Author Archives: tonybeshara

….your resume..

The purpose of your résumé is to get you an interview. You want people to look at your résumé and think, “I really got interviewed by this person!” Remember that your résumé does not get read, it gets scanned. People think, “Oh, my résumé gets read!” No, it doesn’t. It gets scanned and the people who scanned them are looking for a few key things: how long you have worked at the companies you’ve worked for, i.e., exact dates, what you did for them, in very clear terms, and how well you performed. It’s that simple.

You have to remember that these people are reviewing 180 to 200 résumés a day. They don’t read any of them. They scan them to look for some of the things they are looking for. So, this means that you have to, when you write the name of your company on the résumé, explain what that company does. There are 7.1 million businesses in the United States and I guarantee you the people looking at your résumé don’t know what 98% of them do. I get résumés every day from candidates who write down “ACME INC. 2015 – present” and never explain what Acme Inc. does. So, make it real clear, if it’s not obvious, in parentheses next to the name of the company what the company does.

Then make the title of what you did very clear in terms that anybody can understand. A title of Analyst I can mean hundreds of different things. Change the title on your résumé if you have to make it clear what you’ve done. Sometimes candidates say to me, “Well, that’s what my title was.” Okay, fine, put it down if you want to, but if people don’t understand what the hell an Analyst I is, you’re screwed. I’ve had numerous candidates over the years who had titles like customer advocate, customer liaison, client specialist and a few other esoteric inventive titles that really meant “customer service.” So, in writing a résumé, simply write the title “customer service.”

Last, and probably most important, right down how you performed in as many concrete terms as possible. Remember, stories sell and numbers tell. If there’s any way, put in your résumé statistics or some kind of figures – that you bold – so they jump out at people. Increased profits 23%. Decreased department costs 10%. Was 120% of Sales quota. Decreased turnover 12%…The more you can express your performance in measurable terms, the better off you are.

The statement you are making with your résumé is this:

  • Here is who I’ve worked for…What they do in very clear terms that anyone can understand.
  • Here is how long I worked for them.
  • Here is exactly what I’ve done. And here has been my performance.
  • I am an excellent employee and what I’ve done for them is what I can do for you!

And, by the way, your résumé needs to be in chronological order. Ninety-five percent of functional résumés (the kind that have paragraphs about all of the things you’ve done and then the list of who you worked for at the very bottom) get pitched before they get scanned.

I forgot to mention, 60% of the people that are going to initially scan your resume don’t really know what they are looking for, professionally. They are usually some underlying, albeit they are nice, sincere and well-meaning, they really don’t know anything about the profession that you are in. They were instructed by one of their superiors to, “look through those resumes and find me a few that I ought to interview.” They may be qualified to know what they’re looking for, but most of the time they’re not.

So, look at your resume and ask yourself, “is someone who really doesn’t know what they’re looking for looks at my resume are they going to see the quality of person that I am?”

If a résumé “scanner” likes what they see, they simply pick up the phone and call you about an appointment. That is exactly what you want

….blooper of the week

Hardly a week goes by where we don’t have experienced candidates say something just downright stupid that cost him or her the job. This week a guy I’ve known for almost 20 years who is really a very good salesperson got into an interview with a hiring authority and in the process of talking about himself said, “Well, I do know that I have a few good years left in me.”

When I followed up with the hiring manager he said, “Tony, is this guy ready to retire? We aren’t looking for someone who has just a ‘few good years’ left in them. We are looking for a long-term commitment.” It didn’t even have to be sad that this candidate already had his age going against him. He’s in his 50s. But lots of guys and gals in their mid-50s and beyond get hired. But drawing attention to it as though you were on your last leg or just “a few more good years,” does not help your case of being hired.

Unfortunately, most folks don’t seem to think about, “How does this sound to a prospective employer?” They don’t seem to think about the fact that hiring authorities are looking for just as many reasons not to hire a candidate as they are reasons to hire a candidate. When a candidate gives even a minor reason not to be hired, it can be totally blown out of proportion. So, a smart candidate thinks about absolutely everything he or she says in light of how it appears to the potential employer.

