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Career Skills, Training and Transitions

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Will The Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 28, 2011

While attending the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona I had the chance to observe an amazing amount of things that reinforce the idea that this is truly a global economy. We generally concentrate on local and national news because this has usually has the most personal impact on us but it’s amazing how global workplace decisions can have wide reaching effects on people not only in one locale or one country but across the globe.

Not to single any two companies out, but there was a major announcement by one of the world’s leading technology companies (they don’t make iPhones) about an alliance with one of the world’s leading mobile telephone makers (not BlackBerry).

At their keynote addresses, the CEO of one of the involved companies gave an impassioned if flawed sales pitch and the other CEO came out and touted the benefits to both companies. Okay, I get it – one company gets an outlet for its operating system and some distribution and the other company gets – well I guess – hmm, that’s a good question. Well, I guess it gets a lot of money to ditch its proprietary operating system. All good right?

Could be, but what about those people who were developing that operating system and other people in that organization who might be, in HR-speak, “affected”?

Now this is sadly not the only two companies making this decision or this type of decision. So what should you do even if you don’t know if you’re “affected”? Guess what, no matter what happens, you will be affected. Even if you still have a job your responsibilities will change and inevitably the company culture will change.

Do you run screaming out the door, get your resume on the job boards or hunker down and hope for the best?

Probably not. But you should start taking care of yourself and taking your career into your own hands. You should definitely be open to exploring new opportunities and be open to companies and locations you may not have previously considered. If the axe falls, believe me – you don’t want to be the one turning out the lights.

On the other hand, you should still make moves for the right reasons but really begin to examine the things that might have kept you in your company before it decided to change your world. A big obstacle has traditionally been location but having maximum flexibility will give you the best chance of not only surviving but thriving in troubled times.

Company loyalty? Hey, I’m loyal to my company, it’s a great company with great people and I’m sure yours might be too. But if you’re not going to be with that company – well in my mind loyalty is a two way street.

So no, you don’t have to be the first one out, but you should be prepared to explore all opportunities and have your CV/resume and LinkedIn Profile up to date. You might want to clean up your Facebook page – make sure nothing embarrassing shows up. Careful on those Tweets too! Yes, we recruiters do check sometimes.

And if you stay a bit longer, you might get a better severance package and that’s a big help but no substitute for being able to continue your career and support your family. What you don’t ever want is to be the last one out the door because the package is usually meager and all the good jobs were probably taken by your less qualified colleagues who were willing to make a move.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,
James Seetoo

PS – Okay, so now you’re networking and keeping your options open, great. The next step is to make sure that you get the offer and you’re the one who gets to say “no”.

If you’ve been reading my blog, I’ve given some hints on how to use these skills.  I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours to learn these techniques and this is a primer on how to quickly, easily and naturally begin to use the kinds of tools and techniques I use on a daily basis to stand out in the crowd.

Just look up Stealth-Hypnosis.com – I don’t make any money off this and offer it as a resource.

Now I’m sure there are times when you’ve just “clicked” with someone, maybe an interviewer and there were times that you just didn’t. Take the randomness out of your communications. After all, there are a lot of people with job skills but those who communicate with power will be those who get an offer.

This is the first product I’ve actively endorsed and it’s only for you if you’re ready to make the commitment to yourself to take control of your life and your career.  I’ll have more of a review of this new product by my friend and mentor, David Van Arrick next time but you can check it out in advance by looking up Stealth-hypnosis.

Recruitment Underground Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Recruitment-Underground/97619508151?sk=wall

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Is Talent Overrated?

Posted by jamesseetoo on February 5, 2010

It’s a fact of life that when you live in Southern California there’s less opportunity to read than there is when you live in New York City or any other place where you have to rely on mass transportation. After all, when you’re crammed into a sardine can with your fellow human beings pressed all around you a good book or a cheap newspaper can be the life-preserver that saves you from drowning in too much contact with your fellow human being.

Granted, there’s always the sport of people watching which is pretty interesting, especially when you’re there’s a myriad of people from all over the world sitting on top of you but all in all, you end up getting a lot of reading in.

