Friday, December 3, 2010

I have been asked many times by clients and candidates what is the number one reason that will cause a person to make a job change. A few years ago I night have said geography, travel or possibly a long commute. What it all boils down to is quality of life. Today's economic climate have caused a great deal of stress on everyone and when I ask a person what would drive them to a new opportunity I am constantly hearing: I need to get a better work/life balance.
Lesson learned. Money is not the driving factor.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Accepting Responsibility

An excerpt from The Power of Disciplineby Brian Tracy
Your ability and willingness to discipline yourself to accept personal responsibility for your life is essential to happiness, health, success, achievement and personal leadership. Accepting responsibility is one of the hardest of all disciplines, but without it, success is impossible.
The failure to accept responsibility and the attempt to foist responsibility onto others has dire consequences. It completely distorts cause and effect, undermines our character, weakens our resolve, and diminishes our humanity.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This guest post is by Alan and Harriet Lewis, owners of Grand Circle Corp.,

Risk-taking has fallen out of favor in the last two years, the victim of the economic downturn and global unrest. Indeed, the current business mood has become cautious to a fault. Sit tight. … Keep your head down. … Above all, minimize risk. This is what passes for sage advice in today’s business press. Here are a few guidelines for risk taking.

Risk-taking requires support.
Risk-taking doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it can be hard for employees to embrace it. Managers can help by specifying what risk-taking looks like in their workplace. Employees should be expected to speak up, ask tough questions of leadership, move forward with decisions without always knowing the outcome, and accept new assignments gladly. At the same time, managers must identify and reward such behaviors. They must teach them. For us, this happens in the office, on team off-sites, and at our annual companywide training, which incorporates risk-taking exercises from Outward Bound and other experiential learning programs. In other companies, risk-taking might look different. For example, employees might be expected to speak in public, lead a cross-departmental team, or go after three new accounts a week. The behaviors may be different, but the support is the same: identify, teach, and reward.

Risk-taking must be embedded in a larger corporate culture. Of course, employees can’t just go off half-cocked, doing any risky thing they please. Risk-taking must be guided by the company’s vision and mission, and bounded by the company’s values. A company’s mission, vision, and values are its greatest assets, but they are worthless if you don’t cultivate them. Leadership must refer to them constantly, and employees must be held accountable to them in performance reviews. When the corporate culture is completely clear, risk-taking will always support the goals of the company.

Risk-taking means you will make mistakes. Every risk-taking organization will make mistakes once in a while. We’ve made lots of them. In the 1990s, we invested $11 million in a computer system that didn’t work for us. Around the same time, we divested financial operations on our overseas offices and got robbed – several times. Mistakes and losses are part of the risk landscape. To succeed as a risk-taking business, you must do two things at a minimum: You must create a safe environment for employees to make mistakes, and, when a risky decision is on the table, you must always be ready with a fast exit plan.
Risk-taking is one of our six core values and has helped build our business in good times and bad. What risk will you take today?

Monday, November 29, 2010

According to Seth Godin ideas come from 20 places

Ideas don't come from watching television
Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture
Ideas often come while reading a book
Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do
Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner's mind. A little awareness is a good thing
Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week
Ideas come from trouble
Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they're generous and selfless
Ideas come from nature
Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we're asleep and too numb to be afraid
Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we're not trying
Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute
Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
Ideas don't need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I get a lot of information from a number of sources that includes books, newspapers, candidates, clients and of course the internet. A lot has been said about the work ethic of the younger generation and I see it and hear it when I talk with younger candidates. It seems that it is all about them. I truly understand the need for work life balance but I also understand that companies deserve an honest days work for an honest days wage. Recently I was talking with a candidate and learned that he worked full time to put himself through college. As we were discussing a new position that I was working on he mentioned that as an employee in his former company he never went home until the job was done. I was impressed with his attitude and relayed this to my client who said you do not find that kind of information on a resume. Employers hire people they do not hire resumes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

There is an old saying the leaders are born and not made. Having spent several years in the Army as an officer I can say that leaders are made and you have to lead from everywhere.

When faced with a complex, fast moving crisis, leaders most constantly adapt their mental models and create a “unity of effort situation. If you are not visible to your people in a crisis, difficult, or dangerous situation; you are not a credible leader.
With the 24 hour news cycle, there will never again be a major disaster that won’t involve public participation.My favorite definition of leadership: “The ability to reconcile opportunity with competency.”

Leaders can be made but you must take the first steps to learn and implement what you have learned.

Friday, November 5, 2010

With the advent of social media like linkedin and facebook it is easier for companies to look at a
candidate's profile on the open market. I have heard numerous stories about candidates who have pictures on facebook and/or postings that might be considered off color. This information is available to everyone. You never know who might be looking at your postings. Not too long ago I saw a number of postings by an individual that I had recently placed and as a friend I alerted him to be more careful about his postings.

Another overlooked faux pas that people miss is their e-mail address. Keep it simple and clean and there can be no mistaking you for a malcontent.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It has been a while since I last posted a comment. It has been a very busy summer and fall. The deaths of my fahter-in-law and a very close friend brought home the message that nothing is for certain. My wife and I each had medical issues to contend with and thankfully all is well on that front.

Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I did not comment on that state of the recruitment industry. Business is rebounding but still not as consistent as in the past. I have weathered 4 recessions and each of them had similar issues. The first thing to happen is that companies that were not well run start to file chapter 11 and or go out of business. This creates a candidate pool of A,B and C players. The next thing to happen is companies use the downturn to downsize and this creates a candidate pool of B and C players. It should be readily apparent that companies rarely release their A players. The A players are usually well connected and get hired quickly. The remaining talent pool of B and C players will ultimately get hired when the economy fully recovers.

What we have now is a series of events where companies are looking to fill positions with A players through job postings on web sites and the A players are not responding.

Now the companies are beginning to realize that the methods of recruitment over the past two years are not working and they are now returning to the professionals to fill positions.

It is turning around but ever so slowly.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Here is my latest newsletter

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Roosevelt differs from many of the Presidents before him in that he came from a wealthy family and struggled with poor health. He overcame his illnesses and eventually won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in the Battle of San Juan Hill. Not many of us have the opportunity to make an impact like Roosevelt however we do have the opportunity to change our lives, our family, our company by the way we think and act. For example, the economists talk about the 9% unemployment rate and while this is not good news they fail to mention that 91% of the people are working.

Chuck Swindoll who is an evangelical pastor further stated that the longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is ore important than facts, the past, than education, than money. Attitude will make or break a company. He further went on to state that the remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. He was convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how we react to it.

Every day I talk to clients and candidates and it amazes me that the successful candidates always seem to have a positive outlook about their personal and professional lives. Successful companies have leadership teams that espouse positive thinking and the leaders are always out in front leading the cheers. As a person who is talking with people on a daily basis I have started to listen carefully to them in order to ascertain a fix on their attitudes. A positive attitude leads to success and it is those candidates and companies that I prefer to represent.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I have been out of the office for the past 10 days and had an opportunity to attend the Kiwanis International Convention in Las Vegas. It is always exciting to attend this convention as I get a chance to see old friends and make new friends from all over the world. It was a great opportunity to put into practice the Platinum Rule. Many of the organization leaders are directors and are only interested in the bottom line while many of our peers are relaters and socializers so it was important to be a good listener. Nonetheless, it was a great convention and a great Kiwanis pick me up.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The "Directing Socializer" is exuberant and well spoken. To this person prestige is important so he or she will constantly seek status symbols. They love being a spokesperson or a presenter of new ideas. They will appeal emotionally to individual. They also dislike routines, slow paces and needless details while they exude a positive entusiastic outlook on life. When working with people this individual should try to be less impulsive.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The socializing socializer or "The Entertainer" likes being friendly and being viewed as the life of the party. This person needs recognition and is an advocate for change who infuses others with enthusiasm and optimism. A quick decision maker whose greatest asset is personal warmth.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The next style I will discuss is the "Thinking Director." These individuals are future oriented people who often become bored with day to day routine details. They want to change the way things are done, perform to their own standards, seek control over people, do not express their inner most thoughts and feelings and strive to accomplish the unusual. Thinking Directors are task oriented and as a result they are so focused on their work that they can appear to be aloof. If this individual would show more genuine warmth and interest in people they could multiply their effectiveness.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra

The next combination I will discuss is the Director/Relator. This individual is an industrious go0getter who focuses on goals and proceeds full speed ahead. He or she places a great deal of emphasis on completing the task from start to finish (usually by him or herself). The director/relator dislikes being told what to do,is reluctant to change, only delegates tasks when necessary and becomes tenacious and focused when under pressure.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

BY now you should be getting an idea of your own personality type. The important thing to know is how you should be working with the other types and know why you like to be dealt with in a certain way. Today we will look at the socializing director.

The socializing director has a desire for control and independence. This person will always be wary of people who may take advantage him or her. This person is tenacious, will stand up for himself or herself and likes to get things done quickly. He or she will downplay mistakes and weaknesses while focusing on strengths and success.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

In looking at the 4 personality types it is easy to see that an individual can be a combination of two types. Let's take a look at the Director/Director. This person's theme song could be "I Did It My Way." Some traits of the director/director are:

1. wanting to have the final say
2. disliking inaction, predictability and lack of change
3. thinking your way is the only way
4. taking on new challenges
5. wanting to pursue your own path
6. taking charge of situations
7. deciding things for yourself whether people agree or disagree

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

Over the last few blog entries I discussed the four personality types as outlined in "The Platinum Rule." I would like to give you an example of the "rule" in practice. I was working with a candidate that had received an offer from my client. As usual I expected an immediate acceptance but instead I received a list of questions. I contacted the client and got the answers which I relayed back to the candidate and expected an acceptance. I got another list of questions and realized that I was dealing with a thinker and immediately my patience level increased. After two more rounds of questions and answers the candidate accepted.

Knowing that thinkers are analytical it was important for me to insure that all of his questions were answered and he was comfortable with his decision.

