Category Archives: Job Search Blog

… women work harder than men


… And I think they always have. Doing this for almost 45 years, I’ve come to lots of conclusions and this one is a certain one. There are a few reasons that women have to work harder than most men… Notice I said ‘most men’, not all.

First of all, women have to overcome the fact that they are, well, women. For a reason I’ll never figure out, women are not normally expected to be as good at business as men are. I’m sure there are hundreds of psychological reasons for this, but the reasons don’t matter, I still believe it to be true. Because women are taken for granted and still imagined as the “weaker sex,” they have to just plain old outwork most men to be successful in the eyes of the business world. And, when they do, their performance goes well beyond what most men do.

One of the reasons that women even have an advantage in the work world is that they don’t have the “male ego” to get in their way. The automatic competitiveness that men have with each other doesn’t seem to exist in the makeup of women. Businessmen, upon meeting, have a tendency to size each other up from an inherent “my dad’s bigger than your dad,” or “my button is bigger than your button” or anything else along that line. Women don’t need to prove they are bigger, faster, stronger, meaner, etc. Even when they are competitive, it doesn’t come across as threatening to most men. So that ego “stacking up” isn’t even there and doesn’t dissipate energy.

The biggest challenge that women have is well, again, being women. The prospect of being a business person along with being a wife and a mother takes three times the effort and don’t let anybody kid you. The hardest job in the whole world is being a mother. There is nothing in business that is as difficult, challenging, treacherous, or consequential as being a mother. Nothing! If a woman is all three of these things, they have to be better than men.

One of the reasons that some women stand out in the business forum is that there are so few of them. The ones that survive and blossom just have to be better than men in order to do it.

Arguing that all of this isn’t fair, isn’t right or should in some artificial way be equalized is a waste of time and effort. Life isn’t fair and trying to make it so is stupid. In some industries women make less than men probably because of the few years of the “mommy track.” If a guy took two or three years off from his profession to raise kids, his salary wouldn’t advance either. He’d probably have to start from behind where he even was when he had to take the paternal break. For the most part, any professional loses their edge when they are out of the workforce for 18 months to two years. Arguing the unfairness of this isn’t going to change the facts.

For the most part, women have to work harder and run circles around men in the same position. Sometimes they are paid less because of the mommy track time they had to be out of the business workforce. I suggest that if a woman…or anyone…feels or knows that they are being paid differently than their counterparts for exactly the same work, find another job. Whining about this kind of inequality is a waste of energy. It hasn’t changed in 1000 years and it probably never will. Argue about it if you wish, just please don’t do it with me.


…”so, what’s the market like, Tony?”

Which is usually followed by, “with the unemployment is low as it’s been, it’s got a be easier for me.!” Well, let me explain a little bit about what the market is and what it isn’t.

Just because you read in the paper that unemployment is the lowest it’s been in a number of years doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be easier for you to find a job. There is still boatloads of people looking for new opportunities and your competition is really keen. It still takes an employer an average of 10 candidate interviews to fill one of their jobs. And, on average it takes them almost 60 days from the time they actually need to hire someone to get someone to start the job. These are much different statistics than the last two years. So, don’t call me up asking me, “where is my job?” There are lots of reasons why this market is still very challenging.

First of all, there is still hordes of companies that try to hire through their human resources/recruiting department. They are advertising the job all over the place, telling candidates to send their resumes to their offices. Most candidates are plain old stuck with having to send their resume to an applicant tracking system. They don’t ever expect, nor should they, to get an interview. They know that they are absolutely “perfect” for the job that can’t get anyone to pay attention to them . After a while they simply quit sending their resumes . On top of that, 60% of the people that are reading your resume don’t know what they’re looking for. They are viewing, on average, 180 resumes for each posting and the probability of “discovering” your talent compared to the others is not very great.

