Job Seeking Tips and Tricks – Hannah Morgan [Interview]
Hannah Morgan is a job search strategist at Career Sherpa.net. She is also a regular contributor to US News and World report. A greatly sought after speaker and trainer, transforming thoughts is her passion.
About Hannah Morgan
Hannah Morgan is a job search strategist at Career Sherpa.net. She is also a regular contributor to US News and World report. A greatly sought after speaker and trainer, transforming thoughts is her passion. She has been recognized as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search and Career in 2019. She is also the co-founder of Career Navigator LLC. We are extremely happy to have someone of her stature on our interview series today.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Hannah Morgan today to our interview series. I’m Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of PeopleHum – peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.
Welcome, Hannah. We’re thrilled to have you.
Well, thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Absolutely. It’s a pleasure for us as well.
So Hannah if you could just start with a little bit about your interesting work as a job search strategist. I don’t think I’ve heard that many times, and it’s very interesting to me. So could you explain that concept a bit?
Yeah. So a lot of people are probably more familiar with the term job search coach and coaching is a very different process. I’m a little bit more impatient. And so what I found as I was working with job seekers over the course of my career, is that a lot of people just didn’t understand the process of what they would need to do. And so what I like to do is help them understand, what is that process that you’ll need to go through. And how do we customize it for your unique situation so that you can implement it?
So I helped them sort of develop the strategy upfront and set them on their way. I don’t do a lot of individual hand-holding as they’re going through, the people that I work with do check back in with me and ask for follow up advice and information. But the whole idea is developing a strategy to better navigate your job search So that you can be more in control and feel like you’re empowered to make whatever changes you want to make.
Wow, that is amazing. And I think, you know, they really have a lot of candidates out there who are really struggling to get the organization that they wanna work for. So like the whole matchmaking process is trying to have them. And that’s great. That’s great.
And there are so many sources where you can kind of look at jobs right? Like you have got the job boards, you’ve got LinkedIn and I don’t know maybe blogs or whatever.
So how do you think candidates must approach these different sources and which is the best if there is a best?
Well, so I think one of the things that are hard, hard to hear, and hard to say is that you need to do a little bit of everything. Using one strategy only isn’t going to be the answer. So I advise the clients that I work with, my whole philosophy is to start the job search. My first understanding is Identify who you are and what you’re good at doing and then identify where you want to do that.
“Identify who you are and what you’re good at doing and then identify where you want to do that.”
So who are the companies that you would love to work for? And usually, this is what stumps people because they don’t know what companies and organizations are out there that they could even work for.
So that’s a really important part of the process, because what we know and the reason I start with this target list and asking clients and job seekers to start with this list of companies that they wanna work for is because a lot of companies don’t advertise broadly and widely when they have a job opening, and especially when we’re in circumstances where there are a lot of job seekers on the job market.
So you might learn about the job from a job board. But if they have that company on their target list, then they should already also have contacts inside of that company or they can build targets. So using that power of a referral is such an important spot. So if you’ve got your target list, that sort of drives the activity.
Employers don’t want to have to manage that huge onslaught of candidates. It’s time consuming and it’s difficult. So oftentimes, when what we’ve known for years and years and years is that companies prefer to hire referred candidates, right?
So you’re going to research the company and then you’re gonna monitor those companies on social media and in the news to see what they’re doing and what they have going on. And then you’re gonna look for people using LinkedIn because it’s the greatest tool to find people who work for that company. So that you could strategically reach out and have conversations with people who can give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to work there.
So that’s the whole process of being proactive and identifying targets. Obviously, the job boards are great and Indeed and LinkedIn are obviously prime targets and they make it pretty easy to go by. But I would not overlook the opportunity that happened at Mitch Job boards, job boards that are specialized in recruiting people for specific industries or for specific rules and likewise, even some recruiters.
Depending on the industry and the level of roll, some companies do reach out to third-party recruiters to help them fill those jobs. So that means for a job seeker, there are a lot of different moving parts to managing all that and how you structure your time around that.
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense.
And when you talk about researching a particular company and you must spend some time to understand what is their social media presence or Internet presence?
