On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Michael from Go Cloud Careers about interviewing techniques for tech careers.

Some Conversation Highlights:

It’s so hard to find someone that’s great at both. Here’s the key. Promoting someone because they have good technical skills does not make a good architect.

In fact, I’ve seen it happen and then the replacements actually thank them after the fact and really what’s going on is … And here’s why engineers need special training to become architects, and I found that it’s often easier for me to take a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, and turn them into an architect than it actually is an engineer, although [crosstalk 00:05:23] both would be great in tech careers.

I like to view it as this way. If we go outside on a clear night and we look at the sky, we can see these beautiful stars, the moon, the whole screen. As an architect, we need to focus on the big picture of the whole sky. When you train an architect to be an architect, that’s what they know what to do. Now, by comparison the engineers actually are building things so they have to focus on what they do.

If we go to that same giant sky outside, and we were to zoom in on the moon with a telescope, all we can see is the moon. If we’re going to work on the moon, like an engineer would work on something, we need to be that zoomed in. The problem is when you’re zoomed in, you can’t see the big picture. 


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Listening time: 34 minutes


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Michael Gibbs
CEO Go Cloud Careers

Gibbs is an expert on networking, cloud computing, and IT security. He is a sought-after speaker on emerging technologies and has presented to global organizations and key industry conferences throughout the world. He is a passionate educator and has spent years working to increase opportunities for individuals through mentorship, training, and development of educational materials. He has worked in all aspects of technology, including network engineering, network architectures, cloud architectures, security architectures, sales, consulting, and marketing.


Music: This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup

William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have Michael on from Go Cloud Careers. We got a wonderful topic to explore. It’s interviewing techniques for tech careers, something that is going to be interesting on both the candidate side and the recruiting and hiring manager side. I can’t wait to get into it with Michael and learn from him. Michael, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Go Cloud Careers? Excuse me.

Michael Gibbs: Absolutely, William. Thank you so much. It’s an honor and a privilege to be here with you today. I am a enterprise architect, cloud architect, network architect, and I’ve been in this industry now for over 25 years. I’ve been really lucky, I got to be a lead architect at Cisco for about a decade. I was a lead architect at MCI WorldCom, which is now Verizon. I was a lead architect at Riverstone Networks, which is now Nokia. 

I’ve been in this field now for about 25 years and I’ve loved every last minute of it. In the last 20 years, I’ve been helping others get their first tech job or get promoted in tech. One of the keys to our success is our interview coaching and our interview training. At Go Cloud Careers, what we do is as follows, other people in the industry, get people certified. We get people hired for the most elite technology careers. 

The reason we do that is we provide a mix of both the technical content, which is common in technical careers, but we go way above and beyond, and we promote and teach leadership skills, emotional intelligence skills, communication skills, executive presence skills, business acumen, and really what we’re working on is building the perfect employee with the perfect interview, the perfect negotiation skills, the perfect CXO relevancy skills, et cetera.

That way, when we send our clients on an interview, they have all of the soft skills and they have all of the hard skills, then they become the perfect interview candidate. That’s why we’re so successful at getting people hired regardless of their backgrounds.

William Tincup: One thing for the audience that I learned a long time ago when I had a web development agency in the ’90s, is there’s a difference from folks that can code code and folks that are architects. When you-

Michael Gibbs: Like you.

William Tincup: In your illustrious career, you’ve been an architect, which is it’s different. I mean, it’s really kind of a different skill set. It’s a different mindset. Now, you probably came up through coding and you understand code and all of that other stuff, but you’re an architect.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. That’s a subtle difference. I’m an architect and I don’t know how to code because I’m an architect. I solve customers’ problems through technology. And because of this … And this is where most people have a hard time getting architect jobs-

William Tincup: That’s right.

Michael Gibbs: … is they train for engineering jobs. How to do things, how to build things. For we, architects, it’s about designing things. For us, the reason we’re so different is no one hands us a piece of paper that says, “Build this for us.” We have to start with the executives and find out about the company’s business. What’s going on? What’s the business trying to achieve? What are the goals? What are its pain points? What are the competitors doing?

