Why Building a Diverse Team Should Be a Priority

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Why Building a Diverse Team Should Be a Priority

"Diversity is a hot-button topic in the tech world right now. There's a huge push, both in the Valley and beyond, to bring a wide range of genders, ethnicities, educational backgrounds and overall experiences into the workplace. The more variety you have in your team members, the greater variety of perspectives you'll have, and these differing perspectives are what ultimately lead to new ideas..."

 

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10 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Employer Brand

10 Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Employer Brand

by Danielle Van Asch Prevot

What's the secret to recruiting great employees in a job seeker's market? One of the best things you can do is master your employer brand.

Like consumers, job candidates are shopping around for the best offers. They want jobs that fit their goals, desires and lifestyles, at a company they know and trust. Whether you're actively hiring or not, you should always take advantage of opportunities to "sell" your company to potential employees, and make the idea of working for you irresistible.

Here are 10 simple ways to boost your employer brand and get your name out to the industry's top talent.

1. Update your careers page. An up-to-date careers section on your website, complete with job descriptions, benefits overviews and a glimpse at company culture, is the first step to making a good impression with job candidates who look you up.

2. Encourage employees to post about and tag your company on social media. Your current employees have the potential to be your greatest ambassadors. When there's a fun company-sponsored event happening, or something exciting is going on in the office, (gently) remind employees that they are welcome to share the news with their social networks.

3. Implement an employee referral program. Employees who really love working for you will want to tell their job-seeking friends about your company. Make it worth their while with an incentive, such as a small bonus or gift following a successful referral hire.

4. Identify and engage with passive talent. Passive candidates are much more likely to take your call if they know who you are. Follow and establish relationships with your industry's top talents so they know you're paying attention to their work.

5. Participate in industry Twitter chats. Twitter chats and other social media forums can expose your company to a much wider audience of industry professionals while simultaneously establishing you as a field expert.

6. Share relevant news on social media. Show that you know what's going on in your industry by sharing and commenting on the latest happenings.

7. Launch (and publicize) a charity initiative. Corporate social responsibility is a hot topic in the business world. Consumers and candidates alike want to see your company doing some real good in the world, so partnering with a charity organization or doing volunteer work can only bolster your image as an employer.

8. Make your mission crystal clear. Today's professionals want to know that their personal values align with those of their employer. Proudly share your company's mission to attract like-minded employees who will support and believe in it.

9. Share "behind-the-scenes" photos. A picture is worth a thousand words, so give potential candidates an inside look by posting photos from the company social accounts of your headquarters, social events and cool projects you're involved with.

10. Hire a great recruiter. Between our industry experience and far-reaching professional networks, recruiters can help publicize and evangelize your company to the candidates you most want to reach. We'll do the heavy lifting; you just focus on building a company people want to work for.

Moving Up: What Employers Want In a Senior-Level Candidate

Moving Up: What Employers Want In a Senior-Level Candidate

by Danielle van Asch Prevot

At Talented Recruiting, my clients ask me to find candidates for a wide range of senior roles, from product managers to directors of design. Companies tend to need more help filling these types of jobs, and it's not hard to figure out why: The higher up you go, the more specialized your skills and abilities need to be. Employers expect a learning curve at entry level, but by the time you move up to management, you need to prove that you already have what it takes to lead a team.

If you're ready to move up the ladder and take the next step in your career, here's what employers and recruiters are looking for in high-level candidates.

Management experience. It goes without saying that if you're applying for a director or executive position, your resume should include a decent amount of prior management experience. Even if you didn't have "manager" in your previous title, be ready to discuss any leadership roles you were given and what kinds of responsibilities came with it.

Strong communication skills. It may sound cliche, but the ability to communicate really is a universal job requirement. In just about every position I fill, my clients specifically request candidates with good communication skills, and it's especially critical at the senior level. Leading a team requires you to clearly articulate not only what tasks have to be done, but the overall company goals and mission that will motivate employees to do their best work.

