Blog

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

“Poor Requirements Gathering and Analysis”: The Project Management Death Knell

Since 2012, in an effort to understand what problems the PMP hiring market is looking to solve, so that I can better position my clients in the marketplace, I have been running an annual poll on Polldaddy asking this question of my connections in tech:

[polldaddy poll=”6142495″]

Year after year, without fail, the number #1 response is “Poor requirements gathering and analysis.” Currently, it is running away with ~48% of the vote.

What say you? Do you agree with the 48%, or do you think there are other more pressing reasons?

If poor requirements gathering and analysis is consistently the main problem, then what steps do most PMs need to take to resolve it? Love to have you contribute!

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Servings as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

 

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

tech job search cartoon 15

Unlike Sam, whom we featured in our last segment as a Technology and Software Innovation Leader, Danielle is a Technology Director who has been with the same company her entire career. She started with them doing database work and hardware support before growing into development and IT operations roles. She wanted to position herself for managerial roles in application development and product management, but she had no idea if other companies would consider her qualified for these roles.

Titles Make a Difference

One major concern for Danielle was the fact that her company had never formally changed her title after nearly 20 years, even though the scope and accountabilities of her role had altered drastically. Did she really need to list that she was a Database and Applications Support Specialist on her resume and in LinkedIn?

No…you are afforded some flexibility with titles to ensure that they align with what the general market would understand based on your job duties. For Danielle, that meant we were able to tweak her title a bit to better communicate the level (Manager) and type of work (technical product management and development) she had been performing for the past 12+ years.

Is Only Working For One Company a Liability?

Danielle had received a bunch of calls and LinkedIn inquiries for Database Administrator and Technical Support roles. When sending her resume to recruiters, she got feedback that they didn’t think she was qualified for a Technology Manager role, and that being at the same company for nearly 20 years gave them concern that she couldn’t handle a change in environment.

Fixing the Problem by Reworking the Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Danielle explained how her position evolved over time, despite having no change in the formal job title. I did a resume makeover – and a LinkedIn Profile makeover too – that made Danielle’s progression come across clearly to even the most casual observer. A clearer presentation of titles that reflected the level of role she held and the duties she performed was also addressed.

The results for Danielle have been strong since we revamped her resume and LinkedIn Profile AND introduced her to some key players in her target market.

She quickly received calls for opportunities that matched her objective to be in technology management. She also got responses from recruiters and hiring directors when submitting her resume in direct response to open jobs listed on their website. Just as important, she felt better equipped to answer questions about her long tenure and why it made her an even stronger candidate.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult:

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

second-rightI recently had the opportunity to work with a technology leader – let’s call him Sam — who specializes in solutions architecture design, software development, and innovation, most notably in the areas of real-time Web and mobile solutions as well as business productivity tools. Sam’s company had recently gone through two re-organizations, and he was losing confidence in the direction of the firm, despite being elevated in the company during each restructuring.

Sam’s Challenge

Sam’s problem was that he’d been asked to establish the company’s professional services organization, and he was presenting most of his current information as project-based details. That would be fine if Sam wanted to pursue contract-based or project-based opportunities for his next role, but he craved being part of a larger organization that focused on designing and delivering solutions for internal use.

Thankfully, Sam’s experience included solution design and Web product development at multiple companies over the years, so we were able to successfully present his technical chops in the current role and all his previous roles.

Can You Have Too Much Leadership Experience?

The other factor complicating Sam’s profile was the executive leadership flavor that his current role entailed. Although he didn’t want to be an individual contributor, his passion was to be able to lead a team of engineers, architects, and innovators while being hands-on throughout the entire solution development lifecycle.

His old resume was portraying him as a hands-off business leader who oversaw a consulting group that happened to work in the technology/software realm. This was not getting him the type of calls from companies and recruiters that he was hoping for.

What’s the Solution?

