Author Archives: tonybeshara

….hiring managers…listen up..

if you’re a manager in today’s market, please pay attention. last week one of our candidates received an offer from our client. It was a sales position and the job he was leaving had a base of $85,000 plus commission and he had earned in the hundred and $50,000 range. Our clients base salary was only 65,000 and the hiring manager told the candidate that she would have to go to the “higher-ups” to get him more of a guarantee. It took her two weeks to get the management to agree to  a $65,000 base plus a $20,000 nonrecoverable draw..  By the time she got around to offering him the job he had two other offers from similar companies. One offer was for a solid $85,000 base plus commission and the other offer was for a $90,000 base plus a $2500 monthly nonrecoverable draw for six months.  He took the latter job. It took that company (not our client) three days to hire him . They interviewed him on Tuesday and hired him on Thursday.

in another situation our client company  had a “process” that they invented four years ago for hiring candidates. The candidate would have to go through three interviews with three different people  and in one group interview. It took almost 2 weeks to get to the group interview and by then the candidate already had two other offers from companies that showed  him they really wanted him by pursuing him aggressively  and selling him on the job (fortunately  one of these was our client). He accepted our second clients offer and never went to the group interview.

The “group interview” company’s hiring manager  is mad at me for not getting the candidate to hold off and then go to the “group interview.” Bluntly, he had egg on his face because he had to cancel the meeting with the group and it didn’t look like he was in control.

In another situation, one of our clients interviewed a candidate who explained to them that she was expecting an offer within the next week. They explained to her that their process takes at least three weeks and they could not move that fast. They asked her if she could postpone making a decision until they had a chance to go through their process and were shocked when she told them that she really needed to go to work and that if  the company she expected an offer from came up with a good one, she had no choice but to take it.

here’s the point: the market for good candidates with a lot different than it was even two years ago. When you see a good candidate you need to hire a person as soon as possible. The “process” you developed three or four years ago to protect yourself from “a hiring the wrong candidate” just isn’t going to work. Good companies are recognizing that they need to make the hiring process quick and efficient.

But I Just Don’t Want To Make Another Mistake!

“But Tony, I know it’s a good job and I really like the people and it looks like they are really going places and I like everything about it…but these guys I’m working for now told me the same thing. They told me they were going to grow. I trusted the guy who hired me and even took a $10,000 cut in salary in order to go to work there. I loved everything about it until the guy who hired me left and told me all kinds of things that were really going on in the company. The president of the company micromanages, nobody likes working there and all and I’ve only been there for 14 months. I screwed up a really good career at the company I was with before… I just plain don’t want to make another mistake. I just don’t know,… I’m just not sure… I just don’t want to make another mistake.”

I personally hear almost exactly this same script at least three or four times a month. It doesn’t take much explaining to understand what has happened here. The candidate makes a perfectly legitimate mistake in taking a job. It winds up being a disaster and he is so worried about making another mistake that they don’t see the possibility or the opportunity that might be in front of them. They are so worried about making a mistake that they see the glass as half empty instead of half full. This is a terrible way to make a decision and it causes nothing but pain and angst.

In this particular case, which made matters worse, this is the second job in a row that the candidate could say exactly the same thing about. He made two relative errors in a row. So now he is really spooked. Objectively, even he knows that we are not going to find a better opportunity than the offer he is getting. But he has been “burned”…or burned himself two times in a row and he is just plain afraid of making a decision.

Here is the truth. Every job that a person takes, he or she runs the risk of it not working out. There are a phenomenal number of twists and turns that happen in every business in every company. The boss that made promises that could be overturned or were outright lies, the territory that totally changed once the candidate showed up for work, the poor economic condition that the company was in that nobody told the candidate about before they took the job… and just about any other wacky thing you can imagine that can take place after the candidate shows up for work or is even there for a while, can happen.

The vast majority of time, there is absolutely nothing a candidate can do about it. Think about it, all of us would be phenomenally successful in just everything we did if we knew then what we know now. But the world doesn’t work that way. No one can make a decision about a present job offer relative to the last one or two mistakes the person might have made.

