What is a headhunter?

Dear Canadian Headhunter,
I'm a Psychology student in Argentina. Many years ago I discovered that I'd love to work in the recruiting field but I'm having a hard time trying to get information about the meaning of head hunting.

I'd really appreciate some information regarding what does a head hunter do and I would be eternally grateful if you told me where can I start learning about the head hunting business. I'm already thankful for your assistance.

Dear Amigo, from what we hear about the Argentinian economy, I would be surprised if any company had the money to hire people let alone pay a headhunter to find them. But since you've asked the question I will provide a short answer.

A headhunter is a person who finds a manager who has an opening in her organization that is hard to fill because it requires someone with special skills, experience and personal characteristics.

After the company agrees to pay a fee for finding the right person, the headhunter draws up a list of people who might qualify for the role or who might know someone who qualifies. Then he contacts these people.

Identifying the people to contact is the hardest part of the job. After contact identification, the hardest part is eliciting referrals. And, finally, you have to be able to ask questions that will allow you to determine if the people you speak to are qualified for the job.

Having had some experience in the area in which you are recruiting is very useful. Because if you know the field, you should know where to look for people. And once you find someone, your knowledge of the field should enable you to ask her the right questions to see if she is a good fit for the job.

It's a combination of sales representative, private detective, telemarketer and interviewer.

Your psychology degree might be useful if it has given you any skill in interviewing people and assessing their personalities. But that is not the most important part of the job. Actually, the person who brings in the business is generally the one who makes the most money . And that is harder than interviewing but not harder than finding the people to fill the jobs.

Alison Doyle has an introduction called Headhunters, Recruiters and Employment Agencies. Here's an intro from Business Week. Here is a headhunting guru who sells educational materials. And here is more info about recruiter training.

The Myers-Briggs Caper

The most popular personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. It was developed in the 1940s by a housefrau named Isabel Myers and her mom, Kathy Briggs.

It's based it on the ideas of Carl Jung and it measures four aspects of personality which, when arranged in all possible combinations with eachother, divide people into 16 personality types.

These are the four aspects of personality measured:
1. Extraversion-Introversion
2. Thinking-Feeling
3. Sensing-Intuition
4. Judgment-Perception.

(Sensing seems to mean "fact-oriented" and Intuition, "imagination-oriented". Judgement refers to a preference for clarity whereas Perception indicates a more open-minded, undefined, even careless disposition).

The questions posed by the test are fairly straightforward: "Do you usually: A) share your feelings freely, or B) keep your feelings to yourself?". "Do you: A) prefer to do things at the last minute, or B) find that hard on the nerves?". And so on.

Although the test is popular, it is ridiculed by academic psychologists. Robert Hogan is a former prof at U Tulsa who now runs his own testing company, Hogan Assessments. He says: "I used to use Myers-Briggs as an icebreaker. People like taking it, and when you get the results back you feel good. But it has the intellectual content of a fortune cookie."

According to Malcolm Gladwell, Jung, himself, would agree.
Jung didn't believe that types were easily identifiable, and he didn't believe that people could be permanently slotted into one category or another.

"Every individual is an exception to the rule," he wrote; to "stick labels on people at first sight," in his view, was "nothing but a childish parlor game."

Eric Adams , however is enthusiastic about its practical value.
Here's the payoff: Learning Myers-Briggs is like learning a new language that can help you to communicate with clients.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll start "typing" your clients by the clues they give. Is she shy and awkward? Introvert. Does he talk about grand plans and schemes? Visionary. Does she use external, scientific data to validate arguments? Thinker. Does he pull out the date book faster than you can say, "pencil me in"? Organizer.

And, here's how he summarizes some of the types:
Extroverts are quick-to-action "people people". Introverts need private space to explore their feelings and ideas.

Detailers see the fine print and are good at tasks requiring attention to particulars. Visionaries see the big picture and are most successful in jobs allowing them to use their imagination and intuition.

Thinkers react logically and analytically. Feelers react with their hearts and love jobs in which they feel strongly about the content of their work.

Organizers love to plan and implement strategies. Adapters like to improvise and prefer to be swept away by events rather than plan them.

So, if your client is an Introvert, don't bring up new ideas in meetings. Work one-on-one in his own office or at his desk when he's ready.

If the client is a Feeler, feel free to make an impassioned presentation.

If you're sitting across from an Adapter, you can present several scenarios based on any number of contingencies.

Even if it has no predictive ability the value of the Myers-Briggs, like that of astrology, might be that it gives everyone a common vocabulary with which to discuss personality issues.

Want to try it yourself? Here's an online test which claims to be based on the Jung-Myers-Briggs approach.

See also, Drake Bennett at Boston.com and Team Technology.
Minority Report

The war for talent takes on a new wrinkle. Recruiters scout minority talent to help their clients diversify

Recruiters at Spencer Stuart must try to present minority candidates for every search assignment, says Clarke. The firm's diversity practice employs a knowledge manager, who reviews periodicals, Web sites and other news sources for up-and-coming diverse talent. In addition to identifying candidates for particular senior roles, Spencer Stuart introduces promising minority managers to employers. "We say, here are two up-and-comers you may want to consider for the future," Clarke says. Forward-thinking employers who are serious about diversifying their top ranks quickly adopt such tactics to track emerging young talent. The many that don't are losing ground in this area, she adds.

Recruiters also are teaming up with professional-development organizations that can help to identify minorities with potential. These include the National Black MBA Association, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, the Executive Leadership Council and industry-specific organizations. International executive-search firm Ray & Berndtson is partnering with the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based organization for minorities in the cable and telecommunications industry. The company is sponsoring events such as Cable Diversity Week, which is run by a number of diversity organizations, including NAMIC, says Tracy O'Such, a managing partner based in Ray & Berndtson's New York office. "The challenge is to find high-caliber diverse individuals in relevant industry sectors," she says.

Relationship recruiting

The most desirable candidates tend to fall into the "passive job seeker" category -- they are employed and succeeding in their jobs but are open to new opportunities, says Billy Dexter, president of Hudson Inclusion Solutions, part of Hudson Highland Group. "This is the group that corporate America really wants to get its hands on,"

I could write forever on this subject but it is late so I won't. I will however take the time to poke fun at Hudson Highland: "inclusion Solutions?" Yuck! I guess calling it "exclusion solutions" i.e. "no white guys allowed" was just too negative eh???

Super-Duper Resume.

'I'm a bright person', most candidates say,
But they can't seem to write the resume.

I've never seen a resume like this one.
And I dare anyone to match it.
Secrets of the Headhunters

VIA Job Search 2004 we come upon an excerpt from a WSJ article on how an executive search consultant conducted his job search:

A Headhunter's Job Search
December 22, 2004; Page D1

When headhunter Victor Arias was interviewing for his new job, he came armed with mini files on the 10 people that he wanted to speak to, from the CEO on down. His leather-bound notebook held handwritten notes and Web pages on each person -- and he made sure they saw this material so they knew he'd done his research.

Mr. Arias, who wound up taking the job as a partner at the executive-search firm Heidrick & Struggles, also turned the tables on his inquisitors: He asked them to tell him the worst thing he'd hear about them when he called their references.

But his first question to them didn't have anything to do with references -- or titles or corner offices. He wanted to know where they were from. He feels more comfortable working with people who value their past. When he finally brought up compensation several interviews later, Mr. Arias had a list of 20 discussion items, from bonuses to stock. Afterward, he sent an e-mail to the point-person recapping the conversation."

Now that's preparation. I don't know that you need to be that prepared for every interview (you can't get information on everyone from the corporate website) but certainly it helps to conduct your job search in a similar fashion.

There is no link to the article because WSJ doesn't have any free content online - you have to pay for it all. So you'll have to find a back issue.

Talk about loving your work!

Four o'clock in the morning
The lights are on and I'm talk, talk
Talking to myself

Heather, the popular marketing recruiter at Microsoft, has been staying up nights interviewing herself. No, I'm not kidding.

Interview Lunches

It's hard to be interviewed and eat lunch at the same time. Eating does not make you look impressive. Especially when you're talking. Proof? Well, here are some photographs of celebrities eating.

