Tag: job search

What to Say About Pay: Sharing Salary Information With Prospective Employers Makes More Sense Than You Might Think

What to Say About Pay: Sharing Salary Information With Prospective Employers Makes More Sense Than You Might Think

It’s a situation I’ve come across several times in my recruiting practice: A company will ask a promising candidate for his or her current salary, and that professional will decline to provide it, creating an awkward standoff before serious hiring discussions even begin. At first glance, this seems like a sound strategy for employees. After all, you don’t want to “anchor” potential salary negotiations with a figure that is lower than the company might otherwise offer. Nor do you want to scare off a promising opportunity if your paycheck outstrips the current budget for the position. Yet in practice, there are legitimate reasons why being coy about past pay doesn’t always serve job seekers’ best interests.

Good Companies Bargain in Good Faith

The biggest issue is trust. No matter how you chose to approach salary negotiations, they should take place with companies you’ve thoroughly researched and whose reputations you admire. If you don’t believe a company will bargain in good faith, it’s probably not an organization you want to entrust with your livelihood. Good companies realize that they owe their success to talented people. If a business is going to invest in bringing someone onboard, it makes no sense to risk that relationship from the very beginning by being manipulative during the hiring process. Yes, there is a degree of risk in telling a hiring manager exactly what your current boss thinks you’re worth. But in all likelihood, the person conducting the interviews has hired dozens of employees before and has a pretty good idea of what you make anyway. Additionally, he or she will usually be working with a budget influenced more by the demands of the position than by the work history of the current candidate pool.

Pay is One Part of the Package

It’s also important to keep in mind the profound impact a job change can have on your life. A 40-mile commute will steal the same amount of time out of your week whether you make $80,000 or $120,000. A promotion at an organization known for grueling hours or a highly politicized culture can easily make being a manager worse than being managed. It’s critical that candidates approach a job opportunity knowing exactly how the move will advance their specific career goals and put them in a position to thrive. Employers want to invest in people who can not only handle their new jobs, but grow into more advanced roles in the future. To that end, showing interest in a job’s challenges, leadership potential, skills development and other opportunities beyond the paycheck is a great way to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Being forthcoming about your current salary is one way to do that.

You Can Still Negotiate

The primary reason my clients will ask for current salaries is to keep from wasting everyone’s time if a candidate’s pay level and qualifications go significantly beyond those associated with an open position. It’s not an effort to begin salary negotiations, as there’s nothing to negotiate before a job offer is on the table. If you feel the size of your current paycheck could hurt your prospects for a lateral career move, use this initial inquiry as a chance to ask your own questions about the position’s salary range and make clear that you’re entering the process with an open mind. If the new position represents a significant salary increase, emphasize why the responsibilities of the job and your unique qualifications justify the raise. Particularly today, after many real estate careers took unexpected detours during the housing crisis, employers are willing to look at the breadth of your career rather than the details of your last pay stub. Keep in mind, too, that the hiring process is usually focused on finding the best candidate, not necessarily the cheapest. I’ve seen plenty of companies change a job’s title, responsibilities and compensation for the right person. Even after you’ve been forthcoming about your current pay, there is always a chance to negotiate for more once you’ve convinced the company you will excel in the position. When the time comes, both you and the hiring manager should enter those discussions focused on your future, rather than your past.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the talents of executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Same Craft, Different Tools – How thinking digital transformed my business

Same Craft, Different Tools – How thinking digital transformed my business

When I began building a digital network of real estate professionals five years ago, I had no idea just how thoroughly it would transform my recruiting practice. That network is on track to reach 300,000 members at the end of 2014, and it’s allowed me to find and match some of the best people in the business with leading companies worthy of their talent. Along the way, I’ve taken note of a few themes in online recruitment that might prove useful to job seekers and hiring managers alike:

Reaching Far but Looking Close

There’s an old New Yorker cartoon with a picture of a golden retriever using a computer. It’s captioned, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.” On many online forums for job candidates, no one really knows if you’re a vice president or what that actually means. I frequently encounter professional profiles that list work experience aligning with the professional qualifications I’m searching for. Yet on closer inspection, the descriptions of job titles are too vague to offer any clues into the critical competencies and knowledge demanded by a given position. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Be specific. Give examples. “Vice president” tells me a lot less than “vice president of sales and marketing for the Northeast region.” A closer look should reveal how many people you’ve managed, for how long, and the highlights of what that team achieved under your leadership. Even if 500 hiring managers view your profile, they won’t get in touch if they don’t find the information they need to make an informed hiring decision.