Sam and I had some pretty in-depth conversations about the solutions he and his team actively designed, developed, and delivered. I have to say, some of them were pretty remarkable. I wasn’t the only one that thought so, as they have been implemented at some of the world’s leading tech product firms, insurance companies, and financial institutions, generating some very positive outcomes.

I was able to create a new resume that focused his story on solution design and development as well as on the business problems those solutions helped to address. This totally changed Sam’s narrative, gave him a lot more confidence when speaking with recruiters, and improved the perception that potential suitors had of what he offered to them.

The opportunities that Sam has entertained since our work together are all completely aligned with his passion for being that hands-on innovator and thought leader in the tech space.

So if you find yourself out in the wilderness, wondering where to even begin with your next career move, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult.

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult:

Not Enough Time for Your Next Career Move?

Are you a professional that feels pressure to find job search time? You know it is time to go, but you can’t see how you can get it all done. After all, you likely work 50-60 or more hours per week and have other obligations, like family.

Do you find yourself wondering:

“Where will I fit in job search time to my already crazy schedule? After all I want to find and sustain my work/life balance! It’s important that I watch my kids grow up. But I know it’s time for me to start looking for the next role. So how can I find the time I need to make this next career move?”
As our client Joshua found out, you can have victory over your job search time management. He was aware of a downsizing move coming to his company so he took the time before that happened to prepare for his next IT Director position. While he was getting his résumé designed with us, he participated in our complimentary Job Move Strategy session.
When I first met Joshua, he was stressed out by the idea of making this career move and still having time to be with his family. Like most of us, his life is more than just about work. He has a wife and 3 children that are very active. He commutes over an hour a day, and he coaches his daughter’s soccer team on weekends. Talk about work/life juggling!
Together, he and I were able to incorporate clear strategic methodologies into his job search approach. After prioritizing each method to focus his job search time appropriately, he was able to get noticed, get interviews, and get a new position.

Here is the strategy we designed for Joshua to move toward achieving this victory!

• Recruiters: Joshua did not have the time to research and vet which recruiters would be most effective for him. So I took that burden off of him and did the legwork. Once we narrowed down recruiters to contact, I then reached out on his behalf and began making introductions. This way, Joshua only had to respond to those recruiters who were interested and used his time more effectively.
• Target Companies: Joshua had some parameters in mind for his next company, but he needed some help targeting which ones fit those parameters. Once again, I did the research to present the companies to Joshua and vetted key contacts across our extensive ITtechExec network at those companies.
• Networking (both within and outside your network): Joshua had a pretty large network on LinkedIn and elsewhere, but he found his contacts to be unmotivated in helping him get going with his job search. After some discussion, he discovered that some of the problem had to the do with the way he was approaching them. After some coaching with me, he began to have a much better response. He also took advantage of our ITtechExec network to connect with new contacts who might be helpful in achieving his goal.

In the end, although it wasn’t an overnight success, Joshua did find that a job search doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Here’s how he described it:
“Sue, before we started putting this strategy together, I was lost. I knew I had to act, but I couldn’t get passed the idea that my life was so hectic. Not only did you give me practical support, but you also gave me direction.”
If you find yourself out in the wilderness, wondering where to even begin with your next career move, text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult. We will present a customized strategy for your search and share how we will partner with you to maintain your work/life balance during your job search just like we did for Joshua and his busy family.

 

IT career adviser 5Sue Sacco is a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS) for ITtechExec who blends a unique background in managing both IT and telecom day-to-day operations with extensive hiring and recruitment experience for small/mid-sized organizations as well as for a prominent Fortune 1000 company. She is also a Career Thought Leader Associate.

Sue has been up close and personal with HR and has had to wade through layoffs, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. (That means she’s a veteran of the job market zoo and has been so deep in corporate goo that nothing surprises her anymore!)

Text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR schedule a time below to speak with me and learn more about our “concierge” job search solutions:

Supply & Demand Works Better Than Ever in the Mid-December Executive Job Search

If you’ve read any of my other content, you know that I like to challenge “conventional” wisdom and go against the grain from what most people are saying. It’s not because I want to be a rebel, but the truth doesn’t change because the opinion of the majority says so. Simply put, it makes me want to declare what is true and real all the more boldly.

