How to get hired: Recruiting by Design Podcast

published on 28 January 2022

Kadeem Morrison recently interviewed Huey CEO Sean McAuliffe to talk about how the org chart company got started, the challenges his company has encountered, and how they overcame them. From there, they covered several job interview and application tips you can use to save time while increasing the chances you’ll be considered for a job. Read on for more! 

Huey.io - Modern Org Chart Software

Huey.io is org chart software that has a skills-search feature. Each employee can put in the skills they do, and then employees can search the org chart from within Slack. They have custom Slack demands like “/whodoes 401K?” and it will ping the org chart and pull up the person’s information, their contact info, and you can click it and see them in the org chart.  Huey is built so that all employees can quickly and easily access the organization chart.

Huey.io makes it quick and easy for you to find the colleague that you need without having to ask around. Post-pandemic, communication has become even more important, because you can’t turn to the person next to you to ask who’s in accounting. You’re by yourself in a room. 

How It All Started

Ten years ago, Sean started a company out of his apartment. Over the course of a few years, he grew it to over 40 employees and then grew to about 120 after a merger. After a second merger, they grew to about 220 employees. 

A lot of things happened that they didn’t expect: things slowed down for about the first 6 months getting to know everyone and finding where things fell into place. They didn’t know who to call to get things done or solve problems. Sometimes they spent 30 minutes or an hour on a 10-minute problem. After that period, they realized they were finally back to handling the business side of things. 

Sean thought, “How can I speed this up and make it where employees have access to a searchable database where they don’t have to log into another software?”

A Focus on Efficiency

Efficiency is important to Sean, and it’s why he developed Huey. 

“It’s probably my biggest attribute. When something is inefficient, it makes me a little crazy. Going through that merger period where things dragged on a little bit was frustrating in the beginning, but it was good in the end. That’s a good chunk of why I worked on Huey as my next project, just trying to get the tools to stay agile and efficient.”  

Finding Candidates 

One of the advantages of the merger was that they now had great processes in place and a dedicated HR team as well as other helpful resources. They talked to the HR manager and asked for help with job descriptions and base salaries in the geographical region. From there, they put it out on Indeed hoping to find great candidates.

A lot of this was happening during the early days of the pandemic. It was difficult to hire people. Candidates weren’t showing up to virtual interviews. Ultimately, the company established a process where they would put out a Calendly invite for a 15-minute “get to know you” interview. If the candidate didn’t show, it only wasted 15 minutes of their time.

The interviewer got a good sense of who they are through that 15-minute interview and if they wanted to learn more, they scheduled a 30-45 minute follow-up interview with the candidates. 

“We use a lot of software in our organization, so we used the Calendly invite as a sort of test. We don’t mind showing you how to use a particular app, but we don’t have time to teach you how to use a computer. So the first step is ‘Can you use the software and show up?’ and the second step is ‘At first glance, do they seem like the right fit?’”

Sean’s Application and Interview Tips

Sean had a lot of great advice for job seekers. He talked about the importance of cover letters, the “why” of the application process, applying for multiple jobs and how to get your dream job by putting in extra effort. He also discussed the interview process, how to focus your applications, and where to position important information.  

The Importance of Cover Letters

If you’re applying to a job that’s drastically different from what you’ve done previously, you should always add a cover letter explaining why. If you’ve got no experience relative to the position, a simple, “Hey, I understand that my resume doesn’t reflect experience for the role, but this is a field I want to get into and I’ve been doing research…” can go a long way.  If you want to go after new career opportunities, you will need to put in some extra effort

Recruiters at many organizations don’t have time to read through every single resume to find the best candidates and contact each one for follow-up questions. If they can’t figure out what your motivations are, they’ll just move on to the next one. In some cases, candidates seem vastly overqualified, but if there’s no cover letter, recruiters don’t know what’s going on and why this seemingly overqualified candidate may be applying for a role that's below their experience level. Are they just looking for any job or are they looking to make a change in their career? Someone who is looking to make a career change can be a great candidate but someone who is just looking for a filler job is not ideal. Specific cover letters are worth reading and spending time on.  Recruitment can be a long and arduous process for hiring managers looking for top talent, try and make it easy for them to say "yes" to you.

The “Why” of the Application Process

Recruiting Managers want to know if you’re actually interested in the position you’re applying for or if you’re just “scatter-shooting” the applications. If you're sending your application to every single job post you see, management is not going to want to waste their time.  If there’s no connection between the resume and the role, there should be a “why” in your cover letter.

Focus Your Cover Letter: Recruiters Consider Turnover

Imagine you’re applying for a job in sales with ten years of marketing experience. Recruiters would think, “Is this just a filler job, or does this person actually want to get into sales?” 

Recruiting Managers won’t want to hire someone who’s going to leave in a year when they find something else. Onboarding and training takes time, money, and effort. Recruiters consider the potential of turnover when they hire applicants. 

Applying to Multiple Jobs by Templatizing Cover Letters

Want to apply to multiple jobs without taking much time and effort? Create a template of your cover letter. The typical cover letter has 3-4 paragraphs on it, so 3 of them can be the same and the fourth one can be customized to the role or company you’re applying for. Don’t customize it for every single role, but for each category that you’re applying for. 

Follow-Up Emails

You can also templatize follow-up emails. Put in the organization's name, talk about a specific point you want to revisit, and use a template for the rest. Cover letters and follow-up emails can be made quickly and easily and can help differentiate you from the pack.

Getting Your Dream Job: Extra Effort Pays Off

If it’s a job you really want to work for, it’s worth spending an extra hour on the application instead of blasting off your resume without any more information. Put the extra effort in - you’re committing to this for the next few years. You take extra time to buy a house, buy a car, or find the person you’ll marry. Take a bit of extra time if you really want the job.  Make it easy for the recruiter to hire you.

Warning: don’t succumb to “paralysis by analysis.” The tips provided above don’t take too much time but they can help a lot with your chances of getting the job. 

How to Stand Out

Standing out is an important part of being noticed by recruiters. If the application or cover letter doesn’t make sense to them, they’ll move on to the next candidate.

Showing enthusiasm or effort will get you noticed. People read what’s at the top of the resume: put the most important information at the top, whether it’s an intro paragraph or a key point that you want to make. Assume that no one will read what’s at the bottom. Put the value proposition at the top and hook the recruiter. 

Add the recruiter’s name or the company name to the cover letter. Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person,  the sweetest sound in any language.” It makes a huge difference if you can personalize any written communication: it’ll grab their attention and make them notice you. You have to remember, there is always only 1 job but multiple applicants. Therefore, the default answer for a recruiter is to say No - don’t make it easy for them.

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