Job Search Tips And Insights From A Talent Acquisition Director

I like to consider job search tips from both angles (job seekers and employers) because doing so helps you have better outcomes with your career search. A recent study found that on average, talent acquisition professionals spend almost one-third of their work week sourcing candidates, and that’s just for one role. The same study showed that nearly one in three respondents spend more than 20 hours.

I frequently talk to talent acquisition professionals, managers and individuals at top companies. It’s one of several ways I learn about and discuss job, company and industry trends. Recently, I sat down with Kim Hoffman, talent acquisition director at Intuit, a company building leading edge FinTech software, consistently appearing on the best-places-to-work list.

Rachel Montañez: I often tell individuals that there is one job search method that triumphs over all others. Can you share a little about the importance of networking?

Kim Hoffman: Networking is still the number one way to look for jobs and opportunities. If it’s through LinkedIn or through connections you have in the industry through your parents, aunts, or uncles, look before you start a new job because once you build those connections in the industry, jobs are going to come to you, versus you having to find them. That’s the best position to be in from a job seeker’s perspective.

Montañez: Why else do job seekers need to have valuable conversations with their networks?

Hoffman: Networking also makes you better with your craft. You will always be learning new skills and capabilities, and you can then weave them into your networking. You want to make connections, but you also want to understand the best practices in the industry.

Montañez: The growth mindset you’re alluding to is essential, regardless of the stage in our career, because a flexible attitude and a willingness to learn are the underpinning cores to career growth. What advice would you share with job seekers who want to reach out to innovative companies like Intuit?

Hoffman:  I think it’s important to think about how we would like to be reached out to. I love it when people want my advice. I love it when people want to hear my perspective.  I think it is important to make the connection on not just, “Hey, I'm looking for a job.” I would love to connect with you and get some advice on something. It could be around what capabilities or skills they may need for the future, industry current or future trends, or hot technology.  The important thing is to be very specific.

Montañez: What are your thoughts on thank you letters?

Hoffman: Thank you letters don’t happen anymore. If I get a handwritten one, I will keep it forever. I always recommend, if it’s not written, absolutely follow up with a thank you via email. I think it’s just common courtesy. It tells me how interested that person is in the role. I love it too when individuals go further and connect the dots in the thank you letter on how they’re going to contribute to the company. Thank you letters can say a lot about a person.

Montañez: How does Intuit like to see candidates researching a company?

Hoffman: I think it would be by validating with people you know at the company. You could start a conversation with somebody in your network and say, “I read this on the internet. Tell me more about it,” and get more details or context about it. Also, once you walk into a company, you have a feeling. You get the feeling of what it’s like to work there. You feel the culture, and that speaks volumes.

Montañez: What do you like to see on a résumé?

Hoffman:  I would say doing research on the company and tying our values into their résumé will resonate. It’s about having the skill sets, as well as the skills and capabilities, but it’s also about being a cultural fit and having the values of the company. Thus, being able to showcase that would be a great way to stand out from others in the application process.

Montañez: What is a significant turn off for an applicant?

Hoffman: If there’s not a lot of meat to your résumé on what you’ve actually accomplished and the impact you’ve made, that could put you at a disadvantage to somebody else that, on a résumé, is showing his or her accomplishments. We also want to see people who are growing their careers.

Montañez: In your experience, what do applicants tend to forget about the interview process?

Hoffman: When you’re interviewing, and it’s a no, it doesn’t mean it’s a no for the entire company; it’s only a no for that specific role, in that particular team.

Montañez: Share the process a job goes through before it’s posted online.

Hoffman:  A manager will open a role, and the recruiter will talk to the manager about the role. They share what they’re looking for, the skill sets and all those pieces that we need to be able to find the right person for the role. The job will then get approved for the process, and then we will post it internally and externally. We absolutely want to grow our internal workforce, so we make sure we look internally and have mobility across the company. We also bring in a lot of external talent to the company, as well.

Montañez: As a career coach, I’m a big fan of making sure individuals are aware of the different types of career moves. If your current company culture aligns with your values, a career change can occur where you are. Thanks for sharing that, Kim, and for your time.

This article was first published on my Forbes column.