Recruiting


UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that the only things I removed from this email were the guy’s full phone number and last name.  Everything else is EXACTLY as I received it.  Including the field codes.

Do not send me something that looks like this (true story – really happened today):

Hello (%Naren%)

As you know, I represent a staffing company whereby we work at a national level, servicing our clients in the IT / Engineering area, helping them fill their contract openings or direct hire positions. If I can assist you fill job openings at (%BeyondTekIT.com%), please send me a job description and then contact me ASAP.

Since 90% of our business comes from repeat business, I would like to make you one of our repeat clients.

I look to hearing from you shortly, with a favorable reply.

Thanks,
 
Naren <Last Name Removed>

Tel: 714-xxx-xxxx

If you send me something like that, it tells me two very important things:

  1. You think so highly of yourself that you assume I know who you are, who you work for, and what you do. 
  2. You have a terrible grasp of Mail Merge, because you couldn’t even get the fields to populate.

I’m not going to respond to a blanket, mass email sent to the Careers address for my company.  I don’t send bulk emails to my candidates, so I expect that people who are looking to provide me with a paid service would be smart enough to take a few minutes of research time to figure out who I am and what I do.  I expect a personalized note, and I expect that you will attempt to build a relationship with me before I do any kind of business with you.  

Recruiting should be a personalized service.  I expect that my third-party partners are taking the time to understand our needs, as well as those of the candidates they refer.  The partners we’ve used in the past have been successful at this, because they are interested in what each party needs and wants, and are able to effectively bridge any gap.  Some of our recent, successful partners include Modis, Hirestarter, and the Laurel Group. Each of these organizations has done a great job of developing relationships with nGenera, and when they provide us with candidates, they are as interested in the right fit as they are in the placement fee.

So, to reiterate…  If you’re a third-party recruiter hoping to do business with us, please take a minute to do a couple of quick Google searches to see who you’re dealing with, and try to actually build a relationship with us – don’t just throw us your candidates and hope one sticks. I can guarantee you that there is no quicker way to my “blocked senders list” than by wasting my time.

I try. I really do. I want to help the nGenera software engineering team so much that I’ve been trying to write Ruby on Rails code. The only problem is, I don’t have what it takes. I’m just not a good programmer. Oh, sure, I USED to be an awesome programmer, but that was before I moved into the frou-frou world of “Talent Acquisition.” Today, my programming skills are creaky, and I’m not even capable of putting together the simplest of “Hello World” programs in Ruby on Rails. I’m so disappointed in myself – I am ready to run upon my sword.

But, then I took a step back and thought… People read this blog (well, a couple, at least). Maybe some good programmers will read it. In fact, maybe YOU’RE a good programmer. And if you ARE, I am betting that you can take this code and fix it with one click of the keyboard.

puts ‘nGenera is the absolute coolest company in the world. It’s the greatest, even!’

If you can spot the bug, we would really like to hear from you, because we have some cutting-edge Ruby on Rails code we want you to write for us.

If you can fix it and you want a job, just comment below or send me an email at ktierney@ngenera.com. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Please save the software engineering team from their well-meaning recruiter. Please??

…for the Enterprise 2.0 Conference! And you can use this handy promo code to save $100 on your registration or get a free pass to the Demo Pavilion!

Today’s successful recruiters (or, as I like to say… Talent Acquisition Innovators) are already aware of how Enterprise 2.0 technologies are changing the face of the talent landscape. In order to effectively manage the recruiting process, talent professionals have to understand the new world order. And the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, being held in Boston, MA on June 9-12 is just the kind of place savvy talent professionals will find the tools and information they need to build the Next Generation Workforce. Speaking of which, check out one of the E2.0 Conference offerings that deals specifically with the nGen Workforce:

