Oct 172012

We get lots of students telling us how difficult it can be to work with recruiters. They don’t understand why calls and emails aren’t returned. Here is some stark reality in the form for a rant from a student and our response. Enjoy!

“Hi GigSpire –
I’m feeling cranky about recruiters today! From my point of view, there is no measurable benefit in working with recruiters at all. I have to be even more of a squeaky wheel to get even a return message, just to hear second-hand about the thoughts of the hiring manager. I send a recruiter an email, and get a reply that indicates I’ll hear from them the next day. Then 3 days go by without a word. When I contact them again, they’ve miraculously *just heard* from the hiring manager… and the message is often that there’s no decision yet. Yes, this is my current experience, but it’s not remotely unique. <sigh>I could get this type of non-information run-around on my own, working directly with the employer. I’m unconvinced that I am being well promoted if this is any indication of their communication habits.

Thank you for being my sounding board. I don’t feel that I can actually tell these recruiters this in the remote chance that there is another position I could jump-through-these-hoops for.

Argh. Later


GigSpire’s Response:

Hi E,

Sorry to hear that you are cranky. You are about to get some information that may not make you feel warm and fuzzy.

Your experience working with recruiters is very common. When working with recruiters and headhunters realize that these people get paid to fill the orders of their clients. It is not their responsibility to market or promote you. You are a commodity, a piece of inventory, that they use to do their business. If their customer wants to purchase someone like you believe me that you will hear from them as they are motivated to close the deal.

It is erroneous to put the responsibility of not getting interviews in the hands of recruiters or headhunters. These organizations are merely channels, much like a job board, to help broadcast your availability. These professionals are aware of opportunities that you have no access to so exposing your candidacy to them is beneficial, but timing is everything. If they don’t have a fit for you, they don’t have a fit for you.

Make sure that you are doing your due diligence in your job search efforts. Ask yourself:

  • Am I attending 1-2 in person networking events per week?
  • Am I having 20 or more conversations with people in the marketplace about the business, the growth trends, and other interesting categories?
  • Am I calling into companies and speaking with peers and would be hiring managers to generate interest and set informational interviews?
  • Am I participating in groups on social media channels and videos, blogs and forums in order to position myself as a subject matter expert?
  • Are you conducting and reaching out to get informational interviews? Remember your goal should be to do 1 to 2 of these every week.
If your answer to the above questions is yes in each category, then something is going wrong and we should talk. I will be happy to talk with you about your efforts and help to redirect, or reposition, your approach.

If your answer to any of the above questions is no, then I hope you understand what you need to do. Remember there is an employer just hoping and praying you are going to walk in the door, help them understand how you will help his or her business and bring you aboard to accomplish those goals.

It’s up to you to walk in the right door.


Sep 222012

GigSpire was asked:

“What are the pros of accepting a counter offer from your own company when you’ve found another job and what are the cons?”

GigSpire’s Answer:

Counter offers happen regularly, particularly if you are a good worker. The sad part is studies demonstrate that in most cases (some show more than 80%) people who accept a counter offer leave and start a new job in 6 months or less.

Here is why:

Most people choose to leave a company for more than money, status or prestige. Some of the reasons why people quit a job is a disconnect with the company culture, travel/commute, leadership and/or direction of the organization or upward mobility. Counter offers may provide the worker with more money, a new title and even more responsibility. In almost every case however, the main reason a person has decided to seek a new job cannot be resolved by a counter offer.

Once a counter offer is accepted, the joy of receiving the bump in pay or that promotion that has been promised for so long can sooth the pain of the real issue…for a time. As the “honeymoon” phase of this new situation dissipates, the real issues surface once again causing the worker to venture out into the marketplace to seek new employment…this time to get away from the true problem with the job.

The number one reason an employer will make a counter offer:

The hiring manager is caught off guard and cannot afford to have a business channel slow down while a replacement worker is sourced, hiring, trained and brought up to speed.

Counter offers are bad news because the worker now has a target on his or her back. The company now knows the person is unhappy and will most likely find a new job in the next 6 months…except now the company has time to prepare for the worker’s exodus.