Only from there can we ask the right questions and then baseline the organization’s technology and generate a hypothesis and then develop a plan to make that business better, called an architecture. As an architect, we don’t even touch the technology. We simply design the technology.

William Tincup: Because I’ve seen this problem at firms as well is they, they want to promote from within, which is fascinating or it’s actually a good thing, not a bad thing, but they want to promote somebody that doesn’t necessarily have those skills, right? I know you’ve seen this through all the different places, wonderful places actually, great companies that you’ve worked for.

I know we’re going to get to the candidate side for just a second, but I’m just thinking about from a hiring manager and recruiter’s perspective, how do they look at their talent objectively and look at their talent and want to promote from within, but they don’t have necessarily those skills or the acumen or the things, like you just explained something that’s not just nuanced, it’s they’re different paths, completely different paths. 

It’s like in marketing, if I were making a similar story, there are marketing executives that are really great at demand generation, the science of marketing, if you will. Then there’s great marketing leaders that are great with brand, which is more the art of marketing. It’s hard to find someone that’s great at both, right?

Michael Gibbs: Absolutely. It’s so hard to find someone that’s great at both. Here’s the key. Promoting someone because they have good technical skills does not make a good architect.

In fact, I’ve seen it happen and then the replacements actually thank them after the fact and really what’s going on is … And here’s why engineers need special training to become architects, and I found that it’s often easier for me to take a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, and turn them into an architect than it actually is an engineer, although [crosstalk 00:05:23] both.

I like to view it as this way. If we go outside on a clear night and we look at the sky, we can see these beautiful stars, the moon, the whole screen. As an architect, we need to focus on the big picture of the whole sky. When you train an architect to be an architect, that’s what they know what to do. Now, by comparison the engineers actually are building things so they have to focus on what they do.

If we go to that same giant sky outside, and we were to zoom in on the moon with a telescope, all we can see is the moon. If we’re going to work on the moon, like an engineer would work on something, we need to be that zoomed in. The problem is when you’re zoomed in, you can’t see the big picture. I was pretty lucky.

I was working for a really great tech company about 20 years ago, and my manager pulled me into his office and I’d been falling asleep-

William Tincup: Were you focused on the moon at the time?

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. Actually. I was talking about this, but I was actually in a certification training thing at the office one day, they had brought it in a bunch of people because they wanted to certify us in a certain certification. I was falling asleep and my manager pulled me out of the room and pulled me into his office. I thought he was going to yell at me. 

He says, “Mike, do you know the difference between $150,000 engineer and a $350,000 architect?” I was like, “No, but please tell me.” He said, “Look.” He said, “Tech will only get you so far. If you want to go further, you’ve got to develop business skills, communication skills, leadership skills, CXO relevancy, the ability to do ROI modeling.” He went on and he went on and I said, “Okay. Sign me up.”

William Tincup: I want to do that.

Michael Gibbs: That’s how I became an architect. In most companies, the best tech companies, like the Ciscos of the world or the IBMs, architects are director-level positions. They’re executive positions and they expect these kind of skills or even an MBA, so these are the things that we teach, because what happens is when you’ve got that engineer that’s used to doing engineering, if you just make them an architect, they’re totally unprepared.

William Tincup: Right. Well, let’s get into that. Let’s talk a little bit about how you help people, again, navigate these waters because it’s funny when we talk about the war for talent, which has been around for 25 years technical talent, as we think about it, there’s a shortage. I told my son this, he wants to be a weapons engineer. 

I told him, I said, “Listen, here’s the deal. We don’t make enough engineers just for the things that we have open now worldwide. Imagine what it’ll be like in 10 and 20 years, we’ll need more technical talent worldwide.” But you get to actually work with the technical talent, which I find fascinating because I get to interact with a lot of TA and HR folks that are looking for you, the people that you’re helping. 

Let’s walk into those candidates for just a second and take us into kind of how you help the different technical talent. We can just kind of parse all the different ways that you help.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. Sure. I’ll tell you what I do and the way that I do it, because we’re really, really successful. We don’t have anybody that graduates with less than a six-figure job, assuming they complete the program. We’re pretty successful in doing it, and every single day now a student calls and says, “Mike, I just got my first job.” We like to it club hired.