In my next few entries I will discuss how to work with the various personality types.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The last personality style the I will discuss is "The Thinker." It is important to note that none of these styles are any better or worse than the other. The whole point is to be able to recognize the individual's style and then relate to him or her in the way in which he or she would like to be related to.

Thinkers are serious analytical people with long range goals and they cherish efficiency on logic. Accuracy is their watchword. Thinkers are contemplative, cautious and thorough. The thing that excites a thinker is reason. Everything in its place and details are important. The greatest asset of a thinker is high quality work while their greatest failing is being too critical. The greatest fear of a thinker is irrationality. They must be mistake free and they dislike unorganized people.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The third personality style that I will discuss is the Relater. Relaters are friendly and personable and they operate at a slow, steady pace and seldom show emotional peaks or valleys.
Relaters strive for tranquility and stability and they avoid making big decisions. Relaters are steady and they care deeply about feelings. The greatest failing of the relater is timidity and they detest conflict. The greatest fear of the relater is change. When change is proven to be needed the relater will want to see a plan. However, once committed the relater will persist no matter what.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Again I would like to remind you that the items I am currently discussing are from "The Platinum Rule" written by Dr. Tony Alessandra.

The next personality type I will discuss is the Socializer. Socializers are chatty and fun loving. They love people and thrive on being where the action is. They are generally long on ideas, short on follow through and they lead by dealing with others in an upbeat way. Socializers seek admiration and acceptance. They love to talk and to be talked about. If you don't talk about them they will spend a great deal of time talking about their favorite subject; themselves.

The greatest asset of socializers is that they are fun to be around and they will brainstorm with anyone they meet. They are highly intuitive. The greatest failing of soicalizers is that they are erratic and have the attention span of a flashbulb. Of course the greatest fear of socializers is not being liked.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It is important to note that the information I am discussing comes from "The Platinum Rule" written by

Dr. Tony Allessandra,

The first personality style I will discuss is the director.

Directors are firm and forceful, confident, competitive and determined risk takers. While their impatience sometimes causes eyes to roll, they leave no doubt who sits at the head of the table. The greatest asset of a director is that he or she will out accomplish anybody. The greatest failing of a director is that he or she cannot stand weakness and the greatest fear is being soft.

The best way to describe directors is that they like to deal quickly with problems and they might say something like "Just get me to the bottom line." Directors are rarely interested in abstract ideas and they are impatient. It is not a matter of if a director will take over, it is a matter of when. Directors are also very much into efficiency and not into praise. The only time you might hear a director say "well done" is when ordering a steak.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In my last blog entry I talked about the platinum rule. That is, treat people the way they want to be treated. I am not big one for following horoscopes; however, yesterday my horoscope stated that I should be more aware of people and be sure to relate to them in the way in which they wished to be related. What a coincidence!

In the Platinum Rule there are 4 personality types. They are as follows:


It is important to understand that these types are what they are and no one type is more important or better than any of the others. The learning point here is the be able to recognize each type and know how to relate to that person.

In my next entry we will discuss the director.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am sure many of you have heard of the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Dr. Tony Alessandra wrote a book titles "The Platinum Rule." The basis of the book is for the reader to discover the four basic business personalities and how they can lead you to success. The Platinum Rule is "do unto others as they'd like done unto them." Over the next few entries I will discuss these personality types and how you can recognize them and deal with them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

As many of you know I am a member of Kiwanis. Last night I had the opportunity to attend a function in honor of the Kiwanis International President, Paul Palazzola. Paul and I served as Kiwanis District Governors in 1994-95. In his presentation one important point came across loud and clear.

"When you stop getting better that is when you stop being good." These words can be applied to the career development of a candidate and it can be applied to the processes of a company as it tries to improve its standing in the business world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I can imagine the increased business that the post offices are having these last few days before the 15th.

I am also caught up in resume consulting as a number of candidates are getting ready to make a move for any number of reasons. I thought it would be good to mention a few resume blunders that I have been seeing.

1. Resumes that are full of features without accompishments do not get much attention. By stating your accomplishments you are telling potential employers about your successess. Success in one job will generate success in anothe job.

2. I am seeing resumes that only have the year as a date of employment. This can lead to a misunderstanding about gaps in empoyment. It is generally accepted to have the month and year for the dates of employment.

3. Inaccurate resumes. I ask questions of individuals who submit resumes and find that items may have been left off or omitted for any number of reasons. Honesty and accuracy are the best policies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's become hip in certain intellectual circles to write off America's prospects for a return to economic health -- but the truth is that the U.S. is well on the road to recovery, writes Daniel Gross. Thanks to America's inventiveness and resilience, Gross argues, the Dow and the dollar are both back on track, and companies are finally hiring again. "America still leads the world at processing failure. ... If these impulses are embraced more systematically and wholeheartedly, the United States can remain an economic superpower well into the current century," Gross writes.