All too often a person will accept a counter offer, be told they have an avenue for promotional opportunities as soon as they hire the replacement and train them…next thing you know the worker has trained his or her replacement with no real next step defined. Effectively that worker can now be released without a detriment to the functions of the business. Additionally the company that extended the original offer and was spurned by the counter offer is no longer interested in the worker.

People should realize that leaving a company is common in today’s work world, everyone leaves. Thinking about the people who will let down, projects that will go unfinished, leaving a boss “hanging”, the fear of change…all of these items become reasons for people to decide to accept a counter offer.

When a person gets a good job offer they should treat it like pulling off a bandage. Give 2 weeks notice, thank the company for the opportunity and the counter offer, decline and start the new job. We recommend our students not set themselves up for disappointment when the things that were wrong and caused them to want leave in the first place are not resolved by a counter offer.

Sep 192012

GigSpire was asked:

“With the rising costs of education and the foggy job outlook,how valuable is a college degree in today’s workforce? In fields where a degree is recommended but not required, does the increased pay a degree brings worth the cost of obtaining it?”

GigSpire’s response:

Today’s job market is clouded with question marks about the value of a college education. For those who are about to enter the professional workforce, nothing is more valuable than experience. For those who are currently investing in an education, make certain to get experience related to your field of study as soon as possible. This means get internships, minor jobs and even volunteer work. That exposure to the workforce will give you an upper hand against those who have the same degree but have never worked.

There are specific careers that absolutely require an advanced education and many of these are rooted in “white collar” professions. For many jobs though, even some that state in a job description that a degree is “required,” this is not necessarily so.

More than a degree, employers want competent people who are skilled and capable to do the job successfully. Professions like sales, administrative, retail, management and many others have no relevant bearing to the attainment of a degree. The degree requirement is often just a screening tool, used by employers to find people who have the ability to finish something once it is started.

Other professions do require an education or formal training of some sort such as mechanics, medical technicians and information technology workers. These positions may not require a 4 year degree but they do have a prerequisite foundation of knowledge to perform the work.

Addressing the perception that the college degree may not have value in the employment market is false. Studies have shown that people who have an advanced degree will earn on average $250,000 more than their non-degreed counterparts. Additionally the connections made and experiences learned in a college environment often are avenues for a person to grow by being exposed to so many different ideas, cultures and personalities.

Making the decision to complete a 4 year degree should not be made lightly. Individuals should evaluate their long-term career goals. For those who are unsure of their career path, we recommend taking some courses which can be done through online classes or through local community colleges at an affordable price.

People should never stop learning, whether in a formalized educational setting or not. If a person does choose to pursue a degree, the best way to maximize an immediate return on investment at graduation is to take steps to gain experience prior to graduation. Prepare by establishing a network of people to contact at least a year before completing the degree so that when you leave school, people know your name and can refer you into opportunities.

Nothing get a job faster than a good network.

Sep 132012

We were recently asked:

“What do most people mess up in an elevator pitch?”

GigSpire’s response:

Delivering an effective message is important whether you are making a sales presentation or trying to get an interview. Most people fail to do two things:

  1. Form a strategic thought or message to communicate
  2. Practice their elevator pitch

Strategy is important in almost anything we do and most people would agree that planning is a good thing. When it comes to a person’s elevator pitch most times they don’t plan it however, they “wing it” when asked what they do or are presented with a chance to introduce themselves.

The problem with this approach is we can easily be distracted and may not deliver a focused message that accurately relates our capabilities and wants/needs.

A format used in the GigSpire Program is the S.T.A.R. format:

  • Situation – Explain the problem in 15 seconds or less
  • Task – Identify a task or two tasks needed to solve the problem
  • Action – Identify the action you take to resolve the problem and address those tasks
  • Result – Explain the results of the actions you take to solve the problem


The entire pitch should be 90 seconds or less and the person should practice it so that it flows smoothly. We recommend practicing in front of a mirror or with another person to be sure and individual is comfortable delivering his or her elevator pitch.

Be sure to be prepared when asked about what you are looking for, that’s our advice!