Kada CEO shares with The Ladders - The job hunter’s guide to an elevator speech that will wow them

Most professionals are familiar with the concept of the “elevator speech,” that moment they are trapped in the proverbial elevator with the CEO and have one minute to impress him or her so much that their career is immediately hyper launched. Or, it could be the entrepreneur with the amazing business idea who gets the chance to give a mini pitch to the VC who holds the purse strings.

Many people practice this brief summary of their accomplishments and goals so they are ready to shine when that moment comes around. But job hunters should prepare one, also, so they have a short, focused spiel ready to share when someone asks them what sort of job they are looking for. Here are some tips to help you prep yours so the next person you talk to knows exactly what you’re looking for … and how they can help.

Lisa Barrow at Kada Recruiting shares how to “Keep it Casual”…

Continue Reading - https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-job-hunters-guide-to-an-elevator-speech-that-will-wow-them

Open the Door to New Talent with These Unconventional Candidates

Here’s a familiar story: Business is booming, and it’s time to add a new member to the team. You want to find someone who has the right experience, is a leader and wants to grow within your organization. But amid a tapped-out talent pool and stiff market competition, you’re struggling to find the right fit.

There has to be a better way to approach this — right? In fact, there is. Changing just two words in your vernacular can shift your entire recruitment strategy, helping you beat the competition and win the best talent. By swapping the “years of experience” requirement for “level of expertise,” you’ll open doors to talent you might never have considered before. 

Swapping out a word is easy enough — but while “years of experience” is quantifiable, “level of expertise” is qualitative. To gauge this requirement, the trick is to find expertise that isn’t gained through traditional experience. 

In this post, we’ll look at four personas of unconventional candidates, address common misperceptions and offer sample screening questions to ensure they have the expertise and attitude you need.   

Continue reading - http://blog.indeed.com/2019/08/01/4-types-unconventional-candidates/

The days of the one page resume are over

Recently Lisa Barrow was interviewed for a Tribune article about resume length.

Article from Careers Now Column:

DEAR READERS: This week, I’m revisiting the topic of resumes, since it’s a topic pretty much anyone beginning or in the midst of a job search is interested in. And since things seem to change frequently on the resume front, I’m wondering: Is one-page still the optimal length? And if someone can’t get everything they want to include in one page, what is the absolute longest a resume should be?…

…Read the rest of the article here - https://tribunecontentagency.com/article/how-long-should-your-resume-be/

Use These 6 Principles to Build a Strong Recruiter-Hiring Manager Relationship

In a recent presentation to a room full of recruiters and HR practitioners, I asked jokingly, “Who here has dealt with a hiring manager who wants the Queen of England to manage the marketing department for $60K a year?” I got a roar of laughs and 300 hands in the air. This is not an uncommon scenario to anyone who’s been in the industry long enough!  

Recruiters recruit and hiring managers hire — it’s as simple as it is complex. As recruiters, we scout, source, advertise, sell, screen, assess and build the best strategy to get to the best person. Hiring managers are responsible for the final decision of whether that person will join the team.  

Robert Cialdini is a world-renowned psychologist and best-selling author of “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” In this work, he notes that influence is based on six key principles:

  • Reciprocity

  • Commitment and consistency

  • Social proof

  • Liking

  • Authority

  • Scarcity

Leveraging the power of influence, we recruiters can set expectations for hiring managers and use our expertise to find the best person for the job. Let’s look at how each principle can help you build a better recruiter-hiring manager relationship.

Principle #1: Reciprocity

Reciprocity is the idea that if I provide something of value to you, you’ll want to provide something of value to me.

Continue reading here - http://blog.indeed.com/2019/06/25/build-a-stronger-recruiter-hiring-manager-relationship/

Transparency and the interview process - Lisa Barrow discusses with Business News Daily

Lisa Barrow discusses with Business News Daily what not to do after an interview.


Here are some additional thoughts…

Bringing forward competing offers after the interviews have all commenced can be a big mistake for otherwise promising candidates.  It's important to be transparent throughout the process of where you are in the interview phases with other companies.  

