Jim, we always start off with how you fell or actively got into recruitment! What’s your story of getting into the industry?
Like so many others, I stumbled into the industry. When I was in college, my plan was to pursue a career as a filmmaker and screenplay writer. My efforts were wholly fruitless and as such, the woman I was dating suggested I “get a real job.” By her advice, I considered multiple options and landed at MCI as an Internet Researcher. It vastly changed my life for the better with the results lasting longer than my aforementioned relationship.
Aside from an increase in salary, what other incentives are employers in the US using to appeal to new employees?
There is a trend of employers offering student loan assistance that is picking up steam and will soon morph from a competitive advantage into the cost of doing business for major enterprises. The only other incentive that is equally appealing to the workforce, if not more so, is the option of “returnships.” Returnships are internships for people who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time.
What are you finding to be the toughest role to recruit in the US?
The toughest roles are tech talent, such as software developers and data scientists. Everybody wants them and there are simply not enough to go around. As a result, some companies are inflating their job descriptions with extraneous duties and skills in the hope of finding one person that can do the work of 2 or more. It's not a permanent solution but, something that can hopefully work long enough to get critical projects completed.
It’s easy to set up a LinkedIn account but many candidates aren’t aware of what to put in there. What tips do you have for creating an attractive LinkedIn profile?
LinkedIn is the most popular social network so job seekers would be wise to spend a lot of time there. My advice is to optimize your profile with a professional photo with a neutral background. Please no pictures of a cropped out love interest. I would also have a compelling headline that attracts the attention of your target audience. For example, when I was on Microsoft's International Recruiting Team, my headline was “I seek geeks for Microsoft.” I used that because it was catchy, memorable and spoke directly to the software developers I was looking for. I also did that because the headline sparked curiosity; more people clicked on my profile in search results and that boosted my ranking at the time. I would also suggest writing an article called - “My Perfect Job” and posting that as a LinkedIn article. When someone asks what kind of job you want, you can always point them to that article; recruiters and LinkedIn connections alike.
What are the most in sought after skills in the US market?
I would say technical workers for the reasons stated previously. However, I would add to that people with high emotional intelligence. Doubt me? Go to Indeed.com and do a search on the term “interpersonal.” Last I checked it was mentioned on over 100,000 jobs across all experience levels. I believe this is because people do business with people and any successful company knows the value of treating customers well, camaraderie in the office and solid business relationships. After all, what advantage is it to have a team of geniuses working for you if they can not get along with anyone? How long before their toxic behavior infect the entire company or spark a mass exodus? Candidates with high emotional intelligence have a competitive advantage.
What are your pros and cons of raising the minimum wage?
Hah! Don't get me started on that one. I would refer you to this episode of “The Jim Stroud Show.”
As we know, AI is changing the nature of recruitment but the benefits are mixed. How do you view AI’s role in the industry long term?
The short answer is, I see Artificial Intelligence turning recruiters into HR versions of Tony Stark. In other words, AI will accentuate what recruiters do and not wholly replace us. Click here for the long answer.
Everyone has a recruitment story. What is the most unexpected thing that has happened to you in an interview or client meeting?
During my tenure at Bernard Hodes Group, I had the pleasure of training a group of recruiters on social recruiting strategies and sourcing. The client was so impressed that they spontaneously kissed me in front of everyone. By my reckoning, it was not intended to be sexual and to say I was surprised would be an understatement. I was very touched by the gesture and took it as a sincere appreciation of what I had to offer her company.