Author Archives: tonybeshara

…thanksgiving and gratitude

It’s  Thanksgiving… it’s always a good idea to be grateful for all of our blessings, but especially important at Thanksgiving…

Having (gratefully) lived long enough and being in the “people business” for 44 years, I can convincingly say that the people who approach most everything in their life… even the most difficult issues.. with a demonstrable “attitude of gratitude” seem to manage their life a whole lot easier and more gracefully than those who see everything as a great blessing or a disastrous calamity…

My best friend of 50 years and rugby buddy, Greg Lane recently shared with Chrissy, my wife, a great approach to just about everything… he said, “pause, pray and proceed”… often we get emotionally wrapped around the axle about all kinds of things that either happen to us or don’t happen to us… we fret and fear the worst… especially stuff we can’t control… in fact,  psychologists tell us that 98% of the stuff that folks worry about they can’t control…

An attitude of gratitude, if you practice it long enough, instructs us to be grateful for every situation… even if we don’t like it or don’t like the results…

We heard a great sermon this morning about Thanksgiving and gratitude. The priest made a beautiful point of saying that gratitude leads to humility and humility leads us to be more like Christ.

Frederick Nietzsche wrote “what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger”… even if your prayer has to be,”Lord, I know there’s a lesson here in what happened, can you show me what it is?”

So no matter how difficult your job search has been… no matter how many rejections, refusals and denials you have experienced,  be grateful… try to appreciate even the most difficult feelings…be grateful and thankful

…..the types of ‘recruiters’

There are many types of different recruiters. Their relationship with the hiring authority or hiring company varies.  The types are:

Retained/search consultants

Contingency/search consultants

Employment Agents


Contract Recruiters, Internal and External

Internal Recruiters

H.R. Staff Recruiters and Screeners

Research Consultants

Consulting Firms for Long Term Projects

Management Consulting Firms that recruit as part of their offering

Staffing Firms

 RETAINED SEARCH CONSULTANT If you are “tapped” by a retained search consultant, you need to know a few things.  The firm has an agreement with their client to be paid a portion of their fee when they “take on the assignment.”  The firm usually charges 33% to 35% of the salary or earnings better projected for the candidate that is hired.  Usually one-third of the fee is paid as a “retainer” before the search begins, with another portion of it being paid at certain

“milestones” during a search and the balance being paid when the search is completed.  These arrangements can vary, but the point is that the consulting firm has the commitment of the client because of the retainer that the client pays.

Our advantage to you: since we have been retained in some way, we don’t have to worry about “if” we’re going to get our fee.  Our main concern is making sure that we fulfill our agreement and find the absolute best quality of candidates available for our clients.  In order to do this, we’re really going to know every aspect of the opportunity that we present to you.  We will have “interviewed” all professionals that have anything to do with the particular opportunity.  We will know just about every aspect of the job we have been commissioned to fill.  We will know the “history” of the job and most likely have had a working relationship with the organizations that we’re working for previously.

Usually we are specialists and experts in the particular type of person we are recruiting and the kind of firms we represent, we have an intimate knowledge of just about every aspect of the position we are going to fill.  We have done our homework and our clients have given us a very clear-cut idea about what they need.  We note the “ins and outs” of the job we’re filling, the company,  people, both above and below the position as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the whole endeavor.

If we “tap” you, it is most likely that we “networked” to find you and we must feel that you are qualified to do the job we have been retained to fill.  We have reached out to a number of people like you and you may be one of many that we are approaching, because of our relationship with our Client; we have to find the absolute best group of candidates for the job.

We’re going to be able to provide you every bit of excellent information that you’re going to need in order to be a successful candidate for the job.  The strengths and weaknesses of the company, the opportunity, as well as your strengths and weaknesses relative to the “fit” are all part of our knowledge and expertise.

We may want to build somewhat of a relationship with you, especially if your expertise falls within our specialty and we might need you for one of our clients in the future.

Our disadvantage to you: We represent the company that retains us.  Our “loyalty” and interest in you personally and professionally is only valuable to us if it benefits our client.  We’re only going to “promote” you to the extent that it is good for our client.

We will give you every bit of information that you need to perform well in the interviewing process, but again, only to the extent that is good for our client.  We’re not likely to present more than one opportunity at a time to you and will be as candid with you as we need to be to help our client.

Our relationship with you may be fleeting.  Our interest in helping you is only in light of the value you would bring to our client now. Our first priority is our client. not your professional future.

How to deal with me:….Don’t…I will share with you what you need to know and manage the process for you. Just pay attention.

