Interview with FloodGate CEO Josh Heuchan: Part 2
INSIGHT INTO OPTIMIZING & MAXIMIZING THE JOB SEARCH
Q6. How critical is a LinkedIn profile, whether actively or passively on the job market? AND/OR What opportunities are candidates’ NOT hearing about because of their LinkedIn profile?
Ever heard the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” While this old adage is generally good words of wisdom, it doesn’t apply in today’s world of social media, specifically LinkedIn and other professional networking sites. Recruiters/sourcers and hiring managers have exponentially more visibility today than they did in previous eras. As such, prospective candidates (whether passive or active on the job market) would serve themselves well by presenting their “persona” in a polished/professional/accurate manner. For starters, the headshot can make/break whether or not someone takes the time to open your profile. If you’re posing with your significant other and Mickey Mouse on a trip to Disneyland, the takeaway by your audience may not be what you intended. Or, drink in hand at the tiki bar, with glazed eyes… you get the picture. Professional headshots that convey your “presentation” are the undisputed choice. Along the same line, keep your profile current & comprehensive. Those scouting for talent often times use “key word” searches to find talent; if your profile lacks details, chances are you may not be “discovered”. Lastly, make sure your “industry” is accurate. It’s shocking to see how many people fail to update this portion of their profile when transitioning from one to another. Recruiters use this filter tool 99/100 times, so it’s imperative to have this data correctly displayed.
Q7. Beyond a strong resume, what helps you distinguish the difference between a “good” candidate and a “great” one?
During the screening process, instead of falling for the flashiest resume, start looking for patterns of success in the individual’s background. This takes longer, and is generally harder to uncover – but it almost always separates the great from the good. For example, everyone thinks they want the person who’s regularly at the top – this isn’t a bad thing. Understanding why they are at the top (or aren’t) is equally important. What if that person inherited the #1 performing territory/region in the company and has simply been “maintaining” that business the last few years? Conversely, the person ranked #33 out of 75 looks “average”; but after probing you might learn he was transferred from a top producing territory into this one to rebuild a suffering customer base; within 10 months he’s moved the territory from dead last up 42 spots. Or perhaps it’s not as quantifiable… the underqualified/green manager who you’re terrified to present to your client, because everything about her screams “too light”, but for some reason you can’t shake the feeling she might be the “one”. But she doesn’t meet the “minimum requirements”. Looking more intently at her background, you notice a few key differentiators… She self-financed her college education. Marathon runner. Sold consumer goods door-to-door during her summer breaks, and by the time she was 26, she was already managing a team of reps, selling print services. When you begin to see patterns of success, when people thrive no matter their circumstances, you can be sure you’ve got a great candidate on the line.
During the interview process, start taking better notes on how the candidates respond/react to your feedback. “Great” candidates can intuitively place themselves in the hiring manager’s shoes. They can look at themselves objectively, and see their own shortcomings (as well as strengths) and adjust their strategy during the interview process, as needed. Whereas “good” candidates memorize the potential employer’s website until they’re blue in the face, and then ask their recruiter “What could I have done differently?” when they get the DQ call. “Great” candidates understand their deficiencies and work smartly to reduce their learning curve; where “good” candidates think a harder “close” will muscle their way to the top. I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the picture.
Q8. What 3 things should candidates know going into a 1st interview, but typically don’t?
- Candidates generally assume that all the candidates who are interviewing are at the same stage – in other words, that it’s an even playing field. Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for managers to meet with 1st round candidates and 2nd/3rd round candidates on the same day. Candidates should always ask their recruiter something like “Of the other candidates interviewing, are any of them further along in the process?” If a 1st round candidate is going up against 2nd/3rd round candidates, it behooves them to bring some additional intensity/urgency to their due diligence and close.
- Why the position is open. Recruiters cannot disclose these kinds of details, so it’s become acceptable in our industry to simply leave it at “replacement” or “expansion”. Candidates who are sincere in their interest should find ways to tactfully and respectfully discover more information. (I hesitate to say this, because if done wrong, it can be detrimental) Once obtained, this information can potentially help candidates strategically capitalize on existing strengths. (Lots of room for error here, so use the utmost caution/sensitivity in the approach)
- Interviewers are generally trying to “weed out” candidates during the first round of interviews, not extend an offer. If the recruiting partner has done their job effectively, then all of the candidates interviewing are qualified/affordable/interested. This means the interviewer has their work cut out for them. They aren’t trying to figure out who to hire; they are simply trying to narrow a group of 4 or 5, down to 2 or 3. Candidates make the common mistake to try and win the job (or worse, get “sold” by the hiring manager), when really they should be focusing on what they should/shouldn’t do to ensure they get called back for the 2nd interview. Just get on base, you don’t have to hit a homer.
Q9. How can job seekers “keep pace” and stay relevant, given the rapidly changing web landscape (LinkedIn, job boards, blogs, etc).
- Clean up your web identity. Google yourself, and you might be surprised by what you find. When a recruiter/employer is interested in you, it’s likely they will – yes – Google you.
- Take recruiter calls. Whether you’re active on the market or not, it’s wise to take recruiter calls and hear them out. You have no obligation to them, but it’s a wise practice to keep an ear on what’s happening in your industry.
- Interview recruiters. Few candidates take these golden opportunities to quickly and efficiently gain intel about the industry. Recruiters are generally well informed, and are usually happy to share their knowledge.
- Leverage LinkedIn’s “Follow” feature, to keep tabs on market leaders, emerging technologies and other areas that are getting a lot of attention.
- Update your resume every 6 months, even if you’re not looking. Don’t wait until you get caught up in an unexpected RIF to add the last 5 year’s worth of accolades.
- Participate in industry related commentary/blogs/forums.
Bottom Line: Keep current, keep active, and stay engaged!