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Season 1

Ep. 22: Google: Recruiter & Rejection Manager, Elizabeth Morgan

By January 20, 2022March 16th, 2022No Comments

Episode Overview

Elizabeth Morgan is a former Recruiter and Rejection Manager at Google and current Senior Social Media Program Manager at iCIMS. Elizabeth has built up an audience of over 70,000 LinkedIn followers and has generated 9 million views in 2021 with her weekly career content. This will be a fun episode since we will talk more than just recruiting, for instance, how Elizabeth founded her side hustle Etsy shop called Lively Liz Creations. Let’s dive in!

 

Here are some questions we will be answering:

– How do you find the right balance between being too personal vs. too professional online?

– How do job descriptions get made?

– Google looks for “Googliness” – how do you answer the “Googliness” question?

– What are the main reasons candidates get rejected?

– Do you recommend others to have side gigs and side hustles?

– Is GPA important in the recruitment process?

 

Links:

*Download Hirect App for Free: https://bit.ly/HirectApp

Connect with Elizabeth: www.linkedin.com/in/livelyliz/

Follow our Host on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-aj-eckstein/

Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this podcast are of the host and guest and not of their employers.


Episode Transcript

“Yes, there are negative aspects of showing up and bringing yourself online. There are people that won’t support you, there’s people that have a different story that don’t agree with you, there’s people that don’t like what you stand for, but ultimately the people that are in your corner that believe what you’re talking about that can relate to you, those are the people that are going to want to reach out, that are going to want to get to know you for more opportunities.” – Elizabeth Morgan

 

Welcome to the Final Round podcast, where our mission is to help you knock out the competition and land your dream job. My name is A.J. Eckstein, and I’m a recent college graduate, a strategy consultant, a five-time intern, and the founder of the Career Coaching Company. 

Have you ever wondered why only a few people get past the final round interview and land the job offer? Join me in the ring as I speak with recruiters at top companies to learn the secrets why certain applicants get “knocked-out” and others are still standing after the final round. 

This episode is brought to you by Hirect, the first chat-based hiring app. The Final Round is actually hiring for internship roles posted on Hirect right now. More about Hirect later in the show. Now, let’s jump into the ring and get you past the final round.

 

Intros

Today, I will be interviewing Elizabeth Morgan, a former recruiter at Google and current senior social media program manager at iCIMS. Elizabeth has built up an audience of over 70,000 LinkedIn followers and has generated 9 million views in 2021 with her weekly career content. This will be a fun episode since we will talk more than just recruiting. For instance, how Elizabeth founded her side hustle Etsy shop called Lively Liz Creations. Let’s dive in. 

Welcome back, everybody. We are tuning in live from the Final Round studio with a very special guest, the one and only, Elizabeth Morgan. So, Elizabeth, how are we doing on this beautiful Sunday morning?

 

Elizabeth: Oh, my gosh! So, good. Thank you so much for having me on the show. It’s so great to be here, and I cannot wait to chat with you.

 

Striking the Correct Balance

I’m so happy to be chatting with you today. I want to dive into talking about your story. I think one of the very unique things about you versus other recruiters or other people just in the professional world is that you are unapologetically yourself, and you are a huge advocate for jobseekers. I know there’s always this constant debate between being too professional versus being too personable being yourself online. I’d be curious to start off the conversation with how do you find and strike that correct balance between the two?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, great question. When I was in college, I had this idea in my mind that I needed to impress everyone and I realized pretty quickly into Corporate America that the things that I was saying yesterday didn’t really align with who I was and what my passions were. I started realizing the opportunity cost of saying yes to things that didn’t align with me. I wasn’t able to be my true authentic self and really allow myself to bloom and grow in the best ways. So, I realized that this wasn’t just a me-thing. Everyone that I knew that I had gone to college with was kind of struggling with a lot of the same issues of like, ‘I’m in a job I don’t like, working for a boss I don’t respect. I’m struggling with a lot of things now.’ And so, I’ve really tried to sort of push through that and put myself in a situation where I am myself online very authentically because I want to attract the companies that gravitate towards me. I want to be involved and associate with the types of people who treat people the way I do. 

So, I started to realize that yes, there are negative aspects of showing up and bringing yourself online. There are people that won’t support you, there’s people that have a different story that don’t agree with you, there’s people that don’t like what you stand for but ultimately, the people that are in your corner, that believe what you’re talking about, that can relate to you, those are the people that are going to want to reach out, that are going to want to get to know you for more opportunities. So, you ask like how much is too much? I actually think that being your full self is going to help you land at the companies that have the same values as you. It’s going to help you to land up in a space maybe working with products that you’re passionate about and your career is just going to boom, boom, boom, excel.

