Category Archives: employers

…the cost of YOUR vacancy

If you hire people, you need to read this.

If you ever look for a job, you need to read this.

I have discussed more than 23,000 job openings with employers since 1973. I have worked on search assignments from everything from an hourly maintenance person for a third shift manufacturing environment to presidents and CEOs. Most hiring authorities, from the third shift maintenance supervisor to members of the board, feel like they are very good at hiring (when they’re really not) and that it will only take 45 days to fill the lower to medium salary range positions and 90 to 120 days to fill the higher-level positions (the reality is more like 90 to 120 days on the lower to medium salaried positions and 150 to 180 days for the higher positions – totally unrealistic).

Even though every hiring authority starts out with good intentions, the hiring process drags on for way longer than everyone imagines it will. The major reason for this? People are afraid of making a mistake. In spite of what anyone says, most hiring authorities really don’t like hiring. Now very few managers will ever admit that they downright hate hiring and they’ll tell you that it’s “just part of the job,” but in their hearts they don’t like it. Why? Because when people make a poor hiring decision literally everybody knows it and sees it and that manager is being judged based on that poor decision.

Accounting managers are hired because they’re good at managing the accounting function. If they make an accounting mistake, few people may know it and, if it’s caught in time, it can be erased and rectified. An engineering manager is hired to manage the engineering function and the people that are in the department. If an engineering mistake is made even a reasonable amount of quality control can discover it and fix it. A sales manager who is hired to manage sales can even afford to lose a sale and make it up by making more sales.

But when one of these managers makes a bad hire, most everyone in the company can see it and, since it takes forever to get rid of most bad hires the manager is looked upon as a doofus because he or she hired one. And since the mistake of a bad hire can’t be quickly and easily rectified, the “mistake” walks around the company reminding everyone what a doofus the hiring authority was to hire them in the first place.

In all my years of recruiting I don’t think I’ve ever had a company looking to hire a manager and have, as part of its criteria for hiring, “documentable success in hiring excellent and productive subordinates.” And even if they did, it certainly is difficult to get an objective evaluation of a person’s ability to hire. A manager’s ability to recruit, hire and retain good employees should be one of the main considerations in hiring any manager. But it’s not. It is assumed that any manager with subordinates is good at hiring. But they’re not… most of the time.

So, hiring cycles drag on and on and on. What everyone thinks will take 30 to 45 days takes four to six months because people don’t like doing it and, in their hearts, they know they’re not very good at it. Ninety-nine percent of the hiring authorities in the United States have absolutely no idea the cost to their company that a vacancy has over even a short period of time. Numerous studies, especially one at Harvard University, find that the average value of a productive employee is roughly two and a half times their salary rate. For revenue producing employees, the cost of that vacancy is phenomenal.

On top of the fact that when a vacancy occurs, “It couldn’t have come at a worse time… I’m going to have to get people in the department to cover for this person until I find a replacement, and they are going to be pissed… I’m going to have to do the work this person was doing until I find a replacement.” There are a ton of other emotionally charged feelings… and they’re all bad. They perseverate, “We don’t want to make a mistake… We don’t want to make a mistake… We don’t want to make a mistake… We don’t want to make a mistake… I can’t hire now, I have to do my job… I can’t hire now, I have to do my job… I can’t hire now I have to do my job” when the truth is that it is simply easier to postpone hiring and (much easier) to do the day-to-day job. So, hiring drags on.

I have provided a table that we give to our clients to help them realize, on top of everything else, what a vacant position actually cost them. It sobers them up real quickly. Highlight this address and go to:

                                                      http://bit.ly/1TtLK06

Put in the salary range of any vacancy you might have and see what it’s really costing you and your company. If you’re looking for a revenue producing candidate, like sales, the formula is even more dramatic.

So, if you’ve been looking for an assistant controller at a $90,000 salary for eight weeks, you have cost your company $34,615.00. If you’ve been looking for an accountant or production manager who left your company four weeks ago at a $50,000 salary, it has cost your company $14,423.00. And, as you know four weeks can go by in a heartbeat.

If you are a candidate, you can use this table to help you get a job. Last week, one of our sales candidates was in the final interview process with one of our clients. He was interviewing with a VP of sales, his boss and the vice president of finance. Each interview was a “one on one.” As he wrapped up each individual interview, he said, “I want to leave you one last thing,” and he handed each one of the interviewing authorities a small piece of paper with the figure of $93,307.00 written on it. As they looked at it, wondering what it was, he calmly stated, “The quota for this territory is $1.2 million and this is the amount you are losing every month by not having me in this job.” He then paused and asked, “When can I go to work?” Guess who got hired?

