How to Market Yourself During and After COVID-19

How to Market Yourself During and After COVID-19

Let’s face it, we’re living in a different time. Before March 2020, employers wanted to see your “best face”. They wanted you to present your perfectly outfitted resume that displayed the experience and the degree. If the resume did not fit, that was it. No interview. Then, the world turned upside down – COVID19 hit. Employers scrambled to determine if their everyday processes could turn remote on a dime. People lost jobs. A lot of people. Today, the world is gaining its’ grip on COVID-19, but the current unemployment rate remains at 7.9 percent, according to bls.gov. Employers are rebuilding or rearranging to meet the recommendations of the world’s best and brightest medical professionals to ensure coming back into the workspace meets safety requirements for employees. The outcome is a whole new perspective. Employers are now more than ever considering hiring based upon many factors – not just education, according to USA Today. This means an opportunity for many to shoot for their dream job.

At KO Business Solutions, we consider the whole of an applicant when hiring. Our selection process is based upon a proven method and balanced scorecard which considers many aspects of a potential hire, including education, current and past skill set, etc. Our scorecard provides employer’s insight into many factors, beyond just education. You can replicate our process and market yourself to potential employers yourself by following these 3 key pieces of advice: 1) Be visible on social medias and network, 2) Build and maintain a reputation of integrity, and 3) Make a lasting first impression.

 

1 – Make Yourself Visible Through Socials

The first secret to successfully marketing yourself in this new world for a chance to land a new role is to be visible whenever possible! The web and digital marketing allow you to put yourself and most attractive qualities in front of thousands of employers – and with little effort! How, you ask? Through social medias, of course. If you do not already have a social media, we strongly recommend you build them today, especially LinkedIn and Facebook. Many top executives and recruiters are on LinkedIn daily but for them to become interested in your abilities, your profile cannot just simply exist. You need to be active on social medias. There is free software, such as Hootsuite, that allow you to schedule posts for future dates to keep visible. We recommend posting photos or videos whenever able. Just be sure to be mindful of your backgrounds and quality of posts. Keep your content fun, but still work appropriate. The goal is to market your authentic self and abilities to potential employers.

 

2) Gain a Reputation of Integrity

When you are active on social medias, you are sure to attract attention. If others like your content, they may ask to connect with you. Vice versa, if you find yourself enjoying or relating to content they are posting, you can also ask to connect with them. These connections are basically free networking. You will find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals in the industries you have always dreamed of working!

Meet your connections in-person, if possible! Messaging and connecting is so important to maintaining a network. In our new world, Zoom is a completely acceptable and safe method to meet a new contact. It is normal today to share a coffee through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. These digital meetings will serve as great practice for a digital interview – that many employers are currently using as their method of choice to meet potential new hires. Through your network, you can ask for help, resources, and referrals. We guarantee you know someone who knows someone who can help you land that role you have been eyeing.

While networking, make sure to respond to others’ messages and requests. Honesty goes a long way, so if you are not interested in a service or product offering, let your contact know politely. Always search for a way to help. If you cannot use the product or service, maybe you know someone who does? By being a referral for someone, you gain their trust – and they are likely to return the favor later. If you are going to utilize social medias as a platform to meet contacts, it is important to build and maintain a reputation of integrity.

 

3 – Make a Lasting First Impression

The final secret to successfully marketing yourself in this new day in age is to create a first impression that will last. Your resume is usually the first impression outside of a media connection that attracts companies to you, so it is important to make sure your resume is attention-grabbing and highlights your qualifications. Tailoring your resume based on the role you are applying for is a must! Recruiters and hiring managers use “buzz words” as key indicators to determine if a candidates’ qualifications align with an opportunity. (Hint: The buzz words recruiters look for are often outlined in the job description and list of qualifications. When tailoring your resume, refer to the job description to pull different words and phrases to be incorporated into your resume.) Incorporate the buzz words/phrases into your resume!  For example, a job qualification listed on the job posting could be “The ability to manage a team”. On your resume, you should incorporate the buzz word “manage”, along with the specific outcomes from that experience. An example bullet point could be “Managed a team of 15 sales representatives and implemented a new sales process that increased sales by 25 percent from 2019 to 2020.”

