Recruiters have always headhunted (sidenote: I do not like this word, in general I think the type of people who use the phrase “headhunting” are the ones who are trying to sound more important than what they likely are). Any serious Recruiter engages in direct recruiting activity, it is part and parcel of the business it is not something unique.
With the uptake in Social Media the past 4-5 years, we have seen an increase in the number of Recruiters proactively reaching out to people about job opportunities. We have also seen this activity increase across all levels of hire, from help desk roles to C-Level Executives. While getting approached about a role can be a nice boost to a person’s ego, do not let it give you an inflated sense of entitlement. It is The way that people handle themselves during these calls and subsequent interviews will have a large impact on their potential to land that job.
Last week I spoke to two very different candidates, both about the same position and both with very different outcomes. Note: Both candidates had previously contacted me and expressed an interest in the opportunity.
On paper, Candidate #1 looked fantastic; they ticked many of the boxes that we were looking for. The person is working at global IT company and working in a similar role as the one we were hiring for but not in as senior as the role we had. This role would have been the perfect step to getting involved in more complex work for the person.
Candidate #2 had less polished IT experience, ticked some of the boxes we were looking for and on paper in comparison to Candidate #1 was not as close a fit as Candidate #1 was. It seemed like I was comparing apples and oranges. After speaking to both candidates it turns out I was comparing apples and oranges except the person better suited for our role was not the one I was expecting it would be.
The first candidate on paper looked great – they had the experience we were looking for and appeared to be just right for the role, but after talking to them, they gave me the impression that they thought the world owed them. The impression I was left with was that they did not equate success with hard work, they seemed more interested in “what is in it for me”. Rather than having a proper conversation with me, I was often cut off and asked to hurry it up when explaining our business, what we are doing, etc… . This person seemed more interested in the job title and money rather than think about ways to make the role successful.
Candidate #2 who had limited experience, made up for any perceived lack of experience and them some with a demonstrated motivation to succeed and do the things needed to make that happen. Candidate #2 made a great first impression, they did not seem afraid of hard work and demonstrated a “team player” attitude. In talking to them they kept me engaged, listened and asked thoughtful questions that made me think this is the type of person who creates their own luck and who would thrive in a place like Oracle.
Skills, capabilities, experience and a good resume can certainly get your foot in the door, but the wrong attitude or approach to work can close those opportunities just as easily. On the other hand, hard work, effort and a genuine work ethic may help open those doors that would otherwise be closed for you. A resume with all the credentials gets you in the front door but that is just the beginning of the process.
It is not how we start the race that is important, it’s how things end that matter most.
So here you are – it has happened, you are now interviewing for that position that you have either applied for or maybe were called about. Whether you are an “active” candidate looking for a job or a “passive” candidate who was contacted about the opportunity, it doesn’t matter now. Regardless of the circumstances of how you got to the interview stage, how you and your new potential manager connect with each other at interview will play a part in whether you are successful in landing that job.
The best manager/employee relationships I think tend to be the ones where both the manager and employee have a common goal that they are both working towards and they work together in unison to achieve these goals.
Candidates – when you are interviewing for a role, remember that an interview is a two way process. An interview shouldn’t be just a case of a company interviewing you to see if you are a good fit for a certain role. Don’t forget in an interview process it is equally important that you take the opportunity to similarly interview the company to see if that role/company are the right place for you to move to as the next step in your career.
I think an interview should not only be a chance for a Hiring Manager to get to better know a candidate and asses his capability and cultural fit for a team/company but it should also be a chance for the candidate to similarly assess a company or manager about whether they are someone that they want to work with.
Managers – I know Recruiters have been talking about the “war for talent” since before many of you were managers, but there is no denying it – it exists. You are not only competing with other companies for talented individuals but you are also competing with the existing companies that those talented individuals are working at. Companies are not going to let the people they have identified as superstars resign without a fight (this is the classic Counter Offer scenario which may be another blog post in itself).
So how do we get these great people – their current employer will do all they can to keep them, everyone else wants them – does this mean all hope is lost? No, absolutely not.
The same reasons that have always existed on why candidates are interested in other opportunities is still there: it could be that someone is looking for career advancement, or they want the chance to work with new technology or maybe you have an opportunity that is exactly what that person is looking to do.
As a Hiring Manager don’t just conduct your interviews in question/answer mode. You should talk to that individual to work out what it is they are looking for and you can then relate how your role addresses that. It is potentially going to be the two of you working together so you two are the ones who have to be most comfortable with each other. Don’t oversell the role – set realistic expectations of what that candidate can expect working in your team – give them the good, the bad and the ugly so they can make an informed decision.
Manager’s think back to when you last were looking for a job and put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. When you were looking for a job, what was it that you wanted to know about Oracle, or what was it that you wanted more information about.
There are some great Business Leaders that work here at Oracle – if you are one of them it is likely that you already are doing all these things anyway. The good news for you is that you are also likely raising yourself head and shoulders above what many interviewers do – that in itself gives you a competitive advantage in this ‘war for talent’ but as a great Business Leader you already know that