Meet the Recruiting Animal….. (@animal – on Twitter)
If you’re looking for a job or to understand the world of recruiters, headhunters, career coaches and social media gurus, listen to the Recruiting Animal online on his radio show.
Animal can be loud, sometimes cutting, but always insightful and very entertaining. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a shopkeeper as he describes below, he’s one of the most interesting people in the social media-sphere and keeps many people like me on their toes.
I asked him to share a few insights from his time behind the microphone.
What’s been your journey to become the Recruiting Animal?
I used to work with a good friend who was also a great recruiter. We used to read political blogs in the morning and then talk about them on the phone before work. It was quite entertaining and we used to say that we should do it as a half hour radio show online every morning.
In December 2003, he suggested that we start a blog. I couldn’t see the logic. He said it would show potential clients what we know. I said OK and on January 4, 2004, we started writing about career, business and recruiting-related topics.
In August 2004, I found a blog called recruiting.blogspot.com. The last blog post had been in April. It invited people to contact the author for networking. I sent him an email. I can’t imagine why now, but I did and he replied and lo and behold the guy lived three miles away from me. That was Jason Davis. We met at Starbucks and after the meeting he decided to start a new blog called Recruiting.com.
I agreed to guest post once a week and in April 2005, Anthony (my partner) and I joined Jason as partners at Recruiting.com. In June 2005, we took on Jim Durbin (@smheadhunter.com) as a writer. We posted daily and because there wasn’t much competition, we became one of the central sites in the recruitosphere.
I parted ways from the group in April 2006 and started The Recruiting Animal blog. When I saw blogtalkradio mentioned on another blog I knew right away that it was something I wanted to do so I started the show in March 2007.
Why did you start the radio show? What do you really think has been behind your success?
I started the show because I thought it would be fun. I also thought that I could make money from it through advertising. It is fun but I haven’t made any money and I haven’t been too successful.
I’m known in a small circle of people online and the quality of the shows fluctuates a lot.
What makes the animal angry about the recruiting industry?
I don’t like it when people promote themselves in a stupid way by calling their process organic or holistic. I don’t like it when recruiters say they have a great job for you even when it’s a mediocre job. I don’t like it when people boast on their bios in the 3rd person as if someone else is saying it.
But great recruiters do all of these things.
Do you have any advice for people on how you pick a good recruiter?
The first thought that came to mind was: you don’t pick a recruiter. A recruiter picks you. A recruiter is not an employment agency so you don’t register with him to find you a job.
Here’s how it works. The recruiter calls tons of hiring managers until he finds one that needs a very specific kind of person whom he can’t find himself. He agrees to pay the recruiter a fee if he can bring the company a suitable person for the right price.
The recruiter makes a list of companies that do similar work. He tries to identify the people in each company who do a similar job. Then he calls them and tries to get them interested in his client.
If you call a recruiter, it’s going to be fluke if he is working on something that would suit you. However, if you pick a recruiter who specializes in your field there is more chance that he or she will be working on something appropriate for you right now or in the near future.
If the firm has a number of recruiters generating orders then there is even more of a chance.
The recruiter, however, will not be your buddy. And he’s not your consultant. You will just go into his database until he needs you. If you have very clear-cut credentials and a good background he might market you to companies who use people like you.
Don’t forget, he is paid by the client company.
You’re getting the service for free.
There are heaps of job search pros like us, are you cynical/ optimistic about this industry? What would you suggest people look for in someone who professes to be able to write resumes?
I mix with a lot of job search pros online. Most of them seem to be quite smart and nice but I’ve never seen any of their work so I can’t really comment on it.
I can write a resume. My only problems come when I don’t understand the person’s job. Then I have to spend a lot of time getting her to explain it to me. That leads me to believe that it would be good to get a resume writer who knows your field. Most resume pros disagree, of course, except, perhaps, those who are already working in a niche.
I do think that a lot of people need help writing their resumes. I used to have a friend who would ask me to write his resume and those of other people in his family. He wasn’t an idiot. He was a smart guy – just ignorant about resumes. Working with him was a struggle. He wanted a resume full of the pap I cut out. Our conversations were pretty intense.
Also, English wasn’t his first language and his written communications were sub-standard but he didn’t realize it and this is not uncommon.
People don’t know how to send a resume by email either.
As for job hunting, I hear all of the career advisors telling you to have passion. That’s good advice when you’re looking for a hobby or choosing a career but is often unrealistic if you need a job.
In that case, I think pay cheque means more than passion.
The problem with job hunting is that it’s a sales job and most people aren’t sales people.
The career counselors can give you all kinds of advice but they can’t change your personality overnight. I used to know a guy who hired a business coach. He’s a stockbroker who makes a lot of money and she charged him a lot of money for a once a week meeting by phone. It sounded like she was his accountability partner. She would have him make a list of the things he wanted to do and then check if he did them.
I suspect that a lot of career counselors do the same thing.
I know that many people need advice about grooming and role playing practice for interviews and that even a little advice can help. But this is a service that might eventually be outsourced to India. Lots of help desks are located there already.
You have an online persona that suggests you may set out to offend people, yet my first interaction with you is via twitter where you promoted my crappy old website.
What’s behind the way that you interact online?
Here’s my theory. In life online there are cowboys and shopkeepers.
Cowboys like to argue, shopkeepers like to put up a good front for customers. They aren’t interested in real discussions because someone might criticize them.
That makes things boring. On Twitter, nobody disagrees with anything. It’s all pats on the back. And everyone tries to follow the “proper” guidelines – eg. they all use the same format of posting 5 tips for this or 7 tips for that. Who cares if it’s 5 tips or 7? Someone told them that this is what readers respond to so they do it. Maybe that’s true the first time someone is on Twitter, but it soon becomes meaningless.
Common sense should tell you that but it doesn’t.
If you question common practice, people say you’re offensive. It’s an old story, isn’t it?
For instance, I might say that I like the spelling of your name but I hate it too because how am I going to remember that it’s not Carolyn or even Karolyn as one would expect? I already tried to find your name in my address book and it wouldn’t come up because of the odd spelling. How’s that going to help people find you on Google? Fair question, isn’t it?
Immediately following The Recruiting Animal Show, there’s an after-show that critiques my performance and the guest and they don’t pull any punches. I often don’t agree with them but it’s refreshing. Mind you, most of the critics don’t like to be criticized either. It’s not something we teach people to tolerate.
So, I don’t believe in shallow boosterism but at the same time, I don’t mind giving someone a boost. Why not?
What are your tips for success/ failure on social media?
Karalyn, dear, haven’t you watched my videos?
And have you visited the link on my bio? I think not.
My advice: if you’re writing a blog posting dispense with the usual blather in the intro. Just get to the point. The average person isn’t a great writer or a great wit but she probably has a nugget of decent info to share so why not get straight to it.
You can get more of my ideas on social media and the general response to them from this posting.
Here’s my intro to the Maren Hogan interview called: how to succeed in social media.
You can find my best of Blogging articles here.
Do you have a crush on Andie McDowell?
I think she’s good looking and I like that picture.
I had a crush on Amy Winehouse but she’s done her best to turn me off.