To make a lasting first impression with your resume, you must also define your specialty (what sets you apart from other candidates?). You can create an attention-grabbing impression by highlighting your mastery in your resume by including certifications, awards, or accomplishments you have earned. To further drive home one’s specialty in a field, a skills section can be added to the resume. In this section, job specific and transferable skills should be listed, but you will also want to add specialty skills, as this will help you to stand out against other candidates. For example, if the role requires you to operate in a specific operating system while working with international or multicultural populations, you will want to list your certification and proficiency in the operating system and your foreign language proficiency.

Aside from your resume, build a portfolio to showcase your work. A portfolio is what bridges the gap between your network and the skills and experience you listed on your resume– it brings your qualifications to life. You have a network that can talk about how great of a person you are and how you would make a stellar employee, but a portfolio is the driving factor to getting a callback. Throughout your professional career, you should maintain a folder of specific accomplishments, reports, projects, etc. that you completed, as they will provide employers better insight on the items you listed on your resume, and the high praises someone within your network has said to them about you. Having a portfolio in your arsenal, can also be the crucial defining moment between you and another candidate, as it presents evidence of your relevant skills and abilities that showcases your work potential to the employer.

 

While the world has been upside down for some time, the light at the end of the tunnel is near. The fact that employers are considering more than just experience and skill when hiring is proof that things are changing. Through strong personal marketing, such as being visible online, maintaining a positive reputation, and making an authentic first impression, we are sure you can reach your professional goals. Our scorecard and expert Talent Acquisitions team can attest that these marketing steps really help employers envision your abilities, how they can be applied to their companies, and most importantly, your true potential. At KO Business Solutions, we encourage you to take advantage of this time – as businesses are rebuilding, so should you! It is time to build a world of possibilities, together.

From 4,000 resumes to 100 hires. In 12 days.

From 4,000 resumes to 100 hires. In 12 days.

How our remote sourcing model during COVID-19 answered the call.

The Task

After their new client’s call center in Manila became vastly understaffed due to COVID-19 public transportation restrictions, our client, Unifin, Inc., needed to find and deploy workers in various remote locations around the world to jump in quickly. Unifin, who provides Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Accounts Receivable Management, trusted us to deliver qualified call center manpower quickly to their banking services client.

With the bank’s understaffed call center being inundated with calls about stimulus checks and transferring money, and wait times verging on four hours, the request for additional call center staff was extremely urgent.

Clint Daoud, Partner, Unifin, Inc.: “The challenge was to be able to source, screen and hire a large number of people quickly. Our business is incumbent on sourcing and hiring quality talent. Since this was a new client for us, it was a chance to impress them with our service. So, for the front-end, recruiting portion of the engagement, we turned to KO Business Solutions because we trusted them to deliver.”

The Tactics

We were charged with sourcing and onboarding candidates domestically. Since we have the ability to issue payroll (another aspect of the engagement for Unifin) in 15 states, that is where we focused our recruiting efforts. Because we have perfected our high-volume remote recruitment process, it went like clockwork:

  • Defined job specs, skill requirements, and pay level, then posted positions online.
  • Received 4,000 resumes in three days.
  • KO Recruiting team began outreach/interviews to gauge interest level and validate experience.
  • Issued offer documents to prospective candidates.
  • For those interested in proceeding, conducted employment personality and basic grammar and math testing.
  • Facilitated another round of interviews.
  • Drilled down list of candidates based on capability, experience, background check and access to personal equipment and systems.
  • Issued final job offers.
  • Prepared final candidates for training and onboarded them for Unifin management to take over.

Clint: “The whole front-end process was turnkey—sourcing, vetting, hiring and onboarding. They worked round the clock, nights and weekends and did a fantastic job.”

Our involvement continues from an HR management and payroll perspective after the initial onboarding. We continue to be a point of contact for the 100 workers we placed and assist in the case of additional training issues, adding ever more value to Unifin.

The Talk

Clint: “I would highly recommend KO Business Solutions. They specialize in volume hires – when you need to bring in 10-20-50-100 agents in a short period of time. It’s a unique talent and not very easy to do.”

Scott Nicholson, Partner, KO Business Solutions: “This was a big, accelerated project. It took organized workflow, strategy and diligence from our team. I’m very proud of them, and confident in the quality of candidates we delivered.”