First Impressions Count

And this day and age, it’s impossible to know where that first impression might occur. It could be in person, on LinkedIn or even via the photos from a conference your company posted to its blog. At the very least, dress for the job you want in the picture you use for social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Likewise, be sure to proofread every public profile accessible to potential employers, and refrain from packing your email signature with dated logos and unnecessary text. Life isn’t a press conference, and no one expects job candidates to look 100 percent professional in every picture floating around on the Internet. But on career-specific websites, it’s important to devote as much attention to thoughtfulness and professionalism as you would meeting someone for the first time.

Success Story

Of course, none of this is to give the impression that digital tools haven’t revolutionized the process of connecting people to the companies where they can best reach their potential. Technology’s positive effects for job seekers are well-documented, but it’s also had tremendous benefits for the companies doing the hiring. At Christopher Frederick, I’ve been able to add seven people to my team in recent years as a direct result of my approach that combines one-on-one recruiting with the resources of our exclusive digital network. We’re often able to find qualified candidates in a matter of days, where a similar search would have taken weeks under our old approach. Most importantly, we’ve emerged from the recession filling more executive positions and satisfying more clients every year. Our experience proves that time invested in digital networking doesn’t just pay off for job seekers, it is also critical for companies competing for talent in today’s job market.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the skills of high-value executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

Should I Tweet the Boss? Business Communication in the Digital Age

Should I Tweet the Boss? Business Communication in the Digital Age

Hiring managers aren’t just looking for solid interpersonal aptitude and an error-free cover letter anymore. Today, the “communication skills” so valued by employers also extend to texting, social networking, email and any other way you might interact with a colleague or client. In fact, a recent survey by CareerBuilder found that 43 percent of HR professionals use social networking sites to vet candidates. Among these managers, about a third have tossed applicants out of the running specifically because their online presence demonstrated poor communication skills, i.e. writing. Etiquette and tradition have yet to catch up to the many ways we now reach each other, but a few guidelines can help employees stand out in the job search and at the office.

Build a Wall

Tricky as it may be, it’s worth keeping professional networks and social circles separate online. It’s often best, for example, to keep Facebook for true acquaintances and social contacts you trust. By locking down your security settings to make content accessible only to friends, you can ensure the boozy photos your nephew shared of his recent college adventures don’t show up on your page if an employer finds it through Google. Even when a co-worker, boss or client wants to connect directly on a social network you’ve designated as friends-only, you’ve got options. Entrepreneurs can direct people to a Facebook page or Twitter account opened in the name of a business, while public figures can direct them to a Facebook fan page. Another option is to ignore a Facebook request but to immediately invite the requestee to connect on LinkedIn or another professional platform instead to signal respect for his or her desire to keep in touch professionally. Even with carefully curated accounts, though, it’s also important to realize anything you post online has the potential to become public.

Find the Rules

When there was just the telephone, it was a safe bet that the boss wouldn’t want to be interrupted after 10 p.m. unless the building was on fire. With email, texting and messaging apps, though, there truly are no hard rules. After all, the person at the other end can control when he or she checks a message, and the sender doesn’t know whether that note will set the recipient’s phone abuzz during dinner. The frequency, format and expectations of text-based digital communication are a matter of personal preference and company culture. One study, for instance, suggested about half of smartphone users were annoyed when someone didn’t respond to a text within an hour. Some companies have realized productivity gains through policies restricting email after work. It’s now critical to make note, not just of what people say, but of how and when they say it so you can communicate with them accordingly. Likewise, it’s also useful to set expectations. For example, if you’re involved in an email exchange toward the end of the day, let the other person know if you don’t plan on checking your inbox after 6 p.m.

It’s Still Writing

Authors are keen to point out that it’s usually more difficult to write a short manuscript than a long one. Just because a message is limited to a few sentences or 140 characters doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be thoughtful. Reread what you’ve written at least once and fix any grammatical or spelling errors. Even on messaging platforms made for speed, sloppiness can hurt your reputation. Also, tailor the style of the message to the person or people receiving it. If someone favors short, two-word replies to your emails, it’s respectful to send the same. If another contact starts every message with a formal salutation and closes with a full name, assume that’s what that person expects from you, as well. There may be few hard-and-fast communication rules to rely on these days. But people still notice attention to detail and respect for the way others do business.

