Library Leadership

108. Successful Job Searches with Bill Humbert


What does it take to achieve successful job searches? On this show Bill Humbert, Chair of the Park City Library Board in Utah, shares inside knowledge from 40+ years as a national recruiter. With so many changes taking place in the current job market this is invaluable information.

Transcript

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Adriane Herrick Juarez:

This is Adriane Herrick Juarez. You’re listening to Library Leadership Podcast where we talk about libraries, and leadership, and speak with guests who share their ideas, innovations, and strategic insights into the profession.

What does it take to achieve successful job searches? On this show I speak with Bill Humbert, Chair of the Park City Library Board in Utah, as he shares inside knowledge from 40+ years as a national recruiter. With so many changes taking place in the current job market this is invaluable information. Enjoy the show!

Bill, welcome to the show!

Bill Humbert:

Andriane, so great to be here.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #1: Thank you for talking with me about successful job searches. You have 40+ years of expert Talent Attraction Consultant experience, mingled with 26+ years of expert career coach experience. You are uniquely qualified to talk with me about this topic. You’re an author, a consultant on career search, and you’ve helped over a 1000 people find their next positions. 

A lot of people are changing jobs right now. So can you talk to me from the ground up, what can we do—first of all, to psychologically prepare ourselves for a job search?  01:22  

Bill Humbert:

One thing that’s really important is you have to build your confidence. Unfortunately a lot of people go into this search without knowing that they’re in a sales process. The career search mirrors the sales process perfectly. It’s important to know that because then once you know that, now you’re prepared for all the eventualities that come through that.

The other thing is sometimes if you get laid off, for instance, you lose your confidence. You shouldn’t because really good people get laid off all the time. They’re the ones I recruit a lot of times. It’s important to make sure that you have your confidence and you go out there ready to talk.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #2:  And the product you’re selling is essentially yourself, is that right?  02:42 

Bill Humbert:

That’s right. You should know what you’ve got better than anybody else.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #3: So confidence, being able to sell yourself, know what you’ve got to offer, which is a lot.   02:50 

Bill Humbert:

It’s more than most people realize. My recent book—I’m targeting an audience over fifty, and they are sometimes the most discouraged people because they feel like their career is over, but it’s really just midway.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #4: And even if you’re a new person in the job field, you have a lot to offer as well. I know a lot of librarians, these days, are breaking into professional roles as people retire—they’re moving up. There’s a lot to offer there, as well. For all ages what do you say the sales process is?  03:13 

Bill Humbert:

The sales process is the same. Unfortunately what happens is on the other side of the coin the recruiting process mirrors the sales process also. The only problem is the companies, or organizations, don’t know that [laughter]. It’s important if you know that, that gives you a leg up from your competition. 

If you come in and you’re, let’s say a recent grad—pick up as much knowledge as you can. Reach out, What else can I do? And that will get you further in your career. 

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #5: So let’s start digging in. Where do most people stumble at the beginning of their career search?  04:06 

Bill Humbert:

The first thing they need to do is take an inventory of all their skills, then put an asterisk next to the things that they enjoy doing. Then you focus on the skills that you have that you enjoy doing, and the experience you have that you enjoy doing. Then create stories that demonstrate those skills, or that experience.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #6: And I know that in your career you have read over 400,000 resumes as a recruiter. What’s the best way to write a resume?  04:37 

Bill Humbert:

It depends on how you’re going to go about your search. So many people today try the easy route—and that is, I call it posting, and praying that the right person is looking at your resume. Usually they’re not [laughter], it’s a bot. That’s the wrong way. The career transition industry, and they’re the ones who do outplacement for companies—that industry has tracked metrics for forty-five years. What they have found is that 74-76% of all jobs are filled through networking.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #7: That’s a high percentage.  05:23  

Bill Humbert:

Only 8% are filled through posting and praying.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #8: [laughter] So, don’t go that route.  05:29 

Bill Humbert:

No, I wouldn’t. 

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #9: So networking, and then once you have a network in place—and I think this is very relevant in libraries. We have library conferences. We work together on committees. We’ve got a lot of social media presence, and online discussion boards. We get to know each other even if we’re not in the same state through organizations. So what happens once you’ve got a network in place, would you put that on your resume?  05:31  

Bill Humbert:

Well, you wouldn’t put the network on your resume, but what you would do is access that network to make a job change. Understand that we’re standing here in Park City, Utah, but people in Park City, Utah know people in Washington, DC. So don’t assume geographically that if somebody’s located in one place they may not know somebody somewhere else.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #10: Right. So reach out, reach out to the people you know. Talk to them. Find out…  06:23 

Bill Humbert:

Perfect.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #11: Great. And you also say when you’re writing your resume you write a resume to each job, not just generalities about any job.  06:28 

Bill Humbert:

…any job, right. The reason you do that is when you fill out an application online and they   then allow you to submit your resume, the bots—they call them artificial intelligence, but I call them artificial, artificial intelligence. The bots then will scan your resume for the keywords that are in the job description. If it’s not even—if it’s past tense in your resume, but it’s present tense in the job description…bing [laughter], you get dinged. 

