candidates you want.

With so many options available when searching for a new career, it’s imperative that candidates leverage external resources to maximize the potential of finding the best fit. At TekStream, we have seasoned career professionals ready to help you find the career of your dreams. Send us a message if you would like to meet your dedicated careers expert by completing the form below. We’ll have an expert contact you immediately.

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TekStream Webinar: The Best Advice on Becoming A Stellar Candidate

TekStream is a consulting services organization with recruiting and delivery expertise in a variety of areas, focusing on Oracle technologies and the Digital Marketing Space.  Our TekTalent Management team of recruiters is dedicated to helping you find the best career fit, and helping our clients find the best talent for their needs.

In this webinar, we’re going to cover a few major areas on the road map to success in your career:

  • Resumes
  • Social
  • Communication
  • The Interview
  • What to do once you find success

For more information and to connect with your dedicated Career Manager, email Resourcing@tekstream.com and we will have an expert contact you immediately.

TekStream Careers Webinar: The Best Advice for Becoming a Stellar Candidate

Set yourself apart from the pack and find new ways to showcase what an outstanding candidate you are with these tips and strategies from the TekTalent Management team at TekStream Solutions.  Resume formatting, social media management, communication strategy, interview preparations–we give you the road-map to success in your career search, and help you avoid the pitfalls along the way.

In this webcast we cover:

    • Building and maintaining a winning resume
    • Understanding and leveraging social channels to improve your chances of being seen
    • Developing and refining how and when to communicate with employers and recruiters
    • Crushing the interview, tips to effortlessly rise to the top
    • Managing success and how to hit the ground running at your new career

This is your chance to arm yourself with the tools and knowledge to find and win the best career. If you’re ready to explore your options and would like us to begin working for you, send us your information and we will contact you immediately.

Start today!

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For answers to your questions: email megan.tindale@tekstream.com

Social Media: The Double-Edged Sword When Job Hunting

Social SwordsAs you’ve probably heard, recruiters and hiring managers are using social media more and more as sourcing tools.  LinkedIn was the source for almost 1/5 of the candidates our Resourcing team placed in 2012, and an assisting factor in most of the others.  TekStream’s staffing focus includes more than just Oracle WebCenter and other Content Management Solutions; we staff for a variety of Digital and Interactive Marketing agencies, and you can bet that any candidate sent their way will be expected to have, at the very least, a LinkedIn profile.  Many people do this, but just signing up for LinkedIn is not enough. You need content on your page.  This is your opportunity to showcase your experience, your skills, and a little of your personality.  Here are a few must-haves:

1)      A title.  The main title that displays just underneath your name should adequately reflect where you are right now in your career, and what your focus is.

2)      A custom URL. You can change the URL of your LinkedIn page to something easier than the mess they give you by default.  For example, http://www.linkedin.com/in/megantindale.

3)      A Summary.  This is your chance to sum up the experience you’ll be filling in below, who you are, and where you want to go in life/work. If you’re going for a Copywriter position, and you haven’t written yourself summary,that can reflect poorly on your skills.

4)      Experience.  You need to have at least the past five years of work experience listed.  If you worked with certain tools, programs, languages, etc.. —Make sure you include them so that you are searchable on those terms.

5)      Connections.  You don’t need to have umpteen billion connections, but at least 20+ would be good.  Start by connecting with co-workers past and present.  You can also build more connection-relationships by joining some Groups that pertain to your interests.  If you’re a Community Manager or Social Media Strategist, or even a Recruiter, the expectation for the number of connections is higher, but quality is also a factor.

6)      Good Spelling/Word Usage.  Please, please, PLEASE check everything for typos.  There are browser plugins you can install that will spell-check your page, but improper word usage can trip you up as well.

If you are going for the Social Media and Digital/Interactive Marketing roles, it behooves you to have a good LinkedIn profile—even if you aren’t, you should still have one—and showcase the skills in your profile’s presentation.

The Other Side

Not having a social media footprint can really hurt your chances in the job market; however, there can also be issues from having the wrong kind of footprint that’s out there and easy to find.  One of the biggest headlines in the business world in 2012 was the debate on whether or not it is legal for an employer to request the username and password of an employee’s Facebook page.  While frowned upon, it is technically legal for them to request that.  Unfortunately, there’s a bigger problem out there for job seekers making a big splash in Social Media: it is not uncommon for hiring managers to look up a prospective candidate’s Facebook profile, and have their decisions influenced by what they find.  This practice toes the line of discrimination, but as yet, there aren’t any laws protecting Facebook users from being fired (or not hired) based on the content of their Facebook page.  It is imperative that you protect yourself at the very least with privacy filters.  These are options you can select when posting a status to Facebook.  You can also control, to an extent, what content others can post on your Timeline.