In 90% of these cases there is absolutely no way any job candidate could have known what was going to happen after they took the job. Everyone has to make decisions based on what they see right in front of them the moment they get a job offer… the good, the bad, and the ugly. Things change rapidly. In the present situation that I described above, there was no way in the world that the candidate would have ever known that the guy that hired him in his present job was going to leave. In fact, the guy that hired him stayed with the company for 14 months after our candidate was hired. Once his boss left and the president started running the company out of the East Coast, the whole thing turned to poop. There was no way he would know that was going to happen.

Every time a person takes a job, they run a risk. I will admit that my candidate got unlucky two times in a row. It’s unfortunate, but that kind of thing happens. It’s the risk that we all take in changing jobs. But to judge any new opportunity with the mantra of, “I don’t want to make a mistake like the last time,” it is unlikely that the candidate will ever make a decent decision.

I try to explain to people all of the time that every job opportunity has a risk. A person has to hope that it works out. A person can’t afford to evaluate every job with the idea that, “I don’t want to make a mistake.” If the opportunity turns out to be a mistake, then the candidate is going to have to deal with it.

Here is the rule of thumb. If the job is within 80% of what the candidate would ideally like, it is probably about as good as one is going to get. After that, it’s a plain old gut feel. Ninety five percent of satisfaction in a job is what we make it. Success and satisfaction in work come mostly from the inside, not the outside. The job doesn’t make us…we make the job.

So, make an assessment of a job offer based on everything you know about the opportunity as it is presented to you. Realize that it could change and it might be different than what you expect. But whatever you do, don’t try to evaluate an opportunity based on what happened the last time or the time before that or even the time before that. Whatever happened in the past is not a precursor about what’s going to happen in the future.

 

….too much ‘praising the Lord”

In the past month, two situations have arisen in which “praising the Lord” stood in the way of a very good candidate and a very good company and a very good opportunity. They were both two separate situations. Most of us who are “aspiring” Christians know that people are going to judge our true beliefs by how we act and what we do more than by what we say. But in interviewing and hiring situation the encounters/interviews..on average about four hours…can be misconstrued or misunderstood.

In the first instance, a candidate had on the bottom of his signature line of his email a website address that took the reader to his personal blog. He is an excellent candidate. He has great technical skills and the ability to communicate those tactical skills in a sales environment which is substantiated by an excellent track record.

While he was interviewing at our client, he wrote a thank you email to the vice president of the small firm after he had interviewed. There are only about 100 people in his company and most of them are millennial’s. The admin to the VP received a copy of the thank you email and “followed” the link to the candidates personal blog. Unfortunately, the candidate’s personal blog, not only made it very clear that he was a devout Christian, but insisted that anyone that didn’t believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior was definitely going to burn in hell.

The admin to the VP sent the link to just about everybody she knew in the company, along with a comment asking them if they wanted to have someone in their midst that was going to “be a Bible beater and try to convert them to the following the Lord.”

There is absolutely no doubt that the candidates personal blog was almost insulting to people that didn’t feel earth think the same way he did. A number of people in the company went to the president of the firm, copies of the personal testimony of the candidate in hand and communicated in a very strong words that they did not under any circumstances, want someone in their organization who is going to try to convert everybody to Christianity.

After reading the blog, although it was strongly condemning people who didn’t feel the same way, it never communicated anything related to trying to convert anyone else. Now, it is relatively strong language when a person is absolutely certain that nonbelievers are going to burn in hell, but it doesn’t mean that that person is going to try to convert everyone.

The president of the company decided that he had enough problems and that he didn’t need to hire someone who might cause all kinds of controversy in the company. He just plain didn’t want to run that risk. So, he instructed the VP not to hire the candidate.

We suggested to the VP that he check the candidate’s previous employment references to see if he tried to “convert” people he had worked with before. We even went so far as to check with one of the candidate’s previous managers to find out that the candidate never tried to convert anybody to anything. The president, however, wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He had enough problems and wasn’t going to run any kind of risk. They are not going to hire the candidate, and that’s it!

