Top Talent Acquisition and Retention Strategies for Companies: Tips and Tricks

In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial to the success of any company. To thrive, companies must attract the best and brightest candidates to fill open positions, and then retain those employees to ensure long-term success. This article provides strategies and tips for companies looking to attract and retain top talent.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Employer Brand

One important strategy for attracting top talent is to create a strong employer brand. Your employer brand is the reputation that your company has among potential employees. It’s the overall perception that people have about what it’s like to work for your organization. A strong employer brand can help attract the best candidates, as people will want to work for a company that has a positive reputation. To build your employer brand, you should focus on creating a positive company culture, offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, and investing in employee development and training.

Optimize Job Postings

Another way to attract top talent is to optimize your job postings. Your job postings should be clear and concise, highlighting the key responsibilities and qualifications for the role. Use keywords and phrases that are relevant to the position, and make sure to include information about the company culture and any unique benefits or perks that you offer. Be sure to also include information about the application process and any deadlines.

Promote Jobs On Multiple Channels

In addition to optimizing your job postings, it’s important to use a variety of channels to promote your open positions. This includes posting on job boards and social media, as well as leveraging your professional network and employee referrals. Employee referrals are particularly effective, as they tend to result in higher-quality candidates who are a better fit for the company culture.

Invest In Employee Development And Training

Once you’ve attracted top talent, it’s important to retain those employees to ensure long-term success. One way to do this is to invest in employee development and training. Employees want to feel like they are growing and developing in their roles, and investing in their professional development can help increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover. This can include providing opportunities for learning and development, offering mentorship programs, and providing regular feedback and coaching.

Competitive Compensation And Benefits

Another way to retain top talent is to offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. While salary is important, employees also value benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off. Offering a comprehensive benefits package can help attract and retain top talent.

Create A Positive And Respectful Work Environment

In addition to offering competitive compensation and benefits, it’s important to create a positive work environment. This includes fostering a culture of respect and inclusion, providing opportunities for work-life balance, and recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work and achievements.

Listen To And Respect Employee Feedback

Finally, it’s important to listen to your employees and take their feedback into consideration. Conduct regular employee surveys to gather feedback on areas for improvement, and then take action on that feedback. When employees feel like their voices are heard and their opinions matter, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to the company.

In Summary

In conclusion, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial to the success of any company. To attract top talent, companies should focus on creating a strong employer brand, optimizing job postings, and using a variety of channels to promote open positions. To retain top talent, companies should invest in employee development and training, offer competitive compensation and benefits packages, create a positive work environment, and listen to employee feedback. By implementing these strategies, companies can attract and retain the best and brightest candidates, setting themselves up for long-term success.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Great Books To Read

#toptalent, #employerbrand, #jobpostings, #employeereferrals, #employeedevelopment, #compensation, #benefits, #workenvironment, #employeefeedback, #retention

5 Top Trends Shaping the Current Job Market: What Companies and Job Seekers Need to Know

Photo by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash

The job market is constantly evolving, with new trends and developments emerging on a regular basis. Understanding these trends is essential for both companies and job seekers, as they can have a significant impact on the hiring process, the types of jobs available, and the skills and qualifications required for success.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the top trends shaping the current job market and what they mean for companies and job seekers. We’ll explore everything from the rise of remote work to the importance of soft skills and the impact of technology on hiring processes.

  1. Remote Work

One of the most significant trends in the job market in recent years has been the rise of remote work. Driven in part by advancements in technology and a desire for greater flexibility, more and more companies are allowing employees to work from home or other locations outside of the traditional office.

This trend has significant implications for both companies and job seekers. For companies, remote work can offer cost savings, increased productivity, and a wider pool of potential candidates. For job seekers, remote work can provide greater flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere in the world.

  1. Gig Work

Another trend that is gaining momentum in the job market is gig work. This refers to short-term or contract-based work, often in the form of freelancing or consulting. Gig work can offer job seekers greater control over their schedules and the types of work they do, as well as the ability to work with multiple clients or companies.

For companies, gig work can provide access to a wider range of specialized skills and expertise, without the need to hire full-time employees. However, it can also present challenges in terms of managing multiple contractors and ensuring consistent quality across projects.

  1. Soft Skills

While technical skills and qualifications have traditionally been the focus of hiring processes, there is growing recognition of the importance of soft skills in the workplace. Soft skills refer to interpersonal and communication skills, such as teamwork, empathy, and leadership.

Companies are increasingly seeking candidates with strong soft skills, recognizing that these qualities are essential for success in a collaborative and constantly changing work environment. For job seekers, developing strong soft skills can help set them apart from the competition and make them more valuable to potential employers.

  1. Diversity and Inclusion

Another important trend in the job market is the push for greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Companies are recognizing the benefits of a diverse workforce, including increased creativity, improved problem-solving, and better decision-making.

However, achieving diversity and inclusion requires more than just hiring a diverse group of employees. It requires a commitment to creating an inclusive workplace culture, where all employees feel valued and respected.

  1. Technology

Finally, technology is having a significant impact on the job market, both in terms of the types of jobs available and the hiring processes used by companies. Advances in automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are changing the nature of work in many industries, requiring workers to develop new skills and adapt to new roles.

At the same time, technology is also being used to streamline hiring processes and improve candidate assessment. For example, some companies are using AI-powered tools to screen resumes and conduct initial interviews, allowing them to identify top candidates more efficiently.

What Do These Trends Mean for Companies and Job Seekers?

