Niki Woodall is a Product Leadership Recruiter at Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the world. Niki Woodall has spent 10+ years recruiting for all types of companies, including startups, nonprofits, and tech companies. She is also a mindset and career coach where she helps individuals tap into their limitless potential. So stop scrolling through your Facebook feed because you are going to “like” our next episode…
Here are some questions we will be answering:
– Biggest surprise working at Facebook?
– How to be a top applicant for Facebook roles?
– How to reset your mind for recruitment success?
– How to utilize the law of attraction for recruitment?
– How to sell yourself to recruiters and hiring managers?
– Relationship between the recruiter and hiring manager?
– How dating is similar to recruiting?
– Stories of memorable candidates who landed jobs at Facebook?
Connect with Niki: www.linkedin.com/in/nikiwoodall/
Attend Niki’s Free Mindset & Career Zoom Sessions: www.nikiwoodall.com/
Get 1-on-1 Career Coaching: www.careercoachingcompany.com/
Follow our Host, AJ Eckstein, 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.
“Start with the mindset of work. Do you even feel worthy of the top tech company job because if you don’t feel worthy of it, you’re not going to land that dream job?” – Niki Woodall
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. I have a passion for helping people achieve their career goals through non-traditional career advice.
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.
The Final Round podcast is brought to you by Career Coaching Company. They offer one-on-one live tailored coaching from recent grads who work at leading companies across multiple industries like consulting, investment banking and much more. Now, let’s jump into the ring and get you past the final round.
Our guest today is a product leadership recruiter at Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the world. Niki Woodall has spent 10 plus years recruiting for all types of companies, including startups, nonprofits and tech companies. She is also a mindset and career coach where she helps individuals tap into their limitless potential. So, stop scrolling through your Facebook feed because you’re going to like our next guest. Niki, Welcome to the show.
Niki: Thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here.
It is honestly our pleasure. And our audience has been requesting a recruiter from Facebook and we are so excited to have you on the show. So, let’s just dive right in. I think a great place to start would be with your background. I saw that you have over 10 years of recruitment experience recruiting for companies as small as startups as well as non-profits and then tech companies like Facebook. I read that you manifested your current role at Facebook and I would love to understand the steps you took to make that happen.
Niki: Oh, gosh, I love it. Are we going to get weird? Can we get weird today?
Let’s do it!
Niki: Yeah. So, my whole thing is I believe the job search is very much like a three-part system. So, it’s mindset, strategy and then a little bit of energy manifestation becoming a match for whatever job that is that you’re trying to call in. I didn’t know that that’s what I was doing when I was landing at Facebook but when I look back and reverse engineer it, it’s like, okay. All three of those components are equally important. So, that’s essentially what I’m all about.
So, out of those three parts, what would you say is the most important part and maybe the part that most candidates neglect to focus on the most?
Niki: I love that you are asking this straight away because I was just having a conversation with someone and trying to think about it from a way of like a pie graph, like a chart of what is the most important piece. Theoretically, they’re all equal, I would say. You cannot have a job search without all those things, but what is not equal is the time spent, I think putting energy, intention and focus behind a specific category. If I were in a job search today, I would probably put 50% of my effort at the energy vibration, feeling good.
When I talk about energy, we all are operating on a frequency. We are energetic beings as humans and we’re all putting out vibes. You know what it’s like when you talk to someone and you’re like, “Oh, I love their energy.” That’s the vibe that we want to be putting out in our job search. Nobody wants to hire somebody who’s putting out a vibe of like, ‘Meh’ or just not fun vibes. And it’s not something you can fake either. This isn’t something that you can just turn it on and turn it off. We want to get to a state of feeling good and when you feel good, you put out good vibrations.
So, I would probably be putting like 50, 60% of my effort on just myself, on my self-care, my healing, my figuring out who I am, doing things I enjoy. That’s what I lumped into that whole energy category. And then I would probably say mindset like just basic mindset work would probably fall into like 50, 30. Thirty for the mindset and then 20% is like that strategy and all that other logistical stuff. It’s less. People are doing the opposite. People are doing like all the strategy and all the training and all the resume workshops and all the things and then they’re doing like this much, a tiny, tiny bit of self-care, self-love, mindset work. So, it’s really just that flip.
Mindset and Self-healing
I think it’s so interesting because even when I was going through the job recruitment process, I didn’t focus at all on mindset. I didn’t focus at all on self-care. I remember and I know a lot of people listening can agree with this, that you apply so many times and you get a lot of rejection emails and it dents your mental health and you don’t focus on that and you just keep grinding it out. A lot of times you don’t look back and see, how could I improve or how could I do something differently? You just keep doing the same thing over and over again and trying to expect different results.
So, I really want to talk about that mindset and self-healing. What do you mean by that? What should people be doing today when they’re going through the job search? What are some daily activities they could be doing to really increase their mental health that will ultimately help them land their dream job?
