The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations | The HR Tech Weekly®

The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations

Data Migrations Don’t have to be Painful


Data Migrations Don’t Have to Cause Disruption

Data migrations are often viewed by business professionals as a major obstacle that is simply too difficult and too costly to take on. One of the most common reasons people give for not wanting to move Applicant Tracking Solution (ATS) providers is the fear of a difficult data migration. It’s unfortunate, but recruiters are often willing to suffer and pay for antiquated products that they know aren’t helping them do their job and be successful. Instead, the inferior solutions are viewed as “good enough for now”’ given the perceived risk of a move.

Vendors should strive to take the fear and risk out of a data migration, so busy recruiter teams are free to evaluate the merits of a system move on benefits and not just risk.

The decision to upgrade your ATS should be based on the functionality, productivity gains, and the long-term value they will provide. This guide will provide you all the information needed to successfully assess and predict how a data migration is likely to go once an ATS solution is chosen.

Migrations Done Better

To be frank, the actual migration of data isn’t really that hard. Yet it’s incredibly common to hear time and time again, “So and so completely screwed up my last migration” or “A friend of mine did a migration and it was a total mess.” Why is this? In our experience, it is rarely a pure technical problem, but instead comes down to the parties involved. Data migrations are simply more successful when both the customer and the vendor are flexible, reasonable and strive for a shared goal.

For the vendor, having the technical chops is a must, but they need to pair that with a flexible and consultative approach to the migration. They must be reasonable, transparent and mentoring in their approach. The best vendors will have a genuine invested interest in the shared goal of a successful migration, with an eye on the long term customer relationship.

Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)

For the customer, there is a need to be flexible as well. Every system is different and allowing your data and processes to transform and adapt is crucial. They must respectfully understand that migrations are not free, they take time to do right and there are real costs associated with that time. When it comes to migrating systems, almost anything is possible, but the costs can quickly rise and the additional benefits can fall just as quickly.

Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL)

The process of moving data from one system to another is as old as computers themselves. There is a well-established pattern for doing so, known as ETL. Extract (getting the data out of your old system), transform (converting / mapping it to the new system) and load (getting it into the new system). While the process may seem like a challenge, experienced IT consultants do successful migrations every day. Once the migration is complete recruiting professionals can get back to the business of aligning the right talent, with the right opportunity, at the right time.

This is just a snippet of Crelate’s eBook Guide for dealing with Data Migrations. To download the full Guide click Here.


Source: The Recruiters Guide to ATS Data Migrations – Crelate

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Millennials Would be Wise to Embrace Work Limbo

Millennials Would be Wise to Embrace Work Limbo

Job transitions are going to become more and more prevalent as work evolves over the next several decades. Millennials should plan on embracing work limbo.

College to Job Transition: A Personal Story

College to Jobs can be Bumpy

Moving from College to the “Real World” can be Bumpy Ride

After graduating last May, I thought I had my entire future planned. It seemed so easy. Of course it took a lot of work and planning to get all of these things to happen, but I did it and I thought, “Well… I did it! This will be my life for the next two years or so”. I got an awesome full-time paid internship to come home to in Seattle. Then I put in a deposit for my first apartment. Life seemed all set-up and great!

However, soon I would be introduced to the real world; the reality of being a millennial, a young professional in an ever growing city. I would live the reality of the ebb and flow of work limbo that is prevalent today.

If you are a Millennial like me, I have one thing to say to you: get used to job transitions! Get used to feeling like you’re on a roller coaster for the next few years of your professional career! Further, get used to feeling a little out of control and in a state of ‘limbo’ during your adulthood in general.

It’s Going to be Okay

You will survive. I have gone through two job transitions in the past 7 months, three jobs if you count the internship I had right after graduation. When I left my first job, it was difficult not to be hard on myself. It really took a toll on my self esteem. But the thing that kept me going and made me persist was the knowledge that a job that would be better fit was in my future. My reason to leave the last job wasn’t because of my inability to adapt or work hard, it was just that the job didn’t align with my goals/aspirations. It was because the company wasn’t a good fit for me. Plain and simple. The tech industry wasn’t for me. I wasn’t passionate about it, and the company I worked for consisted of a tight knit group of senior recruiters who didn’t know how to train new grads. It just didn’t work out – and that is OKAY.

It’s hard not to feel discouraged and question your place in your profession when it seems like every place you go, something never works out. I’m not going to tell you that it’s been easy transitioning and I’m not going to lie when I say that I’ve doubted myself; but what I will tell you is that I have done self-reflection that has changed my life for the better. Also, the past 7 months have given me a great idea of what I do and don’t want in my next work environment. If you are transitioning… I promise it will be okay. More importantly, surround yourself with supportive individuals who will nourish and heal you throughout your transitions and self-examination. This will help you remain positive and keep you on your feet.

Be Yourself. Be Genuine

Be Genuine. Be Yourself

So important to stay genuine even when going through career limbo

Don’t lose who you are in transitions. My life is not as black and white as I thought it would be after graduation. My mindset was 50 years behind. Back in May, I planned my life to work like: get a job offer before graduation, get an apartment set up before graduation, stay at the job and get promotions for a few years. I’m sure a lot of people will chuckle at this naive mindset, trust me, now I do too. Of course, we all probably planned out a Utopian way of life such as this. You thought, “Hey, I’m a hard-working and creative individual. I’m willing to learn, and have valuable ideas! Who wouldn’t want to work with me?”

I can tell you right now that while all of those things might be true about you, everyone else thinks the same thing. Here’s the reality of this situation and here’s the real question: how will you stand out in a sea of millennials who see themselves in the same light as you do? If you are transitioning from one job to another, or if you are a millennial who just got laid off, or left a job that wasn’t a good fit for you, one thing you are going to discover (through your transitions) is what truly makes you a valuable asset to any company. Most of the time, it’s finding that drive and passion within yourself and making it show in every interview and communication you’re having with a potential employer.

I’m a firm believer that if you can’t find that passion and feeling of drive in the industry you are pursuing, do some soul-searching and figure it out. Once you feel like you have a purpose and once you really show how genuine you are, people are going to notice.

Don’t Get Into the Comparison Game

Don’t compare yourself to everybody else around you. This was the hardest challenge for me to overcome (lets face it, we never truly overcome this, it’s natural to compare yourself to others). This happened because it seemed like everyone around me had their “stuff” together. It was really hard when I was transitioning between jobs not to compare myself to other people. A common thing I found myself thinking was “you aren’t good at what you want to do if these other 20-somethings have been at their job for as long as they have”. What picked me back up from these negative thoughts was what I covered in rule 1: surrounding myself with positive people! It’s hard picking yourself up from self-doubt. In a way, it’s easier (and maybe a little comforting) to be a little self-destructive in a time of uncertainty… we’ve all felt this. However, once we self-destruct with negativity it’s important to continue working toward your goals and find what personally motivates you. What feels better than feeling proud of yourself and having confidence in your abilities and in yourself?

