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What it’s like to go to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer

(BUSINESS) It can be intimidating to go to an Austin Digital Jobs recruiting mixer due to the size, but listen, everyone’s slightly nervous – here’s what it’s like to actually go to one.

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The following letter is written for those of you who have never been to an Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer…

You’ll arrive around 4:45 and realize that it’s a Monday, so finding parking is easier than you thought. Your heart is beating slightly, because new places are scary, no matter how confident you are.

You see the bar up ahead. You see an unassuming line of people at the door, and there’s a succulent at the front table. That’s nice. The doorman checks your ID (and you’re secretly flattered, but act slightly annoyed)..

Then you get signed in

There are seven people in line ahead of you, so you look around and well, you don’t know a single person (but you don’t realize that most other people don’t know anyone either). You hold your folder filled with resumes to your chest and wait your turn. You start to peek into the venue to see which employers are there, just waiting to meet you.

At the registration table, you’re greeted by a friendly face, and asked whether you’re job hunting or looking for talent, and given the appropriate badge. Your handwriting sucks, but you write in big bold letters what you’re looking for, and you notice that employers’ stickers are vertical and job hunters’ stickers are horizontal. You’re told the neon name tags are worn by partners who are most eager to hire. Bingo!

You make a mental note so your eyeballs focus only on the vertical or neon stickers in the crowd, spelling out in equally bad handwriting what they are looking for.

You’re handed a list of which types of jobs each employer is looking to fill, you circle the ones you want to visit (make a plan, trust us on this one), and you are excited to job hunt after you order a lil’ a drink** (so you can stay focused!) – that feels pretty Austin-y. And look, recruiters are sippin’ too, that’s cool.

There’s even a photographer there offering you free, high quality headshots, so you remind yourself to circle back to in between employers.

You start moving about the cabin

You start making the rounds, and the first hand you shake is a younger recruiter who is looking for someone like you, only he says they need a specific skill and you don’t quite have it, so you hand him your resume, and you part ways politely.

You see a line of people on the rooftop, are they waiting for a table? You ask someone what’s going on and they tell you it’s free career and resume coaching and you can have 15 minutes with an expert. Bingo! You wait a few minutes and a table opens up, you learn that your resume is outdated and ineffective and quickly walk away with some tips to improve that and affirmation that your career is moving in the right direction.

Time is of the essence because you only have two and a half hours, and you’re pressuring yourself to make the rounds, but tell yourself to remain calm.

After two or three more handshakes, you make it over to three employer booths in a row, and you hit it off with two recruiters and line up two interviews for later in the week.

You go grab another drink to celebrate, and meet a few more folks along the way. Before you know it, you’re out of printed resumes, have several phone interviews lined up, an in-person interview, and things are looking up.

You nailed it!

It’s almost over, so you start heading out and you thank the registration table (always be networking), and head out to your car.

You start ‘er up, and drive home with some pep in your step because YOU, my friend, have just made it a successful first Austin Digital Jobs Recruiting Mixer.

You tell everyone on Facebook about it when you get home, you nail the job interview, you become the Prince of Zamunda*, you get the job, and you tell everyone how awesome ADJ is, because BOOM, it worked.

*Obtaining the Prince of Zamunda title not guaranteed. For everyone.
**Drink responsibly, friends.

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ADJ

ADJ AMA: Ask the Recruiter Anything [replay]

If you missed the live session last week, the ADJ AMA was bonkers – we learned so much and our guest debunked a LOT of “common knowledge!”

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If you weren’t able to make the live event, there’s good news – we recorded it for you!

Michele Olivier is a partner at O&H Consulting which offers recruiting and career coaching services. She’s a vetted badass and blew my mind in so many ways during the hour and a half we spent together.

Apparently a lot of what I’ve been told is wrong, which means a lot of what you have been told is also wrong!

We chat about the application robots, recruiters, how it all works, and how it has all changed. Get up to speed by listening to the AMA (Ask Me Anything), but beware – there are curse words, so maybe listen with headsphones on!

Pro tip: Michele’s bio and social media links are all listed below the video!

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Michele Olivier offers a unique perspective on career development and job searching, with an impressive record of accomplishment on both sides of the desk. She combines over 20 years of experience in HR and recruitment with certifications in career guidance and counseling, and she knows how to meet the needs of both applicants and organizations when it comes to matching talented people with top jobs. As a regular contributor to trusted sources for industry knowledge including the New York Times, Recruitment.com, and Refinery29 Michele is a dynamic thought leader and instrument of change in the Talent Acquisition field.