Think positive. It can't hurt.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Over the years I have learned that money is not the main reason people will take a new job or leave their current job. It is way down on the list. It is the job of the hiring manager, human resources or executive recruiter to find the reason or issue that will motivate a candidate. If you want to influence a persons decision to stay with your company or to bring them to a new company you must focus on showing people that they are trusted, valued and vital to the success of the company. Too much reliance on money will eventually lose its luster and you will lose the employee.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring has sprung, the rain has stopped (at least in the short term) and the weather is fantastic. What a great time to sit back and take a look at all the things we have to be thankful for. For me, the list is too long to even start but even if you have only 1 thing on your list focus on it and make the rest of your week be a great one.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The last 10 of 50 things not to doon an interview

41. Speaking rudely to the receptionist.
42. Letting your nervousness show.
43. Overexplaining why you lost your last job.
44. Being too familiar and jokey.
45. Sounding desperate.
46. Checking the time.
47. Oversharing.
48. Sounding rehearsed.
49. Leaving your cell phone on.
50. Failing to ask for the job.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More of what not to do on an interview

31. Saying "you know," "like," "I guess," and "um."
32. Name-dropping or bragging or sounding like a know-it-all.
33. Asking to use the bathroom.
34. Being falsely or exaggeratedly modest.
35. Shaking hands too weakly, or too firmly.
36. Failing to make eye contact (or making continuous eye contact).
37. Taking a seat before your interviewer does.
38. Becoming angry or defensive.
39. Complaining that you were kept waiting.
40. Complaining about anything!

Monday, March 29, 2010

More of what not to do on an interview

21. Being unprepared to answer the standard questions.
22. Failing to listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying.
23. Talking more than half the time.
24. Interrupting your interviewer.
25. Neglecting to match the communication style of your interviewer.
26. Yawning.
27. Slouching.
28. Bringing along a friend, or your mother.
29. Chewing gum, tobacco, your pen, your hair.
30. Laughing, giggling, whistling, humming, lip-smacking.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

10 more "do nots" when going on an interview

11. Failing to research the employer in advance.
12. Failing to demonstrate enthusiasm.
13. Inquiring about benefits too soon.
14. Talking about salary requirements too soon.
15. Being unable to explain how your strengths and abilities apply to the job in question.
16. Failing to make a strong case for why you are the best person for this job.
17. Forgetting to bring a copy of your resume and/or portfolio.
18. Failing to remember what you wrote on your own resume.
19. Asking too many questions.
20. Asking no questions at all.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Here are 1o quick "do nots" when going on an interview.

1. Arriving late.
2. Arriving too early.
3. Lighting up a cigarette, or smelling like a cigarette.
4. Bad-mouthing your last boss.
5. Lying about your skills/experience/knowledge.
6. Wearing the wrong (for this workplace!) clothes.
7. Forgetting the name of the person you're interviewing with.
8. Wearing a ton of perfume or aftershave.
9. Wearing sunglasses.
10. Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece.0 quick do not's when going on an interview

More "do nots" to follow:

Monday, March 22, 2010

I recently went on a client visit and during the conversation I learned that he and I had a similar philosophy when it came to making mistakes. My client told me that he tolerated mistakes a means of learning. His feeling was that a person who was constantly in fear of making a mistake was in danger of not growing or learning.

We both came to the conclusion that failure is only failure when you fail to learn.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Resigning from a position properly is a way to show your professionalism. The following is a sample resignation letter.

I want to thank you for all you have done for me here at [Insert company name here]. It has truly been a pleasure working with you, and representing the company as your [Insert job title here].
I have accepted an offer with another firm and have decided to tender my resignation as of today. The decision has nothing to do with the exceptional opportunity you have provided for me here. You and the company have been more than fair with me, and I genuinely appreciate all of your support.
I wish you and [Insert company name here] continued success, and I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of your team. Please feel free to contact me at any time if I can ever be of further assistance in helping with a smooth transition.

Sign Here

[Insert your name here]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In my last 2 entries I talked about two of the "C's" of success. They are consistentency and communication.
As a vendor or more appropriately a business partner to my clients I have come to learn that people I deal with (clients and candidates) have expectations of and about me. Those expectations evolve around two more "C's" and they are competence and confidence. When I put all four of the "C" words together I have the ingredients of a true client/candidate relationship. I am expected to be confident in my ability to handle a variety of situations, competent and knowledgeable about my niche, consistent in the way I deal with clients and candidates and communicate regularly with the people I deal with. If you implement the four "C" words you will be on the road to success.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Good leadership is all about communication, and the best leaders are completely transparent with their staff, says Container Store CEO Kip Tindell. Tindell shares his private boardroom presentations with all his company's employees, from top to bottom. "There's never a reason, we believe, to keep the information from an employee," he says. "I know that occasionally some of that information falls into the wrong hands, but that's a small price to pay."

The other day I talked about consistency being one of the keys to success. Communication is the second "C" to success.

