Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Interviewing Strategy - Knowledge Is Power

A frequently asked question during an employment interview. Savvy candidates have done their homework by sleuthing the internet for company histories and annual reports or have used search engines such as Google to find out details about organizations and organizational structures.

Having worked in the Human Resources and recruiting field for close to 25 years, I have observed significantly different levels of sophistication in the "interview process" of a number of different organizations both as a potential candidate and a recruiting professional and HR business partner. I've seen structured processes where hiring entities ask highly relevant, job related behavioral and competency based questions followed by a variety of psychometric tests. I have also encountered organizations with hiring entities that ask very broad based questions ("tell me about yourself") and had discussions that seemed very unstructured.

Consider the following:

"Because job applicants are becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is not unusual for a company to inadvertently hire an individual who makes the best impression, rather than the person who is best suited for the position."
--Users Guide, Caliper

"Most people hire people they like, rather than the most competent person. Research shows that most decision-makers make their hiring decisions in the first five minutes of an interview and spend the rest of the interview rationalizing their choice."
-- Orv Owens, psychologist, in the New York Times

As a candidate, is there anything you can do to either leverage an interviewer's cognitive bias in your favor, find a connection or position yourself to be a person that they "like?" Perhaps another important question for candidates to know the answer to is "What do you know about the person interviewing you?"

Knowledge of a hiring entity's background, interests, involvement or passions could be leveraged in an interviewing situation and could quite possibly make a difference in the outcome of an interview.

Candidates scheduled for on site interviews by a recruiter should inquire "who will I possibly be interviewing with?" Those names can be researched through internet tools such as Linkedin or Zoominfo. Most search engines fail when it comes to people search. Since most personal profiles, public records and other people-related documents are stored in databases and not on static web pages, most of the higher-quality information about people is simply "invisible" to a regular search engine. You can search what is referred to as the "deep web" with Pipl.

In any case, savvy candidates are the most prepared candidates and they know that "knowledge is power." Not only will they leverage internet tools for more information, they will use the acquired knowledge in the interview, or take it a step further and perform a reference check on the people who will be interviewing them that could potentially become their new boss.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Chicago VP HR Market Heats Up

Recently, I had the pleasure of having a conversation regarding the Chicago Human Resources job market with Paul Schneider, partner with SSP, an outplacement and executive coaching firm with offices in Oakbrook Terrace, Chicago, Deerfield, Racine, WI and St. Louis, MO. Long recognized as an HR networking icon and HR market authority in Chicago, Paul seems to know where senior leadership is on the "Chicago HR Chess Board" at any given moment and what moves are about to take place. Consequently, our conversation focused on what the Chicago market looked like at the Vice President, Human Resources level.

Since 2002, Paul has compiled market data which he regularly shares in his newsletter,SSP Perspective.
Acccording to Paul,

"The Senior VP HR Market looks strong - It's up over 40% compared to this time last year - These VP openings are the bell weather of how the economy is growing."

The data indicates that there are 21 openings in Q1 2007 as opposed to just 15 at this time a year ago. This undoubtably will have a trickle down effect for positions reporting into the VP level. Good news indeed for those seeking senior level HR opportunities and networking in the Chicago market.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

SHEIFGAB! - Motivationaly Speaking

I've had the great fortune of seeing Conor Cunneen, C.A.S.H. - Consultant, Author, Speaker, Humorist make presentations on several different occasions. His presentations are high value offerings of both humor and substance.

A favorite of mine is one in which Conor crafts a wonderfully inspirational and humorous presentation called "SHEIFGAB The World". (video clip)

"SHEIFGAB"? Conor's pleasant Irish brogue and quick wit may lead you to assume that the term "SHEIFGAB" has some mystical Gaelic meaning but he is fast to point out that it is a memorable acronym he created to help explain eight powerful building blocks designed to get and keep a person motivated during their career transition.