Take-Away

Millennials, I can’t say it enough: Get used to being more comfortable with work limbo! It’s painful, it’s discouraging at times, but we grow stronger with each transition. As a result we solidify in our abilities and increase confidence that we will get through the bumpy times professionally. Please reach out to me via Twitter if you ever need a hint of motivation or advice. If you want to hear more stories, I’ve got plenty, let me know.

About the Author:

SeanKelly Anderson is a Healthcare Recruiter for NuWest Group in Bellevue, WA. SeanKelly graduated from Manhattanville College in New York with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication. She also has interned for a couple of companies including Recruiting Bandwidth and Velocity Search Partners. Writes for Crelate Recruiting Blog.


Source: Millennials Would be Wise to Embrace Work Limbo – Crelate

Millennials Take on Sourcing

Millennials Take on Sourcing

Hotel Near Seattle Space Needle

Millennial Sourcers Ready to Take Off

Sourcer SeanKelly Anderson

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with SeanKelly Anderson, an up and coming sourcer, in Bellevue, WA. SeanKelly and I met on a rainy Sunday morning in late January for breakfast at the very popular Chace’s Pancake Corral.  As everyone is Seattle is painfully aware, the traffic during the week is horrendous pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Sunday is a much lighter travel day thankfully.

On this Sunday SeanKelly had a small window of down time to chat about her professional ambitions and life as a sourcer. The conversation was enlightening and fun. As recruiting continues to grow vital tips and tricks for new sourcers will prove invaluable.

The business of recruiting and sourcing is incredibly hard work and after talking with SeanKelly it became clear that she isn’t afraid to do whatever it takes to help connect great candidates with amazing opportunities. SeanKelly grew up in Bellevue, WA and then went east to New York for college. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Advertising, and Applied Communication from Manhattanville College in beautiful Purchase, NY.

In SeanKelly’s brief time in the field she has interned with Velocity Search Partners (Bellevue, WA) and Recruiting Bandwidth (Seattle, WA). She’s also worked as a sourcing specialist for ProHealth Staffing (Queen Anne, Seattle). In her spare time she is a singer/songwriter who dabbles in ‘Magic the Gathering’. What’s more, SeanKelly also loves to cook weird combinations of foods.

Over the course of our two plus hours together we covered a variety of topics from why she is passionate about sourcing/recruiting to her thoughts on what millennials need to do to be successful in the work world. I’ve included a few of the highlights from our conversation.

Background and Preparation for a Career in Recruiting

It was great getting to know SeanKelly and learn about her passion for recruiting and sourcing. After we chatted about what she had been up to ‘work-wise’ we jumped right into her educational background and family.

When I asked SeanKelly to reflect on how her educational experiences and upbringing had influenced her career so far she shared the following:

My parents worked extremely hard to enroll me into a fantastic all-girls Catholic private school, Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, from 5th grade to 12th grade. Forest Ridge had incredible teachers that wanted nothing else but to set us all up for success. This school was incredibly difficult to succeed at if you weren’t a natural at physics, mathematics, or history. Being a young woman with ADHD, I struggled a lot to keep up with the workload–but that struggle was what truly helped me as I grew into adulthood. I learned how to manage time at such a young age, that now, I find myself being able to double down and focus easier than those around me. 

The teachers who had my back are also contributors to what I view as a good quality I have now. Some teachers stayed late to meet, some came in early. It was really amazing. Having that support system and that experience of learning time-management so young really helped me succeed going into college, and has followed me into young adulthood.

I then asked her how she got into Sourcing and Recruiting:

My mom, Shannon Anderson. I have seen her thrive in her career for as long as I can remember! Throughout my life I have seen the good and bad side of being a recruiter, but mostly the good. She is one of the main reasons why I wake up every morning and go to work an hour and a half early every day- because I saw her take the extra steps and walk the extra mile my entire life, and she is the most successful woman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. 

What Fires You Up About Recruiting?

I asked SeanKelly what she was most passionate about regarding HR, Recruiting and Sourcing? Why? Also, what is the best part of her job?

There are two sides of being a Sourcing Recruiter that I’m passionate about. I am incredibly passionate about helping people and gaining relationships with talented individuals in the Health Care industry! The other side that I’m passionate about is, of course, hitting my numbers and hitting beyond my numbers. It’s a great feeling waking up every morning and telling myself that I’m going to do whatever it takes to submit 25 candidates that week. I’ve noticed that the more positive your approach to a situation is, the easier it is to attain that goal. 

What is the best part of your job? 

My team. I have never been so happy in my entire life. I work with two amazing young ladies, who were both involved in the beginning stages of our sourcing team without any prior experience. My manager, Erica Diane, was in credentialing before she asked for a leadership role. She led our team, and she has been the most amazing, accepting, and hard-working young professional I’ve had the pleasure of working with. She won the PHS Rockstar of the Year award, which made our team look pretty great as well!

We all support each other, which is the other great thing about this job. There is a gong that we ring whenever one of us submits a candidate- whenever we ring that bell we are always cheering each other on. Also, there is a healthy competitive dynamic as well. I know that I feed off of my co-workers drive. If someone has 5 submittals before 12pm, you better believe I’m pushing myself until I get 8 submittals before 2pm!

Why is Recruiting so Difficult?

What part of sourcing & recruiting is challenging? Why?

Definitely the struggle of consistently hitting our numbers. In reality, every week is going to be different. One week you could be finding 8 candidates every day, and the other week your grand total of the entire week could be 10 submittals.

The thing about working with people is that people are unpredictable. Sometimes they want to talk, and sometimes they don’t. You just have to keep calling, emailing, or texting until they give you a solid answer. Luckily, I use this struggle as more motivation. It just depends on how you view the situation. 

What do Millennials Want?

It’s so great to understand what millennials are thinking. In your conversations with millennials what are you finding are they most anxious about (in reference to their professional careers)?

The honest answer I can give you is: money. Another one is: internships. When I ask friends who are seniors in college what they are planning on doing after they graduate, the first response is, “Anything that will make me money!” and then after that, the next response is, “I don’t have any internships, is this going to make it hard for me to get a job?”

In order to help Millennials be better prepared for the work world, what do they need to do? 

Internships. Job fairs. Networking. I am a strong believer in making personal connections–whether you have a friend who knows other professionals, or if you network at a job fair and connect on LinkedIn–I think it is incredibly important to invest time in yourself and your professional network! 

Why do You Want to Blog About Recruiting?

Have you ever written for a blog before? What intrigues you about writing for a blog like Crelate’s?

Yes! Back in college, I was very inspired by the online body positivity movement. It lead me to create a 1-month experimental blog that featured interviews with individuals I knew who were involved in the BoPo movement. It also featured plus-sized fashion tips and tricks that I have picked up throughout the years! While writing for Crelate isn’t exactly in the same realm as fashion, I’m so excited to join Crelate in bringing a Millennial voice to important conversations. I love how my topics connect with young professionals and I know that some of the topics I’m going to be bringing to light are things I would want to read about as well. 

In your experience, how do Millennials engage with blogs? Mostly reading on phones or tablets? Other ways?

Phones and computers are key. There are so many platforms and devices that we can use to experiment and engage with news and blogs–but I find that our phones are accessible enough for us to engage whenever we want. 

