Have you ever gotten a job interview/offer because someone you knew, recommended you? A friend, relative, prior co-worker, classmate, … someone who likes you, and wants to put their reputation out on the line for you? Having that employee recommendation, even if they don’t know your work performance, is key to getting great jobs. I am sure you have heard the phrase “It’s all who you know.” And this is true in any situation. An employer would rather hire someone with a little bit of background history that can be verified, rather than none at all. As I have mentioned in the past, some of those letters of reference or actual phone calls, might not be as truthful as employers would like them to be. Some of them all sound the same. ______ (insert name) is hard working, loyal, dedicated, trustworthy, oh and an Eagle Scout! He coaches little league and is an outstanding choir member in the church. <rolls eyes> Gosh, that sounds just perfect. When can you start? No. Those letters are so fake it’s not even funny. I think it is expected that every employee act like a boy/girl scout. Strong work ethics, team player, gets along well with others. And if you’re not, then you need to start acting like it. We all know, not all employees are model employees. I can think of a few I’d fire in a heartbeat. IF you are giving that recommendation, please do not tell anyone that candidate is going through a divorce, a bankruptcy, or anything that might accidentally hurt his/her chances. Employers hear those things and they cringe.
As a recruiter, we are looking for “talent”. There is a show called “America’s Got Talent”. If you haven’t seen an episode, you should check it out. Look at what those people can do and compare your own skill/talent. See there difference? Some things like typing super fast is a skill. Gotta say, going through hundreds and hundreds of resumes for ONE position, and you quickly start screening candidates out very quickly. Impressive skills and talent is what we are looking for in these marketing brochures of candidates. HOWEVER if just one of those resumes comes from a well liked employee, say manager or above, that resume will get more than a 10-20 second review. If there are gaps, or questions, those are sometimes overlooked. Why? Employee referral. And as I have mentioned in the past, when you get someone hired, you are the current employee, will get a monetary bonus added to your check, usually after 90 days. I can attest that I have received thousands in employee referrals. I would find an candidate at Best Buy and then I would tell them to put my name on the application, and I would spell it correctly, and tell them they would have a much better chance of getting hired if they say they knew me. Okay. Cool. So they just met me. They still knew me. 😉 And when they were asked HOW they met/knew me, they always said, “Mutual friends”. I could always say, “He seemed like a good guy.” You can’t place negligent hiring practices on someone who just said “He seemed like a good guy”. If HR didn’t ask the right questions, or do a drug test, that’s on them, not you. So, do you have a buddy or friend who you just LOVED working with daily? Yeah, me too. Go find him/her and see if he/she can get you a better job.
If you have started your LinkedIn.com profile, you can start connecting with those professionals you have met in past positions and see what they are up to now. Whom have you kept in touch with from college or grad school? All the people I kept in touch with are in very different fields/industries. Terrific, if you got a job there you wouldn’t be in the same department, but you’d be great lunch buddies. I will do another article/blog on LinkedIn.com. Until that time, do NOT use that profile to apply for jobs … yet. Your employment profile is like building a house. You achievements and skills are the foundation, since that is what is important. Can you do the job and how fast can you do it? If you are still working on them, think to yourself, “Is that impressive?” Fluent in 4 languages. Yes, impressive. You have a social media following already? Impressive.
For those of you who are students, I always loved asking what the candidate’s G.P.A. was in high school and college if applicable. And then I would ask WHY. Verifiable. Don’t lie. If you are a nerdy brainy bookworm like me, … now is the time to brag about it. If they ask you to sell something, think about the strategy you are using, and don’t use price. I can sell it cheaper. No. It might be a luxury item they want you to sell, like cruises or diamonds. “I have a large network of professionals who are friends who I know will support my endeavors with a new company.” You’re hired.