CONTINGENCY SEARCH CONSULTANTS This is probably the broadest range of recruiters there can be.  We’re paid on a contingent basis, i.e. we’re only paid when we’re successful in “causing” a candidate to be hired.  Some of us that have been doing it for a long period of time establish the same kind of relationship with our hiring authorities that many retained search firms do.  But, since we are paid on a contingent basis, there isn’t as much implied or practical loyalty to us as there is with a retained relationship.

The essence of what the contingency search consultant can do for you centers around the amount of experience they may have in the profession.  If we have been at it for a long period of time, we can know our clients and hiring authorities on a very detailed and long-term level.  In spite of this, however, our relationship is still “contingent” upon someone that we cause to get hired.  Even if we have successfully placed people with our hiring authorities before, their loyalty to us can change rather quickly depending on the “pain” of their need.

Our advantage to you: You may have to really qualify us by asking us lot of questions relative to the amount of experience that we have in the profession, the amount of experience we have in working with candidates like you and the experience that we might have with the hiring authorities that we are representing.  We may really know our hiring authority, his or her company and the position they’re trying to fill extremely well, especially if we have to either place the hiring authority there or worked with the organization before. Or, we may not know them very well at all, especially if we just started working with them.

Since we’re paid only upon our success, we’re dependent upon helping you or anyone else we represent get the job.  Our sense of urgency is very high.  The perception that our hiring authorities and hiring companies have of us is only as good as the last candidate that we either cause to be hired or that we sent them.  We need to make you look as good as you possibly can and help you be the ” best ” candidate that the company can interview.

Our loyalty, and especially if we have been doing this for a long period of time, is equally balanced between the hiring organization and the candidates we represent.  Since the quality of candidates is the best representation we have to the companies that we work with, we have no greater allegiance to the hiring organization than we do to the candidate.

Since everything we do is contingent, we will try to get you as many opportunities to interview as we possibly can.  We want you to look good so that we look good.  We will share with you everything we know about the opportunity in order to make you the best candidate that they could interview.

Our disadvantage to you: Since we are contingency, the hiring authority may be working with other recruiters or other sources of candidates, internal recruiters, etc..  Although many of us that have been at it for a long period of time and are working exclusively with our hiring organizations, we’re never sure of that.

We will present as many qualified candidates as we possibly can to the hiring authority, so that the hiring authority has a choice.  Depending upon our relationship and the amount of experience that we have, our hiring authority may be influenced a great deal or very little by our “advice.”

In spite of what we may communicate about our relationship with our hiring organizations, we’re still a “hit and run” service.  When our hiring organizations need us, there is a great sense of urgency they will respond to us quickly, see the best candidates that we can produce and, as long as we are providing good candidates for them, they will continue working with us.  However, their loyalty is only as good as the last candidate they either interviewed or hired. If you were being represented by the recruiter that was most or least successful, you may have a bit of an advantage.  

If we are inexperienced, we may be able to get you many interviews, but we may not be able to coach you and help you land the opportunity.

How to deal with me: Since I am a contingency type of recruiter, you may very well approach me about some of the opportunities that I may have for a candidate such as you.  If I’m really experienced and have been working in the contingency recruiting business for a long period of time, I may have the same kind of relationship with my clients as the retained search firms do but may also take you as a candidate and “market” you and your experience to a lot of the organizations that I might know.  Many times, if I’m experienced, past hiring organizations will interview you simply because I recommend that they do so.  You can get a lot of interviews that way.

f I’m experienced, together, we will be able to give you just about every advantage you need in order to sell yourself..  I’m going to share with you every bit of information that I have and help you deal with every strength and weakness you might have in the interviewing process.  You need to be honest and forthright with me about everything so that both of us can sell you to the hiring authority and have you be the “best” candidate.

You need to know that I am presenting as many candidates as I possibly can, as fast as I can, to the hiring authority because I am not paid unless I am successful at causing someone to be hired.  You need to help me help you and I will tell you as much as I can to help you get the job.  But, realize that my fee is earned by providing a number of qualified candidates to the employer so that he may choose the one that he thinks best fits his job.  My fee is assessed by a successful hire; but it is earned by providing as many qualified candidates as I possibly can to the hiring authority.

If I am relatively inexperienced, I still might be able to get you interviews, but I may not be able to help you as much as you might be able to help yourself.  The way to assess how much help on “getting you the interview” is that you might need to ask me a number of questions:

If I get you an interview, you need to know and ask me:

How long have you been working as a recruiter?

How long have you worked with this company?

How many times have you worked with this hiring authority?

Have you worked with this company before?

How do you think I should best sell myself to this organization?

Tell me everything I need to know about the job…. the person doing the interviewing…

.. everything (If I can’t give you a lot of information,  you may not be able to interview        successfully. You may wind up having to do your own research and your own

due diligence.  If you follow the prescriptions of this program you should have no    problem).