What do you think Millennials (working in HR/Recruiting) can gain from subscribing to (or following) blogs that address issues pertinent to Recruiting, Sourcing, and HR?

Now that we are bringing Millennials to the table, young professionals will be able to connect and relate with articles written by people going through the same situations as them. Also, by seeing content from more experienced professionals millennials can learn a lot. It’s great that we are covering topics Millennials can relate to because it gives more exposure to topics on the blog that may help us younger folk! 

Finally, what are a few broad topics you will pursue as you write articles for the Crelate Blog?

The first article I’m going to write is going to be called something like “Millennials, Get Used to Job Transitions! Here are Some Tips and Tricks!” or “The Stages of Losing the Job you loved, and How to Get Back on Track!”. Other ones are going to be advice-based like “How to Indicate if a Company is Being Truthful During an Interview or How to Decipher Whether your First Company is a Hit or Miss”. Additionally, some are going to be more self-reflective like ” What are Your Values? What do You Need to Feel in Order to Feel Like you’re Succeeding at your Company?”

The Career Path Doesn’t Always Go in a Straight Line

We are delighted that SeanKelly Anderson is going to be contributing articles to the Crelate Blog.

For those starting their careers as HR professionals SeanKelly will provide fascinating stories, musings, and advice.

Her contributions will also be beneficial for people looking to learn tips and tricks for landing great gigs. It’s incredibly beneficial to hear from a millennial perspective on jobs, work, and the economy.

Want to be an amazing at sourcing? Check out SeanKelly Anderson‘s articles on the Crelate Blog for the latest tips & tricks for successful sourcing.


Source: Millennials Take on Sourcing – Crelate

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely

Working Remotely is Trending Upward

I was reading an interesting article the other day on Fast Company’s site regarding work trends. It was estimated that more than 50% of the work force will be working remotely by 2020. Additionally, 25%, of the business leaders surveyed, indicated that more than three-quarters of their employees would not be working in a traditional office by 2020. Of course the definition for the word “remote” has been debated often. Does this mean working somewhere outside the office for 1 or 2 days/week? If you work off-site or in coffee shops does this ‘count’ as working remotely? If you work any at home during the weekend are you considered to be a ‘remote employee’? Therefore, if we widen the scope of the definition says, Sara Sutton Fell (CEO of FlexJobs) then:

In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99% of people are already working remotely in that they take work home. It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee… If remote work means that you check email on Sunday night then congratulations! You already have a work-from-home job.

There is little question that workers often rank ‘flexibility’ as one of their top reasons they are attracted to more desired jobs. Given the impact of the digitization of work millennials (and other age groups as well) really value the option of, “…taking an afternoon off and catching up on Saturday morning.” Further, a more flexible schedule allows for more spontaneous interactions with co-workers, but also time for focused, head-down productivity as well. For recruiters and other small business owners the power of working remotely is truly endless.

How to Remain Productive when Not in the Office

If the trend is toward more of us working remotely and/or from home what are some tips and tricks we can take advantage of to ensure success?

This article will provide a short list of tactics that have worked for me as well as a few suggested by others who are experienced at being productive while working remotely (PWWR). I’ve worked remotely (in some capacity) as a college professor and content marketer for the past 15 years and learned a few tips and tricks along the way. One thing I know for sure is you need a strategy and plan, for remote work, or it can lead to problems. There are real pluses to working at home/remotely and also pitfalls if not approached with a solid plan.

Strategies for Working Remotely

  • Work off of a Daily List of Tasks to be Done: One of the challenges with working at home (or in any other remote location) is how easy it can be to become distracted and taken off course. Therefore, it’s a good idea to put 2-4 things you want to get done on a list daily. During the day go back the list a couple of times to ensure you are staying focused. As things get accomplished you can cross them out. At the end of the day update the list by checking off what has been finished and what is pushed to the next work day. Psychologically it can be very satisfying to see items get ‘checked off’ the list. The goal is to make steady progress every work day (usually on several small tasks).
  • Don’t become a Silo & Consistently Communicate: It takes personal discipline to work remotely and remain productive. One thing to remember is avoid being a ‘silo‘ and working independently for long stretches. In other words, check in often with co-workers and bosses to let them know what you are working on and to be available to help others if needed. It can be easy to ‘fall off the radar’ when working from home, but if you are intentional about consistently communicating it will serve you well. Also, consistent communication lets everyone on the team know that you are engaged and working toward pre-planned goals.
  • Be sure to take Breaks/Change of Scenery: It may seem obvious but be sure to take breaks when working remotely. Given that you do not have other co-workers around (who can be distracting) often we can really get in a groove and get a lot accomplished while working remotely. This is great, however it’s also easy to work even more hours and ‘forget’ to take breaks. I find taking a 20-minute walk, grabbing a lunch off-campus, getting a quick coffee, or doing a chore or two around the house can serve as an effective change of scenery/break in the monotony.
  • Put Together Reports to Update Colleagues on Progress: Given the way our work places are organized, in this digital era, often we are working on individual/independent tasks that are connected to bigger goals of the company/agency. What’s more, our colleagues may or may not know what we are working on and, more importantly, the progress that is indeed being made. Therefore, if you can provide monthly and/or weekly summaries of tasks that are getting done and how they are edifying the long-term goals of your company this can be super helpful. Also, this helps for summarizing how all of the small tasks are helping move the business in the right direction. It can be easy to get bogged down in the details and not “see the forest for the trees”.
  • Have a Dedicated Work Space: Whether you are working at home or at a coffee shop it’s critical to have a work space that is ‘only for work’ and not used for other things (you may do in your spare time/down time). It helps if your home or remote location is similar to your office at work.

Optimizing Working Remotely Important

As more and more people work remotely (and the time they do so also increases) it is going to become even more important to continue finding ways to optimize this type of work environment. For even more information check out a recent article from The Muse: 10 Reasons Working Remotely is Even Better than You Thought it Was.


Source: Strategies for Being Productive While Working Remotely – Crelate

Train Wheel

Reducing Friction is a Game-Changer for Trains as Well as Executive Recruiters – Who Knew?

Trains and High Speed Rail – The Way to Go

Trains have always been fascinating to me since I was a little kid. I used to commute from south of Seattle to downtown for work and I would take the Sounder Train in. The Sounder provided a comfy ride and saved me the headache of fighting horrific Seattle traffic. Really glad Seattle has this commuting option as it has lead to reducing friction for my commutes. In our ongoing “Be the Grease” series this article will show the parallel between executive recruiters and train lubricants. Who knew they had anything in common?
For several years now, High Speed Rail has been discussed as a transportation alternative. High speed rails is up and running and links together dozens of cities. Technology in this sector is booming and having a profound positive impact on helping fight gridlock traffic around the world.

According to a recent article in Evolution the railway industry is gaining momentum worldwide and looking to make a comeback. There are many reasons for this including, “…environmental challenges, availability of energy and the growing congestion in major cities.” Also, “the cost of investments in road infrastructure is also contributing to an increasing awareness of the capabilities that rail transport can offer to support a sustainable world.”

