Caution: Don’t Assume All References Will Be Good. Surprising Poll.

I was recently facilitating our, You’re NOT The Person I Hired, workshop with CEOs and key executives. As is often the case the subject of reference checking came up. Most in the audience tended to agree that checking references is a waste of time. After all, candidates only give references they are sure will say positives things about them. Don’t you agree?

Then a CFO sitting in the back raised his hand to disagree. He told the story of a controller he was about to hire near the border in Texas. This was a difficult position to fill as there were a lot of specific requirements. Finally, after an arduous search he found his person. She had all of the qualifications and most importantly he really like her. The final step was to conduct a few reference checks. She handed him of list of 30 references. WOW he thought, this person really has a lot of people willing to vouch for her. So he picked 5 and started calling. The first call was to a former boss. He called and introduced himself and explained he was calling to conduct a reference check on Mary. The line went silent. The pause was so long that he thought they had been disconnected and asked if the reference was still on the line. The reference replied yes and then stated, “Mary gave me as reference? I can’t believe it. We fired her because she stole from us. She did pay us back, but she stole from us.” Now there was silence from him. He didn’t know what to say or how to respond.

This is just one of many examples of what can happen on a reference check and why you should always perform your due diligence.

I know you are thinking, “Well that will never happen to me.” That is what everyone thinks or they wouldn’t give the reference in the first place. You can blow this off or take the appropriate action to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.

Pre-qualifying your references isn’t asking if they will be a reference for you. It isn’t even asking if they will be a good reference for you. It is asking them specifically what they will say when a reference check is conducted. You know the person conducting the reference check is going to probe for weaknesses, areas for improvement, how you will rank on  a scale of 1-10 compared to others, would they rehire you, and other standard questions. Trust but verify what the person is going to say.

I have conducted thousands of reference checks in my 30 year career as an executive recruiter. I have learned that more often than not someone will give me a reference they expect to be positive and it turns negative. It is for this reason that I always check references. Like the CFO in this example it has saved me from making some big mistakes. It only takes one bad reference to realize that catching that one person was worth all of the others.

I conducted a poll on LinkedIn in which 54% replied that they have had people give them a negative reference. This goes to show you that even though the person giving the reference expects a positive reference, they often don’t get one.


To validate that your job search doesn’t have any loop holes, download our free Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard to see if your job search is the best it can be. CLICK HERE to download.

Join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. This group has over 5,300 members. It is loaded with great articles, discussions, and resources for you to take advantage of. CLICK HERE to join.

Our audio library has over 50 job search audio lessons for everyone to download. These audio lessons cover just about every topic one will encounter during a job search. If you would like to view some of these lessons they are free. CLICK HERE to see the list.

I welcome all thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Consulting Can Be Harmful To Your Job Search

Candidates often take on consulting jobs while in an active job search. Granted, many need the income and if that is the reason for taking the consulting job I completely understand. However, this may be one reason you are in a job search longer than necessary. This may also be one reason for the roller coaster ride many candidates experience while in a job search.

It isn’t that taking the consulting gig is a bad thing to do. It is the terms of the gig that make it harmful to your real desire, which is to land a new position.

I have seen this happen so many times in my career as a recruiter. Candidates are in a perpetual job search. What happens is that candidates get an opportunity for some short term income with a consulting assignment, and because they really don’t know how consulting works, they jump in as if it is a full-time permanent position. Real consultants would never do this. Most consultants can’t do this because good consultants have more than one client so they can’t devote all of their time to any one client for an extended period of time. Candidates, turned temporary consultant, don’t grasp this.

I find that most candidates really don’t view a consulting gig as a consulting gig. They view it as a job. So in reality, they pull themselves off the job market for whatever period of time the consulting lasts. They put their job search on hold. When the consulting assignment ends they restart their job search again. This on/off job search is very harmful for a number of reasons.

  1. People begin to view you as a consultant and don’t refer you when a permanent position comes up.
  2. The timing for a job opening has to coincide with when you aren’t consulting, otherwise you will never find it.
  3. Networking stops so recruiters and those you would keep in touch with either forget about you, refer someone else they are currently networking with, or assume you must be off the market because you aren’t around anymore. Basically out of sight, out of mind.

