Four Hidden Reasons You Weren't Hired

Hiring is hard.  The manager is forced to make a decision based on shallow screening of how another person will perform, hoping that attitude, the ability to answer questions, or past experience will translate into an employee who can do what they need. It's an imperfect process - some more imperfect than others - but it's always a gamble. 

"Inside the Mind of a Hiring Manager" is a fun topic to explore, but it too quickly devolves into strategies on how to influence the interviewer. Candidates just want to know how to get the job - they're not concerned with the why. Well they're not concerned until they get that email, or call, or the dreaded silence. Everyone can relate to the interview you thought you aced that went nowhere. You're left wondering how did I screw that up? 

It might not be you at all. Here are four reasons that people don't get hired. 

Reason The First: You're Too Awesome
That's not a typo. Do you know the old saying that A players hire A players and B players hire C players? It can be true. When interviewing, some managers are afraid of you. You either possess skills in abundance of theirs, or your ambition was clear and they're afraid for their jobs. This fear is not always baseless. You might be better then they are. You might be better than their current staff. Hiring you would bring enormous discord to their team - because it would shake them up - and here's the kicker. It might not be best for the team. Chemistry is a tough thing. Superstars disrupt chemistry and take resources away from marginal players. That's great when you're looking for earth shattering sales records. It's not so great when you're trying to maintain a legacy accounting system with 20 year old code. 

Reason Number 2: The Process Is The Punishment
Some managers want a difficult hiring process because they want to feel that you as a candidate earned that position. These can be great managers, but they often have hidden interview tricks that filter candidates arbitrarily. It's not fair, or smart, but it is very common. When a manager has "one great question," it usually is backed up with "that no one has ever answered correctly." 

Reason The Third: They Don't Need To Hire
When preparing candidates, I try to break down the interview into its basic elements. The most basic is that the manager has a problem they want to solve, and it's your job as the candidate to 1) Identify the problem, and 2) Create a mental picture of you working with the manager to solve it. If a manager can picture you making that problem go away, you tend to get hired. This frame of reference helps you understand that interviews aren't about answering questions correctly. They're about connecting with a manager and suggesting that work will be easier if they bring you on board. 

This works very well to ease pre-interview anxiety, but it fails when the manager doesn't have a problem that really hurts. 

Look, when you're on fire, you want someone with a fire hose. When you're slightly thirsty, you could use a glass of water, but you don't have to have a glass of water. You can get one later. This is the dreaded, "Perfection Interview." If a manager is willing to hire, but only if the person walks on water, the feedback is that it's not your interview style. The manager just has different priorities. 

Reason Number 4: Fear Of Success Is Real
Candidates don't realize that when a manager makes an offer, there is a moment of fear that it will be accepted. An employee taking a job brings change, and sometimes that change is terrifying. Let's say you're a VP of Sales for a software firm and your CEO has made it clear that you're responsible for $10MM in revenue in the next year. You have 8 salespeople each bringing in $1MM, and you have two open positions. If you hire both of those positions, you have no excuse if you don't hit $10MM. If you don't hire, you still have the chance to hit your mark, because your current people may perform above expectations. If you hire - you lose the excuse "HR couldn't provide me with quality candidates." Yes, that happens. Many of us were trained to say that. It's an easy deflection that buys you time. 


Fear of success goes much further than simply hitting your numbers. We know that rapid growth is exciting, but it can be terrifying as well. If you've a competent manager, but you know that you're slated for a Director position, you may not want it. A substantial pay raise may come with more pressure than you can handle. You may already be at your limits of work/life balance. Or you may not want the pay raise because you already make more than your neighbors, and even more money will necessitate a move to a new neighborhood and a break with your friends. Hiring great people is how you move up. But what if you don't want to move up?

That sounds crazy to people starting their careers, and to super-achievers. Talk to a couple hundred managers and you'll see its more prevalent than you think. Hiring poorly puts your job at risk. But hiring well brings its own set of problems.

These Managers Should Be Fired!
The title of this piece is Hidden Reasons. Some people are going to tear into these reasons as examples of bad management. They may be right. But jobseekers can't afford to traffic in "should." There's a lot of things that should happen, but as my grandmother used to say, "Should always means someone didn't get their way." 