Reducing Friction is Crucial to Keep Trains in Tip Top Shape

Train Friction
Friction Reduction Is Critical for Trains

Interestingly, one issue that train manufacturers have to contend with is the wear and tear on their railway vehicles. As noted by Evolution, “The friction at the contact area between the wheel flanges of railway vehicles and the rails determine wheel and rail wear. Vehicle and track maintenance intervals are strongly determined by this wear process and dramatically influence the life-cycle cost of the total vehicle and the track.”

What is more, “Considerable energy savings can be achieved by reducing friction in these contact areas. This friction has to be considered, as it occurs on all wheel flange contacts in the train, on every journey and every day.” How is this friction reduced and the trains kept “running on time”? Why the use of a lubricant? Because, “The lubricant, sprayed on the wheel flanges of the first axle in the direction of travel, is transferred to the rail face, thus lubricating the following wheel flanges.” By reducing the friction the trains last longer and are more efficient.

Clearly, reducing friction is critical to keeping railway vehicles in excellent working order.

Reducing Friction is Also Critical for Executive Recruiters

Executive Recruiting
Relationship Management Software Should Reduce Recruiting Friction

In a similar way to trains and high speed rail, executive recruiters are tasked with ‘greasing the skids’ between their network of amazing candidates and their clients who have jobs to be done. Or another way of putting it: Executive Recruiters need to find as many tools as possible to ‘reduce the friction’ between candidates and potential employers. Sources of friction in recruiting can derail successful placements. Things like not being personable, approaching candidates at the wrong time or with a flawed strategy, or losing track of their career trajectory can be deal killers.

One way to help mitigate the friction and ‘grease’ the pathway? Have a solid Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or even better a Talent Relationship Management Solution (TRM) that is tailored to help recruiters stay connected to their clients and their customers.

Testimonials from Crelate Users

Over the years we have had dozens of great conversations with our users, many of whom are executive recruiters, and they have told us what tools they need. Incidentally, a significant percentage of our feature updates have resulted from listening to what recruiters need to do their jobs better. A sampling of their comments helps tell the story of what they value and what they need and, even more importantly, how Crelate helps solve their challenges:

Best thing about Crelate is if I put data in, I can get the data out. Our people are maniacal about updating information and managing that because it’s invaluable to have that information. It’s a great CRM, but is a great rolodex tool.

I do some programmatic recruiting for a client that I’ve worked with for a decade. But my first conversation with these guys was 5 years ago. I’ve managed that relationship in Crelate and kept track of them; so when we talk, I can ask a team member about their wife or kid’s soccer games. You build a familiarity and a trust when you remember these things and track them.

It’s a great product to help you take the relationship to a deeper level. At the end of the day that’s what recruiting is: do the candidates trust you and do the clients trust you and do you take ownership for the success of the fit?

Talent Relationship Management Software a Game-Changer

Additionally, one of our executive recruiters told us they have 55,000 people in their database and 8 people in the firm building direct relationships with these talented people. In order to effectively manage this many folks it’s absolutely critical that your software solution is up to the challenge. This recruiter noted:

A lot of people think it’s lunches and cocktails and golf – this is a hard business. You have to be personable, intuitive, have to be able to sell, dissuade, discern why someone is right or wrong. Your job can’t be to close a transaction, you have to be a great matchmaker.

This last statement is so critical – Your job can’t be to close a transaction. You have to be a great matchmaker.” In order to be the best ‘matchmaker’ you can be having an awesome Talent Relationship Management Tool. Given that it is humanly impossible to remember the personal details and work history of 55,000 people, having a tool like Crelate is game-changing.

Executive Recruiters Need Tools for Effective Matchmaking

Executive recruiters can more easily manage their matchmaking by having features like:

  • Adding personal notes to candidate records (that are saved and searchable)
  • Using “Mentions” to build your network of contacts
  • Using “Tags” so you can quickly identify best candidates for open opportunities
  • Having a “Timeline” feature where the candidates’ career journey can be archived

Our executive recruiter Susan is working on finding a great fit for an open Chief Technology Officer (CTO) position and has identified “Dalena Pham” as a potential match. It’s easy to see how Crelate can make the process go smoothly.

Susan Needs a Way to Reduce Friction to Maximize Matchmaking

For Susan Crelate can quickly get her up-to-speed regarding: (1) What Dalena is passionate about, (2) Who Dalena has previously worked with (and can possibly provide solid references), (3) What specifically Dalena’s skills are (by using Tags), and (4) Access to Dalena’s career journey so she can see if a potential match is plausible.

When Susan determines that Dalena is a great fit she can reach out in a phone call or video chat. Susan will then bring a lot of personalization to the interaction. For instance, she could ask her about her work at the Humane Society. She can also ask if she still talks to Aaron, Wilson, Erik and/or Jason. Also, Dalena will send over a current resume and any new skills can be added to her record and tagged. This is just one example of the power of an amazing Talent Relationship Management system for executive recruiting.

Just as the lubricants are important to make the trains run correctly and efficiently – a smooth running executive search firm must have a software solution that edifies their matchmaking magic.

If this sounds like it could help your business goals please contact Crelate's Sales Department and request a demo today!

Source: Reducing Friction is a Game-Changer for Trains as Well as Executive Recruiters – Who Knew? – Crelate

Half of American Workers Aren’t Taking a Full Vacation – Is Anyone Benefiting?

Half of American Workers Aren't Taking a Full Vacation - Is Anyone Benefiting?

Majority of American Workers Don’t Use Allotted Vacation Days

Over the winter break I came across two articles that were fascinating and worth commenting on for recruiting and HR professionals. One study I came across included a shocking statistic about American workers and their vacation habits and another outlined the positive impacts of taking time off to recharge the batteries. As we will see there seems to be a significant disconnect regarding the value of taking breaks in our workplaces between workers and researchers who study productivity patterns.

First, for the statistic that immediately stunned me. According to an article on Market Watch, research done by the U.S. Travel Association, documented that, “More than half (55%) of Americans didn’t take all of their vacation days in 2015, up from 42% in 2013…” Essentially, millions of Americans are giving their vacation days back to their employer. The article went on to to report that:

The average worker took 16.2 days of vacation [in 2015], down from 20 days in 1993, resulting in $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits. These workers gave up 658 million unused vacation days and 222 million of those days cannot be rolled over or exchanged for money. Over 5,600 full-time workers were surveyed, including 1,184 managers for the study.

Furthermore, 61% of Americans work while they’re on vacation – with 1 in 4 reported being contacted by a colleague about a work related matter while taking time off. This begs the question how many Americans truly ‘unplug’ when they are on vacation (for those that take them in the first place)?

What’s more, according to the researchers looking at career trends for Glassdoor the primary reason people don’t take vacation time, they are offered, is “Fear.” Therefore, the breakdown went as follows for the top reasons why vacation time was left on the table:

  • 28% of workers say they fear getting behind while they are on vacation
  • 17% say they fear losing the job if they take vacations 
  • 19% don’t take all of their days off in hopes that it will give them an edge for a promotion
  • 13% are competitive and want to outperform colleagues

Another important nugget, in the Glassdoor survey, was that in the post-recession world (after 2008) workers are often shouldering heavier workloads and, therefore, afraid of not meeting goals if they take regular vacations.