So what should you do? You need and want the money from consulting. You want the best of both worlds. Well, this is one time in life when you can have the best of both worlds. I would have said, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but I never understood that. Since you can’t eat cake you don’t have, what else are  you supposed to do with the cake once you have it?

The most important thing you can do if you want to take on consulting roles is behave as a consultant. This means you control your schedule.You have to let the potential client know you are a consultant and have other clients, so you need some flexibility. It doesn’t have to involve a lot of time off, but there will be days when you will be later than others. These are the days you network, schedule meetings with people, attend those networking meetings, let people know you are still looking for permanent work, and make sure you don’t pull yourself off the market. This has to be discussed right up front just like all consulting roles. You can agree on X number of hours per week, but you have to look out for yourself. Agree to the total number per week, not necessarily the time. You must leave some flexibility for continuing your job search. If you don’t, then your job search is on hold.

For those that say, what if the company won’t agree? Then they don’t see you as a consultant. They see you as an unemployed person looking for money. It is your job to position yourself as a consultant in the company’s mind. After all, what if you truly were a consultant with multiple clients, then what would you do? You would negotiate a mutually beneficial relationship.

Don’t let consulting stand in your way of your real objective. If you want a full-time permanent position, then don’t take yourself off the job market. Instead, work with the company as a consultant to ensure the job gets done to the client’s satisfaction and that you too are satisfied.

Help make yourself findable with a great LinkedIn profile. You can use our free LinkedIn profile assessment scorecard to help you. To download your free scorecard CLICK HERE.

Also, join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. There  is a wealth of resources there for you. You can even tap into others that are successfully consulting in order to find out how they do it. CLICK HERE to join the group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Why is Flawless Execution Important to Prove?

roadblock in the way of you achieving flawless execution on a project - can you overcome it and prove you do it consistently in an interview?

One of the 3 core success traits we insist our clients focus on in the interview process to measure top talent is:

Flawless Execution

Flawless Execution is not about doing your job perfectly – it’s about the ability to overcome problems, hurdles, roadblocks, setbacks, and other issues which are standing in your way of delivering results on time, on budget, and on target.

In most companies there is a multitude of “crap” that gets in the way of meeting the expectations of your boss. This is where you go to your boss on Thursday at 4 pm and say “Boss, I know you needed this project completed before the end of the day for your meeting tomorrow – unfortunately Dept. A didn’t give me the report I needed in time, and the vendor that had promised to get us the critical sub-component is running late and will not be able to get it us until next week.

What do we call these things?

I can call it “E&E” – excuses and explanations.

Top talent doesn’t give “E&E”. They know little disasters, set backs, are problems are going to happen. They know Murphy’s Law will rear it’s ugly head at the worst possible moment.

Top Talent makes contingency plans, builds in slack time, goes under the speed bumps, around the roadblocks, and climbs over every wall thrown in their path.

Top Talent is the group of people hiring managers can count on.

On many teams, executives and managers have 1 or 2 people they consider to be their “go-to” people. Every time they have a tough, critical project with lots of obstacles, hurdles, problems, and roadblocks – they keep turning to the same few people.

Would you consider yourself a “go-to” person?

Do you possess this critical trait of top talent?

Hiring executives and managers know these individuals will get it done every time in spite of the obstacles, hurdles, problems, and roadblocks.

As many of you know, I coach high school girls basketball. I tell my team, it’s not enough to run 90 some feet down the court and fling the little orange ball in the air hoping for the best outcome. You’ve got to put the little orange ball in the little orange hoop. One of the primary reasons basketball teams lose games is that they cannot make lay-ups within 2 feet of the basket.

The business environment is exactly the same. You’ve got to be task-oriented. You’ve got to finish. You must put the ball in the basket.

Many candidates cannot consistently demonstrate or prove they have a “go-to” person mentality. They give “E&E”, they blame others for their short-comings or failures. They don’t take personal responsibility or accountability for their actions and assignments. They continually try to transfer the “monkey” onto the backs of their peers or bosses.

