Category Archives: Job Search Blog

…the biggest challenges recruiters have

OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH CANDIDATES The biggest challenge we all have regarding candidates is the candidate’s misperception of the marketplace and how their skills, abilities, and experience stack up with what is available to our clients.  The biggest complaint we hear about ourselves is that a candidate states, ” well, I can do that job… I sent you my resume… I am the most qualified that you can find….. I can’t understand why you can’t get me an interview…. I am perfect…. just get me in front of them…. I’m the best you’ve got… I can’t understand why you didn’t respond to my phone call and resume….” and so on.

Our best candidates come from referrals or networking or actually calling a presently employed person and present a possible better opportunity (recruiting). Some of us will respond to a resume for a specific opportunity that we might advertise or respond to your phone call. Some of us will find your resume on the Internet and call you.

Most candidates, even qualified candidates have no idea how many excellent people there are available for most opportunities.  Candidates, as you know if you have learned anything from these writings, have a tendency to “see the world” through their own eyes and their perceived ability to do a job.  A good recruiter, even with a narrow search assignment can usually begin with at least 100 to 200 “qualified” candidates or resumes. Even the top retained search firms, a start out with 100 to 300 candidates in the database for each search they do.  They then qualify, phone screen and narrow down those to 20 to 50 candidates, in-depth interview 10 candidates and present a final panel of three to six candidates.

Candidates are often surprised and enlightened when they understand the number of quality candidates available for most positions and that they’re being successful in even getting an interview isn’t based so much on their ability to do a job as it is their ability to get the job. Most candidates do not see themselves in the light of how they compare with other viable candidates.  Most candidates evaluate themselves based on their own perception and unfortunately they don’t have the perspective of comparing themselves to 100 or even 50 other people at their same level of professionalism.

OUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH OUR HIRING ORGANIZAIONS If you have absorbed most of the information in these articles, it won’t come as a surprise to you that the biggest challenge recruiters have with hiring organizations, is they are “spiritual beings acting human.” Just because the organizations might need to hire a professional on any level, doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it all the time. They will change their minds about the kind of person they need a number of times in the process of a search, or corporate politics, unrealistic expectations of what the candidate market will provide, mergers and acquisitions, buyouts, unexpected changes in the business climate, stock prices, product failures and so on. Non-human events like a Covid pandemic, 9/11and Hurricane Katrina can postpone or shut down the best of intentions to hire someone.

Like most professions, ours is one that is full of uncertainty. We deal with human beings on both sides of the equation.  We’re one of the few professions whose “product” can say “no” and walk away and whose “client” is just as unpredictable.

These two primary challenges are what make our profession so exciting and gratifying.  The service of recruiter can change the lives of the individuals they are involved with as well as the course of their companies.  But the upside of this kind of gratification has lots of emotional and business risk.

PERSPETIVE Keep in mind that on average, recruiters individually only place 1.5 people a month. (This author averages 10, but that is an exception.).  Even the top recruiters in the most recognized search firms, according to Kennedy Information, only manage 10 to 11 ” searches ” at a time.  If the 5500 recruiting firms in the United States have an average of three consultants and each one of them averages 1.5 people a month that’s only 24,750 people a month.

By itself that number may appear to be large, but when you put it in perspective of all of the professional job changes that go on in the course of the year, it is not that many.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU What this all means to you is simply this: a recruiter might be able to help you but, you need to manage your expectations of what a recruiter can do for you and help them help you.  And what a recruiter can do for you depends on the nature of the recruiter and their relationship with the hiring authority or hiring company they are working for or representing.

….working with recruiters…what we can and can’t do for you as a job seeker

Most of the folks we work with, especially candidates don’t really know what to expect from a recruiter, so here is an explanation:

A quick Google search says that there are 20,000 Businesses in the United States that claim themselves to be some kind of recruiting firm. (Most of these are temporary staffing firms. The rest are permanent placement firms. A number of years ago , according to The Fordyce Letter, (it closed its doors in 2016)  the country’s foremost authority on the placement and recruitment profession, maintained a database of some 33,000 firms in the United States that were, in one form or another, involved in the business of direct personnel placement, either temporary placement or permanent placement. Fifty five to sixty percent of recruiting firms went out of business over the past three or four years only to be replaced by others. Twenty new recruiting firms open in the U.S. every week.  It is estimated that one-third of these firms work on a retainer basis and the rest in some form of contingency.