The Takeaway

For the past 3-4 years, new technology, platforms and tools have allowed us to perfect our virtual recruiting system, including a testing platform, applicant tracking system incorporating an API integration with Indeed, and a sophisticated remote interviewing platform to capture candidates’ responses. . As remote recruiting and working becomes further entrenched after COVID-19, this proven model can save our clients a lot of time, open up their pool of potential candidates in new geographic areas, and deliver superior recruiting and onboarding results.

If you can benefit from our services or would like to learn more, reach out to our Sales Specialists at (630) 230-6766.

The Ugly Truth About Recruiters – Part I

The Ugly Truth About Recruiters – Part I

Let’s be honest, when it comes to searching and enlisting top talent, recruiters tend to get a bad reputation based on misleading notions that label them as something that they are not. As recruiters, our job is to assist our clients with finding the right talent to meet their company needs, as well as assist job seekers with positioning themselves to be marketable to employers – but most importantly, bridging the gap between these two entities. At KO Business Solutions, we value our reputation and more importantly, the trust of our clients and job seekers.  That’s why we are exposing the top 4 misleading notions for what they are and providing you with the ugly truths.  Our goal in doing so is that any fear, discomfort or confusion job seekers have toward recruiters will cease, and they can once again use recruiters as another valuable resource toward finding the next job opportunity and career that best suits them.

A Numbers Game – “Recruiters only care about meeting their goals!”

One of the biggest misconceptions that job seekers have expressed regarding recruiters is that recruiters view them as just another number added to the pile of hundreds of other job seekers searching for a new role. Job seekers can feel that recruiting is a numbers game, and that they are simply used to meet a goal quota. Most sadly, many job seekers do not believe that recruiters care about their personal employment needs or success in a new role.

The Ugly Truth:

Recruiters do have production goals to meet. However, recruiters see job seekers as much more than just another drop in the bucket to fill their goal requirements. Good recruiters view job seekers as important investments, ones in which a lot of time is spent coaching and mentoring.  To recruiters, it’s very important that we get to know a job seeker as an individual so that we can confidently and correctly align their career goals to appropriate opportunities as they become available.

As recruiters, we make sure job seekers have all the information about an open position so that they can make the best-informed decision for themselves. This includes providing them with who the client is, what the role entails, and what the client has to offer. Good recruiters even go the extra mile to make sure job seekers are marketing themselves appropriately and are well-equipped for interviews and the role they are applying for.  Involved in this process are resume critiques and edits which help the job seeker appeal to potential employers, as well as role playing different interview questions so that they feel prepared going into a live interview.  Other tools to use during an interview, such as the STAR method, are provided during this process.  Of course, this is all before a recruiter meets their goal.

So, let’s talk about after the goal has been met.  How does a recruiter prove that it’s not just a numbers game and that they do care about their recruits?  After a job seeker has been hired on as a new employee, we then serve as a resource and coach to help further their career development – after any goals have been met. To further prove this point, I’d like to share a personal experience. I once had a job seeker that went through our entire vetting process, was submitted to our client for an interview and was offered the position. (Numbers goal met.) After the first week of training, our client expressed concern for their new employee’s ability to grasp the job functions. As opposed to letting the employee slip through the cracks, I offered to assist with extra training outside of my recruiting schedule to ensure the job seeker would improve and be successful in the role. Together, the employee and I spent a couple of hours 2-3 days out of the week reviewing information that was provided during training, along with incorporating our in-house exercises to further drive the training process. As time went on, the amount of ongoing training decreased as the job seeker improved significantly, and our client was impressed and satisfied with their performance. (Real goal met = Successful Employee + Satisfied Employer).

Liar, Liar – “Recruiters oversell job opportunities!”

Job seekers have expressed doubt or uncertainty about information that is provided to them by recruiters. Touching back on the number’s aspect of recruiting, job seekers feel that recruiters will say just about anything to get them into a role just to meet their recruitment goals, even if that means overselling what a job can offer.

