Job Search Tips for Minority Nurses From Headhunter Nick Corcodilos

Job Search Tips for Minority Nurses From Headhunter Nick Corcodilos

Are you about to start a job search and confused by all the changes within the world of nurse recruiting and not sure who to ask?:

“A recruiter sent me a DM on Snap—what do I do?”

“I got a recruiting text from a bot—what do I do?”

“I submitted a ton of online applications to hospitals but I’m not getting call backs—what do I do?”

Well, who better to advise you on your job search than a nationally-known recruiter? Nick Corcodilos, publisher of the popular website Ask The Headhunter has all the answers. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, The New York Times, Fast Company, and PBS NewsHour.

In this Q&A interview, Nick delivers hints and tips specifically for minority nurses, who may have unique roadblocks along their job search journey.

For example, there is some evidence of name-based discrimination in recruiting. So, a resume with a “white-sounding” name will result in calls 50% more often than one without. The University of Chicago study is titled: “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” Though not a health care employer-focused study, the researchers do note: “The racial gap is uniform across occupation, industry, and employer size.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hospital unemployment is at an extreme low of .9%. And yet, discrimination may be so unconscious that it continues, even in a market where health care employers are scrambling to fill long-empty positions.

job search tips from Nick Corcodilos

Ask the Headhunter Nick Corcodilos

Is there anything a minority nurse applicant can do to sidestep hazards of the current recruiting landscape?

Digital “recruiting” and job hunting create special problems for minority job seekers because—and I’ll be very blunt about this—it enables biased employers to waste your time. If you get selected from an online application and then invest your time for an interview, only to find that the employer suddenly realizes you’re of a certain race or the “wrong” sexual preference or other characteristic, you get suddenly rejected out of hand.

You’ve wasted your time because their bias never allowed you to really demonstrate your abilities and value so that you might be chosen for what you can do.

 How should a minority nurse go about applying for a job, if not through a hospital career portal or a recruiter’s texts/emails/calls?

The smart alternative is to invest some time tracking down either the hiring manager, or at least someone who works for or with that manager.

(Studies, again and again, suggest that up to 70% of jobs are found and filled through personal contacts, not random digital applications.)

Of course, bias can be introduced into the hiring process all kinds of ways, but I find that doing this person-to-person also helps you quickly identify people who are more interested in your abilities than your sex, race, or football team preference! They’re the people who will speak up and personally recommend you.

This is the only way I know to avoid the almost random, rote digital process of recruiting that often results in rejection due to discrimination and bias that surfaces too long after you’ve already invested your valuable time.

Employers don’t realize how this process hurts them, too, because it costs them potentially great hires.

For tips on how to make professional connections, Nick recommends his blog post: “Network, but don’t be a jerk!” Also, read his post on working with recruiters: “How to Judge A Headhunter”.

Any final food for thought for minority nurses embarking on a job search?

All those conversations you have with people who surround the manager will build a very personal picture of what you can do—and that’s how you get presented to a hiring manager as a great worker who’s worth hiring for their abilities.

I would rather have an early opportunity to recognize biased and discriminatory employers so I can avoid them, rather than let them waste my time.

Of course, the very powerful option you always have is to file an Equal Opportunity complaint. But my job is to help you identify and meet worthy employers. And the best way to do that is to get introduced to them by people they know and trust. Your challenge is to cultivate relationships with those “friends and associates” of the hiring managers—people who are not biased and who will recommend you for your skills and great work ethic.

The #1 Question Job Candidates Should–But Almost Never–Ask About Their Resume

The #1 Question Job Candidates Should–But Almost Never–Ask About Their Resume

When it comes to finessing a resume, candidates typically try to answer key questions posed by (or implied by) the job description itself. Obviously, that’s part of the process. But there’s another question that they should be asking, but in my experience almost never do: based on my resume, would I call myself for an interview?

It’s the kind of question that, at first glance, seems either rhetorical–or just pointless! But candidates who take a step back and objectively analyze their resume may come to the surprising conclusion that they wouldn’t actually call themselves for an interview. And it’s not because they lack the skills, experience, or personality suitability factors for a coveted job. It’s because their resume isn’t pulling its weight and fully working on their behalf.

Fortunately, this problem is 100% correctable. In my experience over the years, there are five core areas of a resume that typically need the most improvement:

1. Format

Candidates need to pay close attention to font type and font size. I recommend Calibri 11pt, which has the added benefit of being a Sans Serif font (these are easier to read on screens vs. Serif fonts like Times New Roman). Suitable spacing is also an important factor, as the best way to get on a hiring manager’s worst side is to subject them to dreaded “text walls.”

