Those following this blog will recall that one of the main reasons that I got The Job Stalker assignment was that I'm in my third major job-search in the past 10 years. After my publishing company faltered (it was a long slow death), I went back to school to learn web development and related programming, and spent a over a year trying to find a job doing that, but being in the wake of the "dot com bubble burst" was always behind programmers with lots of experience, and never was able to even land an interview. I then had two positions, each only lasting a couple of years, one doing marketing for a tutoring franchise which went out of business, followed by a job hunt, and then doing communications/PR for a "metaverse developer", which succumbed to the economy last May, putting me "back on the bricks". In all three of these job hunts I had contact with the subject of this week's "job pro" feature.
Lynn Hazan has been a fixture in the local recruiting scene for the past 25 years, and with her specialization being in the "communications and marketing" arena, she's been on my radar every time I've been "pounding the pavement". Lynn was an early proponent of "relationship marketing", and has been very visible and accessible in the Chicago job-search scene. I believe that I first encountered her via her speaking at the weekly "Employment Council" program up at St. Chrysostom's, and have come to know her better via our frequently showing up at the same local networking events.
Her firm, Lynn Hazan & Associates, offers a variety of career consulting services, including The Empowered Job Seeker, a series of seminars designed to help candidates re-position themselves for a changing job market. They represent clients that include Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial companies, PR and advertising agencies, trade associations and not for profits, operating across a wide range of categories.
After the cut are Lynn's answer to The Job Stalker e-mail interview:
Q: Briefly, what's your background?
A: I've been an executive recruiter in communications and marketing for twenty six years, the last eleven as President of LH&A. Prior, I worked for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago as Director of the Hillel Foundation at the University of IL and the Lewis Summer Intern Program.
Q: Have you had notable job-transition experiences?
A: Yes. After seven years in the not for profit sector, it was time to move on. I spent a year in transition (not necessarily by design) investigating and interviewing for a new job and career track. This provided me with a deep understanding and empathy for candidates who are in job search mode. I also learned how to leverage networking and take charge of my own career and destiny. These experiences helped me to become a better recruiter and career consultant.
While I was in job search mode, I worked part-time in telemarketing sales for the Goodman Theater. With a love for theater, a knack for sales and abilities to connect people for theater parties, I quickly become one of their top sales reps. The box office staff would joke with me that all they needed to do was to bring me the seating chart and have me fill it in with my theater patrons. Who knew that this experience would lead me to a new career?
Through a referral from one of the sales reps, I was introduced to an executive recruiter. On a lark, I interviewed with the president. Within a week, I embarked on a new journey as a recruiter. This made total sense. I could engage in life long learning, create a new professional track, leverage my networking abilities and recruit for dynamic businesses and industries.
Twenty six years later, I still love the recruiting business. It's fast paced, ever changing and adapts to new business needs and challenges. This is a great fit for my personality, ability to connect with clients and candidates, dig deep and create meaningful relationships that lead to business success stories. Re-invention seems to be my middle name.
Regardless of the state of the economy, online tools and job boards, there will always be a need for the specialized services we offer. When quality counts and the perfect candidate needs to be sourced, that's where we come in.
Q: What brought you to the recruiting industry?
A: See above.
Q: How do you see the job market in the next 3-6 months?
A: Improving. Once confidence returns, businesses will be in a better position to hire more staff. Companies now realize that they made too many staff cuts in 2008-2009. Where there is a need to hire they are doing so, but slowly. There has been a fundamental shift in hiring patterns. We see increased needs for a variety of staffing solutions. For example, companies can hire for full-time, part-time, project-based, and temp-to-perm positions. There will be increased needs for expertise in fields like technology, healthcare, and social media. The growth is within entrepreneurial companies and small businesses.
Q: If you had just ONE piece of advice for today's job searcher, what would that be?
A: Flexibility. Hiring managers and candidates need to think both short and long-term. Often a part-time job can become full-time. Candidates have opportunities to showcase their worth and create demand for their talent. Sometimes, it's a matter of timing. We have an instance of a client that put a position on hold in February. It has now become a full-time job. The client thought so highly of a particular candidate, that they have asked him to interview specifically for this position.
Q: What do you feel makes your firm unique?
A: In addition to being an executive recruiter, I am also a professional storyteller. I use storytelling techniques to help my candidates tell their stories and to coach my clients on bringing the narrative of their business to life. I also love using props to illustrate key messages. Ducks are very popular at our offices as well as Hershey chocolate kisses. The latter are edible too!
Q: Aside from your services, what resources do you recommend?
A: We have a free career portal MyLynnHazanCareer.com with many resources that are available to candidates. We recommend that candidates use social media tools, including LinkedIn and Twitter. It's also important to be active in professional associations and non-profit organizations where candidates can participate and take leadership.
Q: Any additional words of wisdom?
A: Be optimistic, have a positive attitude, and share your wisdom!
If you are looking in the marketing and communications fields (like I am!), Lynn's group is a option you should consider. If nothing else, surf over to her site to check out the job listings and the other resources set out in the "Job Seekers" section!