Now, I know that Zen masters and other spiritual adepts supposedly do everything with equal grace but I couldn't find any photographs of them. I did find, however, a Zen talk about tea which includes this little gem:

Have you ever noticed that an empty cup is full? Full of emptiness, and more of a cup for being so.

Wow, that's heavy. And as long as we are speaking of spiritual things, here is an interesting question. If you're at lunch with an interviewer and you're in the habit of saying grace before meals, should you reach over and grab the interviewer's hand, close your eyes and say your prayers before eating your food? Others, of course, have pondered this question before. For instance:

I know someone who wonders why her friends can’t just pray in the parking lot before they join the group. Why do they have to be close to the food to give thanks? And why do they have to pray out loud?

And, finally, since we're speaking of eating and gurus (were we?), here is an interesting article about phony claims by health gurus. What does that have to do with recruiting? I could make up a reason, but since not many people are going to read this anyway (it is a holiday, isn't it), I won't. Regards, MK.
Take My Advice

Over at Ask Inc. we find the following exchange:

My company needs to hire a senior executive. Where do the big corporations find their leaders?
Jack Scalfani, GiveMe Inc., Los Angeles

Small companies will likely feel scalped by headhunter fees, which run about $100,000 at top firms such as Russell Reynolds Associates in New York City or Heidrick & Struggles in Chicago. Even independent recruiters charge up to one-third of a new executive's annual salary -- an arm and a leg, if not the whole head.

A cheaper alternative is to scout the talent yourself. Forget online job boards and the soda fountain at Schwab's. Instead, cull a list of industry superstars from news archives, advises Geoff Smart, CEO of management consulting firm ghSmart. Competitors' websites are another good source (that button labeled Meet Our Management is practically an invitation to Steal Our Management). Ask clients, vendors, and business associates for referrals, of course. And generate demand by speaking to large groups at industry events and teaching a continuing education class at your local university. If you promote yourself well, the best heads will come hunting for you."

Some interesting advice here. Some good and some not so good.

The good: Competitors websites absolutely are good sources of leads for management talent. Most recruiters know this.

Yet knowing someone's name doesn't mean you can be successful. Headhunters are hired often for their ability to approach people who aren't looking and turn them into candidates. It is foolish for someone to assume that if they call someone out of the blue they will drop everything and run into your open arms. Candidate development is a skill that takes time to hone. Good headhunters have it. That's why they are worth money.

The bad: Culling a list of industry stars to recruit.

Industry stars are tops in their field. The company in question (GiveMe Inc.) is a smaller firm who can't afford a high level recruiting firm. Why then would they be able to afford the industry "superstar" and in turn what do they have that can attract one? A dangerous assumption that I have seen companies make is that a superstar will jump to their firm just because they want them to. I have had clients who were 8th in their industry in a field of 8 and expected people from the top firm to be attracted to their company. This doesn't happen very often.

In attracting candidates ask yourself why would someone want to work here? Not: why do I want them to work here? That is two different questions. The candidate doesn't care why you need them he/she cares about what you can do for their career.

Also not all recruiting firms charge one-third of first year salary. There are plenty of smaller recruiting companies out there that will do good work at a lower rate. If your company is growing then the volume of business you give them will make up for the lower fees. A strategic relationship with this type of firm will pay dividends.

Headhunter Aptitude Test

Latent Content has created a test for headhunters from the candidate's point of view. It's meant to cover the first five minutes of one's experience with a headhunter.

RULES: Start with 10 points. Go through the following modifiers. Subtract 1 point for every YES answer. Now tally up your score. Did your headhunter pass?

1. Take one point away if the headhunter says nothing for a few moments when you greet her with your name.

2. Take one point away if the headhunter calls more than 15 minutes after a scheduled time, another if more than 30, another if more than 60, and two more if she doesn’t call until a later date or never calls back.

3. Take a point if it is obvious that the headhunter is reading your resume for the first time while she talks to you.

4. Take two points if the headhunter is solely recruiting for positions for which your resume does not even remotely suggest you are experienced, qualified, or interested.

5. Take another point for a headhunter who offers to “keep you in the system” in case she “comes across anything.”

6. Take another point for each time a headhunter says her company is an “extremely selective globally renowned recruiting agency” or anything remotely similar, even if it is true.

Full test here

A Legal Headhunter Asks Questions

This blogger, a lawyer, was emailed some questions by a headhunter. They're good basic questions and people in any field would be wise to go through similar questions on their own and have answers ready all the time. Here's what the recruiter wanted to know.

1) Why did you leave your last position?

2) Describe your practice to me, broken down on a percentage basis (i.e. 30% securities, 40% corporate/commercial etc, obviously totaling 100).

3) What areas of law do you want to practice in, looking ahead?

4) How were your performance reviews? What are your strengths and what areas do you need to work on to become a better lawyer?

5) What remuneration were you at, and what is your minimum for a new position?

6) Where, geographically, would you be interested in going? Locally, nationally, internationally?

7) Do you speak any other languages or hold passports to countries other than Canada?

8) When can you start a new position?

9) How would you describe yourself, in terms of both your legal skills and your personality? Don’t be too reticent… brag a little!
Carnival of the Capitalists

For those who don't know there is a tradition of sorts in the blogosphere of like minded bloggers posting aggregates of links grouped by subject matter. The Carnival of the Vanities is the Grandaddy of these.

The business equivalent is the Carnival of the Capitalists which lists relevant postings for the past week on various business blogs or blogs which have featured business related topics.

Click on the link above to check out some fantastic business related blogs.

How Do You Say No To A Recruiter?

Dear Canadian Headhunter,
I have a good job right now but want to see if there are any better opportunities available. I posted my resume and got some email from recruiters. These opportunities are not better than what I have right now. What's the best way to respond to them ?

My suggestion is pretty straightforward.

[1] Be polite. Thank the recruiter for getting in touch with you.

[2] Tell her that the job mentioned is not of interest.

[3] Tell her that you would like her to keep you informed of any opportunities in the future.

[4] Tell her exactly what might interest you in terms of job titles, industry, geography, money.

[5] You can send her a resume for future reference or a thumbnail sketch of your background.

[6] If you can think of someone who might be qualified for the job, send the recruiter her name and contact info. Or, offer to send the recruiter's job description and contact info to your contact and let the recruiter know that you have passed it on.

How To Prevent Acceptance of Counter-Offers

So, if you just put your hand in mine
You're gonna leave all your troubles behind
You're gonna walk and don't look back
Don't look back,
Ya gonna walk and don't look back
Don't look back.

Ask the candidate if she has ever accepted a counteroffer in the past.

[2] Keep the candidate well-informed of his status on an ongoing basis. Especially when there are long delays.

[3] Sell the job and company to the references who might be influencers.

[4] Tell the candidate all the standard arguments against counter-offers: No one will trust you inside the company. None of the promises will be fulfilled. You'll get a bad rep in the industry. Recruiters won't trust you. The boss will start looking for your replacement and then let you go. Most people who accept counteroffers regret it. etc

[5] Most important: Make sure the offer is enticing.

via Net-Temps Inc.
Be Nice to Us

Gretchen over at the Microsoft Technical Careers Blog has come up with a brilliant idea!!!!

Be Nice to a Recruiter Month

Let’s make January “Be Nice to a Recruiter Month.” :) Return each call or email you receive for a recruiter. If you aren’t interested in the opportunity, just say, “Thank you so much for contacting me about this role. While I am very happy in my current job, I would appreciate it if you would forward me the job description so that I might consider whether I know anyone who may be qualified and interested.”

That’s not so hard. Whadaya think?

sniff.... God Bless that woman.. sniff.

Seriously jump over there and read the entire piece plus the source and the comments. Worthwhile. Very worthwhile.

Watch Out Kids!
Sanna Hunts Heads

I came out of my 3 month self-imposed unemployment stint. It was great have the time off to spend with the kid and see her everyday and just hang out at home with the missus as well.

Finding a new job was fun as I made sure to take my time and really get something that I was interested in and had a lot of potential.

I haven't had much luck obtaining work at a company that fit my style and where I wasn't required to do the work of 3 people in half the time a project should reasonably take. So, it's been a stressful 2 years and required a sabbatical on my part to regain my mojo. Now I feel rested and ready to go.

I got lucky in finding my new job. I got an email from a headhunter the Monday of my “Time To Find A Job Week” asking if I would be interested in a position in Denver.

