Monthly Archives: January 2013

❿ Traits of Highly Effective Recruiters

Thinking womanHighly effective recruiters are that rare breed  combining both the art and science of recruiting.  They are relentless in doing everything they can to produce great outcomes for candidates and company.   As both an active recruiter and a job search coach, I advise candidates to learn as much as they can about recruiting and what recruiters do.  I am honored that this blog is read by both candidates and recruiters, so it is my hope that both groups will learn from The 10 Traits of Highly Effective Recruiters.

Developing a Simple and Transparent Talent Acquisition Process Cycle (TAP-C)

Highly effective recruiters are dedicated to a simple and transparent talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C) with a set of proactive milestones, deadlines and metrics to expedite finding top talent.  Regardless if they are in a corporate or search firm setting, recruiters are responsible for finding talent for lots of open positions.  That means the recruiter is processing tons of information, including resumes, phone calls, emails, searching candidate databases, conducting interviews, meeting with hiring managers and many other tasks.  So it goes without saying that all recruiters have a process to keep all the balls in the air.  However, what sets the Highly Effective Recruiters apart is they are devoted to a simple and transparent Talent Acquisition Process Cycle (TAP-C).  The TAP-C leverages the entire talent acquisition engagement and its stakeholders, hiring managers, recruiters and even candidates to a defined set of proactive milestones, deadlines and metrics designed to do one thing:  Find the best talent within forecast and within budget.

Committed to Salesmanship

Highly Effective Recruiters proactively understand the needs of their customers by becoming a trusted advisor leading them in the search for great talent.     Recruiting is selling.  A highly effective recruiter is always selling one or more of the following:

  • The recruiting process and candidates to hiring managers
  • The virtues of the company and the job to candidates
  • The need to stick to the recruiting process for all stakeholders in the face of a glitch

The highly effective recruiters are students of the traits of highly effective sales professionals. A commitment to extraordinary customer care is a key characteristic of the sales process. Highly effective recruiters master the art of customer care by identifying customers early in the recruiting cycle.

Maximize the Technology They Have No Matter How Bad It Is

Highly Effective Recruiters use technology smartly by diligently insuring that information is leveraged to empower the search instead of being dragged down by it.  Highly effective recruiters get the most out of technology regardless if their company just invested in a fancy new Applicant Tracking System or are using a 1999 Palm Pilot to keep track of applicants. One way to do this is to build a value added living database of clients and candidates leveraged  with social media tactics to ensure high quality and constant two way contact and dialogue..

Man Thinking Thought Leadership

Highly Effective Recruiters use thought leadership to build a personal and professional brand as an authority gaining enhanced influence with hiring managers, candidates and within the talent acquisition community  Highly effective recruiters advance the profession by sharing their expertise with the greater talent acquisition and business community.   They write blogs, books, and publications.   They speak at events before civic groups and students.  They start LinkedIn discussion groups, book clubs and websites.

Ask smart questions

Highly Effective Recruiters ask smart questions to gain information to persuade rally people to the cause. .  In his new book, “To Sell Is Human,” best-selling author Daniel H. Pink cites studies showing that questions are more powerful than statements. The reason: you engage another person’s heart and mind more strongly. You get him or her thinking about the ideal answer – and then all the steps necessary to get there. By being less dogmatic, you let people on your team build game plans that they believe in, rather than trapping them in a helpless state until you issue your next command.

Networking Girl Smart Networkers

Highly Effective Recruiters understand that a network is more than just a collection of names in a database.  Instead, they are committed to a smart networking lifestyle leveraging social media and old-fashion personal connections to build strong, active, and productive networks.  

Building Trust Through Authentic Communications

Highly Effective Recruiters are committed to higher standard of communication with everyone in the talent acquisition life cycle.  The recruiting profession is plagued by a lack of authentic communication by its members.  Hiring mangers distrust recruiters because they over-promise, under deliver, or fail to lead the acquisition of talent due to the absence of a creditable process.  Candidates distrust recruiters because of their failure to return phone calls, unrealistic painting of job and the company, along with their inability to set out a clear and reliable path for their recruitment.  And, let’s face it, there are some recruiters who flat out lie about an entire range of things, including the question candidates want to know the most… “Why was I not selected?”   Highly Effective Recruiters know that there is a better way and the better way is called Trust.  Highly Effective Recruiters know that Trust is the lubricant of the talent acquisition engine and authentic communications with everyone in the talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C) is the refinery that will produce Trust..

