Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recognizing and Understanding Recruiter's Behaviors

In an effort to keep you continually informed and "in the loop," I wanted to share this article with you from Reut Schwartz-Hebron and ERE.net. While some recruiters might shun the idea of providing you trade secrets in order to properly prepare you for your next interview, I want to provide you every tip or piece of advice I can so that your arsenal is fully loaded the next time you head into an interview.

Today's posting highlights some common recruiter behaviors that we demonstrate consciously and subconsciously. Recognizing and understanding these behavioral traits will make you a stronger and more informed interviewer. So go forth with this insider knowledge and knock you next interview out of the park.

7 Things Great Interviewers Do Without Knowing
Techniques recruiters sometimes use subconsciously
Tuesday, January 29, 2008 by Reut Schwartz-Hebron
Reut Schwartz-Hebron()
send Reut an email

After years of interviewing and hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities to practice, you are an expert when it comes to sensing who is sitting right in front of you. You are so good at it that sometimes you surprise yourself with how quickly you pick up on things about candidates inside and outside of an interview session.

That's intuition and, if it's built on a feedback loop, it's one of the best tools at your disposal when you need to identify traits and uncover delicate and important factors such as authenticity and flexibility.

The difficult part is that you can't share this type of knowledge with new recruiters. Intuition and other automatic and subconscious thinking patterns (yes, intuition is a thinking pattern) often seem out of reach, and we assume the only way for people to learn them is to go through a learning process similar to the one we had to go through ourselves.

There are certain things we can't trace and, hence, we can't teach. We can't trace the values we assign certain behaviors. When you notice a certain behavior during an interview and you instantly have a value assigned to that behavior (say you notice the candidate drumming his or her fingers on the table and you instantly know it is a sign of resistance to authority) the value-assigning part is out of our reach. You don't know why you interpret a certain behavior in a specific way; if someone asked you to explain most of these conclusions, you probably wouldn't know what to tell him. But, what you are actually doing is a lot more than assigning value to a specific behavior. Your mind is noticing gesture, tone of voice, and combining those and other clues to produce a conclusion.

We can't teach new recruiters which values to assign. Though there are many theories that try, the result is a long list of combinations which, even if we put validity aside, are too numerous to remember and apply. But we can teach recruiters where to look for signs and how to practice combining them. Though experience and feedback loops are indispensable, knowing where to look cuts the learning curve dramatically.

Here are seven techniques you are probably using without knowing:

Make the Most out of the Resume. Expert interviewers prepare well. They read and re-read a candidates' resumes, treating these documents like a detective would a crime scene: Anything can be a clue, but nothing is valid until it is supported by concrete evidence. They look at the resumes for anything that could be even slightly off, and they assign meaning to the length of the sentences, the richness of the language, the use of space on the page, repeated words or themes, and much more. Expert recruiters build the most unsympathetic theories as they read through a resume, but they stay clear of coming to any conclusions.

Use Introspection as a Mirroring Technique. Introspection is often used by experts to identify areas that need attention. By assessing their own reaction to the candidate's behavior, interviewers can pinpoint manipulations of different kinds. If, for instance, a candidate is triggering a protective response in the interviewer, the interviewer (alerted by his or her own emotional response) can track back the behavior or response that triggered the reaction and assign it meaning.

Peruse Emotional Triggers. We are most authentic, exposing our basic assumptions and values, when we are emotional. Any reaction that is off balance, and that includes an excess of positive or negative response (you are just as emotionally vulnerable when your team wins as when your team loses), falls into this category. Experienced interviewers notice emotional responses and follow their paths with additional questions that intensify emotions to asses the candidate's evasive values, attitudes, and basic assumptions.

Collect Contradictions. Anything that might seem like a contradiction that comes up through context or content is a great place to dig. When candidates have seemingly contradicting areas of interest or have invested time in contradicting efforts, expert interviewers pick up on that and ask for interpretations. The same principle applies to content, when things that have been said earlier could be interpreted as being contradictory to things that are being said now. It's not so much the explanation that interests experts, but the way in which the response is presented. The response is a great telling sign about abilities like handling criticism, working with authority, accepting ambiguity, and much more.

Collate Repetitions. Certain behaviors mean very little by themselves, but put together with other behaviors, when a pattern is created, they are very indicative of a personal of professional trait. Let's look back at the example of drumming on the table. That behavior, if interpreted by itself, could mean many things. It could, in fact, mean the exact opposite of a defiant candidate and indicate insecurity and shyness. How did you know it was one and not the other? You looked at one behavior and created a pattern.

