Recruiting Advice: Career Page I

Career Page Advice

Go to your company web site. Take a look at it… how does it feel? How does it look? How does it sound? Does it speak to the clients, customers and businesses you’re trying to attract? Does it answer the questions they may have before buying your product, doing business with you?

We hope so.

Now go to your career page. Take a look at it… how does it feel? How does it look? How does it sound?

Is it the same tone and language as the rest of the web site?


Let me challenge you…

We can agree that the customers (candidates) that you are attracting to your career page and job descriptions are different than who you are selling to, right?

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Conversation With A CTO: Do You Interview To Include Or Exclude Candidates From The Process


I’ve had a repeating experience when speaking with hiring managers and I finally figured out how to ask them a question that would get to the core of the matter:

“When you interview, do you ask questions to include or exclude people from the process?”

I asked this of a CTO this week, who is struggling to hire, and they asked me what I was getting at. It seemed to me as they described what was going on, lots of interviews and no offers, that they are eliminating people at a higher than average rate.

I asked a hiring manager what was missing from a particular candidate, who I know of. They said the candidate was missing “these things” and rattled off four missing criteria from the job description.

“OK... so they have sixteen of your criteria including all of the must have’s, the core things, and you eliminated them.”

We all had a moment of contemplation… not so much me as I knew what they were thinking. The CTO was annoyed at the interview process and wondering how many talented candidates had been flushed out. The Hiring Manager was annoyed because they were called out for being critical and seeking perfect people. The Director of HR was annoyed at the Hiring Manager because they already had this conversation but only now was it being thought about.

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State Of Minnesota Considering Legislation Prohibiting Employers From Asking For Access To Private Social Media Accounts

Paul DeBettignies KARE 11 Interview

This month (March of 2019) legislation (H. F. No. 1196 & S.F. No. 1432) was introduced at the Minnesota Legislature making it illegal for employers to require access to their employees’ private accounts, to demand they be opened in front of the employer, force an employee to “friend” a superior or change privacy settings so the account can be viewed publicly.

Whew… that’s a lot. I think I have it all straight.

Essentially your employer or possible employer cannot make you show them your private accounts.

There are likely going to be a few exceptions. One may be for those applying for security clearances.

I’ve been asked a number of times including in the interview below with KARE 11 if I am aware of local employers doing this. I am not. I have not heard of one case. And no one replied to KARE 11 with one. And I am certain that any employer silly enough to do this would have a major PR issue on their hands.

Is it needed? I guess the answer is yes if we want to be proactive and protect people.

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Why Recruiters Suck So Bad

Why Recruiters Suck So Bad

I spend a lot of my time hanging out at tech user groups and meetups. Being a frequent face, sharing career tips, giving job search advice… creating relationships over time, builds a lot of trust.

So, tech pros are not shy when they tell me their recruiting horror stories. They forward email, name recruiters and the companies they work for. And it is equal opportunity… it seems that search firm, consulting firm and corporate recruiters are all equal offenders.

A number of years ago while having a video glitch at Minnebar I was asked to not start my session yet. They wanted it all on video so to pass the time I ask, “So what do you want to know?” And the room was awkwardly quiet. Then an attendee from the back of the room says with a very loud voice, “Why do recruiters suck so bad?” The room erupts in laughter and of course… the video started recording and I have a blank look on my face.

While I share the frustration they have with poorly written job descriptions, being ghosted, doing “tell me about yourself” questions during every interview and a huge number of other offenses… I also share with them why some of this happens.

I explain that most of my corporate recruiter friends have an insane workload, frequently their teams are understaffed and underbudgeted, recruiting tends to be an “entry level” role to HR so experience can be lacking and more. When I finish and at least for a moment… I see some empathy.

I’ve always wanted to do a day or week in the life of a recruiter but as a consultant, my weeks rarely are the same.

I bumped into this amazing post on LinkedIn Adding Up Why Recruiters Suck from Terra Carbert a Minneapolis Recruiter who I have known for a long time. She’s one of the good ones. Click => LinkedIn and @terracarbert to learn more about her and to say hello. I asked her if I could repost her article here and she said yes. She shows what it’s like being one of us. So the next time you think, why do recruiters suck so bad? You’ll know that much of it is not our fault and most of us really are doing the best we can.

Thank you Terra!!!

And if after reading you have some comments and thoughts to share (I hope you do)… don’t do it here. Click the link above and comment on Terra’s post.


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The Future Of Recruiting, Does It Include You?

Future... Loading

As 2018 progressed I found myself thinking a lot about being a professional recruiter, how the industry has changed since November 3, 1997 (when I started), how I’ve changed and what it may look like 5, 10 and 15 years from. Specifically, how do I stay relevant in Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota and the Midwest.

