8 Inspirational Videos You Can’t Miss

As 2012 ends, I’ve reflected on all of the great advice I’ve been given.  I definitely have my close friend, Joe to thank for a lot of it.  He me that when choosing a career, it’s most important to figure out what you’re most passionate about first and all of the other things (income, advancement, reputation and size of the company, etc) as a distant second.  If you do what you’re passionate about (in my case helping people), income and the other things will follow.

Since it’s so challenging to rank my favorite inspirational videos in order, I’m going to start with some of the shorter ones.  However, all of these are “can’t miss” videos and I’d definitely encourage you to watch all of them.

1.) Michael Jordan Failure Commercial

Michael Jordan discusses the importance of having to fail in order to succeed.

2.) Never Ever Give Up

How a disabled veteran changed around his life after being told he’d never walk again.

3.) Derek Redmond, Olympic Runner

Favored to win the gold metal in the Olympics, Derek Redmond was injured.  See how he reacts.

4.) No Excuses

I love Nike commercials!  Warhawk Matt Scott tell you what he thinks of making excuses.

5.) Autistic Basketball Player, Jason Mcelwain’s Story

One of my favorite stories.  This autistic basketball player finally gets a shot to play with 4 minutes left in his team’s last game.  It’s like a real life version of Rudy.

6.) Jimmy Valvano ESPY Speech

Jimmy V was the head coach for NC State’s basketball and won a national championship against all odds.  In 1993, he gave this amazing speech as he was battling cancer and passed away shortly after.

7.) Simon Sinek’s Why Speech

This speech probably speaks the most loudly to me out of any of them and really makes you think.  Simon Sinek discussed that when people do what they’re most passionate about, the money follows.  When their only priority is to make money, the results are very different and he gives specific examples.

8.) John Wooden: The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding

John Wooden, arguable the best college basketball coach ever has more great information in this video than any video I’ve ever seen.  This is probably my favorite one out of all of them.

I hope you found these videos as inspiring as I did and if I left any off that you enjoyed, please feel free to share!

How To Dress During A Job Interview

When preparing for an interview, candidates have a lot to remember:

  • What do I know about the company?
  • Will I remember everybody’s name and what they do?
  • Do I have questions to ask them?
  • What questions will they ask me and how will I answer them?

Being mentally prepared is crucial to landing a job but being physically prepared is equally as important.  As the saying goes, perception is reality.

Imagine getting financial advice from somebody wearing jeans and a t-shirt and what your initial thoughts would be.  Now imagine that same person wearing a nice fitted suit, pressed shirt with a tie, shined shoes, and a fancy watch.  It’s the same exact person and same advice.  However, your confidence in their financial advice drastically changes, doesn’t it?

I’ve seen many very qualified candidates lose job offers because of a bad choice in their wardrobe.  One candidate wore slippers, another an old beat up shirt, and a third candidate had scuffed shoes.   My clients told me that all three of these candidates were great but they just didn’t feel comfortable sending them to a client so none of them got the job.

Sometimes you can’t control your chemistry with the interviewer or be able to think fast enough to answer a question the best you can.  However, don’t lose a job because you’re not dressed correctly.  That is something that you can always 100% control.

Here are the top things men and women must remember when getting dressed for an interview:

For Men and Women:

1.)    Print your resume on resume paper and have it in a leather bound portfolio case similar to the one below.

2.)    Make sure your cell phone is turned off.  I would recommend leaving it in the car or taking the battery out.

3.)    An interview isn’t the time to drench yourself in cologne or perfume.  One or two sprays is more than enough and I personally wouldn’t wear any.

4.)    All tattoos should be covered.

5.)    All facial piercings should be removed.

6.)  You are better off buying a less expensive suit and getting it tailored to fit your body for $100 rather than an expensive suit that doesn’t fit you.   Just because clothes are expensive doesn’t mean you look good in them.  Be sure they fit you properly and if this means going in to get them slightly adjusted every now and then, it’s worth the extra money.

For Men:

1.)    Wear a nice suit and I always recommend being playing it safe and error on the side of being conservative.   I suggest wearing a dark suit, ideally black or navy blue but dark gray will work too.