The real key and the way we do it is there’s a lot of people out there doing what I call online training, if you want to call it that. That would be giving it a huge compliment. Somebody records some PowerPoint slides, they stick some audio on it and they teach you the name of a service and how to configure that service. They say, “Hey, here’s training.”

Now, that’s not training to me because if you watch a video and you can’t confirm that it’s there, that the knowledge is gained. There’s nothing, but there’s no training in how to design, which is what an architect would do, no training in the business side, no training in the communication side, no training in the presentation side. I could go on forever. What we did is we created a 500-hour program. 

In this program, we do the following. We have three live classes per week on Zoom that are each two hours. In these classes, we will focus on leadership skills, interviewing, designing of architectures together. I lead those classes. That’s three times per week. In between classes, we have a Slack channel and students literally collaborate across the world on projects, on interviews, on everything. They do that in between classes. 

Now, then our course has about 500 hours of training of which half of it is leadership skills, business acumen skills, communication skills, ROI modeling skills, CXO relevancy skills, presentation, gravitas or executive presence training, negotiation training, interview training. We cover all the professional development inside of that course. Then we actually do labs. 

Now, the other people actually have people doing what I call engineering labs. Here’s a service. Here’s how to configure it, like an engineer would do. Now, we use a different set of lab because for the architect, our world is about how do things work? Not actually how to build them. We have a set of labs that have been very unique and it’s been wildly successful in getting people hired because it’s what hiring managers want. 

Hiring managers want to know that people understand the network and the data center to go to the cloud. Why? What is the cloud? It’s a network and a data center that’s been virtualized. What do cloud architects do? They design a plan to go from the network and the data center to the cloud, which is another network and a data center. 

When people are learning the cloud services, if they don’t learn the network and the data center, they’re not hireable, because they don’t know what to do. We do, because we have the students VPN into our actual data center and our students build every component that makes the cloud possible.

They’ll set up server virtualization, build some containers, build some firewalls, build some VPN concentrators, build some web apps and web stacks, for example. Then for example, they’ll build an active directory server. Then I have all my students build a cloud from scratch.

William Tincup: Oh wow.

Michael Gibbs: What we’re doing is we’re really giving [crosstalk 00:11:22] program.

William Tincup: They architect. Literally they architect.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah.

William Tincup: Oh my God, that’s great.

Michael Gibbs: We have them build everything from scratch because that way, when the hiring manager says, “What’s your experience?” They can say, “I’ve done this, this and this.”

William Tincup: That’s right.

Michael Gibbs: Because what do our hiring managers care about? I mean, you know. They want someone that’s technically competent, someone that they can trust, someone that’s energetic, enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. They want someone that brings out the best in others. Those who are emotionally intelligent. Someone that’s willing to go above and beyond and someone that’s a team player. 

Now we’ve got our students applying for a job and interviewing and they say, “I’ve built the cloud.” Someone else says, “I turned on a virtual machine.” Which I taught an eight-year-old to do in less than three minutes. We’re giving that and we’re really building them. Of course, we practice interview them. We help them with the resumes. We work on the interview guidance and salary negotiation. We cover it all.

William Tincup: Oh, I love that. Where do you see … Again, everybody’s a little bit different, but with the folks that you’re coaching, where do you like to start? Do you do an audit of what do they have and where are they strong? Where are the weaknesses? Et cetera. Like they might be really strong at communication, but really poor in negotiation, for instance. How do you like to assess for where they are? 

Do you just take them through the paces regardless and just go, “Okay. We’re going to start here and make sure that we’re all on the same page and build the foundation.”

Michael Gibbs: We do a hybrid of the two. Now, we do start from the technical perspective, everyone from the beginning. Here’s the reason we do that. We get really complicated in our architectures. Because I was a lead architect at Cisco, I got to design things that most people would never do. I have my students design them in the live classes, those actual, real use case for the biggest clients.