Depending upon the amount of experience that I have, any information that I’m able to provide, you are going to know how much I can help you.  You may end up getting a lot of help in the interviewing process from me and you may not. Don’t be upset if my limited experience doesn’t help you as much as you would like.  If all I can do is get you interviews, it is likely better than you can do for yourself.  Any interviews you get over and above your own efforts are to your advantage.

NEXT WEEK: …other types of recruiters

….working with recruiters for candidates…Part I


A quick Google search says that there are 23,000 Businesses in the United States that claim themselves to be some kind of recruiting firm. 15 years ago, according to The Fordyce Letter, (it closed its doors in 2016)  the country’s foremost authority on the placement and recruitment profession, maintained a database of some 33,000 firms in the United States that are, in one form or another, involved in the business of direct personnel placement.  35% to 45% of this number went out of business over the past three or four years only to be replaced by others. 20 new recruiting firms open in the U.S. every week.  It is estimated that one-third of these firms work on a retainer basis and the rest in some form of contingency.  The average recruiting firm has 3.1 “consultants” in it who successfully averaged recruiting and placing 1.5 people a month.  The average tenure of these firms is seven years and the average “consultant” has been in the business for 15 months.  In the early ’70s it was estimated that 5% to 10 % of the professional people that were hired in business were hired through the help of a third-party recruiter of some sort.  That estimate today is closer to 20% or 25%.  As the job market expands and good candidates are harder to find, third-party recruiters will be used even more.

Traditionally recruiters have been defined in two broad camps.  The retained recruiter, who is just that, “retained,” to find an employee which was one group and the other was the “contingency group” that received their compensation only if they were responsible for causing a candidate to be hired.  There is, however, a broad range of even contingency firms that you need to be aware of so that you can decide if they can actually help you find a job.

We will discuss, in general terms, the reasons that you should or should not use a recruiter and what that recruiter can or cannot do for you.  I will then discuss in detail what you need to know about the relationship that different kinds of recruiters have with employers and therefore the kind of relationship they will have with you as a candidate.  The most important aspect of this  is for you to know how all of the different kinds of recruiters can help you based on that type of recruiter’s relationship with the employer. 

 What you should expect and how you should deal with a “recruiter ” totally depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you’re dealing with.  When you know the kind of recruiter that you were dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.

In general, here is what recruiters can do for you:

  • We have access and knowledge of opportunities with the firm’s before they are “broadcast” to the world.
  • For the most part, (we will see in the exceptions to this below) we have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his own.
  • We will “coach” you and sell you and your attributes, as well as sell around your shortcomings, better than you can for yourself.
  • Because a recruiter knows how you compare with your competition for positions, they can provide for you the advantage. They know their market.
  • We will help you “manage” the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because a recruiter deals with this process daily, we know how to do it better than an individual even if they change jobs often.
  • We are going to help a candidate maximize their compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives.  It is in their best interest to help you reach your compensation potential.
  • We can provide you more job interview opportunities quicker than you can do for yourself. Most people don’t deal with the job opportunities, career moves etc. on a daily basis.  A recruiter does.
  • The help of a recruiter implies Most top professionals do not want their job search to be “floating around” the Internet or anywhere else for that matter.
  • A recruiter, many times, has an intimate but objective view of the hiring company, the hiring authorities and the “politics” of the specific hiring process.
  • We are comfortable with all of the steps in the process of getting hired.
  • We know what to do when things “go wrong ” in the hiring process.

Here are some things that a recruiter cannot do for you:

  • We cannot get you a job. A recruiter can coach, teach, advise, strategize and help.  But the candidate still has to be the primary force in getting the job.
  • A top recruiter might give some career advice, but we’re not counselors or career advisers.  We are information brokers and hiring process managers. Unless the information or process is of current and immediate importance to the company or hiring authority we represent, we don’t have the time to “counsel.”
  • We’re not “miracle workers”… we can’t get you the ” job of your dreams “…. an interviewing opportunity that you are not qualified for…. help you change careers when the economy won’t bare it…. help you negotiate on reasonable compensation plans, etc.
  • We cannot do a lot of hand holding or immediate response every time you call or blindly e-mail a resume.
  • We don’t analyze and peruse every single resume that is sent to us.  Unless we are a “boutique” search firm, we receive hundreds of resumes.  Each one will get 10 to 15 seconds of attention and unless what is on it is so obviously stellar and needed by our hiring companies it will be stored in a database.
  • We don’t have time to give you advice about the “market” or if it’s time to “stick your toe in the water” to see if your skills or experience might be ” more valuable ” to someone else.
  • Unless we are involved in the process of you securing a new opportunity we’re going to be fairly short on advice about “what you should do” regarding your changing jobs down the line.
  • For the most part, we’re not going to give you advice about a job or career change that we are not involved in unless we have a longstanding relationship with you.

OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH CANDIDATES The biggest challenge we all have regarding candidates is the candidate’s misperception of the marketplace and how their skills, abilities, and experience stack up with what is available to our clients.  The biggest complaint we hear about ourselves is that a candidate states, ” well, I can do that job… I sent you my resume… I am the most qualified that you can find….. I can’t understand why you can’t get me an interview…. I am perfect…. just get me in front of them…. I’m the best you’ve got… I can’t understand why you didn’t respond to my phone call and resume….” and so on.

Our best candidates come from referrals or networking or actually calling a presently employed person and present a possible better opportunity (recruiting). Some of us will respond to a resume for a specific opportunity that we might advertise or respond to your phone call. Some of us will find your resume on the Internet and call you.

Most candidates, even qualified candidates have no idea how many excellent people there are available for most opportunities.  Candidates, as you know if you have learned anything from this program, have a tendency to “see the world” through their own eyes and their perceived ability to do a job.  A good recruiter, even with a narrow search assignment can usually begin with at least 100 to 200 “qualified” candidates or resumes. Even the top retained search firms, according to Kennedy Information, Inc, starts out with 100 to 300 candidates in the database for each search they do.  They then qualify, phone screen and narrow down those to 20 to 50 candidates, in-depth interview 10 candidates and present a final panel of three to six candidates.

Candidates are often surprised and enlightened when they understand the number of quality candidates available for most positions and that they’re being successful in even getting an interview isn’t based so much on their ability to do a job as it is their ability to get the job. Most candidates do not see themselves in the light of how they compare with other viable candidates.  Most candidates evaluate themselves based on their own perception and unfortunately they don’t have the perspective of comparing themselves to 100 or even 50 other people at their same level of professionalism.

OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH OUR HIRING ORGANIZAIONS If you have absorbed most of the information in this program, it won’t come as a surprise to you that the biggest challenge recruiters have with hiring organizations, is they are “spiritual beings acting human.” Just because the organizations might need to hire a professional on any level, doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it all the time. They will change their minds about the kind of person they need a number of times in the process of a search, or corporate politics, unrealistic expectations of what the candidate market will provide, mergers and acquisitions, buyouts, unexpected changes in the business climate, stock prices, product failures and so on. Non-human events like 9/11and Hurricane Katrina can postpone or shut down the best of intentions to hire someone.

Like most professions, ours is one that is full of uncertainty. We deal with human beings on both sides of the equation.  We’re one of the few professions whose “product” can say “no” and walk away and whose “client” is just as unpredictable.

These two primary challenges are what make our profession so exciting and gratifying.  The service of recruiter can change the lives of the individuals they are involved with as well as the course of their companies.  But the upside of this kind of gratification has lots of emotional and business risk.

PERSPETIVE Keep in mind that on average, recruiters individually only place 1.5 people a month. (This author averages 12, but that is an exception.).  Even the top recruiters in the most recognized search firms, according to Kennedy Information, only manage 10 to 11 ” searches ” at a time.  If the 5500 recruiting firms in the United States have an average of three consultants and each one of them averages 1.5 people a month that’s only 24,750 people a month.

By itself that number may appear to be large, but when you put it in perspective of all of the professional job changes that go on in the course of the year, it is not that many.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU What this all means to you is simply this: a recruiter might be able to help you but, you need to manage your expectations of what a recruiter can do for you and help them help you.  And what a recruiter can do for you depends on the nature of the recruiter and their relationship with the hiring authority or hiring company they are working for or representing.

 NEXT WEEK: The Kinds of Recruiters

… “But I’m a good ‘athlete’ (… Salesperson, accountant, engineer, professional, ‘whatever they need’)”

I hear this every single day. It’s usually followed by, “look, Tony, a ‘professional’ ( salesperson, accountant, engineer, professional, ‘whatever they need’) is a professional ( salesperson, accountant, Engineer, professional, ‘whatever they need’) that I can do it. Just get me the interview!” Every candidate just absolutely knows they can do just about any job opportunity I have if they just get the chance to get the interview. This is especially true longer the person goes without a job.

I suspect that 50% of the candidates we see can probably do 50% of the jobs we see. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but probably isn’t too far off. I’m convinced that lots of people could probably do lots of the jobs that we have…if they got the chance. And I tell people, “if it’s your father-in-law, cousin, brother, relative, close friend, etc., you may get the chance to do the job.” But, when it comes to comparing an individual’s experience to other individuals experience, getting a job as a totally different issue.