It might be easy to assume that taking less vacations means we are more productive and it’s “good” for business – but this assumption may be dead wrong according to recent studies.

Evidence Mounting that No Vacations Short Changes Productivity

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Taking Proper Time Off Can Aid in Overall Productivity & Creativity

According to an excellent article in Entrepreneur, in 2016, a recent study at Virginia Commonwealth University argued that it is imperative that employees and small business persons take time off to re-charge the batteries. Entrepreneurs are often celebrated for wearing multiple hats and logging incredibly long hours, but working without letup is a bad habit that can jeopardize business, health and the life you’re working toward – according to some experts. One such researcher stated,

There is a lot of research that says we have a limited pool of cognitive resources…When you are constantly draining your resources, you are not being as productive as you can be. If you get depleted, we see performance decline. You’re able to persist less and have trouble solving tasks.

This is clearly counter-intuitive to how many entrepreneurs and workers perceive the benefits of being a workaholic in America. Most assume that the hardest working will survive and “rest” or “relaxation” is considered something the ‘less motivated’ partake in. According to one strategic coach in reality everyone will eventually hit the wall and end up being less productive, creative, and able to problem solve if breaks (big and small) aren’t routinely taken. As the researchers note, “Since almost all of us are doing mental work these days, managing cognitive resources is not a nice thing to be able to do; it’s essential.” This is isn’t about business or worker management, it’s about the physiology of the brain and body.

The bottom line is burning up mental resources without replenishing them leads to stress, burnout and poor performance (not to mention making it hard to concentrate and/or make good decisions).

Researchers are finding that extended vacations – at least 2 weeks in length are extremely important to completely ‘unplug’ and ‘re-charge’. Also, taking more frequent short breaks each day of work can be incredibly beneficial for the employees and the business.

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Taking off a Full 2 Weeks is Optimal

A few  ways to avoid burnout and boost creativity and productivity include:

  1. Daily breaks (walking meetings, lunch with a friend or working out)
  2. Unplugged weekend activities such as hiking or driving with family and friends
  3. Home activities such as cooking (to help relieve stress)
  4. Exercising during lunch
  5. Truly leaving work at work when on vacations 

As recruiters, hiring managers, and HR professionals this is a topic that deserves a much more robust discussion – as it relates to your work life and those that you are helping to place.

There is so much more to say on this fascinating topic, but suffice to say in 2017 we should all do some self-reflection on our workloads and ensure that ample breaks are being taken to truly optimize our productivity and creativity.

Do you have any anecdotal evidence that getting ‘recharged’ has helped you be more productive, creative, and a better problem solver?


Source: Half of American Workers Aren’t Taking a Full Vacation – Is Anyone Benefiting? – Crelate

Hollywood Legend Jerry Weintraub Always Heard “Yes”

Hollywood Legend Jerry Weintraub

Hollywood Legend Jerry Weintraub

The biography of Hollywood legend Jerry Weintraub is truly extraordinary. He was a American film producer and actor whose films won him three Emmy’s. Weintraub is also known for being a talent manager (one could say a recruiter) and concert promoter. The list of musicians he represented includes: Elvis Presley, John Denver, Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and The Four Seasons. In many ways Jerry was the “Godfather” of concert promoters and a true showman.

Further, Weintraub is also known for producing films such as Nashville (1975), Diner (1982), The Karate Kid (1984), Vegas Vacation (1997) and the Ocean’s franchise (2001). More recently, Weintraub was the executive producer for a couple of HBO series – The Brink and Behind the Candelabra (both 2013). In 2011, HBO broadcast a television documentary about Weintraub’s life, called His Way. Weintraub was an amazing story teller and his book When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man and documentary are worth checking out for sure. I want to focus on one of my favorite Weintraub stories that hits home [as the time it was written we get ready for Thanksgiving 2016].

Weintraub Refused to Go Quietly

As the story goes, in 1969, Weintraub was living in New York on 54th Street and awoke at three o’clock in the morning to proclaim, “I just had a crazy dream” to his wife Jane Morgan (an enormously talented singer in her own right whom he managed). Jane said, “What was the dream?” Jerry proclaimed, “I saw a sign in front of Madison Square Garden that said ‘Jerry Weintraub Presents Elvis.’” Jane then said, “That’s crazy. That’s nuts. You know, you don’t know Elvis and you don’t know Colonel Parker. You know, how do you expect to do this?” Jerry then quipped, “I don’t know them now but I will.”

For the next year from 1969-1970 Jerry’s first phone call of the day, at 8:30 in the morning, was to Colonel Tom Parker and (as reported by Weintraub in his memoir) here’s how it went.

JW: Good morning, Colonel, this is Jerry Weintraub. I want to take Elvis on tour.

Colonel Parker: What are you, crazy? Why do you keep calling here? You’re wasting your money. First of all, Elvis is not working right now. Second of all, if he were working I have a lot of promoters that I owe dates too. A lot of producers I owe dates to. And it’s not gonna be you. It’s never gonna be you.

After a solid year of rejection one morning, in 1970, Colonel Parker had something different to say than the usual dismissive “No” “not interested.”

Colonel Parker: You still want to take my boy on tour?

JW: Yes, very badly.

Colonel Parker: Okay, you be in Las Vegas (in two days) at 11:00 o’clock with a million dollars and we’ll talk a deal.

Weintraub Gets a “Yes” Finally

The year was 1970 and, therefore, securing 1 million dollars in two days had long odds. Jerry didn’t have a million dollars and, in fact, owed a bank about $65k. By sheer persistence and phoning practically everyone he ever met or knew within a 48 hour period, low and behold, he found a wealthy business owner in Seattle, WA that said “Yes.” The Elvis super-fan, from the Pacific Northwest, was willing to wire Jerry a million dollars site unseen for a chance to fund an Elvis concert tour. Weintraub showed up in Las Vegas at the bank 2 days later and worked out a deal with Colonel Parker.

Elvis proceeded to put on an incredibly successful and lucrative concert tour. The tour would also be remembered for providing concert goers with reasonable ticket prices. As the tour came to a close, Elvis, Weintraub and Colonel Parker cashed in on the tour for sure.

What’s more, at the conclusion of the tour Colonel Tom Parker took Jerry to a back room (behind the stage) and proceeded to reveal a huge pile of cold hard cash. Jerry proclaimed, “What’s this?” Parker exclaimed: “This is the money from the t-shirts, the hats, the buttons, and so on that have been sold throughout the tour.” Jerry then said, “We didn’t have a deal for the merchandise.” Parker then said, “You are my partner 50/50.” He then took his cane and smacked the table and said, “Half is mine and half is yours. Are we good?” After the tour with Elvis, Weintraub went on to have a storied Hollywood career partnering with some of the biggest stars in music and television.