Also, hiring managers have told me over the years that they don’t think highly of resumes that take a “laundry list” approach–i.e., experience and projects in one clump, followed by dates of employment, title, and employer. This approach doesn’t allow hiring managers to understand what a candidate has accomplished, when, in what environment, and how his or her skills have grown progressively throughout their career.

2. Size

Contrary to what many candidates believe, it’s fine to submit a resume longer than one page, provided that it’s not an attempt to fluff up a resume with bullet point after bullet point. Candidates with more than 15 years of experience should aim for two to four pages. Hiring managers are not allergic to longer resumes, and reject far more candidates for not providing enough information vs. those that provided too much.

3. Content

Far too many candidates–including extremely talented ones who would be an asset to any organization–load up their resume with responsibilities, but fail to focus on the thing that hiring managers need to see more than anything else: accomplishments. THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE! Candidates who look at their resume and see that it leans primarily (or exclusively) towards what they’ve been tasked with vs. what they’ve actually achieved should see this as a wake-up call.

4. Context

Many candidates incorrectly assume that hiring managers are familiar with the organizations they’ve worked for. To be safe, it’s wise to add a sentence describing these companies (e.g., purpose, size, locations, etc.). Obviously, this content shouldn’t steal focus. But rather than seeing it as extraneous or irrelevant, most hiring managers will appreciate it, as it gives them added context about a candidate’s background.

5. Writing

Last but not least: many candidates assume that professional resume writers will magically turn their resume into an interview-generating machine. This simply doesn’t happen. Yes, it’s fine to work with a qualified resume writer. But the writer cannot and will not develop the content–i.e., the “guts” of the resume that make it substantial. That information has to come from the candidate.

The Bottom Line

Candidates who objectively evaluate their resume in light of the above factors, and make necessary changes on their own or with expert help, won’t think twice when asking themselves “based on my resume, would I call myself for an interview?” They’ll confidently answer yes–and so will more impressed and interested hiring managers!

5 Tips for Your Holiday Job Search

5 Tips for Your Holiday Job Search

Looking for a job in health care during the holidays can be a challenge. Hospitals usually ramp up recruiting in January — to coincide with graduation at nursing schools. But don’t despair: if you keep up the search during the holidays, you’ll have a leg up on everyone else competing for those attractive openings.

It can be tempting, though, to kick back a bit in order to celebrate the holidays. The truth is, you can’t afford to take a break from pounding the pavement, because in addition to losing momentum, you’ll miss out on December’s unique job search advantages.

1. Enjoy Less Competition. Many of the other candidates for the jobs you want are on vacation or otherwise out of sight, out of mind. Their absence makes it easy for you to stand above the crowd. (What crowd?)

2. Circulate at Holiday Parties. Many organizations host parties, open houses, or charity events. Accept every invitation (and give out a few of your own) so you can network with other attendees. Let every guest know about your target job and workplace, then request help getting in.

Ask: “Do you know anyone at Kaiser?” or “Do you know any school nurses?”  Odds are that someone has inside information, or a lead, or a contact for you. And if they don’t, they may be able to refer you to someone who does.

3. Send Holiday Greetings. You have the perfect excuse for touching base with old friends or new ones that you’ve met only recently. Reach out with old-fashioned holiday greeting cards, or use newfangled social media, such as on LinkedIn or Facebook.

You can even connect online with people you haven’t met yet– they’ll be in a warmer holiday frame of mind. Activity slows down the last two weeks in December at most workplaces, too, so they’re also likey to be available for a quick phone chat or cup of coffee.

4. Volunteer for Holiday Duty. Job hunting can make even people with tremendous self-esteem feel ineffectual. Serving the needy by ringing Salvation Army bells, delivering meals to shut-ins, or packing up groceries at a food pantry is a good way to feel like yourself again.

It’s also possible that you’ll meet new people you might not have met otherwise (like a big wig at a hospital you’ve got your heart set on) and you’ll be able to relate more easily because you’re equals on the volunteer site, and you both back this charity’s mission.

5. Do Extra-Credit Tasks. If there’s something that will help you jumpstart your search but you’ve been putting it off, now is the perfect time to tackle it. Do you get butterflies during interviews? Videotape a few practice interviews with friends and family. (They’ll probably be more available to you about now.)

Don’t have insiders at the places you want to work? Do some research on LinkedIn and check out your contacts’ contacts. Ask for introductions to people that can get you closer to your goal: a wonderful new nursing job by the beginning of 2014.