The average permanent recruiting firm has 3.1 (Our firm has more than 20) “consultants” in it who successfully averaged recruiting and placing 1.5 people a month. (This is the same statistic that existed when I got in this business in 1973.) (Individuals in our organization average 4 a month, I, personally, average 10. )

The average tenure of these firms is seven years and the average “consultant” has been in the business for 15 months.  (Our firm’s been here since 1952 and our average placement manager has been here for 16 years.) 

In the early ’70s it was estimated that 5% to 10 % of the professional people that were hired in business were hired through the help of a third-party recruiter of some sort.  That estimate today is closer to 20% or 25%.  As the job market expands and good candidates are harder to find, third-party recruiters will be used even more.

Traditionally permanent recruiters have been defined in two broad camps.  The retained recruiter, who is just that, “retained,” to find an employee which was one group and the other was the “contingency group” that received their compensation only if they were responsible for causing a candidate to be hired.  There is, however, a broad range of even contingency firms that you need to be aware of so that you can decide if they can actually help you find a job.

We will discuss, in general terms, the reasons that you should or should not use a recruiter and what that recruiter can or cannot do for you.  I will then discuss in detail what you, as a job seeker, need to know about the relationship that different kinds of recruiters have with employers and therefore the kind of relationship they will have with you as a candidate.  The most important aspect of this is for you to know how all of the different kinds of recruiters can help you based on that type of recruiter’s relationship with the employer. 

 What you should expect and how you should deal with a “recruiter ” totally depends on your understanding of the kind of recruiter that you’re dealing with.  When you know the kind of recruiter that you were dealing with and his or her relationship to the employer, you will know how to manage your own expectations.

In general, here is what recruiters can do for you:

  • We have access and knowledge of opportunities with the firms before they are “broadcast” to the world. 45% to 50% of the opportunities we work with are given to us by clients who have worked with us multiple times. This is especially true with our organization since we’ve been around for so long.
  • For the most part, (we will see in the exceptions to this below) we have a much more in-depth knowledge about an opportunity than an individual could gain on his or her own.
  • We will “coach” you and sell you and your attributes, as well as sell around your shortcomings, better than you can for yourself, because we really know our clients, as well as know the marketplace relative to candidates competing with you.
  • More often than not, we work directly with hiring authorities, rather than human resources. Over the years we build personal relationships with these hiring authorities. (In fact, 30 to 40% of the hiring authorities we work with become candidates of ours some time in their career.
  • Because a recruiter knows how you compare with your competition for positions, they can provide for you the advantage. They know their market.
  • We will help you “manage” the process of interviewing and negotiating. Because an experienced recruiter deals with this process daily, we know how to do it better than an individual even if they change jobs often.
  • We are going to help a candidate maximize their compensation possibilities. Most of the time the recruiter is compensated based on the salary package the candidate receives.  It is in their best interest to help you reach your compensation potential, without you over pricing yourself and getting eliminated.
  • We can provide you more job interview opportunities quicker than you can do for yourself. Most people don’t deal with the job opportunities, career moves, etc. on a daily basis.  A good, experienced recruiter does.
  • The help of a recruiter implies confidentiality. Most top professionals do not want their job search to be “floating around” the Internet or anywhere else for that matter. (Even your little green “swish” “open to work” on LinkedIn can easily be discovered by your employer.)
  • A recruiter, many times, has an intimate but objective view of the hiring company, the hiring authorities and the “politics” of the specific hiring process.
  • We are comfortable with all of the steps in the process of getting hired There are more of them now than ever before.
  • We know what to do when things “go wrong” in the hiring process.