A couple days later I went through a 6 1/2 hour interview process. 2 hours were dedicated to the “Technical Interview” during which I sat in a room with 4 talented developers and had them fire questions that covered all aspects of Client/Server development with C#, .NET, ASP.NET, Object Orientation, Flash and MS SQL.

I also had the opportunity to interview with the management team, all the way up to the VP Technology, so walking out I was extremely confident that this was going to be an excellent opportunity for me as everyone I had met had a great attitude and technical savvy.

Four Types of Recruiter

[1] The One Night Stand
Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. Gets you placed in a full-time, permanent position, collects her fee, and then disappears.

[2] The Deadbeat Dad
Gets you placed in a contract position, collects his fee, and then disappears leaving you to bill the employer for your services.

[3] The Madam
You become a part of the recruiter’s contracting pool. She presents you to clients and collects her fee and your's.

[4] The Godfather
You become a full-time, permanent employee of the family agency. The recruiter assigns you to projects as needed.

What Gets Measured....

Here is some very good food for thought from Heather's "Marketing at Microsoft" Blog:

"So while many companies spend their time analyzing their hire data to inform their sourcing strategies, they don't take the necessary next step and ask themselves, 'where do our strongest hires come from?'. Really, who cares where your mediocre hires come from? If you have that data, toss it; unless you want to perpetuate more mediocre hiring. And while you are at it, measure your recruiters on quality of hire. If you don't have a measure, find one.

What we are currently working on in my team is an analysis of our best performing hires over the last 5 years. Similar to how we created profiles that tell us who our target candidates are: management consultants, inbound product managers, outbound product marketing, strategic alliance folks, partner management people, inbound and outbound consumer marketers; we want to understand some of the other attributes that make those folks identifyable...we want to know how to market to them and how to source them."

It sounds like basic stuff but very few companies are doing this kind of work to truly create sourcing profiles for their desired candidates. At the end of the project, we hope to be able to draw correlations between desired attributes and skills and the sources we can use to find them (not just the sources we did use). Then we can cut the data a bunch of different ways to do some planning around things like diversity (where do our top diversity hires come from?) and job posting.

I really like the sound of this. Of course success depends on how well you measure your employees. In sales it is quite easy. Who made quota and who didn't? Who was the top rep and who was on the bottom? However some positions are more subjective and depend on the opinion (and biases) of the manager.

How do you know that the metrics are fair and accurate for positions that aren't so easily measured?

I hope Heather keeps us posted on this project.

You can read her entire post here.


Blogger-Jobs.com is being officially launched today.

They recruit:
1. Bloggers for jobs suited to bloggers and
2. Non-bloggers for jobs posted by bloggers.

The press announcement is here.

Message from: Lindsay @ Capulet.com

4 Types of Headhunter

Therapist, Deal-Maker, Fool & Dick

[1] The Therapist
A kind, wise counselor. Listens carefully. Wants to place you with a company you’ll feel comfortable working for.

[2] The Deal Maker
Doesn't care what you want. Only wants to get you into any job she can. Can often produce positive results. Sometimes, neglect of proper fit leads to a short stay.

[3] The Private Dick
Clever and relentless. Will track down every company which might provide a match for your skills. Can be quite creative in discovering aspects of your background which can be successfully marketed to companies off the beaten track, or only peripherally related to your present industry.

[4] The Bumbling Fool
Makes placements through dumb luck.

The Old Gray Mare......

"My first 'informational interview' was almost my last--with a longtime family friend, a headhunter. He has placed top executives with firms all over the world.

He asked how old I was. Fifty-eight, I said.

He pushed his salad around on his plate, and didn't look at me as he did so.

'Well, Bob, you know, after 45, it gets kinda tough,' he said.

OK, bad beginning. But no game ends after the first inning.

I hit the phones. I had five breakfasts and five lunches a week with old pals. But 'working' friends was awkward. I had never needed them except as colleagues and playmates. Now, I heard myself swallow and say: 'Uh, will you help me?'"

One of the toughest parts of our business is dealing with candidates who are qualified but are late in their careers. The quick reaction from most people is that we are as a profession (and by extension as a society) prejudiced against those who are older.

This seems like an odd occurrence considering the demographics of our society where the bulk of the population is growing older and we aren't making enough babies to replace those who are dropping off however it does occur.

It just doesn't occur in the way most people think.

Let me give you an example. I worked very closely with a Fortune 500 company who had an employee who was 62 years old. The employee suddenly died and was replaced by a younger man. The replacement was 56 years old. No age prejudice there huh?

Oh I forgot to mention, the position was that of CEO.

CEO is a role where sometimes age discrimination works in the reverse. A younger person is sometimes not considered to have enough experience to handle such a role. Now there are plenty of exceptions but generally most CEO's are over 45 and usually over 50 (although the tech sector would skew that number down a bit).

Now let's consider another position. Let's say Sales Manager for the same company I just mentioned. This is a role that was the first step into management. You started as a sales rep and if you were successful and wanted to become a manager this was how you were promoted ( the exact path was sales manager, branch manager, regional manger, regional vp etc., etc. )

I was once recruiting internally for this position. One candidate was a 30 year old who had been a top sales rep since he had been with the company. The other candidate was 50 and had been a sales rep with the company for 25 years ( also reasonably successful but not a superstar).

The younger man got the job but not because they were prejudiced against someone because of age. The older sales rep had shown no interested in mgt for 25 years and now was applying for a management job? Unfortunately he had demonstrated no career growth at all over the course of his tenure with the company.

That's where older candidates often get in trouble. It's not the age that kills you (sorry no pun intended) it's the career track. If you are progressively moving upwards career-wise generally age wont factor in as much than if you have been doing the same job for the past 20-30 years.

Consider that the next time you get a call from a recruiter. Are you really "happy where you are" or have you been treading water career-wise for the past few years. Don't make the mistake of confusing "happy" with "successful" from a career standpoint.

You can read the article I quoted from at the beginning of the post here.

Does Makeup Make A Difference

Will it help you get a job if you fix yourself up? See the stars without makeup. Some actually look better (Pam Anderson). And some of these pictures are clearly unfair. All in all, however, I think the answer is obvious.

More stars here, here, here, here, here.

Do they let you wear pants at work? You might consider this.
My Thoughts Exactly

I have been somewhat disappointed with the public performance of the new coach of the Toronto Raptors who seems quite comfortable humiliating his players in public. I am happy that the Raptors have finally found a coach who is willing to challenge the over paid players but I don't agree with him doing it through the media.

I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Local headhunter Michael Stern has a column about it in the National Post:

It's much easier to encourage people to do better than to shame them into it.

I don't for a minute underestimate the pressures of major-league coaching, especially in the high-stakes world of professional basketball. Nor do I believe it is easy to stay rational when the media are always hounding you for controversial quotes.

Still, is it that much more difficult than the job of the sales director who has to meet monthly targets while managing a competitive group of sales reps, or the chief executive who leads a cabal of executive VPs all jockeying for power and recognition?

There's an art to motivating superstars (and most other people). Here are a few hints.

- If there's a problem, assume your share of the blame. If your star players aren't working as a team, it means you haven't built one. The coach who always blames his players sounds like the egotistical salesperson who says, "I'm doing a great job of selling, but these customers just aren't buying."

- Don't tear people apart in public. If you have to be critical, save it for a private meeting. Shaming players or employees in front of their peers is no way to encourage performance. Sustained performance comes from commitment and trust, and floggings tend to crush such feelings. I have known employers who enjoy singling out staff members, but it always backfires. All it does is anger employees and reduce their loyalty to the group as they start looking for better positions (and more respect) someplace else.

Abandon the notion that you are "in charge," the all-knowing, all-powerful boss. On a professional sports team, most players have greater skills than the coach. In your business, many sales reps are better at selling than the sales manager. The leader's job is to motivate, not pontificate

That being said I think it is easier to motivate a sales team than a professional sports team.

Why? It's a hell of a lot easier to fire sales reps than it is to fire pro athletes. The Raptors have been trying to dump Vince Carter and Jalen Rose since the season started but there are no takers for that package considering the hefty 40 million contract that Rose carries.

It is however easier to fire a coach than it is to fire all the players.

Blogging For Dollars

Funk Soul Brother, Jeremy at Inside Blogging wants to hire qualified people to blog for pay!