Up-to-date industry knowledge. Companies expect a lot from their senior-level employees, and if they're going to hire you, they want to know that you take the initiative to expand your skill set. Stay up to date on your industry's latest software developments and tech trends so you can confidently discuss these with a recruiter or hiring manager. Bonus points if you can provide work samples on your portfolio demonstrating your use of current programs and apps.

Concrete accomplishments. When it comes down to it, businesses want results above all else. What have you done in your current or past jobs that had a measurable impact on the company? Share specific data points to really illustrate your accomplishments. Words are nice, but numbers paint a much clearer picture of what you can do.

Cultural fit. Today's employers place a high premium on how well a job candidate will integrate with the existing company culture. Entrepreneur reported that employees who fit the culture tend to stick around longer, which can save companies tens of thousands of dollars in turnover costs, so hiring managers really want to make sure they get it right. It's true that you can't fake a cultural fit, but you can do some research on prospective employers and try to understand what their company culture is all about. If you feel you embody what they're looking for, be prepared to talk about your shared values during the initial phone screening and in-person interview.

Great references. A hiring manager may think you look good on paper, but they're going to want validation from someone who knows what you're like as an employee. Once you've gotten permission to share their contact information, include at least two or three individuals who ranked above or at your level who can back up any claims you've made on your resume. And choose your references wisely: An impressive reference list isn't the most important factor in the hiring process, but having somebody in the C-suite at a well-known company vouch for you can make a big difference. Remember, your resume, portfolio and professional network are powerful tools that can help get your foot in the door at the company of your dreams. No matter what kind of job you're searching for, use these tools to your advantage to sell your best qualities.

Next Steps: What to Do When You Find the Perfect Candidate

Next Steps: What to Do When You Find the Perfect Candidate

 

As a recruiter, I know how frustrating it can be to scan through resume after resume without finding a good one in the bunch. That's why it's so easy to get over-excited when you come across an applicant with a great work history who hits all the criteria on your hiring checklist.

This person may look good on paper, but before you consider extending a job offer, there are a few steps you should follow to make sure they really are the right fit. To minimize frustrations and wasted time for all parties, here's what to do once you've found an ideal potential candidate.

Conduct a phone screen. Whether you choose to do this yourself or entrust the task to a recruiter, your first step is to get the candidate on the phone. Speaking with a person directly gives you a lot more insight into their personality, attitudes and thought processes than going back and forth over email, but a phone call is much less of a scheduling commitment for both parties than an in-person interview. Knocking out some initial questions during a screening will help determine whether this candidate is worth that time investment.

Review any additional materials. You likely already checked out a candidate's social media profiles and portfolio website before you contacted them. But go back and revisit these materials after the initial phone call, this time with a keener eye. Does your impression of the candidate after speaking with them align with the image they present online? Is there anything surprising or concerning that you missed the first time around? Looking at these profiles and portfolios with a fuller picture of who the candidate is may change your mind, for better or for worse.

Ask for and check their references. Most career experts now advise job seekers not to include the words "references available upon request" on their resumes because they should already know to prepare one just in case. If a candidate can't supply any contacts, or is hesitant to do so, this should raise a red flag for you. Once you do have their reference list, reach out to any or all of the people on there (but do stick to the list: I have seen too many hiring managers compromise the trust and privacy of a candidate by reaching out to unauthorized "back door" references that they know personally). The hope is that you will receive glowing reviews about your candidate, but if anyone is surprised to hear from you or seems less than enthused about the candidate's performance, you might want to move on to another applicant.

Bring them in for the interview. If your candidate has passed through the first three steps and you still want to hire them, now is the time to schedule a formal interview. By this point, you should have a pretty good idea of how well the candidate could handle the job, so use the in-person meeting as an opportunity to evaluate their cultural fit and social skills. On Monster.com, writer Steven Hunt said to look at a candidate's self-awareness, sensitivity to others, social intelligence and self-control, as a deficit in these areas could indicate a "problem employee" who will cause interpersonal issues among your team.

