Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Beware the Idiot Lights

Y'all I'm still geeking out over the Talent42 Fireside Chat last week. For those who don't know what the heck I'm talking about, check out the live stream (thank you Ninh!) HERE.

Long story short (hahahahaha as if) I had the privilege of hosting a group of talented Google engineers (including 2 who lead teams) and ask them anything about recruiters. And boy did we hear it. I learned a few things, had a myth or two busted, and found myself amazed at the "yeah buts" we got. There were a few takeaways I found particularly interesting -

- On average, my panelists aren't getting hit on THAT MUCH. I think we agreed it was roughly 1-2 times a week. Some days you'd get 10 contacts, then radio silence for 2 weeks. There is literally no rhyme or reason that I can see. Just.... random.

- Approximately 1 in 10 outreaches are worth responding to. Now this is not license to fire off 10 shit messages and say "OK NOW YOU HAVE TO RESPOND TO ONE OF THEM!" No, in a sea of mediocrity, ONE IN TEN (again, averages) is worth a acknowledging.

(side note - if you're looking for 10 connections a week, and say to yourself "great, I need to email 100 people to hit my number!" you're doing it so wrong that I could throw up right now)

- Interruption communication is the WORST. Phone calls in the middle of the day, that kind of thing. Emails / inmails (inmauls) are "meh", but better than startling someone or causing them to momentarily think something horrible has happened because really who even uses the phone anymore. Oh pipe down agency/retained/gazillion dollar billers. I know you're all K I L L I N G it by smiling and dialing. Why are you reading this anyway? Point is, scheduled communication is key. And appreciated.

So what's a recruiter to do? There are a seemingly infinite number of ways to source someone, so instead of leaving an exhaustive list, how about this -


Ask your damn targets what they want to hear from you. Ask what kind of opportunity they want to hear about. Ask how often they want to be contacted and how. Pay attention to bread crumbs they're leaving you on their social real estate. If someone blatantly calls out I'm never ever EVER going to leave Seattle, why are you pitching a role in NYC? If someone has been leading a team for the last 10 years, why would they answer your call for a junior engineer? (yes this has happened, REPEATEDLY, to one of my panelists)

In other words, stop tripping the idiot lights.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Text Recruiting Done Okay-ish

My husband HATES texting. Really, any form of electronic communication is beyond him. Or beneath him. Thank goodness we've been friends since high school (read: pre-internet) or Lord knows we'd never have gotten together.

Recruiting, on the other hand, LOVES this shit. We can't get enough of emails, inmails (INMAULS), tweets and Facebook messages. There's a lot of noise being made about texting candidates as well. For, against, you name it.

Just today, in fact, I was treated to a text recruiting message of my very own!

There you have it, kids. The entire exchange took 2 minutes. Perfectly pleasant conversation, we QUICKLY ruled me out (y'all know my list of demands for contract work) and it highlighted an email I would have otherwise missed.

If I'm being really honest, I wouldn't have replied to the email. It was a copy/paste of the job description with no real hook. Plus, that whole contract thing... but at least he was up front about it.

I've never used TextUs. I hadn't even heard of it until today. Is it really a game changer? Maybe. Was this one of the more reasonable and pleasant recruiting conversations I've had in a while? Yup. 

I'm not sure that says a lot... no knock at all on the agency recruiter who sent this - like I said totally pleasant and I'd be open to hearing from him again if he had something relevant / up my alley. Of course I can't claim he did any real research on me... but keeping it short and sweet is ok in my book. Maybe it's the novelty of it. If I start getting 10-15 random texts a day I suppose I'd bitch about that like I do shitty inmails.

Monday, April 29, 2019

What Prospects REALLY Think of Your Inmail (and how to be better)

Or better said, InMAUL (thank you Uncle Steve).

Y'all I just CAN'T with this today. I blame this nasty cold I've been fighting for nearly a week, it's made me crankier than usual. I was feeling almost human today, so thought I'd respond to an otherwise "meh" inmail (inmaul!) I got last week. Here goes -

Hi Amy, 
I had reached out to you via InMail a few weeks ago and I am just touching base to make sure you received my message! I am currently looking for Recruiters for a few exciting positions at [COMPANY] and I am writing to gauge your interest. I would love to further our conversation if you are interested in recruiting opportunities at [COMPANY] :) Let's connect and see if we can collaborate either now or in the future. Happy connecting!

Ok so this was the 2nd message in a week. Totally fine. The first message was more general networking, nothing exceptional either way. I had every intention of sending a nice "thanks but no thanks" - however being curled up in a miserable ball of sickness derailed that plan. I digress.