The paradox to all of this is quite interesting. Four times in the last three weeks, our organization has filled positions that were called into us by direct managers, because in two cases their corporate recruiting department had only found them three or four candidates in a 90 day period of time. We came up with 10 in one day and it took the hiring authority a whole two days to hire somebody. One of these clients had said that his internal recruiting department had gotten him one candidate in one month. He came to our office and interviewed six people in one day and hired one the next day. In the last instance, our client had interviewed four candidates, produced by his internal recruiting staff, none of whom, according to him, were qualified. It took us one day to come up with six candidates with four being qualified as “finalists” according to the manager.

For the most part, hiring managers are just as frustrated with the internal HR/recruiting team as you are. This is an extreme but one of my long term hiring managers is now working for a company where he is looking for a sales person. His firm will not let him pay a fee. He has been interviewing candidates, found by his own HR department, for six months. Just think of what kind of revenue it has cost him and his company by not having someone in the position for a whole six months. His HR department has only found him 10 candidates in the whole six months and just this week he said that he might have found one person you might be able to hire. I have worked with this guy for years and he’s a reasonable person… although picky. I’m absolutely sure that I have a number of excellent candidates he could have interviewed six months ago. His company “saved” of $20,000 fee. But look what it costs them.

The next greatest frustration that jobseekers are running into is the interview itself. 50% of the time, the initial interview isn’t even done by someone who the job reports to. Sometimes these people are in HR, sometimes they are people in another department who are “given” the responsibility to do initial interviews. (Remember, the average company in the United States only has 16 people in it… most do not have HR departments. They have people that assume that responsibility.)

couple this with the fact that the vast majority of job candidates really don’t know how to sell themselves very well at all. They approach an interview with the idea of “what’s in it for me.” They have a crazy idea that interviewing is a “two-way street.” In the first few interviews of any company’s search there are multiple candidates. Most jobseekers know they have a lot of competition but totally forget that it is their job to perform so well and shine the competition, then worry about what the company can do for them if they get hired.

Is the job market better? Maybe a little. Is it easier? No!


…starting a new job

Most people think that once they’ve started a new job, their job searches over. I’m continually amazed at the strange things that can take place even after a person is starting a new job.

The first bit of advice is for you expected to job is going to be quite a bit different from what you thought it was going to be when you are going through the interviewing process. Things are going to never be the way they appear on the outside looking in.

The second suggestion is to spend the first few weeks or even months simply observing what goes on in the company. The higher the position you may have, the more you want to quietly observe how the company is run. You really want to get a good idea of what’s going on in the company before you start actively showing people what you can do for them.

The best way to find out what really goes on in an organization is to talk to the most senior-level administrative personnel (we used to call them secretaries). These people know more about what’s going on in the inner workings of the organization than anybody else. Now, these people may not be the decision-makers in the organization, but they still know more of what’s going on in a company that all the managers combined.

Get to know your supervisor’s personality and style. Do this with all the people with whom you might interface. Remember, you are the new kid on the block and that you don’t know the character or personalities of the people or the part of the organization you’re going to be working with.

Don’t hesitate to ask lots and lots of questions regarding procedures and protocols. Nobody expects you to be intuitive about anything. It may not hurt to take notes about what you learn, especially regarding the unofficial procedures. A friend of mine who has been a “work” psychologist for 40 years, Frank Lawless, tells the story that the best advice he got about starting a new job was to “be quiet and walk around for about six months before you start trying to sound off.” Whatever you do don’t offer your opinion about issues or topics outside of business, like politics or religion.

This is old school advice but, arrive early and stay late. Especially arrive earlier than your immediate supervisor as well as stayinng later.

Take lots of notes when you go into meetings and try to write down who said what. Once you get to know these people and know who stands where on what things, it’s good to take notes about who they are. Also it helps to write their names down a number of times see you could remember them.

Recognize and avoid the negative people who exist within every organization. They can range from the people who always see the glass as half empty to the people who are downright negative, gossipy, and in some cases, slanderous. Avoid them like the plague. Associate with the positive people in your organization.

Identify, quickly the best performers at your level and notice what made them successful. Don’t hesitate to make friends with them and ask them about the company, their job and what you might learn to be successful early. If you can find potential “mentors” early on in your job, your career can get off to a great start.