The Power of Persistence is Undervalued

It’s funny how we often only see the ‘final product’ of a person or group’s success and assume that they must have had amazing breaks, luck, or connections to get where they are at. What’s often lost, by people, is the struggle of how difficult it is to achieve truly extraordinary things. It takes persistence and sheer will to do hard things. Often many obstacles must be conquered along the way.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon (just some of the star-studded cast of the Ocean’s franchise) have all commented on the amazing power Jerry had of getting everyone to a “Yes” when the odds were incredibly long to do so. In order to get all of the A-list actors to align their schedules to shoot the Ocean’s movies was nearly impossible. The odds of any other producer being able to make it happen would probably be about 0%.

However, Weintraub would call each cast member and tell them when the dates were for shooting and when they would inevitably say, “Jerry I can’t do it I’m busy during that time… no seriously I’m out.” Jerry would respond with, “Yea, I know you are busy but everyone else is in and you will be able to do it.” Famously he would tell each actor that all the other actors were all “in” even though they had said they were “out.”

Through sheer force of will Weintraub made it happen. There’s a lesson here.

The Weintraub Way for Business & Recruiting

When recruiters or business professionals are told “No” this can lead to cracks in their resilience, resolve, and self-confidence. We can begin to think we aren’t good enough, don’t have the necessary skills and abilities to do awesome things and, therefore, become unmotivated and depressed. But the Weintraub Way is to turn that negativity on it’s head and go in the opposite direction. When people say “No” or “It’s not going to happen” maybe you should double-down. The thought should be “Oh, it’s going to happen all right.” One of the great motivators for the human spirit is the ability to overcome obstacles and ‘win over’ the folks who aren’t on board with what we are ‘selling’. What is more, there is little in life that compares to the incredible high of ‘proving everyone wrong’ and accomplishing big things despite those that don’t believe.

There’s little doubt that there had to be mornings, in the 300+ phone calls that Jerry made to Colonel Parker, where he doubted his abilities and his power to persuade. But he didn’t let it hinder him or his ‘dream’. In the end he made the deal and was a key player in one of the most successful concert tours of all time. By sticking to a plan and being determined to see it through (no matter how difficult things get) individuals get a true sense of accomplishment. There is no substitute for the euphoria that comes from “Beating the Odds.”

So, you might be asking, “What the heck does this have to do with Thanksgiving?” Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. This year I’m going to think about how glad I am that over the years I’ve been told I couldn’t do something. Even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, hearing this skepticism has likely helped light the fire within me even hotter. The fire to prove the doubters wrong is powerful.

I’m Thankful For…

When you sit down for Thanksgiving this year with your family and friends take a moment to say thank you to those that have told you “No” or openly questioned your ideas, motives, abilities, or work ethic. It’s highly likely that those folks, that you may have perceived as shutting the door on your ambition, have helped to make you the success you are today.

Thanks Jerry Weintraub for sharing with us this incredible anecdote about the power of perseverance, pride, and not taking “No” for an answer.

In your own experience, are you able to pinpoint particular times when someone doubted you or said “No”? Did the rejection serve as a motivation for you to work even harder to prove them wrong? Have you ever thought to be thankful for those that weren’t on board with what you were selling?  What other forms of motivation do find the most useful?


Source: Hollywood Legend Jerry Weintraub Always Heard “Yes” – Crelate

4 Key Traits Sports Officials Have that Professional Recruiters Should Emulate

4 Key Traits Sports Officials Have that Professional Recruiters Should Emulate

Sports Officials & Professional Recruiters – Kindred Spirits?

Professional recruiters have a tough job. Recruiters are often tasked with trying to get several moving parts to work together to achieve the goal of connecting the ‘right talent with the right opportunity at the right time.’ It’s a lot like herding cats I suspect.

Sports officials also have a very difficult job. They are tasked with judging sporting events play by play and the scrutiny of their work is on display every day, every week, heck by the hour for the entire public to see and often criticize. Given all of the emotions that go along with sporting events (at all levels from Pee Wee to the Professional ranks) often reactions to officiating isn’t terribly rational. Often fans, coaches, parents, and players aren’t well versed in the rules and so aren’t particularly adept at knowing or applying them. Not to mention the nuances of rules and interpretations of those rules. The rule-book isn’t black and white–a lot of grey in there. And, yes sometimes officating feels a lot like herding cats.

Also, what’s often lost is how much preparation it takes to be a good official and the dedication and passion these folks have to be at the top of their games. The constant pressure sports officials are under is intense and can take a toll. Recruiters–ever feel intense pressure in your job?

I’ve been a football and basketball official for 14 years as an avocation – aka a ‘side hustle’. As I’ve moved up the ranks and met some amazing officials I’ve noticed several key traits that make them great. What’s more, it’s clear to me that some of these traits translate very easily to the world of professional recruiting. Could sports officials and professional recruiters be kindred spirits? Perhaps.

So, here are four traits that make sports officials great and will also make recruiters and talent managers be at their best.

People Skills

Play the Game

The best referees/officials have amazing people skills. Officiating requires that folks have the ability to get along with all types of people and personalities. Sporting events have all kinds of small constituencies that all need to be dealt with in a professional way–including coaches, players, athletic directors, game-day personnel, and fans. If you aren’t into people you won’t go far in officiating.

Talent Managers must also have great people skills and be able to communicate effectively with a diverse group of folks. Recruiters too are often balancing diverse groups (i.e., your customers/employers, candidates, and recruiting managers). Must know your audience and what type of communication strategies will work with different people.

Calm in the Storm

Sporting events are often highly emotional for all involved–except the referees. Officials have to be that ‘calm in the storm’ and be absolutely relaxed, cool, and collected. This isn’t always easy of course, but officials have a job to do that requires intense focus and concentration–it’s critical to put the distractions aside and focus on each play. The best of the best do this very well.

Further, when that really tough play/situation arises in a game and the coaches and players are going crazy the officials job is to quiet the situation and rule to the best of their abilities. When the storm hits effective communication with your partners, in order to be sure everyone’s angle/perspective is respected and heard, is also critical.

Recruiters are often dealing with emotional situations as well as folks deal with the stress of obtaining a job. The whole process of getting a job and trying to fill a job with a good candidate is potentially stressful. The best recruiters are the ones that can be the calm in the storm and effectively lead everyone to the goal: to connect talented people with the right opportunities at the right time. Recruiters ‘grease the skids’ between talent and opportunity and make sense of chaotic situations.

Overly Prepared

NFL Referee Craig Wrolstad
NFL Referee Craig Wrolstad

Really great sports officials are incredibly prepared for each game and work many long hours in preparation for game-day ensuring that it will go as smooth as possible. As Seahawk QB Russell Wilson says, “Separation comes from preparation.” Prior to game day officials will often spend several hours watching film, going through a thorough pre-game, and studying rules and rule interpretations. This is done in the off-season as well as during the season. All of this preparation often leads to games that are officiating effectively and smoothly. Further, the more practice and preparation that officials do the more ‘natural’ the mechanics become–leading to getting a higher percentage of calls correct.

For professional recruiters there are a plethora of areas where preparation will help people be the best they can be. A few key questions could include:

  • How well do you know the customer/employer and what are they looking for?
  • How intimately do you know the job description and the nuances of what the hiring manager is looking for?
  • How hard have you worked to learn as much as possible about the candidates you are trying to connect with opportunities?
  • Are you confident your candidates will be a good cultural fit?
  • Are you listening to all sides and acting accordingly?