Most people see their ability to perform a job in the light of their own experience and ability. Now unless it’s a ridiculous comparison like a salesperson becoming an accountant, most people think that no matter what they’ve sold, they could sell just about anything… No matter what kind of accounting they’ve done, they can account for just about anything… No matter what kind of ‘whatever’ they’ve been, they can probably do just about ‘whatever.’

I know that, often, these people are desperate to find a job and really need to go to workAnd they can’t understand why they don’t even get a shot at some of the opportunities. This is especially true when they want to blame me, or any recruiter, for not getting them the interview that they know they can “nail” even without the exact experience that a hiring authority like to find. They compare themselves to themselves Irregardless of the other candidates that might be available.

The problem is, that a hiring authority is trying to find the best qualified candidate who is the least risk. He or she is going to try to find the best experience they can that most closely aligns with the job they want done. They are not interested in “potential.” They are interested in a proven track record in what they do so they can be sure that whatever they want done gets done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

On top of this, the hiring authority is being evaluated based on who they hire. Think of the risk of a hiring authority runs in the image of themselves they portray if they hire, say, a salesperson to do an accounting job. Even if the salesperson was a great accountant, when they haven’t recently been doing accounting and they make a even minor, let alone gross accounting mistake someone, is going to ask the hiring authority why they hired that person to do the job. Imagine what an accounting manager is going to feel like when somebody asked him why, after his new hire fails,  he hired a salespersonTo do an accounting job. He’s going to look like a fool.

It would be like hiring Clayton Kershaw to play football. He’s a tremendous athlete but his track record is in baseball, not football. Now Clayton could sit there all he wants and say, “but I’m a good athlete, and I just know I can play football,” when he doesn’t perform very well, somebody’s going to ask, “why did you hire a baseball player to play football?” And the hiring authority is going to have a very hard time answering that question. There’s really no excuse he can give other than saying, “well I thought since he was a good athlete he could do the job.”

When companies go to hire, they try to hire anyone, they want to hire the most qualified experience they can that will indicate that the Candidate is going to be successful. If an accounting manager has plenty of accountants to choose from (with documentable track records in what they do) there is no reason for him or her to hire a salesperson even if the salesperson can convince them that they are the best accountant that ever came along. This salesperson has absolutely no documentable experience as an accountant even if he or she could do the work. The hiring authority would look foolish hiring a salesperson when accountants are available.

The challenge that candidates have, for the most part, is that they don’t comprehend the vast numbers of candidates in just about every discipline and category are available to most any hiring authority. If these companies want a candidate with one blue eye and one green eye, if they wait long enough, they can find him or her.

Remember, hiring is a comparative issue. Companies, and the people in them want to hide the most qualified, experienced candidate they can with as little “risk” as possible



In all the years of doing this, I’m absolutely certain that luck plays a role in the difference between finding a job, a really good job and finding just a job. Problem is that I can’t tell you what percentage of each job search is luck and how much of it is skill. It is certainly not luck, for instance, when you work real hard to get an interview with a particular company, but when the person doing the interviewing went to the same college you did and you have some people in common, that’s lucky. It certainly isn’t just luck when you get laid off and then decide to take a trip to visit your family and on the airplane sit next to an executive with the company who agrees to interview you for an opening that just came up for someone with exactly your skills.

Going to work for a company right before it hits its stride and moves up into the big time is just plain lucky. Working with people who move on in their career and call you three or four years later to join them is a bit of luck. I mentioned in the Ted talk that I gave about how people who really love their jobs reframe stories of the things that happened to them during their lives with stories of good luck. And most often those things that don’t begin to look like good fortune turned out to be just that.


I’m really not sure if I’ll ever quite understand. It may not be understandable. I’m well aware of the clichés that are written about luck… “The harder you work the luckier you get”…”When it comes to luck, you make your own”…”Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause-and-effect.” Well, these can go on and on. But the truth is there are happenings in all of our lives, especially our job searches, that are just plain lucky.


The overall important thing is to be prepared for “luck.” We need to be ready to execute at our best when we get “lucky.” Luck, more often than not, becomes a disaster if we aren’t prepared when the lucky time comes. So, being prepared, being ready to perform, is absolute.


The second thing I noticed about luck is that the opportunity for it has to be repeated more and more and more and more often. An individual simply has to show up more often than other people do in order to get lucky. If they are prepared, they’ll know what to do when they get there. Lucky people show up a lot, work their butts off and totally ignore “striking out.” They just keep trying again.


Lucky people act and expect to be lucky and they are.