The Eight Powerful Building Block developed by Conor are:

S - Structure (your life)
H - Help (others)
E - Environment (change it)
I - Improve (yourself)
F - Family (communicate with)
G - Goals (set and achieve)
A - Attitude (determines your success)
B - Boss (Bruce Springsteen anecdote)

Conor will be presenting "SHEIFGAB The World" on

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Immanuel Lutheran Church
200 N. Plum Grove Road
Palatine, IL. (map)

Program -
9:00am - 10:30am
Informal Networking -
10:30am - Noon

Conor's presentation is made possible through St. Hubert Job Ministry (contact Bob Podgorski for any event questions at 847-925-6005).

Don't miss this one.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Job Search Hack - Client Is Confidential?

Several months ago I was contacted by a search firm that was conducting a "confidential" search for a client of theirs in Chicago. This happened late in the day on a Friday. The search firm indicated that they came across my name through the course of business networking. We had a brief telephone conversation and during the course of the discussion the search associate told me that they were not at liberty to reveal the name of their client. I asked them to send me the position specification so I could take a closer look and further evaluate the opportunity.

The specification came via email as promised, with an added bonus, the identity of the client company. Huh?? - By using the file>properties option on the Microsoft Word attachment, I could clearly see the name of the client they were working for. It seems that many administrative assistants who take formalized training in Microsoft Office Suite are instructed to complete these fields. Amazing yet simple.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Job Search Hack - Blind Posting?

I've seen this happen countless times. A job posting is placed on a site favored by recruiters such as Craigslist, Jobkabob or The Ladders. The recruiter describes the client but decides not to reveal the client name. This is a blind posting. Or is it? Well it just might not be.

Copy and paste is one of the first editing techniques people learn when working with text on computers. The process saves time, but in the recruiting world, particularly in the realm of contingency recruiting, the time saved may not be worth it.

Recruiters who want to maintain client anonymity should avoid using client fed job descriptions verbatim. Rewriting the position posting to avoid the use of unique verbiage or descriptors can help. Alas some recruiters prefer to copy and paste and fail to do this, not realizing the client may have previously posted the position elsewhere on a less effective medium or one that is less focused on the target market.

Savvy job searchers are leveraging the power of vertical job search engines as a method to expose blind ads. It does not work all of the time but sometimes it does. It is a simple three step process that involves:

1. Finding the blind position and (here is the irony) copying unique verbiage. In this case "appropriate mix of compensation vehicles".

2. Choosing your favorite vertical search engine and (more irony) pasting unique verbiage "appropriate mix of compensation vehicles" into "What": then clicking the gray Find Jobs button.

3. Reviewing the results and following the links to see detail and possibly who the company is. In this case, the company is Nicor, Inc. Note that "appropriate mix of compensation vehicles" is highlighted below.

As a reference, here is a listing (in no particular order) of some of the more popular vertical job search engines in the United States -,, Jobster,

Monday, March 26, 2007

Inaugural Post - Chicagoland HR Transition Group

The inaugural post for this blog profiles The Chicagoland HR Transition Group, a networking group that has helped countless HR professionals in the Chicago metropolitan area in transition. The networking group is a virtual community. Membership is restricted to HR professionals in transition, group alumni and HR professionals wishing to network.

Currently the group, a Yahoo! Group, is comprised of 320 professionals seeking opportunities in the metropolitan Chicago and suburban areas.
The group was formed upon the merger of two Chicago area HR networking groups (Northwest HR Group and JobNetworkILHR). Members contribute to the success of the group and support one another by actively sharing leads and providing feedback to information requests. This is accomplished by posting information to the Yahoo Group as well as by sharing information in face to face group meetings which occur weekly.

Information shared includes job leads and positions not typically posted elsewhere, networking advice, meeting notices, landing reports, requests for contacts at specific companies and other helpful job search information. The Chicagoland HR Transition Group alternates meetings between downtown Chicago at Scherer, Schneider, Paulick and suburban Rolling Meadows at Arlington Resources Inc.