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Some Job Hunting Advice

I just spent the last three years designing and building a fairly large job board (14 million uniques/month). Here are a few small suggestions that might make a big difference when you go to find your next job:

This advice goes against most “best practices” and years of bad ideas resonating through the online echo chamber

Cut to the Chase

Recruiting is an exercise in filtering. You can speed up the filtering process by being up front about where you are not a good fit. Most job descriptions ask for the entire solar system, and the recruiter is really looking for just the moon. Be up front if you are missing something the employer is looking for. Ask if it is a problem. Chances are, it’s not.

You are Selecting Your Employer

Be picky. If you don’t like the employer, the people or the situation, keep looking. Every bad firing I’ve seen has generally been someone who rushed in and took the job even though they knew they were a bad fit.

A Good Resume is Priceless

It’s not that hard. Employers want to know three things:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Are you a good human being?
  3. What is wrong with you?

The first question is the easy one: education, job history, credentials and portfolios can show that you can do the job.

The second question is also easy… for the employer. They want to know if you can wake up, groom yourself, show up on time, work hard while you are on the clock and can be trusted. It’s amazing how much just scheduling an interview reveals in this department.

The final question is the one most employers are the most afraid of. Fears of fraud, theft, violence, and bad press are always top of mind for people responsible for risk avoidance. And to be clear HR is in the risk avoidance business. The best way to clear this question is to just be yourself and understand if the employer is afraid of you, then it’s probably a bad fit.

Use Job Boards and Apply Online. (especially if you want to work for a huge company)

Most big companies at some level do business with the federal government or do enough business with federal contractors to be subject to OFCCP and other regulations that affect hiring. That means the employer has some very strict rules about how they advertise jobs, screen, interview and hire. They have to follow the rules or risk paying a truckload of money in fines. That means the you need to follow their hiring rules and apply online. Just make sure you follow up after you apply so that you aren’t automatically screened into oblivion.

Recruiters are not all evil. If the recruiter works directly for the employer, they probably are not evil and are actually the exact person you want to talk to. If the recruiter doesn’t work for the employer, just ask them what’s in it for them if you are hired and who is going to pay them. Remember it’s normal for a recruiter to be paid on what looks like commission. Just make sure it’s on top of the salary, not coming out of your future salary.

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