Clean Cut: Job Seekers Must Keep a Professional Social Media Presence

Clean Cut: Job Seekers Must Keep a Professional Social Media Presence

When organizations retain our firm to find top talent, we look for a candidate who has the best experience, skills, and potential for cultural fit. Cultural fit is key because organizations want to make sure their employees will thrive in the company’s culture. As such, one of the best ways to learn more about a candidate is by looking at his or her online presence.

While social media is one of our most beneficial forms of communication, there’s a time and place for everything. You never know who’s viewing your digital presence, but you can be sure someone is. If you’re a job candidate, recruiters and hiring managers will do their due diligence, and if we see anything sketchy on social media, we won’t be able to refer you to our clients in good faith. This is why I recommend you conduct this social media test before you post or comment online: would you show it to your employer, recruiter, or organization you want to interview with? If the answer is no, then stop.

Red Flags

As an executive recruiter, some of the red flags I see are photos with alcohol, inappropriate or racist language, postings that have a negative tone, and rude comments. Your social media presence is like an online resume, so bad spelling and grammar also raise a red flag. Another thing that can turn away a recruiter: posting too often. Documenting your every move doesn’t translate as professional.

Clean Up Tips

Cleaning up your social media presence is vital for job candidates, and it doesn’t take long. As this quick video explains, you can get started by conducting a  Google search on yourself and your social profiles. Go through many pages to see what’s out there and take time to delete. The expert in the video also recommends making your non-professional social profiles private. (You don’t necessarily have keep everything private. For some jobs, such as marketing positions, a social media presence is important.)  If you have a personal blog, it will show up in a search too, so revise anything that could be questionable or unprofessional.

When you’re reviewing your digital footprint, revise unsuitable language, eliminate curse words, and fix spelling/grammar mistakes. Take inventory of your photos and omit the ones that could be unfitting. Be sure to review and revise anything you’re tagged in, anything you’ve commented on, and any comments others have made about your posts. Also, look at the pages you’ve liked, as well as the people or causes you follow, and revise anything that could be misconstrued. This site can help you clean up your social media presence.

Most importantly, from this point forward, be mindful of what you put out into cyberspace. Resist the urge to engage in political or social debate. A little restraint can go a long way in your future, particularly when it comes to landing that incredible job. Remember, organizations hire people, and you are more than just your skills and experience. Even when you’re not at work, you’re representing your place of employment. This is 2016 and social media is a part of everyday life, and every day recruitment. Be smart and prudent—and put your best digital foot(print) forward.


Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Answers

Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Answers

By Jolene Risch One of my clients recently said, “I can tell in the first 15 minutes if a person is right for the job.” I completely disagree. Not connecting with a candidate in the first few minutes doesn’t mean he or she isn’t right for the job. It could simply mean that the executive recruiter, hiring manager, or HR professional didn’t ask the right questions. While first impressions are important, they are not the end-all-be-all for recruiting. Candidates need to answer questions beyond the surface-level information. If they don’t get a chance to contribute past that level, you may miss out on a great candidate.

In the Career Builder e-book, “The Hiring Manager’s Complete Interviewing Guide,” you’ll find a host of tips and resources. The e-book lists seven questions to ask candidates, and they are represented below.  In addition, I listed three more questions, based on my experience as an executive recruiter.  As such, here are the top 10 questions to ask prospective employees.

  1. What does the company owe our employees? This question helps the candidate outline his or her expectations in terms of career growth and the big picture. It may also help with retention.
  2. What trends affect our business? Think beyond the job description to get the candidate’s view of the business, industry, and future. This also helps to understand how savvy the candidate is about the company and the market.
  3. Assuming you’re hired for this role, what would make you want to leave your position? The answer here will help you understand what’s important to the candidate, such as advancement, increasing responsibility, growth, etc.
  4. What risks did you take in your last position? This question demonstrates innovative and out-of-the-box thinking.
  5. When was the last time you had to deliver a negative message to customers, and how did you handle it? The answer here demonstrates the ability to navigate difficult situations. It also shows how the candidate communicates messages to customers on behalf of the company.
  6. Give me an example of how you used humor to diffuse a tough situation. This answer gives a glimpse into the candidate’s personality, and is a good way to examine of he or she could be a fit with the company culture.
  7. What was the most useful criticism you received? This helps to identify areas of weakness without asking the candidate directly. It also demonstrates his or her ability to handle criticism and tough love.
  8. Tell me something about your previous job that you really liked. This questions helps you understand what’s important to the candidate, and it may spark ideas for company culture or team building.
  9. Give me an example of a situation in which you used one of your talents on the job. Cultivating natural talent or individual strengths can make the company stronger and more proficient. Understanding who your employees are is the first step.
  10. What community causes do you participate in, or have participated in? This question can shed light on how the candidate feels about cause-related support to determine if his or her values line up with the company values. This can be a good indicator for cultural fit.

