Archive for June, 2010

“Strong and Assertive”

June 19th, 2010 No comments

This little firestorm brings a few things to mind:

  • Lying is not the same as being strong and assertive. Strong and assertive goes something like this: “I currently make X, but given my experience I’m targeting X + $5000 for this job.”
  • Unfortunately HR is filled with idiots. Lying isn’t illegal. But I’m not an unnamed HR executive, so what do I know…

One of the many things that drive me crazy about the hiring process is how skittish people are about negotiations. Rather than tell this recruiter she wants more money, O’Hara decides she’d rather lie than just say that.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to tell candidates that I’m not going to use salary against them. It’s hard to come up with a compelling offer in the dark.

Then again, there’s my second point above. There are recruiters and HR people out there who make negotiations an argument.  So, after my annoyance fades, I empathize with the gun shy job seeker, or one who’s been given advice to be elusive or advice that’s a weird combination of self help and sales training.

So here’s the rub as I see it:

  • Job seekers, be honest and direct about your salary history and your expectations. If the recruiter or HR person makes it confrontational or uncomfortable, don’t write off the job until you learn more. They could be giving you an insight into how the company works, or they could be the one idiot in a great organization.
  • Recruiters, give feedback about the candidate’s expectations. You don’t have to give a specific number (in fact, you probably can’t), but at least let them know if you can meet their expectations or not.
Categories: hiring, job search Tags: ,

Oh right, my blog

June 19th, 2010 No comments

June 11 marked the start of an important event in my life that happens every 4 years: the World Cup.  So I’ve gone a little quiet, and although I’ll post a piece about salary negotiations shortly, I can promise nothing until July 11.

Job Search Conventional Wisdom #Fail

June 2nd, 2010 No comments

This post from a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic blog recycles a few pieces of irritating job search conventional wisdom. The first:

The old nostrum that “if a job is posted, it’s been filled” is generally true.

And another:

The reality is that 80% of jobs are filled via personal connections and relationships.

What drives me crazy about both of these sentiments is how unsubstantiated they are. Because they’re repeated so often, people are inclined to accept them, but I think they’re at best unhelpful.

Let’s start with the first. I’ve been a corporate recruiter for 6 years.  I’ll estimate that during that time I’ve filled about 425 positions.  And maybe 25 of those positions were filled with a pre-identified candidate, someone the hiring manager had in mind prior to the posting.

By no means is my experience universal. But at the same time I’m confident in saying that my experience is also not exceptional. So at best, I’m comfortable with the modified statement “if a job is posted, there’s a small chance it’s been filled.”

And now the second.  I don’t know if the 80% statistic is true (although note the lack of a source), but even if it is, so what? Aren’t those other 20% filled in another way? As it turns out, I’m currently in that 20% – I got my current job by applying for it online.  So I’ll take the 1 in 5 chances, particularly given how easy it is to apply for jobs online.

I guess what really gets to me about this kind of job search advice is the absolutism of it. I’m willing to accept that more people are hired through their relationships, but I think applying for jobs based on advertisements is an important part of a job search.  Because those ads represent actual jobs. And “networking” is, by its definition, at least a step removed from an actual job. Otherwise it would be called interviewing.