Gather opinions from your team. After the interview, anyone who met with the candidate should be able to weigh in. You may think they're perfect, but candid feedback from the people who will ultimately be working with this person will ensure that you're not seeing them through rose-colored glasses. If your team approves, then go ahead and make that offer.

The path to finding the right candidate for a job can be a long and arduous one, but it's worth it to do your due diligence and not rush ahead with the first qualified resume you see. And don't forget, you can always make the process easier with a recruiter on your side. While the final decision is up to you, we can start your hiring process off strong with the right candidates, and guide you through all of the above steps. Learn more about what we can do for you on the Talented Recruiting blog.

 

Winning over the Passive Candidate

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Winning over the Passive Candidate

 

When you're looking to fill a job, there are two types of candidates you can consider. The first is the active candidate, one who directly applies to your open position and expresses interest in working for you. The second is the elusive, but sometimes much more valuable, passive candidate. This person is currently employed and may not be looking for a new job, but could be swayed by the right opportunity or right relationship. What is the differences in approaching these two potential hires?

Headhunting has long been a method for finding the right candidate, but in today's age of social media and constant connectivity, the game has completely changed. While cyclical, we are in a job seeker's market, and many industries are seeing heated battles to get the cream of the crop. It's also getting harder to locate the right people: According to the 2016 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report, 46 percent of employers say their biggest hiring obstacle is finding candidates in high-demand talent pools.

I am often asked, “How do you find great passive candidates?” Recruiters have extensive personal and professional networks. I love keeping in touch with people I have worked with. I also make it a point to help out where I can. Just this week I have two in person meetings with different ex colleagues looking for expert recruiting thoughts for their start-ups, a call with a past candidate to strategize on asking for a raise, and a happy hour to discuss basic foundations for laying out a strong engineering culture from the start. CEO, Carolyn Betts, of Bett’s Recruiting summed it up perfectly “Recruiting is a relationship business”. For me, helping connect friends and colleagues is a huge perk of the job.

It's not always an easy journey, though. The more skilled and experienced a person is, the more companies there are that want them, and it can be tough to get their attention. These passive candidates know their worth and have no problem ignoring your emails requesting their resume and work samples if they don't think the opportunity or employer is the right fit.

A phone call with a passive candidate is huge a win in the modern recruiting process: means they're at least willing to hear you out. Candidates value transparency and time. Sometimes, I suggest to my client that they take a meeting, or a phone call before we have an updated resume or portfolio. By the time a candidate has prepared these things, they are ready to start sending them to other companies. Passive candidates will procure these items quickly once they feel there is a viable opportunity.

If you're fairly new or are just starting to gain traction in the industry, it's unlikely that the top talent has heard of you. They may be skeptical of taking a risk on a company that's less established.  To compensate for your lack of "buzz", the most successful of my clients, come out of the gate strong, telling the story of their company journey, their vision and paint the picture of how the candidate’s background fits in, and what sort of career growth they can expect from making a move.

Passive candidates are not impossible to attain, but it does take a little extra work to convince someone to switch horses. With a great recruiter to help you find strong passive talent and the right strategy to win them over, you just might find yourself interviewing the best people your industry has.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve your Design Resume

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5 Easy Ways to Improve your Design Resume

by Danielle van Asch Prevot

In just about every industry, designers are in high demand right now. Whether they want graphics, websites or mobile apps, companies are looking for someone with an eye for aesthetics, along with the technical know-how to bring their visions to life.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web development jobs in particular are growing at a faster-than-average rate of 27 percent, so finding opportunities to apply to is the easy part. The bigger challenge for talented design professionals is getting noticed in a crowd of equally talented applicants, all with the same skills and qualifications you have.

The key to catching a hiring manager's eye, quite literally, is a resume that really stands out. Designers are in the unique position of being able to use their application as both a summary of their experience and a sample of their work. The following tips can help you improve your resume, and your chances of landing an interview.