So what myth am I busting today? Well, it has everything to do with law of supply and demand, which generally defines the effect that the availability of a product (supply) and the desire for that product (demand) have on the price of that product. Here is a simple supply/demand chart (courtesy of Investopedia.com).

economics5

Executive Job Seeker = Supplier

What most people get wrong in this scenario is that you, the job seeker, are the supplier. After all, the company doing the hiring is paying whomever they hire to provide a product or service, which is the work performed. When the volume of products on the supply side is higher than the demand for those products, prices get driven down until suppliers bow out and equilibrium occurs. So, in this scenario, when there are a large number of candidates available on the market, then the company looking to hire can have their pick…and possibly get that person at a price below the typical market value.

How does this go against conventional wisdom, you ask? Well, let me lay out the following scenario:

  • It is mid-December.
  • A company just had its Director of IT Infrastructure give notice that she is going to work for a competitor.
  • The company doesn’t have a viable internal candidate to back-fill the role.
  • There are some major infrastructure projects in the works that must move forward.

Is this company going to wait until after the New Year to fill the role? Not if it can help it. The company is going to fill the position quickly. But around this time every year, I get calls from clients saying that they’ve been advised to wait until January to conduct their job search because that’s when more candidates are active.

So, because everyone else is waiting until January, you should too? I don’t think so. Go back to the law of supply and demand. If you wait until everyone else is conducting a job search to conduct your own, you’re competing in a market with supply that is higher than demand. That’s not ideal. You actually put yourself in a better position by conducting your search during a time in which others are not. It’s now mid-December, so get yourself out there now when competition is low and you can position yourself as a top-level candidate.

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consult call below:

Your Job Search & Networking: It’s not that you can’t, it’s that…

Recently, Thomas came to us recognizing he needed help in his job search. He wanted a senior-level Software Development position in Europe (he was currently located in the US) and really had no contacts there. He also realized that he had only about 10 hours a week to spend on his job search and most of that was after hours. After a month of two of trying to look on his own, with his limited time, he decided if he was ever going to achieve his goal, he needed help. Thomas partnered with us first through our résumé portfolio approach and then through our “concierge” job search solutions to help build his network in Europe.

Thanks to our large and responsive pipeline of connections, we were able to connect him to several “insiders” in companies he was targeting in his search.

After a few months of building relationships with these contacts, he was invited for an interview and was offered a position. Success!
Here is how Thomas described his experience:

“Instead of using up all my job search time just trying to find the right contacts, I spent that time responding to all those connections you made for me. I know I would not have found these contacts on my own.”

This is what partnership and “pipeline” building are all about.

Most of us professionals know that the most effective job search methodology today is still “networking”. But it takes a lot of time. Like Thomas, it is time you most likely don’t have. If you work 50-60 hours a week, you probably also want to have some work–life balance…catch your kid’s soccer game and get that project done around the house. This is understandable!

Time is our most precious commodity. And it is why we at ITtechExec will partner with you to be part of your job search “team.”

networkingJust looking for a recruiter who will talk to you and tossing your résumé on a job board aren’t enough anymore. Maybe it worked in the 90s and early 2000s when you were last out in the job market, but in today’s global marketplace, “pounding the pavement” has taken on a whole new meaning.

You need someone on your side. Think of it this way: When you check into a hotel or are lugging your baggage through the terminal, isn’t it beneficial and good to have someone there willing to assist you in your “job” at hand? It’s not that you can’t do it yourself, it’s that it’s nice to know you don’t have to carry the burden alone.

As Thomas put it:

“I thought I knew how to look for a job. I mean, this was not my first ‘rodeo’. I’ve been out in the workplace for 25 years. But my life is different now, and the market is different. And although there are a lot of tools and information out there, you can spend all of your time just sifting through it. I’m glad I recognized I needed help. This wasn’t a quick-fix solution. It still took time to find the right fit, but now I had a ‘team’ behind me, and my time was much better spent!”