If someone isn't going to hire, you need to know before you take that vacation day to interview. And you have to understand that managers are still people. They may not know their motivations. They may have different priorities. And the funniest part, is that sometimes the filters in place, as dumb as they are, work. Or at least, they work well enough. 

To end on a positive note: If you didn't get the job after a great interview, don't sweat it. The answer as to why might actually be, "It's not you, it's me."


Open Searches And Candidates For Social Media and Digital, September 2015

Dallas: VP Client Relationship for an agency. 

Dallas: Account Manager Digital/Email (agency)

New York: Director, Social Media Display (agency)

Dallas: Director Digital Marketing (SEM, SEO, email, social)

New Jersey: Client has need for National Sales Director in Wine and Spirits Category. 

New Jersey: Also need an operations manager for above. 

If you see me peeking, or calling, this is likely what I'm calling about. 

 

On the candidate side: 

1) A Senior Security Architect (confidential) (Dallas)

2) B2B Sr Manager, Digital Marketing (Dallas)

3) Digital/Social Sr Manager, Retail, Hospitality, Restaurant (Dallas)

4) Sr Digital Marketing Director ready to be a VP (West Coast)

 

And of course about 25 Managers and Directors in Social Media willing to consider options, but not in a hurry to move (West Coast, Midwest, Atlantic, Southeast)


Welcome To The Rise Or Fall Economy

Anyone a little nervous about the stock market? Reading alternative economic blogs to find out if you should invest in municipal bonds or mattresses? 

It's a bewildering time, and the normal tea leaves don't apply. In the midst of the best job market in 15 years, we still have massive numbers of people not working and even more people who can't find jobs better than the ones they hold. Recruiters are overworked with unrealistic requirements, but the amount of direct hire work and the actual fees are through the roof. What does it mean?

It means we're in a time of disruption, and the old ways of doing business are falling apart. New models and new strategies are needed, but the risks of doing business often run smack into our expectations and experience. Let me explain. 

1) A Staffing Company I spoke to this month is experiencing a banner year. They've doubled their revenues in the last six months, and they've done it without hiring new people. Their secret: Technology.

2) An Executive Search Firm I know is awash in orders. They've stopped taking retainers, and the managers and salespeople are working feverishly to place what is in front of them. The recruiters are doing quite well, as they have plenty to work on, but the personal relationships of the salespeople are taking hits because they cannot deliver. 

3) A Staffing Company I know is trying to sell. Their revenue has been flat for over a year. They're maintaining with their regular staff, but they haven't hired anyone who has worked out in three years. The owner lives in fear of their major client shunting off contractors 

4) An account manager I know got 27 requirements. The company wants one supplier. The account manager said yes, and did a valiant job, but got only four placements before the company added more recruiters. 

5) A competitor signed a single source agreement with a client. The client wanted full outsourcing of the staffing and recruitment marketing piece. The competitor is charging retainer fees that are separate from the staffing requirements. 

6) A small search firm billed $1MM last year. They want to hire, but they don't have time to train, and everyone worth having is already having a good year. 

7) A small search firm is going through the roller coaster effect.  $100k in fees one month, zero for the next two. They can get good job orders, but when working on the orders, their pipeline dries up. 

8) Talented internal recruiters moved to new companies in June with hefty raises and a better hiring process. 

9) A company that hired over 550 people last year let go of two senior recruiters and replaced then with entry level recruiters 3 months later. They were acquired 3 months later. 

Each of these scenarios is true, and they span different industries. What is happening? Adaptation. Recruiters internal and external are either adapting to the new market and improving the speed of their work, or they are caught in the whirlwind and dumped at the wrong time. This market isn't for the complacent. You're either winning or losing, rising or falling.

This affects recruiters because we're judged on performance, but to the general market it looks like a lot of noise. Job postings, employment announcements, and interviewing is happening all over, but it's easy to spot the winners, who aren't stuck working on the same jobs day in and day out. 