Friday, March 12, 2010

During my years in the corporate world I had to opportunity to work for a number of different supervisors. I had expectations that my supervisors would not only be a boss but would also be a mentor and a guide to help me further my career. As I look back at the different people that supervised me I can say that I did have good mentors. However, the most important thing that I can say about my supervisors is that they were consistent. It did not matter if they were easy going or tough or difficult to deal with. They were consistent.
I have learned that consistency is one of the keys to success.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I have been an executive recruiter for just under 23 years and have seen 4 economic downturns. This latest one was by far the worst. Nonetheless, when this one started I noted some similarities. Some of the poorer run companies were go out of business and flood the candidate pool. Other companies would start a series of lay offs further flooding the candidate pool. I also started to hear from my clients complaints about reduction in staff and the impact on gross margin. Now as things are beginning to recover and get better the companies that tried to expense their way to profitability are finding that the honeymoon is over and the cuts that were made went too deep. The hiring boon is about to take place and the flooded candidate pool although not dry is certainly a lot lower than expected.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Every day that I speak with clients and candidates I learn something new. However, I am beginning to see some similarities when I ask a candidate about his or her strengths or weaknesses. All too many times on the weakness side I am hearing that I would rather do something myself rather than delegate it to one of my subordinates. On the flip side I recently went on a client visit and during a conversation with the CEO he told me that he tolerated and in fact embraced mistakes as a matter of learning. It was a breath of fresh air to hear this CEO say he tolerated mistakes. He then used those mistakes as a means to coach and mentor his staff members. It is like being the coach of a sports team. If your player misses the free throw, you're not allowed to go out there and take the second one yourself.

Monday, March 8, 2010

If you watched the Oscar awards there were really no surprises. The winners were movies or individuals who went above and beyond. The actors surely were out of their comfort zones. Over the years I have learned that top producers (the "A" players) are constantly out of their comfort zones and that is what makes them the best they can be.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Compromise shouldn't get such a bad rep, says former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- after all, real leadership is about knowing when to be flexible to get results. "You can never get everything that you want, so you try to get as much of it as you can," he says. "That's the way you get things done. It's not a zero-sum game."

I have been involved in numerous negotiations and when it is a win/win for everyone involved than and only then is it a successful negotiation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

As the use of technology increases there seems to be a new set of etiquette and rules of behavior. I learned early on that when visiting or talking with client or a candidate it was important to focus on that individual and that my cell phone should be turned off. I know there can be emergency exceptions to that rule. I recently read an article where the head of the Gates Foundation stated that when you are with a person you must be in the moment 100%. Every moment counts and you must make that person feel valued.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I cannot tell you how many times I have prepped candidates to interview with former peers, supervisors and/or employees. It is important to realize that each and every interview should be conducted as if it were the first time you were meeting the individual. To avoid awkward moments be upfront about the change in the relationship and be sure to clearly outline goals and expectations. Thanks to Scott Eblin for his words of wisdom

Monday, March 1, 2010

Here are some mistakes that candidates make:

1. Listening to/taking advice from the wrong people/sources and following it

2. Believing there is really nothing important to know, or that if there is anything important, you already know it

3. Embellishing your resume and overstating your compensation

4. Believing that your resume will get you hired

5. Wasting your finite resources--time, money, and mental energy

6. Ignoring your physical condition

7. Believing that your cover letter/resume/response to postings will be treated more favorably than you've treated those you have received from other executives

8. Misunderstanding the motives, hiring strategies, and consuming behavior of search consultants, CEOs, and gatekeepers

9.Agreeing to foolish requirements to demonstrate your expertise; providing free consulting to companies

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I decided to beak away from the things to avoid and move on to more helpful issues for candidates. Here are three things to do before an interview.
Google. You need to do your homework before your interview. You would be amazed at how many candidates I have interviewed over the years who had no clue about the company they’re visiting. Obviously you should review the company’s website itself, but don’t stop there. A corporate website is only going to tell you the good stuff. You need to find news articles and other sites that will give you a more complete picture.

Get your stories ready. You know you’re perfect for the job, but the interviewer won’t know that until you can clearly show how your past experience has prepared you to succeed in this role. The best way to do that is to demonstrate specifically what you have done and what results you achieved. If they’re looking for someone with the ability to build rapport with clients, for example, think of specific instances in which you have done that. Practice succinctly saying what issue was with this particular client, what you did to improve the relationship, and the result you achieved. You’re not only showing that you have the skills to do the job, but you’re also letting them know that you understand what they’re looking for and can bring those skills. Candidates who can deliver that message in a clear, well-organized story are the ones who get the job.

Get your questions ready. You know that part at the end where they say, “Do you have any questions for me?” That’s huge. I have had candidates who did an okay job in the interview itself, but their questions were so intelligent and insightful that it bumped them into the next round. On the flip side, there’s no worse way to end an interview than by saying, “No, I can’t think of any questions.” That’s short for “No, I’m not really all that interested in you or the company; Even if that’s true, you are not going to get the paycheck by saying so. The best approach is to make a list of questions before the interview. That shows that you’re organized and that you care enough about the job to have come prepared. This list will also save you in event you interview with The Talker: the interviewer who talks the entire time and tells you everything you could possibly want to know. When he finally stops and asks if you have questions, you could not possibly think of a thing, because he’s covered everything.

A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to interviewing. So few candidates really do this well that your effort will set you apart from the crowd, and that could mean the difference between an offer and a rejection letter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The seventh practice to avoid is heavy handed layoffs.