I decide to write back this morning - I like to be SUPER transparent and make sure I'm leaving no room for guesswork. Most of the time these responses knock me right out of consideration, which is fair, given that it would take something truly spectacular to pull me away -

hi [AGENCY RECRUITER], happy to chat, but I do want to be clear on where I am in my career / what it would take to pry me away :)

I'm full time at Google - Since I've been here less than a year I'd have a significant clawback if leaving any time soon. This would obviously need to be accounted for in any potential offers. (I know it may seem premature to mention, we've only just met! But I just want to be extra transparent).

I'm also connected to a couple of leaders at [COMPANY ([SPECIFIC TEAMS])] and am having long term chats about future potential. Since you're representing an agency, I just want to be up front on that, as I may not be a "fee-worthy" candidate. Also, not interested in contract unless it pays VERY well, 100% remote and allows me to finally relocate to Hawaii. ;)

How do you define "exciting positions" at [COMPANY]? I have my own thoughts on what makes a role epic, but curious what that means to you.

Happy hunting!

Here's the thing y'all - I'm 9 months into my role. I'm having some growing pains like anyone else. I'm CONSTANTLY engaging with / networking with recruiting leaders as you just never know where your career will take you. I'm not actively looking to leave (I JUST FREAKING GOT HERE) but I wanted this recruiter to know that I already know people at your client. You are probably not getting a fee for me.

Here's the response I got - approximately 5 minutes later -

Hi Amy, 
Thank you for the information! I have many roles across different recruiting teams at [COMPANY]. I work with the direct managers at [TEAM, TEAM, TEAM I ALREADY MENTIONED, and TEAM]. I hire all levels of Technical Recruiters to these teams. Dependant on your skill set I would present you to one or multiple of these teams. The roles are primarily sourcing roles. Let me know if you would be interested in continuing the conversation! 
I am curious, are you full time or contract at the moment? 


Please take a moment and see if you can point out the mistakes.

Ok, have your list? I have one too. But first, my snarky response back because I JUST F%&$ING CAN'T TODAY.

full time

my super power is recruiting strategy and client engagement. I helped build the Business AI team at Microsoft while I was there. I currently manage all senior hiring (engineering managers) across YouTube with a team of 3 (2 sourcers and another recruiter)

I've spoken at tons of conferences, conducted lots of trainings, webinars and written many recruiting articles - lots out there that speaks to my skill set and expertise :) If you still think you can charge a fee for me after learning more about me, happy to chat. 

I won't consider contract unless it's breathtakingly better than what I'm currently doing (and pays like, $100 an hour or more depending on cost of benefits, etc)

I am clearly full time. I said that. Like clearly stated I'm full time and not interested contract. Yet you still asked if I was full time or contract. Is this real life?

Don't bullshit me on this. If you'd done even a cursory scan of my LinkedIn profile (let alone the rest of my social footprint) you'd know a few things about me. You could have cracked a joke about yoga pants. You could have said "great job on last week's webinar" (even though you clearly didn't listen to it) you could have said SOMETHING, ANYTHING, that would have indicated I was more than just another target on your inmaul list.

I gave you an opening. I asked you why your roles were exciting (YOUR WORDS). You could have given me any kind of pitch that maybe JUST MAYBE would have gotten my attention or possibly given me a reason to refer someone your way.

Y'all I'm nobody special. I'm just another recruiter in a sea of AMAZING professionals trying to do my best and feed my kids. I work for a high profile brand, I have a bit of name recognition because I verbally vomit all over the internet. I'm not the only one, and don't think I'm any more qualified than the next guy on your list.

The next guy deserves better. So did I.

So does the Engineering Manager I'm about to contact out of the blue. They guy or gal who's happily leading a team building the next epic thing at a cool company. The leader who's INUNDATED with inmails (INMAULS) from recruiters like me. The manager who's more concerned about getting the next feature shipped and NOT their next job.

I have a new rule for any outgoing message I send. How would this MAKE ME FEEL if I was on the receiving end? If the answer is "like a number", then I should probably rethink before I hit send.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the response I got to my final message?

Hi Amy,

Thank you for letting me know! At this time that is higher than I would be able to pay. If that changes I will be sure to reach out!

[Agency Recruiter]

Hawaii, here I come!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Get Out Of My (Talent) Pool

Add this to the list of things I never thought I'd read today.

Recently a good friend and fellow recruiter shared this gem with me, thinking I'd 1) enjoy a giggle and 2) make a hell of a post out of it. She was right on both counts.