Play with the layout. If you're still using a standard resume template typed in Microsoft Word, use this opportunity to break the mold and show off your skills. Instead of a Word document, create a uniquely formatted resume using a program like InDesign, Illustrator or QuarkXPress. A pop of color and clean-but-bold font choice, for example, will give the reader an idea of your personal style.

Link to your portfolio. Perhaps more so than in any other field, designers really need to have a current digital portfolio. Any prospective employer will want to make sure your style is the right fit for their projects. Provide them with an easily accessible link to a website housing your most recent work. This is another opportunity to showcase your design skills: Make sure your website is aesthetically pleasing with fully functional links and pages, and skip any samples (especially older ones) that don’t accurately reflect your current work proficiency. Utilize your network and have a fellow designer look over your site and critique it before sending out the link on your resume.

Emphasize the right experiences and skills. This is good advice for any job seeker, but in the design industry, it's especially important to read the job description and tailor your resume accordingly. Many tech-focused design jobs require candidates who have experience with specific programming languages and software applications.  Keeping that in mind "skills" sections are boring and often ignored by recruiters and hiring managers! Instead of listing out searchable terms and buzzwords, make sure your skills are show throughout your resume in your accomplishments

Demonstrate results. Did the website overhaul you worked on at your last job lead to a significant traffic boost? Or maybe the ad campaign you designed for a client brought in a ton of sales leads. Hiring managers like to see concrete, quantifiable results, and numbers speak louder than words. Back up your claims with some statistics from past projects to show them what you're capable of. "Increased pageviews by 200 percent with site redesign" sounds a lot more impressive than "updated company website." Normal everyday tasks don’t make you shine, so cut them.

Cut the clichés. Terms like "results-driven" and "detail-oriented" might seem like they'd appeal to corporate minds, but the truth is, we're sick of seeing them. These words show up on every other resume an employer reads, and they've lost their impact because of it. An article on The Muse cited a survey listing some the vague, overused resume terms that recruiters and hiring managers hate, including "go-getter," "team player" and "strategic thinker." Instead, go for strong, action verbs like "achieved," "improved" or "created," all of which can easily be paired with the results/statistics we mentioned earlier.

Creative fields like design are highly competitive, and it might take some extra effort on your part to keep your application moving up the chain. But with a couple of resume tweaks and a positive attitude, you'll be well on your way to getting the design job of your dreams.

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Recruiters: Your most important hiring relationship

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Recruiters: Your most important hiring relationship

By Danielle van Asch Prevot

If you've worked with a recruiting agency in the past, then you already know the basics of how it works: You tell the firm about the position and the type of person you want, and the recruiter goes out and tracks down the perfect candidates.

It's not hard to see the advantages of using a recruiter for your staffing needs. Reviewing resumes, screening applicants and scheduling in-person interviews can be exhausting, and a recruiting agency helps you cut down the time you personally have to spend on preliminary hiring activities. But there's another important way recruiters can enhance your hiring process, and that's the ongoing relationship they build with you, the client.

Good recruiters don't just find candidates; they listen to your needs, tailor their talent scouting approach, and offer their expertise to help you make the best possible hiring decisions. In essence, they create a constant feedback loop that gives you greater insight than you could likely get searching for candidates on your own.

So what goes into building a recruiter-client relationship? Here's what the right agency can bring to the table.

We know your industry. Specialized recruiting firms have invested a lot of time and resources into learning an industry inside and out. We've seen what kind of candidates get hired and succeed in companies similar to yours, and we know what skills and experiences would make a perfect match for the type of role you want to fill. We also know what kind of talent you need to stay competitive, because we see industry hiring trends as they unfold.

We know where to look. Recruiters have access to a wide range of resources to help you find the right person for the job. Candidates are on job boards, social media sites, online forums and even in your professional network. If you were handling the hiring process yourself, you might be overwhelmed at the prospect of searching through all of these different sources, but we have the time and expertise to do that for you. More importantly, we might know of a place or two you wouldn't have thought to look yourself, leading to even more qualified candidates.