The other instance was on the other side of the desk. At least our client company was open with our candidate they were interviewing that the whole company prayed every morning as part of their daily ritual. They warned the candidate that if she is not comfortable with that, she should consider going to work there. The candidate really liked the job and wanted to work there but was worried about, as she told us, “being forced to pray when I don’t believe in it.” She called one of the people at the company whom she had interviewed with to get an idea about the situation. Unfortunately, the person she spoke with was, as she said very confidentially, pretty cynical about the whole prayer idea, because she told our candidate that the company didn’t act the way they appeared to be. So, the candidate turned the job down.

The moral to all of this is that we are all struggling whether we are believers or not. In the first case, being judgmental, especially about people burning in hell is rather drastic and, if that’s all you know about someone, I can see why some of the employees of the client company were up in arms. In the second case, at least one person in the company didn’t feel like the organization was practicing what it preached.

The lesson in all of this is that people are going to recognize as more by our actions then they are by our words. There is no reason to run the risk of losing a good job opportunity because of a blog post. A private company certainly has a right to pray before every day but, as you can see it may not come across the right way to some people. And, maybe organizations like that don’t care.

But we all might be better off if we let how we treat people speak for our Convictions.

 

 

…. 11 weeks…. One candidate!

I know this is going to sound like we’re tooting our own horn, but as an observer of business since 1973, I have to say the rationale behind this story is first-class crazy. It doesn’t make any sense that things got the way they are. But you read this story and then you come to your own conclusion.

$4 billion gigantic company has a $200 million division. The VP loses one of his salespeople in the five state area 14 weeks ago. keep in mind his quota for this territory is still running. It takes him three weeks for to get an approval to hire someone. Since we worked with the guy once before at a different company, he suggests to the internal VP of recruiting that he call us immediately. After all, we work on a contingent basis and if we don’t come up with anybody it doesn’t cost them anything. “Oh, no!” Says the VP of recruiting, “we have six recruiters who are excellent and can find you what you need.” The VP says, “well, okay but can’t we at least call this outfit in Dallas and compare the candidates they come up with with the ones we come up with. I’m in a hurry, and my quota is running.”

Well, the VP hasn’t been there all that long and hasn’t established himself well enough to call BS and do what he ought to do anyhow, so he agrees. Three or four weeks go by and he has no candidates from his internal recruiting department. He says, “look, I need candidates …Thecan’t we at least call that outfit, Babich, in Dallas and see what they might have while our people are trying to recruit. “Oh, no! We have six recruiters here so that we don’t have to pay fees!”

“Well,” the VP says, “the quota for the territory is $450,000. If I go a quarter without filling the position I’m on the hook for $112,500 and that is not good. The fee would only be a $24,000 or $25,000 investment and my quota is running!” “Nope!” He’s told. “We have six recruiters we’re paying and they’ll find you a salesperson.”

11 weeks after he started his search his internal recruiting firm has only come up with one candidate. He gets really insistent. He calls his bosses boss and gets permission to call us for candidates. He calls us on a Wednesday and tells us that the VP of recruiting will call and complete our agreement and then he can start interviewing. Two days later the VP of recruiting calls and indignantly tells us that they will certainly engage us by she wanted us to know that they’ve been looking for 11 weeks, with six recruiters and that we are not likely to come up with any better candidates and they can. Then she tries to lowball us on the fee.

We come to an agreement on the fee. She says that she’s going to get the contract out to us straightaway. That was last Friday… a week ago. We still haven’t seen the contract, but, no matter we sent the hiring authority three candidates on Wednesday, one of which he interviewed today and we’ve got him four more lined up for next week. We did this in a matter of three days. The VP is very thankful and very appreciative of what were doing. His $24,000, should we earn it, will be well spent.

I understand companies having a room full of internal recruiters searching for people in Dallas. And when a company pays a $24,000 or $25,000 fee somebody is saying, “why are we paying all of those recruiters in that room and still paying a fee?” I understand. It is sticky.

Our average recruiter has been in this business for 16 years. Some of us have been doing this 25, 30, and 40 years. We meet 98% of our candidates face-to-face and get to know most of them over a very long period of time. Heck, some of our candidates are second and third generation of people we been working with for years.

If somebody or even a group of people in St. Louis, or Minneapolis or Chicago or anywhere, for that matter can come up with better candidates in Dallas more quickly than we can, I’d be shocked. There are 22 of us who are interviewing 2 to 3 candidates each day. Just the sheer numbers are our advantage.