Can you prove you possess the trait of flawless execution in an interview? Can you demonstrate how you’ve handled numerous projects and assignments which had lots of obstacles, hurdles, problems, and roadblocks?

Here’s a “homework” assignment to improve interviewing: Write a comment to this blog post on your most significant accomplishment in your current/last job where you demonstrated the success attribute of flawless execution – overcoming whatever it took to complete the project. I’d love to hear your examples. I’ll offer some ideas on how you might want to “format” or describe the accomplishment in an interview.

Now, here’s the hard part: I teach my clients – hiring executives and managers – to never except just one example. It could be a lie, exaggeration, or luck. However, when you get 2-3 examples, now you’re starting to substantiate a pattern of behavior that someone is likely to continue once you’ve hired them.

Could you offer a prospective employer at least 3 great detailed examples of flawless execution?

Barry Deutsch

Have You Fed Your Recruiter Today?

It is time to feed your recruiter and nurture the relationship?

Recruiters need nourishment too.

Like the little fake babies they give to middle-school/junior high students to carry around, feed, clean, and nurture for a few days – if you don’t take care of it – bad things happen.

Your recruiter relationship is exactly the same!

Brad recently wrote an excellent blog post about why you don’t get your calls returned from recruiters – here is another key reason (huge hot button for me):

Recruiters need nourishment too.

What have you done to nurture, feed, support, and provide love to your recruiter relationship?

If you’re not going to go out of your way to build and sustain a relationship with a recruiter, why should they invest the time and energy with you?

If I get a CFO search, the first group I look at to see if there is a qualified candidate is my inner circle of deep relationships. I’ll only turn to referrals, cold calls, and other networking strategies if my immediate network doesn’t contain the ideal candidate.

Are you an ideal candidate in any recruiter’s network?

Let’s assume for a moment you’ve been referred to a recruiter that you’ve been trying to build a relationship with for years. Finally, the recruiter takes your your call based on the referral and the relationship starts. Let’s also pretend that at this exact moment, the recruiter does not have an assignment that matches up with your background.

What do you do to ensure your background and capabilities stay in the forefront of the recruiter’s brain? How do you get your name to pop up every single time an appropriate search crosses the recruiter’s desk?

Classic networking techniques is the correct answer.

What do master networkers do to build relationships?

  • Send articles of interest to the recruiter
  • Make appropriate referrals on possible assignments or with potential candidates on other searches
  • Send information about yourself to the recruiter – your latest blog posting, a copy of a particularly insightful article you wrote for a trade journal
  • Offer to grab a cup of coffee together
  • Refer other candidates and hiring managers to the recruiter

I could count on one hand the number of times a candidate has used any of the above tactics with me.

Relationships are not based on sending a piece of paper to a recruiter. If you want your calls returned, it’s time to start developing a deep and meaningful relationship.

I am convinced that one of the major reasons so many executives have been out of work for so long is that they refuse to accept the importance of relationship building in networking. Mass mailing resumes and responding to hundreds of job advertisements is a worthless and useless waste of time.

Is it any wonder why the people in your network are not referring you to great opportunities?

Is it any wonder why you don’t have an abundance of job referrals and leads?

Is it any wonder why most recruiters will not return your call?

Why are you not engaged in relationship building activities? What’s your fear?

I cannot understand why most executive candidates stink at relationship building activities in networking. Hundreds of books have been written on this subject. Numerous blogs are published on the subject. There is an overwhelming number of webinars available in how do build relationships in networking.

Help me to understand the dilemma. Why are most executives who have been out of work for a long time period unwilling to engage in relationship building with recruiters?


photo credit flickr

P.S.: Are you part of our LinkedIn Job Search Discussion Group? If not, your missing one of the most dynamic job search discussion groups on LinkedIn. Get your job search questions answered now from other job seekers, hr professionals, and recruiters.