With global expertise and a list of clients including Big 4, Big Tech, and F50 companies, Michele has recruited at all levels from entry retail through executive. Not only has she filled roles for household names like Microsoft, EA Games, Facebook, and the YMCA, she has worked individually with established professionals to land positions at places from Goldman Sachs to the American Red Cross.

The scope of Michele’s experience spans multiple industries, every career level, and organizations of all sizes. Through this, she has honed a no-nonsense approach when it comes to communicating with clients about the realities of the job market and how to stay competitive. She has even developed and implemented curricula to help both job seekers find work and employers identify talent, which was rolled out internationally and recognized by the British Parliament for excellence. As Principal Consultant with O&H Consulting, Michele and her colleagues channel their expertise into customized resume and career coaching support that helps clients soar above the crowd.

Find Michele online:

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ADJ

Coming up – an AMA all about making a career change!

ADJ is hosting an AMA for anyone thinking about making a career change, especially into the technology sector!

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We get questions alllll the time about how to make a career change. Folks are worried they’re too young, they’re too old, they’re too experienced, too inexperienced.

They’re worried they can’t transition from the military to civilian life, from being a teacher to tech, from owning a business to working for someone else again.

Others have questions about moving from individual contributor to manager, and others want to know how to break through to the next level.

Bring your questions and join us on August 31st at 7:00pm cst (snacks, drinks, and pets are welcomed)!

Register now to snag the Zoom link!

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ADJ

Rooftop Slushie sells employee referrals (aka bribes), and we hate it

At last, the sharing economy is addressing the issue of nepotistic hiring practices in tech… by making it worse. And adding a bit of immorality. We suspect that Rooftop Slushie is a fast way for you to land in hot water.

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rooftop slushie

Introducing Rooftop Slushie, a website that emerged last year and has gained popularity in the absence of face-to-face networking events brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company sells recommendations on behalf of those seeking jobs at major tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. As of now, Rooftop Slushie proudly claims on their website to have referred over 13,000 candidates.

Here’s how it works: users pay between $20-$50 to upload resumes and indicate their desired position. Anonymous tech employees evaluate them, then decide whether or not to refer candidates based on their listed credentials. They also offer resume reviews and career advice.

It is a recent venture from the enigmatic creators of Blind, an anonymous online forum of vaguely described “verified professionals.” (How someone can be both verified and anonymous is beyond me, but I digress.)

While Rooftop Slushie asks their employee network to only recommend candidates who are genuinely qualified for their desired positions, the site has no apparent measures to ensure that this happens, other than there being no guarantee that any given applicant will succeed.

It is true that Rooftop is providing a unique service. Nobody else is doing what they do, because what they do is wrong. It would be questionable even if there was no money exchanged. As it is, this is akin to bribery.

The keyholders of these prestigious tech job references are taking advantage of their status within large companies for profit, as well as any additional incentives to refer candidates that their employer may offer. It’s friggin’ corrupt, plain and simple.

Now, I’d like to address those who would consider using this service to land their dream job.

I understand that impulse, especially in this economically desperate moment. But ethics aside, think about the personal consequences you could face.

What if word gets out that you bought your way into your coveted new position?

You and your reference would probably be canned immediately. You could lose trust with your friends and associates, business or otherwise, who hear the news as well.

This is not a hypothetical question. Amazon has already started cracking down on paid referrals, and others are sure to follow suit. Good luck explaining that at your next interview.

It is also incredibly unfair to those of us who can’t gamble 50 bucks to get a foot in the door with Google.

We have to do it the old fashioned way (like some kind of peasant, I suppose). And look, the ”old fashioned way” is obviously flawed. There is a LOT to criticize about preferential and biased hiring practices in the tech industry. This attempt to solve it is still very misguided.

Blind claims to be a “platform for change,” and suggests that Rooftop opens up opportunities to people who don’t have insider connections, thus (supposedly) leveling the playing field.

But cheating only worsens the problems they describe. The hiring process should not be pay-to-win. Jobs aren’t commodities.

Whether or not the act of selling professional recommendations breaks an employee’s contract, it’s certainly a gross violation of the social contract.

If you believe you’re qualified for a particular position, but the company won’t give you the time of day, don’t cheat. Be persistent. Or, better yet, why not seek out an employer who recognizes your talents?

And if you can’t manage to do that… maybe it’s time to reevaluate your actual level of expertise.

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