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How I Got the Job

December 15th, 2020

From pandemic layoff to Director of Technology, a Talener candidate recounts his journey.

The Search Begins

As a result of the pandemic, and for the first time in my career, I was out of work and looking for a job.  I know that I am respected in my industry and I’ve developed many wonderful relationships.  I was confident that I would find something soon. Little did I know…

I started educating myself in job hunting, 2020 edition.  Long gone are the days of the NY Times classifieds. Armed with 1500+ curated LinkedIn connections, I tweaked my profile to alert the market that I was available. I hit the major job-hunting sites: LinkedIn, Dice & Indeed. I also hit some of the lesser known (and likely sketchy) ones too.

I was bombarded with daily emails, of which 95% of the roles from my keyword searches were irrelevant.  I will never understand how my career as a technology leader could generate a match for an Amazon delivery driver. I doubled down on malware and anti-virus protection for my PC.

I’ll be honest, after initially reaching out to many peers, it became slow going.  My initial contacts were all saying, “of course we’ll keep an eye open, but the world is changing, and everyone is adjusting to the new paradigm.” Every day, I would scour the sites for jobs; look at LinkedIn for relevant announcements from my contacts – anything that would allow me to start another conversation.

I applied online to a very wide net. I hid tags in my resume that were specific to each role and this allowed the ATS (applicant tracking systems) to pick me up. I got pretty good at this over time, and I highly recommend it.  I kept at it. I told myself that it only takes on interview to get me a job, and today might be the day that something happens.

The Frustration

During the search, there were flashes of hope. A connection would reach back out or I’d be scheduled for an interview. I’d prepare by learning what I could about the job and the company – which isn’t always easy. I’d feel that I had aced it. And then the news: “they’re looking for someone else” or “you’re overqualified.” Or worse, I would get ghosted.

As the months passed, I became more and more frustrated dealing with recruiters. I have worked with recruiters on the hiring side for decades. I have my favorites, but over the years I have met some with questionable skills and worse yet, questionable ethics.  My biggest gripe was that they didn’t effectively market the position to me, and more importantly, didn’t market me to the prospective employer.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I saw an ad come in from a recruiting firm I was unaware of called Talener. As I read it, it became evident that the role was extremely well suited for me – in my industry, and in a similar environment in which I had worked previously. My bike ride would have to wait, I needed to apply.  Within an hour, I received a response back. I assumed it was an acknowledgement of my application from an automated system. But it was actually a personal email from Henry Boulos. His email told me more about the job and asked some additional questions. I took the time to answer the questions individually and tie them back to my resume.  We both got excited. Henry could see that I was a highly viable candidate for a role that I was confident that I would be well-suited for.  He arranged for a Microsoft Teams interview with the firm, along with other candidates.

More importantly, Henry spent time preparing me.  It wasn’t just about the role, the skills I should emphasize or the people I’d be meeting. More importantly, he prepared my by giving me some frank pointers that he had picked up on my presentation, which I wasn’t used to.   I studied the notes I had taken with Henry, reviewed the company website in detail, and set up Google Alerts for current news about the company and its principals. 

I felt the first Teams interview went well with the COO.  I listened to his questions. I sent a thank you note.   And in the hopes of continuing the conversation, the timing worked out that I was able to attend a virtual user conference for the company’s ERP system.  Henry updated me on the process moving forward.  I had made the first cut.  Another Teams interview was scheduled with a larger audience.  I put together some notes gleaned from the conference. 

Henry and I reviewed in detail what I should further be prepared to discuss.  I think we get very focused on telling our story during an interview, and Henry reminded me the importance of listening.  I came away again feeling good, that I had “strutted my stuff” well.  I also asked about pain points in the role and challenges that leadership saw.  I again followed up with a thank you note, including discussing some proposed solutions to the issues discussed during the interview.  I made it to a third interview, this one would be on-site.  Henry ensured that I was fully prepared, and the meeting went well.  Another thank you note sent.  The next morning, Henry followed up with the wonderful news that I had gotten the job, and I began the onboarding process.  It was less than three weeks from first contact to a signed offer.

Again, I cannot say enough about the professionalism that Henry exhibited throughout the process.  I plan to use Henry again and refer him and his firm to my peers.

Yes, there’s a pandemic.  But I got a senior-level job.  Here are a few things I learned along the way:

  • Don’t give up.  No matter how discouraged you get, you are one person who needs only one job.  This can happen at any time.
  • LinkedIn and your resume are a significant part of your personal brand.  It’s the first thing people see.  Think of it from that perspective.
  • Network, network, network.  The time to start networking is NOT when you need a job.  Do it throughout your career.
  • Prepare.  Look in detail at the company’s website.  Look for current news about the company and its principals.  Make sure you check Glassdoor.  Find out what products they use and learn about them.  Bring it up on the interview when appropriate.  Everyone always likes to hear about themselves.
  • Listen.  I realized that providing answers to a prospective employers’ challenges are more important than talking about an extensive skillset or describing a list of successful projects.
  • Always send a thank you note.  My wife taught me that.