Interesting Poll Results Regarding Resumes

Over the last few months I have conducted a couple of very non-scientific polls on LinkedIn. I wanted to better understand what candidates do with their resumes. Granted, these two polls don’t give all of the answers, but they did show some interesting answers. Like many polls, they might have created more questions than answers.

I had been curious as to how many resumes candidates were sending out. I had no idea if it was hundreds or just a few. So the first poll question was: On average, how many resumes do you send out per week? 848 people responded.

79% indicated 1 -10

16% indicated 11-20

4% over 20

I actually thought the highest group would be the 11 – 20 group. Comments back did indicate that the numbers move the longer one is looking for a job. For example, a number of people indicated that at first they were sending more resumes than they are currently given they have been looking for some time. That would make sense since I’m confident that when one first starts looking they have a lot of places initially to send resumes. Once those are done the number drops.

87% of  the women send out 1 -10 per week, while that drops to 76% for men.

10% of the women send out 11- 20 per week, while that increases for men to 19%.

The only age group that was higher was the 18-24 group with 85% indicating they send out 1- 10 per week. All the other groups up to 55+ were in the mid 70% range. However, the 25 – 34 and the 55+ age groups lead in sending out 11-20 resumes per week.

The other question I asked was to find out where most of these resumes were going. Candidates are sending out a lot of resumes so they must be going someplace. 320 people responded to this poll. Not a big number, but interestingly the percentage didn’t change much as more people responded. After about 275 people responded, the percentage stayed within one or two points.

52% indicated that they send most of their resumes directly to companies with job postings.

30% indicated that they send most of their resumes to job board ads.

11% sent them to recruiters.

5% sent unsolicited resumes to targeted companies.

Two things surprised me with this, 1) most people aren’t using the job boards as their primary source for sending resumes and therefore finding a job and 2) far fewer are sending to recruiters than I expected.

I did find it interesting that 100% of the people in marketing that replied indicated they only send resumes directly to a company job posting. Academics and Sales were also much higher than the other functional areas with 60% and 50% sending directly to the company job posting. Academics doesn’t surprise me as that would seem to make sense.

Age was another interesting number. I expected most of the younger generation to use the job boards as this is via the Internet, but I was wrong. 72%, by far the largest number, of 18 -24 year old candidates reply directly to company job postings. This group was also the least likely to send their resume to a job board with only 17% using this as a primary source. The 34-54 age group used the job boards for sending resumes the most.

The biggest and far away the most common comment was how frustrated candidates are about not hearing anything back once they submit a resume. Many referred to it as the “black hole.” I was going to ask the question what percentage of the resumes that you send out do you hear back on, but judging from the comments I came to the conclusion that the 0 – 5% category would be the winner by such a wide margin it didn’t make sense to ask it.

That is how the numbers and things came out. Like it or not, believe it or not, do with it as you please. It is just information.

Join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. 5,300 people to connect with and lots of discussions, articles and other resources. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard


Recruiters & Companies Don’t Call Me Back – 1 Possible Reason

This is a common complaint I, and most of my colleagues, have heard over and over. I know we aren’t alone, as I hear the same thing about companies not calling people back or acknowledging that they received your resume.

I’m sure these are valid complaints. I know they are frustrating.

I have come up with what might be a reason. Some will agree, and many might disagree, but that is what a blog is all about.

When I first started recruiting potential candidates, HR and hiring managers wouldn’t call me back. Let’s be honest, if you are a purchasing manager do you really call back every sales person that leaves you a message? Especially the sales person that makes a cold call. If you are in HR, do you honestly return the calls from every recruiter that wants to discuss with you the “perfect” candidate that they are working with that would be perfect for the job you are trying to fill? Especially if you have never heard of the recruiter. If you are a VP of Sales in California and are attempting to fill a position in Chicago, will you return every recruiter’s call that wants to present a potential candidate and schedule an interview?  Especially if you have two or three candidates from personal referrals.

My thoughts to all of these and personal experience is “no.” The calls never get returned. This is basically their way of saying, “I’m not interested.”