Over the years, I’ve had some real doozies articulated by really good candidates:

One said, “I have just overcome a great battle with cancer, but I’ve sure learned a lot.” When asked what the biggest obstacle he has overcome, one of my candidates said that he had recently recovered from a nervous breakdown. I have had candidates, both male and female, explain that they were in the middle of an awful divorce, an awful child custody suit, and awful business or personal lawsuit and other kinds of terribly traumatic or distracting events. Some of these people even justified what they did by claiming, “They just want to be honest.” Well, you can be honest by saying, “Your baby’s ugly,” or you can be tactful and claim, “What a cute looking baby…looks just like you!”

The moral to all of this is really simple. Think about what you are saying and how it is going to come across to a prospective employer and if there is the slightest chance that it might hurt you or put you in a negative light, shut up!



….Being a consultant “between” jobs

Not a day goes by that I don’t get a resume from a candidate who has somewhere on his or her resume, in between jobs, a job function called “consultant.”

But most hiring authorities see the word “consultant” and make the assumption that the candidate has just plain been out of work and is trying to cover up by appearing to be a “consultant.”

So here is the message. If you have been a consultant, you’d better well have actually been a consultant and be able to document the kinds of people and organizations you have actually consulted to or for. List every company that you consulted with, exactly what kind of project you consulted for and exactly the amount of time you spent on each one. Offer even a specific name of someone who can attest to your consulting ability. In other words, a good reference. Even if they were brief consulting gigs, put them down.

This is short simple advice. But if you simply put the word “consultant”, it is going to be automatically assumed that you have been out of work.

……one of the best moves I’ve seen a manager make

Michael was a really good manager for our client. He had one of the best regions in the country and all of his people loved working for him. He was smart, aggressive and relaxed in his own skin. Just a really good guy.

After two interviews with our candidate Michael invited the candidate to lunch with two of his salespeople. Candidate thought things must be really going well and was kind of expecting this to be the final interview before he got an offer. He was elated.

They talked about the company, the job, sports and a number of other things. They had a really great time. At the very end of the lunch, Michael said to the candidate, “I’m really glad you could come today. We really appreciate your time. We think you could do well in our company but fortunately for us, we have another candidate that has some experience that is a little better than yours. We are blessed to have two excellent candidates. We feel like the other fellow has a number of relationships that we really need to cultivate and we’re going to try to hire him. But you need to know that you are an excellent candidate. Should something go wrong with offering him the job, you will be the first we will call. Also should we have another opening in even the near or distant future, I would love to call you. You are a great fit for our company.”

Well, of course, our candidate was very disappointed. He said that it was very hard to be bad because they were such nice people. He said that he had never been turned down so gracefully and so nicely by such a nice group of guys. He seemed to understand that they were going to do what was best for them and he would sure love to work there.

I’m sure it’s happened before, but I don’t remember when in the 45 years that I’ve been doing this that the hiring authority went out of his way in such a nice manner to tell a candidate that he wasn’t going to get hired. Obviously it was hard for the candidate to be mad. But what Michael did was so smart. He kept his company in the good graces of the candidate and, should he need the candidate either now or in the near future, the guy would love to go to work there.

Ninety nine percent of the managers that I work with don’t have the courtesy to even talk to any candidate that they aren’t going to hire, even after they’ve interviewed them. It’s probably the crudest thing that hiring authorities do in the process of hiring. For some reason, they think that they’re never going to run into that person again and act like being rude is inconsequential.

I can’t tell you the number of times over the years that I’ve presented the candidate to an employer only to have the hiring authority tell me that they wouldn’t hire the candidate on a bet because a number of years ago that person was terribly rude to them. What goes around comes around.

I complimented Michael for the wisdom he had in treating my candidate to lunch, just to tell him that he wasn’t going to get hired at least this time. What a smart move. Michael could have openings throughout the next two or three years and my candidate is indeed a very good fit. But even if they never cross paths again, my candidate will always think highly of Michael. And I have to say that it motivates me to help Michael whenever I can.

.Good move, Michael!








….why George (And hundreds of other like him) are shocked that they can’t find a job

There are hundreds of people out there like George. He came to us last week and can’t understand why he can’t find a job. Some of it is plain circumstance, but some of it is self-inflicted.

George is 52 years old and been with the same company for the past 20 years. He had a great ride with them and got promoted a number of times. He was always told that he was doing a great job and getting reasonable raises along the way. In the last three years of his employment at the company, it was bought by a private equity firm and George started to receive all of his stock that he had earned while he was at the company. PE firms are notorious about making things a lot less “family oriented,” and a lot more “what you do for me today, dammit!”

