Should I quit Microsoft after a week to join Facebook?

In the May 7, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader juggles job offers between Facebook and Microsoft.

Question

I accepted a position at Microsoft and started the job. Within a week I got an offer from Facebook. The pay at Facebook is far better. What should I do?

Nick’s Reply

This is not a bad problem to have. Congratulations on getting two offers, even if this seems to put you in a quandary.

A common concern in a situation like this is about leaving a new job so quickly. Don’t worry too much about it. Sometimes employers make a new hire walk the plank early or even before they start the job — it’s a business decision. We discussed a related issue last week in Should I keep interviewing after I accepted a job offer? and we’ve considered the problem of employers rescinding job offers.

But I’ll caution you not to worry so much about the money. Your long-term career success and income are more likely to hinge on the people you work with and on other factors including product quality and the company’s prospects. (See It’s the people, Stupid.)

Microsoft vs. Facebook: The people

I’m not privy to Facebook’s or Microsoft’s hiring practices, so I can’t advise you on how either company might react if you follow my suggestions. But before you accept Facebook’s offer, ask for some additional meetings with three classes of its employees:

  • People on the team you’d be a part of.
  • People upstream from your work flow. For example, if you will work in software development, ask to meet with the appropriate product design team. These are the people who will hand off projects to you. Are they good at their work?
  • People downstream from your work flow. For example, quality assurance people who will review and test what you build. Their skills and practices will impact you a lot.

Assessing these three groups will help you see how successful you are likely to be, because all of them will directly affect the quality and success of your own work. Of course, the company’s sales, finance and other departments will affect you, too. Decide which operations you want to know more about before you throw your lot in with any company.

Due diligence

If Facebook balks at letting you have these meetings, why would you want to work there? You’re about to invest your life. They should be glad you’re willing to invest an extra day’s time to meet your future co-workers and to see how they operate!

Of course, you should have done this before accepting the job at Microsoft, too. Maybe you ought to quickly spend some time with those three groups at Microsoft, too, before you decide what to do. It’ll give you something to compare to your findings at Facebook.

This kind of investigation prior to accepting a job offer is called due diligence. There are all kinds of due diligence. There’s a section about this in Fearless Job Hunting, Book 8: Play Hardball With Employers, — “Due Diligence: Don’t take a job without it,” pp. 23-25.

Decision factors

Money, people, and many other factors should play a role in this decision. I won’t argue you shouldn’t move for more money, as long as other important factors are to your satisfaction. While I think loyalty is a good thing, don’t let anyone tell you that you “owe” an employer two years on the job you just accepted before you move on to a better opportunity. There is little meaningful difference between leaving a job after two years or two days if the reasons are compelling. “Juggling job offers” (pp. 15-17) may also be helpful, in Fearless Job Hunting, Book 9: Be The Master of Job Offers.

I’ve offered a few factors to consider before making your decision, but there are many more. I’d like to ask our community to suggest what else you might consider and what you might do to help ensure you make the best choice.

How would you decide whether to make a move like this? Would you jump from one employer to another after just a few days? Is there anything wrong with that? What factors should this reader consider before making the leap?

: :

Share

Should I keep interviewing after I accepted a job offer?

In the April 30, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader questions a CEO’s advice about interviewing.

Question

interviewingI just read an article where a CEO warns that it’s unethical and dishonest to keep interviewing after you’ve accepted a job offer. “It’s not cool.” He calls it lying and says you’re just damaging yourself! Moreover, you’re causing damage to the company because it stopped recruiting after it hired you, and having to restart recruiting will cost it a lot of time and money. So you should behave with “class and grace.” Then he drops the bomb: It’s “all Millennials” doing this — ghosting employers. (I’m 29 years old so I guess he’s talking to me.) Is it so wrong to keep interviewing or to take a better offer if it comes along?

Nick’s Reply

You should absolutely continue interviewing with no qualms whatsoever.

I think that CEO is 100% wrong when he suggests that if you continue to interview for other jobs after you have already accepted an offer, you’re being “unethical,” “dishonest,” or “damaging yourself.” That’s nonsense. Hedging your bets is simply prudent business.

Interviewing? Hedge your bets.

As for the CEO’s contention that the company stopped recruiting after it “hired” you, that’s pure bunk. I started headhunting a long time ago and I can tell you that a Human Resources department (HR) will probably routinely continue interviewing more candidates not only after it makes you an offer, but after you accept it, and — often — after you’ve started the job.

Why would HR do that? To hedge its bets.

For example:

  • HR might give you that verbal offer, then run a background check and decide it doesn’t like what it found — even if it’s a minor problem that it never discloses to you. The offer you accepted is rescinded without explanation. (Don’t believe me? See Behind the scenes of a rescinded job offer.)
  • While HR obtains the necessary signatures to complete the hiring process, some manager might change their mind about you, or funding for the job could be cut. (I’ve seen both happen many times.) There will be no written offer. Or, your written offer will be cancelled. Because employment is “at will” in most U.S. states, you can be terminated at any time, for any reason or no reason — including on day #1. Now you’re on the street. “It’s not personal.” (See Protect yourself from exploding job offers.)
  • HR worries that you might change your mind — just like it might change its mind — and wants to have one or more backup candidates. You’ve probably already experienced this, when an employer tells you you’re a finalist and that it will “get back to you” in a week — then they keep delaying. They may be “keeping you warm” until they are sure their #1 candidate actually shows up for work. (That means you may still get the job.) Some employers will even issue multiple offers to ensure they get one viable hire. You’ll never know.
  • HR believes it might find a better candidate while your offer and hire are being processed — because it’s got several more impressive resumes to work through but is trying to stick to a deadline. HR will have no qualms about telling you “something has changed and we will not be able to proceed.” Meanwhile, you may have already resigned your old job. (See Quit, Fired, Downsized: Leave on your own terms.) HR will tell you, “It’s nothing personal, just business.” Unless you’re willing to hire a lawyer, you probably have no recourse.