….good for joseph

I have known Joseph for more than 20 years. He is a software sales guy and, looking back, I placed him twice in the 20 year period. Being in the software business and being 63 years old, he’s had a really hard time finding a job in software. Unfortunately (nobody admits this) the hiring authorities mostly choose younger kids. But I got to give Joseph credit for the years of determination. There is no doubt that he has been a great sales guy for some really great companies. But the past few years have been tough.

So, Joseph calls me up a week or two ago and says, “Tony, a number of years ago, I very successfully sold staff augmentation services. I was really good at it. Call a number of those people and tell them all go to work for a $45,000 or $50,000 base salary plus commission. I know it’ll probably be a far cry from the $220,000 earnings that I’ve had before in software, but I need a job and over time I can take that kind of money selling IT staffing.”

So, I went to work. I called 10 IT staffing firms that I’ve done business with before. I was pretty blunt with them about the deal Joseph was willing to make with them. It’s really interesting, that profession is predominantly represented by millennial’s with a few gen Y’s. After nine rather polite “no’s” one outfit thought it might be a great idea.

Joseph’s energy, determination, passion and commitment came through. The company hired him at $70,000 salary plus commission. They are thrilled and I guarantee you Joseph is going to be a tremendous addition to their sales organization.

I was blessed to have made four placements this week. One of them, I had been working on for two months which had died and come back life at least three different times. But none of them were as gratifying as Joseph’s getting that job. In fact I don’t think any of the placements I’ve made in the last number of months have been as gratifying as Joseph’s success.

There are literally hundreds of software and high tech sales guys who I have literally “grown up” with over the years. The majority of them are between Joseph’s age and older. The vast majority of them are complaining all the time about how their age is “against” them. It doesn’t do one damn bit a good and it gets them absolutely nowhere. There’s a great deal of them that have been unemployed for more than a year, some more than two years.

Joseph should make us all proud. He’s a really good guy. He makes a great presentation of himself, is personable and people like buying from him. I have to admit that it was his idea for me to call the staffing firms. It did take 10 of them before I found one that would listen. They got a great employee who will make them a lot of money.

If everyone Joseph’s age who can’t find a job thinking it’s because of their age, took Joseph’s attitude and approach, I wouldn’t get the complaints I do.

Good job Joseph!



…..Why so many people are out of work… and don’t really want to

There are 325 million people in the United States. 95 million of them are not in the labor force. 88 million of these people don’t want a job…38 million of these say they are retired, 16 million are ill or disabled, 16 million say they are students, 18 million have simply dropped out of the work force. The number of officially unemployed people who say they’re actually looking for a job is 7.1 million. Consider:

  • There are more welfare recipients and full-time workers in the United States
  • One in seven people in the United States receive food stamps
  • One in 20 Americans receive disability
  • 12% of all prime aged men (25 years old to 54 years old) are not looking for a job
  • Between 2000 and late 2007 per capita GDP growth averaged less than 1.5% per year
  • The adult work rate in America is barely above at its lowest level in 30 years
  • For every 1 male between the ages of 25 and 54 working there are 3 that are not

And some of the most prominent reasons for this malaise:

Entitlements pay more than the job. Between unemployment insurance, disability insurance and food stamps, it’s more economical to collect entitlements than it is to find a job. One study reported that a family of four, collecting all the benefits for which they are entitled could earn his much is $65,000 per annum. There are more people participating in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the Department of Agriculture and there are fully employed in the United States.

The affordable care act has a perverse twist affecting the labor market. Means tested subsidies phase out as incomes rise. Some people will choose to stay poor or accept a lesser job and they might be capable of or get out of the workforce completely to keep insurance. Changes to the affordable care act that President Trump has recently made may, thankfully, change this.

There’s also an “attitude” of entitlement that there “ought to be a job for anyone who wants one and they are to be easy to get.” This attitude causes people to think that the job should come to them. Most people think that “looking for a job” is simply emailing resumes. Most people don’t really work very hard at getting a job.

People don’t want to take a pay cut. Salaries have still never reached levels that they were in 2007 and 2008. Most people have an idea that their earnings should increase every year. Even after long stints of unemployment these people will claim, “I really don’t want to take a step back moneywise.” Once they pass up one or two opportunities, they rarely come to their senses. Instead of taking any good salary they can get a think, “well I passed up to opportunities with less money than I was making so I should stick to my guns and wait for something better.” And something better doesn’t come along for even years.

People don’t like a company’s reputation. Many surveys find that Americans would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation even if they were unemployed. This is crazy! These same people state that they would change their mind if they receive a 50% plus increase in their previous pay. (It appears that a bad reputation is relative to the money that people are getting paid…go figure!)