Niki: So, we know how things like therapy are nowadays not taboo, but in the 60s and 70s, going to therapy was like a weird thing. Like if you did that, you didn’t really tell anybody because it seemed like something was wrong with you. So, times have changed. So, now especially like even in New York, everybody goes to therapy. I think what’s become really cool, especially in lieu of the pandemic, is that a lot of people have taken this time to turn inward and that’s really what I mean by mindset work. It’s setting your mind for success. It’s resetting your mind in many cases, mindset.
So, it’s personal development. It’s diving into, you go to a therapist once a week, but then what are you doing six other days of the week? It’s listening to audible books, it’s like watching positive, motivational, inspiring things on the internet, it’s intentional consumption. I think that’s the biggest thing, intentionally consuming things that are going to either uplift you and make you feel better or really help you uncover where your mindset blocks could be, your limiting beliefs, issues around worthiness, confidence, all of these things come into play when you’re sitting in that seat at an interview. If you are not confident that the interviewer knows.
So, when you work on all of those things and really prioritize a regimen of, “Let me just pick up this self-help book to start.” There’s so many, there’s so many things out there, so it’s just like really finding what works for you, but just prioritizing that is just, ‘Hey, I want to improve myself on this journey of getting a job instead of just getting a job.
So, let’s say that we have a candidate who is pursuing either an internship or full-time job at Facebook and you were mentioning listening to podcasts, maybe like the Final Round. What would be some actionable steps that you would recommend that candidate to take to increase their chances before even talking about landing the offer, just getting the interview?
Niki: Okay. So, just getting the interview, there are those tactical things. You want to make sure your resume is amazing. You want to make sure you are networking, getting the referral in for the company, like all those kinds of strategic things that work to get you the interview. But then from that energy perspective and from that mindset perspective, I like to consider a balance.
I love what you said about the podcast, a podcast that is intentional, that’s like this is a podcast geared toward my job search. So, I’m going to prioritize listening to that. I’m going to listen to the Final Round when that comes out and have it on my calendar. I’m going to put that on my calendar so that there’s no excuse. I do free mindset coaching every Monday night on Zoom. Monday night at 7:00 Eastern Time, that’s blocked off. And if I can’t make it, I can’t make it. But like it’s just there so that I know I’m prioritizing that. I have one book that’s maybe helping me heal something from – we’ve all experienced some trauma is the other thing. We’ve all experienced some kind of traumatic stuff.
Even if you don’t think you have, we all have. And it’s not to say we want to go digging and searching for it necessarily, but we all have something that we could be like releasing and letting go of. You know? So whatever self-help book in the industry calls you, just go toward it. So, go toward whatever audible book is going to teach you something or help you heal some area of your life, kind of those categories. Your job-related informational stuff to help you learn and then the mindset stuff like whatever calls you, but really just prioritizing it. Like it’s not complicated, it’s just what are you making a priority? I just posted on Instagram and this blew my mind, 10 minutes a day wasted or just distracted or just scrolling mindlessly or whatever adds up to 2.5 full days of your life in a year. That’s insane.
Honestly. I think those stats are rather small. I’m sure it’s longer than that.
Niki: Small, because 20 minutes a day then now you’re talking five days of your life. What could you have learned or done or experienced or just how could you – the other side is fitness, what kind of workouts could you have done in those 10 or 20 minutes that would compound over time? So, that’s another component too. It’s finding what works for you. If you like dancing, find an online dance class that you really get down with. Everything is available now. After the pandemic craziness, we can find anything we need virtually. So, really just prioritizing. And I think it’s just those kinds of three categories, mindset for the work stuff, mindset for the personal stuff and then fitness, I’d say.
Working at Facebook
I think one of the biggest takeaways from what you just said is that you have to put those things in your calendar and your schedule and your regimen. And I always say that recruiting, when you are actually in the recruitment process and you’re eligible for internships and full-time jobs, you should treat it like a 4 or 8-unit class because with the class, you have homework every week, you have assignments, you have exams and you know every week you have to focus on a certain amount of hours. I think a lot of people, the mistake that they make is that they just cram the recruitment process into two weeks of just trying to grind through it and you know that everything’s going to go wrong between having inorganic networking conversations and just cramming keywords into your resume, right?
And going in with just this is almost going to be a painful process, but I’ll get through it versus trying to actually enjoy the process and get to know people like Niki from Facebook who actually loves talking about mindset, you can actually build some great rapport with that process. So, I do think like you said that building out the preparation side, not just the physical strategy, but actually the mindset part is so important. Obviously for everyone listening and I think like you said, Niki mindset will come different for everyone, right? If you love to play sports and you love working out, that shouldn’t be taken away when you’re recruiting, that should be actually increased when you’re recruiting. Right? Or if you love to read, but now you don’t have time to read because you’re busy applying for jobs and networking, still take a few minutes out of your day because that will increase your mental health and then also, you know, increase your chances.
So, I think all those things that you mentioned are such great points for everyone out there and I might incorporate some as well because I know a lot of times, I might make excuses saying, “I don’t have time to read,” even though I love to read. Diving into your role at Facebook. So, obviously Facebook is the world’s largest social network with, I believe, over a billion users worldwide. Can you just share with us what has been the biggest surprise working at Facebook as well as what is one of your favorite aspects of the company?
