Monday, July 29, 2013

Why a Recruiter is Necessary in Your Job Search

In 2013, hiring is becoming more of an art form rather than a run-of-the-mill activity performed by an HR Rep. There are metrics that determine what makes a viable candidate, a team of personalities who will be a part of the decision making process and more tests than you ever took in High School Geometry just to determine if you are the right employee for them. For every one job being advertised, there are close to hundreds of candidates who are fighting for that same spot and while you may think you are the perfect fit for that position, those other applicants have the same opinion. Although your resume may be ideal, it’s hard to tell the difference when it’s sitting in the middle of a pile a mile long. You need something to set yourself aside; something that puts you in front of that hiring manager and says “Here I am, when do I start?” Having a recruiter who has direct access to that hiring manager is the key. Below I highlight 6 reasons why working with a recruiter will put you at the head of the class:

1) Direct contact with hiring manager:

job interview tips shaking handsRecruiters spend days, if not weeks, working to build relationships with the person who will ultimately decide the fate of your future employment. Recruiters devote that time to learning what not only makes someone a good fit technically but also culturally and by the time your first phone call with a recruiter is over, you already know if you are one step closer to being that company’s next employee.

2) They know the ins and outs of the job description:

When you are reviewing a job description what are you doing first? Identifying if you match with the bullet points being advertised. You read the first seven bullet points and you think “well I match 5 of the 7 so I should be perfect!” What if what you didn’t know was that the two you don’t match are the two that are the most important to the hiring manager, and without it they won’t consider you? The Recruiter knows that. A good recruiter will know what areas of the job description are most important and which ones are secondary. By knowing this ahead of time you automatically can get yourself to the front of the line.

3) Provide career advice:

The recruiter’s job is to interact with thousands of job seekers a year. Recruiting is much like a batting average in baseball. Unfortunately success is determined by failing more than winning. They know what a bad interview looks like, and how it can be prevented. If you are an average job seeker chances are you are only interviewing a few times a year. Which means you only get a few shots at getting things right. Working with the recruiter allows you a chance to learn from others mistakes. If you can spend even 10 minutes with a recruiter finding out what makes a job applicant attractive to hiring managers, it can save you hours of wasted interviewing time.

4) Up-front honesty:

Unfortunately the true fact is that companies do not want to tell you why you are not a fit for them. They would like to have you believe “there was a better applicant”. And while that may be true, that still begs the question: what made them better? More experience? Better aptitude to do the job? Would they accept a lower salary? Hiring managers aren’t afraid to tell recruiters these answers because they know they do not have to tell the applicant themselves. So, as such, there is no fear of backlash by sharing this information with a recruiter. On the flipside the recruiter is not afraid to tell the applicant this information because ultimately they are not the ones who feel this way, it comes from someone else. When you are working with a recruiter you can get the black and white truth, no matter how harmful it may be.

5) Interview preparation:

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To go back to point 3, the average job seeker is no expert at interviewing – at least you probably should not be (if you have job security). The recruiter, on the other hand, is. They know if the hiring manager prefers someone who dresses down, shows up 15 minutes early or has a firm handshake. These things are important in this day and age. Personally, I have had a candidate be declined a VP of Human Resources job because they did not send a proper thank you note. If you are interviewing on your own, how are you supposed to know that? Working with the recruiter allows you to know what will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Maybe this hiring manager will only hire a team player, and while the candidate before you was unaware of that you walked in prepared to talk all about how you were part of a 10 person team that had to work together, and you brought examples to prove it.

6) Resume assistance:

Whilst you may be an excellent writer, unfortunately you cannot have 15 different versions of your resume on hand to fit every job you apply for. And if you are like most professionals you have acquired a multitude of different skill sets throughout your career. Although it would be nice to label all of it, there just isn’t enough room. The recruiter knows what is most important to that hiring manager and what they look for first on a resume and they will ensure that the first thing the hiring manager reads is the same things that he/she is looking for.


Ultimately working with a recruiter will get you closer to that dream job you’ve been trying to land more than you could think, by separating yourself from the herd. Knowing what a hiring manager wants to see on a resume and what will set you apart once you land that interview will put you that much closer to acing the test. But don’t just work with the first recruiter who calls. Understand their market, clients and industry. If you are an IT Director looking for that executive level position it makes no sense working with the Financial Recruiter who specializes in tax accountants. The recruiter/ candidate relationship should be one of understanding what the two of you can do for one another. After all, this is your life were talking about.
Author: Chadd Balbi is a Full Desk IT Recruiter. He can be contacted on Twitter at @CFBRecruiter.
photo by: Victor1558

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It's Time To Buy Yourself A Hat Rack!