- source and prioritize IT and tech-related industry news
- produce 3-6 news-style posts per day

- minimum 3 months blogging experience
- IT or Technology experience
- strong familiarity with feed readers

- initial agreement: 4 month contract
- $500 (USD) per month

Send resumes to: info@insideblogging.com. More details here.

Superwoman Or Psychopath? Test Your Ego

When trouble hits the fan, egomaniac executives protect themselves at the expense of the company.

Do you have the kind of self-esteem that could land you in jail?

Answer TRUE or FALSE.

01. I love it when the phones are ringing and decisions must be made.
02. Other people find me attractive.
03. As a child, people always told me I was cute.
04. Audiences love me.
05. I can take this company to the next level.
06. I never worry about my mistakes.
07. Other people find me fascinating.
08. I can talk people out of anything.
09. I can get this country moving again.
10. Other people can't get enough of me.
11. Others can sense my power.
12. People often come to me for advice.
13. I can talk my way out of anything.
14. I never worry about my past mistakes.
15. I would like to be a professional gambler.
16. I can easily pretend to be someone else.

Score 1 point for each true answer.
Add up the number of true responses. What your score means:
00 to 04: You're too modest - be more of a self promoter!
05 to 08: Reasonable level of confidence.
09 to 12: Dangerous emotional territory.
13 to 16: Move over, Martha. You could be in prison soon.

Source: Hogan Assessments Systems

Can you help me?

Hi Michael,

I came across your blog whilst searching for job opportunities for Recruiters in Canada.

I am currently working part time as a part time branch manager for an agency in England whilst completing my degree in American Studies - having taken some time out during which I worked for an agency in Scotland running an Industrial and Engineering recruitment desk.

I am desperate to relocate to Canada and am trying to seek out any opportunites that may be available for a young but ambitious recruiter!

If you had any pointers or anybody who you could direct me to that would be very appreciated!

Many thanks and Best wishes

Sam Easen
Branch Manager
Premier Hull Recruitment & Staffing

[t] 01482 473906
[m] 07968 698515
[e] sam@premierhull.co.uk


How's the economy? Good? Bad? Average?

How about globally? What are the challenges facing us in this interlinked world?

Wharton has an excellent article called "What if Anything Will Sink the Global Economy"

Some tidbits:

Overall, the global economy today is strong," stated Frederic Neumann, adjunct professor in Southeast Asia Studies at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Worldwide economic growth is predicted to be 5% this year and 4.3% next year, he said, while in Asia, Japan is showing signs of revival and China is growing fast, perhaps too fast. Europe, too, is growing at a respectable rate with some countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, outstripping the rest of the continent. International trade is growing at a rate of 8% to 9% a year, well above historic averages.

Meanwhile, in China there is excess liquidity, and because government does most credit allocation, the result is a chronic misdirection of capital, said [Victoria Marklew, vice president and senior international economist at Northern Trust in Chicago]. "The outcome of all this is we have a booming economy in the U.S. and China. Here in the U.S., we have excessive levels of consumption, in China excessive levels of liquidity.

"Does the global economy have traction?" she asked. "No." The Chinese economy is overheating and may not be able to hold its currency stable against the dollar much longer. If China can slow its economic growth gradually from 11% to 7%, it would be "a minor miracle." An abrupt slowdown would shock global financial markets.

Sounds depressing right. Well here's something really interesting:

]Stephen A. Meyer, vice president and senior economic policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia] stressed that demographics will play a large part in shaping the global economy long-term. In India, the sex ratio has been skewed to the point where there are significantly more men than women. In China, authorities are beginning to grow concerned that the one-child policy will result in a dearth of workers to support its older population.

The same issue is looming in the United States, he said. "The concern is not that the Social Security system is in trouble, but that we are going to have a lot of people who want to retire and continue consuming. The problem is, where will we get the workers and the capital to make the goods and services that older people want?"

Read it all. It's worth the time.

How To Spot Bad Apples

How do you figure out if an apparently great candidate is likely to lie, cheat or steal?

Personality Tests

Candidates are asked if the suffering of animals bothers them. A "No" is followed up with questions looking for histrionic and narcissistic tendencies that suggest a psychopathic personality.

Psychopaths are incapable of remorse, self-reflection and admitting mistakes. [Who would answer that question with a "No"?]

Special Interview Questions

Tests aren't enough to weed out the most likely to deceive. Interviewing is needed too. Here are some questions.

1. Are the rumours true?
Unless it's in a public criminal file, you can't ask someone if she has done something unethical and expect a straight answer. But if you ask for a response to high-quality hearsay about her it can be illuminating to watch her squirm.

2. Did you exaggerate your accomplishments?
A CFO candidate, asked if she had managed an IPO, might say she had. But an interviewer who is able to ask intelligent questions about the mechanics of the roadshow, could learn that she only had a supporting role.

3. Have you ever pulled a fast one or bent the rules?
Provoking candies into rationalizing, defending or gloating about successes will often lead to talk of borderline unethical behavior.

4. Which is more important, moral purity or success?
If you ask a candi directly what she's done when her ethics were challenged the answers can be telling. You see how she approaches values trade-offs.

Résumé Check Ups

1. When candies leave info off of their resumes, you have to use other background information they provide to track down the omissions. For instance, the years they were "self-employed consultants" might have been spent in prison.

2. Hiring companies have different levels of sensitivity when it comes to negative disclosures. Lying on a résumé or cheating on a spouse are not deal breakers for everybody.

What Bottom Line?

HR managers what costs your company more?

Corroded Pipes
Computer Glitches
or Workplace Violence

For the surprising answer click here.

I ask HR managers because I know you are all about creating programs to address human problems that cause all kinds of "hidden costs" Now you know where your priorities should go.

Do you like our new layout?

Gentle Reader,

Anthony and I decided to change the format our blog. I liked the other one (he didn't) but the reason for the change was: our permalinks never worked. Now they do.

At first I thought I would like this new format but now I'm not so sure. The heading is small and bland and the site loads unevenly with the colours coming in at different times.

Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to post frank comments. We can take it. Though we probably won't follow your advice if only because it's hard for two people to agree on anything. Thanking you in advance. The CH's.


Dear Ellie,

I work with people who cut their nails at least twice a week at work. Every time I hear them doing this, I cringe. Don't you think they should groom themselves at home?

Calm down. If these are normal, clean nails that are being cut so frequently, with the ends dropped carefully into a wastebucket, you're overreacting.

Try thinking these thoughts:

1. Perhaps these obviously clean people are extremely busy at home and find this is the only time they have to groom themselves.
2. Perhaps the work they do requires trimmed nails.
3. Perhaps this is no big deal and you should hum to yourself when it's taking place.

From The Toronto Star (link expired)

MY COMMENT: The real question is: Is it alright to cut your nails during an interview?
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Check out these choice quotes from an article by Jeremy Langley of Brassring.com

Ask a random sample of senior managers in large companies to name their most important asset and, chances are, the majority will unhesitatingly place their people in pole position. They will say, “We are nothing without our people...

....there is massive contradiction between the ideal candidate experience and reality. On one hand, company chiefs fall over each other to say how important their people are to them. But on the other, they preside over outdated and under-funded recruitment processes that are damaging their relationships with their own staff and their reputation among quality people in the employment market.

It is sadly true. A good example is sales people; they are the revenue generators for all companies. Yet if you talk to any company about their policy over paying recruiters fees for sales people you will often find that they insist on paying ridiculously low fees for sales professionals. In a recent conversation I had with a president of a company I was told that they would happily take on a retained search firm to fill a 60-80k marketing role and pay a fee of 15-20k for the privilege.

However they were unwilling to pay anymore than a five thousand dollar flat fee for a sales rep. And an average sales rep in this firm will bring in over 1 Million dollars in sales per year.

Do the math. For over 1 Million in sales you are unwilling to pay more than 5k but for a non revenue generating position you are willing to pay 3-4 times as much?

There is a definite disconnect here.


It's a common idea - though one I never see in practice - that it's better to hire someone based on her character and general intelligence and then teach her the skills she needs for the specific job. Because anyone can learn the skills but not everyone has the drive and dedication to do a good job.