If it has four of that word in the job description and you only have two—bing, you get dinged again. What’s really interesting, and I demonstrated this to a person who has a Harvard MBA—he had a Harvard MBA, now would you assume that he would put a high school diploma on his resume?

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

No

Bill Humbert:

No, he did not, but the job description had high school diploma required. What? So I just showed him how the bot would ding him because he didn’t have a high school diploma on his resume. So, it’s very important to target your resume. I call it speaking the company’s language. Target it to what they’re saying, and then that enables you to get through all the bots.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

That’s so useful to know. That is so useful to know, I mean this whole world of scanning electronically now—our resumes and our applications create a new wrinkle in the job search. 

Bill Humbert:

It does.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #12: So, you’ve done your networking. You’ve got a job resume and application that matches the description of the company, the library you’re applying for—what’s the next step?  08:14 

Bill Humbert:

The next step is to begin your networking. You may have your networks set up—know who they are, the phone numbers, how to reach them. Some people say to me, Bill, I don’t know how to network. And I go, You’re just being silly. And they look at me, and they go, What do you mean? I say, Think about it, when you were three years old, do you remember a sibling walking by with an ice cream cone, and you went, Where’d you get that? That’s networking.

Or you get into college, you’re at a big school and you say, Who’s the best professor for this course? That’s networking. You get out of school and you want to know where to buy tires for your car, you ask somebody, Where do I buy tires? Bang, that’s networking. You’ve been networking your entire life, and now you’re prepared to network for your job.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

That’s great, and it sounds so simple, and we do it all the time. So, don’t take that for granted. 

Bill Humbert:

That’s correct.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #13: So let’s say you’ve done your networking, you’ve gotten through the bots, you’ve got a successful application and resume—you get a call for a job interview. What can you successfully recommend for a great interview?  09:22  

Bill Humbert:

Well, there are a number of things. We’re talking here to librarians, but one of the things you want to do is go to the website of the library and find out what’s going on there. What initiatives do they have going? We had our initiative on the strategic plan, and the people who worked on that did an amazing job down to one page. Who does that? That’s amazing.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #14: Bill’s talking about the Park City Library’s strategic plan. He’s our library board chair. That would be an amazing thing to talk about in an interview. Just those successes, right?  10:00 

Bill Humbert:

That’s right, or we have our brand new Sustainability Resource Center, and if you were involved with that, talk about how you grew that center from nothing into something inside the library. Talk about your successes. It’s really interesting to me—out on the east coast we’re not afraid. I’m a DC kid originally. We’re not afraid to talk about our successes. But you start getting into the midwest, and into Utah people are going, I don’t want to brag. But let me tell you something, if you’re going to brag now’s the time [laughter]. You get out on the west coast, they’re kind of both ways. It’s important if you’ve done some really cool things that you let them know.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #15: We have so many librarians out there in the field that I get to talk to on this podcast, and that I get to meet just across the country who are doing incredible projects, who have documents that they’ve created. These are important things that the library you’re going to want to go to, will be looking for, right?  10:49 

Bill Humbert:

Exactly. Exactly. You always look for the top performers. The people who kind of sit back and just exist—why do you want to hire those? You want to go after the people that really get things done. I don’t care if they’re inside a library, or inside of a corporation, or more importantly—or maybe not more importantly.  But on a baseball team, you want to get the people who get things done.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Sure, and baseball’s all about teamwork. So, teamwork counts. If you’ve got a team player—I know I look for that when I’m interviewing people for my positions.  

Bill Humbert:

Sure. Absolutely, you should. 

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #16: So demonstrate that, talk about projects you’ve done with other people? 11:43  

Bill Humbert:

Exactly. And the success—or, it’s important to know some of the failures because people will say, Well, yeah, you’ve given me all your successes, of course you’ve done that. Tell me about a time when the project didn’t work. What happened? What kind of adjustments did you make? Did you finally make it work?

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

That recovery process is just as important as the successful projects that have no glitches, right?

Bill Humbert:

It’s more important. 

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

We don’t all have to be perfect. We’re going to have some failures in there, being able to recognize those, and correct those is a big deal.