In spite of the antiseptic approach that the PE firm took, George still had a job and was making close to $300,000 a year. He could’ve stayed on, but the culture of the organization had totally changed to be much more mercenary and, since he had been told he had been doing so well he thought, “Y ou know, I’ve got such a great track record and I know so many people in the industry, I’ll find another job.” (Now this is the story that George tells. I’m never sure when I hear the stories, and it took me a few years to catch on to this, if George was the one that decided to leave on his own accord, or the PE firm pushed George out.)

Since the buyout, George didn’t have an enforceable non-compete and he had many contacts in the industry and after all, his track record was excellent. He thought he would have absolutely no problem getting a job. He made a lot of money on the stock and doesn’t need to work, but wants to. He thought that since he had a lot of money and didn’t have to work, companies would love to have him because he wouldn’t be “in it for the money.” He even took six months off to get his IRA accounts and lots of other things “in order.”

George figured that since he had such a wonderful track record, was so well known in his industry, had money and didn’t have to work for money, he’d get scooped up any time he wanted. After six months of doing whatever he wanted to do, he decided it was time to find a job. It is now three months later and he is so surprised, and eventually shocked, that this was going to be a whole lot harder than he thought.

He has only had two interviews and those were more courtesy than anything else. He quickly found out that very few people hire VPs off the street and so a month or two ago he “announced” that he would accept a sales job. George has learned that his ideas are real hard to sell to anybody.

The first thing that comes to a hiring authorities mind is, “Well, if George has so much money and he doesn’t have to work, the first time he doesn’t like the way we do things here he can just walk out.” To the vast majority of hiring authorities, “not needing to work” means that the person they hire might not do just that. Most of them can’t afford to run the risk of, if it doesn’t work out, their boss saying to them, “Why in the hell did you hire somebody that really didn’t need to work.” So, George is going to have to change that approach big time.

George, thinking theoretically, that someone might appreciate someone who just works for the love of working is totally miscalculating 99% of the people that are hiring. George has to forget this comment totally.

What George has to say is something along this line, “I was 20 years at an organization and consistently moved up. I loved the job, the company and everyone there. I did a great job and I was appreciated as much as I appreciated the opportunity. When a PE firm bought us, the complexion of the whole organization changed and it was to their benefit to ease out all of the people who had been there for a very long time. Admittedly, it was a different place than it was when I joined 20 years ago or even three years ago when we sold.”

“I know they’re not very many VP opportunities that I would slip right into, but the one I had, I had to work for from the beginning position. I realize that it is likely that I may have to start out at a sales position and work my way up, if indeed that kind of thing presents itself. But I’m just as comfortable at taking a sales position where I can earn depending on my own production. I realize that I may not earn that $300,000 that I was making the first year or maybe even two, but the opportunity to be paid based on my own performance is all I need.”

“I am 52, but as you can see I’m in great shape and I have a tremendous amount of energy. I was a top salesperson before I moved into management and still love selling. Even while I was in management I spent a lot of my time in front of customers and selling. I don’t expect you or anyone else to pay me for the experience I’ve had in the past. All I’m looking for is an opportunity to prove myself, again. Let’s face it, you’re going to get a very mature, experienced salesperson with a lot of energy and a proven track record and everything else will take care of itself.”

“I know you may be concerned that if you hired me for a lesser position than what I was in, someone might give me a call with the VP type of job and your fear is that I would leave for the higher position. Let me share with you that the position isn’t as important as the company, the people and the success I’m having. I know from hiring people over many years that if an employee is happy with what they’re doing and really enjoys the company, the product and the people they work with, they don’t just leave when someone calls them about another opportunity. Look at my track record… I was 20 years with the last company!”

“If we have a good match with what I’m doing and the people in his company, I’m committed for the long haul. I always have been. Once I get into a situation and am experiencing success, I’m not likely to go anywhere. I haven’t before and it is not likely I would ever do it.”

“Now, let’s talk about the opportunity you have here and the way I might be able to benefit you….”

This is the only way George is going to get hired. It’s still going to be very challenging for him to get an interview and get hired, but it is the way he has to approach it. The way he’s approaching it now is going to get him another nine months or more of unemployment.