Niki: They may even be the same thing. This may be breaking news. This just in, this was in. Facebook and all the fan companies are awesome, but they’re just as awesome as every other company out there. They’re not special. Yes, I said it, they’re not special. The branding and the scale has made it seem like something that is like landing on the moon, but it is my biggest surprise coming in because I also did feel like, ‘Wow, this is really exciting and it’s going to be so different here than everywhere else.’ Nope, it’s all the same. It’s all the same stuff.
Big companies obviously operate differently than startups or small companies and stuff, but there’s so much about what takes place at Facebook that is so comical to me because people are looking at it, like it’s going to be like Disneyland once you get in and it’s not. Take it off the pedestal. Take these top tech companies off the pedestal. They are no better, more amazing, more growth wise for your career. Yes, the branding is good, but you can still create an amazing career without these big brands. So, that’s my biggest surprise but then it’s also what I like the most about it because part of my mission is really helping younger people realize that like you’re idolizing these top companies is going back to the energy piece and the law of attraction and stuff. You’re actually creating so much distance from you and that thing if you picked your Facebook, Google, Amazon all these at the top, like miles and miles away from you.
You’re telling the universe, God, source, whatever you believe in, I’m a spiritual person so my coaching is very spiritual too, you’re telling the universe, “It’s so far out of my reach because it’s so amazing and I’m not there yet.” And what’s actually more powerful is to say, “Bring it down, bring it down. It’s a great company. It would be cool to work there, but I’m a great employee and I can work anywhere I want.” But that comes from the mindset of working, that comes from cultivating a worthiness and really believing it. You can’t just lie to yourself, you have to deeply believe that too. So that’s been such an interesting thing to witness. I’ve watched candidates. I can see and feel the energy difference from people who are interviewing that feel worthy of Facebook or people who feel like this is just a lucky break that they’re talking to me and that they’re never going to get.
I can feel it without them even saying it. And this is why I say, “Don’t put the cart in front of the horse. Start with the mindset of work.” Do you even feel worthy of the top tech company job? Because if you don’t feel worthy of it, you’re not going to call it in. So, that was like a rant about mindset.
I did not think you were going to say that, but I’m actually so happy you said that because I agree with you. Again, I always try to put myself in the shoes of a job candidate because just a few months, a few years ago I was in the job search and I remember that there were certain companies that whether they were in tech or in consulting or banking, private equity, marketing, whatever it may be, they are the dream companies and you know in the back of your mind that you say, “It’s a long shot.” I might be qualified, it might be confident but it is a long shot for whatever reason, maybe it’s the school I go to or the GPA that I have or the experience that I have.
I’m so glad that you said that because you have to be grounded and you can’t just shoot for something that you believe that you’re never going to get. It’s like going through the dating process and saying, “I’m going to instantly get rejected.” How would that ever work? Right? So, I think that those are such great mindset tips because if you don’t stay grounded, you don’t actually believe that you can. There’s no way in this universe that’s ever going to happen. So, I want to touch on deeper that you said that when you speak to candidates, you said that you know if they believe that they can do it or you know that when they’re speaking to you, they’re like, “Oh my God, Niki, I cannot believe I reached out to you. Please, I’ll take five minutes of your time.” So, can you elaborate on that? What are some of those points that you hear with these candidates as if they have the confidence that they don’t have it?
Niki: Well, I want to just also demystify something about recruiters. So, nobody goes to college and says, “I want to be a recruiter one day.” Think about that. HR person, recruiter, nobody freaking does that. People land in recruiting usually by accident, but the people that become career recruiters are those that realize, “Wow, this is actually amazing. I get to help people find jobs. I get to use project management skills and be creative.” It’s also like sales. We’re kind of selling and pitching these jobs to the people. We’re trying to attract people that don’t even want to work at Facebook, but that’s another point. Facebook and Google, we want to hire the people that are passive, not the people that are obsessed with us. It’s just like dating.
You don’t want the guy or a girl that’s obsessed with you. You want the one who’s a little hard to get. I use so many dating analogies for this because it’s just so relevant. You’re trained to like to look at somebody’s resume/interview and feel so much and know so many data points without even having that long hour conversation. So, then it gets into how to be more confident? How to be charismatic? My biggest tip. My biggest tip for interviewing is there’s two sides of confidence. One is like I’m not a confident person. Sorry, if you hear my cat who is currently trying to climb up my closet. He might fall down. There are two kinds of confidence issues. There’s, “I’m not a confident person, therefore that’s just going to show overall through the whole job search process.” You have to get to the root of owning your greatness, period in order to sell yourself. But then there’s like, “I’m confident in what I bring to the table, but I just kind of suck at interviewing.”