2.)   Wear a crisp white shirt on with a conservative tie.  Don’t try to be trendy by breaking out the red shirt and tie that you have.

3.)    Try your clothes on at least 1 week ahead of time.  I’ve lost and gained weight or have purchased a suit that’s a little too big on me.  I always take it to a tailor to make sure the suit fits me exactly right but it takes time so I had to plan it in advance.  You are better off having a less expensive suit that fits you versus an expensive suit that doesn’t.

4.)    Take your suit and shirt to the dry cleaners.  It always looks so much nicer when you do and you’ll feel more confident.  I recommend light starch on the white shirt.

5.)    Shine your shoes.  I just sent a candidate into an interview last week.  He told me the first thing the hiring manager did when he got there was look under the table at his shoes.   Don’t wear beat up shoes with scuff marks.  Shoes are more important than you think.

6.)    Shave and get a haircut and manicure if need be.

7.)    Limit the amount of jewelry you wear and if you have a watch on, make sure it’s an appropriate dress watch.

For Women:

1.)    If you’re not sure, error on the side of being conservative.  A skirt or pant suit in navy blue, dark brown, gray or black is recommended.

2.)    Skirts should be right around the knee or you can wear a suit.

3.)    Don’t wear shoes that are open toed, open healed, or too wild or trendy.  Heels shouldn’t exceed 2.5 inches.

4.)    Be careful not to overdo it on the makeup or perfume and have well manicured nails.  The interview isn’t the time to try on your new nail polish with glitter.  Pick a conservative solid color and make sure it’s not chipped.

6.)    If you wear earrings, only wear one pair.  I’d also recommend only one ring on each hand, one necklace, one bracelet, and a nice watch (nothing sporty).  Be careful not to overdo it on the jewelry.

I hope some of this advice will help you be better prepared for your interview.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at gregg@salesempowermentgroup.com

Recruiting: Is The Client Or Candidate More Important?

Having a long career in sales, I’ve dealt with many recruiters, some of which have been great and others not so good.  The majority of them were similar trying to convince me to interview for jobs that I had absolutely no interest in.  When I said, “Thank you for thinking of me but that’s not what I’m looking for,” some even became argumentative.

All they cared about was collecting a quick commission check and I am grateful for having dealt with them.  It made me more aware of how I didn’t want to be as a recruiter.  I strongly believe that if you are honest, passionate, and genuinely want to help people, sales somehow magically fall into place.

Another observation I made was that some recruiters treated their clients much better than their candidates. Of course, the client is extremely important.  After all, they are the one who hires you, works with on a daily basis, and pays the bills.  However, the candidate is equally, if not more important.

Imagine that you are about to sell into a Fortune 500 company.  You scheduled the meeting, they are excited at the possibility of working with you, and it’s going to be a huge deal.  The only problem is that you demo your product and the company finds it’s inferior .  What do you think the chances are that you are going to land that sale?

 Your candidates are your products.  It doesn’t matter if a great company hires you.  Without “A” talent, you have nothing to sell.

Treat your candidates like you would your client.  50% of the candidates I’ve placed this month are referrals from people I’ve worked with in the past.  The ironic part is that I never placed candidates but because I was always respectful and genuinely wanted to help them (eg: put them in touch with my network even though I wouldn’t financially benefit from it), they wanted to do the same for me.

Social media and resume databases are wonderful but don’t undervalue the important of your candidates.  They have the ability to make you look good (or bad), assist you with searches, and like your client, help or ruin your reputation.  Be honest with them just like you would with your client.  If they are most passionate about technology and outside sales, don’t try to convince them to be in inside sales for a logistics company.

Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is a lose-lose-lose situation.  The candidate loses because he/she is unhappy with the job and possibly quits.  You lose because you need to place the candidate and you have an unhappy client and candidate.  Your client loses because they just wasted time and money to train a new employee, who they now need to replace.

Is the client or candidate more important?  The truth is that they’re equally important and it’s essential to have both.  The bottom line is a fairly simple lesson.  If your main motive is to help people (throw away the financial piece), things will fall into place for you.  Good people want to help other good people.

A New Type Of Interview. Have You Tried It?