So how is your pipeline?

If you know you need to build a better pipeline of connections, let us save you the legwork. We will get you in touch with the “insiders” within your target companies and provide you with some other employers you may not have considered. Networking within the current workforce of these target companies is a great way to get an employee referral and learn the culture, issues, and opportunities within the company. You can leverage your “insiders” to know about positions before they are published, and if you uncover an opportunity you are interested in, you can learn more by asking them directly.

Remember: It is not that you can’t, it’s that you don’t have to!

If you would like more information on how to use your road map , without so much recalculating, text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR schedule a time (see below) to speak with me and learn more about our “concierge” job search solutions:

IT career adviser 5Sue Sacco is a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS) for ITtechExec who blends a unique background in managing both IT and telecom day-to-day operations with extensive hiring and recruitment experience for small/mid-sized organizations as well as for a prominent Fortune 1000 company. She is also a Career Thought Leader Associate.

Sue has been up close and personal with HR and has had to wade through layoffs, acquisitions, and corporate restructuring. (That means she’s a veteran of the job market zoo and has been so deep in corporate goo that nothing surprises her anymore!)

Text me at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR schedule a time below to speak with me and learn more about our “concierge” job search solutions:

 

CTOs and CIOs: Transitioning from Keeping the Lights On to Investing in Innovation and Disruptive Technologies

CTOs and CIOs: Transitioning from Keeping the Lights On to Investing in Innovation and Disruptive Technologies

realized-1238069When a senior technology executive (CIO, CTO, SVP of IT, Head of Development, etc.) talks to me, it’s because they are interested in making a job change or seeing what’s out there in the job market at the least. The overwhelming factor is the frustration they feel with their current company. After all, their passion is being able to leverage technologies to transform the business, revolutionize the customer experience, and deliver breakthrough capabilities that give the company a distinct competitive advantage. But many companies handcuff their CTOs and stifle innovation because they are not willing to invest or have assumed a completely risk-averse posture when it comes to technology. They’d rather do what everyone else in their field is doing and play catch-up, which reminds me of a story.

What’s Everyone Else Doing?

I have a close friend that is the head of technology for a mid-sized company providing professional services in the financial sector. He is a forward thinker and very strategic in the way he approaches technology acquisition. But he understands how the business leadership thinks, so he’s extremely pragmatic in what he recommends and presents for his technology roadmap. Even so, the rest of the executive team thwarts any attempt to be a leader with innovation. Many years ago, he delivered a detailed strategy to consolidate and virtualize their data center environment and to create a private Cloud for their business applications. No dice! But, three years later, when their buddies who were executives at competing firms talked about their plan to go to a virtual data center and put their applications in the Cloud, it was suddenly a top priority.

You’ve Heard This Story Before

Sound familiar? I thought so.

It’s time to do it right and find an organization that doesn’t just talk innovation but actually puts their money where their mouth is and invests in emerging technologies. Don’t get me wrong, running an IT operation that’s lean and stable is an admirable thing, but is that why you got into this business? To run a cost center with a shrinking budget, zero ability to contribute to the growth of the organization, and the scapegoat for most of the problems in the company?

You’ve come too far and have too much yet to give to simply sit back and just make sure that you keep the lights on in IT. There are plenty of aggressive up-and-comers at the next level down who are willing to take on these types of roles until they’ve arrived and been-there-done-that long enough to realize they’re not doing what they love either.

Protect Your Legacy

To protect what you’ve built in your career so far and to continue to fuel your passion until you retire, you deserve to discover the opportunities that are available. Despite what it seems, there are companies out there that are market leaders and willing to invest in the development or early adoption of disruptive technologies. It takes a focused effort to identify them, engage them, and present a brand image that is appealing to them.