There’s a lack of confidence in interviewing, and sometimes I see that there’s some overlap or I kind of put people into categories like which one is it right now? So, how can I help? Because I coach as I recruit. When I’m recruiting candidates for Facebook, I’m kind of helping them through the process too. So, I’m like, “Okay. What do I need to lean into to help you?” And with the interviewing, that’s more fixable, right? Because you already believe in yourself. So, when you believe in yourself then it’s like what’s the problem here? The problem is just that we don’t interview very often. So, when you don’t interview often or ever, maybe you’ve only ever interviewed for an internship or an ice cream shop job, if you have not interviewed a lot, you’re not going to be good at it because it’s a totally different skill set. So, the solution, this is something else that I say in that pie chart, the strategy like when we talk about that 20% is the strategy 19% out of that 20 is just mock interviews, mock interviews. People are not doing enough mock interviewing.
That’s why if Facebook even called you or Google called you, you wouldn’t even be ready at all because you couldn’t even get hired at like a startup because your interview skills are not even sharp yet. Now, you can get them sharp because I see people do it all the time. I see that the average learning curve for my clients and people that I work with is like mid-twenties. They are going all in on the job search. It’s like night and day differently and then they land at Facebook and Google. I see it all the time. Two Facebooks, one Google come to mind right now because they’ve committed to the mock interviewing and then what happens when you’re doing all those mocks, you’re getting more and more confident each time, you’re testing your stories, you’re testing your body language, you’re testing all these things and you’re getting their feedback and it’s just like the number one thing people should be doing until your point from earlier around slowing down.
That’s what people need to look at. If you want a really good job, slow down. The energy of rushing comes from the energy of anxiety, which really is rooted in fear, I believe. I believe there’s a lot of fear. There’s a scarcity that comes in that says like, “What if I never get hired? Rush, rush, rush, rush, rush. I’ve got to get this. I gotta get a job. I’ve got to get a paycheck. I can’t be unemployed.”
Recruitment Process Prep
It’s really funny you brought that up because in our last episode, we interviewed a recruiter from a top venture capital firm and her whole background was about running. She has run nine marathons. And we made the analogy, like you said, how recruiting is like dating, but we said in our previous episode is recruiting is very similar to a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time. Right? You don’t just lace up your shoes on the first day of the marathon and just run it and actually complete it. That’s basically impossible, right? There are so many steps with preparation phases you need to take to get up to that point where you’re not only mentally prepared, but also physically prepared. With those aspects, what would you say are the key things to prepare for this marathon rather than just sprinting to the finish line and trying to cram everything in just a few weeks or a few days?
Niki: I think the first thing is that mindset, really reframing and understanding that there is no mistake. You cannot make a mistake at this point of your career, you truly can’t. When I do talk to younger people, I think that that’s kind of consistent. Again, its fear. Everything in life operates on two frequencies, two emotions. There’s love and then there’s fear and that’s it. Every peace, joy, gratitude, all that is love and then there’s fear and fear is that anxiety and that ego, all that other stuff. The biggest thing to realize is that there are no mistakes because, and this is at every age, but especially when you’re just out of school and especially with the pandemic, like everybody knows it’s kind of an interesting time to be getting a job and stuff and they graduate.
You’re going to learn about what you don’t want as much as you’re learning about what you do want. So, I do think if I were to do it again, there’s some things I would change, but like there’s no wrong choice. So, if you’re afraid of not landing the perfect job, just know that your perfect job could be like three jobs away, but you’re getting the skills in this first job that you’re going to take to the next one and to the next one, and to the next one. So, it’s really just that mindset. To prepare you for the marathon, you have to understand that life is a marathon. You’re always learning, you’re always growing and nothing is ever a mistake as long as you are learning and growing through stuff. So, don’t worry so much about getting it right the first time.
The first job isn’t probably going to be Facebook or Google. And even having that expectation, if it works out and you’re shooting for that, amazing! But for me even though I had to have, I call it like the in-between job, the bridge job to get to Facebook because I was recruiting in these different industries nonprofits like student exchange. It was weird. It was amazing. I was traveling all over the world with the state department doing a lot of really cool things in my twenties that I also believe I manifested. I called that in because I felt worthy of a dope job that was going to be really cool and full of travel and stuff. So, I called that in and then it was incredible. But then I was like, “All right. I really want to move to New York and go corporate and see what that’s like.”
But nobody was going to hire me with that weird experience I had with this very unique program because it was a little just out of the box. So, I had to go to a recruiting firm, an agency and that agency helped me learn about a lot of different companies, helped me recruit for startups, helped me recruit for so many different types of brands like hiring like a CTO for this startup or like sales reps for this small company or whatever. So, I did so many different things. I was a top biller straight away because I took all my hustle from all the other jobs into that one and also commissioned based jobs so you make more money the more you grind.
So, I did that and then I was recruiting for educational technology, which was also miraculous because I was so passionate about tech and education. So, that job was the bridge job though. That job is what helped me get into Facebook because they wanted someone with exactly three years of agency experience and all the other stuff I mentioned; the hustle, the diversity of types of roles you filled and all that stuff. So, if I didn’t have that job, I wouldn’t be getting into Facebook, but I didn’t know at the time that this was going to lead me to one of the biggest tech companies in the world. So, you just don’t know, you never know how great it can look if you’re patient. Being patient, I think. Slowing down and patience is how you prepare for life, that’s how you prepare for the marathon.