So, what do these trends mean for companies and job seekers? First and foremost, they highlight the importance of staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the job market. Companies that fail to adapt to these trends risk falling behind their competitors, while job seekers who ignore them may find themselves less competitive in the job market.

For companies, these trends offer opportunities to attract top talent, increase productivity, and stay ahead of the competition. However, they also require a willingness to adapt and embrace change, as well as a commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive.

Some great reading options:

#jobmarkettrends, #remotework, #gigwork, #softskills, #diversityandinclusion, #technologyinhiring, #jobsearchtips, #employmentindustrydevelopments, #workplaceculture, #candidateassessment

Recruiting During Covid-19

Agency and Inhouse Teams: Challenges and Suggestions

Agency and Inhouse Teams: Challenges and Suggestions

Recruiting talent in the coronavirus age is far from easy. This goes for inhouse recruiters as well as agency recruiters. Having worked inhouse and in agencies – I currently own one – my perspective is reflecting both sides of the talent acquisition coin.

To ensure that businesses are able to ramp back up to meet urgent hiring goals, there is a need for decision makers to fully understand what the recruitment process looks like within their organization and how the relationship between hiring, inhouse recruiters, and staffing and recruiting agencies works.

Inhouse Recruiting

If you’re an inhouse recruiter right now, most of your hiring managers are probably demanding that their reqs be filled yesterday. Yes, sometimes this is the norm for hiring teams, but you probably notice that it’s even more common now. Afterall, a lot of businesses are behind on deliverables. Companies are in the red when they expected to be in the black, and the future is still unknown regarding when additional headcount can be added, or if additional furloughs and layoffs will happen in place of hiring. Presently, the world is a crazy, crazy, place.

What your hiring teams may not realize is that the same pressure that they’re under to deliver with a shoestring budget and a skeleton crew of a team, has translated tenfold in the recruiting team. Again, not anyone’s fault, but facts are facts, and recruiters are not having their pick of talent the way that most hiring teams would assume. At least, not exactly the way they would assume.

What are inhouse recruiting teams seeing?

I will explain the typical recruiting lifecycle for a requisition in laymen’s terms, to make it easier to grasp. It is not uncommon during this economy to see 80 or more candidates apply to a requisition once it’s posted. Even before the pandemic, it was common for me to see at least 100 applications for a tech requisition. This is notincluding the direct sourced candidates that come from my network, referrals, etc.

Covid-19 has raised the unemployment rate, but also, the number of applicants per position. In May, I posted a requisition for a large eCommerce brand. It garnered 240 applicants! Let me explain this in greater detail.

During normal recruiting conditions, a recruiter is layering their approach to locating the perfect candidates for their hiring managers. They’re posting the job on major job boards, reaching out on LinkedIn to their network, asking past candidates for referrals, looping back on silver-medalist candidates to see if they have interest in the current opening, and then they wade through the passive applicants that apply after seeing the job advertised on the web or in social media. Most of these candidates are not matches for the requisition that the recruiter is trying to fill. In fact, by the time a recruiter delivers a hiring manager their first candidate slate, they may have rejected 50 or more candidates that were not matches for the requisition.

Candidates apply sometimes to jobs in bulk, without looking at the job spec in which they are applying. Some candidates are trying to make career changes and believe that they have enough parallel skills that would enable them to perform well in the posted role. Regardless of the reason, there are candidates applying that are not a match for the requisition, which means that the recruiter must read resumes, phone screen, and locate the best possible talent to deliver to their hiring teams. This was the norm when the unemployment rate was 3.5%. Now cycle through these conditions when it is 8.4%, which is the unemployment rate at the time of writing.

How does a recruiter manage the candidate experience, protect the employer brand, and thoroughly evaluate their candidate pools with so many candidates applying that aren’t a fit for their requisitions? Diligence and high levels of competency and organization are the answer.

Breaking the recruiter’s day into smaller blocks of time enables a recruiter to easily keep themselves on track. The mornings are phone screens, responding to yesterday’s email responses, and jumping into meetings. Maybe in the evening they set up their calls for the next morning, source online, send out InMails, continue evaluating resumes, reject candidates, etc.

During more stable economic times, following a structured day like what is outlined above still leaves a lot of work for a recruiter to complete in their day. Things like notating a candidate’s profile, updating the ATS system with hiring manager notes, making sure candidate evaluations and scorecards have been completed, making sure that all candidates that need to receive assessments have received them, and on and on.

This amount of evaluation, due diligence, and administrative duties is why even with an inhouse team, most organizations still build solid relationships with recruiting and staffing agencies to supplement their inhouse team’s efforts. This is even more important now during the pandemic.

Agency Recruiting

To use a worn out cliche, agency recruiters by nature are typically a bit scrappier than inhouse recruiters. This has nothing to do with nature and more to do with nurturing. 

For any recruiter that has cut their teeth in an agency environment, they know that the phone doesn’t stop ringing and most of the day is spent talking. You are a master networker, a social butterfly if you will. Your job typically involves talking to many candidates, just like the inhouse recruiting teams do, but with one very significant difference – you don’t have the backing of the company brand or the relationship with the hiring team (typically).

Think about when you may have applied for a job and a recruiter reached out. Did the recruiter say, “Hi, I’m working on an opening here at (insert company name) and found your profile on LinkedIn? It seems like we may have an opportunity that you could find interesting and I was hoping that we could jump on a call so that I could tell you more about the position and more about why working here is exciting and how we are disrupting the industry…” 

If you received a message like the one above, then you were most likely communicating with an inhouse recruiter.