Developing a Next Generation Workforce

The velocity and variability of today’s business environment has become more dynamic and unpredictable than ever before. The pace of change is so fast, that executives find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to keep their organizations performing and innovating at levels necessary to deliver optimal business results and competitive differentiation. What capabilities does an enterprise require to develop an agile workforce? How do organizations address the leadership gap? How do strategists address strategic talent initiatives? What analytics are necessary to link organizational capabilities with business strategy execution? What is the role of technology in developing a next generation workforce?
This is an incredible opportunity to get your feet wet with Enterprise 2.0. Focus areas include leadership, community, education, and solutions. The Enterprise 2.0 Conference is the largest gathering of its kind, and it will provide exposure to the newest tools and technologies you can use for talent acquisition and development. It will also provide excellent networking opportunities with the best and brightest minds in the Enterprise 2.0 world, which can translate to lots of great talent for your future openings.
Enterprise 2.0 is the future. The future is now. And you can get it all at the Enterprise 2.0 conference.

First, I ran across a cool twitter tool that would be very helpful to people in recruiting or sales (not that recruiting ISN’T sales, mind you – it is).  It’s called tweetscan, and it allows you to search twitter’s public timeline for tweets that match your search string.  It doesn’t support Boolean searches (David Sterry, are you listening? – that would be a really, really useful feature!), but it does allow automatic search agents, which is wicked cool.  You can also add it as a search bar on your favorite (decent) web browser.  I’ve got it set to do daily searches for RoR, Java, and Recruiter.  I’m excited to see what tweetscan can do for me.

Second, my good recruiting buddy Paul DeBettignies wrote a post today about me!  All about ME!  To quote Sally Field: “You like me!  You really LIKE me!”   Okay – I know that’s a bit much, but Tom Steinthal mentioned me, too, so my head is bigger than a freaking watermelon!

Have a very happy New Year.  Stay safe!

I’ve been using twitter for many months now. Not only has it been a great tool to help me keep track of my co-workers, but it’s also been an interesting and useful tool in my recruiting activities. I can track certain keywords (“recruiter,” “.NET,” “Java,” etc.), and follow up on people who I think might make interesting candidates. I can also keep up-to-date on breaking news and fun facts by following people like Guy Kawasaki (twitter id: guykawasaki, if you’re interested). Today, I spent several minutes venting my frustrations about Webkinz on twitter. Next up: Whirlpool Appliances (they won’t be happy!). If you’re interested in what I have to say on twitter, feel free to follow me – my id (of course!) is txaggie94. (Gig ‘em Aggies! Beat the Hell Outta Penn State! WHOOP!)

I’ve gone completely off-topic again. Sheesh. Back to the point…

Today, I ran across a post by Michael Specht, an Aussie blogger with a really cool graph (that he snagged from cogdogblog.com) that I can use to explain twitdiction:

The “????” is what I call twitdiction.

Twitdiction occurs when someone completely gives control of their lives to twitter. They send a tweet when they leave in the morning. They send a tweet when they sit in traffic. They send a tweet from the train. They send a tweet from every meeting. They send a tweet when they go to lunch. They send a tweet when they head home. They send tweets about their kids, pets, and better halves. They send angry tweets when the grocery store is out of Vegemite. In short, twitter has taken hold of their lives (and their mobile devices), and refuses to give it back.

But twitdiction isn’t all bad. Look at me, for example. I am constantly checking my twitter updates page to see if there are any fresh candidates out there for me to contact. While I have yet to hire anyone via twitter, I have developed relationships with folks that I would consider hiring if they lived in NYC. So, I am building up my weak ties network, with the full expectation that it will serve me well in the future. Twitter is helping me to be more effective (in the long run) at my job.

So, I like that people are taking notice of twitter. Twitter is an interesting tool, and, like Michael points out, it is utterly and completely useless if you don’t have friends on twitter. But, if you do have friends, and if you know how to track items of interest, twitter can be twitdictive.  And TWIT-TASTIC!  ;)

Over the past several months, I have been in the throes of a candidate tracking system selection and implementation process. It was a daunting task. There are hundreds of systems out there, and I had to narrow it down to the right one for BSG Alliance. We look at all of our software (our platform for doing business, as it were) as a strategic advantage. We needed a candidate tracking system that not only fulfills our needs, but does so better, faster, more efficiently, and more profitably.