Attributes of Top Performers
I want to take a quick pause and tell you about Career Coaching Company. Are you still searching for your dream internship or job but are having trouble landing an offer? Career Coaching Company offers one-on-one, live, tailored coaching from recent grads who now work at top companies like the ones you’re applying to. Be sure to check out their website at careercoachingcompany.com to see how their team of coaches can help you land your dream job. Now, let’s jump back into the ring. So, let’s say that, you know, whether this next job is going to be Facebook or whether you have to work a few jobs before you can ultimately reach your end goal of Facebook. Obviously, with your 10 plus years of recruiting experience, you probably reviewed thousands of resumes, applications, had hours upon hours of interviews, phone calls with candidates.
So, what do you say are some key factors of a top performer in terms of either experience or skills or certain resume points or even just how they portray themselves in a phone call?
Niki: Yeah, I have so much to say about this because my whole thing is helping younger people or anyone channel their inner top performer. I think that we all have it in us. So, the first thing is just to decide that you are becoming that top performer, that you are that or you are becoming that. If you don’t feel that you already are, then just tell yourself, “I am becoming. I am becoming a top performer.” The mindset shifts first. It’s like driving.
You have to put the navigation in the car before you start hitting the road to go somewhere. You have to set yourself up to say, “What am I doing and be intentional.” That’s first. Then you ask yourself this question, it’s like, what would Jesus do, what would a top performer do? WWTPD. Every single step of your job search process, ask yourself, ‘What would a top performer do?’ A top performer might pay for a coach at 21 years young and just be ready to freaking go all in and pay for a coach that’s going to help them and mitigate a lot of mistakes and all the learning curve and stuff. A top performer might have and probably will have like many people look at their resume for feedback.
They’re not going to just spit out the resume updates and like in two seconds they’re going to take so much time on their resume that they know and feel so confident from a shadow of a doubt that that is the most bombed resume that that recruiter is going to see. And then when that recruiter sees it, 99% they’re like I know that they’re going to call me. They are basically focusing on what they can control. When you focus on what you can control instead of all the variables out there that are out of your control, that’s what top performer energy is, TPE, Top Performer Energy. The top performer is like, “What can I control?” My resume, to know that that’s not disqualifying me. My interview skills, to know that that’s not disqualifying me. A top performer has already done so much of that work on what’s in their court that they don’t have to worry after that. That’s the whole point. You want to take away that fear. You want to just shoo it away because you’re like I’ve done everything I can control.
So, let’s say that we have a candidate who is who has the TYPE or top performer energy, would you say there’s a fine line though between being confident to get the role at Facebook but also being overconfident or just saying that, ‘Facebook is my dream job since I came out of the womb. The first word, I said was Facebook and I’ve been swiping for 20 years now.” How do you walk that fine line appropriately? So that like you said, you want the candidate more than they want the role so it creates that attraction.
Niki: Amazing question because that actually really is the difference between a top performer versus those that are faking the funk. It is a balance. Again, going back to dating. You’ve been on a date and you know that this is a confident person, this is somebody that could get any guy/girl out there, but they’re showing that they want you very gently and not aggressively but just like very humbly. They’re humble, and they’re showing you that I really am grateful to be spending this time with you. But yeah, don’t get it twisted, I could be with anybody. That’s the same energy.
So, would you agree with the statement that companies want candidates that are wanted by other companies? Given that you’re a Facebook recruiter, do you want a candidate that’s wanted by the Google recruiter and the Apple recruiter and the Tesla recruiter?
Niki: A million percent.
This is so interesting, right? Can you give me some ways I can make it, whether I make it seem or make it obvious that every company wants me? Is that something that I articulate to you? Do I have to wait for you to ask the question of what other companies are you interviewing with?
Niki: Yeah. Well, first of all, you have to embody it and really be it. We can’t fake it. You can’t fake it because we see it and I have candidates telling me that they have other options and other things and you know when it’s real. Again, just like dating, you know when it’s real, when that person is so amazing that they literally could get any person that they want out there versus when they’re just saying, “I could get anyone I want,” like really, dude? So, you know when it’s real. So, I think there’s a whole thing on identity shifting that I do with my clients and I’m actually launching a course this week on this. So, have you ever heard of the saying “be, do, have?”
Be, do, have, and if you go on YouTube, there’s so much on this out there, but it’s kind of around the law of attraction and the energy, but it’s also mindset. A lot of people have it backwards. They think they have to do something to have it and then they become it. I have to grind, grind, grind, do all this work, starting a business to then have a successful business and then I’ve become a successful entrepreneur. Be, do, have. You have to be that person. You have to be and be willing to invest in yourself and take the time to say, “Who am I? What do I really want? Do other companies want me? Do all these companies want me?” If the answer is no, what do I have to do? What stories are holding me back? From when I was not picked for the cheerleading squad at age 14 or something like that and something in my brain clicked and said, “You’re not worthy of being with those cool girls.” There’s a lot of stories.