Now, we haven’t filled this position yet and we may not. But at least we’ve come up with six candidates in about three or four days that are really qualified. (And, by the way, the interview the VP had today went extremely well with our candidate.) This deal is not done yet. But just the mere fact that we came up with so many candidates in such a short period of time when the internal recruiters could come up with only one candidate and 11 weeks demonstrates why it’s a good idea to give us a call.

Now, their internal recruiting department might come up with the perfect candidate on Monday. We understand that. But there is no reason that any hiring authority ought to go 11 weeks and receive only one resume.

…..Perspective… 185 resumes

 

With all of the advertising that we do on LinkedIn, Career Builder and ZipRecruiter, we primarily do it to keep our name out in front of everybody so they know who we are if and when the need us. Certainly, from time to time, we get some good candidates by advertising.

But most of our organization is made up of really recruiters. We go out into the marketplace through as many channels as we can and try to find the most perfect candidate that’s available for a client that needs an A+ player. Most of the companies that we work with are average companies in the United States. They are run by “average” people with “average” foibles as well as “average” quirks. In our heart of hearts all of us know that we are, or should be, amazed at how wonderful America and the free enterprise is to see some of these companies become very successful when we know that the people who run them couldn’t find their butt in the dark with both hands.

I digress a bit because the situation that prompted this doesn’t have as much to do with the goofiness of the people who run companies out there as it does with the sheer number of candidates who are available and think they’re qualified for certain situations.

If you are a candidate either actively or passively looking for a job, you need to be aware of what you are up against. We had a candidate, just last week who made a lot of money selling insurance and when we explained it to him that just because he made over $100,000 selling insurance the past few years, it’s going to be a very hard task to find him a job making that kind of money outside of insurance. In fact, we advised him that he ought to keep the job in insurance. It made him madder than hell. He wrote me a relatively nasty letter condemning our organization and the people in it. His comment was, “But with the economy like it is, certainly somebody wants to hire a great salesperson.”

Well, maybe there’s somebody out there that does. But when companies come to us they are going to pay a lot of money to receive the service. And since they are paying a lot of money to receive that service they want and deserve to get and find a candidate through us that they can’t find on their own. No one pays us $20,000 to get what they can find on their own. We not only understand that, but we totally respect it.

Lots of people though, don’t really understand the challenges we run into. On Wednesday I posted a job opportunity for a vice president of managed services. It’s a pretty narrow job and we described it very narrowly, just as it is. Since Wednesday morning I have personally received 185 resumes from people all over the country. Since reading resumes is one of my favorite things to do…NOT!, I was literally blurry eyed up until 10:30 PM on Wednesday and 11 PM on Thursday looking at resumes. Two of these resumes were extremely qualified… at least by what I can tell (I haven’t met the candidates yet) and the rest, although sincerely interested in the job, don’t appear to be qualified.

We already had within our files five or six excellent candidates (four of whom had been clients of ours at one time or another) So these extra two can round out a very good group of people to present to our client.

Here’s the point of all of this: 185 people (correction, I just got two more) 187 people, all of whom think they are qualified for the job have applied. There is no way that I can personally respond to all 187 of these candidates even if they were qualified to do the job.

So, when you send your resume to guys or gals like me or to employers who are trying to find candidates on their own, realize that they are receiving 187 resumes within two days. They are doing the very best they can, but even if there were three of me I still couldn’t reach out to 187 people and tell them I was very sorry but that their qualifications just don’t match what our client wants. Please be as understanding as you can when you don’t hear from me or someone like me.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep sending a resume if you are qualified for the job. Just remember that whoever is receiving that resume is getting 186 others that think they are just as qualified as you are.

Thanks for your understanding.

why is it so darn hard….to hire a felon

Okay, so you don’t hear this very often. And frankly, neither do we. But we work with a client that has been successful in the past in hiring “white-collar” felons. They believe that everyone deserves a second chance and under the right circumstances, these people have been tremendous for them.