For example, let’s say you have recently applied to a firm as a software developer.  The hiring manager receives your resume, and looks you up on Facebook.  He sees that your profile picture is you with a pyramid of empty shot glasses, perhaps from your birthday.  That image colors how the hiring manager perceives you now.  This can be particularly damaging if the work environment is more conservative.  Based on that picture, the hiring manager is (technically) legally able to choose not to hire you, as your public face is counter to his/the company’s moral/behavioral standards.

Now let’s say that you are more careful, and you filter your posts, so nothing that could be objectionable or harmful to you is publicly viewable.  You can still feel the burn of rejection if you don’t have controls on who can post what to your timeline, if your friend posts a picture of you out at a political rally, or writes about how wasted you two got when bar-hopping over the weekend, etc.

If the individual privacy settings are too complicated, you can always have two separate Facebook pages: one with your real name that is professional (good for sharing articles about your particular job area), and one that is personal with a fictitious name (the more fictitious, the better) for you and your friends.

Is it fair for hiring managers to make decisions based upon our personal pages? No.

But, as there currently isn’t any legislation to protect what’s on our pages, it’s best to take the extra step and protect yourself.

Social Media can greatly help and hinder your ability to land a job. Make sure you’re getting lots of content and information out there, but evaluate what you post so that it’s the right kind of content.

Want to speak with someone who can answer your questions? Cal 855-TEKSTREAM or submit the form below to have a recourcing specialist contact you.

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4 Career Lessons I Learned from the 2013 Academy Awards

OscarsThe Academy Awards – or more commonly, The Oscars—is a veritable gala, eagerly anticipated by millions of viewers across the country.  It’s a time when we all gather in front of our televisions to watch the stars parade across the red carpet, flaunting the latest fashions, and debate who wore it best.  The pageantry, the host, the presenters, the performances; there’s a little something for everyone.  Some people think award shows rot your brain, but if you saw the Oscars, there are some valuable career lessons you take away from it.

1)      Be aware of your audience, and have a filter.

This is particularly in reference to Seth McFarlane’s crude song, dedicated to all the actresses present who had exposed a part of themselves while portraying a character in a film. While there is a bit of comedy expected from Oscar hosts, it’s still a rather prestigious event, and a bit of class is expected.  As we saw in the wildfire reaction on the internet, and the blank expressions on his fellow actors, the performance and the joke fell flat.

So when you feel encouraged to bring a little levity to the world at work, be mindful of your company culture, your coworker’s sensitivities, and HR policies.  There are plenty of places where you can make a remark that is a bit off-color and be okay, but if you push it too far, you can face as little as a verbal reprimand or as much as sexual harassment charges and termination.  So, before you bust out the latest shtick from your favorite comedian to your coworkers or your boss, stop and consider what the possible repercussions could be.

 2)      Dress for success, but be comfortable in it.

We all cringed with Jennifer Lawrence when she tripped and fell on her face, while walking up the steps to receive her Oscar for Best Actress.  She recovered well, but later in an interview, she mentioned that she tried on the dress for the first time that morning. She looked absolutely ravishing, but her lack of practice with the dress contributed to an unfortunate moment in a time of high-emotion.

Most employers expect you to show up at a job interview wearing a suit, but how often do most of us actually wear them?  Two things stand out when someone wears a suit: How it fits you, and how you move in it.  You want your suit to fit you well, to present yourself as a clean, confident candidate; however, it’s just as important for you to be comfortable in it.  Hiring managers can spot someone who is uncomfortable in a suit a mile away, and it can sometimes cause problems in their perception of you.  If you’re going for a client-facing sales role in a corporate office, they want the guy who wears the suit—the suit doesn’t wear him. Being comfortable in a suit adds a whole layer of confidence.  On top of that, a job interview, or even regular work tasks, can be a high-stress environment, and you’re more likely to have a clothing-related accident if you aren’t used to wearing a suit.  So, dust off that garment bag in your closet, and start wearing your suit for a few hours every week.  The more often you put it on and work or move around in it, the more comfortable and confident you will be.