Look for Core Reasons. Direct answers are often just the beginning of a long discovery trail. An effective interview feels more like a conversation to the candidate because the interviewer is focusing and stretching the understanding of the candidate's basic assumptions through a certain example. Most soft skills can be located in pretty much any discussion, and as the interviewer asks core questions like why, the answers become more revealing.

Detach Yourself of Your Own Emotional Limitations. Like therapists or anthropologists, interviewers must know how to leave their own imbalances and limitations outside the interviewing room. To interview well means to have control of the emotional responses you are trying to elicit. I know recruiters and managers who build up tension and as soon as they feel they made the candidate uncomfortable, they back away and try to soften the blow. That, of course, requires your new interviewers to be aware of their own limitations, but they'll master this knowledge a lot faster if they know what to look for.

All of these techniques are expert skills that can easily be taught to a novice. All you need to do is provide practice, coupled with a feedback loop. If you can do that, mastery will come about faster than you could ever imagine.

Reut Schwartz-Hebron (reut@ThinkingExpert.com) is an international speaker, author, and trainer. She is the owner of MetaConsulting Solutions, LLC, an innovative training company that specializes in providing novices with expert thinking skills, shortening beginners’ learning curves, and increasing productivity of experienced executives by training them to use a new set of thinking skills. Reut is also the president of the KindExcellence institute (www.KindExcellence.com), an organization devoted to promoting kindness through business results in corporate America. She is the author of "Outswim the Sharks," and is personally dedicated to developing high value human asset management solutions and training executives to use core skills to increase productivity and recruit, attract, and retain top talent.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Interview Tips

On any given Sunday, you can most likely find me at home watching sports and getting the week's laundry done. Yes I do laundry - it is the tradeoff I have negotiated with my wife in order to reserve Sundays for sports. Right now we enjoy the NFL playoffs. Coming in February is the Daytona 500 and the beginning of the NASCAR Race to the Chase. In April my Boston Red Sox take the field. Between these favorites, there is always something to enjoy on Sunday.

In between racing up the stairs to change out loads of laundry and watching said sporting event, I also incorporate some reading time. This weekend during the Pats/Chargers game, I caught up on some magazines that had been accumulating. One of the articles was "So, Tell Me What I Want to Hear" by Cecil Donahue in GQ. While the article made some jabs at the practice of interviewing, it did present some pointers that I found worthwhile and noteworthy to share with you.

Candidates should remember:

1) Your success in the interview depends on your level of preparation.
2) Research the person who will be conducting the interview.
3) Make sure everything on your resume is true.
4) Go in armed with a ton of good questions. (I cannot stress this point enough!!)
5) If, after the interview or two or three, you should find yourself growing increasingly excited about the opportunity, don't forget the final step: ASK FOR THE JOB.

Clients conducting the interview should keep in mind:

1) Talk to the candidate's references, then ask for even more.
2) Work the candidate.
3) Schedule interviews with colleagues up and down the chain of command.
4) Ask the candidate why he wants this position at this company.

I hope these help and please let me know your thoughts. For more pointers or general information on interviewing, give me a call or shoot me an email. You can always reach me at sty@qworksgroup.com or 803-548-8140 x30.

Have a great week -

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Website

Good Morning. It is with great pleasure that I announce that Management Recruiters of Lancaster County has changed its name and website to the Q Works Group, www.qworksgroup.com

Our new website is a complete upgrade from our previous site. The new site is much more user friendly and candidates can now apply directly to positions they see posted. Overall, the site provides a plethora of information, for both our clients and our candidates. I encourage you all to visit our new site and please let me know your thoughts. I have been quite pleased with the feedback thus far but I want to hear your opinions too!!

I also want to take a moment to alleviate any concerns you may have with this name/site change. We have not been bought out nor have we left the MRI Network. The Q Works Group has been around for a number of years as our office owner and manager Joe Woerner has been running it as part of our International business. Late last year, Joe made the decision to incorporate the business segments under one name, and for the purposes of branding, decided to go with Q Works Group. We as an office are very excited about this change and hope it does not cause too much confusion for you, our clients and candidates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me: sty@qworksgroup.com or 803-548-8140 x30.

Again, please take a moment to visit our new site: www.qworksgroup.com

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Interview Prep

Interviewing is a skill. It takes time, research, and preparation. However, many individuals like the ad hoc, "winging it" approach. All I can advise on this is if you choose this method, do not be surprised if you don't get invited back for a second interview.

Today's article, from Dean Tracy and TheLadders.com, highlight some areas you should consider when preparing for your next interview. While not all encompassing, it does provide a sound foundation from which to begin your interview prep. And remember, always go into an interview with a list of questions to ask your interviewers. Always!!

By Dean Tracy

After many years in the recruiting business, I’ve learned that candidates often lack preparation when facing a career transition or job change.