Ron JaworskiDec 9, 2012
Sometimes we forget how many things we are doing at once, and other times we do the right things in the wrong manner. Why we need a hat rack to work better.
As business owners and managers, we are forced to wear many hats during the day. There is one hat for marketing and another for accounting. There is a hat when taking care of our employees and a hat when our partners need something. Last but most important are the various hats we have for different types of customers, all in need of something special.
Each hat represents a different “state of mind” based on the task at hand and the person we are dealing with. As managers, we must understand our desired goal and wear the proper hat, even though on some days the number of hats needed seems endless.
Probably every business owner will be able to think of a meeting in which he or she wore the wrong hat, and an opportunity slipped throw the window.
So how can we stay focused? This is where the hat rack enters the picture. Every manager needs one. This will just consist of a short break, a minute or two, sometimes a bit longer—take your time. Gather your thoughts before you put on your next hat and start engaging in something else.
Stop and summarize in your head, in your cellphone, or even on a piece of paper the central point of what you have just been doing. Now, place the hat back on the hook. Carefully pick up your next hat and before you put it on, take another moment and allow yourself to gather your thoughts. What is the goal of the next meeting? What are you hoping to achieve, and who is going to sit in front of you? Once you feel comfortable and know what your purpose is with this hat, let the new “state of mind” take over, and get to work.
The ability to initiate a pause between various day-to-day activities allows us to better prepare our brains for our next meeting and store the data from the previous task. Feel free to stop, talk to yourself, take one hat off, and wear a new one. If you feel as if you do not have time to stop for a moment, make sure you cancel a meeting or a task; your work will only improve because of this.
And do not worry; the Mad Hatter was not talking to himself.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Positive Thinking - It's All In The Mind....

