How Genuine are you When Providing Endorsements/Recommendations?

In the other week’s #Tchat, we tackled the topic of endorsements and recommendations via social media. With all these new social media platforms emerging, people can easily locate and research companies and individuals for jobs, partnerships, or just generally to discuss specific things. Although technology has made it extremely easy to interact with people you wouldn’t normally run into every day, it also can have its disadvantages. For example, people can easily be whoever they desire to be online or may exaggerate some of their credentials and skills. So how can we ensure that what we see is what we get? Simple: by reviewing the public and accessible endorsements and recommendations found on their social profile.

Endorsements and recommendations can be a great way for people to verify that the person is who they claim they are and that their experience, credentials, and skills are legitimate. It’s almost like doing a pre-reference check and another source for referrals. This is all good and dandy, but most of us have noticed that sites like Linkedin are making it extremely easy for people to endorse one another. It can be a one-click free-for-all if someone’s feeling overly generous that day. For example, I have received endorsements from people who I’ve never conversed with in my life- so how can they know that I have the abilities to successfully perform the skills they endorsed me for? Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the endorsements and recommendations I received, but I’m more concerned about quality over quantity.

The more that people endorse others in this way, the quicker it will reduce the accuracy and meaning of these endorsements and recommendations. And then after that occurs, we’re basically back to square one. So how can we try to limit this? By being genuine in our own recommendations. Set the bar again. If you are going to endorse someone, it would be beneficial to endorse them for things you truly know the individual has done and is capable of doing. Let it hold some weight.

But let’s even do one better- let’s also utilize the recommendation function. If you have time and honestly feel strongly about a person’s skills/work, do them (and all those reviewing their profile) a favor and write something for them. Leave a few sentences or paragraphs about your experience with them, what you learned about them, and make it thoughtfully written. Help paint a picture of their capabilities.

Remember, endorsing and recommending someone doesn’t only reflect on their reputation, but yours, as well. Make others believe in your words and trust in your opinions/suggestions by providing honest feedback. We all work so hard to be recognized for what we do, don’t let our reputations get muddied up by false endorsements.

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join in #Tchat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

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Build your Network Before You Need It

During typical Twitter banter this week, a message from Susan Avello really stuck with me: build your network before you need it. It was simple but an effective statement that inspired today’s blog. Whether you are a job seeker, employed, generating leads, or building partnerships- it’s important to proactively build your network. Life and business change fast, you need to always be one step ahead.

Why should you spend time and effort building your network? Simple:

  • It puts you on the map: it allows people to get to know you and consider you for job openings or as an option to do business with you. Warm leads made easy.
  • It’s a quick resource: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to pick up the phone and get some insight quickly because of the fact that I networked with people beforehand. And this resource was even more useful than simply researching online, because I was able to get answers to specific questions I had.
  • You’ll be prepared for instability in your career: lay-offs, downsizing, termination, or glass ceilings are all situations that we’ll potentially run into in our lives. Networking can help you keep a pulse on what companies are hiring, who to contact about specific jobs, and allow recruiters to locate you for their pipeline.
  • Build relationships and credibility: building relationships with people can allow them to see that your experience and skills are credible. Impressing them in this way and staying in the front of their mind can allow them to recommend and refer you with confidence rather than someone else.

There are so many great uses to networking. Yes, it takes time and effort and at times it can be a little overwhelming. But the truth of the matter is, the benefits will help you and help save time in the long run. It’s best to build this up ASAP rather than scrambling later when you need it.

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How Will Your Career Benefit from Business Networking?

“It’s all about who you know,” I’d often hear people say to me while I was going to college. More seasoned professionals had constantly told me that in order to leverage my position into the working world, it was best if I knew someone. I figured that knowing someone wasn’t as important as getting the education and experience to prove that I was competent enough to do a job. However, I soon found out that the advice of getting to know people was important for my career. Getting knowledge and experience was great but if you didn’t know someone to display that to, then your career hunt could be a bust. Therefore, I’d like to focus today’s post on the benefits of business networking, both internally and externally.

Sometimes people underestimate the importance of networking (I was one of them at one point). As I network more and more, I really do see that there are some fantastic benefits to it. Networking can help your career in the following ways:

Externally:

  • Keep you abreast about industry trends: Networking can help you learn about industry trends, concepts, technology, news, and resources that you may have never easily learned about on your own. Additionally, talking to individuals that know more about this topic can allow you to get a deeper understanding and obtain knowledge that could give you a competitive edge for your job hunt.
  • Keep you in the loop about what companies are hiring: There are a lot of great companies out there that you may not know about. Networking can help you get exposure to companies that fit what you’re looking for but you haven’t discovered yet on your own. Additionally, finding companies that aren’t as well known could help you have less competition for the jobs you are applying to.
  • Allow you to know ASAP about job openings in the companies you are targeting: Companies don’t always post their jobs externally. Networking with people can allow you to know about job openings before others do, which could increase your chances of being selected.
  • Open up communication with other recruiters/hiring managers: Sometimes the people you network with won’t always have an opportunity for you. However, if you build these relationships they’ll be more willing to refer you to other individuals that do have openings and could put in a good word about you. Referrals are highly regarded.