Here are six simple steps to take before an interview to help you land the job.

1. Prepare Your Story
Throughout your career, you may pursue different directions. Be prepared to discuss the reasons for which you’re taking your career in a certain direction.

Organize talking points that help you tell your story. It’s important to touch on reasons why you may have left a company without bashing your former co–workers or supervisors. Explain with confidence the reason that you are making or have made a career change.

Remember that a lack of conversation reflects lack of interest. Be prepared to incorporate the storyline of your background into their organizational challenges.

2. Calculate Your Compensation
Know the difference between your needs, your value to the company, and market trends. Your financial needs are of no importance to the hiring manager or the hiring company. They care about your success, but they are not accountable for your financial responsibilities.

Investigate the market trends for the position for which you’re interviewing. The dollar amount is usually defined by what the market will bear for your position. This information can be collected from a variety of websites and market research. Keep in mind that this will also depend on the company’s size, revenues, headcount, geographic location, etc.

The value that you bring to the company is one that only you can define and present to your prospective employer. This will be based upon your demonstrated experience as determined by contributions you’ve made in previous roles. Capture and reflect revenues that you generated, incorporate costs and expenses that you managed, and/or numbers of people or clients that you have supported.

Understand acronyms such as OTE and MBO.

OTE = On Target Earnings. This is what your total compensation package is, including annual base salary, bonuses etc.

MBO = Management by Objective. This is typically used to identify a percentage of your annual base and may be paid quarterly or once a year.

3. Articulate Your Value
You need to be able to address the value that you bring to the company. Be prepared to share your skills and accomplishments and discuss how they benefit the company. Articulate these accomplishments in a problem–action–results sequence.

Problem – This will reflect the specific problem, challenge, or situation that you are faced with. The way you would describe this is in the form of an overview or summary.

Action – This represents the steps that you took to address the problem, challenge, or situation. Describe the methodology that you followed to drive results and deliverables.

Results – This is where you define the success or accomplishment of your action. Use this as an opportunity to share how you evaluate the end result.

4. Determine Your Commute Threshold
Estimate how far are you willing to commute to get to work every day. Some candidates will use this threshold to represent miles and some will use it to measure total road time.

5. Determine Your Willingness to Travel
This will usually depend on the position for which you’re applying. Your previous experiences with work travel will be a true indicator to consider. You should also carefully consider the impact that this will have on your family and personal lifestyle.

6. Articulate Your Management Style
Be prepared to share and discuss the environment or culture where you can be the most productive. Are you most effective in a chaotic, fast–paced, high–stressed environment? Do you bring a calming influence in a chaotic setting? Are you detail oriented, driven by reports in a micro–managed structure? Be prepared to describe your typical activity in a normal work day.

If you do your homework well, you will be extraordinarily successful in your interview. It will become easy for you to open new doors of opportunity toward landing the job of your dreams! Go get ‘em!

Dean Tracy is a Professional Recruiter, Public Speaker and Career Coach based in Northern California with an emphasis on Placing and Coaching IT Professionals at a National Level. He also serves on the Leadership Team for Job Connections, which is recognized as one of Northern California’s largest and most reputable Professional Networking Groups.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year = New Opportunity = New Beginning

Welcome 2008!! Last year was an incredible year and I look forward to more of the same in the coming months. Like many of you, I have a number of New Year's Resolutions I am going to do my best to implement into habit over the next few weeks; one of which is being more conscious of posting at least bi-weekly to keep you better informed. With those encouraging words in mind, please find the first article of 2008 below. Thanks to TheLadders.com and Abby Locke, today's article highlights some personal inventory items we should all consider before jumping into the deep-end of a career search. As always, I look forward to your feedback and best wishes to you all in the coming New Year!!

By Abby Locke

The beginning of a new year brings its share of excitement, anticipation and hope for everyone. For those of you who will be embarking on an executive job search, the New Year really symbolizes the opportunity for a new beginning.

But before you start reaching out to your personal contacts, friends, and recruiters, make sure that you have the right tools. If you have not conducted a serious job search in more than five years, you’ll be surprised by how much the job search has changed. Competition for the best paying jobs is intense, and you will need to represent yourself distinctively on paper.

Where to begin? For starters, you need to secure a well-written, branded executive resume -- that is the first document that every recruiter and hiring manager will request from you. If you’re making a significant career move into a whole new industry or functional area, you’ll need a serious resume makeover; a strong marketing document that maximizes your past achievements and reinvents you for a whole, new career.

Before you dive into a resume-writing frenzy, do your homework. Visit comprehensive websites like TheLadders.com to review current executive jobs in your target areas. Take a close look at about five to ten opportunities and identify the required qualifications, experience, and expertise; use that information along with the following techniques to develop your new executive resume.