Interviewing: The double standard

More obviously — and I’m sure you’ve encountered this many times — while that CEO calls you “dishonest,” his HR office will leave a job posting up long after the job is filled. It’s “ethical” when he’s hedging, but you’re “lying.” It’s a double standard that employers use to gain an edge.

When you continue interviewing after accepting an offer — even if it’s in writing — you’re being prudent, not dishonest or unethical. Unless you sign an agreement to the contrary, what you’re doing while you wait to start the job is no one’s business but yours.

Should you be cavalier about it? Of course not. Act as responsibly as possible. But play your cards close, keep your options open, and continue to develop your alternatives. Always hedge your bets — just like the employer is doing.

Is this business or is it ghosting?

As for the CEO’s suggestion that if you back out, the employer will have to restart its search, costing time and money, that’s true only if they’re inept. What company doesn’t plan for contingencies in the event a deal goes south?

Any good headhunter can share stories about “fall offs” — people who accept jobs then quickly quit or get terminated for any of a number of reasons. Every good headhunter (and employer) has a backup candidate ready to fill that job. It’s not unethical. It’s prudent business.

Worried about being accused of “ghosting?” The employer should be worried about its own ghosting behavior — every time it interviews a candidate, promises a decision, but then ignores you completely. See Ghosting: Job candidates turn tables on employers.

Anything can go wrong

I understand that CEO’s perspective. It’s self-serving, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you, as a job seeker, take his advice at face value, you’re not serving yourself best in a highly competitive hiring market where too many employers demonstrate an astonishing and callous disregard for job seekers. Let the CEO think like an employer. You should think like a job seeker.

Just like an employer keeps other candidates on the hook until a new hire actually shows up for work, you’d be wise to keep working on other job opportunities until you are firmly ensconced in your new job. You are absolutely right. Anything can go wrong. And that’s why the company that “hired” you is likely to continue recruiting and interviewing other candidates while your “hire” is being processed. (Many readers have complained about companies that make job offers then withdraw them. In that case, the company doesn’t “fire” them — because they’re not yet employees!)

Who’s not cool?

Now I’ll tell you what really troubles me: That CEO is “not cool” when he makes generalizations and reveals blatant bias against your cohort. Millennials are no more likely to ghost employers than CEOs are likely to pontificate about right and wrong like sanctimonious jerks.

You can behave with class and integrity — and still protect yourself. Keep interviewing if you want to, until you’re actually on the payroll at your new job. It’s good business. I’ve seen countless people stranded without jobs because they didn’t understand that employers hedge their bets during the hiring process every day.

Knowing what to do when you get a job offer is just one of many ways to have an insider’s edge when job hunting. For more tips, see Ask The Headhunter Secrets in a Nutshell.

Is it unethical or dishonest — or not cool — to continue your job search after you’ve accepted a job offer? Should you trust that you can take a job offer to the bank? And even if the job offer is bona fide, is that any reason not to hedge your bets to ensure you get the best deal possible?

: :

 

 

Share

How long should I wait for an interviewer to show up?

How long should I wait for an interviewer to show up?

In the April 23, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader waits too long for a truant interviewer.

interviewerQuestion

I arrived for a job interview on time and waited for the interviewer an hour and 15 minutes past the scheduled time. I finally left thinking, why would I work for a place that can’t keep an appointment? How long would you have waited? What if this was the only interview you had lined up?

Nick’s Reply

Don’t let your need for a job lead you to tolerate bad behavior from interviewers. I would not have waited longer than 10-15 minutes, at which time I’d ask the receptionist, “I’m concerned. Is my interviewer okay?”

Give the interviewer the benefit of the doubt

The receptionist will ask what you mean. You could ask whether the interviewer got hit by a truck. Or you could be more diplomatic. Respond in all seriousness with a hint of alarm:

“Well, our meeting was scheduled for a quarter of an hour ago — I’ve heard nothing and I’m concerned. Did something bad happen to my interviewer?”

This is a deft — if backhanded — display of respect for an interviewer who might be delayed because of a serious problem. It’s better than expressing your ire. Besides, there might be a perfectly acceptable reason for the delay, so it’s wise to grant the benefit of the doubt at this point.

Time to wave buh-bye

However, if you are not given a satisfactory explanation (and apology) and no one arrives to interview you, it’s time to shift your approach. You must use your own judgment, but I’d say to the receptionist:

“Could you please have someone from your HR office come out? I’d like to make sure my resume and job application are removed from your files. I’m not comfortable with my information in the hands of a company that can’t keep an appointment.”

buh-bye

I’m not kidding — that’s what I’d say. It’s a test. What will the employer do?

Because you waited so long, they owe you an exceptional “right” to this wrong. A responsible employer who blew the appointment will go out of its way to demonstrate regrets for your inconvenience — and thereby salvage the interview and your respect. But if you’re given lame excuses without sincere apologies, and the gaffe is not somehow corrected immediately (or at least compensated for), then you’ve put a good stake in the ground.

Wave buh-bye and don’t look back.

If anyone suggests your demand to be removed from the employer’s files is unprofessional or risky, tell them you demonstrate high standards of conduct and expect employers to do the same. Then ask whether they believe your time is valuable. You deserve an answer.

Your host’s reputation is on the line

If I seem cynical and intolerant, perhaps it’s because I’ve seen employers disrespect job candidates too much. Life is too short to waste time on people who don’t do what they say they’re going to do. While delays and even no-shows are sometimes unavoidable and forgivable, the responsible employer will make appropriate amends on the spot. That’s why it’s important to give them a chance.