I think in every one of these examples, there is a bigger issue to focus on that gets to the heart of why calls aren’t returned. There is no relationship with the person. At the end of the day, those that have a relationship will generally get their calls returned. I think this is true in our personal life and in our business life.

I will take or return just about any call from a person I know, have worked with in the past, or have built some sort of relationship with. In addition, I will take or return calls from a stranger if they are referred to me by someone I have a relationship with. The cold call is generally so low on the priority list that I just don’t have the time to spend to speak with someone I don’t know.

This is why most recruiters I know encourage some sort of referral. I think the same holds true for companies. If you are a candidate responding to an ad or Website posting, you shouldn’t have expectations of hearing anything back if you don’t have some relationship with the person you are sending your resume to. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice, that it isn’t polite too or that it isn’t rude. I’m just suggesting to set your expectations at the right level.  Maybe think back to when you were working and didn’t return a call. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, returns 100% of all the calls they have ever received. It is impossible. I bet if you didn’t have a relationship with the person and it wasn’t a priority you didn’t return the call.

To be clear, I’m not referring to someone you have interacted with and then they drop you, such as a company or recruiter that doesn’t give you feedback after an interview or someone that has told you that they will call you and then doesn’t. If a hiring manager says that they will be back to you in a week and if you have any questions to call and then blows you off is rude. Why say it if they don’t mean it? Wouldn’t it be better to just say nothing?

This is why it is so important to build relationships in your career. I know you know this, but how are you doing at it? How have you helped someone this week with something they needed? It could be a referral, maybe passing on a job lead that wasn’t right for you, introducing them to someone that might help their business, inviting them to a networking event, and so on. These are all relationship building activities. These all involve action.

At the end of a conversation with me candidates will usually say, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Roughly 99% of the time these are just words. Few ever really help me when I do mention something. So why even ask? They have been taught to ask this question, but haven’t been taught how to follow through. This isn’t about me or this example with the candidate, it is about building a relationship. I would feel like I owed this person something if they gave me a referral or actually helped me. Remember they asked me the question. They volunteered it. The reverse is true also. If I ask them how I can help them then I have the same obligation to follow through if I want to build a relationship with them.

Don’t just work on those relationships now while in the market looking for a job. These relationship need to honed over time just like any relationship. Speaking for recruiters, I recommend building a relationship with 4 or 5. Some that specialize in your industry, some in your functional area, and some general recruiters in your geographical area. Recruiters live off of relationships and generally welcome the opportunity to have a mutually beneficial relationship.

So the next time your call isn’t returned, step back and focus on the relationship. Attempt to build that relationship and then see if your call return rate increases.

Here are some free resources to help you in your job search.

First, start by assessing the quality of your job search. To help you evaluate how effective it is you can download our free Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. This will help you to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your job search. Then you can focus on the weaknesses.CLICK HERE to download.

Sending an effective thank you letter can start the relationship. To download a sample thank you letter CLICK HERE

Finally, consider joining our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. There are a lot of great discussions and resources in this group. Over 5,300 people have joined. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Getting Professional Job Search Help – Finding A Professional Without Getting Ripped Off

I think many candidates are so afraid of getting ripped off that they don’t engage a professional to help them with their job search. I know there are many rip-off artists out there just waiting to take your money. I have written about this and even posted a video on YouTube in an attempt to expose these vultures.

But in this case, a few bad apples don’t ruin the whole barrel. There are many outstanding resources for candidates to engage. I firmly believe these pros can dramatically shorten your time searching. The ROI for hiring one can be as good as mob rates. For a few dollars you can be making a full salary a lot sooner. It seems like a small price to pay given the cost of unemployment.

So what are some of the things you should look for to make sure you don’t get ripped off? Here is my list, and I’m sure there are more, but if they qualify here they are probably a good choice ( I welcome your additions to this list).