 

Again, one of the coolest things about you is that your brand is so unique. I think everything about your brand talks about of course, your full-time job. You’re in the recruiting space. Now, in the social media space and then also your side hustle Lively Liz Creations, which we’ll dive into in a second, but you’re just someone so full of color, full of energy, full of joy. So, overall, I totally understand what you’re talking about that you want to pursue a company that also aligns with what you’re passionate about and what you’re trying to pursue. So, I guess the overall question here for our audience is do you recommend that people share more about their unique selves and more about their authentic stories?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, I think it really depends on what you’re going for. I think what you’re going for is going to change. For me, being very involved in external aspects of a company really depends on what type of career path you want to take. Not every position can really be highlighted on social media. You can share your story, but if you’re not comfortable with it or maybe your position it’s kind of hard to find on social, I think it’s okay to not show yourself off on social. I think it takes getting out of your comfort zone and being willing to accept the fact that like I said earlier, not everyone aligns with your message and what you’re talking about. But I think ultimately, it comes down to the audience that you want to spend time with and strategizing a way to spend time with them. If you’re able to sort of create a space for your audience whether it’s the type of work that you’re doing, the things you’re passionate about, your corporate story, whatever it might be whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram maybe it’s a side thing that you’re working on for fun, I think it allows you to open up to a community that’s out there that’s similar to you, that inspires you, that can help you grow in ways that allows you to sort of build up a community and choose the community as opposed to the four walls whatever’s in your town or city. It can really help you branch out. The opportunities are limitless by having a brand online, by exposing yourself on social media and that’s what’s helped me over the years.

 

It’s interesting to unpack what goes behind a LinkedIn post because I think it’s not just dumping content onto a platform, but it’s a strategy. It’s trying to address what does your audience want? Who is your audience? How often to post? Etc. But the biggest thing is showing up and putting yourself out there because if you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there, you’re never going to grow with that unique brand. If people are so skeptical about, “I don’t know Elizabeth, but she’s a huge following on LinkedIn but can that really work for me? Are there really opportunities that can come my way?’ What I read and correct me if I’m wrong Elizabeth, you never applied to one job. And I’ll repeat that, she has never applied to one job. So, no outbound applications. Opportunities have only come her way, which she actually landed her recruiting job at Google from. So, I’d love to unpack that, Elizabeth, and I’d love to learn more about how can our audience get to that part in their career journey where people are reaching out to them for opportunities versus begging companies to interview them?

 

Elizabeth: So, I will share that I’ve actually applied to many companies over the years. I applied to I think hundreds of internships and dozens of jobs when I was in my early career. But actually, the cool thing that happened is I haven’t applied to any of the companies that I’ve worked at. So, I actually utilized LinkedIn for I created a brand for myself. I threw on to LinkedIn what I wanted to be known for, what I was passionate about, started networking with people who were doing the types of jobs I was interested in and a small startup reached out to me about an opportunity that allowed me to move from Colorado to the Bay Area. I was working really hard for them, put a lot of time and energy into recruiting for them. I was interviewing candidates. So, I got my recruiting experience there. That was about the time that Google reached out to me and said, “Hey, we see you on LinkedIn. We see all the stuff you’re doing for jobseekers.” At that point, I was making LinkedIn posts to help people. I had these posts that I would write of like, “Hey, comment below with the link to your LinkedIn profile and I will give a feedback tip to the first hundred people,” and that actually kind of helped me sort of ramp up my following. When I was in college, I had about a thousand followers and followers weren’t really a thing by then. I was mostly just connected with professors and fellow students, but it was when I got my first professional opportunity and I started trying to offer value to people, trying to help people get jobs because like I was sending rejections to 95% of the people that I was working with, and it was just like killing me inside, and I was like, “I have to do something.” So, I started these posts and I started helping people and many of them are still with me today.

 

How Job Descriptions are Made?

You know it takes time. And oftentimes, people want instant gratification, but it does take time, and I’ve definitely learned so much from you, and I’m inspired by you and all that you’ve done for jobseekers, and I’m trying to pave that path as well of continuing to help others and trying to offer tailored advice because there’s a lot of advice out there in the career space that is either not credible or it’s too generic, or it’s just not actionable. One thing that I wanted to ask you about is how job descriptions are made. I know you said that you worked with hiring managers over the years from different recruiting positions, so I guess the first question is how do job descriptions even get made.

