Red Radius is a web application that helps job fair recruiters find the right candidates quickly and easily.
In my last blog post, I encouraged thoroughly investigating the culture you’re thinking of joining. In the comments, some people agreed they needed to learn about culture but were unsure how to approach it. A few were skeptical. I believe you can learn about culture, even in the early stages. Here are suggestions about how to structure your inquiry.
To get started, be clear what culture to learn about. In a large institution, there may be big differences across departments. Cultures also can be moving targets. Large institutions may change with their environment. In start-ups, expect everything to be different a year later.
Be sure to understand the role you’d have, what you could accomplish, and what you’d learn. A strong culture will set people up for success, and you need to be sure that’s in place. In discussing your role, you’ll also get insight into how the place works.
Then, ask questions that point the discussion to how the organization works. General questions — “What’s the culture like?” or “Are people treated well?” — seldom work. I’ve come up with specific sample questions you can ask as you’re interviewing for a job or talking with others who know the institution. They’re grouped into six topic areas.
1. Purpose. Seek an institution whose purpose you could find inspiring. Consider asking:
Form an opinion whether people are proud of their product or service, and of their institution. Do people use the word “we” when mentioning it?
2. Teamwork. Consider how people work together, especially if you prefer to work in a highly collaborative environment or more independently. Ask:
At their best, teams can be a strength, but some can be a problem. Weigh the answers to these questions against what you want out of your work environment.
3. Colleagues. Who you’ll be working with and how they interact with each other is an important aspect of culture. Find out:
Judge how much deference people give to senior people and whether that feels right. Consider your past experiences, and ask yourself how the talent compares to your classmates in college or in earlier positions.
4. Communication. How people communicate with others — and how they expect you to communicate with them — will affect your day-to-day life. Consider asking:
Consider how well people’s communications styles fit with your preferences. See if the communication during the interview matches the answers to your questions.
5. Performance. Before taking a job, you need to know how fair or demanding performance management is and how supervisors will be looking at your work. Ask:
Some like it when there’s no doubt what’s on the line. Others prefer a more nuanced view of performance. How do they compare to your preference?
6. Productivity. A good match of process and policy against your preferences will significantly affect your productivity.
Look around the office while you’re there. Is it orderly or disorderly? Is the hiring process professional and respectful? Are there any red flags?
Cultural characteristics can be more or less appealing to different people. You might want an institution where performance is king, while others feel that isn’t fair. You might seek the clarity that formal structure and process provide, while others want a wide open environment. The culture you want is part of your aspirations, and understanding culture is part of deciding whether to accept an offer.
How do you suggest people evaluate organizational culture?
October 19, 2011
By Whitney Parker and Ashley Hoffman
The authors are co-hosts of Brazen Careerist’s upcoming Social Recruiting Bootcamp: Engage. Connect. Hire, an online bootcamp featuring top experts and corporate trendsetters. Find out more about the bootcamp and how to sign up.
Social recruiting is nothing new, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. The best part is you don’t need to have “guru” or “strategist” in your title to succeed with social recruiting, despite what the gurus and strategists may tell you. But there is a lot to learn to do it right.
Social networks — including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter — have become core components of any solid recruiting strategy. Indeed, survey after survey shows social recruiting tops the areas where recruiters plan to spend more time in 2012.
But just because you’re on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re going to find your company’s future project leader or inspirational manager in 140 characters. Like accomplishing anything on social media, social recruiting is about strategic engagement — not one-hit wonders — and conversation rather than broadcasting.
Here are five things to remember about social recruiting, whether you’re new to the block or a social media pro:
1. Keep up with latest trends — or risk falling behind
The social media landscape changes fast. Just when you think you’ve mastered Facebook or could get your PhD in LinkedIn, the companies roll out major updates that nullify certain components of your strategy. Fortunately, those same updates can also make you much more effective.
So spend some time keeping up with the latest trends in social recruiting. Dedicate a portion of your re-certification hours to social recruiting training and look for certified courses online that are typically more cost-effective and time-efficient for you and your company.