Bill Humbert:

It is a big deal.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #17: That’s great advice. So, let’s say we have our application in. It’s made it through the bots. We’ve gone this far. We’ve talked about our successes, and our recoveries. Now we get an offer, a job offer. How should we negotiate that process?  12:21 

Bill Humbert:

Here’s something.  This is just for your listeners, right? [whispered] Nobody else, right?

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Nobody else, just our listeners—okay.

Bill Humbert:

…because I don’t want them using this against me, as a recruiter. So, when you complete an application—at some point or another you have to complete an application. When you complete an application—in twenty-two states they’re not allowed to do this, but that means in most of them they still can. They ask for your current compensation. 

Now if you’re doing it online you have to put a number in there. If you’re doing it on a piece of paper then you can just put a line through and say, I’m not going to give you my number. They really shouldn’t be asking, because that library is different from the new library. Then they ask what your salary requirement is. When you did it on paper I used to tell people, Write open, or negotiable, but I really don’t like negotiable because I’ve seen it misspelled probably every conceivable way [laughter]. So, write the word open. If you can’t do that, if it’s online they’re going to require a number—this is the secret, the number you write is one.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

One?

Bill Humbert:

That’s your salary requirement, one.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Okay?

Bill Humbert:

Okay, so what happens? You’re interviewing me. You look down and you see my salary requirement is one. You’re going, What? So you’ll say, Bill, I see salary requirements, one. Certainly you want more than one? And I go, Does it say one on my application? Is your system broken? Now everybody’s seen the blue screen of death. 

Their mind—their hard drive and their head is now on a spin. You go, You know, thinking about that, aren’t we getting the cart way ahead of the horse? Can we talk about the job and about my experience? Wouldn’t you agree that if you like me, and I like you we’ll find some middle ground?

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Absolutely.

Bill Humbert:

Never put a number in your salary requirement.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #18: Wow, that’s really interesting. I wouldn’t have guessed that. I would not have guessed that. I know in a lot of libraries they set a salary range, right in the job description, which can be helpful so you know you’re going to be falling in between two numbers. Let’s say you do that and you start this conversation about your skills, and your value, and you can’t get it quite as high as you want to, but you really like the position. Are there other things you can negotiate besides salary?  14:54 

Bill Humbert:

There’s a couple of things—now again, you’re in the process, I’m outside of the process. I’m a third party recruiter. What I do with managers sometimes when I’m recruiting, is I say to them, So, is this person qualified to work at the next higher level within your library? If the answer is yes, then I ask, Well, within your budget and within the structure of the government, or the library, are you able to close an opening, and open a higher level opening to be able to get this person?

Sometimes with a top performer, you look at sports—top performers get the best money. That’s true in the work world, too. If you can do that and you may, or may not be able to, depending on the organization that you’re in, but if you can do that as a manager it’s a thing to do. It’s a tool.

If you’re the candidate, and now I’m directly answering your question. If you’re the candidate you can always ask for an extra week vacation, and sometimes you can get that because it’s well researched in the United States, we do a poor job taking all of our vacation time [laughter], so many organizations go, Yeah, hell, he’s not going to use it anyway [laughter] so, that’s not a problem.

Or, you can ask for a sign-on bonus, and just say, You know this is lower than what I’m making right now. I’d love to work with you. It would be amazing. I love this library. Can you give me a sign-on bonus to make me even for this year, and then next year decide if I deserve that raise, or not?

There’s a lot of different things that you can do that a lot of people are not aware of. Remember, I’m the recruiter, so I’m the person that you are most times negotiating with. Here’s how you answer—you get the offer, you say, Oh, I’m really excited, love to work with you, do you have any flexibility in that offer? When you ask that question, now you’re getting the answer. Bang, it’s that offer, or nothing, or why do you ask? Well, if they ask, Why do you ask? Stick your foot in the door and then just chat.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Excellent. So, the key is to open the conversation?

Bill Humbert:

Exactly. Get people talking.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

And then promote yourself, do that sales approach again.

Bill Humbert:

You do.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Right when you’re negotiating?

Bill Humbert:

Yes.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #19: Excellent. Is there anything else you’d like to share?  17:48 

Bill Humbert:

I helped thirty-two professionals during COVID, from March 15th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020 find new positions. Three of them received offers that were above 30% more than their current compensation, so I know that my salary negotiation script works, but more importantly, I just want to say to everybody out there be confident in your search, and understand that if they pick you for an interview they want you. They want you to succeed, and know that, and just knowing that will help you through your interviewing process. 

