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Looking for a job? This is what you should know about Talent Acquisition.

When I came to Canada I knew nothing about job hunting here. I had zero connections on LinkedIn. I had zero knowledge of how to even start job hunting. I had no resume. And believe it or not, I came thinking that I have no skills. Not zero skills of course. I knew I had something to offer, but I never thought that the skills I had have names and are actually something people would want to pay me for.

What I know about Job Hunting I learned everything the hard way. You don’t have to.

My content seems scattered and disorganized but so as all things these days. The human mind became an Instagram feed — a mosaic of clusters of information completely disconnected from each other. Check my posts and articles and listen to many people, never just one. Find what you can and assemble your picture from small pieces. At the end of the day, there is only one question that is important — does it work for you or not?

I’ve been a job hunter. And now I am on the other side of the table. That’s the irony of life — tables turn. I will be a hunter again someday. And then again, I will find myself being a part of a company i.e. in a position to share with you what is going on on the inside.

And there is a lot that is going on the inside. But today I want to focus on several concepts that are important to understand if you want to be effective in your job hunting.

  • How hiring managers go about hiring
  • What is the role of the Talent Partner
  • What makes a great hire

Each bullet can be an article by itself but I will try to be concise.

1. How hiring managers go about hiring.

Understand that hiring teams always think in terms of risk. The more information the hiring manager has about the candidate the less risk it is for them in hiring that candidate (this is exactly the reason why content creation is so crucial). Now, what exactly is the process of filling a job?

  • The job appears the moment the hiring manager realizes that there hiring need. Once the hiring manager realizes that he needs to bring someone to solve a business problem (the business dictates the necessity to create a job) he starts thinking, “Who do I know?”
  • That is the “hidden job market” everyone talks about. The job is not even posted yet, but the search already started. The HM is looking into his network looking for people who might be a fit — people whom he knows can deliver results (maybe they’ve worked together before).
  • He will ask his direct network — people in his team: “Do you know anyone?”
  • Then, once the budget for the role is approved by the executive team the HM will come to the Talent Acquisition team: “Please, find me someone.”
  • This is when I (Talent Partner) step into the game.

2. What is the role of a Talent Partner

My role in one sentence is simple — to find the best person for the job in the shortest period of time within the budget available. Here is our process:

  • We have an intake with the hiring manager. We ask our set of questions to extract maximum information about the “perfect candidate” profile.
  • We do research on the role to understand that job completely.
  • We post the job.
  • We prepare for an interview.
  • We start sourcing candidates using LinkedIn Recruiter (like LinkedIn search on steroids)
  • We interview candidates.
  • We move those who seem like a high potential to the first round
  • The interview process would normally include 3 rounds: hiring manager, team, cultural fit interview. In some cases, a test or case study round would be included.

What is important to understand?

  • Sourced candidates get seen first. Why? 2 reasons.
  • First, obviously, there is a lower probability of finding a qualified candidate among applicants. Many candidates apply without even reading the job description. This is why the “spray& pray” approach will never ever work. Talent Partners have their jobs for a reason — they are extremely good at eliminating profiles that are not qualified. It takes 5 seconds to glance at a profile to understand if it deserves further inspection. And if not, the candidate gets “released” from the process.
  • Second, there is a higher chance that the sourced candidate is qualified to do the job. Why? Well, this is how the candidate was found in the first place — through “keywords”.
  • Major implication #1 — optimize your LinkedIn profile for sourcing. You want to be discoverable i.e. your profile should be optimized for the LinkedIn crawler. And your profile should be optimized for the recruiter (we do read what you write on your LinkedIn profiles). Saturate it with keywords. Make it readable. Short sentences, lots of bullets. Tell your story. Make it memorable.
  • Major implication #2 — do not apply for the job unless you are confident that you can do 80% of the job. Why? Because you will be competing with the candidates who were sourced for their skillset — those are the candidates that most likely can do all 100%. Read the job description (JD), it was written for a reason and Talent Teams put a lot of thought into it. Make sure that your resume tells the story that a recruiter would want to read (ticks the boxes on requirements, shows that you are a top performer).

3. What makes a great hire?

Simple. 4 things:

  • Technical skills
  • Foundational skills
  • Motivation to do the work
  • Culture fit. (Personality)

A little bit more in detail on these 4:

  • Technical skillset is crucial. If the job is technically complex, and the hiring team doesn’t have the capacity/time to train someone (i.e. they need someone who can come and start contributing/taking responsibilities fast), it doesn’t matter if you are a “nice person” or a “fast learner”. The only question that matters is: “Can you get the job done?”
  • Foundational skills. There are 4 skills that every company wants: Communication, Collaboration, EQ, Adaptability. It doesn’t matter in what capacity you will want to work, you have to be able to communicate effectively and work well with others. you have to have the high EQ to accept feedback, give feedback appropriately without hurting others, and be professional. You have to be adaptable because every company has a unique culture and its own ways of doing things.
  • Motivation. Maybe you are too comfortable at your current company, maybe the opportunity doesn’t represent a career stretch, maybe something is off with your intrinsic motivation. Either way, if you are fully capable to do the work but you don’t want this job, you are unqualified.
  • Culture fit. Every culture is different. There are companies where you truly will have to fit in — blend in with the mass and do not show that you are capable of doing more. And then there are companies that don’t want culture fits. They want culture amplifiers, bar raisers, challengers of the status quo. Don’t look for a culture to fit in. Understand what you are and what kind of people you want to surround yourself with, and then find the culture that will be right for you. Find people that will challenge you to be a better professional and a better human being.

OK. That’s a lot. I will wrap up with some action items. Keep this in mind if you are on a hunt:

  • Understand who you are and what you are selling even before you start hunting. Do the self-inventory (skills, expertise, strengths & weaknesses, gifts & talents)
  • Prepare your marketing materials. Your Resume and LinkedIn profile should be polished to perfection. The first thing people will do is they will look you up. Your job is to make sure they love what they find.
  • Network! Find a “bridge person” inside the company you want to work with. Build a relationship. Don’t ask for referrals. Ask for introductions.
  • Do your research on the company. Do even more research on the role. Make sure you cover all aspects of a great hire: tech skills, soft skills, motivation, personality. Learn how to communicate all aspects effectively — in your resume, on LinkedIn, in the interview.
  • Interviews go both ways. You are interviewing them just as much as they interview you. Life is too short to work for mediocre companies. Companies that don’t understand that hiring great people is the most important thing they do, do not deserve to survive in this competitive market. This is not harsh. This is business.

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Hope it helps you.

If it’s tough, stay strong. It gets easier.

If it got easier. Look around, there is someone who needs your help right now.

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