It's no shame to have to reduce your workforce, but why treat departing employees like convicted felons? Anyone who tells you that an RIF requires perp-walk guided exits is someone to add to the next layoff list himself. One-on-one pink-slip discussions and dignified, non-immediate departures are the new norm for ethical organizations. If you have to march your loyal, redundant co-workers out the door, it says lots about the kind of workplace you've built. What to do instead: Deal with performance problems independently of staff reductions. Treat those employees you're forced to let go like the mature professionals they are.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The 6th practice to avoid is theft of miles:

Saving money is in, but taking it out of employees' hides in the form of taking frequent-flier miles is the hallmark of a Mickey Mouse outfit. If your employees are trotting the globe to advance your cause, let them keep their hard-earned air and hotel miles. (Have you flown economy class recently?) What to do instead: Tell your travel agent to book one-stop flights in place of non-stop ones, saving a few bucks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The fifth practice to avoid is to have Rules That Force Employees To Lie

You won't be shocked to hear that a majority of working people believe their employers don't trust them. We throw gas on the fire when we install rules that encourage our employees to lie. A great example is the time-honored policy that says "Congratulations on the upcoming birth or adoption of your baby. We'll pay your insurance premiums while you're on maternity leave if you're planning to return to work afterward. If not, you'll be terminated when your leave starts, and pay your own premiums." Which Einstein dreamed up that brain-dead policy? What to do instead: Pay the same percentage of insurance premiums for all employees in a category (e.g. new moms) without requiring pointless declarations of their intentions. Don't allow any new rules (sick-time policies are a prime offender) that reward employees for withholding information.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The fourth practice to avoid is Social Media Thought Police.

It's reasonable to block Youtube (GOOG) in the office because of the bandwidth it consumes. The recent e-mail message I received from a worker who'd just been informed of her employer's "no LinkedIn profiles permitted" policy sets a new low for organizational paranoia. Memo to your general counsel: Human beings work in your business. People have lives, brands, and connections beyond your walls, and those human entanglements are more likely to help your business than to hurt it. What to do instead: Treat people like babies only if you want them to act like babies. Let the rest of them update their LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts appropriately, and if they're not getting their work done, deal with that problem on its own.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The third practice to avoid is overdone Policy Manuals

You know who's making money for your employer right now? Workers who are selling, building, or inventing stuff. You know who's spending the business's money right now? Other employees (most easily found in HR, IT, and Finance) who've been commanded to write, administer, and enforce the 10,000 policies that make up your company's employee handbook. Overblown policy efforts squelch creativity, bake fear into your culture, and make busywork for countless office admins, on top of wasting paper, time, and brain cells. What to do instead? Nuke one unnecessary or outdated policy every week and require the CEO's signature to add any new ones.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The second of ten practices to avoid is front loaded recruiting systems.

All the rage in the corporate hiring arena, so-called front-loaded hiring processes require candidates to surmount unbelievable obstacles before earning so much as a phone call from your HR staff. Those trials can include credit checks, reference checks, online honesty tests, questionnaires, sample work assignments, and other mandatory drills that signal "We'll just need you to crawl over a few more bits of broken glass, and you may get that interview." Don't be fooled by job-market reports—talented, creative employees are as hard to snag as ever. By giving the hiring power back to your hiring managers the speed and quality of your hires will improve and you will be recruiting the "A" player candidates.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The first of the ten practices to avoid is Forced Ranking:

According to Liz Ryan the idea behind forced ranking is that when you evaluate your employees against one another, you will see who is the most critical on the team and who is the most expendable. This theory rests on the premise that we can force or reports to work together for the sake of the team and when it really counts you can pit them against one another in a competitive exercise. The suggestion here is to evaluate employees against written goals and move quickly to remove non performers all the time and not just once a year.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

In today's fast paced world we all have a tendency to forget about the individual people in our lives and in our companies. According to Liz Ryan who is a former Fortune 500 Human Resources Manager and an expert on the new millennium work place there are many management theories and there are at least ten that are injurious to your employee population.
Over the next few weeks I will post these ten theories as described by Liz Ryan. You will have an opportunity to see if you or your company follow any of the programs.

Monday, February 8, 2010

According to a recent article in the NY Times:
Good leaders have a clear, consistent message, and they keep driving it home until their workers completely understand it, says Susan Docherty, head of the U.S. sales, service and marketing team at General Motors. "People need to internalize it, and they need to own it," she says. "And when they do, you'll know that you're effective as a leader, because you hear them saying it." The New York Times (2/6)