So I’ve turned to audio books. Yes, I know it’s a geek thing but at least I have them on my iPod, well maybe it’s not so cool since it’s a Classic and not a Touch, but hey, books take up a lot of space and 64GB just doesn’t cut it. I listen while I’m sitting in my car and while it’s not the same, at least I’m listening to someone reading.

And one of those books is: “Talent is Overrated” by Geoffry Colvin. Colvin’s book sets out to dispel the idea that people are born athletes, musicians, writers – well you get the idea. Basically he says it’s hard work that wins the day. Hurray for the tortoises of the world! He makes a pretty good case that someone like Mozart became a genius by working really hard from a very young age with a father who was not a musical but a pedagogical genius. That’s pretty compelling.

So, as a recruiter, if I’m looking for “talent” am I looking for the wrong thing?

Well, yes and no. I think of talent as a raw material or if you’re more technologically savvy you can think of it as bandwidth. The real question is, is that bandwidth being used properly? Like empty bandwidth or a raw material like crude oil there’s potential in talent. But is that potential being realized? And it goes beyond schooling or starting out with a great company. Those things are great for a resume but the real question is, what has the candidate accomplished?

Colvin uses Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE and Steve Balmer. CEO of Microsoft as examples of talent that was refined from the beginning. They started together at P&G and he uses them as examples of people who have distinguished themselves from all the others who started out at P&G at the same time. Now, I would say that yes, they’ve both distinguished themselves but in my mind, they haven’t really achieved anything good for their companies, but that’s another discussion.

It’s enough to say that regardless of pedigree, and yes, there are some companies that love pedigree (Ivy League, Harvard Business School etc.) these are not necessarily indicators of achievement. It’s what you do with the talent you have that counts.

So if you’re putting together your resumé or interviewing, make sure you speak to achievement. Here’s a tip, try framing your achievements in terms of SMART: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Bound. In other words, what did you do, how did you do it, what was the result compared to the goal, did you make your goal on time?

People have said to me, “you’re a talented recruiter,” and I always say, it’s not talent, it’s skill.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,
James Seetoo

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Once More With Feeling Or Should I Just Stick To The Script?

Posted by jamesseetoo on December 21, 2009

The Script.

Isn’t it great when an interview goes according to the script? The interviewer asks the list of question he has and the candidate feeds back the perfect answers. Everyone comes away from the encounter happy and the right candidate gets the right job. That’s of course, when the everything goes right.

Whether you know it or not, if you’re preparing for an interview – whether you’re the interviewer or the candidate, you’re scripting. You’re going over the questions in your mind and preparing the answers you want. It’s a great tool as long as you don’t get too tied up in it. Remember, it’s your script and you haven’t exactly passed it out to all concerned.

How many of you have ever gotten a phone call with someone reading a script trying to sell you something? No matter what you say, they just seem to keep going because they’re more concerned about reading through their script than in having a conversation. Perhaps you’ve had recruiters call you doing the same thing. It’s definitely not something that inspires confidence.

The worst example of poor scripting I’ve ever come across was when I was serving on jury duty. The defendant’s lawyer was pretty much going through the motions. BTW, the defendant was caught red handed but still, there are standards. The defense lawyer cross examined a witness by reading a list of questions, not looking up to engage the person he was supposed to be questioning and barely waited for the witness to answer before asking his next question.

I’ve seen some very junior recruiters doing this when they’re just starting out, more worried about what they’re going to say than the candidate’s answers. But it’s even worse when a candidate does it – and I charitably call that being “overprepared”.

So where’s the balance? Should we just “wing it?”

Well, if you’re used to doing improv, I suppose you could but I think it’s important to remember that the map is not the terrain. It’s the same thing as doing a Karate form. The form is not fighting, it’s an exercise and that’s exactly what scripting should be, an exercise, something to get you used to speaking about yourself or about a job. It’s a map to give you an idea of where you’re going but you still have to flexible in case you need to change directions.

If there are specific points that require a lot of detail, then you should definitely script out what you want to say. But I would say they should be more like talking points that would act as a lead-in to further conversation. And that’s the point of great scripts isn’t it? In movies it’s dialogue that sounds real (Quentin Tarantino does this brilliantly).

So yes, by all means use a script but use it to keep the dialogue flowing. You’ll find that your interviews will be much more interesting for it.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

James Seetoo

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What’s Your Tribe?