With this idea in mind, I have posted entries on this blog about the relationship between service in the military and a young person's potential to be a good employee. Also about the ability of some tough people to withstand torture. The idea was that if someone displays commitment and guts in extraordinary situations, she or he would be bound to excel in everyday life.

For this reason, I was puzzled by the televised pleas of Margaret Hassan for the British government to save her life when she was captured by a gang of Iraq anti-government thugs. This was a woman who had dedicated her life to helping others in a third-world country. She did not leave the country when the war started. Nor when the kidnappings started. I would have thought that she would show the same kind of toughness as Fabrizio Quattrocchi.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi was murdered in Iraq on April 14th. In the moment before his death, he yanked off his hood and cried defiantly, “I will show you how an Italian dies!” He ruined the movie for his killers.

Then I thought about the Moscow Trials in the 1930s. Stalin put many of his old comrades, the Old Bolsheviks, the people who had led the Russian Revolution, on trial for conspiracy to aid the Nazis in the overthrow of the Soviet government. It was unbelievable that they would do such a thing and the whole world was amazed when every one of them confessed.

Arthur Koestler explained the confessions as a final act of loyalty to party unity. But others say that they were due primarily to torture and threats against the families of the victims.

A Canadian woman, Fairuz Yamulky, was also kidnapped in Iraq but managed to escape. She revealed that the kidnappers had showed her videos of the torture and murder of other victims and told her that she would be getting the same treatment. In the long interview I saw, when asked if she was sexually molested she refused to answer the question which, to me, means "yes".

I assume that this is the same thing that happened to Hassan. I see her pleas as a natural result of this treatment. And I assume that they mean nothing about her character in general. Inotherwords, while I do suspect that a person with a "strong character" will display similar behaviour in a wide variety of situations, it is carrying the idea to absurd lengths to believe that a hard, dedicated, selfless worker will show no response to pain in extraordinary circumstances.

Some readers will likely think this topic ridiculous or even disrespectful but since I'd thought about it before - though merely in a historical context - I wondered about again it when I saw it happening in the present and was moved to comment. I hope that this happens to none of us and that those who are captured are spared.

Read Read Read

A quick look at what some business mags are featuring on their sites

Business Week has it's Thanksgiving '04's Turkeys and Pilgrims

Canadian Conrad Black is featured:

for apparently enjoying the good life as a newspaper tycoon at the expense of shareholders. The former long-time CEO of Hollinger (HLR ), a Chicago-based newspaper publisher, has been accused of basically looting the corporate coffers for his personal benefit and is now in an ugly court fight with the board, which is trying to get some of that money back (see BW Online, 9/27/04 "Not So Fast, Lord Black").

In mid-November, U.S. securities regulators jumped into the fray, filing fraud charges against Black. If he thinks he has spent a lot of time with lawyers this year, just wait till next year.

Fortune Magazine has a wrap up of its "blue ribbon" lists

To make our list of Blue-Ribbon Companies, a company must appear on at least five FORTUNE lists in a calendar year. Household products giant Procter & Gamble was No. 1 again this year, appearing on seven lists in 2004.

Canadian Business has a wrap up of the best cities for business in Canada.

Our survey of 41 major urban centres in Canada finds that bigger isn't necessarily better

Business 2.0 Has an feature on Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz

When Autodesk (ADSK) named Carol Bartz as its new chief executive in 1992, the then 43-year-old former Sun Microsystems (SUNW) sales manager was destined for corporate stardom. She was taking over one of the nation's fastest-growing software companies -- maker of a groundbreaking program that allowed architects and engineers to abandon their T squares and pencils and design anything from a backyard arbor to a skyscraper on a personal computer. Her ascension instantly made her the most prominent female executive in technology -- and one of the most buzzed-about up-and-comers in all of business.

But the storybook script ended there. Her second day on the job, Bartz learned she had breast cancer and began an arduous battle with the disease. Meanwhile, she had inherited a cabal of rebellious Autodesk programmers -- led by a co-founder with a cultlike following -- bent on humiliating the outsider. Worse, Bartz's first major product introduction was a dud, bringing Autodesk to the brink of collapse and raising questions about her competency.

And finally the Economist's Buttonwood Column talks about the current weakness of the greenback and those who would prefer it stay stronger:

One man who undoubtedly believes in a strong dollar is Japan’s prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi. Unlike America, Japan has been putting its money where its leader’s mouth is. On behalf of the finance ministry, the Bank of Japan has bought more dollars than any other central bank has ever done. At last count, it had the equivalent of $820 billion in foreign-exchange reserves, most of it denominated in the American currency.

See there are more interesting sites than Canadian Headhunter (but not many).

A Bad Seed?

Headhunters sometimes have a bit of a dodgy reputation. This story doesn't help.

Authorities are reconstructing the financial documents of a local chamber of commerce official who may have embezzled thousands of dollars before committing suicide last month.

Steve Fogle was the executive director of the Russian River Chamber of Commerce....

.... The 42-year old Fogle was a corporate headhunter in San Francisco before he took the chamber position a little more than a year ago.

Tooth Tips 2

Someone actually read my entry on tooth care and recommended the Sulcabrush. She seems to be a smart person so just in case you don't read our Comments, I'm posting it here so you'll be sure see it. Because I care about your teeth.

Career Success Is Determined In Childhood

According to The Toronto Star, Toronto-area kids are unprepared for Grade One!" As many as 30% of Peel children lack needed skills".

A wide-ranging assessment of senior kindergarten children in Peel Region [next door to Toronto] has confirmed that as many as one in three don't have the physical, emotional and social skills needed to start school.

Research suggests that children who struggle early on in school often fall behind permanently.

School officials weren't surprised by the findings.

The main problem? The parents don't use English at home. And working-poor parents don't have enough access to community support [not sure what that means].

Last year, a federally funded Early Years study of the Dixie-Bloor neighbourhood in Mississauga reported similar findings.

The assessments were conducted in March on 13,364 students in both the Peel public and Catholic boards.

Children are assessed individually on their readiness to read using such indicators as physical well-being, social competence, language, cognitive development and communications skills. Factors such as socio-economic status or birth weight are not included.

In addition, the reports shows that:

1. Girls were significantly more ready for school than boys in all of the five developmental areas examined.

2. Children who attended organized preschool programs were more ready for Grade 1 than those who did not.

"Those preschool experiences have huge payoffs. We want children to be ready to be able to deal with our educational system."

In response, the Peel public board has opened four hub schools — one-stop centres for parenting information and early-learning opportunities, as well as other community supports that help parents. It has also introduced readiness centres in 10 schools and implemented Reading Recovery programs as part of a student support network called Pathways.

"The research shows that the most important factor in helping children be ready for school is a healthy, supportive community with ample opportunities for early development in their preschool years."

MY COMMENT: This story seems plausible except for one thing. We have a large number of successful and prominent Canadians who emigrated here from other lands and grew up in Canada.

Black Widow?

Check this out from the ER Exchange Blog of Shally Stekerl:

"So today I got a real buzz from exploring how Google and BlackWidow could be bosom buddies and aid in strip mining a specified target site.

First I put together a cute little syntax for Google that goes something like this site:almaden.ibm.com ~member|~team|~people. It's nifty because it pulls in all mentions of team members, staff, and people who work on projects at IBM. Nice.

But wait, there's more!

You didn't really expect me to scan 5,520 links did you? I can't be bothered, haven't got the time, [pronounced in a thick, aristocratic British accent]. I took the resulting URL from the search and plugged it into my BlackWidow, then fixed the filters to eliminate anything on the Google or w3c domains. With the link penetration gear set to follow no more than 3 external links, the results were a veritable gold mine of CV's and project pages from people who work or associate with IBM Alamaden research labs"

This sounds like what was called "site flipping" a few years back wherein you came up with some magical set of words and phrases and out pops a bunch of names of potential candidates to source.

I never could get any good results from these type of searches but it sounds like Shally has.

But what is this Black Widow he is talking about? I would ask him but he appears to be gone on honeymoon.

Any body with any input?

(And I know I could probably look it up on Google but I don't feel like it right now. )

Tooth Tips

Years ago, I read that if you are job hunting you should go to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned as part your preparation for making a good physical presentation to prospective employers.

It sounds like a good idea to me, although, unless someone's teeth are missing or chipped, unusually beautiful or stained and twisted, I don't think I really notice them.