Step 1: Develop Your Personal Brand Statement

Understanding your personal brand helps you to market yourself effectively to key decision makers. For executive career changers, a strong personal brand gives you an opportunity to link your personal strengths and unique value to your target position.

Combine your personal branding statement with a title header on your executive resume -- this strategy helps you to clearly communicate who you are, your differentiating strengths, and your immediate benefits to employers.

For example, a senior marketing executive who has consistently grown companies can have a branding statement that reads like this:


Delivering Unprecedented Revenue & Market Performance for Companies in Competitive, Evolving Industries

Step 2: Position Yourself as an "Insider" not an "Outsider

Conducting extensive research on your target positions will equip you with valuable keywords, industry jargon, and relevant "insider" language to incorporate in your resume. Develop a memorable executive summary that includes the same language. Here’s an excerpt from a senior financial manager’s resume, targeting non-profit management positions - this excerpt below was used in her executive summary.

Forward-thinking, innovative finance professional offering 15+ years’ experience delivering bottom-line impacting accomplishments for corporate and non-profit organizations through effective strategic marketing, new business development, and relationship building. Extensive knowledge and proven success in securing corporate funding and sponsorships. Articulate leader able to solicit support from key executives, government officials, and community leaders.

Step 3: Only Use Relevant, Transferable Skills and Experience

When writing your new executive resume, avoid filling your resume with experience that would make you appear unqualified for the position. If possible, keep your executive experience in chronological order, but only emphasize the job responsibilities, achievements, and experience that are directly relevant to your new job target. It is quite acceptable to leave out tasks or responsibilities that are unrelated. For example, a senior federal employee looking to transition into a human resource management position will only highlight his experience in that area:


2005-present: Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Division responsible for leading drug enforcement activities in northern Virginia. Manage all Division administration, budget allocations, and various high profile programs i.e. (Recruitment, Training, and Demand Reduction).


Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge, Washington, DC (2005 to present)Direct division administration, budget allocations, and oversee high profile programs including recruitment, personnel training, demand reduction and division special projects for the Washington Division. Created and developed "first-ever" division leadership program that promotes mentoring and hands-on experience/insight to executive management activities.

  • Human Resource Management: Pioneered complete turnaround in office morale and division productivity by instituting year-long training in financial management and general administration.

  • Program Management: Revitalized recruitment program by assessing program effectiveness and creating increased momentum for achieving annual goals.

  • Program Development: Conceived and coordinated new leadership program to advance leadership opportunities for senior-level employees.

Step 4: Extract Achievements and Testimonials from Your Performance Reviews

If you have not updated or created a new executive resume in a very long time, you may be guilty of overlooking significant achievements. Annual performance reviews provide credible, unbiased details about your contributions and impact to company growth; they also serve as an excellent resource for third-party testimonials.

Excerpt from annual review used as testimonial:

Brian was the catalyst to the growth and enrichment of the e-commerce offering at the Technology Company. He is truly a strategic thinker who can ascertain the business challenge and deliver a high quality, technology-driven solution.

Excerpt from annual review translated into achievement:

Conceptualized new e-commerce products that propelled annual revenues from $15 million to $100 million in one year.

Step 5: Make All Your Experiences Work for You

Paid or unpaid, industry experience is still valuable and transferable for career changes. If you have been involved in substantial volunteer or community work, use these resources to highlight/validate your leadership skills and experience in your new target area. Take a look at this example of unpaid marketing experience, which can make a powerful statement on your executive resume.


Volunteer, International Dance Group, Inc.
Volunteer, Alexandria School of Dance.



Director of Marketing, International Dance Group, Inc. (2002 to 2007)

Work closely with executive team and marketing staff to develop strategic marketing plan for dance production company. Enhance company image through unique promotional programs and advertising initiatives. Volunteer position for five consecutive years.

Marketing Manager, Alexandria School of Dance (2000 to 2005)

Planned and executed advertising production, marketing materials, public relations programs, and other special projects for start-up dance school. Generate creative marketing tactics targeting potential customers and event sponsors. Contributed talents and expertise on non-paid basis.

Overall, preparing a new resume is never an easy task, especially if you haven’t done a one in a long time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with the entire process - start by working on one section at a time before pulling it all together.

Abby M. Locke, president of Premier Writing Solutions, is a Certified Executive Resume-Writer and Personal Brand Strategist who helps senior-level professionals and C-level executives achieve personal success with customized, branded executive resumes and career marketing documents. Her resume samples have been published in Nail the Resume! Great Tips for Creating Dynamic Resumes and Same-Day Resumes.