Well, I’m sure you get the idea. Most hiring managers are so close to the forest they miss the trees. The cost of a vacancy is real and can motivate managers to take action.

TOO MANY JOBS !!! If you are an EMPLOYER, read this…If you are a CANDIDATE looking for a job, READ THIS !!

there is one constant conundrum in the profession of a recruiter as well as for our clients and our candidates. It is the problem of having too many jobs in a short period of time. We’ve known some organizations that consider more than two jobs in five years to be excessive. Most people would agree that three jobs in three years is problematic. A hiring authority and his or her company are looking to minimize risk. A candidate with three jobs in three years is considered a risk. Most hiring authorities assume that, no matter what the reasons, a candidate with that kind of record is only going to be with their company for three years.

candidates with short tenure and companies will always have “reasons” for why they left or were forced to leave. Some are more valid than others. Some of our clients simply won’t, under any circumstances interview a candidate who has had three jobs in three years. I understand.

but the truth is that the complexion of business has rapidly changed over the years. Companies are more fluid than they have ever been… Ever! Feature the facts:

  • in 1973 (the year that I got in this profession) the average company in the United States was 59 years old.
  • in 2012 the average company in the United States was 15 years old.
  • In 2014 the average company in the United States was 12 years old.
  • the average turnover rate of a survey of 40,000 businesses in the United States was 15% 
  • average turnover rate for small businesses was close to 20%
  • the average job in United States lasts 2.5 years

think about it. Businesses come and  go faster than they ever have in turnover rate is as great as it’s ever been.

I spoke to one of our hiring authorities, Danny, just yesterday who claimed that he just didn’t want to see any candidates that had more than two jobs in the last three years. He said that they would be with him for about that amount of time and he just wouldn’t interview anybody like that. Danny stated that he was 55 years old and it only had two jobs in the last 25 years. He couldn’t understand why people these days would have so many different jobs in short periods of time. In other words, why weren’t more people like Danny? Well, Danny was a performer but he was also lucky!

I explained to him the above statistics. Companies come and go faster than they ever have. The candidate whose company got bought, shutdown or merged may be a really good employee. His or her reasons for leaving the job may not have anything to do with them, but the company  that they were working for. Danny reflected for a moment and admitted that his company, a few years earlier, had bought another company and laid off 60% of the people in that company because there was a duplication of jobs.

Danny and all of the other hiring authorities out there with the same mentality might want to reconsider a candidate’s “too many jobs.” To eliminate a candidate carte blanche without investigating as to exactly the reasons for the job instability is not only unfair to the candidate but shortsighted on the part of the hiring authority.

Having said all of that, however, a candidate with three jobs in three years had better have some really good reasons for leaving the companies they have left. “It just didn’t work out,” or “they just didn’t know what they were doing” or “we just couldn’t agree” or “they just didn’t pay enough, so I left” or “I got fired”… (You get the drift)… ARE NOT good reasons for leaving a job. When a prospective employer hears things like this they automatically dismiss the candidate. their attitude is that the candidate will leave them for the same stupid reasons they left the last people they were working for.

On top of that, some candidates are simply attracted to risky organizations. They become serial risk takers with their jobs and wind up with more jobs in a short period of time than most employers like. I’ve placed some candidates with risk oriented attitudes who wound up becoming millionaires because they caught our clients at the right time in their evolution. I have to admit, though, that I have placed many more who took a risk and wound up calling me again in 12 or 18 months explaining that the company was no longer around. Free enterprise is a wonderful but treacherous experience.

Here’s the lesson. “Too many jobs” is relative. Just because a candidate has had three jobs in three years doesn’t mean that he or she be on his next job for only one year. The important thing to do is investigate thoroughly the reasons the candidate left the jobs he has had. Dig deep, check references thoroughly. You may end up eliminating the candidate with too many jobs but at least you’ve given yourself, and him or her, the benefit of the doubt. And every once in a while you may uncover a real gem.

A year or so ago, I was reminded by one of my associates that she had way too many jobs before she came to work here. She was a top producer and retired from here  after 14 solid years.

P.S. just got an email from a potential candidate, “my former employer just shut down US operations in November and while they offered me a role in Mumbai, India, I live here in Dallas with my family and we cannot relocate.” It’s his second job in three years.