At any rate, I was at the dentist's office this week for a cleaning and I heard some interesting feedback on an appliance they have been selling for close to a year. It's called the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush. And, it costs about $155 Canadian which is a lot more than most other electric brushes on the market.

There are two dentists in the office I go to, a father and a son. The decision to sell the product was the brainchild of Junior and, at first, neither his dad or my hygeinist were really gung ho about it. In August, however, I had a hygeinist who raved about it and this week, I found that my usual hygeinist has jumped on the bandwagon.

She's a blunt, sceptical person and and says she still loves the manual brush but she was turned around on the Sonicare by a patient who has always had jungle-breath and badly stained teeth. This woman used the brush for a few months and came back a different person, dentally speaking.

One of the main advantages of the brush is that it has a timer which keeps you working for a full two-minute stretch which is more than people usually brush. That alone would not make such an expensive brush a good buy but it is, apparently, a major factor.

Another tip. My gums have receded due, most likely, to negligence by me. And this makes me very sensitive to pain even when I'm just getting my teeth cleaned.

I needed some major work last summer and before the dentist gave me a needle to freeze my mouth, he swabbed my gum with an anaesthetic gel so I would not feel the needle. This is a fairly recent innovation in this office and, afterward, I wondered why they didn't use this gel to make me less sensitive when they were cleaning my teeth.

I asked my hygeinist the other day and she said it was a good idea but instead of the gel she used a spray. It tasted awful but it seemed to work. I could still feel pain when she cleaned certain teeth but, overall, she said she had to fight me a lot less. So, I recommend it.

And, finally, a story about a friend. When I got back from the dentist, a friend called me. I told him where I'd been and in the course of the conversation he told me that he didn't get his teeth cleaned. Why? A dentist he used to go to told him that a professional cleaning "loosens the gums". I challenged him on that and he became very irritated. So, I got irked too and to prove him wrong turned to the All-Seeing Eye. And here is what I found.

QUESTION: My grandmother says, "Don't get your teeth cleaned by the dentist, because cleaning will spoil and loosen your teeth." That's why I am afraid to get cleaning done. Is this true? — Shruthi

ANSWER: There is a general feeling that cleaning teeth loosens them. This is not true because tartar, which accumulates on the teeth at the gum line, is full of bacteria and is an irritant to the gums.

Modern cleaning methods uses an "ultrasonic scaler" that works by vibration of the working tip and does not scratch or damage your teeth. Dirt and tartar actually gets loosened out by the cleaning method. Once there is no more deposit on the gum, they become healthy again and grips your tooth well.

So, apparently, this old wives' tale (sorry, ladies) is fairly widespread. And, since he won't listen to my argument against it, I've had to tell you.

Lagging Indicator

It seems that the Internet has finally begun to affect the executive search industry.

In the early days those involved in the online recruitment industry faced challenges in convincing recruiters that the internet was a worthwhile medium for advertising jobs and finding candidates. Even today many corporate organizations are still unaware of the benefits of internet recruitment and the need to understand and implement internal processes to deal with recruiting online. Along side these early experiences executives themselves had concerns regarding placing their personal and career details onto an online database.

Today recruiters view advertising "online" as part of their recruitment process and now believe a wider "pool" of candidates can be found through the internet. The use of online job boards in many cases has replaced the role of researchers. Recruitment companies now pay for the service and take up by corporate companies is forecasted to rise substantially in the coming years.

Beware of any article that says the new technology will replace the human aspects of the recruitment process. I don't see the demand for researchers who do the front end work on many searches disappearing anytime soon. It is my opinion that search firms will expect researchers to be aware of on-line recruitment methods and have access to the various databases necessary to pull candidates off the internet if necessary.

Remember that on-line recruiting is another variation of newspaper advertising. The candidates tend to be active job-seekers. Recruiters have always excelled at finding candidates who are not active but are "passive" candidates. This demand will not change.

Read the full story here

Daily Routine Portal

This portal allows you to record your regular morning online reading routine and just click NEXT after every page you visit to take you through it.

I've used it and find it very convenient. The only problem is that you don't get the actual URL's in the address field. You get the Daily Routine URL instead. Find it HERE.

Counteroffers Are Evil: The Reasons Why

1. If you turn down a reasonable offer after working on it with a recruiter, the recruiter will hate you.

2. Anecdotal evidence says that most people regret accepting counteroffers.

3. If you accept an offer then go back on your word to your prospective employer, you'll get a bad rep in the trade.

4. You've lost your insider status in your old firm. No one will trust you as a solid member of the (mythical) team.

5. If you have to threaten to leave before your company treats you well, it's not a good company.

6. Nothing much will change. The counteroffer is just a stall to keep you in place until Mr Charlie can find a replacement.

Refuse the guilt and the sweet talk your employer tries to lay on you.
Decent and well-managed companies don't make counteroffers.

via Paul Hawkinson via Jason@Recruiting.com

Statistically insignificant....

Nick Corcodilos of "Ask the Headhunter" reveals a startling stat in his recent column:

A study by Forrester Research found that only about 3 percent of jobs are filled by headhunters. A study by CareerXroads suggests it's more like 1.2 percent. Where does that leave all the other opportunities that might be right for you?

Where indeed? I find these numbers highly suspect. It is similar to the number tossed out by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 911 that the Saudis own 7% of America. For the stat to be valid you first have to assume that 100% of America is foreign owned. And to believe the 3% or 1.2% number is to assume that ALL jobs could and would be necessarily filled by a headhunter.

First off I would start by asking what % of job openings are filled at all? Often companies have openings they don't bother filling. Was this number included in the survey? Secondly what % of jobs are filled internally? Many jobs are. In fact in a well run company most jobs should be. So neither of these options are open to a job hunter whether you are using a headhunter or not.

The real question is what % of jobs that are filled externally are filled by headhunters? The answer is a lot. And I would venture to say more than 3%. Externally filled jobs fall into three categories: Those filled by ads, those filled by headhunters and those filled by networking. The only option you have as a candidate to increase your visibility is to apply to ads; use headhunters and work your network. There is no way that ads and networking account for 97-98.8% of the jobs available to you.

That is just silly.

Hiring Barriers Broken

"As a girl in the segregated South, Dr. Rice saw the promise of America violated by racial discrimination and by the violence that comes from hate. But she was taught by her mother, Angelina, and her father, the Rev. John Rice, that human dignity is the gift of God and that the ideals of America would overcome oppression."

A sharp-looking, black woman becomes US Secretary of State.
The world has entered a new era.

See Liberals Laud Bush (Toronto Star)

Ozzie Recruiting Site

Gretchen, the Microsoft Moon Gal tells us that a wikked frikkin recruiting site has appeared down under. It's being manned by Been-Around-Julie-Brown, James-Loves-Kerry (he left America the day after the election), and Miss Funny-Name. Check it out, myte.

How Diverse Should A Leadership Team Be?

By nominating National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to become secretary of state and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to become attorney general, President Bush is sending a clear message. He intends to keep tight reign over foreign policy and the war on terror during his second term.

Bush's decision to place trusted loyalists in the most important positions in his new administration shows he's leaving little to chance. In Rice and Gonzales, Bush has chosen insiders who were part of his team long before he came to Washington.

You get the sense that he trusts them completely. He won't have to worry that they will be leaking stories to the media to make themselves look good -- and the president less so -- if things don't go their way. Nor will he have to worry that his appointees are not on the same page as he is when it comes to policy objectives.

Their predecessors failed to inspire similar comfort levels from the president. Colin Powell commanded more respect in many circles than the commander-in-chief. And it didn't help later on that Powell let his skepticism about the Iraq war become public.

Ashcroft showed more loyalty than Powell, but his aloof demeanor may have been an impediment to forging a close personal relationship with the president. You can imagine the president kicking back to enjoy a football game with Rice or confiding secrets to Gonzales, but it's hard to envision the ever-serious and taciturn Ashcroft in similar settings.

Critics will argue that Rice may lack the independence to be a good secretary of state. Such criticism is wrong-headed. Cabinet members are not elected and have no claim to independence from the presidents who appoint them. That doesn't mean they are mere yes-men or women. Precisely because Rice and Gonzales have earned the president's complete trust, they can be free to speak their minds when they disagree with him, and he will listen.