For more than 20 years, Christopher Frederick has helped match the skills of high-value executives with leading companies in real estate. Visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate professionals and read more about our one-of-a-kind approach to executive recruitment.

More than Another Sheet of Paper – Your resume deserves a fresh approach

More than Another Sheet of Paper – Your resume deserves a fresh approach

Today’s executives seeking new talent can reach thousands of potential candidates online, run background checks in seconds and track down former colleagues anywhere in the world on social networks. Hiring has changed, and it’s time for the humble resume to catch up.

Whether you’re looking to stand out early in the hiring process for an advertised opening or are proactively networking for your next job, here are a few ideas to document your work history more effectively.

Set yourself apart

Perhaps you’ve seen the viral resume created by a Northwestern University junior who applied to ad agencies with customized kits of Legos challenging them to “build the perfect account service intern.” Even for professionals in a more subdued field like real estate, this provides a good example of how fresh thinking can give applicants an edge. When quantifying personal talents, responsibilities and accomplishments, bullet points don’t always cut it. But today you don’t have to be a graphic designer to visualize your career in new ways. Sites like visualize.me, resumup.com and re.vu now let anyone use graphics, charts and other visual formats to chronicle career highlights in ways that can prove more compelling than a simple sheet of paper.

Give real examples

Of course, regardless of the format, what matters most in any part of an application is the evidence it offers that a candidate can do the job at hand. Laszlo Bock, who hires about 100 people each week for Google, recently shared his best piece of advice for writing an effective resume: “Frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.'”

That means being as specific as possible. Don’t just say you successfully managed a portfolio of properties for five years. How many units did that encompass, with how many people under your leadership? What sort of NOI growth did you achieve and how did that compare to your peers? What challenges did you face in that position, and, most importantly, what decisions did you make to overcome them? Take every opportunity you can when describing your work history to highlight concrete results achieved through your leadership and knowledge that managers can use to differentiate your experience from that of other applicants.

Give them what they want

Unlike an interview, the written application process offers the chance to research exactly what the company is looking for in advance. Rather than taking the same approach for every position, tailor your resume to the requirements listed in a given job description. If it mentions presentation skills, highlight the frequency and number of your in-person reports to upper management. If it mentions a specific type of property, emphasize your experience in that niche early in the resume, even if it means moving a more prestigious but less relevant job title down the list. Try to use the same terms and language as the employer to describe your work and why it’s relevant to the position. By thinking independently, focusing on pertinent examples in your work history and always keeping your audience in mind, you can change resume writing from a chore to a useful tool that shows why you are the best person for the job.

New Thinking for the New Year – Upgrade Your Approach to Recruitment

New Thinking for the New Year – Upgrade Your Approach to Recruitment

After a brisk 2013, the new year has found employees in the real estate sector emboldened by improving job prospects. Construction, especially, is expected to be the third biggest job creator among U.S. industry sectors, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently predicting annual job growth of 2.6 percent. In the out years, the BLS in December predicted 50.6 million job openings across the economy between 2012 and 2022. Unemployment remains at 7 percent, but improving conditions mean employers and job seekers alike should position themselves for a new hiring landscape in 2014.

On the Move

Job openings nationwide climbed to nearly 4 million in October, reaching levels not seen since the first months of the recession in 2008. The Labor Department also noted that more workers – 2.39 million that month – left their jobs voluntarily than in any period since October of 2008. That indicates a confidence on the part of employees that they can find more fulfilling or lucrative work. Those hunkered down in positions that offered stability during the recession but no longer meet their professional goals should keep a close eye on the career moves of their peers and managers. Opportunities could emerge in the coming months in the form of lateral openings at different companies and vacancies caused by managers taking the jump to more advanced positions.

Network Now

Even in a rising market for property values and skilled personnel, it’s important to make use of resources that have evolved since the last time real estate companies found themselves in tight competition for talent. LinkedIn, for example, grew its membership 38 percent, year over year, in the third quarter of 2013. With 259 million members globally, it’s become critical to maintain a presence on that network. Even if you’re not actively using social media to find leads, potential employers are.

At Christopher Frederick, we’re also taking the hiring process to a new level. We’ve built the fastest-growing digital network of any traditional recruiting firm, while staying true to the level of personal service we’ve provided our clients for decades. Our proprietary network reaches nearly 200,000 leaders in real estate. Unlike automated online services, though, we use this as a tool to reach the most qualified candidates before a personal, one-to-one approach to screening job finalists, all at no upfront cost to our clients. Call us any time if you’d like to learn more about how this approach can enhance your search for the leaders who make your business excel. Whatever your goals for 2014, keep your head up, look for new opportunities, and develop a strategy now to make the most of a recovering job market.