Here are some things that a recruiter cannot do for you:

  • We cannot get you a job. A recruiter can coach, teach, advise, strategize and help.  But the candidate still has to be the primary force in getting the job.
  • A top recruiter might give some career advice, but we’re not counselors or career advisers.  We are information brokers and hiring process managers. Unless the information or process is of current and immediate importance to the company or hiring authority we represent, we don’t have the time to “counsel.”
  • We’re not “miracle workers”… we can’t get you the ” job of your dreams “…. an interviewing opportunity that you are not qualified for…. help you change careers when the economy won’t bare it…. help you negotiate unreasonable compensation plans, etc.
  • We cannot do a lot of hand holding or immediately respond every time you call or blindly e-mail a resume. You, as a candidate, are important to us, but only to the extent that your experience and background can help one of our clients in their need to fill a position.
  • We don’t analyze and peruse every single resume that is sent to us.  Unless we are a “boutique” search firm, we receive hundreds of resumes.  Each one will get 10 to 15 seconds of attention and unless what is on it is so obviously stellar and needed by our hiring companies it will be stored in a database.
  • We don’t have time to give you advice about the “market” or if it’s time to “stick your toe in the water” to see if your skills or experience might be “more valuable” to someone else.
  • Unless we are involved in the process of you securing a new opportunity we’re going to be fairly short on advice about “what you should do” regarding your changing jobs down the line.
  • For the most part, we’re not going to give you advice about a job or career change that we are not involved in unless we have a longstanding relationship with you. (Many of our candidates, because of our particular longevity are with us throughout their career. Or, should I say, we’re with them.)

….more next week

 

 

 

…..the sad side of our profession

We are in the people business. And when you’re in the people business, objectively, you know that you’re going to see people at their best and you’re going to see people at their worst. It used to bug me when people did things that I didn’t think was right. But maybe there are lots of things that people perceive me to do, that they don’t think is right.

This week, I got a call from a vice president of the company that I placed three people with in January. It turns out that over the last two or three weeks, they discovered that one of the candidates was working two jobs. Yeah, you read it right it.  He was working TWO software sales jobs simultaneously. Of course, the VP started the conversation by asking, “How well do you know this guy?” Interestingly enough, I’ve known the guy for about 20 years and based on his references and documentable track record, he was a performer. But, how in the world with technology like it is, could you work for two companies at the same time? According to the VP, the guy actually had two LinkedIn profiles. How in the world could anybody expect not to get caught?

We gave them the fee they had paid back immediately. It was $24,000. The VP had actually called the other company that the candidate was working for and, according to the VP, it appeared that the other company might keep the guy. I can’t believe it and neither could the VP. Obviously, this is outright fraud… stealing.  Based on the guy’s performance in the past, I couldn’t imagine any reason for him doing this. I’m confident the candidate will not call me, but I can’t understand why anybody would do such a thing. It’s really sad. The CEO, who I’ve known for 25 years, was furious. I can’t blame him. It’s really sad. My sense is that if the guy had worked as hard for our client as he would have to work to try to juggle two jobs at the same time, he’d be successful at just one of them.

We had a candidate a few years ago who accepted three jobs on the same day. Two of these opportunities are ones that we presented her. On one Friday, she got an offer from one of our clients and she accepted. The client called us and was elated. A couple of hours later another one of our clients called, said that they had offered her the job and she had accepted it. Wondering what was going on, I said nothing but called the candidate.

“What are you doing?”  I said. “Both of these people think that you accepted their job!  What are you doing?” She told me to, “Cool my jets.” She said, “I’ve actually accepted three jobs today. I’m going to think about it over the weekend and show up at the one that I think is going to be best for me. I just wanted to get everybody to offer me the best they could.” Monday morning came and she showed up at one of the opportunities that we had presented her. She called our other client and, I’m assuming, the other company she had accepted a job from and told them that she decided not to pursue their opportunity. Yes, rather unbelievable.

A week or so ago, one of our candidates whom we did not place, was in the process of hiring two of our candidates to work for him, and the day he was supposed to hire them, he called and said he had been summarily fired by the CEO. He was a VP at a technology service provider. He’d been there for just a few days more than 90 days. The CEO got him on the phone, turned the call over to the interim human resources director who told him that he was being let go. No explanation, no reason…nada! The HR director mumbled something about it being a work-at-will state and that he was being terminated.