This is a legitimate inmail received by a professional CORPORATE recruiter at a large company. It CAME FROM an alleged professional at a large (non-tech) company. I looked up the person - trying to make some sense, find some rhyme or reason, as to why this is ok to send. In the sender's defense, they haven't been in recruiting that long. Apparently before joining our profession, they worked in HR.

Somehow, that's worse.

You might be asking yourself - "what's the big deal"? Or, "why is she so bitchy, picking on a poor recruiter just trying to find a damn django developer"!

Because that ain't RIGHT, y'all.

Maybe it's time we settle what we mean by "candidate" and even better, "candidate pool". A CANDIDATE is someone who has not only expressed interest in a role, but is actively being considered for the company. They are people who've applied, been sourced, or in some fashion engaged with our company, and usually in part due to some effort from the staffing function.

No. You don't get to dip your toes in our pool.

The question was not "who do you know" or even "have you rejected anyone". No.... you want to get into our "candidate pool". For free. Because we're nice, or something. Oh but that's not all! They want to "share our pipeline". More fun with definitions! A "pipeline" is generally a list of people we're carefully cultivating for current or future opportunities. Now look, I've written before about the bullshit that is candidate ownership. That doesn't mean I'm going to serve up my list on a silver platter because you can't find what you're looking for. Don't even get me started on the legal ramifications! When I'm considering my next move, I'm very cautious and methodical about who I share my resume with AND WHEN. I don't mind if people recommend me for roles, on the contrary, that's a compliment. But my candidacy status or any other private info I've shared with a company I want to work for? Hard pass.

Maybe what he meant was "hey we'd like to engage you FOR A FEE to help us fill this hard position". In which case I have lots of agency friends who might take that call.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Where did February go? Or, self care for recruiters.

Y'all. We need to talk about something.

Taking care of yourself.

Here's the thing - I spent most of February laid up with bronchitis and barely able to breathe let alone function. I did my best to keep up with work, irritated my sourcing partners and bosses to no end I'm sure (they'd never say that, they're so nice ;) ) and generally felt like shit on toast.

What I did NOT do, was take a freaking day off to just heal.

Why? Would my team collapse without me? Would candidates be lost to the void or hiring managers left on the side of the road holding an empty pipeline report wondering what happened?

OF COURSE NOT. What a dumb thing to say. So why why WHY did I torture myself? Frankly, I have no idea. If I really peel back the layers of my psyche it's PROBABLY because I'm so new that I don't feel like I've "earned" the right to take a day off. I still have so much to prove or something. Or, I'm a total control freak who can't stand to hand over anything. Whatever the stupid reason, here's one thing I know for certain. No one is impressed by hustle that hurts.

Another February milestone - my mom has been taking chemo treatments for a full year. One full year of biweekly trips to the wonderful Swedish Cancer Institute where she sits for hours, while nurses buzz around pumping her full of medicine. Prior to her diagnosis, my mom hadn't been to a doctor in I don't know how many years. If she'd also been a little better at self care (oh look - I come by it honestly!) MAYBE they would have caught the cancer sooner. While I'm so incredibly grateful that she's responding well to treatment, my heart breaks that it's even a thing in her life.

One of the best pieces of advice I've learned was from my previous director at Microsoft, Betsy. She said more than once, "we're not saving lives". I mean... so simple, so accurate, so hard to live by. Sure, our work is important, but no one ever DIED from not returning a phone call right away or getting an interview scheduled immediately. Let's make each other a promise, ok? Promise me you'll take care of yourself. Get your annual physical. Take a sick day when you need it. Ask for help when you're overwhelmed.

Remind me to do the same.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The "Hard Close" and Other Recruiting Nonsense

It's a candidate driven market, y'all.

If you're a recruiter reading this, you know EXACTLY what I mean. For certain skill sets, opportunities are damn near limitless. I've been recruiting in tech for the last several years and I'm telling you, jobs are more plentiful and offers more competitive than I've ever seen.

Enter - the Hard Close.

Recruiters like to play this little game with themselves. The game is called Candidate Control. The objective is Make The Candidate Say Yes. This could be saying yes to a conversation, an interview, and ultimately, an offer. The holy grail of the recruiting process. The end all / be all (especially if you're on commission).

Full disclosure - I find the concept of "candidate control" to be irritating, annoying, and downright fictitious. Influence? Sure. CONTROL? Ewww. Go away.

So back to the hard close.