 

 

 

…inattentional blindness and your job search

Daniel J. Simons is a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. He studies human’s attention, perception and memory. In most every study he has ever conducted, he has discovered that most all of our skills regarding attention, perception and memory are nowhere as good as we think. His most famous study was conducted in 1999. He asked subjects to view a video of six people passing two baskeballs back and fourth. The subjects were asked to count how many times three players wearing white shirts passed the basketball while ignoring the players wearing black who passed their own ball.After a few passes a person wearing a gorilla suit expectantly walks through the scene. 50% of subjects failed to notice the person in the gorilla suit. ( You can find this video on YouTube.)

Simons’ proves the theory  that there is a big mismatch between what we see and what we think we see. This condition is called “inattentional blindness.” He has even tested the effects of this in real world conditions. Subjects were asked to follow an experimenter on the backof a truck while they were jogging. While jogging, they were to monitoring how many times the experimenter touched his hat. As they were jogging along a predefined route, they ran past a simulated flight scene in which two other experimenters were “beating” a victim. They found that even in broad daylight, only 56% of the subjects noticed the fight.

So, the lesson is that people see about what they want to see and forget to look at the rest. This applies to the interviewing and hiring process more than most people will ever admit. Employers especially will get hung up on one or two issues in a candidate’s background… sometimes for better or for worse… and disregard or don’t pay attention to other aspects of it. One prime example of this is the candidate who is had three jobs in the last two years. The vast majority of employers are going to get hung up on that fact and hardly go beyond it to delve into a candidate’s experience or performance. They simply stop and move on to another candidate. Candidates often do the same thing when they consider looking at a company and get hung up on what other people might say about the company, its size, the kind of business they are in and literally hundreds of other things that distract them from really investigating the company.

What this simply means is that, if you’re a candidate, you need to be aware of the things in your background or experience that may distract a potential employer from interviewing you or realizing all of your abilities and potential once they do interview you. There may even be some positive issues that will distract a potential employer from your negative ones.

Just be aware that inattentional blindness is a reality and it has a phenomenal impact on your job search.

 

 

…more misguided (… Stupid) advice

So this week some job search guru goes on LinkedIn and writes an article about how interviewing and hiring authorities have an obligation to give you feedback about your interview with them… The guy goes on and on about how hiring authorities should and ought to give you feedback on the interview you had with them and how if you keep calling them, the good ones realize their obligation and will give you feedback…

Hokum… Garbage… BS… Laughable… Like what planet are you living on?… It’s obviously clear that this guy has never spent much time finding people jobs… It’s totally misleading to tell people that they’re going to get feedback from an interviewing or hiring authority more than, maybe once out of 15 times…

This guy goes on and on about how good managers, interviewers and hiring authorities should and will give you honest feedback  about your interview…DON’T BUY ONE WORD OF IT… I don’t know what this guy is smoking or where he dreamed this idea up… But the truth is 99.99% of all of the people you will interview with, unless they are really interested in hiring you and are incredibly nice,  are NOT going to give you any feedback about you or your interviewing…

Should they be willing to give you feedback? … Yes!… Will they tell you that they will?… Yes! Do they know it’s courteous to do that?… Yes!… Will they do it?… NO!!! is it rude?… Yes!…  Is it discourteous?! …Yes!… But, are they going to do it?…NO!

It’s not a matter that they are intentionally mean, or insincere, or rude… They are simply unintentionally mean, insincere, and rude… So you ask “how can people be that way?”… Really easy… They just are! You notice me writing about ‘spiritual beings acting human?’… Well, this is a manifestation of spiritual beings acting human…

So, you may ask for feedback from folks you’ve interviewed… Just plain don’t expect it… If you get it, you are blessed… but just don’t expect it. Don’t waste your time wondering why, hoping, wishing, begging, wondering, speculating… Just accept the fact that you’re not going to get it, quit cursing the darkness and move on to the next opportunity…

Having done this for more than 40 years the only reason I can imagine that people will be, at best, inconsiderate is because they are so busy and so wrapped up in their own lives that giving you feedback on your performance in an interview is just  not a high priority to them… Ironically,  when they become a candidate and go to look for a job they can’t believe that interviewing and hiring authorities are so rude…

So, quit losing any emotion over this and move on…

…seven years later

might have metioned it before, but i presented a candidate to an employer…they really liked each other…the deal didn’t work out at the time…

the candidate was smart and kept in the touch with the employer…the employer liked the guy…they did have a more than normal appreciation for each other, but nothing spectacular…

every once in a while, the candidate would call the employer…they would go to lunch..

