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Monday, April 12, 2010

Hey, Don't Be a Bad Boyfriend!

***Sorry, folks. This is not dedicated to Kevin; we're still blissfully in love. Maybe next time?***

I don't care who you are. Every girl, at some point, has the distinct privilege of dating a tool; that is, a man-friend that isn't nearly as into you as you'd like to think. This disinterest (that everyone can usually see except for you) can manifest itself a variety of ways. Whether Mr. BF is not returning your calls, texts, emails, and smoke signals, not paying you any attention (or only paying you attention when he feels like it), rationing out his affections like they are some scarce resource you might never get again, or never saying those three little words (oh come on, you know the ones...) that you dropped months ago, chasing after someone that isn't into you It doesn't matter if you put in years trying to make a relationship something that it isn't and never (ever) will be or if you only invested a few months, weeks, days (you get the idea); when it finally comes to an end, it hurts. You rack your brain trying to understand where things went wrong, how you missed the signals that were so blatantly obvious to everyone else, and it finally occurs to you that it all boils down to you not being pretty enough...(just kidding) all boils down to managed (or not) expectations. Clearly at some point, both you and your man-friend, did a really crappy job of sharing your expectations and things went south. How was he supposed to know you wanted to run off into the sunset together if you didn't tell him? How was he supposed to know you are a really big fan of bubble gum pop music (and wanted him to like it, too) if you didn't share that helpful little nugget? And how were you supposed to know that he really preferred large chested ladies if he didn't tell you? And that clingy behavior is so not his thing? And that he really didn't want a girl that longed to be a stay at home mom?

No wonder it didn't work out!

While I am mostly referencing the wonderful world that is dating, working with candidates that aren't as into you sucks just as much. You see, dating is really a heck of a lot like staffing and setting expectations is just as important. We might not be getting the physical satisfaction out of the relationship (my boyfriend was the exception...though, meeting him at a User Group doesn't make him a "candidate"...does it?) but we still get very involved with our candidates and really do care about their livelihoods (ok, some care about cashing in, too). Like any romantic relationship, inevitably, our egos also get thrown into the mix which makes rejection (and we get it pretty frequently) not a pretty thing to deal with. After a while you start to understand that this is part of the industry; try as you might, you will not be able to help everyone, and sometimes, even the ones you do end up helping, might not want your help. Until you learn this, and really learn how to manage your expectations (and those of the candidates), you will be met with disappointment after disappointment. In most interactions, it isn't "normal" to lay everything out there immediately so it is a little counter-intuitive, but once you get in the hang of it, it makes your life a lot easier.

So, what do I mean by setting expectations you ask? (I know I ramble and can be hard to follow...)

As a recruiter, it is important to let your candidates know your process. If you prefer to meet them in person before chasing opportunities, let them know that. If you'd like to have a conversation every day, let them know that, too. If you would like them to name their first female child after you, say so. Make sure you clue them in to the submittal and interviewing process. Educate them on double submittals. If you want them to call you after their interviews, let them know. If if you want them to have open and honest communication with you about everything (from availability, to rate, to other opportunities), let them know that, too. Recruiters are often surprised at the offer stage with candidates fess up at last minutes about other interviews they have, offers they've been extended, and last minute rate adjustments (ex: I want a lot more money $10 more an hour); sometimes this is unavoidable but often times, this is due to expectations not being set on the front end. As a result, the relationship deteriorates and the end result is not what you desired.

As a candidate, it is equally as important to let your recruiter know what you want and how you'd like to work. In addition to setting the expectation of how frequently you'd like to communicate, it is imperative to clearly define what you are looking for in terms of rate (and be honest about it!), duration of opportunity, commute, and the kind of opportunity itself. If you are targeting one type of technology or title, say so. If you plan to interview at a handful of places before you commit to one opportunity, let us know. If we send you on an interview and there is something that rubbed you the wrong way, clue is in to that, too. Rate is a big one. We like to get you as much money as we can (within reason, of course). If you were making $60.00 an hour W2 at your last position and would like to make at least that, fess up. We get it. Everyone wants to make money. The thing is, we can't help you get the rate you really want if you don't tell us upfront. Last minute surprises are never any fun, particularly when it entails us going back to the client to get more money when we could have addressed it in the beginning. Also, if you really prefer permanent positions, let us know that, too. It makes no sense for us to submit you to a three month contract assignment when you really want something long term. I know it is normal to want to please others, sometimes so badly to the point you overlook what is best for you, but recruiters are here to help. If there is something in particular you need or want or don't feel comfortable with, tell us. We appreciate that you want to make us happy but we want to make you happy, too. Honest communication is always the best way to go, even if it is momentarily uncomfortable. Makes sense, right? Thought so.

Regardless of the type of relationship, as long as expectations are set upfront, you have a higher chance of getting a favorable result (like not wasting your time with a "bad boyfriend"). Whether you are trying to lock that man down and get him to drop the "I love you" or lock down those candidates and get them to drop the "I will accept", it all boils down to detailing what you expect before you really begin your romance. If you do that and it still doesn't look like it is going to pan out, don't beat yourself up. Instead, cut them loose and move on, as daunting as that might seem at first. Because you know what? There is someone out that that will appreciate you for of cheesy pop music, clingy behavior, stalking tendencies, stay at mom ambitions and all. After all, just like MamaOrlandoTechNuts used to tell me, as soon as you ditch that bad boyfriend, you are one step closer to finding the keeper.