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, great question. There’s usually one of two ways, and I’ve been exposed to both. So, I can kind of share a very organized process that is really fair to candidates and reduces bias, and I’ll share another way as well that’s not quite as fair, there’s definitely some bias in the process. I think both ways will help you as you’re applying to companies to really realize what you need to do to your resume to stand out. 

So, it always starts with the hiring manager needs a job. They need a specific role, so they go seek approval, see if there’s a budget for it or maybe someone has left the company, so they need to refill the role. So, they go to the recruiting team once it’s approved and asked the recruiting team like, “Okay. I need someone to do this, this, this and this. Here are some of the types of people that I’d like this person to be like. Like have a background in this industry, have this type of experience. There’s someone that has these types of criteria.” And then the recruiting team, it’s their job to either bounce back and say, “Is this really relevant for the job? Does this person really need to have experience in designing cakes even though we’re not baking cake?” It’s the recruiter’s job to really advocate, and sometimes they’re able to, and they create a job description that has probably three or four bullet points of like, “Okay. We need this specific experience,” like there’s minimum qualifications and preferred qualifications. And you’ll see it on almost any job application that you apply to. 

So, the minimum qualifications are those like got to have. We can’t move forward with your resume if we don’t see clearly on your resume that you have this experience. At Google, we had a process in place where we really only had three requirements. One was either having a degree or having several years of experience like in the field. Another one was some sort of very specific role related thing like a technical skill, and sometimes it stopped there. At other companies that I’ve worked at, we’ve had like 20 and 30 bullet points of must be able to find unicorn blood and source it ethically. You know? It’s just like so many different things of like no one even knows like how do you do that? And they were looking for this kind of unicorn candidates that didn’t exist. So, you’ll see as you’re applying to companies. It’s not necessarily a red flag if there are 20 requirements on the job description. it’s just that maybe the team didn’t really have time bandwidth or knew how to sort of advocate for this role to really get it up and going. But you’ll see every Google description has the minimum requirements, which those are the things you need to have on your resume. Otherwise, unfortunately, you’re rejected or the preferred qualifications, which if you’re able to share any of those preferred like we prefer that you have a master’s degree, or we prefer if you have experience in this very specific skill set, but we also recognize that there’s like 20 different ways you can have this experience. So, yeah, it’s very important to use your resume to show why you’re qualified and to make sure that the job description and your resume look very similar. Because like me, I reviewed thousands of resumes at Google, and it was my job to say, “Okay. AJ has this, this, this and this. I see from his resume, I’m counting the years’ experience, I’m seeing that he has quality years of experience. He wasn’t just getting coffee for someone for 10 years and saying he’s a marketing director like I see the impact,” and making sure that check, check, check and that’s when I would then show your resume to the hiring manager like, “Oh, yeah. He’s got all the skills. So, let’s move forward to a phone interview.”

 

So, the process is the hiring manager creates the job description and then works with the recruiter to refine the job description, is that accurate?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah. Sometimes the hiring manager will just kind of blurb things. It’s called an intake meeting where the hiring manager will just be like, “Yeah. I need this, this, this and this, these 20 things,” and the recruiter will say, “Well, generally, in our industry you can combine these four things into has project management experience.” And that’s kind of when the recruiter will fine-tune which is why it’s important for folks who are watching who are wanting to become a recruiter to really learn about a lot of different industries and verbiage and recruiters’ kind of have to know a little about all positions so that they can like hire people eloquently for them.

 

You mentioned that some companies like Google for instance have just one to three requirements like bullet point lines requirements. It’s very quick. It’s to the point, you’re either rejected or you get taken on to an interview, and they’re very to the point. But there are other companies, like you said, other job descriptions that have 20 requirements but from what you’re saying job descriptions sound like wish lists and that you don’t have to meet every single line item of a requirement on a job description but try to meet as many as you can and then grow and learn the other bullet points. So, do you agree that job descriptions are for the most part wish list?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, I think it really depends on the company like at Google, Apple and Microsoft, they’ve really fine-tuned the process. And their bullet points, you’re going to see like five tops and those are all the minimum qualifications, and you just have to have them. They have so many people applying and so many people who have the qualifications that unfortunately, if you have recently graduated, and they’re looking for five years’ experience unless you have internships and various other experience as volunteer, things like that, it’s going to be really hard to advocate for yourself just because it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd.