2. Don’t just jump in — think first
One of the most common reasons companies can’t figure out whether their social media efforts are worthwhile is because they don’t have a strategy. How can you know whether you’re meeting your objectives if you haven’t outlined them? The same is true for social recruiting. It doesn’t have to be a 30-slide powerpoint, but you need some sort of plan.
Before you post all your jobs to LinkedIn, join groups, create a “Jobs” tab on your Facebook page or run a Twitter campaign to promote your careers section, spend some time thinking about your objectives and goals for social recruiting, how your tweets and Facebook/LinkedIn status updates will help you meet them, and how and when you will measure your progress. It will be much easier to measure your efforts and calculate your ROI if you have a strategy up front.
3. Use Facebook’s flexiblity to your advantage
One of the easiest and least intrusive ways to utilize Facebook for recruiting efforts is to add a home for your career offerings on your company Facebook page — and there are a variety of options, some that cost money and others that don’t, to help you do that. Indeed, Facebook is one of the most flexible platforms for social recruiting.
For instance, the IRS maintains a simple recruiting page on Facebook that generates a great deal of comments and interaction every day. Companies like Citi and Intuit have also integrated job postings into their Facebook page, which gives them added visibility to candidates who might not venture to the corporate website. A host of new job board apps like Work for Us and LinkUp make it easy to add these features to your page.
If your company is large, consider establishing a separate Facebook page just for your recruiting team. A great example is Intuit’s Facebook page, where they host chats, videos and podcasts to encourage potential candidates to apply for open positions.
4. Have conversations, don’t just blast
Twitter has become a go-to place for job seekers who are looking for the inside scoop on new job openings. That means if you’re a recruiter or employer, you should make sure you’re right there with them.
First, participate in live online conversations where you might meet potential candidates. #HireFriday, created by Margo Rose, is one such chat created to help job seekers connect with recruiters. You can participate in the chat every Friday by simply following #HireFriday via Twitter search, responding to comments and questions, and tagging your comment with #HireFriday. #Jobhuntchat is another popular live conversation between recruiters and job seekers, and tools like Hootsuite and Tweetchat.com make it easy to the follow threads.
Second, if you’re tweeting about jobs and open positions, make sure your profile description uses relevant keywords so job seekers can easily find you. Mention “recruiter,” “careers,” “jobs” or “human resources.” Think about which keywords candidates might use to search for you, and keep it simple. Being clever or over-complicated can hurt your cause.
Always remember, Twitter is a vehicle for conversation, not a megaphone. Connect with other thought leaders in the recruiting space, and share relevant content even if it doesn’t have your brand stamp.
5. Use Linkedin for more than search
Most recruiters are aware of Linkedin’s expensive search tools. Sure, they’re helpful, but not required.
Here’s another way to find candidates with specific skills (for free): use LinkedIn’s new Skills section. You can only enter one skill at a time (hopefully LinkedIn will soon allow users to search for combined skill sets), and the search results will show people with those skill sets who are most closely connected to you. Since the results identify people in your network (up to third-degree connections), it’s easier to find an “in” who will introduce you to potential candidates.
In addition to listing people in your network, the new skills search also shows the largest Linkedin groups for people with these skills. If you’re looking to post a job that reaches this market, join these groups and share a link to your job posting.
Want to go beyond search? Think about where your target audience may be, and go there. Are you a recruiter for technical positions? Drupal gurus? Marketing or PR positions? Join industry-focused groups and make substantive connections with members. Post relevant articles, engage in discussions, comment on and “like” status updates. Be active!
With social recruiting, you’ll get out of it what you put in. Spend the time to think about what you’re trying to achieve, actively engage on your networks and be creative about how you reach out.
Remember, the skills that made recruiters successful before social have not changed. Networking, listening and communicating will prove your success — one tweet or “like” at a time.
Whitney Parker (@whitneymparker) is Vice President of User Experience and Ashley Hoffman (@ashleyhoffman) is Director of Marketing and Communications at Brazen Careerist. They reguarly host online bootcamps to help people learn new skills to find a job they love. Find out more over at BrazenU.com.