Build Your Support Team

To be successful in this endeavor, enlisting a team of experts to collaborate with you and support you is a great approach. This includes building your brand message and articulating it effectively in your Executive Resume, LinkedIn Profile, Executive Bio, and other materials. But it’s more than that. These market leaders are going to be highly selective, so developing viable channels or inroads into these companies is vital.

 

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Servings as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:


Warning: DOMDocument::loadHTML(): Empty string supplied as input in /home/customer/www/ittechexec.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/easy-testimonials/include/lib/gp-testimonial.class.php on line 950

I can't believe it. I spent hours and hours trying to write my own resume. What you delivered is beyond my greatest expectations. I can't thank you enough!

Kevin K., Technical Sales Leader Atlanta, GA January 2, 2015

This resume is outstanding! You were able to pinpoint my key skills and present them concisely.

Peter A., IT Engineer Memphis, TN January 2, 2015

I think the resume and LinkedIn profile are perfect! I can't thank you enough for your hard work on this

Joe G., IT Data Center Director Long Island, NY January 2, 2015

Open Letter to Corporate HR Leaders on Talent Recruitment

Open Letter to Corporate HR Leaders on Talent Recruitment

Open Letter on Talent Recruitment
War for Talent: Symptoms and Remedies

You can’t escape the sheer volume of content out there talking about the “War for Talent”. The top professional services companies (PwC, McKinsey) and the top business publications (Forbes, Harvard Business Review) have materials on winning the talent war. There are even books and Wikipedia entries focused on the War for Talent.

As a corporate or HR leader, you know what it is — the competitiveness of today’s business environment that makes attracting and retaining talented individuals increasingly difficult. I don’t need to define it any further because you’ve likely experienced it first-hand. What I want to do is list the key symptoms, address some of the root causes, and offer some non-traditional (well, let’s call them “unconventional” solutions based on the trends today) strategies to help your organization navigate this competitive talent landscape more successfully.

Key Symptoms

It’s Taking Me Longer to Fill Open Positions

A recent DHI Group study for 2016 reveals that 45% of employers indicate the time to fill open positions is growing compared to last year. In fact, the national average vacancy duration has trended upward consistently since 2009, now reaching a 15-year high. According to the companies that DHI Group surveyed, 53% cited the #1 reason for this increase in open position duration as an inability to find qualified candidates. The #2 reason was eerily similar, with 29% of respondents indicating that they were waiting for a more perfect match.

By my math, that’s 82% of the time that companies are leaving spots open longer because they are unable to find candidates that match their expectations. Let’s explore the concept of qualified candidate availability a bit further.

I Just Can’t Find Quality Talent Out There

A 2016 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends report cites the most valuable metric for recruiting performance is the quality of hire. The #1 obstacle to attracting top talent is finding candidates in high-demand talent pools. Coupled with the #3 obstacle, competition, the two make up 85% of the main reasons companies struggle to attract talent.

This data jives with the DHI survey. Bottom line is that the entrenched thinking in companies today is that talented candidates are simply not out there in the job market. However, a report by Jobvite revealed a 40% increase in the number of applications for each job in just a 3-year period.

My take: The numbers show that there are more candidates applying for more positions. You might struggle to find a suitable applicant quickly for a very specific role in a certain geographical location, but that should be the exception, not the norm. Houston, we have a problem!

Key Root Cause Issues

I am going to lean on my years of experience managing all of the operational aspects of an international call center, including hiring and retention, for a GE Capital Company as well as my time engaging with both hiring managers and job seekers.

Poor Candidate Search Channels

I have heard from people in corporate HR that they just can’t find good people anymore. I’ve gotten into the habit of asking them, “Where are you looking?” Most don’t really have a good answer to that one. They usually all say something very similar…with the term “social recruiting” (whatever that really means — if you want to classify posting jobs on LinkedIn, which is essentially a job board, as social recruiting, you’re fooling yourself) somewhere near the top of the list.