I’m not sure I really know what a “bad reputation” means. Unless a firm operates in illegal or immoral business job with the company who has less than a stellar “reputation” is better than no job. And some of these reputations are interpreted from comments made on Glassdoor. It’s despicable that people would believe what might be written anonymously. I don’t have a problem with anything anybody might say about any company as long as they put their name on it. But for people to make decisions about anonymous comments is absurd.

Those in motion tend to stay in motion. Those at rest tend to stay at rest. The longer people go out of work the easier it is to stay out of work. It’s just that simple. This is one of the reasons that taking “massive action” to get a job is so important.

Most people submit resumes online and when they don’t get an answer they give up. These people don’t really know what to do to get a job. The odds of getting a job by sending a resume are 1 in 375 to 400. When you ask people what they’re doing to get a job beyond sending a resume their description is very sketchy. The key is to develop a systematic approach to finding a job. It takes a lot of work! A whole lot of work!

Even when their resume might be perfect for the job, the people who receive it, most of the time, the human resources department is understaffed and overwhelmed. There are 200 resumes submitted for every job and I venture to guess that less than half of them even get scanned let alone read.

The cost of childcare is staggering. In some states cost of childcare is the greatest expense that a family experiences, outweighing food and housing. The largest demographic hit is single mothers. The national Institute of health says that for low income single mothers with young children, child care challenges can be is significant barrier to employment.

The commute is too long. In a recent poll 75% of 584 people said they turned down a job because it was “too long of a commute.”

Maintaining their place in the benefits system is a full-time job. Government benefit programs have strict rules about those receiving benefits. Many people spend the majority of their time staying within those parameters. They know that if the rules are broken they could lose their aid. Government offices are packed every day all day long in this country. The Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, admission offices for public hospitals in most programs like this have hours upon hours of wait time. The required appointments and the filling out of paperwork, qualifying and requalifying for unemployment, Social Security insurance, disability, food assistance programs are absolutely daunting. It’s very hard to look for a job when a person is faced with these issues. There’s really not enough time in the day.

People out of work for a long period of time feel stigmatized. If a candidate has been out of work for six months or more, they feel marginalized. The truth is, they are. Employers will often pass any candidate up who has been out of work for a long period of time. There are just too many other candidates to choose from. A candidate out of work that long appears to be a risk. And that is just one less risk they might have to deal with in considering another candidate who appears to be either employed or recently unemployed.


There are very few simple answers to all of the reasons that so many people are out of work. Repealing or even streamlining entitlements would be a great start. Teaching people all of the activities that it takes to find a job would be another step in the right direction. Holding people accountable for taking massive action with those activities would be another valuable tool. Many of these solutions will be difficult and take a long time to institute.

….’cultural fit’

I hear it once a day…a euphemism for age, gender, race, faith, ethnicity…anything you can think of. Few folks will be absolutely open about it. They kind of mumble the words in an uncomfortable, low toned, embarrassing manner, with their revealing guilt. Sometimes, rarely, a good business reason underlies the discrimination. Thirty or so years ago, I remember the owner of a trucking company telling me he wanted to hire an overweight, older lady to do the front office scheduling and bookkeeping. He insisted that he didn’t want the drivers hanging around the front office ogling and flirting with the woman he hired. It wasn’t illegal to discriminate this way back then. Although it still might have been wrong, I totally understand his point.

I really understand the rationale behind this issue, though I disagree. A tribal mentality will always exist. Let’s face it, an employee with growing children probably wants to be home for dinner with the family in the evening rather than endless happy hours with younger peers and ‘clients’ with nothing better to do. And if that is a part of their business, it just may not fit some folks. It often, though, may never cross the mind of managers that happy hours may not be the only way of being effective.

Young, inexperienced managers often shy away from hiring  very experienced, older employees for fear of being treated like a ‘kid’ instead of a boss. Older managers claim they don’t want to mess with ‘raising’ kids by putting up with the strains and distractions of youth…romances, social life, that is more important than work, etc. They say, “I’ve already raised my own children, don’t want to raise any again.” Both ends of the spectrum aren’t universal.

This ‘cultural fit’ issue is just one variable some employers refuse to deal with. I get it. Business is rough enough without having to worry about an issue that might become a problem. And if companies only hire the ‘same’ kind of folks, they’ll never know what else might work.

As a job seeker, it is useless to rail against this bias. It may not be right, but it ain’t gonna change. Quit expending energy on it. There are lots of wrong things in the world. As the need for good employees increases, these biases will decrease because of demand.

I’ve experienced European firms as well as East Indian firms who hire Americans simply because they need them in order to do business in America but I can tell in speaking with them that they have a disdain as well as a condescending attitude towards Americans and American businesses. They often look down their noses at us, implying that we really don’t know what we’re doing. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. I don’t know.