In practice, the higher standard of authentic communications is achieved with a set of strategies, tactics, and actions that the Highly Effective Recruiter has dedicated herself and has persuaded all stakeholders in the talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C) to follow.  Many of the strategies, tactics, and actions are the same traits covered and endorsed in this post.  Those traits and a few others are listed again as part of the authentic communications package.

  • Develop a talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C) to include candidate communication deadlines.
  • Ask smart questions of hiring managers find out what they are really looking for in a candidate.
  • Never Lie – Candidates, even internals to the company, can handle the truth. Hiring Managers, even the most difficult ones, can handle the truth.  Highly Effective Recruiters establish themselves as a hub for communications by proactively setting up communication loops to obtain information, forecasting and controlling candidate flow, along with anticipating and setting up means to answer the most pressing candidate question: “Why was I not selected?”

Fall in with Love the Metrics

Recruiting can produce a treasure trove of metrics that can be used to measure progress, improve process and deliver results.  Used incorrectly, metrics can confuse, confound, and convey the wrong message.  Highly Effective Recruiters fall in love with metrics using them selectively to clarify, correct and communicate activities in the talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C).

How to fall in love with the metrics?

1.Select metrics that have meaning for you and your Open Rates by Subject Lineshiring manager

2.Select metrics that can show the best picture of the talent acquisition process  cycle

3.Select metrics that are easy to track and that are   clear, correct, and concise

Go to school on the business

The best way to learn about a business is to recruit talent for it.  Highly Effective Recruiters become students of the business learning fundamentals, understanding trends.

Recruiters are ambassadors to the business candidate and hiring managers can easily tell when you are faking the knowledge.  So dive in, read everything you can, ask to attend staff meetings, network within your company developing resources of knowledge that you can go to.  The key to being knowledgeable is not to know everything, but to know where to find the knowledge.

Compmise❿ More Networking

Highly Effective Recruiters depend on strong reliable networks as the backbone of their recruiting efforts. Effective networks hinge on building and maintaining great relationships.      Additionally, these networks are strategically sized so that the Highly Effective Recruiter can have personal interactions.  Size does matter and Highly Effective Recruiters are careful not to fall in the trap that they need large numbers of network contacts.  Highly Effective Recruiters proactively reach out to these strategically sized networks with thought leader content via social media and personal touches like birthday phone calls, and recognizing professional achievements.

The Bottom Line – Are You A Highly Effective Recruiter?

As a candidate, you can tell a lot about a company by the way it recruits.  If communication with the recruiting staff and hiring managers is spotty, it could be an indication of how the company operates.   Recruiters, if you are not following the traits of a Highly Effective Recruiter, I urge you to try some on for size. It will make the entire talent acquisition process cycle (TAP-C) go smoother.


Happy recruiting and happy job hunting!!!



There is Still Time Left on the Clock

NFL-shieldWe are now less than a week away from Super Bowl XLVII – The Baltimore Ravens vs. The San Francisco 49’s.    New Orleans is abuzz as fans, the media and the teams, arrive to get ready for the game and our annual celebration of pop culture, commercialism, and food all wrap around a football game.


Incredible Super Bowl Runs

49ersRavansBoth teams have had incredible runs with highs and lows in route to the championship.  The Ravens became just the second team since 1990 to advance to the Super Bowl after losing three of their last four regular-season games.  The 49ers, despite a highly respectable 6-2 record, replaced veteran starting quarterback Alex Smith with second year pro Colin Kaepernick. The risky move paid off as Kaepernick’s combination of arm strength and running prowess has made him a catalyst for the 49ers’ march to Super Bowl XLVII.