We all need to get real. If the employer does’t apologize profusely after you’ve waited an hour and a quarter and doesn’t act to correct their behavior, I’d forget about that job. Human Resources managers are the first to tell us to mind our reputations, and this cuts both ways. In this case, the employer’s reputation is on the line. I’d tell all my friends how I was treated.

Whether this is the only interview you’ve got, or one of ten, it doesn’t change the character of this particular employer, and it doesn’t bode well for what life would be like working there. Please think about that.

For more examples of interview missteps by employers, see Dissed By HR: Can you top this? and How employers waste your time.

What’s the longest you’ve waited for an interviewer? Is an hour too long? How would you handle this situation?

: :

Share

10 reasons your company’s HR can’t fill jobs

In the April 16, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a job seeker exposes rude HR recruiting practices and 319,000 people take notice.

HRQuestion

Hundreds of LinkedIn users have commented on a clever cover letter someone sent to a company about a job. The reply he got was an unsigned e-mail blast the company sends to all rejects, suggesting his application wasn’t even read. But he got the last laugh. His cover letter was a series of “Arfs.” He posted it and their canned reply. How embarrassing for the employer to be exposed like that! This is yet another example of how employers treat job applicants. They solicit us then ignore us! What’s the solution to this?

Nick’s Reply

Shawn Gauthier (shawngauthier.com) is a copywriter and creative director in the advertising industry. He’s one of the 155 million members of LinkedIn in the U.S. who turn to this “professional networking service” to find a good job match. But, like many frustrated LinkedIn users, Gauthier finds that this jobs-and-people database is more about robots than true networking.

Fed up with employers who solicit job applicants but then don’t read their applications, Gauthier applied his considerable writing skills to create a compelling cover letter to apply for a job at Chewy.com, an online pet store:

The links are to his website and profile. After Gauthier received the reply below, he posted both to his LinkedIn page:

The lesson Gauthier learned is trivial — that this “boilerplate rejection” practice is pervasive. LinkedIn’s 155 million members have all been treated to such robo-rejections more times than they can bark. I mean count. And they’re talking about it. There are over 440 comments on Gauthier’s post.

Who let the dogs out?

Employers are increasingly complaining that they can’t fill critical jobs because of a low unemployment rate coupled with an inadequately trained workforce. In other words, employers claim the right talent just doesn’t exist.

Comments from hundreds of job seekers on this LinkedIn thread, however, suggest the talent problem is in the Human Resources suite, where a troubling brand of clueless disdain for job applicants seems to destroy companies’ ability to recruit the workers they need.

HR bites back on LinkedIn

“Wrong, Shawn. I’m sorry that you feel so entitled to a lengthy and witty response telling you how immature and childish you are…It’s in the company’s best interest to send you the formal, pre-written rejection rather than, again, telling you how moronic you are.”

“why do you assume they didn’t read your letter? They are just more professional then you. So they rejected you on a correct way. And i feel you need to do some growing up in this matter.” [sic]

“Maybe they don’t have a letter crafted in their ATS that would be appropriate to address a nonsensical cover letter. It appears that you tried to set yourself apart as a candidate and it didn’t work. Don’t blame the company…maybe you just weren’t a good fit.”

“HR departments are required by their companies not to give an applicant any reason to sue them for discrimination. Particularly if they aren’t selected. It’s easier to be completely neutral than to respond with humor or give the writer honest feedback.”

Despite the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm in his cover letter, Gauthier continues to maintain an incredibly high level of professional conduct in his many replies to the hundreds of comments he received on his LinkedIn post — even when the commenters are HR managers out to shame him by rationalizing Chewy’s behavior. This has become the mark of clueless personnel jockeys. They don’t seem to realize that their disdain for job applicants destroys their companies’ reputations in the professional communities they need to recruit from.

10 reasons your company’s HR can’t fill jobs

The problem is not a talent shortage. HR itself is the reason so many companies can’t fill jobs.

What’s the solution?

  1. HR should stop posting jobs on cattle-call websites that generate 100s or 1000s of applicants. You want only a handful of the right ones. The job boards are not designed to do that, so stop using them. To ensure you can send personal letters to every applicant you reject, learn how to recruit fewer people by recruiting only the right people. This is not a numbers game unless you’re gambling. (See Why cattle-call recruiting doesn’t work.)
  2. Stop relying on keyword job descriptions. Ever have a job that six months into it matched the job description you were hired for? I ask this question at workshops I do for Executive MBA programs at Wharton, UCLA, Northwestern, Cornell and other top business schools. Everyone laughs. The answer is always Never! — because job descriptions are fabrications of HR. So stop relying on keywords and on any kinds of job descriptions. Move on to #3.
  3. If you’re going to recruit, then become expert in the work of the company teams you recruit for. Be able to mix it up with engineers, marketers, finance people, programmers and production line workers. Understand their work. Asking job candidates what’s their greatest weakness and how they handled a difficult situation isn’t interviewing. It’s fake.
  4. Recruiting means going out into the professional community where the people that you need to hire hang out, talk shop, learn, and teach one another. Everything else is B.S. I know you know that. So stop pretending because some whitepaper published by some HR Consulting Shop told you to waste your time and money on Indeed or LinkedIn. Go out into the world and participate in the professional community you need to recruit from.
  5. Make your hiring managers spend 20% of their time each week recruiting. If it’s not worth it to them, then they’re not managers. They’re individual contributors. A manager’s job is to recruit, hire, train, cultivate, enable, mentor and manage the people who do the work.
  6. No matter who’s doing the recruiting, do it all the time. Those EMBAs always ask me, “My company’s going to merge or get acquired in 6-18 months. My job may be at risk. When should I start job hunting?” I give them a long pregnant pause, then I tell them, “Two years ago.” After they’re done laughing nervously, every single one of them gets it. Likewise, you and your managers must be recruiting all the time. Posting jobs and waiting for “who comes along” isn’t recruiting. It’s lazy.
  7. Do you believe job applicants are too much trouble? Then you’re doing it wrong. You’re not your company’s solution to its problems and challenges. The people you’re trying to hire are. Start treating them with respect all the time.
  8. If you believe it’s okay to insult and talk smack to job applicants, then get out of HR. The next time you feel like being snarky with a job applicant, quit your job.
  9. You don’t need headhunters like me to fill jobs. You need to be an active part of the professional community you need to recruit from and to cultivate sources and friends who trust you and that you trust. NEWS FLASH! We all know how most jobs are found and filled: Personal contacts. So stop spending 99% of your recruiting budget on job postings. Start spending it taking great candidates to dinner.
  10. Please — stop pretending! It looks very bad to those people your company desperately needs to hire. They tell their friends.