At the end of the day, that system was Jobvite. And, interestingly enough, there was a writeup about Jobvite in VentureWire (subscription required!) today, which pointed out:

Jobvite Inc. hopes to make hiring more streamlined – and more viral.

And that viral part was the key.

Jobvite treats the entire organization as a recruiting machine, leveraging the social networks of all employees to build a pipeline of great candidates for open jobs. At its heart is the concept of a “Jobvite,” which you can liken to an invitation to visit a job posting on your career site. You send Jobvites to your employees and your social network, and, through the magic of viral marketing, you get your job postings in front of (potentially) hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates. Since we started sending Jobvites on Tuesday, we’ve had 4 candidates submit their resumes for some of our very important open jobs. That’s a pretty impressive return for what amounted to 15 seconds of work on my part to send out the Jobvites!

As far as tracking the candidates and requisitions once they’re in the system, Jobvite is excellent. It’s intuitive. It’s easy on the eyes (that is, well-designed). It was incredibly simple to implement. It’s flexible. It’s easy to customize. It allows you to manage “collections” of candidates, to make classification easier.

The customer service is phenomenal, and the longest we’ve waited for an enhancement or customization is 12 hours. The Interview Scheduling facility integrates with Outlook, but only on Windows XP or older, and it could use a little tweaking, including the ability to schedule ticklers directly from the system. That’s my only complaint. Everything else is really incredible.

Jobvite is targeted towards small and mid-sized businesses. It requires no software installation – it is a true Software-As-A-Service tool. Pricing is competitive – an all-inclusive setup fee, and an all-inclusive monthly fee (not a fee per hiring manager, per recruiter, per HR rep, per interviewer, etc.). That monthly fee allows every single employee in your organization to access and use Jobvite to automate and streamline the recruiting process. Did I mention that using Jobvite can make your entire recruiting process, from candidate identification to hiring, paperless? Think of the reams of paper and forests of trees you can save!

I have to thank Jen Overholt from Jobvite, as well as Hans Larsen, who have done an amazing job throughout the implementation process to work with us to make sure we have the right system for our needs.

If you want more information on the process, and the other systems we reviewed, please feel free to drop me a line at ktierney@bsgalliance.com. I’m happy to help!

I’ve been on Facebook for a while now. I actually got an account on Facebook a couple of years ago, using my Texas A&M University alumnus email address, in order to check up on potential new members for my sorority (yes, yes, I was a sorority girl... we’ve been through this…). Since then, I have found Facebook to be a useful business tool, allowing me to keep in touch with my very geographically diverse team, and allowing me to troll for potential passive candidates.

The Harvard Business Review on-line recently posted an article by Charlene Li that extols the virtues of a corporate presence on Facebook. The article points out that companies like Ernst & Young are having phenomenal success with their recruiting and networking by effectively utilizing Facebook’s tools. As Ms. Li properly points out:

Businesses don’t strike deals with each other – people do.

Social networks are valuable assets in striking deals. In short, the more people to whom you connect, the more people with whom you can develop profitable business relationships. And social networks provide a very efficient way to quickly build and expand your network of personal and business connections.

What I am still grappling with, however, is how BSG Alliance, as a whole, can better utilize Facebook in our recruiting and business development efforts. I have a long-held fantasy of a viral Facebook application, but my development skills are rusty, and I don’t know where to begin. Plus, I need that “great idea” to make it worth my effort. I see a lot of potential in social networking, but I need to figure out how to harness its power in a way that makes business sense for BSG Alliance.

Any thoughts you’re willing to share?

Hat tip – Brian Magierski for the link to Li’s article.