As somebody who has been through more interviews than anybody I know, I’ve been asked every question in the book.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you know about the company?
  • What makes you believe you’d be successful?
  • Why are you looking to leave your current job?

I got to the point where I had premeditated responses to every possible question.  In fact, I used to practice my pauses out loud so that during the actual interview, it sounded like I was giving deep thought to my answers.

As a recruiter, it’s interesting to see things from the other side.  I definitely make it more difficult for people like me to get through the interview process now!

Whatever question you ask a candidate during an interview, there’s at least a 90% chance they’ve answered the same question many times before.

Does this mean that interviews are pointless?  No, not at all.  However, I recommend trying other tactics that candidates can’t fake their way through.

Here are three strategies that I regularly use and highly recommend:

 

1.) Ask Them To Call You At A Designated Time

I recently had a candidate who wanted to speak to me and continually followed up.  I admired his persistence and told him to call me at 10:00 AM.

At 10:07 AM, my phone rang and I didn’t answer it.  He left a voicemail and e-mailed me but I decided not to send him to the interview.

If he was 7 minutes late for an important phone interview, how could I rely on him being on time for an in person interview or showing up to an important client meeting on time?

 

2.) Ask Situational Questions

Don’t ask the typical questions that you find on Monster, CareerBuilder, or by Googling “Interview Questions.”

Instead, explain an actual situation that other people in the role face and ask how they would handle it.

These situational questions will give you a much better idea of who they are rather than asking their strengths and weaknesses.

 

3.) Go To Lunch

This is the most underrated interview tactic out there and is the real test of who they are.  Does the candidate remain professional or let down his or her guard?

If you haven’t tried this before, you won’t believe what candidates will say, even the ones that seem so professional during the interview.

I’ve heard, “I can’t believe I made it to the interview on time.  I was so drunk last night.”

Another candidate started swearing and their professionalism quickly went out the door.

Finally, my favorite was a candidate who told me about how she got arrested.

These are things that would’ve never came up during an office interview and all three of these candidates lost any chance they had at the job.

If they were going to behave like this after an hour of knowing me, I would be very worried to send the out to a major client.

Most candidates will let their guard down more if you send them to lunch with people they view as their peers.  Therefore, I would suggest asking some team members who are around the same age as them to take them to lunch.

 

I hope some of these tactics help you during your next round of interviews.  If you have any relevant experiences, I would love to hear them.  Please feel free to post them on the comments section of my blog or e-mail me at gregg@salesempowermentgroup.com.

How To Lose A Job Offer Through Social Media

Ever wonder why you got so close to getting that dream job and the company suddenly lost interest?  Maybe they told you that an internal candidate got the job or they went through a hiring freeze.  This may or may not have been true.

I have seen things from the employer’s point of view and many people lose job offers because of bad choices through social media.  Even if you know the basics, you can type anybody’s name into Google and find out just about anything including their blogs, blog comments, Facebook, MySpace (yes, it still exists), LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, criminal record, etc.

As a recruiter, I have more weapons in my arsenal and can even find old tweets regardless if you have your Twitter marked as private.

Social media can be your best friend or worst enemy.  Employers don’t want to see you passed out at a bar, making obscene gestures, or mostly undressed.  They also don’t want to see you bashing race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or your current job.

It seems like common sense, right?  I’ve seen great candidates lose job offers because of tasteless pictures and comments.  Just remember that everything you post is public.  Ask the question, “Would I want my grandmother to read or see this?”

In the past 6 months, I know people who have lost out on great job opportunities because of what they posted on Twitter (making fun of other people), pictures they had on Facebook (too disturbing to share), and another who got into trouble with the law (domestic violence).

Even as I write this blog, I have read it over numerous times to be completely sure that I don’t say anything offensive to anybody.  My current and potential clients and candidates will be reading this so it’s essential that I always remain professional, even when it comes to my Facebook.

You’re probably thinking, “I have some things out there I’d rather not people see.  Now what?”  Here are my top 5 recommendations:

1.) Don’t post inappropriate pictures or make any comments on the web that could be offensive to anybody.  If they’re already up, delete them now! 