At smaller companies or companies where they haven’t sort of specified what’s required like kind of what you said like it just seems like a wish list: must have this, must do that, five years of experience. It’s like very long and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of strategy put into the requirements, or maybe it’s just so incredibly detailed and there’s so many incredibly detailed specific things and you’re like, “I can never meet this.” You should apply. And I think what’s important about applying is making sure that you are using your resume to prove why you should have this job. 

A lot of people just throw their resumes out of like, “Here is all my experience. It’s three pages. You determine if I’m a fit,” and I’m going, “well, I want to, and I think in some ways you could be a fit, but I literally have hundreds of resumes to look at today. And Bob over here has actually really clearly shown you why he’s a fit and I don’t actually know why you’re a fit. You haven’t shared how much experience you had; you haven’t shared detailed metrics as to why you really are excelling in your role. So, it’s definitely important to apply for positions out of your comfort zone. Like the quote, “Don’t self-reject,” like apply and prove why you are good. I put a lot of time and energy and strategy into proving why they should hire me as opposed to yeah, maybe I’m not a good fit because I don’t have experience exactly the way the job description.

 

Interview Techniques

So, on that topic, don’t self-reject yourself, if you’re going to get rejected, let a company do it but don’t do it to yourself. And then second of all, tailor your resume because that is so crucial. Let’s say that our audience members, and hopefully they do take this amazing advice, Liz and move forward in the interview process. I saw that you have actually written some incredible articles on how to prepare for a great job interview. For instance, after your Google on-site interview. So, can you share some of your interview techniques to help them master these interviews?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, absolutely! This kind of touches back on the last question as well, and I’m actually going to write a LinkedIn post about it soon, so you all are getting exclusive content. I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is not knowing how to talk about themselves in like one to two minutes just like who you are, what you’re interested in, why and what you’re going to do about it. I know a lot of people who the main reason why they’re struggling with applying and catering their resume and going through a successful interview process is because they haven’t figured out a way to really sell who they are. I’m Liz. I’m passionate about social media. I love talking about branding and I love creating content to help jobseekers who are struggling in ways that I struggled, and I didn’t always have guidance through it. It’s like that’s kind of my thing. That’s very broad, but if I had a job description like someone asking me, “Well, why do you want to apply to our social media role?” It’s like, “Well, here’s all the things that I can show you about myself that prove that I’m excited, I’m passionate. I know how to do this. I have my own following. I literally know how to create viral posts like let me bring it to the company, teach other people how to do it the same way so that we can like enhance employment branding.” So, all of that goes back to saying, “I know what I’m known for, and I throw it out there, and it’s helped me to not just get job opportunities but paid company sponsorship stuff, meeting incredible people, amazing podcast and that has helped me in interviews too.” So, something that I did in my Google interview that I did for my iCIMS interview as well, the very first thing I did when I knew I was interested in a job is I copy and pasted the job description somewhere because when someone amazing starts in the interview process, oftentimes, the recruiting team will unpublish the role. They’re like, you know what? We’ve got a lot of faith in this person. We don’t want to review any more resumes. We are very excited for this individual or these four or five individuals,” and then you go to click on the job description to really prepare for the interview, and you’re like, “Oh, shoot. The link’s broken. I don’t really remember the role I applied to. How am I supposed to prove how good I am if I don’t remember the details?” And maybe you’ve applied to dozens of jobs by that point. So, it’s really important. 

I really make sure that for each bullet point even if it’s 20, I know it takes a lot of work, trust me. It takes me probably two or three hours when I’m preparing for an interview but how I do it is like, okay. How can I prove I have three or more years of this specific experience? Well, in three bullet points, I did this and this. Here are the specific things I did. Here’s how I impacted like I increased this by this percentage, and it resulted in a process that’s still in place today or gained us blah, blah, blah, blah followers or had a very specific metric. And made sure for like each bullet point that I’d be able to touch on something. And then I would just rehearse like, “Okay. Here is why I am interested in your company. Here’s why I’m excited to talk to you, and here are some questions I have: why is this position open? Tell me more about the culture of the team?” Those are all things that I search on Google. I’ll go to their LinkedIn page, I’ll look at all their announcements and their updates, and it takes a while but if you’re able to just bombard the recruiter with, “I’m a great fit here. I’m passionate about what you’re doing, and I’m passionate about the work I’d be doing,” and then move through that during the interview process and sort of cater it to each type of person you’re talking to whether it’s your boss showing that you’re a great team player and you get things done and you don’t need to be hounded to do your work or someone that you partner with and asking them sort of: what are some pain points that they’ve experienced? It’s like great things happen when you prepare for the interview.