Demonstrate the cooperative working relationship with his many people as you can. Go the extra mile whenever you can. Volunteer for a committee that no one seems to want to belong to. Don’t do it for the show, really get involved. You might even make the attitude towards the committee better.

Join national, regional or local professional groups in your field and make sure you attend the meetings regularly. Bringing back some idea from one of those meetings to your present company, even one time will certainly be noticed. Making friends with people in other companies in your same field of endeavor will also help your career in the long run. You’ll be surprised at the number of people that you meet early in your career that you continue to keep in touch with over the lifespan of your professional life. As you make friends with people like this throughout your career they cannot only open doors for you and help you with job changes and career advice.

Don’t gripe about anything…ever! even after you’ve been with the company for a while, it’s never good to complain or gripe. There might be many things you may not like about your organization, your job, etc. but no one should know it. But others complain but refrain from it.

Get to know the preferences and expectations of your immediate supervisors. As you get to know them, don’t guess at what they might like or want. If you’re not clear about what they’re looking for or what they want or expect, ask! Ask for input and assistance whenever you are stumped but avoid being too needy. Try to solve problems on your own.

Feedback on your progress isn’t offered as part of a company policy, solicit feedback from your immediate supervisors on a regular basis. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” and you want to know how you’re doing. By asking it shows that you are interested in self-improvement.

It’s ridiculous that I even need to mention this, but be absolutely sure that the impression that your social media makes about you is a positive one. It goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date and professional but other more “social” media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. should always always always be professional. Anything questionable or off colored in your social media world will want you…sometimes, forever.

Always be courteous and recognize that you are being judged. Be thankful to others that help you and express your gratitude with warm sincerity.

The most important thing you can do as a professional when beginning a new job is to be quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself until you really learn about the company and the personalities of the people from the inside. Too often, newly hired professionals try to make an immediate impact to show how good they are by drawing attention to themselves in a number of ways before they really know the so-called “lay of the land.”

No matter how good you might be, no matter how smart you are, no matter how much you might be able to contribute to the organization, you will have much more impact and be received with much more respect if you learn as much as you can about the organization and its personalities before you start having significant input. There is going to be plenty of time to prove yourself.

Oh, less I forget, be sure, after you have been there a while, be sure you find soemeone to mentor! …teacher always learns mor than  the student.

…hiring and the holidays


The holidays are coming up. Don’t be fooled. Lots of hiring goes on then.

Candidates often tell us that there is little hiring done around the holidays…simply not true. December is traditionally one of our best months for placements. Companies are getting ready for a new year and have a need to hire.

If you really need to find job…I mean, r-e-a-l-l-y need to go to work, don’t go out of town for any of the holidays. The quickest way to turn off an employer or a recruiter is to get someone an interview the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas and to hear the candidate say, “Well, I’m going out of town for the holidays and can’t interview!”

We think, “Well, this candidates isn’t that motivated…not that serious about finding a job”. We have to work with candidates that are motivated…so tell your family that you will come visit after you find a job.

We have even experienced candidates getting higher starting salaries because the employers are in better “Christmas” moods during the holidays.

I had a candidate meet an employer at the airport one Christmas Eve to interview him while the employer was stopped over at the airport on his way home to another city. He got the job.


Other Types of Recruiters


Here is the last installment of our series on the “types of recruiters”.



As with the contingency recruiter, we are paid when we actually cause a person to be hired.  Many of us that are in the contingency/search consultant type role started out as an “employment agent.” We are more oriented toward the candidate and “marketing” that candidate to potential employers.  We’re more candidate-oriented then employer-oriented, especially in the beginning of our career.  As we progress we become more balanced in whom we actually work for.

In the ’60s, ’70s, and ‘80s and even in nearly ’90s, candidates or “applicants,” as we called them, paid all or some of our fees.  We start out being more candidate-oriented than hiring company-oriented. We are, basically, an “agent” for the candidate.