William Tincup: That’s cool.

Michael Gibbs: The biggest healthcare organizations and it’s real life. Because of that, I need to know that people’s fundamentals are so good. What’s an expert? Someone that’s great with the fundamentals and always knows what to do. I do that. Now, when we have our students turn in the presentations we’ll be able to look at it. Maybe someone says, “This is a data center.”

We need to tell them to increase the gravitas, make a point, pause, change your vocal tone, or we’ll tell them what they need to do. We do do that and we help the students say when they’re ready for a job. Are you ready to go interview? Yes. When we have the ability to, we actually have 300 recruiters, and often we make referrals to our recruiters for students that are ready, if we know they’re ready.

Because we have an agreement with the recruiters that we work with that says, “I will only call you if I know someone will be interviewed and hired on their first position.” That way recruiters take our call because we can’t be damaging the recruiter’s business.

William Tincup: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You don’t want to waste anybody’s time.

Michael Gibbs: Exactly.

William Tincup: It’s funny because as you listed off a lot of the things where Go Cloud Careers helps people, I was thinking about … Because I went through an MBA program. There’s a lot of components that are in there that I could have stripped out of my MBA. It’s, again, communications, leadership, ROI, the business acumen, presentation, negotiation.

You could easily be teaching a marketing or HR finance person the same. There’s probably maybe a bit different take on it but it’s some of the same skills.

Michael Gibbs: They are the same skills with a different take. Let’s be fair. I have an MBA too and I took a lot of those MBA things and I put on here, but you know what else I did? I used to practice medicine in my youth.

William Tincup: Oh, cool.

Michael Gibbs: A nurse practitioner. There we learned something called therapeutic communication, which was basically how to communicate to people with empathy. We spent a lot of time learning how to ask people questions and being open-minded and having difficult conversations. I put a lot of that in there as well. I also had the opportunity to train under David Burns at the University of Pennsylvania.

He was one of the world’s founders of cognitive behavior therapy about taking negative thoughts and redirecting them into positive thoughts. We use a lot of that along with some other special tactics in our emotional intelligence program. Because emotional intelligence is about being able to control our emotions and other people’s. 

We use some heavy duty psychology and medicine, and we use some tactics that are used with Navy SEALs, elite Olympians, as well as the medical community. We kind of pull a lot of these things in from the few lives that I’ve lived in my life.

William Tincup: I love that. Yeah. You hit on EQ too. I remember at the very beginning you hit on EQ as well, which again, getting back to empathy is really smart. You hit a bunch of soft skills in there, which folks that are kind of STEM-oriented have … Not have difficulty. It’s just that’s just not how they think, but they can be taught anything. It’s just like people left brain, right brain.

Tell me a little bit about the candidates that are really perfect candidates for the program and maybe candidates that might not be ready for the program. What’s the difference?

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. It’s not what you think it’s going to be.

William Tincup: I already like the answer.

Michael Gibbs: Well, I mean, when I started this program, I used to speak to every student. I obviously can’t do that anymore. We’re way too big. The point was, and here was my phone conversation, “Do not take this program unless you’re willing to work hard, work hard, work hard. Are you sure you’re willing to work hard?” They’d say, “Yes.” I’d sign them up for the program. The person who said they’d work hard, would always succeed. They’d get hired in the end.

For me, I’m more concerned about how hard someone’s willing to work. Will they do whatever it takes to get hired? Because you know what? I get them hired. Recently I had someone that was serving food as a restaurant that got a six-figure plus job at one of the major cloud providers. That same week I had a geologist that got hired as a cloud architect. Then the week after that, I got someone that had another non-tech job.

The key for us to do that is to make sure that our people are really competent, but technical competency is only 50% of what goes on in an interview. The other 50% are all these other factors. That’s our secret. We get those other people to be nearly perfect on all those other factors. That way when you’ve got someone that’s good enough from a tech perspective, but perfect in every other metric, it’s hard not to hire them.