First, I have a crazy sense of loyalty to Steve Papermaster. The man gave me my first job out of college, and kept in touch with me in the intervening years. When he was ready to start BSG Alliance, he asked me to be a part of his team, even though I’d been out of the paid workforce for 6 years. He’s engaging, funny as all-get-out, and someone who people just naturally want to follow. I love BSG Alliance because it’s a place where I have the opportunity to work with Steve again.

Second, BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to embrace an entirely new career path. I’ve always been a people person – I freak out my family with my ability to remember names and faces (an ability I am proud to have passed on to my oldest child, Emma), but I was also a very good programmer (if I don’t say so myself). When Tom and I made the decision that I would stay home to care for our kids, I really didn’t know where I might fit when I decided to come back to work, which I knew I would. BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to use both my people skills and my technical knowledge to really a make a difference.

Another reason I love BSG Alliance is because my co-workers really care about whether or not I succeed.  This week, one of my colleagues (Mike Corino) took time away from his wife and 2-year-old son to give me an excellent overview of the Financial Services marketplace.  He also took the time to really understand my constraints (both budgetary and time constraints), and I feel that it gave us both a great foundation for a strong working relationship.

There are lots of other reasons I love BSG Alliance.  For example, many years ago, I zipped one of my co-workers in a suitcase.   I get to work with him again.  How cool is that?  And, I get the opportunity to use all sorts of Enterprise 2.0 technologies.  6 months ago, I don’t know that I would have been able to tell you what a wiki is – today, I use a wiki constantly, and I understand its benefit! I also get to help people find career paths that are in line with what they want out of life.

BSG Alliance is a great place. It’s a place where excellence is not only rewarded, but expected.  It’s a place where you can grow your career, and a place where you have mentors to help you move forward.   It’s a place you should consider joining.

Have a great week!
-Katie

Okay, this is more a call for help than a real blog post. If you’ve got input, please feel free to comment….

I am in the process of looking for an expert in C++ performance tuning. The person I need must understand high-volume, real-time transaction processing systems, and must have experience in tuning those systems in the past. I’m not going to be using third parties for this search, so I’m working to find the candidate myself.

My first step is always to use the job board to which we are subscribed. I didn’t find anyone using my standard Boolean searches on the board:

C++ and (“performance tuning” or “performance enhancement” or “improved performance”)

Coming up empty-handed, I moved on to my super secret Google searches. Well, they’re not super-secret. I use inurl and intitle to help me limit my results to resumes, and I use standard Boolean logic to construct the search (thank goodness I was a programmer before I became a recruiter, and I actually deeply understand Boolean logic). So, I run a Google search that looks like this:

(inurl:~resume OR intitle:~resume) “New York” C++ (“performance tuning” OR “performance enhancement” OR “improved performance”)

This isn’t all that fruitful, either. So, I pull a trick from the Bag o’ Recruiter Stuff, and start to think about where I might find a website where C++ performance experts congregate. Maybe I could find a niche board. I’ve had good luck with niche boards in the past – fixprotocol.org, for example, is an excellent place to post for people with experience in FIX Protocol implementations. I commenced searching. And, much to my chagrin, came up with very little. Where do all the C++ programmers hang out? I found a community that focused on Quantitative Finance, but it’s run by a publishing company, doesn’t appear to be very vibrant, and has no job board. I also found a couple of C++ usenet groups, but they don’t allow job postings.

I’ve searched LinkedIn, and even though I’ve got over 2.5 million people in my LinkedIn extended network, I haven’t come across anyone with the skills I need. I’ve got a trial of ZoomInfo, so I’m going to try that, although I’ve been warned that it’s more focused on higher-level executives than mid- to senior-level programmers. I don’t mind cold calling – I’ve just got to get the names.

So, here’s my plea… Some of you awesome recruiters out there must have some thoughts on where to find these stellar C++ experts. I could use your guidance. I’m still new at this, and I know when to ask for help.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

-Katie

About two months ago, we had two people not bother to show up for interviews at our New York office. I had set up the interviews, the interviewers had made an effort to be available, and I had confirmed with the candidates two days earlier that the interviews were still scheduled. And yet, they didn’t bother to show up, nor did the bother to call and let us know that they would not be there.