The ex-VP, turned candidate again, had absolutely no idea why. The CEO would not answer his calls or his emails. The whole thing was a mystery to him. I’ve known this guy for 15 years and he’s about as straight a shooter as you’ll ever find. He’s just good folks.

Truth is always stranger than fiction. In my first book, I had a whole chapter about crazy things that I’ve seen happen in the years I’ve been in this business. My publisher said that they would be printed because nobody would believe the things I wrote. She said that people will think you just made it up. Who could make this stuff up?

 

….Dallas/Ft.Worth…the Biggest Small Town You’ve Ever Seen

This is a quote from a very good friend of mine and business partner, Rich Lavinski. Rich’s been around almost as long as I have and experienced just about as many things when it comes to people, jobs, and their career. This idea is something that everyone ought to keep on their minds regarding just about every personal and business activity they are involved in.

The reason this phrase came to mind was that one of my candidates was eliminated from getting a job offer…. because of something he did almost three years ago. He got fired from the company he was working for back then because at one of the company’s social events he had too much to drink and said some things… lots of things… he wished he hadn’t. The story is that he even made a racial slur. In spite of the fact that none of the people that were supposedly at the event can remember exactly what went on, the story of this fellow’s indiscretion has traveled throughout the profession he is in, and obviously is still being told today.

The guy is a tremendous performer and everyone that knows him or of him knows that he is. But our client was so afraid of making a mistake in hiring him when they heard of this three-year-old indiscretion, decided not to hire him. Our client was close to offering him a job and heard about the incident through a backdoor reference. They didn’t even bother to go to any lengths to confirm the incident. They just plain decided not to hire him because they “couldn’t afford to run the risk.”

According to the candidate, this situation had never come up before in his career. Even though he was stunned, he never denied that the incident had happened. He was simply furious that the “grapevine” was still talking about it. There is no doubt that it cost him the job.

It is really unfortunate that this happened. I’m convinced that this incident has absolutely nothing to do with the candidate’s ability to perform. His track record is awesome. But the truth is, like Rich Lavinski says, “Dallas is the biggest small town you will ever live in.” You can do all of the good in the world but the one or two times that you make a simple human mistake, you’d best be prepared that people are going to remember it, talk about it and don’t be surprised if it could cost you a job.

This kind of thing is even more pronounced with the advent of social media. I’m an ex-rugby player and played for more than 20 years. I have to admit that some of the things I did when I was a kid could have been tweeted and YouTubed causing tremendous embarrassment and maybe even some business opportunities. Like my candidate, I’m really embarrassed. But fortunately there are no records that I know of… Thank God.

Here’s the point. Just about any indiscreet activity you participate in is going to be remembered or documented by somebody. And you never know when it’s going to come up or be “remembered.” It could cost you a lot of things, including a job.

People remember and pass on the negative stuff way beyond what they do with the positive stuff. It has always been that way and it always will. Watch what you do. Watch what you say. No matter where you live… it could be the biggest small town you’ve ever been in.

….About the Fourth of July…by Robert J. Ahola

I’m lousy at politics and even worse with history. But a friend of mine who is an author and movie producer, Robert Ahola (also happens to be an old rugby buddy of mine for 20 years) wrote this about the Fourth of July. I thought it was so eloquent that it was worth passing on:

It struck me once again as we enjoy this Fourth of July holiday that, if we’d had electronic media back in the late 18th Century, neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Adams would have ever been elected President of the United States.

Although a brilliant writer, a consummate architect and a bona fide Renaissance man, Jefferson (at 6’ 3”) was a clumsy, dawdling speaker and highly uncomfortable in crowds. Adams (5’ 6”) though a gifted orator, was a snarling terrier of a fellow who couldn’t seem to get along with anyone. He was pocked, defiantly unkempt, and could often be abrasive as nails on a blackboard. (In fact, in the beginning, the two did not like each other very much.)

Jefferson, infamously, was a slave owner who disapproved of it in principle but nonetheless owned over 200 slaves. Adams abhorred slavery and thought it should be abolished. And yet it was Jefferson who actually passed legislation to abolish the slave trade while in office (by the Abolition of the Importation of Slaves in 1807).  They both were merely men of their time and, as such, flawed. And yet both just happened to have impeccable portfolios, genius IQs and an unmatched vision for this country. They, along with Benjamin Franklin, pooled their efforts to draft the Declaration of Independence (Jefferson wrote it.) They, along with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, helped frame the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (Inspired by Jefferson and penned by Madison).