  1. First and foremost, Do they tell you or imply in any way that by working with them they will get you a job? If this is even implied RUN. Nobody can get you a job but you. This is a common tactic that is used because they know if they don’t tell you this, or simply imply it as most do, you won’t give them your money. This is where most people get ripped off. An example of implying includes, “X % of the people that work with us find a job in X months.”
  2. Did they call you on a cold call? Most of the unethical, so-called professionals contact you first. They find  your resume online and then try to sell you. The top professionals live off of referrals and never (repeat never) call you. I have never made a cold call to a candidate for a coaching assignment. All of my assignments come from referrals. So if someone calls you, don’t listen to them.  HANG UP.
  3. What are their credentials? Although this doesn’t guarantee anything, at least you know they have some training. Check out the organization that provided the credentials. Make sure it is a real organization with a real program.
  4. Have them state in writing exactly what the outcomes will be once your time together is over. I’ll bet it doesn’t include finding a job in the agreement. You should know exactly what to expect. I always ask the people I work with this question, “What will you need at the end of our time together to consider it a raving success?”  Then I listen carefully to their answer. If I can’t deliver what they expect, I don’t take on the client. For example, if they reply, “A job.” then it’s over. See number 1. Does the person  you are thinking about working with ask you this?
  5. Prior to even contacting a professional, you should crystallize in writing exactly what you expect from the person. You should have your list of expectations. Then compare that to what they claim to provide.
  6. Prior experience and performance. What real world experience and track record of performance do they bring to the table? For example, just because a person is a Certified Resume Writer, doesn’t mean they are the right CRW for you. It only means that they are certified. PERIOD. That is all it means. Don’t read anything more into it. What you want to know is, how many times have they sat across the desk from a hiring manager in your field and had the hiring manager drill them on a resume?  This is how one learns what is important on a resume. How many times has a hiring authority told them what they want to see (and not see) on a resume in your field? If they have this level of experience there is little guessing in what a good resume is for your field. If they have never had this experience then how can they help you? This isn’t just for a CRW, it goes for all career coaches, and especially for what I call “job search” coaches. How can someone help you in your job search if they haven’t been on the other side of the table in the hiring process?

The best way to ensure that you get the right help is to hire the right person. A top professional may cost  you a few dollars, but getting back to work one month sooner can save you thousands.

I encourage you not to be so focused on the pennies that you lose the dollars.

Start out by first evaluating your job search effectiveness. Download our free Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. Find the strengths and weaknesses of your job search. Then look for someone to improve  your weaknesses. CLICK HERE to download.

One source is your LinkedIn profile. You must have a great profile. Download our free LinkedIn Profile Assessment. This will help you build a great profile that makes you the expert in  your field. CLICK HERE to download.

Finally, join our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It is free and provides its members with a wealth of articles and great discussions. CLICK HERE to join.

I welcome your thoughts and comments

Brad Remillard

Getting Professional Help Can Shorten Your Job Search – Example 2- Interview Mistakes

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Getting Professional Help

The first article addressed how to handle the problem of turnover. This example deals with two simple issues that could have resulted in the person not getting the job because of simple mistakes that were easy to fix. The person just didn’t know how. Any professional career coach, outplacement firm, job search coach, or executive recruiter should know exactly how to help you: 1) not make the mistake in the first place and 2) how to overcome it once it has happened.

The candidate called me and said, “I think I may have just blown an interview with the way I answered one question. Is there anything I can do?” “What was the question?” I asked. He replied, “The CEO asked me what I wanted to do with my career, and I told him that I love marketing, and wanted to be a VP of Marketing in a medical device company.” Since he was interviewing for a VP of Marketing position in a medical device company that would seem to align well with the what the CEO was looking for. Also, given the candidate’s background and experience it was a reasonable answer.

Then the CEO came back with, “Well, that could be a problem here, as we like to hire people that want to move  up in the organization and that strive to be better and not just do a job.”  OOPS, there is a big communication gap here. The CEO meant one thing and the candidate interpreted it another way. This is often the kiss of death.

So what would have been different had this candidate been working with a professional?