Posted by jamesseetoo on November 19, 2009

Do you lead one?  Do you have one?  It’s a pretty good question these days since there’s a lot of talk about Tribes going around.  And it seems to be an evolving situation but an interesting one since it’s apparent that it’s becoming a very powerful cultural phenomenon.  I would say that it’s probably because of the increased connectivity we all have allows us access to people who have the same views and values.  For more on Tribes, I would recommend Seth Godin’s book, oddly enough titled: Tribes.

I had the priviledge of attending the recent PGC200 (www.pgc200.org) launch event in San Diego CA.  It’s a group that I’m advising that is creating a tribe.  It’s primarily made up of technical professionals (scientists and engineers) who are banding together to support one another professionally during trying economic times.  The featured speaker at this event was Gary Ridge, President and CEO of WD40 who has recently published a book with Ken Blanchard called Helping People Win at Work.

What’s exciting to watch about the development of PGC200 is that it’s a welcoming place for people who are not usually used to doing things like marketing themselves to interact with others who are good at that type of thing.  And it was only fitting that Gary Ridge was the featured speaker because he has actively worked to develop the Tribe culture at WD40.

In the book, Gary and Ken Blanchard describe a tribe as being a place where someone belongs as opposed to a team which is something someone plays on sometimes.

That’s an interesting definition and I think it’s highly effective when looking at a company’s culture during your job search.  Is it a place where you “belong” or someplace you go to play eight hours a day?

Gary and Ken also define leadership as a partnership which I think is a great definition.  In this partnership, are you helping someone to be successful and is someone helping you?  In this way, you can be a leader without a title and those you help become members of your tribe just as you become members of the tribe of those who help you.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are good places to find examples of Tribes.  People become followers and friends on these sites based on common interests which can be as simple as a joke of the day.

Like her or not, I think one of the most interesting examples of the Tribe phenomenon is Sarah Palin.  My take on her resigning the governorship of Alaska is that she is leading a tribe of followers, drawing people who are disaffected with their political parties and are looking for a place to belong.  We’ll see if that translates into political office but it’s certainly translated into book sales.

Tribes seem to be popping up all over the place, so maybe it’s time to start yours.  If you’re in a company, help others to be successful and they will become part of your tribe.  If your looking for a job, let your tribe help you. If you don’t have a tribe, start one by going beyond networking to really create a place where people feel they belong in your circle.  As Jay Abraham defines it, it’s the difference between a client and a customer.  A client is someone whose interests you watch out for rather than being in a transactional relationship.

So let me know what you think of this Tribes phenomenon.  I’m interested and hopefully you’re following this blog regularly.  It’s kind of like having a Tribe of my own.

P.S. – PGC200 will be having another event in San Diego in December featuring Ken Blanchard, stay tuned for more information or go to the http://www.PGC200.org.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,

James Seetoo

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The Deadly Faux Pas

Posted by jamesseetoo on August 3, 2009

Well, you’ve made it through the maze of on line applications or did the smart thing and leveraged a contact.  You’re standing in the parking lot about to go into your interview.  You’re in your best interview clothes, relaxed and confident and ready to go in.  You meet the first interviewer in the lobby and give a firm handshake, locking eyes with a steady gaze.  You’ve got copies of your resume ready to go. You slip a breath mint into your mouth just in case.

You’ve got everything you can control under control.

Or do you?

Have you done your homework?  What do you really know about the company, its culture and its goals?

The biggest mistake you can make going into an interview is not researching the company you’re approaching.  Thanks to the Internet there’s an incredible array of information sources you can use to check a company. Obviously public companies are easier to check on than private ones and for private companies you should leverage any contacts you may be able to make through LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

When researching public companies the first thing I do is go to the company’s investor relations page.  You’ll be able to see how a company is doing and the quarterly earnings calls will tell you where the company sees itself going.  You can also get a lot of information from Yahoo Finance which has the same information as the free version of Hoovers.

Social media has really exploded in this area with people posting on message boards anonymously to talk about their companies.  Naturally most of these posts are complaints but rumor is often news that hasn’t been substantiated yet.  In biotech there’s the Biofind Rumor Mill (www.biofind.com) and for other types of businesses there are sites like Jobvent (www.jobvent.com).