Here's how to cope:
1) Prepare a cash cushion of at least three months of expenses and never touch it. The better you do, the more you add to it: 
2) Always be looking, but never too hard: Be open to good situations, and be assured that if one good opportunity comes along, others will too. Cultivate this mindset. 
3) Be prepared to fire bad managers and bad clients: There is too much good going on to deal with abusive clients, clueless managers, or companies who don't seem interested in hiring. It is their job to hire. It's your job to make introductions. The more you focus on bad clients, the less time you have to service good clients. 
4) Have some empathy: Use those famous recruiting skills to truly understand what a manager is going through. You don't ditch good people if you can help them. You ditch hopeless situations for hopeful ones. 
5) Always leave everyone with a smile: Keep in mind the job market is cyclical. Your mortal enemy today might be your savior 5 years from now. Don't get mad. Get efficient.

The secret of success is cultivating a feeling of abundance. For trained recruiters, this truly is that time. Take advantage of it. 


Social Media Writer: Addison

A client of mine is looking for a writer who can utilize several voices in responding to fans and customers over social media. This is a permanent position on site. 

You'll have a total of 14 profiles to respond to on Facebook and Twitter, and the occasional blogpost. You'll be meeting with and learning about the company, the profiles, and will need to be good at working with senior executives. 

It's not an executive assistant role. It's a writing role, but you're managing the profiles and pushing the buttons. Occasionally you travel (1-2 times a quarter). Mostly, you're maintaining social profiles to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

Requirements:

Writing samples. Short form. Lots of them - which is an online account. This is a serious job, so it's posting 3 tweets a day. It's writing. A lot. For multiple profiles. You have to have written for at least one person before professionally. 

Don't have a big social media presence. This kind of writing burns you out. You can't do this and maintain your super awesome 20K instagram account. And you can't make that transition. You'll need to have written for someone else in the recent past on a regular basis. 

It helps if you're smart. 

It also helps if you're ambitious. The last two people with this role both got promoted, one into project management and one into data analytics. 

Please Don't Apply If:

You didn't read the job description. You haven't written for money before. You haven't written to deadline. You're a journalist who wants to make the transition but can't let go of the fact that you're not a reporter anymore. You think social is easy, and you'll pick it up. You're a social media consultant but all you really do is set up profiles. You're way overqualified for a job writing on Facebook and Twitter. This offends you. You want flexible hours. You want to work remotely. You're in another country and don't understand why I can't make my client work with you remotely. You're Hugh Jackman.

 


Content Editor: SiteCore Experience: Dallas

I'm looking for two roles actually - an intermediate community manager (full-time) who can write like the wind, and a content management editor (contract, 3-6 months) who can you know, edit and publish content management. 

Community Manager Description:

-Day to day community management and content creation on a variety of platforms.
        Perk: You'll learn how to do international development of platforms.  
-Platforms:
    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn...
-Daily contact with customers: (customer service, not just marketing)
-Regular metrics reporting

 

Requirements:

  • Amazing writing. Not long form - social writing. I know if when I see it. 
  • Experience with direct sales (consumer to consumer or personal marketing)
  • Bachelor's Degree in something related. 

Environment: Tough. Fast-paced. Do you know what that means? You'll write a lot, and be edited, and take a little while to catch your voice. But you'll learn a lot. 

This is a job for a writer, but one who truly enjoys social. The jobs are onsite in Addison. 

To Apply to the Community Manager: Send me two blogposts of less then 500 words, and your resume. 

To Apply to the Content Editor, just show you've done it before and send me sites you've worked on. 


Summer Hiring Season Is Over. Ready For September?

Best year in 15 years for hiring across the board, and as anecdotally reported by recruiters, permanent hires are through the roof, even in the month of June. That should tell industry veterans something. 

Normally, summer months are slower, because so many people are scheduled with vacations and early days off that interviews just take longer. It's also a weirder time, because companies who are hiring feel more pressure to get it done so they can head to the lake. That's certainly been the case this year. But like the winter holidays, those who work hardest in June reap the benefits of July hiring before August falls off the cliff. 

It's just hot in August, and it's a bad month to start for the kinds of jobs I work on. It is great prep time, as hiring in September is pretty much the last viable month if you want production out of someone in 2015. 