Candidates who bring information out of left-field in the eleventh hour can come across to their potential future employer as disinterested or it may feel to the employer that the candidate is just using them to leverage a better offer somewhere else.  If there is a competing offer that comes in after the fact, let the company know right away and also let them know where they stand.  Just as poor of a mistake is to take the other offer without letting the other company know beforehand so that they could potentially counter.  

In the case where there are multiple people that are up for the same position, this can definitely sway a hiring manager toward another candidate.  Even if the candidate is the only one up for the role it can leave uneasiness with the employer that could ultimately lead them into bringing other applicants into the fold, adding additional competition for the position.  

To avoid this pitfall, candidates should be as transparent as possible on where they are in their job search activity. They don't have to tell them about every application you have out there, but if they're in late stage interviews or offers somewhere else, let the company know.  Honesty is always the best policy.  

If a candidate goes through the interview process and doesn't mention other places that they are considering but then get a competing offer, all is not lost.  If they have to let the company know after the fact, they need to be sure to let them know how interested they are in their position and any relevant factors that will help them weigh out their options.  It is important for the candidate to choose their wording wisely though, and not to come across as too threatening.

I had a candidate go through two rounds of phone screens and a day-long interview at an ad agency in NYC for an Account Supervisor role. She said to me that she wasn't actively interviewing anywhere else.  She was absolutely thrilled by the opportunity to work at this company and anxious for the offer.  After the interview, she sent a thank you email to the CEO that also included a mention to an offer at another agency she was considering, but stating this was her preferred role. The CEO called me up to say that he was a bit taken aback and concerned in her lack of transparency in the process.  He felt that it was a veiled attempt to hold his feet to the fire on a time-frame and as a negotiation tactic. Following further discussion, it turned out that she really wasn't considering the other offer and she had only mentioned to show her high level of interest for this particular agency.  She apologized and ended up getting (and taking) the offer, but this ultimately showcased the importance of transparency and the impact it can have in the process.

Kada CEO discusses interviews & gamification

Lisa Barrow, founder and CEO of Kada Recruiting recently contributed to a piece on MSN, proving insight on how to tackle interviews that involve gamification.

This article provides some great tips on how to approach exercises both before and during your interviews and what employers are really looking for.


Lisa Barrow quoted in US News & World Report

Kada founder and CEO, Lisa Barrow recently contributed her insights to US News & World Report. As both a mother and career expert she knows first hand the challenges of getting into the workforce for the first time and provides some tips on landing that important life-learning first gig.


How your brand can attract the right candidates

Think about bottled water.  If I showed you three different brands and asked you which one you would choose, you’d have an answer.  If I took those same bottles of water and did a blind taste test, could you tell me the difference?  Probably not.  You chose a certain brand of water in the first exercise because you have a connection to that brand based on its positioning, your perceptions, the way it makes you feel, etc.

When it comes to recruiting, jobs are the product that you’re selling. The best way to effectively market your product is to know your target audience. Knowing the behavior, thought processes and motivations of job candidates will not just lead them to your openings, but lead them to apply to your openings. Understand the key components to job seeker behavior and how to take that knowledge to help build your online brand and marketing strategy.

Having a consistent brand message is essential to cultivating advocates who prefer your brand over another.  From job postings to your career site to your corporate page to the logo on the door – that message — and brand — should be clear.  And this should be brought to life through your recruiters and hiring managers – they are your best brand ambassadors and can carry your message through various mediums.

You’ll find that getting results is not just about posting jobs, it’s about having an online strategy. Online advertising should not be limited to only job postings, nor should it be within the confines of job boards and career sites.  Go to where your consumers are online.  Think about who your ideal consumer is and build a brand to inspire them.

Understanding and properly marketing your own brand is important, but you must also remember to live up to the message.  We owe it to ourselves, as an industry, to treat our candidates with respect and hire the best people.

