Through my participation in linkedin.com during my amazing transition and discovery period, I’ve gotten to know some extremely interesting people. One of those people is Shally Steckerl (www.jobmachine.net/shally), a leading innovator in use of data mining and reverse viral marketing techniques for recruiting purposes.
Alright David, just why the heck are you interviewing a recruiting guy on your Marketing Innovation and Customer Listening blog? Well, many of the techniques he and his peers are using are strikingly similar to search engine and viral marketing so they are important to learn about. It’s one degree away but there is innovation happening on both sides and we should all be constantly learning from different perspectives. As you know, I love and embrace learning, innovation and process refinement, it’s what makes businesses with healthy cultures interesting!
David Dalka: What are you up to these days, Shally?
Shally Steckerl: I manage the central research team for Microsoft under a newly formed group called S.T.A.R.T. (Strategic Talent Acquisition and Research Team) led by long time Microsoft Staffing visionary Bridgett Paradise. We focus on candidate lead generation and Recruiting CI. I’m fortunate to lead a team comprising some of the most advanced and creative minds in the industry. I’m still maintaining jobmachine.net, blogging, and participating in many online communities and forums revolving around the Recruiting and Internet Research industry.
Shally Steckerl: I’ve been fortunate to be invited to address my peers at conferences like SHRM EMA, ERE, Kennedy and Onrec on topics I’m passionate about like Internet Research and building a recruitment network.
David Dalka: You recently had a seminar about using linkedin.com for recruiting…
Shally Steckerl: I was invited to address 1,500 participants interested in learning more about what LinkedIn has to offer recruiters and how they can best utilize it as a candidate generation resource. I had a great time giving everyone a tour of how I use the website day to day and showcasing some of my “recommended practices.”
David Dalka: What are some of your other favorite resources to target candidates?
Shally Steckerl: I depend heavily on the Internet as a database so I frequently use many of the top search engines like MSN Search, Yahoo, Google, Ask, Exalead, IceRocket and Gigablast to name a few. I also scan many blogs and read search engine results from several RSS feeders. Finally, I make the most out of dozens of online databases. All told there are about 280 places I go looking for leads at any particular point in time though this number grows constantly.
David Dalka: For the previous items, are there differences in techniques when looking for non-technical candidates and if so what?
Shally Steckerl: Some sources are better for identifying candidates for a particular industry. Each of the 280 methods I mentioned has a range of industries. Some types of candidates have a more pronounced Internet footprint than others. I wouldn’t, for example, go looking for Auditors in discussion groups, or Research Engineers in annual reports. Non-technical candidates appear in diverse sources. Just like technical candidate some can be found with simple keyword searches on search engines while others are more easily found in deeper information sources like databases or archives.
David Dalka: Is decreasing the cycle time for hiring clearly competitive advantage?
Shally Steckerl: The clearest competitive advantage is being first in reaching top talent that has not yet considered other opportunities. First we must identify where that talent is, but then we also must quick reach them before our competitors find then. Having the first chance to offer a top candidate new opportunities is much more advantageous than being very fast at reacting to the same candidates that have applied at every competitor.
David Dalka: While I often see you speak on the topic of finding candidates from the recruiters’ perspective, let’s reverse engineer that. What are the best ways for a great candidate to become more visible to the recruiting community both on and off of the web?
Shally Steckerl: I think that candidates need to do the same thing recruiters should do, and that is go directly to the source. A good recruiter knows where the top talent is and goes straight there to get them. A good candidate should know where the best employers are and go straight at them. Make connections and find ways to reach your target audience. Identify your top ten employers of choice and define what roles you see yourself doing there, then do everything you can to meet everyone who could ever have anything to do with those roles. Get as close to the decision maker as you can then make a surgical and decisive move to influence them to create the role you want for yourself. The best jobs are “made to order” not “filled to order.”
David Dalka: What are the most common mistakes candidates make during the interview process?
Shally Steckerl: Quite a bit has been written about this by many recruiters with far more experience than I but I will take a stab at it. In my opinion, the worst mistake is interviewing for the wrong job. If the job doesn’t suit you right from the beginning you are probably not going to get it and even if you do you won’t be happy doing it. I think the second mistake is not visualizing your self in that role. I mean really seeing yourself doing that job day in and day out and being extremely confident that this job will have you leaping out of bed in the morning. To be able to do that you need to prepare well and get to know the role and the company before the interview. However, knowing is only part of it. Feeling it is the other part. The third and final fatal mistake I’ll offer is not asking for the job. That’s right. Many people walk away from an interview never having explicitly conveyed their interest in the position. This leaves hiring managers wondering if the candidate really wants the job. There should be no doubt at all that you are interested and willing to do what it takes to get the job but also get the job done once you get it.
David Dalka: What are some things candidates do best to make themselves stand out during the interview process?
Shally Steckerl: Ask for the job. Ask prepared questions about the role and the long term plan for the role. Look people squarely in the eye and ask for the job while you are shaking their hand. Give concrete examples of something you have done in the past that has given you the tools to competently complete the tasks required for this job. Provide evidence of how you have overcome unpredictable obstacles by learning and applying yourself, going the extra mile to exceed expectations. Oh and ask for the job – did I already mention that?
David Dalka: How do you see recruiting evolving going forward?
Shally Steckerl: Recruiting will become an intertwined ecosystem that brings together the ability to manage project vendors and partners while leveraging technology and applying the ability to understand business needs.
David Dalka: Thank you, Shally, I really enjoyed talking with you. Talk to you soon.