Author Archives: tonybeshara

…greg’s vaccine dilemma

Well, Tuesday I heard from a candidate of mine who brought up the proverbial future problem that was bound to arise. Greg has only been on his job for three months and his company has told him that he’s going to have to take the vaccine in order to keep his job. Greg calls me because I’ve known him for a number of years and he asks me, since he doesn’t want to take the vaccine (he’s only about 40 years old)  that if he quits his job or gets fired, could I find him another job?

Now this is a real dilemma. I understand people not wanting, basically the government, telling them what they can and can’t do regarding their own health. This is especially true with the Covid vaccine. There is so much medical and political stuff being bantered about it’s really hard to know what is right.

Keep in mind, there is nobody in the world who dislikes “mandates” more than me. When I was young and the military draft still existed, I filed for conscientious objection. I understand religious and faith-based objections. It took me almost 4 years to obtain the conscientious objection status, first through the US Army and then through my draft board, a very conservative one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was very difficult and a real test of commitment. I understand how passionately people need to feel to adopt a commitment like that.

Now also keep in mind that I got the vaccine…all three of them. My sense is that whatever downside the vaccines might have, at 73 years old, the downside of Covid is probably worse. So, I took the risk of the vaccines. However, I have a keen appreciation for Greg’s dilemma. (I had two friends of mine, both in their 60s, who refused to take the vaccine. They both died of Covid within the last two months.)  I will admit that this is a personal decision, and maybe a person feels differently about it when they’re 40 years old.

But, my calling in life is to help people find jobs and advise them about keeping them. Greg is going to have a phenomenal uphill battle if he gets fired or resigns because he will not take the vaccine (he has no medical reason, as he is quite healthy) because he just objects to it morally or religiously. Here is why. He has been on this job for only three months. How is he going to appear to a prospective employer if he goes into an interview and explains that since he wouldn’t take the vaccine he left his job before he got fired and that’s why he’s looking for another job?

Even if a prospective employer totally disagrees with the vaccine mandate and empathizes with Greg’s situation, the employer is going to think to him or herself, “Greg gave up a job over not taking the vaccine! Hmmmm, I don’t know this guy at all. Is he a malcontent? If I hire him and he just doesn’t like something down the line is he going to walk out or get fired like he did in this last job? Well, I may very well agree with Greg on the particular issue he has explained, but I can’t run the risk of hiring someone that might walk out on me after three months for any kind of reason when I have all these other candidates available that are probably just as qualified. So, I’m going to pass on Greg. It just doesn’t make sense to run the risk. Besides, if I hire him and he leaves or gets fired for some cockamamie reason, the boss can ask me why I even hired him in the first place. This is too much of a mess and I can’t afford to run that risk. I really like Greg, but I’m not going to hire him.”

I explained this scenario to Greg. I told him he was going to really have to think about it. My humble opinion would be to take the vaccine and keep the job. This is not because I agree with the mandate, because I don’t. But the scenario of him trying to find a job is going to be awful. Like I mentioned, it really doesn’t matter if the employer Greg would interview with agrees or disagrees with the mandate, he or she doesn’t know Greg well enough to know if they might run into problems over other issues if they hire Greg. It’s just not worth it for them to run that risk. There are too many other qualified candidates.

This is a very sad state of affairs. I personally do not think it’s right for the government or any big company to put anyone in this kind of awkward precarious position. It’s wrong. But losing your job over protesting the situation is the worst of the evils. Again, it doesn’t matter what I or anybody else thinks, the issue is how it’s going to appear to a prospective employer.

So, Greg has a real dilemma. Let’s hope he does the right thing.

 

…..small bit of advice about bad advice

Not a week goes by that somebody somewhere writes about advice for resumes. A week ago last Saturday (one of my favorite psychologists), Dan Ariely, wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal about how to “avoid bias” on your resume. He quoted a study in the UK where a group of psychologists sent out resumes and cover letters responding to more than 9000 real job vacancies. The cover letters were all the same, but the resumes varied slightly. Some showed an unexplained 2.5 year gap since the last job. Others explained that the 2.5 year gap was for childcare purposes. A third set simply adopted a less traditional layout replacing the dates of employment with the number of years of experience.

There was no difference in the number of callbacks for resumes that explain the gap versus those that did not. However, according to Ariely, removing dates and presenting previous employment in terms of years of experience increased the callbacks by 15%.