All those who think that, “You know I’m so good and I’m so wonderful these people can take this

job and stuff it. I can go to work just about anywhere,” need to take a lesson from George.


….so, what did we do?

If you read last week’s blog you will understand the conundrum we were in with our candidate.

We decided that we needed to tell the client that the candidate had a felony charge and even though he would probably leave that question blank on his application, we thought it only right to let the company no the situation.

The employer just plain couldn’t bring himself to hire the candidate. Even though the felony was nine or 10 years ago and it didn’t even show up on his state or national criminal record, the employer felt like he needed to be consistent with all of the other people that he had not hired because of felonies, He couldn’t, in good conscience, hire the candidate. Obviously, we wish he would’ve hired the candidate, but it’s the employer’s choice and he did what he thought was best.

We felt compelled, however, tell the employer what we knew.


….what is the right thing to do


Okay, so what do you think we should do? We have a client who has interviewed our candidate and really likes him. After two or three interviews, the client asks us to check the candidate’s references and to do a background check. Of course we agree and start the process. The employer also asks the candidate to fill out an employment application and of course, one of the questions is, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

Of course we tell the candidate what we’re going to do and he tells us that a long time ago he had a DWI felony (more than three in a period of time). But he tells us that it doesn’t show up on any of the background checks that are done. Of course, we don’t really believe him. We have never known a felony not to show up in a background check. And now of course, we know he has one.

The candidate tells us that he got the last job with his company having done a background check and they didn’t find anything. He also informs us that he applied for and had his professional engineering license renewed and, from what we understand, a criminal background check is done when an engineering license is renewed.

We do both a state and national background search and nothing shows up. The felony he says he has is not reported by either the state or national criminal check. The candidate says, “I’m good to go. I’ll take the job!”

But he still has to fill out the engineering firm’s application which asks him if he has ever been convicted of a crime? He intimates that there is no reason to answer that question because the crime doesn’t show up on his record.  What should we do?

Keep in mind, now, that the client did not ask us about a felony. The client asked us to do a criminal background check and of course we obliged, both with a state as well as national check. We sent those to the employer. Again, what should we do?

Think about it…. Let you know next week!


…..resume on a napkin

For those of us that remember recruiting and placing people in the late 90s, we can remember candidates metaphorically having one interview, writing their resume out on a napkin and getting hired all in the same interview. Some recruiters…who are no longer around for these reasons,…thought it would last forever. Get a candidate  an interview and get a placement.

Many of us with any brains or who had seen a number of recessions knew that it wouldn’t always be that way. Hell, in the year 2000, I personally billed $4.3 million. I did think I was pretty good, but in my heart I knew that I wasn’t that good and that I was taking advantage of a very unique technology expansion in the DFW area. I still bill better than $1 million every year, but I have to work even harder than I did back when I did the 4.3 million.

“It’s the economy, stupid,” as coined by James Carvell for President Clinton. But that’s what it was…the economy. There is a tendency for recruiters to think that when they do real well it’s because of how good they are. By the same token, it’s really easy for all kinds of professionals to think that they can get a new job or change jobs really easily because they didn’t before when the economy was really good. Every week, I have a candidate tell me that they would like to get back to earning the kind of money they earned a few years ago. They say things like, “are you kidding me, I made that kind of money 10 years ago!”

Times change and economies expand and contract. We’re in a better economy than we have been in many years and, for the most part, it’s easier to find a job or to change jobs and make more money. But even in my discipline, high-tech sales, the 90s and 2000’s  produced a ton of salespeople who are now more numerous than the market will demand. Looking back on this profession since I got into it in 1973, every expansion and contraction of the economy has created “runs” in certain industry verticals that will never come about again. I remember  interviewing a sales guy in the late 70s who made $100,000 a year selling diodes and resistors (if you don’t know what they are, look them up).

For most of us, we are very blessed with this economy. It too will come to an end somewhere along the line. I just hope it doesn’t all collapse at the same time like it did in 1986 when real estate, oil and gas and banking all went on there butt in Texas and we had a very rough time for a few years

Our economy, especially here in Texas, is a lot more diversified than it was then. We’re especially fortunate to have a very diversified economy and therefore able to withstand an economic downturn more easily.