***For the record, I'd rather shoot myself in the face than be a stay at home mom (though no offense to those that are one) and while I do favor AC/DC, Zeppelin, and CCR, I will fess up to listening to Lady Gaga. And liking her. Thank you, Kevin, for not only being OK with that, but for loading up your Zune with endless Lady Gaga ditties for me. If that isn't love, I don't know what is <3***

Monday, April 5, 2010

Playing Hard to Get...Will Get You Nowhere

It has been a little while since I wrote a blog post dedicated to the stupid stuff candidates sweet, clueless candidates, this one is for you. ***raises tall Red-Eye from Starbucks in mock salute***

As girls, we are taught to play hard to get to get what you want (or at least men). I've never really paid attention to this rule...namely, because I'm naturally so awkward it wouldn't really matter what I did. The (less than favorable) end result was always the same. I was a late bloomer in the dating department and when most girls were out dating and playing the field, I was getting married (and subsequently divorced...I've always been an overachiever). I had no sisters to show me the ropes and the only thing my brothers managed to show me was their newest wrestling move, fart noise, and the occasional genital (they were under the impression that this was very cool and oh-so-funny). I didn't get much assistance in the friend department, either. I went to a performing arts school so all of the friends I did manage to make were just as weird as I was and try as I might, I was unable to emulate the cool girls and their coy way with the man folk. I was, in every sense of the word, completely and utterly clueless, and as a result, "playing hard to get" never registered with me. I didn't play. At all.

As I got older, got divorced, and got more comfortable with myself, I stopped really caring about my dating life. To me, my indifference was merely that: indifference. It wasn't a trick, it wasn't smoke and mirrors. I just didn't give a crap about meeting a guy and dating. I figured I had enough life experience with the opposite sex with my super successful marriage that it was probably good if I cooled my jets for a bit. To others, however, this "indifference" was somehow translated into "hard to get" and all of a sudden awkward, geeky, Megan was in demand (sort of..."in demand" is fairly relative. My phone rang. Once. Or twice. And then maybe a few wrong numbers...) So there was something to this entire "hard to get" thing....maybe?

Only in dating, people! Only in dating...and certainly not when it pertains to your job search! When it comes to your job search, my advice to you is to put it all out there and make yourself as accessible as possible. Sit and wait by your phone, give any potential suitor all of your sexy details, and do not give up...even if that means you have to wait in the bushes and employ some stalking techniques. (After all, a little stalking never hurt anyone...)

One thing I've been seeing a lot lately that has been driving me absolutely crazy is candidates that are actively on the market, often unemployed (for months, years...) and act like they do not give a damn. Now, I know a person's pride will make them do funny things, including act overly nonchalant so they do not appear overly eager (I get it, people), but when you don't have a job, it is time to push the pride aside a bit and focus on getting a new job...and in order to do that, you have to put yourself out there a bit.

But let us not get ahead of ourselves. Let's take this one step at a time.

Let's start with putting your freaking phone number on your resume.

Out of all of the bizarre, no-rhyme-or-reason, things candidates do, the one that confuses me the most is when they don't put a phone number on their resume. (This is closely followed by candidates not putting their name on their resume but I can understand this a bit more. Confidential resumes are sometimes necessary, especially if you are still employed.) People, listen to me: If you do not have your phone number on your resume, you are already starting out with one strike. This doesn't mean that I won't email you (please see paragraph about employing stalking techniques) but it immediately puts a bad taste in my mouth and makes me think that you are high maintenance. My job is stressful as it is...and when it comes to high maintenance, well, I wrote the book. The last thing I want to do is chase after someone I saw on Monster or Dice and spin my wheels. Simply put, if you do not list your phone number on your resume it gives the impression that you aren't all that serious about your job search and given the choice between working with a candidate that is serious and one that is on the fence, well, who do you think is going to get most of my attention?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Next on my "Are you freaking serious right now?" list are the resumes that do have phone numbers on them...just not working phone numbers. For the people that happened to move recently and changed their number, I'll let it slide (for now), though, seriously...get on it. Laziness is not sexy and it usually doesn't score people jobs...unless you want to work at the DMV. I hear they love the lazy. What really irks the crap out of me are the people (I imagine they think they are being cute) that list 123-456-7890 as their phone number. Really??? Seriously??? Seeing a great candidate's resume, picking up the phone to immediately call them, only to then realize you have a phony number sucks. It is almost as disappointing as scoring the number of some hot guy at a bar and then realizing it is the local rejection number later when you call to plan your future with him. (Not that this has happened to me but...) In all seriousness, at this point, nobody is going to email you. Once a recruiter realizes you are some smart-ass that lists a fake or nonworking phone number, more often than not, your resume is flagged and you are almost immediately put on some sort of "Do Not Use" list. So for the love of God, put your freaking phone number on your resume and let us do our jobs.

Now, in defense of the many job seekers I'm screaming at via my blog, I know what you are thinking. "God, OrlandoTechNuts is so sexy with her bluntness. Is she single?" (No, for the record, I'm not. And if you don't stop thinking that, Kevin will fight you.)

No, really, I bet you are thinking, "You make good points, Megan, but let's play devil's advocate. Recruiters are a huge pain in the ass. I get so many calls every single day, most of them do not know what they are talking about, a lot of them aren't even local...they might even be sitting in their basements in their underwear (hot??), and they suck at listening. Yes, I want to get a new job. I desperately want to get off the dole. But I desperately want to go five minutes without talking to some ditz recruiter so what is the harm it making it a little difficult for them to contact me?"

I know recruiters are annoying. I get it. Hell, I even annoy myself half of the time, but truth be told, when it comes to job searches, we are a necessary evil, and more often than not, we are just trying to help. (Really.) So please, I know your mama (and Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura...Patti Stanger) preach the powers of playing hard to get...and when it comes to attracting a mate, they are probably on to something. Desperate isn't sexy. But you know what, when it comes to your job search, being desperate is SO hot right now and playing hard to get...Will get you NOWHERE.

So, kindly, put your phone number (the right one, you sly fox) back on your resume so we can all go back to work. Thankyouverymuch.