It doesn’t sink in

Shawn Gauthier noticed in his LinkedIn dashboard that lots of people at Chewy were viewing his post — and that a lot of other LinkedIn users were sending the link to Chewy employees. So he decided to reach out to Chewy’s HR department directly for a second chance at a job. The best the recruiter could do was “explain” the excuse for why he was treated impersonally:

“…the role had been filled and there were 670 applicants that needed to be rejected. So as you can imagine, it would be a little difficult for our team to send out 670 personalized rejection letters.”

It still doesn’t sink in at Chewy — or in most HR organizations. If you’ve got too many applicants that “need to be rejected,” then you’re soliciting too many of the wrong people — which means you are the problem and your recruiting methods are the problem.

There is no talent shortage except in HR, where it’s “a little difficult” to let the truth sink in. Your team should not need to send out 670 rejection letters to anyone!

I asked Gauthier what this suggests to him. He replied:

“The response from fellow LinkedIn members suggests that this isn’t limited to Chewy. It doesn’t help Chewy’s image for sure… but if it is standard practice (as it seems), they will not stand out for the thoughtlessness. It does demonstrate that there is an opportunity for a business to stand out and win brand ambassadors through an extensive overhaul of hiring and rejection practices.”

Message to Chewy’s Public Relations department: Shawn Gauthier’s LinkedIn post has 319,381 views and counting. Do you know what the world thinks of your HR department and your company? (Hint: 68% of job seekers own pets. How many customers can you afford to lose?)

Why can’t HR fill jobs? Is it because of a talent shortage? I offered up 10 suggestions to help HR fix HR. What else is HR doing that hinders recruiting and hiring? What else should HR do so companies can fill jobs?

: :

Share

How can I get hired with a felony record?

How can I get hired with a felony record?

In the April 9, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a felony stands between a reader and a job.

Question

felony

Nearly every position I have found that I am qualified for in logistics is off limits to anyone with a felony within the past seven years. I’m past the five-year mark. I tried starting my own business but it doesn’t pay the rent yet. It’s desperation time. I have no problem washing dishes or doing any kind of “menial” labor. Work is work and pay is pay. But even those jobs are hard to come by these days, except for those who lie, and I’d rather not do that. Any ideas on how I could find a job of any kind quickly?

Nick’s Reply

What I’m going to suggest probably won’t get you a job quickly, and it definitely won’t be easy. But it’s the only way I know to help you.

Employers worry. You need to get them over that, because they probably don’t want to risk hiring an ex-felon on their own judgment alone. But they might take the word of someone they can trust if you can deliver it.

Reference vs. Felony

A good reference might beat a felony. But don’t take chances. This means you have to use references who will speak up for you. No matter what job you apply for, ask one or two people you have worked with, who can speak up positively about you, to call the hiring manager directly and recommend you. Not when they are called, but in advance.

This kind of preemptive reference is very powerful. It won’t work every time, but a recommendation like this can help you overcome problems from your past, because it’s a referral as well as a reference. An employer who won’t take your word might listen to someone who has had good experiences with you.

It’s up to you

It’s up to you to be ready with such references. They don’t have to be former employers. They might be satisfied customers from your nascent business, or respected members of your community. You’ve had a good five years of making new contacts since your conviction. Now take the time to make a list of people who might help you, then rank order them. Ask the best ones if they’d be willing to help you get over this hump — and assure them you will repay their trust by being a trusted employee to anyone that hires you.

If a potential reference isn’t sure how to help you, ask them to read this account of someone who did it: Referrals: How to gift someone a job (and why).

Make a commitment – you have to say it

This is a very assertive approach. Consider whether it’s right for you. But I’d do more than note the felony on your forms. I’d bring it up with the manager when you meet. Be frank and matter-of-fact, but don’t dwell on it.

In my PDF book, How Can I Change Careers?, I offer many “How to Say It” tips about how to make an effective commitment to a manager who has doubts about whether you’re worth hiring. I’ve re-worked one of those ideas for you. Modify it to suit your situation.

How to Say It

“I made a big mistake over five years ago. I was convicted of a felony and I did my time. I don’t expect you to hire me unless you’re confident I’ll do a good job for you.

[Look the manager in the eyes as you say this next part.] So I’ll offer you four things. First, references from respected people who have worked with me since then. Second, my commitment to total honesty. Third, I’d like to show you how I would do this job [efficiently, profitably, masterfully — whatever is called for]. If I can’t show you, then you shouldn’t hire me. Finally, if in a month’s time you’re not pleased with anything about my performance, I’ll leave. No hard feelings. No questions asked. But I make you that offer because I know I can deliver on it. That’s my commitment to you.”

That speaks volumes. Just be ready to back it up, whether the job is dish washing or logistics. When an employer takes a chance on you, it’s up to you to confirm the trust they put in you. Don’t screw up.

More advice

Please don’t be discouraged. There are good people in the world who will want to give you a chance if you help them do it. To read several wise tips on this topic, check this story about someone who worked in human resources, then committed a felony and couldn’t land a job. Quite a few earnest members of this community offer encouragement: Readers’ Forum: Grand theft HR. I especially recommend the suggestions posted by “S Kendall.”