Employers need to move on hiring candidates a lot faster now than they did even 18 months ago. Having a protracted, drawnout interviewing process is going to lose candidates to your competitor. I just had a client tell me today, Friday, that he could have a candidate that I presented him hired by next Tuesday. A year and a half ago the same client told me that it would take him one month to hire anyone because of the process they have to go through. Hardly a week goes by that, even with our explaining what the market is like, we don’t have three or four clients that miss hiring a candidate because they just take too much time for their “process.” Today, it even happened that one of our clients got mad at me because his process was taking too long and that I should know how to keep the candidate from taking the job he took from his competitor because our client was taking too long to hire him.

Napkin, anyone?

…reading and believinng your own press clipppings


Dan hasn’t looked for a job in15 years. He’s been with the same firm for that period of time and has risen rather rapidly through the ranks. Along the way, his company gave him all kinds of kudos and recognition and continually told him how great a contribution he made, how wonderful he was and how they couldn’t do without him, blah, blah, blah.

It is true that his performance was excellent and that he had been promoted a number of times. He always had all kinds of people in the company and outside the company telling him how wonderful he was. He reached the level of Regional VP and all of these accolades started going to his head. The first blow to his ego was that he didn’t get as big a raise as he thought he should. The second, and biggest blow, came from the fact that he lost a promotion to one of his peers that he was certain he was going to get. The selection committee wasn’t courteous enough to tell him why he didn’t get promoted, but he felt like his meteoric rise was now slowed, if not stymied. “After all,” he thought (and what he told us) “… I’ve given sweat and blood to this company. I got an MBA. I’ve had fantastic reviews. Everybody tells me I’m wonderful and the company could not get along without me and that other companies would feel very lucky to have me.” (My sense is he imagined this last part more than someone telling him that.)

His family didn’t help either. His father, upon hearing the story of Dan’s plight, agreed that Dan deserved the promotion and that the company wasn’t appreciating him. Dan’s wife totally agreed and kept telling him that he should quit because there were boatloads of organizations that would love to find talent like his.

So, Dan quit. That was six months ago and Dan is still looking for a job. He had absolutely no idea how difficult it would be to find a job. Dan was believing his own press clippings. He thought that since his company thought he was so wonderful and his family just knew he could not only replace his job but find a better one, all he had to do was quit and go look for one.

Dan was saying a lot of what we hear from people all the time, “Every company needs really good people…( especially like me).” They each quit their job thinking that companies are simply going to fall down in front of them to get them on board. They do no research on how many jobs like they’ve been doing exist and what their probability might be of getting a job like that even if they could find the opening. Dan even made the comment that his professors in his graduate program were certain, that with an MBA from their school, he should have no problem finding a new job. Of course, they have absolutely no idea what the job market might be like for what Dan does either. (That’s why they are in academia. Besides, that’s what they’re supposed to tell students who just paid $100,000 to get an MBA from their school.)

Dan had a few interviews, but they were more courtesy interviews from friends, colleagues, etc. He is shocked, depressed and demoralized that he hasn’t easily found a job. The problem Dan has run into is very common. He had absolutely no idea what the market might bear for his experience or background. Just because he had all of these people, his company, his family, his professors etc. telling him how wonderful he was didn’t mean that he was going to find a job. The majority of jobs like Dan is looking for are promoted into from within. It’s rare for companies to hire someone like Dan off the street. It has nothing to do with his ability or his performance. It has to do with the availability or should we say, lack of availability of the kind of job he has done.

The lesson is, don’t believe your own press clippings. Just because all of the people you work with tell you how wonderful you are doesn’t mean that people are going to immediately hire you. Do some “market testing” and find out how easy it’s going to be to find a job. Don’t think that just because you’re so damn good and everybody just knows it, that somebody’s going to instantly hire you.

Dan is now considering going back to work for his old company. He’s going to have to take a position that is one or two levels below where he was before. He’s not sure what he will do. Our recommendation is that he swallow his pride and go back to his old company.  Now, if he wants to look for a job while he’s got one, that’s probably the better idea. Right now, he needs to get back to work.

Don’t believe your own press clippings.


….making a job offer part II (for employers)

The formal offer

If the conversation goes well, the best hiring authorities meet with candidates as soon as possible. They know that any candidate they might want will be wanted by others. Most importantly, the longer they put off this meeting after the above conversation the more indecisive they appear.