  1. The mistake should never have happened. The candidate wasn’t prepared. From a professional’s point of view this question should never have been answered. It is clearly vague and too open to interpretation. What does career mean, what time frame is the CEO addressing, what is the motivation for asking this question, how soon does the CEO expect a person to move up, etc? These all  need to be clarified prior to either answering the question or integrated into the answer.
  2. The candidate would have been prepared not to fall into this trap. It wasn’t a trick question, and certainly not a deliberate attempt to trap the candidate. It was just one of those questions often asked that are so vague that the candidate doesn’t really know how to answer or there are just too many ways to answer it.
  3. Once this happened, a professional would know exactly how to minimize the damage. Since the candidate felt this was the turning point in the interview, and this was a critical mistake that would cost him the job, it can’t go unresolved.

Again, like the first example in this series, it was an easy fix. There was no guarantee the fix would work, but it certainly couldn’t make matters worse . At this point, the candidate was convinced he wasn’t getting the job. There was no place to go but up.

Since the candidate now knew what the CEO was looking for in this question, we simply expanded on the candidate’s answer in his thank you letter. The candidate explained that he thought the CEO was looking for a short term answer to what he wanted in his career, so he answered it with the next three to five years in mind. However, longer term he would expect to move  up in an organization within five to eight years. Obviously, a little more detail was added, but you get the picture.

It worked, and he did get the job. We know it worked because the CEO told him that the thank you letter changed his mind.

I believe, and the candidate believes, that the professional help was directly responsible for getting this job. He believes it saved him additional months of searching for a position. As he told me, “Even if I found a job one month later, it would have cost X in lost salary.”

Getting professional help can save you thousands of dollars. Take your monthly salary and multiply it by how many months you have been looking for a job. That is the cost of unemployment. Finding a job one month earlier because you got professional help is cheap compared to the alternative.

The final article in this series will help you identify the right professional. There are many frauds and unqualified people posing as professionals that take your money and don’t deliver results. These must be exposed and avoided. There are also many outstanding people that are true professionals, highly skilled, and with great experience, that are worth far more than they receive from helping candidates find a job.

We offer many free tools to help you. CLICK HERE to download a free sample cover letter that  recruiters like. CLICK HERE to download a sample thank you letter that will make sure you are remembered. CLICK HERE to download a free LinkedIn profile assessment that will help you build a great LinkedIn profile.

Finally, consider joining our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It has a wealth of great articles and discussions to help you in your search. CLICK HERE to join the other 5,300 members of this group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article, please tweet or re-tweet it so others can benefit.

Brad Remillard

Getting Professional Help Can Shorten Your Job Search – Example 1- Turnover

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Getting Professional Help

I find it interesting that people will pay for help for just about anything but their job search. People pay for dance lessons, golf and tennis lessons, piano lessons, financial help, help with taxes, the list is endless. Yet for possibly the most important part of one’s life they refuse to pay for help. So many choose to continue a job search instead of seeking professional help. There are many good career coaches,  job search coaches, executive recruiters and others to help you. Most aren’t that expensive, when compared to what one loses each month in salary by not getting a job.

Let me give you two examples of how getting professional help impacted two people with their search. First, it wasn’t that they were doing anything wrong, it was that they weren’t doing everything right and didn’t know what to do when issues came up. The results were consistent, they didn’t get the job. This was too bad because as  you will see, these were easy issues to handle. The candidates just didn’t know how. By the way, neither did all the non-professionals in their network.

Example 1:

This candidate had been on the market for about 6 months. He had been getting interviews and coming in second. Most of the time he was told some story by the company or recruiter about why he didn’t get the job. Rarely the real story. Then, because he had a friend in the company he was interviewing with, the true story came to life. He was told the original reason for not hiring him was that the other person had industry experience. His friend found out the real reason was that he had what they called “high turnover.” His last three jobs had lasted on average only 18 months.

So the obvious question to me was, “How many jobs in the last 6 months where he came in second, had he lost because turnover was the real reason?” We will never know, but I’m going to assume at least one.

When we first started working together, this issue obviously came up. It turns out this is a very simple issue to handle, especially in this case. Like so many candidates, he just didn’t know how to handle it in the hiring process.

The way to handle it was to face it head on. He figured if they didn’t bring the topic up during the interview that it wasn’t an issue. WRONG. It wasn’t an issue that the company felt they needed to discuss, because right or wrong,  someone had already decided he had high turnover, so there was no reason to discuss it. WRONG.