I’m not doubting or questioning the results of the study. I’m sure Dan reported it correctly. But I am here to tell you that that kind of resume does not work very well at all, at least here in America. These are usually recognized as “functional” resumes. They normally list the amount of experience one has had in terms of total years of experience. What they avoid is the chronological dates of specific jobs. The vast majority of employers are looking at 150 or so resumes. They scan those resumes. They don’t read them. They look for, “who did the person work for?… What does that company do?… What did the candidate do at that company?… And, how well did the candidate do it?”

Whether it’s a hiring authority or an interviewing authority or even a resume “screener,” that is what they’re looking for and if they can’t see it quickly…like in 10 seconds, the resume will be usually passed up.

So, don’t believe everything you read.

 

…..so everyone is looking for a job ?????

A new report came out last week that quoted “one in three Generations Z and millennial workers are looking for new job, according to a survey of 630 full-time employees at small to midsize businesses by Paychecks Incorporated. Older generations including baby boomers and Gen Xer’s are more content with their current employment. Only 11% of boomers and 27% of Generation Z are actively seeking a new job, compared with 35% of millennials and 44% of Generation Z.”

Ever since I’ve been in this business, I have seen these reports. When I was younger, I believed them. It’s not that I don’t believe them anymore, it is just that I have a much better perspective than I did years ago. Here is the reality. If you ask most people if they’d like to find a new job, lots of them will tell you “of course.” And you’re especially apt to do that when you’re young and just a bit ignorant. But there is a real big difference between saying that you would “like to find a new job” and actually going to the trouble and effort to actively look for a job.

How do I know this? Because I meet all kinds of people all the time who tell me they want to find a new job, but when they have to make an investment of time and effort and go through the emotional strain of having to get interviews, take the time to  interview, get rejected and then have to do it all over again, maybe over a two or three or four months period of time, it’s a different story. Objectively and when it doesn’t cost any time, trouble or effort, most people will say, “Yeah, sure… I’ll change jobs!” But doing it is a totally different matter.

Maybe the younger generation just doesn’t know how hard it really is to just “change jobs.” Maybe the other generations know that most jobs might just be what you make of them. Maybe they also know how hard it is to really change jobs even if you think you might want to. The actual doing of it, since maybe they’ve done it before, runs through their head and they think better of the idea.

Changing jobs is really hard to do. It’s a first-class pain. So, when you read surveys like this, take them with a grain of salt. People’s intentions and their actions might be different.

 

…… “well, Tony, I’m not going to take the shots so I guess they’re going to fire me, can you help me?”

John went on to try to explain to me that he just wasn’t going to take that vaccine no matter what. He gave me all kinds of excuses, but what it came down to was, he just didn’t want to. the whole thing was a hoax and a scam, etc. to him. He was nice about it… wasn’t angry. He just said that he wasn’t going to take the vaccination and therefore his company was going to fire him and he wanted to know what I can do to help them find a new job.

The unfortunate aspect about this is that he’s only been on this job for three months. So, I asked him, “how are you going to explain to a new, prospective employer that you quit your job before you got fired because you weren’t going to get vaccinated.” Now whether an employer may or may not agree with the whole vaccine mandate they are going to have to deal with it. None of us employers like it, but we all have to deal with it. It doesn’t matter whether we agree with the vaccine are not.

Think about John’s situation. I advised him that he ought to take the vaccine unless he has an underlying medical reason of why he shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter whether I agree with the vaccine or not, anybody that gets fired because they won’t take the vaccine is going to have a real hard time finding a job. A prospective employer isn’t going to get hung up so much on the vaccine issue itself, they are going to get hung up on the fact that a potential employee would sacrifice their job over the vaccine. What that implies is that the potential employee may just as easily balk at one of their policies should they be hired. Most hiring authorities think, “we already have enough problems, there is no reason to run the risk of hiring someone who might give us more problems. We will just interview someone else.”

John is going to create a mess for himself. It turns out that he is simply being stubborn about the whole thing, has no underlying medical issues for not getting vaccinated. He finally admitted that he was an official “antivaxer.”

I don’t like being told by the government what to do over my own personal life either. But in my case, I’m running a business John is trying to keep his job, or if he has to, find another one. Arguing over this issue is nothing but a waste of time.