Inability to Identify Quality Matches

The next question I ask my friends in recruitment is “What are you looking for?” The responses here are typically things that are all good and I totally get, like people with high energy that share the vision for excellence and want to be part of a great corporate culture. But that’s missing the point, so I have to rephrase my question and ask them what tactics they are employing to find these people. Some form of keyword matching is the most prevalent thing here. This encompasses companies that seek out passive candidates on job sites or LinkedIn as well as firms that receive resumes for positions they post to the Web.

For LinkedIn, they filter candidates using the keyword search functionality on LinkedIn’s site. For actual applicants, the resumes get uploaded to an automated system (ATS), which makes them searchable for keywords. So before a candidate is identified as a possibility and their resume is even reviewed, they have to pass muster with the keyword search. I get it…you don’t want to spend time on resumes whose content doesn’t match the description of the role.

Fair enough, but when you get several dozen candidates that are a reasonable match, what information is considered about each candidate at the recruiter or HR Rep level to determine whether their information should be passed along to a decision maker? According to a 2015 Jobvite study, by far the most popular method (57%) is to focus on the length of a candidate’s average job tenure. Number two (42%) is the candidate’s length of tenure with their current employer.

Really! The most important piece of information about a candidate’s ability to do a job is how long they’ve stayed with other companies? Have there been some analytics done on this that I missed? Did they discover a strong correlation between length of tenure and ability?

I’ll grant that there may be a correlation for candidates that have had lengthy tenures in the past to desire a lengthy tenure in the future, but is length of tenure with your company the goal? Gosh, I hope not…at least not the primary goal. Quality of hire should come first, then the ability to advance and retain top-notch talent. I have seen plenty of businesses with mediocre and sub-par employees that are more than happy to stay on as long as you let them, so why is a candidate’s length of tenure so important?

In my mind, this is where most companies experience an epic fail. More on this in the section on remedies.

Bad User Experience

How companies engage with applicants is critical, both in terms of candidate willingness to seriously consider employment offers and in terms of their willingness to have any interaction as a consumer of the products or services offered by the company in the future.

According to Jobvite, 42% of candidates with a bad applicant experience would never seek employment with that company. In addition, approximately 64% of applicants will share a negative recruitment experience with friends, family, and colleagues. Conversely, 68% of candidates that view the application experience as very positive would be willing to accept an offer with a salary 5% below the low end of their target range.

Initially, that stat stunned me! After dwelling on it, I realized what was driving these numbers…culture. I read a lot of articles, blogs, and comments that talk about the importance of corporate culture…I agree that having a good culture is vital. Even if candidates aren’t able to articulate it, they understand intuitively that a vibrant culture cannot be manufactured by slogans or branding or anything else. Culture is the authentic response of all the business stakeholders to the mission, purpose, values, and focus areas that an organization pursues. For the recruitment process, that simply translates to the following message: “If you value me as a prospective employee of your organization, you’ll make sure to weigh my experience and credentials appropriately, to treat me professionalism, and to respect my time.”

One specific issue with time that comes up frequently is the time to complete an application. Many companies over-complicate the career website, adding in bells and whistles that aren’t necessary. From a candidate’s perspective, a simple, easy-to-complete application process is imperative. If it takes too long, 60% of candidates will abandon their application and never complete it. That’s a lot of people. I don’t have any stats on it, but I would venture to say that most of the would-be applicants that abandon the process are those that are gainfully employed today and spending that much time simply isn’t worth it…they may be what you would consider “optimal” applicants.

Unconventional Remedies

As a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, I’m all about process streamlining and process automation. Whenever and wherever an opportunity to reduce cycle time and eliminate touchpoints is presented, I’m all ears. However, as a business operator, it’s vital to balance the benefits of the process improvement with any possible degradation in quality.

If a manual process is not delivering effective results, automating it just allows you to do a bad job more quickly. I think that this exact scenario is one of the primary drivers of this perceived War for Talent today. The trend has been to automate, consolidate, and centralize. I get it…now each HR Rep can support the recruitment process for more departments, even though the number of positions is increasing and the average tenure in the workforce is decreasing. This means that each HR Rep has more positions to fill at a much greater frequency than anytime in recent history.