What is most unbelievable is that they have had almost an impossible challenge of being able to hire them. At the times they hired these people, they discovered them by pure accident. It wound up working out so well for them that they are now intentionally trying to find them and just plain can’t seem to.

In their two years of advertising, placing ads in all the online sites, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Zip recruiter, etc. they have not received ONE candidate. They have called and contacted all of the organizations that are supposed to help felons find a job after they have paid their dues… and not one response…not ONE !!!

Now, it is true that they are looking for a fairly narrow set of skills. It is a sales job, mostly commission driven, they prefer a degree (but could live without it). It is a very professional atmosphere and requires a long-term commitment. They explain all of this in their advertisements. But still…not ONE candidate.

It is a very professional atmosphere and by the nature of what the company does they’re not particularly worried about theft. They won’t hire violent felons and really need people with a business acumen. So, they will admit that what they are looking for is fairly narrow. But not ONE applicant in two years of searching???

The state run and nonprofit organizations who supposedly help these kind of folks have been useless. Our client has almost badgered them for two years and not ONE candidate. Some of the people in this organization make more than $100,000 and there are no gimmicks or hidden “gotchas.” They do require a series of psychological tests, but they haven’t even had a chance to administer them!

What’s wrong with this picture? How is it that a very substantial business, that has been around for a really long time with lots of people making lots of money would have such a hard time finding people who are willing to help people “bounce back” from their mistakes if they have truly repented, paid their dues and are willing to work really hard at a great sales job.

So, our client has contacted us. And of course, we’d love to help and we will certainly try.

But it made us wonder why it’s been so hard for them. Admittedly, they’re looking for a fairly narrow type of candidate. But those kinds of people have a very hard time finding a job because most companies won’t consider any type of felon.

So, if any of you readers out there know of a “white collar” felon who has a great sales personality and is willing to go through a fairly rigorous interviewing process, ask them to call me. The job isn’t easy and our client is very picky, but they offer a second chance and a second –to-none opportunity. There’s even ownership in the company possible.

My number is 214-515-7613.

….the ‘stop gap job’

This happens a lot more than most people ever want to admit And it is really tricky…when you have taken a stop gap job and it dragged on longer than you ever intended…like six months or so. And you are now going to have to explain it to a hiring or interviewing authority. This is especially more difficult when you’ve had “too many jobs.” If you’ve had three jobs in three years and then have to explain a “stopgap” job whether it’s with Starbucks or any other type of hourly job for even a professional position that you take knowing that it won’t be for long period of time, it’s a lot harder for hiring authority to understand than you think it is.

You’d best explaine this carefully and with humility. A hiring authority is concerned that you would leave them in a relatively short period of time if you didn’t like one or two little things about the job and go back to the “stopgap” job.

Do not justify the job flipantly by saying something like, “hey, i had to do something to put bread on the table…can’t blame me…now the market has changed and i can do better…i’m ready to leave”

That tells an employer that you would do the same thing to them…when the market gets better.

The way you explain it is like this, “well, i never intended for this job to last so long…it was meant to be a stop gap to put food on the table…however, the people were great and very nice and it seemed to go on a longer time…”

“It really isn’t a career for me and it has dead ended pretty fast…i am not growing personally…they are aware of my situation and understand that i really need to get on with my career with a very challenging opportunity as this one..”

say it humbly..then drop it…and ask a new question To get the interviewing authority off to another subject.

….When the shoe is on the other foot

About 40% of the employers that I’ve worked with over the years become candidates of mine somewhere along the line. Over the last month this happened with the guy that I’ve been working with for almost 15 years as an employer. His company was sold and he lost his job.

He’s been looking for a job now for about two months and he is very surprised by many things. First of all, he is surprised that he had not had as many interviews as he thought he was going to get. He’s only had two. Like many of his peers, he has always thought that he was so good at what he did, if he ever needed to find a job, people would come banging on his door. I tell everyone that management jobs are really hard to find. Seventy percent of the time people are promoted from within for management jobs (which is the way he got his), whether they are qualified or not. Companies do this for all kinds of reasons that aren’t really worth going into here.

But the point is, he had been promoted into his management job and told by his previous company how wonderful, spectacular, invaluable, unbelievable, phenomenal and indispensable he was…until they just didn’t need them anymore. All of those accolades, promotions, etc. haven’t helped him find a new position.