We interview candidates on a daily basis and then market those candidates to either employers that we have worked with before or ones that we actually “cold call” and tried to generate an interview.  We work “for you” by trying to get you as many interviews as we possibly can.

The “roots” of our facet of recruiting began placing administrative (what used to be called secretarial) type personnel and grew into more of the professional realms.  We place all levels of candidates but have a tendency to focus on whenever the market will bear.  We will interview many candidates and market the most placeable candidate we can find.

The longer we do it, the more we know what our repeat hiring authorities need.

Our advantage to you:  I am going to be oriented to trying to find you a job.  If you have skills and experience that I can promote to companies that I have worked with before or new companies, I will pick up the phone, call them and try to get you as many interviews as I possibly can.

The idea behind what I do is to try to get you interviews, as many as I can.  A lot of the employers that I work with, I’ve worked with before and I will try to send you.  I take advantage of the employers with a “pain” that will interview you and hire you because of their urgency.  And sometimes I know a lot about the companies I work with and sometimes I don’t.  If you are a reasonably qualified candidate, I will try to get you as many interviews as I possibly can.

Our disadvantage to you: I spend most all of my time cold calling and trying to generate job opportunities and interviews for the best candidates that have come to me.  I will spend a lot of time working for you unless I can find someone that is willing to interview for an immediate opening.  I probably don’t have a lot of in-depth knowledge with some of the companies that I might get you an interview because, I “cold called” them for you, found an opening and got you the interview.

We’re both limited by your experience and the contacts that I have.  If I have a lot of experience and have made a lot of contacts and can get you a number of interviews, we’re both in luck. If I have been in my profession for less than three years I am not going to be as knowledgeable about the marketplace as others might, but I’m certainly going to hustle my butt off to get you interviews.

How to deal with me: Realize that I’m a bit busy and will do my best to get you interviews if I can get an employer to talk to you.  I interview as many candidates as I possibly can and take the best answer for them to the best opportunities that I can find.

When and if I can get you an interview, you need to ask me lots of questions about the opportunity.  The same questions that you asked the contingent search consultant about the interview are appropriate.

You need to know that most of the companies that I work with have a high degree of “pain,” i.e. they need to fill a job very quickly.  I’m going to try to get you an interview in any way, shape, or form that I can, it either with hiring authority or an interviewing authority.

I’m going to “ballpark” you into an interview.  I will try to get you any reasonable interview that I can based on your experience or background regardless of whether it’s something you would “ideally like.”

You need to go on every interview that I schedule for you or I will no longer get interviews for you.  You may get my help in selling yourself with what I know about the company I send you to, but I may not know enough to really give you leverage. But you need to get all the interviews you can.


Wwe are usually a “one-man band.”  We work by ourselves, in or out of an office or our living room.  We scour the Internet looking for resumes of people that might fit some of the job opportunities that we also find on the Internet.  We send your resume to as many of those people as we might and if they “bite,” we will call you and see if you might be interested in the opportunity.  We don’t make very many placements because our rapport with the companies we send your resonates to and with the candidates we find isn’t very great

Some of us do work with a handful of firms on a repeat basis and find basically the same kind of candidates for them all over the country.  We’re not real big billers but, the firms we work with appreciate what we do.  We hone in on a particular kind of narrow experience (like copier sales, long distance service sales, etc.) that our hiring companies like and need all around the country, usually for either sales or customer service, then scour the net to find that kind of background.

Our advantage to you: If I find you it usually means that I have one opportunity for you with one particular organization.  I have probably placed a number of people with them around the country and know exactly what their procedure is and exactly the kind of person they like to hire.  If you follow my instructions, I can probably be effective for you with the one or two particular organizations that I work with.

Our disadvantage to you: I am probably only going to present you to the one organization that I called you about and I’m probably going to present five or six others with exactly the same kind of background that you’ve got.  It’s a pure numbers game for them and most everybody that’s interviewing will be alike, if I don’t play “issue” with this one particular firm it’s not likely I’m going to do much else for you.