the employer eventually hired the candidate…seven years after they first met…the employer had changed companies twice and the candidate three times..

lesson: never burn a bridge…be nice to everyone..what goes around comes around

…lessons from dr.phil

went to appear on the dr. phil show…it will air april 29  …spent two days taping in LA…

i don’t know much about television, but i have been watching businesses grow siince 1973…i have never seen such a well run business as the dr.phil show… this guy runs one of the smoothest, most precision operation i have seen

there are 300 people that work for the dr.phil show…there are 10 producers, each with 10 or 11 folks working for them …the rest are technical people…each producer manages one show at a time..

they tape three shows a day, four days a week…and, i mean the “trains run on time”…everything runs on time…the preperation for each show is amazing…everyone knows exactly what they are suppose to do…and they had better do it right..

phil mcgraw is one of the nicest guys i have met…he has tremendous compassion for people and everyone that works there admires him and the organization…some of those folks have been there 13 years…since it started…some have left and come back…

those coming back will tell you that they go to other hollywood shows and they aren’t run near as well as mcgraw’s…they really appreciate working there..

i have really only spent two or so hours with dr.phil himself…but the organization reflects him and his values..it is a tremendous group of people…and, as with most firms, the get their character from the top guy

it was a real pleasure to experience this guy’s business…

even the guy who drove me from the airport was saying how much trouble most of hollywood was having…and that one of the bright spots was the success of the dr.phil show..

i can see why…

..working for friends

..heard from a candidate of mine over the weekend…”well, you told me so..” he began

frankly, i had forgtotten what i did tell him…it was six months ago and i have slept since then…he remnded me that, when he told me he as going to go to work for a good friend of his, in that friend’s small company, i shared with him that it rarely works out…that you loose a friend and usually the job in a relatively short period of time…

and that is exactly what happened..it was even more difficult because my candidate thought that his friend was sidestepping the law on certain issues…i.e. payroll taxes…

apparently it got ugly and my candidate is looking for a job again and did loose, what he thought, was a good friend….

i guess anything is possible, but really think twice about going to work for friends..even “distant” ones…if you have to feed your family and that is the only job you can find, you may not have much choice…but ask yourself before you do, “how easy will it be to quit?”.. “what happens if they fire me?” …”am i willing to loose ‘friendship’ over this?”

…till your butt’s in the chair

two weeks ago, one of our candidates got a verbal job offer…$150,000 plus commissions, etc…start date, end of november..maybe december…maybe the first of the year (..almost 3 months away)

i said, “that’s really strange….doesn’t make sense…” …i told him not to trust it…he should keep looking and not stop..he marginally agreed…but he was convinced he had found a job

friday, they call him and tell him the position has been put on hold..we feel so badly for him but there is nothing anyone can do.

lesson: don’t count on anything in this job market…until your butt’s in the chair (…and even then) …don’t stop looking for a good opportunity… keep interviewing…even if you get a written offer…once you start a job…and have been there a while, then shut the process down..

…snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

candidate is in the finals..down to him and one other.. he is going to interview with the CEO and the president…it is a small, $100 million firm..

so, thinking he can wow them, he comes up with an elaborate “future” plan about how he has contacts to help them expand and double their size by adding lines of products he can bring them…instead of interviewing, he comes across as though he wants to create partnerships for them….bad move..

they agree to pass on him…they were simply looking for a sales person, not a new business….he oversold and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory..

lesson: sell yourself to get the job you are interviewing for..don’t try to make it more complicated than it is

…so, life and interviewing are unfair

..interviewing and hiring are staged, contrived events…they aren’t reality…but, like churchill said about democracy, it’s the worst form of government after all the others have been tried..

candidates complain that hiring authorities ask very unfair questions, that have nothing to do with the job (i.e. “why are manholes round?”…”what is one thing about you, you don’t want me to know?”) …and employers get hung up on one or two answers that aren’t the way they would answer the question..(i.e. define “consultative selling”)…

we have seen candidates and hiring authorities get hung up on the smallest, most silly things that really have nothing to do with a candidates ability to do the job or the quality of a job opportunity…

no sense in getting mad or disappointed about things like this…when they happen, the situations are unfair…not right…just unfair

but, so is life…get over it and move on…you’ll hardly ever rectify or change the situation…accept what you may not understand …move on..