The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work

Positive thinking sounds useful on the surface. (Most of us would prefer to be positive rather than negative.) But "positive thinking" is also a soft and fluffy term that is easy to dismiss. In the real world, it rarely carries the same weight as words like "work ethic" or "persistence."
But those views may be changing.
Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.
The impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life is being studied by people who are much smarter than me. One of these people is Barbara Fredrickson.
Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, and she published a landmark paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Her work is among the most referenced and cited in her field, and it is surprisingly useful in everyday life.
Let's talk about Fredrickson's discovery and what it means for you...
What Negative Thoughts Do to Your Brain
Play along with me for a moment.
Let's say that you're walking through the forest and suddenly a tiger steps onto the path ahead of you. When this happens, your brain registers a negative emotion -- in this case, fear.
Researchers have long known that negative emotions program your brain to do a specific action. When that tiger crosses your path, for example, you run. The rest of the world doesn't matter. You are focused entirely on the tiger, the fear it creates, and how you can get away from it.
In other words, negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts. At that same moment, you might have the option to climb a tree, pick up a leaf, or grab a stick -- but your brain ignores all of those options because they seem irrelevant when a tiger is standing in front of you.
This is a useful instinct if you're trying to save life and limb, but in our modern society we don't have to worry about stumbling across tigers in the wilderness. The problem is that your brain is still programmed to respond to negative emotions in the same way -- by shutting off the outside world and limiting the options you see around you.
For example, when you're in a fight with someone, your anger and emotion might consume you to the point where you can't think about anything else. Or, when you are stressed out about everything you have to get done today, you may find it hard to actually start anything because you're paralyzed by how long your to-do list has become. Or, if you feel bad about not exercising or not eating healthy, all you think about is how little willpower you have, how you're lazy, and how you don't have any motivation.
In each case, your brain closes off from the outside world and focuses on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress -- just like it did with the tiger. Negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you. It's your survival instinct.
Now, let's compare this to what positive emotions do to your brain. This is where Barbara Fredrickson returns to the story.
What Positive Thoughts Do to Your Brain
Fredrickson tested the impact of positive emotions on the brain by setting up a little experiment. During this experiment, she divided her research subjects into five groups and showed each group different film clips.
The first two groups were shown clips that created positive emotions. Group 1 saw images that created feelings of joy. Group 2 saw images that created feelings of contentment.
Group 3 was the control group. They saw images that were neutral and produced no significant emotion.
The last two groups were shown clips that created negative emotions. Group 4 saw images that created feelings of fear. Group 5 saw images that created feelings of anger.
Afterward, each participant was asked to imagine themselves in a situation where similar feelings would arise and to write down what they would do. Each participant was handed a piece of paper with 20 blank lines that started with the phrase, "I would like to..."
Participants who saw images of fear and anger wrote down the fewest responses. Meanwhile, the participants who saw images of joy and contentment, wrote down a significantly higher number of actions that they would take, even when compared to the neutral group.
In other words, when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that suggested positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.
But that was just the beginning. The really interesting impact of positive thinking happens later...
How Positive Thinking Builds Your Skill Set
The benefits of positive emotions don't stop after a few minutes of good feelings subside. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive emotions provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.
Let's consider a real-world example.
A child who runs around outside, swinging on branches and playing with friends, develops the ability to move athletically (physical skills), the ability to play with others and communicate with a team (social skills), and the ability to explore and examine the world around them (creative skills). In this way, the positive emotions of play and joy prompt the child to build skills that are useful and valuable in everyday life.
These skills last much longer than the emotions that initiated them. Years later, that foundation of athletic movement might develop into a scholarship as a college athlete or the communication skills may blossom into a job offer as a business manager. The happiness that promoted the exploration and creation of new skills has long since ended, but the skills themselves live on.
Fredrickson refers to this as the "broaden and build" theory because positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life.
As we discussed earlier, negative emotions do the opposite. Why? Because building skills for future use is irrelevant when there is immediate threat or danger (like the tiger on the path).
All of this research begs the most important question of all: If positive thinking is so useful for developing valuable skills and appreciating the big picture of life, how do you actually get yourself to be positive?
How to Increase Positive Thinking in Your Life
What you can do to increase positive emotions and take advantage of the "broaden and build" theory in your life?
Well, anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment, and love will do the trick. You probably know what things work well for you. Maybe it's playing the guitar. Maybe it's spending time with a certain person. Maybe it's carving tiny wooden lawn gnomes.
That said, here are three ideas for you to consider...
1. Meditation -- Recent research by Fredrickson and her colleagues has revealed that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions that those who do not. As expected, people who meditated also built valuable long-term skills. For example, three months after the experiment was over, the people who meditated daily continued to display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.
Note: If you're looking for an easy way to start meditation, here is a 10-minute guided meditation that was recently sent to me. Just close your eyes, breathe, and follow along.
2. Writing -- This study, published in the Journal of Research in Personalityexamined a group of 90 undergraduate students who were split into two groups. The first group wrote about an intensely positive experience each day for three consecutive days. The second group wrote about a control topic.
Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses. (This blew me away. Better health after just three days of writing about positive things!)
Note: I used to be very erratic in my writing, but now I publish a new blog every Monday and Thursday. I've written more about my writing process and how you can stick to your goals in this blog and this blog.
3. Play -- Schedule time to play into your life. We schedule meetings, conference calls, weekly events, and other responsibilities into our daily calendars... why not schedule time to play?
When was the last time you blocked out an hour on your calendar just to explore and experiment? When was the last time you intentionally carved out time to have fun? You can't tell me that being happy is less important than your Wednesday meeting, and yet, we act like it is because we never give it a time and space to live on our calendars.
Give yourself permission to smile and enjoy the benefits of positive emotion. Schedule time for play and adventure so that you can experience contentment and joy, and explore and build new skills.
Happiness vs. Success (Which Comes First?)
There's no doubt that happiness is the result of achievement. Winning a championship, landing a better job, finding someone you love -- these things will bring joy and contentment to your life. But so often, we wrongly assume that this means happiness always follows success.
How often have you thought, "If I just get ___, then I'll be set."
Or, "Once I achieve ___, I'll be satisfied."
I know I'm guilty of putting off happiness until I achieve some arbitrary goal. But as Fredrickson's "broaden and build" theory proves, happiness is essential to building the skills that allow for success.
In other words, happiness is both the precursor to success and the result of it.
In fact, researchers have often noticed a compounding effect or an "upward spiral" that occurs with happy people. They are happy, so they develop new skills, those skills lead to new success, which results in more happiness, and the process repeats itself.
Where to Go From Here
Positive thinking isn't just a soft and fluffy feel-good term. Yes, it's great to simply "be happy," but those moments of happiness are also critical for opening your mind to explore and build the skills that become so valuable in other areas of your life.
Finding ways to build happiness and positive emotions into your life -- whether it is through meditation, writing, playing a pickup basketball game, or anything else -- provides more than just a momentary decrease in stress and a few smiles.
Periods of positive emotion and unhindered exploration are when you see the possibilities for how your past experiences fit into your future life, when you begin to develop skills that blossom into useful talents later on, and when you spark the urge for further exploration and adventure.
To put it simply: Seek joy, play often, and pursue adventure. Your brain will do the rest.
James Clear writes at, where he uses behavior science to help you master your habits and improve your health. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, join his free newsletter.
For more by James Clear, click here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Saving $ by using independent consultants & contractors....

Everyone Will Have to Become an Entrepreneur [infographic] - Career News | PayScale

At the rate that jobs are being outsourced, and with more and more companies choosing to bring in contractors instead of employees, a perfect storm is being created. That storm could result in a whole new world of entrepreneurs who could replace employees, as this Funders and Founders indicates.
Independent contractors cost a company 30 percent less than a regular employee because they don't have to provide benefits, supervision or long-term pay. Companies are also outsourcing. Whereas a U.S. employee, such as a software developer, costs as much as $94,259 per year, a professional from countries like China and India can cost as little as $11,339.
Corporate changes such as these are causing employees to lose faith that their jobs will last. It also leaves them feeling de-valued and easily replaceable. Eventually, employees will seek out different methods of earning a living. The benefits of becoming an entrepreneur include the creation of value, taking risks, making life better and being ambitious.
Check out the infographic below for more revelations on why everyone will have to become an entrepreneur.

(Photo credit: Funders and Founders)