How you should deal with me: Realize that I place the same kind of person with the same kind of firm all over the country.  I really know what the hiring authority likes.  Since I’m presenting a number of people with exactly your kind of background and experience, if you’re smart, you will get me to try to sell you stronger than any of the other candidates you have.

If you’re smart you’ll ask me everything there is to know about what the hiring authority’s likes and why he has hired other people from me in the past.  You will get me give you special treatment and give you every advantage you can get in the interviewing process.  If you think that I’m just a “conduit” to the interview you won’t really be taking advantage of all I can do for you.


We are hired by companies on a “contract.” The contract might be for a specific period of time or for a specific number of candidates.  We are usually hired when an organization needs to recruit and hire many candidates over a short period of time.  So, rather than hire a permanent employee or pay fees to a ” third-party ” recruiter they hire me for the period of time they think they will need me.  They usually pay me on an hourly basis with maybe a bonus for each individual that might be hired.  I’m really an independent contractor and work for myself.  I will contract out to usually one organization at a time for a specified period of time, usually six months to a year with the understanding that my “contract” can be terminated at any time.

I am paid a premium for my time and effort but not as much as the company might pay in fees if they hired each individual from an external recruiter.  Since I am an independent contractor my short-term loyalty is to whomever I am not working for, but my long-term loyalty is to myself.  I make a lot of money when I’m working on a contract but am often between contracts, i.e. looking for work.  I need to get people hired, then do it quickly or I won’t be kept.

My advantage to you: Since I am compensated and kept as a recruiter based on performance, if I contact you or you contact me, I’m going to try to get you through the hiring process with the company I am contracted with as fast as possible.  I usually know the organization that I’m working with fairly well and what they’re likely to hire.  So, I will be able to give you every bit of information that will help you in the interviewing process.  Since I am paid on volume, I want to see you get hired.

Since I am an independent contractor, I may very well put your information in my personal database and call you about opportunities with the firms that I might contract with in the future.

My disadvantage to you: In most cases I am only working for the one company that I contacted you about.  So I will only be presenting you to this one firm, helping you out with their process.  But it is not likely that I’m going to present anything to you other than the one organization that I am working for.

I may very well keep your information if you don’t get hired by the organization that I am working for now.  I may take that information with me and call you about opportunities with companies that I contract with in the future.

How to deal with me: You may not even know that I am a contractor.  Most of the time I will appear to you to be an employee of the organization that I represent.  You don’t really care as long as I can get you a job that might be of value to you

I’m not going to mess around and spend a lot of time coddling you and holding your hand.  I’m usually “run’en and gun’en” to fill as many opportunities with the company I’m working with as fast as possible.  The firm’s I work with are usually hiring many people over a short period of time, so I may very well get you in the process with them but, they are not going to spend a lot of time “romancing” you.


We are permanent employees of the companies that we work for.  Many of us came out of the third-party recruiting arena where we couldn’t survive the last three or four years.  We’re more aggressive than H.R. staffing people but aren’t quite strong enough to make it doing contingency recruiting.

We’re dedicated to the organization that we work for and, as aggressively as we can, recruit for them.  You can usually detect us because we come across pretty aggressively.  We’re usually salaried employees, with maybe a bonus attached to the numbers of people that we might recruit

We usually work for organizations that are large enough and do enough hiring to justify employing us.  Part of our job is to help our company to find people quickly and avoid paying third-party recruiter fees.

Our advantage to you: I am pretty aggressive and my ego is wrapped up in being successful for my company.  As with a third-party, an external recruiter, I like “looking good” to the hiring authorities in my company.  I’m usually really good at knowing the kind of person that my company wants to hire and because I am fairly aggressive.  I will give a little “push back” to hiring authorities when they may not want to interview you.

I don’t mind reminding the managers in the company that I work for that “no candidate is perfect” and that they should interviewing you on my say so.  I will push you through if I think you are the best candidate.

Our disadvantage you: Since I have a fairly strong personality and feel like that the perception of me is dependent upon the candidates that I produce, that if I don’t think they you are a good candidate, I will not promote you at all.  I don’t “think outside the box” and see your “potential” as a candidate.  If I think you fit, I will push you really hard through the hiring process.  But if I don’t, I won’t push you very hard.