 

And I think all those points make complete sense and hopefully our audience is not getting discouraged by how much prep work you need to do before an interview. I think from what you said that you do hours and hours of prep work both on your own story, both on memorizing the job description and on researching the company whether that’s their LinkedIn company page or the company’s career page or the about page, whatever it is. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and maybe you get rejected. Okay. So, be it, but A, it’s a great practice for that next interview for the next company and second, it’s so obvious, and I’d love for you to jump in on this. It’s so obvious when someone does the prep work and does prepare versus someone who just goes in cold turkey, doesn’t know anything like what is iCIMS? What is Google? What do they do? What are the recent acquisitions? What’s going on? To me, it’s like such an obvious rejection from the start versus someone who does put their best foot forward. At least they prove to you that they care about the role in the company.

 

Elizabeth: Yeah. If you’re not willing to put effort into the interview process, oftentimes, recruiters see it as a red flag that you’re not willing to put effort into your job. It is frustrating especially when you’ve got five different companies. I like to look at it in terms of: one, I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. It’s very important that I find the right fit. And also, the more effort you put in, the greater chance you have of them seeing you as an incredible asset that they just have to have, and they want you no matter what. Even if it means that they have to go a little bit over the budget to bring you on, or they have to do things a little bit differently to get you. The more you show that you’re almost too good to be true, the more they’re going to try and grab you. It’s because I put all this effort in, I have met incredible recruiters who I’m friends with today. Heck, like I have interviewed at companies where it ultimately hasn’t worked out, and we have become friends, and they have written me LinkedIn recommendations like, “Liz is going to be great at somewhere someday. I don’t know where, but I love her.” And I’ve written the same thing back to them like, “Really professional recruiter. Great candidate advocate. Highly recommend for our next recruiting accept.” So, it’s more than just a job. It’s a community. It’s learning about an industry. There’s so much more than just a rejection and just kind of take it that way like you are starting a relationship with this company like you’re dating this company, you got to woo each other, you got to figure out if it’s a great fit. It doesn’t have to end in marriage but you got to figure out if you’re a good fit because ultimately, you’re probably spending more time with this company than your significant other.

 

Culture Fit

Of course. You also don’t want to look back on the interview process and let’s say you get rejected, and you realize that this company, this role was actually a dream company and dream role. You don’t want to look back and say, “I should have spent a lot more time researching the company.” How did I not know that they just got acquired for a billion dollars? That’s so obvious. It’s a quick five-second Google search. How did I not practice my elevator pitch and things like that to me is where I always hate that feeling, so I’d rather go above and beyond and get rejected than go right under the bar and not give it my best foot forward. So, I think we’ve been speaking a lot about the competence to get past an interview, but I love to shift gears and talk about being a culture fit because companies don’t just hire for competence, but they also want to hire for someone who’s going to add culture to what they’re currently doing. I understand Google is a super unique company because they look for something called Googliness. And the definition that they have of Googliness on their website is a mashup of passion and drive that’s hard to define but easy to spot. So, I’d love to hear from you how would you advise candidates who are going to be interviewing for Google roles, how do you answer the talk about your Googliness question or how do you even have this like what even is Googliness?

 

Elizabeth: Yup. So, Googliness comes in forms of questions that are asking about your passions and how you bring people together to achieve a goal. It’s kind of a mix of like teamwork and exactly what you’re saying passion and drive and if your ability to story tell how you have gotten through both good and bad experiences, and you’ve managed to achieve something great. Kind of what I said earlier, you are dating this company. You have to give them love and attention, and they have to do the same thing right back to you. So, that’s something to keep in mind just like how you respond to emails, how polite you are. 

Team player comes in more ways than just tell me about a time you were great at teamwork. It comes in forms of, “I’m so sorry. I’m in back-to-back calls. I’m going to be late for our interview candidate. Can you wait 10 minutes?” And then you say either, “Yeah, I can or you know what? I can’t, but it’s totally fine. I get it. Can we reschedule for tomorrow? Here’s when I’m available,” like having great communication skills like not skipping a beat when things kind of get a little off-kilter from the process.