I don’t tend to get too worked about this stuff but do from time to time think about my place in the world.

Then… BAM.

Yesterday I had a long phone call with Kevin Wheeler. I have been following Kevin for 15+ years online and 10 years ago was fortunate to have him speak at a couple of Minnesota Recruiter events and a local version of “Future of Talent” with senior corporate recruiting and HR leaders. I tend to not be a big fan of the term “futurist”, mostly because I think most people who describe themselves as one are selling snake oil, but Kevin is the exception. He works hard, is well connected, means well, is a great person and always seems a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

To find out more about Kevin check out:

Kevin is coming to Minneapolis on March 29, 2019 to do an event => Talent Transition: The Emerging Era of Consolidation and Adaptation. An Interactive Exploration of Key Trends. Yes, I will be attending.

We spoke about a bunch of things:

  • What in the trenches recruiters and HR pros are facing on a day to day basis
  • What senior leaders are thinking and worrying about
  • What the region is working on
  • Why I am starting Minnesota Talent Leaders (in part to create and then maintain conversations like Kevin is going to host)
  • Trends in talent acquisition in Silicon Valley, Minneapolis and St Paul and other cities
  • How a future recession will shake up the profession

We spent a lot of time talking about the future of recruiting… what it looks like, the impact of AI and Machine Learning, etc.

After we finished… for a couple of hours after my brain was all over the place.

I got to thinking about this article I wrote on ERE in 2016 => Memo to Recruiters: Don’t Want To Be Replaced By A Robot? Stop Recruiting Like One

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Conversation With A Startup Founder: I Need Help With The Non Recruiting Activities Of Recruiting


A couple of months ago during Twin Cities Startup Week I had a chat with a with a Startup Founder who was telling me about how they were having an easy time with recruiting. And I was not surprised. The group has a strong set of leaders who are well known and respected. They each have a good to great network of tech friends in town. And they had been active in saying they were hiring.

I had a conversation with the same person New Year’s Eve Day and they are… stressed out. Things are not going well.

I asked if I could take some notes to write for a blog post and they said yes.

Here are some issues they have been facing:

  • Process: they don’t have one. Each candidate experience has essentially turned into a choose your own adventure book. And at times has had everyone feeling confused.

  • Time: they don’t have it and they’re wasting it. Interview cycles were 3 weeks and that was before the holidays started. They are losing people because they are taking offers at other places or becoming disinterested.

  • Negotiation: they suck at it. They generally are not talking about their own salary range or what candidate expectations are until they are ready to extend the offer. Two times they found themselves $10K+ apart. Other times they went way outside their budget. They are not communicating why someone should work there beyond salary. An offer should be a win-win for both parties.

  • Brand: they are beginning to hurt their own reputations. They are not getting back to people in a timely manner and they are not “rejecting” people in a respectful way.

  • Candidate pool: is good to really good. But it’s not great. They are not finding people outside of their network so candidates tend to have the same experience and work/worked at the same places. Their pool tends to lack diversity of thought, experience, gender and age.

Here are the highlights of the advice I gave:

  • Create a process that is easy to manage and the same for everyone. Exceptions to the process are just that and not the norm.

  • Time is never your friend when it comes to recruiting. It must be a priority. I get you are busy building a company, speaking with VC’s and tending to day to day operations. But this can’t be an after thought.

  • Negotiations are always tricky… my advice to both “sides” is to be transparent from the start.

  • You have to treat people better than the way you want to be treated. We live in a really large, small town. More than that, it’s the right thing to do.

  • Having a strong network is awesome… but you can’t just fish from the same place every time. You need to go to other places, meet new people and grow who you know.

Back to the title of this post… the Founder said to me they need help with the “non-recruiting activities of recruiting”.

Their problem is that they thought recruiting is just the act of finding people or in their case… people finding them.

What they really need is a recruiting strategy that is reliable, sustainable and scalable.

If you are a startup founder, CTO, etc. and want to chat about recruiting and related topics… send me an email. I love these kinds of conversations.

Click for current blog posts and for Minnesota IT jobs I am working on.

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Super Talented Minnesota Grads Are Working At Top Tech Companies Nationally

Minnesota Tech Jobs

I’m sitting in the passenger seat as we drive from Fargo back to Minneapolis and as I stare out the window I have been thinking about recruiting to our region (really, this is on my mind)… and how do we get more people to move to the area. I think about this a lot.

Then about a conversation I had this week about how everyone is recruiting and few groups are really working on retention.

And that gets me to this… as a region we need to do a better job at getting people to stay. Sure, some folks are going to leave (family reasons, wanting to experience a larger tech hub, experience something new, etc.) but what about the ones who wanted to stay and couldn’t find the right role?