And then there are some cultures like my heritage, Middle Eastern, where it is simply accepted and assumed that everybody lies. Well, a milder way to put it is that they don’t always tell the truth or all the truth. That doesn’t mean that all Middle Eastern folks lie. Most of us don’t. It just means that bending the truth is a lot more accepted in the Middle East than in America. I know one president of a company who is East Indian who won’t do business with most East Indian companies because he says the way they are taught to do business in India isn’t the way he chooses to operate. Bending the truth, he says, or telling people that they will do something they don’t really intend to do is accepted in that culture.

The truth is that lots of people at any age act crazy. Lots of folks of different races, genders and ethnic backgrounds see the world differently than you. Some outright lie and some outright don’t like the rest of us.

Some of these issues are perceptions and some are total misperceptions. I placed a 64-year-old sales guy with a woman-owned sales organization where the 14 women who comprise the organization averaged 32 years old. He’s doing great and they all laugh about the perspective that he brings. (I doubt, though, it would be easy to get used to “cultural” lying.)

We’d all probably be a little better off if we’d simply forget employees fitting into the “culture” of our company. Just be aware, though, that as a job candidate you may very well run into cultural bias. Complaining about it probably won’t do you one bit of good. You are still not likely to be hired. Be aware, however, that you probably have some of those cultural biases yourself.





It happened twice this week, and happens all the time. Candidates are asked a reasonable question and give not only Too Much Information, but way too much information and it ends up costing them the job. We had a well-qualified candidate for senior-level inside sales manager’s job. She made it past the first interview and when she went to the second interview for some reason or another she felt compelled to explain to the female hiring manager why she wore a wig. It was a very expensive wig and unless you look closely you couldn’t even see that she wore one. She went on and on, according to the hiring authority, for five or 10 minutes about the condition of her hair. It had absolutely nothing to do with the job… nada! On top of thinking that the conversation got weird, the hiring authority totally lost interest in the candidate. And what’s worse, the candidate didn’t even detect it.

The second situation had to do with a very well-qualified V.P. This guy is in his late 40’s and has 20 years of solid experience and you think you would know better. Somewhere in the conversation with the CEO of one of our clients, he started talking about all of the problems he was having with his 16-year-old. Now most of us who have raised kids know parents always have problems with a 16-year-old, especially a male 16-year-old. For some crazy reason our candidate felt so relaxed with the CEO, he told the CEO about his kid’s problems at school, his kid’s challenge with hanging around the wrong kinds of other kids and, can you believe this, his kid’s drug problem. End of interview! Although the CEO had a tremendous amount of empathy for the candidate’s situation he didn’t feel comfortable at all hiring someone who might be so distracted by his 16-year-old that he might not travel or work like he should.

Some years back, we had a very accomplished female candidate. She had recently gone through a rather ugly divorce and didn’t mind sharing her woes over the divorce with prospective employers. We warned her not to do this under any circumstances. Many people however in situations like that can’t help themselves. She made it past three interviews with one of our clients and was a finalist. In fact, we were told it was hers to lose. In the final interview with the executive VP she ended up telling her personal story. After the interview she told us that even though she had gone into her personal story more than she would like, the hiring VP totally understood her situation. The executive VP told our candidate that she had recently gone through the same kind of ugly divorce and they spent 20 minutes commiserating. Our candidate knew that, this time, talking about her ugly divorce only helped her, because the executive VP really understood and empathized with her because he executive VP had just gone through the same kind of ordeal. Unfortunately, she was totally wrong. The Executive Vice President wasn’t going to hire her because, according to the EVP, she knew what a basket case someone is when they go through that kind of thing and since it had just happened to her she knew, from experience, that a person going through that ordeal wouldn’t be focused for at least a year.

Here’s the lesson:Don’t give TOO MUCH INFORMATION !!!It will work against you

…the (almost) $155,000 mistake

i got an interview for one of my candidates that i have known for a number of years…he is very picky and the kind of job he needs is very hard to find..

when i told him about the interiew, he started giving me this stuff about..”well, i know them…i wouldn’t work there…they know me…i don’t want to go…i don’t think they can afford doesn’t sound right” blah..blah..blah…

i threatened him that if he didn’t go, i wouldn’t get him any more interviews…i shared with him that he is a pain in the butt and that he needs to go on any interview he can, because he is hard to place and kind of people that would hire him are very hard to find…

he went…

he starts work for these guys monday…$155,000 salary plus commission that will put him at $300,000 the first year… a $20,000 HIGHER base than he was making..

LESSON: ..go on every interview you can get…you really don’t know “them” like you think you do…what a job “sounds” like has nothing to do with reality… don’t make a $155,000 mistake