William Tincup: What is the feedback from recruiters that you’re getting on your candidates? Because then you’ve got a quality throttle, which I like. Until you, as the organization, feels that they’re ready, you’re not going to pass them over to recruiters. I automatically love that. What’s the feedback? They just want more?

Michael Gibbs: They want more. They’re like, “Give us more. Give us more. Give us more.”

William Tincup: Faster, Michael. Faster, Michael.

Michael Gibbs: The only problem is me as I’m throttling them down saying, “This person will get hired within three or four interviews, but I’m not sure that three or four interviews is good enough for you, Mr. and Mrs. Recruiter, that could be damaging to your business.” When it’s one and the recruiter … Because there’s a recruiter I work with a lot and I spoke to her the other day and she calls me after she speaks to one of my candidates. 

She’s like, “Oh my God, I love this guy, Mike. He’s fantastic. He’s everything that I would expect from you, competent and every other thing.” That’s usually what we’re getting.

William Tincup: What do the recruiters miss? Now we’ll flip it for just a second. What do they miss when they’re trying to evaluate this type of talent?

Michael Gibbs: Actually, that’s a great question. I’d say there’s two kinds of recruiters I work with. The exceptional-

William Tincup: It could be the hiring managers too, right? It could be both, right? Or we’re-

Michael Gibbs: I’m going to start with the recruiters first.

William Tincup: Yeah.

Michael Gibbs: With the recruiters … And I love recruiters and I’ve been working with recruiters forever. I’ve interviewed for five jobs in my life and I’ve gotten hired by all five and they all came from recruiters.

William Tincup: Oh, that’s cool.

Michael Gibbs: I love the recruiter perspective. When we’re talking about recruiters, there’s those that know and those that don’t, and here’s what I mean. If I call one of the recruiters that I know in New York City and there’s a job posted for a cloud architect position that they’re there, and a lot of these positions have job descriptions that look like HR wrote them. 50 Olympic gold medals, 20 years’ experience-

William Tincup: Five years at DARPA.

Michael Gibbs: … in industries that don’t even exist. When I see that, I get it because if you’re an HR rep and you’ve got 5,000 applicants for a single position, you’ve got to whittle them down somehow. I understand why they deal with it. The problem is when the internal recruiters are sending these candidates that meet us and go to the hiring managers, they’re a Jack of all trades and a master of none and we can’t hire any of them. 

We then call our recruiters and the recruiters that know us, which I love, but the problem is the recruiters that we speak to need to know the job. I would say the recruiter needs to speak to the hiring manager to be certain what’s on that job description is actually the job so they can find the right person because these job descriptions are way out there. 

In fact, the job descriptions for cloud architects are so bad that Gartner actually had to start interviewing CIOs and they published it in CIO Magazine. What do you want in a cloud architect? Because so many of these architect jobs are … or engineering jobs masquerading as architects. The help that I would have for the recruiters is speak to that hiring manager and be crystal clear on exactly what they want for that position because the job description usually isn’t the same.

I have a lot of times when I have a student, they see a job, they’ve spoken to the hiring manager and they’re scared. I say, “Ask the recruiter to ask the hiring manager.” As soon as they do, they’re coming back, they’re like, “Mike, I feel so much better. They only want me to be an architect. They don’t expect me to write Python scripts and do [crosstalk 00:21:04] up and do all these other careers.” I’m like, “That’s a why I was trying to tell you, ask.”

I would say that’s really the key is the job description needs to actually reflect what the job is, and it almost never does for architects. For recruiters, if they see a non-architect job and I think recruiters need to know what an architect job is, then they’ll be in a better position to help their clients find jobs as well as get the right person for the hiring manager, which will get them paid more, obviously, and help the hiring manager find people they want.

William Tincup: I love that. A quick question. What are questions that candidates, or your candidates should ask both recruiters and hiring managers? When you’re arming them, you’re helping them with the interview, which I love, you’re getting them doing practice interviews, which is always helpful for all candidates, quite frankly, but in this role specifically, what’s the questions that they should be asking recruiters and hiring managers?