We changed that. Now the candidate brought it up first in the interview. In every interview. He had nothing to hide and so he forced the discussion. At the beginning of the interview when asked, “Tell me about yourself.” or “Give me a quick overview of your background.” he would start out with, “From my resume it may appear that I have had a lot of turnover. I can understand why most people would think that, I would think that too if I looked at my resume. Let me explain the reasons why I left each company, and in many cases, I didn’t leave the company, the company actually left me.”

This was a huge change in the interview. It was no longer left for the company to decide if it was high turnover without understanding the issues. It was right out there to discuss.  Does this mean all companies will accept the reasoning? Absolutely not. All it means is that the ones that are open to understanding why bad things happen to good people will.  For those companies that aren’t open to understanding the reasons, the outcome will be the same even if he didn’t bring it up.  He wasn’t looking for those companies. He wanted the one company that would have passed on him, but once hearing the reasons changed their mind. That was the one company that would reconsider him.

Within two months he started working.

Please don’t comment back on how bad the companies are for not probing about his background, or who would want to work for such narrow-minded companies. That is the purpose of the article. Quite frankly, when unemployed for 6 months, most people don’t care about narrow-minded companies. They care about a paycheck.

The purpose of the article is to encourage you to think about getting professional help. I will outline what professional help is in a future article so you don’t get ripped off.  CLICK HERE to read the article,  Job Seeker Scam Alert – Job Seekers Are Getting Ripped Off so you don’t get ripped off.

This person was earning over $150,000 a year. That is $12,500 a month that he was losing because of a silly reason that wasn’t handled properly. For every additional month that he was searching this was the cost. I think the cost far outweighed the benefit of getting a little professional help.

We offer many free tools to help you. CLICK HERE to download a free sample cover letter that recruiters like. CLICK HERE to download a sample thank you letter that will make sure you are remembered. CLICK HERE to download a free LinkedIn profile assessment that will help you build a great LinkedIn profile.

Finally, consider joining our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It has a wealth of great articles and discussions to help you in your search. CLICK HERE to join the other 5,300 members of this group.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article, please tweet or re-tweet it so others can benefit.

Brad Remillard


Ask A Recruiter Anything You Want To Know

As a recruiter for the last 30 years this September,  I get asked questions daily. Sometimes about one’s career and other times job search questions. Most job search questions focus on the tools of a job search, the resume, cover letter, interviews, thank you letters, etc.  Sometimes I also get questions about why recruiters do what recruiters do.

I think asking recruiters these questions is a good thing. Recruiters are uniquely qualified to answer these questions, because good recruiters see both sides of the job search. They hear what hiring managers want and don’t want, like and dislike about candidates’ resumes and interviewing styles, why the company decided not to hire one person or why they hired a specific person. It is easy to draw conclusions as to what works and what doesn’t work most of the time after hearing these things so many times.

So here is your chance to ask me any questions you might have for a recruiter. I realize that many recruiters like to be mysterious, but I believe the more candidates understand how we work, the better we can work together. The more you know about what you need to do so that a recruiter will engage you if they have the right job for you, the better.

Please comment on this article by asking me anything you want to know and I will do my best to answer your question.

If you don’t have a question, another option might be to suggest a topic you would like us to write about. If this will help you shorten your job search then that is a good thing.

So please let me know your questions or anything you would like for us to write an article about.

Depending on the volume, I can’t promise to respond to every request. I will do my best, so give me some time. Also, if many questions come in on the same topic, please check other comments for answers.

We offer many free tools to help you. CLICK HERE to download a free sample cover letter that recruiters like. CLICK HERE to download a sample thank you letter that will make sure you are remembered. CLICK HERE to download a free LinkedIn profile assessment that will help you build a great LinkedIn profile.

Finally, consider joining our LinkedIn Job Search Networking Group. It has a wealth of great articles and discussions to help you in your search. CLICK HERE to join the other 5,300 members of this group.

Brad Remillard