They lived in an era that prized substance over style, and were baptized in the fire of awareness that Democracy took constant vigilance to make succeed—and that it would always be a work in progress

I make this observation in celebration of our nation—neither to praise nor condemn anyone—but merely to admonish us to be mindful of electing those to public office only after digging deeply into the soul of the man or woman and looking beyond the artifice of personality and the easy path that leads us to the politics of division.

In the end, character trumps all. A hard lesson that We The People have, over the last 30 years or so, learned the hard way. Characteristic of their strong personalities, Jefferson and Adams, though they often feuded, reunited in their friendship in their final years and devoted many days in warm correspondence, the letters of which remain with us to this day.

In a poignant bit of divine irony, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson passed from this mortal shell on the same day in the same year: July 4, 1826.

Adams, in his final words, fatalistically noted: “At least we still have Jefferson!” Unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died four hours earlier in Monticello.

 

THANK YOU, BOB !!

 

….stories sell

If you are a job seeker, it’s very important to weave many stories about what you’ve done as examples of your success. People love stories. People remember stories. People remember you when you tell them stories about your past. Stories bypass conscious resistance and preconceived notions. Stories, analogies, metaphors about you that pertain to the hiring authority’s needs are absolutely the best way to be remembered. Of course, they need to be short, no more than 45 seconds, to the point and above all pertinent to the opportunity for which you are interviewing. Stories are more than entertainment.

Philosophers tell us that they teach us the art of being human. From psychologists we learned that stories are successful because they remove the prejudice of the listener towards the story teller and encourage the listener to identify with the person in the story. People remember stories because they identify with the people in the stories. By doing that, the listener becomes more engaged with the storyteller and asks themselves questions like, what would I have done in that situation? We are so caught up in the drama of the story, we have little emotional energy to disagree. That’s why Jesus Christ taught in parables. Buddha, Aesop, and other great teachers all taught with stories and one of the most important revelations about stories comes recently from the Princeton neurologist Yuri Hassan. He recently discovered that the listener of a story develops the exact same brain waves and brain patterns that the story teller has.

The story teller literally makes the listener’s brain pattern match their own. So if you want people to see the world the way you do, tell them a compelling story and get their brain patterns to match yours. Story telling breeds a connection between tellers and listeners, a shared flourish of joy at the climax or mutual gloom at the relation of something tragic. Does this interpersonal link also take a visual measurable form? Well, a team recorded videos of eight students as they recounted emotional experiences from falling in love to the death of a friend as they spoke and eye tracking device measured the dilation of their pupils, which research indicates expand and contract with the ups and downs of mental engagement. Later more than a hundred other students watched the videos as they too were monitored with an eye tracker. During parts of this story rated as especially engaging the researchers found the dilation of the listeners’ pupils more closely matched dilation of the speaker’s pupils.

Synchrony was greatest between participants who rated high on a measure of empathy and speakers high on expressiveness results that held even when the listeners did not view the speaker. The findings are indicative of mental coupling or shared attention to what the speaker is saying, according to Dartmouth College neuroscientists, Thilia Wheatley, a coauthor of the study. Without people listening, speaking is just disturbing air molecules. Communication requires coupled minds. Story telling experts tell us that there are six types of stories. “Who am I?” stories, “Why am I here?” stories, “Vision” stories, “Teaching” stories, “Values” stories, and “I know what you’re thinking” stories. It’s not hard to come up with these types of stories in the interviewing process. They can be very powerful. We had a candidate a number of years ago who had been born and raised on a chicken farm in East Texas. During the interviewing process, he would talk about what it was like growing up on a chicken farm, how hard they had to work, the long hours, the difficulty.