Michael Gibbs: I’ll go to the hiring managers for these questions because the recruiting questions would be pretty much the same, but I feel this is much more of a hiring manager question. I feel that every candidate should prepare for these five situations. Every candidate must know before they meet with a client and have a good, solid answer to the tell me about yourself question.

Prepackaged 60-second or less elevator pitch, preferably 30 seconds, that shows why they’re everything the hiring manager needs. Energy, enthusiasm, passion, integrity, team player, that should be in there somewhere. The next thing that every technology professional should learn, whether it’s being interviewed by a recruiter or a hiring manager, is how to deal with a question when you don’t know the answer. 

I’ve interviewed over 5,000 candidates in my life and 4,950 plus have lied to me. I can’t hire a single person that lied to me. In fact, it was so bad I used to keep cookies in my office. The second somebody lied to me, I’d feed them cookies for 10 to 50 minutes because I wasn’t going to hire them and I thought I would make it a pleasant experience. There was no point in me listening to anything else they had to say once they lied.

Then I think, and this is a critical thing, this has gotten me hired in two of my five jobs and help my students get hired every day, someone should learn this. If someone’s asked a question they don’t know the answer to, they should say, “I’m sorry, Mr. Hiring manager, Mrs. Hiring manager I’ve not had the opportunity to learn that technology yet, but I’m highly energetic. 

I’m highly motivated and I absolutely love technology. I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know and I can find the answers to things that I don’t know very quickly. I’m hardworking. I’m a great team player and I’m willing to go above and beyond. But I just have to be honest with you because I want to form a good relationship with you. But if you’d like to check my technical competency, you can check it on X, Y, and Z.” 

Because you’re guiding them that way to your strength. Here’s the reason we’re doing this. The psychological things which we learn [inaudible 00:23:57] non-linguistic programming is, people don’t remember the no or a but. So if I were to tell you, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” The first thought that’s going to go in your head is the pink elephant. 

If we say, “I’ve not had the opportunity to learn that technology yet, but …” Everything before that but is completely forgotten. Then all the hiring manager will hear is all those wonderful things about us that we’re trying to tell them.

William Tincup: Oh, that’s great advice.

Michael Gibbs: I also think everybody should have an answer for the why I should hire you question and everybody should have a programmed answer for the strengths and weaknesses and it must be a real weakness, a legitimate weakness, [crosstalk 00:24:34].

William Tincup: Sometimes I work too hard.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. Exactly.

William Tincup: Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Come on. Yeah.

Michael Gibbs: Because we-

William Tincup: Is it personalized? Sorry, Michael, is it personalized to that job or that company?

Michael Gibbs: Yes.

William Tincup: Or … Okay. Okay.

Michael Gibbs: I like to get real personal. Then here’s the question that I like my students to ask to close the interview. You’re almost always asked, do you have any questions for me? I believe when we train our candidates to ask this question, “Mrs. Hiring manager, why are your goals that if I was a member on your team, I could be sure that I could make you successful.”

William Tincup: Oh, that’s good.

Michael Gibbs: We like to close the interview on that question for the following reasons, we are showing the hiring manager that we are a solution to their problem. Hiring managers hire us because they’ve got a challenge and we want to show them we’re a solution to their problem. Also, we want to know if we’re going to be satisfied working in that company and whatever the job description that you see on paper is almost irrelevant.

What makes that manager successful is the job description and that tells us if we’ll be happy in that job. That’s how we like to do it. That’s how we do that.

William Tincup: I want to add one to your arsenal but think about it and then get back with me. I heard one the other day and I just fell in love with it. It’s a candidate at the very end, again, somewhere towards the end and saying, “Have you heard anything or seen anything from me today that would preclude you from giving me an offer letter?” Which is a sales question.

Michael Gibbs: Yes.

William Tincup: Right? I mean, it’s ultimately, that’s kind of what sales people do. They ask the same type of question with people when they’re proposing on sales. I like it just from a candidate’s perspective because it’s like we’ve had this dance, we’ve talked a bunch, we’ve cleared a bunch of things out. Is there anything that you’ve heard? Like, is there anything that you’ve seen from me or heard from me or just experienced from me that is just something I need to resolve? 