Did you receive a message like this? “Hello, I know that you’re busy, so I’ll be quick. I have a client that is looking for someone with skills like yours. I’m not sure if you’re on the market, or even open to discussing opportunities, but if you are, I’d love to set up a time to tell you more about my client and discuss the role in more detail. Do you have time today for a quick 15-minute call? Thank you!

If you recieved a message like the above, you were talking to an agency recruiter. Assertive, time sensitive, and eager to sell you on the opportunity that they have for their client. Client details are typically not given until after the candidate is interested in the position and has spoken with the recruiter on a call or via video conference.

The importance here is that if a candidate receives the first message type, they already have the company details and can research to decide if the company is a brand that they’d like to even consider working for. A lot of established brands also have very large passive applicant pools once a job is posted. This isn’t always true for an agency working on a requisition. 

This means that agency recruiters are brought up in an ecosystem that urges hunter mentality and assertiveness. These characteristics are exactly what make agency recruiters a great supplemental to any inhouse recruitment team. They are ultra-focused on only sending candidates that they feel are a great fit for the assigned requisition and they know that for them to get paid in most instances, there’s got to be a high-level of hustle on their part.

What are agency recruiting teams seeing?

So, back to the current job market climate. If you work in an agency, and run a full desk, your day has migrated away from a 20-50 percent business development and a large focus on talent acquisition and screening. Now, there’s most likely an 80 or 90 percent focus on business development and client outreach, and a small focus on talent sourcing. This is most likely due to not having many requisitions to fill. If this is not your current situation, that’s great! But for most, there’s a scramble to locate clients and surface requisitions to collect fees on.

Many of the companies that staffing agencies typically service have frozen and/or closed their requisitions until they can determine what business will look like. They’ve also laid off or furloughed much of their HR and recruitment teams.

This all translates to a very difficult time for agency recruiters. Partnerships they’ve built over the span of their careers, candidates that are now emailing and calling them in force, everything that they’ve come to know about the recruiting landscape through an agency lens has stalled.

My Prediction

It seems like the steps that companies are taking makes sense, and for some I’m sure that it does. However, there are a few things that employers are not considering, because they’re not recruiters and don’t live day in and day out in our professional space.

When the pandemic started, unemployment was skyrocketing and hit 14.7% in April. During this time, it made sense to cut jobs and stop the financial bleeding for these companies. Now, unemployment has dropped to 8.4%. This is a partial indicator that companies have started to slowly hire again. 

What’s interesting is that even while certain companies are reopening some of their requisitions, they are not necessarily bringing their recruiters back from furlough or rehiring full time inhouse recruiters to carry the requisition load. This seems to be an effort to stem costs of onboarding and salaries, but what will most likely happen is the existing recruiting teams will be become overwhelmed with requisitions, which will have downstream impacts on things like time to fill, product and project delivery, employer brand, and overall employee morale as teams try to carry the additional workload while waiting for new hires to join.

Through my management and leadership experience, I’ve personally found that anywhere between 10-15 requisitions seems to be the optimal workbench for most recruiters, granted industry and seniority level plays a part in this as well. I’ve been on the other side of the fence though, where I’ve managed upwards of 80 requisitions as a recruiting manager and had one recruiter that I directly managed that could assist. This scenario was a nightmare. 

I watched as hiring manager after hiring manager complained about their candidate pipeline. I remember asking why we had not hired additional headcount to address the inflated req load and improve the delivery of recruitment services to our hiring teams. Unfortunately, nothing came of my requests. Ultimately, I was convinced that the only way to be heard by my leadership was to leave the company, which I promptly did. This decision was hard for me as I’d truly thought that I would stay at the company indefinitely and had worked to build a solid reputation with everyone that I’d worked with. Rather than staying and ruining my personal brand, I decided to join another company and have more control over my recruiting process.

The point is that sometimes executive leadership sees the bottom-line rather than the impact a decision will have on its employee base. I believe that we must be careful to evaluate the situation and not be afraid to invest in rebuilding a proper talent acquisition function prior to ramping back up with corporate hiring.

So, what I think will most likely happen is that we’ll see businesses try to hire for their urgent needs using what remains of their inhouse recruiting teams, paying little attention to req loads. Eventually, they’ll notice that time to fill/time to hire is not where it needs to be and approve additional recruiter headcount. Recruiting managers and hiring managers that need immediate hiring of talent will push to use staffing and recruiting agencies to supplement their teams with contractors and full-time hires. There will be pushback here as well from team budget holders, as they’ll say that the inhouse team is there so that agencies do not need to be engaged. Eventually, it will become clear that in order to meet the initiatives that have been laid out by the business, agencies will need to be brought in to assist AND recruiting teams will need to have additional headcount added.

A great way forward

This is where I ask that recruiting teams, both agency and inhouse, try something a bit different. I’ve made it a point to always have several agencies that I partner with while working as an inhouse TA leader. It allows me to scale and deliver quickly. I ask the recruiters that we engage from agencies to partner with our inhouse recruiters that run the approved requisitions. This means that the agency recruiter DOES NOT circumvent the inhouse recruiter and go straight to the hiring manager. This is key.

Mutual respect is the one thing that is missing in most instances between inhouse teams and agency recruiters. I’ve taken reqs from inhouse recruiters that were not promptly updating our agency partners and reassigned them to other team members. I’ve also cancelled contracts with agencies that ignore my direction to work hand in hand with the inhouse recruiting teams. If each side respects one another, and stays within bounds, the resulting product is a highly fine-tuned process that allows for incredibly fast time to hire metrics, great pipeline buildout, and a prosperous relationship for everyone involved.