Brother, Brother

BrothervsBrotherSunday’s matchup is more than just a game–it is brother against brother in a coaching dual for the ages as Ravens head coach John Harbaugh squares off versus his younger brother San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. However, prospects for the brother-brother matchup looked very bleak for John Harbaugh and his Ravens on January 12th versus The Denver Broncos.

There is still time left on the clock

FalcoDenver was up 35-28 with 1:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense took over from their 23-yard line with no timeouts remaining.  On a 3rd-and-3 with very little hope of tying the game, Flacco heaved up a desperation pass to wide receiver Jacoby Jones.  Making a leaping grab, Jones scored the tying touchdown and the Ravens when on to win the game in overtime.

Over 50 & Unemployed: There is still time left on the clock

Employment-Over-60-FeaturedFor older workers who lose their jobs, the statistics are not very encouraging.  According to Susan Adams of, the unemployment rate for people over 55 is just 5.9%. However, when older workers lose their jobs, they are out of work for a long time.  AARP reported 54.9% of job seekers over 55 had been looking for 27 weeks or more. On average, unemployed people over 55 are typically out of work for more than a year.  However, those discouraging facts don’t have to apply to you.  There is still time left on the clock of your career if you go about your search in the right way.  Here are 3 tips that will help.

❶ Learn from Ray Lewis – Reinvent Yourself

ray lewisNext Sunday, when the Super Bowl clock strikes zero, the game will be over and so will the storied 17 year career of Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.  While Ray can no longer do his football job, he will not be out of work.  Why?  — Because Ray has reinvented himself from a football player to a football analyst.   Now you don’t have to be a future Hall of Fame football hero to reinvent yourself. Change is the bedrock of life, and each time there is a major shift in our lives, leaving a job, ending a relationship, or retiring after playing in a Super Bowl it brings an opportunity for reinvention.  I’ve reinvented myself several times in my life as have most adults.  In those various reinvention projects, I have used the following touchstones to help guide the transformation.

1. Create a vision for your future. Write down at least 7 things you would like to become.

2. Explore your vision  Be bold and truly examine how your life will change for the good if you reinvent.

3. Find the vision Speak with professionals who are doing what you would like to do.

4. Act the vision Develop an action plan with time-lines and deadlines for the reinvention.

5. Share the vision  Tell everyone about your reinvention. You will be amazed with the support.

❷ Create Super Bowl Style Hype About Your Job Search

SB TrophyAnnually, the Super Bowl ranks as one the highest rated shows on television.  Around the world millions of people, fans and non-fans, come together to watch the game and the three-ring circus that surrounds it.   The three-ring circus is created and fed by the hype machine which is the Super Bowl. Think of some of the levers in the hype machine: the two-week build up to the game, the Super Bowl parties and food, the anticipation of the commercials, the half-time show, and the gambling.  All for a game that very often does not live up to its expectations.

As a job seeker, especially one over 50, creating hype about your job search is critical to your overall success in finding a job.  I realize that “hyping” yourself is uncomfortable and is not a natural part of our DNA.   Skip Freedman, CEO of an Atlanta based executive search firm and author of the new book “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, says while you don’t have to hype yourself to Super Bowl standards, a successful job seeker must think like a sales person regardless if they like it or not.  In the book Skip offers these sage nuggets for selling yourself in the job search process.

Think of yourself like a product that is being sold.

  • Understand your features, and what you have to offer that your competitors do not.

Polish-up your Branding Materials

  • Your LinkedIn profile is the most effective branding tool you have, ensure it is up to par.

Be ready to make many sales calls

  • Commit to doing informational interviews; write a blog, speak at conferences. These “sales” calls will provide the exposure you need to hype up your candidacy. 

❸ Keep Your Chin Up–There is Opportunity in Defeat

SB47 logoSunday will mark the 47th Super Bowl and in the previous 46 games, 46 teams have won and 46 teams have lost. — (Now that is stellar research!!!! LOL)   28 of the NFL’s  32 franchises have made it to the big game with 4 teams, The Detroit, Cleveland, Houston and Jacksonville so far on the outside looking in at the Super Bowl party.

My Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most championships-6, but they have also lost twice.  The only franchise with multiple wins with an unblemished record are the 49’ers at 5-0.  They will put perfection to the test and try to tie my Steelers for the most wins on Sunday.  The Buffalo Bills have the most consecutive appearances with four losses in a row from 1991 to 1994. The New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings have also lost a record four Super Bowls. Buffalo and Minnesota are both 0–4, Denver is 2–4 and New England is 3–4.

This is my point–losing is part of football and life. Losing a job sucks, it is hard, difficult, and will test your resolve.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  Get your chin up because you are just one job win away from getting back in the game.

The Bottom Line: My Super Bowl Prediction

Ravens 28 – 49’ers 24

If I am wrong….. Not to worry, because there is still time left on the clock!!!!




Fruit Stand Leadership

Presidential SealToday, we observe the 57th inauguration of a President of the United States.  From the first inauguration in 1789 of George Washington in New York to today’s swearing in of Barack Obama in the city that bears Washington’s name, the simple act of taking the oath of office symbolizes, for me, the importance and impact of leadership.

For 37 years, my Uncle Leonard has operated a fruit and vegetable stand in my hometown of Gray, GA.  Last week, I spent time with Uncle Leonard talking baseball and doing many of the chores around the stand that I did for him many moons ago when I was a kid.  Those tasks taught me the value of hard work.  However, the fruit stand and the way my uncle conducts his business there continues to impart valuable truths.   In today’s post, I would like to share with you 3 leadership truths from the fruit stand.

Fruit, like opportunities, will spoil if not acted on quickly.  

“The opportunity of a lifetime only lasts for the lifetime of the opportunity” is a phrase coined by the writer W.E.B.Du Bois to describe the importance of understanding the urgency of seizing opportunities.  My uncle knows that fruit will only last so long – leaders must recognize opportunity and to be willing to act even when others will not. When faced with the opportunity of purchasing Louisiana from the French President, Thomas Jefferson did not fail to act.  Despite the fact that the purchase of land by the government was counter to his political ideology, he knew the opportunity of the purchase was good for the country.   He knew if he did not act on the opportunity quickly, it would spoil, and the offer to buy Louisiana would be made available to another county.

Compromise is the bedrock of a profitable Fruit Stand

Compmise“To make money in the fruit selling business, you always have to be willing to take half a loaf” is what my uncle says is key to his success.  He is consistently taking “half a loaf” by compromising with everyone–from the farmers he buys his fruit from to customers who are always looking to make a deal.  His willingness to give and take has kept my uncle in business for 37 years, enabling him to withstand competition from large grocery chains that regularly beat him on price and selection.    Democratic President Lyndon Johnson faced a huge problem in getting the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed by the Congress.   The problem?  He could not get the votes of fellow Southern Democrats.   The President crafted a compromise with Republicans in which he “traded off “some of the things in the bill to get the “loaf passed.”   Ironically, ten years later in 1974, when the Civil Rights Act was up for reauthorization by the Congress, the president doing the compromising was Gerald Ford, who was one of the Republicans that Johnson had compromised with in 1964.

It takes courage to run a fruit stand

The Fruit StandFor 37 years, Uncle Leonard has proudly operated his business 6 days a week from 7:00 AM -7:00 PM from a truck parked under a tent.  Exposed to the cold in the winter and the Sahara- like heat of the central Georgia summer, Uncle Leonard cheerily greets customers, tends to the produce, and conducts all the high finance of the business.  The fruit stand has provided a good living for my uncle and his family; it has paid the mortgage, put his children through college, and provided the first job for countless of kids like me.  Uncle Leonard does not see himself as courageous, he sees himself as a regular American running a small town business against the odds in a mostly difficult economic climate.  You may not see Uncle Leonard as courageous either, until you look a bit more closely. Because Uncle Leonard has run a successful business for 37 years mostly by himself, without a government bailout or handout, and without the benefit of sight…because my Uncle Leonard is blind.  Leadership, in all of its many forms, requires courage. Courage requires taking a risk and the ultimate risk for an elective official, is to take a stand that is right for the county…but will lead to defeat at the polls.