This is why I love talking to/working with younger people because it’s better to do this work now at 20, but there are little tweaks and tricks. If you are talking to a recruiter, there’s no shame in saying, “I’m in the mid to final stages with some other companies.” That’s a little nugget that makes my ears perk up, because then I’m like, “Okay, you’re talking to other people.” And I love when you’re talking to other companies, because it means you’re getting interview practice everywhere else. I’m like, “Get that interview practice over there, so that you can come here and be ready.” If you’ve been average up until this point, it’s a decision, it’s literally deciding. I’m not going to do that anymore. This is how you take control of your life. This is how you take back your power.
You’re going to stop complaining too. You’re going to stop complaining about how awful the process is. You’re going to get excited about it, because you’re like, “Holy shit, I’m mastering this process. I’m learning how to become a master at the job search process.” And when you learn this stuff now, you’re going to take this in for the rest of your career.
One of the main takeaways that I heard from you is that you have to own your story but more importantly you have to think about who you’re competing with? What are they doing? And then do something just a little bit differently. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. That little extra should be that secret sauce. And I can’t just tell everyone what that secret sauce is because you know, Niki’s secret sauce is different from the next person’s secret sauce and you need to own your story. I think that as good as that sounds a lot of candidates, whether they’re shy or they’re humble, they’re afraid to share their story and sell themselves. And I saw that you had a LinkedIn post talking about how the number one thing that colleges don’t prepare students for is that selling piece, right? Because recruiting is a lot like sales. Can you elaborate on that?
Niki: Yeah. You’re selling yourself in an interview. They don’t tell you that. They don’t teach you that you have to get good at sales. Going back to your original thing about applying to all the jobs and looking at it as a numbers game. That’s a sales strategy, sales 101 is that it is kind of a numbers game. So that’s just one component. The other side of sales is if two people are walking up to you to sell you coconut water on the street and one person has this amazing energy and they really believe in their coconut with the pineapple in it and stuff and they’re like handing it to you and you’re feeling really good about them and you want to support them. The other person just said, “Hey, you want this coconut water?”
One is like really mastering some sales skills like having good energy and really presenting it well and the other one is handing you a bottle of like this Vita Coco that’s like, “You want that?” I’m like, “Not one from this guy.” So, it’s selling. Do I want this candidate or do I want that one? You’re literally selling yourself against all these other people. But at the same point, sales is all energy and this is why tuning in – we haven’t talked about meditation but like meditation is another really huge thing that I think if younger people started doing it, it can change your life because when you meditate all the voice and all the chatter and all the criticism of you like not wanting to sell your story and own your story and all that stuff, you realize you are not your story.
You are not your story. Yes, you have to kind of create and craft it to tell people who you are but all the negative stories floating around your head are not you. They’re just stories you’ve repeated so much that now you believe them to be true. So, when you meditate you quiet that voice. We all have an inner critic. It’s an inner critic that’s very, very loud for some people and it’s kind of softer for others based on the inner criticism you got it from. If your parents were criticizing you, if your brother was criticizing you, like this critic is loud for many people. Meditation quotes that critic because you can now identify that as like, “Oh, hey, hey lady, not today, thank you.” So, when you are not meditating, you become more conscious. They call it the conscious observer. You’re like, “Oh, I’m just rattling stressed out thoughts again and that’s not me.” So, meditation helps you realize that all those stories are not you and it helps you sell yourself more.
That’s why if you have ever cut your teeth in a crappy sales job after college, that’s also an amazing experience. Like I’ve sold makeup, I’ve done all kinds of different stuff. These are skills that you can take with you everywhere, but the best salespeople, it doesn’t even feel like sales. It just feels like you’re being organic and genuine and authentic, which really is what selling you is. There’s a saying I like, “When you love what you sell, you just sell love.” So, if you love yourself, you’re just selling love and that sounds more like wowowee and whatever, but like it’s true. When you get to the point of loving yourself and honoring yourself and believing in yourself, you are excited to show up to an interview and reframe it as like I’m selling me and I love me and they should be excited to have me here and I’m excited to learn more about them. Looking at an interview too, is it not just like me on the chopping block, like are they going to like me? It’s like, am I going to like them? Like that’s a top performer. A top performer has nailed every part of the process. They have now studied mastering interviewing; they’ve done 50 mock interviews over 25 weeks, two per week, simple.
They’ve mastered all these little things that now when they have three interviews lined up, they know they’re going to get the offer from all these companies and it’s going to be them choosing. Choosing which one is for you, which ultimately is choosing yourself like you’re choosing for your future, you’re choosing for your happiness, you’re choosing for your peace of mind and your paycheck and everything else. So, when you love what you sell, you just sell love. You have to love yourself to sell yourself well.
I don’t even know how to follow up with that question because there are so many points there that I completely agree with and you do have to sell yourself. And what would you say to a candidate who wasn’t able to get that actual sales experience, whether it was like you said maybe selling makeup or selling ice cream out of store, whatever it may be, but what would be some just quick actionable items you can take to get to that end goal of loving yourself and selling your story?