John, keep your job, get vaccinated!

…….don’t Just listen to me

Our whole firm has been trying to tell companies and hiring managers for the past ninemonths, maybe more, that you’re going to lose good candidates and you take too long to decide. Most hiring companies and authorities often have a tendency to think that it’s “recruiters speak.” They have a tendency to think that we’re just telling them to make a decision and move faster on our candidates.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve seen eight recessions and it works this way every single time. After the recession more or less ends and there are a lot fewer candidates on the marketplace hiring companies still have big egos and think, “Well, that won’t happen to us… We’re such a good company everybody will want to go to work here…. and besides, we don’t want to make a mistake and we have to keep these umpteen steps in the interviewing process because, well, it’s us and we’re special.”

This goes on for about six months until folks start losing people right and left because other companies are hiring them faster. Last month, for instance I worked with an organization that bragged about cutting their process down to 10 business days. They told me when we started that they could interview and hire within 10 days. Of course they lied. The person that made this promise didn’t take into account some of the interviewing and hiring authorities having to go on vacation, get sick, travel and all the things that happen to people. They found a candidate they were absolutely in love with and while they were trying to get everyone in the queue to interview the guy, he got interviewed and hired by another firm within three days. They simply told us they can’t move that fast. Okay, but you lose good people this way.

This whole message can be summed up by this email that I got from the client today. I wrote and reminded them that if they dragged their feet too long they would lose a candidate and here is what he wrote back:

Thanks Tony, this is book, our new normal…most candidates have multiple offers and we’re seeing coin flips. And, yes, we’ve lost a couple that way.”

I can’t say it any better than that! You don’t just have to listen to me!

 

….good managers are always interviewing…always

One of our recruiters, Eric Hancz, has more certifications and initials after his name than anybody in our company and really understands finance and accounting. Fortunately that’s the kinds of people that he places.

He has developed a wonderful habit of building, as all of us do, great relationships with managers of accounting departments and accounting firms, regardless of whether they need to hire someone or not. He lets them know that it’s our responsibility to not just fill positions, but to let good companies know about good candidates whenever they come about.

This week he called a firm that he had built a relationship like that with, even though we’ve never really placed anybody there. He spoke to the hiring manager about a particular candidate that he thought was really special. He advised the manager that it might be a good idea just to talk to the lady just to get to know her because she was so excellent. The manager reminded Eric that he really wasn’t looking to hire anybody, but upon Eric’s recommendation, he would interview the lady.

He hired her today. The manager isn’t really sure exactly where he’s going to put her, but he agreed that she was just too good to pass up.

Good managers are always establishing relationships with good candidates even if they don’t have an opening or are not interested in hiring. The average turnover in every company in the United States is 30%. We never know when people are going to leave. It’s just good business to know when a good candidate is available. I placed a candidate with an organization a number of years ago. They hired him seven years after they initially interviewed him. He was that good.

We are recommending that managers spend all of their time interviewing. One of our long-term clients says that he will interview anybody on a Friday afternoon at 2 PM if we think they’re that good. We don’t send in many candidates, but the ones we do are thoroughly impressed with him and he’s even helped two of them to find jobs with friends of his that he told us to call after he interviewed them.

Lots of people just don’t think interviewing is a high priority until they need to hire someone. It should be a high priority all the time. A 30 to 45 minute investment with the possibility of finding top talent once a week or so is worth every bit of the effort. You just never know how relationships like that are going to go. A number of years ago I sent a candidate on an interview just like this and three years later he was a hiring authority who ended up interviewing the fellow that interviewed him three years before and ended up hiring him.

You never know.

 

….it’s easy to make it easy even if it’s hard to do…

If you follow this blog, you know that we spend a lot of time talking about how candidates mess up interviewing and how employers really mess up the interviewing process. It’s easy to point out the negative, because it’s something that people want to avoid. We write about things that go wrong in the hopes that people will learn from them. Unfortunately, getting hired and hiring people is such an emotionally difficult thing most people, no matter how practiced, don’t do a very good job of. So, we write about the unfortunate situations. I often make the analogy, though, that hiring is like bench pressing 500 pounds. It’s really simple but it’s really hard to do.