The Ugly Truth:

Some recruiters may provide the best aspects of an opportunity to a job seeker before getting to the nitty gritty just to catch the job seeker’s attention.  At KO Business Solutions, we value our integrity and know that, as recruiters, our job is never to lie or provide misleading information, but to provide job seekers with all the information gathered from our client, making sure that what the clients offers aligns with the job seekers requirements and vice versa. Having open communication and transparency with job seekers allows for reassurance and trust to be built, even before the hire date.

Here at KO Business Solutions, the first part of our process is to complete an in-depth job analysis with every client to ensure we have a clear understanding of the company, the role, and requirements for an individual to be a successful employee. Sometimes during the recruitment process, clients will restructure their requirements for a role. As a recruiter, it is imperative to be transparent with job seekers and timely communicate those changes – favorable or not. At KO Business Solutions, we’re aware of how valuable time is to a job seeker, and we’re careful not to waste it. Always being open about any information we have that pertains to a job opportunity alleviates the chances of time wasted – for all parties. Transparency also allows job seekers control in how they choose to proceed with the recruitment process.  At KO Business Solutions, we pride ourselves in providing a recruitment experience that is fostered on honest and timely communication with job seekers, which even extends throughout their time as a new employee.

No Benefits – “Staffing agencies don’t support my insurance needs!”

Job seekers assume that when they are being recruited by a talent acquisition firm, especially for a contract or contract-to-hire role, there are no benefits associated with the role. Therefore, many job seekers overlook or are skeptical about working as a temporary employee, even for a period of time.

The Ugly Truth:

It’s true – not all staffing agencies offer a benefits package… but that doesn’t mean it’s likely.  According to Flex Jobs, when working with a talent acquisition firm or staffing agency, most contracted W-2 employees are provided benefits through the agency. As is the case here at KO Business Solutions, where upon accepting a role, temporary employees can enroll for a generous benefits package which includes medical, dental, vision, and even employer-matching 401K.

At times there may be certain cases where this does not apply. For example, there may be a client looking to bring on an administrative assistant that is a 1099 contractor role. Based on the type of role the client is looking to fill, in this case it a 1099 role, there are no benefits associated with the role. Another case where benefits may not be offered is for a part time role, however that can also be dependent upon what the client offers and is agreed upon between the client and the agency.

In general, it is safe for job seekers to assume that benefits are offered through staffing agencies and talent acquisition firms and so, can be confident in working with one.

Nothing’s Free – “I have to pay you, in order for you to pay me?!”   

There have been times where I have been in the middle of outlining an employment opportunity to a job seeker and they have brought up the question, “How much do I have to pay to work with your firm?” or “How much money will be taken out of my paycheck to cover my costs for working with your agency?” Some job seekers have become turned off from working with talent acquisition firms due to the assumption that there is a cost associated with working for them.

The Ugly Truth:

Since I can’t speak for all staffing agencies out there, I can’t completely rule this one out for you.  However, normally, there is no extra cost that a job seeker or temporary employee must pay when working for a staffing agency or talent acquisition firm.  In majority of cases, the client and agency have established a “markup” fee within the contract. According to People Ready, clients are responsible for paying the agency a certain amount that covers pay for the employee, legal labor costs, taxes, and general and administrative expenses, thus eliminating costs to employees when hired on. The markup fee is what provides revenue to agencies for their services, and upon subtracting their operational costs and money spent on resources to find talented job seekers, a profit is accounted for.

Although this may be a reoccurring question brought up by job seekers due to past experiences with agencies, the cost to be a contracted employee through KO Business Solutions is covered by the client. As a talent acquisition firm, our duty is to help connect job seekers with meaningful and gratifying job opportunities, and when asked if employees have to pay to be a KO employee, I make it a point to be transparent with job seekers and help them to understand the logistics behind working with a talent acquisition firm to add to their toolbox of career-seeking tools.

In general, there are many misconceptions floating about that surround recruiters and talent acquisition firms.  By addressing them and facing them head on, we hope to allow recruiters the ability to be more cognizant of the recruitment experience they provide, as well as better equip job seekers with the truth that working with a recruiter can only benefit them and should be used as another resource when searching for a new job opportunity. In order to regain our reputation and set the record straight, it is imperative for recruiters to provide an experience for job seekers that is grounded on a foundation comprised of transparency, open communication, and an overall drive for wanting to place job seekers in great opportunities that set them up for career success.