The issue of slavery was front and center in the Illinois senatorial election of 1858.  The Democratic candidate, Stephen Douglas, was on the side of popular opinion in support of continuing the institutionAbraham Lincoln and the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was against the continuation of slavery. In a series of dramatic debates across the state, Lincoln and Douglas, with daring and skill, discussed the merits of slavery.  In the end, Douglas won the senate seat. However, the courage of Lincoln to oppose slavery was not lost on the nation.  Because  in just two years after those landmark debates, Lincoln was elected President.

The Bottom Line: The Value of Fruit Stand Leadership 

This observation about leadership from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu clearlyfruits describes the fruit stand leadership I learned from Uncle Leonard:  A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim is fulfilled.  On this inauguration day, I hope we will remember my Uncle Leonard’s 3 fruit stand leadership lessons:

1, Opportunities will spoil if not acted on quickly

2. Compromise is the bedrock of  profitability

3. It takes courage to run a fruit stand

Let’s hope our leaders will spend some time in the fruit stand.



❺ Game-changing Job Search Strategies

Sister Girl Looking

Finding a job doesn’t just happen by magic (wouldn’t that be awesome?). It takes hard work, smarts and what I call a kickass commitment to find a job no matter the hardships or the length of time it may take.   Josh Tolan  the CEO of Spark Hire, a UK based video powered hiring network that connects job seekers and employers through video resumes and online has come up with 5 game changing strategies for successful job seekers.   I am pleased to share Josh’s strategies in this week’s blog.

Know Your Goals

Before setting out on a protracted job search, ask yourself what you really want out of your career. It might seem silly, but perhaps you don’t know your own goals and aspirations as well as you think. By spending some time focused on exactly what you want to get out of your job search, you’ll avoid taking the wrong job and getting stuck on a career path which doesn’t fulfill you.  This is also a great chance to think about whether you should stay on your current path or switch industries. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re truly dedicated and passionate about your goal and you’ll be one step closer to achieving it.    For more about goals read my post 3 Goals for 2013

Never Stop Networking

Networking is a great way to discover hidden job opportunities and to set yourself apart from the pack. It’s important to resolve to make 2013 the year you really focus on building up your circle. Network in person and through social media and make sure to remember to follow-up with your contacts in order to keep them fresh. This way, when a great opportunity opens up, you’re smiling face is the first they imagine. For more about networking read my post 5 Ways to Power-up Your Networking in 2013

Nail The Elevator Pitch

If you’re going to be networking up a storm in 2013, it’s important you have your elevator pitch down cold. Your elevator pitch is the concise way you introduce yourself to new contacts. Make sure you have all the vital information about yourself, but don’t ramble on! You want to make an impression quickly so the conversation can move on from the introductions. This will also be helpful in the interview process, whether it’s in person or through online video, when the interviewer asks you to tell them a little bit about yourself.

Get Visual

Visual media is everywhere you look now, from your college friends posting Facebook pictures to your grandma merrily pinning away on Pinterest. Everyone is obsessed with visual media, and the job search isn’t much different. If you can find a way to make an impression visually, you’ll be more likely to grab the attention of hiring managers. Look into infographic resumes, make sure your social media profiles sport professional pictures, and record a video resume to show off your communication skills. Remember a picture (or video!) can tell a thousand words, so make sure your images are saying the right things.

Develop a Social Media Plan

Social media is an ever-increasing part of daily life. From keeping in contact with friends to networking with potential contacts, social media is an important tool to stay in touch. Make sure you’re not just using social media on a whim when it comes to your job hunt.Take some time to make a workable social media job search plan. This could include groups you should join, discussions you should add to, or Twitter chats you should monitor. Don’t think social media is a magic bullet that will land you a job with no effort! For more about social media read my post Have you Googled yourself lately?

The Bottom Line — Give Yourself a Break

Job hunting is tough, make no mistake. If you spend 100 percent of your time hunting for a job, you will burn out. Don’t forget to relax and take a break occasionally. Make time for the things which are important to you, so you can return to the search refreshed and ready to snag your dream job!