By merging agency with inhouse, we can truly represent the business’ brand in the best light possible. Candidates are quickly updated, interviews startup shortly after the requisition is posted, inhouse recruiting teams can target the low hanging fruit and leave the more aggressive sourcing behavior to the agency recruiters who make upwards of 60 calls a day. Hiring managers are the ones who start to be chased for updates regarding candidates instead of them chasing the recruiters. This becomes a much more sustainable solution for the business. If done correctly it doesn’t break the bank.

At SilverStone Talent LLC, I’ve worked to develop an agency mantra that focuses on building our relationships with our clients. I want to change the stigma that inhouse recruiters and HR representatives have with working with staffing and recruiting agencies.

Covid-19 has transformed the hiring landscape. We’ve done what many other agencies have done – we’ve expanded our offerings and ways of working with businesses. We know that businesses are pivoting to try and return their functions to as close to normal as they can get during this pandemic, so we’ve done the same. 

To make it easier for businesses to work with us, we’ve made sure to highlight that we are not retained, even for executive searches. We are contingent based and only get paid for performance. The one caveat being if we implement our RPO services.

Hopefully, as things start to return to a more traditional way of doing business and more jobs continue to open up, recruiting teams from both the agency side of the business and inhouse can take my advice and start to work much more closely to better meet the demands and needs of the companies that they both support.

Candidate Consultation

As many of us have found out, being a candidate in an economy that’s over 8% unemployment can be very difficult. Some of the hurdles that you may have to overcome on your job search are having a limited number of relevant job postings for you to apply to, trying to navigate a world that now prefers video interviews instead of in person, and creating an online presence that attracts employers to you instead of only relying on your own job hunting skills to locate opportunities.

This article will be a broad overview of some pretty easy steps that you can take to improve your chances of landing that job that you really want by standing out from the crowd.

Start with LinkedIn

Hopefully, you’ve already created a LinkedIn profile and are using it during your job hunt. This may sound surprising to some, but there are many people who don’t think of using LinkedIn to look for work.

I offer consultations as part of my agency’s service offerings and frequently I see candidates that have created a LinkedIn profile, but have not updated it in years. Or, the candidate has updated the profile, but they have just listed where they’ve worked and the title that they held, without adding any content around job responsibilities or skills needed and used in the role. This is a big no-no.

When a recruiter starts working on a requisition (job order), they are not just relying on job boards like Indeed, Glassdoor, etc. to funnel candidates to them. They are also engaged in something called “talent sourcing”. One of the primary tools used to do this is LinkedIn. In fact staffing firms and inhouse talent acquisition teams pay thousands of dollars to LinkedIn, per recruiter, in order to gain access to advanced search and contact features within the LinkedIn platform.

Recruiters go on LinkedIn and type in search terms, Boolean strings, and filter their personal networks, in the hopes of cherry picking individuals that may be open to becoming candidates for the jobs that they are working on. I can tell you that a recruiter that can’t locate you on LinkedIn or sees a profile that doesn’t truly illustrate what your experience is, will most likely skip over you as a potential candidate. I’m not saying that this should be what happens, but it is. This simply means that LinkedIn should be where you start prior to looking for job opportunities.

First and foremost, you should have a clear headshot as your profile photo on LinkedIn. I know that some people don’t like the idea of having their photo available online, or worry that their headshot isn’t done by a professional photographer, but let me tell you, a photo dramatically increases the chance that a recruiter or hiring manager will take the time to review your profile online.

The reason for this preference is due in some part to fake profiles that have been created and posted on the LinkedIn platform. LinkedIn does a pretty good job of quickly removing these profiles, but many do still exist. It just so happens that many fake profiles do not have a photo. Another reason for the preference of seeing a photo on your LinkedIn profile is so that recruiters and managers get the sense that you have kept the profile up to date. A lot of people create their LinkedIn profile and then forget about it, until they’re ready for a new job search. Not having a photo and just filling in bits and pieces of your professional experience decreases the chances that a recruiter or hiring manager will reach out to you.

Your LinkedIn headline should clearly state the position that you want to get and indicate that you’re open to new opportunities. Just having something like “Full Stack Developer” as your headline is limiting. You should be specific and let the world know that you are looking for an opportunity. Something like “Senior Full Stack Developer (MERN) – Open to new opportunities” will get you more attention, allow you to show up in specific searches that recruiters are running, and clearly indicate roles that you believe yourself to be a fit for.

Also, make sure that you include keywords that easily relate to the skills that you have under each section in the experience block of the profile. If you’re a Big Data Engineer, include the business tools that you use to clean data and create visualizations. If you’re a product manager, include software that you utilize in your role and the number of direct reports that you are responsible for. In product and project roles, also include the domain that you are typically tied to.

Don’t be afraid to put your email address in your headline and your “About” section. The easier it is for a recruiter or hiring manager to connect with you, the more likely that you’ll hear about opportunities before other candidates. There are many times where recruiters are aware of jobs that they’ll start working on in a matter of days. Some recruiters start pipelining candidates on LinkedIn prior to the role formally opening so that they can immediately start contacting candidates that they feel may be a good match. If you have contact details in your profile that are easily accessible, you increase the chances that a recruiter can get in touch with you.

There are many times where a recruiter sends a LinkedIn InMail and never hears back from the candidate. Many times it’s because the candidate isn’t always paying attention to their LinkedIn inbox or they’re notifications are being flagged by their email folder. Having a direct email gives the recruiter another, more direct way, of reaching out to see if you’re open to discussing the position that they’re trying to fill.