 Internally:

  • Raise your professional profile within a company and/or industry: Networking internally could help you build your reputation in a positive light. You could go from the average employee to the go-to guru. Building clout this way could help you obtain a promotion at your current employer or become a desired employee that companies seek.
  • Get opportunities to work on special projects: Getting to know people can allow them to learn your interests and your abilities. Therefore, they could easily consider you for any upcoming projects in your workplace that are relevant to these. Having the opportunity to work on these special projects could help you gain useful experience and knowledge that will build your resume up nicely.
  • Showcase experience to correct hiring managers when attempting to get a promotion or raise: Your professional profile and contributions to special projects could easily catch the eye of the hiring managers in your workplace. These things can support your resume and could allow managers to confidently consider you for promotions or raises.

There are so many benefits networking can provide. I’ve started networking a lot more and wished that I had done it sooner. I’ve met so many interesting people that have taught me so much about the field I’m interested in and even more. These individuals have been so helpful and were willing to spread the word about my blog. They have also sent my resume out to their connections to help my job hunt. It’s been a joy networking with these people and I hope that I can pay forward the kindness they have shown me. I strongly suggest that you take time to build these relationships because they could be great for your career in the long run.

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All Candidates Should Receive the Same Customer Service

Recruiters and hiring managers- I get it. I know you are completely swamped with resumes and applications. I understand that your inbox is full and your phone is ringing off the hook. Dead-lines to fill positions are adding to the pressure. I wouldn’t be surprised if you left the office at the end of the day mentally fried. I’ve been there before, so I know that recruiting isn’t easy most days. However, you have to remember that these candidates are considered your “customers” and your customer service could make or break the company.

At one point in your life, I’m sure you’ve worked in some sort of job that involved customer service (after-school jobs in high school ring any bells?). You are trained in those positions to be customer centric, to promptly answer customers, and to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their experience at the business was a good one. This type of service should be transferred over to your job role as a recruiter because these candidates probably applied to your company because they knew about it before. Maybe they’ve done business with you in the past perhaps? I’m pretty sure the manager of your old high school job would have had a fit if he knew you didn’t respond to a customer’s needs. So, why would you do it to your candidates?

After speaking to individuals who are painstakingly looking for employment and also being in the job market myself, there is one thing we all seem to be frustrated with across the board- the service we receive during the application process (or lack of service). Like I said earlier, I know that all of you are drowning in applications but even the simplest of gestures will go a long way. For example, have a template e-mail set up to reject candidates you aren’t going to move forward with. Not only will candidates get some closure on the status of their application, but you could reduce the amount of phone calls and e-mails you receive from candidates to get a status update. Win-win?

Most candidates who are actively seeking a job are looking for any little snippet of advice to help them better their chances at gaining employment. I would love to see more recruiters and hiring managers take the time to actually give a simple reason to their rejected candidates. Obviously, I know we have to be careful on what we say due to all those fun legal issues but provide something that won’t have people screaming from their soapbox about unfair hiring practices. One example that comes to mind is maybe letting a candidate know they don’t have the computer experience that the job requires and suggesting a place to go to get it. If a job rejected me because I didn’t have Excel experience and they told me how to get that knowledge, you bet I’ll take advantage of that. Not to mention, I’d respect the company for giving me some guidance through the grueling process of finding a job. We just want to be treated like people, not like the discarded resume in your wastebasket.

Recruiting should be more than just sorting through a pile of resumes and picking a few good people. It should be about relationship building and company branding. If a candidate (even a rejected one) has a good experience through the application process, then they will have an overall good feeling about the company. I’m sure you’ve all heard that referrals are one of the most effective marketing tools. Well, with all the technology and social media giving instant and accessible information, consider referrals in this day-and-age to be on steroids. Websites could let candidates and customers know about the positives and negatives of doing business with a company; either as a consumer, partner, or candidate. Recruiters: don’t be the one that ruins the company’s reputation!

I mentioned earlier that the reason why someone may have applied to your company is because they’ve already known something about your company. This candidate could have been a loyal customer or have done B2B with you in the past. Do you want to ruin that relationship because of poor communication and customer service? Even if they aren’t currently doing business with you, they could potentially be a customer or provide a referral to others in the future. Any type of contact a person has with your company is crucial when it comes to obtaining or retaining business. Just because you work in a “human resources” based role doesn’t mean providing good service is out of your “job description.” All employees of the company represent what the company is about, even you.

So remember, the application process is more than just sifting through resumes. It is also a representation of the employees of the company. Not many people would want to work for a company if it seems like the employees are trained to be rude, have a lack of empathy, or seem to be non-existent because they give no response. Eventually word will get out that being employed there probably isn’t that great based on a candidate’s experience and pretty soon you won’t have to worry about an abundance of resumes to look through…. Because no one will be applying.