7 steps to recruit the best people for your agency

1.       Start with a person description

It’s easy to jump right into writing a job ad, but really that’s secondary in the process.  You should start with thinking about who the PERSON is that you want to hire, not just the job you’re hiring for.  Some things to think about – is a degree really necessary?  Are they going to be working at a fast pace?  Are there skills that could be transferable?  What are the 3 most important things that this person knows how to do?  For everything that they must have, ask yourself “why?”.  If they MUST have 5 years of agency experience, why?  Would someone that has 3 years of agency experience and a mix of in-house experience still be able to accomplish the goals at hand?  What happens if they’ve shown great progression over the course of their career, would that make a difference?  Do your salary expectations align with your experience levels?  Having hard and fast requirements can kill your applicant pool. 

Think about people who have done this role before.  How many years of experience did they have when they started the role (not when they left it.)  What were their weaknesses and strengths?  If they’re still at the organization, what person and skills would complement this person to have a more holistic view of the team? 

 2.       Then, build a job description

Describe the role.  This is totally boring, but important.  This is the day in and day out of the position, the work that someone will be doing. 

 3.       Next, work on what you have to offer them

Think about what you’re selling.  Why would someone want to come work for you?  What does your agency do differently/better than everyone else?  Don’t just think about salary and benefits; think about the work and why it would entice someone.

 4.       After that, build your job ad

Your job ad encompasses all three of these things – who the person is, what they’ll be doing and why they will want to be doing it…for you.  Use your marketing chops to make sure it sells to the right person. 

 5.       Once your ad is up and running on your site, then figure out your outreach strategy.

The cobbler’s children have no shoes.  Don’t forget that this is a marketing exercise.  Be your own client and think about how you want to brand yourself and how to get after that target audience.  This includes outreach.  Where do these people live online?  Competitors sites, associations, LinkedIn, job boards?  In recruiting lingo, we call this “sourcing”.  It’s not a quick process, but it’s an important one.  Outreach via LinkedIn, email, etc.  If you don’t have their contact info, utilize online resources to find it.  If they don’t initially respond, ping and ping again.  A good rule of thumb is three times and you’re out. 

 6.       Have an easy apply and an even easier interview process

Make sure you eliminate all barriers for applying, especially if you’re doing the outreach.  Don’t worry about waiting on having them craft the perfect resume.  If you have an understanding of their work history and they’ve been in the right types of roles, have a conversation with them.   Once you find who you think could be great for the role, bring them in and have them meet the team.  Be transparent in the process. Make logistics as easy as possible and act quickly. 

7.       Make an offer with an offer letter

It’s okay to start with a verbal offer, but quickly follow that up with something in writing.  Candidates will not quit their current roles on your word and this will ultimately delay the time it takes for them to start with you. 

 Also remember to never stop recruiting!  Even if you’re in late stages with a candidate, keep the recruiting process moving until someone is in the seat.  It’s okay to let other potential candidates know that you’re close to hiring, but that you’d still like to connect.  This opens up opportunities for the future plus if the person you’re negotiating with doesn’t pan out, you’re not starting at zero again. 


6 key factors in determining the best Account Director for your creative agency

If someone has been in account management for many years, it’s safe to say that they “know how to do account management”. So, why even bother with the interview process? Wouldn’t it just be easier to say, “Hi, nice to meet you. You’ve done this for 10 years already, come do it for us.” If only it were that simple. 

How do you interview for personality? How can you tell the fakers from the makers? This is someone who you’ll depend on day in and day out internally, but also the face of your business. 

You’re looking for a few key factors in your decision to move to the next step in the process.

1 - Are they a positive person?

  • Before you get into the nitty gritty of an interview, ask them how their day has been. This should put them at ease and you’ll get some insight into how they would interact with a client that they’ve just met. If they are a bit of a negative nelly, that’s not going to go away. If they are scant on details, same goes. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they might be a little nervous, but know that the gut check that you get in this first 2 minutes of the discussion is critical.

2 - Can they follow simple instructions?