Move on to your Resume

The next area of focus for you should be your resume. It is very common for recruiters to receive resumes that are poorly formatted, have spelling errors, have more than two pages, or are saved in .doc or .docx file types. Let’s go through why these things shouldn’t happen and what you should strive for prior to sending out your resume to prospective employers and recruiters.

Resume format is important, but you honestly shouldn’t stress out too much about which format is right for you unless you’re a copywriter, in publishing, communications, or if you want to get creative to stand out from other applicants when applying for digital design roles.

Keep it simple. Don’t overthink what you’re trying to say. Recruiters and hiring managers want to quickly see what you have done during your career. In fact two articles reported that recruiters only look at your resume between 6-7 seconds. I can say that this is true, to an extent. When a recruiter first starts going through the applicants for a job posting that has 80+ resumes, they need to move quickly in order to meet the demand of the hiring team. What they are typically looking for is format, keywords, and bullet points that very clearly say that you are able to do the job that you applied to.

If you have a resume that is written in blocks of text, in paragraph format, you’ll probably be skipped over. If your experience is not shown with your most recent experience first, then a recruiter may skip over your resume. If you double space your resume, needless to say that a recruiter may skip over it.

You should remember that a recruiter’s time is very limited throughout each and every single day. They are screening candidates via video or phone, they are having team meetings, they are meeting with hiring managers to update them on the status of their openings or to plan the recruiting process of new jobs, they are responding to InMails and emails by other candidates, and sometimes they’re conducting background checks. The list of things that takes up time in a recruiter’s day goes on and on. So to have the best opportunity to be spotted in the crowd, make it easy to understand quickly what you do, how you align to the role, and how to contact you. This is why a recruiter only spends 6 to 7 seconds looking at your resume initially.

Once a recruiter has added your resume to the group of candidates that seem to match with the job spec, they go back to that group and start to deep dive into the details of what you’ve written. This is your goal as a candidate. To get your resume to the point where someone will do a deep dive into all of the great things that you’ve accomplished in your career.

Let’s say that your resume is now in the hands of the hiring manager or recruiter and they’re paying attention to all of the details that you’ve included about yourself. Here is where the next batch of candidates gets screened out of the recruitment process.

I’m going to probably get pushback on this one, but I’m going to stand by my words. Do not exceed two pages in resume length unless you are an executive leader. Different recruiters have different opinions, but as someone who’s worked in agency, RPO, tech startups, and Inhouse, I can honestly say that for the most part, the two page rule is golden.

If you are a new graduate, or have only worked for 5 or 6 years, you may not be able to make your resume two pages, which is fine! If you do have more experience though, please try to fit everything into just two pages. Again, recruiters are moving very quickly in the beginning of the recruitment process, and having more than two pages limits the chances that they will see all of the experience that they need to see in order to add you to the shortlist of candidates that they are going to contact. This could be different if a recruiter found you on LinkedIn and then you sent them your resume upon request. You should still try to shorten it however, as the hiring manager will then skim over everything instead of really digging in if it’s too long.

I’ve heard the argument from candidates that they feel like all of their experience and bullet points are relevant and needed in order to paint a full picture for the person that is reviewing their resume or interviewing them. This is not true. I’m sorry, but think of every great novel that you’ve read. Chances are that the authors that wrote those amazing books had an editor go through and cut large chunks of the original manuscript and ask for rewrites in order to get to the pristine story that you enjoy so much. This is what needs to happen with your resume. The other details you can speak to during your interview, they don’t need to be on the resume itself.

Also, you don’t need to keep every job that you’ve ever held on your resume. Only include the job experience that currently relates to what you are trying to do in your career. A job from fifteen years ago that you had at a call center does not translate to a Director of Product role that you want at an Adtech company. Be cognizant of what picture your resume is painting for anyone who reviews it. It should draw as many parallels to the job that you’re applying for as possible.

If all of the above seems like too much to tackle on your own, you can always hire a professional to assist you with revamping your cv. There are many resume writing services out there that can help you get your resume in the right shape to draw in the attention of recruiters and managers that can open the door to a new career opportunity. We also help candidates with either rewriting their existing resume or creating a well formatted one from scratch

The last bit of advice regarding resumes that I’ll give is to ALWAYS save your resume as a .pdf document, not a .doc, .docx, .odt, or .txt. 

When you spell something incorrectly or use an acronym or industry term that Word is not familiar with, it underlines the term or word in red. This is great for when you’re editing the document, but if you send a Word document to a hiring manager or recruiter and there’s red underlined words everywhere, it looks unprofessional. When saving your resume, make sure to save two versions. One in .doc or .docx for editing, and one in .pdf for applying to jobs with or sending to recruiters and hiring managers.

PDF documents lock in your formatting and create a consistent experience of reviewing your resume for anyone that receives the file. Also, there will be no underlined terms or words to distract from what your resume is saying.

Here is an example of a straightforward resume format that works for most recruiters and hiring teams in case you need a place to start when crafting your own

*Pro tip – Make sure that your LinkedIn page aligns with your resume. The experience should mirror itself so that your personal brand is consistent. More on personal brand to come!

As always, reach out to SilverStone Talent LLC if you’d like us to conduct a personalized consultation with you to assist with your job search.

The Talent Profile, And How To Use It

tech talent


Picture this…

You go to the zoo and decide to watch the snakes get fed. When you stroll up to the exhibit, there’s a guy there sweating profusely while trying to entice a boa constrictor to eat a pineapple – that’s odd!

Later you find out that the guy with the pineapple isn’t a herpetologist, in fact he’s not even a biologist. He’s a java developer! Well, now we can understand why he may have thought that a pineapple would be something that a snake would eat, instead of a rat or mouse. What was he doing trying to feed that snake?