A month ago I had a chat with a Full Stack Developer who interviewed with a number of Minneapolis and St Paul companies (startups, software and Fortune 500) and in each case did not get an offer. They are talented but it seemed that each group was being very specific about the skills they were looking for and willing to wait to find that one right person.

Yet… they received offers from Google and Salesforce.

That gets me to the presentation LinkedIn gave at Tech Cities 2018. They provided a bunch of data on the local tech scene including this…

“Notable employers of grads from MN universities by location”:

  • Amazon - Seattle

  • Microsoft - Seattle

  • Google - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Apple - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Intel - Portland

  • Facebook - San Francisco Bay Area

  • LinkedIn - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Salesforce - San Francisco Bay Area

  • Uber - San Francisco Bay Area

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U.S. Tech Jobs Roundup v1

U.S. Tech Jobs Distribution

I was in a meeting today with a group of senior HR leaders from about 15 companies and I was asked if I could give them some examples of what is going on in other cities around the country when it comes to tech and IT job trends. Were some cities and regions seeing growth, astronomical growth… were smaller cities and rural areas seeing people leaving for big cities?

What they were getting to (and I do this a lot) is “how are we doing” compared to other cities and can we speculate on some conclusions.

Let me speculate first and a reminder that while I am highly interested in economic development I am not an economist. I am a tech recruiter, regional advocate and highly opinionated blogger and podcaster.

Are we doing OK? Yeah

Are we doing better than we used to? Yes

Do I think we are about to could get passed by some other cities that “rank” below us? Absolutely

We need to get off our Midwest, we don’t like to promote ourselves ass and started being vocal about the career and life opportunities here. If you know me at all you have heard me say something like that 127 times by now. Yet… I am still saying it because we have barely moved the needle on it. As individuals, employees, companies, elected officials and community engaged people we need to get loud. Louder.

We have to get this idea into our head… we are NOT competing for “talent” (still hate the word) with Best Buy, Target, 3M, Total Expert, Code42, Accenture, Medtronic and whoever is going through a growth phase. We are competing with regions like Boulder, Austin, Chicago, startups in the Bay Area who allow workers to be remote and the tech companies in Atlanta who lives and breathe diversity and inclusion.

We MUST more frequently and more loudly tell our Minneapolis/St Paul story. It’s a good one. And if we don’t tell it then we can’t be shocked when other regions look more attractive.

You can find some more on this topic by clicking A Bunch Of Thoughts… Minneapolis And Amazon HQ2

The quick research I came up with for the group:

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Commercial Project Manager Best 2018 Job On Indeed

Top U.S. Jobs, Commerical Project Manager #1 Job, Minnesota Jobs  

Indeed has their The Best Jobs in the United States: 2018 and I am happy to see construction related jobs are coming back:

  • #1 Commercial Project Manager

  • #5 Preconstruction Manager

  • #6 Construction Superintendent

  • #12 Construction Estimator

  • #19 Construction Manager

While I am a tech guy and not surprised that 8 of the 25 jobs are tech related it is good that other jobs are in(coming back in) demand. And not as a political statement… we need to focus on infrastructure in our country. Not everyone needs to or wants to code and the construction industry is one place people can get training, earn a good living and have a career.

I was asked by some high school students if everyone needed to go into tech and my answer was,:

“No. Is it a good idea to learn some basics? Yes. Is it a good idea to understand tech in a macro sense? Yes. There are plenty of careers outside of tech that will not be going away anytime soon. I am not a believer that AI and robots are taking all our jobs. Will they have an impact? Yes. Things change. We must too. And let me be clear that tech companies also have marketing, sales, customer success, help desk, HR and other jobs. No, you don’t need to be a coder but you do need to be a life long learner in every career, whatever you do.”

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State Of Startup Recruiting

Startup Recruiting, Recruitng For Startups

The past months I have been talking with a number of Midwest startup CEO’s, CTO’s and non tech Co Founder’s about recruiting and what to expect in 2018.

The main point I left with all of them is that they as individuals need to spend more of their work and personal time on it. My experience is that Bay Area CEO’s will spend up to a third of their time recruiting. And in the Midwest… CEO’s generally spend much less time than that.

And yet, everyone knows that recruiting is very competitive and time consuming.

While I was having these conversations State of Startups 2017 was released by First Round Capital. In their third year of the survey it’s a great look into the operations of these groups. This year 869 startup founders took their survey.

I should note that 56.9% of the respondents were from the West Coast, 29.7% from the East Coast, 7.2% from the South and 6.1% from the Midwest. I say that because location of the respondents matter as each ecosystem and region is very unique. Generally I think it’s a good data set from which to refer to and have conversations about.