That's not just me yapping. An awesome digital salesperson in North Carolina told me to get on the phone and make his hire happen now, because if he started in September, with a month of training, his output for the year would be scraps, versus if he started now, he got the last great month in the year to grab his share of budget. 

In Retail Marketing, it's even more important. You can't hire a digital marketing in the 4th quarter, because they and you are so busy, getting together is nightmarish. 
 
It's July 17th. If your digital manager left this Spring after their bonus, and you've been searching since then, now is the time to call your recruiter or ramp up your sourcing efforts. September hiring starts day. You have 45 days to get it right. 


Website Designer/Social Designer: Perm Position in Parsippany, NJ

A client of mine in the wine and spirits business needs a designer to work on four websites, as well as graphics and product for a social media manager. 


The position is in Parsippany, NJ - it's not the hardest job in the world, but it's with a company that is trying to do some cool things in the liquor industry. This will be a national brand without a doubt, and you get to be the onsite designer. 

Requirements:

-Modern design portfolio, including mobile, tablets, and multiple browsers

-Adobe Cloud suite

-Fair to intermediate design skills. You don't need to be the visionary, but you do need to be able to make it look better than my father-in-law on Microsoft Paint. 

-Experience with Wordpress. We're interested in transforming a blog on functional spirits into a more robust format

-Experience with social media graphics, infographics, and well, anything graphic. If you can do basic video editing, that's even better. 

Description:

The position works with a social media manager in a suburban office of a larger firm. Hours are flexible, but that means you also have to be flexible when there's a need. The CEO travels a lot, and sometimes meetings aren't 9-to-5. 

You're building two sites, editing and third, and will soon create a fourth. You'll also create graphics and manage ID standards for the Social Media Manager. Creativity and input are important as well. Heck, we'll even take some writing ability if you have it (ad copy or longform). 


Most important, you're part of something big. A national brand that will have national exposure, which means more brands, more products, and you're at the start of it. 

Contact SocialMediaHeadhunter @ gmail.com if you're interested with a portfolio. Position starts within the month. 


Blogger, Social Media PR, Consumer Products, New Jersey (updated)

This is a full-time, onsite position in Parsippany, NJ. 

A client of mine in New Jersey is on a quest to remake the liquor industry, and they need a smart blogger/social PR marketer to lay the groundwork for their PR and Branding campaign.

What I really need is someone smart, curious, a good writer, a good researcher, and at least willing to learn how to push product. You must have a dream of branding a product nationally. And you have to live or commute to Parsippany every day. Your hours are flexible, but you're always on call. No 9-to-5'ers. So if you get a call on Sunday to come in or work on something - the answer is yes. If you decide you don't want to come into the office until 12, that's fine too. As long as the work is done, you're good to go.

Position

The client is a new spirits company that sells primarily through retail wine and spirits stores, which means that your primary job will be branding and content creation. If you have experience pushing product, that would be great, but I'm more concerned with your ability to write to deadline, take direction, and actually be invested in what you do. This isn't just pushing something out through Facebook - it's communicating with audience that will be very interested in the claims you'll make. So while you're at it, being smart would be nice.

 

Work Environment:

Onsite each day, writing and reading and posting and designing and tracking - you'll have a high visibility position, but you'll also be the first hire, working in the office of a global conglomerate. It's not suit and tie, but it's not shorts and flip flops either.

Personal Qualities:

Chemistry with CEO. Office partner, not a desktop drone.

Experience in the consumer products industry (spirits is best)

Experience working remotely with marketing, pr, and technology

Fast thinker

Note taker

Detailed and organized.

Social media tinkerer

Digital native

 

Description:

Work in tandem with me (My company Brandstorming will be handling the branding and messaging), the PR firm, the CEO, and the lawyers. Develop and maintain a comprehensive social media strategy that defines how social media techniques will be applied to increase visibility and traffic across all platforms.

Define key performance indicators and implement enterprise level measurement, analytics, and reporting methods to gauge success

Explore and identify ways to integrate social media into business strategies and marketing campaigns. Specifically - can you integrate with street teams and event marketers.

Work with body hacking blogs and forums to generate awareness.