The question above, what was he doing trying to feed a snake?, sounds like it’s addressing something that is very obviously wrong with the scenario that was described. Most people would guess that a java developer should not be placed in a job that requires someone of a completely different skill set, right? Maybe that’s the case in the scenario described above, but for skill sets that are closely tied yet different, the understanding of who belongs in which role can be a little confusing, especially when a recruiter that is not doing the role themselves has to find candidates to fill the job.

This is where Talent Profiles come into play. I’ll explain more below.

Let’s use the example of a java developer again. What is a java developer? How does that differ from an Android Developer? Here are some core skills that entry-level talent in these professions would need.

Entry-level Java Developer:

  • Java
  • Java EE components
  • Java Web frameworks
  • ORM
  • Java Build Tools (Hibernate, Gradle, JPA, etc)
  • Java application containers
  • Java testing tools
  • IoC frameworks
  • 3rd party libraries
  • XML and/or HTML
  • SQL

Entry-level Android Developer:

  • Java
  • XML
  • Git
  • Android SDK
  • Android Studio
  • SQL
  • 3rd party libraries

There are similarities and there are differences. Both developers use Java as a core language but have differing skills based on the environments that they work in and the products that they work on. Similar, but not the same. Now, with enough practice either of these candidates should be able to pick up the skills of the other since they have a foundation based on Java, but when you need to fill a requisition that has a very particular ask, it’s important to hone in on the skills and experience that will get this person the job.

skills chart

Now that both the core and specific requirements are understood, an accurate profile can be drawn up that will ensure that the recruiter/sourcer finding talent for the requisition is able to distinguish which of the thousands of potential candidates in the marketplace could actually be a good fit for the opening.

A recruiter or sourcer can use this method for ANY role that they need to locate talent for. Do your research! Always have a game plan and develop a template around what a good candidate should look like. If you follow this way of thinking, even the hardest openings will be filled.

Good luck!

Tech Talent: Break Into The Industry


By Marcus Twyman

It’s interesting recruiting technical talent here in the US. Everyone thinks of the major hubs like Silicon Valley, Bellevue, Boston and New York. Then there are the emerging hot spots like Salt Lake, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Detroit. The truth is, almost every major city has begun to send out an S.O.S. for technical talent. Recruiters are hiring for standard opportunities like java developers, full stack engineers, web developers, mobile engineers, but there is also a push for newer skill sets like driver-less car engineers, AI engineers, machine learning engineers, and pretty much anything that breathes life into the internet of things. So much opportunity, but if you ask most recruiters they may start chanting, “So little talent!”

It’s no secret that candidates with H1B visas disproportionately fill technical roles especially around software engineering as compared to other types of positions. What we have been witness to up to this point though, is that even with H1B candidates, offshoring, and an increase in contract opportunities, companies are still unable to meet their technical talent needs, especially in the full time employee space.

This shortage of skilled talent has lead to a loosening of traditional talent acquisition practices and candidate requirements in quite a few companies where not having skilled technical talent in place could bring their businesses to a stand-still. What this means is that employers are really beginning to focus on what skills candidates posses and what they know, rather than whether or not they hold 4 year degrees in Computer Science/Engineering… or whether they even hold a degree at all.

The talent landscape is beginning to wake up to the need that exists and this knowledge has pushed for the expansion of technical trade schools/programs that exist both as brick and mortar centers and online learning spaces.

So, my humble advice to you?…

If you have a baseline understanding of web development or coding in java, if you have always wanted to create a mobile app or have been considering a career change, take the leap and learn to code. Obviously, go about it in the way that is best for you and your current place in life, but don’t spend too much time debating. We have a need, employers are feeling the pressure, and technical trade schools are building some valuable partnerships with the companies and brands in their markets that are starving for coders, web designers, and data enthusiasts. If you truly want to change the direction of your career, do the research, make a plan, and put in the time and energy to make it happen. If there’s a will, there’s a way… and as of right now, there are a lot of doors that are slightly ajar, just waiting for you to kick them open.

To help you on your way, I thought I would put some resources here for you to take advantage of.

I would highly recommend this site as a first resource for you. The best thing about this site, it’s FREE. The other? You get to work on real world assignments for non-profits, which allows you to build a portfolio and gain real coding experience by donating your coding to build out your resume and client list.


Check out this interview with the founder here


Here is a list of the trade schools/boot camps (expensive) that give you a full immersive, bootcamp, experience. They typically take around 3 months to complete and are treated like jobs. The goal is for you to complete the course and immediately be able to step into an entry-level technical role.



You can also choose to attend one of the many online certification programs out there.


Hopefully, this helps those of you who have been contemplating taking the leap into a technology focused career. Just remember, there are no guarantees, and even though the industry is thirsty for talent, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to work less, in fact, to prove that you’ve got what it takes without a degree or experience in coding, etc., you’ll have to work harder than those that have the typical credentials. Do the work, to get the reward. Read the article below for some inspiration and an outline of how one such individual accomplished their goal of becoming a software engineer.


I spent 3 months applying to jobs after a coding bootcamp. Here’s what I learned.


Sourcing Candidates – Do’s And Don’ts

woman searching - looking

By Marcus Twyman


So, you’re sitting at your desk, trying to login to LinkedIn Recruiter and for some reason you’re unsuccessful. What’s going on? A coworker walks by, noticing your anxiety-ridden plea that you keep issuing to your computer screen to let you have access, and says, “Didn’t you see the email from talent acquisition? We’re not using LinkedIn Recruiter anymore.”