Niki: The quickest way honestly is meditation even if it’s 10 minutes a day of making that a regular practice but there really is no “quick” way to do it because everyone is different. I’ve been on the self-help journey now for probably a good 12 years when I was called to it because I knew that there were things in me that I needed to improve. Everybody wants to have a great relationship but do you want to be a great partner? Do you want to be the great partner that is going to manifest the amazing guy or girl? Everybody wants the great job but like what about you becoming the most amazing employee and the most amazing catch for that company first? Becoming so good that they can’t ignore you anyway.
Before we jump to the final question, can you give one quick story or example where you saw a candidate come into the Facebook recruitment process and just blew you away with whether it was with their story or just their approach and how it was so different?
Niki: It was a guy who was maybe mid-20s. He had had one or two jobs out of college. He had the most amazing energy, which was that again, top performer energy, confident, but very humble and sweet as well. I could just tell right away that he had it. We’re kind of assessing, “Do you have it to make it through our crazy interviews?” Like the interview process, and I could just tell he had the chops that he had been putting in the work and his resume was good, but it wasn’t really like it was relevant, but it was still going to take some of my selling to the team and people don’t realize that that we are selling. Recruiters are selling to our hiring managers because if you’re coming from a no name company or like something that’s just a little bit different, sometimes we have to sell you and explain why we want them to talk to you. They don’t want us to send them like 700 people.
They want to spend like 5 or 10 of the best that we’ve talked to. Right? This guy was coming from Canada in a totally different industry, still relevant work, but not really super impressive, but I knew he was going to do well. So, I sold him to the team, he got through and I coached the hell out of him, the whole process. The only missing piece that I knew he was going to have to work on was a little bit of confidence to feel like he belonged in that process at this point, even though he had it but like a little bit more, he needed a little more of that. The reason why he really impressed me was when I found out that to get to that point at Facebook, he had been in the job search for about 6 or 7 months. He had over 200 networking chats, coffee, Zoom, networking things. This is even pre-pandemic. This is before the pandemic; he was doing this. Now, this is so normal but he was doing this from Canada like setting up all these appointments. He knew he wanted to move to New York and land a good job. So, he was doing so many virtual coffee things then over 200, and he tracked everything, like every single conversation he had so that he could really be diligent and thorough and organized.
I’m not an organized person, personally in my normal life, but you better believe in my job search, I’d be a very freaking organizer. You have to track, you want to build relationships, you want to follow up, you want to ping people, you want to write down what you guys talked about. So, he did that. He had over 40 interviews and no offers to that point including bombing at Google before he got Facebook and then did well and got hired at Facebook. So, he stood out to me and he always stands out to me because he was willing to do what I was coaching and working with people his age that were struggling to even set up one networking conversation. I’m sure your audience is more with it than that like you get it, that you have to be proactive
Recruiters vs. Hiring Managers
Well, what a great story and I agree with you that a lot of people will either make excuses or will say that it’s too hard to schedule networking calls because they’re too busy with school, with their current job. But like you said, if there is another candidate who’s scheduling 40 networking calls, you’re at a disadvantage, right? So, it’s so important to go above and beyond the next person. You mentioned that as a recruiter, you sell candidates to the hiring manager. I think that the relationship between a recruiter and the hiring manager is something that even myself, I feel like I’m in the dark because a lot of times people either think that recruiters and hiring managers are the same person or they do the same thing. But obviously they’re not the same person, they have different roles. Can you just quickly elaborate on what a recruiter does to bring talent in and like you said you’re supposed to sell candidates to the hiring manager?
Niki: Yeah. So, this is a great question because a lot of people don’t get it. Facebook invests heavily in recruiting. We have an in-house recruiting team hiring thousands and thousands of people every year. There’s a lot, hundreds and hundreds of us recruiters across every city and pretty much the whole world. So, we are then assigned to a certain business group, so part of the business. So, I used to recruit for a global marketing solutions group which was business operations people, strategy people, a lot of consultants and stuff that moved into tech. That was kind of a lot of the rules I filled.
Then I moved it more into the tech side. So, now, I’m doing senior leadership roles for data engineering within a product. So, basically, there’s so many orgs and so many teams and then there’s a million of us recruiters that are assigned to these things and whatever group you’re working with those are your hiring managers, the people that are hiring for that role. A manager that’s like, “Okay. I have one opening on my team,” that’s my hiring manager. At a big company, it feels like different companies. It feels like the energy of the sales people and the business and strategy people is going to be very different from the people building the products.
Your goal in recruiting is to build these great relationships with these hiring managers though so that you can do what I said about selling them. It’s a partnership, basically. You’re partnering with them to say, “Okay. Here’s our business needs. Here’s what I’m looking for. Here’s why. Here’s the job description,” and then we go out and find it. Yes, there’s the inbound applicants coming in but a lot of the recruiter’s role for the company is like this. You’re trying to find people on LinkedIn that are maybe not even actively looking. So, that’s headhunting, they used to say back in the day. Back in the day, we used to have to call people at their desk, which I didn’t ever have to do. It sounds terrible. Now it’s like all just LinkedIn messaging and stuff.