These questions don’t represent an exhaustive list, nor is it necessary to ask all of them with every candidate. I would also suggest using the behavioral style of interviewing by asking follow-up questions that include examples and how the candidate resolved a situation. Of course, be on the lookout for red flags like negative comments about past employers or resume claims that the candidate can’t substantiate. Taking time to understand who employees are beyond the first few minutes can go a long way, particularly when it comes to building a productive long-term team.

Risch Results is one of Dallas’ top executive search firms for executive management, manufacturing, and financial services talent. Learn more about how Risch Results can help with your talent needs at RischResults.com or 972.839.9447.




Top 10 Hiring Tips

Top 10 Hiring Tips

interviewAll highly successful companies have one thing in common; skilled, ambitious, responsible employees. Finding quality people to work at your company does not happen over night; in fact it can (or should) take months to fill one position with a trained and trusted candidate. Here are 10 hiring tips to help you find the right people and give them the tools to succeed in their positions that will help your business prosper.


  1. Always Looking
    You should constantly be on the lookout for ways to attract and engage top talent, even if it’s not needed right now. Consider how much time, money and frustration you would save if you already had a pool of qualified, relevant and interested applicants on hand once a hiring need does open up. The effort you put in now to recruit for the future will lead to fewer hiring mistakes and a greater return for all involved in the hiring process.
  2. Know What You Need.
    Know the skills and personality traits that will make a person successful in a given job, so you can develop job descriptions when you’re hiring. This helps in framing interviews with potential applicants, who in turn learn in advance more about the skills needed for the position.
  3. Have A Large Selection Pool.
    Commit to interviewing a number of people, even though you probably won’t be interested in most of them. If you don’t think a person is a good fit for your company, use the interview to discover information on your competitors or create business development opportunity.
  4. Ask The Right Questions.
    Do not ask obvious questions like “are you going to be a responsible and efficient employee of this company?” Anyone can say yes to these types of questions. Probing questions should allow you to discover if the potential candidate possesses a positive attitude, can be trusted, has good character, takes responsibilities, confident, willing to follow instructions, and has a good track record and so on. Aside from the questions, you also need to assess their personality, self-esteem and attitude towards people and towards work through the manner of their speaking and their overall nonverbal behavior.
  5. Check References.
    Check references and do a criminal background check. You just can never be too sure. Even if your potential candidate looks innocent and sweet, looks can be deceiving and you want to be utmost sure that your employee has a clean record.
  6. Clarify Expectations.
    New employees seldom know exactly what is expected of them, how they will be measured, or with whom they will work the most. It’s important to communicate expectations and metrics clearly and succinctly from day one.
  7. Attractive Salary.
    If you want to hire excellent and efficient employees, you should be able to offer fair and attractive compensation.
  8. Buddy System.
    Consider a “buddy” system, that is, assign one of your long-time employees as a “buddy” to aid the new employee for his or her first few weeks at your company. Be sure not to “burn out” buddies by assigning too many new hires to them in succession. After the new employee has been with the company for at least a year, give them a chance to become a “buddy” in turn to the next wave of new hires.
  9. Develop People To Their Full Potential.
    This could be training to learn a new job skill or tuition reimbursement to help further your employee’s education.
  10. Exit Interviews.
    Exit interviews are one of the best ways to get true and honest feedback from employees. The downside is that it takes time to build up a significant amount of data from exit interviews. Increasing your participation rate with feedback in general, however, can help you get greater amounts of feasible information faster from your exit interviews.

Finding the right people for the job and training them can take a good deal of time and effort, but if you do take your time, do your homework, and follow this ten-step process, it will pay off! You can find hard-working and talented people who you can trust and that want to partner with your company and work for its success! Good luck!

Related: Positive Work Environment and Red Flags to Watch During the Interview


Interview Questions: “What I really want to ask is…?

Interview Questions: “What I really want to ask is…?

Sitting in an interview there are questions I really want answers to…but I know I can’t ask them.  In this BLOG I have captured some questions that I really want to ask and come up with a better way of asking them so that I don’t end up in my lawyers office.  Check it out and let me know if you have others that you want to ask but know you are not supposed to!