I love that. I don’t know how that fits into kind of the things that you do, but I just … Noodle on it and think if it makes sense.

Michael Gibbs: In some ways it really, really does. In other ways we try to avoid it for this reason. We love they’re closing a sale like a sales rep. In fact, we teach sales tactics. The only thing that we don’t do is we don’t ask anything that’s got any potential implied negativity in it, because it plants the psychological seeds of doubt. Saying, is there anything that would preclude you almost-

William Tincup: Yeah. You’d have to smith that. I see that. Oh, that’s fair.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. I worry that it shows a lack of confidence and it plants the seeds of doubts. Even though I really like it, we would re-interject that. I more prefer the sales rep of what can I do to earn your business? What can I do-

William Tincup: There you go. There you go.

Michael Gibbs: Something more like that. Something that’s more positive but the same answer. Because I love what he’s getting to. I love it. I just, I like to take a more positive thing and a lot of that’s-

William Tincup: Oh, I think that’s smart.

Michael Gibbs: … deeply rooted in my cognitive behavior therapy education.

William Tincup: Yeah. No, I think that’s smart. Last thing is you mentioned resume. Again, there are so many folks that use LinkedIn for their resumes and vice versa. What do you guide the folks that come to your program? Is it building out a resume resume or having all that documentation so that when they fill out an application, et cetera, or is it LinkedIn? What’s your advice?

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. It’s a couple of things. Now, we have a pretty extensive LinkedIn strategy for our students. What kinds of things to post, how to engage on other posts, how to use LinkedIn to form relationships, et cetera. We train that heavily. Now, the resume itself to us is a critical document and we work on it. Now we do not work on resumes the way resume people would. 

I view the resume as an advertisement that says, why should I interview somebody? Because I view it as an advertisement, what we teach is what advertisers work on. How do you get your magazine article read? How do you get someone to read your advertisement? Because that’s the biggest challenge. Nobody’s going to read the resume.

What we tell our students to, was in the first line, in big bold letters at the top of the resume to put everything in there that’s interesting. I would put Mike Gibbs, Ms., MBA, CCIE, and usually Google professional cloud architect. I have other certifications, but I don’t use too many because it makes me look like an engineer and not an architect. I mean, it’s true. I don’t-

William Tincup: It’s a lot of commas. Yeah. No. I understand.

Michael Gibbs: The next thing that I do is I have seen people put an objective on their resume. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Here’s why.

William Tincup: I know. It’s a holdover from the ’70s. I know.

Michael Gibbs: Yeah. It’s like, here’s what I want you to give me Mr. and Mrs. Employer. When you sell a product, you sell what you can do for them not what you can take from them.

William Tincup: That’s right. That’s right. I’m looking for instead of what … Yeah. I love that. Michael, you have been-

Michael Gibbs: We swap that out with an executive summary that entices the reader to keep reading.

William Tincup: Right. Which-

Michael Gibbs: Then when we’re dealing with architects, we have to be really careful and we pretty much have to rewrite everybody’s resume because every resume we’ve seen has acronym, acronym, acronym, acronym, acronym.

William Tincup: Oh, no. I know. Buzzword Bingo.

Michael Gibbs: Nobody hires a cloud architect to be an acronym person. The other side of it is, why are we working so hard to build this portfolio? We want to have that resume show, designed new website that increased sales by 11%, created new multi-media communication strategy which improved time to market of new products by 13%. We’re teaching them how to add metrics and quantifiable things. 

Then we’re also … I create opportunities for my students to co-author books and blogs and articles with me intentionally so they can be published authors by the time they graduate. I have them present at conferences that I set up for them so they can have more things. That’s really how we’re building our resumes.

William Tincup: Michael, you’re doing great work. Thank you so much for coming on and educating us. I absolutely appreciate you being on the podcast.

Michael Gibbs: William, it was such an honor to be here and I’m so thankful.

William Tincup: Listen, thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

Music: You’ve been listening the Recruiting Live Podcast by Recruiting Daily. Check out the latest industry podcasts, webinars, articles, and news at recruitingdaily.com.

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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