But every once in a while, a group of people come along and make the whole process look so simple and easy. A week ago last Wednesday, we got a call from the vice president of a $200 million software firm. He’d been a candidate of ours a number of years ago. His company had been trying to find a salesperson through their own recruiting department for about a month and they’d only been able to come up with three or four candidates through their own efforts. He gave us great information about what he was looking for (really, really, really important), then turned us over to their internal recruiter, who seemed to be a really nice person and not threatened by us or our expertise.  (Many internal recruiters often begin by telling us that, “I used to be in your business…” We don’t say much, because it’s not worth doing, but why would someone go into a corporate recruiting job making even $100,000, when, if you’re really good, you can make three times that on the agency side? That’s another discussion, but most of the people in our profession don’t really belong in it. That’s why the average recruiter only stays in this business 15 months.)

The VP had explained what he was looking for and she suggested that she be the first person our candidates speak to. We’re not normally very wild about this idea, because while an internal recruiter might really be nice and really know what she’s talking about, most candidates want to talk to the guy or gal that is really doing the hiring. However, this lady was a little different. She went over the very specific process that they had in hiring. She would speak to the candidate for 30 minutes. If she thought they were a decent candidate, she would pass them along to the VP. He would spend 45 minutes to an hour with the candidate via zoom. If he thought the candidate was good he would then organize a team meeting with his boss and two of his peers. He said he could do it in a short period of time. (Normally we only believe people when we see what they do rather than listen to them tell us what they do.)

We came up with six (excellent) candidates within two days. The internal recruiter spoke to four of them and passed four of them on to the VP. The VP liked two of them and told them he would schedule a team meeting with  them with his boss and two of his peers. They did all of this within three days. Now this is a smart group of people!

Right after the team interview, one of the candidates got another offer, which he took. Our client then checked the references of our second candidate and hired him. They very well could have gotten the two other candidates in the queue, but frankly, there was not a lot of difference between the three of them. They had the whole thing done in one week.

Obviously, our client had a sense of urgency. They had been looking on their own for a very long period of time. We did our job and came up with excellent candidates. But, no matter how many good candidates we might be able to come up with, we are still at the mercy of the hiring authority’s process.

It’s really simple and easy to do. Don’t ask me why more companies don’t hire this way. It’s been a mystery to me since 1973. Yea for folks like this!

 

 

…think….think….think…think…think…think

No matter how good a track record you might have… no matter how successful you have been… no matter how smooth you think you are…you gotta think about what you say to a prospective employer when you get asked a question. You got to ask yourself, “If I don’t know me or my situation, how does this sound to a prospective employer?”

This week, I had an excellent candidate interview for a position with an outstanding consulting firm. The job in the company would’ve been a very nice step up for him and, certainly, the company needed his track record and his potential. The guy had been phenomenally successful at a much smaller,very unknown, consulting firm. This was going to be his chance to get into the “major leagues.” And the company was going to be able to hire a star.

Here is what the employer wrote me after the interview:

“I am not able to move forward with ———- as a candidate.”

“He told me that he had issues with his expense reports being too large for client dinners, and not getting approved. He also told me that he went around his manager’s back to do things he wasn’t supposed to (outside of his role), because he felt like he should do them anyway.”

Why, why, why, why, why would anybody communicate that to a prospective employer? Now, the truth is that the candidate’s present firm is first class cheap. He ended up paying some of his expenses out of his own pocket. What he was trying to communicate was that, “I go the extra mile and do what I have to do.”

But obviously, what came across to the potential manager was, “This guy doesn’t mind breaking the rules and goes around his management and does whatever he wants to do! I can’t afford to hire anybody that’s going to be that deliberate in breaking my or my company’s rules.” End of consideration!

I’ve known as candidate for a number of years and he’s really a good guy. A really good guy. He’s not a malcontent. In fact, he’s a top producer. The situation unfortunately is really sad.

I don’t have a problem when one of my clients doesn’t hire one of my candidates because they don’t think the candidate would perform well, or even if they eliminate the candidate because of a personality mismatch. But this is really unfortunate.

If you’re a job candidate you got to think, “How was this going to come across to this hiring authority?” You got to remember that employers identify with employers. Anything a job seeker says about their last employer, whoever is interviewing them is going to assume that they’re going to say the same thing about them. How you treat your present or last employer is going to be the way you treat them.