I wish you the best.

Would you hire a someone with a felony on their record? What could they do to inspire you to take a chance? How could you minimize your risk? How do you advise this reader?

: :

Share

Indeed delivers 65% of hires. Yup?

Indeed delivers 65% of hires. Yup?

In the April 2, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a manager says he’ll never post another job on Indeed.

Question

IndeedIndeed.com – what a joke! The first time we used Indeed was last year. We got scads of applications and scheduled four interviews. One candidate showed. The rest were all no-shows. Fortunately, we got really lucky and hired the one person who showed up. To be fair, for another job we scheduled four interviews and only one was a no-call, no-show.

The last time we used Indeed was for an accounting position. Again, we received scads of resumes (53) and reached out to 10 people for interviews. Only four accepted. We then scheduled and confirmed them. None showed up or bothered to call to cancel.

What interested me about your article (The Bogus-ness of Indeed.com) was that we had been attributing the no-call, no-show behavior to “Millennials,” but your article has caused me to think that it may also be a by-product of using an online job board. We stopped using Craigslist for the same reason.

This is the problem with job boards. They are completely anonymous with no accountability. As a result, their “applicants” are free to be flaky without recourse. This is the last time we will use Indeed.com. Do you think anything has changed since your 2014 article?

Nick’s Reply

Maybe we can all put our heads together. I’d like to know what members of this community conclude by analyzing Indeed’s marketing and Indeed’s claims about its “success rate” in filling jobs.

What’s up at Indeed?

Something big changed at Indeed.com since that 2014 article. Indeed’s revenues went from $434 million (2014) to $777 million (2015) to $1.229 billion (2016).

In its 2018 annual report, Indeed’s Japanese parent, Recruit Holdings Co., LTD., reported 2017 revenues of $1.976 billion attributed to Indeed.com.

That’s a 355% increase in revenues over three years. (Gosh! Do you think somebody in HR is spending a awful lot of money on Indeed?)

What did you say was Indeed’s success rate getting Indeed’s job applicants to show up for interviews?

Since it seems you actually hired one person across three jobs you posted on Indeed in the course of a year, I suppose that’s a 33% success rate, eh?

What do other readers make of the numbers?

Marketing, Indeed

In May 2017, Indeed published this on its company blog: REPORT: Indeed Delivers 65% of Hires and 72% of Interviews from Job Sites. The article includes statements like these:

  • “Indeed gets jobs for more people than all other sites combined”
  • “Indeed continues to deliver more hires than any other job site”
  • “According to SilkRoad, Indeed delivered 65% of all hires made in the United States from online sources in 2016, which represents a further widening of an already commanding lead”
  • “Indeed delivers 2X as many hires as all other top branded external sources”
  • “Indeed is responsible for 65% of all hires from job sites: effectively twice as many as all other online sources combined, and almost six times as many as second place Careerbuilder”

Who needs any other job board, website or even any employer’s own career page?

Aggregating, Indeed

Where do all those jobs that people get on Indeed really come from?

Here’s what we learn about Indeed on Wikipedia:

  • “The site aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, staffing firms, associations, and company career pages.”
  • “As a single-topic search engine, it is also an example of vertical search.”

Indeed.com is a search engine that searches for just one thing, everywhere: job listings. Calling Indeed the source of 65% of all hires seems akin to calling Google the #1 source of all information because people use it to search all other websites.

The SilkRoad “Report”

The Indeed blog posting referred to above is actually about a “report” published by a company called SilkRoad: Sources of Hire 2017: Where the Candidate Journey Begins – Your Guide to Finding the Best Candidates. (That link will open the report in your browser, but you may download it from SilkRoad, which makes it freely available.)

The report claims to be a “quantitative survey” of more than “1,000 customers using SilkRoad’s applicant tracking system (SilkRoad Recruiting),” based on “15 Million Applicants, 392,00 Hires, 655,000 Interviews.” However, the survey, sampling, data gathering, and analysis methodology are not described.

The report tells us where employers found the people they hired. It breaks the “sources” of hires into two categories:

  • Internal Sources of Hire: employee and personal referrals, HR, a company’s own careers web page, and internal employee movement like promotions
  • External Sources of Hire: other job boards and online sources

Here’s how SilkRoad presents the numbers. Please pay attention.

  • 52% of hires are made via Internal Sources
  • 48% of hires are made via External Sources
  • 65% of External hires are attributed to Indeed

What SilkRoad never calculates for the reader is the percentage of all hires that are attributed to Indeed. It’s a simple calculation: 65% X 48% = 31% of all hires.

Every HR manager I know says that virtually all jobs are posted online to comply with equal opportunity hiring regulations. So I’d like to know what readers think: How can SilkRoad tease apart “Internal” and “External” Sources of hires?

What does it mean that “Indeed Delivers 65% of Hires… from Job Sites”?

According to comScore, Indeed.com was the #1 job site worldwide in 2018 based on total visits. Since Indeed “aggregates job listings from thousands of websites, including job boards, staffing firms, associations, and company career pages,” WTF are we really talking about? Is anyone impressed by that?

Take a quick look at the SilkRoad “report” and Indeed’s claims in its blog posting. What do you think it means?

Indeed at the CareerXroads

Going back to the turn of the century, my good buddies at CareerXroads — the first real job-board watchdog — conducted annual surveys of the Source of Hires at hundreds of companies. (Check this example.)

I eagerly read every one of the annual reports they issued. In over a decade, the results did not meaningfully change. Accounting for “internal” and “external” and “all” hires, every year all the major job boards in aggregate seemed to deliver only around 10% of all hires to companies surveyed.