2.) Mark all of your settings on any type of social media as private.  Don’t let people who aren’t connected to you view your pictures or read your comments.  If your friends posted ridiculous comments, delete them now!

3.) If you want to share your personal beliefs, call a friend.  Don’t share them through social media.

4.) Google yourself because future employers will.  If you find things that you don’t think a future employer would like, find a way to get rid of it!

5.) I’ve shared all of the negative things about social media but don’t forget that there are a lot of positive things too.  If you’re actively volunteering, fundraising, running a marathon, or writing a motivational blog these are all things that can help you get a job.  Make sure these are public to future employers.

I hope this helps and good luck in the job search!  As always, I welcome any public comments (as long as you follow the rules above) or feel free to contact me directly at gregg@salesempowermentgroup.com.

Resumes Are People, Not Pieces Of Paper

I’ve read many articles that the average recruiter spends anywhere from 7 to 20 seconds reading a       resume.  Regardless of whether it’s on the low or high end of the range, it’s not a lot of time.

When I first started recruiting, here were the top 3 reason why I rejected somebody’s resume:

1.)    They were unemployed for 6+ months.  Could somebody who couldn’t find a job really be that good?

2.)    Too much of a job hopper.  Would they stay at the job I placed them at for 6 months and leave?

3.)    Resume isn’t an exact fit based off the job description.

It’s not fair to make assumptions of a human being’s life based off a quick glimpse of a 1 sheet piece of paper.  It worse than going out on a 10 second date and deciding whether or not you want to go out on another one.

As children, we learn not to judge a book by the cover yet we look at a resume and automatically assume somebody isn’t a fit.   By passing over a lot of good resumes because of minor things, we’re doing exactly that and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been guilty of it.

Rather than quickly flipping through these resumes and seeing them as words on a paper, I needed to think of each of them as individual people who had stories, many of which made complete sense.

When I first started recruiting, a candidate approached me who was unemployed for almost a year.  We’ll call Pete to protect his identity.  He begged to have a call with me and after weeks of persistence, I finally gave in.  I figured he couldn’t be any good and after talking to him, I was blown away.  To this day, I would rank him as arguably the best salesperson I’ve ever interviewed.  He explained that although he crushed his sales numbers, his company was bought out and everybody lost their job.  Pete had other opportunities but was so honest that he didn’t want to take a position knowing that he’d leave as soon if something better popped up.  We also discussed his wife and two small children he was supporting in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

After telling Pete that although I was extremely impressed, I didn’t have any jobs for him I received 3 e-mails from him.  The first was a thank you e-mail for my time and telling me how much he appreciated me allowing him the opportunity to explain his story.  The second 2 e-mails were introductions to decision makers of other companies telling them that they should use my recruiting firm and why.  This is a guy that has been unemployed, scrambling to find a job, and has a family to support yet he’s taking time out of his day to find me more business.  It’s pretty difficult to determine this type of salesperson and human being based off a 7-20 second scan of a resume, isn’t it?

Last month, I spoke to a job hopper who was referred to me.  She had 3 jobs in 3 years.  Yikes!  I figured there was no chance that I could put her in front of anybody but since it was a referral, I had to spend at least 10 minutes talking to her.  After talking to her, she explained that she was in Chicago with a great job for 6 months and quit to move back home to Michigan to take care of her sick mother.  She needed a job that would be flexible with her hours, which was much more important to her than income at this time in her life, which is why she took a heavy pay cut.  After her mother passed away, she decided to relocate back to Chicago since there weren’t a lot of jobs in Michigan.  The company that hired part-time in Chicago understood that she was looking for full-time employment but told her that she could work there until she found something better.  At first glance, she seemed like a job hopper.  After really getting to know her, she was actually somebody who really valued her career but valued her family first.  Is that somebody you would want to pass on if you were a hiring manager?

Finally, one of my recruiters recently sent me a resume of a candidate who in no way matched what our client was looking for and I questioned her on it.  She said, “I think she’s incredible” and although skeptical, I wanted to show I had confidence in her.  When I spoke to the candidate, she was amazing and I was honest with her about not fitting the profile of what the client was looking for.  Her response was, “If you can just schedule a meeting with the CEO, I will sell him on why I’m the best candidate for the job.”  I spoke to my client and I said, “I want you to ignore her resume and just trust me on this one.  If I’m wrong, then you never have to listen to me again.”  He was hesitant but agreed and after talking with the candidate, I called him to follow-up.  His response was, “She is unreal!  I’m flying out to see her later this week.”