Now, a lot of these companies also have, you know, reviews on their sites. Like Glassdoor, when you go on Glassdoor, you can look at the pros and cons of it. What should a candidate really believe in, when that person is researching?
Right. That’s such a good question, because a lot of times people say, one person gave this company a bad review. I don’t want to work there, but that’s not really accurate. We know they’re anonymous reviews. In other words, the people are not putting their name to it, so it’s not really transparent and so anybody can say anything they want. A lot of times what happens is that a disgruntled employee will leave a negative review, but they’re just as many good reviews.
So I think that, if you’re researching a company on Glassdoor, there is a lot of good information there. You know there’s some insight, but I think that you sort of have to weigh it carefully. If they’re bad reviews, how many are there? And if there are more good reviews then leave with that and I’ll say that Glass Door is a very good source of information, but it’s not the only source, right?
So if you find reviews that are not so favorable for a company, that just means you have to have to ask questions around that situation, when you reach out to somebody inside of the company and begin having a conversation with them. So you’ve sort of validated any questionable information you uncover by real-life conversations.
Absolutely. I think candidates must really understand that news on Glassdoor is generally very sensationalized and exaggerated that might not even be true at all and that calls for being a little proactive and finding out more information about the organization, as you said.
So candidates have multiple things in the portfolio, right? I mean, they’ll have the resume. They’ll have an online presence. So how much of it, how much of what makes a real difference and how should they present themselves to organizations?
Well, as I talked about the strategy being that having that proactive approach and network with people I would never recommend leading with your resume because the resume just screams hire me. I’m looking for a job. And when you’re networking, you really can’t tailor the resume because you don’t know exactly what jobs are available and that kind of thing. So I really advise people not to network with a resume. That’s something that you use solely when you’re applying for jobs.
“So I really advise people not to network with a resume. That’s something that you use solely when you’re applying for jobs.”
I guess if somebody asked you for one after you’ve met with them, you can certainly forward along.
But you’d want to get more information about what kind of role you think I should tailor this for? Because we all can have different emphasis, and focus based on the job, the company, the opportunity. So that has to be fine-tuned.
The LinkedIn presence is really critical, right, because we know that there are so many people on Linkedin, and we know that recruiters go there. We know that even hiring managers and employees go there to look for people, so it is probably one of the most important places. It’s on 24/7 right? And so your LinkedIn presence has to be really solid. Your profile has to speak to all of the skills that you have, show examples of your work.
It’s almost like an online portfolio. You also want to make sure that you’ve got good recommendations written by people that you used to work with or work for. So there’s a lot that can be done with LinkedIn. I think a lot of people just don’t really appreciate how powerful LinkedIn is and how much employers and recruiters rely on that tool as the first sort of vetting candidate. So it’s super important.
Absolutely right, and when you talk about those other social media channels like Facebook, there’s Instagram now, candidates usually would not keep it that professional. It’s a little personal.
So do you think there is a judgment of bias that arises here if the recruiters just don’t like Instagram and Facebook accounts?
Yeah, I think that.
“But isn’t bias a part of the whole interviewing process anyway?”
I mean, if they don’t use their personal bias on the LinkedIn profile, they’re gonna use it somewhere else in the interview process. And so, while it’s unfortunate, yeah, you have to sort of think okay, if somebody does go to look at my Facebook page. What will they find?
I control that, the job seeker controls that. So I would just say, you know what? If somebody does go sleuthing for you using Google search is looking for profile information. You control what they find, So if you don’t want them to find things that could be used against you on Facebook, then don’t put them there. Hide them.
And there are ways to be more private on Facebook. They’re more ways to be more private on Instagram. I mean, so any platform that you’re on you, you can control what people see.
And if you’re monitoring what other people are tagging you and things like that, you have a lot more control than I think people give themselves credit for. And I agree it’s not necessarily the best way for a company to learn about you. But if they’re gonna do it, then be wise and make sure that you’re aware of what they’re going to see.
And do you think that a lot of the graduates, what they do is that they just come out of college and then they’re kind of just looking for jobs, just kind of at the last moment? Do you think is job searching a continuous process? Do you really have to keep doing that all the time?