What? Not using LinkedIn Recruiter? Has the world gone mad? As your coworker saunters away, you’re left feeling dazed and confused. All of your saved projects, searches, and starred candidates are in LinkedIn Recruiter. Now what are you going to do?

Ok, so that scenario is a little dramatic, but if you’re a sourcer, or a recruiter who also sources, then I bet you have a little knotted ball still sitting in the pit of your stomach after envisioning that scenario.

It’s unfortunate, but the recruiting industry as a whole has systematically made itself dependent on LinkedIn’s paid platform levels to find talent. Gone are the days when a sourcer would create an organizational chart of a target company to then fill in with names and source candidates from. Cold calling? Is that when you stand outside in the winter to make a call from your cell phone?

It’s easy to poke fun at what sourcers and recruiters don’t do in the current talent marketplace, but ultimately, it is the talent acquisition departments within each corporation that have weaned us off of actual sourcing and onto a reliance on LinkedIn’s product offerings.

So how does someone find a solution to a scenario like the one described earlier? How do we prevent the loss of data that’s been scraped and collected by our talent teams? Well, the answer is multifaceted. It would involve the use of a proprietary CRM or database (or a spreadsheet at worst) and more focus on old school recruiting and sourcing practices. I’ll highlight some best practices that I always push across to the teams that I train and support that surround LinkedIn usage. These tips are designed to allow sourcers to still leverage LinkedIn for locating candidates but also facilitates the use of outside tools and the inherent skills that each source possesses.


Save Your Searches

One major issue with saving your searches within LinkedIn is that should you lose your license, you’ll most likely have to start from scratch in order to rebuild the searches that are commonly used by your sourcing team. This means a major loss in time and productivity, which ultimately affects revenue and ROI. Maybe you don’t pay attention to that, but someone in the upper echelons does, so we want to make sure that when a repeated search comes through that we can act very quickly to locate candidates.

A suggestion that every sourcer should live by is to save your searches externally. What that means is somewhere on your computer (or on a cloud storage account preferably) there should be basic Boolean and x-ray strings for all successful searches that you’ve run in the past.

Example of saved x-ray strings:

example string 1

example strings 2

I have an ongoing document that has probably close to 1000 separate searches for LinkedIn and Indeed. When I have a new search I just open my document hit Ctrl+F and then modify any highlighted strings to fit my current search parameters. Once I have a newly modified string that returns good results, I save it to the list for the next time that I need a similar search run.

Even with a free LinkedIn account you can use these strings to find talent through Google. You may not be able to InMail any of the candidates, but you can get around that as well.

find a profile that you want to locate contact info for and highlight the candidate’s name and copy it.


Now start constructing a Boolean string.

“Marcus Twyman” AND


Go back to the profile and take note of the location. Now add that to the string as well but use a tilde, aka ~, in front of the location name. This means that we could get results with similar or synonymous words in them. New York City may come back as NYC or just NY. Hopefully this will help to limit any loss of results due to imperfect location matches.

“Marcus Twyman” AND ~“new York city”


Now add “phone” to the string and some Boolean wildcards around the @ symbol so that Google searches for an email address.

“Marcus Twyman” AND ~“new York city” AND “phone” OR “*@*.com”


Here are a few results that the string was able to pull from across the web.

Untitled 1

All of the results above have accurate contact info in them. You may come across multiple listings with conflicting information in them but it is your job as a sourcer to play detective and track down information by using what you already know about each candidate. Where do they live? What titles have they had? What companies have they worked for? All of these questions allow us to attempt to construct an accurate profile of those candidates that we want to engage with. You’ll get some right and some wrong, but you’ll get better and better at finding information the more that you practice this type of sourcing.


You can also source LinkedIn with an X-ray string designed to find contact details such as phone numbers and email accounts. Construct your x-ray string as usual and then add in components to tell Google to only locate profiles that display this data.

Example String:

(( ( OR AND -dir) AND (“tax analyst” OR (“tax manager” OR “senior tax manager”))) AND (“*” OR “*” OR “*” OR * OR “*@*.com”) AND (“Washington D.C. Metro Area” OR “DC” OR Alexandria OR Bethesda OR arlington) -networking -recruiter


Here are some results from using the string on Google.


Another way to use LinkedIn is through a custom search engine or “CSE”. This is helpful if you are not comfortable building out your own x-ray strings. You can find a CSE designed for x-ray searching LinkedIn below.

Custom Search Engine: LinkedIn X-ray Search

So to recap, don’t save all of your projects and candidate profiles within LinkedIn Recruiter or you could lose all of your hard work. Do use x-ray and Boolean searches to find highly targeted candidate profiles and to locate contact information for those candidates across the web.

Adhering to these guidelines will make searching LinkedIn for talent more productive and result in both present -state and future-state successes.

Sourcing Talent In Europe



I’ve encountered quite a few recruiters that have had to run searches for candidates in European countries. One of the main ways to locate the talent in these markets is to LEARN about your target market.

What Does “Learn About Your Target Market” Mean?

Think about the searches that you’ve conducted here state side, what did you do to target a specific area for talent? Did you look for phone number area codes? Postal codes? City names surrounding the major markets that you need to find talent for? There’s nothing too unique about the search that you need to run in Europe, just apply the same logic.


Phone Number Area/Dialling Codes For Republic Of Ireland:


Now all we need to do is add these to a Boolean string (this one’s pretty basic, you can make a much more targeted one for your own purposes).