President Bush has run a tighter ship than most recent presidents, clearly running policy from the White House rather than letting it devolve to the agencies. There's always a danger in every administration that political appointees will become insular and arrogant, but neither Rice nor Gonzales seem prone to those character flaws. Both come from humble backgrounds -- which may not be a perfect insurance policy against self-importance, but it helps.

Given the tough fight ahead, the president must be able to count on his top aides.

Linda Chavez

Head Hunted

Korn Ferry has scooped the COO of Buy.com Sherman Atkinson (a former Marine intelligence officer) to be the new COO of Intermix.

Good for them.

I haven't hear of Informix but their press release says:

"Intermix Media is a leading online media and entertainment company that leverages proprietary technologies, analytical marketing tools, and unique viral and user generated content across its vast online network and develops ecommerce brands. Intermix Media operates through two business units -- the Intermix Network and Alena

I still don't know what they do. A pox on modern business bafflegab!

Read the full story here

Let Jason Pay For Your Blogging Pleasure

Good ol' Jason. He's a smart guy and a nice guy, he runs the Recruiting.com blog and he wants to help YOU!

How? Well, anyone can start a blog using simple blogger sofware. It's free. But it costs money to get a site using the higher end Moveable Type blogging software. Jason, however, has it and he wants you to be able to use it for free.

He is inviting anyone who wants to write a blog about recruiting and HR matters to do it on his dime as part of a new blogging community he is creating at Recruiting.com.

Note that he is not inviting you to contribute to his blog. He wants you to create your own. No strings attached. Why? Well, he likes to interact with other recruiters. It stimulates his creative juices. And, I think he's a creative guy.

Find more info right here.

A Modern Ghandi

N.R. Narayana Murthy believes in simple habits. The 58-year-old lives in a middle-class Bangalore neighborhood, in a 3-bedroom house that he and his wife bought in 1986. Despite the fact that he's built up a personal net worth of more than $750 million.

Mr. Murthy is chairman of Infosys Technologies Ltd., a company he started with a $250 investment in 1981. By tapping Indian software talents to write code for multinationals, it became a trendsetter among Indian technology companies. Mr. Murthy built it into one of India's largest private concerns, creating some 145 millionaire employees along the way -- many of whom, it's a safe bet, live more extravagantly than Mr. Murthy himself.

But Mr. Murthy finds happiness in other ways. One is by having a larger mission in life. Since the early '80s, he's been trying to demonstrate to his country -- through the example of Infosys -- that it can lift itself out of poverty. "I am very happy we have created a [role] model which has enthused literally millions of entrepreneurs, to show them it's possible to run a business legally and ethically ... in India," he says.

Choosing this mission wasn't easy. Upon graduating from the India Institute of Technology in the 1960s, Mr. Murthy was, like many of his fellow college students, a "strong leftist" who believed "that all rich people were out to exploit the poor in all circumstances." But after working for a time in Europe, he began to have second thoughts. The problems of Indian poverty, he concluded, "had to be solved by creating more jobs, creating more wealth. The only way to do that is entrepreneurship."

India's closed economy of the 1980s created problems for entrepreneurs, however. Government restrictions placed roadblocks on the importation of foreign products, for example. In the early days of Infosys, Mr. Murthy had to wrangle with government officials -- and travel 25 times to distant New Delhi -- simply to get the proper licenses to import a computer.

But ultimately his wife, Sudha, convinced him launching the company was worth the gamble. "She said, 'Don't worry, no matter what happens, at the end of the day, as long as we have simple habits, it doesn't really matter.' "

Today, Mr. Murthy's wife performs home duties, and their two children, who grew up without pocket money, are now university students in the U.S. And whether it's watching a movie about Gandhi, reading a book or listening to traditional Indian music at home, Mr. Murthy's habits remain pretty basic.

"My father was a high school teacher, lower middle class, and he told us all the time, 'You must have such habits that you will be able to continue even if you have no money,' " he says. Playing outside, visiting the library, listening to music in public parks and "having pleasant conversations with good people" was his father's prescription for fun. "And that's what we did," he says.

As chairman of Infosys, Mr. Murthy runs his company with the idea that if you give employees greater opportunities to fulfill themselves, they will be happier. That doesn't mean coddling employees not doing their job. "I am a stickler for perfection, for excellence," he says. "When I see people not living up to their potential, it makes me angry."

Improving lives through his company is a source a joy for Mr. Murthy. "Beyond the hygiene factors -- the basic factors that keep your body together -- what makes human beings happy is the fact that they are able to make other people around them happy."

He appears to be doing something right. The company consistently ranks as one of the best companies to work for in India, according to an annual survey done by Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting company; meanwhile, Mr. Murthy himself also consistently ranks as India's most admired businessperson. The fount of his happiness is not so much receiving more respect and money -- it's seeing his mission accomplished.

But he is reminded daily of how far he and his mission have to go. "Naturally, I do lapse into moments of anguish," he says. "Leaving the warm embryo of home every morning, passing through all the pollution and poverty of the Third World, then [having to] get into the office and in an instant be prepared to get through the most stringent demands of our First World customers."

Looking toward the future, he handed over the reigns as CEO in 2002 and took the title "Chief Mentor." Now, he spends more time and effort on nurturing employees and on groups aimed at improving education in India. "Ideally," he says, "I would [like] to be a professor, a teacher, when I retire from Infosys."

via Roger Simon

Should I Stay or Should I Go.....

An interesting article in last week's Business Week talks about the pitfalls of getting "laid off" once too often. The gist of the article (which I agree with) is that if you seem to go from one failing company to the next, people are going to start questioning your judgment.

However I am not entirely in agreement with this passage:

"What's your defense in this blame-the-victim environment? For starters, when companies in your industry start eliminating staff, don't make a habit of sticking around to turn out the lights. Better than laying out your litany of layoffs while you're interviewing for a new job is being able to say: 'The company was ultimately sold to a competitor, but by then I was at XYZ, Inc.' It's infinitely superior, from a recruiter's point of view, to have bolted to avoid being downsized, rather than to have stuck around to be let go.

But wait -- what about your package? Won't you miss out on a generous deal if you jump too soon? Yes, but that's the point. You're a serious player, right? You aren't supposed to make a career of collecting severance. There are dragons to slay in the non-downsized world. A string of last-man-on-deck stories paints a picture of you as a passive victim, rather than as someone who reacts quickly and decisively in the face of challenges. "

I knew a CEO of a large company who once told me that if you want to make a lot of money in your career make sure you always hold out for a package. In fact I know several executives who when the writing was on the wall stuck around until the company offered them a lucrative buyout.

It used to be that companies could get away with gently nudging people out the door and not having to pay severance because people felt that if they found a job before getting laid off that it would look better. And at the time they were right.

Now however everyone has learned that you have a right to a severance package and unless you were out and out fired for some very straightforward reason you will get it. In fact in many cases you shouldn't even take the first severance offer but consult a labour lawyer to see if it is fair. Often people get bigger severances by going back and asking for more.

As a recruiter I don't have a problem with this. I don't know other recruiters who do either. We don't expect people to leave two weeks before a big bonus payout so why should we expect them to leave when they are sitting on a 10-20k severance?

Take the package - don't be stupid.

Bad Moon On The Rise

John is a young, bright, lively, up-and-coming custodian. He wants to change his job. He starts working on his career with a contingency recruiting firm. That's a firm that does not have an exclusive claim to work on any opening and does not get paid unless it places someone.

In December, the contingency firm tells John about a new opening as a caretaker at Don Cherry Secondary School. He says he's decided to go to Florida for the winter and will be back early March so he's not in a position to look at a new job. Now, this is important - the contingency firm sends John's resume to Don Cherry anyway, without telling John. Don looks at the file and decides that John is too junior for the job and the matter ends there.

In March, John returns and sees an ad for a Senior Custodian on the Caretakers Association website. He responds and the headhunter who placed the ad decides that even though John is a bit junior, he might be good for the role anyway. But where is the job? At Don Cherry SS. But note this - it is not the same custodian job that the contingency firm was working on; it's a second role. Moreover, the second headhunter has been retained to work on it, meaning no one else can submit candidates for this role.