Requirements:

Demonstrated experience and a passion for the social technology universe (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, blogs, wikis, RSS, social bookmarking, discussion forums, etc…)

Experience with online monitoring and social listening platforms 

Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Ability to work independently and as a member of a team

Ability to work effectively under deadlines and juggle several assignments simultaneously.


Stop Writing Amazing Job Descriptions

There are currently 1,260 jobs in Dallas with the word "amazing" in them. That's disgraceful. 

To drive the point home - check out the number one job - a sponsored one on Indeed. Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 7.27.42 PM
That's right. You have an amazing opportunity to be a dishwasher for the Cheesecake Factory. Really? Look., I'm not tearing down that company or hard work - I'm saying lazy recruiters with no business writing job descriptions need to stop lying. You're not selling when you write that a job is amazing. You're not fooling anyone when you add exclamation points to every text about a job interview. Fake positivity is fundamentally dishonest, and it cheapens everything else you do. 

So cut the crap. Learn to be honest and write honestly. Talk about steady work, opportunity for advancement, well-run workplaces, and leave the amazing descriptions for the circus. 


Job Posting: Need A Curious Social/ Digital Manager In Dallas

A social commerce company in Dallas is looking for a social media manager to step in and deliver content, data, and some life into the social media accounts of the company. This is a junior to mid-level position at the tactical level built for someone to grow, and you’ll be working with/ learning from directors and executives with big brand and digital startup experience.

What we’re looking for is a team player who understands branding, style guides, working with digital natives, PR, social strategy, the limits of technology, and the importance of mobile. We’re looking for someone who understands social is a team sport that includes working with marketing managers, merchants, the advertising agency, PR firms, executives and the customer happiness team, which is a long-winded way of saying that we’re not special snowflakes writing amazing Facebook posts, but rather a part of an integrated team.

Why You Want This Job

Social commerce is hot, and it's about time you learned from someone who actually wants to see you improve. You report directly to the CMO, who is looking for fast-movers, but needs you to learn digital marketing correctly first. 

The Actual Job Duties

Channel Manager - Social Media

That’s the role. Each channel has their own use and strengths. Email covers the database andpush marketing, Advertising handles display and SEM and. PR drives interest to the platform, Merchants curate, while Customer Happiness works with current customers to test their satisfaction, answer questions, and drive relevant information back to the marketing and product teams.

The Social Media Role is the day to day outbound marketing, as well as serving as a brand voice in retail, design, ecommerce, and digital circles. You’ll be listening and reporting too, so need to have an analytic side. You’ll work with a savvy PR firm to provide ideas and support on their publicity efforts, especially with bloggers. Your posts  and content on social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest) will  correlate to the needs of the acquisition and conversion campaigns

That means you need to be able to push the buttons to make the machine work, with a change to come up with great messaging or branding creativity that complements the core values and selling proposition. You’ll need to follow the style guide, and work to integrate the social voice into the editorial calendar, which by the way you’ll be managing.

You’ll need to understand the metrics behind what you do. You’ll have a small social promotion budget, and eventually, you might take over the social display budget, but in the beginning, that will be handled out of Advertising with strong input from you.

You need to be able to write. To learn. To speak up, when you’ve done the research to contribute. Exposure to the marketing planning process is greatly desired, but if you don’t have it, we’ll teach you. That’s one of the great benefits. In a startup, you’re going to learn very fast, so if you’re currently stuck doing just one thing, without a view of what it’s important, this may be for you

Here are some bullet points:

  1. -Digital Native

  2. - 2-4 years of experience, or maybe more, but not one year four times.
    - Social Media experience outside of personal accounts or small business.

  3. - You have to be able to define AB Testing the first time I call you after you read this. Just google it if you don’t know.

  4. -Experience with Facebook Ads is good, especially data, Power Editor and audiences.

  5. SEM/SEO experience is nice, as is mobile design. Everyone digital needs a little of this these days.

  6. A BA or BS degree is a minimum requirement


Personality
Are you interesting? Are you interested? What are your passions? Do you learn quickly? What makes you say that? Are you interested in marketing? And social media? Why would you say that? Can you tell me what that means? Give an example?

We look for people who have a curiosity in life, and will take that spark anyday over someone who does one thing well.