We can’t tell you the number of opportunities to hire a good candidate that have been lost because the hiring authority felt the job offer was simply a formality and the candidate was going to accept the job and postpone the formal meeting because regular business got in the way. They assumed a done deal, prolonged the time to formally meet, made it appear that the meeting wasn’t all that important, and lost the candidate. (We once had a hiring authority who postponed the offer meeting for two weeks so she could go on vacation. Lots of love, huh?)


The best hiring authorities have a formal offer written for the candidate. When they meet to discuss the offer in detail, they assume the candidate is going to have lots of questions and have prepared the answers to the questions the candidate had in the pre-offer phone call. The best hiring authorities take as much time in this meeting as they need to and are patient with any questions or discussions the candidate may have. They realize how important this meeting is to both of them.

Discussing a formal offer over the phone is nowhere near as effective as meeting face-to-face. It simply doesn’t have the same emotional camaraderie and the “we care about you” feeling. If a company’s HR department has to issue the offer letter, the best hiring authorities will still meet with the candidate and discuss the offer in detail. The best hiring authorities do not let anyone in the company discuss the offer with the candidate except themselves. They leave nothing to chance.

How much time should the candidate have to decide?

If everything has been done correctly 75 percent of the time, the best hiring authorities will get the candidate to execute an offer letter and set a start date during this meeting. However, if the candidate asks, “When do I need to let you know?” the best hiring authorities will explain to a candidate that they need to hear from them within 24 hours about their decision. Maybe under extenuating circumstances they may offer a little more time, such as if the candidate is traveling and needs to discuss it with their spouse, but 99 percent of the time the best hiring authorities tell the candidate they need to know within one day.

The best hiring authorities already have a feel for what the candidate is going to do. The best hiring authorities know that a decisive candidate is going to be able to decide quickly. Anything beyond 24 hours usually indicates that the candidate is going to use the offer to leverage another one, and the best hiring authorities don’t seem to tolerate much of this.

If the candidate insists on more than 24-hours, the best hiring authorities explain that they can’t do that, that they have other candidates they are going to pursue. They reinterate that they need to know within 24 hours. If a candidate cannot do that, the best hiring authorities explain to the candidate that they will therefore pursue the next candidate. End of story! The candidate is either in or out. It’s that simple.

By the way, if the formal offer is written after this meeting, the best hiring authorities review it to be sure that it’s consistent with what was discussed. 15 percent of the time, when offer letters are sent after a formal offer discussion, especially when they are written by the HR department in some far-off city, they aren’t the same as what was discussed in the offer meeting. It’s a quick and easy way to lose an excellent candidate

Set a start date

The best hiring authorities set a start date as soon as possible. They know that the further out the start date is from when the offer is accepted, the more things can happen that are adverse to the situation.

The best hiring authorities never assume anything in the offer meetings. If the candidate accepts the job and sets the start date, they simply prepare themselves for that. If the candidate, for some reason, turns the job down or claims that they can’t decide within the 24-hour time limit, the best hiring authorities are gracious and unemotional about it. Getting upset or angry with a candidate who turns the job down is unwise. The best hiring authorities know that they may try to recruit a candidate again somewhere down the line. They know that it pays to always be nice.

Oh, my! A no show!

No matter what level of position, from the CEO on down, 15 percent of the time  a candidate who has accepted an offer is going to call and renege. Sometimes they will do it with grace and style long before the start date. Unfortunately, they sometimes just plain don’t show up with no notice at all. (We agree that’s totally pathetic!)

The best hiring authorities know this kind of thing might happen. One of the ways they prepare themselves for this possibility is to explain to the #2 and maybe the #3  candidates, “We’ve offered the position to another candidate and it’s been accepted. It was a very close decision and you were certainly an extremely good candidate. We did what we thought was best for our organization. The new hire is supposed to start on (date). We expect everything to go well, but if, for some reason, something happens that he or she does not start, I’d like to give you a call. If we might still be a consideration for you, we can pick up the conversation again, if we need to.”

The best hiring authorities hope they won’t need this contingency plan. But just in case, they’ve prepared themselves for it. The #2 and #3 candidates may not be available should this happen, but at least a hiring authority may not have to start all over if it does. We can’t tell you the number of phenomenally successful employees we’ve placed who got hired this way.