Now, the retained headhunter goes to Don Cherry with his candidate's file. Don says he has seen this guy and rejected him. But the retained HH convinces him not to dismiss John so quickly. He's better than he looks on paper. So Don says "Send him in."

The Retained HH calls John to set up the interview but in the meantime, John has spoken to his old buddy the contingency recruiter who hit the roof when he heard that John was working on Don Cherry with someone else. So when John gets a call from Retained, he wants to beg off.

Now, Retained is mad. This is not the same job as the first one. It's a new role. Moreover, he has the exclusive right to fill it. And, even though John's file had been seen by Don Cherry, it was dead in the water until Retained revived it.

What's should all the parties do?

Don't Call Us.....

This is from Fortune Magazine and you might need a subscription to read it. So I am posting the full text here.:

"Dear Annie:

In my former job as a senior marketing executive at a major consumer-goods company, I constantly received calls from headhunters. I recently took 'early retirement' (not voluntarily), and now that I want recruiters to notice me, I can't get their attention. I've mailed out dozens of resumes, many of them to people who had contacted me before, and still have heard nothing. Any thoughts?
Big Dan

Dear Dan:
Ah. Mailing your resume is probably where you've gone wrong, according to Eileen Foley, a senior vice president at Boston-based executive-development firm ClearRock. She spent 15 years as a headhunter and now specializes in coaching managers on the care and feeding of same. 'The vast majority of recruiters prefer resumes sent as a Microsoft Word attachment,' says Foley. 'You can also paste a text version into an e-mail, which they can then add to their databases. But sending your resume via snail mail is futile.' Why? Most recruiters send resumes to their clients electronically, so anything on paper is likely to get tossed.

Ok she is partially right here. We prefer our resumes in WORD format and we do send our resumes electronically to clients. However we will still look at a paper resume if we receive it. If the candidate looks good on a search we are doing we will definitely call and ask for an electronic version.

After you've e-mailed, follow up by phone within a few days. 'Calling can often make the difference in whether a candidate gets an interview right away,' Foley says. She also recommends that you call again in six to eight weeks, just to refresh the headhunter's memory, and inquire whether you're still in the database. One other tip: Avoid posting your resume on job boards, since 'recruiters are best able to place candidates who cannot be found through other sources.' "

Headhunters are dependent on our clients and the opportunities that we have with them. Calling doesn't help if we don't have an opportunity that fits. Note that the person started out this letter saying he used to get calls from recruiters "constantly". Define constantly, was it every day? Every week? Every month? It may have seemed like a lot but it was probably once every other month. That seems like a lot when you are working but when you are looking for a job it seems like very little.

Headhunters work by developing lists of target companies not target people. Then we call to see who is in the appropriate position there and try to recruit them. Once you are not with a major corporation you will not get called as often. This doesn't just mean people who are unemployed but people who move from a large well known company like Procter and Gamble to a small outfit that is relatively unknown.

Also the person mentions he has taken "early retirement" this might be contributing to the reluctance of some firms to call him. If he has taken retirement why is he now back on the market? Some recruiters might peg him as someone who was allowed to retire because it was easier than firing him. Headhunters like to see nice clear progression careerwise and any type of hiccup throws them off.

Lastly - post your resume on job boards. You end goal is to get a job not to get headhunters to call you. If they aren't calling you - screw 'em go find a job on your own.

Original source here.

How Make an Educated Guess

Here are some rules for making sound guesses. Some might prove useful in assessing a candidate.

1. Rule out what is obviously not so.
Eliminating the wrong is the first step to deducing the right. eg. We're looking for a battle-hardened software developer. This guy is a fresh grad. He doesn't have the experience we need. Bye bye.

2. Look for clues.
Some things indicate others. Dirty shoes, fly open: that might mean something. You can create a checklist of telltale signs to watch for. If you have favourites, you can share them in the Comments Section.

3. Notice past patterns.
The past is prologue.

4. The simplest explanation is usually right.
If a candidate isn't working for anyone it usually means she can't find a job. She might tell you that she wanted to see what it would be like to work for herself as an independent consultant and is happy doing so but finds the challenge of the position being offered too good to pass up. But the simple answer is that she is just unemployed with a consulting firm acting as a front for the plain hard truth.

5. Deduce from what you already know.
If you know the market for HL7 programmers is really hot and this person has just been let go you have to assume that something might be wrong with him no matter what he tells you.

Stan Kaplan via Brain Food

What cha' Make?

There is a discussion over at Nick Corcodilos' "Ask The Headhunter" column about revealing your salary during the interview process.

Nick has counseled candidates to keep mum over this and I have disagreed with him. However this time he has clarified the situation a bit.

Please note that I don't tell job candidates to hide their salary from the headhunter. A good headhunter will not use the candidate's salary history to limit an offer. However, a smart candidate must make a judgment about a headhunter's negotiation style

Ok I agree with him now. However I think in his earlier column he didn't clarify this. I have had some candidate who patently refuse to tell me how much they are making. Some because they think it helps their negotiation process but you know what? In that situation we usually will try a lowball offer and test the reaction. If you balk we certainly will ask how far off we are. Pretty soon we will have it figured out.

Other candidates have refused to give salary information because "it's personal and I don't share that with other people". Look I understand that society has conditioned us not to tell our friends and neighbors and relatives what we are earning. That's fine. But recruiters are professionals. Just like you wouldn't refuse to get undressed for your doctor you shouldn't refuse to share that kind of information with a recruiter. Besides we have a pretty good idea what you should be at for your experience level anyway.

Remember as well that most companies don't have unlimited budgets when it comes to salaries. As is probably the case in your current company salaries are set (banded) by the compensation person in Human Resources. Once a salary band is set it is very difficult to get a company to move outside of it for just one candidate. It throws the whole "internal equity" thing out of whack.

So don't get this idea that you can ask for the moon unless you are someone very very unique in your field. If you want to know what your value is on the market ask around. Talk to a bunch of recruiters about what the current market conditions are. Then base your negotiation on that. Not on some idea that you have to score a home run by getting a 50% raise.

Now Wuzzin Thad A Pardee?

I went to the Toronto Blogger Bash on Friday. They didn't tell me it was in a strip club. When I came in there was a lady in the centre of the room groovin' to "Proud Mary" and there were a lot of tough guys sitting at the bar who didn't look like bloggers so I headed downstairs. And there they were. Sixteen bloggers and two fans.

So, who was there? Ambulance-chaser, Watch It Bleed, and girlfriend Hevver. He warned us that when you're interviewed on TV it's hard to know where to look.

The Relaxed Caflic. The American Spy In Paris. She disappeared from the blogosphere while she was on an mission against Mississauga.

Ghost For A Fee and his doppleganger, Testamerica. These guys looked exactly alike. The Ghost haunts houses for pay and The Test paid us a compliment on the mix of subject matter on this blog.

Wanda, a pre-blogger. The Meatriarchy (always talking about pork).

Brock Linehan, a funny tipsy guy. He went to the post-election party for Belinda Stronach and came out believing she's really a wind up doll. In person she sounds a lot like Arnold Schwartzenegger and she has this stock phrase - "We're just getting stahted". She greeted him with it when he came in and when he thanked her on the way out she said the exact same thing. Yah.

Damian 3.0, a super high energy babbler. Texas Toast, a football player. Staple Foods. He reminds me of that actor I can't remember.

Tiger Winters. A Korean-American / Nepalese golfer who studied Slavic languages at Princeton.

Mark Weisguy. Didn't speak to him, just said goodbye. Quotalicious, a bubbly technical writer. Re-Advice, a giant programmer who looks like John Kerry.

McGuiness Rye who has a passionate hatred of all the fruit-juice drinking, sandal-wearing, utopian, left-wing, New Age, hippie quacks in the world. He told me that, contrary to popular belief, Tibetans are big meat eaters though they sometimes eat lentils to please their airy-fairy supporters.

And, finally, class-traitor, David Artemiw, one of the first bloggers I ever read. He does a great imitation of his old comrade, Rosario Marchese doing his clown act during Question Period.

This was a great get-together for anyone who has trouble starting up a conversation, keeping it going, or ending it - because everyone here talks like crazy and all you have to do is listen.

PS: Next time we ought to invite Rosario. Or at least a few local bloggers who don't like Mark Steyn - but appreciate his humourous spirit.