(And what I’ve learned to watch for to recruit the best talent…)
It’s an exciting time for Mojo! Lately, I have been spending 20-50% of my time recruiting as we’re constantly growing and looking for top-notch talent. At Mojo, we don’t just say that we hire for culture fit first and skill second, we do it. It is absolutely a practice and pillar of our success thus far as an organization. So how do you ensure your personality, personal brand, and character stands out on paper and throughout your candidate journey interactions? Or, for those of you focused on talent acquisition, how do you watch for those enigmatic candidates so you don’t pass them by? Here are the top five tips for candidates, with a dash of recruiting nuggets on the flip side!
Showcase More Wow-Factors on Paper
The most important thing I’ve learned to watch for, per our President’s experience shares, is the inclusion of the not-so typical notations on resumes. We look at numerous resumes on a daily basis and it’s so refreshing to see a fresh take on the atypical format. Some eye-catching elements I have seen included: personal core values, professional network affiliations, community outreach or passion projects, and personality type indicators or aptitude results from DISC or Myers-Briggs. I find that this tells me more about a candidate’s business acumen, how they think and would fit in with our team, their tenacity, and their character alignment with our core values. Of course other anecdotes that are always helpful are major accomplishments during school, time served in the military (thank you for your service if this is you!), and free or paid certifications obtained to grow certain skills. In marketing, there are a slew of certificates that anyone in the field can benefit from regardless of role, such as Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook Blueprint, marketing automation certifications … the list goes on. I encourage candidates and recruiters alike to educate themselves on the certifications that are online and place more value on these. Education is very important, but even more so, proving that you’re a lifelong learner who desires continual growth and development.
Revive the Basics
There’s no way I could publish this blog without allocating great importance on the basics. To keep it short and sweet, remember the little things count. I can’t express enough how important it is to respect yourself, your recruiters, and hiring managers throughout your candidate journey as recruiters and hiring managers try their very best to do the same. We can all get better at the basics, and showcase respect for the top, traditional interviewing basics:
Be timely. No explanation needed, it’s a respect thing.
Present the best you. I start our recruiting process by getting to know candidates through a video discussion. It surprises me how many people dress casually just because it is not an in-person interview. Even more so, it surprises me when I thank candidates for dressing up…even if they’re wearing a nice blouse or button up on top and pajama pants on bottom, I’d never know! We have a smart casual dress code once part of the team, but for the sake of first impressions, dressing and grooming to impress shows you are taking the process seriously.
Ask, ask, ask. Ask specific questions about the organization, role, team, culture, clients, etc. I cannot express enough how much this will help you understand if a role is right for you. The more web-based research you do and the more specific, inquisitive questions you have, the better the dialogue and the more you will get out of the interview to ensure the organization you’re looking into is for you.
Follow-up. I can probably count on two hands how many follow-up emails I get from candidates per position. To give some perspective, that’s less than ten I received for a recent position we hired for and we screened upwards of 30 impressive applicants. Guess which ten stood out most? Never underestimate the power of a quick "thank you" email or a mailed handwritten note. You never know how many people recruiters are speaking to, so a simple reminder keeps your name everpresent and is a gesture that showcases your interest level. Follow-ups are always welcomed and wonderful affirmation that you want to continue the discussion.
Incorporate a Splash of Humanity
I don’t typically ask wacky questions like, “What is your spirit animal?”, but I tend to always start by saying, “I see who you are on paper, and appreciate X, Y, and Z about your application and resume, but tell me a little bit more about yourself…” I don’t know when I started doing this, but I know the minute I did it once, I had to make it a habit. Why? Because candidates are always ready to regurgitate their work history or their weakness that can be wordsmithed into a strength, however, not everyone is ready to have a human-to-human dialogue about who they are as a person, as a professional, and what they want out of their career. This sets the stage to do one of two things: learn about who candidates are and secondly, it lightens the mood to cultivate a more authentic conversation. So what’s the tip here? Share more about who you are as a person (many candidates waste this opportunity to only recite their resume for me after I’ve addressed that I’m looking right at it). Now, don’t overshare. Have a filter, but if you have a career goal, growth goals, a family, hobbies, pets, and/or a passion, that’s great—let's discuss! In the days of Alexas, Siris, and Self-Checkout it’s nice to know that you’re human. And we're 100% of the time recruiting humans, not A.I.s. Remember, interviews aren't always chock-full of psychological mind trap-oriented questions.
Leverage All Communication Touch-Points
Every interaction counts. From your email etiquette, to response time, to your voicemail; take advantage of those touchpoints. Every opportunity to respond quickly- take it. Spruce up your email signature by putting in your phone number, LinkedIn profile, core values, certifications, etc. This helps keep you accessible and your differentiators top-of-mind. Double check your voicemail greeting. At a minimum include a brief greeting with your name and request to leave a voicemail. Many times I I receive generic greetings with a robot lady saying that I’ve reached phone number XXX-XXX-XXXX, leaving me unsure if I contacted the correct person. On the flip side, I’ve heard some super entertaining, yet highly unprofessional voicemails. In summary, definitely be mindful of how you're branding yourself across all points of communication.
Be Picky… It’s a Two-Way Street.
This is your career, so be picky! Revisit the job description at every stage of your candidate journey. Keep checking in to ensure that you know the responsibilities of the job description and ask clarifying questions about the role. Same with the organization… does it still feel like the right fit at every stage of the process? Do you feel like you’ve found a family in the team, a company who will invest in your growth, and an environment that energizes you? Keep checking in with yourself. It’s okay to exit yourself from the running if you don’t feel like it’s right. Trust me, the company will be bummed if they feel strongly about you, but they will appreciate the news sooner rather than later. It takes a lot of time and money to invest in talent, so remember that it is a two-way street that costs both parties more down the line if either party isn't transparent about what they're seeking. You should be shopping for a place that you envision being your home for years to come because tenure is one of those things we look for, and it’s harder and harder to find these days. Trust me, your career will thank you for it later!
What questions, best practices or experience shares do you have for us (whether you're a candidate or in the talent acquisition field)? Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!