 3)      Always share the credit.

Out of twenty-three James Bond films that have graced the silver screen, with their iconic opening songs, they have never won an Oscar for Best Original Song—until Adele. When the soulful singer from the U.K. took the microphone to receive her award for Skyfall, she spoke a few words of thanks to the studios, sang the praises of her producer and co-songwriter, and promptly handed both the microphone and the spotlight to him.  She could have easily talked the whole way through, listing off friends and family, talking for both of them, but she recognized that his is the face less-seen, but just as important a factor in their success as she.

When you are working on a project, it’s very rare that you’ll be working on it 100% entirely on your own.  There are always contributors and parts of the team, though they may not be as out in the open as you are.  It is very important to share your success and the credit thereof with your team.  Not only does it feel good to say nice things about other people, it fosters a positive work environment.  If you share the credit on a project, even something as minor as, “I’m glad you like the spreadsheet—I never would have completed it without _____’s help with that formula”, can help people feel appreciated, like their efforts mean something—it also encourages them to help you out with no hesitation next time you’re in a bind.

 4)      Find a good work/life balance.

Ben Affleck’s acceptance speech when ARGO won Best Picture touched our hearts as he thanked everything from Spielberg, to Canada, to the people struggling in Iran—but nothing was sweeter than when he thanked his wife, Jennifer Garner, for “working on our marriage for 10 Christmases,” and he said, “It is work, but it’s the best kind of work, and there’s no one I’d rather work with.”  All relationships are work, and it’s the team effort at home a balance Affleck and Garner build between filming and family time that allows them to not only be happy, but to produce such great work.

If your career takes up 95% of your time, and the other 5% is spent sleeping—you don’t have a good work/life balance. Regardless of whether or not you have a “someone special”, there needs to be equality in the time you spend on work and the time you spend at home or on yourself.  Many employers are looking to improve the work/life balance of their employees, but feedback is needed.  People who reach that level of career-nirvana are much happier and more productive in their jobs. You might have heard of the Work Hard/Play Hard ideal mentioned in an interview, on a job description, or in a company meeting.  Many companies that are trying to stay competitive will ask for four intense days of work, but will allow a remote day for ease of scheduling things like doctor’s appointments, car repair, and other necessary tasks that aren’t available for completion on the weekend.  Other companies may compensate for heavy demands on work-effort by providing more vacation days, or more flexible leave time. So yes, work hard for the money, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and your family to recharge.

These little lessons can help you on the path to success, but sometimes you need a little extra assistance getting there.  Working with a recruiter can give you an edge—they not only know how to help you showcase your talent, but also where the best audience for you is, and they’ll do their best to ensure both you and your audience are happy.

Contact one of TekStream’s recruiters today! Learn more here!

The Importance of Communication – It Goes Both Ways

As a job-seeker, what’s the most frustrating thing about the whole process?  Lack of communication.  That is the universal complaint, particularly towards recruiters.  Nothing causes frustration and anxiety like putting yourself out there, and being left to drift in limbo.  As recruiters, it behooves us to take care of our candidates, to build even the simplest of relationships with them.  It takes so little time to send a brief, polite e-mail not only to those candidates that you feel would be a fit, but also to those that don’t fit–thanking them for taking the time to apply, informing them that their skills don’t quite fit, but that you’re interested in connecting with them to hopefully find something for which they do fit.

However, there’s a second side to this.  Recruiters can often be seen as annoying or harassing, largely due to the referral and job opportunity e-mails we send out. I’ll admit, there are probably some recruiters out there who deserve those adjectives, but it’s not universal.  In many cases, this perception arises because the recruiters don’t receive any response from the potential candidate, so they continue to send opportunities, hoping that maybe the right one will spark interest in the candidate.  If you’re not looking for a job anymore, just send a quick 1-2 sentence e-mail stating such.  If the opportunity sent isn’t what you’re looking for, but you’re still looking, send a quick 2-3 sentence response thanking them for reaching out, but then clarify what kind of position you are looking for.

The key thing of it all is that recruiting is a two-way street.  Communication goes both ways.  There are so many articles and blog posts encouraging recruiters to step up and be more active in responding to candidates, but I’m now putting a call out to all the job-seekers out there–please talk to us!  We want to help, not harass. Reach out to your Careers Specialist here and find your dream job!