Decentralize

Forget it…it’s not working. Your HR Rep is not equipped to handle that type of load. In fact, most HR Reps have only a vague notion of what each position really entails and what an ideal candidate truly looks like. Now you’re asking them to cast an even wider net? To me, the outcome is obvious…that wider net will allow a ton of great candidates to slip through unnoticed.

Instead, let your HR Reps run the database searches, interact with the third-party recruiter, schedule interviews, and answer questions related to policies and benefits. Put the efforts of candidate evaluation back into the hands of each business owner. I can guarantee that any worthy manager, director, or VP will assess each candidate based on their experience and value ahead of trivial things like job tenure.

Humanize

Humans relate with other humans…machines, not so much. Like I said, I love automation, but it has to be done well for it to work…and what’s in place in most major companies today is not working. In the Jobvite survey I mentioned, 56% of candidates received no communications at all about their application…NONE!

Nothing says “I don’t value you” more than no response at all. Even some generic response from a do-not-reply email account is better than that…but still pretty terrible. Go ahead and create your automated email campaign, but invite a few recent hires or even candidates that were rejected (and pay them) to help craft a human-focused communication strategy.

Top-Down People Focus

Senior executives (CxO, SVP, etc.), this is where you come in. If attracting talent is a significant problem in your group or across your entire organization, then I can guarantee you that your culture isn’t as vibrant as you need it to be. A great culture is a magnet for talent. You can overcome serious flaws in your recruitment process by having a genuinely amazing corporate culture.

Conclusion

The talent is out there ready to plucked and put to good use. Are you willing to challenge the entrenched thinking and uproot the existing recruitment paradigm in your organization? If so, then prepare yourself, because it won’t be easy. If you do it right, it will probably even cost more than it does today…at least in terms of the time required from your business unit leaders. But seriously, what is the cost to the organization if you do nothing and stay on this path? How much are you leaving on the table by missing out on the best talent out there?

If you’re not willing to challenge the status quo, then good luck to you in the War for Talent.

 

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average executive coach and résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (released June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

Why CTOs Need a Resume Portfolio to Showcase Innovation

CTO Needs a Portfolio Infographic

Competitive Market

The funnel narrows considerably for jobs in the C-Suite today. In fact, when you’re talking about a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role, they are even more difficult to come across than their counterparts in IT (CIO), Finance (CFO), Operations (COO), Marketing (CMO), and Strategy (CSO). This means that a lot of excellent candidates with backgrounds in product development, solution architecture, engineering, and digital transformation will be in contention for these coveted few opportunities.

Differentiation is Needed

Making yourself stand out from the crowd is a must, but most candidates simply do what everyone else does: update the resume with some bland statements and trite descriptions, then copy it over into their LinkedIn Profile.

Sorry, but that just won’t cut it. If you want recruiters and decision makers to perceive you as innovative — you know, the type of person that they want to take over the chief innovator role for their company — than you have to show yourself to be, in fact, different and distinct, with a vision that is hyper-dimensional (sorry…HR types might say “out-of-the-box thinker” here).

Be Taken Seriously as a CTO Candidate

Do you want to be taken seriously? Then show it!

Present yourself in a unique way. Showcase the creativity that you helped to foster in an organization. Highlight the solution path you and your teams took to take a few novel products from conception through to new product introduction (NPI). Do it in a way that gets them thinking about the possibilities of you leading their organization to become an innovation engine.

Resume Portfolio Documents

The great part is, there’s no established standard or “rules” for how to present your record of innovation beyond the resume and LinkedIn Profile. However, I strongly encourage that the presentation be separate from the traditional resume. For example, you can create a detailed innovation timeline, a one-page visual (like an infographic), or an extensive write up on some high-profile innovations that you helped to deliver.