Preparation is a key factor in recruiting.

Empathy

And finally, effective referees have the ability to show empathy to all the people that they come into contact with during a sporting event. The ability to ‘put themselves in the shoes of others‘ is critical for officiating. Sports are incredibly impassioned and everyone involved has so much invested in them that to effectively manage these events requires the ability to look at the game/contest from the perspective of others. The best officials listen very well and are aware of their ‘tone’. Sometimes, the best way to ‘communicate’ with a coach that is upset is to be a good listener and acknowledge that you understand why he is upset. People need to be heard and believe their concerns are important. Further, empathy is about being self-aware and understanding how your behavior impacts others. Also, self-awareness is knowing what you can do to manage difficult situations. Clearly there are things that can escalate conflict and other strategies that help to put out the fire.

In recruiting it’s important to display empathy to all parties involved. The best recruiters have the ability to empathize with their customers and candidates and evaluate their tone to ensure they are handling situations effectively.

I think it’s safe to say sports officials and professional recruiters are kindred spirits indeed.

Many thanks to Football Zebras and the Miami Dolphins for these great pictures.


Source: 4 Key Traits Sports Officials Have that Professional Recruiters Should Emulate – Crelate

Learn to Love Not Loath the Technical Interview

Job Interview

The Potential Stress of Technical Interviews

Technical recruiters should take heed, it’s really important to help ease the nerves of developers as they prepare for their technical interviews for programming positions. Going in with the right mindset and game-plan is critical for landing the job. Crelate offers some ‘inside’ information from John Franti of Epicodus – a vocational school for aspiring programmers.

The technical interview is the most nerve-wracking part of the hiring process for most new or junior developers. Probably for most developers, full-stop. Programmers with years of accumulated experience and confidence report the same doubts, nerves, and anxieties every time the interviewer points to the whiteboard.

Jerry Maguire

And why wouldn’t we? A search for the term “technical interview” in the Computers & Technology section on Amazon returned 710 responses. Among the books that are “must-haves” for junior developers are Cracking the Coding Interview and Elements of Programming Interviews. Both are great resources and immensely helpful, but if you don’t have time to read the books here are a few things to ponder.

Seemingly Everyone has an Opinion for how to Prepare

Everyone should prepare for any interview, but there can be a hidden message communicated by this flood of guidance, advice, and “insider” information: The technical part of your interview is a terrifying experience that will haunt you and ruin your future.

Additionally, there is no widely acknowledged difference in the literature between the skills needed to successfully interview for a job, or work as a systems architect at Google or Facebook and a junior front-end or back-end developer at an agency, or start-up. To believe the conventional wisdom, everyone needs to be a “10x haxxor”, a “ninja”. This is whatJacob Kaplan-Moss called the Programming Talent Myth. There are few great programmers, and everyone else is untalented and unfit to work as a programmer. Wrong. Instead, Kaplan-Moss tries to enforce the idea that programming skills follow the same bell curve as any other set of skills. By this theory there are a few extremely talented people, a very few uniquely unskilled individuals, and the majority of programmers fall somewhere in the middle of the pack.

It’s no wonder that so many developers suffer from imposter syndrome or even fail to apply for relevant jobs for fear of being unqualified given the high bar of success that is often set. This doesn’t have to be the case. I’ve helped hundreds of students in my role at Epicodus prepare for their very first programming interviews. There are direct carryovers from the skills a person has at the keyboard to the skills needed at the whiteboard.

Think of the Technical Interview as a Conversation

Silicon Valley, Part-1

A good technical interview should be a conversation. It should not be a test of knowledge. A technical interview is best used when it evaluates how a candidate thinks and works, not evaluating what they know. The candidate’s resume, and the non-whiteboard part of the interview should be sufficient to determine if they have experience with the required languages, frameworks, and concepts. As an interviewee, if you’re asked to whiteboard, that’s great news – the interviewer knows you have the skills to work through a difficult question, and wants to see how you do so.

Tips & Tricks for the Technical Interview

So, what are some good practices?

I love the idea of treating each technical question like a mini-project. First, have the interviewer repeat the question. Second, listen carefully, and write down a list of specs. Where? On the whiteboard, of course.

Again, you’re showing how you work. You work from a list of specs, like the good, professional developer you are. Therefore, once the specs are listed, read them back and start looking for keywords and easy requirements that will help you answer the question.

* Are you writing a function? Get the word function and some curly braces up on the board.

* Does the function accept any kind of argument? Get it in the parens.

* Does the function return a value? Let’s put a return statement at the end of the function.

Easy, right?

A Couple More Words of Wisdom

Silicon Valley, Part-2

The purpose of all this boilerplate, or any similar setup is to give ourselves a familiar work space. Further, it’s how we write functions when we’re in our text editor – why would it be any different just because it’s ink and not pixels? It also gets some information on the board, and can get you thinking.

Are you stuck, or do you need to test your algorithm? Draw a box on the whiteboard and list your variables and their initial values inside. This box represents machine memory during the process. Next, pass some test data into your function and talk through the behavior with the interviewer while changing the values within the box. By doing live, manual testing this often can help the interviewee get unstuck.

And of course, it’s alright to say “I don’t know” as long as you finish with the word “…yet.” Then, go forward with the interviewer. How would you go about finding out? What terms would you search for? Where have you seen similar behavior? Keep communicating and showing how you think.

A Note for Interviewers

Finally, for interviewers who may be reading this, because the goal of the technical interview is how we think and not what we know, the question itself doesn’t need to be that hard. A new programmer can show just as much knowledge writing a factorial algorithm as they can solving an advanced sorting problem. The way the thought process is communicated is often what stands out.

You can check out a few more simple tips within my lesson at Learn How to Program.


Source: Learn to Love Not Loath the Technical Interview – Crelate

The Seattle Seahawks have Grit, Recruiters do You?

A Game for the Ages

Dateline: January 18, 2015 – It was 1st and 10 at the 35 yard-line for the Seattle Seahawks in a tied game, 22-22 against the Green Bay Packers. The game was in overtime – tied at the end of regulation due to a furious comeback by Seattle in the 4th quarter. It was a complete miracle that the Seahawks were even in overtime given that they had trailed 19-7 in the 4th quarter with 5:07 to play.

Seahawks-probability-01-19-15

Stat Geeks would later report that with 5 minutes to go, the Seahawks had only a .70 (less than 1%) chance of winning the game. At the 3:07 mark the chances had slimmed to .10–meaning Green Bay had a 99.9% chance of winning the game. Through a series of unbelievable plays by the Seahawks including two goal line stands, a fake field goal that scored a touchdown, a recovery of an onside kick (which has a success rate of only 20%), and an incredible 2 point conversion – somehow some way Seattle found themselves tied at the end of the 4th and heading into overtime.

The Seahawks would win the coin toss and then on the sixth play in OT this would happen…


Game over: Seahawks win 28-22.