Layoffs from the pandemic caught many career employees off-guard. We could see the immediate impact in industries like travel or restaurants. However, many employees across industries faced layoffs for the first time in their careers. Even with years of experience, being at the top of your field, and having excellent connections – it’s jarring and overwhelming to pivot quickly.

If it has been years (or decades!) since you’ve written a resume, have had to call up connections, or apply for a job— it can be daunting to start over again. Let the Talener team help you out or provide you with guidance on where to get started.

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Posted in Career Tips, Featured Candidates, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Congratulations to our March 2012 Candidate of the Month: Amadeus Junqueira

April 16th, 2012

Amadeus Junqueira, an Emerson alum , was found through our talent acquisition manager Tim Olesnavage.  Coming out of AHALife as an UI Engineer, Amadeus is a sharp guy who possesses exceptional communication skills and was an obvious hot candidate.  It was clear from our first interaction that we would be able to get him out to a number of opportunities due to the wide set of skills he amassed through his work at companies including AHALife and BuyWithMe.com (acquired by Gilt).  Amadeus was also very skilled at articulating his knowledge succinctly.

Within a weeks’ time Talener was generating a lot of activity for him with 6 of our clients which resulted in a number of options for him (3-4 companies either made him an offer or wanted to make him an offer). 

Our client, Learnvest, a well-known NYC based start-up company, had been looking for someone like Amadeus for quite some time.  In desperate need of a very strong UI Engineer, Learnvest knew they needed someone who was a culture fit as well.  It was vital this person had a passion for technology and a start-up mentality. Learnvest was so excited about Amadeus’ background that

Around the time Amadeus was supposed to have his first interview with Learnvest, they were so sure Amadeus was worth pursuing that the entire tech team met with him in Austin at SXSW where they happened to be in town at the same time.  Both parties knew it was a perfect fit.  The company immediately offered Amadeus an opportunity to join their impressive team.  He was hired as a Senior Software Developer and is very excited to start with them in April.

We wish Amadeus the best, and are enthusiastic about the growth potential of Learnvest in the near future. 

Posted in Candidate of the month, Company News, Featured Candidates, Talener Blog, Talener Culture

Congratulations to our February 2012 Candidate of the Month: Noyda Matos!

March 21st, 2012

We know it’s a little belated, but there have been a lot of exciting things going on here at Talener and rather than skip it all together, we decided it was better to announce it late than never.  Read on to learn more about February’s candidate of the month!

Our New York based Manager of Talent Acquisition, Tim Olesnavage reached out to our February 2012 candidate of the month, Noyda Matos, over a period of more than two weeks and even though she’d been beaten up by phone calls from recruiters, she apparently decided to call us back because Tim was very specific about the jobs and clients he wanted to discuss with her. 

Noyda had been a lead developer with Kaplan and was interested in working on a variety of products and working with some new technologies.  Noyda impressed our relationship managers with her ability to communicate with on a technical level and with business users. 

Henry Boulos, the Director of our NY office got her out to a manager we were working with at CNN and after a fairly exhaustive process that included 3 onsite interviews and a couple of Skype interviews with Turner corporate in Atlanta, they offered Noyda the job with a substantial raise. 

After that Noyda referred a friend to Talener and we quickly placed that friend at Pearson.

We wish Noyda the best at CNN and we’re glad we had an opportunity to help both her and her friend find new roles!

Posted in Candidate of the month, Company News, Featured Candidates, Talener Blog, Talener Culture

Congratulations to our January 2012 Candidate of the Month: Jesse Richards!

February 1st, 2012

Jesse Richards was referred to Talener by a candidate we placed last month, Rich Couzzi.  He was a senior product manager with a very strong skillset and management level experience.  From the moment we sat down with Jesse, he was honest and upfront about his qualifications and what type of position he desired.  With a market-center background, mobile and social media expertise, and a charismatic personality, we knew we’d be able to generate several opportunities for him.

The Project Management team worked closely with Jesse for several weeks, building a close relationship and getting a better understanding of where his background would be a good fit.  He was always honest with his feedback and prompt with communication.  Working with accessible, straightforward, and affable candidates always makes our job so much easier.

One company we were working with, Offerpop, had been searching months to find someone just like him.  They wanted someone who had his industry experience, but more importantly- his demonstrated interest and passion for their product.  After meeting with managers at Offerpop, it was clear that this was a perfect match on both sides.  The company immediately put out an offer, and Jesse couldn’t have been happier to accept.  He will be their Director of Product, a critical position in helping the growing company expand.

We wish Jesse the best, and can’t wait to see how Offerpop evolves in the coming months.  Check out Offerpop at www.offerpop.com, and Jesse’s self-penned book The Secret Peace: Exposing the Positive Trend of World Events.

Posted in Candidate of the month, Client News, Company News, Featured Candidates, Talener Blog, Talener Culture

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