At Christopher Frederick, we’ve spent more than two decades helping some of the biggest names in real estate hire the talent that keeps them growing. Contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com where you can find exclusive job listings for real estate executives.

Working the Network – How Targeted, Digital Recruiting is Changing the Way Companies Search for Talent

Working the Network – How Targeted, Digital Recruiting is Changing the Way Companies Search for Talent

Salesmen don’t attend conferences without stacks of business cards. College grads don’t head to job fairs without folders full of resumes. So why do so many employers and job seekers enter the online marketplace for talent without the tools for a proper introduction?

More and more, recruiting takes place in the context of digital networks. These go well beyond online job postings to encompass social networking sites and customized services like the Christopher Frederick digital network for professionals in real estate. Frequently, recruiters will no longer publicly advertise open positions, preferring instead to seek out potential candidates individually based on their online profiles and personal contacts. This makes it increasingly important to stay connected to your profession online, even when not actively seeking work or filling a specific position.

Here are a few ways to make the most of the growing trend toward targeted online recruitment:

For Job Seekers:

Be visible. Don’t let your online accounts languish between job searches, or you may miss opportunities from recruiting companies without even knowing it. Always keep your location information up-to-date, as this is one of the most common parameters that companies use to find talent on social networks. The same goes for your past positions, as hiring managers also narrow searches by years of experience in a given field. On LinkedIn, it’s possible to see the people who view your profile, or at least the industries they come from. Use this information to fine tune the way you present yourself. Specifically, ensuring the presence of key skills and industry terms that recruiters use to search for candidates will help bring the most appropriate people to your page. Finally, make sure you have a presence on all of the online forums and networks frequented by peers in your field. Those in real estate, for example, can receive regular recruitment emails from Christopher Frederick’s digital network or check the firm’s jobs page for executive opportunities in their area.

For Companies:

Today’s recruiters need today’s techniques. In many ways, a hybrid search tool that combines old-fashioned networking with powerful databases is the only effective way to find the absolute best candidates in a broad talent pool. Even in periods between significant hires, managers should cultivate their professional networks and follow potential talent online so that connections are in place when a critical opening needs to be filled. Many avenues for soliciting external candidates have become time-consuming and less effective than they once were, as the ability to share information seamlessly online can result in a high volume of candidates to sort through who may be inappropriate for the job. Instead, it helps to reach out to only the most qualified candidates. That could take place within Google Plus circles, executives’ Twitter accounts or LinkedIn networks. Companies can also take advantage of online services highly tailored to their needs, like Christopher Frederick’s unique email recruitment. It offers the ability to reach leaders in real estate within a given geographic area using an extensive database leveraged by a seasoned executive recruiter who knows how to select the best group of final candidates for your consideration.

Whatever your approach to the growing world of digital networking, do it consistently. The range of opportunities available to you can only grow with the reach and relevancy of your network.

Over more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has used its extensive contacts and digital network to connect top real estate talent with some of the industry’s leading companies. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our unique method of digital recruitment, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

On The Subject of Objectives: Summarizing Who You Are and What You Do at the Top of the Resume

On The Subject of Objectives: Summarizing Who You Are and What You Do at the Top of the Resume

Think of it as an elevator pitch. The “objective” on your resume likely represents the first 50 words you’ll present to a potential employer. You can use it to succinctly identify the position you want, why you want it and why you’re the best person for the job.

That can be a big challenge for such a small segment of a resume, but it’s worth the time and effort to get it right. Employers’ expectations have changed in the last few years, and they want to know more about you than about the job titles you’ve held. Positions are diverse, and today’s labor market gives companies the leeway to hunt for people they feel have the perfect personalities to fill them. Do your best to share your priorities, your approach to management, your work tempo, your goals and anything else that demonstrates what you are like to work with in person.

Here are a few tips to ensure your objective gets results:

Customize it:

Just like a cover letter, every resume objective should be unique to the position on offer. Broad descriptions like “a position in leasing” or a “management role” could tell a hiring manager you’re sending numerous, boilerplate resumes to companies you don’t particularly care about. Or, worse, your resume could confuse a personnel department and divert your application from the specific position you had in mind.