Why is the candidate searching for a job?Why did you leave your last position?
Would this candidate enjoy working here?What do you need most in a good workable situation?
Can this candidate learn our technology?Tell me about a time you needed to learn a new computer program?  What was it?  How did you go about learning it?
Will s/he work hard for me?Tell us about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
I am a small business and don’t have the time to train- how will this candidate manage?Have you worked in an environment with limited support?  Tell us how you managed?  How did you develop the tools you needed to work effectively and productively?
Does the candidate smoke?This office has a non smoking policy and employees are not permitted to smoke during working hours, on the premises.  Can you abide by this policy?
Is this candidate a U.S. citizen?Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?
Which religious holidays does s/he observe?Are you able to work with our required schedule?
This candidate seems older than most, will s/he want to retire soon?What are your long-term career goals?
Will this candidate be having children soon?Are you available to work overtime on occasion? Can you travel?
How many sick days did the candidate take last year?How many days of work did you miss last year?

Most Interesting Reference Yet (less about recruiting and more about name dropping)

Most Interesting Reference Yet (less about recruiting and more about name dropping)

You probably remember from my first blog about the importance of references.  Just to review, I always ask for 3 professional references.  I call all three.  When a reference calls me back fairly quickly I make a note.  This says something about the candidate. This is just what happened last week.  I asked for three references from an applicant, let’s call him John.  John gave me three references and I called all three.  All of John’s references called me back right away.  One of them, call her Arlene, is the owner of a 41 year old business in New York.  Arlene was delighted to be a reference for John.  She spoke very highly of John’s skills, work ethic and how he helped her company.  She asked me where the position was located.  I told her outside of Houston.  She went on and on about her close friends in the Houston area.  Recognizing my phone number as a Dallas phone number she then started to tell me about her other friends who will be coming to Dallas.  Usually my problem is keeping a reference on the phone.  Obviously this wasn’t an issue.  Arlene liked to talk!  And I am a good listener. So I had no intention of stopping her.  Especially when she told me that two other friends of hers were coming to Dallas in February.  I asked her who.  She told me her friends Betty Buckley and Tova Feldshuh were coming to Dallas for the production of Arsenic and Old Lace.  I told her I knew all about it.  I enjoy the productions of the Dallas Theatre Center. And since Kevin Moriarty became the Artistic Director there has not been a production that I didn’t enjoy.  I told her these were among my favorite actresses and, speaking for the city of Dallas, we were fortunate to have them.  I saw Betty Buckley on TV years ago in Eight is Enough but my favorite memory was when I was in Middle School and I saw her in Cats.  And I saw Tova Feldshuh in both Golda’s Balcony and Irena’s Vow when it was still off Broadway.  She was so excited about Irena’s Vow.  As it turns out, Arlene was the first to donate to enable Irena’s Vow to be produced when they were still in the pre-off-Broadway reading stage.  She was asked by an actor who knew her passion for theatre.  According to Arlene she has been unofficially a part of the production ever since.  She insisted that I introduce myself to the two actors and tell them that Arlene is a friend of mine.  Of course I explained to her that the audience does not generally meet the actors.  She sounded a bit disappointed.  I wasn’t.  I was already reveling in the fact that this world is so small.  I had a conversation that started as a reference call for an applicant for an accounting job.  But the conversation became so much more!


Interview Tips

Interview Tips

There are many places to go to search for tips for the interviewees; But as an interviewer, the hiring manager or the boss, where do you go.  Look no further!  Here are a few tips that are helpful to keep in mind before you begin the interview process.

1.  Confirm the interview in advance.

2.  Be on time.  Its a reflection on you and the place you work.

3.  Get up from behind your desk to conduct the interview.

4.  Limit your overview on yourself and the business to 5-6 minutes.

5.  Make sure your questions are prepared in advance so you can focus on the answers the applicant is giving and follow-up questions.

6.  Ask follow-up questions.  The more you can dig into their experience, the more you understand if they have what you are looking for.

7.  Ask more follow-up questions.  Nothing wrong with trying their patience just a bit.  Lets see how they respond

8.   Do not ask if they can do x or y.  Ask them to tell you about a time they were successful at doing x and y.  And then ask for a time they were not successful at doing x or y.  Then go back to tip 6 and tip 7.

9.  Allow time for the candidate to ask you questions either during the interview or at the end.

10.  Do not go beyond an hour.  If you like them invite them back for a 2nd interview.