This is when you have an offer out to a candidate who isn't quite ready to pull the trigger. They may have other offers, still be interviewing elsewhere, or just not quite ready to make a decision. So the recruiter (desperately clinging to some semblance of control) does the good old takeaway. This offer will turn into a pumpkin at midnight! If you don't say yes RIGHT NOW you'll never get another chance!

Fine. The answer is NO.

See I've LIVED through the hard close myself. A few years ago I was approached by a start up newly launching in Seattle. GREAT opportunity to build out a recruiting function. There were some pieces already in place but some really cool work ahead and my potential boss was great. The interview process was smooth, they met my comp expectations, and I was seriously thinking about it.


At every touch point I shared my concerns and timeline. What I was walking away from. Assurances I needed to accept the new role. I was ready to say yes, but wanted ONE MORE CONVERSATION to walk through things like benefits, work / life balance, basically sanity checking what I thought I knew about what I was getting into.

I was told I was taking too long and needed to get back to the team THAT DAY. I'd had the offer letter in my hand for maybe 24 hours.

That's it. That's all it took for me to decide this was NOT the place for me. I immediately sent my regrets and regards. I didn't need to change jobs. The company needed me more than I needed them. Sure it could have been an epic opportunity, but there was also a lot of risk. And if the recruiting leadership was not willing to give me another day or two PLUS their time to discuss what mattered to ME - they didn't deserve me.

Now imagine you're a software engineer, or data analyst, or any of the other hot jobs out there right now. You've got multiple offers with more recruiters calling you every day. You're ready for a change, exciting about something new, but want to be really thoughtful in your final decision. You just want to make a call with all the available information in front of you. Then the recruiter pulls this shit, probably making you feel insignificant, not heard, and frankly, probably not respected.

So what's a recruiter to do? Yes I understand there are timelines - roles can't sit open forever and you can't let someone take 3 months to decide if they want to accept an offer or not. There are two critical questions you should always be asking your finalists -

1. What other information do you need (from me, my company, or outside) to make your decision?
2. What is your timeline to make a decision?

And finally, SHARE YOUR TIMELINE TOO. If you know this offer is going to expire, or there is a business need to put a specific deadline (need to respond to other candidates, team is going to implode if we don't fill the role, whatever) TELL YOUR CANDIDATE.

A little honesty and transparency goes a long way - a hell of a lot farther than "hard close" takeaways.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Real Talk About Req Loads

This one's going to sting a bit.

One of the favorite games recruiters like to play is HOW MANY REQS ARE TOO MANY. Now this is probably more of an issue for my corporate brethren, but if my agency friends will indulge me, you'll perhaps find something useful here too.

I won't argue if you have 30, 40, 50, or even 100 reqs. Of course you do. What I will ask you - are all those reqs created equal? PROBABLY NOT.

There are so many variables at play here. Some things we need to consider -

  • Which reqs overlap? Let's say I have 10 openings for a call center representative. If the profile is EXACTLY the same (or damn close) and I'm working with a single hiring authority, that is a far cry from 10 reqs with wildly different requirements and hiring managers. There are lots of creative ways to do high volume hiring - treating each headcount as an individual hiring need may not be the best use of your time.
  • Internal Only posts. Here's the hard truth - some roles are just not yours to fill. AND THAT'S OK. If a hiring manager already has people in mind, or just isn't that into external talent for whatever reason, LET THAT SHIT GO. You can follow along and/or keep track of the hiring process (depending on how your company does it, you might have internal transfer responsibilities) but you are NOT launching a full scale recruiting effort. So stop acting like it.
  • It's not a priority. One of my favorite lines to use following an intake with a new hiring manager - "I'll give this as much priority as you do". Here's the simple truth - if the HM is not willing/able to play ball, why should you? This doesn't mean you won't put in ANY effort - but again, not all reqs / hiring needs are created equal, and it's totally ok to have a different strategy for each.
    • Pro-Tip - clear this with your boss / HM's boss or someone who can cover your ass when the HM bitches that he/she never hears from you. Also, thorough notes/emails to prove your effort (and their lack of) can go a long way to CYA.
I know some of you might be thinking this doesn't apply to you. I can't possibly understand YOUR situation. I have NO IDEA how bad you have it, how busy you are, and how every single one of your 100 reqs require daily, individual, and specialized attention. So let's talk about it.

Send me an email at amy@recruitinginyogapants.com and I'll schedule a 30 minute check in. We'll review your req load, talk about your hiring partners and I'll give you a strategy or two on how to straighten out the mess on your desk.

I'm in. Are you?

Beware the Idiot Lights

Y'all I'm still geeking out over the Talent42 Fireside Chat last week. For those who don't know what the heck I'm talking ab...