It was a great story. That candidate was chosen over nine other very well qualified candidates. The hiring authority told us that what made the difference was the candidate’s stories about growing up on a chicken farm. “Why am I here?” stories could be about why you had to leave your present job or why you left your past ones. “Vision” stories could be about the company you’re interviewing with and how it might look when they hire you. “Teaching” and “Value” stories can be about the mistakes you’ve made in your career and what you learned from those mistakes. “I know what you’re thinking” stories can explain why you’ve had too many jobs or have been out of work for a very long period of time before the hiring authority brings it up as a concern. Your stories will make all the difference in the world. People who tell stories are remembered.

….Touched by Greatness

a very good friend of mine by the name of Dave Perry is the managing partner of Perry – Martel international. It is a retained search firm in Ontario, Canada. He is a frequent guest on our Job search Solution radio program. Since he is a Canadian, one day we got to talking about the differences in our countries and how Canadians see the United States. He sent me something that he wrote that was rather touching and certainly worth sharing:

Touched by Greatness

The urgent rhythm of the approaching Medical Transport helicopter shattered the calm of the thin Colorado air. I always had mixed feelings whenever I heard such helicopters in the night: a foreboding concern for whomever might be needing that immediate medical attention, partially offset by guilt-ridden relief that at least ‘it wasn’t for me’.

But this time, it was for me.

Drifting in and out of medicated sedation, I was amused as the bright lights overhead seemed to swirl around the surgical amphitheater. Over 100 visiting doctors were crammed into the upper Surgical Observatory. The Pre-Op support team was bustling with activity in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the distinguished team of surgeons disembarking from the helicopter.

The military surgeons at Fitzsimons General Hospital in Denver had been blunt with my father: no one had ever survived the heart operation that I was about to undergo. The attending nurse whispered compassionately to my father, “You need to say good-bye now.” My dad squeezed my hand and, in a soft tone percolating with hope, he looked into my eyes, smiled bravely, and said “You’ll be alright Dave. I love you son,” as the cluster of doctors arrived.

My father was assured that these doctors were amongst the greatest team of heart  surgeons in the world and that claim was validated when I went through 12 hours of open-heart surgery and beat the overwhelming odds to survive. Seven months of rehab later and I was back to 100%. I have never met the US Army surgical team that performed the miracle surgery that day, but there is no question that I owe my life to the collective greatness of their divinely-guided hands.

Looking back, I was eight years old in 1968 when my family – mother, father, two sisters and I – moved from Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, British Columbia to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We were the only Canadians on the

base. Tragedy struck within days of our arrival when my mother Coleen suffered a stroke while attending their very first dinner at the new boss’s house.

My mother subsequently spent many months in the hospital and, since my father had to work such long hours, my two baby sisters were temporarily sent to live with relatives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I stayed on the base under the ever-watchful eye of an extended community of caring neighbors.  I was ‘functionally adopted’ in essence by several families in our cluster and was welcomed into their homes to eat, sleep and play.

 

The genuine concern and collaborative culture of the base remains fondly etched in my memory. People were passionately engaged in trying to build a better world for themselves and others. On weekends, while my father would be visiting my mother in the hospital, I gladly participated in community work, joining my ‘adopted families’ in goodwill exploits like painting the school, repairing the church, or helping neighbors with heavy yard work.

Those gestures – big or small – were sincere, executed with love and had immense impact on those we assisted. It felt good to be a part of that. I witnessed the power of the greatness that was America. I liked it.

In the summer of 1971, my father was posted to Toronto and we returned to Canada. I didn’t want to leave. I will forever hold the deepest appreciation for America and the unbridled kindness and genuine care our American friends extended to my entire family. A nation’s greatness is distinguished by its compassion, and we certainly felt the full measure of America’s greatness.

Eleven years later, in 1982, I graduated with an Economics degree from McGill University. After working for several recruiting firms for a few years, I started my own executive search firm, Perry-Martel International, in 1988. Over 1,000 successful searches later and here we are.

It vexes me to see the unprecedented pressures on the American psyche including: the bludgeoning National Debt; perennial Trade Deficit; alarming decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate; escalating future Unfunded Liabilities and increased social welfare costs. The impacts to the social and political fabric of the country are apparent Yes, Greatness is once again being summoned from the resourceful imperative embodied in the American spirit of defiance, compassion, and resolve.

It’s on.