During our chats with job fair organizers and candidates alike, several complaints about recruiters have come up over and over again. Some recruiters attend job fairs only to show face and basically have no job openings to offer candidates. Another similar complaint is that recruiters do not necessarily accept resumes at career fairs, but rather tell candidates to fill out applications for available positions online: Essentially using job fairs to gain public visibility. Lastly, we’ve also heard that in the case of nationwide companies, local recruiters sent to the career fairs are not necessarily knowledgeable about the goals of the national HR department.
Whether it’s a university career fair or one put up by a private firm, companies pay top dollar for table space at these career fairs. The responsibility for vetting attending recruiters and companies solely falls on the event organizer. Some job fair organizers we’ve talked to make it a point to verify that attending companies have available positions for which they’re actively recruiting. By recruiting, we mean that the person you will be speaking with at the booth has some type of influence on the hiring decision. Other organizers are purely content with only confirming company attendance without verifying any available positions. In other cases, companies signed on to participate in a job fair for a future date anticipating future personnel needs. However, in the event these personnel needs do not materialize, these companies still attend fairs to honor their commitment.
Nonetheless as a candidate it all falls back on you. Do your research ahead of time to avoid frustration and coming back home with 50 of the 100 resumes you printed out. Read all you can about an upcoming career fair, and try to get all the details possible. Find out what companies are going to be at the fairs and what positions they will be looking at filling. When are these companies looking to pull the trigger on hiring? Who is going to be at the fair? A new employee or an actual HR manager with some clout? Spending this time researching beforehand will decrease your level of frustration afterward.
Whether you have a job and are looking to make a change or are currently unemployed, job fairs can be a great way to meet with recruiters. But, they can also be quite intimidating to the uninitiated.
A quick search on Google for career fair tips would give you tons of different websites that have many do’s and don’ts for career fairs. If you’re actively looking for an opportunity, you’ve probably read up on appropriate job fair attire, the many different definitions of being professional, maintaining eye contact with recruiters and body language. Some even coach you into asking the right open ended questions to make your time with each recruiter unique. Yes, first impressions are key in landing that next job opportunity and you should heed the advice of these credible sources. However, job fairs are not only a platform for exploring opportunities with potential employers; they are also great networking arenas. Let’s explore the idea of building your brand at a job fair and using this platform to tell your story.
It has been said before that everything that you do defines your brand and everything that you don’t do defines your brand. This is very applicable to the job fair scene. The way you carry yourself, your approach to each recruiter and the story that you tell.
Your Elevator Pitch
Ask any entrepreneur for their elevator pitch and they should be able to spit out their well recited 30 second business pitch that should tell you the key points about their business. The problem they are trying to solve, their solution to that particular problem and a key distinctive part of their business (their secret sauce). Of course with a quick introduction at the beginning. This is all completed within 30 seconds of a handshake.
There are many benefits to having an elevator pitch either for a business or job search. You never know where or who your next opportunity might come from and it’s imperative that people know how they can help you or what you’re looking for after a brief, chance meeting. One of those benefits is that an elevator pitch forces you to sit down and actually put down all your jumbled thoughts on paper and in a manner that is logical to a stranger. You’re probably going to have to give it several tries before finally hitting that stellar 30 second pitch. Nonetheless, this iteration process forces you to stop and think about your current position, your needs and how someone else can help you.
Now let’s apply this to job/career fairs. After you’ve taken the time to chat with your prospective employers, spend some more time talking to others at the fair. Fellow candidates, other recruiters and maybe even job fair organizers. By speaking with these people, you’re sowing seeds and expanding your network. These may or may not materialize into an opportunity, but it won’t hurt your search.
Be Yourself, Be Unique
After your elevator pitch opening, (which might come off as well rehearsed or natural - if rehearsed enough times) you might dive into an in-depth conversation with another. Be yourself, and let your story come across. Believe it or not, you have a identity outside the job fair and this is a great setting to let it shine. I recently came across this amazing thank you note/presentation by a job candidate.
You can clearly see her personality come across in the presentation. We’re not saying you should copy this method and do outlandish things to stand out. All you need to be is yourself, so calm down, relax and take your time with it all.