How to deal with me: Start by asking about my role and my responsibilities to my employers and hiring authorities.  If you sense that I am really aggressive, get me to like you a lot and see you as a real viable candidate.  Sell yourself to me very hard so that I might overlook your weaknesses and sell your strengths.  Since I am the “conduit” to you getting an interview, you need to impress me with your abilities to do the job as well as your ability to get the job.  If I believe in you, I will push you through the process, so get me to believe in you.  I have a pretty strong ego, so if you help me “look good”, I will help you through the interviewing process.

“What can I do to get you to promote me in the interviewing process?” is a good question to ask me.


They call us recruiters, but we really aren’t in the formal sense of the word.  We actually “screen” candidates for our hiring authorities. They don’t want to do it because they’re too busy, (…or inept) so we are hired to protect them from masses of candidates e-mailing them, calling them or trying to interview with them. We may sound authoritative to you, but we’re more administrative types of people than anything else.

We might go out on the Internet and look for resumes or ask present employees if they know of anybody that might be interested in working for the firm.  We may run ads and call people who respond to them, but we’re not real aggressive “recruiters.”

Our advantage to you: If you are a relatively “perfect” candidate and the hiring authorities aren’t interested in speaking with you based on the resumes that I found or that you sent, then I can help you in getting through the interviewing process.  I will take care of a lot of details of coordination of the interviewing process and try to accommodate you and the hiring authorities’ schedules as much as I can.

I may know a little bit about the position specifications, but only those that are written by the hiring authority.

Our disadvantage to you: I’m not really going to “sell” you to the hiring authorities.  If you aren’t as “perfect” a candidate as we can find, then I can’t help you much.  I might make you feel good about our company and the opportunity that you might be interviewing for, but as far as really helping you get the job, other than the logistics’ of the interviewing process, I’m not much help.

I might be a little help in coaching you through the interviewing process, but since I am mostly a “screener,” I’m not really knowledgeable of the gives and takes of the job or the hiring authority. The hiring authorities see me as a screener and facilitator rather than someone real knowledgeable about candidates and their availability on the marketplace. After an initial interview, I may not be much help to you in getting feedback or follow-up interviews

How to deal with me: Try to get around me or through me and get in front of the actual hiring authority.  Anything you can do to get me to help you get an interview, do it.  Sometimes I respond to the “squeaky wheel” candidate who happens to be available when the hiring authority decides he or she wants to interview.  I can be your conduit to an interview, so respect me and be nice to me.


We are close to the H.R. for the firms that we work for.  We’re looking to hire you as an employee of our firm, then contract you out to one of our clients.  The kind of firms that we could work for, covers a very broad range of staffing and consulting organizations.  Our firm could be an administrative temporary staffing firm or an IT, technical or engineering, long-term project-consulting firm.

We will actually seek you out and hire you on a contract or you can come tell us and we will try to find you an “assignment.” We could assign you work for our clients anywhere from a day to 3 years.

Because of the kind of professional that you are, you know exactly how we work.  If you don’t, we will explain it to you very clearly.  We recruit or find you and you become an employee of our organization.

RESEARCH CONSULTANTS and MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS (that also recruit as part of their offering)

We are not really recruiters at all.  If we’re research consultants, we’re usually paid by the hour to find “purple squirrels”…. very hard to find types of individuals with very specific kinds of experiences that only relate to very narrow professions or businesses.  You are just as glad that we found you, as we’re glad to have found you.  There number of people that you could work for are limited. Since there are a limited number of you, my job is to find you when we need you.

…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
  • Placers
  • Contract Recruiters, Internal and External
  • Internal Recruiters
  • 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


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 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.


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 to 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.

If 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 and 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’) and 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 the 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 is 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 work and 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 likes to find. They compare themselves to themselves, regardless 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 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 an 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 salesperson to 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,” but 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 the candidate with the most qualified experience 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 that 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 hire 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.