But CareerXroads stopped conducting the survey. Here’s why: Tracking Source of Hire Is A Train Wreck. In its 2015 report, CXR said:

The quality of the data currently found within ALL ATSs [Applicant Tracking Systems] is still, and especially today, too ugly to use for effective decision making. Vendors who bolt on other solutions to cherry pick internet candidate movement collect equally flawed data. They [mostly] embarrass themselves with their hype over their claims to be measuring ‘best source of hire data’.

If the oldest job-board watchdog gives up on trying to suss out the “Source of Hires” after over a decade of trying, what’s up with SilkRoad’s conclusion that Indeed is the source of 65% of any kinds of hires?

What do you think?

Back to our hiring manager

I’d like to thank the manager who submitted this week’s question and commentary. Yours is one of the most compelling critiques of Indeed that I’ve seen from an employer. Thanks for sharing it. Even if you filled one out of three jobs you posted in Indeed, the stunning no-show rate may be the most interesting bit of data in your story. It seems to suggest that Indeed delivers drive-by job applications. (I agree with you — I wouldn’t blame Millennials.)

Members of this community continue to recount in detail their experiences with drive-by recruiters “soliciting” them via Indeed and other job boards.

I’ve contended for years that when employers post jobs on heavily trafficked job boards, all they’re doing is turning on a fire hose. Scads of people apply just because they can click a button. Indeed and its ilk teach people that job hunting is a crap shoot, a lottery, a numbers game, a mindless enterprise. Even if you win, you know that if you show up for an interview, you’ll probably lose. So why show up? (See Reductionist Recruiting: A short history of why you can’t get hired.)

This in turn leads those very employers to criticize the quality of America’s workers — they complain there’s a “talent shortage.” But when companies go dumpster diving for job candidates, they shouldn’t be surprised at what they (don’t) find.

What’s your take?

“Indeed delivers 65% of hires.” Yup? I know job seekers are frustrated with the likes of Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor (which is now owned by the same company that owns Indeed) — because you tell me right here on this forum.

But I’d love your take — your analysis — of the marketing information published by Indeed and SilkRoad and the other data described above. Do me a favor and run some of the numbers that are designed to make employers spend their billions of recruiting dollars on automated recruiting.

What does it all add up to? 65%? 31%? Of what? Nothing is going to change if we don’t figure it out and talk about it earnestly and loudly.

: :

Share

Should I tell Company B that Company A just fired me?

firedIn the March 26, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader gets fired right in the middle of interviewing with another employer.

Question

I started talking to Company B about a new job and after a few interviews things were looking really good. I then got terminated by Company A from my current job. (I didn’t do anything illegal or anything like that, but I was fired, for sure). Now it looks like Company B is ready to make an offer. Should I tell them that I’m no longer employed by Company A? I want to be honest and open but don’t want to throw a wrench in the works.

Nick’s Reply

Would your termination (and the facts surrounding it) at Company A make a material difference in your ability to do the job properly at Company B?

If not, I see no reason to disclose that you’re no longer employed by Company A (or that you were fired) if you prefer not to. One good reason not to disclose is to protect your ability to negotiate. The other, of course, is that some companies have a bias against The Unemployed — and that could throw a wrench into the deal. Why risk it if you don’t have to?

But don’t lie about it if you are asked, including on an application or other forms you are required to fill out and sign your name to. Tell the truth. Once you sign contracts, it gets more complicated and you might need advice from an attorney.

If someone does bring it up at this juncture, I think the best answer is honest and simple and probably goes like this.

How to Say It:

“I started looking for a new job and interviewing with you for several reasons. One is that I didn’t want to work at my old company any more and as of a few days ago — after we started talking — I’m no longer working there. Another reason is that I wanted to join a better company working with better people where I’m encouraged to contribute to the bottom line. That’s why I’m here.”

I doubt it’ll get that far. We don’t need to tell everything as long as we tell what really matters to the people we’re going to work with. What matters is anything that will affect our ability to deliver the work we promise to do. No company has a right to any other part of you or your story — unless you sign a contract to that effect or the law requires it.

The important point is this: Focus the new employer on why you are talking with them, and on what you can do for them if they hire you.

Having said all that, I don’t know any more details than you’ve shared, and I don’t know whether any questions will come up or in what form. My advice is not as important as your own good judgment, so consider all the factors you’re aware of. I hope what I’ve said helps you somehow, and I’d love to know how this turns out. I wish you the best.

Do you have any obligation to disclose getting fired? How about if you got fired after the hiring process started? Is there a difference? How would you handle this situation?

: :

Share

Should I move for a 30% salary increase?

Should I move for a 30% salary increase?

In the March 19, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader asks whether a big salary increase is enough reason to accept a job offer.

Question

A rival company has offered me a job with a 30% salary increase. I know there are other things to consider, but it’s such a big pay bump that I think it may be sufficient reason to move. Should I accept it?

Nick’s Reply

salary increaseOnly if money is your prime motivator. If it is, go for it. Of course, without any other information, I can’t really give you very thoughtful advice. But in general, this is a scenario that people sometimes face, so let’s deal with it generally.

No matter how big it is, I look at three things when a job candidate receives an offer, in addition to the money. If I were you, I’d compare the new company to your current employer on these factors, in this order of importance:

  1. The people
  2. The products
  3. The company’s reputation
  4. The company’s prospects
  5. The company’s finances

Whose are better? Try to put a value on each of those factors, then include them in your analysis.

It’s the people, Stupid

I’d give the most weight to the people you’ll be working with. Are they smart? Highly skilled? Dedicated to their work and the company? Do they demonstrate high integrity? Are they a tight-knit group that works well together? Do they mentor and help one another?

This matters especially with regard to the company’s management, of course.

Even if the company doesn’t score tops on the other four factors, a great team can compensate and drive the company to success. On the other hand, if the people aren’t great, it doesn’t matter how good the products, reputation, future prospects are finances are. That old saw is true: It’s the people, Stupid. You’re (hopefully) going to be living with them a long time.