After the no-shows, I called both candidates. I got voicemail for both. I left messages. Two days went by, and I didn’t hear anything. I emailed both candidates. I got no response. About a week later, I emailed again, just to follow up and close my process. One candidate responded that he was really sorry he hadn’t made it, and would call me that day to explain. You guessed it… he never called. Oh, one other important point: both candidates had submitted their resumes to us. These were not passive candidates, they were actively seeking out new opportunities, and sought out BSG Alliance.

When I called my boss to see if that was something to be expected, she was pretty surprised. She’s been in recruiting for a long time, and she hadn’t really encountered that behavior. But, she’d never been a recruiter in New York, so she thought that maybe the very tight labor market allows people to get away with such poor behavior. It’s hard to find good people in New York, and I guess that some of these candidates figure that they can get away with whatever they want because employers are desperate for good talent. Well, I can tell you this: BSG Alliance is always looking for talented developers, but we’re not “desperate” by any means. We look for people who will help us build a team, not people who think so highly of themselves that they can’t show common courtesy to others.

So, you’re asking why I am bringing this up so long after it happened. Well, it’s because I had a similar situation last week. A candidate found a BSG Alliance job posting, and submitted his resume. I scheduled a phone interview with the candidate for the following day. I blocked off an hour on my calendar, which gives me enough time to really get an idea of what makes the candidate tick. I made the phone call to the number provided, and… I got voicemail. Now, I have to admit that this isn’t unusual – sometimes my candidates are in a meeting from which they can’t extricate themselves, for example. What was unusual is that I left a message, and never got a return call. I called back about 15 minutes later, and still got voicemail. I left another message, and followed up with an email asking to reschedule. All were ignored. This candidate now finds himself on my “NBM List” (Not BSG Material – a holdover from my days as a sorority girl).

I also had a candidate recently who was unavailable during the time we had scheduled to call. Actually, he had been “unavailable” twice before, but had rescheduled both missed calls, so this was my last shot with him. The number he gave me for this particular call was his home number, and one of his family members answered, none too thrilled to hear from me. I waited for a 1/2 hour for the candidate to return my call, and when he didn’t, I sent an email letting him know that we were no longer interested. About 5 minutes later (when I was preparing for another call) the candidate called my cell phone. Since I knew that I didn’t have time to devote to an interview, I let it go to voicemail. The candidate proceeded to call me back at 3 minute intervals for the next 45 minutes, leaving 5 voicemails. I finally spoke to the candidate, and explained that after the amount of time I spent scheduling and rescheduling, only to have him miss a third appointment, I didn’t think he was a good fit for the organization. I almost felt sorry for him, because he didn’t seem to understand that his behavior was a pretty big red flag for me.

I guess this all brings me back to the concept of bridges – more specifically, the burning of such. I like to keep communications open with all candidates, whether or not they’re a good fit for BSG Alliance today. And I hope that people see the value in keeping contact with recruiters who might be able to help them in the future. When someone doesn’t show up for an interview, or is unavailable for a scheduled phone call, and they don’t offer a valid explanation, they find their way onto my NBM List, and they burn my bridge.

At BSG Alliance, we pride ourselves on respecting the time and talents of every candidate we encounter. Common courtesy says that the candidates should also respect our time and efforts. If a candidate can’t show that respect during a job search, then I fully expect that they will be unable to show respect to their co-workers on the job. They are not the kind of people I want on my team.

So, long post short: If you don’t show up for an interview, or aren’t available for a scheduled call, you’re going to make it onto the Recruiter’s list of people that they won’t consider for employment – EVER. Not a good place to be.

Have a great rest of the week. Make sure to check out my cool jobs on the BSG Alliance website.

-Katie

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