  • A phone interview is about getting them talking, not the other way around. Interviews aren’t something these candidates do on a regular basis (if they are, that’s a whole other red flag), so you need to tell them what you’re hoping to get out of your line of questioning. 

  • Prompt with things like, “I want to get an understanding of how you work on a daily basis and learn more about how you’re successful at what you do. As we go through this conversation, please elaborate on stories and examples as much as possible.”

  • When you prompt this, it puts the candidate at ease in knowing what you’re looking for and if they can do this throughout the conversation, it shows that they can listen and follow instructions. If you have someone that just goes on and on with out a point or has short answers of “yes, I can do that” without any color, then you know you’re not on the right track.

3 - Can they tell a story?

  • If a candidate cannot, in the simplest of terms, explain to you what they do, then explaining what the creative team is doing to your client is really going to be a challenge. Once you’ve prompted them for what you’re looking for, start asking questions that are important to the role at hand. Using cues like “tell me a time that you…” or “give an example of…” throughout the conversation will lead you to the details that you need.

  • “Tell me about how you handled a difficult client request” is better than “How are you with handling difficult clients?”. Just a change in wording will shift the discussion.

4 - Are they self-aware?

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses are popular interview questions for a reason, they give someone the opportunity to give you the perspective on how they view who they are and how they work.

  • Asking the questions a number of ways will also garner additional insight – “What would your co-workers say about you?” and “What would your clients say about you?” gives you access to how they are looked at in the outside world as well as not just getting their practiced strengths answer. It also gives you something to look back on during the reference check process to see if their perception aligns with reality.

5 - Do they understand who they’re answering to?

  • Ask about the structure of communication they’ve had in past roles – explaining that you mean, who was in charge of a specific account, who worked with the client, what internal partnerships did they have, etc. Tell them that the more detail they give the better. This will give you a look into how much responsibility that they had and what decisions they made. 

6 - What do they value?

  • Finding out what’s important to them in their next role helps give you truer insight into why they might be leaving their current one. It’s also good to ask why they value in client relationships and internal relationships, it will give you a peek into how they play well with others.

  • If the interview is going well, this gives you some good insight to know what to sell to them as part of the role later in the process.

Overall, this process should take no more than 30 minutes. Keep in mind that your goal is to know if this person is the right fit to come in for an in-person meeting. If it’s not the right fit, let them know. Leaving them hanging endlessly will only hurt your brand and cause bad karma in the future. It’s important to provide them with next steps in the process and be as transparent as possible.


Working with a recruiter

“I have a recruiting firm.” 

“Oh, so you…”

Lately, this is how every conversation that I have starts.  People aren’t comfortable asking what a recruiting firm does because they think they should already know, so this vague discussion ensues.

They shouldn’t feel bad, often times people have only switched jobs less than 5 times in their career thus far, and may not have had a recruiting company as a part of the process.   

Let me clear up that there are a million names for pretty much the same thing.  A third-party recruiter, recruiting agency, staffing agency, staffing firm, recruiting firm, headhunter, etc…all of these things are all one in the same. 

They’re all the same, but there are different versions of a recruiting.  Some (like myself) focus on permanent recruiting, meaning the companies that I work with hire the people that I work with as full time employees of their companies.  The other side of recruiting is temp/contract work, where the people working are employed by the recruiting company, but do all of their work at the hiring company until their assignment is finished. 

As a perm recruiter, I connect work to people.  Notice I didn’t say I connect people to work.  When a company decides to work with me, they want me to work to fill their jobs, and I find the people.  If I’m working with someone right now, and I don’t have any work that matches their background right now, we have to keep our lines of communication open should that change in the future. 

So why would a company want to even work with a recruiting firm in the first place? Why can’t they just do this on their own? 

There are many scenarios…here are some examples:

A company currently has 15 employees.  They suddenly get that big project they’ve bid on.  They need 10 additional people to make the magic happen.  There may be some people in their networks that they could tap into, but the time it takes to strategically advertise, source, find and screen individuals is challenging, particularly when the current 15 employees all have a day job and are ramping up for more work.  In this scenario, it makes sense to work with a recruiting firm.