What happened to each of these individuals?

I got Pete a $120,000 base salary offer with huge incentives, which he turned down for a $160,000 offer with equity and additional incentives.  He has recently contacted me to do the recruiting for his new company.

The second candidate is actively interviewing with a company that I sent her to so keep your fingers crossed!  We’re going to find her something soon.

The final candidate took the job offer and is the top performing sales rep in the company.

The moral of the story is that we’re all human and unfortunate things happen to us both personally and professionally.  Being laid off after being a top performer, having a sick relative that you need to attend to, or having amazing ability but not matching every characteristic of a job description are all things we can relate to.  Don’t be too quick to judge a resume.  You might not only be missing out on an amazing employee but also an exceptional person.

5 Things To Look For In Choosing The Right Recruiter

I’ve been fortunate enough to see both sides of the recruiting spectrum.  Recruiters have actively pursued me when I’ve been active in the job market and I’m currently a recruiter placing candidates and working with amazing customers.   Seeing and understanding things from both sides has really helped me become better at what I do.

When I told one customer this, he said “You must have picked up a lot of best practices.”  My response was, “I have met some great recruiters but more important than the best practices, I’ve learned the worst practices.  I’ve been able to observe and analyze them so that I’m now more aware of things not to do and how to do them better.”

So, before I start I want to thank all of the recruiters (both good and bad) that have inspired me to go into the recruiting business, which I’m extremely passionate about and love.

Here are 5 things I believe any company should look at and consider when looking for an outside recruiter:

1.) Quality Over Quantity

One customer recently asked me if I could have a few interviews lined up within 24 hours for a very specialized search.  Could I have lined 3 interviews for him in 24 hours?  Of course.  Could I have lined up 3 interviews of people that I would personally hired myself if I owned his business?  Absolutely not.

Be sure you pick a recruiter who is realistic with you.   If he or she tells you they can turn around candidates within 24 hours, they’re probably not screening them that well.

I always tell my customers to expect up to 2 weeks for good candidates and that I’m going to thoroughly screen them, complete a detailed write up, and make sure they are a fit before I send them because I don’t want to waste their time.

2.) Recommendations

Does the recruiter you’re using have recommendations on their LinkedIn?  If not, can they supply recommendations?  If the answer to both of these questions are no, I’d suggest looking for a new recruiter.

3.) Real World Experience

I know of a great insurance recruiter who previously worked in insurance for 30 years.  It significantly helps her understand the client as well as the candidate because she knows the industry inside and out.

I always believe there’s a lot of value to hiring a recruiter who has real world experience.

Why do you think so many former athletes make such good coaches and managers?

4.) Honesty

A potential customer recently told me that I was going to be competing with 8 other recruiters for 10 positions.  I told her that I sincerely appreciate the offer but I will respectfully decline.  She seemed shocked, especially after 8 other recruiters jumped on these large deals and she asked why.

I told her, “We’re not about throwing as many candidates against the wall and hoping one sticks.  When you have 8 recruiters all competing for the same job, that’s what you’re going to get.  They view it as a rat race.  Is that what you’re currently seeing with the recruiters you have in place?”

She proceeded to explain that all of them send her tons of resumes with candidates who aren’t screened very well and she doesn’t have time to go through them.

We agreed that we’d pick 1-2 positions for my company to work on exclusively and I’d send her 3 candidates.  At the end of each one, she agreed that we’d review the candidate so I can make sure we’re on the same page.

5.) Teamwork

Most companies view recruiters as working against them and trying to push through their candidates to make as much money as possible.  If you think that way, it’s time to start looking for a new recruiter.

You should feel that a recruiter is an extension of your company.  Although they are not directly an employee, it seems like they are because they are so helpful and consultative by making your work life easier.

I hope some of these suggestions helped.   If you have any other questions that I can help with, feel free to reach out to me at gregg@salesempowermentgroup.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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