Starbucks CIO on his hiring strategy, open positions, and even resume advice

Starbucks-OliveWayIn a wide ranging interview with John Mann on Network World, Starbucks Coffee’s new Chief Information Officer (CIO) Stephen Gillett explains that the recession hasn’t stopped hiring, but it has forced the firm to prioritize hires:

Mann: How has the economic situation affected your talent acquisition strategy?

Gillett: The pressure of the economic situation has done two things: One, it has reordered sequence. Before I had two or three key positions open in parallel. Now I have them sequenced in order of most to least business impact.

Second, it has allowed me to tune the job descriptions, talent pool and experience we are looking for. It is much better now to look for someone who has been through an economic downturn. For example, someone who worked at IBM in 1992 when Lou Gerstner came back is a good person to have right now. I do not want to see someone who has never had faced economic adversity in their career. I want someone who is going to be a pillar of strength at a time of uncertainty.

Mann: What types of positions are you currently looking to fill?

Gillett: Right now we are recruiting for various disciplines. The one that is first and foremost on my calendar is in the business intelligence category–to help Starbucks better utilize customer analytics. In times of economic distress, understanding our customers is a way to unlock future value.

The topics include Gilette’s hiring mistakes, the worst interviews he’s been in, and how job candidates can make a good impression through their resume, cover letter, and thank you letter. One piece of his advice: try to distinguish yourself. Having an unusual, fun, and impressive hobby doesn’t hurt.

The Network World interview is a must-read for job seekers in IT fields wanting to work at Starbucks, but as a glimpse into the coffee giant’s hiring culture it should also appeal to anyone interested in working there. Read the whole interview.

Yikes! Killer resume “Track Changes” mistake to avoid

microsoft_word_boxWant to get hired at Microsoft? Well, Ryan at the Microsoft Jobs Blog says it’s probably a good idea to customize your resume to fit your desired position. But in “Modifying Your Resume Isn’t Always the Answer,” Ryan offers a common sense warning:

Though tailoring your resume can be beneficial if you’re interested in a specific position, there is the rare occasion it can back fire. I heard of a candidate who had tailored his resume but forgot to turn off the “track changes” feature on the Word document. The recruiter missed it and when the hiring manager reviewed the resume, he felt that the candidate specifically exaggerated his skill set to fit the position. Also, if you are tweaking your resume to match a position, don’t copy and paste the job requirements into your resume. (I’ve seen it done!) This can also be a red flag for a manager, as they may think you’re only telling them what they want to hear. Write about your skills in your own words.

Misusing the “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word can lead to a hugely embarrassing situation like those Ryan described. To avoid one of these, submit a PDF file instead of a Word document (that way, you can exactly control the look and feel of the resume and you won’t expose the “guts” of the document).

If you must submit a Word document (and that’s still the most popular format), then you should hide or clean up the document’s “guts” before passing it along. Always “Accept All Changes” in the document before the last file save, and then turn the Track Changes feature off.

And while you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to review the names of the Styles and Formatting styles to make sure there’s nothing potentially embarrassing there, and also check the Document Properties. Nobody’s name but your own should ever be listed as the Document Author, even if you’ve used a professional resume writing or editing service.