I happened to be on the field that day, in Seattle, working the chains with the NFL Officiating Crew. So I had a front-seat to take in one of the best games in NFL history. Not only was the game an all-timer, but in hindsight there were important lessons to be learned from this game that are easily transferable to the world of professional recruiting.

The stakes for the Seahwaks and Packers were gargantuan – a chance to play in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona. So, obviously this wasn’t just ‘any’ NFL game. The Seahawks were coming off winning Super Bowl XLVIII and, therefore, trying to orbit in the rarefied air of NFL teams that have repeated as world champs (only 8 teams in NFL history have achieved this historic task).

In the first half Seahawk QB Russell Wilson had struggled mightily against a very stout Packers defense. Wilson, known for protecting the ball and rarely turning it over, threw three picks in the 1st half. In the 2nd half things didn’t go a whole lot better (until the end). Wilson threw another interception in the 4th with 5:13 to play. Every interception had one receiver on the other end being targeted: Jermaine Kearse. Prior to the game-ending 35-yard pass reception for a touchdown Kearse didn’t have a catch and 4 of Wilson’s INT’s had been going Kearse’s way. Indeed there was reason for the home team to be incredibly frustrated on this particular Sunday in Seattle. It clearly would have been acceptable to come to conclusion that winning the game just wasn’t in the cards. But that wouldn’t be the Seahawks way.

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Football is a tricky game and so the analysts and ‘experts’ often spend an inordinate amount of time pontificating about who ‘should’ bear the blame when interceptions/turnovers occur. Some will say it’s mostly the quarterback’s fault, while others will say that receivers should do whatever they have to in order to prevent defenders from getting the ball. It’s one of those arguments that will never be truly ‘solved.’

Nevertheless, the Seahawk offense had endured a very rough game and the story was beginning to take shape that the defending Super Bowl champs weren’t going to make it to back to back Super Bowls. Given all of the setbacks in the game, Seattle never gave up, stayed the course, and kept believing they could to win the game.

Given the opportunity to analyze an incredible game like this a few questions come to mind:

  • How does a professional sports team continue to persevere and ultimately ‘win’ despite having so many things go wrong?
  • Isn’t it human nature to let the reality set in that, “Today just isn’t our day” or “We’ll get ’em next time”? How does one stay mentally sharp under these circumstances? 
  • What factors could be involved in describing what it took to mentally and psychologically stay in the game and continue to work hard, compete, and ultimately win?

The Power of ‘Grit’

Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania has been studying a concept that might be helpful as we think about the characteristics of the Seattle Seahawk team. The concept? Grit. At the Duckworth Lab, at Penn, Dr. Duckworth focuses on how to predict achievement and “Grit” is a pivotal factor in her research. Duckworth defines grit as: a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. If we break it down to two words: passion and perseverance.

Duckworth has met Coach Carroll and the Seahawks team and concurs that as a team they embody “Grit” very successfully. In the Pete Carroll and John Schneider era they have filled their rosters with undrafted free agents that weren’t highly touted and have often been passed over. The result is these players are often obsessed with proving themselves and are adept at bouncing back from adversity. These types of players have the proverbial ‘chip on their shoulder’, which it turns out, can be very helpful when your team is down 19-7 in the 4th quarter of an NFL NFC Championship Game.

Perhaps in professional recruiting it would be a good idea to embrace tough challenges and relish the opportunity to help solidify ‘tough to fill’ positions? Might it also be beneficial for companies you are working for to be able to easily identify your passion and perseverance for helping them connect the right people with the right opportunities?

Recruiters Need ‘Grit’ to Be at their Best

The need to possess Grit (dedication and determination) is also a trait that Recruiters desperately need. One of Crelate‘s early adopters was Shannon Anderson of Seattle, WA. Shannon has been in the business of talent acquisition for over 25 years, including 14 years in-house where she built recruiting and sourcing teams for a large corporation at Microsoft and for start-ups with Ignition Partners Venture Capital. She also founded two executive search firms and partnered with Google and Amazon in their emerging growth years to build out their technical executive ranks. Now she is a principal for Recruiting Toolbox, a training and consulting firm that teaches companies how to recruit and interview better. There is no question that over the years Shannon’s passion and perseverance have been tested.

Recently I was chatting with Shannon and I asked her to relay an instance in which she needed to muster ‘Grit” and she told me an interesting story. When she was recruiting for Google there was a very difficult job to fill that she worked on for over a year. The position required a very narrow set of skills in a niche area. Also, Google was seeking a diverse candidate who needed to match the demographics of the market. This would prove to be a challenge for sure.

After months of research and talking to hundreds of folks, the ‘right person (or should I say unicorn) for the job’ was finally identified. After trying every trick in the “Recruiting Playbook” Shannon could not get the candidate to respond at all. Finally, she found one of his former professors who had been retired for 20 years. Shannon asked him about his former student, what motivated him, what he knew about a potential career path, and reasons he might be interested in making a career change.

The Professor showed a little grit of his own and was able to locate a 10-year old Christmas card and, therefore, provide Shannon legitimate contact information (which lead to a correct phone number and email). At long last she was able to connect with the guy who exclaimed, “Wow, you must REALLY want to talk to me!” After a few discussions it was determined that his career aspirations were not in alignment with the Google job, so ultimately Shannon didn’t get a hire. However, the moral of the story is Shannon felt incredibly proud of her efforts and the grit and tenacity it took to pursue this candidate for over a year in an effort to fill a vital position for Google. Displaying this kind of grit will no doubt pay off in the long run and given Shannon’s impressive bio it’s obvious that her grit has helped her be incredibly successful in recruiting.

Furthermore, having gone through this kind of adversity made Shannon even more effective in future recruiting efforts and likely helped her gain the respect of Google. Passion and perseverance are ‘verbs’ – something you have to practice and do on a routine basis. In the Seahawks case their grit earned them a trip to a Super Bowl. In Shannon’s circumstance it aided in her professional development and helped build her tenacity.

Shannon’s final comment was telling, “I think I’ve been doing this so long that I don’t realize that some of the stuff I’ve done shows real grit; it just sometimes seems so normal to me that almost every hire I make has some element of grit involved in getting it to the starting line or over the finish line! This is normal for a lot of recruiters, maybe that’s the story.” Indeed, it is.

Take Away

Just like the Seattle Seahawks showed their true passion, perseverance, and grit on a blustery Sunday in January and won a game that will go down in NFL history as one of the all-time great games – recruiters should think about ways to identify and model grit in all of their professional endeavors. It was a privilege to witness the power of grit on championship Sunday from the Seahawks. Definitely a day I will never forget. It’s also cool to talk to recruiters and see how they embody grit and leverage it in their daily work lives. Professional recruiting is a competitive gig and so having grit could be a real separator between being successful or not.

Want to see where you stack up on the Grit Scale? Take the Grit Survey to find out.

The beautiful Lytro photos included are from Seattle-based photographer Michael Sternoff. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter. Also, on the audio call of the last play was Kevin Harlan via Westwood One Sports. Thanks also to Shannon Anderson for providing a compelling example of the “Power of Grit”!

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Source: The Seattle Seahawks have Grit, Recruiters do You? – Crelate

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