What the world sees

The next three factors are intertwined. A company’s products, and new products it’s got coming down the pipeline, affect its reputation and future prospects.

Pay close attention not only to how the company’s customers regard the company, but also to how it is viewed by the business community, the business media, its competitors and its market.

You may have found a good job and great money, but the financial gain from that big salary bump may be very short-lived if those other factors aren’t strong.

Is the business sound financially?

Few job hunters consider the financial aspects of a job beyond the pay. That’s foolish. I’ve never accepted a job without first meeting with the Chief Financial Officer. I want to know about receivables and payables, sources of funding for operations and growth, and — if it is publicly traded — how the company’s stock has performed. Believe it or not, I worry more about whether a company is responsive to its employees than I am about how it responds to its investors — but how investors judge a company matters greatly. I also want to know how the company treats its vendors — does it pay them on time?

If a company isn’t sound financially, you’re probably not going to have that job very long, no matter what it pays.

Is it all real?

I’ve seen people move for money or other factors, only to regret it after they realized the image they had of the new company didn’t match the reality. It’s common for an employer to present a great image to job applicants. But it’s up to you to look under the hood of this machine!

Due diligence

Here’s my advice. Once you have a bona fide job offer, tell the company you’d like to come in for a day to shadow your new boss and the team you’d be working on. This is proper due diligence. (See How can I find the truth about a company?)

Ask to meet people upstream and downstream from your job. That is, other employees whose work product will affect your ability to do your work successfully, and employees whose work on what you produce will impact your success. For example, if you work in engineering, you need to know who is conceiving the products you will have to design and whether the sales team is competent to actually get customers to buy them.

Follow the money

Ask to meet the head of the finance department. That’s right — you may know nothing about finance, but you should have this meeting anyway. Check my comments above for some ideas about what to ask in that meeting. Even if the company is privately held, the finance officer should acknowledge your interest in your new employer’s financial state and philosophy. (The first time I did this, the V.P. of Finance was pleasantly surprised to see that a new employee cared about the finances — he loved it. Throughout my time at the company, I had a friend in a high place!)

Interview the company

When the company is done interviewing you and makes a commitment by extending a written offer, that’s the time to seriously interview the company.

A section of this article suggests how to check several key factors about an offer: 13 lies employers tell about job offers.

There’s a section about Due Diligence in one of my Fearless Job Hunting books that you may find helpful, too: Ask The Headhunter Store.

It’ll cost you about a day to do these meetings, but it may save you a lot of heartache. If the company declines to let you come back in, I’d refuse the job offer, no matter how great the money is.

A company that welcomes your interest in learning more before you make a commitment reveals something you can’t learn in a normal job interview — that it really respects its employees. The added bonus is that all the people you talk to during this extra day of meetings — if you take the job — will take you all the more seriously as a co-worker.

I wish you the best.

What factors do you consider when evaluating a job offer? Is a big raise ever enough reason to change employers? (This is not a loaded question: It actually might be.) What other factors would you add to my list above?

: :

 

Share

Manager goes around HR to recruit and hire

In the March 12, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a manager reveals how he recruits and hires better by doing it himself.

The DIY manager

managerI’m a hiring manager in engineering and have benefited greatly from your articles as both someone looking to hire talent and as a potential employee. (Most recently: Want the job? Go around HR.) Thanks for the great work and advice.

Things I do differently now:

I do not let HR filter resumes

I review all resumes myself and allocate time to read any that look promising. This was a big change for HR and I was surprised at the initial push-back!

What I found was that HR was hyper-focused on keywords and actually trying to steer hiring managers based on criteria rather than technical skills and relevant experience. It was eye-opening. And yes, doing it myself significantly improved my ability to find great people for my team and the company.

I am always recruiting

I typically spend between one to four hours a week recruiting and interviewing, but it depends on the size of the organization and state of the business. I am always looking for top talent, and I occasionally create openings for the “right” people.

I find it can take months or even years to entice superstar candidates.

Referrals, one at a time

At the moment, I receive most candidate resumes through other hiring managers, directors and V.P.s, who review them individually. Most of my actual hires are referrals from within the company or people I know and go after directly. This is probably not typical of most companies, but we are a small company (50-75 people) doing very specialized work.

I do not apply for jobs posted on websites

Nor do I invest time in random cold calls and e-mails from recruiters, specifically commercial job boards and recruiters that find me on LinkedIn or other websites.

The best access to job opportunities is through your network of current and past co-workers, hiring managers, and reputable recruiters. This can be challenging early in your career, but it also emphasizes the importance of doing good work and not burning bridges.

Thanks again for helping to educate employees and hiring managers everywhere. This stuff should really be taught in school. Do you do seminars for graduating college and university students?

John Phillips

Nick’s Reply

Thanks for your kind note and description of how you hire. (I added some subheadings to emphasize your main points.) I can’t compliment you enough for making recruiting and hiring so personal, and for going around the institutional claptrap.

Going around HR

Taking HR out of the process like you do creates more work for hiring managers – work that should never have been delegated to HR to begin with. (See Why HR should get out of the hiring business.) While some HR folks are savvy about engineering, for example, only the hiring manager really understands the work and grasps the constellation of skills and expertise that would best serve a job.

A manager’s DIY methods for recruiting and hiring

HR has become such an institutionalized method of recruiting at arm’s length that most managers don’t realize how huge the pay-off can be if they invest their own — significant — time in recruiting and candidate selection. Very few managers are as active as you are in finding, assessing and pursuing the best candidates.