Social Networking in the Workplace Part 2

Abstract: This article provides an overview on social networking within the workplace.

Back to Page 1

Vendors Mix Public App Features into Internal Solutions

Some software and application vendors today are taking an approach for providing a blend of enterprise social networking and enterprise collaboration with those often found in public social networking and public collaboration sites.  For example, Salesforce.com offers a company wide networking application called Chatter which allows users to create profiles and groups, see status updates, share files and make recommendations, plus much more.

Other technologies provide robust applications which are typically installed within the enterprise such as Oracle’s Web Center Services, which provides social computing services such as wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, forums, instant messaging and presence, people connections and activity streams, plus many more functions for the enterprise user.

Internal Solutions Don’t Natively Integrate with External Sites

Most enterprise social networking and enterprise collaboration applications do not provide an out-of-the-box connection to the public applications. Among the many reasons for this is the fact that there are so many different potential applications to integrate with. Other reasons include the challenges of integrating internal security with public domain security, controlling the sharing of sensitive materials outside of an organizations firewall, and ensuring that employees are able to follow company policies in regards to information sharing and company information policies.

Final Thoughts

We always want it all, but we must be aware of the practical constraints and challenges that may impede our goals. There are practical ways to share information through social networks. Many organizations have a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn and share information freely with their target audiences.

Having a presence on these site channels to reach the masses has been very effective. However, these are external applications from a company’s enterprise and should be treated as such. Use caution with the information you wish to share, or invest in technologies like Oracle’s Information Rights Management where documents can be sealed for designated users.

Engaging the enterprise with public social networking and collaboration can be done, but do it wisely and for purpose….not just because you want it.

Editor’s Note: You may also be interested in reading:

Social Networking in the Workplace

This Article was originally posted by Troy Allen on CMSWire on June 22, 2011. 

Abstract: This article provides an overview on social networking within the workplace.

Years ago, when I first started working with customers on the concept of Intranets and corporate portals, people looked to the World Wide Web for a definition of what they wanted. In a discovery session with a client, one of the VPs said, “You know that new thing out there….the one where you can move your stuff around…you know, MyYahoo?  That’s what we want.”

The customer was trying to put together an intranet to support a self-serve human resource site and a general knowledge base for all employees.  Based on the VP’s statement, I dug deeper into what he wanted and why.  The number one reason for wanting the “MyYahoo” functionality was because “it’s cool and everyone talks about how they can setup their own personal pages.”

Further analysis of the customer’s actual needs included a very straightforward search and retrieval mechanism for all company-public HR documents, search and retrieval for common knowledge documents, and an easy way for employees to add new knowledge documents.  With the VP’s direction, the organization added to the requirements for allowing users to have their own saved searches, share searches with other people, see all the documents they have submitted, see documents from other specific people, and then have all of these functions available to users to select for view or not and determine where on the user’s page it will be displayed.

Building Requirements From the Social Networking

The use case is a perfect example of how businesses and organizations are building their own business requirements based off of public social applications. The use case was also based in a time when social applications and enterprise collaboration was in its infancy. Today, organizations are basing requirements for their own systems based on the likes of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger.com, ICQ, LinkedIn and Google Talk, just to name a few.

As individuals, we all have built a complex network of social applications that we use all the time. Just look around you when you are walking down the street, in the coffee shop, on the bus or even at the beach; people are on their phones, laptops and tablets connecting, communicating, networking and collaborating. We, as a collective, are officially in the digital age, ruled by these little electronic devices that tell us the best place to eat, shortest route to get there, which one of our friends is already sitting at the bar, and they can also show us images in real time of what our friends are doing while they wait for us to get there. And the corporate world wants it, too.

Companies and organizations want their employees to see the latest idea that the marketing department has put out, see directions and times for the next meeting to discuss it, see notes and documents about it, join a web broadcast session remotely with video and chat between participants, and have several participants work on the same document while people around the world watch and provide their input.

Many organizations are trying to find a way of bringing the functionality easily available on the internet into their own organization while allowing users to blend their professional company details and tasks with public applications. Many are trying to provide a social networking environment within the enterprise where employees can associate with colleagues, instant message and video chat with individuals and groups, and search for experts within specific areas of the organization. In addition, they are looking to allow employees to seamlessly integrate these functions with external social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

—-End of Part 1, please continue to Social Networking in the Workplace Part 2