8/25/12

For Recruiters : How to Use LinkedIn for Free to Get Good Candidates

On my current position as HR Business Partner in a large multinational IT company I have been several times responsible with the recruitment of specialized candidates. Shortly after I was hired they asked me to find a few Linux guys that also spoke English plus French/Italian. Trust me this is not that easy to find.

After posting the ads several times on the best paid job portals and waiting for the candidates to apply I have realized that they weren't going to come to us that easily. I have realized that good IT guys are also a bit weird (please forgive me, guys, but like all geniuses, IT ones are out of the ordinary too) and are not actually open to new positions once they are engaged in a project unless you go to them and convince them that what you can offer is better.

I was desperate for CVs and at that moment I have discovered the magic of LinkedIn. I had very low knowledge of Linux, but I managed to find my good candidates. How can you do it and more than that - for free? LinkedIn offers great possibilities for job posting and searching, but as all large and famous portals, they cost a LOT. So, how can you do it for free?

First of all, register with LinkedIn. Fill in your profile as accurate as you can. A sloppy profile will always be rejected by groups and partners. Be professional and spend the necessary amount of time to fill in your information. It will be worth your time, trust me.

After you have created your profile (don't forget your picture to build your trust) search for groups. I have searched during my recruitment projects for keywords like "Linux", "SAP", "French speakers" or "Francais" for groups in French, or for various groups where IT recruiters met and posted ads. When you have a group you are interested in, apply to become member unless it is an open group where you can post ads and comments without joining. Don't give up if some groups don't accept you. Headhunters may be considered spammers sometimes and some groups focused on technical issues only may not want you.

When you get accepted - and I got accepted in most groups I applied for - post a job ad in the Jobs section or in the Discussions section if you ask for advice or are looking for connections or more than just CVs. All the jobs and discussions are sent periodically (daily or weekly) to all the members of the group on their email (unless they have unsubscribed from group news). The more groups you join, the better chances you have to reach a larger audience. Also select the most active groups or those with more members - LinkedIn offers you this information when you search for groups.

I am allowed to be member of maximum 50 groups, but that's OK as you can step out of a group and join another or rejoin the first one again anytime.

Good luck with the recruitment of difficult positions and please remember you can come back to me with questions anytime.

Kind Regards,
Geo

8/11/12

Career Change at 30+?

Have you ever been in a point in your life where you felt like saying "Enough! I need a huge change!" ? I have...a few months ago...I will mention the resolution towards the end but until then, the story...

I am HR Business Partner for a multinational company in the IT field. Lots of work, crazy deadlines, pressure, tens of people to work with every day, 10 years in the field, tons of paperwork, legal requirements to fulfill and be very careful about (otherwise huge fines for the company), awful reporting, annoying meetings after hours with partners on a different time zone, 14 interviews/day sometimes when needed, fussy top management with crazy requirements that pressure you but  which you can't discuss with others, days when you need to smile to everybody even if you feel like grabbing a gun...

I am also Computer Science graduate still passionate about IT, databases and web design. Two separate fields, IT being the one where I run for cover during my bad HR times. I leave the office to drown myself in web design and online marketing to forget about everything. Until one day when I decided I had enough of HR and looked towards Software testing. I decided I wanted to start fresh and I had the courage and the power to do it.

I started reading all I could find about software testing: Agile, black box, white box, software development life cycle, I grabbed my old SQL books, I searched for tests, for all the online courses I could find, I even ended up with a few diplomas and then I decided I was ready to apply to a new job - a Junior Tester job which required only general testing knowledge and a degree in IT - I had both. I went there for a test, I passed it, they invited me for an interview, they asked me all they could think of and I replied to most of the questions.I refused to lie and change my CV with my current career path hoping that my knowledge and motivation would convince them. Unfortunately no - my 9 years in HR proved them that I am not the suitable candidate. Was knowledge enough? NO. Was the degree enough? NO. Was motivation and determination enough? NO. My past haunted me and got me rejected. I was obviously overqualified and they didn't need me in their team. I was hard to shape on such a different position.

So, is a career change possible at 30+ ? Yes, but awfully hard. And the later, the more difficult. And if you have a clear previous career path and you occupy a top/middle management current position, forget about it.

How can you increase your chances to have a career change at 30+?

- Start your own business. Nobody will tell you at the interview that you are overqualified for the job; this is the best option;
- Go for a specialist position on your new chosen path rather than for a junior one; of course, register for trainings before and be prepared;
- Get prepared - do as many trainings as you can and gain some experience - as much as you can;
- Prepare a CV according to the position you apply for - mention all your old jobs, never lie or conceal information, but don't offer too many details and focus on the items that recommend you for the new position;
- Get some recommendations in the new chosen field (a trainer, a teacher, a colleague working in the field) and place the contact details in your CV; 
- Not having a job at the moment of the application helps but it's silly to quit a safe job for a possibility;
- Be confident and determined and if you really want the change, don't give up.

And now, the resolution I promised earlier - I am still in HR with a new member in my team taking some of my tasks and realizing that I actually like my job and don't need a career change. The others rejected me for being overqualified. But this is my story. As for you, do more of what makes you happy and never give up.

Regards,
Geo