Writing and Creating Visuals Isn’t Your Strength?

No worries…we’ve got you covered. That’s a specialty of ours. I am passionate about connecting with innovators and helping them to position themselves effectively for these roles in the market.

  • To schedule a free consult call with me, click on the link for my online calendar.
  • Check out the video on this post on YouTube.

Stephen Van Vreede

 

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!

3 Ways to Get Your First CIO or CTO Job

3 Ways to Get Your First CIO or CTO Job

Breaking into the CIO or CTO ranks is challenging. But people do it…the question most people have is “How?”CIO

To better understand how, it’s important to know why it is so difficult to land that first CIO or CTO position.

  1. There are a limited number of C-level opportunities (CIO, CTO, CxO)
  2. The number of candidates at the VP, Director, or Senior Manager level waiting to get their chance to head up the technology organization is at least an order of magnitude greater that the number of available roles
  3. Most larger companies expect to interview candidates who have already served as a CIO or CTO with another firm

OK, so that leaves out the possibility for jumping directly to a C-level role at a Fortune 500 company, but what about all those small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups, early-stage firms, and private companies? That certainly will be your target if you want to be successful. Now, let’s look at the 3 most common methods used to pursue one of these roles.

CIO Job Boards

There are hundreds of places to find CIO or CTO jobs posted online. These include Dice, LinkedIn, Career Builder, and Monster, as well as executive subscription sites like BlueSteps or Execunet. The paid sites offer the advantage of less competition, so there can be some value-add there. But C-level roles posted at free sites are highly competitive because of the sheer volume of people who respond…many of whom aren’t remotely qualified.

Recommendation: Join one premium site and use the public sites mostly for researching companies, their competitors, and the market in general.

Technology Recruiters

Recruiters are the be-all-end-all for senior executive roles, right? Not always. Only 4% of all positions are filled through recruiters (slightly higher for executives). Recruiters will typically not pursue candidates that aren’t already at the level for the role they are recruiting for. However, smaller companies will sometimes provide the recruiter with a desired candidate profile that includes people in the next tier down at a large corporation or working for a direct competitor.

Recommendation: Connect with recruiters, focusing on those that work with small and mid-sized companies. You can work with more than one recruiter at a time (and should). But don’t allow this to take up all of the time that you devote to the job search.

Executive Networking

You’ve heard it before…and I’ll say it again…networking is the most important thing that you can do to break into the ranks as a CIO or CTO, and it’s not even close. Industry research indicates that more than 70% of all executive positions are secured through networking. Here are the things that I hear most frequently when I tell candidates to network:

  • It’s too hard
  • It takes too much time
  • I can’t stand it
  • I’m introverted, so I’m not very good at it
  • I don’t have enough connections
  • I don’t have the right connections

Recommendation: Yes! Do it…but you’ve got to go about it the right way so that you don’t burn your network and ruin your opportunity to make a dormant network active for you.

Look, you don’t have to be a used car salesman type of person to make networking work for you. But there is a methodology that works, even for the most introverted person out there. If this is you, and you want help putting things into motion, schedule an appointment with me and we can get you on the path to success with networking.

But first, there’s one more thing that impacts your ability to land your first CIO or CTO role…

Positioning

No matter how you come across opportunities — job boards, recruiters, or networking — the manner in which you present yourself is a huge factor in determining where things go from there. That presentation has everything to do with positioning or a host of other terms that are used to describe it today (messaging, branding, etc.). The resume and LinkedIn profile are key, as they are typically the initial presentation of your skills and experience that people see. But it goes well beyond that to creating a portfolio that differentiates you from the pack…taking your candidacy from good to great!

Take Action

  • To schedule a free consult call with me, click on the link for my online calendar.
  • Learn more about our comprehensive U.S. CIO Recruiter Directory with 850+ names, emails, phone #s, and address…all instantly downloadable for just $49. Click here.
  • Check out the video on this post on YouTube.

 

Stephen Van VreedeAbout Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!