Mind the computer:

At least within a personnel department, a real human will decide which pile best suits your resume. An unfortunate reality in applying at many large companies is the use of computer programs to sort applications and pick out those most suited to the company’s needs. The objective section can address this by offering a place to mention key words that may be used to sort applications but might not feature prominently elsewhere in the document. An example: If you’re applying for a position involving project management, but your project management experience is obscured by a vague job title with a previous employer, the objective section offers a place to work that specific term into your resume. Effective key words can include degrees, product names, company names, professional organizations, service types, industry issues and phrases from the posted job description.

Make it about them:

This is counterintuitive, but try to see your career objective through the hiring manager’s eyes. What sort of career ambitions, personal traits and knowledge would he or she want in the ideal candidate? Let the position shape what you say about your interest in it. For example: “Objective: To take a position as a leasing executive at a Miami REIT” simply repeats what the employer already knows about the position. “Objective: To continue my nine years in leasing and apply my knowledge of the Miami office market to help a REIT exceed its NOI goals,” on the other hand, offers a better look at why the candidate is qualified and what he or she has to offer.

Don’t be too specific:

While you want to be clear about what position you’re applying for, it’s worth remembering that employers frequently consider candidates for positions beyond the immediate opening they may have applied for. For example, instead of citing a specific “senior financial analyst” position advertised, the subtle change to “senior analyst” signals you’re open to other job possibilities. There are usually several types of analysts, accountants, managers and other professional titles within a large organization. Mention a job title that can apply to more than one position and that also sums up your broad area of expertise. If you feel that even a broad job description would shut down opportunities at a given organization, many people have success omitting the objective entirely.

That said, for most jobs the objective offers a worthwhile place to pitch yourself as the best candidate for a position. Hiring managers going through a stack of applications may not get through all the employer listings on a resume, but they read what’s at the top. Use it well.

For more than 25 years, Christopher Frederick has helped recruit the most promising talent for leading companies in the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can enhance your next executive search using our extensive digital network of professionals, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

Remember Me? Five ways to stand out as a job candidate

Remember Me? Five ways to stand out as a job candidate

A strategic approach to job hunting can help savvy applicants stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:

1. Make contact. As in any business transaction, it’s always better to approach a prospective employer through a referral or a personal contact – particularly in an era when many job applications are gathered online and sorted by machines. Hiring managers feel more comfortable and take on less risk when hiring someone they know or have met in person. For job seekers, it pays dividends to prioritize networking over searching through ads or sending unsolicited applications.

2. Be specific. There is no industry board or government agency that certifies people as “visionary leaders,” “team players,” “results-oriented” or any of the other vague superlatives people add to resumes. If it’s a description that anyone can self-apply, then most probably have. Instead, use language in application materials that is unique to you. What’s the largest number of people you’ve supervised? The biggest project budget? What specialized industry knowledge have you developed that is possessed by few others? What are concrete examples that show your leadership and smarts? Perhaps your sales team managed to grow revenues when your overall industry was in a downturn, or you created a process that made your business more efficient. No one remembers the self-anointed “visionary leader” in a stack of resumes. Executives remember the employee whose good idea saved the company 20 percent of a project’s cost.

3. The “Golden Rolodex” Even big business can become a small world over time. Your mentor from a college internship, your repeat client at a previous company, the talent you hired that has since moved on – all of these people are advancing in their careers just as you are in yours. Keeping in touch through a short email when the chance arises, crossing paths at a conference, or even sending a holiday card can lead to unexpected opportunities. Keeping an extensive database of contacts over the years, no matter how seemingly trivial, can serve you throughout your career.

4. Have something to say. Every professional develops a level of expertise at what he or she does, and engaging with like-minded professionals can grow your network and open doors. Keeping a blog that offers real insight into your industry, cultivating an interesting Twitter feed or updates to LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks can generate an audience of potential employers. You may never get a chance to pitch the top executives of your dream company directly, but if one of them finds value in what you write, you’re doing something very similar.

5. Write a cover letter. A surprising number of people send a generic form letter to accompany their resume. This can indicate to a hiring manager that you’re applying to as many places as possible without consideration for the demands and benefits of the opening at hand. Cover letters are a single page that need not contain Pulitzer-worthy prose. But they can be a highly valuable chance to pitch why you’re interested in a company and why, beyond the impersonal qualifications on a resume, you’re the best person for the job.

For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has been a trusted recruiting partner to the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can help your company benefit from our extensive network’s fast and affordable new search process, contact Chris Hingle at chingle@chrisfred.com. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.

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