Friday, February 5, 2010

According to Tim Flood, Assistant Professor of Management and Corporate Communications at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School many of us do not use e-mail properly. Too many of us rush, causing confusion and requiring more time to clarify misunderstandings later. We miss chances to build relationships, motivate others, close deals and convey important information.
Avoid the following ten mistakes.
1. Using vague subject lines. "Meeting," "Update," or "Question" provide no value as subject lines. Maximize the subject line's message. PDA users will get the message quickly; everyone will appreciate the clear summary. You can communicate plenty in a five to 10 word subject line: "Your Action Items and Minutes from Last Week's Meeting" or "Sam: See You at 10:00
2. Burying the news. Convey the important points first: put dates, deadlines and deliverables in the first one to three lines of the message (if not also in the subject line). PDA limitations, time pressures, cultural distinctions and value judgments keep many readers from reading further.
3. Hiding Behind the "BCC" field. At best, the 'blind copy' field is sneaky and risky. At worst, it's deceitful or unethical. Plus, blind recipients sometimes hit "reply all," revealing the deception. Instead, post the initial message and BCC no one. Then forward your sent message to others with a brief explanation.
4. Failing to clean up the mess of earlier replies/forwards. Few readers will wade through strings of previous messages. State your position clearly, even if context follows below in the email string. "Yes" helps less than "Yes, you can have the extra funding to hire 5 temporary workers."
Summarize the discussion to date: "See below: R&D is looking for more time but Sales risks losing customers if we don't act now."
Force focus when necessary: "Let's focus on cost now and revisit the morale and equity issues at our staff meeting next week."Change subject lines cautiously. Tighter, more relevant subject lines work best, but even one letter's difference upsets inbox sorting mechanisms.
Cut extraneous or repetitive information.
5. Ignoring grammar and mechanics. PDAs have granted us certain sloppy flexibility, which means you'll impress readers even more when you write precisely.
Follow standard punctuation, capitalization and spelling rules. Think carefully about the tone different punctuation conveys. "Dear Betty," is standard, neutral; "Dear Betty:" is professional, perhaps distant; "Dear Betty!" is personable, perhaps excessively so; "Dear Betty." prefaces bad news. Avoid over-stylizing with high-priority marks, disorienting color or complex backgrounds.
Avoid all-caps and excessives (like "!!!!" or other strings of punctuation).
6. Avoiding necessarily long emails. Longer messages sometimes work best; they can help avoid attachments' hassle and security fuss. Don't fear long emails but outline your structure and motivate reading up top. Provide a 'mapping statement' to allow readers to skim for key information: "I've included information, below, on the background, costs, implementation schedule and possible problems." Emphasize the specific response you seek: "Please let me know, before Monday, how this project will impact your team." Indicate an attachment's presence and value: "I've attached slides that I need you to review before our meeting; those slides identify total costs and break down the budget.
7. Mashing everything together into bulky, imposing, inaccessible paragraphs. Length does not discourage reading; bulk does. Keep your paragraphs short, ideally no more than three to five lines of type. Open each paragraph with a bottom-line sentence. Use section headings (in all-caps) to facilitate skimming.Include blank lines between paragraphs and section headings.
Avoid italics, boldface and other typeface changes which do not reliably carry across email systems.
8. Neglecting the human beings at the other end. Email travels between actual people, even though we don't see or hear each other directly. Praise, precisely. "Great job" takes little time and space but can work wonders. Quickly wishing someone a good weekend, at the end of an email, might perk someone up without cluttering your message. Avoid conveying blame or delivering negative feedback over email. Talk to the person instead. Avoid sarcasm, caustic wit, off-color humor and potentially inappropriate remarks —all of these elements tend to confuse, disorient or fall flat over email. Consider using emoticons and exclamations ("!" but also "ha, ha" or "just kidding") when they convey useful emotional context. Adjust your style to suit your audience. For people who don't know you, a terse style might seem rude; a wordy style might seem unfocused.
9. Thinking email works best. Email is not always the best way to communicate. Need a quick answer from someone nearby? Stop by for a visit. Want a reply to several unanswered emails? Pick up the phone. Looking for more gravitas? Mail a letter. Need to explain a complex or sensitive situation? Arrange a meeting.
10. Forgetting that email lasts forever. Most of us read, send and discard emails at lightning speeds. But don't forget that emails remain on a server somewhere as easy-to-forward proof of
an error.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

When going on a interview it is important to remember that the non-verbal message can speak louder than the verbal messages you are sending. Keep in mind the following:

1. Have a firm handshake but not bone crushing
2. Stand and sit erect--a slouching posture makes you look tired and uninterested
3. Maintain good eye contact
4. It is natural to gesture or talk with your hands but avoid touching your face while talking as it will give the impression that you are trying to hide something.
5. Do not fidget

Practice before you go on the interview so these items become second nature.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Many years ago I had a close friend who started his own business. Over the years I maintained a personal and business relationship with him. Before I started my own business I called him and asked him what was the most difficult decision he had faced. He thought a moment and told me that learning when to say "no" was the toughest thing he had to learn. This same advice holds true for clients and candidates when working with a professional executive recruiter. It is okay to say "no" and tell the recruiter what is right for you or your company. The worst thing you can do is fail to make a decision on your own behalf.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are you a micro Manager?