The candidate realized when I sent him this email from the employer what he had done. I give him credit for not being defensive about it or saying something like, “That’s not what I meant!” A lot of candidates would just plain old deny that they said that and defend themselves and claim that the interviewing or hiring authority got it all wrong and they were crazy not to consider hiring the candidate anyhow. But my candidate understood. He agreed that it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to say and said he was sorry. He was as graceful as he could be about it.

So the lesson is: THINK!

……”she (or he) didn’t bat an eye”

 This is what I hear from candidates who are reporting to me about their interview. This quote usually follows them saying something like, “Well, when we were discussing money I told them what I was looking for…. and they didn’t bat an eye.” This is what happens to candidates when they say something really stupid about the money they’re looking for. Ninety nine out of 100 times a candidate knows how much a company wants to pay for a particular job. This is especially true if we refer them to the situation. And still candidates will overplay their hand, thinking they can get away with it because they’re so damn good.

It happened twice this week to two of my candidates. I told the first candidate that the company wanted to pay a base salary of $100,000 and they were very insistent that they didn’t want to go over that amount. I sent them four candidates and told every candidate the same thing. The first “screening interview” was with someone in the HR department. First of all, people in the HR department don’t have control over budgets. They are told by managers or hiring authorities what the company wants to pay. They don’t know what flexibility with the salary may or may not be. Managing authorities do, but HR, especially HR screeners, don’t. I explained that to all of the candidates. The guy who probably had the best shot at the opportunity has a big head and told the HR screener that he was already making $100,000 base salary and he would not move for less than $120,000 base salary. I specifically told him to not discuss this with the lady in HR. Obviously I don’t have influence or control and maybe I’m just a really lousy recruiter, because the candidate reported when he called me after the interview that when he mentioned the money to her, “she didn’t bat an eye.” No, she didn’t bat an eye. She just eliminated him and moved on in the interviewing process. The three other people are all moving on because they all stated that they understood the base salary. Now, they may very well negotiate for more, but they’re going to do it with the person who really has influence and control, the hiring authority.

Unfortunately, this candidate got himself eliminated because he was “coloring outside the lines” of what the HR screener was told to live within. She asked everybody to same 10 questions and passed along to the hiring authority the people that she thought “colored within the lines.”

I don’t have a problem if the candidate doesn’t get a job offer or turns an offer down if that’s what’s best for them. I don’t have a problem when the hiring authority eliminates a candidate for whatever reasons they wish. But for goodness sake, there’s no good reason that a candidate should say something this stupid and get eliminated before he even gets to the real ballgame.

Of course, when I told the candidate that he got himself eliminated because he told them he wanted the base of $120,000, he mumbled some comment like, “Wow, that’s what I’m worth.” Well, that may be what he thinks he’s worth, and I’d be more than happy to get him $140,000 base, but it ain’t gonna happen with this client. He shot himself in the foot before he even got to first base. Why? Ego! If he was worth $120,000 he was selling that value to the wrong person. The lady in HR doesn’t have any control over the salary. Why would someone even say something like this when I warned him that the company said they had a limit of $100,000 base salary? “But it was going so well,” he said. Well, he thought it was going well, but he got eliminated. Lesson: don’t even consider talking about  money with anyone other than someone who can actually make the decision. And even then it has to be done very carefully.

The second situation came when my candidate had at least sense enough to wait until he got to the real decision-maker. But, unfortunately, he went about it the wrong way. He got to the final interview and instead of waiting until he was sure that he was going to get an offer, in the very beginning of the interview, according to the hiring authority, he said something like, “I want you to get something straight, I’m only going to consider leaving where I’m at for a $20,000 raise in what I’m making. I went to work for the organization I’m with now in the middle of a pandemic and I took a cut when they did and I need to make it up!” END of INTERVIEW! And the candidate summed up the interview when he called me after it by saying, “He didn’t bat an eye.” Right, he just eliminated you and didn’t bat an eye doing it.

The problem that usually elicits a, “they didn’t bat an eye” description is one of timing more than anything else. It has equally to do with the way in which someone communicates their (seemingly) desires. Obviously, neither one of these people did it the right way.

There is a way of negotiating that’s foolproof, but these two candidates didn’t pay attention. You can find the way to do that at

www.thejobsearchsolution.con

Never believe what you see when, “They didn’t bat an eye!”