Keeping Your Eye On The Ball: Love What You Do and You Will Do It Well

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Due-diligence for pursuing the best talent is a significant part of what recruiters do. I pride myself in that category. LinkedIn, Twitter, various other databases and publications are areas that are excellent sources for talented people. In a recent LinkedIn search, I came across a local, young mechanical engineer that caught my attention.

Unfortunately there was no phone number or e-mail address listed to contact him.

In googling his name and local address, an article was displayed on the top of the google list: This young engineer, Jeff, recently went through a company downsizing and lost his spouse to a rare disease – all within the past few months. He has four young children and his 16-month-old has a condition that requires constant care. With the downsizing, he lost his life insurance and finances have been very difficult. Things have been getting a little better thanks to the efforts of family, friends and other community members.

In the past few weeks, he recently signed-on as a drafter at BIW. The problem is that the pay is significantly below his needs, and the job doesn’t utilize his 10 years of practical engineering skills.

In the past week, I contacted Jeff to ask about his situation to see if he would be interested in a meeting to discuss his position. He was more than interested. We discussed his experiences in his previous positions, the environments, his accomplishments and competencies. It was clear that Jeff was very passionate about his work. His enthusiasm for learning new technologies and applications was also clearly evident. He thrived working in a technology-driven environment. In our dialogue he mentioned that one of his biggest motivators was his strong commitment to work for the betterment of the company where he worked.

I spoke with his former manager, who also conveyed that commitment level along with giving Jeff other high accolades for his skills and capabilities. In the manager’s words:

“Jeff has a strong desire to see the company succeed and make things better.”

This type of comment brought tears to my eyes because I know how important a solid reference is that comes from managers that work closely with their employees. Jeff is and will be the type of candidate I truly enjoy representing.

When asked about how he approached his search, Jeff mentioned that he “tweaks his resume” to address the nuances of the online job positions he applies for.

My feedback to him was that he might consider a different approach that would not result in him being one of 50+ other resumes. Applying to a posted job is important, but with today’s high unemployment situation, it is essential to set yourself apart from the masses. I suggested he write a list of target companies that are of interest and find out who he knows within those companies that could give him an insider perspective about the technologies employed, the environment, the company mission, stakeholders, management, and other key factors.

Knowing this type of information is critical to developing an intimate knowledge for why you are interested or if you indeed have any interest in a job and a company. Showing the initiative to meet with people to gather information about a company for a job search is an excellent way to establish credibility and to position yourself to be the answer to their needs. Staying in touch with those people who know you as well as your interests can enable you better access to the decision makers. Timing your introduction and interview preparation are the other essential components for closing the deal and getting an offer.

I pointed out to Jeff that he found his job at BIW through a contact, and that is probably the way he will find his next opportunity. Constant networking and developing new contacts are crucial. Being a UMO grad, I mentioned that he should network with other UMO grads and find out where his classmates are working and who they know in the marketplace. This is the time to take advantage of every affiliation and connection that leads you to be on top of every lead and opportunity. Developing a systemized approach for learning about the targeted companies and knowing who might offer you the opportunity to present yourself in an open forum are the ultimate goals. There are many tools to find out who is working where and in what capacity. LinkedIn is one such example as are chapters, societies, fraternities and sororities. Social forums such as Facebook and Twitter are also an excellent wealth of information.

It’s greatly satisfying to have the opportunity to work with someone so passionate about their work as Jeff. It’s a privilege to work with those who are totally committed to challenging themselves and the companies that they work for. Providing advice and opportunities to worthy candidates is one of my biggest passions.

Best of luck Jeff! I’m in your court!

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