 

I’m so happy that you brought up these different parts because a lot of the stuff that you mentioned is outside of the interview room or the virtual interview room. The process of getting assessed by a company or by a recruiting team or hiring manager is not just the 30 minutes to an hour that you have with a company representative, but it’s the email communication you have with the recruiter. If you go in there, you talk to a different person at the company, maybe there’s security at the front desk, maybe it’s someone at the front desk grabbing you a coffee or water, showing where the bathroom is. Oftentimes, the team is going to ask those people how is that person? Any red flags? So, it’s not just the interview process. And I think a lot of people like you said will get rejected because they don’t realize that it’s a whole process not just the interview process because if you’re being rude to people like I can only imagine how are you rude to Liz? She’s so energetic, so nice, so passionate. She greets you at the door to kind of decrease your nerves, and you just throw her your jacket, give me a coffee.” I mean, that obviously is not a culture fit. So, I appreciate you sharing those parts. Again, it’s a holistic process not just in the interview room. 

On the topic of rejection, and I’m assuming this person got rejected because they were not a good culture fit. I’d love to talk about your experience at Google, a different role, as a rejection project manager. I was reading the description on LinkedIn, and it said that you led a team of 75 people to reject thousands of online applicants weekly but also designed resources to help rejected candidates. First of all, I love that second part where not only part of being a recruiter you have to reject candidates, but you made resources to help rejected candidates.

On the topic of receiving feedback, I know it can be super frustrating for candidates to often not receive feedback since recruiters do not have a good way to share it. This is why I love using Hirect, a free chat-based hiring app. Candidates can chat directly with founders, recruiters and even hiring managers. You can receive feedback in just 15 seconds. No more painful emails or flat out getting ghosted. For companies, this is the quickest way to hire. And for candidates, this is the quickest way to get hired. And guess what? The Final Round is actually looking to bring on two new interns and the roles are posted right now on the app. With over a hundred thousand active jobseekers and ten thousand verified recruiters on the app, what are you waiting for? I will drop a link to Hirect in the show notes below. Now, back to the show.

First of all, what exactly is this role? Because I’ve never heard of a rejection project manager, a role designed to reject candidates, but also, I’d love to hear like how can our audience combat that rejection and get past that final round?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, great question. Yeah. So, if you applied to Google pre-2019, you weren’t notified when you were rejected. Unfortunately, you just went into a mass set of rejected candidates, you only found out that you were rejected after the initial phone screen with the recruiter who would then call you afterwards or send you an email you and say, “Hey, it’s not the right fit.” But oftentimes, your application will go into a black hole. It happened to me back in 2017. I found the perfect entry level role, I applied, I have my cover letter. I had six people review it, I proved why I was Googly, and then I never heard back, and I cried, and I ate gluten-free cake, and I was really sad. And then a year later, they’re like, “Hey, Liz! We’re Google.” So, first of all rejections happen, but it’s okay. But when I finally landed at Google, I just kept remembering how I was never informed. And then during the training process, we weren’t giving people closure when we rejected them because we literally had millions of candidates. We didn’t have time to send them a personalized email and have them respond, and it just wasn’t a project that had been thought out. And so, I had gone to leadership about it and there were a couple of people that were kind of noodling around with the idea, and they ended up kind of going elsewhere. And so, I was tasked with making it happen like giving candidates closure. So, we got a process in place where I had a team of a few people within a few different key areas of Google who designed resources that were more tech specific, more finance, accounting like operation specific and more kind of project manager specific, and we worked with hiring managers and team members who were in those positions to put together kind of like a cheat sheet of tips and tricks for landing in this type of role. We would then mass reject people who unfortunately just weren’t qualified for various reasons, and they would get that resource. 

A lot of people aren’t advocating for themselves effectively. I could send one email to 500 people a week, or I could write a LinkedIn post about it that will be seen by 30,000 to going viral amounts of people and that’s going to help people more than one email to one person.

 

So, you shared a few reasons why candidates get rejected. Can you share the top either one or the top few? I know you said you reviewed over 20,000 resumes in your time at Google, which to me is literally mind-boggling. I can only imagine you probably memorized word for word all these resumes. Super quickly, what were some of the main reasons why? You mentioned that like not tailoring your resume, was that one of the top ones? Are there other ones that you didn’t mention?