We evangelize your company. If your company is smaller and only has a few employees, you may not have the networking power to talk yourself up to potential applicants. Even with inbound flow, you risk missing out on the best passive candidates if you don’t have a personal connection to them. A well-connected recruiter is linked to the top talent in your industry and geographic area, and knows which individuals would be the perfect match. We get excited about supporting our clients and their missions, and feel personally tied to their success, so we’re more than happy to spread the word about your opportunities to the people we know.

We can give you an unbiased opinion on candidates. We all work hard to remain objective when evaluating candidates, but even the best of us may experience what’s known as a hiring bias. This means unconsciously favoring candidates who have a similar background to their own, and possibly rejecting those who are qualified from a skills perspective, but have a personality or background that may not instantly connect with you. A recruiter looks at your talent pool from an objective, outside perspective. We'll let you know which candidates we think are right (or wrong) based on what we know about your company, its culture and the position we're helping you fill.

When you sign on with a recruiting agency, you're getting more than just candidate leads. Recruiters are natural connectors, and we take pleasure in maintaining long-term personal relationships. We take those relationships very seriously, and our clients either start out, or end up as friends. We truly care about your ability to succeed, and because of that, we're able to give you the tools, tips and candid feedback you need to make an informed decision about every hire you entrust to us.

 

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Need a Referral? Make Your Info Easy to Forward!

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Need a Referral? Make Your Info Easy to Forward!

By Danielle van Asch-Prevot

When you're looking for a job, a referral from a company insider can be the difference between your application getting pushed to the top of the list rather than buried in a growing pile of resumes. If you've taken the time to build genuine relationships, most of your professional contacts would be more than happy to help you out by passing your resume on to someone they know. But that's the thing: They probably don't have time to do more than just "pass it along."

Asking for an introduction or recommendation means you're asking that person to stick their neck out for you, knowing that, if you fail to impress, it could reflect poorly on their reputation. That puts your contact under a lot of pressure to come up with some talking points that will wow the appropriate person, and unless you've worked closely and directly with your referrer, this can be an awkward, difficult and time-consuming task. Therefore, it's in your best interest to make it as simple and stress-free as possible to forward your information along.

The trick is to send something that's easy for your referrer to cut, paste and forward. This not only alleviates some of the burden on them, but also gives you more control over the message that ultimately ends up in front of the hiring manager. Here are a few smart elements to include in your email to the person who's giving you a job referral.

An intention paragraph. Think of this as a brief, informal cover letter. Craft a few sentences about why you're interested in the job and what skills and experiences make you a good fit. This is your chance to make the case for yourself and give your referrer a better idea of how to talk about you to the supervisor or HR manager.

Your resume. This one should be obvious, but people forget to include attachments (or accidentally click "cancel" instead of "attach") on emails all the time. Before you hit send, double check to make sure your resume is, in fact, attached. You don't want to paint yourself as someone who's forgetful or inattentive to detail.

Website links and work samples. You don't need to overload your email with additional materials, but links to your personal website, LinkedIn profile and/or online portfolio should be provided for the hiring manager's convenience. This person will likely be doing some research on you before they decide if you're a fit, so why not save them a step and give them as much information as possible? It's appropriate for the position, say you are a UX designer, be sure to send a link to your portfolio, as it is standard practice for hiring managers to want to see your design work. The less back-and-forth there is, the faster the hiring manager can determine if you're going to get an interview!

Gratitude. Don't forget to thank the person who's referring you. It may not have taken them much effort to draft a short email and hit "send," but they're still doing you a favor and giving you a leg up that you may not have otherwise had. Be sure to express your appreciation to your referrer and, indirectly, to the person who will eventually review your resume.

You might feel funny requesting a favor if you're not used to it, but know that it's okay to ask for help. Getting ahead in your career is all about who you know, and in today's culture of networking, people higher up the ladder are usually willing to pull some strings. Remember, the easier you make it for someone to help you, the more likely they'll be to oblige.

 

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