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Survey: Minneapolis #6 City For Tech Hiring In 2018


Minneapolis IT Jobs, Minnesota IT Jobs

A few weeks ago on the MSP on Deck Podcast 12 - The most popular tech news stories of 2017 + what big things are in the pipe for 2018? we made predictions for 2018 and one of mine is that Minneapolis and St Paul will see more IT job growth and a greater number of layoffs than 2017.

Yes… I am predicting both.

Let me start with the “bad news” first. As 2017 went on there were a number of unannounced layoffs at many large companies… usually in the 10’s, 20’s and 50’s range of jobs. It seemed like some large companies were doing this so not to have to file a notice with the State of Minnesota.

That’s speculation on my part and I stand by it. Add up all the numbers and they would have had to file a notice. These layoffs were generally part of restructuring staff, maybe over hired in a group, becoming more efficient, etc. And they were in all skill sets from marketing, sales, customer service and yes, IT.

Startups and small tech groups are a part of this too. A customer is lost, a MVP does not work, investors worry about the burn rate, etc. Layoffs are in the 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

And that’s my basis for more tech layoffs in 2018 than 2017… it will continue. It happens and it’s a normal thing in a growing economy. Many companies have hired hard and fast the past 18 months and some may have gone a bit too far.

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Companies Sued Over Alleged Age Discrimination In Facebook Job Ads

Let met start with a disclaimer (and one Teresa Thompson, my attorney at Fredrikson & Byron would want me to make)… I am not an attorney and while I may think I am an expert at some legal things after many years of watching  Law and Order reruns, I am not. Speaking of Teresa… she spoke about this topic at my Midwest Recruiting Bootcamp this summer.

ProPublica and The New York Times collaborated on a story posted yesterday with these headlines:

The short version is that they found ads posted by companies like Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Target, and yes…Facebook targeting certain age groups. And that Amazon, Northwestern Mutual and the New York City Department of Education are in the process of or recently changed their strategy.


And to be clear… these are not the only groups who have been doing this. More on that in a moment.

One of the conversations Teresa and I have had is… can companies, tech specifically, who have an emphasis on inclusion and diversity in the workplace post jobs targeting women and people of color. But does that then discriminate too was one of my questions. From there I get further in the weeds so let’s get back to this post…

And this class action lawsuit that was also filed in the past day:

“Today, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and three workers filed a class action lawsuit against T-Mobile US,, Inc. (Amazon), Cox Communications and Media Group (Cox), and hundreds of other large employers and employment agencies who allegedly engaged in the unlawful practice of excluding older workers from receiving job ads on Facebook for open positions at their companies. The lawsuit, which challenges how Facebook’s paid ad platform is allegedly being used to hide job ads and opportunities from older workers nationally, has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.”

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Survey | 56% Of Candidates Do Not Negotiate Salary In A Job Offer

Negotiate Job Offer A recent CareerBuilder Job Offer Survey with some interesting statistics on how candidates and employers deal with an offer.

The candidate numbers:

  • 51% they don't attempt it because they don't feel comfortable asking for more money
  • 47% they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them
  • 36% they don't want to appear greedy

Digging deeper:

  • 45% 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer
  • 42% 18-34 negotiate the first offer
  • 47% of men say they negotiate first offers
  • 42% of women say they negotiate first offers
  • 59% of Information technology workers are likely to negotiate
  • 55% of sales candidates workers are likely to negotiate
  • 53% of financial services workers are likely to negotiate
  • 48% of health care workers workers are likely to negotiate

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Minnesota Morning | Ageism In Tech, Minnesota Has More Jobs Than Unemployed Workers And Make It MSP Recap

CoCo Minneapolis, Coworking
I am back spending more time at CoCo in the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. With the expansion there are more places to work, engage, be social and hide out. I still find my best place to work is “the balcony”. It’s a sweet view, quiet and I still feel like I am near the action without being in it.

And… I will be spending more time in the building. Look for an announcement in the next day or two.

Squirrel moment: Monday I posted 6 new including experience for The Wildflower Foundation.

Ageism In tech

A little more than a year ago I wrote this post, and was not surprised at the number of private messages and email I received from tech pros with a similar story.

Indeed came out with this Report: Ageism in the Tech Industry:

Our survey of tech workers found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their job because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one 5th (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”

That’s a lot of people #ObviousThingToSay

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Minneapolis Recruiting IT Pros In Chicago

Minnesota IT Jobs 




Good Morning Chicago!!!

This morning a number of my recruiter colleagues from Minneapolis and St Paul are arriving for a day of recruiting Chicago tech professionals ending with a 2 hour gathering at Motor Row Brewery on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago.

That’s right… we’re busting out of Minneapolis and knocking on Chicago’s door.


Minneapolis Recruits Chicago Minneapolis Recruits Chicago

Minneapolis Recruits Chicago

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