There are candidates that I’ll push back on if they deny them and I’m like, “Why?” We sometimes have that authority to, especially for smaller companies and stuff like when I recruited for startups and I thought I was really cool with the CEO. I’m like, “Why do you want to pass on him?” And they’re like, “Oh, he doesn’t have this experience.” But I’m like, “Please have the next call.” So, your recruiters are your friends and that’s the number one tip is, you don’t want to be desperate sounding like, “Be my friend and I want to build relationships,” but you do want to build rapport. It’s very easy to do that. You honestly just have to stand out a little bit because most people are not super nice to us. Most people are pleasant, but they’re not super nice. So, just check in. If somebody messaged me on LinkedIn which is like, “Hey, Niki, I thought of you today. How are you?” Like a candidate, I’d be like, “Oh, my God! Hi! Thank you for thinking of me.”
You’re about to get thousands of people saying, “Niki, how are you? Happy Monday.”
Niki: Hey, I’ll take it man, I’ll take it because recruiting can feel like such a thankless job. We’re denying so many more people than we’re able to give the offer to. Yeah, the ones that get the offers, I’ve gotten flowers and gifts and stuff and thank you. And a lot of people will say thank you to the recruiter like, “Thank you for your help throughout this process and I appreciate your coaching and this and that,” but even just keeping in touch is like a ping. Don’t have expectations.
Don’t expect to hear back because they’re busy as hell and they’re probably not going to like it – necessarily, I don’t even see every LinkedIn message. It’s a miracle I saw this invitation. Keep that in mind, don’t ever feel bad about a recruiter or someone’s not responding to you on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not everybody’s first go to place or it’s just so flooded for recruiters because we do live there. So, don’t be afraid to follow up. You’re not bugging anyone as long as you’re respectful and nice and it’s a way to stand out because not a lot of people do it.
The Final Question
Well, I think this interview came to fruition whether it was me manifesting and interviewing with an amazing recruiter from Facebook like yourself and maybe our audience members manifesting as well. Again, I want to be mindful of your time, Niki and this has been so, so, so, so helpful. Again, a masterclass into mindset into how to appropriately apply and address the entire recruitment process.
And the last question, the final question of every guest we have on the show is what is the best piece of advice that you can give to our audience to help them get past the final round interview and ultimately land the job offer?
Niki: It always goes back to the mindset. I’ve already talked about like for sure mastering the interview piece because if you look at like a pyramid, picture of pyramid and at the bottom is, “I’m in a job search. I’m going to start thinking about what I want to do.” And then one step above that is the, “I’m going to dust off my resume. I’m going to start applying. I’m going to start doing all these things.” At the top it’s an interview. In the very, very top is the offer.
So, if you don’t get past the interview part, it’s like going back to ground zero. Everyone is focused on the wrong stuff. Focus on mock interviews, guys. That’s like the number one thing. The only way to get to an offer is to nail your on-site interviews. Be so good that even if that role doesn’t work out a week later, they’re calling you to say, “Oh, I remember they nailed that and maybe they’ll be good for this other product specialist job or something.” That’s the other thing that we do often. If you make that good impression, your recruiter wants to fill their jobs, they don’t want a million open jobs. We want you to do well. So, the number one thing you can do is control that. So, that’s the best tip overall is just to focus on what you can control and people that are not in the weeds of this like recruiters are every day, you don’t see that like I have so many amazing candidates get to onsite and bombed the onsite and it’s so disheartening because it takes a lot of work.
We don’t want to reject you. We want you to do well, but the ball is in your court at that time and interviewing is just not something we do often. So, think about how we tell stories and I’ve done it in this interview too. But like calling your sister like, “Hey, I called to tell you one little thing,” and then 10 minutes later, my story went like five million different ways of like, “Yeah, and I was at Whole Foods.” We’re not really taught how to tell stories clearly and concisely. So, this is why you have to practice. You want to get to the place where you’re having fun with this process and you only do that after you put the work in. I just want to close with this real quick.
You guys are doing all the right things. I think the biggest misconception on the other side as a candidate is that you feel like you’re doing something wrong. You’re not doing anything wrong except you’re not focusing on your work mindset and you’re talking negatively to yourself half the day and you’re not really strategically like putting the time in the right buckets, but you’re doing the things, you just need to reorganize how you structure it. Like more mock interviews, more mindset work and everything else. Stop stressing because you’re already perfect, you’re already whole, you’re already doing all the amazing things. It’s just a little bit of tweaking that most people need.
And that is a wrap. Niki, what fantastic advice. I have learned so much today.
My favorite part about this episode was when Niki recommended to treat every company the same, even Facebook. She said that you were less likely to get a job if you put a company on a pedestal. Remember, that you are worthy and you are good enough. If you want to hear more of Niki’s sage advice, feel free to join her free Zoom sessions every Monday night about mindset and careers. I even added a link in the podcast show notes to learn more. I encourage everyone to tell a Facebook friend about the show and maybe even leave a rating and review on an Apple podcast. Until the next episode of the Final Round podcast, keep fighting and I will see you in the ring.