What’s most astounding to him is that people have been so rude to him about saying they would interview him and then not, saying they would get back to him and they don’t, telling him that he is a wonderful candidate and then never hearing from them again. This last point has been most astounding to me. He told me today that, “I just can’t believe that these people are so rude as to not call me back, tell me they’ll get back to me and then never do… It’s just plain rude.”

What’s amazing about this is that he was exactly this way when he was a hiring authority. He would tell candidates that he was interested in them and then never call them back…. never call me back and just plain go silent. It’s easy to say that what goes around comes around and that he’s getting what he deserves. He was perceived as mean and rude and now he’s being treated that way. But that is terribly unfair and doesn’t make it right.

Since 1973 I’ve never been able to figure out why hiring authorities have to be this way. We all learn and hear that hiring people is one of the most important things that a manager can do and yet when they go to do it, it continually gets put on the “back burner” and candidates are absolutely left in the lurch.

Now, I will admit that when a candidate is looking for a job, especially if they are unemployed, that is their highest priority. When you’re managing an organization and running a business, hiring people is simply one of the things you have to deal with and, frankly it’s one of the hardest and most difficult things to do, so people postpone it and let other things that are easier to do take priority. And soon, the job search goes from days, to weeks, to even months, almost unintentionally. But it is so darn rude and almost mean.

Here is the message. If you’re a hiring authority, put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Treat the candidate the way you would want to be treated because this week, this month or next year you may be in their shoes.

How much of a problem is it to just simply pick up the phone and call a candidate and tell them where they stand and what’s going on?

 

…..Robert Mueller’s “interview”

If Robert Mueller had been a candidate in a job interview he would’ve failed miserably. It was one of the poorest displays of answering questions that I’ve probably ever experienced in the 46 years that I’ve been doing this. It was awful!

“Who hired you?”…. “I don’t really remember… I’m not sure… Clinton?”…

The guy answered questions with, “That wasn’t in my purview.” He was nervous, unfocused, wasn’t sure of some things and couldn’t remember others.

Age discrimination!… You say? Well, he is 74, but he supposed to be one of the most trained minds in the country. I felt sorry for him. But if he had been one of my candidates, I would’ve trained him a whole lot better, and if he’d performed like that I’d been really pissed.

I know Robert Mueller doesn’t need a job, but if he performed like he did the other day in an interview, he’d still be looking for one.

The lesson? Go into an interview prepared. Practice the answers to the questions you know you’re going to get. Like many “candidates” this guy is brilliant and he is good at what he does, but when you don’t prepare for an interview and you don’t do well the interview becomes a disaster. People feel sorry for you, but they don’t hire you.

…. Unbelievable

So, you’re gonna say, “Tony, you wrote about this stuff not too long ago… What the hell is with this?”

Well, let me tell you what the hell is with this. A VP in his late 40’s making a $250,000 base salary and another $250,000 on quota with an absolutely stellar track record, wonderful presentation skills and nothing in his background that would not make him an excellent VP anywhere he wanted to be screws up an interview.

How, you ask?

He goes to the corporate office. He goes to lunch with the CEO, the president of the company the  executive vice president of sales, who is a woman as well as another woman in the executive management of the company and somewhere in the conversation says something like, “Well, they just had a ‘hard**’ to buy”. END of consideration!

My candidate had done a splendid job in the interviewing process. When I told him why they were not going to hire him, because of his crude and rude language, especially in mixed company, he couldn’t believe it. He said, “I am so sorry, I guess it’s that Jersey boy coming out of me.” He was as disappointed as they were. Remorseful is a mild word to say how he felt. But the damage had been done. Over! Fini! Kaput!

Lesson: you got to watch your language all the time. I’m an ex-rugby player and I’ve heard it all. Ironically enough (wait till you hear this) the executive vice president of sales, a woman herself, was also an ex-rugby player. She admitted that she had heard just about everything all of us who played rugby heard too. But not in an interview. She was sad about it also. But the whole management team couldn’t believe the guy said that and couldn’t imagine hiring him either.

Watch your language!