You have outlined a critical process, and I’d like to emphasize the things you do to recruit and hire:

  1. You avoid letting HR “filter” resumes
  2. Read and judge resumes yourself
  3. Devote time to review the most promising resumes in depth
  4. Avoid the distractions of so-called keywords and “criteria”
  5. Choose candidates based on technical skills and relevant experience
  6. Avoid random calls and e-mails from recruiters you don’t know or trust
  7. Avoid database-driven solicitations
  8. Devote time each week to recruiting and interviewing
  9. Personally and actively look for and recruit top talent all the time
  10. Invest months or years to personally pursue and entice the best candidates
  11. Prefer personal assessments and referrals from reputable people you trust
  12. Create new jobs for the best talent
  13. Find your own job opportunities through trusted personal contacts

That’s a powerful deviation from the contemporary, HR-driven, norm — and absolutely necessary if a manager wants to build a great team of the best people. No one can manage finding you a job, and no one can manage your hiring better than you can. I think any manager can learn and benefit from the steps you follow to recruit and hire.

As you’ve found, it’s common to get push-back from HR when you insist on doing your own recruiting and hiring. Hiring is and must always be The manager’s #1 job. And as you’ve also found, the same rules and methods you use to fill jobs will serve you well when you pursue a new job yourself.

“This stuff should be taught in school”

LIVE Ask The Headhunter

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 7:30 p.m., I’m presenting 30 Contrarian Job Hunting Tips in 30 Minutes at the Career Forum, a program of the Somerset Hills YMCA, 140 Mount Airy Road, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.

Free, open to all. If you’re nearby, I hope you’ll join us — and please stick around to say hi afterwards!

Thanks again for your kind words. To answer your question, yes, I do presentations and workshops for students and new grads. (Including Executive MBA students.) And you’re absolutely correct: This stuff should really be taught in school.

While schools and professional groups hire me for such gigs, I also make a point of doing as many pro bono events as I can each year — for new grads and seasoned professionals. I like to get people from all parts of the career cycle into a room so we can talk and share ideas — and contacts!

It’s a stunning failure of many high schools, colleges and universities that they don’t adequately prepare students for work, and that includes job seeking and hiring. Although I’m a big fan and defender of a liberal arts education, and of education for its own sake, I don’t think any school can justify not incorporating serious lessons about how to get and keep a job into every curriculum. Perhaps the only thing more stunning is that parents who foot the bill for a college education don’t demand it. (See Your First Job: 20 pointers for new graduates.)

A challenge to managers: Do your own recruiting and hiring!

I want to thank manager John Phillips for sharing his recruiting and hiring practices with us. (And it does take practice!) But I don’t think any manager who leaves these crucial tasks to HR is really managing. Do you?

If you’re a manager, what’s your take on all this? Is recruiting and hiring your job — or is it mostly (or entirely) HR’s? How do you do it at your company? What additional tips would you add to the list above? If you’re a job seeker, how often do you encounter managers who do it themselves? Is it any better when HR is merely peripheral to the process?

: :

 

Share

Want the job? Go around HR

In the March 5, 2019 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter a reader wastes time begging HR.

Question

Can I re-apply for a job if there are vacancies still open after my application has been turned down?

HRNick’s Reply

Of course you can. But why would you want to? Fool me once, fool me twice — you’ve already learned this company chews up applications and spits them out without even talking to the applicant.

Think about this: The hiring manager probably doesn’t even know you applied! The manager probably has never seen your resume! A personnel clerk with no expertise in the work you do (or in the open job) put a big X on your application.

But there’s a smart alternative: Go around Human Resources (HR). Go around the job application form.

Go around the system

The conventional advice on this problem is that if HR has already rejected you, you shouldn’t waste your time. But that’s like the boy who shows up to a girl’s house to ask her on a date — and the gardener shoos him away, so he gives up.

Personnel jockeys don’t control the jobs, so don’t let their officious posturing convince you that they do. They control the applications — but don’t go that route! Don’t take no for an answer until you hear it straight from the hiring manager.

Go around HR

Get in the door without an application, and without facing the “job application meat grinder software.” Here are the basic steps for going around the system — though they are not for the meek.

1. Throw out your resume.

The average time a manager spends reading a resume is six seconds. It’s not a good way to get in the door. (See Tear your resume in half.) Don’t use a resume.

2. Don’t apply for jobs. Find problems to solve.

You have millions of competitors applying for millions of jobs, so stop competing with them. Don’t submit job applications. Instead, read the business and industry press. Find a handful of companies that have specific, well-publicized problems. Decide how you can help solve those problems. (If you can’t figure that out, then that company or job is not for you.)

3. Find the managers.

HR will tell you you’re not allowed to contact hiring managers directly. That’s the best reason to contact the managers directly! But don’t ask the managers for a job. Talk shop. Explain that you’ve learned about their problem. (See How to get to the hiring manager.)

4. Offer a solution.

Whether in person, by phone or e-mail (in that order of preference) briefly explain to the manager how you can help solve the problem. Outline your solution in 3-5 steps. Don’t give all the details — but your summary had better be good.

5. Ask for a 20-minute meeting, not a job interview.

“If you’ll spend 20 minutes with me, I’ll show you why I’d be a profitable hire. If I can’t prove it to you in those 20 minutes, I will leave.”

That’s no easy task. But if you can’t show in 20 minutes why you’re worth hiring, then you have no business in that meeting. Of course, you will have to present a more detailed “proof” if the manager is impressed.

Everything else is a waste of time, designed to make busy work for HR that looks like productivity. You can and should apply for a job you believe — and can prove — you can do. But don’t waste your time applying on a form to the HR department.

For more about this approach to landing the job you want, please see Skip The Resume: Triangulate to get in the door.

If you want another shot at another job at this company, of course you can try again! But don’t waste your time with the gate keeper. Go talk to the real decision maker!

Now get to work, because doing what I suggest is hard work — as hard as that great job you want. So do the work to prove you can do the job.

I’d like to hear from those who are willing to invest the time and effort to try what I’ve suggested. Any takers? How do you go around HR?

: :

Share