Yeah, we do have to keep doing it all the time, And I really wish that colleges and universities did a better job preparing students for their senior year because it is an ongoing process. There are a lot of things that a job seeker who’s in college needs to know about the world of work and what the culture might be like inside the company or within an industry. And you can’t cram that into eight weeks of jump search, right in May when you’re graduating or whenever that is.
So I really wish that the process did start earlier. I mean, it technically should start freshman year, so that it’s all aligned with okay, what is the person really going to do with their life? What classes should they take? Who should they speak to in the world of work? What kind of networking? Who are the alumnus can we introduce them to? What internships can they have?
And so, by the time you would get to your senior year, you’d have amassed all of that experience and knowledge that would make it so much easier than to be strategic about your job search. And it goes back to having that target list of companies rather than just saying who’s hiring new graduates right now. Because at the end of the day the company is going to ask those graduates at one of the interview questions, why do you wanna work here?
“And it goes back to having that target list of companies rather than just saying who’s hiring new graduates right now. Because at the end of the day the company is going to ask those graduates at one of the interview questions, why do you wanna work here?”
And if the job seeker, the college graduate can’t answer that question, well, then that’s one of the reasons why I don’t think that they are really passionate about coming to work and as an employer and I might disregard them as a candidate.
So I think the job seeker has to take more control and be aware of where they want to work and what they want to do. And sometimes it’s hard until they’ve had some experiences. But start somewhere with a company that you really would love to work for.
Absolutely. I agree with you. You have gotta start somewhere. If you do not take the first step, you’re just never gonna know and you just kind of missed the bus on your dream job as such.
And these job seekers when they have a target list of companies, who are they supposed to go and target first? Is there like an HR head or something on the employee level? Who should they go to, and reach out to first?
That’s a great question. My recommendation is, see if you know anybody who works inside that company first, right? And LinkedIn again makes that super simple to find out. You just look at the employees and see who you know. But if there isn’t anybody you know, look for second-level connections. Perhaps you know somebody who knows somebody inside that company and it really at this point, this early stage of networking, it wouldn’t matter so much what level or what role the person had.
The fact is that they work inside that company, they’d be a good resource to give you information about what it’s like to work there. And they then might be willing to introduce you to the person that you really need to speak to, who works inside the department that you wanna work for or the group that you wanna work for.
I think that’s where job seekers get impatient. They want to go directly to okay, who is the person who would hire me for this job and they don’t have any connection to that person, and that makes it really hard. They need that warm introduction that’s gonna make it much easier for them to get a yes, sure, I’d be happy to talk to you. So if they really want to try and find somebody who can introduce them, that they can meet, that will introduce them to get in there.
I think you know, worst-case scenario where there’s a company that you want to work for, you don’t know anybody. I think you could very strategically pick somebody who is in a role that would potentially hire you for the kind of job that you’re looking for. Research them thoroughly on LinkedIn, see where they went to school, see what cause they worked for, see what other people have written about them in the recommendations, and then invite them to connect.
So you could say in your invitation to connect, ‘I’ve really looked at your background. I saw that you went to the same school as I did. Coincidentally, I’d love to talk with you about your experience working at XYZ company’, or ‘I looked at your background and I’m really intrigued by the path and how you have come about, how you’ve achieved, what you’ve done in your career. I’d love to talk with you about your work at XYZ Company.’
So that would be the cold in the cold and outreach. And sometimes those get ignored. But if you’ve done some research and you can draw that connection to how you know the person or say something you know about the person, that gives them one more reason to say yes.
Yeah, it’s almost like finding the right customer for let’s say your product right? You’re just kind of If you’re really passionate about it, you will do a lot of research. And I think a lot of job seekers don’t do that, they’re just lazy. And they don’t want to do a lot of research and that’s why they’re unhappy, right?
Absolutely. And that’s such a good point because that’s when you have companies that you think you would love to work for. You’d love to work for it makes it that much easier to do the research and to spend the time doing some of this stuff that seems sort of time-consuming. So, yeah.
Currently looking at the crisis and the Coronavirus situation, what do you have to say to the graduates of this year. You know, it’s very unfortunate for them because they would be taking the first steps in their career.
How are they supposed to brace for the situation and any tips that will help them?
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