Related Content from The Marben Bland Group

3 Cool Career Tips   How Strong Are Your LinkedIn Connections – Viedo

Power-Up Business Card   Have you Googled yourself lately?

Marben Bland is a social media banding, job search and recruiting expert.  He has helped scores of businesses and people market better to achieve game changing results.  For more go to or email




6 Moves to Turbocharge Your Career in 2013

Welcome to 2013, a brand new year to be all we can be!  As we pursue our yearlong quest for optimal personal productivity, many of us make New Year’s resolutions.  In my post 3 Goals for 2013 I talked about the importance of setting goals instead of making resolutions.  Because the goals you set today are the resolutions you keep for the year.   But, if you are not into resolutions or goals how about a-to-do list?  That’s right a simple listing of things that you want to get accomplished in the New Year.  So as we unpack this sparkling New Year I am proud to present for your consideration a 6 item to-do list for 2013.

Be Flexible

The odds are that the way you’ll do work on January 1st of 2013 won’t be the way you’ll be doing work on December 31st of 2013.  In a recent Gallop poll more than 50% of employees responded by saying they have experienced “significant change” in the way they do work in the past 12 months.  From reorganizations to new workflows to layoffs change is a big part of the workplace.  Make sure that you are flexible so your boss sees you are someone who can get the job done no matter what’s happening around you.

Stay Current

Keep up with trends in your industry by either reading trade, business and general publications or checking out online sources.  Then take what you have learned and apply it to solve problems in your workplace.  It will make you a more valued employee.

Strengthen Your Network

In today’s workplace sandbox everyone has to play well with others. Fitting within the network of the workplace is a part of the new definition of a great employee.  The idea that you can be an individual contributor and be successful is an idea of the past. Why?  Look at the numbers, research from the Corporate Executive Board indicates that 40% of all employees work with more than 20 people on a given day, and more than 80% work with at least 10 people.  Its arithmetic!  People who can build strong networks on the job and outside the job have a big leg up in the getting things done department.   Read my post 5 Ways to Power Up Your Networking in 2013 for tips on strengthening your network.

Seek Leadership Opportunities

Pursue a strategy to actively seek opportunities for leadership including chairing employee teams, or leading projects no matter how small and trivial or large and daunting the task may seem. “Be selective about taking on leadership assignments….but aggressively seek them,” says General Colin Powell.  “There’s a difference between begging for these opportunities and raising your hand,” he warns, “but if someone says there’s a job to be done, raise your hand first and then ask for help. Powell ended by saying, “The biggest mistake a person who would like to get ahead or stay employed can make is passing up the opportunity to lead.”

Make Friends with the IT Guy

Technology is the lifeblood of a productive workplace. According to the Corporate Executive Board the average number of work-related emails we receive each day has increased fourfold since 2005, underscoring the explosive importance of technology in the office. This makes the IT Guy and the IT department not just another employee or department but a vital part of the workforce. Don’t stop making nice with just the IT Guy, making friends with admins is an important move as well. In the workplace of 2013 power, authority and decision making is cropping up in some unexpected places. And administrative assistants are at the center of it all. Underestimating their authority—or missing the opportunity to develop a strong relationship with the IT Guy or the admins is something no employee can afford to do.

Become a Thought Leader

A thought leader is an individual that is recognized in and out of the company as an authority in selected areas of specialization, making that person a go-to source.  Strategy consultant Dorie Clark, writing in the Harvard Business Review outlines 6 steps on How to became a Thought Leader, 3 of those steps include creating a robust online presence, networking, and public speaking.  I urge you to read this post to discover the secrets of sharing the knowledge you already have with the world as a thought leader.  In the post you will learn that good employees are nice to have but thought leaders are irreplaceable — and indispensable.

The Bottom Line: It is all up to you

You a much more than an employee you are flexible, you are a networker, you are a leader and you are a thought leader.  The arc of your career is in your hands and the first step in this process is knowing that you are in control. Working with this 6 item to-do list for 2013 can give you the confidence if you need it along with an achievement roadmap to get ahead, stay on the job or get a new job.  – Remember it is all up to you.