The current conditions are an insult to tolerance and an unsavory challenge to endure. We need all cylinders firing – or at least more of them. Ignoring the micro/macro influences for the moment, and just focusing on scale, consider that in terms of the ‘number of cylinders firing’, America can dramatically improve the number of people contributing to the bottom line.

Consider that out of an estimated population of 318 million Americans:

  • 61 million CAN’T WORK – under 16; too young;
  • 102 million DON’T WORK – of working age but Not in Labor Force or Unemployed;
  • 104 million are NOT FULLY ENGAGED and productive at their (70% of the 148 M that DO WORK);


Accordingly, out of 318 million Americans, only 44 million are work at or near full capacity; 267 million do not. That’s difficult to sustain in any economic climate let alone an economy already overburden by the aforementioned mammoth challenges.

In the years since we left Colorado, my affinity and admiration for America has never wavered. Nor has my belief in her capacity for greatness. America has accomplished many great things in its illustrious history. I will forgo trite recaps of such

triumphs, and instead say I think it’s imperative for the country’s exceptional leadership to undertake what must be done now and in the future. Cliché as it sounds, the need for greatness has never been more pronounced in America, and indeed, throughout the world.

My concern for America’s well-being is sincere, as is my belief in her ability to meet the challenges confronting it. Alexis de Tocqueville said, “The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.” ‘So be it.

–    David Perry

  1. What really impressed me more than landing a man on the moon – was bringing him back!

 

… so, humble me

I have known James for a number of years. I placed him a few years ago and unfortunately, he has had a couple of bad breaks since then. He left the company I placed him with to go to work for an organization that made him a phenomenal offer. They were out of Detroit and they wanted him to build an office in Dallas…right before the pandemic. Ow!  Six months into it they had to close the office because of the economy and, of course, his phenomenal salary went away.

He then got hired by an organization that put him in a selling/management position. All well and good, except one of his subordinates who had been with the company for 12 years, was terribly underperforming, but since she had been there for so long, she not only disregarded what James would do to try to help her get better, she downright defied him. When he took the situation to his upper management, they basically told him it was his problem and, since she had been with the company so long, they weren’t going to do anything about it, but they emphasized that he couldn’t fire her.

James was in a terrible position. This subordinate was totally defying him and everybody could see it and yet his management wasn’t going to do anything to help him. In his 20 years of experience, he had never been in this kind of position. He really cared about his job and the people he worked for and with and it was a terrible emotional strain. He explained to his management that he really couldn’t carry on this way and that something had to be done.  They made it clear that they were really not going to do much about it, so James decided he needed to call me and leave his job.

It took him a while to do it because he was so emotionally drained by the whole experience. He took his job and profession seriously, as well as personally, and the situation was causing him a lot of anguish. Once he did call us, we decided to take (as I teach in www.thejobsearchsolution.com) massive action and start getting him as many interviews as possible. We were able to get James four interviews. He got an offer from an excellent organization and a $20,000 increase in salary.

I wish this kind of thing happened all the time, but it doesn’t. James was really good at what he did and we knew exactly where to go with his experience.

After he accepted the job, James explained to me that he felt like the whole experience was a “God thing.” He explained that while he was agonizing over the job he had and going through the emotional strain and turmoil, he prayed that God would bring him peace and show him a way out of his predicament. He stated that once he started working with us, a calmness and confidence came over him that everything was going to work out even if he had to resign and find a new job. He said he felt that God had actually placed us in his life and when He did, James became more peaceful and confident that everything would work out.

We are humbled by James’ gratitude. Every one of us in our company feels that God has given us gifts and we try to use them every day to help people and companies come together. Obviously, it doesn’t always work out this way. We wish we were blessed to be able to help all who come to us in this manner. It’s especially humbling when someone thinks that God actually put us in their life and they are grateful for it.

It made me think that maybe, if we were more cognizant of the fact that, per chance,  God puts everyone …candidates and employers… in our lives and that our work is as much spiritual as it is strictly business or secular, we might be able to help just a few more.