The main point is that you should really take the time to find out what the company leadership is saying about the business and where they are taking it.  They usually use buzz words that permeate throughout a company and when you use these in your interview you’re seen as being a good cultural fit.

It reminds me of an episode Tony Bourdain relates in his classic book, “Kitchen Confidential”.  He was interviewing for a job at a steakhouse with someone with a very strong accent and the last question was he thought, “So what do you know about me?” He decided to be honest and said “Nothing.” The question was, “So what do you know about meat?”.

Now obviously you can’t account for accents but you can understand the buzz words and phrases companies use internally. You’ll create tremendous rapport.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,

James Seetoo

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Are You Twit?

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 9, 2009

I am, kind of – and not necessarily in a good way. At least not yet.

I’ve only recently begun exploring Twitter, Facebook and the whole Social Media phenomenon that’s exploding all over the place. But then again, I rarely text and use IM so I’m behind the times and I admit it.

Still, I’m lucky because my sister, Joanna Seetoo (@joannaseetoo on Twitter) is an expert in Social Media Marketing. She’s a featured speaker at the San Diego Cool Twitter Conference World Tour and so I’ve entered the world of Social Media. Now a lot of this is for personal branding and marketing but as I see all of the interactivity and all of the possibilities of publicizing yourself out to people who never would have otherwise known you, there’s some downside to go with the opportunity.

First, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and a whole slew of new social media sites are now very much part of the mainstream. So if you’re not at least getting involved with it you’re really handicapping yourself in your job search. I’ve done a lot of recruiting through LinkedIn and in return many candidates look me up on it if only to make sure that I’m for real. Hiring Managers and recruiters look at your profile to see if you might be the person they want to hire and as a professional, if you’re not at least on LinkedIn it’s like having a phone that only works some of the time.

Second, while sites like Twitter and Facebook can be a lot of fun and a great way to connect with people you’ve lost touch with you must remember to be very aware of what you put in your profile. I remember a candidate who had accepted an offer a great job that really matched everything he was looking for. Then out of curiosity the Hiring Manager looked this person up on a Social Media site and saw pictures of that candidate smoking pot. Needless to say the offer was rescinded as soon as possible.

What it comes down to is that Social Media has become another facet of your personal branding and like your resume everything has to be directed to delivering a congruent message about you. I’ve even seen people starting to build online resumes that are like a hybrid between your resume and your Facebook profile. I’m not sure it’s necessarily a good idea though as it seems to be another thing to manage but since it’s early in the game it might eventually catch on.

I don’t know about you, but I think everyone has seen or heard of an email that went out to the wrong people, which happens when people do a lot of “reply all”. Let’s be honest, when we see that recall message we always open the email to see what’s in there. So imagine that happening on a global scale if you have the wrong thing on your profile.

If you really enjoy the social aspect of this new outlet I would suggest that you have separate personal and professional pages and profiles. You can share your personal one with your close circle of friends and your public one with everyone else. By doing that you can take control of your on line reputation. All of these profiles are now part of your personal branding so you have to protect it.

So follow me on Twitter (@jamesseetoo) and join my The Recruitment Underground Fan Page on Facebook and send me a LinkedIn invitation (jmseetoo@gmail.com). Nothing on those sites has anything I would be afraid to show to my mother. Of course, she’s not really on the internet, but you get the point.

And I’ll continue to learn more about Social Media Marketing. I’m pretty good on LinkedIn and I can tell you that it’s become a much, much more important tools for recruiters. It doesn’t replace your resume but in many ways it’s replacing the big job boards. Make sure you get as many recommendations as possible. I like to see them and it gives me an idea of who likes your work. Besides, as a recruiter, I go where the people are and this is where the action is.

As for Facebook, I’ve had several people contact me that way for help in finding a job and I’m always happy to help. Shakespear said “All the world’s a stage and we’re all players on it” and he was right but now it’s broadcast live 24/7. That’s the great thing about this phenomenon and the possible dangers of it so I’m looking forward to exploring it more. Twitter has tremendous possibilities but I think I’m still a Twit and not a Tweeter – yet.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

Best,
James Seetoo

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