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 But on the other, they preside over outdated and under-funded recruitment processes that are damaging their relationships with their own staff and their reputation among quality people in the employment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.

The Past Sure is Tense

I see one error consistently in resumes. So consistent that it makes me wonder how it escapes most people.

That is mixing tenses.

So often I get a resume with a summary of someone previous position that will say something like:

Led a cross functional team in the implementation of and ERP system.

Prepares and delivers executive level presentations.


How did that slip by a simple proof read. Aside from the fact that it describes a past position in a current tense the second line sounds like it was lifted straight out of an HR job description.

I spent an hour or so earlier this week cleaning up a resume from someone with that very problem. I don't often clean up people's resumes but I was in hurry and it had to be done.

This is one mistake however that is easily caught and corrected. I know proofreading a resume is a pain in the ass but you have to do it.

Here's a tip - read it out loud. If you read it silently you will tend to skip over passages without knowing it. Better yet give it to someone else to read. You'll be surprised how quickly someone else will spot errors that you have missed.

Anthony Will Be Posting At Mid-day

Hey, everyone, Anthony left me a message this morning to let you know that he will be posting at midday. Why? Well, he knows that people like to goof off on Friday afternoon so he thought he would give you something to do.

In the meantime, here are some inspirational quotations:

Charisma is a very over-valued commodity... In serious times, personality ungrounded in policy is useless. Whereas rock-solid policy detached from shallow personality is oddly reassuring. (Mark Steyn: The short man stands tall October 18, 2004 The Australian).

There's no point in a situation like this being an 80 per cent ally. (John Howard, PM Australia)

Nothing important was ever done in a prudential frame of mind. (David Brooks).

Successful entrepreneurs are not prone to dark nights of the soul. That's one reason they're successful.(Margaret Wente Globe and Mail 04 07 17, "I'll be back. I will be back.")

You can't hurt me. Because I'm not afraid of being alone. And I'm not afraid of having to work hard if I don't have any money. (Marlon Brando)

Business Pundit On Grilling Sharp People

I hate looking for new jobs because people basically want you to already have experience doing what you will be doing at their company. I think experience is still important, but not nearly as important as other factors like:

Ability to
1) learn and understand new ideas quickly
2) find relevant information quickly
3) deal with ambiguity and incomplete information
4) adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
5) leadership skills

What questions would you ask during an interview to determine these things? Perhaps, you could start out very simply as follows:

Can you tell me about a time you had to:
- access some information very quickly
- adapt quickly to changing circumstances
- deal with ambiguity and incomplete information
- learn and understand new ideas quickly
- demonstrate leadership skills

Or even, "How good are you at dealing with ambiguity and incomplete information? Can you give me some examples?". And so on.

You'd have to have some specific examples of the kinds of situations you are thinking of in order to give the candidate a guide as to what you are looking for.

But let's say you don't get interesting answers. Would you dig for more or assume that the candidate doesn't have what you're after? My hunch is the latter. But can you assume that someone who has these abilities will be able to give you examples of them at the drop of a hat? They might list them as possessions in their cover letters but very few people regularly think in these terms.



Have you lied on your resume before? Well if you answered yes you aren't alone.

Turns out executives are resumes fibbers as well.

After researching the resumes of 500 corporate executives, they discovered 23 percent of executives lied about their accomplishments. What did they lie about? Quite a few things, actually …

Forty-four percent embellished their job descriptions, 48 percent inflated their salary, 52 percent embellished their academic history, 60 percent increased the size of the team that they managed and 64 percent lied about their accomplishments. And the No. 1 resume lie? Seventy-one percent of the executives misrepresented the number of years they'd served at their jobs.

Toronto Bugger Blogger Bash

Details at Let It Bleed.

Date: Friday November 5th, 2004.
Place: The Bishop & The Belcher
Time: Unknown. I'm guessing 8 or 9.

The Bishop is at 361 Queen St W, south side, between Beverly and Soho. Note that Beverly and Soho are not on the south side of the street as both run north off of Queen only.

Means of ID: Wear a red poppy on your right shoulder. That way you'll look like an idiot. (I'm not kidding this is what is advised).

Landmark: Kathy Shaidle, the Militant Relapsed Catholic will be wearing a glowing Ronald Reagan T-Shirt.

Honoured Guests: Haroon Siddiqi & Antonia Zerbisias. (Just joking but both are most welcome).

Wish List Guest: Andrew Coyne

Business Pundit On Hiring

Most companies don't hire very well because they look for the quick and easy things. I have always believed the Southwest adage "hire for attitude, train for skill." I think it can apply to most positions.

Most hiring practices:
1. Penalize people for failure (when it could be a great experience for them)
2. Reject iconoclasts (can't have anyone questioning the way things are done around here), and
3. Ignore valuable experience outside of their industry (because we all know no good idea ever came from another industry or a new perspective, right?).

The way companies hire affects the way people try to present themselves and the experiences they try to pursue. So if a certain skill set helps you get hired (even if the hiring is a bad decision) more people will try to acquire that skill set.

Who Knew?

Apparently the aftermath of the US election will be good for some recruiters.

... for a few District denizens, Nov. 2 will mark the start of the hard slog. That's when interest groups turn to executive recruiters who specialize in hiring lobbyists. Their task: to match the groups' staffing to whatever the voters decide.

"After the election, there will be the inevitable churn," predicts Leslie Hortum, a headhunter for Spencer Stuart, the executive-search firm. "It's going to be a busy time."

Read the rest here