Most people don’t really understand our profession. The vast majority of candidates who come to us or who we recruit, we don’t place. I had to explain this to a candidate yesterday who wrote me and said that he had contacted me six months ago and that I had not gotten him even one interview. I tried to explain to him that we just hadn’t been able to find an organization where his experience would fit. Our clients pretty much dictate what kind of background and what kind of experience they would like to hire and we are simply information brokers. This guy’s background was very hodgepodge, and he had way too many jobs for what our clients would pay a fee to hire. That’s very hard to explain to somebody when they really need a job, but we don’t write the rules, we just play by them. I tried to explain this to this candidate. He was kind and said he understood, but he was still frustrated and needed to find a job. It made me think that God put him in my life also. I may not be able to find him a job (I wish I could and maybe I will) but it struck me that I wondered if I had been as empathetic and grateful for him as I had been with James.

I start my 48th year in this business this month. The whole thing is still a mystery… we are blessed and I am humbled by the whole thing.

 

 

…cognitive reappraisal and your interviewing

I am a great follower of Dan Ariely (or of anyone, for that matter, who studies the quirkiness of humanity, especially when it comes to making decisions). He has a column in at least every other Saturday’s Wall Street Journal where he talks about many aspects of human decisions and human psychology. Yesterday he addressed a letter writer who talked about how she gets incredibly “stressed out” when she has to give a talk or presentation. She claims that “my heart starts pounding, I sweat and I breathe much faster.” In short, she was scared and she was asking Dan what she could do.

Dan advised her that how we think about stress can make us less stressed and healthier. He advised that instead of interpreting these physical changes as signs that you’re not coping well with pressure, try to see them as signs that your body is energized for the task. He recommended interpreting one’s pounding heart, for instance, as preparing for action and the fast breathing as ensuring that more oxygen will be getting to your brain.

This strategy, he identified, is known as cognitive reappraisal. Studies, he claims, have shown that feeling stress in this way makes people less anxious and more confident. Well, I think that this is really only one half of the remedy. Just because you recognize that you can practice cognitive reappraisal doesn’t mean that you may experience any less stress unless YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO in the activity itself!

Many candidates experience this kind of stress in the interviewing process. (Employers do too, but admit it less.) I think it’s important to have this kind of nervousness or stress before any “performance” oriented event. Without a little bit of stress or fear, we probably would not perform as well.

The important thing, especially in interviewing, is to know what to do. Most people do not practice interviewing anywhere near the extent that they should before they get into the interviewing process. Most candidates think that they can just wing it and do well on just about every interview. After all, most of them have gotten a job before and interviewing again, they think, won’t be hard.

We teach this extensively in www.thejobsearchsolution.com. It is our online program that can teach just about anybody how to find a job. A person is much more likely to overcome their fear if they know exactly what they need to do and have practiced it over and over and over and over.

Interviewing does not come naturally or easily. Reframing stress is certainly valuable, but practicing exactly what to do and how to do it when you get in the stressful situation will make the cognitive reappraisal successful.

 

www.thejobsearchsolution.com

 

…one candidate…four employers..who did what right?

This scenario comes from one of our placement managers here, Pamela Miller. Her candidate was a 20 something person with five years of overall experience. He was bright, energetic, well- spoken and presented himself extremely well. His resume, however, did not do the candidate any close to justice. He started out in one career path (accounting) for three years and then moved to a second career (sales) where his drive and relationship skills were a better match.

Pamela presented him to four companies. Two of the companies agreed to see him face-to-face without looking at the resume. One of the firms decided, without consulting with us or the candidate, that he would not be willing to accept their base salary. He made a higher base salary in another industry which pays bigger bases of lower commissions. One of the firms looked at the resume and passed on him.

The two companies that interviewed the candidates face-to-face made him job offers immediately. Interestingly enough, he accepted the lower base salary offer which was the same base of the company who passed on him because they didn’t think he would take their base salary.

So, who handled the interviewing process correctly? Were the companies who saw the candidate in person right?  Was the company who, based on his resume, passed on him right? Obviously, they missed out. And was the company who decided unilaterally that the candidate wouldn’t be happy accepting their base before they even tried to hire him right?

Our profession is a totally inaccurate science. As I often say, we deal with “spiritual beings acting human.” Probably none of these people were really outright “wrong.” But as you can see, those that made assumptions might have missed an exceptionally good candidate.