(“software engineer” OR “software developer”) AND (“021” OR “022” OR “023” OR “024” OR “025” OR “026” OR “027” OR “027” OR “029”) AND Ireland AND “cv” AND java -template -sample -recruitment -recruiter -HR -job -jobs -apply



We can also format our basic string into an X-ray string for LinkedIn: OR ( AND (“software engineer” OR “software developer”) AND (“021” OR “022” OR “023” OR “024” OR “025” OR “026” OR “027” OR “027” OR “029”) AND Ireland AND java -dir




Or we can even X-ray Xing (big in Europe) but we’ll remove the phone area codes: AND (“software engineer” OR “software developer”) AND Ireland AND java -dir



Try a similar search with Viadeo, another popular site in Europe: inurl:profile “engineer” OR “developer” “java” AND “Ireland”



The main thing to remember is that you’ll need to do a little research into the market you want to recruit in and take time to formulate the correct strings and find the right resources to leverage.

Think broadly and then narrow your searches down little by little to hone in on your desired results.

Hopefully this helps, let me know and feel free to share your own process with me if you would like to.

Different Kinds Of Talent Search Methods

looking for something.jpg


Ok, I’ve noticed that as an industry we spend quite a bit of time discussing the process and strategy around talent acquisition. The ways that employer branding, personal branding, diversity and inclusion and social media platforms help create a foundation on which a compelling story and a candidate engagement strategy can be formulated and implemented. But what about the “hunt” for talent? Even if we have the best processes and strategies in place, we still need to ensure that our sourcers and/or recruiters understand how to use those processes to their advantage and that they understand how to find the talent needed to fill their requisitions.

The thing about sourcing is that everyone thinks about it differently. If you’ve ever attended a SourceCon (which I highly recommend that you do if you take sourcing talent seriously) then you’ll notice that to get the same result and to fill the same skill set, sourcers can have widely varying techniques for locating talent from one person to another. This is why it is so important for us to communicate with one another, so that we can step outside of our own way of thinking and try out different methods that some of our counterparts use when finding targeted talent for very specific niche opportunities.



Below, please feel free to take a look at some examples of searches that I’ve conducted when looking for talent:

Image Search For Resumes

This is a search that I usually perform for more technical skillsets but that you can try out with any open requisitions that you may be actively sourcing for. Google is very good at finding what you want which it can then break out into urls, images, maps, videos, etc.

By entering some basic Boolean logic into Google’s search bar and then selecting “images” we can pull resumes from across the web. Please see the example below:


~resume AND java developer AND (“” OR “” OR “”) “fort Lauderdale” OR “ft. lauderdale”



“Natural Language” OR “Natural Speech” Boolean

Put yourself in the shoes of any candidate. What does the candidate worry about when beginning a job hunt? What does a candidate think about when building an online profile or writing a blog post? How does a candidate most likely construct the sentences that they are sharing on the web? What point of view does a potential candidate usually write in? To get an idea of what I’m talking about, just go look at a LinkedIn profile of a candidate that you’ve recently tried contacting or read through any number of resumes that are saved on your computer. You will typically see that online profiles are written in first person point of view (on occasion you’ll see some third person point of view as well) while resumes are usually written in third person point of view but avoid using the words “she”, “he”, “her”, and “his”.

These details are important when running a search using Natural Speech Boolean because you’re using quotations around full sentences or common statements seen on resumes and profiles.

Your results will not always be neat, clean, pdf files or profile pages. Instead, you may find quite a few Q&A sites where a candidate has commented with matching criteria, or even blogs/sites that the user has posted some personal data on. This is a great way to find niche talent that maybe is not easy to locate through traditional means. Please see the example below:


~resume AND “I’m a*” OR “currently working” AND “responsible for” “java developer” OR “java engineer” AND “Location..San Francisco” AND “” OR “”


Notice the bolded words and information within each of the returned search results pictured below. You’re looking for information on people that have the skills you’re hunting for. Once you’ve identified those people through the results you should hopefully be able to reach out to them through info that they’ve posted online. Give it a try and play around with it. It may become a new favorite technique of yours!


Custom Search Engines “CSE”

One of the main things that I start new recruiters off with is how to use LinkedIn thoroughly. Whether we agree with it or not, LinkedIn is probably the first tool that most recruiters will fall back on once they get an open requisition. So how do we ensure that they are making the most of searching through all of the profiles that LinkedIn houses?

I implement a triple-search strategy in regards to LinkedIn.

First, search LinkedIn using the advanced filters and ALWAYS use Boolean logic in all of the search fields. The next thing I urge recruiters and sourcers to do is to pull LinkedIn profiles through Google by utilizing an X-ray string. The last method of searching LinkedIn should be through a CSE (click here to use one I put together).

I have yet to have a search run using all three of these methods produce the exact same candidates. I always find other profiles that I would not have found by using LinkedIn’s platform alone.



These are just a few methods that can be used to locate talent, but there are quite a few more that can also be implemented in your sourcing search strategy. I’ll be sure to put an article up on X-ray searching and other techniques but for now, please feel free to try out the ones that I’ve outlined above.

Happy Sourcing!

Is This A Way To Leverage The Massive User Base Of SnapChat For The Recruiting Industry?


So, not too long ago I mentioned trying to use Snapchat as a way to engage with potential candidates in my article titled What’s The Root Of Your Sourcing Woes?. The problem was trying to figure out how to use the platform to gain viewership and positive candidate engagement. released an article that gives what I believe to be, a great way to implement snapchat into a brand’s employer branding campaign. It involves using a Geofilter and a customized template.

Please take a look and let me know if what they’ve outlined seems like a strategy that could potentially benefit your employer brand initiatives. I’d be willing to try it out, who knows, maybe I will!


recruited on snapchat.PNG