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?