In his book Creating Passion-Driven Teams, Dan Bobinski noted that micromanagers do share certain characteristics, and they can do a lot of harm, even as they think they are doing a great job. Bobinski maintains that there are certain clear symptoms that can be observed in those who are micromanaging.
They appear frustrated that nobody is “getting it” or taking things as seriously as they do.
They want frequent status updates, even when things are operating normally.
They are quick to point out errors and mistakes of team members.
They have an overloaded task list, but their teams are looking for things to do.
They get upset if they’re not consulted before decisions are made.
They’ll take back delegated tasks to do them quicker or better themselves.In addition, micromanagement might be the correct diagnosis when some or all of the following are observed on a team:
A team experiences high turnover.
Team members feel nothing they do is ever good enough.
Team members are required to “check with the boss” before making any decision.
Team members no longer take the initiative.
Team members are responsible for results but have little or no input on how to achieve them

Monday, February 1, 2010

What is in a name? How many time have you heard that quote? In today's technological world the quote might be "What is in an e-mail address?" As I speak with candidates and ask for their e-mail addresses, I am amazed at some of the derivations that I come across. You would be surprised at the number of times I have had a client tell me that the candidate would not get an interview because of the statement that was made by a personal e-mail address and how that address might be perceived by other employees of the company. Select an address that is personal to you or your family but be mindful of how that address may be received by others.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I receive a number of different e-mail newsletters, instructional materials and I even publish my own newsletter on a quarterly basis. Today I received a newsletter from "Smart Brief for Entrepreneurs." There was a short informational quote from Paul English who founded three companies before he founded Paul states that one of the biggest lessons he has learned is that customer service is number 1. I have a small recruiting company and I deal with a number of small companies and I ask my clients what makes them better than their competition and the answer I get is customer service. I recently moved my personal and business accounts to a local Community Bank of New Jersey. It is a small community bank with three branches and it is not small wonder that they are succeeding in a competitive market. When I walk into the bank to conduct business every employee knows my name and are more than willing to help with my transaction. Yes, customer service is number 1.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When going to an interview you should be prepared to bring the following items with you.

1. Notepad and pen or pencil (if appropriate)
2. Copies of your resume in the event the interviewer (s) have not been given a copy
3. A minimum of three references consisting of 2 managers if possible, a peer and a subordinate. The references should be professional references and not personal. You should have the names, current company, title and contact information.

Being prepared is an indicator of your professionalism.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Over the years I have learned that one of the easiest ways to get turned down for a job is by not filling out the company's application completely. This especially pertains to the job history portion of the application. All too many times candidates will put "see resume" in the duties and responsibilities section. It is important to remember that your resume is not the document of record. It is the application form that is the document of record. Always fill in every item and if the item does not pertain to you enter "n/a" in the area so the hiring manager will know you read the question.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I heard a saying that went something like this. " I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet. " Complain as we may nothing is as bad and as devastating as the earthquake in Haiti that has caused death, destruction and suffering. I am proud to say that the Kiwanis International Foundation in conjunction with the Canadian Kiwanis Foundation has contributed to UNICEF. I listened as former Presidents Bush and Clinton spoke about the relief efforts. It is too bad that our politicians (democrats and republicans) cannot get together for the American people.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

John Maxwell is his book "The Right to Lead" mentions attributes of the kind of leader others want to follow. They are:

1. Let go of your ego. Truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain, they lead in order to serve other people.
2. Become a good follower first. Rare is the effective leader who did not learn to be a good follower first. West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School because it teaches its officers to be effective followers.
3. Build positive relationships. Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.
4. Work with excellence. No one respects or follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do.
5. Rely on discipline, not emotion. Leadership is easy during the good times. It is when everything seems to be against you that you earn your place as a leader.
6. Make adding value your goal. leaders who are revered long after they are gone are the ones who helped people live better lives and reach their potential.
7. Give your power away. The great irony of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have. Use your power to empower others.

Monday, January 18, 2010

As a business owner and as a recruiter I found that many people do not know how to resign with grace and tact. Here are a few bullet points that will help in the resignation process.

1. Before you resign be sure you have an executed agreement with your new employer and be sure all contingencies have been spelled out.
2. Make sure you understand your current company's policy and approach to resignations and know how previous resignations were handled. Give a proper and fair notice.
3. Meet with your supervisor to discuss the resignation and present a professional letter of resignation.
4. Continue working for your current employer and do not mentally check out. This will insure that you leave on good terms.
5. Be sure your friends and co-workers have your new contact information and remain a resource as there will surely be questions after you leave.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When responding to questions during an interview it is important to listen to the question and answer it to a point and remember not to ramble on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When going on an interview it is important for you to realize that it is a two way street. By doing your homework prior to the interview you will know what questions to ask. Insightful questions will give the hiring manager an opportunity to evaluate your professional skill sets. Remember, the more you understand about the opportunity, the more you will be able to communicate your interest in the position.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I want to wish everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year. 2009 was indeed a difficult year and I am hopeful that 2010 will be a turn around year. However, according to a press release from Associated Press (January 5, 2010) 55 percent of workers are unhappy with their jobs. What that means is that only 45 per cent of workers are satisfied with their work. Forty three per cent of of workers felt secure in their jobs while in 2008 that number was 47 per cent. Fifty-one per cent said they are satisfied with their boss and that is down from 55 per cent in 2008. It is impossible to please everyone but I would suggest that these numbers should send a message to employers that retention programs should play an integral role in their employment strategy.