A company has a team of 5 recruiters.  Each recruiter is assigned to an average of 10 jobs to work on at a time (which is a lot to begin with).  The company has a hiring surge in a particular area, and the recruiters can’t handle the additional workload.  It doesn’t make sense to bring on another full-time recruiter for the surge (things will level out eventually).  The company will work with a recruiting firm to supplement the hiring.

A company mainly focuses manufacturing and sales hiring.  They have strong networks to hire these individuals, but need to bring on a software programmer.  Instead of starting from scratch to build out a network to find the right person, they rely on a recruiting firm that has expertise and an existing network to find the best individual.

Really good recruiters are great people to know because they often are the first phone call when a job becomes available and if you’re part of their network, you could be immediately tapped.  They also have insight into which companies are better than others, and as you move along in the process, you have a coach along the way.  Recruiters can also help you with salary negotiation…keep in mind that the more you get paid, the more they get paid.

If you have a recruiter that you trust, you can call them if your job sucks. If a recruiter calls you, make sure you interview them before they start interviewing you.  You can have a real partner for years into the future by networking with recruiters. 


Recruiting done right

This week is the official launch of Kada Recruiting.  Kada is a word in the Guamanian language that means each time, every time.  Kada Recruiting aims to recruit by having consistent outreach and full transparency into the recruiting process, getting the right people doing the right work, each time, every time.

Our belief is that there are two key elements that make this work:  Understanding and transparency

  • Understanding the work that a company needs to get accomplished and understanding the work that people want to accomplish.
  • Being completely transparent on what the recruiting process is and what the driving factors are in that process.


Truly talented smart people, can be annoyed by recruiters.

A Division 1 college football team has a head coach and staff responsible for recruiting.  They also have scouts that they work with across the country to identify talent.  All of these individuals understand the rules and nuances of the game.  They understand all of the positions. They know what key skillsets can cross over to other positions and which won’t.  They may personally have never suited up and even for those who have, they may not have been the best, but they know everything about the world of football and where the gaps are for the team and what type of talent is needed for that team to win. 

Recruiting for corporations is no different.  They have the manager of a team who is hiring, an internal recruiting team and potentially other recruiters who help identify the talent and bring the right people to the hiring manager.  Talent drives sports teams to win and it drives companies to be successful. 

But it is different.  Outside of the hiring manager, the level of knowledge of the other recruiters in the process tends to drop.  They don’t always understand “the game”.  Imagine a football scout who’s never watched a game and it just looking at score sheets.  The scout could call on a kicker to fill the role of a quarterback.  They both score points; they both play football.  After multiple calls the kicker would be annoyed.  Or worse, they would say, “sure I can do that” and then the head coach is left trying to filter through hundreds of mismatched players. 

This happens in technical recruiting all of the time.  A hiring manager is looking for a software developer to build an iPhone app.  A mobile Android developer gets a hundred calls from recruiters asking if they’re qualified.  ”Hey, you build apps, you code, you can do that right?”  Annoying.

Kada Recruiting knows the technical game and its nuances.  They’re constantly on the search for who does what, what are the transferrable skills and where there can be a fit for the work a company is trying to accomplish.


Every great relationship is built on honesty.  Honestly, not every person is qualified for every job.  They should be told that.  Sometimes, you’re not going to make the team, and that’s okay.  There’s learning in that.  Timing is a factor.  Life situations are a factor.  Sometimes the process can be messy and it’s important to know what is happening and how to and when to move on. 

Kada Recruiting believes that this builds long term relationships with everyone, people who are hiring and the talent that exists to be hired.  Ongoing communication and transparency is key to success. 

Work is complicated.  People are complicated. 

Understanding work and being transparent with people is what drives recruiting done right. 

To learn more about Kada, check out our story.  Also, feel free to connect with us anytime.