 

Elizabeth: So, for my specific role, it was my job to really work with the hiring manager and the team members on the team to figure out what the heck I was hiring for. Once I understood sort of what types of skills this person needed, what technical languages, what similar technical languages existed like it was really my job to figure out what we were looking for. Once I figured that out, it was my job to try and advocate. Like if someone didn’t have that cookie cutter resume that perfectly matched the job description, it was also my job to advocate. We had metrics that were tied to how good are you at turning a hiring manager from a no into a yes. It’s your job to push people forward. So, like I wasn’t just like, “No, no, no. Reject, reject.” It was, “Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe. No.” And the nos were usually like unfortunately just graduated and experience is interning at a company, but there’s no metrics tied to it. It’s like I don’t really know what your impact was. A lot of times it was like, “Well, you say you did all this stuff but what did you do? And how did you do it? And how well was it done?” So, like people’s inability to like advocate for themselves. A certain amount of rejections unfortunately were a bad internal review like maybe they applied to us another time, and we asked the Googlers who knew them like, “Hey, tell us about Fred,” and they’re like, “Urgh, I worked with Fred, like don’t say yes to Fred.” So, we have some of those people that come through. So, that’s always kind of a scary thing about asking for a referral or trying to work somewhere where your friends work like are you on good terms? Can they advocate for you? Do you know they’re going to say something good about you? Because if not like hiring teams really vet people who are at Google now, and they really trust their opinions and their feedback and their background. Actually, one of the most common reasons we would reject someone, which I really hope these changes, is someone who made a lot of job career pivots. I’m talking like if you have changed your job more than about five times in the past four years, recruiters are like, “No, we don’t want this to happen again.” It’s a very scary thing to think about someone leaving just a few months after you hire them, because you put so much effort and energy into trying to onboard them and retain them like give them everything that you want and sort of like you know create the start of a good relationship that all of a sudden, it’s, “Wow, are they going to leave here in just a few months?” So, I think it’s really important if you have job hopped, it’s much more common than it used to be especially during the great resignation. A lot of people are leaving jobs at record pace trying to find new jobs, maybe the company made some false promises, had some hidden red flags that kind of looked green under certain lighting. But I think there’s a way that you can show yourself off as not a great fit, not a great fit, but I did this, and I did that, and I made sure I had a great transition process off-boarding process. Nobody was left in the dust, but I’m applying to you now for these reasons. I’m very excited about it and here’s why I want to stay with you long term.

 

Did you ever reject based on a Low GPA? I know some companies have GPA targets and I know this question is probably really relevant for you because I saw in college that you graduated with a 3.0. So, for Google and your just your experience overall, how much of a factor does GPA play into it versus just you know concrete experience?

 

Elizabeth: Yeah, it all really depends. So, when Google reached out to me, I only had one year of corporate experience and four years of just so much leadership experience in college. I was at the final stages of the interview process and my recruiter was amazing, loved working with her. And she says, “Okay. Like all I need is your transcript.” I’m like, “Oh, you need my transcript?” I sent it over to her, and she said, “Oh, this is actually a lot lower than what we’re used to seeing like can you explain why your GPA isn’t 3.8? What happened?” And I was like, “Well, here’s what happened, friend. I was working two jobs. I was president of two different things and my mind works really differently on tests than others. I will understand the content, and then you’ll give me this multiple choice, and I’ll think, ‘Well, it could be a bit in this situation what if it’s B? And then I would get C’s and Bs on tests and I didn’t realize until my junior year.” And this is what I would say, this is exactly what I told her, what I’m like repeat telling you, I said, “I didn’t realize until my junior year that I could advocate for myself. So, my junior year, when I had I think a 2.3, I started going into my classes and saying, “Hey, professor, can we talk about my test during your office hours?” And I would bring my test and say, “I put A because of this reason.” And oftentimes, my test grades would go up afterwards because they said, “Wow, I never thought that someone would have thought of how it could have been answer B even though it’s answer A. And yeah, you got the wrong answer, but you know what I’ll give you partial credit.” And my senior year of college, I actually had a 4.0. So, I tell you this story because I had test anxiety. I found a way to combat it. I had a different way of looking at things. And when I talked to them about that, they said, “Oh, wow. She’s creative and unique and interesting, and she is defined by more than a number and that’s what we want here at Google. That’s Googly, the ability to be a leader, to push through things and come out at the end. 

I graduated top HR student in the class not because of my grades, which were amazing in my HR classes because I thought that way but because I was so involved and had so much leadership experience and became so well known in the college by my senior year. So, if you can share things like that, GPA is not important as long as you’ve got all of these great wonderful things on the side that you can reference.