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #20: That’s great. Do you have any leadership books that you’d like to recommend? You’re an author so I know we’re going to hear about your books, but tell us what books you would recommend to help this process.  18:33 

Bill Humbert:

The best book that I have ever read on selecting, mentoring, and retaining top performers—can’t remember the entire title, but the important word is Topgrading, all one word by Dr. Brad Smart. So, a smart guy wrote Topgrading. That was a very, very good book. 

One of his comments, now I’m speaking to managers—one of his comments is, If you want to get a sense for a person’s work ethic, what you do is ask them, Did you work in high school? What did you do? Did you enjoy it? What did you enjoy? What did you not like? Then you ask the key question—this is the one. The key question is, Why did you work in high school? If the answer is my parents made me—buzz [laughter]. That’s the wrong answer.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Really.

Bill Humbert:

If the answer is, You know I started working and I found out that I had financial independence as a result of doing so. You know what? That’s true in my world, I was a Washington Post paperboy from the time I was ten. I was telling you when we were talking earlier, I came from not a very wealthy family. We were seven kids, and two parents in a 1300 sq. ft. house. 

I went to my dad at age twelve and said to him, I‘m not going to go to the public high school. He said, What’s your plan? I said, I’m going to go to DeMatha Catholic. He said, Well, I can’t send all seven of you to a private school. I said, No problem, I’ve already talked to DeMatha. I’m accepted. They put me in college prep, and it only costs $400 a year. I make $140 a month from my Washington Post paper route. I learned financial independence early. I think my work ethic reflects that.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #21: And that’s why we’re talking today because for librarians who are out there doing job searches, this is a way to find a position that makes your life goals possible. So, you know, if you want to live in a certain area, if you have a dream to engage in a certain kind of work, if it’s more financial independence. What you’re talking about today gives librarians the ability to do those things in their lives.  20:48 

Bill Humbert:

Oh, exactly. Exactly. Have that confidence, and be out there—have fun doing it. You should have fun. You’re meeting all these new people that could make a difference, if not now, sometime in the future.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #22: And we will say if you want more information on Bill’s books you can find him online. Bill tell us about your books, and where they can be accessed.  21:26 

Bill Humbert:

I have some exciting news about my last two books. Employee 5.0: Secrets of a Successful Job Search in the New World Order was my second book. My third book, and most recent one is Expect Success!: The Science of the Over Fifty Career Search. Both of those were selected as books that were included in the 100+ Best Business books by C-Suite Network. I was one of the very few authors that had two books in that. 

An author that some of you librarians may know of, Napoleon Hill? He only had one. Think and Grow Rich. So I’m excited about that! Then the other thing is my Expect Success book received both a four-star, and a five-star review. The five-star review person said, Geez, I wish I’d read this book before my recent career search, and you don’t have to be fifty, you can be younger than that and it will be successful.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Great. Thank you. 

Bill Humbert:

And, they’re on Amazon.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #23: Excellent. So if any of our listeners wanted to dig deeper into Bill’s work, either on the side of a successful career search, or on the side of talent attractions for your own library, you can check those out.  22:44 

Bill Humbert:

Go to https://recruiterguy.com. That’s my website, and it’s full of information from May of 2020 to May of 2022, this past May. I wrote 104 consecutive weeks of Talent Attraction Tuesday blogs, telling you how to go about attracting talent. And 104 consecutive weeks of Job Search Friday blogs. So you can go there. If you’re in a job search check it out. It’s under Just Saying in my menu.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Question #24: In closing, what do libraries mean to you, personally?  23:27 

Bill Humbert:

Wow, libraries are kind of my favorite place. You know, when I was growing up my mom was smart, and she would take us to the library because it didn’t cost any money, and I came out with whatever was the maximum number of books they would allow me to leave with. About three days later I was through all the books, especially in the summertime, and ready to go back. Of course, we couldn’t go back for another week. But I just, I love everything about libraries. And now, I love the fact that I’ve got three books in libraries [laughter], so that’s even more fun.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Well, Bill, thank you for being on the show with me today. I know many librarians are changing jobs right now, especially after COVID, and lives are changing, and families are moving around—so, having this conversation is very useful. I really appreciate you being here.

Bill Humbert:

Thank you, Adriane. You know, we’re talking about my passion. So, I was really excited when you asked me to come.

Adriane Herrick Juarez:

Well, it’s been great to have you.

You’ve been listening to Library Leadership Podcast. This is Adriane Herrick Juarez. For more episodes tune into LibraryLeadershipPodcast.com, where you can now subscribe to get episodes delivered right into your email inbox. Our producer is Nathan Sinclair Vineyard. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.

We would like to thank the Park City Library for their dedicated support of this show. The opinions expressed on this show are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of Library Leadership Podcast, or our sponsors.

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