 

So, for everyone out there, don’t be afraid, don’t be scared if your GPA is not a 4.0. Just make sure you can back it up and support it with other things like being a leader, having side jobs like you said. On the topic of side jobs, Liz this is probably one of our last topics before we’ll end today. It’s no secret that you are a very busy person. I know you just recently pivoted roles from Google and you are now the Senior Social Media Program Manager at a company called iCIMS. And on top of that, you make a ton of amazing content from anything talking about your side hustle: Lively Liz Creations to supporting jobseekers on LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever it may be. I’d love to learn more about this side hustle: Lively Liz Creations because I looked at your Etsy store and for everyone out there who hasn’t seen this yet, they’re the cutest, coolest, most fun handmade clay earrings, if I could be exact, that I’ve ever seen. And I’d love to just hear more about this. I know it’s aside from professional experience, but I think this is such a big part of your brand and I think that bringing this to an interview actually shows that you have entrepreneurial skills, you can put your head down and focus on things that you can take on a marketing role, a sales role, a founder role. So, I’d love to learn more like why did you start this business and how has it helped you in your job today?

 

Elizabeth: Thank you for asking and bringing it up, because that is such a fun thing for me. So, Lively Liz Creation started when I entered Corporate America, and I was like holy guacamole this is not what I thought it would be. I thought that I wanted to be the CEO of a big corporate fancy company someday and wear suit and then three weeks into wearing a suit, I was like, “Holy crap, this is so not me. This is pretend Liz, not what I want to do.” I just hated how like for all the folks watching who really like to dress colorfully, you know how freaking hard it is to find cute business-like nice business professional clothes that don’t make you want to fall asleep. There’s just like muted, boring tones and I don’t know. I just felt so like I just hated how my closet looked. And I was just like going through my clothes and just like, ew. Actually, I have this picture right here that I found the other day. When I was 12 years old, when I actually like started making earrings for the first time and selling them to friends, I would make like friendship bracelets so that my little 10, 12, 13-year-old friends could like match each other and the bug bit me then, and then I thought that it was more important to like to make money and not worry about being creative and like being bright and showing yourself off, and I thought I needed to blend in to be successful. I don’t know. I just kind of started making these for fun on the side and I started trying to match them to my outfits and people started saying, “Oh, can I buy a pair?” Part of why I would make them was because I couldn’t wear a lot of earrings from the store because it would make my ears bleed. So, I started buying really high-quality metals and I would like completely make all of them myself and my ears wouldn’t bleed and people started asking to buy my seconds and thirds. So, yeah, it since like moved into this really fun side thing that I do on the weekends. Anyway, it’s a really fun side hobby that I like to work on. Yeah, it’s helped me gain experience when I’ve had loads in my career. That’s why I highly recommend a side hobby and something you’re passionate about because for me when work has been boring, when there have been no chances of promotion, when I’ve done a full day and I just feel so like not in control. It’s like it’s someone else’s thing. I’ve done all that I can. They don’t appreciate my ideas. When I’ve been in those situations, it’s like, “Okay. I can stop and do my own thing now.” And from the thing that I make, to the packaging, to how I treat the customers, it’s like this is me and I don’t have to ask permission. This is my full founder Lively Liz from start to finish. And it’s definitely a great way to just put yourself out there and that’s why social is great.

 

The Final Question

And I guess, the final question today, Liz that we ask all the guests on the show is what is the best piece of advice that you can share with our audience to help them get past the final round interview and land their dream job?

 

Elizabeth: I think what has really helped me is paying attention to when I feel like I haven’t done enough and that’s just something I recommend. Don’t self-reject and if you feel like you haven’t advocated effectively for yourself, I actually just took matters into my own hands and did it. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

 

Outro

Well, Liz, if you have any clay earrings that resemble a microphone and boxing gloves, I think it’s time to drop them because you just dropped the mic in this amazing episode of the Final Round. So, thank you so much again on behalf of our audience, our team, myself. It’s been an absolute pleasure. I know how crazy busy you are so really appreciate it. I know our audience is going to benefit tremendously from your advice.

My favorite topic today was asking Elizabeth about Googliness and how to answer that tough interview question. As we discussed, it is a mashup of passion and drive that’s hard to define but easy to spot. I encourage you to walk away from this episode thinking about your own Googliness and how you can start crafting your unique story to blow interviewers away. Until the next episode of the Final Round Podcast, keep fighting and I will see you in the ring.

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Email: aj@thefinalround.com